Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Safari Quest....an "uncruise" experience

Safari Quest, one of the "uncruise" fleet. Perfect size for exploring the
waters of the Pacific Northwest. Six people in our group own their own boats
but wanted to sail through the area, responsibility-free, for a change of pace. 

Pastry chef in the galley where she and a chef turned out three meals a day for 17 passengers
and 9 crew members.

Hi tech check-in and check-out.

We opted for the cheapest cabin..see our huge windows? It was large enough for a Queen 
sized bed, closet, bathroom. After full days of activity, great dinners and
 wines,  we'd open the cabin door, fall in and go to sleep.

Part of the lounge where we socialized and napped, did sudoku,
followed the charts, looked for wildlife and listened to the 
excellent lectures by Bethany.

On and off the ship at our anchorages was done in a skiff. 

Crab cakes and short ribs, baby beet greens, haricot vert, balsamic reduction...nothing special.
Every dinner was about like this. Wine was paired with the meals and included. If you wanted to drink
up a storm, this would be the cruise for you because all drinks were included. Of the 17 of us aboard, 
two people did some boozing, but the rest were moderate drinkers. 

Shortbread thingie with a meringue, white chocolate chunks, mango sauce. Typical dessert.

Closest experience you can have to a private yacht. But with a private yacht you'd never have the guiding of the quality we had, nor
the great cuisine or service. We'll try to go on another cruise with them...maybe the Galapagos.

Monday, May 30, 2016

My Sadhu

My Sadhu-I greased his palm as indicated. You have to admit his costume is a Wow!
Flickr: mag brinik

Flickr: mag brinik

Flickr:mag brinik
In Varanasi they could be seen on the streets, on the ghats, at the funeral pyres, at the ceremonies.  A pilgrimage to Varanasi, it is said, is a must for devout Hindus.  We never saw them actually involved in a rite of any kind; they were hanging around and in some cases, that would be literal. Some shave their heads or shave and leave a tuft at the back. Some grow hair forever and leave it to matte and fall into dreadlocks. I've read that many of them are wrestlers - I have no idea how that skill would fit with the spiritual part of their lives but who's judging here. 

I watched a few documentaries on Youtube on the Aghori's, the creepiest sect, which involve a kind of cannibalism in their rite. They call it communion and when you think about it, it's not all that different from communion in the Christian church, at least in the Catholic church where you are required to sign on to transubstantiation. Here's info on the film which cannot be shared. 
“Feeding on the Dead,” a 10-minute documentary, delves into the closed, little-known world of the 1,000-year-old Aghori sect, whose sadhus, or holy men, pluck dead bodies from the Ganges river.
While the sect has been written about, they’ve rarely been filmed performing rituals. Director Sandeep Singh, who shut down his transport business to pursue filmmaking, said it took him more than three months to gain the trust of an Aghori sadhu and convince him to be filmed while performing a cannibalistic ritual.
There are about 70 Aghori sadhus at a given time, and they remain with the sect for 12 years before returning to their families. Unlike other Hindu holy men, most of whom are vegetarian teetotalers, the Aghoris consume alcohol and meat.
But it is their consumption of human flesh — a practice whose origins remain a mystery — which has earned them the condemnation of other Hindus and relegated most Aghori sadhus to living around crematoriums in the hills of northern India around the holy city of Varanasi, where the documentary was filmed.
Singh and three cameramen waited with an Aghori sadhu — whose name is not mentioned in the film — for 10 days in June before finding a floating corpse. Hindus generally cremate the dead, but bodies are sometimes ceremonially disposed of in the Ganges.
“The body was decomposed and bluish in color, but the sadhu was not afraid about falling sick,” Singh told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday. “He sat on the corpse, prayed to a goddess of crematoriums and offered some flesh to the goddess before eating it.”
Singh said the sadhu ate part of the corpse’s elbow, believing the flesh would stop him from aging and give him special powers, like the ability to levitate or control the weather.
Singh did not see any of those powers on display.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Peonies in the Pike Place Market

The peonies are glorious in Washington this time of year. The displays at the Pike Place market 
never fail to please.

After the market, dinner at the Seatown Seafood Bar and Rotisserie. Lamb pot pie.

Salmon with sour cherry purée, shaved fennel and a few baby peas in a pod.

Brynie Utz Hat Store Seattle

Richard needed a new Tilley Hat for our uncruise departing from Seattle tomorrow. We walked over to Brynie Utz, a very fine hat store in downtown Seattle. Jammed with hats, there was something for everyone in the huge inventory. 

Jim, getting interested in the Tilley replacement policy. If you lose your hat,they send you a new one for 50% off. What actuary figured out the odds of losses occurring? Tilley is a Canadian company and they've been around for a while, so their business model works for them. This will be Richard's second or third Tilley. He did lose one in Israel and Tilley replaced it. The hats are proclaimed to have been "handcrafted with Canadian persnickety ness."

Look at all the hat boxes! There's gotta be one that will fit Richard.

Is this the perfect Stella hat? Not quite.

No Jim...it's not you. What bathroom would you use while wearing it?


We advised Richard to get away from the pith helmets and back to the Tilleys.

