#takeaknee I’m an intermittent rebel, but I think I was first: I didn’t stand up for the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game and I almost got attacked

At the time, my reasons for not standing were different than the initial reasons why football players knelt during the national anthem, but these silent protests have become the subject of national attention — this time, because Trump has launched a days-long tirade at players who have joined the movement.

A year ago, it was Colin Kaepernick’s act of kneeling to protest police treatment of African Americans that captured the most attention, in 2017, it appears to be Trump’s unconventional response to the act.

It’s all about freedom: of speech and of thought.

My story:

It was in the early 1990s. I’m not a huge fan of baseball, but somebody had given me a couple of tickets to a Padres game and I thought it would be something my then thirteen-year-old son would enjoy.

After all this time, I can’t remember what team we were playing, but since my son was an avid collector of baseball cards and knew everyone’s stats by heart, it was a big deal to him.

I’m an intermittent rebel. Most of the time I comply with socially accepted behavior norms but sometimes I don’t, and there is really no rhyme or reason why I’ll do something one minute and turn into Pussy Riot the next.

Mercurial is a good word to describe me.

Or batshit crazy. Your choice. Whatever.

On this particular day, I was feeling especially contemplative and introspective. Or pissy, or just contrary, or all of the above…

When it was time for the national anthem and everyone was asked to stand, I stayed seated. My newly teenaged-don’t-make-waves-and-certainly-for-heaven’s-sake-don’t-call-attention-to-the-fact-that-he’s-out-in-public-with-his MOM son stood when everyone else did and then sat back down.

He was confused.

He asked me why I was sitting. I replied that I didn’t like to be told what to do, that I was neither a sheep nor a lemming, that my love or respect for our country had nothing to do with standing simply because everyone seemed to expect it, and putting my hand over my heart was rather offensive to me and reminded me of similar blind devotion to Hitler.

As far back as elementary school, I decided not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because I felt it personally offensive in ways I couldn’t comprehend nor verbalize at the time, but I had a strong feeling that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Of course I got in trouble, sent to the principal’s office and all that; parents called, and my lawyer dad told the administration that it was my RIGHT and my decision whether I chose to participate in that activity and he supported me. I appreciate that he advocated for my free will even at that age.

The almost but not yet completely drunk people sitting behind us started yelling at me to stand up. That created enough ruckus so that others started paying attention to the situation. The crowd turned ugly. Everyone was yelling at us to stand and accusing me of being a bad mother. Someone threw popcorn.

I told my son that this was a perfect example of what I was explaining to him, that if he felt like he needed to go along with the peer pressure crowd mentality — that was his individual decision, but he should ask himself if he was standing because he wanted to honor his country or because he was being bullied into it?

What was his motivation? What was his intention?

He told me I was a troublemaker and I embarassed him.

With love, I told him I was sorry that I made him feel badly, but that I really wanted him to grow up to be someone that thought for himself and made his own life decisions based on his inner voice of that was right and wrong for HIM.

Did my NOT standing make me LESS of an patriotic American? IT DID NOT. I am not a fan of public displays of rote allegiance.

As soon as as the game started, everyone forgot about it and that’s how it ended, but for a brief moment, I thought things were going to escalate into some sort of overt hostility.

Intermittent or not, I am a proud social protester: when I fought to add wolves to the Endangered Species List, fought against abhorrent puppy mills, and when I stood proudly with my sisters and brothers to protest in support of women’s rights last January.

I’m proud that I stand up (or sit down) for what I believe in.

Not standing for the national anthem is a legal form of peaceful protest, which is a First Amendment right.

There is a method to my seeming madness…it’s a foundation of my belief system of mindful parenting

Mindful parenting means taking responsibility for as well as being present with our own feelings and actions to model this thoughtful insightfulness to our children. This creates a level of self-discovery and self-awareness and self-control over our moment-to-moment reactions. Instead of a negative, punitive connotation, discipline does not only refer to the guiding or teaching of a child, but begins with self and builds individuation.

Although this was my parenting philosophy that I pretty much put into practice instinctually with my son 36 years ago, you can now read about one progressive and loving approach here: Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) https://www.rie.org/

To put it simply, I wanted my son to think for himself, to question authority, to use his brains and his heart to navigate through life, and I’m glad to see that he and DIL are raising my grandson with that same sort of loving mindfulness.

And finally…

This is how President Obama reacted (via Huffington Post):

Almost exactly a year ago, Obama offered a nuanced insight into Kaepernick’s protests.

“Well, as I’ve said before, I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation,” Obama said during a CNN town hall in September 2016. “But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion. We fight sometimes so that people can do things that we disagree with … As long as they’re doing it within the law, then we can voice our opinion objecting to it, but it’s also their right.”

″I think that it’s also important for us to recognize that sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama continued. “I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

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Mean Girls at Any Age

I was working on a blog post about the dark night of the soul but I put that serious subject on the back burner so I can vent a bit.

Better to vent with words than to do what my initial reaction was, that’s for sure.

OK, here’s the deets…

I planned to go to a turbo kickboxing class at my gym. It’s one of my faves cos it’s super cardio and focuses on core strength and I’ve got some FIERCE kicking ability from all those years of ballet training.

It starts at 9:30 a.m. which isn’t the most ideal time because I like to work out earlier and get it out of the way so my day is free. However, the instructor is awesome, so I make a point to attend her class.

I arrived at 9:10. There was a sort of loosely constructed line outside the Group X room as there was a spin class in progress. I was the third person in “line”. When it was time to go in, I made a beeline for the spot I like. The girl (in her 40s, not really a GIRL per se) put her bag down and I moved to the right of it. She said, “That’s my spot.” I said, “What?” Like I swear, I couldn’t believe she said what she said. She said, “I put my bag down for my friend. I’m right here” She pointed to where I was standing. I said to myself, ‘whatever” and moved a few inches to the right.

OK, wait, that’s not what pissed me off. Bear with me, the rest of the story is coming up…

As I moved ever so slightly to the right, ANOTHER girl (again, not a girl, prob in her late 30s) said to me, “You’re going to get kicked.” I assume she was referring to the part of the class in the title: kickboxing, but as it turns out, I believe it was more of a physical threat.

I said nothing but didn’t move. She then said in a really nasty tone, “I was here first, you need to move.”

OH NO SHE DINT.

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I could feel my hackles rising. GURL, you do not want to go there. Trust me.

As she was most definitely NOT THERE FIRST, I said, “No you really weren’t. I was here first.”

She proceeded with some blah blah blah bs crap about how she had put her stuff down (not true) and I said, “Are we back in high school?” and stood my ground. Literally.

She didn’t move and I didn’t move. Picture this. I’m 5ft and 92.4 pounds with all my clothes on, including shoes. She’s about 5’7″ and outweighs me by about 50-60 pounds. AT LEAST. I still wasn’t planning to move cos right is right and all that, you know? And why should I?

The girl on my left who had initially asked me to move cos she had “saved” a spot decided to chime in and join her friend in bullying me by lying and saying, “Yes, she was here first. You were messing around with being in my spot.”

OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, YOU STUPID BITCHES. They have no idea the level of rage I have stored up inside of me right now.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it.

When that thing inside me finally blows up, it’ll be like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey got married and the Mexico earthquakes were their babies.

There I was, one on either side of me. Entitled Southern California bitches who picked on the wrong chica.

I’ll back up and mention this is not the first time they’ve played these high school games, trying to intimidate me into moving. In fact, I had a discussion with the instructor about it a couple weeks ago, and she shared her own gym mean girl stories, so just letting y’all know this is a REAL THING.

What do you think I did? 

Kick the living shit out of her? Unleash my really really foul mouth full of nasty commentary?

Nope. Not this time, anyway.

I channeled my friend, the Dalai Lama, and simply picked up my workout gear and handbag, told her, “I’m not dealing with your neggy shit” and walked out of the room.

THEY LAUGHED AT ME AS I WALKED AWAY. THEY LAUGHED AT ME. Okie dokie. Noted. No worries. I got this. I almost stopped, turned around, and was going to give her a piece of my mind, but I thought to myself, I’m too old for this shit, and kept my self respect and a certain amount of Zen. She wasn’t worth my sarcasm or a stroke from rising blood pressure.

While it’s true that I got all dressed and ready to exercise and all that, the atmosphere was so hostile and negative that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway, as they throw shade constantly.

I left in order to diffuse the situation instead of igniting it further, which would have only been satisfying for a moment or two. I wasn’t about to demean myself by lowering my vibrations to her level.

What I did was to locate the manager and tell him why I left, declined to make a formal complaint, but gave him a description of who it was and he said he’d check her out ‘cos even without a formal complaint, if it happened again, he’d kick her ass out. And he would talk to the instructor, whom I told him was well aware of these specific mean girls and their nasty little girl games.

I was actually proud of myself for handling it in a non-violent manner especially since she was ITCHING for a fight. She just wasn’t worth it.

As a former ballet dancer, I am just as much in love with the mirror as anyone else, but I won’t engage in World War Three over it.

What would YOU have done?  

Before you reply, moving to another spot was not an option for me, because she was a bully and a liar and no one should be allowed to get away with that. At any age. And why should I do what she says? She’s certainly not the boss of me and she doesn’t work for 24 Hour Fitness in the capacity of policing the virtual floor space.

I’ll go to another class this evening where I won’t be attacked, but because I had that unexpected extra time, I felt like retail therapy was just what I needed, so I bought Angel Boy 2.0 the most adorable chair and boy doll for his next visit. Yes, it’s an elephant chair!! And the boy doll, while not anatomically correct (which is what I’d been looking for), sports working zippers and buttons and and other cool stuff.

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WHEW! I feel better now. Thanks for allowing me space to vent!

The macro view of this issue is that in this current world climate, people are generally not kind to one another; there’s an undercurrent of meanness and aggression and hostility by women toward other women that is really ugly and so sad to witness it and to also be the target of it. Yes, their behavior was atrocious, but what is equally as upsetting is the sheep mentality of those that were observing; not ONE person spoke up. Very much a sign of the times, I’m sad to report.

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There was a hauntingly beautiful sunset last night on the southern California coastline.

I was inspired to haiku whilst standing on a slight rise above our lagoon and my phone captured this strangely intense halo effect.

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My poetry chops are a little rusty…but writing a haiku is like creating a post on Twitter; that 140 character limit causes drastic slash and burn style editing and revision to convey only the essence of intention. No word salad here!

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There was that day I met His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Remember? It was back in June. You can read all about it here:

Meeting the Dalai Lama.Thaumaturgic.
https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/06/19/meeting-the-dalai-lama-thaumaturgic/

Still thaumaturgic. Still a magical never-to-be-forgotten day. Still healing.

The rest of the story of that day goes like this…

In my thoughts and preparations prior to that amazing experience, I thought it would be an appropriate act of kindness to bring the Dalai Lama a gift.

But what is the right and perfect giftslashoffering for a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with one of the most special humans on this planet?

What do you think?

Flowers? Nope. A gift certificate to Dave & Busters? Nope. An engraved pen and pencil set? Nope again. Money? Maybe, but I don’t have any to spare, so nope.

Guess. No, come on. GUESS!

Only my DIL got it right when I asked, “well, what do you THINK I would give him?”

Give up?

OK, silly as it may sound to you, I beautifully wrapped a few of my most special seashells and a rock that looks like a whale and placed them in a brightly colored cotton gift bag.  I know it might seem childish to you, but I never really grew up, so it’s in keeping with my mental/emotional age.

When I thought about what evokes enduring purity and beauty, there is nothing more meaningful to me than seashells and rocks. (Diamonds fit into that category too, but that’s another story.)

Y’all have already seen my seashell encrusted home, right?

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Before the Dalai Lama and Ann Curry appeared on stage, I struck up a conversation with one of his emissaries/bodyguards, and told them I had a gift I hoped to present to His Holiness.  They pointed out the person I should hand it to and suggested I do it right after the interview.

However, because His Holiness spent so much time answering my question and talking to me, he exceeded the time set aside for the interview and was late getting to the open air stage at Rimac Field where 25,000 people were waiting in the heat for us to finish our conversation…

Ann Curry whisked away the Dalai Lama and there was no time to offer my little gifts to His Holiness.

However, that setback didn’t deter me…

Since I’m such a great snoop investigative journalist,  I somehow discovered where His Holiness and entourage were staying, drove there, and left my treasures with the concierge at the front desk. I included a hastily written note to thank the Dalai Lama for speaking with me for such a long time and how much I appreciated his wisdom–along with my name, address, email, and phone number.

I drove home, trying to process the intensity of that surreal and amazing experience, and thought no more about it.

Even though I personally treasure every seashell and rock (truth), I didn’t seriously think that they would actually make the journey to be received –or acknowledged–by His Holiness–I don’t have a grandiose sense of my own importance in this world.

A couple weeks later on a Saturday afternoon, my cell phone rang with an unknown number from Florida. Normally, I don’t answer a number I don’t know-there are all those annoying telemarketing calls, but this time I pressed the accept button and said hello.

Imagine my surprise when a heavily accented voice asked for me (not Princess Rosebud lol, but my other name). The voice introduced himself as the Personal Emissary for Peace to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. OH EM EFFF GEEEE!

Acting on behalf of His Holiness, the emissary was calling to thank me for my gifts and told me how much they were appreciated.

To describe my reaction succinctly. I was literally gobsmacked, And rendered pretty much speechless, which is a rare occurance.

One of the world’s most spiritual humans took the time to express GRATITUDE to me; an absolute nobody.

That’s the ultimate amazing ending to one of the most significant experiences of my entire life.

 What’s the message? What’s the lesson?

Gratitude and appreciation. If someone like the Dalai Lama can take the time and effort to acknowledge a handful of seashells and rocks, we all need to follow his example and this world will be a better place for us, our children, and grandchildren.

No, thank YOU, Your Holiness.

You restored my faith in humankind.

Namaste for reals.

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A Little Name Change

Although I thought Princess Rosebud just about said it all; aspiration as well as inspiration, I’ve been renamed.

For most of my life, the most wonderful way to get my attention was to hear my son call out “MOM or Mommy!” and I’d immediately stop what I was doing and give my 100% laser-focused attention to Angel Boy.

I never thought I’d become an obnoxious grandmother; it’s a huge surprise to me, but I confess that I’m REALLY obnoxious. I show pics of Theo to friends at the gym and complete strangers. He’s the most amazing child in the world. HE IS, I promise you.

But now things are different. I still love to hear my son refer to me as Mom, but it doesn’t touch my heart the way it does when Theo, Angel Boy 2.0, wants his  “AmmahAmmah”.

It’s the most beautiful sound in all the land, along with the song of the coyote and the howl of a wolf.

Theo first named me “Gammma” and it’s morphed into “AmmhaAmmah”, which sounds cool and hip and a for sure guarantee that he will forever and ever get every single toy that he will ever want.

ammatheoThose eyes, that hair, oh yes, he’s my heart of hearts.

What do your grandkids call you?

 

WTF is Wetiko

I had never heard the word —wetiko— until a couple weeks ago and now it’s cropping up everywhere since it’s on my radar.

From my Google search:

The term wetiko is a Cree term (windigo in Ojibway, wintiko in Powhatan) which, to quote Forbes, refers to “an evil person or spirit who terrorizes other creatures by means of terrible evil acts.”[ii] Wetikos are the human instruments for the transpersonal ‘spirit of evil’ to terrorize the world.

There seems to be a collective query rising up from the huddled masses of humanity who search for answers to everything from Trump to climate change, deadly natural disasters to senseless murders, and a pervasive lack of empathy and compassion.

Is there an epidemic of broken, undeveloped frontal lobes, of dysfunctional, maladjusted, deteriorating, and infected amygdalas?

Narcissism and Cluster B psychopathy run rampant in our culture, feeding on those who still have that innate ability to feel empathy and compassion, who possess a real soul and a kind spirit.

Those dark and toxic parasitic wetiko entities are cannibalistic, predatory, soul-LESS, selfish, and hostile: a cancer of the soul; a shapeshifter.

How sad.

“Just as viruses or malware infect a computer and program it to self-destruct, wetiko programs the human biocomputer to think and behave in self-destructive ways. Covertly operating through the unconscious blind spots in the human psyche, wetiko renders people oblivious to their own madness, compelling them to act against their own best interests. People under its thrall can, like someone in the throes of an addiction or in a state of trauma, unwittingly create the very problem they are trying to resolve, clinging desperately to the thing that is torturing and destroying them.

People taken over by wetiko are suffering from an autoimmune disease of the psyche. In autoimmune deficiency syndrome, the immune system of the organism perversely attacks the very life it is trying to protect. In trying to live, it destroys life, ultimately destroying even itself. In the same way, once wetiko has insinuated itself into a living entity, it acts like a perverted antibody, treating the wholesome parts of the system as cancerous tumors to be exterminated.

This problem is being collectively acted out on the world stage. Humans are destroying the biosphere of the planet upon which we all depend for our survival. Wetiko is at the bottom of the seemingly never-ending destruction we are wreaking on this biosphere. One example is the destruction of the Amazonian rain­forest, the lungs of the planet. Another example is the terminator seeds that are genetically engineered not to reproduce a second generation, forcing farmers to buy new seeds and making life impossible for many poor farmers. If the planet were seen as an organism, and people seen as cells in this organism, it would be as if these cells had become cancerous or parasitic and had turned on the healthy cells, destroying the very organism of which they themselves were a part. Our species appears to be enacting a mass ritual suicide on a global scale. “Paul Levy “Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil” Quest 102.4 (Fall 2014): pg. 146-151.

