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The Return of the Sea Lions

The Return of the Sea Lions

For a week I had been hearing a colony of sea lions barking across the Bay and although I had viewed them from the dock I also was eager to observe them from the water however the weather was not cooperating with my plan. The winds had been playing havoc on the waters and the temp was near freezing so I waited impatiently for the weather to be more agreeable for a paddle.

Yesterday was picture perfect!IMG_7837

The sun was shining, the winds ceased blowing, the water was flat and my kayak was beckoning.
Each year the sea lions come for a visit. They just inexplicably appear, stay for a couple of weeks and then depart as mysteriously as they arrive. I find these winged foot mammals fascinating.

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Top Ten Sea Lion Facts

• Sea Lions enjoy relaxing and basking in the sun
• The males are called bulls and the females are called cows
• Males are massive and can weigh from 1,500 pounds to 1 ton in exceptional cases and can also be up to 11 feet long
• Females are smaller with an average weight of 700 pounds
• Female Sea Lions become part of a harem with a male that protects them
• They give birth to pups, which are born on land and can weigh up to 50 pounds at birth
• A Sea Lion is able to dive up to 600 feet for food in the water
• They can remain under the water for up to 40 minutes before surfacing for air
• They can swim at up to 25 miles per hour but generally they only move about 10 miles per hour unless they feel threatened
• The average life span in the wild for a Sea Lion is 20 years1

A link to Pacific Ocean Sea lions:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&qpvt=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&FORM=IGRE#a

Are you a nature lover? What excites you about the outdoors?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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ENTERTAINMENT – What do you consider entertaining?

What is Entertainment actually?

My Webster’s dictionary describes entertainment as anything from a leisure activity, a pursuit of amusement, an enjoyable hobby, leisure time, a riveting distraction or simply a diversion.

Entertainment can be a source of laughter, enjoyment, delight, fun and pleasure when the entertainment is geared towards being lighthearted.

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Or it could be relaxing if you are being entertained by soft music and a soothing massage.

Entertainment could also be dramatic and possibly heart rending as in an entertaining but sad movie.

My pleasures are many and so varied and a good number of them are homey ones.  Things like devouring a book nestled in the ‘sweet spot’ of a comfy chair, dancing in the kitchen as dinner simmers, enjoying the sedate excitements of domesticity.  Just the mere feeling of Milorne’s strong warm hand on my back entertains me.

I am easily entertained by watching the sun rise or by reveling in the luxury of a good book while relaxing in bed with the enticing smell of coffee wafting in the air.  I am thoroughly entertained while meandering through the library entranced by the scent and symmetry of rows of orderly books.

While hiking with friends or kayaking early in the morning when the water is smooth as glass I am thoroughly entertained!  Or while biking along a tree lined trail where the boughs overlap and provide a canopy tunnel or when visiting and laughing with friends. My entertainment is as full as the first sip of wine on a sunny deck overlooking the shore.

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The kid’s performances, cartwheels on the grass, a fast paced live hockey game are a whole other level of entertainment.

All humble delights and yet greatly entertaining…

How are you entertained?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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Shopping My Closet

001  Shopping My Closet!

  I received a compliment from a friend the other day on the outfit I was wearing.

  When she asked where I got it I replied “I shopped my closet”.

  My friend asked where this shop was located and I repeated to her that what I was wearing came from my closet and that I had just “shopped my own closet”!

I explained further that I was not working much these days, basically just delivering some part time Training.  I was transitioning into retirement mode and trying to cut back on spending and part of my restraint program involved a personal challenge to stop buying unnecessary clothing.

I have always loved fashion and take great pleasure in shopping for clothes. The result was a closet bulging with so many items I had a tough time finding ‘anything to wear’!

New items would be purchased and added to the already overflowing closet and although I did on rare occasions clear out that which I didn’t fit or wear much I knew that I had more than enough to wear without buying more.

Shopping, although fun and therapeutic at times, had become a costly habit for me!

014My closet is not large and yet it isn’t too small either and I knew it wasn’t more space I needed.
I needed to organize the space I already had.

Organizing my closet space would aid my motivation to ‘shop my closet’ instead of a store.

I devised a plan to clean out my closet and organize it in a way that I could clearly see and find outfits that I actually wore.

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In the past I had thought about removing seasonal clothes however it seemed like too much work at the time. In spite of this I started with the removal process and I eventually removed EVERYTHING with the intention of only putting back what I actually wore regularly!

 Having freed up some space allowed me to spread out my outfits and be able to clearly see what I had available to wear. I tried on everything and if the buttons were bulging or the waistline too tight they were sent off to the Thrift Shop.  Interestingly, I did not come across any items that were too loose, just too tight!
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I found things that I had forgotten I had. I discovered ‘shamefully’, outfits I had never worn.

I had more than enough to wear and the best things were jammed in where I couldn’t even see them!

