Pics of the Week 19: Seahorse and Portal, Red Beach, Joy in Play, Fit to Grill, Pretty Pink Flower and Make Room!

This week was a very special one in our house, because my baby boy turned six years old. Wow. Most parents will tell you that as soon as you lay eyes on that beautiful bundle of joy, things begin to change, speed up, and suddenly before you know it, those sweet babies are b-i-g. People tell you, but until you experience this schism of time and space for yourself, it’s difficult to really grasp how whole years can fly by in a blink. It’s humbling and magical – like parenthood as a whole.

It’s been like that since Z & G went public too – I look up and here it’s Friday again, and time to assemble my Pics of the Week. This is the nineteenth installment! Hard to believe.

A couple of days back, I debuted a new series, Z & G Giggles, dedicated to the fine art and glorious joy of laughter. The 3 Golden Sisters’ synchronized swimming video I posted (here) struck me as hilarious and a pleasure to watch for two reasons: 1. Old ladies with potty mouths in swimming gear and “dancing” can be nothing but funny, and 2) It’s not a cutting, malicious humor, rather a jubilant, tender sort. That’s very special, possible only when those creating the moment share a deep respect and affection for one another. Loving laughter, in my opinion, is the most delicious kind. And it’s something else that marks time, beautifully.

I want to take this opportunity, much loved reader, to say thank you for sharing in a great deal of laughter and happiness here too. Time flies, they say…and flying with you has been a most wonderful experience, indeed. Cheers to many more flights of fancy, together.





One wonders what this tiny seahorse is thinking as he peers into the other-wordly “window” on a hairy arm.



Bill Blass once said, “Red is the ultimate cure for sadness”. This striking “beach” in the Liaohe River delta (China) gets its distinct colour from 6,000 acres of red grass. Colour us impressed…and happy!



The sheer joy of young boys at play (just look at that child on the left!) alongside the rich texture and vastness of the landscape is beautifully captured in this shot by photographer Huzzatul Mursalin.



Professor David Wilson (MIT) has developed a solar technology and grill that has one thing other solar powered grills don’t: the ability to absorb and store the sun’s rays for power later. This not only makes for a more environmentally friendly grill (no propane, charcoal or wood means no harmful emissions), but one which can be used after dark, and also in developing countries where constant sources of fuel can be scarce. The grills may be ready for market within the next year.



This lovely hair design is modern, yet whimsical, edgy yet romantic. A most charming take on “putting a flower in your hair”



Harry Harrison, March 12, 1925 – August 15, 2012

Harry Harrison, American satirical science fiction and comic book author, illustrator, Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master and Nebula award winner passed away this week in England at 87.

I was not, until recently, familiar with his most famous series character, the curiously named, Stainless Steel Rat, but I am a fan of his 1966 novel, “Make Room! Make Room!”. This fine piece of dystopian lit. was the basis for the classic 1973 film, “Soylent Green”.  The horror I felt, at ten years old, watching Charlton Heston shriek “It’s PEOPLE! It’s PEOPLE!” cannot be adequately expressed here :) Sufficed to say, Mr. Harrison, did have an impact on me, even at a very young age.

Connecticut born Harrison was a prolific author who worked under various pen names and also served as the president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. He was a man of many talents, a wearer of many hats, but is, perhaps, best summed up, by his old friend and fellow writer, Neil Gaiman who said on his blog, very simply, “[Harry] was crusty, curmudgeonly, opinionated and a real delight to know.”

Rest in peace, Harry Harrison.



Summary of Last Week’s Daily Shots

08/10/2012 – Always laugh when you can…

08/11/2012 – Kitten and Sewing Machine

08/12/2012 – Sunset Cruise

08/13/2012 – Inspired by Life…Osh Bazaar In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

08/14/2012 – If you ask me what I came to do…

08/15/2012 – Stunning Close Up Of Hummingbird

08/16/2012 – What is a Friend, Cookie Monster


This Week’s Oldie But Goodie:

Mlynki Cave, Ukraine



Butterfly image courtesy of

Seahorse image courtesy of Wow! I love these pics!

