Life's Sweets and Spices.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Life's Sweets and Spices.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ride of Silence and event that is very dear to me. What is the Ride of Silence? It is a silent funeral procession on bikes and memorial to every cyclist that has lost their life in a traffic collision.
From the Ride of Silence Webpage:
From the Ride of Silence Webpage:
THE RIDE OF SILENCE WILL NOT BE QUIET
On May 15, 2013 at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.
In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. (Read the full history here...)
The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.
The ride I participated in was held in Irvine, California. Starting off in New Zealand at 7 pm on May 15 and moving across the globe at 7 pm 26 countries had organized rides. The ride is silent, no talking the thought being that you remember those who have lost a life and you appreciate that you are still here able to enjoy yours. Riding in silence is not an easy task for me. Riding in silence does give you a sense of appreciation of what is around you. Irvine is not my cycling city. It is a great city to cycle in and has been recognized as such.
What makes a city a good cycling city. Good paved roads, bicycle paths and a police force that is willing to promote safe cycling both through motorist and cycling programs. In Irvine when a child is cited for not wearing a helmet or riding against traffic, the child is welcomed to participate in bicycle safety classes.
Cycling safety is both the responsibility of motorists and cyclists. For motorists the do's and do nots are obvious. Drive sober, do not be a distracted driver. For cyclists obey the rules of the road, (you would be shocked at how many cyclists run red lights or stop signs) and be alert. A simple pot hole can throw you into traffic.
My heart breaks every time I hear of a cyclist that has been killed or injured in a traffic collision. A dear friend of mine was left on the side of the road after being hit by a cyclist. Thankfully another group of cyclists found him and called 911. The car's license was tangled in his bike. When approached by police at their home washing their car, the driver said they thought they hit a rock. Yes, my friend is recovering but that is not the point.
Accidents happen. Driving a motor vehicle is a huge responsibility. Is talking on the phone, texting a friend, gulping down your Starbucks worth injuring or taking the life of another human? It seems we are always multi-tasking. Whether your are driving or riding a bike you should not be multi-tasking (yes I have also seen cyclists talking on the phone while riding). Slow down and focus on your task at hand. A little attention may prevent a collision that could change the life of another human.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Sometimes I am amazed at how fortunate I am to receive books from publishers and Second Suns is no exception. This is one incredible story. What initially started off as a story about a sherpa led to the story about two doctors from very different parts of the world who set out to cure blindness and they are making progress.
(From the publisher) From the co-author of Three Cups of Tea comes the inspiring story of two very different doctors—one from the United States, the other from Nepal—united in a common mission: to rid the world of preventable blindness.
In this transporting book, David Oliver Relin shines a light on the work of Geoffrey Tabin and Sanduk Ruit, gifted ophthalmologists who have dedicated their lives to restoring sight to some of the world’s most isolated, impoverished people through the Himalayan Cataract Project, an organization they founded in 1995. Tabin was the high-achieving bad boy of Harvard Medical School, an accomplished mountain climber and adrenaline junkie as brilliant as he was unconventional. Ruit grew up in a remote Nepalese village, where he became intimately acquainted with the human costs of inadequate access to health care. Together they found their life’s calling: tending to the afflicted people of the Himalayas, a vast mountainous region with an alarmingly high incidence of cataract blindness.
Second Suns takes us from improvised plywood operating tables in villages without electricity or plumbing to state-of-the-art surgical centers at major American universities where these two driven men are restoring sight—and hope—to patients from around the world. With their revolutionary, inexpensive style of surgery, Tabin and Ruit have been able to cure tens of thousands—all for about twenty dollars per operation. David Oliver Relin brings the doctors’ work to vivid life through poignant portraits of patients helped by the surgery, from old men who cannot walk treacherous mountain trails unaided to cataract-stricken children who have not seen their mothers’ faces for years. With the dexterity of a master storyteller, Relin shows the profound emotional and practical impact that these operations have had on patients’ lives.
Second Suns is the moving, unforgettable story of how two men with a shared dream are changing the world, one pair of eyes at a time.
I absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Relin is a great author. I was rather saddened to learn to that amidst all the controversy that surrounded the veracity of Three Cups of Tea he had taken his life this past December. In Second Suns, Relin follows Tabin and Ruit throughout the Himalayas and Africa as they attempt to eradicate preventable blindness. The story of both of these men is an incredible story in itself. Ruit was born in a remote Nepalese village. As a bored little boy who always seemed to be getting into trouble his father hiked for days to take him to the closest school. Tabin is just a likeable eccentric. As a pre-med student he was introduced to mountain climbing and had a difficult time deciding whether attending classes or taking off for his next pitch was more important. Together these men performed cataract surgeries in some of the most remote areas with less than ideal medical conditions.
The book captures the joy of the thousands of patients who have their sight and lives restored. For many of these individuals having limited vision meant being confined to their rooms. There is no room for error on the side of a mountain if one cannot see where to put their foot. It is shameful to think that millions live in darkness when having their vision restored is an easy 10 minute procedure.
The book also focuses on the medical industry and their goal of making money vs. helping others. I recognize that we all need to pay the bills. However I find it despicable that lenses can be made in India and other countries for about $4 vs the cost of having them made in a Western country. In the beginning of Ruit career he trained under an Australian physician who exposed the marked different between medical care to Aborigines vs. whites. He died early from cancer but his dream to have lenses made at a fraction of the cost was fulfilled. Ruit and Tabin attend a conference in Hong Kong where many doctors are only interested in gathering the sag from large pharmaceutical companies and paying attention to devices that will increase their profits. As a keynote speaker Ruit who discusses how the surgery can be done safely and successfully Ruit's audience is a small group of 11 doctors.
I recently took this book on vacation with me as I wandered around on a French island off the coast of France enjoying beautiful sunsets. That I was reading a book about blindness as I watched a sunset was not lost on me. If there is one book to pick up this year this is the one. I was truly touched by it and appreciative of the skills, talent and generosity of both of these men. This is one book that you will enjoy and remember for a time to come. My copy is now in the hands of a French journalist who writes about humanitarian issues. She was my seatmate on the flight.
Thank you to Random House for providing me with a copy of the book.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
After spending the night in St. Brieuc in Brittany I headed on the road to the Granite Coast. St. Brieuc was a pleasant little town that had a wonderful market on Saturday morning. The day had started off raining and gray and I was hoping for clear skies as I made my way along the coast. About 40 minutes from St. Brieuc my wish was granted. As I drove down the road I saw this quaint little chapel overlooking the water.
Dreaming of France is hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog.
Friday, May 10, 2013
On my last trip to Brittany I spent all my time along the coastline. Not a day went by when I was not sniffing the sweet scent of the ocean. Briny and salty, fresh and no doubt cold. One day I was driving my car when I saw groups of people out on the beds. A closer look revealed that they were digging for clams.
I had never seen anyone digging for clams before. It proved to be quite popular.
I can only imagine how delicious these clams must taste. While I did not have any clams during my time in Brittany the seafood I ate was amazing. I am a huge fans of oysters and must say that I was indulging in a dozen oysters on the half shell on a daily basis.
This is my contribution to Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads and Saturday Snapshots hosted by At Home with Books. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online
Belle Ile en Mer in France. When Monet visited he turned a short trip into a 10 week trip painting 39 canvases of the rock formations. Orange Your're Glad It is Friday is hosted by Maria at Life's Sweets and Spices.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Paulita at An Accidental Blog.
PS does anyone know the name of the blog where the blogger is an American with a blog about Paris/France? She returns to France regularly to purchase linens. I believe she lives on the east coast. Thank you.