Category Archives: Writing

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 10

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 10th is brought to you by Toortsie! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Toortsie’s word for our prompt today is “sunrise.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Ah, sunrise.  I know the sunrise looks amazing over the ocean, but I really don’t get out to see it all that much.  Well, at all.  ‘Cause, you know, it’s early when the sun rises.  Well, not as early now as it is during the summer.  I mean, during the summer the sun is up before I am most of the time, unless I happen to get up at 5:00 am because I am still going to work (you know, before I take holidays) and I need to get up for some kickboxing.  But these days it’s more like 8:00, or maybe a little bit earlier, that the sun appears to us.  At least I am not driving to work in the dark, even if I am still driving home in the dark. This morning I caught the sunrise on my way home from kickboxing.  It helped that is was not raining!

Daylight Savings Time makes it worse.  For the end of the day darkness, that is.  One day it’s still ok around 6:00, and the next day it’s pitch black.  For someone who likes to still get things done after work, but who is also a procrastinator at heart, pitch blackness by the time I am home at 5:00 means it’s easy for me to make excuses not to go for a walk, or to just want to go to bed.  But, it could be worse.   It could be 40 below with 8 feet of snow.  Darkness and freezing temperatures would be a combination justifying hibernation.

Only a few more months, and by the time we spring forward, it will make the days that much longer.  I mean, by March, the sun isn’t setting until around 7:00.  Then the time change happens, and the sun is setting at 8:00.  And rising earlier than it is now.  Ah, there’s nothing like planetary movement combined with the wish of golfers to have morning light to golf by.  Or so the urban legend surrounding the creation of Daylight Savings Time goes (the one I heard…)

Now, sunsets – those are great too.  They are nice over the ocean…

…but they are spectacular on the prairies.  When I went back to Saskatchewan a years and a half ago, I made sure to take some pictures to remind myself of them.

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 9

“Just Jot It January 9th, AND One-Liner Wednesday!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

One Liner Wednesday, again, eh?  Well, I will be going for the 500 words again, but I thought I would dig around for a one-liner for you that I can jump off of.

So, what would it be?  The liner in my personal email signature is “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet, 1880 – 1918″.  And in my work email signature it’s “Success is always less funny than failure. Jon Ronson”.   Both of these resonated with me when I chose them, and they still resonate with me now.  We spend a lot of time thinking of ways to be happy, or things to avoid or remove in order to BE happy.  Better to just find contentment in what you have/are.  Not easy for sure.  And I have to work at it every day.  I think I am getting there at work.  I’ve been here over 5 years, and for almost all of those 5 years things were pretty miserable – but only when I had to deal with a couple of specific people.  Now, I have let those people go, figuratively.  They no longer have any place in my mind or thoughts.  They can do what they want, and I can turn away.  It’s a new start for me.

My work signature is just fun.  It reminds me to laugh when I “fail”.  Because we fall down all the time, and what better way to help up get up again then laughing at ourselves?  We may smile at our successes, but we can really only laugh at our failures.

Email signatures are funny things.  My personal email signature contains only the quote.  My work email signature contains my contact information and the quote.  Guess people need to know more about me at work than just what quote resonated with me on a given day.  Some people just put their names, along with things like “Cheers!”  Sometimes I wonder if they remember they are saying “Cheers!” when the email is not overly cheerful.  “Cheers!” at least feels/sounds personal.  Sometimes a signature is just “Regards”, which is fine, but feels a bit distant when you are someone closer to the person you are emailing.   I don’t have a sign-off “greeting” in my signature.  Just my name and contact stuff.  I, myself, add a personal sign-off for every email.  Now, to be fair, I don’t send a billion emails a day – I’m not a technical support person like some of my colleagues.  I remember one colleague a long time ago had “Best” as their sign-off, so I would reply signing off “Better”.  I don’t think they got it.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter what’s in the signature, I suppose.  Most people probably don’t even read it (if they even read that far in the email), so I will just laugh and let myself be happy!

