Last Chance for Animals

Not too long ago, I was walking on the beach and saw this van and it piqued my curiosity:

animal news van

What is the Animal News Van?

The Animal News Van (ANV) is Last Chance for Animal’s education and news reporting tool.

Partnered with the LCAnimal.org website, it effectively educates millions of people in Southern California on animal issues.

The van’s TV screens, speaker system, and LED message board impart important information. It is the first of its kind on the West Coast, reaching people across cultural and economic lines.

What Does the ANV Educate About?

The ANV educates the public about the plight of animals used in modern society for food, entertainment, clothing and scientific curiosity.

The ANV is committed to disseminating truthful information and promoting conscious, informed lifestyle decisions in order to improve the manner in which animals are treated in the American culture. Millions of dogs, pigs, rats and other animals will be grateful when human compassion and understanding finally reaches out its arms to embrace them. (Info from LCA website.)

I’ve been involved in animal activism for a long time, but I had never heard of Last Chance for Animals, so when I got home, I researched the organization and learned about their mission statement:

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention.  LCA believes that animals are highly sentient creatures who exist for their own reasons independent of their service to humans; they should not be made to suffer for the latter.  LCA opposes the use of animals in food and clothing production, scientific experimentation, and entertainment and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle and the ascription of rights to non-human beings.

Pretty cool, huh?

I reached out to local volunteers and offered to participate when there was an outreach event that needed some help. A couple weeks ago, there was an opportunity at the Escondido Street Fair, and I signed up for the morning shift.

It was a great opportunity to connect with the public and educate them about the plight of factory farmed animals and the myriad of vegan options that are cruelty-free and SO healthy.

We handed out lots of vegan chocolate chip cookies and plant-based “milk”.

If you’ve never heard of Last Chance for Animals, visit the website and get involved!

Last Chance for Animals
https://lcanimal.org/

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Mayor, Mayor, on the wall…

Who’s the most intelligent, caring, and forward thinking of them all?

Lolz, THIS is pic speaks a thousand words, doesn’t it?

At the last of three Mayoral candidate debates/forums in Carlsbad, this one hosted by Pacific Ridge School and moderated by Voice of San Diego’s Jesse Marx, we witnessed a tired old sour faced dinosaur listening to the brilliant words spoken by a true visionary.

THIS is what Carlsbad needs.

Present in the moment, alert, thoughtful, intelligent…

Cori Schumacher.

Real. Genuine. Authentic.

Mayor Mall is the embodiment of “liar liar pants of fire“.

He was not truthful when he said he really really really responds to each and every email.

I can only speak for myself BUT I know that is specifically and categorically UNtrue.

He has NEVER responded nor acknowledged any email OR snail mail letter I personally sent to him during the years he’s been mayor of Carlsbad.

He delivered more confusing and obfuscating word salad, but what REALLY spoke to me was the demeaning and misogynistic device he used by consistently referring to Cori Schumacher as “her” or “she”, instead of affording her the respect Cori deserves by speaking her name, and by snarkily laughing while she was responding to questions.

This is a tool in the arsenal of a misogynist who covertly/overtly minimizes, diminishes, and depersonalizes women.

Unacceptable.

We will no longer have our voices silenced.

Vote for Cori Schumacher.

It’s a win-win for Carlsbad.

Ocean Warrior: Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson

Despite suffering from a sinus infection, Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson showed up on Saturday morning to meet and chat with the public when the vessel, M/V Farley Mowat, was docked in San Diego Harbor at the Maritime Museum, offering free tours all weekend.

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I took the train downtown and got there just in time to greet Capt. Watson as he arrived, and he kindly set aside time to respond to a couple of questions.

This is a man who walks the walk and talks the talk. He is a man of integrity and I admire him immensely and support his ideals and goals.

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While I’m waiting for the pics and video to download to WordPress, I’ll ask you a question…do you know who Farley Mowat was?

Canadian born, he authored one of the books that inspired me and shaped my existence as a wolf activist: Never Cry Wolf.

He created a body of work staggering in its quality and breadth: Sea of Slaughter, A Whale for the Killing, Grey Seas Under, Lost in the Barrens, Virunga: The Life of Dian Fossey (that became the movie Gorillas in the Mist), and many more.

One of Canada’s most popular and prolific writers, he became a champion of wildlife and native Canadian rights and a sharp critic of environmental abuse.

His writing spoke deep truths about humanity’s responsibility for the planet and the species we share it with. In doing so, he became one of the pioneers of the environmental movement.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat was named in his honor, and he frequently visited it to assist its mission.

