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Our whole family are ‘animal people’, our homes aren’t complete without a pet or two to nurture. The three of ‘Us’ (Mum, Matt, and myself) have 2 cats, 2 birds and a tank of tropical fish.

I’ve talked about our cats before:

The Learned Professor Pye

Pyewackett

Lady Skye

Sweet Lady Skye

We also have the two cockatiels, Bosco and Lady Cosmo:

Lady Cosmo

Bosco

Lady Cosmo

Lady Cosmo

And a thirty gallon tropical tank.

Here’s our fishtank, populated by African Cichlids, and a Plecostomus.

My brother, Jim, has the character dog, Max, short for Maximum Overdrive.

This is the infamous Max, enjoying every second of being a family dog.

Max

His partner, Carol, has the sweet, elderly Muffin.

Here’s the Grandma dog, Muffin

Muffin

His daughter Kryssi and her partner, Troy, have 2 dogs and three cats.

This is Brinkley, Kryssi adopted her after the vet finiahed treating the poor thing for being set afire.

Kryssi with Brinkley

This is Brody, the first dog Kryssi adopted through the vet’s office she works for.

Brody

This is the ‘Retard Cat’ that Kryssi adopted and nursed back to health.\

The ‘Retard Cat’

Kryssi’s ‘Momma Cat’ Whiskey Girl.

Momma Cat

I haven’t gotten a pic of ‘Little Man’ cat yet. He is shy and hides when company arrives.

Matt’s ex-wife and her adult daughter have 2 Chihuahuas, hermit crabs, and tropical fish.

This is Doreen’s daughter’s Chihuahua, Pepperoncini, at about 4 months old.

Pepperoncini

This is Doreen’s Chihuahua, Pepsi, she is about 1 1/2 months old here.

And little Pepsi.

gwenguin

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A friend popped these into my ‘frig, and I opened the door to a still life meant for sharing….

Araucana, a name as exotic as her eggs. Tail-less Chilean wonder hen, centuries ‘board tall nitrate-trading ships, has stained her egg shells the blues and greens of sky and sea. Every shell is an undeniable remnant of ancient lives.  Cracked open, each reveals color that permeates through to the inner lining, unlike the white of other breeds, there is no clouding of her concave sky…each inner half a planetarium charting the heavens of shipwrecked survivors passed from the hands of  Guarani Indians to Magellan in Santa Lucia Bay, from Dutch pirates exchanging her for provisions in the Hebrides. Now, it is time to seal this uninterrupted journey and cast these shells into the garden where crows and songbirds greedily feast upon them under the stark winter-weary sky. There is serenity in this for blue is a dominant trait perhaps to be expressed in unexpected places.

Pollygraph 

 

bluestockings.jpg

The Bluestockings, a pejorative name for an informal woman’s literary “club” that flourished in the second half of eighteenth century London, was named after Benjamin Stillingfleet’s blue worsted stockings: he was too poor to afford the customary black silk stocking suitable for evening wear. Run by educated, intellectual, conservative women who tried to raise the moral, intellectual, and cultural standards of their time, this group of friends took turns hosting evening’s entertainment where the literary figures of London took the spotlight. Women were often the majority of the guests, and the subject of the evening was often a learned women from the past or the present. Eventually similar ladies’ groups who patterned themselves after the Bluestockings sprung up all over London then all over England.

These upper-middle class women scorned female “accomplishments,” card playing, and frivolous behavior, preferring instead a life of moral and intellectual rigor and philanthropic activities. These women did not pen great tracts railing about the failings of men. They did claim the right to act in the semi-public sphere and they urged women to become involved in philanthropic activities which benefited other women. Following their own advice, they created a number of philanthropic institutions whose aim was to help women, often poor widowed women with children, become economically self-sufficient. source

Before Darryl took sick again, eighteen months ago, I hosted a Salon in my home on the last Sunday of each month. It was a wonderful gathering of like minded women. Everyone bought a plate of food to share and apart from some shared projects that I led we shared our creative endeavours. The diversity was just wonderful and each of us were infused for the next month. I have so many happy memories of those Sundays and plan to establish another monthly gathering in a month or so. I feel compelled to bring life in to this house and this feels like the right way to do it.

In doing a little research, I discovered that there were Bluestockings in other societies as well. In 17th century China, intellectuals, mostly men, held salons and wrote poetry. These brave poets developed a special writing style, a cursive script different from the “official” and “permitted” writing.

This banner below shows a calligraphy scroll from 1629. Quoting from my resarch, “The work, Orchard Pavilion Preface is in the cursive script known as kuang cho, or “crazy grass script”. Kuang cho features gestural, flowing lines that are rough, strung together and hasty yet graceful, displaying the artist’s skill with a brush. This cursive style allowed artists to write with much more abandon than the blocky and very structured lishu , the “official script”.
The text itself refers to a party held at the Orchard Pavilion in the 4th century. A group of intellectuals had gathered to drink wine, write poetry, paint, and admire nature.

calligraphyI’m not sure yet, still working on the research, but I believe this writing eventually was taken over by women, and was used only by them in secret messages written on fans and embroidered on handkerchiefs. The women’s writing was called nushu by the 19th century. Again, I’m still working on this part. But whether there is a link or not, the idea that intellectuals needed to invent a script that was more expressive than regular writing is a wonderful idea.

Written on a window, soon after her marriage, 1713.

Whilst thirst of praise and vain desire of fame,
In every age is every woman’s aim;
With courtship pleas’d, of silly toasters proud,
Fond of a train, and happy in a crowd;
On each proud fop bestowing some kind glance,
Each conquest owing to some loose advance;
While vain coquets affect to be pursued,
And think they’re virtuous, if not grossly lewd:
Let this great maxim be my virtue’s guide;
In part she is to blame that has been try’d–
He comes too near, that comes to be deny’d.{22}
Written on a window, soon after her marriage, 1713.

An Early Blue Stocking!  I have my doubts!  Not even the most modest flirtying allowed!

Tis true, my dears, a little flattery will not come amiss

However blue my stocking I see nothing too remiss

returning flattery with a gentle kiss! 

Fran

Rat

We were sitting around, killing time, and waiting for the usual stragglers. Bert had been bragging how he had just missed the cut for the Fear Factor TV competition by a mouthful of rat even after he’d successfully downed blenderized raw fish! While the other fellows commiserated, the females just let out a collective “Ewwww”! All the females that is, except for Grang — a post-war refugee  from Viet Nam. 

 

She whispered in my ear, “You want me tell you how cook rat?” Her eyes then searched my face for an answer.

 

“Sure, Grang, tell us how to cook rat,”  I replied then sat back and watched the faces of the others raster through a myriad of expressions: amusement, incredulity, realization, sympathy, and finally curiosity. 

 

Grang quickly glanced around the table, then back with uncertainly so I nodded and gestured for her to begin. She spoke hesitantly at first and then gained confidence as she, and we were transported through the process.

 

“If there is a choice, it is better to trap rats in the field as almost always, when their stomachs are opened, they are found full of grain and plant seed and their meat is more nutritious and less likely to be diseased or parasite laden. Unlike rabbits, the skin of the rat adheres tightly to the muscle. The best way to remove hair and skin is to build a small fire of straw or dried grass and lay the body directly on it, turning rapidly until all the hair is singed. That will also loosen the skin from the meat so it peels off easily once the head, legs and tail have been removed.”

 

“Dress the carcass by carefully removing the entrails and then splitting it much as one would split a chicken. The meat and bones are then hacked cross-wise into chunks, and the pieces placed in a container to be well mixed with coarse salt, garlic, onion, curry powder and lemon grass. Allow them to remain so for an hour or more, being careful to stir periodically to make sure all the pieces are well covered.”

 

“When following that method, it is unnecessary to wash the meat if it has been carefully wiped with a damp cloth before hacking into chunks. The meat can then be pan fried or grilled.”

 

“Another recipe is to put chunks into a pot, cover them with coconut milk and water, add dry mushrooms or other vegetable material that may be available as well as desired seasonings, then simmering until tender. If noodles are added, do so towards the end of the cooking time or serve with rice. Almost any recipe for chicken or other game works well. It is just a matter of getting the meat while still fresh. A live trap is best to use as the animal can be kept alive until meal preparation.”

 

***

 

I opened the storage shed then paused a moment and stared at the shelf before pulling down the smaller of the two cage-traps….

 

Bird flu had spread so rapidly it caught most of us off-guard. We were secure for the time being, as yet un-pillaged by our neighbors. Still, the food stocks are dwindling and soon they would be gone. There was no sign that services would soon resume; hundreds were sick and many more are dead. The entire infrastructure had been disrupted; no deliveries were being made because no one was willing to take the risk — everyone was too frightened to leave home,  to make contact with others.  We were all hunkered low. When the grid failed it was not sabotage, just desertion from duty … predictable under the circumstances.

 

So now, it is time to test my skills. 

 

 

~Pollygraph

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research into the Blue Stocking society in order to write a short story about them. But I’ve found that this project has really taken on massive proportions for me. It’s no longer a short story but seems as if it could be a novel. So I’m excited about that. And at the same time, I’m sorry I’m not able to share what I’ve written so far. I’ve realized that in order to understand the significance of The Society, a person needs to understand the historical atmosphere they lived in. It was a time of social upheaval. I’m very interested in it, and I see many parallels to today’s society. I had really hoped to share a short story with all of you on this first meeting, but as I’ve mentioned, it is a work in progress. I highly recommend, to anyone interested in history, the period of time that the Society began is worthy of an in depth study.
-Literary Bohemian

Greetings! Welcome to the first official meeting of the Bluestocking Society. Thank you for Anita Marie for the concept and to Ninjacat for this week’s topic.

So, here it is:

“Who the Blue Stocking Society was in the past and who we are today. Share your writing, art and your voice about this amazing society.”

You can add your comments below OR you can add a whole new post and categorize it as Blue Stocking Society/BS 26.01.07

If you would like to be added to the Taverna, please let me know.

Lori

I am alone.

Unto the very core of my being,

Down to the marrow in the bone,

And I have known it,

Heard it in the wind,

Felt the ghastly moan

Of being cut off,

Cut out;

Age four – I saw

The chasm and the caverns

Deep below;

You would have thought

I could at least consort

With other ghosts –

There were none there

And if they were they hid

In shadows, spectres still;

So this is why I know

It cannot change,

Or ever will.

There is a path where trees and flowers

Form bowers of solitude

For lovers, friends, companions;

I don’t go there,

I do not know the way

And would be shunned;

Invisible:

Since age of four

Who locked the door

To make me live this way?

Alone – from being a child,

For all my life – lost

Searching for a key, an opening;

I am far inside myself,

Apart – beyond the reach

Of fingertips

Or outstretched arms:

Today is yesterday.

Jan

candleford

thoughts on the
playful light waves
to where it is darkest
in this the universe

taking with them
our thoughts
prayers and wishes
light and enlightenment

entwining forever
all from a lit candle

Aletta Mes

 

img_0885.JPG

The fullness of loving and being loved
like a mountain lake
whose falls plummet down the mountain
taking chances
and always landing in the safe arms
of beauty

I’m with you this day as you celebrate
Life and love

Here’s to hearts connecting
Smiles and laughter
Holding hands and hugging tears

I’m knowing you’re held in light and love
As is your beloved Darryl.
I burn a candle in my sacred space
to light his path as well as yours.

Anne

egyptian-boat2.jpg

May your journey to the field of rushes, the stars and beyond
be an awakening of great joy!

May the Goddess take your gentle hand and lead to the weighing of the heart
where it is found light as a feather

Hear my prayer O rider of the eternal night
Dear one of the sweet lady Heather

May universal energy embrace you, caress your tears and show you
a new beginning

lunagirl

I wrote this poem about the love I feel from and with my boyfriend.  From all I have seen and heard of Heather and Darryl and the love they share, it seemed appropriate for them too.  I hope all of you enjoy this, especially you Heather and Darryl.

Cyn

What is that beautiful sound?
It is like a soft, low, gentle humming
That envelops me in its strong, soothing embrace
It enters my mind
And permeates every part of me
I feel awash in warmth and security
comfort and pleasure
It is the sound of love
It is the sound of you
Filling my heart and soul with your presence
with your goodness
with your tenderness

Season of Solitude
For Heather and Darryl
.

Ivy on the garden wall.
Old stones, if only they could talk.
Last Autumn’s leaves
still beneath the snow.
Branches bare, basic in their nudity.
My thoughts are yet of thee.

Snow covered walks,
pristine, unspoiled.
The shaded tool shed
cloaked in white.
Silence, like a blanket, covers
the sins of yesterday.

Spring rains that cleanse and chase away
the musty smells of winter.
Closed doors and shuttered windows.
A hint of warmth, and then
shoots of daffodils and crocus
bring smiles instead of tears.

Leaves were falling when you left—
Erratic flight in Autumn’s fickle breezes.
I faced the long darkened nights
and shortened days alone
with many tears shed.

The sun is high this glorious morn,
its light, spring’s promise
of hope renewed,.
I see a shadow and there you are
just like you used to be—
I cannot touch but I can love,
what more is there to say,
until we meet again
upon that other sunny shore.

Vi Jones
©January 24, 2007

(Photo by Robin. 2006)

In China, the flower meanings for the peony are happy marriage and most beautiful.

I’m new here, but from what I’ve picked up I believe Darryl and Heather had a combination of the two, making for a most beautiful happy marriage.

Happy trails, Darryl.

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