Physical description: The albatross has a long, straight bill with a hook on the end with two tubes along it, one on each side, to allow the bird to expel seawater taken in with food. Its plumage ranges from browns to whites. The black-footed albatross measures approximately 27 inches long, has a wingspan of approximately 80 inches, and a weight of 7 to 9 pounds.
Geographic Distribution: Most albatrosses are found in the southern hemisphere, with the exception of albatrosses found in the North Pacific, which are found off the west coast of North America.
Environment: The albatrosses are found in coastal areas.
Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations
Early on albatrosses were considered to be guides or incarnations of wandering souls lost at sea, which is why it was considered unlucky to shoot or eat one. They were also used as weather indicators, usually meaning that stormy weather was imminent. However the albatross became associated with sin, guilt, and punishment with the publication of Samuel Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In this tale, the albatross is a symbol of guilt and burden, worn about the neck of the sailor who shot it down, thus the bird became seen as the initiator of a series of bad luck.
At length did cross an Albatross, Thorough the fog it came; As if it had been a Christian soul, We hailed it in God’s name. And a good south wind sprung up behind; The Albatross did follow, And every day, for food or play, Came to the mariner’s hollo!
Albatrosses spend a lot of time gliding, rarely needing to flap their wings. This suggests an efficient use of the resources available to them. If you see an albatross, ask yourself if you’re deploying your energy to the best uses. Albatrosses use air currents to propel themselves. Look at your life to see what energies you can borrow to help you along and conserve your own energy.
An albatross can also tell you to stay aloft. These birds can spend weeks on end in the air, never fully landing or returning to shore. Keep flying; trust yourself to soar. Don’t constantly rush back home to feel safe. Be strong, and strike out on your own.
The albatross’s strong connection to its family breeding grounds may inspire you to check in with your family. If you’ve never done so, take a look at your family history or your cultural traditions. What country or countries do your ancestors come from? What can you learn from their customs and heritage? Learning these kinds of things can enrich who you are, and your sense of self.
Associated energies: Conservation of energy, trust in yourself, family, heritage Associated seasons: Fall, winter Element associations: Air, water Color associations: Grey, black, beige, white
REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
I’m silently laughing at how I’m going to reflect on Arin’s divinatory meanings for 26 birds when I haven’t seen them yet! It’s like reading all the horoscopes and have each of them apply to my life in some way. I’m going to get acquainted with each of them in case I DO have my meaningful moment. These themes are interesting for me to ponder, however. I wonder where I can “borrow” energy. I feel like I rely so much on technology and gadgets that make my life easier. More energy is always wanted! Maybe that’s why I enjoy working on a team that I can depend on. That way I don’t shoulder most of the work. Rushing home to feel safe is such a big temptation. It takes plenty of courage to strike out on one’s own. Lately, I have been thinking of my ancestors and what qualities I may have inherited as I go about my day. These albatrosses are so much fun to watch! I was engrossed by The Midway Project’s film: https://www.albatrossthefilm.com/watch-albatross
It was the best first kiss in the history of first kisses. It was as sweet as sugar. And it was warm, as warm as pie. The whole world opened up and I fell inside. I don’t know where I was, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care because the only person who mattered was there with me.
—Sarah Addison Allen
Happy February everyone!
January was a entire month of self-care and care for others. My boyfriend and his family have successfully recovered from COVID. Their stamina is still weak, but with more rest, they will be fine. However, my brother and father now have COVID, and I will be checking in with them now. So, it looks like my blogging schedule is going to change once again!
UPDATE: As I’m typing this, two whole buildings nearby have caught on fire, and the fire department is having trouble putting it out. 4 firetrucks, 10 or so ambulances. I praying for 12+ families. The internal structure is falling apart fast…
Boy, I miss this space. Hope all is well in your world! February is a special month of love for all sorts of momentous occasions. Jude, host of The Saturday Symphony, has created a prompt regarding one’s first kiss. If you have a story, feel free to join in!
I’ve heard of many stories from others. Some were sad (like herpes-sad). Some were amazing (like fireworks). Some were funny (like gum in braces). The most hilarious story I read about someone’s first kiss was the fictional tale of Georgia Nicolson! It’s a learning experience! 😀
Being the lovable, squishy person that I am, I have plenty of funny tales, and but today you’ll only learn of one: the first one. It’s so refreshing for me to write since he will be anonymous. He knows who he is! 😉 I don’t think he’s reading this. Though I’m not with him today, I’ll never forget him.
Framework for Romance & Love
When I was 17, I helped my aunt by working at her video & music CD shop. What made my aunt’s shop unique was the fact that she had several collections of Asian foreign films. I helped sweep the dust, assisted customers, and organized VHS tapes on the shelves. I loved working there! I would read the back flap on these movies, and if there’s something I liked, I can rent it from her.
