What’s behind those Foster Grants?

A lot has happened in the past month or so. A constant thought has been an awareness that I/we often don’t really know what’s going on with whomever is front of me/us. What’s the back story? Is their a cause and effect? Am I missing something? Do they have a “truth” that if I knew would cause me to understand or perceive something, or them, differently? Creating a different interaction? Changing the outcome of an event? This happens everyday, small events and spreads to gigantic events that can effect many.

As I often do, I was listening to NPR en route to work. This week had two particular interesting pieces to me with my Things are not what they always appear to be mindset. The first-

Ollie and The Thunder Lizzard
Who’s behind those Foster Grants?

 

“Is It Time To Resurrect The Brontosaurus?”

The Brontosaurus may be back.

Not that it ever really went away, at least not in the minds of generations of people who grew up watching Fred Flintstone devour one of his beloved Brontosaurus burgers.

But, if you’re a scientist, you have to stick to the rules, and in 1903, the name Brontosaurus was struck from the record. That was when paleontologist Elmer Riggs deemed that the Brontosaurus was really just a different dinosaur, Apatosaurus…..As NPR reported in 2012, the tussle over naming the dinosaur goes back to the so-called Bone Wars of the late 1800s, when rival fossil hunters raced to name new Thdinosaurs. Othniel Charles Marsh led a team that found the skeletons of two creatures….

The first was found in 1877 and named Apatosaurus. But, as the story says, “it was missing a skull, so in 1883 when Marsh published a reconstruction of his Apatosaurus, Lamanna says he used the head of another dinosaur — thought to be a Camarasaurus — to complete the skeleton.”…The second dinosaur, found in 1879, was named Brontosaurus, or “thunder lizard.”… As Smithsonian notes, “The fate of Brontosaurus now relies upon whether other paleontologists will be able to replicate the results, as well as what those researchers think about the threshold for when dinosaurs merit different names.”

It’s taken more than 100 years, but the Brontosaurus may be on the road to redemption….” To read the whole article, click here. 

The part that actually thrilled me was the sub name for Brontosaurus, of “thunder lizard!”  A giant, long-necked, heavy bodied, swamp-dwelling, 15-30 ton, well loved by many small children, and movie goers, creature possibly never even existed and is a lizard?!!!! Who knew lizards could be have such a breath of size possibilities? It was news to me. No wonder the word THUNDER is in its name! The need to make lots of noise and be heard seems clear for the cause. Where is the truth? What’s the real story? What’s the back story?  In the name,  it seems that someone had either a great imagination, or sense of humor, with the words THUNDER LIZARD? The pairing of those two words seems incongruous and yet somehow wonderful! This delights me. Who’s behind those Foster Grants-a giant thundering big stomping dinosaur? A scampering tiny camouflaged quick creature? A minister of truth? A 1879 Brontosaurus? A few bones here or there, a skull-for sure they all make a difference, I get it but….There always seems to be a back story-even in science!  There are at least 1/2 dozen articles this week on this issue-it’s big news in the Dino world. Who would think in spring 2015 the Brontosaurus would be prime time news?  In the words of Abbott and Costello, Who’s on First?  Does it matter? Who’s behind those dark glasses? It all mysteriously ties together for me. Does it for you?

As for the second piece of NPR that drew me-well, you will have to wait until next time. This is plenty to think about for now… Stay tuned and enjoy the very welcome warmth and sunshine of springtime. Today, up here in NE, we are finally getting to see, and feel, a bit of spring. Flowers should start popping out soon-thank goodness for small miracles of nature!

  Calthia is created from the first crocus of springtime. Her job is Clean Air. Seems suitable as she helps blow away the dregs of winter!!
Calthia is created from the first crocus of springtime. Her job is Clean Air. Seems suitable as she helps blow away the dregs of winter!!

