Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee this weekend, you might notice I have not shown up until Monday morning. No real impediments kept me from meeting my own deadline here. I have just been feeling spring fever. I have been particularly lazy on my blog, although I did manage a short piece of fiction this week. After my quick trip to Tempe and Scottsdale last week I started to shop around on air bnb for other wildflower destinations. I told myself I would fit in one more photo safari on this exceptional rain year when I am finished preparing my income taxes. I found some excellent options near Anza Borrego, California, where there is a gigantic super bloom happening now. It is very tempting to just pick up and go, but I do need to consider finances.
My vacation and photo shoot quickly turned into a spa staycation when a surprising turn of events changed my financial picture. The cheap knock off vibration platform I have been enjoying daily kicked the bucket. This was distressing because I am now addicted to using it, and must replace it with one that will not break after two month’s use. I read reviews and did more research than I did the first time, including calling an old friend who is a vendor of the Power Plate brand. The superior quality as well as the warranty convinced me to order a Power Plate platform. It will arrive tomorrow. I have a new appreciation for it, and see it as a good exchange for a short vacation. This will contribute to better health every day. I have become accustomed to the convenience of using it whenever I want at home. The wildflowers will have to wait. I have invested in my home spa gear and my every day pleasure. This investment will pay off in the future.
We are still finishing the ruby red grapefruit, and Bob brought home two cases of mangos from the produce distribution in the neighborhood on Saturday. He arrived as they were leaving, and wanted to get rid of extra tomatoes and mangos, so he took six cases of tomatoes, and two of ripe mangoes. They are in perfect condition, so I was roasting and simmering stroganoff and soup yesterday. I still have many tomatoes, so today I will set up the food drier to take care of more of them. I will make a batch of mango chutney and some salsa today too. I love the smell of chutney while it simmers. Please help yourself to fruit to go. We are overstocked once again.
If we were having coffee I would ask you to enjoy the scent of the lemon tree blooming in the back yard and the pink jasmine and white roses blooming in the front. The perfume of spring is heady and floral. It is warm and sunny. We cleared out all the wood from the garage, not expecting to need another fire in the stove this year. Tell me how your writing has been going. I hope you are not on a lazy streak like I am. This is not writer’s block. This is plain old procrastination. Do you suffer from that? It seems like after I miss one day of blogging it is easy to skip another. I need to jumpstart that writing engine and get in gear. Thanks for sharing stories and digital beverages this week. Pardon my tardiness, please. I will work on that for next week.
If you would like to connect with a group of talented diverse writers, check out Nerd in the Brain, our gracious hostess.
The excursion lasted for months. The tedium had begun to take it’s toll on the crew. Provisions had run low, and the boring meals of salt cod and oatmeal were getting on everyone’s nerves. The search for the shipwreck had turned into a nightmare. Now lost, after the GPS was washed overboard in the storm, they wondered if this island would be their final resting place. Landing on an uninhabited island, they questioned who had built the pillars on the beach that were now in ruins. They surveyed the beach and the inland for signs of human occupation, but found nothing more recent than the ruined pillars of stone. They could find no stones of similar type on the island either, which made them speculate that the stones had been brought to the island from another place.
They learned to catch fish in the lagoon and the ocean to survive. They had a fresh water spring to keep them alive, but there was little vegetation. Day to day life was a struggle that created tension and friction between everyone. There was not enough to eat, and there was little hope of rescue since they had no idea where they were. This Gilligan’s Island was all too real for this group who had never seen themselves as survivalists. When they sailed from Bermuda they all wore snappy nautical outfits and hats with matching logos. When the boat capsized in the storm they lost all the extra clothing, and most of them drifted ashore in pajamas and nightgowns. They found themselves without any of the comforts on which they had become accustomed. They feared the worst, but had not been brought up to even know about the worst.
In other circumstances they might have bragged to all their friends back at the club about discovering an island with stone ruins, then learning it was Atlantis. Under present conditions it was doubtful that they would ever see the club or their friends again. They had sunk their vessel out in the channel, and with it, their hopes and dreams. They started making up stories about Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle to pass the time while they slowly perished.
Please join a lively group of writers for stories inspired by today’s photo prompt by Sue Vincent. Read, comment, or submit your own story.
The small section of town known as Old Town Scottsdale includes a park, a history museum, and a performing arts center. The retail establishments are known for western art and Mexican imports. Native American jewelry and pottery can be purchased, as well as contemporary cowboy and cowgirl fashion. There is a popular farmers’ market on Saturday morning, and many bars and restaurants are scattered throughout the area. Many of the businesses have been in the same location for decades. It is a tourist destination for winter visitors, especially baseball fans who come for Spring Training.
