Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sheridan, Wyoming Weekly Vigil

Helen and Gerry joined Marya and several others at the weekly Tuesday vigil in Sheridan, Wyoming yesterday.  We were able to talk to several passersby and several people honked and waved as they drove by.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park June 24 – 27, 2011

We hiked and kayaked our way around the Grand Teton range, then spent an evening and morning at Artist Point / Upper and Lower Falls / Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone before driving further into North Central Wyoming.  

Spending 2-3 nights in one area allows us to really relax and enjoy the scenery around us.

We saw antelope, deer, elk, and a bear.  We also saw osprey, ravens, mergansers, white pelicans, swans, and many other birds.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seattle Adventures June 13 - 20 2011

Seattle Adventures
On Monday, June 13 Gerry put me on a plane from San Diego to Seattle for Jordan’s high school graduation.  I found out Friday that Jordan wouldn’t be walking in the ceremony, but had lots planned so didn’t cancel the trip.  Lissa picked me up at the airport and brought me home where an airbed from the neighbor was ready to be inflated – cool – very cool – a 2-layer bed, about 10” high and very comfortable! 

June 14 was Bill and Lissa’s 31st wedding anniversary!

I went to the Tuesday weekly vigil at the Federal Building, anchored by Joe Colgan and Dave Cannis.  It was great to see so many friends there including Jack and Linda!

Tuesday night was the West Seattle High School graduation ceremony and Alexis was playing with the band and Gary and Melanie were going as well.  I went to the house and talked for awhile with our friend Jim, who is living with his two cats in the RV while he recovers from pneumonia and possibly a lump in his lung.  Eventually Gary came home to give me keys to the Honda.  I asked Jordan if he’d like to go out to dinner with me and he said yes.  I asked him to be straight and sober so that we could talk.  By the time I took Gary downtown and picked up my stuff from Lissa’s, Jordan had left the house.  I talked with Jim some more.  Eventually Gary and Melanie got back, and after awhile Jordan showed up.  I asked him if he was ready to go out to dinner and he said he was leaving again and had a friend waiting outside.

I spent the night at Judy & Don’s – they have a comfortable futon sofa bed.
Wednesday 6-15-11 I went to Linda and Richard’s in Kenmore and helped them build a big sign! 

I helped Richard with an experiment and ended up spending the night at their house.  We had a wonderful meal that night at a local restaurant, and Linda and I had a very enjoyable breakfast out as well.  It was great to spend so much time with them! 

Two things happened while I was at Linda and Richard’s – one is that Gary called to say that Jordan was being kicked out of the house.  Apparently he came in at 3:30 am, ate a meal, and ran off with Melanie’s laptop.  He eventually came back to the house during the day and Gary informed him that he had to move out.  He tried to argue that he had not stolen the laptop and tried to put forth an alibi, but agreed to move out anyway.  The other is that I did not set myself an alarm and consequently did not get on the GI Resistance Working Group conference call – nobody took notes – I’m really upset with myself for letting down the group and Gerry!

Thursday 6-15-11 By the time I got to Judy’s it was around 1 and kind of cold and windy, so we took a walk instead of a boat paddle.  I went to the Seattle Against FBI Repression rally from 4:30 – 5:30 at the FBI / Fusion center at 3rd & Spring.  There were signs and speeches and flyers.  Again, nice to see so many friends!  I don’t have any of my own pictures, but I’m in Elliot Stohler’s movie at the end. 

Finally, I met my some of my fellow Cuba delegation members (Shan, Cindy, Michelle, Stephanie and Cindy) at the New Orlean’s cafĂ©.

I also went to see Jordan Thursday.  Gary called me to tell me that Jordan was coming over to get his stuff to move in with Taylor, so I went over and was there when he came in with Taylor and two rolling suitcases.  I said Hi and offered him my backpack, saying that he could pack it like he was going hiking and have an easier time with his stuff.  He declined, but might take me up on it some other time.  I said goodbye and wished him luck – it wasn’t tearful – he’s only staying with a friend in SeaTac.  I also told him that if he wanted to go on a trip with me he had to go through the Encompass program and try to have a relationship with me.  He didn’t sound very disappointed.

