Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Children - Reflecting the Potential of Family



Is it not lovely that our children are the ones who provide joy in our  mature lives? It is through them that we experience meaning.  They serve as a reflection of our years spent attempting to be the best models we knew how to be, to be resilient, kind, celebratory in our attempts to leave them a world somehow better than the one that existed when they entered this space.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Loveliest Time of LIfe


In the late afternoon light of northern Arizona 
we hiked along sandy, rocky tracks through ponderosa forests at the base of Mt. Humphreys 
in the San Francisco Peaks of the Flagstaff area.
The dogs wandered happily investigating all the fragrances of the forest.
The women shared stories that best friends bestow on one another in the midst of wilderness.
It was the lovely time of day and year - autumn.
It was the loveliest time of life.

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hand Me Downs: A Prairie Tale - a winter review

 "I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish! I especially liked how Dorothy Shamah exquisitely describes the "cold" one can experience on "the prairie." She made me laugh out loud and be envious of the beauty she must encounter on a daily basis. Her writing is easy on the eyes and gives a sense of comfort. Life on "the prairie" is something most of us will never know, so if you want a fun, insightful read on some of the very lovely aspects of this life, this is it! Thanks also to the author for tying in the first few pages to the last paragraph, totally made me smile! "

Therese B. review on Amazon

Available at Amazon kindle.com, Barnes & Nobel Nook.com, and Smashwords.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Prairie Morning Glory


These are the days, my son, when life is never done!...

Our little prairie house faces east-north-east..This was the view out our bedroom window when i opened my eyes at 7:30 this morning.  Startling, vivid, on fire with the promise of a new day. My earlier-than-I partner was just coming out of the bathroom from his shower, dressed except for his socks and shoes.  I tossed him his slippers from the side of the bed and begged him to grab the camera and step outside to take this shot.  Incredibly kind, this man.  He snapped 'October Morning'.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.  The Prairie that some folks believe to be boring, uneventful, stagnant is anything but.  The beauty is often breath taking, a celebration of color and life.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Analyze This!

Do you remember the movie?  With Billy Crystal and Robert DeNiro?  And the follow up, Analyze That?

I didn't know that DeNiro had a funny bone.  Certainly we all knew that Crystal was/is the master.

I suppose I attempt to analyze everything. I have boxes into which I put people, events, books, songs, and habits.  It seems to be a penchant of mine to understand my world and even try to understand yours by boxing up the attributes of any given circumstance and tossing it into the right (or left) box.

My kids tease by telling their friends, "Don't talk to my mom; she'll put you in a box and you'll never be allowed to climb out!"

And they may be right.

Jung's words may be important for you as well.  Consider how much time we 'worry the string' instead of just allowing it to unravel.  The outcome is probably much the same, but we need (or I need) not spend wakeful nights flouncing around the bed trying to find the comfy corner or the right plumpness of pillow to censure my brain and allow me to just go to sleep, to enjoy slumber where my wakeful brain can solve the riddles of the day and sort through the events in some way that will allow me to move on the next day.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elderly People Do Belong in Our Lives


"For some reason I felt that these two elderly people belonged in my life, that I needed them in ways I couldn't understand."
Tiny Acts of Love by Lucy Lawrie






Yes, Lawrie has written an engaging romance. However, she's also taken the genre a step farther by including an elderly couple who contribute a considerable amount to the plot line of her 'professional woman becomes a mom for the first time' story.
As a seventy-four year old, I fit into that 'elderly' category, you see.  And I love this rollicking tale that takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland, but that could take place in any medium sized city in North America.  Lawrie has the ability to build universal characters in very modern circumstances no matter that they live in a thousand year old city in the middle of Europe.
Available on Amazon kindle in the USA, Tiny Acts of Love is an enjoyable look sometimes from a grandmotherly point of view into the lives of professional families who decide that being parents for the first time is a good idea, even if an idea rife with very funny and often trans-generational goof-ups.
If you need a pleasant distraction in the middle of your next plane ride, add Tiny Acts of Love to your carry-on luggage and smile or even giggle through the shenanigans of new mom, Cassie, and her cast of multi-generational characters.  You'll disembark from your plane with a smile on your face.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Williston on CNN with Lisa Ling

CNN’s Ling documents “women pioneers” seizing Oil Patch opportunities




Ling said she found herself “utterly fascinated” by what’s happening in Williston and is excited to return. The episode attempts to show the different worlds that women inhabit in the boomtown, however, she noted it’s difficult to tell the whole story of a city in transition.
“I don’t know that you can ever tell the full story. The dynamics happening in Williston are so fascinating and complex,” she said. “I think (we’ve) done a decent job of telling what’s happening here,” she said.
The CNN Original Series was produced by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based part2 pictures. “Filthy Rich” can be seen on CNN at 9 p.m. CT Sunday.

