Sunday, March 31, 2013

3,000 Words....

I enjoyed a post the other day by author Karen Dales. She has written several books and was commenting, in her blog, on our limited vocabulary - 3,000 words. Apparently the average North American uses only about 3,000 words, as a working vocabulary. This is sad.

I guess we can blame laziness or a shift in focus from reading and writing to video or other image related media. I know that I grew up with comic books. Then there is the school system that teaches to the lowest common denominator. So with every new generation, that denominator is lowered even more. I know that we can blame editors and publishers, who ask authors to limit their choice of vocabulary to a prescribed list of words. I have written about this before.

Apparently Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of 54,000 words and I know that James Joyce made up words because he felt that the English vocabulary was too limited.

Karen posted this hilarious video on her site. It's the story of the Three Little Pigs in an extended vocabulary.



Expanding our use of language is a way of enriching our lives. We can do this by reading, using language purposefully (thinking before we speak), methodically adding a word a day, and/or keeping a diary (blog) - to name a few.

I am not a great reader, however, I do write a daily blog because it forces me to use language purposefully and in so doing, I might just find a new word, or another way of phrasing something. When things work out, I feel that I have enriched my day, especially if I have used a word, I have never used before.

Two of the three little pigs - maybe

Oh yes, I almost forgot, I do take a picture a day, as well - a graphic way of enriching my life. Mental note - I need to add more captions to my pictures. It's another way to use words and I admit I am lazy about captions. When a picture is worth a thousand words, I think why add a few more. Well, for the exercise of using words.

Maybe I need to wage war on Wordless Wednesdays!!

Have an amazing day!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Those who live on water.....

The other day we went to an area on Lake Ontario that has a community of people who live in houseboats. Now, I am fascinated by houseboats. I am not sure that I am the type of person who needs to be on water all the time, but I can understand that need in others and as an alternative life style, I can enjoy it.



I remember it was a long time ago when I first realized that people actually lived on water all the time. I was living in London and there was an article in the paper about houseboats on the Thames near Maidenhead. I was smitten.

Now, I come from farm stock and to work the land, is my first choice, but I am also in love with the idea of an alternate lifestyle. I dream of living in a home that you can move from place to place. VW camper vans are probably easiest; but there is a romance about barging through connected waterways, finding obscure moorings and just, well, hanging out with people who maybe think a little differently, from the suburban, 4 bathroomed, three car garaged, set!!

I mentioned the outing to a few people. My friend who is a Sagittarius said that she could never live in a houseboat, well she is a fire sign - now I know that she could live in a car. She regularly drives from Ontario to Newfoundland, where she has a house - near, but not on water!! My other friend, an Aquarius, said that she could live in a houseboat and in fact had a friend who had actually owned one.

I know that there are houseboat communities in lots of places.  Maybe I just need to rent one for awhile. It would be moored in one place, but I would have access to the water with a kayak...hmmmm I feel a road....err water trip coming on!!





Please post your alternative lifestyle dream!!

Have an amazing day!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Winging it...

I'm not sure why I have trouble following directions. Maybe innately, I hate being told what to do. I can't just follow a recipe, for example. I have to combine several recipes and then add a little this and that as well.

Paella

On Sunday, I made Paella, from a combination of three sets of directions, plus the this and that.  Last night, I made a pasta dish with a small piece of salmon, plus spinach & tomato, which I had to use up and then I was on my own. It needed more liquid so I added lemon juice and then some white wine. I had forgotten to start with onions and garlic so I added scallions and left out the garlic. I also added Basil, Paprika and Cayenne. I put noodles on to boil and when they were ready tossed them in the pan with the sauce I had just made.  It was delicious and I'm sorry now that I didn't take a picture.

I don't consider myself a cook, but I wonder if cooks start out this way. They understand the basics, know procedures and just add ingredients to create something that really tastes.

Tonight we are having a guest over and I'll be making pasta with clams. My husband insists that I follow a recipe from one of our cook books. I do - but I secretly make one change. I don't fry the fresh Basil with the bacon. I add it when I add the tomatoes and wine.  Just had to be a little different.

pasta with clams
Please post any "things" you do to personalized recipes.

Have a delicious day!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meg O' Bedlam

I often think of living the life of a nomad - a little insane maybe. I dream of walking the Camino and I post about a friend who is riding a motorcycle out to BC to see her grandchildren. I am not alone in this desire for freedom. Several people I follow, often post about living on the open road, being free to go wherever, whenever. These people are not unlike the Tom O' Bedlams in my previous posts. They may not necessarily be "insane," but they are driven to wander. Ironically they are all female.

I felt that I needed a poem, about nomadic life, with a woman as the main character. Here is a favourite by John Keats. I think that Meg may be the female equivalent of Tom O' Bedlam.

Meg Merrilies

Old Meg she was a Gipsy,
        And liv'd upon the Moors:
Her bed it was the brown heath turf,
       And her house was out of doors.
Her apples were swart blackberries,
       Her currants pods o' broom;
Her wine was dew of the wild white rose,
       Her book a churchyard tomb.

Her Brothers were the craggy hills,
       Her Sisters larchen trees—
Alone with her great family
       She liv'd as she did please.

