Friday, December 31, 2010

The last of 2010.

Sunset at Cape Blanco, westernmost point in the continental USA, bidding you all a good last night of 2010.

May your Tomorrow be a new beginning: productive, thoughtful, caring.

Happy 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Town at the end of 2010.

Port Orford is a sleepy little town, a fishing town, a once logging town, now home to retirees, ranchers, reformed Californians, spiritualists and artists.
Yes, artists, and writers, and retired CEO and scientists, and CIA experts.
There are more galleries here than restaurants.
More churches than real-estate offices.
The entire town is only a couple of miles long, with U.S. Highway 101 right in the middle, moving North to Alaska, South to Mexico. All around, hills and enclaves, three wild rivers providing recreational opportunities and food for those who are patient and are willing to plumb its riches, and a historical park where the first soldiers fought and were decimated by the native population, with dire consequences on both sides. There is a native curse on this town, not because of that original battle, but because of the subsequent retaliation and immure actions of the government against all native populations.

The town has about 1200 residents, 700 full time, with a volunteer mayor and councilmen, an elementary school and a high school to serve the 300 plus or minus student population, of which a good 45% are on free or reduced lunches. 

There is one blinking light on the south end of town by Battle Rock Park, a storm warning light on the north end, to warn motorists when winds are  violent enough to make the south heading trip too dangerous. As I write this, the town is on wind alert.

Also: a supermarket, a convenience store, three gas stations, a video store, six restaurants, all but one on the main drag, two real-estate offices-down from six just a few years ago-, a post office, a lumber/plumbing supply store, a newspaper office, a frame store, an organic store/vegan restaurant, a car parts store, a car repair shop, a hardware store, a glass and window repair store,  four RV parks, a library, a port, a marine reserve,  the brand new  Hawthorne Gallery and  Redfish restaurant with impressive pieces, fabulous food and outstanding views.

You can walk the entire town in less than 30 minutes.  The hills, lake and river shores will take much longer.

Most people know your name here. They will stop and chat with you everywhere. Soon, you'll connect with just about every body in town.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What we do today...

We are footsteps on the sand, soon to disappear, less weighty than flotsam. 

Every step we take, every bite we eat, every thing we generate,  everything we purchase will  impact others.

Step lightly.
Leave no footprints.
Consume only what you need to survive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wishing you the Best!

May you have green for hope
Old books and memories to guide you
New toys to keep you current
And the love of a good man or woman
To cuddle with on stormy nights.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, wherever you are.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tax cuts and a contemporary Christmas Carol.

(I took this picture of my Hubby looking at Cape Blanco Lighthouse just this morning, during our walk on these rocky shores I've come to love. The lighthouse is situated at Cape Blanco, the westernmost tip of the contiguous United States-for the geography geeks out there.)

There are certain stories that guide us, year after year, lighthouses, like the Cape Blanco Lighthouse pictured above, a government built structure, still operating on Cape Blanco, to keep ships from crashing on the rocky shores.

If you have been following the news, you've caught the new Scrooge Story: Let the Rich keep their tax cuts, or nothing will happen in Congress.

Today, on Hardball with Chris Matthew, Matt Kimble from Freedomwors said: "...unemployement benefit is junk... The trouble with unemployment and economic stagnation... is a spending problem..."

I'm just a pensioner. Both my pension and my Medicare benefits were part of my wage package through a lifetime of work. Talking about eleminating these programs because they are costly, is an ethical and moral problem, the one Mister Scrooge had to deal with.

 To balance the budget on the backs of seniors and people on unemployement is an ethical problem, when Wall Street and millionaires insist on keeping their bonuses and being rescued when things go bump in the night.

Greed is governing right now!
A lighthouse only for those with big yachts!

"Less Government" is a code phrase for get rid of all programs, all regs, all things that make good govenment, including unemployement benefits. It's a code phrase for, every man to himself. Women and children and unemployed cost are rocking the boat, will make us drown. 

What is a nation to do?

Let's keep the Lighthouses, the regulations, the programs that give people a lifeline. In a Democracy, we have a moral imperative to save everyone in a storm, and to give education and protections to prevent crashing on the shores.

Then, let's have a conversation on how to become the great nation we think we are, the nation that shone like a lighthouse to the world at war, to the world in poverty. Let's have our conversation on how we can afford to do all the things we need to do, in a smart way, in a fair way, even in a humane way, Right now is the time to start. Right now, for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We had a big storm last night, still around,beating down branches, releasing pent-up compost into the air.

In-and- out of the storm

At lunch with our yearly ambition martinis
leather chairs embracing our backs
looking accomplished in our power-suits
we admire our reflections in the window
as we  pose  for obligatory fotos
capturing another year
another growth point
another boost of productivity,
the ocean all but calm in the distance.

Nobody counts the small bird
scurrying on the sands
its tweet drowned by seagull scheeches
its tiny steps erased by waves
encircled and hushed
by an empty sandwich bag.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready or Not!


(reprinted and adapted from a friend's email)

1. The Post Office.
They are in deep financial trouble. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive.

2. Banks.
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check, and in turn, the post office, the corner bank, the clerks at the counter.

3. The Newspaper.
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book.
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. Aren't you downloading music from iTunes for half the price of CD's?. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book.

5. The Land Line Telephone.
Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music.
The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who like to hear it. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television.
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own.
Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system.

So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy.
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7 "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again. All we will have that can't be changed are Memories.


(Thanks, Erna, for sharing these thoughts with us!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What I miss about L.A.

The day I made my husband buy this piece of land with lake and ocean views, I was besides myself, drunk with excitement, ready to dive into deep waters with my clothes on.

As the real estate agent pulled up to  the house, I spied the water, and asked her if the house had access to the water. When she said yes, I ran down to the edge of the lake, my whole body convulsing  with happy thoughts. How perfect this was, water and pine trees all around.  In the distance, a lighthouse, a very good sign in my book.

 I ran back up the driveway,  and into a tiny dark cottage where Hubby and Real Estate Lady were discussing structural beams and water pressure. The tiny, dark place was not on my radar. I was buying here to buy that VIEW!

 "Hon, this is it!" I blurted out.

Now, we had agreed that if one of us just loved a place, so much so that we couldn't wait to declare our spilling enthusiasm, the other would consider this effluence as The Sign!  Hubby got the message.  He made an offer.

We returned to L.A. with pictures like this.  Everyone we knew drooled over these pictures. Really?  You are moving from L.A.?  After you built yourself such a beautiful home in those hills?  How can you do that?  Doesn't it rain in Oregon all the time? What is the house like?

Yes! Yes! Yes! The house is small; but it doesn't matter!

Hubby was most surprised by my rash decision. Our children were all in L.A. Our jobs were in L.A. We had most of our adult lives in L.A.  We had just finished building a house after a major earthquake. Didn't we go to major trauma together?  Could we afford giving up our jobs and retiring before everybody else? Was I sure about this big move?

He worked out the details, including the sale of our brand-new, custom home, our early retirement, our disassembling of household.  Our children chose the furniture and furnishings they liked, and in a very civil way, they all got what they wanted, including books and art pieces.  We left for Oregon with our clothes, a couple of boxes of books, our computers six months after that first visit to Port Orford.

So,do I miss  L.A.?  Do I miss the shops, the museums, the theaters, the many attractions? Do I miss my furniture, my great kitchen, my friends and neighbors?
None of these. 
Do I miss the children? Yes.
Do I miss them terribly? No.  They are all grown and settled,  busy with their lives.  It was a lucky day when we could all get together for a meal now and then.

Do I miss the beaches, the beautiful people? No. No.

I don't miss the crowds, the traffic, the delays, the sheer elbowing that occurrs in a city that never ends.
Do I miss the sunshine?  Yes.
Do I miss it terribly? No. After each storm, there are glorious sunny, temperate and  comfortable days  to take long walks on the beaches, to remind myself of how lucky I am.

You see, I was always the one dreaming of living at a cottage by the sea. Hubby wanted a cottage in the mountains, by a lake.  We got them both, actually, one side of the house faces the water, the other, the mountains. We only regret not having moved sooner. Our children would have loved living here.

Happy Holidays, wherever you are.
Dream your dream and seek it far and wide.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Where would you live?

In one place, buildings and roads are all around you, all easy access.

In the other, you are  isolated, rocks, trees, and  surf are accessible through rambles and side roads.

One is full of people, products, services and distractions. You can sit at lunch and watch the seagulls below.
The other is devoid of human influences. You bring your sandwich and walk the sand, seagulls following your footsteps, hoping for a crumb.

Ambition, martini, leather chairs..
Water sprays,sea weeds, fishy entrails.

Feeling safe and accomplished, having lunch with your friends in power-suits,  air-conditioned,  retreated. The ocean is  a one dimensional painting behind you.

Feeling adventurous and wild, leaving your cave to get wet, cold, drowned by  loud screeching of seagulls. Tides and waves and sea birds have erased your footprints.