andreamgilson

TRYING WORDS

Yahoo Contributor Network 2009- 2014

 

Eugene Public Library: Free Entertainment and Education in Eugene, OR

Eugene Public Library: Free Entertainment and Education in Eugene, OR

The Eugene Public Library at 100 West 10th Avenue in the center of downtown Eugene, Oregon is a must visit for travelers and a second home for many locals. Not only is it functional but the four-story structure is a testament to dynamic architecture. The spiral staircase is center stage for all to enjoy. 

The Library has been awarded the Star Library Award in 2013. This means it is in the top 3% of libraries in the nation for cost-effective delivery of key services. There are many fantastic things to do at the Eugene Public Library besides borrow books and materials. The collections are staggering.

Listen to lectures: The topics are endless. One speaker may present slides and lecture about a safari trip to Africa, another may demonstrate how to do pottery, and another may speak about the history of the city of Eugene.

Enjoy book signings: The library regularly features guest authors speaking about their books. These are often accompanied by video, slideshows, and artwork. The authors remain afterwards for book signings and questions. The University of Oregon book store staff is on hand to assist with these events.

Enjoy local artwork: The second floor in the east wing also known as the newspaper/magazine room is special. The perimeter of the room is filled with artwork from local artists on a rotating basic. It is quite diverse and proves that Eugene is truly an artistic city.

Enjoy concerts: Concerts are regularly featured in the first floor rotunda. These are generally on a Friday but check the Eugene Public Library website for a full calendar of events. This party comes complete with dancing.

Get a meal: The Novella Cafe is the first area of the library that any visitor will pass through. It is a satellite of its mother restaurant Bagel Sphere, so all types of bagels are the main treat. The baristas can create many satisfying beverages and I recommend the hotdog bagel for lunch. Of course, sweets are available too.

Buy second- hand books: To the left of the order counter from Novella Cafe is the library's second- hand bookstore. Purchase a book to keep. Also, there is a read and return rack in the Cafe. Browse; take a couple reads home and return when you are finished. No check out required for these paperbacks.

Keep the kids engaged and learning: The events for children are non-stop. The children's wing is on the first floor. The young children's is on the west and young adult section is on the east. The displays feature children's artwork and collections. There are separate rooms within the children's section for story reading and parties.

Use Internet and Database computers: The second floor is the place for adult-use computers. On the first floor are children and teen only use stations. Adults can reserve Internet computers through the website or at the librarian reference desk. Database computers do not need to be reserved.

Hold meetings or private study: The second floor has two quiet rooms where people can hold small meetings or secure for private study. Reserve one at the reference desk.

Take free courses: The Eugene Public Library holds computer classes on the second floor. They may be photography editing workshops, introduction to the Internet tutorials, or information on how to borrow eBooks.

A place to volunteer: Volunteer opportunities are endless. Serve at the reception desk in the foyer, greet parents at children's events, or restock books. These are just a few examples. The library often has need for volunteers to undergo a transfer process. Ask for details by contacting the Volunteer Coordinator.

The library has a parking garage underneath. It is open during library hours. Eugene Public Library is bicycle friendly. There are enough racks in front for scores to be locked. When visiting Eugene, the Eugene Public Library is a must see. It is guaranteed to be one of the most beautiful and complete library experiences you will have.

Frugal Tips for Women to Look Richer and Smarter

Frugal Tips for Women to Look Richer and Smarter

We have all seen women who look well put-together. It gives the immediate impression that they are doing something right. Here are some tips I put together (sic) that will not cost much but will have you turning heads and demanding respect. 

They seem to go together. If you appear richer you seem smarter. If you appear smarter you seem richer. Follow these tips:

Where blazer style jackets: They make you look smart no matter what you have underneath. Keep several in conservative colors: black, brown, blue. Buy these for little money at second hand shops. Find jackets that have pockets. It is not smart-looking digging through a deep bag for keys or a pen.

Keep fresh haircuts: Maintaining a haircut is vital to looking classy and attractive. If the cost of getting a cut every four to six weeks is harrowing to your budget, then wear a simple style. Hairdressers may charge less for a sharpening trim then an elaborate style. Invest in a shine treatment if you can afford it. It makes hair look instantly more professional.

Never wear faded jeans: Faded jeans are for teenagers. It is smart to dress age appropriately. Remember that lighter colors make you look heavier too. If you cannot part with your favorite jeans, dye them. It is best to take frequent trips to the second hand store for "new" jeans. You can get high quality brands for next to nothing.

Neat nails in demure tones: If you feel you deserve a splurge, getting your nails done by a professional is wonderful. Otherwise, in order to have it together, you must manicure your nails regularly. A short, straight across [filing] followed by polish in a light tone is functional and simple to achieve.

No "cutsey" key chains or purse danglers: Teddy bear key chains and decorative danglers from a purse are not smart looking. Do not do this. Functional is best.

Only wear basic makeup: Too much makeup can make a woman look older or cheap. Look smart and confident with a lightweight covering of foundation, mascara, and a shade of lipstick to match the hour of the day. Wear lighter colors in the daytime. Women still look smart with darker colors if it is evening. This is one of those times you can really feel rich because investing in a quality lipstick will make life happier every day.

Keep your face lifted: I am not suggesting Botox or surgical face lifts. I mean keep your face from drooping by practicing your smile. It does not have to be a big ridiculous smile, but enough of a smile to raise your eyes. This makes a world of difference in your appearance and the effort will keep you in a happier state of mind.

Do not let your roots show: Gray can be good but only if it is all the way. This is one area of grooming where men have one up on us women. Men look distinguished when going gray. This is not so for women. If you desire to let your hair turn gray-good for you, but please make the process smart and richer looking by using temporary hair color in the interim or practice wearing stylish hats.

Hoak’s Lakeshore Restaurant

Hoak’s Lakeshore Restaurant

Disappointing but for the View

Hoak's Lakeshore Restaurant, the iconic restaurant on Lake Erie has not met up to my expectations. I always imagined from listening to people talk for years that it was a very nice place for a nicer meal and atmosphere with a view of Lake Erie and Buffalo in the distance. 

I can take nothing away from the view; you can't get much better in Hamburg, NY. I parked in the clock tower parking lot. This is Hoak's parking lot and a popular place for travelers to just breathe in the lake air, admire the windmills near Woodlawn, and look at Buffalo in the distance.

As I walked up to the blunt looking brick building, I was saddened that the kitchen's overflow business: trash cans, drink pallets, employee grill, and the dumpster was my first impression.

Inside I enjoyed the yellow-jacketed wooden fisherman greeting me at the entrance. It seemed ubiquitous for a place like this on the water. Through the dividing door was a circular bar with three men enjoying afternoon delights.

I waited in the entrance to the dining area expecting to be seated. After a few minutes, the bartender leaned over into the hallway and said I was to seat myself. I thought it too windy to sit on the patio so I took a table at the window. I was there for the view too.

I was immediately disappointed that the place was very run down. I got the idea that Hoak's was taking their location on the water for granted and were being negligent in caring for or cleaning their restaurant.

I was hoping for a much nicer place. I asked my waitress if there was another dining room since the one I was seated in was small with crowded tables. The floor was cracked in many areas and the tables and chairs were more like patio furniture and none to clean.

She said there was a dining area upstairs but it was only opened on Fridays and for special meetings. I told her I may want to bring my father there for a Friday night meal sometime and asked to take a look at the arrangement of this other dining area.

Joanne told me that I could not see it and that furthermore the stairs were very steep. I was not pleased with this shun and lack of customer service. I was disappointed but looked out at the water showing tiny whitecaps and relaxed.

I ordered soup and coleslaw. The soup was French Onion and it was delicious. The strange thing was that my coleslaw was totally white with flavorless dressing. It was albino coleslaw. I do not think there was any coleslaw prepared so the cook served me this flavorless, bland lump of cabbage because he or she was in a hurry.

It was bad coleslaw or not coleslaw or whatever it was. I pondered the wall decor while I ate. I enjoyed the nautical theme and antiques covering the walls. There are stained glass pictures of sailboats as upper window treatments. A humorous placard said that, "The Titanic was built by the Irish and destroyed by an Englishmen."

I then started noticing more and more of the Irish theme. Photos of former patrons and times gone by were nice since I love history.

My waitress was nice except for not giving me the tour I asked for although none too attentive to check on my meal. Joanne was dressed in shorts and a polo shirt fitting for the hot weather. It was casual dress but my expectations of more were blown by now.

The other waitress drew attention to herself by wearing black shorts, a black t-shirt, a gold belt, and pink tennis shoes. I wondered if there was any dress code for the waitresses at all, very tacky.

Soon I was ready to leave and headed to the ladies room. I have to concede that there was really no other answer shy of a total renovation (Hoak's could use one) that could have placed the ladies room elsewhere.

It was outside the entrance door to the restaurant. I thought this was funny and tragic. All told, I will not be taking my father to Hoak's Lakeshore Restaurant for dinner or lunch.

Hoak's Lakeshore Restaurant

4100 Lake Shore Road

Hamburg, NY 14075

716-627-4570

Minimalist Car Travel: From the Pacific to the Great Lakes

Minimalist Car Travel: From the Pacific to the Great Lakes

Rest stops are not created equal across the country. I have driven across the country many times but the majority of those times were on routes north and south along the eastern or mid-eastern interstates. 

The differences in rest stops only drew my attention more than usual this past year since on my last road trip I was using rest stops as a parking place for Hotel Nova.

It was from the beautiful Pacific Northwest to the Industrial area of the Great Lakes. I drove across the mid-section on Interstate 84 and then met up with the I-80 and finally the I-90 to my new back yard.

Stops in the moist green areas of western Oregon were shaded and pleasant. In western Oregon and long into Idaho the stops were dry, no shade and probably an inoperative water fountain.

My experience in Boise, Idaho was mixed. There was grass here, artificially maintained I am sure. Here I had the pleasure to see both the setting sun and the rising moon in opposite directions. It was beautiful.

I slept poorly as did more than a dozen other cheap-skate travelers that were sleeping in their cars. A family pulled into this stop at 2:30 a. m. and let the family kids play football in the grassy area.

Of course, the kids have the right to stretch their legs but there was my Nova and about twenty other cars with travelers who were well into dreamland by then. Have some compassion; I moved my car twice to the outer edges while praying for the parents of these hell-raisers to realize how rude it was to allow this behavior.

I did not sleep well that night but it had nothing to do with the configuration of my body in the driver's seat, I was not alone in my angst. One after the other, I saw awakened people lift their heads, get out of their cars, and many simple drove off.

I should have done the same but I am scared when it comes to driving on dark highways in the pitch dark. It is the fear of hitting a moose or a bear or whatever other kind of huge wild animal is prowling at night.

Morning light came and I was off. My rest stop in Utah was crowded and scary. So many tracker-trailers were idling or parked on an entrance incline, that I was nervous for their safety. The view of the desert rocks were great to behold while I pulled out my can of tuna fish and single-serve apple sauce. The apple sauce tasted like pie filling since it was boiling in my back seat until then.

The rest stop closer to Salt Lake City was big, and well maintained. I think it was artificially green. The water fountains did not work and that made me angry. I looked like I might have dipped into civilization again but no water to fill my bottles.

Through Wyoming I was the happiest. It had nothing to do with the rest stops. Some had no water and I could get no shade. This made for non-restful breaks. I loved Wyoming the best because of the open spaces and the delightful natural formations and the towering windmills on the horizon. I cried all the way driving through Wyoming. I was in another dimension of love. This was freedom.

Nebraska was a pleasant surprise. In eastern Wyoming and into Nebraska, it was green again. I stopped at a big commercial truck stop and finally treated myself to a shower. The day before I had thought the $13 cost was not worth it. It was worth it by this time and it was the most satisfying shower I have ever taken.

It was like a hotel room shower for those who are cringing at the thought of a truck stop shower. It was worth the $13 and it even had a hair dryer. I treated myself to an open-faced roast beef sandwich and a slice of pie there too.

Before I went to pump gas, I bought a chocolate bar. I put it on my dash for the time I had to pump fuel. When I picked it up I had to drink the thick melted chocolate from the wrapper. I travel with no air-conditioning and no music either. Daydreaming is the way to go.

I was forced off the road in Iowa with wind so fierce I could not keep my Nova on the road. This was a long night at the rest stop. I had had to pull off early, about four o'clock. This was where the rest stops got markedly more modern and catered to the higher maintenance travelers on the east coast.

There was a coffee dispensing machine and even a cleaning attendant. This was not like the rest areas out west. It was a Godsend, though, since the storm had me there for over 12 hours. I ran into a man that was on my same travel route who had slept at the same rest stop as me the night before.

It was nice to make a sort-of kindred minimalist traveler on the trip. He left before me; I waited until it was light enough to see the road. I used my flashlight to get a lot of reading done between trips inside the building for the toilet and more coffee. Otherwise I had to stay in the car from the rain, wind, and lightning.

This was my last night in Hotel Nova since I had people to visit as I moved closer to "home." The traffic in the eastern states is daunting and the tolls are non-existent driving through the west. Driving out west is better but carry water. Minimalist travelers do not pay for water. Go drive. Go today-go now!

North Collins, New York’s Quaker History

North Collins, New York’s Quaker History

The 1851 Hicksite Quaker Meeting House is on the right driving south down Route 62, after passing through the tiny village of North Collins. Travelers will see a bright white building in front of a cemetery. An inquiring mind may stop to read the inscription on the building and the road-side placard. 

The Hicksite Quaker Meeting House is also called The 1851 Friends Meeting House. The meeting house was erected in 1851 as a replacement for the previous one. It is not confirmed but Georgianne Bowman, a North Collins historian, said the Quaker meeting house which replaced the original one which burned down near Quaker and Wilcox Roads may have been moved to the Hicksite land.

It is an explanation why the standing meeting house was built so far back from the road. The building of today is the labor of volunteers who renovated the dilapidated structure of 1851 to the welcoming Quaker Hicksite Meeting House we now see in front of the North Collins Cemetery.

The meeting house's opposite entry doors are for entrance by men and women separately. Quakers, also known as The Society of Friends, in the Hicksite Meeting House used shutters that closed down to separate the two rooms for business meetings. Although both genders were together for general meetings, they had private business meetings.

It is peculiar for women to have had isolated business meeting. In the 19th century, women in daily life were stinted from personal opinions. It was expected that either their father or their husband spoke for them.

Unlike familiar churches where a minister is spotlighted in front of a congregation at a pulpit, in Quaker meetings anyone moved to speak can do so and from anywhere. At Hicksite, elders and spiritually valuable people sat in the facing seats. They were the most frequent contributors but anyone could speak.

Three rows of seats faced the common pewed area leaving a place for heating stoves between. The original meeting house was mirrored on each side. Today the northern room is empty of pews.

Unusual for the period, most speakers were female. A typical Quaker meeting involved listening to the speakers and meditating afterwards. Quakers did not sing hymns at the meeting house but favored more demure behavior.

Quakers in the time of Hicksite Meeting House dressed modestly and did not like elaborate showings at funerals. They did not use headstones at first and then limited the height and size of them. It is noticed that the Quaker gravestones do not mention months of the year for deaths attributing the names to paganism. Instead they put the number of the month. A walk through the cemetery shows many markers flush with the ground.

The Hicksite Meeting House is famous for the 1857 speech by Susan B. Anthony. Anthony represented the Friends of Human Progress. Andrew Davis, a spiritualist speaker debated about women's superiority to men because of their caring, nurturing demeanor. Anthony stressed equality. Jackson's thoughts leaned toward the notion that there is one man that is the perfect match for every woman.

He thought that women were love and men were wisdom. The two would come together for a successful marriage. Part of the debate was about essentialism. Were men and women essentially different or similar?

The Quakers of North Collins had compromises to make. As confirmed pacifists during the Civil War, what should be their role in the military? Abolition of slavery was a strong concern for them. They had to balance their stand with a common agenda and the fact that military action and groups were as close as their neighbors.

Native Americans at Cattaraugus were not welcoming of religious groups telling them how to worship or what to belief. In an 1805 speech "Red Jacket Defends Native American Religion" Seneca leader Red Jacket said, "Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own." The Quakers accepted the Seneca's views and their relationship was symbiotic based on education and farming innovation.

North Collins Quaker archivist and author Christopher Densmore had these things to say when asked:

"What is a Quaker?" Densmore's answer, "Quakers are a religious body known for their focus on simplicity, peace, justice, integrity, community and equality."

"Are Quakers Christians and do they follow the Bible?" Densmore's answer, "Yes and yes, while Quakers are not known for in-depth scholarly study of the Bible they abide by the basic tenants of a Christian-Christ-like."

"Why are they called Quakers? Do they quake?" Densmore's answer, "It has been said that they do tend to quake when moved by strong emotion."

"What is the population of Quakers?" Densmore's answer, "I would estimate that there are as many Quakers in America as there are Catholics in one city in America."

"Are Quakers more prone to revere the Old Testament or just focus on the New Testament?" Densmore's answer, "I find in my work with Quaker documents that more often Quakers refer to the Old Testament."

Densmore's advice to an aspiring historian was that the path to becoming a historian starts with "asking smart questions, searching through lots of microfilm, and recognizing patterns to develop a narrative from them."

The Original Kazoo Company is a Good Side Trip from Buffalo, New York

The Original Kazoo Company is a Good Side Trip from Buffalo, New York

The Original Kazoo Company in Eden, NY began as a sheet metal shop in 1907. The trio of Harry Richardson, Emil Sorg, and Michael McIntyre combined their skills and resources and set to using the equipment to manufacture the first metal Kazoo in 1916. McIntyre was the inventor of the device and became the sole owner of the company in Eden in 1922.

The kazoo's history reaches farther back with patents in 1883 and 1902. The kazoo is an instrument that works through vibrations that modify the player's voice. It is a type of membranophone.

It was a novelty toy for my siblings and me growing up. It was serious business for bands in the early twentieth century. Who knew that in contemporary times, artists like Frank Zappa, Queen, and Pink Floyd used the kazoo in their music?

On August 9, 2010, The San Francisco Giants game with a Grateful Dead tribute won Guinness World Record status with 7,000 kazoos playing 'Take me out to the Ballpark' according to ESPN.

Visit 8703 South Main Street in Eden, NY 14057 for a look at the machines where the kazoos are manufactured. They are surprisingly big but then again, kazoos come in different shapes and sizes. There is the classic metal kazoo, the trumpet kazoo, the trombone kazoo, and the French horn kazoo. They come in the shape of airplanes and some are round.

To get to the rear of the place where the museum and factory are located, a visitor has a treasure of boutique gift items to browse through both in the front rooms and upstairs. The space is cluttered and has the feel of an antique shop or a bazaar. You will find clothes, watches, jewelry, baby items, magnets, and myriad distractions.

Depending on your demeanor, you may coo over the novelties or get down to business touring the space in the back: the history, artifacts, and workings of The Original Kazoo Company. Placards give the enquirer step by step instructions, a guide to the machinery. There are glass cases showing off the types of kazoos. It was an education for me; I only had one picture in my mind when I thought of a kazoo- not any more.

Souvenirs are for sale to commemorate your kazoo experience. You should not leave without signing the guestbook and placing a pushpin on a large map displayed there. The Original Kazoo Company is about a half an hour south of Buffalo.

The boutique and museum are closed on Mondays. Open hours are Tuesday-Thursday & Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. Don't let the snow in winter stop you, The Original Kazoo Company is open year round and admission is free.

The Original Kazoo Company 
716-992-4396-factory 
716-992-3960-boutique 
www.edenkazoo.com 

Sugar: Turning My Back on the Addiction

Sugar: Turning My Back on the Addiction

There is no doubt in my mind that I am addicted to sugar. The struggle to eat pasta, bread, potatoes, and sweets like a normal person has eluded me. I think that many more people are afflicted this way than is known. 

Obesity and over-weight are accepted in today's society. So many people do not try to get their sugar intake under control for many reasons: they have no idea how much sugar is in the foods they eat every day, they do not know what else to eat, they are ignorant of the diseases their diets are causing them, and they find the desire for these foods too hard to resist.

There is no room here to determine that white bread may as well be a donut, that low carbohydrate choices abound, and that sugar laden diets are killing us with every bite. I mostly want to mention the addiction in terms of control. Sugar foods are controlling.

I wonder how many people would use the word controlling. I can use it with authority. On any given day when not in a favorable chemical balance (read ketosis - a fat burning as opposed to carbohydrate burning metabolism) I will eat enough calories (and toxic ones) for a family.

I will eat an entire large pizza by myself, then stop off and pick up three or four candy bars-eat them and then have two bowls of cereal before bed. This will be my food intake after five p. m. to say nothing of whatever I noshed on earlier in the day.

This ridiculous situation causes guilt and shame. It's only food. How can it drive me to waste money, burst out of my clothes, limit my mobility, and have me driving to the corner store for cheese puffs in the middle of the night.

Atkins explains the simple chemistry of the matter in his books and most of the low carbohydrate diets are based on a very simple change in the body's chemistry to get over this need for sugar all the time. I urge people to study intelligent literature to determine the truth about sugar.

Meat, cheese, eggs, nuts, and green vegetables are the mainstay of the low carbohydrate way of eating. It is the only plan I know that works for me easily and quickly.

I am a failure at remaining true to the low carbohydrate diet for more than a few years at a time. I attest to my tranquility during those times when I am controlling what I eat, not my addiction controlling what I eat. It is so peaceful not having to live with food always in the forefront of my mind and motivations.

I had been wrongly afflicted this past winter when a well-meaning person gave me a gift of chocolates for Valentine's Day. It was a nice gesture but the candy should have been thrown into the trash as soon as the giver wasn't looking.

It seems that similar to an alcoholic permanently shunning a drink; to never go near the offending food(s) is the only answer to end the suffering. People will scoff at my referring to this as suffering. I know however, that if you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you know exactly what I mean.

Fortunately, I seem to have a switch that goes on when I have been too far gone. Twenty-five pounds overweight and after many attempts to cast off the offending food, I generally get back on track. It is hard though and embarrassing. Friends and relatives watch the attempts and have no idea what to serve for dinner during those times. Is she on her plan or is it still food anarchy?

I use the word anarchy because that is what it seems like to be so out of control. The people in my life go about either eating their carbohydrates in moderation or eating themselves into apathetic oblivion.

I have always been thin. Eating a low carbohydrate diet has less to do with losing weight and more to do with ceasing the drowning feeling of being controlled by food. For the record though, Kate Moss took a beating from critics when she said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

My experience has been that she was absolutely right.

Buffalo’s Waterfront: Redeeming the City

Buffalo’s Waterfront: Redeeming the City

Buffalo mainly owes its reputation to the heinous amounts of snow it gets from lake effect in winter. It's not hyperbole. As a native, I can attest to that. There is, however, something wonderful about Buffalo: The Waterfront.

Erie Basin Marina

Once the weather turns fair, the boats reappear at the marina operated by Smith Boys. This is the place to buy a boat, berth your boat, get boat supplies, and sit around on the break wall dreaming about a boat of your own.

At the tip of the marina is an observation tower that is a great vantage of the city and waterways. The long arm of the marina makes for a pleasant hike or a run. A person could linger for hours. When you are done walking, place a blanket on the grass and watch the boats lumber by or speed past.

Food is available. It can be a go-to place to enjoy a summer ice cream cone. Buffalonians have to celebrate summer; the marina is the perfect place to get happy.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Do you love days spent near the water? Do you love America's armed forces? Downtown Buffalo is home to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

At berth in the Erie Canal Harbor are The USS Little Rock, The USS The Sullivans [sic], and the submarine The USS Croaker. These are the main attraction but a jet, a helicopter, a missile, and artifacts are everywhere you adventure in the naval park. There are monuments, displays, and a museum. A testament to the men and women who have served us, this park is meant for lingering.

Tours include the Naval Park Museum and the three vessels. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children and seniors. Walk the decks, duck under hatches, and explore officer's quarters.

Ghost Hunters, the program that features TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), toured the ships and submarine and declared them haunted. The airing was in January 2014. It was an interesting program1.

After a day of reverence and exploring, The Liberty Hound is a full service restaurant to end your day properly.

Canalside

Lounge around on the grass or in one of the dozens of brightly painted Adirondack chairs at Canalside. Almost under the Sky Way Bridge at Pearl Street and Marine Drive, Canalside has given Buffalo a cosmopolitan feel it was lacking.

Concerts, festivals, fitness classes, and markets fill the board-walked and grassy open spaces throughout the city's warm season. For schedules of events see Canalside's calendar2. There are boat tours and kayak rentals. Food trucks often supplement Canalside's own Clinton's Dish take out stop. Canalside even has a kid-sized sandy beach for building castles and mud pies.

Outer Harbor

Leaving the city heading south over the Sky Way you will encounter the Outer Harbor. There are hiking trails along Fuhrmann Boulevard and Gallagher Pier to continue the theme of dedication to Buffalo's culture and commerce history. The remnants of Buffalo's splendor along the Outer Harbor can be seen in contrast to the development of the Inner Harbor (all of the above). The Outer Harbor has developments of its own in the planning.

You may not want to vacation in Buffalo in the winter unless you are a skier. The other seasons, though, buffer the effects of winter on locals and delight visitors. The Buffalo Waterfront is one of the City's jewels.

1 http://blogs.buffalonews.com/talkintv/2014/01/ghost-hunters-episode-shot-in-buffalo-airs-next-week.html

2 http://www.canalsidebuffalo.com/things-to-do/month/

Gifts for Writers

Writers like all gifts, I suspect. For example, I am a woman and am always delighted with a bottle of perfume or a box of chocolates. This list of gifts, especially coveted by writers, will give an extra level of appreciation for the giver. It shows you are paying attention.

A new desk: Writers love big, wide desks with room to toss things aside for later. The more surface area the better, although deep drawers and attached shelves are welcome. I dream of extra pull out writing spaces. A wrap around desk would be best. If you are handy, to build a desk for your writer would be the ultimate gift.

Gift cards to coffee house: Some writers don't yet have the perfect desk. They sometimes want to write in public at coffee houses. Observing people is what we do best, we look smart when concentrating so hard on our sentences, and we commonly love coffee. Gift cards to one or more coffee house in the writer's town are a sure bet.

Books: Writers are readers. If you don't pay too much attention to what your writer is interested in then they will always enjoy a book about their craft. Look for writer's resource materials at the bookstore. Add an attractive book marker to the gift for good measure.

Ink cartridges: To know the type of printer your writer has will score extra points for you. You may have to do an investigation but buying ink cartridges is something no one wants to do. How lovely to find that someone has bought you one before yours has run dry. Very thoughtful.

Printer paper: Paper seems to last longer than the dastardly ink but writers always need more. Get them some specialty paper to really make an impression. There is card stock paper that is very nice for special projects and you will find some that is bordered. If you don't feel comfortable just getting paper as a gift, then get the ink and paper together. The writer will probably jump up and down.

Thumb/zip drives: What a wonderful little piece of technology for storing and organizing files. So many are available now, you can get a race car thumb drive, a lipstick zip drive, or plain ones in different colors. Writers have a lot of files to store. The notion of losing manuscripts due to computer failure is daunting. Extra storage is always welcome. Buy them as gifts, the more a writer owns the more they can write.

Laptop cooling pad: Computers throw off a lot of heat. For safety sake and to let your computer breathe while on the desk, consider buying a cooling pad for your writer. I admit when someone once gave me one several years ago, I did not know what it was. I see now how much I need it.

Foldable keyboard: This gift would work for people who have modern technology but cannot type on the touch screens well enough. Some devices do not even offer an on screen keyboard. These fold or roll up keyboards are amazing.

Writing notebooks: Writers have or should have a notebook of paper with them at all times. Get a fancy one as a gift or simply a plain spiral notebook. The small ones are incredibly handy because they go in your pocket.

Pens/Pencils: Last but not least, get a writing utensil as a gift. Trust me, even though we are mostly pounding the keyboards, traditional writing instruments are a thing of beauty to a writer. The styles are endless.

Make a favorable impression when buying gifts for a writer. Don't just consider a man gift or a woman gift. Make it personal; get them a writer's gift.

Braymiller Market: More Than Green Peppers and Ice Cream Cones

Braymiller Market: More Than Green Peppers and Ice Cream Cones

Braymiller Market is a community icon on Route 62 (Gowanda State Road) on the line between Hamburg and Eden south of Buffalo, New York. As summer draws closer, the front of the place is alive with flowers and vegetable plants.

Yes, Braymiller will always be especially famous for the availability, diversity, and presentation of bright fruits and vegetables inside (sic) the once completely open air market. Go there for ingredients for your tossed salad or peach pie, leave with fish fry's for dinner and a package of chocolate from the register counter. It is difficult to get away without this.

Beverly DeCarlo owns Braymiller Market not to get confused with Braymiller Builders not far into town. She is a hands-on owner. If she is not welcoming guests and making arrangements to accommodate them, you may find her with a mop in her hand.

A few things that make Braymiller Market worth the stop are its convenient location, surprising product inventory, and the social aspect of visiting.

The stockers keep the vegetables rotated and looking beautiful. The deli workers are always busy creating recipes for the salad case and preparing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Braymiller market is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until the season ends. Then, for winter, the change is just to the closing time on weekends.

The deli has its regular menu always available with special deals which change by the week and others by the day. The roast beef wrap is my personal favorite lunch item. You can order ahead for deli and fruit trays for parties.

Other than the famous produce section and the well stocked deli department, you can get everything you may need at Braymiller Market (except-so far no health and beauty section). The grocery shelves have chips, pastas, sauces, jams, condiments, beans, and a great variety of things. You can find anchovies, marshmallow crème, and Weber's hot mustard. Fresh baked goods from many area bread and pastry shops keep people stopping in for the basics.

Fruit baskets can be created and delivered with just a few hours advance notice for pick-up orders. To be sure a fruit basket will get delivered, if that is your choice, the staff will want notice of at least a day to prepare the truck routes, map paperwork, and ensure product availability.

You can buy the newspaper and a fresh cup of coffee. There are lots of flavors. When entering the store, go to the right for the coffee and you will find an unexpected seating area. Sit right down and enjoy your morning routine looking out the window at the colors decorating the front patio.

For others, it is the place for ice cream cones. It was for me. The big Plasterboard cone with Perry's (a delicious regional ice cream company) written across it gets children's attention every time.

It was when I grew up that I learned to love Braymiller Market for everything else.

Find information about the store and the deli specials each day at www.braymillermarket.com or the office at 716-649-2356.

Note Taking: Don’t Be Caught Without Paper

Note Taking: Don’t Be Caught Without Paper

Practice carrying a small notepad all the times. I often wonder if people consider me self-important when I huddle over my paper, pen scratching quickly, trying to be fast to avoid questions and dirty looks.

At more relaxed times, sitting back in a chair at a park or coffee house with the notepad open, I feel powerful over the places and people I can record and scrutinize at my leisure.

Report writing can be fun and taking hand written notes is fun and efficient for everyday living. Use small bound notepads, spirals if possible. I have many loose pieces of paper stapled together to mimic organization. It is not the best way, already bound and pocket size is the way to go.

Learn your own method to retain things to supplement your note taking. I tend to remember best with visualization and association. I then take my own sort of short hand notes. Jotting down things I may not recall easily: names and spellings of streets, relationships between people (e.g. Susan is Brad's cousin), and unusual things I notice (pink van - excessive dangling bracelets-accents).

Don't be shy about filling your note space with drawings. You alone will know what you are referencing but it is great for spatial questions or exaggerated features. Arrows, spoke lists, enclosures, and question marks will draw attention to special items or late additions.

Bullet lists are important. You will recall that you have many points to address either in creating an article or remembering the peanut butter with the jam, bread, and milk at the market.

Nothing is worse than recognizing an idea for a story, having a decorating epiphany, or desiring to leave a note when not a scrap of paper is handy. If you have a pen, well, thank goodness, your hand works like paper but...you can't leave your hand in a friend's mailbox or under someone's wiper blades.

Now that you have practiced taking notes about everything, use them to share funny stories, write amazing essays, and take fewer trips to the store. Looking over notes after they are immediately useful is like a field trip prompting your memory. They very often bring a satisfying smile.

Waiting in the Car: Be Productive to Avoid Boredom

Waiting in the Car: Be Productive to Avoid Boredom

In modern society, waiting has become anathema. There are times though when you just have to stay in the car: waiting for an accident to clear, dad needs a ride to the grocery store but insists on his shopping independence, or your friends are going...in there-no thanks, I'll stay in the car.

Instead of wallowing in your boredom, consider this list of productive things to do. You will just be 'looking' for the time to do them later.

Set radio stations: We are all used to technology these days but changing the radio stations on the car's pre-sets is always frustrating. Do I press set, find the station, and press set again? No, that did not work.

Doing this type of brain crunching while driving is not safe and will leave you listening to talk radio or worse, country music, if you are not careful. I like my regular rock-and -roll, thank you.

Concentrate on this and do it right when you are not actually driving or waiting at a light but passing time waiting in the car. This can be especially fun if it is not your car.

Clean insides of windows: This takes some premeditation. It means having a spray bottle of cleaner and paper towels/ cloth on hand. Now that you will be doing this time-saver, make space for such in the car somewhere.

It seems that when I get in the mood to take the time to clean the whole car, I give up when most is sparkling. A small detail like the insides of the windows is last on the priority list. Use found time while waiting to spray and wipe.

Stretching: Open the door if the weather allows and you can sit with the door open. Try stretching from side to side hanging your body out the door nearly to the ground, this feels great. If raining: head rolls, neck stretches, and finger exercises will do. These small gifts to your body feel so good; you will wonder why you don't do them everywhere.

Sort receipts in your wallet: Not everyone keeps receipts like me, but I like to get them straightened out and in dated order while waiting in the car. I then fold them which make them less obtrusive for my wallet clasp.

I would rather get this necessity done with 'found' time then when I have too many other things to get to at my desk. Just pull them out (they are in order now) and get the checkbook balanced. If you carry the checkbook routinely, you might as well get that done in the car too.

Organize glove box: What exactly is in there anyway? Find out and organize it. Fold all the inevitable found napkins into a bundle, remove trash (to add to boredom buster below), and be sure your emergency paper work is easily accessible for the police. They may need it when stopping you for running off the road while trying to change your radio pre-sets.

Gather trash: It has to get done eventually. The place where you are waiting may have a handy receptacle; if not just put it in a bag or at least in one place for the time being.

