About Me

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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amber Tequila

Spicy hip-sway
In front of
Red table tops that
Glitter with covered candle flames
                        
Black-mustached men
With their hunger on display
Watch the heated Spanish women

Red black-laced dresses
Hug hips
While red lips
Pout with concentration

Black stilettos strike the floor
With festive fervor
In time to guitar and drum

Amber Tequila
Flows over tongues
And hearts alight
In the smoky passionate night

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life

I just received word that my story "Bathing Beauty" will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat’s Life which is scheduled to be available in bookstores April 12, 2011!!!

Land of the Loons

What are Canadians like?  Don’t listen to the stereotypes.  Contrary to popular belief, we don’t eat Poutine with every meal, the word ‘eh’ is not a Canadian brand of punctuation, and igloos aren’t a typical Canadian dwelling.  You don’t need to bring your cross-country skis to get around, our wilderness doesn’t home families of Sasquatch and we do get surprised when we see moose or bear in the street.  Maple syrup is not a staple, we don’t wear toques in every season, and we don’t drink beer by the Keg. 
If you really want to get to the core of Canadian lifestyles, look at the actions and facts that make our country one of the best places to live.  We are a nation that likes topics that make us think, ideas that are innovative, and concepts that are creative.  Everywhere you go in Canada you will see us enjoying the wide open spaces we are so proud of, often by walking, jogging, and camping or in extreme sports.  Fishing, kayaking, skiing and rock climbing are also popular.
It is not an odd occurrence for Canadians to open doors for others, nod hello to our neighbors, and talk about the weather to others who are waiting in line with us.  We are a diverse country that enjoys vast and various cultures.
That is not to say we don’t have our problems.  Our forests are dying because of an infestation of Pine beetles, it seems our winters aren’t cold enough anymore.  This is ironic because our carbon footprint is above what it should be; other countries look down on us for our stance, of lack of it, on the Kyoto Protocol.  Then there is that huge scar that keeps growing everyday, called the Albertan Tar Sands.  It is a mine that ravishes the land for oil trapped in the sand deposits.  Its destruction can be witnessed from space. 
Despite these short comings, I like the fact that most of our country is relatively untouched and “wild”, I like that our streets are clean and that on our beaches you are likely to see seal, otter, sea lion and perhaps a whale or two.  I am proud that we still have these things to pass on to those who visit and to our children.  I hope our respect for these things and our spirit to fight for their protection continues to grow in the future. 
Come to Canada; let us erase the myths and folklore.  Let us evoke new memories, and show you that the land of the loons is not necessarily loony.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beached Ebony

Black liquid luster
Dulled by pulling tide,
Gritty sand-fingers,
And stringy seaweed

Ebony sits upon
Wood littered,
Rock strewn,
Sand sloped beach

Grey rain-pungent skies
Reflected in unkempt
Noir visage
Cannot mute the rolling thunder

Keys and notes robbed
Of innocence and
Thwarted music is
Trapped in lonesome steadfast

Quicksand suckles
Slender charcoal legs
Giving slanted silhouette
To laughing waves

Wind pushes and tugs
Frantic and distraught
Upon hearing mournful cries
She wails realizing her impotency

Knowing time is short
He must succumb
She caresses keys
And kisses strings

It is not compensation
For warm passionate
Flesh fingers
But they are those which abandon

She has no eyes with which
To cry of the injustice
No heart
For his pleas to break

But she has voice
With which to speak
A cacophonous tempest
Of raw emotion

Over at dVerse Poets, it is OpenLinkNight come and join us!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bathing Beauty

A man of wisdom delights in water.

~Confucius

There are those who say that you don’t choose a cat but the cat chooses you. It doesn’t matter, since Miss Bess is here and that is what matters. I picked her out of a litter -- or she picked me. She was the runt, tiny with a splotchy coat of black, white, brown and orange marking her as a calico. Her skinny body showed her ribs, since the other kittens wouldn’t let her feed regularly from her mother. I knew I had to have her. I named her Miss Bess since nothing else seemed to fit.