No breakfast had she many a morn,
       No dinner many a noon,
And 'stead of supper she would stare
       Full hard against the Moon.

But every morn of woodbine fresh
       She made her garlanding,
And every night the dark glen Yew
       She wove, and she would sing.

And with her fingers old and brown
       She plaited Mats o' Rushes,
And gave them to the Cottagers
       She met among the Bushes.

Old Meg was brave as Margaret Queen
       And tall as Amazon:
An old red blanket cloak she wore;
       A chip hat had she on.
God rest her aged bones somewhere—
       She died full long agone!


"Her Brothers were the craggy hills, Her Sisters larchen Trees -

Live free - have a great day!!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Poetry and Madness...

My last post was about the poem "Tom O' Bedlam and the person on YouTube, Spoken Verse who both recites wonderful poetry and recites poetry wonderfully : ) He is known on-line as, Tom O' Bedlam.

There are many times when I have thought that there is a strong correlation between poetry and madness. Poems with their confusing metaphors and convoluted phrasing may seem like the rantings of a disturbed mind.

Poetry is often full of fantasy, with disjointed images, that seldom make sense on the first reading. Poems need to be read and re-read. I think of the repetitious musings of the deranged - the rhyme becoming a chant or the lines drifting off into nowhere. One of my favourite poets, e. e. cummings, is a master of this confusion.

Let's Live Suddenly Without Thinking

E. E. Cummings

let’s live suddenly without thinking

under honest trees,
                        a stream
does.the brain of cleverly-crinkling
-water pursues the angry dream
of the shore. By midnight,
                                a moon
scratches the skin of the organised hills

an edged nothing begins to prune

let’s live like the light that kills
and let’s as silence,
                            because Whirl’s after all:
(after me) love, and after you.
I occasionally feel vague how
vague i don’t know tenuous Now-
spears and The Then-arrows making do
our mouths something red, something tall

Scarborough Bluffs

"The skin of organized hills" - photographers can be a little mad too. Please post any thoughts you have on the topic.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Return of Tom O' Bedlam

Today again, I found myself without an idea for a post. This would be #85 I think, in the challenge of doing 365 and not missing a beat - err day. So I started cruising around, looking for some inspiration. At one point, I realized that I hadn't fully explored a website www.getintotheshade.com, that I had stumbled on a while ago. I went back to take a look and found an interesting link to a person on YouTube who reads poetry.

The reader's pen name - can we call it that - is "Tom O' Bedlam." His YouTube url is Spoken Verse (with the space). He basically takes many of the more memorable poems and recites them in this wonderful sonorous voice. Getintotheshade.com had linked to spoken verse for his recitation of the Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot - their poem of the week.

I loved the concept so much that I decided to take a look at the origin of the name "Tom O' Bedlam." Historically, it is a term for someone who has been released from a mental institution (for lack of a better phrase) and left to wander through the world, possibly begging. A poem written in the 1600s pays tribute to this character.

Here is Tom O' Bedlam reading an except from "Tom O' Bedlam."


Tom O' Bedlam was such a fascinating character, that references to him appear in literature on and off from the 1600s, when the first eponymous poem was written, to the present.  Here is a list, taken from Wikipedia, of some of the works that the poem has inspired:
To find someone "mad" enough to recite poetry on YouTube, is to have found a kindred soul. Well we need something to counter the insanity of cat videos. There will be more on madness, poetry and Bedlam, Tom O' next post!!

Have an amazing day!!




Monday, March 25, 2013

The return of the organ grinder....

In my last post, I mentioned the economic downturn that we are in now and how difficult it is to remain optimistic for young and old. The young have dim prospects in the job market and the old have seen their nest eggs shrink with the falling markets.

Time to get inventive, like the organ grinder I saw outside the St. Lawrence Market the other day. He was soliciting money for his time and tunes. The sign on his collection basket, said something about needing to add to his old-age security, because it really wasn't covering the basics.



From the picture you can see that this chap doesn't look like your average organ grinder, who, according to wikipedia, was often an itinerant nomad, moving from place to place or an immigrant, working as an entertainer, for lack of a better job.

The article in wikipedia went on to describe not only the organ grinder, his instrument choices and his assistants, often animals, but also the cruel treatment of organ grinders at the hands of the police and the general public.

There was a time when organ grinders were banned in many places, most notably New York City in 1936.  As a result of this ban, many of the organs were destroyed, including their barrels, which were often the only record of a popular song of the day.

The New York law was repealed in 1976 and the first rally of organ grinders was held in April - 2006 at Coney Island. I know that we have a lot of street performers now. In fact, Toronto hosts an international buskerfest, every year, in August. Usually, though, these people have real talent. However, enterprising individuals, with more moxie than skill, might still be able to earn a modest income by resurrecting an old occupation - the organ grinder.

This could in turn, restore an entire industry - people to make the organs, artists to create the music, businesses to purchase and rent out the organs, workers to turn the cranks, breeders to supply the animals and perfomers to act or dance to the music.

A new take on the daily grind, perhaps.

Have a wonderful day!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feed your inner pessimist.....

