THE FIRST STORY from Story Cubes Challenge – January 7 – 21, 2018

Lily Loves Scotland

The iron key, heavy in her hand, slid easily into the ancient lock. Lily cocked her head heard it unlock, turned the knob and gave the wooden door a gentle push. Nothing happened.  She leaned in and pushed with more authority.  The door gave a loud slow squeal opening into the small stone cottage that used to belong to her Great Aunt Flora.

With her luggage in hand, Lily steps through the threshold into the past and her future.

The last time Lily stood in this sitting room she was six, preparing to return home to Canada after 3 months running wild in South Ayrshire Scotland. It was the year her mother died.  Her father sent her to Straiton to stay with her mothers’ aunt while he finished his work in Egypt before settling into a new position at Brock University as Head of the Archeology Department. When she received word her aunt had died last winter her mind instantly returned to the last kiss and hug they shared, then through all the years in between that day and the day she held the letter in her hand.

Time hadn’t moved forward in the 20 years since she left.  The room was exactly the same, except the fireplace was cold and an electric heater had been installed on the back wall.

It was late, she could re-acquaint herself with the rest of Rose Cottage tomorrow.

Lily woke to a crack of thunder; a flash of lightning and raindrops sliding down the bedroom window.  She would get wet going into the village for groceries.  Until then breakfast would consist of the 1/2 submarine sandwich she put in the fridge last night and the unused teabag she had in her purse.

During the 15-minute drive into Straiton, the rain stopped and the fulgent sun peeked out to brighten the day as she wound past lush pastures, grazing white sheep and rock fences. Rounding a particularly sharp corner she had a spectacular view of a stunning rainbow shining above Monument Hill.  The countryside colours were brilliant.  Her eyes couldn’t take in all of the shades of green in the grasses, trees and shrubs, or how the blues in the sky and sparkling in the river set off the rainbow like a jewelled setting.  What a sight to see on her first outing.

In no time she was in the village scanning for parking.  Lily had her choice of spots on Main street and parked close to both the fresh market and the pharmacy. Everything was within easy walking distance, her shopping wouldn’t take her long, she could begin the job of sorting through Aunt Flora’s things earlier than she thought.

The bell above the door jingled as she walked into the market.  “Good Morning Miss, how may I help you?” asked the smiling clerk as she wiped her hands down the front of her Kelly-green apron and stepped away from the floral arrangements displayed in the front window.

“Hello, thank you, I am just picking up a few things. I may need some help finding some items, I have a list” Lily replied pulling the list out of her purse pocket.

“Here let me see what you need”, the clerk offered as she reached for Lily’s list.  Lily followed the clerk to the back of the store where the clerk moved in behind the meat counter and selected the chicken, pork, ground beef and bacon Lily had listed.  Each item deftly wrapped in butcher paper, tied with twine then handed to Lily who put them in the handbasket she had picked up by the cash register counter.

The clerk, looked down at the list then quickly but briefly glanced up at Lily and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?  “I’m not being nosy, it’s your accent that gives you away”.  She moved up and down the isles efficiently filling the basket with cans, jars, boxes, fresh fruit, vegetables, tea, coffee, bread, juice, butter, oil, garlic, basil, ginger tea and honey.   Lily smiled, “Yes, you are right, I’m not. I’m Lily from Canada, I’m staying at Rose Cottage.”  “Oh, you must be Flora’s niece from Calgary.”  The clerk reached over and took Lily’s hand in hers ” Your Aunt, she spoke very highly of you. I am so sorry for your loss. She was well loved here and is very much missed – God rest her soul.”  “I’m Heather and it is a pleasure to meet you Lily” She smiled again and continued to fill Lily’s shopping list.

As she collected the items and placed them in the basket, she showed each one to Lily who nodded her head in agreement.  Picking up a package of tea Lily commented: “Everything is so different here, even the Tea”.  Heather giggled, “Oh yes, everything is very different here in Scotland, I have a cousin who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario she says the very same thing about Canada every time she comes to visit my Auntie” Gently taking the package of tea the clerk turns the container over and points to the manufacturer.  “See this one, Wee Tea is grown right here in Scotland, it even won awards in Paris” “Imagine that tea from Scotland winning awards”.   She was so happy and proud of the home-grown tea, Lily grinned “That is so awesome! I’ll try the one you have in your hand.”  Heather’s smile stretched from ear to ear.