I was always curious about the romance genre, and I would rent such a variety of romantic films. Some were epic period dramas like the new Netflix series, “Rise of the Phoenixes”. My aunt had so many Chinese sagas where the characters wear beautiful costumes and the drama has you hanging on to the edge of your seat.
Do you know how many ways love can hit you? So it makes you happy, or miserable? It makes you sick in the belly or hurt in the heart. It makes everything brighter and sharper, or it blurs all the edges. It makes you feel like a king or a fool. Every way love can hit you, it’s hit me when it comes to you.
~ Nora Roberts
During the summer break, I would also get wrapped up in the many romance stories written by the talented storyteller, Nora Roberts. One of my friends teased me on how obsessed I was with her books. The relationships were so passionate and sensual. I began rivaling the senior ladies who check out twenty of them at a time from the public library! She is one of my favorite authors who captures the Irish scenery so beautifully. This is one of the summaries for one of her books, “Jewels of the Sun”.
Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish folklore and discovering hope for the future of the magical past. Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own.
So with all these idealistic visuals floating around in my head, my expectations surrounding love may have set the bar a bit high given my total lack of experience. 😀
Sitting on a metal stool, I twirled my mechanical pencil around. I was working on a biology assignment in the lab. Studying the human cell in a diagram, the mitochondria is quite the powerhouse! I wore a striped lime green sleeveless shirt that my aunt gave me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she saved my social life by replacing my frumpy clothing with stylish, trendy ones.
Sure enough, a young man who sat across from me complimented me on it, and we struck a conversation about this catchy, trance song, Butterfly, as we studied the anatomy of a cell together listening to it on a loop.
All of the sudden, biology was becoming more enjoyable! 🙂 Flabby physique, short hair, round baby face, a charming smile, self-deprecating humor. He was tanned from playing tennis in the afternoons with his best friend who was a girl. He invited me to play with his crew. After school, I let my parents knew I was hanging out with some friends to play some tennis for the first time. We took the school bus to a campus that had courts to play at.
We arrive at the courts, and he handed me an extra racket. “We’re playing doubles!” He and I were on one side of the net, his friend and the football quarterback was on the other. The quarterback served the ball in my direction as I was learning about the continental grip. I was not ready, and the ball hit me straight into the stomach with such velocity, it left a really bad bruise. Understand that as a football quarterback, he has an incredible arm throw!
They immediately ran up to check on me, but I brushed it aside not wanting to drag the game down. So I learned quickly, and managed to keep up a game with some consistent volleys. After two hours of play, I was sweating buckets, breathing heavily, and called it a day. The courts were nearby his friend’s homes, so we began walking towards the neighborhood.
One by one, his friends parted ways and headed inside. Then it was just me and him walking alongside the sidewalk together. There was a build-up of saliva in my mouth and I spat it out. I sighed, “Sorry, that was very un- lady like.” He laughed out loud, which made me smile and invited me to his parent’s house for dinner.
We arrived at his place and as he opened the door, his two siblings gave him a big hug and asked if he could play video games with them. I watched as they played a few rounds. After they were tired, he carried them to put them to bed for a nap. He decided to program on his computer a bit, as I lied on his bed and rested.
After a bit, he slid next to me as we watched the ceiling together talking about our dreams in life. We exchanged gazes for a moment, and he kissed my shoulder and inched upward towards my face. We kissed as our warm bodies were next to each other. It was fun, yet slobbery. I smacked my lips and laughed, but he wanted to explore a bit more. At which point, I became tense and pulled away.
All of the sudden, it occurred to me how quickly this relationship was moving, and that I didn’t realize it. He said to me, “Sa, everyone’s doing it.” I responded back, “That may be true, but I don’t really cave into peer pressure.” Staring at the ceiling, I eventually stood up at that point and called my dad to pick me up. His parents arrived as well and smiled at my presence. I chatted with them a bit and had a pleasant conversation. I enjoyed their company for the rest of the evening until my dad showed up.
The next day we met up at the school library, he apologized for taking advantage of the situation. I said it was fine, but wasn’t sure what to make of it. So, I continued hanging out with him only at school where teachers were watching. Perhaps, it put a damper on things.
One day, our English teacher read one of our speeches aloud as we were drilling for the writing portion of the standardized tests. She winked at him as she read his story which mentioned me in description only and how we knew we would always care for each other. I was so embarrassed, and he turned red as a beet.
After high school graduation, though, we parted ways, and gone off in different directions. I remember feeling a tinge of jealousy when he chatted to one of my friends. Maybe I still cared about him. When he moved away to another state, I was genuinely happy for him when he got his dream job as a software developer for a gaming console and writing documentaries on the side.
I moved on with my life since then, and I’m in a happy relationship now. Yet, like every other human being who was once in a state of love, you never seem to forget your first kiss.
