August 2008

Monthly Archive

Sailing Alone: Pacific Lady

Posted by on 30 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: books and authors, Uncategorized

There is a woman right now, rowing across the Pacific Ocean… Tom has been following her progress with great interest. You can too, at But the really exciting thing is that today I met the first woman to sail solo across the Pacific. There we were, Mother, the stidkid (#1) and I, walking into the local Borders store to get a calendar I wanted and a latte…

And there was Sharon Sites Adams, sitting at the entrance with a small sign, pictures and books. Curious, I wandered over (my paternal unit having built boats and enjoyed sailing and other boating for decades)… and we spent probably ten minutes speaking with her in the process of getting books signed. One for the paternal unit, one for the stidkid.

What an amazing woman! She had just been a little north of here, visiting the boat she had taken on her journey from San Diego to Hawaii… and she had with her the same flag she flew when she sailed from Japan to the mainland U.S. The flag was little tattered, but so would you be if you had sailed thousands of miles!

She, however, was far from tattered. No taller than I am — a little older than my mother, she wore the prettiest pink jacket (and signs her books in pink as well), and is still so energetic. She was so gracious and kind, asking the stidkid what he likes. And when I remarked (after she signed his book and commented she wanted to hear more of his own journeys) that he would have to write to her… she gave him her business card!

So he will have to write to her. Especially since he got his copy of the book today — and the book doesn’t come out officially until September! She put today’s date down when she signed his book…

And I am so inspired. If she could sail across the ocean and deal with storms and isolation (no internet or satellite communites or GPS in 1969) and doldrums… surely I can achieve some of my own dreams! I can get through school, I can be a teacher. I can certainly do the small things I have planned — though not as spectacular and inspiring as her adventures.

Oh — and information about her book!

Pacific Lady
The First Woman to Sail Solo across the World’s Largest Ocean
Sharon Sites Adams with Karen J. Coates
Foreword by Randall Reeves

2008. 240 pp.

Publisher’s website: Nebraska University Press.

Some pages from 1969 (and thereabouts) when the big trip occurred: Mariner Yachts.

I will try to post a review of this book once I have read it!

Update on Georgia

Posted by on 25 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: caring, Politics and War, Uncategorized

War stinks. If I haven’t said it often enough or loudly enough…


I just spoke on the phone with a dear friend in Tbilisi. How can one convey the desperation? They are giving shelter to refugees. They are worried about how family members outside the country will make it home. They are isolated, alone, afraid.

I can’t help.

I can’t travel there, and what would I do once I arrived? I have no skills that they need.

I don’t have much money — everything we had extra was “pre-sunk” into the garden improvements and my education earlier this summer.

My sense of use-less-ness, the sheer magnitude of frustration is so enormous I think I may implode.

One way to help

I know that the International Red Cross is trying to help people in both South Ossetia and in Georgia proper… people can donate directly to this relief effort.

Caucasus Emergency is the choice that allows you to send a little something.


I don’t care who starts them… I just want them stopped.



No more braces

Posted by on 14 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: children, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

Here is stidkid#1, without braces for the first time in over two years.

I think he’s happy about this..

Kid without braces

I know he’s enjoying being able to play his trumpet with ease.

Georgia on my Mind

Posted by on 13 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: hope, Peace Making, Politics and War, Uncategorized

Georgia, actually საქართველო “Sakartvelo,” is an ancient land.  Part of the Silk road, nestled between mountains and seas: the Caucasus on the north and the Meskheti Range in the South; between the Black Sea and Azerbaijan (which is on the Caspian).  It is a beautiful country, with a wide variety of ecological zones.  The peoples of this small nation (about the same size and climate as the state of Washington in the United States) have alternately been unified or part of small principalities and kingdoms over the last 3000 years.  There were Greek colonies along the Black Sea in ancient times, Arab invaders, and more recently the Russian empire annexation of Georgia in the 1800s.

It was this old relationship that prompted the Soviet Union to take over Georgia soon after the fall of the Tsar.  In the last twenty years, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, Georgia once again was independent.  But not at peace.  It was another several years, with civil conflicts and coup d’etats, before a relatively stable democratic republic was established.

So in one sense Georgia is an ancient land, in another it is a very new country.  Its people are hardy, and have survived many hardships and changes…  but every conflict takes its toll on culture and economy.  The landscape is devastated, the people uprooted, and each time the recovery is longer.

The current situation appears very bad.  It has taken a week for other countries to really take notice of the increase in conflict between this very small nation and the behemoth to their north.  But the roots of this started two decades ago and more.

I am not going to assign fault to any one party at this time.  However, there are chilling similarities in this conflict to the annexation of Poland by Germany at the start of World War Two, and Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union.  I do say that the distraction and waste of resources in Iraq has made nations that would formerly have had both the will and the power to intervene much less willing or capable.

Hitler and his cronies made the mistake of thinking once that Europe was fair game, open for the taking.  They were wrong.

I think that there have miscalculations in this conflict as well.  On which side remains to be seen.

Continue Reading »

Troubled Times

Posted by on 09 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Peace Making, Politics and War, Uncategorized

Every year, some country, somewhere, invades another.  Every year, somewhere, a government acts against its citizens.  Every year, someone dies – or many people die – because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This year, after nearly two decades of increasing animosity, it seems that whatever was holding a fragile peace together frayed…  and broke apart.

This time, I have dear friends who are in the middle.

This time, more than my usual concern for the immediate region, I fear for the world as a whole…

Can our world handle the stress of border skirmishes between Russia and Georgia?  Will it stay contained?  Who will be drawn in, how much…  for how long?

What am I to do, with two young teens, just beginning to grow into their own?  How can I shield them — should I?  I know that many people face more uncertainty, and that right now there is nothing I need to do…  except wait, pray, hope.

For my friends, for their countries, for our world.

Life Goes On

Posted by on 01 Aug 2008 | Tagged as: children, critters, Family Matters, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized

The day Buffy died, Tom brought home two dozen long-stem roses.  Took me a few days to take a picture of them, and a week longer to get them up, but wanted to share them with you.  Buffy was like this.  Beautiful, and loving, and just-what-I-needed.

Roses for Buffy

In the eight days since Buffy left us, Lucky has started to do the things for me that Buffy used to:  sitting quietly at my side (or feet) when I am working, climbing into my lap when I need comfort, drawing me out of my shell when I need to move.  Here he is, waiting for me to finish writing a paper…

one lucky dog at the end of July

Not that we needed a reminder, but the rest of life continues as well.  Here is the younger stidkid, now tall enough to touch the ceiling (when he stands on the arm of the sofa, anyway).

touch the sky!