Wiping her hands on her apron she moved to the register with the basket “Well, that’s the lot. I’ll ring it up and see what the damage is”.  As she tallies the purchases and puts everything into crisp paper bags Lily wanders over to the front window breathing in the heady scents of the various flowers on display.  With a sense of accomplishment, Heather announces “There it is, a total of 50 pounds 30 pence”.  Lily looking confused turns and walks back over to the counter, Embarrassed, she apologizes “I’m sorry I forgot to convert my Canadian money into Scottish money.  Would you take Canadian cash?”  Reaching under the counter and bringing out the calculator, Heather laughingly responds “Oh yes Lily, I will calculate the conversion and sell the Canadian money to my cousin the next time she visits”.  “That works out to 85 dollars 40 cents Canadian.  Is that OK with you?”  Thank you, Heather, I will have to go into to Dalmellington and convert the rest of my cash – I appreciate you taking my Canadian money” “You are very welcome, it is my pleasure to help you out”.

She moves out from behind the counter hands Lily the two bags, picks up a small wrapped bouquet of jonquils pops it into one of the bags, reaches over and holds the door open for Lily, the bells jingling merrily.  ‘Welcome to Straiton Lily – I do hope to see you again soon”.  “Thank you for all your help this morning Heather, take care, see you soon.” Once outside the market Lily turns right down the sidewalk to the Pharmacy.

With her errands complete and ready to return to the cottage, Lily balancing two large fully stocked grocery bags, the aromatic bouquet of jonquils and a first aid kit inside a small handled shopping bag walks down the sidewalk toward her car.  Twenty steps from her car, she is stopped her in her steps by the sweet scent of cinnamon buns wafting out of the Buck Tea Room.  She can’t resist cinnamon.  It is her favourite sweet spice.  Five minutes later she is on her way back to the cottage with a cinnamon bun in a small bag.

Before she reaches the cottage, Lily pulls off the road at Tairlaw Linn, the Water of Girvan runs through the northwest corner of the Rose Cottage property. She was glad she wore her runners it will make it easier to walk down to the beautiful double waterfall. As she had done dozens of times during her Scottish summer Lily bends over and slides smoothly between the fence rails and follows the animal trail down from the road to the meadow and the stand of alders beside the river.  The air cool and crisp after the rain is full of the scent of wet earth, leaves and thistle. She takes it all in, breathes deeply and listens to the laughter of the water as it tumbles over the edge and splashes into the pool below.

Lily’s Aunt Flora died while Lily was in Thailand teaching meditation.  She didn’t learn of her Aunts death until she returned home and read the letter from her Aunts attorney, two months after Aunt Flora was buried.  Flora had left everything she owned to Lily; a few stocks; a large nest egg; and Rose cottage, including the 12 acres of property it sat on.  This waterfall was on that property. How many afternoons had she spent swimming in its deep pools before returning to the cottage for tea and sweets?

Sitting down on a fallen log Lily carefully pulls out and unwraps the still warm cinnamon bun. The icing generously slathered on the glaze is gooey, the glaze sticky in her fingers and palms. The bun is oh so delicious.  Her mouth waters as she eats leaving her wanting more.  It certainly makes up for the poor leftover sandwich she had earlier.  Savouring the cinnamon and sugar she licks and sucks every morsel from her fingers then knees down to swish her hands clean in the bracing water.  Too bad she couldn’t enjoy a quick dip today.  Something to look forward to when she needed a break to clear her head.   Returning to the car she allows herself to make plans to stop by again, next time with a bathing suit and a full picnic.

Back at Rose Cottage Lily unlocks the bright blue door and gives it a hard push picks up her groceries and once again steps into the home where she will discover the secrets of her past and the truth of her future.

