The Rambling Blogger

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be switching to my new blog home next week. I’ve picked out a very summery looking header I hope you’ll like. I’ve also wondered how it would work to put some order into my blog-keeping. Maybe having a plan will keep the juices flowing.
So far I’m thinking:
Tuesday something historical
Wednesday I’ll post a poem
Thursday a fiction story
Saturday I’ll write about an interesting book or blog post I’ve read

To start my new habit, I’d like to tell you about a post I read yesterday over at Another Purple Planet. This blogger is turning thirty and sharing with us a list of the important truths she’s learned up until now. I told her in a comment that I’m more than thirty years older and can’t add much to her list. (So why is it that we human beings who consider ourselves so intelligent, spend years learning the same lessons over and over?)

Click here to read her article and see if you can add anything.

A heads-up for readers of this blog:
You won’t have to do anything. Subscribers will be moved as well as the domain, christinegoodnough.com. This current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

A Season of New Things

Spring Has Sprung and So Have the Cats

Our cats are so happy to be released from their long winter’s confinement. We’ve had some lovely weather lately and they’re making the best of it. Other creatures, too, are popping out of hibernation.

Yesterday afternoon I looked out and saw Pookie sitting on his haunches on the lawn, with a magpie facing him about two metres away and another one standing about that far away on his right. Lying between the three of them was the limp body of a full-grown gopher. (Aka, thirteen-striped Richardson ground squirrel.) Whatever it was once known as, the dead critter had become the object of a property dispute.

Magpies are thieves; we see it all the time. If the cats catch something and haven’t eaten it yet, there’s usually a magpie peering hopefully from the garage roof or strutting in the grass nearby. And they often work in pairs. Like: “You distract the cat and I’ll grab the corpse.” Even if there’s no loot magpies often work in teams to torment cats.

So when I saw this standoff I opened the window and shooed the magpies away. With the birds gone Pook went back to playing with the thing awhile, even if it offered no exciting resistance. As soon as he got tired of the game and wandered off the magpie was back, snatching bites of the prize, which Pook didn’t tolerate. He rushed back to reclaim the gopher, then a few minutes later our black cat Angus sauntered up and began gnawing on it. Pook went back to wait beside the gopher hole for another one to pop out. Poor gophers. It’s a hard life at the bottom of the food chain.

Angus likely caught the thing in the first place. Pook is a bit of a thief himself. As I said in an earlier post, he’s an invasive species; he has this habit of pushing his nose into whatever interesting meal Angus is eating and slowly takes over the dish. Or mouse. Or whatever. Anyway, an hour later all trace of the victim was gone, so I imagine whatever remains remained when Angus left the magpies snatched.

Tuesday en route to the city we saw ducks in the ponds. This morning my husband opened the window and heard a meadowlark singing. Bliss! I went outside a bit later and heard the honking of a goose. I looked up and saw a line of snow geese headed by what looked like a Canada goose and he was the cheerleader. So spring has returned to our land.

A New Home for My Stuff

Since spring’s a time of beginning again, I’m going to catch that wave and move to a new blog home.

I’ve been contemplating this for awhile, wanting to bring all my writings under one roof but not quite sure how. I shut down Swallow in the Wind a few months back, but still have Christine Composes for my fiction, plus this site. Now I’m going to bring all my writing to Christine’s Collection’s new home. I contemplated a major renovation, but the categories and tags on my posts would all need reworking to fit the new plan. Easier to start from scratch, I decided.

I’ve had a “spare” private blog for a couple of years, using it to test out new themes before going to all the work of installing them on my public sites. Last week I enlisted the help of Bruce at WordPress Support and he’s been guiding me through this move, bless his heart.

Bruce says it’s no problem to switch the domain name for both active sites so that anyone who types in christinegoodnough.com or christine composes.com will land up there. All subscribers from both sites will be switched to the new one. And I will only have one better-organized blog to contend with. This sounds great to me now, given my health issues.

So I’ve been going back and forth for a few days now, carrying and unpacking a few files, scheduling future posts and generally preparing the site for visitors. I’m delighted with the new look, though I’m sticking with this basic layout. I’ve learned how to build Categories into the main menu, now my category “closets” are easily accessible and every genre will have its proper place in the grand scheme.

I thought I’d give you this heads-up a week or so before I do the final move and open the new site for public viewing. But the only difference you’ll find is that this current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.

Of Fish & Feelings

It’s afternoon here on the prairies and we’re having a beautiful spring day. When I got up at 6 am this morning the sun was just starting to stretch out, sending its first glow across the horizon. How I appreciate these longer, warmer days!

The cats and I were out romping a bit ago — well, they were romping. I was tromping. I decided to take a walk down the road. In the yard it seems so warm, but once I was out of the shelter of the woods beside us and onto the gravel road, a wind from the SE robbed me of my deception. I had to come back to the house for a warmer jacket and scarf before going farther.

Bob asked me yesterday how I was feeling, mainly because I’ve been dealing with an infection in one salivary gland this week. I’m getting over that, so in one sense I’m feeling better, but I’ve been pondering his question, trying to come up with a description for my general health and state of mind.

I was thinking about the poor female salmon at spawning time, swimming against a strong current and making slow progress. As you probably know, they go back to their spawning grounds in the mountain streams to lay their eggs, which means they must swim upstream for hundreds of miles, leap waterfalls, navigate wild rapids, dodge rocks and debris en route. Unless they find a sheltered pool, the minute they stop to rest the river current will carry them back toward the ocean again.

That’s how I’m feeling lately. It doesn’t help that I’m dealing with an infection right now but I’m frustrated that I get so little accomplished. I wish I had more energy; I wish my mind was clearer and I could remember more; I wish I could make more progress in the stream of general homemaking. I’d like to accomplish so much; it feels like I have a thousand miles to go and in short bursts I gain a few yards, then I’m weary again. And I feel so fuzzy-brained at times!