“Maybe our Happily Ever After hadn’t worked on the first shot. And maybe Happily Ever Afters weren’t a singular event. Maybe they were something you had to work at, and build, and never give up on, as long as they were something you still wanted.”
Pitter patter of rain subsides & puddle evaporates As the sun rays reaches the ground’s surface Overjoyed and egg-static, the suave gentleman Egg-xits the grand foyer in great stride and Moon walks across the outdoor patio Over to the fireplace where he takes a seat Chilly air lingers – hearthstone warm to the touch Emotions resembling to the lyrics of a Tangerine Dream song
You've been out of my life sometime now Seem like a long, long while Sometimes the thoughts of you Bring tears to my eyes While the times that bring a smile I remember what you told me We would always be close in our hearts
He gingerly snaps open a leather jewelry box Marveling at the vintage turquoise Faberge egg earrings Rated highly by the jeweler he bought it from Excited to surprise his beloved on her birthday The symbolism behind her birthstone alone Wisdom, tranquility, protection, hope Qualities to seal the relationship with good fortune Giving it to her should be easy-peasy Yet their long-distance history together Makes for a complex arrangement
Heartwarming stories from “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books are considered timeless literature for me. I can pick any story from any of these series at any time in my life and feel wonderful and uplifted. There’s a quote that reminds me of an event that happened during Christmas time many years ago.
We once had a neighbor who moved from New York into the house next to ours. She was a friendly and attractive lady who my siblings and I always waved to her and wished her a good morning. At the time, my siblings and I were all young children.
She had some mannerisms that were unfamiliar to us in the suburbs. She also had a habit of gardening in the front yard in her bathing suit catching the attention of any males who happened to walk their dogs into our cul-de-sac. My visiting cousins made fun of her, but I came to her defense saying that she never caused us any harm and looked out for us. I suspected that even if she heard my cousins speaking behind her back, she wouldn’t have cared what they thought because she was confident in who she was.
One Christmas day, we heard our doorbell ring. My siblings and I ran to the front door and looked outside the window. There was a wrapped package outside our door. I saw the back of a blond woman’s head and she herself was dressed in a lush red Christmas coat like Mrs. Clause. It was our neighbor, but she didn’t stay to chat probably due to any language barriers.
During a time when we didn’t have to be weary of potential bomb packages outside residential homes, we naturally brought the box inside and opened it since it was from our non-malicious neighbor. Inside our neighbor packed all sorts of goodies for us. We were amazed all all the snacks, toys, and refrigerator holiday magnets she packed for us.
I think back on this memory and feel that it’s a special moment when a neighbor wants to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in spite of the increasing cynicism and all things that go on in the world. I’m grateful that we had such a great neighbor while growing up!
Gazing upon her most cherished possession resting upon her porch, her radio sparked an occasion to revisit yesteryear. She flicked the switch for her electric candles and stared the lit bulbs which lighted a path for her to access her memory.
World War II was over and new, exciting things were on the horizon. The crackling fireplace kept her family warm during Christmas time as they listened to Nat King Cole sing.
As a little girl, she relished in a comedy-mystery radio program, the Abbott Mysteries, which led her to explore her now life-long career as detective. One of her favorite memories though was when her father found a marvelous tree topper that seem to symbolize better things for the new year.
The best color in the world is the one that looks good on you.
Hello! Today, I’ll be exploring a bizarre dream I had last night. It’s definitely related to an enlightening, yet disturbing conference I attended a few months ago. I’ll be responding to Jude’s Saturday Symphony prompt below:
DREAM-CATCHER” This week, let’s use the beauty of a dream, Or the horror of a nightmare To share from the realm without time And loose some of the secret magic that lies in us all.
In case you can’t hold on to a dream for long, it’s best to keep a notebook bedside so you can catch them before they float away.
And then share them for the prompt.lol
The Fashion Police
The afternoon sunlight shone through the skylights. I was walking to an unknown destination in an airport lobby. I scanned the area around me. Nothing out of the ordinary. Business people heading to where their flight is located. Giggling girls shopping in the nearby gift shops. Families munching on their lunches in the food courts.
Nothing out of the ordinary until… I noticed hovering robots scanning individuals.
Holographic images of the individual’s clothing appeared in thin air. Electrical blue schematic diagrams indicated particular stats on the outfit while analyzing the cultural influences, the quality of the fabric, the stitching, and brand name. The robot would then determine if the outfit itself was a fashion atrocity.
Some people were unfazed by the intrusive lasers and went about the day accepting the current state of affairs. When an outfit was deemed unacceptable, the robot would recommend a series of outfits that the individual could wear instead and offer several payment options to purchase the outfit. After the individual presses a few buttons in the air, the robot constructs the outfit from the pattern that the brand provides and 3-D prints the outfit and tailors it for the individual right then and there.
