Friday, December 1, 2017

Dec 2017

Watching out...

Since our new balcony railings were installed a couple of years ago, pigeons eschew railing in favour of decking. These two were hanging out on my upstairs neighbour's balcony floor, aka my balcony ceiling. I always find myself wondering why so often two of them... seldom only one.. and if another arrives the two incumbents quickly flee, before the interloper's partner arrives.

I also wonder what they're watching — or watching out for. They've got a good viewpoint there. I wonder how far they can see... surely all the way into December... maybe all the way to Santa's mythic voyage.

When I was a girl, my parents wanted Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve, but how to have presents suddenly arrive when we weren't asleep? They quickly established the tradition of my childhood: First we put out cookies and milk for Santa. Then we all three exited our back door and climbed into the car, with my daddy driving. As we backed out of the driveway, my mom suddenly said, "Oh, I forgot the binoculars!" Daddy pulled to the curb in front of our house and my mom quickly dashed up to the front door and disappeared into the house while Daddy reminded me to watch the sky around the brightness of the moon (or whatever brightness he could point out to me that year) to see Santa's sleigh in silhouette. Soon my mom re-emerged bearing the binoculars... which she reported having some difficulty finding. Then we set off.

We drove around admiring neighbourhood lighting displays, much less lavish than those today, but delightful to the little me. And at least once each year, Daddy pointed and said, "Look! There he is!" And I always just barely missed seeing Santa, but I always heard his sleigh bells. Always.

When we returned home, we went into the living room and sure enough, Santa had come and gone, leaving presents along with cookie crumbs and and an empty milk glass and even a thank-you note. Santa was always so pleased with our offering.

This was the routine even when we had visiting family... there were just more people crammed into the car.

When Peter was six, we returned from Australia and spent Christmas in San Antonio with my parents. Peter was at that age where he thought he knew there was no Santa, but he went along with the unfolding evening, willing but a little bemused. That time I got the full behind-the-scenes action as I helped my mom remove our coats from the entrance closet and ready them for the Santa-sighting trip... then we stashed the prezzies in that same entrance closet along with a prepared note from Santa and a plate with cookie crumbs and an empty glass with obvious milk film... AND the binoculars on the shelf... PLUS a strip of bells in her purse! The routine proceeded, but this time I was the one who ran inside and moved the prezzies to their place under the tree and exchanged the full plate and glass for the empty plate and glass AND placed the note... THEN grabbed the binoculars, which apparently were not where my mom had told me but which I found nearby and brandished with glee as I dashed back to the waiting car.

As we drove around the neighbourhood my dad did indeed point away and exclaim, "Looky! There he is1" while my mom removed the bells from her purse and gently rattled them outside the window she had rolled down "in order to see better." This was south central Texas, remember. Nobody complained about the cold.

And when we returned home, we were all surprised that Santa had come and left our presents strewn under the tree. Peter was agog. We all clapped with joy!

~

I think these pigeons know what they're watching out for. Don't you?
After all, you better watch out, you better not cry,
You better not pout, I'm telling you why...
Santa Clause is coming to town.
...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Nov 2017

As the dark descends...

It's not just Halloween
That creeps and gloms,
It's the gloom of nights that seep
Into our days earlier and earlier.

Autumn gleefully parades
Her fiery cadmium yellows and oranges
But...
We'd better imprint them fast
Before
They're sucked into rich burnt umbers
And eventually deep lamp blacks
Before our ever-surprised eyes.

After all these years
I'm still amazed
And, yes...
Charmed.
...

Have fun treating and/or tricking tonight.
And
Have a great Mo/November.
Be sure to remember
To remember
On the eleventh:
Vonnegut
Et al.
His birthday
And his pleas
For humanity.
...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Go here for a higher resolution version of this month's calendar for your desktop.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Oct 2017

We’ve survived Summer’s reboot...

I met Kyla on the streetcar when she asked me about my Nordic walking poles. Recovering from double sciatica, they really help me to walk better and farther and all without pain... or exhaustion. I was on my way to my chiro and she was on her way to hers. Not the same chiro, but, we soon discovered the now-retired-to-full-time painting-in-Crystal-Beach David Drum was our chiro-in-common in the past. We sang his praises as we changed streetcars, and bragged about the replacements each of us had finally found. We also learned we are nearby neighbours. We quickly exchanged phone numbers before going our separate ways.

A few days later Kyla phoned to invite me to the hot house that she tends in the summers. It's a lovely remarkable place very nearby, too.  We went that Sunday morning to a space behind a public high school for adult learning. The hot house on that school's grounds, is not open to the public but rather host during the school year to elementary school programmes teaching about plants and caring for them. Kyla looks after the plants during the summer when both students and the programme's teacher are doing summertime things.

While Kyla watered, misted and snipped, I snooped and snapped. I could have done 4 calendars this month just like I did for last month! I chose these orchids, tho, because they offer us all a gentle glimpse at the charm and hope that summer can bring even while we rail against her oppressive intensity.
 

Now let’s all enjoy the coolth... and join in the Aussie initiative to end violence against children, Polished Man Month. 
...
If this isn't nice, what is?
              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Go here for a higher resolution version of this month's calendar for your desktop.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sept 2017

How can I choose???

Kate just returned from Quito and Galapagos, where she was hanging with fellow mathematicians and pelicans and seals and tortoises and lizards and blue-footed boobies! I have nothing else to say. You choose.

 or...
 or...

Then go here to watch blue footed boobies... turn down your speakers... they're so loud!
...

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Aug 2017

By the light of the silvery Moon...

There’s lots of talk these days about the exciting upcoming total solar eclipse. Mark it on your calendars: August 21st, the day of the New Moon, aka the Dark of the Moon. Go here to learn about the eclipse.

The staring role that day isn’t the Sun, however, but the Moon. It's about how our Moon’s cycles mark our lives. She causes the tides to ebb and to flow, and she shows us how time passes with infinite patterns, and she inspires contemplation and song and dance and poems—indeed luminous art of all varieties. We humans have always been in love with our Moon.

Our Moon always turns the same face to us as we stand here upon the Earth. She is both mysterious and consistent that way. As we gaze up at her face, her dark side always remains hidden from us. Throughout each of her 28-day cycles her face reflects the light of the Sun displaying all her glory to us in predictable ways. We call these her phases and since the beginning of human time we have assigned meanings to these phases as lunar moods and we have used them to understand and demonstrate our own cycles of being and doing.

From her invisible New Moon she waxes, showing us increasing slices of her face until we see her in all her glory at her radiant Full Moon. Then she wanes, showing us decreasing slices of her face until she is invisible yet again as another New Moon. We watch and we marvel still.
  • New Moon: The time to set a new intention. This is the time to reflect and set a new goal—an intention not just an aspiration or dream, but a determination, large or small, for the upcoming month.
  • Crescent Moon: The time to relax into our new intention, to gather our inner resolve and focus, to map out our plan.
  • First Quarter Moon: Our to-do list gets some of it’s first items accomplished.
  • Gibbous Moon: We keep checking off more items on our to-do list, feeling ever more confident that we are in sync with our own destiny.
  • Full Moon: We move ahead with bright clarity OR we might recognize that we need to correct our course and perhaps even move this goal to a different cycle. Our clarity excites and calms us.
  • Disseminating Moon: We feel grateful as we sense our own purpose and place in the universe. We receive love and support from others who feel grateful to have us a part of their world.
  • Third Quarter Moon: Now we know how to support others, too, and we proceed to use our re-directed intention to add to their sense of purpose.
  • Balsamic Moon: This is the time of quiet reflection, looking back on this cycle and resting up for the next.
The Full Moon of each month also shows us the marching orders for the seasons. We humans have always seen fit to give names to each seasonal Full Moon, according to our time and culture. On the 7th of this month we’ll see the Sturgeon Moon. It's also been called the Green Corn Moon, the Grain Moon, the Harvest Moon, and the Red Moon for the reddish hue it often takes on in the summer haze. There are lots more. Want to learn about the names of the Full Moons and even about Blue Moons? Go here and here.

I invite you to watch the sky for her many patterns. And to listen to songs. Maybe even to make your own.

...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Canada 150 +

Not Toronto... not even Canada...
but a wishful O Canada!

Our Toronto weather has been anything but celebratory. Cold and wet. Fortunately David (of Kate & David) recently posted this perfect day at New Jersey's Wildwood Crest beach. We're celebrating Canada's 150th birthday today and I'm hoping this image will find a way to attract some Summer and some sun, at least in our hearts. After all, we're ready to get warm so we can start complaining about the heat!

The Barenaked Ladies are performing at Nathan Phillips Square (in front of Toronto's City Hall). Buffy St.Marie, too. There'll be others of course. In fact the whole weekend is to be filled with events marking Canadian Confederation and flying the glorious Canadian flag created by that iconic designer I used to work for, Don Watt.

How can you not want this one for your desktop all month long??? Grab a higher resolution version from the link to the right.


Happy Canada 150 +
...

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June 2017

The soul of humanity...

So much appears on Kickstarter that is creative and fun. The Anka Cooperative project creates beauty and community... plus self-sustaining lives for thousands of Syrian refugee women. I participated with only a small contribution and received this image of a glorious rug made by such women who live in refugee camps in Turkey.

Here's their website: Anka Cooperative
Here's a video.
 

Go explore and see what Hope can look like... and rejoice with me in this triumph of connection.
Their Kickstarter campaign is over, but there's still opportunity to help.

...
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course: