Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Swallows Return
to San Juan Capistrano

The hope of spring is in the air. Our snow is finally melting and it has been a balmy 45 degrees here in New England these past few days. After a long cold snowy winter it feels like a heat wave. Small buds are on the trees waiting to bloom. Birds, squirrels and skunks have been partying in our back yard.

Meanwhile this fragile planet is falling apart with earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos erupting, fires, floods, revolutions and confusion... but there is a tiny glimmer of hope that things just may be OK.

This Saturday, March 19th on the feast of St Joseph the swallows will return to the San Juan Capistrano Mission after spending the winter in Goya Argentina. The Mission holds a celebration every year beginning with the ringing of the bells to welcome the birds home.
You can watch the ringing of the bells on this youtube Click here

My favorite legend about the swallows is told by Father St John O'Sullivan:

"In his book Capistrano Nights, Father St. John O'Sullivan, Pastor of Mission San Juan Capistrano from 1910-33, tells how the swallows first came to call the Mission home. One day, while walking through town, Father O'Sullivan saw a shopkeeper, broomstick in hand. He was knocking down the cone-shaped mud swallow nests under the eaves of his shop. The birds were darting back and forth, shreiking over the destruction of their homes.

"What in the world are you doing?" O'Sullivan asked.

"Why, these dirty birds are a nuisance and I am getting rid of them!" the shopkeeper responded.

"But where can they go?"

"I don't know and I don't care," he replied, slashing away with his pole. "But they've no business here, destroying my property."

O'Sullivan then said, "Come on swallows, I'll give you shelter. Come to the Mission. There's room enough there for all."

The very next morning, Father O'Sullivan discovered the swallows busy building their nests outside Father Junipero Serra's Church. " click here to read more

The swallows leave the mission every year around the feast of San Juan on October 23.

When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day you promised to come back to me
When you whispered, "Farewell," in Capistrano
'twas the day the swallows flew out to sea

—excerpt from "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" by Leon RenĂ©

It is said that the swallow is a symbol of hope, fertility and renewal of life. Known as the symbol of Venus, the Goddess of Love, the Roman’s believed it was extremely unlucky to harm a sparrow.


In honor of the brave little sparrows who announce the arrival of spring the Planet Calamari Etsy shop will be offering free shipping on all purchases starting March 19th through March 21st. Use the Code: REBIRTH11 when checking out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Sea Glass from Salem MA

To see more sea glass jewelry and one of a kind art to wear visit the Planet Calamari Etsy Shop
More pieces will be added this week!

Free Shipping through Monday 3/21/11 use the code REBIRTH11 when checking out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Hope of Spring from Planet Calamari

Spring is in the air bring the hope of love, rebirth and new beginnings. This pendant was inspired by the birds who visit my balcony daily for bread crumbs, seeds and popcorn and entertain my cats who peer through the window longingly.

This nest pendant was created with silver plated wire. The eggs are 3 vintage buttons that resemble pearls. No nest is complete without the Mama and Papa bird to feed and protect the soon to be new born chicks. Two silver plated Tibetan bird charms dangle from the nest.

The pendant is 2 inches long from the bail and hangs from a 16 inch silver plated chain. Easy to take off if you would like to put on your favorite chain, ribbon or a neck choker.

A romantic gift for an expecting mother, new family or anniversary. Lightweight and elegant.
Available at the Planet Calamari Etsy Shop

Made with love and magic in my Planet Calamari Studio located in magical Salem MA.

See more art to wear at the Planet Calamari Etsy shop Planet Calmari Etsy

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Who Will Save The Working Class Hero?

Usually i save my political rants for my cat's blog. The Adventures of Zevo Calamari and Boo . Lately she has not posted anything. However i hear her typing in the living room...

Who will step in to help the working class heros of Wisconsin? So far only Michael Moore gas showed up to help. There must be someone who can step in and save these people. Isn't there a super hero flying around these days? This is still America isn't it? How can we allow a dictator to take over a state? Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster i do not have TV. Reading Huffpo is addicting enough.

