Friday, July 29, 2016

Top Five Covers of Bob Dylan Songs

Although the Beatles might be the most covered artists of all time, I think very few people wouldn't recognize them as the original artists. However, it's not the same with Bob Dylan. Several of his songs became far more popular and more well known after someone else covered them.

 Here's my top five:

1. All Along the Watchtower. This is one of Jimi Hendrix's best songs and it was originally Dylan's. Dylan's version is actually only the third best as Dave Matthews Band also performed a far better rendition.

2. Knocking on Heaven's Door. Whether you're thinking of Eric Clapton's or Guns N Roses' version, I'm sure you're not thinking of Dylan's.
It's interesting that arguably three of the best guitarists of all-time(Hendrix, Clapton and GnR's Slash) all were involved with some of Dylan's best covers. 

3. Forever Young. I'm probably dating myself with this one, but I thought that this was Rod Stewart's best song. Come to find out, it's Dylan's. Or was it? This one is actually a bit marred in controversy as Ol' Rod tried passing it off as his own. Eventually(probably when the two songs were compared), he gave in and shared his royalties with Dylan. The Dylan version was also performed by Joan Baez, as well as Patti Labelle at Live Aid.

Compare the two for yourself: 

4. When I Paint My Masterpiece. Bob Dylan's own band did it better. Yes the Band. And another song I didn't know was originally Dylan's but makes sense.

5. Tangled Up in Blue. Again probably dating myself but I thought this was the Indigo Girls' own song. I don't think it was until college that I realized there was another version. They actually stayed pretty close to the original here.

Sorry for the lousy version of this song but it's cool it was recorded in Concord:)

To contrast that cover's similarity with the original, look at Rage Against the Machine's version of Maggie's farm for how disparate some covers can be from the original.

What do you think? Did I miss any other good ones? I am sure I did, but you don't know what you don't know:)

Until Next Time,


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Disaster at Ironman Lake Placid: Good Karma to Come

If you were following Amber's Ironman Lake Placid race on Sunday, you may have noticed that all of a sudden the tracker "wasn't working". Or that was what I thought when I checked in to see how she was doing. Come to find out it was a lot worse than that.

Amber had come into the race as an underdog despite having won it two years prior. She would have had to have a great race to compete against Heather Jackson but she was in that kind of shape that I thought she could. Either way it seemed clear that she'd be on the podium and likely to win some nice prize money.

That's what she gets for me counting her eggs before they were hatched. Instead she got no money and will likely be thousands of dollars in the arrears. So what happened?

Well what happened, from what I hear tell, is that about 80+ miles into the bike as she was closing in on the racers ahead of her, a ten year old girl run onto the bike course directly in front of her. Not having time to stop, Amber hit her full on flipping over her handlebars. Supposedly the crash was so bad that someone in the audience texted her coach thinking she was dead. An ambulance came and brought her to the ER where luckily it was discovered that her femur was not fracture just severely bruised. But all the tests, ambulance, and hospital stay are going to be a big hit on Amber's high-deductible insurance. Amber says she doesn't race for the money but for the love of sport but still...
Always smiles
There has been some people telling her to sue the family and/or the race, but I know she won't do that. Besides bad karma, she understands that accidents do happen and that she also wants this girl to be a life-long fan of triathlon and not create undue stress on the family. I wish there were more people who could do that. I'm not sure I could, but proud to have a friend that can.  So instead, she'll just go about the slow process of healing and will hopefully carry that good karma with her to the next race. Whenever that is. We will be watching and sending her all the good vibes she deserves.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Moving to South Carolina

A few months ago, when preparing to return to Concord Hospital to cover a therapist's medical leave, I was told that they'd try to get me a full-time position but couldn't guarantee it. This prompted a vague job search where Kenny and I sent out applications for any where we would consider working which didn't require us taking a pay cut. After turning down, a few job offers because of a sense of "not a good fit", I decided to accept an offer to work in an elementary school in Columbia South Carolina.

After about a week of Kenny nervously wondering what would happen if she didn't also get a job, she found one. Wow. That was easy. Luckily we both have very portable jobs that allow us to pretty much go anywhere in the States. 

The downside of Kenny getting a job so quickly is that she actually starts work the week after I get back to New Hampshire. So I literally arrive in New Hampshire and drive with her down to South Carolina. 

But since I had committed to Concord Hospital, I will be back up in New Hampshire for the next month. Which will be nice to see people, hopefully get out for a few hikes and also pack up all the things I have accumulated after 9! years of living in one place. Which by the way is technically the longest I've ever lived in one place(since we moved several times while I growing up). It is actually going to be sad moving out of the apartment. And definitely sad not going to be as close to the family. 

