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Out on the Limb


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Observation #1)
We have a skipper in the neighborhood. I've seen her skip by twice during my morning coffee social hour. She never fails to make people smile as she skips by, and she looks pretty happy herself. I have the strong urge to shout "wait!...wait!......I'll join you" as she breezes past our table. And she is a much more vigorous skipper than the commuters shown in this clip:

Observation #2)
Regarding arson investigations in Orange County, California, I read this:
"Authorities are investigating hundreds of leads, including a report of a white pickup truck seen in the area where the Orange County fire started."
Reading about the "white pickup truck" triggered memories of my southbound California road trip last Spring (on rural roads east of I-5).

I don't want to rain on the parade of fire investigators, but white pickup trucks outnumbered all other types and colors of vehicles by a long-shot. I know, because I became obsessed with counting them and trying to figure out the reason for this against-the-odds fact. White pickups dominate rural California. So, of course someone saw one in an area where a fire started!! Duh!

So what's the reason? Is some kind of white guy redneck statement being made? White reflects heat better than dark colors. Maybe that's it. Or maybe the nearest dealerships have limited inventories. Perhaps many of the trucks are company owned and they all wanted "good guy" white fleets.

I don't know, but they sure are popular. So popular, in fact, that I'm providing you with the template to make your very own white pickup.
posted by Deb, 7:17 PM | link | 1 comments |

IHF - International Humanity Foundation

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I saw an ad in the "Volunteer" section of Craigslist this evening. A non-profit grassroots organization called International Humanity Foundation (IHF) needs help. Lots of organizations need help.

We're inundated with requests on a regular basis...right?

IHF really caught my attention. In particular is the spirit of determination of IHF founder Carol Sasaki. She is such an inspiration! Her story is amazing, but I'm only finding bits and pieces. It would be nice to see a more detailed bio online somewhere. Also, I am impressed with the fact that IHF keeps politics and religion out of policy while simultaneously respecting the various religions of those they serve.

So, I dug deeper and came across this detailed and heartfelt story by volunteer Dan Grays about his trip to Kenya and Indonesia. And I browsed through the photos of the orphans (posted on the main IHF site). One of the reasons I'm taking the time to investigate IHF is that they don't charge people to volunteer, like so many other non-profits I have encountered. [*see note below].

Bonus for me: IHF is based in San Diego. It sounds like they really need our help. Carol Sasaki, the founder, posted this urgent request last July:
The children and communities I have met have become my own family, and I have given everything I can to help them, including selling my homes to raise funds to provide a home and an education for others. I have given many children a place to call home, because I choose to sleep in my car instead. It is worth it, and you would do the same if you personally knew the children and their communities the way I do. But despite my efforts, these children may now still go homeless.
(read her whole letter here)

Please help, if you can.
The IHF ad in Craigslist states volunteers would need to cover the following costs:
- $55 application fee
- US $20 a week for international volunteers.
-Roundtrip Airfare
-Extra meals one might want that aren't provided
-Extra transportation if desired
-Travel Insurance
posted by Deb, 7:49 PM | link | 67 comments |

Salt Lake to Moab

Day 15 of journey, cont'd (it's Saturday, Easter weekend, 4-7-07)

Picnicraven sculpture

After "the incident", we get off Hwy 15 South and head east on Rt 6. Within minutes, we find a riverside park where we stop and slap together some cold cuts on bread. As you can see, it was another blue-sky pleasant Spring day.

We take Rt 6E to Hwy 191S. Somewhere along this route we came across a gas station selling biodiesel! Who would have thought.

We've set our sights on staying the night in Moab, Utah. Little did we know that the televised annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari was in full swing. The town was packed with hundreds of jeeps, and it took us some effort to find a room. The room we got was musty and waaayy over-priced (most expensive dive of my whole trip); and the owner was pleased to tell me he is originally from my neighborhood in San Diego. Scumbag.

