High Heel Hell

Most of us have experienced it, the high school ritual known as Senior Prom. The Willamette River runs through downtown Portland. An esplanade bordering the river is crowded with restaurants that are popular on prom night. For years Mrs. C. and I have made a habit of parking ourselves on a bench to watch the parade of young people dressed in finery on their special night. Stretch limos come and disgorge self-conscious teens trying their best to look nonchalant and grown ...

‘Tis the Season to Use Branches and Berries in Flower Arrangements!

‘Tis the season to use branches and berries! Take a walk outdoors and let the beauty of nature delight your senses! As you wander and explore your neighbourhood, you will find that inspiration is all around you. Just look at all the fantastic foliage and those branches that have fallen. Branches comes in all kinds of wonderful shapes and forms. Some of them may even have berries! Use these natural elements to create interesting rustic floral arranges while adding height, ...

Brown Bear

When I graduated from college, my art degree made me about as hirable as a shepherd. I was a newlywed living in San Francisco and my bride’s cooking had caused me to pack on the pounds I’d fought off in college. To make matters worse, because of the additional weight I didn’t have any clothes that fit to wear to job interviews. I was reduced to wearing a black leather jacket I tried to dress up with a tie. I ...

Plant Diseases: Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew is a common and easily recognized plant disease caused by a fungus. Fruits, vegetable, flowers and even grasses can be affected. Lilacs, bee balm, phlox, zinnias, and roses are some flowers that can be affected by powdery mildew. Unlike other diseases that require rainfall, powdery mildew will spread quickly during warm, dry days and cool humid nights. Under favourable conditions, the spores are released and spread by wind or insects. Powdery mildew will cause leaves to develop small white spots ...

St. Patrick’s Day: 10 Fascinating Facts About This Holiday

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” Adrienne Cook St. Patrick’s Day: 10 Fascinating Facts – The longest Parade is in NY St. Patrick’s Day: 10 Fascinating Facts – The shamrock is a reminder of the Holy Trinity 1.”Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”) is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated annually on 17 March, the death date of ...

Whats The Obsession with Pansy’s?

Though they are called pansy’s these hearty little flowers are anything but wimpy. They are one of the toughest flowers, they are perfect for our climate, and thrive here in Canada. This little flower has inspired many a poem, picture and story. According to Wikipedia: “The pansy is a group of large-flowered hybrid plants cultivated as garden flowers. They are derived from viola species Viola tricolor, hybridized with other viola species. The hybrids are referred to as Viola. The common word “pansy” ...

Reflections: 2013 Redux

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” Brad Paisley 2013 Redux – Collage of Blank Sketchbooks with Brad Paisley quote Before leaping into the new year, I’d like to revisit 2013; have a redux and review some of the challenges and successes I had.  According to Google’s 2013 Zeitgeist/Trends, a lot of newsworthy events happened this year, from Nelson Mandela to Paul Walker’s death, Boston Marathon bombings, Tesla, Twerking, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In  to  ...

Musings: Do You!

“Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Musings: Do You! What favorite quote do you return to again and again? “Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. A couple of years ago, I added a widget to my blog sidebar with the intention of regularly updating it with a quote I like. It sounded like a wonderful idea; I love quotes and could use the widget to share new ones I found. After ...

Our Pregnancy Update – Week 24

This week marks our family’s 24th week of pregnancy with our third child – Junior Constantino. Technically, my wife is shouldering the bulk of the pregnancy duty via her uterus, but we’re consciously making it a family event to ensure our two daughters are fully engaged in the entire experience. As you may know, we are expecting a boy which I wrote about a few weeks ago when we were trying to predict the baby’s gender. When we first found out that we ...

Reader Favorites 2011: #8 – Ten Things My Wife Never Said to Me

Our family - my wife is the taller one without glasses or facial hair Through January 3rd, 2012 I’m going to share with you the 10 most popular posts as determined by readers of this blog. I hope you enjoy these and find them to be interesting and worthwhile. With that, here’s the 8th most popular post from The Daily Retort for 2011: 10 Things My Wife Never Said to Me originally posted in October. My wife and I are very much in love, even after 16+ ...

My Emergency Room Confession

In the ER with chest pain... I had no intention of sharing this recent episode in my family’s life, but it’s becoming such a large part – it’s difficult to avoid. For starters, I’ve got an irregular heart beat which means my cardiac ticker tends to tock when it should tick. It’s not been an issue – until recently. On Wednesday, August 29th at 6:45pm I had to call 911 to have an ambulance take me to the hospital for severe chest pain. They ...