Work: Many people make efficient use of waiting in the car to get 'real' things done. Brainstorm the work project and write lists. Read reports and make some business calls.

Catch up on reading: Keep a book under the seat for times stuck in the car. Maybe you always have one in your tote, after people watching for long enough, turn to the written word. It is more entertaining most of the time.

Okay, so there is nothing 'hard' to read. There is bound (no pun intended) to be a reading application on your phone. Now is the best time get familiar with it and utilize it.

Nap: Why not? We are all sleep-deprived these days. Add a blackening eye mask to the other stuff in the glove box in preparation for this if falling asleep in unusual places and positions is tough for you. Naps are absurdly under-rated. Keep some ear plugs with the mask for extra stimulation insulation.

You will love the satisfaction you feel knowing you are not getting agitated waiting in the car. You are a calm, productive, efficient, and patient waiter.

Cleaning House: Overlooked Areas in the Home

Cleaning House: Overlooked Areas in the Home

I owned a cleaning business for eight years and the things I did not know about cleaning house when I began I quickly learned from the discerning clients. For your house to sparkle and ward off germs, remember to clean...

Switch plates: They are one of the most often touched areas of the home. Wipe them down every time you clean the bathroom. It only takes a few seconds and if you let them go too long, you will need an old toothbrush to clean them properly. Pay special attention to the mirrored type plates, they are a real eye-sour when they are printed and smudged.

Fan blades: Like all things that collect dust, they must be done regularly. It is fine to use a feather duster just as long as you get them done every time you dust. It is hard to get them clean once they get deep with dust. Too avoid having to get up on the ladder and balance with a bucket and water, keep them clean from the start.

Top of door and window ledges: Make it a habit to graze the dust cloth along the top of doors and window ledges every time you dust. I am guilty of placing decorative items on top of these places. In that case the feather duster does double duty. A clean sweep of a bare ledge is the best bet but it will not be feasible to move all your trinkets every time. In my case, they are collected license plates.

Door knobs: Germs, germs, germs. Give them a routine wipe down with an all purpose cleaner and spray with Lysol disinfectant.

Plants leaves: This can be very tedious work depending on the type and size of your houseplants. I like to wipe the leaves down with watered down milk. They will be healthier when not covered in dust and of course, look better.

Vacuum the mattress: Every few months, when changing the sheets on the bed, use the vacuum attachment to give the mattress and box spring a thorough vacuuming. A sprayed layer of Lysol is a good idea too.

Vacuuming under couch seat cushions: You never know what you may find if you have not done this in a while. Also when vacuuming the cushions, don't forget the sides, arm rests, bottom, and foot rests.

Lamp shades: Once the ribbed type get dusty between the pleats, it is difficult to clean even with a vacuum crevice tool. If the dust is too buried, it may be simply time to treat yourself to an upgraded shade. Plain shades can be cleaned with a cloth and remember the inside of the shade.

Light Bulbs: The bulbs some folks have above vanities in bathrooms are especially prone to collect dust and it looks terrible when the lights are on. Be careful to dust them when they are turned off so as not to burst the bulb and burn your hand. If they go too long, it will be necessary to use a lightly wetted cloth. Let dry well before using if that is the case.

Air conditioner/heater vents: A paint brush works great for cleaning these ridged places. Run the bristles back and forth to release the dust. A dust cloth is good for cleaning the baseboard type heaters but the paintbrush is still a good idea to run through the vented area inside. Dust gets everywhere.

Between the window panes: The ledge area that is exposed when you open up the window gets dirty quick. Spray a layer of all-purpose cleaner in that space and wipe away with paper towels or a cloth. Having this area clean gives me special satisfaction.

Underneath burner plates of range: Grease and dropped pieces of food get stuck under there and must be cleaned out. Even more of a dirty job but a necessary one is to lift up the whole top section of the stove and use oven cleaner or use steel wool to clean that area. It is almost impossible to get it sparkling clean but try your best.

Under surfaces of shelves: Shelves have an under side and vertical edge too, don't forget to run the dust cloth over all shelf surfaces.

Blinds: I believe this is the most heinous household job of all. Do not let these get dusty. It may be more feasible to buy new ones than to clean them once they reach a certain degree of dustiness. I have written an article about the most thorough method of tackling the job: http://voices.yahoo.com/cleaning-mini-blinds-systematic-project-12688860.html?cat=30

Baseboards: If crawling around on your knees does not suit you, run a dust mop or feather duster across baseboards. Reach behind any furniture you can, it can get really creepy back there. Be sure to clean the carpet well with a crevice tool where the carpet meets the baseboard.

Walls: Run a clean dust mop over the wall surfaces. It is a good thing this only needs to get gone twice a year. If they are not coming bright enough after dusting, why not add a fresh color of pint. It will feel wonderful to spruce up the house and it will smell so clean.

Use vigilance to add the above chores to your basic cleaning regime for a spotless home you will be proud to show off and happy to live in.

Cleaning Mini-Blinds: A Systematic Project

Cleaning Mini-Blinds: A Systematic Project

There is Just One Way to Do it Right

Cleaning mini-blinds is probably the most over-looked and hated of all household chores. If you want your home to sparkle or if you provide service to clients with high standards, this is the way to do it.

It gets messy so wear clothes that you are ready to throw into the hamper. Cut up an old t-shirt to use as rags. Terry material will be too bulky for the job at this point. Clear the area around the project and put towels either on the floor or to cover anything that cannot be moved.

Fill a bucket with water and a mild cleaner. Dish soap is fine; for your own safety do not add bleach. Jump right in. Run your cloth soaked in the mixture over the blinds from top to bottom. At this point do not worry about individual slats; the point is to remove the bulk of the surface dirt. Go over the broad surface at this point as if they were a solid window cover, in other words, with the blinds closed.

Take several passes in this manner, you'll be surprised at the amount of dirt that builds up. Depending on how long you have avoided the task, it may be time to change the bucket already. Throw the used cleaning rags into the trash or into the laundry if you keep a dirty job basket to put into the washer.

Take a break at this point. Get a cup of coffee, sit on the couch and relax. When your fresh bucket is filled, run the cloth over the top of the window frame. Systematically clean each slat from left to right to remove the dirt. Clean both sides.

Do not squeeze out the rag too much, you need a lot of water to loosen and remove the dirt. Whether you want the blinds opened or closed throughout this process will be a matter of preference. It will be easier to see all the dirt if you leave them open.

Take the time to move aside the draw strings to ensure that the build-up there is removed. When you have completed about twenty-five slats, it is time for another break. If you tackle the job all at once, you will get overwhelmed.

Keep at the project in small increments like this until you have given each slat proper attention. Do not forget the ones that bunch up at the bottom near the window sill. Change your cleaning water often during this process. It is no use trying to clean with dirty water. The fresher your water, the happier you will be with the results. When you think you are finished you are not.

Now is the time to find that terry cloth rag or old wash cloth. Using brand new water, go over the blinds again as if they were one piece. Do this from the front and then put yourself between the blinds and the window and do the back side as well. Do this twice, remembering to change the water in between. Do not get discouraged, this part only takes a few minutes.

The job is almost done, but don't admire your work yet. Get a full- size terry towel and dry the blinds, again as one from the front and the back. Leftover moisture will dry quickly enough if you miss an area during the drying.

After you have taken the time to do all of this work, do not let them get dirty again. Weekly run a dry terry cloth or feather duster over the blinds, then you will never have to do this daunting chore again.

Raise the blinds to their highest point and concentrate on cleaning the window frame and the sills. Finish up by using your favorite window cleaner on the glass. Wow, that was something. Lower the blinds and open them to let the sun shine on your brand new blinds.

Shower and go get an ice cream cone.

Iron Island Museum: Haunted

Iron Island Museum: Haunted

The Iron Island Museum is in the LoveJoy neighborhood of Buffalo, NY. Railroads surround the area giving it the unusual name. There is much more than the name that is strange at the former funeral home and church.

The old church was built in 1885 and was later used by Anthony Amigone as a funeral home. The building is rundown amidst the neat homes on Love Joy Street but a brand new sign dedicated to Daniel and Molly Amigone graces the small front yard.

Anyone in the Buffalo area is familiar with the Amigone name and as it grew, the location was no longer needed. The structure was donated to the Iron Island Preservation Society in August 2000. The society was delighted to have a place to house and display the regional artifacts that continue to grow in support of the LoveJoy area.

Marge, the curator, early on in the museum tour explained that the haunted and paranormal aspect of their new museum came as a surprise to them. Linda and Marge run the place. They are both leery of running into a spirit while going about their business.

Marge reported that Linda will not be alone in the place and my nervousness while in the basement prompted her to admit that she would not be down there alone. There were many stories of things that have been seen, felt, taped, and heard from another dimension. There is evidence too, creepy evidence.

My friends and I browsed the many rooms before our official tour began. Three main rooms are set aside from a very long hallway, just like a funeral home should be. The expert, Marge, mentioned that the hall was a particularly busy place for the spirits that 'live' in the building. Each room has enough stimulation to keep the browser content for hours.

The Railroad Room

Dedicated to the railroad culture of the LoveJoy area, this room is also referred to as the children's room. There have been episodes of child-like spirits that have been traced to children laid out in the room for their funerals when they perished so early.

The Military Room

I found this the most interesting room probably because this is where the video I took revealed eight blue orbs streaking through my film in the space of four minutes. The museum has done a terrific job of honoring the service men and woman.

The Chapel Room

A space had to be added to the ceiling to make room for the point at the top of the beautiful alter in this room. There are even two kneelers. This adds a combined comfortable and sinister ambiance to the space. A large picture of The Lord is on the wall in this room. I wondered what he makes of the whole thing.

A door leads to a tiny room with access to the attic. A ladder is placed allowing visitors to investigate the original stained glass windows of the old church. I asked my friend to peep in first since Marge told us that the ghost, Edgar, is not too friendly and he has been determined to haunt the attic space.

I held my breath, put my flashlight through the hole, and raised my head to look around inside. Whew, I was not greeted by any ghost and the space was worth the fear I felt.

The basement has grisly stores attached to it and I was in no hurry to stay down there for long. Photos of the paranormal investigation teams that have determined that the museum at 998 LoveJoy Street is indeed haunted take up the space in the rear.

TAPS from 'Ghost Hunters 'visited the museum and their evidence gave the Iron Island Museum its credence as truly haunted in 2008. Programs have sent investigators to the site and featured it on their shows: already mentioned 'Ghost Hunters' on Spyfy in 2008, 'Ghost Lab' on Discovery in 2010, and 'My Ghost Story' on Biography Channel in 2011.

The trip is worth it just for the work the Iron Island Preservation Society is doing for the community but the possible ghost encounters are exciting too. My friends and I are soon to schedule an over-night stay in the museum to become more intimate with its paranormal themes. This option plus details about tours, costs, and evidence, and history can be found at the Museum's web site www.ironislandmuseum.com.

Iron Island Museum, 998 LoveJoy Street, Buffalo, NY 14206, 716-892-3084

Leather Handbags: Rebyc Fashion

Leather Handbags: Rebyc Fashion

Stephany Childers spends her days in her studio designing and creating high quality handbags for the discerning fashionista. Once you have owned one, well- it can become an addiction. If I could afford it, I would have many more. All women should have at least one.

Dedication to the environment and the west coast culture of recycling, Rebyc Handbags bags are made from materials secured from estate sales with leather chosen by hand by Stephany.

She uses quilts, coats, tapestries, throws, and whatever fabric she finds that catches her notice and sparks a design creation in her mind. After cleaning her choices, she decides if they are good enough to be part of a Rebyc Handbag.

The prices range from under 100 dollars for small clutch bags to over 300 hundred for the largest. I own a large Josephine which works wonderfully as an overnight bag, a computer tote, or a catch-all to place my smaller purse and books in and a smaller mini-Bronte. I use my Bronte tote as a daily purse. I enjoy the constant smell of leather close at hand (or shoulder).

The sturdiness, the fine stitching and the accents which include studs and tassels have to be seen to be appreciated. Designs are created one at time and are unique. There are no two the same. Most have colorful linings and ample pockets for stuff navigation.

With her little dog Lucy running around the studio, Stephany spends her time In Oregon doing what she loves surrounded by the people she loves.

Each of her handbags styles are given names mostly chosen from nineteenth century literature, names like LuAnn, Agatha, Bronte, and Josephine.

Since I have moved east from Oregon, I miss the weekend field trips to the estate sales and antique shops around Eugene, Florence, and Roseburg where my most creative friend and I leisurely browsed for pretty treasures to transform into women's proud accessories.

The brand name Rebyc originated with a childhood nickname given to Stephany by her father. He also made the stamp for her which she uses to brand each of her bags with her design logo.

Add color and style to your wardrobe and impress your friends with a Rebyc creation to carry your necessities or hobbies. Stephany is constantly creating new bags so keep a close eye on her little store. Find Rebyc Handbags at arebycdesign.etsy.com.

The Five Best Classic Rock Songs of All Time

The Five Best Classic Rock Songs of All Time

Personality Clues in Music Tastes

It was easy to decide on what five songs were my choices of all time best rock songs. When the question arose, I wrote down the first four within a minute. The fifth took more thought with the decision coming about an hour later. I added and scratched off a few before 'Sympathy for the Devil' by The Rolling Stones became my fifth and final choice. It was a game I was playing with a few friends. Their choices made me wonder how we were such good friends at all, not choosing a single song in consensus.

It surprises me that there are no Pink Floyd songs or Guns and Roses songs that have make the cut since if asked what my favorite bands are they along with Deep Purple would come to mind. By the way, I have no sympathy for the Devil in reality. The song is brilliant though and the movie 'Fallen' which used the song was equally brilliant.

Song # 1: 'Free Bird' by Lynyrd Skynyd

I am sure this is on many people's favorite song list. It will not surprise anyone that knows me well that I have a special relationship with this song. A near permanent drifter who moves detachedly through my time on earth, I am a true free bird-free spirit- whatever you want to label it. I am not comfortable in one place and always move on leaving close friends all over the country. Some say it is not possible to have made such close friendships in this manner but not so. There are many people like me and we are drawn to one another everywhere. There is a drive, an itch, a push, a disruption, a compulsion: something always says- keep moving-too much to see. It is true also, I admit, that roots frighten me. I want nothing to do with permanence on this earth.

Song #2: 'Stranglehold' by Ted Nugent

Uncle Teddy is one of those kindred spirits I might have alluded to above. I think he would make a fine president. His faith and detachment from temporal things are a strong theme in this song and that is one reason why I relate to it. The beat and lengthy instrumental section are almost enough to put one in a trance. There is the theme of leaving in this song too that is strange to some yet vital to others, like me. I can watch the video of the artist with his blazing long hair thrown this way and that all day. Freedom!

Song # 3: 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane.

Or the band afterwards known as Jefferson Starship. Grace Slick is genius as the front lady of this band. The song, with its glorification of drug use is a salve even to those of us who have never used pills to get tall or small. I do, however, understand the premise from the days of my youth (sic) and my hyper need to always feed my head with literature. It also makes me a bit desirous of the hallucinations described about Alice and her pals. Fear and other restraints have so far kept my experimentations at bay, but I admit I am intrigued by what people can 'see' in the altered states.

Song #4: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen

For many years growing up, I pretended to know every word to this song, singing it incorrectly like show- offs will do. It also has a temporary theme which appeals to me because of my constant looking forward to the end of this life and crazy reality which we live in. It is a fabricated thing called time. The study of philosophy has shown me that the questions of reality, morality, and societal expectations are often all relative indeed. My Christianity stresses the future 'real' reality and perhaps goes against the immediate nihilistic themes in this song but I do not think so.

Song #5: 'Sympathy for the Devil' by The Rolling Stones

It is said that it is a good idea to know your enemy. So the Devil is my enemy and I have no sympathy for him whatsoever. I do however love the history lessons peppered through the lyrics of this classic song. It is interesting to consider how things are influenced by the dark one. It is very profound and I like the notion that old time rock bands gave thought to important questions. Music to educate and provoke thought while streaming melody through our senses is the great draw of Rock and Roll. I am not altogether sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate. It remains to be seen.

The couple of other choices I had in mind for number five are already out of my memory proving to me that I have made the correct five choices for myself. My conclusion is that I am a free- spirited bohemian drifter who feels strangled in this life. I anticipate a future time of real permanence and sight with no thanks to the Devil.

Empire State College Open Reading Night

Empire State College Open Reading Night

Writer’s Read

I discovered a delightful avenue for writer's to share their work in the Buffalo area. Every last Tuesday of the month, Empire State College's satellite branch at the AppleTree Business Center in Cheektowaga hosts an evening of open reading and an honored guest. I went to the event where the featured reader was a poet. Not knowing all the details, and not necessarily being a poet myself, I compiled the few I had penned and drove to the old mall.

It was the place where as a youth, my sister's and I went to see the cheaper movies. I mention this just in case you, like me, are not sure what area of this mall the College is now located. I drove around the entire perimeter before seeing the sign. So if you used to know the Como Mall, go to where the theaters were and you will be in the right place.

I may have been taken back by the buzzer at the door, but once 'clicked' in, I was welcomed brightly. I quickly learned that not only poetry but really any type of writing was eligible. Happier that I had brought a folder of stories, I signed up for a reading slot and chose a short piece of fiction and added it to my favorite tiny poem to share with the group.

About twenty people of all types nibbled on cookies, enjoyed coffee, and regarded one another with small talk before the 7:30 start time. The show started on time and there were about ten readers on the sign- up sheet. Some read short stories, some read a series of poems, and some even had plays prepared. The feature guest this day was Regina Grol who pleasured the room with a skit reading acted out with an accompaniment.

Some people spoke with thundering voices, some spoke solemnly, some dedicated their works; some sang their verses, and there was me.

I had read my things in front of my own writing group but I was surprised at my calmness reading in front of so many strangers. I could see heads nodding when I raised my eyes to look at them. Writers seem to have a respect for one another like runners do. Everyone does it differently but it is the doing it that matters.

I urge any writer to attend this fun night out. Bring something to read to the group or if you'd rather just listen, perfect. Settle into a chair with a cup of coffee and show encouragement, Writers like that type of thing.

Join in every last Tuesday of the month at Empire State College in the AppleTree Business Park at 2875 Union Road in Cheektowaga. Reading starts at 7:30 pm.

Fasting: Forsaking Food

Fasting: Forsaking Food

Faith, Failure, Fear, and Doubt

Sure Jesus, Elijah, and Moses have done it, but could I? I know that physically I can but convincing my psyche to cooperate has proven challenging. Forty days, huh? I write in confusing tenses since thus far my attempts at the extended fast have failed. Ten days has been my limit and I am still trying to figure out how I can succeed in forsaking food for the benefit it will provide.

I want to convince someone to lock me in a room with some books and slip a gallon of water in each morning. The constant availability of any food I can imagine is making it hard. I need a faux desert. I need a tangible resolve. I want to hear from the Lord on a few matters and my love of crunchy bread; sharp cheeses and chocolate steal my devotion from Him.

I must keep the matter between God and myself as best I can. What is done in secret to honor Him will be rewarded openly. Food is a distraction and for many (read me) a hobby. Call it idolatry if you want. It fits. Short fasts are nice and God appreciates them I'm sure but I am not getting any genuine affliction out of them. First, I did them for the no-brainer weight loss they provided. Now I want a higher purpose. I want to empty my vessel of a lifetime of easy living, to appreciate his provision and enjoy life without food dictating my hours and minutes. It's quite absurd.

I have titled this work Forsaking Food because I think of marriage vows that state how the bride and groom are to forsake all others in favor of one another. Well, from Scripture I know that I as a member of the Church am the bride of Christ. I need a lot of work to be faithful. Some people struggle with gambling, some people struggle with sex, some people struggle with drugs, some people struggle with video games: for me it's a struggle to stop eating when I already feel sick or actually making it past a restaurant after just having had a fine meal at another.

Add to the guilt that I have been thin my whole life and when I complain about my food addiction people mock me for lack of understanding. I have never been anorexic or bulimic (although I have tried- my body refuses to throw-up), I just pound food like every meal will be my last. My parents provided a good home to me when growing up and food was in constant supply. One thing I want to gain from a long-term fast is a genuinely fresh approach to food. Start over. To cleanse my body of every piece of damaging gunk and eat like God intended. He put enough passages in His word against excessive love of food.

I eat for drunkenness. A great sin. At this point, some people are surely calling me crazy. But I am comforted by the idea that if you are reading this, you might understand. So the reasons for my fast are three which often grow into four or five depending on how capricious I am acting with my Lord in prayer on any given day. First, I want to experience that spiritual state that I will attain if my mind becomes free and I focus on God instead of Pizza. That is wrapped up together with my desire for greater faith, indeed the faith as a child. Second, I want to squash my unhealthy relationship to food once and for all. I lack faith just thinking about it. That is part of the problem. Food has always controlled me. Can I forsake it? Really forsake it? My third petition to the Lord is more earthly. I want the Lord to place me into my niche. If I must walk in the flesh, I hope to do so with a decent job that fulfills me and allows me to pay off my pesky student loan. I shudder to think that I went to college and got a good education just to be under the weight of debt for the rest of my days.

Well those are my hopes for my forty day fast. I wonder if God is laughing at me right now or if He is thinking, okay put your money where your mouth is. Thank goodness He is merciful. That other one though. He unsettles me with this guilt and I want to send Him to Hell myself.

So then, comes the doing of it.

Cheers to Monet Masterpieces

Cheers to Monet Masterpieces

Sixteen men and women met for an evening of food, drink, art instruction, and creativity. After three hours there were sixteen perspectives on Monet's "Red Poppies." Cindy Cervoni has opened a studio in Hamburg, NY. Simply called 'Cheers to Monet', it is a trendy atmosphere of social cultural entertainment certain to leave visitors laughing and heading home with motivation to engage with their newly discovered internal [arteest].

My interest piqued when friends in other states shared group pictures of their reproductions. It looked like fun but I did not expect an invitation to attend a gathering so close to home. I did not know much about the process but I had the time of my life creating my "Red Poppies," and want people to experience the fun by attending a party for themselves. If anyone is reluctant to accept an invitation, I promise- attend. It is a personality profit and provides an original piece to adorn your home.

The group collectively chooses a Monet to paint. Majority rules since Cindy will be teaching/painting one for the class to reproduce according to their individual painting style or whim. Half the fun is taking studio-roaming breaks. Between stages for the paint to dry, the chance to walk around and get a close up of others' progress is enlightening and sobering. Some people seem to be born painters. It is amazing the different styles that abound for the same basic template. Great fun.

All the details are on the website and FaceBook, things such as ten people minimum for Cindy and her assistant Lynn to prepare for. Canvases, paint, supplies, and atmosphere are provided in the registration cost. Group organizers and party goers can bring their own sodas, snacks, or libations to enhance the creativity as needed.

The space is small but when entering colorful canvases of Monet reproductions cover the walls. Here are the contact details. You will not be disappointed.

Cheers to Monet 229 Lake Street (across from Dairy Queen) Hamburg, NY 14075

Owner Cindy Cervoni 716-648-2711

www.cheerstomonet.com / cc@cheerstomonet.com / FB-cheers to monet

Adoption: Serendipity Saturday

Adoption: Serendipity Saturday

Meeting My Son

I fell in love on Saturday, with my son. He is eighteen and I met him last week. The mystery of maternal love I never knew I possessed is hard on all of my senses.

I have a new perspective on everything. That is a phrase you hear parents say but now I understand. He has quickly become my reason to live and to accelerate my life so he will be proud of me. I am proud of him even though I had nothing to do with his upbringing. His adoptive parents have done for me what I could not do for myself.

Looking at him, I see my own eyes, my own gnarly hairline, my own lip shape, but thankfully not my bulbous nose. Tall, dark, and handsome, he delights in embracing life with whimsy. Just like me. Okay maybe just the tall, dark, and whimsical part.

His parents have taught him to respect others and act politely as much as an eighteen year old possible can. I love him. Separated again by 2600 miles, I ache for him constantly.

Skeptical of invasive social media at large, I have been converted completely since he 'friended' me a few months ago. He waited until the time was right for him, his parents, and me. Over the years, his mother and I have been in touch given the open arrangement. I never met the special parents that took my newborn as their own until hours after I met him at a coffee shop near his home.

They opened their home and hearts wholeheartedly during my visit back east. It became apparent that this couple wanted to be parents more than anything. I watched home movies, enjoyed live family concerts, toured the home where my boy grew up, and met his adventurous brother and his lovely girlfriend.

A few things I noticed about him during our days together that pleased me greatly were that he wears collared shirts, gives his girlfriend his coat in the cold and picks up random garbage to dispose of properly. And he loves cheese.

When I praised his personality, he remarked that he hoped that my biology had something to do with it. I have leaned more toward nurture as opposed to nature in these questions but hope that as I get to know him more, I will see myself in him other than the obvious fact that looking at him is like looking in the mirror.

What a strange and wonderful gift.

Aging and Weight

Aging and Weight

A Skinny Girl's Submission

My forty-sixth birthday passed a few days ago and I see that even a little bit of negligence toward your health and diet makes a quick thirty pound impact. The dastardly flabby arms, obvious hourglass shape, and dimpled stomach in the mirror leave me wondering why I ever ate a piece of chocolate or bread in my life.

How do those vegetable and fish eating people find their joy? Oh. Wait a minute. I smell my black bean cookies; better take them out. This is what it has come to. I am grasping at straws for some substitute for my Milky Way candy bars and Hostess cupcakes. I think there may be something to the munching on dates idea though.

I have been skinny the bulk of my life. I have also gained weigh in tens and fifteens because I knew I could lose it fast enough. The macaroni with cheese, crème horns, and pepperoni pizza (the ultimate trouble), won't sit on the side lines for long without appearing in my dreams or in a commercial. Eat just one or two slices? Are you out of your mind? There are countless times when I have eaten an entire pizza myself in one sitting. Damn that cheese and salty meat.

It is here in my mid-forties that I am realizing that no one ages without agony. My clothes don't fit, I have to color my hair every time I look in the mirror, and the most stringent dieting does not budge the scale downwards. For the first time in my skinny life I am trying to wear tops that cover my hips. Really? Because no one knows about that trick, right? Sleeveless tops? Not anymore.

The aging problem came upon me quickly. It seems in just a year (I am sure that is according to my faulty vain perception). I can no longer lose weight unless I do not eat at all. I suppose I will submit. What is my choice? I have a good old-fashioned food addiction. I am certain of that. I know how to eat on many different plans but I lose interest in them after a mere two or three weeks.

Some in my family are happy, I am sure, about my sudden widening. Others though, like my aunt, haunt me with their recent observances. "You're going to take that weight off right?"

My answer? "Of course."

More often lately, I furrow my brow; look down at the ground and reply, "maybe." 

Pleasing Pops:A Bushel Basket of Fifties for Christmas

Pleasing Pops:A Bushel Basket of Fifties for Christmas

My package for Dad was the largest under the tree. The plastic stand-in scraped the ceiling, dazzled with white lights, and almost blocked the entire view of the snow storm out of the window. My aunt peeked into the living room from the kitchen with a merry pot-holder half-way up her arm, Rudolph's red nose animated by her thumb. Her short cropped hair had turned white from blonde without my noticing. At my sister's home, the family had gathered each for their own reasons. The men to watch football, the children anticipating their new toys, everyone to eat, and myself to see my dad's reaction to the gift I had made for him.

My newest niece Jennifer, bald and beautiful, wiggled around on my lap pulling my hair and chewing on it. Everyone sat huddled together; the smallest on the floor around the spillage of gifts. Turkey, stuffing, and best of all, yams were baking and the smell was sweet and savory. My aunt finally pulled a high-back Windsor chair into the doorway and we knew it was gift time.

Steve had his ear on the music that was plugged into one ear while he leaned over his mom to hand out his gifts. Someone said, "Whose gift is that? Let's open it and get it out of the way." That was my cue and I put the baby into the waiting arms of my sister as she set aside the batteries she had ready to install in someone's new clock.

"Pops, that big one is for you from me, open it up." He looked surprised. Like most dads mine is always happy with anything even just a phone call which is often what he gets from me. This year I was able to get him exactly what he had asked for. Everyone moved out of the way as I slid the Santa Claus and reindeer covered gift across the paper and tinsel littered carpet. Leaning close to my sister, I got a whiff of her perfume and hoped that scent was buried for me under the tree. I got the camera ready, checking the settings. The room was dark with the tree blocking out the stark light and with so many people crowded around.

Dad had a cut on his hand and a child's holiday Band-Aid laid across his knuckles; he's a tough guy so he was being a sport to humor one of the kids. His scarred and rough hands opened the bow. He peered inside and raised his head slowly, recognition coming gradually. He looked my way with a smile, raised his glasses a little and I think I saw a tear there. I had done well for someone without a crafty bone in my body.

When asking him in passing what he had wanted for Christmas this year, he had said, jokingly, "A bushel basket full of fifties." That is just what he got.

I had giggled at his wish, but later, dug deep into the neglected right-hand side of my brain and developed a plan. It was easy to get the bushel basket, I just asked for one from a friend that had a fruit stand, making sure to be picky. No plum or pepper stains, please. Of course, I could not afford to fill it with real money, but fabricated loads of bucks.

I was clever, but some cynical people told me that I had better make the money look unrealistic enough to avoid a counterfeiting charge (of course, Pops wouldn't tell, but who could be sure about the people at the copy store.)

Using green printer paper, I copied the front and back of a real fifty dollar bill. Ran off oodles of copies, trimmed the sheets, folder them over and stapled them in place. I knew Daddy would be pleased.

In the bottom of the basket I placed some of the usual gifts for fathers that have everything: sweater, leather gloves, and a couple of gift cards to his favorite places. I placed a few pieces of newspaper on top of those things, tucked under the edges, and placed several layers of the faux-cash over the top to the rim. I finished by wrapping it up in one of those giant gift bags, and placed it under the tree or rather against the tree.

I was proud to see the smile on his face and hear my family's laughter when he opened the package. The whole family was happy with their gifts; I did not get the hoped-for perfume from my sister, but did mention it to her. Maybe she would remember.

My Naivety Cost Me Much in South Africa

My Naivety Cost Me Much in South Africa

On an epic vacation to Cape Town, I met a man that had an agenda and he used me as his method. He was jailed for his efforts and I lost a career, my home, money, a child, and my dignity. This was a story of fraud that only happens to other people. Read Will Travel with Consequences for the whole gruesome story. Get it at: https://www.createspace.com/3425517 .

Drawn by the maritime history of The Cape of Good Hope, I intended to spend my vacation taking photos of the coast, tasting wine, and hiking Table Mountain. Instead, on my first day, I met a man that was a fugitive with a great spiel. We shared travel stories and he claimed to be a sailor on a break from one of the ships in the harbor. My eyes glazed over when he talked about the travel and the money he made. I could get on with the crew too. From that minute on, my sense took a vacation of its own.

I believed every word this man said when we became inseparable over the next week. I would join his ship and my desire for extended travel and big money was found. Pathetically, I became intimate with this man that claimed to have had a vasectomy which later proved to be a lie. To top it off he was married. The truth came out too late for me to spin back around to reality.

I returned to the United States, quit my rather fabulous job, gave up my apartment which meant paying a grand on my lease, and started wondering why strange charges were appearing on my credit cards. In a scramble to return to Africa before the ship was scheduled to leave for Beijing (a lie), I learned I was pregnant.

The man denied the possibility and in the end the boy was adopted by a wonderful family. When I made it back to the far away country, we prepared for a life together of travel and prosperity. The night before the ship was to leave, he went missing and I was questioned by the police as an accomplice to fraud. He had run off when the police were called by a merchant claiming him a thief. I never saw him again.

Horrors. I had became connected to a criminal and it took an apropos call to me from his wife to convince the Cape Town police that I had no idea what was going on. I fled that very day paying a fortune for the first airplane out of there. The consequences of my naïve behavior during this vacation follow me still. His agenda had been to hook up with an American for the opportunity to flee his country where he was a wanted man. Beware.

Communication is Vital to Avoiding Misunderstandings in Workplace Expectations

Communication is Vital to Avoiding Misunderstandings in Workplace Expectations

When you set expectations for your own performance that are at odds with those of your employer, stress may result. Of course, if a person is hired to do a job and they do not perform then the boss has a right to take corrective action. This may include a meeting to discuss the job requirement or even termination.

There is a different scenario in which an employee puts extra work on his or her own shoulders and after a period of time grows to resent the employer for this. While this seems like an unusual circumstance, it happens when a new employee is zealous to please a new boss and goes too many extra miles in the process.

Certainly the praise that the employee craves will come but the maintenance of such a pace is unsustainable. Over time the employee must defend against regarding the expectations they have placed on their performance to those that the job requires.

Understand your role and do not mistake your boss's accolades as a new directive. Take it as a sign that you may be doing too much if you become irritable or exhausted and find yourself complaining to your spouse that your boss expects too much of you.

Do not let it reach that point before talking to your boss about it. Be open. Most bosses are approachable and feel free to say that while you have worked hard to develop a standard for your position that you must ease up. More than likely your boss will agree that you do too much. Certainly they will want to retain a hard worker.

It is important not to expect your co-workers to meet the higher goals that you have set. They are good employees if they are meeting the boss's requirement not yours. You may have to admit to yourself that you are uptight and without change you may end up being resented.

Take your performance to a standard more in line with the company's goals and expectations. Go easy on yourself, if the boss is displeased you will know it. Doing too much without receiving a new job requirement and then complaining that you are over-worked is folly. Do the best job you can to promote the needs of the company, do not try to be super worker, and communicate with your boss about your feelings for tranquil workplace relationships.

The Bible is as Diverse as Creation; Whet Your Interest Here

The Bible is as Diverse as Creation; Whet Your Interest Here

Everything God wants us to know about how to live and thrive is in The Bible, His Holy Word, study it for life advice. Verses from the Old and New Testaments provide history, practical applications, moral lessons, and hope to the seeker. The most important reason for reading Scripture is to get to know God. He wants a personal relationship with each of us. The choice verses below will inspire you to invite Him into your life and keep you turning the Bible's pages hungry for more. All of the quoted Scriptures are from the King James Version.

