Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rose with Rose Hips, Botanical Garden, San Francisco - August 31, 2014

My dear friend, Joanne Olivieri, blogger, writer, poet and photographer, among her
many talents, introduced me to the San Francisco Botanical Garden.  I had lived in
close proximity for over 20 years without having visited.  Now, far away in India, I
often look back at my pictures since, in this hot, humid climate, I, sometimes, long
for the flowers, foliage, and trees of the Bay area.  The Garden, however, hosts
beautiful specimens from all over the world.

For the Our Beautiful World theme this week, "Seeds," I chose this rose photo
I took at the Botanical Garden, complete with rose hips.  

According to Wikipedia, the rose hip, which is the fruit of the rose plant, begins
to form after successful pollination in spring or early summer and continues to
ripen through autumn.  You can see here that this flower is still being visited by
bees and the hips have grown quite large.

Rose hips are the seed pods of roses.  Roses can be propagated by removing
the seeds and sowing just under the surface of the soil.  They are slow to germinate
and this may take months.  They usually require a period of chilling.

Rose hips have many uses.  They are one of the richest sources of vitamin C.  
They are often used for teas, jams and jellies, other beverages.  Current trials are
being run for their use in treating various medical conditions.

Rose hips are best harvested after the first frost and, because the seeds have
hairy coverings, it is best that they be removed.

Because of their high vitamin C content, rose hips are often used in the treatment
of colds and flu.  They are often used in the treatment of stomach disorder, diarrhea,
constipation, ulcers and like conditions.  Much of the vitamin C content of rose hips
is lost during drying, processing and storage.

For more information on rose hips, refer to the links below.  Web MD, especially,
has good information on medications, including vitamins and supplements.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan - August 24, 2014

The Gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan

These beautiful gates surround Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340 room residence 
and offices of the President of India in New Delhi, India.  In addition to the 
main building, there are 320 acres in the Presidential Estate, which include the
famous Mughul Gardens, stables, residences for staff and bodyguards and
various offices.

It took eighteen years to complete construction and, in the year of its completion,
India gained its independence from Great Britain.

Pranab Murkherjee, the 13th president of India, has held the office since July, 2012.
Since that time, he has opened up more and more of Rashtrapati Bhavan to 
the people of India and other guests.

For more information on Rashtrapati Bhavan, refer to the links below.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Look Up, Look Down Challenge, Week 53 - The California State Capitol - August 21, 2014


On a bright sunny day, against a blue sky background, the state capitol 
of California looks especially beautiful.

This neoclassical structure, home to the government of 
California is located in Sacramento.  The office of the
governor is here.

Based on the U. S. Capitol Building in Washington, D. C., 
it was completed between 1861 and 1874 and, in 1973, it
was listed on the Office of the National Register of Historic Places.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy Independence Day, India - August 15, 2014

Photo:  Courtesy Bing Images, Domain free

On this day, in 1947, the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised 
the Indian National flag at the  Lahore Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi, celebrating
India's independence from Britain.

The British had, initially, come to India in the 1600's for trade purposes but,
gradually, took control of India and ruled for 200 years.

Prior to independence, there was a period of civil disobedience and nonviolent protest,
led by Mohandas Ghandhi.

The Indian Independence Act 1947 partitioned British India into India, Pakistan and
what is now Bangladesh, with a mass exodus of refugees on both sides of the 
border.  In the ensuing bloodshed and violence, an estimated 250,000 to a million
people lost their lives.

In the ensuing 67 years, since India became the world's largest democracy, 
every prime minister has raised the Indian flag at the Red Fort on Independence
Day and given a speech.   The new prime minister, Narendra Modi, was no 
exception, and his speech today showed both inspiration and vision for this
vast country. 

Photo:  Courtesy Bing Images, Domain free

I hope that all my friends in India and worldwide had a very special Independence
Day.  This is actually my third time to be in India for this special occasion.  I
visited India, for the first time, for ten days in February of 1997, never dreaming 
that, as a senior citizen, I would end up living here, off and on for 16 out of 
32 months.  I have grown to love India, its people, its cultures, and all that makes
it great.  

Happy Independence Day.  You have come a long way in just 67 years!

Photo:  Courtesy Bing Images, Domain free

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Look Up, Look Down Challenge, Week 52 - Follow the Signs - Thursday, August 14, 2014

This is one of my favorite signs of all time.  It's posted in a little fish and chips place,
Briitsh to the core, called Camelot in Pacifica, California where I have lived for part
of my life.  I've been in that area for all of the 35 years I've spent in the San Francisco
area and I just love its proximity to the Pacific ocean, though it can definitely be
engulfed in fog, at times.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our World Tuesday - Amber Textiles - Tuesday ( in India ), August 12, 2014

For the most part, I really love India.  You meet all kinds of wonderful people, in the
course of your comings and goings.  Take my outing in search of "house dresses"
with my Indian "sister".  I rent a room from Rosy and her husband, Norman, the 
parents of Edsel and Danny Toscano, former Royal Caribbean crew friends.  It
is really nice for me, in Mumbai, a city of over ten million, to be with people who
are like family.

