Oh Joy! Blog

Really sweet shout out from a beautiful blog called "Oh Joy!" Glad you enjoyed the Cloud Cookies.

White Beans & Cabbage

It’s official. Summer is leaving...being shooed away by gloomy skies and rainy days. Just as with all transitions, it’s a happy-sad time.

Sad because I say goodbye to my blindingly gorgeous summer mangoes that can slay a girl with their sweetness. Sad because summer sunshine and beach trips are coming to an end (not that we can’t go to the beach out of the summer season…advantages of living on a tropical archipelago and all). Sad because I already feel the celebratory spirit that only summer can bring (even if you’re all grown up and summer vacation seem to have gone the way of Santa and the tooth fairy) slowly slipping away.

Happy because the weather will finally be getting cooler! Happy because there is nothing quite like sipping hot coffee beside a rainy window. Happy in the hope that the electricity bill will return to more respectable levels. Happy because it’s soup and stew season (hello monggo, nilaga, and callos) and I can once again cook long and slow without too much pain.

Summer isn’t the only one leaving. I’m off to Spain (!!!), Barcelona to be exact…one of my very favorite cities in the universe. I won’t be long, just nine days, too short really. But it’s the longest I will have been away from little C since she joined our fledgling family. So this too is happy-sad. Happy because, well, it’s Barcelona (what more needs to be said right?)! Sad because I’ll miss my little cherry bomb’s wild antics and solemn kisses.

But I’ll be back before we all know it! Hopefully with a stash of pimenton de la Vera and a Nespresso machine :) And who knows what other goodies!

Meanwhile here’s another delicious dish from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day (I am just loving this book much too much!). It is what she describes as “the sort of simple dish I find myself enjoying on the most blustery of San Francisco afternoons”. Let me tell you, it does equally well in the Manila rainy season.

White Beans & Cabbage
(Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or clarified butter, or unsalted butter)
  • 4 ounces/115 grams potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into tiny cubes
  • Fine grain sea salt
  • 1 large shallot thinly sliced
  • 2 cups/12 ounces/340 grams cooked and cooled white beans or 1 425-gram can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups/8 ounces/225 grams very finely shredded green cabbage
  • A bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Add potatoes and a big pinch of salt. Toss, cover, and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Be sure to scrape the pan and toss the potatoes once or twice along the way so all sides get color.
- Stir in the shallot and the beans. Let the beans cook in a single layer for a couple of minutes, until they brown a bit, then scrape and toss again. Cook until the beans are nicely browned and a bit crispy on all sides.
- Stir in the cabbage and cook for another minute, or until the cabbage loses a bit of its structure. Serve dusted with parmesan.
- Serves 4.

I used canned beans for this but I will try making my own next time. The canned ones didn’t seem to brown as enticingly as Heidi’s did in her photo. On the whole though, I loved this dish. It’s a combination of 3 things I like -- cabbage, beans, and potatoes -- each of these registering very high on the comfort scale. All together, and generously dusted with finely grated parmesan, this is like a slow, warm hug on a rainy night.

For now I leave our summer’s end (and the start of our own rainy nights) to head to another summer’s beginning. Although it is still warmer here then over there! See you all when I get back!

While I’m away, and if you have absolutely nothing to do, which I am sure is the furthest thing from the truth, but you know, just in case, you can visit me on Pinterest. It’s a “virtual pinboard” of images that I love, or are inspiring to me, for one reason or another. Maybe you’ll find something that inspires you too? :) You can click on the Pinterest link on my right sidebar or HERE.


(Updated 5/30 - see SUMMER OF SILENTS)
The man who won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars, and was nominated for Best Actor, for DANCES WITH WOLVES (1991), will star in THE HATFIELDS AND THE MCCOYS, a miniseries announced for the History Channel. Although the channel is known for documentaries, this will be a dramatic presentation based on the infamous decade-long Kentucky feud that began near the end of the Civil War, and saw the murder of at least a dozen men – some versions of the events say many more.

Costner, who has played many real-life people, from Wyatt Earp to Eliot Ness to Jim Garrison, will portray Hatfield patriarch Devil Anse Hatfield – a role played by Jack Palance in a 1975 MOW. Set for the 2012 season, the show will be produced by Leslie Greif, who produced WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.


