My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kite Therapy

Youth had been a habit of hers for so long
that she could not part with it.
~Rudyard Kipling
I can't help it, I have yet to outgrow some toys, and kites are my favorites (yo-yos are a somewhat distant second). :-) My dad used to take me kite-flying all the time when I was a kid, rigging up a fishing reel with an outrageous amount of line so we could see how far up we could get our kite to soar. Sometimes it was so far away it was a nearly invisible speck in the distant sky. He even entered me in a kite-flying contest once when I was about eight. I didn't win (altitude apparently wasn't one of the criteria for victory!) but of course I had fun anyway!

Not only do I think kites are beautiful and festive, but find kite-flying very uplifting (haha, punny!) as well as meditative, and it's one of my favorite therapies when I'm in a funk. If the weather is cooperating, flying a kite can really help to banish the blues. (Cue Mary Poppins!) :-)

So it figures that when I was in Boulder last July, one of my favorite stores was Into the Wind, where I bought this beautiful Gunther Butterfly Kite...

I just love flying this kite!
When the sun shines through it, it looks like stained glass!

It's a testament to how easily this kite flies
that I could fly and photograph it simultaneously!

The butterfly kite is great fun and beautiful, but for taking on hikes, to town and on trips I wanted something that I could easily pack or carry (the butterfly's fiberglass spars would require dissembling and aren't easy to pack). So we turned again to Into the Wind and recently ordered their Prism Stowaway Parafoil...

That tail is 18' long! (BW flew it while I took the photos)

An artsy shot. :-)

Of course, I'm not the only so-called grownup who loves to fly kites. Kite-flying, invented in China over 2,500 years ago, is celebrated with annual kite-flying festivals around the world, like this one in Lincoln City, Oregon, which hosts THREE annual kite festivals!

(There are many other YouTube kite-flying videos,
including of other kite festivals around the world.)

I've not yet been to a kite festival, but you can bet it's on my Bucket List! :-)

There are also kite clubs and associations, kite forums, kite designers, tons of kite retailers, kite blogs (of course!) and, yes, even a Kitelife Magazine! (Okay, I'm not that into kite-flying, but isn't it fun that so many people are?)

If you want to take up kite-flying and need a kite-flying tutorial (or just want to hone your skills), check out A Wind of Change's free online kite-flying lessons!


Happy Birthday, Ali! I thought this kite post (and the quote that began it) went along with your birthday rather nicely, since it's my opinion that wherever a kite is flying, it's a party! :-) I flew the butterfly kite in your honor today. (At least I did until the wind suddenly came up and started gusting about 40 mph, at which point my pretty butterfly turned into a dive-bombing, murderous beast and I felt like Tipi Hedron in The Birds! LOL)


  1. Laloofah,

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the title of your post was the song from Mary Poppins.

    The butterfly kite is beautiful. It sounds like so much fun. I haven't flown a kite since I was in college, but it's something that crosses my mind every once in a while.

    When we were kids, my brothers used to buy some cheapo-construct-your-own kites at the drug store...they always bought one with the Jolly Rodger on never flew long before breaking or getting stuck in a tree somewhere. Oh well, here's wishing you hours of delight with your beautiful kites.

    Also love the squid footage from the kite festival...great stuff!

    I still love my toys too...and my children's books. Great post, love the Rudyard Kipling quote too.

  2. Rose,
    I remember those kites like your brothers would buy... made of a tissue-papery substance that was just looking for an excuse to tear! And weren't the spars made of balsa wood? And we'd tie rags onto string for a tail. Kites have sure come a long way since then (with prices to match their technological advances!)

    Aren't those kites in the video great fun? They really decorate the sky!

    I love that you still have and love your toys and children's books (me too!) I was still playing with my Tinker Toys in high school. A friend in the class ahead of me would come over after school and we'd make airplanes and stuff. He swore me to secrecy, but I have a photo my mom took of us very focused on our Tinker Toy project. LOL You and I should get together in our treehouse with our toys and our books and just have a playday! :-)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the quote, it's always fun to have friends who are kids at heart!

  3. La,

    Like Rose I thought of Mary Poppins right away too. It shows that we are all of a similar vintage. LOL

    That butterfly kite does look like stained glass. I would have to hang it in the house somehow so I could look at it all the time. Do you have any ceilings high enough for that?

    The kite video was adorable. Now you are making me wish I had a kite. I may have to go shopping for one soon. ;-)

    I still like toys too, although mine are normally food related. But there are no children in this house and we do have a Wii, although I do only play fitness games. But they are still games.

    thanks for the b'day wishes again,

  4. Those were the exact type of kites...needless to say, my brother's had bad taste in kite decor!

    Tinker toys eh? I won't tell a soul;) I used to play hide-n-seek with the neighborhood kids right up until I went off to I'm all in for a play day! I'll bring my stuffed animals and Beatrix Potter books...(Not the real stuffed kind):)

  5. "Vintage" indeed. Ha! Well, it was a good year, at least, and we're definitely getting better with age. ;-) I nearly said the same thing to Rose in my reply to her, that our generation probably can't see, think or hear of kites without that Mary Poppins song popping (so to speak!) into our heads! :-)

    No, our ceilings are all wrong for suspending a kite from, but for a while last year BW clothespinned it to the stained glass lamp over our dining room table! That was fun for a while but became increasingly tacky, with those long kite tails draped all over the dining room table! :-)

    I think you should definitely get yourself a fun kite! Rose too. Fun kites for everyone! :-)

    You do so have children, and I know they have toys scattered around your house! ;-) We don't have a Wii (or Gameboy, X-Box or any actual video games), but once in a while I play Mahjong on the computer (they have a couple of space games Dan might like, lol). We've got lots of board games, card games, dominoes, and puzzles. I used to be addicted to Backgammon in college, but it's been so long since I played it I've forgotten how! Anybody got a favorite board game? I think we'd have fun playing Clue, I'll bring that to the Treehouse, along with my set of Jacks! :-)

    I'm glad you had a fun birthday, Ali!

  6. Hi, Rose! Thanks for keeping my Tinker Toys secret! (I've still got my Lincoln Logs and Matchbox cars too!) I'm hopeless. LOL

    I'm not at all surprised to hear you have Beatrix Potter books! Me too! Which one's your favorite? I always liked "Squirrel Nutkin," but Val and Tino prefer "The Tale of Two Bad Mice." ;-) Do you have any Tasha Tudor books? Bet you've got Winnie the Pooh books, and we might as well bring our Lewis Carroll books, too! (I'm also a huge fan, and I read them often!)

    Definitely bring your stuffed animals (thanks for clarifying that yours are the vegan-friendly kind, otherwise we might have thought you were running a little taxidermy thing on the side. NOT! lol) Ali, you can bring the fitness toys... jump ropes, pogo sticks, hula hoops, hopscotch chalk... :-)

    Good thing we built a big treehouse, huh? :-)

  7. La,

    Vintage, like fine wine which is always good in my book. LOL

    Yes my children do have toys all over the house. In fact they have so many toys I have about 2/3 of them in storage and change them every other month.

    The Wii is my first "electronic game." I only have fitness games but I love it. It can be a little addictive and healthy since you are moving around the entire time you are playing. ;-)

    Dan and I also like backgammon but haven't played in a while. I need to get that out. We also like Scrabble and Cribbage. Can't wait to hear what Rose comes up with.


  8. So how do you win or lose a video fitness game? Do you win by completing a virtual triathalon, and lose if you pass out during the race? :-) I've never heard of video fitness games (obviously! lol)

    BW and I love to play Scrabble too! And the card games Uno, Flinch and Milles Borne. I bought Rook a while back, but haven't learned it yet. (I liked the box, made me think of your homeboy, Edgar A. Poe!) :-)

    When I was in the 5th or 6th grade, I stayed with a family for a couple of days while my folks were out of town, and we played "Masterpiece" the whole time I was there (at my insistence! They taught it to me and I was hooked, so it's their fault.) ;-) I'd love to get that game (they stopped making it years ago, so you have to get them used on Ebay), but wonder if I'd be as enamored of it now as I was way back then? You guys every play it?

    I'm looking forward to hearing what Rose comes up with too!

  9. La,

    I loved your question on how to win a fitness video game. The more exercises you do and the better you perform them the more things you unlock. Normally more exercises or exercise environments. It is much more fun than it sounds.

    I do vaguely remember Masterpiece. It was about Art work right? I haven't thought of that in years. We were addicted to Uno in college it is what we did between classes. I don't know Rook, sorry.

    talk to you soon,

  10. A favorite Beatrix Potter is difficult...I love The Tale of Two Bad Mice, but also love Mrs Tiggie Winkle, and the Tale of Samuel Whiskers. Her illustrations are so absolutely charming and cute, but they retain their traits...mice really look like mice, rats like rats, hedge hogs like hedge hogs... I still reread Alice in Wonderland on a regular basis too. Winnie the Pooh, check. But haven't come across the Tasha Tudor books...must check them out.

    As for electronic games, I'm into Diner Dash...I'm ashamed to admit that I've played all 5 or 6 versions of it and got expert level on each one...such is my addiction...but I haven't played in over a year, honest...I had to go to Diner Dash Anonymous.

    Board/card them, you name it. I think Clue is great fun...never played/heard of Masterpeice, must check that out too. They're not such "old-school" games, but I've always been a fan of Pictionary and Balderdash...we'll need to invite a few more to play those...I guess Dan, BW, and John could be invited? Or maybe we want to make it girls only, which is fine with me too.

  11. La,

    So is Rose on to something with invite the boys or not? Maybe they could stay for a little while. ;-) Otherwise we don't have enough for Pictionary. She had a good point on that one.


    Great suggestion on Pictionary, I loved that one!

    I don't know Diner Dash but from what you wrote it is safer that I don't learn. I get like that about things. Tetris had me hooked for ages.

    The three of us would have definitely been in detention all the time if we went to school together. LOL.


  12. I think you would like Diner Dash too Alicia...better not to go there.

    Well, I'll be waiting to hear back on the boys v girls decision...meanwhile you two have a very restful night and sweet dreams!

    Talk to you guys again soon.


  13. Oh, and one more you remember a game where you had to pick plastic bones out of a fat guy with tweezers and if the tweezers touched the side of the board a buzzer went off and the guy's nose turned red? Count me out for that always creeped me out.

  14. There's far too much to comment on to do this blog justice! I loved the excellent photos of the butterfly kite - special since I was with you when you bought it! I'm so happy you are enjoying it.

    I also never knew you enjoyed Milles Borne (or I've forgotten). I love that game and haven't played in years! We'll have to play next time we're together.

    I'm so glad you're getting kite flying weather. It's cold and rainy here but your weather always heads my way so I just have to be patient!

  15. Dearest Tex-
    I love your kite flying photos. The stained glass butterfly is beautiful. I haven't flown a kite in years. Perhaps my nephew and niece may be interested in a few years.
    Soon after I last read your blog and enjoyed it so much I decided that I too could have my very own blog. Thank you for being the nudge of inspiration. I haven't figured out what I want to say or do yet, but I keep trying and am enjoying it very much. If you want to check it out my title is Happy No Ears. No vegan, just mind rambles.
    Love to you...

  16. Happy Friday, everybody!

    I'm loving all your latest comments and would have replied to them all by now except that Life has swept me far downstream and has yet to deposit me, wet and gasping, on the riverbank. (<-- That is either melodramatic or literarily artistic, not sure which. ;-))

    Anyway, today I have multiple in town appointments and the ISP tech people coming out to replace our modem, so today isn't looking promising for playtime in Blogland either, but I will do my best to catch up on my responses to your comments (and my visits to your blogs) as soon as I'm able.

    Meanwhile, have a great weekend! xoxo

  17. Now you've got me wanting to fly one again. Did it all the time when I was a kid and had more air space. I can still remember my personal best. It was so high I almost lost sight of it and then I felt this little tug...and it was gone. Guess the string had an altitude! Your kites sre colorful!! Maybe you'll have some blizzard-free days from now on to fly those beauties ;-).

  18. Ali ~ Thanks for explaining the fitness video game to me. That's a pretty clever idea. When I was in my early 20's, I lived for three winter months in an Indianapolis motel while I attended a school for the AF. My friend Ann and I wandered down to the bar on our first day and discovered their "Galaga" game. Neither of us had played it much, but it was a console you could sit down at across from each other and play as opponents. We were addicted after the first day, and must have easily spent $25 in quarters that first month, burning off stress and boredom playing Galaga every night. After that, we were so proficient we could play for hours on one quarter, and often drew spectators! Imagine if that had been a fitness game, we might have qualified for the Olympic games! (Luckily for us, we didn't turn into flubba-wubba barfly video game addicts... the base where we had our classes was home to the Army's Physical Fitness Training Center, and we availed ourselves of it often. A Marine in our class taught me how to play raquetball there and I got just as addicted to it, but it wasn't as readily available to play as Galaga! :-)

    Yes, you're remembering right... Masterpiece was about art. You bid on paintings and might get stuck with a forgery, or a masterpiece at a bargain. It sounds boring writing about it, but I remember it being a lot of fun to play in a group!

    I learned Uno after college (and it's another addictive game indeed!)... in college, my card game addiction was Flinch. Appropriate that it starts with an "F," since I could have easily played it till that was my grade! ;-)

    Rose - Oh yes, Mrs. Tiggie Winkle, I always thought of her as the matriarch of the Beatrix gang! :-) I still have my stuffed animal version of her, and also Jemima Puddleduck. Beatrix was really quite the student of animals and their behaviors, wasn't she? We missed getting to visit her house in England... have you ever been? I think you would love Tasha Tudor's books, especially her illustrations (she mostly painted domesticated animals and children, all very old-fashioned). I leaned about heliotrope pansies when I was 5 by reading her "Alexander the Gander." She illustrated several books authored by others, and her illustrated edition of "The Wind in the Willows" is one of my treasured possessions.

    I've never heard of Diner Dash, and it sounds like I'd better just keep it that way! LOL

  19. Rose and Ali ~ As far as I'm concerned, the boys are more than welcome to join us in our treehouse games, as long as they play nice or we need them in order to have enough players. (Not that we're USING them, heavens no. But if the treehouse happens to be in need of repairs, I'll expect them to bring their toolboxes!) ;-)

    Rose, I had that game... "Operation!" It was creepy. I think I've had doctors who trained on that. LOL So I guess an evening of "Operation" and Hannibal Lector movies is probably not going to be your idea of a good time? ;-)

    AdventureJo ~ Putting this post together definitely brought back fun memories of our trip to Boulder! We had great fun in the kite and the toy stores! I only wish we had assembled the butterfly kite and flown it - Chautauqua Park would have been a great place for that, but I don't remember there being any wind!

    I didn't know you were a Mille Bornes fan! (But I'll bet you can pronounce it a lot better than I do! LOL) You're on... we'll play that and fly kites next time we're together! :-)

  20. Sue - I must admit, that butterfly kite is my favorite of the two (and it was just $15! A bargain price for a great kite like that!) I'm glad you like it, and that you enjoyed the photos. Why wait for your niece and nephew to get old enough to be interested... why not just get yourself a kite and fly it for your own self right now? :-) Have you ever been to the Ogunquit Kite Festival? Here's a fun article about it (Kennebunk even gets a mention). :-) Wish we could go to it together!

    Thank you for your kind words about the inspiration my blogging gave you to start your own! I've really enjoyed my visits to it so far, and think it's very creative! I'm so glad you shared it with me!

    Spudly - I'll give you the same advice I gave Sue - get yourself a kite! And get Kavi one too. Wouldn't you boys have great fun flying kites together? :-)

    So you enjoyed those high-flying antics as a kid too, huh? I wonder what happened to your kite, and what caused that little "tug," and where it ended up eventually? (Maybe it got hooked on the wing of a jumbo jet that was flying at cruising altitude, and landed in Europe or Asia or something! LOL)

    Thank you for the compliments on my kites! I'm just a sucker for bright colors. Remember how I've said my mom always told me I was a gypsy child swapped with hers at birth, in part because I've always loved bright colors? :-)

    And thanks for your wishes for blizzard-free kite-flying days! I haven't had time lately to do any kite-flying, but our days have been either calm or gusty anyway. Better days will come, and I'll try to match your personal best altitude record when they do! :-)

  21. oh Laurie,

    I just want to keep commenting on this post forever...shows you what a kid I am...I love Wind in the
    Willows too...I used to force my neighbor to play pretend Wind in the Willows with me...he was not terribly into it...I was like: "you play mole, and I'll be water rat...and later we'll visit Mr Toad"...he was like "WTF????"

    I bet you'd never guess that I was a total fantasy-geek kid...LOL

    I will most definitely check out Tasha Tudor...thanks Laurie...and now...

    I solemnly promise not to comment anymore on this particular one...I mean come on already...I gotta grow up for heaven's sake! :)

  22. Um wait...JTee was me...I was on my hubby's machine and didn't realize he was logged into his google account, but that were me :)

  23. And I guess I broke my solemn promise...sorry!

  24. Rose (If that is indeed your name, lol) ~ I'm so glad you told me you and JTee are one and the same, for I was momentarily perplexed! :-)

    I'm not the least bit surprised that you love Wind in the Willows too! I lol'ed at your story of trying to coax the neighbor kid into playing Mole and visiting Mr. Toad! That's too cute! I wish I'd been your neighbor, I'd have happily played it with you! I'd be Badger. :-)

    Are you familiar with the book "Frogmorton" by Susan Colling? It was published in the mid-50's and you can usually find used copies on Amazon. It's really adorable, very funny, and has a Wind in the Willows feel to it. If you can find it, I think you'd really enjoy it!

    I'm glad you already broke your solemn promise, because I want you to comment as often as you'd like! Your comments are great fun, and I see no reason why you have to grow up any more than you already have. As our friend Lewis Carroll once wrote, "Some children have a most disagreeable way of getting grown-up: I hope you won't do anything of that sort before we meet again." :-)

  25. I am definitely going to check out Frogmorton too.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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