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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, since 4/24/2008 [Help]
Results 20,676 - 20,700 of 531,324
20676. Patalosh and Exploring the Great Barrier Reef

Orion explores the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

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20677. Eagle, Wings Open Wide

I almost left this as a wordless post – and let the pictures do the talking . . .

But this author doesn’t always know how to “do” wordless, loving instead to give the background on what I’ve witnessed ‘in the field’.

While kayaking last August, I saw in the distance an eagle on the edge of the lake, in the shadows. It appeared to be bathing. The splashing water is actually what caught my attention at first. Well, that, and an eaglet up above on a branch hollering down to it, probably looking for its next meal.

Bathing pictures are on my bucket list, so I slowly paddled forward, hoping to get close enough, but alas, it took to the air.

In my direction.

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Landing on a branch, almost directly above my head, it spread its wings, and left them there! In the back of my mind, I realized I’d read about this while doing research for Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest, but it was a first for me to see it.

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I sat in my kayak, watching this photographic eagle for forty minutes!  Mostly, it stayed in that one pose. Eventually though, it began to preen . . . .

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Before hanging its wings again.

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They’re so regal looking, aren’t they?

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Right now, in October, November, the eagle pair do still hang around the lake. Just last week, I wandered to the shoreline for sunrise photos, to find them adding branches to their nest!

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They will come and go for the next couple months, with me not seeing them for weeks at a time. But when I do, I’ll post photos here and on Facebook. In mid-January, I usually have to don my snowshoes to get to the edge of the lake to see them. In March, the pair stay closer together, near the nest, and I see them every time I trek down. If I’m lucky, I’ll even witness  them mating, which is  a sure sign we’ll be having chicks.

In April, we typically find one eagle sitting down in the nest, with just the tip of her white head showing. This means they’re on the eggs for the next 35 days.

During the very last week of April or first week of May, my campers and I point our cameras toward the nest, hoping for a sign of little gray chick heads bobbing up and down. They aren’t able to hold up their heads until they’re about two weeks old.  At this stage we’re looking to snap pictures of two or possibly even three, gray heads up all at the same time as proof of how many chicks we’ll be following that summer.

Click on the Eagle tag on the right, and you’ll see previous years posts showing their nesting.

Come back often this winter and I’ll keep you posted on this years chicks! I love sharing my findings with all of you.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

 

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20678. gwendabond: smallbeerpress: vintagegal: Seventeen-year-old...



gwendabond:

smallbeerpress:

vintagegal:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Passarge of Hamburg dresses up as a cat and dances on wine bottles in June 1958. Her performance was based on a dream. She practiced for eight hours a day to do this. (x)

8 hours a day and 57 years later minds: still blown

Me inside starting revisions. 



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20679. IF-Bouquet


This is a piece that's close to my heart. Creating it was quite enjoyable. It's a piece that adds both my love of children's art and love of drawing trees!  This was done a couple of years ago for  SCBWI's Tomie dePaola Award. Since the trees are flowery and it feels like spring I thought it a good choice for Illustration Friday's word of the week. 

Here's the link to the 2016 Award. I think it's time to give it another go!

2016 Tomie dePaola Award Prompt

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20680. Katrine Harries Award for Children's Book Illustrations: 2008-2014 (from IBBY SA's Spring Newsletter 2015)

  The Katrine Harries Award for Children’s Book Illustrations: 2008-2014                                             The award winners are: Joan Rankin for Just Sisi (Human & Rousseau) for the period 2008 – 2009; Maja Sereda for Haasmoles (LAPA) for the period 2010 – 2011; and Johan Strauss for In die Land van Pamperlang (Human & Rousseau) for the period 2012 – 2013. The Katrine Harries

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20681. 2016 Challenges: 12 Month Classics Challenge

Name: 12 Month Classics Challenge
Host: You, Me, and A Cup of Tea
Sign Up Here
Dates: January - December 2016
# of Books: 12


