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As you can see, I’m not at my desk right now.  I’m up in the tree (house).  It’s where I do my best thinking—where ideas take root and branch out before I know it. It is here where the magic happens. Who knows what my imagination will come up with next. What little thought will get my attention and become worthy of words to express it.  Thank you for going “out on a limb” with me to share the adventure of yet-to-be-determined motivating messages. Ta-da!

P.S. For those curious whether ta-da is a word, indeed it is according to Webster’s Dictionary. In the formal sense it means an imitative sound of the musical flourish or fanfare of a French Horn. In the more urban usage, it means a final proclamation, an exclamation to substitute a lot of words, especially when excited, happy, surprised. One source claims it was first used in 1926 although it doesn’t state how, and other info states its origins go further back with a connection to yoga and a certain pose called Ta-da-sana. Some consider it slang. I consider it the most magical verbal punctuation. On a grander scale, I like to think of life as one big ta-da.



The purpose and art behind produce labels

Posted on July 8, 2021 | 0 comments

Some might label this column a bit on the fruity side. Others may call it a veggie tale. Me? I chalk it up to curiosity about something that won’t make headlines, but it just might show up as clue on Jeopardy. I’m talking about fruit and vegetable labels, AKA stickers, that sometimes come right off. Other times not so fast. Yet, the “sticky” truth is quite fascinating according to some simple research except for one detail. When exactly did produce stickers first come into use since I can still remember ink-stamped produce growing up?...

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Trees are social too

Posted on June 11, 2021 | 0 comments

Trees are social too

A favorite pastime growing up was hanging out in the walnut tree outside my bedroom window. The thick, woody trunk made it easy to climb up into its ever-welcoming branches. I could sit up there for hours just thinking. Nothing in particular. Just everything in general. Trees do so much more than just stand there and provide clean air, filter water, and have an open invitation to sit and enjoy the shade. Wherever they are, whether it’s just one or a forest, they seem to have this nurturing presence of peace and comfort—a perfect companion to...

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Our national parks are geological gems

Posted on May 13, 2021 | 0 comments

“I will be back” is what I said a year ago when California shut down and I had a few hours to exit Joshua Tree National Park. It was my first visit with plans to spend a few days exploring its wonder and hike a few of the 8,000 rock climbing routes in a park aptly named for its twisty, spikey Joshua trees that dot thousands of scrubby-landscaped acres. As if that isn’t enough geographical eye candy, towering jagged mountains frame a valley filled with granite-like rock formations that look hallucinatory, mythical, and paranormal at once....

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50 things turning 50

Posted on April 29, 2021 | 0 comments

50 things are turning 50 this year. That’s right, 50 well known people, places, things, and events are celebrating their big five-O birthday in 2021. A few of my favorites are the Apollo 14 moon mission when Alan Shepard practiced his golf swing and fellow astronauts brought back 94 pounds of rock. Back on earth, email history began when Ray Tomlinson developed a program for sending electronic mail during downtime while working on a Department of Defense project. Walt Disney World opened in Buena Vista, Florida with adult tickets for $3.50;...

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The umbrella’s colorful storied past

Posted on March 14, 2021 | 0 comments

Umbrellas. Here in SoCal they rarely see the light of day let alone much rain. My hopes were up at the onset of winter when I finally succeeded in finding a great umbrella. Admittedly, my excitement waned with mostly warm temperatures, and I forgot about using the kid-size, see-through dome with a lightweight handle. However, my interest was revived when I checked out the umbrella’s historical ancestry. Colorful not only describes one of its physical characteristics, it’s also a well-suited description of the umbrella’s varied past. That...

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Make kindness your Valentine gift

Posted on February 13, 2021 | 0 comments

On the way to finding something fun to share about Valentine’s day, I kept bumping into articles about kindness. Not exactly a new hearts day idea, however, last year kindness stories soared to the forefront in videos and online posts and kept are spirits alive during very trying times. We collectively cheered for folks performing heartwarming acts of kindness for others. Repeatedly we saw how one person’s kindness activated responses from an army of folks who added their efforts to help the cause. So what’s behind the art of kindness? The...

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Predictions you might be glad didn’t come true

Posted on January 14, 2021 | 0 comments

We all know what did happen in 2020. Any thoughts about what didn’t? To answer that question, I checked out the list Bob Larkin compiled of far-out 2020 predictions made during the last century that were for the most part a “no-show.” For example, podiatrists might have something to say about how Richard Clement Lucas lectured in 1911 that the human foot would turn into one big toe. I think personal helicopters sound a lot more promising. However, just as Popular Mechanics was way off with its 1949 prediction that computers would weigh 1.5...

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Candles have a way of lighting up December holidays

Posted on December 12, 2020 | 0 comments

What scent sums up the holiday season for you? Is it the aroma of your favorite foods? A certain plant? Or something symbolic of the celebration? A number of behavioral studies have demonstrated that smells trigger more vivid emotional memories and are better at inducing that feeling of “being brought back in time” than images. That seems to be true since people tend to mention memories of some kind when they talk about their favorite holiday foods. The three major holidays celebrated in December are Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. They all...

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A different Thanksgiving? Still plenty to be thankful about

Posted on November 15, 2020 | 2 comments

What do you like best about autumn? In a new survey, 56 percent of the respondents claimed that autumn is their favorite time of year citing the changing colors of the leaves, feeling the chill in the air, and drinking hot chocolate as the top three reasons. Thanksgiving and getting ready for December holidays also contribute to people being nostalgic about, and eager for the season as well. In Southern California, it tends to take a little longer before we see evidence of fall features, yet by November the days are shorter, the temperatures...

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Charming critters you likely never knew existed

Posted on October 11, 2020 | 0 comments

Scientists in Hong Kong are tickled pink to report that rare pink dolphins are making a comeback appearance in its waterways because COVID-19 shut down high-speed ferries between Hong Kong and Macau in March. These animated animals are also making a stylish splash since sorbet pink is a trendy color choice for fall 2020. With a little bit more research, turns out there are a dozen-plus animals that could join in this season’s fashion parade. Following are a few of my fascinating favorites. Not overly crazy about salamanders? Then check out...

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