Yes, another sci-fi western, based on Stephen King’s novel THE DARK TOWER, is set to roll camera in the spring, with Ron Howard at the helm. Howard is no stranger to the Western form, from behind the camera, where he directed FAR AND AWAY and THE MISSING, or in front of the camera, where he starred in THE SHOOTIST and THE SPIKES GANG, and series like BIG VALLEY, BONANZA and GUNSMOKE.

The script is by Akiva Goldsman, a frequent Howard collaborator who also scripted I AM LEGEND, CINDERELLA MAN, and won an Oscar for A BEAUTIFUL MIND. A very large and complex undertaking, DARK TOWER involves three feature films and possibly two TV series. A week ago, Universal, balking at the price tag, threatened to pull the plug, but seems to have reconsidered. Javier Bardem had been announced as the lead, but that is now in doubt. Says Howard, “I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, buy Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid. We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but DARK TOWER is moving forward.”


DAMN YOUR EYES is a 19 minute Western film directed by 24 year old David Guglielmo. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2009. DAMN YOUR EYES is his thesis film, a demo for the feature version he plans, and was produced by Jennifer Joelle Kachler and shot by Alex Chinnici.

I think DAMN YOUR EYES is an impressive piece of work, and instead of just giving you a link to the trailer, you can see the entire movie HERE. I warn you that some of the dialogue and visuals are pretty rough, in keeping with the Spaghetti Western tone.