http://www.grandforksherald.com/content/cnns-ling-documents-women-pioneers-seizing-oil-patch-opportunities

Friday, October 17, 2014

The House at Poo Corners


Ah, the house at Poo Corners.
 The delightful abode of Demi and Sy, 
two of my favorite characters in all of modern travel literature.  
The red roofed, many veranda, palm surrounded home. 
Laughter echoes across the neighborhood 
as two intrepid travellers 
return home after a sojourn across The Great Circle.  
The second-home of a compassionate duet of world-wide thoughtfulness. 
Happiness reigns here these days...
Australia, I miss you!



                                     
                                          Dearest BeardedDragon - guard the mailbox please

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn - A Thoughtful Season


The prairie house in an autumn wonderland.  Imagine me sitting just behind those cathedral windows looking out over the sunrises from the next post, jotting this note to you.  Because that is precisely where I am at the moment.

Yesterday, when I was taking the laundry off the clothes line, I turned to look back up at the house, and this is what I saw.  It seemed so perfectly lovely that I wanted to share with you my prairie home.

So often I am lonely here.  I tend to speak a different language than my neighbors in this little town five miles from the Canadian border. All of the folks in town..and I do mean all..are welcoming, positive, good neighbors.  I enjoy watching them walk their babes and dogs on a summer's evening. I love to listen to them problem solve in city council meetings.  I enjoy the dinners and celebrations they provide for other members of their community.

But, and it's a huge 'but' I find that there is a difference in the way I am motivated and engaged when I have a conversation with another reader, with another writer, with another politically motivated citizen.  As lovely as this scene, I miss those who question the status quo, who really work for the good of the entire planet, not simply for the good of their local tribe.

Autumn is a thoughtful season, isn't it?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sunrise:

Good morning, America, how are ya?  Don’t ya know me, I’m your native........

             
When I am in a good mood, even the smallest deed brings me pleasure.  The beauty of the relationships I have with friends in Nordacotah, California and and in Australia creates a planetary sense of community, an opportunity to be in relationship where ever I travel. And that is an excellent manner in which to perambulate the globe.  

I realize that dastardly deeds are being done in all kinds of places around the world,  and yet at the same moment on the front porch of a little Sears bungalow or on the back veranda of the old Queensland Colonial gentle breezes move the leaves on the trees, the walnut sprouts forth a darker green, the macadamia produces autumnal fruit and all together the leafy branches  ward off the sun.
           
Graham is sleeping peacefully in Brissy where I will join him in six weeks.  His support provides a sense of equanimity. Julie provides a beautiful space in which to wake in the morning. Sarah offers the enthusiasm of her young life and at the same time takes good care of her own needs.  Matt wanders the globe in search of human canvas on which to plant his art form, and Tina cuddles with her newborn.

Dawn on the Prairie

 Flaxton, North Dakota - Dawn on the first day of October.  Prairie living has it's ups and downs, to be sure.  However, morning is almost always a surprise.  One never knows how the skies will appear.  Sometimes the sun, now rising in the north-east skies will stare us into wakefulness - brilliant, dazzling its way through our un-curtained east windows.


In spring the soft tones give way rather suddenly to stronger vivid colors as daybreak comes earlier. 



Regardless, it is our favorite time of day.  Stretching out from under warm flannel covers to see what mother nature has wrought, we look out over Stoney Run to greet another day of watching the planting and eventually harvesting of wheat, flax, canola, sun flowers, barley, and oats.  The land is fertile and productive.  Our job is to copy nature's example, each in her own way. 

Available free on Smashwords.com, .99 on Amazon kindle.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Memoirs - Important Task for Seniors



Memoir writing is dear to my heart. Sierra Sunrise:A Travel Adventure is my attempt
to participate in an ongoing effort to share what is most important in my life, success.  

Seniors who have reached their elderhood often find themselves faced with the second
to the last stage of  Eric Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development — 
Generativity vs Stagnation which leads (if one lives long enough) to the final stage —
Ego Integrity vs. Despair. 

Like so many of my cohorts, generativity  and integrity are my choices.

Looking back upon my 74 years of experience, I find the last 60 years have treated
me well.  I am one of the fortunate ones - a woman with a professional career, an amazing
family of three successful adult children, a grandmother of a wise, adventurous, and
compassionate grandson, about to be the grandmother of a princess.  