The black Tilley was not thrilling me until the excellent hat sales man added the red hatband.


Four happy customers. 


With your Hat or Cap, you’ll be provided with ‘The Straight-Shooter’s Statement of Loss of a Tilley Hat’ insurance policy. The insurance is for two years, all perils, 50% deductible, and is not issued by Lloyds.

We understand the anguish of losing this reliable companion, or of having your dog terminally gnaw it. Should that happen, we’ll replace your late, lamented Tilley at half the current catalogue price.

The details – you may replace your lost, stolen or destroyed Tilley Hat or Cap with the exact same style for one-half the present catalogue price, plus taxes and shipping. If you want another style, we’ll credit 50% of the current catalogue price for the style you lost.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sepia Saturday #331 May 21st, 2016: Patty and Richard

Our Sepia Saturday 331 theme image shows three award winning babies at a 1938 Baby Show which was part of fundraising efforts for the Dartford Hospital in Kent. The picture was taken by the Daily Herald Staff Photographer, Reuben Sandman, and forms part of the Daily Herald Archive which is held by the National Media Museum. Selections from the archive - including this photograph  - form part of the National Media Museum Flickr Commons stream.
The door-to-door photographer rang Patty's door one fine day in the San Fernando Valley circa 1940.
An excellent salesman, he talked her into sitting for a portrait in her living room. She changed into the dress she'd worn just weeks before as an attendant in her sister's wedding. All was well until Richard, my husband and a rambunctious child, was causing a ruckus and distracting her. The frustrated photographer finally said, "Oh, just pick him up."

This photo of Patty, my mother-in-law, in her pretty satin dress holding a diapered, pleased-with-himself-looking Richard was the result. He's won the greatest prize of all - his mother's attention. It's my favorite of his baby pictures. He thinks he looks goofy and I agree with him.

Unrelated to this photo is a certificate I found in a pile of photos in an antique store in Temecula. I googled the Los Angeles Express Better Baby Exposition and found out that Judy Garland won it in 1930. If I had time, I'd look up Duke Earl Saunders and see if I could find out if his life continued on the same winning upbeat path. The future certainly looked bright for him in 1927. 

We're leaving today for Seattle and a cruise up to Princess Louisa Sound and back. See you later.

Meanwhile, to read more stories about prize winning babies check out Sepia Saturday here

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sepia Saturday #330: Uncle Lorne at the Winnipeg Free Press

Our theme image this week shows a typesetter at work. It comes from the collection of the Netherlands National Archives and is part of their Flickr stream.

Uncle Lorne McLeod

My Uncle Lorne worked for the Winnipeg Free Press as a linotype operator. Until this week's Sepia Saturday prompt which features type setting, I knew nothing about Linotyping.  Here's how a Linotype keyboard looks:
And here's how a Linotype operator works:

I can imagine my Uncle at this machine in the place of the pictured Eldon Meeks. When there was "breaking news" or some big event, I remember that Lorne would have to work; sometimes it might be on Saturday or Sunday or late at night. He didn't talk about the demands of work too often; I wish I'd asked him more questions about his job.

I do remember a very cold New Year's Day and I mean bitterly cold, probably about -25 F. when Lorne got called to work. Crystal clear out, the sun was blinding, bouncing off the snow. Lorne had to leave our house in the middle of the day's celebrations and get to the Free Press building downtown. He took a cab which is probably why I remember the event. When we opened the front door to let him out, the shockingly cold air rolled into the warm house, sank to the floor and swirled around our ankles like smoke. Lorne wrapped his scarf around his face and breathed through the fabric to warm the air a bit before it hit his lungs. We watched him walk rapidly down our front sidewalk, feet squeaking in the permanently frozen footprints created months earlier when the temperature rose above freezing, jump over the ridge of snow dividing the sidewalk from the boulevard, jump again over the high, dirty heaps of snow created by the snowplows lining the main street and finally climb into the cab. Off he went to get the paper out. And that's the way it went. And why didn't I ask more questions?

The Winnipeg Free Press played a large part in all of our lives when I was growing up. The paper was delivered around 4:00 p.m. and my mother would sit in our living room, wearing a dress and high heels, reading. Most families looked forward to the paper arriving and everyone in our neighborhood read it. Mother would look over the front page, the obituaries and do the crossword puzzle while waiting for my father to get home from work. When I was six, I had a crossword vocabulary consisting of such words as "etui"- small needlework purse and "unco" - strange or unknown, which I learned from my mother as she did the puzzle. To this day, I get a shiver of pleasure when I'm doing a crossword and get the "needlework case" clue; floods of memories of my mother in our living room wash over me. Other than the puzzling with mother, as a child I read only the comics in the paper; gradually I took in more of the editorial content as I grew older.

Getting your name in the paper was a big deal. I can remember mother commenting, "Oh, so and so has their name in the paper today." When mother's dear friend Axel died, she was mentioned in his obituary and she told me over the phone, "At last, I got my name in the paper." She must have forgotten when she appeared with my sister, my niece and grand niece and her mother in a five-generation photo. Now, the littlest one in this photo is a grandmother, my niece Kim is a great grandmother and I'm a great, great grand aunt. Triple G. I have the original photo but in keeping with today's theme I'm posting the yellowed and poorly reproduced photo from the "paper".

