Sometimes it’s what you don’t see

Right this minute, there’s nothing to see here except for a fence and a pine tree.

Not a bad view as far as views go, but it’s what happened seconds BEFORE I snapped this pic that makes it memorable.

For me; sadly, not for you.

So it’s a memory stored somewhere in my hippocampus and now hold on a sec, I need to save this draft and swiftly do some research to make sure I’m right.

OK, I’m back and here’s what Google taught me…

Deep inside the medial temporal lobe is the region of the brain known as the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, the amygdala, the cingulate gyrus, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the epithalamus, the mammillary body and other organs, many of which are of particular relevance to the processing of memory.

I’m right; memories are stored in the hippocampus.

Use your imagination because I’ll try to explain what you didn’t get to experience:

In the photo, if you pretend you can see what you can’t see, the bottom of the fence that you can only see about half of, there’s a potting table.

I was standing there planting lavender that I had propagated myself. I’ve been doing that for years with a decent amount of success, and it was time to birth another lavender baby.

I wasn’t making a lot of noise, but I wasn’t quiet, either…I was fully immersed in the whole procedure, enjoying the blueblue sky and eighty-five degree weather.

There was a cooling mug of ginger tea next to me and next to that was my phone.

I looked up as two doves flew out of that pine tree.

At almost precisely that same exact time. a HUGE redtailed hawk (who must have been stalking the doves) perched himself on the the fence.

He was LITERALLY INCHES AWAY FROM ME.

I mean, if I had longer arms, I could have reached out and touched his beautiful feathers.

REALLY REALLY.

His golden eyes looked right at me and they widened, as if he was surprised-like WTF human–but he wasn’t nearly as astonished as I was. I froze. We stayed that way, eye to eye, gazing at each other for an eternity of probably less than five seconds before he launched himself off the fence and flew away. There was no fear, simply the connection between the hawk and myself.

It was a MOMENT.

I am not at all kidding; to look into the mystical magical gaze of a hawk and see the recognition that he was trying to make sense of the encounter as much as I was–is HUGE.

Moment-ous. Important.

Regretfully, no pics to share. But I’ll never ever forget the way he looked at me. Eye to eye.

I read that November 11, 2018 is a memorable time in this Universe. If you believe in things like this, it’s SIGNIFICANT.

And I believe that my hawk experience was significant, too. And if not, it was so so beautiful and made me happy and joyful and grateful. All good stuff.

Happy Sunday, y’all!

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Last Chance for Animals

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

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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/

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!

Battle in the Gulf of California for the Traffic of ‘Sea Cocaine’ | Maritime Herald

In a busy street in southern China, a merchant treasures a product as extravagant as clandestine: dissected bladders of totoaba. The frenzy over this delicacy, known as ‘cocaine de mar’, threatens marine species of the Mexican Gulf of California, sparking a feverish battle between authorities and traffickers. The ‘sea cocaine’ is not a drug but its

Source: Battle in the Gulf of California for the Traffic of ‘Sea Cocaine’ | Maritime Herald

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning: This is not about happy cows

Cc0kDT8WEAAsZG0NO NO NO NO. Do not turn away or scroll past this. This is US. (well, not me specifically, but collectively as part of the (in)human(e) race.

We need to see this.

YOU need to see this.

It needs to resonate with us to our very core.

STOP EATING MEAT AND drinking the breast milk of other species!

Don’t say you love animals and write “rescue” on your FB profile if you plan to grill a steak tonight or make some cheesy lasagna or buy a pair of Uggs.

Stop contributing to the cruelty of animals. Stop being a hypocrite.

We will never right the wrongs or stop the torture these innocent animals have endured and will continue to endure until our collective conscience changes.

This is disturbing, but what is more disturbing is the lack of compassion for other living things.

It’s hard to live in such a cruel world. It really is. When are we going to rise up and demand the end to needless slaughter of innocent animals?

**These dairy farmers face charges for allegedly torturing cows with weapons, including blowtorches (warning: graphic)

featured image courtesy of https://t.co/cq0NHFIdHM

21 Months: Toddler Time

Lucky lucky me got to spend another week with Angel Boy 2.0.

AB 1.0 asked me to bring some of his favorite childhood Christmas tree ornaments that his grandma and I had collected over the years so they could continue the tradition.

We brought home a seven-foot Noble fir and spent my first night decorating the tree with Theo. It took a while, but he finally understood the concept of leaving the ornaments ON the tree and not pulling them off and throwing them like a major league pitcher.

Although it had been raining for a few days, while I was there, the weather was beautiful but FREEZING, at least for this SoCal girl. I was wearing about a dozen layers, perfectly suited for Pacific Northwest arctic temps.

The next morning Mr. T and I went on a walk to the marina. He was all bundled up and you can see the snow on the Olympic mountains in the background.

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On the way to Ballard Locks.64F334D4-FE48-441F-9658-D72E7951B705

After a power nap, Theo and I made a pizza, helping me roll out the dough and scattering sliced zucchini, green peppers, and broccoli over tomato sauce.  With lentil soup, it was a perfect winter lunch.

For some reason, I became his sole choice for ALL diaper changes…AmmahAmmah had to do them all, and there were NO complaints from mom or dad. Besotted as I am with this little human, even THAT melted my heart and I gladly complied with his request.

