Monday, November 25, 2013

I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free!*

I have been a Huge fan of Elton John’s for as long as I can remember.  When I was a little girl I used to call him Melton.  Ever since then, my whole family still refers to Sir Elton John as Melton.

To me, Melton is one of the many beautiful things in this World.  He and his music have been a part of my life for nearly 40 years.

Elton is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts; behind Elvis Presley and The Beatles.  (Go Melton!!)

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight.  And at age three was when he first played piano.  He amazed his family by playing the Skater’s Waltz by ear.

At 11 years of age, he was given a Junior Exhibitor Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he attended the Academy on Saturday mornings for four years.

Elton has achieved 36 gold albums and 25 platinum albums.  He holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time.

Over five decaces since his career began in 1969, he has played more than 3,000 concerts Worldwide.

Elton has sold more than 300 million records in his five-decade career.  He has 56 Top 40 singles.  In a three-year span (1972-1975) he has had seven #1 albums.  Every year from 1970 to 1996 he has had a Top 40 single.

He was awarded the Best British Male Artist Brit Award in 1991, the Polar Music Award in 1995, the Grammy Legend Award in 2001, the Kennedy Center Honor in 2004 and 12 Ivor Novello Awards; 1973-2000.

He was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.  And he has won five Grammy Awards; 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2000.

He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1996.  And on February 24th, 1998 he became Sir Elton Hercules John when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in acknowledgement of his contribution to music and fund-raising for AIDS charities.

Elton has released 31 studio albums, five live albums, five soundtracks, 19 compilations, 14 video releases, four musicals and one tribute album.

At age 66, Elton John is still going strong.  On September 24th, 2013 he released his 31st studio album entitled The Diving Board; and is currently touring.

On November 14th, 2013 my husband and I attended an Elton John concert for the very first time.  I was beyond excited that he was actually performing close to where I live.  I never thought I would get a chance to see him live.  To me he has always been larger than life.

Elton John is by far the best concert I have ever attended.  He performed for three hours straight.  After almost every song, he would stand up and acknowledge the crowd.  He even jumped up onto the top of his piano during one of his songs.  He gave his all in this performance.

I am so glad that I was able to attend one of his performances.  It has truly made me love him and his music even more.

(*The title of my blog is one of my favorite lyrics from Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me!)

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 ~ Washington, D.C. Verizon Center
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 ~ Washington, D.C. Verizon Center

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Corpse Plant . . . a flower only Living Dead Girl could love!

A place that is near and dear to my heart is Sumatra, Indonesia.  Although I’ve never traveled there, I am well aware of the region.  One of my favorite animals resides there, the orangutan. 

Sumatra is home to tropical rainforests; and has been known to have a huge range of plant and animal species.  In the last 35 years it has lost almost 50 percent of its tropical rainforest, leaving many species critically endangered such as Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Orangutan and Sumatran Rhino.  This is mostly due to deforestation.  An estimated 73 percent of all logging in Indonesia is believed to be illegal.  All of this due to the demand for palm oil.

Without going into too much more detail about how deforestation and palm oil are destroying rainforests and animals, I wanted to share something rare with you.  This is something that is also in danger of extinction.

The titan arum (amorphophallus titanium), or otherwise known as the corpse plant, which is native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.  This plant was first discovered in 1878.  It has the largest known unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom.

This plant has so many unique things about it.  For instance, it doesn’t have an annual blooming cycle.  It is very unpredictable in that its flowering cycle can span between a few years to decades.

When the plant starts its blooming process it emerges from an underground stem.  This is also where it stores energy.  It blooms only when sufficient energy is accumulated after several years.  Once it is fully open, it only remains in bloom for 24 to 48 hours.

It also has a “special” odor.  Once fully bloomed, the plant emits an odor that resembles rotting flesh.  The odor attracts pollinators like the dung and carrion beetles.  The odor is most potent in the early morning hours or late evening hours.

In the wild these plants can weigh up to and over 200 pounds and reach a height of 12 feet tall.

My husband and I were lucky enough to have a chance to experience one of these rare plants this month in DC at the Botanical Gardens where there was one on display.  They have had this plant since 2007 and this was the first time that it has bloomed for them.

For me this was a very special opportunity to experience a part of the Sumatran rainforest.  It was exciting to watch this plant as it slowly bloomed and then very quickly withered away.  Such an amazing part of nature!

