Posts Tagged With: traditions

TRADITIONS.

We’ve often observed there is no such thing as normal. Traditions adapt to circumstance.

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I never imagined that my oldest sister and youngest brother would compare their bald heads one day.  Dawn has a few wisps more. Clark says, who needs hair, anyway? Dawn is 80 Clark 58.

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Dawn’s son, Tom, is two years older than Clark. Tom, Clark and my brother, Mark, grew up like brothers, rather than uncles and nephew. (Mark died at age 50 in 2005.)

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Dawn’s daughter, Debbie put together a great dinner for 12 with people we seldom see. Debbie’s husband Bob Blake on the right, with his son Jeff and the latest granddaughter, Abbie.

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Jeff claimed he’d never had his picture taken with both of his grandmothers, Dawn and Rita Blake.

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Debbie’s daughter-in-law Margaret with the youngest great-grandchild. At Thanksgiving, Dawn got to see her other five great-grandchildren. There are grand rewards for getting older. That must be why we call them grand children.

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Bob Blake’s sister, Pam and her two daughters and her daughter’s boyfriend came up from Manhattan Beach. I think we saw them at the last family wedding.

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The older we get, the more we look like each other,so someone observed.

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Tom and Bill share a laugh. The picture is lousy but I love it when people laugh with gusto.

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Dawn’s daughter-in-law, Maryanna used to be an Olympic swimmer for West Germany. At age 70, she could pass for someone in her 50’s.

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After dinner, we played bingo. Debbie and Dawn play bingo at the Terraces Assisted Living Center on Thursdays. So, she decided to stage a bingo game with wonderful prizes at home. Great Grandson CJ helped me call the game.  In all the hustle, I didn’t get a picture of Debbie, who is Dawn’s youngest daughter. Debbie is a School Psychologist and a whirlwind of energy.

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The next morning, Tom, Maryanna, Brother, Bill and I all met for a late breakfast at the Terraces before the long drive home. Tom and Maryanna live in Sunol, California. It was touch and go for a time, but Dawn is getting stronger and stronger after her brain radiation.  Traditions change to meet the circumstances and the circumstances be getting better.

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COOKIE BAKING PARTY.

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Daughter-in-law, Laurie hosted a cookie making party.

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Laurie and my sister-in-law-to-be,Theresa, had dual mixers going and gobs and gobs of cookies were the result under their expert hands.

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Stewart and Mason, home from college for the season, enjoyed the snacks and the game and the food and just being home.

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Abbie and Anthony kept themselves entertained until there was room on the counter for rolling the sugar cookies.

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Ken always likes me to taste the latest brew he has discovered. I rolled sugar cookie dough for the little ones.

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Anthony and Abbie had never cut and decorated cookies before.

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Norma got into the act along with the kids. She decided to make it a family tradition since the kids enjoyed it so much.

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Laurie couldn’t resist decorating a cookie.

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Doug, too, whose idea it was in the first place since he remembered doing the same as a kid, one of our family traditions every Christmas.

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Some of us recognized the best part of the party was not the cookies, but the lunch. Friend Tynna swooned. We had friend Norma’s enchiladas, and chocoflan, Doug’s turkey chili verde, I brought spinach souffle, that everyone loves. And, doncha know we all enjoyed  cookie tasting.

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And, then the bakers took a break, enjoying the great food everyone brought to share. Yum!

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Louisiana State Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Note: Mary flew from Baton Rouge Airport, Louisiana on March 12 to her home in California. I’m hoping to get her back with me by mid-April. My current plans are to stay here for a few days and then start SLOWLY drifting north along the Mississippi River to Memphis, Tennessee where I’ll then turn northeast heading for New England. Can’t go north too fast because it’s still cold up there!
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The motorhome is currently parked at VFW Post #4224 in Baker, a few miles north of Baton Rouge.

Yesterday I drove the Bronco the about 10 miles to Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State Museum which you can read about by clicking their official website link…
http://www.crt.state.la.us/museum/properties/LSMbr.aspx

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

It’s only a block away from the state capital building which at 450 feet and 34 stories makes it the tallest capital building in the United States…

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It is a huge museum situated on two floors which I hurriedly covered in four hours when eight would have been more appropriate…and it’s free admission! It does a great job of detailing the history and cultures of this remarkable state…

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This final photo tells what current Louisiana is all about…

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And the good times do roll here! Nowhere in the United States will you find friendlier people than Louisiana. I’m going to hate leaving this wonderful place!!!

To see the other 86 photos that I took, you just have to click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/LouisianaStateMuseumBatonRougeLouisiana

In 1952, Hank Williams, Sr. wrote and sang Jambalaya (on the bayou) on the Louisiana Hayride program broadcast from Shreveport, Louisiana. By clicking the following link you’ll get to see Hank Williams, Jr. with an up and coming 4-year-old following in old Hank’s footsteps and keeping alive Louisiana’s traditions…
4 Year Old

Enjoying interesting state museums is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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TIBETAN TEMPLE AND THE PEKING OPERA

Early in the day, we went to the one surviving Tibetan Buddhist Temple not destroyed by the Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s.

The temple building is huge and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest building built from a single white sandalwood tree. It is 23 meteres high, guarded by those symbolic  lions, and mobbed with worshipers.

The roads leading up to Temples are lined with incense stands. Inside, several huge fire pots are available to light the incense.

Buddhists pray with incense and touch their head, mouth and bow for good deeds.


This woman has a small spread of incense but most use the huge bouquets of incense sticks in their ritual.

While many stand, some use the prayer benches.

Only ten percent of China is Buddhist because many Chinese feared retribution from the government. But, the Buddhist tradition is deeply rooted and Chinese people want to do good deeds and enjoy a better life in the hereafter.

Like all organized religion, there is money to be made. First from the incense and donations to the temple managers. Bills in the water, coins in the dish.

We left the Temple and visited the Prince Gong Garden. It was so crowded with humanity, we left very quickly.

Our last grand affair before leaving Beijing, is an old tradition in China, the Peking Opera.  The Opera is only performed in Beijing-subsidized by the government. We viewed pictures in the lobby of the costumes. Colorful, embroidered, traditional costumes, both male and female. Predominant colors in China are yellow and red.  The costumes alone were worth the price of the tickets. ($30).
The players  entertained us as we sat at square tables with no one’s back to the stage.  They served dainty little cookies of several types on a decorated square plate to pass around. Then with great flair poured tea into tiny cups from a pot held high above their heads with a three foot long spout. A took a steady aim to pour without splashing and the feat delighted us all.

Like parts in a play, one-act was fast paced, acrobatic ballet. In another act, the men and women performed in slow motion meaning every muscle was tuned. The painted white faces and red lips are not allowed to move or show emotion.  We were close enough to see their nostrils flare as they must breathe, but otherwise they were like elegant puppets, disciplined, strictly, choreographed in difficult balancing positions.  You caught yourself  holding your breath for them. The dancing and  story telling drama had more typical  movement and much emotion on stage. The words in English show on screens on either side of the stage. One sequence has the government issued degree hated by the people. They conspire to steal the key to a government room where they unlock the papers and change the degree. (Their only form of protest in ancient times.)  Another is about a Shogun who has a beautiful concubine that he is in love with. He is ordered away in shame and they cannot accept their fate and commit suicide together.  The whole thing was fascinating, enjoyable and a great send off from Beijing.

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THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN

These first two days in Mt.Vernon, I’ve swam, walked the grounds, rested and re-oriented myself to life in a motor home. Today, we will Ferry to Orcas Island and explore. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my pictures from China that I rescued from my old Mac.

As we approach the Temple of Heaven, we see street scenes like this, mobs of bicycles. From our bus we notice tired commuters trying to catch up on their sleep. The Chinese people work very hard under difficult conditions.

Entrance to the grounds is through several gates; an openness the Chinese people  treasure after the ring of three  feudal system walls, the Mongolians erected, were torn down by Chairman Mau. He replaced them by three ring roads, in all the cities that had the walls.

The grounds surrounding the temple is a huge complex with squares, grassy park areas and woods. The first square we come to is filled with ballroom dancers. This is early morning, and nearly all Chinese exercise in the morning, together, in public areas like this. Our guide invites us to join the dancers if we like. One man asked me to dance and I did. Like us, a senior with gray hair, but  strong and muscular. You rarely see a fat person in China.

Michal joined the single dancers on the next square over.

Part of the joy of visiting the Temple Of Heaven was strolling the beautiful grounds and watching the people. Here exercisers perform a  swirling banner dance with graceful ballet like movements.

At this square the people were clapping their hands and changing positions in a very rhythmic  fast-paced way. We enjoyed several groups of  typical tai chai movements.  One group did tai chai while holding balls and paddles. Amazing. Here houses are small so big body movements are only possible  in the parks. They don’t appear to have gyms as we know them.

And, finally, the temple itself. Everything here is so huge, it is difficult to get a picture up close, at least with my camera. This temple is a UNESCO (World Heritage) site. At one time, animal sacrifices were done here and the meat cooked and eaten in the “great” kitchen. The temple is the tallest round building in the world.

Carved column and rail as on the temple stairs.

In the vast interior of the temple, your flash is almost useless. Instead, we were astounded at the beauty of the building; the priceless labors from ancient times that went into building and designing it.  Some things are enjoyable but do not translate to a camera such as mine.

The outer facade of the temple. Not difficult to understand why it is a world-class heritage site. The Temple of Heaven was the province of the Emperor, his family, consorts and servants. The public did not worship here.

And the long hall is really, really long.

A roof corner decoration detail.

We repaired to a Chinese restaurant for lunch.

No matter where you are, the appeal of little children is the same.

But only in China will you find a roof  like this.

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PORTUGUESE FESTA OF NEW BEDFORD, MA

The Portuguese Festa has been a tradition in New Bedford for 96 years. Its the Feast Of The Blessed Sacrament, a celebration as old as the country from which they came. Its about celebrating life, friends, and joy in the things we share in common.
After we settled in a shaded place to listen to the music, beers in hand, Donna Parker got us started with tremoico, salty little yellow beans that people here eat like peanuts along with their beer. Also, a dish of fava beans with onions in a sauce.
Donna said, “…when I was young, I used to dance and go to the carnival. Now I come to listen to the music and eat.”  And dance, sometimes, she told me earlier. Its Donna’s goal to make sure I taste every Portuguese specialty they have to offer and the food choices are awesome.

We were located on a big square with buildings defining an L shape so that one stage had contemporary music, and another had Portuguese entertainments; music, a couple of comedians and later, Madeiren Folk Dancing. Kind of like Greek music, you want to keep clapping and tapping.

This troupe of dancers mixes young and old and is a tradition here at the fest. You discover through their comedy and music how very strong their family ties and cultural identity are.

Jim had a linguisa sandwich while I had cacoila, a flavored, marinated pulled pork sandwich eaten with relish and hot sauce if you like. Its yummy but festival food isn’t necessarily the best example of the real thing, cautioned Bob. But, I thought it was great, along with a second marinated pork sandwich of a different type that  we shared. We paced ourselves and waited between tastings. Bob and I shared a cod sandwich, a salty cod with seasonings. Its made from salt dried cod, a staple  fishermen and travelers carried on their vessels when far out at sea in days of old.

We walked around to watch the people loading giant skewers for the traditional Portuguese Barbeque. It has a name that I cannot pronounce or spell, but I’ll know by the time we go to our second day of the Festa since we’ll be doing the same thing. Some people like green peppers and onions with the marinated meat that you buy by the pound along with the Stone Bread to eat with it.

Some people like to pour red wine or beer on their meat while it cooks. Everyone attends to their own cooking.

We enjoyed watching the people and families drifting by. Donna and Bob meet old friends each year. That is what its all about.

As it got dark, we could see the carnival rides, all lit up in the distance on the opposite street from the food pavilions and traditional stages.

Before we left we had a sweet treat called a marasala, a flat fried piece of dough sprinkled with sugar.  On the back stage a rock band played.

And like kids, Donna and I decided to try our luck at pop the balloon. You shoot a water gun into the clowns mouth, and the first balloon to pop wins the stuffed animal. It was worth every giggle.

For more pictures of the festival, click on the link:
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