not your granny’s Columbus Day…

This article is excellent on the subject of Christopher Columbus and the “discovery of America.” It is well worth the read, and deserves an A+ for research and attribution, factual information based partially on bona fide original sources including Columbus’s own writing.

Bartolomé de Las Casas,  Dominican Friar and later Bishop, is the author of The Destruction of the Indies, which details the systematic horror brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus.      De Las Casas is known as the Protector of the Indians, and was the Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico in the early sixteenth century.

My interest in this topic is the subject of the unpublished doctoral dissertation, which I spent ten years writing.   Unfortunately I did not complete the final draft, so it was never published.   However, before I die I hope to publish at least some of my work on my blog, at least.

pack a lunch and let’s go!

NO Folks…..I did not get this from watching FOXNEWS!!!!   Yahoo.   Anyway….it is a real mind-boggler, especially for someone like me who freaks out at an atrium in a Mall.   I just don’t do heights…even a ladder will weaken the knees.

The Google-Street-Map is spectacular, 3-D view of the gorge and the walkway.       I see there’s a Restaurant-Bar located along the trail.

Oh, and helmets are required of all participants because of the 300-foot drop.

Anybody want to go?

the space race remembered

Once I watched a rocket launch from under a blanket…our TV set was ancient and the light was very dim, so unless the room was almost dark the image on the set was barely visible.   I’m not sure of the year, or which of the early missions it was.   My whole life back in those days, between 1957 and about 1965 , are catalogued according to babies that joined our little family.

Our oldest was just a few months old, and we were living in a trailer park outside of the base of Fort Hood, Texas.  Our tiny television set was on a high shelf, and we had to stand right next to it in order to see anything in much detail.     In the interest of accuracy, by the time the Soviets launched Sputnick in October 1957, my daughter was five months old, and we were stationed at the Oklahoma Military Academy, where facilities had been set up to accommodate army insturctors.  We lived there for a year and a half.

Our connection to the United States Army accounted for much of my interest in space travel and life on other planets, and all kinds of innovative gadgets and scenarios that actually would become History within my lifetime.    I have  always been an avid fan of Science Fiction, and was working my way through the library shelves reading everything I could dealing with outer space.  The only other book that occupied as much or more of my time during that era was Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Baby and Child Care, having literally worn out my original copy of the Baby Manual.

So with that setting, the events leading up to the great space race between the United States and the Soviet Union were high on my “interests lists.”    The Cold War was alive and well, and a source of vast panic and hysteria for young military wives, who feared the bell ringing in the night would be a call for hubby to go somewhere and do something to fight The Russians.

So it was with great interest and intrepidation that I pretty much stayed glued to the TV after the hoopla of the Russians having beaten us to the draw in launching a rocket, and then a month later…a dog named Laika,  thus becoming the first Earth Creature ever to attempt space travel.

In January of 1958 we were absolutely ecstatic when th United States Army Ballastic Missile Agency sent up the first U.S. satellite into orbit.

Here’s a Timeline borrowed from the NASA site.    For the entire timeline, please go to


  • October 4 – The Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space.
  • November 3 – The Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 was launched with a dog named Laika on board. Laika did not survive the voyage.


  • January 31 – Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the United States when it was sent into orbit on January 31, 1958. It was designed and built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology. The satellite was sent aloft from Cape Canaveral in Florida by the Jupiter C rocket that was designed, built, and launched by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) under the direction of Dr. Wernher Von Braun.


  • August 19 – The Soviet craft Sputnik 5 was launched, carrying the dogs Strelka and Belka. They became the first living beings to survive a trip into space.


  • April 12 – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.
  • May 5 – Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
  • May 25 – President Kennedy challenged the country to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

[The space saga continues… .]

Mercado Flores Pantleon Re-Blogged

Here is a great treat! I found this site this morning and just had to browse the marvelous photos. This post is of a flower market in Guadalajara, Mexico. I do love Mexico and all things Mexican—so I’m happy to look around. These photos are great! Be sure to click on one of the photos so as to get the slide show—and be prepared to say WOW!!! Thanks to the blogger for permission to repost…

Guadalajara en Fotos

This is the biggest flower market in Guadalajara, and the best place to go on Valentines day.  It is across the street from the Cemetary, so people can buy flowers for the departed.  It has stores that face the street Federalismo, and more and more stores as you walk a block behind the storefronts.  My favorite part is the open air Flower Market and watching the trucks unload flowers in bulk.

