Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Monday, March 28, 2011

Culture Day at a local school

Before my fateful trip to Lafayette, Louisiana, I spent a day with our local Tibetan group bringing their culture to the children of a local elementary school. Of course, the effort is led by Geshe Dorjee Thupton, but each table needed a few people to help teach about the culture.

There were Tibetan clothes to be tried on, various cultural icons and then, of course the sand mandelas.

I was actually pretty amazed that I looked this good in Tibetan garb; Don't forget this is on top of my usual jeans and tee shirt
Another in our group showing a typical males outfit...Geshe is making sure to get the right fit!

While I was not able to escape the native clothing demonstration; my post for the day was at the sand mandela table. It seemed to be the most popular one; who could say no to the opportunity to spread different colored sand on a pre-marked board and make pictures?

Here is the board of the mandelas; see the faint outlines of design? The spaces would be filled painstakingly with sand. Grain by grain, until the whole pattern is completed...well, that is how the monks do it. The children...they have a different approach

This little girl was so adorable. She was so serious about doing it right and I could not resist getting a shot with her tongue placed just so. You have to do that to get the sand to go just so, right?
Once it becomes a group effort well, it seems the details are lost but lots of fun is had nevertheless.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Whirlwind Accident

Last week I was working on a Habitat for Humanity project in Lafayette, Louisiana. There were several houses in various degrees of construction. The one I was working on was fully framed and needed a sub-floor in the attic to receive the heating apparatus.

Sadly, I was only up there for a couple of hours before this weird accident occurred. A fellow worker seemed to be in a precarious situation and hanging on for dear life, I scrambled to lend a hand and misplaced my foot and ended up falling through to the cement floor below. I performed that little act of gracefulness in the closet...which is probably good, since I hit my head on the 2 x 4 wood plate instead of the concrete...which means I am still here!

I never lost consciousness and had a couple of minutes before the EMT came. It felt a lot worse than it looked

The Habitat for Humanity Services Director was on spot before you could count to three.

Later on in the emergency room, my really cute male nurse put this yellow band on my wrist...
Ya' think?
Days later, after being admitted, it was St Patties Day and the folks on my floor know how to celebrate.

The care and attention I received was extraordinary. After many many x-rays, a cat scan and an MRI they only found a compression fracture at the T9 vertebra; they did a cytoplasty injection surgery and released me the same day.

The bruising and muscle soreness continue to be a problem for me, but each day seems a little better. I am not complaining...

The accident happened exactly nine days ago and I am walking, talking and driving short distances. Yes there is pain and discomfort but when I think that I could be dead or severely crippled, well, no I am doing just fine thank you very much!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What a Bummer...

You will all be thankful that I post no photos for this post.

The trip that I have been looking forward to for months finally happened! I am here in Lafayette, Louisiana and was working on a Habitat for Humanity program; I say was, because I got into a nasty accident and ended up in the hospital. The accident happened on Monday and after two days, I had surgery and was released last night.

So I missed most of the project, which looked like a REALLY GOOD one, and am unable to continue on for another week in New Orleans, as I had planned. That really bums me out, but I accept what is and will try to continue on gracefully.

The travel assist company is arranging to fly me home (I hope tomorrow) and also have my car along with bike returned to me, don't know if they are driving it or shipping it.
Since I can hardly move, this is a very good thing.

I cannot offer up enough praises for the Road Scholar folks, they have taken very good care of me and have attended to my every need...and here I thought I was "easy", anyway, they made a difficult thing easier to bear.

To all my blogging buddies, your prayers of support and healing are appreciated now!
...and take my word for it...you do NOT want to see the pictures!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Food Adventures on my Florida Trip

I randomly loaded the pictures from the trip and wouldn't you know it, that the most visually attractive one came up first!

This was lunch at the Treviso Restaurant at the Ringling Museum complex. After walking the compound for five hours, I want to tell you, it was fabulous! Great to sit down and then to have this feast for the eyes and belly was wonderful...