January- A classic you've always wanted to read- Start the year off with a bang!
February- A classic you've always dreaded reading- Get that book out of the way... and who knows! You may end up loving it!
March- A classic you've been recommended- We all have those
April- A classic you've seen the movie/miniseries/TV show of- If you're like me you've probably seen quite a few film versions before being able to read the book. It's time for that book to get read!
May- An American classic
June- A British classic
July- A European classic (non-British)
August- A modern classic- Up to your interpretation
September- A children's classic
October- A classic by a female author
November- A classic by a male author
December- A classic written under a pseudonym- If you don't know which books were written under pseudonyms here's a few names to help you out. Jane Austen wrote her books under a pseudonym (by a lady) as did the Bronte sisters (published their books under male pseudonyms), George Elliot (real name Mary Ann Evans) and Agatha Christie also wrote a few books under the Pseudonym Mary Westmacott.  Men who also have written under Pseudonyms are Mark Twain (real name Samuel L. Clemens) and Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). I'm sure there's more out there but there's a few to start you out.

What I Plan To Read:

January -- Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
February --  Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo OR East of Eden by John Steinbeck OR Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz OR Ben Hur by Lewis Wallace
March --East of Eden by John Steinbeck OR Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank OR Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
April -- Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens OR Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
May -- East of Eden by John Steinbeck OR something by Pearl Buck or Mark Twain
June -- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien OR Once and Future King by T.H. White
July -- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo OR Doctor Zhivago by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak OR The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio OR Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes OR The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
August -- The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman OR ???
September -- something by Edward Eager, or, a Newbery award winner pre-1966
October -- something by Margaret Oliphant or Elizabeth Gaskell
November --something by Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins,
December --something by one of the Bronte sisters or possibly George Eliot

What I Actually Did Read:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20682. IBBY Honour List of Books 2015-16

IBBY SA, the South African national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international body with 74 national sections around the world, selected the following books to be presented at the IBBY World Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2016 as having made a special contribution to recent South African literature for children and young people: Author:

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20683. How do you finish a first draft? Low Expectations

 The trick to writing and finishing a first draft of a novel is simple. Ready? Low expectations. I’m not saying you should adopt this as a philosophy for life, but for a first draft of a novel,  absolutely. A first draft is a pale version of what you will eventually revise your novel into. If you accept that, you can allow yourself, give yourself permission,  to write it, to progress onward through the fog. Yes, the draft will be very much less than you want. Yes it will be so much less than the best you can do.  Yes, yes. But constantly stopping to revise, being disappointed by the awkward language or the less than compelling narrative or the development of character, can wear you down and cause you to give up.  And that means never finishing. LOOK, of course, sometimes you should give up. Sometimes the draft just isn’t working. But many times writers quit simply because they get discouraged by how much less their first draft is than the vague but compelling first vision they had for their story. Don’t let that stop you.        


            DEVELOP LOW EXPECTATIONS.



            One way I think about this is my first draft is like a movie that is out of focus, and with a soundtrack that’s a little off--bits of dialogue going in and out, the wrong songs…you get the idea.  My first draft might have nice moments here and there but overall it’s an embarrassment.  My next drafts are my attempts to bring the story into focus. I do this in a number of ways. I make my description more concrete, more sensory. I tighten info dumps. I give dialogue subtext. I work on the precision and flow of my language. I go through the plot for weak moments. I deepen characters. I try to make motivations clearer and on and on…there are so many things I do. And I get to do this because that’s what REVISION is. And for me writing is revising. I get something on the page and then I work with it and work with it and it gets closer to that vision that  inspired me to want to write the story in the first place.
            But to get to that I have to endure the first draft, parts of which, by the way, are very fun because I discover all kinds of things. That said, it’s never easy—low expectations.

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20684. Raw politics: devolution, democracy and deliberation

As a long-time student of politics I have often found myself assessing various kinds of attempts to create new democratic processes or arenas. From citizens’ juries through to mini-publics and from area panels to lottery-based procedures the scope of these experiments with ‘new’ ways of doing politics has taken me from the local ward level right up to the international level.

The post Raw politics: devolution, democracy and deliberation appeared first on OUPblog.

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20685. Christmas Charity Anthology for Children!

Out today on Smashwords published by Crimson Cloak Publishing, soon to be released on Amazon Kindle then in paperback. Charity anthology of children’s stories, including two short tales of mine! ALL proceeds to charity. Makes a lovely stocking filler.

Santa's Little Helpers Anthology-Cover

Buy here on Smashwords

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20686. Too Many Toys

Too Many Toys! Heidi Deedman. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: When Lulu was a baby, she was given a very special one-and-only toy-- a lovely fluffy teddy bear. Lulu named him Jupiter, and she loved him very, very much.

