Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gather round the tree....


and sing songs of holiday joy.

Here is a song I wrote for my children when they were young.


What is the meaning of Christmas?
Is it holly boughs
And Mistletoe
And Christmas trees?
Is it pantomime
And magic shows
And stuff for free?
What is the meaning of Christmas
For you and me?

What is the meaning of Christmas?
Is it tinsel and turkey
And Christmas cards?
Is it stockings and presents
And Santa Claus?
What is the meaning of Christmas
To you and yours?

Christmas means something to everyone;
Christmas means sadness to some.
Christmas is happiness
And loneliness,
It is memories
And it’s the years to come.

Love is the meaning of Christmas,
Love is a friendly heart,
And children’s smiles,
Like candlelight.
Love is the reason
We are here tonight,
Love is all around
And can still be found
At Christmas time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Angels to Watch over Us


My thoughts go to all that have health problems or other issues and I am sending these angels to watch over you.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Snow

More snow, all last night, and all day today, it just kept falling, a clean white sound suffocating blanket of fresh snow. Few wandered out. It not being walker or cane friendly weather, I stayed in at gazed at it through the window, although briefly I did go out to walk my dog. I negotiated with extra cookies to get him to come back in. He could have played in it hours longer. The city is ill prepared for so much snow, and most stayed home. It is lovely thought, especially in the pre dawn hours, then to walk the dog is ideal, acres of virgin snow and just us and the stars out in it. The sound of the city dampened and my happy Belvedere making like a snow plough with his nose.


more snow

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Some new additions on my website, have a look

Please use either of these links:

Seasonal Animations

Gallery of Animation





Animations Just for Fun

Gallery of Animation

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Views from our Window at Sunset Bay

Cool Slideshows

Friday, October 20, 2006

Memories of Old Books


I enjoyed reading about early books from childhood days. I am adding a picture of an old style reading book to go along with the memories.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

From another brother

thought you might enjoy this

................................................................................

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught sooften?When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but onlypartially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybesome other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This wasworse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church.A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day atthe office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform."Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this.""Hello, Jack." No smile."Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids.""Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good."I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -just this once."Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roastbeef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?" "I know what you mean. Ialso know that you have a reputation in our precinct ." Ouch. This wasnot going in the right direction. Time to change tactics."What'd you clock me at?""Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?""Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket."Please, Jack, in the car"

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming itshut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window.The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad.Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license?Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever satnear this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left.There was Bob, a folded paper in hand Jack rolled down the window a meretwo inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip."Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreatin the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this onegoing to cost?Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket. Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killedby a car. You guessed it- a speeding driver. A fine and three months injail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters, all three ofthem. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times Ithought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Prayfor me. And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left." "Bob"

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down theroad. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, hetoo, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness andhugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message; pleasepass it along to your friends. Drive safely and carefully. Remember,cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.

papa

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

" If I Could Go Back"

If I could go back
way, way, way back
To the days of my chilhood
To the times when books were only
to be borrowed from the library
Not many I owned were beside my bed
Not many books were bought
by Mum or Dad
They came from the once a week trip,with parents
and my Brother
walking to the library

At school we had a very small selection.
Back in 1940 our school did not have hundreds
and hundreds of books
Was it because it was a poor school?
Was it like that in all schools?
Was it either of these two reasons?
I know not,it has only just
occured to me as I read
Gwens's story "Song of the Stars"

If I could go back I would
ask and look for such a book
Full of fairytale persons
Full of magic
Full of mystery
Full of wonder and adventure
I would look at the stars as I read her book
I would look at the mountains
I could imagine myself there
I would not need pictures
to show me ...
I would use my imagination

It would be an exciting read
Not like John and Betty books
which I always found wanting
I can't remember what books I brought
home from the library
but,I am sure they were not as wonderful
as Gwen's or I would remember them

Thank you for such a delightful story
in three parts,which I loved ,especially
waiting in anticipation for the next chapter
You may have been in another life Gwen
" A Story Teller extroadanaire"

Lois(Muse of the Sea) 13.9.06.

Song fo the Stars-Part III

Part III

The next night the children begged for the tale of Brothers Raven and Crow. Star Singer grinned and cawed realistically at the upturned faces,

“All of you know that we are not First Man. What happened to the First Men?” She waited with dancing eyes, then the children shouted raggedly.

“Great Spirit burned them up!!!”

“Yes dears, that’s right.” Star Singer took a deep breath before beginning the Tale of Raven and Crow.