 So now that I have completed this mountainous task I can ‘shop my closet’ and revisit items that are like new.

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So take a peek in my closet and think of me the next time you say

“I have nothing to wear” and consider “shopping YOUR closet”!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

In years gone by we would go out dancing. I loved dancing and considered it a much needed work out as much as a way to connect with others. When I think back, this was a fitting attitude for me to employ since I lacked any rhythmic or dancing talent. However lack of dancing ability never held me back. With arms flailing and feet gyrating, in beat or not, I threw myself into the fast moving heat of the moment. We would dance until we literally worked up a sweat, resting a moment, refreshing ourselves with cocktails and rehydrating with water and then joining back with the other frenzied dancers under the shimmering mirror ball on the dance floor of the disco. I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘in years gone by’.
disco ball
At most dances there was little to no conversation as I recall as the booming music was deafening loud. Once we outgrew the discos we would still join others and kick up our heels at a community dance or at a house party. Dancing the night away was a great way to spend time with friends and to work off those extra calories. Nowadays we don’t go out dancing much however after dinner we do crank up the music and let loose with our uninhibited and unrestrained moves. Some nights we groove to oldies, other nights we dance close and lovingly sway to old romantic favorites.

After dinner at our daughter’s home her kitchen also becomes a dance floor. She, her husband and two kids amuse us with their astonishing and exceptional smooth moves. The songs are often sung or belted out karaoke style, sometimes a budding musician pounds out a mysterious tune on the piano or guitar, mostly our daughter chooses pop tunes of her era and we all shake our booty while the kids command the dance floor and put on the real show.
076air guitar 5kids dancing
We all join in during clean up and perform the quick step as we clear the table, bebop our way to the dishwasher, hip hop as we scrape leftovers into the waste bin, or slow dance by the light of the open refrigerator.
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One festive evening not too long ago there was cause to celebrate a birthday. Following dinner, our son-in-law Rob went into the kitchen to light the abundant candles on the birthday cake. The dancing music proceeded in full force and young and old were shaking and gyrating with vigour. Some with more enthusiasm than others, some with smooth moves and others taking calculated risks that involved injuring others. (Caution, dancing is not a spectator sport and can cause injuries.) Meanwhile one song ended, another began. This new song Bohemian Rhapsody happened to be a big favorite of Rob’s. The words of this song are gruesome,‘Mama I Killed a Man’ but has become an all time favorite and is sung at most celebration dinners. Why that song? Honestly I don’t know or we just can’t remember.

However, the lit cake was left abandoned on the counter as Rob wholeheartedly grabbed center stage (a coveted floor space dividing dining room and kitchen) and danced off his entire meal plus amazed us with his innate aptitude at playing air guitar! While directly behind him scores of small fires were glowing brightly, smoke was curling upwards, candles were delicately melting and a coconut topped cake was browning. The aroma of the toasting coconut alerted us to the kitchen being ablaze mere seconds before the fire alarm drowned out the blasting music. You can see the burning cake in the background of the following picture.burning cakeG Bday Cake 2011
Much to our hilarity the cake was presented and enjoyed, melted candles, toasted coconut and all. It was a night of dancing not to be forgotten…

A few notes…
Dancing is all about letting go of your inhibitions so don’t try to look cool because dancing is all about having fun. Following are my personal three commandments of dancing:

1. Thou shall let go of restrictions and allow the music to draw you in
2. Thou shall just relax, get up off that chair, feel the music and bend your knees, one leg at a time while channelling your natural fun seeking and creative impulses
3. Thou shall not light birthday candles until the song ends…

Following is a youtube link that teaches you how to dance to Lip Gloss by Little Mama

 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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SWEET SPOT

Sometimes when I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, comfortably relaxed and enjoying one of my favorite things which is reading, the sun shines down from the skylight like a spotlight, glowing, sparkling, warming me and gently illuminating the words I am reading.  I call this the ‘sweet spot’.sweet spot

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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FOLK ART

FOLK ART

FOLK ART

Traditionally Folk Art is the work of untrained craftsmen.  There is a strong functional and practical element to Folk Art.  Utilizing the long winter hours, farmers would build new tools and whirligigs for the farm while the women would gather together and create quilts. 

Folk Art reminds us that art has a place in the simplest of homes. Combining a love of color and an inventive spirit with a creative flair, Folk Artists are perhaps untrained and yet demonstrate imaginative, artistic talent.  066

Primitively crafted and often roughly painted, Folk Art offers a bit of charm and whimsy but is meant to be practical and utilitarian and for me using reclaimed wood for Folk Art satisfies my need to be creative.  I enjoy taking a cast off piece of wood, cutting, painting and repurposing it as something whimsical, fun and playful.  Folk Art pieces are fun to create, and of course it’s very gratifying if others enjoy them as well!

