Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem which translates as "Seize the Day!" is something my mother was talking about the other day.  I grew up moving around, living in a variety of places for different lengths of time.  My mother said that too many people wait to follow their dreams until after they retire and by then, they may not have much time available to enjoy life.
Australia, Shipwreck, Coast, BeachSo when they had the chance, my parents moved us all to Australia because my father had always dreamed of going.  He didn't have a job, had never lived overseas but he'd always wanted to go.  So one June, we packed the essentials, sold off or gave away the rest and went.

Australia, Map Of The World, World, MapI have always played it safe.  I've really never moved somewhere without a job, never been willing to totally step outside my comfort zone to live my dreams.  So, I've made up my mind that in 5 years, I am going to take a huge leap and follow my dreams!  Yeah!

The only problem is that I have several different dreams and I have to decide which ones to pursue.  Some are not mutually exclusive.
I want to:
1. Write books for a living.
2.  Have a garden large enough to have produce to sell at the farmers market.
3.  Start a business.
4.  Try out for "So You Think You Can Dance!" (I can dance, just not well enough to make it past the cattle call.)
5.  Buy a house of my dreams or build it.  I don't know which one yet.
6.  Take up 10 K runs.
7.  Take a train all over Europe.
8.  Go on a photo journey to Africa.
9. Create some best selling apps for mobile devices.
10. Going to Tahiti, or Bali, or other tropical area and spending some time living there.

Will I do all 10 things on my list?  Who knows but the future offers so many different possibilities and only time will tell.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Leave, Board, Hand, Learn, NoteI love to learn.  I absolutely love to learn new things, learn more, just learn.  I am an information junkie.  So I decided to go back to get more training on using iBook Author.  In case you don't know much about it, iBook Author is a program on the Mac used to create interactive books.

I took this three day training last summer and got so much out of it, that I decided to return to get more this summer.  It is run by some folks in Zeeland, MI.  They call it iBookHack.  It is a very indepth 3 day program that is fantastic.

Mark, Marker, Hand, Leave I got so much out of it last year but since it was so intense, I felt I wanted to come back and learn more.  Besides, I want to know enough to be the resource person after the IT dept has Apple come out to do a 2 day training on ibook Author.

I want to be ready so I can provide the support after the trainer leaves.  Too often, the IT dept arranging training and once the training is over, there is no follow up support.  That is normal in many districts.
Any way, I am in paradise with this training and I"m off to enjoy it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Outlet, Sockets, Plug, Power, EnergyI am sitting in the middle of the D concourse at the SeaTac Airport.  It's about  6:20 in the morning and I've been watching the Denver bound plane board.  I am sitting at a small desk like area that is big enough to seat four people on each side and/or handle up to 8 devices charging.

Up to now, I've seen the chairs that have a small electrical  box between alternating pairs and are only scattered around the waiting room.  If you are lucky, you are able to snag such a seat.  In other places, such as the Philadelphia airport, you find a plug in the wall and sit down next to it on the floor. 

 I have never seen tables like this but I absolutely love the one I"m at.  Its big enough to have some privacy and I have a perfect view of the boarding gate, the bathroom, the water fountain and I can get some work done. 

This is paradise for me, not having to fight others for electrical plugs.  Of course it could be due to the early hour.  My first flight left at 5:00 AM and I am waiting for my next flight due to leave in about two hours.

The best thing about my next flight, besides getting bumped up to First Class, is the plane has electrical plugs and USB ports so I have power all the way to Chicago.  I still carry my small power chargers just in case but it is great to know I don't have to carry enough power or devices to survive a cross country trip.   Yeah!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hidden Treasures Part 2

 My daughter spotted this cute cat planter on someone's porch and had to take a picture.  It is sooo adorable and to me, it has a wonderful sassy attitude.  Who ever created this planter really knows their cats.......LOL.

I think it was the same trip,we saw this juxtaposition of real birds and a sculpture on the roof.  The black birds are the real thing while the owl sitting on the chimney unit is the sculpture.  Oh the weird thing showing to the left of the chimney turns out to be part of the satellite dish that is installed on the roof.  I kept trying to figure out what it represented till I got past the house and looked back.......LOL.

Again, my daughter spied this from the main road and took a picture of Lady Liberty painted on the side of a house.  I didn't even see it until she pointed it out.  There was a huge apple tree laden with fruit in the corner of the yard while the owners had posted a sign "Friends gather here" at the corner of the house.  The whole atmosphere of the house was welcoming.

 I believe that was the same street where we found a house whose house number was in Roman Numerals rather than the usual numerical digits.  Being a math teacher, the Roman Numerals caught my attention.....LOL.

Somewhere along the way, we spotted this little woodland creature sitting in the bushes waiting for someone to share munchies with it.  I believe there was a huge stone snail just to the right on the other side of the stairs that are just out of view in the picture.  I think its a squirrel but I'm a bit shaky on identifying creatures made of stone.

As a good bye for today,  we found this beautiful dragonfly in a flower bed of a house.  Both my daughter and I fell in love with it when we saw it.  It also took us a few minutes to find the angle that worked best taking the picture.

The dragonfly  looks almost like it is on patrol, keeping the garden safe from predators. 

I don't know if I'll be able to publish anything tomorrow as I am traveling to Michigan for a three day class.  I will try to put something out during a 3 hour layover in the airport but we'll see.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hidden Treasures pt 1

I've been visiting my parents this past week.  They live in a seaside town just south of the Canadian/United States Border. When you stand on the main road, facing north, just next to the harbor, you can see Canada.  In the past, I've seen cars backed up several miles along the freeway as they waited to cross the border.

My daughter and I have been walking all over town with a camera because we spot all these cool sculptures, paintings, etc.  I plan to share a few more tomorrow after I download the current pictures on the camera but in the meantime, I have a few to share.

As we passed one of the vacation places, we spotted this sand castle in the yard.  I suspect it is made out of cement and designed to look like one of those sand castles from our youth or one you might see in a contest.  The whole yard had little treasures hidden here and there.  This place is on the main road, across from the train tracks.
In another yard, we saw this cute bird trying to take off.  It is done so well, you can almost see the wings moving and you expect to see it lift off any minute.  I love the whimsical placement.  It sits in the  middle of the front garden, ready to head off towards Canada.

As soon as I spotted it, my daughter whipped out the camera and started taking pictures of it.  She took photography in school and is now using what she learned.

We found these two birds under the front bushes of one of the older victorian houses.  At first we thought these guys were real but after a minute, we realized they were good fakes.  They look like they are going after worms or bugs under the bushes. 

I love walking around town because if I were driving I would miss so many of these cute sculptures.  Tomorrow, I will share more photos of things I've found including a cat planter, full of sass.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


I am visiting my parents in a lovely seaside town near the Canadian Border.  The other day, the library arranged for a helicopter from the Border Patrol to visit so kids could sit in the helicopter and learn more about them.  My youngest went with me and had a blast learning more about them. 

The helicopter arrived around 10:30 am to a huge crowd.  The library had roped off the overflow parking lot for its landing after it circled above the town a couple of times. 

Once it landed, the pilots took time to explain how the helicopter worked.  They explained about the camera mounted on the helicopter.  The camera can take both regular pictures and perform heat sensing.

My daughter in the pilots seat.
After the pilots finished explaining everything about the helicopter, finished with the general questions, they allowed the children to sit in the pilot's seat and learn more.  My daughter is a bit older than the ages planned for this activity, so she asked if older kids could sit in the helicopter after the younger ones were finished.  The pilots grinned and let her sit in the helicopter as you can see.  She had a wonderful time and loved it..

At the end of the hour, everyone was moved away from the helicopter and placed safely behind a yellow police tape and the helicopter took off and flew away.

She wanted to see it because she has never been in a helicopter.  While she had fun at the helicopter, I was in the library working because I had a job once that I could only get to by helicopter.  So I would fly out, stay several months and then fly back.    To her, she was visiting paradise when they let her sit in the helicopter and if she ever gets a chance to see one again, she'll take advantage of it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Whimsicals at the zoo.

I'm discovering that you can find more than animals at the zoo.  I recently went to the Honolulu Zoo and as I wandered through the zoo, I discovered some really neat things. 

Over near the zebra's cage, on a hand rail, I found this little multi - colored worm just hanging there,  being quiet as a mouse but standing out all the same.  The kids around me, really enjoyed the creature.  

Over near the old elephant cage, sits a baby elephant sculpture, looking so cute and adorable.  Its just the right size for the little ones to hug and enjoy.  Even as an adult, I found it absolutely cuddly.....LOL.  They were in the process of moving the elephants closer to the African animals. 

I think they had both Asian and African elephants on display.  I'll share photos another day.

Unfortunately, the hippopotamus display was being renovated so these were the only ones I got to see.  Although these are sculptures, they still look quite lifelike and are so much friendlier than the real ones.  I think size wise, they are sort of the size of babies to teens.

