Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May = Farmer's Markets

Here in Ohio May signals the beginning of open air markets. I am fortunate to have a delightful one within walking distance of my home. Well, it is about a mile and a half away, an easy distance there but often a challenge back. Not everything fits easily into a backpack!



This is especially true at the beginning of the season when many of the offerings are plants. Right now is the time to stock up on lush hanging baskets, heirloom tomato plants, flats of flowers and vegetables and perennials for the garden beds. You can easily see the transport issue! I compromise by walking to the market, usually accompanied by my Yorkie Buddy,  leave my purchases with the vendors, and drive back later to do pick up.  I've considered a wagon but then couldn't manage Buddy and he really loves being a market dog. Have you noticed that many of the folks who shop at farmer's markets are also dog lovers?

Spectacular hanging basket

Last Saturday, in addition to some chartreuse hostas, lavender, and three huge geraniums, I bought fresh eggs, granola mix, and some delicious crusty bread. Next week the first of the season greens will be available.


It's good to know the people who care for the chickens who provide my eggs!


Cooking with Amber
The market has a new feature this year, Cooking With Amber. Amber has a small cooking spot set up and creates a dish using what is available at the market that day. The latest offering was French Toast made with eggs from National Trails Farm, Challah bread from Rinaldo's Bakery, and served with several vendors' local maple syrup, jam, or honey. To everyone's delight Amber had a sous chef this week, her darling baby on her back.

Don't you just love farmer's markets? Food for the body and food for the soul!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Just Write!



In November of 2012 I participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. The goal was to write the first draft of a novel, defined as 50,000 words, in thirty days. That breaks down to 1,667 words per day. An idea for a novel had popped into my head one day in late August. In September, while vacationing with my son and dogs on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, I did the character development and a general plot outline.

So when November 1st, the first day of NaNoWriMo and also my birthday, rolled around I was ready. Over thinking and striving for perfection can derail writing. This process allows no time for either of those. One has to let go and just write, write, write. There is no stopping to look something up or rethink the structure of a sentence. There is no time to seek that perfect word or phrase. To get the job done you have to sit down and just plow through.

I learned if I had two possible directions to go to just pick one and go there. And if that didn't feel right when I got through it to just grab that other direction and write from there. I did not delete any wrong turns or less than lovely sentences; I just wrote.

And amazing things happened. The more I wrote the more the words came. A new character appeared. A new plot line emerged. Dialogue flowed. Now was all of this golden? Of course not! But as I kept going I stopped worrying about it and just wrote.

I had two goals. I wanted to get to 50,000 words and I wanted a draft that had a beginning, middle, and an end. So I planned that when I got to 40,000 words I would begin to craft an ending. I was not completely successful. I ended up with three possible endings and wrote them all. I finished the challenge early, on Thanksgiving Day, and submitted my 51, 516 words to join the winner's circle.

I let it sit for a week or so and then read the draft. The good news is that I liked it, a lot. How did that happen? How did some fine writing come from this crazy process? Yet, there it was.

Not all of it was good. Some I just cut. Some I realized was probably the basis of another novel, a different story. There were gaps in the story line. I had vacillated between first person and third person. I experimented with using multiple points of view. In other words, lots of work to do!

I needed some motivation to move to the next step and found it in Camp NaNoWriMo. While NaNoWriMo specifies that you begin a new novel, Camp NaNo is designed for works in progress.  I set a goal of 25,000 new words to fill in the gaps and flesh out the story. At 25,621 new words, I did it!  I can proudly add a Camp NaNoWriMo winner badge.  I'm planning to go to camp again when it is offered in July with the goal of polishing this draft to the point where I can give it to some trusted readers for feedback.

If you're a writer and looking for a process to fuel your work, I recommend this. Check it out at  NaNoWriMo and just write!







Monday, April 22, 2013

Fontanelle, Rome’s Little Fountains


I love travel. I love being in a new place and discovering what makes it unique, its specific charm. One of my favorite quotes is, “Travel is the one thing you buy in life that makes you richer.” Today I am feeling very rich indeed.

I’ve just spent a lovely week in Rome. It was not my first visit there and as I was meeting some friends to write; I was not focused on the tourist high points, amazing as they are, but rather on feeling like a Roman going about my daily work.