However, the nice thing is that flights are cheap, and the weather is warm. Meaning: I plan on coming home(New Hampshire will always be home) several times a year and have invited my family to come down to stay as long and often as they would like. In fact, we are hosting Thanksgiving this year down in SC. 

Now I've only been to South Carolina twice, once for my buddy Brooklyn's wedding in Columbia and another in Charleston for the Kiawah Island Marathon. So I don't have a great idea of what we are getting ourselves into. 

BUT, Columbia looks awesome! 

Within 30 minutes there are breweries, a plethora of restaurants, a large University with a cool name(look it up-this is a PG blog), indoor and outdoor climbing, a state park, a national park and plenty of golfing for when my dad comes down. And it seems endless festivals two of each that I'm most excited about are: Oyster and BBQ festivals:)

Only 80 minutes away is Charlotte and, more cool, the US Whitewater Center where you can raft, kayak, SUP, and run on their trails. In fact, I've already signed up for a half marathon on my birthday followed by a wine festival at the center. A great way to usher in 34 years on this planet:) Plus Charlotte has super cheap flights in/out of it so will definitely take advantage of that. 

In under 2 1/2 hours, we can reach Myrtle beach, Savannah or Charleston or hike in the Smokey mountains. And only 30 minutes longer and we can reach my brother in Atlanta

Now assuming we like our jobs and location, the kicker will be how much we see family. The hope is they all come down for Thanksgiving, we go up for Christmas and then that my parents come down to "winter" with us for a bit. I'd like to then be back up for April and then again in June. So if that works out, I think we may stay a bit. But if we find that we're not seeing our families enough, this may be a short trip. We will see. 
Either way, it will be a fun and exciting time, and I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Until next time,


Friday, July 22, 2016

Beer Calorie Count: The Newest Expression of Corporate Greed

Watch this video to get an idea of the hypocrisies of Corporate America: 

Now before I start talking about beer, let's be clear: drinking a lot is not healthy. A lot is many in one sitting or a few in many sittings. Read more here. Okay there's you public health message. Onward!

Listening to NPR yesterday, I heard that big beer companies have decided to "be more transparent" and provide calorie counts on their products. They stated it was good a good Samaritan act so that their imbibers know just how many calories they were consuming. 

I am skeptical to say the least. This is eerily similar to a story I read about in the book True Enough.  After an unsuccessful campaign addressing smokers’ rights, large smoking companies shifted focus to “a larger, more universal scourge”: the government and how it had become too big, invasive and controlling.  The campaign was called Get Government Off Our Backs, or GGOOB and urged a diverse group of people(not just smokers) to stand up what they considered the first step in a long line of actions to take away people’s rights in America. The author concluded that “by turning the battle onto one about big government rather than big tobacco and by hiding its own association with the plan, [cigarette companies] could ride towards its goal upon a wave of anti-regulatory activism.  And the plan worked.” Legislation on tobacco products were halted or at least delayed.

Is beer facing new legislative restrictions? I sure hope not! But the big companies are facing the biggest challenge probably since the prohibition: good tasting alternatives. Meaning craft beers. Quality beers made by individuals who like beer rather than corporations seeking to leech out your money one flavorless beer at a time.

And by no means do I think all craft breweries are altruistic, but I always root for the underdog, and this case it also happens to be the tasty oneJ

So what does this have to do with calories? Well craft beers with their diverse flavors and higher alcohol content also come in at a higher calorie count. If consumers start being exposed to beers that have 2-3x the calories as a Miller Lite, they might think twice before buying it and instead go for the crappy, but “light” beer. Craft beers just won’t be able to compete without undercutting the exact thing that makes them good. 

So stand strong against this newest wave of corporate deception and go enjoy a real beer. Support your local micro-brew. None close by? Well, I just feel sorry for you.

Until next time,


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Epoch of Epic

Twice a day, every day, an old man hobbles with his bent legs and a stick down and up the cobbled land outside my window. This is no need for him to shop twice a day. He does it to get out and about. He moves very slowly, with great concentration and care… His face is expressionless under his flat cap; his patience is absolute.

He pauses halfway up the lane and leans resting on his stick. His legs are very thing, the trousers flap loosely. The old man calls to someone passing at the top of the lane; they wave and walk on briskly. He shifts his stick, looks up at the top of the lane and moves on, eyes fixed on his objective. As he tackles the last steep ramp his head goes down and he pauses, rocking, between each step. He makes the top, wobbles, then steps down off the pavement and he’s made it. His shoulders sag, he looks around at the trees, the newly returned swallows carving up the air, the kids playing football and the mechanic bent over the car. A perfectly average precious morning. Then he straightens up and hobbles on along the road to the right, inching out of my line of vision.