Premise/plot: Lulu, our heroine, has way too many toys by the time she's five. (The book mentions how many toys come on birthdays and at Christmas.) She know she can't play with them all, or, love them all. So what does Lulu decide to do with her many, many toys?!

My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. I actually liked it very much. I loved the text.
"Breakfast time was messy. TV time was noisy. Playtime was rowdy. Bath time was splishy-splashy. And then...it was Christmas." 
I loved the illustrations too. They are different in the best way possible. There is something charming and just right about them. (Though part of me wishes Lulu had longer hair. Is that wrong of me?) I did notice that Lulu's parents are never mentioned in the text or included in the illustrations. I'm curious as to why! The toys have to be coming from somewhere, right?! And what do her parents think of her problem and her solution? You know they have to have an opinion!

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20687. Meet Veronica Walsh

All Things Murder. Jeanne Quigley. 2014. 411 pages. [Source: Library]


Did I enjoy Jeanne Quigley's All Things Murder? Yes, for the most part!

Veronica Walsh is the heroine and amateur-detective in All Things Murder. Before Walsh lost her job--on a soap opera, the soap was CANCELED and replaced with a talk show about FOOD--she was happy and successful and doing exactly what she wanted. Life was GOOD. Everything was just-right. True, she never found 'true love' and married. But her character had SIX HUSBANDS. So she never really felt she was missing out all that much. Between her character, Rachel, and herself, she'd pretty much experienced all that life has to offer--good and bad. But she begins to feel lost AND OLD within a few weeks of being out of work. So she heads to her hometown, and considers restarting her life there.

What she finds is that she did NOT leave the drama behind. For soon after her arrival in town, her next-door neighbor is murdered. And she is the one who finds the body. She didn't know her well, but, just in the few days before her neighbor's murder (Anna is the victim's name), Veronica witnessed PLENTY of drama. Without anyone spilling anymore gossip, Veronica already has a handful of suspects: people with motive and/or opportunity to have killed Anna...

Like many cozy mysteries, this one mixes in a little bit of romance. (The romance didn't overshadow the mystery, in my opinion.)

I like this one. It is a light read, not that heavy or complex. It was fun too. I liked meeting all the people who lived in the town. Some characters were quite interesting, and, I'd like to see more of them in the future.

Overall, I liked this one. If the second one was available, I'd want to read it!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20688. Golfer Business Card Sculpture

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20689. Organizing Your Plot

These four steps can help you turn your plot ideas into a plot.

http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/4-steps-for-organizing-plot-ideas-into.html

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20690. Ben Bernanke and Wall Street Executives

In a widely quoted interview with USA Today, Ben Bernanke said that ‘It would have been my preference to have more investigations of individual actions because obviously everything that went wrong or was illegal was done by some individual, not by an abstract firm.’ He makes it clear that he thought some Wall Street executives should have gone to jail.

The post Ben Bernanke and Wall Street Executives appeared first on OUPblog.

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20691. Let the Ideas Begin – PiBoIdMo is Here!


If you create children's stories (or want to), join this fun writing challenge for picture book writers and illustrators. The idea is to come up with one picture book idea every day in November, so by the end of the month you'll have 30 new ideas to help you throughout the year! 

Don't miss the daily posts on Tara Lazar's site from authors, illustrators and picture book professionals to help you along on your 30-day idea journey this November.

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20692. Well, 'Thank You'

Just checked my Inbox to find that the tweet regarding the end of Black Tower Comics has been "retweeted" several times.

Make what you will of that.

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20693. Using Qualities of Information Writing to Guide Students to Set Goals: Diving Into Information Writing Blog Series

It's important to help students to set a vision for the work ahead at the start of an information writing unit (or any writing unit, for that matter). This post shows how.

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20694. Silly Sunday! "Writing's Powerful Message"

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed a desire to become a "great" writer.


When asked to define "great" he said "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, wail, howl in pain, desperation, and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.


"Writing's Powerful Message"  from Jokescc.com 

Silly Sunday is brought to you by Sandee of Comedy Plus. All you have do to participate is post a joke, laugh at other bloggers jokes, and join Sandee's Mister Linky's Widget published on Sandee's post.




Thanks for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun, and enjoy the rest of the weekend.   


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20695. In the Skin of a Monster by Kathryn Barker

Three years ago, Alice's identical twin sister took a gun to school and killed seven innocent kids; now Alice wears the same face as a monster. She's struggling with her identity, and with life in the small Australian town where everyone was touched by the tragedy. Just as Alice thinks things can't get much worse, she encounters her sister on a deserted highway. But all is not what it seems, and Alice soon discovers that she has stepped into a different reality, a dream world, where she's trapped with the nightmares of everyone in the community. Here Alice is forced to confront the true impact of everything that happened the day her twin sister took a gun to school ... and to reveal her own secret to the boy who hates her most.

This is the weirdest book I have read all year and I have read some weird books this year (weird books are my favourite books). The majority of this novel occurs in a dreamscape. Literally. Not a metaphor. This dreamscape that Alice finds herself in fills, every night, with the nightmares of the people of her town. These appear in bubbles which, if popped, release nightmarish creatures and dream-versions of real people into the dream realm. I really love the concept (dream realms are my favourite realms) and the setting is vividly expressed. It's creepy and atmospheric and surreal.

I think what's really extraordinary about this novel is the way it so smoothly incorporates the bizarre and the realistic. It's both fantasy and contemporary; everything that happens in the dreamscape is inextricably linked to Alice's real life tragedy. I think writing about youth and crime requires a bit of gumption; it's so easy to mishandle or accidentally glorify terrible things in fiction, seeing as so much of the experience of a novel is dependent on the reader. I don't believe that people who write for teenagers have some sort of duty to protect or educate children, and I think any story that is agenda-driven is bound to fail, but glorifying violence is never a good look. In the Skin of a Monster features a protagonist whose twin committed a mass murder, and is predominantly about how Alice (and other people affected) comes to terms with this; considering the profoundly difficult subject matter, I think the themes of grief and loss and trauma are all explored frankly but still tactfully. I had a few little niggles with plot points that didn't quite ring true to me, but ultimately I was impressed; an awesome concept, really well-executed. It definitely offers something different, and that's a very welcome addition to YA fiction, in my opinion.

It's surprising and engaging and original. It's a dark novel, but there's still a hint of hopefulness at the end (I wasn't too depressed after I finished reading). One for older YA readers. Definitely worth a look if you enjoy both fantasy and contemporary YA.

In the Skin of a Monster on the publisher's website.

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20696. Jingle! Jingle!

Board Book: Jingle! Jingle! Sebastien Braun. 2015. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Who's that by the sleigh? It's some hungry reindeer! Jingle! Jingle!

Premise/plot: Santa is delivering presents on Christmas Eve. This lift-the-flap book follows his journey. Along the way readers meet some hungry reindeer, a friendly polar bear, a jolly bird, an excited dog, and some happy children.

My thoughts: This board book is one in the Can You Say It, Too? series by Nosy Crow. If you've enjoyed other books in the series--or perhaps I should say if your little one has enjoyed previous books in the series--this one is a holiday-themed addition that should prove just as enjoyable. If the other books in the series haven't wowed you, then this one may not either. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20697. Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Book Review

Title: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Author: Stephanie Tromly Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books Publication Date: August 4, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-0525428404 336 pp. ARC provided by publisher There are hi-jinks aplenty in this screwball mystery by Stephanie Tromly. Zoe is the new kid at school when she meets Digby, a weird, smart, completely impossible boy who drags her into an investigation of a

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20698. Feedback Request


The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1281 has posted a new version in the comments there and invites your feedback.

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20699. the books of lately

Over the past two weeks I have acquired all these books. One is actually a loaner (thank you, Kelly Kelly Kelly for the borrow), one I've already written about here, one will be integral to an afternoon at Penn in the spring, and the rest are coming toward me, nesting within me.

This is the benefit of being out in the world. And, most absolutely, being out of my own head.

