Sunday, April 28, 2019

Journey of Traditions! Stories of South Central Asia

Journey of Traditions
Stories of South Central Asia

I'm so happy to announce the self publication of my mother's beautiful book Journey of Traditions! Back in the 1990s my parents lived in Pakistan where my mom collected beautiful textiles and artifacts. Over time she came up with the idea of sharing the beauty of South Central Asia through an exhibition. She wrote stories and painted these incredible illustrations that include the artifacts that will be in an upcoming exhibition.

On top of this she started a blog that includes some of the many artifacts they collected.

There is so much beauty and artistry in South Central Asia but sadly the news doesn't cover that. Through these objects, paintings, textiles and stories, the objective is to give a different perspective of  this incredible part of our world.

The book came out so great! The stories are wonderful and the actual printing of the artwork looks amazing. It was definitely a labor of love. I'm so proud of my mom!

I love this painting, below. It's definitely one of my favorites. These wonderful performers were at the Lok Virsa festival in Islamabad, where there are all of these artisans that present their goods. Some were actually doing their wonderful crafts at the festival, from wood workers to to intricate embroidery. I'm not sure they actually call it a festival but that is definitely what it felt like.

I can't get over this sweet face!

I brought her painting outside to photograph. It's actually a fairly large piece and I thought it ended up looking cool among the vines. I just love the light from the fire and that wonderful sky!

If you are interested in her new book, which is just beautiful and would make a wonderful gift for a young person or an adult, check out her Etsy site here !

Please check out and follow my mom's new blog by clicking here There are so many beautiful things to look at! Enjoy!

Blessings and light!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Glasgow About Town ~ Street Art, Shopping and a Cathedral

"... City! I am true son of thine;

Ne’er dwelt I where great mornings shine

Around the bleating pens;

Ne’er by the rivulets I strayed,
And ne’er upon my childhood weighed
The silence of the glens.
Instead of shores where ocean beats,
I hear the ebb and flow of streets. … "
~GLASGOW by Alexander Smith

The Creation Window by Francis Spear
Glasgow Cathedral

Music for the Glasgow! 


We arrived in the evening to our funky little place in Glasgow. It was a young lady's artsy flat a few floors up. Every time we left the place we had trouble getting back in and we had to drag our stuff up maybe 3 or 4 flights from the underground parking. It was not exactly a swanky part of town but, to me, it made things interesting and I loved it!

Our funky little place ...

We were very hungry by the time we got settled and ended up walking a mile or so to an Indian restaurant that the pub across the way recommended. We got there pretty late and we might have been the only ones there but it was delicious!!

I am going to have to hunt down the name of the restaurant. I usually keep track of those things but I was so tired and stuffed by the time we left. Bonus was that being in an apartment we were able to put our copious amounts of leftovers in the fridge.

The next day was gorgeous but we were tired and had things to take care of. My dad and I found a shipping place to send hiking boots, sneakers and rain gear home before heading to Venice, which would presumably be drier. This would be a false assumption. 

If you are gone long enough and doing enough shopping this is definitely a good option before continuing on to another destination. You may also have different wardrobe requirements for your next stop!

The best thing about taking the car back to the rental place was our cab driver. We had a few that day and I've decided Glaswegian cabdrivers are my favorite cabbies on the planet. Hilarious and friendly storytellers with amazing personalities. I would go back just to ride around town!

Glasgow Cathedral

"The first stone that built Glasgow Cathedral was dedicated in the presence of King David I in 1136. The present building was consecrated in 1197. Since that same period the Cathedral has never been unroofed and the worship of God has been carried out within its walls for more than 800 years."
I might have been interested in going to the Cathedral for less that spiritual reasons. The truth is that it was an Outlander location. It was the hospital where Claire worked in Paris, in season 2. 

The Millennium Window

The Millennium Window was unveiled on 3rd June, 1999 by H.R.H. The Princess Royal.
"The glasspainter selected was Mr. John K. Clarkwho was a student and then lecturer at The Glasgow School of Art. His studio is in Germany. Progress was carefully monitored by Historic Scotland. The theme that was agreed with the Donors was GROWTH. As the project was mainly funded by three Glasgow schools this is a highly appropriate theme."

It turned out that it was a beautiful gothic cathedral with incredible stained glass windows and gorgeous woodwork.

We hoped to make it to Kelvingrove Museum but because of some mixup we waited forever for our cab. At that point, it was too late to get into the museum. I think you have to get there a full hour before they close. That is the case with many museums and monuments in Scotland.

