Friday 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding Extravaganza

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. What a day! I'm exhausted and yes, a little verklempt too.

You know, those Windsors aren't nearly as stuffy as they seem. I offered to choreograph a nice modern processional for them when entering Westminster Abbey and they were quite open to all my ideas.

Oh yeah! Git down with your bad royal selves! Time to move into the 21st century, baby! Boogie on!

Although I've been having a blast here in England, I'm happy to fly across the pond and go home now. My job here is done. They couldn't have done it without me!

Thursday 28 April 2011

Tomorrow is The Big Day!

Well, the much anticipated Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is tomorrow and my cat will be there! My Rare One and I will be watching the wedding ceremony on TV, of course, with the rest of the peasants. As we do so, I'll be scanning the screen nervously, watching for a wild, hissing, flash of fur and claws that can only mean one thing.

Sweet Goddess Bast, I hope she behaves herself . . . .

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Ye Olde Roomies

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. I'm in London now but, contrary to what you might expect, I'm not staying at Buckingham Palace. You know, those bloody Windsors are a real horse-and-corgi bunch and that's just plain uncomfortable for us felines.

So my old pal Lady Gaga asked her friend Elton John to put me up. Since his partner David Furnish is also a Canadian, he was only too glad to do so. And they're going to the Royal Wedding too.

I think they're leaving the baby at home though.

So Friday is The Big Day! I hope nobody gets drunk at the reception and starts a donnybrook. That always seems to happen at Canadian weddings. At least the ones in my person's family.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Flying to London

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. Today I'm flying to London on Air Canada. I had originally hoped to go with the Prime Minister and his wife in their private jet but that fell through. They had to turn down their Royal Wedding invitation and stay in Canada because of the imminent federal election. So now I have to mix with the great unwashed on The People's Airline.

For the information of non-Canadian readers, the man in the photo who is apparently strangling the cat is Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. His wife Laureen beside him is such a sweetie though. She fosters kittens for the Humane Society. How he lucked out and married her is anybody's guess.

Monday 25 April 2011

Time to Dust Off the Ol' Tiara

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. One of the drawbacks of being royalty is the necessity of attending all those dreary royal functions. Sure enough, look what came in the mail for me about a month ago.

So now I've got to schlep over to England for all the hoopla. Oh well, *heavy sigh*. . . it's the price one must pay for having blue blood.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Bunnies Galore!

Want to see a couple more cute Easter Bunnies? Click here and be prepared to say "awwwwwwww!"

Friday 22 April 2011

Earth Day

Sad but true, this says it all. Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Thursday 21 April 2011

A Meditation on Easter Eggs

I heard the other day that some politically correct people now call Easter eggs "Spring eggs" in a bid to be more inclusive. They're probably under the mistaken impression that "Easter" is a Christian term. Of course, WE know it's the name of the pagan Goddess Eostre. Christians really need to get around to calling their special weekend something else. "Resurrection Weekend" springs to mind as a more accurate representation of their festival. Clearly, the most conservative of them don't want anything to do with pagan eggs and bunnies anyway, so why do they persist in hanging on to Eostre's name? Give it back, you guys!

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Poetic Envy

I'm envious of W.B. Yeats
and his damn rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem.

I'm envious of T.S. Eliot
and his bloody singing mermaids.

I'm envious of Wallace Stevens
and his goddamn thirteen blackbirds.

Hell, I'm even envious of William Wordsworth
and his host of fucking daffodils.

© Debra She Who Seeks 2006

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Dinner Party Challenge!

Thank you, Dark Mother Goddess, for tagging me with the Dinner Party Challenge. The rules are simple -- choose six people who you would like to invite for dinner. They can be living or dead, real or fictional, friends or family, famous or infamous. Tell why you want these people at your dinner party. And what would you serve them for a meal?

Because April is National Poetry Month in Canada and the USA, I decided to invite six of my favourite poets to my dinner party. I tried to get a good mix of genders, historical eras and poetic styles.

