Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas All

I awoke this morning (6:30 a.m) to the muffled sound of tires on a slushy road, and I thought: "Ah hah, it IS snowing". It was very cold yesterday and I was saying to random strangers: "Brrrr, it feels like snow"... So I got out of bed and drew back the curtains, and sure enough, the ground and trees and house tops are covered in the proverbial blanket of Merry Christmas everyone, I guess I will be taking a slow walk to the Mall today to pick up that last box of Purdy's Chocolates (why do I always leave the box of chocolate covered cinger for my mom 'til the last minute?)

Now, my absolute favourite things about Christmas are the Lights, and Christmas Carols...what are your's?, as mon Kapitano would say - "over to you".

Sunday, November 11, 2007


As you can see we had a Celebrity Guest: "Zza Zza Ga Bear"

the weather was beautiful and we all had loads of fun...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ted's NEW NAME

AND THE Teddy-Bears' Picnic

By unanimous consent the new name for pink bear is
[drumroll please].....tah da da dah!


- and the prize goes to

sorry but I have not had time to download the photos from the hard can that be?

Well, if you are me, very hard.
That is why it has taken me so long to make this announcement.
The teddy bears' picnic was the second week of September, and after a few organizational glitches we ended up having it on Saturday, instead of the Sunday as announced. This was just as well, because as it turned out Saturday was warm and Sunny, then the rains arrived on Sunday...

well, here is a photo of the "venue" of the picnic, and when I have time I will post a photo of the "prize" which I will be sending off to "Meow" soon (I might give her a choice of prizes), as well as some photos of the actual picnic.

cheers for now

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

and the winner is......

stay tuned for the exciting update on the "name Teddy" contest!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

taking a brief respite!

Just to let everyone know that I am taking a "brief respite", so don't worry, i'm OK, just a little worn out...

But I just want to leave you with this adorable photo.

see you all soon,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

If it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck!

Is it a good looking girl? Is it a charming young man? NO! It's a Landmark Shark dressed up as a charming young man -- "swim" for your life!

Landmark “Education” Corporation is not a non-profit society; it is not a benevolent organization; it is a Multi-million Dollar Business using questionable business practices, and practicing group-therapy without a medical license. Landmark “Education” Corporation cannot be referred to a cult because it claims no religious affiliation. It is worse than a cult.

Landmark “Education” Corporation practices the same mind-control techniques that were used during the Korean War when American POWs defected or denounced their country in large numbers. The brainwashing process would begin when the Chinese Communists persuaded POWs to write down a mild criticism of their country, such as “America is not perfect.” Once that stone had been laid, and enough psychological pressure exerted, it was often only a matter of time before the prisoners were making harsher statements.
This, say the experts on cults, is exactly how many of today’s human potential groups begin their programs – with strict observation of seemingly petty rules, such as needing permission to go to the bathroom, or having to be seated by the time the music stops playing. The group leaders really don’t care if you’re sitting or not, only that you’ve followed orders.

And once you say yes to something small, it is that much easier to say yes to something big – even if that means revealing your innermost traumas to a hundred strangers.

Landmark “Education” Corporation uses techniques that can seem innocuous, at first. Some of them – guided imagery, for instance – may actually be familiar from a relaxation class or self-help audiocassette. In the wrong hands, however, these techniques can do an astonishing amount of harm.

Take a few days without proper rest, add a regimen of closed-eye exercises, and anyone can become vulnerable to suggestion. You’re simply flooded with emotion. The trainers usually get you to think of all your most powerful memories, under the guise of somehow conquering your past. After several days of being “dragged down into the pits”, says someone who has had the Landmark ‘experience’… “the final day of exercises is usually designed to pump you up. By this time, customers usually just sort of drool and follow the leader. A false sense of community and camaraderie has developed. By now, they do everything they can to give you the ‘warm fuzzies,’ so that you’ll sign up for the next course.”

By the time Landmark is finished with you, your bank account will be empty and the only people who will want to be friends with you are other “Landmark Junkies”.

At some point of our lives we all feel unhappy. Even the smartest and most intelligent person will be emotionally vulnerable at some point in our lives, and the Landmark “Education” Corporation preys on us at these times. The programming starts the minute you walk into a meeting – before you have even put on your name tag – it is that insidious and subtle. In the first 15 minutes you will be instructed to look into the eyes of the Landmark “graduate” (often a son/daughter or spouse – i.e. someone you trust) at that point you have unknowingly taken the first step in the process of group hypnosis.
If you are someone who is syseptable to hypnosis it will only be a matter of minutes or an hour before you sign up for your first course. And then you are hooked!

For more information check out;, or Google “neurolinguistic programming”

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Brief Respite

Hi All,

I will be away for a couple of days. So i will not be here to reply to your comments.

While i am gone, i thought it might be fun to solicit some help from Blog Visitors.
I would like to know what are some of my better Posts. So please feel free to go into the archives and let me know. I think maybe we should limit the list to 3 or 4 each, but of course if you want to leave more that would be fine too. I'll start with one of my favourites.

Actuall, it is a Post in two Parts:

Vedder River Run - Part 1, posted on August 29, 2006
Vedder River Run - Part 2 - posted on September 4, 2006

Oh, and if you like, you can also state the reason why it is your favourite. When i return i will be leaving my replies to your Comments, as usual. Thanks all!

So now, as Capt. Picard would say: "over to you"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time To Move On.....

Well, yesterday, i met with my new friend. She surprised me with the book

the art of the sari

from the Surrey Art Gallery, in which one of her poems is published. I sure she won't mind if i share her lovely poem with you.