Lean Into The Blade

Lean Into The Blade How is it that the most powerful moments—the life-shifting events of epic significance—seem to offer the bloodiest, most repulsive, run like hell away if you can, lessons? Yet one can rarely run from the big-screen reality being played front center, where you are cast as both the adored leading lady and the despised villain. So is the way of the well-intentioned life…day after day, sunrise-to-sunrise—messy, in your face, LIFE. Do you suppose that maybe God sets up our ...

Soaring Hearts

I began my Tuesday in the usual manner, picking up a client, (who is more like a friend) and then heading out together to run errands and maybe dig up some fun. It was a blue-domed day with wispy white clouds …a perfect jigsaw puzzle sky. We chatted as we headed to our first appointment, or I should say that I chatted while she remained silent and somewhat somber looking. Being the consummate cheerleader I asked “What’s shaking lady?” to which ...

More Please

As I sat, pushed into a claustrophobic corner, up against a portal with its plastic eyelid half-closed, bouncing through the clouds above a quilt of civilization, a traffic jam of thoughts fought for my attention. My knees were jammed into the over sized magazine pocket in front of me, bulging like a stuffed pita with boring brochures, barf bags, and magazines dripping with banality, fit only for those sequestered into tiny places with no place else to rest their eyes. My ...

Darwin’s Dirty Little Secret….

Darwin's Dirty Little Secret....

Most individuals recognize Charles Darwin as the Father of Evolution, and his book The Origin of Species (1859) with its concept of natural selection among animals via “survival of the fittest,” as the closest thing to a messiah and belief system that science willing embraces as its gospel. Since elementary school, we’ve all been indoctrinated to evolution’s underlying premise that there are finite resources that all life forms are competing to obtain. If an individual within a given species exhibits a ...

Easy as Tiddlywinks

In seeking to write about Thanksgiving I found myself reaching back to the dim corners of yesterday, uncovering a misty vision of “little me” waiting in my crib for Ma to come and fetch me. I was standing on my toes holding onto the rail, bouncing as I begged, calling, but not crying. And then she appeared—wearing a smile as wide as an open window. With out stretched arms she gathered me up, and toted me off. I don’t remember ...

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Remembrance: Happy Father’s Day

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Each Father’s Day, I experience my father’s absence differently. Some years, the memories are wistful, and other years they are reflective. However, one thing remains constant and that is my gratitude for his influence on my life. I know we each come to this conversation with different stories, but, my prayer for each of us is that we will use our experience and memories of this precious relationship to make a …

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Girls Need A Fathers Love

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It’s known that fathers have a special bond with their little girls and they have been given a huge ability to influence the lives of their daughters. Based on the relationship with the daughter, father’s influence can go either way – positively or negatively. Building this bond through girl’s childhood and teenage ages can be …

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Reflections: Happy Mother’s Day

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! If you live in any of the top 20 nations listed on Save The Children’s Best Places In The World To Be A Mother, you’re ahead of the game. If you live in Finland, Sweden, Norway or other countries on the list, you know your children stand a greater chance of surviving childhood diseases. As much as we gather to celebrate this special day, share our love, our photos, and heartwarming stories of our moms …

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Anzac Day

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Today is Anzac Day, a day to remember those who fought for this country, and in particular, those who made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed in action. For my father’s family, Anzac Day is probably the most important day of the year. They rise early for Dawn Service, march again in the Civic Service, and …

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Easterrific: $100 Educational Toys Planet Giveaway!

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Are you a parent who loves buying smart toys for your kids? Do you sometimes find the marketplace overwhelming because of all the junky toys you see? Educational Toys Planet will put a smile on your face. Better yet, you can enter to win this Easteriffic $100 gift for your child to buy some new toys there. So go for it! With the holiday season now behind us and Easter just around the corner …

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St. Patrick’s Day: 10 Fascinating Facts About This Holiday

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! One of the joys of this day of revelry and parades is how much fun and creativity goes into celebrating this day. The parades showcase the best of Ireland and it’s immigrant population around the world, and people gather to toast to Saint Paddy and drink a Guinness stout in his memory. Of course, all the celebratory zeal means the parades linger on for quite a while.. …

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International Women’s Day: Inspiring Change

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Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as International Working Women’s Day and the theme for this year is – Inspiring Change. The premise for the 2014 IWD theme is that we still need to not only champion the social, political and economic achievements of women, but also to continue to fight for women’s rights and inspire change globally …

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