sat 22 nov 2014... another working weekend|
Yep, got another load of homework from the day job.
sighs. But I'm making an effort to get some other stuff
done as well...
I started the morning right, with some postcard writing!
I got a little handful written and in the mail before
the postman got here in the morning.
The state of my postcard projects is currently
a little chaotic.
I usually send a monthly postcard to everyone on my list.
I've gotten behind, tho, and decided to skip the september
postcard for now. The rest of the october postcards
are going out this weekend. And now I'll begin the november
I love making and writing my postcards!
I actually wish I could send out postcards more than
just once a month to people!
The next most important thing to do on a weekend day:
go for a walk!
Late morning I went for a short walk, between rain showers.
I always take my camera, but I didn't see anything
interesting until I got back home...
I noticed movement on the concrete in our entryway...
The tiniest snail I've ever met! Her-His shell was less
than half the size of a dime... maybe like 7 or 8 millimeters!
Tiny, and oh so cute!
And I'm going to say "she-he" and "her-his"
for snails because they are hermaphrodites!
I'm an animal lover, and I love all animals. But
snails are especially cool. I highly recommend
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
fri 21 nov 2014... Day 3: Great Horned Owl|
When we were exploring the front part of Cascades Raptor
Center, we met Lorax, a Great Horned Owl.
Lorax has a bum right wing. She had fallen out of her
nest as a baby, and broken her poor arm all to pieces.
Because of her injuries, there was no hope of returning
her to the wild, so they socialized her to human contact.
She now helps teach at the raptor center.
She doesn't like being in the cage while it's being cleaned.
So someone brings her out, and visitors get to walk by
and tell her how beautiful she is!
When we were done at the raptor center we went across the
street to one of the trail heads for our Ridgeline Trail.
Ridgeline trail is about 14 miles long, wandering through
forests and to the top of our highest peak at the southern
edge of the city. Yep, it's all within the city limits!
I came to western Oregon for the rain and the trees...
but the moss and ferns certainly intrigue me as well.
We did a quick 1.5 mile jaunt on a mountain bike trail and
a pedestrian only trail. The trails are not well marked.
But wandering around in a forest is definitely my family's
idea of fun! haha! For Real!
October Family Vacaion
thurs 20 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptors|
Here's Darwin, a Pygmy Owl...
He had been hit by a car, which broke his arm near the
shoulder. The bones healed with imperfect alignment.
Darwin can fly, but not well enough to hunt. He's been
at the raptor center since Dec 2007.
Here's Nike, his good side...
He's a Gyrfalcon with just one eye. A raptor researcher
found him in Washington state, with a very infected eye.
They had to remove his eye, and he wouldn't be able to
hunt well enough with just one eye. He's been at the
center since March 2005.
And this is Newton, a Northern Goshawk.
Newton came as a baby to help teach people about raptors...
he did his first program before he could fly.
It's rare for a wild Northern Goshawk to be at a raptor
center... in the wild they stay in the wildernes, far
away from people. If a Northern Goshawk does get
brought in with an injury, they don't adapt well
to captivity or being around humans.
But if they imprint on humans as a baby, as Newton was,
they can live in our world without trouble.
October Family Vacaion
wed 19 nov 2014... Day 3: White-Tailed Kites|
After the handler talk, my Parents, brother, partner and
I got to walk through the raptor center.
All of the injured and healing raptors are kept separate
and safe. Humans are stressful to wild birds, and injuries
don't heal as fast when you're stressed. And, of course,
they don't want any recovering birds to become
acclimatized to humans, either.
But there are some raptors who have healed, but can't
go back to the wild because they would not survive.
Either they can't see well enough to hunt, or they can't
fly well enough. These guys have a permanent home at
the raptor center.
They live in large outdoor cages. It is so interesting
to walk around, see these beautiful birds so close, and
to read their stories.
We walked to the back part of the center first... and
a White-Tailed Kite was out, practicing her flying with
The handler would stand 10 or 15 feet from the stand,
and ask the bird to fly to the stand. As soon as she did,
the handler hurried over to give her a treat. Then the
handler walked back to the starting point, then asked the
bird to fly back to her for another treat.
There are two White-Tailed Kites at the raptor center.
Anu and Dakini, I'm not sure who is who, but here is her
sister, sitting in their shared cage.
October Family Vacaion
tues 18 nov 2014... Day 3: Taka|
Taka, a Swainson's Hawk, was found by a road in California,
but he hadn't been hit by a car... he had been shot.
They fixed him up as best they could, but when he was
healed he could not return to the wild.
His wing doesn't extend fully, so he would not be able
to survive the 3000 mile migration down to Argentina.
Taka not only adapted well to captivity, he also doesn't
mind being in front of a crowd. So he helps teach at
the raptor center, and sometimes they take him to teach
kids about raptors at special events. His handler
emphasized how incredible Taka is for being able to do
this... there aren't very many wild-born raptors who can!
Taka was found as an adult in 2001, which means he is
at least 14 years old and may be quite a bit older since
they can't tell how old adults are. The oldest Swainson's
Hawk recorded is a 24 year old banded bird in the wild.
Altho Swainson's Hawks are currently a species of "Least
Concern", in the past they have been threatened by
pesticides. They migrate south in the winter, and in
Argentina they are known as Grasshopper Hawks.
When farmers sprayed DDT and monocrotophos, the grasshoppers
and the Grasshopper Hawks died in droves. The US and
Canada worked with Argentina to prevent these deaths.
But DDT and monocrotophos are still being produced and
used in many parts of the world. :(
And it's not just bugs and birds who are killed by
monocrotophos and pesticides... humans are killed as well.
If you've not read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I
highly recommend it. It was written in the early
1960's but it
is still relevant since DDT is still being used, and
hundreds of new pesticides are being developed every year.