1 – Globe – travel

2 – Scarab – death – funeral rites

3 – Flower – nature

4 – Abacus – ancient calculator

5 – Key – Access – secrets – truth

6 – Building – Cottage – Family

7 – Letter L – Lily – Linn

8 – Lightning Bolt –

9 – Rainbow? Waterfall?, River?  (Wasn’t quite sure what the icon was)

 

Cheryle – January 2018

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PBC – June 2017 – Use a Different Lens

PHOTOBLOGGERS CHALLENGE – JUNE 2017 – USE A DIFFERENT LENS

Many years ago, I purchased my first SLR camera – A Chinon. I loved it!  I was in heaven snapping pictures in my living room, on the street, in the park, or off my balcony, where ever I was.  I barely learned how to use the ASA, F-stop and Aperture functions before developing the film became too expensive.  The undeveloped rolls languished in my fridge for 20 years or so.  A sad state of affairs.

One day, when I was feeling particularly unhappy, I swept into the camera store and walked out with a Nikon D60,  three lenses, a couple of filters, a charger, an extra battery, a cleaning kit, and a camera bag. I was in heaven.  The one and only time I treated myself to such an extravagant shopping spree.  I smile every time I think of it.

This month’s A lil Hoohaa – Photo Bloggers Challenge is to use a different lens. This technical challenge was the impetus I needed to finally start to figure out how to use my NIKON D60 in a mode other than “Auto” or what I call “Running Man”.  The Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D lens I opted to use for this project has never been used previously.  It has lain in the camera bag sad and unwanted.  Not unwanted because it was considered inferior, unused because I was intimidated.  After all, it is a manual lens. In my mind, I could only use it if I knew what I was doing.  And I don’t.  So it sat inside its black bag, waiting for me to know what to do.

I enjoyed this challenge, more than any of the others I have participated in.  I learned a few things, I remembered a few things, and I;m anticipating future fun.  The photos look more 3 dimensional, the colours appear to be richer, the textures more touchable, and  f/11 is still my favourite f-stop.  I look forward to using this lens on a regular basis.

Anemone a

Anenome – 1/2000 sec f/14.50 mm ISO 3200

Columbine aColumbine – 1/60 sec. f/20.50 mm ISO 200

columbines spruce texture aTextures – Columbine blossoms, Spruce Tree & Peony leaves – 1/80 sec. f/11.50 mm ISO 1600

Rose bee aRose Bee – 1/400 sec f/5.50 mm ISO 200

 

Velvet Petals aVelvet Rose Petals – 1/30 sec. f/22.50 mm ISO 800

Cheryle – June 2017

Please stop by A ‘lil Hoohaa to see the rest of the entries for the

A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Bloggers Challenge June 2017

 

 

 

 

SPRING IS HERE

Today, the last day of April finally heralds spring to our small garden.

As usual, we lived through every season this month.

The messengers of spring nudged their way above the ground in the hope the frost is gone and spring is here to stay.   The sun and the warm wind strengthened their roots and stems so they could push their way up out of their covered beds.  The rich rain and the snow blanket nourished and protected the tender leaves as they slowly stretched their tendrils from the soil to the sky.

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The Peony pokes its nose above last fall’s leaves.  It grows straight and tall preparing for the heavy white blooms of July.

Peony a

The tiny fingers of the tender bleeding heart gather sunshine and air. Growing long and flexible for the pink and white hearts that will dangle there.

Bleeding Heart a

The first blooms of the Silia bring hope to those of us eager for our gardens to grow and blossom with the summer.

Silia d

The alien eyes of the Rhubarb unfurl its ruby red stem and iconic leaves. The perfect harbinger of spring.

Rhubarb a

I know tarts aren’t too far off.

spring baked fresh

In love and light

Cheryle

April 30, 2017

The Community Associations’ Winter Carnival 2016

Today was a day filled with children and activities definitely outside my comfort zone.  Today the Community Association held its Winter Carnival.  Today I played with children of all ages. Some were three and some were eleven and the others were all the ages in-between.

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Yes, I helped out at the colouring contest table sponsored by the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club.  We had a multitude of Christmas pictures to colour, crayons, and prizes to be won.  The kids lined up at our table excited to spend a few minutes shading stockings, wreaths, and Christmas trees with the waxy crayons. A chance to win a five dollar McDonalds gift card was an easy enticement for many of the young people tagging along behind their Mom or Dad as they wandered from booth to booth.  Alone in their zone, they chatted quietly about their schools, their ages, their siblings and in some cases current world events. “Yes, I am good with colour and drawing”, “My favourite colour is pink”, “I don’t live around here”.  One young artist didn’t want to enter the colouring contest, he knew he wouldn’t be back this way again.  Another so intent on her art, didn’t say a word.  Quietly, she slid the crayons back and forth transforming the white paper to green, yellow and red.

vendors

The carnival, so much more than our little colouring corner tucked into the back of the hall. It is a gathering place.  A place where old friends can reconnect after months or years of not seeing each other.  I ran into a young woman I hadn’t seen is 10 or more years.  I knew her as a cashier at Safeway working part time while in high school.  It took me a few moments to shake off my past image of her and accept a new one. So grown up now.  She has two children and is the imaginative creator of unique candy bouquets.   This event is a hub where local entrepreneurs  set up business for an afternoon, hand out their business cards in the hope of a future sale or commission.  Where home based artisans can share their artistry, adding to the vibrancy of our community.  The hall was filled with the soothing scents of peppermint soaps, chocolate arrangements, and the sharp aroma of herbal oils.  My eyes were treated to the sparkle of semi precious stones strung into bracelets and necklaces, and the bright warm colours of knitted winter hats and scarves.

Christmas carols hung on the air and kids acted out their favourite Christmas messages on the 80 year old auditorium stage.  The floorboards creaked as a Taekwondo team kicked and jabbed their way through their sparring program.  Little girls dressed in mukluks, their faces painted as Hello Kitty,  turned and twirled as they worked to figure out the hula hoop moves so easily managed by the older more flexible teenage girls.

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The Calgary Multicultural Orchestra treated everyone to a selection Christmas songs including winter wonderland, jingle bells and the first Nowell. (that is how it was written on the sheet music)  A beautiful and inspiring arrangement brought the sound of Christmas to our hearts.

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At the end of the day everyone had fun, Christine and I tried our own hands at colouring, and four young aspiring artists won gift cards worth the price of a McDonalds Happy Meal.

 

December 2016   Cheryle

Turmeric: True Gold

The topic for this post was suggested  by one of the members at the Ogden Seniors 50+ Activity Club  for publication in the April Newsletter .  I delayed posting it here until after the newsletter had been printed and distributed.   At the end of the post is a list of the articles I read as part of my research.  I hope this is the proper format.  I’m not a doctor or homeopath or any such person and want to make sure that my research is  available for any one who wishes to check it out for themselves.

TURMERIC:  TRUE GOLD

Put spice in your life and reap amazing rewards You can improve your health and wellbeing.

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Turmeric: True Gold

Turmeric, a rhizome native to India, has taken centre stage in the healing and wellness arena. It has the ability to positively affect more than 160 different physiological pathways, able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and is able to make your cells more orderly

Historically, turmeric was used as a flavour enhancer, preservative, and a food colourant in India, South East Asia and Africa.  Not only yummy it is beautiful too.  Due to its golden yellow colour it has been called gold.  It’s widely believed many of the ancient references to gold actually refer to turmeric, not to the soft yellow metal. Considered to be a holy spice for millennia, turmeric has been used in many religious rituals and ceremonies.  Thousands of years ago, Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners began to utilize and prescribe turmeric for a wide variety of ailments, including stomach, respiratory, blood and inflammation disorders, and to treat ulcers and wounds.

Today, scientists, researchers and big pharma are all investigating the healing and preventative properties of curcumin and turmerone, two of the bioactive ingredients found in Turmeric.  Curcumin, the more widely studied ingredient, has been found to have anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-spasmodic, anti-flatulent, anti-microbial and anti-mutagenic properties.  Turmerone, a volatile oil, has protective and regenerative properties. Wow!  These are just a few of turmeric’s qualities discovered, so far.

Studies report chronic inflammation is at the root of many illnesses and diseases, including heart ailments, rheumatism, and oral health.  Curcumin and other ingredients found in turmeric have demonstrated anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the pain and inflammation associated with certain types of arthritis. This promises an effective treatment for illnesses in which inflammation is either a precursor or primary symptom.

Of its’ many properties, the two most specifically exciting are turmeric’s neuroprotective and anti-carcinogenic effects. Good news for anyone who has witnessed the degenerative ravages Alzheimer’s disease or has first-hand experience with such cancers as colon, breast, and leukaemia.

Recent research has determined that in addition to anti-oxidant properties, turmeric inhibits the accumulation of the destructive amino acid peptides which form the sticky plaques that are indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.

