First Violet – intoxicating scents and New Moon / Mercury Retro approaching

firenze - villa castello gennaio

Gennaio aka January – Firenze, Medici garden

This is shivering Gennaio, as depicted in one of the Medici gardens in Florence. How appropriate for him to show up now in January…. right on time.

And already we have our first Mercury Retrograde period approaching – Wed Jan 21 until Feb 10. At the same time, a day prior, it’s NEW MOON …Aquarius New Moon at Zero Degree early in the morning PST of Tuesday the 20th.


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First Violet from garden, Jan 2015


Today I was delighted to discover the little treasure in the garden. And Oh the fragrance … how delightful and soothing. Such an elusive scent … Am still searching for an excellent perfume that captures the scent of violets. No such luck yet.

The Meyer Lemon tree also offers fragrant blossoms. I see my future “MiniMargaritas” growing right in front of my eyes ūüôā

My current recipe is as follows:¬†¬† 1 shot Tequila¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬† 1/2 shot Triple sec¬† –¬† 1 Lime –¬† 1/2 Lemon¬† –¬† 1/4 Orange¬† –¬† 1 ice cube mix of water/agave siroup/lime juice¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬† plus regular ice cubes

Yes indeed, I am fine-tuning the weekly mini-margarita’s. The ice cube mix came about sometime last summer when I had the idea to simmer water, add agave siroup and lemon or lime juice (there were lots of lemon on the tree and I was looking for a way to use the lemons before spoilage). When siroup dissolved, I filled the liquid into an ice-cube tray – ready for use whenever needed. Add’s¬† a tiny bit of sweet amongst all those puckering-up liquids. I quite like this version too … tastes even more mellow.


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Chinese carved box – small – Gift of a friend I haven’t seen in ages


Just before New Years Eve I was looking for some fragrant flowers for the flat … on a budget of course. When I asked a kind florist in the neighborhood, he suggest those: Paperwhite Narcissus. Brilliant I thought, those are attributed to Persephone / Hades and I also included them in the painting, as seen below. Their scent is also delightful. Too bad they last only for a few days …. but it’s marvelous nonetheless.


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Narciss flowers – in morning light – New Years eve


And these Tulips were a find @ Berkeley Bowl for 1.99$. Such bright spots in the longish winter nights and still  somewhat darkish days.


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Tulips – in morning light


And I also though enjoy those foggy and quiet mornings in the hills ….


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Fog morning in the hills –


Which are often followed by glowing afternoons …

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The year is still so young – and I have no insights into what will unfold or where paths will lead me. Or if there will be a path. – 2014 was full of paths I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to traverse. The most outward manifestation of that was the Caminho Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago di Compostela …. which on one level still continues.

One of the main features of the camino was that, when starting the day, I would never know where I’d get my next meal from or where I would sleep. Granted, I was not a mendicant, pennyless pilgrim, I had funds to pay for food and lodging, but still … the not-knowing and uncertainty always walked alongside with me. And I was unperturbed by it, since I had a feeling of ‘rightness’ of this whole endeavour. – There were instances in which life surprised me greatly with demonatrations of how ‘looked after’ I was, in spite of being in places where I have never been before, did not know anyone, nor spoke the language … and while being in one predicament or another.

The grand finale was indeed being in Santiago de Compostela were a intended 1-2 nights stay turned into a 5 nights stay because I got very sick, very suddenly. Communication with other pilgrims who I had met on the camino was not possible since the place where I stayed had no WiFi, etc. So I was indeed alone. It was quite dire, even though was no pain involved. None. Not only did I look like death-warmed-up, but I felt the part spot-on. – Still, there was no sense of worry, concern, anxiety. It simply did not arise. That was a new one for me, to be sure. – A bit later, still while being very weak, there was a challenge put before me, yet there was no indication that I could met the challenge, given the state I was in. But there was also that strange inner knowing that felt: “If life places this “problem” in front of me, life will also provide the ‘solution’.” – I just did not perceive the how and when. Did not have the foggiest. All I could do or be was take it a moment at a time, and to move very slowly. Ideas came, strength was provided to execute those ideas, and so forth. And within 24hours I was able to meet that challenge, while slowly starting to be able to eat again. It was about 48 hrs with no food, and sleeping 36 hrs more or less non-stop, interrupted with sweats and shivers, etc.¬† Now it seems all a bit of a blurr … but I remember thinking that if I could live with that kind of ‘faith’ or attitude in my life in California … I’d be ‘fine’.

And now we shall see just how ‘fine’ will look like…. while I continue to look for suitable employment and income.


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Catedrale Se’, Porto, Portugal


A few days ago a friend shared a quote by Hillman with me that I shall forever treasure. It also prompted me to research a bit more into his work, since I have not read much by him at all, inspite of knowing of him for long years now. I found other quotes which I like to share …

James Hillman quotes:

“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”

“Loss means losing what was We want to change but we don’t want to lose. Without time for loss, we don’t have time for soul.”

“Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.”


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Obstacle remover socks, courtesy of Ganesha ūüôā


Also a few days ago I came across some jokes in my email files and other docs … voila’

“A truck driver and his friend, a data analyst, go camping. Around midnight, the driver shakes his friend awake and says “Look at the sky and tell me what you can figure out from what you see!” The analyst says, “Well, I see the stars. Many more stars then we could see in town. And I have read that planets have been discovered around other stars. And that conditions on some of these planets is thought to be conducive to life. From that I conclude it is likely we are not alone in the universe.” “I conclude,” said the driver, “that someone has stolen our tent!‚ÄĚ


And here one of my very favorites …


The Best Stress Test ever …. please see below ….and keep scrolling slowy…



I am not sure exactly how this works, but this is amazingly accurate.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on  stress levels at  the Mayo Clinic and later at Fletcher Medical Center in Burlington Look  at both dolphins jumping out of the water.

The dolphins are identical. A  closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that  the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find many differences  between the two dolphins .   



The  more differences a person finds, the more stress that person is  experiencing. Look  at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may  need to take a vacation.




No Need to Reply, I ‘ll be on Vacation !!





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