HENRY: I really enjoyed your film, and being from New York myself, I know there’s not a lot of Western atmosphere there. Whereabouts did you film?
DAVID: The scene with the horse – that was actually a horseback riding place in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Literally, if I moved the camera an inch to the right or left you would see buildings, and telephone poles. We were in a very urban area.
H: I think this makes you the first person to successfully make a western in Fort Lee since Edwin S. Porter made the GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY there. That makes it about 108 years since the last one.
D: Wow, that’s great – I’m going to start saying that!
H: Wasn’t Fort Lee where Griffith was making his films?
D: It’s exactly where. You wouldn’t know it from walking around town now, but Fort Lee used to be Hollywood. You know, Chaplin worked here, and John Barrymore’s house is still standing.
H: Where else did you shoot?
D: Louisa’s cabin is actually a highway rest stop in New Jersey – it’s the first exit off the P.I.P. It used to a bathroom, but they made a bigger bathroom, so that one was abandoned, and the town opened it up for me. There’s not a lot of production design in there, but I brought a table, and with the sound design, the way I lit it, I made it like there was a fire going. That opening scene in the saloon, that’s in a studio, just an empty room. I rented furniture from antique shops in Brooklyn, hauled them over there and filled up the place, made it look like an old saloon. I had access to that studio, and I would go there with my cinematographer and block the whole thing out; made sure we were prepared because we knew that was the biggest scene. With short films especially, if you don’t grab them within the first couple of minutes you’re not going to grab them, so I really wanted to make that scene strong. So the shot-list was a little looser for the rest of the locations, but for the saloon it was really prepared.
H: Not a ton of guys who are 24 have even seen a western, no less want to make one. How were you introduced to Westerns?
D: I don’t remember how I was introduced to westerns, and I don’t remember when I first saw it, but the one that made the difference was THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. That made me fall in love with European Westerns.
H: So you discovered European ones before you discovered American ones?
D: I don’t think I discovered them first, but I fell in love with them first. Then I went and watched the traditional Westerns – the John Wayne films and the John Fords – and I love those, but I definitely got into the Spaghetti Westerns first. It probably has to do with Quentin Tarantino. I was nine years old when my mom let me watch PULP FICTION. We made a deal, because we were going somewhere I didn’t want to go, and she said, “If you go, I’ll let you watch PULP FICTION.” So I watched it, and I became a big Tarantino fan, and he’s very influenced by Spaghetti westerns, so I went back and watched all of them as well.
H: Where did the story DAMN YOUR EYES come from? Anything in particular suggest it to you?
D: The funny thing is I wrote the film my first year in film school, which was 2005. I never made movies growing up. I always knew that I wanted to be a film director, and I wrote stuff, but I never went out and made a film. I just watched a lot of movies and gathered all of these ideas for the one day when I would be able to do it right. So I wrote this idea, and a couple of scene, and I showed it to someone who said, ‘You’re not going to be able to pull this off.’ And they were right, so I put it on the back burner and I wrote smaller short films, just for practice, so I could develop a visual language, try my hand at making movies, and then, when thesis year came around I went back to that story and I said, you know, I think I could do this now.
H: You pulled it off; you’re direction is very solid. How did you cast it?
D: I started putting up casting calls online. I had a lot of people coming to audition, and I couldn’t really find the right people. No offense to them, there are a lot of very talented actors in New York, but a lot of them are very pretty, more like models than actors. And for Westerns, you want a get those gritty faces, older actors, and a lot of the time you get just college-age actors. I found one guy, Angelo Angrisani, who plays the antagonist in the film, and I thought he had a really good face, because he could play bad and still be sympathetic. So I cast him right away, and he helped me cast the other people – Sam and Louisa, just about everyone. He really ought to get a casting credit.
H: Have you written a feature length version?
D: It was always a feature idea, but I wrote it first as a short. And I was going to serialize it, and make it kind of a modern take on the old serials, but I wrote a couple of parts, and then I realized that I don’t really want this to be an internet movie. I mean, it’s good for the short film, but the whole thing I see as constantly getting bigger, with more action, the sets more elaborate. I really want it to be in a theatre. So I wrote the feature, and now I’m trying to get it off the ground. People are reading it and really liking it. I’m getting great feedback, working with my producer, Jennifer Joelle Kachler, and we’re putting everything together on the business end. We’re looking for backing.
H: Any other projects?
D: I’m adapting a screenplay right now, another feature. It’s a crime noir. It takes place in Texas. I love the visual sense you get in Westerns and I try to incorporate that into things that aren’t westerns.
H: What other films and filmmakers have influenced you?
D: I love Sam Peckinpah. RIO BRAVO’s one of my favorite films. THE SEARCHERS. For Spaghetti Westerns I particularly like THE BIG SILENCE. That’s probably the biggest influence on DAMN YOUR EYES. Sergio Corbucci’s really good. COMPANEROS, DJANGO – I think all of his stuff is really great.
H: Have you heard about Tarantino’s newest project, DJANGO UNCHAINED?
D: Yeah, I’m excited for that. It’s funny – I met Tarantino. Right after I made DAMN YOUR EYES I was in the West Village and I see him go into a Starbucks. I run after him, and I happen to have my film, because I always have my film with me. It’s obsessive, I know, but it comes in handy. So I go into the Starbucks and I say, “Mr. Tarantino, I’m such a big fan of yours!” For the first time I’m really star-struck. I really didn’t know what else to say, but, “Please watch my movie!” And I handed it to him and I said, “You’ll see your influence in it.” And he was really cool about it, and said, “Cool cover,” and he went home with it, so hopefully he watched it.
H: What else should we know about you?
D: I have a lot of stories, a lot of different genres. If you like this, then keep up with what I’m doing. If you don’t like it, don’t keep up with what I’m doing. I’m just really excited to be making movies.
H: For a short movie, you certainly have a lot of good graphics.
D: What’s really cool is I have over a hundred posters. One of the graphic design teachers at SVA wanted to get her students into movie posters. And since my film was one of the only genre films, and had a lot of room for different interpretations – it’s a western but with a horror movie vibe to it -- she assigned it to all of her classes, and each student had to do three posters. I’m never gonna get that lucky again!
(By the way, if you’d like to learn something about the history of filmmaking in Fort Lee, New Jersey, go HERE.)


In L.A., the best entertainment deal of the summer has long been the film series at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Previous series have featured Oscar winners, Oscar nominees, and last summer it was Oscar-nominated Film Noir Screenplays. This year it’s SUMMER OF SILENTS, featuring nine silent features that have won the Photoplay Magazine Medal of Honor, an award that predates the Oscars.

