Vacation and Harry Potter

Noun Challenge: July 31, 2014

Today’s noun: Vacation

First, I would like to start by wishing a happy birthday to Harry Potter. If you’re a hater, you don’t have to be here. Just kidding. Please stay? Anyway, I know that some people feel that the HP fandom goes a little over the top; that’s fine if you feel that way. But I just want to say that the HP books and movies have brought a lot of people together over the years. If you haven’t heard of the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), a non-profit organization that uses Harry Potter to encourage civic engagement, you should check them out. They’re pretty cool. Okay, I won’t go on too long about this but keep in mind that your Hogwarts House is a very important part of me getting to know you. It looks bad if you don’t know your house.

Okay, so back to vacation. As you can tell by the date, this will be my last Noun Challenge post. I will not be posting daily after today. I will be keeping up with photo challenges (attempting to). Besides that, I will try to post at least two other posts per week, starting when I return from vacation the following week.

The best kind of vacation is one where you cut off your contact from the rest of the world. What fun is vacation if you’re still answering your work phone, or spending hours on facebook, just like you usually do? That misses the point of vacation. You should be focusing on relaxing and enjoying whatever activity you have planned. That could be anything from a busy schedule of outdoor activities, to lounging on the beach. Just relax and leave everything else behind. Its also a good time to bond with the friends or family that have gone on vacation with you.

I know that we are reaching the end of summer, but if you haven’t gone on vacation yet, maybe you should plan one. Even if it’s just a weekend trip to the beach, or camping, you deserve a break.

Have a magical day, and I’ll see you soon!

)O(

Having Regrets?

Noun challenge: July 30, 2014

Today’s noun: Regret

Sorry this post is coming so late. Today has been a little busier than usual, and I was having some internet connection problems this morning. So, to make this easy, here are some of my favorite quotes about regrets.

“I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.” -Rita Mero

“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” -Mercedes Lackey

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” -Victoria Holt

Of course there are more great quotes about regret, but I don’t want to bore you. However, I do want to explain to you why I think regret is the most useless emotion. For starters, it only ever comes up when you are reflecting on something that’s already done with. At that point, there’s nothing that can be done about it; it’s over. It would be more useful if it came up during the decision making process, but it doesn’t. It just likes to waste your time later on.

Not regretting things is not the same as not learning from them. If you try to see everything as a learning opportunity, you won’t spend as much time regretting something that can’t be changed.

When I find myself regretting something, I try to think about the things that I can take away from the experience. That way it’s not something that I can honestly say I wish never happened. If it had never happened, I would have missed out on that learning experience.

Does that make sense? I hope so.

As always, have a blissful day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

On a Kick

Noun Challenge: July 29, 2014

Today’s noun: Kick

What does it mean to be on a kick? To be really focused on an idea, or activity. You most often hear people say they are on a health kick, or a workout kick. It could be referring to trying something new to see how you like it, or just something you’ve been interested in for the last few weeks.

But is it good for you? Is it bad? Does it have any effect at all? I don’t know. I guess it depends on what kind of kick you’re on. I suppose a health kick is good for you, but if you’ve recently been into hard drugs, well, I’d say that’s not as good for you. As for less extreme kicks, such as new hobbies or skills, well, I think those aren’t necessarily good or bad for you. Those are the in-between kicks. It might not be something that you continue with in the long run, but maybe you gained something from it.

I think everything is somewhere between good and bad. Even if you do get into hard drugs, you probably learned something from the experience. I don;t have any examples for you because I’ve never experimented with drugs. But I still feel that if you do go on a heroin kick, its not 100% bad. sure its a pretty “bad” drug, and it’s a pretty hard habit to “kick”, but as long as you can take something away from it, it wasn’t completely bad. Does that make sense? Please don’t start using heroin to “take something away” just because I’m talking about it.

It also works the other way. If you go on a health kick, sure, you’re eating healthy, but that doesn’t mean its 100% good. If you become too obsessed with eating healthy, you’ll miss out on eating sweets. no one wants to have dessert after a meal if someone else is avoiding dessert. First, you feel guilty for possibly tempting this person with your dessert, and you might also feel like maybe you shouldn’t be eating that dessert either.

Those are pretty extreme, and maybe a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. If you are on a kick, don’t focus too much on it. Don’t let it take over your life. I know that most of the time that doesn’t happen, but sometimes it happens without you noticing.

Okay, basically what I’m saying is don’t allow your hobbies to isolate you and ruin everything.

I didn’t know exactly where I was going with this post when I started, so thanks for sticking around while I figured it out.

As always, have a kickin’ day (See what I did there?), and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

Fun Gosling Facts

Noun Challenge: July 28, 2014

Today’s noun: Gosling

This proved to be more challenging that I originally thought. I was going to give you some fun facts about goslings (the animals) and some cute pictures. Everyone like baby animals, right? Well, I can’t find any because, if you didn’t already know, if you try to Google search “gosling facts”, the entire first page of results is “30 facts you didn’t know about Ryan Gosling” or other similar gossip. No offense Ryan, but I’m trying to make a post with cute animals, and your last name isn’t making it very easy.