October Family Vacaion
mon 17 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptor Center!|
I was really excited about this day! I had been introduced
to our local raptor center last year when my day job
participated in United Way's Day of Caring. We had decided
to volunteer at Cascade Raptor Center, and 11 of us
worked there for a couple hours one morning last September.
The raptor center has quite a few permanent residents...
birds who have been hurt and have healed, but can't
return to the wild because they would not survive.
It seemed like the biggest issues were either vision
problems, or wing problems where they couldn't fly well
enough to hunt or make their migration.
The residents were in big cages outside, and guests can
wander through and see everyone, and read their story.
It was just amazing to be so close to these very special
When we were there, last year, we had been invited to see
the "handler's talk"... One bird comes out and his or her
handler talks about raptors and what happens at the center.
Unfortunately, no one else was interested, since we were
on company time, they wanted to get back to work. humph.
And also unfortunately, the handler's talks only happen
at noon during the week. Not on the weekends. So this
was a perfect family activity when my parents and brother
We got to meet Taka, a dark morph Swainson's hawk...
October Family Vacaion
sun 16 nov 2014... sunday evening|
Well, I'm not feeling very articulate today, so I will
leave you with this photo.
My African Violets are blooming! I have some dark
magenta ones in the background, and my favorite, white
with light purple rims. They are both from my Grandma, who
had them on her dryer in the kitchen, catching the morning
The weekend has been too short, as usual. But I suppose
hell will freeze over, if I ever actually get caught up
with all my projects!
sat 15 nov 2014... weekend!|
It's been a peaceful and relaxing saturday... I'm thrilled
that I don't have any homework from the day job this
I got up early. Spent some time working with my GoodReads
group. Surfed the Internet. Made mail. Made art.
Went for a walk. Read my book.
Doesn't that sound nice?
fri 14 nov 2014... Day 2: at the Ocean, end|
We drove up the coast a little further and stopped at
The Devil's Churn. An old sea cave, but the roof caved
in, now it's a narrow channel where waves crash in on
each other all the way to the end!
Photo of the mouth of the Churn, taken from midway down
the trail (you can see the lower part of the switch back
on the left side of the pic).
We walked from the end of the path, down to the end of
the Churn. The Internets say it's about 100feet long, and at
the end you can see the ocean is making a new sea cave.
My brother was quite fascinated by the powerful waves.
After we left the Devil's Churn,
we drove a little bit further, up to Waldport, and decided
to head home. Dad found a tiny, one-lane back-road,
which wasn't even on his GPS... a
more direct route, but we were only going about 25 mph
through all the turns. It only seemed like it took forever!
Back in Eugene, we picked up my partner who had stayed
at home for the day, and went out to eat.
is 100% vegan and everything on their menu is yummy and
wonderful! I only wish we could have eaten more than
one meal there!
A fabulous vegan dinner for all was a wonderful way to
end a spectacular day!
October Family Vacaion
thurs 13 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont again|
We drove a little further north and stopped at
Spouting Horn. This is a place on the Oregon coast where
the beach is just rocks. There is a little sea cave
which has a hole in the ceiling... so when the tide comes
in, water explodes up through the hole in a "geyser-like" spray.
I guess the sprays can be so big they hit the highway!
But, here's a little puff that I caught (you can see the
road isn't exactly close!):
My Brother and Dad watching the waves at Thor's Well.
I had warned my family: Never turn your back on the ocean!
A few people die every year, getting swept out with a
The tide was just coming in as we arrived at the coast.
And Bother and Mom were a bit too close
and a big wave came in and splashed them! They both
kept their footing, but got a little wet.
As they walked back in their soaked clothes, strangers
asked, "Did you turn your back on the Ocean?"
Mom answered, "No! We saw the wave coming!"
haha! but seriously... when you see a wave coming, and you
know it's big; Make like a Sea Star and lay down on the
rocks and grip with everything you've got!
And speaking of Sea Stars... the tide pools here were
sadly empty. The Sea Stars have been devastated by a
"largest mortality event for marine diseases we've seen",
I did find one tide pool with a lonely dark red anemone:
(on the left side of the pool.) Most puddles had
some kind of little shrimp-like creature swimming in it.
No Sea Stars to be seen, tho. Very Sad.
October Family Vacaion
wed 12 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont|
Next on our drive up the coast was
Heceta Head Lighthouse. (pronounced huh-SEE-ta)
We walked up the trail to the lighthouse and got
a tour, going inside the lighthouse, all the way up to
the lenses at the top!
the stairs on the inside can only take so much weight, so
they only let one small group in at a time. And then they
rush you out so the next group can come up. ha! )
Above pic: looking up at the light in the lighthouse,
seen through a break in the lenses, which were turning.
And the light is obviously on as well... I wonder why they
keep it running during the day? Maybe it's too much
trouble to turn it on and off all the time.
It was interesting to learn that every lighthouse has a
unique pattern of flashes. This timed pattern, along
with the colour of the light, makes the lighthouse
easily identified by lost ships.
Heceta has one white flash every 10 seconds.
(to be continued again!)
October Family Vacaion
tue 11 nov 2014... Day 2: At The Ocean|
This is the continuing series of my October Family
Vacation: my parents and brother, from Colorado,
were visiting me in Oregon.
I think this was my favorite day of my family's visit!
I live about
60miles/100km from the Pacific Coast, but I never drive
out there. It's been several years since I've been to the
ocean, so I was looking forward to it!
And we had the most amazing weather! October is supposed
to be cool and rainy... but we had a warm sunny day, not
even all that windy! It was so lovely!
We went straight west and our first stop was the
Sea Lion Caves. Bit of a disappointment... there were no
sea lions in the cave. haha, it never occured to me
that the sea lions only hang out in the cave seasonally!
