Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Far Away Places with Strange Sounding Names

I'm not sure if anyone reads my boring-little-blog anymore, I have been away for so long, but just for fun I have decided to hold a contest, with the prize being a box of Purdy's chocolate hedgehogs.  They deliver anywhere in the world, so there are no restrictions.  The rules of the contest are this: correctly identify each of the four cities I have posted here.  For some folks, it should be very easy, for others ... not so much.  The relevance of this post is that each of these cities has a fairly high profile, and each of them is newsworthy in its own way.

The first person to correctly identify all four cities will receive the prize.  There are no clues, and no hints.  The prize is waiting to be awarded to the first person who guesses correctly.  Have fun, and good luck.

City No. 1

City No. 2

City No. 3

City No 4.

Far away places with strange sounding names
Far away over the sea
Those far away places with the strange sounding names are
Calling me
Goin' to China or maybe Siam
I wanna see for myself
Those far away places I've been reading about in a
Book that I took from a shelf
I start getting' restless whenever I hear the whistle of a train
I pray for the day I can get underway
And look for those castles in Spain
They call me a dreamer
Well maybe I am
But I know that I'm burning to see those
Far away places with the strange sounding names
Calling, calling me Me ~~ Willie Nelson


Winners:  In just a few short hours, we have two winners:  Leslie and Hilary.  Congratulations!

City No. 1 is Baghdad, Iraq.  City No. 2 is Damascus, Syria.  City No. 3 is Tehran, Iran.  City No. 4 is Nairobi, Kenya.  The reason is posted this is because all four cities have been in the news lately, and I have actually been hearing people say things like, "Does the Middle East have running water and electricity?" or "Where do people tie up their camels?"  Regarding Nairobi, I have heard people say, "Do they have malls made out of grass huts?"  These people were serious.  Tehran is twice the size of the city of New York, and all the other cities are larger than most North American cities.  How will we ever have peace and tolerance in this world, while we still have so much rampant ignorance?  These far away places with strange sounding names are actually sophisticated cities.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stay Classy, My Friends

Last night I settled down to watch the Emmys, and in one of the opening numbers with Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Silverman, they made a point of using the word "vagina" in their song and dance number. And then they made a point of saying they made a point of it. I'm not a prude, and we're all big kids here, but is that really necessary during a family show at 6:00 on a Sunday evening? It's bordering on vulgarity, and completely unnecessary. Shock value? Just crass. I turned the show off and did something more productive with my time.

 Stay classy, my friends.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hummingbird at the Feeder

Painting has once again become something that I enjoy, but, as with anything, it takes practice, practice, practice. I wish I had dedicated my life to it, but it's never too late, is it? Here is my latest little doodle. My friend Russell took a picture of a hummingbird at the feeder in his back yard, and I thought it was rather pretty, so I did a painting of it. It's amazing how he managed to capture the bird, frozen in the air. I have always loved hummingbirds, so now I have one forever -- at least until next summer.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Today is the anniversary of the day my Dad "went to meet his Maker", as he used to say.  I think about my Dad every day, and sometimes I still talk to him.  I have this picture on the wall next to my desk at home, because it reminds me of how much alike we are.  I inherited his nose -- "the nose knows".

My father was the most intelligent man I ever knew, and I recognized that from a very early age.  He had an extensive library of wonderful books, and he instilled in me a love of reading.  He once told me that, if I were going to read a book, I might as well read a good one.  To that end, I have never read a Harlequin Romance novel, but I have read all the good authors.  Name an author, any author, and I have read him.  That was a gift from my Dad.

One of my fondest memories of my childhood is of my father and me, on a bright summer's day, sitting on the banks of the Somass River, eating lettuce and tomato sandwiches and having deep, philosophical discussions about life.  I was only four years old and my father was teaching me how to swim.  We would take a little picnic and sit and chat while we waited to go back into the water.  I remember thinking at the time, this will always be one of my cherished memories -- the bright sunshine, the green grass, the cool water of the river, and my father talking with me about all the mysteries of the universe and beyond.  He called me "Kidlet" and when my daughter was born, he called her "Kidlet" too.  I used to watch him sitting beside her on the chesterfield, talking to her the same way he did with me.  He used to tease her affectionately that she was a "hidebound reactionary" because she had very conservative views, and he was liberal.

My Mother was a wonderful artist, but my Dad also liked to paint.  He was particularly fond of Native art, and our house was full of baskets, totem poles, paintings and carvings that Dad had collected.  When my parents sold their house, they donated all of their art work to the local museum.

I later asked my mother, "Do you have any idea how much all of that was worth?"

"Don't even tell me," she answered, "I don't want to know".

It was worth a lot, a small fortune in fact..  Two paintings they did, keep, however, were these lovely paintings of the otter and the killer whale.  If you look closely over the killer whale, you can also see the crow dive bombing the whale.  It's hard to see the detail in these photographs, but the otter has little prickly bits of fur all around him.  It wasn't until just a few years ago that I learned these paintings were done by my father.  He even made the frames and carved the detail into them.  Who knew!

At one time a tiny green frog took up residence underneath our house.  You have no idea how loud a tiny green frog can be in the middle of the night.  Oh, goodness.  My mother wanted to send our Scottie dog in after it.  Oh, no, my father wouldn't hear of that.  He managed to trap the frog, and then we drove thirty miles out to Sproat Lake, where the frog was released to live happily ever after in a grove of bright pink lily pads.  A few years ago I was going through my father's books, and there was a small book of poetry that he had had as a teenager.  Inside the front cover was a poem he had written when he was a young man, a wonderful sprightly little poem called "An Ode to a Little Green Frog".  I laughed.

My Dad was definitely unique, and the older I get and the more I look back in hindsight, the more I realize just how unique he was.  It was a privilege to be his daughter, and I'm very, very happy -- finally -- that I inherited his nose.  A part of him is with me forever.

Rest in peace, Dad.  You are not forgotten.