My family loved to backpack in the high Sierras. One year, after a refreshing afternoon rain, my youngest child, about seven at the time, looked down at his feet and picked up something shiny. It was a perfectly formed arrowhead of black obsidian. Evidently the rain had washed it out from an ancient hiding place. What a treasure the rain revealed!
In Hawai`i, we have the saying “no rain, no rainbows.” Too often we concentrate on the rain and neglect an openness to the treasures afterward.
What riches or inner resources have you discovered after the rains in your life?
Yesterday, members of our local Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla did a “dock walk” on the three docks on the Kona side (leeward) of our island. We were handing out information to boaters about what the auxiliary does, who we are, and extending invitations to join us.
Wow! Did that ever bring back memories – and made me homesick!
In the late 1970s, when Flower Power and Free Love were languishing, I flirted with trading the equity in my house for equity in a new 37′ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. Within five months, I became a “live-aboard” with fifteen-year-old son, my youngest child.
We christened our new home Lothlorién, for the sanctuary in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy to which the Elf King and Elf Queen transported Frodo and his friends at a critical point in their adventure.
In Tolkien’s story, it was within the Lothlorién that all their healing and protection took place, while all the dangers and threats were forced to remain outside its borders.
Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside. We often invited our friends to savor that sanctuary with us for a day sail, a weekend cruise, or sometimes longer.
Tolkien’s famous quote was our motto – “…not all those who wander are lost.”
Characters who don’t know much about boats always ask, “How many does she sleep?” That’s the wrong question! We sailors usually respond by saying that a sailboat will “drink six, feed four and sleep two.”
There may be room enough to sleep an army by spreading people out over decks and into hammocks, but you abandon all carnal comforts in doing so. Naturally, this can depend on just how close you are with the friends you bring along, too.
My boat basically was designed to sleep six, but six people really wouldn’t do that if they wanted to remain friends after the cruise was over.
One summer, I hadn’t gotten paid for about three months. The insurance company that reimbursed us for most of our clients was undergoing a major change in their computer system. None of us in the clinic where I worked were getting paid on a regular basis. My boys and I were hanging on by a thread.
So what does a girl do when the going gets tough? She spends a week moored at the Isthmus of Catalina Island with a good book, and leaves her troubles behind.
We were really living a good life, in spite of having no money. I had a bag of masa, a hunk of cheddar cheese, a few eggs, and stuff like spices. The boys were diving for abalone and fishing. What else do you really need for food?
We made lots of homemade tortillas with melted cheddar and scrambled eggs, along with plenty of fresh fish and abalone. That’s when abalone was still plentiful in California.
Someone taught us how to eat raw abalone. Instead of pounding it like you need to if you cook it, you cut the raw meat into pieces like shoestring potatoes. Dip it into a mix of soy sauce, ginger, and anything else your taste buds desired, and munch! It’s a wonderful treat!!
Once, on Catalina Island, when folks from our local sail fleet had a cookout, my sons and I showed up with fresh sheepshead, abalone, and hot tortillas.
Everyone else was roasting wieners and opening cans of beans. Even though we didn’t have money for hamburgers or wieners, we ate well – and we were the envy of everyone else.
When I feel bogged down with Life, I sometimes think about what fun it would be to live on a boat again.
Several years ago I visited the campus of Standord University in California. I was intrigued with these sculptures of Rodin. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the entire story behind them. Blogging is so educational!
These six men represent the Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais).
In 1885 the town council of the French city of
Calais commissioned Rodin to produce a
sculpture that would pay tribute to the
burghers of Calais, heroes of the Hundred
Years’ War and symbols of French patriotism.
~ ~ ~ ~
Rodin chooses to portray the moment in the
narrative when the men, believing they are
going to die, leave the city. He shows the
burghers as vulnerable and conflicted, yet
heroic in the face of their likely fate.
Most of the time, these men are portrayed in a cluster. Here on the Stanford campus, they are shown in separate bronze castings (1981). These were not from the original, however. By law, only a small number were made from the original after Rodin’s death. Here is a casting of Rodin’s signature.