It was amusing to me to drive amongst all the Jeepsters with my little biodiesel baby VW! It's nice for people to have fun outdoors, but somehow I don't think this crowd gives a rats ass about "nature". Two issues from my viewpoint: Fuel and Environment

We went to get dinner early while the majority of folks were still playing in the back country. Dinner was excellent at Moab Brewery. The chili was almost the best ever coming in at a close 2nd to a small downtown restaurant in Prescott, Arizona. The cornbread was melt-in-mouth moist and spicy. Yummmm!

Those of us eating on the patio got a good laugh when a jeep zoomed into the parking lot with an elderly women hanging on without seating in the jeep's rear bed. Someone told a mother-in-law joke, and we were all off and running. I laughed 'till I cried, partly as release from the stress of the day, and the beer didn't hurt either.

I looked up a mother-in-law joke for y'all and discovered this:
"I find it interesting that if you rearrange the letters in the word "mother-in-law" you get the words "woman Hitler".

Moab Brewerybest chili

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posted by Deb, 1:55 PM | link | 5 comments |

Oh My God!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

traffic report
Originally uploaded by Briebanofsky
Day 15 cont'd (the journey)

This day turned out to be quite memorable as in "harrowing".

Before I tell the story, let's backtrack a week to a particularly frightening nightmare. Here's what happened in my dream:

I was standing alone. A figure in all black was approaching me and I was gripped with intense fear. "Who are you?", I asked. The figure continued to get closer. "Who are you? Who are you?? WHO ARE YOU???", I demanded. I knew, though, that this was death personified. I was in full panic as the figure in black was so close I could feel a soft deathly exhale on my cheek. Then, suddenly, the figure turned around and began to drift away. It was now all white. I woke up sobbing.

Fast forward to my freeway experience in Salt Lake City. It's the weekend and traffic is moderate. There are five lanes traveling in each direction, and I'm in the middle southbound lane. I had been following a motorcycle for many miles as he and I maintained the same speed. At one point I had the sudden thought that I should not be following that motorcycle. I dismissed my thought as foolishness, but in retrospect it was my instinctive voice trying to give me warning.

A car slipped into the generous space I had provided between the motorcycle and me. I'm one of those drivers....I really really like enough space to brake if necessary; and so I slowed down to 70 to create some space. Most traffic was traveling at 75 or 80 which seems to be the norm now everywhere unless bottlenecks prevent.

Anyway, now there is a car between me and the motorcycle, but not for long. When the car changed lanes, my brain snapped to emergency mode as I realized the motorcycle was stopping. Rough guess is that he was down to 20 MPH when the car blocking my view changed lanes. All I had time to do was brake as hard as I possibly could without losing control. It was not possible to change lanes; and even if I had, the car behind me would have nailed the poor guy.

The motorcycle came to a halt, and I screeched in behind him just a few inches away. Two lanes of traffic on either side are flying by; and as I check my rear view mirror I see that another small car has managed to come to a halt directly behind me. "Good", I thought....."now if we get hit, I have a slightly better chance of surviving."

My hands are tight on the steering wheel and I'm shouting "Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" The motorcyclist is fiddling with his bike and miraculously gets it started. (reserve gas tank?...I don't know) We're saved! I head to the next exit and drive to an empty parking lot where I feel I might throw up....no, wait....I'm going to pass out....no, not yet, it's time to cry.

Even before I exited the freeway for my breakdown, I remembered the dream and knew that death had just paid me a visit and decided to let me live another day.
Thank you, Briebanofsky, for making this picture available thru the CC license. I love your "Expression" set. Very nice!

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posted by Deb, 4:23 PM | link | 2 comments |

Pedros Cycling

Pedros Cycling
Originally uploaded by sand dragon
Day 15 of the Journey
Saturday 4-7-07 AM

While having breakfast in Burley, Idaho, I kept admiring the Pedro's cycling van and trailer. Now that I've seen their website, I'm even more impressed with their commitment to a healthy environment. For example, Pedro's sells a bicycle seat bag made from recycled bicycle inner tubes.

