Archive for June, 2012

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unusual weather inspires unusual activities!

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A little while back, I mentioned that part of my purpose in keeping this blog, was to preserve some of the more unusual links I come across…the weird stuff!

Here’s one. An ancient burial place in the desert of Xinjiang Province, China, just north of Tibet, has revealed bodies which were because of the unusual environmental conditions, naturally mummified, basically freeze-dried. What is also unusual, is that although the burial place is located north of China, the interred remains have Caucasion facial features. And apparently wooded forests existed at the time, because the graves are surrounded by a tall fence of wooden poles, similar to some of the wooden henges in Great Britain. Stranger yet, each grave is covered by an overturned wooden boat, and some of the wooden stakes nearby resemble long oars with paddle blades painted red and black. Wood and boats in the middle of a high desert in south Siberia?

Those factors almost override the initial shock that the bodies mummified at the Small River Cemetery in the Tarim Basin are almost 4000 years old. And yet you can see the shape of their faces, and even the facial tatoos, and hair and textiles are still well-preserved.

All the men who were analyzed had a Y chromosome that is now mostly found in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Siberia, but rarely in China. The mitochondrial DNA, which passes down the female line, consisted of a lineage from Siberia and two that are common in Europe. Since both the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial DNA lineages are ancient, Dr. Zhou and his team conclude the European and Siberian populations probably intermarried before entering the Tarim Basin some 4,000 years ago.

At the foot of each pole there were indeed boats, laid upside down and covered with cowhide. The bodies inside the boats were still wearing the clothes they had been buried in. They wore large woolen capes with tassels and leather boots. They had felt caps with feathers tucked in the brim, uncannily resembling Tyrolean mountain hats.

One, called “Cherchen Man,” was 6 feet, 6 inches tall. Dated to about 1,000 B. C., his light brown hair surrounds a face on which yellow paint forms
a rayed-spiral that extends from his right temple across his nose to the other temple. Hundreds of other light-skinned, fair-haired mummies have also been found in the Tarim Basin, along with advanced tools and dolmen burial mounds and circles of stone.

from the article A Host of Mummies, a Forest of Secrets

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A Traveler's Tale

 Two Rivers

Also along the banks of Mtkvari (Kura) River, at the point where it is joined by the Aragvi river, is the scenic medieval town of Mtskheta.  Located just 20 kilometres (about a half-hour drive) north of Georgia’s present capital of Tbilisi; Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities of the country and was capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from 3rd century BC to 5th century AD. It was only later, during the rule of King Dachi I Ujarmeli, in accordance to the will of his father, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali, when the Georgian capital was moved  from Mtskheta to the more easily defensible Tbilisi.

Mtskheta was  the main site of early Christian activities in Georgia and was the place where Christianity was proclaimed the state religion of the country in 337 AD, making them second only to Armenia in this regard. In the 6th century, the Jvari Monastery was built on top of a hill overlooking the…

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Oceanside, Oregon

“Thar Be Whales!”, Pacific City

Dory Cove, Pacific City, Oregon


A couple of the towns on Oregon’s west coast are Pacific City and Oceanside. Both are small and secluded, a bit further from the standard paths to Lincoln City and Cannon Beach to the north and south on Highway 101. But they are worth the journey. Both have beautiful volcanic “haystack” rocks jutting out of the sea, providing viewpoints and shape to the landscapes. Oceanside often has hang gliders sailing off from one of its rocky headlands, and vacation homes dot the steep hillside adjacent to the flat sandy beach. Pacific City is much smaller, but its restaurant Pelican Pub, is directly on the beach. It is one of the few beaches from which boats can be launched from shore, the old time wooden fishing dories from which the town’s cove is named. Surfers can also occasionally find waves here big enough to ride, but one thing you will always find, is that wave riders have to wear wetsuits because the Oregon waters are cold!

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Carla's Blog

This is Not a Flower  Pencil and watercolor

Unfinished Blue Painting  acrylic on canvas 52″ x 36″

Try double clicking on image to see detail

One year ago today, I was operated on for cancer at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During my stay at the hospital, I made little paintings in a moleskine sketchbook. The whole time I was there, I was surrounded by an extensive collection of art. There was a volunteer who brought a cart full of paintings into my room each day. Patients could choose a painting to be hung in their room. Today, I’m going to work on a larger painting started yesterday. A lot can happen in a year. Art heals.

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Oregon is a unique state. It’s beauty has gotten a bum rap, nationally speaking. Portland, it’s most cosmopolitan city, known for being “stuck” in the Pacific Northwest, the part of the US between better known Seattle, to the north in Washington state, and the better known San Francisco and Los Angeles and Yosemite, to the south in California. But Oregon boasts a number of qualities and terrains that these other states don’t. We have beautiful Mt. Hood, just an hour to the east of Portland, full of pine forests and wild rivers with much to explore and hike. Many find the rolling hills, farms and wine country, of the central valleys, very similar to the terrain in England. To the east, Oregon’s high desert plateaus illustrate vulcanism similar to Craters of the Moon in Idaho, which is also better known. Our section of coastline on the Pacific waterfront, is one of the most accessible, being miles and miles of flat sandy beaches unbroken by private ownership. But stuck between two better known states, it seems much of Oregon is still “Undiscovered Country.”

Here is just a glimpse of a couple of vistas of our beautiful coastline. California may have a nice pier at Santa Barbara. And Malibu is better known because Joni Mitchell sang songs about it’s beach. But Oregon’s coastal vistas are just as beautiful if not popularized on TV and radio. Certainly we don’t have the same traffic jams, or access fees! In our state, visiting the beach is still free.

Cascade Head, Lincoln City

Bandon Headland

Bandon beach

Gold Beach, Brookings

volcanic shoreline Gold Beach

Pacific Highway 101, Manzanita

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