“In the time before us there was First Man, the first people Great Spirit and Star Woman made. They watched their First Children with love and pride, but there was something wrong with First Man. It seemed that they were Trickster’s puppets, and gladly followed his yips and yowls.

Earth Mother grew sorrowful as First Men did not respect Her and treat Her with love. She sent Brother Rainbow Raven to Great Spirit begging his help. When Great Spirit saw First Men digging in the flesh of Earth Mother and spoiling the sweet Tears of the Mother.

It was with great sorrow and shame that Great Spirit chose to purify Earth Mother and begin again. He called Brothers Rainbow Raven and Many Coloured Crow to His Star Lodge and spoke with them.

“I must purify the Earth Mother, and make sure that none of First Men remain to injure Earth Mother. I must burn everything and start anew. I need Ravens and Crows to carry fire to all places and watch to make sure that nothing lives through the fire.

As sad as Brothers Rainbow Raven and Many Coloured Crow were, they agreed with Great Spirit, and said yes to his request.

Who knows why Raven is called Rainbow and Crow is named Many Coloured?”

“Because when Great Spirit made them, they had feathers in all colours!!” The children responded enthusiastically.

“Yes, they were beautiful to behold, with all colours shining in their feathers. Rainbow Raven was a bit more handsome than Many Coloured Crow, as his feathers glistened and changes colour in the sun.

At the time that Great Spirit decreed, a great flock of ravens and crows flew up to Great Spirit’s Star Lodge. He gave each bird a burning brand to start the fires with.

“What did the ravens and crows do then?”

“They flew back to Mother Earth!!” Some of the smallest children were dozing in their blankets, and soon their mothers would retrieve them, and then settle them into their furs in the tipi. As they had always done, the women brought each sleeping child up to Star Singer for a kiss before taking them to bed.

“They did, and as Great Spirit asked, they set fire to everything. Over and over the birds dipped low enough to set fire to grasses, lodges, and trees.

The other animals fled before the flames, mad with their fear of fire. First Man tried to fight the fire, go against Great Spirit’s wishes, but the fire was too great and every living thing on the world died in the flames.

When the Ravens and Crows returned to Great Spirit, he looked at them with sorrow. All of their pretty feathers had been burned black by the fire. No matter what they did to clean themselves the black remained stubbornly there.

Rainbow Raven has a ghost of his rainbow feathers, you can see them gleam with secret colours in the sun.”

Star Singer sipped from her bowl of cooled wild cherry bark tea. Then she began to sing, soft and low at first.

“Before The People
First Man
Walked upon
Mother Earth.
Great Spirit
Bade them love
Earth Mother.
Treat Her with
Kindness
And respect
At all times
In all ways.

First Man was
Rebellious
He refused
To do what
Great Spirit
Asked of them.
He dug metals
From the flesh
Of Earth Mother.
She cried out to
Great Spirit
‘Stop this hurt!’

Great Spirit
Looked down to
Earth Mother.
He saw the scars
In her flesh.
He smelled
Filth in the
Sweet air.
He saw the
Good water
Defiled,
Too despoiled
For any to drink.

He called to’
Rainbow Raven
And his cousin
Many Coloured Crow.
Help me undo
The hurt done to
Earth Mother.
Purify Her
And begin life
Over again.
Raven and Crow
Honour Great Spirit.

They carried fire
Over the world
Diving to start
Cleansing flames.
Over and over
They swooped
Low to ground.
Touch the
Brand to grass,
Light the trees.
Burned away
All First Men.

Raven and Crow
Returned to
Great Spirit
In Star Lodge.
When he saw
Their feathers,
He wept for
Lost beauty.
No longer did
They shine all
Colours under
The warm Sun.

Now they were
Shining Black.
They sacrificed
Their beauty to
Obey Great Spirit.
They tried to
Wash the smoke
And ash from
Their feathers.
Still they were
Shining Black
As storm clouds.

Great Spirit
Bade them stay
Become His
Messengers.
Raven and Crow
Were honoured.
They remained
Awaiting His call.
Great Spirit
Looked down
And saw lonely
Mother Earth.

Star Woman
Came at His call.
Together they made
The world anew,
All of the things
In the Seas,
Every growing
Tree and flower.
The Animals
Great and small.
And Second Man
Came to be also.

The People
Looked at their
World and they
Knew wonder
And gratitude
To Great Spirit.
“We thank you.”
Tell us, please
How to serve
You, Star Woman
And Mother Earth
The best we can.”

