Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

An Alternative Road Trip August 1, 2011

Filed under: Archaeology,Natural Beauty,Nature,Postcards — Janet @ 8:57 pm

While we were busy travelling in several different directions during the month of July, another part of the family did a big 5000 mile road trip.  They sent us numerous postcards so that we could share in their travels.  Here are a few samples:

  Mesa Verde

  Grand Canyon

What a magnificent country we live in!  Thank you Susan so much for those postcards and the messages thereon.

I too have visited some of these National Parks but that was over 50 years ago.  So these cards have stirred up some wonderful memories.


Silk Roads March 18, 2011

Filed under: Archaeology,Books,Family,History,Southeast Asia,Travel,Writing — Janet @ 7:10 pm

  Silk Roads, The Asian Adventures of Clara & Andre Malraux by Axel Madsen

This proved to be a most interesting book.  I can’t remember exactly where I got it – I suspect Fremont Market or Ophelia’s Book Store in Fremont.  From its title I kind of thought it might be about the fabled Silk Road across Asia.  But no, it was quite different from what I expected.  It was a biography of Andre and Clara Malraux and what interesting lives they lead.  To quote from the dust jacket – “This is a story of romance, crime and political awakening, of the first rumblings of the upheaval that would last through the rest of the century……….” 

 What I found fascinating is that the lives of these 2 people were bound up in the turmoil of the past century, particularly in Southeast Asia – a part of the world I know little about.  But following on from this book I am eager to read more.  I have read a lot about the British experience of Empire in the Sub-Continent and Africa.  But this book was about the French experience and that is relatively new and unknown to me.  I can only reminisce and think about the 2 1/2 oral exam for my Master’s Degree in Geography at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois.  The exam was quite something.  A few weeks previous I had had a bad experience with an old fashioned electric wringer, which I was using in the basement of the house where I was living.  As a result, my hand was wrapped in thick bandages and I felt like the wounded warrior, which I was.  Anyhow, the exam ground on and I was waxing eloquent in answer to the various questions posed by this panel of 3 professors.  Waxing eloquent until I was asked a question about the climate in Java.  Hmm – I had only a vague idea – somehow out of my subconscious I decided that Java was somewhere near the equator on the far side of the world and I answered accordingly.  My geography specialties were urban geography and the geography of Europe.  The rest of the world didn’t enter into it.  But I had had a course in meteorology at Middlebury and I tried my best.  Well, I passed so whether my answers were right or wrong I guess they were good enough. 

 Now I will bone up a bit more on the history and geography of that part of the world – 3 grandchildren will be moving there shortly!   And their mum will be doing an intensive language course to get ready for her new posting.  Much to learn!  (One thing I’ve learned already is that it sounds much much too hot to think about knitting when we go to visit.)


The Winter Solstice Is Approaching December 20, 2009

The Winter Solstice is drawing near.

  photo from this source.

This year, according to my source, the winter will officially occur in Dublin at 15:47 , 5:47 p.m., tomorrow December 21.  Correspondingly, it will be 9:47 a.m. on the west coast of America, 8 hours behind us here in Dublin.  There is a really interesting website showing photos and explaining the winter solstice at Newgrange, a world famous prehistoric site in Ireland.  Around the time of the winter solstice the rising sun shines into the inner chamber for 5 or 6 mornings.  Some of the photos shown of the 2005 solstice were taken by Anne-Marie Moroney, a weaving friend of mine.

Anne-Marie is also a photographer and author interested in archaeological and mystic phenomena.  Anne-Marie and a poet  friend, Susan Connelly, produced a book about some of the holy wells in Ireland.  She used not only her own photographs but also some of her textiles as illustrations.  I would like to tell you more, but that will have to wait for another day.  My copy of the book is currently in a container on the SS Rotterdam Express, approaching the Panama Canal, en route to Seattle.

I have a diary called Murakami Diary 2009.  Haruki Murakami is Japanese by birth and his books have been translated into many languages.  According to the Diary, the Winter Solstice in Japan is called Toji.  And looking up Toji I found the following:

Japan:  Tou Ji or To Ji (literally means winter solstice)

A few weeks (about 15 days) starting around 22nd of December is called Toji [or Tou Ji : Winter Solstice].

When solar celestial longitude gets 270 degrees, the most south, the solar height becomes lowest in the year in Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, the daytime is shortest in the year and cold increase severity. In Japanese custom, we eat “Japanese Pumpkin” and Konnyaku (devil’s tongue) to pray for luck of money. Also, we take Yuzuburo (citron bath) to pray for health and fortune. From ancient times, there are many festivals held in all around the world to celebrate Toji (Winter Solstice), when sun approaches most in Northern Hemisphere. The festival of Christmas, which is originated in Europe is related to Toji this strongly.

Source:  http://www.b-zenjapan.com/nihon/12shiwasu.phtml

Winter solstice in Latin     sol=sun in      stice=stand still