World Water Day 2015

Today is a holiday to celebrate water! Yesterday, I got to see the Atlantic Ocean and water everywhere-it was wonderful. Water has a way of southing and nourishing my soul, my spirits and my heart all at once. We are lucky here and water abounds. I drink many glasses a day of water. Water flows out of the spigot easily for so many uses almost as if by magic. It’s without much thought to the availability, and ease, of that fabulous water that my daily routine flows each day.

However, World Water Day is a serious issue. I like the way Time Magazine featured it-so I will give you the first bit here, and then send you all over to the article for the rest. 

A holiday for H2O

Sunday is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative to celebrate clean water and bring attention to those who don’t have enough of it. A new report released ahead of World Water Day warns about a looming shortage, and centers on this year’s theme: water and sustainable development.

Here are five ways to celebrate World Water Day….

http://time.com/3753021/world-water-day/

(I’ll give you a hint as the five: food, females, and of course- poop- but it’s not what you think. By the way, on the last one, check out the astronauts, they and Bill Gates have this “recycle” process in common!) 

Another great site and easy to absorb (ha ha) info is from UNWater. It’s a great presentation of water and the worlds needs. http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday

I close this post with MOE- Botanical Beauties Minister of Clean Water.

He has water-breathing gills and can travel in the seas for as long as needed. He and his family can adapt to sea or land as needed. This makes Moe’s job as Minister of Clean Water a natural for him. As he swims, he performs water tests, makes notations of underwater spots of beauty and reports on problem areas. Unfortunately, these areas are more common than he would like to see. He strives to help in any way he can, for he is aware that it all starts with ONE person, or in this case one Botanical Fish. 

Moe, Our Minster of Clean Water
Moe in his element WATER.

Feathers, Fuddles and Hope. What!?

FuddlesRainbowPg2Rsm
Fuddles the Feather of Wonder (and hope.)

Feathers: They are soft, they drift and can wander wherever, in my world they are a wonderment, they represent Part to Whole with their collective pieces  helping a bird to fly, often times very pretty, possibly colorful, full of potential-representing dreams and hopes, and they are floaty-a fun word and a fine flexible attribute!

I have been thinking about connectivity, the occurrences that happen and the randomness (or not) of it all. The never-ending question of…Are their Coincidences? Do all things happen for a reason, however unclear it may be at the time?

Fuddles, a character in my children’s picture book, is a protagonist with the cause being the Wonder of Planet Earth. Fuddles image became a feather from the seed of an idea that “something” could impart “goodness.”  The form that the something was to take began with conversations and bouncing around ideas. I needed a physical form but I couldn’t get my finger on. Once Fuddles was a feather it all became clear. Fuddles was not only an ecological presence but also one of hope and vision. Months later I came to realize the strong connection to the hope concepts of Fuddles. Hope became a topic of much thought and conversation with many who crossed my path. In this (not so random) universe the topic of hope seems to be everywhere these days. (Or is that just my awareness and focus?)  From the somewhat benign, such as the weather forecast which can’t get enough of the omnipresence Hope for (the upcoming and not soon enough for me) Spring, to the paramount news reminding us this is the anniversary of the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge walk in Selma Ala. where Hope was, and still is, a clear message. I randomly was watching a movie called Finding Normal that stated, “…and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But, the greatest of these is love.” (apparently that is a biblical passage from Corinthians 13:13.) So there is was again, this time in entertainment. We all know the idiom of-Hope springs eternal. Indeed, Hope is sometimes the string that keeps us moving foreword in large and small endeavors.

I looked up the symbolic meanings of feathers and found this. “Symbol meaning of feathers deal with ascension and spiritual evolution to a higher plane…Native American Chiefs wore feathers to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom…Another symbol meaning of feathers also revolves around prayer, and the Pueblo use feather sticks as they dance in prayer for rain during solstice rituals..As a Celtic symbol meaning (connected the Druids to) sky gods and (to) gain knowledge of the celestial realm…The Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too. Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead in the underworld against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul…In Christianity feathers represented virtues. In fact, an image of three feathers were made into signet rings – each feather symbolizing Charity, hope, and faith…In dreams feathers meanings point to travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate innocence or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.”  -(read more -website)  All the above are essentially about Hope. Hope has a forward momentum, it’s about the future and thinking thoughts/dreams/desires/needs as to what’s next, regardless of how immediate or far off in the “next” may be.

