FANTASIA – STORY CUBE CHALLENGE – MARCH 4 2018

Story Cube Dice Fantasia for Story No 4 due Mar 4 2018 Warrior Queen, Wishing Well, Mysterious Man Polling a Magical Boat (or Ferry Man on River Styx)

Troll, magical being, Golden Bird Cage

Singing Lyre, Ogre, Transforming Potion/Beer

Juliana, the Warrior Queen, stumbles on the roots running higgledy piggledy over the forest floor.  Her breath coming in gasps was difficult to catch.  For a moment she leans against an ancient wishing well the rough stones scratching her shoulder while she searches ahead for a glimpse of the river.  Seeing a glint of water off to the left of the trail approx. 40 feet ahead she knows she has a chance.

Behind her, she hears the troll crashing through the brush rushing closer every second she stands still.  With a groan, she lurches forward and pelts down the path toward the hope that the boat is waiting where the Ogre said it would be.

Bursting through the bushes and brambles she practically bashes into the brightly coloured bow resting against the bank. With a final thrust of her legs, she tumbles into the gondola, pushing the boat into the swift current floating her away from the small large eared demon pursuing her through the treetops.  The Ferryman deftly rows the boat into the centre of the river as Juliana settles herself on the cushions in the passenger bench.  Thwarted the troll and demon scream at her from the bank.

Taking a moment to breathe and slow her heart she surveys the contents of the cabin area.  Yes, everything is here, The Golden Bird Cage, the Singing Lyre and the Silver Sword.  The three items which fulfil the foretelling the coming of the New Age.  Sitting back contently she slowly sips a tankard of foamy rejuvenating potion.

 

Cheryle – March 4, 2018

This is an awesome, inspiring challenge.  Please visit all the participants at:    A ‘lil HooHaa Story Cube Challenge #4

 

 

 

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Preparing to Leave – Voyages – Story Cube Challenge #3 – Feb 4 to 18, 2018

Preparing to Leave

Voyages – Story Cube Challenge #3 – Feb 4 to 18, 2018

As the sun slowly rises above the emerald waters of Lake Mirabel, Finnola, the young queen of the small country Miravan, lifts the heavy bejewelled crown from her head.   Catching the flickering candlelight, the rubies and sapphires sparkle as she gently places it upon the purple velvet pillow resting in a glass case on a shelf in her jewel room.  Running her fingers through her thick blonde hair to smooth the tousled curls, she wonders how many weeks or months will pass before she can return to her beloved home snuggled here on the quiet shores hidden deep within the mountains, to once again wear this crown.

On the 10th anniversary of her coronation, as every ruling Monarch of Miravan has done since it became an independent country, she prepares to leave the turrets and comforts of her castle to embark on a census tour of the country. To anonymously visit every hamlet, village, town and city within it’s borders, to return to her roots, so to speak. The first decade tour is undertaken as a way for the Monarchy to re-acquaint themselves with their subjects, what they want, and need to be prosperous and happy, and to determine the state of the country, it’s needs and strengths.

The people of Miravan live in either the capital City – Miravanshire, or in one of the three towns, six villages, five small hamlets or the multitude of individual family homesteads scattered throughout the lush countryside. The towns and villages pose no hardship to reach, it will be the hamlets and the small sporadic settlements that will be difficult to access, where the landscape and roads become unpredictable.

To maintain her anonymity, she will travel disguised as a merchant searching for new trade partners and to purchase artisan crafts to sell abroad.

The glad-handing and posturing for the cameras always takes second place to the primary objective, usually a clandestine government investigation or research.  This year, samples of soil, and river, lake and rainwater will be scooped up into various flasks and beakers to be sent to sterile labs in the capital to determine the health of the environment. Over the past three decades the climate has been changing, the full effect on the environment needs to be investigated.  Additionally, selected farmers will be provided with seeds developed by the royal horticulturalists to flourish in any climate.  The experiment is to cultivate and establish the viability of these hybrid beans as an environmentally stable food source.

Planning for this project has been on going for the past 2 years. The Royal Designers have fabricated a Coat of Arms, shields, banners, and insignia for her company to display and wear.  They will be a small tight knit group able to move freely throughout the country, following wagon tracks and deer trails when necessary. She will be attended by Gillian – her personal companion, Cyrus – the Purser/Administrator, Thomas the biologist and four well trained guards, David, Brian, Melissa, and George. Each traveller will be mounted high upon a magnificent black war horse followed by a string of sturdy pack horses transporting their personal supplies, food, and camping gear, in addition to gifts significant to each municipality’s Trade Minister.

