The Importance of the Prairie Grasslands

Ready, set? Time for 13 things.

  1. It’s funny when travelling with 2 changes of clothes, I always have something to wear but look at a closetful and I can say, I got nothin’. Working while travelling, I have things to read and write. Back home, there’s an infinitely long to-do list.
  2. Decision Paralysis has a cure: Start Somewhere.
  3. it is personal. there are main streams of patterns. it is personal. there are main streams of patterns.
    Tracks. Must follow. It sinks quite a lot in the mire. It must be a big Heffalump.
  4. why Pooh, it's you
    Why Pooh, it’s you.
  5. (I knew that.)
  6. On a more serious note, we have some people doing truly useful things, such as Dr. Alberto Yanosky, executive director of BirdLife Partner Guyra Paraguay. He has won the 2013 National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation.
  7. Alberto Yanosky
    Alberto Yanosky has been helping preserve natural habitats sine the 80s. He’s pictured here at a welcome to the Grassland tour organized by Public Pastures-Public Interest.
  8. He’s talking about what he’s learned with local people to Saskatchewan who are pressing the importance of keeping unbroken tracts of pasture ecology, and managing it with the help of ranchers.
  9. The issue at stake is that formerly publicly community owned pastures (larger than Prince Edward Island) is being transferred to the Federal and Provincial government with that possibly being sold to private citizens. The risk there is chopping up the continuity into tract houses. Like forests habitats, pastures work best in uninterrupted stretches, not as scattered islands. Here’s some info on Community Pasture System.
  10. You may have seen that our knowledge of grasslands is inching up. One diligent fellow has learned to translate some of prairie dog language which can convey some details of size, shape, species, speed and if human, if armed. (If we can get a bit of rodent speech, maybe human’s might not all be dullards.)Cadmus DelormeDr. Lynn Wells, Vice President Academic.Dr. Fidji GendronTrevor HerriotAlumni Cadmus Delorme, Dr. Lynn Wells, Vice President Academic of First Nations University, Prairie Biologist and Professor Dr. Fidji Gendron, and Trevor Herriot (who has spent decades observing grassland birds and has a book on them.). They talked about the key importance of valuing the species of the grasslands.
  11. Graeme GibsonMargaret Atwood  press scrum
    There’s a fundraiser dinner tonight in Regina with Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood.
  12. There’ll be other noteable guests. Glenn Olson of the National Audubon Society, Rob Clay of BirdLife International, Dr. Alberto Yanosky, from Paraguay, Southern Cone initiative and BirdLife International and Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. And a media conference on Friday.

  13. Here’s a few second video of a crayfish as zhe battles the whitecaps washing in at Lumsden Beach, Saskatchewan.

Noteable Quoteable: “Funny, how gentle people get with you once you’re dead.” ~ Joe Gillis, Sunset Boulevard

21 Jun 2013, 6:54am

The Long and the Sheep of It

It’s been a wild ride of 3 weeks. I got a couple chapbooks made. I have 1200 photos of our trip to England to go thru (er, I’m done stage one, yielding 350 passable possible photos – the high rate of 30% on account of the photogenic sheep).

See. Could be cover models.

And I have a trip to Saskatchewan and a reading there within days.

So, I’m here in body, waiting for the anchor in another time zone to be reeled aboard, days before going two time zones over in the other direction. Then on return, “a family do”, which is always its own special time zone.

Then a few things with friends to look forward to in July, segueing to a work binge thru July and August to set up the flat out run of fall that might go out until Christmas season hits.

It’s a crazy-maker to boil time up so that there’s something like 9 relevant hours between now and the spring 2014 Haiku Canada Conference.

The city, house, computer use, all feel unfamiliar. Why do I use twitter? No one remind me. I had a rethink of time-sink-holes by not being “busy”. I have prioritized reading and learning for learnings sake but not given the same weight to perceiving and doing. A way to balance life is to just put the dried sage off the stem and into the jar. To use when, for what? Doesn’t matter. The doing for its own sake is valuable as action. It is productive as absorbing text. Anything can be a route to be present. Being present with the whole body and mind is useful. It makes self cohere and coherent. To isolate off into mind makes sense if the body aches but if one can not shut off a wing of the body and be present, more goodness somehow. Anyway,

We’ve seen art, history, a lot of miles of train track. We walked a lot. There are more hills than I’d imagined existing and more sheep than hills.


Modest hills.

And as boggling as it seems, more thistles than there are sheep.

I’ve eaten more cheese in the last two weeks than the last several years combined. We saw landscapes so beautiful that it would make anyone think they’re a photographer.

I went over with 4 books, plus chapbooks and broadsides, with the intention to give those away. I gave away 4 (3 of those are even the intended 3) and all the papery things. But came back with 15 more books (11 of them poetry), a new notebook, extra postcards, and a few guide books. (Net gain.) Funny acquiring. Is it cling or generosity to self and others and futures. Which impulse it is matters.

