Monday, August 31, 2009

Through the Opera Glasses - 28 - September Art Show

With the beginning of the new month, I've changed my Sidebar Art Gallery for my September show. So far I've had nine shows: Winter, The Kiss, Green, Rebirth, Women, Men, Children and Roses.

I've called this newest show Autumn.

Fall is my favorite season of all. When you scroll along the art work, you'll see why.

A Vase of Chrysanthemums

Alfred Ruytinx

Les Amoureux (Soir d'automne) / The Lovers (Autumn Evening)

Emile Friant

Autumn Morning

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Golden Autumn, Brittany

Frits Thaulow

A Wooded Path in Autumn

Hans Andersen Brendekilde

The Departure of the Hunting Party

Raffaelo Sorbi

A Rest From the Harvest

Leon-Augustin L'hermitte

An Apple-gathering

Frederick Morgan

Pump and Pumpkin

J. E. H. MacDonald

Dorothy says Fall is a wonderful time of year, especially in the woods.

Ms Snarky Pants says Wow The Lovers is absolutely beautiful! I want a print of it for my living room!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Poetry Train Monday - 116 - She Had to Consider

On Saturday I had the pinch-me-am-I-dreaming pleasure of having lunch with historical romance author Jo Beverley.

She's none other than my favorite romance writer. I'm fan-girl when it comes to Jo Beverley.

For today's found poetry, I've taken a scene from Dark Champion, a medieval historical and the first Jo Beverley book I ever read, and turned it into a poem.

She Had to Consider

Arresting green eyes
Flicked over her
Seemed to see her soul

Not liking what they found there

Bastard FitzRoger sat on a keg
One knee raised to
Support his arm

"State your case."

Imogen's voice froze
Seneschal nervously filled gap
"We were thrown off our property, lord.

By Lord Warbrick."

Why quail because
Bastard FitzRoger proved to be
A hard man? She was looking for a champion

Not a troubadour

"Carrisford land?"
"Aye, lord."

Imogen watched in fascination

FitzRoger turned a heavy gold ring on his hand

"The castle - how many entrances?
How is the main gate protected?
How many men garrison the place?"

Suddenly his questions, the bustle around them

Her heart gave a little leap
"You are going to attack Carrisford."
He stood smoothly and came to her

Hooked a thumb in his belt

"That is my intention, woman."
She stood as straight as she could
"I am Imogen of Carrisford."

"Come with me."

He strode toward the keep
Imogen could not force her swollen feet
To move quickly.

He turned back

Sharp displeasure on his face
Then he looked at her feet
He swung her into his arms

She gasped in surprise

"You stink," he commented
"There are also fleas," she added
He mounted the wooden steps

Looked her over with a frown

He climbed the steep stairs quickly
She was not particularly dainty
She had sought out this man

She should be pleased at his strength

It made her nervous
She had to consider
A protector's strength being used

Against her

FitzRoger carried her through the arched doorway
She doubted she could trust any man
He negotiated a narrow tower staircase

Lord FitzRoger had heard of her plight

Had already been on his way
To champion her distress
He stopped at the upper floor of the keep

Lowered her to sit

"Tomorrow we ride," he said
Brave words did not make brave hearts
Alone, she sagged to the floor

How could she be sure?

Would he turn control of the castle to her?
Would he drain the place of supplies?
The king would see to her affairs

FitzRoger high in the king's favor

She was helpless as a babe
In the keep of an ally
Imogen caught her breath

Why was she so afraid?

- Jo Beverley, 1993

Knight graphic - Crusader - artist Skyewolf

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Stan Ski says Great way to capture the essence of the story.

Gautami Tripathy says You had me breathless reading it!

Jane Doe says I was hooked from first line to last.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Stock Sunday - 14

Had an absolutely wonderful day with fellow writers from my writers' group. This is the kind of day that is so renewing, in so many ways.

With Tropical Storm Danny settling in over the province today and expected to pick up steam overnight, what better way to spend a soggy summer day than book browsing and having lunch with my favorite I'm-a-total-fangirl author, Jo Beverley?

Pat picked me up in the morning, having already picked up Judith James, and we headed out to Tantallon to get Bev Petterson.

We stopped in at The Annex at Scotia Lassie Books for some tea, conversation and of course a little book buying.

L to R: Bev Petterson, Pat, store owner Carolyn Laurie and Judith James, with her new release Highland Rebel and her debut novel Broken Wing.