It was about a two-mile walk from my hotel in the Veneto area to my writing group at University of Washington University Rome Center near Campo dei Fiori,  just a few minutes from the Tiber River.

As I knew I would be indulging in delicious Italian cuisine all week, I vowed to walk to and from Campo dei Fiori to burn some extra calories. Walking and writing... bliss! The weather was glorious, sunny and in the seventies. I had a date with some friends at Mercato Hostaria on the campo the night before the group was to meet. This was an opportunity to familiarize myself with some walk routes and time it so I could arrive promptly the next day.

I purchased a bottle of water to store in my backpack for the walk. When I got to the restaurant, within view from our al fresco seats I could see a small fountain, nothing pretty or elaborate, with water running continuously from a down spout. As I watched, people refilled their water bottles. The vendors from the square were also filling buckets to use in their booths. Upon inquiry, our waitperson declared the water not only safe to drink but delicious. I had to try this. Not only was the water good, it was icy cold! It was not necessary to buy bottled water. 

I began to look for other fontanelle, “little fountain,” and realized they were everywhere, most are iron containers with a plain metal down spigot but some are more decorative. There are about 2,500 in Rome. The photo at the top is my personal favorite located a few steps off Campo dei Fiori on one of the charming side streets. I think the animal head is a boar.

The other name for the fountain is nasoni, “big nose”, a reference to the shape of the metal spigot. You can cover the bottom, nostril if you will, with your thumb or palm and the water will spurt through a hole in the top making a drinking fountain for those without bottles to fill.

Given the drought in many parts of the USA, I was amazed by the constantly flowing water. I was glad to learn the water is recycled. The elaborate fountains in Rome, such as Fontana di Trevi and Fontana del Pantheon get their water from aquifers as well. The height or force of the fountain spray is related to the gravity available, depending on the source for the water. Trevi was deliberately sunken to allow for more gravity and a higher spray. The fountain near the Pantheon has a gentler flow. Fascinating!

Trevi Fountain





Fountain at the Pantheon







If you are fortunate enough to visit the Eternal City, don’t hesitate to refresh yourself with a drink of icy cold, delicious water from a nasoni, a unique Roman pleasure. And then have another drink for me!

Ciao!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Less Traveled Road


My writing spot by the Miami River

Good Friday was a day of self-care and reflection for me. I scheduled an early massage appointment at Harmony Farm because I wanted to have time to walk the labyrinth on the grounds before having lunch in Tipp City.

The massage was blissful, opening my mind to new thoughts and connections. The weather was perfect, the first day in weeks with temperatures warm enough to want to do the hike down to the labyrinth and be comfortable walking slowly. My mantra, Solvitur Ambulando, It Is Solved By Walking, guides my steps. As I navigated around the twists and curves of the labyrinth, I stayed open. I found myself asking, who am I? The immediate answers were wife, mother, friend, writer, creative, and teacher. That wife came first was eye opening. I am no longer a wife. But its place in the list tells me how important that role was to me. And though I am no longer a wife, it does not mean I wasn't a very good one because I was. It's been a long journey to recognize and accept that. 

After the labyrinth, I decided to walk down to the Miami River. Harmony Farm has picnic tables and benches there, a fine place to write, reflect, and enjoy nature. As I walked I kept noticing forked sticks. After the fourth or fifth one, I decided to pick one up. I had a flash back to Lent ten years ago. I was reeling from the discovery of my husband's affair and was in my home town in Pennsylvania. I fled there while my husband remained in Ohio to decide if he wanted me or the twenty three year old woman with whom he was having an affair. As I write that I am astounded that I tolerated that. I expect that most folks who know me are surprised as well. Severe trauma can do that; it can bring us to our knees. Literally in this case. I remember going to confession and sobbing out my story to an elderly, very startled priest. He had no idea how to help me. I did not know how to help myself but I knew I needed help. Which brings me to these forked sticks in my path. I had to make a choice back then. I chose to survive and I chose to do whatever it takes to feel whole again. 