We drove to the beach just to the north and had a
fabulous vegan picnic lunch.
The crows and one gull were all interested in the food
I rolled up my jeans and tried to wade. But once a wave
went over my ankles, the coldness of the ocean made me
run away! ha.
(to be continued... I got distracted with some back-end
website stuff this evening!)
October Family Vacaion
mon 10 nov 2014... birds at the garden|
oh, I get so excited when I find a new bird at the
community garden! And this one was super easy to
identify! Nice little yellow spot on his head...
Golden Crowned Sparrow
They only live on the western coast of North America, so
that's kind of cool that I got to see such a "local" bird!
This year, I've taken pics of these birds at the
- scrub jay
- a red winged black bird
- a house finch
- about a million gold finches
- Anna's Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- and now the Golden Crowned Sparrow
sun 9 nov 2014... Mail|
My mailing projects have kind of been on hold for the last
At the beginning of October, I took a couple weeks off
so that I could get organized for my parents and brother
to come visit me.
Shortly after their visit, my mailbox lock died. It's
taken 2 weeks to get the lock replaced. I've been unable
to go to the post office to collect the mail that's piling
up, but Significant Other went a couple times.
But without my usual daily mail, I just haven't been
inspired to do anything about my usual mailing projects.
So, I've got a big pile of un-acknowledged mail that I
would normally message "thanks" for.
And my sent mail has taken a serious nose dive. I normally
send over 100 postcards every month. September, I sent 90.
October, I sent 60. This month, I've sent 5.
um. yeah. It's the second weekend of the month, I should
have 40 postcards out the door. And I have 5. nice, huh?
It's not about the numbers. Sending out mail gives me joy.
And when I am not doing something that makes me happy?
What kind of person will I turn into?
I need to change this situation!
I've printed out a bunch of postcards. I need to cut them
up. I'll start writing on them in the coming week.
Meanwhile, I've also written for the Amnesty International's
I wish my workspace were as lovely as this one,
Snail Mail: Letter writing al fresco. But we
must work with what we have:
I live in a tiny townhouse and there is no room for a
proper desk. I do most of my work on a lap desk, either
on the floor or on my bed. It works and it fits my
The photo displays my usual set up for my Urgent Action
letters. I type them and print them on coloured paper,
I usually switch between light green and today's light
I also love to decorate the envelopes! My favorite
way to color envelopes is with Copic Wides... these
markers have a 3/4 inch nib, which is the ultimate fun
in quick colouring! Today's envelopes have a simple
plaid design on the left side
using G21 Lime Green, B24 Sky Blue, and
V22 Ash Lavender.
sat 8 nov 2014... working weekend|
I have tons of stuff that needs to be done this weekend,
not the least of which is some homework that I brought
from the day job.
Worrying about how long the homework was going to take,
I decided to start the day right, with some art. I had
a little doodling project that was stuck in my head.
I got it out of my head and into the mail box. And then
I felt ready to take on my chores for the day.
I had really debated about what I should be doing
every day in november. I actually thought about doing
Novel Writing Month and instead of typing a novel,
I could type up 50,000 words of journal entries.
And then I thought I should do
Every Day Month. I always love love love all the art
that I make.
And then I decided on
Blog Posting Month, mostly because I wanted to type
about the family visit and I was lacking the motivation
to just do it!
But I guess that goes for the other things as well...
I lack the motivation to just journal or to just draw.
Which is kind of a funny thing to say, because I do
journal on a regular basis,
and draw occasionally, and I even type up a
blog post on a blue moon.
I just want to go deeper into all these things!
We did finally get out to the garden today!
We dug up the last of the beets and planted garlic in
its place. We also found one more butternut squash,
hiding under some leaves... The squash vine is still
very much alive in some places and there are a few
butternuts that are green but might still be growing! ha!
We've still got the three sweet potato plants to dig up.
I hope it keeps for a little while, since we've got loads
of butternuts to eat first!
fri 7 nov 2014... Day 1: Oct Fam vacation|
My Dad, Mom and Brother arrived on tuesday night, and
as I talked about in Part 0, I had an early morning
drop-off at the veterinarian for Lucy the guinea pig.
Everyone was awake, and
had coffee and/or breakfast in them by the time the vet
called back, so we started planning the rest of the day.
We all drove out to my day job. I was proud and happy
to show my family the warehouse I work in and introduce
them to the wonderful people I work with.
On the way home, we picked up little Lucy and her eye
medicine. After lunch we had an outing to our community
Our community garden plot is such an important part of my
life, I was so happy and excited to share it totally with
my parents and brother.
Significant Other and I have had our Community Garden Plot
since 2009. I pretend to garden there: make plans, plant
things, weed stuff, and then harvest and eat
zucchinis and cherry
tomatoes. But this was the first year that I felt happy
and comfortable about the Wild Flowers (aka "weeds")
that I didn't kill:
the borage had a large section of our plot and the honey
bees and a few native bees were happy.
The Community Garden is 1 mile from our home, and I usually
walk there on the weekends. About 90% of the photos I
use for my postcards are taken on this walk (or at our
garden). My photography and my postcards are a huge part
of my life, and I wanted to share this with my family!
That wednesday afternoon, we all walked to the garden on
the path I always take. I was desperately hoping to see
some urban wildlife, or something interesting, so that I
could show them how awesome my neighborhood is!
And sure enough! There was a Great Blue Heron waiting for
us in the creek next to the path!
I was not so happy with the sprinkle of rain that came
down on us. Then again, it's autumn in western Oregon,
the rain should be expected!
At the garden,
we ate the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and marveled at their
sweetness. I pointed out the zucchini and the butternut
squash, the beets and the snow peas and the sweet potatoes
that still need to be dug up.
