Earth Day, Environmentalism, Nature

Consider That Dot…

Happy Earth Day!

Earth image
Photo from: Nasa The Martian horizon at twilight

If you look closely at this photo, you will see a tiny bright spot to the left of center. That bright evening star is the Earth as seen from the surface of Mars!

In my inbox this morning, I found an article that included a video of Carl Sagan’s inspiring speech regarding our beautiful home, Earth. This speech is taken from his book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Sagan wrote about the photograph (known the Pale Blue Dot) taken by the Voyager I space probe in 1990, which shows how insignificant our planet is in the vastness of space.

Listening to this talk brings up a lot of emotion — how insignificant our egos are in our tiny world, how vulnerable our home is, which underscores the importance of cherishing the Earth and everyone who lives here.

Watch the video below — it also includes the text of Mr. Sagan’s writing. Let’s do more than celebrate Earth Day once a year — let’s all do as much as we can to preserve our home and cultivate love for all of our earthly denizens.

I have to say that Earth Day snuck up on me this year — granted, I’ve been busy the past few weeks, but I really wasn’t paying attention. I must admit that I have been sliding a bit on “green” living lately (*smiles sheepishly). Oh, sure — I bring my cloth bags on shopping trips and I compost my organics (it’s a city bylaw!), but I find myself slipping back into old habits — such as buying foodstuffs that are sold in plastic containers or wraps, and using chemical cleaners instead of making my own natural ones.

After watching this video, I am renewing my efforts to live in ways that will help my planet and everything on it.

Some resources you may be interested in (this is a small sample of the ideas, tips & advice available on online):
Plastics, Food Packaging & Non-Toxic Living
Join the Fight to End Plastic Pollution
100 Tips to a Plastic Free Life

11 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste Today

Fun & Games, Mindfulness, Poetry

I Went Downtown — TBT

Child's drawing image
Photo: from Pixabay

On my way home today, I noticed some children in the school yard, laughing and singing while playing a clapping game in groups of two.  As their happy voices chanted a rhyming song, I was transported back in time (way, way back!) to my own school days, when my friends and I would spend recess jumping rope to a warble of skipping songs.

This is the song that came to mind as I passed by the kids in the playground. Do you remember this skipping chant?

I went downtown to see Mrs. Brown
She gave me a nickel to buy a pickle
The pickle was sour; so I bought a flower
The flower was dead; so I bought some thread;
The thread was thin; so I bought a pin;
The pin was sharp; so I bought a harp;
The harp played:
Johnny by the ocean,
Johnny by the sea,
Johnny broke a bottle and blamed it on me.
I told Ma,
Ma told Pa,
And Johnny got a lickin’, so hahaha!
How many lickins’ did he get — 1, 2, 3, 4…


Mindfulness Thought

The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.
~ Unknown

Art, Cats, Poetry

A Cat, A Comics Artist & A Haiku

Cat Image
Phoebe’s Portrait

Last year,we contributed to the Kickstarter project Furr: A Comic Anthology About Cats. This project was the brainchild of Alex Park, the founder of Tabulit, an online publishing platform committed to building a creative economy for indie webcomic artists and providing a platform for comic lovers to read and subscribe to a range of comic genres.

As part of our contribution to the Kickstarter campaign, we were entitled to receive an original portrait of our cat done by one of the artists featured in the anthology, along with a printed copy of the anthology.

After looking through the artists, we decided to choose to have our cat’s picture done by Ross Brownell-Dupont. Ross is a talented illustrator and comics artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art & Design. He works in ink, watercolour and pen.

A few days ago, we received Phoebe’s portrait in the mail — we were so excited! Ross’ work delighted us — we couldn’t have been more pleased. What do you think? Isn’t she beautiful? And we think that Ross captured her character perfectly.

If you are interested, Ross is available for commission work. You can reach him at

If you want to read some excellent webcomics, check out Tabulit — you can even read my daughter’s work there!


Hey! I haven’t forgotten that it is Haikuesday! I composed this little poem for my lovely Phoebe.

Cat, you calmly sit
staring with determined will
a bird trills a note

Beauty, Poetry

A Little Poetry on Sunday Night

Magnolia imageThe hour is late on this Sunday evening — time to get ready for sleep. It’s quiet, I’m yawning and looking forward to slipping under the covers and drifting into dreamland.

I have been thinking about poetry a lot these past weeks — it is National Poetry Month, after all! I have been remembering the poems that I read and loved in my younger days. I used to read quite a bit of poetry back then. Hmm… maybe it’s time to get back to this lovely art form.

