Adorable, Expensive Baby Pandas

Pandas are adorable, but are they worth a million bucks?

Zoos that want a panda have to pay about a million dollars a year to the Chinese government for the privilege of hosting just one panda. And that’s before the costs of a habitat, food, and care.

And if you want a baby panda (and who doesn’t?) then that’s another million for a second panda plus if everything goes well and a little bundle of panda joy does come along, the Chinese government gets a $400,000 baby tax!

Sheesh! It’s a good thing they’re so darn cute!


Solstice and Sunflowers

A short time ago was the Summer Solstice (the first official day of summer and the longest day of the year) and I’m channeling sunflowers.
Sunflowers are so inspiring. I love the fact that their heads move throughout the day to follow the path of the sun, so their faces always follow the light. They grow up to twelve feet tall, stretching their proud yellow crowns up towards the sky. This summer I’m going for a more sunflower-y attitude.

May we always seek out the light and stand up tall and confident!

(Received in an email and had to pass along!)

The Apocalypse Begins!

Recently my daughter decided that she could and would magically become organized – something she’s never been good at — if she had a giant whiteboard to write everything on. So, soon, an enormous whiteboard was delivered to our place and the very next day, armed with a drill and a stud finder, she mounted the humongous thing on the wall. Tried to mount it on the wall. Started to mount it on the wall.

But —  Returning home from a shopping trip, expecting to find it on the wall and covered with important information, I found it, instead, leaning against the wall. Not on it. Against it. Hmmmmm —

Upon closer inspection, I noticed several screw-holes and screws on the wall. The stud-finder had gone rogue. It told him there were studs where there weren’t and also said there were none where there should be.

In short, it lied. Intentionally? Deliberately? Has the apocalypse begun?

Have our faithful helpers in life finally turned against us? Should we run for the hills? Or Mars? Or somewhere farther away where we will be safe from uber intelligent, malevolent machines that believe we mistreated them in some previous life?

I don’t know about you but I’m stocking up on food and weapons and getting in line for the first space ship away from here! Because rouge stud-finders are just the beginning. Trust me on this.


Buttoning women’s clothes. Not as simple as you’d think.

Have you ever noticed that buttons and zippers are one side on men’s clothing, but the other side on women’s clothing? It’s true! Apparently the reason for the difference is that historically, wealthy women had such complicated clothing that they often had servants dress them, while wealthy men still usually dressed themselves. If I suddenly turn into a millionaire one day, somehow I still don’t think I’ll have the urge to hire someone to button up my shirt for me. (thanks

