Badlands, Onions and an Ogre.

Our challenge this week is to find pictures that best illustrate something that is layered.

One of the first thing that came to my mind was a stack of pancakes smothered in syrup, or how about a mouth watering hamburger loaded with toppings. Unfortunately I could not come up with the appropriate pics, so I will have to bore you with these.

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A rolling stone gathers no moss, but in this case…………
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fungi to climb.
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Where I live you don’t need layers.
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Almost too many layers to count.

And who can argue with Shrek when he said, “Ogres are like onions……onions have many layers.” Who wants to dispute an ogre?
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The Wait is over.

Something that has been on my mind for a while was to move to a new theme. Combine that with the photo challenge – waiting, being held over for another week, I decided to jump in.

Since I couldn’t lay my hands on appropriate “waiting pictures”, I decided to fall back to one of my favourite subjects, the limerick.

We are told that a limerick is a type of poem of 5 lines, and for the most part labelled anapestic.

Footnote: Anapestic is the term used to describe a metrical foot as it is used in poetry. It talks about stressed and unstressed syllables. All very important to those who care am sure. But for the purpose of this post, enough said.

The rhyme scheme is noted as AABBA. Seems it is required that they be humorous and possibly, if one is so bent, obscene.

To quote Wikipedia:The form appeared in England in the early years of the 18th century.[4] It was popularized by Edward Lear in the 19th century,[5] although he did not use the term. Gershon Legman, who compiled the largest and most scholarly anthology, held that the true limerick as a folk form is always obscene, and cites similar opinions by Arnold Bennett and George Bernard Shaw,[6] describing the clean limerick as a “periodic fad and object of magazine contests, rarely rising above mediocrity”. From a folkloric point of view, the form is essentially transgressive; violation of taboo is part of its function. Lear is unusual in his creative use of the form, satirising without overt violation.

So, with that in mind, it appears I have my instructions:

A limerick is such a fun ditty,

It lures one to be wicked and witty.

It leans to the naughty,

Never, ever too haughty,

As it explores and exposes all things gritty.

I was first smitten by the limerick after finding a book by Ogden Nash titled, The Face is Familiar, first published in 1931. After giggling my way through his words, I knew that I just had to give it a go.

The limerick form allows one to be unconventional and bend words to suit the need. Or to put it another way, just be silly and have fun.

Cheers.
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Iphone pics, 2016 616
Waiting

In for a Penny. In for a Pound.

This blog was inspired after reading a post from a fellow blogger and her experience.

She and her husband stopped off at a spot in Vermont, attracted by the appearance of a covered train bridge. Her adventure that followed can be found at A New Day: Living Life Almost Gracefully. I encourage you to give it a read, and you will see the connection.

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The falls above, Ammonite Falls just outside of Nanaimo, B.C., was the reason for the hike. After about 2 kilometers of easy walking through lush forests, and missing the falls on first pass, this is what we came across.

DSC_0998It turned out to be a drop of about of about 150 feet, broken into 4 sections, each with their own set of ropes. To add to the challenge, the ground is a mixture of dirt and lose gravel. Add to that, tree roots ,that were now exposed and begging to be grappled with.

We just looked at one another, well I said what do you think; her answer, please refer to the title of this blog. So with each of us carrying a 35m camera, and I with a side pack over my shoulder we ventured fourth. After all it was all down hill! Fortunately, there was only a couple of others, quite a bit younger I might add, to watch us old people navigate, or should I say feel our way down. So down we went, if it were not for the ropes, our descent would not have been an option.

DSC_0999I went first so as to help Maggie with her foot placement, some of the drops were beyond eyesight. Part way down Maggie was ok with taking the lead. Near the bottom she lost her footing, and did a little spin still holding on to the rope. Other than getting a little dusty and a scraped elbow, all was well.

DSC_0982The descent to the bottom was our reward. Though the flow was greatly reduced due to our dry summer in B.C., it offered up many photo temptations.

I have to say that our ascent was uneventful. Once at the top, we were looking around a bit and noticed a sign that brought a smile to both of us. The sign, being to the right, and somewhat elevated was totally unnoticed prior to going down.

DSC_0994DSC_1003That seemingly uneventful hike presented a formidable challenge, one that was met head on. Some might say that we were foolhardy, I for one was glad we did it, it offered me the option of turning a corner, of accepting the challenge at hand. Now on to the next one. I like SLPMartin’s comment on Pat’s blog about signage being noticed after the risk has been taken. So very ,very true. Cheers.
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Texture all Around Us.

 

DSC_0575 (2)Texture is all around us, some pleasing, others painful to the touch. Some beautiful and intriguing, and some not so.

Texture is not just for the touch, but also the taste. It can make or break a culinary adventure. Sometimes texture can be appreciated by simply looking at it. It can appeal to the senses at a number of levels. Some objects just beg to be touched, but be careful and wise.

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A Collection of Travel Essentials. Maybe.

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As much as you stuff your suitcase with what looks like too much, something is always missed. Maggie and me just returned from a cruise to Alaska. I have to say, I am really glad luggage bags come supplied with wheels. Mine was reasonable, hers……, my hernia should subside by next week!

The pic above is a small but eclectic collection (collage?) of “essentials” that travelled with us. The joke, that all you need to pack is a tooth brush and a change of underwear just doesn’t cut it when going to Alaska. By the way, the tooth brush is mine, the “cravat” is not!

And don’t let the garment industry tell you that clothes can be wrinkle free; that is simply a marketing ploy played to a wont-to-be ironless (and mindless?) public. I folded, rolled, and before that, I ironed. I could have spindled and mutilated, it would not have mattered. If anybody was going to ask, I had a ready answer…. Crinkled cotton. I had more wrinkles than a shar-pei.

I wonder if there are back to nature cruises, you know, sans clothes. Now that would surely lighten my load. Cheers.

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A Post from the Past.

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Browsing through my stats, I noticed that I had published 76 posts in just over 2 years. Not worthy of a medal, but at the same time not too bad for a rookie. It has been fun and a challenge. I thought for this post I would go back to my very first one and reflect on the words and subject chosen.

It was titled New Beginnings, somewhat a heavy start, but yet a very personal one; a bit of a rant/outpouring, a painful bunch of words, I was angry, hurt and confused. But words that seemed necessary at the time. However, it did end on a very positive note, one that is still true to this day.

The words I chose to express my emotions back then are just a snapshot of my state of mind at that moment. I like to think if I were to write on that today it would look quite different. And well it should, or I haven’t learned anything.

To go back and review previous posts is a trip down blogging lane. To see the words chosen and wonder why you wrote them that way may never get answered. It’s done, it’s out there. No regrets. Reflecting back on a number of my blogs, that could be said of many of them.

I suppose as we stumble gracefully into our senior years, we tend to wander back more often to what was. Memories good and bad, and why not. It is time to shift gears. Memories can fill your heart with joy, or your eyes with tears. But that is OK, we are equipped to handle it. I am not in a hurry; I haven’t got all day, I have the rest of my life.

The Good Earth.

When I was growing up as a pre-teen during the 1950’s in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, one of my chores was to keep our vegetable garden weeded. I hated it. I didn’t like having to get down on my knees to weed. My pants got dirty and wet; and I had to stick my hands into the dirt to get at some of the weeds. Plus I wanted to play.

Rows of vegetables were not too bad. What I really hated was the strawberry patch. No rows, and runners all over the place. To complicate the matter, at least in my mind, I was told that I could not go and play until the job was done. How unfair!

Fast forward to the 1980’s when we acquired our own piece of land and I had to put in a garden to satisfy our family of five. That same dirt became our gold mine. Now these hands were plunged willingly into that soil that over several summers was enriched and nourished, thanks to the local farmers and a sound organic approach.

I soon came to learn what really goes on under the surface. This soil, this dirt, was very much a living thing. I was amazed to find out just how much beneficial bacteria and other living organisms existed just below the surface. With careful tending we were rewarded with its bounty. This is my dirt, my earth.

Now look what is happening to this giver of abundance. It is being ravaged through the use of chemicals thanks to big chemical producing companies and agribusiness that virtually have  a strangle hold on the farmers. They rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs. In agribusiness, the thrust is getting the highest possible yields and profits. Nutrient content and flavour take second place. Their bottom line is what is being taken care of, not the consumer. The damage that is being done will take decades to reverse, if it can be at all. The damage is not just to the earth, but also to the product that is grown in it, and ultimately to ourselves. This was my dirt, my earth. The drive is to mass production, not on a wholesome and nourishing product. Thank heavens, not all countries have adopted this approach, for the most part  in Europe and Asia.

The USDA fails to acknowledge that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more nutritional value and are safer than those grown on mass,  despite independent research that has proven otherwise. One can only wonder just how deep a strangle hold agribusiness has on the powers that be.

Despite all this, there are some things that we as consumers can do. Many large grocery chains are now carrying organic products, if your local grocer is not, ask him why. If he is not, shop elsewhere. With stronger competition, prices for organics have come down. Get to know your local farmers and frequent farmers markets. At the political level, write your member of parliament or congressman, that still is a powerful tool.