After years of telling us that we should see the glass half full, there now seems to be a shift to  - seeing the glass half empty - as not a bad thing.  Here's why. Pessimists prepare for the worst. However, once things are resolved, the results are usually never as bad as they thought they were going to be - negative thinking, producing a positive end, maybe. Also because pessimists prepare for the worst, they often are very cautious, better prepared and not overextended - braced for the worst, perhaps!

It's interesting that this "jump on the bandwagon for pessimism" comes at a time when boomers are facing more negatives than positives - declining health, fixed incomes, dramatic changes in lifestyle. The world economy is in a downturn, there are fewer jobs, higher prices, lower wages...the list goes on. So all of a sudden, it's cool to have a negative outlook. The flip side of which may be, that it is difficult in these conditions, to have a positive outlook. Really, how many rejection notices can you take and still keep smiling!!

According to an article by Wency Leung in the Globe and Mail the other day, here is how to be a better pessimist!!

1. Be specific. Think of all the "things" that can go wrong and then address them individually. This is constructive pessimism, rather than the "O me meserum"-  everything is wrong and nothing is right, type of outlook.

2. Be selective. Restrict your pessimism to important things. Don't fret daily over everything!

3. Keep your pessimism to yourself. Things may be bad, but dragging everyone else into your maelstrom only makes everyone else miserable and presumably they are also dealing with their own pessimism and keeping it to themselves. Ironically this may create an atmosphere of seemingly happy people all "faking it." :)



I'm not sure where I stand in all of this. However, I do know, that if there is still something in the glass, the party isn't over!!

Have a good one!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rumpelstiltskin

My previous post was about Alchemy - the art of changing something worthless into something valuable, such as gold. There is, of course, the old fairy tale about the spinner who needed to turn straw into gold. Magically an elf heard her cries and offered to give her that power, in exchange for her first born child.

She weighed the alternatives - the prospect of money and power now, over a large family in the future and, as is often the case, short term pleasure is exchanged for long term drudgery :) hence, she accepted his offer.

Because I work with yarn, I often think of this story. Hand spinners and there are many, take animal fleeces, plant materials, even silk worm casings and use them to create wonderful yarns, which they sell to support themselves.

I don't actually spin yarn, but I do get yarn in from mills often, that requires a little processing. Sometimes it is all one colour and needs to be dyed, or it needs to be taken from cones and put into balls or skeins. Fortunately, I have machines for this.

Once I brought in a yarn that was 100% raw silk. I had never worked with raw silk before, so I didn't know what to expect. I knew when you worked with hemp or linen, it needed to be soaked (retted) and it needed to be hackled - literally whipped into shape by threshing it over a hackle - a board with spikes in it.

When the skeins of silk arrived, they looked like this - quite stiff and a little like straw.




I drew on my experience with linen and decided to soak them. After hanging them to dry, I threshed them several times (without a hackle), before winding them into skeins.



The skeins were still a little stiff, but they were looking a lot more pliable. Then we dyed them, repeating the soaking and threshing.




Finally, when I put a skein on the swift to wind into a ball, I did it slowly and teased the strands, that wanted to cling together, apart. At last, I used this ball to knit a shawl.



I found that as my hands worked with the yarn, it softened even more. The whole process reminded me of the story of Rumpelstiltskin. The yarn came in like straw, but with a lot of work, it softened into a lustrous silk. I didn't have an elf to help me - OK maybe my youngest, and although I didn't actually have to give up my the first "born," my eldest was commissioned to dye the yarn - straw into gold - with a lot of work and a little imagination!!

Believe in make-believe!! It works magic!!

Have an awesome day

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Alchemist

I always remember a friend of mine, telling me once that she was sitting beside a young man on a plane and during the course of their conversation, she asked him what he did for a living. He said, "I'm an Alchemist." She was amazed!!

Five hundred years ago, this might have meant very little. Back then Alchemy was a practiced art. Now a days, no one lays claim to literally being able to change base metals into gold. Figuratively, people may use Alchemy as an analogy to suggest that they take something seemingly worthless and transform it into a money generating product - the pet rock comes to mind, as do a few ".coms" from the '90s.

Blue Jay created from scrap metal


Here is a definition of Alchemy:

Alchemy was a systematic, mystical philosophy integrating astrology, numerology, and even theology into the study of matter. To the alchemists, physical matter was an expression of underlying essences and principles. The reactions of various substances, then, could be explained as the attraction of the male and female principles inherent in them. Gold, the perfect metal, represented to the alchemists the perfect balance of the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and the perfect balance of the male and female principles within them.

Part scientist, part mystic, the alchemist pursued the impossible. He dreamed the impossible dream, working with the real and the surreal to create magic. At its worst Alchemy is manifested in the "snake oil" seller or scam artist. At its best Alchemy is the scientist, working outside of prescribed conventions to discover something really unique!

Alchemy in all its many forms has fascinated writers for years. There are plays, movies, books and poems about the "science." Here's a short poem.

The Alchemist's Chant
by K.C. Ball

Sulfur into Oxygen; solid into gas.
It really isn’t difficult, if you halve the mass.
Gallium to Silver. Palladium to Lead.
Wait! Those ways are backwards; it’s the other ways instead.
Plutonium from Gold, will give a glowing tan.
Argon turned to Krypton gas is really super, man!
Transmutation is a snap, simple as can be;
but don’t expect it every time — just periodically.