Matthew 6:8b- For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 
This truth grounds me when my mind is scattered and I do not even know what I need. I think back through my life and can recognize God's hand taking care of me through thick and thin. Serving an omnipotent God brings real freedom. I never have to worry because He certainly is not worried. He has my best interest at heart as my loving Father. His love and resources are so far above my head, I know I will be taken care of and well at that. 

Psalm 84:2-
 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 
The Psalms can be counted on to bring melody to the ears. This verse shows where my relationship to the Lord should be. I love it because I relate to the desire the Psalmist is feeling. When I go a couple of hours without acknowledging God's presence I miss Him so much that this verse often becomes my prayer and an expression of worship to Him. I know my heart is right with the Lord when I truly feel the longing, fainting, and crying out that this Psalmist describes. 

Hebrews 13:14-
 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 
Adopted as my personal life verse, this one reminds me that my time on earth is but a vapor. Eternity is vast and my Lord has gone to prepare a place for me in Heaven where I will finally be at home. I relate to Sarah, Moses, and the other Old Testament saints mentioned in Hebrews about being a pilgrim here. As a wanderer my entire life, I have loved all the places I have lived all over the country and globe. I have met great friends and seen much of creation. As the t-shirt says, "Not all that wander are lost." I will continue to list with the wind (John 3:8) until my Father takes me 'home'. 

Luke 21:28-
 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 
Prophesy can really invite restlessness. I know from paying attention to the teachings in Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Revelation, Matthew, Mark, Luke... and the headlines I see in the daily news that the end of our age is near. I look forward to the coming Kingdom as I pray for each day in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). I often find myself looking into the sky when I pray just to know Heaven is up there. This verse keeps my prayer focus on waiting for Him and knowing the hour is in His keeping. 

1 Corinthians 2:9-
 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 
Wow. I have been able to imagine many wonderful things in my life. The gifts I receive every day from God are glorious. To know God is to recognize that we can receive nothing except it be given to us by Him. Look at all daily things as blessings, they are: water to drink and bathe with, the smile of your best friend, the feel of a cat's fur under your fingers, the ham and swiss sandwich you ate for lunch, the hot water in the shower, and a million other items we overlook as gifts. As the verse says, the things we take for granted and even the most amazing things we can think of will pale in comparison to the things He wants to shower us with in the future, Eternity is a long time to receive good things from the Creator. I can't wait to get started. This promise belongs to me. I surely love Him.

These are only five of the excess of 31,000 bits of treasure to be found in the Bible. This is based on the King James Version. Enjoy them and seek the pages of the Holy Word for your favorites.

The David Minor Theater and Pub in Eugene, Oregon

The David Minor Theater and Pub in Eugene, Oregon

David Minor was too young to die at twenty-seven. He had made many friends through his social concerns and activism. On October 18, 2008, just a few months after his death in a bicycle accident, David Minor Theater was opened in his honor. Owner and longtime friend of Minor, Josh Goldfarb has turned the venue into a community icon.

Located at 180 East 5th Street in Eugene, Oregon, the theater is in the midst of the popular 5th Street Market district. Since the theater is classified as a pub, only patrons twenty-one and older are admitted. Expect to prove your age at the counter when buying your ticket. A witty motto the theater owns is, "No longer sneaking beer into theaters since 2008." This stress gives an impression of the atmosphere of the place. There is a social aspect to viewing movies. Often parties are thrown under the guise of a movie event.

Two theaters show movies in the evenings after five o'clock. Check the website or call for show times. The cost is five dollars expect on Tuesdays and Sundays when the price is only two dollars. Special events have changeable costs.

A painting of Johnny Depp and a community bulletin board will give you plenty to browse while waiting in line to buy tickets. Take the time to read the tributes to Minor displayed. Local artists can show off their work on the winding hallway walls. The series is changed monthly.

Food can be ordered immediately or choices text messaged from your seat. A variety of food is available that David Minor gets from three restaurants blocks away: The Cafe Lucky Noodle, Cornucopia, and Granary Pizza. I can vouch for the chicken strips from The Cafe Lucky Noodle. The breading reminds me of a fish and chips blend, very good.

It is difficult to eat in the dark of the theater though. I often use my phone to see where my food is on the plate. A movie theater no-no but? Theaters are assigned depending on popularity of the movies showing often at the last minute. Number two is preferable because of the ample leisure seating. Theater one has couches only in the front row.

All movies begin at scheduled times so don't be late. There are no previews shown after show time like more traditional places. Beer on tap, wine, soda, and water are available. Giant candy boxes make the movie experience complete, popcorn too of course.

David Minor Theatre has been voted Best New Business, Best Date Night and even Best Cheap Date Night. Enjoy current movies, classics, and alternative genres. It's a fun place and more than a movie experience.

David Minor Theater and Pub 541-762-1700/ www.davidminortheater.com

A Mission Statement Will Empower Your Goals

A Mission Statement Will Empower Your Goals

A good way to focus on your work and goals is to create a mission statement. Your statement can be for any area of your life that deserves dedication and accountability. Simply making a mother's mission statement and displaying it in your home for the family and your friends to see can remind you what the important things in life are. You will realize your responsibilities more often when they are written and displayed.

More often, people think of mission statements as belonging to a company or group. The commitment works for them, why not for you? As a writer, I recently composed a mission statement of my own. It is simple and only two sentences long. The statement is a declaration of what I find important and how I plan to better myself by practicing accountability to well 'myself'. This is similar to keeping a food or exercise log. Sometimes people, especially us writing types, find something more concrete when in black and white.

Are you a dance instructor, a dog walker, a merchant? No matter what you do professionally or personally, it can benefit from a mission statement. Once you have made one, memorize it. Place it on the top of your letterhead if it is succinct enough.

A mission statement adds meaning to your life goals by owning them. Use forceful words that will move you to action. Examples can be found on a web search but be sure and make your mission statement uniquely yours. If you really want to get fancy, find a great picture you have taken and add your mission statement words to it. This will remind you that your work or project is just as valuable as that firm with its motivational poster of the mountain with the eagle soaring overhead.

If you choose to include an image, use one of your own for added pride in your achievement. Have your mission statement printed on the reverse side of your business cards. Once you have made the mission statement, you know you have to live up to it. It is a good and easy way to become a better person.

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First Christian Church in Downtown Eugene, Oregon

First Christian Church in Downtown Eugene, Oregon

I moved to Eugene and started searching for a church home. I looked for one close to home and First Christian Church is convenient since it is in the middle of the city of Eugene. I looked at their website first to get the feel for them. I learned that they are affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. This makes me leery only because my background has been non-denominational running toward Baptist.

I went to the church anyway on a Sunday morning for the first of their two services. I browsed the bulletin I received and immediately started writing notes on it. In the vision statement I read I noticed things that I knew went against Bible teachings but stayed to observe. I quote from the statement here just so that people looking for a home church that is Bible based in Eugene can stay away from First Christian. It reads, "We are an Open and Affirming Congregation and people of all sexual orientation and gender identities are welcome in the full life and ministry of our church."

Bible students know how God feels about the same sex-relationship issue and while the people are to get embraced lovingly, the official stand of the church must be to persuade them to repent of their sin. They should not embrace such as an acceptable lifestyle such as First Christian does. The pastor even said from the pulpit that same-sex marriages are as valid as heterosexual marriages. Woe to the leader of that flock.

Further the assistant pastor and elder were female. This issue is controversial yet something a church shopper should know. The literature also said that the church did not take the Bible literally and did not strive to concentrate on the after-life but life here on earth. The teachings of this church are dangerous and contrary to God's clear message to humankind.

Visit First Christian Church on Oak Street in Eugene if you seek a community of open-minded people to befriend but if you are a true Christian and can discern the truth from the lies; steer clear of this apostate church. It is very liberal and wants to please man and not God.

Fearful of America's 9/11 Complacency, Ignorance

Fearful of America's 9/11 Complacency, Ignorance

Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.

The ringing phone woke me up in my Dallas apartment on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. My sister from New York was calling to see if I was all right. She mumbled some words I did not understand. I realized later that she had been crying. I heard, "Just turn on the TV."

I wandered into the living room where the TV was already on. My roommate sat pale on the couch. I saw on the screen the Twin Towers, one strangely half the height of its sibling. I sat on the floor not three feet from the screen. I will never forget it.

I turned to look at my friend. Her only reply to my desperate eyes was, "I did not know if I should wake you or not." In a moment, with the first tower failing, I saw the second hit.

[Your story: How has September 11 changed you?]

I am losing my composure writing about it now. It has been that way on every anniversary of the tragedy. I did not handle it well at the time, and I do not handle the memory of it well now.

I made my living as a flight attendant at the time. I have always held strong American pride and I was born in New York State. New York City was and is a place like no other. I felt personally attacked on that fateful day. The country, the city, and the career I loved had been destroyed. I went many times to ground zero afterward. I feel such love for the people of that city having endured that and continue living and working there with that constant reminder.

I will never forget that day, but I shun the images, newscasts, or conversation about it because like so many Americans, I just can't accept it. Still. It's just like that first week when I stared at the TV all day, every day, saying, "This can't happen here," or "Nothing will ever be the same again."

Things have changed for me since Sept. 11, 2001. I no longer live in Texas or New York. I am now in a place where evil-doers will be less likely to do something similar. I no longer fly for a living, either. I still love New York as much as ever, but I admit that I feel America slipping away.

It seems many people don't love America and are ignoring what has happened to her in the past 10 years. I am much more fearful of their complacency and ignorance than I was 10 years ago when I was complacent and ignorant.

The Instant Benefits of Joining a Writer's Group

he Instant Benefits of Joining a Writer's Group

The secret recluse that resides in me wants to go it alone. Every once in a while reason surfaces and I make a beneficial decision to engage my fellow humans. Disappointed with my motivation level and tendency to isolate, I acted in response to an ad calling for new members of a writer's workshop group. The ladies (no men so far- I don't think) met in a location a mere three blocks from my home. The divine orchestrator set this up just for me. If I can self-talk my way out of a good decision I have made for myself previously, I often do. Even on the day I met and befriended my new group I had to force myself out the door. Three blocks to do something I have been meaning to do for months seemed fair enough. It is this kind of your-an-idiot-if-you-don't-go situation that motivates me.

I browsed the familiar cafe for a group with a tented invitation like the ad said. I found the ladies and immediately was glad I did. I instantly became a part of a community of writers and artists. We talked about our different genres and shared things from our portfolios. These women had so much in common with me and I had much to learn from them. I surmised that they had more talent and drive than me but as we continued talking, it became obvious we shared the same struggles.

I prefer nonfiction yet my lengthy work in progress is fiction and the advice of those that specialize in fiction will be invaluable. Writing forums are special and important but I learned immediately the satisfaction of a group talking together for instant feedback. Our group will be getting assignments from the group's leader and it will be important to recognize the value in how each member approaches the prompt. I have not been accustomed to direct criticism of my writing since college; I pray I improve quickly.

I like the idea of the accountability to others that will get me to my desk. Knowing the group will have my work in their hands prior to our meetings via electronic media ensures my best efforts. I also have a brutal editor living in my brain so I hope to be fair in critiquing them. In an afternoon with new friends, I gathered tips on what websites to study, methods to keep motivated, read and viewed some beautiful work, and made a commitment to open my home to future meetings. The experts are right, get into a group. I am a new groupie but am delighted already.

Cozmic Pizza: Organic Food and Theatre in Eugene, Oregon

Cozmic Pizza: Organic Food and Theatre in Eugene, Oregon

People that are uninitiated will be surprised to find a fund-raising event, a concert, a free movie, social consciousness or environmental presentation, art expos©, or even a drag show in progress when they step into Cozmic Pizza at 199 West 8th Avenue in downtown Eugene, Oregon expecting a standard pizza parlor. The staff wears shirts inviting the hungry to imagine twisted pizza.

The organic basis to the menu gives the place a one-up to other pizzerias in Eugene. It barely qualifies as a pizzeria. It is a venue. The pies are from heaven above the cosmos. Never before have I wanted pizza so desperately for the crust. The cheese blend and diverse choice of toppings are good although as a New Yorker originally, for me it is not pizza without pepperoni. There are a lot of vegetarians and serious local ingredient advocates in the progressive city of Eugene and Cozmic Pizza delivers to their needs as much as to my sodium addiction.

The prices are only a small percentage higher than other eateries for comparable choices, hardly worth mentioning given the ambiance one feels immersing into the community while nibbling. Recently taken over by a new owner, Cozmic has revamped the menu adding new salads and sandwiches. Wraps, calzones, and more round out the menu. Specials are offered and changed frequently, just read the board above the counter or ask one of the staff. Enjoy a glass of beer or an organic tea too.

One of the excellent staff will deliver your meal to a table in the seating area. During some events, portions of the giant room are distinguished as alcohol-friendly or alcohol-free areas. To find out if anything of interest for your friends or family is on the agenda, Cozmic Pizza has its calendar of events available at the website you will find below. Free wireless Internet access invites leisurely visits for work or play whether the theatre is booked or not. Contact Cozmic Pizza at 541-338-9333 to ask about securing the spot for whatever gig you may have coming up.

Cozmic Pizza is located inside of The Strand building on the corner of Charnleton and 8th Avenue. It is very easy to find. Find them on Facebook for information and updates. When visiting Eugene it is vital that you have your pizza at Cozmic for serious out of this world taste.

Cozmic Pizza 199 West 8th Avenue Eugene OR 97401/ 541- 338-9333

http://www.cozmicpizza.com/entertainment.html

Toasted Herb Kitchen: Eugene's, Oregon's Home Feel Diner

Toasted Herb Kitchen: Eugene's, Oregon's Home Feel Diner

Home-Style Feel, Taste and Prices

The New Amsterdam filled me up for $4.50. Listed on the menu as comfort food, it did indeed satisfy. I chose Italian bread and chicken but I could have had any combination of bread and meat I wanted to go with the mashed potatoes and gravy. Anywhere there is gravy there is comfort. Large succinct billboards behind the improvised kitchen area had headings like comfort foods, rice bowls, sandwiches, wraps, combos, and quesadillas.

Looking like a living room spawned restaurant, Toasted Herb Kitchen at 1210 Willamette Street in Eugene, Oregon was the best deal for a meal I had found in the city. Before I ordered I could not help but spend time reading all of the anecdotal posters on every wall. Quotes from Einstein, Gandhi, Bob Marley, and Lao Tsu left me philosophizing. The bunned cashier and capped chef worked alone and still offered fantastic service.

The seating area was well used by people having meals,doing crossword puzzles and just shooting the breeze. Entertainment with the meal included a television, racks of publications, antiques and the solar system on the walls.

At the window seat I noticed the green and black drapes drawn back. I envisioned them pulled down at night closing off the 'house' from the street. My meal was delivered to my table with a smile and I was delighted at the open-face portion. In the middle of a mouthful the music came on as if the cook had suddenly realized something was missing. It was from the seventies and eighties. The type I grew up with and from then on I tried to eat and sing at the same time.

I felt a little guilty for eating so much food for such a little price so asked the scrubbed woman about sweets. One of the choices was pumpkin and chocolate chip brownie. A huge square was $2.50. Warmed and topped with whip cream it beat my mother's pumpkin and chip cookies. It was delivered through the until then invisible saloon-type swinging door.

The service and the food at Toasted Herb Kitchen were great. I returned again the next day to find the man and woman eating their dinners at the end of a long day. I was out of luck though since they were closed already at six o'clock. Lunch tomorrow then.

Holy Cow: Indian Food Plus in Eugene, OR

Holy Cow: Indian Food Plus in Eugene, OR

No Beef Dishes Here

It took me a minute to recognize the elephant featured on the mosaic inspired welcome sign as Lord Ganesha. I was just looking for a meal and thought it a bonus to happen upon Indian cuisine, my favorite. It took me another minute to put the clever name together with the icon and the region. Holy Cow can be found at 2621 Willamette Street in Eugene, Oregon- zip code 97405.

After studying the menu, I learned that this restaurant not only featured meals with the Indian influence but Middle Eastern, Central American, Thai, American, and even blends on one plate. The focus was on healthy offerings. The exact words that they used to describe themselves on the menu was Organic*locavore*flexitarian. I suppose if you adhere to that distinction than you might understand the term. I studied the menu in vain to find a beef dish but chicken and fish lovers are in luck.

I just ordered what sounded good from Royce and took away the Chai tea he served me as I awaited my meal. It was perfectly spicy. I walked away with my number 36 tent to a table under a mural of tan hills with a cow (of course) featured as its main character and sheep lying below towering sunflowers.

Yellow and muted tan tones calmed the room as folk music led me to sway in my chair. The small dining area was filling up quickly with people as diverse as a middle-aged woman alone (besides me), punky teens with purple hair, couples, and college students.

With nothing to see out the window but the street I turned my attention to the kitchen where my food would promptly emerge. A long arced structure separated the dining area from the welcome and kitchen area, a clever use of space.

Cow plates lined the red wall above the heads of people ordering, but behind the counter stainless steel walls and shelves supported dinnerware in all of the primary colors.

A chilled out smiling girl that had prepared my veggie curry delivered the colorful creation to my table and I started by tasting the hot sauce on the side. Royce had warned me about it and I was glad I ordered it in medium. It was hot. Rice and beans buried by sweet potatoes, red peppers, spinach, carrots, and broccoli filled the plate to overflowing.

To further promote the healthy theme, free help-yourself water was in one corner of the room. The spices in the food and the tea I drank had me grateful for the cool broth of life. As I finished my meal. Royce stopped by my table and chatted with me about the positive ambiance of Eugene.

New Odyssey Juice & Java: Food and Art in Eugene

New Odyssey Juice & Java: Food and Art in Eugene

Alight All of Your Senses

Giant abstract art reminiscent of an infant's crib mobile is hanging from the ceiling of New Odyssey Juice and Java Café. There are many similar distractions to entertain the senses while enjoying an organic, vegetarian juice or coffee specialty.

The first thing I noticed when I entered through the electronic door was the sweet odor of cumin in the air. I knew I would be comfortable there despite some of the new-age art work with a nudes theme, some bordering on the vulgar.

I drank a coffee while reading some framed accolades on the wall above the media rack. Hungry as well as thirsty, I considered the menu. The food choices were limited but what there was took deliberate conception. I ordered an enchilada plate, paced over the shiny industrial brown block tiles to a small wooden table where I could overlook the weekday foot traffic. The floor met my conservative tastes.

The reserved friendly man that took my order must have been stressed by my vibe; I wore dark clothes with no art sense whatever. He purposefully brought a series of alternative reading material to my table to convert me.

He assured me that the New Odyssey was fully Wi-Fi capable when he noticed the computer I had removed from my tote. I ignored my work and studied the café instead. The many plants decorating the space seemed to flow from the green mural covering one wall. Sadly, the plants were very dusty. It contrasted the cleanliness of everything else. Two entire walls were windowed for people watching.

Couches and intimate tables were placed around the perimeter while one area of the floor seemed ready for business meetings and family visits. There were outside tables as well. A steady stream of health conscious folks came in for treats while I relaxed.

My food tasted like it was made with love. I commented that the brown rice was the best I'd ever had. The tall man remarked that it was simple brown rice, but somehow it was magical.

New Odyssey has a wonderful corner location. The address is 1004 Willamette Street in downtown Eugene. I came away spending only six dollars for coffee and a big, healthy lunch. Ready for guests at 7:30 am weekdays and 9 am Saturdays, they are closed Sundays.

Bagels, Coffee and Wi- Fi at Bagel Sphere in Eugene, Oregon: The Total Package

Bagels, Coffee and Wi- Fi at Bagel Sphere in Eugene, Oregon: The Total Package

What beats a boiled and hearth stone baked bagel? Eating one with cranberry sauce, cream cheese, turkey, and bean sprouts under a huge picture of Broadway in New York while enjoying free Wi-Fi in a coffee house setting, that's what. Bagel Sphere at 810 Willamette Street in Eugene has a sister location at 5768 Main Street in Springfield.

Trevor took my coffee order as I studied the menu above his head. The specials were written on clever chalk board appliqués attached to a circular post as a welcome at the entrance. Simple or elaborate breakfast and lunch creations waited to be chosen and dress up the many varieties of fresh bagels.

I sipped my medium roast coffee and browsed the large space while Kassy made my lunch. New York, New York shared one wall with profiles of animals waiting for adoption at S.A.R.A. (Shelter Animal Resource Alliance). Even if the food was bad, the promotion and support that Bagel Sphere provides to this organization would cause me to return.

Naturescape photography was displayed and for sale in the seating area. Black stuffed casual chairs, family ready tables and chairs, and a bar over-looking the street (where I sat) were spread around the L-shaped space. From my seat I noticed four racks for bicycles out front of Bagel Sphere and twenty in all in my view. Eugene is made for bike riders.

The food was good though. Sweet cranberry sauce dripped from the edges of my sandwich that was also topped with bean sprouts, the free alternate to lettuce. Day old baked goods were for sale to the bargain shopper. If you want sweets with your coffee, many kinds lured my eyes as I forced myself to resist the chocolate temptations.

Funky art publications shared a reading section with family and community material. The Bagel Sphere succeeded in bringing all types of people together. They wanted their guests to leave happy. To ensure satisfaction, comment cards were prominently available and their use encouraged. Trevor and Kassy were busy organizing or cleaning when there was a lull in the customer traffic. They made my visit special with their smiles and helpful attitudes.

Visit Bagel Sphere for a nice morning or afternoon computer browsing session and a healthy, unique meal. The Eugene location hours are Monday-Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday 8am-5pm, and Sunday 8am-4pm. Enjoy.

A Christian Response to Stars of David by Abigail Pogrebin

A Christian Response to Stars of David by Abigail Pogrebin

A Christian Response to Stars of David by Abigail Pogrebin

Since I am prone to read any book I can find about Israel or the Jewish people, I quickly fell in love with Stars of David- Prominent Jews Talk about being Jewish by Abigail Pogrebin. It features profiles of sixty-two famous people that happen to be Jewish. The premise is that the author interviewed the people and gives her reader insights into the subject's thoughts on being Jewish. The culture is discussed as well as the religion and the book is full of entertaining anecdotes about family life, professional experiences, history, and heartfelt disclosures.

I leapt into the book after browsing the list of Stars of David I would be learning about. Soon, I became disheartened. It seems that I have a more intense devotion to Israel and the Jews than they do themselves. I read the book haltingly because I had to recover from the days reading with prayer, often wiping my eyes. Many people talked about things that made me smile but the general sense from the majority was ambivalence. The interest in the culture was much more embraced than the religion. To me they are impossible to separate but I am not Jewish.

As an evangelical Christian, I find that the love of the New Testament must be married with a love of the Old Testament. I read the Old much more often than I do the New so that I may learn the personality of my God. I consider my God to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I surely will offend some with this article, my apologies. I am in love with Israel however, and the God of the Bible. I am pleased to know from reading other literature that many Jewish people that have taken the time to study both books together can easily see that fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy in Jesus. I hope to meet some of these Jewish Christians for Bible study.

I revere the text in Deuteronomy 6:4 which reads, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (KJV). I add to it the text in 1 John 5:7 which adds, "For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one" (KJV). Jesus is referred to often as the Word made flesh (as in John 1:14).

I was ignorant to a degree about the sense that Christians are considered by many Jews to be anti- Semitic because of Jesus crucifixion. While it is true that the Jews in Jesus time did condemn Him to death. The gladdening revelation is that God planned it. Jesus had to die as our sacrifice. Jesus is first and foremost for the Jews. Those of us gentiles that are close Bible students know that we are lucky to get in on God's plan of salvation by the skin of our teeth. Israel is meant to be a light to nations.

The Jewish people are God's chosen. A few people in Abigail Pogrebin book grasped the profoundness of that. I wear the Star of David around my neck along with a Christian symbol. I do not want anyone to wonder about my loyalty. It is a demand of God that we support Israel, those that turn from Her will suffer God's wrath. Israel is still God's number one consideration. So-called Christians that feel like the church has replaced Israel in God's favor are not studying their Bibles. We are adopted into the family of God through Jesus but they are the first and foremost legitimate ones. Remember the Davidic Covenant.

Many Christian denominations stray from the teachings in God's word and are guilty of all types of false teachings. True Christians love Israel. Not only because God is explicit in His choice, but because Jesus was Jewish during His visit here. We should not forget that the founders of Christianity were Jewish.

I found the fact that many Jewish people equate a Christmas tree with the Christian holiday funny. I am not sure if that type of tree is common in Bethlehem. The origin of the tree is certainly not Biblical. It is as secular as anything else that popular mainstream Christian religions have borrowed from other mystery sources.

I may decide to write a book about my thoughts on doctrine and the intricacies of my philosophies about Israel. This article serves only to state my real disappointment about the luke-warm sediment pervading modern Jews considering their most favored status. As mentioned previously, there was a hand full of profiles that left me hopeful and smiling. The happiest moment of my reading was toward the end when Diane von Furstenberg said, "I have my own personal relationship with God. I believe that my relationship with God is mine and mine alone." That is what He wants.

My next happiest moment was reading Pogrebin's epilogue. The experience of interviewing so many Jewish people and getting such varied input led her to refocus her attention on learning more about Judaism and reconnecting with her heritage. The book demanded deep meditation. Thanks Abigail Pogrebin for teaching me about the attitudes I was formally ignorant of.

Freelance Writers Must Develop a Regular Routine to Produce Efficiently

Freelance Writers Must Develop a Regular Routine to Produce Efficiently

Distractions come disguised in many costumes. Some even fool you into believing that you are actually getting the writing done. The writer's allotted time for work should be split into definite periods to accomplish certain tasks. Spending half of your time handling the collateral responsibilities of writing chores does not get the articles written. A writer could get wrapped up in these details for days without writing a word. It leads to feelings of guilt.

Below are some chores associated with a writer's work day. Yours may be very different. The point is, decide how many hours you will devote each day to work, than split the hours into slots. It is also important to have a day or two off to clear your mind just like any other job.

E-mail- Try to hold the non-writing related e-mail correspondence until your work time is finished or before it starts. Don't get sidetracked informing your mother about your flight details or saying hello to friends. Those fun and important things should be accomplished during off work hours.

Research-Who will buy this article? What story should I pitch? Who are these people the assignment wants me to write about? What is the zip code of that restaurant again? Do I know enough about (insert topic) to write a convincing article? These questions and unlimited more could keep a writer doing research full-time. Priorities must be set.

Marketing- Continue building that website and updating your resume. Save any e-mail marketing chores for the e-mail section of your day. Write out hard copy letters to businesses, editors, publishers, or anyone you want to sell yours efforts to. Try to write and send query letters each day.

Networking- Easily the biggest non-essential daily distraction. Socializing even for business purposes must be controlled. There is plenty of time for social networking after the work day is done. If you are trying to get control of your chores and be productive, you must stick to a regular routine whether you work for four hours a day or eight.

Editing and Proofreading- Edit the article the day after it is written. It is easy to overlook mistakes if you have just finished the piece. The mind looks right past the mistakes; sleep on it instead.

Words on Paper-The actual writing time should be just for writing. Utilize all the things you have developed during the other time slots. If you have writers block on a particular day, write anyway. Once you start pounding the keys, inspiration will strike. If it doesn't, save the draft you have developed and it could turn into something later. Write down a dream you had, record your thoughts, or whatever you can think of to get writing. Try to put words on paper for about one third of your work day. More if the other duties are less time consuming.

All of the above tasks must be done during the work day. It may take a few trials to find a schedule that works for you, but find one and stick to it. The only way to be successful working as a freelancer from home is if you treat it like the job that it is.

Keep with the pattern that you develop for yourself. If an editing job does not get done within your predetermined time-frame, save it for tomorrow. Don't let your deadlines get away from you. Put a cap on duties that are not completed in their time frame and start with it first thing when that slot arrives the next day. This will be a challenge at first, but once you get your personal routine set you will find yourself being rather productive.

The Twitter Challenge- Great Networking

The Twitter Challenge- Great Networking

I had no idea what Twitter was about when I decided to enter the sweepstakes. I thought it was high time I learned not wanting to be left behind the social curb. I have told many of my Facebook friends that Twitter is easier and more immediate, so many have joined also.

I found it a challenge at first. I couldn't figure out how to send a tweet. The space that said, "What are you doing" seemed like a no-brainer, but there was no explanation, so I listened to the tutorial about three times before I knew what I was doing.

Once I got the hang of it I started tweeting like crazy. I posted many of my articles from Associated Content. My views increased right away. As I get more followers, I want to put them on again. I still have to figure out all of the special pre-fixes so that I can re-tweet without irritating everyone.

I had strangers starting to follow me left and right; I had to check out each person or organization because some seemed like unsavory types that I didn't want to follow or be followed by. I have mostly found tons of great tips and familiarized myself with positive people.

One thing about Twitter that is difficult for me is that most people keep different hours than me and when I get up and log in, I have to scroll forever to see what has happened since I went to bed. I don't generally have the time to spend doing this, so I appreciate the re-tweets.

I like the direct messages when they pertain to my work or a question I have poised, yet I get text messages from random people just saying nothing. I find that irritating. I like to send direct messages to praise others or ask them a particular question.

I have found many good websites through Twitter, and received inspiration from those that I can relate to.

The experience has mostly been enjoyable and I really like the chance to put my articles up for all to see. I have been very busy but hope to get some new material posted soon.

I have added my favorite sports teams, friends, and others that are important to my life. So Twitter has been a help to me and I want to thank Associated Content for the challenge.

Line Dry or Appliance Dry?

Line Dry or Appliance Dry?

No Cut-and-Dried Answer

Many factors determine whether to line dry your clothes or place them into an electric dryer. Line drying saves on home energy consumption, while the appliance offers convenience.

An electric dryer costs an average of $.36 per load according to Michael Bluejay of saving energy.com. Consider also that some electric companies charge an extra demand fee for electricity usage during what they deem to be peak hours. It sounds like a bargain when you determine how valuable your time is. It could take as long as an hour (maybe more) to hang clothes on a line depending on how practiced you are at the chore and how much laundry there is.

The decision is personal. A busy woman that barely has the energy to get dinner on the table after a day at the office needs the convenience of an electric dryer. On the other hand, a stay-at-home parent or a person that takes exceptional pride in line drying has the time and motivation for the task.

People have lines run in their basements and hang laundry there. Others wouldn't dry them anywhere except in the freshness of outside. In the latter case, the weather could delay the chore (acceptable excuse) or force a rush to pull the things in.

Demographics of the household could weigh the decision. Is there a couple living in the home or a family with children and teenagers? Teenagers tend to think their clothing needs to be washed after each wear. Line drying could turn into a full time job. If the household needs require that the dryer works for four loads three times each week. The cost equals about $20 per month. Line drying costs nothing except time and the green movement advocates cutting down on convenience appliances when ever possible.

Fabric softeners added to the wash cycle provide adequate fabric care for line drying. Those that use an electric dryer have a choice of washer or dryer fabric softening. Economy would say it isn't needed at all. The items need to be folded in any event, however electric dryers save one stage of the physical labor. Again do you want it or don't you? Fabrics hold up better if they are kept from the heat of an electric dryer and many valuable blouses' has been shrunk the same way.

Budget, ambition, the need be green, size of household, type of fabric, and space available all must be considered. There is no cut and dried answer (pun intended.) If space allows, install a clothes line outside or in the basement if you have one. Allow for both options and make the decision on a daily basis.

Sweet Potato and Cranberry Sandwiches

Sweet Potato and Cranberry Sandwiches

Serve Your Favorites on One Platter

Many traditional Thanksgiving dinners include sweet potatoes, rolls, and cranberry sauce. Below is a recipe that is untraditional but your family and guests will love it and rave at how clever you are.

Sweet potato and cranberry sandwiches. They are all likely to be served together so why not put them together on one platter.

What you will need: Two sweet potatoes, a can of whole cranberries, a package of dinner rolls or loaf of French bread.

Bake the Sweet Potatoes in the oven 3500 for one hour or microwave them. It will be more convenient to use the microwave and leave space in the oven for the turkey. Eight to ten minutes should be enough time. Be sure they are somewhat firm but not hard.

Remove the Sweet potatoes and let them rest for five minutes. Leave the skin on for now; it is easy to simple roll the skin off after you cut them into ¼ inch discs. 
Slice small rolls or French bread and place a disc onto a section of the bread. Using canned whole cranberries place a spoonful on each disc and cover to sandwich. It will be moist enough so that no additional dressing is needed. Make as many as needed and serve on a platter. Not only is this delicious, it will cut down on the number of serving platters crowding the table.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Art, Music, Poetry: "Open Mic Night" at Studio 620 in St. Petersburg, Florida

Art, Music, Poetry: "Open Mic Night" at Studio 620 in St. Petersburg, Florida

On the last Monday of each month, Studio 620 in downtown St. Petersburg hosts amateur performers in a program called AMP "Open Mic Night." That means art, music, and poetry. I attended the event last night. I arrived early to observe the place before the show started and I was impressed that such a tiny space could be transformed into an elegant looking theatre.

The smiling blonde greeter asked me if I wanted to sign up on the performer's sheet. I laughed but then while I was examining in the room with my senses, I thought, Hmmm, what could I do up there on that stage sometime. An Awakening?

The room was darkened to intimate tones with track lighting. The reception area opened into the main room through a drawn back curtain. Refreshments offered for a tiny price were displayed on raised platforms that were surely just crates covered with white table cloths. It created elegance. They did a lot with a little. I passed on the wine choices and paid $1 for a Pepsi, which the attendant produced from a cooler. Then, of course, I chose a well- frosted brownie.

Black circular chairs meant to hug your bottom were laid out in an arc around a platform stage. Closer still were small round tables with rickety looking wooden chairs. Each was decorated by a ceramic pumpkin candle-holder. The walls were painted a peculiar shade of red; there was a hint of an orange tone. Behind the square platform raised to waist height by easels were three paintings. The artist later discussed them.

The gallery room to the rear of the building was protected by large sliding wooden doors leaving the impression that I was in a castle. They were open just wide enough for a person to pass through to the restroom. I followed that invitation and was startled when I opened the door to the ladies room. It was dark except for candles lit all around. It was spooky in such a tiny space. I wanted light for my business, and when I turned it on, I noticed the rest. The room wasn't that small after all, there were art posters displayed evenly on the walls, and slim glass vases hugged stems of green sprigs with natural baby purple blooms. Even the restroom had elegance. I loved the place.