Of course, my first pick is Sappho, lesbian poet extraordinaire of ancient Greece. I'd love to hear all about her many loves and the young women's academy she founded on the Isle of Lesbos. I bet she has a few choice words too for the Christian religion that subsequently destroyed almost all copies of her poetry and tried to erase her from history.

Next is my favourite Japanese haiku poet, Issa (1763-1827). His poems are noted for their simplicity, ruefulness, humour and respect for all living creatures. I would love to discuss "the haiku moment" with him.

My third choice is William Wordsworth (1770-1850) who wrote much deathless poetry in his time and rose to be Poet Laureate of England. Plus he had an intense and perhaps romantic relationship with his sister Dorothy that I'd love to hear more about.

Speaking of intense relationships, what dinner party would be complete without William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), passionate Irish nationalist, poet, playwright, mystic, Nobel laureate? What was it like to pursue Maud Gonne for a single night of sex after 19 years of unrequited love?

The American poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955) helped to create modern free verse poetry. He'd probably have a lot to discuss with Issa because some of his best poetry can be very haiku-like. What intrigues me about Stevens is that he was an insurance lawyer. Yet he had such a wildly creative soul! Surely that dichotomy must have produced some profound conflict in him?

My sixth guest is the living American poet, Mary Oliver. I love her introspective poetry with its intense connection to nature, spirituality and the truth of women's lives. I'm sure she'd like to meet Sappho too.

So what does one serve poets at a dinner party? Endless coffee, cigarettes and booze leap to mind, although that's probably just an unfounded stereotype. I think I'd serve a variety of finger-foods and tapas. Catered, of course. I want to spend all my time asking questions and listening to them talk.

Okay, all you bloggers reading this, consider yourself tagged! If this challenge sounds interesting to you, do a post -- I'd love to read it!

Monday 18 April 2011


Passover begins at sunset this evening. In Jewish homes all over the world, the special meal will be eaten, the four questions will be asked and the four answers will be given.

I've only been to a Passover seder once. Many years ago in Winnipeg, I belonged to a lesbian spirituality group. A Jewish member and her partner hosted a beautiful Passover seder for us. They prepared a feminist, Goddess-based hagaddah in accordance with which we ate, drank, read and were blessed. It was a vegetarian meal so we didn't eat an actual lamb shank but had tofu instead, if memory serves correctly. My old friend Manischewitz was there as well. And of course, we played "hide the matzo" too.

This is the cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters.
Blessed are you, Shekinah, Source of Life, who gives us living waters.

Shalom, everyone!

Friday 15 April 2011

Stand Up

I saw this great little video last week over at ensouling's blog. It was made recently in Ireland as part of an anti-homophobic bullying campaign.

I love that it teaches the important role that bystanders must play to end any kind of bigotry or prejudice.

For more info on the Irish campaign and more videos, click here.

Thursday 14 April 2011

University Hospital Labyrinth

There's a trend these days to construct small labyrinths in hospitals, rehab centres and other places of healing so patients and their families can benefit from the meditative time and space which labyrinths provide. I had heard of such a labyrinth at the University Hospital here in Edmonton, so last month when I was there for some minor testing, I decided to check it out.

I knew the labyrinth was on the 4th floor. Once I got off the elevator, there were ample signs leading to it --

The labyrinth is inlaid directly in the carpet and is a reduced 7-circuit Chartres design. It is located in an alcove which also doubles as a lunch area and green space. Luckily on the day I was there, the labyrinth was not covered in tables and chairs (they were pulled off to the sides). But the labyrinth carpet sure could have used a good vacuuming. It was pretty grotty.

University Hospital is one of those big "open concept" places and so the noise level is always quite high, which is not conducive to meditative thought. As well, in order to use this labyrinth, you must not be self-conscious about walking it in front of spectators eating lunch.