The pictures are from a shop that I pass often. The owners bring in the work of an artist who creates really lovely ornaments from discarded metal. Today's Alchemists may be all those people who create wonderful "things" from recycled waste!

Be an alchemist every now and then - bring a little magic into your life :)

Have an awesome day!!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Would there were words for......

I usually try the cryptic crossword puzzle in the daily paper. Yesterday, there was a clue that I knew was an anagram, that is, the letters in the phrase "at shop" had to be rearranged to get a language spoken in Afghanistan. I didn't know the language so I looked it up - Pashto.

While on-line, I decided to look up another clue - handy cover for ancient fighters - which I thought might be a type of medieval glove - gauntlet didn't fit, so I looked up medieval armour for the hands and found this neat site on - guess what - medieval armour!!!

OK, perhaps you really have to find medieval armour exciting and maybe not everyone does. What I did enjoy, though, were all these words - names of the parts of a suit of armour - that I had never heard before, such as, Sabatons, Greaves, Poleyns, and Cuisses, to name just a few.

Often exploring the terminology used in other fields gives a depth and scope to our own use of language. I have done a lot of work in the area of fibre art, so I occasionally use terms, such as, weft, woof, warp, and selvage, from weaving, in my creative writing. I might say something like the "selvages of our lives" or one needs "the warp of a strong conviction to weave an enduring tapestry."



Other areas that provide a rich vocabulary are Woodworking - with words such as, ogee, kerf, and ferrule. You could also try - TheatrePotteryPoker etc... Please post any areas where you have found with an interesting lexicon.

Now, with my newly acquired vocabulary in medieval armour, I can say something like "I put on my Sabatons to walk the battlefield of our relationship."

I wish I had the time to explore more areas of interest. Sadly, there are just not enough hours in the day - or to borrow an analogy from the dominant culture - being a small circuit in the motherboard of time, my life is limited and to date, they have not created an app for eternal life, as we know it, so I make my connections where I can, or where I must and hope that the battery is a duracell :)

The picture is a mortar and pestle. I took it partly because it was available, but also because it suggests the fine art of blending and concocting. In researching for this post I came across some interesting fields which probably made good use of the "grinder" - Alchemy, Sorcery, Witchcraft and the Science of the Apothecary. Maybe another post.

P.S. The answer to the clue about the hand cover was "cestus" an ancient battle glove. Possibly parallel to, but not directly associated with, armour.

Have an amazing day!!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Self Portraits

I'm in an on-line photography group which, in addition to running a picture-a-day challenge for 2013, also has mini challenges from time to time. Our moderator, Cricket Walker, has asked us to post pictures that say a lot about who we are now.

BTW this is a very easy, open group, if you are interested - just do a FB search for "I love photography" and tell Cricket I sent you :)

Back to the "self portraits." It was difficult to find pictures that "say a lot about me," because so much of who I am depends on the day, the direction of the wind, the colour of the sky, the song in my head and....well, you get the idea.

I took a quick scroll through my picture collection and found a few that said me, today. Here's one.


I know it's a little crazy - go figure. It's in Toronto, but it makes me think of Parisian cafes, coffee houses in Greenwich Village, and quaint little bistros anywhere. I want to sing - better make that, have someone else sing - "Roses of Picardy." I'm nostalgic. I could live in the past. I love historic places - the funkier the better. Here's another.


It's a sign for the same restaurant advertising their patio. This is more like the "left bank" in Paris. It's a place you'd find in an artists' community. You could be living in an attic room, as a painter or writer. You would go out in the evening to a neighbourhood haunt for dinner and drinks. You would chat about art and culture, food and wine. I think of Hemingway and all the intellectuals that lived in Paris in the 20's.

Maybe I just have to go there - to find myself :)

Have a great day!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Art & Shop Windows...

Yesterday I posted about the Canadian photographer, Margaret Watkins and the fact that she is one of the photographers chosen to grace a new issue of Canadian stamps. Her forte was not only pictures of still life, drawn from the home - literally kitchen sink photography, but she also photographed shop windows.

Shopping or window shopping has always been enjoyed more by females, I think. I hate to be sexist, but my husband would prefer to have his clothes wear out and go naked, rather than be dragged into a clothing store to buy replacements!


An accessories boutique decked out for Pride week

I have a lot of pictures of shop windows. It is easier and cheaper to take a picture, than to actually go into the store and "buy" something. Here are some pictures that might make interesting stamps.



I like the glass and mirrors effect in this antique shop - being transported to an earlier time :)



This was a display of old suitcases in the window of the Art Gallery of Ontario - for when I really want to escape!!

Go window shopping - retail therapy on the cheap!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Photo-Stamped....

There was an article in the Sunday Star yesterday about an issue of new Canadian stamps. This series will honour Canadian photographers. I was thrilled. I love photography. Here is the article.

I particularly liked the fact that they have chosen Margaret Watkins. Her pictures are often of domestic scenes, something that I can really relate to :)

Well maybe I didn't get picked (again) to be a famous photographer on a postage stamp!!! But I can, at least, fill a blog or two with photos that I have taken around the house - maybe to ease the boredom of domestication - is that a word?