The protests in Wisconsin have awakened my inner steel worker and rebel. I want to stand on a table with a UNION sign like Norma Rae- and i am not even in a union. Never was. But i worked in a steel mill, the Queen mother of steel mills... Bethlehem Steel. Even though i was considered "white hard hat" employee and not permitted to be in the union- the union protected me. No need to go into the gory details of the incident. I will be eternally grateful for the union rep who defended me from the Humpty Dumpty shaped boss who made my life a living hell. Norma Rae will always be my hero.

For the record i never wore red high heels and danced through the mill to a bad 80's soundtrack. Nobody in their right mind could ever wear heels in the North Yard Plate Mill nor near the Blast Furnace. I guess Jennifer Beals would have never been pursued by the oh so dashing boss wearing oversized metatarsal shoes and geeky safety glasses. And none of my bosses looked like that! However i must admit, the urge to spontaneously dance whenever i hear the Flashdance theme song playing in the grocery store is still overwhelming at times.

I was hired because i was a minority- a young white woman applying for something that was not secretarial related. White women were a minority in the steel mill unless they were typing in the main office and of course my father and brother worked there too. I am sure that helped. Then again almost everyone's father, brother and husband worked there.

It was not a job i wanted or ever aspired to do. I was unemployed, desperate, had left home and quit college. And the pay and benefits were better than anything available for a steel-town girl with no degree. (The pay was actually better than what i earn with my masters degree now!)

It was like living in a Bruce Springsteen song. Only blue collar workers can truly appreciate Springsteen. (And why isn't he in Wisconsin right now?) Bruce can sing in black and white. You can see the smoke rising out of the towers. Flashbacks of the train tracks with the red hot ingot buggy speeding by, in hopes that it misses your car. The whistle blowing to let you know your shift is done. Punch that time clock. Go have a beer with the boys and you are off until your next shift. Swing shifts. One week 11:00 pm- 7:00 am. Next week 7:00 am - 3:00 pm. Next week 3:00- 11:00 pm. Does it matter your body is confused? Why would you want more? You must be crazy to. Think of the money. The benefits....and you will regret this if you quit.

And so those of us who could not bear to live in a monochromic world quit and ran off to Oz or California.
Toto... i have a feeling we're not in Baltimore anymore... Click here to visit OZ.

Not everyone is brave or crazy enough to run off just because of the lack of color in their life. And who can blame those who stay and who opt for the sense of financial security, health benefits for the family and retirement? Those people who tolerate the boredom and abuse of the factory, and work in the mill an entire lifetime deserve security.

Who are these working class heros? The teachers who put up with wretched children, obnoxious parents and principals. The firemen and police who put their lives on the line everyday for a paycheck. The EMT workers who make the equivalent as those who work at the fast food chain Wendys. The airline pilot who makes $25,000 a year. None of these folks are paid what they are worth. These are the people who need the protection of the union.

Wall Street cronies make billions and get bailed out when they are irresponsible. How about saving those who actually contribute to society? Those who teach our children? Those who protect and save us? When your house is burning down who are you going to call? Wall Street? Your governor? Your mayor? (Don't waste a call on the Mayor of Salem.. she is way too busy and important to respond to anything menial. But that is an entirely different blogpost.)

Yes the unions can be corrupt- but until there is something better for the working class heros- leave the unions alone! And if anyone knows Bruce Springsteen tell him he is needed in Wisconsin now. The River Youtube

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Balancing Act: Artist Vs. Acupuncturist

One of my hopes for this New Year was to allow myself the time and space to be an artist again. My muse had gone on a very long hiatus when i began putting all of my attention on my K9 acupuncture practice and business Four Paws Acupuncture

Thanks to the synchronicity of finding The Artist's Way at the library and the perpetual weekly blizzards, my muse returned. I am not sure where she went. Maybe down one of those What the Bleep time continuum rabbit holes. Maybe she stayed in Paris or Coney Island. She never even bothered to send a postcard. And she just waltzed back in like "La de da ...i'm back- could you run me a nice hot bath and please bring a glass of wine?" She does not care about running a business, paperwork, or anything that involves the left brain.

With all the hoopla happening with the unions in Wisconsin, my muse has informed me that she also belongs to the Cult of Nine Muses Union. She has a list of demands. She is to be taken on art dates. Hunting for sea glass trips. Shopping sprees at bead emporiums. Napping with cats. Papaya lunches and good red wine. Her union claims she is to have one full day a week with me doing art. Yes- she is one of those high maintenance muses. I think most of them are. If i do not meet her demands she will run off again- for good.

