Krishna, The Lovable Thief

Krishna

On Saturday evening I had the opportunity to attend a performance of traditional Indian dance presented by the SaiNrityalaya School for Dance. The performers used beautiful traditional dance to tell the story of the life of the Hindu god Krishna.

Now if you are like me this brings images of hippies dressed as monks passing out flowers and chanting Hara Krishna. The story was told through dance by the young girls and teenagers of our Indian community. And through their grace and beauty performing this ancient dance to tell the story “Tales of a Lovable Thief,” I came to know a little about the life of Krishna. I can’t share the performance with you but I will share the story of Krishna.

Krishna’s mother was Devaki, sister of the evil ruler King Kamsa, at Devaki’s wedding the fortune tellers told King Kamsa Devaki’s 8th child will be the kings undoing, so King Kamsa ordered Devaki and her husband to be imprisoned and he ordered all their children to be murdered. Devaki gave birth to her 8th child in prison on a stormy night, they knew the child was special, divine when the guards fell into a sleep so that Krishna’s father could carry him to safety across the Yamuna river. In the village of Gokul Krishna’s father exchanged children and left Krishna to be raised by Yeshoda.

Krishna was a beautiful child, he played and created joy and blissfulness in the village. He danced and played his flute. Krishna grew and was known for his pranks and he loved butter, which was a mainstay for the village, Krishna would eat all the butter his mother made and he was not above stealing the butter of his neighbors.  Krishna would play pranks on everyone; he would pull the girl’s long braids, throw mud on their clothes and offer them fruit only to grab it away from them. But all the girls in the village were drawn to him and his golden flute. The women would go to his mother and try to tell her about the trouble Krishna was causing, but they were not angry because Krishna was very loved by all.

Krishna performed many acts as a young man which established him as a natural leader in his community. He showed extraordinary prowess and wisdom in handling many situations.

In one incident a poisonous snake was living in the Yamuna River, the snake poisoned the water, and nothing could grow in or near the river. No one could go near the river; the people of the village Vrindavan were suffering. Krishna jumped into the river and wrestled with the snake and subdued it there by saving the people of Vrindavan.

Krishna is pictured as being loved by all, and he stole the hearts of the young girls, but it was not his physical beauty that made him so attractive but his aura, the electrifying energy that surrounded him. It is said that the outer most ring of Krishna’s aura is blue the color signifying all-inclusiveness. Anything that is vast and beyond your perception tends to be blue, like the sky or the ocean, this explains why Krishna is pictured as having blue skin. Krishna’s energy was too strong that it made him not only attractive to the women but also to his sworn enemies who  would give in to him,

Krishna loved life; he loved all around him, the people, the cows, the trees the river and the Mount Govardhan all which sustained the village and made life happen there. Krishna celebrated the ordinary, he lived his life as if it was a festival.

Understand Krishna

To understand and experience Krishna one needs to understand life as a celebration. To explore the path of Krishna you need to have a heart full of love, a joyful mind, and a vibrant body. You must be willing to dance with life, dance with your enemies and dance the dance of life with your loved ones.

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El Greco, Greek Food Extradinaire.

El Greco
King Leonides

 

I found a Mediterranean Gem on Main Street which serves Greek food from the Gods. El Greco!

El Greco Café has been a local restaurant located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida for 27 years.  They are committed to serving well-prepared meals that meet the highest standards of quality, freshness, and seasonality, and combine both modern-creative and traditional Greek styles of cooking.

My wife and I try to go on the regular basis on the last Thursday of the month when an excellent well known local band Ellada play many of the favorite Greek tunes. It doesn’t take long before the customers Greek or non-Greeks are up dancing or trying to learn the dance. This restaurant is quickly packed and a long line of patrons wait to be seated.

This party lasts into the late evening as the amazing foods, wines, and desserts are devoured.

