Haiku #22 – Autumn

Photo by Kat

Hortensia climber
Tentacled twiglets extend—
Martian limbs ambit.

Kat Mortensen©2009

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My 15 minutes—more or less.

Kate Bush. In university, I wanted to be her. I thought she was the most incredible, gorgeous, unique female talent I had ever heard or seen. One of my boyfriends (not the French guy) tried to teach me to play a slick black bass guitar so I could stand up on talent night at the pub and play and sing “Suspended in Gaffa” from “The Dreaming” album. I chickened out of performing on stage and never did master the bass. Boyfriend was never as keen after that.

One time, at a party,(and after quite a few drinks—it was either champagne or perhaps, a couple of icepicks (vodka and iced tea)—I tossed a Kate album on the turntable (fairly low) and began to sing. I think it was, “Wow”.

Well, I must have been half-ways decent because a small crowd began to gather and listen to me. Someone even turned the music down another notch.

If you are a singer of any shape or form, you may know that alcohol not only releases ones inhibitions, but it also seems to make your voice that much stronger and clearer. Or is that just me? In any case, my voice was on pitch, clear as a bell and captivated my small audience.

I’m a closet karaoke artist too. For my husband’s parents’ 50th anniversary, we bought them a karaoke machine and of course we had to test it out. For a few days, Kevin and I sang solos and duets in our front room and we weren’t half bad. I do a mean, “Big Spender” and he’s killer on “Try to Remember” from “The Fantasticks”. Then, at the anniversary party, the karaoke machine was opened and it was a huge hit! Again, I sang in front of a small crowd and they seemed to really like it.

I’m tempted to get dressed to the nines, go out one night with my husband to a karaoke bar and just go nuts! Will I do it? Probably not, but it’s firmly lodged on my “bucket list” along with staying at the Ice Hotel and riding the Orient Express.

I know this karaoke business is certainly within my grasp, but for now, I’ll content myself with watching “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” and singing along, or spinning my old Kate Bush discs and belting out “WOW”! for my feline fans.

Kat Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Sepia Saturday: A Photographic Memoir

When Alan Burnett, the very nice gentleman of the wonderful “News From Nowhere” (and other great blogs) said tongue-in-cheek that he had been held up from his participation in Theme Thursday because of his commitments to various other participatory blogs, he happened to mention a fictitious “Sepia Saturday”. Being the sort of person who looks for new opportunities and ideas, I commented that “Sepia Saturday” sounded like a great concept and that I have a stack of old photos that might fit the bill. Okay, I don’t really have that many actual sepia pictures, but I’ve got loads of old black and whites and a just a few from the 19th Century.
Alan contacted me and expressed approval of the notion and we are officially launching Sepia Saturday today, November 28, 2009. So, if you have any old photos you’d like to share, feel free to participate in our new adventure.
Of course, you have all been hearing much about my father since he passed away, but I rarely get to share much about my mom. (Mind you, she does get quite a bit of screen-time on my memoir blog, but it’s not always favourable and she’s a very good sport about it.) It’s time I gave her a bit of attention here, at Keepsakes and I know just how to do it.
I’d like to share a few photos of my mom, Alice Elizabeth (Betty). Her maiden name was Harris and her mother’s family name was McNeil. (in fact, I believe in Cape Breton you’re always within 100 yards of a Mc or MacNeil.) She is the middle daughter in a family of 5 children: Three girls— Kay (b. 1923), Betty(b. 1929) and Joan,( b. 1931 and d. in 2005) and 2 boys, James (b. 1926) and Guy, (b. 1939).
Her father, Guy Harris was an unassuming, soft-spoken man who clerked for the Dominion Coal Company that mined the coal below the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Glace Bay. He loved his family, his homeland and his pipe.
Her mother, Kathleen (Katie) Harris (nee McNeil) was a wonderful homemaker and a fantastic baker (I know because many the time I sampled her homemade donuts, rolls, biscuits and pies). My mother inherited that skill from her and I’m pleased to say that I’m a pretty good baker myself.
My mom and her sister Joan were Kiwanis Festival piano-recitalists young ladies. (I was too, but with much less favourable results.) Mom also worked in the drugstore in Glace Bay and made the best milkshakes for miles around. She moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia as a young woman and worked as a secretary, but eventually she took the opportunity to relocate in Toronto, Ontario when her older sister, Kay and her husband Bill, invited her to live with them and help out with their growing family.
On Grey Cup weekend (a big event in Canadian Football) in November 1956, at the Masonic Dance Hall she was attending with her two girl-friends, she met and fell in love with my father, Bill Davison. The other girls met their husbands on the same night. Alice Elizabeth, known as Betty, and William Henry (Bill) got engaged the following July in 1957 and married in August, 1958 at St. Anne’s church, in Glace Bay.
Below are some pictures of my mom. She was an adorable child, a charming young girl and beautiful young woman. No wonder my dad lost his Irish heart to her!

