Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we celebrate that most American of holidays - Thanksgiving. 

While much of the day is filled with consuming - food, football and fine wines - many of us do stop and take a moment to think about what we are grateful for.

I'm grateful for my family, from husband & sons, to brothers & sisters, mom and mother-in-laws, and my cousins and "like family" friends.

I'm grateful to have a job.  I'm grateful for my garden - the broccoli is getting bigger by the day. 

I'm grateful for music and art and laughter.  I'm grateful that you've chosen to spend a minute reading my blog!

What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tin How Temple (joss house)

Tin How Temple is "the oldest Taoist temple in the United States.... It was built in 1852 and is dedicated to Mazu."  Not surprisingly, it is located in San Francisco.

Mazu "is the indigenous goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors, and is invoked as the patron saint of all Southern Chinese and East Asian persons. Worship of Mazu began around the Ming Dynasty, when many temples dedicated to her were erected all across Mainland China, later spreading to other countries with Southern Chinese inhabitants".

The temple is also referred to as  "Joss House".  Per the wiki, "'Joss' is a corrupted version of the Portuguese word for 'god', deus. 'Joss house' was in common use in English in western North America during frontier times, when joss houses were a common feature of Chinatowns. The name 'joss house' describes the environment of worship. Joss sticks, a kind of incense, are burned inside and outside of the house."   I  have no idea if "Joss House" is a derogatory term, or an accepted alternative for "temple".

While this postcard was received this year (probably sent by the Mystery Sender, although it is not signed "peace" on the back), it is a linen postcard.  From the wiki, "The "linen card" era lasted from about 1931 to the early 1950s, when cards were primarily printed on papers with a textured surface similar to linen cloth."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a tourist trail in County Kerry, southwestern Ireland.  My friends, Jack & Lorry, went to Ireland for a friend's 60th birthday party, and did a bit of touristing while they were there. 

Bucket list alert - not necessarily the Ring of Kerry, but Ireland somewhere. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

The back of this card says:  "Rodeo Cowgirl Helen Bonham was selected to be Miss Wyoming at Cheyenne Frontier Days Silver Anniversary in 1917.  "If it is for Wyoming, I'll do it gladly.," she said."

What do you bet the cowboys loved her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

US Mule


Every year, my friend Carol goes on a backpacking trip with a group of women, to honor one of the women's sister who is a breast cancer survivor.  This year they hiked in Yosemite National Park. 

The hike resulted in a first for my collection - a postcard that was packed out by mule from May Lake (see postcard, upper left corner) while they were still camping, and mailed from the valley floor.  I believe the stamp on the postcard refers to it as "US Mule", as opposed to "US Mail". Cool!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stonehenge II

Newsflash!  A second mystery sender, albeit probably just a flash in the pan.

Long time readers know I have been the lucky recipient of postcards from a Mystery Sender.  This Mystery Sender sent me postcards on an almost daily basis, at least through my year of posting daily, and has continued to do so intermittently since then, signing all postcards with the signature "Peace".  Very occasionally, the Mystery Sender will post a comment, always under "anonymous".  S/he is capable of encouragement, taunting, melancholy and humor, and I find myself missing the more frequent postcards.  [Note:  for new readers, you can find some of the Mystery Sender cards here (a Mystery Sender comment), here (an informational card in the "Food Series"), here  (the original Mystery Sender post), here (in which I attempt to decipher the Mystery Sender code and (as informed in a later postcard), failed miserably), and here (the taunting).  If you search "Mystery Sender" on my blog, you can  find several more.]

So, lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago the above postcard appears in the mail, with the message "A mysterious monument from a mystery sender!  I just came across your blog and thought you might like a postcard sent out of the blue......"   I'm pretty sure this is not the Mystery Sender in disguise.  I have no idea if this Mystery Sender II is aware of the original Mystery Sender or not. 

All I do know is I like it!

P.S.  Today is my cousin Locke's birthday.  Happy Birthday, cuz!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stonehenge I

Gotta love the irregularly shaped postcards.  This one of Stonehenge comes from my son, during his stint at Oxford last summer.

Archaeologists have mostly determined that Stonehenge was used more as an ancient burial ground as opposed to serving as a astronomical calculator and/or observatory, although it may have had some significance to the winter solstice.

No matter the science, 20,000 people showed up for the summer solstice in 2005, and  it's much more romantic to think about this organized pile of rocks as a place of ancient worship and Druid ritual.   From the Wiki:

Throughout the twentieth century, Stonehenge began to be revived as a place of religious significance, this time by adherents of Neopagan and New Age beliefs, particularly the Neo-druids: the historian Ronald Hutton would later remark that "it was a great, and potentially uncomfortable, irony that modern Druids had arrived at Stonehenge just as archaeologists were evicting the ancient Druids from it." The first such Neo-druidic group to make use of the megalithic monument was the Ancient Order of Druids, who performed a mass initiation ceremony there in August 1905, in which they admitted 259 new members into their organisation. This assembly was largely ridiculed in the press, who mocked the fact that the Neo-druids were dressed up in costumes comprising of white robes and fake beards.

From 1972 until 1984, Stonehenge was the setting for a free music festival, until the "Battle of the Beanfield" in 1985.  This infamous battle was "waged" between new age travelers and the local police.  I particularly like the headline from the BBC on that day about the incident:  Hippies clash with police at Stonehenge.  As always, one man's clash is another man's battle. 

Monday, November 15, 2010


Speaking of Kauai, I'd like to be swimming in the waters off this beach right now. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Postcard Cafe

The Postcard Cafe is located in Hanalei on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.  The menu on its website sounds pretty darn tasty.

I haven't been to Kauai for 30+ years, and never visited this cafe.  However, I have received this postcard twice, from two completely unconnected friends.  I love that my friends send me postcards, and imagine it gave them a small pleasure to find one so appropriate to send me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Atomic Testing Museum

Now that the Liberace Museum has closed, what's a thinking person to do when visiting Las Vegas?

Well, how about the Atomic Testing Museum?  As described in Frommer's:

From 1951 until 1992, the Nevada Test Site was this country's primary location for testing nuclear weapons. Aboveground blasts in the early days were visible to the tourists and residents of Las Vegas. This well-executed museum, library, and gallery space (a Smithsonian affiliate) offers visitors a fascinating glance at the test site from ancient days through modern times, with memorabilia, displays, official documents, videos, interactive displays, motion-simulator theaters (such as sitting in a bunker, watching a blast), and emotional testimony from the people who worked there. It respectfully treads that tricky line between honoring the work done at the site and understanding its terrible implications. Not to be missed, even if it's only because of the Albert Einstein action figure in the gift shop. Visitors should plan on spending at least an hour.

I'm adding an Albert Einstein action figure to my Christmas list.