Friday, December 8, 2017

La Virgen de la Esperanza

She's my favourite image of the Virgin, Mary, dear mother of Jesus. I love God very much, but don't consider myself very religious, which is humorously ironic since it's tradition for my very Catholic man to visit every church and cathedral of every city and town we come across. That means we've taken in centuries of Virgin Mary renditions. This Virgen, however, makes me stop and gaze a little longer. I asked Enrique her name and he said she's the Virgin of Sweet Expectation. She's just resting her hand on her unborn son, feeling him move and loving him as mothers do. She's so serene and calm at an event that will change the world. It's all about love. What a beautiful thing.
"The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Luke 1:28 Just a simple maiden with her hands stretched out to God saying, "Lord, thy will be done. I will abide."
#lavirgen #virgendeladulceespera #lavirgindelaesperanza #marydidyouknow
in the  Catedral de León.

I've never seen these; they are lovely, too.

Monday, November 13, 2017



The magical moment my students saw their beautiful melted crayon and leaf stained glass art against the light,

Finding a treasure today, my favorite bedtime tea in León, Spain, which I'm sipping as I write,

Going out for tapas and little beers with my wonderful friend and partner in lifes' joys and challenges,

Reading "Patria" together, a gripping Spanish novel and birthday gift from my literature students.
Many more blessings, but that's a start.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Murano's Fancy Glass Beads

Fancy glass beads from the Venetian island of Murano. Murano glassmakers have developed and refined centuries-old glassmaking techniques for centuries and continue to specialize in their craft to to this day.
This bowl of beads, cast aside amongst so many other valuable treasures caught my eye. Eash one is so individual, so interesting. Many are porous, others are perfectly round, but almost all have some sort of flaw shouting out, "I'm hand-made, the real deal." Maybe that's just like us.
To be authentic we have to have holes and gaps and flaws. In all of it that's why we are most unique and beautiful. The collector in me wanted to bring the whole bowl of eye-candy home. I satisfied my longing with this photo instead.
#fancyglass #crystallineglass #enamelledglass #smalto #goldenglass#goldstone #multicoloredglass #millefiori #milkglass #lattimo#glassgemstones #figurines #comtemporary #traditional #Murano#Venice #Venetia #Venezia

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pastries for the Dead

Pastries for the dead, or los dulces de los muertos sounds macabre. It sounds like something you'd find at the bakery, perhaps at Halloween, but in actuality these sweets are for All Saint's Day, All Saint's Day is celebrated every November 1 in Spain and many countries, as a day families remember those that have passed on.
The typical way to celebrate is meeting together at the gravesite (after mass for those who attend) of the loved ones, having cleaned and put new flowers on the tomb, and then continue the family reunion at a restaurant or individual homes. It's a sweet time of remembering those we loved and love. And these are the typical pastries to accompany the tradition:

Cada primero de Noviembre se celebra el Día de Todos los Santos. Además, esta celebración cuenta con varios dulces típicos de este día.

Saints Bones
Saints Bones, a marzipan dessert filled with egg custard from traditional recipes that have a popular name due to the shape of the roll which looks like a bone.
Huesos de Santo
Huesos de Santo, un postre de mazapán relleno de dulce de yema, una receta tradicional que ha llegado a popularizar su nombre por el aspecto de canutillo que recuerda a un hueso. 

A typical recipe for All Saints' Day that is made up of a dough of flour, butter and egg that is fried in oil. Similar to Saints' Bones, its origin is surely the Arabic kitchen, like that of most of the oil fried sweets.
(Metric) Ingredients for Fritters:
125 grams of flour
30 gr of butter
1/4 l of water
40 gr of sugar
4 eggs
grated lemon half
olive oil

Buñuelos de Viento
Una receta típica del día de Todos los Santos que están compuestos por una masa de harina, mantequilla y huevo que se fríe en aceite. Como en el caso de los huesos de santo, su origen seguramente, como el de todos los dulces que se pasan por aceite hirviendo, esté en la cocina árabe.
Ingredientes para la receta Buñuelos de viento:
125 gr de harina.
30 gr de mantequilla.
1/4 l de agua.
40 gr de azúcar.
4 huevos.
ralladura de medio limón.
aceite de oliva.

