wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Annie and the Honeydew Man

When my sisters and brother and I were little, we lived in a newly built, but unfinished house on the edge of town. The streets weren’t even put in place yet. Our road was just a track through a field of yellow grass. But it was perfect for us to play cowboys and gallop our pretend horses around the trails and up and down the hills of dirt that were not yet backfilled to the new house. We pretended to be characters from the western movies of the day — Annie Oakley, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.  But Annie was my favourite.  My sister was really too little to keep up with us as we tore around on the hills of dirt, so she played Annie Oakley and guarded the house while the rest of us were out on the range.

I don’t know what is wrapped around her right hand, and I just noticed for the first time in decades that there is a doll peeking out from behind her left shoulder.

Fast forward to more modern times. When the Captain and I were on one of our trips to Baja California, we stopped to do some shopping in Ensenada. I found a puppet-style doll that I couldn’t live without. She was the Mexican version of Annie Oakley. What made me even happier, was buying the doll that had to be her partner.  He is pictured in the photo below Annie.

The store proprietor told me that this doll represents the hen-pecked husband, the Honeydew man (Honey, do this and Honey, do that), but in Spanish they called this fellow a “mandelon,”  because he is ordered about. What woman would not want a mandelon to do things for her? I had to have this doll!

In my novel Orion’s Gift,  Sylvia is all alone in the world. It seems that her life has taken a sudden turn and everything has been going wrong for her.

She has “run away” to Baja California and is living in her VW van.

She really needs someone, so I gave her a mascot to lend her strength. Below is a short excerpt from Orion’s Gift, telling about how Sylvia came to adopt Annie.

Excerpt:

In one shop, handmade puppets on strings hung from the ceiling. Each doll had a unique character and, like orphans hoping to be adopted, seemed to call, “Take me with you.” I fell in love with a Mexican Annie Oakley. She held a mini six-gun in each hand and radiated confidence and self-reliance. I paid for her and happily carried her home to my van. I rigged up a spot on the curtain rod behind the seat for Annie to watch over me at night. She’d be my mascot, a reminder that I was strong and could take care of myself.

You can read Sylvia’s story in my novel “Orion’s Gift.”  She’s going to need Annie’s strength to face some of the challenges of being a woman travelling alone in Baja.

The e-book version is marked down to only 99 cents for the next few weeks.  Just click on the link to  amazon.com or smashwords.com for other e-reader versions.

 

 


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Camping

A few days of R and R were in order, so we took our old trailer to a lake that was about three hours’ drive from home, and set up camp.

Once the main chores were done, I sprawled back in my lawn chair and looked up.

This is what I saw.  Although there were people camped next to us, it was quiet because they were out on the lake in their kayaks. The peacefulness of the place was a moment to treasure. On the coming long weekend, it would be much more of a party place, but for now, it was wonderfully quiet. Just the whisper of the leaves high up in those trees.

Later we would try our hand at fishing in the lake, but it was so hard to decide whether to hold the fishing rod or the camera.

Now that I’m home and it’s the weekend, I can’t help but wonder how the party is going. I bet it is noisy and a complete change from the quiet few days we spent there. Timing is everything.


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Location, Location, Location

A few days ago, David Kanigan posted photos of a Canada goose nesting on a dock.

https://davidkanigan.com/2021/04/20/and-the-show-goes-on/

Please visit it to see this post.

I had mixed feelings about this goose’s choice of location. It’s right out in the open, and so vulnerable to predators and the weather. I hope for, but don’t expect, a good outcome for this brood. Still, if she pulls it off and any of her goslings hatch and survive, the goose will deserve a medal for bravery and stamina.

I thought of this goose nest when the Captain came home from a trip up the BC coast, having taken pictures of a goose nest in a very remote location. This is how it should be. This goose nest is beside a river, but somehow the goose knew about rivers rising in the spring, and it has placed this nest high up out of the reach of a flooding river.

The nest is on top of this tree stump, out of sight, and out of reach of the spring run-off in a rising river. It is sheltered from aerial predators by the new growth on top of the stump.  Being up high would also give it a slight advantage over animals that might threaten it from ground level.

But even with all of the advantages the goose has with this remote nest,  it is probably at just as much risk as the town goose in David Kanigan’s blog post.

Thank you, David, for showing the city goose as compared to my country goose. I hope they both manage to bring off a nice batch of goslings.


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Beach Walk

After months of wind and rain, followed by at least a week of snowy blasts, the sun let us know that it’s still up there. It lit up the white hills and said to us, “Come out, come out. I’ll warm your back as you walk on the beach.”

The Captain and I took Emma to the beach on the east side of the spit, where the morning sun was warmer and much of the snow was gone.

Emma loved it, but then she saw something that stopped her in her tracks. “Whoah!” she said. “WHAT is that large woman doing out there in this icy water?”

She wasn’t swimming much — more like bobbing in the waves. She didn’t seem to mind the cold.

