Sunday, July 27, 2014

Yes, World, There Really Is a Sophie Doodle!

I have Internet!

The Brigantine Inn in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia,
has provided me with a way to communicate
that Sophie Doodle is as real as real can be!

She bounded into my life yesterday with licks and love,
and I gave her all the scritches, hugs, belly rubs, and pats
that many of you requested!

Sophie Plays with a New Toy
the Guys Dubbed "Weeser"

But as wonderful as Sophie Doodle is,
nothing was better than to give Ron a great big hug
after way, way too many years.

And meeting Jim was every bit as special.
He's a great hugger too.

Ron, Jim, and I

We had so much fun laughing and talking
that I forgot to take pictures 
of their gorgeous wooded garden,
their warm and welcoming home,
and the incredible seafood chowder and bumble berry crisp
that Jim made for the best lunch I can remember
in a very long time.
It was just so awesome to be with them!

But I collected my photographic wits
after we jumped in the car and headed for
MacDonald Hill and Lawrencetown Beach.

Let me share some of those with you!

Sophie in the Way Back ~
Graciously Yielding Her Usual Seat
to the Guests From Away

Ready to Go!

Looking Down from MacDonald Hill

Jim on the Trail Over MacDonald Hill

Sophie races to catch
                    Mr. Orangie.

Dueling Cameras

Ron on MacDonald Hill

Nova Scotia's Wild Roses

A Unique Photographic Style

Dune Walk

Barb, Ron, and Sophie

Lawrencetown Beach

Jim and Sophie in the Dune Grass

Ron and Jim

Some of Jim's Beautiful Mid-Century Maniac Wares

Ron and Jim

An unforgettable day 
with unforgettable friends,
old and new! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Disappearing Act

Sorry about my recent disappearing act.

Everything is okay ~
I've just been bombarded with things unexpected.

I wish I could say that it was things like this:

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

No, it was a string of events 
that went down like dominoes
beginning with this:

Bye Bye Saturn, Forever :(

Early Friday morning I am leaving for Nova Scotia
to spend some time with my extended family and friends
while Terry mans the home front.
Party times ahead!

Party Hearty!
Me (left) with My Niece Sara and Sister Bertie
Note "I Heart Nova Scotia" Pin ~
We all love Nova Scotia!

Unfortunately I will have limited or no access 
to the internet while I am at my grandmother's house ~
unless the sheriff has NOT figured out
that my extended family
has been accessing his internet service
from one corner in my grandmother's house
in unnamed summers past.

Of course, there has been intense competition 
to squeeze into that small corner
by various relatives with various devices
whenever that internet access worked.
(I CAN hold my own in family tussles!)

So, a heads up:
I most likely will be unable 
to finish and to publish
my next Scavenger Hunt photos
and Insecure Writer's Support Group posts ~
both in the works, but seriously sidetracked
by recent events on the home front.

If they do show up,
you'll know I found an on-ramp to the internet.

So here's to summer fun, everyone!

Me (with Lips) Plus Family Members
I Choose Not to Identify

See you in August!
Licks Saturday, Sophie Doodle!

You Tube ~ Sons of Maxwell
My Choice for Family Summer Anthem

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Reader's Coffee Table

Did you grow up in a home with readers?

A Reader's Coffee Table

You can always tell a home where readers live.
Just check out the coffee table,
the reading pile in the bathroom,
or the stacks of books on the nightstands.

Coffee Table

Readers read, and usually their materials are close by,
hanging out like good friends ~
which they are.

               Bathroom and Nightstand 

Maybe you caught a glimpse of one of the two readers
in this Aurora home ~
feet up, nose in iPad, the Ever-Patient reads.

I'm usually reading in the dark, late hours
when the world is quiet.

I've been indulging in some rich reads in recent weeks.
Let me share them with you:

A Dance with Dragons
by George R. R. Martin

Are you watching 
the HBO series Game of Thrones?

I started Martin's books 

just before the first season on HBO.  
I'm barely ahead, but oh, 
what a read if you enjoy fantasy!

Martin stands on the same plane 
as Tolkien.  
Fabulous!  wikipedia

The Sixes
by Kate White

I snapped this up at Sam's Club while waiting for the pharmacist to come back from lunch.  A murder mystery/thriller with a secret society set on a college campus, this kept me wide awake late into the night.
Plus it was fun to see how writing instruction has changed at the college level now that blogging has become mainstream.  
barnes & noble

Altar of Eden
by James Rollins

Rollins is one of my favorite authors, and this didn't disappoint.  It's a genetic engineering thriller in which things go wrong and could ultimately change what it means to be human.  goodreads

Six Years
by Harlan Coben

This book is a fast-paced mystery and a love story; 
mind-candy that kept me awake 
for several enjoyable late nights.  goodreads 

by Michael Lewis

My BFF Cheri thought I should read this
before heading to Iceland in June.
It has an illuminating chapter
on the financial bust in Iceland in 2008;
but that's just the beginning of
Lewis's darkly funny recounting of
the worldwide financial shenanigans 
at that memorable time.

If you love things financial and just have to turn on CNBC first thing in the morning, you will enjoy this!  amazon  

The Hunger Games 
by Suzanne Collins

It's a powerful young adult book,
but it will resonate with anyone who has a heart.
Now I've got to see the movie!


London Walks: London Stories
by David Tucker & the Guides

If you go to London you must treat yourself to one of the many fun and informative London Walks.