Before leaving town, I met a man in the hotel lobby who was taking his newly-arrived stateside military son home. His homecoming would be a surprise to the young man's mother. As it turns out, "home" was in North Carolina! We discussed our planned routes. I was dropping south to avoid winter weather. He was staying north to make better time (he thought). In typical male fashion, he proceeded to tell me I was making a terrible mistake. He was wrong about the weather; but he was right (in a wrong kinda way) that my choice to head south could be hazardous. See next post.

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posted by Deb, 2:48 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thousand Springs Scenic Drive

Journey cont'd / Day 14 on 4-6-07

aqueductShoshone Falls
After our stop in Boise, we took the Thousand Springs Scenic Drive. Although the canyon was beautiful, it was still disturbing to see pictures of "then" and "now". The springs (below left) are also know as the lost rivers and have a peculiar and unique geology. Twin Falls (below, right) is permanently missing a Twin due to construction of a dam.
SpringsTwin Falls

I took this same scenic route on my return trip in June at the height of farmland irrigation practices. The water was reduced to a mere trickle in June having been diverted to the crops. I didn't even bother to stop and take a picture. It was an obvious reminder of how much beauty we sacrifice to keep our ever-growing population fed.

Idaho did a pretty poor job of posting tourist signs along this route, a perception I confirmed upon my return weeks later. Still, we had fun. Who doesn't love waterfalls?

End of day lands us in Burley, Idaho just off the interstate. The cheaper motels in town looked like crack houses. I imagine there is an attractive section of Burley, but I didn't see it. Even the recommended "best pizza in town" was dull and lifeless.
posted by Deb, 12:29 PM | link | 2 comments |

Eastern Oregon

Look, Ma!Chandler Cabin

Journey continued / cross-country drive in Spring 2007
Day 14, Friday 4-6-07

We're on the road at daybreak to watch the sun play with the mountains.

Today's drive was primarily over scenic country roads, the first of which was Hwy 30 (part of the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway) leading from North Powder to Baker City, Oregon. The two pictures above were taken in Haines, aka "the biggest little town in Oregon" and home of Chandler Cabin built in 1861.

We enjoy a slow drive, partly because we need to pick up a package in Boise, Idaho, and don't want to arrive at the post office too early. By mid-day our errand into downtown Boise is done. Traffic was not a problem in Boise and we still have the entire afternoon ahead of us. I get out the maps and begin planning our next scenic route.

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posted by Deb, 10:41 AM | link | 0 comments |


Friday, October 26, 2007

The family prayer.
(sign made by great-grandfather)

UP and not DOWN
Originally uploaded by sand dragon
posted by Deb, 5:34 PM | link | 0 comments |

The Aftermath

Originally uploaded by rselph
Now that the immediate threat of fire is over for most of us, I am hearing stories of woe.

Today I spoke with a woman whose close friends had to leave their 60 goats behind when they evacuated. Upon their return, they found 54 had perished in the fire, and the remaining six had to be put down due to severe burns. The husband is suffering nightmares from the trauma of it all. I imagine many others are in similar anguish. So sorry for your pain....

We aren't all out of the woods yet with the fires either. Blogger Barboni is tracking a fire 15 miles from his home. Barboni does a super job with mapping and keeping us informed. Thank you....wishing you well.

Keep sending positive thoughts and love, folks!
Thanks, also, to rselph for providing the picture via a Creative Commons license. I'm not sure if rselph lives in SanFran or SanD. Either way, I hope he has stayed out of harms way as well.


posted by Deb, 12:33 PM | link | 0 comments |


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This morning's walk to the coffee shop was with light ash falling on my head from the surrounding fires. It was nice to see a fire crew washing down their truck at the local station. A big THANKS to our fearless firefighters.

Today's concern was mostly with the threat to our electrical grid. I've heard the lines connecting us eastward with Arizona are repaired. Our connections thru LA are still at risk, I think, with the Pendleton fires.

