E-H, Holidays

Father’s Day 2014

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

Father’s Day acknowledges and appreciates the important role played by a father in raising the child.

Some say Father’s Day is a very old concept brought to the forefront of modern thought by the efforts of Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Washington State, USA.

There is the archaeological story of a 4000 year old clay card given from a young boy, Elmesu, to his Babylonian father.

Ms. Dodd got the idea for Father’s day in a 1909 sermon on Mother’s Day. Her father raised six children on his own and she started her campaign to honor fathers as well as mothers.

In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson approved of the festival in 1916, President Calvin Coolidge also went on record in support of the holiday, but it wasn’t until 1966 that there was a Presidential Proclamation, made by President Lyndon Johnson, declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

In 1972 Richard Nixon signed it into a permanent national observance. It only took 63 years for it become official.

I have been fortunate enough to raise two children with the world’s best dad. He has always shared equally in the responsibilities of childrearing. He has always challenged our children to be their best, always believed in them, and always been there for them.

I miss my own father and wish he was still here.

Don’t wait to tell your dad how much he means to you. Every year and all through the year. You never know how much precious time you will have.

So grab your neckties, your soap on the rope and those beautiful handmade gifts and let your dads know how much you mean to them.

Or better yet, remember this year Father’s Day falls on Nature Photography Day. Grab a camera and take your dad for a walk.

~ lisa

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North American Nature Photography Association http://www.nanpa.org/nature_photography_day.php
Father’s Day history http://www.fathersdaycelebration.com/

M-P, Writing

The “Write” Tools

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Once Upon a Time…

In the very distant past there was a need to show a thought, to communicate without words, to tally, to map, to represent and thus began a life-long affair with our writing instruments.

From the first mark in the dirt, on the cave wall, the clay tablet, papyrus and so many more mediums right up to the ballpoint pen, people have needed to communicate in a more permanent way than spoken words, in a way that complete strangers could understand.

I write. I collect pens. All types of pens. I play with ink.

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I bring all of this up because it is Ballpoint Pen Day. Perhaps I could write an ode to a ballpoint pen, but I feel more inclined towards a broader scope.

“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

There is some controversy still lingering over the patents of ballpoint pens. Some say the original patent was to John J. Loud on October 30, 1888. However he did not “commercialize” it and his patent lapsed. In the 30 years following, there were approximately 350 patents for ballpoint pins, but like Loud’s never “commercialized.

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” ― Edward L. Wheeler

“Anyone who thinks the pen is mightier than the sword has not been stabbed with both.” – Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler)

See http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/ballpen.htm for a complete history of the ballpoint pen and the rivalries it inspired.

The most acknowledged and commercial patent for the ballpoint pen was filed on June 10, 1943. Thus June 10 is the unofficial ballpoint pen day.

“Pen-bereavement is a serious matter.” – Anne Fadiman

For most of history a “portable pen with its own ink” was merely a pipe dream.

There was the Greek stylus made of metal, bone or ivory made for marking wax-coated tablets.

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Horace and “To hold a pen is to be at war.”- Voltaire

Horace, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson etc. – All wrote without the modern convenience of a writing instrument with its own ink.

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For most of history (since 700 AD) the quill pen reigned supreme.

I have a couple of quill pens (not the real deal, but close enough in looks and function) and some bottles of ink.

It is difficult to wrap one’s mind around an writing instrument which not only takes a long time to produce but also would only withstand about a week’s worth of work.

For something made through so many centuries there was a science as to what feathers to take from which birds. Goose feathers being the most common, swan feathers being the premium pens and crow feathers for fine lines and many others for specific purposes. Fascinating.

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The quill pen was eventually phased out in favor of the fountain pen patented in 1867 by M. Klein and Henry W. Wynne.

Fountain pens had an ink chamber that for a short time would hold an ink supply. Revolutionary.

Fountain pens are beautiful works of art and nibs for them even more so.

Pen design took off in the 1970’s and expanded to highlighters, permanent markers and many more types of writing instruments.

“You want to be a writer, don’t know how or when? Find a quiet place, use a humble pen.” – Paul Simon

Every pen is different and we all have our favorites: the ones that are just right. What is your favorite pen?  What makes it your favorite?

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For all of you writers out there, every now and then take a break from the keyboard, pick up your favorite pen and put it to paper. It’s a different flow, a different rhythm and a way to experience your inner world quite unlike the tap of a keys.

It’s also a great way to break through writer’s block.