Due to a process called apoptosis, in which cells literally commit suicide, Turmeric helps to inhibit the growth of abnormal cells which prevents the rapid reproduction of cancerous cells.

Turmeric, on its own is difficult to absorb into the body, therefore, unless prescribed or taken by supplement, make the most of Turmeric in your cooking by heating it, eating it with piperine – an ingredient in black pepper or with healthy fats such as Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut oil.

In conclusion, Turmeric is a versatile spice with a long history as a trusted remedy for a wide variety of ailments.  I suggest you look into the benefits of turmeric.  Talk to your doctor, your homeopath, or healthcare practitioner. 

References: include but are not limited to:
Turmeric: Doctors Say This Spice Is a Brain Health Miracle – from live in now Joshua Corn, Editor-in-Chief
-Turmeric and Curcumin: Biological actions and Medicinal Applications – Chattopadhyay, Ishita; Kaushik Biswas; Uday Bandyopadhayay; Ranajit K. Banerjee. Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences) ISSN 0011-3891.
-Role of Curcumin in systemic and Oral Health: An Overview – Nagpa M. Sood S. 3 Nat Sc Biol Med 2013:4:3-7 http://www.jnsbm.org/text.asp(2013/4/1/3/107253
Turmeric: How to Whiten Your Teeth – fitlife.tv/benefits-turmeric
This is A Must Read before Ever Using turmeric Again – Feb 22, 2016 – Healthy food House – http://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/this-is-a-must-read-before-ever-using-turmeric-again/
Turmeric – Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia

 

April 2016 – Cheryle

 

 

I Am A Volunteer – First Installment

Yes, I am a volunteer.  I have many skills and instead of letting them waste away with disuse I keep them sharp and up to date.  I believe in service and helping.   As long as I believe I am helping, I am happy.  I think I was born to be a helpmate.  Currently I volunteer at a seniors club, at a non-profit for meditation and I deliver bread from a Cobbs Bakery to a Family Resource Centre in my neighbourhood.

Ogden House 50+ is an active Seniors Club, with many ongoing and periodic activities scheduled for its’ many members.  I sit at the front desk once a week for 2.5 hours, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity.   I greet everyone who comes into the club, I will eventually know all of their faces, names and interests.  I think of each one of them as my friend.  I am an introvert who is able to handle this type of social interaction.

Wayne Cao Chili Cook Off_2013 07 06_0667I have fun maintaining the activities board and corresponding binder.  This way I can help any member who wishes to sign up or know what is going on.  I handle a small petty cash, so members can purchase tickets for the TGIF, pay for classes or buy crafts and memberships.  I also help in many other ways.  I take photos at events and helped out with the very first calendar the Club has published.  I had such a good time collecting the props, learned a lot about the publishing of a calendar and loved making sure the models felt like the pampered stars they are.

There are so many activities during the month for social members.  On the 2nd Friday of the month is the TGIF – dinner with club members, sometimes with entertainment and always an evening of fun for only $12.00.  Members get together weekly for Pot luck or pizza lunches, Happy hour on Friday, and to celebrate special events. Monthly they attend meetings, special event celebrations and one of a kind activities.

Active members can choose from Table Tennis, we have a skilled membership of award winning players, Zumba, Move N Mingle, Fit 2 Age, Aerobics, Yoga, Carpet bowling, musical and drama clubs are all options available to those who wish to maintain an active healthy lifestyle.  The Woodworking shop is fully equipped for the creation of individual projects or gifts for sharing with friends.   Members who enjoy a more quiet challenge can participate in:  Yoga, Tai Chi, Painting, Art classes, billiards & snooker or read a book from the library.

We have members who enjoy travelling to Rosebud for the plays, Canmore for the mountains and a meal at the Rose N Crown and those who sign up for the musicals or the comedies mounted by Stage West.

Yes, I am a volunteer, but not the only one.  Members, all 50 years and above are happy to offer their special skills or expertise to make this Club a busy happy place to be.  The volunteering opportunities are numerous and varied.  Casinos, Quilting, Craft Sales, board members, assistance in the kitchen or serving dinners, decorating or sitting on special project committees are just a few ways a person can contribute.

Come on in and check out this little club with the Big Big heart, I am positive there is something that will interest you to stay

Feb 7, 2015

Cheryle