Monday, May 30, 2011 the Eyes of A Young Girl

If there is a sculpture in the next race called, Parenting 101, I know who WON'T be piloting it. Here is a letter I wrote to the Eureka City Schools Board and Supervisor:

Mr. Haulk et al,

Is it true that, during this year’s Kinetic Grand Championship, a Eureka High School sponsored EAST sculpture was piloted by students under the age allowed by the rules? Were false documents really provided by parents, condoned by teachers, so that said students could participate? Really? Wow! If you are not familiar, please feel free to follow this link to the Lost Coast Outpost where Hank Sims lays it out. Note near the bottom of the first article, a comment by “The Original Race Baby” who admits to be being a teacher. Yours? Wow all over the place.

While you on the Board and the administration of Eureka High ponder the budget and why parents are pulling their students in favor of charter schools, I will remember a day when Rob Taylor, band director for EHS was not old enough to legally drive his own students on a band trip. Guess he didn’t know about this option or he could have provided a fake ID as well.

Should you pull the records of these two students and discover that they were of legal age to be piloting the sculpture, please let me know and I will be sure to apologize and presume they were just not responsible enough to bring ID as promised.

My involvement comes from being the mother of Monica Topping who was beat up publically as the figurehead of the Race organizers. She had to deal with these people, was threatened and intimidated on the Arcata Plaza in front of Arcata Police Sgt. Dave Brown and with “EHS” emblazoned on the sculpture. I’ve been a Glorious Spectator of the Kinetic races in all of its incarnations for the sixteen years we’ve lived here. This took a real ugly and evil turn in a way that I’m not sure even the Great Razooly would approve.. But it got ugly with Eureka High’s permission. This is how you raise the responsible kids of the future?

They could take a lesson from the Colfax High team who managed to travel here with their sculpture and actually FOLLOWED the rules.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This Killin Time Is Killin Me

I don't get out much. Traveling on my own is adventure but, on my own I make rookie mistakes. I forget things like pocketknives in my purse (no worries-TSA found it for me...). I forget my bag on the carry-on cart and feel the wrath of the tiny Asian lady who, I'm SURE had unkind things to say about me, had I understood what she was muttering to her friend after he retrieved my bag.

This trip is one I have undertaken for work, for an expansion of my job due to the unofficial freezing of vacated positions. Learning is good. Expanding my knowledge of the world I work in is good. Spending three days in Palm Springs with training managers from various law enforcement agencies, was going to be a great opportunity but, something coastal would have been my preference.

With the disappearance of airlines willing to serve Humboldt, my flight options were slim. I left Sunday evening, hopping through San Francisco to arrive in the land of golf courses around ten, threw open the door to my fifth-floor balcony and tucked in for the night. I checked into the conference in the morning and found myself with a cohort willing to wander town at lunchtime in search of a deli I had spotted on the way from the airport. After a navigational error, we found our way to Sherman's Deli, as did most of the employees from nearby businesses. No sooner did a killer hot pastrami on rye arrive, we asked for our checks and to-go boxes in order to scurry back through the blistering heat to not miss the next speaker. The evening meal found us on a lovely patio enjoying Chili Rellenos and me having a beer alone because she doesn't drink. I hate feeling like a lush.

Day two was more of an adventure. Lunch was provided to allow for"networking" so dinner away from the hotel was the respite we needed. We headed down the strip, checking out the menus being offered by the hosts, looking for something with outdoor seating and a reasonable menu. We decided on Azul when my companion was entranced by the gliding seats and attached tables. Two-for-one dinner Tuesday didn't hurt and the pomegranate Cosmo was the cherry on top for me. We sat near the entrance with her facing the bar. She noted the abundance of men. Okay...neither one of us was shopping so who cares..... "no really, there are a lot of men." And...? I looked around to find she was right...we were pretty much the only women. Then I saw her...him...gams up to there, turquoise heels and a bouffant to match, walking towards out table to invite us to the show that night. At that point, I looked away from the menu to see the display at our table for the "Judy Garland Show". Ohhhhhhhh. We found the Castro district of Palm Springs. Turned out my companion was less than "tolerant" and didn't get how these men weren't looking at women. Well....they don't LIKE women. "But the Bible says....". Yeah. We had to finally not go there when it became obvious there was a chasm that could not be bridged. I had a second Cosmo with a huge pile of mussels and we wandered back to the Hyatt where it became clear there were other issues, not the least of which was her use of the word "fornicate"...ewww!

