medusa-01My 6yo niece has a very vivid imagination.  She’s wanted to be Medusa  for the longest time.  Last October 22 she had her fantasy realized – thanks to Mommy Joy’s crochet skills.  Joy found the free crocheted yarn snakes pattern by Lucy Ravenscar at

medusa-02The 14 snakes are made up of combinations of yarn colors, crocheted over four days.  The eyes and tongue are sewn on.  They are attached to a plastic headband, along with black yarn “hair”.  The “black” lipstick is eyebrow pencil rubbed over lip gloss.  The rest of the costume was a black sleeveless dress.

Lilo was even more thrilled when she won a special award for her costume!  Even now she’s thinking of a new costume for next year…


After a spate of national disasters and personal and professional difficulties, it’s about time to be thankful for things (in no particular order):

1)  Supportive family members – even though they drive you crazy at times you can’t deny having them solidly behind all of our endeavors is a support system that can’t be beat.

2)  Friends who know when to listen, when to commiserate, when to say nothing, when to whup your ass when you’re feeling so sorry for yourself you can’t make a move in any direction, and best of all those who know how to make you laugh!!!

3)  Having a cute and perky little niece running around the house making me smile because she’s the Queen of our Universe.

4)  Fountain pens, inks, stationery and snail mail pals.  And my FPN-P group who are afflicted with the same madness!

5)  TDM who thinks my creative efforts re books and poetry are worth pursuing.  Who takes his geekiness and mine and puts them together in a working gadget.  One of my inspirations.  And for being a rock when I’m feeling like an emotional tsunami.

6)  Online means of keeping up with my REAL friends (my classmates, the ones whom I grew up with, who share my interests and hobbies, those who actually reply instead of just forwarding emails, the ones who care about when I’ve been sick or missing, who pray for me or who just enjoy my real and virtual company, etc. etc. etc.)

7)  Books!  Blank or full of poetry or fiction.  Thanks for keeping my attention engaged and for helping put me to sleep at the prescribed time.

8)  Coffee.  Tea.  Bacon.

9)  Music – right now I’m listening to Andrew Strong’s soul album, “Out of Time”

10)  The fact that my wrist is healed and I can knit again!   Whee!!!!

Ten is good for today.  There’ll be more soon 😀  Have YOU thought about what to be thankful for?  Take the time, adds years to your life.




NY designer Stefan Sagmeister talks about the value of taking a periodic sabbatical.  After every seven years he closes his studio for an entire year and takes off in search of inspiration, a new paradigm and life lessons to bring into the next succeeding years of work.

You think:  “Of course he can afford to do it.  I can’t.”  Well, standing away from your own work for an hour out of every four pays homage to the idea.  In a world where everything seems to be due yesterday, rest and resting the brain still makes sense, only some people make better use of those “free” hours to think of ways to do quality work that only takes two hours instead of four.  There are days I am the latter, and there are days I wish I was.

Check out the dog humor – particularly the “walking dog lamp” – and see how a seemingly innocuous image creeps into surreal, self-indulgent projects that in themselves initially don’t seem to have commercial value, but are actually a thought process at work.


punay-bird-ptilinopusmerrilliPhoto: 1982 issue Philippine stamp for 30 centavos (sentimos), documented online here.

My childhood nickname refers to a fruit dove.  Which particular species, I wondered?  According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, this document identifies 4 different species as “Punay” on p. 66.  There are also other pigeons that go by the same name.  Which one was I named after?

It might be Treron formosae filipinus,  or the Whistling Green-Pigeon, once hunted as food fowl.  Here is a photo of the Japanese species, as I can’t find a local photo.  Here is another, clearer side view photo, from, publisher of the Mangoverde World Bird Guide.

punay-bird-treronformosaefPhoto:  Treron formosae (Japan).  Screen capture from this birdwatching site, with detailed descriptions.

Or it may be Ptilinopus marchei, the Flame-Breasted Fruit Dove / Marche’s Fruit Dove.

Photo: Ptilinopus marchei. Screen capture from British Oriental bird specialist Desmond Allen’s video originally posted here.

Or it may be Ptilinopus merrilli, the Cream-Bellied Fruit Dove or Merrill’s Fruit Dove.   Here’s another screen capture from Desmond Allen’s video.

Could it be, perhaps, Ptilinopus arcanus, the Negros Fruit-Dove?  (See illustration below.) My mother is from Negros.   There are no extant photos of this bird. The last documented sighting was a female specimen collected in 1953, unless you count this site‘s claim that “local contact Rene Vendiola sighted a Negros Fruit-Dove last year” (2002).  International birder Sander Lagerveld reported to Oriental Birding that “the male Negros Fruit-Dove reportedly looks like a miniature Yellow-breasted Fruit-Dove.”  (Clicking on Lagerveld’s name leads you to his 3-part Philippine bird tour report, complete with maps and local contact info!)  In the meantime, here is an attractive illustration of that female bird, from


There’s also Ptilinopus leclancheri, or the Black-Chinned Fruit-Dove. If you notice I’m posting another screen cap from Desmond Allen’s video – it’s because his videos are so very clear and show excellent frontal views in good light.  However the “black chin” is not very apparent until you look more closely. Please also check out this excellent photo, from the gallery of photographer Romy Ocon.  Here is another, by Mark Harper.  There is a 2008 issue stamp!  Look for it here.

How about the Treron pompadora, or Pompadour Green Pigeon / Philippine Green Pigeon? Here is a very clear photo by Romy Ocon, and another by J.P. Carino.  This, happily, has a population that is not as threatened or endangered as the others.

And lastly, there are the bleeding-heart birds.  The Luzon Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba luzonica rubiventris, is called Punay.  This is such a beautiful bird, check out this fantastic photo by Ken Ilio.  The Mindoro Bleeding Heart, Gallicolumba platenei, is also called Punay.  Unfortunately I have not found a photo of the bird at this time.

It appears that Punay is the local name given to some smaller varieties of fruit dove, green pigeon or bleeding-heart pigeon.  Many of the birds listed here are threatened species.

As of this writing I want to look for the stamps featuring the Punay doves. (Wild Bird Club of the Philippines) is a wonderful site promoting local and provincial birdwatching activities.  It also offers a downloadable taxonomic list of scientific and common names, among other great references..

There are a good number of Philippine bird references in print, or that you can Google for, if you would like to know more.  I’ll list them in a later blog, together with a list of links to local birdwatching groups and information sites online.


My friend Benjie dela Pena turned me on to this interesting site that he posted on Facebook, the Sputnik Observatory for the Study of Contemporary Culture.  (Link, and above screen capture, show theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discussing interplanetary life.  There are other thinkers on the panel.) Yes, geeky, but SO interesting.  It’s nice to listen to people’s ideas in a conversational manner, and to see how they relate things to real life.

Don’t worry, it won’t give you too much of a nosebleed.  It just puts you into a certain perspective.

Benj recommended that I mouse over the site banner, and so I did – Hahaha!  How VERY COOL!  You go and do it yourself, and find out more.