Tag Archives: maps

Shopping with pani puri.

Tom took me along on his shopping trip yesterday, to a few stores and shops including a multi-story big box that had features of a Super Wal-Mart, Costco, and a department store. The escalators were ramps that accommodated shopping carts, and we visited all the floors and departments, but never found a C-battery or anyone who knew what that was. Tom wasn’t very sure himself, but some new baby equipment wants them. Oh well.

I was fascinated by the many varieties of basmati rice, both packaged and in large bins where women in pretty clothes were scooping up their favorite type. I love basmati rice and used to buy it in 25# bags myself; I came home with a jar of the Brown Basmati.

The packaged rice is one of many products and ads that feature a photo of a famous movie star, often a Khan, or the “Big B,” Amitabh Bachchan. I don’t have a hope of keeping all these celebrities straight, but a couple of them have leading roles in an unusually good Bollywood movie we are currently watching here (over the course of three nights, because it’s close to four hours long): “Lagaan.” Oh, and on the route between the different shops, whose car did our driver point out but that of the very Aamir Khan himself. Mumbai is the center of Bollywood, did you know?

Women were also filling bags with large-crystal sugar from a great bulk bin.



We ate several pani puri snacks and another type of snack at a stand in the food department of the store. For us to take our fill of those savory treats cost less than 100 rupees which Tom said was about $1.10.


From this store we drove to that quiet neighborhood Tom introduced me to on my first day here, where is found their favorite market.

The shopkeepers know at least the names of vegetables and how to count in English so I was able to complete the purchase of some carrots, zucchini, peppers and broccoli while Tom went to the next stand where we found leeks and potatoes from which he is going to make soup.

Are those red carrots really carrots? I’ll cook them today and find out.

We brought all our loot home and then Tom cooked up a big delicious dinner featuring mutton chops, pesto green beans, tomato salad and more. It was the first meal of not particularly Indian food that I’ve had in ten days.

Baby “Raj” had stayed home with his mama. They are eating well and building strength and we are all enjoying the early Getting to Know You period. Well, not quite all: Huckleberry Cat has led a very sheltered life until this point and he doesn’t feel entirely positive about the strange creature who suddenly showed up.

As I write, it is a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve been holding a sleeping baby for an hour while chatting with Kate and Tom about so many things India, seeds that could germinate into future blog posts. Now I’m back here typing with two fingers to finish this one. My mind will immediately and irresistibly start gathering threads of images and impressions to weave into the next scrap of cloth I hope to share with you, of this colorful tapestry that is Bombay.

The clear eye on the map.

The Poem-a-Day selection for yesterday was about maps, by Carl Sandburg. I read it when I came home from church this afternoon, after hearing a homily about a map. In Liturgy we learned that the map to the Kingdom is in our heart — but many other things are in the heart, as is obvious from our own lives and from the daily news. One consequence that can result from contemplating the news of the world is an increase of fear and anxiety in our hearts.

The experience related in Sandburg’s poem seems to echo what St. Macarius describes, following the Prophet Jeremiah,  who said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

St. Macarius: “Within the heart is an unfathomable depth. There are reception rooms and bedchambers in it, doors and porches, and many offices and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness and of wickedness. In it is death, in it is life….The heart is but a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there likewise are poisonous creatures….rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms.”


This morning I looked at the map of the day
And said to myself, “This is the way! This is the way I will go;
Thus shall I range on the roads of achievement,
The way is so clear—it shall all be a joy on the lines marked out.”
And then as I went came a place that was strange,—
’Twas a place not down on the map!
And I stumbled and fell and lay in the weeds,
And looked on the day with rue.

I am learning a little—never to be sure—
To be positive only with what is past,
And to peer sometimes at the things to come
As a wanderer treading the night
When the mazy stars neither point nor beckon,
And of all the roads, no road is sure.

I see those men with maps and talk
Who tell how to go and where and why;
I hear with my ears the words of their mouths,
As they finger with ease the marks on the maps;
And only as one looks robust, lonely, and querulous,
As if he had gone to a country far
And made for himself a map,
Do I cry to him, “I would see your map!
I would heed that map you have!”

-Carl Sandburg

Our pastor was preaching on Matthew 6, where Christ teaches us:

The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

It’s interesting to look at several translations of the words describing the healthy or unhealthy eye: cloudy or clear, evil or single, diseased or unclouded. Of course, Christ is our Light, He said so Himself, and if we keep our eye on Him, He will light the path, He will be the map in our heart, so that we find the best things that St. Macarius tells about:

“The heart is Christ’s palace…There Christ the King comes to take His rest, with the angels and the spirits of the saints, and He dwells there, walking within it and placing His kingdom there….the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace: all things are there.”