When we finally got our next hilarious cab driver we had him drop us in an area with some cool street art and murals. There is actually a Glasgow Mural Trail Map! I'll link that below.

From Artists Rogue-one and Art Pistol, Wind Power, which can be found on Mitchell Street. 

Below, a mural on Mitchell Street by artist Rogue-One.

I loved my red raincoat. A funny Scotsman compared me to a phone booth whilst wearing my red hat and coat. I can totally see that.

Below, also on Mitchell Street, mum and dad being picked up by a giant! Mural by artist Smug.

After that, we ended up in a very cool pedestrian only shopping area on Buchanan Street, in Central Glasgow, called Prince's Square.

I was able to pick up some makeup and ended up in a fabulous clothing store. There were so many beautiful things but I narrowed it down to a beautiful white blouse! I don't know what I expected Glasgow to be like but it wasn't this. I figured I'd like it but I suppose I thought the whole entire city would very industrial. 

Me, below, in front of artist Klingatron's (James Klinge) Panda at Gordon Lane.

"The original buildings consisted of a 4 storey merchant square built in yellow sandstone and completed in 1841. The then owner, James Campbell, was knighted by Queen Victoria and later became Lord Provost of Glasgow. In celebration of the birth of the Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII, he named his new building Princes Square." 

The area is a great example of urban renewal done in a beautiful way. People were definitely out and about and enjoying themselves!

We found a large pub for our last dinner in Scotland. There was a football (soccer) game on and live music. Though I don't remember what I ate, I do remember I had one last Scotch. 

Scotch in scribbles ...

I've been blogging about this Scotland adventure since the beginning of 2018! This is my 26th post of Scotland! Perhaps a wee bit excessive but I loved it so much that I didn't want to leave anything out. Alas, there were probably 14,000 or more photos so it was tough to edit. I tried to include my art and some of what I was inspired to paint for my solo show last December.


for more Scottish poetry go to 

After our incredible time in Scotland we went to the Veneto area of Italy which was also wonderful. We were able to meet up my niece, my Aunt and Uncle. This was all in August/September of 2017. In 2018, I spent some time in Hawaii where my boyfriend was living and we were back and forth. This was just part of the reason for my sporadic posting. Like many of you, life has gotten busy!

I'm currently training for a pilgrimage walk in Italy, sometimes referred to as The Way of Saint Francis or the Via di Francesco. I will try to share a bit of Venice, Verona and the Biennale before moving on to this new adventure on my blog. Hopefully, I can share a bit of Hawaii too!

One more thing! 
I found so much Scottish music, 
as I was looking for songs for these posts, 
that I now have a huge fabulous list on my YouTube Account.
I might have saved the most fun song for last ...

Much gratitude to those that stuck with me
through all my big pauses and breaks!!
As always,
Blessing and light to you friends!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Castles and Coos ~ Castle Stalker, Dunstaffnage, Inveraray, Highland Cows and Loch Lommand

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever won't to gae
On the bonnie, bonnie bank o' Loch Lomand.

Castle Stalker
the Falconer, 1320

We are winding down on the Scotland posts! This is the second to last! My parents and I left the Highlands and headed south to Glasgow but there was still much to see along the way. Having said that, we did a few "drive-byes" because you just can't do it all.

If you have the time, and are there on the right day, you can reserve a spot on a small boat to take you over the Loch to the castle. If you are a Monte Python fan you might recognize it as "Castle Aaaahhh" from Monte Python and the Holy Grail.

Since we were headed in that direction ... please press play!

There is a little cafe above Castle Stalker that looks out from these views and a gift shop where we did some damage. Haha! My mom bought the most beautiful woolen shawl and I got a few items including a couple of charming little children's books.

There is a whole lot of history with MacDoughalls and Stewarts and I will go ahead and link that below!

A different vantage point of the castle beyond the Scottish thistles.

Dunstaffnage Castle
Argyll and Bute, Western Scotland

"... Stronghold of the MacDougalls, built before 1240 on a huge rock above the Firth of Lorn. Captured by Robert the Bruce in 1308, the castle remained in royal hands until 1469." - Historic Environment Scotland

This is one of the oldest castle ruins in Scotland and was yet another location that was on our Explorer Pass. I highly recommend the pass if you are going to spend some time in Scotland. It was  well worth the money. There was no line to get in at Dunstaffnage but being able to bypass lines at Edinburgh and Sterling Castles were a bonus!

My favorite history of this castle was that Flora MacDonald stayed here. Flora is the heroic woman who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape! Here's some more info on that.