It seems to me that with the rising cost of health care, it only makes sense to do our part and eat smart. It is going to take generations maybe centuries to turn this plundering of the earth around. This is still my dirt, our earth.

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Earth

Living Statues of Puerto Vallarta. No. 12

With Semana Santa (Easter Celebrations) in full swing in Puerto Vallarta, the Malecon is full of vacationing Mexican families, and a diversity of the weird and wonderful sights that are always a part of the celebrations. For those who are willing to participate, there is a surprise at every turn, some very imagitive, some wild and scary .

My ventures there with Maggie over several days produced some very interesting encounters. Enjoy.

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Surprise

Cobblestone Streets of Puerto Vallarta. No. 8

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Cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta lend to the charm of the historic city center. Although some would call them dangerous due in part to their uneven surface and ability to form potholes, the original use of cobblestones during the early days was quite practical.

Paving with cobblestones allowed a road to be heavily used all year long. It prevented the build-up of ruts often found in dirt roads. It had the additional advantage of not getting muddy in wet weather or dusty in dry weather. Shod horses or mules were also able to get better traction on stone cobbles. The natural materials or “cobbles,” a geological term, originally referred to any small stone having dimensions between 2.5 and 10 inches (6.4 and 25.4 cm) and rounded by the flow of water; essentially, a large pebble. Although the noise of riding over cobbles may seem annoying, it was actually considered good as it warned pedestrians of oncoming traffic….horse, mule or automobile!

Cobblestones are typically either set in sand or similar material, or are bound together with cement or asphalt. Cobblestones set in sand have the environmental advantage of being permeable paving and of moving rather than cracking with movements in the ground.

In Vallarta, the making or remaking of a cobblestone street begins with the leveling of the underlying dirt. Then comes sand. Next parallel lines of larger stones are laid in rows, sometimes with cement holding them in place. Rows are them filled in with the smaller stones. Finally, sand or cement is packed around all the stones and left to settle with gaps filled in as needed. Repair of potholes tends to be a mixture of stones, sand, cement, pulverized terra cotta, or asphalt. In the historic area, the original streets are required to remain in keeping with the original construction, the stones having come from either the Rio Cuale, beach, or nearby quarries.

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Today, walking on cobblestones has been considered good exercise depending on the distance, frequency, surface and grade. Author Via Anderson in a recent article in the Vallarta Daily News (November 4, 2014) wrote, “Find and walk on the many cobblestone walks here (in Vallarta). Walking on cobblestones a few times daily with bare feet (preferred) or minimal shoes (to protect from debris) provides stimulation to the foot musculature that in turn adapts by becoming stronger and better able to handle these forces for longer periods of time…. and may be significant in reversing aging.”

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A little back round on the origin of the word cobblestone is needed here.

The word ‘cobblestone ‘ derives from the English word ‘cob’, which means a small, round lumpen shape. Stones of a similar shape were taken from streams and rivers and referred to as cobbles. Eventually these stones were called cobble stones. Recorded history has all this happening around the beginning of the 15th century.

Later ‘cobble’ came to mean any rounded stone between 2.5″ and 10″ inches across. But, no real measurements were taken. The laying of the stones was all done by eye and fitted together like a jigsaw.

So lets go back a little further. Apparently the Romans were using this method of road construction as early as 250 B.C., where over 50,000 miles were layed down. More info can be found at steptoesyard.co.uk/history-cobbles.

This weeks photo challenge is The Road Taken
. During our stay in Puerto Vallarta we have had the opportunity to walk many of the cobblestone streets and roads; it has become part of our journey.

Time has shown us that life’s journey can be taken on a smooth or a rocky road. The course travelled depends on ones attitude, take on life, and how well we play with others. Do you approach life with a positive attitude, or do you let it beat you down; blaming others for your lot in life.

We only pass this way once, so why screw it up, hurting yourself and others close to you. Life is not fair or a walk in the park. We will fall on rough ground; we will make mistakes. It is how we deal with it that will make a difference – to yourself and others. I speak personally, I’ve been there.

Making  an effort to be positive, though not always attainable is the healthy choice. You will be rewarded, not overnight, not just when you would expect it, but over time your life will be enriched and also the lives of others close to you. According to Dale Carnegie, “attitude is everything”.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”. If we choose to, and, the choice is ours, the effect can mire,and bog us down. If that path is taken, we carry the pain and bitterness around inside, and that can have a bad effect on those closest to you.

Look around you. Life is to be experienced, not just endured. As we weave our way around the potholes, it is important to keep a grip on what is honest and true. The world is still a beautiful place. Smile at it, laugh at it and embrace it. It will feel your “joie de vivre”, and smile back. Cheers.

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