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 8

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 8th is brought to you by Ritu! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Ritu’s word for our prompt today is “self.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Self, eh?  You know what drives me nuts about “self”?  It’s people using it as a non-reflexive pronoun.  You know wat I’m talking about.  When you say “Jim and myself went to the store”, or “He met with Sue and myself”.  No no no no no!!  Myself is REFLEXIVE.  Not transitive, or intransitive, or subject or object, or whatever you want to call it.  It’s “Jim and I want to the store” and “He met with Sue and me”.  Yes.  “ME”.  You are allowed to use the object pronoun “me”, you know.

Ok, let’s explain “reflexive” then.  Yes, I know some of you are saying “but Emily, I’ve seen “myself” used as an object”.  Well, yes, but ONLY when the subject is the same person!  So, “I saw myself” or “He met himself”.  NOT when the subject is different (as the example above).  Don’t believe me?  Check out the British Council’s “Learn English site (  And remember, it may be the British Council, but it still refers to North American English.  And don’t try that “Why Emily…didn’t you say all languages change over time, and you know, dialects?” with me.  I’m not gonna buy that for reflexive pronouns!

Well, that’s probably enough of that self-ranting.  What other kinds of self are there?  Self-study?  We hear that a lot a post-secondary.  Usually meaning studying by yourself, without being in class or with an instructor.  To be good a self study, you need to be self motivated to do it, because, well, distractions are everywhere these days.

I also hear a lot about self portraits, being a photographer of sorts.  I do NOT like taking self portraits, but inevitably, at least once a month, one of my photography challenges demands I take one.  I try to be as hidden as possible – which makes me look artistic!  You know, like the one I posted just a few days ago:

Of course, most people now refer to self-portraits as “selfies”.  I don’t know how I feel about that, but it strikes me that there is a difference!

And then there are self interests, and self-ishness, which are traits we see in the great orange buffoon south of the border.  ‘Nough said.

Moving on to my final paragraph, we have self reliance, self control, and self determination, all of which are simple concepts, but sometimes challenging to evoke.  I am reliant on myself to be determined to control my urge to eat french fries at lunch.  Now THAT is some self in action!

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 7

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 7th is brought to you by Tara! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Tara’s word for our prompt today is “memento.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Well, well, well.  It seems great minds think alike as Fandango (of Fandango’s One Word challenge fame!) at This,That, and the Other ( also had his first thought around this theme as the movie Memento.  Brilliant movie!  Loved it from the beginning.

And now, for some reason, my mind is going to another movie, Burn After Reading, which has absolutely nothing to do with Memento, but just a great quirky movie I loved.  Although, in the case of Burn After Reading, when Kevin and I saw it for the first time, we both turned to each other and said:  I liked that…should we like it?  Burn After Reading, which I reiterate has nothing to do with Memento, has a full cast of stars.  Brad Pitt in the role of a lifetime, as far as I’m concerned.  George Clooney as you have never seen him before.  Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, OMG!!

And speaking of John Malkovich and quirky movies you sometimes wonder why you like, how about Being John Malkovich?  One of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, but one you can’t take your eyes off of no matter how hard you try.  John Malkovich just looks creepy too, don’t you think?  Have you seen him in the SNL sketch where he reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to a bunch of children?  No?  Google it, please.  You will be glad you did (if you can find it – SNL regularly takes their stuff off YouTube or makes it unplayable to those of us non-USA-living types.)

John Malkovich was also in Zoolander 2 (and many, many other amazing films and TV series…but this is my Just Jot!), but Zoolander 2 isn’t nearly as charming as Zoolander, another of those movies I love, but am not always proud of telling people that I love.  Talk about a cast of thousands!  And those tiny cellphones?  Too bad Donald Trump is in it.  I didn’t actually remember that, though, so I probably missed him.  Ben Stiller is one of those actors I really want to like more than I do.  Well, it isn’t so much him as his movies.  Too bad.  Kind of like Will Ferrell.  Who is himself kind of like Jim Carrey from years ago, at least in my mind.  There is something there, but it continues to be ruined by bad comedy.  Well, I guess that’s my opinion, but again, my Just Jot!

So, now you have a few more movies to look up – if you like anyone, I’ll leave it up to you whether you want to tell anyone 🙂


Just Jot it January, 2019: January 6

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 6th is brought to you by Sadje. Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Sadje’s word for our prompt today is “master.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Enjoy!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Well, I gave you a bit of a linguistic lesson and rant yesterday, so I won’t be as ranty or educational today.  It is Sunday, after all.  But, thinking about the word “master”, without looking it up or anything, there is a meaning that comes to mind around ownership.  Whether you are a master for a dog (not a cat…never a cat…) or mastering some skill (owning it, as it were).  Let’s look at these.