Red Beach image courtesy of Flights From Reality

Children At Play image by Huzzatul Mursalin via National Geographic’s My Shot

Cooking With The Sun image by Bridgette Meinhold via inHabitat

Pink Rose Hair image courtesy of 1,000,000 Pictures

Harry Harrison image courtesy of Grognardia

Soylent Green movie poster image courtesy of Ebay

Quirky Fun Facts and Shiny New Awards

I’m a quirky factoid fanatic.  Never met a “Did You Know?” list that I didn’t stop for. And while I don’t imagine I’ll ever be a Jeopardy contestant (Alex Trebek, call me! No, really), I do keep my favourites on hand to share should the occasion arise. Award posts are just that. It’s such an honour to receive awards from the community you write for, and just as much fun to nominate others for the same accolades, but let’s face it – over time, they can make for some pretty dry reading :P. Enter obscure fact lists.
This particular list has been pulled directly from the lovely peeps at Editography.  The awards that follow – well, those came from all over the place and over the last couple of months (I’m terribly behind on this front, I apologize!) I appreciate every single one, and am thrilled to pass along my own nominations to an equally as diverse group of bloggers.

With much gratitude, and my giddiest fast-fact geek-self , here we go!

Did You Know…

*People with blue eyes see better in dark.

*Money isn’t made out of paper, it is made out of linen and cotton.

*A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it go mad instantly and sting itself to death.

*Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

*A huge underground river runs underneath the Nile, with six times more water than the river above.

*The USA uses 29% of the world’s petrol and 33% of the world’s electricity.

*Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

*Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.

*We exercise at least 30 muscles when we smile.

*When a person dies, hearing is usually the first sense to go.

*There is a great mushroom in Oregon that is 2,400 years old. It covers 3.4 square miles of land and is still growing.

*The reason honey is so easy to digest is that it’s already been digested by a bee.

*It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million to make a film about it.

*The only part of the body that has no blood supply is the cornea in the eye. It takes in oxygen directly from the air


As with award posts prior, in the interest of keeping things authentic and efficient for both myself and my readers, I’ve combined some of the requirements of each.

Thank you, Shiro51144 for nominating me for the Living Passionately Award. For this award, I’m required to nominate seven other blogs and also reveal something unusual or out of the ordinary that I’ve done today.

Something unusual today: I had an Earl Grey Vanilla tea this morning instead of my usual green tea or black coffee. (If you’re interested, I give it a resounding thumbs down…not a great flavour combo.)

My seven nominees:

this man’s journey, six blocks east of mars, comments from cathy, StephanieLane2012, Yummy Chunklet, no names no pack drill, and the veggie nook. In the interest of full disclosure, I must share that six blocks east of mars is my husband’s corner of the blogosphere, so I’m a wee bit biased :).

A big, grateful hug to Karmic Diva who awarded me the Dedicated Follower Award and Readers Appreciation Award.

I like these awards a lot because they – and their “rules” are simple and genuine in their nature: share them with those bloggers who are you feel are deserving.

For these two awards, I affectionately nominate:

Dedicated Follower Award: Kourtney Heintz’s Journal

Reader’s Appreciation Award: nyparrot

Next up, thanks to you, kindly, Worldly Winds and Boomie Bol for the Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award (hey, I don’t name them)

For this award, I must also nominate a few blogs I’m fond of, then share my answers to the following questions (again, I have nothing to do with the questions asked ;))

1. Describe yourself in seven words.

Mother. Writer. Reader. Runner. Enthusiastic. Art Lover.

2.  What keeps you up at night?

Writing and reading, usually…though the kids do a pretty good job sometimes too.

3. Whom would like you to be?

I’m pretty happy being me

4. What are you wearing now?

Black yoga pants and a Wonder Woman baby tee (shirt)

5. What scares you?

The thought of anything happening to one of my children.

6. What are the best and worst things about blogging?

Best: Building new relationships with a diverse group of people, worldwide.

Worst: Never enough time to get all those posts written and up

7. What was the last website you looked at?

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Not be quite so sensitive…I take things too personally, sometimes.

9. Slankets, yes or no?

I’ll say no(?) Am I the only one without any idea what the heck a “slanket” is?

10. Tell us something about the person who nominated you.

Worldly Winds’ real name is Alex. She’s a lovely lady with a true heart and a passion for poetry.

And my nomination for this award (I’m going to stick to one), is Michael Lewis Glover (whose blog is so darn “sparkly” and terrific, you’ll see it mentioned again, later in this post.)