Sari by vb

I am a Sari
I am an East Indian Women's identity
I come in all colours -
I am a friend in grief and in happiness
In red colour I become a bride
In white a widow
In orange a saint
In yellow i look like the mustard flowers blooming in a field -
I bring new hope for all
I am a long piece of cloth about 5 1/2 meters long
I am draped over a long skirt that clings to the beautiful waist of a
A blouse is worn on the upper part of the body called choli.
The moment I fling my pallu over my shoulder everyone gazes at me -
I am not just a piece of cloth to cover the body.
I am a living painting, a piece of Art.
I am a Poet's Dream
I am a Security Blanket for a child
I am the heart throb of lovers
I am a subject of conversation. Your Sari is gorgeous!
Where did you buy it? Munbai, Delhi or Surrey?

I am all decked up with beautiful pearls, beads -
gold and silver thread embroidery looks so stunning on me -At
party or in temple i look graceful -
Every Sari has a story of its own.
The vision of a designer springs up on me and unfolds the story.
I come in many forms
In order to improve each form
I created jobs for many
Each province in India has its own style -
In Gujrat & Rajastan I became famous by the name:
Bundhani & Kotadona
Lucknow is known for chikan work
In Bernares as Banarsi Sari
Tamil Nadu has Kachniparam
In Mysore silk & cotton rules
In Bangladesh Jamdani, Pabna is my name.

I have been around for centuries
In every decade I became more beautiful -
First my grandmother wore me
Then her daughter
Then her daughter's daughter
I may come in different versions
I always maintained my Name Sari
As I kept on improving myself many followed me
Jewelry, purse, shoe & shawl joined me
I am glad I am a Sari
I became a source of income for many
I was born & brought up in India
I flourished in other countries

On the runway whether it is a white, black, or brown woman -
I look good on everyone

I am the Pride & Joy of

Today I have Global recognition for that I am thankful -
I am happy that I am a Sari
You became happy to see me -
I am happy that you are happy -

Isn't that beautiful!

And here we are at the Surrey Art Gallery, "all decked out" in our finery, at the opening of the art show in April.

Monday, July 23, 2007

what IS a mother to do?

Further to my little rant about Landmark Corporation i decided to publish my opinions about it. I am sure i will be criticized by people who may have just completed the Advanced Course in July (if they happen to read this Blog), because they will still be on the "high" that this group process creates.

I am hoping that by Posting this information someone out there in the Blogosphere will be inspired to do an investigative piece on "the corporation", because i am not skilled enough to do this myself, and i think there are some people out there who need to be protected from these very aggressive, unethical "salesmen". (because while they claim to be "Educators", i really believe that their main interest is in making lots of money. The fact that some people might get something from this education is incidental).

Some Landmark "curriculum" claims:

$$ The Landmark Forum is the world's most widely acclaimed personal development programme.

$$ Recently, Landmark's work was the subject of two case studies by leading graduate business schools at two prestigious American universities. The first case study focused on Landmark's work with individuals, while the second case study centered around Landmark's work with organizations.

$$ The Landmark method is more like coaching than teaching, more like dialogue than lecture, more like a university case-method of study than learning theories, more like acquiring skills than learning tips, rules and information.

$$ Each year over 160,000 people participate in Landmark's programmes. [hmmmm...multiply 160 thousand by approximately ($500 + $1,000 + ? = plus/minus $1,500) ?$2,4000000? My little hand calculator can't even handle this sum. Boy, i think i want to buy shares in this company!]

$$ Nearly one million people on five continents have participate in Landmark's programmes.

further, "Each day begins at 9:00 a.m. and typically ends at approximately 10:00 p.m.*
the * sent me to the very small print at the bottom of the page which reads: "In locations where The Landmark Forum is being simultaneously translated, the coure will end between 10:00 P.M. and midnight" - The Forum Is Being Simultaneously Translated? - what the ffftt does THAT mean?

Actually, my daughter started at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 12:30 after midnight! - then she still had to travel an hour and a half to get home!
The back of this glossy 7-page (8 1/2 by 11) brochure lists their corporate headquarters as San Francisco with offices in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Bangalore Bombay, New Delhi, Tel Aviv, Nagoya, Osake, Tokyo, Mexico City, Nairobi, Amsterdam, Auckland, Wellington, Cape Town, Bucarest Singapore, Bangkok, London Arizona, California (Los Angeles and Newport Beach) Sacramento San Deigo, San Jose Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, Detroit, Minnesota, St. louis, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Cleveland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Dallas, Houston, Utah, Virginia, and Seattle.

After my daughter's participation in "The Forum", i was somewhat concerned, but when she told me that she did not really want to attend the Advanced Course (in July) i decided that i did not have anything to worry about. But she said, "oh well, as i have already paid for it i guess i should go [she had put down $750, and her dad had loaned her the rest" - $250]- By Sunday she was "hooked" again and behaving in a really hyper, slightly manic, totally weird way, and talking gibberish.
I went into panic mode and phoned my sister, several friends, and my neice. My friend said i have to let her learn her lessons the "hard way", my sister said there really was not much i could do, after all, she is 24 and supposedely an adult, one friend said she totally understood that i want to protect her, and my neice told me she had a couple of friends who have become "Landmark Junkies" (my term) and when they phone her at 3:00 in the morning to "be complete" with her she just laughs at them.

These "Landmark Junkies", are tolerated but disliked by people who have not done the Landmark Education courses, and are really annoying because people cannot understand what they are talking about, and they are always trying to "enroll" their friends and relatives.

I was really concerned because i did not want my daughter to alienate her boyfriend, friends and relatives, and i felt very strongly that the Landmark Corporation is mis-using neurolinguistic programming techniques.

So i went to the Internet and found a mass of literature about Landmark, some in support of Landmark, others not.

Here are some sites you can visit if you are interested, and i highly recommend that you do, just in case someone you know is thinking about spending money on these courses.

>>The Process and Ecology of The Forum

Quoting from Charles Denison: The Process and Ecology of the Forum: "If you play according to the rules, you can expect big results from The Forum. If you don't. ' may still get the result, but you forfeit your right to expect it.' In other words, cooperative participants can expect to bear the fruit of "The Promise of The Forum." Unfortunately, the promise is not readily identified, and none of the subjects seemed able to quote it. There are a number of handouts which document the promise, albeit none of them represent the definitive statement on the subject. The ones the researcher has on file include:
* The promise of The Forum is to empower you in the face of the risk that life is
* A breakthrough in relationship to yourself and the world around you
* A breakthrough in personal efectiveness
* A breakthrough in the practice of excellence
* A breakthrough in the art and science of achievement

Perhaps the most comprehensive statement of "the promise" is the one written on the board during the training:


further; "...In the informed consent packet (which arrives in the mail) registrants have been notified of the required promises and the recommended promises they will be asked to make. 'We are asking you go give your work and to keep your word, specifically to make certain promises and to keep those promises you made, during the entire presentation of The Forum..."

Required promises (paraphrased):
> When you wish to speak in The Forum, you must raise your hand and be called on by the leader. Then you must take a microphone and speak into it. You also promise not to talk to others during the sessions.

> Always wear your name tag "in a visible place." [i recall now that when i attended the last presentation a "volunteer" at the door stopped my daughter because she could not see her name tag]

>Do not bring tape recorders, cameras, reading materials, busy work, or food to your chair. Also, you need to promise not to take any notes.

> Practice confidentiality, knowing that absolute confidentiality can never be assured. (In other words, you must agree not to identify other trainees and their issues outside The Forum, but you must also realize that no one at Landmark can guarantee that your identity will be kept confidential.)

> Read and sign a legally binding statement of copyright and no resale, a document which declares that every concept and activity taught at The Forum is the property of Landmark Education, and that you will not repackage and sell it for financial profit. (One may not go out and produce thier own Forum training) [my comment: well, that is pretty standard]

> Read and sign an informed consent (document) in which you confirm that you are healthy and that you understand the The Forum is not any kind of psychotherapeutic treatment program. This document included question about your history of psychiatric hospitalization, current psychotherapy, and your use of psychotropic medications.

Then there are the recommended promises:

> That you not take any drugs or medications, including aspirin and alcohol, except those which are prescribed by your health practitioner. Caffeine and nicotine are allowed.

> That you stay awake and alert during the sessions.

> That you be present in The Forum during all the sessions. You are allowed to go to the bathroom anytime: if you do so, however, 'you forfeit the right to expect any result from your participation' ("I was reminded of this by the doorkeeper who greeted me on the way to my first bathroom break" - Charles Denison)

We all knew all this before we entered The Forum room, since we had all been mailed packets which informed us of these promises. No big surprises. But getting throught he discussion of, and agreement to, the promises took well over an hour....It is somehow obvious (to me, at least) that the leader has heard every complaint many times before.

"What if somebody has hypoglycemia and needs to have a little food at their seat?"
>"oh. do you have hypoglycemia?"
"Well, no."
>"Next question, please."

Some of the discussion comes in the form of a challeng:

"All this seems like mind control or something, like you're just trying to control us. Like we're being deprived of food and sleep. Like we can't even go pee if we need to: can't talk to anybody."
>"Do you have a question about the promises?"
"It just seems ridiculous, weird."
>"I got that. Do you have a question about the promises?"
"No. You know, that's just how I feel about it."
>"Are you agreeing to make these promises?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess so."
>"Yes or no?"
>"I got it. Anything else?"

Conditions Created by the Promises

The researcher and several interviewees recognized a great deal of resistance to the Promises as they were being presented during The Forum. After The Forum, there was a shift in attitude among some participants about that process - that it was actually "the work" of the Forum, as opposed to an inappropriate delay in getting The Forum started.

The promises are an integral part of the structure of The Forum, and they are a means by which this unique experience is facilitated."

The foregoing is just a brief summary of the document entitled "The Awareness Archives which is headed up by this disclaimer: {"This copyrighted article is provided under U.S. COPYRIGHT ACT 108.Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libaries and archives. The archives are provided for your private study, scholarship, or research; and any use you make of the materials must fall under the Fair use exception of the U.S. Copyright Act." - I went to both the copyright links but could not get connected to read, so i'm hoping that quoting some of the document and giving credit to the author is ok for me to do.

I ignored my friend's advice who said i have to let my daughter "learn the hard way". My reasoning being is, i'm still her mom, and it is still my job to do what i can to protect her. Why should i let her give her hard-earned money to a bunch of slick salesmen? I know that i have no control over whether or not she does give them her money to take the courses, but at least i have some responsibility in letting her know what i myself have learned about "the corporation".

But having said that, any feedback would be welcome.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sunday July 22: Addendum to: Time for a New Post

I've been "schmoozed"... [thank you Sylvia!]

Sunday, July 22, and the team i was rooting for, The Argentinians, won the U-20 FEFA Gold, hurrah!! ....

...and then more good news! hieresschild has kindly bestowed an award on my Blog! What a lovely surprise. Check out her blog [i don't know how to add a link within the text here, so just go to comments and click on her comment there, ok?] where she has a good definition of "to schmooze".

So now i have to nominate 5 people to pass this award on to. My first thought was Capt. Picard's Journal, but i think he already has recieved that award. This is not going to be easy, to limit it to 5, as there are so many good Blogs around.