Great Spirit,
Star Woman and
Mother Earth
Knew great joy.
“Know us as
Mother and
Father to you,
Obey our wishes
Love and respect
Mother Earth.
Obey My Laws
Follow Star Woman.”

The People still follow Great Spirit’s Way, honouring Earth Mother, praying to Great Spirit, honouring Star Woman; they remember to thank Earth Mother for their food. They honour the spirits of the food they gather, the trees they use to build canoes, lodges, and the Sacred Sweat Lodge. They respect their Mother, and all the living things on Her.

To this day, Brothers Raven and Crow are honoured for their obedience to Great Spirit and carry his messages to The People. Mother Earth rewards us with Her abundance and variety. From her we get the plants we use, the animals we hunt, the waters for us to drink.

Great Spirit’s heart is full of love and pride of The People, and he brings them many blessings, and a life that is good, and happy. Every time you sing a thank you for leaves, berries, rice, or the meat in the stew, you are thanking Great Spirit and honouring Earth Mother.”

The fire was down to simmering coals, and all but the eldest of the children were asleep. Star Singer looked at all the faces, flushed with sleep and happy.

“Great Spirit, thank You for bringing The People together, and the children to my tipi, I will never be old, or be unhappy with the life You have given me.”

Friday, September 08, 2006

Song of the Stars- part II

PART II

The children began to mass around the tipi as soon as they had eaten their evening meal and washed themselves. There was nearly ten tens of children waiting for Star Singer, whispering amongst themselves and giggling in their blankets.

It was extremely rare for a woman to be given a totem spirit as powerful as Star Singer’s, but it had to be Brother Eagle, for he was the one who carried people to the Stars when they died. Yet, her spirit guide was a gentle doe, with liquid dark eyes, and graceful motions.

Many winters, as Star Singer and Winter Moon squabbled happily; Winter Moon would mutter mock-angrily, “Woman!! I am not prey, nor an enemy, save Brother Eagle for those, and let the doe come and be with me.”

She would return in kind, “Man!!! If you wish it that way, then silence your Badger totem, and let me enjoy the company of your Swan spirit guide.”

They would laugh, embrace and then return to what they were discussing in greater harmony. Normally, such an unusual arrangement, four people, all unrelated and unwed in the same lodge was not done. But, the arrangement worked so well, in many ways for these four, that it was accepted fully.

Star Singer came slowly from her tipi, carrying two buffalo hides stitched together and stuffed with fur, and a blanket that was soft and almost furred by age and washing. Her dress, legging and moccasins were beaded in blue and white, with the constellation of Star Woman prominently displayed.

The children shouted joyous and loving welcomes to Star Singer, she was know throughout The People for her generosity, kindness, and gentleness with children. There was not a child in The People that had not sought the comfort of Star Singer’s lap when they frightened or hurt.

Star Singer smiled, two crooked teeth were all she had left in her mouth, and they were worn small. She waggled her tongue at the children between the teeth, and her face crinkled with delight when the children laughed at her antics.

“I suppose all of you wish to hear the Star Woman Song?” Star Singer knew what the answer would be before she asked.

“YES!!!” Many voices shouted this gleefully. The Tradition of Singing of Star Woman first had begun when these childrens’ grandparents were sitting at Star Singer’s fire, hearing the Songs. Over ten Summer Gatherings it was always Star Woman Song that was requested first. What had begun as chance was now Tradition, and a comforting Tradition at that.

Star Singer settled on her buffalo hide cushion and wrapped frail-seeming shoulders in her blanket. The children moved as close as possible, everyone was surrounded by a glow of warmth and anticipation.

“It was in the winters
Before The People
Came into being
That Star Woman Came.
She saw Mother Earth
And thought her lonely.

All praise Star Woman.

Star Woman spoke to
The Great Sprit of this.
He agreed, Mother Earth
Needed children to love.
Together Great Spirit
And Star Woman
Fashioned The People.

Brother to the wild things.

From the dust of the Stars
From the Oceans made them.
Gave them life with
A warm breath from
White Tatanka’s mouth.

Awaken, Great Spirit’s children.

Blessed them with
Plenty, and faith.
Set them in a good land.
Made us caretakers
Of our Mother Earth.

Walk softly on our Mother.

Great Spirit spoke to them,
‘Care well for your Mother,
Love her, keep her happy.'
I will watch over you,
And shine upon you.

Great Sprit’s first promise.

In times of great trouble,
I will return to you,
And never abandon you.
You are my children,
Born of the dust of the stars
And the tears of Mother Earth.

Heed Great Spirit’s words.”

