Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tea Houses

The sounds of the tea being made invite the peach blossoms to peep in through the window.
~Uson


Perhaps now would be a good time for a cuppa?

Nobotoke-an 野仏庵
photo by Patrick Vierthaler

Main hall and tea house in Dunedin Chinese Garden
photo by Pseudopanax

Ham House, England
photo by KotomiCreations

Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands
photo by Or Hiltch

A Chaikhaneh (tea house) close to the Zendan-e Eskandar (Alexander the Great’s prison) at Yazd, Iran
photo by dynamosquito

Tea House 6, Kyoto, Japan
photo by Tealet

Tea Ceremony
photo by Preconscious Eye

The tea pavilion, castle of Borne Blanche
photo by P.poschadel

One more quote:
If afternoon teas had started in the Oligocene Epoch, instead of the seventeenth century, we are convinced that evolution, far from discarding that useful appendage, the tail, would have perfected it. A little hand would have evolved at the end of it — such a one as might hold his saucer, while a gentleman sips from his teacup.
~Contributors' Club, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1917


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Taking the bitter with the sweet

Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion.
~Lin Yutang



photo by Food Cultura

For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about how to improve what's going on in our digestive system. Most likely this came to mind for me because my older daughter was recently diagnosed with celiac and how well she's digesting is significant to her quality of life, but in reality, it's a big deal for many people. I bought her some aloe water and ended up needing to buy more because I shared them with other folks who were having issues. It's common.

Probiotics can be a help (and can be especially vital if you've taken or are taking antibiotics). In addition to supplements, you can eat your probiotics by having yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, any fermented food. I have never tried fermenting my own food, but I really should. This Carrot and Radish Sauerkraut looks good (yes, feel free to tell me that I'm crazy).

I haven't really actively eaten prebiotics, except for Trader Joe's snack crackers and onions. Raw garlic is also a prebiotic. The Food Network has a delicious-looking set of recipes called Feed Your Probiotics, which combine pre- and probiotics.

There are lots of good teas for helping digestion. Two of my favorites are Orange Ginger Mint and Fennel (or you could make your own).

Bitters are good before meals to kick-start your digestive process. I made my own. (I bought bitters ingredients on Etsy.) You can also buy bitters already made. Another possibility: eating bitter greens like endive and arugula.

P.S. When I was looking up stuff for this post, I discovered that someone made a 12-hour-long video of stomach-growling noises. On the one hand, I laughed out loud when I saw it. On the other hand, people sure are strange.

P.P.S. A bonus unrelated video:



Monday, June 26, 2017

Music and the Human Spirit

Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they're all individuals and they're all unique.
~Carey Mulligan


Our video for Music Monday comes with a tissue warning:



Addendum! It's the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter -- can't let that go by unacknowledged:





Thursday, June 22, 2017

Holding our breath like a coin

Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.
~Roman Payne


I'm really into mentor poems these days, and I can see using the first of today's poems as one. "If you were a ______"...

Traveler
by Heather Sommer

Your first time out of the country
of your own skin, I didn’t bring a map.

You always hated that I’d been lucky
enough to pick my way through streets

I couldn’t pronounce to find cathedrals,
graveyards. If you were a city, you said,

I’d only like to know your suburbs.

read the rest here

************

Keats
by Christopher Howell

When Keats, at last beyond the curtain
of love’s distraction, lay dying in his room
on the Piazza di Spagna, the melody of the Bernini
Fountain “filling him like flowers,”
he held his breath like a coin, looked out
into the moonlight and thought he saw snow.
He did not suppose it was fever or the body’s
weakness turning the mind. He thought, “England!”

read the rest here

************

My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!

Windows

Summer is always best through a window.
~Jens Lekman


Windows for Art Thursday. Recently when my family went to an art exhibit, my daughter Elena & I picked the same painting as our favorite -- one with an open window and billowing white curtain. It drew us right in. I can't share that painting for copyright reasons, but...

Windows
photo by Simon Matzinger

After the Rain
photo by Carroll Jones III

Abbey of San Galgano
photo by Simon Matzinger

Open Window
by Diana Lee Photography

scorcio alla galbusera bianca
photo by Alberto Magagnini

The View From Qaytbay Castle At Alex
photo by Ahmed

open window
photo by fortheloveofcc

Red and white
photo by Massimo Telò


from Dear Evan Hansen:



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Art Time

Mix up a little more shadow color here, then we can put us a little shadow right in there. See how you can move things around? You have unlimited power on this canvas -- can literally, literally move mountains.
~Bob Ross


For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about engaging with art.