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My favorite all-time book: Snow Treasure

When I was about eight years old, our teacher read a book to us in class.   Teachers did that often in those days, and I suppose they still do.  I hope so!    The book was Snow Treasure: A story of courage and adventure, written by Marie McSwigan, published in 1942.     Here’s the back cover blurb:

Now every sled ride was a matter of life and death

Peter Lundstrom never thought he would become a hero.   But that bleak winter of 1940 was like no other.   Nazi troops parachuted into Peter’s tiny village and held it captive.  Nobody thought they could be defeated—until Uncle Victor told Peter how the children of the village could fool the enemy.

It was a dangerous plan.   Peter and his friends had to slip past Nazi guards with nine million dollars in gold hidden on their sleds.  It meant risking their country’s treasure—and their lives.

This book was the ONE thing I wanted for Christmas that year.   My mother, broke as a churchmouse, but determined to do what she could to make our holiday wishes.     There was a small stack under the tree…some undies, and socks, maybe some school supplies like pencils or notebooks…and I opened all of the packages as politely as possible, all the time anticipating the gift that I really wanted.    Finally there was one present left for me, and when I opened it, I found a box of TIDE soap powder.   My poor little heart sank until I realized that the package was not what it appeared to be.  My book!   My book!

Throughout the decades Snow Treasure has been my favorite book.  Until about ten years ago it was only a memory…and I found a copy at a used book sale at the library.  Actually the book has an ISBN number, so apparently it is still available, though no longer in print.     The copy I have was published in the 1980s.

At the time that I was eight years old, World War II was very prominent in our lives, and indeed influences everything, everywhere, for every one.  I have written other blog accounts about the War and my personal experiences as a school child living in Cleveland, Ohio.

I always believed that the story of Snow Treasure was true.  The preface of the copy of the book that I have, published by Scholastic, Inc a couple of decades ago, qualifies the story with details that I presume are true.       To paraphrase:  On June 28, 1940, the Norwegian freighter Bomma arrived in Baltimore with about nine million dollars in gold bullion.    According to the story, the gold “had been slipped past Nazi sentries by Norwegian boys and girls!  Under the very eyes of the enemy, the story went, these children had pulled the gold on their sleds to a freighter hidden in a fiord off Norway’s coast.”      There is no proof, of course….I still believe that the tale is at least possible, but I am a dreamer and believer in all sorts of things.   To me veracity of any given account or story depends not only on proving something happened…but also proving that it did not happen.

*0590425374     There are several editions of this book on Amazon, and on other book seller sites.  The book has been published periodically in paper and hardback  for years.   I’m glad to know that, its like finding an old friend still alive!

W is for Wonderland, in the A-Z Challenge


Any land is Wonderland
to those observers
who recognize unique beauty
in everything–bird, beast,
flower, sticks and stones–
all wonders of the land.

So be like Alice…
for wealth and riches care less.
Everywhere is a palace,
every vessel a chalice,
keep an open heart–like Alice.

© Sometimes, 2016


travel tales

Here is a story about just how terrible the experience of flying has become.    Once…not too long ago, the process of taking an air trip from a major airport, on a major airline, was one of life’s pleasures for those who could afford it…and that was a pretty broad segment of the population in the United States.

Not to belabor the fond clichés of those of us who remember the dressing-up in “air travel outfits” in order to look good while strolling the airport terminal, and creating a “Wow!” factor appearance for emerging from the tunnel into the waiting area–where sizeable groups of people awaiting the arrival of air-travelers.   Then each little group would walk off down the concourse  sharing snippets of exciting conversation about the flight.   “Man, the sun is shining back in Albuquerque!”   “Wow!–look at all the snow!”  and “It was so rough that I really thought we were going down…”

Here’s the thing that has always griped me.   Why don’t we have a decent cross country train system, like Europe and Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom…etcetera,   One of my most wistful dreams has always been about traveling on a glamorous  fast-moving train, sipping fine wine in the club-car (my ideal of glamour) and watching scenery flash by.     Yes, I know–a bit exotic, but hey–that’s me.  And yes, I also know about Amtrack–which I hear is great once past Chicago or so, heading West.