“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

A great timeline of all writing implements http://www.ringpen.com/history.html
A very thorough history of the pen http://www.rickconner.net/penspotters/history.html
Pencil History http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blpen.htm
Ballpoint Pen history http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/ballpen.htm
Pen history http://www.ehow.com/about_4577279_history-pen.html

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http://www.fastcompany.com/1284673/ballpoint-pen-day “On this day in 1943, brothers Laszlo and Georg Bíró filed a patent for what’s now one of the world’s most common writing instruments. Others had tried to design a self-inking mechanical pen that rolled on a ball, with little success. The Bírós perfected the design, named it the Birome, and opened a pen shop in Argentina. In 1945, the pens went on sale in the U.S., at Gimbel’s in New York, for $12.50 each ($145, inflation adjusted). The store sold $125,000 worth on day one, and Bic, which bought the patent, has sold 100 billion-plus since 1950. Rolling, indeed. – ZW”http://www.fastcompany.com/1284673/ballpoint-pen-day

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Mythology, Q-U


“If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears.” – Isaac Hayes

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Fossils of roses go back to the paleontological Tertiary Period which started about 70 million years ago. Fossil records of roses go back 35-40 million years.

Red rose = “Love”, “Respect”

The Stonerose Fossil Beds in Washington State have some of the earliest known records of the rose family. http://stonerosefossil.org

Pink rose = “Admiration”, “Joy and Grace”, “Sweetness”, “Gratitude and Appreciation”, “Sympathy”

No ghostly creatures or vampires, may cross the path of a wild rose.

Sadly roses do not grow south of the equator, but they do grow almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

White rose = “Honor”, “Remembrance”, “Chastity” “Innocence”

It is thought that the earliest planting of roses was along the most travelled roads of nomadic humans. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, probably in China.

Orange rose = “Togetherness”, “Passion and Energy”, “Enthusiasm”, “Desire”, “Pride”

Seafoam dripping from the body of Aphrodite as she is born turns into white roses or white roses grew from the tears that Venus wept after the loss of her Adonis.

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Yellow rose = “Happiness,” “Friendship”, Exuberance”, “Joy”, “Warmth”

Red roses come from the blood of Venus (Aphrodite) either when she is helping Adonis or when she pricks her foot while walking through her garden.

Cupid was enjoying the aroma of the rose when he was stung by a bee lurking in the petals. To punish the flower, Cupid shot the stem full of his arrows, and the rose forever after was cursed with arrowhead-shaped thorns.

Peach rose = “Anticipation”, “Hope for the future”, “Modesty”, “Gratitude”, “Sympathy”

Roses, images of roses and petrified rose wreaths have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

Burgundy rose = “Beauty”

“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.” – George William Curtis

The world’s oldest living rose bush is thought to be about 1000 years old. It still blooms at Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.

“Climbing the apse of the cathedral in the courtyard is Hildesheim’s famous 1000-year-old rose, said to be the oldest in the world. It is a symbol of the city and its prosperity – legend has it that Hildesheim will never decline as long as the rose keeps blooming.”http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/hildesheim-cathedral

Light purple rose = “Love at first sight”, “Enchantment”, “Enthrallment”

Some sources say Confucius had a 600 book library specifically on how to care for roses.

Dark purple rose = “Splendor”, “Enchantment”, “Enthrallment”

Shakespeare refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his writings.

Eglantine rose = “You inspire poetry”

The War of the Roses (1455-1487) was between the House of York (the white rose) and the House of Lancaster (the red rose). The winner, Henry VII combined the red rose of Lancaster with the white of his bride and created the Tudor Rose, the Rose of England.

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Withered red rose = “Our love is over”
Withered white rose =” I would rather die”
Black rose = “Death”, “Farewell”

In England, the rose stood for death for those who betrayed their word. During the medieval era, people spoke under a white rose to symbolize the confidential nature of the conversation. And the Latin “sub rosa” means something spoken in secret.

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Blue rose = “mystery”, “enchantment”, “Fantasy”, “Impossibility”

The Blue Rose was my favorite flower long before I found out that “fantasy” was one of its meanings. Blue roses do not naturally occur. Roses lack the genes that create blue pigment. Until 2004, the only way to get a blue rose was to dye a white one. In 2004 a genetic modification was used to create a hybrid blue rose.

