Words and Dreams

the teapot from the set that belonged to my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and now me

“… hot as fluzions in that little front room.” – The Ponder Heart, by Eudora Welty

Out came the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (my favourite and most-thumbed book) when I saw this word. No luck. Then I looked it up in online dictionaries, and still find it nowhere. If you have any idea what it means, please do say so.

This was the first Welty book I’ve read and it was unique and entertaining, more so (the entertaining part, anyway) than stories written by Flannery O’Connor or poetry collections by Edna St. Vincent Millay, both of which were set aside fairly soon after beginning them. No scholar, me; I only finish what grabs my attention and leads me by the nose.

Birdie, I still love books more than anything. Podcasts are for when I’m doing dishes or lying in bed with the light off. Audiobooks are for driving, when I can’t be doing anything else; otherwise they’re too slow (I read faster than a narrator can talk, so prefer to read). Is there anything better than an audiobook on a long drive? I think not.

Lorna, I’ve picked up (from the library) the third in the Elly Griffiths series you recommended and want to get through my last book order before getting started on it and the others in this stack. latest


Last night I listened to an interview with Eckhart Tolle on “Oprah’s Supersoul Sunday” podcast. That woman interrupts and talks over her guests too often and for too long, which is annoying as hell. I’ll have to go elsewhere to hear more of what Tolle has to say; what I did hear was so practical. He is the first person who’s reinforced my sense that simply sitting and “being” is just as wise as meditation. It’s all about stillness, baby, and making space for being present right now.


We have a couple inches of heavy wet snow on the ground and in the trees this morning. “Normally it would be pretty,” said Scott before throwing on clothes and going to give a bale to the cattle, “but not right now.” All the crop isn’t off yet.


Do you give much thought to your dreams? I’ve had some doozies lately, the kind that leave me thinking about them for days after. Sometimes I never do figure out what the insight in them was, if any. I’ve been thrown against a wall, frightened while climbing down a vertical rocky mountain, and freaked out at finding myself pregnant — and all that is just this week.

Check out this method of working with dreams:



Consciousness, Dead Pets, Lady Bladders

journal opening pages

I’m no artist, but I love other people’s graphics and photos. These are now inside the front pages of the blank book you gave me, Sandy.

Very interesting interview on CBC’s “Ideas” program, which I’m listening to via podcast but you can hear here:


Please note that at the bottom of the article about the program there is a short bio of the scientist who’s being interviewed. Take a look at that, too. before deciding not to give serious consideration to this man’s theories. I’d love to know what you’re thinking after you’ve listened to it.

Birdie, there is no real comparison between losing a pet and a child. The grief is real, but surely different. My sister Karen was verklempt for months after one of her sweet little Yorkies tried to swallow a sharp piece of bovine hoof that instead stuck into the roof of her mouth and killed her. I know we’ll shed tears and miss the little fella when Mr Doodle goes to the great Dog Park in the Sky. The love between people and their animal companions can go pretty deep. I don’t think a special dog’s passing would make me want to die myself; but if I lost one of my kids? Pretty sure it would take a supreme effort of will to go on, and it would be a long time before I’d smile again.

Beth, I do try to drink enough water. It means I’m constantly running to the bathroom as if the liquid goes right through. Bev said that’s one thing the mineral supplements minimized, for her. I’m hoping, because it about drives me ’round the bend. I go so often that I keep a book next to the toilet to help me feel positive about all those trips: at least I’m making my way through a library book even if only 30 seconds at a time.

Positive News

photos on wall

the wall in the hall

A longtime acquaintance on my favourite discussion list posted this (re-posted here with permission):

While sitting in the doctor’s waiting room I picked up a magazine called Positive.News. This, it declared of itself, was not a forum for flaky feelgood fluff but serious journalistic study of what people are doing to bring positive change.

