JoY in Joyland

P hase II Pan Groove Steel Orchestra, one of the leading steel pan orchestras of Trinidad was practicing, preparing for the first phase of competition which culminated in the national Steel Pan Championship, Panorama, in the Queen's Park Savannah in the capital city, Port of Spain. Pan orchestras are one of two reasons to put Trinidad on a life’s bucket list -- the extravagant bird population being the other reason.   The Steel Pan drum was created in Trinidad, originally from the 50 gallon oil barrels, cut, welded and tuned to create individual notes. They evolved into a full range of ‘instruments’ including smaller tenor drums with higher pitched multiple notes, double tenors, guitars, cellos and more — all steel head drums. Each large steel pan group consists of up to 125 players using anywhere from two to nine drums at a time. Each drummer's instrument is on a metal rack with the larger multiple drums on wheeled carts. In the pan yards, every night through Jan and most

Spice Necklace and Jameson

with a wee bit o' help from old Jameson.... Grenada, the spice island, has a charming souvenir that is sold along the beachs and market stalls.  Mostly local ladies carry, over their arms, strands of necklaces made from the spices that grow on the island.  Although each artisan may have their own style and variation on the aromatic 'gems', typically at the center or base is a pendant of nutmeg and mace. O ften going up the , strand s ymmetricaly is ginger root, tumeric root, cloves, cocoa beans, cinnamon bark and folded bay leaves.  Annatto Pod and seeds in Jameson Whiskey Spice necklace "These are not for the kitchen", warns Charlotte, the Grendian. "They are to put in your bathroom or bedroom, to make them smell good," she touts.  "But you could use them in the kitchen, right?" "Oh yes" she affirms.  I suspect she takes this approach due to the fact that most people wouldn't know what to do with a nutmeg, m

Ishon Makes Oildown

"I have to go gather the ingredients," says Ishon, the chef for the day.    We were staying at a small hillside resort, the Caribbean Cottage Club above the chichi Port Louis Marina on the island of Grenada, West Indies.  The half acre property has seven humble wooden cottages; the grounds lush with the growth of Coconut Palms, Banana trees, Citrus and flowering shrubs such as the Plumeria, all awash in the regular misty showers that waft down the mountainside to the sea.  I asked Ishon if I could watch or help prepare the Oildown for the evenings communal dinner. "I will let you know when I am ready" as he lumbered out the gate to find provisions. 'Provisions' is the term for the mostly ground crops such as sweet potatoes, dasheen ( aka Taro), Yam and breadfruit, a starchy tree fruit. Hours later, with all the ingredients laying out on his outdoor concrete table Ishon called me to help and said, " I should have told you to bring a knife" only to

Provence France Oct 2019

Perils and Pleasures of Travel "Sir, it doesn't appear that you'll be able to board this flight", the courteous American Airline staff informed my husband. "Why" he asked with alarm in his voice! "Because you need three months until expiration of your passport to enter France, sir".  The ticketing agent concurred and rebooked us on the next day flight later in the afternoon to enable him to get an expedited passport and still catch our flight. The upside was that it was a more direct route than our current flight .Uncharacteristically, for me, I said with abundant optimism, " Let's just be tourists in Minneapolis for the day instead of France, while we wait."  We had met in Minneapolis and lived there together for a few years back in the late 70's, so although we knew the city well, we hadn't really done the tourist activities that we found ourselves indulging in that day such as the Lake Harriet Trolley Car Ride or a

Art Glass project from Anselm

W e are building a family cabin in northern Wisconsin and some of the interior work is being done while we are gone.  They are assembling a loft in the great room using more than one hundred year old barn beams.  The loft will need a railing and I had drawn a design that mimics the lines of a birch forest. The last time I was in Kenya my daughter Ella, took me to Anselm Glass at Kitengela, in an arid rural  suburb of Nairobi.  The railing that I designed and discussed with Dan at Creative Metalworxs in Durand, WI was to have glass panels that represented some of the trunks of birch.  Anselm could possibly custom make these panels.  So we went out to Kitengela, riding the spine jarring rodes to discuss with Anselmo the owner, the design.  A day later he sent  samples via email for us to give feedback on futher production. We plan on five panels, each about 4 inches wide and 30 inches tall.   The first sample. We weren't entirely thrilled with the blue (that was

Kenya 2018: the Nairobi Textile Market

We've been in Kenya for  a bit over a week now, visiting our daughter Ella and her family; Liam our grandson and her husband Kenfield. Today Ella and I made a trip to downtown Nairobi to the Textile Market.  We had as our agent, so to speak, Moses who acts as sort a broker between clients and seamstresses.  Available in this more than bustling market area of the inner city are streets offering drapery in one store, zippers, buttons and the like in another, traditional Kenyan prints beside another with rolls of denim and canvas stacked in aisles so narrow one must turn sideways to pass another. Turquise or Black Canvas? Overhead are more rolls blocking the spare florescent tube lighting.  I nervously noted the simple nuts and bolts holding all this weight above our heads imagining a suffocating under the bolts...did I ever say that I not only drive defensively but sort of live defensively? But our true destination, the luscious Ghanian Wax cloth prints, was through an unmar

Velocity Made Good

Yata took his turn at the helm our first full day out and it was a windy grey day with big swells and a boat riding like a herd of stallions over the sea.  Each day of sailing around these islands is unique, from Yata's stormy ride to one day of near calm that required us to motor. Borko,  the consummate sailor never took the lazy route of motoring when sailing was an option.  We would determine our course in the morning and depending on the direction and power of the wind we would sail a direct route downwind or tack back and forth with a side or headwind. The day I sailed we had a side wind and I kept trying to get speed but at the expense of the direction we were headed. At one point Borko explained Velocity Made Good. If you sacrifice too much direction for speed you could actually have a negative VMG because you're not actually getting to your desired destination.  Sailing strikes me as something that is ruled by the laws of physics but at the same time is an art. It requi