The M/V Farley Mowat has been in the Sea of Cortez saving the protected vaquita porpoise from gillnets: 

(https://enchantedseashells.com/2018/04/14/battle-in-the-gulf-of-california-for-the-traffic-of-sea-cocaine-maritime-herald/)

 

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Nothing happens without dedicated volunteers!

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Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian-American marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation and marine conservation activism.

Since WordPress doesn’t allow me to post videos directly to a post (I have a free blog), here’s a link to a couple of videos of Capt. Watson I posted on Facebook. It can’t be embedded, but if you click on “Watch on Facebook”, you’ll be able to watch!

Jungle Jack Hanna says, “Touch the mind, teach the heart.”

****I don’t really agree with Jack’s philosophy which is one reason why I wanted to meet him. His passion for animals is real and I admire him for that, but his ardent defense of SeaWorld is something he and I disagree about.***


A couple weeks ago, I was savoring a cup of perfectly brewed French Roast while watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, on Saturday morning television. (As an aside, his ability to connect with dogs seems truly amazing.)

I forgot the TV was on, scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I heard an advertisement about Jungle Jack Hanna coming to the San Diego area. In a sparkle of synchronicity, when I looked up, there was an episode of Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown. You know who he is, right? He’s been around forever on all the late night talk shows. Often with his wife by his side, attired in his khaki uniform, he’s a virtual fountain of animal knowledge.

John Bushnell “Jack” Hanna is an American zookeeper, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He was director of the zoo from 1978 to 1992, and is viewed as largely responsible for elevating its quality and reputation. He’s the host of TV’sEmmy award winning Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.

We have a bit of a difference of opinion about Seaworld and zoos in general, and while he concedes that certain things about Blackfish were a real portrayal of what happened with the whales, he’s a staunch and passionate supporter of their rescue skills and education programs.

Some of the conversation I jotted down as we were talking, with his approval:

He is involved as a person who supported Seaworld since the beginning.
Blackfish is trash.
Very big proponent of Seaworld’s conservation efforts.
Manatees were going extinct –and Seaworld saved them.
Disappointed with people who hate Seaworld.

He asked me a rhetorical (in my opinion) question, ‘How do we learn about the animals?”
He doesn’t agree with anything that might harm the animal.

He made a point I have to agree with. There are no real completely wild places left in this world. When he’s filming, his guidelines are to respect the animals, don’t teach them to do anything unnatural. Back off, or don’t interfere or interrupt the kill.

I know that he works with the critically endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda and they hold a special place in his heart. I was recently at the zoo in Seattle and took my grandson to see the gorillas (a favorite animal), and it was heartbreaking to see them. They looked completely depressed to me, and desperately need their habitat improved. There were blankets strewn about on the dirt ground and it looked as sad as a homeless encampment.

I had plans to ask him more questions, but there wasn’t time as he had to prepare for his flight to San Diego.

Here are the topics I didn’t get to broach with him:
What do you think about the current admin’s decision to reduce the size of our national parks?
*Ditto: Killing of hibernating bears
*Ditto: Drilling for oil
*Ditto: Delisting wolves

The show started at 6pm and I made sure I was there in plenty of time to get a little backstage time, if possible. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a packed house with so many people interested in learning about animals.

Jack was very hospitable- a complete gentleman- and made time to take a selfie with me:

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Unfortunately, something went wrong with my Canon Rebel T3i , so all I have are the pics I took with my iPhone.

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***These were all rescued animals, none were taken from their native habitat.***

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It was pretty funny when the kangaroo got to run around the room but it happened so fast, I didn’t get any video.

While we don’t completely agree on several issues, I have mad respect for Jungle Jack Hanna’s passion for wildlife conservation, as well as his very obvious love for his wife of 47 years, his children and grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

seashell mirrorseashellwreath

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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Meeting the Dalai Lama. Thaumaturgic.

This is going to be the first in a series of posts about my thaumaturgical, magical, and enchanting encounter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet. He was born July 6, 1935. The Dalai Lamas are considered the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people.

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What does thaumaturgic mean?
…Of, or relating to, the working of magic or performance of miracles.

Lastly, powerfullest of all, least recognized of all, a Noblesse of Literature; without steel on their thigh, without gold in their purse, but with the “grand thaumaturgic faculty of Thought” in their head.
–Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, a History

So yes, an otherworldly experience for sure. Because as Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

I really am NOBODY. That’s correct. But somehow, the Universe was aligned at this moment in time to bring me to the front row of a press conference with the Dalai Lama at UCSD.

