If You Build it They Will Come


Diary (Photo credit: benleto)

Daily Prompt:  Personal Space.  To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

This blog has always been a hundred percent self-expression (because aren’t all bloggers by definition raging egomaniacs?) with a bit of creativity thrown in.  The only readers I expected to attract were family members and close friends and maybe one or two morbid curiosity seekers after my death.  You know, if anyone happened to be looking for eulogy material.  I have no idea who those people might be and it’s possible they don’t exist.

I have been writing all my life.  Stories, poems, notes on cards, letters, diaries, journals, lists. I have also been reading everything that’s readable for as long as I can remember. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from both of these activities is that a person never ever stops learning.

With a head chock full of information (useless or not) and in danger of exploding, I find writing down my own scrambled version of things helps to relieve the pressure.  So really and truly, the bottom line is,  I do this for myself.  If I sound like a pompous lecturing ass, it’s just me talking to myself, trying to convince myself, whipping myself into shape, trying to become a better person, stay relatively sane, and ultimately not bore myself to tears.

In order to never run out of things to say (like I need help with that) I do things like this daily prompt challenge, trifecta challenges, blogging for peace, prompts for the promptless, even some photography challenges, although my photos would do best in the category of photography for the challenged.  I link my posts to Facebook and Twitter.  Still trying to get attention from my family.  Doing these things means that I am attracting readers, and it would be a giant lie to say I’m not happy with that.  Some days I am deliriously happy because someone I don’t even know has said something nice to me.


SCD (Photo credit: WarzauWynn)

Having my readership suddenly triple because I stuck to certain topics or post types would probably just shut me up completely for a  bit, it would be that scary.  All I ever wanted was to just blather away happily here about my life and maybe make the odd person laugh or smile or feel sorry for me along the way.

I want some of our family stories to be remembered and the people who were part of them to live on in our hearts.

I love the blogging friends I’ve made and the people I’ve “met” who inspire me every day. This is fun.  I feel like one tiny link in an enormous chain.  I don’t need to stand out or be bigger or more important or have some huge readership fan club cheering me on.  I’ll keep writing until there’s not another coherent thought in my head.  That might have happened yesterday, but what I don’t know can’t hurt me.

I will continue to write, because I don’t know how to stop.  Having people read what I’ve written and sometimes actually get something good out of something I’ve said – that’s a sweet bonus.  An unexpected perk.  You encourage my scribbles, and I am grateful.

Left Behind

"mors vincit omnia"

“mors vincit omnia” (Photo credit: Sinéad McKeown)

Cruel wind howls

Where he kneels as still as death

His grieving face is granite

His tears have turned to ice


Left behind in frozen darkness

With his stone cold broken heart


This is in response to this weekends Trifextra challenge: 

trifecta button..thirty-three word response using the word stone as one of your
thirty-three words.  You can use any
definition of the word
that you’d like, but we are specifically looking for
serious, well-conceived entries.

I Want to be a Trifectan

star-crossed lovers

It’s been educational and fun taking some Trifecta Challenges, and now I will attempt to contribute to the community of Trifectans by joining their (at this moment) 248 members, whether they want me or not.  Because really, who would not want to add another two hundred blogs to their daily reading list???  To be a true Trifecta member I think you have to be a little bit nuts, so probably I will fit right in.  All it takes is answering some questions and adding the link here.