Green rose = “Best wishes”, “luck”, “blessings”, “good health”

Then there is the Greek myth of Rhodanthe. Rhodanthe fled to the temple of Artemis to escape her three suitors. Her attendants, convinced that Rhodanthe was even more beautiful than Artemis, flung a statue of the goddess from its pedestal and demanded that Rhodanthe be represented there instead. The god Apollo, angered by the insult to his sister turned Rhodanthe into a rose and her attendants into thorns. The three suitors were changed into the three courtiers of the rose: the bee, the worm, and the butterfly.

Turquoise Rose = “Calm”, “fertility”, “Bounty”, “Well-being”

The rose has been a symbol of secrecy. In sixteenth-century England, a rose was sometimes worn behind the ear by servants, tavern workers, and others to indicate that the wearer heard all and told nothing.

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One rose = “love at first sight”

A seventeenth-century German book lists thirty-three diseases that can be cured by rose water or oil.

Three roses = “I love you”

During the eighteenth century, rose petals occasionally were included in English salads, and the essence of roses was used to flavor ice cream.

Nine roses = “Everlasting love”

Rose hips, the fruits of the rose plant, are used to make tea, or as a source of Vitamin C.

10 Roses – You are perfect
12 Roses – Be my sweetheart
15 Roses – I am truly sorry, please forgive me
101 Roses – You are my only love
108 Roses – Marry me
999 Roses – Eternal Love

By the way, Roses have been here much longer than we have. Roses are about 45 million years old – Stone-age people, Homo Habilis, only date back about 2.3 million years.


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare

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The American Rose Society http://www.ars.org/
What the number of roses means http://www.flowermeaning.info/number-of-roses-meaning.php
Meaning of Green Roses http://www.flowermeaning.info/Green.php
Meaning of Blue Roses http://www.flowermeaning.info/Blue.php
Roses in Mythology http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Flowers-in-Mythology.html
Rose Folklore http://www.rosemagazine.com/articles07/rose_folklore/
Meaning of roses by colors and number http://www.love-of-roses.com/Meaning-Of-Roses.html
Outstanding site on colors and number meanings of roses http://www.rosemeaning.net/

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

I-L, Mythology

June is Here


 “June is bustin’ out all over.”~ Oscar Hammerstein II

Hi thereJune is named for the Roman goddess Juno.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/308353/Juno or http://mythindex.com/roman-mythology/J/Juno.html

Peacock StrutWhile on the subject of Juno – here are two of my favorite stories about her and peacocks.

Aesop’s Fable of Juno and Peacock: http://www.mythfolklore.net/aesopica/perry/509.htm

Then there is the peacock story of Argus and his 100 eyes told by Juno’s Greek counterpart, Hera. http://tribes.tribe.net/b9b544af-89e5-4aa7-8dec-c917f83c3bd7/thread/a77feb57-107f-4acc-b73d-479d0ac13ea5

I will, however, leave the Greek and Roman mythology for some month in the future.

The mythological and folktale focus of the next three months (summer 2014) will be African Mythologies. Africa is a vast continent full of many peoples, tribes and diverse mythologies. Three months can only skim the surface of the richness that resides on the world’s 2nd largest continent.

“Africa covers approximately 6 percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. It is also the second most-populous continent… made up of 53 countries, including Madagascar and various island groups.” http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/list-of-countries-in-africa-3904.html

I will purposefully leave out Egyptian and Arabian mythologies as those will be covered in other blog posts.

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The font of the month is Calibri designed by Lucas de Groot for Microsoft and apparently the default font for almost everything. Why Calibri as default? The most common answer is “According to type reviewers, the new font designs were optimized for screen readability.  Older font designs were optimized for printing.”

“It is the month of June,

The month of leaves and roses,

When pleasant sights salute the eyes,

And pleasant scents the noses”– Nathaniel Parker Willis

In Iceland, folklore says that if you bathe naked in the morning dew on the morning of June 24, you are supposed to keep aging at bay for longer.

“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”  –  Aldo Leopold

140529 -  - medium-16It is surmised that the month of June is popular for weddings due in part because Juno was the goddess of marriage. There’s much more than that around the popularity of June weddings. This is a good website that examines this topic in depth. http://www.lifepaths360.com/index.php/june-mythology-mythic-wedding-folklore-6044/

In the UK June is also when the Nettle Eating Contest is held at the Bottle Inn in the village of Marshwood. This charity event attracts entrants from around the world. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2005/06/17/nettle_eating_feature.shtml

June’s birthstones are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. I don’t know why June deserves three stones, but will be exploring their meaning and myth in a post on June 19th.