We walked around the community garden and looked at other
people's garden plots. Sunflowers and zinnias and black
cherry tomatoes and artichokes!
Back at home, we talked and laughed and got out my
dominoes for a few games of Mule Train.
October Family Vacaion
thurs 6 nov 2014... simple pleasures|
Simple Pleasures in Autumn
Driving around in your car with the heat on and the
Sitting next to the window at home,
wrapped in a blanket and
watching the rain. Hopefully with a good book and a
nice mug of something warm and sweet.
Butternut squash. (and Pumpkin, I suppose... but we didn't
grow pumpkins in the garden this year!)
And soon, sweet potatoes.
Leaves crunching under your feet as you walk in a
blue-sky-crisp morning or afternoon.
Soup warming in the slow cooker.
Collecting all the leaves that make you happy.
wed 5 nov 2014... speaking of guinea pigs|
Significant Other was out buying timothy hay for the
piggies the other day. As he was checking out, the lady
asked him what kind of critters he had. He told her
guinea pigs and then she asked if we ever let them out.
My first piggy, Adric, spent most of his life on the floor
of my little studio apartment. He'd only spend a couple
hours a day in his house. It was so wonderful having him
running around all the time. And he went to the bathroom,
in the bathroom, which had real tile and so was easy to
The next guinea pigs were Tegan and Tess. They also got
tons of floor time. But since I had moved into an
apartment with SO, they couldn't have the run of the whole
house! I piggy-proofed my bedroom, blocked the door with
something I could step over and then made them a
big house with a door so they could come and go (and they
went to the bathroom in their house).
After that, I started rescuing guinea pigs, instead of
getting them as younglings. The major problem there...
it was difficult to teach them "Don't Pee on the Carpet!"
Ha. So, floor time became limited.
The current pair, Lucy and Ethel, live in the same
big house that I made way back when. It's around 8 square
feet, I think, and they've got plenty of
room to run around in. We tried bringing them out a few
times last year when we first brought them home from the
humane society... they would run around the coffee table
twice and then huddle underneath the couch. It was not
fun bringing them out. And so, Lucy and Ethel have not
had much floor time.
But we gave it another go this evening. Lucy explored,
while Ethel headed directly for the couch. After a few
minutes, SO tempted them out with cucumber. And they both
came out without much trouble!
We may try that again some time.
tues 4 nov 2014... part 0: October Family Vacation|
My Dad, Mom and Brother visited me in October. They
arrived on tuesday evening and... hmm. Actually. There
needs to be a little bit of back story here!
I live in Eugene Oregon, in a tiny townhouse with my
Significant Other and two guinea pigs. My immediate family
lives in Colorado. Both my parents have visited in the
past, both together and separately, but my brother has
never been to Oregon.
I was super nervous about their visit... I've never given
our town house a serious, deep clean in the 9 years that
we've lived here. And even tho I've been doing cleaning
and tidying chores all year through my Space Clearing
class, I knew our home would not be perfectly clean by
the time they got here.
And then also, I was nervous because I wanted them to
stay in our townhouse, rather than in a hotel. And,
honestly, the tiny townhouse is sometimes not big enough
for just the two of us humans, let alone five humans for
Ha. So anyway, in the weeks and days leading up to the
family's visit, little random things were going wrong.
Little annoyances, but then something big. Significant
Other's van had an accident. SO had minor injuries and
his van was totalled. He had two weeks to mend before
the visit, but he was still carless.
The night before the visit, we were playing with
Lucy and Ethel, the guinea pigs, and giving them treats.
And Lucy is squinting
her eye, painfully. What the heck, Lucy?!
Of course, I couldn't
get an appointment right away, I was to drop her off at
the vet clinic on wednesday morning, family to arrive
Fortunately, we didn't have any set-in-stone plans, and
it all worked out in the end.
Family arrived tues night, and Significant Other served
up a great dinner of homemade Yumm! bowls.
(altho my brother didn't like the Yumm! sauce. foo.)
We all chatted
and laughed, and didn't stay up too late because they
were tired of all their traveling.
Wed morning I got up early and loaded Lucy up in the
carrier. Dad got up and came with us to the vet to drop
her off. Everybody was still in bed when we got back!
In a couple hours, everyone was up and the vet called.
Lucy had a scratch on her eye and needed eye drops, three
times a day for the next 2 weeks. No big deal, I could
pick her up any time.
Lucy above, Ethel below.
October Family Vacaion
mon 3 nov 2014... huh|
I don't have anything to write about.
it's only day 3 and I don't have anything to write about!
I should have made a plan!
Why don't I have a plan?!
sun 2 nov 2014... Begin Again|
Ha... After my first
National Blog Posting Month post -- in which I mostly
just complained about stupid little things -- I feel I
should start over and maybe offer an introduction.
I've been blogging since 1998... but reintroductions
are important every once in a while.
So, Hi! I'm rift vegan.
Yes, I'm vegan!
Vegan is not just a diet, it's a lifestyle that
includes every decision that you make every day.
I love being vegan and it's the best part of me!
∞ I am a reader!
The only reason I have a day job is to pay the rent
and to buy books. I enjoy lots of non-fiction, science
fiction and randomness.
∞ I am a photographer!
I carry my camera everywhere. But please don't ask
me about the settings, I'm all about point and shoot.
∞ I love sending postcards!
I print up my photos and mail them as postcards. This is
how I share my love of nature. I'm an active member on
several mailing web sites and I usually send around 100
postcards every month!
∞ I pretend to garden!
My partner and I have a plot in a community garden. Many
of my photos are taken at the garden or on the one mile
walk to or from the garden. As for actual gardening...
well, I do plant a few things, and I might weed a little.
