Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Friday, September 24, 2021


I need pencils, here I go!

I’m off to Staples, Tally-Ho!

They’ve lots of things I’d like to try,

I’ve got my Debit—watch me buy!


There’s office snacks, so let’s start there,

With mints and chocolate to spare,

Then paper clips and staples, too,

And magnets, push pins—not a few.


Oooh! Organizers, binders, books,

Note pads. Sheet protectors. Look!

 Copy paper, sketchbooks, whee!

And glue sticks, markers. All for me!


And why stop there, there’s so much more,

With scissors, tape for every drawer,

And how ‘bout some expensive pens,

A calculator, camera, lens.


A new computer would be nice,

A printer, too. This one’s half price!

A desk a chair, some shelving, yow!

My office is the Cat’s Meow!


I guess I’m done, my cart is full,

It’s getting hard to push or pull.

A second cart is what I need!

Then I won’t have to stop. Agreed?

Okay, I’m at the checkout now,

They’re adding up my treasures. Wow.


To get them all, I’d need a loan…

I guess I’ll just take pencils home.


Today's post was a challenge from the inimitable and totally awesome Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Visit her and see what she’s done with the theme!

Thursday, September 23, 2021


With apologies to Lewis Carroll...

Twasn’t brilliant, and the nighttime coves
  Did show no sparkle in the waves:
Still shady were the darkening groves,
  And the footpaths the same.

"Beware the Bladderwalk, my son!
  Its fullness wakes, makes your breath catch!
Beware the gritted teeth, and shun
  That nightytime Slumbersnatch!"

He took his blankets, warm, in hand:
  Long time the prodigious urge he fought --
Still resting, he with bladder full,
  He laid awhile in thought.

And, as in gloomy thought he lay,
  The Bladderwalk did force-ly claim,
To come whiffling through the dark causeway,
  And burble as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The blankets, warm, went snicker-snack!
He sprightly fled, into the ‘head’
  Then went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Bladderwalk?
  Then back to bed, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brilliant, and the daytime coves
  Did sparkle brightly in the waves;
NOT misty were the brightening groves...
  And he never got to sleep again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Fifty Day Wednesday #7

 My son and I stared at the empty field.
Not again!” I groaned. “Pease tell your soccer coach this is the second week we were the only ones at practice!”
He shrugged. “He’ll just say what he said last week.”
“And what is that?”
He sighed. “Practice is Tuesdays. Not Wednesdays.”

Today is Fifty Day!

And that means another challenge to tell a story using ONLY fifty words.

Thank you so much, Adela, for opening this new world to me . . .

This is an uber-fun, uber-challenging exercise.
Join us!

Leave your contribution in the comments...

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Really Hard Lessons

Kids and food and . . . the Table
In 1979, to facilitate my Husby completing his Master's degree, we moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
We brought everything we owned in one of my Dad's cattle trailers.
He cleaned it first.
Moving on . . .
But there were one or two things that we didn't bring.
One of them was a decent kitchen table and chairs.
We had to dip into our savings and buy something.
I should point out here that Kijiji didn't exist in 1979.
Or personal home computers.
At least in our home.
So we were stuck with the local paper and the classifieds.
But the tables we found listed were worse than the one we had left behind.
We finally decided we needed to go to a furniture store . . .
We had done this once before. Gone to a furniture store, I mean.
It was fun.
And expensive.
But exciting.
We pulled up outside in our little wheezy van and sauntered inside where we were met by a young man with a big grin.
A really big grin.
Looking back, we should have suspected something.
We didn't.
We told him what we were looking for and he led us to the 'kitchen' section of the store.
Okay, we weren't expecting that much of a selection.
We divided our options into two categories. 'Those we could afford'. And 'those which were really nice'.
The choices suddenly became easy.
We were down to two.
The one we finally decided on was a faux-wood topped, tubular-chrome-legged marvel.
With four chairs of genuine fake-leather.
We had hit the big time.
The only problem was that we were already a family of four. And family member number five was definitely on the way.
More chairs were indicated.
No problem, the young man said. The company who made the chairs was right here in Winnipeg. They could easily be ordered and at a very special price.
We handed him our savings and he filled out the paperwork, promising to send in the order for our four extra chairs as soon as we left the store. Then he helped us tote our new table and existing chairs out to our little van.
We were kings!
Happily, we set up our new acquisitions (good word) in our little kitchen.
Then we waited for our four extra chairs.
And waited.
Finally, we tried to phone.
Huh. Line out of service. Strange.
We drove over to the store.
And found it closed. Weird. For a Tuesday.
A large piece of yellow paper, fastened to the front door, fluttered in the slight breeze. We got out of the van and moved closer.
It was a notice from the police. Something about signing the paper if we were owed anything by the young men who had absconded (Great word, eh?) with all available cash and left the country.
We stared at the paper. Then at each other.
Did this mean what we thought it meant?
Had we just been ripped off?
I suddenly wanted my chairs!
We had paid for them!
Husby signed the paper and we were duly contacted by the police and able to place our claim.
The problem was that we were owed a mere $200.00 and that put us far down the list of claimants. The likelihood of recouping our losses was slim to nil.
I should mention here that the people at the top of the list were a newlywed couple, furnishing a new apartment. They had paid for their furniture, but were having it delivered.
I guess $10,000.00 (a boatload of money in 1979) was just too much for the store owners to resist. They had taken the money and anything else not fastened down and left the city.
The young couple's furniture had not left the store.
They were furniture-less and out their $10,000.00.
Suddenly our little $200.00 seemed very paltry.
But I still needed my chairs.
We went to the furniture manufacturer and explained the situation. They were very nice and gave us our chairs at their cost.
So, when we worked it out, taking into account the money we had paid Crooked Smiler Guy and what the manufacturer charged, we had actually gotten the chairs for the normal retail price.
We really hadn't lost anything.
And we finally had our chairs.
Oh, they were a slightly different colour from the first four, but why quibble over details?

That table and chairs lasted us through six children and twenty five years.
As it was nearing the end of its life, my husband decided to realize a dream and build a new one.
He did it.
A large, round, solid oak table, capable of seating 12 comfortably and 14 if you were really good friends.
He finished it just in time.
I tried to set a casserole on our old table and the poor thing collapsed, casserole and all.
And no, that isn't a statement on my cooking . . .
It was given an undignified farewell at the city dump.
And Grant moved in his great oak wonder. With twelve chairs that matched.
And that we didn't have to chase down and beg for.
Lessons learned.
More people. More food. And . . . the replacement.

Monday, September 20, 2021



My parents had the radio,

Or records to make music flow.

We took those records, made them twirl,

Dance parties for the boys and girls.


Things morphed as good things always do,

And new devices gave us tunes,

At first, the reel-to-reel was king,

And then we started cassette-ing.


A little bend to 8-track land,

A little tricky, but so grand,

From there the CD was so nice,

But only if you paid the price.


Then flash-drives, light and Wow! the size,

Small without, with big insides,

We’d moved from music in a case,

To music taking little space.


Our music now is 1, 2, 3,

“Alexa, play this song for me!”

And streaming service by the score,

With iTunes, Spotify and more.


Imagine it and there you are,

With show tunes blaring from the car,

Or streamed from phones right to your ear,

The songs you love from far. To near.

Convenience is what we love,

Subscribe and get some tunes thereof,

But something I’d just love to see...?

You sort an 8-track out for me.

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

A topic we await all year,
We'll 'Ask a Stupid Question' here!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?

We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks...
Remembering 8-Tracks (September 20) Another Mimi - Today!
Ask a Stupid Question (September 27)
Golf (October 4)
Throw a Party (October 11) (Also Canadian Thanksgiving!)
Meatloaf Appreciation (October 18)
Opera (October 25)
New Lease (November 1)
Puns (November 8) 
Clean Out Your Refrigerator (November 15) 
Your favorite record (or) best stereo or record player ever (November 22)
Chia Pets (November 29)

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Need a fright?

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New Tween Novel!

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The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


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Read it! You know you want to!

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What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


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Essence: A Second Dose

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Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

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Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

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Irresistibly Sweet Award

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Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

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My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

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