Glass Door Knob
I started a series of photographs, a while ago, celebrating things that we take for granted around the house. Here is the glass door knob on the hall closet "illuminated." I opened the front door to take the picture. It was summer and the sun was shining. Some how, I think that it would be lost on a stamp, though.

Morning Light

This is a picture that I took very early one morning. The light was streaming in through the window and caught this empty bottle, projecting it against the tiles on the wall behind. This again is probably not stamp material. Well you could flavour the glue with beer :)

Glass Jug

Here is another with morning light and shadows.  I think that this one has stamp possibilities!! I know that "real" photographers would set up these photos with proper lighting and back grounds etc. However, domestic life doesn't always allow time or space for this. I often have to rely on the whims of nature for my settings. On a cloudy day, I don't photograph shadows :)

Have a picture perfect day!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Poetry and Perfume

Yesterday's post about scents really warranted a follow up. I think that the Demeter Fragrance Company needs some help in identifying perfumes for the letters U and X, since they have none listed. I thought that I might draw on my interest in poetry to give them some ideas.

The first poem that came to mind for "U" was "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas. This would call for a fragrance rich with sea air and angst. It would have to evoke phrases such as,

"It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobbledstreets silent and the hunched courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea."

I was having difficulty remembering more poems beginning with "U" so I googled the phrase - poems starting with the letter "U" -  and came up with a site called "Cornerpoetry." There were lots of poems beginning with "U," including a dozen or more called "Untitled." I thought that one entitled "Undercurrent" would work - probably right up there with Under Milk Wood.

"X" was trickier since Coleridge didn't name his poem about Kubla Khan "Xanadu." I did find a poem called Xyst, which is a covered portico. The poem suggests the scent of lavender. I like Wisteria, myself. Maybe a fragrance combining the two.

Fruit Jambalaya 

Now for the letters with just one fragrance - J, K, Q, Y. Demeter's scent for "J" is Jasmine, which is predictable, as would be other fragrances, such as, Japonica, Julep, and Jamaica. For "K" they have Kamikaze, which I have mentioned before. To this we could add Kryptonite - for fatal attractions and Kringle for whatever :) "Y" is Ylang Ylang and I decided not to add YMCA. I think they would get more spin from a perfume called Yo-Yo.

I have saved "Q" for last. Demeter has a scent called Quince. I have a hunch that Quasimodo, suggested by Gloria Kearns, wouldn't work, unless we're in Zombie mode, but, I think that Quintessence and Quest might. In addition, I would like to offer a name which my good friend, Julia, posted as a reply to yesterday's blog for a perfume suggestion - "Quite Ridiculous." And maybe all of this really is - but it's been fun!!

Have a great day!!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Heaven Scent

I can't remember the exact day that they chose the new pope, but I think it was last Sunday. So today is Saturday - just a week later and Demeter, a fragrance company, has just launched a new scent, "Holy Water."

Perhaps the company started experimenting back in mid-February, when the last pope said he was going to resign - that still just leaves a month to do all the work of bringing out a new product. And why they needed a new product is beyond me, because they had 278 scents already. Among them were the predictable - Sea Air, Clean Linen, Apple Pie, the unusual - Thunderstorms, Laundromat, Funeral Home and the shocking - Kamikase, Earthworm and Zombies. There were even 5 different scents for variations of "Sex on the Beach" - go figure!



Anyway "Holy Water" is supposed to smell like a church. The author of the article in the Toronto Star, Leanne Delap, said that, "it smells as though you have just walked into an ancient chapel in the South of France, complete with polished wood and sun-warmed porcelain." It sounds wonderful for a mere $20.00 an ounce.

Demeter's perfumes are listed alphabetically on their website. There were 36 scents for the letter S, 33 for the letter C and then it drops to only 26 for the letter P.  Also, I noticed that there were no fragrances for the letters - U,  and X and only one each for the letters J, K, Q and Y. Clearly they need to focus on these. Does anyone have any suggestions?



The pictures ? - well "holy tap water, Batman," although there were perfumes for "Angel Food," there were no scents specifically for, or related to angels!! What would angels wear? - something crisp like the clear frost of a starry night? or gentle, the soft down of misty clouds perhaps? - or maybe something powerful like the rush of wings, mixed with the thrill of a mass choir!!

I must contact Demeter a.s.a.p. with the idea - imagine a perfume that's out of this world!!

Have an ethereal day!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time to Buy Shares in Windex!!

OK I have completely lost my mind. Either the winter has been too long and I'm suffering from cabin fever or I'm giddy and light-headed because of the three days of sun that we had on the weekend, but here's my third post in a row with a video!!

I just couldn't resist this one either. It is probably the antithesis of Wednesday's post, which was historical, bricks and mortar whimsy. Today's blog is all about the future and how we will be doing "things" in maybe just a few years.


Time to buy shares in Windex!! After all you would have to keep all that "glass" clean. Or maybe it polishes itself :)

Although, I liked the medical aspects of the video - and the "dummy" that looks like Patrick Stewart, I'm not sure that I agree with the field trip to the forest. Somethings just have to be "real." As easy as life seems in the video, I wonder how simple it really is. How easy would it be to "fix" something, if it broke down? What if the closet door refused to open one day? Believe me you couldn't just give it a kick!