The last piece of art I saw was so beautiful. Dophins, I think, who  were set up on stands and appeared to be swimming through the air.  Soooo graceful. Who ever created these creatures managed to capture their grace and beauty.  Although frozen at a point in time, they look as if they are in motion. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Outrageous Acts of Science

Last night I watched two hours of Outrageous Acts of Science on the science channel.  It was awesome.  The shows look at video clips that have gone viral on the internet and have several scientific or mathematical authorities to comment on the particular clip to predict if it is faked or real.  The experts identified most fakes but there were a couple real clips they had trouble with.  The scientists give the actual reasons for why it is a fake.

Elephant, Africa, African ElephantExamples of some of the clips included showing an Elephant taking and eating a cell phone and then the owner of the elephant finding the phone, intact, in the poop.   The scientists called it a fake because the elephant has huge molars designed to crush woody materials and these same molars would crush the cell phone.  In addition, the cell phone would have been drowned in water and also soaked by stomach acid.

Great White Shark, Shark, Jaws, FishThere was one where a guy who ran into a Great White Shark in Sydney Harbor and made it out without being attacked. One of the biologists stated that the clip was not real because every shark has identifying marks on their tail fins.  Turns out there were two sharks in the video.  The scientist noted the tail fins having two different patterns which are like fingerprints for people.  He showed the clips with the tails circled so he was able to prove it was a fake.

There was a third hour but I decided I had best go to bed.  Still I loved every minute of it because the scientists took time to explain the science and math involved in each clip.  I learned several things.  I kind of wish I had cable at home so I could get the science channel.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Indiana Jones

Last night I caught a rerun of Mythbusters dealing with Indiana Jones on the Science Channel.  I don't normally have access to a television set so this was cool. 
They explored 4 different topics in regard to the Indiana Jones movies.
1. Can you swing across a ravine using a whip?
2. Can the tip of a whip go faster than the speed of sound?
3. Can you use a whip to take a gun of someone who is pointing one at you?
4. Can you run fast enough to avoid getting hit by poisonous blow darts?

Travel, Undertaking, Adventure, HeadingThe first thing they did was build a bull whip to their specifications.  It was great watching Adam show us the process of making the whip but once it was made, both Adam and Jamie had to take whip cracking lessons from a master so they could recreate some of the stunts.

Turns out Adam was much better at it than Jamie. 
Rock, Skull, Grey, Adventure
So now the answers to the above questions.
1.  Yes you can swing across a ravine using a whip but the "tree branch" you use must have rough not smooth bark or the which is unable to hold on to the branch.  I think Adam fell 4 or 5 times before they added some rough bark to the branch and the whip was able to hold.

2.  Yes the tip of a whip can go faster than the speed of sound.  They used a high speed camera and multiple tries before they were able to actually calculate the rate the whip tip was traveling.

Indiana Jones, Archaeologist, Movie3.  Yes, it is possible to disarm a person with a whip if you have the skill level.

4.  Yes, it is possible to run fast enough to avoid poison darts as you run with the little god.  They built in the 1 second delay from the movie and Adam was all the way through the course before the poisonous darts even started firing.  So they eliminated the delay and he still made it through the course before getting hit by the last dart so they decided that was plausible.

As you can tell from previous posts, I am a science geek and love anything to do with Mythbusters.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Interesting Experiences

Fairbanks, Alaska, Building, Ski ResortI took the 1:25 AM flight from Fairbanks to Seattle this past Friday and I experienced a rather unique concept that only happens in the middle of summer. 

There is an interesting phenomena that occurs every summer.  If you fly from Fairbanks south to Seattle at this time of the year, you do not get any darkness on the flight.  You sort of follow the light as you make the trip. 
Float Plane, Lake Union, Seattle Wa
 The stewardesses had everyone keep the window shades drawn, so the cabin would be dark enough for people to sleep.  Totally unique trip. 

While on the subject of long days.  It is the solstice and the time for the yearly midnight baseball game.  Yes you read that correctly.

Girl, Player, Ball, Glove, Recreation
 It is the time of the year again, when the Alaska Goldpanners in Fairbanks, Alaska play a late night game using only natural light.  No artificial lights at all.  Its called the Midnight Sun Game because they are the farthest north baseball team in the United States. 

Imagine, arriving at the field around 10 PM, park your car, pay your admission and get settled down in your seat to watch the night time game in full light till 1 or 2 in the morning. Yeah, it is kind of hard to imagine isn't it. 

Apparently, this midnight game started back in 1906 due to a bet between two bars and continues to this day. More on solstice celebrations later.

