My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety

A CONFESSION.

But it’s not EXACTLY what you think.

It’s not THAT kind of performance anxiety.

I tricked you and I know it’s not nice to do, but, well, I have no excuse.

I felt like it.

:)

Surf’s been up here in Southern California. A few tropical storms brought a high surf advisory —  thus creating a happy tugboat man.

He’s always in a great mood when he can surf or ride his stand-up paddle boards.

When he was around eight years old, he lived in Kauai and was friendly with Elizabeth Taylor‘s nephew — always disappointed that he never caught of glimpse of her. He also went to elementary school with Laird Hamilton — that very famous surfer.

My tugboat man has saltwater in his blood.

On Saturday, he told me to get ready to go to the beach and bring my camera so I could shoot vid of him shredding and getting barreled and tubed and mastering the wild surf.

This was definitely too big for me to make another attempt at reinventing myself as Gidget. (Click HERE to read all about ME.)

It was a beautiful, perfectly perfect beach day.carlsbadbeach1

Even a few seashells, but nothing like Florida.carlsbadbeach4 Cute shorebirds.carlsbadbeach6

A a proud and loyal wife, I planted myself on the sand with my Canon Rebel T3i zooming in on my tugboat man.

I didn’t want to miss a single wave.

Off he goes!

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Nice boat – there’s my tugboat man, ready to shred!

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Still waiting…watching…sitting…sitting…sitting…carlsbadbeach5

Is he here? Did he catch this one?carlsbadbeach8 Or this one?carlsbadbeach9 How about this wave? Do you see my tugboat man?carlsbadbeach10Nope, neither do I.

I don’t have a tripod (note to self to get one) and my arms were soo tired.

I gave up, sat down, and read a book.

When my tugboat man finally came out of the water, he just couldn’t understand what happened.

He’s a really good surfer and had been catching TONS of waves — UNTIL I got there.

Not a single wave. Not ONE.

See, performance anxiety, right?

Just not the kind you were thinking of.

Tee hee.

Update: To prove he wasn’t suffering from any long term surfing decline, he went back out without me for an “evening glass off session” (surfing terminology) and returned having caught at least a dozen waves.

I think I jinxed him. Oops.


P.S. In case you were wondering, I got hub’s permission before writing a post about this delicate subject matter. I would never want to embarrass him in a public forum.  Privately? Well, that’s a different matter entirely! LOL

 

Black Crows…Counting Crows…A LOT of Crows.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…”
crows7I did not intentionally trick you into thinking I was referring to the musical groups,  OR DID I?

OK, yes I did, hee hee. Sorry. 

And sorry for the uninspired Poe reference.

I don’t know about other parts of the country, but we here in Carlsbad are being INUNDATED with crows.

Actually, I think they’re really ravens, but I’m not sure.

There are SO many that it’s now a topic of conversation and everyone stops to take pics when they fly back to wherever they roost in the late afternoon just before sundown.

It’s like an end-of-the-world scenario. Or a Hitchcock movie.

Yesterday, I heard an amazingly loud cacophony, ran upstairs, and took a series of photos.

Some people, like my aunt, used to call them, “miserable crows” but I like them.

I know crows/ravens/whatever they are, are highly intelligent creatures.

I know that wolves and ravens have a social and mutually beneficial relationship.

Plus, even though my tugboat man strongly disagrees, (‘cos what guy will ever admit he’s lost), but I KNOW that a crow/raven guided us back to our campsite at Joshua Tree National Park.  One lone bird stayed with us while we were off-trail wandering through the big rocks, and finally flew only when we were safe.

Weird, huh?

Can you count the crows? Or ravens? 

crows6In all the trees as far as the eye can see, a murder of crows or a congress of ravens. Whatever. All I know for sure is that there are a shitload of birds here.crows8 A little after school learning going on.crows1 The birds are coming, the birds are coming!crows3 Who’s up for a soccer game?crows4

 

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Dripping Caves: Hiking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park @Orange County, California

alisosignA few days before Christmas, we picked up Angel Boy (my son– and yes, we still call him Angel Boy even though he’s thirty-two-years old!) from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

We drove RIGHT BY South Coast Plaza but my mind was too excited to see my baby to care about stopping at Chanel or Valentino or Cartier or Gucci or Harry Winston….HARRY WINSTON!!

Crap, did I just miss an opportunity to check out Chanel???

Sigh, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

Aliso hike

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a jewel of solitude and natural beauty in hectic Orange County.

It comprises approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, the Mission Viejo Company, and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks.

Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over thirty miles of official trails. Many rare and endangered plants and animals make this park their home. This park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

To get to the main trailhead for Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, exit the 5 freeway at Alicia Parkway and head towards the ocean.

Of course it was imperative that we feed the child. Whether they’re four or thirty-two, the first thing they think about is FOOD! I had prepared a huge amount of food for the hungry traveler and we ate it at a picnic table near the entrance to the trailhead, under a canopy of old shade trees. He ate a couple of his favorite sandwiches: tuna with celery, apples, nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce — along with Lentil Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Veggie Chips, Persimmon Bread, and an apple and an orange. We never fail to marvel at the AMOUNT of food Angel Boy can pack away…and that doesn’t include the nuts and raisins for the hike.

What’s up with that kind of metabolism?

He eats so much and burns it all and needs to eat again every couple of hours or so. This is just his normal — I once took him to an endocrinologist to make sure his levels were OK, and we learned that he’s just an extremely efficient food user. All I can say is that he didn’t get that from me.

After almost eight miles, we drove home — exhausted –but in a good way, and restored by the fragrance of Southern California buckwheat and sage.

Of course it was time for dinner and another feast of epic proportions: the stuff of mom-joy, that’s for sure.

Shadow and light, me and my tugboat man.

alisoparkhike

Great blue heron.

aliisobirdA hidden pocket of water.

Aliso1

More water, rushing over rocks.

Aliso2

A gorgeous meadow and hills, but look at the houses on the hill.
So close to civilization!

aliso4Fairy-like foot bridge.
alisobridge

alisodrippingcave

alisocave

Another cool cave.

alisocave1

Some leaves DO change color in SoCal!alisotree

A happy mom ‘cos my Angel Boy was home,
even if only for a few days.

alisome

Princess Rosebud’s Fashion Forward Protest Garb

puppyprotestMy tugboat man and I joined more than forty dedicated angels with San Diego Animal Defense Team and Protest Oceanside Puppy on Saturday in a protest at the Oceanside location of a pet store owned by David Salinas.

Salinas owned a similar business in San Diego called San Diego Puppies before it was forced to close under an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council earlier this year banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at retail stores.

Animal rights groups want to end the practice of breeding and selling puppies bred in commercial facilities called “puppy mills.”

Quote from Protest Oceanside Puppy:

The owner of this store is busy churning out Christmas puppies and trying to make a profit off of the backs of the mother dogs. We have pictures of the inspections done at his breeders and it’s horrifying how these puppy mill dogs live their short tormented lives! These mother dogs never leave their cages, stand on wire their entire lives with no fresh air, little or no veterinary care and no socialization. Please help educate the public that THIS IS WRONG. This store owner was already shut down in San Diego! We must stand up against animal abuse!

About a dozen cities in California have adopted ordinances placing restrictions on the sale of animals from commercial breeders, including Chula Vista, Los Angeles, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

Under the ordinance passed in San Diego on July 9, no store can display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, auction, or give away animal pets in the city. Existing pet stores, including San Diego Puppy, were given up to six months to stop those practices.

Pet stores can (and should) offer adoptions of dogs, cats, and rabbits in partnership with a shelter or rescue groups.

If you’ve ever seen a photos or a video of the living conditions of the breeding dogs and puppies, you’d be as horrified as I was.

I am continually disappointed by the inhumane treatment we inflict upon other living creatures.

Sometimes we have to be assaulted by the ugly truth before we can make a compassionate decision.

SHAME ON CARLSBAD!

My city continues to allow California Pets to sell animals obtained from puppy mills.

Please take a few minutes to email or call your elected officials to let them know that you support any decision to shut down stores that sell factory farmed pets.

How can we, as civilized and caring people, continue to allow this to occur?
…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …
But…being me, that is, being Princess Rosebud, I had to adorn myself in the appropriate fashion forward outfit to stand on the street holding a protest sign.

As much as I love to defend and protect animals, I also love to dress properly for any and all occasions.

I chose a sparkly Dior Not War t-shirt over Joe’s skinny jeans, brown knee-high boots, a butterfly scarf from Nordstrom, pulling it all together with a lovely gray sweater from Anthropologie.

Since it was sunny, I topped the look off with a lively turquoise straw hat, Chanel sunglasses, and my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which was, upon reflection, not the most politically correct handbag to carry that day, but I can’t be perfect all the time…My bad. Ooops.diornotwr graysweater

If you live in North County or you’d like to take a drive up the coast on Saturday, please spend a few hours supporting these amazing and dedicated animal defenders.

For more info: http://sdanimaldefenseteam.blogspot.com

Oceanside Puppy
1906 Oceanside Blvd., east of the 5.
Saturdays 12-3

More pix of the day:

puppyprotest3 puppyprotest2 puppyprotest1 puppyprotest

Beachy December Festival of Light and Color: Photos

Even though it’s the beginning of December and was the fifth night of Hannukah, here in Southern California we enjoyed a brief summery Sunday before a massive winter storm barrels down the coast from Alaska.

A late afternoon beach walk in Carlsbad with my tugboat man…magnificent sunset, boats, seagulls flying home. Not such big waves though, or he’d be surfing and not walking!

Maybe that’s why I get so excited for the WordPress snow to appear.

It’s the only snow I see unless we go skiing!

These photos have not been retouched. This is exactly what it looked like. AMAZING, right?

Decsunset6

Decsunset1 Decsunset2 Decsunset3 Decsunset4 Decsunset5 Decsunset7Decbirds

The Unbearable Death of a Boy-Man

From Kirk's Facebook page

From Kirk’s Facebook page

The loss of a child cannot be fathomed.

Who could ever be prepared for their child to die before them?

There must be endless tears and sorrow and sadness and a forever and unrelenting pain.

For me, it’s a pure and simple matter.

If I never heard my son’s voice again or was never able to wrap my arms around him, I don’t know if I could take another breath.

…On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Kirk Passmore, 32, a passionate big-wave surfing veteran and Hawaii resident, is presumed to have drowned and as of today his body has not been found.

One minute he was alive, surfing an estimated 20-foot wave at Alligator Rock on Oahu’s North Shore, with an audience of other surfers and photographers.

He dropped into the steep face of the wave before falling over the front of his board and into the water.

The top of the wave crashed over him and witnesses say he surfaced for a brief moment before he was crushed by another wave.

It was the last time anyone saw him.

Although extensive searches have been conducted in the area, he’s been missing since the day of the accident and is presumed drowned.

It was all caught on video.

This is the video of his last wave. Somehow he never made it out alive.

His dad wanted the his final ride shared with as many people as possible.

Maybe you heard about this. Maybe you were watching the news on television and you paid scant attention to the story while you were on the computer or eating dinner.

Maybe you read it on the internet and saw the pictures or the video.

You probably thought to yourself or even said out loud, ” Wow, that’s really sad.”

Kirk Passmore.

Why am I writing about him?

Yes, it’s true that he was someone’s child, brother, friend.

But he was also one of my son’s friends.

They went to school together.

He’s the first of my son’s friends to die.

Kirk had the biggest smile and the reddest hair. Everyone called him “Fanta” or “Red”.

He was one of the many boys I’d chauffeur around, packed like sardines in the back seat, all gangly legs and arms, endlessly stuffing their mouths —  bottomless pits of growing boy bodies– with the cookies and smoothies and other snacks cheerfully provided to everyone who came over.

A carful of boys talking about school, skateboarding; laughing, always smiling, always a thank you for the ride as he slammed the car door.

“See ya, Jason.”

A flash of bright red hair lit the way as he ran up the walkway to his house.

But no more.

I bet for most of these boys – and I still call these thirty-somethings BOYS because to me they will always and forever be “the boys” or “the guys” — my son’s friends from Kelly Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Carlsbad High School — this is their first experience with death and subsequent thoughts of their own mortality.

I feel so bad for his family and his friends who are mourning him with candlelight vigils, surf paddle-outs, tributes, and memorials. 

To honor Kirk, they’re handling their pain with grace and beauty.

One of them, artist Bryan Snyder, created a memorial wall in our town. If you’re ever in Carlsbad, check it out.

Bryan Snyder

Bryan Snyder

Our deepest sympathies go out to Kirk’s family. Our hearts are heavy and we are so very, very sorry for their loss.

The Passmore family released the following statement:

Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah.  He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school’s surf team for four years.  As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.

He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer.  He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii.  He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California.  He also surfed Maverick’s in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico.  He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France.  He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.

Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Waialua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).

The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search.

Shame on AMORAL Sierra Club: To Kill a Wolf – July/August 2013 – Sierra Magazine

SHAME ON SIERRA CLUB.

They published an essay by a subhuman who killed a wolf to see what it felt like.

For the “experience.”

I am beyond shocked and disgusted by this story in Sierra Magazine, the author, and Sierra Club.

I became a member to contribute to the advocacy for saving, protecting, and respecting animals and our environment.

I do not want to read a detailed accounting of blood lust and thrill killing.

I will cancel my membership immediately and never again support them.

This is not a memorial. This is a snarling and bloodthirsty celebration of animal murder.

I’m ashamed to think that my membership dollars might have in any way contributed to this repulsive article.

*****  To Kill a Wolf – July/August 2013 – Sierra Magazine – Sierra Club   *****

A little research reveals Sierra Club’s Mission Statement:

To explore, enjoy and protect the planet. To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out those objectives.

“To explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.” 

It doesn’t say their goal is to promote the tracking, killing, and subsequent emotions from taking the life of an innocent animal.

Am I the only one that read this and was outraged?

Why aren’t they on the front lines protecting the wolf from delisting and slaughter?

If you agree, please contact Sierra Club and join with me in voicing our disapproval.

Executive Director: Michael Brune
https://www.facebook.com/michael.brune.9

https://twitter.com/bruneski

General Information: information@sierraclub.org
Membership: membership.services@sierraclub.org

Sierra Club
National Headquarters

85 Second Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
USA
Phone: 415-977-5500
Fax: 415-977-5797

Sierra Club
Legislative Office

50 F Street, NW, Eighth Floor
Washington, DC 20001
USA
Phone: 202-547-1141
Fax: 202-547-6009


Boys DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses. Oh YES, They DO.

Kate Spade glasses2

Newsflash: Eyeglasses are the new aphrodisiac.

Sasssy and sexxxxy in a slightly beeyotchy way.

That describes both me AND my new Kate Spade glasses, don’t you agree?

Can’t wait for my tugboat man to see the new me. He loves the sexy librarian look…

Aren’t those polka dots TDF?

And the hair? It looks like my head had a curl explosion.
Oopsie, it seems as if the picture on the wall behind me is slightly askew; my OCD side will fix it immediately, since I clearly have no control over my hair.

And yes, that IS my enchanting bathroom, and no, I’m not wearing any makeup.

Kate Spade glassesIt’s a different world now than when I first needed to wear glasses. Back then, it tolled the death knell if you aspired at all to be a popular gal and hang out with the cool kids.

I was continually taunted with.such witticisms as,  “Hey, Coke-bottle‘s here. Ha Ha.”

Not so funny to be the target of mean girls. 

I couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear contact lenses.

But now, wearing glasses is just another important fashion accessory, not a signal to the world that the wearer is a bookish nerd, not that there’s anything wrong with that!

If you live in the San Diego area and need new frames, come to Carlsbad and check out
Andrews Optical on Grand for a huge selection and great customer service.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Stop Wolf Hunts Now

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Ghandi

There Is a Man Wandering Around California With 3 Mules

I’m not sure what happened the first time I posted this–it was all messed up, and not how I saved it to publish…I’m gonna try again.

Apologies if this gets posted twice…gremlins attacked the original.

I couldn’t add anything else to the wonderful posts remembering the tragedies on 9/11, so I thought I’d share a great story of a man with spirit and conviction. His journey is fascinating.

There Is a Man Wandering Around California With 3 Mules

And, yes, he has a website.
From TheAtlantic.com
 SEP 11 2013, 7:30 AM ET
 
There is a man wandering around California with three mules.

He has a name, but he prefers to go by Mule. Police departments throughout the state know his name. They inevitably get calls from residents who wonder why a man with three mules is sleeping on the side of the road, and from time to time they have to go and investigate and decide whether or not to ticket him. He has had so many run-ins with the police that he has a lawyer. (The lawyer knows Mule’s name.) The filmmaker John McDonald, who has spent hundreds of hours filming Mule on his journeys, and who helped Mule set up a Facebook page, knows Mule’s name as well.

But Mule introduced himself to me as Mule, and so that’s what I’m going to call him.

Mule is 65 years old and has slept outside with his three mules for the last 10 years, though he’s lived his nomadic lifestyle for much longer than that — 29 years on and off. Early on, he split his time between summer wandering, and then enduring what he calls “shit jobs” during the winter to earn enough to live off for the next summer.

He got his first mule in Spokane, Washington, so that he could carry more supplies with him into the bush than his meager, rail-thin frame can handle; McDonald says of Mule, “He has the build of Ghandi, but he sure doesn’t have the personality of Ghandi.” With his first mule, and then a second, and a third, he could load up on supplies to last him for much longer in the undeveloped parts of the American West, so he’d only have to resurface in towns to resupply once every month or so before once again disappearing.

But the world he inhabited was changing. While he sought solitude, he kept bumping into development. Land he had passed through was no longer public, and was vanishing behind fences. Everywhere he looked, he saw ever more roads and cars.

Two years ago, he walked the 295 mile stretch of land between Las Vegas and Ely, Nevada, land that was supposed to stay undeveloped by the Bureau of Land Management, land that had been used by Shoshone Indians for hundreds of years. In that BLM land, he encountered powerlines, the earliest stages of development. He knew then that he wanted to speak up about what he was seeing. Most immediately, suburban sprawl was threatening his way of life, but as Mule sees it, it threatens the way we all are meant to live. On the road to Ely, he gave up on wandering in the wild by himself. He got to Ely, and turned west, so that he could talk to people about the disappearance of public space.

Which is why there is a man wandering through California with three mules.

He has walked the boardwalk in Venice Beach with his mules. They once slept under a BART station in Oakland. They walk at day, and stop at night to rest in public spaces, which are mostly parks and neglected patches of grass along the sides of roads. His mules graze and drink the water they come across along the way. “We claim our right to use public space in a way that is applicable to us,” Mule told me.

But this does not always go well for Mule. As he walked through Sacramento, a police officer told him, “This is not okay. Maybe in the gold rush days. But now we have cars.” Police stop him constantly, which is a nuisance for Mule. He’s not doing anything wrong, at least as he sees it. “We don’t attempt to stay anywhere for more than a few days to rest. We don’t set up camp structures or anything permanent. We don’t collect garbage. We’re not homeless. Our home is the Earth.”

The police mostly let him stay for the night, since he’s only passing through. It’s rare to find places where mules are explicitly prohibited by law, so they often don’t have much to go on besides complaints from the community. Sometimes the police scare him off from where he intended to sleep for the night. Sometimes they ticket him, but they almost always drop the charges. But not always. He is currently facing a $485 charge for sleeping outside the entrance to the Torrey Pines State Reserve. He’s fighting the ticket, which is why he has a lawyer, Sharon Sherman, who has taken on the case pro bono. The first thing she had to do was push the date of the trial back from August 2013 to January 2014, because Mule follows the sun and the seasons, and escapes the summer heat in the north, and was far from San Diego at the time of the original trial date.

Recently, he had a rather nasty, run-in with the police in Gilroy, south of San Jose. He was arrested on August 30 while walking along the side of 101. The police wanted Mule to leave the road, but he insisted that there were no signs prohibiting him from being there. They arrested him for failing to follow the orders of a police officer, and Mule was taken to jail, and then transferred to a psychiatric facility, where he stayed locked up for six days. The animals were sent to a nearby animal shelter. Mule was released through the aid of a patients-rights advocate, who told a friend of Mule that it was the most bogus case she had ever seen. Mule will be going to court on September 12 to defend his plea of not guilty so that he can get back to wandering.

The filmmaker John McDonald met Mule the same way that I did — a happenstance bumping into him, and McDonald couldn’t contain his curiosity. After a few interactions, Mule agreed to let McDonald make a documentary about him, and to follow him around and collect footage.

While McDonald was at first interested in Mule as a documentary subject, after a few months of filming, he confessed to Mule, “I really believe a lot in what you’re doing. In spite of the documentary, I would probably want to support you and what you’re doing, and I respect you.”

Everyone has their own attraction to Mule. While I was interviewing him, roughly a dozen people stopped to say hi, wish him luck, or even give him gifts, like a man who gave Mule a length of high-quality nylon rope. “A cowboy can always use some rope,” the stranger said with a smile, and walked off. Mule is very popular amongst equestrians — while researching this article, I found out that a writer with Mules and More Magazine is also writing about Mule. He has support from advocates of multi-use trails that connect communities, trails like the Iron Horse Trail in Contra Costa County in San Francisco’s East Bay, a trail that allows people to safely get from town to town without using cars.

Mule’s lawyer, Sharon Sherman, took on his case because she is fascinated by the legal questions that Mule’s way of life raise. “There is always a balance between people’s freedoms, and the needs of a community,” she explained to me. “To me, this is another example of that. I’ve been in practice for 35 years, but Mule really made me stop and think about issues that I’ve never considered before. We have a countervailing balance between public space, private space, and what access do we really have to public space. Sure, I can walk down a street, but which street? What’s the difference in using a road in a car, than with mules? Why do you have more rights in a car, than if you are walking, and walking with animals?”

But what struck me most when I came across Mule along the Canal Trail, an offshoot of the Iron Horse Trail, wasn’t just the mules, or his simple, nomadic way of life. It was the large white lettering that was stenciled to the side of his packs, lettering that wrote out 3MULES.COM.

There is a man wandering through California with three mules, and a website.

When Mule first turned west from Ely, Nevada, he had his heart set on starting a website. “I needed a website so that when I got to California, I would have a voice,” Mule explained to me. “I don’t have the brain to deal with this technological stuff, but I knew that the website would be a voice. I’m nothing. I’m uneducated, I’m a weak little man, I’m the low man on the totem pole and I’ve been there my whole life. But a website would be my voice.”

When John McDonald first met Mule over a year ago, Mule was carrying with him three cell phones, two voice recorders, a digital camera, and a Samsung tablet. He already had his website, 3mules.com, up and running — set up as an act of kindness by a person he met on his way to California. But the website had very little information, and Mule didn’t know how to update it. When Mule agreed to let McDonald film him, he asked for a favor in return: McDonald had to teach Mule how to use the tools that he carried with him.

Every time they meet, Mule takes scrupulous notes in a notebook on topics like how to post photos to Facebook, or edit captions, or leave comments. It’s a slow process. As McDonald put it, “it takes a tremendous amount of patience to work with Mule, and he is slow to build trust. He has given me his passwords, but then he gets paranoid and changes his passwords, and then he’ll call me and give me the new ones.” The first time they met, McDonald taught Mule how to send text messages, so Mule didn’t have to pay roaming charges for the extremely limited plan he had for his cell phone.

As of this writing, Mule has 2,802 likes on his Facebook page. McDonald encouraged him to set up the Facebook page as a tool to better reach an audience with his message, and it took a lot of convincing. Mule didn’t like the ads on the site, because he doesn’t want his message to be tainted by commercial interests. But Mule is now hooked on it. He told me about his Facebook page three separate times over the course of our interview, and McDonald says that when they meet, the first thing Mule wants to do is talk about how the Facebook page is doing, and study the analytics.

There is something deeply beautiful about how Mule is living. Just read through his Facebook page to see how much people admire his deliberate wanderings and his simple, poetic insights. Many of the things he says about development, the “Megatropolis,” and balance sound almost prophetic. It’s especially captivating to hear him talk about his way of life as a place in and of itself. “These mules and the way that we are living is a place. It’s got its own magic, there’s no doubt about it. We are protected and guided. I’m out there on the side of the road, with cars coming at us, and there is something protecting and guiding us. This place has got its rules. You only take what you need, and you give your hope and your faith to this place. It’s a great place to be.”

But there is also something deeply ironic about Mule’s use of technology. He travels in a way that feels biblical, except that he’s carrying a GPS tracker, cell phones, and a tablet. He goes to Starbucks to charge his devices and use their free WiFi, and it’s hard to think of a more obvious symbol of suburban sprawl than Starbucks. In fact, the first time Mule and McDonald entered a Starbucks together to work on the website, Mule insisted that McDonald didn’t film him inside, fearing it would look bad.

