Wilderness — A Meditation

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reverse Phone Number Information

What a freakin surprise!

Did you know that you could put a phone number on a web page and find out who it belongs to, who their relatives are, how much money they make (on average) and the value of their home?

I must remember that NOTHING is private on the Internet and we can't much blame The Social Network otherwise known as FACEBOOK. Why ever did anyone harrass that site about 'privacy'? Everything is already available and for only .99 ..whooeeee.

How come I'm such a dweeb and knew so little about just how much is available about me anyway?

love you all, my darling want my phone number..??

then you, too, can check it all out. . .503 687 1454...go for it!! ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Izzak Walton Inn

Good to be home after our seven hundred mile round trip to Fargo to deal with immigration issues.

The government on all levels seems to be less efficient and less able than ever before. I do want it to be otherwise; I often think it must just be my extensive number of years on the planet that makes me say, 'It sure isn't like it used to be.'

You know, old folks say that all the time. But in this case, the left hand of darkness has descended on the right hand of expediency and organization. Maybe it's the other way round, but that's how it seems.

The folks in Fargo who will remain nameless on behalf of all applications for 'permanent residency' have NO clue about why they are asked to require otherwise compliant folks to meet the letter of the law - I know, I know, I'm being obtuse...but I assure that is a necessity in this context.

Typos happen to the best of us. Accepting responsibility for having made a typographical error is simply not something to which any government department is willing to admit.

So, we have been to Fargo; we have met the enemy and she is not us. To treat ourselves for being even handed and polite under the most unusual circumstances, we just made reservations at Izzak Walton Inn in Montana's Glacier Park. We take the train from Stanley, ND to Essex on 6 March for a week of cross country skiing.

Pictures above!!

If you want to see other pictures of this glorious paradise, click on the title to todays blog entry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why We Need Women in War Zones

Yesterday morning while putting on my socks, I pulled a small muscle on the right hand side of my back. Been on the bed with ice packs, ibprophen, vitamin C, arnica ever since with one of those 'damn it, you'd better hurry up and heal' attitudes. Probably ought to ask politely instead, but ya know ~

In the meantime, hoping to distract myself, I've been reading everything I can lay my hands on - books, magazines, and newspapers - online newspapers.

This morning in the New York Times, I found Kim Barker's op ed article whose title begins this blog entry. It's the sort of topic of which we all ought to be aware. I found it provocative. Do I agree or do I not.

Should women be sent ( not allowed) but sent into the front line battless of the planet. Oh, I know, they are already there if that battleground is in their own country, and yet as those of us from western culture know, they really aren't there - not in person. Should they be?

I don't have any answers, but will spend much of the next few days considering what I believe. You may find yourself in a similar circumstance, if you take a few moments to click on the title to today's blog and read what Kim Barker has to say.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Blizzard Turns into Clear Blue Skies

Had a phone call this morning from the snowbirds in southern Arizona. They, who were raised here on the prairie, tell me that the blizzard we watched outside our snug prairie house yesterday was a one in a hundred year event.

We have endured yet again. It was cold - near 0F most of the day. The wind did bluster, sometimes at a 40 mph rate. Visibility was reduced, but the pine trees about thirty yards distant from our lounge room windows were visible throughout the day. Our electricity did a 'brown out' dance several times during the day and evening - probably as a result of the wind.

Neighbours who work in surrounding communities did not make it home last night. They stayed with friends instead of tempting fate on the highways where blowing snow, drifts, and visibility were serious concerns.

And we, outlanders, who know no better? We made cranberry bread and soup, entertained another neighbour with a cuppa (espresso) and helped him back out of our drive way onto the snow drifted street in front of our house when it was time for him to head out.

Later we watched Jon Steward, Colbert, and Get Him to the Greek on the computer before we snuggled into our covers that had been warmed by the electrical blanket we turned on early in the evening.

We may not have gone out to brave the wild weather, but we certainly enjoyed the warm, cozy, atmosphere inside the house that Graham renovated!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Booker Prize Winner and Pulitizer Prize - who makes the choice

I just finished Tinkers ( 2010 Pulitizer Prize for fiction) by Paul Harding while also in the midst of reading Vernon God Little (Man Booker Fiction Prize for 2004) by DBC Pierre. Certainly, I've had a schizophrenic reaction to these two books. I kinda like them both and at the same time am put off by both. Each is male dominated to a degree that ought perhaps to result in both having disclaimers printed on the covers: Women beware! This text is strongly male centric.

I'm suspicious that prize winners are chosen by a panel dominated by men. Upon doing some research I found the Pulitizer Board for 2009/2010 composed of 12 men and 5 women. Thus far I've been unable to find a list of the members of the nominating jury for the Man Booker fiction award in 2004, (Vernon God Little) but I'm betting we will find another group of literati composed primarily of males.