  1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?   I submit my links to these challenges in the name of grandmalin.  And in the name of love.
  2. Describe your writing style in three words.  Here, there, everywhere.
  3. How long have you been writing online?  Since 2006, so seven years.  Seven YEARS.  I should be very good at it by now, hey?  Yes, I should be.
  4. Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in?  Used to do Plinky until they started recycling their questions, try to do some WordPress Daily Prompts, Prompts for the Promptless by Rarasaur (two so far, and the next prompts will no doubt be equally awesome), and a monthly Post for Peace with Bloggers for Peace (and this one I’m very happily committed to, because it’s connected me with so many incredibly beautiful souls.)
  5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.  I could leave my house and have some new experiences to write about.   I might even try that one of these days.
  6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?  Read, read, read.  Read everything. Read the best of it again.
  7. Who is your favorite author? Absolutely impossible to choose, or even to make a list. Maybe my favorite has yet to be discovered.  
  8. How do you make time to write?  By never getting anything else done.
  9. Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition.  Canny.   1.  shrewd, astute or wary, knowing.  2.  (Scot, Northeast English)  good or nice, used as a general term of approval.  3.  (Scot) lucky or fortunate  4.  quite, rather:  a canny long while.
  10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.  This Star Crossed Lovers  reblog was fun.  However, if you do miss reading it, your life probably won’t suddenly be over.  For something more serious (I do have a sort of half-assed serious side) click on the Posts for Peace category.  And have a perfectly trifectally canny day.


    Cheers..!! (Photo credit: Animesh Singh)

The Questions and the Answers

It’s still snowing!  Here and for real outside!  Don’t worry Patrecia, I’m not going to jail anytime soon.  Unless they make ‘death by pie’ a felony.

I know this is a big cop-out but I simply don’t have the time or the energy to answer these prompts properly;  still I can’t help feeling that it’s rude to just ignore them.  So here are the questions!  And here are my lame answers!  It’s a BLOG!  Nobody cares.  HAHAHA!  Yes, perhaps they ARE coming to take me away.

Name your favourite old movie.   I kind of liked “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”  starring Jane Fonda.  When I saw that one I thought she was brilliant.  And the story was excellent, but I gave the ending away to somebody and she’s probably never forgiven me for that – it completely ruins the movie if you know what’s going to happen.  So I’m not telling you anything else.

Do you enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding?  Well I used to like to ski, and I think it’s a wonderful family sport, but it got crazily expensive and my bones got progressively more brittle and the kids grew up and W. got all wimpy about his back so we gave it up.  Snowboarding looks like fun.  Too bad there are so many idiots out there trying to injure themselves doing it.

When was the last time you saw a parade in person?  Apparently when I was very young, less than six but perhaps older than three….which would be a very wordy way of saying four or five…..I was at the Santa Claus Parade in downtown Toronto.  I remember absolutely nothing about it.  What I do remember is that my aunt was a dietician and she lived in the big city and she made us a really great meal.  She had red hair.  That’s about it.  Santa was totally wasted on me that trip.

Do you like children?  I used to be one of those.  I had two of my own.  They are a necessary evil I guess.

Who brings out the best in you?  Well now there’s a person I’d like to meet.  But I think he was killed in a bus accident shortly after I was born, so if you never see me at my best I suppose that could be why.

What are your most and least favourite things about the holiday season?  Least favourite is the shopping mania.  Although I’ve certainly been a part of that, trying to get the absolute best thing ever for everybody on my list.  You’d think by now I would have realized that it’s not even remotely possible to do that, and it’s time to give it up and get over it and just wrap something up and be done with it.  Let somebody else give the best present ever.  It does NOT have to be me.

Favourite part of the holiday season is getting together with family and friends and eating and drinking until I feel positively ill and then going off to take a nap somewhere quiet.  Although that’s not always possible.

If you could be involved in making a movie, would you rather act or direct?  I’d like to be the screen writer.  Then I could be all mad about how the actors aren’t right for their parts and the direction is pathetic.

What advice do you wish you had received earlier in life?  Do not ever aspire to become a screenwriter.  It will just piss you off in the long run.

List 10 things that you know to be absolutely certain. 

1.  There are 21 shopping days ’til Christmas.  If I continue to breathe I will still be shopping 21 days from now.

2.  Family is the absolute most important thing there is.  And the further you can extend your family, the better.  Like clear across the world and back is a good start.