So here I sit at the Palm Springs Airport awaiting my evening flight. I could be doing SO many other things not the least of which is celebrating Hope's 23rd birthday. Work is no doubt piling up on my desk. At over $9 for a beer, I can't afford to get drunk. It's 93 degrees outside, the terminal is filling up because weather in SF is delaying the flight before mine and others connecting to and from there. Soon, I'll find out if my flight will also be delayed. Considering I have a four-hour layover there, it matters little except the people-watching is far more interesting in San Francisco. As long as my landing in McKinleyville isn't later than the 11:59 already scheduled.

I just realized this was never posted because, although I'm getting better at using my XOOM tablet, there are a few skills needed for posting a readable blog and I'm not there yet - cut and paste evades me. Turns out I ate something I shouldn't outta `et at one of the airports and spent much of the evening and the following day with my gut gurgling and locating every restroom in the SFO terminal. Tummy still doing flip-flops and eating brown rice and smoothies to gently ease my way back into food.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You Don't Have To Go Home But You Can't Stay Here

It felt wrong to displace a mother on the day before Mother's Day. To spend time on Mother's Day weekend, of all time, destroying the nest of another mother. But, DANGIT, these pigeons are driving me nuts, eating the seed and keeping the finches away from the feeders.

This feeder is at eye level to the window in our laundry room. I can see the feeder as I stand at the washer and, in fact, have to fill it from there, through the window with a scoop mounted on a stick. Either that or it's a ladder operation which gets tedious, especially in the winter when the ground is soggy. In the past season, I've renovated my gazebo feeder progressively, to discourage what we see as flying rats. I've added horizontal strips of wood to make the entrance smaller. This only slowed their escape. Plus it made getting the scoop inside to fill it almost impossible. I added some chicken wire on the bottom half but that did nothing to deter them. This week, I've noticed one smaller pigeon sitting. In bird-talk, that means "I have made this my nest and I've got babies". Dammit! I had to get this opportunity closed off before it was too late.
So I waited through the week, chasing her out of the nest...I mean feeder when I saw her. I noticed that she had a companion that would stand guard on the roof and I finally figured out he was helping her build a nest. Dammit!

I decided the Farmer's Market should wait. The plan was to add vertical strips of wood between the uprights, making the openings too small for pigeons but big enough for the finches. I got the Mikita, the pliers (to remove the useless chicken wire), got a reminder on how to use the chop saw to cut the wood strips....after chasing her out a few times from inside, I decided to take a couple pictures, just for posterity. I climbed up on the washer and she flew egg. DAMMIT!
I'll see you at the Farmer's Market, I guess.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Got To Take the Bitter With The Sweet

I love it here but even I have to admit that this winter has been particularly cruel. Cold. Wet. Dreary. You name it. But days like we've been having in the past week make it all worthwhile. Besides, as sad as it makes me when someone I know moves away and dwells on the “!@#$%^ weather”, these days make me feel downright smug to be living here.

Sitting in my office, an inside cubicle that sees the light of day only through other office windows, I could see the sky. I could see the leaves on the trees moving softly in the breeze I knew to be a chilled northerly. But then, like a crooked finger enjoining me to come hither, I smelled the ocean breeze. The enticing smell of the sea, wafted over the cliffs, across Beatrice Flat, the cow pastures and parking lot and invited itself to my nose at the far west side of campus. I'm still in search of driftwood of a particular size so took a lunch break on the South Spit where I knew supplies would be good.

When you grow up in Santa Cruz, only a foggy winter morning might allow you a beach to yourself. Here, it's not uncommon at all. Though not a human, I did come upon this little pup. He had me worried, even as I left him there but it was clear he had come out of the water under his own power and he looked alert. We are always told to leave them be so I did. Bye, little dude!

Naturally, I took a bag and collected trash. Only a little plastic this time. But lots of shoes. There were several zories in addition to this boot and bedroom slipper. What the heck? Perhaps they belonged to the resident of this beachside abode. What a glorious view they have!