I love being an acupuncturist. Being immersed in an ancient form of medicine is a form of art. Once i am in that TCM zone it is a lot like being in the art flow zone. I just do not like the business end of it all. It is time consuming and at times very frustrating.

Technically i do not get overtime for putting in 50 hours a week working on or at my practice. I do not have office staff to answer calls, confirm patients, run errands, write the e-letters, blogs, books, classes, research dog food and products. Arrange house calls geographically. My imaginary secretary, Mrs Merriweather does it all. She looks a lot like an older version of me with coiffed white hair, cat eye glasses and a strand of pearls. She wears gloves with a Jackie O pillbox hat. Very polite on the phone but cusses like a sailor as soon as she hangs up. I think she has a flask in her purse too. She loves to work and volunteers to come in on weekends and holidays. I think she must have lived through the depression. Always worried that if she stops working something bad may happen. (Perhaps she is a mixture of 12 years of catholic school combined with 5 years of working at Bethlehem Steel?)

Mrs Merriweather and the Muse do not seem to hit it off. They cannot be in the room at the same time. One makes a mess with beads, yarn and feathers while the other is trying to print out patient forms and returning calls. One dances around the kitchen wearing harem pants with bells, while the other is researching the latest dog food recall. The Muse wants me to retire Mrs Merriweather. Send her off to Florida to play canasta with grey haired old ladies. While Mrs M wants me to ship off the Muse back to where ever she sprung from. There must be a compromise as both must stay for now. (The thought of Mrs Merriweather retiring is very appealing. The Muse is way more fun to hang out with- but she does not contribute to the financial side of things - yet...) There is that hope that the Planet Calamari Etsy shop will someday become a prosperous business. I am not willing to be the starving artist again. I have done that gig way too many times in this lifetime.

So i am at the point where i must decide how to make time to be the artist again while running my acupuncture practice. I am on that tightrope one bad step and i fall with no net to catch me.

From the kitchen i hear my Muse is screaming over the sound of Sly and the Family Stone's Dance to the Music "Jump and the net will appear"

It is a blessing that Mrs Merriweather forgot to wear her hearing aid today.

Exposing the STAT ETSY TEAM:
Part I & Part II the sequel

'Exposing the ESTY STAT TEAM Part 1' by PlanetCalamari

This is just part one of the Etsy STAT TEAM's week project Exposure. Its goal is to give as much exposure to every artisan on the team. There were so many team members participating i will be making the Part 2 treasury as well.Please spread the Etsy love by making a comment below and sharing this treasury via your favorite social media venue.

Rustic Citron Cross...

Girly Skull Origina...

Sunshine on a Rainy...

Blue and Green Knit...

Handspun Flannel Pa...

Winter Cherry Bloss...

Original photograph...

Mr. Toaster Primiti...

Pod Pals - Tommy th...

original art can...

Red White and Denim...

March Birthstone-Go...

Magnesite Skull Nec...

Irish Cream Soap - ...

Wall Hanging Bear

Czech Green Crystal...

Treasury tool is sponsored by A/B image testing.

'Exposing the Etsy STAT TEAM: Part 2 The Sequel' by PlanetCalamari

The Sequel to Exposing the Etsy STAT TEAM Part 2: Its goal is to give as much exposure to every team member. There were so many entries i had to make 2 treasuries. I included everyone that participated in the discussion and shy team members.Please spread the Etsy love by making a comment below & sharing this treasury via your favorite social media venue. Part 1 Exposing theSTAT TEAM:

Original 12 x 9 Mar...

Victorian Rose Hand...

Victorian Sunbust n...

Mini Black Petticoa...

New Release-Twisted...

Hummingbird In Flig...

Crochet Earrings Bl...

Crazy Punk LOADED C...

Octopus macrame bra...

Blue and White Upcy...

Butterfly on Heart ...

Spring Flower Croch...

original art painti...

Lavender Knitted Do...

Original Acrylic Pa...

Buy 4 for 16.00 - Y...

Treasury tool is sponsored by A/B image testing.