We had such a lovely afternoon chatting, sipping wine and sitting down to hostess Heidi's fantastic seafood chowder while the rain fell steadily upon the LaHave River just down the hill from Heidi's century home.

Clockwise from L: Judith James, playwright and novelist Heather Veinotte, Jo Beverley, Bev Petterson, Pat, Jennie Marsland and our hostess Heidi.

We all just happened to have a copy of a Jo Beverley book for her to sign before we left. Mine was her latest release The Secret Wedding, which I haven't read yet but will very soon.

For the past 33 years, Jo Beverley has made her home in Canada. But she is now on her way back to her native England. Our group was incredibly pleased to have an opportunity for a relaxed afternoon together before she leaves our shores for her return home.

For more Summer Stock Sunday, visit Robin at Around The Island.

Robin says I could really go for a bowl of chowder, too.

Jientje That tea looks delicious!

Joyce says Rain and books and tea and friends makes a good combo to help ward off a hurricane.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We've Got Another Storm Approaching? Really? I Can't Feel a Thing...

I have been a form of weather vane since I realized the correlation between my migraines and the approach of a low pressure system. I put two and two together when I was in my late-20's, when I lived in Toronto.

Then I discovered that there is such a thing as a barometric pressure triggered migraine.

I became a sort of Doppler radar as far as the weather was concerned. I felt an oncoming low pressure system, even when it was a few days away. The really bad storms are just giant low pressure systems, and my degree of pain was unrelenting for up to 10 days at a time.

For some reason earlier this year, I began thinking to myself: I resign from my weather vane job. The Weather Network can do it.

You've probably heard of rewriting subconscious 'tapes' that perpetuate negative life cycles. I just began doing this spontaneously earlier this year.

Then a pregnant coworker who is originally from Taiwan went to an acupuncturist to treat a throat infection, rather than take antibiotics while in her late-term pregnancy. My friend and close team member inquired as to whether our pregnant colleague's acupuncture treatment was covered under our health plan.

It was.

I made an appointment.

You can see my initial reaction to my acupuncture treatment, as well as the story of my knee injury by CLICKING HERE.

The pain levels and weakness for my knee went down immediately. The pain levels for the migraine have gradually decreased since I began treatment in mid-June. My practitioner, Vivian Yuan, works in partnership with her husband, Dr. Tem, an herbalist. I've been given two different types of Chinese herbal pills. The first was to 'dry up my damp'. The second focused particularly on my head pain. I've had two treatments with the second one and have improved significantly.

Last week, however, Hurricane Bill approached. I was in far more pain when I came to the appointment than she'd see me in before. After she had placed all the needles, she asked, "You okay?" I nodded and she left me to 'cook', as I think of it.

After I was done and she'd removed the needles, she asked if I was willing to try something different. Of course I said yes. If she thinks I would benefit from something, I'm there, baby.

She came back with a long rock with grip grooves in it. She said it was for a massage. I sat on a stool and she worked on my neck, back and shoulders with the stone. It felt great. The right side of my neck was sore because of the migraine, but otherwise it was marvey.

She told me I would have red marks for a few days. I headed home and then saw what she meant by red marks.

Totally freaky.

First of all, these red spots didn't hurt in the least. Not to touch them, nor deep down in the tissue. The next day, my back was a bit tender if I swivelled. But that went away by the third day. Today, six days later, there are no marks at all.

What she'd done is called Gua Sha.

It's a form of Bodywork Therapy that has been practised in China for nearly 4000 years. It focuses on realigning Qi or chi energy within the body.

What's so amazing to me is the fact that she rubbed all over my neck, shoulders and back - yet the red marks traced a line along my spine and across my cervical vertebrae.

And what are the effects of my first Gua Sha treatment?


There's another big storm coming up along the eastern seaboard toward Nova Scotia this weekend. Tropical Storm Danny. I first heard about it on the news in the middle of the week.

I stared at the TV screen in confusion. Whenever a storm system appears on the weather report, I'm already feeling it. But this was actual news to me.

Today, my coworker mentioned that the storm had changed trajectory. I figured that meant it was veering away from us, because I had so few pain signals about it. No - it's heading directly for us.

Ha! Ha!


I can't tell.

Nikki says My mom's frozen shoulder got cured through the same treatment and that massage is good too!

Susan Helene Gottfried says SWEET. I did acupuncture after #2 was born. It really helped.