Stars, Stripes, America and John Philip Sousa

𝓢𝓽𝓪𝓻𝓼, 𝓢𝓽𝓻𝓲𝓹𝓮𝓼, 𝓐𝓶𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓬𝓪! 𝓐𝓶𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓬𝓪𝓷𝓼 𝓱𝓪𝓿𝓮 𝓙𝓸𝓱𝓷 𝓟𝓱𝓲𝓵𝓲𝓹 𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓼𝓪 𝓽𝓸 𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓷𝓴 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓫𝓮𝓼𝓽 𝓹𝓪𝓽𝓻𝓲𝓸𝓽𝓲𝓬 𝓶𝓪𝓻𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓼. 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓶𝓾𝓼𝓲𝓬 𝔂𝓸𝓾 𝓱𝓮𝓪𝓻 𝓪𝓽 𝓪 4𝓽𝓱 𝓸𝓯 𝓙𝓾𝓵𝔂 𝓹𝓪𝓻𝓪𝓭𝓮? 𝓣𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓴 𝓙𝓸𝓱𝓷 𝓟𝓱𝓲𝓵𝓲𝓹 𝓢𝓸𝓾𝓼𝓪. 𝓗𝓮 𝔀𝓻𝓸𝓽𝓮 “𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓢𝓽𝓪𝓻𝓼 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓢𝓽𝓻𝓲𝓹𝓮𝓼 𝓕𝓸𝓻𝓮𝓿𝓮𝓻” 𝓸𝓷 𝓱𝓲𝓼 𝔀𝓪𝔂 𝓱𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓯𝓻𝓸𝓶 𝓪 𝓿𝓪𝓬𝓪𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷 𝓪𝓫𝓻𝓸𝓪𝓭. 𝓑𝓮𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓸𝓷 𝓪 𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓹, 𝔀𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓹𝓼 𝓫𝓮𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓼𝓵𝓸𝔀𝓮𝓻 𝓽𝓻𝓪𝓿𝓮𝓵 𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓷 𝔀𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝔀𝓮 𝓮𝔁𝓹𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓮𝓷𝓬𝓮 𝓽𝓸𝓭𝓪𝔂, 𝓱𝓮 𝓱𝓪𝓭 𝓪 𝓵𝓸𝓽 𝓸𝓯 𝓽𝓲𝓶𝓮 𝓽𝓸 𝓼𝓹𝓮𝓷𝓭 𝓸𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓵𝓸𝓷𝓰 𝓿𝓸𝔂𝓪𝓰𝓮 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝓾𝓼𝓮𝓭 𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓽𝓲𝓶𝓮 𝓽𝓸 𝔀𝓻𝓲𝓽𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓮𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓻𝓮 𝓹𝓲𝓮𝓬𝓮 𝓹𝓪𝓬𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓭𝓮𝓬𝓴 𝔀𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓐𝓶𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓬𝓪𝓷 𝓯𝓵𝓪𝓰 𝓯𝓵𝔂𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓯𝓻𝓸𝓶 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓯𝓸𝓻𝓮𝓶𝓪𝓼𝓽. 𝓐𝓷𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝓷𝓮𝓿𝓮𝓻 𝔀𝓻𝓸𝓽𝓮 𝓭𝓸𝔀𝓷 𝓪 𝓷𝓸𝓽𝓮. 𝓝𝓸𝓽 𝓾𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓵 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓹 𝓭𝓸𝓬𝓴𝓮𝓭 𝓭𝓲𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝓪𝓬𝓽𝓾𝓪𝓵𝓵𝔂 𝔀𝓻𝓸𝓽𝓮 𝓪𝓷𝔂 𝓸𝓯 𝓲𝓽 𝓭𝓸𝔀𝓷! 𝓤𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓵 𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓷, 𝓱𝓮 𝓪𝓻𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓰𝓮𝓭 𝓲𝓽 𝓪𝓵𝓵 𝓲𝓷 𝓱𝓲𝓼 𝓱𝓮𝓪𝓭. 𝓝𝓸𝓽 𝓸𝓷𝓵𝔂 𝓭𝓲𝓭 𝓱𝓮 𝓬𝓸𝓶𝓹𝓸𝓼𝓮 𝓶𝓾𝓼𝓲𝓬 𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝔀𝓮𝓷𝓽 𝓭𝓸𝔀𝓷 𝓲𝓷 𝓱𝓲𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓻𝔂, 𝓱𝓮 𝓭𝓲𝓭 𝓲𝓽 𝔀𝓲𝓽𝓱𝓸𝓾𝓽 𝓪 𝓹𝓮𝓷! (𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓷𝓴𝓼 𝓜𝓲𝓼𝓼𝓸𝓾𝓻𝓲𝓠𝓾𝓲𝓵𝓽𝓒𝓸.𝓬𝓸𝓶)

Naming Games

ℙ𝕖𝕠𝕡𝕝𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕗𝕦𝕟 𝕟𝕒𝕞𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕨𝕚𝕟 𝕓𝕒𝕓𝕚𝕖𝕤. ℂ𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕣 𝔹𝕠𝕟𝕟𝕚𝕖 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔻𝕠𝕟𝕟𝕚𝕖, 𝕋𝕒𝕪𝕝𝕠𝕣 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕋𝕪𝕝𝕖𝕣, 𝕠𝕣 𝔸𝕧𝕒 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕟𝕟𝕒. 𝕆𝕣, 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕒 𝕓𝕚𝕥 𝕞𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕚𝕞𝕒𝕘𝕚𝕟𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟, 𝔻𝕠𝕣𝕠𝕥𝕙𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔻𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕚𝕖𝕝 (𝔻𝕠𝕥 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔻𝕒𝕤𝕙), 𝕀𝕟𝕕𝕚 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕟𝕟𝕒, 𝔹𝕒𝕤𝕜𝕚𝕟 𝕒𝕟𝕕 ℝ𝕠𝕓𝕓𝕚𝕟𝕤, 𝔸𝕓𝕖 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕃𝕚𝕟𝕔𝕠𝕝𝕟, 𝔹𝕖𝕟 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕁𝕖𝕣𝕣𝕪, 𝕠𝕣 𝔼𝕝𝕚𝕫𝕒𝕓𝕖𝕥𝕙 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔹𝕖𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕪 (𝔹𝕖𝕥𝕙 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔹𝕖𝕥𝕙). 𝕀 𝕝𝕠𝕧𝕖 𝕡𝕖𝕠𝕡𝕝𝕖 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕤𝕦𝕔𝕙 𝕚𝕞𝕒𝕘𝕚𝕟𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟! (𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕜𝕤 𝕄𝕚𝕤𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕚ℚ𝕦𝕚𝕝𝕥ℂ𝕠.𝕔𝕠𝕞)

The Boy Who Cried Wolf Rewritten: How to Lose Your Kingdom

I know this story sounds like a fairy tale, but I swear, it’s real history! King You of Zhou ruled China in 780 BC. Everything was fine until he met a girl. King You was already married, but he fell head over heels for Bao Si, and he brought her into the palace and kicked out the queen. The king’s new girl was hard to amuse, but he tried and tried. One day he pulled a prank by sending smoke signals to call his nobles to arms. The nobles thought they were under attack and they rushed to the palace armed for battle. The king’s girlfriend thought it was hilarious! The king repeated the prank a couple more times – he wanted to keep his girl in a good mood. Soon, though, King You’s father-in-law, angry that his daughter had been kicked out of the palace, mounted an attack. (You can see where this is going.) The king called his nobles and, of course, they didn’t come and guess what happened next! (Thanks,

Forever Trees

I love the Sequoia, the enormous redwood trees of California. I knew they were big, I knew they were old, but when I actually looked into it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Three thousand five-hundred years! That’s how old they think the oldest of the sequoia is.

That tree has seen an awful lot. It was there before most of the world’s major religions. It’s seen the rise and fall of kings and empires. None of the countries of the world were even really countries when that tree started as a little seedling. The world was very different when that mighty tree started to sprout. Much has changed. Almost everythign has changed.

But some things never change: love, family, hope, and, of course, trees. They’ve never gone out of style, and they never will.


Pizza Anyone?

2018 5 17

The Aztecs grew tomatoes but Cortés brought the seeds to Europe. He thought they’d look nice in gardens. Like pretty, round, red flowers. Soon, however, aristocrats – the only people able to afford flower gardens — nibbled those pretty red flowers and discovered they were delicious and soon lots of aristocrats were eating tomatoes. And, occasionally, dying. From tomatoes? Yep. It happened. It really did. Which meant they were poisonous, right?

Actually, no, but it took a while before people knew why they were dying. It was because flatware of the time was made of pewter which has a high lead content and that acidic foods – like tomatoes – caused the lead to leach out of the flatware and into the food, resulting in lead poisoning.

Italians, however, never thought tomatoes were poisonous (maybe they didn’t use pewter flatware?) and when Queen Margarite came to Naples for a visit, someone invented pizza, including the three colors of the Italian flag – red, white, and green – to honor the visiting queen. Green peppers, white cheese and red tomatoes. Tomatoes have been included as a basic pizza ingredient ever since.

Then those Italians emigrated to America and brought pizza with them.

At which time, Americans had to make a choice. Pizza or death by tomato poisoning?

Given such a choice, which would you choose? Pizza, of course, especially since none of those Italians who ate tons of the pies died forthwith. And also because Americans are both smart and a bunch of foodies who like a challenge.

And the rest is history.

Pizza history, that is.

Some flowers are tough! Not mine.

I always thought of flowers as delicate and fragile. And some are. But not all. Some of the loveliest are some of the toughest.

Lotus flowers, for instance, begin life in the yucky, muddy bottom of a pond where they struggle until they grow enough to reach the water’s surface where they finally have fresh air and sunlight. They don’t give up. Good for them!

Poppies don’t have it easy, either. Their seeds lie dormant in the dirt for a long time. Years and years. You’d think they don’t exist, with people walking carelessly all over them. That continues until the ground is disturbed and then they begin growing, suddenly, surprising people who’d forgot they existed and turning all that broken ground into a field of color. Remember the battlefields of Europe during WWII? How poets spoke of the poppies that sprang to life there? It’s what they do because they are tough.

The purple mountain saxifrage is a tiny, sweet flower that grows at higher altitudes than possibly any other flower on earth and brings a touch of color to the harsh landscape found at the top of the world. The top of the world! A place of cold and lack of oxygen and thousand-foot cliffs that scare people like me to death! But for these flowers, it’s home.

Every day, when I water my own picky blooms, I remind them how fortunate they are to live in my yard where everything is provided and all they have to do in return is be beautiful.

I don’t think they listen.

Because they know their only job is to be lovely.