After having to filter my search to remove celebrity gossip, this is what I found (if you don’t care and just want pictures, scroll down a bit):

  • Geese average about 5 goslings per year.
  • Geese mate for life, but will find a new partner if one dies.
  • They return to the place of their birth to mate.
  • Goslings spend 2-3 months on the ground before they learn to fly.
  • Adult Geese cannot fly during molting season (they lose some feathers). This lasts about six weeks.
  • Geese stay with their young until they can fly.
  • Geese will attack humans who come too close to their young.
  • Geese are one of the few birds that do not leave their families after mating season. Families stay together.

Not many facts, sorry. Like I said, Ryan Gosling insisted on interrupting. As promised, here are some pictures.

I’m sorry for that tired joke, but once again, he insisted.

As always, have a tip-top day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

Cool Facts About Goose. (n.d.). Interestingfunfactscom. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from http://www.interestingfunfacts.com/cool-facts-about-goose.html

Goose Facts. (n.d.). Goose Facts. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from http://www.takeflightgoosemgt.com/goosefacts.html

Images found from Google Images (search term: Gosling geese).

Chicory

Noun Challenge: July 27, 2014

Today’s noun: Chicory

Today’s noun is quite easy! Its a plant! It grows in Mediterranean climates  and it harvested for its leaves, which are used in salads. It also has a pretty little blue flower.

As always, have a radiant day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

All photos found on Google Images (search term: Chicory).

Letter

Noun Challenge: July 26, 2014

Today’s noun: Letter

Let’s talk about letters. Not the kind that make up words, but the kind that are made up of words. Why does no one write them anymore? I understand that texting and emailing are both faster and easier, but I like snail mail. I don’t know about you guys, but I like getting letters in the mail. Packages are fun too. Currently, the only time I get mail is when I have to order textbooks for school, or when I get the bill for my tuition… That’s no fun.

When I do write letters to friends, and they write back, we often run into the problem of having nothing to write about. It’s pretty clear that this is because we communicate through texting, or facebook, or twitter.

I think it would be fun, and you can do this too, to have a friend that you only communicate with through handwritten letters. You can type if your handwriting is terrible. But don’t call or text them. If you really want to, set facebook and twitter to not show you their posts. You can do this for any amount of time. Say, the summer. Or maybe, since summer will be over for many people my age in a few weeks, do it for the school year, or maybe just a semester. Of course, make this friend someone that you won’t need to contact with any urgency.

If you do this, and truly have no other contact with your friend, it will be a fun surprise in your mail box, and you’ll actually have something to write about.

Just a fun idea to do with a friend!

Have a delightful day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

Behavioral Enrichment

Noun Challenge: July 25, 2014

Today’s noun: Behavior

Behavioral enrichment, also called environmental enrichment, is a term referring to the stimulation of animals in captivity. Before I go on about behavioral enrichment, let’s talk about animals in captivity. You’re probably thinking about a zoo or aquarium, right? Well, you are correct, but did you think of your own pet? An animal living in captivity is any animal that is not living in the wild. The cat in your lap, or the dog under the desk is living in captivity.

Now that that is all cleared up, let’s get back to behavioral enrichment. What is it and why is it important? Well, put in the simplest terms, its playing with, and caring for your pets; making sure they are fed, groomed, and not bored. You need to make sure you stimulate each of their five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Some of these take care of themselves. Smell and hearing are going to take care of themselves as long as you keep up with the rest. Sight is pretty simple, make sure your pet doesn’t spend all of its time in one place. As long as your animal can move, this will be okay. Taste is also easy; switch the flavors of their food, and make sure they get different textures. Giving treats works well. Last, touch. Literally, just touch your pet. You can stroke their fur, or scratch behind their ears. Yes, it’s that simple. Another part of behavioral enrichment is entertaining your pet.

For a cat, this means playing with him or her. Playing could be as simple as putting a ball of yarn on the floor for them to play with. If your cats are anything like mine, that’s not good enough. Mine like to chase moving things. If i wanted to use string, I would need to continuously swing it in front of them, and that does get tiring after a while. So, what do I do? Well, I put a towel, a regular bath towel, on my bed and slide my hand under it. The cat loves it. I only need to do it for a few minutes at a time, and it keeps her occupied for a good twenty minutes. Just do that a few times a day, and you’re golden.

For dogs, this means having a piece of rope to play tug-of-war, or a chew toy for them to bite on. It could also mean chasing them around the yard. You really just need to find the activity that your dog enjoys. If you have more than one dog, don’t assume they will all like the same things. For my dogs, one loves to play chase, or tug-of-war. The other likes to wrestle on the floor, and swim in the summer. If you’re not sure what your dog likes, just try a bunch of different things until you find what they enjoy.