People react to trauma in different ways. With regard to affairs and divorce, it is quite common to see some divorce quickly and then immediately find another relationship. Some folks stay together without doing any healing work and live with toxic hurt and mistrust bubbling below the surface. Some couples work together, maybe for the first time in their relationship truly being honest and vulnerable with one another, and create a better, stronger marriage. In my case there was no quick divorce nor was there any healing. So it was up to me to do the work on my own. PTSD is not something one heals from quickly. But I chose to walk that way; I took that fork in the road. Perhaps all these sticks in my path were there to remind me to do it again. To look at the possibilities and decide where to go next. The journey was difficult but rewarding. I'm glad I took the time to sort through all the hurt and pain and examine who I was, who I am, and who I choose to become. My first, most important role is to be myself. Only then can I successfully meet others' needs. To get here required time. To get here required making difficult choices. I needed to be on my own. I did not need to fill the hole created by divorce with another person; I needed to fill it with myself. Now I wake each day with gratitude and say, "I choose to be happy." I've put on my traveling shoes and look forward to the journey.


Embracing life!

The last stanza of Robert Frost's poem,  The Road Not Taken: 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter Be Gone!



Although it is officially spring, Dayton is covered in snow. I've been away from this blog since November first when I began participation in NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month. I've also been doing some extensive traveling in the past year: Cuba, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and will be in Rome in April. With the travel, finishing the draft of my first novel,  following my beloved Dayton Flyers basketball team and then the NCAA beginning rounds here in Dayton, I've been neglecting my blog. I'm happy to be back and will do some catch up posting on my travel and writing experiences to get back in the blogging groove.

When all this snow arrived I decided I needed a dose of spring, set out to find some pansies to buy, and saw this sign. This was just the booster shot I needed. I got my free pack and purchased several more. When the snow melts I'll plant them in a large pot by my front door but for today they are braving the snow surrounding a garden stone I made. Enjoy!






Thursday, November 1, 2012

PTSD in Partners of Sex Addicts



I am pleased to share this link to my first radio production, PTSD in Partners of Sex Addicts. At the site you can click to hear the story as well as read the story notes. This piece is the culmination of a six month radio production training program Community Voices at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

My piece, along with the nine other pieces produced by my Community Voices 2012 classmates, premiered at the FilmDayton Festival on August 26th at The Black Box Improv Theater. Since then it has played during the Sunday Evening Documentary Hour and during Excursions on WYSO.

Dr, Barbara Steffens, interview subject, is the nationally recognized expert on PTSD in partners of sex addicts. She has developed a new treatment model that rejects the addict centered model that labels the partner as a co-addict or co-dependent. Instead her model treats the partner for the trauma they have experienced, focusing on the partner as opposed to the addict. You can contact her and learn more about her research and treatment model at Safe Passages Counseling.

As a Community Voices graduate I now have the skills to produce additional radio programs. The Dayton area is rich in story and I am looking forward to exploring new project possibilities. I'm currently interested in foreign language speaking groups in the area. If you know of any good stories, let me know!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Strides


A  joyous survivor
I finished radiation treatment for breast cancer, following two surgeries, three years ago. This year I participated for the first time post-cancer in the Making Strides Against Cancer 5K walk. I walked with two friends, also cancer survivors. They took me to a table where we got bright pink ribbon sashes emblazoned with the word SURVIVOR.
This was unlike any 5K I have walked. There was a suggested start time but you could begin anytime within a four hour window. We were there in the first hour so I did not expect many people. I was wrong. We joined a steady stream of walkers. I planned to do this in a meditative manner. I wanted to think about cancer, what it meant to me, what it taught me, and how it affects me now.

I began to observe my fellow walkers and strike up conversations with them. I also stopped to take photos. As a result I passed the same man three times, learning a bit more about him each time.


He was walking in honor of his sisters, two have passed on and one is a survivor. I was impressed by his thoughtful pace and quiet dignity and his devotion to his sisters. 

It was a beautiful day, sunny after morning showers and in the mid 50's. The walk started downtown went up one side of the river, crossed a bridge, looped through a park, and then wound back down the other side of the river. The last half was mostly on the top of the dike with a stunning view of the city.


I began to pay attention to the tee shirts folks were wearing. Some were funny, some poignant. Here are some examples. A group of folks were sporting this shirt.

Front
Back
I started to photograph the adult in this picture when his son asked to be included. His shirt was covered by his jacket but he eagerly unzipped to show that he too was "Tough Enough to Wear Pink."