To her right, was a very relaxed sea lion head. I looked back at the woman and saw that what I thought was a head,  was really the sea lion’s flipper.

A whole group of them lay on their backs, enjoying the morning sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d had a breakfast of kippers. It’s that time when the herring come in close to the beaches to spawn. That makes the sea lions happy, as well as the eagles and sea gulls, all of whom love to eat the herring spawn and herring bodies that wash up on the beach for a wonderful smorgasbord.

Everybody (except the herring) is happy these days.

Don’t forget to visit my other blog, https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/the-trap/

Also, please visit my website to find out more about my books and my copy-editing.  http://www.anneli-purchase.com/


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Spider Hideouts

Spider Hideouts

With all the bad weather we’re having, I took a mental trip back to sunnier days when we were in Mexico for the winter about twenty years ago.

Camped at Chacala, 360 kms south of Mazatlan, we often bought our fruit and vegetables from the produce truck.  One day, I lugged home three big bags of fresh vegetables.

“Coming to the beach?” the Captain asked.

“You go ahead. I’ll be down right after I clean these veggies,” I grumbled, slapping at the tiny biting flies. I soon gave up trying to work at the table I had set up outside and brought the vegetables into the bug-free trailer to clean in my little kitchenette.

Done at last! Now for the beach and a cool swim. I hurried outside to bring in my bathing suit from the clothesline we had strung between two coconut palms. I was about to step into it, when I let out a shriek. A furry eight-legged critter about the size of a wolf spider was eyeing me from inside the bathing suit bra.

Anyone passing by must have gawked at the bathing suit flying out the doorway.

I was late getting to the beach that day, and although the water was refreshing, I couldn’t relax. Other swimmers must have wondered at the woman who kept pulling away the top of her bathing suit to look at her boobs.

That evening, we sat at the kitchen table in the trailer, playing cards and relaxing with an Oso Negro gin and peach juice. I tidied up the last few things before getting into bed.

The Captain had just finished brushing his teeth and as he came out of the bathroom he heard me GASP! His eyes followed my arm as I pointed to the corner of the trailer. There, clinging to the ceiling, sat the biggest spider I’d ever seen. The hairy dark brown visitor had a body the size of my thumb, and his legs could easily straddle a saucer. If I had been a screamer they would have heard me all the way to Mazatlan.

“And I’ve been sitting there playing cards all evening with that thing poised right above my head,” I wailed.

I handed the Captain the fly swatter, and, in a shaky voice, told him, “If it gets away, I’m not sleeping in here tonight and I’ll be on the plane tomorrow.”

“It must have come in with the vegetables,” he said, as he tossed its crumpled body outside.

And where had it been while I sat there cleaning them? I wondered. Hiding in the cauliflower leaves? How close had I come to touching it? Shivers ran down my back.

It seems spider experiences run in three’s.

The next day we visited an open air market in a nearby town. I admired the handmade wooden cutting boards and picked one up to study the grain. Something ran over my hand. I threw the board into the air and squealed, “Una araña!” The vendor laughed and seemed unperturbed as I pointed to the gigantic spider running in his direction.

I was having serious thoughts of home. But imagine missing all this fun.


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Schtormy Vedder

When you’re heading for a social situation and you’re worried about what to say, I’m sure you’ve heard the advice, “Don’t worry. You can always talk about the weather.”

That comment assumes that weather is a trivial thing, but on the contrary, it’s a major factor in how we spend our time. We adjust our plans and activities, according to the weather.

Changes in the weather can be dramatic and at times dangerous.

Two days ago our usual wind and rain turned into slushy snow driven by gale-force winds. As the freezing sleet pelted down, coating everything with wet snow, flashes of lightning lit up the skies, followed by the longest, loudest rumbles of rolling thunder I have ever heard. Emma barked to let me know they made her nervous.

That evening’s thunder snow changed to the same old, same old weather the next day. Here is a picture of the same old wind and rain, taken by a friend on his phone.

Well … okay, maybe it was a little bit windier than usual.

I hope those storm watchers who parked in the usual parking area won’t stay too long. That salt water is deadly on all the metal parts of their vehicles. Salt spray and flying sand are about the worst things to shower onto your car.

My friend who took the photo also took some videos. Here are some short clips (a few seconds each) to give you the feeling that you are actually there, getting soaked as he did.

May the sun come out soon and warm us.


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Composition isn’t Everything …

but it sure helps.

After the snow that, thankfully, stayed up in the hills, I wanted to take a picture of it. As always in photos taken from my house, the power lines ruin the composition for me.

I got thinking about the composition of photos and when I received this photo of my nephew, I had a chuckle over the post that seems to be growing out of his head.

