Friday, November 30, 2012

Foto Friday


This picture may not be the best, but somehow it appeals to me.







Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday's Story: Friends for Life


Every week I look forward to reading Dee Ready's blog memoir, coming home to myself. Dee is a gifted writer so I was not surprised when after reading a few posts about her childhood in the 1940s, I began to think back to that time in my own life. Right before falling asleep at night, I saw myself dressed in a crisp cotton dress with little puff sleeves, bouncing two tennis balls against the outside walls of our house. I had on sandals with white socks, big feet for my age, tall and scrawny, not yet aware that this would be a problem at first, but a benefit later in life. After the scrawny wore off. 

I searched for pictures of the dress I half-way dreamed about and found this: 


My friend Barbro and I outside her house. I remember the first time I met her. She lived on a lovely street where most houses were old, made of wood, and surrounded by pretty gardens. A forested hill with huge granite boulders and ancient trees separated her street from mine. It wasn't far and you could walk around on a road at the foot of the hill. 

On Barbro's side, there grew a tree with a branch just the right height for me to grab. I could hang from this branch and play at gymnastics. I could swing my legs over the branch and hang upside down with my knees bent around it or I could pull myself up and sit on it. I was only six, but the tree was tempting and I would often wander over there and play. I was a solitary creature even then and enjoyed playing by myself. 

I met Barbro for the first time by this tree. We became really good friends right away and her mom was my best grownup friend for the rest of her life. Barbro and I started first grade together and spent the first four years of school in the same class. Then our lives took different turns, we went to different schools, she married early and had two daughters, and I left Sweden. 

Our friendship remains strong and I always see Barbro and her daughters when I go back to Stockholm. When we see each other, all the years, the distances and our very different life experiences are not important. We connect just like we did when we were six. 

Barbro just had her 72nd birthday and I emailed her the picture of the two of us in our little cotton dresses. Being friends for 66 years is remarkable; to sustain a friendship over a distance of thousands of miles all these years is a wonderful gift. 

I know Dee will enjoy knowing that her writing evoked memories of a crisp cotton dress, white socks and sandals ~~ leading to a picture found, and later mailed to an old friend. 








Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Latest News From the Canyon




Thank you for your comments and well wishes. I appreciate all the good thoughts coming my way and I hope to begin visiting you tomorrow. 

After I messed up my other computer, which was also old and would cost a couple of hundred dollars to repair, my friend fishducky, gave me hers. Fishducky is such a kind person that I suspect she decided to get a new one so I could get hers. Money was tight for us last year and will be again next year, since I had to change our health insurance because of that stupid doctor and the lack of PCPs up here. So with a small window of opportunity, I bought a new computer for $320.00 on Cyber Monday. It comes with Windows 7. I could have gotten Windows 8 for the same price, but I really don't feel like learning something new right now. 

Google Chrome crashes a lot on this computer, it's old and slow, and freezes anytime it has to do an update and I try to do something else on it. All I want to do is to be able to write my posts and read other posts, which takes so much time now. And I get so frustrated!!

So a huge THANK YOU to my friend, fishducky, whose blog  can be found here. To have had this computer for the past year has been WONDERFUL. Thank you my friend.  



I'm seeing the doctor today. I have been sick on and off since Thanksgiving. I have an infection somewhere, bladder maybe, maybe not. My temp is normal one minute and then 101 the next. Last night I was really ill. I was so cold, my teeth would have been clattering had I had enough of them, which reminds me -- I just spent the money for my partial or a part of my partial on the computer, oh well! 

While sick, I have been reading this wonderful book:



I haven't finished it yet and I will not review it formally, but I just have to give it a five-star very strong recommendation. It's a modern book, Mark Adams writes about following in the footsteps of an early 20th century explorer, Hiram Bingham III, who searched for Vilacabamba, the legendary Lost City of the Incas, but found Machu Picchu instead. The author has a great sense of humor and all kinds of interesting adventures as he treks around in the Andes. This is a must read for anyone who's ever been to Machu Picchu or dreamed about going there and to those of you who enjoy reading about explorers and their adventures.