I laughed out loud at both of these.



The family groups tugged at my heart. I felt so lonely during my cancer journey as I was going through divorce at the time. 

And then there were these.


It was a good day for me. I'm grateful to be three years out and continue to make life style choices to stay healthy. I honor those who have made the journey before me and wish healing to all those currently on the path.




Friday, September 28, 2012

Turtle Time



My family and I recently visited Bald Head Island, staying at a friend's most lovely home. Bald Head is a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina on the east side of Cape Fear and has both beautiful shorelines and a maritime forest. 

Loggerhead and Green Sea turtles nest here. As all the nests were empty, we were too late to go on a night turtle watch to see the hatchlings head to the ocean. One of the volunteers at the Bald Head Island Conservancy suggested going to a nest excavation. Three or more days after the nest has emptied, they carefully sift through the sandy nest, counting the shells to determine live births, eggs that fertilized but arrested, non fertilized eggs, and check to see if there are any late bloomers. 

There were seventy nests this year, sixty-seven loggerhead and three green sea turtle. This Loggerhead nest had 91 hatched eggs and 23 unhatched eggs. Some eggs were unfertilized, some had arrested development.


Hatched and Unhatched Eggs

Occasionally, there will be one or two found alive in the nest. To my delight, this nest had six very lively hatchlings.




After allowing those  of us gathered there a close look at the little fellows, we watched them be placed on the sand and scramble their way into the Atlantic. It was a joyous experience. I felt very fortunate to be on this beautiful beach on a sunny breezy morning witnessing this miracle of life. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

I was SO not last!



Here's my medal from the USAF Marathon 5K on September 14th. I registered last January. I've done the 10K at this event and plenty of half marathons and even one full (one was enough!) but of late have not been walking consistently. I strained my psoas muscle over the Memorial Day Weekend which not only limited my activity but made me miss the wedding of one of my favorite people. It was summer and the pool was open so I substituted water aerobics. Then a few weeks ago when I started preparing for the 5K I started having hip pain. This is not the first difficulty I've had with my hips but in the past managed to work through it. Not this time! I was discouraged but kept looking for a solution and found one. I had an appointment with body worker Linda Vanarsdall and she determined that I had a couple of compressed vertebrae. Linda is a beautiful, kind, compassionate, woman with fantastic healing abilities but fingers of steel! The difference between when I laid down on the table and when I got up was profound. No. More. Pain. 

So it was just a few days until the 5K and I had done almost no preparation. The most I had walked was my daily mile with my Yorkie, Buddy. I did not want to miss this event. I decided to just go and walk at my own pace. The goal was to finish. It would not matter if I finished last, I just wanted to cross the finish lane. 


I remember my first 5K. I walked with two girlfriends and my then husband. I had never walked that far. Our little group was indeed last but my husband was courteous enough to allow me to cross the line before he did, thus keeping me from finishing last. The irony was that he received a trophy because although he was numerically last, he was the only male walker so he was first and got the award.  

In this race, at mile one, I felt pretty good and was walking a steady pace. I had decided if I finished before 70 minutes I'd call it a win. At the mile two water stop, the woman who handed me my cup of water looked me in the eye and said, "You're walking strong." She had no way of knowing what that meant to me; it reminded me of Lori's mantra, "I don't exercise to be skinny; I exercise to be strong."  There was a man and woman with a karaoke mic just past mile two playing LMFAO's I'm Sexy and I Know It. I think the young woman with the mic was fairly surprised that I knew all the words. It's a favorite of my son's and we sing it in the car all the time so it not only brought a smile to my face but more energy to my steps. 

A bit after this a young woman, early 20's maybe, ran by me. Then I walked past her as she had slowed down to catch her breath. She was heavy but I know heavy people can be quite fit. What concerned me more was her lack of muscle tone and the erratic way she was taking this on. I engaged her in a bit of conversation and she shared she had not trained and that her younger brother was ahead of her. As I kept my pace she lagged behind me, struggling to breathe. Yet, just a bit away from the finish line she ran past me again, heavy footed and gasping for breath. This broke my heart. I hope she finds her way to better self-acceptance and better self-care. 