BTW did anyone see a piece of paper or a book? I have to believe that the house vacuums itself. No one actually gardens. All the food is genetically engineered and perhaps "scientifically cooked." Some things in the future will not be all that transparent!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

American Pi

I know it's my second post in a row with a video, but I just couldn't resist this one for Pi Day! Here's a musical tribute to the mathematical formula, sung to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie."



Not only is today Pi Day, it's also Einstein's birthday, the eve of the "Ides of March" and just 3 days from St. Patrick's Day!!

It really should be a radical (radii) day! I would be diametrically opposed to anything "sane" today, so how about a nonsense verse.

Einstein

There was a young man from Ulm
Who calculated many a sum
He worked with mass
Amazing his class
By discovering how energies hum!


I am dedicating this Limerick to another fellow blogger TOSK - The Other Steven King - who writes Limericks and Fantasy - maybe the only sane things to do :)

Have a calculating day!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Magic and a used book store.....

Someone posted this video to my wall the other day. It's the story behind the expression "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON." In brief the British government in 1939 commissioned posters to be created, printed and distributed throughout the UK in an effort to calm fears about the impending war.

Three posters were selected including the iconic KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON." The first two were actually printed and distributed. However, although 2.5 million copies of "KEEP CALM..." were printed, it was intended for use only during extreme circumstances - they were never distributed!! After the war the copies were packed away.

Fast forward to a used book store in Northumberland. Barter Books is a charming location created from an old Victorian railway station. One day while sorting through some boxes they had bought at auction, the shop owners came across an original copy of "KEEP CALM...." They liked it so much, they had it framed. Others liked it too and so a craze was born. Here's the whole story.


PS. I love the toy train. I am so glad that there are still people with a sense of fun and whimsy in this world. This would never happen in a chain store!!

Keep calm and dream on!! You are the magic; make it happen!!

Have an amazing day!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Advice from a Caterpillar....

I couldn't resist the name of this shop. It is actually a children's wear boutique, but it says so much more. What would a caterpillar tell you?


Would he say....

1. Believe that one day you will fly. Believe that you will soar above your limitations, above your frailties, above everything that keeps you low, slow and plodding!! Believe that one day you will be amazing!!

2. Believe that you are capable of travelling an impossible number of miles, surmounting an incredible number of challenges, transforming the very essence of your being, to achieve your goals.

2. Believe in magic!

Remember the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland (or Alice for that matter) who said....

Caterpillar: Who... are... you? 
Alice: Why, I hardly know, sir. I've changed so much since this morning, you see... 
Caterpillar: No, I do not C, explain yourself. 
Alice: I'm afraid I can't explain myself, you see, because I'm not myself, you know. 
Caterpillar: I do not know. 
Alice: I can't put it any more clearly, sir, because it isn't clear to me. 


Maybe this caterpillar on the grounds of an inn we stayed at last year would say - recycle - make something whimsical from discarded tires, plastic bottles, old tubes....or whatever!!


It's really all about transformation. Seeing the beauty and the talent, where others perhaps don't and making it "fly."

Have a remarkable day!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Yes, Virginia, there are angels...

My daughter is in Toronto for the week before she heads back to Thunder Bay to do her second in a series of 3 practicums for her teaching certificate. True to form, she has managed to pack out her vacation week. First, she got a job as a camp councillor for a Spring Break children's camp at Harbourfront. Then on the Saturday of her two days "off," she met with camp staff for a day of planning and on Sunday she booked to do a re-certification of her first aid training in order to update her lifesaving qualifications - whew!! I was exhausted and I was just dropping her off.

Well, let me tell you, as easy as the phrase "drop off" is to say, it was not as easy to actually do. I drove her to her camp meeting on Saturday because she had lots of "flotsam and jetsam" to take in. We left early and I'm glad we did because we had to negotiate some major construction and re-routing of traffic along the main thoroughfare to the camp. This was not fun. At one point I was going the wrong way on a street that has always been two-way, until, of course, yesterday!

Fortunately I got home in one piece. On Sunday we set out to another major road block on the other side of the city! Her First Aid course was on the campus of York University. Since she had googled a map of the location before we set out, it should have been easy - right? - wrong!

1. The major north-south street we needed to take to reach the red exclamation mark on the Google map was closed - construction for a new subway. Google didn't tell us this!

2. I decided to go further west with the intent of doubling back and going north again (are you still with me?). This was not easy because a number of side streets were not named, so it was difficult to work out exactly where I was in time and space - in space I was lost, in time I was late!

3. After much to-ing and fro-ing, we were close. However, we couldn't actually reach the intersection indicated on the Google map because it was barricaded, again for the subway in progress. Finally I decided to drive through the barricades - the benefits of a small car and check out the buildings at the designated intersection.  Alas, we were no where near the building hosting the course, because Google had pointed us to the main administration buildings of the university, which were closed on Sunday. We needed to get to the library! Panic!!

