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Artists Bill of Rights

Who am I? / Who I am!

Who would you be without your story?

~Byron Katie

Hello Dear Ones!

Something has been on my mind and in my heart of late that I wanted, and needed, to get down in print.

The past several days I have been contemplating two issues:
1. Who am I without my stories?
2. Who I am without my stories. Continue reading “Who am I? / Who I am!

Happy National Flag Day, Canada!

Hi Folks:

Okay, I’ll admit it. I didn’t know Canada actually had a National Flag Day. A national holiday (Canada Day, July 1), naturally. A national flag, certainly. But no, I was unaware we had a National Flag Day. Turns out that not only is today our National Flag Day, but it’s also the 50th Anniversary of our flag. I remember the day the ‘new’ flag was first raised in our small town in southern Manitoba, and I was peripherally aware that there was some controversy over it… even then I wasn’t much attuned to news or politics.

Personally, I like our flag. Flags are interesting symbols; I remember a radio commentator once mentioning that in countries ruled by dictatorships one generally sees both large images of whoever is in power and large flags. There the flag represents control. In many countries, those lost in war are carried to their final resting places in flag-draped coffins. There flags represent sorrow, and loss. Burning a flag can be a symbol of freedom, defiance, or both. Canadians are not generally very overt flag wavers (except on Canada Day), but we are, I believe, as a body quietly proud of who we are and proud of the flag that serves as a symbol for our country to the rest of the world.

Happy National Flag Day, Canada! Here’s to the next 50 years, and more.

Hugs,
M&MCanada Flags

The Art of Giving

Hi Folks:

It’s been a while since we’ve done a post that attempts to jam several somewhat-related ideas into one piece so it must be time for another one! The title for this post was inspired by a rather erudite nine-year-old girl (Julia Wolfe), so we’ll start with her.
Continue reading “The Art of Giving

Soon to be History: A Collaboration

Hi Folks:

In the James Bay neighbourhood of Victoria, just behind the Legislative buildings, is a roughly six-acre site that is partly parking lot and partly occupied by a combination of heritage houses and unused/underutilized mid-century modern steel office buildings. On the southwest corner is the Michigan Street Community Garden, an icon in the community since 1999.

The landscape of this area, bordered by Menzies, Superior, Government and Michigan Streets will soon be changing dramatically with the beginning of the Capital Park Victoria project. Two of the heritage houses will remain on their existing sites, three others will be moved to new locations on site and the building containing the Queen’s Printer will remain. The rest will be replaced by a mix of business and residential units, courtyards and pedestrian walkways. The developers are seeking LEED Gold or better in all new construction, and hopefully the builders will do their best to reuse/recycle as much of the existing material as possible. Continue reading “Soon to be History: A Collaboration

Photo of the Month - December

Hi Folks:

The subtitle for this post should be ‘The Evolution of G.L.I.T.T.E.R.’ She’s our Christmas tree and has been for the past six years. You can read more about GLITTER, FREIDRICH, FREDERICA, FREDDY and FRED here if you like: Being Green – Celebrating the Holidays.

GLITTER was a little sprout of a thing when we first brought her home, but she’s certainly spread her branches since then, as you can see here (NB: we were away for Christmas in 2013 and so GLITTER didn’t get decorated). That’s the same salt crystal lamp, so you can use it to gauge her growth. With her pot on the floor she comes up to about waist height on Mike, a little higher on Marcia. No need to cut a hole in the ceiling (yet), but she is heading in FRED’s direction. Continue reading “Photo of the Month – December

Happy New Year!

Hi Folks:

Today is the first day of 2015. We posted this quote from Howard W. Hunter on our blog a couple of years ago, but it’s worth sending out again.

“This year, mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Forgo a grudge.
Forgigve an enemy.
Apologize.
Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind.
Be gentle.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love and then speak it again.”

Have an amazing day and an incredible year!!

Hugs,
M&M

Happy Holidays!!

Hi Folks:

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus, Solstice or Saturnalia, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or something entirely personal, we wish you and those close to you a safe and happy Holiday Season, and a New Year with as much joy, love, adventure, peace and excitement as you can handle!!

With Hugs,
Marcia and Mike.

P.S. Terri Windling has a wonderful post on Holiday traditions over at Myth and Moor.

2014 Festival of Trees at the Empress Hotel

Merry Christmas!

“Can’t” vs. “Yet”

Hi Folks:

While the title of this post sounds like something involving a court action, it’s really about a matter of perspective. In a powerful talk by Dr. Carol Dweck given at TEDxNorrkoping (below), she explains the difference between rewarding positive results (and punishing failure) vs. encouraging development. When people are given a specific endpoint and they either pass or fail, they either become used to looking for/needing rewards to keep going or become so disillusioned with their potential that they simply stop trying. Instead of that black/white approach, Carol advocates motivating and encouraging progress, no matter where we are in the moment. Doing so repetitively creates an atmosphere where the gains are internal and there is a process of life-long learning and growth. It’s definitely something we should be teaching our children, and also something we can share with others and remember for ourselves. Truly outstanding.

You can see Carol’s Stanford University profile here, and her Brainology website here.

Hugs,
M&M

Home for the Holidays

Hi Folks:

Perry Como famously sang, “There’s no place like home for the holidays!” A similar message is expressed in other seasonal songs, like Chris Rea’s “Driving Home for Christmas” and Jim Brickman’s “Coming Home for Christmas”. The video below, however, is perhaps closer in mood to the Charles Brown classic, “Please Come Home for Christmas.”

We won’t profess to know much about the complexities of the current war in Columbia and how it affects people as disparate as the army, the guerrillas, the coca farmers and other ordinary citizens… but at least one group is working to open lines of communication, to go beyond prejudices and fears and to get people on both sides to see each other as fellow humans. It’s a start, and getting people to meet, to talk with one another, is an important step in an overall goal of peace. That is something we can all celebrate.

Hugs,
M&M

2015 Photo Calendars

Hi Folks:

This is the fifth year now that we’ve made our MS Word photo calendar templates available, and as with the past couple of years, we’ve also created a series of templates and calendar images you can use with Lightroom or other graphics software. I created a template in MS Word that allows people who don’t have Photoshop, Lightroom or the equivalent to make their own photo calendars, so we’ll cover that first; the Lightroom stuff is at the bottom of this post. I used MS Word 2007 to make the template, but saved it as both a Word 2007 file and a Word 97-2003 compatible file. Basically it’s a series of tables, one for each month, that look something like this:
Continue reading “2015 Photo Calendars