There are those who will say that you can’t preach against the excesses of development while at the same time using the products of development. They will say that he’s just freeloading off the work of others, and that his message is hollowed out by posting it on Facebook.

But I see it differently. Not everyone will be so lucky as to stumble into Mule like I did, to share a brief but powerful encounter with a man who is living his life in a way that makes you ask yourself big questions about public and private space, freedom, and balance. But they can easily stumble onto his website and his Facebook page through the power of Shares and Likes to sample his message.

While he was detained in the psychiatric facility, he handwrote a description of his arrest. When McDonald visited him, Mule gave the note to McDonald to photograph and post on Facebook, so that he could share what he had happened. The note, which is full of grammar mistakes, concludes: “We had the right to be on US101 therefore the order was unlawful we had the duty of a citizen in a free country to disobey an unlawful order and suffer the consequences JAIL.” Without making too grandiose of a comparison, it kind of makes you wonder if Thoreau would have posted portions of “Civil Disobedience” on Facebook, too.

Mule grew up in suburbia, just south of San Francisco, and spent his childhood exploring the orchard fields of Los Altos, orchard fields that were long ago replaced with homes and offices for technology giants. He’s 65 years old. He’s been wandering with his mules for 29 years, and doesn’t like what he has seen change in that time. He will eventually make his way down to San Diego in January for his court date, but he’s in no rush. He’ll make new friends along the way, and will probably butt heads with police along the way, too. As Mule likes to put it, “We live everywhere and aren’t going anywhere.”

There’s a man wandering California with three mules, and a website, collecting Likes along the way.

Hey You, You Stupid Bitch – And I’m Not Referring to Miley Cyrus

(Although, what’s with Miley‘s over-the-top disgusting behavior? It’s extremely embarrassing and I’m so glad I’m not her mother.)
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bad-driverYeah, YOU, I’m talking to YOU- you inconsiderate Gen X tramp in the little blue Compressor Mercedes who eyerolled me as you tailgated so close I could see  your limited repertoire of facial expressions (I was doing 35 mph, the actual posted speed limit), swerved around me by passing illegally, sped right through a stop sign without even slowing down, and sneaked into a parking place someone else was patiently waiting for at the Carlsbad Outlet Center.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m almost 100% sure that you don’t have the wit nor even the reading skills to to comprehend this — but perhaps you are acquainted with someone who possesses a moderate IQ who can bullet point it for you.

I was so mad, I scribbled this entire post sitting in my car —  fuming — my shopping mellow totes harshed by your insolent indifference to others who inhabit this world.

I jotted down your license number after you slammed the door and ran off to wherever you were headed, but I didn’t feel like stopping the Carlsbad police officer who was patrolling the parking lot.

Why?

Because there are so many bad drivers out there on the streets and highways that it would have been a futile effort to stem the flood of lawlessness here in the Wild Wild West.

It’s true that you would have been inconvenienced, and that would have been very satisfying to witness, but so would I have been, and I didn’t feel like putting the effort into being a good citizen today. I’m sure you’ll do it again, and the next person will have to carry that burden.

I can’t tell you how much I really just wanted to punch you in your smug little face. But I didn’t. But I really, really wanted to. Really.

I thought about the road trip my tugboat man and I were on that had us rolling through seven states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming — more than three thousand miles before we ended up back at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

We saw all kinds of bad behavior during those long hours of driving in addition to the ubiquituous texting and cell phone use. There’s a certain alarming malfeasance in the way so many drivers pay absolutely zero attention to traffic laws; running stop signs and lights as if they didn’t exist, slowing down ON THE FREEWAY to read/write texts, or even worse, whizzing by at 100 mph in a 65 mph zone, and changing lanes with no warning…THAT’S WHAT YOUR TURN SIGNALS ARE FOR, IDIOTS.

California wins the prize for the most rude, inconsiderate, and dangerous drivers with Nevada coming in a close second.

We made it home unscathed, but it was really stressful. We had to be even more alert and practice defensive driving techniques to avoid potentially perilous situations. 

Hubs proposed a question: “Are bad drivers bad people OR are bad people bad drivers?”

We came to the conclusion that either or both of those theories are valid.

What do you think? How do you weigh in on that query? What are the drivers like in your community/city/state?