I visited recently for a photo shoot capture some architectural and botanical images, and brunch. I stopped at the centrally located information booth run by Downtown Ambassadors to ask a few questions. I inquired about the Mexican food dining options within walking distance. Susan Sentner and her sidekick Joyce were on duty greeting visitors. They were a wealth of knowledge as well as welcoming, warm, and witty. They helped me locate the perfect brunch for me at the Mission, and furnished me with a list of all the public art in Old Town. I had fun swapping stories with these friendly ladies. They greatly enhanced my knowledge of Old Town as well as my enjoyment of it. After my delightful meal I had run out of time to photograph all the public art pieces. I have saved the list and map for a future project when I return for my next visit.
There are volunteer ambassadors to greet and guide visitors at information carts located at both Main St & Brown Avenue and at 5th Avenue and Stetson, seven days a week, from October through May. They are proud of their city and have valuable insights to share with guests. If you go to Old Town make sure you take advantage of their free services to make the most of your visit. They know everything.
If we were having coffee today I would invite you to sit by the pool at my fabulous air bnb accommodation in lovely Tempe, AZ. I am visiting the home of the Sun Devils because I love this town, even though the ASU/UofA traditional rivalry demands that I not. I have no wildcat loyalty, except during basketball season. I am glad to show you around this history filled place to share the reasons I find it so fascinating. I think you will agree that Tempe is worth a visit. We will stop at Tempe Farmers Market for our take out coffee and then take off for the Desert Botanical Garden for a special festive day.
I came up this weekend to attend a big opening party at the Desert Botanical Garden for a new butterfly pavilion. I am dressed in my Tucson Botanical Garden Frida shirt so I can be easily identified as a Tucsonan. I plan to spend the greater part of the day at the gardens, which are extensive and have good wifi throughout the space. I have a reservation to eat brunch at the restaurant inside the garden. This will be the kind of solo travel day that really makes me happy. I can stay as long as I want, which is always much longer than any other person wants to stay at a botanical garden.
Thanks for going to the party at the Desert Botanical Gardens with me today. I was particularly delighted that a group of artists were painting all over the garden. They all had different styes and personalities. It added a wonderful dimension to the already great day. I enjoyed every moment of the time. I took a real camera as well as two iPods, and used them all. I am very pleased with the volume of photos, as well as the quality. I plan to use some for fiction and poetry inspiration in the future. I hope you also had a good time seeing all the wildflowers and cacti in bloom. The desert is a flamboyant place, especially in the springtime.
Let’s take a break in the shade and enjoy some lunch at Gertrude’s Restaurant, inside the garden. I want to hear what is happening in your life. What is happening with your writing these days. Do you have new projects? How is the seasonal change where you live (if you are not at the equator)? I enjoy keeping up with the coffee crowd. If you, gentle reader, want to take part in this digital coffee drinking party each weekend, check in with Nerd In the Brain. Please feel free to read, comment, or submit your own coffee share post here. The group is diverse, worldly, and sophisticated.
Before we leave on the long pilgrimage to our forefathers’ homeland we gather vessels to fill with the water from the magical spring. Although it is heavy to carry on the slippery mountain trails we consider the water to be lucky. It is pure and clear, arising form deep within the earth, filtered through the sandy aquifer, arriving crystal clear and delicious. In the old days there was a superstition about drinking the water to be invited to return. When visitors arrived in the town that were undesirable to the townspeople they were all given beer to drink. The locals believed that once a person drank water from their enchanted spring, they would never leave. They had discovered this the hard way, and wanted to keep their precious resource to themselves. They became isolationists just when the rest of the world was hooking up with transportation, commerce, trade, and immigration. The elders wanted to maintain the purity of the water as well as the people’s thoughts.
These purity campaigns rarely result in a better environment. Somehow the strict rules, the isolation and control of learning, social recreation, and dress customs, had the effect for freezing time. The population survived, but only through sacrifice and very hard labor. They freely allowed anyone to leave, but continued to tell strangers there was no water in town, only beer. After a while the visitors stopped and the population dwindled. The few old true believers still living in the area were now too feeble to climb up to fetch the water from the spring for themselves, and nobody was left to do it for them. The enchantment was now completely wasted on them because it was just out of their reach. It was still flowing copiously as it had done for centuries, but only a handful of people even knew where the spring was.
