One of my fellow elementary school students from decades ago posted a quote on Facebook, the topic of which is STUFF. The gist of this is that STUFF rarely makes your life better, usually costs money, fails to contribute to wonderful memories, and provides little in the way of happiness. The timeliness of this post really hit me. Where have I been lately? Certainly not doing much blogging. In addition to working full time, my recent endeavors focus on getting rid of STUFF as in took 35 pounds of paper documents to the shredder and there is more to come, hauled one load of clothes I no longer wear to the shop for Downtown Women’s Center and another load is stacked up on a desk, gave 20 books to the school library and some to the local bookstore, lined up glassware from flower bouquets sent to me to take to the florist on Tuesday on way home from work, and I just got started. More boxes remain to attack.
How did I acquire all this STUFF, and more importantly why did I keep some of it for decades? Perhaps easier to haul it around than to address the problem. Some of it was so old, it even shocked me why I still had it. Now that I am done for today getting rid of more STUFF, I am going to take a walk in the sunshine and admire the yellow wildflower carpet beautifying my land.
It has not reached a temperature above freezing for six days. One night it broke the low recored set in 1895. It dropped to minus 11. The old recored was minus 6. While a lot of the rest of Texas had no power, where I lived had only rotating short blackouts occasionally. At my house, there has been no outage. Not only has it been cold but also snowing. The last two says shout out winter beauty. The first few photos I took yesterday. Then it snowed another 3-4 inches and I took more photos this morning.
I live where weather extremes prevail. Yesterday it was nearly 70, today 60, and in a few days it will drop to 9, yes, 9, with a windchill way below zero. In the meantime, I dream of spring flowers, renewal, transformation. I scrolled through old flower photos and decided to share a few. Drink a glass of wine, dream spring dreams, dance.
My family and I took a quick road trip to California and back over the Thanksgiving break. Why now in the time of Covid? Grandson is applying to colleges in CA and needed to see what he could. We did stay in hotels, picked them carefully, did not use any services–most are currently not available anyway. You put used towels, etc. in the hall, go to the main desk to pick up more yourself, etc. It was fine. For meals we did takeout and ate at the hotel. Twice we did eat at a restaurant outside where there was no one near. It was possible because it was not cold. I took a few photos which follow.
Near the UPS store in San Luis Obispo.
At the University of San Francisco, one of the few places where we were able to get out of the car and walk around.
This and the following several photos were taken among the redwoods at Muir Woods. This is how we spent Thanksgiving Day.
On the way out or in, depending on which way you go, you can see the Painted Desert. Guess I caught my own shadow in this one.
It is an hour or so boat ride from Sorrento to Capri. Although not very crowded in November, apparently it is tourist heaven in the summer. The lower town contains many of the world’s major high end stores. This time of year most remained closed. Even though I am not a big fan of touristy destinations, I thoroughly enjoyed our day on Capri. I doubt I would like it so much in high season.
I took all the above photos while strolling along the walkway shown in the third photo. Beauty lay everywhere I looked.
Last November I spent a little over a week in Italy. We spent only 1/2 day in Rome then drove to Sorrento where we stayed for a week. From there we wandered down the Amalfi Coast, over to Naples, Pompeii, and Capri. Want to avoid the summer heat and crowds? Go in November. Yes, it is chilly and sometimes rainy with big storms at night. Nevertheless, you can really see what people do who live there and avoid masses of tourists. Here are some of my favorite photos:
The above photos taken in Rome. The following were taken in Sorrento.
For several weeks I noticed big bright white blossoms on tall stalks as I looked across the canyon in the evenings just before dusk. While it was still hot even at 8 during this latest heat wave, I hiked across the canyon for a look, taking various photos as I strolled along.
When it rains, water drains into this arroyo and crashes over the cliff near my bedroom.
Never bulldozed or cleared, this land allows ancient junipers to continue to thrive.
No water dropping off the cliff on these hot, dry days.
The flowers I could see from my house across the canyon. My wildflower book tells me these are a type of Stickleaf. To take a photo of the other flower, I had to climb up an incline covered with gypsum.
My dog, Athena, and I continued our hike along the canyon edge.
It was beginning to get dark as we headed back to the house.
I can also see this bush from across the canyon. I see no others like it and do not know what it is.
Last night part of 60 Minutes featured these churches. Several years ago I went with friends from Ethiopia to see them. We spent almost an entire day hiking through around and up and down all eleven of them. I decided to travel back a few years and relive my experiences there and share it here.
800 years ago these churches were carved from the top down out of solid stone. They dug a trench deep all around what is now each church and then worked from there. Everything is stone, including the interior columns and spaces.
There are areas around all the churches and drainage canals so they do not flood in the rainy season.
The inside of each church is decorated with carvings, frescoes, and wall hangings.
Because 800 years of wear and tear and especially rain was beginning to take its toll, they covered them several years ago. Now, according the the architect on 60 Minutes, they are experiencing the opposite problem. The stone is getting too dry and contracting. They are teaching local people how to preserve the stone so it will last hundreds more years.
Dino, my Ethiopia friend, and the guide, in white.
Why the ridiculous looking socks? Fleas are a problem. Many of the churches have old carpet on the floors, thousands of people still workshop in them regularly. We were told to spray our ankles, tuck our pants inside out socks, spray our socks. It worked.
And here is probably the most photographed of them from up above. Yes, you do get to climb all the way down there if you want to go inside. We did. The story goes that the king went to Jerusalem and wanted to create an Ethiopian Jerusalem. There is a river nearby which they call the River Jordan. As you tour, they explain every detail and how they match passages and stories from the Biblical Jerusalem. How did they build all of these out of solid stone? With the help of angels.