What I'm up to: my mother died last year, I might have written about that already. She was almost 97, so, not a surprise. I still have some things I need to take care of as executor of her estate. Lucky for all of us four kids, the parents were able to leave some money to us. My sister in Mexico has already spent all of hers and it's looking like I am going to have to loan her $10K because, no really, you won't believe this: she doesn't have title to her property in Mexico, after all these years and the cumulative hundreds of thousands of dollars that she's sunk into the place. She wants to sell it but she has to have clear title first. My eyes are on the floor from rolling. Okay, that's my sister-venting for the day!
Merry Christmas, HAPPY SOLSTICE!! I'm so thrilled that we will start getting sun back soon. YAY! Best regards, javacat
One of Evan's letters to City Kitties
In any event, the story swirled around to the top of Reddit and then the Huffington Post and really exploded. And yesterday, Evan was on the Ellen Degeneres show and Ellen had a suprise up her sleeve.
I won't blow the surprise, but I'll link to this page at City Kitties.
When I got to the surprise my jaw dropped.
And then I set up a monthly donation to them because if a ten year old kid can think selflessly, I can at least try.
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[Roller Derby Portraits]
My oldest sister spent a lot of time with her on Thursday holding her hand and sitting with her. The next oldest sister is staying with me for a few months, taking a break from the heat and humidity of her home in Mexico -- she's glad she got to spend time with mom earlier in the week. My brother and his daughter Shawna were here over Easter. I spent a little time with her on Friday, before I had to leave to let Comcast in to fix the cable box.
I didn't think it was so imminent! She rallied so well from Spring, when she went into hospice, moved into assisted living, and at the time, seemed close to passing. She was so strong. Almost 97, she had a good long life.
So the commenting in a safe place: the sister staying with me was coming unraveled the last several days. ::pause:: She just got up, at noon, which is good thing and it looks like she finally got some sleep. She has been spending the nights obsessively touching-up old photos of my mother, and this morning, I discovered that she spend last night obsessively looking at the photos on my Facebook page, and leaving comments. And modifying my current profile photo in Photoshop to make me look better (which I couldn't care less about. Take me as I am or goodbye). Okay, she seems better, more together today, and I have to think about the FB thing. I didn't add her to my FB list until a few days ago, and it might be that my earlier instincts were correct.
Got stuff to do.
July 8 is the official end of the trip, in Pt. Angeles.
I might stay in Sol Duc and meet my friends there for more camping, or go to Pt. Townsend, then go on another backpacking trip with them (this one: http://mosswalks.blogspot.com/2007/06/
and hot spring before and/or after at Sol Duc. I think. I need to find out where the enchanted valley IS.
Then on to Corvallis for the Da Vinci Days! http://www.davincidays.org/
Somewhere in there, visits to niece in Eugene, maybe to the coast again, maybe finally get north of Tillamook in OR. Definitely a trip to Breitenbush. http://breitenbush.com/
I have never been to Victoria, maybe that would be possible? Pt. Angeles is the ferry departure point.
It makes me so glad to have gotten out of there, no matter how I did it.
* Text books: Meteorology Today, Environmental Geology, Physical Geography, and Pipkin's Geology workbook.
* Backpacking and camping books: Between a Rock and a Hard Spot, Aron Ralston; Animals Make Us Human, Temple Grandin; and I forget the rest.
* A bunch of YA and youth books, before I mailed a box of them to a newly-literate adult friend: Lauren Myracle's TTYL set. Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Underworlder series. The Little Prince. The Velveteen Rabbit.
* The trend: Biography. Home improvement. Young adult fiction.
Favorite books: Room; Unbroken; Swamplandia; Shiver; Dust; Inside Scientology; 2030; Animals Make Us Human; Bossypants; The Diana Chronicles.
( tl:dr )
There was a big book sale at the library bookstore and I scooped up armloads of classic and current good young adult books, 30 or 40 of them, and popped them in the mail last Saturday, just under the 2 PM closing wire. They got them already! Here's his email from last night --
>> OMG, L. ...Your wonderful treasure trove of books came today. I'm looking forward to reading each one and then donating them to my literacy program unless you want them back. Good choice on the Island of the Blue Dolphin...I've read that one and really enjoyed it. Thank you VERY much for your helping me on my endeavors to reading and enjoying different literature. I can't thank you enough for your loving support! All the best, D. (typed by Jim with big thanks too!)