And somehow I end up with some zucchinis and cherry tomatoes!
sat 1 nov 2014... halloween complainings|
I was terribly disappointed yesterday evening because we
only got one little family of trick-or-treaters for
I am also not happy with my day job... I have tons of
homework that I need to work on this weekend. ick!
And I haven't been able to get out to the garden in weeks.
Do we have any butternut squashes left or are they all
rotting? We need to dig up the sweet potatoes! And we
needed to plant the garlic weeks ago! arg.
And the most devastating of all... we have a problem with
our lock on our mailbox, and I've not gotten any mail
since last saturday! ARG! I haven't had time to pick
the mail up at the post office this week, so it's just
piling up. It might get fixed next week, but I'm not
very optimistic about it anymore.
Then I went for a walk and now I feel much better!
So, here are some of the things that I'm going to type
about this month...
My family visited me in October. I've got six days worth
of area hikes and waterfalls and the Pacific coast and
the local raptor center!!
A couple of vegan adventures.
And other randomness, of course.
thurs 30 oct 2014... tap, tap. Is this thing still on?|
Just making sure I remember how to do this blog
thing! ha. I think I've been averaging about 2 posts
a month here this year. I've been busy, but that should
be an excuse to post more often, to tell you what all I'm
I'm going to blog daily in November.
Yeah. We'll see how that goes...
sat 27 sept 2014... stuff in sept: Vegan MoFo|
I am not a foodie, and I hate to cook, so I tend to
ignore the fact that September is the
Month of Food. But for many of the vegan blogs I
watch, this is the only time of year that they post, and
it's easy to get excited about some of the great food
they write about!
And so the discovery of vegan mac & cheese.
I don't buy very many convenience foods: expensive and
not healthy. But I like to try new things
Vegan Essentials every once in a while, and I had
a box of the Earth Balance White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
laying in the pantry.
And when Vegan Chai kicked off her Vegan MoFo with
Mac & Cheese Mondays, I figured I'd give my
box of mac & cheese a chance.
Yeah, I loved it. I got addicted in one meal, and now
only wonder when I can get my next fix. It's all on
backorder... so Earth Balance is pretty much evil for
not making enough!
sat 20 sept 2014... Stuff in Sept: Banned Books Week|
Banned Books Week is Sept 21 thru 27, but I like to
celebrate all month! Intellectual Freedom is important
to me, as a reader and as a human.
Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, the fight
for intellectual freedom is actualy a human rights
issue. Journalist are kidnapped and killed too often:
Committee to Protect Journalists: 711 Journalists Murdered since 1992
I've read 9 of the 46 books on the
Banned Classics list. (the same as last year.)
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
9. 1984, by George Orwell
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
2000-2009, Top 100 list: 13 books (two more than last year!)
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
88. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle
I am currently reading Maya Angelou's autobiography
series, which begins with I Know Why the Caged Bird
Sings... her writing and her stories have me completely
under their spell! I'm reading the 3rd book of 7.
From the wikipedia page about Maya Angelou:
Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou
used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She
would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel
room, where the staff was instructed to remove any
pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads
while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a
deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and
the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She
would average 10 - 12 pages of written material a day,
which she edited down to three or four pages in the
evening. Angelou went through this process
to "enchant" herself, and as she said in a 1989 interview
with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the
agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She placed
herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic
experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to
"tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou stated
that she played cards in order to get to that place of
enchantment and in order to access her memories more
effectively. She stated, "It may take an hour to get
into it, but once I'm in it - ha! It's so delicious!"
She did not find the process cathartic; rather, she found
relief in "telling the truth".
Yes! I love to hear about other people's writing habits.
Enchanting yourself with serious alone time, solitaire,
sherry and a thesaurus?! how wonderful.
sat 6 sept 2014... Stuff in September: Passenger Pigeons|
Martha the Passenger Pigeon died in a zoo on Sept 1,
one hundred years ago.
In the early 1800s Passenger Pigeons were the most abundant
bird species in North America. They migrated across the
continent in flocks that were made up of billions of
And humans made Passenger Pigeons extinct.
We killed all of them through hunting and mass deforestation.
And we've learned nothing.
We continue to kill animals like it doesn't even matter.
Sometime through hunting (wolves!),
sometimes by mass poisoning (bees!),
and mostly by mass destruction of ecosystems (everyone!).
So here is a project to bring awareness...
Fold the Flock.
I love their About statement:
Fold the Flock is an initiative of The Lost Bird Project,
an arts-based environmental non-profit that connects
people more deeply with the earth through art.
Their goal is to reach 1 million origami Passenger Pigeons
by the end of the year. They are currently at ~453,500.
And you know, one million sounds like a lot... but it is
a tiny fraction of the billions of birds who formerly
roamed North America.
Here's my first attempt...
I've never done any origami before, and you can see that
my folds are not great. Regardless, it still looks good,
and it stands all by itself! ha!
I hope you'll try it as well. They have a free download
that fits on letter-sized paper that you can print. You
will have to cut it down. And you'll have to run the
instruction video many times. :)
It's fun learning some origami!
sat 30 aug 2014... Letter Writing Activist|
At the beginning of the year, I was writing letters of
protest for Amnesty International every weekend. At some
point in February, I stopped receiving my weekly emails
For a while, I went to the website every weekend and
picked a case and wrote for it. It was much harder for
me to do this because I was overwhelmed by all the cases.
It wasn't long before I quit writing every weekend.
I tried to get back to my letter writing in May, but I
only wrote for two weekends. I've thought about it since
then... I think about it often, actually... but I can't bring
myself to look at the site and wade through all the most
So I was thrilled to get an email from the crew at
Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network.
The email detailed the process of getting the cases to
the AI activists, and some of the issues they've had
this year. The email said "Please Respond" and I wrote
back immediately and with enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, I haven't gotten an immediate response.