I started Art Thursday years ago to ensure that I would spend some time with art every week. Have you been getting as much interaction with art as you want? This could mean just following Art Pics Channel on Twitter so you see some art every day, or rotating prints you like as your wallpaper on your computer. Maybe you want to try some Zentangle or coloring, or decorate the cover of a notebook or binder with a print so you can see it when you are studying or cooking, etc. What feeds your spirit? How can you get more of it?

A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Art You (Actually, Genuinely) Like
7 Ways to Make An Art Museum Visit Fun for Kids
10 Reasons to Visit Art Galleries
100 Art Therapy Exercises

I have an Etsy account where I save favorites, and I encourage doing that, although it doesn't need to be Etsy. Other sites include Artsy, DeviantArt, and Society 6. You can save things that appeal to all sorts of different moods. Have fun with it -- save things you can't afford ;-)

A couple of videos:




Monday, June 19, 2017

Can't Sleep Love

I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.
~Jane Austen


These folks are completely in the zone when they're singing:



They are pursuing solo projects now, so here are their individual web sites:
Superfruit
Kevin
Kirstin
Avi

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beginning

It goes without saying that a fine short poem can have the resonance and depth of an entire novel.
~James Wright


Busy writing poems for the Summer Poetry Swap this week! I wrote one for the wrong person first (how is that possible, you wonder? I found a way...), plus I am doing two people for the first swap, so I have been working on three poems. I am going to be collecting poems about mistakes for an anthology, so I have been doing prep work for that as well.

Here's a short poem by James Wright, plus a song:

Beginning
By James A Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon's young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

*************

I think immortality is a real draw for many writers, don't you? Poet by Bastille:



*************

You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at Carol's Corner. Thanks, Carol!

Train of Thought

I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.
~Anna Funder


Trains for Art Thursday. I saw the painting by Hans Baluschek and decided to run (chug?) with it.

The Express Train Arrives, 1909
by Hans Baluschek

La huerta o el tren de Colmenar
by Ulpiano Checa

Viaggio Triste (Sad Journey)
by Raffaele Faccioli (1845-1916)

La gare de Lyon-Perrache
by Louis Beysson (1856-1912)

Berlin-Potsdamer Eisenbahn 1847
by Adolph Menzel

Saint-Lazare Station, the Western Region Goods Sheds
by Claude Monet

The Lackawanna Valley
by George Inness

100 years of electrical trains and international traffic exhibition (IVA) Hamburg

Lastly, go visit a painting titled "The Annoying Cavalier." I really feel for her...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Comfort Foods

Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.
~Eli Brow


Thinking about food this Wellness Wednesday. Healthy comfort food in particular. Do you have anything you like to eat when you are cheering yourself up? Mashed potatoes are a favorite of mine, with lots of cream, butter, and salt. Not super healthy, and honestly, a healthy version of it probably isn't going to do it for me.

My relatively healthy comfort food favorites:
soups and chili
tea and lots of it
smoothies
plain Greek yogurt with honey
coq au vin
chicken tikka masala
guacamole and tortilla chips
lasagna (okay, not healthy?)
chocolate drizzled strawberries (maybe with bananas or marshmallows...)


photo by Jen R

This looks like a good list: 31 Days of Healthy Comfort Food

What are your favorite comfort foods, healthy or otherwise?

I lived in Atlanta for five years and boy howdy, did I love the food. This video fills me with longing:



Monday, June 12, 2017

The Welcome Table

There is no hospitality like understanding.
~Vanna Bonta


The Welcome Table today. Dan Zanes and Friends first:



And a jazzy version from Old Town School of Folk Music:



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ten Things

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
~T.S. Eliot


"Ten Things Found in a Wizard's Pocket" is today's poem. It has been used in lesson plans as a mentor poem, which inspired me to write "Ten Things Found in a Mermaid's Pocket."

Ten Things Found in a Wizard’s Pocket
by Ian McMillan

A dark night.
Some words that nobody could ever spell.
A glass of water full to the top.
A large elephant.
A vest made from spider’s webs.
A handkerchief the size of a car park.

read the rest here.


Ten Things Found in a Mermaid's Pocket

A balm for well-kissed lips.
Some scale-shaped band-aids.
An umbrella hat for when no one's looking.
Chocolate seaweed for bad days.
A pair of special occasion stillettos.
A sailor's hair in a locket.
Dolphin mist perfume.
Another sailor's hair in a locket.
A sweet pet jelly with a zippy stinger.
Throat spray for tired singers.