Below is a photo collage of the plant in all its glory!  Enjoy!

Titan arum aka corpse plant

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sergeant Stubby

In May we celebrated Memorial Day; the holiday in which we remember the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
There is one war hero I would like to share with you; and his name is Sergeant Stubby; a pit bull terrier.

Sergeant Stubby (1917 – 1926) is the name of the most decorated war veteran of World War I; and only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. 
Stubby was a stray in New Haven, Connecticut.  It is said that he would hang around a group of soldiers who were training and doing drills at Yale University.  And Corporal Robert Conroy, who grew fond of the dog, hid Stubby on board the ship when it was time for the soldiers to ship out.  The commanding officer allowed Stubby to stay onboard after discovering him due to the fact he had saluted the commanding officer upon discovering him.

He became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division. Stubby learned drills, bugle calls and a modified dog salute; he would put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers.  And he was in the front lines alongside the other soldiers during World War I.
Even though animals were forbidden, Stubby was allowed to remain in camp because he had a positive impact on the morale of the campsite.

Stubby was put in for a promotion to the rank of Sergeant by the commander of the 102nd Infantry for capturing an enemy spy.
Stubby was injured during a grenade attack, resulting in a large amount of shrapnel in his chest and leg. He was rushed to a field hospital and later transferred to a Red Cross Recovery Hospital for surgery. After Stubby started to recover, it was said that he would visit wounded soldiers at the hospital.

By the end of the war, Stubby had served in 17 battles and met President Woodrow Wilson.  He visited the White House twice; once to meet President Harding and the second time to meet President Coolidge.
Stubby was awarded many medals for his heroism.  One of the medals he was awarded was from the Humane Society which was presented by General John Pershing, the Commanding General of the United States Armies. He was awarded a membership in the American Legion and the Y.M.C.A.  And then he went on to become the mascot of the Georgetown Hoyas when his master, J. Robert Conroy, began studying law at Georgetown University.

Stubby died in 1926.  And he is featured at the National Museum of American History in the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Showers bring May Flowers and Awareness!

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  It’s a time to get any/all information regarding Parkinson’s out there for the public to see/hear.
This month I have been reminded of last November when my husband and I participated in a walk in DC to support my Father.  Moving Day is held every year; and in different cities throughout the year.  It's a chance for people to get out and 'move' for Parkinson's.  Movement is used as a symbol of hope and progress because of its vital role in treating the disease. 
For me, the day was very emotional and therapeutic.  From the moment my husband and I arrived at Nationals Park I could feel the energy.  Now, I know that I’m not alone in this quest; never have been.  But to actually see and feel the intense energy from complete strangers was a bit overwhelming.  I fought off tears (unsuccessfully) for the first 30 minutes, trying to distract myself and take in the importance of the day.  There was a four-man blues band playing, group exercises, freebies and information galore.  It was a beautiful day filled with a whole lot of love and hope!

This year our calendar is marked for Moving Day in November.  And I have an idea for our team t-shirt design this year.  So keep your fingers crossed that the weather is nice. 

 If you’re interesting in participating in a walk in your area or know someone who may be, here is the link to the moving day website:

Below I have attached the status I posted on my Facebook wall the morning of the walk.  For my family and I every day is ‘moving day’. 
Moving Day 2012:

“Today I am heading to DC for Moving Day in support of a special man in my life.  A man who taught me that being successful doesn't mean how much money you have or how fancy your car is but how hard you work.  A man who was married at a young age; and has been married to the same person for over 50 years.  A man who taught his children to work hard and don't expect to have things ' handed' to you; and not to feel that the World owes you.  Respect others but don't allow people to walk all over you.  A man who worked from the age of 16 until retirement for an unappreciative company and boss being paid less than what he deserved.  Staying at this job so that my Mom could be a stay-at-home Mom while my brothers and I were growing up.  A man who made sure we had a warm house, clothes on our backs, food in our bellies and a family vacation every year.  I may not have had the latest, newest, coolest toys out there but I never wanted for anything ... and I always appreciated everything.  I had/have a loving family who I can always count on.

Today I am walking in support of my Father and all those who are or have suffered from this disrespectful disease.

FUCK YOU, Parkinson's.  I hate you for stripping my Father of a relaxing, enjoyable retirement and for making him a prisoner in his own body and mind.

I'm in ... are you?

Go Team Phil!”

Moving Day, November 2012, Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.