Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
“The Times They Are A-Changin” Bob Dylan
On September 26 I said goodbye to a 45 year career. After working in retail management, recruitment, and employment counselling, I decided to retire to write full time – in Spain. Yes you heard correct. Hubby and I are selling our house, car, furniture etc. and moving to sunny Spain. We both desire one more great adventure and what better setting to relax in and write to my heart’s content. Thankfully, we have the full support of our family and friends.
I have loved every job I’ve had. I’ve been fortunate to have great employers and amazing co-workers, many who remained friends over the years. It was not an easy decision to leave it all behind. I was given a great send off by my current workplace with a pot luck get-together. One co-worker even made crepes for all of us! I was made to feel very special.
We have been talking about this huge change in our lives for awhile now. We have weighed the pros and cons and decided we need to do this now while we still can. If not now…when? I want to share this wonderful poem by the amazing Christine Kloser.
We have been experiencing a phenomenal fall here on the west coast of Canada. There seems to be no end to the sunshine, and I have been making the most of it. Since I have cut my hours down to half time at work, it means more beach reading time for me!
A fun event every year for me is The Mennonite Fair. I work for Mennonite Central Committee in their Employment Services Division and volunteer at the annual fall fair which is a huge fund raiser for MCC. I love the atmosphere; everyone working hard toward the same goal with such compassion. It is the best example of team work I have ever encountered, and I’m grateful to be part of it.
And then there was the food! I stocked up on German baking to take home and lined up for a feast of vereniki (growing up we called them perogies but they are the same thing and soooo good) All a wonderful reminder of my German – Canadian childhood. I returned home with my many purchases, full and happy.
Next stop, a visit to my daughter on her island in the sun. It takes two ferries and a small boat to get me there but it’s worth it.
My daughter and I attended a excellent talk by Gabriola artist Sheila Norgate called “I never met a blank canvas I didn’t like”. It was enlightening and motivating for both of us. We chatted, barbequed a huge salmon, I watched her water her lovely garden, spent hours on the beach, chatted and ate some more. I always feel so well rested after spending a few days with my daughter on Mudge Island.
I am so lucky to be able to enjoy this sunshine, work for a great organization and spend time with my daughter in such a picturesque setting. How is your September so far?
I have always loved pottery and enjoyed creating displays of pottery in the gift shop and Museum and Art Gallery I worked at in my younger days. As many of you know my own daughter is a talented potter. I wrote about her here She has recently created a website which I think is amazing, proving she has many talents. Please check out her website
If you see something you like be sure to place an order. Her items are one of a kind and if she sells a piece, there will never be another one like it.
Whenever I travel, I like to check out pottery studios and on my recent trip to New Mexico, I found many. It was on a drive through the Taos Canyon, that we came upon a unique wood-fired pottery and sculpture studio that enticed us to stop in. Enchanted Circle Pottery was indeed enchanting. The couple, JoAnne and Kevin DeKeuster, who own the studio and create all the work, were away at the time. We were instead greeted by wonderful house sitting potters who gave us the grand tour. We spent quite some time looking at the various works of art and discussing pottery as well as other creative endeavours. Writing did come up as did an opportunity to brag about my potter daughter.
Here are some pictures I took of some of their work:
From their website: The glazes are created from the wood firing, an ancient Japanese process which produces unique iridescent colours. As the wood burns in the kiln, the ash lands on the ceramic work. The kiln reaches such intensely high temperatures (2400 degrees), that the ash is melted into a glaze. The flames surging across the pots also add interesting marks and colour.
The studio is in such a perfect setting as you can see from the front window. I am sure the potters are inspired by the beautiful nature surrounding them.
There was pottery everywhere, even in the yard.
We had an opportunity to step into the huge wood fired kiln. As you noticed, some of the pieces are very large so an oversized kiln is required.
And much wood is needed to fire this kiln.
I couldn’t leave without a purchase. I chose a salt cellar which I gave to a friend who I know appreciates pottery. Aren’t the colours amazing!
Should you find yourself in New Mexico, on Highway 64, between Taos and Angel Fire, you must stop in to Enchanted Circle Pottery. It is worth the visit!
During my recent trip to New Mexico, my travelling companion and I visited the St. James Hotel in Cimarron on the Santa Fe Trail. The hotel was built in 1872 by a trained French chef, Henri Lambert. Many famous guests stayed in this elegant but often violent hotel. Cimarron is Spanish for wild or unruly, which was a fitting name for this lawless town in the nineteenth century when arguments were often settled with bullets. Twenty-six people lost their lives at the St. James Hotel.
