Doin’ My Bit For Scottish Folk….

I don’t know exactly what in the hell A-M is doing this month other than slavering over some perspective novel and ignoring the rest of us, but HEY! It’s all about her and we can deal with our own abandonment issues….

I have no idea if I’m doing this right by posting here as she has demanded of us.

Since I have no concept of organization nor the penchant for such menial mortal tasks such as “following” instructions, as she well knows, I will post a couple of my favorites here; providing A-M with the creative where-withall  to do her thang.

I support Scottish freedom and creativity….

Haggis consumption should be punishable by death.

Love you, A-M….

I hope you like these and dedicate your book to me….or at the least, a token acknowledgment.

You Will See….


The thundering sky understands me…

The sweet taste of cloud, sky tears on my face, save me the effortless toil of shedding my own.

The empathy of torment sky loans me these pearls of liquid light, oh unselfish sky…mystery and clear.

Give me…
Take me…

When the dark kills blue…oil stroked canvas sky…
The master artists pallette visions sunlight shades and finds no mix for gold, nor ray to compare…

Paint what you see…
Write what you feel…
Dance to what you hear…
Drive it like you stole it….

To smell pure, the soft and plain…
Petals of sky made earth again; flower land of sights…

Anoint my brow, oh sky fallen tear
Pit the dust upon my feet, this weary, loathsome traveler pleads…

So a little pain must fall…
It can’t rain all the time…
Neither sun, nor days ever lasts

Sanctify me blessed sky

Joy or sorrow, nay twain from cloud or eye
Jaded pearls of light bent sky are the same, upon earth or hands they fall….

Can I offer anything in return for these open skies, reflected tears of light or brightly shadowed mind?

This is the thanks you will receive big blue sky;

The humble sacrifice of a moment from my life;wpid-20140719_2104365886-picsay.jpg

Recognized and taken for granted..

As we all….

I will give you, an;
Upturned face…
Closed eyes…
A kissed prayer for grace….
A Whispered thanks…

Then, I will dance in the rain and shake my fist at God and cry;

“That was perfect!”

“Do it again!”

Underground Energy

Hi Scottishmomus Readers,


Jjjj-1   My name is Lisa. I run a blog land called Underground Energy and I am the next  guest to post in the land of Anne-Marie. In my land, we discuss life in general and  in depth, sideways and from the bird’s eye view; even upside down. I’m married  to Johnny Ojanpera, so many times our blogs overlap. Sometimes, it’s even funny,  as we each run a “secret” tabloid on the other.


Anyway, I was in deep thought today and my mind did some pond wandering to  wolf packs, which got me to thinking about the people I hang out with, or my  wolf pack. Because in my land we are all wolves. You see, my wolf pack is a pack  of lone wolves. Yes, you heard me correctly. We are indeed a pack of lone wolves.  For some reason or other, each of us has had to take a path that has been pretty  isolated.


So, when the Hopi elder gave the advice that everyone should have a pack, we did the only thing lone wolves could do. We started a pack of lone wolves. We had some issues to work out. Negotiations that we had to naturally come to terms with over such a suggestion of being part of a pack. It was rather absurd at first. We actually enjoy being in silence, alone, together. Yes, alone together, that is the simplest way to describe it.


I think the hardest part of being in our wolf pack is setting a pace that is good for everyone, but eventually we come to terms and then we are a well oiled machine.Screenshot_2014-04-01-09-17-00-1


Oh, we also write fiction, poetry, novels,op-eds, the occasionally conspiracy theory, bitch about the world’s problems, mental problems, pretend to portal to other worlds, draw, paint, write music, sing, dance, laugh, take photographs with the occasional photo war, raise children and have animals as friends. Oh!, and we have a weekly music theme.


Disclaimer: Sometimes the trees are upside down in our world. Writers, I swear, always coming up with shit that isn’t there. 😉


Thank you,

Lisa Ojanpera


“Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress;
working together is success.”

Thank you,


You can also find us on Love Songs and Mood Swings

I’ve grabbed hold of the reins!!

As you may all be aware the gorgeous Anne-Marie has taken a sabbatical of sorts, off to write her wee Scottish heart out and take a rest from blog-land.

When I received her email asking me if I would like to contribute a piece for her site, I jumped up and down with joy (well no I didn’t, as at my age jumping is banned). I eagerly  said yes, then wondered for the next day what on earth I would write about.

My blog started off as hints for mums and talking about my two adult girls. I then discovered the wonderful world of poetry. I followed other poets, I breathed in their words, some of which still can leave me confused by the way. I then started writing about my life in more detail. My youngest daughter at 27 has Borderline Personality Disorder, which only manifested last year. I also wrote and write about my elderly parents whom I refer to as Mumma & Pop Penguin. I gave them this name as bless their cotton socks they are 85 & 87 respectively and … well they shuffle like two little penguins.

I am extremely close to my parents and it has amazed me that my readers have taken them into their hearts as well.

This is what I love about the blogging community, when I started a few years ago, I had no idea how many would read me ( yes I was one who constantly checked their stats in the beginning). Now I don’t. I have made virtual friends from many countries and for that I am grateful.

In my ‘other life’ apart from being a mum, a daughter and partner to an amazing man who I refer to as Mr. S. I am a Funeral Civil Celebrant, which I have been doing for the past year and I love it. I am also studying to perform marriages. I am now 59 years old (hence the banned jumping)  and I live in Melbourne, Australia. So that is a little bit about me personally.

Is there anything to maintaining readers? My only answer is to display your manners. Read and comment whenever you can, show politeness to all that you read, be they once or if you follow.

I have the propensity to change from one subject to the other, this is clearly evident in what I have written thus far!

I am, as I said, very grateful to A-M for giving me the opportunity to blab on a bit on her site and I can only hope that she is writing her Scottish Bum off right now. We are all here to support one another, blogging can not be a one way street. So hopefully I can repay the favour very soon!

She writes
her thoughts scurrying
through her mind, no correction
of spelling or punctuation
this will stop the flow
she has ideas
a story, putting her
other work on hold

Whilst she gives others
opportunities to display
she writes and scratches
head, a worded masterpiece
will develop
one that will be read

So thank you Anne-Marie
I hope I haven’t dribbled
take time between
your writing
have some time for you
your readers will be waiting
so have a dram or two

Oh and Thank You to all of those who have read, I now hand back the reins. Jenny



I knew instantly that you were furious. Hunched, seething, in your chair, your vibrations were chunked with rage, clear as clear.

Upon discovering that the signed-on-the-back photo had been smudged, you snarled and muttered imprecations.

Heart in mouth, fear already surging, I tried to think what I had done wrong this time. Was it the fact that I went to get the photo sorted without asking your permission, asking if it was all right to do this?

Just in case, I explained that I had dropped a friend of our elder daughter’s off at her house (having loaned her my little gas heater because they have no heat in the house and she has been unwell) and popped in on my passport application errand on the way back.

I asked if there had been friction between you and one of the children, if you were tired (for it had been a stressful day, and your usual routine had been interrupted); you growled angry negatives.

I was, I confess, concerned about you driving in such a mood, having seen, two years ago, the damage caused by this kind of fury, unwillingness to back down and refusal to ask for help: That previous instance cost us £800 in repairs to the car, but at least no one was harmed.

I tried to suggest that you take the two girls to ballet, and I collect them on my way to choral rehearsal; you wouldn’t hear of it.

The atmosphere thickened upon your return, became more poisonous.

‘I’ll assert myself here,’ I thought,’ and just say that I’ll do the pick-up…’

You erupted in vituperative and incandescent rage, showering me with accusations.

I was, you told me, trying to thrust myself into plans YOU had already made; I was trying to take over; I was being bossy and controlling, as usual – and, NO, I was NOT going to collect the girls; YOU were, and I needed to BUTT OUT.

Your face (which I once thought so handsome) was set in the now all-too-familiar pursed-mouth, mean and threatening stance.

The thought of you driving became ever-more frightening because, in this mood, you have been known to scrape a neighbour’s car, knock wing mirrors off deliberately when walking down the road (because you don’t approve of them being left out) and, on the day we drove to Marlborough, force me to leap into the verge to avoid being hit by the front of your car.

I ran out, terrified, and tried to hold the door of the car open, to stop you going.

‘Please,  Gary,’ I begged, ‘can we just discuss this…’


And, when I wouldn’t, you turned the key in the ignition – and would, I know, have driven off, even if I had been injured in the process.

I should, I am sure, have just let you drive away – but I was afraid of your unacknowledged capacity for damage and violence when this riled-up.

We tussled over the keys. You scratched and bruised me.

I had to let go in the end, had to retreat. I tried to suggest that we should drive together and discuss it calmly.

‘No,’ you said, ‘I don’t want you in the car. You are NOT coming with me. You have made a scene in the street and you have got bare feet. Get back into the house.’

You were far more concerned about the potential embarrassment caused by my bare feet and the neighbours watching than you were about the bruise on my forearm, the scratches on finger and back of hand, the shaking which I was unable to control.

You drove off – and, as I discovered later, told the girls that we had argued, just in case, as you put it, ‘we got back and found you waiting behind the door with the rolling pin or worse…’

Once you had gone, I gave way to tears and, feeling an absolute need to escape, drove round to local friends.

The next bit is mostly a blank, though I know that they were kind and caring, the way they always are.

But what was dawning ever clearer in my mind was the recognition of a pattern which goes back years, if not decades – and that is your absolute need for things to go the way you have decided they will, and your need to intimidate, bully and punish me if I question your dictats, do things without asking you first or go against rules which shift like the sand.

Let me shake your hand!

How do you do?

Ah, good firm bear grip; I like that in a fellow blogger. There’s tidy, as they say in Wales…

Anyway, enough of the social chit chat, and on with the motley – for I am, amongst many other things, a jester, a clown.

Albeit a broken one.

My name is Alienora, and Anne-Marie has very kindly allowed me to sneak onto her site and use her tools (snigger, snigger) whilst she is away writing the Great Work.

I have been a blogger since June 2012, having given up the Day Job (teaching) after thirty years to become what I have always actually been, a writer.

My output is eclectic, my attitude and behaviour frequently eccentric. I cover sex, relationships, prose-poetry, fragments of novels and loads of humour.

Today, however, I am writing something a great deal more serious – a piece on emotional abuse. It is something I witnessed all too often as a teacher, and have experienced myself at various points.

If you want to visit my site, I can be found at:


For the past 18 months I have been privileged of not only reading but exchanging ideas with the brilliant owner of this blog.  Now I find myself blessed by the honour of adding my simple words here.  Casting out my thoughts before you, her fellow bloggers and friends, is a humbling prospect as you are all accustomed to Anne-Marie’s word wizardry.  Nevertheless, I found something that I hope will be in the spirit of this site. Thank you all for your patience reading it.  And, most of all, thank you Anne-Marie for allowing me to be part of your community.  I am truly grateful! Beth Byrnes


It’s that special time of the year again here.

Unlike some parts of this country, we are still deep in the heat of summer.  It has been in the high 90’s (F) for the past few weeks, relentlessly.

And with dry summer heat in good ole SoCal, comes: ants.

We are being swarmed.  First we had them on our two humming bird feeders.  Since we have about a half dozen or so hummingbirds that live in our yard, we have two feeders up, one in the front near the garage that we can view from a  living room window and one outside our kitchen, that we watch through the garden window over the sink.

One of the hummingbird feeders

Last week I was looking outside the kitchen window and noticed that our usual birds were nowhere to be seen for a few hours, which is unusual.  I looked closely at the long hook that suspends the feeders from an avocado tree next to our fountain and noticed that it was black instead of silver.  When I went outside to inspect if further, I realized that the black was moving – we had a solid line of ants in motion all over the hook, up into the avocado and in a long straight line, like a column of Prussians, marching from one of the planters that flank our front gate all the way back to the feeder.

Side fountain with Oriole

First, I put an ant button high up on the pergola that straddles the avocado tree, in the hope that it would lead the ants away from the feeder.  No such luck – more ants arrived in droves and chowed down happily on both (presumably only to perish later in their nests – a thought that does not thrill me, being the creature-lover that I am).

OK, on to the next solution: Tanglefoot (argh – now that is a way-too-graphic name for me, making me picture the poor ants feet mired in goo, breaking their legs.  Just writing about it makes me feel incredibly guilty) a sticky gum that keeps any insect away from a vertical (and even horizontal) surface.  So, this can be used on tree trunks to keep destructive insects from climbing up trees, from soil.

Tree tanglefoot insect barrier

So, first I cleaned off both feeders, applied the barrier high up on each hook and our hummies were back in business.

While I am talking about ants outside, from our gardening instructor we learned that for the most part, ants outside are beneficial.  They aerate soil and consume wastes, turning them into fertilizer.  So, outside ants are actually a good thing.  Except on bird feeders, of course.

Ants facing road block

But! That was not the end of it.

Saturday morning we awoke to see a swarm of ants all over the kitchen counters.  Not for food, but seeking water.  It has been very hot and dry here and under those conditions, ants come into the house primarily through the hood over the stove. For that there are two excellent solutions.

Remember the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  His solution for every ill from warts to heart attacks? Yup: Windex.  Not just any window cleaner either, only Windex brand, the blue stuff, works.


But, because of our dog and bird, we don’t spray Windex any place that we fear they might go.  Also, who wants to spray Window cleaner on kitchen surfaces – not exactly food-safe.

So, I have discovered that my own concocted sterilizing home cleaner (from my earlier post on tips and tricks) of Trader Joe’s liquid dish soap (I like the mandarin orange) with vinegar added and diluted with water, put into an ordinary spray bottle does just as good a job of killing ants and keeping them from returning (which I prefer – I really hate killing anything except, I will confess, I don’t mind the idea of killing cockroaches – but luckily I have not seen one since I was in Puerto Rico.  I don’t think I could bear them in my house).

Trader Joes Mandarin Orange Liquid Dish Soap

The great thing about my liquid cleaner is that it is almost totally natural and mildly food-safe.  If you do use it around birds, make sure you come back later and remove it from any surface on which they might walk.  Vinegar is deadly for bird’s feet.

“My favorite cleaner is TJs tangerine liquid dish soap and distilled white vinegar in water, about 2:4:12. Put that in a large spray bottle and use it to clean and sterilize everything except unfinished wood (it will pickle the latter) (of course, it is a great way to pickle wood, if that is what you want!).”

This whole episode then got me thinking about the ridiculous memes I could make connecting all these ideas together into one cohesive concept of the Windex leading to the Greek origins of the word ant and and then “ant” being the Greek root of “anti” and that being linked to the combative nature of this whole anti-ant process, and the word ant originally meaning “biter”, which reminded me of the vinegar and on and on and on.  Then I found:

Click to see the Anti- tree!

And that just led to paroxysms of antimimetic silliness (hence the captions).

Ants in the yard?  That’s a good thing.  Ants in the house?  Not so much.

Images: Amazon, Kid’s National Geographic, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Trader Joe’s, and


Invisible People

My friend Anne-Marie has asked me to assist her. She needs time to work on her book. To that end here is a piece I wrote.  I hope you enjoy it.  Pamela


Have you ever walked into a crowded room and felt as if no one was aware of you?

It is almost as if you are invisible.

Well that happens to me with some regularity although it is usually at a busy street intersection with many, many cars whizzing by. Am I a wee bit nervous? Yes.  Now to state a few pertinent facts.

The intersection in question has a ‘walk’ symbol that is very clear to both drivers and pedestrians.  The roadway is not visually blocked in any way.  Physically I stand about 5’5”, sitting in a wheelchair I am sure I am more than 4’ high.  While my particular wheelchair is not the largest on the market it is still quite substantial.  And yet, I have been narrowly missed by cars far too many times.  Why?

One theory (my own in fact) is that I have joined the ranks of the Invisible People.  Who are these transparent travelers, these wraithlike wanderers? Basically they are anyone who works or moves in virtual anonymity.  They are there but we don’t see or acknowledge them.  It happens a hundred times a day. People lead busy lives, they don’t have the time or the energy to see or respond to the dozens if not hundreds of people they come into contact with.

There is the guy who took your ticket on the subway, the kid who gave you your coffee and bagel, the cleaning staff at your office, the list is endless.

Some people make the effort to acknowledge these people, but most do not. That is sad.  Every single person you come into contact with in your busy life is a man or a woman that is important.  The woman who brings your mail promptly every day, the guy who keeps your streets clean, the individual who changes the burnt out bulb in your local street light.  These people are around, sometimes in our sight lines, sometimes not, but they are there.

The next time you see someone watering the plants on the boulevard, say hi!  Maybe it will become a trend and we will finally really see each other.  Maybe next time they will see me in the intersection.

Angels and Demons

Many thanks to the lovely and talented Anne-Marie for the invitation to hang about here on her page every now and again, as she works hard on her NaNo project. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

As sometimes happens, when a story attracts the attention of a nation (believe me, I’m not delusional enough to think that our little ‘local’ problem with a national radio host is making much of a ripple elsewhere in the world- that would involve far more Cansplaining than is warranted), it serves as the catalyst for a whole lot of discussion about things outside of the primary issue.

That has certainly been the case this week. There is just so much about this thing in the press. There are reasons for this- he IS a well-known figure in our particular cultural microcosm, and an accomplished broadcaster to boot. But setting him aside completely, a dialogue has been started that shines light on the fact that the greater, by far, percentage of women who are sexually assaulted never report the crimes.

In Canada.

Where we have freedoms and opportunities and equality that can’t even be imagined too many places elsewhere in the world.

I’ve read a fair number of the articles and opinions being published about the situation- and they are myriad (journos have been staggered by these accusations leveled at ‘one of their own’)- because they are contributing to necessary dialogue about such issues. And, when well-presented, they are educating us about the reality that this imbalance of power yet exists and permeates our culture.

So it’s a personal issue for me. It speaks to my own experience and the experience of others I know and love.

There have also been a number of discussions about the narcissism that also permeates out culture (something that I find deeply disturbing and have written about before)- and projections that pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder is at the heart of this situation. Impossible to tell- from a distance, and without legitimate professional assessment- but, once again, it is bringing discussions of mental illness into the forefront of our awareness.

There’s another personal element at play here too- my deep and abiding love of the CBC and the continuing assertion that it is an important institution. Anything that shakes that place to its core is going to get me talking.

The best thing I read this week on that topic (one of the best things I read all week, full stop) came from Michael Enright, another old favourite of mine. He addresses both of the issues with which I have a personal investment- violence against women and the integrity- moral and journalistic- of the CBC. Voices like his are the reason we need to fight to maintain our national broadcaster.

But I’m also interested for purely academic reasons. I talk a whole lot here about my issues with the separation into black and white- sourced in outdated Bronze Age concepts of ‘good’ and ‘evil’- as defined by social codes for behaviour that are, often, not remotely culturally or morally relevant in the 21st century.

(There are exceptions, of course. The one about not murdering other people? THAT one should certainly be upheld. The ones based in common sense and true morality? Those I don’t have a problem with. It’s the ones that were designed solely for the purpose of keeping a particular tribal organization of people specifically tribally organized… a lot of those need to be left in the annals of history, where they belong).

I hate this dichotomization. Good/Evil. Us/Them. It’s all about division when we NEED to be talking about union.

One of the week’s articles referenced this, in passing. But it’s a point that I think needs a little more emphasis.

Although I approached the topic differently and named it with other names, yesterday’s post was, in part, about the ‘Halo Effect’ that Dan Gardner talks about. We love the guy, he’s great at his job, and, as such, he can’t possibly be guilty.

Likewise, when we label people with the ‘Devil Effect’, we see nothing but evil. By removing the humanity– that admixture of nature and nurture that makes up each and every one of our personalities- we are saying that we are statically categorized. Once placed in a box there is no possibility of movement.

Which is ludicrous.

And worse, it feeds the sort of power-driven insanity that leads people in power to state that we needn’t be looking for the societal origins of anomie (or discontent and disconnection) that leads to us branding people as belonging on one-or-the-other side of a coin of extremes.

We need to change our language. I keep harping on this, I know. We have to remove apocalyptic thinking from our shared worldview (which is a discussion for another day) and we need to stop the dichotomizing. To do so, we need to examine the myths that created the language, and exorcize those that have no place in our current temporal, moral and communal reality.

I’ve never considered myself a vehement atheist (although I am a vehement humanist). I certainly don’t count myself among the screaming crowd of the New Atheists who deride and castigate those who are believers at every possible turn. I’m all about the ‘live and let live’. And I know- because I have spent my adult life studying the phenomenon- the importance of religion in human life and the reasons why we create and cling to gods.

But. I’m tired. Very tired.

Of playing devil’s advocate (although I will continue to Advocate for the Devil- that guy needs some serious PR) for those who hold to belief- especially (although not exclusively) unexamined belief- as a way to justify the unjustifiable and to maintain a status quo that should have been eradicated generations ago.

I am finding it harder and harder to comprehend educated, reasoning human beings who cling to myths that originated in such a different time and place that there can be no social comparison in the face of evidence that proves- unequivocally- that they are not history. That they are human-created stories that answered the questions that plagued the human experience. Even though we have, now, answered those questions in other, demonstrable and evidence-based, ways.

The events of the past two weeks- both the tragic and the (melo)dramatic- in my Home and Native Land can have extremely positive repercussions- if we choose to address them in the ways they should be addressed. With critical, in-credulous focus on the hearts of the matters at hand.

Without divisive rhetoric that polarizes the issue and hearkens back to an era of superstition and suspicion.

My Canadian-ness is an ever-present facet of my personality- both the nature and the nurture of it. I love Canada (although Scotland was pretty cool, too). My cultural identity is solidly Canadian (except the liking hockey part). We have had a lot with which to contend, over the past few weeks, and, for the most part, we have done so admirably and with the dignity and thoughtfulness with which we generally view the world.

This song has been running through my head today.

I speak in tongues of men and angels
I’m just soundin’ brass and tinklin’ cymbals
Without love

Love suffers long, love is kind
Enduring all things, hopin’ all things
Love has no evil in mind

As a child, I spoke as a child
I thought and I understood as a child
But when I became a woman I put away childish things
And began to see through a glass darkly

Joni is another of our National Treasures. Interestingly, Jian’s interview with her was one of the best things I’ve ever seen on Q.

But it’s time to put away childish things- and childish ways of seeing the world as either this or that. ‘Halo Effect’ and ‘Devil Effect’. Angels and Demons. More than just a poorly-written (if bestselling) thriller. It’s a dangerous metaphor that keeps us locked in archaic mythological ways of viewing the world.

Please. Stop. Just stop.

Let something positive come out of all the events of the last weeks. We are talking- let’s keep those discussions from devolving and referencing outdated ideals of polarization sourced in stories- and values- of old.

P.S. I realized- after some additional reflection- that this post may make it seem as if I find no value at all in these myths of ours. This is, of course, not the case. I love our stories- I started this blog as a means of communicating my belief in the power of our myths. If you have spent any time here, you have to acknowledge the truth of that.

What has to cease is our insistence on clinging to them as anything other than metaphor and attempts to make sense of the world with the wisdom we had at the time they were created. There is wisdom to be found- but there is also much that is dangerous- in light of the strides we have made in understanding our universe with the tools we continue to develop. I’m terrified that we are slipping back into believing the ‘truth’ behind the tales and missing the underlying messages of humanity as we fight about the existence of one or another god- and the varied interpretations of what those gods allegedly had to tell us.

It might be a fine line- but it’s one that is clear in my understanding of the world.

Love You More

“This is the first time I’ve ever ‘guested’ on a blog. So first of all, thank you to this wonderful blog’s host for allowing me to scatter my words across her pages. I wrote this today, and a weakness of mine is thinking my words will never be read or aren’t good enough. Hopefully you’ll find this a good read.” Simon

Take me dear and lead me on
Through willows where you roam,
Along the paths of memory
With secrets all alone,
For if I am to love you more
These things I should be shown.

Take me dear with gentle hand
And show me where you go,
The secret places behind the dreams
Beneath the rivers flow,
For if I am to love you more
These things I need to know.

Take me dear along with you
Across the fields and loam,
Underneath the purple sky
With wishes richly sewn,
For if I am to love you more
Such flowers should be grown.

Take me dear with arm in arm
We’ll bask in summers glow,
To tell me stories of your past
In whispers sweet and low,
For if I am to love you more
Such truths they should be so

Take me dear, my trust is yours
This heart so made of stone,
For though its hard and tainted so
It’s willing to atone,
And if you are to love me dear
This heart is yours to own.