Calais is an important French port on the English Channel. In 1347, during the Hundred Years’ War, Calais had been under siege for over a year by the English. Due to starvation, King Philip VI of France was not able to hold onto Calais. King Edward III of England said he would “spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed.”
Eustache de Saint-Pierre volunteered to be first. Five others followed.
They walked out wearing nothing but their “breeches” (underwear) with nooses around their necks. Jean Froissart (circa 1337-1400) wrote the story in his Chroniques that relate historical events of that era as he saw them.
The figure in the final monument portrays Pierre de Wiessant looking over his shoulder, his hand extended as if in despair. His face shows great anguish, and his intense emotions make him appear withdrawn from the other figures. http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg34.html
My brother recently posted about the concert he attended in Florida. Because he mentions that it was more about his sister’s era (that’s me!) I thought I would share it with you. Of course, watching the video clips he chose certainly did bring back a lot of memories. Since many of you don’t read my brother’s blog, he has given me permission to repost it here!
Enjoy!! And let me know if you are in my era, too! Thanks, Hilton!!
Work o’ the Weavers at St. Pete Palladium Side Door
A few nights ago, a friend called and said, “We’re going to the [Work o’ the] Weaver’s concert Thursday night at the Palladium. I know you like that kind of music. Do you want to come, too.” I said yes immediately.
And…I am old enough to remember seeing Joseph McCarthy on someone’s television (we didn’t have one then). I mention that because the Weavers and other folk singers of that time, as well the classical composer and American legend, Aaron Copland, were all hauled before McCarthy’s committee and interrogated. And, yes, they were definitely left-leaning sympathizers and supporters of Henry Wallace for president.
Thursday night’s concert by the contemporary tribute group, Work o’ the Weavers (see workotheweavers.com), was one of the most enjoyable musical evenings I’ve had in a long time. If you ever get a chance to hear the group, go. Their appeal is not limited to folks my age; I saw a number of teens and young adults there who were bobbing and swaying and singing “Good Night Irene” along with us of the blue-rinse set.
My guess is the only demographic group not represented–or if they were there, they kept on the down low–were Tea Party members, because the tradition of the Weavers, which the Work o’ the Weavers is all about, is definitely tied to the Progressive movement during the Great Depression and World War II. So many of the songs that were sung then, and last night, are unfortunately still appropriate now during the Great Recession, especially the pro-labor and pro-peace songs.
The concert was in two parts. In the first part, every song was woven into a detailed narrative of the history of the (original) Weavers. It really was a complete history of the group, the music, its composers and lyricists, and the times. It was not just a series of songs by the Weavers. It was educational in a very real sense.
The second part of the concert followed the dictum of Pete Seeger, who is close to the members of the group and endorses it, to not just look backward, but to sing also what the Weavers would sing now if they still existed today. What a wonderful idea. Three songs from that second half were my personal favorites for the night: Red Goes the Vine/In Dead Earnest, We’re Still Here, and My Peace. They’re all on a CD called We’re Still Here. That’s a link to the MP3 “album” which just costs a hair over 1/2 what the actual CD sold at the concert cost. I recommend it, highly.
The Work o’ the Weavers website has plenty of information and videos. Here’s one, Work o’ the Weavers – Distilled, that gives you a good feel for the group.
The lyrics of the aforementioned song, “My Peace,” was written by Woodie Guthrie just after he was hospitalized with Huntington’s Disease and set to music by his son, Arlo Guthrie. Here it is being sung by the Guthrie Family – My Peace:
If you’d like to see some video of the original Weavers, here’s The Weavers – Around The World:
Here’s a Youtube presentation of them singing the first song the Weavers ever recorded, The banks of Marble – The Weavers (that’s Pete Seeger singing solo on first verse):
The words of that song are so appropriate today, maybe more than ever before. Here’s a more recent recording just by Pete Seeger and with a more meaningful video — Banks of Marble:
And…thrown in for good measure and having almost nothing to do with The Weavers or Pete Seeger or The Work o’ the Weavers other than it’s authentic, old-timey American folk music is this video I stumbled upon while looking up the other videos — the Best Bluegrass Clog Dancing Video Ever Made. Unfortunately, that has to be watched on Youtube, itself and can’t be embedded. So, please click on the link. That’s old style clogging. I promise you will not be able to hold your body still. I just LOVE that music!!!!!