Of course I DO know the reason we don’t have a cross-country railway system…and between you and me that is easy: the auto industry.  Our society and economy has always been about making cars, advertising cars so that everyone must have at least one…and except for the East coast cities where there IS a decent train system (as far as I know,) efforts at installing  North-South Corridor high-speed systems have been suppressed.     At least that is the case here in Ohio.

I admit that my experience with train travel has been limited, consisting of a trip to California from Ohio when I was five-years -old; travel from Bremerhaven, Germany to Frankfurt in 1955 (courtesy of the U.S. Army); at least one ride to and from Boston when my son lived in Massachusetts.   I think that is all..not counting some rapid-transit travel in Cleveland back in my commuting days, and assorted tourist travel in New York City, London, Mexico City and Quebec…. oh–and in New Orleans, the trolly from the city out to the university.


Flight dream

I miss the roar and back-draft
which presses me against the seat back
the thrust of the surging engines
obliterates hearing …as the ears pop.
The forward movement upward
deep into the clouds to disappear, then
emerge above the white tundra
into bright sunshine on silver drifts
and blue sky above.

One of the things I always enjoyed
but will not likely do ever again
is to fly in an impartial airliner
on a mutual quest for far-away lands…
the enduring impression of impossible passage
from familiar terrain declining below
to emerge in due time across the world
as a new soul commencing existence…
or simply re-invention of Myself.

© Sometimes, 2016

A quirk of fate

Photo provided by Magpie Tales.

Standing here in my brother’s coat
staring out to sea and wishing
I could be the one out on the boat
living a sailor’s life amid sails and cannons
instead of here in my girlish petticoat–
pretending I’m fishing.

“A quirk of Fate,” I tell my brother,
“our souls were clearly switched at birth.”
It is I who belongs on the sailing ship,
wearing shiny skin boots and suits of brocade
with a jaunty cock-hat and a frilly shirt…
buttons of brass and fine velvet knickers!
and YOU who should be here on the shore–

But alas!  Woe is me! –The luck is all yours…
for I am corseted and stranded in this body
weak and tender, forced to wear clothing
of silk and lace, never anything “gaudy.”
I wish I could be the one out on the boat
living a sailor’s life–instead of standing here
dreaming of the sea–wearing my petticoat
and your handsome coat!


chatting about blogging…

I enjoy looking over my Stats pages, especially seeing how many views and who my followers are.   I follow most in return, and have quite a variety of site-types.  I love to see the wonderful photos on the travel-type sites, because travel has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but one I can’t really do any more for a variety of reasons: mainly lack of discretionary funds, and the fact that I’m just not able to do all that running through airports and dragging heavy bags!   Especially the carry-on (which I insisted on carrying-on all too many things…) and — since I had a lap-top, dragging that around.   Laptops can get very heavy.   But in reality, that was a few years ago, like at least ten years ago, that I even had a laptop.   Now I would take my tablet with me, which is much more manageable.

One of the things that used to make my bags so heavy were that I insisted on dragging along notebooks and paperback novels enroute to my destination…and vast numbers of books and paper-stuffs from places I had been.

The most recent trips I have been able to take involved flights to Minnesota, and an occasional road-trip with a friend who has time-share condos in various cool places…like Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia.   She drove my car, which most people do when driving with me…because I don’t really like driving that much if there is someone else to do it.

Back in the 1990s I made several trips to Mexico, to the wilds of the state of Chiapas, partially in pursuit of research trips which I combined with so-called Reality Tours with an outfit called Global Exchange.    Four times I went on those trips into the mountains to indigenous villages and colonial cities–loved every minute of it!  Also went on a sort of a writer’s and artist’s retreat to a great place in Oaxaca.

I traveled alone when I went on these types of trips, which originated from Mexico city and then on puddle-jumper small jets into deeper Mexico and then ground transportation into even deeper locations.    That was part of the fascination, and contributed to my sense of adventure.  It would have been better had I been younger, perhaps.      My husband and I made numerous vacation trips to Mexico, and we sort of specialized in archeological sites.    The last time I went down there before my husband died in 2000, he met me in Mexico City after a two week research trip to Chiapas.   He declined participating in these activities of mine because, for one reason, he said “guys with machine guns are not my idea of fun.”

