Tuesday 31 January 2012

Nakalele Hobbitland Labyrinth, Part 2

The Nakalele Hobbitland Labyrinth was constructed in 2006 using the classical Cretan design. Its grassy walls incorporate volcanic rocks and coral. As you walk this labyrinth, you can look out over the blue Pacific, listen to the booming surf at the base of the cliffs and feel the sharp ocean spray on your face. Stay upright in the wind if you can!

A jumbled pile of rocks and grass marks the centre of the labyrinth.

It was a warm but overcast day when we visited. Clearly it had rained not too long before we got there. Luckily the rain held off while we walked the labyrinth. We had to dodge a few muddy spots on the unicursal path though. Just as we do in Life itself.

Tomorrow: why the bleep is it called Hobbitland?

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Monday 30 January 2012

Nakalele Hobbitland Labyrinth, Part 1

Nakalele on the northwest coast of Maui is reputed to be the windiest spot on the island. Getting there requires a rather harrowing drive via an extremely narrow road on the edge of sheer cliffs. Meeting an oncoming car means you must stop and pull over as far as possible on the non-existent shoulder to let it pass. The road has endless switchbacks but often no guardrail between the edge and plummeting to certain death. My Rare One loved driving it. "Why aren't you looking out the window at the incredible view?" she asked as I clutched the dashboard, closed my eyes and turned green.

We were headed to Nakalele Hobbitland Labyrinth, using the rather sparse and cryptic directions provided by the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator.

"From historic Lahaina town take HW 30 north to 'Hobbitland.' At mile marker 38 . . .
. . . park seaside near the orange gate . . .

. . . walk down toward the ocean and voila!"

It's true about the wind at Nakalele. It damn near blew me over a few times!

Tomorrow: walking the labyrinth.

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Friday 27 January 2012

Way Up Yonder in Winnipeg

I don't know if many people remember her now, but Gisele MacKenzie was a popular singer and performer in the 1950s and early 1960s. She often appeared on the TV shows of stars like Jack Benny, Pat Boone, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore and Ed Sullivan.

Gisele MacKenzie was also a true Canadian sweetheart because she was born in Winnipeg and studied music in Toronto before becoming successful in the U.S.

In 1960 on the Perry Como Show, she performed a tongue-in-cheek salute to her hometown of Winnipeg. Every stupid stereotype about the Great White North was thoroughly milked -- endless winter, freezing cold, dogsledding, Indians, Inuit and dancing Mounties. The result is hilarious, I think. It is truly the cheesiest of cheesy tributes.

Unfortunately, YouTube won't let me embed the short video but you can watch it by clicking here.


Wednesday 25 January 2012

Scots 'n Aussies

Today is Robbie Burns Day, the birthdate of Scotland's greatest poet, och aye. And tomorrow is Australia Day, mate! So tie yer kangaroo down, throw another haggis on the barbie and celebrate both festivals together by watching this crazy Australian TV ad. Enjoy!

Tuesday 24 January 2012

My Favourite Hobby

The second meme question I've chosen is posed by Vickie of Aoibheal's Lair: "If you had to choose just one hobby, what would it be and why?"

Hey, how the hell did that get posted? *shakes fist at Her Royal Highness the cat* It's a pack of lies, I tell you!

Actually, blogging is my favourite hobby, not bestiality. I enjoy thinking up things to blog about, finding appropriate photos or cartoons to go with my posts and yammering on and on.

Here's a few truths about the blogging life that I'm sure you will recognize from your own experience as I did, LOL!

Monday 23 January 2012

Year of the Dragon

Gung hey fat choy, everyone! Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

In Western mythology, a dragon is an evil fire-breathing creature which must be slain by a hero (preferably a knight in shining armour on a white steed). But in Eastern mythology, a dragon is a wonderful creature of dynamic energy, prosperity, wisdom and protection. Dragons get the love and respect they deserve in Asia!

