Here is a video of an actual injection:
The result is a wax replication ready to be cast into metal to make the bell I will sell.
Here is a video of an actual injection:
The result is a wax replication ready to be cast into metal to make the bell I will sell.
My journal observed:
Yesterday we did several of the museums inside the walls of the late Roman pleasure palace of Diocletian which has subsequently been built & rebuilt into several evolution of medieval cities… outer fortifications & ramparts rising in times needing protection, then razed for more peaceful periods of expansion… always a center for trade, education & now enjoying revival as destination
for tourists like us.
Sporting palm trees & the beaches of which we probably won’t avail ourselves, being more interested in other culture, one appreciates how northern Europeans arrive for a sunny holiday with nightlife… a bit of which we did discover in a small adventure last night inside the bustle & throb of its heartbeat, walking the canyons deflecting crooning cafe singers, courtyards of jazz & disco, coming into soundscapes as corners were rounded then receding as quickly as entering another alleyway. We discovered a warren of venues, mostly under awnings sheltering outdoor tables served by small restaurants barely more than tiny kitchens hidden inside the nook of a thick wall… often down, or up! shadowy nearly invisible steps.
The bar we were seeking has the rare reputation of being gay friendly, if mixed… fine with us!
It turned out to be a long wide passageway gently-stepped & furnished with an eclectic collection of cushions, stools, benches & small tables served by a waiter from a bar sending a fine collection of the last fifty years of music with which we have long danced. I enjoyed hearing forgotten memories from my twenties as we people-watched what was a parade rich for mostly inventive stories we share between ourselves…
This city began as the late Roman emperor Diocletian’s summer palace in 300 AD or so. Centuries later it has become a museum chronicling its strategic situation along the Venetian trade routes, Further fortified walls were added, then torn down in peaceful times… medieval houses were built into nooks & crannies of the various ruins. The emperor’s tomb became the small cathedral with its bell tower added, the town buildings rose, tumbled & were remodeled or rebuilt over the centuries until it became iconic enough to be declared a UNESCO Heritage site.
Winter poured our total annual average of rainfall by April. Inside grey moods, weeding would only make mud wallows. Slip & sigh…
A significant mud-slide immediately to the south of us honed our awareness of our fabulous fragility…
We found some respite in our annual visit to help Mother-in-Love Helen travel to or from her condo on the gulf coast of Florida, Long Boat Key, near Sarasota.
This year we brought her back home to Minnesota. Needing ever more help… after 98 years of vibrant life… she is gradually gracefully slowing down.
The always momentous month of May brings our Vashon Island Art Studio Tour for the first two weekends. ‘Twas the usual scramble to prep both studio & garden for show-time. Mother Nature reliably saves me with her generosity!
So… the year is being good.. It certainly is being very rich… & mostly happy.
Traditionally we visit my mother during May. She lives comfortably in her own apartment, part of our youngest brother’s home in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Much of my family lives along the I-25 corridor, from Rye to Loveland/Longmont.
My Bro-Jon, who lives in Kansas City impulsively flew to join us for a fine bit of family time. We also have other deep friends whom we love to visit in both Boulder & Denver.
We drove a triangle which included time with Brother David, Love-Sis Michelle plus Niece Lisa & her family. A rare feast.
We returned to a summer which brought another record-breaking period… months without any rainfall!
We were planning & prepping to set-up GRB Bells’ canopied booth for the Island’s Strawberry Festival… one of the few out-of-studio shows I do. But, only a few days before that event, it became evident that we were needed in MN. We flew to help Helen by spelling sister Alice & Bro-in-Love John, who because they live close to her, have taken the yeoman’s share of her daily care.
I stayed a month. Learning & loving ever more to care for Helen. She & I developed & honed more deeply useful communication inside our decades of a familial lovingly unique relationship.
We chose each other for this journey.
She blessed our long-laid plans to travel in September & October… even as such “plans” necessarily became more truly improvisations as I replaced our friend Orlando with whom Stephen had planned to travel for the first leg… but who had to cancel because of undeniable back difficulties.
Originally I planned join Stephen in Venice… after their tour of the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia. With only days to change tickets… with a stretch & a splurge … I danced into taking Orlando’s place. We had a wonderful time together.
