When we think of a year that’s passed, it can be a good time to reflect on the past and to look forward in a new year. We can think about the good things that happened and contemplate any of the negative happenings. Of course, it does not serve us well to focus on our misfortunes, mistakes, losses, and other events that made a negative impact. However, it could serve well to give each of those challenges their due. I want to spend this space for reflecting on the year past and looking forward to year unfolding before us. Every year, I learn something new, and I give myself grace when I come up short. I will share some things I’ve learned and ask you to reflect on your life as well.
Reflecting on events of the past takes a Mindfulness approach. In the process, be a neutral observer. Think about what gave such an event a positive or negative impact. Notice how the event or interaction elicited emotions. How was that emotion navigated, or what was the response? The point in this reflection is to remind ourselves to be 1) a neutral observer to each experience, 2) Be patient with yourself: allow each experience to emerge at its own pace, 3) Have a “beginner’s mind” by experiencing the memory as if for the first time, 4) Trust and believe in your intuition and your ability to see things in a new way, 5) Take it as it comes without the need to win or avoid losing. At this points, just be; 6) Accept and see things as they are in the present moment; 7) Let go and detach from your usuall feelings and thoughts. Perhaps this is a way for us to slow down for a moment to recharge our senses.
I’ve written about the “art of hygge.” Hygge is that danish word (Hoo-gah) that denotes comfort at the point of being cozy. Think of a hug! We get to decide on the characteristics of that hug. When the danish speak of hygge, they outline all the situations in which one can practice that coziness: our living spaces, our work spaces, and in outdoor spaces. I have designed my “living room” as a hygge corner.
Another way of practicing that sense of being hugged, is looking to the outdoors for rest and relaxation. Viewing nature as if for the first time can be exhilirating! Perhaps asking oneself, “Which season do I like best? Why?” I like to notice what birds are active in which season? For example, I’m seeing more juncos during the winter than in the summer. We see snow geese in the winter but not summer! Those are changes that are only noticed when one looks up or notices changes in nature. It such a thing is new to you, try it sometime. As another example, in the photo, one could ask, “Why is the sunset so red?” The answer: Dust and smoke in the atmosphere from fires and wind (in many cases).
In a busy world where we are measured by how much we do, how much money we earn, and how we stand out as individuals (an individualistic society). I wonder if we would have less illness if we emulated that of a collective society (group oriented) and took the time to sit and talk, build relationships, and take more collective actions when it comes to governance. The concept of hygge supports that very thing, as does the Mediterranean way of conviviality. So what if we took three hours to consume our meals conversing around the table? Our lives would slow down, and we would take more time for ourselves and our loved one. I love the concept of “hygge with others,” which focuses on our relationships. While we have fewer opportunities to gether during this pandemic, and we’ve had to find new and different ways to connect with people, such as with on line platforms. When I think of “hygge” with others, I tend to think of gathering around meals. Sometimes it may be connecting through interest groups. Sometimes we attend a movie group, which meets online after participants watch the movie on their own. That is one way of connecting during a pandemic time. The meet up consists of questions by the facilitator. We found common themes through which we connected. A few years back, in a town where we spend nearly thirty years, we used to attend what we called, “Second Friday Cinema” at our local library. We picked nine movies for each of the months we met from September through May. We watched the movie together enjoying snack that each of us offered on a table. Unfortunately, that has gone away per safety measures. I miss those time, so I will share some photos of former gatherings and ways of enjoying our environments.
Setting a goal of practicing holistic well-being does take some discipline. For example, I made a pledge to myself to keep my house organized and free of clutter. That takes a lot of work! It seems that we get so involved in making a living, being a good employee, and meeting institutional goals that we forget to take care of ourselves. Now, all this sounds like I’m an expert at such things, I do teach about holistic well-being, but that means that I practice such things, and “practice makes perfect” as the saying goes. That’s the best we can do, and our best needs to be enough for us. That does not mean that we’ve reached a pinnacle. It’s just means that we keep trying. I saw a quote on practice the other day. The gist of it was that someone had asked the great cellist, Pablo Casals about his daily practicing at the age of 90 years. “After a stellar career and now at the age of 90, why do you practice the cello for the minimum of six hours per day?” Casals answered, “Because I think I am seeing progress.” Humans are not perfect. We work toward perfects, but perhaps too much, I wonder? I want to be the best for the world not the best in the world!
The Following is a transcript of an annual program that I produce for public radio stations who will “purchase” it. At this writing, I do know that High Plains Public Radio, of the Central High Plains will run it on Christmas Day, usually at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. I will update this site as I learn of any station running it.
Hello. I’m Debra Bolton. Welcome to Las Cantigas de Santa Maria (The Holy Canticles of St. Mary), Songs and poems in praise of Holy Mary – and the poetic/musical biography of Alfonso, “the wise”, The King of Castile-Leon, now Spain, and who lived from 1221 to 1284, and for whom we celebrate his 800th birthday this year. I appreciate your joining me today. We begin this musical journey with The Learned King declaring himself Mary’s Troubadour who will take her teaching to his Kingdom and beyond. Let’s hear…Counter Tenor, Russell Oberlin performing the prologue. Please note, that at the time, the use of counter tenors aka “castrados” would have been the norm, since females were not allowed to perform in a king’s court. :
Prologue: Russell Oberlin, CSM #60 2:37
Camerata Mediterranea CSM52 and instrumental Prelude – 4:05
That was Counter tenor, Russell Oberlin, taking the part of the Learned King as he declares himself the Virgin Mary’s Troubadour and asks the “noble lady” to bestow the inheritance of eternal life and grant Alfonso’s kingdom a place in eternity.
Also, you heard Camarata Mediterranea with an instrumental to highlight El Sabio’s wise welcome to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish musicians in his court, which blended European and Arabic performance and music techniques.
Interesting to note, of the 420 Marian poems written by King Alfonso X and his assistant scribes, about every 10th poem is a song of love for the Virgin, and since this is not an “official” prologue, since the prologue has the even number #60, it would also be considered a “cantiga de loor” song of love for Mary.
King Alfonso ruled his Kingdom of Castile-Leon, now Spain, from 1252 until his death. Scholars and Alfonsine devotees celebrate the Learned King’s 800th birthday this past November 23. Alfonsine scholar, Dr. J.K. Knauss, who has written widely on the Learned King, spoke to me about the celebrations across Spain in honor of the King’s birth. Knauss recently released her fourth book about the King. In Our Lady’s Troubadour, Knauss took the poems and corresponding works of art, and put them into narrative stories. Here, Knauss introduces CSM#42 before we hear the piece performed by an early music ensemble called, Sonus.
Insert Knauss’ introduction:
CSM#42 – A Virgen mut groriosa, Sonus 2:38
That was Sonus with CSM#42, the story of Mary as a jealous queen that rebukes those she loves if they refuse her.
Now we turn to the interpretation of CSM#116: A merchant went to Salamanca to trade at the fair. It was his custom to serve the Virgin faithfully and to fast rigorously. On the eve of her feasts, he would not even eat vegetables or fish.
He always used to offer candles at churches dedicated to the Virgin. In Salamanca, he had his servant fetch two large candles that he had brought from Toledo. He had them lit and guarded so that they would not go out. The Virgin let them go out, but then caused them to burn once again.
We hear this performed by Eduardo Paniagua and his Musica Antigua. Paniagua, a musicologist and an early music instrumentalist, devotes much of his time to researching, performing, and recording the vast catalogue of Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, poems and songs in praise of Holy Mary.
That was CSM#116, “The Candles that Miraculously Came Alight” from Musica Antigua on their album, Cantigas de Toledo, where King Alfonso was born these 800 years ago. 6:20
You’re listening to Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, a musical biography of Spain’s King Alfonso X and his praise to the Virgin Mary. I’m your host, Debra Bolton
END OF SEGMENT ONE
(Excerpt of The Prologue from Joseph O’Callaghan’s)
Throughout the life of King Alfonso X, he devoted himself to learning and being surrounded by the learned. He believed a learned King and court with great knowledge of the natural world, mathematics, architecture, human behavior, and great discernment could only benefit the people of his kingdom. Being a pluralist, he employed Christian, Jewish, and Muslim in his court to advance learning.
In a recent interview with Alfonsine scholar, Dr. J. K. Knauss, she noted that the great legacy of El Sabio is that he lived up to his name, “the wise” because he was obsessed with writing everything down. Whether is was about mathematics, astronomy, the virtue of playing board games and other leisurely activities to balance hard works, laws to govern his subjects, and teaching morality, he not only wrote continually, but he chose not to write in Latin, the language of Kingdoms of the day. What made his legacy so strong is that he wrote in Castilian, the present-day Spanish. King Alfonso X is considered the “Father of Castilian.” Was he that much of a visionary? It would seem so since Spanish only trails Chinese as the most common language worldwide, flanked by English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Lahnda, aka, “Western Punjabi” according to The World Economic Forum.
Let’s turn to the marvelous miracles of Mary found in CSM#11, the Drowned Sacristan. Every night a sinful monk left his monastery to take his pleasure with his mistress. Before he left he would say the Ave Maria.
One night he fell into a river and drowned. Devils and angels argued over his soul. The devils’ case was more convincing, and the angels were about to give in when the Virgin made them recover the monk’s soul. They returned the soul to his body and revived him. The other monks found him alive in the cold water.
We hear CSM#11 interpreted by Ensemble Alcatraz, a San Francisco, CA group dedicated to the research and performance, throughout the world, of the music of Spain, Portugal, and France. This is from their CD Cantigas de Amigo, CSM#11 8:35
That was Ensemble Alcatraz performing Cantigas de Santa Maria #11,
King Alfonso employed artists to create two and three-dimensional works of art to correspond to the poems and songs, which would have made the Learned King an early pioneer in multi-media. Now, here we are putting it all in digital form! Some scholars point of the works of art, the songs and the poems as Alfonso’s way to teach morality to the subjects of his kingdom on many levels. While those in his court were, themselves, learned and well-educated people, there were many in his kingdom who, perhaps, could not read or write. Hence the need for the lessons on morality in more than written forms.
The poems and songs employ the language of the time, which is Galician-Portuguese, Medieval Galician, or as some linguists and historians simply call the language, Romance, the root language of Castilian, the language of Spain.
Alfonso X ruled from 1252 to 1284. To put the world into perspective at the time, the English language continued to change from its Germanic-rooted Olde English of the Beowulf poet (circa 9th or 10th century) after the Norman invasion of 1066. In the next century, we hear the English of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Gawain Poet. Europeans now use Arabic numerals in favor of Roman Numerals. In the Mongol Empire, Mongke, officially, marks the worship of his grandfather, Genghis Khan while Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity flourish. The Inca Empire of Peru is thriving. England begins the process of segregation of Jewish peoples, and other countries begin to follow suit. The Mexica people, also known as Aztecs, are building their great city on a lake in what is now Mexico City. King Alfonso X’s bid to be King of the Holy Roman Empire fails in favor of Count Rudolf, bringing prominence to the Habsburg family, Rudolf was considered mediocre as Alfonso was too ambitious and certainly too bright for the Pope of the time.
When we think about world events of King Alfonso’s time, between the 12 and 14th centuries, there was a sect of Christians called the Cathar, a
fundamentalists sect who believed there were two gods: A good one who presided over the spiritual world, and an evil one who ruled the physical world. Cathars viewed even sex within marriage and reproduction as evil, and so lived strict lives of abstention. Here I present the spoken text of the Papal Bull legislating torture of those practicing Catharism, called “Ad Exstirpanda.” As a side note, that papal bull also supported colonizing so called, “Non-Christian” countries and enslaving Indigenous peoples, which carried over to the Doctrine of Discovery launching Columbus to the Americas 200 years later.
At odds with the Catholic church, The Cathar believed in female deities and believed that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married. The text is presented in Latin, as the Cathar of the time were in France and Italy.
Ad exstirpanda” performed by Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI followed by what sounds like a lament, Veri dulcis in tempore” translated “A true Sweet season” of the time from the CD “The Forgotten Kingdom.
Veri dulcis in tempore: 3:57
That was Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI performing music of the forgotten Kingdom of the Cathar in France and Italy.
After 1492, in addition to colonizing the lands and its people, Spain, also, colonized the languages of the Americas and the Caribbean. Since the so called, “first contact,” we saw Castilian overwhelming, and often erasing, many Native languages of the islands and the continents, thanks to the Doctrine of Discovery establishing a so called, “spiritual, political, and legal” justification for colonization and seizure of land NOT inhabited by Christians. Again, the Spanish we hear today differs widely from that of the CSM and Alfonso X’s time. However, you don’t need to understand Galician-Portuguese to enjoy this music, known for its complex musical structures and its use of what we now call, ancient instruments.
Coming up in the next hour of Cantigas de Santa Maria, we will hear more songs and tunes about miracles of the Virgin Mary as we continue this musical biography of King Alfonso X, the wise, of 13th Century Spain
Go to an instrumental played by the Waverly Consort, Cut #15, to play to the end. 6:43
Hello, I’m Debra Bolton. Welcome to the second hour of Las Cantigas de Santa Maria (The Holy Canticles of St. Mary), Songs and poems in praise of Holy Mary – and the poetic/musical biography of Alfonso, “the wise”, The Kind of Castile-Leon, now Spain, and who lived from 1221 to 1284, and for whom we celebrate his 800th birthday this year. I appreciate your joining me today.
Let’s begin this hour with two miracles performed by the Virgin, as written by King Alfonso X.
“The Girl Who Ate Spiders, CSM #201:
A beautiful noble woman promised to guard her virginity.
The devil tempted her to take a lover, and she lived with her godfather and became pregnant by him. When the baby was born she killed it. She became pregnant a second time and killed her newborn baby yet again. Then she did this a third time. Overcome with despair, and hating herself, she tried to commit suicide. She stabbed herself in the breast, but the knife missed its mark.
Then she swallowed a spider, but it was not big or poisonous enough to kill her. She ate another bigger spider and her body swelled so much she was near death. As she lay dying, she repented and asked the Virgin to forgive her sins.
The Virgin appeared to her and stroked her body, making her more beautiful and fit than she had ever been. The woman entered an order and lived virtuously from that time forth.
Performed by the Martin Best Ensemble (Cut#7) 2:58
You’re listening to this holiday special, Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, a musical biography of 13th Century King of Spain, Alfonso, the wise. I am Debra Bolton, your host.
As we continue in this exploration of this very small part of King Alfonso X’s tribute to the Virgin Mary, my references come from the writings of Dr. J.K. Knauss, whose books continue to inspire me. On November 18, 2021, Dr. Knauss released a book which put the Cantigas de Santa Maria in narrative form. We did hear Dr. Knauss introduce CSM#42 in the previous hour, from her book, Our Lady’s Troubadour. I now will explore Dr. Knauss’ book, Violence in the Cantigas de Santa Maria. In addition, I refer to the writing of Professor Joseph F. O’Callahan, Mr. Andrew Casson, Maestro Jordi Savall, Maestro Eduardo Paniagua, John Esten Keller, Robert I. Burn, Editor of “The Emperor of Culture” and from Oxford Univesity’s CSM database.
From the book, Violence in the Cantigas de Santa Maria, Dr. Knauss establishes an important beginning that does not have violence to set a calm tone. That would be CSM#97 about a slandered man who was exonerated. However, we move into the violence rather quickly in CSM#233. Knauss mentions this cantiga in her book about violence and in her recent book, Our Lady’s Troubadour, where she writes a wonderfully accessible narrative called, “No-Man’s-Land, ” which regales the story of the good knight, Jacinto (Ha-theen-toe), who while traveling with his men, encounter with Moors, who were so impressed with Jacinto’s faith to the Virgin Mary. The Moors spoke, “We see that you are not of this world, but we don’t think your intensions are evil.” “We honor you because you have been sent by Mary, mother of Jesus. Jacinto held his hand out to the Moorish leader, and they embraced as they forgave one another for their conflicts with one another.
Here we have CSM#233 performed by Elizabeth Pinard. I had a difficult time finding this piece, so I turned to YouTube, and found this incredible interpretation by Ms. Pinard, a Brazilian singer with the most incredible vocal range. Listen for her low notes, and when the choir comes in, Ms. Pinard vocalizes in ethereal high ranges. Go to Youtube and enter “Elizabeth Pinard – Cantiga de Santa Maria 233”
Let’s take a moment to talk about some of the instruments that you’re hearing on this musical journey of 13th Century Spain, then called, Castile-Leon.
Shawm – 12th c conical bored double reed instrument of Middle Eastern origin, a precursor of the oboe. Like the oboe, it is conically bored; but its bore, bell, and finger holes are wider, and it has a wooden disk (called a pirouette, on European shawms) that supports the lips
Recorder – Yes. That woodwind instrument that many of us learned in grade school. We hear this in the CSM, usually, on a wider variety of wood recorders.
Organetto – a small portable organ, which you heard performed by Esther Lamandier
Oud – Literally, wood in Arabic, short-necked, pear-shaped with 11 – 13 strings grouped in 5, 6, or 7 courses. A few of the oud players that stand oud are Driss El Maloumi, a group called 3MA and Haik Egitim Merkezi Yalova, both Maloumi and Yalova perform with Jordi Savall’s Hesperion groups. The Oud is considered the most important instrument in Middle Eastern Music.
Qanun (a.k.a., kanun, ganoun, kanoon) an Arabic stringed instrument, introduced to Europe in the 12th Century. It’s played on the lap with picks that surround both index fingers, and the player can change the pitch of the strings with brass levers.
Hurdy Gurdy, a.k.a. Viola de Rueda, and the Zanfona. Here we hear this instrument in Musica Antigua and by a group called, BIDAIA, featuring Caroline Phillips.
Vielle – the Medieval fiddle with five strings and six tied frets.
Rebec – A three-string “fiddle” often held between the legs as it’s played.
Viola de Gamba – (a.k.a., Viol or gamba), a six-stringed instrument, said to be a precursor of the four-stringed cello. The Gamba, usually, is much larger and has frets, like a guitar.
Gaita – Galician bag pipe, also common in Portugal. We’ll hear the Gaita in the next hour of this musical journey.
Duduk – Double reed Armenian flute, featuring those mournful, lamenting tones.
You’re listening to a musical journey of 13th Century Spain’s King Alfonso the X and his devotion to the Virgin Mary, on this public radio station. I’m your host, Debra Bolton, and I appreciate that you’re here with me today.
The language of the time, Galician-Portuguese, finds scholars today who argue that Galician and Portuguese are dialects of the same language. It tends to remind one more of Portuguese than of Castilian, the root language of modern-day Spanish. Portugal situated directly south of Galicia, was home to the Celts and the Sephardim of the Iberian Peninsula. Stay with us…
Segment Two Hour Two
Begin with Prologue by Waverly Consort, Cuts 1 and 2: (3:45)
We continue with Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, the musical biography of Medieval King of Castile-Leon, Alfonso X, the wise and learned. I’m your host, Debra Bolton.
We just heard an English interpretation of the prologue, where the wise King announces himself in the role as the Virgin Mary’s troubadourn. The Waverly Consort, founded by Kay and the late Michael Jaffe performed that piece.
J. K. Knauss describes the importance of the Cantigas de Santa Maria saying, “The most appropriate single adjective for the corpus of cultural work produced under Alfonso X is ‘encyclopedic.’” He wrote books of history, astronomy/astrology, law, poetry, board games, and music. Even his written leisure activities continue to survive the vagaries of time, bearing the King’s name as patron or author.”
For more perspective of the time, King Henry III ruled England about the same time Alfonso X ruled Castile-Leon, the greater part of what is now known as Spain. While El Sabio ruled his lands with Christians, Muslims, and Jewish peoples living and studying side-by-side with some appreciation and great tolerance, it would not be until 208 years later that Isabella and Ferdinand would expel all non-Christians and the time Christopher Columbus would set sail for Asia but landed in the Americas, which changed extensively the lives that he touched. Before that, well-civilized Indigenous tribes had not yet had contact with European colonialists. The surnames that most people connect with Latin American countries were the surnames of their Spanish conquerors. During and after the inquisition, many non-Christians, Jewish and Muslim people, added the suffixes of –ez, -es, or -os to their surnames. For example, the Muslim man, Alvar, became Alvarez. The Jewish man, Martin became Martinez. Consistent with most surnames, there remained a connection to the family trade or place of origins. The Herrera were Jewish iron-smiths. Those hailing from Galicia, or Galego, were the Galegos. In the present day, an extra “L” was added to make it “Gallegos.”
The next piece takes us to Italy, of the time, with a song, in Latin, praising the Virgin Mary. This piece, Verbum Caro Factum Est, “Word was made flesh” is performed by the Waverly Consort. I offer this to illustrate that there were other parts of Medieval, Romance Europe also praising the Virgin Mary. Again, not in the tradition of Alfonso X, who wrote about people’s interior and exterior lives, from every social class from Spain to other parts of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East and their relationships to the Virgin in everyday life, according to Knauss.
Verbum Caro Factum Est Waverly Consort ( 4:40) (Verbum Caro Factum Est)
CSM #41/119 Capella Ministeres (4:22)
That was Capella Ministrers, CSM 41/119. CSM#41, the story of a money changer named, Garin. The devil scared him. Garin went mad, and then the Virgen not only restored his senses, she gave him paradise. The story of CSM#119, tells the story of a judge who lived a life of ease. He ate well and collected generous supports, though he did not fulfill his duties and only arrested those who were destitute. The Virgin came to the judge’s rescue when a band of brigands kidnapped him. In the process of killing the judge, Mary intervened. She made the judge confess every one of his sins. He died the next day and angels carried away his soul.
Performed here by Capella Ministrers, CSM 41/119. 4:22
That was Capella Ministrers performing CSM 41 and 119 here on Cantigas de Santa Maria, the musical biography of Spain’s 13th Century Monarch.
You’re listening to Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, a musical biography of King Alfonso X, I’m your host, Debra Bolton.
El Sabio, King Alfonso the X ascended the throne of Castile-Leon, now Spain, in 1252 and immediately devoted himself to the creation of new laws, the Siete Partidas (seven parts) and the Fuero Real (Royal Municipal Code), both of which continue to be in effect here in the 21st Century.
Scholars posit that the CSM continue to be a testament by which the king wished to be remembered after his death. That means that we, also, are part of the intended audience. Knauss continues that the learned king, likely, did not fathom this kind of dissemination, now in this digital age. She says, “With these technologies, it grants scholars who study the CSM a place in his highly exclusive circle of apprentices.”
Alfonsine scholar, Dr. J. K. Knauss describes the importance of the Cantigas de Santa Maria saying, “The most appropriate single adjective for the corpus of cultural work produced under Alfonso X is ‘encyclopedic.’” He wrote books of history, astronomy/astrology, law, poetry and music. Even his written leisure activities continue to survive the vagaries of time, bearing the King’s name as patron or author.”
Now, I’d like to turn to interpretations of the CSM that have a more contemporary feel. Andre Bocelli, a mostly self-taught tenor, provides this wonderful rendition of CSM #57. I think the addition of Spanish guitar and a children’s choir give this interpretation a light and jovial feeling to the subject, “The Robbed Pilgrims to Montserrat.” From Bocelli’s album, “Believe” recorded last year. It features duets with Allison Krauss and opera singer, Cecilia Bartoli, on the Decca label.
Mui Grandes Noit’ e Dia (CSM #57) (4:06)
#CSM 422 Robin Rolfhamre (5:48)
That was Swedish Lutenist, Robin Rolfhamre with CSM 422, The Litany of the Day of Judgement. Mostly, Dr. Rolfhamre focuses on the early music of the 15th century. His interpretations here features the lute.
You’ve been listening to Las Cantigas de Santa Maria, the holy canticles of the Virgin Mary and the musical biography of Medieval King Alfonso X of Spain in music, poetry, and art. I’m the producer and your host, Debra Bolton. I began exploring the history of the CSM, because I found the tunes, songs, poems, and art pieces so wonderfully extraordinary with their passion and multimedia approaches. I hope you’ve found this music and its stories interesting. For more information, please visit my blog: https://peopleandcultures.blog/?p=1369
As one who identifies as Indigenous, the latest findings of Indigenous children’s marked and unmarked graves on the grounds of Native Boarding Schools across Canada and the United States abhors me, which can feed into generational wounds. Lately, I have been invited to offer lectures on the topic. Here I share with you some of my reflections as presented to church groups. Remember, I only speak with my Indigenous relatives. I do not speak for all Indigenous Peoples.
Residential Boarding Schools: We must acknowledge what happened to the First People of these Lands at the hands of Colonial Settlers
To all my Relations…
Following in the ways of loving one another, as any faith journey tells us to do, gives us a framework for our way of life. Our works of truth and reconciliation must mirror that. Like baptism, we must face the truths of our past, even when they give us discomfort. When we learn some painful truths, we must reflect on those truths rather than deny, wallow in guilt or point fingers. The painful actions of history belong to all of us… together. Again, the painful actions of history belong to all of us. I say that as one who is Indigenous to these lands to which I acknowledge: My homeland is the Uncompahgre Valley, Western Colorado, from where colonial settlers displaced my father’s people (Ute). My Mother’s people experienced the same atrocities in their homeland of what is now, New Mexico. In Kansas, I live and work on the ancestral territory of many Indigenous Nations, including the Kaw, the Osage, and the Pawnee. Kansas is currently home to the Prairie Band Potawatomi, the Kickapoo, the Iowa of Kansas and Nebraska, and the Sac and Fox Nations.
I am grateful to these Nations. I ask you to Please remember these truths
Today, we take this opportunity, no matter who we are, and no matter from whom we descend, to face the pain of the past, to confess it, and above all, to learn from it and not repeat it. To tell the truth in love, as our Creator teaches, gives us pause to learn love’s excellent way of life and way of being.
What are the ways in which we can behave in actionable ways to follow the path of love rather than hate, rather than ignoring inhumanities, rather than justifying slavery and other exclusions and turning away from the practice of human hierarchies? We must recognize and acknowledge the wounds of Indigenous Peoples promulgated by governments, churches, and other institutions that join in the cause of separation and erasure. Then we must remove the barriers to access for all historically excluded identities. Only love, honor, and respect can dwell in the Creator’s presence, and we must join our hearts and hands to rebuild our communities of faith.
Let us move away from mere performance to authentic and measurable actions toward an equitable society where we honor and love one another as the Creator loves us.
In reflection, what makes me hopeful today are the Indigenous youth who are learning the spiritual teachings and the folkways of our ancestors. We promote generational healing through prayer and acknowledgement that we only survive in the light and love of our Creator and through the support of one another. When this society begins to acknowledge the truths that segregation, torture, abuse, and separation of Indigenous children is, by design, meant to erase a people not love them, the healing will begin.
Please note that of the 367 Native boarding schools in the U.S. 73 remain open, and 15 continue to board Indigenous children taken from their parents. Here in Kansas, we must acknowledge the following boarding schools and the atrocities fraught upon Native children: Haskell Indian Training School (now Haskell University), Great Nemaha Indian School, Kaw Manual Labor School, Kickapoo Labor School, Osage Manual Labor School, Potawatomi Labor School, and the Shawnee Mission boarding school. The goals of these schools promised to “take the Indian out of the boy or girl.” Graduation was never a goal, however survival remained a wish for the children. Again, The children who were able to leave these schools did not graduate! They survived!
We cannot heal in the places that make us sick. We can only heal, if the society complicit in Indigenous extermination can move away from greed and the concepts of superiority in order to teach a people that they are, indeed, inferior. I am hopeful because I am here today, with each of you, lamenting the wrongs of the past by governments and other institutions who do not follow the teachings of the Creator to “Love one another.” I ask you, How is genocide of a people, Love? How are exclusionary laws and policies, Love? How is justifying slavery, love?
Rev. Linda Nicholls and Rev. Mark Macdonald note that:
“The wrenching legacy of residential schools is felt not only by those who survived. It lingers in the pain of families whose children died while at school. It lingers in the agony of not knowing why they died or where they are buried. It lingers in the inadequate record-keeping that does not tell the cause of death. It lingers in the neglect to even record the names of almost one-third of those who died. For a parent the death of a child is an unimaginable pain.”
I ask you to empathize with the parents. Can you imagine such a thing to happen to you and your family?
My featured image is one I took from a car as I was about to board an airplane from Los Angeles International Airport. At one time, the Mid-century structure was used as a restaurant and remains a symbol of the airport. I like the “Atomic Age” design, which the light poles further establish.
My topic today explores a framework that we can employ in our learning processes of one another. National Geographic Society uses this framework to help people understand the concepts of geographical inquiry. The Society calls it a, “Learning Framework.” I adapted NGS’s framework for teaching self-awareness, which greatly improves how we interact with those who we see different than ourselves. I call it, “A Learner’s Mindset for Understanding Self and Others.”
Did you know there are people who do not recognize that they have a culture? This continues to be a heavy subject in my teaching. Teaching cultural awareness required that I create/adapt this framework. Usually, I present this in a table for easy usage. Here, I present the framework in narrative form. The framework focuses on three elements: Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge each with three subheadings.
A Learner’s Mindset for Understanding Self and Others
Curiosity: Engage in an on-going process of learning about yourself, about others around you, and about the environments (spaces) you and they inhabit.
Responsibility: Have concern and care for the well-being of other people, their journeys, and their experiences.
Empowerment: Understand your unique lived experience. Developing shared experiences builds self-confidence in social interactions. Empower others by internalizing that “different” is not bad or threatening. State your opinions and listen to others.
Observation: Create a framework for knowing through the “mental” gathering of data, which informs our daily behavior and interactions. Are you able to observe without judgement?
Communication: Use language and media that speaks to truth, historical uses of words, and implications of wording in spoken language, writing, visual, and audio media. Apply this mindset to advancing learning about self and others.
Relationships: Collaborate across disciplines to advance understanding. Listen to re-state the main points and to find common ground. Above all, build and value your relationships, which dissolve the lines of difference.
Understand the Human Journey: No two humans have the same journey. Share the story of your journey. Listen to the story of another person’s journey. All humans develop their preferences, their ways of knowing, and their observations of others depending on their journeys. Do some humans have an advantage over others based on their journeys?
Understand the Interconnected Human Systems and their Dynamic Forces: Seek and internalize frameworks of information to discern between truth and convenience. Discern the quantities, patterns, rhythms, and symmetry in human systems. How are they unique, and how are they related? How do they change over time?
Acknowledge and Celebrate Human Difference: The social construction of hierarchies, class, and race historically benefit some groups and put others at a disadvantage. We can build relationships across these social barriers to see one another as individually contributing to the social fabric of humanity. Celebrate this.
This may not be the answer to every little thing in human interactions, but I do believe that it can be a start in our interpersonal relationships with those from cultures different than you own. Yes! Every human has a culture! Simply put, our cultures come from our knowledge and beliefs systems. Culture comes from our patterns of behavior learned from childhood, our language, our symbols and institutions. Culture is created, learned, and shared. Thrown together, the definition of “culture” seems to challenge people. To some, “culture” might seem an abstract concept mostly because some do not think about what constitutes “culture”
Sit down and think about your own patterns of behavior. Where did they originate? Human difference is a marvel. Celebrate it.
I work at a university with a leadership studies college. The school invites varying faculty, staff, and administration to talk about personal priorities and interests. As I always say, the more we know about one another, the more that the lines of separation fade. I love this notion of inviting people to talk about themselves. It becomes the living libraries favored by many communities. Here is one of my stories.
My father used to tell me, “Know something about everything and everything about something, and you will always be able to find common ground with another person.” I have a penchant for music, literature, geography, history, art, language, biology, architecture, travel, navigation in air travel, and people. Curiosity was the most important thing to my father. He taught me to be curious, always! Actually, I think my varied interests greatly inform my work in intercultural development, or helping humans find common ground with one another. It’s what I live. It’s what I love. I like to begin my classes, workshops, and presentations with a land acknowledgment:
My homeland is the Uncompahgre Valley in Western Colorado, from where colonial settlers displaced my father’s people (Ute).
In Kansas, I live and work on the ancestral territory of many Indigenous Nations, including the Kaw, the Osage, and the Pawnee. Kansas is currently home to the Prairie Band Potawatomi, the Kickapoo, the Iowa, and the Sac and Fox Nations.
I am grateful to these Nations.
Please remember these truths.
It can be quite enlightening to research and discover what Indigenous Nation occupied the land on which you live, work, and play. We can think about:
Who granted the land?
Who held the land previously?
What was the U.S. Homestead Act of May 1862? Who was given land, and who was removed from said land?
So, I begin all my teaching with this acknowledgment. I am honored and obligated to my ancestors to do it.
Next in my processes of teaching, I acknowledge myself and my identities. Here are a few of the things with which I identify:
•Native (Ohkay Owingeh/Diné/ Uncompahgré) •Human Ecologist/Geographer •National Geographic Society Explorer •Social Researcher •Banjo player •Mother, daughter, friend, spouse, aunt, grandmother, motorcycle rider, writer… •King Alfonso X enthusiast, the original pluralist! •Blogger •Craftsperson •Nature enthusiast.
I could also say, I’m a mother, daughter, friend, spouse, aunt, grandmother, motorcycle rider, and writer.
Embedded in each of these identities that I share with you denotes aspects of my of my culture. However, the most challenging part of working to educate students, especially those from a dominant identity (Anglo-European descent) about culture is that they possess a culture. Many of my students tell me, “I don’t really have a culture. I’m just an American.” That just tells me that they have not thought about their identities.
Each of us, if we think about it, has several identifying factors that contributes to our cultural identity. You have the same sets of identities – each with sets of verbiage, practices, and thought processes that are part of your culture.
Certainly, our environments influence our patterns of behavior, our ways of knowing, our ways of living. I grew up in a mountain environment, as pictured here. We learn certain behaviors to thrive in mountain valleys, which can be different than the tallgrass prairie where I live now. In humans’ cultural practices, we learn, adapt, and adopt, often maintaining our foundational family and community systems.
Prairie or mountains: both are beautiful, and we adapt and adopt the cultural aspects of each geography.
Speaking of geography, I grew up in a household where National Geographic magazine was honored as much as the family bible. My father read them from cover to cover. My brothers saw them as anatomy lessons. I vowed to visit all the places imaginable. My work with National Geographic Society, as an explorer, put me in company with the likes of Maria Mitchell, noted astronomer in the 19th Century, Munazza Alam, 21st century astrophysicist searching for Earth’s twin, Harriet Chalmers Adams, journalists in the French trenches of World War 1, and notably, traveled to Africa to see Haile Selassie’s coronation as emperor of Ethiopia. Of course, everyone knows the names of Edmund Hillary, Jacques Couteau, and Alexander Graham Bell as NGS explorers, but I encourage you to seek out the females who made great strides in the name of discovery. Being a NGS explorer is the greatest way I can honor my father’s love of knowledge.
Two of the great products of my NGS funding was developing introductory course in geography for females of color, now in its fifth year, also thanks to our Center for Engagement and Community Development’s incentive grants, I was able to study the women in the African diaspora in rural SW Kansas, which became a chapter in a book recently published. Here’s a picture of the book. My chapter covers the women of the African Diaspora now settled in Southwest Kansas. It tells of the brave women, displaced from their countries by war, worked in the beef packing plants while raising families and navigating health care, educational, and faith systems.
If you have read previous blog entries of mine, you would know that I greatly esteem George Washington Carver, the great genius in botany, invention, music, art, and philosophy.
Carver had a small homestead in Beeler, Kansas. As a child, his slave owners near Diamond, Missouri actually saw his genius in plant pathology. He came to Kansas, finished high school, and applied and was accepted into Highland college until he showed up. Carver was denied a college education in Kansas, because of teh color of his skin.