My Eustachian tubes are blocked and my sinuses undrainable factory/retail units. My ears are blocked from wax so no amount of oiling them seems to lift the world back to volume. Have to return to the doctor’s in a few days. And I’m on steroids. Pearl on Steroids. Does that make me the Hulk? Or only my nose?

Naturally, there’s more to come. Tends to be.

Oh, and…


13 Jun 2013, 1:19pm
Thirteen Thursday
Comments Off on The Randomalia 13 Quiz

The Randomalia 13 Quiz

Pre-script. I made this in May and set it to autopost. I clicked the wrong month. Fine, it wasn’t timely anyway.

I suppose part of the point of Sunday stealing is to all be on the same page and compare answers. But I’m cherry picking a few of the Sunday Stealing to see if I can find 13. So, it’s a month of Sundays.

  1. What do you appreciate most in your life?

    By speaking about it and applause? Hubby’s tush. Secondary would be a triple tie between quietness, interesting books and warmth.

  2. If you could go back in time would you and why?

    Yes, to see if I saw different data. Knowing what would happen would introduce an observer effect and change outcomes and to come back with better understandings would change time as I know it now as well. I would split into another universe. And that would be awkward. And what if I were trapped in the parallel universe without chocolate?

    Answer reversal! Perhaps I’ll time travel the more conventional way, by reading, reflecting and living moment to moment.

  3. 3 things you need in your life are:
    • Laughter,
    • friendships and perhaps
    • a goofy acrylic ornament of frogs playing chess with lady bugs to go toe-to-toe to the fierce gargoyle looking into our yard across the fence.
  4. Do you shop at Walmart?

    I must have entered one once, surely. Target, Zellers, HBC, Urban Outfitters, Loblaws, Dollarama they’re all one sort of bulk-cheap economy.

    And they tend to have florescent lights. I get nausea right away, and with sunglasses on, eventually. The large echoing spaces disorient my with sound. They’re unpleasant just from that alone before we get into the finances. (I’m such a delicate jonquil.)

  5. Do you drink bottled or tap water?

    I like lukewarm tap water at home and in restaurants. Somewhere en route, I lost my thermos last year and still haven’t replaced it. I tend to look for fountains, carry fruit, or run dehydrated.

  6. What do you eat more when you’re sick?

    Plain rice cakes, or nothing. Nothing is wonderful. No scent, no taste, obligation for eating something, checked.

  7. On average, how long does it take you to get ready for work/school/a day or night out?

    (Blink.) Why would it take time? Oh, my keys. To track down where my keys and wallet are could take a few minutes.

  8. Which version of yourself would you rather have a conversation with: the one from ten years ago, or the one you turn into ten years from now?

    Now that’s an interesting question. I think unless something cataclysmic happens, future self. Although it would be interesting to peep in 10 years ago knowing what I have decided since. (See question 2.)

  9. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten in public?

    A passion fruit. It looked like a theft from a Star Trek set. We bought it in Vancouver’s Chinatown and brown-bagged it around. We were sitting on a bus bench on a return trip from a Buddhist temple. The air was mild and soft with a rains that came and went and came harder than. Well, never mind. The air was floral and knots of people knotted and unknotted along the sidewalk. My tongue ached from trying to work out the seeds. It started to ache the way my jaws first did on encountering my first Montreal style bagel.

  10. Were you ever bullied in any way as a child? If so, how has it shaped you today?

    Yep, for a decade or so from one direction or another. Thefts, name-calling, shoves, unexpected pinches, sly punches, trips, being insulted when least expected whenever I had any kind of success, and washroom harassment. In other words the light end of the spectrum. It’s pretty evenly divided between “character building” from family and the student body.

    Impact? How’s that expression go? The beaten dog isn’t better at jumping over a fence. I’ve never tried to decide the fallout. A stab at it: It made me adverse to washrooms for a few years. I probably learned to “hold it” to an uncommon degree. It probably led to habits of not wanting to drink water since that would mean I’d have to use the washroom.

    People being flakey as species probably encouraged me to take humans one step removed and be a bookworm. I was primed to notice in other animals, among birds, cattle, cats, cattle, the territoriality and pecking orders. It lent a sense of continuity with the other animals, of humans being indistinguishable. It led me to spend more time with animals and outdoors since animals were easier to read, better communicators and more reliably non-harmful to spend time with.

    It became a given that I would be undercut and not believed. That was more about being silenced by the caregivers than by the bullies. The logic that I should work out my own problems led to not letting people into the loop since they’d abdicate from assisting anyway.

    Watching how adults governed themselves I saw the lack of usefulness of a few patterns. Ignore or deny it and it continues. Retaliate and it escalates and is seen as some sort of cooperative game. Non-violent protest, refusing the rules of engagement seemed logical even if it caused a disjuncture from the Hatfields and McCoy environment. For example turn and bow and say Jesus loves you.