A poll they’d done found that Brits are generally optimistic about the prospects for themselves, their families and their communities but less optimistic on a national level, which seems illogical to me, given that national issues affect everybody on a personal level. It seems the current political climate makes people think somebody’s going to suffer, just not them.

The magazine found that 76% of people want politicians to be more collaborative and leave behind the old adversarial politics, which has ironically led to the disillusionment in the political system causing the division. But even in that division, people on either side of the Brexit debate think people on the other side mean well and want what’s best for everybody.

So locally and in our own personal circle, we see and feel the realness, while we get our national feels from the news. And watching the news can be bad for your mental wellbeing.

Oliver Burkeman wrote in The Guardian on how news is always bad and we devour so much of it that it makes us fear things are worse than they are. “We know, rationally, that people in every era have always believed that theirs was the worst in history – and that, by many yardsticks, things are better than ever. Yet the conviction that Everything Is Terrible remains. And now it is joined by the conviction that everything is uncertain, too, fuelling an escalating anxiety about the future.

“But there’s another problem so fundamental, it tends to escape our notice: news, by definition, is about things that happen, rather than things that don’t…you never see a reporter speaking breathlessly live to camera from a foreign land because war hasn’t broken out there.”

So we now have 24-hour rolling news, which makes us think things must be worse than when we only got half an hour in the evening. But if you actually watch 24-hour rolling news for any length of time, you realise it’s the same half-hour of news going round and round.

I once blogged that television news is like the Kardashians. You may be looking askance at this post now but stay your derisive snorts and let me clarify. The news is “reality” with a brief to also entertain. Plain news is four people dying in a car crash; entertainment news is a man being eaten by a crocodile or killed by plutonium poisoning, which is more worthy of a television news segment than four people dying in a car crash.

That is how TV news is like the Kardashians. I can watch both but I prefer the Kardashians, because there are fewer repeats.

Professor Graham Davey of the University of Sussex says, “Our research shows that when you show people negative news stories, as opposed to positive or neutral ones, they grow more anxious and rate their own problems as significantly more problematic. They catastrophise about them more.”

And we love it. The professor found, “I vividly remember, when we were doing this research, putting together a tape of 15 minutes of positive news…And people were just absolutely bored with it.”

Good news: I wasn’t bored with the magazine.


-SB, glass half full

Here’s the link to the Guardian piece I took quotes from:

And for further reading, here’s another by the same journalist on giving up news:

No Tarot for Now

bass and umbrella

bass and umbrella

When it comes to reading tarot cards, I do it in fits and starts. For some months I’ll faithfully do a one-card draw every morning, post it with my interpretation, and think about it off and on during the day when I walk into the office and see the card itself propped up on a shelf beside my desk.

My habits are easily broken, though. This time it was dropped when I made my trip to Alberta last month. I haven’t gotten back into it and am not missing it yet. I hope you aren’t either.

I’m just as bad with my yoga practice, my bass guitar, my piano, my walking. You name it. I will never be a disciplined person. I’ll always fall short — eventually — of my best intentions. I’m not like my sister Joan, who, when she says she’s going to do something, does it. Nope. I might do it, but just for a while. Just till I change my mind, lose interest, forget, get lazy.

Love it or hate it, that’s me. It’s no wonder I insist on accepting myself the way I am. Otherwise I’d be beating myself up all the time.

Lotsa Quotation Marks

On the night table

Just as you will never hear me calling myself the “mom” of a cat or the “grandma” of a dog, you won’t hear me call a kitchen “my” kitchen. I don’t do “my” dishes or clean “my” kitchen, as many (particularly women) seem to think of these things. I’ll do “the” dishes and clean “the” house.

I’m fond of dogs and cats, some of whom I consider dear friends, but they’re not my children or grandchildren and I don’t think of them that way or find it amusing or sweet. You go ahead and be the mama of your “fur baby” if it sounds right to you. You aren’t alone! One hears this all the time nowadays.