I have no financial woes. My health is resilient. My mind forgets nouns and verbs on
a regular basis, confusing not only me but those with whom I attempt to hold a conversation,
but my problem solving skills still seem to be operating moderately well.  

I have a partner in life who is adept, wise, compassionate, intelligent, and strong. Sharing
with those who come after me about how this scenario came to pass seems a responsibility
I gladly take on.

And so to encourage others who are in similar positions to share their stories, I offer
information via these two articles that are available on today's New York Times.



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/business/5-tips-for-writing-a-memoir.html

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wild Places

“...certain wild places on the planet create in us peacefulness, courage, and a strange sense of fulfillment. They invite us to enter the power of reverie imbued in the ancient myths associated with these spiritual sites.”
 
Sierra Sunrise takes the reader to these salubrious centers of spiritual quiet. Demi Tryon, the protagonist, also finds herself caught in self deprecating moments that create angst and spiritual darkness as she balances her recovery from childhood abuse and her determination to live in celebration of what adulthood has offered to her as a planetary traveler.

A good read - not always easy, but often worth the effort.
Available on Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble

Antibiotic Resistant Illness

My dearest friend, the woman who has known me longer than almost anyone I know, has just recovered from an antibiotic resistant illness that came very close to taking her life.  During treatment for cancer in December of last year, an antibiotic resistant bacteria was allowed to enter her blood stream and housed itself in a nerve ganglia in her spine.  Six months later, while she was still undergoing treatment for this infection, the bacteria moved into her system to the extent that she was placed in ICU with a septic system severe enough to kill her.

My seventy-four year old lifetime buddy is a powerful woman whose core systems responded to a weeks worth of  heroic treatment in ICU during which time she was placed in an induced coma. Today, with the support of a committed medical team of doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, dieticians and other staff, she is about to leave hospital and head home.  She will live in an assisted living community for the next few months until she is recovered sufficiently to live on her own - an event that hopefully will occur sometime at the beginning of next year.

Almost an entire year of her life has been put on hold while, sometimes in the midst of mind numbing pain, she has managed with the wise ministrations of an incredible North Dakota medical system to overcome the onslaught of this deadly infection.

Doctors and other researchers tell us that one of the reasons this antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria has become so invasive has to do with the amount of antibiotics used by American food production corporations.  Factory farms use of antibiotics in chicken, turkey, beef and pork are the primary culprits.   Please take a look at the website cited below and take a moment to sign petitions urging the U.S. government to put an end to this attack on the healthfulness of the American people.

 http://wwwleftaction.com/action/antibiotics-factory-farms

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Explosions - Trains - Oil - Small Town North America

December 2013
Casselton, North Dakota



Burlington Northern Oil train derails and explodes a mile outside of Casselton  North Dakota. The town is evacuated.
 



Claire, Saskatchewan
October 2014
WADENA, Sask. - A CN freight train carrying dangerous goods derailed in central Saskatchewan on Tuesday, sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air and displacing residents of a tiny nearby hamlet.
The derailment happened near the community of Clair, which has a population of about 50. Police told those people to leave their homes and also evacuated farms near the scene.
CN spokesman Jim Feeny said the train was made up of three locomotives pulling 100 rail cars and that 26 of them derailed.
He said the fire came from petroleum distillates, which spilled from two of the derailed cars.
The fire had "diminished'' as of Tuesday evening, Feeny said, but was still burning.
Clair is about 190 kilometres east of Saskatoon near the community of Wadena.
Alison Squires, who is the publisher of the Wadena News, went to the fire and said she has never seen anything like it in the 13 years she has lived in the area.
"I've seen derailments, but this is a pretty bad one,'' she said. "You could see ... this huge plume of black smoke. When I got there, there was a small explosion. The smoke is too thick to see what cars are involved.''
She added that there was a detour going north to pass the derailment, but not one going south.
"They are assuming the smoke is toxic,'' she said.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

North Gate

"Sunday morning, glorious sunshine filtered through ever present fluffy whites as we toddled along the two lane to North Gate Church, an abandoned white clapboard whose stunning cross topped slender tower cast his shadow over the border to Canada.  Yes, we were that close, only feet from the international border dividing Canada and USA. 
The small community, home to oat grain elevators along the rail road tracks owned by Kelloggs, was now a ghost town. Not quite; three families still lived on lands visited on frequent summer evenings by coyotes and fox.  Dogs no longer lived in town and the church was unattended, unbishoped most of the  year. 
Twice yearly, once in June and once again in late September, the Lutherans from all round the countryside brought their picnic lunches, their children, their grandmothers and fathers  to a mid-morning Sunday service complete with organ music, choir, and a properly attired minister. "