This is the real thing, done daily, humbly, for no fame or applause, to no end but self-respect and the purchase of daily bread.

I love that quote. In an epoch of epic, where bigger, longer, faster is viewed as better and get more views/likes on twitter/Facebook, it’s sometimes important to take a step back and realize what we are doing it all for.  It’s sometimes the mundane daily challenges that are the most heroic and yet most often ignored. Like the father who works a second(or third) job to give his children advantages he never had. Or a person with rheumatoid arthritis who still gets up, despite the pain, to go to work every morning. Someone dealing with racism(or any other ism) day in and day out. Or an old man fighting valiantly against time and gravity. 

It’s easy to be dismissive of the mundane saying that they are not achievements just part of life. And yes while that may be true, getting through life isn’t always easy and sometimes the exact opposite. Living in a country with the highest suicide rate in the world, I can attest that many people opt out entirely. Whether it's visible or not, everyone is going through some form of struggle or challenge. Many of which will never make it on social media.

But it, nevertheless, is still an achievement when we rise up above our challenges and see what a wonderful opportunity we have in this life. The alternative just isn't appealing to me and hopefully isn't to you.  No matter how you got to this moment, you are here now. Congratulations. That certainly was epic!

Look around, breathe, love, live. Give thanks.

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Last Days in Guyana: Time Crunch

Panic has officially set in. With only two weeks to go before I COS(close of service) my time in Guyana with the Peace Corps, I have realized how much left I need to accomplish. Besides all the paperwork and tedium Peace Corps provides and providing the Ministry of Health with useful tools to continue to utilize in my absence, I have realized how far behind I really am.

I still have three books to be read, two Coursera courses to be taken, and many beautiful days to be fully appreciated. I just don't think I have enough time.

As I have started my close of service duties, I certainly have appreciated moving back to the States, especially the day(s) at the Bank. Here's how a typical encounter at the bank goes:

  • Wait in line for approximately 2 generations(or at least 3 hours).
  • Find out that despite being told to be in this line, you are in the wrong line.
  • Wait another few generations.
  • Find out that the form that Peace Corps requires every volunteer to fill out when closing service is not the correct form and the bank is unable to sign it.
  • Leave bank frustrated.
  • Have Peace Corps call bank to ensure that they will sign it.
  • Return to bank.
  • Wait requisite 2-3 generations(which you will never get back)
  • Be told that no they will not sign that form apologizing(slightly) for the misinformation I was provided)
  • Return to Peace Corps office explaining the continued resistance.
  • Peace Corps opts to forego form so just have to close out account.
  • Return to bank.
  • Wait in line(patience is a virtue)
  • Attempt to close out account.
  • Signature does not match the one on my original account opening form(despite my holding my passport and debit card) .
  • Told to re-sign.
  • Sign.
  • Signature does not match the one on my original account opening form.
  • Told to re-sign.
  • Sign. 
  • Signature does not match the one on my original account opening form.
  • [Manager comes out]
  • Told to re-sign
  • Sign. 
  • Signature does not match the one on my original account opening form.
  • [Manager instructs Danny on how to sign exactly how he did the first time]
  • Sign.
  • Sign accepted.
  • Close out receipt provided.

All of $40.

Okay so that's not a positive aspect of Guyana, but I certainly am going to miss the weather. And the fact that I am finally getting to know the city. I now cannot go for a walk without running into someone who I actually know. It's starting to feel like my city, only to leave. Which is unfortunate. As is the fact that I have so much more work I can do with the hospital.

But I hope that we can get another volunteer to fill my shoes(and maybe even have a bigger and better pair of shoes).

I will definitely miss Guyana but I am very much looking forward to returning home and starting the next chapter of my life (in South Carolina).

Oh hadn't heard the news? Well more to come about that.

Until next time,


Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016 Ironman Lake Placid Start List

Next Sunday, Amber Ferreira will be defending her Ironman Lake Placid title. They didn't have a 2015 pro race so this will be the first time professionals will race on this course since Amber's 2014 victory. If you have been following Amber's race schedule this year, you will have noticed solid performances with her triathlons and stellar performances in her bike and running races. The swim seems to be her weak link thus far in 2016, but as luck would have it, Lake Placid has a nice line to follow as well as it is a well-known course to Amber. So no excuses there. Not that I think she'll need them, She overdue for another win and my prediction is that we will see it next weekend.