Fourteen years ago, almost to the exact day, I was at Rimac Field in this same intense heat screaming myself hoarse (and annoying everyone around me #sorrynotsorry) as I watched Angel Boy 1.0 graduate with honors. I’m not sure it compares to the day he received his PhD from Yale, but at that point in time, I couldn’t have foreseen the future. Actually I DID, but more on that later.

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I heard that the Dalai Lama was planning to speak at UCSD for two consecutive days; the first public gathering was to be preceded by a press conference and on the following day, he was the commencement speaker for 2017 graduates.

After the year I had endured, one in which I was broken into a million pieces and each of those pieces exploded into a million pieces; this little princess who had her rose colored glasses cruelly ripped off her face and shattered-the shards of glass slicing and ripping apart every tendon and muscle, deeply cutting to the bones, her bones that were now stripped of all flesh– and oh especially her heart, her innocent innocent vulnerable heart…that she could have and DID muster up the wherewithal to apply for media credentials for the press conference is really nothing short of a miracle.

But she did. I did. She persevered. I persevered. She triumphed. I triumphed. She rose from the whirlpool of a sinking boat and she took one breath. And then another. And another.

Apparently, I still live an enchanted life. In spite of everything.

With nothing to lose, you lose nothing by trying. You only have everything to gain.
That’s one of my new mantras.

It’s the ultimate despair to have nothing left. TRUST ME.

Yet another story for another day.

It’s not like I felt unworthy of being in the presence of His Holiness. It was more akin to feeling that this was purely pure serendipity.

And what was my very first thought? It was of fashion, of course. What’s the appropriate fashion statement for an event of a lifetime? I chose a simple Calvin Klein slim line dress and accessorized with a triple strand of pearls. My heels were a respectable height, don’t you think?

We had to submit questions in advance with no assurance that our particular question would be chosen, but I was prepared for anything. After all, when you expect nothing, there are no expectations, right?

True to form, I was one of the first in attendance, and the first to snag the best seat in the house, in the front row, literally six feet or so from the Dalai Lama.

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The energy in the room was palpable. With about one hundred jaded journalists and photographers who’ve seen it all, there was a certain excitement and anticipation; talk of feeling a sense of positive and uplifting spirituality.

When he walked in, His Holiness didn’t immediately climb the riser to sit on the small stage. Instead he stopped to chat with and bless many of us lucky enough to sit in that first row. He said “hello” while looking directly in my eyes, took my hand, and blessed me. His hand was warm and I felt touched on a cellular level.

HE TOUCHED ME.

After Ann Curry formally introduced him (she looked GORGEOUS, by the way), His Holiness spoke for about fifteen minutes (I captured it all on my phone) about compassion and kindness and education and the state of the world, and then opened it to questions. There was a bit of confusion because he didn’t want to be read questions that were previously submitted; instead he wanted to connect to us in the present moment.

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Most people weren’t prepared for that, but I was.

He answered a couple questions about politics and a macro vision of the world (sorry, didn’t pay much attention haha) and then I raised my hand and he pointed at me. Now let me ask you guys, how would you have felt at that moment? Would you be nervous? Scared? Shy?  I felt no anxiety. I asked the question I had previously submitted. He didn’t hear me the first time and I had to repeat myself:

“If you have suffered deep personal and emotional pain, how do you turn that pain and anger into love and compassion and forgive the one who hurt you?”

For the next fifteen minutes, his eyes locked on mine as he spoke directly to me. As if we were the only ones in the room. You could hear a pin drop. There were things he said to me that were conveyed only by thought, I know, because I started tearing up, wiping away tears unashamed to be so emotional and so raw in public. Ann Curry nodded to me, as if she too understood,  and he kept talking, leaning forward to heal my pain cell by cell, deeply and lovingly.

It was the most transformative experience of my life, right up there with the births of Angel Boy 1.0 and 2.0, a moment in time that I’m still processing.

Stay tuned for Part Two and I’ll have video, too.

Namaste, y’all. And #gratitude.

(PS These are all my images, copyright Enchanted Seashells.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy #WorldVeganDay

A short preach: I became vegan in 1970, first of all because my high school surfer boyfriend decided to go vegan, and I continued to follow the meat-free path even after we broke up. I don’t  miss eating meat. Chicken IS meat, so I don’t eat that either, in case you were wondering. in the past I would eat seafood once in a while, but I cut that out, too. The hardest thing to give up was cheese until I saw the video of the living hell endured by dairy animals. So there you have it. Oh, and my Chanels…so I still have miles to go before I’m perfectly cruelty-free.