My question to you is as follows. It’s for further books and for my curiosity. What emotions, and words do feathers evoke for you?
Please Let me know in a comment below.

The Original feather
The Original feather of inspiration.

Continue reading

Water, drops, drips, frozen=ICE

icicles
Wellie breaks out his super fantatical Icicle cutters.

ICE – Ice – ice…..no matter how you type it’s still frozen water, slick, cold, and reflective. Clear with a blue tint, blurry at the edges or sharp as a knife.

Ice is such odd contradiction of concepts to me…

  • Beautiful but can be deadly…..
  • Can look soft and yet is incredibly hard.
  • One end of the spectrum is a tiny ice crystal-the other may be a glacier.
  • Water is fluid-Ice is stoic and solid.
  • Ice makes: pellets, hail, dams, snowflakes, crystals, needles, sculptures, ice cubes, a coolant, ice houses/blocks, a famous movie* and musician**-since it can make all those things it ought to be flexible…. and yet it is not.
  • Did you know there is something called Rime ice? Rime ice is a type of ice formed on cold objects when drops of water crystallize on them.
  • Here’s a really odd one! Did you know that according to wikipedia “Ice can be used to start a fire by carving it into a lens which will focus sunlight onto kindling. A fire will eventually start.[38]”  Makes sense but really, I don’t think I would have ever thought of that.

Ice- all part of  Winter Wonders. I am hard pressed to call it a Winter Wonderland at this point. It has created havoc for so many and worn me down. Mother Nature-you win with 100 points…me-I’m down to about five points.

So I am holding out for the hope of spring, warmer days, no more ice and bitting cold temps. A while ago a dear friend shared a poem that I know is near to his heart. I am sharing it with you all now…. On so many levels, it’s so fitting right now.  Here’s to hope for a weather change, a season change, and because hope in life and what the future may present is often the ray of sunshine and warmth we need to hold on to.

It is called
Hope” is the thing with feathers. By Emily Dickinson.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – 
That perches in the soul – 
And sings the tune without the words – 
And never stops – at all – 

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm – 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

(thanks Gary-a special nod and hug)

* I thinking of the movie Frozen
** Vanilla Ice and his 1990 single “Ice Ice Baby

Snowflakes. Unique as we are.

For the final truth about snowflakes is that they become more individual as they fall—that, buffeted by wind and time, they are translated, as if by magic, into ever more strange and complex patterns, until, at last, like us, they touch earth. Then, like us, they melt.” -http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/03/all-alike

Izzy out in the snow- the 3 large snowflkes are Bentleys Snowflakes images.
Izzy out in the snow- the 3 large snowflkes are Bentleys Snowflakes images.

I am wondering how to do what seems like the impossible, i.e. put a good spin on all this white snow. All these tiny little crystals are getting the best of me. I will admit that the other night the snow did indeed actually glisten-it was as if there were little tiny shimmers popping on and off. It was quite spectacular, and I enjoyed the surreal movie scene quality to it. I know, some people love the snow, to them I say “Lucky You.” Maybe if it didn’t “interfere” making so many things, in my everyday routine, so much more difficult I would agree. I will give it a “pretty factor” of +8  (out of 10 – It can’t be 10 for the GIANT piles from the plows all over the place are NOT pretty.)

OK…here’s the positive spin I could come up with for all this past, present and future snow.

#1) “Snowflakes start off all alike; their different shapes are owed to their different lives.” -http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/03/all-alike
My own translation into “human” terms/lives…. We are all the same inside. Our outer looks, our shapes are transposed by our environments, unique DNA and lives. As a snowflake floats through the sky it’s altered by environmental factors-as we drift through our lives we are altered by many things as well, and so we too make adjustments as needed.

#2) “A snowflake is either a single ice crystal or an aggregation of ice crystals…Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing thousands of them with a microscope from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today.”  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowflake
My own translation into “human” terms/lives…We are indeed individuals but a community gives us strength. Just like snowflakes arrive in masses, no man/woman is really an island. 

#3) “A non-aggregated snowflake often exhibits six-fold radial symmetry…” (That makes many snowflakes a hexagram shape.) Within Indic lore, the (hexagram) shape is generally understood to consist of two triangles—one pointed up and the other down—locked in harmonious embrace. The two components are called “Om” and the “Hrim” in Sanskrit, and symbolize man’s position between earth and sky. The downward triangle symbolizes Shakti, the sacred embodiment of femininity, and the upward triangle symbolizes Shiva, or Agni Tattva, representing the focused aspects of masculinity. The mystical union of the two triangles represents Creation…”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram
My own translation into “human” terms/lives – Creation is usually a good thing. Creations not only means human lives, but to me also means imagination and creativity.  Therefore, we have the yin/yang, the male/female sides to creativity and the simplicity of a clear known shape intertwined. 

That’s it, I think three good positive reflections on all this snow is pretty darn good!

By the way…Want to know more about the native Vermonter Wilson Alwyn “Snowflake” Bentley (1865-1931), the man who is one of the first known photographers of the snowflake?  He manged to capture more than 5,000 images of those little tiny crystals we know as snow, and indeed showed us, no two are the same!
Click link http://snowflakebentley.com

Words…2015…a Golden rule?

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it -honestly, and tell it as best you can. * I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” – http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/09/28/neil-gaiman-8-rules-of-writing/

Writing … A new year, new words, new possibilities, new horizons. I spend much time thinking, and talking to you, those who are kind enough to read these post, about moving forward and letting go of the “goo ” of our lives. I don’t think that will really change, for I still believe it to be of prime importance to most of us. I mean, after all, we all have “goo “-some of it is icky and sticky, some is stubborn, and some even mushes over into the good goo compartment (yes that exist too!) When I started this blog, many years ago now, I wanted to write and hide in the third person voice of a Botanical Beauties character. I never really figured out how to do that and as the years evolved the writing has become more and more personal. It is cloaked loosely from conversations and thoughts with/from friends and life snippets-I often write in reflection to my own days, occurrences, and obviously from my opinions and from my heart.  It often feels very exposed and vulnerable.  “Life is full of interruptions and complications”-a line from the movie Love Actually seems to fit here. In the movie they are referring to actions/reactions; however, it also seems true for these thoughts, and so words, sometimes they too feel like interruptions and complications. Later in the movie the words are “A mans got to do what’s a mans got to do…” and love triumphs. A good thing, for in the end, isn’t it all really about the people in our lives, the interactions and experiences we share with them? And so, circling back, writing from the heart seems like the right thing to do.

book-cover

As 2015 begins, another year of horizons beckons, more words, more experiences. A big personal milestone for myself and The Botanical Beauties will be the reality (finally) of my first book. Since the very first art/craft shows I did, as I stood there and told the ever evolving story and message of the community of The Botanical Beauties & Beasties, people have asked-Where’s the book? Followed by, You need to write a children’s book.  So, with much trust in the “universe,” and a whole lot of hope, this will indeed be the year of the written word, THE book, MY book.  (See image above of the cover)  I wrote it with honesty, and have told the story the best I could. I followed the rule from above.*  … As a life rule, a writing rule, an interpersonal rule, Neil Gaimans words are ones that I like the sound of. I would like this to be my “golden rule” for 2015. “Do what you need to, Live honesty, Live the best you can, Live with assurance and confidence” …add into that, take the chance, jump in with both feet…Let’s  hope it ALL turns out well and brings the Botanicals (my alter ego?) out to new paths, journeys, adventures and happiness.

While I’m at it – I wish the same to ALL of you too! Again quoting the end of Love Actually and The Beach Boys-“God only knows where I’d be without you.”  I totally agree.

Just in case……you need to see the movie ending again.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEQPXDGRaEk&list=RDiEQPXDGRaEk&spfreload=10#t=27

6:03 ET…12_21_2014

Winter solstice. Dark skies. Cold temps. No wonder bears and other animals decide to hibernate! Some days that indeed feels like the perfect plan. Today is the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, we get only 9 hours and 4 mins of light here. That’s kind of a bummer until you flip it around and realize the positive, that TOMORROW it immediately starts getting better! The days start getting LONGER! Another positive about the long winter nights is, that if there is a clear night, it can be spectacular star gazing.

WInter Stars

Isabella has decided to “accentuate the positive.” She is listening to music (“Baby it’s Cold Outside” just happens to playing as I type this. A fun winter song of dilemmas and choices that often makes both Izzy and I smile!) Izzy (her nick name) knows the importance of attitude as these dark days role thru the winter. Remember, the dark skies make the bright stars appear to shimmer and sparkle!

We (Izzy and I) want to remind you that Isabellas role, in the community of Botaniums, is that she is the driving force behind “The Knowledge Café.”  A place that strives to always offer a warm welcome to all that travel through the doors and to be a gathering place for all. The Knowledge Cafe is a place of wonderment for many and that delights Izzy. The Café not only houses the Joyful Sparkles Bakery of Julia with its delectable goodies and beverages, but also acts as a general store with books, handmade local gifts, fun technology, an art gallery as well as arts center, and sometimes even an art studio. All this helps foster friendships, and connections. Izzy believes in the importance of all these facets of life, especially the friendships and connections part-life is not nearly as much fun or interesting without those!

All this helps reminds her, and by proxy we hope you too, that life is actually pretty darn great….Despite winters cold temps, head colds, slush/mush, dark days, and some of the other less exciting winter attributes, there is still plenty of reason to smile, snuggle, enjoy and be happy.

According to Victor Hugo-Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” How can we argue with a famous poet, novelist, dramatist?

…One kind word can warm three winter months. – Japanese Proverb…
Make Victor Hugo proud – use kindness and laughter to warm up these long dark winter days and nights!

Positivity – It’s beginning to look like December.

HolidayJuliaVaboom

North of here there is 18″ of snow and winter for sure…South of here it is no doubt warm and sunny…Either way, there is no uncertainty that this is “The Holiday Season.” There is a very loud hum, almost a world vibration, of messages, products, sounds, scents, and traditions. A never ending fascinating topic to me is the world of advertising and how it plays upon all our senses and how it communicates messages. Communications must have two parts. A sender and a receiver. We, the consumers, are clearly the receivers. The senders, the advertisers, seem to think we are like sponges, waiting for a new liquid to absorb. The messages are so strong, and relentless, that most of us can’t help but soak some in!

The first thought was to find the origin of the word communication.

communication (n.) late 14c., from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication), from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” from communis (see common (adj.))” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=communication

If we use the above, then, the advertisers create their message to share, to impart upon us, and invite us to participate in the fantasy/reality of their products. Fair enough-that’s their job, and many do it extremely well. As the receivers I would like to think we could be a bit more discriminating, but it gets tougher with the constant bombardments. The bottom line of all the holidays, despite your “given” religion, is a good one. A message of unity, peace, and joy. The candles and lights do indeed brighten up our minds and hearts. The greens are pleasant scents in closed up tight winter homes. Giving to others is encouraged. Advertisers want us to buy, but the bigger message of generosity, and sharing is a good one. The IDEAL is a good message. The world the advertisers are creating is not real, but the underpinnings of those symbols, the signs, the traditions in their purist form, those are good things. Maybe that’s why the advertisers can “get away with it” so blatantly? They know, we all know, what matters are the underpinnings.