Now I am working to edit the 1700 photos I made & & stitching & quilting them together with amplifying the few snatches of journal I managed to write along the way into what will become several posts about the trip…
Only days upon our return we repacked to fly to be with Helen again… relieving Sis-Alice & Bro-in-Love John, who have been such reliable… constant & essential caretakers. Now they were scheduled for a week of babysitting their grandchildren…
Helen’s strength had faded to the point it taxed the two people required to help her move inside the the ever smaller radius of her world. We were concerned about safety for us all & she agreed it was time for her to move to the hospice only blocks away from her condo. This small facility takes wonderful care for the whole family. We were gifted richer time to spend together with her as she lived the last few days of her long life.
Stephen & I were with her in the quiet moments of her passing… Stephen sweetly singing hymns to her. They had such an intensely close relationship. I was honored to be where I wanted… holding them both in that beauty.
I have long respected & loved my Mother-in-Love.
After nearly 30 hours of door-to-door travel we arrived in Bali just before the solstice… Mostly escaping the frenetic holiday energy, although Christmas is a commercial event with decor widely seen even in Buddhist & Muslim countries.
A 13 hour flight from Seattle, left for Taipei just after midnight Saturday/Sunday, crossed the International Date Line to arrive early Monday. We flew EVA Elite so we enjoyed slightly more spacious seats plus, quite nice service & good food.
Meals on the flight to Taipei consisted by our choice of multiple bowls of mostly Chinese foods, avoid the western load of gluten: pasta & bread]. I especially enjoyed breakfast of “congee”… as written on the menu, but verbalized as “porridge”… a soft rice, more liquid than not, with additions including a packet of fluffy flavoring powder delightfully, aptly called “fish floss”. I want more!
I remembered being introduced decades ago, to a similar breakfast a friend from Singapore called “jook”. I realized too late that the pickled salad was intended to be added, as Tinnee had taught me in those Sedona days. I prefer savory breakfasts.
Another 5 hour flight brought us to Denpasar, Bali where our friend Joel met & drove us… while rain threatened… an hour more to their Villa Vajra near Ubud… putting us, for this visit, in the larger guest villa, which is usually rented out, but tourist times are tough on Bali and much of Indonesia, due in part to overbuilding.
Joel had arranged to have a masseur ready to welcome us with wonderful body-work before a simple dinner. What a delightful treat to have the wrinkles of traveling deliciously ironed out! During my massage there came as well the welcome of a first delightful thunderstorm!
This was the view from the massage table on our bedroom’s covered deck looking down into the living/dining pavilion… two stories of open space with drop-down weather shades.
We had indeed leapt ahead of time by flying over the International Date Line… so we went directly to bed, quite ready to sleep into our jet-lag.
I began a journal on the plane which continued to evolve fulsomely throughout this entire travel. I have a rather checkered history with such travel journals, which often find themselves neglected in all the movement. This one informs this text.
Remember that I am rather a hermit meditating in a fast lane. I’ve become comfortable choosing to miss some excursions to enjoy instead rare qualities hovering ’round the solitude essential to savor dancing so lively in time & place. Travel has many complexions…
Waking from deep sleep accompanied by intense frog-song, we joined Joel & their sweetly aging dogs, Abelard & Heloise for their regular walk along the nearby ridge familiar from our last visit four years ago…
The grass growing along the ancient stones is what becomes the traditional material for thatched roofs, which are becoming more rare due to their shorter life span than iron-wood shingles, which, while more expensive last years longer.
Back home for a gorgeous breakfast with Nirgrantha in their delightfully efficient villa. A lovely plate of fruit: banana, kiwi & the incredible, richly flavored mango & papaya which are in high season.
On the wall of their courtyard garden is a zig-zagging black pepper vine, which I identified in answer to Nirgrantha’s quiz, having seen them in India.
But the rich exuberance of plant life in the tropics is exemplified by simple moss on a lovely pot…
I might wish to attend the sale of his textile collection which Nirgrantha intends, such as this jacket on their bedroom wall.
Or… this sarong patterned guaranteed to make any movement an undulation… I doubt I could afford such treasures as he has collected in his years here.
Joel suggested lunch at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant he’d recently discovered, accessible only along a rough road followed by a bit of a walk, which made it impossible for Nirgrantha to join us.
