Bears On the Loose!

Hi Folks:

We heard through the grapevine that the Sidney Museum was being overrun with ‘bears’, so yesterday we had to go and see for ourselves.  The museum is located on Beacon Avenue in Sidney in the ‘Town Centre’ building, down in the lower level.  We walked in, flashed a badge and informed the gentleman sitting at the front desk that we were from the ‘Teddy Bear Squad’ and had received a report that they were being taken over by bears.  Having ascertained our qualifications, he ushered us right in.  Turned out it was just as we had suspected…

Teddy Bear Squad

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Photo of the Month

Hi Folks:  As I mentioned back in November, I thought  I’d dedicate the last day of each month to a ‘Photo of the Month’ page.  This has been a very busy month of writing and posting and holidays and family and… but I have managed to make a few photographs.  I’ve made more photographs this month than I’ve had a chance to run through Lightroom; truth be told I’m still processing LAST month’s images, but anyway.  Of the photographs I have processed, I had a few choices I was happy with.  But of all of the images I’ve made this month I wanted to dedicate this month’s ‘Photo of the Month’ page to an idea more than a specific photograph.  It’s a project idea I’ve been playing with for a few years now but never got around to… yeah, one of those.  This particular project I call ‘Leaf Shadows’.  When the leaves fall from the trees in the autumn, they cover the ground and line our streets and some of them at least fall on our sidewalks.  I’ve found that in the right conditions (I’ve asked, but Mother Nature isn’t sharing Her secrets), the rain leaches the tannins out of the leaves and ‘leaves’ behind an imprint of the leaf on the concrete.  I was out Christmas shopping in Langford a few days before Christmas and came across some wonderful impressions.  All I had with me was my walk-around camera, a Fuji FinePix S1500fd, and I didn’t have my tripod, but I made a few shots anyway.  I think they cover the concept pretty well, and I’ll take a more serious look at this idea, maybe next autumn.  Fortunately this whole leaves falling from the trees thing happens every year!  I’m going to post three of the images I made that day.  Of the three, the last one’s my favourite.  Different people see different things in them.  Are they in clouds?  Are they skeletons of leaves left behind? Are they stories unto themselves?  You decide…

Mike.

(click on the images for a larger view)

Poetry Corner – moving into 2010

Dear Ones,

Last week’s Poetry Corner honoured women poets and their Christmas poems. This week, so close to New Year’s Eve, I thought to offer the same honour to the male poet counterparts. Alas, there were such sad, depressing and angry poems written by the men that I had a hard time finding any poems at all that resonated with optimism and the love of the past year going and expressing excited potential of the year newly to arrive. All, that is, but the one I’ve recorded below by Robert W. Service – whose last stanza fit the very mood I hoped to create as the baton of love changes hands to another year of possibility:

The Passing of the Year

 

by Robert W. Service
Jan. 16, 1874 – Sept. 11, 1958

 
My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope?  O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough!  Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now!  Old Year, good-bye!

 

And since this is my blog spot I get to choose one final poem of the year. One of my own, commemorating the departure of the old year and the honouring of the new:

Ode to New Year’s Day

by Marcia Mae Nelson Pedde

Today we smile in celebration of the new
Let go the past to better see the future view
Behold what can be, shall be, will
Emblazoned by desire beating still
And fearing failure never more
Stepping boldly through the door
Into the realm of quantum realm
Perfection

Happy New Year Everyone.

May you bring to 2010 every opportunity for the most amazing year … filled to overflowing with not merely the potential but the realization of dreams come true. Allow in all that is good. Live your highest excitement each and every moment of your day. Laugh and love and play and create. Be the best you in all your precious moments.

In Light & Laughter & Love,

Marcia

Mike’s Writings V

Hi There:

Please click this link first.  I’ll wait.

