A Teeny Tiny Salamander

I was out in the garden and lifted a pot on the patio to clean the dirt under it, when I saw what looked like two worms, who skittered away so quickly I was surprised worms could move so fast. They were about one and a quarter inches long, (3 centimetres) and had teeny tiny legs and feet. One of them slid down a crack in the concrete and the other fled under another pot. I quickly grabbed my camera and took a picture with my macro setting. After much searching in my books, they look like Ensinatas which do live on the coast and can be very small. Someone might find them to be a different species, such as the Pacific western Salamander, but they are longer and skinnier.

My partner and I war so delighted to see those tiny creatures, as I had never seen any salamanders of any kind in our garden here on the west coast. They have moved on, but I know they are around somewhere, doing their best to hide from predators.

Ensinata? Salamander

Ensinata? Salamander

Reading by author in Chemainus

Book Poster

Book Poster

 

Mrs. B. and The Really Big Book Launch

Mrs. B. likes to write and she mostly likes to write stories for children, but specifically for the child in herself. Stories for children have happy endings, or at least endings that give one hope. And so with the urging of Brad, her graphics designer-cum-slave-driver, she decided to launch her Other Side of Magic series, and after e-mailing notices to the local papers, she found a venue in a nice little café in town. Her slave-driver made the posters and she tottered about on her dicky knee and a developing bursitis in her left hip, putting them up on any empty walls that presented themselves, pinning up yet another notice that purported of great things in store for the reader—if only they would take advantage of the opportunity. She also placed them in store windows, (where allowed) libraries and other venues that were willing to take them. She hated this part, she felt like a shill, promoting goods of dubious value; but she did her best, feeling the lash of her slave-driver on her back if she faltered in her quest for that elusive fifteen minutes of fame. She would then run home to give solace to her partner Gord, struggling with the damage a double snow-storm had wrought on their big willow trees.
In her daily meanderings, after picking up new book-marks and business cards, she had come upon a small notice in a book store of yet another short story competition and she decided to enter. With only four days, to go, she spent hours on the computer trying to send her story and pay the required fee through PayPal. But due to a frustrating lack of PayPal savvy and other iniquities with the entry form, she gave it up and begged the people in charge that she be able to send the tale by snail mail, though the deadline was now only three days away, (two of them week-end days with the post-office closed). They agreed. That taken care of, she turned to her book launch—what to read from her books? And once that decision was made, to read them aloud to herself; and what if everyone was bored to death?
The Big Day came. It came but without a word of the book launch in the newspapers. It came while her partner loaded boxes of her books in the car and left, at her urging, for the Bonspiel in Duncan. It came with Jehovah’s Witnesses, (while she, still in her dressing gown, was reading a chapter aloud) determined to convince her that she needed God, their own particular God, in her life. It came with rain. It came with rain that did not rain mainly on the plain, it came as if it wished to wash out any thought or ambition of the populace to attend a book launch, let alone chance their children being washed away in a flood. But she carried on regardless, committed to stand before, she now believed, a non-existent audience and offer her childish ramblings to the dead air.
Debating the merits of God was a lot more fun.

She arrived at the café to find nearly all the parking spaces filled and so she parked some distance away. The owner suggested she park at the back: but confused as to what the back of the café looked like, she drove too far. In a hurry, as time was getting on, she backed up—into a post, crunching the car’s light and bumper. Stomach sinking but with the kind help of the owner, they carried in the boxes of books she had hoped, (when she foolishly started this enterprise) that the milling hordes of fans would rush in to buy. She also brought wine and cheese and cookies, only to find she had neglected to tell the good people of the café she would be providing food. They, unfortunately, were less than impressed at this, expecting that she would buy these goodies from them. Mrs. B. relented immediately and they made up a lovely plate of cakes for said hordes of people.
Unexpectedly, out of the rain, umbrella upraised and blowing in on an East Wind came dear Eliza to help Mrs. B. set up. Writing colleagues and friends, Tom and Sharon arrived. Then came Mrs. B.’s slave-driver, Brad, and his long suffering wife Peggy. Another dear colleague, Carol, brought her mum, and then, with a— ‘Here I am and you had better believe it!’— Sylvia blew in, determined to sit on anyone who gave even a hint of causing Mrs. B. any trouble. All during this time a young person sat at a table, as if there just to eat café food and leave; but she stayed, apparently for the reading.

Watching everyone have a good chat and wishing she were one of them, Mrs. B. decided it was time to bite the bullet. She began the reading, attempting to give life to her characters, to make a case for them, entering the lives of people who hopefully would like to know more. Gord arrived from the Bonspiel and she shook to her toes, aware she would have to tell him about the crunched fender. But she read on, aware that this was, after all, the Ides of March.
Her partner forgave her immediately, though the cost for the car is high. Added to the cost of books, posters, book marks, business cards and food, the day may or may not have been a success, but it certainly was a day she would remember, and only repeat if her slave-driver has no mercy.

