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Archive for the ‘Fotoblog’ Category






1.

fish are social












2.

(with other fish)












3.

i am like that rare solitary koi












4.

left alone for a moment












5.

before the rest of my school darts to my side












6.

i can be a fish







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his and her wellies

his and her wellies


These are the boots we wear to irrigate. Mine are cream colored with koi fish designs. And Jim’s? Well, his are basic black.

This weekend Jim taught me the ropes of flood irrigating our land. It’s no easy task. I have a new admiration for the work he does.

And gratitude.






easter tulips

easter tulips

It never was my intent to learn how to irrigate. I have many passions as it is. I love the land, but its care and feeding—that’s my husband’s domain.

But something happened. The Saturday morning before Easter, I heard Jim calling for me from the bedroom. I opened the door and found Jim collapsed on the bed. Minutes later, three paramedics and two ambulance attendants were in our home.








serenity

serenity (for jim)


Jim is fine. He is alive and better than ever. He had blockages in his heart, which have been opened. He has more energy than he’s had for a very long time.

But it’s going to take him and me both some time before we stop thinking about how fragile life is. Although, perhaps that’s something we don’t ever want to take for granted again anyway.







Postscript: Jim is fortunate. He didn’t have a heart attack on the Saturday before Easter, but he did have a close call. The medical staff at the hospital were savvy enough to know that Jim needed to be treated. They kept him in the hospital over the weekend then first thing on Monday performed an angioplasty and inserted two stents. A main artery was almost completely closed, with only half the heart functioning. There was no damage to the heart. Jim’s healthy lifestyle likely contributed to the fact that he is still here today.

Jim is a tender soul and a genuinely humble man. He told the cardiologist who did the procedure, “Thank you for saving my life.” As Jim now tells the story, the doctor smiled and said, “It was my pleasure.”





acequia

wagon at dawn


jim and rafael

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Gray Spring day in Minneapolis. Rain pings the windows of my Casket Arts studio, wind rustles the frayed telephone wires. I’m staring at a city shrouded in fog. A Westclox Big Ben on the table next to me ticks away the minutes; the first quarter of 2010 is history. March in Minnesota was one of the warmest and most snowless in 100 years.

In the context of a whole century, the 90 days I’ve persevered with the BlackBerry 365 Project seems like a small effort. In busy human terms, it feels like forever. Some days, the photographs are grayed out snapshots with little focus. Other days, I can see the image framed and hung on the wall. It’s the nature of creative effort. And the boundlessness of living.

Once a quarter, I’d like to acknowledge this strange little body of work with a slideshow of my favorites. The project makes me keenly aware of the passage of time. Endings. New beginnings. I am learning patience, the consistent ability to show up for myself, progress not perfection.

I am grateful for the support. Thank you. And if there is anything you notice about the photography — subject matter, framing, content, I’m all ears. What seems lacking, what’s appealing? Sometimes we are too close to projects and practices to see them clearly. Hearing from others can help tap into new veins of work.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Best Of BlackBerry 365 — First Quarter, favorites from 90 days of shooting & posting a phone photo a day, January 2010 – March 2010, all photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Note: the full BlackBerry 365 set is posted on my Flickr account. Along with a daily commentary of little details about the photograph, where I took it, what I was doing that day. I’m excited to be heading into Spring. Expect days to move from white, ice blue, and gray to seaweed, azure, and copper green.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, April 2nd, 2010

-related to post: BlackBerry 365: Things Loved, Things Learned

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This happens to me almost every month — I have to stop and think about how many days there are.

Some months I know by heart. January has 31, February 28, October has 31, December 31. But those months in between — March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November — I honestly don’t know.

I use the fist method (aka the knuckle method). It sounds crude, and it is. I form my hand into a fist then act like I’m about to do a fist bump with a friend. As I’m looking at the fist from the top, I use the knuckles and valleys that my fist makes to count the months.

Knuckles stand for 31 days, valleys for 30 (except in the case of February, which is 28).


fist with months
Counting Months on your Fist, iPhone photo of ybonesy’s fist,
March 30, 2010, image © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



So, using the fist method we learn:

  • First knuckle hump is January — 31 days
  • Valley is February — 28 days
  • Knuckle is March — 31
  • Valley is April — 30
  • Knuckle is May — 31
  • Valley is June — 30
  • Knuckle is July — 31


At this point we run out of fist, so we start over:

  • First knuckle is August — 31 (this is when we remember that July and August both have 31 days)
  • Valley is September — 30
  • Knuckle is October — 31
  • Valley is November — 30
  • Knuckle is December — 31



If like me you were trying to remember if March has 30 days or 31, now you know. And you’ve learned an easy method to always be able to figure out how many days there are in a given month.

I know, I am a font of helpful information.

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Meet The Cherimoya, Golden Valley, Minnesota, March 2010, all photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


For me, grocery shopping will forever be a chore. Instead of rolling down the aisles with a wire cart, you might find me snooping around the deli section or hiding over by the Redbox machine. Last week was different. An ordinary trip to our local, and newly remodeled, Byerly’s (which opened in 1968 as the largest supermarket in Minnesota) sent me running to the fruit and veggie aisle. Waves of sea, grass, and olive greens chased the crimson, rufous, and cherry reds that lined the shelves in a visual feast. I admit, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food. Especially, exotic fruits and vegetables. But then, exotic depends on your point of view.