He found his academic home, first at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Only being allowed to study the fine arts, his art teacher took great interest in his botanical illustration. She connected Carver to her biologist husband who was teaching at what is now Iowa State University. Carver received is Master’s degree there where his brilliance was duly noted by Henry Ford, who had invited him to work since Carver had created rubber out of golden rod. Thomas Edison tried to recruit him as an inventor since Carver was noted as a great inventor, having patents on wood stains made from peanuts and sweet potatoes. Alas, he went to work at Tuskegee “Normal” Institute at the invitation of Booker T. Washington, because it was there that he’d “do the most good.” Carver taught chemistry, botany, and other biology at Tuskegee until his death. I found this picture on the internet with Carver’s rules to live by: “Education is the key to unlock the golden doors of freedom.”
Once a year, I pay homage to King Alfonso X, who ruled Castile-Leon (now Spain) in the 13th Century. Here are a few facts about the “Learned King.”
He ruled from1252 – 1284 13th C. Medieval – Father of Castilian language, which we now call Spanish. During his time, his language was Galician-Portuguese, also called “Romance”
420 songs, poems, and commissioned 3 dimensional pieces as a way to teach morality to his subjects.
He had just missed being crowned the Holy Roman Emperor because he was “too learned!” according to the Pope of the Catholic Church at the time. I wrote a blog better examining the King last November. No doubt, I will write another about the king in the coming fall.
I like learning about different species in the animal world. I was a volunteer teacher at a zoo in Southwest Kansas. If you want to learn more about a subject, teach it! I was able to handle lots of cool animals. Here I am with a goshawk.
Finally, exploring my Indigenous roots remains an important part of my identity. I still practice the food, the songs, and the rituals of my grandmothers. The fire featured as my main image illustrates one of those practices of cleansing with smoke. I am born for the Ohkay Owingeh and the Dine and born to the Uncompahgre Ute. I have DNA ties to the Athabascan, Alaskan Native. My people, called the San Juan Pueblo by Spanish colonizers of what is now New Mexico. Spaniard plopped right on the Village at the confluence of the Chama and the Rio Grande Rivers. Our villages straddled the rivers, so there was much struggle to keep our culture, our food ways, and our identities as The People of the Strong Land. You can see a stature of our great leader, Popay, in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Despite the push toward erasure, we are still here!
My family remains the most important, my children, grandchildren, spouse, parents, siblings, and extended family, natural and adopted, as I call my dear friends. Find what makes you happy, and develop curiosity about an array of subjects. For me, I can only think knowledge is the best brain food.
My featured image surly points to my curiosity in many subjects. I agree with Horace Mann, “Every addition to knowledge is an addition to human power!” I took this picture of the limestone etching on the front of a building. I think the drive to add to our knowledge begins with curiosity. So, while my blog posts may appear random, they do reflect my curiosity. Today is one of those random interests of mine.
The Foods in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectation
As an English and Geography major, I tend toward the writings of Dickens, Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Chaim Potok, when I’m reading great writers. For some reason, the foods in their books intrigued me. Once I invited a friend to dine with us. She replied, “I don’t know. What are you reading?” She remembered that I like to cook the foods in the books I read. For this entry, I offer something I wrote about foods in Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Charles Dickens describes the meal scenes in Great Expectations in sensual and appealing ways. Whether Pip and Joe Gargery sit down to light meal, called tea, consisting of bread, butter and a mug of tea or relatives gather around Mrs. Joe’s Christmas table to consume a spread of meats, sweet and savory pies, each food stuff carries with it custom and innovation. Food served in Pip’s’ era, 1860s Britain, possessed different qualities specific to each region of England. The story takes place in Kent, London, and Rochester and near the tributaries of the Thames River (Hunt vii), and each meal or food scene invites the reader into Pip’s world with regional flavors and traditional presentations.
The first meal encountered in Great Expectations finds the main character, Pip, and his gentle brother-in-law, Joe Gargery, a blacksmith, in the kitchen watching Pip’s sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, preparing their afternoon tea (Dickens 9). According to Roz Denny, afternoon tea, “a very British meal,” started as a fashion begun by the Duchess of Bedford in 1840. Since the Duchess became hungry between lunch, served at midday, and dinner, served around 8:00 p.m., she demanded a small meal around 4:00 p.m. Tea for the rich usually consisted of brewed tea, plates of sliced bread and butter; cucumber, egg or tomato sandwiches; buttered scones with jam; and pieces of sponge cake or fruitcake (31). Similar to Denny’s description, but more like the afternoon tea of the poor, Pip and Joe enjoy only bread and butter with their brewed tea. The description of the bread served in the Gargery household carries tradition of its own as well.
Pip observes Mrs. Joe, known for her foul temper, serving his and Joe’s afternoon tea. He notes that her trenchant way of cutting his and Joe’s bread-and-butter never varies:
First, with her left hand she jammed the loaf hard and fast against her impregnable bib. Then she took some butter (not too much) on a knife and spread it on the loaf, in an apothecary kind of way, as if she were making a plaster, using both sides of the knife with a slapping dexterity. (Dickens 9)
Visualizing Mrs. Joe’s use of her bib to steady the bread while she cuts it, as opposed to using a cutting board, calls to mind images of a rather large loaf. In his book, The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson explains many varieties of bread loaf shapes of the nineteenth century. Mrs. Gargery’s sounds like the Coburg or the cob. Davidson describes the cob as a popular English crusty loaf made from plain white dough. Round in shape, since bakers or “housewives” did not bake bread in a pan, the cob has a plain, uncut (no slashes like French or sourdough loaves) crust. Cob loaves were formerly small and round and baked with coarse flour. The name Coburg had just come into use during Mrs. Joe’s time possibly introduced by a German baker who settled in London. The loaves became larger and more substantial when baked by women in the country. A loaf of bread served by a country housewife, like Mrs. Joe Gargery, measured about 12 to 14 inches in diameter and four to six inches in height (Davidson 98). Hence Mrs. Joe’s ability, or necessity, of jamming the loaf into her bib, and, Pip says, “sawing a very thick round off the loaf: which she finally, before separating from the loaf, hewed into two halves, of which Joe got one, and I the other” (Dickens 9). In Dickens’ day, more professional bread makers worked to provide bread to those living in the city. Country women baked their own bread. Bread’s importance lay in its energy value for food to hard working lower and middle class people because it provided protein, iron, nicotinic acid and vitamin B1 (Toussaint-Samat 237). It consisted of baked dough made of wheat flour, water, and yeast. After combining the three components, the baker mixes then kneads the dough to incorporate air into the dough. The flour ferments producing bubbles of carbonic gas, which raise the dough. In the heat of the oven, the bread increases in volume, and forms a firm crust once the evaporation of the water in the dough stops (Toussaint-Samat 239).
Partaking of bread-and-butter appears in a few other scenes of Great Expectations. The best scene involving bread and butter shows Pip, well after settling in London, at the home of John Wemmick. Wemmick’s fiancée, Miss Skiffins, engages in a Sunday ritual with the Aged Parent to prepare tea. Pip states that the “Aged P” prepared a haystack of buttered toast, which left them “warm and greasy after it” (Dickens 327). The scene represents Pip in a happy time, but skipping back before the move to London, shortly after Pip learns of his call to visit the wealthy recluse, Miss Havisham, he first heads to Uncle Pumblechook’s living quarters in the High Street of the market town. The next morning, before going to Miss Havisham’s, Pip wakes up to a breakfast consisting of a mug of tea (with watered-down milk) and haunch of bread-and-butter, which he refers to as a penitent’s meal because of the butter’s scarcity in relation to the amount of bread presented. Soon after breakfast, Pip meets Miss Havisham and her ward, Estella, who soon becomes his life-long love. After playing cards with Estella and being the victim of her many insults centered on his coarseness, Pip’s day at Satis House ends with his receiving a small meal of bread, cold meat (meat’s first appearance) and a mug of beer, which he eats while he sits alone in the yard like a “dog in disgrace” (Dickens 66). Having meat during the week proves Miss Havisham’s wealth (Tannahill 207). On the last Saturday before embarking to London and beginning his journey of becoming a “gentleman,” one of Pip’s final suppers at Joe Gargery’s forge consists of bread-and-cheese and beer (Dickens 159). Beer, a cereal beverage, contains protein, and people with limited incomes favored it as a drink in Dickens’ era because of its low cost and nutritious value (Tannahill 330). Cheese also served the same purpose in terms of being healthful and relatively inexpensive (Tannahill 208).
In the thirteenth-century, Britons relied on sheep to supply their dairy products. Three hundred years later, cows became the main source for what the English called, white meats, claiming cow’s milk to be more versatile than sheep’s (Tannahill 208). In the nineteenth-century, Britain’s cheeses continued to come from cow’s milk. Professional cheese makers or country housewives, like Mrs. Joe, produced hard cheeses made in large cylinder shapes, called truckles, from which triangular wedges were cut (Denny 27). The cheese ripening process requires bacteria, yeasts, and molds. The rind of the cheese holds much of the bacteria necessary for aging. Unlike modern consumers of cheese, the British of Pip’s time ate the whole cheese, rind and all (Davidson 160). Recall Pip’s stealing the rind of cheese for the shackled convict out on the marshes near the churchyard (Dickens 12). Abel Magwitch ate the cheese rind just as the rotund Uncle Pumblechook greedily ate his Christmas dinner at Gargery’s home, only more thankfully (Dickens 13).