An eighteen year-old named Ari set the tone as people found seats. He played soft piano music from the instrument set up against the wall. Many groups of girls, a few couples, and some singles like me filled the audience. I thought it was humorous that some of the men were blatantly opportunistic in trying to meet woman.

The host for the night was Brian. He wore a Dick Tracy style hat that hid his eyes. He took the stage between performers to introduce them, inform us about things coming up at Studio 620, and to make jokes. The ephemeral acts of the performing hopeful occupied my senses for the next two hours. Pianists, guitarists, poetry speakers, singers, and canvas artists expressed their deepest emotions through their chosen style of art.

All of the featured performers had a message in their work. The best part about art is that it can be expressed by each person individually. The way these people dealt with important issues were to get them down on paper and then have the courage to share it with others.

They spoke from their hearts about issues which included the American Indian plight, vanity, callousness, failures, relationships loved and lost, poverty, addiction, politics, spirituality, hope, and vision. People of all types have to find a way to inner peace, these people are doing it through using art, music, and poetry to release their emotions and stir other people to ponderance through their performances.

The cost for the enlightening two hour event is only $5. The atmosphere is casual; the staff works hard to dress up the small city space. If you visit St. Petersburg, you will want to attend AMP "Open Mic Night" on the last Monday of each month. You are welcome to perform and show off your art, music, or poetry.

Studio 620 features exhibits and events throughout the month. Visit the colorful website at studio620.org to find out what is offered while you will be in the city. AMP "Open Mic Night" is special because any one that wants to express themself simply has to sign in and prepare to share. It is a great girl's night out, date for a couple, or distraction for the single traveler.

Studio@620

620 First Avenue South

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

727-895-6620

www.studio620.org

infor@studio620.org

Six Inexpensive Dates in St. Petersburg, Florida That Do Not Include Dinner, Movies or Cocktails

Six Inexpensive Dates in St. Petersburg, Florida That Do Not Include Dinner, Movies or Cocktails

Dating doesn't have to cost a lot especially when you are first getting to know someone. These choices are good date ideas. You will not be accused of recommending the cliché date of a dinner, a movie, and a drink. What is a date? It's just two people getting together to do something. Try these in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Cones on The Pier- The Pier is an attraction in itself. Buy your date an ice cream cone on the first floor at Cones on the Pier. Spend an hour sitting on one of the benches or tables outside; Tampa Bay will be your movie screen. 800 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-251-9512.

Haslam's Bookstore- Why would a bookstore be a date place? Haslams has grown into the largest new and used bookstore in Florida. Show your date that you are smart and can read, take him/her there and browse in one of the many rooms. You may run into the ghost of Jack Kerouac. 2025 Central Ave. St. Petersburg, FL 33713 727-822-8616 www.haslams.com.

Boyd Hill Nature Reserve- It has 245 acres of splendid nature nestled at the southeast section of the Peninsula of Pinellas County. Hike, take a picnic, practice your photography; there is no better way to get the feel for a person's personality than when you get them in a natural environment. 1101 Country Club ay S. St. Petersburg, FL 33705 727-893-7326 www.stpete.org/boyd/.

Pet Pal Animal Rescue Shelter- Visit the dogs and cats that would be so happy to have new people fawning attention onto them. This date will put you in dual spirits. You will be sad that they are without a permanent home (it is a no-kill shelter) or maybe you will leave with a new pet. The presence of dogs and cats may leave your date in a cuddle mood afterwards. 405 22nd ST S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712 727-328-7738 www.petpalanimalshelter.com.

The Pinellas Trail- You can get to know one another while you walk, run, or bike on a section of The Pinellas Trail. It goes all the way between St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. There are frequent starting points, so get on wherever you are. You can talk and people watch. If you decide you don't like your date after all, just walk, run, or bike in the opposite direction. Contact the trail office if you want specific information. 12020 Walsingham Rd. Largo FL 33778 727-549-6099 www.pinellascounty.org/park12.Trail.htm.

Studio 620- Events, performances, and exhibits hosted at the small studio offers something for everyone. This is a great time to introduce yourself and your date to some culture. Check the website for a full schedule of coming events. Some are free and some cost a few dollars. You'll have a great time. 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-895-6620 www.studio620.org.

You now have a week's worth of ideas to impress your date. When asked what do you want to do? You'll have an answer. Take the seventh day off; maybe watch some sports. -end-

Turn an Old Coffee Table into a Cherished Centerpiece

urn an Old Coffee Table into a Cherished Centerpiece

Everybody has an old end or coffee table they mean to discard either stored in the attic or in the garage. Here is a fun project that will let you spend time reminiscing, keep your memories alive, and serve as a conversation piece to guests.

Start by looking though all of your photographs from before the days of digital, they may be in the attic or garage with the old table. Measure the table top that you want to transform. In a work area, lay out a towel to the same specifications. This will help you to place and arrange your pictures before you glue them onto the wood.

I trim the pictures with scissors so that the pictures will fit almost together but not quite. I prefer a little bit of the wood to show between pictures. It makes a nice effect. Be creative with the way you cut the photos, this will be your work of art.

If you try to overlap the pictures it will be more challenging to glue them down and in time the surface may become uneven.

Unless you have a really big family, this is a perfect place to display them easily and uniquely. The bigger the table, the more friends, pets, and pictures of your grandchildren you can arrange. This is a perfect time to cut people out of the pictures without feeling guilty.

Take your time doing the search for appropriate photos; some of the most enjoyable times are spent remembering things from our past. If you really like the result of your masterpiece, then go ahead and use recent photos after you have turned them into hard copy. The end result is such a fun thing to have on display in your home; you can even buy some inexpensive tables and create a collage coffee table as a gift.

After you have had fun for about a week of choosing your pictures, you are ready to make them permanently a part of your coffee table. Be sure the surface is cleaned well with plain water and has a chance to dry well. Now have fun, glue them onto the predetermined place on your wooden table using carpenter glue.

Be generous with the glue, but be careful and have a wet/damp cloth close at hand to wipe up any glue that seeps out from under the edges of your photos once you press them down well. Let the table dry in its current state for a few days; meanwhile, head to the hardware store for a can of polyurethane and a paintbrush.

Stroke the clear coating on in a thin even layer. Let the table rest again for a few days to be sure it is completely dry. Recoat and let dry three times. The more protection you give the table the more confident you will be.

When your art work is ready for display, don't crowd the table top too much. You want everyone that enters your home to admire it. When you are relaxing on the couch, you will instantly be reminded of your loved ones every time you sit down.

Cha Cha Coconuts Restaurant at the Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

Cha Cha Coconuts Restaurant at the Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

Great Food and Even Better Scenery

Crows and sea gulls, waiting for a piece of bread or a French fry to fall, play sentinel to the outside patio deck of Cha Cha Coconuts Restaurant on the fifth and roof floor of the St. Petersburg Pier. Tampa Bay spreads out to the north, south, and east. Glance west and you might see St. Pete Beach if the city were not crowding the peninsula. The birds have the advantage in transportation.

The city is there and its buildings range in sizes. The city is tiny in comparison to her sisters Tampa and Clearwater.

It is calm today; the thankful overcast sky casts a gloom over the water. They blend almost seamlessly in a pale grey. No wind blows to propel a sailboat so most remain in their berths in the St. Petersburg Marina at the head of the jutting road leading to the primary colored triangular structure, The Pier. They are art just sitting there, an army of masts.

Blue faux marble tables surrounded by green, blue, and red plastic patio chairs arranged for lunch and dinner guests have metal buckets with condiments inside and beer and wine logos on the outside. An enthusiastic Salvatore Dali fan had affixed two Dali Museum stickers to this one.

Tama brought the Havana Ham and Cheddar while my eyes took in the scenery of Cha- Cha Coconuts and that beyond the pedestrian rails. She wore a red shirt with white leaves on it, and even though her hair was bunned, she was warm and like me grateful that the sun did not come out yet today. Ice tea cooled me from the Florida heat and my spicy staple sandwich.

The patio is not full today. It would be if it were March through July. Two couples, a family of three and a man drinking a Red Stripe beer and talking on the cell phone are my companions for lunch.

Past the rails to the south, the Skyway Bridge is just visible over a concentration of green which is Boyd Hill Nature Reserve. Small planes take off and land at the Albert Whitted Airport next to the Pier. They are close enough and small enough to enjoy the distraction without the noise usually associated with airports.

Toward the east, white billows of smoke rise from a power plant across Tampa Bay. It could be in Apollo Beach, maybe, Tama doesn't know either. The grey power plant stacks and the white smoke combined with the grey landscape of the sky and water seem eerie.

The décor of Cha Cha Coconuts contrasts the colorlessness with yellow, blue, green, purple, and orange painted walls, counters, posts, other tables, and murals. In the evening or on a sunny day when the picture looks different, it is not quite this surreal.

Above the glass doors separating the inside and outside seating areas is a mural of several pelicans sitting at a bar. No doubt they enjoy the drum and tambourine contemporary music playing overhead. If it was later in the day, I might have followed their lead and sat at the bar inside in air-conditioned comfort.

Instead, I order an ice cream cone to go, pay my $12 (tip included) bill, and walk to the rail and watch kids getting a closer look out at the power boaters, jet skiers, and fishing boats from the 25 cent binocular stands.

People should come to Cha Cha Coconuts. The food is great, the service staff is always friendly, and the view from the raised vantage point can't be beat. -note to follow-

Cha -Cha Coconuts 800 2nd Ave NE St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-822-6655

Six Things to Do with Brewed Tea - Besides Drinking It

Six Things to Do with Brewed Tea - Besides Drinking It

Everyone agrees that drinking tea is good for you. Whether you prefer black, green, chai, peppermint, or chamomile; you should brew extra, there are other things to use it for. An added bonus for finding extra uses for tea is that it will likely cause you to drink more. That is a wonderful thing. Here are six ideas.

1. After you have brewed the tea, place the tea bags over your eyes. This soothes the eyes. Dipping cotton balls in the tea and then placing them on your eyes works also. Better yet, lie back with the above on your eyes while placing a tea soaked wash cloth over your face. The family will think you are strange but maybe they will leave you alone.

2. Pour the tea into a bowl and let it cool. Soak a soft cotton cloth, like t-shirt fabric into the bowl, sneeze out the excess moisture and use the cloth to dust the wood in your home.

3. Brew a whole pot of tea on the stove using three tea bags. Pour the tea into a bucket after it has cooled. Add about the same portion of water and use the mixture to clean your hard work floors. Rinse your mop thoroughly with plain water to dry before storage.

4. It would be great to soak your whole head of hair in a bucket of tea. If you can comfortably do that, it will give a nice shine to your hair, but be sure to rinse with plain fresh water afterward. It is more feasible to just have plastic pitcher of warm tea handy when you go into the shower. After you wash your hair and rinse it, rinse it again with the tea. Follow with a fresh water rinse.

5. Pour cooled tea into a bowl and it cool. Soak a soft cloth in the tea and use it to wipe any dust off of your house plants. If you believe that talking to plants helps keep them healthy, imagine how grateful they will be when you gently clean each leaf while doing so.

6. If you use tea leaves with an infuser, dump the grinds into the garbage disposal. They tend to freshen it up a bit while helping keep the blades sharp. It may be best to keep a bowl or container near the sink and let the grinds build up for the best effect.

Eckerd College PEL Program in St. Petersburg, Florida

Eckerd College PEL Program in St. Petersburg, Florida

First Time Student at 39!

Eckerd College's Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) has allowed me to strive toward my bachelor's degree. Starting college at the age of 39 sounded foolish to many of my friends. Working at decent jobs that earned my keep was one thing, but I knew I was destined for more. The ideas that have spun in my head for decades could not be realized until I took the steps needed to realize them and compete.

Growing up in a frugal household, the fear of student loans and the lack of commitment to one single path caused me to shun college. I have always pursued hobbies; now I realize that vocation means earning a living at those things that inspire passion. I want to have a fulfilling life; it should be more than simply meeting obligations. Since earning a living takes up so much time, I now insist on chasing happiness while I am at it.

Scheduling classes challenges adult students more than any other deterrent. It is easy to take evening classes at Eckerd College. The PEL program is specific to students over 23 years old and caters to their needs.

The main campus is in south St. Petersburg and classes are also available at the Tampa, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, and Seminole campuses. The book store and the beautiful new Armacost Library are at the main campus.

PEL classes meet between 5:30pm- 10:30pm. Directed study and Independent study courses are available to supplement the traditional norm with little or no class meetings. They are undertaken on-line and with communication with the professor. Adults usually do not have the option of giving up their full-time jobs to attend and families must be cared for. I recommend taking all or most classes on campus with on-line supplements if necessary.

Accelerated class semesters mean extra classes in each semester, allowing you to earn your degree faster than traditional programs. If you have former college experience, or real world pertinent experiences, these can transfer toward degree requirements. It is vital to set a strict schedule for homework, the balance is a challenge but the rewards are great. Most likely, your family will respect your need for homework time and you will set a good example for your children about dedication.

I recommend the PEL program; it is a full college experience. Education should not just be about getting a job with your degree, but becoming a more enlightened person in various regards. Learning to understand other people, opening the mind to a fresh way of thinking, and fully participating in life is the benefit of true education. Broad subject and personal interest classes should be studied together with the classes satisfying the major. Interacting with other adults that are on a similar path is a great way to network; relationships with classmates and professors can open many doors.

The PEL program offers bachelor's degrees in many majors, Environmental Studies, American Studies, Human Development, History, Creative Writing, and more. The admission and financial aid advisors make the process easy. Once you get started, your personal advisor will guide you through your degree planning.

Having shared experiences with my new friends, asking professors for advice, and attending college social events puts me into the community outside of the home or office. It is never too late to start or finish that education. -notes to follow-

Eckerd College Program for Experienced Learners

4200 54th Ave S

St. Petersburg, FL 33711

727-864-8226/ 727-864-8422(fax)

www.eckerd.edu/pel

Eat at Angie's Cafe in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida

Eat at Angie's Cafe in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida

Feel like a Local

Review: Angie's Cafe in St. Petersburg, Florida - You might miss it hurrying past while you stroll through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The name is written on the front window, there is no flashy sign. On the corner of 1st Ave N and 2nd St N, look for the red and white umbrella tables. Enjoy lunch, dinner, or a late night snack. Creative Loafing magazine has voted it "Best Late Night Gyro."

Locals eat there because the portions are big and the prices are small. Nothing on the menu costs more than $8. It's a tiny place, not right for a large party of people, but perfect for a couple or small family. The open door calls you inside where the mural on the walls gives a Mediterranean feel. A pale green and white setting is overseen by a Roman sentinel standing amongst mighty pillars.

Fish and chips, Greek salad, hot dogs, turkey and bacon sandwiches, and Falaphal share the overhead menu with baklava for dessert. There are many other things to try and a good choice of breads. Two people can easily share a portion. The sandwiches are big with the filling piled high almost two inches between the flaky rye, wheat, or white. The meat is fresh, not cheap cold cuts.

Eat at a table along the wall or the blue counter and watch one of the televisions, or eat at a table on the sidewalk and people watch. Domestic and import beer is available if you'd like.

The service is quick and the food is good. . Sometimes, the same person that takes your order will also be preparing it. Stop in at Angie's and get the feel of the local atmosphere. Alice Cooper and Governor Christ are fans. A corkboard with friends is something to look at while you wait for the meal which will arrive any minute. Angie's takes credit cards, but there is an ATM machine inside for convenience.

One potential drawback to its location is that buses run past and they cause a bit of noise. You will know you are in the city. If you can look past that, your experience will be great. Support the small businesses in St. Petersburg like Angie's; you'll be pleasantly surprised at the service and ambiance.

The café is in the center of the city, and not a far walk to the Bay. Enjoy the water, the shops, the people of the city and then return later for a beer and a burger. -notes below-

Angie's Café 200 1st Ave N St. Petersburg Florida 33701 727-823-6437

A Look at Thoreau's Simplicity of Life from Walden

A Look at Thoreau's Simplicity of Life from Walden

In Walden, Thoreau effectively pointed out luxuries in life that modern people have turned into necessities. His advice was to simplify all aspects of life to forge a better kind of economy. He leveled the needs of humans down to food, shelter, clothing, and fuel (12). The most important necessity of life is food, and he spent time explaining how the other three afford a certain luxury. His purpose for going to live beside Walden Pond was to break life down to its basics and attune himself with truth through philosophy.

He felt that by getting away alone and surviving only on the bare minimum, that he could absorb more of God and nature, and learn more about his own constitution as well. Thoreau said, "I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor" (85). The stories he relates throughout Walden match the proper definition of economy.

In the Webster's Dictionary, economy means, "frugal use of money, the regular operations of nature, due order of things, and judicious management." To people in society during Thoreau's time and in the twenty-first century, economy means the exchange of money through consumerism. The more possessions a person owns and the more disposable income a person acquires tells of his measure of success in life. People weigh themselves down with too many details and materials in life when the best way to find contentment is to abandon these crutches and live life. Thoreau wanted people to take time to smell the roses if you will allow the cliché.

There are several examples in Walden that illustrate the differences in the approach to economy that Thoreau envisions and the reality of most people's lives. He wonders why people have so many clothes when you habitually wear the same ones repeatedly and why people eat three meals a day typically when one or even none will suffice (87). He would prefer to travel by foot than by car. Although he reads the newspapers himself occasionally, he is confounded that daily the first words from folks lips are "what's the news" wondering what everyone else is doing instead of making the most of their own lives and all the treasure to be found nearby through observation.

Having no distractions, he gets profound pleasure out of a mosquito when he relates, "I was as much affected by the faint hum of a mosquito making its invisible and unimaginable tour through my apartment at earliest dawn" (84). It is a shame that in most people's lives, this same mosquito would go unnoticed because of radio, television, children, or other white noises. Most people would rather kill the insect instead of pondering it in any case. Simplify everything and understanding and happiness will surely increase. Thoreau addresses the problem with colleges not preparing youth for real life. He says that instead of watching and studying life, people should be living every minute in real time. Colleges may be good for teaching political economy but fail in promoting practical living (48). He is a philosopher and teaches people to live in reality and to shun pretence.

He enjoys going into the village to observe the townspeople but after pleasantries, excuses himself to solitude instead of feigning interest. He does not see the point in being overtly good or feeling guilty over the poor. He does endorse "necessity of life" living but still feels civilization is desirable even through economy, exemplified in his comment, "None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin" (62). Economy, to Thoreau does not mean seeking poverty but richness through philosophy

The important thing in life is to remove as many distractions (other people, radio) and pollutions (excess, gluttony, pretense) from one's life in order to reach the truth of life and to really live, so that at the end of one's life they will not regret not having lived at all. -notes to follow-

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and other writings. Random House: New York, 1992.

The Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay

The Estuary's Formation Through a Meteorite Strike and Its Modern Ecology

There are eight-hundred and fifty estuaries along the coasts of the United States, of which The Chesapeake Bay on the eastern coast is the largest. This particular estuary is special because of the dramatic geological event that contributed to its location and features. Researchers determined that during the late Eocene Epoch, a meteorite two miles wide struck earth plunging through six hundred feet of water into the continental shelf.

The Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure, the name given to the collapsed crater, is fifty-three miles wide. Sedimentation occurred over time and the structure now lies 1,000-1,500 feet beneath the bay. The depth causes researchers difficulty in gathering information for study, but much interest lies in continuation to further knowledge. The impact destroyed the natural aquifers, leaving the reservoir to fill with seawater. Finding freshwater near the crater site is challenging, especially since a lot remains unknown about the schematics of the structure site.

The course of the York and the James rivers turn abruptly from southeast to the northeast where they meet with the impact site's rim. As a geographic reference point, the city of Cape Charles on The Delmarva Peninsula is at the very center of the impact crater.

It was during The Great Ice Age of the Pleistocene Epoch when the retreat and advance of ice sheets changed the face of the earth many times. Finally, about 12,000 years ago, the ice moved north and melting waters raised sea level; flooding the river valley formerly cut into the coastal plain by the Susquehanna River. These dynamics classify The Chesapeake Bay as a drowned river mouth estuary. An estuary is an exciting place where ocean saltwater mixes with freshwater from inland lakes, rivers, and streams. The bay's appearance as currently familiar to us formed about 3,000 years ago.

The watershed for the bay is huge, covering 64,000 square miles. Fresh water sources come from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and The District of Columbia. The Susquehanna River contributes fifty percent of this water along with large amounts from the James, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, Choptank, and Patuxent Rivers. The ocean adds the remaining fifty percent in the form of saltwater, thus the uniqueness of an estuary. The bay's salinity represents a broad range from 0.05 ppt. (parts per thousand) near the Susquehanna River to 30-35 ppt. at the mouth. The estuary has 11,684 miles of shoreline. The average depth of The Chesapeake Bay is only twenty-one feet, although some trenches reach one hundred and seventy-four feet.

The estuary is home to 3,600 species, 2,700 of which are plant species. There is great diversity with one hundred and seventy-three different shellfish, three hundred and forty-eight finfish, and twenty-nine waterfowl. The vast Chesapeake Bay is a stop along The Atlantic Migratory Bird Flyaway. Some year round residents include the bald eagle, the great blue heron, and the snowy egret.

There are five major habitats present within The Chesapeake Bay, which I will explore in the following pages. They are shallow water, aquatic reefs, streams and rivers, wetlands, forests, and to a lesser degree open water. These habitats vary in their physical features, their biodiversity, and in salinity.

Three zones of salinity comprise The Chesapeake Bay. The oligohaline water found in the river tributaries is least salty, the mesohaline water found at river mouths increase in salinity, and the polyhaline water at the mouth of the bay close to the Atlantic, the saltiest. The boundaries of these zones are not static since tides carry water in and out of the areas. Rainwater and groundwater affects the salinity. In all zones, the saltiest water is at furthest depth since it is denser and sinks to the bottom.

Shallow water, also called the littoral zone is very busy with production. This habitat features the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and tidal marshes. Most species of SAV such as hydrilla, wild celery, and sago pondweed thrive in fresh to slightly brackish water. Eelgrass and widgeon grass prefer salty water. Invertebrates, fish, and waterfowl live here. Shrimp, killifish, and juveniles utilize the littoral zone as nurseries. This is a refuge from predators such as the blue crab, raptors, striped bass, and spot. SAV adds oxygen to the water, which contributes to the growth of other organisms. The growth of these plants also helps control coastal erosion by slowing the flow of water. Most water in The Chesapeake Bay is rather shallow; however, the shallowest of them will represent the above traits most abundantly.

Aquatic reefs created by oysters form in the bay at mouths of rivers and creeks on hard substrate. They are up crusting reefs that protrude upwards from the bottom. The self-established, self-sustaining habitats take thousands to years to form. Densely packed oysters grow together upward and outward over acres of the bay producing a three-dimensional habitat. The oysters filter water and consume phytoplankton, which increases water clarity and light penetration. Species such as the finfish live here and are safe from predation. The reefs provide breeding and nesting ground for several species. The habitat benefits the oysters themselves by slowing their suffocation and burial by sediment. These features of the ecosystem of The Chesapeake Bay are in grave danger. Oyster levels have dropped in recent years due to diseases, pleasure harvesting, and pollution. The loss of the oysters negates the benefits to the other species through habitat loss and inability to maintain the water clarity.

Rivers and streams are abundant in The Chesapeake Bay with one hundred and fifty in the drainage basin. These tributaries have varying degrees of salinity depending greatly on the tides. Some areas are above the fall line, which makes them non-tidal. The fall line is the physical barrier west of the bay marked by waterfalls and rapids. Uniquely, the Susquehanna River is all fresh water being immune to tides.

Fish species such as striped bass, perch, shad, and herring live in the ocean, but must spawn in freshwater tributaries. The building of dams limits these migratory avenues causing decline in populations, since they need access and healthy water for the development and survival of eggs and juveniles. There has been some success in removing obstructions thus allowing these fish to rebound.

Wetlands provide transitional areas between bay tributaries and land. They serve as a sponge to absorb flooding water. This helps to control flooding and erosion of the coastline. There are emergent wetlands like marshes and wet meadows, shrub wetlands that are swamps and bogs, and forested wetlands. These important habitats not only protect and improve water quality but also are home to a variety of creatures and plant-life.

Mammals live here along with birds and fishes. Some examples of the diversity found in the wetlands include muskrat, white-tailed deer, beaver, striped bass, menhaden, flounder, oysters, blue crab, ducks, geese, and songbirds. Plant-life includes wild rice and blueberry.

Riparian forests serve as buffer zones between water and land environments much like wetlands. Many creatures take refuge in the forests that provide food and shelter. They are important to controlling pollution by trapping and filtering sediments, nutrients and chemicals. These buffers remove 80% to 90% of phosphorous and nitrogen from the water. These are the largest problems in The Chesapeake Bay with nutrient overload. This causes algae to grow in large quantities, and it blocks sunlight needed by species in lower depths. When the algae dies and decomposes, it takes valuable oxygen from the water. The condition is hazardous to several species.

A group called American Forests' has planted many thousands trees in The Chesapeake Bay watershed to improve the health of the estuary. Their goal is to meet a million trees planted. The name of this program is Chesapeake Releaf and is a cooperative with the U. S. Forest Service.

Open water is the least represented in this watershed. No light enters the depths in this pelagic environment. Closer to the bay's wide expanse and southward, there are dolphins, stingrays, squid, and sharks (the sandbar shark the most frequent.) The bull shark also enters the bay, this predator species can live in both salt and freshwater.

Life in the estuary is always changing. The residents live where they can thrive or tolerate conditions. Some water quality factors allow movement between habitats. Nutrients in the water are essential but are harmful and create algae blooms if too abundant. Sediments cloud water and sometimes hamper growth of some organisms that do not get enough sunlight. Temperature changes in the water affect animals and plants when they feed, reproduce, and migrate. Dissolved oxygen is essential for healthy growth. Chemical contaminants affect growth, reproduction, and survival. Salinity zones have been categorized above, and some animals and plants can adapt to more than one.

Humans' knowfully or unwittingly introduce species from outside habitats into an ecosystem. Ships empty more than just water from their ballast tanks when unloading their ships. To add allure to an area, people bring in plants and animals to beautify an ecosystem. Storms carry life from one region to another as well. These invaders cause real problems for indigenous residents. One hundred and sixty invasive species live in The Chesapeake Bay.

A mammal called the nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent from South America, competes with the native muskrat for habitat. They destroy sod mats, which destabilize soil leading to erosion. People brought this creature to The Chesapeake Bay area to control unwanted plant life and to enhance the fur trade.

Mute swans came from Europe and Asia. People brought them to the area for ascetic value. The birds act aggressively toward the native Tundra swan. The birds eat copious amounts of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV.) The loss of so many of these plants threatens food supply and habitat for many organisms.

The attractive plant, Purple Loosestrife, came from Europe and adds beauty to the coastline while provides nectar for bees. Unfortunately, they reproduce rapidly, taking up valuable habitat from native plants. There are so many loosestrife plants; the wetland structure is affected. The Maryland Department of Natural resources decided to do something about this problem and released 60,000 European Galerucella beetles into The Chesapeake Bay watershed to control the plants. Other states have enjoyed success with this method. Introducing a species in order to control a different invasive might ignite skepticism; however, researchers believe that since this beetle feeds on this plant specifically, when the loosestrife is gone, so too will the beetle.

The Chesapeake Bay boasts two major ports of the United States, Baltimore and Hampton Roads. These homes to commerce exchange international, regional and local cargo. Commercial ventures on the bay focus on fishing. Five- hundred million pounds of seafood leave the bay every year. The blue crab is the highest valued and is the signature species for The Chesapeake Bay. It lives in all three salinity zones, oligohaline, mesohaline, and polyhaline. The females prefer saltier water while the males venture farther into tributaries. The blue crab is dormant when water temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They survive by burrowing themselves into the sediment bottom.

An estuary like The Chesapeake Bay is a fragile environment. The plants, animals, fish, reptiles, birds, shellfish, and even plankton all play a role in the health of the others. Energy flows through the ecosystem through a tropic level food web. When one arena in the equation suffers damage or disruption, it can wreak havoc on many other areas. Erosion, pollution, human development, rising sea levels, and depletion of fisheries stock all contribute to degradation.

The Chesapeake Bay was the first bay to be set aside for restoration. A limited list of entities working toward this goal include, The United States Geological Survey, The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and The Department of Defense. The encompassing arrangement is The Chesapeake Bay Program. Chemical runoff from industries has dire effects on water quality. Toxins present in the bay have led to advisories by authorities about fish consumption. One of these companies, Purdue Farms, Inc., signed an agreement last fall with The Environmental Protection Agency to investigate and execute a plan to minimize runoff from their farms. A nationwide initiative is set for 2008. Sewage treatment plants also pollute The Chesapeake Bay. In response, The Department of Defense (DOD), plans to spend nearly 22 million dollars to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities across Maryland. Other projects by the DOD include shoreline stabilization at Aberdeen Proving Ground and creating a living shoreline at Naval Support Facility at Solomon's Island. The Bay Program makes aggressive attempts at restoring water quality through nutrient reduction, managing fisheries through a cooperative between bay region jurisdictions, and promoting wise and environmentally sensitive land use.

Sixteen million people live near and enjoy the estuary, but cause troubles for the ecosystems just through daily living. Rainwater washes pollutants from automobiles, pesticides, and toilets into the watershed. Urban sprawl encroaches on wetlands and forests, which acts as a buffer between land and water.

The Chesapeake Bay Program seeks to education people about their role in restoration of the estuary. Open nature trails, access tours, and Earth Day and Clean the Bay activities immerse people in their natural environment, encouraging proper stewardship. The Program compiles data about the bay's health using many criteria and provides it to the citizens. Pamphlets illustrate the populations of oysters, blue crab, and rockfish along with migratory fish patterns. Details about wetlands and riparian forests support declining or improving conditions. Other important information offered is nutrient levels, algae growth, and water clarity.

Nature and humans' are often at odds with one another, the damage to The Chesapeake Bay is an example. Comfortable homes, close conveniences, and commerce many times supersede people's relationship with natural environments. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT), provides transportation for residents and easy access through the area for tourists. Connecting Virginia's eastern shore with the mainland, it represents a stark contrast between human created wonders and the myriad of natural wonders the traveler will glimpse from the car windows. CBBT is the largest bridge-tunnel complex in the world. The span is nearly eighteen miles long, and it is quite beautiful. Ready for use on April 15, 1964, the complex achieved status as "One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World." In 1965, it won the title "The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement." There is plenty of wildlife to view from the bridge and around the four fabricated islands. The American Oystercatcher, Peregrine Falcon, American White Pelican, and King Eider are a few birds frequenting the bridge and supporting structures.

The Chesapeake Bay has much to study. From violent beginnings, through the growth and struggle of many diverse habitats, and the efforts to restore the bay to a cleaner, healthier ecosystem. Sadly, despite the efforts of those involved with The Chesapeake Bay Program, while some areas of concern have improved, a new report shows conditions continuing to decline in the watershed overall.

Selected References

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. 16 July 2007. 16 July 2007. . 
Chesapeake Bay Program. The State of the Chesapeake Bay and It's Watershed. The Environmental Protection Agency. Dec. 2004. 
Chesapeake Bay Program. 17 July 2002. 29 June 2007. . 
Chirico, Peter G., Emily C. Phillips, and Michael B. Warner. "Ancient impact GPS and seismic profiling map hidden crater: subsurface geologic formations are the foundations of Earth's visible landscape. However, surficial landscapes sometimes mask deep, geologic structures and formations, concealing significant impacts. (Global Positioning System) (Cover Story)." GEO World 20.4 (April 2007):18(4). InfoTrac OneFile.Thomson Gale. LIRN. 19June 2007 . 
Department of the Army. The Army's Chesapeake Bay Program: "Protecting the Bay and It's Resources for Future Generations." 
Garrison, Tom. Oceanography; An Invitation to Marine Science. Sixth Edition. Canada: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2007. 
Geiselman, Bruce. "U.S. to upgrade military sewage units. (Department of Defense)." Waste News 12.7 (July 31,2006): 15 InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 19 June 2007 . 
"Maryland enlists a beetle in war against invasive plant in Chesapeake. (States) (Brief article)." Wetlands Law and Regulation Report 3.8. (August 2006): 76. InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 19 June 2007 . 
"Perdue, EPA to protect Chesapeake Bay. (Business) (PERDUE Farms Inc.) (Environmental Protection Agency)." Feedstuffs 78.40 (Sept 25, 2006): 6 (1). InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 19 June 2007 . 
Poag, C. Wylie. Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America's Giant Meteorite Crater. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1999. 
Small, Lawrence M. "Baywatch: Smithsonian scientists' study of the Chesapeake may benefit a wider world. (From the Secretary). Smithsonian 34.5 (August 2003): 12. InfoTroc OneFile. Thomson Gale. LIRN, 19 June 2007 . 
"Walker, Sally M. Life in an Estuary. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 2003. 
WE DID THE CHESAPEAKE. (Chesapeake Bay releafing program) (brief article)." AmericanForests 106.4(Wntr 2001):15. InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson gale. LIRN. 19 June 2007 .

The Taupo Volcanic Zone

The Taupo Volcanic Zone

North Island- New Zealand

The Ring of Fire is a name given to the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean that is particularly active geologically due to the boundaries of Earth's tectonic plates. Seven major plates, several intermediate size plates and perhaps dozens of lesser plate boundaries carry the rigid lithosphere over top of the pliable asthenosphere creating a changeable landscape on Earth. Along the southwest basin of the Pacific Ocean, The Ring of Fire includes the country of New Zealand.

Along the perimeters and within New Zealand lie, islands, volcanoes, trenches, mountains, valleys, fiords, plains and sub-tropical forest making this sub-tropic/ Antarctic country an attractive geological study. The Pacific and the Australian-Indian plates are the two major tectonic plates that come together here. "New Zealand's Awesome Landscape," teaches that the North Island and some parts of the South Island sit on the Australian Plate while the rest of the South Island sits on the Pacific Plate.

New Zealand separated from Gondwanaland when the super continent broke up. The oldest rocks in New Zealand are five hundred million years old, remnants of Gondwanaland. It began to break up approximately two hundred million years ago with New Zealand drifting off on its own eighty- five million years ago according to "Geography and Geology."

