Thursday, March 31, 2011

Literary Map of United Kingdom

I love it! This wonderful map is worth a close look. I think I might have to buy it so that I can gaze at it enough to familiarize myself with the authors I haven't heard of. Edwin Morgan? Fanny Burney? So many I don't know!

I think it is a great oversight, however, that JK Rowling and James Joyce have been left off the map. These were to two omissions I noticed right away.  Where would we be without Dubliners and Ulysses? And I don't want to think about a world without Harry Potter, I don't even think I could! Anyone notice any other authors (from the British Isles, duh) who have been forgotten? I will write them in myself when I get my print.

I wonder if there is a map like this for the United States, or any other country. I would love a collection that shows the world through literature!

I found this great map on this blog, full of all kinds of fun posts-
and she found it from this shop, full of fantastic things for readers and writers.

Braids on the brain

Sabrina fair,
Listen where thou are sitting
Under glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lillies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-drooping hair.

                                           -John Milton

Romantic, summery, magical, messy & lovely... braids... plaits...trenzas. I want to wear my hair this way, but lack the dexterity and know-how! Anyone know a braid tutor??

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bob Ross- Happy clouds and Happy trees

I've had all kinds of ideas for what I wanted to say about Bob Ross in this post. I have erased three or four drafts, because they were not quite right. I was going to include facts about him-- about his soft voice and how once he left the military he "vowed never to scream again". I was going to write about how I'd watch his show upstairs, in my parents room, and wish I had a canvas and a painter's pallette so that I could try to paint one of his serene landscapes along with him... he made it look so easy! But I realized, that none of this explanation is necessary. I imagine anyone who knows who Bob Ross is, already knows what I might write anyway. So instead, I figure I'll let Bob Ross write this post, in his own words, by sharing some of his most happy quotes...

In his own words...

Maybe in our world there lives a happy little tree over there.

The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.

There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.

Little raccoons and old possums ‘n’ stuff all live up in here. They’ve got to have a little place to sit.

Gotta give him a friend. Like I always say ‘everyone needs a friend’.

People look at me like I’m a little strange, when I go around talking to squirrels and rabbits and stuff. That’s ok. Thaaaat’s just ok.

Clouds are very, very free.

Now then, today let's just have some fun and enjoy it, let our imagination take us to some beautiful places and see what happens.

You do your best work if you do a job that makes you happy.

Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.

Trees cover up a multitude of sins.

Talk to the tree, make friends with it.

Let's build us a happy, little cloud that floats around the sky.

Any way you want it to be, that’s just right.

See Bob Ross painting a mountain, tutorial stills or video clip.

Or watch this tribute video. The music sounds like it is straight from a '90s Disney musical, but the images are fantastic. I especially love the tattoos, the etch-a-sketch and what looks like a Bob Ross butter sculpture. 

Thanks for brings us so much Happy, Bob Ross! Happy painting, and God bless.

Things to Look Forward to in April

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Part 1 is released on DVD
Mama's birthday
Finishing The Fellowship of the Rings and starting Two Towers
"Spring Break" (which is kind of a farce this year)
My man Charlie turns 1!
Emmylou Harris in concert!
Baby shower for rescued owl chicks at a birds of prey sanctuary
Reconnecting with a friend I haven't seen in ages!
Complete my origin story
Las Vegas with two adorable fellas
Martin Sexton in concert
Maybe (maybe) Maybe going up North to visit all of my girls!
Guest blogging for two blogs of awesomeness
Learning new chords, especially minor chords
Finishing the road scarf- c'mon!
Hat shopping with Matty
Starting Dragon Age

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Yoga boys

Matthew and Sherpa share a stretch...

"Sherpa and I call this the paw to head technique. It really increases the flow of positive energy throughout the paws and hair. As you can see Sherpa's balance and relaxing is intoxicating and my Chakras benefit greatly with this pose."    -Matthew


A Field Guide to the Little People

Last weekend, Matthew and I visited a great downtown book shop. It's sad to admit, but often, when I need a specific book, I hop online and order it from...yes...Amazon. And then I moan about how all the brick and mortar bookstores are closing! There is something so fantastic about browsing through books, that you cannot replicate with a click of the mouse. And the book store that we went to was not any old large-scale chain retailer (although they seem to be disappearing these days as well). This book shop was the last book shop. Or rather, The Last Bookstore.

This awesome little shop is exactly what a used bookstore should be. It was bright and crammed full of books, new and old. It organized the books clearly, but still left plenty of stacks to explore... and it played great music. (No elevator music!)

Best of all, was the man who worked there. I didn't grab his name, but he was amazing.  He knew what books I was talking about even when I didn't.... seriously. Without the title or author or any real concrete information, he was able to lead me to two books I had on my "list"-- without looking up anything online. That's a great bookshop!