Yes, for dogs we have masters.  Horses have riders.  But I suppose you can master a horse (well, I’m not a rider, but I’ve read this somewhere, so maybe this is not entirely accurate). I don’t know if you are the master of a bird or a gerbil, or a cow or a chicken.  Then there are inanimate objects.  You can be called the “master” of the house.  However, there is still the implication of a “master” in this sense being male.  Master and Mistress (or Missus) being the gender-biased terms.  You can’t escape the embedded gender bias in terms like this, at least not yet.  Maybe someday.  Like the word “he”, which  some people say is “gender neutral”.  Nope.  It isn’t.  But, I digress (and begin to move into another linguistic debate we probably don’t want to fall into).  Master of the house.  But Master of the car?  The boat – well, I guess I have heard that one.  Ok.  It’s hit and miss.

Now we come to the verbal form – to master something.  Yeah, right.  What does this even mean?  Is perfection implied when we talk about mastery?  Probably for many people.  But as I do not believe in perfection (being hopelessly flawed myself), it follows, for me, that I don’t believe you can even master something, like photography or math or downward facing dog.  There is always room for improvement.  Now, if mastering something to you means being able to do it without too much effort, like running 5K,  well I can accept that.  You can always work towards running that 5K faster, but running it alone might be a kind of mastery.  A pretty good one, if you ask me as someone who is hoping to get back to running 5Ks this year.

In the end, I don’t really want to be a “master” of anyone or anything.  Nor do I want to be on the receiving end of mastership (which sometimes is a problem when you work for a hierarchical organization).   Which causes a bit of a conundrum, having cats (no, I don’t master them, but I’m pretty sure they master me!)


Just Jot it January, 2019: January 5

“Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sap/sep/sip/sop/sup.” Use one or all of these words or find a word that contains them, but most of all, have fun! Wondering what to do with “sep”? This is interesting: Enjoy!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

I will also reiterate that, according to the prompt link from Linda, that this is also a Stream of Consciousness Friday post.  Which will work out well, since my Just Jots are pretty much all SoCs too!

Ok.  Does anyone here know that my Masters degree is in Linguistics?  Yes, it is.  I even taught for 10 years in post-secondary Linguistics programs.  No, my current job (and the main “career” I have had for 25 years now) has absolutely nothing to do with linguistics, but it was my degree.  My first university degree was Music Performance (double bass), but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Anyway, I digress.  As a linguist, and yes, I still call myself a linguist although I am a bit rusty, I was this list of words like this and wanted to tell you that they are called minimal pairs (here are some more examples:  Because they are almost the same, beginning with an “s”, ending with a “p”, but having different vowels in between these consonants.  There are, however, a few missing.  That is, if I assume “sap” is pronounced like the sap of a tree, “sep” is pronounced like “unacSEPtable”,   “sip” is pronounced like what I am doing with my coffee right now, “sop” as in what I had to do when I spilled my coffee because I wasn’t sipping it, and “sup” is pronounced like “what’SUP?!?”  What about “soup”?  Or “seep”?  Or “soap”?  Or “sAp”, as in “homo SAPiens”?  Ok, yes, there are a few other English vowel and diphthongs I could add, but I can’t think of some good “s-p” examples for you (not enough coffee yet…still sipping…)

I could also go into the whole English spelling thing, and talk about the Great Vowel Shift and how this had a large impact on the English spelling we are stuck with today, and why it doesn’t always seem to match with how we pronounce things.  And it gets a lot more complicated when we examine all the many dialects of English that exist today.  Suffice it to say, it’s complicated.  I do, however, get a bit snippy when people tell me how crazy “English” is – it’s not the language, it’s the spelling system!  And when some people complain about how English is “going downhill” or being “bastardized” by the way people speak it.  It’s a language, and languages evolve and change.  People in England don’t speak English the way they did 200 years ago, nor do people in France speak French they way they did 200 years ago.   Maybe instead of complaining, we should embrace it – wonder why people are saying words they way they do, or using words in different ways.  It’s actually kind of interesting when you learn more.

