Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Heart-Soul Universe

Here is my next sketch done this morning - that is both a response to Lauren's first one (see below) and additional info from somewhere within me! Click on each to see larger in a new window. I wish I could have hair like Lauren drew. Rainbow! Love it! I saw a girl in the Tokyo airport with such hair once. I pantomimed to her just how cool I thought that looked. She understood. ;-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Heart-Vibe Connection Zone

Click on image to view larger. This illustrates the Heart-Vibe Connection Zone in a 2 dimensional drawing. This is in fact a 4 or more dimensional concept - but you have to start somewhere! Where the energy from our hearts - our core essence - intersects with the vibrations of others' - this is where all things are possible. This is also where we have direct access to Spirit - the universal everythingness. It's deep! It's esoteric - and it's always with us! Feel yours?

This is 002 in the x-change with belle.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

X-change with Belle + Serina 001

All this week I'll be posting my morning sketches based on a collaboration between two wonderful friends and me. When they give me their link(s) I'll add them here. We don't have any expectations or rules beyond - posting one sketch a day. (click on the image to enlarge in a new window)

This one is a depiction of my interpretation of how beings, events and times are all interconnected.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Understanding Dogs - Part 2

The following 3 books contain some of the most salient information ever compiled on the subject of comprehending the sometimes inscrutable sounds and actions of our best friends. First up is a treatise on the sounds, grammar (I'm not kidding!) and verbiage (it's all about the action with dogs) of pooches written by the inimitable Norwegian dog whisperer (sorry Cesar, she beat you to it!):
Barking: The Sound of a Language by Turid Rugaas

Next, in
How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication, by Stanley Coren we have a compilation of sketches delineating typical canine postures and behaviors that begins by explaining typical canis lupus (wolf) behavior and is then extended to canis familiaris (domestic dogs). Among many insightful observations is the particularly interesting case made for the accidental confusion in signaling by dogs whose ears have been bred to be floppy - turns out canines relay on upright ears to convey myriad nuanced messages! Those tiny flicks, foldings and swivels hold much meaning.

And finally we end with an excellent book, recently published that builds on the foundation set by the two books above this time with photographs illustrating behaviors and postures all interpreted or explained to an extent heretofore never available. Good stuf! Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog, by Brenda Aloff.

These are all available on amazon.com and linked accordingly. What a great time to be interested in canine language, ethology and behavior - so much thorough and accessible information is just a click away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wild Delight! Delta Society Reading

As I study the Delta Society Student Manual for io's and my Pet Partner training I've been delighted to discover some significant overlap in recommended reading between their list and my personal library.

To begin with, there's "Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas, a book describing the body language dogs naturally employ to alleviate stress in all social situations; canine and human. They also highlight the TTouch methods andwell written books created and described by Linda Tellington-Jones, an internationally celebrated horse trainer and riding instructor. How cool is that? You may wish to start by looking Ms. T-J's "Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training" book.

Though most registered teams feature a dog partner, Delta Society support materials highlight the work of a horse professional. This tells me io and I will be truly welcome additions to their national roster.

We are thrilled! io can't wait to get going!
Next post: Several more top rated books that provide even more enlightenment into the sometimes misunderstood language of horse and dog behavior.

Oh, I should mention we have set up a Fan Club for io on Facebook, where you can also follow his progress and adventures in happiness.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Delta Society Training: Cincinnati

Yesterday I attended a fascinating Delta Society training produced by Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati. They offer trainings and Pet Partner team evaluations almost every month. Director Glenna Mockbee and one of her own team members, chocolate lab Blake, as well as other experienced Pet Partner teams from their organization, introduced us to the theories and practices of becoming and being a Pet Partner team in a day long workshop.

Delta Society is a non profit organization formed in the later 1970's that has set the standard for training and registering pet and partner teams whose aim is to visit people who can use a boost. The benefits a person receives by interacting with an animal during a time of pain or stress, emotional or physical, is becoming an increasingly well documented phenomenon. Usually dog/handler teams are formed - but as some of you know - my cattle dogs are completely unqualified for this sort of work mostly due to their dedication to acting on their own naturally exuberant impulses. A great characteristic for herding cows, not so good for keeping calm next to a hospital bed.

That's why I'll be working with my miniature horse io! I thought I might be the only candidate in the room with such a goal in mind until a brand new friend, Dove Griffin (her miniature horse farm is: Minicamelot), piped up during her introduction that she was doing the same. An instant rapport was formed. Actually everyone in the room was an immediate friend; bound by our love of animals and desire to work with a well chosen partner to bring cheer to people who need some.

