Saturday, June 1, 2019

June 2019

There's probably a good reason Mother's Day is in May... right?

It's about welcoming Spring, eh? Salads on the balcony... and iced tea... and maybe even lemonade. But this Mother's Day found almost no green in my valley. 

Then these tulips arrived! Their job: to remind me just how much I have relished both motherhood and grandmotherhood—plus how much I was ready to bask in Spring sunshine! I was soooooo tired of grey days enveloping my world into a never-ending cloud.

So... I added some sweet pickle relish to my tuna and mango salad and bided my time, enjoying my the salad with the delish Mexican crackers that also arrived for my day. Enjoying the freshening colours,
 I relished my sweet memories of lotsa mothering... two kids and two grandkids... plus memories of my own mum and the stories about my grandmums. 

Obviously these tulips did their job. Now there is valley green. Many days we even have glorious real-life sunshine, like the sunshine I added to this image—to welcome your June. Enjoy your version of Spring wherever you are.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, May 3, 2019

Luke Skywalker Day 2019

Drinks for your muy grande weekend...
and praps your Monday too...

Saturday, May the 4th: Get into the Sar Wars spirit with this green Yoda Soda or this green Yoda Cocoa. There are also some non-drink suggestions here and the Food Network has a whole Star Wars collection.

Sunday, May the 5th: Try a special Cinco de Mayo Lavender-Lemon Margarita. While you're there be sure to check the whole Muy Bueno Cookbook site for inspiration for a full-on Cinco feast.

Monday, May the 5th:
The experts deem tomato juice to be one of the favoured solutions to a morning-after. Try a Virgin Mary in case you overdid your muy bueno Cinco evening.

However you decide to celebrate this weekend,
I invite you to enjoy Chavela Vargas in the background. My all-time fave is the first one.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, April 29, 2019

May 2019

A glorious pink sunrise... with snowflakes in the afternoon!

Yes, we know it's officially Spring, but In Canada. Gardeners are always told never to plant until the May 24th weekend just to avoid the risk of freezing. I guess we shouldn't be surprised, then, to see scudding snowflakes, especially in the higher altitudes where I live. But still! it was 6°C! ... sighs.

How green is my valley? Not at all. Of course, this sunrise was reflected in the skyline buildings (because my balcony faces west), but the sun had not risen high enough to show you. My valley is in shadow like this every morning, and as the sun gets higher and higher, he reveals more and more of my valley. Maybe my valley will develop some lush greens this month. Greens would go nicely with pinks, but by the time the sun uncovers my valley, the pinks will have always given up their drama to blues. Of course, blues bring their own drama ... smiles.

This is still, pretty tho, eh? If you'd asked me I'd say I'm not fond the colour pink. Guess it's that traditional blue-is-for-boys and pink-is-for-girls thing. But Nature does pink soooooo well. And I often seem to find myself in her pink thrall: 

Other people seem to have a more embracing relationship with pink. There are even oodles of images with quotes about pink.

Who knew? 

And now there's this from Pantone: In Pursuit of the Perfect Pink!

PS: I've put my May Day Basket file here. Grab it fast and have some May Day fun!

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

April 2019

TO's March was a regular slumgullion
of lions & lambs...

So many lions! So many lambs! The pic for this month is from one of the more lion-y days. My balcony was in a cloud and even my balcony buddha couldn't see a thing. I had to shoot this through the window because the wind was so strong I couldn't even open the balcony door. Other, more lamb-y days meant nice walks on ice-free sidewalks and wearing only a jacket and no boots, hat, or gloves!

Looking at this picture and thinking about the goulash/ragout of this March's weather stew had me searching for a word that started with a nice lion/lamb-y alliterative L. But no! Instead, I found one of my dad's favourite words: slumgullion. I always thought he had made it up. When I was a girl, he always brought me to giggles saying it. I knew it was a mixture of a bunch of stuff thrown together without rhyme or reason. I knew that because that's what he told me, but I still thought he had made up the definition along with the silly word.Guess my funny daddy wasn't quite so original as I had thought. Seems "slumgullion" has a history mostly referring to stew-type foods enjoyed by the poor. Here I'm enjoying using it more like Good Old Fred Forester might have done.

And that made me think of Good Old Fred's favourite word for an undefinable colour: "muckle-dee dun." So I looked that up, too! Seems it's a real colour used in various forms to describe tan horses. My daddy was a farm boy, so my guess he knew that. And he was just having fun with the word... and my giggly reaction to it.

I managed to make it through all the lions and all the lambs and now I'm lollygagging—and giggling.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Pi Day 2019

You know you want to celebrate...

Bet you didn't know this though: Pi is represented by the lower case Greek letter, π, because it is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος, meaning perimeter. You pronounce it "per-REEM-eh-tos." Go here to hear it pronounced.

Some math nerds at MIT have a way to start big. HERE

Here are some other PI celebration ideas for the rest of us.

