A few months ago my blogging buddy, Georgette, at Georgette Sullins’s Blog tagged me with a blogging challenge, which came with a set of rules

1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you.
3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Yours truly in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. March 2013.

Yours truly in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. March 2013. (photo credit Mr F.)

I don’t think anyone is interested to know

  • my favorite meal of the day
  • or which State I’d like to visit

though I hope you share my enthusiasm that New Zealand and France have both recently legalized gay marriage (while the United States Supreme Court is still dithering!)

Anyway as it’s my derriere that sits in the editor’s chair over here at Wondering Rose, this is one place I don’t have to follow any rules, I’m  free to interpret the challenge any way I like.

Firstly, I always see the number 11:11 on digital clocks.

I hear your “What’s the big deal? In a twenty-four hour clock numbers will come round twice each day!” True, but when you see the same time consistently you begin to wonder what it means, and you’d also ask, Why don’t I see 12:12 or 3:33 or 5:55?

An internet-search led me to:

a site called Maya 2012,  with an explanation that I’m not alone,

there’s a global phenomenon perplexing people of all ages who see 11:11 on a daily basis.

It’s not as though you are constantly waiting for this magical number to appear, it just does.

11:11 signifies your spiritual awakening,

“as this number seems to be predominantly noticed by those who have begun their spiritual journeys.”

driving to work at Ventura and Beverly Glen

At the corner of Ventura and Beverly Glen in L.A.

It took a long time to wake me up and get my attention. I’m now ready to receive my truth.

I wonder how many of you also see repetitive numbers?


she loved her wallet

For the second part of this challenge:

eleven observations from my Museum cash register 

with my sincere thanks to the hundreds of people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting each day for the past twelve years



1  Photo I.D’s

Very few people look like the person in their driver’s license photo,  a negligible number of women have the same hair style or hair color,  and sometimes you can see the same smile, or freckles (though it could be their sibling).

* * * *  *

2. “Tax en plus Monsieur!”

Foreign tourists always think I’m stealing and get angry when I include tax in the total.  “Why are you asking $3 when the price says $2.75?” they demand.

In the United States and Canada tax is added at the end, everywhere else in the world it’s included in the price.

* * * *  *

3. Where do you keep your money?

Don’t assume folks keep their bills neatly folded in their wallets like the woman above.  You’d be amazed how many women simply chuck their money into their purses, and tell me “I know it’s in there… Somewhere…!”

Most children visiting the museum with a school group pay with wads of crumpled, wet, sticky money. Yuk!

* * * *  *


Asia and Dani are from Los Angeles

4. Fashion:

Can you explain why someone would walk around with this written on his tee-shirt?

My parents said I could be
so I became an asshole

* * * *  *

5. Culture:

Man to a teenage boy as they walked into the gallery:

“You’re gonna go in there and get some culture! God dammit!”

Vermeer's girl reading a letter

Vermeer’s “Woman reading a letter” 1662 (on loan from the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam)

6. “Are these paintings real?

I’ve been asked that more than once. I’d love to say the originals are in my house and the Museum hangs up fakes.

* * * *  *

The screaming Scream

The Screaming Scream


People forget the cashier is human:

“Oh god this thing would drive me nuts if I had it in my home,” said the middle-aged-woman to her friend.

And she pressed the “Screaming Scream” three times.

I agree with her. I think it sounds like a dentist’s drill.

Thankfully her friend didn’t need to  press it too.


8. Questions:

“Do you work here? Can I ask you a question? a little old lady asked me, “Last time I was in Jerusalem I went on a walking tour and we saw two cemeteries. Could you explain the difference to me?”

* * * *  *

9.  Plastic bags

A man from San Francisco told me this story: “I was in Hermes recently. The woman in the line ahead of me spent about $10,000 on her purchases, but refused to pay the extra ten cents for a plastic bag!”

* * * *  *

10  I met these girls at my cash register this year

  • A three-year-old called “Tiger Lilly”
  • a twelve-year old called “Genesis”
  • an eleven-year old called “Malaya”
  • a teenager called Carnina.
    “It was supposed to be Carina but my mother made a spelling mistake when she filled out the form.”

* * * *  *

11.  Food.

A woman from Wisconsin told me: “If you buy cheese curds from Wisconsin they must be squeaky or they aren’t fresh. And you must eat them warm.”


* * * *  *

According to the rules I must now tag someone.

By a lovely coincidence, FrizzText’s A-Z challenge this week is “tagged R“.  “R” is for me Rosie.

Image 6

in my happy place

With thanks to Georgette.