But the funnest thing about old book shops is finding books you've never heard of-- and never knew to look for (and yes, I know funnest isn't a word, but it really ought to be).  I found a funky hardback with a yellowed and ruffled up jacket, called "A Field Guide to the Little People" by Nancy Arrowsmith, and I felt as though I hit the jackpot!  It is exactly what the title says it is. This book catalogues nymphs, elves, dwarves, imps, goblins, fairies, name it. If its small and magical, I bet you it has an entry in this wonderfully imaginative and well-organized resource! Each featured little people has a description (some with illustrations, by George Moorse), and section on their origin, habitat, how to identify, and usually a story or two.

So because I became fascinated with it, and because he's so awesome, Matt bought me this charming little book, and I have been flipping through it all week. There are a few entries on magical creatures that I am familiar with, but most of them are new to me. Even the creatures I have heard of, like mermaids, have so much lore and history that I never knew. And so I am totally inspired to use something from this book, either directly or indirectly, in my own written stories.  Reading about the little people, and imagining them in my own adventures, makes me... happy!

I hope that anyone who reads this post will get themselves to a local book shop and finds their own magical, inspirational book! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love between Elephant and Dog

Not a lot of time these days to really write something (maybe this weekend!) but I still have happy to share. This video clip brings me a smile. (and thanks to brother for telling me about it ages ago ;)

Another wonderful story- Tara and Bella's tale is a few years old, but still very sweet.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pawel Klarecki's photography

While searching for images for magic trees (for a future post) I came across some breathtaking images that I felt deserved their own happy entry.  With his permission, I'd like to share the photography of Pawel Klarecki. He is a digital photographer, originally from Poland but now lives in Northern Ireland, which is the subject for most of his works. A few of my favorite landscapes are below, but I encourage visiting his websites, as he has so many lovely images that are sure to evoke "oooh"s and "aaahh"s from any viewer.

To buy one of his prints, visit

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Rhinos

Today is one of those days -- I would love to be in a rhino cuddle. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Spent the weekend with friends on a mini vacation and relearned how to play dominos --now I am hooked. My pops is going to give me a set of his (since he has more than one) and, with practice, I shall master addition basics so that I never have to count the pips again! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring at Ikea

Yes, Ikea is full of particle-board dorm furniture, but it also carries all kinds of perky stuff to spiff up your place.  These things will not survive generations, but they can liven up your garden for a few seasons (I'm looking at you pastel garden trellis!) or add a little sparkle to your back yard (a la solar powered paper lanterns).  As I have neither garden or backyard, I think I am leaning towards buying the cute rolling market bag-- and maybe kitching up my powder room with a bouquet of fake tulips.

All items above are  on the new products page on the Ikea website. And any Ikea execs wishing to pay me for this endorsement should feel free to contact me personally! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Las Islas Canarias: Tenerife

There are some things that mean more to me than I am able to share. My time on the beautiful island of Tenerife if one of those things. My year there was full of adventure, friendship and tons of growing up.  Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my favorite Spanish island. Maybe it's because its Carnival right now and that sparks my memory since Tenerife hosts the second largest celebration in the world! Or maybe because it's about time for me to go back and revisit the people and places that meant so much to me. It would be a trip to see this special place through more mature eyes! But something tells me I might revert to 17 again...

My year in Tenerife was full of happy times--that I can't put into words. And since this blog is mostly for me (I am selfish in that way) I  think I'll revisit some of those happy times through a few pictures.  Now, these are not the photos I took myself, since I went before digital cameras and I am too lazy to dig mine out of storage boxes and scan them (One of these days I'll share a couple of my own pictures of my host family and Thor and, of course, the mischief and mayhem of two young chicas...) but these below are a few images that match my happy memories! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Pancake Day!

My droves of readers from New Orleans, or Rio, or some other crazy-fun place, (or any Catholic, I suppose) already know that today is Fat Tuesday. The day to get in all your fun times before hunkering down for the next straight-laced and pleasure-free days of Lent.  I'm not Catholic, and I haven't been around a Carnival or Mardi Gras zone for many a year, so the whole shebang usually passes me by unnoticed...until this year. Because I have just found out that today-- Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday-- is also Pancake Day! 

Today is often referred to as Pancake Day because fats, which were generally prohibited during Lent, had to be used up. People would take all the eggs and dairy products that they had left in their kitchens and use them to make delicious pancakes. And while I think I may have posted this a little too late for most of us to celebrate Pancake Day over breakfast, there is no rule prohibiting a nice pancake dinner, which is what I pan to have tonight! Even folks who don't have eggs or dairy products in their homes in the first place can join in the fun with this delicious vegan pancake recipe.