It is with love she writes this, and thankfulness for the support of her partner, her friends, and the urgings of her slave-driver to keep going, even while all this marketing business turns her brain to mush.

Grabber’s New Christmas

Christmas will soon be here so I have a little play for you to try. I wrote it for The Night Visitors. If you get your brothers and/or sisters and your friends together, you might like to put the play on for  your parents  and other friends.

Grabber the Giant

GRABBER‘S NEW CHRISTMAS

SCENE I

Santa Claus enters his living room looking very tired and speaks to his wife who sits knitting on the couch

 SANTA— My dear, there are such a lot of children this year, I don’t know if we will have enough presents for them all. The elves just can’t keep up and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

MRS. CLAUS, (putting down her knitting)—Oh but we must! How would it be possible to leave anyone out. Have you counted all the toys? So many children have been good this year and there are so many poor children who deserve something nice for Christmas

SANTA—Yes of course I have counted them, but we are way short. Even without the bad boys and girls, there are still not enough toys for all. That awful flu we had in the fall really put us behind.

MRS. CLAUS—Would you like a cup of tea, dear?

SANTA— Yes indeed I would! Do you have any of those chocolate chip cookies you made the other day?

MRS. CLAUS— I’ll see, I think I have a few left. (Whispers to audience as she exits) I have to hide them or he eats them all up!

A very loud knock is heard at the door

SANTA  (calling)—Yes, who is it? (This time heavier pounding is heard)

 SANTA—I’m coming! I’m coming! Goodness me, who could it be at this time of night! (He opens the door to reveal an ogre)

GRABBER—(Stomping in and pushing his face into Santa’s) I never got any toys last year, or the year before that, or even the year before that! Well, I better get one this year, or else!

SANTA— (Putting his face back into Grabber’s) If I remember rightly you have been as bad or worse than the worst bully on my list! Didn’t you frighten a little girl nearly to death by hiding in her cupboard and jumping out and throwing a snake on her bed? And putting salt in the sugar bowls? And even worse, you go out of your way to step on spiders and pull cat’s tails! No, I’ll be giving our toys to children who help their parents and do their homework and are kind to animals. Oh no, my friend, the toys are not for you!

GRABBER—AAAAARRGH! I’ll crush all your silly toys! If I can’t have them, nobody can! (Grabs toys sitting on the sideboard etc. Begins to jump up and down on them in a tantrum) I never get anything! I Hate Christmas. I WANT SOME TOYS! (Throws himself on the floor and kicks his feet)

SANTA—Nope, sorry, not until you change your bad ways. Now, I think you had better leave.

MRS. CLAUS—(Arriving with the tea, puts it on the table) Oh goodness, we have a guest. Would you like some tea Mr…

GRABBER—Grabber!

SANTA—I think he was just leaving!

MRS. CLAUS—Oh no, Santa, not before tea! Would you like some tea, Mr. Grabber?

GRABBER—Oh yes, beautiful lady, thank you! (Gets up off the floor, takes her hand and kisses it. Santa looks astonished at this)

MRS. CLAUS— Tee hee! And do have a cookie. (Hands him a cup of tea and passes the few cookies on the plate to him)

Grabber grabs all the cookies and stuffs them in his mouth

Santa looks very angry as he see his cookies disappear

MRS. CLAUS—Oh my, you must be very hungry!.

GRABBER—Starving! 

(Mrs. Claus leaves to get more cookies)

SANTA—(Frowning even harder) I think Mr. Grabber has finished with tea. (Takes out his cell phone and calls his elves.) I think we have a 911 here!

 Four elves rush in and chase Grabber. He tries to fight them

but they wrestle him down and sit on him.

ELF—You want us to rough him up boss?

SANTA—No, don’t do that. Just let him up, but keep an eye on him.

Mrs. Claus returns with more cookies. Grabber gets up and looks pitifully at her

 MRS. CLAUS—Oh my, are you all right, Mr. Grabber? Really Santa! And you never even gave him a chance to finish his tea!

 Mrs. Claus brushes Grabber off and hands him another cup of tea

GRABBER—(Starts to cry) I never had any toys to play with in all my life. I don’t mean to be cruel. I’ll be good! Can’t I have just one toy?

SANTA—(Searches in his sack and finds a small Teddy Bear at the bottom) Well, if you really promise to be good, you can have this, but it’s all I can spare.

GRABBER—(Cuddling the bear) Oh, a Teddy all my very own! Thank you Santa. I will try to be good, but I really don’t know how. I only know how to scare people and do bad things.

SANTA—Hmm. I’ll tell you what, come with me and I’ll show you something that might help. Elves, saddle up Rudolph and Blitzen. We’ll see if you still want more toys after we get back.