These moments are so fleeting – one minute you’re changing a diaper and the next you’re sending them off to college. I learned a long time ago with the original Angel Boy to appreciate each and every detail along the journey. Even diaper changes. Yes, even that.

When he was here for Thanksgiving and we walked to the park and he was kinda balky, I created the game of “Puppy” with each of us holding something (or a pretend something) as a leash to encourage him to keep moving, and he remembered (!) which meant there was lots of puppy play and kitty play. And tea parties.

Yes, I am the ULTIMATE playmate. Laser focused attention. HEAVEN. BLISSFUL. JOY.

EF00EA0F-55A4-43BB-9777-2D1BEB561D83As the sun set in the evening, he’d choose a few books and we’d snuggle on the sofa and wind down with Peppa the Pig or Postman Pat or his new Hannukah book or my favorite ones about animals.

He’s memorized so many stories that have already been read to him a billion times.

It’s an important interactive pre-reading experience.

To engage a bright young mind with a lifelong love of learning and reading is a goal we all share.

One of those priceless moments I’ll forever savor and never forget is the heavy weight of a perfectly relaxed little boy nestled in the curve of my protective arm, feeling his excitement as he points to the picture of a wolf when prompted and howls when asked, “what does a wolf say?”

The next day we went to his Gymboree class, which was so cool for me because I had taken his dad there when they first started franchising in the 1980s.

It was amazing to observe Theo’s interaction with the instructor and other children. He is so much like his daddy was at that age, it’s a great response to the debate of nature versus nurture. When my son was very little, a brilliant woman told me “he sees the world in his own way” and I saw those very same characteristics in Theo. He’s not shy, he’s exceptionally self confident, but like his dad, he’s reserved; a thinker and an observer, absorbing everything and filing it away in his mind to process in his own way, but he’s not much of an active participant, although he very much enjoyed himself and helped pick up and put away the musical instruments when it was over. This week was the culmination of Beatle’s music, so when we went back home, I played the same songs that we heard in class, Yellow Submarine, All You Need is Love, and Hello/Goodbye. Theo sung along and shook the maracas exactly the same way he had paid such close attention to. With all children, it’s a great idea to take their lead in situations like this and let them guide their level of participation.

His verbal skills are on fire now, parroting dozens of new words and learning sentence structure. I call it the Helen Keller moment. Two-word directives like “Theo down” …Choo choo loud” “Daddy home” is being expanded upon. DIL and I both heard him clearly say “I want Abby’s cake” when we had a little birthday party for a friend. OF COURSE he was rewarded with the cake that he wanted. OF COURSE. It’s all about positive reinforcement, right?

My brother came to visit from Portland for a couple of days and one of our excursions was the zoo. As you might imagine, I hate zoos. I hate caged and captive wild animals. I hate that their very existence is used to make money as entertainment. I HATE seeing them in their unnatural habitats. But I figured that if I went to the zoo, later on at the appropriate age, I could begin a discussion about all of that, so I did. Theo especially loves gorillas and flamingos, so that’s what we saw. I can’t tell you how sad it was to watch those magnificent gorillas who should have been SOMEWHERE ELSE and I actually thought they seemed depressed. I felt like I shouldn’t be looking at him. Tragic.

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The very best part of the day was on the way out.

I noticed a woman crouched on one knee pointing a camera into a tree. I looked up and saw a magnificent OWL, also one of Theo’s fave animals. When he followed my gaze and saw the owl, he was transfixed. We stayed there for a bit and he called it Daddy Owl because it was so large. The sun was going down, so this isn’t the best pic, but it was a spectacular sighting.

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Although he gifted me with a nasty sore throat and the beginnings of the flu or some type of upper respiratory infection, it was once again a magical time; although flying home to vicious Santa Ana winds and out of control fires, loss of homes, dozens of horses perishing, and emergency notifications from the city to prepare for possible evacuation brought me right back to reality. The winds have died down for now but are forecasted to be gust at 50+ mph on Sunday.

A Bunny at the Beach and Chanel

Look, a BEACH BUNNY! I saw this adorable creature today at Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad.

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There are normally a billion ground squirrels that live on the bluffs, but I rarely see a rabbit, so this was a special event for sure.

Last week the temperature here was 105 degrees; today it was drizzly and in the low 60s, so I decided to take a little walk to the beach. I went the long way ’round and ended up walking about nine miles.

It’s pretty much downhill to the ocean-super easy- but that means it’s all uphill on the way home, so I’m pleasantly tired.

When I got home, I checked for mail and looky here what I found!!! A sample of Chanel’s new fragrance, Garbrielle, accompanied by the most amazing affirmation…just what I needed right about now.

“I decided who I wanted to be, and that is who I am.”

DAMN RIGHT, COCO. You got that right, GURRL.

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After enduring the shittiest of all shitshows of shitty years, swimming my way up and out and slowly being pieced back together, reforming and rising from the ashes of despair and pain, THIS IS A SIGN.

As I tapped out the letters that spell “despair”, I wanted to make sure it conveyed exactly how I felt so looked up the definition and nodded my head in silent agreement, “the complete loss or absence of hope”.  YUP. Nuff said.

The little perfumed card is propped up on my bedside table, and wonder of all wonders, there are two owls hooting to each other in my backyard.

Life is GOOD, y’all. Life is GOOD.

 

 

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?

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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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