Moment of zen

Petal wash

So much rain that spring petals washed downstream….


Around the corner: wisteria!

Delicate iris

Later I found this delicate iris—shape contrasts to the usual bulkier ones….

Of course, that title phrase is not original…just saying I find flowers relaxing, which is meditative (literal meaning of the Japanese word).

Fun with photography

Crepe myrtle bark

Bark. Crepe myrtle, I think (wait! I know this! Spacey brain right at the moment). Rotated 90° because I thought it would look better in this presentation; maybe it just looks strange.

Nandina berries

Nandina berries, portrait mode.

Daffy trio

Daffy trio, portraited. [Tentatively voting for making “portrait” a verb.]

Åh, so

Unk floral

Bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball, was this globe of flowers. I don’t recognize it and will watch it over the next few days to see if it turns into something I do recognize.

Nordic bird

Nordic bird. Glass I think. Certainly soaring.

Nordic boat

Nordic boat. Couldn’t help but think about roiling waters and nasty winds. Brrrrr and perhaps upset stomach, methinks.

Both are Nordic because we saw them in the Nordic museum. Enlightening. Very well done, I thought. The last “ethnic” museum I remember visiting was…something about the combined ancestry of the peoples of the Hill Country in Texas today. Wide-open ethnicities and origin places, not just Finland, Greenland, Iceland, and others with Modern Country names you’d expect. And smaller places like the Åland Islands, an archipelago I had to mention because of the “Å.*” Baltic Sea not Atlantic.

Consignment foos

After the museum we stopped in a consignment gear shop with entertainment…climbing and skiing mostly, but also ice climbing. Nothing in the water or with skates that I noticed. After we left, BroMine noted they had two seasons, so I guess I was seeing the winter stuff; summer gear selections may well include snorkeling and scuba diving. Saw a foldable, extremely light food service set for campers and hikers that seemed interesting and more complicated than I expected…rather like origami.

* For the curious and less-informed, that topknot element on the Å is called an overring (note to autocorrect: do not change to overhang). In the past the sound(s) it represents were denoted with a double a (aa) or an acute accented a, á. End of lesson.

Without and with cedilla/cédille

Yellow jasmine

A new crop of yellow jasmine blooms….

Computational facade

A computational façade….

Minor mysteries

Ghoul in tree

Not sure what to lead with…I choose the seasonal, emotional, and possibly artistic image. Ghoul I thought, rather than ghost. Not sure why. “Ghoul” is from a late 1700s Arabic word for “to seize” that shifted meaning a bit to refer to a desert demon/monster that desecrates graves to eat corpses. That’s specificity; a ghoul is no city-critter.

Feather azalea mystery

Now, switch to the merely mildly mysterious. I cannot figure out for sure how this feather got so deeply embedded in the azalea foliage. Wind?

A day in Québec City

Citadel electric

After a nice walk through the trees on a boardwalk high above the St. Laurence, we popped out by La Citadelle de Québec. We opted to look from the entry gate and not take the tour. You can’t wander around because this is still an active military base, plus it is the official residence of the Queen of Canada, who is also Queen of England, and I’m sure rarer than rarely visits, let alone stays in the Citadelle. Apparently electrification is important to the mini-moat around the exterior wall.

Childrens courtyard

This is known as the Children’s Courtyard, within the Petit Séminaire de Québec, a Roman Catholic secondary school. Turns out where I was standing was the goal. The young man (second from left) stopped just in front of me and extended his foot toward me, tapped his toe immediately in front of my feet (no fudging!), and quickly and simultaneously deftly turned to continue the game. I really felt like a darned tourist, right in the way of real life.

Maison montcalm

On the slope as we worked our way down from the heights, we found this door. It’s not on a straight wall, and is not flush with either wall, the dark or light one. Rather strange. It is 51 Rue des Remparts, and is for sale. Across the street are two cannons. Who wouldn’t want to live here? Plus the plaquette notes that this was the home of Louis-Joseph de St-Verán, Marquis de Montcalm. You may know him from Québec history from the phrase Wolfe and Montcalm, referring to the leaders at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham here in 1759—both died from wounds they received in that battle.