When Liz plucked this armadillo shelled brown fruit off the shelf and pointed to its scale-like skin, I had to know more. Standing right there, next to the bananas and golden grape tomatoes, she Googled cherimoya on her BlackBerry. Names like soursop, custard apple, and strangealiendeathfruit popped up, along with a quote from Mark Twain describing the cherimoya as deliciousness itself. What? A literary fruit? I was hooked.

The cherimoya is believed to be indigenous to the inter-Andean valleys of Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. Its cultivation spread in ancient times to Chile and Brazil. And though some think the cherimoya comes from Peru, others insist that the fruit was unknown in that region until seeds were sent by P. Bernabe Cobo from Guatemala in 1629, and that representations of the cherimoya on ancient Peruvian pottery are actually images of the soursop.

Wherever its origins, the cherimoya is the fruit that spread round the world. It is commonly grown and naturalized in temperate areas of Costa Rica and other countries of Central America. In 1757, it was carried to Spain where it remained a dooryard tree until the 1940’s and 50’s when it gained importance in the Province of Granada as a replacement for orange trees that succumbed to disease.

In 1785, the cherimoya traveled to Jamaica, then Haiti, and in 1790 to Hawaii by way of Don Francisco de Paulo Marin. The first planting in Italy was in 1797 where it became a favored crop in the Province of Reggio Calabria, before making its way to Madeira in 1897, then the Canary Islands, Algiers, Egypt, Libya, and Somalia.

The  U.S. was a late bloomer. Seeds from Mexico were planted in California in 1871. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture imported cherimoya seeds from Madeira in 1907. Though the trees have not done well in Florida, California had 9,000 trees in 1936, many of them killed by a 1937 freeze. Several small commercial orchards were established in the 1940’s, and, at present, there may be less than 100 acres in the milder parts of San Diego County, making this a rare fruit in this country.


The Wave, The Tomatillo, My Favorite Byerly’s, Golden Grape Tomatoes, Visual Feast, Golden Valley, Minnesota, March 2010, all photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Strange fruit. Because we didn’t know enough about the cherimoya to know if it was ripe or not, I still haven’t tasted one. Now I know that a ripe cherimoya will usually be dark green (though this is dependent on the variety), have a loosening stem, and give to the touch in much the same way as an avocado. The flavor is described as a mixture of mango, papaya, bananas and coconut. And the inside ranges in color from light green, to off white, to pink.

Yes, pink — from a tree that originated as a seedling, owned by a California man named Mr. Stevenson. Rumors suggest the pink cherimoya originates from very high elevations in the Andes. I’d like to pick up a cherimoya the next time I’m at Byerly’s. How adventurous are your taste buds? Have you ever tasted the cherimoya, tomatillo, or mangosteen? Tell us about your taste experiences with (what are considered this country) exotic fruits and vegetables.


Resources:

The Cherimoya, Jewel of the Incas – at CloudForest Fruits

Cherimoya – at NewCROP, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

The Fruit Mark Twain & I Both Love – at the Grocery Fiend

Manual of Tropical & Subtropical Fruits: Excluding the Banana, Coconut, Pineapple, Citrus Fruits, Olive & Fig by Wilson Popenoe, Agricultural Explorer – Harvard University Library, published by the Macmillan Company, 1920

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then…


jumping jack wagon
Jumping Jack Wagon (in June), wagon at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, June 2008, photo © 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





and now…


jumping jack wagon in winter
Jumping Jack Wagon in March, wagon at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, March 21, 2010, photo © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





-Related to posts Homing Instinct (in which the photo “Jumping Jack Wagon” first appeared) and Sunrise On Taos Mountain (Reflections On Writing Retreats), which includes a summary of several Taos-related posts on red Ravine.

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By Teri Blair



The Big Read, all photos © 2010 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved.





Have you heard of The Big Read?


I found out about it completely by accident. I was perusing the CDs at my library, and saw one entitled The Big Read: An Introduction to My Antonia by Willa Cather. I took it home, and was enraptured by the 25-minute program. Ted Kooser talked about the significance of Cather to Nebraska, Garrison Keillor read excerpts from her book, and Colin Powell talked about the immigrant experience. What was this? The Big Read?


The Big Read began in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts, and is the largest reading program in American history. Their mission is simple: to restore reading to the center of American culture. Communities all over the country can apply for grants to explore one of the 31 Big Read titles. In addition to reading the book, related events are planned to last approximately one month.







When I plugged my zip code into The Big Read’s website, I was happy to find there was an event within an hour of where I live. On a Saturday in February my friends and I jumped in my Subaru and headed east to the small river town of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. As Thornton Wilder was from the Badger State, this community had chosen Our Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey. We walked into a packed house at the Scenic Riverway Park building. The local organizers of the program spoke, a representative from the National Endowment talked about what is happening with The Big Read across the country, and we heard from Wisconsin author David Rhodes. He read excerpts from his book Driftless, talked about Thornton Wilder’s writing, and led a group discussion about what Wilder accomplished in his work. At the end of the program, we were all given two new books, a CD audio guide (just like the one I had found at the library), bookmarks, and a reader’s guide.


We were invited to join book discussion groups, and to come back for follow-up events. Wisconsin Public Radio will be performing a reader’s theater, and the local community playhouse will present Our Town.