These uses of language don’t come naturally to me. I must be one of those “sticklers.” It must be admitted, though, that I often catch myself calling Duckie Doodle “Everett.”


After dropping Emil off at the group home on Sunday afternoon, I started my car and the radio came on.

“The United States is under terrorist attack.”

I froze behind the steering wheel. Not again … noooooooo!

“Two planes have flown into the World Trade Center towers … ”

They were only using this — a flashback — as an introduction to a current story. Whew. Thanks for the heart workout, CBC Radio.


Here’s another flashback, this time from the “Looking Back” page in the Wadena News:

September 19, 1918
The women on the land at present
number hundreds of thousands.
Their chores are innumerable and
they have to hold their own kitchens.
There is plenty of room for war
service on the part of town girls who
want to help farmers’ wives. Helping
the farmers’ wives this year is just as
important as any other war work that
women can take up.


Lorna, that’s a serious fine, $500! Maybe fines here are higher than I think. I’m of a mind to turn my phone off while driving or throw it into the back seat so I’ll never be tempted. It’s so difficult not to answer a ringing phone, isn’t it! Though it’s becoming easier as so many calls are scammers nowadays. We love our caller display. Too bad about your daughter’s experience using hers while stopped at a red light; that was a costly lesson. One might think they could’ve let her off, on that one.

I’m only nine months older than Scott but he has more grey hair than I. Or maybe it’s only that his stands out better because he’s dark-haired.

Birdie, I’ve put a link about the mineral supplements HERE. If you go to that page, there’s a link that takes you to more detailed product information. Mainly it’s fulvic/humic acid; maybe someday I’ll share some useful facts. More important is (to me, right now) whether I notice anything personally. For now I’m willing to try them because of the changes my friend Bev noticed when she was taking them. More energy? Fewer trips to the can? Less muscle aching (I have that goddamn neck-thing, which is a sort of aching)? Better circulation so not as easily cold? I’m up for anything that ameliorates those annoyances. If two capsules a day can do it for me, Bring ’em on, I say.

Maybe Not Always

Old Granary

One of the old buildings on the former farm of Scott’s grandparents

Whoa! I’ve been “missing” for days. I guess we’re just getting back to normal around here though Scott’s about the house, due to the weather mostly. Harvest is at a halt and other work that needs to be done outdoors is too.

I baked a chocolate cake for his birthday and gave him an exercise mat and roller to make stretching his back and neck muscles a little more comfortable on the hard floor. I’m still older and wiser than he, I told him, while wishing him Happy Birthday. He only agrees on the “older” part.

Dad stayed at Karen’s after his first two nights here, but yesterday came out to see Emil, who was here for the weekend, and had lunch (and cake) with us. He’s on his way back to Kelowna this morning.

A friend wisecracked to him that “The Johnsons aren’t doing very well lately, you’d better be careful!” because we’ve had three deaths in the family since late June. Here’s hoping the run of bad luck stops now for a while.

I’ve had a run of neck-thing (a.k.a. migraine-type) days and had to miss Aunt Beulah’s funeral on Friday. Most times a pill works if I take it and go to bed for a couple hours; that morning, it didn’t.

Often the neck-thing forces me out of bed early because lying there any longer only makes it worse. Maybe we need a new bed; but then why don’t I have the neck-thing every morning? Karen has lent me a memory foam pillow but it didn’t prevent troubles last week.

Sometimes using the laptop keyboard or doing dishes first thing in the morning vanquishes the neck-thing; so then it’s just a matter of limbering up ye olde muscles, right? Maybe, but not always. It’s a crapshoot, whether it comes to treatment or prevention. That’s what’s so frustrating.

Was one glass of wine too much? Was it the wine on an empty stomach? Was it the one beer? The shot of rye and ginger? Maybe, but then why not every time? I haven’t always had a drink the night before and sometimes when I have, or have even had more than I should’ve, no neck-thing follows.