This book details a number of popular walks given
by some of the walking tour company's excellent guides.
It's fun to read after a walk.  amazon

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

This kept me up reading late at night 
in our borrowed flat in Nottingham Hill.
Lyrically written.  

Pirate Alley
by Stephen Coontz

My husband bought this in Denver's airport
to read on our recent trip.  He didn't,
but passed to me when I found myself
bookless and frantic.

Lots of action ~ Navy SEALS and Somali pirates.  After reading this I don't think I'll be taking a cruise anywhere in the Red Sea!
Great Fun!  amazon


Bones Are Forever
by Kathy Reichs

I discovered Kathy Reichs' first book in an airport bookstore, long before she was known as an author and long before the popular TV show Bones.  
Reichs has never failed to deliver a great story.
I really connected with this book because it highlights 
the plight of native people in the Canadian North.  google 

Independent People 
by Halldór Laxness

Nothing to read will send me running to the nearest bookstore ~ but in Reykjavik the books were all in Icelandic!
This was the first I spotted in English.

Fabulous and heartbreaking!
I will never forget this 1955 Nobel Prize winning novel 
and its stubborn, tragically comic protagonist, 
Bjartur of Summerhouses, and his fellow characters, human and animal.  amazon

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple

My niece Deirdre gave me 
this hilarious book for Christmas,
possibly because we both want to go to Antarctica.

Another late night read
that is almost impossible to put down.
I was laughing until I hurt, 
and the pages of my book were damp!  amazon

The Martian
by Andy Weir

Wow!  Astronaut Mark Watney is left behind for dead on Mars when his Ares 3 Mission is aborted and his
crewmates evacuate.  His fight to survive on his own is an epic and realistic adventure.

A late night search for good Martian map led me to the amazing Mars Odyssey THEMIS program at Arizona State University and to a wish I could start again and earn a degree in ASU's Earth & Space Exploration (emphasis geology).  wikipedia 


The Greatest Show on Earth

by Richard Dawkins

This absorbing book presents the current evidence for evolution.  Dawkins' account of the Richard Lenski forty-five thousand generation study of Escherichia coli at Michigan State University is a window into understanding how multi-decade microbiological research is planned and executed and what can be learned by such research.  This is just one avenue Dawkins uses to illuminate the development of life throughout geologic time on our amazing planet. 

So there you have it:
fourteen great summer reads!

What are you reading this summer ~
any good books to recommend?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Standing Into Danger

"I can't let you out of my sight!
Do I have to put a leash on you?"

Canary Wharf, London

The Ever-Patient stalks ahead of me
in the heart of London's modern financial center:
Canada Place in Canary Wharf.

Have Leash
Will Travel

Don't say leash!
I spent my early childhood tied on.

"Why would you do something so stupid?
I never know what you're going to do!"

I decide silence is the best recourse.
He's never mentioned a leash before.

I'm struggling to stay up with the E-P
as he stomps blindly through the busy mall.

"Don't you ever think before you do something?
Why?  Why don't you think?"

A Happier Moment

I have to say something.
"I just thought it would make such a cool picture.
You know, the way that bank of red ATMs curved.
The composition, the color.
You getting money."

Big Oops!

"You and that damned camera!
Do you even get why there was a female guard?"

I flash back to exiting the bank
when a very tall man
and a short woman 
swoop in, blocking my way.

"You were taking photographs, Mam,"
challenges the Tall Suit.

I took one of my husband getting money.
I hold up my camera.

Meanwhile the E-P has noticed I'm missing.
He hurries back.

"We have a policy 
that you can't take photographs in our bank," 
says Tall Suit.
Short Suit is standing there silently.

"You want me to delete it!?"


I break out in a sweat.
I'm not sure how to do that.
Why didn't I read the damn manual?
I start pushing buttons.


"Do you know how to delete?"
I ask anxiously, looking up at Tall Suit.

"You have to delete it."

I'm now frantically punching any button.
The Two Suits are very close.

"She's just nervous," says the E-P.
"She doesn't know how to delete.
She's got thousands and thousands of photos,
and she never deletes one.
Not one!"

Finally Tall Suit takes charge.
Do this.  
Do this.  
Do this.

I comply.
The incriminating photo vanishes.

"See, gone," I say.
"It was just of my husband.
It was such a cool shot.
Those curvy, red ATMs."
I shut up, seeing the look on Terry's face.

"A word to the wise, Mam," says Tall Suit.
Don't.   Take.   Photographs.   In a bank.
Especially our bank."

The Suits escort me through the door 
and into the mall.

"Have a good day, Mam."
They melt away.

Flash Forward:

"Do you even get why there was a female guard?"
Mr. Normally Reserved bellows.

"Ah,  . . .  She happened to be on duty?"
I answer as I scramble after him.

"She was there to strip search you."


"Strip search you!
Take you in a room and search your body cavities.
All of them!"

I stop, floored.

He stops.
Turns back.
And enfolds me.
He's more shaken up than I am.

"It's okay, Baby.
But once, 
just once,
could you think 
before doing something?"

He gives me a long hug 
in the mall full of strangers.

"Let's get some coffee," he says,
grabbing my hand tightly
and looking around.

I love all the ways the E-P says,
"I love you."

So there:  
One small example of why I call my blog
Standing Into Danger.

I can be heading into calm blue water,

and I will manage to run aground 
on the one pile of rocks
lurking beneath the surface.
I have a special talent for Standing Into Danger.

International Code of Maritime Signals
U ~ Uniform
You are Standing Into Danger