Going way, way back to about 1975, I found this photo of when the Captain and I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands. My parents came from Vancouver Island to visit us. At the beach,  my mother and I decided to take pictures of each other for posterity. It was one of those rare times when it wasn’t raining and the sand was relatively dry, so she sat on the sand and pointed her Brownie camera at me, and I lay on a log, posing as I prepared to take a picture of her. We laughed when we realized that with the cameras in front of our faces we wouldn’t get much of a picture so we had to take turns. In the photo you see I’ve lowered my camera while she took my picture, and then it was my turn to take hers. We had the giggles and I think that’s why she couldn’t hold the camera steady and ended up taking a picture of her own boots. (For the purposes of this blog post, I’ve taken out my face, but I was grinning a lot in the picture.)

Later she sent me the photo and I laughed all over again. Not the greatest composition, but it was unique.

My mother died in 1982, and this bad photo of her gumboots is one of my special treasures because of the happy memories it evokes.

Don’t forget my other blog, anneli’s place, if you are interested in informal writing tips.


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Marlie

Marlie is a good person. Maybe a bit naive…. A young teacher newly arrived in the Queen Charlotte Islands, she has a lot to learn. The rough island life tests her survival skills both physically and socially. She is surprised that with the beauty of the islands come hidden and unexpected dangers.

 

Here is a short excerpt from “Marlie” :

She pulled over to the side of the gas station after she gassed up, and made the call. At the pumps Brent was leaning his shoulder into the side of his truck, staring off into space as he held the nozzle in the gas tank. The profile of his face was perfect—manly, but fine. His blue checkered work shirt had a tear in the elbow. Jeans were dirty and smeared with dried blood—from the deer, she presumed. She sure hoped that was what the blood was from. How was she to know? She’d only just met him. His canvas vest had lots of pockets, more practical than fashionable. Seemed like islanders tended to be that way. Kodiak boots half unlaced told her he must have walked a lot today and maybe his feet were sore. Fancy, he was not.

It would have been great if she had been nicer to Brent, but as luck would have it, she chose instead a man who would get her into serious trouble. You will be shocked at how Marlie’s trusting nature is turned against her. Rough island life is about to get much rougher. When she most needs a friend, she realizes that she knows very few people in this new setting. She’s on her own.

If you like page-turner stories of love, adventure, and danger, why not download “Marlie”? It is available on all amazon outlets for Kindle and paperback, and on smashwords.com and nook.com (Barnes and Noble) for all formats of e-readers.

 Find Marlie here:   amazon.com

 and here: amazon.ca

Available in paperback as well.

To find out more, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com


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The Chinwag

Sometimes it takes only a simple thing to feel like you’ve just had a shot of Vitamin B12.

Yesterday I sat on a bench looking at this scene. I took a picture and thought, “Somewhere over there is my house. If I didn’t know there was a river on the far side of this mud flat, I might try walking across Comox Bay.” When I got home and uploaded the photo, I zoomed in and could almost see my house. I could see the workshop in the backyard and the tree that is in the farthest corner of the yard. I drew an arrow in the photo to show where that tree is, right in a gap between the treed area.

Having a sandwich and a chinwag with a friend was a simple way to pass some time but it was great medicine after not seeing friends for a long time, and not having much of a social life except for calling to people at a distance. We sat on opposite ends of a bench and caught up on news of the past weeks. Then we both went home refreshed, having had a change of scene.

I realized then how much I had missed seeing my friends, and how much I still miss seeing some who can’t get out for a while like I did.

The effects of the pandemic are the same for all of us in some ways, but different for others.  What changes do you find most difficult at this time? How do you cope?


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The Used Cow Lot

I posted this a few years ago and happened to come across it again. For new followers, I hope you enjoy it, and I thank faithful longtime followers for their patience.

Here goes:

Montana has miles and miles of ideal cattle grazing country. I did a “drive-by shooting” (with my camera, of course) of these cows…do you call them cows if they’re male too? I never know what to call them. There’s probably a lot of bull here too.DSCN4485

Whatever you call them, there were a lot of them dotting the scenic Montana landscape between Helena and Garrison. As we pulled into the tiny town of Drummond to fuel up, I played tourist while the Captain topped up the gas tank. I got out to take a picture of the “Used Cow Lot” across the street from the gas station.

Notice the sign beside the building advertising “Mentzer’s Livest”? It says: Overnight fees, Cattle $3, Horses $5. Shouldn’t the price be the same for all? That’s just plain discrimination if you ask me. And what do you think goes on in that animal hotel? Mentzer’s Livest? I know the animals must go in there naked, but what are they doing in there to make this the livest show around? Your thoughts?

I’m not sure I’d want to stay there. You can see what happened to the Grim Reaper cow that didn’t get past the doorway. But with those long horns, maybe it’s bull once again.

A used cow dealer renting out a cheap shack for naked customers, advertising the livest show? I bet they’re all in there sleeping together and acting like real animals.

DSCN4494

Oh no! Wait! I’ve got it figured out. I found another photo that explains it all. Three letters were missing on that first photo. It’s not Mentzer’s Livest, but Mentzer’s Livestock.