Sunday, July 30, 2006

California on Fire

It's Sunday evening and we have had a 15-hour drive today from the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington to San Francisco. As we drove past Mt. Shasta, thick smoke filled the air. Apparently, fires are raging all over northen CA near the Oregon border.

It's just good to be heading home, smoky mountains and all.

The Adventure Bluegrass Festival was great...a weekend in a beautiful place, time to ride a bike, hang out and catch up with Tim and Jill and Riley, swim at the same spot a few times, pick blackberries, listen to folks play traditional music at their camps, hear some great live bluegrass on stage, get solid interviews and dance my butt off during the last set of this little tour. Very good show. Late night swimming in the river, hot tubbing and early morning music...a peaceful and restful ending to the trip here.

With Tim, Jill and Riley this weekend. Riley (age four) said the funniest thing. As I was pulling him around in his wagon, he asked where my "van" was (his parents have a VW van). When I told him I was staying in the bus where the band lives, he said, "So, you get to have a sleepover everynight with the band?" Then, he referred to me as "Kathy, she sleeps with the band." So cute, while completely inaccurate, of course!

Below: McCall, Idaho, taking a dip in the lake with Erik and Nat. I love swimming in rivers and lakes. I tried to do so every day of the this trip, but I only made seven of nine days! :-) Some were cold, others just right. All were refeshing and good for my soul, especially with the view of the mountains right before me.

And, back in Montana, a pretty shot of Gallatin Canyon, where I spent four wonderful days with Margot, Bill and Baby T.

And here's me with my dear friend, David, who I hadn't seen for seven years. He and I arranged a rendez-vous on the 84 near the Idaho-Oregon border. He was headed to the Northern Cascades for a backpacking trip. At 3 am on Friday am, we drove together for an hour, then crashed out a truck stop. At seven am, the next driver, Aaron, got up and I spent another 100 miles with David. Not enough time, for certain. Nonetheless, it's the connection that we have that brought us together again. He's inspiring to me and is such a good friend. I'm glad we're back in one another's lives. Again.

This journey has been a reflective one for me. Building upon the themes in my "transits of Saturn" entry, I'm feeling my limitations, redefining my friendships, considering my purpose and goals for the next years and how I want to spend my energy, especially those of special projects, like HBR, SCFF and grad school.

There's so much I want to do, and I am fortunate to have a lot of inherent energy. But I have such limited time and energy to really focus and get good at the things I need to complete and master. I need to continue to learn to go inward more.

Right now, I'm tired, it's been a long trip, and there's still some work to do here on the bus during the six more hours left with the band. Tomorrow, it's back to Santa Cruz and my life as I know it.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

On Tour

Hello from Idaho.

I've spent a lovely week in Montana--four days around Bozeman (in Yellowstone Park, Gallatin River, Yellowstone River, Gallatin Canyon with the Zell's and last night in Missoula.) and now, we're in Idaho.

And, it's really hot. Even though it's nearly 7pm....coolness and darkness only come at 10pm.

Here's the pic from Gallatin Canyon.

A good, deep mutually-supportive friendship formed and tarot in a tipi by Margot soothed my soul...and she reminded me of things I needed to hear...A day on the river, whitewater rafting with the Hot Buttered Rum crew, revisiting the place near where I worked in Yellowstone, hanging with Baby-T and helping the Zell's with their marketing plan for Montana Whitewater all sandwiched into a purposeful four days.

I love helping small businesses, and Bill and Margot are great people to support. And, so that continues with we are out on whitewater of the Gallatin's a Class IV at times, tho' much of it is Class III.

There's a performance group playing at this little coffeeshop, which is about 100 miles north of Boise, called "Juxtapercussion"...five people playing percussion in a routine. HBR goes on after them, and then we drive to southern Washington for a weekend bluegrass festival. After that, it's back to S.F and home to my sweet Alec who I am missing very much on this trip.

Since I met up with the bus, it's been a whirlwind tour. I adjusted pretty quickly to their life on the road and the haphazard-yet-somehow simultaneously constant schedule. The previous four days were so different in comparison...more nature, deeper friendshps, a little quiet time alone and lots of outdoor beauty everywhere you turn. On tour, it's hot, late late nights of a bus filled with people, talking to lots of random strangers and sleeping in a hot bus.

