Saturday, December 1, 2018

Dec 2018

Chatanooga’s Got Dots!

The day before this new month began Kate and David explored Chatanooga, where they found these (apparently famous) dots in a laneway across from the Chatanooga Choo Choo Hotel... which, of course,  makes me want to hum and to tap dance to Glenn Miller's Chatanooga Choo Choo.

The very next day, this same David ran 50 miles in 11 hours and 7 minutes in this trail race near Chatanooga! He was still standing afterwards, but I suspect he might choose not to for a while.

I've been looking for clues about these dots. The parking tags you see are for a company named Very, whose web address is,  where they say they're "remarkable people solving complex problems." Nothing there about dots—even complex ones. Google tells me there are lots of sites listing these dots as a perfect background for Instagram pix. Indeed, Google shows lots of those dotty pix, both amateur and professional. But so far I've not been able to find whose dots these are and why they are where they are.

Kate and David's dotty day was covered in a post-rain grey. I thought these dots deserved a sky that reflected their more psychedelic splendour. Thank you to my former neighbour Agnes, for this glorious Alberta sky. Seems perfect for a city obsessed with murals, eh?

Maybe I'm just getting too dotty... or we need to change the pronunciation of dotage to have a short O?
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Nov 2018

Black Cats Lurking Here...

I've hidden five black cats for you to discover in recognition of this night's spooky activities.

Then you can spend November in contemplation of Nature's on-going festivities. Our colours are arriving late this year, but they're still resplendent and changing hourly.
On the eleventh hour
On the eleventh day,
I entreat you to revisit
My memories of Arthur VanTowsey.  

Have a great Mo/November
Be sure to remember
While you're remembering
On the eleventh:
Et al.
His birthday
And pleas
For humanity.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, October 1, 2018

Oct 2018

No... not the Caribbean!

Though you might be forgiven for thinking it is. No, this is another image from Kate's visit to Scotland. The coastal pic below is Barbados. St. Lucy, to be more precise. Tis on the northeast coast and as one travels south from St. Lucy one encounters an area known as Little Scotland. Ha! Now we can see why. However, along that coastline on the way to Bathsheba, you'll also encounter palms and other tropical lushness.

This part of the Isle of Lewis is known for its own unrelenting winds... and it's own whitecapped depths. Kate just happened to be walking on a beautiful day enhanced by quiet seas... and luminous turquoise depths. Kate found last month's sheep further north on the same walk to the Butt of Lewis. As I mentioned last month, these isle of Lewis landscapes play a starring role in Peter May's mystery series, the Lewis Trilogy. Both Kate and I encourage you to go find them at your fave bookstore or library. Enjoy.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sept 018

Would you choose this place to invent golf?

Seems the Romans were the first to knock rocks and balls around with sticks, but the Scots were the first to take advantage of the many animal burrows in their rugged landscapes and give focus to the game as it's known today. Kate just returned from the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Lewis. She first met with other mathematicians. These guys seem to have conference locale down to an art. Last year was Galapagos, remember?

Anyhow, this trip she danced at a ceilidh (pronounced CAY-lee)
and drank Scotch whisky and ate haggis and Scottish tablet and tramped through bogs replete with aforementioned critter-made holes, plus lotsa mud and the ever-posing sheep (along with their droppings, of course), going to the edges of that world in search of puffins!

And she found puffins. And guga. And handwoven Harris Tweed. Seems the Isle of Harris is really the southern part of the Isle of Lewis. With all those sheep, inventing your own weaving patterns seems a natural, eh? The sheep, the guga, the tweed and the history all play starring roles in Peter May's mystery series the Lewis Trilogy, placed on the Isle of Lewis and ringing with the craggy, blustery landscape and the Gaelic voices that have defined it through time.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Aug 2018

Sunrise. Moonset. Softly flow the days...

On the heels of its total eclipse, the Blood Moon continues to entrance and mystify. Sunday's brilliant reflection of the sunrise shows that very same moon setting as it too reflects the dawn's early light.

See the shadow cast on the trees in the foreground. That's my very own apartment building which perches on a hilltop overlooking this daily spectacle.

We're in the midst of what astrologers call the eclipse season. Eclipses are associated with far-reaching changes, depending on where they fall in each person's unique chart. Nothing fast and finite, but sometimes dramatic in overall effect. This particular eclipse pattern is similar to those in 1998-2000. It's a good time to reflect on what was going on in your personal life-story during those years. Then expect these eclipses to affect the same parts of your life.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

July 2018

Beyond the Boardwalk...

Only Mother Nature has a clue about what's going on under our Toronto Beaches boardwalk. It's all very low-rise here. We can still sing our memories on this Canada Day as we stroll in a welcome breeze. School's finally out in Canada, so the beach will be filled with people everywhere. Not in this pic, of course. There's evidence here of playful children on the beach and a distant rock-standing couple surveys a sail on the even more distant horizon. I know that couple. I walked to my bench-side bench with them. You can't see me, but I was resting and humming the Drifters' well-known song.

I was also wondering about this particular boardwalk... and through the magic of my trusty iPhone and expanded data plan I found this article in a past issue of Metro News.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, May 28, 2018

June 2018

June really is busting out all over...

You can see it in the trees
You can smell it in the breeze

I keep humming this song every day now. The park across the street is busier than ever with little kids in the new playground and big kids playing ball hockey now that the ice on the new rink has totally disappeared. Construction on Phase II at the private school has begun. And the front of my local Loblaws is festooned with hanging pots of flowers and herbs as well as lots of deep green leafy plants for porches, front and back.

Look around! Look around! Look around!

Of course, I'm of an age to love musicals and to remember when the movie Carousel came out in 1956. And I relish re-watching Agnes DeMille's joyous and energetic choreography. Here, see for yourself!
See what I mean?

June, June, June
Just because it's June, June, June!
Thank you, Kelley, for this glorious image...
Just one of the many I linger over on your FB feed...
And maybe I'll paint one some day. 

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course


Europe's started it... and now I'm on board, too!

I've never had a public privacy policy before, but I've always guarded the names and email addresses of those who subscribe to my monthly calendar emails. I eventually trusted MailChimp enough to trust them with that personal data. Now even I have a privacy policy. It's boring, of course, but you can find a link to it here.

I don't collect any data at all from this blog. Google has their own privacy policy for Blogger, so that covers the people who come here to browse my calendar archieves and even those people who just stumble upon my blog.

I decided to make a graphic because we all deserve something a little less boring... and I'm still entranced with this fancy-pants font. I even included today's date as the red-letter day. There's also the usual higher resolution version if you should want a different desktop for these last few days before June busts out all over.

See ya next week.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, May 4, 2018

May the 4th

Rattle your light sabres today...

Many people all over the world count themselves on their national census forms as followers of the Jedi religion. Yes, there are some 20,000 Jedi knights in Canada. Look around you. You never know which 20,000.

Today tickets for the latest Lucas installment Solo: A Star Wars Story go on sale, in preparation for its May 25th opening. Go here to see Ron Howard talk to Stephen Colbert about it and see a surprise trailer starting about point 6:30—in honour of today's date.

Grab some tacos y cerveza mañana... but stay well away from Montezuma and his infamous cosmic revenge.
If this isn't nice, what is?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

May 2018

And the sun returns...

We all know April.
She's Winter's minion.
Winter's handmaid.
Winter's gal Friday.
Winter's tail.
Winter's tale?
This April
Ice continued to plague
Along with snow
And freezing rain.

We always want
April to tell Spring's tale.
But why should she?
She may hint
But she's been practising
And she know's her part.
No lions or lambs for her.
She's into that method acting thing.
Her hints are all a part of her part
Designed to tease us
With yearning
And fill us with denial
Of her ultimate Truth:
Spring will always follow Winter.

The Sun returns
With warmth and shadows.
The whole outdoors
Is about to rejoice...
Reinventing itself
For itself
For us.

It's about time
For a walk in the park...
And iced tea on the balcony.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, March 30, 2018

Apr 2018

Love Amid the Ligatures...

April 1878:
Elizabeth Lovell Peak,
Twenty-six, self-assured,
Born in Cambridge,
The old one, in England,
Arrives in New York City
With sister, Rebecca,
Another typesetter. Both
Full of girlish hope
For careers and families
In new world.

June 1878:
Rebecca decides to
Move on to Winnipeg,
Later home to Winnie the Pooh,
Is there some connection?
Maybe someone will
Connect dots.
Not I.

July 1882:
Still in New York City
     Mr. McNutt publishes a
     Weekly newspaper in
     Calvert, Texas.

