Story Cube Challenge No 5 – Looney Tunes due March 18, 2018

Story Cube Challenge No 5 – Looney Tunes due March 18, 2018

Story Cube Dice LOONEY TUNES for Story No 5 due Mar18 2018

The Acme Crate sitting on my porch was stenciled just like the one on the Road Runner cartoons.  A big wooden box nailed around the statue of Marvin the Martian I ordered off the internet 3 weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get it inside and pry it open with my cat’s claw.

Reaching for the front door I  heard a slimy squishing sound as I stepped into what looks like contact cement.  The can, knocked over by my cat while chasing after a piece of Swiss cheese as if it were a mouse, lay on its side empty and I was “glued” to the spot.  Thinking quickly, before the glue had time to set; I grabbed the plunger resting against the porch railing and pushed it against the door with all my might until it grabbed hold of the flat wooden surface.  Now reversing my efforts I pulled, and pulled hard.  As expected the plunger released its grip with such force I broke free of the glue, windmilled backwards beyond the top step and fell flat on my back on the sidewalk.  Dazed I watch stars dance above my head.

I guess this settles the ongoing argument I had with my roommate that weird things do happen when an Acme Crate is involved.

Visit A ‘lil HooHaa Story Cube Challenge March 18 2018

Cheryle March 18 2018


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


The question of when to meditate can be answered with a quick “whenever you can”.  However that is an answer easier said than put into practice.  In an ideal world our lives would have sufficient unencumbered time to do everything we want, when we want to do it.  Today, that is hardly the case, we rush, from waking through the day keeping up with all of our obligations until we fall into bed at night and hopefully a restful sleep. With all of this busyness, when do we find time to create and maintain a meditation practice? 

We have all been told how important it is to meditate daily.  The benefits are well documented, the reduction in stress, anxiety, an increase in a calm wellbeing and the achievement of a tranquility we cannot obtain any other way. What wonderful attributes to aspire to.  Unfortunately, aspiration alone does not bring about peace of mind.  We have to exercise our intent through consistency, determination, confidence and patience.  

Deciding to meditate or setting the goal to meditate daily is the very first step to creating a successful practice.  Bringing that decision to fruition involves all of the steps we normally follow in order to accomplish any endeavour we undertake.   

How long will you meditate? 5 minutes 3 times a day,  15 minutes, 1/2 hour an hour?  How long do you want to meditate, how much time can you dedicate to meditation?  How much time will offer you the benefits you are looking to cultivate?  Once you determine how long you want to meditate make that an agreement you keep with yourself.

Decide when the best time would be for you to meditate.  Does your lifestyle offer you the opportunity to meditate at the same time in the same place every day?  Some people prefer to begin their day with a quiet meditation practice to gather their energy before facing the chaos.  Others find that calming the mind before bed works wonders for a deep restful sleep.  Would taking time during the middle of the day recharge and refresh you, make your more alert for your work and business?  

 Answering the when question occasionally involves answering the where question.  Where can you meditate during your day? There are many opportunities during the day,  many places that offer the quiet time needed to meditate in your room at home, your office, the bathroom at work, while waiting for a Doctors appointment, as a passenger in a car, taxi, on a bus,  

bench-for-meditation       or in the park outside your office at lunch.

Granted the Doctors office is not the optimal place to meditate, however it can offer you a quiet time to slow down during a day that is running on fast forward.  Rarely do patients talk to each other while waiting to discuss their personal health concerns with the Doctor. You don’t need to sit in the lotus position.  Quietly, sit in the waiting room chair,  close your eyes and begin your practice.  I usually keep my sunglasses on.  Nobody even knows my eyes are closed.  Set an alarm on your phone and place it in your pocket, it will silently alert you when the appropriate time has elapsed, without alerting anyone else.

While creating your meditation practice you may wish to consider if you prefer to meditate on your own, with a group or a combination of the two choices.  Each option has it advantages.   Give yourself the opportunity to attend a group meditation at one of your local meditation centres.  See how meditating with others may expand and enrich your own private practice. 

Be diligent and consistent in your effort.  Return each day to your practice.  Sit for the agreed time.  Maintain your focus on your chosen object, gently bring your mind back when it wanders off to finish the shopping list, or think about that email you need to send to a colleague. 

Follow the teachings you have been taught,  give yourself time to develop and grow within your practice.  Understand there will be days you will be frustrated, your mind won’t cooperate.  It will open a multitude of doors, releasing all sorts of thoughts and images to crowd out any attempt at calm.  Be patient.  There will also be days when your concentration will be like a sharp knife you steadily hold on the object of your focus.  Recognize and be aware of these small victories they will build your determination to continue, your confidence in yourself. 