Posted in Museum Musings, Photography, Tutto va bene, Wondering | Tagged , , | 66 Comments

“My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree” by Vachel Lindsay


April is National Poetry month. I share a poem written by an American poet, Nicholas Vachel Lindsay

My Lady Is Compared to a Young Tree – by Vachel Lindsay

When I see a young tree
In its white beginning,
With white leaves
And white buds
Barely tipped with green,
In the April weather,
In the weeping sunshine–
Then I see my lady,
My democratic queen,
Standing free and equal
With the youngest woodland sapling
Swaying, singing in the wind,
Delicate and white:
Soul so near to blossom,
Fragile, strong as death;
A kiss from far-off Eden,
A flash of Judgment’s trumpet–
April’s breath.


Vachel Lindsay was born in Illinois in 1879 and died in 1931.

The second of six children and the only son,  his parents wanted him to become a doctor like his father.

While studying at Hiram College in Ohio he was trained in oratory, a skill for which he would later become known throughout the United States and England.

Lindsay is considered the father of modern singing poetry.

His style of chanting verses helped keep appreciation for poetry as a spoken art alive in the American Midwest.

One of Lindsay’s most famous poems, the title piece in “‘The Congo’ and Other Poems, has a rhythmic structure based on African-American speech rhythms and jazz.

Though Lindsay believed jazz was a decadent art form, he used it in his poems to faithfully relate the regional lore of the South.

He recited the poem in a variety of voices ranging from a loud, deep bass to a whisper.”



If you’re interested to know more about Vachel Lindsay click here

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Seeds of Peace

Peacewalk in Los Angeles

At a Peace walk I attended in Los Angeles about five years ago

“Is is the responsibility of all people with an aspiration to spiritual perfection to help develop a deep recognition of the value of other faiths …”  

– The Dalai Lama

 Professor Suwanda HJ Sugunasir with the Dalai Lama on the University of Toronto Campus.

Professor Suwanda HJ Sugunasir with the Dalai Lama at the University of Toronto. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In 1893 the first formal gathering of representatives from eastern and western spiritual traditions met in Chicago at the World’s Congress of Religions.

One hundred years later the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions was formed when two monks from the Vivekananda Vedanta Society of Chicago suggested organizing a centennial celebration. Itsaim

to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

At the first modern CPWR in Chicago in 1993 the keynote speaker was the Dalai Lama.

  • In 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa  7,000 people from +80 countries heard Nelson Mandela speak.
  • 2004 in Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.
  • 2014 will be held in Brussels, Belgium. For more information click here
File:Young Cool Dude Gets Involved (8397328115).jpg

Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend I attended the second annual conference of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of World Religions at All Saints Church in Pasadena: 

“Seeds of Peace: Meditation and the Engaged Life”

At the opening ceremony a conch shell was blown like a trumpet in all four directions – its got a hauntingly beautiful sound – and was followed by “Tata Appolinario Chile Pixtun”, a Guatemalan Mayan Elder who recited an indigenous blessing. Miranda Rondeau did the musical invocation.


In the first workshop we had to choose one of these meditations:

  • Isha Kriya Meditation
  • Labyrinth Walk
  • Vietnamese Cao Dai Meditation
  • Kabbalistic Jewish Meditation
  • Sat Nam Rasayan
  • Vedanta – Meditation to Increase your inner Peace
  • Vedanta – Guided Meditation on the self
  • Mindfulness Meditation – Vipassana Support International
  • Meditation on Cosmic Awareness – the Twelve Blessings
  • Color Science Meditation
  • Ignation Awareness Exsmen
  • Raja Yoga Meditation
  • Stillpoint – Christian/Buddhist Meditation
  • International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  • Lotus Sūtra Chanting
  • Shumei Philosophy and Spiritual Practice
  • Seven Pillars Journey of Wisdom
  • Zen Meditation
  • Meditation on Peace from a Mayan Perspective
  • meditation led by Darakshan Farber

Who knew there were so many ways to still the mind, I wish I could have taken them all.

During the lunch break we were entertained by the talented Taiko Drummers.


Marianne Williamson gave the Keynote speech:

We’re living a time of evolving consciousness with humanity ready to apply love as an agent of healing on every wound – personal as well as political.”

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson

She’s a brilliant speaker, who speaks from the heart with no notes.

After lunch there were social action workshops. I met Jodie Evans one of the co-founders of “Code Pink

“A woman initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.”