4. Eventually we found a map, oriented ourselves and headed out to find the library - at the other end of the campus, with most of the roads closed because of construction. More confusion. Finally, after asking several students where the library was and having them look at us as though we were asking for directions to Mars, we found one chap who thought it was somewhere "over there." I always thought that a library was the heart of a university, apparently not - I probably should have been asking for directions to the pub!

5. At one point we had to ditch the car and head out on foot, following walking paths and mercifully, now, signposts!! At last, we reached our destination, negotiated the labyrinth of halls and found the meeting place. No one was there. My guess was we were so late, that everyone had already been taken to the testing site.

6. Where was security when you needed them? We asked a few more people for help. Everyone had their own idea of where we should be - the pool, the gym, the medical building!!! - nothing made sense.  Frustrated, we decided to abandon ship - err campus and find another time to take the test, at another place, that was perhaps a little saner.

We were nearly out of the building when we heard someone call us from behind. A good looking young man appeared from no where. He had overheard our conversation. Because he was also there with his girlfriend, to do the "recert," he was able to tell us that the test had been delayed an hour - something do do with moving to daylight savings. Apparently the 19 year-old who was conducting the program had slept in - I was not filled with confidence, but I was relieved to meet a kindred soul.



My daughter was thrilled, that she could now do the recert; she had someone to talk to, and she could dispense with her frantic mother, whom she believed was only complicating her life!!

Thank god for angels!!!

The picture - something maybe an angel would drive and probably not through the barricades :)

Have an uncomplicated day!!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Saw The Light

I couldn't resist this shot. It's the physical equivalent of all those times when you are just walking down the street and an idea hits you!! Well, I was just walking down the street when I almost bumped into this lamp in front of an antique shop. It was random and it was funny. It reminded me of the classic comic book illustration of a character getting an idea!!


So now what do I do with it. Can I really write a blog post about a light bulb? I wonder to myself if it's a tri-light. This would then be a really BIG idea. It's not plugged in, but the sun reflecting on the glass suggests illumination. Is it getting energy from the cosmos? I think that some of the best ideas come when you are outside, taking in the forces that are there.

I am reminded of all those references to people who were "blinded by the light." Is this a message from the gods or the powers that be? I wasn't struck dumb but I was a little amazed and amused. What is the world trying to tell me? Maybe it's just, "watch where you're going." :)

I am secretly glad that it was an incandescent bulb. As important as they are for the environment and the economy, those twisted white lights will never do for the mind or the comics what Edison's bulb has done. I think again "twisted white lights." Maybe this is what's wrong with the world today!!

Maybe we should roll back to the incandescents? Or regress further. What would an oil lamp or a candle do to our current (no pun intended) thought patterns?

Just an idea!!

Have a delightful day!!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

How did this happen...?

I am amazed at the power and the interconnectedness (is that a word?) of networks! I now post in 5 blogging groups. I sat down today, to work out how this happened. It probably began back in 2009 or 2010 when I was thinking - I really should get my blog up again. I started blogging in 2006, lost a bit of steam in 2007 & 2008 and then one day......

1. A designer, whose patterns I distribute, posted that there was a blog-a-day challenge over on a V7N FB page. I thought - just what I needed. I'll get into the challenge and then keep on going. Well I didn't actually manage a blog-a-day; but I did get quite a few done in the month and I was into a rhythm.

2. The V7N group was a small but dedicated group, however, I wasn't posting often in the group once the challenge was over. One day another member of V7N posted that there was a blog-a-day challenge over at the UBC (Ultimate Blog Challenge) - another FB page. I thought well here's another challenge, I'll see if I can complete this one and I did!!

3. When the challenge was over, one of the members started a new page and another challenge. I moved with a number of contributors over there; but still continued to post in UBC and V7N. We're up to 3 groups now.

Sometime around the beginning of Nov/2012, I decided to enter Nanowrimo, again because someone had posted on one of the blog sites that it was starting Nov 1. I didn't blog much in Nov because I was determine to complete my 50,000 words for the month, which I did!!

4. I was now into, not only a rhythm, but also a habit - I needed to write every morning - maybe a kind of morning sickness :)

5. At the end of December, Cricket suggested a blog-a-day challenge for 2013 on the V7N page - Wow 365 blogs. It was then I realized that I had blogged every other day in 2012, so why not just step it up!!

6. The 365 challenge really livened up the V7N postings. The UBC had another month long blog challenge happening. At one point another member in one of the groups, joined another challenge and I went over to see what it was like and finally, I was invited to join a small but very interesting group that blogs on Mondays & Thursdays. That makes 5.



I do this as well as posting pictures in a photography group that Cricket started on FB a while ago - "I love photography." There is the same 365 photo a day challenge over there. This is why there is usually a picture with my blog. It's for the other challenge!

I think that I have reached my limit, though, because to create the group dynamic, everyone should contribute a post, as well as, read and post to as many other blogs as possible in the group. I can only do this with 4 groups. (I decided to drop one group.) I don't count the photography group as a blog group. There is very little reading in this group and lots of really lovely pictures to peruse at the end of the day!!!

I included this picture because reading posts is like sampling treats at a party. There is this wonderful buffet of tasty morsels that don't put on weight, unless you decide to try out a recipe posted by someone in the group :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Miracles in March!!

