Wednesday 28 March 2012

A Short Hiatus

See you at the beginning of May! Taking some R & R!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

CBC Memories: The Forest Rangers

Hey, are you old enough to remember the iconic CBC children's adventure series, The Forest Rangers, which ran from 1963-65? What Canadian kid of that era could ever forget its jaunty opening theme music?

The series had a simple formula (as recapped on the show's fan website):

The Junior Forest Rangers live in a "Never-never land, unmarred by schools or parents, in which the only rules are the rules of conservation." Though the kids always manage to get involved in trouble, there is little violence involved, mainly just threats from wayward adults who put themselves in danger because they didn't heed the advice of the Chief Ranger. In the end, the wrong-doers are usually brought back to the Chief Ranger's (Department of Lands and Forests) office and scolded, but are rarely handed over to the law.

I remember watching this show avidly, cringe-worthy though I'm sure it would seem today. Some things are best left to the rose-coloured memories of childhood, LOL!

And yes, that's Gordon Pinsent as the RCMP officer. The Forest Rangers was his first role in a major TV series.

Monday 26 March 2012

The Feral Cats of Kihei Rent A Car

When in Maui, we always rent our vehicle from Kihei Rent A Car. It's a small family-owned business which leases older vehicles at a very reasonable rate. Seriously, you can save big bucks by renting from them! They also provide a convenient airport shuttle back and forth from their Kihei location, which is great. But another thing which endears them to us is their love of and care for feral cats.

One cat has been sufficiently tamed to come inside and serve as an office manager --

But most of the cats live outdoors, hanging around under the vehicles . . .

. . . or lounging about on top of the vehicles . . .

. . . or just relaxing on the sidewalk. Tail injuries seem to be quite common among feral cats and you can see that the next two are both bob-tailed --

This one was quite young and was the most skittish of them all, although none of the cats would let you pet them. They are, after all, still essentially feral, even if well-fed by the Kihei Rent A Car people.

I took these photos while waiting for the airport shuttle. We counted about a dozen cats. At least, those were the ones we could see! I'm sure there were more elsewhere in the compound.

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Thursday 22 March 2012

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Happy Spring Equinox!

The sacred hare awakens the Goddess Eostre/Ostara from Her long slumber. The northern hemisphere becomes green and fertile once again; we are blessed with the sun's warmth and the earth's abundance.

This is also the time of year when we partake of Holy Communion by ingesting the chocolatey goodness of Her sacred rabbit. Chant the ancient mantra while doing so: nom nom nom!

Now go ye and fulfill your religious duty.

[Artwork: "Spring Equinox" by Amanda Clark of Earth Angels Art, 2011]

Saturday 17 March 2012

Happy Irish Heritage Day!

Many pagans don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day because St. Pat christianized Ireland and quite frankly, we still resent it. "Driving the snakes out of Ireland" is the mytho-poetic term often used to refer to St. Patrick's sometimes forced conversion of the local pagans. Snakes were powerful Druid symbols of energy and spirit.

Some pagans call March 17th Snake Day instead. To celebrate paganism's survival and current revival despite Christianity's best efforts, they wear snake imagery to show that, by Goddess, St. Pat didn't get all of us! Serpentine jewelry, pins and t-shirts are popular choices on Snake Day.

Others call March 17th Irish Heritage Day, preferring to retain and celebrate all the good things about Ireland while not lionizing St. Patrick and Christianity. This is the route I like to go. Irish culture is rich, complex and gives so much to the world . . .

. . . including some light-hearted fun too.

Well, everyone, guess I'd better sign off now and go practice my bodhran! Erin go bragh!

Friday 16 March 2012

The Surprising History of the Bodhran

Carrying on from yesterday's post . . . it's easy to assume that the bodhran is an ancient Celtic drum used by the Irish since time immemorial and indeed, many claims have been made to that effect. But research shows that the bodhran originated and was used in years past simply as an agricultural implement -- a handy tray made of wood and goatskin in which to carry peat or grain. Perhaps it was occasionally used as a drum if loud noise was needed for whatever reason, but that was certainly not its intended purpose.

No, the bodhran is a purely modern musical instrument, first seriously played as a drum in the mid-1960s. When the huge renaissance of Irish music started in the 1970s, Celtic bands like The Chieftans brought the bodhran to prominence. Huge strides have since been made to refine the bodhran's manufacture and drumming techniques. It's impossible now to imagine Celtic music without the bodhran and its distinctively authentic sound!

So the bodhran is not an ancient instrument after all -- but aren't stories always better with a wee bit of the blarney?

Thursday 15 March 2012

My Bodhran

Last summer My Rare One went to Nova Scotia to visit friends. While driving around Cape Breton Island, she bought a large 18" bodhran drum as a surprise gift for me back in Alberta.

A bodhran (baw-RON) is an Irish frame drum played very fast with a wooden tipper. It provides the distinctive rhythms often featured in Celtic music.