My sons and I are well. Thanks for those who sent messages of concern. My heart goes to my many not-so-fortunate San Diego County neighbors and beyond. Hugs to all.


posted by Deb, 4:07 PM | link | 2 comments |

New Poomacha Fire

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm just getting my bearings this morning after a fitful night's sleep.

First online stop for me was Bruce Henderson at "And Still I Persist". I knew this U.S. Marine (no longer active) would still be on the job with his great maps and forecasts. Unfortunately, his own home is in the path of the new Poomacha Fire. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts today. This guy is doing so much to help others. Thanks, Bruce.

There seems to be no immediate danger to my location, so I'm going to pop over to the coffee shop to hear what others have to say. Then I'll catch up to the status of other bloggers and see what I can do today to help. What a mess.


posted by Deb, 7:38 AM | link | 1 comments |

Update re Univ/Fairmount

It's 3:00 AM - OK, I see more smoke and less orange glow now. That's a good thing, right? Doesn't seem to be getting closer or larger. Back to bed. Really.

For those of you who don't have a bed anymore, I'll help you when I find you. Be well.


posted by Deb, 2:57 AM | link | 0 comments |

Smell of Smoke

It's 2:20 AM. I woke up 20 minutes ago to the smell of smoke, so I got up and turned on the computer.

There is a structure/grass fire at the intersection of University Ave and Fairmount Ave reported at the main CHP (California Highway Patrol) website. That fire was reported at 1:22 AM. That's several blocks from me. Hopefully, they got that one out. It is certainly not part of the main Harris or Witch Creek fires.

I can see an ominous orange glow in the far distance southeast of my place. That would be the Harris fire, I guess.
Well, back to bed. No...wait. I just looked out the window again. That orange glow has increased and has plenty of smoke with it now. It must be the Univ/Fairmount report.


posted by Deb, 2:21 AM | link | 0 comments |

Fire Links

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego Sunset
Originally uploaded
by sand dragon
I'm passing along some useful links for info gathering re San Diego County fires:

Blogger "And Still I Persist" does a great job with logistics, unusual maps, and pictures. He's keeping us very up-to-date. Thanks, Bruce; you're a gem.

Also, see blogger "And Bedlam is Dreaming of Rain" who has listed several helpful news links and commentary.

Plenty of local help is being offered at the Craig's List forum and community pages.

I'm a big fan of maps: traffic and fire

Helpful phone numbers:
  • fire info at 619-570-1070
  • emergency hotel lodging assistance at 800-918-4182
I'm located a mile or two due south of the Qualcom stadium evac center (currently in a safe zone). "Last Blog on Earth" reports:
"Eric Wolff’s been hanging out at Qualcomm Stadium all day, talking to evacuees. He said that no one he’s talked to has fire insurance and tables set up by the various insurance companies are virtually empty. A spokesperson for the mayor estimates that there’s 3,500 people at Qualcomm right now, only about one-third the 10,000 person capacity (for sleeping, not game watching, of course). Eric says people are pitching tents in the courtyard and officials are asking for donations of cots, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. There’s no shortage of food, however."
The sun is setting now, and the blanket of crud has become more visible. Best wishes to all my San Diego neighbors. Stay safe.


posted by Deb, 5:01 PM | link | 0 comments |

Don't Confuse the Finger for the Moon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The process I experienced and describe in my post "The Eye" (below) is also known as "skillful means" in Buddhist terms.

From Buddhanet's "Four Noble Truths":
The path is a process to help you remove or move beyond the conditioned responses that obscure your true nature. In this sense the Path is ultimately about unlearning rather than learning - another paradox. We learn so we can unlearn and uncover. The Buddha called his teaching a Raft. To cross a turbulent river we may need to build a raft. When built, we single-mindedly and with great energy make our way across. Once across we don't need to cart the raft around with us. In other words don't cling to anything including the teachings. However, make sure you use them before you let them go. It's no use knowing everything about the raft and not getting on. The teachings are tools not dogma. The teachings are Upaya, which means skillful means or expedient method. It is fingers pointing at the moon - don't confuse the finger for the moon.


posted by Deb, 9:05 PM | link | 0 comments |

The Eye

The Eye
Originally uploaded by sand dragon
This was my first attempt at making an Appalachian basket with the traditional "God's Eye" pattern binding the handle to the ribs. I started this basket a couple of weeks ago at one of my floral society classes. I did not...and will not...finish the basket. I've never liked baskets with large handles because they don't store well. I don't know why I set this one up that way, except that's what I had on hand at the time to work with. It was good enough for me to learn the technique.