June 1st is Heimlich Maneuver Day. Learn this valuable skill and possibly save a life.


The flower is the rose. There is an incredible amount of mystique and myth around the rose. I will be exploring this popular flower and its meanings in a post on June 7.

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Happy Oscar The Grouch Day http://www.sesamestreet.org/muppets/oscar-the-grouch

A grouch escapes so many little annoyances that it almost pays to be one.” – Kin Hubbard




I love maps!

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The field of cartography fascinates me and what a single map can tell you is hypnotizing.

 “Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.” ―Mark Jenkins

Maps are windows into new worlds, new paradigms, different ways and customs of looking at the world.

 “The map is one of the oldest forms of nonverbal communication. Humans were probably drawing maps long before they were writing texts. Mapmaking may even predate formal language. As far as historians and geographers can determine, every culture in every part of the world uses and makes maps. This deep lineage reflects the descriptive usefulness of a map – a map is one of the best proofs that a “Picture is worth a thousand words.”” – Joni Seager, University of Vermont http://chnm.gmu.edu/worldhistorysources/unpacking/mapsmain.html

 People use maps to define, explain and navigate through their world. Any map you look at will inform you not only of place, but what was of the greatest importance to the cartographer whether it be religion, politics, art, utilitarianism, or cultural bias.

“I have an existential map; it has ‘you are here’ written all over it”– Stephen Wright

I love people and understandingwhere they are coming from”. A map can answer that and more.

 “There are maps through your bones and skin, to the way you’ve felt and the way you’ve been” Testy McTesterson

There’s a map of the sky in the Lascaux caves, there are maps on clay tablets from Mesopotamia, and maps on mosaic tiles from the ancient Mediterranean.

Ancient maps and descriptions of lost maps are recorded from Homer (who may or may not have existed and may or may not have described a map) to the earliest reference to a map from China in the 3rd century BC.

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Since maps come from all over the world and the various cultures of the world, the best way to study maps is to pick a specific area of interest whether it be place, time or culture and go from there.

“One of the challenges in this mission is the British maps are different from our maps, so it took some time to get use to them” – William Rush

 Besides cartography there are maps of life, psyche, plans, and being.

The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.”  – Bob Black

What are your favorite types of maps? How do you map out your life? What do all your maps tell you about yourself?

~ lisa

 “To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My favorite map site so far: http://www.besthistorysites.net/index.php/maps

A great site and fun for browsing and learning about maps: http://www.davidrumsey.com/

History of Maps: http://www.maphistory.info/

An interactive political map from the Ancient History Encyclopedia offers a large-scale overview of the ancient world across all time periods: http://www.ancient.eu.com/mapselect/

Timeline maps: http://www.timemaps.com/history/

Looking up at that balloon


Author, Books, E-H, People, Uncategorized

“Elementary,” said he.

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

The above is one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes quotes.

Sir Author Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859. Today I celebrate his birthday and one of the most famous duos of literature, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

I can’t imagine anyone not being captured by the premise and ideas of the stories of Sherlock Holmes. I suppose there are some, but none I know.

Contrary to popular belief, Conan Doyle never wrote the line “Elementary, my dear Watson.”


“Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.” – Sir Author Conan Doyle. This quote is about as close as it gets to the common conception. First appearance of the popular non-Doyle phrase was in Psmith Journalist in 1915.

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Besides Sherlock Holmes and non-fiction, Doyle wrote in a wide variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction, poetry, romance, historical novels and plays.

His fantasy, The Lost World was turned into a TV series Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1999-2002) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240278/

A complete and accessible list of all of Sir Author Conan Doyle’s literary works: http://www.online-literature.com/doyle/

Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes characters have appeared in many forms through the years: Besides the books, there are Sherlock Holmes comic books, music (“Sherlock Holmes” by Sparks), radio shows, television shows, video games and movies.

The best site for everything about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his literary works is the official website of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate http://www.sherlockholmesonline.org/

Sherlock Holmes

“Rivers of ink have flowed since 1887, when Sherlock Holmes was first introduced to the world, in an adventure entitled A Study in Scarlet.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate

“Most of the great detective’s fans know him so well, that they feel they have actually met him. It would therefore be presumptuous to try and define him here, as his many friends and admirers may each have very different views about this legendary personage.”- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate

Modern Day Sherlock Holmes exist in blockbuster movies and contemporary television shows.