Ok.  That took me someplace I was not expecting.  I should probably stop now because I am sure I have pissed somebody off – people take their English very seriously!  Time to get back to my coffee…

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 4

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 4th is brought to you by Virgobeauty! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Virgobeauty’s word for our prompt today is “enigmatic.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

So, the prompt today is “enigmatic”.  What does it mean to be enigmatic?  Difficult to interpret or understand;  mysterious.

Oh, there are so many things that are enigmatic to me.  Math is pretty much a mystery to me, which is interesting because my mother was a math teacher.  Guess I take after dad!

Some people are enigmatic.  People I know who continue to behave badly even when they have been told that what they do is not appropriate and has hurt people.  And people I don’t know who continue to be idiots about things like border walls and true-telling.  Not mentioning any names… (DT).

The streets in Victoria are enigmatic.  If you have never been here before, you probably don’t know that a street’s name often just changes suddenly, for no reason.  I used to think the street name changed when you moved from one municipality to another, but no.  Of course it can’t be that simple!  No.  They just change.  I used to get lost all the time when we first moved here.  Of course, it didn’t help that I came from a city where streets were always north-south or east-west.  All on a nice, neat grid (for the most part…)  Here, however (probably due to that pesky “we’re an island on the ocean” thing), streets just gradually change direction (and names) so I always thought I was facing one direction when in fact I was facing a completely different direction.

Bacon is enigmatic.  I mean, how can something that good be bad for you?  It’s just wrong.  Raisins are also enigmatic.  Well, not raisins so much, but people who like them.  That is also just wrong!

Finally, cats are enigmatic, and they like it that way!  You know how they are: they only want to sit on you when you are ready to get up, and they always try to sleep on the keyboard when you are trying to work. At least our cats don’t get up in the middle of the night and stare into space like there is someone there. At least not that I’ve noticed yet.

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 3

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 3rd, is your blog. Why did you start blogging? How did you come up with your theme, if you have one? How has it changed your life? Tell us about your blog in your jot! Enjoy!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Why did I start blogging?  Well, technically I started several times, but something was missing.  I couldn’t figure out what it was.  Was it that I didn’t know what to blog about?  Was it not knowing which of the many blogging tools out there I should be using?  Was it not knowing how to use WordPress?  No!  It was not having the right title!  Because you know, the title is the most important thing to have before you start writing anything, right?

But finally my quest ended, and one day, I came home from work to find a Zombie Flamingo on our front porch, made by friend Judy (yes, Pavlova Judy!), and suddenly I had the inspiration I needed to get started with blogging!  Did I worry about what to blog about?  No!  I could have a blog about nothing because, well, Zombie Flamingos!

So, I guess that really answered the second question more about how my blog theme was born.  As to why I started blogging?  It just seemed like the thing to do – still does.  I can’t imagine a day without my blog.  Even if i just post one picture, it’s something I need to do.  Guess I’m a little anal about it, but it is a lot of fun.

How has it changed my life?  Well, I get up a lot earlier now so I can do some blogging before I do anything else (like meditate or kickboxing).  I take a lot more pictures now so I have something to post in my blog every day.  And people are impressed when I tell them I have a blog, and it’s called Zombie Flamingos!  Oh, and the people I have “met” and gotten to know through blogging – what amazing bunch.  Of course, people in my life who choose (crazy as they are) NOT to follow my blog are impressed when I tell them how many followers I have, but what that don’t understand is how enriching this community of bloggers from all over the world is.

Some day I will have to better organize my categories and tags, and maybe even tackle the nightmare (so-called) that is the new editing interface, Gutenberg (but not yet – I prefer to be dragged kicking and screaming into any new tech interfaces, in denial all the way!)  In the meantime, Zombie Flamingos will keep trucking along, providing you with blogging delights on a daily basis (for the most part…)

Zombie Flamingo

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 2

“One-Liner Wednesday” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

Imagine that I will follow this prompt and only write one line.  But I can’t.  Because this Just Jot it January is also part of my 500-words a day challenge, as you read above.  So, what’s a girl…woman…person…to do?

If I were to present a one-liner, however, what would it be?  How about “Welcome to the Thunderdome”?  I don’t know why, but that keeps popping up in my head as I head back to work (after over 2 weeks off) and into a new year.

