Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
perfumes the air,
a flower so rare it is mythical,
growing only on a Raitea cliff
that juts from the sea.
Three of us climb, slipping back,
then punching forward endlessly as
volcanic loam seeps into our boots.
Cloud underbellies murmur of rain.
Nutea disappears over a hill,
and behind him, my husband.
Alone, my frustration unleashes
its tropic downpour.
I shake the dirt from my shoes,
rub my complaining knees,
then continue the climb.
Nutea & Mark wait at the top
of a waterfall like eagles.
I’m nearly up when I slip
on polished rock, plunging
down a vertical river, a waterslide.
Mark descends to pluck me up,
and shoves me to the summit.
It's flat up here, the sky sapphire,
storm system gone. Nutea shouts,
fisted with succulent five-fingers
named for the hand of a Princess
who died of a broken heart.
Nutea pulls a plastic container
from his pack,
and begins to fill it.
Suddenly, a heavy wind
conjures black clouds.
We look at the sky as the Tahitian
clamps his lid on fifty fingers.
The temperature plummets
Thunder cracks the sky,
Gusts of hail
sting flesh, plaster our clothing.
We race down the cliff,
weather chasing like Rottweilers.
At the base of the waterfall,
the sun chews through the clouds,
the wind drops.
Those unruly dogs
to their master.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
read more digg story
Sunday, April 26, 2009
And that's something to blog about!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
His suitcase skin blended with fallen Ceiba leaves.
His ecstatic eyes floated like beads on tepid water.
He cruised from end to end, hungry for meat.
The Mayans considered him a god and fed him
a child the croc's status was revoked, his head paraded high
on a stick for days and then fashioned into a ceremonial mask.
imbued now with the ghost of the child.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
with kangaroos on it, I'm a downright hippy.
Would rather see a rattler sunning itself
in the outback than skinned for boots.
The cowboys have it figured, how to:
separate one bull from twenty,
rope a calf in five,
be a barnacle on the back of a bucking bronco.
The rodeo Bozo pops in and out
of an aluminum beer barrel
as inflamed bulls toss riders, snort
and stamp dirt. Those bulls
put on a show but in the end
they're roped and funneled back
into the holding pen, seething,
quelled. Tough meat.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I do not know the technical names of these flowers but that doesn't stop me from taking photographs of them. Let's just call them San Diego wildflowers. Aren't they beautiful? When you look at them you will realize one of the many reasons I love to go out and ride my mountain bike in the hills and valleys of Mother Nature.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
of pears in their brief season,
as the snake mistakes these trees
for apple, attracted to the red blush.
Gnarled branches scratch its belly
as it winds along limbs
mottled by sun, blending in
with the hissing leaves.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
1982 was a fantastic time for a couple of new lovers to backpack New Zealand. We would usually hitchhike, and whoever picked us up would say, "You two kids should not be doing dangerous things like hitchhiking," and then they would take us exactly where we wanted to go. Hitchhiking the South Island was not as easy as it was on the North Island. Traffic was much more sparse, so we elected to take more buses.
When we reached Christchurch, we hiked from the bus station directly to the Cora Wilding Youth Hostel, an elegant red brick building with an ample and well manicured front lawn. It looked more like the home of a university dean than a hostel. As we checked in, Mark gave our names as "Mr. and Mrs. Mark Schulze," which made me fume inwardly. I was no man's wife! I would take no man's name! Later, Mark explained, "I had to say that we were married, or we wouldn't be able to sleep together.""Oh."
As it was, the rooms were full to capacity that first night, and Mark had to sleep in a men's dormitory while I stayed in a curtained alcove behind the Common Room, listening to a group of men laughing and bullshitting until the warden kicked them out at about midnight.
After breakfast the next morning, Mark and I rented a couple of "push bikes" (bicycles) from a shop down the block. We rode all over town. Christchurch reflected the height of a golden autumn: nearly naked trees surrounded by fallen red, orange and yellow leaves, with a chilly edge to the air. We realized we needed to prepare ourselves for winter on the South Island. We found a couple of second-hand shops close by where we outfitted ourselves with mittens, sweaters, hats and scarves.
Although that recipe smoked out the kitchen, which created hostility in some of our fellow hostelers, it yielded one of the most marvelous taste treats of the island: a succulent dinner kingfish, the likes of which we had not tasted anywhere before or since. It was the first excellent blackened fish dinner of many to be shared over the next 27 years.
As a "married couple," Mark and I wrangled Room 9 together that night. Since there was a third bunk, and since the hostel was still crowded, we had to share the room with a third, a woman, who walked in on us twice. The first time, she coitus-interrupted us. Fortunately, we had reached a more fulfilling conclusion by the time she returned the second time.
Christchurch was so much fun, we stayed another day to tour the Canterbury Museum, which housed the largest stuffed-bird collection in the country and the Hall of Antarctic Discovery. In town, we explored shops featuring sheepskin coats, hand knit woolen goods, jade tikis and a special map with the world upside-down, depicting the "down under" countries on top of the world.
We tumbled in piles of dried autumn leaves on the banks of the Avon River that coursed through town. After we spotted a couple of canoers drifting past, we rented a canoe and spent our last afternoon in Christchurch lazily "going with the flow."
We have never forgotten our fun times in Christchurch, and the night we smoked out the hostel kitchen. We only hope there is a young couple, enjoying themselves half as much as we did when we were just beginning to explore the geography of love.
Monday, April 13, 2009
We went last Wednesday and were amazed at the size of the crowds until we realized, "Oh, it's Spring Break." It was still a lot of fun, but it's even more fun when there are no lines at the panda exhibit and Sky Bucket.
Note to parents: Try it without the kids, just to see how romantic it can be for you and your sweetie to stroll through the zoo, hand-in-hand and hopefully guilt-free.
Friday, April 10, 2009
One of the most fascinating exhibits you may ever see in your life is Body Worlds, because frankly, what could be more fascinating than the world of the human being?
My husband, Mark, and I decided to take a day to ourselves yesterday and first strolled through the San Diego Zoo, catching the "Panda Show" during feeding time. The male sat there eating bamboo branches while the female circled around and around in the same pattern. Throngs of people came to see them and filled the grounds of the zoo. The humans were just as much fun to watch as were the animals.
Afterwards, we headed to the San Diego Natural History Museum to view the Body Worlds Exhibition. What a juxtaposition: from the San Diego Zoo to Body Worlds; the land of the living to the planet of the plastinates.
I have always been fascinated by the mummies of Egypt and of South America, and by the rituals that various cultures have devised to honor their dead. Plastination, invented by Dr.Gunther von Hagens, M.D. of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1977, is "a process that is part of a centuries-long tradition of preserving and dissecting anatomical specimens." Dr. von Hagens wished to preserve bodies for medical studies, as well as to educate the public on medical issues.
We saw lungs on display; a coal-colored pair that had belonged to a smoker, and a pair the color of chalk that belonged to a non-smoker. We saw a healthy knee versus one that had been decimated by arthritis. And we saw people posed as they had been in life: a yoga woman, a gymnast, a soccer player.
It must be pointed out that Body Worlds is the original exhibition of plastinates featuring the bodies of humans who had gladly donated them (or the bodies of their diseased progeny) for plastination, as opposed to copycat exhibitions which display the bodies of Chinese homeless or prisoners. Dr. von Hagens has been unfairly accused of using illicitly-obtained bodies but this could not be further from the truth. Do your homework, people. If it is not a "Body Worlds Exhibit" then do not pay your money to be ripped off by fakes.
Without going into exactly what the plastination process entails, the Cliff Notes version is this: It's a "Polymer impregnation of perishable, biological specimens," which includes animals and humans. It's a plastic makeover of a flesh-and-blood body.
We are now able to see all aspects of the human body as never before revealed to us. We can learn so much about "our bodies, our selves," in a rich, colorful way. Religious philosopher Teilhard de Chardin once said: “We are not humans on this earth seeking to have spiritual experiences; we are spirits having a human experience." I recommend that anyone who can, embrace this opportunity to explore the mysteries of human anatomy.
There were several families present, many of them wheeling baby carriages, or with children checking out the various displays. People pored over each plastinate in a respectful way, speaking to each other in hushed tones. I think that they could sense that when they walked out of the exhibit, they would feel more alive than ever before.
If you happen to be in San Diego, the exhibit runs through October 4th, 2009. For further information, to to San Diego Natural History Museum. To learn more about Body Worlds, go to the Body Worlds website.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Jacki is especially fond of anyone who can shoot spaghetti out of their nose or
do similarly ridiculous things at a moments notice. Currently she is enjoying
her midlife crisis. Among other things, she' a Wife, a Lover, a Mother, a
Rebel-Redneck-Bunny Hugging-Alaskan-American and five-time Granny award winner.
After twenty some years, she is still totally in LOVE with her man! She's crazy
about her friends and (nuts) her family-or is that they make her nuts? Jacki is
also a humor columnist and a frequent contributor to her children’s baby books.
Her most recent works of fiction include: Why Santa Needs Low Fat Cookies,
Lectures From the Tooth Fairy and Why My Child Was Late to School for the Thirty
Seventh Time This Year. Her nonfiction works have landed in several servings of
New York Times best selling books, in magazines, on the walls of the classiest
rest areas throughout Alaska and Canada --and a few have landed in the trash.
Voted least likely to alphabetize her spice rack, Alaska-womom regularly admits,
“Yes, we live here, our house always looks like this.” It should also be
mentioned that she has great cuticles!