Have I missed any contemporary shows? My daughter’s favorite show is Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch who she says is the best portrayal of the super sleuth she’s ever seen (sorry RDJr).

One of my favorite stories about the author (see complete story at http://www.siracd.com/life/life_ski.shtml) begins with: “It seems odd to think of a time when people didn’t ski in Switzerland. However when Conan Doyle arrived in Switzerland in 1893, with his first wife, Louise, that was the situation.”

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Two favorite Sherlock Holmes quotes on Rainbow Hill are:

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” – Sherlock Holmes (I often wish I could say this)

And this quote appeals to the engineering half of the family:

“Come, Watson, come!’ he cried, “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!” “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month so I will take this aside to mention Sir Author Conan Doyle’s father, Charles Altamont Doyle, who struggled with mental illness which included spending some of his last years at a lunatic asylum.

Hopefully we are more enlightened now in the way the mind works and can show the same compassion to those struggling with mental illness as Conan Doyle did in his biography.

“My father’s life was full of the tragedy of unfulfilled powers and of underdeveloped gifts.  He had his weaknesses, as all of us have ours, but he also had some very remarkable and outstanding virtues.” – Sir Author Conan Doyle http://www.siracd.com/life_father.shtml  http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

What are your favorite Sherlock Holmes tropes, characters, quotes and shows?

“My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.”

Now that is the business to be in!!


A cool BBC cult page for Sherlock Holmes fanatics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/sherlock/

The biography at http://www.sherlockholmesonline.org/ is an excellent read full of quotes from Sir Author Conan Doyle.

Another excellent site devoted to the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: http://www.siracd.com/

There are so many excellent Sherlock Holmes quotes, many lines of which have made it into our everyday vernacular. Try these sites for a start:





M-P, Mythology, Washington

Mt. St. Helens

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Mount St. Helens was in the news again on May 1, 2014 with a new build-up of magma. The USGS says it is an impending “long-term uplift” coinciding with some increased seismic activity. Despite recently making the news, this is just what the volcano routinely does.

May 1 2014 Magma build-up article http://www.techtimes.com/articles/6346/20140501/mount-st-helens-builds-up-magma-no-imminent-eruption-usgs.htm

This is the anniversary of the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, the deadliest volcanic event in the history of the United States.

Mt. St. Helens is the most active volcano in the Cascade Range Volcanic Arc which is a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is a stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano with steep-sided mostly symmetrical cones.

Mt. St. Helens

Fifty-seven people died and the animal loss was estimated at 7000 big game animals, 12 million salmon in hatcheries and more small animals than could be estimated.

The eruption column reached 80,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, spread across the US in 3 days and it circled the globe within 15 days.

The blast itself released 24 mega tons of thermal energy. The temperature of the lateral blast was at least 660 degrees and traveling at 300 miles per hour.

The Mountain’s elevation before the blast was 9,677 feet. It is now at 8,363 feet.

CNN Mt. St. Helens Facts http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/26/us/mount-st-helens-fast-facts/index.html

The Klickitat have one of the most famous of the Native American legends of the mountain. In this story, often called the “Bridge of the Gods” the chief of all gods had two sons named Pahto who became Mt. Adams and Wy-east who became Mt. Hood. They fought over the beautiful maiden (once an old crone) named Loowit, Mt. St. Helens.

This story in all its beautiful detail with the various endings of the different tribes is told masterfully at http://oaltomlinson.blogspot.com/2008/05/klickitat-legend.html

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On May 18, 1980, what was once a tranquil recreational mountain teeming with wildlife and graced by the beautiful Spirit Lake exploded into the volcano that is known today. Thick ash clouds, mudslides miles long and nine hours of “vigorous” ash emission ended a 123 year slumber. The area is still recovering.

Mt. St. Helens Science and Learning Center http://www.mshslc.org/
USGS 30 Cool Facts about Mount St. Helens http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/103/
Extensive History of Mt. St. Helens and surrounding area attractions http://www.mt-st-helens.com/history.html

~ lisa

Holidays, M-P

Happy Mother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day to Mothers Everywhere.

Celebrations of mothers have gone on from the ancient Greeks and Romans forward. The American holiday owes its initial concept to Julia Ward Howe, as she first proposed it in 1872.

