...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

29 May, 2011

checking in

It's been awhile since I have posted.
It's been the combination of two trips, pretty close together,
and the need to recover from all the excitement.

When I am gone, there are numerous things
that pile up, waiting for my return.
Mail, bills, appointments, my work, tidying up, you name it.
(They weren't kidding when they titled The 36 Hour Day.)
It takes awhile to get to the bottom of things again.

I am almost there.

Spent the day outside in the sunshine, puttering.
Pruned the plants-in-pots that border my patio.
Put the grill out there, too, and cleaned it.  (YUK.)

Re-potted some geraniums from last summer 
which I had carefully tended all winter. 
I put them outside, along with our hibiscus and peace lily.
Considered an old birdhouse which has seen better days,
and decided I need to buy a new one.  But I did climb the ladder
and put the hook into a tree just where I want it 
...when I find the perfect shelter. 

Now I am sitting here listening to the tree toads and peepers
and the bullfrogs, enjoying some peace.
Of course, I should be in bed by now,
but then I would be sleeping, and not hearing these sounds
that I've longed for all winter.

Hope you are all having a great holiday weekend!

20 May, 2011

fiddleheads unfurling

One of the fun things about spring in the woods of Maine
is watching the unfurling of the ferns.

In Maine, the "fiddlehead" stage of the ostrich fern
is a seasonal delicacy.  They taste somewhat like asparagus,
and you can buy them at the side of the road 
and even in some grocery stores.

I don't know what kind of ferns these are.
I caught these photos one day on a walk
the week I got back from Hong Kong.

By now with the time that has passed, and all the rain, 
I am sure they are fiddleheads no more;
instead, glorious ferns carpeting the woods 
everywhere the soil is right and the sun peeks through a bit, 
but not too much.

(Do people eat fiddleheads where you are, too?)

18 May, 2011

the mandarin's house, macao

One day when I was in Hong Kong,
my son took just me to Macao, telling me the night before 
we were going to Europe the next morning.

Macao is many things:
ancient port city, former Portuguese settlement,
current gambling destination, tourist shopping mecca.  
These are just a few of its faces.

The humidity was 96% the day we climbed the steep hill
to the old Portuguese fort, and then descended 
narrow streets and alleyways,
admiring the mix of Europe and Asia everywhere.

Shopping is not my thing, nor is gambling.
I loved the old Portuguese Catholic churches,
but my favorite was the Mandarin's House--
a huge 60-room mansion built in the mid 19th century
with a mix of Asian and European architecture.

The fascination for me was in the details.
I hope you like them, too.

17 May, 2011

feelin' spleeny

In Maine, as well as other parts of New England,
if you aren't feeling well, and maybe
are complaining about it a bit,
you are said to be feeling "spleeny".

This week I am doing a happy "equal time" stint in Colorado--
visiting my other grandbaby for a few days.

She isn't feeling well, after going to her first Rocky's game
on Saturday in less than stellar weather conditions.

So we are home alone together today, just quietly hanging out.
In between long naps, this is what she has been up to:

I am so glad she has her lovey on a day like today, 
...and her two little fingers.

15 May, 2011

mackworth at bud time

Just a five minute drive from downtown Portland,
there is a wonderful, quiet island 
that seems to be miles and miles away
from any city scape.
Nobody lives here, although it used to be owned
by a former governor of Maine,
who turned it over to the public when he died.

Approached by a causeway, it has a walking path
that goes around it, with small beaches
and vistas and some hanging double swings
along the way.

A very small parking lot, and lots of "no parking" signs
on the mainland, keep the island free of
too many visitors at once.

I love to come here at bud time.

Since I was in Asia during this year's bud time,
here are a few photos from my last year's
long walk around the island.

Even the rocks along the shore are full of color.

We'll come back another time, maybe in the summer.  
For now, we'll head back along the causeway, so that someone 
else can have a chance to visit....

'tis a gift to be simple...

Traveling the back roads today along the river,
we came upon a scene from another time.

These girls seemed to be dancing with their rakes
to the tune of the lively spring wind.

The colors of their long dresses complemented
 blossoms just hatched on the trees and bushes,
and the spare colors of the house and barn
were the perfect backdrop.

It was a lovely, simple thing.

10 May, 2011

so many fish!

No matter where I've traveled, the markets fascinate me.
Hong Kong was no exception.  

This collection of fish photos was taken in various places in the city
as we explored market after market.

I've noticed the Chinese way of selling fish
is often to present it whole and live,
no matter how compromised that life is 
in the small container it is placed.

See the little hoses that bring air into this shallow pan?

These beauties break the surface of the water in their plastic container.
No air bubbling in.  They are barely moving. 
Pretty, aren't they??

I'm not quite sure why some get air and others don't.
Maybe the ones out of the water simply gave up the ghost.

Other fish are presented cleaned and sometimes fileted,
 such as you can see above. 

Still others are presented whole, more or less as we would see them
in a local fish market here in the West.  

I loved the colors of these fish together...

I think this fish's eyes are on the other side of its body.  Spooky!

Then, there are countless dried fish.  
I especially liked these little sardine-type fish below.
They were silvery and looked crispy.

As were these, which looked like an 
anatomy lesson in the making.

Next time I'll show you some fisher-boats.
And a time soon after I will show you other market treats.
(.......Like chicken feet...........)

I am slowly getting back to Eastern Daylight time.
I still wake up with the birds,
and need to be in bed, lights out, by 9.
But that's not really a bad way to live, so I am 
not complaining.

There is nothing like spring mornings with their
birdsong and new growth.
And nothing like being sung to sleep by wood frogs--
windows wide open so as not to miss a note!

Good night, good people.
Thanks for stopping by!

08 May, 2011

mother's day greetings

Child in Arms      by Kathe Kollwitz

Whether you are a mom, a grandma, an auntie,
a keeper of animals
or a cherisher of the souls in your life:

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

07 May, 2011

Hong Kong Central

Hong Kong is a collection of many islands which have spectacular hills.
The downtown commercial and historic section of the main island is no exception.

One fine morning, we went to the Central District 
and boarded the Pedestrian Escalator that 
joins Central with the Western District.
If I hadn't been too busy gawking with my mouth hanging open,
I would have taken a photo of it for you.

The escalator  covers about a half mile, and 
rises 443 feet.  Although many people walk while riding,
if one stood still, it would take about 20 minutes to get to the top.
It is the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world.

It runs downhill every day from 6am to 10 am
to accommodate the people who live
 in the more residential areas on the hill.
From 10:30 am to midnight, it runs uphill. 

Thank goodness we got there after 10:30. 
I was reminded of San Francisco. 
Walking downhill uses muscles you don't know you have.

We meandered once we reached the top of the escalator.
The neighborhoods were charming,
with old buildings and beautiful trees and
enticing alleyways.

Sometimes we went downhill,

and sometimes we went uphill.  More muscles I 
didn't know I had were put into service.
(Also my heart.)

The stairs are ancient and beautiful, and I thought about 
how many feet had climbed them 
these many hundreds of years.....

I don't know what these trees are called,
but I love their root systems.  
They are everywhere you look.
Life searching for sustenance in rocky steep ground.

No skyscrapers on this hill.
The buildings are a mix of residential and small commercial establishments--
 apartments with rooftop gardens sit above storefronts.

I was taken with this rooftop scene.

And the rooftop of a foot massage establishment made me laugh out loud.
There is an antique shop in Hallowell, Maine that
had the exact same idea.  I'll show you sometime.

The temple above was surrounded by a white wall.
I loved the roofline as we descended the hill.

Finally, we reached the bottom.
I am fascinated by modern glass buildings and the way
they reflect their surroundings.  This one was particularly pretty that day.

This was taken from the front of the double decker bus
we took back home.  Notice a couple of things:  
The tram tracks, and the tram behind the bus. 
 My favorite transport--open air and great for photos.
Also you can see this former British colony
drives as they do in Great Britain--on the left!!  
Safely crossing streets is an exercise in adaptation.

Finally, note the name of the building in the background.
Not quite sure the nature of the business,
but I am sure they are honest. 

This is the person I went to visit.  His Chinese name is Shuyou.
It is an old fashioned name which means
'lover of books'.  
No child is more aptly named.

He calls me nainai ("grandma" in Mandarin).
Music to my ears.