The criteria for my choices is based on content that i find interesting, ones that have a variety of topics, as well as lots of photos, and ones that have up to 10 (or more) commentors. So here they are:

**They Call him James
**Smalltown RN

and i had to add
**alan (for those who remember his fabulous Saturday's Recipes - you have to agree that those were the BEST!)

So, check out their sites by clicking on the links listed over there at the right, above the photograph of Maddie.

There are actually a few more that i would like to add, but perhaps i could invent my own Award. So until then, there you have it

I'm feeling pressured to put up a new Post. Isn't that odd?

The trouble is is that i'm "in a mood"-- and i have too much to do and i don't know where to begin. I'm kind of "down" today, and i'm not sure why. Last night i went to the Landmark Forum with my daughter.

I told her that i had absolutely no intention of sighing up. I had given her something to read that i had found on the internet. It was a critique of the Landmark Education Corporation and my daughter told me the person who wrote it did not know what he was talking about. We argued on most of the skytrain trip into downtown Vancouver, and i said, "I think i should just get off the train and go home, i don't feel like argueing about this". She said: "i'm not argueing" (psssthtst, could have fooled ME!). I told her that i might consider joining in about a year's time, once i saw that it had made a material difference on her life. She got really mad when i said that. I can't even remember what she said, but she had an answer for ever doubt i had, and no matter how illogical her answers sounded i was unable to have an intelligent discussion with her.

Anyway, by the time we got off the train and found a "starbucks" (i must be addicted to THAT brand!) i felt a bit better. She declined my offer to buy her a beverage, so i am not sure if she was just being considerate of my financial impoverishment, or if she was cross with me...oh well, whatEVER...

[I had no idea i was going to post about this....but now i'm on a roll, i guess this will be my new post]

There were not a lot of new people at the Landmark Office, and it seemed that most of them had done the courses. I was surprised at the lack of "special" name tags which i noticed at the last presentation i had attended. There were also about 16 people sitting at tables where registration would take place.

My daughter wanted to go to this presentation because she had heard wonderful things about the speaker.

I braced myself, expecting to be bombarded by shouting, "invitations" to sign up, repetition of "I get it", and the crowd responding to the speakers' promps. I was disappointed and pleased at the same time.

The meeting was called to order at about 7:15 (we had rushed to get there by the start date of 7:00) and although my back was terribly sore, and i was stiff all over from the very uncomfortable chair, i found the speaker entertaining and pleasant to listen to. The funny thing is if he had been the first speaker i heard at the Landmark Forums i might have been persuaded to join.

The speaker talked for about 10 minutes, briefly outling the program, and then said, "Well, there's not much more to tell you, so you can either sign up now and then go and see a movie, or go out for a beer, or we can waste more time talking about it" (something to that effect).

I was alarmed however, when he said that Landmark "Education" is working on getting the program into the schools. (oh well, buyer beware i guess).

Another half hour dragged by, and no one made any move to sign up, so he repeated the above statement. He said you have a choice, using the analogy of renting a vidio movie, if you don't like the movie you can press the OFF button and do something else instead. I turned to my daughter and said: "I'm bored, and i am not going to sign up, so i think i will go home, are you going to come with me?" She gave me a surprised look and said: "Do you want to ride the skytrain by yourself?"

I knew she did not want me to leave, and i did not really want to leave her by herself as i sensed she might be embarrassed if i got up an left, so i stayed. It was not really a huge sacrifice and i did not have anything else interesting to do so i stayed.

At one point the woman sitting next to us jumped up at yelled out "NOW", quite out of context to what the speaker had just said. I kind of chuckled to myself, hoping that my daughter would notice this.

(At her "graduations" from the Forum and the Advanced Course the Leaders had littered their presentations with questions like: "And when do we want to do ______[insert action]", and the graduates would chorus: "NOW!" Then a few minutes later he would "invite" the guests to register for The Forum, or the Advanced Course, he would look around the room to see if anyone was getting ready to stand up, and if there was movement he would stop speaking and point to the back of the room where "volunteers" were waiting to sign up new participants).

Towards the end of the evening, (the session was scheduled to run from 7:00 pm. to 10:00 pm), after it became evident that no one was ready to sign up, the speaker asked for testimonials from the "graduates". They were eloquent and somewhat inspiring, and i felt happy that Landmark had made such an apparent difference in their lives.

Then it was time for us to "share" a "possibility" (just for the sake of exercise) with the person we came with. This is when the "bait" is presented, and more often or not when one might take the hook. My daughter shared some vague thing that i can't even remember, and then it was my turn. I think i shocked her when i told her that i felt that my mom's death is imminent and i started to tear up. She asked me some questions and i blabbered some non-sence about feeling that i would die when she died (i don't know if i really believe this, but of course on some level i will die, in spirit maybe, as we are connected genetically, so part of me WILL die with her - just came to this as i type this). But i really did not want to consider that room full of strangers as "family", and i was really uncomfortable being in this vulneral space, and i struggled to pull myself together, all the while thinking: "i am not going to enroll, i am not going to get sucked in, i do not want to take the Landmark Forum"...

The funny thing is though, as i told her later, if last night's speaker had been the first speaker i had heard at Landmark i might have given serious consideration to joining, but the first two "educators" had been so aggressive and presented such a hard sell that my suspicious were aroused, and my resistance so strong that i am not sure anything will break it down.