As you can see, the labryses are simple rectangular blocks and do not round off the circuit paths. I found that a bit esthetically jarring.

But here is the lovely sacred centre of the labyrinth -- the rose of the Virgin/Goddess.

I'm glad I visited this labyrinth but it is not one that I'll be hurrying back to any time soon. Perhaps the atmosphere is quieter and more private in the evening when patients come to walk it. For their sake, I hope so.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

True Confessions

Ever since I started blogging in September 2008, I have used the above photo as my profile icon. Although everything on my blog is true, I do blog anonymously. So I needed a photo that did not reveal my identity.

But now it's true confessions time . . . yes, I confess . . . I confess . . . those are not even my hands, much less my gloves. I simply chose the photo off the internet because I liked the purple Celtic cable-stitch fingerless gloves. And I do still intend to keep this photo as my icon because I identify with it now.

Recently, however, I purchased my own pair of green Celtic cable-stitch fingerless gloves to wear in the Spring and Fall. So ta da! Here's a photo of my real hands wearing them!

I love the pewter Celtic knot accent buttons too -- aren't they a nice touch? These beautiful gloves were handcrafted by Sarah Sullivan, whose great blog called Cottage Garden Studios is found here and whose wonderful Etsy shop is found here. I encourage everyone to check out both sites!

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. Exciting news -- we have a winner of my birthday giveaway! Huzzah, I say, huzzah! But before I announce the winner, please let me say a sincere thank you to everyone who entered my draw. I wish you all could have won!

So my person wrote everyone's name on individual slips of paper and put them all in a big kibble bowl. I closed my eyes, put my paw in the bowl, speared a single slip of paper with my razor-sharp claws and pulled it out. The winner is:

Magaly Guerrero of Pagan Culture!

Congratulations, Magaly! Please leave a comment on this post with your mailing address -- my person monitors all her comments and will not publish it. But she'll send you all my giveaway goodies right away!

And to all the kitties who entered my draw, I'll be in touch soon to plan the imminent uprising and revolution . . . oops . . . shhhhh, I've said too much.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Vimy Ridge Day

April 9th of each year is Vimy Ridge Day in Canada, designed to honour the special significance of this battle. Our country's grief at the terrible cost of Vimy Ridge and World War I is encapsulated by the central figure of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, she who stands at the front of the Memorial, framed between the twin pylons -- the statue called Canada Bereft.

She stands on the high parapet, looking down at the stone sarcophagus of the war dead found at its base. Before her stretches the battlefield of 1917. She is facing east, where each new day dawns.

She is designed to evoke the Mater Dolorosa, the grieving mother of Michaelangelo's Pieta.

Canada Bereft grieves for all time, on sunny days and in the rain, day and night, in summer, winter and all the other seasons of the turning year.

My father's namesake, Charles Walker, was mortally wounded at Vimy Ridge and died about a month after the battle. He is the only connection my family has to the Great War. I have written about him before (here and here) if you want to read his story.

[Photos borrowed from various sources on the internet.]

[Remember to enter HRH's Birthday Giveaway if you haven't yet -- click here to do so!]

Friday 8 April 2011

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Today, Vimy Ridge is dominated by a huge Canadian war memorial. Designed by Canadian sculptor Walter Allward, the Memorial is constructed of white limestone bonded to a cast concrete frame and features 20 sculpted figures. Its towering twin pylons represent Canada and its ally France.

The Memorial took many years to design and build after World War I. It was officially dedicated in 1936 by King Edward VIII. Recently, the Memorial has been extensively restored and refurbished. It was rededicated by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007.

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is dedicated (in French and English) to all Canadian soldiers killed in World War I --

While the Memorial was being constructed, some of the extensive trenches on the battlefield were also cast in concrete by the same workers. Vimy Ridge is one of the very few places on the former Western Front where trench lines and war ravaged terrain are preserved.

Tomorrow -- Vimy Ridge Day, the statue of Canada Bereft and my family's connection to Vimy Ridge.