Was it too much sugar? Chocolate? Maybe, but these over-indulgences don’t always result in the neck-thing. Was it poor posture while watching a movie? Maybe, but not always. Is it the rainy, cool weather? Maybe this time, but not always. Is it lack of adequate sleep? Nah, I get plenty.

Scott suggests it’s from not eating enough, or not eating enough meat. Sometimes eating something hot, or something with protein, does set me back on my feet. Other times, not. I’ve had regular chiropractic visits, massage appointments, shiatsu. I’ve done hatha yoga regularly for long periods; I’ve consulted a physiotherapist; checked in with an alternative therapist; seen an intuitive healer and herbalist. I may even have prayed to the Spirit in the Sky. I doubt I’ll ever stop searching for the answer(s), but it’s damn tiresome that this keeps happening.

Oh I know many others deal with a lot more painful and debilitating health conditions. I’m not really complaining about mine. It’s just tiresome and confusing and I can’t seem to shut up about it when it’s gone on for a few days in a row. Today’s the first morning since Wednesday that I’ve woke up feeling normal.

The mineral supplements have arrived and today’s my third day of taking them. I don’t expect miracles, but hope for one anyway. Ya just never know.

Secret Agent Woman, I took my driver’s training in the city at age 15 or 16, and lived or drove in cities without any nervousness. My discomfort now comes from being unaccustomed to heavy traffic after the last 16 years of rural Saskatchewan driving. Wadena, the town I live six miles from, doesn’t have even one traffic light. Couple that with the infrequency of my trips there and Saskatoon’s rapid population growth, horrible traffic congestion, and detours due to road and bridge construction in recent years, and my confidence has evaporated. Edmonton too has grown considerably since I lived near and often drove through it. I’m sure if I spent a day or two driving around the city my moxie’d come back and I’d drive as if there was a house on fire, like everyone seems to.

None of this is to say that people don’t foolishly exceed the speed limits around here, drive dangerously or stupidly, drink and drive, or talk on their cellphones while behind the wheel. I see the cellphone bit when meeting vehicles almost every time I drive the six miles to town on the correction line (a gravel road). It seems people simply can’t imagine anything could happen to them; it only happens to others. A $275 fine for distracted driving? Meh, they’re not going to get caught.

Before I got too far from town one afternoon I pulled over at a country corner to answer my cellphone in case it was Scott needing something I could go back for. A driver who came along stopped to see if I needed help, and when I indicated that all was well, I was only using the phone, he said “Oh no one would ever know, out here!” In other words, why not make the call while driving? That’s the mentality; you can get away with it. Never mind the risk; apparently it isn’t real enough.

Pfft. People: not nearly as smart as we think we are.

Instagram Got ‘Em First

angel But it doesn’t mean I love you less.

It’s been a busy few days and posting to Instagram is quicker and easier, now that I have a clue how, than uploading pictures from phone to laptop, resizing, and posting them here. But finally I’m taking a few minutes before bed to let you know I’m still taking care of business here.

I was out walking one late afternoon or early evening when I noticed this cloud formation and thought, “Ah ha! Finally I actually see one of these cloud angels, myself!” and took the photo.

Later I was asked, “Do you think it was an angel come to collect your Aunt Beulah?” It had appeared on the day she passed. And hey, if anyone deserves to be carried to her heavenly reward by an angel, it’s Aunt Beulah, known by many to be an angel herself.

Then Prince Charming and I drove to Saskatoon to pick up Dad from the airport, and I went in to find him. He wasn’t off the plane yet so I made a pit stop in the ladies’ room and thought this was sweet:


Even a message this generic gives you a little lift.

For the first time since I’ve lived at Golden Grain Farm, Dad’s stayed overnight here instead of at my sister Karen’s. Which means I haven’t been in this office till now, when I’m taking a few moments to keep the “flow” going. Dad and Scott were both asleep by nine (old gents!) and I’m on my way to Dreamland myself.