The mobile belt, a term, used in "Geology-New Zealand's Geological History," refers to "part of a region where the outer part of the earth's crust has been buckling and breaking at a geologically rapid rate." It is evident that the crust beneath and in proximity to New Zealand has been heavily active as recently as within the past few centuries. This essay seeks to explore the area on the North Island called the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ).

Throughout history, volcanic activity has changed the form of New Zealand on the North and South Islands. In modern times, active volcanoes in New Zealand form the (TVZ). It is a small area, only twelve to forty-eight miles wide, which starts at Ruapehu, and extends offshore one hundred and twenty miles. This area extends from Tongariro National Park to White Island in the Bay of Plenty.

This essay tours the volcanoes comprising the region in a general northward direction and related features of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. In the diagram below, circles represent the three major volcanic centers of the TVZ (Tongariro, Taupo, and Rotorua with the extension into the Bay of Plenty. Volcanic activity began to build what is the plateau like formation of the TVZ in the late Tertiary period according to "GEOLOGY- NEW ZEALAND'S GEOLOGICAL HISTORY." The volcanoes in the Tongariro region formed during the Pleistocene.

According to B. F. Houghton and his fellow authors, our study is a result of intense Quaternary volcanism coupled with rapid expansion of continental crust. They compare TVZ to Yellowstone in the United States, with both areas being similar in size, longevity, thermal flux, and magma output rate. The differences include Taupo's high frequency, smaller eruption events that tend to from calderas. The thin, crumbled crust hinders Taupo from long- term magmatic cycles.

Two types of volcanoes centers are typical in modern activity: andesitic, dacitic, and basaltic or rhyolithic calderas. The series of volcanoes of Tongariro are the former while Rotorua and Taupo exemplify the latter. The greatest volume of volcanic rocks in the TVZ comes from the calderas, ninety-seven percent. Earthquakes are frequent and two main faults are below. The North Island shear belt toward the east and the Mayor Island fault offshore in western Bay of Plenty probably were continuous according to J. W. Cole. The TVZ are part of the volcanic arc and back-arc basin of the Taupo-Hihurangi arc trench. There is plenty of heat and friction under North New Zealand to keep changes at a rapid pace geologically. The name mobile belt is a succinct description of the rock cycle demonstrated here.

The highest peak in the North Island is Ruapehu; the cone volcano stands at 9,175 feet and has an ice field. It lies at the furthest south area in the TVZ and is active. A tourist resort entertaining guests sits on the north-west foot of the peak, a vicarious choice for the structure given the eruption activity. Twelve steam eruptions and four ash eruptions have occurred here since 1889. Past eruptions created a crater in Ruapehu. It filled with hot water heated from the magma beneath. In 1945, a lava dome displaced the lake resulting in an eruption and subsequent episodes through 1947 left an enlarged crater.

The lake flowed over into the adjacent Whangaehu River in the past through a tunnel beneath surrounding ice. The lake returned to a higher level because of a barrier of scoria and debris from the 1945 eruption. On Christmas Eve in 1953, the strong hold failed and a lahar flooded the Whangaehu. One hundred and fifty one people died when the mudflow engulfed a railway bridge and an express train. Floods from Ruapehu occurred in ten separate years in the past century according to "Volcanism in New Zealand." Cone volcanoes such as Ruapehu erupt successively from the vent. This suggests an obvious pattern and with observation, predictions are simplified. Ruapehu's most recent eruption took place in 1996.

Tongariro, the namesake for Tongariro National Park, is a stratovolcano with an elevation of 6,487 feet. It is andesitic in composition. Several craters lie within a summit that is three miles in diameter. There names are North Crater, West Crater, Te Mari, Central Crater, Red Crater, South Crater, Upper Tama Lake, Lower Tama Lake, Pukekaikiore, Pukenake, and Ngauruhoe. Four of these have erupted in modern times with the largest on record being Te Mari, which erupted in 1896. Tongariro herself erupted last in 1977.

Ngauruhoe, another active volcano is 7,504 feet high. It is a lateral cone on the Tongariro and is the youngest among those around it. It featured more than sixty eruptions since 1839, when Europeans first saw it. In addition, lava flows have been common; there was one in 1870 and another in 1949. In 1954 alone, there were seventeen lava flows. Hot avalanches often precede the flows. The cone of Ngauruhoe is 3,000 feet with a cut off summit a quarter of a mile across.

The volcanoes mentioned thus far, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro together with their surrounding areas, represent the formerly mentioned Tongariro National Park. Lesser volcanoes associated with this volcanic center include Ohakune, Hauhungatahi, Pukeonake, Piharga, Kakaramea, and Mangkatote. All remain classified as active with plenty of evidence of geology below. Volcanism in the region results from the Pacific plate subducting under Australian- Indo plate. The edge of the Pacific plate presently rides fifty-two miles below the crust say Martin Reyners and his fellow authors. This created push and generates heat to feed the TVZ activity. Subsidence of the South Island increases as the plate is further subducted. The area at the southern edge of the TVZ is the most active. The Park originated in 1894 after the Te Heuheu people (a line of Maori native peoples) gave the New Zealand government a gift of 6,500 acres in 1896.

To the north of the Tongariro Volcanic Center is Lake Taupo, the namesake for the TVZ. It evolved from a volcanic mountain to a lake measuring two hundred and forty six square miles. The Taupo volcano settles above the Taupo Fault Belt. A violent eruption took place at Taupo approximately 1,830 years ago when pumice was scattered over a space of several thousand miles. The event left a hole, which filled with water. A cone had built up causing the level of the lake to raise thirty- seven yards. When the water broke through the ash dam of the cone, it caused a flood, which left wet ash nineteen yards thick in the surrounding floodplain according to R.C.M. Smith. Scientists believe that 26,500 years ago a more violent eruption occurred at Taupo. Strong enough to move solid rock boulders and they carried debris forty times as far as the more recent action.

V. Manville reminds geologists of the circumstance of the actions of the ecological environment here because of the Lake. Regional rifting can be "made manifest" by the presence of a lake in addition to magmatic processes. Other past pumice eruptions includes Maroa and Okataina centers.

The region of the TVZ has thick welded pyroclastic flows that form shallow plateaus. The sedimentation in the Taupo Volcanic Zone from the long ago eruptions mainly consist of pumice, but textures, structures, and compositions vary. Sedimentation, studied by R.C.Smith from the 1.8 ka (sic) eruption of Taupo, lithofacies show that deposition included debris, super concentrated lava flows and diluted though the range of young streams with shallow unstable channels, larger braided lakes, meandering rivers, a delta, temporary lakes, a beach, and near shore areas of caldera lake. Erosion plays a major role in the topography of the TVZ. Wind, rain, movement of water, and abrasion between different textures of rock and soil leave many volcanoes in the region looking like rounded mounds.

Lionel Carter reports that Ocean Drilling Program Sites 1123 and 1224 help provide a history of rock process for the past 12 million years. Studies show that volcanic activity began in the Coromandel Volcanic Zone almost 2 million years prior than originally thought. Activity moved from the former high profile thermal region to the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Carter said that studies from core samples show bare differences in composition.

Lake Rotorua resulted from the eruption of Mount Mamaku. Approximately 140,000 years ago, the eruption sent pyroclastic flows four square miles and it has the youngest and most widespread ignimbrite in the TVZ. Ignimbrite is a hard rock formed mostly by solidified fine volcanic ash. The caldera that was formed during the eruption measures ten miles in diameter. Lava domes emerged once the caldera formed.

Close to Rotorua eastward is the Okataina volcanic center. There was a violent eruption of Mount Tarawera in June of 1886. Mount Wahanga blew up and soon after Mount Tarawera and Ruawahia followed with eruptions. Debris from Tarawera raised 10,000 feet into the air. A rift nearly twelve miles long resulted. Nearby Lake Rotomahana added to the problem with water, mud, and rocks strewn for 6,000 square miles. The town of Wairoa suffered with burial beneath ten feet of debris. No immediate precursors to the event occurred except a two-foot tidal wave on Lake Tarawera two weeks earlier. Today, Wairoa is named The Buried Village.

Prior to this, the mountain lay dormant for nine hundred years when an eruption left pumice as evidence in the surrounding countryside. In 1886, a line of craters blasted throughout its three domes and the eruption moved along to Rotomahana where steam blasts destroyed the Pink and White Terraces. One hundred and fifty people died; the blasts so violent they were heard in Auckland and some reports of even in the South Island. Rotorua has a reputation as "Cureland," a nickname given for the springs there. Another nickname is Sulfur City from the odor.

Captain James Cook named White Island in 1769. It is the summit of a submarine volcano fifteen miles in diameter. Active with steam and ash erupting from several craters, Whakaari (native name) is a volatile andesitic stratovolcano. Three hundred and fifty-three yards break from the surface while the remainder of the mountain rests on the ocean floor. A lahar in 1914 killed a group of sulfur miners and destroyed many buildings as well. Mining abandoned; the privately owned island hosts guided tours and research.

The GeoNet Project monitors thermal activity on White Island continually and detection aids are used. Inside the crater walls, early earthquake warning equipment is used examine geologic events. It last erupted in 2001 yet scientists were paying attention when a 5.4 magnitude earthquake six miles to the southwest in 2008 caused prolonged aftershocks explained the article, "White Island still rattled after quake."

D.J. Woodward tells that the study of magnetism from samples of White Island prove fresh andesitic lavas are highly magnetized while altered andesites are weakly magnetic. The highly magnetic rocks lie in the floor of the crater. Obtaining frequent magnetism readings from the atmosphere around the island could help with early detection of an eruption since the level of change is pronounced there.

An explosion out of the side of White Island leaves the volcano looking sullen; the crater extends into Shark Bay, Wilson Bay, and Crater Bay. The crater floor opens to the sea. The island, overlain with various thicknesses of lava flows and sedimentation, exemplifies the terrain in the TVZ. Volcanic rock building up over millions of years weighs down the continent. This plus other geologic processes at work in New Zealand have attributed to a degree of subsidence.

The dormant volcano district throughout the North Island still has potential for awakening. The encyclopedia of New Zealand said that through geological and radiocarbon dating, experts have evidenced that in the Auckland district, sixty-three points of eruption are recognized. From studying basaltic scoria cones, flows, and maars, geologists learn that Rangitoto was active seven hundred and fifty years ago. Similar cones exist in Kaikohe-Bay of Islands and Whangarei.

All throughout the geothermal environment geysers, hot springs and boiling mud areas heat up the area. New Zealand's volcanoes make a perfect place for geothermal activity and in modern times, all of this activity is concentrated in the North, chiefly in the TVZ. The Wairakei Geothermal Field is on the eastern edge of the active volcanoes of today, a result of millions of years of some of the most active geology on Earth.

Unique rock layers can trap hot water and steam. Some examples of this are large pools of magma near the surface, fault planes (formed form the stretching of the Taupo crust from tectonic forces below) moving water to the northeast.

The Pacific plate is subducting underneath of the Australian-Indian plate. More reasons for the geoactivity here is a mudstone cap rock that from the Taupo-Reparoa Lake traps the hot water and steam. There are layers of porous rock such as andesites and rhyolite, which allows water to pass through. A technique geologists use to determine the location of underground heated water is called resistivity boundary. If electricity passes easily through a substance than there may be dissolved salts, perhaps indicating water. Tests done over an expanse of territory can determine where the edge of a geocenter may be because the resistivity will increase.

To the south of Taupo lies the Hipaua geothermal area. The area is volatile and wreaks havoc with the nearby highway and a village called Little Waihi, which suffers mudflows. In recent memory, 1846 and 1910, thermal activity from a place called Hipaua Steaming Cliffs caused slides killing sixty- five people. The cliffs overlook the southwestern tip of Lake Taupo from the Kakaramea volcano.

The Waihi Fault as well pushing the feature northward affects movement here. Problems with the heat from below and rainfall aggravate the situation. This area is a prime example of slope failure. When rain falls on the already saturated soil is weakens its integrity. The geothermal area continues from Taupo to the Tongariro Volcanic Center.

Modern New Zealand utilizes various forms of alternative energies. They do not import any energy sources from other countries and there geothermal capability sustains a majority of their needs.

This tour of the Taupo Volcanic Zone has made it more familiar. Deep mantle distortions, plate subduction, fault lines, and earthquakes create heat and friction below, which build the landscape above. Interactions between the internal heat and the surface coolness causes changes in rocks and the results are different compositions in different places. Normal sedimentation, layer after layer of volcanic deposit overlays, erosion, and interaction with water (fresh or salt), aid topographic building from above. New Zealand will continue to change its face in the accelerated rate of geologic processes at work on its section of the globe.

Selected References

Brownlie, Betty and Ronald Lockley. The Secrets of Natural New Zealand. Auckland: Penguin, 1987. 
Carter, Lionel, Philip Shane, Brent alloway, Ian R. Hall, Sara E. Harris, and John A. Westgate. "Demise of one volcanic zone and birth of another-a 12 m.y. marine record of major rhyolithic eruptions from New Zealand." Geology 31.6 (June 2003) 493(4). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 19 Nov. 2008 . 
Cole, J.W. "Structural control and origin of volcanism in the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand." Bulletin of Volcanology. August 1990. Springerlink. 19 Nov. 2008 . 
Duckeck, Jochen. "Geology of New Zealand." Showcaves.com. July 1, 2008. Oct. 22, 2008. . 
Fraser, Conon. Beyond the Roaring Forties: New Zealand's Sub Antarctic Islands. Wellington: Government Printing Office: 1986. 
"Geology." New Zealand Geothermal Association. 19 Nov. 2008. . 
"GEOLOGY-NEW ZEALAND'S GEOLOGICAL HISTORY", from An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara-The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 18 Sep. 2007. 
Hedenquist, Jeffrey W., Stuart F. Simmons, Werner F. Giggenbach, and Stewart Eldridge. "White Island, New Zealand, volcanic-hydrothermal system represents the geochemical environment of high-sulfidation Cu and Au ore deposition." GeoScienceWorld. August 1993. Oct. 22, 2008. . 
"Hipaua geothermal area." 19 Nov. 2008. . 
Hocking, Denis. "Slip scouring away." New Zealand Forest Industries Magazine. 34.10 (Oct 
2003): 52(1). GeneralOneFile. Gale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 . 
Houghton, B.F., C.J.N. Wilson, M.O.McWilliams, M.A. LAnphere, s.D.Weaver, R.M. Briggs and M.S. Pringle. "Chronology and dynamics of a large silicic magmatic system: Central Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand."Geology 23.n1 (Jan 1995): 14 (4). General Onefile. Gale. LIRN. 19 Nov. 2008. . 
House, M.A., Gurnis, P.J.J. Kamp, and R. Sutherland. "Uplift in the Fiordland region, New Zealand: implications for incipient subduction. (Reports)." Science. 297.5589 (Sept 20, 2002): 2038 (4).GeneralOneFile. Gale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 
Gale&userGroupName>. 
Hurst, A.W., P.C. Rickerby, B.J. Scott, and T. Hashimoto. "Magnetic field changes on White Island, New Zealand, and the value of magnetic changes for eruption forecasting." CAT.INIST. 22 Oct. 2008. . 
"Large lake floods scoured New Zealand." Science News. 164.6 (August 9, 2003): 94 (1). GeneralOneFileGale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 
gale&userGroupName>. 
Maksoud, Judy. "The search for gas (Asia/Pacific)." Offshore. 62.10 (Oct 2002): 18 (1). GeneralOneFile. Gale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 
gale&userGroupName>. 
Manville, V., and C.J.N. Wilson. "Interaction between volcanism, rifting and subsidence: implications of intracaldera palaoshorelines at Taupo volcano, New Zealand." Journal of the Geological Society 160.1 (Jan 2003): 3 (8). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 19 Nov. 2008 . 
Molnar, Peter, Helen J. Anderson, Etienne Audoine, Donna Eberhart-Phillips, ken R. Gledhill, Eryn R. Klosko, Thomas V. McEvilly, David Okaya, Martha Kane Savage, Tim Stern, and Francis T. Wu. "Continuous Deformation Versus Faulting Through the Continental Lithosphere of New Zealand." Science. 286.5439 (Oct 15, 1999): 516. GeneralOneFile. Gale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 
gale&userGroupName>. 
Monastersky, R. "Powerful quake shakes South Pacific." Science News. 135.n22 (June 3, 1989):340 (1).GeneralOneFile. Gale. LIRN. 5 Oct. 2008 . 
"New Zealand's Awesome Landscape." Geography and Geology. New Zealand. com. 22 Oct. 2008 < www.newzealand.com/travel/about-nz/nature-geography-and-geology.cfm> 
Rapien, Maria H. "Geochemical Evolution at White Island, New Zealand." July 1998. Oct. 22 2008 < http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-61098-171720/unrestricted/mhr1.pdf>. 
"Rotorua, New Zealand." OregonState.edu. 19 Nov. 2008..Sinclair, Keith, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand. Auckland: Oxford UP, 1996. 
Smith R. C. M. "Post-eruption sedimentation on the margin of a caldera lake, Taupo Volcanic Centre, New Zealand." CAT.INIST. 19 Nov 2008. . 
Smith, Victoria c., Phil Shane, and Ian A. Nairn. " Reactivation of a rhyolitic magma body by new rhyolitic intrusion before the 15.8 ka Rotorua eruptive episode: implications for magma storage in the Okataina Volcanic centre, New Zealand." Journal of the Geological Society 161.5 (Sept 2004): 757(16). General Onefile. Gale. LIRN. 19 Nov. 2008. . 
"Tongariro." Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History. 19 Nov 2008. . 
"Tongariro National Park." New Zealands National Parks. Geographic Navigator. 19Nov. 2008. . 
"Tongariro Volcanic Center, New Zealand." Oregon State.edu. 19 Nov 2008. . 
Villamor, Pilar, Russell Van Dissen, Brent V. Alloway, Alan S. Palmer, and Nicola Litchfield. "The Rangipo fault, Taupo rift, new Zealand: an example of temporal sliprate and single-event displacement variability in a volcanic environment. (Author abstract)." The Geological Society of America Bulletin 119.5-6 (May-June 2007): 529 (19). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 19 Nov. 2008 . 
"Volcanism in New Zealand." New Zealand in History. Nov 10, 2008. . 
"VOLCANO AND THERMAL ACTIVITY," from an Encyclopedia of New Zealand, edited byA. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara-The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 18 Sep 2007. . 
Woodward, D.J. and Mumme T.C. "Variations of magnetization on White Island, New Zealand." CAT.INIST.2008. Oct. 22, 2008. 
"White Island," Grown Ups 50+ Community. 07 Nov 2008. . 
"White Island still rattled after quake." ONENEWS-New Zealand News-Anywhere-Anytime. June 15, 2008. Oct. 22, 2008. .

St. Pete Beach in Florida- Ecology and People

St. Pete Beach in Florida- Ecology and People

In this examination of the beach, I endeavor to explore the natural state of the ecosystem in relation to the presence of the human beings that congregate there. I am fortunate to have an intimate relationship with the sand, sun, and water since I earn a living each day surrounded by these pleasures. I will offer information on ecology, natural phenomenon, and the human element surrounding the beach.

Sand is the most defining aspect of a beach, so what is it? Wind, wave action, and currents erode rocks and organic materials and deposit their product on the shorelines. Florida's west coast beaches contain three-fourths quartz. Feldspar is an abundant rock-forming mineral that comprises about sixty percent of the earth's crust. It contributes fifteen percent to sand along with smaller quantities of rock fragments, clay materials, calcium carbonate, and organic materials. I romanticize that some of the organic material in sand is pulverized bones from seafarers throughout history.

While digging in sand, the horizon contains a layer cake effect of lighter and darker sands. This is the result of the density of the sands deposited. Smaller waves with less strength carry sand with lighter color and density. Bigger, stronger waves deposit darker, denser granules. This offers an interesting way to study storm patterns, especially in a hurricane- prone region such as the gulf coast.

Erosion can cause encroachment of the ocean on human populations and sometimes-dredging takes place. Large vessels anchor off shore and lay underwater pipe. Pumps force sand from the ocean floor onto the diminished beach to build it back up to former levels. With the nature of sandy shores, this process repeats frequently and is expensive. This dredging must take a terrible toll on the displaced aquatic life.

Even though heavy rains fall on the beaches, the substrate does not support much life. Shorelines are unstable because of the shifting sand, and except for night and cloudy days, there is nothing to prevent the sun from evaporating the moisture quickly from the sand. On St. Pete Beach, the space between the tidal zones and the coastal scrub is approximately two hundred and fifty feet. The coastal scrub, also called sea oats, grow on dunes that act as a weather barrier. They serve as an important part of the beach ecosystem; some types are bitter panicum, sand spurs, and beach cord grass.

The collective name for sea oats is Uniola paniculata. Succession is evident as these simple grasses graduate into shore blossoms and sea grape trees. The sea grapes are tart and delicious. Small animals and insects use the plant life as a habitat. Hoards of geckos roam throughout and serve as meals for the birds that hunt there. The egret comes to mind since I daily observe their hunting tactics. The terrestrial environment behind the dunes, in this setting, is unknown. Humans have paved over the earth and introduced almost all the large trees here for ascetic purposes.

Large communities of shorebirds populate St. Pete Beach. Most common is the gull, which feeds on clams, fish, and insects, but in a setting where people are plentiful, they mostly scavenge. The pelican is the next most frequent visitor and enjoys meals of fish that it dives for from above the sea. Other common birds I observe are terns, sandpipers, crows, herons, and cormorants.

The intertidal zone of the beach is the differential between low and high tide. Creatures such as the ghost shrimp, lugworm, and mole crab live there. When wading into the euphotic zone, there will be sand dollars, silverfish, clams, and sea cucumbers. Currents carry kelp, phytoplankton, and zooplankton towards shore. In the shallow regions of the sea are stingrays, jellyfish and fish such as flounder. Moving deeper into the pelagic zone there are dolphins, squids and sharks. Tiger and Bull sharks are the most common types in gulf coast waters.

From the above list of plant and animal life, a system of food chains emerge which overlap building a food web. The tropic levels of the beach ecology may begin with a blade of grass and phytoplankton, and then step up to geckos and zooplankton. Next on the tropic scale are the shorebirds and fishes, followed by larger fish, sea mammals and human beings.

I want to end my discussion on the biodiversity of St. Pete Beach by exploring the plight of the endangered sea turtle. Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, and Loggerhead sea turtles compete with tourism for the beaches of the Florida gulf coast. These animals come ashore at night and than only to nest their eggs. They mostly lay eggs between May and August, untimely because that is when most humans flock to the beach.

The beach resort where I spend my days offers an example of the clash of interest between earning profit and environmental ethic. On staff is an environmental advisor who weighs these issues. There are many recreational activities offered to the guests that form a barrier to the approaching turtles. Concerned environmental groups have intervened to help the endangered animals; this has halted some beach recreation; angering guests and causing loss of revenue for the resort. Red external lights now replace the former conventional lighting to soothe the nesting turtles, adding to expense through a time of decreased revenue. The discussions surrounding this issue are ongoing and I expect that the outcome will be a compromise for each perspective.

Florida is the tourism capital of America and this means that the beaches barely resemble a natural place at all during season. Between the months of March and September, human activity abounds on the sand and in the water. Each day hundreds of people trod the sand dropping cigarette butts, straws, bottle caps and band-aids. These articles of trash comprise the most popular litter, although some people leave behind glass bottles and even diapers.

Off the coast are cruise ships, container ships, coast guard vessels, pleasure boats of all types, wave runners, parasailors, and kite surfers. Fluttering overhead several times daily are coast guard helicopters, commercial jets, adventure flights and advertisement banners. St. Pete Beach is a popular gulf coast destination for Europeans, Canadians, and people from the northeastern United States. Unfortunately, an irritant called Red Tide quite often keeps these tourists in their hotel rooms instead of on the beach. People who live in nearby cities oftentimes cancel their beach plans after reading the grim stories in newspapers; however, travelers from far away come on vacation unawares.

Karenia brevis, a harmful algae bloom, wreaks havoc on marine life and causes uncomfortable effects in humans. These algae, commonly known as Red Tide, leave gulf coast beaches stacked with dead fish a foot deep and five feet wide on some days. I have seen dead dolphins, sea snakes and small bull sharks washed onto shore. The situation is so dire that the city sends out work teams with bulldozers to scrap the mess up to bury elsewhere.

This problem is worldwide, but the gulf coast has the greatest reoccurring problem. It begins in late summer and can cause symptoms for months. Exposure to the bloom by humans results in running nose, scratchy throat, and worst, the inability to breathe without choking. Tony Mance from the MOTE Marine Laboratory states, "The nose only filters out seventy percent of the (red tide) toxin." He also says, "The thirty percent that gets past the nose into the lungs may cause yet unknown health problems."

As a person that spends extensive hours on the beach, I know that a easterly wind is most welcome to drive the bloom back out to sea. The daily effects change with the prevailing wind. Nevertheless, people that spend money to enjoy a trip to Florida are distressed when they cannot walk the waterline without tripping over dead marine life, and have to wear a handkerchief over their mouth to breathe.

This natural phenomenon creates economic trials for resorts, stores, and restaurants which rely almost solely on tourists' dollars for the success of their businesses. If people decide to remain despite the unpleasant circumstances, they may not return or recommend gulf coast vacations to others.

The beach environment is rich in biodiversity and I celebrate my good fortune everyday to feel the heat of the sun on my face, the sand beneath my feet and to breathe in the delicious salty air. I am not alone in feeling this way, or so much of the population would not compete to join me. I pick up litter throughout the day as part of my job and because I love the beach. The idea of "The Tragedy of the Commons" comes to mind with the litter problem. Many people decide that their small piece of trash will not make a difference, and justify their actions because everyone else does it too.

Works Cited 
Adams, Dennis. "Beach Sand: What it is, Where it Comes From, and How it Gets Here." Beafort County Library. 02 Feb. 2007 < http://www.bcgov.net/bftlib/beachsan.htm>. 
Enger, Eldon and Bradley Smith. Environmental Science: A Study of Interrelationships. Tenth edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 
Mance, Tony. "Breathing Easy." MOTE Marine Laboratory. 2005 . 
Myers, Ronald and John Ewel. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando: University of Central Florida Press, 1990.Tomalin, Terry. "Turtle Time."

Zachor- Means Remember

Zachor- Means Remember

Atrocities of the Holocaust of WW II

The Second World War fought between 1939 and 1945 wreaked havoc across the globe. In this examination, I will revisit the horrors thrust upon Europe by Germany under Adolph Hitler. Born in 1889 in a small town in Austria, Adolph Hitler's lineage is unclear. Historians agree that he may have been part Jewish, adding confusion to his absolute determination to eliminate all Jews in his "Final Solution". It is disturbing to learn that Hitler's book Mein Kampf, dictated to Rudolph Hess, clearly outlined Hitler's hatred for the Jewish people. First published in 1925, the book became a popular gift to give to graduates and newlyweds. Named as Chandler of Germany on January 30, 1933, he developed the notion that Aryans deserved utmost respect, while others, even many Germans, did not deserve to live. On September 10, 1935, Germany enacted the Nuremberg Laws. The first law clarified the requirements of citizenship in the Third Reich; the second law assured the purity of German blood and German honor. Many auxiliary laws dealt with details about the Jewish problem and other racial questions.

Hubristically, Hitler named his empire The Third Reich. He envisioned Germany as the third thousand year empire to rule Europe. Hitler set about conquering Europe and Russia to create adequate living space or "lebensraum" for the growing Aryan race. This is a story of power exploitation and acute hierarchy. The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 to commence with conquering land and eliminating millions of impure human beings.

Throughout the next several years, the greatest atrocity in human history unfolded. Beginning in late 1939, the T-4 Euthanasia Program began, to maintain genetic purity among Germans. The government officials systematically murdered homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally ill to prevent them from reproducing. Other victims of the program included Jehovah Witnesses, Freemasons, and Communists. With Hitler authorizing the murder of approximately 200,000 people during this campaign, it is no wonder he displayed no mercy in The Holocaust to follow. The word Holocaust comes from the Greek holo`kauston, meaning "completely burnt".

Many of the facts to follow I learned from Elie Wiesel, himself a survivor of Nazi concentration camps. He wrote a book titled Night about his experiences. Other facts I gleaned through literature read through the years, movies, and a recent visit to The Florida Holocaust Museum.

At first when the German conquerors entered cities they acted benevolently, giving the citizens the general idea that all was well, although their mere presence meant something strange was occurring. I use the term citizen loosely since, by this time, The Nuremberg Laws had stripped the Jews and other non-elite races of official citizenry in the German's view. Slowly, changes grew more ominous. Suddenly no one could exchange business with Jewish people. They underwent prosecutions and wore segregating yellow Stars of David on their clothing.

When the German police, The Gestapo, first began killing people indiscriminately, some witnesses testified to the horrors they had seen. Most Jews and other citizens could not believe the stories they heard, so went on living as usual, until forced to pack up their belongings and move into ghettos. The Germans raided the vacated homes and the Secret Service Police (SS) would eventually take even the possessions they carried with them from them. The Jewish ghettos overflowed and certain educated Jewish people, known as the Judenrat, formed a type of Jewish Council within, to carry out the agenda of the Germans. The population was contained, sometimes with physical barriers and other times with questionable boundaries, either way, crossing meant probable death.

Rumors circulated that there would be movement from the ghettos and many people were able to hide valuables and even escape. Transports began from these ghettos and no one knew or wanted to believe the rumors they heard about the destinations. Some people thought they were going to work camps, and working did buy a reprieve temporarily, however the German plan was extermination. The unfortunate people rode in crowded, filthy conditions to concentration camps. The transport boxcars forced most people to stand or sit on others. There was no place to eliminate except where everyone sat. The prisoners received no food, little water and no ventilation. People died from diseases and suffocation. Transports stopped to load more prisoners, the doors opened and the dead bodies thrown out to make room for them. Some trains reserved a caboose car to stack up the corpses.

Immediately upon arrival at a death camp, selections took place. These selections forced families to separate, often times never to be reunited. Through the years as a prisoner, a person underwent various selection processes that everyone feared. For example, the young selected and the old set aside for extermination or the healthy selected and the ill set aside for extermination. Usually selection was positive and meant joining a work party and life could continue for the day. To confuse and further torment the prisoners, sometimes the SS reversed the selection so that one was never sure what they selecting for, work or instant death. Dehumanization included removal of all body hair shaven and all belongings confiscated. Upon examination by dentists, anyone with gold teeth lost them to the Germans as well. The Secret Police (SS) abused the inmates mercilessly physically and mentally. The distraught people could no longer deny their fate when witnessing the stench of death in the air and the black smoke rising above the complexes. The testimonials they had heard were true; they faced death in these camps. Some showers were really gas chambers where victims succumbed to death by Zyklon B gas poisoning. The least favored work detail included loading the corpses into ghastly furnaces. The Germans practiced other methods of murder; work parties dug ditches for the purpose of mass graves. Jews and others lined up along the edge of the ditch and SS would shoot them so the victims fell into the pit. Not everyone died from the gunshots, so others just kept falling on top of them essentially burying them alive. Elie Wiesel witnessed such a scene and writes in his account, "Around us, everyone was weeping. Someone began to recite the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the long history of the Jews, that people have ever recited the prayer for the dead for themselves" (31).

The scope of concentration camps spread all across Europe into the Soviet Union. Inside the walls, human liberty existed only for the German soldiers and the Kapos. These Kapos, while of the undesirable race, ruled over the general population and aided the Germans. The condemned ordinary inmate watched as these Kapos received decent treatment and humane food and clothing rations. Sometimes they displayed more ruthlessness and less compassion toward the inmates than did the German guards. The common prisoner despised the Kapos but some people befriended them to improve their own conditions. Understandably, each person tended to their own survival the best they could. Viktor Frankl, like Elie Wiesel, survived the death camps during World War 2. Frankl studied psychiatry and developed the theory of logotherapy. This concept teaches that if a person has something to live for they can survive anything. In the case of Wiesel, I believe the presence of his father at his side throughout most of the ordeal and the hope to write an account of his experiences allowed him to survive.

Despite hunger, filthy living conditions, and complete loss of identity, many Jews and other victims found delight in small pleasures. Elie Wiesel observed during his incarceration that, "It was a beautiful April day. The fragrance of spring was in the air. The sun was setting in the west" (37). Again the power of nature faded the horrors when Wiesel says, "And then, there we were, right out in the country on the sunny road. In the sky a few little white clouds" (43).

The eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust teach that basic human compassion turns to apathy when every waking hour is spent thinking about securing a morsel of food. A son would steal the last bit of bread from his fathers hand so he himself might survive. Knowing that their action would bring wrath from a guard's weapon, an inmate might disobey protocol for a ladle of soup. Wiesel writes that, "The stomach alone is aware of the passage of time" (50).

Millions of human beings suffered in these conditions for years and six million died, about five million of them Jewish. Blessedly, throughout all the years of unspeakable horror, kindness played an important role. Many people risked their own lives to harbor Jewish people from the Germans. Attics and crawl spaces became homes for Jewish families for weeks or even months at a time. The fugitives lived in crowded conditions, but were alive and able to comfort each other. On a larger scale, entrepreneurs like Oscar Schindler took tremendous risks to save thousands of Jewish people from death in extermination camps. The 1993 movie, Schindler's List detailed how he fabricated and embellished the skills of scores of Jewish people so he could persuade the Germans that they were valuable to his workforce. Schindler rescued 1200 Jewish people in this manner.

Rumors circulated that the liberating front drew near and in a grim accolade to Hitler an inmate says in Wiesel's account that, "I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people" (77). At the start of 1945, the Allied forces did indeed begin to liberate some of the concentration camps. When word of the approach of American and Russian troops reached the Germans, they reacted by trying to hide the atrocities they inflicted on so many human beings. They ordered clean ups of the filthy barracks to deny what had happened. Prisoners walked long distances on death marches to remove themselves from the camps on German orders. Many people died on these walks because the elements were harsh and the unfortunate people suffered from malnutrition and had no decent clothing or shoes. The people traveled through villages and asked the free people there why they had not helped them or done anything to stop the German atrocities. Most denied knowledge of the Holocaust. This seems unlikely with the operations occurring in their vicinity. Prisoners such as doctors or those with necessary skills stayed in the camps until liberation. When the gates opened and they found themselves free, most did not know what to do or were to go. To rebuild their lives seemed an immense task.