The last part of behavioral enrichment that I’m going to talk about is making sure the environment is appropriate. For dogs, this means making sure they have somewhere to go to the bathroom, a place to run, things to chew on, a place to sleep, etc. For cats, it means having a clean litter box, a scratching post (or something to scratch), somewhere they can be up high (most cats like to jump up to higher places), and providing a place to sleep. Cats and dogs are fairly simple to accommodate. More exotic animals are a bit more difficult. This is why most places prevent private ownership of tigers, zebras, owls, giraffes, and other “zoo” animals.

Why is behavioral enrichment so important? Well, you want your pet to be happy and healthy, right? That’s why we spend so much money at the vet. If your pet is not properly stimulated, they will start to show signs of neurotic behavior. This could be over grooming themselves, strange movements, being overly aggressive, biting or scratching at themselves, pacing, or repetitive vocalization. Now, I know you’re all thinking “My pet does one of those!” Yes, probably, but that doesn’t mean they are under-stimulated, or that you aren’t doing enough. One of my dogs loves to talk. The other is very clean and always licks his paws when he comes inside. The only time you should worry about any of these behaviors is if they are not normal for your pet. Of course, if something about your pet’s behavior changes, it doesn’t mean you have failed, they may be sick, or have allergies. If you are concerned, take them to a vet. Do not assume it will be fixed if you play with them more.

Well, this post was much longer than I intended. Sorry. But I hope you learned something, and take care of your furry friends!

As always, I apologize for any grammatical errors. Have a furry day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

 

Evolution of Language

Noun Challenge: July 24, 2014

Today’s noun: Scale

What do you think of when I say the word scale? The first thing I thought of of was a fish. You know, like the skin of a fish. Then I thought about weight scales, and distance scales. There are so many meanings of the words scale. It can also be used as a verb meaning to climb, or remove scales from something.

So where am I going with this?

There are a bunch of words in our language that mean many things depending on the context. Why? How did that happen? How did the word used to describe the protective coat of a fish or reptile, come to mean the same thing as what we use to measure weight?

The answer is that each of these meanings of the word scale came from different parts of the word, with different languages.

As a student of Anthropology and Geography, I’ve been taught about how languages develop. Basically, you start with one language; everyone speaks this language. We all know that language evolves. Twenty years ago, the word tweet was used to describe the sound a bird makes. Now it mean to post your ramblings, in 140 characters or less, on the internet for people to read. So, as long as the group stays together, the language evolves as one. But when a group becomes isolated, whether socially, or physically, the language begins to evolve differently. That’s how you get so many different languages.

That’s why American English and British English are so different, but we can still, mostly understand each other. That’s why Swedish and Norwegian are similar, yet different.

So, languages all come from a common place, which is why we have words in one language that are similar to words in others. I started learning Spanish at about 3 or 4 years old, and continued to about 7. Honestly, I don’t remember much more than “hola” now. I could look at something written in Spanish and have absolutely no clue as to what it says. But then I started learning Italian, and I started to be able to read Spanish as well. Weird, right? Not really. They have a close relationship.

Anyway, my point is that many languages look similar to others. I learned Italian, and could suddenly understand a little Spanish as well because the words were similar. Put that together with languages evolving over time and you start to get similar words meaning slightly different things. This is why we have words like scale that mean so many different things.

Language is weird.

As always, have a grand day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

Caterpillar

Noun Challenge: July 23, 2014

Today’s noun: Caterpillar

I promise it’s not another list! Here are some pictures from a while ago! (Click the pictures to get a better look!)

I also found these little guys in the same album! They’re not caterpillars but…

Not many words in this post, sorry. But hey! Pictures are supposedly worth a thousand words. In that case, I just wrote you a novel! Enjoy!

As always, have a glorious day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(

The Color Orange

Noun Challenge: July 22, 2014

Today’s Noun: Orange

I understand that the color orange is not actually a noun, and this post should actually be about fruit. However, I am taking advantage of the English language’s lack of originality in naming fruit (or maybe naming colors? Which came first?) because who wants to blog about a piece of fruit? Okay, there are probably some really amazing fruit bloggers out there, but I’m not one of them!

So, what exactly is more interesting about the color orange?

Not everyone can see it. I’m not talking about color blindness. I’m talking about entire cultures of  people who cannot see the color orange. I’m sure there are other cultures who cannot see other colors, but we’re talking about orange today.

One of my anthropology professors told us (multiple times) about a village he visited somewhere in (east?) Asia. I don’t remember exactly where it was, but they could not see orange. He thought it was pretty bizarre. This is yellow, this is red, this is orange. It seemed obvious to him. The people in the village said, no, that’s red. To these people, orange was just another shade of red.

So? What’s the point of this story?

In our culture, every four year old knows that orange is a color. That’s common knowledge to us. But that’s only because that’s what we were taught. To that Asian culture, it’s common knowledge that there are a bunch of shades of red before you get into shades of yellow.

This little story makes me wonder what we can’t see, that other cultures just know to be true.

Just a little something to get you thinking!

Have a spectacular day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

)O(