The grandest meal in Great Expectations certainly must be the Christmas dinner early in Pip’s story. Pip illustrates Mrs. Joe’s preparation of the house for Christmas dinner:
Mrs. Joe put clean white curtains up, and tacked a new flowered-flounce across the wide chimney to replace the old one, and uncovered the little state parlor across the passage, which was never uncovered at any other time, but passes the rest of the year in a cool haze of silver paper, which even extended to the four little white crockery poodles in the mantelshelf. (Dickens 220)
In a chapter entitled, “A Victorian Christmas,” the editors of The Pageantry of Christmas recall Christmas in England during the reign of Queen Victoria as a “time stirred up by a great hustle and bustle for ordinary folks preparing a bountiful holiday” (74). The serious eating began about 1:00 p.m. with an elaborate tea at 5 o’clock (Fillmore 76). The meal laid out on the table by Mrs. Joe differs little from that described in Pageantry only Pip’s sister adds a bit more: “leg of pickled pork with greens, a pair of roast stuffed fowls, a handsome mince pie, a beautiful, round, compact pork pie, and the pudding”. Mrs. Joe put the pudding on to boil the day before, and Pip had to stir it on Christmas Eve “with a copper-stick, from seven to eight by the Dutch clock” (Dickens 12). Mrs. Joe presents each course with a touch of pomp and circumstance beginning with the leg of pickled pork and the greens (Dickens 22).
Mrs. Joe’s leg of pickled pork comes from a long tradition of preserving meat, an essential process because of a lack of refrigeration to keep it bacteria free. Preservation by salt and/or brine curing (pickling) yields the best results (Tannahill 210). TheWorld Atlas of Food notes that the British had not acquired an art of resourceful pork cooking, so pickling seemed to work best in the nineteenth century (Hale 82). Pip’s sister displays her wealth and motivation with a no-expenses-spared dinner for her honored guests because pickling meat requires extra money and time. A scarcity of salt and spices increases the meat’s cost. Spices such as peppercorns and cloves add extra expense to the already expensive meat, so wives have to be mindful not to waste precious salt and spices on poor cuts of meat such as tough, stringy mutton, hence the saying, “That sheep’s not worth his salt” (Tannahill 212). The extra time involved in pickling meat includes pounding and smashing the large, lumpy salt, (Tannahill 210) and days of planning, because the curing process in pickling takes two to five days, and the spiced brine must be changed daily to prevent spoilage (Kerr 25). Mrs. Joe serves the pickled pork and greens as the first course along with the roast stuffed fowl (Dickens 22).
In the Literary Gourmet, Linda Wolfe names roast goose as the favorite fowl served on the Victorian Christmas table (151). The eating of goose on ritual occasions or seasonal feast days comes to Western Europe directly from the Celts and Germanic peoples (Toussaint-Samat 337). Mrs. Joe, likely, offers her family and guests a goose that she first rubbed with butter, flour and salt then browned in hot grease to seal the juices in before roasting (Wolfe 152). Recall Pip and Joe warming themselves at the chimney corner in the kitchen (Dickens 7). The chimney in a wooden country house, like the Gargery’s, rose above the roof from the kitchen where women of the era cooked their meals. Families gathered in the kitchen for its warmth as well. Mrs. Joe probably roasted her Christmas fowl before a brisk fire without the use a pan, but rather something like a large skewer, and she had to baste the bird often before its own juices began to flow (Wolfe 152). Like other women in her region of southeast England, around Kent, Mrs. Joe roasted the fowl with stuffing inside made of the goose’s liver, breadcrumbs, onions, sage, butter, egg yolk, salt and pepper (Wolfe 153). After Mrs. Joe’s meat courses, her diners still have more than half of the whole meal left to consume, and next comes the mince pie.
Pip stole mincemeat from a jar in the pantry (Dickens 15). Mrs. Joe had already made the “handsome mince pie”, so she did not notice any missing (Dickens 22). Mincemeat has its origins in thirteenth century England when the aristocracy kept large amounts of dried fruits in their larders because varying climate made the storage of fresh fruit impossible. In addition to the variety it added, dried fruits served to disguise meat past its prime. Mrs. Joe likely served it because of tradition, and almost everybody in England continues to eat mince pies at Christmas, presently (Hale 86). The World Atlas of Food cites “Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management of 1856-1861” as having the original mincemeat recipe, which bakers continue to use today. It includes raisins, currants, lean rump steak, beef suet, sugar, candied citron peel, lemon peel, orange peel, nutmeg, apples and brandy all mixed and stored in glass jars to mature for about two weeks (87). The Kerr Home Canning and Freezing book written more than a century later offers the same basic recipe as well (25). However, Kerr promotes the use of a pressure canner, 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. I have found this much too long as the juices tend to flow out of the jars, so I have opted to freezing my annual mince made from my Native American Grandmother’s recipe. Mincemeat’s function, besides serving as a sweet treat, lay in its relatively long shelf life, essential in not having adequate refrigeration (Davidson 507). At Pip’s Christmas dinner, the mince pie came just before the “savory pork pie”.
Before Mrs. Joe serves her next to the last item on the menu, she coyly teases her guests, Mr. Wopsle and the Hubbles, with the portly Uncle Pumblechook’s gift of a pork pie. Lucky for Pip, the teasing delays his sister’s discovery of the missing pie. Just as Mrs. Joe is about to discover the missing pie, soldiers, looking for the blacksmith to construct leg irons, interrupt the grand dinner. Thankful at the interruption, Pip thinks of the convict out on the marshes hungrily consuming the pie (Dickens 30). The British pork pie originates from a medieval tradition, but the practice has changed little in modern times. Fresh pork seasoned with salt, pepper and lots of sage goes into a hot watercrust pastry case made with boiling salted water, flour and lard heavily kneaded for strength. The pie, baked in a three-pint basin, measures about eight inches in diameter and four inches high. When the pie finishes baking, the baker pours rich stock from the trimmings through a hole with a funnel. The stock congeals when the pie cools. Pip’s convict enjoys the pork pie cold just as anyone in Britain would eat it (Davidson 624). Magwitch does exonerate Pip’s thievery, as he is being led to the prison ship, by claiming to have stolen the “wittles” himself. Magwitch offers this gesture to honor Pip for his generosity. Sadly, for Mrs. Joe, the soldiers’ interruption did overshadow her presentation of the final item on the feast menu: the pudding.
The Pageantry of Christmas illustrates a scene of “Plump Molly Dumpling,” as the epitome of a chubby Victorian housewife plunging her Christmas pudding, cradled in a large white bag, into boiling water (75). Like Molly Dumpling, Mrs. Joe uses a pudding cloth to hold the pudding while it cooks in a boiling liquor bath. Her predecessors had to use the stomach or entrails of a sheep or pig to hold the pudding while it cooked, similar to Scottish Haggis, which is not sweet. The guts were only available at the time of the animal’s slaughter, which did not necessarily coincide with Christmas (Wilson 283). The Christmas pudding recipe dates back hundreds of years before Mrs. Joe put hers on the table. The recipe varies from region to region with base ingredients that do not change: breadcrumbs, sugar, rich dried fruits, nuts, spices and suet (Hale 87). Pudding sounds similar to mincemeat without the meat but with flour. Roz Denny notes that most cooks begin their puddings six weeks before Christmas for thorough mingling of the ingredients’ flavors (34). Mrs. Joe may have rushed her pudding only beginning it the day before (Dickens 12), but Dickens relates the scene with lively beauty.
The author describes the meals in Great Expectations in ways that conjure visions of happiness and grief, and they invite questions about their origins. Pip and Joe’s humble teas, served by the bitter Mrs. Joe, date back twenty years before their time as a remedy to quell hunger between the long hours of lunch and dinner. Menu items of the teas reflect the household incomes and range from only tea-and-bread to elaborate menus including sweet cakes, scones, butter, jam, and sandwiches. Pip’s teas mostly consist of bread-and-butter with a mug of tea, but when he has tea at Miss Havisham’s, he receives cold meat, a sign of the recluse’s wealth. The shape of Mrs. Joe’s bread loaf, the Coburg, hints at her place of regional residence, a southeast England countryside, and cheese and dairy products provide vital protein, as a white meat, to Pip’s diet even though he must consume his milk watered-down. The scene with the most tradition, pomp and circumstance shows Mrs. Joe presenting a Christmas meal to friends and family. The meal demonstrates a bountiful household graced with a clever and hardworking mistress.
Necessity-becomes-tradition describes each item on the Christmas menu. Pickling pork gives it a longer shelf life at the same time imparting flavor to an otherwise mild meat. Sweet dried fruits disguise spoiling meat while providing tastes to satisfy the sweet tooth, and the fruity mass of the Christmas pudding gives everyone at the table something to anticipate. Pip’s world can be beautiful at times thanks to the delicious meal scenes.
Next time you read a book, if it features food, try creating the recipe. It may be fun. Also, I have a works cited list if you’re curious. Thank you for reading.