So to get back to blogging…I have thousands of photos, largely on slides, unfortunately…as they will not be easy for me to access.     The photos that I have include many places in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal…England…and USA spots in Minnesota, Arizona, the East Coast, Florida…. etc.   I need to work out a schedule of sorts to keep my nose to the grindstone, so to speak, in getting some of this material onto my Blogs…. Sometimes, and Wonderland is a State of Mind.

It isn’t that I think anyone really cares about my carryings-on and going-ons … except ME.  I want my travels and adventures, opinions, experiences…to be “out there” even if no one ever sees them.    The alternative is that these stacks and boxes of slides, CDs, snapshots…just languish in drawers and musty slide-tray holders…for ever–or until someone some day goes through the stuff and dumps it in the landfill.

I have zillions of these types of slides that belonged to relatives of mine (and in-laws) that sit mysteriously in their slide holders.  Sometimes these have notes on them, a date or name, or destination.    Most have endless shots of people that I have no idea of their identity–obscure people standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, in darkest Africa with a group of happy natives, getting on an airplane…getting off a bus…on a boat, in a cabin…. endless.    Who were these people?   Where was that quaint street picture taken?  It could be narrowed down to any of a few dozen of timeless shots of back streets in “old world” cities….could be Quebec, might be Madrid, possibly someplace in Germany…maybe back street Boston?

There is the occasional gem, like the one of some relatives of my husband’s, who had a summer cabin and rowed across a river to attend church on the mainland.   The ladies are wearing hats (a la 1940s) and mink stoles…in a row boat.   That speaks volumes–the desire to impress the rabble living out in the boondocks never dies.   Well, enough of that…I will leave anyone reading this to digest that vision.



Fun times in airport waiting rooms

Being as how my fairly limited air travel experiences date way  back in my memory banks, I enjoy dragging them out and expounding on their relative significance.   This trip into memory lane is completely irrelevant, but that never stopped me from detailing even the least important adventures…which in the great scheme of things may never be read.

One of the activities of airport waiting rooms…those sometimes surreal places where any incident, no matter how small, served to perk up interest among viewers sitting there waiting hopefully for news of impending flights.   This activity is casual observance of tidbits of life in the waiting room.

Once my son was arriving in Cleveland on an in-coming flight from (Boston? Seattle? Phoenix? Minneapolis?… it doesn’t matter much, probably it was a stop-over here in the heartland between big cities.)

The spectators…casually observing the sudden surge of activity which was the opening of the Gate Door from the airplane and the emergence of People from the ramp.    Heads turned in unison, watching the grand drama of happy reunions and business associations unfold…reminiscent of a crowd watching a tennis match.

As Joe approached, sporting his new (to me) and neatly appointed beard…and I, as an observant Mom, remarked with a gentle touch to the chin: “What is this?” to which he said –echoing the collective thoughts of the watchers–   “oh-oh, his Mom doesn’t like his beard.”     I am probably the only person in the world who found that exchange note-worthy, but it is duly filed in my file designated as: “Irrelevant But Fascinating.”

One of the highlights of waiting in the airport waiting area, once the 9-11 attacks had occurred and the airports were on alert and running on nervous energy–was watching as hapless passengers were pulled out of line and searched.  The most interesting examples to me were: a five-year-old with a pink Barbie back-pack; a highly irate woman who believed she should have been exempt because of her age; and a blonde American who was infuriated at the gall of some Mexican airport security officers who searched her purse and bags with exaggerated slowness.   It was rather obvious to me that the security guys were highly amused at the hassle-value of the search, and–at least to me–was clearly a response to reverse situations which were even more common.

The entertainment value of these types of events lies largely in the reactions of travelers.   Personally I always considered inconvenience and annoyance to be one of the anti-perks of air travel…and believe that the Hassle Value lay in the degree to which a traveler was A–indignant, B–considered to be deprived of their Rights; and C–vocally loud.   Shouting is almost always counter-productive.

I admit that I tend to be amused by almost anything…especially in waiting rooms…and things that I found fascinating barely aroused the interest of other travelers who made a point of being bored.  Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder.   There is a choice–be bored or be entertained.

I do miss those decades of frequent travel.