I'm disappointed. Maybe next week?
Meanwhile, I'm going to write a few letters this weekend.
I am on the email list of both the USA
and the UK Amnesty International
offices... and I noticed when I sign the UK (email)
petitions, they have a tab that hides a letter writing
section. They provide a mailing address and the sample
Today I wrote a letter based on one of the UK petitions!
It was to an embassy in London, I tracked down
the ambassador in Washington DC and sent a letter to
him as well. The sample text makes this so easy.
I'm also going to be writing a few "Animal Action" cases.
I think I'll start with the
Mirage Hotel Dolphins and then add some protests to
Sea World. You've seen
sun 17 aug 2014... Random|
Nobody ever updates around here. I think I need
a secretary or something.
We have new summer-time neighbors at the day job...
A mom and four kids. We have been putting out cracked corn
for them... along with the sunflower seeds we give to the
The above photo was from a month ago. The four kids are
quite a bit larger now. The family wandered into the
warehouse last friday, just as the FedEx guy was picking up.
Gil snapped a few pics on his cell phone before getting
our packages into his truck! haha.
Art Journal. I've worked on a couple pages in my new
... and there have been experiments. For instance, the back
of the left side page of the above spread, had some
watercolours on it. The next page after the above spread
has a background "painted" with beets. Beets from my
community garden plot! ha! How awesome is that?! I don't
know what I'm going to draw on that page. Maybe nothing.
It's a lovely shade of red-violet. :)
sat 26 july 2014... from Blah to Boing!|
Last week I was feeling rather disenchanted with all
my projects. I knew I had to do something new and different,
in order to get my mojo back. But I had no idea what my
new and different thing should be.
I went to bed thinking about it, Friday night, and I woke
up thinking about it, Saturday morning. I got nothin'.
I didn't want to get out of bed, ever.
And then suddenly it hit me.
I literally jumped out of bed and started tearing thru
my tubs looking for my favorite
crochet hook and some fun string.
I made two dish cloths last weekend. It was exactly what
I needed. The thinking time. Keeping my hands busy. And
I'm not sure when I last crocheted, but my
crochet blog entries were posted in 2011. Well, I don't
think I will continue crocheting... it was a one weekend
deal and now I'm done. I think!
So this week, I am back to my postcard projects. I won't be
able to get my letter writing goals attended to before
the end of the month like I wanted... but that's okay.
I've got some other stuff going on anyway.
Including the Community Garden plot. I've eaten
every day this week for the first time.
and today I brought home the first
significant haul of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.
Sun Golds are the yummiest.
The first Lemon cucumber is about ¾ grown!
And I think we will be overwhelmed with butternut squashes!
Oh, and I'm bringing home an occasional beet, as well.
I'm not sure how they have organized themselves so
perfectly, but one is ready to be pulled up about every
other week. Just the one, and that is all. nice!
And... someone else's art, which I noticed on the walk
home from the garden...
"Pick up garbage = ♡"
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:47:43 PDT|
July Mail Goals
short long long short
sat 12 july 2014... goals, updates, odds & ends|
My mailbox is happy most every day, but when I receive
a letter from a friend whom I've not heard from in a while,
I am especially happy. I've received two such letters
recently... but when I went through my records, I realized
that I have not sent any such happy letters to others in
months! oh dear!
So, I am here making a public statement of my mailing
goals for July: Catch up with my Greeting Card project;
Write at least four reply letters, two short letters and
two long letters; and Keep up my usual postcard pace of
about 100 per month...
Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:28:46 PDT|
July Mail Goals
short long long short
50 75 100
The community garden plot continues to be awesome...
I've been eating zucchini for every meal on the weekends,
and I was able to add one week day meal this past week!
(I know: soon I'll be sick of zucchini and I'll want to
pay people to take them off my hands! ha! meantime,
I am enjoying them immensely!)
Ate 3 cherry tomatoes this
morning... I wish they would hurry up! Will gather another
beet tomorrow. The butternut squash is taking over the
plot, it's leaves and vines are covering about
6 square feet (almost 2 square meters) and I'm a little
concerned about how many butternut squashes I'm going to
have to eat!
And the "Odds & Ends"...
sat 5 july 2014... Independence Day Weekend|
Yep, we went out to see the fireworks. I had fun, but
think next year we'll have to find a new place to watch...
The fireworks didn't seem to go up as high this year,
and most of the explosions were half hidden by the trees
at the bottom of this pic! disappointing!
Plus, I need to remember to study my camera settings
before I leave the house! ha. I just guessed on one
of the night settings, since this cam doesn't have a
specific "fireworks" setting. humph.
And this morning, a trip to the garden...
We've got a baby butternut squash! Ate a couple cherry
tomatoes today. And the lemon cucumber plant is finally
getting serious about growing. Couple more beets will
be ready to pull up maybe next weekend.
And I'll be picking
the 4th yellow Gold Rush zucchini tomorrow...
It's a little bit hard to see in the above pic because of
the morning sunlight, but that is a volunteer tomato
plant on the right! ha!
We had a volunteer tomato plant last year as well, but
it didn't amount to much, tho it did make a few tomatoes.
This one looks much healthier!
It's interesting because the only tomatoes we plant are
hybrids, which shouldn't be able to reproduce.
But, I guess "Life Finds A Way"! :)
fri 4 july... USA, Hobby Lobby Decision|
I try to avoid politics, but this thing annoys me so much,
I feel I should type something about it.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations
may claim religious rights to be exempt from Obamacare's
mandatory coverage for birth control. Basically, Hobby
Lobby will not cover certain forms of birth control in
the health insurance they provide to their employees.
This is horrifing on so many levels. Not paying for
birth control in your health plan? What century do we
live in? And then, we are granting ever more individual
rights to corporations. And also, it is opening the door
a little wider on the "war on women".
I am not happy with the Hobby Lobby decision, and I am
not proud to live in a country where corporate rights
trump the rights of people.
Enough of that.
Here is some cuteness relief...
That's Ethel eating some beet greens and Lucy who has snubbed
the beet greens and wonders what she's supposed to eat. haha.
Update: 12 July
Thanks to Aimee Dars
for the link...
I am supporting this campaign!
sat 28 june 2014... an overdue update|
It's been over a month since my last post here.
I miss this. Typing up a post, and uploading my photos
is enjoyable. I should do it more often!
The snow peas were not very successful this year, only a
couple handfuls were gathered. The beets
(a new experiment this year) are good --
three pulled up so far,
and a bunch of little ones that still need
to grow up! I ate my first (Gold Rush) yellow zucchini
today! and the
Sun Gold cherry tomatoes will hopefully get going soon.
The butternut squash (another first year experiment)
is nice and big and thinking about some blossoms.
I have managed to fall behind on my personal
which is to say, more behind than usual! ha. But I'm
working on it this weekend, want to get the "May" postcards
out the door. I have abandoned my Amnesty International
writing again, and I've not even written any Animal Letters
either. Not to mention my LetterMo replies.
I guess I was taking a break, but I'm ready to
get writing again now!
Decided I should occasionally use some of the art tools
I buy! I'm aiming to work in my new blank book once a
week. Last Weekend: Copics + Tombows. I think I would
like to focus on illustrating some quotes... Mostly working
on the lettering. maybe some drawing too?
I have been taking a year-long Space Clearing online class.
It's going amazingly well. It's amazing because I'm
still looking at the daily lessons! I typically start
ignoring online classes after two weeks, and here I am,
still going strong six months into the class! ha!
Little things, here and there, get cleaned or taken care of.
With house stuff, I have learned to ask for help and my
partner has done some amazing things around here. My big
goal, tho, is to take care of the piles in my bedroom.
well... the best I can say about that
is that it hasn't gotten much worse. *shakes head*
At least I'm on the path!
sun 25 may 2014... happy Garden trip|
Last weekend, we bought some vege starts at Saturday Market
and planted them right away. I meant to go back to the
garden plot the next day (sunday) to get some weeding done,
but it rained all day.
So I was very eager to visit our community garden plot this
weekend. Not only for the weeding that needed to be done,
but also to see how the starts fared.
Status of Starts: two out of three are growing happily.
The lemon cucumber might need to be replaced.
Status of Weeding:
yes, lots of grass got chopped and hoed and
generally killed. I was
feeling very pleased with my efforts and when I returned
the hoe to the tool shed, one of the community gardeners
called me over...
"Do you have lettuce?" he asked. "No, I don't," thinking
what an odd question.
"Would you like to take some
lettuce? I'm taking care of a friend's plot, and all this
lettuce is ready to go." "heck yeah, I'd love some!"
Funny thing is, I was going to plant some lettuce seeds
after I put away my hoe! Instead, I brought back several
whole lettuce plants, thank you Marilyn!
I stuffed them in my backpack and
decided I had to walk home immediately or else they would
I got a bit distracted on the way home tho...
I had discovered an invasive red-eared slider turtle at
the creek mid-April.
And yesterday I saw her again,
a little further upstream.
and then the ducklings! A mom with 5 children. Then
the mom with the 2 older kids, that I saw last weekend.
And a mom with 6 babies! Delightful! but hard to get
decent pictures of them swimming...
And then I got home and shared the lettuce with the piggies...
sat 17 may 2014... spring babies|
Does it get any cuter than that?!
This bunch -- mom with 11 babies! -- was wandering through
the parking lot at the day job. There isn't a pond or
any water nearby so I was a bit worried about them.
But our resident birder said the mom mallard would feed
them bugs from the fields... maybe mom was waiting to
cross the street later in the day.
Also, at the day job... There is an osprey nest at the
top of a cell tower. It's probably a couple blocks away,
but we set up a spotting scope in the upstairs art
department and watched them last spring. Unfortunately,
they lost the babies. (Predation from other ospreys?)
And then even more unfortunately,
in the autumn stupid humans tore down their nest. Arg!
Well, the ospreys came back this spring and complained
loudly. They went away for about a month, but now they
are back. They've decided to rebuild!
(just hoping the ospreys didn't want baby duck for dinner!)
and it seems a bit late in the season to be building a
nest. Will they try for some late babies? Or is this
prep for next year?
And, in my own neck of the woods...
some much older mallard ducklings. Just the two, and
mom was close.
It's been years since I've seen baby ducks
at the creek... the ducks get fed bread by misinformed
human parents at Ducky Hill. The ducks gobble it up, but
it's not good for them. None of our ducks have the
deformed feathers that have shown up in other local park
duck populations (Angel Wing, incurable). But a lack of
babies is definitely a sign of malnutrition via bread.
So two mallard younglings is cause for celebration!
sun 4 may 2014... time|
Turns out, the weekends are never long enough.
ha! Oh well. For may I've decided to go forward --
and not have any guilt for the projects I've abandoned!
So. Here is something that caught my attention today,
that I wanted to type about...
Going through my feeds this weekend, I came across this
post at UPSP Stamps:
Latest Issue of USA Philatelic Now Available.
I realized I had somehow gotten off the USPS mailing list,
so I signed up for that again. But then I noticed the
author bio in the right sidebar:
Favorite stamp: My favorite stamp features a
black-and-white photograph of designer Ray Eames
holding a Christmas ornament over her husband's head.
The stamp is from the 2010 Charles + Ray Eames
stamp pane, and it always makes me smile. I love
how joyful they look.