I'll be writing more as io and I progress through our training and introduction to facilties in and around the Bleugrass region of Kentucky. Once we're officially registered we will possess credentials and skills that will allow us to visit with patients, clients, residents; their friends and family as well as the staff of places like hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, assisted living residences, schools and others. All of our work will be gratis.

Now you know why I need a trailer small enough for my car to pull, and cute enough to delight the casual observer as io and I pull into the parking lots of places where our goal will be to bring a light moment to an otherwise less than perfect day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wishes Granted

Sometimes at night I lay awake, usually for no good reason, like worrying about things I can't do a thing about at 2 a.m. Last night was starting to be one of those events - when I stopped myself and rather than stressing about junk I made myself visualize all my friends having their wishes granted. Not that I know what their wishes are, necessarily, just that I could see each person celebrating because something wonderful had come true for them. Even people I know only a little, like my Pet Society friends, who I usually could only visualize as their pet, sorry, I granted wishes to. Then I extended my powers even farther and wished good things for entire groups of people, whole populations, even the globe. It didn't cause me to go to sleep any sooner, but I felt like I was accomplishing something good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Please help us Visualize!

Io and I need your help. We are working our towards gaining Delta Society registration which will allow me to bring him for official visits to places like hospitals and other facilities where a smile is of great benefit to an otherwise stressful or bleak day. I am hoping to find a trailer small enough to be easily towed by my little SUV that can safely transport Io everywhere we're invited. If you could pause for a moment and picture us going places - that will help us a lot. If you come across something that might work - get in touch! Thanks so much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Love Pipeline

This past Saturday some friends with mini horses and I loaded up and set up a corral in the gymnasium of a local church. We were there for a meet n' greet with hundreds of area Girl Scouts. It is widely known that girls love horses and this event proved that beyond any doubt. It inspired me to make a movie short about the experience and write these words:

Love sings its existence
across proximity of any nature
through its vibrational melodies
expressed in many forms

Friday, January 9, 2009

Personal Perceptual Sphere

It occurred to me this morning that everything I see is colored, influenced and even created by my own internal world. Every time I look out - I must look beyond - even through - my own opinions, thoughts, ideas and experiences. I have to forgive myself when I get too tied up with myself. I must remember to forgive others for doing the same.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Are you like me? Do you have a stack of perfectly good books hanging around that you're pretty sure you're never going to read again but you don't have the heart to give away just yet? What if I told you there's a website you can post these books of yours to trade for newer ones! It's Swaptree.com, and I've made 8 swaps so far. I LOVE it! It's direct low impact recycling (swapcycling I'm calling it!). Each book costs just $2.61 to ship out. Reuse a padded envelope and that's it! You print the postage right from the Swaptree site. I think they make, like, 20 cents on that - but don't charge for anything else. You can then drop your padded envelop into any mailbox - no need for a special trip to the post office. How cool is this?! New books for just the cost of postage.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Over 8 Large Male African Elephants So far

Yesterday I started wondering about how much I've personally contributed to landfills through my own garbage creation. As an American consumer I average 4.5 pounds per day.

That's 4.5 x 365 x 51 (my age) or 83,767.5 pounds to date on my last birthday. The average weight of an African elephant (the bigger ones) is about 10,000 pounds.

My personal garbage production stated in elephants, then, is about 8.3.

Talk about needing to lose some weight! Time for me to seriously cut back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The World Without Us

Have you heard of this book? It's been out for awhile and has appeared on many 'must read' lists. The content is a condensed encapsulation of all the wrongs we humans have done to this earth. Mistakes we've made that will continue to poison the surroundings for epochs if not forever. Nuclear and CO2 wastes being major among the ills we've set in motion.

Boo, us. And not just the recent us, either. Even our primitive ancestors laid waste to whole species by indiscriminate over hunting. Still, we can make healthier, more harmonious choices ourselves starting this second. The question is will enough of us do so? Really all we need is a quantum shift in our accepting personal responsibility towards maintaining a healthy planet. Doing so will embolden our chosen leaders (industry, government and spiritual) to make better choices and set in motion a turn-around our descendants will exist to acknowledge. Or we can ignore everything, continue on the path we've set and let some other life forms take over a couple epochs from now after we inevitably relinquish stewardship through unchanged now recognized filthy habits. But that would be crazy, right?