Adolph Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945 and the Germans surrendered to Allied forces on May 7, 1945. The United States, Great Britain, and The Soviet Union pledged to investigate and process Nazi war criminals. The most famous of the trials known as the Nuremberg Trials was The International Military Tribunal (IMT) began in November 1945. During this period, SS Majors Himnler and Goring followed Hitler's lead and committed suicide. At the trials, though, twenty-two high-ranking German war criminals faced a death sentence. The majority of those tried held lesser ranks and unfortunately, many did not receive severe sentences because of the mitigating circumstances that they were following orders. In fact, many returned to normal lives in the business world. The search for other Nazi war criminals continues to this day. Zachor means remember, and I hope enough accounts of firsthand experiences and reflections survive to keep the Holocaust memories alive. Holocaust Remembrance Day is April Fifteenth.

Works Cited 
Austin, Ben S. The Nuremberg Laws. 28 Feb. 2007. . 
Florida Holocaust Museum. Personal Tour. 19 Feb. 2007. 
Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search for Meaning. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. 
Schindler's List. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Ralph Fiennes. Universal Pictures, 1993. 
"The Rise of Adolph Hitler." The History Place. 1996. 27 Feb. 2007. . 
"War Crime Trials." Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 02 Mar. 2007. . 
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam, 1960

Travel Inspiration- Five Books that Will Get You Out There by Sea, Over-land and Plane

Travel Inspiration- Five Books that Will Get You Out There by Sea, Over-land and Plane

Leave convention behind for a more satisfying life. People that like to travel tend to read a lot about other people's experiences. I am guilty and I have compiled a short list of five of my favorites. The first two are from my favorite travel author, Paul Thoreau. Rita Golden Gelman, Joshua Slocum, and Jack Kerouac round out the list.

The Pillars of Hercules is a true story about Paul Thoreau's quest to travel from Gibraltar around the Mediterranean Sea in a clockwise direction and finishing up in Ceuta, Morocco. The best part is he refuses to use air travel. He uses all other manner of transportation and recalls his obstacles and cultural experiences. The book shares his anecdotal story that drags you right along with him as he makes his way around with no set agenda.

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific is another masterpiece from Paul Thoreau. This is a truly cultural journey. He spends time with and learns (and shares) just what the differences and similarities are between people living on the various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Included are his experiences in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and Tonga. He spent a brave eighteen months paddling a collapsible kayak while visiting Fiji, Easter Island, Samoa, Tahiti, the Solomon Islands and others. Thoreau satisfies our inner free spirit and our inner anthropologist.

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, written by Rita Golden Gelman will especially inspire women that travel alone, as the title suggests. It appeals to me since, I travel alone almost exclusively and while I am not a bonafide nomad; I travel solo often and change addresses more than most people change cars. As a middle-aged woman, Gelman left her high-class California lifestyle and went to Mexico. There she gained a special place for the Zapotec culture. The book tells of her ability to blend in and experience life from an insider's perspective. She has had no permanent address since 1986 and her heart leads her to places that include Guatemala, Nicaragua, Israel, The Galapagos Islands, and a stay of eight years in Indonesia.

Sailing Alone Around the World was first published in 1900. Joshua Slocum is credited with being the first person to circumnavigate the globe by boat. He did so in his small sloop, Spray. His tale includes how he prepared her and himself for the trip. He is a hero to those that love to sail. His story is full of anecdotes' about how he survived the boredom, the weather, how he met his needs, and even holds a spooky story or two. His intrepid spirit proves that a lot can be done with a little and reminds us just how people of today take things for granted. It is a must for any sailor's bookshelf.

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, takes the reader on a trip across America and back. This book is a must for those with a rebellious spirit. It is the ultimate road-trip book. He uses whatever means of transportation he can to go. He has little regard for his health; drugs and alcohol play a big part in the story. It is a daring book that became a beatnik classic. First published in 1957, this book is for those responsible people that can't keep their feet still and want to live dangerously but really can only do go vicariously. Reading On The Roadis the perfect way to do this.

All of the books listed are available from Amazon.com., further information to follow.

The Pillars of Hercules, Paul Thoreau. Random House Publishing Group, 1995.

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific, Paul Thoreau. Mariner Books, 2006.

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, Rita Golden Gelman. Three Rivers Press, 2007.

Sailing Alone Around the World, Joshua Slocum. Penguin Classics, 2006.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac. Penquin, 1995.

Mediteran Restaurant- St. Petersburg, Florida: A Review

Mediteran Restaurant- St. Petersburg, Florida: A Review

The Biggest Burger You've Ever Seen, No Kidding!

The misspelled title may be an error in the language translation on the part of the foreign owner or a plan to draw attention. His probable flaws in spelling, he makes up for in charm. Branislaw Butina is a short man with brown rustled hair and a quick smile. It's not about him though, it's about the food. One of few places to get genuine Baltic food in St. Petersburg, The Mediteran Restaurant will have people from that region coming back and those of other ethnicities like me, in disbelief at the portion sizes and wondering about the recipes. He is not willing to disclose how he makes his ground meat based dishes look like real steak.

A Serbian neighbor and some of his other converts tried to explain the size of Butinas's Pljeskavica. I said, "That's what they all say." He and I took our bicycles to the 4th Street restaurant ready for refreshment. In the cooler behind the counter I spied Pepsi, the old-fashioned way, in the small glass bottles, perfect to start. Since I couldn't read the menu very well and I did not know what was good, Pedja ordered for me.

There was another Serbian man sitting at the counter and the three of them talked and talked in their language giving me plenty of time to occupy myself looking around the place. It definitely lacked a woman's touch but that did not take away from the good atmosphere. It was small with about six tables and with mismatched chairs. Imitation plants stood in the corners. The walls held pictures without much thought to real décor.

The cabinets behind the guest counter where Butina began preparing our meals were bright purple. Attached to the front were his advertisings of cappuccinos and espressos. I had cappuccino for dessert, it was great.

A family with two teenagers ate their meal at one of the small tables and many times people entered the place to order something or pick up take-out food. As soon as my plate was placed in front of me I said, "This is ridiculous." The meat was eight inches in diameter and fell a couples inches out of the sides of the special homemade bread and over the edge of the plate.

After looking at Pedja, Butina, and back again, I tried to figure out why he had brought me steak. I knew that's not what I was expecting. Politely speaking to me in English he said it was ground meat and Butina had a secret for making it this unique texture. I kept saying as I cut through the sandwich trying to form manageable bites, "This is steak."

Served with pepperochini, red onions, and sour cream I wanted to stop eating but could not. There seemed to be a lot of spices infused into the meat, as a matter of fact, Butina had asked me how I handled spice before he made it perfectly for me. The meat seemed airy but not spongy; I wish I knew how he did it. He would be happy to sell the meat after he had prepared it, but he wasn't going to tell us how he did it. As an American that has enjoyed Indian, Lebanese, Thai, Italian, Hungarian, Greek and maybe some other kinds of ethnic food, I felt the story about this Baltic treasure had to be told. People should go to The Mediteran Restaurant and experience these flavors.

The name can be deceiving, before my friend taught me otherwise; I would expect Greek or Italian cuisine. I was surely ignorant but if you are also, check this place out. I ate as much as I could and still had a full meal left. -notes to follow-

Mediteran Restaurant

6500 4th St N

St. Petersburg FL 33702

727-526-4466

Mon- Sun 7am-9pm closed Tues

Florida Orange Groves Winery in the Tampa Area

Florida Orange Groves Winery in the Tampa Area

Deserves a Look

Chocolate wine? Is that what that sign said? The bright orange and red sign led me into the parking lot of The Florida Orange Grove Winery on Pasadena Avenue in South Pasadena, Fla. I drove toward the back of the property to check it out. I discovered periwinkle-colored buildings and a clean yard. A marina's edge of sailboats lined the rear.

A waist-high plaster alligator sitting on its tail welcomed me. He was a clever addition that added to the Floridian essence of the winery. I soon met Steve Ludka, an associate with the winery for two years. He asked me if I wanted a wine tasting and, of course, I did. He led me to the bar area where he invited me to choose. As my wine-tasting coach, he taught me to use all of my senses.

See, swirl, sniff, sip, swish, and swallow are the six S's of wine tasting. The most popular seller, Hurricane Class 5, was delicious and had a catchy name. It is blended using pineapple, watermelon, passion fruit, kiwi, and mango; I concentrated on enjoying each fruit. I decided the owners and founders, the Shook's, were correct in saying, "Uniquely Florida, it is elegant for any occasion and perfect with any food."

I sampled two others, Mango Mamma and Florida Grapefruit. I bought the Florida Grapefruit later because it had such a crisp flavor, it made my mouth feel extra clean. Ludka and I talked about wine corks and the weather while looking out at the bright sunny afternoon. I never gave corks very much thought before and I learned a lot.

This winery chooses to use resin corks for three reasons; they come out in one piece (no flakes in your drink), they have no cracks to harbor bacteria that may get into the wine, and the resin does not shrink allowing a consistently perfect fit.

Often wine is stored tilted and Ludka taught me that this is done to keep real corks wet with wine and therefore swollen, sealing tightly. I thought this would make a fun trivia question, "Why are wine bottles stored on a tilt?"

Curious about the process, I watched a 10-minute presentation about their winemaking. The viewing area was comfortable with love-seat style wicker furniture. I felt right at home when I glanced up to my left and saw a framed picture of Dale Earnhardt; my favorite NASCAR legend seemed to watch with me.

The fruit arrives already juiced in 55-gallon drums. Kept in a storage room, it is maintained at 58o F(cellar temperature). Turning fruit into wine starts when yeast and fruit ferment in steel tanks. The winery prefers them to wooden casks to protect the flavors. Depending on the type of fruit, this takes one-three months.

Once moved to a resting room, it settles. The clearest portion is pump-skimmed from the top and this is done a series of five-six times in order to capture the purest liquid. Three-five pounds of fruit go into each bottle.

Nitrogen or carbon dioxide added to the bottles ensures that all oxygen is forced out when the wine is added to avoid oxidation. The corking process vacuums the residual gas out, giving the wine a perfect seal.

A foot pump operates a rolling labeler. The labels and corks coordinate, depending on the type of wine. For example, blueberry wine features dark blue. Once the necks are shrink-wrapped, the wine is ready for shipping. The winery ships 20,000 cases each year. There are 12 bottles in each case. People can order over the phone or through the website.

The large store offers collectables, picnic baskets, clothing, and of course, wine. Lots of wine; there are 30 kinds. The prices are good; I paid $20 for a bottle of Blueberry Blue and only $16 for the Florida Grapefruit.

I got my money's worth. The presentation and wine tasting are free and available upon request. I got my wine for dinner and a gift for my sister for $36.

Even though I prepared to leave, I lingered in the foyer where a framed article from the Taste section of theNew York Times led my eye toward a variety of the family-owned business' 207 awards and other distractions. The Shook Family started making wines in 1997 after spending six years developing their fruit blends. The winery is the only one permitted by the Florida Citrus Commission to wear the "FLORIDA SUNSHINE TREE" logo on its citrus wine labels.

The Winery features different specialty wines depending on the season and I will bring my sweetheart back to sample some of that chocolate wine, it will be fun and fresh approach to dating.

If you go:

Florida Orange Groves Wine

1500 Pasadena Avenue South

St. Petersburg, FL 33707

Monday-Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Sun: 12:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (seasonal)

Closed: All major holidays

Tasting upon request

(800) 338-7923

(727) 347-4025

(727) 347-1404 fax

www.floridawine.com

email: info@floridawine.com


It Doesn't Pay to Think Ahead

It Doesn't Pay to Think Ahead

It's Not Over Until It's Over

To heighten morale, the company that I work for gives away prizes quarterly. Every three months everyone that is available out of the 700 employees crowd into a room and eat, chit-chat, listen to our leaders tell off their vision for the future, but mostly listen for their name to win the big prize. There are small door prizes that can be won if you have the winner ticket number, the tickets having been handed out at the door. The employee had to be in the room to win these prizes (weekend trips, sweatshirts, ect.).

The real reason for the jovial mood at these meetings was the big prize. I had won $1,000 in the past from the drawing of my name and several of my co-workers called my cell-phone to congratulate me while I watched my clothes dry at the Laundromat. Now two years later, I, of, course, dreamt of winning just like all 700 of my co-workers (you did not have to be present to win the grand prize.)

I have worked in several departments during the years within the company and knew everyone (or so I thought.) Everyone was having a great time especially since it had been announced that the prize this time would be doubled. The $2,000 prize was spent on a new laptop and the couch I was eyeing. The chairmen drew my name from the basket. He said, "Andrea..."

I stood and said, "What? Who me?" dragging out the words in my excitement as I cupped my face with my hands. I peered around the room at my colleagues. About one-hundred and fifty people sat in circles of ten eating cake and drinking cokes. I saw the congratulations in their eyes and my joy was palpable.

After the longest pause ever, Sal Balin, said, "Sanders."

Horrors. That wasn't me. How can that be, I know everyone that works here; I am the only Andrea.

Faces dropped, my body drooped, and my friends seated at my table burst into wild laughter.

I received texts for weeks afterwards from those same friends simply spelling out Andrea...............Sanders. Walking around the workplace, I got sympathy from everyone with the simple word, "Robbed."

Adding insult to injury, Andrea Sanders never received her prize. She was disqualified for being employed with my company less than three months.

It did not pay to think ahead that day- even five minutes ahead.


Rethink Pinellas County Transit Authority- PSTA

Rethink Pinellas County Transit Authority- PSTA

Pinellas County Transit Authority- St. Petersbug, Florida

Riding the bus in Pinellas County can be a good way to get to know the area better, learn more about the community's people, get things done, save money, and cut down on environmental degradation.

People driving in cars tend to isolate while driving to work, the mall, or anywhere. Thinking ahead toward their destination causes a person to miss life happening around them. When relaxing on a cool Pinellas County Transit Authority bus, suddenly there are stores, restaurants, services, and business that have gone unnoticed.

Many types of people use the bus daily. Some listen to MP3 players, some read the newspaper (which the bus generally makes available on board), others work on projects or do homework, some stare out the window and many make small talk. It sounds strange to imagine making friends on the bus but it is inevitable when riding with many familiar faces day after day. The bus drivers are great and they know their regulars. If talking or texting on the cell is necessary, it is much safer when someone else is driving.

The county has an extensive route network which is very convenient. If brave enough to go carless altogether, consider the savings to the average person, the cost of a car payment, monthly insurance premiums, soaring gas prices, and repairs and maintenance to a vehicle. The cost of PSTA is $55 for an unlimited ride pass for one month. Many people qualify for discounts; they are seniors, students, and the disabled. A single ride for a non-discounted passenger is $1.75, it is almost always a better bargain to get the monthly pass, and it offers freedom to be on the go.

There are eco-friendly reasons for riding the bus. Personal vehicles make our lives more convenient, but the cost is growing. Many people working together to do something small like taking the bus can make a big difference. The cities of the United States are falling behind in the trend toward removing cars from the road. Fewer cars means less noxious gases entering the air, less consumption of oil and gas, and less congestion on the road. See you onboard.

For complete fare and route information visit www.psta.net or call the info line at 717-540-1900.

Rent a Four-wheel Drive when in Belize

Rent a Four-wheel Drive when in Belize

For once, I took the advice of a travel guidebook and rented a four-wheel drive vehicle when I planned to tour the Belize interior. It was a last minute decision, I had originally planned to walk to the main road from the airport and use the country's public transportation system. I was on vacation; there was no rush. I could just get there when I got there, I thought, about all of the places I planned to visit throughout the country. It's a small country, no worries.

Well, the flight must have tired me because when I looked toward the main road and saw only open space, I decided a car may be best after all. I rented a small Suzuki four-wheel drive truck. The rental car agent said, "you'll be sorry, when I looked at the tiny economy cars." By the end of that first day I was grateful to the book and the man.

Near Guatemala, I found a campground just before dark. I settled in to the lounge area talking and snacking with the owner and several other guests. By the time I felt like setting up my tent and calling it a night, it was full dark, and dark in that part of the world meant dark. The man in charge said, "go pull around up the hill; I will meet you on top and show you the campsite." Fantastic. Well, I was used to driving trucks but not in a strange place in the dark. I rambled up the hill, felt a little softness under my tires and stepped on the gas harder. At the same time I came to an abrupt stop, I heard my new friend yelling out and saw him flailing his arms in the air. My sturdy car was sunk and good.

"Didn't you see me, didn't you hear me?" He said, obviously irritated.

"I see you now," I said meekly.

"We've had some rain, it's pretty muddy over there; I tried to direct you to the left."

"Get your pack, leave the car, and follow me," he grumbled.

We walked about 100 yards to my home for the night. I was glad the moonlight showed through the trees so I could set up my tent, I wouldn't be using my headlights like I had planned. That night on the way to the bathroom, I met up with the night care-taker. He took me for a walk with his flashlight trained on lots of interesting wildlife. There were many tarantulas roaming the ground, which did not make me too happy.

Early the next morning, I saw how far my tires had sunk into the mud. Good thing I had this four-wheel drive, I flung my bag in and to ready to head back east toward the zoo. I did not know what I was doing, so I strained my eyes to read the instructions for the four-wheel drive mechanism. Nope, it wasn't happening. It was rubbed out and I pretending to myself that I could figure it out.

Beaten, I knew I would have to go find my friend and ask for his help. I found him eating breakfast, he was in better mood this morning; he gave me some toast and eggs and offered his help. It didn't take him any time to release the car from the muck. He let me take a picture of him and his dog and sent me on my way.

The roads were sometimes questionable, but my off-roading is what got me in trouble. Just in case, rent a four-wheel drive in Belize.


Sailing Around Alcatraz

The back of Sail magazine was a good place for a dreamer like me to wonder at crewing on a ship to some exotic place, buying things I could not afford for the boat I did not have, and learning how to sail myself. To sit in a comfortable padded bench sipping a spritzer while my friends kept busy watching the wind and making constant changes to lines and sails to avoid collisions with the shore of the small lake we (or they) sailed on left me envious. Boats are big, sailing was a lot of work; there seemed to be a lot to know.

Instead of remaining a spectator, I decided to use some of my savings to learn this craft myself with visions of following in Joshua Slocum's footsteps and one day single-handling my own sailboat around the globe. An advertisement in my favorite magazine led me to enroll for sailing lessons with Modern Sailing Academy in Sausalito. For only about $1,000, I would get two certifications and what really attracted me was that I could live on one of their sailboats for the duration of the week long class. I had been a voracious reader of anything nautical so with a little study, I went prepared with the proper terminology and practiced the basic knots.

Time allowed me to spend a few days on San Francisco prior to taking the ferry cross the Bay to Sausalito. I misjudged the distance to my hostel and got a good workout hiking through the hilly streets of the city in search of the water front. My pack got heavier and heavier, but I wouldn't trade the effort; I got a feel for the culture of the place by the time I saw the water.

Settled in at Fort Mason, the military barracks turned hostel, I set about exploring the water front. For two days, I ate chocolate at Ghirardelli, lazily toured ships and submarines, spoke to sea lions, and dreamt of other worlds as I sat on the shore wondering at Alcatraz and wishing I was aboard one of the giant ships plying the Bay approaching and leaving under the Iconic Golden Gate. I hiked the five miles to stand on the bridge and called my dad to brag about where I was as he shivered in the Buffalo snow.

Class was about to start, so I took the ferry across the bay toward my education. My home for the next several days was a 32 foot Ericson sloop. I met my instructor and crew mates, we all lived on different boats in the marina owned by the sailing school. They offer charters to those who qualify. We all had different levels of experience; mine mostly just knowing the right words, so I felt stupid when the others already felt comfortable taking charge. We spent our days in the marina learning how to park, on the water learning how to read the wind and made adjustments for it and practicing radio calls, and at picnic tables or berthed learning the knots and navigation.

The certifications I earned made me feel proud, but it was the evenings on board the sailboat either alone or while sharing with my new friends that delighted my heart. Of course, in my imagination, this was my boat, and I could forget about my apartment, my job, and my stresses of real life.

On the final day of class on the water, we braved the 25 knot winds and adventured off to sail around Alcatraz Island. Learning how to sail in the conditions on the San Francisco Bay made us all feel accomplished. I couldn't help wonder how many sharks swam below us and what really happened to those men that escaped from the prison inspiring the classic Clint Eastwood movie. Notes to follow-

Sail magazine- www.sailmagazine.com

Slocum, Joshua. Sailing Alone Around the World, Barnes & Noble Classics, New York: 2005

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel, Fort Mason Building 240, San Francisco CA 94123

415-771-7277

Ghirardelli- 900 North Point Street, Suite 100, San Francisco CA 94109 415-775-5500

http://www.ghirardellisq.com/ghirardellisq/

Modern Sailing Academy-2320 Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965 415-331-8250

www.modernsailing.com

Help Out with Animals in St. Petersburg, Florida

Help Out with Animals in St. Petersburg, Florida

Many people just prefer animals. If you are one of us, there are many ways for you to love them and give something back to the community whether you're a local or a visitor looking for a fulfilling way to spend some time laughing and getting dirty. Yes, helping out with the four- legged means following them around with a scooper, bathing them and generally yourself too, doing their laundry, and walking them in the St. Petersburg, Florida sun.

If this doesn't appeal to you, come anyway. They need simple, loving attention more than anything. Many owners cannot care for their animals and opt to forfeit them, many are rescued from bad situations, and some are working just to teach children (and the volunteers tend to learn a lot as well.)

Don't forget that all animal care facilities are on a tight budget and welcome donations. Paper products, old sheets, towels, toys, water and food dishes, laundry soap, bleach, shampoo, treats, and food (check with the facility before offering food, some are strict on the brands they use for the benefit of the animals) are always needed. Ask the director how else you can help through donations; it could be that you have something unique to offer them for example, a used microwave for the staff, even a washer or dryer, mulch, potting soil; The needs of each place is different.

Once you find a location near you that you want to help at, it is best to call ahead. The director of the facility will tell you when they tend to be short staffed. It is possible that they may need help doing office work, general cleaning, or maintaining the grounds. Every hour counts, all help will be welcomed. It is best if you have a true love of animals. If you are an animal person, you know who you are. Unfortunately, I have seen people volunteering at animal care centers that did not seem to like the animals at all. I always found that confusing, since there are many people-oriented placed that need help just as badly.

Some places which I have experience with and would like to recommend are Pet Pal Animal Rescue, SPCA, and Saddle-up Riding Club.

Pet Pal Animal Rescue, 405 22nd St S, St. Petersburg FL 33712 phone-727-328-7738

http://www.petpalanimalshelter.com/home

SPCA, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo FL 33773 phone-727-586-3591

http://www.spcafl.org/

Saddle Up Riding Club, 6080 94th Ave., Pinellas Park FL 33782 phone- 727-520-3132

http://www.saddleupridingclub.org/index.shtml

Bottled Water: Energy and Environmental Costs

Bottled Water: Energy and Environmental Costs

Americans, in just the last few decades, have taken to consuming commercialized bottled water instead of the water available to them through their faucets. The desire to drink more water for health reasons and questions about purity of municipal supplies drive the industry. The cost of bottled water is great economically and environmentally. Production and distribution of scores of brands and types of water expend much energy with other less obvious factors as well.

The oil needed to produce the bottles, power the factories, and fuel transportation to move the products across the country and often even half way around the world to markets is vast. Is it really worth it, especially for Americans that have readily available quality drinking water provided directly into their homes?

We spend more for the drink produced as merchandise then any other country. There are over 700 different brands of bottled water on the market according to The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in "Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?". Bottled water producers profit from an illusionary need that is proving to be costly for people's pocketbooks, their virtuosity, and for the environment.

In this essay, I will address such issues as the resources needed to provide bottled water, the stresses on the environment, public misconceptions about water, and offer ideas for lessening this unnecessary cost.

Obtaining the water for bottling is an important first step in developing the beverage into the final packaged product. Some of the natural resource comes from springs and artesian wells, some companies draw the water up through the aquifers, and some use an ordinary tap as their beginning point. The later cases startle some people especially when labels often boast mountains and glaciers as their source. Indeed, they are the original sources given the water cycle, however; advertisers do not always tell the whole story in order to drive sales.

No matter where the water comes from it must move from its source to the production factory. This expends energy in labor, fuel for moving containment vessels, mechanical equipment, raw H2O, and the transportation vehicles. Some brands boast of bottling their product at the source. This would entail a certain degree of production and the transportation cost remains.

Most companies have to treat their raw resources through processes that require fossil fuel powered manufacturing plants. The bottled water industry that has become a $100 billion dollar a year machine uses different types of processes to serve and treat water according to Emily Arnold and Janet Larson in "Bottled Water: Pouring Resources Down the Drain."

Processes include purification through mechanical filtration, ion exchange, distillation, and ozonation. Bottled water comes in many categories. A few of them are spring water, artesian water, purified water, distilled water, mineral water, and sparkling water. The sale of all types means energy cost previously mentioned.

The Pacific Institute in "Bottled Water and Energy: A Pacific Institute Fact sheet" reports that producing one liter of bottled water costs an extra two liters in production processes. The oil cost is equivalent to filling every bottle of water one quarter of the way full of oil says the Pacific Institute. This fraction is a figure share by most sources when measuring the oil expenditure involved with bottled water.

Once ready for distribution, the water requires packaging into mostly plastic containers. The majority of these containers are single serving size bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. Paul Rodgers, in "Buying Bottled Water is Wrong," reports that chemicals from the bottles may leach into the water effecting its taste and quality. He states ironically that, "... water bottles are not safe for water consumption." The PET cost oil.

According to the Pacific Institute, in 2006 seventeen million barrels of oil was required to produce the bottles to drive the bottled water industry in that year alone. This estimation did not include any oil related cost of manufacture or transportation. Some bottled water is shipped cold and therefore even more energy is needed to maintain refrigerated trucks. Given the explosiveness of the industry, there is no change for this to be sustainable.

In "Bottled Drinking Water," The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) says, "Branding and bottling of water where there already exists a wholesome and safe supply of mains drinking water cannot be seen as a sustainable use of natural resources, and adds to the overall levels of waste and pollution to be managed by modern society."

Production companies must use energy to power operations just as any other manufacturer and this is costly. Along with the economical cost, there are environmental factors. Paul McRandle reports in " Bottled water," that to make enough PET for just seventeen 1.5-liter bottles, forty grams of hydrocarbons, twenty-five grams of sulfur oxides, eighteen grams of carbon monoxide, twenty grams of nitrogen oxides, and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide are expelled into the air. Ironically, as mentioned earlier some labels comfort consumers with photos of pristine naturescapes yet their products contribute to damaging nature and effecting climate change.

Distribution of bottled water is very costly. It is helpful when the bottled product travels via truck to local centers for sale. This is not always the case with water from around the world traveling by ship for thousands of miles across oceans from places like Fiji, France, and Norway.

Bottled water operations in places such as Fiji for example, stress the country. According to Michael I. Niman in "Bottled Insanity," Fiji's population suffers from chronic water shortages and the bottling plants produce toxic byproducts. Cardboard boxes used to box bottles of water for transport come made from rainforest material. Not only developing nations suffer from water shortages due to bottled water production; there is evidence of this trouble here in the United States according to Arnold and Larson. They say that in Texas and The Great Lakes region, farmers and anglers suffer from the concentrated extraction of water that lowers their water tables.

He offers an interesting example of people's fickle attitude toward water when he observes that in the area of The Adirondack Mountains they spend good money on the romantic water from Fiji when in other places people pay good money to buy water from that region of the northeastern United States. The CIWEM reports that twenty-two million tons of water transfers between countries each year. There is much good water passing on roads and waterways wasting energy and resources.

It is unfortunate that pollution threatens our fresh water supply in so many ways. All the water on earth connects through the water cycle and that means many biotic and abiotic sources enter own supply through acid rain, industrial runoff, pesticides, waste, natural decay and others. Historically water from the tap has been notorious for causing diseases.

In his book, The Water We Drink, Joshua I. Barzilay outlined legislation in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have diminished these concerns. In 1887, Lawrence, Massachusetts first used infiltration systems. In 1909, Jersey City, New Jersey introduced chlorination. In 1948, the Federal Pollution Control Act regulated industrial discharge (Barzilay 17). The Federal Water Pollution Control Act became law in 1972; it later became the Clean Water Act. To ensure American's safety, The Safe Drinking Water Act became law in 1974. The first goal of the Act meant testing for chemicals and contaminants; enforceable maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) would ensure no health risk if consumers over a lifetime.

In developed nations, the governments make it a priority to make clean, healthy drinking water a priority. Most municipalities offer services and for the cost of the utility they maintain underground infrastructures while monitoring and controlling elements in the water. The systems are energy efficient since public utilities gain incentives from state or federal governments for operating in the best interest of their customers. Commercial water companies do not share that mindset and take energy from all sectors to drive their profits.

Subtle differences in taste and odor occur depending on the region of service although safety is rarely an issue. If a problem develops with a local water supply, the utility is obligated to inform its constituents of the problems. In this temporary period, bottled water is a viable option to provide human needs.

There will always be times when buying bottled water is the best choice. At sporting events, movie theaters or restaurants with outside beverages forbidden, bottled water is a better choice than soda pop. The lesser of many evils in some circumstances, bottled water is a luxury item and even a status symbol to some people. In "Bottled Water," Emily Arnold and Janet Larsen say that global consumption of bottled water has reached 154 million liters each year. It costs upwards of 10,000 times more than municipal water, and currently exceeds the cost of gasoline in some places.

It is a wonder that Americans among others continue to support the industry. Unfortunately, too many households fill their refrigerators and pantries with cases of bottled water. Most available municipal water is regulated to the point of being just as clean and fresh as bottled water and at times even more so.

In "H2O U," Annie Shuppy reports that regulation of tap water can be more stringent than bottled water. The government monitors twenty more contaminants in tap water than bottled water. Further, she reports that twenty-five percent of bottled water started as tap water. She said in her article that thirty-three percent of commercial brands tested contained chemical contaminants above state health guidelines. Her source was the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

There are options for the people that do not like the taste of their tap water. Home filtration systems are effective, inexpensive and the only waste is the unit's replacement about every four months. The units include an indicator so the consumer knows when to replace them. Serving pitchers with filters are convenient since cold, filtered water is available from the refrigerator and the reusable glass comes straight from the cabinet.

Keeping pitchers of water in the fridge is important since people want tasty and convenient choices. Water tastes better when chilled and delicious when accented with lemon or lime. There is a medium between tap water and merchandized water bottles.

Freestanding water coolers save on cost and are better environmentally than individual size bottles, although the cost of energy to chill the water needs consideration. Consumers purchase water from distributors in bulk. Five-gallon containers cycle regularly and the suppliers accept the used one for recycling.

The responsible thing to do is drink water provided by local utilities. In "Bottled water," Paul McRandle says, "If the spreading popularity of bottled water represents a private solution to the failure of public infrastructure, the [most] effective answer would be to build or overhaul the public systems."

Arnold and Larsen report that landfills contain the plastics that can take upwards of 1,000 years to biodegrade, further if incinerated toxins are released into the air. The water industry should track and insure proper recycling procedures for these bottles. While recycling of the plastic would cut back on the problem greatly, about ninety percent of them are never recycled according to McRandle. Forty percent of recycled water bottles are shipped to places as far away as China for them to use in plastics manufacturing. The transportation cost continues with the disposal processes.

A contributor to this is oftentimes people take them along everywhere and dispose of them anywhere. An observer will notice how many half-empty or full bottles of water end up in waste bins. Many of those placed there by concerned people who pick them up from the ground where many people carelessly dispose of them. It is analogous to The Tragedy of the Commons; everyone feels their thoughtless contribution to pollution will not make a difference and that it will be someone else's responsibility to clean things up.

It is wonderful that people have realized the importance of drinking water. The human body needs it more than any other substance; it is the broth of life. Across the globe, lack of access to clean water sources present serious health problems. These places are generally poor and cannot afford to buy bottled drinking water from other regions.

Those Americans that drink bottled water should seek out companies that try to help. There are companies such as Starbucks with their own brand of bottled water that is making a difference. With each sale of Ethos water, Starbucks donates five cents from each sale to research and develop strategies for needy countries to clean up their water sources and supply citizens.

The energy, economic, and environmental costs of the world's consumption of bottled water are heavy. Americans constantly worry about our oil problems and the troubles of global warming yet fail to realize the large consequences of small acts. The Pacific Institute says that every ton of PET bottles made for bottled water produces about three tons of carbon dioxide. The use of automobiles in America gets the most blame for our crisis, however; there is a real need for people to drive cars. The article, "Bottled water: a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem" tells us that the oil expended each year from the bottled water industry could fuel 100,000 cars. Americans must reevaluate their attitude toward the energy crisis and climate changes while changing their habits and opinions. The need for bottled water in America is mostly a fantasy.

Selected References

Arnold, Emily and Janet Larsen. "BOTTLED WATER: Pouring Resources Down the Drain." Earth Policy Institute. 02 Feb. 2006. 09 Apr. 2008 .

Barzilay M. D., Joshua I., Winkler G. Weinberg, M. D., and J. William Eley M. P. H. The Water We Drink: Water Quality and its Effects on Health. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

"Bottled Drinking Water." The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. Nov2005. 09 Apr. 2008 .

"Bottled Water." Millipore. (1994-2006 Millipore Corporation) 09 Apr. 2008 .

"Bottled Water and Energy: a Pacific Institute Fact Sheet." Pacific Institute. 1 April 2008 
and_energy.pdf>.

"Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?" Natural Resources Defense Council. 20 Nov. 2007. .

"Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem." Breitbart. 10 Feb. 2007. 20 Nov. 2007 
nrba2js&show_article=1>.

Horng, Eric. "Ditching Bottled Water to Go Green." ABC News. 6 July 2007. 6 April 2008 .

Ingram, Colin. The Drinking Water Book. California: Ten Speed Press, 1991.

McRandle, Paul. "Bottled water." World Watch 17.2 (March-April 2004):NA(1). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. ! April. 2008 .

Millichap M. D., J. Gordon. Is Our Water Safe to Drink? A Guide to Drinking Water Hazards and Health Risks. Chicago : PNB Publishers, 1995.

Niman, Michael I. "Bottled Insanity. (Environmental Watch) (Bottled water industry). The Humanist. 67.3 (May-June 2007): 40 (2). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 1 April 2008 .

