You Can’t Take It With You

You Can't Take It With You

Well, friends, my apologies for the hiatus.

In December, I got a part time job. Whew! The sedentary nature of graduate studies left behind for “load that barge, tote that bale” frenetic activity. There has been a bit of an adjustment period complicated by the holidays, low-grade illness lasting awhile, being props manager for a local community theater, and a brand new second illness that, considering how tired I already was, knocked me on. . . well, took a lot out of me. Last year at this time, I had been repotting bonsai and traveling through Australia, kayaking and hiking, going to weekend bonsai shows. What a difference a year can make.

I love my job. It keeps me fairly busy, and is different every day. The group of young people I work with are, overall, friendly and nice, supportive and encouraging, and a lot of fun. They’re nice to their resident “old lady.”

I ate my share of Girl Scout cookies but, having purchased in two communities, was surprised to discover that there was $1 difference in box prices. Wonder what’s up with that?

My next planned adventure is an Aikido seminar at the end of May. Not sure if I’ll be back in shape, but I’m going! A good friend is testing for san dan (third black belt).

My super-ultra-megawatt-totally awesome news is that of my four friends who last year battled cancer, all four are cancer free!!

The year has been an unusual so far. I wonder what the other three quarters will bring . . . . I hope all of you are having a fantastic year!
Cheers

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

This is one of my favorite photos from the year, so I want to share it with all of you who read my blog as a small thank you for your support. It was taken from the back patio of my friends’, Ann and Rick, house. Many thanks to all of my friends who are so dear.

I also chose this photo for its quality of light. In reflecting on the winter holy day(s) season, I am reminded that all of the winter holy days are in some regard related to light. The season, to me, reflects on light as a focus for hope; hope for ourselves, for our community, and our world. Hope for the future. The nature of this hope is that things will get better, improve; better for the individual, the community, the world: the future.

The second aspect that I see inherent in the holy days this time of year is that there is some effort required, some sacrifice to make, even if it is “only” in the form of trust or believing (faith?). We are to give something of ourself, of our community, in order that growth of the light and hope may come to pass.

Thirdly is rememberance, looking back to when something important, something miraculous, happened. We are asked to remember what sacrifices were made in the past and the hope of our forebearers and those things that have brought us to where we are now, as individuals, community, and world. We are their future.

I wish for each of you, my readers, and everyone else too, these aspects of the season: Light to fuel Hope; Willingness to take action toward that perpetuating that Hope; and the Memory of what our ancestors hoped for and believed in for all of us: Hope for the Future, for individuals, communities, World. And the memory that we are all here together, hoping for all of us.

May the Peace and Beauty, Love and Hope, Sacrifice and Memory, of the season be with you today, all year, and into the Future.

Trip to the Bay

Trip to the Bay

For our holiday meeting this year, my cousin and I met in Alameda, CA, and had two days in Neverland. You know, nicely packed with hardly any room between one adventure and another (JM Barrie). First a jaunt up to Richmond to see the Rosie the Riveter WWII Heritage Monument. There’s a lot more going on there besides just Rosie, as if that wasn’t enough. The sight speaks to a large area of growth in US history: the Rosies, racial and gender discrimination issues, naval mutiny and other naval history, industrial growth, and health care. We spent longer there than intended, and ended up in traffic on our way back to the hotel.

The next day we drove into San Francisco and spent hours along the Waterfront. A dream for me was getting out to Fort Point, the oldest US military site in CA. I was sad to find it fenced and bricked off. Maybe some day I’ll find a way to see the inside.

After seeing the sights and watching waves break, we headed to Oakland and the Golden State Bonsai Collection, North. It’s at Lake Merritt. The photo is a persimmon styled and donated by my friends Vince and Kathy Owyoung. The tree is about 3 feet tall. Unfortunately, we only got through about half of the collection because they close at 3. The docent was sweet, giving us an extra ten minutes.

Sadly, my cuz and I only had the two days this year, and there were lots of things on our to-do list that we didn’t get to see this time. Maybe next year. . . .

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

After losing a collection of holiday tree ornaments collected through a lifetime – one I’d made in “art” in the second grade, some made at home with Mom and sibs, a couple made by neices and nephews, gifts from high school friends – I started a new collection. My new tradition is to watch for one each year and only buy the special one for that year. This year’s I picked up during a visit to Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. Go if you can!

The little brownie is made of wool, which is what I think drew my cat’s attention. You can see her idea of how to enjoy the new acquisition. I guess we’ll share.

Thank you to each of you who reads this blog! I hope your winter Holy Day(s) have been / are especially joyous and blessed with the spirit of the season. May the rebirth of light illuminate you and your loved ones through the coming year and on.

Catching Up

Catching Up

Good morning, dear readers. I’ve been a right slug about posting, but some great stuff has been happening. Early in November, I got to go to Beverly Hills to see the Martha Graham Dance Company open the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. While I did get a few pics of the dancing, I promised not to publish them. In this pic is a bronze from the Wallis’ garden, titled “Exhaltation” (by Emmanuel Fillion, original 1996, reproduction 2013), in the image of Ms. Graham performing her piece “Lamentation.” The amazing Katherine Crockett danced this for us.

On the return, I drove a section of CA Hwy 1 between Gaviota and Pismo Beach. It’s really pretty in there, views of the ocean and I think there are some cliffs near Lompoc. I hope to drive it again and take a couple of the roads all the way to the beach. The drive only took an extra hour, so I am very happy with the exploration.

Of course we just had Thanksgiving. I took green salad and a pumpkin pie to a friend’s house. She roasted a turkey and some yams. After a tasty meal I helped her pack. Then on Friday, I joined a small group to schlep. The move went fairly quickly so there was time for hanging out with friends and the new grand daughter (my friend’s – though apparently I do look rather grandmotherly when I push my glasses to the end of my nose. Guess it’s time for bifocals.).

This week is “cover the bonsai” week. It’s a good thing I recently bought new sheets, or I wouldn’t have had enough material. My little trees are a bit crowded; not ideal for growing but good when the temperature drops.

Let’s leave things here for now.
I hope everyone has (has had) joyous and blessed winter holy days.

Mondo Burley 2

Mondo Burley 2

On Sept 25 this year, I posted about Mondo Burley, a relatively large yamadori (yah-mah-doe-ree) olive burl with some new growth. (Yamadori are collected rather than grown from seed or a cutting. They are usually on the larger size, say, greater than 12 inches/31 cm tall with a proportionate base.)
Last Sunday I showed the burley tree to a local bonsai friend who is known for his olives (no name, as I haven’t asked permission yet). It felt pretty good hearing him suggest the same design ideas that I had been considering. He gave me tips on how to accomplish these ideas, too – a topic for another day. My friend also said to remove the bark from the dead areas of the burl. This is good because bugs can get underneath old bark and ruin the nice wood or affect the health of the tree. It also exposes the swirls and grain of the wood and improves aesthetics.
Today I did some work on the bark. You can see the autumn coloring of the newly exposed wood. Truely, though, I did get a better photo showing the colors. Why, then, show this photo? JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” The top of Burley looks like Barrad-dûr, location of the Eye of Sauron. There are also some cool faces in the wood. . . .
Thank you, everyone, for reading, and welcome! to the all you newer readers.

Capital City Bonsai Show

Capital City Bonsai Show

This weekend, 26 & 27 Oct, is the annual Capital City Bonsai Show. Hosted by all four bonsai clubs in Sacramento, it raises money to support the Golden State Bonsai Federation collection at Lake Merritt, Oakland (pictured above), housing some of California’s oldest bonsai trees (http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/lake-merritt/NewHome.htm).

Saturday, the show runs 10 – 5 with a social afterwards, and Sunday from 10-4. There will be club hosted demos each day at 1:30. I am fairly sure this is a FREE event. For more information contact Gary Judd at 916-622-8048.

Admission to see the Lake Merrit collection is free, and the SoCal collection is at Huntingtion Gardens.

Bonsai clubs in Sac’to:
American Bonsai Association
Bonsai Sekiyu Kai (tree and stone lovers)
Sacramento Bonsai Club (oldest club in CA)
Satsuki Aikokai Association (Azaleas only)

See you there!