Sunday, September 28, 2008


I get very content in my boxes. And stepping outside the proverbial box isn't easy. Not impossible but not easy. Taking an intro kayaking lesson at Paddlefest two years ago was one of those times that I dabbed a toe outside my comfort zone. Then wading further into the abyss, I took another lesson with Hawk at Humboats. I took a couple demos with Greg at ProSport. I took a few classes with Marna from Kayak Zak's, including my own personal prerequisite, Rescue and Recovery class (I thought it best to know for sure I could get myself back on board should I somehow fall out). I spent a Saturday afternoon falling out and getting back in a kayak, using a variety of methods before I was convinced I was ready to purchase my own vessel. A couple of weeks ago, I finally bought a Kestral 140 in highly visible Mango yellow. With a bit of engineering, I was finally able to transport the beast on the roof of my xB and decided that Paddlefest was the perfect opportunity for the virgin voyage. Stepping out of the aforementioned comfort zone generally comes with butterflies. This time, butterflies were non-existent. Instead there were Tasmanian devils whirling my morning mocha into a froth. We got the kayak on the roof, strapped on and tied down and off I went to the launch ramp. I knew I could do it but was afraid I couldn't. I had intended to join in a 10:00 tour of the bay and Eureka Slough so had the incentive of a schedule to goad me along. I loaded safety gear, donned wetsuit and personal floatation device and was on the water by 9:55. Couldn't find the group tour anywhere. I hadn't really paid much mind to the location, presuming it would be an obvious gathering of kayaks but, alas, I was mistaken. So, I took a two-hour tour by myself.

With some effort, I paddled against the incoming tide around Woodley Island watching all the while for the promised boat parade and Blessing of the Fleet scheduled for the Maritime Expo. How did I miss an entire parade? I was REALLY looking to get some fallout from that blessing. But I did have fun exploring those quiet corners of the Bay. Sneaking a photo of an egret was not so easy. I'd pull my camera from it's little waterproof box, get it focused right about the time the current would turn me away from my quarry. I'd set the camera in my lap, steer the bow back around just in time for the damn bird to fly off. *sigh* I WILL get better at this.
I pulled out of the water about noon and called Hope, who had planned to come down and demo a kayak or two. When it turned out she was uneasy being out there alone, I put back in and joined her on the water.

So I've done it. I loaded. I unloaded. I put in, took out and loaded up again. By. My. Self. YES! I say to heck with the box. I have successfully built a staircase out of my rut.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bus Stop, Bus Stop

The chill of autumn is beginning to show itself in the mornings. Not too bad yet but it’s coming. Kids will be walking to school, dressed in shorts, no coat. God forbid an umbrella. It got me thinking about riding the school bus and the long walk to the bus stop when I was in kindergarten.

We lived in a little neighborhood in the unincorporated part of Santa Cruz, in Live Oak. We moved into the first house on a brand new street when I was five; the bus stop was at “the little store”, Lucky 7 Market about a quarter-mile away. The store was owned by a family whose daughter, another Debbie, would be my bestest friend all through our school years.

I remember that treacherous walk well and the few times I had to be rescued. Generally, I would make my way alone, no iPod to keep me company. On rainy days, I would share an umbrella with this “big girl”. She was probably in high school. I want to think her name was Ellen though that may just be because, in my memory, she resembles one of my sister’s friends by the same name. She was walking to the stop from a side street and on rainy days would pick me up in her arms so I could keep dry with her under the umbrella. Can you imagine now, if our young child came home with that story: “she picked me up, Mommy, and I got to be under her umbrella all the way to the bus stop”. Oy! Did I seem like I needed taking care of? Oh, who am I kidding? Look at this picture. I was adorable.

I do recall requiring a few rescues over the year. The Francis’ had chickens. More importantly, they had roosters. Occasionally those big Reds would meander out the driveway and would be pecking gravel at the edge of the road; the very road I would have to walk. Those roosters, at least to my 5-year-old eye, were HUGE and terrifying. I recall starting to walk by the yard on the far far far side of the road but the birds looked at me. They clucked at me. I was scared to death and quite sure they were going to get me. So I did what any kid would do – I ran back home. Just as I got there, I’m sure babbling about killer chickens, Randy, the Meadow Gold milkman was making his morning delivery. He offered me a ride IN THE MILK TRUCK. That was the coolest thing. I remember standing up on the passenger side. I may have been sitting but I don’t think so. Probably no passenger seat and probably had the door wide open on that side. Again, can you imagine a parent allowing this today?

