Happy New Zzzzz…

IMG_5506 (2)Coco and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy National Sleep Day and also a Happy, Peaceful and Satisfying New Year!

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Visiting is 100% free!

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Typography: I shoot it wherever I find it! I recently joined Instacanv.as to make my ever-growing selection of my photographs available to everyone. I’ve been slowly but surely building up my gallery and it’s finally starting to look like something worth writing home about. This is one of several collections I’ve been putting together these last few days… Check it out here: http://instacanv.as/smiler_69/collections/typography. If you like what you see, don’t hesitate to share with your friends and help support an insecure but apparently talented artist!

A New Toy

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November roses
A few pics I took today via Instagram

When I woke up today, I actually stayed in bed for several hours (something I NEVER do unless I’m sleeping) and whiled away the time on Instagram. I guess that counts towards my “creative activities” time. Does anyone here know about Instagram? It’s a free app you can get for iPhone or Android, which allows you to take pictures and use a bunch of artistic filters, which you post on their site and others like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Flickr, to name just those (you can also mail them to friends and such). Then people can “like” the photos and/or comment on them, and “follow” you, just like you can with a blog. I’ve started following some pretty creative photographers, which I found by doing searches for tags like “travel” or “cityscape” and so on. It’s all pretty new to me so I’m still figuring out what you can do with this, and want to find a way to post my photos here on From Smiler, with Love. Though wondering… should they go on createthreesixty5 instead? I’ve taken some 125 photos with the app so far, but you can also post photos taken from you camera—though I haven’t figured out exactly how to do that yet. I also don’t know how to send anyone to my photo stream yet…

WAIT! I just found the web link! http://instagram.com/smiler_69/
Most of my pics can also be viewed on Facebook and on my Tumblr page, The Stolen Child.

Doing what he does best:

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This is my Coco, doing what he does best, i.e. looking ridiculously cute. I took him to the groomer’s for his quarterly visit last week, and can’t get over how soft he is. Now whenever people ask what breed he is, I say he’s a toy poodle crossed with a lamb. One lady actually believed me yesterday. No joke! Sheesh.

The state of my world today

Well, on the personal front, I’m no sure how I’m doing exactly right now. We’ve been having a low pressure system here for the past few days, which has translated into a persistent migraine which turned me into a vegetable most of the weekend. It’s receded a bit today but is still lingering. Then I went to my photo group this afternoon and was quite discouraged with the experience. This is a photo project that my occupational therapist (OT) recruited me to participate in over the next few weeks of summer. She was quite excited about it, as she had attended some workshops on using photography as a recovery tool for mental health patients, which got her to start up a group at the Allan Memorial Institute. We started with our first meeting last week, which left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied, and after our session today I’m seriously considering dropping out. Continue reading

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The Sex Life of Trees

Yes, there is plenty of talk about sex in The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a book I read recently which is obviously a labour of love and carries a message that needs to be truly heard: the planet vitally needs trees; human beings need trees to survive, animal life needs trees to exist; we must stop killing the trees before it’s too late—and proceeds to tell us why in a series of essays which come straight from the heart.

The Global Forest
by Diana Beresford-Kroeger ★★★½

There is no question that Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist and medical biochemist who is an expert on the medicinal, environmental, and nutritional properties of trees set out with all the right intentions with this series of essays on the many reasons—both known and obscure—as to why trees are essential to the planet and to humanity. With essay titles like A Suit for Sustainability; The Paranormal; The Forest, the Fairy, and the Child; Two-Tier Agriculture; Medicinal Wood, and Green Sex and the Affairs of the Heart (yes, this one graphically depicts the sex life of trees), two things become clear: that this woman is passionate about trees, and that while she makes sound scientific and climactic arguments, her more esoteric ideas can’t be an easy sale for the average reader. Which might explain why this book hasn’t made any best-seller lists, even though it carries an important message. It might have worked better with stronger editing to structure Beresford-Krogerer’s ideas; I found that some notions kept being repeated from one essay to the other, while others were a bit too far-fetched for me, even though I have claimed in the past to be a Forest Fairy myself… But there was interesting information about the habits of the First Nations people, who depended on trees and forests for sustenance and to avoid starvation. I badly wanted to love this book, because I too passionately love trees (my name means “tree” in Hebrew, and I’ve often felt myself to be one too). Also, this book was a gift from a beloved aunt whose opinions matter to me (and who took the time to have the author dedicate it in my name). But really, it left me feeling mostly quite dejected. I can’t fault the author for that, but like most other appeals for conservancy, one can’t help but root for the cause while knowing there are more powerful capitalist interests killing animal and plant life on a daily basis who aren’t going to be stopping anytime soon. This doesn’t keep me from trying to make responsible choices and supporting the good fight,  but sometimes my lack of optimism gets in the way and I feel like my only real contribution is the guilt of the world I carry on my shoulders.

Obviously, I’m not alone in feeling this way. When I posted this review on LibraryThing, a member responded by providing a link to an article in The Guardian about how the pessimism on environmental topics sparked a movement called the Dark Mountain Project which posits that we’ve done too little too late to avert “Ecocide”.

What do you think? Too little too late, or are there still reasons to hope for a positive outcome after more than fifty years of environmental activism?

Photo by Smiler