A Festival of Postcards: Light
During a delightful winter vacation evening with my family, I kicked back with a cream puff and did some privileged listening-in on some of Aunt Sue’s of This Old Paper and Uncle Lee’s of Postcardiness's Blog postcard chit-chat. Their stories of investigation, discovery, their laughter, and talk of a mysterious place called The Miracle Zone piqued my curiosity. I then found myself in a trance sifting through shoeboxes of ephemera at the Treasure Mart, anticipating a transcendental postcard encounter. I had to share in this Festival of Postcards magic.
I chose this lighthouse photo postcard composed of two delicate pieces of paper held together only by a tiny blob of old glue in one corner. The left edge is perforated but has been cut just before the perforation instead of being torn along it. Perhaps it was part of an Egyptian themed postcard booklet pack and this philatelic database postcard find one of its brothers. (I see more perforation!)
On the front, lower right is printed: "ALEXANDRIA.-The light-house." The scene is an Alexandrian port with rocky shore and sailing vessels in the foreground, a cylindrical lighthouse in the background.
Also visible on front is a small portion of the Gibraltar postmark stamp impression.
On the back is printed:
POSTCARD - EGYPT
L.C.-389 (I couldn’t attribute L.C. to any editor/publisher abbreviation using French or American online databases, maybe stands for 'Lettre-Carte?')
Jan 14, 1916.
Dear Mother & Father
Will drop you a line and say that I am U.S. bound.
Will mail this at Gibraltar England as we pass by.
The letter is addressed to
Mrs Dora Hopkins
755 W. Walnut St.
(A search for the W. Walnut Street home in Google gives a view of a barren car lot.)
The stamp is a one penny stamp reading: "Postages & Revenue Gibraltar" with the head of king Edward VII. It is postmarked 26 Jan 1916.
(Composed by Frank 14 Jan 1916, posted 12 sailing days later.)
So, my first question was: is this the lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world? But it became really quickly evident that the legendary lighthouse is no longer standing, probably the victim of earthquakes a long time ago. So then I thought maybe the one on my postcard was constructed in the ancient one's image. But that was until I found a BBC article with a description of the ancient lighthouse by Strabo in 20 BCE who called the lighthouse '...a rock, which is washed all round by the sea and has upon it a tower that is admirably constructed of white marble with many stories…' And by the Arab explorer Yusuf Ibn al-Shaikh, who saw it first hand in the year 1166 CE and described it as 'square and steeply inclined like the side of a mountain.' I also got a fresh glimpse of its former splendor from an ancient Greek Imperial coin minted in Roman Egypt from 30 BCE-312 CE.
A medieval artist’s interpretation of the 'Pharos' is also intriguing, as is a full-blown reconstruction of it found in the cultural park in Changsha, China.
And how this fabled beacon functioned is another story. Was it with fire and the sun’s rays and enormous reflective mirrors, or with carbon arc lights and battery jars that Larry Brian Radka describes in his book The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting?
Watch the preview (and map the treasures!) of Nova's Treasures of the Sunken City program that chronicles the excavation of the lighthouse remains.
See the island of Pharos where the ancient marvel proudly stood from this Nasa satellite shot.
Does anyone know anything about the puny one featured on this postcard?
Saturday, February 27, 2010
These pots are prepped with a little sandy gravel in the bottom, ready for dirt and a seed. We're the most excited we've ever been for our garden prep this year. We placed our first order with the Association Kokopelli, dedicated to conserving really old and rare plant varieties. Spending a few euros on a packet of these seeds really means a lifetime investment, we can collect the seeds at season's end and plant them again the following year. I thought this was a given, but anymore agribiz seeds are manipulated to give just one season before expiring, forcing yearly seed purchases. What will really be even more exciting is selecting the seeds from the most notably yummy veggie for replanting, and genetically favoring vegetables to our own taste!
A spread of some of our Kokopelli seed choices.
We want to trade and barter seeds! We can't possibly use all the seeds in these packets, so we'd love to trade some out with some of your favorites. Send us an e-mail!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Eva's Entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic: Propagate. Take a look at all the other entries, be wowed by the creativity present on the web, and join along in the fun!