My friend Lori volunteered to greet me at the finish. I cautioned her that I was out of shape and would finish late, maybe even last. But I didn't! I walked my pace, and felt stronger and faster as the race progressed. When I saw Lori I yelled, "I am SO not last!" She yelled back, "Look at your time, under 56 minutes!" I was walking strong and felt fabulous. Here's the glamour shot.


Lori is a yoga teacher extraordinaire. Post race she lead me through some stretches to baby my hips a bit. I'm in the white shoes and socks; she is rocking it in the black shoes and fabulous polka dot socks.




Race results don't get posted until September 17th but I already know I'm a winner. There were plenty of people behind me and many, many ahead of me but this wasn't about them, it was about me. It was about being happy with who I am and proud of my own tenacity. It was knowing I can set physical goals and master, even surpass, them. It was about the sensuousness of being at home in my body and at peace with myself.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Women in Radio



WYSO's Neenah Ellis and NPR's Susan Stamberg


Last November I took a Weekend Intensive on radio production at WYSO in Yellow Springs. It was an introduction to Community Voices, an innovative program with Sarah Buckingham and Neenah Ellis where participants learn to record and edit audio, conduct interviews, write for radio, and ultimately produce a feature story. I so enjoyed the intensive that I applied for the 2012 Community Voices Class. I was fortunate enough to be accepted and found the experience life expanding and enhancing.


Sarah Buckingham and Nina Ellis

On June 29th WYSO sponsored a fundraising event,  a presentation by Susan Stamberg  entitled "How Art Will Save the World" at the Dayton Art Institute. Susan Stamberg is quite something. In 1972 she became the first woman to anchor a national radio nightly news program, All Things Considered on NPR. She's often referred to as a founding mother of NPR and, in her seventies, remains a special correspondent. Her reports, usually in the arts, always touch upon something I always wanted to know more about and always leave me breathing a deep satisfied sigh along with a bit of envy. Who wouldn't love to be able to travel and meet and then report upon some of the most fascinating people in the world? The DAI talk was delightful as was the reception following in the Gothic Cloister.

Susan has close personal connections here. In Neenah Ellis's introduction of Susan she told a charming story about being a new employee at NPR and having Stamberg sail in and ask, "Who are you and can you cut tape?" This was the beginning of a relationship between these two women that continues today. When Stamberg finished her talk her final remark in her thanks was, "She's Neenah Ellis and she can cut tape!" This story was especially meaningful to the Community Voice members as one of the first things Neenah and Sarah taught us was how to "cut tape" as it is still called even though it is done digitally now. Neenah's husband Noah Adams was co-anchor with Susan for many years on All Things Considered.

The Community Voices group was privileged to have Susan share her wit and wisdom with us for several hours on the following Saturday. She brought tape from several of her pieces and then gave us the back story on taping and production.

She described her experience interviewing the legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson at age 94, almost thirty years after he decided to take no more photographs. He was difficult to interview and she had to rely on tape from other people in the room, his wife and his friend John Morris, onetime Life magazine photo editor. She played the tape for us and knowing the context of the interview we were privy to what a masterful production job it was. The story itself is seamless and engaging throughout. You can hear the 2003 story at NPR.


There's a womanly trail here. Susan is at the trail head where she tucked Neenah under her wing and they became colleagues. Neenah continued the path with Sarah Buckingham, encouraging her dream and desire to create Community Voices and lending her experience and wisdom to the task. Now, I am privileged to have Sarah, at the youthful age of twenty six mentoring me. Women in radio, it's a lovely thing.

If you are curious about Neenah's journey from NPR and independent production to station manager, visit  The Transom Review.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Czech Mates


Helena and Matej
A few years ago, when my friend, colleague and author Jed Diamond invited me to a party in Willits, California to celebrate completion of his Ph.D. I met his and Carlin's son Aaron. Aaron composed a song in Jed's honor that was such a generous act of love that I asked to hear it again later. At the time, Aaron was engaged to marry a woman from the Czech Republic. Jed emailed Aaron about my trip and I received a lovely email from Aaron full of suggestions and tips for my stay in Prague. Aaron's now married and living in the CR. His wife, Helena is a school teacher and volunteered to play tour guide and take me outside the city on the day her school was closed for a holiday.