Another time I was rescued by Randy was when the Portilla’s dog was watching me. Their house was set back, well off the road but they had a big picture window and a really huge grey Great Dane….with red eyes that glowed! You shut up! They did TOO. Scared me half to death and, even though the house was halfway to the bus stop, I ran all the way home and was, again, rescued by the milk man.

Trying to share this store with my kids is ludicrous. Who allows a five-year-old to walk alone to school? Who allows a child to ride with the milk man. What the heck is a milk man?!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


We came and we really missed those of you that didn't make it. After being "outed" by Nathan Rushton in the morning's ER we felt sure we'd be inundated by the paparazzi such luck.
We were most humbled by the appearance of Capt'n Buhne, formerly of the Buhne Tribune who watched unsuccessfully for the arrival of Heraldo (as did we all). Food was in abundance. Ekovox was true to his word and brought the canned brown bread as well as pickled pig's feet and Moon Pies! There was pizza, cheesecake, chicken....LOTS of food. Much of the gang was there though we sadly discussed the missing Kym, Kristabel, Jack (I don't know what gathering Jack was at when he took the photo he posted this afternoon but he was at the WRONG picnic!) , Jen and others. We're hoping to see them next time around. In this shot, left to right, you'll immediately recognize Monica, Carson Park Ranger, Fred, Ekovox and Boy Most Likely To. Everyone was having a grand old time, as if we'd know each other for years.
Then, just as we'd given up...we spotted him. It HAD to be him, didn't it? He's really here...Heraldo....lurking...spying...taking pictures....and I have proof!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Yeah, I know I've been a blog-slacker. I've actually had something written but it was a rant and I really hate ranting. I'm saving it till the subject comes up again. I'm sure it will.

I took part in my second Coast Cleanup today. It seems I usually find out about it AFTER the fact so I've begun marking the third Saturday of September on my new calendar. I often collect trash whenever I walk the beach but it's nice to be out there with a group with the same purpose and an official tally sheet. I didn't know where to go to find a group. but found a listing of dumpster sites donated by Les Schwab on the Northcoast Environment Center website. I took a chance and headed to Power Poles on the North Spit and found a crew there, passing out collection bags, tally sheets and rubber gloves.

It always seems to me that the Saturday following the Fourth of July would be a good time for the annual cleaning of the coast since days before and weeks after Independence Day, you will find remains of holiday explosives. I'm guessing, however, that September was chosen for a reason. The seasonal high tides bring on a productive flushing of the ocean, as Mother Nature regurgitates on shore the remnants of the meals she has ingested, thanks to slovenly humans.

Possibly because this beach is more a surf spot and less a party spot, I didn't find a lot of party trash though I talked to one girl who trudged up about the same time I did and her bag most definitely contained cans and bottles. I took advantage of the morning and started my walk at the water line. The tides have been high of late and there were more treasures to be found than normal for that stretch of beach. Of course, I also collected flotsam ... or is it jetsam? Most of what I collected was small so my bag didn't fill quickly. Pieces of nylon rope, a few shotgun shells, cups and straws (I HATE plastic straws). I contented myself knowing that these items would not return to the sea to be eaten by some unsuspecting creature. I actually found quite a lot of rope, including this coil, covered with barnacles from its time in the brine. Likely it had been connected to the remains of a crab pot collected by another team I met. What I didn't find was cigarette butts. Very surprising, though I suppose the aforementioned high tides may have already collected the soggy filters and floated them out on the tide. I'm guessing there has been some churning going on in the depths. A car frame surfaced that I was told shows up when tides are high. It would take a tractor to pull it up since it is upside down and hopefully someone so equipped will do that. Also found, the carcass of a sunfish. I left my lovely toes in the shot to give you an idea of it's size. It was a ways up the beach so the water has been carrying a lot of weight.I was rewarded with some beach treasures. A few nice chunks of agate and jasper. Four sand dollars, intact if not perfect and a wadded up dollar bill. That makes five bucks, right?Following my really long walk on the beach (I always forget to factor in the return trip when I stroll), I headed to the North Country Fair for some sun, a brew, the scent of patchouli and some Christmas shopping. All in all, a perfectly Humboldt day.

Tomorrow? The Bloggers Picnic.