At 9:30 it became evident that no one was going to jump up from their seats and sign up, so the speaker called the meeting to an end, and we left, without saying goodbye to anyone. As we walked back to the skytrain I sensed a real air of dejection around her but when i said: "You appear dispondent", she asked, "How do you come to that conclusion?". I replied: "Your body language", so then she went into a dissitation about body-language and how it can mean different things, and she quoted something from the Forum about men in the army who stand at attention with their arms folded because it is comfortable to stand that way. (I did not point out to her that it seemed incongruent that the army would support anything that would bring comfort when soldiers are "at attention" because i realized this was a pre-programmed defence she had been "taught" by this highly monetarily successful Incorporated Company that provides "education".)

We walked on in silence for a little while. She said she was hungry so i suggested that we walk up to Robson Street and see what we could find to eat. The streets were littered with all sorts of interesting people, and the glum mood lifted somewhat as we discussed where we should get a coffee.

On the ride home she assured me that she was very comfortable with her decision not to sign up for the July course (she has something else planned), or the August course (again, she has reservations for something else then and she is not going to cancel) and that there is no date for a November course so she has not put any money down. (so far she has spent $750.00 Cdn., her dad paid the $500.00 for the first course, and loaned her $250 for the Advanced course), and i felt relieved that she had not "invested" any more money until she has had time to absorb what she has learned up to now.

As we got closer to her place i said that i had made a list of things for myself to accomplish today, and perhaps she could phone me and check up to see if i had done them. She agreed and said she liked the idea of us being accountable to each other, and that it would help us get things accomplished.

When i dropped her off she was subdued, and i asked her if she was disappointed that i had not signed up. She said "not really, i know you don't have the money", but i felt very sad, as though i had let her down. I could not sleep so i stayed up until four this morning watching a movie. ("Strangers in Good Company" - it was quite good).

At 11:00 a.m. this morning i tried to phone her but she did not answer, so she is either asleep, in the shower, out, or not answering. I AM concerned that the "high" that she was on after her Advanced Course will not last (i am already seeing signs of this), and that she is in danger of "crashing"...but...i guess i have to just trust the process...whatever that that what will be will be, and get on with my own stuff. I do need to look after myself, get healthy, and start to enjoy my life again.

did however agree to be accountable to each other, as

[this is just, in a nutshell, what transpired last night - there is more, but i am tired now and i have only had one cup of coffee and half a papya to eat, and i am getting hungry]...then i have to get to my little list of things to do, so that when my daughter phones i can say that i have honoured my committment to myself.]
*big sigh*

{{nameste all}}

p.s. note to self: "get a grip, pj!!"

Comments below photo of "ted"

And now for something completely different: Remember to drop by my crafty blog and leave your suggestion in the "name the teddy" contest
click here

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

[Update - July 7th] i have too much to do but still i'm bored today

[photo by pj - 2006]

I don't often get bored, so i don't know what's the matter with me (delayed Spring Fever?). It's a beautiful day in this part of the world, but i'm dreaming of a Hot Air Balloon Safari... as you know the Flighty Four (pinks) have flown off on their adventures, leaving me here to try to complete their travel journals from years back.

[photo by my mom GB]

But, technical difficulties prevail - no printer/scanner...

And weather distracts - sun shiny days...

well, later faithfull (?) readers....

and don't forget to send in your names for "ted"...thanks!

5:15 p.m. same day, more updating: - just saw a HUGE dragonfly buzziang around my balcony! - kool - for me that is truly a sign of summer...

{off topic}

I have to find a name for "Teddy" - Meow has suggested Oscar, and leslie Theodore, but what do you think. Check him out at My One And Only Teddy Blog and submit the Winning Name! [a prize could be arranged].

So far i'm partial to Theodore, mind you i only have two to choose from, and as i My daughter and i will be having a Teddy Bears' Picnic soon, i want to have a selection to choose from. Of course you will be able to vote for your own choice if you like, but you may change your mind when you read other Bloggers suggestions.

Also, what, if anything, do you think about the Prince who gave up his throne for the woman he loved? Let us know by joining in a discussion about The Duke of Windsor...
click here:The Blethering Place

Friday, June 29, 2007


This is my beautiful daughter at beautiful Jerico Beach,(photo by pj) downtownish Vancouver!

Come up and see us sometime; it doesn't rain all the time...

and don't forget to check the Post below for import "Toy-Recall Information"

Join a discussion about The Duke of Windsor...
click here:The Blethering Place

cheers for now,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who's minding the Gates? - Toy Recalls

[a stone gateway in
The Surging Wave Pavilion, Suzhou]

Just a Few examples of recalls of toys


toy pacifiers - nipple can detach from base = choaking hazard

band of watch contains liquid petroleum distillates
1 report of 2 year-old child biting into strap = irritation of mouth and throat

red wagon
small parts can break off: 1 report of child choaking

pool scooter - parts flying off: 9 reports: 3 incidents of facial injuries and bruising

Sesame Street Sun-glasses;
lenses can pop out = choaking hazard

girl's pendant: (sells fo $1.00) high levels of lead
Lead Poisoning is associated with behavioural problems, learning disabilities, hearing proglems and growth retardation.

Pokemon Plush Toys; may contain tips of needles

Bumble Bee Toys sold with Graco High Chairs and mobile entertainers;
26 reports, 5 incidents of choking, 1 incident of throat been scratched when part removed from child's throat.

toy fishing rods: high levels of lead

I started out thinking about doing a brief Post on the lead found in toy trains and the contaminated pet-food and the recent toothpaste scare, and in my search for a photo of the toy train found this site:

When i got down to the end of the page, and 80 recalled toys (most of which are sold in dollar stores), i quit, and decided to simply put up the site for readers to check out for themselves.

manufacturing complex in Hangzhou

Further, in light of the recent news report of children stolen from their homes, and forced to work in some brick factories in China, where they are starved and beaten, and basically treated like slaves, it is time to ask:

Who is minding the gates? -- as well as: Is our own crass comsumerism killing us?