So, off we go to her favorite spot at Elco Arcade Shopping Center to get "house 
dresses" for me, during a momentary lull in the monsoon rains.  Playing "dodge 
'em cars" in our rickshaw, we arrive, amazingly, safe and sound.  On the first floor,
we pass shop after shop of caftans, saris, kurtas, and all the assorted Indian
ladies clothing, all looking basically the same.  If I stop to admire, Rosy calls me
to keep going, "It's just ahead."  

"Just ahead" is a tiny little shop that can only accommodate a few shoppers, 
especially after I have entered.  It is chock full of brightly colored cotton prints of
every hue, short and long lengths, dazzling to me.  I explain to both the young 
man and the older man in attendance what I want to see ( "everything" ), probably
in an extra large.  

The young man, who, I later learn, is Hitesh Narsinghani, gains my undying affection
when he tells me, "No, you won't take an extra large, only a large."  I remember when,
in 1997, during my first India trip, being told, during a shopping expedition to 
Bandra, "sorry, madam, your dresses will be four hundred rupees because you
are a jumbo."  He tells me to try on one of the dresses over my clothes and, lo and
behold, he's right, a large fits.

I tell Hitesh and his uncle, I believe it was, that I want both long and short house
dresses and out they bring at least two dozen folded choices in assorted colors.
Hitesh takes the first, shakes it open and holds it up so I can see it full length.  I love 
it.  He then starts for the second one.  I tell him to stop, not to bother unfolding them 
all, I can tell what I like with them folded.  Oh, no, like a showman, he insists, saying 
I have to see them opened up and it is no bother to refold them.

I ended up buying three long dresses and three short ones and I told Hitesh I would
probably come back for a couple more before I head home in November.  One 
black floral one that I loved was out of stock but he is sure they will get another 
shipment from Jaipur.  I told him they all reminded me of muu muus.  He had no
idea what I meant but I can just see myself in Hawaii wearing these and, for $35,
I could never get six muu muus at Hilo Hatties.  

When I asked Rosy how she had settled on this one store out of all at the
shopping mall, she told me because of the quality of the dresses, the durability
of the cotton and the colors and the good stitching which was not consistent
everywhere.  Also, the price was excellent, even better than what you would get
in Jaipur where the dresses are made!

I'll enjoy wearing these, I'm sure, long after I stop coming to India.  After all, I will
celebrate my 70th birthday here in October and I wonder how long I can keep 
traveling.  Oh, well, as Scarlett said, "I'll think about that tomorrow" ... a lot of 
tomorrows in the future.

Amber Textiles is located at 15, Elco Arcade Shopping Centre, Hill Road, Bandra
West, Mumbai - 400 050, India, Phone: 2640 6303, 2642 2606.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sundays in My City - Raksha Bandhan - August 10, 2014

from Bing Images, domain free

Spending so much time in India, I've had the pleasure of experiencing many
of its religious and cultural celebrations and holidays.  Raksha Bandhan is one
of my favorites and I wish we had a counterpart in the United States.  It is a Hindu
festival which celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters.  It
has also come to celebrate any such devoted relationship between men and 
women who are not related biologically.

Raksha Bandhan is an ancient festival, celebrated worldwide by Hindus, Jains,
and many Sikhs.   On the full moon day ( Shravan Poornima ), a sister ties a rakhi
( sacred thread ) around her brother's wrist, symbolizing her love for him.  She
offers prayers for his well-being and for his life-long vow to protect her.  The brother,
then, affirms his promise to protect his sister.  It is a festival which affirms family ties.

Preparations for Raksha Bandhan may begin well in advance.  Many sister weave
the rakhi for their brothers.  Some keep it simple with colorful string.  Others add
amulets and stones

This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.[10][11] The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of theHindu lunisolar calendar.[12]

 Raki bracelets, Bing Images, Domain free

The ceremony, typically, is performed in the morning, in front of parents and other family, 
with a diya ( lighted candle ), rotated around the brother's face, while the sister prays. 
 After prayers, the sister applies a mark ( tilak ) to her brother's forehead.  Next, the
sister feeds the brother some sweets from a rahki tray.


There are many websites and resources available if you would like to know more
about this special Hindu festival.  It is one of my favorites.  

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

Happy Friendship Day - August 3, 2014

Happy Friendship Day

I must admit I do find fault,
And can bemoan my fate!
The years are passing quickly,
And I'm not my ideal weight...

I am not wise with money,
And I haven't saved much cash,
My bank account is lonely,
For there's nothing like a stash.

The wrinkle creams aren't working,
I've cellulite, not thighs,
And I play around with makeup,
Making rainbows of my eyes.

Yet, pauper that I am,
I've traveled far and near,
And I'm wealthy in great friendships,
That enrich my life each year.

I don't need a special day,
To tell my friends what's in my heart,
Though miles may come between us,
We are never far apart.

Carmen Henesy

copyright August 3, 2014 by Carmen Henesy

Thanks to Bing Images for the photographs

Inspired Sunday - Holy Virgin Cathedral - August 3, 2014

The Holy Virgin Cathedral, Joy of all who Sorrow, located in San Francisco,
California, is the largest of six cathedrals of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Construction, begun in 1961, was completed in 1965,

St. John, who died in 1966, is buried within the church.  Its five onion domes are
covered in 24-carat gold leaf and the interior is filled with beautiful art, icons, and
paintings.  One must attend a service to see them and interior photography is
not permitted.

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Thanks to Wikipedia for information on the Holy Virgin Cathedral.