Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Emotions

As I lay in bed this morning, thinking about this blog post, a commercial came to mind. West Jet Airline is known for their emotional ads and this one is fantastic.
A little girl and her family are checking in for a flight. She is holding a plastic, transparent container filled with live greenery and her tiny pet turtle. Yes, a pet turtle. A real live turtle. It’s not exactly a service animal that can board and remain with the owner.
Hmmm.

The marketing team behind West Jet used facial expressions with internal thoughts to relay their message.

The father; what will they do?
The mother; they can’t hurt it / flush it
And two employees; oh, dear. How are we going to handle this unique situation without breaking that little girl’s heart?
The little girl doesn't have a voice, but she does have facial expressions. Her eyes speak to the camera. See my turtle. Don’t make me leave him behind.
The camera zooms in on the turtle. The little guy looked directly at the viewers, pleading with the airline personnel in it’s own special way, using it’s human voice, speaks.




The entire commercial is brilliant.
Near the end, one employee finds her real voice and speaks. Problem solved.
I give the marketing team at West Jet full marks and high praise.

Authors use emotions when writing. We write words that evoke fear, laughter, make a person think, or simply warm a person’s heart. Through the gift of words, we develop our characters, making them three dimensional.
We describe the scenes, so the reader can visualize the picture in the author’s mind.
Technology has given us audio books. These allow the visually impaired to listen to a story without inconveniencing anyone else. Someday, I’m hoping I can afford to have my books released in audio.
I’m not visually impaired, but I love inserting my ear plugs, closing my eyes and listening to a story unfold while my husband listens to his music. Good quality time with my guy. Don’t you agree.

I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.
Personally, I wish for world peace, patience and love. It’s a crazy world out there.
Take a moment, breath deeply, and relax. Your body and mind will thank you. Fingers are crossed for the New Year.

Friday, 28 October 2016

For the Love of Tomatoes

  I love the summer with all the fresh vegetables, straight out of our garden. I normally have luck growing tomatoes and zucchini. I plant zucchini seeds and watch like a kid for the sprout to shoot up out of the ground. I buy tomato plants and put them into the garden.
  By mid summer, I'm in the garden, picking and eating my harvest, With more tomatoes than my tummy can handle at once, I picked the ripened vegetables and put them into a storage container for future use. 
  
  Hungry and ready for lunch, I placed the container on the counter, planning to have toast tomato sandwiches. Even the small but sweet and flavourful cherry tomatoes work well in a sandwich. 
Hubby stepped up to the counter to give me a hand with the meal.
  I happened to notice him grab a tomato with this thumb, forefinger and middle finger, look at it. It obviously did not pass his eagle eye scrutiny. I don't have issues with that. Our garden is organic. Some things look rather 'used' and need tossed into the 'green bin' Our bin to dispose of food wast to avoid using the actual garbage.

  He tossed that tomato back into the container. Before I realized what he was doing,
he took the new tomato in his hand and raised it toward the good container, attempting to toss a second small tomato back. I found my voice.
  "Don't you dare put those back in there. Pitch them out," I lectured.
He chuckled. One of those, 'busted' chuckles.
  "You bugger," I cursed. "You were going to to put that back in."
  "I want to pick out good ones."
  I turned my head slightly and glared at him. I didn't say a word, but my glare spoke volumes. He unsuccessfully fought his grin.
  "Once you put it back with the rest of the tomatoes, you'll have to hunt to find it again. How many times to do want to handle the rotten ones?"
  "You're right," he admitted, giving in rather easily.  

  Not at all pleased, I was relentless. "You're not at the grocery store. You can't leave it there for someone else to find it. For someone else to get rid of it."
I watch him tilt his head sideway, and then wiggle it back and forth as he scrunched his nose. The signal for 'Blah blah blah.'
  "Agh," I groaned. Men. Then I giggled. "Where did I find you? Why did I marry you? What was I thinking?"
  "The grocery store," he reminded me.
  Yes. Although we knew each other as social acquaintances, the first time he asked me out was in a grocery store. It was April and I was shopping for tomatoes of all things.