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20700. Me n You and a Dog Named Boo

The dog’s name was Rocky. He was a Malemute pup who spent his first few months on earth travelling through the States with us, in the back of an old pickup. We left Vancouver early one morning and drove to Doug’s parents’ farm in the mountains of Washington. They said goodbye over the weekend before we headed south through the mists and seascapes of Oregon. I didn’t know it when we left, but Doug had stolen some plates in Vancouver and had a credit card in someone else’s name with a fifty five gallon drum for fuel in the back of our pickup. When we needed gas, Doug stopped up the road, we changed plates, sometimes filled the fifty five gallon drum, refuelled, stocked up on snacks and beer. He had the guy’s signature down pat. We were good at shoplifting, spent some satisfying nights by the campfire, frying stolen steaks, purchased mushrooms. We slept in our sleeping bags, camping beside the pickup, drinking black coffee, rolling our own Bugler’s. Siphoning fuel from the drum to the gas tank became a fine art after a few mouthfuls of gas. As a kid, Doug had earned money guiding elk hunters in the mountains. He simply changed the sites of his camps to urban or highway settings. I learned the tricks of living on the road along with Rocky while our tape deck blared Mountain and the Stones. We met some people as we travelled south who invited us to a party in LA where some of the company were offended at our looks and attitude. One guy called us “common criminals” We were attracted to the women, but when the crowd headed for the swimming pool to get naked, we couldn’t do it. There was something in us which stopped us. Were we really so free when we couldn’t be free like these people? It was a negative thought, not worth worrying about. We knew these people couldn’t live as we were. We landed in Imperial Beach; road weary, dirty, ready for a good rest. Imperial Beach, the furthest beach south, next to the Mexican border. In those days there was just a chain link fence topped with barbed wire over which Mexicans and Americans lofted packets of marijuana to someone else or to themselves, to be picked up later. We had come to see Danny and Jan. They were from Doug’s small town in Washington. Doug and Danny were celebrities, each in his own way. Doug because he did time in Walla Walla State Penitentiary for blowing up his principal’s house when he was a teenager. They said it was really only a cherry bomb thrown at the front door, but the cops wanted to stop Doug’s wild behaviour. Danny was famous in their town because he had successfully convinced the US military that he was a conscientious objector, unfit for duty in Viet Nam. Few fought the authorities through interviews and writing, to gain ‘conscientious objector’ classification. Jan was a tall, slim, blonde nurse. Danny was a balding in the front, long hair in the back, ex male nurse who played a mean guitar along with his version of Greenback Dollar. They had a comfortable, little apartment on the ocean. Danny had his weekly ounce of good weed delivered on a certain day. That day he’d heat up sake to drink while he sorted the weed in a shoebox. When he tilted the box, the seeds rolled to the bottom. The sake changed flavours as it changed temperatures. The only thing I remember from the trip to Tijuana with Doug and Danny, the three of us stuffed into cab of the pickup, is standing at a bar trying to match them with shots of tequila. Between each shot they would pluck a whole hot pepper from a glass of water in front of us, chew it with gusto. They’d see who could eat the hottest, stand the most pain. I couldn’t even compete. Doug won but had mucho trouble later because of his haemorrhoids. Years later I visited Danny and Jan in Washington. They had moved to an isolated farm with their three kids. Jan had gained a lot of weight and lost her feminine attractiveness. Danny, who had grown a long beard, wore only overalls, boots and a battered, old hat, had gotten even more radical and disgusted with the system. There were a lot of ‘Government Agents Not Welcome, Keep Out’ signs posted on properties in the mountains of that area. Lots of weapons. The people I was with, already disgusted by the dirty appearance of the farm, the kids, Jan and Danny, were horrified when Danny walked us to the car. As we stood saying our goodbyes, admiring the horses in the field behind the house, our host confided that the meal we had just eaten was made, primarily, of past horses which he slaughtered and canned himself. When I read Joseph Wambaugh’s book years later, I realized that we had worked in the very onion fields which the book is named after. We ended up there on our way east from Danny and Jan’s. In the Imperial Valley, the vegetable producer extraordinaire of central California, they were hiring labourers by the day. After spending what we had on fuel, eating meals left on neighbouring tables in freeway Macdonald’s, we picked onions there, gladly, for days. The gangs of Chavez pickers, who were doing most of the work, laboured in fields beside us. They were just smudges of colour in the shimmering heat. We were left alone in a gigantic field of shallots. We were so hungry