Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year !

Welcome, The Year of The Dragon.

My New Year Postcard.
This sketch is based on a Chinese Imperial Plate, Dragon and Fish , 1662-1722 A.D.
Symbols of Power, The Bowers Museum Of Cultural Art.
I rather like Dragons !

In Japan everyone sends out New Year Day Postcards.
The Japanese post office gets them all out right before and on New Years day... amazing !
You can buy ones already made up in as many designs possible, much like our Christmas Cards or you can make one up yourself.
Of course Sons Family makes theirs.
The blurry part on the top right is a personal message I fuzzed out.
(Of course what he wrote is that I am the very best Mum ever but I would never mention anything about that ! )
My wish for 2012...
I wish for us all to have hope
and the understanding that everyday is indeed a gift for us to enjoy.
Happy Happy New Year to you all !
Hopeful. . . parsnip
music. . . From The Morning, Nick Drake

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 30, 2011

Square Dog Friday....

Since it is almost the New Year The Square Ones have graciously allowed me to post today.
Negotiations ensued and extra chicken strips will be given out today.

Son who lives in Tucson, the chef, Birthday was on the 21st and Japanese Son sent these wonderful and extremely touching memorial tickets.
The fun left one 22. 2. 22 is from the Nankai Railway. The way of numbering the year by the current Emperor is the year Heisei 22, train ticket follow this format YY.MM.DD
So following this format and add any combination of numbers mix in train fanatics like my son and you can come up with this promotions around February 2nd and February 22.
The special ticket on the right 11.11.11 is special ticket put out by the Ohmi Railway in Shiga prefecture. They did a joint issue with Sanriku Railway up in Tohoku in the Iwate Prefecture. This line was pretty much destroyed on 3/11. Both lines were very badly damaged from the earthquake and tsunami. Together the two lines were very badly affected at 300 locations plus losing over 5.8 km of railroad tracks.
From what I have read they expect the rebuilding to finish in 2014.

Inside of the 22.2.22. packet with tickets

On the release day son traveled to the two participating train station ( they have the kanji for two in their name) to get the station stamps on the back.

Front and back of the 3/11 memorial ticket.

The inside with special tickets.
Part of the proceeds from this special memorial ticket will help with the reconstruction of their railway.

Great Birthday gift !
Please check the following post for a wonderful look at the what can happen when some train fanatics get together !
3 minutes of pure joy !
It will make your day !
Happy new Year !

Posted by Picasa

Canne Lion prize - Japanese Commercial for New bullet train

This is a March 12 2010 commercial for the new Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) This is the last connecting part of the Shinkansen that connect the main island of Honshu with the southern island of Kyushu.
This commercial shows the opening trip and yes I know this is bigger celebration than usual because it is for a commercial but the first day, run of any new train in Japan is sold out months in advance. With special commemorative tickets being sold, celebrations, flowers and mass quantities of happy people and food !

What is so funny about this commercial is the speed of the Shinkansen. It never goes that slow !
One time I was standing on the platform waiting for the Bullet Train that made two stops, mine been one of them and had the wonderful experience of seeing the express Shinkansen whoosh by. First you hear the distinctive whistle then a quiet vacuum and a huge extremely quiet and fast whoosh ! Plus it was at night that made it even ethereal. They do float on air !

There is a huge train culture in Japan and my Japanese Son is a true train geek/nerd. He will go out to ride trains/lines that are in other areas with hundred of other train geeks on any given day.
On one of his trips he saw a Dad with his two sorta bored children and he call me to say "that will be me in a few years ! " And yes that is true, has already started with his daughter !

So from the devastation of 3/11 I want to leave you on a super happy and fun look at The Kyushu Shinkansen.

Happy New Year from parsnip and The Square Ones.
music. . . Boom, Miai Hirasawa

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Wednesday In Japan....

The Year of the Dragon

In Japan the big Holiday is New Year and the Zodiac symbol for the new year is the Dragon.

For the 56 year the city of Osaka (I love Osaka) had it's annual Zodiac Replacement Event.
The animal representing the Chinese Zodiac sign of the old and new year are presented.
The symbolizing passing of responsibility.

In the past years the selection of animals has been somewhat easier,
Boar to Rat, Rat to Ox, Ox to Tiger, Tiger to Rabbit but Rabbit to Dragon is somewhat more complicated.
The Dragon was represented by a Seahorse, which makes sense to me if you think about it and pretty clever too.
I don't fully understand the but an associated element is also given, this years Rabbit element was metal, the element for 2012 is water and the associated color is black. So 2012 will be the year of The Water Dragon.
Dragons are thought of having mysterious color and have been somewhat unpredictable. If you look the little Seahorse has turned "Black" while the others are still very pale. Seahorses are able to change their color.