I’m interested to try some of the trending poetry books out now — Milk and Honey, and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur or The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Poetry sure seems to be in vogue these days!

But back to my reminiscing. I was remembering the poets I used to read: William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Blake, Carl Sandburg, Christina Georgina Rossetti, e. e. cummings and Emily Dickinson — and thinking about the emotions and thoughts that their poems evoked. So many beautiful poems… some simple and easy, others requiring deeper probing. All of them beautiful in form and sound.

Here is one of my favourites. I think it is appropriate for this time of the year!


Pink, small, and punctual,
Aromatic, low,
Covert in April,
Candid in May,

Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll,
Next to the robin
In every human soul.

Bold little beauty,
Bedecked with thee,
Nature forswears

~ Emily Dickinson


Mindfulness Thought

Sleep is the best meditation. ~ the Dalai Lama

Parks, Poetry

Hello, Spring!

Hyacinths image
The air is filled with the sweet fragrance of hyacinth in bloom!

What better way to welcome Spring, than to take a stroll in a beautiful park? Bear Creek Park is one of my favourite places to walk. Nestled in a wooded area of Surrey, and adjacent to the city’s lovely art centre and theatre, Bear Creek is a year-round destination. Along with a playground, pavilion, sports oval and a privately owned train and mini golf attraction, this gem of a park features resplendent gardens with plant displays that include greenery as well as seasonal flowers.

The gardens are especially gorgeous in the spring and summer when the plants and flowers are at their showy best. But it is lovely to meander through the paths and across the little bridges that overlook the creek any time of the year. Right now, the gardens are awash in vibrant colours and heady scents as the plantings confirm that spring has arrived!

Creek View imageAt the entrance to the Japanese plant display, stands a large piece of raw granite known as Poetry Rock. This art installation, part of the City of Surrey’s civic collection, is engraved with the poem — Mere Water am I — written by renowned Korean-Canadian theologian, Dr. Rev. Byung Sub Van.

Poetry Rock imageThe poem is inscribed on the rock in both English and Korean and symbolizes the universal theme of water in all its forms and pays homage to cultural diversity. Read the English version below:

Mere Water am I

Becoming vapour
rain drops
Mere water am I

Drop by drop
making streams
flowing to oceans
Mere water am I

Filling a cup for the thirsty
moving factory machines
washing worker mops
then discarded
Mere water am I

Clinging to evening grass
soaking daylight soil
blood of tree roots
seeping deep into earth
buried tributary
of an enduring river
Mere water am I

~ Dr. Rev. Byung Sub Van

Fun & Games, Lists, Mindfulness

Lucky Number 13

Black Cat image
Photo by Kaboompics from Pexels

It’s Friday, the 13th — are you worried about your misfortunes on this unluckiest of days? You broke your favourite mirror, spilled salt all over the counter and sneezed before you left the house. And, to make matters worse — you OWN a black cat!

Why not turn your bad juju around? Here are 13 superstitions that may bring Lady Luck’s good fortune and set you on your way to happy, carefree LUCKY days!

Good Luck 13 Ways:

  1. If you see a penny on the ground, pick it up! You will have good luck all day long!
  2. Don’t get freaked out if a frog comes into your house — that’s lucky!
  3. Ladybugs are cute and friendly and it’s good luck if one lands on you.
  4. Feeling unlucky? Try looking at the moon over your right shoulder — it will bring you good luck.
  5. If you want to be very lucky, try looking for a four-leaf clover. These type of clover are extremely rare — but keep looking — you’ll be the luckiest person around!
  6. Wearing your birthstone is said to bring good luck. (If you don’t know your birthstone, click here to find out)
  7. If you’ve spilled the salt, don’t panic — just toss a pinch of it over your left shoulder. Problem solved!
  8. Your wish will be granted if you wish upon a falling star.
  9. Carry a rabbit’s foot with you for luck.
  10. It is good luck to wear your clothes inside out. Who cares what people think?
  11. If your right palm is itchy, you’re in luck — you’ll soon be in the money!!
  12. Cross your fingers for luck (everyone knows that, right?!)
  13. Knocking on wood always wards off bad luck!

If you’re feel especially unlucky or if you think that someone has put an evil spell on you — don’t despair, simply spin around seven times in a clockwise circle! Spell breaker!!


Mindfulness Thought

Learn to be lucky! Some experts believe that you can learn to maximize your good fortune. Practice these four principles of luck and see if your kismet changes:

One: Make the most of your chances
Two: Listen to your intuition
Three: Expect the best
Four: Think positively

For more, read this article on Mindfulness and the Luck Factor 

Book Reviews, Thoughts

Alif the Unseen — A Review

Photo James Douglas on Unsplash

In her fabulous debut novel, G. Willow Wilson, weaves a magical story that blends elements from mystical middle Eastern folk tales from the Islamic Golden Age with the 21st century cyberworld of hackers and bots.