Also from Paul Levy…

“Wetiko disease is an expression of the convincing illusion of the separate self gone wild. Bewitched by the intrinsic projective tendencies of their own mind, full-blown wetikos are unconsciously doing the very thing they are reacting to while simultaneously accusing other people of doing it.

Projecting the shadow onto others, they will accuse others of projecting the shadow onto them. To use an extreme, but prototypical example, it is like someone screaming that you’re killing them as they kill you.

If their insanity is reflected back to them, they think it is the mirror that is insane. Suffering from a form of psychic blindness that believes itself to be sightedness, full-blown wetikos project out their own unconscious blindness and imagine that others, instead of themselves, are the ones who are not seeing.

Governed by the insane, self-perpetuating logic of fear and paranoia, those taken over by the disease fear that if they don’t attack and rule over others, they are in danger of being attacked and ruled over themselves.

In their convoluted, upside-down, flawless illogic, wetikos’ act to their own projections in the world as if they objectively exist and are other than themselves, thinking that they themselves have nothing to do with creating that to which they are reacting.

In wetiko disease, the psyche takes the ‘terror’ that haunts it from within, and in its attempt to master it, unwittingly becomes taken over by it, thus becoming an instrument of terror in the world. We have then become the thing we most feared, ‘creatures of the European nightmare world,’ as we psychologically terrorize ourselves, as well as terrorizing the world at large.

Because full-blown wetikos are soul murderers who continually recreate the ongoing process of killing their own soul, they are reflexively compelled to do this to others; for what the soul does to itself, it can’t help but do to others.

In a perverse inversion of the golden rule, instead of treating others how they would like to be treated, wetikos do unto others what was done unto them. The wetiko is simply a living link in a timeless, vampiric lineage of abuse.

Full-blown wetikos induce and dream up others to experience what it is like to be the part of themselves which they have split off from and denied, and are thus not able to consciously experience – the part of themselves that has been abused and vampirized. In playing this out, wetikos are transmitting and transferring their own depraved state of inner deadness to others in a perverse form of trying to deal with their own suffering.

Paradoxically, wetikos both try to destroy others’ light, as it reminds them of what they’ve killed in themselves, while simultaneously trying to appropriate the light for themselves.

The disease itself is now demanding that we pay attention to it, or it will kill us.”

“An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” ~ Ghandi

Native American philosopher Jack Forbes further adds:

“This disease, this wetiko (cannibal) psychosis, is the greatest epidemic sickness known to man.” We, as a species, are in the midst of a massive psychic epidemic, a virulent collective psychosis that has been brewing in the cauldron of humanity’s psyche from the beginning of time.

Like a fractal, wetiko operates on multiple dimensions simultaneously — intra-personally (within individuals), inter-personally (between ourselves), as well as collectively (as a species). “Cannibalism,” in Forbes’s words, “is the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit.”

Those afflicted with wetiko, like a cannibal, consume the life-force of others — human and nonhuman — for private purpose or profit, and do so without giving back something from their own lives.”


I don’t read much science fiction…I’m a chicklit girl, but my research about wetiko led me to this article about the (deceased) sci-fi author, Phillip K. Dick (you might know him from the Bladerunner.)

Wetiko and The Black Iron Prison: The Enlightened Madness of Sci-Fi Author Philip K. Dick

https://wakeup-world.com/2016/10/01/the-enlightened-madness-of-sci-fi-author-philip-k-dick-wetiko-and-the-black-iron-prison/

Apparently, I’ve only scratched the surface about wetiko, but it scared the living hell out of me. Is this the world my grandson will inherit?

How very, very frightening.

 

 

Featured image credit: https://thetwodoctors.wordpress.com/

 

The Accidental Brownie #vegan

Upon my return from a week-long visit with Angel Boy 2.0, I arrived to an empty refrigerator and pantry. (Don’t worry, there was wine waiting for me, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.)

I was JONESIN’ for ANYTHING chocolate and simply didn’t feel like going to the store.

Instead, I scoured the cabinets to see what ingredients might jump out to create something at least halfway edible.

Whew! I found cocoa which was a MAJOR score, because obvs without it there could be no joy . Next, I scrounged together about a scant cup of flour. Cool. And brown sugar.