According to astrology the new year will be unpredictable ?
I think 2011 was unexpected and unpredictable, kind of all over the place so lets all hope that 2012 will be unexpected in a good way !

When I was young I thought seahorses were amazing. Little prehistoric animals from the past. Dinosaurs that lived in the water.

I rather like the idea they are Dragons. Even Better !

flying . . . parsnip
music . . . Back In The High Life Again, Steve Winwood

Monday, December 26, 2011

parley view parsnip...

Daughter's Handmade wonderful gifts !
My children are grown and stocking are not quite a must anymore. We even talked about stopping them.
Side note... as a Mum I never had a stocking but a few years ago my children decided that I should have one and what fun it was... They went through the local craft store and just about bought one of everything !
I usually hang the stocking on their doorknobs as decoration before Santa came. When they were younger when ever they got up they would check them out before coming down to the gifts under the tree. Never filled with just little toys, they had different items like stamps and inks, brushes, pencils, pens, candy, cookies and always an Orange in the toe of the stockings, something my Mum always did. When she was a child to receive an orange was a very special treat in the snowy Chicago Winters.

But talented Daughter decided to make the Tucson family stockings this year !
As our main gift from her.
Only about 9 inches tall, she embroidered the stocking with special details.
She is still deciding how to finish the cuffs, leave them plaid or add a white cuff ?
Guess who received this stocking ? ? ?

A Badger hold a cup and wears a Scottish cap and scarf for a Brother.

Hers is a Bunny with a bunny snowman.

Friend has their Adopted dog Waldie who is a gift.

A small gathering for Christmas Eve Dinner.
Son and Daughter cooked.
Wonderful Vegan Dishes with a Roasted Turkey Roulade made just for Son and Me. Then all the food was warmed for the extremely easy Christmas dinner the next day.

So much Fun !

holiday . . . parsnip
music . . . Walk On The Ocean, Toad The Wet Sprocket

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2011

クリスマスイブ 山下達郎 Christmas Eve・Tatsuro Yamashita

Tatsuro Yamashita's song Christmas Eve first appeared in 1983.
It has become a standard in Japan heard everywhere much like Jingle Bells here in America.

I heard it (on my first trip to Japan over Christmas week) through the commercials for the JR Railway. They used it for many years for their Christmas Holiday commercials.
Wonderful small stories of people trying to get home to see their love ones for the holidays. Last year I posted the commercials but for this year I thought I would post the clip featuring the way Tokyo, a city known for light, Decks the Halls !

My wish for you all is to have a lovely, quiet, joyful Christmas Day.
Gayle and the Square Ones.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Square Dog Friday....

It's the Scottie post so lets woof it !
Last years Christmas Card from Daughter.
Watson ... I really approve of this card.
It has a Brindle Scottie that looks just like me.
Hamish ... ?memememwheremememememe ?

This years card from Daughter....
Watson ... ummmmmmmm card could be better if there was a Scottie in it
but Waldie is a nice cousin so it is a really sweet card. Approved !
Hamish ... niceniceyert !

Watson ... Just checking out the wrapping.
Good choice of paper on the gift in front.
Hamish ... foodfood?looklookfoodfoodtoytoytoyyert?

ummmmmmmm.... just saying

We are the best very best presents ever !
yert !

Merry Christmas to you all from The Two Little Square Black Dogs.
whatcanisay . . . parsnip
music. . . See Amid The Winter's Snow, Annie Lennox
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wednesday In Japan...

Wednesday in Japan
and Tucson too !
A tree in a pot covered in lights
with Two Little Square Dogs waiting underneath.

Crane Origami made by Daughter so sweet
perch on branches of Evergreen.

A sweet little Christmas Tree made by a Daughters tiny hands,
always finds a place on every tree.

Gaily wrapped packages and a Scottie Bank too,
find their way on the hearth by the Christmas tree.

Japanese Cards some new and some old,
placed on a buffet with three little dogs sitting so near.

Snow Globes brought out only once a year,
filled with Trees and Snowmen full of good cheer.

A covey of Snowmen perched on a clear box
march in step toward tiny sweet gifts left by a very dear friend.

