Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Friday, June 24, 2022

Worked Out

They told me I’d improve my health, if I exercised,

So I thought I’d join a club, just as they advised,

Yoga? Tai Chi? Boxing? Barre? Zumba? Boot Camp? more?

The choices are so vast, it seems, with types and toils galore,

I chose aerobics. Seemed like fun. I showed up at the gym,

And ducked into the change room, more than ready to get slim!

Then what a workout! Jumping, twisting, gyrating an hour,

I tell you when this all was done, I’d clearly earn a shower!

Flushed with success, quite sure that I’d burned calories en masse,

I’d fin’ly got my leotard on...then found I’d missed the class!

Karen asks, "Write for me, please?"
We write because she's our Big Cheese,
And we love her, you know that’s true,
So this is what we writers do . . .
We craft a poem based on a theme,

With pencils, sharp, and eyes agleam,
Each month we write and have such fun
We can't wait for another one,
Sooo...this month, how well did I do?
Please go and see the others, too.

BakingIn A Tornado                 


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wanted: Men

This . . .
Will get you this . . .  Maybe . . .
For over twenty years, we ran a family business.Mikey's Music Machine.
We were DJs, specializing in family dances.
We had . . . fun.
Running a family business is wonderful in many respects.
Dealing with telephone solicitors isn't one of them.
With my apologies to anyone reading this who may have 'telephone solicitation' on their resume.
One particularly persistent individual had been on the phone with me for longer than I cared to talk to him.
Which was more than five seconds.
He wanted to sell our company some pens.
Pens with 'Mikey's Music Machine' printed in a number of different fonts.
On an even greater selection of backgrounds.
In an attempt to convince me of the need for said pens, he told me his company would guarantee that, by placing an order for a mere 1500 of the rascals, I would receive one of the following:
  • A new car
  • A new, big-screen TV
  • A six-man hot tub.
It was there I stopped him.
“Wait!” I said. “Six-man hot tub? Does it come with the men?”
There was a long pause on the other end of the phone.
“Ummm . . . no.”
“Darn,” I said.
Then the unexpected response. “Are you married?”
It was my turn to say, “Ummm . . . yes.”
And his turn to say, “Darn.”
I really don't know what path the conversation had taken, but it was definitely not the one that we had started out on.
Time to get off the phone.
Which I did.
Without my pens.
Yep. Running your own family business.
Tons of fun.
In so many different ways.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


Picnics are a fixture of the great Canadian summer.

Something anticipated throughout the long, dark winter. The reward for spending months huddled around the wood stove.
Okay, I'm exaggerating.
But Canada does have winter.
And Canadians definitely look forward to summer.
And picnics.
The trouble with picnics is that they are so dependent on so many factors.
Weather is a biggie.
For instance, it's rather hard to picnic in the rain.
Though it has been done.
Wind, too can play havoc with one's plans.
As well as one's picnic blanket, napkins, paper plates.
And smaller guests.
But one of the most insidious of picnic problems is the uninvited guest.
And, believe me, they show up for every picnic.
They show up if a picnic is merely being contemplated.
I'm sure they have poked their noses in at your picnics.
And I do mean poked.
I'm talking mosquitoes here.
Those little, lighter-than-air messengers of doom.
Irritators extraordinaire.
High-pitched precursors to prolonged itch and expressive words.
Known to achieve sizes heretofore only seen in the pre-Cambrian days.
With the ability to carry off unsuspecting small animals.
The reason Canadians wear their winter gear year round.
And learn to eat quickly and with one hand.
While the other hand feverishly stands guard . . .
My friends were picnicking.
Their entire family had turned out.
They were visiting.
Enjoying the beautiful day and fresh air.
And generally doing those things that make a picnic so enjoyable.
Grandmother was seated at one of the many picnic tables.
Enjoying a hamburger.
With a sesame seed bun.
In the company of one of her young grandsons.
That's when the uninvited guests arrived.
One particularly determined individual was making life miserable for said Grandmother.
She lifted a hand and grabbed at it.
Now the normal hand motion is: Grab. Look. And if one is successful, Smash.
She completed the first two manoeuvres.
Rats. She had missed.
But she did see a sesame seed, stuck to her finger.
Which she then, happily, licked off.
Now I should probably mention, here, that the grandson was seated opposite, watching his beloved grandmother.
I probably don't have to describe what he thought he saw.
But I will.
Grandmother grabbing mosquitoes.
And eating them.
His horrified expression and the words 'Grandma! Yuck!' which burst out of him alerted her to what he was seeing.
She quickly explained.
And peace and appetite were restored.
But she raises an important point.
Instead of making mosquitoes the uninvited guests at a picnic, why not make them the picnic?
Who's with me?
Let me know how it goes...