But wait...there's more to pancake day than just eating pancakes.  I found this on another site:
"In the United Kingdom of Great Britian, Northern Ireland and several other countries around the world, Pancake Day is celebrated with fun, games, and of course a lot of eating. However, the most well known activity on this day is the Pancake Day race at Olney in Buckinghamshire, England which has been held since 1445. It all began when a woman was cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all of her perishables before Lent. While she was still cooking she heard the chiming of the bells summoning her to church. Not wanting to be late, the woman ran to church with her apron on and the frying pan still in her hand. Little did she know that this would start a tradition that would be around for over 500 years! 

Only women were allowed to participate in this race. They must run a designated path with a frying pan and end up at the church. They must have a hot pancake in the frying pan which they must flip at least three times before they complete the race. The first woman to complete the race and arrive at church with the pancake is declared the winner. She then serves the pancake to the bellringer and is rewarded with a kiss from the bellringer called the “Kiss of peace”. This race still occurs in England and in several other cities."  More Info found here and here.

Even though I am not Catholic, and I do not plan to participate in the self-denial of lent, nor am I a resident of Olney in Buckinghamshire with races and games, I still plan on celebrating Pancake Day.  It seems like fun... and it has been a long time since I have had a pancake. So long ago, I can't remember it at all.

Yes...even bunnies share in this festive day!

Pancakes for Everyone! 
(Here at Dreams & Happy Things, we don't eat our animal friends... so the following list has been altered to reflect that. The list in its entirety can be found here).

BAO BING, PO-PING: The thin Mandarin pancakes served with moo shu. The cakes are made of fine wheat flour and boiling water, rolled thin and cooked two at a time.

BIN-JA TUK: Korean pancakes made from soaked mung beans.

BLINI: The savory, ultra-light pancake of Russia made traditionally with buckwheat flour and cooked in a small cast-iron pan. They date back to the Middle Ages

BLINTZ: The traditional pancake of Jewish cuisine is fried and rolled with sweet or savory fillings

CREIER DE RITEL PANE: A Romanian dish of stuffed pancakes, deep fried.

CREPE: The French pancake is, of course, the thinnest of them all. Sweet or savory, crepes can be street food or served in a five-star restaurant. Crepes Suzette, once the epitome of luxury desserts, is doused with liqueur and set afire.

DADAR GUTUNG: This Indonesian pancake is wrapped around coconut meat cooked in water with brown sugar and flavored with lemon juice and cinnamon, with a little salt.

EIERKUCKAS: A rich pancake from the Alsace Lorraine region of Northeastern France. The batter is mixed with red currant jelly and cream.

FLENSJES: A thick Dutch pancake served for dessert with sugar, ginger, jam or marmalade.

FLAESKPANNKAKA: A Swedish pancake

INJERA: This spongy, yeasted pancake-like bread made from millet flour doubles as food and utensil in Ethiopia. One or two injera are placed on a large tray and then covered with various stews. Diners scoop the stew with torn pieces of extra injera. Lastly, the injera bread that lines the tray, soaked through with stew juices, is eaten.

LATKE: In Jewish cuisines, the crisp potato pancake is eaten with sour cream or applesauce.

PALASCINTA: A thin Hungarian pancake similar to and used like a French crepe. Also popular in Austria.

PANNEKOEKE: The basic Dutch pancake might be small and served as dessert, or large and dressed with molasses as an entree.

PIKELETS: A yeasted pancake with a holey surface in England. In New Zealand and Australia, the term refers to tiny pancakes that are served cold with preserves, whipped cream or lemon butter.

PLOYES: French Canadian sweet or savory buckwheat pancakes cooked on one side only.

POH PIA: In Singapore, these pancakes are served with a variety of filling and sauces for diners to choose from.

QATA-EF: In Egypt and Syria, these pancakes are cooked on one side, folded over a sweetened cheese or nut filling, then deep fried. Medieval Arabic cookbooks mention this dish.

TORTILLA: A thin pancake-like flatbread made of cornmeal or flour and water that dates back thousands of years in Mexico and Latin American cooking. 

I must give credit where credit is due- and I found most of this blog post from the following sites:
Goddess of Random Thoughts is a wonderful blog devoted to storytelling and plays a wonderful set of songs that are fun to read to.  On her post on Pancake Day, Storysinger shares a link to another of her posts that has both a pancake recipe and a pancake themed folk tale.

I also used some info from Wikipedia (how did we ever manage without it?!) And that can be found here.

Lastly, I referenced this Catholic journal...and I took their picture of the delicious stack at the top of the post!

But I shall end on one of my most favorite pancake-themes pieces of art...

Pancake Poem

Who wants a pancake,
Sweet and piping hot?
Good little Grace looks up and says,
"I'll take the one on top."
Who else wants a pancake,
Fresh off the griddle?
Terrible Teresa smiles and says,
"I'll take the one in the middle."

by Shel Silverstein

Happy Pancake Day to you all