Merry Christmas to all so near and so far,
may your days be filled with Joy and much Good Cheer !

Christmas. . . parsnip
Music. . . II Est Ne Le Divin Enfant , Annie Lennox

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 19, 2011

parley view parsnip...

I love Christmas !
I have started a new series Christmas Cards
based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.
I started the first series in 1978, the stamp was 15 cents.
Full color printing was expensive, unlike today's color instant printing you can get at any Office Max/Staples.
I chose back in 1978 one color ink and a two fold self mailer that saved on envelopes.

My originals where destroyed along with my home, in the firestorm that engulfed Laguna Beach in 1993.

Wonderful friends sent me the cards they saved so I have a copy of each year.

This new Twelve Days will have an Arizona take on the Christmas song.
Plus as you see the Square Ones are making sure they get their woof in.
OK, it is now a parsnip rant.....
Skip this part if you want. It's OK, really !
I am a Greeting Card Artist and proud of it.
Many people have mentioned the hassle of sending out cards. If it is a cost factor I understand.
I usually start my card early November and it is printed and ready by the end of the month. I have heard the famous "paper eco/carbon footprint" excuse. Give me a break, I am the queen of recycle, carbon footprint and I send cards. Such a small way to send some cheer ! If your that concerned about your carbon footprint take a bus, drive your car less, cut out fast food, give up meat become a vegetarian, buy local.....
If your just too stressed, cranky, hate holidays, can't stand your family, well go for it but be honest.
But I can tell you when I look through the mail and see bills, junk mail and see a card peeking out at me it makes me smile and if there is a quick note so much better. I save the card to read after the mail is sorted.
Someone sent me their year end letter as a pdf file this year, needless to say if they would have sent me it in a card I would have read it. After a quick scan to make sure that illness wasn't the reason for the email I just deleted it.
Cards are held, enjoyed, saved and if your me, put out year after year as holiday decorations. Carbon footprint any one ? Recycle reuse !
What little shopping I did was finished in November, hello computer and online shopping ! I don't do well in crowds.

I love the whole month of December.
What is not to love, family fun, the lights, music, cooking, movies, the wonderful smells and just sitting enjoying your tree. What other time of the year do you get to put a tree in you home and hang lights around your home. Beautiful !
This year I did get somewhat behind because of some major health issues but it all done, Thank You Daughter and Son for the help.

unstressed. . . parsnip
music. . . God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Annie Lennox

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16, 2011

square dog friday....

A few pictures of the great weather we have had this week...
Sunrise with storm clouds over the Rincon Mountains

after two days of wonderful gentle rain clouds lift over the Rincon Mountains.

Sunset with clouds over the Catalina Mountains.
This is what is nice about Tucson,
a few days of rain, the clouds lift
the sun breaks through and some days it is just this bright and golden.

ummmmmm, isn't this the The Square Dog Friday post ?

Afternoon sun shinning on the Catalina Mountains from my studio window.

I lookbetter than wetcloudsmememememe!

view from kitchen window

sheeeeeesh !
Our day, gave up one chicken strip for this ?
the studio kind of a mess with tall persons "work"
books, cards, boxes filled with good stuff sent off to Japan for
nice little Koguma-chan and other nice people.
Guess we will just go take a nap if we can find our pillow.
There better be a chicken strip waiting for us after our nap !

yert !

cheery. . . parsnip
music. . . The Holly and The Ivy, Annie Lennox
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday In Japan...

More Christmas Cards from Japan...
I find the Japanese take on Christmas very interesting.
Not coming from a Christian based society their idea of Christmas is more Santa based. The Advent fold out cards are regional based. They still have windows to open every day but there are 30 day to the New Year and not Christmas Day.
Plus they are beautiful.

Hiroshig's "Fifty-three Stages of the Tokaido"
an Ukiyo-e Advent Calendar
My favorite.

Flowers and Birds of Japan's Prefectures

Sights, Tastes and Toys of Regional Japan
The cutest card ever !

awwwwww Tokyo Tower and the cutest cow for Iwate

Japanese Family lives near #24 Osaka Tower.
My most favorite of all the Japanese Towers.

And just because it is my blog...
Wednesday morning pretty...
Yes, the Matterhorn has moved to Mt. Lemmon. View from my studio window.
After two days of a gentle rain, it is 48 this morning were I live, crystal clear blue sky with some fluffy clouds and beautiful snow on the mountain.

happy. . . parsnip
music. . . Christmas Is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio

Posted by Picasa