Well, I don't have the cool drawing of myself, that
Mary has... but I
do have an urge to answer the questions posed in that
Favorite Stamp I really love the current postcard
stamp, a hummingbird. But my absolute favorites are
from the Nature series: the Kelp Forest...
Three things I always have with me My camera, no
matter what! I carry my back pack with me most of the time.
my backup camera, the current magazine I'm reading, pens
and mechanical pencils, some cash, and a clif bar or two.
Favorite way to spend my spare time Spare time?
That would be nice! If I had some I'd be:
Reading, Making postcards from my
photography, and Internetting.
The last book I read Just finished
The Golden Notebook it was very long
and rambling, but I enjoyed it.
One thing I can't live without ha! my printer and
computer? But when civilization crashes, I will really
miss hot showers. But "can't live without"? I have more
books than I can read in a lifetime... I think it's the
books that I can't live without!
My favorite place in the United States My former
life involved moving every 3 or 4 years... but I have
finally found my Forever Home in Eugene Oregon.
The best meal I ever had an All Vegan restaurant
here in town called Cornbread Cafe... every single item
on their menu is complete and utter bliss!
Life motto Get Away From Me, You Stupid People!
(Yeah, I'm a little bit asocial!)
fri 25 apr 2014... flashing amber 5 times|
I had other things I was going to type about today,
unfortunately my printer gets precedence.
The printer died suddenly this afternoon. I am annoyed,
but not as frantic as I was the last time it happend. Which
was last July. Which means the printer is
not even a year old.
Which makes me further annoyed, since the first one lasted
at least 2.5 years.
But I know what the problem is and I know what the solution
is. It's a bit expensive, and there is a good chance the
replacement won't work properly either and I'll have to
return it for another. Whatever: been there, done
that, no big deal. However...
I use my printer extensively and having the printer down,
completely disrupts my life.
I print my own postcards, and I make and send 25 or 40
every week. Not being able to do that for a week or two?
Yes, I'll survive. But this is the hobby that gives me
joy. This is the hobby that makes me excited to get out
of bed on Saturday mornings.
A week or two of store-bought postcards. ugh. I'll
sun 20 april 2014... Lab Animal Liberation Week|
Okay, nevermind about the long pause in the blogging.
Just re-arranging some stuff in the life!
And also I got bored with the mail related blog posts,
here. I never meant for this site to be about postcards
and letters only, and that's what it has become. Yes,
making snail mail is a big part of my life... but I am a
well-rounded human with many interests! :) And Static8
should reflect that!
So today I want to type about World Day for Laboratory
Animals. The British
dedicated a day on 24 April 1979, which is the birthday of
a former NAVS president. The day, and now the week, is
celebrated by demonstrations and protests by animal
activists who want to end the use of animals in research.
As a vegan who cares for two sweet guinea pigs, animal
testing is a topic that is important to me. Adopting
guinea pigs is part of my animal activism.
(sorry for the terrible pic, but they are both in it!
Lucy in front, Ethel wondering what's going on.)
Please take a moment and think about some of the products
you use. How about switching your shampoo to one with
leaping bunny logo? Don't give any more money to
charities that experiment on animals. Support
Committee for Responsible Medicine instead.
Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:48:06 PDT|
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 21
Reply Mail: zero
Amnesty International: zero
I had to take a break from the daily mail this week.
But still... not a bad week with 21 postcards sent!
Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:45:13 PDT|
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 23
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: zero!
Instead, I worked on an Animal "Urgent Action"
case last weekend:
Oppose the Sportsmens Bills
Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09:31:57 PDT|
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 29
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: One case
(Total AI cases this year: 6)
sat 1 mar 2014... Amnesty International|
I joined Amnesty International in December 2011 with
their Write for Rights campaign, and shortly after that
I joined the Urgent Action letter writing campaign.
In 2012, I wrote letters for 40 cases. In 2013, I wrote
for 37 cases.
My tentative goal for 2014 was to write for an Urgent
Action case every weekend. Except, I've not been very
dedicated: I've only written for 5 cases so far and this
is the 9th weekend of the year!
Well, it doesn't help that I've not been receiving the
emails... I'm signed up for a weekly message, where they
send one current but random case. Since I've not been
getting the emails, I've been going to the site to pick
out a case.
And there are just so many to choose from.
I like the fact
that I can choose a case that I'm interested in and
passionate about. But
the whole process takes longer: sifting through all the
current cases, then writing longer letters because of my
interest, and really hemming and hawing over the words
and language I use because I want to get it right. ha!
I print my letters on coloured paper... today it was
I always decorate my Urgent Action envelopes. I hope
it catches their attention. But I sometimes wonder
what they actually think about it. :)
I'm hoping to get 2 cases written this weekend. Today
I am writing for a Syria case... a Kurd postal worker
was disappeared by the government in March 2012 and
has not been heard from since. Unfortunately, the postal
system in Syria is so unreliable the case sheet only
gives fax numbers. It's sad and ironic that the postman
they took is probably dead of torture.
It's hard, being confronted with these life and death
situations, and people really are being tortured to death
right now and every day. Sickening.
But I can't ignore it, and writing for Amnesty International
is my way of dealing with it.
And then I go for a walk.
Nature cleanses my mind and soul.
Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:18:47 PST|
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 26 mailings
Total LetterMo Mail: 150 mailings
Now the replies need to be written!
I am rift vegan!|
(Also known as cheri.)
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA,
with my Significant Other (SO), and guinea pigs
Lucy and Ethel.
I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons,
my love for animals and nature is
a very important part of my life.
This blog is occasionally about...
∞ Vegan Life
∞ Handmade Postcards
∞ Books, Reading & eBooks
∞ the Paper Journal
∞ Drawing & Art Projects
∞ Randomness :)