Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 2013 Scavenger Hunt: Cambodia

Hey!  June has been crazy~busy, 
so I was unable to get out to take pictures 
for the June Scavenger Hunt.
(I do have photos for the hunt though!)

I did, however, have a chance late at night, 
to read John Shors' extraordinary and beautiful book 
called Temple of a Thousand Faces.

It's set in Cambodia beginning in 1177 
during the life of Jayavarman VII before he reigned as king of the Khmer Empire from 1181-1218.  

The story unfolds as the Cham successfully invade Cambodia and "Jayavar" tries to free his people
from the brutal Cham occupation.  

The Cham are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia 
whose descendants today are found mainly 
in the Kampong Cham province in Cambodia 
and in central Vietnam.

I was fortunate to travel to the Kingdom of Cambodia
several years ago with my husband Terry in November of 2008.

    Source (book jacket photo):  Amazon

Our guide was a remarkable young woman named Soluy Loeurt.

In a few long days Soluy shared her passion 
for her incredibly beautiful people and country 
with Terry and me.

Soluy also taught me how 
to use my first and new digital camera.
We shared many laughs 
over this new digital adventure for me.
It is my hope to return to Cambodia
and spend time with Soluy at the school where she teaches.

So I hunted through my Cambodian photographs 
using June's scavenger list to share some of our memories.
(Sorry if I broke any rules for the scavenger hunt!)

 Terry, Soluy, and I at the Siem Reap International Airport
just before departing from the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Thanks to Jill 
and her Made with Love blog
for setting up the hunt.

Scavenger Hunt June 2013:  Cambodia

1.  Purple
Sparkly, Purple~ly Sandals

Surely there are no more beautiful faces in the world 
than the faces of children.
Although dogs can't be too far behind!


2.  Sixty
This image of the Hindu demon Ravana 
has at least sixty fingers and thumbs.

The photo above was cropped from my full photo below.
The full photo is of the east-facing pediment of the southern library of Banteay Srei in Cambodia.  "A pediment is an architectural element that is triangular and supported by columns above a doorway or opening."  Source: Supreme Master Television

Pediment:  Shiva seated on Mount Kailasa trapping the demon king Ravana and stopping him from shaking the mountain.
Source:  Wikipedia

Banteay Srei is a Cambodian temple 
built in the 10th century and located in the area of Angkor.  
It is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva.  
The temple is considered to be the jewel of Khmer art.  Source:  Wikipedia

3.  Little
A little monk running down stairs
in Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Same little monk with his little buds moments before.

4.  Eyes
Small Cambodian Child with Beautiful Eyes
Country Market, Cambodia

5.  Animal
Monkey on the sandstone causeway 
leading to the west and main entrance of Angkor Wat
near Siem Reap, Cambodia

Just for fun I have included a photo of an animal I find fascinating: 
Asian elephant with his malmout (and me), Cambodia.

6.  Architectural Detail
Devata, Central Sanctuary,
South Side, Banteay Srei, Cambodia

Banteay Srei means Citadel of Women or Citadel of Beauty.
Devatas and apsaras are pictured 
on many architectural details in Banteay Srei.  
A devata is a minor female deity in Indian mythology 
often depicted standing.  
An apsara is a celestial dancing girl in Indian mythology 
often depicted dancing.  
Devatas along with apsaras
are common motifs in Khmer art 
decorating temples and other religious buildings in Cambodia.    Source:  Wikipedia 

Closeup of the Devata's Face

7.  Ring
These duck eggs are boiling in a pot 
sitting on a ring above container of fire.
Local country market near Siem Reap, Cambodia.

8.  Light
Angkor Wat at Sunrise
viewed from the northern reflecting pool

9.  Rooftops
Cambodian Rooftops at Siem Reap International Airport

10.  Ice Cream
Sorry ~ No Ice Cream
at This Local Country Market
Near Siem Reap, Cambodia:
Just a local favorite, 10-day duck boiled in the pot (ring) above.
And, yes,  Terry and I went for it!

      Soluy:  Yum!                    Terry:  Likes it!                        Me:  Not Sure!

11.  A Tombstone
"Tombstones" at Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Ta Prohm is a temple located near Siem Reap, Cambodia.
This temple remains much like it was when found in the jungle.
The Film Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider 
was partly filmed on location at Ta Prohm.

Terry and Me, Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm

12.  Art
Art for Sale Near Prasat Bayon, Cambodia

I can't wait to see everyone's photographs this month!

Here's the list for July:
Black, 11, Something very old, Something bright, Coins, Technology, Numbers, Wheels, The great outdoor, Smile, Umbrella, Feet.

A Tired Terry and Soluy
Near Sunset at Angkor Wat

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Red Pepper, Oh Killer!

Have you ever thought about 
why a certain song resonates with you?
Why you play it over and over again?

Do you just listen,
letting the music wash
over and over you
again and again?

Source:  Wikimedia

Maybe you’re not even hearing the lyrics.
Maybe it’s just the compelling
pound ground drive your heals into the floor beat.
That beat that feels so god dam gu~ud.

Maybe your muskeg is off-gassing,
boiling off methane, 
and you don’t even realize it.

  Source:  Wikimedia

Because you’re not hearing the lyrics
your unconscious mind
is firing your way.

Ever been in the grocery store
with music playing somewhere in the background?

Source:  Wikimedia

You’re standing in front of
a gorgeous mound of vibrant red peppers,
and you’re trying to choose the perfect red pepper.
But suddenly you can’t see the pepper.
It’s a blurry red blob.

In fact, you can’t see any peppers.
All you can see is a big red blurry knobby blob.

Suddenly you realize you’re softly crying,
and you ask,
What is wrong with me?
What is going on?

An announcer interrupts the music,
and suddenly you realize what was playing
and why you can only see red blurs
through the tears flooding your eyes.

Bam!  Bam! Slam! 
Goyte’s  “Somebody That I Used to Know.”

So you flee to some dim corner
where no one can see you.
Where you can pull yourself together
so no one will see you 
crying over red peppers.

Then you go back,
pick up any red pepper,
and waltz through the checkout line
like you haven’t a care in the world.

If they only knew what was going on inside your head! 
But they don’t have a clue …
because you’re very good at hiding you.

I didn’t realize it at first,
but I’ve been playing and replaying
a Stones song a lot this week. 
Over and over on my daily walk.
Sometimes the Beatles just don’t do it. 
Sometimes only the Stones will do.
Over and over ~
down and dirty,
that compelling, pounding beat
that makes the kilometers fly ~
fly so well,
you don’t even see the high prairie flowing by.

Suddenly you hear,
not just the driving beat,
but words ~
words for the first time ever.

And you think, OMG
those are the lyrics to this song?

You race home to google,
“Stones Oh Killer you’re just a shot away.”

Source:  Amazon 

And you discover that the song is "Gimme Shelter"
and the words you’re hearing
are not the lyrics of the song at all
Just boiling methane from the muskeg pounding.

Oh, a storm is rising!
Alive!  You’re alive today!
If I don’t get some shelter,
yeah, I’m going to blow you away.

“Oh killer!  You’re just a shot away.
Just a shot away….

Bam!  Bam!  Slam!
That’s what your unconscious wants you to pay attention to?

No way Jose!
Push it back another day.

Ever been there???

“Oh, Gurl!  I’m gonna blow you away!

I’ve been checking out different versions of the Stones
"Gimme Shelter" on You Tube.
I rather liked the version with Lady Gaga,
but it’s those shoes!
They’re so distracting!
How does she prance around on shoes like that?

This is my favorite version so far:

Is there anyone more intense than Mick Jagger?
Well, maybe Keith Richards.
Ever wonder what goes on inside his head?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Night the Horses Screamed

Do you ever have a night
when you just can't sleep?

When you spin around and around in bed 
tangled in twisted sheets 
long into the dark hours?

When things unwanted bubble up

from the depths of your past,
and you just can't stop 
the images, the sounds, 
the flood of feelings?

That happened to me the night before last.
Twist and turn.
Twist and turn.
Between many, many, long, long minutes 
staring into the black night.

Sword of Orion in the Night Sky
Source:  Wikimedia/NASA

Then, when you finally 
fall asleep in exhaustion, 
you wake up again,
and you watch the clock and the sky thinking
"Please God!  Will morning ever come?"

That happened to me the night before last too.

I woke and watched a slow hour
crawl from black toward the red dawn.

I finally gave up on sleep,
and my feet were on the floor
just as the first meadowlark 
sent its gorgeous song into the
brightening red sky.

I had been worrying about Boomer.
Not just Boomer, 
but Paj, and Ben, and even Reggie
(whom I've heard 
from a reliable source can be a pistol!)

Boomer is a gorgeous brown Clydesdale 
with a white face and nose, 
and four big white feathery feet.
He lives on Moondance Ranch 
somewhere south of me.
I've never met Boomer, 
but I took his picture in a parade last December.


I’ve never met Boomer, 
but I’d love to sometime.  
I’d like to pat his pretty nose 
and feed him some carrots or apples ~ 
even though I am frightened of horses.

I could tell my life story in horses!
Horses and I have not had an easy time of it
when our paths have crossed in the past.

Horses can size me up in a nanosecond.
Horses like to mess with my head.
Horses have laughed at me.

I swear I've heard one horse say 
to another with a wink,
"Watch the fun I have 
when This One gets in the saddle!"

This One would be Moi.
And yes, that horse had a great time 
and no doubt shared Big Horse Laughs
with his Bud when the fun was over.

If you don't believe that,
then you don't know horses!

So why would I be losing sleep 
over a horse I've never met 
who lives somewhere south of me?

Why would I be out on our deck
in the dark of night
checking the horizons
and sniffing in the air in deep, slow breaths?

Good question.

That night had been a typical evening 
for the E-P and me ~
well, except for that awesome fourth game 
in the Stanley Cup Finals
between Chicago and Boston.
I love watching the boys on their skates
battling it out with their sticks ~ 
especially in overtime.


Logo Source:

Action Source:

The only things 
that would have made the game better 
would have been a few rowdy Canadians 
tossing an octopus or two out onto the ice
or more frequent and harder body checks
and pounding among the players.

After the game was over the E-P went to bed, 
and I went into my study 
to wrestle with a poem I was writing.

Me!  A poem!
I rarely read them.
I never write them.

An utterly unexpected flow of words
had hopped out my fingers the day before
and had landed in my computer.

I worked on the meter of the poem,
trying to match it to the beat
in a favorite blues song.

Bing! ~ Zing!  Bam! Bam! and Slam!

Words to go with the compelling beat
of hard drums and blaring tenor sax.
Bing! ~ Zing!  Bam! Bam! and Slam!
I found myself getting increasingly anxious.
As I wrestled with other parts of the poem
that required a different meter/beat,
that Bing! ~ Zing!  Bam! Bam! and Slam!
kept pounding in my head.

But this is what I was hearing:

Bing! ~ Zing!  Boom! Boom! and Slam!


Bing! ~ Zing!  Boom! Boom! and Boomer! 

OMG!  Bam!  Slam!  Boomer!

I took a deep breathe,
I suddenly smelled something NOT GOOD!

I smelled smoke.
Not Smoke-That-Is-Okay,
but smoke that is definitely Bad.

I smelled smoke from burning trees.
Boomer!  Boomer and his buds!

I was on our deck in a heartbeat 
scanning and smelling the dark night.
I thought the Black Forest Fire
was no longer a danger.
All that smoke had cleared out earlier.
Why were there shadows of fire smoke
whispering along Piney Creek?

Do you think 

I could find anything on the TV ~ NOT!!!

Out on the deck again I scanned and smelled.
Just thin smoke drifting.
Safe enough to go to bed,
but not to sleep.

Words from my poem ran through my head:

          I can't think.
          But I can feel.
          Don't want to feel,
          but to forget.

I wanted to sleep

and not remember
the sounds of horses screaming in the night.

Put horses and fire together
and I get very, very anxious.

Horses and fires together 
have crossed my path twice in life.  

