Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

Blue Moon or an extra full moon in the season or an extra moon within a calendar month was once called the betrayer or liar’s moon. At one time priests decided to use the extra moon, the thirteenth moon to relate the story of Judas the betrayer, the thirteenth follower of Jesus.

Since the medieval time, superstitions have come and gone to explain the moon and it's effects on the tides and people's hearts.

  • Superstitions about blue moons include an old farmer belief that the full moon pulls the plants up from the ground. The extra full moon symbolizes the promise of a bumper crop on the way.
  • Underground vegetables such as carrots or potatoes grow better if they’re planted by the moon.
  • For the romantic, the full moon is as good as a green light to take your relationship to the next level. Many a young woman hoped to receive long stem roses and a ring by the light of the full moon.
  • For the sick, the full moon represented a time for curing illness. As doctor’s know now, if a patient believes something is a good omen or the sign of healing, the belief often works it’s placebo effect and the patient does exhibit improvement.

Poets often write about the moon as did JRR Tolkien in the following:

The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he saws his bow
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
'The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!'

So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
'It's after three!' he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!

The next blue moon will arrive August 21, 2013.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

What to do with a broken heart

When you’re broken, you pick up the pieces you can find and move on. There really isn’t anything else that can be done. Putting things back together doesn’t work out, it’s never really fixed. With time, a scar grows where your heart broke and you do the best you can with what you’re given, but the heart is never really whole again.

I discovered my heart was truly broken in the emergency room of a hospital. I was eighteen and beside myself with grief. Within minutes of devastating news, my symptoms included shortness of breath, dizziness, heart racing and chest pain. Of course, I panicked, which is another symptom.

The doctors were entirely nonchalant while the nurses hooked up monitors and discovered my heart was broken, I had a mitral value prolapse. They were a bit concerned because while the condition often has no symptoms, I seemed to be having them all.

On the home front, I had just discovered a) I was pregnant and b) my new husband of about four months was having an affair. I suppose I was a bit stressed out.

After several days they released me from the hospital. They were unable to determine physically why the symptoms appeared. I was instructed to modify my activity and life based on the severity of the symptoms.

Since that day I've followed the doctor's advice modifying life to manage unexpected situations. Now, doctors and nurses just love to listen to this classic mitral value prolapse which requires no treatment.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Myth and Story

Life gives characters and storyline ideas to every writer on a daily basis. There’s so much information in a day, it’s incredible. When the question comes up what to write, how does a writer decide what’s worth the telling?

The writers I like best tell stories about real life in fiction or non-fiction; it doesn’t really matter as long as truth comes through. Joseph Campbell is one of my favorite writers.

Myth serves to provide base stories for culture, much of the information given in myths in a general way works with individual life too. Given a long enough time line the characters in myth are seen for who or what they are, often providing the information needed for others or for the listener to come to the correct conclusion. Trends lead the protagonist or hero through a series of adventures to reach the discovery.

Often the discovery of self which is at least a portion of the quest includes overcoming obstacles, sin or character flaws to gain important skills and to acquire a sense of self or virtues along the way. In addition, the secondary players in the quest such as the villain or the trickster often reveal him/herself through the course of the story.

This is the stuff that makes a good story. Young writers who read myth gain the wisdom of the ages in a few short years. In addition to reading, observing people in their natural habitats help to make characters more believable. To become an accomplished writer there is a need to understand the basics of a good story as well as how people interact, so the story is not only entertaining but believable.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Queen Mary and the Ghosts

In 1967, the City of Long Beach bought the Queen Mary, a recently decommissioned luxury cruise ship. What the city counsel didn't know was they weren't just inviting the ship to port. They also invited the ghosts who are trapped mid-way through their passage between this world and ours.

The Queen Mary was named for Queen Mary also known as Mary of Teck. She was the Queen consort of the United Kingdom and wife of George V.

The ship was built by John Brown and company. The Queen Mary set sail from England to the United States on her first voyage in 1936. The largest luxury liner during the era, the ship was also the fastest way to cross the ocean.