Here’s what I did:

In a bowl, I combined 1.2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1.2 cup veg oil, 2 tablespoons black coffee since I had no vanilla and coffee complements the flavor of chocolate, 1.2 teaspoon baking powder. I didn’t want to dirty a mixer, so I used a fork to whisk it all together. It was a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of black coffee.

I placed paper inserts in muffin tins, filled them 2/3 of the way, sprinkled the top with a little Himalyan sea salt,  and baked for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

When I took them out, they were still soft on the inside like a molten lava cake.

BUT EFFING DELICOUS. OMG.

I’M NOT KIDDING.

I ate two of them in a very self-congratulatory mood, and stored the rest in the refrigerator.

Now here’s where the magic must have happened.

As they set, they transformed themselves into the CHEWIEST, most intensely CHOCOLATY, FUDGEY, yummy bites of JOY that you’ve ever tasted. If I were making them for an event, I’d frost them, but on their own, they were amazing. The little bit of sea salt adds a sophisticated touch on the palate.

TRUTH.

You. Must. Try. This. Recipe.

You’re welcome.

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I’m salivating for more! Surrounded by some of my very own rock art.

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#vegan #chcolate #brownies #pleaseshare

The Accidental Brownie

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
Mix well with a fork.
Add 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla if you have it, or 2-3 tablespoons cold black coffee
Mix well. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool in pan and then finish in the refrigerator.
YUM.

A Full Moon and a Lost Whale

The Full Sturgeon Moon rises tonight. A perfect time to set intentions and believe in magic!

I wonder if these intense lunar energies had anything to do with a baby gray whale who lost his way in our little beach town entering Agua Hedionda Lagoon from the ocean.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time with my lovely Canon and a decent lens and was lucky enough to snap these photos.

SeaWorld came to assess the situation and told me that he didn’t seem to be in distress; he was spouting every couple of minutes or so, which is completely normal, and he was rubbing his body against the rocks to try and dislodge all of the barnacles.

I did a little research and learned this about barnacles…
from https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/gwhale/Hitchhikers.html:

Gray whales are more heavily infested with a greater variety of parasites and hitchhikers than any other cetacean. Imagine carrying a load of hitchhikers on your back that can weigh several hundred pounds! Gray whales do this all their lives. Who’s riding, and why?

Big Batches of Barnacles
Those patchy white spots you see on gray whales are barnacles. Grays carry heavy loads of these freeloaders. The barnacles are just along for the ride. They don’t harm the whales or feed on the whales, like true parasites do. Barnacles don’t serve any obvious advantage to the whales, but they give helpful lice a place to hang onto the whale without getting washed away by water. Barnacles find the slow-swimming gray whale a good ride through nutrient-rich ocean waters.

As larvae, the whale barnacles swim freely in the ocean. But they time their reproduction so the larvae are swimming in the water of the nursery lagoons when the baby whales are born. Then the larvae jump aboard the whales arriving in the lagoons–as well as the newborn calves—to start their lives as hitchhikers. The most common barnacles on gray whales are host-specific, which means they occur on no other whales. One type of barnacle, Cryptolepas rhachianecti, attaches only to gray whales. Once this type of small crustacean has settled on “its own” gray, the barnacle spends its whole life hanging onto that whale.

Life is good if you’re a barnacle. Snug inside their hard limestone shells, the barnacles stick out feather feet to comb the sea and capture plankton and other food for themselves as the whales swim slowly along. As the young whales grow, the barnacle clusters grow too. Gradually the barnacles form large, solid white colonies. The colonies appear as whitish patches, especially on the whale’s head, flippers, back and tail flukes.

Whale biologists look at the pattern of barnacle clusters in order to tell individual grays apart. This is possible because no two barnacle clusters, like no two human’s fingerprints, are alike!

When the tide changed, he finally made it out beyond the jetty waves; hopefully he finds his mom and doesn’t wander into shallow water again!

Just another amazing day in paradise. So much magic and beauty to be grateful for!

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Whale or SHARK?

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My own little embellished-with-sparkles-gray whale rock is much happier barnacle-free, don’t you think?

whalerock

Nothing Really Matters

Well, maybe butterflies do.

I stalked this Western Tiger Swallowtail like a seasoned paparazzi from TMZ.

Easy on the eyes for your Sunday enjoyment.

No drama.

Breathe.

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*rockstoneboulder

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dig deep

stones and rocks and boulders

minerals

warm from the sun

bathed by the sea

salty, solid, and strong

transgressions might indurate the heart

but impenetrable, impervious

trustworthy

honorable

constant

*rockstoneboulders

nonetheless endure

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