Además se nota la interacción con otros mundos, la cual ha traído dulces diferentes de otras zonas que se van integrando, algunos cercanos como los panellets catalanes, pero también los dulces que en México preparan para otro día, Día de los Muertos, para ofender a los muertos a los que llevan comidas sabrosas como una evocación de su amor por ellos.
-Texto Español de El Faro

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Little Art Theory

Wednesdays are fast becoming the best day of the week.
Un poco de teoría de arte. Los miércoles rápidamente se están convirtiendo en el mejor día de la semana.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Leaves Fallen Flat

I once had a wooden frame that held two pieces of glass which I could slide out to place natural flower and leaf specimens between the panes. It was an especially beautiful way to exhibit and examine special finds from my walks. This time nature produced the same stunning effect as my frame did with autumn leaves fallen flat by the previous day's rain, horizontally pressed against the ceiling of Madrid's Cristal Palace.
#Madrid #parqueretiro #naturewalk #leaves #leaves #otoño #naturegeek #paseos #otoño #elretiro #palaciodecristal #cristalpalace #nofilter

Monday, October 16, 2017

Me Too

In case you are wondering why "me too"
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Age 12 on a Navajo reservation. Home and my step-father for years. Teen, my older boyfriend, date rape. College student, a flat mate in a new city. Objectification, husband. Too many inappropriate and unwanted touches to mention. Enough is enough!
It hugely impacted my life; immobilized me and fed my fears when I was younger and distorted my trust when I was older. I'm so thankful for my present relationship and the strength gathered personally to denounce this evil with my sisters globally.
"Keep saying it, because we are fighting not one guy here, but a system that can only be challenged by collective rage, not individual shame."
#metoo #abuseofpower #powerover #harveyweinstein #sexualharassment#widespread

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Los Arboles Lloran

Mi corazón está tan apesadumbrado con los fuegos en California, mi cuna. Todo se está quemando, es una devastación total; la flora y la fauna han desaparecido, casas y vidas humanas perdidas. Es una tragedia.
Hay tragedias que no podemos evitar, pero hay otras formas de devastación que se producen debido a la ignorancia. Como el desconocimiento acerca de cómo funcionan los árboles y lo que afecta a su salud. Éste es el tipo de devastación que estamos viendo aquí en Astorga y en tantos lugares donde están podando los árboles en exceso. Los están mutilado en la forma que ves aquí. En lugar de podarlos en el invierno profundo, se cortan sus ramas ahora tantísimo y cuando aún su savia está en lo alto. Los dejan sin hojas para alimentarse y las heridas de las motosierras dejan los cortes abiertos expuestas a las enfermedades. Esto es criminal.

Catalonia, Too Much, Said the Fish

What's does a Fish have to do with the separatist movement  in Catalonia? Well, it's a fairy tale about a magical fish and a Catalonian government that every time wants more and more from Spain. While the outcome surely won't be the same, the demands and expectations of Spain's most prosperous province sound much too similar. First, you'll have to have read the Grimm Brother's Tale of The Fisherman and his Wife to understand what I'm going to write next.

¿Qué tiene que ver el Pez de la fábula con el movimiento separatista de Cataluña? Bueno, hay un cuento de hadas sobre un pez mágico que concede deseos y alguien que siempre quiere más, como el gobierno de Cataluña respecto de España. Si bien el resultado seguramente no será el mismo, las exigencias y expectativas de la región más próspera de España son muy similares. Primero, tendrás que haber leído el Cuento de Grimm "El Pescador y su Esposa" para entender lo que voy a escribir a continuación.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jet Lag

Jet lag and traffic jams have a lot in common. You need to arrive to a state of sleep or to a mapped destination, but either way you are stuck, pinned down physically by an external that keeps you from moving ahead. "I refer to jet lag as 'jet psychosis - there's an old saying that the spirit cannot move faster than a camel."
#jetlag #insomnia #nopuedodormir #stuck #traffic #trafico #spaldinggray

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

About Connection

"What curriculum did you use?" a new friend asked me when she discovered that we both homeschooled our children for well over a decade. We both had used the same integrated studies based on our love of literature. There was an immediate sense of commonality that got me thinking about connection and it's meaning at a deeper level.
Life can be many things to many people. There's commonality, what we share, and then there's a reaching out and making contact, and that's connection. A seedling reaches upward towards a bright sunlit sky and finds the nourishment to grow and flourish. A foal reaches up to its mother for warm life-sustaining milk. A single cell attaches and holds onto nutrient-rich lining to multiply into a complexity that still baffles scientists.
There's a bridging of chasms where otherwise there'd be nothingness. Death is bridged by life. I love life and therefore the giver of life. I love when a limp little creature bursts forth helpless from the womb and finally gains its strength, or a wet butterfly emerges from is cocoon and actually has the chance to dry its wings to fly. And, I love when Christ, the only figure to do so in all of religiondom, reaches out, spans the expanse of eternity to make peace between a just God and a world of hopelessly separated individuals. I love that there's a God, who's not just about commonality, but of connection. Of reaching out. Of life.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Dogs of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara on the central California coast, has the Santa Ynez Mountains as dramatic backdrop, Spanish Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, upscale boutiques and restaurants offering local wines and seasonal fare. There are two impressive botanical gardens, the Franciscan Mission, multiple art galleries and museums and many more attractions, not to mention the fabulous beach and coastline!
But, that's not what this post is about. It's about how, in an exclusive city like this one, dogs of all shapes and sizes are so welcome and seen everywhere, even in the poshest of places.

