Sunday, December 31, 2006

Maya and the Canucks

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Maya's Canadian grandparents drove down to Pensacola. Everyone had a great time at the beach, fishing - even the zoo to see the animals! Baba also taught Maya and Melissa a Ukrainian Nursery Rhyme - Tosi, tosi!

Didi and Maya sat around our back porch getting to know birds, dogs, cats and squirrels.

The family adjusts to the new Sherpa snugli.

Baba and Maya hold each other in their favorite position - cheek to cheek!

Fluffy dogs, toy pianos, new dresses - hooray! We also took baby to Church for Christmas!

Who is going to help us change Maya's diapers and how can daddy and mommy go to the movies now that baba and didi are gone? Hopefully, we will visit together again soon.

Learning to Pose with a Spoon

Over the holidays Maya enjoyed learning to eat with a spoon. As you can see with baba and mommy's help she took to it like a real pro!
Here's Maya mastering the art of posing and putting a spoon in her mouth!
She's almost got it and becoming a real natural - better than the Gerber baby!

Maya at Tiffany's

Over the winter vacation we took Maya to the Pensacola art gallery. They had a show of Tiffany lamps! Here is Maya modeling under one of the Tiffany's.

We also took Maya to the show of twentieth century masters from the Cochran collection on display. They had Warhol's and De Koonings and Hockney and even Dali's optical illusion of Lincoln. Maya Loved it! This painting is alternatively called "Gala looking at the sea".

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fishing on the Gulf in December

Daddy took us to the beach today.

The waters were blue and warm and everyone loved watching the waves and taking pictures. We're very lucky to live on the Gulf of Mexico!

I even had some time to model for mommy while daddy went fishing.

I love to model for mommy

Daddy took a picture of mommy and me but then went to the water's edge to catch us a fish!

He cast his rod almost until almost sunset!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our Mayan Princess

Maya loves to wear the Mexican Mayan dress we bought her from the ancient Mayan City of Tulum.

Sometimes she is a very serious baby.

The intensity at which she looks at us is disarming.

Love shines forth from her heart.

Who sits with the delicate painted heart shape Mayan vase? Contemplating sun's rays or to whom she gives her heart?

Mayan Connections

Mayan Glyphic Writing (Left) and Mayan Glyph "Hunab Ku"(right). According to Mayan calendars on October 21, 2012, there will be an astronomical alignment of our sun and center of the Milky Way which will culminate on the winter solstice, December 21, 2012. On this date, the tail of the shadow serpent descending the northern steps of the pyramid at Chichenitza will be pointing exactly to the Pleiades star cluster which will be located straight over the structure.

As Melissa and I just returned from our Costa Maya trip, we were surprised at our old guide's photographic pictures of the precise solar alignments with the buildings architecture which occured on the winter solstice. Astronomers, architects and mathematicians were working toegher in a very organic and synergistic way with builders and the wider environment

The Mayas seemed to tie a lot their philosophy to what they observed in the heavens. They thought that the center of our galaxy was a "Cosmic Mother Womb" that gave birth to our world which went through cycles of birth, death and rebirth. October 21, 2012 will end one cycle and begin another. Perhaps this will be the time to visit Chichen Itza with the family for another vacation.

This weekend Melissa and I went to see Mel Gibson's Apocalypto for the opening night premiere. Apocalypto is a fascinating, beautiful, somewhat disturbing but also deeply metaphoric and realistic portrayal of the Maya shot incredibly and entirely in Yucatec Mayan. The landscape of the rainforest civilization is sublime. The movie begins with the quotation "A Great Civilization is not Conquered from Without Until It has Destroyed Itself from Within" (Will Durant).

I am currently finishing Micheal Coe's Breaking the Maya Code and about a quarter ways through Arthur Demarest's "Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization". Synergies.

Yuri Knorosov (b. Kharkiv, Ukraine),1922-1999, Key Paper in Breaking Maya Hieroglypic/Phonetic Code: 1952, "Drevnyaya pis’mennost’ Tsentral’noy Ameriki. (Ancient Writings of Central America)". Sovetskaya Etnografiya 3 (2): pp.100–118. Dresden Codex (1st 14 pages, 10 megs)

Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1909 -1985), Architect, Mayanist Scholar, Archeologist. Took her architectural training and turned this mathematical/drawing/imaginative ability and precision towards the ruins

Ruin Photograph, Proskouriakoff reconstruction

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Costa Maya, Ancient Mayan Rainforest civilizations

By a fortuitous set of coincidences, Melissa and I ended up last week in the jungles of the Yucatan and walled ancient ruins of Tulum. To arrive, we took a Carnival cruise from Mobile to the Mayan Riviera. It was a beautiful, subtle, symbolic trip. On our cruise ship there was a map on the dining room wall - Pensacola 400 years ago as a Spanish colony and a direct line south through the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan and Mayan Riviera. We were tracing a route more than 500 years old following Spanish, English, American and French Explorers, Conquistadors and archeologists to encounter both an ancient civilization and yet undiscovered part of my daughter's past.

Once we docked in Cozumel, Melissa and I made our way off ship running down a hurricane swept boardwalk onto a Ferry ride to mainland Mexico. We paid ten dollars (100 pesos) for the ferry (one way) and forty five minutes later after a rocky ride we found ourselves on the Mayan Riviera and small beautiful beach port - Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. Time would be of essence and we would have to be organized but I was confident that with Melissa's Spanish and my previous research we would be able to explore part of Maya's past.

Accosted by a friendly taxi driver, we quickly agreed to terms. Melissa explained to the driver where we wanted to go - the ancient Mayan Coastal City of Tulum. After a bit of haggling (300 pesos each way, and for an extra 100 pesos the cab driver would wait at the side of the road while took our chances in the jungle), we were on our way.

After a 45 ride, we found ourselves on the jungle's edge. For another 250 pesos we were able to secure an English Speaking guide, an old learned Mexican.

As the tour proceeded Melissa and I became enchanted with the old man. His spoken English was excellent and knowledge of the Maya extensive.

Our guide led us down paths and into the jungle pointing out herbal remedies. As the foliage became more dense, we approached a long wall with a narrow entrance which we had to bend to walk through.

This led to the walled open ancient city and remains of the lost ancient coastal temples of Tulum.

Our guide led us through ancient ruins, explained Mayan architectural design construction and fertility rites.
He also showed pictures from his wallet on precise solar alignment and architectural synergies that the Mayans were able to effect between architects, astronomers and mathematicians.

After an amazing tour, with our remaining time, the guide left Melissa and I to ourselves to wander the ruins and up mountain built vertiginous temples and down to cliffside beaches.

The walled ancient city of Tulum was built around high rising vertiginous cliffs of the sea coast and beautiful womb like blue waters.

Winds surrounded us thousands of feet below. Here, human sacrifice was conducted, descending Gods worshipped and a complex ancient society conducted its affairs for more than a thousand years before dissapearing almost completely.

We descended a shaky set of stairs towards the beach, spent a few moments lingering on the sand and blue water, dreaming together of our ancient Ukrainian Honduran American daughter.

What would Maya become and would she ever have the chance to walk these sands? Would we ever have the chance to bring her to this paradisal place.

Now, that we are back in the states and I am renewing my passport, this all seems a dream, Playa del Maya, my beautiful young Mayan treasure.

Will there be more opportunities for us here? What further adventures await us together?

Never in my life had I dreamed that I would be walking with a young wife exploring ancient city Mayan temples, thinking on new Mayan lives, lives past and lives to come.