Seaside Spine Symposium

I’m not a particularly funny person, but I like to surround myself with funny people and chameleon with them until by association people think I’m funny also.  But I’m really not, so that’s why this next picture is a bit of a personal victory: I think it’s hilarious.

GET IT!?  wait for it… wait for it… it’s funny ’cause they’re invertebrates… i.e. no spine.
This was a poor location for our chiropractor penguin to choose for his annual Spine Symposium.  He wanted a picturesque setting to present the most recent findings about the importance of a healthy spine and the benefits of regular chiropractic care, but he had an oversight on the type of crowd this particular venue would attract.
There had been a long-standing perception that the spineless were a hostile bunch… intolerant towards all those with a backbone and hateful of what a some viewed as “higher evolution”.  Penguin was in dangerous territory, surrounded by invertebrates on the sand and sea.  They were coming closer, closer, closer.  What is he going to do!?  Will the symposium be ruined?! 
The suspense is unbearable….
As it turns out, it wasn’t a total disaster.  At first, he thought: “I’m a gonner” but when it became obvious that the strange-looking seaside residents weren’t going to cause any trouble and were only approaching to get a good view of the presentation, his priorities returned again to the symposium he had worked so hard on.  He thought: “this is useless, it’s ruined”…  but amid his despair, he saw an opportunity: “I’ll convert them! Spines for all!” He was excited by this possibility, but when faced with the immediate and obvious challenges, he relented: “Oh well, I guess I can still educate them” and so he did. 
They turned out to be a polite and attentive crowd, very interested in the subject matter because it was foreign and intriguing to them.  They asked a lot of intelligent questions and at the end of the symposium, the historic divide between vertebrates and our little spineless wonders had been narrowed significantly, if not closed entirely.  Although no new patients came out of it for the penguin, the symposium was a success because lasting friendships formed and two groups of animals learned to respect each other for what they are.  Today, vertebrates and invertebrates happily coexist, mutually appreciating and celebrating their differences. 
So that’s how it came to be.  Good work, Penguin.

Gourd Ducks

Today, in honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, I will be sharing some of my favo-U-rite fall themed art!  It’s not art in a traditional sense (whatever that means, I can’t quite seem define ‘art’ let alone ‘traditional art’) but it is a creation nonetheless.  Every year, I bring to life dozens of pumpkin gourds in the form of ducks.  They go from inanimate table decorations to charismatic little creatures who seem to have personalities and expressions all of their own.  What am I talking about exactly?  This:

It all started on a beautiful fall day in Colorado.  I was at the local pumpkin patch to pick out a nice big pumpkin to carve for Halloween (maybe I should feature pumpkin carving art in my Halloween post?! There’s some good stuff out there).  I like to look at each and every pumpkin when I go to a pumpkin patch… I envision it coming home with  me and sitting on my front porch.  I need to connect with my pumpkin, and it is not a choice I take lightly.  This one?  no… that one? no… and so it goes until I eventually spot a little orange squash sitting among all the others, stem sticking up in the air as if it was raising it’s hand to ask a question in class or catch my attention, and it is indisputably and undeniably “the one”.   I don’t know what makes it special, but I pick it up and my feelings are confirmed: this is the pumpkin that will come home with me.   
I purchased it at the counter, and then I did something that I normally don’t do.  I am a serious creature of habit, and I don’t know why this particular year I stepped out of routine and did what I did.  I have never in my life paid any attention to the big cardboard boxes by the register that hold various ornamental pumpkins, but this time I peeked in.  Despite holding the perfect pumpkin in my arms and having all my pumpkin desires fulfilled for the season, that one brief glance into the box changed everything:  Gourds.  But they weren’t gourds at all.  They were DUCKS.  I just had to bring them to life.
Since that fateful day 5 years ago, I now look forward to fall because it has become Gourd Duck season.  They are like a rare migrant bird that passes through my life and I look forward to seeing the flock every year.  Each new season brings new gourds, and new ducks are born.  My friends all now eagerly anticipate the season because it means that they all get to take a gourd duck home to enjoy for as along as their short little lifespans allow.  Within a few months, they succumb to the same fate that all organic things eventually experience, and we are left waiting until next season when the new flock arrives. 
Here are some highlights of ducks from the past years:



I haven’t photographed all of this year’s flock yet, so check out the Facebook page because I’ll be posting them there soon.
I’m also selling them through Etsy, so go to 
and you too can have your very own Gourd Duck!  They are great additions to any household and make wonderful fall/Thanksgiving table decorations.