Post Script:
Just a bit of interesting trivia: The most impressive construction in Ancient China occurred under the cruelest emperors, such as the Sui Dynasty Emperor Yang Di, who assumed power in 604, reportedly by poising his father. hmmmm....history repeating itself on a macro scale?

To visit my new site please click here:The Blethering Place

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Don't Worry - Be HAPPY comes the was such a beautiful night last night. i did not take my camera with me when i went out so i could not get a photo of the night sky which was such a vibrant blue; with a crescent moon and the evening star shinging was no surprise to me to wake up to a beautiful sunshiney day! hello all, and please go over to my new sub-blog, "The Blethering Place" (pictured below) and check it out (i have also solicited some advice for a very very minor problem - i would appreciate some feedback)
click here:The Blethering Place

Cheers for now,

Friday, June 15, 2007

not in the mood for photos only...

i feel the need to do a new post, but i am not really in the mood, so here is just a quick fix with some photos...

My tomato seeds sprouted a few weeks ago! - they are bigger now, but i have not taken a new photo yet...

Here is a Fruit Boquette that i made for my friend Lucy who is convalesing after hip replacement surgery. Chocolate dipped strawberries and hearts and diamonds pineapple, with parsely as the greenery, in really nice mug that was meant to be a Christmas present in '06, but which i misplaced.

Friday, April 06, 2007

re-reading "The Return of Merlin"

[this is me at Stonehenge, in case you did not recognize it, in 1980]

i'm re-reading The Return of Merlin" by Depak Chopra which i first read in March of 1996; here is a short excerpt for your reading enjoyment:

"Chapter 3 - Dragonflying

Melchior woke up with a dim, darkened mind. He felt hazy -- or was it just a hazy day? Into his head a soft word entered like woodsmoke: Afire. He stirred sleepily, feeling too heavy to rouse himself. "This is a sleep I could sleep for ages," he half-spoke to himself. But the word-smoke seeped into another chamber of his brain: Afire.

Sudeenly he was wide-awake. Trembling with anxiety, the apprentice knew what the word meant. The tower is on fire. Where had he been? He became aware that he was lying alone in a moist grassy field. The morning sun was warm on his back. Brilliant points of light dazzled his eyes from a blue pond nearby.

How did he get there? Hastily he looked around for Arthur's castle, only to find that looking around didn't work. His neck felt rigid and stiff; it wouldn't bend in any direction by as much as an inch, and his back was as immobile as if he had been tied to the rack. He fought the impulse to panic; instead, the same urgent thought returned, this time clamoring in his head like a brass bell: The tower is on fire!

Using his stomach muscles, which seemed to be working, Melchoir jerked around as hard as he could. He felt a stab of pain as his body twisted perhaps ten degrees, but it was enough. He now saw, hovering in the hazy distance, that his clamoring thought was true. A tower half a league away belched furious black smoke against the sky like a dying dragon.

"Master!" he thought in anguish. He was overwhelmed by an impulse to fly to the wizard's side. To his amazement, his wish came true. He found himself flying through the air, and not with the clumsy hops he was used to from his flying lessons, which as often as not dumped him into a prickly hedge of may or upside down in a pig ditch. He was truly flying, about ten feet off the ground, aimed straight and steady toward the burning tower.

Wherever it came from, Melchiour was too anxious to appreciate the joy of his new accomplishment. "I must go to him or all is lost!" he told himself. "The battle must be over, since there are no soldiers in sight. But why is the tower standing all alone like that? There should be walls and buildings. Where are the pennants and guerdons to signal that the king is inside?"

Above all, however, he wondered why he felt so odd. His thoughts sounded uncommonly strange in his head. "What is this?" he wondered, and the s at the end of this thought turned into a long, droning zzzz. He began to wish that life wasn't full of so many emergencies piled one on top of the other. He could barely comprehend the last crisis before a new one pelted him on the head. Becoming a wizard required the passage of many trials, and he could confess moments when he only wanted to rejoin common mortals in their world.

"And do what?" Merlin would snort whenever he spotted Melchior in one of these sloughs. "Eat toast and get jam on your face? Remember, it's better to be afraid with me than o be happy with them." Melchior wasn't so sure. He had no time for reminiscence, yet in a flleeting image he recalled the face of his grandmohter years ago, smiling and crying at the same time, the day she had smuggled him to the coast disguised in his flowing blue robes. "These fold do not know what you are, magical boy," she whispered mysteriously. "It's not your family's fault. You are a strange wonderful creature, yet they will turn you into a donkey, enslaved in the fields. Even your mother would, but I will never allow it."

He recalled the looming masts of the barkentine at barbor, his grandmother's trembling hands as she released him to the captain, finally to be alone, rocking in the dark as he tried not to cry out for his mother or his soft bed at home.

The Irish sea captian who had taken his grandmother's bribe would not permit the boy to come on deck for fear that the sailors, who were little better than pirates, would attack him. Melchior lay in the hold day after day, suffocating beneath a pile of moldy straw and jute. Once the ship's cook, rummaging for a barrel of salt pork, almost stepped on him, and others must have heard him sob in his sleep, for the crew began to shisper darkly of a ghost that climbed the mainmast and threw burning pitch on the heads of unsuspecting tars.

The stowaway grew sick and soon delirious. The captain held a dirty piece of mirror up to his face. "Look!" he whispered hoarsely. To his horror, Melchior saw that his skin had turned bright yellow, even the whites of his eyes. "Ye're turnin' jaundice on me," the captain muttered, vexed that he might lose the second half of his bribe if the boy died. That night he permitted Melchior to stagger out of the hold so he could stand in the cool sea breeze. The sky was spangled with a banquet of stars, which he already knew by their liquid Arabic names -- Rigel, Betelgeuse, Althazzar -- but gazing upon the distant beacons only made him feel more alone, coldly alone on the wide sea.