3.  W is taking for flaming EVER to eat that damned apple pie.  Maybe he suspects something.

4.  Baby it’s cold outside.

5. People believe what they want to believe.  Otherwise they wouldn’t believe it.

6. It’s really hard to come up with ten things you’re absolutely certain about.  Because what if tomorrow everything changes?  Nobody wants to feel stupid.

7.  I have been blessed in this life.  I’m certain I should be WAY more appreciative of that fact.

8.  Tomorrow is the 4th of December and in one year and 17 days the world will end.  Okay, I’m not really certain about that personally, but there are people out there who are.  I certainly hope they’re absolutely wrong.

9. I am absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain.  Especially number nine.  Skepticism and doubt abound.

10.  I’m tired, my back hurts, it’s late, I have to work tomorrow and I’m going to bed.  Any one of those things could be a blatant lie, so you’ll just have to trust me on this because if I had to think up an eleventh certain thing I’d certainly be up all night. Goodnight, sweet dreams.  Oh and somebody gets shot in the end. Watch the movie. Quick, before I tell you everything.

Filling In the Blanks

Once again I’ve managed to skip a week of prompts and decided to play catch up.  So it’s not a full-blown cop-out,  merely a semi blown one.  I am very good at those, and as everyone knows, one should always do what one does best.

You have ten minutes to interview a celebrity.  Who will it be?  I have no idea, but if I’m actually doing this it is under duress or at gunpoint or because of a death threat.  But if any celebrity would like to interview me, I’m fine with that.  The ten minute time limit is good, since then there would be only one question, because God knows I can blather away about being completely unknown and without any real talents or accomplishments for way longer than that.  I’d pose for pictures too.  And look for myself in the tabloids to see what kind of garbage lies they had to come up with to make me interesting.

List the cities you would consider moving to in the future.  Aquitaine or any similar seaside resort in the south of France.  Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the Galapagos.  Edinburgh Scotland.  London England.  Marrakech in Morocco.  Montego Bay, Jamaica.  The list is endless, really.  Get me an atlas.

What is the best live musical performance you’ve attended?   Strangely enough I’d have to say Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  With Donny Osmond.  Way back whenever it was at the Jubilee.  I don’t get out much.

What are your favourite things to photograph?  Ha.  You’re asking a grandmother.  One guess.

Ever won a contest, giveaway, lottery?  Nothing big, but I’ve won small things.  The one that immediately comes to mind is from a sort of field trip I was on with the Women’s Institute to which my mom belonged.  I can’t remember why I was tagging along, and I could not now name the place.  It was some kind of rehabilitation centre.  Not for criminals, but maybe for the mentally ill.  I remember being mildly excited to get a glimpse of real live crazy people.  If that was even what they were.  I was young, and obviously not paying attention.  We were given a tour, and one of the therapeutic activities that was pointed out to us was the manufacturing of stuffed animals by the patients.  Or inmates.  The resident nutballs.  There was either a door prize, or some kind of draw, and that’s what I won.  A little fuzzy yellow and white thing that could have been a dog sitting up on its haunches looking rather pathetic and sad.  I named him Delmore.  The first three letters were the backward initials of my current boyfriend, of whom I wanted more.  Who says teenagers aren’t deep.

What was your childhood dream job?  Marine Biologist.  But when I found out it involved dealing with oceans and aquatic creatures, I changed my mind.

Yakkety Yak

The title of my masterpiece:

Gone With the Wind
What do you mean, I can’t use that one? How about – Taken With the Typhoon?

If a question can be answered with one word, or a simple sentence, is it worth expanding upon ad nauseam?

The prompts I’ve ignored in the last 5 days, and my answers to them:

You can only eat either breakfast, lunch or dinner meals for the rest of your life. What’s your choice? When you say EITHER you are supposed to give a choice between two things, like either/or, not three. So the question irked me before I even finished reading the damned thing. I already said somewhere that I’d eat cob salad forever. But my answer here is fruit and nuts, so I’d have to say it’s snack time 24/7 for me.