Jurassic World and Science Friday

Yesterday, I was listening to Science Friday, a radio program, and they talked to two paleontologists about the real bloopers in Jurassic World.  There were several things they noted about the whole movie.

Dinosaur, Zoo, Velociraptor, Animal
1.  There were no paleontologists in this film.
2.  None of the dinosaurs have feathers, quills or similar things.
3. The velociraptors are actually about the size of a turkey so they are much smaller than portrayed.
Skeleton, Dinosaur, Skull, Paleontology4.  The mosasaurus is actually a marine animal, not a land animal. The scientist called it sea monster and stated they got the teeth right in it.
 These are not the only problems but this all boils down to the idea of "creative license."   Jurassic World is a movie designed to continue the Jurassic Park legacy and to entertain us, not be true to life.

Ohhh the link for Jurassic World takes you to the dinosaur page.  It lists all the dinosaurs found in them movie.  Is the information there correct?  I don't know as I am not a paleontologist.  It is cool. Most of us go see movies to be entertained, not to sit there and pick it apart unless the movie is so bad that its good. I go to movies to enjoy myself and I try hard not to look for errors.

Diver, Octopus, Grasping, Sea, OceanJust as I finished writing this, one more piece of information popped up and I found it absolutely fascinating. 

1. A scientist discovered a species of octopus that walk/run on two arms.  I think that is cool.  They said never call the tentacles  "legs", they are arms.  Furthermore, cephalopod week from June 19 to 25 th and I've provided a link for information.

The hardest thing about today's entry had to do with spelling.  I have trouble trouble spelling which made it difficult looking up the dinosaurs on the internet.  Through perseverance, I found them and hopefully I have them spelled correctly.

NOTE:  There is a strong possibility that I may not be publishing tomorrow because I will not have access to the internet where I am staying and the library is closed.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Warthogs and other things.

When you hear the word Warthog, what do you think of?  Most people I know would automatically think of Harry Potter.  The only reason I know anything about Harry Potter is that I had a roommate who loved the movies and insisted I watch them with her.  I know people who bought and read every single book (I have not read any) and own every single movie made from the books. 

A Warthog
Boo all you want, but I've spent much of my time in places with no TV signal, no satellite or cable.  Well, I have finally seen a Warthog in real life.  I will admit it was on one side of the fence and I was on the other but still, I know what one looks like.   Its kind of ugly but seems to have personality.

I even snapped a picture of the information plaque next to the warthog.  So where am I going with this?  Well a young lady I know sat me down to share a British TV series called "Wizards vs Aliens" from the same guy who produced Dr Who, Torchwood, and the Adventures of Sarah Jane Smith.

The basic premise of the show is that there are wizards on the earth who practice magic but keep themselves hidden from the rest of the population.  Aliens come to earth to capture wizards, extract and absorb their magic.  It seems to be more of a kids show but it still had the British humor written into it.

She said all three seasons are currently on NetFlix and its out on DVD for season 1.  Honestly I enjoyed it because the kid who is the wizard is like any other kid, attends a regular school and learns magic from his grandmother who is a bit eccentric but likable.  He uses magic to help him win, get his homework done and can't understand why it shouldn't be used in the ways he uses it.  As I said a normal teenager.....LOL

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Iolani Palace

Dining Room
 Iolani Palace was first home to the Royal Family and then the center of Government from 1879 to 1969.  King David Kalakaua commissioned the building of the palace using all the most up to date ideas including indoor plumbing (flush toilets) and the telephone.  The King had electricity installed five years after the Palace was completed.

Stained Glass Part of the Ceiling.
 The king was well educated and spoke both Hawaiian and English equally well.  This palace was built so they could entertain others and hold official functions. 

Did you know, King David Kalakaua encouraged the arts in Hawaii, brought back hula and traveled outside of Hawaii?  He was loved by his people.

Modern Flush Bathroom
Based on its beauty, I would say no expense was spared.  It is absolutely beautiful and big.  It is probably bigger than most houses in Beverly Hills.  Although they had other residences, THIS was the one.

King David Kalakaua died early in 1891 and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani became the next ruler.  What is sad, is that she was forced to give up her throne and suffered much.  After she served her time in Iolani Palace, she went back to her house on Washington Place.

Sitting Room of the Bedroom
After Queen Liliuokalani vacated Iolani Palace it became the center of government for almost 75 years before it fell into disrepair but in 1969, the government moved into a new capital building built right next to the palace and the palace was restored.

Today, it is open for tours.  If you do the self guided tour, it can take an hour or two to go through, depending how through you want to be.