MRS. CLAUS—Oh, do be careful dear, it wouldn’t do to have an accident this close to Christmas.

(Santa, elves and Grabber exit)

SCENE II

Children dressed in rags enter Some are coughing, others beg for food, holding their hands out to the audience. Santa and Grabber enter leading the reindeer.

SANTA—You see? There are so many children who are hungry and need so much. There isn’t even enough food to help them through the dark hours. I try to bring food to these children as well as toys in my bag. How can I give you toys when these poor young ones have nothing!

 Grabber—I didn’t know, Santa! I didn’t know! What can I do? Tell me what I can  do for these poor children?

SANTA—There are many things you can do but you will have to decide for yourself what is best for you.

GRABBER—I could make them laugh. People are always laughing at me.

SANTA—That is a gift indeed! Let’s see what you can do.

Grabber stands on his head, makes faces, sticks out his tongue. But that only makes the children afraid and they run away, all except one small child

GRABBER—Sigh, I guess I’m not very good at making people laugh. I guess I’m only good at making them scared of me.

SANTA—I thought you were pretty funny.

The child comes up to Grabber and takes his hand. He looks at the child, then hands her his Teddy Bear and a cookie he had hidden in his pocket, The child hugs him and exits

SANTA—That was very kind, Grabber. Now lets go home and see what we can do.

(They exit)

SCENE III

 Back at Santa’s house Mrs. Claus looks anxiously out the window

 MRS. CLAUS—Where can they be. It’s nearly Christmas Eve!

(Santa and Grabber enter)

 SANTA—Mother, this fine ogre wants to help out, but he doesn’t know what to do. Can you think of anything?

MRS. CLAUS—Indeed I can! He can help with the heavy lifting and carrying. He could even help finish the toys in the shop.

GRABBER—Make toys! Oh, can I? Oh thank you, dear Mrs. Claus!

SANTA—You can go with me and help me take the toys and food down the chimneys. We’ll dress you like one of the elves so the children who might be still awake won’t be afraid of you. What do you say?

GRABBER—This is the happiest day of my life!

MRS. CLAUS—(Hugging Grabber) What a good Christmas we will have, and you can stay for dinner with us. What do you say, my dear.

SANTA—As long as he doesn’t eat all the pudding!

Cast of children and elves enter and all sing together

Christmas Time, Christmas Time,

Christmas Time is near

Leave aside, leave aside

Put aside your  fear

With joyful hearts, with hopeful hearts

We will try to steer

Our course for good to last and last

To last and last the year

Christmas Time, Christmas time

Peace and Joy to yours and mine

Do good to all, in this aspire

And you will find your heat’s desire

Christmas Time, Christmas Time,

Christmas Time is near

Leave aside, leave aside

Put aside your  fear

With joyful hearts, with hopeful hearts

We will try to steer

Our course for good to last and last

To last and last the year

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Grey Whale

This is a sculpture of a mother Grey Whale rushing north to her feeding grounds

This is a sculpture I made of a mother Grey Whale as she rushes north to her feeding grounds with her calf, while trying to avoid Killer Whales who would try to catch her young one.

Gertrude

Gertrude, our little Green Frog, has left us. She hid all winter under her favourite pot of Marsh Marigolds and oh joy, appeared one day sitting amongst the blooms.

Gertrude

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Then last week she just disappeared. My partner Gord and I believe she went back to the creek to look for another pond. She had become so fat we think she was full of eggs and was looking for a daddy for her babies.

Askew Creek

We wish her well and hope she soon finds her Prince Charming.

Gertrude the Green Frog

 

 

We miss her, the pond is very lonely without her. But we do have a pair of ducks who come every year for a visit.

 

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Pumpkin’s List

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a pussycat
And very small is she
She has a little pencil
And a notebook on her knee

She’s made a list of all the things
She’d like to do today
So with her little pencil wrote
‘First of all comes play’

Number two — ‘Now let me think
Oh yes, it’s pester Maybelle’
And three — ‘it’s pester her again
and chase her round the table’

And then she’ll maybe take a break
For milk and meat and pats
Then back to work with Number Four
‘I’ll get those pesky rats!’

A Fantasy

Here is a poem I wrote many years ago when my children were small and I didn’t get out much. I was looking out the upstairs window one breezy sunny day and a spider went sailing by, its silky thread stretching up into the blue. I sighed as I watched and then these lines flew through my head and I wrote them down. Perhaps others who have also experienced this feeling will enjoy it as well.

Spider, spider
in the air
Hanging from a cloud
somewhere

Silver thread
filled with light
A fallen moonbeam
stolen from the night

Please stop, cried I
but she can’t stay
I’ve diamonds to gather
fore morning. Good day

With sails set
and breezes blowing—
Oh, I wish that
I were going