The next morning frightened the captain within an inch of his life. He crept down to bring Melchior a flagon of stale water. The boy was on his knees, looking up with a rapturous smile. A faint flow of peach-gold light was ll around him. The captain turned as green as a sick parrot. "Gad! a mad faerie it is," he cried, throwing the flagon behind him as he rushed up the ladder. Melchior noticed nothing, for his grandmother had come to him in a vision. She smiled at him and blew the sacred breath, the baraka, gently in his face.

"You will learn many spells," she said, smiling, "but none greater than this, the spell of faith. Only the wisest know that it is no spell but life itself." From that moment the jaundice disappeared, and Melchior knew that he came from a sorcerer's line.

These recollectionf of the long-ago past were struggling slowly to rise in Melchior's brain, like bubbles caught in honey, when a horrible shudder shook his body. An irrestible terror flooded him, and in an instant, with the life-or-death reflexes of a rabbit feeling the fox's incisors raking his back, Melchior dove to his left in a sharp swoop. He was just in time. A huge, dark mass zoomed past him. Monstrous claws grazed his right side. Melchior expected to feel his heart bound out of his chest in fear, except for some reason he felt as if he didn't have a heart. Strange.
"Safety! I must find safety," he thought. With incredible speed he turned a somersault in midair, hovered for a second like a doubtful helicopter, then dove straight for a round green landing field immediately to his right. The shadow passed overhead. His ears were filled with a loud angry "Kraw!" that almost deafened him. Then as quickly as it had come the danger disappeared. The air fell quiet, and Melchior was clinging to a green landing field with all his might.

Terrified as he was, it began to dawn on the apprentice that he wasn't in human form. The buzzing in his head, his stiff neck, the feats of acrobatic flying that came by instinct -- no, this wasn't him. What was he, then? If the village children had been there, they could have told him immediately -- he was a devel's darning needle, the swift menage of all smaller midges, moths, bees, bluebottles, damselflies, yellow jackets, and the rest of the buzzing clan.

[baby dragonfly - i took this photo last year]

[so i taped a dime to the window to give an idea of the size of the wee insect]

In plainer words, he was the first dragonfly of May. His brilliant bronze-green body dangled airily from a sycamore leaf as he slowly realized his strange predicament. The buzzing clan are not endowed with intellect, so it is no surprise that Melchior could not recall that this day was his birthday, the very morning he was born. He had crawled out of the small blue pond when the dawn light first slanted on it, wrapped in crumpled moist wings that feebly unfolded to dry in the breeze. (Before then, he had spent considerable time underwater as a ferocious dragonfly nymph, one of the terrors of pond life, hiding in the ooze amog the reeds waiting with a greedy pincer mouth to gobble up a passing minnow, tadpole, or anything else. But of this Melchior remembered nothing.)

The apprentice had no way of guessing that he had been put under a protective spell by Merlin after the battle for Arthur's kingdom was lost, transforming him into a minute dragonfly egg with its seed of life sleeping inside. Heedful to kill all magic and smash it to ruins, Mordred had blasted the castle to rubble and wasted the surrounding fileds with fire, yet the infinitesimal egg was borne safely over the terror on a breeze toward the river Severn, where it washed for miles downstream (narrowly missing being eaten by a hungry hook-jawed trout) landing in the murky swamps that then circled in all directions.
And there Melchior slept through history. Sleep is a risky business: whe first you crak your eyelids to wake up again, you can't tell for certain how long you've been alseep. It could be twelve hours or twelve minutes or twelve years. In Melchior's case, the spell had lasted twelve full centuries, and two more, until he woke up in a different world, where even the ruins of magic left by Mordred had turned to unremembered dust. What he had spied as Merlin's burning tower was the smokestack of an iron-smelting plant, and the reason he couldn't see the battlements of Arthur's castle was that they had long ago crumbled to mossy rubble that peasants had gathered and taken away to build sheep pens.

At present, now that his maiden flight was over, he was still quite confused. Exhaustion filled his body, and although he hardly felt safe swaying on the underside of a leaf, the gentle rocking, added to the heat of the sun, soon put him to sleep. He had no idea what time it was when he cam around, but long shafts of afternoon light reached under the foliage where he had hidden. Again the imppulse to take off gripped him. I must go to my master. And despite his fear of the giant shadow, which was in point of fact an ordinary hungry crow, he took wing. Only this time he didn't get anywhere. The burning tower was still straight ahead, due east. Yet as hard as he beat his crips, veined wings, he made no headway. If anything, he found himself alling backward, bounced hear over heels by the hard air.

"I've got a beaut!" a thunderous voice calle dout. Melchior fought against what felt like an invisible stone wall. It did not good. With a deafening clap the lid of a jelly jar slammed down over his head, and in two seconds he was a bottled insect, trapped by a gigantic little boy who peered at hi curiously. "Yeah, you are a beaut," the boy murmured, drawing his monstrous face right up to the side of the jar. "Do you fancy coming home with me?" The gigantic little boy who was Melchior's captor started to turn the jar over, admiring the bold black bars on Melchior's wings, whose tracery was as intricate as a cathedral window. The boy's huge pink face was so terrifying that the apprentice was sure he had dropped back in time, to the age of the giants that Merlin had vanquished as a boon to humans." ...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Does anybody else see anything wrong with this picture?