I'm not suggesting that either text is less than excellent. I am suggesting that both are misogynistic, an aspect of plot that gives me pause in their awards from so venerated literary competitions.

My Australian husband reminds me that a very popular television/movie series entitled Sex and the City has been equally daming of the role of men in modern urban society. He contends that were that show to present women in the same light as it displays men, there would be a massive outcry. Perhaps he is correct that only women respond with distaste when they find their sex displayed negatively in the mass media as even when it is represented by the Man Booker and the Pulitizer.

I have no problem with men writing about men in a way that denigrates women nor of women writing about women in a way that denigrates men. I do have a problem with major prizes being awarded to literature that is dominated by such an attitude towards the folks who make up the other half of the population.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stony Run Fun Run

Suddenly I feel the need for some serious calorie burning exercise, so this morning we stopped into Crosby Clinic to see Shelly, the administrator of the NorthWest Dakota Fitness Center.

Snow is melting, skiing and snow shoeing time is curtailed.

It's relatively warm, 40F (4C), but the wind is sliding past the barren trees and curling round the collar of my down jacket leaving me with the shivers. Better to exercise inside than outside for the next few weeks.

So - What does the fitness center have to do with the FUN RUN in the advert above this blog post?

The flyer was front and center in the Clinic waiting room bulletin board.

'They'll be running in the slush, on ice. Isn't that dangerous,' I asked.

The reply - 'Oh no, not running, snow mobiling and 4-wheeling. It's lots of fun. We start at the Dam and stop at each of the bars listed at the top of the flyer to eat and play poker. The couple with the best poker hand at the end of the competition wins.'

Prairie Fun!!

Brand new concept to me - snowmobiling to the local pub and then on to the next one and the next one. The Aussies have nothing on the Nordacotans. Reminds me a bit of the 'dunny' races in Winton.

If you want more info, click on the title to today's blog post and you will go directly to the Stony Run Gentleman's Association Facebook page where there's lots of detail on the expectations of the day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JourneyWoman offers a Valentine's Message

Lovely Valentine's Message from Journeywoman this morning.

Click on the link below to go directly to the page.

'Love is the same as like except you feel sexier' (Judith Viorst, Author)

English - I love you
Afrikaans - Ek het jou lief
Albanian - Te dua
Arabic - Ana behibak (to male)
Arabic - Ana behibek (to female)
Armenian - Yes kez sirumem
Bambara - M’bi fe
Bengali - Ami tomake bhalobashi (pronounced: Amee toe-ma-kee bhalo-bashee)
Belarusian - Ya tabe kahayu
Bisaya - Nahigugma ako kanimo
Bulgarian - Obicham te
Cambodian - Soro lahn nhee ah
Catalan - T’estimo
Cherokee - Tsi ge yu i
Cheyenne - Ne mohotatse
Chichewa - Ndimakukonda
Cantonese - Ngo oiy ney a
Mandarin - Wo ai ni
Comanche - U kamakutu nu
Corsican - Ti tengu caru (to male)
Cree - Kisakihitin
Creole - Mi aime jou
Croatian - Volim te
Czech - Miluji te
Danish - Jeg Elsker Dig
Dutch - Ik hou van jou
Elvish - Amin mela lle (from The Lord of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien)
Esperanto - Mi amas vin
Estonian - Ma armastan sind
Ethiopian - Afgreki’
Faroese - Eg elski teg
Farsi - Doset daram
Filipino - Mahal kita
Finnish - Mina rakastan sinua
French - Je t’aime, Je t’adore
Frisian - Ik hald fan dy
Gaelic - Ta gra agam ort
Georgian - Mikvarhar
German - Ich liebe dich
Greek - S’agapo
Gujarati - Hoo thunay prem karoo choo
Hiligaynon - Palangga ko ikaw
Hawaiian - Aloha Au Ia`oe
To female
- “ani ohev otach” (said by male) “ohevet Otach” (said by female)
To male - “ani ohev otcha” (said by male) “Ohevet ot’cha” (said by female)
Hiligaynon - Guina higugma ko ikaw
Hindi - Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hae
Hmong - Kuv hlub koj
Hopi - Nu’ umi unangwa’ta
Hungarian - Szeretlek
Icelandic - Eg elska tig
Ilonggo - Palangga ko ikaw
Indonesian - Saya cinta padamu
Inuit - Negligevapse
Irish - Taim i’ ngra leat
Italian - Ti amo
Japanese - Aishiteru or Anata ga daisuki desu
Kannada - Naanu ninna preetisuttene
Kapampangan - Kaluguran daka
Kiswahili - Nakupenda
Konkani - Tu magel moga cho
Korean - Sarang Heyo or Nanun tangshinul sarang hamnida
Latin - Te amo
Latvian - Es tevi miilu
Lebanese - Bahibak
Lithuanian - Tave myliu
Luxembourgeois - Ech hun dech gaer
Macedonian - Te Sakam
Malay - Saya cintakan mu / Aku cinta padamu
Malayalam - Njan Ninne Premikunnu
Maltese - Inhobbok
Marathi - Me tula prem karto
Mohawk - Kanbhik
Moroccan - Ana moajaba bik
Nahuatl - Ni mits neki
Navaho - Ayor anosh’ni
Ndebele - Niyakutanda
- Jeg elsker deg
Nyonrsk - Eg elskar deg
Pandacan - Syota na kita!!
Pangasinan - Inaru Taka
Papiamento - Mi ta stimabo
Persian - Doo-set daaram
Pig Latin - Iay ovlay ouyay
Polish - Kocham Ciebie
Portuguese - Eu te amo
Romanian - Te iubesc
Russian - Ya tebya liubliu
Scot Gaelic - Tha gra\dh agam ort
Serbian - Volim te
Setswana - Ke a go rata
Sign Language - „,/ (represents position of fingers when signing ‘I Love You’)
Sindhi - Maa tokhe pyar kendo ahyan
Sioux - Techihhila
Slovak - Lu`bim ta
Slovenian - Ljubim te
Spanish - Te quiero / Te amo
Swahili - Ninapenda wewe
Swedish - Jag alskar dig
Swiss-German - Ich lieb Di
Surinam - Mi lobi joe
Tagalog - Mahal kita
Taiwanese - Wa ga ei li
Tahitian - Ua Here Vau Ia Oe
Tamil - Nan unnai kathalikaraen
Telugu - Nenu ninnu premistunnanu
Thai - Phom rak khun
Tunisian - Ha eh bak
Turkish - Seni Seviyorum
Ukrainian - Ya tebe kahayu
Urdu - mai aap say pyaar karta hoo
Vietnamese - To female - Anh ye^u em
Welsh - ‘Rwy’n dy garu di
Yiddish - Ikh hob dikh
Yoruba - Mo ni fe
Zazi - Ezhele hezdege
Zuni - Tom ho’ ichema

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday morning Entertainment

Woke to overcast and rain on the windows. Temperature was 40F accompanied by enough wind to turn the evergreen trees into belly dancers, a little head bob, then shaking shoulders followed by swaying hips.

As we enjoyed our first cuppa on this Sunday morning we watched the members of 'Our Lady of the Luthern' drive into town and jockey for parking spots in the areas in front of the church cleared on Friday afternoon by Larry's snow plowing tractor as Judy snow shoveled and swept the church steps of ice.

Distracting us every now and again were the Red Bellied Woodpecker chasing away the Black Capped Chickadees at the bird feeder located near the same windows that framed the comings and goings of the Lutherns.

Looks like we may lose our entire cross country ski run that yesterday the Aussie smoothed out in preparation for some excellent exercise today. Mush doesn't make good skiing.

Blue skies form intermittent layers between light cloud cover, a good day to bake a pie or finish my taxes or both - not much inclined to do the slip and slide outside.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Doe - A Doe - A Female Deer

Our neighbour - she cuddles at night and through most of the morning into a snowy space beneath one of our Evergreen trees down near Stony Run, our local frozen waterway.

The striations in the picture are the effect of the double-paned kitchen window through which the doe's picture was taken as she turned(having discovered our watching her), stopped browsing on our lilac stalks, and moved on to the next course in her lunch.

It has been a onerous season for the local wildlife. Snow depths make it difficult for them to find browsing slender and alive enough to satisfy their winter diet. We have thought of buying some hay, but the experts say such feed is eventually deadly as deer digestive tracts close down when diet changes too dramatically.

Wild berry bushes are excellent feed. Next summer we'll plant some to satisfy our own sweet tooth and the deer in winter.

This winter, we dig away some of the snow and hope that she finds what she needs.

Yesterday, a Red Bellied Woodpecker came to the feeder outside the lounge room window. Such alarming beauty; the contrast of colours, the black and white stripes, the RED crown against the pristine snow makes such a visit the highlight of the day.

And, the squirrels have been chasing one another all round the light poles - somehow I don't think it's all play and unless, of course, I mean foreplay.

Temperatures today have been above 0 for the first time in a week. We drove to Powers Lake, 33 miles distant across the icy morraine, for groceries and a short visit with Marcia, proprietor of The County Store - a compendium of everything an prairie dweller might need to survive comforftably in winter.

Tonight, frozen pizza will cook in our oven to a toasty brown and accompany one of our favourite downloaded movies on the 'huge' computer screen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hand painted dinnerware from Mexico

Aren't they charming?