Friday, 30 September 2016

Just for Giggles, and a Good Cause



I spent a Sunday volunteering at a local fundraiser. To say 'the day' is a bit of a stretch. But, I set my alarm for 6am on a Sunday so I'm rolling with it. My friend knew where we were going so I followed her like a lost puppy. Once in the storage room, it was actually more like huge garage, I saw two tables to my right with pink disposable table cloths. I entered the room. Adjusting to the lights, the back of the room was filled with canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards, all organized on wooden shelves. To the right, just as we entered were paddles, and life jackets of all shapes and sizes. Sign me up. Let me into the water. But, I had an assigned job.  Kind of. I was to help my friend set up the silent auction table. Turning my attention to the left, the one table was half filled with items. We were handed a pile of sheets with pictures and descriptions of a number of items, waiting for bids. At a quick glance at the pics and the items there was a problem. 
"I'm a bit confused. These don't match," I said, holding the papers out and pointing at the table.
"Some of these things are gifts." The coordinator began pushing items to the side. 'Gift prize... gift prize."
"Okay, so what about the rest of the stuff?"
"The auction items are coming," the organizer assured us.
She was super cool without a care in the world. For a woman running the entire event, not delegating anything to anyone, that amazed me. 
The auction wouldn't close until 3pm, so, I suppose there was time. I've been involved volunteering for more charity events than I care to admit. I could handle this. Kathy and I could handle this. "Okay. We will do what we can."
We were left to work. 
Slowly, every so slowly, more items slowly drifted in and we shifted things around. 
My work was more or less concluded within a few hours.  We weren't about to stay in the garage while the bulk of the activity took place near the water. 
One of the best part of the day were the costumes. We saw a lot of TuTus. On women, men and even the dogs. Yes, I did say dogs. Most of the critters wore life jackets. They all wore TuTus. 
I can't imagine trying to get my dog to wear that. I think she'd swear at me as I attempted to put it on her. She certainly doesn't think much of her winter coat. These dogs were troupers. 
  

















The games were the most comical part of the day. Paddle board races. The ladies were 'nice and sportsmanlike' on the water as they paddled around a buoy and returned. The men on the other hand were more fun to watch. They were more competitive and more willing to tumble into the water. They attempted to jump onto each others boards. Have you ever tried to steady yourself, on long inflatable material, let along jump from one to another? They tip, and tip easily. It isn't a sport for those without balance, That was apparent as I watched them. The better the boarders were, the more willing they were to go in. And they tumbled and went in with a splash.
There were a lot of fit people that were huffing and puffing after the races.


Overall it was a great day. Kathy left with a new paddle, a silent auction item that we kept an eye on. Her hubby would be one happy man. The dark clouds blew over without releasing a drop of water on our area. We never heard a single crack of thunder. The dogs appreciated that. The charity raised 22K, so mission successful.
See you next year. 





One of the stand up paddle board instructors. His dog also works with The St. Johns Ambulance as a therapy dog. Dogs with jobs.











The Natasha Saga
Empowerment shatters traditions and lives. Greed and pride have devastating consequences. Sacrifices must be made. Written on multiple levels, the saga deals with hope, relationships, and giving, set against a background of conflicting values. 
Through a series of dreams, modern day couple Keeghan and William follow the triumphs and tragedies of multiple generations of the Donovan family. A chance encounter changes Natasha’s life, forever. In her diary, Natasha writes of her dream, and her hope to escape a horrid dictated future.
Will Natasha's legacy survive an uncertain future?





Thursday, 15 September 2016

Country Life

I love living in the country. The sights the sounds and yes, most of the times the scents. Although I must admit there are those lovely spring days when the farms are spreading liquid manure, yup, the fancy name for liquid poop. Nope I don't think so much of those days. When I walk outside outdoors I could swear we've had a massive sewer backup. I step back into the house, take a deep breath of nice clean air and go outside again. Yup, the famers are busy. I can only pray mother nature is kind and supplies a bit of a breeze. Blow that stink away. 
Living in the country, I never question where Walt Disney got his inspiration. Nature does not live in harmony. Ever. Critters are bossy. Especially the females birds. Their colouring allows me to tell some of them apart, but not all. Our blue Jays have me baffled. 
The other day, a blue jay flew to our jelly filled oriole jelly feeder. Normally, he or she is a seed eater. I watched as he took a bite of the jelly, swallowed it and proceeded to try another. 




