Monday, June 30, 2008

Shape and reshape

Reshape your life

Reshape your life through Three Shapes Aikido

Reshape your body with the Barre Method; through the Miracle Ball Method; through six weight loss diet tips

"Reshape Your Life," a MySpace video by Stefano

Reshape Your Life with Third Eye Meditation; through Pilates; through meditation and Yoga camps

Reshape your life here

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It's not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
-Anthony Robbins

You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.
-Dr. Seuss

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thoughts on doors

Reflections on a Friday night…


The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
-Flora Whittemore

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.
-Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweet pea

In several gardens in the neighborhood sweet pea trails across fences, winds its way up lattices, runs wild through flowerbeds.
And while walking by, breathe: Sweet scent, sweet pea.
But don’t eat the peas; they are poisonous.
Still, the glow of sunset through their blossoms is exquisite.

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Poetry is a rich, full-bodied whistle, cracked ice crunching in pails, the night that numbs the leaf, the duel of two nightingales, the sweet pea that has run wild, Creation's tears in shoulder blades.
~ Boris Pasternak

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunset song

sunset stretches
into shadows as
windows question
the light

a string stretches
into a note
tinkle of glass
hum of evening

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A toast to summer

Hot today; the first really hot day we’ve had this year. And seeing this on a porch as we passed by seemed to represent this first day of summer.

To continue the "hot summer day" theme, check out today's entry on:

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A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
~James Dent

Friday, June 20, 2008

Circling a rose

A rose is a rose is a rose
~Gertrude Stein

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Poppies and violets

California poppies with a sprinkling of violets in a neighbor’s garden.

A few fun facts I found:

~The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is the state flower of California.

~Native Americans used the California poppy for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Extracts from parts of the plant have a mild sedative effect when smoked or eaten.

~Four states -- Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin – have chosen a type of violet as their official state flower.

~Violets are used to flavor and decorate salads, desserts, and other foods. They also provide flavoring for several liqueurs and scent for perfumes.

~Because they contain vitamin C and antioxidants, violets are use in herbal medicine.

~Violettes de Toulouse, candied violets, are made in Toulouse, France. The ingredients and process are similar to making pralines, using egg whites and crystallized sugar.

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The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.
-Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Empty bench?

Looks like a pleasant place to sit on a summer’s day -- although this bench is in someone’s front yard.

I wonder if passers-by ever "sit for a spell"? Or take a nap?

Or if it, instead, remains empty, merely a lawn decoration?

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Love is what makes two people sit in the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at both ends.

I really believe I was happier when I slept on a park bench in Central Park than during all the years of the 'perfect lover' stuff.
-Rudolph Valentino

The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.
-Robert Benchley


Caught this photo during a walk at the nature center. I think it’s a California Tortoiseshell butterfly (Nymphalis californica), according to my Golden Guide butterfly book.

When I was a kid, my father thought I’d be interested in collecting butterflies, but it was soon apparent I wasn’t into entomology. I found I’d rather capture them on film instead.

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An excerpt from one of my stories:

Her father never answered her questions about his childhood or his parents. He just smiled, bemused. Until another cloud drifted across his face, then he’d be telling her about another species of butterfly he’d found. Caught. Killed. Mounted. He had case after case of butterflies, moths, beetles in his "den", all labeled with the correct Latin names; Papilio troilus, Delias eucharis, Talicada nyseus, Vanessa cardui, Danaus plexippus.

He’d tried to get her interested in collecting when she was a girl, when he was still living with her mother. But it horrified her to watch the creatures die in the kill jar, their iridescent wings slowly become still. And then to pin them to the mount. The small crunch through the now lifeless body.

He’d left them behind when he disappeared. Left all the shining wings frozen in their dusty cases. Left his rock collection, too, although he took his map of Panama, she later noticed. She sometimes imagined him living in some little shack near the ocean, or perhaps near a small village. Did he fish? Did he now collect Central American insects? Did he remarry? Or perhaps, like her mother, he was dead. The thought of him being dead was easier to accept than that he simply vanished. She wondered if she’d ever find out.

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We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~Maya Angelou

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Emblems of State

Syringa, or Lewis’s Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) in full bloom at the nature center today. Waves of its sweet scent drifted on the breeze.

This species of Mock Orange was discovered by Meriwether Lewis during their infamous expedition through the northwest. It was designated as the official state flower of Idaho because the winning illustration for the Idaho state seal incorporated Syringa as part of the design. The artist: Emma Sarah Etine Edwards who had come to Boise from New York to visit relatives and liked it so much she decided to stay. She was the first and only woman to design a Great Seal of a state.

Then, in 1957, the Legislature decided to have Paul B. Evans update the seal "to more clearly define Idaho's main industries, mining, agriculture and forestry as well as highlight the state's natural beauty."

