The Penguin and I enjoyed a great Arts Festival

We spent the day in Mill Valley in the middle of a large redwood forest. It is situated north of San Francisco and each year they hold a very large arts festival. Lots of people attend with their families and dogs. Saw a few quirky outfits and there are food stalls set up. I enjoyed the photography exhibits but I didn’t see any street photography on display or much travel photography outside of a German photographer’s wonderful photos of wildlife from around the world. They were truly stunning.

Of course I could not photograph the exhibits so you’ll just have to believe me.  If you’re interested, scroll down to see my captioned photos. If not, close this post and wait for another post on books. I have finished a few.

Lots of people everywhere



It was all a bit too  much for some people.
I sneaked a photo of this interesting, very shiny sculpture.
This is the view when we looked up. Beautiful redwood trees.
Colourful lanterns hung from the trees through out the festival grounds.
We listened to the ‘funk’ band for almost an hour. Great band.
I loved Mr and Mrs Hats sitting in front of us while we listened to the music.
Then they moved to better seats and we could see their faces.
This guy sang and also introduced the band members.
This guy could really sing.


The view when we looked up.
She spend her time listening to the band and sketching them. I loved watching her.
This woman was dancing and writhing around like a snake. A little off her head at times but fun to watch. Don’t you love people watching? !
As we left the festival we passed the entrance to the children’s area where they had art and music activities for them.
We met the Lovely Henry on the way back to the car. What a smoocher he is.


Miwok Native American Festival

3N3A1863Today arrived and we had a couple of festivals we could attend. We narrowed it down to an Arts Festival and a Native American Indian festival.  We chose the Native Americans.  Hosting this festival in the lovely Miwok Park in Novato was the Miwok tribe. The word Miwok means “people” in their native language. 

As I knew nothing of this tribe and in fact had never heard of them I looked them up in Wikipedia and learned:3N3A1855

“The predominant theory regarding the settlement of the Americas date the original migrations of the Miwok tribe from Asia to around 20,000 years ago across the Bering Strait land bridge, but anthropologists claim that the Miwok and some other California tribes descend from Siberians who arrived in California by sea around 3,000 years ago.

The Miwok lived in small bands without centralised political authority before contact with European Americans in 1769. They had domesticated dogs and cultivated tobacco, but were otherwise hunter-gatherers.

The Sierra Miwok harvested acorns from the California Black Oak.  In fact, the modern-day extent of the California Black Oak forests in some areas of Yosemite National Park is partially due to cultivation by Miwok tribes. 

3N3A1858They burned vegetation to reduce the amount of Ponderosa Pine.  Nearly every other kind of edible vegetable matter was used as a food source, including bulbs, seeds, and fungi. Animals were hunted with arrows, clubs or snares, depending on the species and the situation. Grasshoppers were a highly prized food source, as were mussels for those groups adjacent to the Stanislaus River.

The Miwok ate meals according to appetite rather than at regular times. They stored food for later consumption, primarily in flat-bottomed baskets. 


Miwok spiritual narratives tend to be similar to those of other natives of Northern California. The Miwok had totem animals, identified with one of two moieties which were in turn associated respectively with land and water. These totem animals were not thought of as literal ancestors of humans, but rather as predecessors.Snip20180915_4


Enjoy the photos below:






Week I in California

After a more than 24 hour journey I arrived safely in the San Francisco area. It has been a quiet week of just mucking about with my sister and doing a couple of day trips. We enjoyed a day out at the Samuel P Taylor State Park. I wanted to see some redwood trees and as always am never disappointed by them.

I was not familiar with old Samuel P Taylor so I decided to see why he had a state park named after him. According to trusty Wikipedia I learned that-

The park is named for Samuel Penfield Taylor, who found gold during the California Gold Rush and used some of his money to buy a parcel of land along Lagunitas Creek. In 1856, Taylor built the Pioneer Paper Mill, the first paper mill on the Pacific Coast. In the 1870s, the North Pacific Coast Railroad was built between Cazadero and a pier in Sausalito where passengers could transfer to a ferry to San Francisco. The railroad passed near Taylor’s mill, and, ever the entrepreneur, he built the “Camp Taylor Resort” alongside the tracks. A destination for city-weary San Franciscans, the resort offered both a hotel and tent camping, as well as swimming, boating, fishing, and a dance pavilion.

My sister and I have also taken a few smaller walks around her neighbourhood so I could take some photos. I share them wih you below.

We thought we might do a bit of a road trip through northern California to Oregon but have decided against it due to the big fires around Redding and farther north. With evacuations most likely causing accommodation filling up quickly and heavy smoke in the air we have decided against it and will entertain ourselves staying closer to San Franciso. Enjoy the photos.




On the bookish front we enjoyed watching The Great American Read program on the PBS TV app on her Roku box. It was fun to hear authors talking about the classic books they have enjoyed and made me wonder which of the mentioned books are currently sitting on my shelf. I would like to read more of the works of the classic authors mentioned and even better to take those from my shelf to look at. I have some of the lesser works from several authors mixed in with some of the Penguin boxed sets that set on the shelves looking at me. In any case, there is never going to be a time when we run out of things to read. What a comforting thought.


1001 Children’s Books You Must Read…

.Snip20180826_13…Before You Grow Up.

I really love having this book on the shelves and a couple of years ago I started finding the books recommended in this large tome.

I’ve decided to resurrect this project. I will probably jump around a bit as in the first instance I will read those books I can find on line from the library or through the app Libby.  I noticed they had lots of children’s books and that is what reminded me of this book.

I will put up a photo in the sidebar and link it to this page.  It will be something to add on in a LEISURELY fashion as I find the books.  Not being around children anymore (I worked with them for 35 years) I find I miss their books.  This will be a good way to catch Snip20180826_15up.  So here goes….







Weekend Wander- A to Z

Snip20180303_1I don’t do a lot of memes but I have always enjoyed the alphabet post that Beyond Eden Rock does once in awhile (here). I thought it was time for one to go up here.

I am busy doing last minute tasks around the place and packing for my trip to San Francisco next Monday, 4th September to see my sister. I’m really looking forward to it.  The Penguin will be teleported off the pages here and into my suitcase before returning to Australia.

But more on that later- here’s to alphabets.

A-  A Bike Ride today but too much wind so I turned around, came home and will spend the day reading and writing.

Wedgetail Eagles in Rehabilitation mode

B- Birds of prey- I will post photos of the Raptor Refuge site I visited last weekend.  I also saw two wedge tail eagles soaring on wind currents this morning. Wonderful.

C- Classics Club posts have been coming fast and furiously since new moderators have taken over.  I might participate a bit more next year. 50 Classics to go on a list but I will only take them from books I already own if I do participate and many will be modern classics.

D- Diary of a Provincial Lady is nearing its last chapter. Such a very funny book. I might read some of the others after all down the track but need to keep working on that TBR pile.

E- Beyond Eden Rock- Inspiration for this alphabet task.

F- Festivals I wish I could have attended the  Melbourne and Canberra Writer’s Festivals happening this winter. I will hopefully attend one of these days.

Some of the books being discussed at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival this week.

G- Good Reads shelves need updating. I am almost caught up with books I’ve read and books I want to read.

H- I have 44 books on my shelves that start with the letter H. Who would have thought. Quite a few are “How to” books.  How to have Kick Ass Ideas, How to Keep a Pet Squirrel (fiction of course).

I- Illustrations. In journals and children’s books. Don’t all bibliophiles love them. I am signing up for a drawing class in Feb. I’m hoping to get past stick figures for my own journals. This will definitely present a challenge for the instructor.

José Naranja’s journals (Spanish) are stunning. I follow him on FB and Instagram. Would love to be able to do this. 2019?


J- Journals are one of my favourite things and I plan to keep one on the trips I have planned in the next six months.  Illustrations may be stick figures but jotting down notes in a journal is lots of fun

K- Kick Ass Ideas (How to Have) by Chris Baréz-Brown is a fun book of motivation and ideas for completing any project.  Might need to pull it off the shelf again.

L- Linc Tasmania is the name our silly government gave to our State Library system several years ago. Who is going to associate Linc Tasmania with a library. The state liberal government has recently changed the title back to Libraries Tasmania so people actually know what is being talked about. Why do governments waste their time and money on such trivial tasks as renaming a perfectly good library “Linc”. There are so many other things to spend money on. eg. homelessness, drought, health, education. (Don’t get me started!)
M-Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare is the Dominic high school play I am attending Friday night. My friend’s son has a major role in it and he has been busily learning his lines.  He can’t quite get his head around all the ‘buts’ and ‘doths’. Should be fun.

N- November book club book is The Lucky Galah by Tracey Sorensen. An Australian novel told from the point of view of a Galah.

Looking forward to this for November book group.

O- Odie and Molly accompanied me to the dog beach yesterday where we had a great time. Beautiful sunny winter weather and the beach was packed with people and dogs. They loved it.

Left: Molly, aged 13                            Right: Odie, aged 7

P- Politics in Australia- I promise not to talk about it…never, ever, ever …on any post.

Q- Quiet time. How I love my quiet time to read, reflect, walk and spend time in my own company.  One can’t do this much whilst working but once retired it is important to learn how to enjoy your quiet time as there seems to be much more of it once a career is over.

R- Reading about Sri Lankan food from a book found on the newest app I’ve acquired, Libby- linked to the library. Mr Penguin and I are spending 15 days there towards the end of November and I am looking forward to the variety of food. So many different religious cultures and each has their own food.

S- San Francisco- here I come.  I am looking for places to spend our days walking, taking photographs, spending time in nature and eating really good Mexican food.

Golden Gate Bridge

T- Still making my way through the Melbourne cold case in the book Trace by journalist, Rachael Brown.  Can’t believe the secret events the Catholic priests were involved in that included human sacrifice and cannibalism in the state of Victoria.  I will never stop feeling incredulous at the depravity of some of these priests.

These possums are a genetic mutation. They don’t have enough melanin and are more rare than the ordinary ones. So privileged to have one living in our yard.

