Life Before Screens

Participating in a tug-of-war with my Japanese playmates.

As someone who frequently needs to be torn away from my laptop or iPad at all hours of the day and night, I’ve been thinking back to my “life before screens” childhood, and wondering if kids today are getting enough playtime of the non-video game variety. TVs were readily available and in many homes at the time, but my parents chose not to have one. Did I have any less fun than friends with screens? I don’t think so. With so much time to fill after finishing my daily assignments (correspondence courses provided by the Ontario Dept. of Education), reading and physical activities that called on the use of my imagination became a big part my life.

For example, the characters in many of the books I read as a young girl, such as Louisa May Alcott’s Jo and L.M. Montgomery’s Emily, not only sparked my desire to write, but also influenced the types of games I created for entertainment when I was a child. If you were to go back in time and choose any one of my treasured books from a shelf, you would find a neatly cut, half-envelope glued inside the back cover. There would be a lined card protruding from it, one upon which I’d recorded the exact dates the item had been checked in and out at the “front desk”. I even went so far as to prepare my parents’ detective novels for circulation, in addition to altering their “important” non-fiction titles, much to their chagrin.

Of course, it takes two to play this game, and my sister, who shares my fondness for books, was a willing participant. It’s not surprising that as adults, we both chose to work full-time in libraries—an ideal place of employment for anyone possessing an insatiable curiosity about the world and the universe we inhabit. (In another imagined scenario with the uninspired name of “playing restaurant”, I used to make and serve real Waldorf Salad, but did I ever want to become a chef? Not for a minute!)

On a slightly different note, I still remember a day from my childhood when my sister and I spontaneously created a new form of entertainment to amuse ourselves. We were curled up with a book at the opposite ends of a sofa. I don’t know what got us started, but we began to take turns at reading a sentence aloud from the page we each had open before us. The results were belly aching hilarious at times, or even uncanny in the way the sentences would sometimes relate to one another, so much so that a totally different plot from those of the original texts would sometimes develop like invisible ink becoming visible on a page. You could say we’d been “playing with words”—the words of published authors. (Whether those authors would have approved of that, or not, is another matter!)

Looking back on those years, I’m grateful that the home environment of my childhood encouraged creative play and the development of my imagination. To read about how my mind responds to the challenge of creating stories from word prompts, click the Playing with Words tab on the Menu above, or click here: Thanks for reading!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

When I was a child, I would look up at the night sky and imagine myself to be in the company of Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael, escaping to Neverland with arms outstretched as if flying were the most natural form of transportation in the world. After several trial flights off the edge of a barn loft into a pile of hay, I had to accept reality. There have been times in my life, though, when I experienced “flying dreams”–ones in which I felt detached from my physical body, yet was fully aware that I was soaring above the earth, elated by my freedom, no longer bound by the limits of space and time. Even upon waking, the feelings associated with being at peace and in a state of wonder would remain with me long afterwards. While watching the lunar eclipse on September 27, 2015, I marvelled, again, at nature’s awesome display.  As I watched the moon pass through earth’s shadow–our home planet temporarily blocking the rays of the sun–the moonscape took on a mysterious blood red glow. Lovely!  These are a few of the photos I took that night from our deck in the city.

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Rainbow Colours of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (WPC-Roy G. Biv)

When I first read the subject of this Weekly Photo Challenge, I knew that my pictures of Lunenburg, NS would provide all but one of the colours of the rainbow required to appear in this assignment. For violet, the “v” in the mnemonic “Roy G. Biv”, the irises now blooming in my garden fit the bill. The first photo in the mosaic was taken in Peggy’s Cove, NS, and I chose to include it because the yellows are more visible and vibrant than those of the potted flowers to the right of the mural.  Enjoy.

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Bohemians of Spring

For those of us living in Nova Scotia, these last two months have been unusual in that we’ve had several major snowstorms.  As I wrote in an earlier post, “remedies for winter blues” often arrive unannounced and unexpected; I can now count my first sightings ever of Bohemian Waxwings among them.  Harbingers of spring?  Let’s hope so!


