Amazing Life Cycle of Monarch Butterfly

Last month, many butterflies hatched on my lime trees. I have been looking through some of the You Tube videos to see how Butterflies transform – well, I have seen hundreds but they are still very interesting. The ones that grew on my two lime trees are now flying about in the yard which is wonderful to see. In this YouTube video, the complete life-cycle of the Monarch butterfly is shown from a tiny caterpillar hatching from an egg on a Milkweed leaf through metamorphosis to become a glorious adult butterfly. Filmed utilizing high-powered microscopic cameras and time-lapse photography. Produced for the Chicago Nature Museum in Chicago, IL.

A Dam Explosion – Short Story

Monday – Finish The Story

Inspired by Millie Thom and others who take part in this exercise, I decided to try the flash fiction challenge. The challenge asks for a story in 100 -150 words from a picture and a first line prompted by host, Barbara W. Beachman.

Team Work
Image copyright: Barbara Beachman.

“When the team heard the dam explode, the team knew they had limited time to make it to safety.

They were collecting specimens along the riverbank when local villagers warned; environment activists were blowing up the dam. The five ran and jumped into their yellow Kathmandu raft and anxiously strapped on life jackets. Gushing water headed downhill towards them. The raft was spat by the force of dam water metres into the air and slammed down into racing current.

“Noooooo!” screamed Wendy; she had been thrown off the raft.

Wendy! Wendy! The remaining scientists yelled against loud sounds of the rushing water. Nothing. The four held on tightly as the tiny, floating yellow raft bounced roughly down the wide powerful current. Kilometres later, the water poured into Mellow River.

Soon, darkness came and the current delivered them ashore a deserted bank. They lost everything and still, no sign of Wendy. (150 words)

Read more stories here

A Haunting Songbird

In 1990, Wassoulou singer Sangare became a superstar in West Africa with Moussolou, which sold an astonishing 250,000 copies (many more were likely pirated). She received much of her attention for writing and singing lyrics that specifically addressed concerns of women in modern West African society, such as the conflict between marriage and personal freedom; not a shocking subject in the Western world, perhaps, but a pioneering one for the popular music of the region. Western listeners who can’t understand the lyrics will be drawn in by her mellifluous vocals and smooth, circular compositions, which use full arrangements without sounding over-produced. Both traditional instruments and electric guitars/basses are prominently used (without getting in each other’s way) on her 1993 release Ko Sira, her most widely available recording in the U.S.

Another Term of Story-Writing and Telling

Picture by Bill Heather

This was how we ended our creative writing workshop this week.

My creative writing group surprised me with champagne and birthday cake last week. Thank you Judy Ward for baking the delicious coffee-chocolate and Orange cakes and thank you Isabel and fellow writers for the champagne and all the snacks. We also celebrated the end of another great term of work-shopping our stories. The eight-week long workshop ended on Tuesday. Many writers in the group have been attending this workshop at Kenmore, Queensland (Australia) for as long as five years. I have been part of the group for two years. Author Isabel D’Avila Winter is a beautifully crazy and an inspiring teacher. Below was the note I got in email before we had our last workshop.

“No reading for next week, because we’ll be too busy eating the leftover TimTams and madly workshopping our work. We’ll also be discussing the upcoming local writing competition, and brainstorming what kind of stories might be suitable to enter,” Isabel D’ Avila Winter.

Isabel is seated in front (left). Other participants included writers of memoir, rural romance, fantasy, sci-fi and crime fiction. We are not all females, we do have two male writers. Tom was not well this night and the other male writer, Bill, took this lovely picture. The group members have planned to enter the local writing competition in August.

I find that being part of this group was a major contributing factor in my story-telling; both in finding constant inspiration to write and sharing my work for an honest feedback. I also enjoy listening to each writer’s story.

The FourJs – Short Story


Mondays Finish The Story

Little did they know when the photographer took their picture that they would find themselves trapped in a painting.

“Smile please” the photographer ordered with a devilish grin.

The FourJs, brothers Jim, John, Jack and Jonathan brushed themselves and stood proud. The camera flashed, before it went pitch black. For half hour, Jonathan, 17, the youngest of the FourJs Band, tried to move, shout and even blow his trumpet. Nothing came out. He reached for his oldest brother John, 25. John’s arm felt cold. Jim and Jack were frozen too. People passed them in the street, throwing coins into the tuba case. Traffic hummed. The woman with the funny smell passed quickly, her high heels clicking sharply on the footpath.

“Jonathan! Jonathan! Jo-na-than!”

“Yes!” Jonathan murmured and looked into John’s face.

He had one of those attacks again.

“You, to the doctor” John said, relieved his little brother was ok.


Marrying Words With Images in Stephen Doyle’s Style

“I make these things as an escape from the world of problem-solving.” Stephen Doyle said. His paper sculptures are exquisite.

I make things from paper myself and I am obsessed with paper. I was fascinated when recently I found this article about Stephen Doyle’s work. I wanted to share it in Cool Stuff.

The Trial

Stephen Doyle’s vision unites words and images in unforgettable ways. The design firm of which he is a principal, Doyle Partners in New York, creates acclaimed identities and all means of conveying them (and he always gets the colors right). He’s also recognized for his visual contributions to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. Here he talks about another artistic pursuit: creating astonishing paper sculptures. Read More on Impressions from the paper-obsessed

The Trouble With Geniuses

Doyle Partners

Celebrating Life Water Gives Us


Every year on 22 March we celebrate World Water Day. But this year is different. It will go to history as the year when we set the course for the future.

When the post-2015 development agenda is finalized this fall, it will shape the global agenda for water. But not only for the 10 to 15 years to come: the decisions we make this year and the paths we choose will influence generations to come.


Today, freshwater resources and their ecosystems are being degraded and depleted at an alarming speed – this despite our awareness of their pivot role to life on earth and the production of food, energy, goods and services.


Villagers Buried Food and Water to Survive – After Cyclone

This is a nice ending to a horrible story last week about Cyclone Pam, a category 5 cyclone that swept across several Pacific Island countries before hitting Vanuatu. Lessons to learn from the Melanesian villagers.

Island of Togoa
Destruction in a village on Togoa Island, Vanuatu.

Reuters reported that villagers in Vanuatu buried food and fresh water as one of the strongest storms on record bore down on them, fleeing to churches, schools and even coconut drying kilns as 300 kph winds and massive seas tore their flimsy houses to the ground.

Despite reports of utter devastation six days after Cyclone Pam pummelled the Pacific island nation, Vanuatu appears to be providing something of a lesson in how to survive a category 5 storm.

The United Nations says the official death toll is 11. Many officials anticipate that number will rise once they are able to more thoroughly inspect the outer islands of the scattered archipelago.

Still, the absence of a much higher toll has amazed aid workers and those who lived through it.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable the death toll is so low,” said Richard Barnes, 43, a property valuer from New Zealand who has lived near the capital Port Vila, on Efate island for seven years.

Two days ago, a helicopter flight over the north of Efate revealed scenes of total devastation with at least one coastal village destroyed and no sign of life.

When visited a day later, dozens of villagers were back rebuilding with what materials they could find and reporting only one injury, said Barnes, who was on Cayman Island in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit.

“The resilience is amazing … Everyone is just getting on with it, which was different from Cayman where everyone just sat around waiting for something to be done,” Barnes said.

Perched on the geologically active “Ring of Fire”, Vanuatu suffers from frequent earthquakes and tsunamis and has several active volcanoes, in addition to threats from storms and rising sea levels.

China joined in with Australia and New Zealand, pledging $4 Million to assist Vanuatu in the recovering process.

6339266-3x2-940x627 Julie Bishop meets women at the Vanuatu Crisis Centre. Pic: Jeff Tan Action Aid Australia

From ABC News, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has pledged long-term support for Vanuatu during a visit to the Pacific nation ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Ms Bishop, who flew in on a Royal Australian Air Force flight, toured the command centre for cyclone relief efforts in the capital Port Vila, and visited a school and hospital being rebuilt with Australian assistance.

She also met with Vanuatu’s prime minister Joe Natuman and promised on-going support.

“Australia has responded quickly to requests from the government of Vanuatu, we have sent more than 11 military planes over with equipment, lifesaving supplies, humanitarian support personnel,” she said.

Thousands of people remain homeless in the stricken country, as Vanuatu’s government coordinates relief efforts to get immediate aid to more than 60 inhabited remote islands in the archipelago.

It has begun to send out food aid and seedlings to parts of the country hit hardest by Cyclone Pam after a week of assessments and planning.

Wandering Spirits of Restless Hearts

Halloween Photography. This photo was taken at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. Public Domain.

The universe has her own way. You never know when she will strike next – and whether it be for better or worse. Every day of living is a routine of heading for the ending. We must continue to believe in living for the moment. I believe we must also question each action we take and its consequences. In my culture, my grandma has taught me, after a soul leaves the body it moves to the resting place, but a restless spirit will always wander. Peace and forgiveness has to prevail before a dead man’s spirit can find the resting place.

In the past few days I heard of three deaths. Of the three deaths, two I knew and respected. Their news was very sad for me. One left me feeling winded, overwhelmed, surprised and it tugged at deeply buried emotions from cruelty and pain. unresolved living can change life. It was a timely beginning of the ending for me. I feel a new phase in my life. It was time to let go. In the hours after I received the news last night, strange things happened. It should not but the Universe has her own ways.

For what I know and believe in, I question, when those that are cruel to you die, where do their spirits go? Are the wandering spirits seeking forgiveness or are they playing on your mind.  I pray for the former and I hope for a peaceful resolution – one of forgiveness, healing and moving on. I know one day this feeling shall pass.

 ( JLeahy Copyright)

Farewell Monster      

He died, leaving behind

privately and securely,

a legacy few desire

Markings made by his hands

Unbeknownst to audiences

Secret exhibitions

Wounded, bruised and broken

A heap in doll repair shop

A thread shall patch

Gauze will cover

A wig shall alter

Like salt, familiar

each time memory stings

And, like animals, cowards,

we will cower as shadows lurk

It happened in the mind,

his father’s trade

That was how he started,

his father’s legacy.

Admittedly, one

he never admired

Only hope shall turn fate

I pray for his sons