Before I get into this very deep subject, I share with you one of the blooms of my hibiscus shrub. I have it pruned into a topiary shape, and it gives us two to three blooms a day. We eat our breakfast on the front patio with the blooms in the morning in order to begin the day with its joyous brightness.
I work in education, and have done for nearly 30 years. My focus continues to be advocating for underrepresented populations in education. At one time, I worked in adult education. Then I worked in community education and research. Today, my title is director of intercultural learning. That means I teach around a variety of topics to “normalize” human difference. I offer these concepts to get them out into the world:
Language Used That Further Separates Us
Preface: It is not about “saying the right thing.” Rather we must understand the meaning (etymology) or the semantics (formal, lexical, and conceptual) in the words we use. We tend to think that language is fluid. Meaning of words takes on different meanings in different eras. Systemic words tend to carry historical influences. When certain words become part of the lexicon, they tend to be “normalized” to the larger society, whether or not they have negative connotations.
Not an exhaustive list, I present the concepts of the following words to give us pause and to allow us to think of their historical meanings in our work to increase representative demographics in our students, faculty, staff, and administration at KSU. After all, the intended outcome of our work focuses on erasing the barriers to acquiring college degrees and thriving in global economies who have historically excluded identities.
We are not here to “deal with diversity and inclusion.” We are here to build relationships with one another to support students for maximal academic and social experiences.
“Minority” – The term further minoritizes historically excluded populations. Could we use the term, “historically excluded populations?” The word, “minority” suggests “lesser than.” No one wants to be referred as a psychologically pejorative term, “lesser than.” It sets a life of low self-esteem and low social expectations of those in a majority.
“Marginalized” – A dominant power minoritizes groups by setting a standard for social, financial and governing expectations from an individualistic cultural pattern vantage point. Groups from individualistic societies tend to marginalize groups from collective societies because of different approaches to social and economic “norms.” See Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s Values Orientations. As we know, majority powers set the cultural and behavioral norms for all the people living in such a society, with the exception of Apartheid era South Africa. In that case, the non-majority White power worked to set a social standard for the majority demographic.
“Inclusion” – In order to advance the concept of “inclusion,” we must understand the history of exclusion with its laws, policies, and practices that exclude one population in favor of another as an active part of societal and institutional cultures. Some of those historical and present laws include Extreme Climate Theory, Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, Indian Removal Act of 1830, Homestead Act of 1862 (You must be Christian in order to receive and own land), Japanese Relocation Act, Redlining in housing, and the 21st Century Muslim ban, etc.
When we speak of being a Land Grant Institution, think of what we say. From a historical point of view, the Land Grant Act of July 1862 promoted that it was “Education for the common man.” Who was the “common man?” Natives were not labeled “human” until 1873 and not allowed to be citizens until 1924. President Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation six months later, January 1, 1863. In both cases, the majority referred to men as “bucks.” Women had equally dismissive labels, such as “squaws and apes.”
When we say, equitable representation across human identities, we do not assign a majority power. Instead, we demonstrate an authentic desire to assure that all voices and identities contribute to institutional and cultural structures.
When we use the word, “inclusion,” it denotes a dominant or majority power or culture allowing others to participate in power, cultural, and social structures. Perhaps we can strive for building a culture of “belonging” for our students and other.
As school psychologist, Bengu Erguner-Takinalp, says, Belonging is more than ‘tolerance,’ accepting,’ or ‘inclusion.’ Belonging means we feel connected, important, valued, part of a group, which we call, ‘our group,’ ‘our program,’ ‘our community!’”
“Diversity” – This term tends to be synonymous with people of color and leaves out other historically marginalized groups (LGBTQ, physical and mental disability, etc.). May we discuss simple human difference, and the thought that, “I am not different from you. I am different like you” (Octavius Black).
In her article about educational and retail institutions, Jennifer Rittner writes, “Diversity itself is a numbers game, easily addressed through clever, conspicuous hiring practices and even more clever promotional photography. Representation means that because we may not always be physically present, but our pedagogies, industry spaces, and frameworks are activated in our interests.” Rittner reiterates, “Inclusion is about more than just those of us who have achieved the platform for speaking out. Representation requires that we all stay vigilant and attentive to all of those not represented in our own work”.
“Culture” – Those practices, beliefs, behaviors, and ways-of-knowing of each human being. Every human possesses cultural identities. Culture is not something to denote ethnicity or people from another country. We develop as human beings, and that development comes from family, community, state, national, and world cultures.
“Multi-cultural” – Since the word, “culture” has come into the lexicon meaning, students of color, this term tends to feed the notion that people of color are the only people who have a culture! Since every human has many cultural identities, we could say that everyone is multi-cultural. Using this term, also, can exclude others with historically excluded or under-represented identities, i.e., LGBTQIA, those with different physical and learning abilities, and others with whom we do not include when we say, “multi-cultural.”
Race In everyday discourse, the word race invokes phenotypical features such as skin color, eye shape, hair texture, facial features, and so on. However, scientists generally agree that race is not a concept determined by biological evidence. In other words, categorization of different races cannot be verified by biological constructs such as genetic characteristics. Arguing that any differentiation of races, if they exist at all, depends on relative, rather than absolute, constancy of genes and raising a problem of classifying the human species in racial terms, Goldberg (1993) states: Human beings possess a far larger proportion of genes in common than they do genes that are supposed to differentiate them racially. Not surprisingly, we are much more like each other than we are different. It has been estimated that, genetically speaking, the difference in difference — the percentage of our genes that determines our purportedly racial or primarily morphological difference — is 0.5 percent. (p. 67)
More recently, the Human Genome Project has shown that human beings share 99.9% of their genes, leaving only 0.1% for potential racial difference in a biological sense (Hutchinson, 2005).
Allan, B. & Smylie, J. (2015). First Peoples, second class treatment: The role of racism in the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Toronto, ON: the Wellesley Institute.
Ergüner-Tekinalp, B., Ilieva, V., Williams, K. (2011). Refugee Students in Public Schools: Guidelines for Developing Inclusive School Counseling Programs. Journal of Counseling Research and Practice, 28, 2.
Kubota, R. and Angel Lin. (2006). Race and TESOL: Introduction to Concepts and Theories.
TESOL Quarterly. Vol. 40, No. 3.
Martinez, E. (1998). De colores means all of us: Latina views for a multi-colored century. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Middleton, R.A., Ergüner-Tekinalp., B., Williams, N., Stadler, H., & Dow, J . (2011). Racial Identity Development and Multicultural Counseling Competencies of White Mental Health Practitioner. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 11, 2, 201-218.
Hills, M. D. (2002). Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s Values Orientation Theory. General Psychological Issues in Cultural Perspectives. 3.
Wilcox, Jill. (2016). The hijacking of the words, diversity and inclusion. ( I am not able to insert the URL here)
Millennials have a different definition of diversity and inclusion
One of my gentle readers, thank you SLA, asked if I could show a picture of the San Juan Mountain Range as it’s viewed from my hometown. Can you imagine looking at that every day? Such an auspicious sight to behold. Though, this blog has nothing to do with this magnificent mountain range, it is part of who I am. Perhaps I shall engage some experts for another blog, my brother Lee and sister Eileen. For they climb these great “hills” just about every weekend. Yes. I was up on those ranges in my younger years with my brothers Dan and Lee, but I don’t get to there as often as I’d like. I live a long day’s drive from my hometown and there is no easy way to get there by plane. If you visit these lovely mountains, leave them better than you found it. They are a precious resource.
About two years ago, I wrote about a crazy prolific basil plant. This year, my garden has proven to be basil prolific. Plus, I have a few other herbs from which to create: rosemary and thyme, too. Of course, the obvious is, pesto. That wonderful mixture of basil, olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and a little salt and pepper.
This year, I decided to try other things such as OGB: Olive oil, garlic and basil, used for a bread dip. It goes into the freezer quite well. You may want to add just a touch of pepper flakes and a little salt to make it even more scrumptious.
Another way to preserve the basil, was to blend with olive oil for sauteing mussels or any other light fish. Just add garlic. Yes. It’s a bit different from pesto. It stays as green and fresh as the day you put it in. I froze one and refrigerated the other. I call it, “basil oil.”
Here is something new for me: Basil Rosemary Pesto. I give the ingredients without measurement, because I just put it together until it looked and smelled green and fragrant.
Large bunch of rinsed and drained fresh basil (three big hands full!)
About five long rosemary sprigs (pull the leaves off the stalk)
About 1 cup (236.59 mL) olive oil and a half cup (118.29 mL) sunflower oil
4 big cloves of garlic (I threw in about four small cloves of wild garlic, too!)
1 cup shelled pistachios (I didn’t have pine nuts)
10 juniper berries (from the Colorado juniper). Since I had no pine nuts, the juniper berries added that nice “piney” taste.
Parmesan Romano cheese to taste
For this batch, I added a small piece of a hot pepper from my garden just to add a bit of spice, but not too much! It freezes quite nicely, and I keep one in the refrigerator for a spoonful here and there in my cooking. Notice the little hot pepper in the upper right corner. It’s a hot little devil, so I only used a tiny bit.