    Would I have has curiosity about the keystone of compassion in buddhism without the grounding of ineffective examples of living? Or would it have been gleaned from enough other sources? One finds the resources one needs.

    Would I be in hard science without that derailing distraction?

    I might not have got as far ahead as fast as I wanted to since it wasted energy trying to not worry, and worrying, trying to talk myself down, trying to make peace with trolls. Panic attacks, migraines, ulcers, muscular skeletal expressions of anxiety might not have cropped up if I had been in a different place or responded differently, or been mentored differently, or a dozen other ifs. All kinds of things can change biochems and idea of palette of responses. Maybe if I tried other tacts, or were not running under the handicap from so many directions, I would have had time off or let myself get fed up and shook my head clear and become an articulate debater instead of containing for mute and mumbly years.

    Would it have made me more keyed into vibes people give off? It’s not as if anyone sails though any year without feeling a pecking order and it’s not as if any animal can remain without an inner life and inner cinema.

    If I had not come across Gandhi, maybe I’d have become a Taekwondo champion. Although the neighbourhood child whose parents knew he was being bullied sent him to karate in grade 1. A neighbour boy still picked on him, and picked him up by his penis in a ring of boys. Or so I was told by one in the ring later who felt helpless to stop it.

  11. Is it easier to forgive someone for the wrong they’ve done you or to seek forgiveness from someone that you’ve wronged in any way?

    Forgiveness too soon handicaps the good clear signal of injury and prevents the purity of burning off the garbage. It prevents boundary-forming because forgiving too early absorbs shock instead of sends it back.

    It’s loads easier to forgive others. You can work it through on your end. You can leave it and not leave a return to sender address. That’s a gift that you can leave and run away.

    Grudge harms the person who holds it not the person it is aimed at. It’s a no brainer one would think. That said, it still may take years to cool off. And like battle plans not working on actual battlefields, the test is in the reactions in whatever comes next. Think you’ve forgiven or lesson not yet learned and the ghost stands in front of other people waiting to be addressed?

    Accepting a gift of forgiveness to self is a harder challenge because you can’t exit self. There’s no timeout from the self. (Or maybe that just sounds good but is untrue.) Perhaps it’s a matter that not forgiving others isn’t allowed, but self-hatred is normalized as one possible neutral, especially among writers. A double-system (one for out there that is healthy and one for in the head towards self that is deemed innocuous is not logical.) Not being a friend to self helps no one.

  12. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

    Somewhere open with stones, moss, cedars and all my favorite people nearby. Or in winter some beach somewhere with a few of my favourite people.

    Or online, if it were prairie enough. I once thought I could sprawl so much creative verbiage that intelligence computers would never be able to parse it all. Trying to outpace Moore’s Law with creative output is racing the speed of light.

  13. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere deep in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next?

    If I’m very tired I wouldn’t respond. If there’s some beans in the skull can, I’d look up at the person to see what mood is in the eyes; any laugh lines or probability of receptiveness to an absurd rejoinder?

    If the face is closed, I’ll wait for the person to speak.

    If the face is more open, or hesitant, I may take it but not put it in my lap. If that is insisted on, I’ll need a good story of why before anything.

    Or if I’m in a buoyant or sunk mood, whatever comes out of my mouth. Perhaps I’d pick up the badger, look it in the eye and say, and how are you today?

9 Jun 2013, 1:41pm
1 comment

Eye See Sun


melon hold the choly
The honeydew’s heart of seeds has a soft ribcage.

Quote: “Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.” ~ Leo Buscaglia via Quotations Book.

All Creatures Great and Small: Women & Psychology

The first time I watched All Creatures Great and Small, my mom and I were on soft chairs surrounded by bric-a-brac watching a 6″ B&W TV as dad sat playing solitaire in the next room with Five Star Canadian Rye Whisky. It was a thing to do. They seemed like nice stories, like Walt Disney.

The next time I watch it with future-hubby in an upper story apartment on a huge honking colour tv in a fake woodgrain TV cabinet. Our collective possessions at that point could probably fit into a few boxes. It was homey.

This time hubby and I watch it in our own bed on YouTube on an iPad with the borrowed cat nested nearby. Something shifted in my brain. It seems sharp-witted, fish out of water for the new vet who is remarkably good natured.

It’s 13 Thursday time.

  1. It’s a story where 3 men talk. Women don’t meet one another. So far Bechdel Test fail.
  2. The woman who talks the most is eccentric, old, super rich and mad. She has letter correspondence with dogs, is surrounded by servants who dislike her and actively undermine her, friends who will show up for a party to greet her dog home for the free champagne and expensive foods. It’s sharply satirical.
  3. The poor are rogues. Refuse to give medicine to their animals. Mock the vets at any chance. Are preposterously ignorant and superstitious about remedies and opposed to learning and science and the upper class backs that bring it. It seems pitched to reinforce the basic goodness of middle class (the viewers) as right.
  4. The clients are also good-hearted, perhaps like farmers anywhere, don’t want to attach to animals they’ll eat, but live with them, see them suffer and thrive and can’t help with attach but don’t admit it. The vets see thru the smoke-screen and keep up the macho appearances.
  5. Siegfried seems not just bored and needing to manufacture excitement, not only too proud to admit he is wrong and full of vivacious mood swings. He seems more bipolar with his grandiose turns.
  6. And then there’s his secretary. She was chosen for being matronly, older, thus no risk for Tristan who is an uncontrollable skirt-chaser and wouldn’t be able to help himself. Because men have no capacity to self regulate and women are the evil to tempt men doncha know. Unless the women’re old in which case they’re repulsive. Is that the argument? Gah. I wish that were more dated.
  7. And then there’s Siegfried’s blustering explosion in Episode 3 where he then gets very quiet and turns to the secretary. She winces and pulls back as if she expects to be beaten. He makes a quick intimidating gesture over her seated figure then only rains torn paper on her. We are to take it as humour because he doesn’t and he’s a good guy and it was like the play fear of swinging a child around but meaning no harm. Yes? What life do we imply she has lived?
  8. Then there’s Siegfried’s desire to bully his brother and get vengeance on him for being an alcoholic. All 3 boys are playing tricks on each other as part of their rough-housing amuse themselves life. I suppose that creates the convenience of suspense and small plot arcs for stickiness. If everyone were kind and we waited to see touching surprise parties, would that hook?
  9. The roles of women may reflect what women in rural areas did in the 1940s but it presented as idyllic. It’s not presented in the time. It’s presented later. Much like 300 and a spate of movies about war in ancient Greece came while the U.S. was in high-war-mongering mode. Pump up the enforcement of modelled worlds.
  10. The women cooked, were housekeepers. Mrs. Hall was appreciated but clearly servant not colleague. And there was the housekeeper whose husband died of the food she cooked. Unable to do the one role she was permitted to do and killing her husband of being unable to tell she was serving carbon. That’s the laugh track. Rather dismissive. Or was she aware and wanting to torment them with false innocence? Still, a rather dark tension.
  11. Little sign that women were employed in the cash economy, even though it was the war, and wasn’t that when they worked most in that half of the century?
  12. Then there’s the matter that vets can doff their shirts and it be neutral. A matter of course for a him to go shoulder-deep into an animal. Why is it that female skin should be so obscene when male skin is not deemed provocative? (Why still do men have freedom to wander around in short shorts in a park when women must cover particular bits of skin or be considered causing attention? Or if they bare skin are causing attention? Absurd.) Wish the vet were female and uncensored allowed to do practical things like look after cows or to regulate her body heat in the same way without a fuss. Some guys in the park would fit into a B cup but as reaction to FEMEN Sextremists show, nipples still are horribly frightening if there’s fatty tissue behind them *and* presumption of no penis down below. Whether in the East or West. Old-fashioned social decrees that those are for flirt and secretly feeding babies only. Moving on.
  13. Is it because James was trained in Edinburgh that he isn’t aware of customs in the backwaters that he would plunge after Helen as she walks around at chores, engaging in conversation as if that were a normal thing for two humans to do? Or is that keying him as an ingenue? He has to be prompted to notice the male owners of Helen glowering in the shadows of the wall watching that no un-chaparoned things happen to the sister/daughter. he can come to the whole family breakfast if he likes, but no one-on-one time with females. One-on-one time with menfolk is natural of course.

Perhaps a time-capsule of a time and place. Some art should be artifact of the past. Some should be trying to model what could be if we put a little effort in it.

I was thinking about the designation of family washrooms and both-gender washrooms as a 3rd setup. If people were just indiscriminate about their toilets and decided en masse, that nonsense has had its day, we could just move on.

All that is not to say the show isn’t fascinating. There’s a deft hand for people reading one another and much is left the the image that other writers would write out in dialogue to bang the foam baton over the head of the viewer. The people have acceptance and affection for one another and are rich, complex, developing characters which puts it far ahead of most fare.

Quote: “Women were always considered sufficiently clean to beg, work and give generously for the building and decoration of churches, and the support of the priesthood. They might always serve as inferiors, but never receive as equals.[…]

As usual in our own day the Jewish women were allowed to give generously, work untiringly and beg eloquently to build altars and Tabernacles to the Lord, to embroider slippers and make flowing robes for the priesthood, but they could not enter the holy of holies or take any active part, in the services.” ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton, commentary on Exodus xxxvi in The Women’s Bible, 1898

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