The bodhran drumming technique is challenging to learn. And, of course, it takes a lot of practice to become proficient. Luckily for me, I've found an excellent bodhran teacher here in Edmonton to teach me the basics. I'm enjoying trying my hand at this new style (for me) of drumming.

Here's a really short clip of what a bodhran sounds like in the hands of a skilled drummer -- Caroline Corr of The Corrs. Needless to say, I sound nothing like this! But maybe someday?

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Today's Etiquette Lesson

Do you ever have to attend one of those fancy dinners with ridiculously complex place settings? Are you always confused about whose bread plate is whose and which water glass is yours? I used to be. But then someone taught me a great way to remember how it all works.
Just ask yourself two simple questions:
1. Who eats ritzy dinners like this every day? Rich people.
2. What do rich people drive? BMWs.
And that's all you have to remember! BMW = Bread, Meal, Water. BMW is the order in which your bread plate, meal plate and water glass are located in front of you as you sit at the table.
Easy-peasy pumpkin-squeezy!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Free Book!

Remember a couple of months ago I posted a rave review of Travis Erwin's very funny book, The Feedstore Chronicles? (click here)

Well, for this weekend only, you can download a FREE copy of it via Amazon for your Kindle. And if you don't have a Kindle, you can also get a free Kindle app for your smart phone or computer.

What a deal!

Click here to go to Travis's blog One Word, One Rung, One Day where all the necessary links are found!

Thursday 8 March 2012

Happy International Women's Day!

Every year on this blog, I like to celebrate International Women's Day by posting a video of some wonderful KICK-ASS women who live their lives OUT LOUD. They are great role models for the rest of us, showing us how to be brave and be ourselves!

So this year may I present . . . the Advanced Style Ladies of New York! To paraphrase some of their words of wisdom:

Dress up for the theatre of your life every day.

You don't want to look crazy, but look as chic as you can.

Before 80, you lie about your age. After 80, you brag about it.

This video is a trailer for the full-length documentary which is coming out in the summer of 2012. There will be a book too. And there's a blog called Advanced Style where all this madness started.

Thanks to Suzy8-Track of I got stuff on my mind for introducing me to this great video!

Wednesday 7 March 2012

St. John's Keokea Labyrinth, Part 2

St. John's Keokea church was built in 1907 to serve the Chinese farming community of Kula, Maui. The inscription over the front door says "St. John Prayer House" in Chinese.

There's some beautiful stained glass windows inside the small church.

A stylized rainbow is featured in this window. One of Hawaii's unofficial state symbols is the rainbow. It currently appears on all their licence plates.

The front doors have a beautiful geometric design cut into them. Here it is from the inside of the church . . .

. . . and from the outside. Isn't it lovely?

Kula is located "upcountry" near the cattle-and-cowboy towns of Makawao and Olinda. Wouldn't this local art on the side of the church hall be right at home in Alberta's ranch lands near Calgary? Yee haw.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

St. John's Keokea Labyrinth, Part 1

Maui's first labyrinth was installed in 1997 at St. John's Keokea Episcopal Church which is located halfway up the side of Haleakala volcano.

No need to wander around the grounds looking for this labyrinth -- it's painted right on the parking lot! It's the first time we ever drove a labyrinth, LOL!

The labyrinth has kind of a crazy tilt to it because the parking lot slopes downward for drainage purposes. Sometimes I felt a bit tipsy walking part of the perimeter. Whoa!

It was a cool, overcast day when we visited. The air was full of birdsong as we walked the ancient Chartres path, enjoying the lush greenery of rural Maui all around us.

A small donation box is located beside the labyrinth, protected from the elements by a cute shrine-like structure painted in the same colour scheme as the church.

Tomorrow: a tour of the church.

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Monday 5 March 2012

Glow, Little Buddha, Glimmer, Glimmer

Turquoisemoon over at Daily Om made this beautiful terrarium with a lovely Buddha statue in it. There's a battery-operated tea light in Buddha's begging bowl. Neat, eh?

This made me think of MY illuminated Buddha which is plugged into the cigarette lighter of my car. He glows with a serene blue light and keeps my vehicle safe. But this photo doesn't really do him justice cuz he's kinda hard to see, due to the glowing and all.

There . . . is that better?

[Top photo by turquoisemoon. Other photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Friday 2 March 2012

Movie Meme

The last movie I watched was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

So if that movie is now my life story, how fucked am I? Pretty much! I must live in a world of deception and betrayal, silence and lies, violent collateral damage and ugly Cold War architecture.

But on the bright side, Colin Firth is there! And you know how I loves me some Colin Firth.

So how about you -- care to answer the meme? Spill yer guts in the comments! (not literally, of course).

Thursday 1 March 2012

Lion, Lamb, Ramsay

If March comes in like a lion . . .

. . . Ramsay can roar louder!

If March comes in like a lamb . . .

. . . run, little one, run!

Too late!