The programs are Monday evenings from June 13th through August 8th, each film will be a 35mm print, have a live musical accompaniment, selected shorts, and an introduction by someone knowledgeable, among them the great film historian Kevin Brownlow. And the price for the entire series is just $25, $20 for Academy members and students, or $5 per movie. Only two of the films are truly Westerns, but some others are ‘rurals’, and all are well worth seeing. Here’s the line-up:
June 13th – HUMORESQUE (1920)
June 20th – TOL’ABLE DAVID (1921)
June 27th – ROBIN HOOD (1922)
No movie on the 4th of July (Who wants silent fireworks anyway?)
July 11th – THE COVERED WAGON (1923)
July 18th – THE BIG PARADE (1925)
Wednesday July 20th – Bonus comedy – THE GENERAL (1927)
July 25th – BEAU GESTE (1926)
August 1st – 7TH HEAVEN (1927)
August 8th – FOUR SONS (1928)

Tickets go on sale June 1st, which is Wednesday, but you can start buying online at midnight Tuesday night, and knowing the tendency of these programs to sell out, that’s when I buy mine. To buy tickets, go to HERE or visit the box office 9 to 5 on weekdays at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.


About half a year ago, doing some much-needed office cleaning, I came upon a set of fifty cigarette insert cards that my father had given me more than thirty years ago. Forerunners of bubble-gum cards, they measure 1 ½” by 2 ¾ ”, and are the ‘Celebrated American Indian Chiefs’ collection, from Allen & Ginter of Richmond, Virginia, and date from 1888. I’ve been running two a week, and today I share the last two, plus a check-list. In the next week or so I’ll be putting the whole set in the photo section of our Facebook page. Hope you enjoy them


The first Saturday of every month, The Autry presents a free Gene double feature at noon. The first is always pre-war a Republic Picture, the second is always a post-war Columbia. First it’s PUBLIC COWBOY #1 (1937) and pits Gene against modern (for 1937) rustlers with refrigerator trucks and walkie-talkies. Next is RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING PINES (1949), where Gene must fight unscrupulous lumbermen and DDT! Normally the films are shown in the smaller Imagination Galley, but this time they’re in the roomier and more comfortable Wells Fargo Theatre!


At 2:30 pm Pacific time catch IN OLD CALIENTE (1951) starring Roy and Dale. Son Roy ‘Dusty’ Rogers and grandson Dustin do the intros, and have interesting things to say about the unpopularity of short-time sidekick Pinky Lee. But when they start giving away too much plot, stick your fingers in your ears and yodel!


Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.


Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.


This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.


Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.


Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.

That's about it. My wife just handed me a newspaper ad about a North Valley Heritage Festival Saturday and Sunday, June 4th and 5th -- I'll find out about it, and update you here and on Facebook. In the meantime, don't forget to take time to remember that Memorial Day is not just a three day weekend, it's the day we honor our brave war dead who have kept up free all of these years FLY YOUR FLAG!

Happy Trails,


All contents copyright by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved!

Ten Things We Have Learned From Harold

Angie and I have been taking care of Harold, Ruth and John's parrot for a week now. We had some time before they left to learn about Harold's routines, his personality, and his likes and dislikes. We are all getting to know and trust each other a little more each day, and each day, this little being finds a bigger place in our hearts. Harold has already taught us a lot of life lessons this week. Here are ten things we've learned from him so far...

1. A diet of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds keeps you very healthy.
2. Singing with your friends puts you in a good mood - so does whistling a tune - so does taking a little nap in the afternoon...AND a shower will make you feel downright perky!
3. Cartoons can teach you all kinds of things (especially the ones on PBS). They just might encourage you to "go go go go...on an adventure!!!" (inspirational quote from "the Cat in the Hat")
4. If your food falls on the floor, don't worry about it!
5. If you're lonely, call someone and say "Hello!"
6. Looking at something upside down can give you a whole new perspective on things!
7. Some days you just have to squawk more than others.
8. Take time to chat every day at cocktail hour-and DON'T forget the cashews!
9. If your feathers get ruffled, pluck them.
10. At the end of the day, remind those you love how good they are, and don't forget to include yourself. You are a good boy, Harold. We love you!

The Birdhouses of Birdland

As you stroll around Birdland, you will notice birdhouses of many shapes, sizes, and colors. They add to the whimsical magic of the garden and can be found peeking out from a variety of tree trunks. What makes these birdhouses even more fun is knowing that they have been painted and decorated by various guests who have visited Birdland. Ruth and John have a fun tradition of asking visitors to paint a birdhouse while they are here and to choose a tree or location where their birdhouse will hang.

When Angie and I first visited Birdland three years ago, we were given our own birdhouses to paint and decorate.

It was great fun to playfully paint with bright colors and to see our birdhouses come to life!
My birdhouse after painting....

And Angie's....

It brought a big smile to our faces when we went for a walk the other day and found our birdhouses, three years later, still happily hanging in the wooded area near the house.

Not bad for three years later! I love the tradition of birdhouse painting here. It's nice to imagine those little birdhouses in the woods of Birdland when we are far away in Ontario and to know that a "little piece" of us remains here until we visit again!

Sew Weekly Challenge: Embellish This or "I ran all the miles and this is my happy dance"

Hello again, Friends! No, I didn't forget about you.  I've been busy preparing for Me Made June, and let me tell you, I am crazy excited about some of the new clothes I am going to wear next week!  I'll post pictures as the days go by...I'd like to have a few surprises up my sleeve.

I started this little number below months ago after finding it in One Yard Wonders (Strapless Tunic pattern). And then I realized I hated the color and it was completely impractical because it is strapless. Strapless bras are the worst.  In theory, they are great...until you wear them and they end up mid way down your rib cage and you try to slyly adjust the girls but that becomes as big an ordeal as trying to pick a wedgie.  Neither of these things can really be accomplished in public without garnering a whole lotta attention.  So I put it on the shelf.  

Finally, I picked it up for this challenge, put in the elastic, and added some embellishment!

I added ribbon around the top and bottom, large purple buttons above the slits, and threw on a scarf that I had gotten through a clothing swap a few months ago. It looks a little Grecian.  I dig that.

While I'm not feeling comfortable enough to wear this strictly as a top, I think it will make a fabulous swimsuit cover up.

Well, that wasn't the only embellishing I did...I disappeared for a few days in front of the machine, so I need to have something to show for it!

I have this grey Old Navy sweater that's just okay. It's a necessary work staple but I wanted to add some pizazz.

...and I pulled this dress out of the "to be finished" pile. I just wasn't feeling a ton of love for it. It needed ...something.

Together, these items make for a perfect summery outfit! Or a perfect "it's 70 degrees and about to downpour on my head" outfit.
Here is the outfit.  I gathered some seam binding and attached the ruffles to the neckline of the dress, while adding some lovely lace flowers to the cardigan.

I needed to sit because I'm completely exhausted...

I just ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler.  This is me after a shower and much interrupted nap (who does renovations on a Saturday???)...

It was pretty cool seeing myself on the jumbotron as I finished on the fifty yard line.

Ah, Chicago.  Some day the sun will return, but not before July, I'm sure. 

I may take another nap.  Because I can.

Close up of the trims and flowers.  I love the cardigan, and the dress will definitely see some use now.  It needed a little spicing up - wearing white so close to my pasty pasty skin is not very flattering.

 It suddenly started pouring, and I was so blissfully happy that it happened during pictures and not during the race. I was soaked through during the run because of the humidity, but seriously, rain gets in your shoes and makes the trail muddy and course slippery. 

And last but not least, my happy dance.

Friends, I hope you are having a fabulous Memorial Day weekend where you are!  Enjoy some sunshine for me!