Who's next? Cockroaches? Those worms that live near vents in the ocean? Will their kind rise to replace us? In some ways, really, who cares? We won't be hear to see it, will we? In another - just how sacrosanct do you hold this existence? Is it worth saving or at the very least extending out as far as possible? Me, I think so. Besides I would be so embarrassed to have been a member of the species that ruins a good thing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Re-usable Vessels

Hey, whatever happened to refillable containers? Let's go back to them! Imagine going to the grocery store with a collection of your own, fun, hip, containers and refilling your moo-juice, OJ, wine, salad dressing, peanut butter, olive oil, laundry detergent, etc, etc.

Am I crazy? Lately I have been feeling like such a jerk throwing away perfectly good single-use containers. Oh I recycle them, but that takes so much energy! To collect, transport, melt down, reform, transport, fill, transport again....
I want to buy really fun, cool ones and take them in to get filled. Could save me money and will DEFINITELY save energy! Hassle? Maybe some - but totally totally worth it from a sustainability point of view.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Friends Everywhere

Yesterday I visited a friend on her gorgeous and perfectly animal friendly farm where one of her pot bellied pigs, Delihla, gave me to understand just how elegant and friendly pigs can be. She clearly remembered a kindness bestowed months earlier when I stopped by to feed Betsy's menagerie last October. Next time you think of calling someone a pig, understand you will be bestowing a great compliment. If that isn't your intention perhaps instead you should call them a blasted beaurocrat or other such inflexible nitwit. ;-)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Side-Cycle, No-Cycle, Real-Cycle - Part 1

I just heard on the radio a new report on the recent downturn in the overall output of U.S. factory production. Bad news? Maybe not. For starters, a slow down in production means a slow down in consumption, which means a slow down in waste on all sides of that cycle. No waste making stuff, no waste delivering stuff, no waste showing stuff, no waste getting stuff, no waste bringing it home and then pretty quickly throwing stuff away after use. (Fact: 99% of all stuff purchased on any given day is thrown away within 6 months. 99%! Packaging, delivery materials, intended obsolescence, etc.)

This downturn is offering us all a real chance at finding new ways to let go of creating waste and new ways to create stuff. We can fix what breaks, trade out what we no longer need (books, clothes, etc) and forego getting crumby stuff that has no real purpose beyond informing our neighbors and peers that we're cooperative consumers (think home remodeling updates and personal fashion).

I'm calling it REALcycling. More soon!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wise Minis

Last fall my mini, Iota Mcippus (io) started growing a fuzz-bomb of a winter coat. It is his sole possession. And he grew it himself. Though I have bought things for him - a blanket he takes off himself and a halter he wears when we're out and about, as well as barn and grooming items - his coat is all he needs. That and food and water. Io really knows how to keep a small profile when it comes to creating a carbon footprint. I will be studying his ways more over the up coming months.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Making Connections: A Year's Worth of Intentions

Mike and I just returned from a Very Long driving trip to see family throughout Georgia, Alabama and Florida. We took many back roads and it is the result of what I saw during our odyssey that sparked me to make some new choices. We passed abandoned strip mall after mall where not just merchandise, people's hopes, dreams. plans and buildings themselves are becoming disposable and apparently worthless. What I saw lining great swaths of American heartland was bleek. Depressing. Hopeless. We humans have made so many wrong decisions regarding our stewardship here on earth. It started to dawn on me that rather than be angry about what I was experiencing I was being afforded a great opportunity to take a hard look at myself and my own stewardship.

With this in mind, I've made some resolutions for the new year and I want to share them with you to help motivate me to stick with them. Here they are:
  • Accept NO plastic bags from stores - bring my own
  • Buy no new clothes all year (consignment, resale and other no-cycle items ok) Those of you who know me will know this could be a toughie for me. :-)
  • No shopping at Wal-Mart or other low ball bid retailers
  • Yes to local, hand made and re-purposed - I'm sensing a potential clothing loophole in this item, I'm ok with it ;-)
  • Choose one day a month of NO electricity including internet, lights and other optional uses...
  • Make one drawing or sketch a day - doesn't have to be fancy, finished or even particularly well thought out
  • Update these PonyXpressions at least weekly
  • Oh and one more thing...I have to plop into a savings jar for my dog JoJo one dollar for every use of the eff-word I make. It upsets him and usually doesn't make me feel any better anyway, so time to find new ways to express.
Wow, talk about synergy....2 hours after I posted this a pal sent a link to this site: http://www.storyofstuff.com
It's an animated talk that brings together complicated issues and offers a reasonable bite sized way to make lasting positive impact through personal consumer choices. The timing of getting the link blew me away! I hope you like it.