Thursday, March 26, 2015

Have a Gratitude-Filled Week!

I must admit that there are some days that I don't jump out of bed all enthusiastic and in love with life. 

Some days I have a grey cloud of worry or negative, guilty thoughts floating over my head. 

The best cure for the neggies, I've found is to read positive affirmations like Queen Of Your Own Life and practice gratitude.

This week I'm grateful for many things. I'm linking up to two Gratitude linkups this week.

I'm so grateful to include Laurel and Vidya among my wonderful writer friends. 

First is Laurel Reagan's Gratitude List over at her blog, Laurel's Gratitude List 

Second is Vidya Sury's Gratitude Circle over at her blog Vidya's Gratitude List

Feel free to post about gratitude and link up with other grateful bloggers at either one or both of these wonderful blogs. 

No matter how bleak or gloomy things may appear, there is always something to be grateful about. 

I hope you enjoy my little gratitude poem as March hurtles towards April at breakneck speed. Can't believe Easter is almost here.

Here are two gorgeous photos I took of Mr. C and Mrs. C in the sunshine this week. I'd never seen them quite this way before with the sun shining on them, making their eyes stand out and their pupils show. 

Even though I have hundreds of photos of the couple, I never get tired of taking more. I have such a connection to these beautiful birds and that makes me grateful, too.

My Gratitude Poem for March 26, 2015
I’m grateful that the days are longer
And that the sun grows ever stronger,
I’m grateful that spring is on its way
It asserts itself a bit more each day,

I’m grateful to wear shoes when I go outside
I'm grateful that I don’t slip and slide,
It’s a big muddy mess, but what can you do?
I’m grateful to see the grass peeking through,

I’m grateful I can take photos of the birds
A picture is worth a thousand words,
When I see the birds I just can’t be sad
Simple things make me grateful and glad,

A minute passes, a month, a year
I’m just grateful that I’m still here!

Have a gratitude-filled week, everyone!

Gratefully yours, Cat

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Great Theme Reveal for the April A-Z Challenge

This is the third year I’ve signed up for the A-Z Challenge. It’s always such an exciting time as we all create and share our posts.

The last two years I haven’t had a theme but this year I thought I’d try doing one for a change.

Today is Theme Reveal Day where we all unveil our ideas for the A-Z challenge that begins in less than ten days.

I have decided to do the theme of Quotations and will create an inspirational poster combining my photos with a quotation, based on a word starting with a letter of the alphabet.

If I feel even further inspired about the quotation, I will write a poem or prose piece to accompany it.

Unlike many of you organized types, I have not written any posts ahead of time, but I did make a list of possible ideas so for me that’s planning ahead. I have always been a pantser-type writer which can often be stressful, but also exciting as I’m never quite sure how the writing will come out.

I believe there is an element of luck and magic involved along with the creativity and perseverance that is involved in any creative project.

Here is a poster I’ve created for this post using a photo I took of the backyard this morning with the sun sparkling on the snow creating interesting shadows of the trees. 

I love trying to find something interesting out of the ordinary everyday things we take for granted. There is always something if you look hard enough with an artistic child-like wonder.  As adults, we do tend to overlook so much with our rushing to get it all done and our “Same old, been there, done that” attitude.

All the best to my fellow bloggers! I look forward to reading your posts and sharing comments and experiences.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mr. Cardinal Is Always Happy

Nice be back blogging again. Having my laptop cleaned has certainly derailed my blogging routine. Not that it takes much for me to get off track! I'd better get back into the routine pretty quick with the A-Z Blogging Challenge coming up in April.

In honour of Happiness Day which was on March 20th, I have written this little poem in tribute to Mr. C, my cheerful cardinal friend who visits me year round. 

He is always happy and upbeat, despite the weather. Even never ending winter doesn’t get him down. 

Just the sight of this gorgeous bird in his brilliant red plumage is enough to brighten the dullest day. 

I hadn’t seen him for a while so I was delighted when he stopped by last night. Of course I had to take lots of photos and write a poem about him as he is so inspiring. 

Here is a collage of some of those photos. I took them around 7pm when the light was beginning to fade but was still able to get some shots of my favourite bird. I'm so grateful for Daylight Savings time and the longer, brighter days. It gives me hope that spring will come, even in these fickle March days where it thaws one day and snows the next.

Happy Mr. C

Mr. C chirps from high in the tree
He doesn’t care that it snows,
A happier bird you’ll never see
He’s chipper wherever he goes,

I saw him again last night
Flitting from the feeder to the tree,
His red plumage was such a delight
It filled my heart with glee,

He doesn’t mind the snowy spring
He always has such a cheerful way,
He opens his beak and starts to sing
He reminds me to be happy today!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Being a Military Musician

Laurel Reagan at Alphabet Salad inspired me to write about one of my first jobs after I read her post about her first job as a teen working in a bakery which you can read here. MMM, I can smell that fresh bread baking, Laurel. YUM!

Laurel's First Job

Being a Military Musician

The other day as I was driving into Ottawa, I saw two F18s coming in for a landing at the airport. I got so excited when I saw them that it was a good thing I didn't cause an accident. 

As an airforce kid, I still get such a thrill out of seeing a jet since my father was a jet pilot. Also I have been in the military myself.

One of my first jobs was as a Reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces. I was a musician in an Air Reserve Band in Montreal back in the early 1980's in the Cold War Era. 

I still think back fondly on those days as it was not your typical job.

Imagine getting to play music and get paid for it. It seemed too good to be true. Of course it wasn't fun every moment, but it was pretty darn good now that I recall.

I got to travel across Canada to the School of Music in Esquimalt, British Columbia and get training every summer. What a amazing experience for a student in their early twenties. 

Room and board were provided as I stayed in barracks, sharing a room with several other women. We would eat at the mess, a military style cafeteria.

Each day I took music lessons, participated in different bands, marched and played music on the parade square.

There was also all that military stuff to put up with; the never ending orders, room and uniform inspections, the drill, parades, and constant scrutiny by higher ranks, especially officers. 

For a shy soul as I was, I found it tough at first, but got used to it after a while. It was like playing a role in a play when I donned that uniform and I became someone else. Somehow having that mindset helped me cope better.

I got used to having to regularly iron my uniform with perfect razor-like creases in the shirts and pants. I got to be a pro at doing a spit and polish on my boots. To this day, the hubs asks me to polish his shoes since he knows I'll do a good job. My iron has since been retired and barely comes out since I mainly wear clothes that don't need any ironing like knits which are also good for the winter flab. Haha! I did enough ironing for a lifetime, thanks!

I know that the experience of being in the Reserve Band made me mature and grow as an adult. I also grew as a musician and play flute much better as a result.

It expanded my world, gave me opportunities for travel to interesting places and friendships I would never have had in other jobs. 

Once I got to travel up to Ellesmere Island in the High Arctic to work as a labourer as part of a surveying expedition with the Mapping and Charting group based here in Ottawa. It was that job in 1987 that prompted me to move to Ottawa from Montreal.

Here is a photo of me in a flight suit in front of a memorial cairn erected on Ellesmere Island.

I am so grateful I had that experience and remember it fondly as something that shaped me into the person I am now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shailaja's Cure For Writer's Block

I dedicate this poem to our faithful leader of Blog-A-Rhythm, 
Shailaja Vishwanath. 

She keeps us all inspired, makes us laugh and keeps us writing. 

(GULP! *sweat pours from brow at the the thought of those pointy-toed boots*)

Do you suffer from Writer’s Block?
Don’t you wonder why?
You sit and watch that ticking clock
And feel like you’re going to cry,

Sit yourself down and write something small
It doesn’t even have to be that wise,
Get some words down and try not to stall
That’s what Shailaja would advise,

If all else fails, Shailaja can help
She knows just what you need,
Of course it just might make you yelp
But she promises you won’t bleed,

See those boots she’s wearing
The black ones with the pointy toes,
So slinky, shiny and daring
Guaranteed to cure blank page woes,

Just one jab is all it will take
Then the writing will flow,
So much for your Facebook break
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!