We had a delicious burrito lunch in the restaurant sitting under a huge Texas longhorn. We then wandered into the bar where bullet holes from days gone by, pepper the ceiling.
Famous lawmen, outlaws and wild west characters stayed in this hotel. Colourful individuals such as Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, the author Zane Grey and Annie Oakley.We wanted to look inside the rooms that are still decorated in the manner Mr. Lambert had established. With luck a friendly maintenance man agreed to show us around. The St. James is still an operating hotel but since many of the rooms were vacant we could check them out.
The Annie Oakley Room
We had heard the hotel was haunted and were eager to learn more. Our guide told us that many guests have felt the presence of the spirits of those who have met their demise in this hotel. The staff tell stories of cutlery being moved around, a cowboy suddenly appearing and then disappearing and the sudden scent of rose perfume. Room #18 is never rented out as the ghost of a cowboy, T.J. Wright, killed during a game of cards, resides there. The St. James Hotel has been featured on a number of television shows.
A peaceful sitting area outside with murals, a waterfall and a bear about to steal a freshly baked pie is a good place to escape from the eerie feeling inside.
This was a great place to visit, full of wild west history and ambiance. I’m sure there are many stories contained in those walls. But I’m not sure I would want to spend a night.
More great pictures of the hotel and the rooms here
I need to tell you more about Taos Pueblo as I was so enthralled by my recent visit. It is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Approximately 150 people live within the Pueblo full time. The buildings are made entirely out of adobe, with no electricity or running water in the sacred village. Wood stoves and fireplaces warm the homes and are used for cooking. Bread and pastries are baked in a horno, an outdoor adobe oven. We purchased cookies and pie made in a horno and they were delicious. We also had fry bread made in front of us, drizzled with honey which was also very tasty.
The Pueblo is situated on both sides of the Red Willow Creek which is the source of drinking water for the natives. One resident told us that a legend tells of an eagle that dropped two feathers, one on each side of the river which was a sign for the ancient people to build the Pueblo at that spot.
Many of the homes are inhabited by native artists who welcome visitors to enter their homes, view their art work, chat and make purchases. We bought a number of handmade items to take back home as gifts (and a couple of items for ourselves.) We met some very nice people. Everyone was willing to take time to talk to us. I love getting to know local artists when I travel and to support them when I can.
One amazing artist we met was Jeralyn Lujan Lucero, painter, potter, soap maker; to name a few of her many talents. But she tells us her most important job is that of mom to her three children. Jeralyn and her husband are raising their children in their ancestral home, living a traditional Pueblo life. From her website, “It may not be possible to take Taos Pueblo with you, but owning an image created by Jeralyn Lujan Lucero is possibly one way to take the spirit of Taos with you.” I am happy to have the spirit of Taos, via an art card signed by this talented woman, in my home.
The modern day San Geronimo Church, built in 1850, is a Registered National Historic Landmark and is used by the mostly Catholic inhabitants of Taos Pueblo. It is made of thick adobe walls, keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter.
The ruins of the original San Geronimo Church, built in 1619 and destroyed in 1847 during an uprising are now part of the cemetery. All that remains is the bell tower in memory of those who lost their lives.
This high desert oasis has so much history, culture and spirit, drawn from the past and continuing to this day. I left with a feeling of peace and tranquillity and much respect for the native people.
I will leave you with the Tribal Manifesto:
“We have lived upon this land from days beyond history’s records, far past any living memory, deep into the time of legend. The story of my people and the story of this place are one single story. No Man can think of us without thinking of this place. We are always joined together.”
I can’t believe my luck. I have had so many fabulous get-aways this year and now I just returned from a week in Taos, New Mexico.
This trip was extra special as I spent it with someone very dear to me. I was not granted a sister, instead I was blessed with an aunt my age. We were born in the same hospital two months apart. We did everything together as kids. She moved to Arizona many years ago and we don’t get the opportunity to see each other often. When we do it is usually at a family reunion, special birthday, wedding or funeral with many others around. This was perfect as we were able to spend the entire week together, just the two of us like we did when we were children. We have so many common interests like visiting museums, art galleries, historic houses, shopping, chocolate and eating great food. Taos was the perfect spot to meet and we had a splendid time.
Here are a few pictures of our holiday in this amazing part of the world. I will write more details about some of the places later.
At Hacienda do los Martinez
More pictures and stories to follow.
Happy Mother’s Day!!