**********

What might YOU find in an interesting stranger's pockets? A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Somewhere close I knew spear-nosed bats flew through the tree crowns in search of fruit, palm vipers coiled in ambush in the roots of orchids, jaguars walked the river's edge; around them eight hundred species of trees stood, more than are native to all of North America; and a thousand species of butterflies, 6 percent of the entire world fauna, waited for the dawn.
~Edward O. Wilson


Art from the Biodiversity Heritage Library today. I really had a hard time stopping. So many pleasing and curious things! (Click to embiggen.)

from The naturalist's miscellany, or Coloured figures of natural objects
by George Shaw, 1751-1813
illustrated by F.P. Nodder and R.P. Nodder

from De dieren van Nederland
by Hermann Schlegel, 1804-1884

from De dieren van Nederland
by Hermann Schlegel, 1804-1884

from De dieren van Nederland
by Hermann Schlegel, 1804-1884

from Himalayan journals; or, Notes of a naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim and Nepal Himalayas, the Khasia Mountains, &c.
by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, 1817-1911

from Flora of America, drawn after nature on the spot. Rich collection of most remarkable plants, flowers & fruits of size & natural size.
By Etienne Denisse

from The plums of New York ...
by U.P. Hedrick, 1911

from The main gifts of Dutch East Indies
by P. A. Ouwens

from Exact description of the main natural curiosites of Albert Seba's magnificent cabinet
Albertus Seba, 1665-1736


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Longest lead-in ever

Desiderata
by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


Today for Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about making sure our relationships are uplifting and not "vexations to the spirit."

One of my mottos is "Protect what you value," which I often think when I see people on motorcycles without helmets, but applies to many ways we spend our time. Do you value your peace of mind, your self-confidence? Protect them!

Maybe you don't have vexatious relationships, but maybe someone you love does. Other people's choices are generally out of our hands, but I have seen young people make better choices after they become more informed about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Information sharing can be helpful.

How can you tell whether a relationship is healthy? What can be done about it if it isn't? Here are some articles on those topics:

Are the people in your life positive?
7 signs you're in a toxic friendship
13 red flags of potentially toxic friendships
9 relationship red flags you shouldn't be ignoring
6-step life detox to get rid of a bad relationship
5 ways to end a bad relationship
How to move on from unhealthy relationships
Loveisrespect (resources to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse)

A song about cutting someone loose:



Monday, June 5, 2017

Music, darling

I call everyone 'Darling' because I can't remember their names.
Zsa Zsa Gabor


Darlingside today, courtesy BonBon:





Friday, June 2, 2017

Swashbuckling

I don't know why we take our worst moods so much more seriously than our best.
~Tim Kreider


I read a poem that wowed me this week, but a) I don't have permission to share it, and b) it was quite dark. Darker than I'm feeling. To read it (which I do recommend), go here.

Instead, I'm sharing Ogden Nash.

No Doctors Today, Thank You
by Ogden Nash

They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful,
Well, today I feel euphorian,
Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetitite of a Victorian.
Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,
Today I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle any swashes?
This is my euphorian day,
I will ring welkins and before anybody answers I will run away.
I will tame me a caribou
And bedeck it with marabou.
I will pen me my memoirs.
Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!
I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,
I was generally to be found where the food was.
Does anybody want any flotsam?
I've gotsam.
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.
I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,
I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.
I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because
I am wearing moccasins,
And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.
Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as vainglorious,
I'm just a little euphorious.

*******

It's June! (This made me laugh, especially when she describes what happened...)



*******

Buffy Silverman has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Buffy!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Landscapes, Seascapes, and Story Scenes

I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer -- and what trees and seasons smelled like -- how people looked and walked and smelled even.
~John Steinbeck


Three artists this Thursday: Harold Harvey, Eleanor Fortesque-Brickdale, and Marie Egner.

Pioneer of Aerial Navigation
by Harold Harvey

Marsh landscape

by Harold Harvey

Unloading the boats, Newlyn Harbour
by Harold Harvey

Motiv von der Insel Rab (Arbe)
by Marie Egner

Mühle
by Marie Egner

"Yestreen Queen Mary had four Maries, This night she'll hae but three; She had Mary Seaton, and Mary Beaton, And Mary Carmichael, and me" (Mary Hamilton)
from Eleanor Fortesque Brickdale's Golden Book of Famous Women

Bottom and Titania
by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

The Uninvited Guest
by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale