Thursday, July 30, 2009

I phoned my sister

I phoned my sister, Katja, to hurry up and get over to my place. Last year, she and our mother gave me a gift certificate to a local garden shop and among the perennials I bought to make a new bed in front of my dining room window, were some daylilies. A few days ago, one long shoot had started a slow swirl to the stars and opened last night and so I ran inside to phone Katja to come and take a photo of it before it dies.....tomorrow?

I walked to the back yard, towards the area where I have planted "the tall plants". I can't remember the name of this flower but it is about 6' tall. Bees love it....but so do small white spiders. The spiders catch the bees, many of which are enshrouded under the flower heads, wrapped tight in cocoons of spiders silk. I saw a spider sucking the life-juice out of a trapped bee. Hassan said, "Oh, sister! Let's free the bee! I said, "Don't be silly. It's the law of nature. We should never interfere." Maybe this plant is called Bee Trap"? or Death to Bees?

Also by "the tall plants" this yellow visitor came to st(r)ay among The Queen of the Meadow. Queen of the Meadow is also called Ladies Bedstraw. Properly, she's a prairie plant, tall and regal and oh so sweet scented. Her stalks and flowers used to be strewn on the floor of the house or stuffed to make mattresses because of the sweet scent! You can also drink her as a tea or make mead/ale or black dye from her.

Sweetly scented thy wreath,
Meadowsweet of the cairns,
In round brindled clusters,
And softly fringed tresses.
Beautiful and graceful,
Creamy flowered, ringleted, high,
Around sheltered hillocks,
Where the wood sorrel grows
(translation from Flora Celtica)

Something took a bite out of the Lamb's Ears.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

my adventures in Bahrain cont'd

Here are some more photos to go with my article that I linked to last post. The Bahrain National Museum is full of all sorts of fascinating artifacts of the ancient history of the island, as well as more recent "pre-development" times. The photos I took represent a very selective perspective of what is in the musuem, and of the photos I took I am posting only a selective few. So, my photos, as well as my article, are just a selective composition from behind my eyes. Hence, my tongue-in-cheek title referencing the white western traveller off to the "Orient".

I'm interested in the performances of gender wherever I am or where I go, so I tend to gravitate to women's lives. I used to be a hairdresser, so this display of traditional hair beauty treatments caught my eye. Basil leaves, traditionally, were woven into the hair of the bride.

I also am interested in pre-Christian, pre-monotheistic "religion" so this ancient goddess figure caught my eye.

A poster at the museum describes Bahraini women's once pivotal role as water sellers, which must've been an important role in a desert geography. [click to enlarge]

A poster describing some of the handwork women used to do.

A poster of the female drummers.

A few of the burial urns on display in the Burial Mound exhibition.

A snake offering found in one of the graves. Snake offerings in jars were dug into holes in the earth by graves. The jars also held a single bead.

Shifting now to a modern exhibition hall: the shopping center. Here are a few small windows into Bahrain City Centre shopping mall.

upstairs where the shops selling more traditional wares are located.

Ian Hamza, an Indonesian blogger in Bahrain, had a similar idea as me but found the male version of this sign interesting...

definitely out of my price range.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Finnish-Canadian's Adventures in Bahrain

It was my turn, as part of the 3 sisters from the Northshore, to write an article for New World Finn. So, while I was visiting Bahrain, I wrote "A Finnish Canadian's Adventures in Bahrain." You can find a pdf of the Summer 2009 issue of NWF here, with my article on page 9 and 12. New World Finn is available hard copy, so if you are interested in keeping up with what is happening with Americans of Finnish descent, please consider subscribing! Find the info on how to subscribe in the issue. Once you read my article, these photos will look familiar to you. I will post more photos that go with "my adventures" in the next few days. [the last photo in the hardcopy edition of my article is not mine]. More later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cascades, the Current River

I saw this heart jump out of the rocks at the Cascades today, where I went for a hike with my husband this afternoon.

The amazing beauty that is at our doorstep in the great northwest ...

never ceases to amaze me.

colours and

textures abound

drawing the eye

I told you about the Cascades before; last time I showed you spring.

By some miracle, or simply determination to survive, the seed of a tiny wildflower found a home in a tiny crack of these immense, hard rocks.

Trees, too, plant themselves among the stones; askew is not a concern to their roots.

We walked upstream to this point. The nature in the photos above is found behind the rocks in the center of this photo, where the water drops off.

a stone wall

and its reflection

shelling out for a heart

There is a mathmatical formula for the heart shape, but this is not it. This is much more unwieldy than a neat equation. The heart has many meanings, including love, enlightenment, and strength, to name a few, and its shape may have evolved from heart-shaped fig leaves. This is my beach heart of small shells collected from about a yard square sized area of a beach somewhere along the Mediterranean by Tripoli.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I made a spiral of beach stones one day when we drove down to the Mediterranean for a swim; that day, we went to a public beach, not one of the popular private beach clubs. A symbol of growth and change, the spiral returns one to the same point again and again, yet with each return, a new beginning. The result is a fresh perspective on ideas, people and places.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ka'ak sellers in the old souk (market) of Tripoli

ka' of the reasons I went walking around Boulevard Lake this morning with my friend, Amina, even though the skies were threatening rain. And it did rain hard, but we took shelter under some trees along the way. I ate too many ka'ak and sweet goods of all sorts while I was in Lebanon, which means now it is time to pay the piper by burning more calories than eating them.