I love to read, but like most readers, I get worried about the future of books and people to enjoy them. A faster and faster world makes a luxurious afternoon with a good book harder to claim. I am happy to support a program that is doing something tangible…something to bring reading back to the people.


To find out more about The Big Read (and to plug in your own zip code) go to:

http://www.neabigread.org.


Thornton Wilder, David Rhodes, From The Big Read Series, all photos © 2010 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved.




About Teri Blair: Teri Blair is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis and founder of the Poetry & Meditation Group of which QuoinMonkey fondly and frequently writes. (See Letter From Poet Elizabeth Alexander for the latest post on that group and Teri’s piece titled Desire And A Library Card — The Only Tools Necessary To Start A Poetry Group for a step-by-step on how to start your own.)

Teri has written many posts on red Ravine. Her first guest post, Continue Under All Circumstances, was written on the road during a 2007 trip to Holcomb, Kansas. She journeyed back to Holcomb early this year and wrote a follow-up piece published on red Ravine in March, Back To Holcomb, One Last Time.

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alien zone in roswell

Alien Zone, a Main Street soda shop in Roswell, NM, November 2008, photo © 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




It’s been over a year since my family took a trip to southern New Mexico, stopping off in that out-of-this-world place known as Roswell. We explored the International UFO Museum & Research Center, which when we were there didn’t seem all that global, well, except for the globes, or rather, discs hanging from the ceiling. We meandered up and down Main Street, which feels an awful lot like your run-of-the-mill small town, well, except for the pair of drunken aliens playing poker in a storefront window.

Roswell has been defined by a single event that happened in the first week of July 1947, an event that came to be known as “The Roswell Incident.” What I like about Roswell is that something happened to it those more than 60 years ago—something truly bizarre and mysterious—and in the absence of closure as to what exactly that something was, the citizens of Roswell, or at least those who keep the mystery alive, have embraced this event and allowed it to take on a life of its own.

There’s something beautiful about the unknown. You can dig all you want into the facts that are available and the eyewitnesses who are alive, but no matter how well you piece together everything that is known, the parts that you can’t fill in remain the most compelling.



flying saucers in roswell

Flying Saucers, painting in the UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Here’s what is known and not known about The Roswell Incident (heavily excerpted from “The Roswell Incident” on the International UFO Museum & Research Center website):

W.W. “Mack” Brazel, a New Mexico rancher, saddled up his horse and rode out with the son of neighbors Floyd and Loretta Proctor, to check on the sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. As they rode along, Brazel began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris, scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, Brazel saw that a shallow trench, several hundred feet long, had been gouged into the land.

Brazel was struck by the unusual properties of the debris, and after dragging a large piece of it to a shed, he took some of it over to show the Proctors in 1947. Mrs. Proctor moved from the ranch into a home nearer to town, but she remembers Mack showing up with strange material.

The Proctors told Brazel that he might be holding wreckage from a UFO or a government project, and that he should report the incident to the sheriff. A day or two later, Mack drove into Roswell where he reported the incident to Sheriff George Wilcox, who reported it to Intelligence Officer, Major Jesse Marcel of the 509 Bomb Group, and for days thereafter, the debris site was closed while the wreckage was cleared.

On July 8, 1947, the Public Information Office at Roswell AAB issued a press release stating that wreckage from a crashed disk was recovered. Hours later, the press release was rescinded and a new one released stating that the a weather balloon was mistakenly identified as wreckage of a flying saucer.

Meanwhile, back in Roswell, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at the Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the morgue at the air field. It seems the Mortuary Officer needed to get a hold of some small hermetically sealed coffins,and wanted information about how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days, without contaminating the tissue.

Dennis drove out to the base hospital later that evening where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. Upon entering the hospital he started to visit with a nurse he knew, when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.

The next day, Dennis met with the nurse. She told him about the bodies and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England, her whereabouts remain unknown.

According to the research of Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle, in their book, A History of UFO Crashes, from which the following account of the Roswell Incident , in part, is based, the military had been watching an unidentified flying object on radar for four days in southern New Mexico. On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated that the object was down around thirty to forty miles northwest of Roswell.

Eye witness William Woody, who lived east of Roswell, remembered being outside with his father the night of July 4, 1947, when he saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground. A couple of days later when Woody and his father tried to locate the area of the crash, they were stopped by military personnel, who had cordoned off the area.




dead alien in roswell

Dead Alien, from a movie set, UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Once military personnel got into the mix, things began to get muddled. Late one night shortly after the debris was found, a military representative drove off with a load of the stuff and apparently decided to stop by his home and show the family what he had. I can picture that happening. Just imagine how excited you’d be if you were driving around with a spaceship rim and fender in your car. Heck, I’d drop in on my sleeping kids and rouse them out of bed to see the alien goodies.

In 1990, the son of that military officer underwent hypnosis, in which he recalled being awakened by his father and looking at the debris on the kitchen floor. He described the materials, “Purple. Strange. … Different geometric shapes, leaves and circles.” He also said while under hypnosis that his father told him the materials came from a flying saucer. “I ask him what a flying saucer is. I don’t know what a flying saucer is…It’s a ship. [Dad’s] excited!”



Roswell 9

The Crash, painting in the UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





A press release to the radio and newspapers was picked up by the AP Wire on or around July 7, with these words, “The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found.” However, the release was later rescinded.