Julia Ward Howe was a fascinating woman, activist, writer and poet, best known for writing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, but also for so much more. http://juliawardhowe.org/

The concept of mother’s day was then promoted and put into the public limelight by Anna Jarvis, considered the founder of the American Mother’s Day. http://womenshistory.about.com/od/mothersday/a/anna_jarvis.htm

For a complete Mother’s Day History see: http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-history.html

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” -George Washington.

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George Washington did a fairly good job in praising his mother. Today I would like to praise mine.

A bunch of tulips

My mother is a most incredible woman, a woman who lived life to the fullest long before society said she could. She taught me to soar, to take risks, to be bold, and to explore the world. I love nothing more than to talk to her, share a walk, share a cup of tea, and listen to her explorations of the world around us. What we share is a treasure beyond measure. Times that I cherish, laughs that linger into the dark hours, and a sense that there is always someone who has my back, right or wrong, forever.

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

I could spend several blog posts singing of my mother’s virtues and the love I feel for her, but today I will simply stop with what we all have in common: a profound love and gratitude for all the women, no matter who they may be, who have played the roles of our mothers.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible” ~Marion C. Garretty


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom Lily and the Bee

And for those of you who have procrastinated, this is a great site for those last minute ideas and poems: http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/verse/poems/

Books, Fonts, V-Z, Writing

V = Voltaire

V stands for Vladimir ScriptV stands for Vivaldi

Vladimir Script Designer: Andrich Vladimir Publisher: URW++
Vivaldi by Friedrich Peter, 1997

A few years ago, I decided to start reading some of the classic literature I missed in my college courses. It turned out that I had missed a great deal of literature and I am still catching up with all of that reading.

I discovered a book well-known to others by the name of Candide. The book, the prose, spoke to me and I discovered Voltaire.

Voltaire is just one of the many pen names used by Francois-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 (or as he claimed Feb. 20, 1694) – May 30, 1778).

Voltaire is best known as a philosopher, historian and writer and a master of satire. He is well-known for his keen wit and as a champion of freedom (speech, religion, and from a variety of dogmatic institutions).

A very prolific man he generated thousands of works including 20,000 letters plus 2,000 books and pamphlets. He did all of this work before the advent of either the typewriter or the computer. I try to remember that whenever I complain about how much work it is to write something.

Arouet, henceforth known in this blog as Voltaire, was the youngest of five children in a noble family in the province of Poitou. Here I could digress into the study of birth order and personality, but I won’t. At least not yet.

Besides his native French, Voltaire learned Latin and Greek and became fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.

Continually pushed by his father into the field of law, Voltaire often lied about his positions so he could pursue a writing life in and around Paris. His writing led to numerous exiles and imprisonments, but he never followed cease and desist orders.

In 1718 he claimed the anagram of the Latin spelling of his name: Voltaire. Though he used at least 178 different pen names during his lifetime, Voltaire is the one that stuck.

Voltaire resonated enough that when the chance arose I named my POV (Point-of-view) character in my urban fantasy after him.

My character, Sparky Voltaire, is a completely different man, but I hope in as many ways complex and willing to take a stand for what he thinks is right.

I have pages of quotes by Voltaire, but I will resist temptation and end with only one:

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”


Fonts, Q-U, Writing

Q = Quotes

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Quotes for me are like poetry, I collect both.

Quotations may will be a repetition of someone else’s statement or thoughts, but quotes can speak to you across ages, and while some may or may not resonate, all have ideas worth exploring.

I think quotes can be one of the fastest ways out of writer’s block. Take a quote, any quote, and write around it. Delve in and agree or disagree. Make it a part of what happens to your character. Make it important to your story. There’s no telling where it will take you.

However “If you are going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill). On your way out remember “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” (Nelson Mandela)

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” (Abraham Lincoln) and “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” (Anatole France)

“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” (Napoleon Hill)
“Don’t falter. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” (Winston Churchill)

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” (Herm Albright) and on the same vein, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” (Oscar Wilde)

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt) for remember “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” (Henry Ford), and “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin) “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” (Bernard M. Baruch) and, according to Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Not a quote, but a “Q” will worth reading and following: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/  You can also find Susan on Ted Talks

Finally for all the writers in the crowd:

Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” (Rita Mae Brown)

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” (John Steinbeck)

Along the track of a mythic circles. Always remember that this is where your character starts out their journey: “All the world’s a cage.” (Jeanne Phillips)

These are just a few of the many great sites where you can find quotes, and if these fail you can always consult a book. 

“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.” (Carl Sandburg).

Send me your favorite quotes.