If you make a purchase through any of the Amazon links in this article, I make a few cents but your cost is not increased in any way.
Exactly two months ago on October 17, my oldest granddaughter got married. Kaitlin Weiss became Kaitlin Brazil. I wasn’t able to go, but her Aunt Inga, my second daughter, was there to take pictures of the event.
This is a good opportunity to share some of that with you. I’ve cropped some of the pictures in order to show you specific people.
Following behind three wonderful older brothers, Kaitlin was a pleasant surprise to her parents. I know how Debbie must have felt to have all four of her children back home for this occasion.
When Kait was seven years old, she served as the flower girl at my second wedding. That beautiful young woman has come a long way since then.
Almost 35 years ago, as high school sweethearts, her parents got married. What fun it is to watch your children grow up and have grown children of their own.
California’s central valley has some wonderful places for a serene outdoor wedding.
I wish them well! They make a beautiful couple.
A hui hou!
I promise this will be the last post about the Stanford Campus, but there were so many beautiful sights there that I’m afraid I got carried away. For those of you who have never seen the campus, this will be something new. If you haven’t been there in a while, it will be a “remember when.”
Standing 285 feet high, the Hoover Tower (shown above) dominates the campus. It seems that no matter where you are, the Tower can be seen. President Herbert Hoover started a research center there and this tower is part of that institution.
I kept taking pictures of Hoover Tower, thinking each shot was better than the one before it. Here are only a couple of them for you.
Go here to see a great view of the campus from the Tower
Probably my enjoyment of the Stanford campus stems from my love of old buildings and homes, as well as campuses in general. The Old Fire Truck House (circa 1904) is one of those buildings full of character and still in beautiful condition.
The path in front of the Old Fire Truck House is such a luscious spot for sauntering – or biking.
Of course, there is a “new” fire truck house now, but it lacks the charm of the old one.
Near the Old Fire Truck House was this sign showing the way to the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Community Resources Center and Women’s Community Center. I was pleased to see both of these.
These maps give you a good idea of the vast area of the campus. The first one shows where Stanford is located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
This map shows the specific area in Palo Alto that is Stanford property.
If you click on the second map, a larger image will enable you to see the location of the quad area I wrote about a few weeks ago and also where the Hoover Tower stands in relationship to the rest of the campus.
The campus includes not only the educational buildings, but the beautiful old faculty homes from the early 1950s. I could move right into any one of them with great ease.
I especially liked this one that reminds me of a fairyland castle. And I could just imagine sitting around a fireplace, discussing deep subjects with a few students.
Because this is mostly a blog about gardening, I couldn’t ignore all the horticultural beauty on the Stanford Campus. Palm Drive is one of the most spectacular roads into the campus that I have ever seen. A long sweep of road lined with palms is truly an amazing sight.
Large areas of brilliant poppies and other fresh blooms were everywhere.
It seems that most large universities, as well as some smaller ones, have a “quad.” When I was a campus minister at University of Arizona, there was a massive quad where students and faculty hung out, played Frisbee, studied, slept, nuzzled with someone special, or whatever else they could find to do.
For an old college instructor like me, being on the quad of any school is thrilling. From the moment I first set foot in a classroom as a teacher, from kindergarten through university, I have loved teaching and being on a campus, being a part of campus life. I think I’d be deliriously happy just hanging out in a university library doing research in musty old tomes.
My visit to Stanford University (guided by a friend who is a Professor Emeritus from the Medical School there) included their quad. He added to my limited knowledge of the campus.
As we approached the main building of the quad, I was drawn to the floral arrangement in the center of the vast lawn.