She grew into her paws and became a beauty. I laughed at her antics and her curiosity. She was forever getting into things. Once I found her playing with my costume jewelry. She was a tangle of gold bangles around her neck, and pearl necklaces decorated her body in loops of purple and blue. Rhinestone combs had gotten twisted in her fur and hung at strange angles. She looked at me hopelessly from the clutter as if to beg for forgiveness, asking to be relived of her excess indulgence. I delighted in making her toys and brought others home for her. She never tired of feathers and little mice filled with catnip, although wicker balls were her favorite. As the days passed we grew to know each other’s idiosyncrasies and became very fond of each other. I thought I had learned all I could about her, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One night when I was drawing a bath I forgot to close the door. Miss Bess, never one for privacy, nosed her way past the door and into the bathroom. Upon seeing me in the tub she jumped onto the toilet and then onto the counter to have a better view of what I was doing. I like bubbles and they mesmerized her. With nose quivering and head bobbing, she moved closer to get a better look. After jumping from the counter to the floor, she bounded up again this time onto the tub’s edge. She peered at the bubbles and brought her nose closer to sniff their scent. I laughed when her nose hit and the bubbles popped. My chuckles set the water in motion and she stared at the ripples. She pawed one only to find that her paw made them too. She slapped the water, following the rings with her eyes. Only when they quieted did she regard her paw and the moisture there, licking it until the water was gone. She began to pace the edge of the tub with the grace that all cats posses. As she was meowing her reaction I watched her become more agitated and I couldn’t understand why she was getting upset.

And then it happened. Suddenly she jumped into the bath, her whole body launched through the air, and after a tremendous splash she was with me in the tub. Luckily she had landed near the faucet end of the bath. If I hadn’t been so concerned about her, I would have been in fits of giggles since Miss Bess is a cat who displays her emotion in her eyes and on her face. What I saw was a mixture of complete shock and sheer joy. She swam around the tub, droplets of water hanging off her whiskers. She looked like she was having the time of her life. I was perplexed to say the least, since I had never known nor heard of a feline who liked water. We stayed in the tub, and I let her enjoy the water for another thirty minutes.

I decided to get out of the tub since the water gotten cold and my hands were wrinkled. I dried off, dressed, and ran a comb though my hair, and I thought that at some point she would have jumped out, but she just puttered about the tub basking in her newfound toy. Finally I pulled the drain, thinking the sound of the water escaping would draw her out but it didn’t. I tried to pull her out but she skittered to escape my grasp. I grabbed a towel and waited for all of the water to drain before trying again. Reluctantly she agreed to the rubbing of her fur to get most of the water out. Though she was clearly perturbed to be separated from her newfound love, I coaxed her with promises of more baths. I kissed the top of her head and let her go on her way. She was not dry but I knew that she would lick her fur into a better condition than the towel could do. I cleaned up the spilled water from the bath and put the towel in the laundry.

I found her in my bedroom lying on my pillow, a huge wet ring underneath her. Clearly I was not getting to sleep anytime soon, since at night Miss Bess would not sleep anywhere but above my head. I decided to use a hair dryer to dry her off faster, and hoped that the sound would not scare her. I started with a low setting at first but I didn’t need to worry. Miss Bess loved the warm air and being brushed. Soon she was dry and we were both asleep. Later that same month I found out that Miss Bess liked showers too. I thought she would get soap in her eyes and the droplets would annoy her, but they didn’t. She just closed her eyes, drew in her whiskers and let the warm water rush over her. She would stay there all day if I let her. When it is time to get out and I shut off the water she scowls at me. Fortunately if I give her a treat she forgives me for taking her out.

I have often wondered why Miss Bess, with her love of water, did not once tackle the toilet. I am very glad she didn’t!

When guests come to visit us I always explain about Miss Bess and her love of the water. I tell them that the best way to make sure they are not bothered by her is to check the bathroom first, as she has been known to hide in the wastebasket, and then close the door tight. Of course this will not protect them from her loud wailing outside the door when she hears the sounds of the shower or bath and complains about being left out. She will ignore whoever has shut her out of the bathroom for the rest of the day.

I don’t know who picked whom, but I do know I would not be the same had Miss Bess not come into my life. I love her quirky character and her moods and I wonder what other discoveries we will make along the way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Secret-ness of Happy