Rodgers, Paul. "Buying Bottled Water is Wrong." Content for Reprint. 06 April 2008 .

Shuppy,Annie. "H20 U." The Chronicle of Higher Education 53.11 (Nov 3, 2006): NA. General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 1 April 2008 ."Bottled Water: Pure Drink or

Wind Energy: Pros and Cons

Wind Energy: Pros and Cons

Everyone experiences the power of wind. It is evident when driving over a high bridge and holding tightly to the steering wheel to counter the effects of wind on the car. Sailors probably appreciate wind the most because of the ability to travel across the sea by the force of the wind alone. Americans in the past fifty years have grown more environmentally conscious. In the modern world, people want a style of living that demands a lot of energy to maintain. The human imprint has left our globe with depleted natural resources. America has enough wind to power the entire country; research in renewable energy should stress finding cost-effective ways to store and distribute this energy source.

Our sun maintains all life on earth. Wind is a form of solar energy. The sun heats areas on the earth differently depending on the topography, density, and color of the landscape. The heat of the surfaces causes differences in air pressures. The air pressures working at odds to each other combined with the earth's rotation creates wind. Human beings have developed mills and turbines to harness the kinetic energy from wind as electricity. Fans create wind by pushing air around while turbines capture the existing wind for practical use.

In Wind Power of the Future: New Ways of Turning Wind into Energy, Betsy Dru Tecco teaches that Persia in the ninth century used windmills as power plants for grinding corn and for irrigating fields. The precursors to the wind turbine towers we are familiar with today came from Dutch innovation. Developed in the fourteenth century, their tower mills eliminated the need to move the entire windmill with the direction of the wind (Also, the empty space in the tower stored the goods produced). The new design used a rotating tower head feature to move the blades to capture the most wind. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Dutch immigrants introduced tower mills into New York City and the idea spread into The Great Plains. Referred to as the Saudi Arabia of wind power, in 1880-1930, The Great Plains erected six million windmills (Tecco 23-25).

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Rural Electrification Act (REA) to create power grids to extend electricity distribution into the west. These grids carry electricity from many sources including wind. The oil shortage of 1973 prompted The United States to seriously address energy issues. In 1973-1988, The United States wind power program spent $380 million, mostly on wind turbine development (Tecco 27).

Today, Germany boasts the largest wind energy market, followed by the United States with Denmark third. India and China lead the developing nations. Firms representing The United States have installed wind turbines in Canada, The Netherlands, Mexico, South America, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. InEnvironmental Science, Enger and Smith report that, "In inner Mongolia, nomadic herders carry small, portable, wind driven generators that provide electricity for light, television, and movies in their tents as well as for electric fences to contain their animals."

Three goals held by the federal wind energy program in the U.S. are to develop turbines capable of reducing cost of energy to two cents per kilowatt-hour in fifteen mile an hour winds, to capture twenty-five percent of the global energy market, and to increase domestic ability to supply 2.5 or 3 million households with electricity. In 2000, $45 million of $375 million dollars spent on energy research went into developing wind power electricity (Tecco 35).

The best reason for America to increase its reliance on wind energy is the environmental benefits versus popular fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas come from fossilized organic matter. These sources of energy are limited and will deplete. Coal especially emits a lot of carbon monoxide, which damages the atmosphere. Wind energy causes no release of emissions that cause acid rain and global warming.

Wind is absolutely clean, free, and abundant. In their book, Enger and Smith point out that, "Texas and the Dakotas alone have enough wind to power the nation..." (205). The largest wind farm in America currently is in Altamont Pass in Northern California.

Tremendous winds offshore offer huge potential for wind farms. A Boston firm, Cape Winds Associates, has come close to approval for its project. A recent article in The St. Petersburg Times reported that, "[They] hope to build 130 windmills over 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket sound, off the states coast."

Traditional power plants (coal, nuclear) use much water for cooling and neutralization; wind turbines use only a fraction comparatively. In addition, they are long lasting with little maintenance. Farmers and ranchers benefit from wind turbine towers. Energy firms will pay the owners of these enterprises to construct towers on their land. Land that may otherwise go unused is serving a useful community service and business purpose. If Americans accept wind energy power, we will be a more self-sufficient nation while reducing the import fees associated with foreign oil, for instance. In Environmental Science it says, "Wind power is now considered competitive with new coal and natural gas plants and cheaper than nuclear plants" (204). Tecco says that, " According to The U. S. Department of Energy, wind technology provides more jobs per dollar invested than does any other energy technology-more than five times that from coal or nuclear power!" (41).

General Electric, a trusted company, is a leader in wind farm production. The government offers tax credits to energy firms for research and development. These credits offer financial and technical support from The Department of Energy Wind Energy program.

Distribution of energy challenges wind power growth. The places where wind is strongest and most abundant tend to be far away from the most populated areas. Electrical grids built long ago need to be upgraded to handle the distances. This provides an unquestionable financial challenge to progress. Many people do not want to accept the need for alternative energy. The projects stall without favorable public support. According to a recent Newsday article, reporting on a recent project, Kessel, a representative of Long Island Power Authority states, "LIPA will not enter into any agreement that would be uneconomical to ratepayers 
An impediment to progress in wind energy research is the alternative nature of wind power. Society embraces fossil fuels as familiar and reliable. Small investors must pay higher interest rates on loans. Small wind farmers struggle to make a profit while selling their wind to local energy companies.

Public opposition to wind energy projects includes the fact that wind farms are noisy and unsightly. The blades of wind turbine tower historically have caused the demise of untold numbers of birds. Unfortunately, many areas that may be suitable for wind farms are already protected wildlife reserves. The wind farms also change the beauty of natural landscapes. Some people have challenged the wind power firms stating that the moving blades interfere with radio and television signals.

The greatest hindrance to the growth of wind energy is the cost of distribution; however, the benefits outweigh the costs of wind energy. There is still much to learn and implement about wind energy. Tecco states that, "If the price of wind power drops 30-50 percent, as researchers believe it will, utility scale wind systems will be one of the most inexpensive forms of electric generation in this century" (48). The facts are clear about the damage to the environment caused by fossil fuels. The fossil fuels will eventually run out, which is even more serious than the environmental concern. People need power, and wind energy is a viable alternative means. The cost of the initial setup of adequate power grids and battery storage wanes in comparison to the alternative shortages and cost to the environment.

The noise of wind turbine blades and the number of bird deaths improved recently with greater research and development. Blades on more modern turbines face into the wind, which greatly reduces noise, and larger, slower moving blades prove more efficient while allowing birds to dodge the blades, resulting in fewer fatalities. Many people already view wind farms as beautiful and if the media would promote the cause, wind power will be more widely accepted.

Energy experts take wind energy seriously proven by the fact that, "Globally, wind power use has multiplied nearly fourfold over the last five years, a growth rate matched only by the computer industry" (Enger and Smith 204). Plans for the wind energy industry include, wind tunnel experiments, advance blade technology to improve performance, computerized mapping and forecasting of accurate wind capacities (Tecco 48).

I advocate the pursuit of wind energy technology. Spending tax dollars on this important development will utilize a natural resource that answers energy issues faced today.

Works Cited

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. U. S. Department of Energy. 08 Apr. 2007. .

Enger, Eldon D. and Bradley F. Smith. Environmental Science. New York: MaGraw-Hill, 2006.

"GE Energy Financial Services Makes $270 Million Investment in U.S. Wind Farms." Energy Resource (Feb 15,2007): NA. InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 25 Apr. 2007

"Mass. Approves Offshore Wind Farm." St. Petersburg Times 31Mar. 2007:2D.

Newon, David E. and Douglas Dupler. "Wind Energy." Environmental Encyclopedia. Marci Bortman, Peter Brimblecombe, and Mary Ann Cunningham. 3rd Detroit: Gale, 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.Thomson Gale. LIRN. 08 Apr. 2007 .

Tecco, Betsy D. Wind Power of the Future: New Ways of Turning Wind into Energy. New York: Rosen, 2003.

"Wind Energy Benefits the Environment." Opposing Viewpoints: Conserving the Environment. Douglas Dupler. Detroit; Greenhaven Press, 2006. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 08 Apr. 2007. .

"Wind Farm Project Costing Over $600M." Newsday ( Melville, NY): NA. Infotrac One File. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 25 Apr. 2007. .

Differences Between the Planets: Earth and Venus

Differences Between the Planets: Earth and Venus

Earth, and Venus, our neighboring planet, share so many traits they could pass for twin planets. There are many similarities but the differences make the kinship fraternal instead of identical. Scientists can learn much about the history and the potential future of The Earth by studying Venus, which is so beautifully visible to those on Earth at night as the evening star and during the morning as the morning star. It is even possible to see Venus under proper conditions during daylight.

The ancients were curious about what they viewed in the night sky. Venus was the brightest "star" in the sky except the sun and moon. Early scientists wanted to believe another planet existed that could support life as on Earth. David Harry Grinspoon tells us in Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of our Mysterious Twin Planet, that Galileo was probably the first to view Venus through a telescope and wonder about the truths of the planet (34).

He noticed that Venus had phases, a strong point in support of heliocentric thinking in a time of geocentric religious fervor. Centuries of written material from scientists who thought they had uncovered some of Venus' secrets were followed by Hollywood with Zsa Zsa Gabor as a Venusian scientist as the Queen of Outer Space in 1958.

The term twin when applied to Earth and Venus came early on in scientific discovery. It is true that the planets share remarkable similarities. The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in "Comparison: Venus vs. Earth," teach that the equatorial radius of Earth is 3,963. 2 miles where as Venus' is only a little less at 3,760.4 miles.

Once sophisticated study of Venus began, scientists learned that Venus' surface is relatively crater free just like the Earth, hinting at a similar age since formation. Bill Arnett says that the crater record on Venus may be a poor test of its age because early volcanism could disguise the crater holes beneath, also that smaller meteorites burn up in the thick atmosphere before they reach the surface.

Earth has an active plate surface system, however; that continually recycles itself through the rock cycle. This plate activity does not exist on Venus as on Earth, however Stephen Marshak in "Does Plate Tectonics Occur on Other Planets" believes fault patterns on Venus suggest that a lesser plate system once tried to take hold on Venus' but never materialized. The two planets have similar densities and composition. The above-mentioned likenesses are interesting but that is where the similarity ends.

In Venus: an Errant Twin", Eric Burgess said that twenty-two expeditions have been launched to learn about Venus. Seventeen of them were Soviet and five from The United States. The Soviet Venera 1 in 1961 failed with communication problems, but the Mariner 2 (USA) found the planet blanketed with cold dense clouds. The bigger discovery was that the surface temperatures were 798o F on the night and day hemispheres. The mission also found no magnetic field or radiation belts. The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is 90.5-91.5 bars; in comparison, Earth's atmosphere at sea level is one bar (Burgess 91). Indeed, Humans would be rather uncomfortable there.

Scientists and lay people alike wanted to believe that Venus was like Earth. Modern technology, which could see through the clouds of Venus, taught a different tale. William Herschel first correctly "inferred that Venus is so bright because of a global, reflecting cloud cover" (Grinspoon 39). It was, however, the Russian astronomer Mikhail Lomonosov that really discovered the atmosphere of Venus in 1761 (Grinspoon 48). Venus' transit across the Sun showed a blurred surface around Venus.

The atmosphere is very important when comparing the two sister planets. NASA reports that carbon dioxide is the major ingredient in the atmosphere of Venus. There is some nitrogen as well, and nitrogen is the majority of Earth's atmosphere along with oxygen. It is clear that life as Humans are familiar with cannot live on Venus. The extreme presence of carbon dioxide on Venus and the temperatures it brings to the surface and the toxicity of the atmosphere worry those on earth that feel we as Humans are setting up our planet for the same inhabitability.

In the Earth's infancy, it was hot enough to allow a large asteroid to plunge through to the center to form our planetary core. Volcanoes spewed magma across the planet leaving a magma ocean according to Tim Appenzellar in "Earth in the Beginning." When the Earth cooled enough from icy debris and condensed steam from thermal activity, a liquid water ocean emerged. The process from magma ocean to watery ocean might have been a recurring scenario throughout the Hadean period. Scientists refer to the Earth's early formable years as Hadean in reference to the Greek underworld Hades, because of the hellish conditions of the early Earth.

The interiors of the two planets are probably very much alike, each having a core, mantle and a surrounding crust. The evolutions of the surfaces are very different. The U.S. orbiter Magellan began mapping the surface of Venus on September 15, 1990 using radar. After initial problems, the campaign surveyed ninety-seven percent of Venus by January of 1992. Venus is a dry, hot planet with few large continents. The highest point on Venus is Maxwell Montes. Its summit reaches to 10.8 kilometers above the mean level that is 1,525 meters higher than Mount Everest from Earth's sea level (Burgess 115). Scientists found one rift valley on Venus and that is only one fifth of the depth of Earth's Marianas Trench. Lacking active subduction zones, Venus is mostly flat. Sixty percent of Venus is flatlands. Three highland areas are present; they are Beta Regio (double shield volcanoes) and the continent-like formations of Aphrodite Terra and Ishtar Terra. There is a high plateau within the lowlands named Alpha Regio. No liquid water is present on Venus while Earth is vastly watery with several large continents.

Compared to Earth, Venus is one hundred times more spherical (Burgess 33). There is no polar flattening or equatorial bulge. The gravity field of Venus follows its topographic features. The highest gravitational field is at the Maxwell Mountains and the lowest at the lowlands. Venus is so bright because of the albedo of the cloud cover. The wind speeds at the cloud tops climb to three hundred and fifty kilometers per hour while surface winds are slow; only a few kilometers per hour.

Since Venus rotates so slowly, the circulation pattern of air is much different from the rapidly spinning Earth. Hadley cells of air move from the equatorial area toward the poles in a long reaching single loop on Venus. The Earth has three sets of wind patterns rising and falling between the equator and about 300, between 300 and 600 and between 600 and onward to the poles. The rotation of the Earth, temperature variance, and Coriolis force cause these active cells.

Life on Earth began approximately 3.8 billion years ago. It could have originated from one of the pummeling space debris' or spawned from the new water ocean. Conditions improved for survival with the earth able to cool itself through sea floor spreading and subduction. Thermal activity persists on Earth, yet the balance between the hot interior and the cooling effects of the lithosphere allow it to rejuvenate.

The lithosphere of Venus has changed throughout its history. C. David Brown and Robert E. Grimm explain in "Recent tectonic and lithospheric thermal evolution of Venus" that by studying the terrain changes on the surface of Venus they determined that the thickness has increased over time. The present lithosphere is much stronger and thicker than in the past. This is because of the diminished volcanic activity on the planet. The cooling that led to the present thickness (two hundred kilometer) happened over the past billion years (Brown and Grimm).

There must be some cooling mechanism on Venus or else the planet would still be molten. The mountainous areas, the rift valley and history of volcanic activity lend attention to the existence of some sort of plate activity there. Grinspoon thinks there is a middle type of plate system acting on Venus. It would be more than the one-plate Mars but not nearly as active as Earth. A few plates as opposed to the large number found on Earth. More research will help geologists understand how Venus cooled. The temperatures on the surface of Venus are incredible, however, as formerly stated; there must have been a cooling mechanism.

Scientists disagree about whether Venus' volcanoes are all extinct. The planet has a rocky surface as seen in photos from the Venera 9 and Venera 10 expeditions and the high presence of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of Venus probably came from the erupting volcanoes in Venus' early life. The thirty-kilometer thick atmosphere trapped the sulfuric acid due to the high greenhouse gas levels (Adams). Carbon dioxide comprises ninety-seven percent of Venus' atmosphere as explained in "The Greenhouse Effect: A Comparative Planetary Perspective: 1990."

The early lives of Earth and Venus are similar; they probably both formed from accretion from the same body of space debris at approximately the same time. Water can exist on Earth as ice, liquid, and vapor. On Venus, water exists only in the clouds as vapor. It is possible that water once existed on Venus in other forms; there is no current evidence to support the notion, but geology takes surprising turns as new technologies emerge.

Scientists have discovered many facts about Venus that differ from Earth. There is no moon orbiting Venus, and the planet has an opposite tilt of any other planet in The Milky Way. Venus rotates very slowly. Bill Arnett of Nineplanets.org. reports that this may explain the lack of a magnetic field on Venus. It takes two- hundred and forty-three Earth days to accomplish one day on Venus. The rotation is retrograde and with such a long period, Venus seems to give Earth the cold shoulder by always presenting the same face to Earth when passing closest to us.

Geology is similar to all sciences in that everything once learned changes with new observations and experiments. Venus looks mysterious when viewed from a telescope or when studying photos from former space explorations. The concern should be, with the Earth's current imminent problem of global warming due to greenhouse gases, could it be another Venus in the future.

Unique evolutionary circumstances have led Earth through processes that supported life to become a pleasant home to many plant and animal species, these conditions changing repeatedly throughout Earth history. Other surfaces and atmospheres in The Milky Way do not allow for such diversity. When looking at planets through the geologic time frame, anything is possible. Entire planets change over geologic time. If Earth and Venus started out so similar, it is feasible that the former could end up as a cauldron in the future. The Venus Express is in orbit with much equipment to ensure that continued research will supply more answers about Earth's kinship with Venus.

The two planets, Earth and Venus, both generate questions for geologists. They share many more differences than similarities, yet have a common beginning. It is believable that the two are following different paths right now but Venus could change to become like Earth and visa versa. They do not behave like twins right now, but surprises could be in store. The example of the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, which created the horrible heat, should wake those on Earth to the potential for disaster for our species. It would not have to get as hot as 7980 to drive us either off of the Earth or into extinction.

Selected References

Adams, James. "Venus." AOL Hometown. 2006. 26 June 2008 .

Appenzzeller, Tim. "Earth in the Beginning." National Geographic. 26 June 2008 .

Arnett, Bill. "Venus." Nineplanets. 17 Jul 2006. 26 June 2008 .

Brown, C. David and Robert E. Grimm. "Recent tectonic and lithospheric thermal evolution of Venus." Icarus. 139.1 (May 1999): 40 (9). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 25 June 2008 .

Burgess, Eric. Venus: An Errant Twin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Grinspoon, David Harry. Venus Revealed: A New Look Below the Clouds of our Mysterious Twin Planet. New York: Helix Books, 1997.

Harvey, Samantha. "Comparison: Venus vs. Earth." National Aeronautic and Space Administration. 27 May 2008. 30 June 2008 .

Hunten, Donald M. "Atmospheric evolution of the terrestrial planets." Science. 259.n5097 (Feb 12, 1993): 915(6). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 4 June 2008. 9 June 2008 .

Lutgens Frederick K. and Edward J. Tarbuck. Foundations of Earth Science. Fifth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson, 2008.

Marshak, Stephen. "Does Plate Tectonics Occur on Other Planets?" Essentials of Geology; An Introduction to Planet Earth. 2008. 30 June 2008 .

"The Greenhouse Effect: A Comparative Planetary Perspective: 1990." Atoms and Stars. 1990. 26 June 2008 .

Van Andel, Tjeerd H. New Views on an Old Planet: A History of Global Change. Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press,1994.

The History, Geology, and Ecology of Crater Lake, Oregon

The History, Geology, and Ecology of Crater Lake, Oregon

The remnants of Earth's history grace the landscape of every continent. America owns plenty of breathtaking pieces of the past. In Oregon, Crater Lake attests to the violence of volcanoes and the ongoing changes that occur under our feet. In fact, Oregon has a greater variety of volcanic rock than any other state, reports Ruth Kirk in Exploring Crater Lake Country (Kirk 3). Millions of years ago, the active coastline of the Pacific Northwest turned the sea covered shallow area of today's central Oregon into the mighty Cascade Mountain Range. Changes in geography happen very slowly; throughout the Cretaceous, Eocene, Oligocene, and the Miocene, mountains built up than eroded away. Toward the end of the latter epoch, about ten million years ago, the modern mountain range began to take shape.

When they grew high enough, a change in climate between the east and west of the mountains occurred. This caused a rift in ecological patterns from one region to the other. Moving forward through the Pliocene, shield volcanoes grew onto the range only to undergo ever-active erosion. Now these geologic features are merely large ridges exemplified by today's Three-Fingered Jack and Union Peak. Speeding toward the modern age, one million to twenty-five thousand years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch, our recognizable Cascade Range was born. Mountains throughout the Pacific Northwest: Mount Baker, Mount Shasta, Mount Rainer, and many others outlined the skyline. The mountain that resulted in the collapsed caldera called Crater Lake rose a lofty 12,000 feet, Mount Mazama (Kirk 5-6).

The United States Geological Survey in "Description: Mount Mazama and Crater Lake Caldera, Oregon" describes it as overlapping composite and shield volcanoes with a classic shape; steep at the top and flared out at the bottom. Throughout Mount Mazama's history, the climate in western Oregon experienced four cycles of glaciation and inter-glaciation. Seven glacial valleys cut the mountain and evidence of two is easily noticeable today by the geology of the cliff walls that rise above Crater Lake. The Kerr and Sun Valleys today scallop the rim of the caldera with U-shaped notches-evidence of glaciation. Geologists believe that Mount Mazama stood as an icy giant in the Cascade Range for thousands if not millions of years. Seventeen miles from the summit, glaciers reached down the sides of the mountain and spilled onto the surrounding landscape; the most obvious evidence of glaciation lies to the southwest. Periods of glaciation and spaces between them are evident by studying striations in the cliff walls surrounding Crater Lake today and through telltale glacial deposits.

The highest cliff of the water-filled caldera rises two thousand feet above the surface of the water. The dark blue lake has great clarity with visibility to one hundred feet. Sediment is low because no moving water carries in debris and because of low nutrient levels. Crater Lake's greatest depth is 1,949 feet, the deepest in the United States and seventh in the world. It is only about twenty feet near Phantom Ship. This small island is the remains of a dike from a mountain pre-dating Mount Mazama so named because of its appearance.

Above the circuitous rim, Hillman Peak, the highest peak stands at eight thousand one-hundred and fifty-six feet (Kirk 44). This peak formed as a parasitic cone opening from a vent on the side as Mount Mazama erupted. Remains of molten lava that pressure forced through cracks and solidified formed andesitic dikes along the rim. Devil's Backbone stands one thousand feet long and fifty feet across because the material is harder than surrounding rocks and is less prone to erosion. Of the dikes visible, Devil's Backbone is the most notable. Erosion will continue on the rim and others exposed in time.

The volcano erupted about 7,700 years ago, sending pyroclastic materials into the air and lahars racing down the side of the mountain. It was the largest known eruption for the Cascade Mountain range. The type of material ejected from Mount Mazama was rhyodactic and subordinate andesitic magmas said C.R. Bacon in "Quaternary eruption, intrusion, and alteration at Crater Lake." Magma reached thirty-one miles from the peak (USGS). The ash rained down as far north as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

This encompasses an area of 500,000 square miles (Kirk 10). To the northwest of Crater Lake lies the most remarkable remnant of the pumice Mount Mazama ejected. The deposits reach depths of two hundred feet here. Beyond Diamond Lake, a small lake to the north, charred logs fifty feet long and two feet in diameter dot the landscape, left in there present position by floating debris (Kirk 47).

Residue from the eruption in the form of pahoehoe, aa, ash and pumice serve geologists to age the surrounding landscape through superposition. Remains of charred trees help measure time through carbon dating and erosion of geologic remnants aid the scientists in aging the events surrounding the Mount Mazama eruption and other events. The earth has a lot to tell those that are interested enough to search for answers. Many geologic leftovers teach modern scientists about the past, which created a beautiful natural wonder for today and perhaps dangerous situation for the future. Humans witnessed this incredible eruption. The Klamath Indians lived in this area of the Cascade Range and suffered the consequences of trying to rebuild their lives after the destruction of this eruption visited them.

The time it took from the eruption until the collapse of the remaining mountain inward to form the caldera is unknown. It may have happened in an hour or within days (Kirk 8). The remains of the mountain after having about five thousand feet blown off the top started to fill with rainwater, melt water from glaciers, and snowfall. Meridian Cone is the under-water volcanic cone resulting from another eruption some time after the major catastrophe. Today, Meridian Cone is thirteen hundred feet high and a mile wide. Submerged beneath lake level it is a major geologic feature of the lake.

The visible formations such as Wizard Island are more obvious to visitors to Crater Lake. After the caldera already held much water in the form of a lake, a small cone volcano erupted. This happened approximately one thousand years ago (Kirk 9). The shape of Wizard Island is an almost perfect cone, devoid of much erosion testifies to the recentness of this eruption. Five hundred feet break the water's surface with another two thousand feet lying under the lake level.

Study of the Cascade volcanic arc using "geologic imaging, petrologic, geochemical, paleomagnetic studies and K-Ar and Ar-Ar geochronology" prove an active hydrothermal system operating beneath the Holocene caldera collapse (Bacon). Scientists found two thermal springs at lake bottom and the upwelling warmer temperatures lead some to hypothesis that hydrothermal vents are present as well. Despite this information, bottom temperatures rarely get above 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Park Service's statistics are that The Lake holds 4.6 trillion gallons of water with the average temperature at 38 degrees with summer's highs at 56 degrees. The last complete freeze of The Lake was in 1949; however, this is rare because of weather systems that come off The Pacific.

Biology proves interesting in Crater Lake. The phytoplankton tends to fill three levels of habitat vertically. Douglas W. Larson says in " Probing the depths of Crater Lake: During much of its 100 years of National Park status" that while ninety-five percent live in the upper two hundred and twenty yards of water, there are distinctions in levels according to type. The upper twenty- one yards, features mainly Nitzschia gracilis while the lower two hundred and eighteen yards features Stephanodiscus hantzschii. The small zone in between rarely produces samples of either. The named diatoms dominate their zones; Crater Lake has little species diversity. Zooplankton diversity is similarly low. They tend to be less depth specific and remain lower at night and rise to the surface during daylight. The reason could be a reproductive advantage or avoidance of predation. There are only two species of fish in Crater Lake, remaining from six introduced species in the years 1888-1941. Rainbow trout and Kokanee Salmon alone prey on the zooplankton. No fish are native to Crater Lake.

When the volcano collapsed forming the caldera, it left The Lake a closed basin with no inlets or outlets in the form of rivers or streams. All water in Crater Lake today comes from rainfall and snow (falling and melting down caldera walls) which is substantial. Crater Lake, Oregon teaches the average yearly rainfall is sixty-six inches and snowfall forty-four feet. The Lake maintains level depths because the rain and snow entering are equalized by evaporation and seepage. Scientists say that the water's life in The Lake is about one hundred and fifty years.

At depths of twenty through one hundred and fifty yards depth, moss covers the lake bottom. Arthur Hasler says this discovery is "the most startling biological find in Crater Lake" (Hasler qtd. in Larson). Many trees cover Wizard Island and the rim of the caldera. A myriad of birds and mammals live nearby making Crater Lake a lively environment.

William Gladstone Steele, the man who first introduced fish into Crater Lake pushed Congress for seventeen years to protect the area and on May 22, 1902, Crater Lake became a National Park. In the early days of The Park, interest and funding for research was small. Things have changed for the better with a small permanent research vessel lowered into The Lake by helicopter in 1995. Continuing work from there and The Crater Lake Science and Learning Center promise that much is information is forthcoming about the geology and ecology of this beautiful region.

Meridian cone, Wizard Island, or one of many lesser volcanic remnants of Mount Mazama in time will probably grow into their own with the potential for disaster that the Mother mountain held. In an active geological zone such as this one, anything could happen. The North American plate and the Juan de Fuca Plate form a subduction zone with the Oregon coast stressed eastward. Earthquake producing faults lie underneath the Cascades and many of the monoliths there are volcanic. The USGS teaches that the faults lying beneath the Cascade Range run from northwest to southeast. This area of Crater Lake, Oregon is a very active geological address at 42.930 north latitudes and 122.120 west longitudes. The Cascades feature many potential volcanic mountain threats especially to our modern societies living at the base of these mountains or in a potential collateral damage zone.

Selected References

Bacon, C. R. "Quaternary eruption, intrusion, and alteration at Crater Lake, Oregon." Abstracts with Programs-Geological Society of America 32.7 (Jan. 2000): 50. GeoRef. EBSCO. Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL. 11June 2008 .

Crater Lake- Like No Place on Earth. June 8 ,2008. National Park Service. June 11, 2008.

Crater Lake, Oregon. June 11, 2008 .

Decription: Mount Mazama Volcano and Crater Lake Caldera, Oregon. Ed. Lyn Topinka. April 18,2008. USGS. June 11, 2008.

Facts about Crater Lake. USGS. June 11, 2008 .

Kirk, Ruth. Exploring Crater Lake Country. Seattle: Washington Press, 1975.

Larson, Douglas W. "Probing the Depths of Crater Lake: During much of its 100 years of National Park status, this national treasure saw little scientific study, despite significant environmental threats." Amercian Scientist. 90.1 (Jan-Feb 2002): 64(8). General OneFile. Gale. LIRN. 4 June 2008 .

Yokohama- September 1, 1923

Yokohama- September 1, 1923

Japan suffers frequent earthquakes given its location near three tectonic plate boundaries, the Pacific plate, the Philippine plate, and the Australian-Indian plate. The tragedy of 1923 became known as Great Kanto earthquake. The dynamics of the earthquake from birth to the aftermath proves the earth's power to amaze and terrorize people living here.

In his book, Yokohama Burning: The deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire That Helped Forge the Path to World War II, Joshua Hammer tells of a few of these earthquakes and brings understanding to Japan's geographic problems.

Japan's past is full of earthquake episodes, the earliest documented in A.D. 416 and another in 599. A devastating earthquake in 1703 laid waste to Edo and in 1822; Edo felt 150 tremors that preceded an earthquake in 1888 which claimed thirty thousand lives (Hammer 62-63). In "The 1923 Tokyo Earthquake and Fire", Charles D. James reports on the February 10, 1792 Hizen earthquake and the Shinano-Echigo earthquake of May 8, 1844 where there were 15,000 and 12,000 deaths related respectively. A major earthquake struck Japan on November 2, 1855. Edo suffered fifteen thousand casualties, and the collapsed buildings and fires turned the feudal capital into a rubbish heap. Eleven months prior to the Edo earthquake known as the Ansei disaster, a different earthquake and tsunami had wiped out the port of Shimoda (Hammer 64). On October 28, 1891, a great earthquake ripped through the provinces of Mino and Owari. The incident produced shock waves that destroyed 140,000 homes, caused seven thousand deaths and ten thousand landslides (Hammer 75-76). On December 7, 1944, an earthquake struck in a fault zone west of Osaka in Nankai as predicted by Akitsune Imamura, chair of the Seismology Department at Tokyo Imperial University. The building, road, and bridge collapses killed thirteen hundred people (Hammer 266).

Earthquakes occur frequently in Japan and an anecdote from Joshua Hammers book illustrates the early beliefs on the subject when he says, "Ancient Japanese mythology contended that Japan rested on a giant catfish, and if the Shinto god of the earth, Kashima, was not vigilant, the catfish would stir, creating the island's frequent earthquakes" (Hammer 63). It is clear that Japan is very seismically active, science has learned much since the early earthquakes, and the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, which I will hereafter refer to as the Yokohama earthquake helps modern people to understand the mysteries of the dynamic earth.

Charles Davison, in his report, "The Japanese Earthquake of 1 September 1923," tells us that one hundred and ninety-nine earthquakes occurred in the vicinity between 1914 and 1921 (Davison 44). They originated in one of four districts: one- the submarine band off the east coast of the main island, two-the north or northeast of Tokyo, three-the eastern half of the Boso peninsula and adjoining sea-bed, or four-the northern half of Sagami Bay.

There are two types of warnings to an earthquake: the first are foreshocks that are slight and occur just before and are within the immediate area of the key earthquake with adjacent epicenters. Preparatory shocks are stronger yet may occur from ten to twenty years prior to the large earthquakes. The Yokohama earthquake featured as many as twenty-five preparatory shocks from February 8, 1917 through June 8, 1923. There were no foreshocks with the Yokohama earthquake and even considering the preparatory shocks, it occurred suddenly (Davison 46-47).

Near noon on September 1, 1923, the Yokohama earthquake released its tension through elastic rebound and the disaster began to unfold. Recorded as 7.9 Magnitude the vibrations lasted from ten minutes on the conservative side to two and a half hours from other sources according to Charles James. The fact that the power unleashed when people were preparing the noon meal played a large part in the fires associated with this earthquake (Hammer 3). Burning in two cities, tsunamis, floods, mudslides, and avalanches revealed Japan's legacy of instability (Hammer xiv).

Early estimates said the death toll was 140,000; however, the number really proved to be far less according to Professor Imamura. His studies show the total death toll from this earthquake to be 99,331 between the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. Other statistics show 103,733 wounded and 43,476 missing (Davison 42). These are terrible figures although not record breaking with other earthquakes in history causing greater loss of human life. The property loss sets the Yokohama earthquake apart with 4586 million dollars in destroyed property (Davison 43). Charles James said in his article that seven jurisdictions suffered from the earthquakes effects, they were Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Chiba, Saitama, Yamanashi, and Yokohama. At that time, Yokohama was the main commercial port of Japan and that area experienced the greatest destruction.

Frederick K. Lutgens and Edward J. Tarbuck define aftershocks in their book Foundations of Earth Science.An aftershock is an adjustment following a major earthquake that may generate smaller earthquakes. The aftershocks do much to add to the carnage of the main earthquake by affecting already badly weakened structures. They also may take unsuspecting people off guard causing personal injury. The Yokohama incident had an aftershock tally of 1,256 in the month of September after the earthquake with diminishing as time from the episode lengthened. Factors effecting aftershocks include whether the main earthquake began to operate again, which would slow the rate of aftershocks, and barometric pressure as well. The frequency of aftershocks increases with an increase in pressure (Davison 56-57). The epicenters of the aftershocks of the Yokohama earthquake radiated across 4,731 square miles (Davison 58).