I've learned something else in recent weeks. Unless I plan on becoming a kept woman (which I don't; price is too high)...earning my living by making crafts...any crafts...will be subsistence living at its best.

I've experienced yet another series of ups and downs these last few weeks including moderate-to-severe depression, constant anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and confusion...and so forth. I realized that I was feeling stuck. No longer did I feel I was "in transition" as I like to tell people since my grand departure 1-1/2 years ago from life-as-I-knew-it in Washington State.

Nope. Forget transition. I had become "hopelessly stuck in the mud"...or so I thought.

I had a significant dream last night. By the way, I always know which dreams are messages from my subconscious. Without fail, significant "heads up" dreams always include water; and all my other dream types (playful fantasy or unrealistic fears, as examples) don't. Anyway, the dream went like this:
I was in a swamp slogging through mud which came up to my knees. The going was rough and slow. I felt frustrated and angry at myself and very lost. [switch to me viewing myself from above] I observe where I had strayed from the path by the beach into the muddy swamp some distance back. "I took a wrong turn" I grumbled to myself. "Now I'm stuck in the mud and I don't know how I'm ever going to make it out of here."

From my other-self aerial vantage point, I could see the beach in the distance with a gentle surf beckoning. I see there is a series of vines hanging in the air between my muddy self below and the calm beach. [end of aerial view; return to self in swamp]

I look up and grab hold of one vine and swing myself with ease to the next...and the next...towards the beach. Yeah, it was fun! [end of dream]
And then I woke up. And all was clear. I have been interested in making crafts (weaving being my latest love) since childhood. I have been gritting my teeth with determination for over a year now, learning things here and there, plotting and planning, and trying to figure out how I'm ever going to pay the bills doing what I love. I thought this was what I was meant to do and had to make it work somehow. I worked myself into a dither. In fact, I was on the couch with a severe migraine for most of this last week.

The thing is, I love doing lots of things; and crafts weren't my only childhood dream. I've been trying (yet again) to force a square peg into a round hole. Earning money with crafts might have worked well in the past assuming I had a supportive husband (for example), but I'm in a different situation now.

The beauty of the dream was the reminder to LOOK UP and remember I'm only as stuck as I think I am. I was thinking of the mud because I was focused on the mud. I can now widen my view. A cool and relaxing breeze is blowing through my mind. I have opened myself up to other choices with confidence. I don't have to give up my crafts, but they don't solely define my talents and interests either.

When the time is right, I'll let you know where the vines take me. I'd really hate to put "my plans" in black and white and start struggling with that stupid square peg again.

Be well, y'all.


posted by Deb, 8:21 PM | link | 0 comments |

Greg 21

Greg 21
Originally uploaded by sand dragon
Happy Birthday, Greg!

This is a not-so-good picture of Greg, my youngest son. This recent picture wasn't actually taken on his birthday, which was a few days ago. In this picture, he just returned from the airport after working long hours with little sleep. Still has that great smile, though!


posted by Deb, 7:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

Life is Strange

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A few minutes ago, for no particular reason other than being bored, I googled "hunting accident" in the news. I haven't a clue what prompted me to choose those words, but the results shocked me.

A man from my small home town of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, was involved in a drama that defies my imagination.

Father Kills Son in Apparent Hunting Accident

The son was the age of my youngest; and the father's name sounded familiar so I got out my High School yearbook. Yep, Wilson (aka Buddy) was in my graduating class. I knew him, but not well. What an unspeakably tragic loss.
posted by Deb, 6:06 PM | link | 2 comments |