As Star Singer sang she pointed to the heavens, blanketed with innumerable stars and worlds. Often, she would draw in the soft dirt; figures of Star Woman, Mother Earth and Great Spirit, then draw the stars that were Star Woman.

Song of the Stars

PART I

The People had met for their Summer Gathering at this place as far back as could be imagined. Trickster’s Lodge was the perfect place, it had good hunting, fresh water, plenty of space and firewood.


Trickster’s Lodge was a massive up thrust of volcanic rock towering over the plains and forest below. Legend said that Trickster, in his great vanity, had begun to build a tower to reach the Stars and trap Thunderbird in the lodge he had made.


However, when Great Spirit and Star Woman saw this, they knew that Thunderbird should never be a prisoner. Together, Great Spirit and Star Woman turned Trickster’s Lodge to stone so that he would never trap Thunderbird in his lodge, and to remind The People that vanity was foolish, and dangerous.


Star Singer was ancient, perhaps ten tens of winters old, she still made the trek to Summer Gathering, and was revered for her wisdom and generosity. She still stood straight, and could walk all day and not complain. She had outlived three husbands, and four of her children had gone to be with Great Spirit, her grandchildren’s’ children were beginning to wed and have children, so she never suffered for food or a warm lodge in the winter.


In the summer months, Star Singer had a fine tipi, near the Chief’s tipi, with two granddaughters bringing her food and water every day. During the daylight hours she slowly, carefully painted the Star Songs on a white buffalo hide that her eldest grandson, Many Wolves, had given her.


At night, however, she was in great demand by all of her People. Star Singer knew all of the Star Songs, and would sing until moonset, if she were asked. The children would gather at Star Singer’s feet, everyone sitting on their own hides, and wrapped in blankets against the dewfall.


When they were all comfortable, and relaxing, Star Singer would begin, in her rich voice she would sing to the children, and draw in soft dirt to illustrate the Songs. She used a fine stick of Ironwood that the old Chief had gifted her with many winters ago.


That was the winter that his firstborn son, Bull Battles, was stricken ill and everyone feared they would lose him. Star Singer had sat by his side, nursing him and singing the Star Songs to him in a low voice. Bull Battles eventually recovered and went on to be a great hunter and wise leader.


Bull Battles’ father, now an Elder, was called Sun Shadow, his brother Winter Moon was still the Shaman, and the Shamans of the other clans all bowed to his wisdom and advancing age. Sun Shadow had traded with Western Desert People for the Ironwood stick to gift Star Singer with.


They had arrived at Summer Gathering a scant day ago, tonight children would begin to gather around Star Singer’s tipi, awaiting evening and the first night of many spent stargazing and asking questions of Star Singer.


This year, Speaks Loudly, the youngest son of Hunting Hawk, would be going on his first real Hunt. Star Singer was not surprised at his behaviour about approaching manhood. He had been boastful and goaded by pride since he first began to speak. Time had only worsened this, and it was common knowledge that Speaks Loudly would never be a Chief, or even Hunt Leader because he was so prideful.


Hunting Hawk’s eldest was a daughter, and while this could have been bad medicine for him, the daughter, Sky Eyes Woman, was born with blue eyes, that had stayed blue as she grew up. The big medicine of her blue eyes made Hunting Hawk well liked and he earned the respect of the Elders and Chiefs.


Sky Eyes Woman had begun to listen to Star Singer when she was barely two winters old. She would climb fearlessly into Star Singer’s lap and lean her head to a withered breast. Sitting thus she not only heard the Song, she felt it too, and it moved her spirit greatly. She begged to study with Star Singer, and Hunting Hawk could not say no to his adored daughter.


So it was that Sky Eyes Woman spent her childhood living with Star Singer and being her acolyte. Sky Eyes Woman was blessed with a clear, high singing voice and it blended perfectly with Star Singer’s. She knew that tonight the children would beg, as always, to hear of Star Woman, and see Her in the sky over Trickster’s Lodge.


Star Singer knew this also, and spent her day in quiet tasks and sipped on hot tea made of liquorice root, honey, and dried elderberries. The Medicine Woman, Rising Moon, had taught Sky Eyes Woman how to make the liquorice root tea, and Sky Eyes Woman had added Star Singer’s favourite, the elderberries to make it even more palatable for Star Singer.


The bond between Star Singer and Sky Eyes Woman went far deeper than simply teacher and student, and woman-to-woman, their spirits were as one many times, and together they had big medicine, good medicine. Winter Moon was heard to say, “The good medicine of Star Singer and Sky Eyes Woman is so great, and it has blessed all of our people.”