I loved the sound of this drum that looked like a “wok

The day ended with a concert of “heart healing Rumi poems set to transformational music”

This post is part of WordPress weekly challenge: Culture

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Wordless Wednesday: Found Turtle

“A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out.”
– Korean Proverb



This post is part of Cee’s Wordless Wednesday



Posted in The Natural World, Wandering | Tagged , | 53 Comments

earthday 2013

800-year-old tree in Galicia, Spain

I met this 800-year-old tree in Galicia, Spain

A short post for this year’s Earth Day.

The bad news according to Environment California 

There are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre.

In some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton six to one.


The good news:

Nearly sixty cities in California have banned throwaway plastic grocery bags.

Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to approve the ban (which will take effect at the end of the year)

To see what happens to your junk, please watch this four-minute movie taken earlier this year by Chris Jordan on Midway Island, an uninhabited, isolated spot about two thousand kilometers from any other land.


Next year I hope to tell you that all of California has banned plastic bags.

A statewide ban could keep 123,000 tons of plastic bags out of the waste stream each year.

Posted in The Natural World, Wondering | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

Why this love of tattoos?

I wept when I looked at the close-up photo of a number tattooed on a woman’s arm at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

When I stepped back to blow my nose and allow a group of teenagers to see the photo, one of the girls lazily chewing on a big wad of gum nudged her friend, “Hey don’t you think that’s a cool tattoo?”

“Ohmygod I love it!” said the friend.

So many things I wanted to say, and wished I’d said, but I was speechless.

Nazi Germany survivor

Arm of a survivor from Nazi Germany I photographed in L.A.

I know tattoos weren’t invented in Nazi Germany – concentration camp inmates were simply branded like cattle – but I don’t understand, and I can’t explain why tattooing has become such a popular worldwide form of expression that people willingly spend thousands of dollars, suffering many hours of torture to cover their skin with some very carefully selected illustrations they can never remove.

The word tattoo [from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ meaning ‘to mark something’] was brought back from Tahiti in 1769 by Captain James Cook!

Tattooing, for spiritual and decorative purposes, dates back thousands of years across Europe, China, Japan, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Samoa and New Zealand.

  • The Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Japanese tattooed criminals as a visible mark of punishment.
  • In 54 BC when Julius Caesar invaded Britain he described seeing long-lasting decorations pricked on the skin of the inhabitants.
  • During the Middle Ages, Christian Crusaders identified themselves with the mark of the Jerusalem cross on their foreheads so that they could be given a proper Christian burial if they died in battle.

a flower

Some people (as I show in these two photos I took at the Hollywood Bowl) choose one or two small tattoos such as butterflies, flowers, or designs…


…a tattoo crept out of Jolly’s shirt

But many people prefer to cover large portions of their skin.

  • If you cover the upper arm it’s called the ‘half-sleeve
  • the ‘full-sleeve‘ includes the upper and lower arms.

When I met Max in San Diego, he was happy to explain his tattoos to me.

  • The tattoo on his forearm is of a flapper from the Great Gatsby
  • in the middle is a Homage to James Elroy, with the Crest of Montenegro above it
  • on the right, “To mine own self be True”
  • the watch: “All dogs go to Heaven“. The time is at 11:11 “The Wishing Hour“.

I met Adrian at my cash register. She told me there’s a lot of synchronicity with birth dates in her family: both her father and her father-in-law were born on 02.03 and her grandson was born on 02.03.04 and the numbers are in the tattoos.

The first tattoo is of her grandson,  the fisherman is her husband, and she spent a long time making sure I understood the tattoo on the right:

  • Purple is the color of cancer.
  • Radiation is purple.
  • Many people in her life have died from cancer: her mother, her father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, aunt, uncle and a good friend. All their initials are on her arm.
  • Even though she’s taken them all the girl is pretty, because there’s always hope …

Angelina (below) told me:

“Most people can only take three hours of tattooing pain at a time.  Each one of my tattoos took about six to nine hours.”

“When you’re tattooed it feels like a razor blade digging in you,”

“Each tattoo gun has six to nine tiny needles working at a time.”

OMG that sounds far worse than childbirth!

She has a cherry blossom on her back, a peacock on her arm, and the Japanese Great wave inside her arm.

This is Emory from Vancouver, Canada whom I met at the Museum yesterday.   She told me that the Borneo Rose (on her right leg) guards the wearer from evil spirits, and is usually tattooed on a young man’s shoulders.

Rosie the Riveter on the left

Rosie the Riveter on the left leg, and the Borneo Rose on the right leg

The above is just a small sampling of the hundreds of tattooed arms and legs that walk past my cash register.

For more information you can check out Camila Rocha’s site. She’s a tattoo artist from Brazil who came to my cash register two weeks ago.


