Friday, September 6, 2013

Right now - my work station in a storm ("Lorena")


Jessica on mountain  2013

This is one of my interns from 2009, Jessica Pletz. She has now become an accomplished rock climber, kayaker, backpacker and a strong advocate for all things environmental. “Good on ya” Jessica!

It is now proven that we humans have a set of cells in our brain that help us orient to the magnetic fields of the earth and thereby aid in determining direction. Of course anyone who studied neurophysiology of any creature would have come to the same conclusion just by reason but it is nice to see ourselves put closer to other life forms instead of being seen as a “special creation”.

Remember the movie “2001, A Space Odyessy”? Well NASA is in the process of developing a project that will land a probe on the Jovian moon Europa to seek life in the fissures of it’s ice covered exterior. This is considered one of the prime places to find extra-terrestrial life within our own solar system. Find me just one, JUST ONE, living cell anywhere off this planet and I will throw a major party and howl at the moon and all our fellow travelers out there in space.

The video recommended here is all about concentration, grace and the unique character of our own species. There is no other critter on this planet that could do this. Minor variations granted – but not this! See it to it’s end for a breath taking finale.



DNA studies have shown conclusively that The First People here in the western hemisphere arrived at least 20,000 years ago. Here is a picture of some of what they left behind to commemorate their passing. They were the direct ancestors of the people we know as the Anasazi, the Iroquois, the Apache, the Lakota and all the other varied and colorful, intelligent people we call the Indians.

Ancient petroglyph left by "The First People"

Looked up a few days ago around five and saw this. I’ve seen pictures of this but I have never seen it in "real life" before. Just damn pretty…..Hell, awesome!


 Just magnificent!

On the 16 of last month I went down to my lap pool (the sea) to swim and saw some dark and heavy clouds to the south. After doing my beach workout I got in to swim and about half way through my laps I felt heavy raindrops on my head. We were having a 5 minute Chubasco (heavy wind, pelting rain). It was wonderful – sea churned up, dark, winds, heavy rain - and I just kept on swimming. When I got out the wind was blowing hard enough to cause the raindrops to sting my skin. You can’t buy that kind of experience – pure UNADULTERATED joy!

My lap pool - note the built in reef at the left
I am afraid that we are beginning to see some more serious effects due to the pollution of the oceans. To believe that the oceans are deep enough, large enough to handle all the shit we are putting in it is not just na├»ve, it’s criminally ignorant. Though I am aware of ALL the critters being affected it is the marine mammals I am most concerned about. The article below is a warning – another warning – of what is happening. If my whales start to be effected I will become a vicious eco-warrior and be glad to end my days that way.

Last month I picked up a book at the free library at the office of my dear and helpful friends at Homes and Land Realty in Los Barriles. The cover “caught my eye”. The look on the boy’s face spoke volumes. It is an incredible book - probably some of you are familiar with it. It is the true story of the early life of Frank McCourt, written by him with all the warts and scars showing but without rancor. If you would like a little reality check into what IS an advantaged life, read this. He died in 2009 after being an English teacher here in the US for 30 years. The name of the book is “Angela’s Ashes” – that’s his mother.


 Frank McCourt - survivor with soul and smile in tact!

The other day I was so broken hearted about the events surrounding Syria that I desperately needed some spirit uplifting. Fortunately, and again because of the free library, I had picked up Douglas Adams book, “The More Than Complete Hitchhikers Guide”. This contains the original, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” plus the three shorter sequels. It was just what I needed! If you know nothing about this book then you have missed some truly hilarious satire couched in comic science fiction. For someone like me, you “can’t get better than that”!

You will have to read the book to understand

Before leaving Syria however: the history (no longer seen as relevant in our school system and now mere propoganda) of conflict between the entire area once known as Syria, that included Persia, Parthia and most all of the eastern Mediterranean and a number of smaller kingdoms, versus the Judeo/Christian west is one that goes back before Caesar, before Alexander and has one basic constant. West versus East for dominance of trade and resources. This is still being played out in the recent events regarding present day Syria. It’s not about poison gas, it’s about the West’s desire to monopolize the energy resources of The Middle East as much as it can. The killing of innocent people is of little concern. Do you kill people to save them? In ANY WAR ZONE – civilian casualties out number military casualties 7 to 1. It is INSANE – that’s why I needed the “Guide”.

Speaking of saving (people or sanity), the other day while doing some pruning a little "Verdin" fell at my feet with his leg tangled in some nest material. He looked pretty well shot, probably had had no food or water for some time (he was not a fledgling). I picked him up, untangled his foot and took him under the palapa. I put some water in a jar lid and laid his beak in it (not enough to drown him for Christ’s sake) and sprinkled some water on him to cool him. After a bit he started perkin’ up and damned if he didn’t get it together to fly off. 

My "Verdin" friend - especially for you Dolores!

Tropical storm Juliette (8/28) turned into a dud. We were hoping for rain. This is what the edge looked like.

Edge of Juliette approaching from the south.

As I write this (9/6/13) TS “Lorena” is just about overhead and we may get some action around mid day or evening.

Tropical Storm "Lorena" comin' my way right now!

Diana Nyad, really “heroic”. 64 years old, 5th try to swim the 103 miles between Cuba and Florida, a gesture of friendship, spirit, the feminine, aging and no shark cage, guts ball all the way – love ya Diana.

My kind of "HERO" - human/swimmer supreme!

The other day I noticed a rip in my life vest (I’ve only worn it twice in 15 years but keep it strapped to the back of my kayak just in case) and decided to fix it. I put a blue patch on the area and then determined that the patch looked forlorn, so I decided to paint something on it. I thought what might be fun would be to have the sigil of my people (Estonians from the island of Vilsandi which is just off the Estonian coast in The Baltic Sea). I went to Wikipedia and was delighted to find a whole section on the island and it’s people – PIRATES! Yes, the baddest of the bad Viking pirates!! Turns out that my mother’s father’s (this is the man who wrote the book, “30 years a Mariner in the Far East” and is mentioned in the article) family were the first family to settle on this island. I found the sigil which is shared by another group of bad ass Vikings from the adjacent island of Saaremaa. So here it is. Not surprising, eh. It is no wonder that I was always a pirate for Halloween and have ended up by the sea. I am sure that my grandfather’s spirit is content (he pretty much raised me and always hoped I would become a sea captain).

Sigil of the people of the island of Vilsandi - my people!

And look what has come from that line - Kersti (on the right next to her dear, dear friend Michelle) my Viking, Comanche, Celtic daughter.

BTW: Michele has just opened a new store in Healdsburg that you must visit - beautiful goods! Vita Casalinga, 135 Matheson St., Healdsburg

And a little something to think about.

Right on!