This makes me very happy. And I'm reading some of the YA books that were new to me. It's fun because they go so fast.
I'm reading Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, the book that was excerpted in The New Yorker earlier this year. It's very well written, very readable.
Parts that I particularly like and relate to --
But Jeff was bored. He was searching for something; he didn't know what. The Summer of Love had come and gone, along with its haze of promise. The war in Vietnam continued to kill thousands of young Americans. Many who made it back alive wore the dead-eyed stares of the walking wounded. Active in the anti-war movement, Jeff was haunted by the memory of one large demonstration outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, where he's seen a twelve-year-old girl beaten up by the Los Angeles police. Drugs, Jeff knew, weren't the answer -- a bad acid trip a few months earlier had cured him of that interest. He spent most of his spare time poring over books on meditation, yoga, cybernetics, hypnosis.
And so Jeff Hawkins, a shy, somewhat awkward young man usually dressed in jeans, sandals, a blue work shirt and tinted granny glasses, got into Scientology, as did his friend Jerry and thousands of other young people all across the United State. For those like Jeff, who were smart, curious, and searching, Scientology provided its own form of rebellion, which was perfectly timed, as it turned out.
Had the sixties never happened - which is to say, had a tremendous number of young people not become convinced of the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of their parents, the church, the Republican Party, and other people and institutions collectively known as the establishment -- Scientology might have gone the way of other fringe movements and died a quiet death. Instead, repositioned as a mystical quest rather than an alternative mental health therapy or religious movement, Scientology rode the countercultural wave, and by the late 1960s, a whole new generation of spiritual seekers had caught on to the renegade vision of L. Ron Hubbard.
In Kenmore Square or Washington Square, on Shattuck Avenue or Sunset Blvd, in the Haight or Golden Gate Park, pretty young girls dressed in hot pants or mini-skirts [hey, it was the fashion of the day], smiling radiantly as if they'd discovered a secret they were bursting to share, would approach young, mostly male college students or hippies and invite them to come with them. And, like lemmings, men would follow, said Nancy Many, who worked for the Scientology organization in Boston. It was unwritten policy that the church would deploy its most attractive staff to recruit people off the street. "No one had any idea where they were being taken," she said, chuckling, "but these girls were gorgeous and so the guys would go."
I did that! That was my job! I had NO idea that I was lovely with youthfulness though. Once again, youth wasted on the young.
I didn't know that Neil Gaiman's father David was the PR director of England. I wonder if he knows Gillian Christie, one of my sister's former roommates when she was in the SF Scn. Org. Gillian is one of the top people in the Guardian's Office now, has been for a long time. It's kind of the FBI/CIA of Scn. I think the offices are in the same estate. Perhaps I'll find out as the book goes along.
I'm really grateful I was only involved to the extent that I was. It was a lucky fluke that I was around a lot of power players in the org, and being young, was accepted as a helpful mascot without having to dump a lot of money into the org. And then I had a regular Scientologist boyfriend, and boy howdy did I see how differently he and his family were treated than the people I normally hung out with.
I'm staying at Asilomar, the Julia Morgan-designed retreat center in Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula. (She of Hearst Castle fame.) It's fabulous. www.visitasilomar.com/accommodations.
I'm enjoying all my various lodgings. Sat. night was tent camping. Sunday was in a hostel, in a six-plex all girl bunkroom, but with only three of us. Tonight the luxury lodging. Next three nights, tent camping. Then I'm going back to the lighthouse hostel. www.norcalhostels.org/pigeon/ The location is great. The best part, though, is the hot tub right on the west edge of the cliff. It really is All That.
I'm doing a great job maximizing my stay at Asilomar, and am blowing tomorrow morning by staying up too late. Off I go!