Top to bottom: Mom as a little girl on the front steps of her house on York Street in Glace Bay, c. 1934; Mom (on right) with her sister Joan in the backyard.(c. 1945), Mom doing her bathing beauty pin-up shot in the same backyard(c. 1947).
I hope you enjoyed this first instalment of Sepia Saturday. Please visit Alan’s blog to see his sepia photos and consider joining in the fun.

“True Lies” or, “You Still Know Nothing About Me”.

stad Click for source.

Well, it’s been a fun week since Rachel set us off with this game that she saw at Liz’s, I believe and it has just snow-balled.  Keep it going, say I. It’s kind of fun, don’t you think?

Here are the answers to my offering.  I just know you’ve been waiting with bated breath to find out which one of these is the true lie.


I love black olives.

I do! I love them on pizza, in a submarine sandwich and especially in pasta putanesca.

I do not like camping.

I don’t!  As much as I love nature, I do not love being in the wilds.  I’m a terrible camper. It’s not the lack of luxury—I can do without a hairdryer and mod cons, but I love my bed too much to sleep in a tent. And let’s not forget how terrified I am of bees.

I have an older half-sister and a younger adopted one.

I do!  I am the middle child between an older daughter that I only found out about 10 years ago.  I have an adopted sister who is six years my junior.

I was a radio disc jockey in university

I was!  In Second year of uni, I had my own radio show, “Mental Notes” where I played mainly post-punk/alternative/ska and tons of Kate Bush!

I once dated a French Canadian who wore harem pants.

I DID!!!  Sylvain Painchaud (I am NOT making this up!) came from Montreal and his fashion of choice was a pair of pants with a crotch that hung down around his knees.  (It was the 80s and he was a trend-setter.) I forgave him that for his accent and his good looks.  Giulia, you can’t relax now.

I am afraid of heights.

I am!  I don’t like balconies, mountain tops, or cliffs.  My dad made me look over the edge at the Cliffs of Moher and I nearly puked! (I was lying on my belly).

I have fished brook trout (dug worms, baited hook, caught, cleaned and cooked them).

Yes! I have.  My uncle in Nova Scotia took me on a fishing trip in the woods to get some trout for supper.  I guess I had something to prove because I did everything and I’m proud of it!

I despise shopping malls.

I do!  I’m a thrift-store, small department store shopper.  If I HAVE to go to a mall, I get in and get what I need and get the hell out!  I don’t like crowds and I don’t like standing around waiting for people with nowhere to sit.  I really hate Christmas shopping in malls the worst of all. 

I have been on the back of a fast-moving Kawaski 750.

I absolutely have—many times, in fact.  We owned it.  Now we have the Mini Cooper for fun, spree-filled rides, but those days on the back of the motorcycle were a blast!

I love to watch American Football (Go Bills!)

I DON’T!!!  It’s not so much the sport itself, it’s the racket of the crowds and the television commentators that really gets under my skin.  Unfortunately, as much as I try to like it, I just end up “zoning out” and looking off into space.

I DO like soccer (football).


Congratulations are due to Gabrielle who got it right without hesitation, and also TFE who second-guessed himself and struck on the right one!  Sorry, I have no prize to bestow upon you, other than a “Well done, you!”  Thanks for playing. 


The Fruits of My Labours

Click for source.

How Not To Cut A Mango

A mango is not
an avocado
and the pit
is not a nut
at its core.
It is flattish,
like a sole-fish,
having curves,vulvar.
You cannot
circumnavigate it
with your knife;
the result is either
a mess
of mashed-up mango,
or a broken blade.
It is impossible
to extract
of fruit
from a poorly carved mango;
you must do it right,
or be disappointed
in the result,
and the sweet savouring
shall surely suffer
in the absence
of skill.

Kat Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Haiku #21 – Autumn

Haiku: A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.
Senryu: a poem that is written in a similar form and emphasizes irony, satire, humor, and human foibles…
Haiga: a style of Japanese painting based on the aesthetics of haikai, and usually including a haiku. Today, haiga artists combine haiku with paintings, photographs and other art.
(So says Wikipedia.)

Photo by Kat

Sloughing spiraea
Gilt leaves twinkle to earth—
Glittering galaxy.

Kat Mortensen©2009

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Revamping an old favourite.

Photo by Kat

Rococo Squirrels

Rococo Squirrels are rampant

In my backyard these days,

Their pudgy arms and stocky legs

Betray their greedy ways.

Where once they lightly scampered round

From tree to tree to fence,

These days they lumber heavily

Beneath their girths immense.

Squat showdowns aren’t irregular

When squads storm my porch-floor,

To scrap and scrape for nuts and seeds

I’ve scattered out the door.

At autumn’s end, the Sumos come

To act out their burlesque.

Rococo squirrels are swirling round,

Or are they Rubenesque?

Kat Mortensen © 2007-2009