Hand Me Downs: A Prairie Tale
 
 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

King Billy Pines - Southeastern Tasmania




"Twelve hundred-year-old king-billys grew close to the water. Pandani towered overhead in the protection of the Ballroom Forest where cutting grass waited to wound. Daydreaming here was out of the question." Sierra Sunrise: A Travel Adventure

Sierra Sunrise is available on Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble

Saturday, October 04, 2014

How Book Selling Really Works


 I found O'Bryan's article worth a look.  If you are a new writer, especially a new writer without a publisher, you may find the following article of interest.  I certainly did.  So, check it out.
 



http://services4authors.com/2014/05/24/how-book-selling-really-works/

If you’re a new author, traditionally or independently published, one of the problems that you face is that you may not understand how book selling really works.

If you want to be a writer who sells books, consider these facts:

#1 Writers who are dedicated to selling their books, sell more books. This is not a game for the faint hearted. Stephen King sold books from his car to bookshops when he was getting started. The modern day equivalent of that is being on social media and producing interesting, shareable blog posts at least once a week, about your book, your themes, your characters, your locations, anything connected with the book, which will inspire a desire in people to read it.
#2 There are readers out there for your book. You just have to find them. They won’t come to you. You have to go to them. How many you find will depend on the universal appeal of your book, the quality of your writing and your cover. If any of those are poor your sales will be low. Get those basic elements right or stay away from this business.

#3 If you’re in retail outlets you better hope your book gets on or near a front table. If you don’t your sales will be low, no matter how good your work is. If you’re online get reviews on Amazon. Beg some early if you have to. Just make them real. Phony reviews can be spotted from the first sentence. And if you get more poor reviews than good ones consider what readers are saying.

#4 Publishing is a casino. That’s not something I came up with. A senior director of a top publishing house said it to me. You remember, you have to pay to play at a casino. And you don’t have any guarantees that you will even get your money back. Publishers invest in PR, review copies, editing, online promotions, book store promotions and more, and still only a small percentage of books become best sellers. About one in every 300 traditionally published books in the US becomes a bestseller. Do you like those odds?

#5 There is a living to be made in the middle tier. Whether you are self published or traditionally published this is where you are most likely to find yourself, earning between two and twenty thousand a year from your writing. Most writers don’t get rich, so don’t expect to. And please, warn your family not to start spending until the sales figures are in.

#6 Networking is a vital skill for an author. That’s how I got published by Harper Collins in over twenty countries and in eleven languages. I met an editor at an event. That was the ninth event I attended in five years. That’s what you call an overnight networking success in publishing.

#7 Use Twitter and Facebook and your blog properly. Connect with people. Help people. Offer value. Sure, don’t let it overwhelm your writing time. Just cut out TV and a lot of other things that are less useful for your long term goal and use that time online. If you don’t want to do that, then you are not dedicated. You might as well wait for the tooth fairy to come as wait for the readers to flock to you without making a sustained, creative effort to reach out to people online. Readers are waiting for your book. Go out and tell them why they should buy it.
And do remember, book marketing is a hard job, don’t go through it alone.

Get support from people who know the ropes, other writers, experienced book marketers, professionals who’ve done this before. Don’t spend big on services either. Keep your spending to what you can afford. You wouldn’t go a casino with your rent for the month, would you? Don’t go to the book selling casino with any more than you can afford to lose.
Don’t underestimate the amount of work you will need to do to make your dreams come true either. I read again and again about writers whose fourth, tenth or fourteenth book hit the big time. Think about how many years those writers invested in their craft and in nurturing their readers.

If you’re not prepared for a long stint at the casino tables, placing your hard won books down on the table and backing them with the investment you can afford, stay well out of this business.  If you’re looking for a career with better odds, I believe there is good money to be made in computer programming.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Balancing the Scourge of War in Autumn

When does it ever change? When does 'manunkind' ever finish with his collecting of power and influence? Amy Lowell published her poem below 96 years ago. When will we ever learn?


Canada geese on Stoney Run with harvest wheat field behind

This afternoon was the colour of water falling through sunlight;
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves,
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows.
Under a tree in the park,
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces,
Were carefully gathering red berries
To put in a pasteboard box.
Some day there will be no war,
Then I shall take out this afternoon
And turn it in my fingers,
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate,
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves.
To-day I can only gather it
And put it into my lunch-box, for I have time for nothing
But the endeavour to balance myself
Upon a broken world.

September, 1918
Amy Lowell