Be determined not to give in to procrastination, laziness, or other attempts to avoid your practice.  Our mind can play many tricks on us in an effort to lure us away from meditation.  Meditation is a way for us to exert control over our mind, over our emotions.  It is a way to rein in the chaotic or looping thoughts.  Our Ego doesn’t want this,  it wants to be in charge, allowed to do whatever it desires with emotional abandon all the while wrecking havoc on our lives.  Each time you overcome an obstacle to your practice you strengthen your confidence.  Honour yourself –  Keep your promise to yourself meditate everyday.

Be confident in your ability to continue, have faith in yourself.  Practice daily.  Step by step your initial attempts will become an anticipated and appreciated daily habit. You will overcome any barrier you may place in your path.

Be patient. The benefits won’t be noticeable right away.  It will take time to build your practice and to see the positive results. Your friends and family may recognize the benefits before you do.  Keep at it.  Little by little you will become calm and experience more of the beauty in life.

Only you can experience your practice, reap its benefits, overcome the challenges.  Only you can appreciate your effort and only you can know when is the best time for you to meditate.  The first step is to decide to do it and then follow through. 

Bring harmony into your life, begin your practice. 

Cushion or Chair.jpg      Your meditation chair or cushion awaits you. 


Cheryle, October 2016


Orientation Day is coming and as usual I become more excited with each day counting.  I volunteer as an Assistant Meditation Instructor for Willpower Institute North America, a non-profit organization that specializes in teaching Samatha Meditation.  Samatha meditation is the technique used by the Forest Monks of Thailand to achieve tranquility and gain wisdom.

Each year, the six month Free Meditation Instructors Course begins with Orientation Day when the Venerable Meditation Master from Thailand, PhraDhammongolayarn Viriyang Sirantharo , speaks to new students about the 6 month course he developed as a way to achieve his vision of world peace.   True to the heart of a Buddhist Monk, Luangphor does not require anyone to pay to attend the course.

Luangphor speaks at Orientation day 2011.jpg

Luangphor, the loving honourific by which we call PhraDhammongolayarn, is  96 and has been an ordained Monk since he was a young man of 20.  It took him 20 years to translate his meditation experiences into the three text books, which form the basis of the theory portion of the course.  In addition to instruction in theory,  the course includes the  practice of walking and sitting meditation.

Walking Meditation b

Meditation increases one’s mind power which ultimately allows the meditator to exact control over the emotions, to maintain a distance from the everyday drama and chaos.  It nurtures the mind, gives it the space to remember it’s true nature is love and compassion.  Getting beyond the looping thoughts, past the stress of anger, resentment and greed,  brings about a peace of mind that enables the meditator to move through daily life with ease and contentment.   It helps to improve sleep,  decision making, personal and business relationships and brightens cognitive activity.

2016 poster test 4.jpgWillpower Meditation Centres are also located in:  CANADA:   ALBERTA:  Edmonton, BRITISH COLUMBIA –  Vancouver, ONTARIO – Kanata , Richmond Hill & Niagara Falls  UNITED STATES:  TEXAS – Houston & Dallas,  CALIFORNIA – Los Angeles. THAILAND : there are over 100 branches in Thailand.  New centres have recently opened or are planned to open soon in a number of European countries,  in China and in India.

I invite you to join me September 3rd at 7248 -25th St. S.E., Calgary to see for yourself how this simple meditation technique can benefit you.  Click here to   Register for Calgary Meditation Instructors Course 2016


Cheryle –  August 2, 2016










Drums on a Blue background   An unusual event took place in the Ogden House auditorium on May 5th, 2016.  For those members sitting in the lounge at the time, they heard and felt a rumbling never before experienced at the club.  What could it be?

a drum circle begins

A drum circle, of course.

As we arrived, each of us looked around the auditorium, skeptically, and wondered what had we gotten ourselves into?  The chairs were arranged in a large circle with a drum sitting in front of each spot.  Jamie Gore,  a Drum Circle Facilitator with Circles of Rhythms, greeted us and invited us to select a seat and a drum.  There were colourful Cuban Tubanos, shapely Djembes, and graceful Frame drums, all waiting to release their voices with just a touch from a drummer.

Each drum style, is unique in the way it looks, the sound it makes and in the way it is played.

