This post is borrowed from my daughter Shawna Williams who lived in China for three years. To read more of her exploits click on this link: https://americaninchengdu.wordpress.com/ August 20, 2010 I’ve discovered that a good way to strike up conversations with Chinese strangers is to knit in public. I think this is because Chinese people assume that knitting is a Chinese thing, so they figure that a knitting foreigner must be picking up local habits. On a recent four-day trip from Chengdu to Beijing via Shanxi Province, a man in a bus station mimed knitting and gave me a thumbs-up, and a few […]
In a dream, an oracle counsels: When you believe in your beliefs and doubt your doubts, you will forge forgiveness and find relief. But be wary… If you doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts, That is the path of grief. This jewel is by Maggie Honton who has been hosting our writing group for over ten years. If only I could write like this in my sleep!
I wanted baleen bad, but I didn’t want to go to jail over it — especially in the middle of giving a whale lecture. So when Steve and I set out for Anchorage, I called NOAA and asked how I could carry a piece of a protected species around the world without risking handcuffs. No problem, actually. If a member of a Native Alaskan tribe inscribes the baleen with artwork, it is no longer taboo. Better yet, the agent I talked to, had a few illegal pieces that were cluttering up the NOAA office, and he was happy to gift […]
In the fifties, Crater Lake was overrun with bears. My parents watched a man taking a picture, go rigid when he realized that a bear was using him as a leaning post. A less friendly looking bear tempted Mom to try for a bear-on-the-attack photo. She popped out of the car and waited for the bear to rear up and threaten her. When it did, she lost her nerve and sprinted around the car. She kept trying, and she might have pulled it off if a cranky ranger hadn’t got involved. In the sixties, tattoos weren’t for “nice” people. […]
I spent much of last year begging people to listen to programs I’d slaved over for months. I got a few takers here and there. Then I got my foot in the door with half a dozen libraries and the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and life is good! This year I let their schedulers know I’m rolling out my Whales presentation, and I’ve got five speaking date just like that. I’ve always appreciated libraries—Steve says I’ve never seen a library tax I didn’t like—but now I am profoundly grateful to libraries, not only for speaking ops but for so many of […]
It was the most pampered snorkeling trip I’ve ever experienced. Kim got me rigged up in top of the line gear, including a wetsuit that floats, then had me sit with my feet in the water while she slipped on my flippers! No waddling across the beach like a duck in clown shoes, no getting queasy in the waves, no fear of, drowning, drifting out to sea, animal attacks or boat strikes. No worries period. Any time I lifted my head, Kim was there with a float to steady me, answer questions, adjust my gear. Much as I love the ocean, […]
New Year is celebrated on the first day of spring along the Silk Road from Persia to Mongolia and such parts. The holiday is called Norooz, and it’s the biggest, brightest, eatingest day on that culture’s calendar. Traditional foods symbolize wishes for the coming year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make life go our way by feasting? I spent the day with my Silk Road son-in-law, greeting spring along a Chesapeake Bay shoreline. Daughter and granddaughter joined us for an evening feast as we wait for spring to bring a second sweet granddaughter to this much-blessed family. I […]
This flag on South Padre Island, Texas kept me puzzling for some time. I came up with several ideas, none of which were correct. Thanks to the Historical Flags of Our Ancestors website for providing an explanation: “Thin Blue Line Flag…a testament to the valor of police officers across the country. The courage exhibited by officers in the line of duty is represented by the Thin Blue Line in the center of the flag. The solemn black background acts as a memorial to the lives lost while shielding citizens from danger.” I’m glad I asked.
Since 2009 the Dolphin Research Center in Florida has been partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project to ease severely wounded heroes into healthy civilian lives. Project Odyssey, named for Homer’s saga of a hero’s journey home, helps brain injured and PTSD warriors work through challenges and improve their outlook. The warriors participate with peers in a three day retreat which includes dolphin dock interactions and a dolphin swim. The atmosphere and activities are designed to invite warriors to connect with their outer world in a stress-free, nurturing environment. In addition to core goals of bonding with others on similar journeys, connecting with nature, and learning new skills in a novel setting, the program supports the warriors […]
I’m a bridge walker which is nothing like a street walker. I just love bridges. I’ve walked the Brooklyn, Sydney Harbor, Royal Gorge, Multnomah Falls, London (in Lake Havasu) and pretty much every other bridge I could get my feet on. But until Steve and I walked the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside Taos, New Mexico, I’d never seen a bridge equipped with a phone offering on-the-spot suicide counseling. Ten of those hotlines were spaced along the Rio Grande Gorge’s span. Why is suicide such an issue there? A Taos Pueblo tour guide told us that young American Indians are two to three times more […]