The journey is expected to take just under six weeks but could stretch to three months or more depending on the weather, unexpected events and who and what they may encounter along the way.

Her hair finally smooth, Finnola grabs her riding gloves, buckles her sword belt and leaves her private room looking forward to the thrilling adventure of meeting her beloved people.

 

Cheryle     February 2018

Story Cube Dice VOYAGES for Story No 3 due Feb18 2018

Beans or Seeds, Coat of Arms, Crown

Ax, Mountains, Flask

Camera, Sunrise over Water, Rain

STORY CUBE CHALLENGE 2 – JAN 21 TO FEB 4, 2018 – The Life of a Sports Writer

The Life of a Sports Writer

I want to be frank.  I lead a pretty glamourous life.  As a sports writer I get to see all the action. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I have to attend meetings, stand up and talk about what I have been doing, what articles I want to write, and occasionally I have to push my own point of view. Duke it out in the press room, so to speak.  I read a lot of newspaper articles to keep abreast of what’s happening where and who is up against who and when.   I cover the gamut from wrestling, acrobatics, Nordic walking events to community and school intramural activities.

I work for a small local newspaper, freelance on the side and have written a couple of books.  These jobs keep me busy and I skip all the way to the bank.  I can pay my bills and enjoy some of the finer things in life; drive a good foreign car, wear expensive clothes and spend my holidays somewhere hot where the water is warm, the days are long and the nights longer.

On a good day I watch a game, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, from the best seat available or if I’m very lucky, from a VIP suite with the owners and other press reps.  These are usually pretty sweet deals as they are catered and I can scarf down some wings and appetizers and enjoy a beer or two, before I head out to the sports bar down the street from my apartment.  I enjoy taking in tennis, curling or golf on the tube.  I can talk with the armchair critics and get their take on the players, teams and coaches.  The word of the man on the street always makes for good copy.

After the bar I take my notes back to my apartment, write up my article and sleep in my king-sized bed.  In the morning I email it to my boss.  Usually he prints it as it is but once in a while he makes changes, which drives me crazy, it makes be feel like I’ve been burgled, but what’s a guy to do?  It’s my boss.

I love my job writing for the newspaper, it gives me the freedom and the action I crave.  Sometimes it is a little like jumping off a ledge, not always knowing what the day will bring or what I will say before the article is finished.  Writing the books is more like bricklaying.  There is a formula, as long as I follow it I’m laughing.  All in all, as I said I lead a glamourous life and I love it!

Story Dice for Story No 2 due Feb 4 2018

ACTION CUBES

  1. Burglary – stealing
  2. Sleeping ? I’m not exactly sure what this Icon represents
  3. Fighting, Wrestling
  4. Bricklaying
  5. Reading
  6. Jumping or skipping down stairs
  7. Talking
  8. Walking
  9. Acrobatics, Summersaulting or skateboarding

Cheryle – February 2018

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

PBC – July 2017 – Point of View

PHOTO BLOGGERS CHALLENGE – JULY 2017 – POINT OF VIEW

This month’s challenge is Point of View.  It took me a few days to figure out what that meant for me.  Inspired by    GeoKs June 2017 Photo Blogging Challenge submission of a columbine from behind, I had fun photographing my subjects from underneath, a very different perspective and I believe an interesting “Point of View”.  All but the last photo were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.

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From underneath the rose bush, shooting to the sky, I can see the many shades of rose bush green as blue-sky peeks through the branches.

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Since the camera was in “Selfie” mode I had difficulty keeping myself out of the picture.  As is evident with the shot of the Monarda, common name – Bee Balm.

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The ripening raspberries happily hang hidden away beneath the prickly canes.

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This year I grew zucchini in what I call “the Mediterranean Garden” located on the south side of the house. With its’ ruffles and veins, the translucent yellow flower looks so much more delicate when seen from underneath.

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This “underneath” photo was a bonus of pure luck when I stepped outside and just happened to glance up, I was greeted with the graceful flight of a dozen or more Pelicans enjoying the cloudless day.

I want to thank PJ for hosting these challenges.  I am grateful for the stretch outside my comfort zone and the enjoyment and ideas I get from  checking out the offerings from the other members, which you can check out here:    A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Blogging Challenge – July 2017 – Point of View

Cheryle July 2017

 

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