Guest Blog Post: “Open Me First,” in Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt’s exact words

Drawing of a wrapped present6 tips for heartfelt giving by writer and fellow blogger Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt

Sharon Bonin-Pratt's Ink Flare

The holiday dilemma: what do you get for the person who has everything?

Perhaps something goofy like slippers that sing Rock Around the Clock, or something extravagant like a set of diamond encrusted napkins rings, the kind of thing that becomes an expensive party joke. Maybe a bauble like a garden statue of lighted snowmen or a set of holiday themed coffee mugs, useless most of the year because, well, they’re holiday themed and who wants to drink coffee in July with Rudolph’s red nose stenciled on it? We can get truly original: a dozen bottles of wine with personalized labels, Humphrey Malarkey Family Reserve Chardonnay, so it looks like Uncle Humph became a boutique vintner on Christmas Eve.  Another possibility is the very exclusive Himalayan Cilantro Sea Salt Spa Scrub with Acai Crystals – imagine how much fun Great Aunt Agnes will have trying to figure out…

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Guest Blog Post: “Five Across, Four Down,” in Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt’s exact words

Art by Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt
Art by Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt

Love words? So do I! No matter how hard we try to be precise though, verbal communication can be confusing. Here fellow blogger, Sharon Lynne Bonin-Pratt, shows us one example of how when we combine our actions with our words, magic can result…

Sharon Bonin-Pratt's Ink Flare

That which we encounter everyday should be that which we celebrate. That which we celebrate can be that which teaches us how better to do what we love. And that which we love can inspire us to write, even when we think our inspiration took off with the last Mongol invasion of Central Asia.

Crossword puzzles occupy a lot of my time, especially true in the last eight years. I don’t have an obsessive love of crosswords, but my mom always did. A pop-in visit to see my folks was as likely to be met with the urgently asked, “What’s a seven letter word for something important?” (gravity) as a heartfelt, “Glad you came by.” Right there, the beginning of a story for NaNoWriMo. Whose mom wants the right puzzle word more than a visit from her progeny? Yours, course. (Well, mine, but you know what I mean.) You thought…

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Video: “Let’s End Ageism,” TED Talk by Ashton Applewhite

Author Ashton Applewhite is a great blogger too: ThisChairRocks.com
Author Ashton Applewhite is a great blogger too: ThisChairRocks.com

We’re in the age where we’re boxed into ‘isms’ — sellers want us to buy more, more, more — and the most effective way for them to reach us is to niche-itize us.

I’m sharing this video because author/activist Ashton Applewhite discusses more than simply old-ageism …

Please share your thoughts …

Brushing, Fish Oil, Turmeric, Digestive Enzymes for Young and Geriatric Cats and Dogs by da-AL

Striped cat with great fur
Cats are better sleek than scrawny.

What do dogs have to do with cats?

It all began with a brush, some fish oil, and some turmeric. For good measure, some digestive enzymes too.

About a month ago, I cat-sat a 15ish-year-old cat for a week. She was bony, flaky skinned, clumpy-furred, and lethargic. It as just as well that her ‘usual people’ didn’t tell me they expected her to die of old age while they were away.

Kitty ate, drank, and partook of her litter box normally. After a couple days of checking in on her twice daily, her snow drifts of dandruff, her languor, and her scrawniness nagged at me.

Day three, I took action. With each morning and evening visit, I began three things:

  1. Vigorous brushing with a slicker brush, the kind with the bent wires.
  2. A capsule of fish oil squirted into her mouth twice a day too.
  3. A capsule of turmeric sprinkled over her kibble.

Each day, she looked significantly better; livelier, not nearly as angular, and her dandruff had dwindled to snowflakes. Now that her ‘regular people’ continue the protocol, she’s prettier than ever!

Beautiful face of my black Labrador mix dog
Wise and gray make sweet and black all the lovelier.

The following week, I took one of my dogs for a rabies vaccination. After the vet administered the shot, he started slicker brushing my dog. He said, “All dogs and cats need a thorough brushing daily.”