Because it doesn't have much of a prize purse, the field might not be as deep as some of the others Amber has raced, but that doesn't mean it will be any less competitive. As it appears to be the case with every race Amber has entered in the last year and a half, Lake Placid has attracted some of the best triathletes in the world. Most notably Heather Jackson and Alicia Kaye.  These girls are bound to put up a strong fight but I think Amber will come out on top.

Pro Start List:
1 Heather Jackson
2. Kelly Williamson
3 Alicia Kaye
5 Kaitlin Anelauskas
6 Christine Avelar
7 Neilia Bliss
8 Kate Bruck
9 Florence Chretien
10 Erin Green
11 Rachel Jastrebsky
12 Caroline Martineau
13 Jodie Robertson
14 Molly Roohi
15 Beth Shutt
16 Nicole Valentine

 17 Annah Watkinson 

Save all your positive vibes for next weekend and send straight to Amber!
Despite the fact that she is the defending champ, she will be going into this races as an underdog. Which is in her favor. A few things Amber has going for her coming into this race include the race itself(not a pancake flat course, the hills and grinding nature of this course will thin the herd), her experience on it(in addition to her win in 2014, she also raced in 2011 and 2010), as well as her bib number(4 is her lucky number!). But truly the real thing going for her is her ability to day in and day out continue to do work and get stronger and become a better athlete. No matter what the result of the races this year, she has produced far better individual race results which is a sign of what is still to come.

"It's easy to keep going when you feel strong and good. Anyone can do that. But to be able to continue when you feel horrible-that's what you're really training for. So keep on running, through the pain and reluctance. Do you really expect to get through this Expedition-this day, this race, this life for that matter-without some of the old blood, sweat and tears? No chance. That's part of the point of it all. So keep on running...."

Let's all focus our good vibes and positive thoughts towards her and her race next weekend.Good luck Am!

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Peace Corps is Not Volunteering

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

I was at Peace Corps Reconnect which is when the new 2-year volunteers come back after 6 months to go over issues they're having and for continuing education. I overheard one volunteer complaining about how her in-country counterpart wanted her to be working a 40 hour work week(like we're supposed to) and she was griping about how she isn't an employee, she's a volunteer. They should be happy that she's there at all.

Ohhhhh, that irked me. Because we're here to do a job and we are being compensated for it. Without even considering the intangibles like resume building, free personal training and great opportunity to travel etc, we certainly get compensated. Don't think so? Well (as Kai Ryssdal says) let's do the numbers.

Now ignoring opportunity cost of not making a "real" salary while in Peace Corps and not contributing to retirement, let's look at how PC volunteers are compensated:

Travel- This varies from country to country but they pay for you to fly to/from the country from your home of record. But you've got to think most of these countries aren't heavily traveled so have higher flight costs. Ever try to fly to Vanuatu? I don't think it's easy to get to. But let's say $1,500 to be on the low end.

Rent- Unless you are living with your parents, you would have to pay some form of rent which would vary state to state but let's say, even with a roommate, no less than $500/month. As a PC volunteer you don't have to pay for housing so in essence you are earning that.

Food- This again varies country to country and matches the minimum wage earners food allowances. $150/month is a good average.

Health Care- This is a big one! My first year out of school, I got a high deductible insurance plan that still was $100/month. As Peace Corps members we get it all. I had an MRI for free. And if you have an issue that requires services that are beyond your country's capabilities, they airlift you somewhere that can do the procedure. So what's that worth a month? Let's say: $200/month.

Moving In Allowance- It wasn't much but we are given a moving in allowance to buy pots and pans and what not. I lucked out and have the uncanny ability to cook all my meals in one pot so I actually made money on the deal. Plus they bought me a brand new bike.

Readjustment Allowance- Peace Corps recognizes that volunteers may need some time before getting a job or whatnot so they provide a readjustment allowance of about $300/month.

Sub-total: $15,525/year

So while that's not A LOT of money. I think that's actually right at the poverty line right? But with better social supports and safety nets. And definitely not NOT compensated(Sorry Mrs Blado for the double negative). But that's not all the 2 year volunteers get. In addition, they get:

Coverdell Fellowships: The top-tier universities that offer these fellowships for graduate schools have different awards but they range from $5,000 to full tuition AND a living stipend. But let's say on average:

Non-competitive Federal Status:While this isn't necessarily a short-term financial incentive, it is actually probably one of the biggest perks for the two year volunteers. Having this status allows them to apply to positions without going through a lengthy competitive process. Plus those two years of service count towards federal retirement benefits. Which means that now they only have 18 more years of work in the federal system to get full retirement benefits. So at 24-26 years old, that's looking at a 44 year old retirement(pension does get decreased if you retire that early but STILL).

Vacation Days: But the icing on the cake is that you get 2 days of vacation per month. Yes: that's 24/year or almost 5 whole weeks. How did you think I was able to go to so many cool places this past year?

So as you can see, especially if you are a 2 year volunteer, there are a lot of perks and quite a bit of financial incentives or as I like to think of it: a salary. To do my job. If you go about thinking of yourself as a volunteer and that everyone should be just happy you show up at all, it's probably best not to join the Peace Corps and instead volunteer somewhere where you have to fund your own housing and travel and often pay get no benefits. That's volunteering. This is work. No need to be self righteous and certainly not appropriate to shirk duties because you think you're not compensated. As, hopefully I've shown, you certainly are. Just like real work.

Fun work. Rewarding work. But work.

Sorry for the rant.

Until next time,


Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Dictionary of the Language of Flowers

I just finished Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers and really enjoyed it. About family, love and redemption, it also was interesting because it introduced me to the meaning behind flowers from the Victorian era. Giving someone a flower wasn't as simple as picking out a pretty color or shape. Each flower conveyed a very specific meaning. So next time you are giving a gift, it might be worth seeing whether you're offering up love or anger. If offered up Peony, you may wonder whether someone is angry at you. However, to convey your love, what exact type do you mean? Everlasting love? Then baby's breath.Ardent love? Cactus. Love despite the odds? Dogwood. Maternal love? Moss. You see? It's a lot trickier than you may think standing at the florists. I'd suggest reading the entire book, but I have decided to share the dictionary here:

Abutilon (Abutilon) . . . Meditation 
Acacia (Acacia) . . . Secret love
 Acanthus (Acanthus) . . . Artifice 
Agapanthus (Agapanthus) . . . Love letter 
Allium (Allium) . . . Prosperity
Almond blossom (Amygdalus communis) . . . Indiscretion
Aloe (Aloe vera) . . . Grief 
Alstroemeria (Alstroemeria) . . . Devotion
Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) . . . Worth beyond beauty 
Amaranth (Amaranthus) . . . Immortality
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) . . . Pride
Anemone (Anemone) . . . Forsaken
Angelica (Angelica pachycarpa) . . . Inspiration
Apple (Malus domestica) . . . Temptation
Apple blossom (Malus domestica) . . . Preference 
Aster (Aster) . . . Patience 
Azalea (Rhododendron) . . . Fragile and ephemeral passion
Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) . . . Everlasting love
Bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus) . . . Single blessedness
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) . . . Hate
Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) . . . I change but in death
Begonia (Begonia) . . . Caution
Bellflower (Campanula) . . . Gratitude
Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis) . . . Good luck
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) . . . Magnificence
Blackberry (Rubus) . . . Envy
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) . . . Justice
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) . . . Constancy
Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) . . . Passion
Bouvardia (Bouvardia) . . . Enthusiasm
Broom (Cytisus) . . . Humility
Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) . . . Ingratitude
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) . . . Profit
Cactus (Opuntia) . . . Ardent love
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) . . . Modesty
Camellia (Camellia) . . . My destiny is in your hands
Candytuft (Iberis) . . . Indifference
Canterbury bells (Campanula medium) . . . Gratitude 
Carnation, pink (Dianthus caryophyllus) . . . I will never forget you
Carnation, red (Dianthus caryophyllus) . . . My heart breaks
Carnation, striped (Dianthus caryophyllus) . . . I cannot be with you
Carnation, white (Dianthus caryophyllus) . . . Sweet and lovely
Carnation, yellow (Dianthus caryophyllus) . . . Disdain
Celandine (Chelidonium majus) . . . Joys to come
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) . . . Energy in adversity
Cherry blossom (Prunus cerasus) . . . Impermanence
Chervil (Anthriscus) . . . Sincerity 
Chestnuts (Castanea sativa) . . . Do me justice
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) . . . Frugality
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum) . . . Truth 
Cinquefoil (Potentilla) . . . Beloved daughter
Clematis (Clematis) . . . Poverty
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) . . . I have loved you and you have not known it
Clover, white (Trifolium) . . . Think of me
Cockscomb (Celosia) . . . Affectation
Columbine (Aquilegia) . . . Desertion
Coreopsis (Coreopsis) . . . Always cheerful
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) . . . Hidden worth
Corn (Zea mays) . . . Riches
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) . . . Joy in love and life 
Cowslip (Primula veris) . . . Pensiveness
Crab-apple blossom (Malus hupehensis) . . . Ill-tempered
Cranberry (Vaccinium) . . . Cure for heartache
Crocus (Crocus) . . . Youthful gladness
Currant (Ribes) . . . Thy frown will kill me
Cyclamen (Cyclamen) . . . Timid hope
Cypress (Cupressus) . . . Mourning
Daffodil (Narcissus) . . . New beginnings
Dahlia (Dahlia) . . . Dignity
Daisy (Bellis) . . . Innocence
Daisy, Gerber (Gerbera) . . . Cheerfulness
Dandelion (Taraxacum) . . . Rustic oracle
Daphne (Daphne) . . . I would not have you otherwise 
Daylily (Hemerocallis) . . . Coquetry
Delphinium (Delphinium) . . . Levity
Dianthus (Dianthus) . . . Make haste
Dittany (Dictamnus albus) . . . Childbirth
Dogwood (Cornus) . . . Love undiminished by adversity
Dragon plant (Dracaena) . . . You are near a snare
Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) . . . Noble courage
Elder (Sambucus) . . . Compassion
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus) . . . Protection
Euphorbia (Euphorbia) . . . Persistence
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) . . . Inconstancy
Everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius) . . . Lasting pleasure
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) . . . Strength
Fern (Polypodiophyta) . . . Sincerity
Fern, maidenhair (Adiantum capillusveneris) . . . Secrecy
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) . . . Warmth 
Fig (Ficus carica) . . . Argument
Flax (Linum usitatissimum) . . . I feel your kindness
Forget-me-not (Myosotis) . . . Forget me not
Forsythia (Forsythia) . . . Anticipation
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) . . . Insincerity
Freesia (Freesia) . . . Lasting friendship
Fuchsia (Fuchsia) . . . Humble love
Gardenia (Gardenia) . . . Refinement
Gentian (Gentiana) . . . Intrinsic worth
Geranium, oak-leaf (Pelargonium) . . . True friendship
Geranium, pencil-leaf (Pelargonium) . . . Ingenuity
Geranium, scarlet (Pelargonium) . . . Stupidity
Geranium, wild (Pelargonium) . . . Steadfast piety
Ginger (Zingiber) . . . Strength 
Gladiolus (Gladiolus) . . . You pierce my heart
Goldenrod (Solidago) . . . Careful encouragement
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) . . . Abundance 
Grass (Poaceae) . . . Submission
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) . . . Hope
Hazel (Corylus) . . . Reconciliation
Heath (Erica) . . . Solitude
Heather (Calluna vulgaris) . . . Protection
Helenium (Helenium) . . . Tears
Heliotrope (Heliotropium) . . . Devoted affection
Hibiscus (Hibiscus) . . . Delicate beauty
Holly (Ilex) . . . Foresight
Hollyhock (Alcea) . . . Ambition
Honesty (Lunaria annua) . . . Honesty
Honeysuckle (Lonicera) . . . Devotion
Hyacinth, blue (Hyacinthus orientalis) . . . Constancy
Hyacinth, purple (Hyacinthus orientalis) . . . Please forgive me
Hyacinth, white (Hyacinthus orientalis) . . . Beauty
Hydrangea (Hydrangea) . . . Dispassion
Ice plant (Carpobrotus chilensis) . . . Your looks freeze me
Impatiens (Impatiens) . . . Impatience
Iris (Iris) . . . Message
 Ivy (Hedera helix) . . . Fidelity
Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium) . . . Come down
Jasmine, Carolina (Gelsemium sempervirens) . . . Separation
Jasmine, Indian (Jasminum multiflorum) . . . Attachment
Jasmine, white (Jasminum officinale) . . . Amiability
Jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla) . . . Desire
Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) . . . Pensive beauty
Lady’s slipper (Cypripedium) . . . Capricious beauty
Lantana (Lantana) . . . Rigor
Larch (Larix decidua) . . . Audacity
Larkspur (Consolida) . . . Lightness
Laurel (Laurus nobilis) . . . Glory and success
Lavender (Lavandula) . . . Mistrust
Lemon (Citrus limon) . . . Zest
Lemon blossom (Citrus limon) . . . Discretion
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) . . . Coldheartedness
Liatris (Liatris) . . . I will try again
Lichen (Parmelia) . . . Dejection
Lilac (Syringa) . . . First emotions of love
Lily (Lilum) . . . Majesty
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) . . . Return of happiness
Linden tree (Tilia) . . . Conjugal love
Lisianthus (Eustoma) . . . Appreciation
Lobelia (Lobelia) . . . Malevolence
Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) . . . Purity
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) . . . Perplexity
Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) . . . Hopeless but not helpless
Lungwort (Pulmonaria) . . . You are my life
Lupine (Lupinus) . . . Imagination
Magnolia (Magnolia) . . . Dignity 
Marigold (Calendula) . . . Grief
Marjoram (Origanum) . . . Blushes
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) . . . Desire for riches
Meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) . . . My best days are past
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) . . . Uselessness
Michealmas daisy (Aster amellus) . . . Farewell 
Mignonette (Reseda odorata) . . . Your qualities surpass your charms
Mimosa (Mimosa) . . . Sensitivity
Mistletoe (Viscum) . . . I surmount all obstacles
Mock orange (Pittosporum undulatum) . . . Counterfeit
Monkshood (Aconitum) . . . Chivalry 
Morning glory (Ipomoea) . . . Coquetry 
Moss (Bryopsida) . . . Maternal love
Mullein (Verbascum) . . . Take courage
Mustard (Brassica) . . . I am hurt 
Myrtle (Myrtus) . . . Love
Narcissus (Narcissus) . . . Self-love
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) . . . Patriotism
Nettle (Urtica) . . . Cruelty
Oats (Avena sativa) . . . The witching soul of music
 Oleander (Nerium oleander) . . . Beware 
Olive (Olea europaea) . . . Peace
Orange (Citrus sinensis) . . . Generosity
Orange blossom (Citrus sinensis) . . . Your purity equals your loveliness
Orchid (Orchidaceae) . . . Refined beauty
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) . . . Joy
Pansy (Viola) . . . Think of me
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) . . . Festivity
Passionflower (Passiflora) . . . Faith
Peach (Prunus persica) . . . Your charms are unequaled
Peach blossom (Prunus persica) . . . I am your captive
Pear (Pyrus) . . . Affection
Pear blossom (Pyrus) . . . Comfort 
Peony (Paeonia) . . . Anger
Peppermint (Mentha) . . . Warmth of feeling
Periwinkle (Vinca minor) . . . Tender recollections
Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) . . . Bury me amid nature’s beauty
Petunia (Petunia) . . . Your presence soothes me
Phlox (Phlox) . . . Our souls are united
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) . . . You are perfect
Pink (Dianthus) . . . Pure love
Plum (Prunus domestica) . . . Keep your promises
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) . . . Be of good cheer
Polyanthus (Primula) . . . Confidence
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) . . . Foolishness
Pomegranate blossom (Punica granatum) . . . Mature elegance
Poplar, black (Populus nigra) . . . Courage
Poplar, white (Populus alba) . . . Time
Poppy (Papaver) . . . Fantastic extravagance
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) . . . Benevolence
Potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) . . . You are delicious
Primrose (Primula) . . . Childhood
Protea (Protea) . . .  Courage
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) . . . Strength and health
Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus) . . . Fantasy
Quince (Cydonia oblonga) . . . Temptation
Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus) . . . You are radiant with charms
Raspberry (Rubus) . . . Remorse
Redbud (Cercis) . . . Betrayal
Rhododendron (Rhododendron) . . . Beware
Rhubarb (Rheum) . . . Advice
Rose, burgundy (Rosa) . . . Unconscious beauty
Rose, moss (Rosa) . . . Confession of love
Rose, orange (Rosa) . . . Fascination
Rose, pale peach (Rosa) . . . Modesty
Rose, pink (Rosa) . . . Grace
Rose, purple (Rosa) . . . Enchantment
Rose, red (Rosa) . . . Love
Rose, white (Rosa) . . . A heart unacquainted with love
Rose, yellow (Rosa) . . . Infidelity
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) . . . Remembrance
Saffron (Crocus sativus) . . . Beware of excess
Sage (Salvia officinalis) . . . Good health and long life
Saint-John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum) . . . Superstition
Saxifraga (Saxifraga) . . . Affection
Scabiosa (Scabiosa) . . . Unfortunate love
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) . . . Change
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) . . . Presumption
Snowdrop (Galanthus) . . . Consolation and hope
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) . . . Parental affection
Speedwell (Veronica) . . . Fidelity
Spirea (Spiraea) . . . Victory
Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) . . . Purity
Starwort (Stellaria) . . . Welcome
Stephanotis (Stephanotis floribunda) . . . Happiness in marriage
Stock (Malcolmia maritima) . . . You will always be beautiful to me
Stonecrop (Sedum) . . . Tranquility
Strawberry (Fragaria) . . . Perfection
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) . . . False riches
Sweet briar (Rosa rubiginosa) . . . Simplicity
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) . . . Delicate pleasures
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) . . . Gallantry
Tansy (Tanacetum) . . . I declare war against you
Thistle, common (Cirsium) . . . Misanthropy
Thrift (Armeria) . . . Sympathy
Thyme (Thymus) . . . Activity 
Trachelium (Trachelium) . . . Neglected beauty
Trillium (Trillium) . . . Modest beauty
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) . . . Fame
Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) . . . Dangerous pleasures
Tulip (Tulipa) . . . Declaration of love
Turnip (Brassica rapa) . . . Charity
Verbena (Verbena) . . . Pray for me
Vetch (Vicia) . . . I cling to thee
Violet (Viola) . . . Modest worth
Wallflower (Cheiranthus) . . . Fidelity in adversity
Water lily (Nymphaea) . . . Purity of heart 
Waxflower (Hoya) . . . Susceptibility
Wheat (Triticum) . . . Prosperity
White Monte Casino (Aster) . . . Patience
Willow herb (Epilobium) . . . Pretension
Winter cherry (Physalis alkekengi) . . . Deception
Wisteria (Wisteria) . . . Welcome
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) . . . A spell
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) . . . Cure for a broken heart
Zinnia (Zinnia) . . . I mourn your absence