Harbingers of Spring

Oh, no!  Not more snow!
Bohemian Waxwings flock
To my apple tree;
Feasting on fermented fruit,
Flaunting yellow-banded wings.


Crab Apple Boughs in Spring



The Buds of May

Pink pearls, now in bloom,
Hang in drifts of snowy white–
Wafting spring’s sweet scent.

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Fisherman’s Monument (Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall)

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This one hundred foot, granite rock face in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, honours both the living and those lost at sea.  Sculpted by William Edward deGarthe (1907-1983), it incorporates thirty-two fishermen, their wives and children, enveloped by the wings of a guardian angel.

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Lunenburg Characters

Waterfront Diner, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Waterfront Diner, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

I was quite taken by the number of life-sized, wood carvings of seafaring characters in the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (Canada)–a UNESCO World Heritage Site–one of five designated as such in this beautiful Canadian coastal province.  Although this photo was taken a few years ago, it’s one that still speaks to me of Scale, a recent Weekly Photo Challenge.  The people on the upper balcony and at ground level are folk art representations, of course, while those on the middle balcony are for real!

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Butterflies in Flight (Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed)

Butterflies in Flight

Late afternoon sun coming from the direction of my patio doors, passed through a glass plate on top of my bookcase and created a shadow-image of a butterfly on the wall behind it.  This was an unexpected, but lovely coincidence relating to a recent Weekly Photo Challenge theme, so I grabbed my camera!

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The Yellow House (Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow)

The Yellow House

The Yellow House

I had written about this yellow house for a post in January of 2014 entitled Remedies for Winter Blues, and this is the second time I’ve been unable to dismiss an earlier Weekly Photo Challenge from my mind, succumbing, at last, to “dealing with it” in my own belated way. You guessed it! The theme for the assignment that I missed weeks ago, in December, was “Yellow”, and there’s no denying that this image fulfills that criteria. To learn more about why I first chose to describe this home across the street from where I live, please read my earlier entry, and tell me what you think.  (The black bear standing on its hind legs–a sculpture positioned between the two marine blue doors of the duplex–holds a basket filled with flowers in its front paws during the summer months.  It gave me a scare when I first noticed it as night was falling, but I appreciate the zany sense of humour expressed by the wonderful couple who own the building.)

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Gone, But Not Forgotten (Weekly Photo Challenge)

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Gone, But Not Forgotten

This photograph was taken a decade or so ago, before it became necessary for Betty–my mom–to move to a senior’s care residence, and before our beloved pet “Bud” passed away from complications of hemophilia within two and a half years of her death.  This image came to mind when I first saw the weekly challenge on this theme in early December.  Over the intervening weeks, prior to my decision to post their photograph, I have experienced such warm memories of them both that I could not help but share their love with you, as they gently cared for one another, and for all our family.  Gone, but not forgotten.  Ever.

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The Face in the Window (Photo 101: Glass)

The Face in the Window

1. The Face in the Window

I was standing across the street from Flight of Fancy: Fine Art Hand Crafts in Bear River, Nova Scotia one summer afternoon a few years ago, when I had the uncomfortable feeling that my husband and I were being secretly spied upon by a stranger.  Intuition, perhaps, made me glance up at a second story window of the gallery, and I was relieved to find that there was, indeed, a mysterious but non-threatening figure staring out through the pane of glass.

Iris Blossoms on Windowsill

2. Iris Blossoms on Windowsill


One morning in early spring, I rescued these iris blossoms from where they’d fallen to the ground during a stormy night.  I love how the velvet-textured, purple hues of the standards and falls were intensified by the natural light shining through both them and the vase in which they stood on the windowsill.  The swirling cobalt ribbon of colour in the glass along with the deep blue starfish and a small dish nearby, further added to my pleasure in the scene.  Even the  showers outside my kitchen window were unable to dampen my mood that day!



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