He is confined to the interior their walled villa’s two roofed sections… living & sleeping… with a garden & pool between. Such architectural incorporation of the tropical bio-system becomes lovely logic.
Moksa is another open pavilion set well above & overlooking its garden planted in the river-bed’s fertility. I was entranced by the graceful swirls creating beds shaped with puzzle-nobs of paths interlocking soil. All bordered with a staccato of coconut husks, sensibly allowing the middle of them to be easily accessed… delighting this gardener!
The plates were deliciously inventive… served in / on pottery made by the partner of the owner who runs the front-end. I got to meet the other partner, who is the chef, to compliment him on the raw squash “spaghetti” I had so enjoyed sauced with a turmeric dressing… which I finished with a spoon!
We ought to have visited the potter’s studio/store, but we had too little time… Joel wanting to get back to check on Nirgrantha. We did stop to change money, each rather instantly becoming millionaires several times over, in the local Rupia, for a $200.00 investment!
Both of us napped more deeply than intended… waking in the jungle twilight just before dinner. Grilled Mahi-Mahi & poppingly-delicious small potatoes roasted with rosemary… plus the Brussels sprouts which we’d brought from home at their request, being impossible to get in the tropics. A holiday feast!
Another deep sleep, with curious dreams, brought me to waking just before dawn, to watch the fireflies blinking like morning stars above the mosquito netting of our bed. I got-up to enjoy the coming of the light on this solstice morning.
Solstice still is important here, almost at the equator… just enough below to make some noticeable difference, according to Joel, as the longest day of the year.
Leaves from their Bodi tree… genetically a true scion of the Buddha’s… hold deep truth.
We decided not to follow our original plan to go into Ubud for lunch & to shop. It seemed it would be too crowded. Instead Joel suggested lunch at a new eco/farm restaurant higher up the road where he’d celebrated his recent birthday. The half-hour drive took us through an area frequented by tourists, so there were numerous open shopping places for all sorts of schlock around a once picturesque rice terraces… now looking too shoddy for that traffic to even want to photograph… illustrating what he explained as the rapid deterioration of local culture.
At Basanta we were met as we parked by a guy with walkie-talkie bringing a young woman who turned out to be our guide [& later our server] through the rather newly developing gardens, showing us the two strains of coffee [Arabica & Robusta] which they sell as “Luwac”… which I will explain later to those not too faint for adventure. We ate in one of several typically open thatched pavilions overlooking a lush valley.
Joel & I had interesting avocado smoothies laced with chocolate, pretty, but I might prefer a spicier addition rather than such heavy sweetness. They were too much like dessert! Stephen’s drink was made with beets… a lovely color. We were put-off by the plastic straws, after having a more beautifully organic version made from stems of papaya… a clue to how clueless we ultimately found much of this operation.
One starter was deep fried spinach… a variety with large densely textured leaves. I’m curious what was the batter’s binder, making an equally sturdy crispness… eggs, perhaps. The other was a timbal made of fruit & veggies enclosed with long thin petals of sliced cucumbers, another technique I wish to try at home. Main courses were a fruit & vegetable “pate” contained in a collar of banana leaf stitched with a pick of bamboo, a similarly wrapped bundle of batter fried potatoes, perched horizontally atop, floating in an orange sauce. We shared a second preparation of red rice served with a basket of various sauces, small salads & bits of flavorful preparations & sambals, all contained in a tight composition of more stitched banana leaf vessels.
While all was fine in its elaboration, the meal did not seem so well tended as the lunch the day before. The entire experience seemed contrived toward the notion of the curious coffee, which involves collecting the beans after being processed through the digestive systems of civets [a weasel like animal] which supposedly works some wonder worthy of exorbitant price. We did not like the idea, seeing the rather cruelly caged animals & samples of the the end of the process. Such curious excess of obvious & overt-marketing seemed another example of what “eco” & “organic” are not really about. The gammon music was boringly repetitive & the rackety walkie-talkies the entire staff carried at full volume were distracting & disturbingly insensitive.
One important part of this travel to SE Asia was to visit two ancient archaeologic temple sites near Jogjakarta,…on the island just west of Bali… we flew to Java on Christmas Day. Java is predominantly Muslim, while Bali is mix of Hindu & Animist.
