Seeing Both Sides

This is only my second reblog in 5 years, but I couldn’t resist. This piece is written by a blogging friend on the Isle of Jersey, Roy McCarthy, who has written a number of novels. I love the closer in this short story. You’ll see why! Thanks, Roy.

Back On The Rock

It had been years now since he’d said a sweet word to her, or given her a cuddle, much less bought her flowers on her birthday. Barely a ‘hello’ as he came home from the office at the end of each day. Still, she believed it was her place, her duty to look after him – cook his meals, iron his shirts, keep a clean and tidy house.

‘There must be more,’ she often thought as they sat in silence each evening, watching television. He would frown in disapproval on the rare occasion that she’d go and see her friends, perhaps attend an evening lecture or even a performance of the local amateur dramatics society. He himself never went anywhere other than to and from work. Wouldn’t dream of accompanying her anywhere.


Yet he wasn’t cruel, didn’t mistreat her. Separation had never entered her head. But one evening, not feeling…

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Costa Rica: There’s more to sun destinations than just sun and beaches, there’s nature

The #1 reason three generations of our family spent March Break in Costa Rica this year was because our grandchildren wanted to see monkeys in their natural habitat. They wanted to swim for sure – almost all day every day – and they were more than happy to spend a week without jackets, hoods, boots, mitts, and tuques, but the monkeys were the big draw. It’s hard to disappoint on that front when you spend any time in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a nature lover’s delight. Its biodiversity is extraordinary; it is among the most biodiverse countries in the world and, given its relatively small size (similar in size to the state of West Virginia), it is considered to be the most densely biodiverse country in the world. It has tropical rain forests, cloud forests, mangrove forests, coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and also tropical dryland (aka deciduous) forests, which was the one Costa Rican ecosystem we hadn’t known about and the one we ended up staying in and exploring. Continue reading

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I know I keep saying this, but it’s time to start running again

I haven’t blogged about running for a while because, well, I haven’t been running! I’ve been going through a spell where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to again; a few energy and injury issues, an aging body, and it’s easy to convince yourself that your running days are over. For those of us who have found peace, exhilaration, and a sense of well-being on the trail (even when we hurt all over!), it’s something you miss when you don’t do it. And when I see younger people out running our trails, which until very recently have had a coating of snow and ice on them but beckon just the same, I’m jealous. Whenever an injury or some other impediment gets in the way of being able to run, I console myself by thinking about how lucky I’ve been to take up running at an advanced age and have had so many wonderful experiences, including several half marathons and two marathons, all with my husband and brother. After all, I did pass the 70 mark last year. Be thankful for what you’ve been able to do and just enjoy walking.

Well, I was all right with this philosophy until I read an article last week about a remarkable woman named Chau Smith. Smith lives in Missouri in the U.S. and has run over 70 marathons in her life, although she didn’t start running until she was 48 years old. An astounding record, right? But she decided she wanted to do something really special for her 70th birthday and so signed on for the Triple 7 Quest. Now get this, the Triple 7 Quest consists of completing 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days! Even the logistics of getting to seven continents in seven days presents a major challenge. Then of course there is the jet lag associated with the travel, which is something that I really, really don’t like. But all of that is nothing compared to the physical and mental challenge of running a marathon on seven consecutive days. These were her race destinations, completed between January 25 and January 31 of this year: Perth, Australia; Singapore; Cairo; Amsterdam; Garden City, New York; Punta Arenas, Chile; and King George Island, Antarctica. Nine people completed this extraordinary “quest”; needless to say, Chau Smith was the oldest. Continue reading

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Living your dash, remembering to take stock

Last week was a sad and sobering one for me. Two people whose lives had intersected with mine in very different ways passed away in the same week. The reality is that death is part of life, and at my age that reality hits you in the face more frequently than it used to, but these two cases in particular reminded me of the important message conveyed in Linda Ellis’s poem The Dash. These two individuals had never met, and their interests and talents were miles apart. But in reflecting on their lives and the loss being felt by those left to grieve, what is striking for both of them is the powerful impact each of them left on so many, many people. They both had a natural gift for mentoring others and used this gift to full advantage; they both lives their dashes exceedingly well. Continue reading

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Terry Tractor takes a trip

Another Hugh story, for kids 2 -5.  Kids 3-5 might also like the Robby Robin stories.

Terry Tractor Takes a trip

A tractor named Terry lived in a barn near the sea,

         with his friends the horses and lots of kitties.

They all shared a person called Grandpa McVey,

           who came to see them every day.

He came to feed them their oats and their hay,

           their cat food and gas, but mostly to play. Continue reading

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Amazon, Kindle, indie publishing, and the joy of reading

It was almost exactly 4 years ago when I wrote a previous blog post about my tentative introduction to eBooks. I haven’t gone on to become a big fan of eBooks as a substitute for having paper in my hands. I continue to buy more books than I can get through because they are so tempting, and our house is filled with piles of books on most flat surfaces. It’s who we are. But although I have not switched to eBooks as a substitute for piles of books, I have embraced it as a way to obtain and enjoy some extremely well-written, compelling, enjoyable, and/or informative books by self-published authors – or indie (independent) authors. In many cases, it’s the only available format for these books.

I don’t claim to be an expert on why it seems difficult to impossible for good authors to get in the door of a publishing house. I get that the business model for paper-based book publishing and bricks-and-mortar bookstores is changing, similar to the music, movie and TV industries. However, I do not understand why, in the process of figuring out how to continue to make money from selling books, the book industry turns away so many good books. And this is where the blogosphere has stood me in good stead. I have “met”, even feel like I have become friends with, a number of bloggers who have a passion for writing and a wealth of ideas for stories, and who have self-published one, two, or even many books in the past five years that I have been in the blogosphere. I stand in awe of their talent and their resolve. And I would have paid full bookstore value for their books, which in some cases instead I have only been able to get as a Kindle download from Amazon. Having said that, the books are in fact eminently and conveniently readable on my iPod – and very cheap. But there is little to no difference in quality between these books and many of the ones that cost far more through publishers. One set of authors is making a living from their writing and the other set is doing it as a labour of love. And therein lies the rub. Continue reading

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Sorry, but why do people keep saying that Donald Trump is the leader of the free world??

As most people around the world grow increasingly concerned about the erratic tweets, threats and general behaviour of the new president of the U.S., it interests me – actually, it astounds me – that in the midst of articles and speeches voicing these concerns, they continue to refer to the president as the leader of the free world. In articles in the Washington Post or the New York Times, or online at CNN – articles that Trump would call evil fake news, the refrain is that we expect more from the leader of the free world. I just read an article about the debate underway in the U.K. as to whether the invitation of a state visit for Trump should be rescinded, and those who believe the invitation should remain in place based their argument on the fact that he is the leader of the free world. In the U.K. Wow, old habits die hard.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, and similar to other definitions, all of which stem from the Cold War era, “free world” means:

“Those countries whose governments have been chosen in fair elections and whose people have full human rights, usually used to refer to the Western world in contrast to other countries, for example countries that have a Communist government: Wherever tyranny, oppression, and brutality have threatened the free world, our countries have stood for the triumph of good over evil.” Continue reading

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