Talk about adventures....  A while ago, I promised to write and post some stories of my own somewhat adventuresome life. Giving my life some thought, I don't know how many actual adventures I can come up with, but much happens in life and some of it I will try to write about. With that in mind, there will be a new post called Wednesday's Story, which will appear on some, but not every Wednesday. The first one was the story of the Vicar that I posted a few weeks ago and I will post the next one tomorrow. It's about friendship, inspired by Dee Ready's blog coming home to myself



My blogger friend, Bobbi Phillip, has written a memoir called Gracie's Diary. Gracie is Bobbi's cockapoo and Samson's virtual girlfriend, so of course as soon as the book came out on amazon, I ordered it. It arrived yesterday and Samson was so excited to see Gracie's picture on the cover. I think he'll soon be prancing around bragging about his famous girlfriend.

More about Gracie's Diary later. Bobbi's blog with Gracie's  commentary on life can be found here: Gracie Owns Me



Finally, Samson continues to do well. He's been off steroids since the 19th and is coming back to his old playful self. His hunger is abating and he doesn't inhale his food any longer. I had to soften his kibble in hot water because he had a very scary choking episode due to being so hungry. Now he's coming back to his old food fussy ways, looking at the soggy mess for a while before deciding to eat it. I will stop the soggy stuff once I feel sure he is eating normally again.





Friday, November 23, 2012

Foto Friday and I Need to Take Some Time Off




I'm sure you will see more of this tree in the coming months. Now that it has lost it's leaves, I think it is very photogenic. I decided to try this one in black and white and I love the way the sun makes an almost perfect star as it shines through branches.

I woke up sick yesterday, with a temperature and feeling out of sorts. I managed to stay up and enjoy my husband's dinner, which he had spent all day cooking. He smoked a leg of lamb, some beef, and the best of all a large chunk of halibut with red onions, garlic, and green peppers all smoked together. It was heavenly. Anyway, if I'm not better by Monday, I will see the doctor. The one I don't like, so I hope I'm OK by then.

But we did see the doctor we all love ~ Samson's vet ~ on Tuesday. He took Samson off the steroids completely to see how he will do. He is sure Samson will have a relapse and if he does I still have pills here to give him until we can see the vet. The vet also reduced the eye drops to once a day. We have to check his eyes carefully every day because that's where the symptoms will show up. Samson's acting like his old self already. Much more playful and happy, which is so great. 

So I will stay in bed and just rest for a few days. I should be back to blogging and reading your posts next week sometime. 

Have a nice weekend!



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fifty Years in America!! & Happy Thanksgiving!


JFK International Airport Today

Fifty years ago, on November 22, 1962, an airplane landed at Idlewild International Airport in New York City and I embarked, facing the future fearlessly and with a great deal of excitement; I was 22. The Cuban missile crisis was over, it had caused nervousness at the American Embassy in Stockholm where I was interviewed for my Permanent Resident visa, but I was not to be deterred. Returning home after two and a half years in London, I had felt boxed in and unable to get on with my future in Sweden. So I decided to come to America for a while, not for a better future, my mind was not much on the future in those days, but simply for   some more adventures before getting married. Being young in the 1950s that's what you thought happened to everyone -- getting married. Living happily ever after and all that..... I had absolutely no plans to remain in America for 50 years, or as it's turning out, for the rest of my life. 

1960s

But as we said later in the 1960s, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans," so here I am today, celebrating 50 years in the United States and Thanksgiving all at once.

Today, I'm thankful for those 50 years, for all that I have lived and learned. I am thankful for my husband, the love of my life. And I'm thankful for his large family, who have become my family as well. I'm happy I have my cousins in Sweden, who still keep in touch with me, and I am so very grateful for my good friends and you, my blogger friends. You know, when I arrived here, I only knew two people in America. Finally, I want to give thanks to all the wonderful and faithful animals that have come to live me and placed their trust in me. All of them for too short a while, still they taught me so much.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE

FROM ALL OF US AT DESERT CANYON LIVING





Source: Wikipedia photos.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

fishducky's art corner


 Ocean and Rocks ~ oil


Red Ocean ~ oil





The Red Ocean painting reminds me of the sunsets at La Jolla, CA. When I lived in San Diego, I used to drive over to La Jolla to watch the sun set, coloring the ocean red, just like in the painting. 

For those of you who are not familiar with fishducky, here's the link to her very funny blog, where she shares jokes and tells wonderful stories from her storied life: http://fishducky.blogspot.com/  Please check her out, you will not regret it!







Sunday, November 18, 2012

After the Rain ~ An Update From the Canyon



Soldier was in a lot of pain Saturday night, so after I woke up around 2:30 in the morning I gave him a pain pill and sat with him until he quieted down and went to sleep. After that, there was no way I could go back to sleep. So after lunch, I slept the afternoon away on the couch. No one got to walk because it rained. A pretty good rain and the first rain of any substance this fall.




I woke up late this morning, 5:30, and had to rush to get Samson out before the sun came over the mountains. He got his goggles, doggles, but my husband has to put them on the first time and make the adjustments. I will share pictures as soon as he does that. However, there was this big cloud over the eastern range, so I didn't have to worry about Samson's eyes. The first picture above shows the reflections of the sun on the mountains to the northwest. The second shows the clouds to the east.


This is a strange looking weed that grows close to the ground. It was green in the summer, now it's this color. It's the only one of its kind around here. The fields turned a dark brown color from the rain and it smelled lovely from the wet earth.


Samson was happy because this was also some good earth for digging and smelling stuff. His paws didn't stay white for long.


Samson is doing well. He is not as thirsty as he was and is now able to control his bladder again. He is still enormously hungry. I feed him twice a day, but it doesn't seem to help that much. He's on one prednisone every other day and eye drops twice a day. We're going to the vet on Tuesday and I will check to see if he can snack on some veggies, like carrots, which someone suggested, or what else I can do for him. He's not allowed any people food because of his pancreas problems, but maybe veggies are OK.



My husband made a gate of a part of a fence and then built a nice surround for it. He just finished it and it looks good. He will paint it later. Soldier, who is a road dog, got mad at it. He just marches on and doesn't pay attention and, suddenly, he was stopped by this contraption. It did not go over well at all. And it was so funny to see his reaction.



So now we have to go through a gap in the barbed wire fence in order to get in and out. I could unlock the gate and open it, but that seems like too much work. So here we are on the way to the barn. You can see there was a little frost on the ground. But it wasn't cold, just a cold wind blew early this morning.


I couldn't believe Soldier this morning, he was so full of joy! He took off running, tried to get out of his collar (he can get out of any collar, except this contraption he has to wear). Once he get loose, he takes off for the hills. This dog marches to his own drummer, that's for sure.


Those extra pain pills really worked. He went from being in a lot of pain and barely able to get up yesterday to running around like this today. 


Seeing him running this morning was such a joy. He will be 13 next year, so he's an old dog, but he's tough and courageous. Soldier doesn't stay down for long.


The ravens are very active here in the early mornings and watch us when were're out for our walks. 

Other than that, I went to the diabetes meeting Thursday; we talked about supplements. Then I have been working on cleaning up contents of boxes and I've now finished the office. Next we have to work on the kitchen and get it organized. It was simple and organized when my husband lived in L. A. with his business stuff and personal mail, etc., and I lived here. Then he moved up here with everything!!! This house it just too small, there's no room for stuff, so you have to purge. He procrastinates on this. Hopefully, I'm an inspiration. Trying to be, anyway.

 And today, I finally cut down the last gray rabbit brush bush in my field. Now I have to put away about 10 of the bushes in plastic bags and take them to the dump. I have to wear my rain poncho because the burrs stick to everything. These bushes are out for revenge! 

Have a nice day, everyone.





Saturday, November 17, 2012

Samson Steals a Slice of Pizza and Writes Another Poem




I saw it in the kitchen
at the counter's edge
there was a wedge
of pizza pie
oh my, oh my

Will my stomach swell
if I sweep the edge
and steal the wedge
of pizza pie
oh my, oh my

Will I go to the vet
where needles are big
no, this is my gig
gone is the pie
oh my, oh my

Here comes my daddy
the pie's in my tummy
Should I run for my mommy
or come up with a lie
oh my, oh my

I'm busted for sure
they're both freaking out
the wrapper, the wrapper they shout
now they think I will die
oh my, oh my

They feed me some bread 
and olive oil, not so great
now it's up to my fate
I slurp the oil and know I will die
oh my, oh my

I'm sorry dad and mommy too
I didn't know you'd fear
I'd choke on the plastic and die
after eating that pizza pie
oh my, oh my






Posted by Samson, the Samoyed Pup Dog



This happened last week and Samson's OK. As some of you know, Samson has issues with his pancreas and needs special food from the vet mixed with his regular dog food to keep it under control.  He's absolutely forbidden ANY people food, especially spicy stuff like pepperoni, anchovies, and chili peppers, which were on the pizza. And eating plastic wrapper is not good for any dog, but it all ended well.









Friday, November 16, 2012

Foto Friday



November Sunset









Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Sent the Vicar Down the Straight and Narrow........




When I was young, I studied English literature and history at college in London. I lived with an impoverished Polish countess and an assortment of weird and wonderful people who also rented rooms from her. Her husband worked at a literary magazine, and Graham Greene and a few other well-known authors would stop by the house. I was twenty ~ it was an exciting time. When my two years of college were over, I had mixed emotions about returning home. I loved living in London, I had a boyfriend, there was much to hold me there. But I went back to Stockholm and stayed for a while. Then I decided to return to London and applied for a job as an au pair, someone who helps out with children and does some light housekeeping. 

I don't remember how this came about, but I got a job in a  British vicarage, located in Lee Green, Kent. I was to look after a four-year old boy, named Stephen. The other members of the family were Mr. and Mrs. Smith, their daughter Janet and eldest son Robert. I believe they were around 12 and 10 years old at the time. Other family members were an orange cat, named Ginger, a rabbit named Biscuit, and a guinea pig that the kids gave to me. There was also a stout woman, named Mrs. Plummer, who came in and did the heavy housekeeping for the family. Mrs. Smith worked outside of the home and Mr. Smith, the vicar, worked at home. They were a wonderful, warm and caring family. The children welcomed me with open arms and I felt at home from the moment I arrived. 

The kids and their pets.

It seems like I only worked about half a day, around lunch and early afternoons. Stephen must have gone to some pre-school in the mornings. Janet and I often went to her riding school and rode horses. My favorite was called Everest, a huge, but friendly horse. We would go on field trips with the horses, riding through the beautiful English countryside. After all that studying, it was an easy and peaceful life. 


Everest and I after a muddy ride.

I often went to church with the family and learned about the Church of England. While living with Elizabeth, the Polish countess, I sometimes went with her to Catholic church. In those days, services were held in Latin, and my Latin from school left much to be desired, so I mainly learned some of the rituals of a Catholic service. The vicar's church was different. I didn't have to go as part of my job, but he was a charming man, a wise man, and his services were really great. The vicar was also very compassionate and kind to the many people who would come to the vicarage for a variety of reasons. Many of them came because there was a need; a need for a talk with the vicar; a need for some direction, some advice, or some assistance.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith

One day, the door bell rang and when I answered it, I found Mr. Jones outside. Mr. Jones was bit a socially inept, a little  off and difficult to be around. On this particular day, he was clearly agitated and insisted he had to see the vicar at once. I knew the vicar was home, so I invited Mr. Jones to step into the hallway. I looked for the vicar, but couldn't find him anywhere. The vicarage was a huge old house with all sorts of nooks and crannies. I opened a couple of doors, just to check, including one to the room where the coal that heated the house was kept. And there I found him! Imagine that, the vicar, a man of God, was hiding in the coal bin ~ well, almost! 


Me and my Guinea pig.

He told me to tell Mr. Jones I couldn't find him. I told him that this man is in some sort of trouble and he really needs to talk to you, so you better go and see him. The vicar said,"no, he just talks and talks and I'm busy." I said, "you're supposed to see these people and help them. And I will not lie for you." This went on for a while, then the vicar relented and met with Mr. Jones.

The next morning, the call came. Mr. Jones had died, unexpectedly, the evening before. The vicar was in shock when he told me. He thanked me for insisting  he talk to Mr. Jones, who had gone home afterwards and then had a fatal heart attack.

Much to his credit, the vicar owned up to this in church the following Sunday. Not to hiding in the coal bin, but to his own reluctance and my insistence on the day that Mr. Jones died. 

I'm sure  the vicar always remembered me and the lesson he learned that day. 








Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Treasures and Things



These days, I get up really early to walk Samson before the sun clears the Eastern mountain ridge and now it's cold here, very cold. It was 12 F the other day and windy. Today it's 20 degrees. I walk Soldier after the sun comes up and feel its power. Here in the mountains, the morning sun is strong and it gets warm almost immediately. 