When Christ places His kingdom there, we understand that our heavenly Father is obligated to take care of us — He loves us and is, after all, our Father. Much more than any earthly father He loves us and wants to provide for our needs.

Today I also read a poem by Wendell Berry, on this blog, and he expresses and heeds the exhortation in today’s Gospel:


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

What a contrast Berry’s focus is to Sandburg’s narrator who wanders where “no road is sure,” and who longs for a good map. “We have been given the map!” I want to tell him. Keep your eyes on Christ, and walk on past the dragons and gaping chasms. Cling to Him, keep bringing your focus back to Him as a light that is far brighter than your “mazy stars,” and you will find your way to Christ’s palace, and take your rest, too, with the saints and angels, amid the treasures of grace.

Maps, juice, and puzzles.

  • 2016-07-05 17.30.57I’m improving my mind this week, as I play with the two grandboys whose own minds are soaking up knowledge about their world at a fast rate. I brought their family two large Lauri puzzles that our family of 15 years ago must have acquired too late for them to be of much interest to our own children. In any case, I hadn’t been called upon before to help assemble them, and I was frankly in trepidation about this Fit-a-State puzzle, because I don’t “know my states” very well.

I had forgotten that behind the unmarked pieces is an outline drawing of all the states with their names. Neither of the boys can read those, though, and they were better than I at some important aspects of jigsaw puzzling, such as having a good sense of spatial relationships.

I have always been on the low end of the scale for that kind of perception, and have noticed that many grandchildren are quicker. Laddie who is only two doesn’t even seem to be looking very hard at the spaces to be filled, or at the piece he is holding, but he quickly takes in the view and without hesitating places the piece in the right place.

detail map puzzle

The detail on this map is amazing. Every state is its own piece. Yes, even Rhode Island. You know we haven’t assembled the puzzle many times because neither Connecticut nor Rhode Island has been lost!

I think I’ve probably learned a bit more United States geography through this exercise. I like doing puzzles with the boys because although they are often rambunctious as you would expect healthy boys to be, they both are able to concentrate for long periods on detail work such as coloring and puzzles.

target puzzle

Yesterday I did some grocery shopping for the family and I  brought back something from Target’s $1 aisles for each of the older boys. Liam got a puzzle consisting of sticks to be laid side by side in alphabetical order. I knew it would be easy for him because he knows the A-B-C song perfectly. He soon wanted to make words with the lettered sticks, or to sing the song with the alphabet mixed up but the notes in perfect order. We did that together for a while to gales of laughter. And today we made some of our own “sticks” with extra letters so we can now form words.



Yes, we mix up lower case and capitals. Liam prefers the latter. I hadn’t thought of adding pictures to the new strips but he thought that essential. So I took courage and tried to draw a quail and a glue stick, which were the pictures he suggested.

Soldier and Brodie 7-5-16

Little Brodie is here, of course, lending his newborn sweetness to the atmosphere. At four weeks he’s healthy and growing fast, though he hasn’t yet reached his due date. He is a pretty “easy” baby at this point. Does it seem that third-borns are often like this? I think they like having all the noises of the other children in the house.

Perhaps the loudest commotion happens  when a fire truck leaves the station house a block away and turns on its siren. The boys drop whatever they are doing and run to the nearest window screaming like banshees, in hopes of seeing the truck wailing past.

I’m enjoying the neighborhood walks, and I’ve taken the boys up and down different residential streets every day. Every day I see something I don’t know, and/or a plant that I saw years ago when visiting this area. Soldier and Joy and our good friends Mr. and Mrs. Bread lived very close to each other back then.

For example, this plant that I think is an aloe of some kind…? Mrs. Bread probably told me before what it is. Every specimen I have seen is gigantic, and at first I called it the spidery plant, which made Liam laugh, but then I changed it to I’ve taken to the Octopus Plant. It looks to me like a good place for rats and spiders to breed.

2016-07-05 11.55.46Along the sidewalks where I push Laddie in the stroller and Liam walks, if flowers or foliage hang over the sidewalk we will take a sample to sniff. With the help of the Internet I identified a butterfly bush in Soldier apurple flowernd Joy’s back yard. They have a great yard for having a passel of boys — all the ornamentals are of the sort that can’t be destroyed.

A large flock of Canada geese hangs out at one park we have frequented. We have studied their herd movements and don’t understand them at all. Below you can see part of the group nibbling near the swings where Liam is pushing his little brother.

2016-07-05 11.24.21

So much hands-on learning is happening around here all day long. I brought bags of oranges from our family’s groves in the Central Valley, and my juicer, and one of the boys’ favorite things is to make the juicer go, and the juice to flow, by bearing down hard on the cut orange. While they are doing such real and necessary work they behave in a very grown-up manner and don’t squabble at all.

I brought a big basket from home full of some of my favorite children’s books, including Down Down the Mountain and The Maggie B. As I was typing this blog post last night I could hear Soldier in the boys’ bedroom reading The Clock by Esphyr Slobodkina, a book that I read to him in ages past.

Sleepy People by M.B. Goffstein has been loved. It puts even the reader in a somnolent mood with its brief but evocative tale of a family who “are always sleepy.”  Several line drawings depict parents carrying limp children in their arms, and descriptions of people whose eyes are closing as they eat their bedtime milk and cookies.One evening I was asked to read this book as we all clustered around Liam and Laddie’s beds, and we all smiled as our own yawns involuntarily happened, and before long our whole household was on the way to dreamland and restoration and energizing, for the explorations and challenges of another busy day in Monterey.

Evening fire by the river.

Scout's map 5-15On outings with Pippin’s family, I insisted on sitting in the “way back” of the van they call Batvan. That way I had a close-up view of the map that Scout had made, which he used to show me the route from my house to his house to Montana to the river…this map covers just about anywhere you might want to go – or at least, where he wants to go.

I had (all without any map whatsoever) just arrived inbilly bluesage book my car Billy Bluesage via Pathfinder’s place in Oregon (home of Annie the photographer) in Siskiyou County where this family of my middle daughter lives. It was their baby Jamie who was born the day after his grandpa’s funeral, bless him. I have posted many pictures of their place and environs over the years, here and here, and here for example. P1130472

The first morning I woke up I took some pictures off the balcony of the room in which I had slept. It’s nearly 4,000 ft. elevation there and the chill still comes on in the evening at this time of year, but I had been cozy in my flannel, under a down comforter. The lows had been predicted to be in the 30’s F°. Tomatoes must be kept under cover for a few more weeks.

During that day I guess we mostly got ready for our picnic-and-campfire outing that was to be that evening. I must have been very lazy. I saw some deer in the back yard, but I never did go out and take the tour of Pippin’s garden. A fire was burning in the wood stove and I was like one of the cats liking to hang out in that room.P1130557


While the sun was still up and the sky blue, we packed all our food and baby gear and The Professor drove us to a spot on the Sacramento River where the North Fork comes in. You’d never dream that this little stream goes on to gather water from tributaries for more than 400 miles to become the longest and largest river in California.

The map below shows its course; we were sitting near the top where the two lines come together from the left, the North and South Forks of the river joining in a happy song running over the granite stones. Sacrivermap1

Anyone interested in a more thorough explanation and less reduced graphic of these Sacramento River headwaters would do well to check out this blog post I ran across, which almost makes me want to put on my waders and go slogging through the waterways, further up and further in to the highest lakes and springs.

Almost. But realistically, who I am is this sluggish woman in the photo below, standing in one place as I look out at the little North Fork across the way, and wishing Mr. Glad were with us, or that he would be waiting at home for me, and I would soon be with him again and telling him what I saw and learned. Many of my joys on this trip were muted by not having him to share them with. He loved looking at maps, too, and planning trips to new places.

G meditate by Sac 5-15 hms


Well, this was a new place for me, and I did love it. What is more refreshing than being on the brink of frothing waters and breathing the clean air they stir up?

The older children scrambled over the boulders to find the best stones, and threw hundreds of rocks of different sizes into the river; they are hard workers when it is that much fun, and every rock plunging in plays a different note and tone.

It was cold – brrrr – and some of us added layers to the fleeces we already had on. I had been wearing a turtleneck with a chamois shirt I inherited from my husband on top of it, and I soon added a fleece jacket. Pippin and I took turns with a blanket that looked like something an Indian squaw would have appreciated down there by the river at night. Scout leap Sac R 5-15

Scout and Ivy hopped and leaped and only fell a few times; they never cracked their noggins or landed in the river.

Notice the matching John Deere boots? I don’t know how they can navigate the rocks in those!

< Scout didn’t fall that time.     P1130540

Pippin and I took lots of pictures of veins in rocks.

Sac R veined slab 5-15

The Professor took pictures of his family and larger landscapes. The sun set and we lit our fire. We ate wraps and chunky s’mores.

the whole crew Sac R 2015-5 cbs P1130592

The light faded from the sky, but the firelight made it possible for Pippin and Jamie to look into each other’s eyes adoringly.

We didn’t really want to go home, but there was not a comfy place to sleep, either, sooo… We got out our flashlights and headlamps and picked our way over the stones back to Batvan. The grandma waited in the car with the children while the parents loaded up, and then we drove back home, so refreshed and worn out that we were quite content.