"Tasty tips for dumpster dining" shouts the headline, "FEEDING THE HOMELESS: Pamphlet offers advice to binners on how to find the best meal" article by Elaine O'Connor and Peter Severinson (Staff Reporters)

This newspaper article appeared in The Province on Thursday, July 6, 2006 and got buried in my office. I have been meaning to Post about it since then. In part the article reports: "A support organization for the homeless is giving out tips on how to dumpster-dive for food. Dumpster-diving is an "important way for people to access food in Grandview-Woodlands." the Grandview-Woodlands Food Connection coalition says in a pamphlet funded in part by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. [HEALTH Authority - can you believe it]
It continues: "James Brookes (pictured above) agrees. He gets most of his meals out of the garbage and says it's better than the free food at most shelters. The sheer number of binners is the biggest challenge, Brooks said. Yesterday morning he got lucky, spotting a store worker throwing out a bag of day-old doughnuts. He also found a box of Pop-Tarts past their expiry date and two yogurt cups. ... 'You more or less have to smell-test it,' Brooks said, stuffing the plastic cups into his vest pocket... For Brooks, dumpster-diving is a choice, not a necessity. 'I won't eat at the Salvation Army', he said. 'Too many people going through the line, [portions] aren't all that big, and it usually tastes like shit.'
hmmmm....last week i was driving my daughter home and we saw a huge rat running accross the road, and last summer we had to get the Pest Control guy in to get rid of a swarm of rats living behind our building. We also had to plug up the bins to keep the rats out. Almost on a daily basis we have dumpster divers rummaging around in our bins, even tho' we have posted "no trespassing" signs and on one or two occasions phoned the police to come and chase them away. I once saw a man eating right out of a bag as he and his buddy undid the big black plastic bags to root around in them and remove what they wanted, leaving the rest strewn all over the place. I told them to get out, but they just hurled obsenties at me. I just shook my head and sighed, recalling that the bag i had just thrown in the trash was filled with my cat's used Kitty Litter that i had just cleaned out of her box! Not to mention all the other used bathroom items and moldy kitchen stuff that had probably been sitting there for the past few days.
So when i read that "The coalition's Connecting the Dots brochure lists food banks and sources of free meals, and offers advice on the best ways to salvage from dumpsters." i was furious! AND further, "About 1,000 brochures - targetting low-income, immigrant and homeless resiidents - were printed in English and Spanish and distributed last week to centres such as the Multicultural Family Place, MOSAIC and Britannia. The project received $15,000 from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority as well as funding from VanCity, The Vancouver Foundation and Simon Fraser University." Tring Tring....answer the Clue Line fellas, IT'S GARBAGE! ...sheesh!
In a time when we are seeing the comeback of polio and tuberculosis, not to mention new and unknown viruses that mystify health authorities, this is the best solution that an intelligent group of individuals can come up with to solve the problem of feeding the poor.
It is DISGRACEFUL that $15,000 + has been spent to encourage people to engage in such a shameful and potentially dangerous activity. People who for the most part already have compromized immune systems should not be rummaging around in garbage bins, for the most obvious of reasons.
Even as i write this, i sit and shake my head...and i think about the rate and how they were exterminated, using rat poison, causing a horribly slow and painful death, and i wonder if they had contaminated the food in our bin before they died, and then i realize i have not seen one or two of "our regulars"... and in particular the one thin, dirty man who i saw sitting in the bin, stuffing a handful of something from one of the ripped-open bags into his mouth. I have not seen him since the summer, and i wonder if he is alive or dead, or lying sick somewhere, and i wonder what we can do, in this nation of extreme wealth, to make sure that people don't feel compelled to rummage in the garbage bins of the nation to meet a basic need that most of us take for granted.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Random Ramblings when i don't have a lot of time to spend on a Post

You probably cannot read the print, so here goes:

Coming into God

"be careful in casting out your devils that you don't cast out the best thing in you" - Neitche

libido = impulse to life

(and in pencil below - the Hebrews, particularly, wipe out The Goddess)

so, the image is a compilation of pictures that i like, that "speak to me", alternately making me feel good and then inspiring me to "hold my own truth". I just found it tucked away in another pile of papers, so now it is up on the wall where i can see it, and hopefully it will inspire me to be more creative.

guess who?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Our Best Friend

It's never too late to teach an old human new tricks. Fiorenze Albert-Howard of West Vancouver sent along this little something he saw on the Internet, called "Things We Can Learn From a Dog."

> Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride

> Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy

> When loved once come home, always run to greet them

> When it's in your best interest, practice obedience

> Let others know when they've invaded your territory

> Take naps and stretch before rising

> Run, romp and play daily

> Eat with gusto and enthusiasm

> Never pretend to be something you're not

> If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it

> When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle him or her gently

> Avoid biting when a simple growl will do

> On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

> Bond with your pack

> Delight in the simple joy of a long walk

Saturday, February 10, 2007

"True Love" = Passion, Passion, Passion

"The Moon is in My Heart" by Dwayne Edward Rourke

True Love is irresistible;

True Love moves you;

True Love is the adventure of unexpected things; you have to be brave to accept the randomness of love, be open to the alchemy of love.
True love is cruel, it is blissful, amazing, maddening and frightening, all at the same time; it makes us do crazy things.

True Love is not negotiable.
True Love is full of lust, combined with a deep spiritual yearning.

True Love demands unbridled intimacy. It demands that one surrenders all control, surrender self to the moment, to The Other.
True Love knows no bounds ~~so say i, pj [a.k.a. "dragonflyfilly"]

"Fish gotta swim, hearts gotta bleed" - Molly Ivens (1944-2007)

Soul Merge 5(2005) - graphics by "dragonflyfilly"
Happy St. Valentine's Day Everyone

Neon Love Note - photo by(2004) "dragonflyfilly"
...and love and Light to all!