Meanwhile, I’m watching in awe as the thread in the fabric’s fiber are assembling themselves. When they were finished, they scanned around their surroundings. Their lasers scans reached me, and they proceeded in my direction. I looked down and noticed my jeans and t-shirt were in a state of disrepair.
Frightened, I ran away in the opposite direction as fast as I could. I tripped and fell on the ground which accidentally toggled my own dashboard of my current wardrobe to my own surprise. I quickly chose an outfit my mother made for me many years ago. I frantically thought to myself, “She’s a seamstress and had a good eye for stuff. Sure, let’s put it on!”
The robots scanned me again and told me I was free to go. Thankfully, they glided away away. I took a deep breath and exhaled a sigh of relief.
SANTA: Ho, ho, ho! Why, hello Gautama Buddha! What a pleasant surprise! I see you have a stocking here!
BUDDHA: Yes, well… there’s a first time for everything. 🙂 Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, faithfulness is the best relationship. However… I have a special request this year!
SANTA: Normally you request nothing for the holidays but kindness! You’re a tough cookie for the elves to figure out what to create for you. You’ve been a good man, Gautama! What is your wish?
BUDDHA: As you well know, there have been many forest fires plaguing the world this year.
SANTA: Yes, yes – it’s rather unfortunate. Mother Earth is truly hurting right now.
BUDDHA: Well, I would love to plant extra Bodhi trees this year with the hope that it may provide an enlightening experience for those that are within its presence as it has done for me. Some Bodhi seeds or saplings would be wonderful. My monastic order will be helping me taking care of them. When the trees are ready, we will partner with local businesses and people in the community and start a mission to plant them.
SANTA: What a fantastic wish! Mother Earth will be shedding tears of joy to nourish them once their planted. We’ll see what I can do.
BUDDHA: Thank you kindly, Santa!
SANTA: No problem! Magical seeds are easy peasy and totally within my scope. 😉
Featured Photo: Greta Penny, owner of The Design Craft Etsy store, has such a lovely green malachite wrapping paper for sale. It looks like a emerald geode!
I love gift wrapping! I just finished wrapping my gifts for my friends. Looking at my gifts now, you would have never guessed that I came from humble beginnings in the gift wrapping world.
I used to wrap my gifts in newspaper and cut letters and images from magazines to make cards back in the days when I thought buying a Hallmark greeting card was expensive. It eventually dawned on me that I needed to stop making cards that looked like it belongs to a criminal! 😀
Unlikely Gift Wrap Solutions
Homemade cards run in the family. 😉 My brother once took a Cheese It box and refashioned it into a birthday card. He wrote with a permanent black marker, “Have a cheesy birthday!” Upon receiving it, his best friend roared with laughter! He absolutely LOVED it!
My dad used to wrap clothing gifts for his nieces in former Budweiser boxes. I remember us all laughing together at what seems to be a gag gift. My cousin smiled when she opened the box to find a pair of cute overalls and a striped yellow shirt from Old Navy. No alcohol for minors! We have an odd sense of humor and love to recycle and reuse our resources as much as possible.
I’ll never forget the day when mom asked for my help to wrap a gift up for a birthday. It was my first project. I reused some pretty yellow paper from an old gift and made some beautiful curly bows. The family looked at it with a bit of admiration, and from that day forward, my parents left me in charge of the gift wrapping.
Discovering the Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping
Over the years I’ve been inspired by various artists and cultural wrapping techniques. Jane wrote a wonderful post about International Gift Wrapping to Suit All Cultures. I really enjoy the elegant folds in Japanese gift wrapping. They’re beautiful!
Shiho Masuda has a lovely YouTube channel for all sorts of gift wrapping ideas! ❤ Time to up my game!
The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.
Everyone knew no one lived in the night lands But that wasn’t quite true Despite the fumes which have propagated far and wide Within the intoxicating depths of the forest, lies the birth of a new guide
Bursting free from her protective chrysalis Such an immaculate soul From the throne of her exotic bloom, she reigned Like her predecessor, she was wild and unwilling to be contained
Everyone knew no one lived in the night lands But that wasn’t quite true…
Shadowy woodland creatures once lost and lingering Within the saturated blue shadows Troubling tensions have long stirred about insecurities In spite of their self-doubt, their guide brought them out of their obscurities
Everyone knew no one lived in the night lands But that wasn’t quite true…
Glow worms once hibernating underground curiously peeked above the surface Glistening dewdrops sparkle amidst the foggy twilight Grass glitters with gold as the guide protects the land mid-flight
Everyone knew no one lived in the night lands But that wasn’t quite true…
Frozen frogs once encased in layers of ice Bellowing croaks in the distance Their eyes darting about as they look for their flies As they thaw at an excruciating pace impatiently waiting for their prize
Everyone knew no one lived in the night lands But that wasn’t quite true…