Friday, 29 August 2014

Photo Blogging Challenge - August

I don't know how he does it or just what inspires him but P.J. over at a 'lilhoohaa runs a monthly  photo challenge and always comes up with interesting prompts to guide us through our 5 favourite photos of the month.

August's theme is colorful (he's American, eh). A month too soon to capture the fall's turning leaves so what the heck can be colourful/colorful in August.

Well, I went golfing with my brother Whitey and the language was colourful.

I hosted #lostmyliverpalooza in August attended by bloggers Cheryl Duford - no slouch when it comes to photography - and Paula Larew Wooters, and her dog Henry. Paula has good posture. She's no slouch either. Look at Cheryl's colourful Jeff Gordon NASCAR jacket. I had to wear sunglasses near her.

Mrs D prepared a colourful breakfast for my blogger friends of bacon, eggs, cheese and fruit. Nice, eh?

Here's Paula sporting her colourful "caution" socks. She provided all of us with a pair. Again I needed sunglasses.

At the end of July I took my nephew to the nearby War museum. Here's a colourful recruitment poster from World War I. I know, I know I said July but it was the 30th, which was 30 days ago so technically I'm safe. Right, P.J.?

And that pretty much sums up my August in photos. Click on P.J.'s link above to see what the other participants came up with.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Final Act - @Studio30Plus Writing Prompt

This week the folks at Studio30Plus have taken a different approach to their writing prompt. Instead of a word or phrase they've used a picture to prompt participants. 

Jack sat on the the front porch of his farmhouse, which had seen better days. He gazed out down his dirt lane towards the highway, absently picking his nose, his old straw hat pulled forward to provide his face with some shade. He was used to this weather. Hot, dry, windy and not a lick of rain.

Last year he had been forced to sell his tractor and combine. He did not get a very good price for them. Indeed he didn't earn enough to pay off what he still owed on them. He had persevered the last few years, planting his crops in the fall in the hopes they'd sprout in the spring. But this ongoing drought for the last five years had taken it's toll. And not just out in the blighted and wind-swept fields.

Two years ago his wife had left him. One morning she'd packed a couple of bags, picked up the wee children and left in search of a better life. And so he'd spent the last few years alone having to contend with no crops, an empty barn and a house seriously in need of repairs he couldn't afford.

He'd about sold everything, including the kitchen appliances and rowboat. About all that remained was that damn motor scooter he'd bought for his wife on a whim, several years back before they had kids and before the onslaught of the drought. And, of course, the small gun he now held in his hands.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

What the Hell Is #Lostmyliverpalooza?

"This party's gone to the dogs."

I started posting about it 15 days before it arrived and Facebook friends kept asking me that question. It was just a smart-alecky name we chose to refer to a gathering of several bloggers.

Now, sadly, #lostmyliverpalooza has come and gone and with it the exits of Cheryl Duford and husband Rick, Paula Larew Wooters and my brother Whitey. We had planned to accommodate Nicky Eff but, alas, the poor woman was felled by pancreatic problems. Some people will go to any lengths just to avoid meeting us.

"Lost my liver" quickly turned to "lost my liquor" as hardly any alcohol was imbibed but Paula from Rochester, Cheryl from Portsmith and Dufus from Aylmer, Quebec - not to mention outliers Whitey, Rick and Maryse - had a wonderful several days, despite the temperature dropping and it raining every day. But we all bundled up and sat out on the front porch so Cheryl could indulge in her little weakness - smoking.

We laughed a lot, particularly at the expense of others who weren't there (were your ears burning Nicky?) and we talked and talked and talked.

We figured out how to bring peace to the Middle East, we came up with a serum to the ebola virus (by the way, I told them, there was an upside to the ebola virus in Nigeria. There's a lot less e-mail spam lately. Too soon?) We mended American-Canadian relations (sorry about that 1812 thing guys) and we made great strides in addressing the great English-French divide, especially thanks to something called "Marysisms" contributed by my lovely wife which had us laughing until we cried.

And we ate. Lord how we ate. Maryse and I are now giving serious consideration to opening a B&B seeing how our meals and mattresses went over. Cheryl and Paula have promised glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.

And it was fun. It was great to get together with Paula and Cheryl, both of whom I'd met individually while they hadn't met one another. And we commiserated over our poor friend Nicky who we missed terribly.

Would we do it again? Hell, Paula says she's already started planning #lostmyliverpaloozatwo.

Here's some shots of the fun and games...

Cheryl and Paula had never met before but bonded quickly. Henry helped.

Rick poses with our Nicky stand-in.

Paula wears some appropriate hosiery.

Some of the swag my pals provided me with. Look at that framed photo from Cheryl, shoes from Rick and socks from Paula. Paula also gave me a 5 CD collection of Hot Rod music and something called "Poo-Pourri, Trap-A-Crap". Um, yeah, whatever made you think I needed this, Paula?
 It's okay Nicky, don't feel guilty. You can mail me your gifts.

Yours truly models my new "caution" socks. 

Our Nicky stand-in models Nicky's socks. Careful with that ax.

The three (four) amigos and their sexy socks.

Cheryl snaps away.

We switched out Paula for my brother Whitey and carried on the fun with Rick, Cheryl and Maryse.

My sincere thanks to Rick, Cheryl and Paula. It was a wonderful weekend. One I'll remember for a long tome with much fondness.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

I'm Not That Guy Anymore - @Studio30Plus Writing Prompt

He was early. He sat, ordered a draft and took a sip. His mind drifted back to those carefree days of their youth. They grew up together. And did what little boys did. They joined Cubs, each earning every badge there was. They played Little League. Best friends on the same team. Pitcher and Catcher. They destroyed the opposition. He smiled to himself over memories of Grade school together. They were a couple of holy terrors, inseparable and always getting into trouble.

But they had lost touch, thought Bill. Stephen and his family had moved away to California, half a world away from Jersey. It might as well have been the moon. Sure they had written each other. But it seems each letter from Stephen got shorter until finally they had stopped altogether. But he couldn't blame him, thought Bill. "I was no Hemingway myself."

And then, out of the blue, after all these years, a letter from Stephen. He was coming to town on business and thought it'd be great to meet up and catch up on all that had transpired since high school. He suggested this pub, where, underage and using false ID they used to sip an illicit pint or two.

So Bill waited gazing out the window for Stephen to arrive. A shadow passed over him. Thinking it was the waiter he looked up to order another beer but it was a woman. A strikingly beautiful woman. Yet there was something oddly familiar about her although Bill just couldn't place it.

"Bill?" she inquired. And then it hit home. "Stephen?" he gasped. "It's Stephanie now" she whispered. "I'm not that guy anymore."

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