Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Feb 2023

Many happy returns... always...

If you are born in Toronto
At 9:15 am today, this is what your
Astrological natal chart will look like.
The sun is associated with
Your best expression of yourself.
In your chart the sun’s in Aquarius,
The sign associated with
The forming of community,
Of developing a path
To inclusion and universality…
In other words: common ground.
Plus, in your chart Aquarius
Occupies the second house,
The parts of your life
Concerned with your
Personal resources...
Whatever you need
For your own sustenance…
Like food, money,
And a rock solid
Sense of values.
Every year on your birthday…
     Give or take a day or two
     Because: leap year…
The sun shows up
In the same place.
That’s what the ancients,
Like those famous
Three wise men,
Called your solar return.
That’s the real reason
People will wish you
Many happy returns.
The sun’s position is easy to know
Because the earth orbits
Around the sun every 365 days...
     Sort of… remember
     Leap year catches us up
     For those extra
     5 hours,
     59 minutes, and
     16 seconds each year.
The moon, of course,
And all the planets
Also have returns,
But their orbits around the sun
Take different amounts of time
So you’ll need to look it up
Or ask an astrologer,
The scientists of yore
Still plying our trade
In 2023.

Want to know what those symbols are on this month’s calendar? I have a keywords chart for you in this folder. You’ll see the sun and the moon are listed as planets. That’s just tradition talking. We know they’re not really planets. While you’re there, why not pick up the higher resolution version of my calendar and try it out as wallpaper on your computer desktop? That’s what I do
every month. (background photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash)

Please enjoy this glorious and short month... hearts included.

If this isn't nice, what is?

~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Jan 2023

As they say... No mud. No lotus...

The lotus flowers and seeds
But can do nothing
Without having its roots
Stuck firmly into
Some thick, gooey,
And messy mud.

The mud’s invisible,
Of course,
But the lotus
Knows its job…
And bloom, it must,
So it sinks its tendrils
Ever deeper
And draws up
The light
That is the essence
Of all life.

As humans we also bloom
When our feet are planted firmly.
Our mud is the stuff of daily life.
And there’s a lot of it...
Mostly daily grind stuff…
Often obstacles that
Must be overcome
For our path to even appear…
Then require further
Vanquishment to keep on
Keeping on.

Sometimes our mud
Is our own choosing…
The quality defined
By the nature of our aspirations.
This year I am choosing
The mud of learning
Some new things…
All which I’m showing to you
Here, in this month’s calendar.

My determination this year
Is to learn Affinity
Designer, Photo, and Publisher…
Affordable alternatives to my
Long-time faves from Adobe:
Illustrator and Photoshop.
I’m retired now
So don’t need to keep paying
For a costly professional subscription…
But I want to be able
To continue making
Calendars—and more…
As is my wont.
So I bought the Affinity apps
(One-time fee, no subscription)
And I produced
This month’s calendar
In its entirety
Using Affinity.
What would have taken
Thirty minutes in Illustrator
Took three days.
Ha! Not because
Affinity is slow or difficult,
But because I had
To learn lotsa new stuff:
New vocabulary.
New menus.
New controls.
All so the result
Can look like
A seamless continuation
Of my monthly offerings.

Thank you again, Susan,
For taking this glorious image
On your travels…
And for letting me use it… again.

And why does my calendar say
Nam myoho renge kyo
Across the bottom???
That’s the title
Of the historical Buddha’s
Last teaching,
The Lotus Sutra.
That’s what I chant
Every day…

Morning and evening…
Like breathing out
And breathing in…
To awaken my own
Buddha nature
And rejoice in the happiness
Of my everyday life…
Mud and all.

I must admit
The mud of these
Past few years
Made me think I might
Be blooming as a dandelion
Instead of the
But I continue
To bloom
In my solitude…
Toes happily squishing
In each day’s mud.

Any new mud
For you this year?

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dec 2022


Drama every day...

I’m not new to daily drama.
When we lived in Vancouver’s Deep Cove
My studio overlooked
Trees, water, and islands and hills beyond.
And so many clouds!!!
And fogs and mists!!

More studios have each offered
Different views and
Different dramas.

Yes… and you know how
I’m watching my new
City dramas unfold from today’s
Aerie studio. That skyline
I’ve shown you so many ways.
This one is from a couple of weeks ago.
From my perch
I see it all punctuated by
My EKKO mobile. It hangs
Gently indoors from curtain rod
In front of the window views
You know so well.
In the summer,
Breezes from the windows
Keep it moving… and in the winter,
The heat rises from the rads below
To keep it wafting…
Always giving motion
To my view.
The drama is often simple
And always profound.
I am moved as it moves.
I love how we humans
Can both stand in awe
Of Mother Nature’s
Dramatic displays…
And rejoice in adding
Our own creativity
To her ever-changing vistas.

I love that I can notice
Better now
With my new eyes…
Eyes that pretend
To see like the old ones.
The pretense is excellent
And only registers as pretense
Because of the years I spent
Watching my world become
Darker and greyer
With each passing day.
Was that darkness
Another reality?
I do know that
I prefer the brightness
Of my world today…
With all it’s subleties.
After all, how do we even know
What is real???

No matter, it’s all part of
Our daily drama…
It’s all fun…
And I’m happy to watch
It unfold in front
Of these newly-minted eyes…
These very eyes…
Pretentious or not!
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, October 31, 2022

Nov 2022

Hands across the sands of time...

Hands across the sands of time…
And the borders of states,
Or even nations.
The sweet memories persist
Along with new ones
Being forged
By a new generation…
Together in the sun
And the sand.
Annie Stange lives in Portland, Oregon.
Her girlhood friend lives in Bellingham, Washington.
Now the daughters of both friends
Continue the bonding.
Here Annie’s daughter Claire
Holds the evidence
The daughters of the two friends
Are themselves two peas in a pod…
Here along with Annie’s youngest, Evelyn
And Annie’s own hand…
All together in the sun
And the sand
At Cannon Beach, Oregon.

And who among us,
My friends,
Can fail to drift in our own
Sweet memories…
Of childhood friendships…
Of walks in the sun…
And maybe even the sand?


November marks the time
To write your own story.
Why not get started on yours?


Have a great Mo/November
Be sure to remember
While you're remembering
On the eleventh:
Et al.
His birthday
And pleas
For humanity.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course


Friday, September 30, 2022

Oct 2022

Celebrating black cats all month long...

8 years ago
Kate met Hoochie and
Was immediately captivated
By those eyes!!!
She snapped this pic
To show us all.
I used to look after Hoochie
When her mommies,
Nancy and Katherine, travelled.
Hoochie has since moved on
To another plane and we all smile
As we remember
Her incredible softness...
And those eyes.

Of course,
Kate has Batman.
Marje has Peewee and Toffle.
Kelley has Domino and Moneypenny and Oliver!

Many years ago
Our family had Cocoa…
Except for the occasional fleeting
Deep chocolate Siamese highlight,
She looked black.
And that counts.
All black cats count...
Especially this month.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Sept 2022

 Easy like a lion a-lollin'...

Ok I made that one up.
But I couldn’t resist
After last month’s frog.

And with this lion’s one eye open
Maybe she’s a-lurkin’…

Probably both
A-lollin’ and a-lurkin’
Doncha think?
After all, she can’t
Tell us about either,
But we might assume
That hunting is
A key part
Of her day dreams…
And, as K’naan tells us
Until the lion learns to speak,
The tale of the hunt
Will be weak.

My friend Teresa
Recently made a momentous
Trek to East Africa
And this is one of the pictures
She posted.
Only one.
There were many.
Looky at the PDF here.
And while you do,
Play The Lion Sleeps Tonight
By the Tokens
Or the earlier version
By the Weavers
Or especially the
Original 1939 version
By Solomon Linda & The Evening.
Why so many versions?
Here’s the story.
Teresa has travelled
Lots and lots over the years…
And she always connects
With people and places
In profound and heartfelt ways.
She says she saw this lioness
Resting in Uganda.
Teresa’s words:
    Observer, survivor,
    Predator, and hunted.
    Actually I really have no words
    That can describe how
    Awake my senses were in Africa.
    In an almost dreamlike state
    I sensed, saw, felt, and touched
    The magic of my surroundings.

And with that music still playing
In my own background
I know that
I’m going to love
Having this lion
On my desktop
This whole month.
At any given time…
The urge to sing
Will be just a whim away…
A whim away…
A whim away.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Aug 2022


Easy like a frog a-walkin'..

If you’ve been following
My FB feed lately
You might have noticed a whole slew
Of frog images.
That’s because I love frogs
AND I knew
This wondrous image
From Mike Lush
(Yes, Kathy’s bro)
Was coming up this month.
Seems FB conspired
To help me prime the pump, eh?

FB had fed this pic
To Mike as a memory
From 10 years ago…
And he still had the original…
And he knew exactly
Where to find it.

Twas fast and easy.
Which brings us to
Today’s title line:
     Easy like a frog a-walkin’
Peter’s dad, LB, used to say this
When we might today say
Piece of cake or
Easy as falling off a log or
Easy as shooting fish in a barrel or
My personal fave:
Easy-peasy. Lemon-squeezy.

I never knew where
LB’s version came from
And a quick poll of
Some of my fellow Texans
Didn’t shed any light.
YouTube does talk about
Frogs that walk instead of hop.
They can still hop and swim
But they mostly just prefer to walk.
And it looks easy for them, eh?

Several weeks ago
Mike sent me this delightful pic
And I immediately prepaed
This month’s calendar with it.
But I kept putting off
Writing these words for you until
This Sunday night that is
Almost August.
It’s been a quick write.
We might even say
     Easy like a frog a-walkin’

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course