What’s up with calling people Ginger?

I clearly remember a time when people with reddish hair called themselves “redheads.”   If others were being a bit rude to that redhead they might call them “carrot top.”  If I saw a cat of a generally marmalade shade, I’d say “that’s a cute orange cat!”  Or “will that darn red tabby stay out of my bushes?”

Now it’s all gone to “ginger.”  I know there are some places in the world where this term has always been common.  It seems to be spreading though.  “Ginger” is simple and a lazy way to describe something, giving almost no real information.  I’d rather be more descriptive.  I’d rather say “redhead,” “copper haired,” “strawberry blonde,” “russet,” “red,” “orange,” “ocher,” “auburn,” “fiery,” or any number of other descriptors than simply “ginger.”


Here’s a bonus tip for authors.  If you use more precise descriptions, not just going to the most commonly used but non-informative word, your writing will have more life in it and engage your audience better.  Dare I say, your writing will have more color?



How long will it be until I stop hearing about blood bay, strawberry roan, and red chestnut horses and start hearing about ginger horses?


Besides, though ginger is one of my favorite spices, and is really, really tasty, it’s not red in any way.  So why not “cinnamon?”  It’s reddish, at least!




My motives aren’t hidden

…not like this cat is, anyway.  She does such a good job of blending in!

I’m taking a bit of time here to explore the goals of this blog, because everyone who follows should have access to my thoughts about why it’s here.  What’s going through my head, what my plans are, all of that.

Mindflight is ultimately for people who create, or who would like to create but don’t think they can.  As a blogger, I want to avoid anything that doesn’t help the reader in some way.  I want to share stories that might inspire or educate, share skills that empower, give tips and pointers that help my fellow artists, and maybe cause a reader to think outside the box once in a while.  I think that everybody has the chance to be a better person than they were yesterday, and have some fun in the process.  I think that goes beyond creed and philosophy.  If I can help an artist think about something in a new way, or a writer try something they never thought they could, I’ll be happy.  In the process I find myself learning a lot too, and that’s a great thing!  Like the site says, “together we soar.”

My “three pillars” are:

Inspiration, Development, Empowerment.

Each entry on this blog tries to do one of the three and that’s my pledge to you.

Hope you enjoy!

Here’s a better shot of Saia, the would be bobcat, exploring her “savannah.”


Stripes 1200



Mental Snack

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little bite of philosophy to go with the rest of your day, much like a savory snack to get you to your next meal.  It’s an interlude, a bit of added flavor, perhaps an enhancement to life.

Here is a good one I heard recently.

One character is asking another what the meaning of life is and what God is.  Here’s the answer.


If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God.

But the light is not the goal of the search; it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it! Similarly, someone who does not search, who does not bring a lantern with him, sees nothing.

What we perceive as God, is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do!

Or we turn to look at our shadow, and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose; which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty – and in all its flaws. And in so doing better understand the world around us.


So there you have it, a little food for thought.  In case anyone is curious, that particular quote is from the character G’Kar, from Babylon 5.  His people have decided he’s a religious figure and he’s trying to share some of what he’s learned in his various struggles.





A polished beetle shell

I saw my first Palo Verde beetle for the year.

These are large, glossy black, spiky looking insects, about three inches long not including their formidable antennae. They are gentle creatures, though, despite their looks, and rarely eat anything besides a bit of fruit nectar during their roughly month-long adult lives.

When Palo Verde Beetles hatch, they start out as large, six inch or longer larvae that live and burrow inside tree roots. Once they pupate, they emerge from their root burrows and bumble around looking for a partner, laying their eggs just before monsoon season, to start the whole cycle again.

My sighting occurred outside the laundromat. It was about midnight, and I saw a shiny black beetle trundling along the gritty pavement, occasionally trying to fly. She wasn’t hard to miss, being about the length of my thumb. Every time she took off the breeze would knock her down again, usually into a solid object like a window. Undeterred, she kept going. By the time I came out with my laundry, I saw she’d made it quite a ways – farther than I’d expected. I paused a moment, watching her run her beetle errands, wishing I could communicate with her so I could give her a free lift.

Making that wish gave me a thought. What if there were other beings observing me that were as much more advanced from me as I am from this beetle? What if they understood something of my life, as I do with this beetle, but couldn’t communicate? What if they in fact wished to help me out but there was no common ground between us? It made me think about myself, the value of persistence, and what purpose meant to me. It was a lot to get from watching a beetle.

Palo verde beetles may look scary but there’s a lot to learn by watching these silly, bumbling creatures. It’s amazing that they’ve been around for this many millions of years.

I guess they’re doing something right!






via Daily Prompt: Polish


What would you be before your distant end?

One of my favorite bloggers just posed an interesting question.  Rather than listing five things you would like to do before you die, what are five things you would like to be before you die?

Here’s the post, if you’re curious:


I thought this sounded like an excellent writing prompt.  Thinking of things to do can be useful and great, however actions and tasks usually have an ending and being something doesn’t have to.  I’ve been thinking a lot about who I really am lately, and I’ve been disappointed with the results.  So who would I like to be?  Setting my course toward that so that I can become a better version of me is something I’m working on.


5 things I’d like to be before I die

To be known as a writer and make a good portion of my income from it

To be a far better artist than I am, as good as some of my favorite artists

To be someone who lives mindfully and thinks before every action

To be someone who contains both compassion and strength

To be fit in both mind and body – meditating and exercising daily



There are my five.  Do you have any you’d like to share?



via Daily Prompt: Distant


Not yet the day for detonations

We aren’t quite to the point where everyone sets off fireworks for the US Independence Day, but today is still a day where we honor the men and women who fight for us.

Today is Memorial Day in the US.  For many people, that means the first day of summer, a day for camping and barbecues.  It’s also a day for giving respect to the armed forces.

Most think only of the dead, as they fly flags, lay wreaths and put flowers on the graves of our fallen soldiers.  However, there is another aspect to this day.  Traditionally, the time from dawn until noon is devoted to honoring the living men and women of the armed forces, and only the time between noon and sunset is devoted to those who have passed from this life.

In that tradition, I want to highlight one very special part of the US armed forces – the Marine Corps.

I am not a member of the military, but every Marine I have ever met, even the ones I didn’t like, has been a special person with unique and valuable qualities.

To do their jobs well, Marines must be brave and steadfast. They are taught to think on their feet. They are also taught to never give up and that attitude carries through all aspects of life. They have a drive to make sure things are done right. They value their friends. They are loyal. They make great friends. A Marine is always a Marine, even after they retire.

My uncle is a Marine. He still keeps fit and trim even though he’s in his sixties. I never got along with him but I can appreciate his tidy house, his physical fitness, his success in life, and his sense of mission.

A good friend of mine is also a Marine. She entered in the seventies, and even though she was a female Marine she learned the same Core Values that other Marines learn. She’s brave, loyal, trustworthy, intelligent and dedicated.

My wife is an honorary Marine by virtue of training, and she learned much from her grandfather, who was a Marine. She’s taught me a lot about what it means to be a good person. I value her insights about life.

Today, I want to raise a toast to Marines everywhere. The Corps is the US’s oldest armed force. All volunteers, they’ve protected this country since the beginning. The few, the proud, the Marines!



Infusing sense into grocery store management

Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to find some things in grocery stores that were once common?

Today was the Great Battle of the Mushrooms and Pearl Onions.

My mission: to make pickled eggs with pearl onions and mushrooms.

I needed pearl onions and loose mushrooms.

My grocery store, which is otherwise pretty good, absolutely didn’t have pearl onions.  I recall when they were easy to find, nestled in their little net bags.  Also, there were no loose mushrooms.  Instead, all they had were those prepackaged cardboard trays, covered with plastic wrap that holds condensation!

Does anyone else remember when the mushrooms were all loose and they had little paper bags to put them in, because everyone knows a damp mushroom is a sad, soggy mushroom?

I searched across three grocery chains and didn’t find better.  I had to buy “knob onions” at three times the price and some of those odious little cardboard trays.

The spouse was mad, I was mad.  Nobody listened when I complained.

More and more, grocery stores (and other stores too) choose what they want me to have, in what quantities they want me to have it in, all in plastic packaging.  If I want to get away from that, I have to go to the incredibly expensive high end stores, even though bulk food should cost far less because there’s less packaging and less waste.

The real problem I have is not so much the food, but the fact that I can’t get anything to change no matter how many managers I talk to.  Even as I submit my feedback forms and am thanked for my opinion, nothing changes.  I make calls till I’m blue in the face and still nothing changes.  What’s a dissatisfied shopper to do?

I shouldn’t be surprised.  After all, customer service is a barrier between you and the people who make decisions.

The real key here is to get to the decision makers.

I realized there is a potential solution here.  I am going to take it higher, and if you share my frustration, you can too.  Enter the old fashioned letter!  I’ll be searching for corporate hierarchy, finding names and addresses to people who really do make decisions.  I send letters by registered mail, so that they actually get into the hands of the people I’m sending them to, instead of getting lost in the mailroom.

Little by little, that gets results.

I found that if I can get past the ramparts of customer service, past the corporate donjon, and into the actual throne room, then my letter lands in the hands of the actual rulers of the corporate kingdom – and my lonely letter heads arrow straight to the place where all the calls, forms and emails couldn’t reach.

The more we all do this, the more we will make ourselves heard.  The actual views of the customer will be infused into the corporate system and be heeded, perhaps someday even more than any number of useless focus groups.


via Daily Prompt: Infuse