Santa Bárbara en la costa central de California, tiene como telón de fondo dramático las montañas de Santa Inés, edificios de estuco blanco de estilo español mediterráneo con tejados de teja roja, boutiques de lujo y restaurantes que ofrecen vinos locales y comida de temporada. Hay dos impresionantes jardines botánicos, la Misión Franciscana, múltiples galerías de arte y museos y muchas más atracciones, por no hablar de la fabulosa playa y la costa!
Pero, no es eso de lo que trata este post. Trata de cómo, en una ciudad tan exclusiva como ésta, los perros de todas las formas y tamaños son tan bienvenidos y vistos por todas partes, incluso en los lugares más lujosos.

There are even doggie treats in the bank for that patient hound.
Incluso en el banco hay golosinas para los perros mientras esperan.

Dogs small and large are welcome to enter and shop.
Los perros, pequeños o grandes, son bienvenidos en los comercios.

Which ice-cream should we choose, Mom?
¿Qué helado debemos elegir, mamá?

Friday, September 22, 2017


An awesome two hour two of one of the most stunning botanical jewels in the USA. We were fortunate to book a 10am limited tour of the 37-acre Montecito estate of Ganna Walska, a polish opera star from the 1920s. Walska created the gardens between 1940 and 1980s and we got to see al, but the Japanese Garden, which is being renovated. Just look at this list! Not only are there tropical and subtropical plants, but every imaginable plant in the following gardens:

Aloe garden, blue garden, bromeliads, Insectary Garden, cacti & euphorbias, cactus garden, cycad garden, Dracaena circle, fern garden, orchards, parterre, palmetum, shade palm garden, succulent garden, theatre garden, topiary garden, tropical garden, water garden, water stairs and cypress allée

Since it's so well photographed and featured in several YouTube publications, I decided to put down my camera and just enjoy the stroll and sights in Sara's company.

Well, this last video won't disappoint because it's the explanation of how a determined and very beautiful Ganna Walska walzed through a life of wealth and luxury by way of marriage and good fortune. She had 6 husbands. A few died and she divorced a few and her accumulated fortune as a result allowed her to create this extravagant garden masterpiece.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What Sunflowers Do

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It's what sunflowers do. -Helen Keller
Not thinking backwards nor forwards; just loving these bright yellow days of September's garden with my favourite sunflower.
#sunflower #girasoles #septiembre #september#sunshine #lompoc #daughterlove #helenkeller#visitagenial #daughtertime #fallbouquet

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Name That Beach

#secretbeach #rockart #mural #california #pacificcoast #iseeyou

Tour the Murals, Lompoc

Nestled in the Sta. Rita Hills of California Central Coast, Lompoc has been a comfortable, peaceful destination where When Sara has bought her first home I heard less than complimentary things about this sleepy town of 43,000+, mostly because it's just a little sister to upscale beauty, Santa Barbara, an hour drive south along Highway 1. But, I'm loving my stay and am pleasantly surprised by the town's quaint charm, which started the weekend I arrived with delicious coffee and tea choices from South Side Coffee Co. and browsing its numerous antique stores, and abounding art and murals. The Lompoc Mural Map from 2016 touts 36 city murals, but I'm sure by now there are more. This photo sampler shows just a few from Art Alley.

Feeding Time (2015) 122 W. Ocean Ave. (back south wall/ Art Alley) Artist Jeff Raum - Moorpark, CA

“Like beautiful flowers
Blossoming along a vine,
The Murals of Lompoc surprise
and delight residents and visitors
as they stroll the downtown area”
– Lompoc Mural Society

The Boatmen (2014) 112 South I St. (north wall/Sissy’s Uptown Café, in Art Alley)
Artist John Pugh (master of “trompe l’oeil”) - Truckee, CA

Fields of Gold (2004) 117½ South H St. • Mural In a Day (south wall)
Master Artist Colleen Goodwin Chronister (Salem, OR) with participating artists.

. Price of Freedom (2000) 125 South H St. - Pays tribute to all the men and women who served, fought and died in the 15 wars and conflicts of the 20th Century.
Artist Eliseo Silva - Corona, CA