Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I like maps. Atlases for the bigger view, state maps for the more close-up look, detailed city maps for getting around. It saddens me when we purge our drawers and files and toss out old maps we no longer "need." Yes, they may be outdated but that doesn't make them trash, that makes them history. How much fun is it to return to a place last visited years earlier and make note of how things have changed, been moved, roads redirected. We actually go to museums and libraries to see old city layouts and maps.

Cartography has been with us since the cave man drew in the dirt with a stick to let his neighbor in the next cave know how to get to the herd of mastodons while avoiding the sabre toothed tigers. Where would our world be without the early cartographers making rough sketches of coastlines and new worlds? And I believe, as a cartophile, that maps are works of art.

Image from Google.com
Our modern times have brought to us satellite views and Google Earth. We have Google maps, complete with street views. If you see the Google car, be sure to wave. And most cars and phones come with GPS (Global Positioning System) giving us not only maps of where we are, but directions on how to get there. AND THEY TALK!

We have named the voice of our car Joan. She is bossy and a tad patronizing when giving directions. Heaven help us if we pull off the highway for a rest stop or something to eat. She berates us with anger and impatience and says "recalculating." It's her way of saying, "you went the wrong way, stupid."

The other day, Husband mentioned something that went contrary to the schedule/plan/already-in-place actions (can't remember what it was and he was only making a spontaneous suggestion). I simply answered, "recalculating." We laughed and now it has become a "nice" way for us to say, "ummm... no."

But it's not just "no." It also means that things have to be rearranged. Sometimes, there will be an alternate route that is equally efficient and perhaps more scenic. Or there could be something interesting off the planned path worth exploring. Other times, no, there is no other alternate route at this time. Recalculate.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

By The Light of the Silvery Moon

Full Moon Over Water by Exsodus
Every 29.5 days there is a full moon. The moon is bright and in some areas, when you are away from artificial lights, you can actually read by its light. Countless songs have been sung about the moon and there may have been a time or two when you've howled at it. It is the impetus for the transformation of men into werewolves. Yes, people, we did land on it. No, it is not made of green cheese.

Each month heralds a full moon but I bet you didn't know that each one has a special name. In fact, many cultures from the Celts to the Chinese. The common names that we use today actually come from the Algonquin tribes in New England to Lake Superior area. Here they are below with their corresponding month. You can read more here.

January - The Wolf Moon
This is the month that snow collects in the woods and the howls of the wolves can be heard echoing. Some tribes called this one the Snow Moon.

February - The Snow Moon
February is when most of the snow falls and gets deeper. Some tribes called this on the Hunger Moon due to the hunting difficulties.

March - The Worm Moon
This is the time when the ground begins to thaw and the worms begin coming to the surface for air and they begin moving in the ground. Other names are the Crow Moon, the Crust Moon, the Sap Moon, and the Lenten Moon (among the Christian settlers).

April - The Pink Moon
April is when pink phlox blooms and the flowers in the landscape begin to appear. Other names are the Fish Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, and the Egg Moon.

May - The Flower Moon
Flowers are in full bloom. Also know as the Milk Moon, and the Corn Planting Moon.

June - The Strawberry Moon
June is when the strawberries have reached their peak.

July - The Buck Moon
Deer start sprouting their antlers during this time. This moon is also called the Thunder Moon, or the Hay Moon.

August - The Sturgeon Moon
August is the month when sturgeon are plentiful and easily caught. Other names are the Green Corn Moon, the Grain Moon, and the Red Moon.

September - The Harvest Moon
This is fairly obvious, the crops and staples are ready to be harvested and put away. This moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox and sometimes occurs in October. It is also called the Corn Moon.

October - The Hunter's Moon
After the fields have been cleared and the game has fattened up for winter, it's time to hunt.

November - The Beaver Moon
The beavers are preparing for winter - fattening up, repairing their dens, storing food - and thus are active. Trappers are able to set their traps and catch the critters more readily. Also known as the Frosty Moon.

December - The Cold Moon
December starts winter and the temperatures drop. Another name is the Long Night Moon because the nights are longer than the days during this time.

Because the lunar month is 29.5 days, every two to three years there is an extra full moon. This moon is The Blue Moon.

So, now you know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Think

Image courtesy of
I like to think. I do it all the time in all sorts of places and about all sorts of thing. Many times, well okay, most times, where I am has nothing to do with what I'm thinking about.

Husband (looking over his menu): What are you thinking?
Me: Ummmm.... I think the lighter color of paint will look better in the bathroom.
Husband: Uh huh. I meant for dinner tonight. Here.
Me: I don't know, I haven't gotten that far yet.

Aside from synchronizing place/topic thinking there are different ways to think. There is Single Think and Joint Think. Single Think (ST) is what you do when you are single. All of your thoughts and anything you think up to do have no effect on anyone else but  yourself. The "Hey, I think I'll have ice cream and pop corn for dinner" thought and subsequent action is fine. It will not cause Child Protective Services to show up because you did not serve a healthy meal.

Joint Think (JT) is different and more difficult. It requires that after you have your thought you then have to have the we/us thought before any action can take place. "Hey, I think I'll have ice cream and pop corn for dinner. Wait! What would Little Man and Husband like? No. Wait. What would be healthy to have for dinner? Let's have chicken and rice for dinner."

As a child, I was taught to share with my siblings and to think about how the things I did or said would effect them and the family as a whole. That was reinforced in school - to think about others. Then, I became a teenager and my parents' tune changed. "You have to think for yourself. If your friend jumped of a bridge, would you?" And thus began Single Think and the movement away from Joint Think.

It's not as easy to move from Single Think to Joint Think as it is to go in the other direction. When Husband and I got married, it was very difficult (for both of us I'm sure) to change. "Sure, I'll go out after work for a drink or two with my colleagues. Wait. I should call Husband and let him know. Wait. Invite him. Wait. I should go home and make ice cream and pop corn for dinner. Wait...."

Joint Think is not easy or natural. And the best thing of all is when you find someone with whom your Joint Think matches - you have the same goals and you think in the same manner. It makes life easier. Fortunately, Husband and I share Joint Think. Just as awesome, my bestie and business partner, Allison, and I do too. And with two people to share the thinking with, I can think about more stuff!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who's Your Muse?

Nine Greek Muses

Just about everyone has felt the need to create or make something. I write, Husband makes furniture, my mother plays the piano. And usually we refer to our "muse" speaking to us, guiding us, pushing us. Sometimes, we say our "muse" has left us. Yet, do we know who these wily women are and where they come from?

Muses come from Greek mythology. Supposedly, Zeus sweet-talked Mnemosyne and slept with her nine consecutive nights. The result were these nine daughters. Which is an important lesson to all young women that they should not get all weak when flattered by an older man. But that is a different story. Anyway, Mnemosyne gave her daughters to the nymph Eufime and the God Apollo to raise and to educate.

The muses worked together on some things and singularly on others, but they are responsible for the arts and sciences. So, who are they and what did they do?
  • Clio - Invented dramatic history and the guitar.
  • Euterpe - Invented musical instruments, courses, and dialect.
  • Thalia - Invented dramatic comedy, geometry, architectural science, agriculture, and the protector of symposiums.
  • Melpomene - Invented dramatic tragedy, rhetoric speech, and the island Melos.
  • Terpsichore - Invented dance, the harp, and education.
  • Erato - Protector of love, love poetry, and weddings.
  • Polymnia - Invented geometry (along with her sister) and grammar, and the protector of divine hymns and mimic art.
  • Ourania - Invented astronomy, and the protector of celestial objects and stars.
  • Calliope - Protector of heroic poems and rhetoric arts. She is the superior muse.
So who do you blame for abandoning you or pushing you? Depends on your art. Perhaps you'd have a couple of muses, or more, inspiring your creative impetus.

What I find MORE interesting is that the muses were women. They are at the same time an inspiration (how many love songs and poems have described a woman as an inspiration?) and a relentless nag. Is nagging and inspiring the same thing? What's the saying? Behind every great man is a pushy woman. So... behind every great artist/writer/musician/woodworker is a muse? Seems right to me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Put Together

I marvel at some of the women I observe while running errands and living life. These are not the scary "People of Wal-Mart" we see on those random emails or Facebook posts. No. These are the opposite. These are the people Husband and I refer to as "Put Together."

At 9 AM I take Little Man to school. I'm lucky if I can get dressed in clean clothes. I'm happy if I get a shower before taking him. I'm really happy if I can get a shower AND get dressed. And the best morning of all is if he's dressed, I'm showered and dressed and he's had breakfast. I don't know why, but even though I'm up in the wee hours of the morning to get Husband off to work, I just cannot seem to get "Put Together" by 9. Actually, I can't even get "Put Together" by the time I need to pick him up in the afternoon. Yet there they are, pulling into the parking lot in the morning all "Put Together" and so are their children. I bet they've even fed their children.

These women manage, somehow, to not only be showered and dressed in clean clothes, but their clothes match. Their jewelry is coordinated. They have on make-up that compliments their clothes and jewelry. Their hair is done - meaning brushed and styled in some manner. Sometimes it is curled and coifed and other times, for that "casual" day, pulled back into a ponytail (with outfit-matching clip or scunci). Their nails have been painted to coordinate with their outfit, and toe nails too. Equally coordinated are the children that spill from their washed and detailed cars.

How these women manage to do this AND get to school on time by 9 AM I don't know. I have a very full day, and I make my daily list of things to do - I get my work done, my crafts done, the bills paid, the dogs fed, and most of my scheduled housework done. I'm up at 5:30 AM and collapse from exhaustion after running non-stop at 11 PM. I don't know where I'd squeeze in the time to get "Put Together."

I could paint my toe nails and do my work while they dry but that would mean I'd have to sweep first so the dog fur wouldn't stick to the wet polish. I could paint my nails but I'd have to finish my work first so the polish wouldn't smear all over the keyboard. And while my nails are drying, who's cooking dinner, putting laundry away, or washing dishes? If I take the time in the morning to do my hair and iron my clothes and coordinate my jewelry and make-up, who's making breakfast for Husband and Little Man? Who's packing their lunches?

Is being "Put Together" an item to put on my list? Is it priority enough to shuffle things already on my list of things to do? Will my family and friends love me more if I am coordinated? Perhaps I'm missing the "Put Together" gene. After all, I missed the musical gene and the athletic gene. Or perhaps I'm missing an important accessory like a housekeeper or nanny. Even then, would I use that freed up time to get "Put Together?" Or would I use it to do more writing, spend more time on Pilcrow & Dagger, spend more time with my men, or doing crafts?

Actually, I think I'm pretty put together. Husband and Little Man are happy and well fed. The house is, well, not sterile but disease free anyway. My writing is going well - I'm finishing up the ghost writing project, scored two editing jobs, learned to do my own formatting, worked some on my rewrite, and started Pilcrow & Dagger. So what if I'm not coordinated?

photo credit: fervent-adepte-de-la-mode via photopin cc