Spring always amazes me. When something as spare and barren as this -


can become this


in a matter of days, it makes me believe in divine intervention!

A week ago I brought Forsythia branches in for "forcing." They are for me the definition of Spring. All the bland, grey sparseness of Winter disappears in a burst of yellow bloom.

It's just one of life's little miracles :)

I'm waiting, albeit impatiently, for Spring.

Have a wonderful day!!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Rabbits

Lately no one has commented on the rabbit or rabbits that hop through our back yard at night. I have written about them before. At first the kids really had to work at convincing me that we had rabbits. Now I'm a little obsessed with them - well, Easter is coming.

I think a lot about fictional rabbits. The white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, who is always worried about being late, often comes to mind. Chase a white rabbit and god knows where you will end up.

My husband reminded me of the Bunnicula series - several novels for young people about a vampire rabbit that sucks the juice out of vegetables. I love the title of one of the books - "The Celery Stalks at Midnight."

Then there is the slightly more adult - Roger Rabbit - the main character from a fantasy comedy film that my eldest watched all the time.

Going back further there was Harvey the invisible rabbit, who has obviously made a come back because he's on FB and Twitter.

shadow puppet - rabbit


The Easter bunny has been around since 1682. He is linked to Spring/Easter as a fertility symbol along with the ubiquitous egg. Did you know that female rabbits can be impregnated with a second litter while still carrying the first!!!

If you carry a rabbit's foot for good luck, make sure it is:


  • First, not any foot from a rabbit will do: it is the left hind foot of a rabbit that is useful as a charm.
  • Second, not any left hind foot of a rabbit will do; the rabbit must have been shot or otherwise captured in a cemetery.
  • Third, at least according to some sources, not any left hind foot of a rabbit shot in a cemetery will do: the phase of the moon is also important. Some authorities say that the rabbit must be taken in the full moon, while others hold instead that the rabbit must be taken in the new moon. Some sources say instead that the rabbit must be taken on a Friday, or a rainy Friday, or Friday the 13th. Some sources say that the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet, while others say that the foot must be cut off while the rabbit is still alive.

This should put anyone off a rabbit's foot as a talisman - it's barbaric! I'll stick with saying "White Rabbits" the first thing in the morning on the first day of the months with an "r" in them. It is supposed to bring good luck! - Good luck if I can remember to do that :)

Stranger shadow puppet - rabbits


This post was the result of a conversation at dinner about planting a garden with rabbits about. I said that we might be OK because our last name wasn't McGregor. Our youngest (20 years old) didn't understand. Now I have to live with the guilt that I had never read him Beatrix Potter when he was little.

Time maybe to plant that garden!!

From Wikipedia - here are more fictional bunnies than you ever want to know. I need another blog to cover Bugs Bunny, Br'er Rabbit, Watership Down, The Velveteen Rabbit, Uncle Wiggly, Max and Ruby, Oswald, Thumper, and more......for anyone who didn't think that rabbits were prolific!!

The pictures - after spending two days looking for anything in the house or at the office that remotely resembled a rabbit, I had to resort to what was at hand literally. Fortunately it just takes one hand to create a shadow puppet of a rabbit - the other hand held the camera!!!

Have a great day and always remember some bunny loves you!!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Today.....

I probably really mean "yesterday" but you get the idea!

I suppose that there is really no reason why anyone should run out of ideas to blog - today or any day because, you can google these very current topics anytime:

1. Photo of the day. It's from the National Geographic. It made me wonder if there were photographers out there that got paid for posting to the magazine, so they could just wander the world taking pictures! I may have found my next dream job or at least I can dream about this as, my next job.

Icicles at Night


2. Video of the day. There are videos of the day and viral videos of the day. The Vlogs (blogs with video) may conquer the world :)

3. Google of the day. "Hot Topics" a sub page on google gives a list of items that were searched most that day.

4. Person of the day. I even found an obituary review - Dead Person of the Day and yesterday it was John Belushi.

There are more than enough sites willing to give you - Word of the Day, Quote of the Day, Food of the Day, Poem of the Day and 10 Things you Need to Know Today.  Below is poem of the day.


The Lottery Sellers
They will be gone by now, the blind lottery sellers of Athens, swept from the streets in time for the Olympics. Even the Greek businessmen sipping coffee in the streetside caf├ęs find these old men selling paper tickets to be embarrassing, a reminder of the Middle Ages or worse: they are the blind of Sophocles, their voices twisted and keening. "Buy some luck" they cry, swaying under yokes of hanging tickets.
Everyone knows the age of luck is over. We have entered the age of muscle.
A waiter carries a Chilean sea bass to the table.
The lottery sellers will be taken to the country;
This won't be anything new. They will play chess. Some will play fiddles.
The time for luck will come around again.

Letters to Borges
Copper Canyon Press


Icicles at Day


5. Luck of the Day - this you will have to make yourself. Please list the "lucky" things that happened to you yesterday. For me it was a lucky day because the sun was shining, in spite of the cold. The days are getting longer and brighter!!

The pictures are just from a random moment yesterday. They are icicles that form on the Lilac tree outside my back door. Can't wait for Spring!!

Have a lucky day!!