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Type A

 . . . or you could just throw it at someone . . .

In high school, amid the myriad choices, there was one class everyone was expected to take.

None of us could understand why.
It was a useless class.
What on earth would we ever need it for?
It's not like it had any practical applications.
Yep. Typing 10.
The colossal waste of time.
But we were, if nothing else, dutiful.
Daily, we would report to our teacher.
Then scurry to get the best machine.
I should explain, here, that the machines we used were all elderly 'Olivetti Underwoods'.
Totally manual.
Capable of jamming if any two keys approached the action zone at the same time.
Heavy, cast iron.
And able to take whatever abuse we chose to mete out.
And, believe me, that was Abuse with a capital 'A'.
One friend would systematically pound on her machine for every mistake she made.
It was quite entertaining.
And made the typing of the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog not quite so mundane.
And repetitive.
Daily, we were taken through exercises designed to improve our accuracy.
Our ability to type while looking anywhere other than our keyboard.
And our speed.
None of which were my forte.
Our teacher would stand at the front of the room with her trusty little stopwatch.
And holler 'Go!”
Dozens of keys would begin clicking.
Okay, another thing I should mention is that manual typewriters, at least the ones we used, were noisy.
All of us typing together would constitute what could only be considered a 'din'.
With the sound of my friend periodically rising above as she stopped to punch her machine. “Stupid, useless . . .!”
Hands in our laps.
Then we would roll out our paper and check for mistakes.
This is where I always came to grief.
Well, one of the places.
I could type fast.
I just didn't ever hit the right keys.
Of all the kids in the class, I probably scored the worst.
Oddly enough, I'm the only one who now makes her living . . . typing.
The irony is just sickening.
P.S. Every time I see an old Olivetti Underwood, I get all misty and nostalgic. Go figure.

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Price of Flight

We see them every day, the headline news and on our screens,
Those people fleeing tyranny by any ways and means,
Then landing on the shores and borders weak and in distress,
Hoping that some kindly souls will help them gain redress.


But there are those too ill-disposed to give them any thought,
Who simply say, “It’s not my charge. ‘Cause, your lot is your lot.
“Go home and work it out,” they say. “Don’t clutter up our land!”
Then turn away from those in need—ignoring outstretched hands.


We have been blessed to grow up in a land that’s free and clean,
Choose what to do in life. And set our very own routines,
And do those people want to take those things that we call ‘mine’?
Or do they simply want to work for something just as fine?


There’s something I’ve been thinking of for quite a little while…
What would it take for me to grab a suitcase and my child?
And flee forever all I know and all that I hold dear?
I have to say it’d need to be a ‘something’ very drear.


Our own ancestors fled their lands so many years ago,
And they were taken in by friendly hearts and hands and souls,
 Just where, I ask, would we be if rejected when they asked?
When they were fleeing tyranny in generations past.

We have so much, our land is wide, we’ve plenty and to spare,
For sure we have enough that we could help and we could share,
So maybe we should think of that before we turn away,
And with compassion look into those anxious eyes today. 

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?

Next week, we shall celebrate
The Birthday song! I cannot wait!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...

World Refugee Day (June 20) Today!

The Happy Birthday song (June 27)

Independence Day (US) or Sidewalk egg-frying day (July 4)

Loneliness (July 11)

Ice Cream (July 18)

Old Jokes (July 25)

Girlfriends (August 1) 
Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night (August 8)
Lemon Meringue Pie Day (August 15)

Be an Angel Day (August 22)
Bats -or-  More Herbs, Less Salt (August 29) 

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
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

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

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

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

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

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

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

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?