Heather says Happy to hear you are no longer a Doppler radar.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - 121 - 13 Views of Hurricane Bill

Last Sunday, Hurricane Bill hit Atlantic shores. Never experienced a hurricane before? Settle in...

1 - Footage taken by cpirie and posted on YouTube. The spot where the camera is positioned is on a road next to the Sou'Wester Restaurant, which is normally a great deal higher than the waterline. The ocean in this footage is scary-high. Beneath all the white froth are rocks which are normally dry where you can walk.

- 2

This is a normal day out at Peggy's Cove, taken by me on the same strip of road. And this is the size of normal wave action.

3 - Footage taken by emacx09 and posted on YouTube. "Around noon August 23rd 2009, just prior to the RCMP asking everyone to leave the beach area, due to safety concerns."

- 4

This is a normal day at Lawrencetown Beach, taken by me from the same vantage point. This is my friend Lisa when she visited here last August, along with my mom. And this is the size of normal wave action.

The rest of the photos were taken by me from the safety of our home. Hurricane Bill turned out to be much, much milder than Hurricane Juan, which hit us six years ago. No complaints here!

- 5

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- 11

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Thomma Lyn Grindstaff says I've never been in a hurricane, but a friend of mine rode one out last year.

Susan Helene Gottfried says We've had remnants of hurricanes pass through, but we're too far inland to have to face a real storm.

Dorothy says When I lived on the Florida and Georgia coastlines we had several. I was younger then and don't remember much about them, just that we had them and mom would get all frantic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Through the Opera Glasses - 27 - Les Paul 1915 - 2009 / Scroll down for Wordless Wednesday

Guitarist Les Paul helped to change the musical landscape when he designed a solid-body electric guitar in the mid-1940's.

Last week at the age of 94, Les Paul passed away. But his legacy is so enormous and his influence so great, you are assured of hearing his guitars wherever rock music is played.

Photo Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

Les Paul was what psychologist George Swede refers to as a Universal 2 Creator. In Creativity: A New Psychology, Swede defines Universal 2 creativity as "any collaborative works that affect large numbers, being unique and having value."

Without Les Paul's risk-taking innovation - before his solid-body design, all guitars were hollow-body - how would the crucial sound of the electric rock guitar have developed? Though Les Paul is sometimes referred to as the celebrity endorser of the Gibson guitar company's design, Les Paul had already built a solid-body prototype called The Log in his own workshop. In true Universal 2 Creator style, Les Paul collaborated with Gibson guitar makers to fashion an electric guitar he could passionately stand behind, push its physical limits and make personal modifications on.

Paul also experimented with early versions of laying tracks in the recording process - again by himself in his own workshop.

Here is just a sampling of guitarists who use Les Pauls as their instruments of choice:

Billie Joe Armstrong / Green Day

The Edge / U2

Robin Finck / Nine Inch Nails

Kirk Hammett / Metallica

George Harrison / The Beatles

Mick Jones / The Clash / Big Audio Dynamite

Lenny Kravitz

John Lennon / solo career

Alex Lifeson / Rush

Paul McCartney / The Beatles and solo career

Jimmy Page / Led Zeppelin

Keith Richards / The Rolling Stones

Pete Townshend / The Who

Neil Young

Here's Billie Joe Armstrong playing his Les Paul.

And here's Les Paul with his wife Mary Ford, playing his creation - the solid-body electric guitar.

Travis says A true innovator and pioneer. And he lived quite the long life.

Almost Wordless Wednesday - 114

Akelamalu says It really annoys me when other people have to put their lives at risk for idiots who put themselves in danger!

Brooke says It's sad when people don't think about the ones that might have been left behind...

Kailana says Yep, that's just a prime example of stupidity.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Poetry Train Monday - 115 - Private Space

For my found poem today, I've taken part of a scene from Jennifer Leeland's BDSM story The Mask She Wears and turned it into a poem.

The Mask She Wears is one of a trilogy of short 50-page stories I won from Jennifer over at her blog, The Redneck Romance Writer. Her trilogy is known as the In David's House collection, as all three stories revolve around a private invitation-only BDSM club run by David, a wise and protective dom.