The above Botanical Beauties are Vaboom and Julia. Vaboom (left) is the keeper of words. Her favorite words are ones of kindness. She offers you kindness. To the right is Julia. She is the community healthy food chef and baker. Food is an easy way to share, often bringing people together. Food is nourishment for the body, and sometimes the soul. Food goes with the art of communication; i.e., discussion. For those of us up here in the colder parts, a hot beverage is always a welcome treat. When it involves chocolate, it’s a extra delight! Julia has two mugs of hot cocoa to share. You can add whatever you would like to yours! … These two Botanicals join me in my personal communication to you. It is simple. I hope this message finds you with health, happiness, joy, and peace in your lives. May kindness rule, may whatever is causing you trouble find its way to your past, and may your future be bright….Add more kindness, add more hot chocolate, and with a little magic you will be guided through the winds of December. Hang on tight, sometimes it’s a bit blustery and gusty!

Journeys-paths of the woven tapestries.

Journey types

Journeys-they can be near or far, enormous, tiny, artistic, elegant, mundane, urban, rural, fantastic, terrifying, physical, emotional, even metaphysical, and so many more. Journeys may take you far in distance, but I would venture to say that they are never too far from your heart. Soulful journeys…Joyful journeys…Tragic journeys… Magical journeys…Life Journeys…Everyday is a mini journey, and everyday we have some reason to sojourn on. Interesting enough sojourn is defined as: “A period of time when you stay in a place as a traveler or as a guest.”  (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sojourn)

Therefor, the next question seems to be…Are we merely guest here on this planet, in our bodies? We all know the obvious answer to that is yes. Think of a day journey, or the other end of the spectrum, a life journey, we sojourn through. Even in the most difficult times we somehow find the strength to move thru. The journey is yours-unique to you-and yours to own. From our first breath to our last, it’s all a passage. Don’t be quiet in your own voyage. Every day make your sojourn one that matters, even it it’s just a tiny itsy bitsy bit-all those bits add up. Take the leap. Jump high and fly. Jump into your own odyssey. When all is said and done, my guess is that will be glad you did.

  • Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius
  • Fall seven times, stand up eight. – Japanese proverb
  • Leaps of faith-maybe that should also be Leap of fate!?- BBB3
  • Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This post is dedicated to David who did indeed sojourn on with grace, wisdom, love and dignity (…and The Redsoxs as well as the Patriots.) David ended his physical life journey today. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed. Special love to Mark, Rachel, Emily, Daniel, Ben and Jess.

Vortex …a swirl of activity.

Vortext swirl

Polar vortex-and you could be under 7 feet of snow.
Emotional Vortex-and you could be under the covers.

The plurals of vortex are vortices and vortexes, those words even sounds like powerful forces. Extreme….Turbulent…The absence of external forces….That’s what makes a vortex.  “Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. A moving vortex carries with it some angular and linear momentum, energy, and mass…” -http:// en.wikipedia.org/? title=Vortex

As the N. American world revs up for the beginnings of this “Holiday Season”-it feels as if a very large vortex is forming. Advertisements continually, the weather folks love to tell us how cold it is somewhere, money can seem to fly out the door, expectations (many unrealistic and many self imposed) and everything begins to feels like it’s spinning at warp speed…and yet it is all in slow motion simultaneously. How can that be? As winter approaches we should be slowing down, going inward, as I have said repeatedly before, by now our “internal” work should be close to compleat for this year – not accelerating up!

So where does this spinning vortex come from? External forces are strong! So much goes “extreme” this time of year – overindulging, over abundance, over whelming, over the river and through the woods…just where is it you want to go?

As this Thanksgiving week begins, and so “The Holiday Season” – I wish all my readers a holiday season of peace, safe passages, joy, love, happiness and whatever else you hope for your own self as these days stream through to the end of this year. Remember to try to be content, happy would be great, and keep those vortices at bay as best you can. Breath deep and keep on trucking.

Gordy, his pumkin and a few neighborhood turkeys.
Gordy, his pumkin and a few neighborhood turkeys.