“Doesn’t it hurt short-hairs and geriatrics?”

He answered, “Once they get used to it, they love it. It helps their skin and circulation.”

What a difference! With each brushing, my dogs shed less hair and skin flakes. Today, their coats practically glow with shine and good health.

Digestive enzymes came into play when my dogs’ halitosis and flatulence were becoming chronic. After meals, one of them would pace and pant for hours, her stomach gurgling. When I saw digestive enzymes on sale at the pet store, I decided to try dosing them with my own. Each meal, I split a tablet between the dogs. Now their breath smells much better and they settle quickly after meals!

Like with anything I give my dogs, I started small when testing the try fish oil, turmeric, and digestive enzymes. Then I looked for loose stools, which would indicate that I should cut back. Cats and dogs alike took to vigorous brushing right away, the proof in how they try to elbow each other out of the way once I get started.

Costa Rica: Jungle Hiking, Indigenous Abodes, and Rafting the Pacuare River by da-AL

A popular medical tourism destination, Costa Ricans live longer than Northern Americans. How? Thanks to their socialized medicine system, strict anti-smoking laws, overall healthy focus, and low sugar consumption in.

Hover or click images for more info and to enlarge.

Learn more about Costa Rica here and here.

Guest Blog Post: “The Big Question,” in Story Teller’s exact words

Blogger the Story Teller shares his musings of 13th April with us here at da-AL’s blog. It’s autumn there in Cooroy, Queensland, a town in Australia…

Sunset yesterday, from the ’Story Hill.'
Sunset yesterday, from the ’Story Hill.’ I live on an old ‘Aboriginal Story Place’  a ‘place of power’  ‘a place of Stories.’

The big question for me is: ‘where did we come from, and where are we going to,’ or what is the point of ‘life and death?”

The other day, I was sitting in my garden. I was on my favorite garden seat, in the shade of a leafy green tree. Bees buzzed, insects clicked, birds sang… a genteel breeze moved the leaves and branches. Energy flowed like an invisible stream, I felt it on my cheek and the back of my hand. Some people call it the wind.

Blogger/Author The Story Teller
Blogger/Author The Story Teller

I felt profoundly happy and at peace with the world, I breathe in and fill my lungs with energy… I think about the big question. The energy of the universe fills my body, I am everything… everything is me. It’s blindingly simple…

I think and daydream; I’m in a big city someplace, I’m walking across a dusty road, rubbish spins listlessly on an unfelt breeze. Somebody in a dirty white shirt and unkempt trousers staggers towards me, he has no shoes and his feet are filthy. ‘Do you have the answer,’ he croaks as he gets closer.

I smile at the man, I don’t have to talk. I grabbed my shirt at the neck and ripped it open, standing there like King Kong with strips of shirt hanging from my fingers, the unformed universe fermenting in my chest. It was so black, it was before black; electrons shoot out like tiny white rods… they moved in a twisting, linear way.

I tell the man to step inside. I think to myself; “I am nothing… yet to me, I am everything.

Life is a conundrum, the mystery of it makes you smile, the possibilities endless.  Open your mind, dare to dream.

Thoughts on an autumn day down-under.

Read more of the Story Teller’s musing here.

A Fun Way to Celebrate Our Dead by da-AL

Happy Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos!

161030diademuertosw6 161030diademuertosw5 161030diademuertosw4I’ve long admired how Mexicans and Chicanos make the afterlife look amazing; creative, fun, and profound — all at the same time! A dear friend recently visited Peru and returned with this “Calavera Catrina/Lady of the Dead” for me.

161030diademuertosc2My gaze riveted to Catrina’s fun feet, I asked, “What? This is from Peru?!” My friend’s answer took a while to sink in. Dia de los Muertos, it turns out, is celebrated all over the world. Not just in Mexico and Los Angeles!

Here’s a quick definition about how it’s celebrated in Mexico, lifted from a longer Wikipedia explanation.

On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.

— Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature

Here’s how its celebrated around Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhood, Olvera Street…