U- Under a tree in the middle of the night in my front yard is often a large Golden Brush Tail possum looking for the sunflower seeds I sometimes put out for the birds. He is beautiful.

V- Tomorrow will see us spending some time at the Vet’s office.  Odie has been treated for an ear infection and his beagle anal glands that we won’t discuss here and Molly gets her arthritis shot and her heart condition monitored.

W- Walking. A favourite thing to do. It’s not always aerobic but climbing hills can make it so. Taking photographs, spending time with our dogs, exploring suburbia and reading books about it. We just never tire of the concept of a good, long, interesting walk. Time to clear your head and relax.

X- Xerxes Invades Greece – 480 BC. The story of when Greece invaded Persia.  How on earth did this book come to be on my TBR shelves?  Part of Penguin series of Great Epics.  Will it ever see the light of day here? I’m not sure.

Y- Y’all have a good week and make sure you do something each week you enjoy so you always have something to look forward to.

Z- Zeitgeist- definition: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. And isn’t it fun that it is always changing. Think how boring life would be if it didn’t.

Y’all have a really good day. (Mates). Need to express both our cultures.



I have been….

Snip20160609_6I saw this meme from A Literary Odyssey and as I’m having a hard time getting organised to write a post after the past couple of months I thought I would try it. Consider it a starter for more posts to come.

I have been:

Only little notes to myself but I begin attending my writing group today so I am hoping to get back into the swing of things.  I am looking forward to some old structured activities in my life.
I have read two books this week. A Salty Path which I loved and will talk about more soon and Eleanor Oliphant is Fine which is a quirky tale I listened to from I will talk about this book also.  I just picked up three books from the library yesterday which I will also share very soon.  In my U3A Play Reading Class we will begin Arsenic and Old Lace next Tuesday afternoon.
I haven’t listened to music in a long time. Maybe I need to. I listen to audible books every chance I get and when I wake up in the middle of the night I listen to the ABC radio programs. I hear some interesting interviews in the middle of the night along with all the other insomniacs across Australia
I am addicted to BBC First on Foxtel. If it’s not a British drama series I probably won’t see it. I shy away from the news quite often and immerse myself in the sweeping vistas of the British countryside. Shetland is one of my favourite programs at the moment. I am waiting to see if Vera has a new series that I haven’t seen too.
I look at quite a few new blog posts every morning with my coffee.  I enjoy seeing what everyone is reading and doing and they inspire me to get off my big behind and look for new things to interest me.
I’m in a photography club and I am learning Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop in order to complete the monthly challenges that are theme based each month. I have learned so much from the members of this club and watch a lot of You Tube videos that are instructional and so very useful.
I have been feeling quite flat since returning from our big trip and know it is a combination of having lost my mother in February and then completing such a huge, challenging African trip in March.  I am home now and my brain is digesting all that has happened in the past two months. The reason I have been holing up at home and not been “out there” too much. I am starting to emerge from the shell though.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is holding their Quiz Night in early June and I have bought tickets for a table of 8. All of the money raised will go to their wildlife hospital they have up and running now and it will be a hilarious night out. Our table is filled with close friends who are participating and it will be a great night of laughs and fun.
I am wishing I could turn on the news one day and Donald Trump wasn’t the President of the USA.  I get so tired of him and hearing about him.
Being at home. It is warm and safe and it is full of love, security and animals. I love having a different animal in my lap every time I sit down though sitting in a chair with two cats and two dogs is a bit tough at times.
This post has kick started my interest again in blogging and I will return soon.

Best Intentions- Africa continued

With starting times to most days at 5:30 am, long days on the road and not finishing with even longer buffet dinners at lodges there was no time for writing on this blog. We were also exhausted at the end of each day and internet connections were dodgy at best.

We arrived home Easter Sunday night about 10:00 pm and although this trip was incredibly beautiful, challenging, often confronting and glorious we are very happy to be home. I will now attempt to catch up with the myriad of photos taken and put some of the highlights here during the next couple of weeks or so.

I am sharing another Namibia day here with photos from a living museum we visited. The day was hot and dusty and the people we met here were so friendly and eager to share their way of life with us. Here are some photos.

This village was a display of life as a bushman.
She explained how the various local plant life is used for medicinal purposes and how they work. Another tribesman translated for her.
We were treated to a method to light a fire. It was amazing how fast the fire started and how quickly they could make it larger.
The people then shared a dance of greeting for us. 
The dance continued. 
Outside of the museum we gathered together to have our lunch which we carried with us most days to eat in the desert. This guy helped out with the dishes. He is earning money to study at university in Windhoek. He wants to work as a tour guide and speaks four languages including German. Lovely man.


This is the lodge were checked in later that day.
Later that day we went on a desert tour to look for the desert elephants. We came across this old guy.
The desert elephants are different to the ones we saw elsewhere. They are tall and this one was reportedly about 45  years old. It is incredible how they survive in the heat of this desert. 
While touring this desert we came across this common form of transport out here.
On the way back to the lodge were were treated with our first sighting of a giraffe in the distance.
A glorious Namibian desert sunset. This land is truly spectacular.