What song must you always sing the lyrics out loud to? There is no song on earth I ever feel compelled to sing along with. Not even the national anthem. Not even at a karaoke bar. Perhaps especially not in that particular situation. Not even ‘goodness gracious great balls of fire’ inspires me to open my mouth and attempt to ‘sing’.

The phone just rang. Who do you hope is NOT calling? Hope is such a silly waste of time when the phone rings. Look at caller display and see who it is. Then you either answer it or you don’t. If the number is blocked, that’s an excellent reason for not picking up. Then later you can listen to all the blank hang up messages and delete them. Isn’t that what phones are for? And not for sitting around hoping things concerning them?

What are you competitive about? Not much. We live in such a competitive world it wears me out just thinking about it. Everyone wants to win. No one wants to lose. If we’re not in some kind of active competition in our own personal lives, we can watch a myriad of others competing for all number of things on tv. Take the Bachelor, for instance. All those crazy women lining up to get a rose. Have they even considered the ultimate prize at the end of all this? I think not. The bachelor is dangled in front of them like a carrot and the race is on. Such drama for no good reason. Kind of like real life actually.

You just signed a book deal. What’s the title of your masterpiece? A History of the Decline and Fall of the Plinky Empire: Gradual Disintegration, Prompt by Puerile Prompt.

HAHA – just kidding Plinky. I love you. Although some days more than others.

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Creative Expression

My creativity bug has crawled under something and died.

I think it’s temporary – some other inspirational pest will no doubt wander by and bite me within the next few days; I haven’t given up hope. I HAVE missed answering a few prompts though, so I’ll just quickly and very uncreatively get on that right now.

How is technology changing the way families interact? Seriously, families don’t even live together anymore, so it’s a good thing we have all kinds of communication gadgets and social networks to remind us of who we’re related to and why and where the hell they all are. Distance apart can be a great thing, and often little shards of information are all we really want or need to have about some of our more weird and wonderful family members.

How many times have I been in love? Countless times. As many times as there are definitions for the word love. I’ve also been in love with love itself, although I’ve found that’s not really productive in the long run. I got over the passionate sprinting when I was young, and opted instead for an emotional marathon. I guess you could call all these years of marriage an enduring attachment, deep affection, strong predilection, extreme lunacy – take your pick.

If I could work from anywhere, where would I want to live and why? On a beach, in a luxury hotel with room service, somewhere WARM with no damn snow, close to excellent restaurants and great shops. Not actually working at all, come to think of it. I bet you think I’d get tired and bored after a bit of that, hey? Well I could always intensify my search for the bug of creativity if there was nothing else to do.

What are my favourite ways to express my creativity? Besides exactly what I’m messing around doing at this exact moment, I also have noticed myself being rather inventive, resourceful and clever in the following areas:

1. Meal preparation following 15 days of not picking up anything edible while shopping.

2. Backing out of our long narrow driveway between six-foot snow banks and maneuvering my way down our crazily rutted street without getting hung up or stuck or taking out any of the neighbors vehicles.

3, Playing Farmville and annoying the crap out of other Facebook people who do not want to hear about it.

4. Tole painting and rearranging furniture. The furniture thing is just an avoidance technique I use so that I never actually have to sit down and paint something.

5. Answering Plinky Prompts. Or devising reasons and rationalizations and justifications for not doing so.

Tomorrow is another day, with another question, and another chance to be brilliant! Don’t hold your breath or anything, but it could happen.

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Missed Prompts

I’ve decided to answer the Plinky prompts I’ve missed this month.  Once you’ve read the questions (and my inane answers) it will be less of a mystery as to why they were passed up in the first place.   That is, besides the fact that I was spending time with family and the internet connection was less than ideal.  Mostly it’s because the questions just confused the hell out of me.

What’s the most important thing I’m putting off?   Well, if it was actually IMPORTANT, I wouldn’t be putting it off.  So although I put many things off in a day, something important would not be included on that list.

Ever considered becoming a vegetarian?  Not really.  I like meat.  I don’t think true vegetarians get enough fat and protein.  Life without fat and protein would be dull.

lol cats – sick of ’em, or can’t get enough?  The last lol cat pic that made me laugh was the one where a kitten is looking at a rubiks cube and saying WTF?  Haven’t seen any lately.  Never think to search for them.

Three things that I want to accomplish before 2011.  Well seriously, if I haven’t accomplished them by now, they better be pretty short-term goals.  I’ve ordered a new kindle so that my daughter and I can share our reading material.  I’ve started drinking protein shakes every morning.  Who knows if that will last.  I get lazy.  And I’ve gone to M&M meats and purchased two lobster tails.  Because OMFG they are so good.  There.  That’s three things.  Done.

What’s my favourite holiday movie?  I don’t have a favourite.  I like to watch new ones.  Although Clark Griswald never gets old.

If there were no consequences, what is the most evil thing you’d do?  Another question from hell.  Every act has consequences.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Describe what your laugh sounds like.  I don’t have any idea, because for some strange reason when I’m laughing I never think to analyze that.  If I did, I’d probably stop laughing to listen, and have to start over.  If you really want to know the answer to this question, please feel free to tell me something hilarious.

Is it better to know the truth, even when it hurts?   Well, better than what – believing a lie?  Of course it’s good to know the truth.  Even if you don’t believe it.  The question is vague, it deserves an obscurely abstruse response.  Abstruse is my new favourite word, by the way.

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?  Having it as the first of two days off in a row makes it pretty perfect.  Any day on which I can curl up in a comfy chair with a great book is a perfect day.  Candles burning.  Dinner in the oven.  Warmth.  Quiet.  Nodding off.  Bliss.

Taking any trips this holiday season?  Yes, actually.  Already accomplished.  A 45 minute plane trip to Grande Prairie.  A three week holiday at “Chalet 2000”.  I don’t even know why it’s been dubbed that, but it’s also known as the ranch and our favourite Christmas destination.  Family is a beautiful thing.

Write a letter to someone you knew in highschool.  Dear Fred:   I’m terribly sorry for treating you badly in grades 9 through 13.  Well, not that I did anything so terrible except to ignore you and not take your crush on me seriously.  And throw up out of your car on the way home from our grad party.  I do hope that drunken episode helped you to put your ill-placed infatuation behind you and move on to better things.  Thanks for the ride.  I wish now that I’d gotten to know you better and had been less of a conceited little snot.  You were sweet.  Probably you still are.  Remember when I said you were too good for me?  At the time I think I didn’t really meant it, but it was completely true!  I hope you had a great life.  I’ll never forget you.  Sincerely, Mademoiselle McArthur

Name three countries you’d like to visit.  I don’t want to go anywhere.  I don’t like to travel.  I want to stay at home.  Leave me alone.

Name someone who deserves more credit.  That would be that guy who wants to buy something incredibly expensive for his significant other, doesn’t have the cash, and needs his credit limit raised.  He deserves it because he’s doing it for somebody else.  If it was just for himself, that wouldn’t be so deserving.

What are your favourite holiday beverages?  Coffee with hazelnut cream or baileys.  Spiced rum and diet Pepsi on ice with a dash of lemon or lime.  Champagne.

Share a photo of something that makes you smile. Kenzie with her “Bella” face.  And Kale looking cuter than Justin Beiber.







How do you stay entertained when you’re snowed in?  See the perfect Sunday above.

Who are the top three funniest people in the world?  Since I don’t know everyone in the world, it’s impossible for me to say.  Justin and Kristen and W. are all pretty funny.  In a funny kind of way.

Well, that takes care of all those days I missed blathering about stupid stuff.  Making it a perfect morning.  And it’s not even Sunday.