Borobudur is Buddhist. Prambanan is Hindu. Both were built in the 9th century. Each is unique to the style of religious, philosophic or artistic manner… particularly in silhouette… yet with notable resonances in detail suggesting notions toward friendly co-existence at that time, in this place…
Our cab driver from the airport offered us a two day package including both sites… plus, as it turned-out, several more adventure-not-predicament stories!
Because of the universal end-of-year holidays the sites we have come to visit are quite crowded… mostly local tourists, rather than western ones… many families & student groups… assuredly almost none celebrating the holiday we were there to avoid, yet all knowing the nearly universal aspects of the commercial Christmas Mythology.
We, being the rare westerners, attracted attention… numerous shy smiles from young students… encouraged & emboldened by our own easily responsive smiles… demonstrated they were eager to practice their English.
They inevitably began by asking where we are from.Upon hearing “USA” they got even more excited & wanted to have us pose with them for selfies… or… grouping around us, one trading places in turn with another, to join the merriment of spontaneously friendly photographic moments.
We must accept we are millionaire stars of some variety…
I think of the old notion that photographs could “steal” souls… which might then suggest that part of our souls are captured in faraway albums doing this kind of cross-cultural work!
Nearly everyone, older as well as young, has a cell phone & were making frequent shots just as I was doing with my Nikon.
While we all were collecting soul from the ancient art, we were collected as well in the present opportunity enjoying how humans naturally communicate.
Happily we were also captured by a group of young men to pose in their shots… Stephen handing his phone to the one shooting saved that moment’s soul-energy for ourselves!
Some groups were wearing identifying tee shirts or hats, but also many dressed beautifully in lovely, fashionable color-coordinated head scarves, Stephen caught some of them in a candid moment…
The site is quite impressive, complex in it’s original construction & even more so in its reconstruction & restoration. It will long remain to be a huge puzzle!
Our driver asked if we were interested to stop at a batik shop, which indeed we were… wanting more shirts in this complicated craft of wax-resist dying for which Indonesia is famous. It turned out to be the same place Joel & Nirgrantha had suggested we visit!
We spent a happy hour with two helpful women wearing matching headscarves… the uniform of the store… finding gorgeous additions to our own wardrobes of shirts… these being very well made of high quality work in both the lovely dying & fine tailoring… we also bought a few for gifts. It is easy to spend our millions!
At last, after hours from our early start, long drive to the short flight, tour of the temple, we arrived our hotel, where we were happily gifted our room earlier than usual… we were ready for a nap!
A handsome young waiter kept us well “kopied”… this is a land known for its coffee [kopi], including the familiar Java & Sumatra.
It has become well advertised as a place to watch sunrise on a special ticket, so we became part of another crowd of tourists, this time more international, Being given a flashlight to facilitate the trek to the top of its broad pyramid in the dark we joined the pilgrimage to the base of the looming low pyramid… a very different silhouette or profile than the steep angles of Prambanan.
Several centuries of various excavations revealed much more… numerous Buddha heads being broken-off & sold as souvenirs in Europe. Eventually it too became a World Heritage site & has been much restored by the efforts of UNESCO. It may be the largest Buddhist temple in the world.
I love the story… catching my version of their versions
in a triptych of photography.
I still puzzle the bell shapes called stupas, accepting them as probably not actually referencing bells so much as airy enclosures in which the Buddha sculptures meditate in some perpetually stony resonance… still, my bell maker can imagine an eternal resonance impossible in any physical other than some sense of holiness. I am happy to ponder all that in the eternal moment which this place brings as a gift from deep past…
Looking down we celebrated having seen this before the crowds arrived.
As the gates opened to the throngs without early tickets,
we began to move down, exploring side terraces with friezes telling stories resonating with those at Prambanan.
It is suggested that these two religions existed in some kind of easy communication during time in this place.
So was the feeling of admiration & respect for our answering their “where do you come from?” questions with “USA”… “Ahhh… Ooo-S-A… very big country!” then often mentioning the presidential personalities… loving Obama, of course, yet often mentioning the “new president” with several attitudes… sometimes questing our opinion of him. Usually we would all agree to a wait & see attitude. They study about us, yet we know so little about them…
Returning our flashlights got us a coffee & snack before meeting our driver to eat those boxed breakfasts the hotel had packed for us…