Melanie told me that if Jordan wasn’t going on a trip that Alexis would very much like to.  Melanie’s vacation is from August 22 through September 16, so I’ll discuss our schedule with Gerry and think about it.

On Friday I got to have lunch with Percy Hilo and also got to visit with Alonso.  Judy and I had dinner and a drag queen show at Julia’s on Capitol Hill.  What a HOOT!  I spent the night there – good thing – it was after midnight by the time we got home.

Saturday 6-18-11 I got up and went to the VFP 92 GMM.  There was a good presentation by a Duwamish tribal leader regarding the history of the river and current cleanup efforts.  I’ll type up the minutes of the meeting and send to Tom Shea in case mine are more complete than his.

I had a good visit with Cliff Wells after the meeting.

Nickelsville had an open house from 2 – 5, so I bought some meat and salads and headed over.  They’re at the bottom of the Highland Park hill, their original location.  Peggy, Scott, and Richard are the people there that I know best and Dorli showed up as well.

I went back to Bill & Lissa’s for awhile before heading to dinner with Sharon and Felix.

Sharon looks great!  She’s lost 30 pounds!  They eat a mostly vegan diet and the spaghetti was delicious – a soy-based sauce, really good.  We talked about world affairs and I didn’t get back to Bill & Lissa’s until around 10 pm – we didn’t get to bed until almost midnight.
Sunday was spent at the Alaska Junction.  At 11, Al, Kim and I met at Puerta Vallarta for lunch then joined the West Seattle vigil. 

Sam Scharff and I went out for coffee and a cupcake afterwards.  I found out from Al that the white Volvo no longer starts – likely the battery has gone dead, so I’ll try to start it when I get back to Seattle in July or August.  I got back to Bill & Lissa’s and am just hanging out doing these notes.

Some thoughts about the world:

As I peel back the onion of the world’s situation and the causes of the problems, I think that unregulated corporate capitalism is one of the roots of the problem – greed, in other words.  I feel like throwing rocks at the corporate windows and one of those rocks might be a constitutional amendment that eliminates corporate personhood and rights.  Another is independence from the corporate world in our communities including food, water, and energy – the basics.  This is where I think I’ll be putting my life energy – helping communities to organize gardens, water catchment and renewable energy including micro-grids.

Cuba reactions –

Many people believe that the Castros are brutal dictators and that communism is really evil.  Who can blame them with the propaganda that comes our way from mainstream media. 

However, one thing I hear about is that the people of Cuba don’t have the right to criticize their government.  Although there’s some truth about that, it’s more of the case that the Cuban communist party is protecting the socialized economy and gains of the revolution against the covert CIA organizations that produce counter-revolutionary propaganda to try to bring down the Cuban government. 

It is unfortunate that after Fidel the new president is Raul because it gives the impression of a kingdom / monarchy rather than the democracy that really exists.  I’m experimenting with answers to these concerns and am getting better at it every time I talk with someone. 

Another concern is the poverty of the people and the question – did the revolution really help the people? 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Recovering from trip to Cuba and Activist San Diego

I'll post more about my trip to Cuba but want to start blogging more frequently.  We've been in San Diego since May 25 and really enjoying the city, our friends, the Tijuana River Estuary, the Pacific Ocean, and the night life.  The weather here is excellent!!  The clouds don't deter me from enjoying the great outdoors and we've had a real rain only once in over two weeks.

We went to a board meeting of Activist San Diego.  I met some friends of Gerry's and other activists.  We heard from a man who has done extensive research into voting processes - he advocates for publishing a voter's identification number and how the person with that ID # voted on the web (or some other place) so that every voter can verify that their vote was properly counted.  Secret non-verifiable voting, he contends, has led to corruption and voter fraud since the mid-1800s when it was introduced.  Secret voting is one of the things we have always heard the benefits of but never had discussions about the down sides.