Thursday, May 27, 2010


Hate is a strong word. While I may have over-used that term when I was a child, I try not to use it now. I really don’t hate anyone or anything. There are some people and things I like more than others, but I certainly don’t hate.

The one exception to this might be mice. I really really, really hate mice.  I’ve been stranded on the side of the road waiting for ‘the cowboy’ to rescue me from the mouse that got in my car. And once, when a mouse got in my house, I raced out and had to call my brother-in-law to go in and get my baby!

We didn’t go home until the mouse was gone.

Most recently, my wonderful daughter-in-law has come to my rescue.  She helped me clean the varmint out of the garage and  she bravely entered the mouse-ridden grain bin for horse feed. 

I really, really, really hate mice.

I even have trouble walking down the aisle of the hardware store where the mouse traps are kept.  I mean, they have pictures of mice (not photographs, just drawings, but still...)

I really, really, really hate mice.

Since two cats came to live with us, I don’t see mice very often, and that’s just the way I like it.

Did I mention that I really, really, really hate mice?

Because they are such dirty, horrid, little creatures, I was surprised to find them so prevalent in children’s literature. I mean really – help me understand why any author would want to introduce innocent children to these horrible, no-good, very bad, awful beasts?
Here is the evidence:

1. Does a Mouse have a Mommy?

Well, yes…but I wish it weren’t so. My world would be a far better place if all female mice had their tubes tied.

2. Cottonwool Colin

is one of 10 baby mice. The others were big, but Colin is very small. His mother wraps him in wool to protect him. It works, until a boy thinks he’s a snowball and throws him in a river.”

Now that’s a HAPPY ENDING, if I’ve ever heard one!

But no, Colin “survives many dangers and skips home feeling ‘large’.

It would be a great story line if Colin wasn’t a mouse!

3. Mouse Tail Moon offers “18 ‘mouse’ poems.”

Does presenting these rodents in rhyme make them more appealing?

NO, NO, a thousand times NO!

4. Santa Mouse is described this way: “Kids will love reading about Santa Mouse, Santa's furry, faithful little helper.”

Sure that’s what all parents want for their kids – toys that mice have crawled on. Yuck!

5. Marguerite’s Fountain is about “adorable mice living in a cathedral yard. Marguerite dances in HER fountain.”

The one thing I know about mice is that they’re pretty easy to be rid of with a five gallon bucket of water. Once they get in, there’s no gettin’ out. The dance is over, Marguerite.

But perhaps the most disturbing book I saw was this one:

6.  Is There a Mouse in the Baby’s Room?

It “stars a baby who has funny encounters with a larger-than-life, mischievous rodent, while parents discuss whether or not there’s a mouse in baby’s room.”

Those parents should be reported, I say. Enough 'discussing' -- get in there and save your baby.

Yikes, what is the world coming to?

Remember the good old days when the characters in children's books were bears, wolves, and trolls?  I'd take them over mice any day!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Next time...Ask an Expert!

The very short growing season here at the end of the road sometimes results in the corn freezing about a week before harvest. So this year, we started the corn under grow lights in the garage. Then we moved it to the greenhouse where it enjoyed the sun’s warmth during the day, and was protected from freezing at night with a thermostatically controlled heater. We thought it would be ready to plant about the time the danger of frost was past. However…

It is now up to 12 inches tall and growing at a rate of 1 inch a day! I took it out of the hot greenhouse and put it on the verandah in an attempt to slow it down. Do I plant it in the garden now and take a chance on frost, or wait (while it continues to grow)? I guess we should have asked an expert…

Chocolate has always been my favourite ‘pick me up’. Things always look a little better after that sweet treat. So this week, when I felt a cold coming on, I opened up a can of chocolate macadamia nuts and polished them off in short order.

They were, as the can states, “irresistible”.

However, the result wasn’t what I expected. I felt worse. Yesterday, I got the ‘official’ doctor’s version: apparently if you eat anything sweet, your body's ability to fight a cold or flu is virtually shut down for 24 hours. I guess I should have asked an expert….

3. In an effort to keep the blue herons from eating the fish in the stocked pond, we got a blue heron decoy. The theory is that these birds are quite territorial and won’t land if another one of their kind is there.

However... the theory didn’t mention mating season...

I guess we should have asked an expert…

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


“To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you,
and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations –
such is a pleasure beyond measure.”

Kenko Yoshida

I love books.
I love the look of the stack of good reading material on my nightstand.
I know that I have something ready if I have a few minutes to read.

I love the feel of a new hardcover book in my hands as I crack open the cover.

I love the smell of new paper, and the sound it makes as I turn each page.

I totally love the experience.
So much so,
that I’m sure to be the last person on the planet
 to have an iPad to read electronic books.
I don’t care that it will hold 10, 000 books.
I’d miss the ‘real’ book in my hands.

Awhile ago, I thought about books,
and reading,
and choosing to continue reading a book
when it doesn’t grab me quickly.

And I added yet another item to my ‘bucket list’:
Compile a list of ‘great first lines’ of books.
No doubt someone has already done this, but I’d like to do it anyway.

I have no time for any ‘extras’ these days,
but I thought I could start with my own little library.
Before you read further,
it’s important that you know I’m not recommending these books;
I just love their first lines.

1. Each person’s life is lived as a series of conversations.

2. We want life to be less arduous and more delightful.

3. Once it was a road of sorts.

4. The year began with lunch.

5. Quiet as it’s kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941.

6. Most train robbers ain’t smart, which is a lucky thing for railroads…

7. The writer Goodman Ace once suggested that we create a thirteenth month
between December 31 and Jan 1,
and set it aside as a time
“of reflection to remember things you’ve forgotten that would tidy up your life.
The calendar would read:
‘October, November, December, Remember’.”

8. A little squatty chair with sturdy legs
a braided rug beside the kitchen door…

9. King Wheat!

10. I’m a window cleaner
and I get very attached to the windows I work on.

Just in case you are intrigued by the lines listed above,
I’ve included a coordinating list of titles/authors below:

1. You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation (Deborah Tannen)

2. a simpler way (Margaret J Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers)

3. A Dance Called America (James Hunter)

4. A Year In Provence (Peter Mayle)

5. The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison)

6. Streets of Laredo (Larry McMurtry)

7. Holidays and Celebrations (Betty Jane Wylie)

8. Aunt Hattie’s Place (Edna Jaques)

9. The Canadian 100 (H. Graham Rawlinson and J.L. Granatstein)

10. Simple Pleasures (Robert Taylor, Susannah Seton, and David Greer)

On this stormy, rainy, blowy, snowy, sleety day,
I yearn to sit by the wood stove and crack open a new book.
Which one should I choose?
Ah…so many books…so little time…