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Vegan Month A2 Poster

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World ME

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“Hey Donald Trump, Keep Your Grubby Paws Out of My Vagina, Ok?”

Yoo hoo! Over here! *waves arms furiously*

Hi, Donald. How ya doing today?

See me?

Hear me.

As Judge Judy often says, and I’ll paraphrase…put on your listening ears. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Let me make myself particularly clear.

My parts belong to ME.

MY eyes, MY nose, My arms, MY uterus, cervix, ovaries, and vagina.

All mine.

MINE.

Not yours.

Not yours to invade and certainly not yours to grope or grab at the behest of one of your NASTY little whims.

(See, there’s the proper use of the word “nasty“. Donald, don’t refer to Hillary Clinton as “nasty” because that’s REALLY a whole lotta narcissistic projection going on, DONALD, along with some garden variety “pot-calling-the-kettle-black”  blameshifting, smearing, and gaslighting.)

Unless I invite you in or ask for your opinion, keep your grubby paws to yourself.

If I get pregnant and do not want -FOR WHATEVER REASON- to grow the little sperm/egg combo to maturity, it is my RIGHT, not YOURS, to determine the outcome.

D’ya hear me?

MY REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS do not include YOU.

Do you hear me now?

Do you understand? Comprendo? Verstehen?

To recap…

I am a woman. Stay out of my body. Stop telling me what I can and what I cannot do with all of my parts; past, present, and future.

Here’s an insightful article on Huffington Post by an OB/GYN.

Donald Trump Confuses Birth With Abortion. And No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-confuses-birth-with-abortion-and-no-there-are-no-ninth-month-abortions_us_5808dfa2e4b0dd54ce389b61?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

(Photo courtesy of http://photos.gograph.com/thumbs/CSP/CSP519/k5193117.jpg)

Dear Carlsbad, Oh What a Year It’s Been…

I posted this on Facebook today:

One year ago, I showed up at Carlsbad City Council as an thirty-year resident who had finally had it with the way this city was being manipulated by outside developers. The final straw was the possibility that a monstrosity of a concrete mall was to be built on Agua Hedionda Lagoon. NO WAY, I thought. I didn’t even have a speech written when I pushed my way through the crowd, but I knew it was time to step up and speak up. That was the night I spoke about “not being impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.” I may have walked in to those hostile chambers alone, but walked out with the new and lasting friendship of a tribe of hundreds and hundreds who soldiered on to save the lagoon as we’re saving Carlsbad, one council seat at a time. Much love, appreciation, and gratitude to our TRIBE.

Yes, the lagoon is safe FOR NOW. But there will always be the threat of over-development and that’s why we stand vigilant, never again complacent to the machinations of our self-serving local government.

Here’s my speech in its entirety:

“First, I’d like to make a brief observation; other than the farm workers at the strawberry fields, Caruso’s soft focused Utopian propaganda video had no people of cultural diversity represented. Kind of crazy, right? I mean, when you really think about it? What’s that all about?

[This refers to a video shown by Caruso Affiliated. Big bucks in play here.]

Mayor and council, I need to make myself particularly clear. 

I’m not impressed by fancy suits and ‘healthy’ fake tans.

My family and I are vehemently opposed to the development of Agua Hedionda.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive resource and ecosystem that needs to be saved and protected and restored, NOT built upon and destroyed.

I love to shop and I don’t want Nordstrom built on the lagoon when we have a perfectly good mall that needs the promised renovation.

No matter what or how we were duped in 1986 and 2006, that should not mean this deception should continue.

For thirty years, I’ve watched you and other councils systematically destroy land and native habitats in Carlsbad.

This needs to stop.

Enough is enough.

My family and I vehemently oppose all building on Agua Hedionda.

Enough is enough.

Leave it alone.

Shame on you Mayor and City Council. 

Shame on you all.

And finally, Mr. Blackburn, we met privately about the pet store in the Westfield mall that sells puppy mill dogs and you PROMISED me that when the mall was renovated and all the stores were closed, that store would be gone and wouldn’t be allowed back. But it’s still open. You promised and I feel betrayed.

Do the right thing, would you?”

More to read…

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/08/10/something-sorta-stinks-in-carlsbad/?iframe=true&preview=true

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/26/power-to-the-people-cos-sometimes-the-only-answer-is-a-revolution/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/28/carlsbad-referendum-signatures-stun-caruso-city-council-pals/