But at first it's cold and it's now that my Swedish mittens become true treasures, as does my wool scarf. What's up with the Nivea? Something wonderful: When we were little, my mom would slather Nivea cream on our faces before letting us out to play on cold winter days. One day a few years ago, I was shopping in our local Walgreens and came upon these little Nivea creams. I bought one and opened it. And the smell! It was exactly the same kind that my mother put on us. The smell brought it all back to me: Deep snow, ice skating, sledding, snowball fights, the mini-igloos we built all over our backyard, with candles inside. We would light the candles before going inside and our yard would glow in the dark evenings. 

The scent of the Nivea cream also reminded me of my mother, of how after a long afternoon of hard play outside in the cold, we would sit at the kitchen table with big mugs of hot chocolate, telling her about all the fun we had in the snow. 




Saturday, November 10, 2012

California Missions ~ Chapter Six


The Mission Indian Revolts

Many Native Americans viewed the Spanish padres as shamans and held them responsible for their diseases and misfortunes. Thus, the killing of a padre was in the eyes of the Indians a way of cleansing the land of the spiritual evil that was overtaking it. 

The Mission Indians staged many revolts and uprisings during the Mission Period in California (1769 - 1833)Most of the revolts were local and short-lived because of the superiority of the Spanish military. 

The death of Father Jayme

In San Diego, there was, from the beginning, strong opposition by the Kumeyaay Indians to the founding of the mission on land they had occupied for thousands of years. In November 1775, between 600 and 800 Indians gathered and attacked the mission. All records and manuscripts were lost in a fire that burned the mission buildings. In the fighting that ensued, the Indians killed Father Luis Jayme, who became "the first Christian martyr of Alta California." The attackers then fled to the interior, followed by Spanish troops. From the Indian perspective, forced labor and the rape of several women by the soldiers were the main reasons for this attack.

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

In 1771, two attacks on the San Gabriel mission, located outside Los Angeles, were triggered by the rape of an Indian woman by Spanish soldiers. 

Hundreds of Indians also fled from the missions, staging mass escapes. Mission Dolores, Mission San Francisco, Mission Santa Cruz, and the San Juan Bautista mission experienced such escapes. 

La Purisima

In 1824, after a beating of a La Purisima Indian neophyte by soldiers at the Santa Inez mission, Indians from the three Santa Barbara missions staged an armed revolt. At Santa Inez, several buildings were burned, but the soldiers were able to defend themselves until reinforcements from the Santa Barbara presidio arrived. 

Runners carried news of the uprising to La Purisima, where the Indians immediately took control of the mission.
They were able to resist the local Spanish military for more than a month, after which Spanish soldiers from the Monterrey presidio were called in. Expecting a battle, the Indians had reinforced the mission and gathered supplies and ammunition. However, in the battle that ensued, the Indians found themselves with antiquated weapons, including a cannon that exploded, and lost the battle after only a few hours. Sixteen Indians were killed, many were wounded, but only one soldier was killed and a few others wounded. The leaders of the revolt were sentenced to hard labor at the presidio, however, a couple of them escaped to the hills before completing their sentences.


At Santa Barbara, the Indians sacked the mission and after a skirmish, where several soldiers were wounded and two neophytes killed, the Indians took to the hills. After several months of negotiations, a pardon by the Mexican government was issued and many Indians, but not all, returned to the mission.

These were some of the uprisings that took place during the mission period in California. I also learned that the American trapper, Kit Carson, became involved in 1830 after some runaways from Mission San Jose ended up living with the Miwok Indians in the Sierras. The trappers were recruited to aid in recapturing the runaways and battled for an entire day, killing many Indians and burning their village. Later the Miwok captured about 60 horses from the trappers, but Kit Carson and others chased them into the mountains and managed to recapture most of their horses after killing eight Indians in a skirmish.

Another point of interest for me was a story of a Chumash Indian village near Walker Pass, which is not that far from here. The village was found by fur trappers in 1833 and it turned out that these Indians had fled the missions after taking part in the 1824 revolt. The Indians had horses and were raising corn, according to the trappers.

The End of the Mission Period in California

Governor José  Figueroa, who took office in 1833, initially wanted to maintain the mission system. But in August of 1833, the Mexican congress passed an Act to Secularize the Missions of California. Quoting Wikipedia: The Act also provided for the colonization of both Alta and Baja California, the expense of this latter move to be borne by the proceeds gained from the sale of the mission properties to private interests.


Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano was the first to feel the effects of this legislation, when in 1834, Governor Figueroa issued his Decree of Confiscation. Nine other mission settlements followed that year with another six in 1835. Missions San Buenaventura and San Francisco were among the last missions to succumb in 1836.

After that, the Franciscans abandoned the missions, taking with them most of the valuables, with locals following them, stealing mostly wood and building materials. Some Indians were allowed to stay under a provision that allowed them to remain on parts of mission land.

During the Rancho period in California, between 1834 and 1849, the missions were further dissembled. Pio de Jesus Pico IV, the last Mexican governor of Alta California, found himself without the necessary funds to maintain power in the northern province. Thus, a decree was passed authorizing the sale or rental of all mission property, leaving only the church, a curate's house, and a building to be used as a court house.


The Chapel at Mission Santa Barbara 

Mission Santa Barbara became the headquarters and some 3,000 original documents from the other missions were transferred there. This mission archive is the oldest library in the State of California and remains in the care of the Franciscan founders. Mission Santa Barbara is the only mission where the Franciscans have maintained an uninterrupted presence to this day. All land, churches, and buildings were conveyed back to the church in 1853.


Choir missals.

So what happened to the Indians? Well, during the confiscation of the missions between 1834 and 1838, some 15,000 neophytes lost their protection. After California became a state in 1850, the Indians were left without legal title to any lands. Later, treaty negotiations with the Indians took place and 402 Indian Chiefs and headsmen negotiated 18 treaties in 1851 and 1852. After a government investigation in 1873, a number of Indian reservations were assigned by executive proclamation in 1875

Finally, and sadly, the commissioner of Indian Affairs reported in 1879 that the number of Mission Indians was down to around 3,000.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This adventure began with the photos I posted of Mission San Juan Capistrano. Originally, I intended to just provide a bit of background and history of the missions before I wrote about how I became interested in them and my impressions of the ones I visited. Little did I know that it would turn into six chapters. 

I've learned a lot and worked pretty hard to research and gather information, so I think I can take a break next Sunday and then begin the trek up El Camino Real to write about these missions that I have visited the following Sunday: 

  • Mission San Diego 
  • Pala Sub-Mission
  • Mission San Luis Rey
  • Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • Mission San Gabriel
  • Mission Buenaventura
  • Mission Santa Barbara
  • Mission Santa Inez
  • Mission La Purisima

There's only one mission in Southern California that I haven't visited: Mission San Fernando Rey, the one closest to me, located in the Los Angeles suburb of San Fernando Valley. We pass the exit when we take the 5 Freeway to L. A. Oh, well, maybe some day......



Sources: 

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_missions_in_California ~ Some text and all photos

http://www.nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/525/indian-resistence-to-the-california-missions

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park Booklet




Friday, November 9, 2012

Foto Friday


This morning.








Thursday, November 8, 2012

Google/Blogger Issues & Questions ~ Accompanied by Pictures From the Canyon


 From an early morning walk with Samson.

Today, I'm asking for your thoughts and feedback on some Google/Blogger issues. I'm also bringing up this follower issue and while I'm at it that darned Word Verification nonsense. Accompanied by some pictures from here. We only have two trees now plus the suckers growing from our dead little cottonwood.

I don't know what others do, but when a new follower shows up, I want to find that person's blog and follow them. I also want to leave a comment to thank the person for deciding to follow me and then see if a blogger friendship will develop or not. I believe this is the right thing to do. 

Samson's smiling, a good sign. I have ordered Dog Goggles for him. This being America, of course a new term for those things has been coined: Doggles!! As soon as his Doggles arrive, I'll let you know what happens.

I get frustrated when I click on the new follower's avatar to open their Google Friend Connect form and find that they haven't listed a link back to their blog. Of course, they may not have a blog, but as far as I know there's no way to tell. 

 Soldier sitting, which he hasn't been able to do for over a year. 

If there's no link, the only way for me to trace back to their blog is if they leave a comment. Which, of course, not everyone does. So, if you read this and you are new to blogging, it may be a good idea to check your form and enter the link if it's missing.


Then to Google+. A while back, Madge Bloom became a new follower. She doesn't have a link back either, but she has left some very nice comments on my blog. So, of course, I wanted to read hers and leave comments and become a follower. However, Madge uses Google+ and it won't allow me to leave a comment without signing up for Google+. Which is like, here we go again, Google taking over. And I can't stand it! 


I don't do social media stuff. While I have a Facebook account, I never use it. I just keep it in case someone needs to find me or I need to be reminded of someone's birthday. I only go on FB once a year to thank my friends for the birthday greetings they sent me. So I blog, that's it. And I signed up for something called Blogger. Then it became Google and now what's up with this Google+? Those of you who know about these things, could you please let me know 
your thoughts on Google+. Are we all going to be forced to move to it eventually?


Finally, while almost all blogs I like to follow have gotten rid of Word Verification, there are some new folks and some old favorites who have not. It's so simple, just go to Setttings/Posts and Comments/Word Verification and change the setting to NO.

I once read a very moving blog post. It really touched my heart and I wrote a long and heartfelt comment, then I clicked on Publish, and the dreaded word verification came on. Because I really cared, I tried to decipher it about five times, I even just entered xxx to see it a less difficult word would show up, to no avail. I finally gave up and felt really sad about it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

California Missions ~ Chapter Five


The Darker Side of Mission Life

Thinking back to the Spanish inquisition and other medieval horrors perpetrated on non-believers and recent converts in the name of the Catholic church, it seems that the Spanish padres of the late 18th century somehow still felt that cruelty was necessary to keep converts in line with their teachings.  



The presence of Indians in California dates back 8,000 to maybe as far back as 15,000 years. It is estimated that around 100 Indian nations, with a total population of about 300,000, lived in Alta California at the time the Spanish arrived. The Indian cultures were rich in spiritual traditions; they knew the moon, the tides and the earth. While they knew the way of the hunter, they also knew the importance of caring for the land, rivers and lakes. And of course they knew love of family and children. However, Indians were held in very low regard by both the padres and the Spanish military. 

Child, Adult, Sun ~ Chumash Rock Art

Among some Indian nations, there was initially a strong resistance to the Franciscans, expressed in attacks on both Spanish soldiers and Franciscan missionaries. As a result of Indian hostility, the work on building the missions was slowed and the Franciscans had to rely more and more on the military for protection.

As time went on and more settlers arrived, the life of the Indians became increasingly difficult. Missions spread over vast areas and rancheros sprung up across Indian lands. Cattle grazed the hills where Indians had lived for thousands of years, destroying their water supplies and native plants. This may have led some to join the missions, but many were also forced to live there.


Rafael, a Chumash Indian who communicated with anthropologists.

For example, the Chumash Indians of Central California, who came to live at the Santa Barbara missions, which included Missions Santa Inez and La Purisima, were mostly a friendly people. They were skilled at crafts and willing, at first, to work at the missions. 



But once an Indian agreed to become part of a mission, he was forbidden to leave without a padre's permission. As the years went by, Indians were allowed less and less freedom; they were cut off from their old way of life and forced to assimilate into Spanish culture. Indians were frequently subjected to corporal and other punishments, as determined by the padres. The cruelty of the military and some of the padres was often extreme as Indians were frequently beaten and sometimes killed.

Foreigners, who visited the missions, commented that they resembled slave plantations, in that the padres' control over the Indians seemed excessive, but necessary, due to the white men's isolation and numeric disadvantage. Indians were not paid wages nor considered free men.


As I noted in Chapter Four, the padres forced women to live separately from men in what were often abysmal conditions, resulting in very high rates of illness and death among the women. There was also an alarming rate of stillborn babies. In 1810, Padre Payeras at La Purisima mentioned in a letter that, "the majority of pregnant women have produced stillborn babies." And A.L. Kroeber, the noted anthropologist, observed "an alarming spread of the practice of abortions among the Indians." 

 Many Indians were also killed by European diseases unknown to them, such as smallpox and measles. During a three-month period in 1806, a quarter of the mission Indian population in the San Francisco Bay area died during a measles epidemic. Thousands of California Indians are buried in mission cemeteries.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sadly, a long chapter was needed to describe the darker side of mission life. I hope to finish this general overview of the California Missions next Sunday, with both the Indian revolts and the end of the mission period in California. After that, and I'm really looking forward to it, I plan to write about each individual mission. With some of my personal experiences added to those I have visited.  


Sources: Wikipedia, including all photos, and La Purisima State Historic Park booklet.









LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails