The Earth is Round No More

While thinking about a novel I may (or may not) write, this poem made its way into my mind.  I had to pen it down as soon as it showed up, and decided to include it as today’s post. I am working on two ideas for future novels, and I am unsure of what will be next (usually the loudest idea wins), while I continue to work on the current novel, which I almost lost, hence why it has taken so long to publish. I hope you enjoy this little piece of imperfect poetry.

Earth is Round No More

Earth is round no more

it has turned into a box

a square of criticism

the righteous chant of all.

 

Boxed in it rests our humanity,

understanding, and our love.

The lid so tightly closed

The air, stale down below.

 

A planet of diversity

turned into one of selfies

quick to shout geometric words

slow to think beyond the box.

 

Earth is round no more

Crucify the next cyber post

Messiah, of  gigabytes born

The Beast claimed the throne.

 

Earth is round no more

Hearts are wired, brains are stoned

Earth is round no more

Heaven’s stars, fallen short.

The Tree of Life

Sometime ago, my husband and I were sitting on the porch conversing and looking at our new surroundings. He said, “Trees are funny.” I asked, “How come?” He answered, “They go around each other and bend around to continue.”

I looked at the trees he was talking about and I was mesmerized by what I saw. Many branches giving way to other branches of other trees, twisting and bending just right so there was room for every tree to continue to grow and expand. Unlike ivy, climbers, and other plants and bushes that choke one another to overpower and survive. I said to my husband, “We humans should be more like trees.” He smiled.

In Between the Lines – Destiny

Destiny is a very strong theme in my novels, in many levels, earth-bound, personal to the characters, and even as spiritual duty. Destiny is a word that we use in casual conversation; many times, whether we believe in destiny as a preordained course of events or fate, or not. If we don’t believe in the strict definition of destiny or in predestination, we may tend to believe in purpose, and seek the purpose of our lives, “that thing” that we were born to do here on Earth. Purpose is a more digestible word for many. As humans, we crave meaning, and we tend to attach meaning to things/life/events and that meaning is given a layer of sentiment and feeling. It is our nature, whether we tend to analyze these things with our brain or not, we end up doing it. In short, we need a reason to wake up in the morning and keep going; we need purpose. If we don’t have it, we search for it, a lifetime, if necessary. If we never find it, in our deathbed we might say that we missed our purpose in life. Many turn to depression and wither away because they don’t find purpose in their lives. Tragic.

Destiny or purpose – that thing that you must do before you leave Earth – may or not, prevent you from living your life in the now, depending on how you approach its meaning. I think that if we live in the now and are grateful for the moment, while listening to it, our purpose becomes inevitable and unavoidable. It stops being in the future, distant (by our perception) and weaves itself in our daily lives, moment by moment. Somehow, balance is restored between the material being and the spiritual being that is us, and with nature and everything that surrounds us – we become one with the universe, with all that is, whether you call it God, the Universe, or Science. Is there purpose or destiny in that? Maybe or maybe not, or maybe it is intelligent design, or the way that was meant to be? Maybe it is us, our own nature and the nature of things, of it all. Who knows, and will we figure it out? Does it matter that much? It seems to matter; otherwise, we wouldn’t be searching eternally. Without it we feel as feathers floating in the wind, aimlessly, and taken away by life’s current, and without meaningful act. However, we forget that life in itself is purpose.

Photo by MAD

Photo by MAD

 

Note – I will be away from this blog for a week – see you soon 🙂

 

 

 

The Vintage Office

If you have followed this blog, you are aware of my love for vintage items. I love the yesteryear charm of these things, the detail in workmanship, as well as the durability of many vintage objects compared to a similar object manufactured today. In addition, selecting vintage is my way of contributing to the planet by giving a second chance to things, and preventing some of these things from landing on our landfills.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I try to create a space that will inspire me during my working hours, but also that is environmentally friendly. Many times, before heading to the nearest staples, I try to plan purchases ahead of time, looking to see if I can find a vintage item instead of buying new. Sometimes, this action saves me money, sometimes it does not; however, it always helps the environment by preventing an item from going into the landfill.  Many times, I am buying new old stock (NOS) – new items from the past, never used or that have survived sometimes more than a 100 years and are still in great usable shape. Examples of these items are vintage pencils, hole punchers, metal pencil sharpeners, ledgers, paper, refillable pens, paperclips, card holders, heavy-duty Rolodex and refill cards, note cards … you get the idea. Of course, some things require new technology, which I buy new.

The trick here is to plan so you have time to look around; therefore, you don’t make a hurried purchase, which could end up being more expensive. However, Mother Earth is always grateful. As an example – if you know that you will need to buy a stapler in a few weeks, now is a good time to look. If you need to replace your stapler, the heavy metal vintage ones are excellent and perform well and you can still find original staples online, whether NOS or new replacements. I stress this point, planning a purchase, because let’s face it, if you need something right away, you will not have time to shop, compare, and most likely, you will rush to the nearest office supply store because you cannot wait for delivery.

Sometimes the detail in craftsmanship of these items is inspirational in itself – you see a well thought and designed item, proudly displayed, which may inspire you to reach for the same in your work output.  So there is an added benefit. If you are a techie who loves the latest gadgets, this post may not be for you, but you can help by organizing your work and schedule electronically, thus reducing much paper output, in a way, which is great too. And since we are in the topic of paper, if you alternate between writing your drafts on the computer and paper, you can use vintage journals or ledgers for that purpose. I have been lucky to find an entire box of NOS copy paper for three dollars. Other great writing materials are fax paper or the old printing paper with the removable sides. Just a few ideas.

Here are pictures of some items in my writing/working space. By the way, the desk was a Craigslist buy for $10.00 (no zeros are missing here).

 

Roll Top Desk - photo by M.A.D.

Roll Top Desk – photo by M.A.D.

Heavy metal Rolodex, 7 position industrial hole puncher, industrial stapler (takes three sizes)

Heavy metal Rolodex, 7 position industrial hole puncher, industrial stapler (takes three sizes)

017 018   Photo by M.A.D.

Vintage Camera Case - fits perfectly my Canon Powershot. Photo by M.A.D.

Vintage Camera Case – fits perfectly my Canon Powershot. Photo by M.A.D.

Journal Ledger - Photo by M.A.D.

Journal Ledger – Photo by M.A.D.

002 004El Dorado pencils and metal sharpener

So there you have it; all these items are vintage, some more than 50 years old, some new old stock, but all ready to give many more years of service. I hope you enjoy this post, and that it inspires you to give a second chance to vintage items to help our environment.

 

 

Ghost Words

A trashcan at a food court in Salt Lake City, Utah

A trashcan at a food court in Salt Lake City, Utah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The more I think about our kind, I see the complexity of our being.  This morning for example, I went for my early walk, and saw this complexity unfolding.  I am a hello, good morning person, so when I am walking and happen to see another of my species, I usually say the words.  Many times, I get some kind of response – a smile, a gesture of a head tilted sideways with a subtle up movement, a hello or a good morning.  Other times, I get nothing, a stern look, or a head down, avoiding eye contact.  This has puzzled me for so long – why do people do this?  Even animals, acknowledge other species, and theirs.  This morning, I said Good Morning to a woman who was cutting some flowers, and who politely answered with a short and quick good morning, the kind with the absence of a smile.  Later on, I said good morning to a man who had come out of his home and was ready to collect his garbage cans.  He looked at me, as if I had just insulted him, and said nothing.  As I walked further, I spotted a crossing guard who was walking to reach her morning post.  I smiled, but instead met with the quick head down to avoid eye contact.  Later on, I encountered two neighbors driving to their destination flashing smiles and waving. Thank God I’d just reached home and that was the last image I had on my mind – my happy neighbors – because I was beginning to feel a bit uninspired and yes, puzzled, about why people behave that way so early in the morning. I understand when people have had a rotten day, but so early?

It is true that we are living in a fast technologically “challenged?” society, and that we seem to “need more hours” to keep up the pace. However, we seem to have forgotten good manners while we spend the 24 hours we have. It seems to me that two very important words/phrases are almost nonexistent these days – GOOD MORNING (or Hello) and THANK YOU.

It may be my perception, but I seem to hear them less these days. It was very important to say Thank You or Good Morning, not too long ago, although it may seem another century, or as if these words have been relegated to retail pleasantries status. It puzzles me when a door is held or opened for someone, something is given, or someone takes the time or effort to do something for someone, even for a stranger, and these words are never said. As if the person at the other end was a ghost.

What has happened to us? Why are these words less important today than a few decades ago? I am not sure if the speed we live our lives has to do anything with it, or is it that our values have changed, and good manners are not important any more? Sometimes I get more thank you’s from automated systems/services or machinery than from human beings. It is not that I want to be thanked all the time, but more of a concern about “where is our kind headed.” A world where everything is taken for granted? One without gratitude? One where machines seem to have better manners than humans? Or are we there?

We all have our slip-offs and moments of “zombie awareness,” but when our hurried steps/lives become more significant than the generous acts of others (who happen to have the same 24 hours that we have), maybe it is time to stop the purposeless frenzy and think about how long  has it been since we said the Ghost Words.  By the way, Thank You for reading this.

 

Watercolors Friday – Celebrating Nature from Indoors

Every time I see the miracle of Nature, I can help but feel happy, and humbled by the perfection that surrounds us – Us, imperfect humans … are we?  We are part of Nature.  Today, I want to celebrate Nature, birds to be exact.  I enjoy bird watching (and that is the extent of it; I don’t know many of the names), and I am blessed, living in an area where birds are abundant, even that I am not in the country, but surrounded by wetlands, and the shore – Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey (USA).  Birds are beautiful and delicate, sweet and predictable, predatory at times, but also interesting to watch.  For the past couple of months I have observed and photographed birds every time I spotted one near my house.  I have enjoyed and watch with awe, the many birds that are around the area. I have learned to recognize a few everyday guests, many with their significant-bird.  Amanzingly, they do the same things or follow a routine, as we do many times.  Now that the trees are covered with leaves, it is hard to spot them, so I am happy that I took a few weeks to watch, as they came back for spring.

All the pictures have been taken from inside my home on purpose – I wanted to feel Nature’s blessing without stepping outside – a way of celebrating the wonders of Nature, knowing that it can trespass walls, if we are willing to be receptive.  Call it an experiment. I had fun with it and found a new depth to my surroundings. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

 

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  For those wondering what type of camera I used, it is a Canon PowerShot SX500IS 30x optical zoom.  I know nothing about photography, so please forgive any mistakes, as I only admire, point, and shoot. Just for the joy of it 🙂

HAPPY WATERCOLORS FRIDAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Am I Here?

I am sure that at one point or another we ask this question to ourselves.  It is the big question, at the brink of figuring out existentialism, our own, our desires, our goals, but no – it is more than that, the big Why.  But maybe that is not the only approach, or even the right approach; maybe, it is better to know that WE ARE HERE.  Yes, we are here and what you do with your time here is up to you and no one else. Do you really need a why to realize it? Or, do you dare to realize that YOU ARE HERE, and that in itself is one of the greatest discoveries and mysteries.  Dare to dream, but dare to accept that the infinite lives in you and you are here, in the infinite, while you try to figure out why.  Once you accept this, the why will be secondary to the greatness that you heart will experience, to the deep communion with all it is, and all it is inside you, and all is everything.

I came across this awesome NASA Timeless Earth video posted by youtuber boatright.  Watch it, and pay attention at how you feel when you are watching, and enjoy it because yes, you are a part of all that – of everything. All I can say is that I am glad that I AM HERE.

Look at What the Asteroid Brought – a Piece of the Moon

I am just kidding; however, I am extremely happy to announce that Moonlit Valley is available through Amazon (US, UK, EU) in paperback or e-book (Kindle or PDF).  It will also be available via extended distribution through the Ingram, Baker & Taylor catalog, in about 6-8 weeks, meaning that you will be able to order it at your favorite bookstore.  I will be celebrating tonight, of course.  Here is the link to Moonlit Valley

You can also find it here – Moonlit Valley, and through Smashwords here for all of you who have ereaders in the ePub format (nook, apple, kobo…), Sony, palm, and other electronic formats.

This is a picture of the cover,

MOONLIT VALLEY

MOONLIT VALLEY

And the back cover,

back cover Moonlit valley

And a spread picture (because I’m so excited),

moonlit valley spread

Here is a bit about it,

Moonlit Valley

Rose Carrigan never imagined what awaited her when she left her New Jersey hometown to live in an old farmhouse located in a small southern town called Moonlit Valley.   After a series of mysterious clues and unfortunate events, once more, her world turns upside down. This time, the man who she loves, Jeremy Sandbeck, her irresistible and seductive husband, is the one responsible. When she discovers his identity, she must decide between love and destiny, defying the surreal world that she has discovered.  Jeremy struggles with love, and what he
thinks is his true supernatural and divine duty.

I hope you like it.  I will keep you updated.

I Think, Therefore I Am – Not!

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy...

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy. The green and red splotch in this image is the most active star-making galaxy in the very distant universe. Nicknamed “Baby Boom,” the galaxy is churning out an average of up to 4,000 stars per year, more than 100 times the number produced in our own Milky Way galaxy. It was spotted 12.3 billion light-years away by a suite of telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French Philosopher Renee Descartes gave us a lot to think about when he said, “I think, therefore I am.”  I used to ponder a lot on this phrase, and although it seems to explain a lot of our behavior, somehow, it always felt incomplete to me.  Why?  Well, lets take this example, and this happens to me a lot.  My husband jokes, “Oh, she’s thinking about it, soon I’ll see it.”  And this is true for me, when I start thinking a lot about something, I end up doing it, and the ball starts rolling, unless I stop myself somehow, usually for a good reason.  But I think that Descartes phrase applies to emotion as well, if I think that I am upset, unhappy … I end up feeling that way.  However, this is where the phrase feels incomplete to me – in the “doing” part.  For the thinking to pass the threshold into reality, an action is required.

