Monday, June 30, 2008

In Reaching for the Stars

Stretching his hand out to catch the stars, he forgets the flowers at his feet.

Sometimes, we become too focused on acquiring things we don’t have, on attaining a certain status in life, on achieving goals beyond our reach that we forget the simple yet beautiful things we have --- material and non-material, the “mundane” events happening around us, the “usual” people helping and accompanying us along the way. We tend to take them for granted, thinking that the only one worth valuing is those which are difficult to accomplish or gain. But more often than not, these seemingly ordinary things are also worth being given a second glance, the “average” persons we have in our life--- husband, friend, neighbor, even our self has that something special. May we not be blinded by the glitter and the glamour the stars in the sky for happiness can also be found in the grass under our feet, in the fragrance of flowers in the air, in the arms of someone who sees the real us and still love us all the same.

Friday, June 27, 2008

On Fungus and Rocks

Fungus Rock, Dwejra Bay, Gozo, Malta

The General's Rock or more known as the Fungus rock stands like a sentinel at the entrance of Dwejra Bay in Gozo. It was given this name because of the supposedly medicinal (and aphrodisiac) properties of a rare type of fungus growing on the rock islet. It was considered so valuable that it was deemed as a great gift to many sovereigns or sold for a very high price. Its rarity and profitability, prompted the Knights Hospitaller of Malta to forbid its picking by the villagers; and those caught trespassing are sentenced to three years of work in the Knights’ galleys. As an additional precaution, a watchtower was erected on the mainland with a cable car --- connecting the mainland to this tiny island and only for the use of the official fungus picker.

But it was later discovered that the fungus, Fucus coccineus melitensis, which by the way, is not a fungus but a tuber plant with a shape of a fungus (hence, the mistake) is neither an aphrodisiac nor an 18th century version of penicillin. It does not possess any medicinal properties which rendered the prohibition of its picking rather trivial. But I guess the people’s belief in the fungus is "normal" for those times --- small pox, dysentery, consumption and other diseases are widespread, with no modern medicine to cure them. Besides, because of these measures, the island is preserved --- hence, we can still enjoy its beauty up to now. (sources: Wikipedia and Malte: Le Guide de Routard, Hachette, 2007-2008)

When the almost bare rock face catches the sunlight, the already yellow limestone turns into a gilded rock.
When we visited the place, the sky was ambivalent --- clear one moment and cloudy the next. I think the view (and my photos) would be better with a clear blue sky --- together with the dark blue sea, they would provide a good contrast to the islet. And when the sun sets and everything is bathed in a golden glow, you witness another kind of beauty. The “breach” between the rock and the Gozitan coast provides a glimpse of the towering cliffs standing guard over Dwejra bay. The town of St. Lawrence (the bay's location) is really a wonderful place to visit --- aside from the Fungus rock and the semi-circular lagoon, you also have the azure window and the inland sea. The sunken grotto in the deep midnight blue sea is a haven for scuba divers and snorkelers. And the weather is good almost all-year round making it a prime destination for vacation even outside tourist season :).

a closer view of the Fungus Rock

E- award and Blog Readability Tag

I was given this award (the one on the left) by Mama Meji --- a blogger whom I find very nice even if we have yet to meet. I'm really flattered that she thinks my blog deserves this. Well, I hope I'll be able to keep her good opinion of my site :).

In return I'd like to share this award with Nussaibah, David, Katarina, Lalaine, Wendy and Selerines.

Mckhoii tagged me on the readability level of my blog. I'm a bit hesitant to post the result as I don't want to sound pompous, but in the spirit of meme, here it is (the image on the right). Visit mckhoii's blog to find the link to this test or click "readability test" to go directly to the site. I just want to say that I basically write for myself (in trying to keep the "gears" oiled, so to speak), describe the things I see, hear and smell and express the emotions they evoke through words and images. So I hope I don't come across as someone vying for the Nobel prize in literature for I know I am way, way far from having one. And I still have a lot to learn. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

foxglove (digitalis) in our garden with a bee hovering around it

A note of romanticism on a warm sunny day!

see my other wordless wednesdays
see other wordless wednesdays participants

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Harmonious Afternoon

Château de Sully-sur-Loire, Loiret, France

It’s the 27th Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) here and I believe many countries have adopted this festival to celebrate summer solstice. All over the country, concerts are held for free --- may it be in auditoriums, concert or village halls or churches. But most often than not, many singers or bands (whether amateurs or professionals) hold performances in open spaces, particularly in the streets. So you’ll see and hear different kinds of music and musicians as you stroll around the city/town, enjoying the afternoon and early evening under a benevolent sky and a warm sun. (Since it is summer solstice, the day is long and usually sunny. And this year is no exception --- we had a warm weather with the sun blithely dancing in the blue sky ... even if we’ve been having some rain showers and cloudy sky for the past days.)

Well, we did our own celebration *grins*. We decided that instead of going to see the street concerts, we’ll just visit some nearby towns. So we went to Sully-sur-Loire, more or less an hour’s drive from our place. The town has a nice castle, the residence of Duke of Sully (Maximilien de Béthune), Henri IV’s able minister. It was owned by the family from 1602 (when Sully bought it) until 1962. It is now the property of the Loiret Department and open to the public. The castle is around 800 years old if one would start counting from the year Philip Augustus built a cylindrical keep on the site. I would later write a separate entry about the castle and post more photos .

The château has a water-filled moat which gives a clear reflection of the castle on a sunny day (second photo). The nearby houses are also reflected on the water, giving the area a whimsical ambiance (third photo).To add to the romantic mood, the castle and the town sits on the Loire River making it one of the ideal places to take a stroll, ride a bicycle or just lie on the grass and soak in the warmth of the sun (fourth photo). There’s an available horse-drawn carriage if you want to take a tour of the town or a ride along the banks of the river. You can even fish in the river although I believe you need a license to do this. But I guess it wouldn’t be that difficult to get.

I don’t mind missing the Fête de la Musique for we had a lovely afternoon.It was quite peaceful as oppose to the sounds you’ll hear in the street concerts. Well, I like music but if I’ll hear folk/traditional music from an accordion in one corner, then rock/techno music with electric guitars and drums on another street, symphony from a string quartet in the next, I find it a be a bit jarring. Well, that’s just me. Maybe some would find it alright. I guess each person has his own definition of a pleasing afternoon :). And mine is visiting places such as this.

Sully-sur-Loire part I

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Salad Days

Lettuces in our garden. The one on the left is the lollo rosso (looseleaf) kind
and the one on the right is the batavian type.

Summer is officially here! And to celebrate it, I’m posting an entry about the lettuce we planted. We have two kinds: the summer crisp cultivar, also known as Batavian and the other is the looseleaf (lollo rosso) type. I’m not that very fond of green salad before but with a husband who loves salad, particularly green salad, I’ve come to appreciate them. And since they’re not that difficult to grow, we usually sow lettuce seeds during spring. So, come summertime, we have our own lettuce from our backyard --- free and just within our reach. And with the high price of lettuce these days (it’s now double the “normal” price), planting them is quite practical. Some people might say it’s not that economical since you have to buy seeds, water them, plus you have to put time and effort in planting and caring for them. Well, I would say that seeds are not that expensive compared to buying seedlings. And maybe now, the price of a sachet of seeds is the price of a lettuce head or two. As for the water, we usually collect rain water and use it to water our plants so we don't consume that much tap water. Concerning the time and effort in gardening… well, we like doing it, so it’s not much of a big deal. In the final count, planting lettuce is a win-win activity for us.

And yesterday, we prepared green salad using lettuce from our garden the garden (and it will be like this for the coming days for we planted enough to last for some time, even if we eat salad everyday!). Well, for this dish, we normally just use lettuce dressed in vinaigrette (called French dressing outside France. It is three parts oil and one part vinegar/citrus juice. But you can buy ready-made vinaigrette in the supermarkets). Then we add onion, parsley, mustard, garlic and pepper and a dash of salt --- well, these depend on the French dressing you’ll use because some of them already contains these condiments/garnishing. But we love onion and my husband loves parsley, so, regardless of the dressing, I still add them in rather “large” quantities (“large” compared to the “normal” portions… yeah I know, it’s embarrassing to converse with someone after eating onions or garlic… so I limit their use when we have friends coming over).From time to time, we add tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, bell peppers, anchovies, shrimp, etc. for variation. But basically, green salad at home is really green --- lettuce and parsley *grins*.

Salad is easy to prepare but I find cleaning the lettuce head a bit tedious. You have to wash them to get rid of the dirt and other insects/tiny crawlers that hide in the folds of the leaves (meaning you have to wash them leaf by leaf). The general way of cleaning it is to use tap water first, then, immerse the leaves in water with vinegar (a way of thoroughly cleaning the leaves since they will be eaten raw). Then dry them. Good thing there’s a salad spinner --- a circular container with a strainer inside and you grip the handle/knob on the lid and spin it to dry the leaves (works like a laundry dryer). Without this device, I think drying will be a lot more difficult. With a salad spinner, you just put the leaves in the container, spin and you’ll get rid of about 85-90% of the water on the leaves in a short time (This is according to my estimation. But I suppose if you spin long enough, you’ll get an almost water-free leaves). Well, I guess eating fresh green salad is worth a bit of effort :). Plus, lettuce is fat free and rich in vitamin A and folic acid --- good for one’s health.

Speaking of nutritional values, according to Greek mythology, eating lettuce is good for women because it promotes lactation and proper functioning of the reproductive system. It can even induce conception without copulation --- allowing Héra to conceive Hébé (the goddess of youth) after eating a lettuce head. On the other hand, it has an opposite effect on men --- it decreases their libido or makes them impotent. So, in ritual banquets reserved for men, lettuce is excluded (source: wikipedia).

Well, I don’t know if these stories have some scientific basis, but as far as many nutritionists are concerned, lettuces are beneficial to one’s health. And green salad can be eaten as entrée (starter), main dish or side dish (I believe the French also use it to accompany their cheese course). And the lettuce from our garden is crunchier, more savory, not to mention pesticide-free and a lot fresher. Hahahaha, I know I’m just biased but then, I believe everyone is allowed to crow about the fruits of their labor, literally and figuratively, once in a while *grins*. If I seem to be bragging, please excuse me. I’m just happy to have something on our table that directly came from our own garden *winks*.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

Château de Montfort, Vitrac, Dordogne, France

This is château de Montfort (Montfort castle). The name is derived from the latin phrase mons fortis meaning fortified mountain and not from Simon de Montfort, a prominent figure against the Albigensians/Cathars . He actually razed the castle to the ground when he laid siege to the town. (source: Perigord-Quercy: Le Guide Vert, Michelin Editions des Voyages, 2005). It sits on a rocky promontory (this seems to be the general characteristic of many castles in the Perigord-Quercy region) giving whoever takes control of the castle a strategic advantage over his enemy. And aesthetically speaking, since château de Montfort towers above the Cingle de Montfort (Monfort meander) --- one can have a wonderful panorama of the Dordogne river.

I would post more photos and write a separate entry about this. I would just like to give everyone a glimpse of this resolute castle (it still stands after having been destroyed and rebuilt several times). The view and the castle are really worth a detour :).

see my other wordless wednesdays
see other wordless wednesday participants

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pater Familias

You stand like a sentinel
Protective without being dominating

Authoritative without being autocratic

Commanding without being imposing

You nourished us not only with physical sustenance
But also provided food for the soul;
Clothed us not only with decent garments
But also with proper values;
Sheltered us not only from the harsh elements
But also from the storms of life;
Raised us not only with respect for oneself
But also for others and everything around us

You continue to stand like a sentinel
Watching over us with loving and understanding eyes
Guiding, ready to lend a hand
As we fight our own battles

Thank you father, for supporting us in every way possible
And for providing us with a shoulder to lean on
When we are weary and in need of a rest
From our respective journeys called life

Happy Father’s Day to my father and brothers, father and brothers-in-law, to our relatives and friends who continue to extend their love and assistance to their families. This is for all of you. And to our Father up there, thank you for your bottomless love and forgiveness of our trespasses.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Château In An Eagle's Nest

Château de Belcastel, Lot, France

This is Château de Belcastel (Belcastel Castle) in Lot department (there’s another castle of the same name in Aveyron). From the town of Lacave, one can take the D23 (the name of the road) going uphill and this view of the castle will greet you.

The château is not open to visitors, but a view on the roadside is enough to have a glimpse of its beauty and its strategic importance during the middle ages. Although most of the castle has been heavily reconstructed, it is still a marvel to look at, especially with what remains of the fortified wall running along the rocky outcrop. It was the seat of one of the most powerful feudal families in the Quercy region in the middle ages and one of the first strongholds taken by the English at the start of The Hundred Years' War (source: Vallée de la Dordogne, Gallimard, 2005)

I am not surprised that this was a coveted bastion during medieval times. It strategic site – a promontory where Ouysee and Dordogne rivers meet and a dominating view of the valley is an excellent position in those days of warring kingdoms and unstable political atmosphere; where geographical location is as important as weapons, fortifications and army in warfare; where a difficulty of access for the attacking troops can sometimes be the only difference between defeat and victory.

It must be wonderful to live in such a place vibrating with history (for I believe the castle is still inhabited). Maintenance of the place must cost quite a fortune, but then, even if one is not that interested in history, the view of the river and the surrounding valley is surely magnificent. It must be even more splendid on a foggy morning --- as you sip a mug of hot chocolate, a warm quilt over you, looking out a latticed window with a good fire burning in the hearth. Just no headless ghosts or sound of a chain being dragged at night, please :).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

a river in the Pyrénées

You could not step twice into the same river;
for other waters are ever flowing on to you.
- Heraclitus, On the Universe

I believe this to be literally and figuratively true. Literally, the flowing water changes --- its contents, its velocity, its depth as it goes to join other bodies of water or meanders its way through valleys and gorges. Figuratively, people do not remain static. Our experiences, whether trivial or not, modifies our perspective on life. No matter how infinitesimal the changes are, they are still changes. And when we are in a situation similar to a previous one, we couldn’t and wouldn’t react precisely in the same way --- for we are not exactly the same person as before.

To quote again from Heraclitus: All is flux, nothing stays still (from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers)

see my other wordless wednesdays
see other wordless wednesday participants

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gables of Quai de la Grue

Houses on Quai de la Grue overlooking the river Lys, Ghent, Belgium

This is my first view of houses in Ghent as we start our walk around the city. You will find this in Quai de la Grue upon crossing the bridge if you’re coming from a town square where a public market is usually held (I believe it’s called Vridjag Markt. I’m not so sure, but it is close to a parking area). It is really eye-catching, one can even find a photo of the gables in the Evasion guide book on Brugges. I love the rich terracotta color of the house on the right and the cottage like windows on the house on the left with ruffled curtains and flower pots.

The photo above is the details of the gable of the red house. The decor is beautifully preserved with the two women sculptures, standing like watchful angels over those who cross the threshold. The benevolent Madonna and child on the gable tip welcome passers-by to spend a moment under its roof. To add to the inviting ambiance is a “pied piper” (central part of the gable), charming people to this abode. Based on the sculptures and design, I won’t be surprised if it used to be a hospice, a safe refuge for the hungry, poor or weary travelers.

This is a detail of the engraved figures on the white house. Most of the carvings are of the same nature, figures giving food to others, welcoming someone under their roof, or tending to the sick which makes me think that my assumption of the function of these houses is close to the truth --- it was once used as a hostel or hospital catering mostly to the needy.

I believe that the year the house was built is engraved on the red-colored house --- 1669, more than three centuries ago. There’s something awe-inspiring when one sees such thing. These houses (or maybe it’s just the red one, but still formidable nonetheless) have withstood hundreds of years of use (and maybe misuse) bringing with them memories of those by-gone days. They’re living tangible bearer and teller of events, of people, of history. One just has to listen to it. And like those kids following the pied piper, we might be charmed by the story we hear.

Wishlist Meme

I was tagged by Mademoiselle Rose (Pink lady), Francine, regarding my wish list. I didn't follow some of the instructions but I did write down the things I'd like to have as my birthday gift. Hope this is ok :)

1. Determine your birthday month and get a word that rhymes with it or you can affix to it. Caps lock your birth month (ex: MAYday! JUNE dune, APRILicious, JULYvely, AUGUST pocus, parched MARCH…). Be unique.
2.Your birth month plus the word affixed or rhymed shall become the tag’s title in your case.
3.Get your birthday and add the digits involved. Example, if your birthday falls on the 25th of July, add 2 and 5 you get 7.
4.Whatever is the sum, write a list of the MATERIAL gifts you wish to receive, the number of which shall correspond to the sum of your birthday. For example, applying the case above (in rule number 3), you will write seven (7) things you wish to receive.
5.After your wish list, put your name and birthday in the Bloggers’ Birthday Directory, with a link to your blog/s. Note: when you add your birthday, please place it in a way that the dates appear chronological (January, February… 1, 2, 3)
6.Pass this tag meme by tagging as many people as you want.

Bloggers’ Birthday Directory:
February 20 - Caryl | February 23 - Jammy | March 7 - Mari | April 13 - TERE | May 3 - Vannie | May 8 - joanjoyce | May 27 – Zang Caesar | August 27 - Francine, La Place de Cherie, Cherie | September 2 - Chikai | | September 30 - Mckhoii | December 18 - JoshuaOngYS | December 19 - Alpha | St. Bernadette's Feast Day - Lareine | YOUR BIRTHDAY HERE

Here’s mine:
Name: Lareine
Birthday : St. Bernadette’s Feast Day
Calculations: 9
As for the the tag title: Sorry, I can’t seem to find a good rhyme right now :(.

My wishlist:
1.A perennial flowering plant
2.The Morning Star Trilogy by Nick Bantock
3.The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
4. A glass-roofed and walled veranda --- where I can put plants during cold season and enjoy the winter sun without going outside. But then, this is expensive so I'm willing to wait for a few years for this.
5.Make our attic habitable. But this can be also expensive, so it’s not really in my immediate wishes for my birthday.

So far, that’s all I could think of as birthday gift. Ok, ok, if I have to list up to 9 things, I’ll just have:
6.A historical Gothic novel --- doesn’t have to be a classic
7.An illustrated book on medieval history, complete with time lines and family trees of the nobility
8.A book about “mysterious” diseases and cure used by ancient civilizations
9.A book on mysteries and conspiracies during the middle ages

So in turn, I'm tagging Makimeji, Tweety, Wendy and Rojoy. May all our birthday wishes come true :)

Friendship Tag: A Bit About Myself

I was tagged by would-be mommy, Wendy, to share something about myself. I'm sure her wonderful journey to motherhood is one of the best chapters of her life, so I wish her a safe and happy pregnancy. So now, about me:

1. What do you want for your birthday?
- Will I sound too cliché if I say good health and less worries for my loved ones? That’s what I always keep praying and wishing for. Ok, ok, if somebody would want to give me something really tangible, I’d like a plant or a book.

2. Who will be your next kiss?
- My husband.

3. When was the last time you went to the mall?
- Mall? What is it? Hahahaha, just kidding. I don’t really remember anymore. Besides, we don’t really have that many “malls” here in the sense of a big commercial building with all kinds of shops and restaurants inside. More likely, the “mall” here is streets lined with boutiques and brasseries/bars.

4. How did you spend your summer?
- Summer isn’t here yet (and hopefully, it would be really sunny and warm, and not just “summer” in name). Many people usually head south, so maybe we’ll head north (to avoid the tourist rush). Or maybe just stay home and laze around :)

5. Have you been to the cinema in the last 5 days?
- No. In fact, I prefer watching films at home --- because I tend to “pause” or play it back to discuss a particular scene or line. I would certainly annoy many viewers if I do this in a movie house :).

6. What are you wearing right now?
- Why do I get the feeling this sounds a little bit kinky? Or maybe it’s just me *grins*. Anyway, to answer the question, I’m wearing my very dependable and warm pyjamas :)

7. What was your last purchase?
- Provisions.

8. Who would be the person you would call if you were up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep?
- I don’t think I would call anyone as I don’t want to disturb people when they’re having their much-needed sleep and rest. I would just read.

9. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
- No. I’ll wait for the summer sale :).

10. Do you have a pet?
- Well, if one consider having your neighbors cats over everyday (they come and go in our garden as they please and eat the food we leave for them) as having pets, then I guess we have several of them :).

11. One thing you hate about yourself?
- There are many things I used to wish I could change. But as one grows older, you learn to live with it. As the serenity prayer says, "accept the things I cannot change"

12. What are your plans for the day?
- For tomorrow (since it’s night here already), nothing extraordinary. Just the usual stuff/household chores.

13. Ever went to a camp?
- Yes.

14. Are you a good student in school?
- If this means never-had-any disciplinary action-with-satisfactory grades, then I would say, yes.

15. What do you know about the (your) future?
- I really don’t know. Of course, our present will always affect the future, but there are times the expected result is not what we hoped for due to a factor or factors beyond our control. But I just hope and pray for the best.

I'm tagging Gracey, Nussaibah and Portia in the hope of getting to know them more :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Roses, Loneliness and Tragedy

I find A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner as one of those Gothic tales that not only fills your heart with mysterious dread but also of pity --- pity for “Poor Miss Emily” who was imprisoned by her family’s high standards and villagers' gossip and envy. Her father, a dominating man who thinks no man is good enough for his daughter (which intensified the latent animosity of the town against the family), had caused Emily to be reach the old age of thirty without having a husband (Back then, a woman not married by thirty is considered already on the way to spinsterhood). Since Miss Emily doesn’t really have that many friends in town, when her father died, she found it hard to let go ... literally. She refused to accept the fact that her father has passed away and she kept the body inside the house, acting as if nothing is amiss. It took days for the townsfolk to wear down her resistance. She finally capitulated, to the relief of the people, allowing them to bury the corpse.

Then a northerner, a Yankee named Homer Barron came to Jefferson (the town) and captured the heart of the Southern lady Miss Emily. The townspeople were at first happy that she finally found a man without her father interfering with her choice. But of course, I believe Miss Emily is quite aware that there’s an unspoken censure from the people about her choice --- she’s from an old rich family (albeit the wealth is gone now) and she couldn’t be seriously thinking of marrying such a man. Then, when they think Miss Emily is “fallen”, it was like, she HAD to marry Homer because of that… it is a great scandal if they don’t do the respectable and decent thing. And when she bought arsenic, they even find it the best thing if she would just commit suicide.

I think Miss Emily went to bed with Homer, not only out of loneliness or love. I think it’s also her way of rebelling. For years, she has been imprisoned by the morals and traditional values of the South and she longs to break the mold. Or maybe I’m reading too much form it. But it must have been really hard for her to grow up in such confining environment, especially with her family background. She must have wanted to be free, and yet she hadn’t known any other kind of life aside from what she had, leaving her no choice but to cling to it. Then of course, the villagers didn’t help, for they still censure her when she finally tried to act against the supposed norms for a Southern lady.

Well, in a way, I also couldn’t really blame the people for secretly wishing her and her family’s downfall. The Griersons (Emily’s family) aristocratic attitude and wealth, the family’s haughtiness and aloofness, the difference between their socio-economic status with that of most of the townspeople, created an unspoken animosity (and envy, I believe) against the family. And Miss Emily, being the last Grierson in the changing South, bore the grunt of years of inequality, jealousy and spite felt by the people against what she stands for. Her defiance against the people’s subtle hostility, her loneliness and need for companionship and the madness that seem to run in the Grierson family (a great-aunt died crazy) might have drove Miss Emily to poison Homer Barron and keep him close, once again, literally. Well, of course, the townspeople just thought Barron went back north, for after all he’s not the marrying type. Besides, there are hints that he was bisexual, if not homosexual. They whispered that Miss Emily is “fallen” (hence, their opinion that it’s better for Miss Emily, if she won't get married, to commit suicide when word got out that she bought arsenic). And yet, they know for a fact that Barron likes men, particularly younger men. When it seems that Miss Emily and Barron won’t do the “right” thing, they sought everyone they could think of who can influence Miss Emily, to urge her to marry. So, this and maybe the fact that Miss Emily really did love Barron, forced her to seek the only solution she could think of ---- keep Barron with her in whatever way possible.

When Miss Emily died at the age of seventy-four, they found a dead man’s corpse, well, actually more a dead man’s bones, in an upstairs room decorated as a bridal chamber. And upon taking a closer look at the bed, they found a gray hair on a pillow next to the bones implying that she's been sleeping on the same bed with dead Barron for years after he's supposed departure for the North.

I don’t think Miss Emily, her family’s standards and the madness that seem to run in the family are purely to blame for this tragic end. I believe the town also played a role --- by their whispers, censuring looks, subtle and not-so-subtle ostracism when they think Miss Emily had fallen down from her pedestal. I think there is hypocrisy on the townspeople side --- the villagers seem to pity Miss Emily and yet secretly gloat with the idea that she is not after all the great, unreachable southern lady she’s supposed to be; and pride on Miss Emily’s part --- she couldn’t and wouldn’t admit that she’s lonely, that she needs other people’s compassion and companionship. Or maybe no one is to blame... maybe the event was brought by circumstances, by social standards and norms, that are, if not beyond our control, at least would take a certain amount of time to change. And Miss Emily was caught in that "in-between" time of change. Or perhaps she was never in that "in-between" in the first place --- she stayed in the past while others are moving forward. Well, what I can say with some certainty based on the story is that sometimes, loneliness, vindication and clinging to old ways and custom in a world at the point of changing can lead to such perplexing, sad end.

(Selerines, I included here photos of roses, as you requested. You can find more in my previous entry "nunc scio quid sit amor. I hope you enjoy them.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Grottes de Lacave (Lacave Grotto) Lot, France

Do you see what I see? For me, there's a monster coming out of of the cave wall. This photo was taken in Grottes de Lacave (Lacave Grotto) in the old province of Quercy (mostly now the department of Lot) which we visited some weeks ago.

see my other wordless wednesdays
see other wordless wednesday participants

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June Is Bustin' Out

my in-laws' azalea

On my first year in high school, I participated in a musical production number. We did an excerpt from Carousel and I remember us singing June Is Bustin’ Out All Over, complete with petticoats and ribbons on our hair :). The song describes the coming of summer with the arrival of the 6th month of the year. It says we can see, smell, hear, feel it coming…we just have to look around to know it for ourselves. The previous three months are just prelude to the bursting cheerfulness of lively June.

But it seems like the “crowd of doubting Thomases” are right this time: summer might not come.Right now, after nearly a month of glorious weather in May, we have rain, rain and rain.And even flood in some areas, especially in the southern part of France. For several days, the news is filled with stories of submerged streets, flooded houses and even fissured roads (they look like an earthquake hit the area with paved streets riddled with gorges and big cracks).A real contradiction to “pretty little May”.

So, in the hope that before the end of this month, the Thomases would be proved wrong, I’m posting a few photos of fuchsia (or pink if you like) azaleas. Maybe their vivid gay colors might rub off, turning this dismal, stormy weather into a season bursting with color and sunshine. I know azaleas are spring flowers, not exactly the herald of summer. But then, we’ve had a wonderful spring… well, of course not entirely the whole spring. However, we really did have a marvelous time --- balmy weather and blue skies. And I’m thinking that maybe, by posting these radiant fiery flowers, it will serve as an omen of hope for this month.

I know I keep on talking about the weather, but my activities and even my moods are affected by it. Especially during summer. So I hope this photos will be a good portent of sunshine days in the coming weeks.