Have to admit that the idea behind purchasing colourful dinnerware from Mexico originated with my fantasy that a Nordacotah winter would be dreary, cloudy, cold, and in dire need of some brightening up.

Not so!

Today, like most of the nine days we have been back, the great white north is lit by brilliant sunlight reflecting off four or five feet of sparkling snow. Instead of the house needing colour, we need to draw the shades momentarily in order to see our computer screens. Sun glare, you know.

The dishware, nonetheless, adds a joyful ambiance to the dinner table. Food tastes better and conversation heads in a more playful direction in the midst of rampant hand drawn designs from warm and equally sunny Mexico.

We need to thank our friends, Marcia and Wes who reside in Arivaca, Arizona, for making us aware of the best shopping opportunities. Our fruit bowl thanks them; my own contentment amidst the colour thanks them.

Hopefully, your February winter's day is as full of thankfulness as is ours.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A Winter Bouquet

Outside is beautiful. It snowed lightly most of yesterday on top of a great deal of snow that already existed. The Dakota winds sculpted the drifts into rounded bunkers around all the bare branched shrubs, the tops of which now resemble pussy willow bouquets (like those huge floral arrangements in the entrance halls of expensive hotels).

Around noon the sun broke through the cloud cover and left pristine blue skies highlighting sparkling snow crystals. The outside feels like a mammoth movie set for a snow castle fantasy.

It is time to go outdoors and spend some exercise time in the ‘great white north’.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Saturday - snow, coffee, and good company

Life is good. We were welcomed home by our neighbours at the Senior Center this morning. Alfred, Ronnie, Janet, Mrs. Ruddman, Mayor Mary, hot cross buns, prairie coffee combined to remind me that pleasure comes in small packages, that comraderie is most important to a sense of well being, and that small snow flurries make great cross country skiing across empty town lots and down snowy seldom travelled road ways.

Hopefully your week end began with a similar sense of well being.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Oaxaca - A Multitude of Chocolate

"And what to my wondering eyes should appear?"

Not Santa and not reindeer, but a check from Senior Living Magazine of Vancouver, Canada for an article I submitted to them back in July of 2010.

It gives me great pleasure to recommend Oaxaca - A Multitude of Chocolate, my second paid piece of writing, which was published in the December 2010 issue - thus the 'Chris Before Nightmas' reference.

If you should be interested in looking at the piece, click on the title to this blog post or use the addy at the bottom of the post. Scroll down to the appropriate title and enjoy.

You may also be interested in perusing other issues of Senior Living , all of which contain valuable information for those of us over 50.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Wednesday Morning and the thermometer moves above 0

Yep, last night when we turned off the lights and turned down the furnace, the temperatures outside registered a less than balmy -20F.

This morning that same thermometer mounted on the inside of the kitchen wall told us that although the winds might make it seem a good deal colder than the air temp suggested, it is a balmy +10F which is only 22 degrees F below freezing.

I'm still planning on working inside.

Although, I did promise myself that as soon as the temps rose above 0, I would drag out my cross country skis and head for the empty lot next door and the miles and miles of snow covered fields north of our house. Yep! I'm a coward. Still not willing to go back to cold toes and thumbs.

So, as Queensland copes with tropical cyclones, I, on the north American prairie, snuggle into a warm doona with a good book and a hot cup of coffee and thank the goddess and a whole lot of innovative folks for the invention of central heating and town water.

Be well, my friends.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Home again, Home again

Ah, the pleasure of returning home!

Even if the temperature last night did reach -28F (-33C), it is comfy to recline on my very own couch, to look out my very own windows, to enjoy the stark baby blue skies framing acres and acres and acres of pure white snow contrasted with the evergreens and the long ash branches of deciduosity.

The snow isn't deep if I compare it to the recent Sierra Nevada storms rising on the ocean south of Los Angeles. The humidity pushes 60% which is a goddess gift when it is this cold. The snow, nonetheless is crisp.

When it fell yesterday while we were driving on glass ice through north eastern Montana, one could see the very shape of every flake. When the air is warmer, those flakes disintegrate upon touching a solid surface. Not so when the air is so cold and the flakes so lacking in moisture.

I realize that at some point, like when we run out of milk and toilet paper and must travel 40+ miles to the closest supermarket, I may well wish to be in a less ardurous environment. But at the moment, both the Australian and I feel blessed to sit and read our latest novel or write our next one while in such joyous terrain.

A hot chocolate in the afternoon, a Baileys before bed, hot soup and delicious bread produced by our very own bread machine, good company, witty comraderie - is there more that one can expect from life?

Hopefully, you find yourself with this same sense of gratitude. I'm certain you may.