Those pesky doors…..

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Here’s to keeping your eyes open for the cracks and cranny’s of new doors. That we all see the new with joy and excitement.  May 2016 bring new adventures, new friends, new smiles, good health and many magical  doors. 

Goodby 2015 Hello 2016
Milly waves 2015 Good Bye…and a golden 2016 arrives. (BTW- Boots Designed by Birdelli)

Happy New Years!

End of Year, an opening and a closing.

One door opens as another closes
One door opens as another closes

As so it fades… 2015 closes and 2016 opens up with new possibilities. Attitude must rule, for the magic of change and possibilities are only available when you first dream, then think, and follow with doing everything you can to start the engine and keep it running. Yes, I know, at times it is very hard to keep going, to keep the steam puffing, and even not to stand in front of it and block its way, but…we all know that does no good. I have to keep reminding myself,  I’ve got to at the very least keep chipping away at the big dreams, now and then take a big bold whack at it, close my eyes and JUMP. I suggest that to everyone, the choice to stay static or chisel and jump so… why not!?

As 2016 is peaking its head around the corner I am hopeful that this will be the year that my giant revisions of my book may be in the background and that finally I am on the right track. This book looks nothing like where I started and I’m ok with that, it’s a prosess I keep telling myself-Hope so! It is now a book for the “wee ones” of 2-6 years and it is called  Awesome (at least right now that is the title!) It still features Fuddles, the feather that spreads awe and wonder on planet Earth. That is who you see above but that is not an illustration from this upcoming book. The plan is that Fuddles will be on a farm in a sequence book. In the meantime, Fuddles is peaking out the doors into 2016. He does indeed look a bit shocked, maybe a wee bit scared, but time will tell the whole story.  Temporarily that’s all I will reveal. Partly, because it is very much still a working copy, and partly for I am just not ready to “put it out there” yet.

I am not one for resolutions, especially public ones, but I will proclaim my intent for this to be the year of my first book to finally come to be!

Meanwhile….Merry, Bright, Treats, and Joy …Happy New Years

 

Magical Places – Take One. The Center Pompidou

First, you all need to meet my traveling companion. Her name is Elsa, and she will be joining us for the next few postings.

Meet Elsa!

Elsa, a world traveler.

I wrote early in the summer that this season is often a time of journeys. Nobody offered where they were going this summer, or of any other journeys that you all may be on. (I was a little disappointed by that.) Regardless, I got to take an amazing and wonderful journey. I got to go to PARIS FRANCE!  Ooh la la doesn’t even come close to saying how extraordinary it was. I spent my time with an amazing woman I am very proud to call my friend.

Elsa, my traveling sidekick for The Botanicals, will be joining me in showing you bits and bytes of the trip. This series will all be under the umbrella title of ‘Magical Places.’

Elsa took out her magical wand, danced around the floor with it, and POOF, we ended up at The Center Pompidou. Lucky us! First, the building itself is loads of fun. The design came from an international competition, which for some reason absolutely delights me. Of course  it is reminiscent of the world fair and Eiffel Tower competition so many years before.

We met and followed a fun family though a bit of the museum. Their daughter was often in her stroller, rolled in front of a piece of art, given a piece of paper and a drawing tool. She picked one out one element and drew it. Everyone was enjoying. It was absolutely fascinating to see what she choose and how she represented it. What a joy to see parents exposing, challenging, and engaging a child in art this way. We last saw her in this large room where one could take a piece of chalk and add your own part/art to the greater collection of the wall. Elsa joined in on that one!

Chalk wall
Interactive wall art

Below is a small assortment of images from our visit to The Centre Pompidou. Click the arrows to click through  if yours are not cycling through automatically.

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Karma. A force to be reckoned with?

Karma :
The force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person. – http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/karma

The topic keeps popping up and so its time to be attentive (again).

Recently, I was having a great conversation with a friend about the concept of how the world/people/organizations can be callous and how we let them (enable them?) to siphon our spirit out.  This friend is involved with an ugly business situation that is crushing him. We started chatting about the reflections of ourselves in others. Within friendships, personal and business encounters we act (and react) to these reflections. It is said that emotions don’t belong in business, and although I think business too needs people with hearts, I do understand that raw emotions cannot rule business. However, these ‘reflections’ I am speaking of are far less conscious than unprocessed emotions and are much more subtle. Perspectives verses realities-perhaps. The boundaries of what is acceptable can be fuzzy and clearly differ from the mind and heart of each sender and receiver. Do we stop and think about those reflections? Seldom. However, they no doubt play a large role in our daily stumbles. I am sure these reflections are part of whom we enjoy and disdain, and probably part of why we just don’t like some people we meet. We all know-What we send is usually a reflection what we receive back. I do think reflections can be related to Karma.

The above conversation eventually lead to Karma and who sleeps the best at night? Obviously, most of us think the people who “care more” about the world, humanity, and each other, sleep better. Clearly they are destined to have better Karma.  I acknowledge that the world probably needs a little of the bad, it’s a balance and contrast thing. When folks are down right mean, or “bad” what’s that all about?  What reflections do they see and feel-if any? Do nasty people even stop to think, much less think about what they are “putting out” in the world?  What is their Karma?  If we change our reflections do we change our Karma? What do you think?

Later that day I was poking around on the web and an image popped up that said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  It turns out the quote is from a motivational speaker/corporation called Ziglar. I thought it was an interesting full circle spin back to my afternoon conversation, one that started with yoga, twirled to reflections and ended with Karma.

It happens continually…
Coincidence-sure you can call it that….
But….
I think Karma also plays into the big picture.
Whether its food, attitude, or actions…
Garbage in=Garbage out.

Ollie - Minister of Truth

Summer travels, journeys, discoveries and destinations……

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

It’s official – it’s summertime. The temps are swinging, and so are the flip flops. Many indications are all pointing to it…

Memorial Day is behind us
July 4th is around the corner
Baseball season is full swing
Flowers are blooming
Landscapes are lush and green
Schools are wrapping up for another year
Vacations are happening
Gardens are being planted
Gardens are being enjoyed
Farmers Markets are popping up
There is color everywhere
Biking, Hiking, Sailing, and all kinds of games abound
…Yep, it’s summertime!

off we go!

Do you have discovery plans? Do they included long distance travel? Maybe local adventures? Dreams-count too!

I think  Proust had it right. The joy, the reason, the adventure, the growth of travel, and in every day, is in how we see it.

What do you want your eyes to be seeing these days?
What are your hopes for your eyes this season?

Jot down your secret dreams for the summer, check back in September and see how you did.

 

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.

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!