Evidence of the crash wound deeper into the federal government, until finally it disappeared for good. By July 9 the story was changed. According to the UFO Museum website, “The military tried to convince the news media from that day forward that the object found near Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.” Brazel, the rancher who originally found the debris, began acting strange. He changed his version of events to corroborate the cover story, claiming to have found weather observation devices. Several newspapers carried this AP lead: “Reports of flying saucers whizzing through the sky fell off sharply today as the army and the navy began a concentrated campaign to stop the rumors.”



drunken aliens in roswell alien balloons

Drunken Aliens and Happy Aliens in storefront windows on Main
Street, photos © 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





The City of Roswell celebrates its most famous incident every year with a UFO Festival during the first week of July. I think it’s safe to say that not only is this an international event, it may in fact be a galactic one. I suppose some could say that there was no other path than to keep this story alive, or rather, to make it into the past, present, and future of the place. But no matter — weather balloon or flying saucer — by now Roswell has a corner on little green men with pointy ears.





Links about The Roswell Incident

  • Roswell UFO Museum’s The Roswell Incident: for information supporting the story above about what happened in July 1947
  • The Roswell Files: for a different perspective on what happened that week in Roswell

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By Teri Blair



Clutter Memorial Monument, photo © 2010 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.





The town of Holcomb has been on my front burner for years. It began when I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, built momentum when I read In Cold Blood, and culminated with a road trip to Kansas to see the spot on the map that writer Truman Capote made famous. I was pulled into the 1959 story with everyone else—the lonely farmhouse, the two ex-cons who drove through the night to a place they’d never been, the murdered family. Truman’s stellar writing made me want to see it all—the Clutter Farm, the courthouse where the death sentence was pronounced, and the hotel where Truman stayed while he wrote.

The first time I drove the 850 miles I was a just a sightseer, a tourist. It was a one-time thing. I couldn’t have predicted the story would keep going, that months later I would find some long-lost relatives in Holcomb who had known the Clutters, that I would interview some of the same people Capote had, that I would make the long trip through the relentless wind several times.



Windmills of Kansas, grain elevator towering over Garden City
(seven miles from Holcomb and the site of the trial), Chinese elms
leading to the Clutter farmhouse, and the Clutter farmhouse.
Photos © 2010 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved.





Fifty years ago Perry Smith and Richard Hickock drove across Kansas on a false tip that there was a rich farmer who had thousands of dollars hidden in a safe. Their botched robbery turned into carnage. The two were captured six weeks later, tried, convicted, and hung at a federal penitentiary. The crime was horrific, but everyone agrees, the story would have faded in time—if not for Capote. Though life would have been forever altered in Finney County, it would have returned to normal.

But it didn’t work that way. Truman wrote his book, it became a best seller, and he was catapulted to the top of the literary world. Then Hollywood got on board with a string of successful movies based on the book. Because of one author, there has been a constant, unending stream of people like me in Holcomb. Curious. Prying. Asking. Looking. Bringing it up. Over and over and over. When I interviewed Duane West a few years ago (the local lawyer who got the murderers convicted), he asked why people like me don’t think of something else to do. He’s been pestered for so many interviews since 1959 that he won’t talk to anyone unless they make a donation to the Boy Scouts of Finney County.




         

                             

Finney County Courthouse and stairs Capote climbed during the trial to
the courtroom. Photos © 2010 by Teri Blair, all rights reserved.





In September, Holcomb dedicated a monument to the Clutters. Its intent is to honor the four people who died: Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon. They were upstanding, involved members of their community. That’s what the monument focuses on, not what garnished the attention: their brutal deaths described in the book In Cold Blood. It was a solid community step to take the Clutters back from Truman and Hollywood and bring them home to their people.

The last time I was in Kansas, I went to the annual Ground Hog Supper held at the Methodist Church. It was the Clutters’ church, the one where the four-family funeral was held in 1959. I sat in the same Fellowship Hall where the mourners would have eaten their post-burial lunch. The room was packed. Just like in 1959. And the people were the same as then—farmers, insurance salesmen, clerks. I liked them. They reminded me of people I grew up around. And I didn’t want them to be bothered with gawkers like me any longer.



Park sign leading to Clutter Memorial Monument,
photo © 2010 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.





Was Truman right or wrong to tell their story? I loved the book and what it did for American writing. But was it worth the price Holcomb had to pay? Though I won’t pass judgment, one thing is clear: a good writer’s work leaves results. When Capote left New York to set up shop in Kansas, he pulled us in. The pull has lasted five decades. His book kept a wound open. And Truman suffered, too. Researching and publishing In Cold Blood punctuated his dramatic descent into alcoholism.

So for me, for this one writer, I’ve decided to set it down. If I go back to Holcomb someday to visit my cousins, I’ll enjoy the Arkansas River that flows through the town, and I’ll buy a Cherry Limeade because I can’t get them where I live. But that’s it. No more questions.

I’ll just let the people be. It’s time.



Wheatlands Hotel, where Truman Capote stayed,
photo © 2010 by Teri Blair. All rights reserved.






About Teri Blair: Teri Blair is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis and founder of the Poetry & Meditation Group of which QuoinMonkey fondly and frequently writes. (See Letter From Poet Elizabeth Alexander for the latest post on that group and Teri’s piece titled Desire And A Library Card — The Only Tools Necessary To Start A Poetry Group for a step-by-step on how to start your own.)

Teri has written many posts on red Ravine, but this current piece is a follow-up and closure of sorts to her first guest post here, Continue Under All Circumstances, which she wrote on the road during a 2007 trip to Holcomb, Kansas.

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doorways (three)





Door etymology: Merger of Old English dor (pl. doru, “large door, gate”) and Old English duru (pl. dura, “door, gate, wicket”). The base form is frequently in dual or plural, leading to speculation that houses of the original Indo- Europeans had doors with two swinging halves. Form dore predominated by the 16th Century, but was supplanted by door. First record of dooryard is c.1764; doorstep is from 1810.





doorways (one)






Symbolism of Doors

Doors symbolize hope, opportunity, opening, passage from one state or world to another, entrance to new life, initiation, the sheltering aspect of the Great Mother. The open door is both opportunity and liberation.

Gates shares the symbolism of entrance, entry into a new life, communication between one world and another, between the living and the dead. Gates and portals are usually guarded by symbolic animals such as lions, dragons, bulls, dogs or fabulous beasts. At the gates of the House of Osiris, a goddess keeps each gate, and her name must be known to enter.

A door is an important element of a house, a symbol of passage from one place to another, one state to another, from light to darkness.

Entrances to holy places (temples, cathedrals) are not necessarily invitation to participate in the mysteries contained inside. The act of passing over the threshold means that the faithful must set aside their personalities and materialism, to confront the inner silence and meditation that it symbolizes.

As an access to a refuge or the warmth of a hearth, a door also symbolizes communication, contact with others and with the outside world. An open door attracts because it signifies welcome, invites discovery, but a door can also signify imprisonment, isolation. A closed door signifies rejection, exclusion, secrecy, but also protection against dangers and the unknown.





orange-red door





Doors in Literature

A doorway has a narrow view of the world, but a person can walk through the doorway. The doorway is their opportunity to actually make a difference in the world. People who are more willing to make a difference in the world have an easier time walking through the doorway then others.

Characters in stories that are too scared to walk through a door are also scared about what the world might do to them. They would rather keep that doorway as their shell from the rest of the world.





red door





Words for Doors



“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”

~Emily Dickinson




“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.

~Ogden Nash




“I look like just like the girl next door…if you happen to live next door to an amusement park.”

~Dolly Parton




“The outward man is the swinging door; the inward man is the hinge.”

~Meister Eckhart




“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

~Johnny Cash





doorways (four)




Your Door Assignment

Write about doors. Doors of perception, cellar doors, sliding doors, The Doors. A portal or entry. A doorway. Indoors and out of doors. A door to your mind, locked doors, open doors. What does a door mean to you?

Off your hinges? You make a better door than a window? Katy, bar the doors! ybonesy is on her way, and Lord knows, we don’t want her shadow to darken the door.

There are so many door idioms. We beat paths to doors, get a foot in the door, see someone to the door, close one door only to have another open, and think fondly of the girl next door.

Pick up your fast-writing pen and your notebook and write without stopping. Cross that threshold, but don’t cross out. For 15 minutes. Now.

(Pssst. If you want to photograph doors, please do so and share your thumbnails in the comments section below.)








white doors doorways (two)

doorways (six) doorways (five)

All photos were taken by ybonesy in January 2010, in or around
Hue, Vietnam, at three sites: the Citadel, the Palace of Emperor
Khai Dinh, or Emperor Minh Mang’s burial palace.






Sources

About Doors


About Vietnam (photos)

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Should I be worried?






-Related to posts Because She’s A Nut and Ten Things About Sony The Pug.

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halong bay (one)

halong bay (one), view from a grotto, August 2009, photos
in collection © 2009-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Once upon a time, soon after the Việt people established their country, invaders came. The Jade Emperor sent Mother Dragon and her Child Dragons down to earth to help the Việt people fight against their enemy. Right at the time invaders’ boats were rushing to the shore, the dragons landed down on earth. The dragons immediately sent out from their mouths a lot of pearls, which then turned into thousands of stone islands emerging in the sea like great walls challenging the invaders’ boats. The fast boats couldn’t manage to stop and crashed into the islands and into each other and broke into pieces.

After the victory, Mother Dragon and Child Dragons believed this country to be so beautiful that they didn’t return Heaven but stayed on earth at the place where the battle had occurred. The location Mother Dragon landed is now called Hạ Long Bay and where Child Dragons descended is now Bái Tử Long. The dragons’ tails waving the water created Long Vĩ (present Trà Cổ peninsula) and formed a fine sand beach over ten kilometers long.

~Legend of Ha Long Bay, adapted from Origin Vietnam website



halong bay (three)


girls in boat (halong bay)


village (halong bay)


halong bay (four)


halong  bay (two)


village by the rocks (halong bay)


boat house (halong bay)





Every time I come to Vietnam, I try to see a part of the country that I don’t know. Last trip, August 2009, I went north to World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin. The photos speak for themselves.

Tomorrow, Friday, I’ll fly to the Central Highlands, to the ancient citadel of Hue. (I have been to Central Vietnam before, to the city of Da Nang and the ancient village of Hoi An.)

Sometimes I wonder, How did I get so lucky as to come to know this beautiful country and its compassionate people?

I’m curious. Do you believe in luck? Do you ever marvel at your good fortune? Do you curse bad luck? Let me know if you get a chance.

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pig on a scooter

pig on a scooter, pen and marker on graph paper, doodle and
photos © 2009-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





This is my seventh visit to Vietnam. Seven trips, back and forth across the great expanse. If I added up all the hours spent on just one leg of the trip—San Francisco to Hong Kong and back—it would be 182 hours in the sky. Over one week on just these seven trips.

That’s a lot of time to spend in a vehicle that I liken to an empty toilet paper tube with wings. A lot of time spent sitting, eating, and sleeping in the company of strangers. As someone who doesn’t necessarily enjoy being in such close proximity to people I don’t know who sniffle, snore, and sweat, it is noteworthy, then, that I can muster the mental fortitude to make the slog again and again. The reason I do it, the reason anyone does it, of course, is for what waits on the other side.

My first trip to Vietnam, I wandered the streets of Saigon, lost but unafraid, except perhaps any time I stepped off a curb and into the onslaught of motorbikes, which parted and flowed around me as if I were a boulder in a rushing river. That and my second trip were spent solely in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, which is a sensual feast and assault all at once.

The roads are clogged with motor scooters, and not just one person per scooter but entire families and small businesses transported on two small tires. There are rickshaws, bicycles, small cars, SUVs, tourist vans with sleeping Japanese or Koreans, and the ubiquitous container trucks, what we call semis, reminding us that this place is being rebuilt before our very eyes.

But traffic and congestion you can see in any big city in the world, and Saigon holds not a candle to many of the largest. Still, where else can you witness the harmony of millions of people and their wheels in synchronous motion, as if this is something they’ve practiced all their lives—driving motorbikes loaded down with baskets, glass panes, multigenerational families, televisions—and are now performing in the symphony of daily life.

There is a Zen quality to the way traffic flows in Vietnam. School girls dressed in white Áo Dàis, the traditional attire for women, stroll in pairs down a busy thoroughfare, impervious to the crazy tourist vans and containers that roar by, spewing their black exhaust. I peer at the chatting girls with both fear and admiration. How do they manage to stay so calm when I am reciting Hail Mary’s and praying that I will return home in one piece?

As I have traveled from Saigon to the Mekong Delta, through the center part of the country in Da Nang and Hoi An, then north to Hanoi and Halong Bay, I’ve seen more than I can ever recall. A naked man walking along the cement divider on a narrow and packed two-lane highway. Cows grazing in the grassy medium. Women bent harvesting rice. Raised graves that look like small cottages. Buddhist statues as tall as skyscrapers.

On my morning commute to work, colleagues on the shuttle bus doze off or talk to one another. Not me. I keep my eyes glued to the passing scenery. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen a bus pass so close that I could touch it or the tangle of rivers we seem to always cross, or the row of shops that sell marble statues in the likeness of any spiritual figure—Buddhas, goddesses, Jesus and Mary—I am still drawn in as if seeing it all for the first time.

On my last trip I went in a minivan from Hanoi to Halong Bay. I’m now accustomed to seeing animals transported on the backs of scooters. Chickens in cages or ducks with their bills and legs tied with twine for the trip. But I had never seen an adult pig, five or six hundred pounds of pink jello-y flesh, roped onto a motorbike. As the young man carrying the pig passed our van and I stared with mouth open, he seemed nonchalant, so at ease bumping along the dirt road with his jiggling sow in tow.

There is no way, really, to describe how exotic, how absolutely delectable Vietnam is to my senses. Roads are torn up, rice paddy fields relocated, new business parks and high rises rise overnight. It is a country in transition, moving to claim its place among economic powerhouses. I am in the midst of it, working with government, industry, and education to prepare for what is to come.

On one of my early trips, I walked with two Vietnamese colleagues down an alley near the coffee house where we’d just been. I looked up at the tangle of communications and electrical cables, signs of growth unplanned. Before us motorbikes surged six rows thick, mixed with taxis, cars, and bicycles. I turned to my friend and said, “I hope Vietnam never changes. I hope I can always see this,” and I motioned with my hand at the chaos before us. She looked me in the eye and said, “Ah, Roma, I hope very much that my country does change. I hope we someday have roads to fit the cars, safe roads and infrastructure for all the people who live here.”

It was then that I realized how unfair of me it was to want Vietnam to remain the same, as if it were a curiosity put here for my own pleasure. The people of any country should be able to determine their own destiny. And especially Vietnam, ravaged by war and poverty, a legacy of imperialism.

I’ve come around to embracing the change that is inevitable. These days I simply observe everything I can, take it in as if I were a recorder. Ten years from now, I vow to come back and see how different it is.



stop light (ho chi minh city) waiting to cross (ho chi minh city)
sharing the road (ho chi minh city) in transition (ho chi minh city)
going for a ride (ho chi minh city)

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Somewhere between Santa Fe and Albuquerque (one), on the RailRunner Express, December 30, 2009, iPhone photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 

2009: re-flec-tion

 
–noun
 
 
1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
2. an image; representation; counterpart.
3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
4. a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 




Get out your fast-writing pens. The year 2009 (and the first decade of the 21st Century) is over. What did it reveal to you? What did you reveal to yourself?