by the end of the first day that we wiped off the dirt and ate the onions as we picked. At the eastern border of California, on the Arizona side, we discovered a reconstructed English village in Lake Havasu City. As we partied through the days and nights of Cinquo de Maio there, only a few were killed waterskiing on Lake Havasu and the Colorado River which divides the states. We were told that there were usually larger numbers of deaths of drunken boaters and skiers on this annual celebration. The Grand Canyon provided a Colorado Rocky Mountain high as we chugged up highways in the thin air and bright sunshine. The pair of girls who quit their jobs at the tourist restaurant overlooking the canyon to hitch a ride with us, left us to go home to Utah as we moved east. The kindly stranger who gave us peyote buttons in Arizona was fondly remembered that night at our desert campfire. It was probably a blessing that we couldn’t afford to try for the five pounds of steak and fixings which was offered for free if you could eat it all, at a truck stop, in the Texas panhandle. Who knew how our stomachs would react to that much food after the way we’d been living? Our long hair and old pickup drew unfriendly stares as we filled up. The period between leaving Texas and arriving in New Orleans is hazy. Doug ran out of the medication he took for epilepsy. Combined with our drugs and alcohol consumption, the heat, living in the truck and surviving on highway junk food, the pace proved too much for him. He completely freaked driving down the road, sheared off at least ten maiboxes, screamed insults at anyone we passed, black or white, until I forced him to stop, take a break, trade places, let me drive. We stayed with a friend of a friend in New Orleans. He happened to be confined to a wheel chair, paralysed in a car accident a few years before. The moss on the magnificent bowing trees. The music everywhere in the French Quarter. The smell of chicory, fish and perfume in the air. We refused to cut our beards and hair or we would have got a bit part in a Terrence Stamp western which was being filmed there. The bars were filled with beautiful dancing girls who turned out to be men. A bad experience, actually, a dumb, rube mistake with a transsexual and discovering Rocky at home, one drunken night, with our host’s full colostomy bags torn up all over the kitchen, got us on the road north. By this time we needed to stop for rest and work. Since we were on the East coast anyway, we headed for Ottawa, my home. Tuscaloosa, Alabama was where the old pickup gave up the ghost. When Doug stopped to fill her up beneath the canopy of a service station, some pieces of metal fell out of the transmission right there on the asphalt. There was no possibility of affording repairs so we sold everything we couldn’t carry to a kid at the station. We hitched north, consulting a worn map, singing Beatles songs, throwing stones on the side of the road. The image which is implanted in my mind is that of Doug, his cowboy boots, jeans and long hair dusty, pulling Rocky on a leash behind him, up another on ramp as I followed with my sleeping bag slung over one shoulder, the sounds of rock ‘n roll coming from our boombox slung over the other. In Georgia, a man picked us up in a new, air conditioned Cadillac. He said he had done some travelling in his youth, showed us the Bowie knife he kept beside him in the front seat. He pulled over, led us back to the trunk which contained a cooler of beer and the handgun he always carried. The message was clear as we sipped the cold drinks. He took us home where his wife washed our clothes, cooked us steaks and fussed over Rocky. We resumed our journey north with renewed faith in humanity and rednecks. In Tennessee we soon found out that hitchhiking is illegal. We were dropped off, had no way to proceed north without hitching. Doug found the credit card which we had used with the truck, in his pocket. He buried it and some other papers by the side of the road, just as a state trooper pulled up. He listened to our story, thought for a moment, looked at Rocky, gave us a lift to the border. His gesture seemed to lead us to the party with the marines in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. We attended a party in a barracks full of stubble headed Marine recruits where Doug found fanatic Leslie West fans and the best weed we had encountered since the West coast. The last stretch seemed to take forever. An endless series of highways, freeways, taking turns talking to the driver while the others slept. A desperate scramble for the finish. When we had installed ourselves at my mother’s house in Ottawa, we discovered that Rocky, Doug and I had ticks. They’re like crabs, under the skin. Probably from sleeping in ditches on nights when we had given up hope of getting a lift. We had to undergo a rigorous treatment supervised by my disgusted mother, observed by my laughing sister. Doug and I had, understandably, gotten sick of each other’s company. He had a grand mal seizure at my mother’s breakfast table, broke his jaw. I said goodbye to Rocky, escaped, hitched solo back to Vancouver when I realized that Doug and my sister had fallen in love.

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