Saturday, May 28, 2011

At Filoli House and Gardens

The Sunken Garden

It's so refreshing to be outside and to be surrounded by so much natural beauty. At Filoli, everywhere you gaze, there's a flower or tree or piece of pottery that will call your attention. How I wish I took notes of the names of the flowers, but I must remain content with the colorful images I had the pleasure of taking. Though none can equal seeing the gardens and house up close.

 The Chartres Garden

The gardens change with the seasons. We just missed the tulips and wisteria. We're now into May when roses, foxgloves, peonies, lavender and violas captivate the landscape. There are so many varieties of roses (about 500) that we had a field day just looking for the Mr. Lincoln rose. In the process I found the Johann Strauss rose but I was most impressed with these October roses that are in full bloom and overwhelming its bush (shown below).

 The October Rose in the Rose Garden

The Knot Garden is always a highlight. The intricate geometric design weaves the red purple dwarf barberry with the silvery santolina and green germander hedges. I am intrigued with the play of colors and maze like planting.

The Knot Garden

The entire garden encompasses 16 acres and includes a swimming pool and pavilion, a walled garden, the Yew Allée which is my favorite feature but is bare of foliage at the moment. I saw one of the volunteers in the cutting garden putting together a colorful bouquet of flowers for the House.

A vase of flowers in the Ballroom

I love how the borders are planted in layers with trees, flowers, and shrubs. It seems to grow as one. And they are carefully picked to blend. What a beautiful sight!

Foxgloves by the Garden Shop

The House contains 36,000 ft. of floor space on two floors. The second floor is closed to the public.  The reception room is impressive with its 12 panel Chinese Coromandel screen from the late 18th century or early 19th century but is not original to the house. The silver vault in the pantry once held the family silver.

 
The Reception Room

There's also a Café and a Garden Shop where you can purchase potted plants and gift items. 

The Garden Shop

For information about hours, blooming calendar, events, directions to Filoli and more, check this link: http://www.filoli.org/.
86 Canada Road
Woodside, California
650-364-8300

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Images by Charie

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Market Bar in San Francisco


It’s always fun to be at the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco especially to meet old friends for lunch or dinner. I met up recently with long-time friends from Honolulu who were in the City for a few hours layover. Their cruise ship was docked right behind the Ferry Building so the Market Bar was the perfect venue for our get-together.  

It was not easy to decide which of the appetizing entrées to choose from and I narrowed my choices to three: 1) Local Halibut a la plancha with Asparagus, artichokes, leeks, citrus butter, 2) Wild Shrimp Linguine with olive oil, chile flakes, arugula, 3) Asparagus & Wild Salmon Risotto with fava leaves. Really loved my risotto! It was quite tasty and the kitchen didn’t skimp on the chunks of salmon. We were a large group and arrived at various times but the staff was accommodating and attentive.

1 Ferry Building # 36
San Francisco, CA 94111-4230
(415) 434-1100

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Image by Charie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

I recently finished reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It's the first book of his that I've read and I was hooked. Now I'm reading his other novel, The Pilgrimage.

The Alchemist inspires. "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

It reveals a secret: "The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times."

It explains why we can't follow our dreams: "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

And how do we deal with heartaches?: "If I am really a part of your dream, you'll come back one day."

There's more. You have to read the book to find out.

Mr. Coelho also has a super blog where you can find out more about his works. Here's the link: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/.

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Sonnet of Sweet Complaint - Federico Garcia Lorca

Lorca's house in the outskirts of Granada

Today I gave a travel presentation at work about Spain and I included this sonnet from one of Spain's greatest poets/playwrights, Federico Garcia Lorca. It's full of visual imagery which not only gives the reader the ability to see what he's written but it also leads the mind of the reader in search of meaning.

Sonnet of Sweet Complaint
Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose your breath
places on my cheek at night.
I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.
If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,
never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

The original Spanish version below is from
http://www.poesia-inter.net/fglso107.htm

Soneto de la Dulce Queja
Tengo miedo a perder la maravilla
de tus ojos de estatua y el acento
que de noche me pone en la mejilla
la solitaria rosa de tu aliento.
Tengo pena de ser en esta orilla
tronco sin ramas; y lo que más siento
es no tener la flor, pulpa o arcilla,
para el gusano de mi sufrimiento.
Si tú eres el tesoro oculto mío,
si eres mi cruz y mi dolor mojado,
si soy el perro de tu señorío,
no me dejes perder lo que he ganado
y decora las aguas de tu río
con hojas de mi otoño enajenado.


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Image by Charie

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Through the Chihuly Glass

Lime Green Icicle Tower

I finally had the chance to enter the Chihuly Gallery at City Center in Las Vegas recently and marveled at the beautiful pieces that were on display. I was riveted to the Lime Green Icicle Tower which is almost floor to ceiling in height. It was mesmerizing to stare down at the reflection of the Tower on its mirror base and to check out the individual "icicles" up close.


I love the cubicle idea where there's a niche for the smaller artworks. The colors are amazing!  Here's one of the pieces up close. I believe this one belongs to his Persians series.


Below is a better picture (than the one I previously posted) of his Cobalt Reeds and Spears.


The Gallery also features paintings by Dale Chihuly. Hours are from 10am - 11pm Sundays through Thursday and 10am - 12am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Images by Charie