I sat down on one of the logs that had been left by the sea.  I loved to search these littered “toothpicks” for evidence of lovers who had passed before, professing their love with carved initials.  Not today though, I had too much on my mind.  Bills to pay, the state of the economy and where it was headed, the general strife in the world had left me sad and depressed.  I came to the seaside hoping the crisp salty air would wash this state of being from my spirit. 
Suddenly a spry elderly man appeared over the crest, walking over the sand swept slopes.  A small white dog skittered over the rocks around his feet.  I watched as he drew closer and closer and then to my surprise he came right over to where I was sitting and asked if he could join me.  I nodded.
“How are you this fine day?” he asked with a smile, and I thought I could actually see the wisdom swirling behind his blue irises.
“I am ok.” I replied with a sigh.  I began wondering about him and his sudden curious presence.
“Well, it is my experience that when someone sighs after something they’ve said then it isn’t always the full truth.  In your face I can see that this is the case.”
I produced a weak smile and told him he was pretty observant, and felt strangely compelled to tell him about how I was feeling and why.  I was surprised how easy it was to speak with this stranger who seemed to have risen from the sea.  It wasn’t my nature at all.  Perhaps it was his kind warm smile, and his unthreatening demeanor that put me at ease.  Whatever it was this wonderful spirit and his frolicking dog had me laughing in no time.
“Thanks for turning my day around.” I said to him.
“It was your choice to do so.” He told me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I will let you in on a little secret.” He said in a low voice, “I wasn’t always a happy person.  I was more of a curmudgeon, angry at the world and what it had given me.  My negativity pushed away all those who I cherished.”
“What turned you around?” I asked.  I had a hard time believing this man, with eyes that turned into happy upside down crinkle-smiles every time he laughed, could be anything then the pleasant man I saw before me.
“One day the thought hit me, I could go through life as I had been and continue a lonely existence, or I could make a conscious choice and turn it around.  I could choose to be happy.”
“Did it work?”
“Not at first, it was hard to change my lifestyle.  I was an old man set in my ways, but with persistence I persevered.  Suddenly I could look around and see that I might not have control over what happened in my day, but I could control how I reacted to it.  I think that might have been the whole key to my unhappiness, the feeling of being totally out of control of things.”
I sat in silence and looked out over the beach and ocean while mulling over his words.  Could it really be that easy?  Could we just simply choose how we reacted to the unpleasant or negative things in our lives?  I looked at him again, and knew it to be true, for here was the evidence before me. 
“Don’t take my word for it darlin’,” he said with a wink, “the only way to be sure is to try it out for yourself.”  Then he gave me a smile and wave and started up the beach back in the direction he had come, with the dog bounding along the shore.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sitting with Love

Love is a thrill that will
Give and give
Until it is time to take

It is in the taking moments
When love gives the most
And you find out exactly
What you are capable of

Lazy-Susan Hobs (Silly Advertisement Series)

Lazy Susan Hobs --- These wonderful magical creatures are next on the list of must haves.  With heights of three feet, they are perfect for any sized cupboard or pantry.  They will dispense to you the specific item needed to prepare any meal and will sleep when not in need.  They will keep a running tally of the contents of your kitchen and will provide a list on your predetermined shopping day.  No more dull inventories for you!  Their dietary consumption consists of two bags of Goldfish crackers per week and the occasional Oreo cookie for a job well done.  (Please note these Hobs get very cranky when abruptly awakened and will eject tin cans at an alarming rate and accuracy when this occurs.  We are not liable for any bruising or broken bones incurred.)  $199.99 While supplies last!  (Warning do not give any clothing to the Hobs purchased, doing so will break the contract and the Hob will be free to leave your pantry.)

Sneeze Slap Sticky Notes (Silly Advertisements Series)

Sneeze Slap Sticky Notes --- These wonderful colorful pages of instructions on proper sneezing etiquette will inform those around you who are intent on spreading airborne particles to you and your loved ones.  Once an offender has breeched protocol, slap one of these on their foreheads, while holding your breath, and they can never again say they were not well informed.  The instructions are easy to read and give picture diagrams for those who speak a foreign language.  The back page is full of fun facts about sneezing and how viruses are transmitted.  (One fun fact: Particles ejected out of a sneezing person can stay airborne for up to 48 hours.)  If that doesn’t raise the yuck factor I don’t know what will.  So call now for your first pack of 20 and prepare for applause when you make your first Sneeze Slap!  Only $9.99 and going fast!

Running Bear Aware (Silly Advertisements Series)

Running Bear Aware --- is a great deterrent for those furry pests who don’t hear joggers running about the lake or in forested areas.  This smaller version of a cow bell comes in all kinds of colors to match your running attire.  Be sure to take a music player of some sort with you as the bell can get quite irritating after ten minutes or so.  But what is irritating when it is your life at stake!  Call now…only $5.99.  (Running Bear Aware is not to be confused with Running Bare Wear…which is running nude and not recommended by doctors for those men and women well endowed.)

The Kitchen Jig-it (Silly Advertisements)

The Kitchen Jig-it --- a water and sauce proof stereo for all those times you feel like getting jiggy while cooking.  The Kitchen Jig-it will play your cd's, MP3 files or the radio to your hearts content.  Call now and you could get this steal of a deal for $99.99.  Call now and be one of the first one hundred callers and we will throw in a box of candles for those unforgettable romantic dinners.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Change in Perspective

