Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

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Why is that, you ask? Because yesterday was my book birthday and that makes me happy. Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest in volume 39, preordered, ordered, or requested the book from the local library!

It’s a little bit like a fairytale, so today let’s tag along with my Writers of the Future award, which went on a little trip to see the Hugh Comstock fairytale cottages in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Here’s the award visiting Storybook Cottage (although I digitally removed the barriers between the award and the cottage, because symbolism!).

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For my mother, and my other mothers, and to all those out there who appreciate flowers, here’s a piece on the history of tulips (one of my mother’s favorite flowers) and their role in art (another of my mom’s favorite things).

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Brief, Blossoming History of Tulips in Art, From a 17th-Century Dutch Flower Craze to Koons’s Controversial Bouquet

There is no other period of art history more closely associated with tulips than the Dutch Golden Age. Marked by economic prosperity, scientific discovery, and flourishing arts and culture, the tulip came to be a hallmark of the Netherland’s successes. There is some disagreement about exactly when and by whom the first tulips were brought to the Dutch Republic, but it is known that they were imported from the Ottoman Empire sometime in the latter half of the 16th century. Already a costly commodity, the demand for specific bulbs of different colors and varieties quickly outpaced the supply of tulips—and thus Tulip Mania, or the Tulip Craze, began. At its height, the price for a rare and prized tulip bulb was on par with a craftsperson’s annual wage.

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Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

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Boring Covid update: More coughing, more tiredness, more urges to curl up on the closest floor and sleep. These elephant seals from the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery know what I mean about that last bit. Here they are basking in the sun.

Photo by J.R. Johnson, and nature.

We went for a soggy visit to Hearst Castle and after, drove a few miles north to the Rookery. We arrived between bouts of light rain. It’s molting season and the beaches were crowded.

The beaches are even busier today. Check out the live webcams for updated views.

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Mr Man and I were able to take a couple of days after the writing workshop to visit California. Here’s a snapshot of the beautiful beach in Santa Barbara, complete with some of the millions of superbloom flowers, pelicans, gulls, and the town pier.

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Taken by J.R. Johnson as the clouds rolled in off the sea, one fine May morning.

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May you have a creative and happy Easter!

Ukrainian newcomers teaching the art of pysanka ahead of Easter

“I think that the main thing for the artists is to show their feelings, express their feelings, with the lines and with the colours and with the style they’re using. When you will be focusing only on the process and just your aim will be to get the perfect pysanka, at the end you can lose something. You have to look inside—what you have inside—what you want to show in your piece. Maybe your feelings, maybe your sadness, maybe your happiness, something to share with people. And you can show it on the surface of pysanka. This is the most important. And we don’t need ten perfect pysankas, we need ten unique pysankas with unique feelings on it.

— Oksana, Ukrainian who came to Canada in 2022, at a pysanky-making workshop in Ottawa

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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Sure, I’ve got five feet of snow in my front yard, but whatever. 

Welcome, Spring!

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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I’m a tiny bit Irish, if inheritance by marriage once removed counts;) And today, I hope you’re a little Irish too.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we regret to announce that because this year’s annual Pi Day celebration falls on a Tuesday, it will have to be postponed. The good news is that pi is infinite. Any day can be Pi Day!

I will focus on pie at a later, more auspicious time. Until then, please enjoy both the mathematical concept and culinary reality of pi/e.

Happy Pi Day! Here’s all you need to know – CBS Boston

10 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day with NASA on March 14

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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Today is Harriet Tubman Day. Who was she and why do we celebrate her?  

Harriet Tubman: Facts, Underground Railroad & Legacy

Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter.

When I was young we lived across the street from a mansion. A massive Victorian from the 1870s, it had a wrap-around porch and beautifully kept grounds. Flowers bloomed behind wrought iron fences and mulberries spilled over onto the sidewalk. One Halloween, the woman who owned the house took at look at my ghost and my brother’s Batman and invited us inside. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a scary story.) 

We were greeted by a wide foyer, elegant wooden paneling, high ceilings and chandeliers. Our neighbor gave us a brief tour and then, perhaps looking through our costumes to the skin underneath, said, “Once upon a time, this house was part of the Underground Railroad.”

Based on the age and location of the house I don’t think that’s likely to be true, but I didn’t know that at the time. The story helped bring to life the books I’d read about runaways, slave catchers and the transformation of a young girl with a disability into a savior of her people.

How to Experience the Lasting Legacy of Harriet Tubman

Pressing my hands against the bricks of the home Harriet Tubman built, I closed my eyes and listened to the wind rustling between the leaves of the trees surrounding this place where she lived and worked as a free woman, awaiting a message from the Underground Railroad conductor and Union spy.

She continues to be an inspiration and so to her, to my ancestors and all those who braved so much during that harsh and terrible time: thank you.

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you… Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

— Harriet Tubman

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Photo of the Harriet Tubman Mural by Kirt Morris on Unsplash

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