1. Curate your own Pi Playlist. Here's mine. Contents (OK you already know how old I am):

2. Crack some PI jokes:
  • 3.14% of the sailors around the world are “Pi”rates.
  • Divide the circumference of the sun by its diameter and you will get a Pi in the sky.
  • I tell you, do not talk to Pi. He never stops.
 3. Watch some PI movies:
4. Eat some circular PI foods:
  • Pies, sweet and savoury
  • Cookies
  • Pizzas
  • Sliced Pineapples (they've gotta be sliced to be circles!)
5. Click HERE below for a higher resolution of this Pi Day graphic to decorate your desktop for the day! 

How ever you decide to slice it, have a great day honouring how math is always looking for ways to explain nature.

The circle is just the beginning.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mar 2019

Smelling the roses is just the beginning...

I first read of David Reynold's Constructive Living concepts in a magazine article around 1984. His exercises reminded me of some work I had done in university (20 years before) in Paul Baker's theatre class called "Integration of Abilities." Part of the work in the class involved developing an ever-widening vocabulary to describe our every-day experiences. The result is not only more subtlety of expression but NOTICING MORE! I saw this over time with myself and my classmates, then later with Susan, a high school student where I was the substitute teacher for one of her classes. Susan had a remarkable capacity for observation plus a vast vocabulary to describe her nuanced world. Turns out that as a young child she had been a part of Paul Baker's Children's Theater and had done many of the same exercises I had done. We happily shared our excitement about our every-day observations... and I consider myself still in Baker's class.

That's why I was inspired by the Constructive Living exercises to learn more. And... that's when the first iterations of my own Slow & Behold! exercises began. At first, they were simply typed on little slips of paper and folded and put into a round goldfish bowl for a daily random choice. Over the years I refined the set to include noticing things we see, things we hear, things we feel, things we feel, and things we taste. Yes, all 5 senses.

Research shows that most of us consciously experience only 1 or 2 of our senses. The others become also-rans or simply fall by the wayside. We experience them... we just don't notice them. AND we don't develop a vocabulary to enhance our experiences of them. Leonardo, himself, had noticed this and he also gave himself exercises to inhabit all 5 of his senses. Guess I'm in good company, eh?

Anyhow about 2006, I developed Slow & Behold! into a deck of 60 cards and had them printed. Kate recently reminded me that I still have some of that inventory left, all nicely shrinkwrapped. She's been bugging me to open an Etsy shop and offer them to the public. I have now done that—plus I've made a Slow & Behold! journal to go with the cards. Explore my Etsy shop here. There are a number of other things I've made over the years and I thought it would be fun to share them all in one place.

In the meantime, I invite you to try a Slow & Behold! sample across the bottom of this month's calendar. Try it for a week and see what you think. I'm also offering you a free sample of the PDF journal here. It includes directions.

I'm quite happy with my Etsy shop header. I used a newly developed font for the shop name. It's called Sans Forgetta and it was designed to help you remember what you read. The idea is for students to use it for studying digital notes that they take in class for studying later. Here's the Sans Forgeta story. I love the name! You can download it here for free for both Mac and PC.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Feb 2019

Canada Post is making me smile...

As is its wont, Canada Post has issued its annual stamp marking Chinese New Year. Their offering this year is adding lots of joyous smiles to my face—and my heart. Guess that's because St. Valentine's Day is conjoined, eh?

Beginning Feb 4th we're entering the Year of the Earth Pig. According to Chinese astrology, that means this is a great year to make money and a good year to invest! This year is going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs—an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success into all the spheres of life.

I found this little piggy pop-up card on a wikihow page.

Seems particularly appropriate for this month’s celebration, don't you think? They’ve included a file download for this white piggy, but I’ve adapted it to match my calendar’s red and patterned piggy.
Go grab my happy file (along with the instructions) from my DropBox here.

Be sure to send me a pic when you've made your own piggy pop-up card.

En-JOY, y'all!

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Jan 2019

A fresh new start... with fresh new perspectives!

Sometimes I sit and I think:
What if I were to sit over there
And think a different think?
After all,
Isn't that what we're all doing
All the time?
What if...
I just think about the think?
And notice the focus?
The frame?
And see how I can change
All that
With just a slight shift
Of me.
Of my place.
Of my view.

The New Year
Gives us all a chance
To re-new,
To re-think
And to re-sit...
And even
To think a new think
Every day.

This new year,
I invite you
To enjoy your fresh views,
To relish your old thinks
Along with your new thinks
And to discover
How to weave all
Your thinks together.

Last month, Chatanooga had dots. This month, Toronto's got squares. The image for this month's calendar is from a lovely New Year's Eve visit to Bjarke Ingels'  Unzipped, the Serpentine Pavilion in Toronto (just east of Portland St. at 533 King St. West.) Be sure to click on the link above and watch the film! You can walk through Unzipped as well as around it and each glance offers all new perspectives. Here's another perspective... yes, that's me lost in the shadows and looking out!


If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course