A local friend has spindle cell sarcoma; not good. Her arm has been surgically stripped to bone and tendon with bits of skin. If it was me, I think I'd have it amputated.
My second housesitter asked if I was going away again and I took the opportunity to schedule another trip. I leave this coming Friday for: Big Basin Redwoods, Big Basin, Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel, Asilomar, Asilomar, Manresa State Beach, Manresa, New Brighton State Beach, Home.
I didn't check the College of Marin schedule before I paid for all my reservations, duh. I will miss the first week of class. Oh well. I'm taking classes from people who know me by now, and they will be okay with it.
Since I got back, I'm not depressed exactly, but I don't want to do anything. I've been spending an astonishing amount of time in my pjs, reading, and catching up on a some key shows. I remind myself of the lady Harriet the Spy spied on, although I am not ill or pretending to be ill, I'm very well and just stuck. I suspect it's a post-retirement malaise. The thing to do, is to not do it, and I shan't be once I get back and start lap swimming classes and a couple of science classes. Yay for school.
Rumor has it that one of the younger generation in the family is having a baby. THANK GOD. We have really healthy genes and hardly anyone has procreated. Damn shame. I'm glad there will be at least one packet of DNA shot into the future, as Jonquil once wrote.
Temple Grandin's book Animals Make Us Human is fascinating. If you have any interest in how animals, domesticated, wild, and human, work, you should read this book. Especially if you have bought into any of this hocum about dominance over your dog -- Ian Dunbar and now Temple Grandin are debunking all the Cesar Milan stuff. Read it!
My trip started with two weeks of backpacking, followed by a week of car camping on my own, a week of camping with a friend that turned into a week of hoteling, since it kept raining at night and early morning along the Oregon coast), and a week of staying either with friends at their house or at a rental house or meeting up with a third person for more camping.
Things I want to list or write more about - list for later.
Places and dates I was there.
The high fives: equipment All Stars.
People I met. Reminders to contact some of them.
Books - Aron Ralston's was fantastic, and I really honestly think that everyone should read Temple Grandin's "Animals Make Us Human," for all the science reportage on how human and animal brains work and scientific insight into how animals think.
Equipment All Stars.
- Petzl headlamp with multiple setting, using 3 batteries.
- Shock-absorbing hiking poles. These were required by the backpacking organizers, and I was surprised by how helpful they were both up and down hills while backpacking. It tightened up my arms also.
- Free backpack pouch, the kind that's a rectangle of fabric with some pull-cord straps. I used this every day - as the container for my personal bear-hang things on the backpacking trip (toothpaste, my trail mix, etc., e.g., anything that you have to take out of your pack and add to the nightly bear hang.) I used it nearly every day. I pulled out my proper knapsack once and quickly abandoned it as being too bulky. It was just big enough for a shirt, book, keys, and a few other odds and end. It was comfy, it stowed in next to no space, and I was amazed at how much I loved it and used it.
- Thermarest Camp Rest, tho' I've known for years that it's the only way to go. I was always insulated from the ground and always comfy in my tent, even in rainstorms.
- I picked up two new used tents at the REI equipment sale I stumbled up just days before departure date, and really like them both, but especially the smaller REI Camp Plus it is so easy to put up and take down. The bigger tent is nearly all mesh with a tight and low rain fly shell and it kept us surprisingly warm in the rain in Corvalis. I'd thought the heat loss would be much more than a standard tent, but no.
- LLBean shirts.I should just link to these, huh. Maybe later.
For all that I wanted to travel and see all these places in Oregon, I checked into this awesome little cottage (brooklanecottage.com) in Corvalis around 4 PM today and all I want to do is sit and read what various of My Peeps are up to on FB and over here and in email and so on. I've been doing Nothing But That for four hours straight now. I am fine on my own, but I can't help being a social animal.