My mind bounces over the many possible solutions. Would it help to give up sugar? Chocolate? Coffee? Reading? Blogging? All of the above? Forget everything else and spend hours outdoors getting exercise? (I have good intentions, just no hours!) Memorize and repeat the Prayer of Serenity?

Lacking any definite answers, I just keep swimming along, thankful for the short bursts of energy I do get. These past two weeks I’ve been cutting strips and piecing a blanket top — the Rail Fence pattern for those of you who know about quilt-making — which I plan to donate to our church ladies’ Sewing Circle. On Tuesday we went to the city and I sat in two doctor’s offices; from one doctor I got antibiotics for my infection. During this time my husband took the car for servicing and they discovered about two cups of bird seed in the air cleaner. Wretched mice! We keep our birdseed in the garage and they get into it.

On the Up-side, I am enjoying the arrival of spring, the songs of the earliest returning birds in our woods. On Monday I get a new number in my life: I’m leaving “three” behind and moving on to “four.” (Next year at this time I’ll be contemplating how to spend my very first pension cheque. 🙂 )

I haven’t posted anything here this week, but I did write several short stories for my Christine Composes blog. One of them you can read here: Buckwold House. I wrote this as my response to the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt and it raises the question of when an individual’s wishes are more important than civic progress.I find being limited to 100 words is a great exercise in what editors call “trimming the fat.”

I hope life is going well for all of you reading this. I wish you boundless energy and all kinds of time to do what you must and/or the things you enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog and for being interested in what I have to say. Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat, but I find writing about how I feel really does help me sort things out. And when I think of the recent tragic events in the news, I realize my woes are very minor ones.

A Narrow-Minded Boss

Theresa and Gail became good friends in business college. Qualified typists, they applied for an opening in a large corporation and both were hired the same day. They were delighted to be working in the same area and having their lunch breaks together.

A week after they started work Theresa asked her friend, “How are you liking your new boss? Do you find him easy to get along with?”

“He’s okay, I guess,” said Gail. “But in some ways I find him pretty narrow-minded. He can be quite a control freak, too.”

“Really?” Theresa’s eyes popped open. “I’ve met him a few times and I sure wouldn’t have guessed. Narrow minded like how?”

“Well, according to him there’s only one way to spell a word and that’s his way. He checks every letter before I send it off and if I’ve spelled some words any different than what he thinks, he gets in a snit and insists I retype the whole thing.” She rolled her eyes. “I can just hear him now, rattling on about “i before e except after c.” And yesterday he made me change ‘pertanes’ to ‘p-e-r-t-a-i-n-s’— as if there can only be one way to spell it.”

Theresa sighed. “Gail, we need to talk. What are you doing after work?”

Revised and Reblogged from Swallow in the Wind

Those Answering Machines!

I read an interesting post recently: a blogger writing about her father, a Polish immigrant to the US in 1947. He never quite caught on to the business of answering machines. Read her story here.

I remember folks getting quite creative on their answering machine recordings. Years back I phoned a number — someone advertising something for sale, if I recall rightly — and they weren’t home. Instead I got this C&W verse sung by some fellow with a nasal twang, that went something like:
Hello, so nice of you to call. And how are you, your wife and the kids, your Mom and the dog? A couple more lines, then he launched into a different melody starting with, “Where oh, where, are we today…”

When my daughter got home I called back so she could listen to it, too — hoping no human answered the phone! I wonder how often those folks were told, “Er… Hello. Um…well, I actually didn’t call to talk to you. I…uh…just wanted my friend to hear your answering machine song.”

I was inspired to write a little ballad (set to the tune “Streets of Laredo”) telling the tale of a poor fellow and his answering machine. If you’d like to record it on your machine, feel free. 🙂

I just walked out to the store at the corner;
I thought I’d step out for a bit of fresh air.
Then don’t you know it, my phone started ringing,
and as you will know I just wasn’t all there.

The phone started ringing, my dog started barking,
and woke up my neighbor who sleeps half the day.
He phoned the police and they came in a hurry
and the pound keeper came to take Rover away.

I pleaded my cause and they gave me a warning,
“Get an answering machine or get rid of your hound!”
Well, I love old Rover — my best friend, I tell you!
So I bought this contraption— the best one in town.

Now when I’m outdoors or downtown on an errand
leave your messages here at the sound of the beep.
I’ll be calling you back soon if you leave your number,
but don’t call again. Let my poor neighbor sleep.

Old Poets

By Joyce Kilmer

If I should live in a forest
And sleep underneath a tree,
No grove of impudent saplings
Would make a home for me.

I’d go where the old oaks gather,
Serene and good and strong,
And they would not sigh and tremble
And vex me with a song.

The pleasantest sort of poet
Is the poet who’s old and wise,
With an old white beard and wrinkles
About his kind old eyes.

For these young flipperti-gibbets
A-rhyming their hours away
They won’t be still like honest men
And listen to what you say.

The young poet screams forever
About his sex and his soul;
But the old man listens, smokes his pipe,
And polishes its bowl.

old-man-black-hat

There should be a club for poets
Who have come to seventy year.
They should sit in a great hall drinking
Red wine and golden beer.

They would shuffle in of an evening,
Each one to his cushioned seat,
And there would be mellow talking
And silence rich and sweet.

There is no peace to be taken
With poets who are young,
For they worry about the wars to be fought
And the songs that must be sung.

But the old man knows that he’s in his chair
And that God’s on His throne in the sky.
So he sits by the fire in comfort
And he lets the world spin by.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alfred Joyce Kilmer, born 1886 in New Brunswick, NJ, USA, was killed
in action in World War I, never obtaining this mellow state he writes of.