Mostly I think of my second real memory.
I think of 
The Night the Horses Screamed.

Horses plagued my earliest nightmares,
and they have haunted my waking dreams.

That long ago night with smoke on the wind
was in Charlottelown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

I was really small, maybe 2 ½ or 3 years old:
Small enough to stand with my feet on the window sill;

Small enough to have to hold my hands 
just above my head 
to grip the wooden rail 
on either side of the catch
on the lower part 
of the double-hung window;

Small enough to be wearing one piece PJs, 
pink-footed and fuzzy.

I may have been really small, 
but I was big enough and smart enough 
to know that I had to hang on really tight 
because I was two stories up 
and I was afraid of heights. 

I was big enough and smart enough 
to know that those screaming sirens 
and flashing lights
slicing through the dark
and racing down Fitzroy Street 
toward the racetrack and the stables were 

I was big enough and smart enough
to know my Great Uncle Chester had race horses,
and one or more of them might be in those stables.

Ha!  They didn't call me Big Ears for nothing!
I knew many things 
that might surprise the adults around me.

Uncle Chester and Aunt Olive
with children Barbara and Halbert and family pet
Photo possibly taken in St. Peter's Bay, P.E.I. around 1920

The horse is likely one of my Great Uncle Chester's race horses.

Photo:  "This is my driver held by ???"
(confusing notation of UC's  because the driver is the "jockey" in sulky racing)

The horse would race in harness pulling a light-weight cart or sulky.
A driver sits in the cart and guides the horse in sulky racing.

I was big enough and smart enough 
to know horses were trapped.
I could hear the horses screaming in the night.

I knew the horses were terrified 
in the smoky, flame-licked dark. 

I knew that they were trapped in their stalls
and very, very afraid!

I heard their screams, 
and I knew that some of them would die.

I clung between the rail and the sill,
and I cried into the dark too,
because I could hear them, the panicked horses.
And then I screamed into the night too.

My mom burst into my bedroom,
grabbed me from the window frame,
and held me tight,
rocking me in her lap on the bed,
shushing me and telling me 
that the horses would be fine.

I told her I could hear their screams.

She told me it was my imagination.
That I couldn't possibly hear horses screaming.
That they were too far away.
Besides, even she and Daddy 
didn't know yet where the fire was.
She told me Uncle Chester's horses would be fine,
and she held me in the dark 
until I fell into a fitful sleep.

My grandmother Ella MacDonald 
with my mother Sara MacBeath
and me (Weesie, holding a razor clam)
at Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island

The next morning I asked 
about the horses and the fire.
Mom said that, yes, 
there had been a fire at the stables
but that all the horses were fine.

"But Mommy, I heard their screams!"

"You were just imagining things, Weesie," 
she said.

Well, I was big enough and smart enough already
to know that sometimes parents 
told you things that weren't true.
So you wouldn't feel bad or worry.

So Big Ears listened and learned.
Learned that some panicked horses 
had died in the fire.
But not Uncle Chester's.

Learned and wondered why it is that parents
don't believe you when you tell them
you hear horses screaming in the dark.

Big-peeps should listen 

to Little-peeps more carefully.

The dawn was red red yesterday

stained by a thin veil of smoke.

On the morning news I learned

that the Lime Gulch Fire was burning
in Jefferson County, 
and I realized that the smoke had come 
from this new fire and that
Jeffco and Moondance Ranch
were probably far enough apart
for Boomer and buds to be A-OK.

This morning 

(which thankfully had a soft pink dawn)
with sweaty palms, 
I started googling Charlottetown,
the intersection of Fitzroy and Edward
where our house was,
and the location of the racetrack.

A straight line from my window to the racetrack
was a distance of about 3,000 feet.

I also googled horses screaming

and discovered that 
their high-pitched, ear-piercing screams
can travel surprising distances, 
well over 3,000 feet.

Big-peeps should listen 

to Little-peeps more carefully.

This-peep won't ever forget 
The Night the Horses Screamed and Died.

It was not This Peep's imagination!

Here is a link to where
Boomer and buds hang out:
Moondance Ranch