When the last surviving elder was on his last legs a young girl wandered into town and asked for a drink of water. The old man broke down in tears while asking her who she was. She replied that she was a descendent of someone who had lived in the village in the previous century. She had heard stories about the miracle cures and the enchantment of the spring water that was legendary. She came because she was curious. She had fought through some dense forrest to arrive, traveling alone. She carried with her a copper cup with some inscribed symbols and a name. This cup had once belonged to her ancestor who left the village to live in the modern world. Now her curiosity about the cup brought her to this undiscovered part of her inheritance. The old man saw the cup hanging from her belt and asked to see it. He recognized the clan symbols inscribed on the side, but when he drew the copper close to his eyes he was able to see the name. He overflowed with emotion as he read the name of his own maternal great-grandmother on the cup. This was the last miracle the spring delivered to him. He perished in tears of grief and relief after he showed this youthful distant relative how to find the trail to the spring. When she returned with her vessels full of water, his body had turned to a pile of colored dust. She realized he had been sustaining his own life with leftover magic from the time when he could still climb to the spring to wait for her arrival. He had fulfilled his duty, and spent all of his extra lives. Now the responsibility was hers to share the enchantment of the spring. Her hike back out of the forrest was somber indeed.
This short fiction is written based on the fabulous photo prompt from Sue Vincent. Please join us to read, comment, or submit your own take on this picture.
Today is the last day of #InCoWriMo, International Correspondence Writing Month. I just achieved one of my goals, which was to use all the 37 cent stamps I inherited form my mother in 2008. I had 18 left, and used them on an international package. Now I will be able to use forever stamps forever. I found out about this month by associating with some bullet journal people on social media. They write down and draw in their journals to be more creative and archive ideas for writing. I started the BuJu-ing, but am not very prolific with the journalling. I might get into it, because it is a very valid way to stimulate creativity.
I do make some iPad art, digital style, but have thought for a while the manual side of my skill set has been left to atrophy. Indeed, my cursive writing has become a thing of the past. I will never be able to compete with the pen pals with beautiful handwriting, but pen pals don’t compete. I have found that waiting to see what is in the mailbox as well as composing an artful response has become a real joy. I have just barely made a dent in the card collection with which I started the month. Inspired by my BuJu and calligraphy pals, I have bought some finger color ink and some sealing wax to make my mail more exciting and individual. Some new designer stamps will arrive in the mail soon, and today I purchased some international stamps to keep in touch with my new friends in Canada and England. The handwritten mail reveals more about the sender than digital communication. I have instantly become fond of my letter writing friends. I plan to write to them until all the cards are gone.
I have met artists of various kinds, gardeners, crochet and knitting crafters, a book binder, and many who are into botany and botanical gardens. I mentioned my botanical interests when I publicly listed my mailing address, so I attracted many like minded plant lovers. Now a group has been formed on Facebook for a combination of correspondence and poetry for the month of April. I think I can get behind that challenge also, since I already write 30 poems in 30 days for #NaPoWriMo in April. I might be really cool to write them out and decorate them ..and send them away in the mail. It is really kind of mysterious. I like many retro trends, but am surprised by how much I delight in this one. Do you write snail mail, gentle reader? I am still collecting addresses, so if you want a card..or possibly a poem, in the snail mail, give me your mailing address here. I would never share it with anyone else.
Tune in to the eclipse. Go inward for the answers.
The New Moon is always an intuitive phase. Set the best most hope full intentions because under this New Moon Solar eclipse [today, 959am, Northern Hemisphere ], the tone will be set for the new few months ahead. This is a time to look ahead with promise. This Solar eclipse energy will be intense yet hopeful. The Sun brightens and illuminates. The Moon will be absorbing all the “info” that the luminary has for us. Use this time to get your “download”. Perhaps take a moment to write out your intentions. Your hopes. Your dreams. What are the FEELINGS that you have about this new chapter? What new essence do you need in order to manifest these things? The Manifestation portal is opening with this Solar New Moon eclipse.
Pisces energy is naturally about intuition and reflection anyway. Always in search of deeper meaning. Get into that flow. Think of…
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If we were having coffee I would invite you to once again sit by the wood stove, which has been cranked up for a couple of days. This short cold snap may be the last time we need to burn wood this year. The quick warm up has caused all the trees to go into blossom mode. My peach tree is in bloom, and the apricot and grapefruit are budding up. Since I still had a large crop of ruby-red grapefruit on the tree I needed to act quickly to get them picked. It stresses the tree and the fruit will start to lose weight if I leave it much longer. I picked about 100 pounds, and took them to the farmers market. I am a member of a coop sponsored by our food bank that allows us to drop off our produce to be sold at the coop table.