Daughters were expected to marry, yet Sky Eyes Woman had remained unwed, preferring the company of Star Singer, Winter Moon, and Winter Moon’s son, Falling Stars. For a long time, people made bets as to when Sky Eyes Woman and Falling Stars would wed. Both parties were nearly ten and ten winters old, old to be unwed, and childless.


Within that circle of four agreements had been made. Sky Eyes Woman would indeed marry Falling Stars, but not until Winter Moon and Star Singer could live together, as neither child wanted to leave the Elder they loved deeply.


Star Singer and Winter Moon loved one another, but neither wanted to forgo the autonomy of living alone. They tried very hard to get along for love of Falling Stars and Sky Eyes Woman, but they were both too old and set in their ways.


They were happy in their arguments, never loud or angry, no, their fights involved much laughter and teasing. As the winters rolled by they had mellowed, and now were dear friends, that could share a pipe and fire in companionable silence. The past winter they had all lived Star Singer’s fine lodge, the camaraderie and love almost palpable in the firelight that danced on their lodge’s walls.

Now that summer had come, it would be time for Falling Stars and Sky Eyes Woman to wed, when they could retreat and be the two of them only for a time and not worry after Star Singer or Winter Moon. At Summer Gathering, many hands vied for the honour of serving Star Singer and Winter Moon, so they would be well-cared f0r.

Monday, July 24, 2006

This is our Max

My brother Jim is a dog person, right now he and his girlfriend have 2 dogs; his girlfriend's ancient, blind Yorkie, Muffin. Jim has a marvellous mutt named Max. That is supposed to be short for Maximilian, supposed to be.

Max was adopted from the pound, already neutered, with all of his shots. He sat in his cell in the pound with sad eyes, and downcast demeanor. My brother Jim thought to himself, "That is one sad dog, he won't be much trouble.".

So, he adopted Max with all due haste and the very second he walked out of the door of the pound, leading this docile mutt, everything changed!! Max went wild!! He ran in scrabbling circles around the parking lot, barking in delight and dragging Jim with him!! Who said that neutering mellows the male animal out???


They, Jim and his daughter Kryssi, finally got Max loaded in the truck. Avoiding his tail that wags 24/7, and those spring-loaded hind legs they managed to make it home without getting into an accident. By this point Jim decided that Max is actually short for "Maximum Overdrive".

Max is a lovely dog in appearance, he's a mix of Great Dane, Greyhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Pit Bull. He has a short dark fawn coloured fur with white and light golden-brown eyes, he looks like he is smiling all the time.

He has the deeper, powerful chest of a Great Dane or Pit Bull, the legs and dancing gait of a greyhound, the colouring of a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and the head of a Great Dane. Those springy legs are well-muscled, with white toes on all four feet, yet they are as delicately drawn as any greyhounds'.

He is playful, affectionate, sweet of temperament and very loving. He loves romps, and tug of war; he is in his glory at Christmas, for he is fascinated by the sound of crackling paper. As everyone unwraps their gifts Max is there, with bright eyes and an enormous doggy grin. If he was allowed to, he would shred every bit if gift wrap to tiny flakes of paper, scattered from one end of the house to the other.

He has also developed a taste for lizards, much to everyone's consternation. He will catch them and eat them whole, his 'food' begins to freak out; then thrashes until poor Max throws them back up, alive and unharmed.



Max has appointed himself "Guardian of the Human Puppies". The kids romp in the pool and Max runs around and around the pool barking ceaselessly, with his forehead crinkling in worry. By the time the kids have grown too weary to swim any more poor Max has run the pads of his paws raw on the pool decking.

No matter how hard everyone tries to keep him from running his feet raw, Max refuses to be derelict in his self-appointed duty. This isn't easy for him, because he doesn't swim well, and he does not like water.

Max also fancies himself a lap-dog. As soon as one of his favourite humans will sit in a chair or on the couch, he lumbers into their lap. He would happily remain there if Jim didn't chase him off. He worries that Max will accidentally hurt someone, which is very possible.

Despite his quirks and flaws, Max is loved by everyone that meets him, because everyone is Max's friend. All guests are greeted with loud wuffs, wagging hindquarters, and a smile as broad as Max can make it.



The people he deems 'special' are gifted with even more of a greeting than everyone else. He takes off through the house at a dead run, always circling back to the beloved guest. He will scrabble to a stop and, if he weren't told not to,would jump up to lick the person's whole face in two or three swipes.