Alif the Unseen is a wild, exciting and sometimes terrifying tale that takes place in a fictional Arab Emirate that sits at the juncture between our earthly world and the supernatural domain of the Djinn.

After an ill-fated romance, Alif — a brilliant hacker — is relentlessly hunted by a government internet censor known as the Hand of God. Alif is joined in the fight against the Hand, by his devout neighbour Dina, an elderly imam, an American convert, a co-hacker who is also an Arab Prince, a roguish Djinn, known as Vikram the Vampire and various other denizens of the “Empty Quarter”, the demonic realm of mysterious creatures, ghosts and spirit beings.

Combining politics, modern technology, sorcery and middle eastern theology, Wilson builds an enthralling world where anything can happen and nothing is as it seems. Part Arabian Nights, part thriller this book takes us to that place where the veil between the visible and the unseen has separated — and we are thrown into the rift. A rollercoaster ride of darkness, magic, fantasy and reality. A story that illustrates the value of faith, the power of love and the strength that comes from believing in oneself.

Alif the Unseen was a thoroughly enjoyable read: funny, clever, quirky and thought-provoking. Read it!

Meditation, Poetry

Zen Cat

Cat sleepingIs there anything better at living in the moment than a cat?

As Eckhart Tolle says, “I have lived with many Zen masters, all of them cats.” I  believe it — I only have to observe my own kitty to see that this is true.

She can sit for hours on the window sill, watching the world outside — gazing in stillness as the breeze stirs the grass, or a bird hops by searching for worms. She contemplates the moment, completely absorbed in the scene unfolding before her.

Then she will get up and stretch — a full body, yoga stretch from the top of her head to the tip of her tail, she will stretch every muscle, taking her time to be in the moment.

She does not care what I think — she is content to just be. She eats when she is hungry. She does not judge. She does not worry and she sleeps wherever she finds a cozy, warm spot. She exudes peace and contentment.

I think I can learn a lot from my cat.


A Sphinx

Close-mouthed  you sat five thousand years and never let out a whisper.
Processions came by, marchers, asking questions you answered with grey eyes never blinking, shut lips never talking.
Not one croak of anything you know has come from your cat crouch of ages.
I am one of those who know all you know and I keep my questions: I know the answers you hold.

~ Carl Sandburg

Poetry, Things to do

Cherry Blossom Walk

Cherry Tree WalkIt’s April and that means that it is once again time for the Vancouver International Cherry Blossom Festival. This year it runs from April 3 to April 29, 2018. One of the long-standing events promoted by the Festival, as you may know, is the VCBF Haiku Invitational, which is open for submissions until June 1, 2018.

Once again, on Haikuesday and in honour of the Cherry Blossom Festival and National Poetry Month — I share with you, my spring haiku:

Fragrant blossoms sway / Subtle perfume wafts in air / A soft pink carpet

Mindfulness, Poetry

Sunday Contemplation

Water ImageAnother week has gone by — and I was searching for a beacon of hope, something to soothe my soul and bring a smile to my face. A reprieve from the tragedy, the nastiness and the grimness that is so prevalent around us these days.

I am always uplifted by heartwarming stories about the kindness of strangers, the courage of ordinary people and the many acts of gratitude that circulate around the globe. Stories about the beauty of humankind, simple acts of love and everyday heroes fill me up. Luckily, there are many such anecdotes around, easy to find with a quick search.

Here are some examples I found this week — I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Song is Poetry

Angel City Chorale is a Los Angeles choir that boasts over 160 singers with an expansive repertoire that includes music from classical to pop and everything in between. The choir was started in 1993 and is known not only for its music but also for its good works. Their motto is “Building Community One Song at a Time.” Find out more about this group.

Watch this YouTube video of their performance of Africa. Oh, how I wish I could sing like this!

Poetry in Motion

I love flashmobs and a few years back it seemed as if people were gathering every week to put on a mass dance or sing-along. These days, flashmobs aren’t as news worthy, but I love watching them and would LOVE to be in one. In the video below, watch these amazing students as they perform a group dance at a mall in Liverpool.

Comic Relief

In this last video, members of the New York City Ballet perform an excerpt from The Concert, a lighthearted comic ballet by Jerome Robbins. These talented dancers prove that even missteps can be beautiful, poetic movement.


Mindfulness Thought:

Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it. ~ Sharon Saltzberg