It wasn’t until I stood a little elevated and distant from the floral arrangement that I realize the flowers created a large “S” for Stanford. I wondered if everyone else who visits miss it at first like I did.
Everything about the Stanford campus has history behind it. A walk along the corridor of the main building takes us back more than a century.
One of the stones on the floor of the corridor commemorated the centennial.
Each graduating class added a stone showing the year. This is the first one, laid by the graduating class of 1892!
You can walk along the corridor and see a class for every single year since then. A nice tradition!
And here is the latest one – for the class of 2009.
One of the pillars shows some of the damage done by the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989, almost twenty years ago. You can read more about it here and here.
That last link has excellent pictures and history of the quake, including more information about the World Series that had to be cancelled that day. To read about damage that is more specific to Stanford, go here.
One dominating attraction on the quad is the Memorial Church
This chapel was built by Jane Lathrop Stanford in memory of her husband, Leland Stanford in 1899.
This close-up shows the intricate and exquisite mosaic artwork.
Due to regular church services being held, visitors were not permitted to enter, so I took many shots outside. I loved this sign in several languages.
The courtyard of the chapel offers areas to stroll, rest, meditate.
The jacaranda were in full bloom in the chapel courtyard.
So many tucked away treasures like these side doors of the church.
Every detail was considered, as evidenced by this mosaic floor in the foyer of the chapel.
I have included a slide show below of all photos I took around the chapel, many more than are in this post. Today, I end with a shot of these marvelous sculptures near the chapel. In a few weeks, I will do another post that shows the individual statues and who they represent.
I hope you aren’t sick and tired of seeing photos out of California. Even though I lived there for many years, I had forgotten how brilliant the flowers could be. Part of the time I was there for my May-June visit, I stayed with friends who live in San Mateo. We walked all over their neighborhood and I was stunned by the abundance of beautiful roses. The geraniums are like weeds in California!
Please enjoy the photos! There isn’t much I can add about them, so I’ve put them here in a slide show for you.
I must have gotten to the market on California Avenue in Palo Alto too late in the season to see tulips, but there were plenty of other flowers to enjoy! The sweet aroma of huge bunches of sweet peas was almost overpowering. These in the above photo gave my room a wonderful ambience.
Other flowers that were in great abundance were the gerberas, iris, roses, dahlias and so many other spring blooms.
Brilliant yellow iris filled buckets everywhere I looked, almost in competition with the various colors of the cauliflower in the background.
Flowers everywhere! Of course, I was so envious of any farmer who had enough good soil to grow this kind of beauty. When I got home, however, I was happy to see so many of my canna, daylilies, and gladiolus bulbs had grown. I’ll show those on next week’s post.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many Canterbury Bells in one spot in my life! The color combination of these blossoms with raspberries was like eye candy for the soul.
Even though I live in “orchid land,” I still get a thrill at the sight of the Phaleonopsis (also spelled Phalaeonopsis), also often called the moth orchid.
I was pleased to see a display of eco-pots. Produced by the Sweetwater Nursery in Sepastapol, these pots can replace your clay or plastic pots. They are made of substances that are by-products of renewable and sustainable crops. Even when they can no longer be used, the pots are biodegradable.
Cole Canyon Farm had so many wonderful varieties of herbs. Please visit their site for information on purchasing and growing not only herbs, but veggies and fruits. I was especially interested in this display of mints. I didn’t know there were so many varieties. I want to taste them all!
I wanted to bring home one of each of these! I’ve looked all over for seeds for some of these varieties.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of these aromatic thymes, mostly because the saying by the famous “anonymous” is so correct! I may start using that as part of my signature on emails. Currently, I use “live gently on the earth,” another philosophy I attempt to adhere to.
This basket of basil looks like the profusion of sweet basil I grow in my own garden. I will soon make up a big batch of fresh pesto when I harvest mine. I can’t use up enough of it on a daily basis.
The New Natives company started out almost thirty years ago with wheatgrass as their original product. Since then, they have branched out into all kinds of healthy sprouts. This crop is experiencing renewed popularity. You can read about some of the health benefits here.