During World War II, the Queen Mary was renamed the Grey Ghost serving as a troop ship. The Grey Ghost's expediency was so well known that Adolf Hitler offered a large bounty to any U-Boat captain who could sink the ship. Luckily for the Allies none of the U-boats could catch the fast-moving ship.

Today the Queen Mary serves the area as a hotel, restaurant and tourist attraction. The tours includes a self-guided tour from one end of the ship to the other. Exhibits present the most interesting information and displays at each point of interest, such as: the bridge, the captain's and officer's quarters, communications, engine room, infirmary and deck areas.

The ghost tour moves through the bowels of the ship at a quick pace telling the sad tales that ended on board the ship. A vortex in the pool area has been determined as one of the main areas of paranormal activity by more than one set of ghost hunters.

Lists of the dead include former passengers, crew and stow-a-ways which seem long considering the medical advances available at the time. Probably the most horrible story involves the companion ship that was hit and sunk within five minutes during a WWII mission. There were no survivors.

The Queen Mary needs some work as the barnicles are visible from the dock and some of the lesser used areas are in need of repair. The main shopping and dining areas are excellent examples of the Art Deco period reminiscent of a grander time in World History.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Liebster Blog Award

Sharla Shults nominated When Kate Blogs for the Liebster Blog Award.

What is the Liebster Blog Award?
“The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers.
The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.” Wow! Thank you, Sharla!

Click back to Sharla's blog Awakenings

As with all blog awards, there are 'rules' so here are the answers to the 11 questions Sharla left for me to answer:

1. Who do you admire most and why?

John Lennon for writing lovely music & being an excellent example of a working class hero.

2. What is the best book you have read this year and why would you recommend it to others?

My Magical World by Samantha Blackwell

This is a lovely story written by an up and coming writer.

3. Where do you get your inspiration?

I'm inspired by life, every day.

4. What is your favorite part of nature?

Babies are always amazing.

5. Would you rather be a bumble bee or a butterfly?

A bee because they make honey.

6. When did you first begin to write?

Age 3, on the wall. I finished my first book in the 6th grade: Randy Raccoon and friends.

7. What is your favorite sport?


8. If you had a choice for a pet, would you rather have a gerbil or an iguana?


9. If you could be reincarnated, who would you like to be?

I'll have to wait to find out... but that's very exciting.

10. Which would best describe you, a cool cucumber salad or a hot tamale?

Hot Tamale. I'm passionate about many things.

11. What is the best food you ever ate and where?

Oh, that is a tough question! My favorite restaurants are: Roasted Garlic in Alpharetta, Georgia for their roasted garlic, Rancho del Zocalo in Disneyland for their enchilada plate and Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, NM for breakfast.

Here are the 11 blogs that I nominate for the award. They are in no particular order. I do read these blogs & hope you'll enjoy them as well.

Here are your 11 questions:

1. Who is your favorite author?
2. What is your favorite book?
3. Do you give books as gifts? If so, how do you decide which book to give?
4. Who is your favorite up and coming author?
5. What music do you love?
6. What art do you love?
7. Coffee or Tea?
8. Vanilla or Chocolate?
9. Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn?
10. Beginning or End?
11. Why do you blog?


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beluga Whales

Known as the white whale, beluga whales or Dephinapterus leucas naturally live in the Arctic & sub-Arctic regions of the ocean, around Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland. Adult Belugas grow up to length of 16 feet and live to 50 years in captivity. They are stunningly white. The name Beluga comes from the Russian word ‘belukkha’ which means white.

Scientists refer to the Belugas as canaries for the high pitch sound they make. But the term canary is also accurate in that the whales are sensitive to pollution and serve as indicators of healthful or unhealthful environments, much like the mine canaries.

Beluga whales were the first live ocean mammal to be displayed in a permanent tank to the public in New York City. Since that time Belugas are periodically harvested from the sea to replenish the aquatic centers around the world. Researchers working with the whale have discovered that the whales are able to identify and have distinctive sounds for particular objects, giving the hope that someday humans and whales will be able to communicate.

Belugas swim at a tranquil pace and appear to be smiling most of the time. They are known to be playful with each other and their human handlers. In general, they are social creatures living in pods. However, belugas move from pod to pod increasing their social circles.