Circa 1912, my father was a paperboy for the Winnipeg Free Press. This is one of my favorite pictures of him with his fellow paperboys on a winter day: I love the snow, the poses, the dogs, the sleds. As the photo is in a frame, sealed across the back, I had to take a photo of it. It's very poor but I hope you can get the feel of the boys. Dad always loved the company of men. A scant four years later he was in the Canadian army in France.
My Dad is the face at the top, cropped out of the larger photo below.

Full frame photo of WFP paperboys circa 1912
Dad a few years later....

I've often wondered why my family moved from their farm in Ontario to Winnipeg in 1910 instead of to Ottawa or Toronto. I'm starting to understand the attraction. The city was an exciting place at that time - full of opportunity. Reading about the history of the Free Press, I recalled that thousands of people were pouring in to the prairies from all over the world. Eastern Canadians were flowing west to start anew amid a robust and bustling economy.




The city was called "Breadbasket of the Empire" at that time. The population was 42,000 in 1901, 136,00 in 1911 and 160,000 in 1916. Visionary entrepreneurs were moving in and amazingly, real estate on Main Street was selling for the same amount per square foot as on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

My Uncle Clem brought the draft horses from the farm when they moved, figuring he could rent them or use them himself in the construction boom. Besides, the horses were members of the family too and they couldn't leave them behind. Clem began making deliveries with his team as soon as he arrived in Winnipeg and as he was an irrepressible entrepreneur he did well in the wide-open city. He was a serial businessman, unafraid to try various money making schemes. He ended up with a glass and insulation company, but along the way was an entertainer, and operated a skating rink on the river. Everybody in the family found work quickly in the city and a kind of prosperity (compared to farming) was enjoyed. 

There were 19 millionaires in the city in 1910. Charlie Chaplin played at the Empress Theatre; W.C. Fields at the Orpheum Theatre and Madame Butterfly was at the Walker Theatre. The darker side of the culture embraced dozens of saloons and plenty of whorehouses in Point Douglas, home to Madame Minnie Woods, Queen of Brothels.

Says Dr. Frank Albo, an art historian and author. "It was a city of tremendous bustle. Real bare-knuckle capitalism. It was a cross-civilization of nations and real, real building."
From www.winnipegfreepress.com/city beautiful: "In 1911, a newly formed Winnipeg Planning Commission anticipated the population of Winnipeg would reach 4.5 million by 1984. How Orwellian of them. More immediately, a group calling itself the Million for Manitoba League wanted a population of one million by 1922.

"You can't even fathom how much we believed we were 'it'," said Murray Peterson, a provincial historical buildings officer. "We were so at the top of everything. There wasn't a facet of the economy we didn't have a hand in. And not just locally."

After all, not one piece of goods, not one rail car, not one petticoat or bottle of baldness remedy came west without being carried on one of the 24 rail lines into Winnipeg. And not one bushel of wheat, piece of lumber or barrel of oil went further west without Winnipeg getting a taste. Bank clearings in 1913 were $1.5 billion. In 1909, Winnipeg handled 88 million bushels of wheat; more than Minneapolis (81 million) or Montreal (30 million) or Chicago (26 million) or New York (23 million)."

Well, things didn't turn out quite as planned. Do they ever? Winnipeg today has a population of about 750,000 people. Nobody in 1910 could have possibly imagined that in 2016, 11% of the population would be Filipino or that 72,335 citizens would be aboriginal. They wouldn't have dreamed of the brain drain of the 60's or the lure from other provinces or the collapses in farming. Most of my family on the paternal side left the province in the 60's and 70's and settled in the U.S. or in British Columbia. My mother and the French Canadians remained in the province. The "Millions for Manitobans" bunch had to wait until 1975 for the province to reach a million souls. I doubt that many of the forecasters from 1911 lived to see it happen. The good news is, that after losing population for many years, the city is growing again, in large part due to foreign immigration. The influx of youth and population diversity (brains and ambition) are fueling the economy.

To end on an optimistic note, I've included a piece of YouTube video which shows the Golden Boy statue on top of the legislative buildings in Winnipeg. It's a bit grandiose and the music, while original, is a bit annoying. It does, however, show off Winnipeg as the neat and tidy, nicely-sized city it has become.

But wait....just as I was going to press, aka pressing the "publish" button, I realized I have a press clipping of my own from last week I can include! Our Fallbrook Gardening Club hosted a flower show and I attended a demonstration. The local paper, The Village News (my husband, being somewhat cruel about the press, calls our paper "The Village Idiot") attended and took photos: you can tell we live in a throbbing hub of commerce and drama if the paper will send a reporter to a succulent demonstration. My husband made some scathing remarks about the collective age of the front row in the photo, but regardless I'm bravely soldiering forward, shedding his barbs like so many drops of dew. See! There I barely am, almost last in the row, hardly visible in the deep shadow, nevertheless my mother would say, "Helen got her picture in the paper today!"