So, you can use pesto as pizza sauce. Just spread it on your dough before you add the vegetables and/or the meats. It can be a subtle flavoring for a pot roast or chicken. It makes a wonderful spread on hot bread.
I think it’s a near perfect food. Basil is an antiviral. Olive oil is good for your “happy” fats. That’s how I remember that HDL is the good cholesterol. “Happy” is my mnemonic for the “good” cholesterol. Parmesan and the nuts are a good source of protein. Garlic is said to be a vasodilator. There you have it. Pesto is a great food!
Finally, I leave you with one of the dishes made this week with my pesto. It’s a simple vegetable pizza. I used a fresh tomato paste (simmered with garlic until thick) and pesto as the base for the cheese and vegetables. It was yummy with a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Thank you for reading.
One would have to live under a rock in order not to acknowledge the global pain and suffering at the moment. Since early March we hear the daily COVID-19 reports from countless sources. Some we believe and send us into the realms of disbelief.
My featured image, this week, shows the baby bunny, a kit, living in my backyard. His favorite nourishment appears to be crisp, dandelion greens and dandelion stalks. Since both our dogs died last year, I am delighted that this little creature stays in our yard. Watching him (I really cannot identify his gender) gorge himself on clover and dandelions while viewing the world around him, reminds me to engage in a quiet pace, enjoy my surroundings, eat my food contemplatively (Okay, I’m anthropomorphizing said bunny!), and be aware of my surroundings with its joys and its, possible, dangers. Good advice from the bunny, considering world events of late.
My goal, here, does not center on my judgement of the current world and U.S. events. I assure you, I have the full range of emotions around the effect of COVID-19 and senseless killings. You don’t need to read those. Rather, I hope to offer comments regarding self care and how we may focus on ourselves in a healthful way. I’m sure you’ve read lots of information on mindfulness. Here, I offer another resource. A couple of friends wrote an Extension publication called, Everyday Mindfulness. It comes complete with the “Fact Sheet,” which the actual publication, and with a leader’s guide, in case you want to teach it. If you want more information on how to gain free access to the publication, just let me know in a comment.
First, let us look at what mindfulness can be:
» Living in the present moment/awareness of the present moment — paying close attention to thoughts, physical sensations, and our surroundings (Like the bunny in my backyard!).
» Observing personal experiences of mindfulness, being completely focused on a project
reading a book, doing a hobby, or playing a sport. This heightened awareness is mindfulness.
» Taking a few deep breaths — becoming fully aware of the present moment.
» Having nonjudgmental awareness in which each thought, feeling, and sensation is acknowledged and accepted in their present state. This steady and non-reactive attention usually differs from the way we routinely operate in the world.
» Paying attention, precisely, to the present moment without judgment
Sometimes, delighting in the little things can help us to be more focused, though we can benefit from setting aside specific time for expressing anger and other emotions. When we “schedule” such time for judgement, anger, sadness, and guilt, we can focus our energies for the difficult times. The next step would be to schedule time for joy, celebration, and the plan-of-action for addressing the events that bring on anger, sadness, guilt, and judgement. When we call ourselves to action, we address the helplessness that often accompanies injustices and inequities.
This photo is meant to help us imagine a peaceful scene to promote mindfulness. It’s three of my four grandchildren enjoying Canada geese swimming while an elder feeds them.
Back to mindfulness. We follow seven principles. They take practice, but it’s worth the effort in your journey toward self-care:
Non-judging: Be a neutral observer to each experience.
Patience: Allow each experience to emerge at its own pace.
Beginner’s mind: Avoid bringing in what you know to the current moment and try
experiencing it as if it is the first time.
Trust: Believe in your intuition and your ability to see things in a new way.
Non-striving: Avoid the need for winning or losing or striving for a purpose — it is about “being” and “non-doing.”
Acceptance: See things as they are in the present moment.
Letting go: Take the time to detach from your usual feelings and thoughts.
You may ask, “How can we do this when the world is hurting and in crisis? My answer: We can better serve others and be the best for the world once we have addressed our own physical and emotional needs.” It is not selfish. It is good practice.
I snapped this shot on one of my walks not far from my house. In a world of pain, suffering, and ugliness, somedays, I have to focus on beauty. Thank you for reading.
I snapped the featured image at my former house in another part of the state in which I lived. I love the way the foliage framed this bird, which now I can’t remember if it is a robin. The color is not there, and I am looking at backside of the feathered creature. Of course, my featured images do not necessarily have anything to do with my story. I just like to post interesting pictures. Today, I shall discuss language.
Language is a beautiful thing, no matter the mother tongue. I continue to be amazed at the sounds, the phonemes of languages. The way the words tumble in the throat, the mouth, on the tongue, and over the teeth are like music to me. One time I was at an international bike race in Madrid, Spain. I stood in a crowd of spectators. I heard Castilian, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian! Total ear candy to hear and experiences all those wonderful languages. That was more than 10 years ago, and that was about the time I began to collect words. I have a little book in which I often write some of those words. I don’t always have the book with me, so it’s missing many great words. Most of the words are in English, but many are in other languages. Then, the English language dictionary is a product of, roughly, 75 different languages. I learned this phrase from a friend, Linda, who is a writer: “English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, and knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar!” I don’t know who originated this thought, but it does explain why speakers of other languages often struggle with phonetics and grammar when learning English.
When I collect words, often, I write them in this little book I carry in my hand bag.
Here are some of my words. Say them, and think of how they sound, and what parts of your mouth, tongue, throat, lips, or teeth you use when saying them.
Clostridium Botulinum – the bacteria that contributes to food poisoning
Senegalese – People from Senegal (Beautiful people from a Francophone country in Africa)
Evapotranspiration – The process of water transferring from land to the atmosphere, from soil, surfaces, and plants.
Heuristic – Hands-on learning
Agitized Dolomite – Simply, flint. There is a great place north of Amarillo, Texas, called the Alibates Flint Quarries. It’s a great place to see this lovely mineral.
Monongahela – One of the rivers that converge around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It meets the Allegheny (another one of my favorite words), and the Ohio rivers. Pittsburgh is a lovely city, and the rivers offer a spectacular view! The names of the rivers likely come from Indigenous languages of the Lenape peoples.
Hamor Gador – This is Arabic for “You big donkey!” Be sure to roll your “Rs” when you say the term.
Epigentics – (Spell check does not like these words!) – It’s the study of changes in organisms that do not involve alterations to the DNA sequence.
Be assured, that I’m not an expert in all the discipline from which I gather these words. I have picked them up along the way of my reading.
Forsythia – A lovely, yellow bush that blooms in the spring. It’s in the olive family.
Crepuscular – For 22 years, I was a volunteer teacher at a zoo. My specialty was birds and geographical distribution of animals. Some of our education animals (we called them, “ambassadors”) were active, primarily at twilight (dawn and dusk). They included hedgehogs and chinchillas. Other animals, not in our education program, include skunks and bobcats. I am a hunter, and the best time to harvest a deer is at dawn and dusk.
Geosynchronous – Awww…One of my most favorite, being a geographer, is when a satellite’s orbit is with that of earth’s rotation. (Geo, meaning earth). Another one of my favorite geography words is, Cartography, map-making.
Shukriya – is Urdu for “thank you.” It’s pronounced Shoe-cree-yah. Lightly roll the “r.” It’s a lovely sound. I learned a few Urdu words from a group of Pakistani farmers visiting the experiment station where I used to work. It was great fun working with them.
Yikes! – This is American English slang for “Oh, my!” Perhaps it can be likened to the Swedish, “Ufda!” or the Yiddish, “Oy Vey!” Some of the others are escaping me at the moment.
Sebastian Cabot – This is the proper name of a British actor who no longer lives among us. I saw him in a weekly television show called, Family Affair. He played the butler to the bachelor who inherits a deceased relative’s children. I just like the poetry in the sound of the name, Sebastian Cabot.
Speaking of names, I have a friend who recently married (I was the officiant of said marriage!). Anyway she took the name of her spouse, and her name became, Christina Rose, and that’s another given name that has a nice rhythm to it. I feel like one could conduct, with a baton, when one utters this name.
I like the rhythm of names, bi-nomial-ly speaking, especially when there two syllables to one of the names followed by one syllable or vice versa. For example, my own children’s names are Stevie Dean and Riki Lee (may her name be for a blessing). I’m not sure that I did that deliberately (since it was nearly 4- years ago), but I know I’ve always liked the rhythm of words and names.
There are all forms of words and their sounds. Perhaps another blog could focus on words that phonetically imitate sounds that describe them. One of my favorites is oink! It’s the sound a pig makes, but when one says it, it’s hard not to think of a pig’s, sort of, greeting!
As long as I’m going for random, here’s a picture of another favorite: rock hunting. I snapped this photo while rock hunting on the Arkansas River in Colorado, not far from the headwaters of this river that starts in Colorado, runs through Kansas to Arkansas (Ar-can-saw). Kansans call it the “Ar-Kanzaz” river, which took me a bit to get used to when I moved to this state 30 years ago.
Thank you for reading. Next time, I will tell you about some of my latest kitchen tests.