Today at the lake here in McCall was great...I've been in the water (lake, river) at least five out of the six days here on vacation! Yay!

That's all for now...want to go listen to the drums!
Happy trails to you all.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Visiting Memories

As always, I'm running around doing a zillion things before my vacation. But I'm SO looking forward to it that it's worth it. Completely.

When I return, I begin my life in a new office, my ninth spot in three different buildings in 9 1/2 years of work at the same local company.

I'm off to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington for a week on a riding on a tour bus with a bluegrass band-meets-fun with old friends-meets my long-since-forgotten past tour. Along the way, I'll hook up with my good friends, David, Margot and Tim & Jill, do some singing, drumming, interviews on camera, river-rafting, videotaping of a local wedding and camping.

My past is the fact that 17 years ago, I worked as an assistant team leader on a trail crew in Maine. One of the best summers of my life. I brought then-puppy, Jake, out on the appalachian trail with me and worked hard for long and hot eight hour days. Then I slept on a ledge under in my tent and awoke each morning to Jake's nuzzle, muddy black coffee and stale bread. We were out on the trail for weeks at a time. (so, no showers and the inevitable subsequent dreadlocks.)

I raced my team's Suburban with a moose. (really, I did that.)

I've never been able to replicate the incredible physical shape I was in that summer. Our crew was chosen from the whole state to represent in Wyoming at Yellowstone National Park to work on fire-recovery. It was the summer after the big fires there in '88. It was an amazing experience, especially for a 20-year girl from Maine who'd never really seen the dramatic natural splendor of the West.

I'd never seen anything like Yellowstone, and I'd never camped in grizzly territory either.

I think that's about the right time period. Memories flood in when you see yourself in a picture from long ago. 1989. There's Jake as a puppy and the beauty of early autumn in Maine. I think it's up on the Swift river with my dad. Right before I flew us out to Wyoming for a year at UW. What a turbulent time period. My parent's divorce, my increasingly more permanent exile from Maine, a year of intense hardship and lot of stupid mistakes. I learned a lot there tho', and while there, I started considering a move to CA.

I started an underground newspaper called "Hole in the Ground" on the UW campus in response to a broadcast teacher telling me to cover the damn football game when I wanted to cover the AIDS crisis. He told me there was no AIDS crisis, because there were "no gay people in Wyoming". Dick Cheney was their rep. in Congress at the time and Laramie later became the setting for the hate crime annd death of Mathew Shepard (who was gay).

As I mentioned, it was the year after the fire in Yellowstone. Surreal. Ash on everything, then you'd spot a perky little purple flower a foot high in the middle of the blackened earth. Every night we'd stumble back into camp, near Canyon, and be covered with ash from head to toe. We'd draw tribal symbols on each other's bodies.

We rebuilt bridges out of trees we cut down in the forest, made a boardwalk up to Fairy Falls and created waterbars on countless trails that most tourists probably never walk upon. We went to the Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman that summer and lounged in hot springs right next to the river near Gardiner. I felt so lucky. Tough, naive, becoming street smart and vulnearable all at once.

My Montana friend Margot, who I adore, but haven't seen for several years, will greet me tomorrow night at the little airport in Bozeman. I'll remember how I flew in there that summer of '89 and how much I've experienced and grown since then.

While I pack tonight, I'm dreaming of a peaceful repose, the books I'll read and an adventure to write in my blog about.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

B-side: Transiting Saturn in my First House

Weekend pictures and then, Astrology....
Played tennis yesterday too. Perfect for a spaz like me. If we only had Kramer to be our ballboy!

I love the B-Side Players. I've been a fan since I first saw them, probably sometime around 1996? At the old Palookaville in Santa Cruz. Afro-Cuban-Salsa-Cumbia-Reggae meets San Diego-Tijuana hip hop with an amazing horn and percussion section and a sassy lead singer, Carlos. For some reason, until about a year and a half ago, I hadn't seen them for nearly eight years. But I've returned to seeing them at every local show since.

Elan opened for them--very Damian Marley sounding--reggae with a little dancehall/hip-hop mixed in. Loved it.

Maureen, Kathleen, Lisa, Kathy and Jennet!