So there you have it, the language of flowers. Good luck with your arrangements and gift giving(please stay away from yellow roses).

Until next time,


Monday, July 4, 2016

Frown at the World and the World Frowns Back

Someone once said, Frown at the World and the World Frowns Back. I can attest to that after my awful, rotten, no-day very bad week after my Peru Trip.

I started off immediately on the wrong foot. I still had the bad taste in my mouth from the rude Peruvians and pickpockets in Cusco as well as the awful day in Manaus. Add to that, two nights of sleep deprivation(overnight flight and bus rides respectively) and I was primed for my return to Georgetown. Off the bus, I was immediately accosted by someone thinking I was a tourist and trying to a) part with my money, and b) rent me a place? Seriously. He followed me several blocks before finally scurrying off.

Speaking of scurrying, I opened my apartment door to be bombarded by mosquitoes, cockroaches and a putrid smell. Did I leave the trash in? Nope. But I did find a decomposing mouse under my bed. Welcome home!

Suffice it to say, I was not in a good mood. To make matters worse, my knee had stiffened up from the long bus ride so I was hobbling around uncomfortably the rest of the day.

After a poor night's sleep, I went for a walk the next morning and could not get over how loud everything was and how everyone was shooting me daggers. It seemed like everyone was staring me down and just overall being rude.

I hate Guyana! I thought grumpily. I cannot wait to get through this last month. I managed to make it through the whole day without getting out of this foul mood which was pretty evident to anyone I interacted with. The worst thing is that it continued into the next day. Everything and one bothered me.

And yet for whatever reason I decided I'd walk over to the Master's 5k at the National Park. Until my crash, I had been going every month and have met a good group of people and I decided I'd cheer them on. I wasn't confident that this would be a good idea wondering whether watching other people run when I cannot, would get me in a worse mood. What the heck? How much of a worse mood could I get in?

As I hobbled over there, my friend Johnathan(yes, that's how he spells it), rushes over to me and gives me a big hug. He expressed his happiness that I was safe from the accident and asked if I was racing today. Haha. I haven't even been running. Yeah, I saw your Facebook post about that. You gotta get back into it. You were born to run. Warm-up with me at least. So I hung out with him until the racers all gather for the race start.

At the start, my friend Gary, said a prayer of thanks and included my well-being in it. It only took 10 seconds but really meant a lot. As they took off, several people standing on the sidelines asked me how I was doing, although not knowing me personally, knew me from seeing me run so knew something was up. Everyone was so friendly and kind, it motivated me to try the next day to go out and run.

I am a little over 4 weeks out from my accident, and still cannot fully bend my left knee, or flex my right ankle. But you don't need full flexion at either joint to run!

Or in my case: jog. The next day I woke up leisurely, It was Caricom Day after all. Coincidentally, also Independence Day in the states.  So after a good amount of stretching and coffee, I donned my disused running shorts and sneakers and headed out the door.

I could have easily been upset when looking at my watch, that I once ran 50 miles faster than the pace I was currently moving. Or be discouraged about how much fitness I had lost in only 4 weeks. Or be nervous about the future and how my knee would hold up. But instead, I just enjoyed every slow minute of it.

And you know what? People started being more friendly. Instead of glares and stare downs I was getting smiles and pleasant greetings. Then I realized: I was smiling.

Smile at the World and the World will smile back. 

The way we perceive the world becomes the way we interact with world. I'm glad I could see that because what a difference it made!

Until next time,