This was a wrap from the Horsin' Around Deli deli near to the ECHO farm. One of my co-workers ordered it and it sure looked good

I stopped at an Italian restaurant Primo in Sarasota, the air was filled with garlic so I knew it would be good, it was...but I was really intrigued with the plate. I think at one time I was seriously considering getting dishes similar to this...in retrospect,m I am glad I didn't.

We made a huge pot of steamed clams gotten from a local calm farmer in Cedar Key. They were the best I ever had. Maybe it was the company!

I got a reuben from the Horsin Around Deli, just FAB!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Old Friend Reunion

The best part of the trip was finally getting together with my friend; who I hadn't seen since 1960. It was pretty amazing that we found each other after all these years. But we did and we had a couple of real nice days in Florida. We romped around Cedar Key for a while, just relaxin' and taking in some needed sunshine.

Nobody can visit Cedar Key without getting a picture with their head in the sharks mouth!

Here we are at the Cedar Key Museum, my friend was very interested in all the history...

and we couldn't leave out the clam farming. Why Cedar Key has the largest clam farms in the country!
The guard pelicans are on duty at the fishing pier.

And then we made a day of it at Epcot...
Lady and the Tramp topiary providing the background
At the Mexican Pavilion
We were just starting the Clamobile on the underseas quest to find Nemo...
Daisy Duck doing the watering
Heading up into spaceship Earth
Getting on the tram at the beginning of our whirlwind day at Epcot!
We saw:
Spaceship Earth
Ellen's Energy Adventure
The Sea with Nemo and Friends
Living with the Land
The Circle of Life
The American Adventure

It was a pretty full day!

Ringling Ca' d'Zan -- Summer Estate

While in Sarasota, I spent a day at the Ringling Estate, Museum of Art, Circus Museum and the grounds and gardens. It is all located on one large property and is difficult to see it all in a day. I can say that I gave it a good scan, but I am sure that I missed a lot. A second visit would certainly not be wasted.

My first building was the Ca'd'Zan (the house of John)...the house where John and Mabel entertained lavishly. It was very elegant and lived in at the same time. It was obvious that they spared no expense and it had all the latest comforts of the thirties. I was most taken with the doors and windows though. They were unusual and highly decorated.

This one is silver embossed with a velvet background

The door in the upper right is gold gilt and quite ornate

This is a view from the back of the house overlooking Sarasota bay. Those rich people...they sure know how to live.

Another interesting door, all wood with very nice workmanship
Check out these windows. They seem to be standard rectangular shaped windows with a false front on them to appear Turkish.

This was all individually hand blown glass from Italy; notice the different colors of each pane.

This is the entrance to the Circus Museum and Store

The master of ceremonies and a man on very long stilts. Notice the mechanical bicycle riding the tightrope between the walls...

There were literally thousands of miniature circus animals/wagons/ performers on display in the museum. I thought this one was special; elephants wearing sea horse costumes pulling a very ornate float of mermaids and Poseidon, God of the Sea. All items are hand carved and painted. It was amazing.

Here is another interesting carriage being pulled along by ostriches

I am not sure what this is supposed to be, but it caught my eye and has made it into my blog. So I guess it was successful.

I was on my way over to the art museum and I had to cross a small body of water by walking over a bridge. While there I saw an anhinga (snake bird) swimming after a small fish. So this is my Monet photo shot.

Here's another...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lido Mangrove Tunnels Sarasota Florida

I signed up for an afternoon of kayaking through the mangroves just at the mouth of the Myakka River in Sarasota Florida, with Almost Heaven Kayaking...since I had a couple of days to fill before I went up to Cedar Key.

Here is a shot of an interesting approach through the tunnels...I looks like one cannot get through that tiny opening, but truth be told, if you go in on an angle from right to left, it is not a problem at all. Since I was first in the group, I scooted right through, I heard moments later though that others had a bit of difficulty.

There were Lightening Welks galore in the bay. you could actually just reach down in the water and pick them up. This particular one weighed around 4 to 5 pounds. I thought that was amazing. Yes, they are very much alive!

Here are other smaller welks that we looked at just after getting out of the mangrove tunnel.