Now, the Blog on Fire Award. Gracias to Silentlyheardonce for the honour.

To be politely accepted, I must share seven random facts about myself and pass the award along to a fellow “hot” blogger. For this, I am most pleased to nominate one of the newer blogs I’ve found, ManoliRizoFotografia.

I’m going to defer the seven random facts about me part since I’ve done that above :)

Finally, from most lovely Amy at The World is A Book, and Magnolia Beginnings I’ve been awarded The Illuminating Blogger Award.

And the protocol, as per usual, is to visit the blog of the person who nominated me to thank them, link their blog in my own awards post, share a random fact about myself and then pass along my own five nominations.

One more random fact about me (since one seems far less excessive than another whole seven): I may sometimes be a literary snob…but that doesn’t deter me from hunkering down to soak up some good horror/suspense or zombie apocalypse entertainment (Walking Dead or American Horror Story, anyone?)  And it’s my great pleasure to nominate: auntyuna, Michael Lewis Glover, greysqrl, Elisa Ruland, fun and fabulousness, and snippets from 3 wishes.

With deep bows of gratitude, love and high fives,

Anne xo


Drum Roll Please source

Blue eye image source

Bazooka girl image source

Smiling kitten image source

Titanic image source

Gratitude heart image source



Pics of the Week 15: Boy and Bull, Dust Bunny(?), Piano Shelf, Kampai!, Accident Porn and Peace, Love and Flowers

GOING GREEN: Tumbleweed Tiny Homes (A Tour of Two Houses)(Video)

Interview (and Video): Artist and Ontario Plein Air Society Founder, Zan Barrage

Inspired and Lovely: 2 New Awards and Fireworks!

It’s time to get inspired, y’all!

It was a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day, Monday), and we packed a whole lotta fun into ours. We visited friends and caught up, made many special memories with our family (gardening, book fun, sports, tree climbing and sunshine) and capped it all off with some fireworks on Monday evening.

Benjamin sitting with Grandpa’s big box of fireworks :)

We had our first beach volleyball games of the season (definitely rusty! But always nice to get together with the team and feel sand between the toes!) The hubby and I even squeezed in a date night with some awesome eats (and drinks! ;P).  Everyone was left happy, spent and inspired to seek out and spread more of that same feel-goodness that made the weekend so special.

The little extra time also gave me the opportunity to do some catching up in the Twitterverse, on Facebook and right here in my own favourite place, to say thank you for two shiny, new blog awards!

Thank you very, very much to Lens and Pens by Sally and Walking with Bullu who separately nominated me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” Award, and Sometimes, I’m Such A Girl who nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog” Award. All three of these ladies have beautiful blogs themselves that I highly recommend – check them out!

How freakin’ lucky am I?! Here it was, Queen Victoria’s birthday, and I’m the one who received gifts. In fact, since taking Zen and Genki public a few months back, I have been on the receiving end of such love, inspiration and incredible stories, it’s felt a little like my birthday with every post, comment, email, tweet and follow. The people, organizations, writers, artists, activists and bloggers I have met…well let’s just say, if there was an “Oh So Very Grateful, In Awe and Full Of Love” Award, I would send one out to each of you right now.

Of course, the best part of getting blog awards is that they are to be passed along.  And, as luck would have it, the rules for both of the ones I’ve been given, are the same:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, including links to their blogs

2. Include the award image in your post accepting the award and on your blog

3. Share seven random facts about yourself

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award (and link their blogs)

5. Let those bloggers know they’ve been nominated

I am combining my nominations here, because, truly, each of the blogs I have nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are also Very Lovely in every way.  Some are serious, others lighthearted and funny – all of them have brought me joy in their own special way, and for that I am pleased to be able to nominate (in no particular order) the following blogs for both honours:

1. Life in Kawagoe

2. ShutterbugSage

3. Rudolf Abraham’s Blog

4. Ingaphotography

5. Hike. Blog. Love.

6. Jayjaysfavorites

7. Grateful Fairy

8. strassenphotojournal

9. Healing Trips: Sensitive Meals Made Easy

10. Bongodogblog

11. The Urge To Wander

12. Moving to NEPA

13. Lemony Shots

14. Truth is Within

15. Anjou

I salute you all! On this, the day after Victoria Day, I light a hundred virtual glittering fireworks in your honour :)

As for 7 random things about me…

1. I’m currently growing my hair for Locks of Love…and almost have the requisite 10 inches of length (any suggestions for short hair cuts are welcome!)