Demi lune

Of course, demi-lune means half-moon, literally. Maybe that’s what it means here. However, on the open highway, it indicates a place where a driver can make a 180 and reverse direction. This meaning doesn’t quite make sense here?

Demi-lune is one of my words for this trip. Another is vitesse. It’s another driving term. It means speed. Vroom-vroom.

Kitchen vent

Kitchens get hot. Kitchens in ancient buildings are retrofitted in awkward ways. Thus, they are often cramped, with poor ventilation. Apparently, that’s the case here. Not only is this portal a vent, it’s a storage area for a rack of bins of food. No lie. Without plastic wrap or any other dust/fly protection over the bins. We did not eat here.

CG Amundsen

Coast Guard ship Amundsen. Monitors fisheries, and perhaps does research. Dramatic late-day light.

Lower town

We ate in the lower town. Yum.

Maplesyrup liqueur

Nothing against the many fine foods and beverages I consumed today, but this was hand’s down the best: a maple syrup whiskey cream liqueur. A gift from our dinner waitress. The maple flavor was exquisite. I didn’t ask the brand, but a prominent one is Sortilège…with Canadian whiskey, of course. WikiPee says French Canadians call this miracle beverage eau de vie d’érable. Heaven in a glass.

Another documentary

Groc orchid

In the middle of watching another wonderful documentary, totally different from “Chasing Coral“—watch it if you haven’t already.

Today’s is “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” I remember the covers of her novels from the early Earthsea titles, the Hainish Cycle titles, and more, but I don’t remember reading a single one. Embarrassing. Time to track down several and inhale-read.

UKL had something in common with President Obama—both had one parent who was an anthropologist. Not too smug, am I? 😀

Our 50th state

Airport sign

Travel day, yuh. We walked to a bus station, took a bus to a train station, and this is on the train. So: bus; train.

Plane map

Got off the train, checked bags, went through security, and got on the airport train. So: another train.

Then, from the international concourse: a flight.

Land ho

Land ho! This is the roughly rectangular Molokai island, properly: Molokaʻi (almost correct…).

The Guru and I now have stepped on all 50 states of the USofA. And this is the US’s 50th state. Whatta coincidence. I won’t go into how the US government and US businessmen, along with a few well-meaning (hrrrrumph) missionaries, started wheedling these islands away from the people who “owned”/had them, beginning in the late 1880s at least. Finally, the coup was cemented in the 1890s, although statehood wasn’t until 1959. Colonialism in northeast Polynesia.

BTW, the Hawaiian language uses a glottal stop. This is denoted properly by a written symbol called ‘okina in Hawaiian. It is correctly a different symbol than a single quote or an accent grave, although they are frequently substituted (the former substituted here). TMI?

I’m thinking palm trees tomorrow?

Vinho verde, technically

Tiny grapes

This is how far along the grapes are. These are wild grapes, I think, and the vines are quite productive this year. They have taken over the spreading juniper since The Guru had to remove one trunk of the sour cherry they used to hug. I bet the birds still get the fruit when it ripens, and we don’t snag more than two or three grapes (not bunches) per person.

Lily light

We got to dine with five lovely young women and two of our age-set tonight. We laughed, we told stories, and we learned that “vinho verde” is not pronounced with Spanish phonetics. This makes sense because it is a Portuguese wine. The correct pronunciation of the second word is along the lines of “verdj(eh),” with the “eh” at the end just a hint. We sampled two tonight; one was still and the other had teeny bubbles, technically pétillance. Note that the green in the name refers to young/new/youthful, rather than the color.

Note that the grapes above are not a variety used in vinho verde. Or in wine. So far, anyway. Maybe not even technically a variety.

New vocab: frass

Morning light rug

Loving the low-angle morning light. And this rug. It’s seen better days, but we both like the color, so it stays (for now).

Flowers table

Stunning flower arrangement for the table…all from the garden and field. Great party followed!

Frass maker

Bumper crop of tent caterpillars this year. Friends are picking them off by the five-gallon bucket full. Yikes! I have heard of scat 💩; turns out that the same sort of output by insects is frass. I knew you wanted to know that.