The Amigo

Now, it'd be wrong to say that the transfer to the Amigo was exactly seamless. For a start, at our first meal, I had to send back a knife on account of it being covered in the chef's blood. A couple of hours after that, moments before we were going to raise anchor and finally get the fuck out of Puerto Ayora, a three-strong contingent of Aussies who we'd met on the boat all left in disgust. Having moved down into their rooms to unpack, they pulled back the sheets to discover the beds covered in “big bugs.” They promptly turned tail and left for good, vowing to complain to the tourist commission and get full refunds.
Thankfully, those problems were contained to the rooms down in the belly of the ship. We ex-Angeliquers, up on the lower and upper decks, didn't have to suffer such indignity.
And after that early drama, if you looked at it in the right light and accepted that the food perhaps wasn't quite as good as it'd been on its predecessor, you could make a pretty strong case for saying that the Amigo was actually an upgrade.
A totally different size and shape of ship, it still wasn't the most handsome in the harbour, but it worked, which was certainly an improvement. The guide also spoke better English and knew his subject matter to degree level.
The next morning, we were even treated to sunshine when we finally landed at the fabled Floreana Island for a quick snorkelling session, and then onto the beach for a look at some pretty crabs. 
Photo: Wee Mo
The rain, though, would not be denied, and just as we were about to set off for our afternoon session, the heavens opened. This made our already questionable decision to go into water-filled cave seem quite daft indeed. But round these parts, no one seems to give much of an equatorial fuck for practicalities like safety, nor show the slightest bit of sympathy for someone who is hydrophobic, like Aman, one of our new pals. Instead we were led into a dark, cave, and made to wade in the gloom, with icy water whipping past our collective shrivelled balls.
Against the odds, we survived and were taken out to Floreana's other major attraction, the so-called pirate postbox. Back when people slightly more disreputable than the current mob visited this islands, they would leave messages for their fellow skulduggerous skull-and-crossbone crew to take around the world e.g. “To anyone travelling to Plymouth, tell One-Eyed Boab that his brother is dead... And to his wife: 'Hello'”
These days the tradition kind-of continues. Now people leave crushingly dull messages on postcards (“Hey maw! Look at me! I done a holiday!”) for other moneyed shitbags to pick up and take to the addressee. The whole thing is supposed to be done by hand, though rarely is, with people preferring to simply send it by mail when they get to their native country. We shuffle the deck and find one addressed to the Rasmussens who live in Glasgow's bohemian west end. Being a narcissist with questionable amounts of friends, I replace it with one addressed to myself.
After that, the days tumble past to our departure without much incident. I mean, plenty of interesting things happen, but by Galapagoan standards, it's all pretty sedate: we get eaten alive by obscene numbers of mosquitoes on Espanola; the sea-lions continue to make us laugh, when they're not terrifying us; and it transpires that the American girl on our boat actually goes to university with my brother, which is so unlikely I avoid thinking about it too much to avoid brain damage. Also, Wee Mo takes a picture so good that I seriously doubt the blog is able to handle its perfection – I've tried uploading it a few times, but get the message is the same: too tremendous for public consumption. It was summed up by Rhys, our Canadian friend, who described as "fucking retarded."
And then suddenly we run out of rope, with barely enough time to say goodbye to our new friends and jump on a plane back to the mainland. 
Photo: Wee Mo
There's so much to admire about life in the Galapagos, that it's hard to know how to define it. For me, though, I think it's the feeling that a person can walk around and observe how things could have been if humans had never popped into existence. Here, you can get as close as you like to the animals, watch them, talk to them, like some invisible time traveller sent back into prehistory. They just don't care. For them, for now, we do little more than block the sun – and we're probably not as annoying as the mosquitoes.  
Photo: Wee Mo

Where Did May Go?

I've been to and back from Quilt Market in Salt Lake City for a little while now. It seems as though May just got away from me. I came back to being thrown into the crunch of things. The week after the show is always a little crazy. Add family stuff on top of that! Ok, the kids need to eat. Aw, yes they do!

Henry Glass booth. Early morning before the show started. I then visited with Barb Jones of QuiltSoup. I'll try to get her pic loaded up here but right now it is not happening!

We're proud of this girl. Jill Finley of Jillily Studio won for her awesome booth. Wanna see it? Look below and she was handing out mini-cones of sherbet.

Cute! And look how she's got fabric in the loaf pans.

Buggy Barn and Jacquelynne Steves in the middle.

Lizzie B, the Beth half of the Lizzie B dynamic duo.

I adore this sign in her booth.

Quilt Market is nothing without visiting the Aurifil booth. See that display on the right? If it weren't for the fact that I was going home on an airplane, the thread may not have made it home. Don't tell Alex. [far left or Dario with his back to us in the gray suit.]

Hello, Miss Jodie! Always smiling and always working hard.

Monica [the Happy Zombie in blogland] was so happy to show me her fun new fabric line for Lecien. Congrats.

Patty Young was around for our chat too.

Oh, don't you adore these hats? They're actually pincushions from a Quilted Fish pattern and Amanda, you rock!

BariJ had a lovely booth too.

Brigitte of Zen Chic, you had an amazing booth. I'm so proud. I hope that you had a great flight back to Germany!

Phew, that's it for now. xo, L