I could hear his voice in my head.
"Ugh, that is too sweet.  Why do Adam and George and Lila eat that stuff?
He flew away.
The conversation in my head continues when that lovely blue bird gets home. Sitting in the next with it's partner, the toots begin. 
"Where have you been and what have you been eating?" The blue jay mate takes it's wing and places it over it's beak. I suddenly sympathize with them. "I can't even send you outside. We live outside. Go.  Stay away until the rumbling in your stomach stops."
And the blue jay is all smiles as it flies off. It has an excuse to continue to gorge itself. 
See, critters are more human than we give them credit for. 





Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Squirrels versus Humans


I love my critters. We keep 5 feeders on the go. Yes, that isn't a typo. Five. We have a feeder with a corn mix, sunflower seeds, nyjer, and suet. Then we have a larger feeder at the front of our property with more mixed corn and sunflower. During the summer we also put grape jelly out for the oriel and sweet water for the hummingbirds. The wild critters do not go hungry. The birds make a mess and the bunnies come around and dusk for cleanup duties. Life is good...
But there are days. Squirrels are pigs. Pigs, in that that eat, a lot. 
I was in the kitchen working on my computer as my husband sat in the next room playing on his. 
"The squirrel is back," he informed me.
He'd got up a couple times to tap on the window and 'encourage' the squirrel leave.
Glancing up, I can see the feeders from my chair. 
The lovely, chunky critter was on the sunflower feeder, filling his cheeks his bulging cheeks to capacity. I'm certain he has enough body fat the survive our winter, when it comes. Now, I admit, it takes a bit of work for the little darling to get to the feeders. He has to climb inside a Christmas tree hedge, get to the half way point and then jump to the feeder to avoid the cone shaped apparatus that we have designed to stop the four legged critters. Obviously our engineering wasn't overly successful. 
I rose from my chair, walk down the three steps to the sunken living room and head for the window. Using my fingers, I tap on the window. The little brat just stopped and looked at me. I could almost hear his little mind at work. 
"Agh, you're harmless."
He continued stuffing his wee face.
"Ugh," I groaned.
I opened the window and clapped my hand.
The little fellow changed his position, able to keep a better eye on me, but he had no intention of getting down. 




"Ba-ad squirrel," I lectured. "Ba-ad squirrel."
The dog looked up from her sleeping position on her doggy bed in the kitchen. Hubby chuckled at my pathetic attempt. 
"Ba-a-d squirrel," I continued, putting anger into my tone. "You are a ba-ad squirrel."
The little fellow looked at the scowl on my face, turned and jumped down. 
"It worked," I informed my husband with pride. I showed a very pleased with myself smile. "The dog doesn't think much of being called bad either."

Monday, 1 August 2016

Only in Canada?

Canadians are known as a very loving, compassionate bunch. I'm a proud Canadian. 
My husband and I were on the way home from town, driving our side road. Normally there isn't a lot of traffic on our road, at least compared to a highway. 
I noticed something on the edge of the road, close to the intersection. At first I thought someone had dumped their garbage. It doesn't happen very often, but it infuriates me. Either way, I don't want to hit it. 
As we approached I watched that object. It wasn't garbage, but a Canada goose. That intersection happens to have a white line that goes half way across the road. Almost like a crosswalk. This is not the least bit normal for a side road. Anyway, that crazy, or perhaps intelligent goose was standing by the line, looking around. 
"Smart goose," I inform my husband. "Momma and Poppa taught her well. She is looking both ways before crossing."


Not trusting the goose to dart across, my husband stopped the car, before he reached the line. Within a minute, cars were at all four points of the intersection. No one moved. All four cars remained still as the people in the vehicles watched the goose. 
The critter never moved. 
"This is crazy," my husband informed me. "We could be here all day." He pulled out, and slowly passed the goose while I watched from the side window, ensuring the critter was stationary. We proceeded to go through the intersection. Watching through the side mirror, apparently the goose decided it was her turn. After all, pedestrians do have the right of way.


She slowly worked her way across the road. Keeping an eye on the vehicles, no one moved. Two trucks and a car could easily cross the east/west intersection without harming the little darling, but no one moved. The goose made it across and the traffic resumed as usual.  

Only in Canada, eh!






Monday, 4 July 2016

Dreaming


Do You Dream in Black and White or in Colour?

No question, I dream in colour. Very colourful and very realistic. Over the years I have woken questioning how much of my dream was factual and how much was my imagination. It’s a trait I gave my character Keeghan in The Natasha Saga. We both wake in the morning and have discussions with our husbands.

I remember one day being thrilled we had the pileated woodpecker at the suet that hangs with the other bird feeder. It was the male bird given the fact that flaming red crest went down to his beak. This is the guy that the cartoon was based on. Crow sized, at 40-49 cm, 16-19 ½ inches for my American friends, he warrants the respect of other birds and the salutation Mr. According to ‘Birds of North America’, there are 17 varieties of woodpeckers. No question, Mr Pil is the bird in charge. The others stand at attention and move over when that giant shows up.

That thrill turned into a thriller in my dream. I can still picture that scene in my mind. That beautiful, historic looking bird was huge. A 6+ foot creature with midnight black, evil eyes with creepy yellow pupils. Razor sharp claws appeared from under his massive muscular wings that could rip me apart milliseconds. The beast stood at our patio door, banging his rounded beak against the glass. The entire house rattled like we were in the middle of an earthquake. That bugger was determined to get into our home. He wasn’t looking for more suet. Nope. That beast wanted to devour me. In one big gulp. Trapped within my own home, with nowhere to run…




I woke up with my heart pulsating into my throat, wide eyed and pushed myself to a sitting position. Dreams always end so abruptly.
“What’s wrong?” my husband asked.
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. Hubby rubbed my back.
“It was just a dream. Go back to sleep.”
Just try to get back to sleep after that one. We had quite the chat the following morning about that dream.

Someday, I will figure out how to write that dream into a plot. The question is, a suspense or a comedy. I could certainly flip it into something silly. Who as ever heard of a 6 foot woodpecker? Hmmm.  Add it to the list of the other plots stirring around in my crazy noodle, begging to escape. No worries. I will give my story a proper ending. 



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Yikes


I thought I was pretty strong in my beliefs regarding nature until I met an acquaintance. This isn't a person that calls occasionally for a friendly chit chat. Nope, this person lives close by. A couple houses away. I am sometimes honoured with face to face chats with her.

We live in the country. We get critters and lots of them. Deer, wild turkeys, lots of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, you get the idea. Her love of critters can be a bit extreme. Now, don't get me wrong, raccoons have a beautiful face, but, they can be destructive. So can skunks. Given the fact my dog loves the great outdoors even though she sleeps beside our bed, I really don't want either racoons or skunks nosing around on my property.

This acquaintance encourages both racoons and skunks to set up house around her deck. I'm serious. Yes, their deck is attached to their house. When I complain about the broken bird feeders, she tells me to stop feeding my birds. Apparently her feeders don't attracts the critters. 
"If there isn't any bird feed, they won't go there." 
Ugh. I refuse to argue with that. I'm not going to stop feeding my birds. Not going to happen. 
She came over a few weeks ago, as spring was ever so slowly springing. In late April, I still expected cold nights and the potential for frost. She had put her hummingbird feeder out and wanted me to put mine out. Not trusting mother nature, it was too early. 

"But the humming bird needs food," she informed me. "I don't want him to go hungry. I've had him at my feeder."
"How do you know that? Have you actually seen him?" I asked.
"No. But there is poop on my deck. It's so small, it must be his."

I've never fought as hard to restrain from laughing in my life. OMG.  Send for Bird Poop Analysis. As I relayed the story to my husband, it dawned on me. I think our property value just decreased.