Have you seen the book The Japanese Tattoo by Sandi Fellman?  It was difficult for the American photographer to meet the Irezumi

an extreme and secretive group of people living in the underworld of Tokyo and Osaka who have transformed themselves into living works of art through tattooing…

and she had to spend a long time gaining their trust before being permitted to photograph them.

front cover of "The Japanese Tattoo"

front cover of “The Japanese Tattoo”

These are people who have chosen to suffer years of torture and perhaps even shorten their lives* to make their bodies look unnatural.

* tattooing shorten lives when too little free skin is left to breath or perspire.

* * * * *

I’d love to hear what you think of tattoos. Can you explain why they’re so fashionable? 

Posted in Museum Musings, Photography, Tutto va bene, Wondering | Tagged , , , | 72 Comments


To say I’m horrified and “rocked off my moorings” by the violence at the Boston Marathon this afternoon is an understatement. I’m stuck on Why?  When I think of the victims I weep …  no more words…


along the Camino in Northern Spain

When I walked along the Camino I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many men and women who walked the entire 750 km French Way to Santiago de Compostela were older than me, and many were walking in spite of a severe illness like cancer.

In my first post about the Camino I told you about Kurt,  a teacher from Germany.

Kurt began his pilgrimage alone, but ended up walking with Wolfgang and Christiane who are both also from Germany. That’s how friendships are formed on the Camino: you meet someone on the road, and you’re instantly friends, life-long friends.

Wolfgang walked with his friend Kurt and this woman

Kurt (on the right) walked with Wolfgang (on the left) and Christiane

I’m not used to carrying a heavy weight and after several days of walking with my backpack I developed painful “rocks” on my back. Kurt was the good Samaritan who gave me massages along the way.

“A massage for Rosie,” he’d say…

I haven’t told you about his friend Wolfgang who’s one of the shining lights I met on the Camino: always happy and so kind.

Kurt and I are both expert yakkers, but though Wolfgang could also speak English, he didn’t talk much, preferring to listen, than to yak.

I walked with Kurt and Wolfgang several times, but I couldn’t keep up with their fast pace, and they reached Santiago several days ahead of our group.

In the photo of Wolfgang (below) taken at the end of the pilgrimage in the tee-shirt Kurt and Christiane bought him, he looks suntanned, fit and healthy.


Wolfgang in his Camino tee-shirt: “You’ll never walk alone” (photo credit Kurt)

Actually Wolfgang was a very sick man.

He set out alone on his pilgrimage after his doctor gave him six months to live.

The friendship and love from Kurt and Christiane, plus the fresh air and sun, and something about the magic of the Camino gave him a vitality and vigor so he was able to walk the entire 750 km route, and as you can see, he looked wonderful at the end.

I heard from Kurt in February: Wolfgang was really ill, and he and Christiane went to visit their sick friend.

“It was a really good decision to see him. He’s very brave. Though in a lot of pain he was very happy to see us and looked at us with grateful eyes…”

Wolfgang invited them back in the Spring for a barbecue, but Kurt’s not sure if there’s enough time in this life for him.

Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

the three friends

the three friends

As this is National Poetry Month, I end with a poem

Be a friend – by Edgar Guest

Be a friend. You don’t need money:
Just a disposition sunny;
Just the wish to help another
Get along some way or other;
Just a kindly hand extended
Out to one who’s unbefriended;
Just the will to give or lend,
This will make you someone’s friend.

Be a friend. You don’t need glory.
Friendship is a simple story.
Pass by trifling errors blindly,
Gaze on honest effort kindly,
Cheer the youth who’s bravely trying,
Pity him who’s sadly sighing;
Just a little labor spend
On the duties of a friend.

Be a friend. The pay is bigger
(Though not written by a figure)
Than is earned by people clever
In what’s merely self-endeavor.
You’Il have friends instead of neighbors
For the profits of your labors;
You’Il be richer in the end
Than a prince, if you’re a friend.

Edgar Albert Guest an English-born American poet (Born 1881, Birmingham, died 1959, Detroit) wrote more than 15,000 sentimental and optimistic verses – one a day from 1916 to 1959 – earning him the title the People’s Poet. 

  He began writing verse for the Free Press in 1904 under the heading “Chaff.”  His columns evolved into a daily feature,”Breakfast Table Chat,” syndicated in about three hundred newspapers.

Dorothy Parker said of his poetry:

I’d rather flunk my Wasserman test*
Than read the poetry of Edgar Guest.”

[* Wasserman test is an antibody test for syphilis]


Posted in Poetry, Tutto va bene | Tagged , | 46 Comments