Sunday, March 18, 2018

Apple Blossom Clematis in my garden

A year ago I planted a small two foot high Apple Blossom clematis and it is now six feet tall and climbing up my back fence and has lightly scented white flowers. Many clematis are deciduous but this type is evergreen and keeps its leaves year round. The flowers are about one inch across. I am looking for a Jackmanii clematis with five inch purple flowers, and which does lose its leaves each year.
In July 2017 I bought a deciduous clematis called Niobe with burgundy red blooms in spring and summer. It was dormant when I bought and planted it from a mail order nursery (Wayside Gardens)  so I haven't seen the blooms yet. It has a few leaves and tendrils at the moment. Below is a photo of Niobe in bloom.
Below are two more photos of my Apple Blossom Clematis, in bloom since March 1, 2018.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Christ Symbol in Ephesus, Turkey and groups we are in

Above is a photo of the pendant my friend bought for me in the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey quite a few years ago. It makes reading Ephesians even more meaningful to me.What a thoughtful gift. We co-authored two books and she knew I attended college in Turkey so she thought of me.
Below is a photo of the Christ symbol you can see if you visit the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey.

The fish in early Christianity was a symbol for Christ.
The Greek word for fish is Ichthys and the letters for Ichthys  are the following:
If you draw each letter on top of the other you will form the symbol O with 6 lines through it, looking somewhat like a pizza that is sliced.

In ancient Ephesus Christians carved this symbol into the stone walk way which you can see today if you visit Ephesus in Turkey. This symbol is also found in Athens and other places in Greece and in Rome. It is believed that like the drawn symbol of the fish (which we still see today in places like bumper stickers) this was a way of secretly announcing that Christians were near. In the early years of the church, as in many countries today, it was dangerous to be a Christian. In fact, Paul wrote Ephesians (letters to Christians in Ephesus) when he was in prison. He was eventually executed for being a Christian. I am reading a book by N.T. Wright called "Paul for Everyone: the Prison Letters, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon".
I also read that the Greek letters of Ichthys are an acronym for Jesus Christ God’s Son Our Savior
Fun to be in a study group
A nice aspect of the women's Bible study group I attend is that I meet new people of all ages and backgrounds. This one lasts for 8 weeks and has 14 members and when it ends I will probably sign up for another study. About 50 ladies showed up so we divided into 3 groups. Isn't it fun to meet new people? And see old friends too.
Are you in a group or groups that meet locally? I know some of you are in book clubs which sound like fun. One blog friend is in a group that reads poetry out loud, that also sounds like a great activity and some of you gather to knit or do crafts, also fun.

Friday, February 23, 2018

My Cymbidium orchids in bloom

I have one large pot of Cymbidium orchids and it is in bloom today, beginning about February 1 in 2018.
This orchid doesn't receive any fancy care, just orchid food and water as needed. It is outside all year here in coastal California. I have it planted in medium orchid bark, not in soil or moss. Orchids need great drainage so your pot needs a hole so water drains out..
I want to buy a second Cymbidium in a purple color and will look around a garden store tomorrow after Womens' Bible Study. About 50 women showed up so we divided into 3 groups so it is more informal and everyone gets to talk and know each other a bit better. I signed up to bring baked goods last week and another lady brought 3 kinds of tasty fruit and of course coffee is provided. Can we talk in the morning without coffee? Not me, LOL.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Items of sentimental value

Wooden Kachina figures from trips made by my dad to the American Southwest. These were chosen by me to keep when our family home was sold last year. In the religion of the Pueblo Indians of North America kachinas are 500 divine ancestral beings who interact with humans. My husband and I also traveled to the Southwest and the Four Corners and visited where the Kachinas still dance and visit their people.
Three men from my family home's living room, bought about sixty years ago by my parents and made in China.
This man is holding a fish and has a lot of detail. Our home had so many nice things in it, I was pleased to keep some. They were shipped from Wisconsin to my house in California and arrived safe and sound.
Do you have items of sentimental value, from loved ones or a family home?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Hodge podge from my life

These are some favorite photos I took. The first two are of a darling pin of the post office, given to me by my pen pal and blog friend Diane Diane Wants to Write, and it is a fun gift for two pen pals. I wear it on my black jeans jacket that has embroidered red roses.  Two photos are of a white orchid I bought on impulse in February, and the others are living room lights and shadows in my home which is sometimes dreamy and magical.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

My fave books read in 2017

Some of you blog friends have counted how many books you read last year, and listed your faves, and I am doing that today.
I read 89 books plus reading through the Bible again for a total of 90. That seems like a good number for me. I love to read but don't want to rush.  There is all too much hurry in our world today.
I must share with you that I read that if the average person stopped social media they could read 200 books a year! I do spend quite a bit of time blogging, reading blogs and commenting, and on FaceBook. What about you?

Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell.
This is the fifth book I've read by Thirkell, they are romances and jolly good fun.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
This book is a delightful discovery for me. Queen Elizabeth, in this novel, goes walkabout and has some nice adventures.

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson. A single lady in rural England needs an income and writes a novel using local villagers and her neighbors as models for the characters in her book. This causes big problems for her in the village. I have read 3 of her novels and they are all entertaining. I am now a DESsie, which is how the Facebook group that I joined calls D.E. Stevenson enthusiasts.

A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates.
I share some similarities with Oates, including that our marriages were more than 40 years and that our husbands died suddenly. Oates writes very brilliantly of her journey, and I understood when she wrote “My discovery is each day is livable if divided into segments. More accurately each day is livable ONLY if divided into segments … (it is not possible to endure an entire day).”She survived without some of the support I have: children, church and seeing a counselor. Oates is a strong woman.

Three memoirs by Abigail Thomas. These are quickly read and I bought one after the other, they are so good. "A Three Dog Life", "What Comes Next and How to Like It" which chronicles her decades long platonic friendship with Chuck, and ""Safekeeping: True Stories from a Life." In "A Three Dog Life" Thomas shares that her husband was hit by a car and lives in a brain damaged state of now. He has no memory of recent or long term events and lives in assisted care.

"9 Dragons" by Michael Connelly. I am reading this detective series in order and in this recent book Harry Bosch, retired detective, tries to protect his teenage daughter and his ex-wife from extreme danger, as they live in Hongkong.

"When  I Lay My Isaac Down" by Carol Kent. Wow, if your life is tough (or easy) read this book to learn how a Christian husband and wife deal with their only child's arrest for murder. He is now in prison for many years. All three of them rise to be strong and help others. They started a prison ministry where they give black tee shirts to prison visitors, since in Florida visitors often do not know the rules about what to wear and are turned away.

"Cruelest Month" by Louise Penny. This is number 3 in the Gamache police series which is set in a city south of Quebec. I signed up for Penny's newsletter. Her husband died close to when my husband died and I find it comforting to read her letters where she talks about widowhood.

"Can Your Forgive Her?" by Anthony Trollope, the first in the Palliser series of novels. Wonderful.
It begins the stories of three strong women, their courtships, marriages and choices in life. Alice, Lady Glencora and Arabella have very different stations in life yet their stories sometimes intertwine. I already read the second in the series and look forward to the third. These are set in the 1870s when Anthony Trollope wrote. Since I fell in love with his novels three years ago I have read about 20 of the 47 he has written and look forward to reading the other 27.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Driverless Cars, the Good and the Bad

I've been thinking about the new driverless cars that are being tested. Yes, friends, this topic is a change from my usually light subject posts but I find it fascinating since the cars will soon be here. Chandler, Arizona is allowing cars without drivers on its streets and is a hub for testing and developing these cars. Chandler has many wide and flat streets which is a plus for the driverless or autonomous vehicles. This is big news,friends.
Winners. Anyone who is not able to drive is a potential customer for these cars. Many senior citizens (that's me), handicapped people, and also people who might want to have a drink and then drive or are taking prescription drugs that say "do not drive." These people could benefit from having a car that will drive itself at their beck and call. Would people be able to put a young child in a driverless car for a visit to grandma?
Losers. People who drive for a living. Truck, taxi and Uber drivers. That includes people in my family. On the other hand Lyft spokespeople say actually more riders will mean more drivers/hosts will be used to make the experience of using Lyft more welcoming.
Losers. Everyone who values freedom from government watching them. That includes me.
It is predicted that once it is shown that cars without drivers are much safer than we human drivers, within 10 to 100 years, people "for public safety reasons" will be forbidden from driving. Except perhaps the super rich and powerful. Cars driven by "robots" will not be distracted by texting, will stop at each stop sign, will not speed, will avoid hazards, so the potential is for close to zero accidents.
The government surveillance could occur because although you know the way to the liquor store, church, synagogue, etc. the car will not. It will get the directions from a giant computer. That information of every place you go will be available to authorities. In addition, if networks are down, you will be stuck where you are.
I am imagining future scenarios, again "for your own good". The computer notes you have been to a gambling casino once a week. To an ice cream parlor once a week. Too many visits, or too few, to a place of worship or too much gambling or ice cream. Whatever the benign dictators decide.
Do you watch the TV show Humans? It depicts how people are learning to live with synths which are robots which look human. In one plot line a stern synth (human appearing robot) is assigned as his nurse to an old man against his will. The man helped design and create the synths. She/it insists he take pills and eat boring food, etc. and watches his every move in a very tyrannical manner. I recommend the show.
Oh well, this is mainly a problem for the citizens of the future. I do see driverless cars as a boon to many people but with a nasty downside.