Creativity is in our nature, implanted in our right side of the brain; too bad that we have not developed it fully.  For me to think of something and make it real, the act of creation, of doing, must follow.  Rene Descartes phrase tells us of the great capacity of imagination and wonder that we have; our whole existence is based on ideas that came to reality, inventions that came to be, and gave birth to other technologies, but for all that to happen, one of us had to have an idea, imagine it, designed it, dream of it – Think of it.  The threads of reality vibrate when we think about this miracle – all you see around you, was an idea in someones’ mind at one point in time.  The computer in front of you, the cup of coffee next to you, the pen, the paper, the little knickknacks sitting on your desk… That reality came to be only, and only, after someone imagine it, and later it was created.

The magnificence of that realization, is so deep and beautiful that it only tells us that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible – it just hasn’t been imagined yet, created.  Science, technologies, ideas, dreams, hopes … all of it swirls in a dance of creation, and in the end, it comes to be – it materializes and joins what we call “reality.”  Think about this, how profound … it spells no limits!  Reality comes after thought, after creativity, after creation – not before.  Many times, technologies have to be in place first, and this is where its beauty and amazement starts – we depend on each other to imagine, so we can create.  And we create because it is our nature, as we are part of creation itself, one source to it all.  Reality exists when one idea meets another and another and another … We are creators of reality and that is how we come to be – I THINK, IMAGINE, I CREATE, THEREFORE I AM!

Beam Me Up, Scotty

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I was reminiscing about my childhood and how simple life was in those days.  When you got a cut, all you needed was a band-aid, a bit of iodine and mercury, and you were back running and playing in the green pastures.  Then, I started thinking about mercury and all the controversy surrounding this element.  To give you a bit of an introduction to the element, I will cut and paste some information from Wikipedia:

  • Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and its scientific name is hydrargyrum ( < Greek “hydr-” water and “argyros” silver).

Mercury has been used by ancient cultures in medicinal and religious applications, as well as in alchemy.  Mercury is used in many instruments and devices and in scientific research applications.  It was used or still is used in dentistry as amalgam for dental restoration.  It is used in electrical, electronic, and manufacturing applications and according to Wikipedia,

It is used in lighting: electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light which then causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light” “Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal.  As compared to other metals,  it is a poor conductor of heat, but a fair conductor of electricity.

Mercury does not react with most acids.  It is an extremely rare element in the earth’s crust and it does not blend geochemically with elements found there.  According to Wikipedia,

“is a part of popular secondary reference electrode (called the calomel electrode) in electrochemistry as an alternative to the standard hydrogen electrode. The calomel electrode is used to work out the electrode potential of half cells.[50] Last, but not least, the triple point of mercury, −38.8344 °C, is a fixed point used as a temperature standard for the International Temperature Scale.” 

In everyday applications it is used in cosmetics, fluorescent lamps, mercury vapor lamps, neon signs and of course, in human vaccines.  There is controversy about effects in children, autism, and although it has been a bit reduced, it is still found in significant amounts in the influenza vaccine, which pretty much everyone gets yearly.  And of course, we all know of high content of mercury found in fish, especially in tuna – the poor man’s food (most of the population).

“The European Union directive calling for compact fluorescent bulbs to be made mandatory by 2012 has encouraged China to re-open deadly cinnabar mines to obtain the mercury required for CFL bulb manufacture” (Wikipedia).

Mercury is also used for ion engines in electric propulsion, and “Owing to its acoustic properties, mercury was used as the propagation medium in delay line memory devices used in early digital computers of the mid-20th century.”  In addition, “liquid mercury was used as a coolant for some nuclear reactors.” (Wikipedia)

So, it looks like in its various applications and compounds, through history, Mercury is a wonderful and toxic element and by now (if you are still reading),  you may be asking where am I going with all this.  Well, I can tell you this – by now, with all the mercury in my body, from amalgam, bandaids, fish, vaccines … and the rest, I must be a walking vase of mercury (and so do many of you, especially children).  In a planet that is looking for alternative ways of energy, is concerned about the electromagnetic field, and temperature/climate warming, where part of the population believes in an “ascension”  in different religions (no disrespect meant here), we might as well be the solution to all those problems, that is, as walking breathing living vases full of mercury.   We will conduct electricity, cool the planet, help maintain the electromagnetic field in case there is a problem with the earth’s crust or core, and of course, facilitate the ascension as a propagation medium, owing to its acoustic properties.  Best of all, is that since mercury is a poor conductor of heat, we will not overheat.  All that is left to say is,

“BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY.”