This cute little guy is a tree crab. When we were in the tunnel the leader was pointing them out and could not see any. Then all of a sudden I saw one, then two then lots and lots. They are very fast.

Finally, we were in one of the many bay areas and right there among high rises in a little treed area next to a highway (of all things) was this osprey with a huge fish that he caught and was about to eat. Double click to see more!

Real Life Dharma

Quite a while ago at a Dharma session, Geshe talked about something called false logic. Having never taken a philosophy course I paid close attention but when all was said and done, I felt like I missed something.

He gave the example of false logic by talking about a roadside fruit stand owner; imagine yourself driving along, seeing the fruit stand and deciding to stop and get some fresh and presumably delicious fruit. So you pull in, get out of the car and walk over to the stand whereupon the owner of the stand picks up a peach slices it and offers you half...all juicy and sweet. One bite and your senses are heaven bound and you need more of this! So you buy a half bushel, put it in the car and drive off...dreaming about a half bushel of delicious peaches. Here is the part I don't get. He says, just because you ate half a peach and it was good, does NOT mean the half bushel that you bought will be the same as the sample you had. OK, I know that the peaches probably come from different trees, and maybe some had more or less sun than the one I tasted, but still...they should be good. Geshe says, false logic. Each peach stands on its own. Well, I am still growing and so I keep thinking about this every once in a while.

Here is perhaps another example. This one I can fully understand....now.

Wednesday is garbage and recycling day for me. I always put both the trash can and the recycle box out the night before, since they have been known to pick up at 6 AM. Today, (Wednesday) I went about my morning business then went out to do errands at 8:30. Before leaving I put something in the mailbox and raised the red flag so the postal worker would pick it up when my mail was delivered. Making a mental note to check the flag when I returned indicating whether or not the mail had come.

I returned at about 12:15. As I entered my development area I noted that trash cans and recycle bins of my neighbors up the block were in disarray and empty. OK, as I drive down my street I am looking at the mail box flag and it too is down. So when I pulled in the garage, I went out and got the mail, got the recycle bin, placed it on top of the trash can and wheeled it in the garage. I took the bin and placed it on the floor and went in the house.

Moments later I heard a very loud truck. It sounded like a tractor trailer, but my street is really not big enough for one of those. The noise got louder and I went to see what it was...
Sure enough it was the trash man, picking up trash. And since I was watching him pick up my neighbors trash that means he has already passed me...and that must mean....

YUP, I brought the trash back in the house. What were the odds of my coming home just when he was a few houses away and around the corner? Pretty slim I'd say. So now I have trash for next week! It just never occurred to me to look in the trash can...everybody elses' was empty! False Logic!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Edison - Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers Florida

After I finished my Road Scholar program, I discovered that I was practically a stones throw from the Edison-Ford Winter estates so decided to make a quick stop there as well. I have learned that you have to seize the moment at times like this. Even though I had already scheduled a kayaking trip in Sarasota at 2 the same day, I was hoping I could squeeze this in. It was a whirlwind visit and I am glad I did it, because I don't know when I'll be back in that area again.
So I have discovered that birds of a feather like to flock together, in this case people with very creative minds and some money in their pockets tend to mix and mingle with similar folks and thus we have the Edison and Ford Winter estates. Both men were very creative and extremely hard-working. One might think that because they were in a beautiful place like Fort Myers that they would kick back, take it easy, play golf and just chill out. That would be the furthest thing from the truth. They took the opportunity to brainstorm on all their latest ideas while they were on "vacation". Probably, they worked as hard while here as they did anywhere else, feeding those creative juices and fiddling with new ideas.

So here are a few pictures of the area and stuff that they invented...

This is a classic Ford engine while it is attributable to Ford, Edison was working diligently on rubber and was very instrumental in developing tires for the vehicles

This is a telegraph machine and was a precursor to the phonograph...another Edison invention

Many of the various household inventions by Edison

A 50,000 watt light-bulb...just wonder where they might have needed this big bad boy!

The flowering plants on the estates were just gorgeous

The first house is Fords and the second one is Edisons, the one with all the royal palms.