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The simplest and most common example of Folk Art is the wind-driven whirligig.  The word whirligig is derived from two Old English words whirlen (to whirl) and gigg (top) meaning to literally ‘whirl a top’.

The American version of the wind driven whirligig probably originated with the immigrant population of the United Kingdom as whirligigs are mentioned in early American colonial times. ???????????????????????????????

By the latter half of the 19th century constructing wind driven whirligigs had become a pastime and art form.  Craftsman from the southern Appalachians continued to produce whirligigs into the 20th century. During the great depression there was resurgence of whirligigs by craftsman and amateurs which was attributed to the need for ready cash.

A wind-driven whirligig transfers the energy of the wind into either a simple release of kinetic energy through rotation or a more complicated transfer of rotational energy.  The whirligig can be either a simple or a more complicated mechanism that produces repetitive motions and/or creates sounds. The wind simply pushes on the whirligig turning one part of it and setting it into motion by using inertia.

An example of a simple whirligig is the button whirligig, (also called button spinners).  Button whirligigs are simple spinning toys made with a button and a string or thread.  They work by looping the ends of the thread and twisting and pulling with both arms, causing the button to spin. They were simple toys.  In America, they were popular during pioneering days and during the Depression Era because they were inexpensive to make, yet very entertaining. Children of the great depression from the southern Appalachians and Ozarks remember a button and a string as the primary spinning toy of their youth.

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Create a button spinner yourself by following these simple directions:

 YOU WILL NEED:

Button

Thread or string

Scissors

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INSTRUCTIONS:

 1.   Cut a 24-inch length of thread or string.

2.   Thread the string through the holes in the button.

3.   Tie the ends of the string together.

4.   Insert the middle finger of each hand into the loop at each end with the button in the middle.

5.   Spin the button to twist the strings and continue twisting the string until it becomes wrapped around itself all the way to your fingers.

6.   Pull the strings taut to let them begin to untwist. Release the pressure and then pull the string taut again to keep the whirligig spinning. Apply gentle tension to the string by pulling your hands apart. The button will begin to spin.

NOTE:  Pulling and releasing the string tension keeps the button spinning. Speeding up the action causes the button to make a whirring sound.

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Enjoy some simple fun!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Tutorials

 

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Take a Hike!

Take a Hike!

“You cannot travel the path until you become the path itself”
Ancient Buddhist saying

What’s the best way to enjoy a day outdoors?

HIKING, of course!

Mt. Tzhouhalem

Cairns on Mt. Tzhouhalem

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Besides being healthy and invigorating for me it’s always been a pleasurable way to spend time outside. Hiking provides a physical challenge as well as a break from today’s hectic living and offers the tranquility of the forest as well as the thrill of connecting with nature.
Vancouver Island is rich with hiking trails and a moderate climate, allowing for year round opportunities of hiking where we can observe unique ecosystems and an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers. The pleasures promised by a hike on one of the many trails never fail to tempt me to strap on a pack and lace up my hiking boots. The scenery at the top of a mountain is without a doubt well worth the effort it sometimes takes to climb there. Rock outcroppings offer rest spots with breathtaking vistas, eagles soar overhead and birdsong fills the clear, brisk air. The rewards are immeasurable.

There are no guarantees that the wilderness you’re hiking today will still be there tomorrow, therefore when it comes to sharing and enjoying nature a little consideration is crucial. More people are finding pleasure in the outdoors and the evidence of public recreation and the effect on the environment is becoming increasingly apparent. Even one hiker can have an impact on the fragile wilderness and hopefully we can retain the essence of the outdoors by using good ethics and practicing ‘no-trace hiking’. Carrying out everything we bring into the forest, treating the forest and the trails with respect and leaving “only our footprints behind”.

Genoa Bay HikeCairns on Mt TzhouhalemMaple Mountain View of Maple Bay

So strap on a packsack, lace up your boots and hit the trails.

But before you head out here are a few significant points to keep in mind.
• Insure that you are physically prepared
Carry a fully stocked backpack
• Break in your boots before the hike
• Wear wicking socks
• Research your hike and be familiar with the area
• Leave a detailed note as to where you are hiking and when you are expecting to return
• Carry the ten basic essentials

TEN BASIC ESSENTIALS

1. Water and plenty of it
2. Food including high energy snacks
3. Rain gear and change of socks
4. Hat and sun block
5. First aid kit
6. Waterproof matches or lighter
7. An extra layer of clothes
8. Whistle
9. Pocket knife
10. Compass and map of area

Once you are on the trail you will experience the inspirational rewards of embracing the wilderness, just watch your footing, respect the environment and enjoy the moment.

Happy Hiking!

When did you last go on a Hike?

What are your thoughts on development versus green spaces?

Interested in more hiking tips?

Click on this link to review a hiking book called:  Hiking With Marianne

Hiking Book Hiking with Marianne

Hiking Book
Hiking with Marianne

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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