What can we expect in this Dragon year? According to Susan Levitt and Jean Tang in Taoist Astrology:

The year of the Dragon is a time of ambition, power, and daring. Events seem as if they are magnified threefold with increased intensity. The energy and vitality of the Dragon year may make some people overly optimistic. A Dragon year is an excellent time to start a business, marry, have children, and take incredible risks. On a global level, expect extreme earth changes, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tidal waves.

Don't forget to exchange a coin with a friend today to ensure good luck and prosperity for the upcoming year! Click here for details.

Friday 20 January 2012

The Long Arm of the Paw

This video is for My Rare One who hates getting tickets of any kind -- speeding, photo radar, parking, whatever. Yet somehow she has managed to accumulate a nice collection of all of them over the years. (*cough* heavy foot *cough*)

If only our cat, Her Royal Highness, would come to her rescue like the fearless feline in this video! Sic 'im, kitty, sic 'im!

(Note: There's no sound on this video. It was recorded by the cop car's dashboard video cam during a routine traffic stop in Texas.)

I swiped this great video a while ago from Caroline's wonderful blog Constantly Evolving -- thanks!

Thursday 19 January 2012

La Barriere Park, Part 2

In 1869, the Canadian government obtained control of the Red River Settlement from the Hudson's Bay Company. The Canadian government sent an English-speaking governor to run its newly-acquired territory. But the French/Native Métis people of the area feared that the government would take their land and treat them badly.

Their leader Louis Riel and his armed men rode out over the prairie to stop the governor from arriving. They built a barricade -- in French, la barrière -- near the village of St. Norbert. The governor was halted and sent packing back to Ottawa. This was the start of the Red River Rebellion.

Louis Riel formed his own provisional government (pictured above) at Upper Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) and ultimately negotiated the Settlement's 1870 entry into the Canadian Confederation as a full province called Manitoba.

The barricading and successful expulsion of the Canadian government's representative is commemorated today in the name of St. Norbert's quiet and peaceful little park. I'd love to go back sometime and walk in its woods again.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

La Barriere Park, Part 1

Three people have recently tagged me with the "Eleven Random Questions" meme so now I am positively swimming in questions! What I'm going to do is answer one question from each tagger in individual posts over the next little while. Yes, I am completely disregarding the rules of the meme by doing it this way but I make my own rules, LOL!

First up, Hannah of The Silence of the Moon inquires "Where is your favourite place?" I have many favourite places, but today I'm going to tell you about La Barriere Park in Manitoba where I used to live.

La Barriere Park is an ordinary little greenspace park located just south of Winnipeg near the village of St. Norbert. It's quiet, natural and secluded. There's a small bridge over a little creek, some BBQ pits, a few picnic tables and a wooded area with walking paths.

I used to go quite often to La Barriere Park with my then-girlfriend, Big Bad Butch, and our cat named Cinnamon Nutmeg. We would barbeque potato packets, wieners and marshmallows. The cat would explore the picnic site on her leash. She loved being outdoors. Then we'd go for a little walk over the bridge and through the woods before heading home. La Barriere Park is a wonderful spot.

The park's name comes from Manitoba history. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Calling All Book Lovers!

This delightful stop-action film called The Joy of Books was made recently in Toronto by Sean Ohlenkamp, his wife and a whole lot of volunteers who spent several nights rearranging all the books in this small bookstore. Original music is by Grayson Matthews.

What a whimsical love letter to books! Kindles and e-readers can't do this, can they? Go buy a book from an independent bookseller today and support your local bookstore!

Monday 16 January 2012

Hunker Down and Find Your Mittens

Here on the prairies, we've been pampered for the past month with beautiful, mild weather. It has seemed more like April than December/January. But all good things must come to an end. We're back in the deep freeze now, with temperatures between -20 and -30°C.