[Photos borrowed from various sources on the internet.]

[Remember to enter HRH's Birthday Giveaway if you haven't yet -- click here to do so!]

Thursday 7 April 2011

The Battle of Vimy Ridge

In Canada, this Saturday is Vimy Ridge Day. It commemorates a First World War battle that has become a Canadian symbol of achievement, nationhood and sacrifice. Mainstream historical interpretation holds that Canada became a truly independent nation at Vimy Ridge, no longer viewed as simply part of the British Empire.

Vimy Ridge is an escarpment in France near Arras. The German army captured it at the beginning of the war in 1914. Neither the French nor the British succeeded in taking it back and, as a result, they believed Vimy Ridge to be untakeable.

But on April 9-12, 1917, the Canadian Expeditionary Force captured Vimy Ridge, thanks to "a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support, and extensive training, as well as the failure of the German Sixth Army to properly apply the German defensive doctrine." (Wikipedia)

But, like all such victories, Vimy Ridge came at a terrible price -- 3598 Canadian soldiers killed and 7004 wounded. German casualties are unknown but 4000 prisoners of war were taken.

Today, the landscape around Vimy Ridge is still heavily scarred from that wartime period, scars which are easily visible under the fresh green grass. The whole area remains honeycombed with tunnels, trenches, craters and unexploded munitions. As a result, much of the site is closed off for public safety. Only sheep are allowed to wander these spots. Their job is to graze and keep the grass short.

And, of course, Vimy Ridge is also surrounded by Canadian war graves.

Tomorrow -- the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge.

[Photos borrowed from various sources on the internet.]

[Remember to enter HRH's Birthday Giveaway if you haven't yet -- click here to do so!]

Tuesday 5 April 2011

HRH's Birthday Giveaway

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. Guess what? I'm having a giveaway to celebrate my birthday!!! Okay, yes, so I did take my person's credit card without her permission when she wasn't looking and went shopping at the mall. But she owes me. Big time.

Anyway, this fabulous cat lover's gift package could be yours! It consists of the following 4 items --

1. A book of stories called on cats by Nobel laureate Doris Lessing.

2. An Emily the Strange journal featuring Emily and her mysterious black kitties, with plenty of room for your own dark musings.

3. A music CD called Orange Cats Make the Very Best Friends by the late Canadian singer-songwriter Norm Hacking and instrumentalist Kirk Elliott. Many of Norm's delightful songs are about cats. His biggest hit "When Cats Go Wrong" is included.

4. A big bag of assorted cat toys for the special cat(s) in your life.

So here are my person's rules for entering this giveaway (I know, I know, she's not spontaneous and free like cats are. I pity her, really):

1. You must be an official Follower to enter. Old, new or just signed up in order to enter the contest, it's all good. And it doesn't matter where you're from in the world, my person will mail this gift package anywhere!

2. In addition to being a Follower, you must leave a comment on this post. If you leave a comment but don't want to be entered, just say so.

3. One entry per person (leaving 10 comments will still only result in 1 entry!)

4. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Daylight Savings Time) on Sunday, April 10, 2011.

5. The winner will be chosen by a random draw made on Monday, April 11 and the results posted here on Tuesday, April 12.

Good luck, everyone!

Monday 4 April 2011

Sweet Sixteen

Hello. Her Royal Highness the cat here. I have some exciting news -- it's my birthday!!!!!

Yes, sixteen years ago at the beginning of April, 1995, I was born in the fabled North End of Winnipeg, Manitoba as part of an unwanted litter of kittens. We all wound up at the Winnipeg Humane Society. Nine weeks later when I was ready to be adopted, my person found me there and took me home. I have graced her with My Royal Presence ever since.

Here's my baby picture -- I know, cuteness personified!

And of course, here I am today -- the Queen of All and Everything!

Be sure to come back tomorrow -- I have a surprise to celebrate my birthday!