I need to tell you that there is so much more at this market than just fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. These next few photos come in the “miscellaneous” category, but they are as important as anything else I’ve talked about in these posts.
I absolutely adore fresh oysters! Too bad that we have to import our oysters from Washington and the East Coast here.
In Hawaii, we have our “huli huli chicken” – an enormous rotisserie along the side of the road that sends delicious smells into your open car window as you drive by. At this California market, I found RoliRoti Chicken.
Of course, no one can go to the Bay Area without eating hot sour dough bread. Pardon me while I drool for a few minutes!
At the end of the rows of produce, there was this musician giving us a background that was totally in keeping with the ambience of the market.
I’ll end this series on the California Avenue Farmers’ Market with a scene that is familiar to those who live in the Bay Area, or visit there often. I think most people understand when I say that I both miss it and don’t miss it. In case you want to go back and check out the other two in this series, go here and here.
Next week, I’m going to give you a break from California and show you an update of my garden. Things are beginning to grow again.
In the meantime, you might like to enjoy a slideshow of the California Avenue photos all in one place.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the fruits at the California Avenue Farmers’ Market in Palo Alto. The fruits and veggies were intermingled with flowers and other products, which I’ll show you next week. This week it’s time for your veggies.
Across the way from Joanie’s Café where we ate a fantastic breakfast, there was the “asparagus and potato” stand. That’s the first stand that really caught my attention. When I shop in my local grocery store, I might have a choice of two or three kinds of potatoes, but look at the variety here – with fresh asparagus, no less!
I learn so much when I write these posts! I hadn’t noticed the name “Zuckerman’s Farms” on the canopy of this stand until I was writing, so I looked it up on Google. This farmer is part of an organization called CUESA, which means “the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture,” a topic about which I’m extremely interested.
The many varieties of common vegetables we often take for granted were obvious at this market. Of course, it was all fun and educational to see them, but I have to admit to a degree of envy that people have this at their disposal every week of the year! Check out these colorful cauliflower varieties.
Here is more cauliflower with artichokes and broccoli. . .
And how about all these fava beans??
So many beautiful varieties of string beans!
I’m not quite sure if sauerkraut qualifies as a vegetable or not, but it’s certainly made out of a veggie – and mighty good stuff it is, too! I grew up in Midwest German neighborhoods eating sauerkraut, spare ribs and mashed potatoes, almost all of it homemade. I absolutely adore sauerkraut whether cold from a jar, or slowly cooked with thick pork ribs. My dad made sauerkraut in our basement, until a batch blew up and ended up all over the ceiling! Needless to say, this stand caught my attention right away.
Squash is another vegetable I love, so I try to eat as many varieties that I can – both summer and winter squashes. There are amazing displays of fresh-picked squash. Here are at least two links to information about the Happy Boy Farms.
Behind these beautiful squash boxes, you see seedlings ready for people to take home and plant. I was so inspired when I came back home, that I put some seeds in little pots and other seeds I put directly into the ground. Everything is up!
I was surprised to see so many root vegetables. I usually think of them as fall or winter crops, but in a place like California (and actually in Hawaii, too) I think almost anything can be grown at any time of year. That was my experience when I lived in California, and it’s my experience here in Hawaii.
Sugar snap peas are among my favorite spring/summer veggies. This is a beautiful display of the basket overflowing with goodness. I have sugar snap peas coming up in my garden right now, which shows just how cool it is here this time of year. That’s not how most people think of Hawaii.
What a delight to see so many mushrooms! This is a delicious, low calorie product that can be a special addition to almost any recipe. They also can stand alone on their own. If you haven’t discovered the versatility of mushrooms, just Google mushroom recipes.
It’s worth making a special trip to California Avenue in Palo Alto on a Sunday morning just to do your week’s grocery shopping. Join others in making this a Sunday tradition. Next week, I’ll post flowers and other items available at the market.
I apologize to those vendors I don’t mention or for whom I don’t provide a link. I looked up all of the names I could read on my photos. Next time I get to this market, I’ll be more diligent in my efforts and ask!