2. I love the smell of lilac bushes in the Spring and Summer months

3. I’m a big fan of Pinterest (if you want to hit me up there, click here)

4. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved (and ate) yellow mustard by the spoonful.

5. My kids make me laugh until my stomach hurts (Actually, there are a lot of things that can make me laugh until my stomach hurts.  What can I say? I love to laugh :D)

6. Give me the choice between sweet and salty and almost always, I’ll opt for salty

7. My favourite pet of all time was a darling grey chinchilla whose name was “Booby”. I kid you not. (Yes, this made bringing him to the vet a tad embarrassing, especially at check in time)

Cheers to you, and have a wondrous and inspired week!

With Peace, Love and Gratitude,

Anne xo


Fireworks image courtesy of Web Design Hot



A Thousand Stories (Portrait of Rosalinda)

Peculiar, Wahoo, Ding Dong and the Liebster Award

One Marvelous Month and Some Moolah For the Writers Out There (Grant Info)


From Grief to Gratitude: An East African Hot Spring Photo Lights The Way

Peculiar, Wahoo, Ding Dong and The Liebster Award

I’m a big fan of the old “What were they thinking?!” reel. Or lists. Or pictures.  Whatever the medium, usually, it’s a thinly veiled way of saying, “That’s one of the silliest/dumbest/most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard!”  which equals a chuckle or two (maybe even a good belly laugh, if you’re lucky).  Who doesn’t need to hardy har har! more often?

With that in mind, I wanted to share a list I came upon (in The Extraordinary Book of Lists)


1. Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania

2. What Cheer, Iowa

3. Ding Dong, Texas

4. Elbow, Saskatchewan

5. Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky

6. Flin Flon, Manitoba

7. Goofy Ridge, Illinois

8. Hell, Michigan

9. Intercourse, Pennsylvania

10. Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland

11. Cut and Shoot, Texas

12. Jackass Flats, Nevada

13. Owl’s Head, Maine

14. Peculiar, Missouri

15. Placentia, Newfoundland

16. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec

17. Suck-Egg Hollow, Tennessee

18. Swastika, Ontario

19. Tightwad, Missouri

20. Toad Suck, Arkansas

21. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

22. Wahoo, Nebraska

23. Paint Lick, Kentucky

I’d say Monkey’s Eyebrow and Tightwad are my personal favourites…what are yours?  Any bizarrely named cities or towns where you’re at?

Something else that made me smile big today was learning that I’ve received my very first blogging award, The Liebster, courtesy of Nowan Zen.  Thank you! What a lovely surprise.  It’s an award that, loosely translated from German, means, “beloved”, “darling”, or “dearest” – a pat on the back, to an up and coming blogger that says, “Hey, you’re doing alright. Your blog’s kinda cool.”

I won’t lie.  Awards maketh me one happy camper :) The perfect way to cap off my first month!

In accepting the award one has to:

1. Thank the blogger who bestowed the award

2. Pass on the award to five other bloggers who have  two hundred or fewer followers

3. Let each nominee know they  have been given the award via a comment or message

4. Display the award on your blog

I’m  passing the award along to:

My Raw Recovery: Alex is an awesome, new Raw Foodie. Her blog is awesome too.  ‘Nuff said.

God’s Healing Plants: Beautiful blog centered around healthy plant-based living, recipes and more

Walking With Bullu: Bullu is a nifty lady, and her pictures of the everyday and travel are gorgeous.

A Tempting Vegan: “Attempting to cook, move, groove and be happy”. Her blog’s tag sums it up very nicely.

Tania Jessica Smith: A very talented artist and photographer, Tania is one of my new favourites. She’s got a very unique eye (which you will see immediately upon hitting up her blog!)

That’s about all, folks!  A new Pics of the Week installment tomorrow and a new surprise series debuting next week!

With deep bows of gratitude and hearts in my eyes for you,





The Magnolias That Didn’t Make it…and the Champagne That Made It Better

The Quick Shot Goes Daily!

Things That Make Me Zen and Genki


Image of Silly Bandz courtesy of SSK Toys

Image of Pink Heart glasses courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt