Amazing Plants!

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  It is plant time! The sun is shinning and the plants can finally revel in sweet, sweet photosynthesis. Just as 'plant time' began, I went to the the local p-patch/community garden to explore. 






  Now that plant season is in full bloom, I need to go back and see what is growing! Plants are very interesting and amazing!
  I learned about an interesting plant that certainly is not at any local p-patch, but I sure would love to see it in real life. It is called Victoria Amazonica. It sounds like a super hero name, but really it's a gigantic lily pad. This lily pad is thick and green. The sides of the lily pad grow up toward the sun instead of remaining flat along the water's surface. Underneath the lily pad are thick veins, and on top the lily pad looks smooth but bumpy. The Victoria Amazonica also has a flower. On the first evening the flower blooms, it is white. But by the second night, the flower is no longer white, instead it has transformed into a pink flower. The most interesting thing about the lily pad is it's size. Gigantic is no exaggeration. The Victoria Amazonica can grow up to ten feet wide!
  A ten foot long lily pad is not the type of thing I imagine existing in the real world. It's the sort of thing that would exist in a fairy tale. I can imagine a cohort of fairy tale characters drinking tea together on the giant lily pad. I would love to have a picnic a top the Victoria Amazonica! I would feel like Thumbelina.

Sources:
 "Victoria Amazonica." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 2 May 2015. Web. 15 June 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_amazonica>.

A Train Coincidence

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  Sometimes after work, I like to wonder around the neighborhood and take pictures. This time I took pictures near the train track. 











  One thing I find endlessly interesting are stories of coincidence. Since I am on a train theme with this post, I have a train themed coincidence story to share.
   Three Englishmen, experiencing the delights of discovery that travel provides, were on a train together zipping through Peru. I imagine these three Englishmen to all be dapper in their own way. This story takes place in the 1920's, so it is virtually impossible that they were not dapper. They probably all wore hats and suits and were full of daydreams from previous evenings spent with flappers at speakeasies.
   The three dapper Englishmen were not travelling companions. They all  had their own reasons for traveling Peru. Maybe one was chasing a lost love. Maybe another wanted to see a llama in person. And probably the third man was just full of wanderlust.
  The train was empty except for these three Englishmen. Although one travels to experience the unfamiliar and to see a world unexpected and unlike their own, it must have been comforting to be in the presence of one's countrymen. I am sure each of them felt lonely and strange at some point during their journey. The three Englishmen got to talking. This is when they discovered something very strange. One of the men's name was Bingham. Another of the men's name was Powell. And the third man was named Bingham-Powell!
   I don't know what happened after they met on the train, but I like to imagine the three men abandoning their original plans in order to travel together. After Peru, they probably traveled to other countries. Maybe they went To Brazil to see the golden lion tamarin. Maybe they went to visit a Mayan temple in Guatemala.  But for sure I like to imagine when they got back to England, they remained life long friends.

Source: 
Wagner, Stephen. "True Stories of Amazing Coincidences." About Entertainment. About.com, 2015. Web. 12 June 2015. <http://paranormal.about.com/od/humanenigmas/a/Amazing-Coincidences.htm>

Urban Giraffe Sighting!

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  There is a house near where I live that has a 'pet giraffe,' or so it looks this way.





What a charming fellow this giraffe is! I tried to do an internet investigation to find out more about this giraffe, but alas, I found not a thing. Surely the people who own this friendly giraffe named him! He looks like a Lewis or a Gregory to me. This is really awesome though, and I think that more yards need fake giraffes guarding their home.
   Giraffes are such strange, otherworldly creatures. They look like an imaginary animal! They should be living in a realm of fantasy along with unicorns and dragons. Imagine medival themed fantasy novels where orcs and elves ride noble giraffes. What about 'Game of Thrones' reimagiend with Giraffes. Dani would be the Mother of Giraffes instead of dragons.
   Giraffes are interesting weather they are sharing the spotlight with fantastical creatures or weather learning about he nitty-gritty facts of real life giraffes. Here are some intereting facts I learned about giraffes

  • Giraffes are animals with big hearts!... litterally! Their heart is up to two feet long and twenty-five pounds. That is the size of a little kid! (A)
  • Giraffes look to be sweet, docile and peaceful beings. But when the going-gets-tough, the giraffes has no qualms about using violence! While they will mostly run away from predators, they sometimes defend themsleves  by kicking a potential foe. These kicks have proven deadly to lions. (A)
  • Giraffes do not indudlge in the fine pleasure of lounging. They stand most of their lives, including when sleeping and giving birth. (B)
  • The theme of giraffes is 'long.' Giraffes have very long tongues to match their very long necks. Their tongues can be up to 21 inches! (C)

Sources:
A: Keyser, Hannah. "20 Things You Might Not Know About Giraffes." Mental Floss. Mental Floss Inc, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 June 2015. <http://mentalfloss.com/article/56318/20-things-you-might-not-know-about-giraffes>
B:  Giraffe." Amazing Facts about Giraffes | OneKind. OneKind, 2010. Web. 11 June 2015. <http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/animals_a_z/giraffe/>
C: "Giraffes, Giraffe Pictures, Giraffe Facts - National Geographic." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 1996-2015. Web. 11 June 2015.  <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/giraffe/>

Wall of Murals, Part Two

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   I walked along different parts of the mural path on two different days. The second time was one of those weird weather days where the sun was shinning while the rain was plummeting downward. Perfect rainbow conditions, however I did not see a rainbow this time. This type of weather is called sunshowers, but some people refer to it as the devil and his wife fighting. Since the devil is suppose to be living underneath us, it seems strange that his fight with his wife would effect the weather. It seems like an earthquake should be a sign of the devil and his wife fighting. Sunshowers are so pretty though, they don't seem like something that would result from an evil being fighting with his wife.      
   On Wikipedia, I found other sayings people use to describe sunshowers. For some reason, sunshowers have a common connection of matrimony in many different countries. Here are some animals said to be involved in a marriage when a sunshower happens: Fox, crow, wolf, monkey, hyena, bear, monkey, donkey, leopard and jackal. In India, sunshowers also mean a ghost wedding. In Lithuania and Estonia, sunshowers are described as orphan tears that are being dried off by a grandmother. My favorite is a Russian description referring to sunshowers as 'mushroom rain.' It has a simple explanation. Sunshowers are thought to be good mushroom growing weather. But I love the image it invokes! I am imaging cute mushrooms (The type that are red with white polka dots-elf and gnome mushrooms) falling from the sky. (Read more about sunshowers phrases over at the wikipedia page.)














   This last mural of the girl and the feisty feline is my all time favorite!

Wall of Murals, Part One

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The light rail in Seattle passes by a wall of murals. It has always been my favorite part of travelling to and from the airport- looking at all the murals! But racing past on the light rail doesn't give the mind a chance to linger and observe. I walked along the path in between one wall of murals and the railroad track. I was able to see the giant paintings close up! I took lots of pictures.



  I hate when people tag on murals. It is disrespectful and gives a bad name to street art. There are plenty of boring blank walls looking for adornment...no need to blemish beautiful murals! 



 There is a mural near the zoo that was covered up a couple of years ago. Not by graffiti but by graffiti removalists who misinterpreted the sanctioned mural as graffiti hooliganism. It really goes to show that art is in the eye of the beholder. 


  I have helped paint a mural. When I was in high school, I was in a mural painting club. The artist who ran it told his brood of budding muralists to spit in the paint so that we will always be part of the mural. Years later, when I worked at a pizza parlor, I delivered a pizza to the mural artist's studio. He was building huge, moving sculptures. His studio was chaotic and beautiful, full of commotion and artistic sparks. 



  Sometimes I would drive past the mural I worked on and think "There it is! The mural I helped paint!" It was exciting! Even though my contribution was pretty slight and simplistic, it was still exciting. 




  Probably the people who helped paint the murals along this wall of murals feel the same way when they travel the light rail. They probaly sit reading or looking at their phone next to the window, when they see the familiar image out of the corner of their eye. They look up, just in time to see it as they rush by and think "There it is! The mural I helped paint!"



The Moon Man Attempts to Kidnap the Ghost Sisters

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Here is an illustration I finished recently.


 The three ghost sisters have lived in the cemetery for hundreds of years. When they were alive, they lived in a small house in the wilderness with their mother and father. The ghost children were part of a family of pioneers who left an ordinary life in search of adventure. But the adventure led to disaster one day when a candle set the curtains of their log house aflame. The three ghost children died in the fire before they had a chance to grow up. It happened in the early morning. Their mother and father had been outside feeding the goats when the fire started. Their parents tried to save their children, but it was too late.
    There heart broken parents were going to bury them in the woods, but they were afraid their children's spirits would feel alone amongst the mossy woods with only animal bones to keep them company. They paid the preacher in the nearest town to take the girl's charred bones and bury them in the the town's cemetery.
  After their burial, there mother ran away with another man. She could no longer remain with her husband. The man she fell in love with when she was a young woman had passed on his eyes to their three daughters. Every time she looked at him, she thought of her daughters. With her new man, she had four more children who she tried to love like her first three. But it was hard, because every night she dreamed of her three daughters. In her dreams, she was living the life she was meant to have before the fire destroyed it all. When she woke up to her real life of three dead children and four live ones, she couldn't help to wish be back in the dream where her live children had never been born. Her live children would look at her with unfamiliar eyes and they knew something was missing. But there mother never told them what. The four live children never knew they had any siblings besides each other.
 The ghost children's father joined a crew of a ship. He had always thought his life was in the woods, but it turns out he was meant for the sea. While at sea, he made few friends. He spent his days working the ship and his nights reading books about the afterlife or carving figures out of pieces of driftwood. He told himself he would someday go back to his daughter's graves to bring them flowers and driftwood figurines of their favorite animals. A squirrel for Anna, a sparrow for Mary and a turtle for Clara Jane. But he never made it back to the cemetery where his daughters bones rested. On a stormy day one winter, the ship he was on was crushed by a wave. He escaped the sinking ship by clinging onto a splintered piece of wood. He was swept to an abandoned island where he lived the rest of his life with a few of the other survivors of the sinking ship. They built homes out of palm leaf prongs and driftwood. They ate kelp salad, fried fish and fruit. The ghost children's father never found out if he would have ever gained the courage to visit his children's grave. But he would have been comforted to know that they were happy ghost children.
   The ghost children spent all their days sleeping underneath the soft earth and all their nights playing in the cemetery. They danced around the graves, they sang to the sky and they frolicked in the weedy undergrowth. They never grew older. They were always happy-go-lucky children. They never had anything to worry about. That is until the moon man spotted the children. The longer they were ghosts, the more they glowed with their own delight. From way up in the sky, the moon man coveted their light. He wanted their light so he could create more stars to decorate his glittering empire with. So he swooped down from the sky in an attempt to whisk the ghost girls away from their graves and into the sky. The ghost children did not want to go with the moon man. They wanted to be more then sparkles in the sky. The moon man was strong and determined and the ghost children were frightened.
  But somewhere, far off on and island, the ghost of their father would rattle to life. And somewhere else, buried next to the bones of her grown children, the ghost of their mother awoke. Their children's fear would waken the long dead parents and summon them to the old cemetery. They could not save their children the first time they were in danger, but they would save their children this time.


Flowering Plants and Interesting Animals

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  I took pictures of various flowers and other plants while walking from work the other day. 








    I have been watching a series on Netflix called 'Life Stories' all about animals, and I have learned about some pretty interesting animals! One being a fish called the lungfish. The lungfish hangs out in shallow ponds, but sometimes the ponds will evaporate. The lungfish isn't deterred by this dire situation. Instead of succumbing to an ill-fate, the lungfish burrows into the muddy ground. In the muddy ground, the lungfish can wiggles it's body around to make a little home for itself. Once it has created it's safe underground home, it covers itself with mucus so it can remain moist. Afterward, the lungfish waits patiently for the rain to create new ponds. It can wait for several years! Part of the reason that the lungfish can survive outside of water is that it still has lungs, so it can breath air. 
 The other amazing animal I learned about is a spider called the wolf spider. When this spider has babies, the babies cling to their mother and live on top of her as she goes about her business. For the first couple days of their life, they live on dear old mom! The images of the mother spider plodding along with all her little ones living on her is both creepy and amazing! 
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