Tag Archives: magpies

Sharing My World 74

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Share Your World – September 4, 2017

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Did you know, when it comes to clothing, there are many different shades of black?  I’m pretty sure I own a sample of every one of them.  It is possible for black pants and a black top to not match.  But frankly I don’t care.  My closet is a black hole.  For variety I might throw on a dark blue or dark purple jacket or sweater, and sometimes my shoes have splotches of colourful wildness, but black is for sure my fade-into-the-background comfort colour.  My sister has tried to steer me away from racks of black in clothing stores but for me their magnetism is strong.  “Oooh, I like this!  Does it come in black?”  (Sister fakes shooting self in head)

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

Well behaved dogs belonging to other people are my absolute favourite.  German Shepherd and Jack Russel come to mind.  I also have a little stuffed Starbucks dog on a bookshelf somewhere that I quite like.  He doesn’t shed.  Or bark or drool.  Or need to go out to the backyard to pee in the middle of the night.  I’m just imagining worst case scenarios so I’ll be less tempted while looking at pictures of adorable dogs that need adopting.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Tomato plants (they smell amazing), sun flowers, daisies and Black-eyed Susans,  strawberry plants, lilac bushes.  What is wrong with me, I don’t have any of those!  I have had great success with tomato plants but we always get early frosts here and all the fussing with them in the fall is stressful.  Yes, I am that kind of gardener.  Maybe I’ll try some again next year since I’ve had several seasons break from it.  We grew dwarf sunflowers once in front of our house.  I have a picture somewhere to prove it.  They were beautiful and odd-looking  at the same time.  Sunflowers should be gigantic and in fields.

People with green thumbs are admirable.  That gene skipped a generation with me and went straight to my daughter.  I’m sure the ghost of my grandma hovers over her and her plants in a state of blissful ecstasy.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

That magpie was pretty inspiring.  I took a photo of it on some half dead grass and it rolled its little bird eyes and flew over to a rock amongst some bushes and posed there for me instead.  That was the day W decided to accompany me on my walk but went missing a few blocks into it.  He was admiring some guys front yard and I guess stopped long enough to be noticed and struck up a conversation with him while I just kept walking because I was out for a walk dammit, not gawking at front yards or a chat with some random stranger.  I went all the way to a busy street and doubled back thinking I would meet him continuing on the walk.  But there was no sign of him, so I walked through the park and then back over to the busy street again to see if he might have gone that way, then back through some walkways and back to the exit from the park just in case he was somewhere around there.  Anyway you get the picture, me walking around in circles and W nowhere to be found.  I was home and showered and had breakfast before he finally showed up, all happy that the guy he was talking to took him into his backyard to show off his award-winning landscaping horticulturists dreamscape.  The guy has a guest book so apparently he’s delighted to entertain nosy people and take them on tours.

This is the kind of shit that happens when you marry an extrovert.  You cannot take a normal walk together.  So we haven’t tried that again.  I go walking on quiet residential streets after people have gone to work.  He goes to the busy streets around the mall.  I don’t even like to say hello to people.  He learns six peoples life stories in ten minutes or less.

Next week we are leaving on a four day road trip, from Alberta through Saskatchewan and Manitoba to southwestern Ontario where we will visit family for a couple of weeks before heading back home.  I’m excited about the family part.  He is really excited about the drive.  Weird.

So I might be around here less, although I’m not sure how that is even possible, or I might be so bored driving through places like the prairies that I learn how to use my iPad without getting car sick.  Just so you know to expect the unexpected.  Or the completely predictable.  I will probably be doing some of the driving as well, so when W is hanging out the passenger side window becoming best friends with a service station attendant I can just drive off.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Labour Day weekend.

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Before and After

A few hot days ago I took pictures in my backyard of bushes sadly in need of a trim.  I’m here to tell you my crazy slash-and-burn mad trimmer-from-hell of a husband would be very proud of me for making this valiant attempt at tree taming if he were here.  Although of course if he were here this would have been done a month ago and the trees would still be trying to recover.  He once trimmed a tree at our front door into oblivion.  All that remains is a decorative stump.

But enough yard history.  Today the heat is pleasant and bearable, so I ventured out amongst the squabbling magpies and got it done.

Before:

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After:
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Note the top of the fence for reference.

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After:
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Note the bottom of the kitchen window. Please do not note the dead grass. I’m not watering it, it’s only grass and it’s in the backyard and the magpies don’t care and neither do I.

I was hoping these picture would be more indicative of what a difference all my hard work filling TWO green bins with branches made.  I guess you will just have to take my word for it because I’m not sharing pics of my scratched up arms.  Now I will be spending the rest of the day brushing imaginary twigs and bugs off my body.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends! I imagine your day has been slightly more interesting than mine because fireworks.  Yea!  Don’t set the grass on fire.

Art du Jour 63

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Surprise! It’s another collage. This time the background is bees and magazine people.  Although most of the bees are lost in the ink.  But I know they’re there.

I believe this piece has depth and balance with an over all burst of chaos.  Feel free to use that at your next art show or wine tasting event.

Other things that made me happy this weekend:

1.  Daughter, granddaughter, shopping.

2.  Free hemp hearts.

3.  Finding the book(s) they’ve been looking for.

4.  Potato salad.

5.  Sunshine.  Rain.  Thunder.

6.  Seeing my daughters two beautiful collages made up of ticket stubs and mementos and memorabilia from various adventures in her life.  What a brilliant idea.

7.  Stocking up on breakfast blend extra large Tassimo coffee so there is none left on the shelf for the next person, who will then have to make do with bold midnight eclipse instead.  I know how this all goes down.

8.  Watching a tuxedo cat on the neighbours fence being mercilessly harassed by two cheeky magpies.  He could have jumped down and gone home at any point but he puffed up his tail and stuck in the game; one magpie squawking in his face while the other snuck up in the rear, both alternately flying off if he got too close and swooping back down to claim their place on the fence when he’d turned around to face the other.  It was a dramatic dance, a battle of wills, a territorial spat of epic proportions.  Or something to do on a fence for fun on a sunny afternoon.  A nature show with no voice-over commentary, so I just don’t know.

9.  Saying goodbye to another May.

10.  Finding a seasonal allergy med that works very well, so that all that green stuff floating around in the air and drifting through my window screens is merely an annoyance to dust, and not turning me in to a sneezing weeping mess. Because no one likes a sneezing weeping mess.

Okay, no animal documentaries going on in my backyard at the moment so I will turn my attention to catching up on blog reading.

Happy first day of June, and have a memorable Monday.

Sharing My World 14

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #1

How do you get rid of pesky phone calls from telemarketers?

By saying as many completely stupid things as it takes.

What are you a “natural” at doing?

Saying completely stupid things.

How often do you get a haircut?

I don’t like to admit this and I certainly don’t brag about it,  but most of the time I cut my hair myself.  It’s only hair, and it’s a pretty simple cut.  I’m familiar with its licks and quirks and how it grows.  It has to be left a little longer on the top where it’s thin and grows slowly,  and thinned out like crazy in the back where its thick and grows fast.  Some hair dressers get this.  Others get it backwards and then wonder why I have a mullet in a couple of weeks.   I have a different definition of a “trim” than they do and it does not include words like “scalping” or “buzz cut”.  I can trim other people’s hair, so why not my own?  I have excellent hair cutting scissors and a trimmer with different attachments.  I do the back with the help of a mirror.  Eventually my trimmed up locks get to the point where a professional needs to deal with them.  Hey, I pay them good money, they should have to work for it, right?

Since I no longer go to work or have to do something with my hair in a hurry every day,  I have been letting it dry naturally and wave and curl and do whatever it wants.  So far, no small children have been traumatized (as far as I know.)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?

If you were expecting it might be “saying completely stupid things to telemarketers” you would be wrong. That’s not fun for either one of us, really.   But spending time with family, where the stupid things you’ve said can be repeated and laughed at – that’s fun.   My artwork is fun.  So is blogging and reading and playing word games and staying at home and relaxing.  I’m not very high maintenance, I guess.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week to come?

I am grateful for a quiet New Years Eve, a warm and cozy house that keeps out the bitter cold, new movies on Netflix and my charcoal pencils.  It’s been lovely to watch the magpies coming and going in the big black spruce tree across the road, and to catch a glimpse of the white jack rabbit making fresh footprints in the snow.

I don’t know what I’m looking forward to.  Certainly not calls from telemarketers.  By now they probably have our number on their lost causes list anyway.

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Art du Jour 7

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Here’s a little touch of summer for the first of November.   It rained on Halloween night,  so what snow there was has disappeared from the dead brown grass and the half-naked trees.  The sun is shining and the magpies are flying.  Actually some of them are dive-bombing our house for whatever reason magpies have for doing their particular brand of weird stuff.

As our neighborhood ages along with the rest of us,  we have fewer and fewer kids trick or treating every year.  Today the people next door will dismantle their front yard scene of ghostly horror.  I will take down my boogie man door decoration and put the witch plates away.  Yep, I go all out.

This month I am participating in Nano Poblano 2014 as a Team Pepper person.  All that’s required is a post a day.  Compared to writing a gazillion words for a novel, that should be a piece of cake, right?  Right.  It’s all about pursuing new blogging relationships. That is an excellent goal.  I probably should work harder on the content and purpose of my posts to make a good impression.  But I have never been about hard work, so if you don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, none of us should be too disappointed.  I will just carry on being me.

Happy Saturday!  Clean up that Halloween loot!  See you post-sugar-shock tomorrow.

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Argle-Bargle

The garbage bins and the paper and the recycling were at the curb when I turned in to my driveway after work on Wednesday night.  The inside front door and the garage door were both wide open.  The barbecue was on.  The sat-radio was blaring away.  There was a half-naked man in my kitchen.

Well, that sure beats coming home to a quiet empty house.

Yes, W is home for a while.  He drove through four provinces in two days to get here because there’s too much damned rain in Ontario.  Also, he thinks he needs to be here with me to face the scary appointments and doctors at the University hospital.  This works for me.  Plus he shops for groceries and he cooks and he cleans up the dishes.  He pours my wine.

imageSpeaking of wine, this one from B.C. is devilishly good, just like the label says.  Or my taste buds have fermented and gone to hell.  It’s a toss-up really.  All I know for sure is that I’m not telling you how much of it I consumed in the three hours between getting home and going to bed.

Today I went and got a seasonal haircut.  By that I mean there’s no guessing now about the size of my ears.  The weather is lovely and hot and I’ve got a couple of fans going for the first time this summer.  I will NOT be complaining about the heat.  Somebody slap me if I do.

Our grass is green, our trees are tall.  Two squirrels, a jack rabbit and a duck dropped by for our barbecue.   The magpies have decided our backyard is a good place for their afternoon squabbles.   And we just might get a deliciously diabolical thunderstorm tonight.

So yeah.  Life is good.

Not Broken, Just Cracked

 

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Or a little bent, perhaps..  Maybe a LOT bent and cracked and scrambled and ready to shatter with one more shove.

So get out the glue.

A good life isn’t necessarily a big life, or a long life or even an “important” life.  Whatever it throws at me, I’m happy to be living mine.

Well, what a lot of blather that was.  I’m sure I could go on and on avoiding the point for much longer than this,  but here’s the reason I’m currently allowing myself to wallow a bit.

About six weeks ago I noticed some swelling just below my jaw on the left side of my face.  I thought it was a swollen gland.  I went on holidays and more or less ignored it.  Even convinced myself that it was going away.  Then I got more swelling up closer to my ear, and on the 12th of June went to see my doctor.  She suspected a blocked salivary gland, maybe even a stone, and told me to go home and suck lemons.  Really.  I love her.  She also gave me a lab requisition to book an ultrasound, but the lab told me this type of ultrasound is more specialized and has to be booked at a hospital.  I was eventually scheduled at a new clinic across from the University Hospital for June 24th.

I had the ultrasound done around one o’clock and then drove straight to work from there.  At four thirty my doctor’s office called to say they had the results back and my doctor would like to see me as soon as possible, could I come in tomorrow morning?  Yes I could.  And could I bring someone with  me?  What? Why?  Well, for support.  Dead silence while I tried to digest this.  Really?  Is it that bad?  I felt sorry for the person who had to make this phone call because they’re not supposed to tell you anything.  But sometimes by not telling you anything they tell you a lot more than you want to know.

I’ve already been through a very similar experience with my thyroid investigation, when I was called in to the doctor’s office very quickly to discuss the results.  That was over ten years ago.  I had to go for a needle biopsy after that.  Those results were fine, but because of some pre-cancerous growths I was given the option of having surgery to remove the unhealthy looking bits and ended up with practically all of my thyroid removed.

After this phone call I spent a restless evening (with the help of the internet) imagining every worst case scenario there is, and a few more after that.  I wore myself out.  So when I went in to talk to my doctor the next morning (on my own) and she told me the radiologist thinks this looks like it could be a cancerous lump, I was kind of numb to it all.  Yes, okay.  So what’s next?  Blood work and urinalysis, which I had done in the same building right away, and arranging for a CT scan to be scheduled.  There are two specialists she can refer me to when we have the results, depending on which one is able to see me first.

Then I went home.  And now we wait.

I phoned W and he says he will come home.  I know I must talk to my kids and my sisters, although I would prefer that they be oblivious to it all for as long as possible.  Worry is such a piece of crap thing, ruining your day with no good result because it doesn’t change a thing.

And it might be nothing.  IT MIGHT BE NOTHING.  I have no other symptoms.  I feel perfectly fine.  I admit I’m feeling rather sorry for myself and it feels therapeutic just to put it all into words for now.

But here’s some things that boost me up.  Maybe this is the glue I was talking about.  The morning of the 25th, (which was the day after what would have been my dads 100th birthday) when I got up to make coffee, there were three magnificent magpies strutting about in the backyard.  I have always considered magpies to be a very good omen.  They remind me of my mom and my family.  I haven’t seen any of these birds around here for weeks.  Just as I was leaving for the doctor’s office there were FIVE of them out there, on the lawn, on the garage, on the new fence.  Flapping and squawking and not flying away. They haven’t been back since, but they were there when I needed to see them.

I pulled out my type-written notes and re-read some of the things the psychic told me last July.  Things that didn’t really register at the time, but now seem to make perfect sense.  New female GP,  some problem with my neck,  June 2014, two specialists,  some sort of procedure, not life threatening, trust that you will be in very good hands, everything is going to go much better than anticipated.

Am I a superstitious fool to take great comfort in the appearance of some magpies and in these words?  I don’t care.  I do.

CT scan is now scheduled for the 7th of July.  That’s fast.  That’s good.  There are happy days to be grateful for in the meantime.

A Case of Anamnesis

Have I ever mentioned how crazy this place is for sirens, night and day?  Ambulances, firetrucks, emergency vehicles, police cars, and sea nymphs for all I know.  There was even a siren in the middle of the fireworks last night, but if something blew up or burned down I slept through the aftermath.  I imagine some siren-happy crew took care of it.  There’s also helicopters flying around now and again but they don’t have alarm bells and whistles.  Not yet, anyway.

Today Siren City is relatively quiet for a change (except for the mad magpies who can never be mute – they would explode).  And the buzz of a lawnmower.  The sun is shining, there is a warm breeze, the coffee is hot and sweet.  Normally I don’t like it so sugary, but I poured in some vanilla/toffee/caramel cream before I was completely awake, from what was supposed to be a small container of French Vanilla for a change from Hazelnut.  But wasn’t.  This is what happens when I think I’m too smart to bother reading labels.  Something weird ends up in my fridge and there’s no one around but me to blame for it.

I should go back to drinking my coffee black.  Life would be so much simpler.  And maybe I’d have a simpler time keeping focused on one topic at a time.  That was a big huge gigantic maybe.

The Wordnik word of the day is anamnestic.

  • n. (noun) The art of recollection or reminiscence.
  • (adj) Aiding the memory.

‘Anamnestic’ comes from the Greek ‘anamnesis,’ a calling to mind, remembrance.

an·am·ne·sis

1.  the recollection or remembrance of the past; reminiscence.
2.  Platonism . recollection of the Ideas, which the soul had known in a previous existence, especially by means of reasoning.
3.  the medical history of a patient.

4.  Immunology . a prompt immune response to a previously encountered antigen, characterized by more rapid onset and greater effectiveness of antibody and T cell reaction than during the first encounter, as after a booster shot in a previously immunized person.

Anamnesis is a condition, then, and it follows that there must be degrees of it.  The art of recollection is not a clear-cut science or a faultless method.  Memories are often less than exact.
We all suffer from anamnesis, or delight in it, putting our own spin on the past.
Sometimes something is remembered so differently by someone else that we don’t recognize it as being the same moment in time.
I remember posing for this picture after church, holding my baby sister gently by the shoulders so she wouldn’t run away, smiling for our mom, ready to take off running as soon as she said okay because my brother was holding a long thin stick in his hand and I didn’t want to feel it on the backs of my bare legs.
Maybe he would only flick it around in the air and threaten and tease, but why take chances.
What do they remember about that day?
My life had no sirens in it then, when we lived there.  I wore my hair in a pony tail.  My sweater was brilliant red.
I loved my siblings.  (Some things don’t change.)

Guardian Angels

My astrological forecast for Friday the 13th:

Here you are, patting yourself on the back because you thought you were a contender, and instead it turns out you’ve got exactly what it takes to deliver the knockout blow. Don’t hesitate. Deliver the goods.    

I don’t understand that!  So it seemed fitting to add it here along with all the other things I was told today by a psychic medium.  She said that what I didn’t understand today would eventually all come clear to me, so I’m writing this down for the future much smarter me.

–  I have several guardian angels looking out for me – on further investigation the main ones appear to be my dad, my mom, my grandma, and my Uncle George.  I would have thought Uncle George had better things to do.

– There have been a lot of very indecisive people in my life over the past couple of years, but things are starting to clear up for everyone. Things are falling into place.  Money is not an issue.  A GOOD move could be in my future but it’s not a MUST move.  Things are settling around me,  My family members are getting their act together.  There are not a lot of problems, so I should just keep going.  (I got from all this that I was probably one of the most boring people she’d seen all day.)

– I am surrounded by positive energy and ready to make positive changes in my life.  Things will be smooth, there will be no real issures.  I will have room to breathe.  (I am falling asleep here. Your dead relatives are more interesting than you are.)

– The names she mentioned that do mean something to me – Harry or Harold, Margaret, Mary, George, Ken-something (-zie?) several Williams (possibly second or last names), Kris (although she wrote Chris, but that could be my neice’s boyfriend too), John and Julie.  (I just saw my cousin John in London and his wife’s name is Julie.)  She also mentioned Shawn, Michael, David, Doug, Jean and Cathy.  Who the hell are those people?

– It’s time to sort out my priorities and do what makes me happy.  I have been sitting on a shelf.  It’s time to get on with things.  (I protested that I kind of like sitting on the shelf, and she said I KNOW you do.  Get off it.  Get out of that box and out of your comfort zone.  There is a passion within you.  Find out what it is.)

– Magpies are very spiritual birds.  (Yeah, that surprised me too.)  When I see them they remind me of my mother.  But Cardinals also have special meaning for me. (I hope this is referring to two of my granddaughters and their beautiful names, and not something stupid like the two fake birds I have on my welcome sign at the front door.)

– She was surprised that I had no awareness of my dad’s presence in my life because it is incredibly strong.  He is always with me.  He is also looking out for my daughter who is strong and determined and getting it together.

– It is safe for me to travel by air.  (If she’d said it wasn’t safe, I wonder if I’d be looking at a bus schedule right now.)  I will be taking a getaway trip to the U.S. with two other women and will have a great time.  Money will allow it – no worries.  (Vegas, here I come?)

– My thyroid problems are under control.

– My brother is doing well.  He is very strong.

– There is an ending of a marriage coming up, likely a divorce, excessive drinking is involved.  I will be giving very good advice to the couple involved.  (No doubt without being asked for any.) (I think the end of a relationship is a very sad thing.  Drinking could actually help the process.  But perhaps this is not the good advice she had in mind.)

– The ‘animal’ card I picked was a beaver.  She turned it over and laughed and told me it was perfect and meant I must get busy.  I think a beaver is about the last thing on earth I want to identify with right now.  Or maybe ever.

Finally she asked me if I had six months to live, (don’t worry, you have much longer than that) what would I do?  I said I thought I might just keep on doing what I’m doing.  I like to write.  I like to read.  I sometimes paint.  ( I bore the pants right off psychics with my problem free existence….) She threw up her arms and shouted “THAT’S IT!  You must paint!  You are filled with a creative passion!  Get out of your comfort zone and do what you love to do!  (And please, get out of my cottage now and send in somebody whose aura won’t put me into a coma.) (Or something like that – it’s my own psychic interpretation of how her day was going.)

I suppose over all I really can’t complain about our little chat.  I just think a psychic should be able to freak me out a little better than that.  But it appears my guardian angels have been vigilant and are doing a bang up job.

Start the Day

There is something orange in the long green grass. She stands at the kitchen window, barefoot, still nightgown clad, looking into the backyard at the long stretch of overgrown garden that they’re going to turn back into lawn. The grass there is now almost a foot high, tall enough to sway and ripple in the breeze. The coffee pot gurgles and sputters beside her and outside the orange thing leaps.

Well, it really was no springing bound and barely fox-like. The second attempt at a hurdle ends in an ungraceful galumph. But kudos for getting out there and trying to act like a normal cat, she thinks. It can’t be easy.

She has noticed him before in her yard just passing through, looking like a short and rotund fuzzy orange blimp. The fattest cat she has ever seen. This jumping thing is new. There must be lots of creepy crawlies in the long grass that need pouncing upon and he’s giving it his best shot. Surging vault number three. But this one appears to have done him in. He sits and nonchalantly gazes off somewhere in the distance to give the bugs the impression that he no longer cares.

She pours her coffee and leans on the counter cradling the hot mug in both hands, takes that first invigorating sip. Watches the cat pause, consider; perhaps in this ones case, catch his breath.

Suddenly a magpie flaps his way overhead and lands with a squawk on the flat board on the top of the fence. He turns around, stomping his little bird feet, and then he gawks down at crouching orange thing in the grass. Cocks his head. Waits for what will happen next.

The wait is not long. There is no spring left in the cat’s repertoire this fine morning. Perhaps he has had previous altercations with magpies and does not fancy another one at the moment. Or maybe someone just called him home for breakfast. Either of these reasons, or some other mysterious cat notion, gets him up and off and running. Okay, more like lumbering, but moving away from the bird at a pace that’s faster than his normal calm meandering.

The magpie squawks some more. Where are you going? What kind of cat runs away from a bird? Hey! I’m talking to you! And then he takes to the air and is off in search of better less lame adventures.

All is quiet in the garden plot. She was going to get out there this morning and weed whack that long grass to start the process of getting it ready for sod. Maybe today, maybe not. There’s no hurry, really. She tops up her coffee cup and turns away from the window.

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