It is great because small growers who do not produce enough to want to rent their own table use the coop to sell their fruits, herbs, and vegetables. I joined last year when I had too many grapefruit at the end of the season, and think it is a wonderful service to the community. I take extra herbs and citrus that turn out to be more than we can use. Others are doing it to increase income from home gardening. I came back to the market at the perfect time!! Tomorrow there will be a party at a brewery downtown hosted by the Arizona Small Scale Farmers Alliance, a ranger and farmer meet up. This will be a very fun event for me. I plan to attend and find out what is happening in local farmer land. I have also made my plans for wildflower safari to Tempe and Scottsdale in the beginning of March. One of my Air bnb hosts up there has a miniature farm with free range chickens and organic gardens. Guests are invited and encouraged to eat the produce and eggs. That will be interesting to see as well as taste. I want to see what farmers do in Scottsdale.
My trip to Maricopa County will include the opening of a new butterfly pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens for which they are having a party. It will be wildflower as well as citrus bloom season up there, so the sights and scents will be very exciting. On Sunday I will visit the Museum of the Musical Instrument, where I will see the exhibits at leisure the attend a classical matinée concert by the Phoenix Symphony. There are special exhibits about 20th century guitar art, and another about Woodie Guthrie. I could easily spend an entire day there. I am enthusiastically looking forward to my weekend away, not very far from home. I plan to purposely take some botanical/architectural images to use later as prompts for poetry or fiction. There will be plenty of subject matter from which to choose. I am still writing fiction once a week to Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, which gave me the idea to capture a few of my own for future use. April is poetry month and I always use an image with each of the 30 poems, so might as well prepare.
If we were having coffee I would be seriously pushing the grapefruit juice, and sending a few fruits home with you when you go. I want to hear about your week and writing projects. I know many of you are still in winter, and are probably getting tired of it. My early spring farming issues might not inspire much sympathy if you are still snowed in. Think of it this way. Soon you will be able to enjoy the blaze of color and flash of Phoenician spring without leaving home. I will bring it to you on coffee share. I only wish I could transmit the amazing aroma of citrus in bloom. It is sweet and uplifting beyond measure. Thank you for visiting this week. Take some spring vibes home with you.
If you want to join other writers and digital beverage drinkers visit Nerd In The Brain to hook up with stories from around the globe each weekend. Feel free to read, comment, enjoy, or submit a post of your own here.
Jumping along on stepping-stones, making an effort to stay dry, we cross the stream and climb the hill on the other side. Our party had broken up early because a sudden thunder-storm toppled the picnic table and sent the folding chairs flying everywhere. Collecting our belongings and soggy food we ran for cover. We found shelter beneath a railroad bridge that had been abandoned, and was crumbling into ruins.
This was once the busy main line that connected the industrial cities with the farms in the rules countryside. Passengers and freight traveled regularly on this railroad for both commercial and recreational purposes. Many wealthy city folks owned large estates in the country that employed hundreds of servants and maintenance staff. They came out for the weekends to fox hunt and throw lavish house parties. As the aristocracy lost fame and fortune, only the royals could afford such extravagances. The big houses were abandoned one by one. There was no work for butlers or maids, and few servants had other skills to sustain them. Everyone moved away from the area in order to find work or live within their reduced means.
The muddy water rushed down from above, carrying debris and some loose toys and lawn furniture and skeleton remains that had been swept away in the torrential downpour. The waste that society creates floated by in the current. Our history, our ancestors’ skills and dreams, were washed away before our eyes. When the sun came out again our spirits were still dampened. We slowly emerged from our muddy perch to search for our companions. The happy picnic by the brook had become a somber reminder of sudden quirks of fate.
The term fiat justitia (et ruat caelum) means let justice be done (though the heavens fall). In other words, justice is the most important of all things to be done. In our society justice has been left to wither and die. Social injustice has overcome the masses and the inequity of income inequality is taken for granted. The vast majority of the American population has little knowledge of finances or government. They have no political will, so to speak, because the lack the education to discern right from wrong and lawful from criminal. They have been trampled by unjust and corrupt institutions that no longer have legitimate authority. We are in a crisis of ignorance. This volatile time in history will certainly change the world. The question is, will we wake up in time to make a change for the better?
We have been hypnotized to believe that justice is no longer possible. I like what this trippy Irish guy has to say about this. We are our own judges, gentle readers.