Publisher friend introduces
Typesetter Elizabeth to
Potential employer.
     Oh, The Calvert Courier?
She asks—not because
She knows the paper,
But because alliterative mastheads
Are de rigueur in England.
     Why…. Yes, Miss Peak.
Answers Alexander Dewitt McNutt.
Smile in eyes as well as on lips.

That’s the beginning.
Mr. McNutt doesn’t hire
The young typesetter.
He courts her via letters
And telegrams.
They marry.
Elizabeth joins him in east Texas
Where they live
In white corner house in Calvert.
The Calvert Courier becomes
Renown regional rag,
Circulates beyond
Robertson County,
Even to Dallas:
Repository of Texas gentry,
Wealth and society.

Four daughters
Arrive in bi-annual installments:
Alice, my grandmother, the bright one.
Alexandria, the wild one.
Mary, the difficult one.
Florence, the beautiful one.
Little Dee, sole son,
Dies of consumption at four.

November 1895:
On Galveston shopping trip
With three-year-old Mary,
Elizabeth reads of ship
Sailing for England… today.
Sudden bitter homesickness
Counting money in purse
She finds enough for
One-way tickets.
     Have gone home with Mary.
     Will wire for money when
     Ready to return.

Terse telegram to Mr. McNutt.
Six months later they return
To blooming east Texas roses.
No explanation required.
Mr. McNutt is accustomed
To wife’s self-directed nature.
He welcomes her back home
With those smiling eyes.

The Calvert Courier flourishes.
The McNutt family prospers,
Lives happily.
Photos show little girls
In splendid dresses and
Feathered hats.
Elizabeth sets type on occasion and
Helps out in Courier office on occasion.

September 1898:
When Mr. McNutt dies
At fifty-six.
She carries on as publisher.

Sorting through his papers
Elizabeth finds old invoice
Squirrelled away in roll-top desk:
Cost for new masthead
     The Calvert Messenger
     The Calvert Courier.
It’s dated September 1878.

Elizabeth Lovell Peak McNutt sits,
Stunned to learn
Twenty years on,
Effect of her first remark
To Alexander Dewitt McNutt,
And significance of
His first smile
In eyes as well as on lips.
Pic is from my entrance hall. Of course, that's Alexander on the left and Elizabeth on the right.

The marble torso is one of mine, carved from a hunk of pink marble Phoebe found on her grandmother's property outside of Dilly, Texas. Pink marble is not native to Texas so its presence there remains a mystery. Actually, it was originally a much larger hunk but the cowboy her grandma sent to fetch it, used a sledgehammer, breaking it into five smaller pieces to make it easier to carry. This hunk was a happy birthday present from Phoebe. I call this piece the Cilician woman, because I had been studying Anabasis in Greek and this woman, queen, general aided Cyrus in his Persian expedition.
The small silver dish with honeycomb edge peeking out (and a bee you can't see here!) is done by Lyn Belisle, a university classmate Phoebe and I met the first time at our reunion in 2015. The little green bird has no story. I like his colour and he fits on this perch watching over all my comings and goings.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mar 2018

Delicate promises...

I was going to show you the skaters enjoying our newly-completed hockey rink and recreational skating area in Riverdale Park. From the comfort of my balcony, I've watched them day-after-day as they affirm what a good idea these rinks are. I've not skated for yonks, of course, but I do remember learning how to skate in San Antonio, Texas. I also remember taking Peter to skate in Sydney, Australia... at a very melty outdoor rink! In Toronto, I remember skating at City Hall and quaffing a very welcome hot chocolate afterwards. Memories of joyful slipping and sliding—and yes, even falling—gently nudge me.

At the last minute, though, I've opted to focus on an optimism for the near future. Thank you, Agnes, for this filigreed image. The memories this one stirs are of the sun warming my soul as well as my skin. All of nature remembers, too. And whether we're greeted with lion or lamb this March morn, we're ready. It may be hot chocolate today, but soon it'll be cold lemonade again.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Feb 2018

Making the invisible visible...

Over the hols,
My balcony Buddha
Became enlightened
For all to see.

It might be blinding,
But NOW, like Neo,
He's finding
It's also binding...
He can't go back
To the not-knowing
Or the not-caring.

NOW, all he thought
He knew
Is new NOW...
And he's new NOW
With new purpose
And even new gravity...

I say NOW,
But we all know
The original Buddha's
NOW was a very long time ago.
And still, it's NOW...

Because once we're
Blinded by the Light,
We're always all revved up
Like a deuce,
Another runner in the night...

For all to see.
And mostly...

To see ourselves.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course