So it's a perfect time to post this delightful video by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Choir. The choir sings suggestions for staying warm set to the glorious music of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana. Watch it full screen for best visibility of the subtitles!

Friday 13 January 2012

Be Not Afraid!

For those who honour the Divine Feminine, Friday the 13th is a lucky day of blessings and celebration. Of course, every Friday honours the Goddess because "Freya's Day" is named for the Norse Great Goddess. But when a Friday also corresponds to the 13th day of the month, it is especially blessed. Thirteen is the sacred number of the Goddess because there are 13 moons or lunar months in a lunar year.

In early centuries, Friday the 13th was given an evil interpretation by the Christian church which was in the difficult process of christianizing Europe. If you can't suppress or eradicate something, demonize it. That was the Church's policy then and it continues today. Tried being a gay Catholic lately?

So enjoy Friday the 13th, everyone!

Monday 9 January 2012

Liebster Blog Award

What a nice surprise -- last week, Jane of Jane's Jewels gave me a Liebster Blog Award!

As Jane explained, "Liebster is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome." Wow! A very nice compliment indeed. So thank you for including me in your list of Liebster Blogs, Jane.

Now it is my pleasure to pass on the Liebster Blog Award to another five dear, sweet, kind etc. blogs. I've picked five bloggers whose blogs I think you will enjoy checking out. Please pop by and say hi to them!

Francie M at A North End Journal

CorvusCorax12 at Eye in the Sky

LaelShine at Soular Sister

Saturday 7 January 2012

Chrystos rodyvsya!

Today is Ukrainian (Orthodox) Christmas under the old Julian calendar. The traditional greeting on this day is Chrystos rodyvsya! *

My Rare One is in Manitoba right now celebrating the holiday with her Ukrainian aunties and cousins. There are so many of them that they have to rent the local community hall just to hold their feast and party. Have a perogy or ten for me, miy malenky tsybulyna! **

This painting of a traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve was painted by the great Ukrainian-Canadian prairie artist, William Kurelek. When I was in Manitoba a couple of weeks ago, I went to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to see a major retrospective of his work entitled William Kurelek: The Messenger. The exhibition is also available for interactive viewing on the web -- if you're interested, click here.

* Christ is born!
** my little onion!

Thursday 5 January 2012

Want to read a funny book?

Travis Erwin, who writes the blog One Word, One Rung, One Day, has just published his first novel and it's a doozy! The Feedstore Chronicles is the hilarious autobiographical story of Travis's own coming of age, but a little embellished with the finest of fine Texas bullshit, of course.

Travis spent his high school years in Amarillo working at Pearl's Seed and Feed for an unscrupulous moral bankrupt named Doyle Suggs. A parade of weird and wacky characters traipsed through the store, including some unforgettable animals as well. Let's just say that after reading this book, you'll never look at bulldogs the same way again. Or pigs or chickens, for that matter.

While the book recounts one laugh-out-loud funny predicament after another, Travis also has a keen eye for the truths and foibles of human nature. Another reviewer has called him "the David Sedaris of Texas." I think that's a pretty accurate observation, but I would throw a comparison to Mark Twain into that mix too.

Anyway, if you need a good laugh, pick up a copy of The Feedstore Chronicles. You won't regret it, believe me! The book is available on amazon.com in the U.S. and on amazon.ca here in Canada.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Paths of the Soul

Laughingwolf recently sent me this beautiful video montage of labyrinths, mazes and sacred spirals set to one of Philip Glass's ethereal minimalist compositions. It's so wonderfully meditative just to sit back, listen and watch these images pass by. Thanks, guy!

Monday 2 January 2012

Zen Cats

Well, after the frenzied craziness of Christmas and New Years, I think we could ALL use a little zen bliss, courtesy of those who know it best. Ommmm! Purrrr!

Sunday 1 January 2012

New Year Resolutions

Sometimes the Universe helps us stick to our resolutions even when we don't want to!

Happy New Year, everyone!