"Late in 1746, Dunstaffnage welcomed one of its more famous guests, Flora MacDonald.
This gentle-mannered woman was visiting her brother in South Uist when she met Bonnie Prince Charlie, then fleeing from the Redcoats following his April defeat at Culloden. Flora agreed to help him get away, and dressed him up as her serving girl, ‘Betty Burke’.
The pair crossed to Skye, from where the prince made his escape. But Flora was arrested and brought to Dunstaffnage. She remained there just a few days, before being moved to the Tower of London. She was released the following year."

About 50 meters along a path is the family chapel ruins of Dunstaffnage.

And then we headed off to ...

Inveraray Castle
 Ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll 
Chief of the Clan Campbell

 Across from the parking lot ... Highland Cows! Or rather, Hielan' Coos. Finally!

We'd driven by some "coos" on the Isle of Skye where we couldn't pull over. Before we caught a glimpse in the Borders area but they were quite far away and not so easily photographed. Our time in the countryside was ending and I had almost lost hope in getting a good "paintable" photo.

And here we were outside Inveraray Castle ... and there they were! 

I love this guy.

"An Inveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the impressive castle we know today was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in the 1700s."

I must say, it does evoke a romantic, fairy tale image of Cinderella's castle! 

I loved the enclosed garden entry and the beautiful drawing room, below. I could totally hang out in there and play one of the two songs I remember on the harp! Ha!

As feminine and lovely as the previous room was, the next room was by contrast, a testosterone filled fantasy! 

The Armory Hall

The Saloon 

"A remarkably modern living room for its time, the Saloon was chosen by the 5th Duke to be a relaxing area, where guests could have breakfast, play billiards or make music.In the corner is a grand piano where the songwriters Lerner and Loewe composed some of the songs for their musical My Fair Lady, while staying at the Castle."

Robes worn by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll
4th Daughter of Queen Victoria
At the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

Robes of the Order of the Thistle
Worn by the husband of Princess Louise, The Marquess of Lorne
Later 9the Duke of Argyll

I'm not sure how I feel about the Badgerhead Sporran, below, but it might discourage pickpockets? For those of you unfamiliar with Sporrans they are a small "man bag" that one wears at the waist of a kilt.

Like a ghost story? This next room is the one for you. Although, I'm not sure how I feel about the harp reference! (I started playing in Junior High and one still sits in my living room.)

MacArthur Room 

"The ghostly bed in this room is elaborately carved and belonged to the MacArthurs of Loch Awe. Legend has it that a young Irish harpist was murdered by the Duke of Montrose's men in 1644. The bed was moved to the present castle from the old Inveraray Castle and the boy's ghost was so attached to the bed it travelled with it. When a member of the family is about to die, it is said that harp music is heard coming from the room."

The castle has a number of ghosts including the 'Grey Lady', only seen by daughters of a Duke of Argyll, a floating ship or ‘Galley of Lorne' which moves away on the horizon on the death of the Duke and a raucous kitchen maid."

My favorite part of the castle was this next room which is called the "Victorian Room" which was a lovely eclectic living space. Love that carved chair!

"The Victorian Room is a tribute to the marriage between HRH Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and the Marquess of Lorne, who subsequently became the 9th Duke ... items on display include a porcelain figure of Queen Victoria at her spinning wheel, sculpted by Princess Louise, a talented artist and sculptor. There are also two intriguing pieces of furniture converted from an old coach presented by the Duke of Sutherland to the 8th Duke of Argyll."

"The marriage was considered controversial at the time, as it was the first time a member of the Royal Family had married outside royalty but Queen Victoria wanted new blood in the family and suggested a member of the aristocracy. Princess Louise fell in love with John, Marquess of Lorne and the Queen consented to the marriage, which took place on 21st of March 1871."

O you'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye,
For me and my true love will ne-r meet again On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond 
Loch Loamainn ~ Lake of the Elms

After spending two weeks humming, singing and whistling On the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, with my parents, driving around Scotland ... we finally made it. 

'Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep sides o' Ben Lomond
Where deep in purple hue, the hieland hills we view
And the moon comin' out in the gloaming'.

Arriving at Loch Lomond meant we were almost at the end of our journey and only 14 miles outside of Glasgow. Also, of possible interest, it's a fresh water loch and has the largest surface area of any lake in Great Britain. Just in case you were about to ask.

In honor of my folks and all the driving we did around Scotland, here is Deanna Durban (at 18!) singing the old Scottish song. It was in 1940.


The wee birdies sing and the wildflowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Though the waeful may cease frae their grieving.

O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

~ first published in 1841

Next up Glasgow!
Blessings and light!