Here are some of my favorite dishes at El Greco,

EL GRECO PLATTER
Chicken skewers, spanakopita, Kalamata olives, tzatziki, garnished with fire roasted peppers, beets, dolmathakia, and pita bread.
MEZE PLATTER
Chicken skewers, Souvlaki skewers, Gyro meat, Tzatziki and pita bread, garnished with feta, tomatoes, pepperonis, and olives.
LAMB SHANK
Braised Lamb shank, slowly roasted with vegetables in tomatoes sauce.
AN AMAZING GREEK SOUP,
Avgolemono
The famous Greek soup at its best. Chicken, lemon, and rice.
An amazing Greek soup,
Not to mention the favorite part of the meal the DESSERT!
BAKLAVA
A traditional Mediterranean dessert. Crispy layers of phyllo and walnut, drizzled with honey syrup.
 GALAKTOBOUREKO
Sweet creamy custard with hints of lemon, in a phyllo crust. Drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon.
And my favorite.
RICE PUDDING
Freshly made rice pudding, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.     Hmmmmmm!
And the Pièce de résistance,
Greek coffee made the way the Greeks make it.
When you leave El Greco with a full belly, the Greek tunes going through your mind, a smile on your face and an amazing experience that you will not forget. You only thought going through your mind is the need to come back to this Greek Mediterranean Gem.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Event at Lakewood Ranch

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning had an amazing showing of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game against the Detroit Redwings on a screen that showed the action pack Hockey game.

Downtown Lakewood Ranch closed their streets as the spirit of the hockey game slowly overtook the area. At first, the restaurants were dead and a few lawn chairs were put up in front of the screen. Then as the time came closer to the start of the game lawn chairs started to appear everywhere. Hundreds of lawn chairs pop up everywhere so there was hardly any room to move. In addition, restaurants in view of the screen showing the hockey game filled up to capacity.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. It is a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Lightning has one Stanley Cup championship in their history, in 2003–04. The team is often referred to as the Bolts, and the nickname is used on the current third jersey. The Lightning plays home games at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

The owner of the Lightning is Jeffrey Vinik, while Steve Yzerman serves as general manager. The team is currently coached by Jon Cooper, who has led the team since 2013.

It was a vision of Phil and Tony Esposito to bring professional hockey to the Sun State. They decided to put their efforts to start the process in the city of Tampa in Central West Florida.

The Lightning first took the ice on October 7, 1992, playing in Tampa’s tiny 11,000-seat Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. They surprised everyone when they won their first game with Chicago Black Hawks 7–3 with four goals by little-known Chris Kontos.

Ironically, a future Captain of Tampa Bay Lightning was Martin St-Louis. Through my mother’s family, I was the first cousin to Marcil St-Louis.  Related to Martin St-Louis I doubt it but it would have been nice to get free tickets.

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Sugar Shacks (Cabane à Sucre) a Must Visit

Sugar Shacks
Maple Syrup Sticks

Sugar Shacks (Cabane à Sucre) is a must visit when you visit the Province of Quebec during the fading days of winter.

Sugar Shacks and Maple Syrup

Sugar Shacks
Production of Maple Syrup

The maple syrup production process gets its start in springtime. That is when the nights are still cold and the water is absorbed from the soil into the maple tree. Therefore, when the day breaks, the warmer temperature creates pressure that forces the water back down to the bottom of the tree. This makes it easy to collect the precious maple sap. The dripping of the Sap which falls into the hanging pots is gathered over 12 to 20 days. This is usually done in early March to late April. All depending on the region.

Many people ask how many times can you tap a Maple tree? It is calculated based on the tree’s diameter and health and growth rate. Any maple tree that measures a minimum of 8 inches in diameter or more can be tapped.  Larger trees are tapped more than once (for every additional 20 cm) during maple harvest season. As a matter of fact, up to a maximum of three taps per tree and season. Furthermore, enforcing these strong regulations, the tapping does not affect the growth of maple trees.

The Best Sugar Shacks

Even though there are numerous Sugar Shacks (Cabane à Sucre) in Quebec. These Sugar Shacks (Cabane à Sucre) have been voted some of the best in the Province of Quebec. Therefore, I listed these Gems in alphabetical order. In Addition, I listed them numbered expensive to less expensive shacks. One is the most expensive.

1.Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon

5.Cabane à sucre Bouvrette

3.Cabane à sucre La Branche

4.Érablière au Sous-Bois

2.Érablière Charbonneau

It’s a fun night that will be in your collection of fond memories. In addition, the meal usually consists of ham, corn on the cob, homemade bread. As well as bacon, sausages, beans, meat-pie and a never ending the supply of delicious maple syrup.

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