Welcome back.  I’ve had several new ideas come to me lately, but I haven’t yet taken the time to write them down.  I wanted to add in some more information from last year because often when I read stuff from ‘Future Me‘ I find that what I’m writing about now is very similar to things I wrote a year ago.  Sometimes I get upset at that because I feel that I’m still going over the same ground over and over again and not getting anywhere, but other times I figure that I’m now looking at these issues from an entirely new perspective.  As Tom Brown Jr. says, it’s important not to get caught in the rut of ‘the same old thing’.  So, in my recent writings I’ve been writing a lot about joy and experiencing life as joy, and when I look back a year I see that I was writing about joy then too.  Each time I approach this it seems like a new discovery.  Maybe it is…

Love,
Mike.
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Marcia’s Meanderings

Well, seems Marcia’s mind is meandering all over the place today. However, my heart is focused on what we Islanders call the ‘mainland’ – the lower westernmost main land of the province of British Columbia, Canada. Living on Vancouver Island as I do – in Victoria at the southern tip – going to the mainland is a big event. There’s a fabulous 1 ½ hour ferry ride over the ocean and between the gorgeous and diverse smaller Gulf Islands of the Juan de Fuca Strait – the Salish Sea. The day is cool, bright and sunny. Perfect!

The highest joy of my day will be the time spent with my hubbie, sons, daughter-in-law and our 19 month old grandson. This is to be our family Christmas together. We have chosen not to exchange gifts – it is the time together that is important to us all. That time adds a richness to our lives that sustains us till our next gathering.

Though I am usually rather chatty here, this is all you’ll read from me today. Succinct. Love that word! Means concise and to the point. Short and snappy. Brief. Even pithy. Pithy, now there’s a word to use before the end of a year. Okay, so the wordsmith in me has risen!!!!!

Come join me here next week. I’ll be posting more meanderings through the 52 weeks of the new year.

Have a terrific last week of 2009, folks. Be good to yourselves in 2010. You are so very worth it!

In Light & Laughter & Love,

Marcia

He Says, She Says…

We have been thoroughly enjoying the process and unfolding of this blog site these past two months of 2009.  And so, with great excitement, we are looking forward to the growth, the potential and the inspirational development of ourselves (both individually and as a couple) as well as that of our blog site through 2010. It will be fun to have you journey along with us!

With that in mind, we thought we’d share our thoughts on the ‘New Year

Follow these links to read what He Says/She Says: Marcia’s View / Mike’s View

One Magic Christmas

Click to play Marcia and Mike's One Magic Christmas

Telling Tales: An Early Christmas Schnoodle

Hi Folks:  The link for the following story showed up in my email Inbox today, and this being Christmas and all, it was too beautiful not to share.  It was written by Trevor Lautens and first appeared in the December 24th edition of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Love and hugs,
Mike.

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Being Green – Update

Hi Folks:

I usually do my ‘Being Green’ posts on Fridays, but since tomorrow I expect to be tied up with ribbon and force fed turkey or something like that, I thought I’d do it today instead.

I have a few things to share with you this week.  First some news:

Largest Solar Energy Project in New York State Approved
“Uniondale, N .Y. — Long Island Power Authority President and CEO, Kevin S. Law announced that the LIPA Board of Trustees approved power purchase agreements (PPAs) with BP Solar and enXco Development Corp. thereby creating the state’s largest source of solar power on Long Island. LIPA’s Solar Energy Project will introduce approximately 50MW of renewable energy generated on Long Island onto LIPA’s electric grid, enough to power 6,500 households and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20,000 tons per year as well as reducing other greenhouse gases…”

SMUD Gets 60 Percent Energy Savings from an Older House
“The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) hopes a new demonstration program will save owners of existing homes money and also spur a new spike in home remodels that really make a difference. The SMUD Energy Efficient Remodel Demonstration (EERD) program is a comprehensive, whole-house approach to retrofitting a home with energy-saving and energy-generating equipment and measures…” Also: http://www.smud.org/en/Pages/index.aspx

Greener Gadgets
While not directly related to ‘green building’ per se, “The Greener Gadgets Conference tackles all of the issues surrounding energy efficiency and sustainable design, from innovative advances in packaging and product manufacturing to end-of-life recycling solutions. It also highlights ways in which electronics make a major impact by utilizing renewable energy in developing nations…”

EPEAT
Somewhat related to the ‘Greener Gadgets’ above, EPEAT is a new certification system for electronics.  One might think of it as a ‘LEED’ rating system for computers and similar devices.  “EPEAT is a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. The system currently covers desktop and laptop computers, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors…”