I found two images of the state seal, but it’s not clear which one is Edwards’ and which one is Evans’. Or if they are both Evans’, and one was just reproduced poorly. Only an Idaho historian knows for sure…


The large fir or pine tree in the foreground in the shield refers to Idaho’s immense timber interests. The husbandman plowing on the left side of the shield, together with the sheaf of grain beneath the shield, are emblematic of Idaho’s agricultural resources, while the cornucopias, or horns of plenty, refer to the horticultural. Idaho has a game law, which protects the elk and moose. The elk’s head, therefore, rises above the shield. The state flower, the wild Syringa or Mock Orange, grows at the woman’s feet, while the ripened wheat grows as high as her shoulder. The star signifies a new light in the galaxy of states. . . . The river depicted in the shield is our mighty Snake or Shoshone River, a stream of great majesty.
-Emma Sarah Etine Edwards, partial description of the Great Seal of Idaho

Friday, June 13, 2008

Shadow play

I’m fascinated how ordinary objects can create unusual shadows in certain light. It’s a little like watching clouds change shapes on a windy day.

This shadow reminds me of a mutant slug, although a friendly one, perhaps like you’d see in a Disney cartoon. Not like those in the 1988 horror movie, "Slugs (Muerte Viscose)" which is about "killer slugs on a rampage in a rural community". This movie is probably one of those they air at 3 a.m. on small-time local TV stations when the program staffer had a little too much to drink earlier and is now consuming large cups of strong coffee…

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Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I'm snug in a jug
A slice of onion and a raw one, draw one…
-from "Java Jive", Ben Oakland and Milton Drake

Thursday, June 12, 2008


We’re (understandably) fixated on barrels these days – barrels of oil and their skyrocketing prices. Here’s another use of a barrel. Much lovelier than a container for oil, or a "pork barrel." ;}

I wonder what this barrel originally held? Or if it was made solely for flowers?

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When I die I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Dublin.
-J. P. Donleavy

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For the birds?

While taking a walk, we came across these bags, hung in someone’s back yard. Not sure what they are or why they are there.

They look to be filled with seeds of some kind; perhaps bird seed?

In another spot in the yard was a wooden bird feeder, complete with a diner enjoying a meal…

And in a related news article:

An Illinois couple emptied their bird feeders after a judge ruled in favor of neighbors who said the birdseed attracted a surplus of wild animals.
A Cook County judge ruled that Halina and Richard Rogulski are banned from filling outdoor bird feeders at their Prospect Heights home for six months, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.
John and Alice Gornick claimed the Rogulskis' bird feeders were creating health risks by attracting a surplus of raccoons, birds and opossums.
Judge Alfred Levinson decided Wednesday the Rogulskis went against city laws by fostering an unsanitary environment. He ruled the couple would have to either take down the feeders or pay a daily fine of $500.

Wish there was a photo with this story…

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A trail of petals

When I came home from work Friday, I found someone had left a trail of flower petals all along the block.

There was also evidence of an egg fight, probably inspired by Friday being the last day of school for the year. [Because some readers get queasy at the sight of raw eggs, I didn’t include that photo… :-)]


It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.
-William Carlos Williams

Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.
- Russian proverb


Poppies are ancient and powerful blooms. In Persian literature, red poppies are the "flower of love." In Greek and Roman myths, red poppies were used as offerings to the dead and carved on tombstones as a symbol for eternal sleep. (The Greeks had long been aware of the effects of opium). Red poppies also later symbolized resurrection after death. In The Wizard of Oz, a field of magic poppies causes two of the characters to fall into a deep sleep, putting them in danger.

Red poppies are also associated with those who died in World War I, or the Great War. Poppy seeds grow more abundantly when the soil is disturbed or churned. When the war was over, former battlefields became filled with poppies. John McCrae, who was a battlefield surgeon during the war, wrote the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" as a memorial to those who died. And poppies became a symbol for remembrance.

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
- John McCrae

That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe.
- John Berger

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sitting quietly

Reflections on reflections...

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If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water.
-Loren Eisley

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
-Zen proverb

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A matter of interpretation

Local sidewalk art -- or symbols from a secret Druid ceremony… :-)

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Some archeologists believe that Stonehenge - the mysterious arrangement of enormous elongated stones in England - is actually a crude effort by the Druids to build a computing device.
-Dave Barry

Monday, June 02, 2008

Releasing radiance

Roses are now blooming, everywhere...

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Stop looking for something out there
And begin seeing within.
Open your arms if you want an embrace.
Break the earthen idols and release the radiance.

Through a window at dusk

Maybe it’s the voyeur in us that impels us to glance into open windows and doors as we pass by. Or perhaps we’re in need of a glimpse of a story to spur our imaginations…

Edward Hopper did a number of paintings where the view point is outside a building, looking in, including; Night Windows, Nighthawks, Apartment Houses, Rooms for Tourists. He also did several paintings of apartment and office buildings, and no two windows are alike. A shade half pulled, glow of a lamp, a curtain billowing, shadow of a person. You become aware that they more than buildings, they are instead like hives where people work, live, and deal with what life has brought them…

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No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.

If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.

~ Edward Hopper

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A single leaf

I was drawn by the single leaf that landed here, in the wet, and remained…

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I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars.
~ Walt Whitman

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.
~ Henry David Thoreau