Posts Tagged With: friendship

JAIPUR HAWA MAHAL

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This building is Hawa Mahal, called The Palace of the Winds because the facade has 956 delicate, honeycombed sandstone windows used by the ladies of the palace to watch the outside world without being seen.

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This is a close up but you cannot see the windows. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the form of a crown of Krishna, the Hindu God.

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The reason we got such good pictures of the Hawa Mahal is because of this one-legged man with the cane in the middle of the street. He bravely walks into rather fast-moving traffic, they stop and let us cross over the boulevard divider so we could take our picture and then back to re-enter the bus. Ranvir pays him for this service. Methinks Ranvir has a soft heart for those in need. And, he keeps us safe.

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And, of course, no surprise that the building  is pink. Now you can see the sandstone windows.

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In this town we see ready wrapped turbans for sale. All you have to do is set it on your head instead of going through the long process of wrapping.  Modernizing signs are everywhere in India. I love the colors.

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As I look out the window I see  a little slice of life. The woman back left,  lifting her garment and exposing pants underneath that she may wear out of sight. And we falsely think of India as such a macho society. The grandma stands behind the father carrying the baby. We see that often, men who are very involved with their children and babies. And the couple in front. He is carrying the package for her.

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One thing I love about traveling with OAT is they always arrange for a home visit. This is Mr. Mathur, I’ve forgotten his first name. His wife, Ruchi and one of their two sons, right. (Apologies for not checking my camera focus, earlier.)

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When we first arrived, Mr. Mathur wasn’t home. The son was there and a visiting next door neighbor child. The son was busily fielding phone calls and filling in the gap for his father’s absence, while we drank beer and wine. I was quite surprised to be offered an alcoholic drink.

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Ranvir tells us nothing about the family and Kris brought something for a young child. She entertained the neighbor child which turned out very serendipitous.

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Dinner was very casual, everyone passed around the pots of great food. We felt just like family. The food, not over salted and absolutely delicious. Mr. Mathur was very friendly and informal. He is the youngest of 7 brothers who all live in the same complex. He wanted to be a businessman, but was nudged by his father to become a lawyer. He showed us his office, a bedroom converted. They live in the original house, downstairs with only two bedrooms. The rest of the family lives, up stairs or in other buildings on the property. Ruchi says when guests arrive they have nowhere to put them. So they will remodel. Just like talking to a neighbor.

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Hugo hit it off so well with Mathur they arranged a golf game on our return to Dehli before flying back to the U.S.  (A game in which Ranvir joined and played golf for the first time.) Theo wasn’t feeling well that night and stayed in the hotel.

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We always bring a hostess gift and no one ever really knows what to bring. Ruchi shared a lot of her personal life, too. Her mother died when she was very young and she was raised by her father. When she talks about her father or Dehli, her eyes just light up. After college she worked as a librarian and met her future husband. She said she had never cooked a meal in her life but, it is tradition, that the wife moves in with the husband’s family. They did not use astrology to choose their wedding date. They both believe that is just superstition. She said her mother-in-law very patiently taught her to cook. And she enjoyed that very much. They travel all over Europe and the United States. Whenever they visit, they stay with family or friends. She sometimes wishes she could travel to a quiet place and meet people like us. I invited them to come stay  and be my guest to visit Big Trees State Park as part of their next travels. I have her email and I hope they come.

I’ve had trouble with pictures because I tried to load them into separate folders and they ended up out of sequence. So, I may at times, blog out of sequence.  And, I re-tore my rotator cuff before I went to India. I had an MRI before I left and it was confirmed on my return. I’m hoping to get the whole trip blogged before I’m unable to sit and type. Thanks, all, for your comments and for stopping by.

 

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OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER MISSED A BEAT.

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Old friends from Fremont visited me two days ago. They were camped nearby and called. With a little background, Sandy and David Barron were the youngest members of our square dancing group, the Kuntry Kuzzins back in the early 1970’s. Square Dancing is one of those activities that you have to drag your husband too in the beginning, then once he realizes how much fun it is, he’ll go without you if you’re sick. So we enjoyed them, often teasing Sandy that she was the “baby” of the club even though she was a mother of two. We were excited when they bought a house.  Sandy was always a bit shy. David, out going, from a large extended family. A nice young couple, building  the American Dream.

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We talked for several hours and I realized what an amazing couple they are.  They look the same.  Neither has aged much. David has less hair.  I didn’t know David was a disabled Marine from Viet Nam. It never came up.

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We checked through their pictures on the phone and I got to see the grandson David helped raise. Their son Mathew’s two beautiful daughters. A great-grandson. Neither Sandy nor Dave have a college education, but their daughter, Jennifer, has several degrees and a fantastic job. She worked during college days beside her mother as a motel maid, making beds and cleaning rooms.  Sandy worked outside the home for 22 years. But, even more revealing to me, Sandy and Dave took in nine foster children. I had two foster children and love them and have contact to this day.  But I was stunned at nine. What a commitment over all of those years.

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What a pleasure to sink back into a friendship, after a long gap. I guess you can tell I’m impressed. I enjoyed getting caught up with mutual friends from our club.  His sisters, brothers, step-father and some amazing tales. I didn’t know Sandy’s siblings.

They brought me flowers and I took pictures of the bouquet. This new computer is driving me nuts.  I could not get those pictures out of my camera. So, you’ll have to settle for a poem by David J. Irvine, called Ownership.

Man’s pet, the kitten, lives nine lives.

Man one: three score and ten.

Man claims the ownership of earth,

Of every glebe and glen.

What modest claim do kittens make?

The ownership of men.

It speaks to the bonds of love… for Sandy and David, those loving bonds are kids and grandkids and other people’s children.

 

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GIFTS TO TREASURE.

Two nights ago, I awoke to a star filled sky, the milky way clearly in view with a small moon and the fresh night air. I walked out on my deck and drank it in. Then I saw a shooting star and thought about a star dying and remembered that a friend gave me a packet of star dust. And, I treasure that gift that he worked so hard to extract from a fallen star. I began to think of gifts I treasure.

Friendships and family are always high on my list, and friends are a gift to be sure.

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Imagine having your family members sitting on your table, each and every one a  gourd. It gives me joy every time I look at them.  They were painted by my daughter-in-law Laurie.

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My friend Kendra came Sunday and brought a quilt of her’s that I admired. I quilted with her for the year it took her to make it and asked her for the pattern, called jewel box. She couldn’t find the pattern so we plotted the pattern from her quilt, measuring and gageing the somewhat complicated construction to produce strings of “jeweled” squares on point. I treasure time spent with her and it pleases me that little scraps of rescued material can turn into make something bigger and beautiful, and useful, too.

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Another gift I treasure is this crystal bottle with a silver lid filled with the sand, given to me by my neighbor Jan Stewart,  upon my husband’s death. An ode to time and assurance that I would find myself and be grounded again some day without him.

There are other gifts, polished glass my grandsons brought to me from glass beach.  A batik stamp my daughter brought me from another part of the world. I treasure her letters and writings from Egypt. Greeting cards from both my son’s and things they made for me over the years. A kaleidoscope necklace from my oldest daughter but more than that, her unique ability in rescuing others, people and animals.

I spent two days weeding in the yard to the sound of chirping birds, the smell’s emanating from the soil and the sun beating down on my head. Heaven.

It kind of amazes me when I think about the things I treasure. Most of them have no great value. See what a few moments in starlight  can trigger? The poets call it magic. But, I can hear “corny” emanating from my machine.

 

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MADDIE’S RETIREMENT GALA-IN COSTUME

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I attended a retirement party for my friend Madelaine Krska. She retired from the county as head of the Elections Department and is moving to Arizona as soon as she sells her place. Dang. Maddie gave all the good parties. Now, none of us know what to do?

She requested we come in costume so I went as a gambler. I didn’t make any money at it, but I had a lot of fun.

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This is Maddie and a friend whose name I don’t know.

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The Arts council puts on a fun event named for the Great Gatsby, and many people at the party attend that event and dressed to do the Charleston and show off their 1920’s and 30’s costumes.

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I fit right in with the gangsters.

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Irene sang along with the band.

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I normally take decent pictures. With my spare battery in the motor home I avoided flash in a very low light situation, and should have taken 25 good flash photos instead of 104 lousy ones, most of which I had to throw out. Those I saved are mostly marginal. Dang, again. I gambled and lost.

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Goodbye, Maddie. We’ll visit you in Scottsdale.

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TAKING TIME TO CELEBRATE.

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A doctor’s appointment in Stockton with a cardiologist took five hours with driving time. As my leaving date gets closer, time seems to shrink. The whole week is devoted to medical necessities before I leave so my blog will be sporadic in the days ahead. The bright spot in yesterday was a birthday dinner with friends. Stuart Mast, his wife Delores Quyle, Margot Osborn and Pamela Quyle, friends I missed my last two visits home.

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Margot’s birthday was January 1st. She is known through out wine country as a wine expert, mistress, extraordinaire. She has that same cache when she visits Sonoma, Napa wine country and everybody loves her.

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Stuart and Delores are owners of Bryce Station Winery. They grow and bottle their own estate grapes.  Bryce Station is a young Winery. I’m not sure of the years, maybe  seven or eight, ten? Their wines are wonderful for such young grapes.  I’ve known them for a long time and didn’t think about who makes the wine?  As I was sipping and commenting on how good the wine,  Pamela said, “Of course, Stuart and Delores make their own wines. They sell out quickly.” I take them for granted. I always expect the best because this family is talented in so many ways. Delores and Pamela both paint and pot. Art is in the blood. Stuart’s, too.

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On the opposite side of the table Marlene and Dick Bradford and  Heidi and Malcom. Heidi was also celebrating a January birthday. It was fun to try out the newest restaurant in town, Tortuga, billing itself as serving  Mediterranean specialties.

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Marlene sculpts and pots and teaches classes at Quyle Kiln. Her work  adds a different spectrum of clay products at Quyle. She does figures and hands on sculpture that Pamela never attempts,  she readily admits. There is always something new and interesting going on at Quyle, either a wine event with food and music. Always potting and art shows. Wine and art, what a wonderful life. All they need is a bakery and cheese making to have what the poets insist is the best things in life. Well, along with love and friendship.

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Heidi was the other January birthday. I believe I met her once before. We were both unsure. She lives part-time U.S. and part-time Germany. She is allergic to cats but inherited one from a neighbor who moved and simply abandoned the cat. She is being very thoroughly trained by this cat and isn’t quite aware of it yet as she seeks to comfort its every need. Oh, my! Such fun. The local cupcakes for desert complete with candles? Wonderful.

It was a lovely dinner with lovely people, and when you bring good wine to the table? It is a celebration.

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WHY DO WE CELEBRATE AGING?

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In 1982, when I first met Paul Moeller, I gave him a cat my daughter hauled home from a goat show. He didn’t want to take the cat without his wife seeing it first, but he did. Then he kept me informed and sent pictures of the cat’s antics for the rest of its life. He lost his wife two years ago, and at lunch yesterday, he told me, “I reach for Martha’s hand each morning before I’m fully awake. But our cat likes to sleep where she slept and I touch fur instead. It comforts me.”

In 1983, he talked me into joining a Public Access group. Happiness for Paul is producing video of what goes on in the community. He loves to find raw talent, put a camera in someones hands and send them out to do video with minimal instruction. Learning comes later. I reluctantly at first, and then enthusiastically helped him produce around 80 videos. Paul has done thousands, so my part was very small.

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Paul has suffered a stroke, a car accident, a broken femur and he can no longer drive. He is still happiest when producing videos for the Public, so he hires a driver to take him to the shoot, and at 86 years old, he still produces video. His driver is my housemate, Karen.DSC01536 (Copy)

I learned a great deal from this man, and I treasure him as one of my best friends. It doesn’t take much to realize that life is a journey and keeping active, no matter how hard, is what we do to make it all worthwhile.

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Later in the evening, Karen and I drove to the Pizza Factory and joined my two brothers to celebrate my birthday. Theresa and Clark, me, Bill and Karen.

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The same photo with Jan.  Some friends are as much a part of the family as family.  I’m fortunate to have three brothers out of five still living. So, we count our blessings and say, life is good, and then we make it so. Stay as healthy as we can, do for others, overcome adversity, smile and be happy.

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