“Why can’t a woman change her mind?”  Her voice was shrill and grainy, and her brown eyes darted over my appearance as though somehow my clothes or the way I held myself would give her the ammunition she was looking for.  I could only stare at her incredulous, as it had been my question only moments before, and I couldn’t think of any reason why she would feel the need to repeat it. 
What was this woman getting at?  Was her line of thinking that women can’t change their minds?  Or that they shouldn’t change their minds?  Could it be the fact that I had the gall to broach the subject at all?  Again I found her searching my face for signs of weakness, as though there she would find some crack in the outer fa├žade and she could pick her way into my inner core being, and once she had, she would then find that it was all some sort of joke. 
“So then am I to assume you don’t think women should be able to change their minds?”  I asked her trying to get a sliver of clarification.  I thought it better to get it all out into the open lest my confusion fester into something I didn’t recognize.  I wondered if the others in the room felt the same way.  I looked at her for a response but she only began to redden further and sat down in her seat again leaving me the only one to be standing before all thirty students of the class.  All eyes awaited my next move, and I for the life of me, had no idea how this whole confrontation had begun in the first place. 
I knew lots of women who changed their minds, hell I knew many men who did the same.  Some did so in mid-stride of a conversation, others thought it wise to win an argument, but most did so because another point of view had opened a new perspective before them.  People who changed their minds had open minds.  It was those with closed and stubborn minds that didn’t wasn’t it?  In all my days of dealing with all sorts of people with different world views I had never known anyone who took such offense at questioning a previous decision.  It was as thought she was taking it personally.
“You look surprised.”  The professor said to me.  I looked about the room and again realized that all in presence were watching me as I continued to stand before them in my contemplation stupor.
“I am.” I said quietly both heady and flushed, “I don’t understand why my question upset her.”  I sat down while she continued to glare at me form her side of the room. 
“If you don’t have the strength to stand behind your convictions you shouldn’t have made them in the first place.”  She spat over desks and students alike.
“You say I have no back-bone, but what strength or wisdom is there in standing up for something you no longer believe in?  What if it was the previous decision or belief that was misguided?  Would you still hang onto it just because it was your conviction?”  My voice grew in strength, and I could feel my temperature rise.  “Would you fight for something just because someone else has taught you that it is correct?  Would you not want to find out the truth for yourself?”  This woman was infuriating.  I didn’t like arguing with her, let alone in front of a crowd of my peers, but something in me wouldn’t let it go.  Couldn’t let it go.  Didn’t she realize that a change of heart or mind was a freedom that everyone should be afforded?  We took such liberties for granted.  Many people in countries stifled, had and still fight for such freedoms, especially the women of those countries.   
I shook my head, I could see no way of dealing with such a closed mind.  It was as though she wore a brick wall around her and didn’t care who saw it.  She was sticking her chin over the top of it daring us all to try our hand at toppling it over.
“You are the type of woman that gives all others a bad name.”  She said with venom, “With your bottle blonde locks and your indecision, swaying this way and that as the wind takes you.  How is anyone to respect what you stand for?  Men think us weak, easy to push over and easy to lay when they see your inaction.  You appear to be a valueless husk.”
“All this because I asked the question why a woman couldn’t change her mind?  Are you for real?  Your past hurt and heartache is leaking through the mortar in your brick wall, and if that chip on your shoulder were to grow any larger you would certainly buckle under the sheer weight of its shadow.  So don’t tell me you are some expert on men and the way they see the world.”  I was shaking in my fury at her personal attack; the adrenaline had left my legs stump-like and heavy.  I sat down again before I fell to my chair.
“Okay, that is enough debate for today.” The professor smiled as he gained control of the class, “although it has been sometime that my topic of freedom of expression has enticed such a passionate response.  I look forwards to what will happen in our next class.”  There was nervous laughter from the students, the kind given when one is unsure of the correct way to respond. 
The bell rang and was met with the sound of chairs scraping over floors.  I was slow in getting to my feet, lost in my thoughts as I digested what had happened.  Trying to discern why it had happened.
Then for some reason, it all changed.  My thoughts were filled with brittle tree branches breaking in a strong wind, and the knowledge that no matter how hard the wind blows, the grasses only dip and dance with its firm caress.  I thought of rock, and how it gets carved and ground down by waters patient persistence. 
In that moment I understood that to get to these minds that seem to be sealed shut I too would have to adapt a gentle nature.  A perseverance that over time would lead to a deeper understanding of human nature.  With this realization, I was never more grateful for a sound mind with the freedom to change it if I so chose.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hearts and Galaxies


In between folds of hearts
And arms wide open,
Are galaxies of understanding
That are testimony
Of tenacious lessons learnt,
Whispers heard,
And sights unveiled

Whilst skipping upon life’s journey...

Images Cast Upon the Heavens...

Each of us by the grace of divine wisdom and enterprise are unique perfect beings with our imperfections. We may think we are small when our image is cast upon the heavens and the planetary orbits... but there are molecules who if they had conciousness, (and who is to say that they don't) would disagree with us. A peaceful life is something to be proud of... so many souls have trouble finding peace in the simplest of things.