I have a good feeling about 2019.  Again, I don’t know why (I don’t know why about a lot of things today, and that’s ok!), and it may turn out to be wishful thinking, but I think I’ll let myself enjoy the good feeling for now.  Gotta enjoy it while you can, right?  There is always so much potential to imagine when starting a new year.  We pin our hopes and dreams (and resolutions) on the belief that we can start fresh – new year, new you, and all that stuff.  That’s the reason the gyms are full in January!  The hard part is holding on to those dreams, hopes, and aspirations after the first couple of weeks of January.  Once we miss a few days at the gym, eat one too many chocolate bars, or skip writing that blog post, it’s game over.

Realizing the propensity for resolutions to lead us into believing we are failures, people, myself included, now say that they don’t believe in resolutions.  No…now it’s all about SMART goals, or whatever the most recent manageable resolution-replacement is.  But no one really talks about what to do if you feel you are failing (because it doesn’t matter if you are trying to follow resolutions or goals, failure is always an option).  How do you let it go without feeling like you just need to give up.  How can you be ok with starting over day after day after day.  How can we recognize that success can be measured in small chunks, and we can absolutely celebrate those chunks, and celebrate ourselves for taking them on (and dare I say, celebrating when we may take them on and fall flat on our faces!)

I know I am rambling now.  It’s just that time of year when people say Happy New Year, and ask what your resolutions (goals) are for the brand spanking new year in front of us.  And that’s really when the stress begins.

Welcome to the Thunderdome, man!

Just Jot it January, 2019: January 1

Another new year, another goal to write more, so here I am joining Just Jot it January for 2019!  The rules for Just Jot it January, from Linda G. Hill ( are basically to Jot something down, perhaps using the prompt words, or not.  It is just a way to get you writing something in the new year (as far as I can tell).  So, my Jots will be a bit longer than some, since I am going with a 500-word “Jot” plan, but also plan on seeing pictures with my Jots, ’cause that’s what I do!

“Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 1st, is whatever you want to write. If you haven’t already posted about your New Year’s resolutions, this would be an excellent time to do it! Have fun!” (  Except, of course, NOT one-liner Wednesday for me because these Jots are not only my 500-words a day challenge, but also part of my  Ultimate Blogging Challenge challenge (

So I’m committing to writing 500 words every day for a month on my blog to kick off a new year.  Just Jot it and the Ultimate Blogging Challenge are both great venues for getting my butt in gear, and being accountable.  Linda asks about us to write about our resolutions, if we want to.  Like many, I try to think of a new year as a time not for resolutions (as those seem to always end in failure), but about goals you can aspire to, and reach in a variety of ways.  This is one such goal – writing more.  I already do morning pages most mornings, and try to journal whenever I remember to.  So lots of room for easy improvement there.  And I blog every day as well – I will just work on adding more words to my kitty pictures 🙂

Another goal is around my photography.  2018 was a good year for settling in with my camera and I definitely understand it much better.  So, 2019 will be a continuation of improving my skill, and taking more time with the big girl camera every day, if possible.

Then of course there is the obligatory exercising more.  Specifically trying to get my butt out the door every day to walk, and eventually run, again.  There really is no reason not to, except the dark and the rain…but that’s why they invented hoods and flashlights!

Finally, I am committing to more meditation. I already try to meditate every day, so adding a few more minutes a day shouldn’t be too hard.  Along with this comes the hope that I can be more mindful and present in 2019.  Especially when facing challenges at work where I find I react more than I should.  Reacting is easy, but it doesn’t help me get through the day without the old blood pressure rising.  Reducing stress is the name of the game for me this year!

And thus I come to the end of my first post of 2019, reaching 500 words and kicking off a new year with new/old goals to keep me motivated.  To reward you for your patience slogging through my goals, here are some scenes from last night’s NYE “party” with our friends Judy (who made the pavlova pictured) and Gord!  Happy New Year everyone.

Judy’s pavlova!

The weird birthday candle Judy brought – yes, she brought her own birthday candle!  It sparks, and spins, and plays Happy Birthday – and has not stopped (it’s out on the deck, hopefully playing too quietly now for the neighbours to hear).

Prosecco, and Seattle Space Needle fireworks on TV!  A NYE tradition 🙂

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