Reflect on the past year. Write it out. Write about the trip to Santa Fe, the visit to your favorite store (the one with fake geese walking in a line to the front door) where you found an elegant wrist and hand made of blue glass for storing your rings.

Write about the books you read, the movies you saw, the many bowls of popcorn, salted and buttered, you ate. Write the tears and the illness and the losses and gains, the itches and tics, people and places, the time you laughed so hard you fell off the green sofa.









2010: in-ten-tion


–noun


1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
2. the end or object intended; purpose.









Make a list of your intentions for the new year. What do you plan (not hope, but plan) to realize? Reach far and wide, but do so in a pragmatic way. You can achieve what you set your mind to do. Put it out to the universe.

I will…I will…I will…

Fill in the blanks. What will you do this year?








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Postscript: For many people, this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the start of a long weekend. Take time these next few days to look backward and forward. Even a half hour spent quietly—reflecting on 2009, thinking about 2010—will help you enter the new year with a sense of being grounded, feet on the ground, ready for what comes.


To all red Ravine readers, we are grateful to have spent the past year with you. We look forward to another one.

Happy New Year!


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________


The images in this post came from a day trip from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and back on the RailRunner Express, December 30, 2009. It was a cold day. Low clouds threatened rain or snow, and by the time we boarded for the one-hour-fifteen-minutes back, the snowflakes had started falling.


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New pages, testing out my new doodle journal, Christmas gift to myself, December 26, 2009, images © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
Today is all mine. It’s almost two and still I’m dressed in my light blue, light flannel pajamas. They’re old-fashioned, the kind of button-down-top and pants that Ricky Ricardo and Lucy used to wear. As Jim said, “Now if someone comes over early on a weekend, you won’t have to scramble to get dressed.”

No scramblin’ today.
 
 
 
 

my three cranes

 
 
This was the view from my kitchen window yesterday morning. The three cranes who’ve been hanging out here for over a month had meandered up to the spot where the pasture meets the patio—the closest point to the house without actually being on the patio.

One crane stands sentinel while the other two eat or preen. If they catch us in the window watching them, they sometimes stop what they’re doing and stare back. Us watching cranes watching us watching them.

It’s reminiscent of that spring when we had nearly two dozen turkeys lounging on the patio furniture, including the farm table that’s pushed up against the exterior wall of the kitchen. Turkeys looking in on us, and now cranes. Birds, Big Birds, are social animals. Either that or curious ones.
 
When I crept out the sliding glass door over to the low wall that separates patio from pasture, the cranes booked on out. They didn’t take flight, but they wandered away on their incredibly long and skinny legs to a more comfortable gazing distance.
 
 
 

December Cranes, cranes in the pasture retreating when I move closer, December 28, 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 

November Cranes, same cranes, November 28, 2009,
photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 

changing tradition

 
 
My sister Patty and Mom made Christmas tamales this year. It’s a tradition in our family. Patty suggested that Mom try adding red chile to her masa this time around. Mom had never done that before. Normally the masa is made straight up—corn mixture and water or broth. Not being the most traditional of women, Mom agreed to the change.

Turned out be a good idea. This year’s Christmas tamales were the best ever. I’m not kidding. Chile in the masa made for an interior sort of heat, the kind that comes from deep inside. And tastyyyy?! The kind of taste that you crave days after Christmas has ended and you wonder if anyone has Christmas tamales still tucked away in the freezer.
 
 
 
 

  

Tamales for Christmas, Mom’s tamales stacking up for the big holiday,
photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 

tart and sweet

 
 
One of my favorite gifts for Christmas was a package of Sharpies in Caribbean colors. They remind me of tropical Jelly Bellies or Skittles. The kind of bright colors that people in island cultures use to paint their homes, although you never can tell since the sun fades the colors over time to a sort of Easter egg pastel palette.
 
 
I bought myself a new doodle journal, on sale at Anthropologie. I love that store; the buyers there have the best taste for eclectic and gorgeous furniture, bedding, clothing, shoes, kitchenware.

This journal has a full year’s worth of pages, each month a different color. The months aren’t labeled but the dates are—1 through 31, or however many days there are in that particular month. January is salmon, February creme, March red, April green, May yellow, June blue. The paper has little specs in it, like sun spots on skin. The freckles come out when you apply a marker to the surface.

A doodle a day, starting January 1. I can’t wait. In fact, I didn’t wait. For the first two blank pages, I already doodled. Real doodles, not the fancier drawings I tend to call doodles. I’ll still do those, but sometimes my own complexity—my desire to outdo myself—gets the better of me. Back to basics. (With a mango twist, of course!)
 
 
 
 

  

 
 
 
 
 

retreat, retreats, re-treaty

 
 
I recently became a member of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. I received the 2010 Catalog of Offerings and have decided to take two classes in 2010.

One I want to take with Jim. One of my intentions for 2010 is to share my passions with him. I seem to spend a lot of time in my own world, and while I’ve always appreciated the latitude my husband gives me, I also realize he’s open to exploring new things.

We had a couple’s massage on his birthday, and I’m always surprised by how willing he is to do things I might otherwise assume he wouldn’t want to do.

Don’t make assumptions, one of The Four Agreements®. I reflect on this particular agreement most of all, although all four are principles to live by.
 

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

 
Read The Four Agreements® again. Live them all year long.
 
 
This wasn’t meant to be a post about new intentions. Remember, I’m sitting in pajamas, chillin’. I guess the reflecting and looking forward are percolating, even as I cling to lazy days spent in coffee shops or movie theaters or my writing room.

The waning days of 2009. Another year. Another decade.
 
 
 
 

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get your resin on (three)

get your resin on (three), new resin bracelets by Roma Arellano (aka ybonesy), all photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
I heard a news report yesterday that said something to the effect of, The average shopper has only finished about half of his or her Christmas gift-buying thus far. Wow. That’s a lot of shopping to get in before Christmas. And only five days left to do it.
 
But guess what? We’re doing our part to help procrastinators in the Albuquerque area. Our resin group decided that this month, instead of holding our standard resin meeting, we’d throw ourselves a holiday art house party. We’re getting together tomorrow at the home of one of our members (thank you, Cecilia!) and inviting everyone we know to come and buy art at great prices. And visit, eat, and have fun!

So, in the spirit of getting the word out…
 

out with the old


I’d been fretting about not having enough time to build up inventory of late, but then it dawned on me that I have a lot of “seconds” I could sell at the art party. Resin is a persnickety material; it often leaves waves or bubbles. I had set aside all the pendants that I didn’t think were up to snuff for selling, intent on fixing them some day (since resin is also a forgiving substance; items can be re-resin’d). Yet the mistakes are the kinds that I notice more than the average bear. So instead of keeping all these seconds on my work table for eventual perfecting, I’ll be selling them at half off. Woo hoo!

I’m also going to sell off a few images that I have since decided to close out. In my first round of building inventory, I threw in everything but the kitchen sink; the truth is, I have more designs than I can keep up with. All those close-out pendants will also go for half off, which means you can buy items for as low as $6. Now, that’s what I call good and cheap.



tower of resin   get your resin on (one)

get your resin on (two)   tower of resin (two)





in with the new


Pictured throughout this post are new bracelets I’ve been making, many to give away as gifts for the women in my family (sorry to ruin the surprise if you’re one of those women). And speaking of women, the highly creative mujeres from the monthly resin group taught us all how to make these stretchy bracelets using small tiles in multiples.

Aren’t they cool? The bracelets are reminiscent of jewelry my sisters used to wear in the 60s and 70s. I love how you can mix and mingle found images with your own doodles to make new and wondrous designs.

Now that I know how to make them, I will continue to use more my own images and less found ones. I’ll have some bracelets for sale, mostly to see how people respond to them.

I also found a source for small wood mounts for making mini-wall hangings. I hope to have at least a few of those at the party.




          get your resin on (four)
                                                       get your resin on (five)





come on down



We’ll be putting up signs and balloons to lead folks to the art party, which is tomorrow, Sunday, the 21st of December, 10 am to 4 pm. I’ve invited Facebook friends in the area and will pester them and others with another email reminder.

I hope to see you there. You won’t be disappointed by the selection. (I mean it—these women are such great artists!)

By the way, QM, this flyer contains some of the fun public domain fonts I’ve downloaded of late. Reminds me of your post on Runes.









Oh, and next year, I know. We’re all going to try to have our shopping done at least two weeks before Christmas. Right? Right.



resin arm






-Related to posts Hey, You Got Your Doodles On My Scrabble Tiles!, When You Get Tired Of Scrabble, Take Up Dominoes, and Pendants And Charms And Milagros, Oh My!

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“K” Is For Kramarczuk’s, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


We stopped at Kramarczuk’s Deli last week to take a few photographs after Christmas shopping. Wasyl Kramarczuk and his wife Anna traveled from the Ukraine to the United States in the 1940’s carrying hope and a dream. In 1954, they combined Wasyl’s sausage making skills with Anna’s delicious cooking and baking to create Kramarczuk’s. Today it’s a Northeast Minneapolis landmark (read more at the Kramarczuk’s website).

Northeast Minneapolis is one area of the city that still cherishes the neighborhood deli. After moving to Minnesota in 1984, I settled in Nordeast where I quickly got to know Kramarczuk’s Deli. In fact, for 20 years I got my hair cut in the vintage East Gate Shopping Center nearby that was torn down a few years ago to make way for a grocery store and high-rise.

What’s your favorite deli food? Check out Kramarczukl’s mouthwatering menu. I’ve had the Polish Sausage, the SauerKraut Dish, and the Ukrainian Meatballs. I love the Varenyky dumplings and the Borscht. It is hearty, stick-to-your-ribs food, perfect for the -0 degree December weather we’ve been having in the Twin Cities. Liz and I were drawn to photograph the mural on the side of the building at night. The letters in the side-by-side alphabets reminded me of our recent post on Runes, Oracles, & Alphabets.

And the Runes remind me of the Holidays and Solstice. Today we’ll be putting up our tree. On Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Winter Solstice at the home of our friends. I’m excited because they recently created a labyrinth in their front yard. Walking from Winter darkness to the green of Spring. What do you want to let go of? What would you like to carry into the light.



Kramarczuk’s – Since 1954, Kramarczuk’s Sausage Co. Inc., Kramarczuk’s Walldog Mural, Northeast – Making History Again, East European Deli – Old Kramarczuk’s Sign, Writing On The Wall, Kramarczuk’s At Christmas, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 19th, 2009

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