I've been to Brookings - 1 night (an airbnb.com place; amazing house, artist-MD + retired psychologist own the house and the 4th of July party was full of arty hippy folks older than me, three of them from about 4 miles away from my house in Calif.; made friends with a couple from Coronado who have invited me to stay there anytime); Gold Beach - 1 night (Sheila the camp host and Britney the other single woman traveling with her cat to Orcas Island); where was I on the 6th? The yurt at Bullard's Beach near Bandon; Jesse Honeyman State Beach July 7 and 8, spent most of the day on the 8th riding my bike around and reading a book on top of a picnic table next to Wheatabix Lake (some other name); on the 7th, driving, Coos Bay, ___ where the oysters are. Here I am in Corvalis, losing my mind on the 9th! Drove from Florence, stopped at the Sea Lion Caves and in Yachats. This morning, I lost my high school sleeping bag thanks to the Yakima pod not being locked when I thought it was, so bummed about that.
An old friend from work who has been living in Pt. Townsend for yonks is taking the train down from Seattle on Monday. I'll pick her up in Albany OR and we'll travel around from there. I'm looking forward to company.
Well, I've been wanting to do laundry, I suppose I could do that now instead of frittering away the day doing it tomorrow. Except it's a treat to stay put and have household amenities! I can't decide whether to watch tv or not. I'm glad I had leftovers from Bandon so I didn't have to go out for food tonight.
I find I'm avoiding the crowds mostly by accident but I don't mind it. The big county fair in Eugene is this weekend. I'll be there next week instead. I am sorry to miss the Da Vinci event in Corvalis next weekend, I'd like to see a kinetic parade. I drove on by the Fish Fry in Yachats. I originally was going to be home by July 24 but I think I'll aim for July 22 instead. We'll see.
It feels very, very weird when it happens. (At times like this, I have regrets about living alone. On the other hand, neighbors Sarah and Daniel were very helpful, as was the neighbor up the street who's a nurse, who just happened to be in front of my house when I was returning from S&D's. Yay neighborhood friends!)
I need to do some house cleaning since the veterinarian housesitter that I've never met is coming over to meet me and the cats tonight. After running around doing errands all day after the MD appt., all I want to do is lie down.
Think I'll call a local friend. I seem to need to talk about this more. Later!
Finished my two academic classes. I probably did okay on the final exams. I miss swimming already. I was sad the day after the last class because I enjoyed the classes and the prof so much. Studying for tests was a pain, though, so I probably will take just one academic class in the fall.
I have been saying "I'll start it tomorrow" for a long time, and so am not in very good shape for a two-week backpacking trip that leaves in three weeks. I need to remedy that. My laziness is epic, which I'm not proud of, but hey, it's good I recognize reality?
I'm working out an itinerary for a three-week car camping trip to OR and WA beginning the day after the backpacking trip ends. SIX iterations so far! I'm uptight about reservations on Friday and Saturdays, when I think it will be hard to get a spot somewhere, and some of the parks are supposed to be very popular. The bones of the trip are similar to my Seattle F2F trip two years ago, with more time. (Yay for being early-retired! )
My mother is hanging in there. I so hope and in my agnostic way pray that she stays okay while I am gone. I asked family members to start phoning her - she needs it for many reasons, but no one has. Group email was not effective, dammit.
My back hurts. I bought a new mattress that arrived today and thought I was maneuvering the chest bed base around in a safe way to vacuum behind it, but maybe not. Here's hoping the new mattress helps it feel better.
I have various contractors coming for various upgradey things around the house before I go. One inquiry often leads to the need to do something else first, which is not unexpected, but kind of amusingly annoying.
I had a really nice day yesterday. Went hiking with a friend I haven't seen in a long time and her dog, followed by lunch at a nice riverfront restaurant in Petaluma that I never knew existed, Demsey's. Then I visited the ex Henry and his wife Ruby for most of the afternoon and we had a really nice time catching up. Always on the list of things I'm grateful for is being friendly with both of them. Ruby said they have been together now for 18 years. Shocking! So I broke up with Henry 18.75 years ago?! Time goes by fast.
What is up with this cold cold weather? I shut off the heat about 2 weeks ago, thinking summer was here, and had to re-light the pilot two days later. Brr. I'm taking a stand and putting cotton, not flannel, sheets on the new bed. I hope I don't regret it.
Okay! back to email, the house sitter for the last week of my trip, and, eventually, a hike.