B-Side Players in Action (7.15.06 at Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz, CA)

Carlos playing trumpet.

Will from a favorite local Brazilian band, Sambada is on the drums at the far right behind B-Sider's.

Astrology is an on-and-off passion of mine. I'm an amateur, but I do study it.

I discovered it in college while learning about psychology as part of my poli-sci/social-sci major. That may seem like an odd path to the sacred geometry. But I read a lot of Freud and Jung, both of whom were avid astrologers and brought the use of astrology's archetypes into their psychological research, academic theories and into individual treatments.

Hence, my stumbling across it. I can't help but be fascinated about people. Why they do things. Why I do...well, anything. As certain as it is a life-long process to interpret the latter, I subsequently also swim in the frequently murky soup of attempting to understand humankind.

I've been studying transits lately. Having experiencing a few major ones myself at the moment. (I felt them, then decided to look up what's going on.

Saturn is in my first house, my ascendent Leo lives there at 29 degrees (which means I express my Gemini sun self as a Leo with some major Virgo influences). I credit my interest in systems and computers to Virgo, predilection to communication from Gemini and the outwardliness of my self-expression (as witnessed in this blog) to Leo. All three have impacted my life with their deep dark shadows as much as their occasional radiant brillance.

During a Saturn transit, we all are working on our discipline, experiencing the hand of authority and feeling our limitations in certain areas. (btw, you're going through one too...right now. Saturn is in Leo, from July of 2005 through September 2007. So Saturn is having an impact on the matters of the house ruled by Leo in your natal chart--based on where it was when you were born.

See to figure that out. Plug in where/when you were born for a free natal chart.)

Mine happens to make it painful just to show up sometimes. I do it, but I'm constructing a new and better way to deal. Far beyond grinning and bearing it, I'm learning how to not take things personally, let go and just move on. Life's inherent trials just *are*. With or without my impact. I have absolutely nothing to do with it, good, bad, ugly. Sometimes life just happens even when I do my best to affect the outcome of it all.

So, I learn, I grow, I take a few steps backward to take three forward. Change is happening and deeper, more solid inner structure is inevitable if I just go with it, keep doing the hard work and surrender to however my path will proceed next!

"Saturn has its reasons for forcing us to slow down and stop what we're doing." And, then the next step becomes more clear.

Algebra is clearly a construct under the authority of Saturn. Perhaps by next September, I will have at long last conquered that demon of discipline.

Off to my polynomial fractions...


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Srawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

I made this entry in my watercolor journal and this recipe today while listening to bluegrass music from the Internet. Somehow it seemed just perfect.
If you want to give it a try, here's the recipe, and a picture of my final outcome. It came out pretty good.

Srawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
4-5 cups Rhubarb; I strip some of stringy parts off while chopping it into 1/2' pieces.
3-3 1/2 cups strawberries (I eat a lot of them while making this, so you'll have to experiment a bit.)
1/2 cup agave (cactus sweetener)
1 cup flour
5 tbsp soy butter (or regular butter if you choose)
dash of nutmeg, allspice if you have it
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix fruit in a big bowl. Let it sit in agave. I usually sprinkle a tiny bit of powdered sugar over it to for a suble (more perky than agave) sweetness. Mix the rest of the ingredients separately; start with the flour and oats, then mix in the butter and a little bit of extra agave into the dry mix.

Cover the top. That helps it cook better--put it in for 35-40 minutes until the fruit boils. Top should be brown and slightly crispy. Don't forget some vanilla ice-cream. It's really an essential part of the recipe.

A final thought on rhubarb. It is really good for healthy digestion, but be careful not to overdo it! (like three giant pieces at a time) 'Nuff said.

Next: Strawberry-Rhubarb jam!!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Very Tiny step off the Grid

Watch the vlog

I stopped by Real Goods in Hopeland, CA on my way back from Emerald Earth last weekend. I picked up a car charger for my AA batteries, which I use a lot for my still camera, a crank light that charges my cell phone too, and a catalog to help me consider other ways to really get off the grid. This little vid clip is just my silly delight at my mini-cell phone charger than I crank to make energy. It's the small joys, I'm telling ya. -Kathy


Crazy Ideas

Here's the full-moon paddle group from my birthday! So great. Love you all!

Today I got some harebrained ideas. All inspired by my recent adventures.

One is that I want to buy this land next to my dad's place in Maine. It's crazy, I know. I live in California. Western Maine can get cold, is kinda boring and there's not a lot of live music. Unless you're into country, and my dad's community hotspot attracts a fair amount of locals playing that on a Friday or Saturday night all summer long.

Ok, well, I'm not moving there. But if it looks like the land is reasonably priced, I'd like to buy it and build a winterized house with natural materials. We can't do it in CA because we're not millionaires. But it'd be great to always have a place on the land in Maine, and an opportunity to create some local knowledge about green building up there. Not to mention a tax write-off for my trips home and a chance to see my Dad and my soul sister, Heather. (who happens to build and remodel green homes out on Peak's Island.)

I don't want to get ahead of myself here. So, for now, I'll just relay this flicker of a thought that somehow gained momentum today in my head and out loud to my dad. There's lots to research. Like whether we could even get a loan to buy it, or afford it at all.

On the getting off the grid topic, I stopped by Real Goods on the way back from the Emerald Earth community in Mendocino where Liz and Brent live and are building their house with strawbale and cob.

I saw this older fella at another counter, thinking it was the register. His arms were full and he looked tired. As I suggested he put his things on a chair by me, I noticed he was a familiar face. It was Wavy Gravy, the famous clown of the San Francisco 60's hippie scene.

I grinned at him and asked if he was going to summer camp in Laytonville, which is a short bit north of nearby Hopland. He said he'd just returned. His arms were full of bubble wands and toys. What a sweet man he is.

I laughed when I saw all the groovy stickers on his Camp Winnerainbow caravan, parked next to my Jetta in the lot. One sticker said "Don't push the clown" right next to the picture of the Dali Llama and a bunch of peace stickers. When I told some of my family that I'd met him, only my 90-year old grandmother knew of him. Same generation? I guess. She's pretty on top of world news, my grandma.

Check out the vlog post above for a little video about what I's silly, as usual.

While I was at EE in one of their fine solar-paneled compostable restrooms, I read a bit of this great back-to-earth publication, Lehman's, "Products for Simple, Self-Sufficient Living". I'm pretty sure it's from Amish country. I found myself getting unusually enthusiastic about canning fruit and veggies. I wonder where that came from...maybe Maine is on my brain these days. I have been eating an absurd amount of blueberries and rhubarb.

Tomorrow I'm making strawberry-rhubarb crisp again. Mostly organic. Mostly vegan. Mostly sugar-free. Third time this summer. Yum.

It's been fairly easy to find here, though last week it was sold out at the market. I think the two other women I've met locally who make crisp or pie from it had gotten there first. This week, the farmer is saving me 2 lbs, so I guess I'm making it next weekend too. I'll have to post the recipe I come up with. I hate following strict recipes, so I just work it out by taste and look at a few to see what they call for. It usually works out better that way.

Rhubarb was a staple of my summer diet growing up. We froze it and made a lot of pies from it. It seemed to grow wild everywhere in Temple, Maine. In all my nearly 15 years of living in Northern CA, I swear I'd never noticed rhubarb before. Not even when I worked at the Farmer's Market in Santa Cruz selling avocados. What beauty we pass by and never stop to notice!

I'm hoping for a kayak or a hike tomorrow too. Can't believe I've rambled on so. My god. Back to the real world.
Oh, check out this sticker I got at Real Goods. I like it.


Friday, July 07, 2006

A Love letter to Soup

Love this of me and Alec at Soup. So fun!

Dear friends,

Some of you have been to a Soup event or you have heard about it
from me.

It's an all-volunteer community I've been involved with since its
inception. Together, we've raised over $100,000 for non-profit
beneficiaries and have held an annual event for 13 years, as well as
trips to Peru to do volunteer community work, Democracy Soup trips
to swing states and regular gatherings to keep people engaged.

We're currently planning an additional trip to El Salvador and an
action/education group around climate change.

I want to share my thoughts about this recent weekend at Soup 13,
and the passing of UCSC's Chancellor Denice Denton.

Much love and gratitude to each of you for your wonderful presence
in my life! -Kathy

Dear friends,

As ever, I am grateful for every moment I spend at Soup with all of
you. Thank you.

Each year is different. Every Soup tastes unique. You bring that
special ingredient without which my soup would not have been complete!

As folks are sending me pictures, the visual connection to you all
and the land causes me to slip into soupy daydreams filled with
sunshine (Soup 13) and rain (Soup 12) and think about the many
changes in my life since my first soup many years ago. (What a baby
I was at that first soup! How much I still have to learn!) How
grateful I am for all I have learned, for the amazing growth and
for the acceptance and love I have found amongst all of you.

For me, Soup 13 seemed about looking back and being oh-so-grateful
for the path that got me here.

Venturing with my dog from the East coast, I arrived in CA with $20
to my name (no credit cards!) and a broken-down '77 Chevy Impala.
Had not even a couch to sleep on. I didn't know anyone. I became
fast friends with the thoughtful and articulate David Minkow at
shows who then introduced me to the Soup. You all shared your
networks, your beautiful spirits and your open hearts with me.

I think about the many times I have turned to so many of you for
support, a well- timed hug, motivation, love, political action, as
dance, drum and singing partners, for greater awareness, housing,
new opportunities to learn, professional help and so much more. You
are my community; a non-exclusive, open-hearted, new-school
paradigm alternative to the dying out old- boys network.

I realize too, the commitment that Soup requires of me. To give
openly, to get involved, to be vulnerable or to reach out to others
when I'd sometimes rather isolate myself, to surrender, to let go of
time and space, to love big, to think about what is possible, to
help welcome and match others to resources and each other, to keep
that connection with you throughout the year, to get up at Soup and
serve breakfast to your smiling faces after swimming at 6:30 am in
the pond
(both of which I loved--thanks Jim for the inspiration!), to become
an active participant in creation. I've never been a part of any
community as long as I have Soup*, not even during my travels with
the Dead that originally brought me out West. (*except my 14+ years
long relationship with sweet Alec!)

You may have heard that our UCSC Chancellor, Denice Denton committed
suicide this weekend during Pride in SF. She suffered from
depression and no one knew. Our sleepy little coastal community is
still in shock. Everything seemed fine.

Her passing illustrated an important
point to me. That it is SO critical for us to reach out to one
another, to accept that all of us feel a sadness sometimes (or lots)
even from just living in this sick culture, and that extending
ourselves to each other is something we can do every day. To lead
together towards a healthier, happier, more sustainable world.

Immediately upon hearing the news, I thought of Soup. One thing I
always notice at Soup is this: when people ask me how I am doing or
I ask them, it is always with intention, attention, feeling and
real connection.

Openness to hear the whole story, good or bad.
Willingness to listen deeply, share in one another's joys, pain and
struggles and offer support if it is needed. This is one tangible
daily act that we can take out into the world with us, one that our
world so desperately needs.

I am so grateful for all we have created, and continue to create
together. Soup gives me hope. You give me hope. The way I related to
others changed because of how each of you treat me and one another
at Soup. When I return, I am renewed to I spread my love around
without caution and listen to others more deeply. There lies the
beauty of the ripple.

Consider taking time today to really connect with someone, to reach
out and give them some soupy love. Your connection could change
their life like it has mine.

With much love and gratitude,
Kathy in Santa Cruz


"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing
is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~
Albert Einstein

Summer Adventure Pictures


I drew this of myself in my watercolor journal on Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of the summer adventures...a mini Hot Buttered Rum tour to Santa Barbara and Topanga Canyon.

This is my Gemini friend, Allie, and me for our annual birthday lunch! Allie serves on the board of directors for the SC Film Festival with me.

It’s been a busy summer so far. I’d seen a lot of music and been to several music festivals. So, fourth of July weekend was a pilgrimage to deepen friendships and relationships with myself and nature. Mendocino and Sonoma counties were the perfect setting for this quest.

Fourth of July pictures here
Soup, HBR and Olema pictures here

(below) Baby Goats at Emearld Earth near Boonville where my friends, Liz and Brent live. It was so great to see them!

Tim Bluhm, my new music crush...the lead singer of Mother Hips. He isn't quite as tall or as cute as Alec, but he comes fairly close!