A cuban drummer a   The Tubano, a tall floor standing drum, is played by used two beaters to hit the drum skin and by striking the hard straight side of the body with the beater handles.

A couple of djembe drummers   The Djembe, a goblet shaped drum from West Africa, is held between the legs, and is tilted slightly forward to allow the voice of the drum to escape through the bottom of its hollow body.  The drummer beats the drum skin with their open hands or the drum rim with their fingers.

a community drum with two frame drums  The community drum and the frame drums are used to keep the beat and set the pace for all the other drums.  Historically,  the frame drum is believed to have been styled after the original drum, which was developed from the grain sieves used by ancient agricultural communities.

a bunch of percussion

As the short hour flew by, everyone had an opportunity to try out each style of drum, and to play one of the percussion instruments which had been laid out on the floor in the centre of the circle.

a painted drum  We drummed for ourselves, we drummed for each other, and we drummed for those fleeing the fires in the north.  We energized our bodies, our minds, we played with our hearts and our spirits.  The room vibrated and bounced to the sounds we made.  Our faces broke out in smiles, our feet tapped in rhythm while our arms beat in time to each other.

a djembe quartet


A flute soars    Karin Foster, a musician and a Circle of Rhythms drum circle volunteer generously treated us to two haunting melodies played on her American Indian Flute.

A mother listens to her daughter play a  We sat quietly and meditated as her energy and love filled the room.

I had a drumming good time and look forward to the next drum circle, but from the looks on the faces of the members sitting in the lounge as we left, the next circle will need more chairs and more drums.

a gourd sound

Cheryle – May 2016

Originally published in the  Ogden House 50+ Seniors Activity Club – June Newsletter




The Photo Bloggers Challenge – November 2015


The challenge this month was just outside of my comfort zone.  I like to sleep in, the later the better.   I thought I was going to have to pass on posting something, but I did manage to crawl out from under the comfy covers and capture something of what the world is like in the morning.   In a couple of cases, I didn’t even crawl out but took the pictures where I lay as my eyes opened.  I hope you enjoy.


The sunlight streaming in from the east as I shake the sleep out of my brain. I grabbed my cell phone and took this picture before I was fully awake.


The sun shines on the northern wall igniting the mirror and mask with morning light.  The quote by the Dalai Lama reminds me that I do need to do what I need to do in order to complete the challenge.  I kept it in mind as the month progressed with few pictures taken.

Morning Moon Nov 29 2015_0005

Good Morning World.  The night lights are still lit as the sun rises in the east as I decide I must make the effort to rise to the theme of the challenge.

Morning Moon Nov 29 2015 A

The morning moon slow to set in the west.


Coffee, the only reason I am still awake.

A ‘lil Hoohaa Photo Bloggers Challenge November 2015 – Morning

You can find more Photo Bloggers Challenge – Morning posts  here.


Cheryle – November 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2015): Closeup

Close up – Up Close

I ventured out this month to visit one of my very favourite parks to photograph.  Carburn Park in Southeast Calgary.  It is a quiet gem, normally overlooked by many park enthusiasts.  On a good day, I can see Pelicans, Cormorants, various ducks, woodpeckers, one or two owls and deer.   The Pelicans were late this year, sitting on the Bow in mid-September when their usual visit occurs in late spring or early summer.  I wasn’t able to capture them this time, but I do look forward to next years’ opportunities.

Carburn Park is a popular spot for local dog walkers who enjoy a bit of exercise with their fur babies. There is no off leash area here, due to the abundance of wild life and the way dogs do like a chase whatever runs.  Therefore it is a once or twice around the lagoon before moving onto Sue Higgens’ Dog Park across the river or back home. The dogs appear to be content to wag their tails, scratch the grass, sniff the brush, and the trees that line the pathway. Occasionally they will catch the scent of a deer, squirrel or other park dweller, bark excitedly and try to follow their instincts into the woods. All the time, irritating their walkers who are so encapsulated in their world of walking and raising their heart rates, they don’t even look about to notice the life moving around them.

Often they miss, nature at large, up close and personal, right next to the pathway.  This is the perspective I chose for this months’ Photo Blogging Challenge.

 Nature Up Close and Personal

Crow n Bones

duck up 2

duck down 6

These last two shots were taken on a day when I was without my Nikon. Lucky me,  I had my little Ricoh.

This fat gopher bodes a late and mild winter as she basks in the October sunshine.

Fat Gopher

A young Mule Deer walks so close to the pathway I could touch her, if only she would let me.

Deer 1

Cheryle   October 2015