Helena is warm and witty and generous with her time. Seven-year-old Matej practiced his English with me. Czech schools begin English instruction in the second grade. Our first stop was a brewery tour to the Staropramen Brewery. I was so impressed with the interactive videos, as good as any I've seen at Disney World.

Multimedia Presentation


We drove out of the city to the former site of the village Lidice. I say site because it looks like this.

Where Lidice once stood

In 1942 the village was mistakenly identified as having an association with one of the men who committed the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich.  As a collective punishment for the assassination, the village men were lined up and shot. The women were separated from their children and sent to a concentration camp. The children, except for a small number of young children selected to be raised by German families, were kept for several weeks before being transported to a different camp and gassed. The village was set on fire and then destroyed, literally leveled to the ground. The museum on the grounds had photos of everything as it was all documented by the Nazis. Most heart rending were the letters from the children begging relatives to send them food, clothing and essentials. The children were told they were at camp. There was video of a few of the women who survived the camp and children who had been raised in German homes. If their mothers survived the camp, they could not communicate with their children because the children now spoke only German while the mothers spoke Czech. Can you imagine not being able to talk with your own child? The empty fields are haunting. The sculptures of the eighty-two children gassed will tug at my heart for years to come. A new village of Lidice was constructed nearby after the war, but this memorial will forever bear witness to what happened here.

Bronze sculptures of the eighty-two children
To counteract the sadness of Lidice, Helena took me to see two castles. Years earlier, Helena was a tour guide at the first in the village of Nela Hozeves, birthplace of composer Antonin Dvorak. His talent  was first nurtured here.

Nela Hozeves
Antonin Dvorak Statue
The second castle, from the 1800's, was a hunting lodge. The photo of Helena and Matej was taken in the wooded area leading up to the castle.

Veltrusy

  On the drive back to the city, Matej began to tell his mother jokes. He would tell one, she would translate, and we would all roar with laughter. It has been a while since I had the pleasure of second grade humor and it was a treat to watch this mother and son interact. I am so grateful to Helena and Matej for their kindness in sharing their beautiful country with me, and to Aaron for sharing his family. The best way to learn to love a country is through its people.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Prague Alchemy

Earth
Air

Fire
Water

The beautiful old city of Prague is rich in art, literature, music, architecture, and history. A few months before I arrived, a new museum, Speculum Alchemiae, opened. This museum is in an old building in the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) where, after some recent flooding, they discovered a lower level with a series of artifact-rich workrooms and two tunnels. One led to the Old Square (Staromestske Namesti) , the other to Prague Castle (Prazsky Hrad). They provided a way for the alchemists who occupied the building to travel unseen to these two locations.

The entrance room to the museum is bright and airy.  You enter the museum proper through a doorway with a thick door, that when closed behind you leaves you feeling a very different energy. This room has been restored to the time of the alchemists with mostly reproductions and a few original pieces. There is a chandelier that has three masks that bring to mind the devil because they have horns. My guide told me they represent Abraham and the horns represent power. This chandelier is placed over the spot the alchemists believed was a vortex.


Chandelier Over Vortex


Close up of Abraham Representation

This bookcase has a small dragon carving on a lower shelf that when turned opens the bookcase revealing stairs that lead to a series of rooms with ovens and work tables and old glass beakers used by the alchemists. They found some bottles that still held an elixir. They had the elixir analyzed and have reproduced and sell in the front shop area as Elixir of Life. It has all the original ingredients except one, poppies. 


Bookcase that opens to a secret passage

One of the hidden workrooms in the lower level secret chambers

My guide was giving her first tour in English so she was testing her explanations on me. She did an excellent job, sometimes giving me clues to help her find the right English word. For example, the small carving that turned to open the case was a bit hard to see. She said it flies, it is from China, enough clues for me to provide her with the word "dragon" and for me to make out what the carving was.

The beautiful art at the beginning of the post was on the four corners of the wall in the main room. They represent the four classical elements. It brought to mind a favorite song of mine from Libana's A Circle is Cast album. If you are unfamiliar with Libana they are a women's group that often performs a cappella. The song is "The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water" that you can click here to enjoy.

This kind gentleman shared his Yorkie with me!