Did you know that Queen Liliuokalani wrote approximately 165 songs including the Queen's Prayer which was written during her imprisonment?  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Overthrowing the Government.

Imagine living in a world ruled by Kings or Queens. You've extended a welcome to people who come to your land,  let them set up businesses, own land, and even become part of the local in crowd.  And how do they repay you?  They arrange for you to be overthrown and your country is taken over and ruled by another country.

Your family united the country and has run it for multiple generations and you are given no choice but to abdicate.  None! 

This is what happened in Hawaii way back in the 1890's.  What you see is Iolani Palace built back around 1880 and owned by the Royal Family.  It was their residence and it was built to have the most modern amenities of the time.

There are regularly scheduled tours with tour guides or a self-tour you can take.  All visitors are required to cover their shoes so as to protect the flooring and keep it in as good shape as they can.

What is sad is that a few years after Queen Liliuokalani  was forced to yield her authority, she was convicted of leading a plot to overthrow the new government so she would rule again.

After a nasty trial in front of a military tribune, she was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 5 years of hard labor but that sentence was commuted so she ended up under house arrest in the palace.   Was she involved in the plot?   I don't know. 

There is a group that keeps the palace in its beautiful glory so all can see it and learn more about its history and its importance to the Hawaiian Peoples.  I have more pictures to share and more information on the family who built it.

Ohhh one more thing. If you ever have watched Hawaii 5-0 either version, you will have seen the outside of this building.....LOL

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Graceful Swimmers.

Jelly Fish
I  love watching jelly fish swim. They move as gracefully through the water as hula dancers.  When I watch them, I hear the song  "Lovely Hula Hands" in my head.  "Graceful as the birds in motion" perfectly describes the movement of jellyfish.  

Jelly Fish
I could spend hours watching them dance undersea. I don't really know how many different varieties of jelly fish there are but all the ones I've seen are beautiful.  The ones I've seen are round and look a bit like an umbrella that gently moves up and down, rippling from the center to the edges.

They are so mesmerizing as they laze through the water. They look as if they don't have a care in the world. If I had to use one word to describe the guys, I'd call them peaceful but you have to be kind of careful around them, because their tentacles can be quite long and sting. 

Jelly Fish.

When I was growing up, we tried to avoid the Portuguese Man of War's which floated on the surface of the ocean. I hated being anywhere near them because their tentacles had one mean sting.  Everyone had their home remedy to ease the pain.  Mine was simple, I rubbed wet sand over the area.
Bluebottle, Portuguese Man O' War
Portuguese Man of War.

I took a quick look at Portuguese Man of Wars and  guess what? Turns out they are not jelly fish but two organisms who work together.  One organism is the base and the other is the tentacles.

I think I'd prefer watching a performance of dancing jelly fish to being anywhere near the Portuguese Man of War, ever.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Floral Parades.

I realize that having this entry titled Floral Parades almost sounds like a duh! Most parades have floats decorated with flowers but this parade is the Kamehameha floral parade as it says on the placard at the beginning.  This parade is to celebrate King Kamehameha V and his contribution to the culture.  It takes place on the first Saturday after King Kamehameha day (June 11).

The parade has the usual grand marshal, all the various beauty queens for the state from Miss Hawaii to Mrs Hawaii and all the titles in between.

In addition, the Royal Hawaiian Band lead off the parade after the placard. They have been playing since around 1850, through the wars, through everything.  My father first heard them in 1938 when he and my grandmother first moved to the islands.  They even have a band gazebo to play at in the park between the zoo and the aquarium.

I think there were four other bands who marched and played in the parade including one from St. Louis.  There were several floats such as this one celebrating the decedents of Kamehameha.  We also saw one of the hotel's floats, cars with the father, mother, grandfather of the year for the Chinese society.

And of course my favorite, the princess of each island and their court as they all rode down the street on horseback. The princess of Oahu and her court were all attired in yellow and each island is easily identifiable by their individual color.   I had a great time looking at the wreaths the horses wore.  One island had green mangoes woven into the wreaths and they looked great.  Each group has the mandatory pooper scooper patrol in matching t-shirts with decorated bins . 

The parade took about two hours total to watch and before it ended we saw some collector cars ranging from a corvette to dune buggies to VW's,  the Sons of Hawaii Motorcycle Club and of course the wonderful Honolulu Police department with their officers on both Motorcycles and Bicycles.

I loved every minute of it because each and every entry in the parade had flowers decorating it.  That is why it is called a floral parade.
Tomorrow, who knows what I"ll be writing about.