Haworth Achieves 0% Landfill Status
This is really good news: “Holland, Mich. — Haworth, Inc. announced that all U.S., Shanghai and Pune manufacturing facilities, as well as the company’s global headquarters, have achieved zero waste to landfill status. Preliminary results show that Haworth’s U.S. manufacturing facilities have gone from 4.6 million pounds of landfill waste in 2008 to zero in 2009…”

and

LED Traffic Lights Reduce Electricity Costs, But They Can’t Melt Snow
One of those unexpected consequences.  LED traffic lights are replacing standard traffic lights in some municipalities.  The new lights greatly reduce energy consumption, and they also produce no heat to speak of.    “But it turns out, as snowbound municipalities are just now discovering, that that excess heat was very useful for melting accumulated snow. Now that everyone’s switched over to cooler-running LEDs, snow tends to pile up and obscure the lights, leading to a situation that’s annoying at best and dangerous at worst.

For now, local governments are coping by sending crews out in snowstorms to clean the lights off with compressed air and brushes, as no one’s yet stepped forth with a design-related fix…”

*

Newsletters, etc. this week include:
Sustainable Facility’s Targeted e-News on Energy: Efficient Lighting
ED+C’s Targeted eNews: WaterSense

GBI Insight
newsletter from The Green Building Initiative
Jones Lang Lasalle Global Sustainability Perspective – December 2009

FP Innovations – Forintek’s ‘The Straight Woods’ newsletter includes this article:
Selling Wood Products to the Green Building Market – A Guide for Wood Product Manufacturers: Understanding Green Programs (LEED and Green Globes)

Sundance Channel Eco-mmunity Greenzine

Finally (for now), the latest edition of BC Homes Magazine showed up in my (postal) mailbox this week.  This magazine is put out by the Canadian Home Builders Association, and subscription is free.  There are some good articles in every issue.  Now I just need to find time to read it!  Maybe tonight while I’m waiting for St. Nick to show up.  We always knock back some milk and a few cookies together, talk about the logistics of landing on green roofs, the access challenges provided by direct vent fireplaces, things like that…

Well folks, it’s Christmas Eve, and my wife is waiting patiently for me to finish my typing here.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia or something uniquely your own, we offer our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and a 2010 with as much health, joy and prosperity as you can handle!

Mike.

Poetry Corner

With Christmas just days away, today’s Poetry Corner honours three women who have written poems about this particular topic. I went straight to the top – the cream of the crop. These women you already know by name, but you may not be familiar with their seasonal writings.

Notable Women: Christmas

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 6, 1806–June 29, 1861)

The Holy Night

We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
Softened their horned faces
To almost human gazes
Toward the newly Born:
The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
Brought their visionary looks,
As yet in their astonied hearing rung
The strange sweet angel-tonge:
The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
The incense, myrrh, and gold
These baby hands were impotent to hold:
So let all earthlies and celestials wait
Upon thy royal state.
Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!

Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)

The only real blind person at Christmas-time
is he who has not Christmas in his heart.

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888)
(better known for writing Little Women)

O the Beautiful Old Story

1. O the beautiful old story!
Of the little child that lay
In a manger on that morning,
When the stars sang in the day;
When the happy shepherds kneeling,
As before a holy shrine,
Bless’d God and the tender mother
For a life that was divine.

2. O the pleasant, peaceful story!
Of the Youth who grew so fair,
In His father’s humble dwelling
Poverty and toil to share,
Till around Him in the temple,
Marveling, the old men stood,
As through His wise innocency
Shone the meek boy’s angelhood.

3. O the wonderful, true story!
Of the messenger from God,
Who among the poor and lowly,
Bravely and devoutly trod,
Working miracles of mercy,
Preaching peace, rebuking strife,
Blessing all the little children,
Lifting up the dead to life.

4. O the sad and solemn story!
Of the cross, the crown, the spear,
Of the pardon, pain, and glory
That have made His Name so dear.
His example let us follow,
Fearless, faithful to the end,
Walking in the sacred footsteps
Of our Brother, Master, Friend.

Source: Carol 255, Rev. Charles L. Hutchins, Carols Old and Carols New (Boston: Parish Choir, 1916). Author is listed as “Louise May Alcott” in the original of this book.