I'll be doing a book review for the trilogy in a few weeks. Until then, enjoy this poem taken from her prose text:

Private Space

Anticipation sizzled
He approached her tiny apartment
No idea what he would find


He approached

She flung the door open
Waiting for him
Strung tight

Flung open


Her eyes flickered
Face to floor and back again
He took his time

Her eyes

Took his time

Observed her space
Allowed into her private life
Who she was without the mask

Private space


No family pictures
Artwork on every wall
Dark themes with abstract tones

No pictures

No family

One of the oil paintings
Half man, half wolf
Mask superimposed over wolf face

One painting


Benign human mask
Covered the animal snarl



Apartment neat
No flowers
No doilies



Bookcases filled
Filled with books
Lifestyle to dark fantasy



- Jennifer Leeland

Firefox mask by Merimask

For other poems, Ride the Poetry Train!

Jennifer Leeland says Wow!!! That captures that scene so well for Justin.

Michelle Johnson says Nice found poem for Poetry Train.

Stan Ski says Nothing is ever how it first appears.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Stock Sunday - 13

This afternoon was spent battening down the hatches for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Bill, due to hit Yarmouth overnight with heavy rainfall and making its way here to Halifax by the early morning hours.

This is a shot of Hurricane Bill taken by NASA. Its immense size gives me the willies.

Winds are expected to gust up to 110-130 kilometers an hour, with rainfall in the Hailfax area of up to 140 millimeters and a storm surge of 3 meters expected.

For my American readers, that translates to wind at 68-80 miles per hour, rainfall of 5-and-a-half inches, with a storm surge of nearly ten feet higher than the normal coastal waterline at high tide.

As we did before Hurricane Juan descended upon us six years ago, my husband, my mom and I cleared drainspouts and secured loose items in the yard.

I tuck away Mom's mirrored garden tripod she made, and which has a base too wide to fit in through the doors.

Mom and I had to make a little train and scoot the four tubs holding her cherry tomatoes, green beans and cucumbers, because the beans and cukes had twined around everything. We stashed them under the deck.

This is where the veggies have been until this afternoon. Along with my phlox which have just blossomed. They're going to be ripped to shreds.

Xena was very happy to supervise. She was also happy to eat the one ripened green bean I'd picked and laid down on the step.

This was the sight that greeted me the morning after Hurricane Juan. Shredded leaf splatter all over the house. Sigh.

I wonder what will remain of the garden by Monday? I took this picture this morning so I could remember it.

Just a note:

The likelihood of a power outtage may keep my blog quiet for a few days.

For more Summer Stock Sunday, visit Robin at Around the Island.

Susan Helene Gottfried says Be safe, my friend.

Apprentice Writer says Hope all is well.

Travis says I know that hurricanes do travel so far north. But I always associate them with ravaging the southern coastal states, islands, and Mexico.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen - 120 - 13 Characters Played by Richard Armitage

This is a Happy Birthday shout-out to one of my favorite actors. On Saturday, Aug. 22nd, he'll celebrate his 38th birthday.

Writers everywhere will celebrate the man who has inspired countless characters in their own fiction - including mine.

Here's what Richard had to say recently on the subject of being our muse:

"Much as I would love to take credit for ‘launching writing careers’ the credit is Gaskell’s [for creating the character of John Thornton.]" - Richard Armitage at Vulpes Libris

Methinks he is mistaken...

Here's a look at 13 roles he's played.

1 - North & South - Victorian-era mill owner John Thornton

2 - BBC's Robin Hood - Medieval strongarm for the Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisborne

3 - Spooks / MI-5 - Returned prisoner of the Russians, British spy Lucas North

4 - The Vicar of Dibley - 'Townie bastard' Harry Kennedy

5 - Spark house - Painfully shy farmhand John Standring

6 - The Impressionists - Painter Young Claude Monet

7 - Between the Sheets - Probation officer Paul Andrews, under investigation for inappropriate conduct with a client

8 - Cold Feet - Flirty lifeguard Lee Richards

9 - George Gently - 50's biker Ricky Deeming

10 - Ultimate Force - Captain Ian McAlwaine

11 - Inspector Lynley Mysteries - In Divine Proportion - Recovering upper-class gambler Philip Turner

12 - Shakes peare Retold / MacBeth - Head waiter Peter Macduff

13 - CBeebies - I'm Not Going Out There narrator

Janet says I loved The Vicar of Dibley!!! And I remember that episode :-)

Americanising Desi says Your #1 makes me drooooooooooool!

Sandy Carlson says And a handsome dude he is! I hope he has a happy.