I've been wanting a pet for a while now (a parrot). But with feedings morning and night, I realized our sourdough starter was my new pet. We tend to our starter like a real domestic companion. We clean up after it when it sometimes dribbles over the jar's edge, we keep it snuggly warm on the radiator, and it sometimes does tricks like developing foamy stuff! Sometimes it has an unpleasant nose bouquet, so we alter the formula a little, and its jiggly and makes us laugh! Daniel used a mixture of whole wheat flour, honey, and water and in two weeks it was ready. It looks just like banana tofu pudding!
And this is the bread that we (Daniel) made from the starter! It is the best bread I've ever had! And it took a full day to make with two five hour rest periods between kneadings. Its has a more mellow flavor than I expected, without that very acidic sourdough edge. Gotta love easily digestible, wholegrain carbs. YUM.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Daniel in vintage wool coat. The river Ill, Strasbourg. And a Suzuki quote that makes Zen seem like a fun and rascally path:
"Among the most remarkable features characterizing Zen, we find these: spirituality, directness of expression, disregard of form or conventionalism, and frequently an almost wanton delight in going astray from respectability." ---D.T. Suzuki.
(more later on our memorable zazen session on overstuffed black zafus and a blind master!)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Good news for all you yogi's lost here in Alsace wondering if Iyengar was your only yogic option. At the YOGA MOVES open house last weekend in Strasbourg, I gratefully saw that limitless yogic experiences are finally here to be lived.
Right behind the colossal cathedral, the studio is fresh and full of good vibes, complete with saunas, showers and hot herbal tea flows like the river Ganges. The staff is trilingual and competent. Here are some of the thrilling class options: Power Vinyasa, Hot Yoga (Bikram), Ashtanga, and a two-hour Mysore session on Sunday mornings....hello!!!
Here's to you Daniel for your light-hearted laughter during the rigorous session! (And for humoring me by participating.)
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Found these two torn-paper creations tucked into a metal cuff on my bike where it had been parked all day at the train station. What a surprise! Especially the Halloween characters on the heart.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Take a look at these cable knit booties made for me by my sister Katie. They are super comfy. Daniel saw them and said, "Elle t'aime beaucoup!" What else could motivate someone to knit cabled booties for another but love? On my list of things to do: sew on a thin leather sole to protect the soft knitted bottoms from wearing thin because these booties are getting a lot of use. Hey, Katie, put down your civil war repro quilt, turn down the rap, put away the puppets and the cider, and know that I still want to knit socks over hops tea with you like we promised!
This Tower is a really fascinating piece of architecture. I pass it everyday on the train just entering the Strasbourg train station. Anyone have any more info on its history or current use?
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Daniel and I wanted to scope out the cat toy aisle of L'Exotus, the local pet shop. So we hopped on our bikes and discovered along the way a gaggle of geese run-waddling across a tilled field at full speed! They stopped for a drink in an alley. L'Exotus results: catnip mice Made in China, hardened hot glue oozing from their felt eyes, a four pack of four fuzzy mice without catnip, catnip mice boasting 'natural' but covered with sinew and as hard as rock. If I had a fortune cookie it might read: Grab handmade mice by the balls.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
What could be more fun than putting a little flour and a little water in a jar and letting it sit for two or three days, watching it, and smelling it ferment? Nothing! And this is how we'll set out to make our own sourdough starter for bread. The jar will await a delicious wild Alsatian bacterium that will develop our starter and give our bread a huge kick in the loaf. I guess the next most fun thing will be eating the bread, knowing that it is unique thanks to our one-of-a-kind breed of kitchen and bodily microbes.
But first, we needed some freshly milled wheat berries. So we took a trip to Moulin Kircher which still uses water to turn the mill.
I took a couple of undercover snapshots of the interior. We tried to engage the staff in some light sourdough starter conversation, hoping to share a laugh and learn something new. But they weren't enthusiastic at all! They just worked there.