The focus of an earthquake is the actual place inside the earth where the rupture takes place as opposed to the epicenter, which is the evidence of the earthquake on the surface of earth. The direction of initial displacement helps determine the location of the focus. This particular earthquake showed ambiguous seismographs from observatories on a southwest line joining Matsumoto and Kofu, also on a northeast line joining Niigata and Fukushima. Other data collected from Tokyo, Nagana, Takate, Mito, Maesbashi, Kumagaya, Mera, and Chyoshi combined with the former to confound the scientists into determining that the Yokohama earthquake had two focus points (Davison 49, 61). On September 2, 1923, about twenty- four hours after the Yokohama earthquake an aftershock at latitude 30o 40' N longitude 140o 20'E held the intensity of the main earthquake. Scientists studying the seismograms though that the second earthquake merited credit as a separate earthquake; however, it was eventually considered an aftershock (Davison 58).

Charles D. James tells us that near after the earthquake that the Government Fishery Institute and the Hydrographical Department of the Navy conducted research of the sea floor at a depth of 600-800 fathoms. According to what they discovered there indeed were two separate rips very close together. One occurred to the east of Hatsushima Island and to the north of Oshima Island, another to the southeast of Manazuru Point. They concluded that a rift had occurred along the line of the undersea volcanic chain that extends for great distance in a south-southeasterly direction because during their research they found new ridges 180 to 300 feet high in line with this chain. According to four studies done by Mr. K. Suda of the Imperial Marine Observatory in Kobe, based on seismograms from all meteorological observatories in the country of Japan, the depth of the foci was thirty miles (Davison 50).

The coordinates determined for the Yokohama earthquake epicenter are latitude 34o 58-6'N and longitude 139o 21-8'E (Davison 44). This point is to the north of the island of Oshima and about two-fifths the distance from that island to the north coast of Sagami Bay. Determined initially by duration of preliminary waves (P waves) from centers at Kobe and Tokyo, thirty-six observatories confirmed the data using circles drawn from these stations as centers and using the corresponding distances as radii. The focus of the earthquake occurred just north of Oshima Island although relatively little effects happened there. The island consists of lava and scoria, The Izu Peninsula of hard andesites, Misaki and Boshu tertiary sediments, and unfortunately for Tokyo and Yokohama those cities had been built on alluvial ground at the foot of rivers. This is the reason that these latter cities succumbed more to the disaster even though further away from the seismic center (James). Tokyo and Yokohama felt three times the intensity of the shock due to the geology there (Davison 43).

The late Professor Omori of the Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee thought that a large earthquake originating in one of these areas was due since recently Tokyo itself had had so many earthquakes in the course of time between 1855 and 1912 that the seismic area had relieved its crustal stresses and rested. The three districts might rest for a while and the Bay take its turn at producing a great earthquake (Davison 45). This is what happened with the Yokohama earthquake.

One of the best-equipped observatories in the world is in Tokyo, The Seismological Institute of the Imperial University at Tokyo. There, well- built seismographs and many lesser ones work to detect seismic activity near and far. The activity on September 1, 1923 knocked out all but one of the stronger machines. It measured the earthquake until the end, even though the readings were interrupted by aftershock activity, the main vibration lasted for two hours and twenty minutes (Davison 47). At the end of its effective use, this seismogram measured the range of motion at 8.86 cm. and the intensity 960 mm. per sec. "At the end of this vibration the writing lever swept off the drum and the rest of the record was lost" (Davison 48).

The earthquake changed the geography of the seacoast and the seabed in addition to the damage on inland. The destruction suffered in the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama mainly resulted from the fires wrought by the disaster. The geographic distortions, some temporary and some not, resulted from the force of the shocks directly from the focus of the earthquake. Along the coasts of the Sagami and Tokyo bays, uplifts of land changed the Nipponese coast. On two small islands east of Atami, uplifts of land reached eight and a half. These lifts remained after the settling of the greater initial uplifts of twelve to twenty-four feet. This seems like a great distance except when compares to uplifts in former earthquakes of 35 feet with the Assam of 1897 and the Alaskan of 1899. The Boso peninsula near Banda underwent crustal changes with past earthquakes including a ten-foot lift with the December 31, 1703 earthquake. Afterwards, the coast subsided about six feet ten inches. The Yokohama earthquake brought the coast back to the condition it held fifty years prior (Davison 50-51).

The Yokohama earthquake distorted the Sagami Bay seabed through depression and elevation of the sea floor. Scientists compared soundings recorded by the Hydrographic Department after the earthquake with a survey done previously in 1912. The results showed three major areas of elevation and three major areas of depression. The depression to the north- north- west of Oshima had a change of sixty-three fathoms depth. Toward the end of the Miura peninsula, a large depression with a depth of two hundred and fifty nine fathoms at its center was found, and in the north part of Sagami Bay, a change measuring one hundred and sixty-six fathoms. The survey found three areas of elevation when averaged accounted to less change than the depressions, between Sagami Bay and the other areas of depression. Maximum uplifts from east to west measured at ninety-six, one hundred and thirteen, and one hundred and thirty-five fathoms. The distortion of the sea floor happened over time once the main earthquake tore through and with the many after shocks. The changes may continue (Davison 52-54).

All the movement in the Bay certainly produced wave action, although observed wave action was destructive yet more insignificant than might have been expected. The highest waves hit the west shore of Sagami Bay, upwards of thirty-nine feet. The lowest were at the end of Miura peninsula. A tsunami hit Ido with the water retreating one hundred yards only to sweep in destroying three hundred homes. Vessels weighing one hundred tons landed inland two hundred and seventy yards, thrown from their berths. The sea waves produced with the Yokohama earthquake caused a lot of death and property loss but paled when compared with the ninety-three foot waves associated with the Sanriku, Japan earthquake of 1896 (Davison 54). Davison says, "It would appear...that of the movements which took place at the time of the earthquake the uplifts were accomplished more suddenly then the depressions, and that, owing to the small area of the elevations, the resulting waves would be comparatively low."

The Yokohama earthquake holds a place in history for the lives lost and the amount of property damage. James says that eighty percent of the total destruction stemmed from the fires that broke out with the earthquake. The steamer Koreafirst sent out word for assistance and the humanitarian relief effort moved in to aid the country. September 1 is set aside each year in Japan as Disaster Prevention Day and Japan is the only country in the world maintaining a major research program in earthquake prediction according to "The 1923 Tokyo earthquake: Implications for today."

Two million structures built before earthquake standards for new construction were instituted in 1974 and further strengthened in 1981 are vulnerable to liquefaction and structure failure. Japan is so geologically active that an inevitable future disaster there could change the economy of Japan and the world, in addition to the loss of life and property.

Works Cited

Davison, Charles. "The Japanese Earthquake of September 1, 1923." The Geographical Journal. Vol.65, No.1 (Jan.,1925) pp 41-61. JSTOR. Eckerd College Library. 04 April 2008 .

Hammer, Joshua. Yokohama Burning. New York: Free Press, 2006.

James, Charles D. "The 1923 Tokyo earthquake and Fire." 06 April 2008 .

Lutgens Frederick K. and Edward J. Tarbuck. Foundations of Earth Science. Fifth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hal, 2008.

"The 1923 Tokyo earthquake: implications for today." High Beam Encyclopedia. (Contemporary review) 01 Apr. 2005. 09 Apr. 2008 .

Drinking Water- An Ethical Choice?

Drinking Water- An Ethical Choice?

It is wonderful that people have realized the importance of drinking water. The human body needs it more than any other substance; it is the broth of life. Americans are the largest consumers of water in the world according to "Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem." I use the word consumers in the fiscal sense. We Americans can freely and easily access the cleanest water in the world; yet spend more for the drink produced as merchandise then any other country. Bottled water producers profit from an illusionary need that is proving to be costly for people's pocketbooks, their virtuosity, and for the environment. The most cited reasons people give for preferring bottled water are convenience and taste.

Drinking bottled water is a convenience, but small changes in people's habits can reduce the waste it generates. At a ball game or in line at the checkout, a bottle of water, cold and ready is a good choice. Much better than the unhealthy colas and questionable energy drinks. When feasible (short jaunts to the store or post office), it is easy to bring a recycled bottle of water from the fridge. For those times when someone buys a bottle of water such as mentioned above, cleaning and refilling the bottles with tap water is smart.

There are circumstances when tap water is not palatable. Dr. James M. Symons said in "Plain Talk about Water", that chlorine used to purify water sometimes causes a strange odor and taste. Hydrogen sulfide in groundwater causes an unpleasant rotten-egg smell. The odor makes is difficult bring the glass to the mouth. Some types of algae and fungi in groundwater are non-toxic but smell musty or earthy (Symons 27). Municipal water is highly regulated by the FDA but some regional groundwater issues may affect the taste of water. It is safe to drink; however, there are simple alternatives.

Home filtration systems are effective at easing people's concerns about their tap water. They are inexpensive and the only waste is the unit's replacement about every four months. The units include an indicator so the consumer knows when to replace them. Serving pitchers with filters are convenient since cold, filtered water is available from the refrigerator and the reusable glass comes straight from the cabinet. Keeping pitchers of water in the fridge is important since people want tasty and convenient choices. Water tastes better when chilled and delicious when accented with lemon or lime. There is a medium between tap water and merchandized water bottles.

Freestanding water coolers save on cost and are better environmentally than individual size bottles. Consumers purchase water from distributors in bulk. Five-gallon containers cycle regularly and the suppliers accept the used one for recycling. It is a good alternative financially and environmentally, although the cost of using electric to cool the unit needs consideration. The delivery charge is expensive, although consumers can pick the tanks up from the suppliers instead if they choose. People can use their own glasses and only have to draw the amount of water they are prepared to drink. An observer will notice how many half- empty or full bottles of water end up in waste bins. Many of those placed there by concerned people who pick them up from the ground where many people carelessly dispose of them.

All people should combat 'the tragedy of the commons', the unfortunate excuse people use for polluting because everyone else does and the little they contribute could not possibly harm the environment. In reality, every piece of garbage discarded carelessly harms the environment and people's dignity. "Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem," reported that eighty-six percent ends up as garbage and can take a millennium to biodegrade. It takes 2.7 million tons of plastic for the bottles of water American's consume. Is municipal water that bad that we tolerate this absurd reality?

Historically water from the tap has been notorious for causing diseases. Sewage runoff and industrial byproducts contaminated water supplies. In his book, The Water We Drink, Joshua I. Barzilay outlined legislation in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have diminished these concerns. In 1887, Lawrence, Massachusetts first used infiltration systems. In 1909, Jersey City, New Jersey introduced chlorination. In 1948, the Federal Pollution Control Act regulated industrial discharge (Barzilay 17). The Federal Water Pollution Control Act became law in 1972; it later became the Clean Water Act. To ensure American's safety, The Safe Drinking water Act became law in 1974. The first goal of the Act meant testing for chemicals and contaminants; enforceable maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) would ensure no health risk if consumers over a lifetime.

Today, municipal water safely supplies Americans with the beverage. Unethical entrepreneurs over the past several decades have taken advantage of uneducated Americans for huge profits. In the article, "Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype," The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported that bottlers enjoy a 25-30% profit on each bottle of water sold. In an unguarded moment in the 1990s, the then chairmen of Perrier water said, "It struck me...that all you had to do is take water out of the ground and then sell it for more than the price of wine, milk, or, for that matter, oil." This statement shows clear intent to dupe the public.

In the Time article, "Testing the waters (bottled waters)" Thomas McCarroll outlines a serious problem in the bottled water industry. He exposed Crystal Geyser's marketing techniques as false. They printed on their labels that 'the drink begins as snow and rain that falls on 12,000-ft. Olancha peak in the towering Sierra. The pristine water is naturally filtered through the mountains bedrock.' In reality, the company drilled holes into underground wells and pumped the water out. The legal affairs inspector for North Carolina's agriculture fought back by saying, "You can't sell well water as spring water in this state." There are about seven hundred brands of bottled water in America and stricter laws enacted through the 1990s take seriously abuses by the producers. Examples of state's fighting back are Georgia that requires companies to document the exact source of the water they bottle. Vermont requires them to disclose lead, nitrates, and arsenic amounts in their water. These advances in legislation follow studies finding that 25% of companies could not document the source of their water at all, 31% exceeded microbiological contamination levels. Greg Lucas, in "Bottled water regulations called murky; Environmentalists, EBMUD push for more disclosure" is angry about the way these companies exploit the public. The East Bay Municipal Utility District thinks the law should force bottled water companies disclose details of their products. Since the public believes that store bought water is superior to tap water, then it should prove its claims. Public water agencies must supply confidence reports yearly detailing levels of contaminants like lead arsenic aluminum and salt in their water. Surely paid for water should do as much. Lucas said in his article that The Food and Drug Administration have found contamination in one-third of one hundred and three brands tested. He also reported that, "The NRDC found the contents of one bottle, labeled "Spring Water" actually came from an industrial parking lot next to a hazardous waste site." Many brands like Great Bear and Glacier Springs originate as tap water.

The public deserves to know the truth about the source of the water they pay for. Of all types of bottled water (outlined below) spring water is the most problematic in honest labeling. In "Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype" the NRDC found that Safeway Spring Water, marketed as natural spring water, had substantial levels of trihalomethanes, byproducts of chlorine disinfection. "If the FDA adopts the geological definition, half of all so-called natural spring waters would have to change their labels." according to McCarroll. Water goes by many names.

Artesian water comes from a well that taps into an aquifer. Mineral water must contain a minimum of 250 part per million of dissolved solids mostly calcium and magnesium. Spring water comes from an underground formation where the water flows naturally to the surface; sometimes boreholes tap the source. Vaporization and recondension make Distilled water free of minerals. Purified water has minerals removed through filtration or distillation. Sparkling water gains fizz through natural geothermal processes (Barzilay 123). The bottled water industry does not always disclose the whole story about the origin and processes used to manufacture their products. The article "Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem," states that forty percent of all bottled water starts out as tap. It also reminds consumers that the FDA more closely regulates municipal waters than many bottled waters in Europe and The United States.

Environmental awareness has led many restaurant owners to combat the wastefulness of bottled water. Upscale restaurant owners Mario Batali of Del Posto in Manhattan and Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley will no longer offer-bottled water to their guests. Brian Walsh in "Back to the Tap" reports that the famous Italian chef will offer purified tap water at Del Posto. MSN in "Some upscale restaurants shun bottled water" reports that Chez Panisse will carbonate tap water on site with a carbonator. Waters turned to this method after inspiration from a San Francisco eatery, Incanto, which switched from bottled water years ago. Poggio in Sausalito offers water from a filtering, carbonating machine since its opening in 2003.

As education about environmental stresses grows, there are more examples of companies considering the ethical question of their industry and acting correctly. There are times when the immediate water supply is not safe to drink (when camping, when traveling abroad or if experiencing local municipality problems); people must rely on bottled water. At those times, consumers should educate themselves and choose brands that are trying to make a positive contribution to important causes and lessening their environmental footprint.

In "Back to the Tap," Bryan Walsh teaches that Icelandic Water uses geothermal power to operate its plant. Over the past five years, they have reduced the amount of plastic in their bottled by forty percent. Tom Paulson offers two ethical examples in "Thirst for Bottled Water May Hurt Environment." Athena Water's owner Trish May started the company to benefit breast cancer awareness and claims to give all profits to woman's health research. Starbuck's owns the water company Ethos. They strive to raise ten million dollars for water development projects in developing countries. Five cents from each bottle sold goes into this fund. More companies will move in the same direction as awareness grows.

Paulson in "Thirst for bottled water may hurt environment," said that several churches including The United Church of Christ, the National Council of Churches, and Presbyterians for Restoring Creation are fighting against the 'privatization' of water. Some refer to bottled water as blue gold. Financial managers advocate bottled water saying, "Water...it is the next best thing to oil or diamonds." Economic and ethic perceptions determine a person's stand on this issue. The industries who concentrate on fiscal gains feel singled-out. They wonder why the focus is on bottles water's contribution to environmental degradation when plastic soda (the most consumed beverage in America) bottles fill the same landfills. Paulson quotes Preston Reed, spokesperson for the American Beverage Industry in his article. Reed said, "It is a little bit odd that bottled water is being singled out in that way." The fact is Coca-Cola does not run out of every kitchen faucet.

City governments all over America recognize the impact of the plastic in landfills, aquifer damage, and the unnecessary cost of bottled water. Many cities either have banned or have an imminent plan to ban the products. This includes using tap water at all official functions, forbids spending on bottled water and urges city employees to turn to the tap. Judy Kleen, in the article, "Bottled water leaves some cities with a bad taste," mentions several examples; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, Quechee, and Santa Barbara. She outlines the Chicago mayor's smart plan for deposits on the bottles. His proposal asks for a ten-cent deposit on each bottle of water sold. This would generate twenty-one million dollars a year for Chicago's budget and almost guarantee that the bottles get recycled. The consumers could return them to a designated location for refunds. Even ambitious garbage divers would collect and return them.

In "Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem," the author said, "Making bottles to meet American's demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year." Crude oil produces polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to make the plastic bottles. This figure should shock people into rethinking their water source. After the oil question, there are production, shipping and distribution costs to consider. America imports bottled water from overseas. France is the biggest international source of bottled water in America but also Norway, Germany, Fiji, and Iceland also supply American's tastes. The host of National Public Radio's "Bottled Water: A symbol of U.S. Commerce, Culture" Robert Siegel said, "You are describing the most, it would seem, notorious case of conspicuous consumption in modern American life." Tom Paulson in "Thirst for bottled water may hurt environment" said that, "Americans infatuation with drinking high priced "natural" water from a bottle rather than from the tap is contributing to global warming and could even qualify as an immoral act." He said that when considering the use of oil to produce bottles and the collateral cost, image a bottle filled one quarter with oil.

The bottled water culture first arose during the fitness craze of the 1980s. Water is the best choice of beverage; however, in order to impress society, people stated toting store-bought bottles around everywhere. The luxury turned into a status symbol. Having a bottle of water was not enough to show a person's dedication to health, but the brand they chose betrayed their financial situation.

Soft drinks are the first choice of beverage for most Americans. The largest soda companies, Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola each market a brand of water. They are Aquafina and Dasani respectively. Mr. Fishman said in, "Bottled Water: a symbol of U.S. Commerce, Culture" that together these two name brands account for twenty-five percent of American's bottles water consumption. Since the water is purified tap water from the consumers own regions, people pay for merchandizing machine instead of the actual product. This; however, keeps the distribution cost down if compared to Fiji Water that makes a long expensive journey before lining grocery shelves. Consumers probably do not think about these types of concerns when they get thirsty.

Education makes a difference in people's ethical choices. The authors writing literature and the restaurants turning back to the tap all deserve accolades for their efforts. The typical American must learn the economic circuit of their dollars so they can better budget. The rubbish lying in the plants and landfills must decrease. People must eliminate 'the tragedy of the commons' and consider the example of their actions on their children.

Works Cited

Barzilay M.D., Joshua I., Winkler G. Weinberg, M.D., and J. William Eley M.P.H. The Water We Drink: Water Quality and its Effects on Health. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

"Bottled water, a natural resource taxing the world's ecosystem." Breitbart. 10 Feb. 2007. 20 Nov. 2007 
nrba2js&show_article=1>.

"Bottled water: A Symbol of U.S. Commerce, Culture. (20:00-21:00 PM)(Broadcast transcript)(Audio file)." All Things Considered (June 28, 2007: NA. CRSN. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 23Nov.2007.

"Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?" Natural Resources Defense Council. 20 Nov. 2007. .

Ingram, Colin. The Drinking Water Book. California: Ten Speed Press, 1991.

Keen, Judy. "Bottled water leaves some cities with a bad taste. (New)." USA Today (Oct 18 , 2007): 04A.Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 23 Nov. 2007 
source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=lirn_main&version=1.0>.

Lucas, Greg. "Bottled water regulations called murky; Environmentalists, EBMUD push for more disclosure. (BAY AREA)." San Francisco Chronicle (Jan 27,2003):B1. Opposing Viewpoints Resouce Center. Thomson Gale. LIRN.22 Nov.2007.

McCarroll, Thomas. "Testing the waters. (bottled waters)." Time 141n17 (April 26,1993): 54(1). Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 22 Nov. 2007.

Millichap M.D., J. Gordon. Is Our Water Safe to Drink? A Guide to Drinking water Hazards and Health Risks.Chicago: PNB Publishers, 1995.

Paulson, Tom. "Thirst for bottled water may hurt environment." My Seattle Pix. 18 Apr. 2007. 20 Nov. 2007. .

"Some upscale restaurants shun bottled water: Idea is to use less energy, and save customers some money." MSN. 29 Mar. 2007. 20. Nov. 2007. .

Symons, Dr. James M. "Plain Talk about Drinking Water." Questions and Answers about the Water You Drink. Second Edition. USA: The American Water Works Association, 1994.

Walsh, Brian. "Back to the Tap. (Life: Business-Science-Education-Yravel-Environment- Fit Nation; Going Green)(adverse effects of bottled water on the environment)." Time 170.8 (August 20, 2007): 56. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. LIRN. 22Nov. 2007.

Obsessive Gluttony to Guiltless Grazing

Obsessive Gluttony to Guiltless Grazing

I remember stopping at a pizza place to buy two slices to go. Unable to wait, I ate them in the parking lot and wanted more. To avoid the embarrassment of going back inside, I drove to a different pizza place a mile down the road and ordered two more. This was insanity.

This carbohydrate addict found relief with the approach and concepts laid out by Robert C. Atkins, M.D. in his bestseller, Dr Atkins' New Diet Revolution. I have never had a gross weight problem; I suffered like many people do with the obsession of food and the stubborn 20-25 pounds.

The best part for me in following this plan is that I rarely think about food at all unless it is grocery day. Eating at regular intervals is the best option for health, but eating fats, proteins, and green vegetables leaves me often forgetting to eat. Food no longer controls me by consuming my thoughts and leading me toward over-weight and diabetes.

The arguments critics cite that: the diet is unhealthy, too restrictive and expensive, each are proved untrue.

The Atkins' diet recommends having important tests performed by a doctor to mark progress from start onwards into the diet maintenance. My health improved after cutting out sweets, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, many fruits and some dairy products.

I eat all of my favorite foods (#1 being cheese), and salads are suddenly exciting when turned into antipastos. It only takes a small commitment of two days to switch the body's metabolism from carbohydrate to fat burning. There are testing strips sold at most pharmacies that turn color to prove your progress. The color change shows my success and motivates me to be creative in preparing meals. Cookbooks are available for people that want to get ideas. I often browse through them at the library or bookstore. Once I started using my meats, eggs, cheese, and vegetables in new ways, my own imagination took off.

It is true that getting carried away with the taste for steak can get expensive, but the cost of foods necessary to lose weight and keep it off through low-carbohydrate eating are reasonable. Grocery day is a fun adventure when I think about the recipes I will create; I am not just throwing a meal together. I actually use much less food because I am so satisfied after meals based on protein and fat; I eat much less.

There are a few stages of the diet that have to be considered. The first two-weeks are very strict; the body has to adjust to a whole new metabolic program. Once the initial part of my diet ended, I couldn't believe the weight I had lost, about 11 pounds. Gradually and with tools I learned from Dr. Atkins' book I added more vegetables, nuts, and more fruits.

Once I met my goal weight within two months, I felt confident eating more casually. I still do not touch the formidable five- sweets, bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice, but my body no longer craves them so I can even go to an Italian restaurant with friends. I order meatballs and an antipasto. Anything you can put between slices of bread can be wrapped up in lettuce leaves, and cucumbers slices make good crackers.

There are loads of things to learn about the medical benefits of low-carbohydrate eating, there are motivational tips and recipes in Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. I have read it more than once and I loan it to people often.

The weight loss gives me confidence in my appearance and my health, but it is the freedom from the obsession of food that is most important to me. Anyone that has cooked a package of macaroni and cheese, cleaned up the dishes to avoid eating more and then repeating the whole process, knows the shame of not being able to control your eating, low- carbohydrate metabolizing is the answer for me. My will power could not overcome my physical cravings; I needed an easy program that eliminated them. -30-

Surprise Flames After the Fire

Surprise Flames After the Fire

Someone was knocking at the door; Jillian, busy brushing her teeth, barely heard it. She yelled out, "I'm coming, give me a break," as the knocks got louder and more urgent. She knew it wasn't her mom, her sister, or her boyfriend; they would just come in knowing she did not lock her apartment door.

Padding her bare-feet across the hardwood floor, she reached the door, opening it with her bathrobe not quite covering her weighty chest. She recognized the man at the door, he had moved into the building just this week. Now aware that she was not put together, shyly she put her hand to her toweled head and said, "What's wrong, you nearly broke down my door?"

"Sorry, I just knew you had not left for work yet and I thought you'd want to know there was a fire in the building where you work. Maybe you should call and find out what's going on. Must be big, it's all over the news this morning."

Jill said "Come in, come in," backing away from the entrance and rushing to grab her cell phone from the night stand. There had been several missed calls, she dialed her voicemail and listened as her boss, Tony, told of the fire that had put Sarah, the front end receptionist, in the hospital. He broke off without giving any detail.

She came to the living room where Ron had already turned on the news. She stared at the screen half listening as she dialed Tony's cell phone. He answered. "Sarah will be alright, but can you come to St. John's, room 214 this morning?" Jill saw on the television that many people were being treated by paramedics and that a large area of the two- story building where she sells insurance was blackened and threatening to collapse.

"Thanks for the heads up, I never turn on the news in the morning," she said to Ron, "I had better get ready and get over to St. John's; although it doesn't sound like Tony is worried about getting much work done today."

"I have a late appointment but am free until then; can I give you a ride? I know you don't have a car." Recognizing that he was sounding like a stalker, Ron added, "My desk is near the window and I notice you walking to the train station often. I knew you had not left for work yet today because I didn't smell your perfume when I returned from getting a coffee at Ria's."

She might have been put off by this sudden familiarity, but, the truth was, she had been noticing him too. "I'll get dressed, can I knock on your door when I'm ready. I promise to knock like a normal person." She said offering a flirtatious smile.

"Great, I'll see you in while." Ron said leaving.

Jill was worried about Sarah, more sensitive than her other co-workers, she will likely take it hard that she was the only one in the office when the fire broke out. From the news, Jill had discovered that the cause of the fire was a person in one of the upstairs apartments either being careless with a cigarette or candle, or a gas pipe issue. The details would not be disclosed officially until an investigation was complete.

Since, there would be no clients to see today, Jill dressed in Levi's jeans and a white blouse. She did, however, spend the time to style her hair well and use a few extra make-up tips. Realizing that she had developed a crush on Ron while watching him and his friends move furniture the other day, she wanted to redeem her robe and towel outfit.

They drove to the hospital in Ron's impractical but sexy truck. It dawned on Jill that it would be awkward if this new man visited Sarah and met Tony under these circumstances. She was involved with someone else, but they knew she wasn't serious about Jake. Ron saw that Jill was in her own thoughts and turned on the classic rock radio station.

"I have some errands to do, if I drop you off will your boss give you a ride back?" asked Ron.

She wanted to spend more time with him, but knew that she was going to the hospital to support her friend and regroup business affairs with her boss. "Yes, of course he will, if he has other plans, I am a professional on the train. I wonder if you want to get together later and have a bite of dinner." Jill asked, forgetting what her mother taught her about asking men out.

"I would love to see you later but I have an appointment with a client at 7:30 pm. We can get dinner another time but I would love to meet later for a drink. Can I drop by afterwards?" Ron offered. He was already picking out a bottle of wine in his mind.

They had pulled up to the visitor's entrance at St. John's; Jill jumped down from her seat, said thanks, and Ron pulled way allowing other cars to access the unloading area.

Jill took the elevator to the second floor and could hear Tony's voice leading her toward room 214. A stuffed dog had caught her eye in the hospital gift shop. She presented it to Sarah along with a kiss on the cheek. Sarah looked tired; she was suffering from smoke inhalation according to Tony. Sarah was a bit listless, probably partly from her condition and partly from self-pity.

George, another insurance agent came in and the four of them talked about the people living upstairs from their offices, about the fire, the damage to their records, equipment, and the structural damage to their suites. Sarah would be released later that day, so the four of them made dinner plans at Cories. Sarah chose the restaurant since she suffered the greatest personal trauma from the fire; her husband was the chef there.

After spending several hours cramped in Sarah's hospital room with only small reprieves at the cafeteria for coffee, Tony decided that they had commiserated enough for one day and they all planned to meet at 6:00 pm at Cories.

Tony dropped Jill off at her building and she changed into a more appealing pair of slacks, turquoise nylon shell top and matching jewelry. She took the train to Cories and the conversations of the day continued among the friends. Jeff, Sarah's husband emerged from the kitchen, apologized to her for not making it to the hospital, and said he would like to surprise the four with dinner choices if they would agree. They did, and within ten minutes were presented with their first course. It was followed by all the frills of a full course meal. Jillian refrained from the red wine offered to her remembering her date later.

They agreed to meet at the office suites the following morning and work together to salvage what they could and make client calls since office visits would have to wait until after remodeling. Again, Tony dropped Jill off at her building. She barely took off her shoes and opened "War and Peace" when a tap came on the door.

She heard it but ignored it because he knew Ron was purposefully knocking lightly after the morning's crescendo. He knocked again and she answered saying, "Funny, come on in." He stepped back from the door to allow the girth of a floral bouquet to enter before him. Jill gasped at the sight of it, it was huge. Ron walked into the room and said, "What do you think?" as he placed a bottle of South American Malbec on the table next to the candle Jill had lit.

Jill said, "I love them" as she locked the apartment door. -30-

Blue Tracks: International Antarctic Centre, New Zealand

Blue Tracks: International Antarctic Centre, New Zealand

The blue boot prints led me away from the bus stop that would take me into Christchurch City Centre. Groggy from flying all night, the sight of the unlikely pathway surprised me. In this far away country, I wanted to look at the sky, the landscape and people of New Zealand.

Weighted down with my backpack and my "better to be prepared than wish I had been" polar ready parka, I bent to pull up my socks. With my face two feet from the ground, I noticed the single blue print. It was of a hiking boot. I studied the way the paint took on the shape of each individual pebble of the tarmac.

Still on airport grounds, I looked around to see if others had stopped to laugh at me while I figured out what in the world this boot print was doing here. I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that the Antarctic Center was near the airport; I did not know it was right across the street. I looked around properly. I saw the trail of blue boot prints and I had to follow.

Then I saw the Antarctica Center stamp (also in blue) at wide intervals amongst the boot prints. Literally led away from the bus stop; finding my hostel would have to wait.

Crossing the street, I had to be careful, as an American, I was unprepared for cars coming at me from unexpected directions. I made it; though, and the complex was showing its face to tourists with penguins posing on the side of the main attraction building. Behind the tourist centre are the experimental and research facilities where data is collected and support for operations on Antarctica take place.

True to what I would find all throughout New Zealand, the associates inside were friendly and welcomed me to their exhibit and their country, since I had been there literally only a half an hour. The gift shop was fun, but I came here because I have yet to make it to the far south and wanted a taste of it. Exploring further, penguins, snow, snow trekkers, inspiring photos, data charts, and the Antarctic storm simulator awaited me.

People went into the storm room wearing the paper booty's and the heavy coats the staff provided. The booty's serve to keep the snow clean against people's shoes. I felt special since my coat was blizzard ready. The simulation began and we all struggled to catch our breath and grip tightly to our belongings, in some cases, children.

The Hagglund Ride lets people ride in a snow trekker that gives the taste of riding on Antarctica's terrain. Ride as many times as you want. The kids will love it. With much to do and experience at the Antarctic Centre, I am pleased that I made it my first stop in the country. It is not only for novelty though, visit the website at www.iceberg.co.nz to plan your party or have a business meeting in the Edmund Hillary room.

Now certain that Antarctica was part of my to-do-list, I gathered my things, walked carefully to the bus stop and watched New Zealand through the window on the road to Christchurch, where I would spend my first few days journey exploring "Little England."

If you go: 
International Antarctic Centre 
38 Orchard Road 
Christchurch Airport 
New Zealand 
Phone: +64 3 353 7798 
Fax: +64 3 353 7799 
Free-phone within New Zealand: land- line only- 0508 PENQUIN 
E-mail: info@iceberg.co.nz 
Website: www.iceberg.co.nz 
Cost: exchanges are approximate- 
Adult $48 (US $25) 
Child $36 (US $19) 
Senior/Student $46 ($25)

Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse Prevention Plan

I have made a decision to stop drinking alcohol for good. I realize that there is always a chance of relapse even in those people that have been sober for a long time. Without constant self-examination and precaution I could fall into that category.

I did not try to seriously give up drinking until after my most recent DUI in which I drove into a parked car which could easily have been a person. After my first DUI, I reasoned with myself that I would be careful not to drive after drinking. Three beers was the limit I gave myself but after a period of time I became careless and thought I would be fine. The day of my second DUI, I did not even think about the consequences of the liquor I was drinking. Finding myself in jail again and not remembering what had happened the night before scared me that I had become a danger to others.

A part of me knew for years that I was an alcoholic and I was a little frightened. A casual remark from my public defender about trying AA made me realize that I needed support if I was serious about getting a handle on my drinking habits. Attending the court ordered DUI class again, the counseling sessions, and the message I learned at AA taught me that my alcohol problem had caused a stall in the forward progress of my life. The progressive nature of addiction and its power taught me that I needed support to stop drinking and that I needed to get to meetings frequently to make sober friends and give me a place I could go regularly instead of to the bar.

I think the bottom line is to have a new respect for myself and swallow my pride. I cannot be successful alone. I have to rely on God for the strength to keep my commitment to myself. Making my sobriety the number one priority in my life is important so that my alcoholism does not take away everything that I hold dear, which is what would happen if I were to continue the selfish, thoughtless drinking. I decided that to stop drinking completely is the safest and surest way to get the situation under control.

Relapse prevention is a serious matter. I must daily be on the lookout for triggers that could tempt me into raising a drink to my mouth. For me, having a good time meant meeting friends for alcoholic drinks. Now I am finding that enjoying people and activities is possible without the artificial brain-fog. Most people do not drink at all and they get along in life just fine, I can do the same.

Taking an honest look at the times, the places, and the people that I used to drink with helps me to steer clear of associations that could cause a relapse. Thinking ahead and anticipating my feelings helps me to understand them and fight any urge to drink should it arise. I have been sober now for more than five months, but I know alcoholism is strong and I have to fight it every day.

I still engage in the same hobbies I have always been interested in and enjoy them even more in sobriety. I can write, read, ride my bike, take photographs, do schoolwork, IM my friends and run knowing that they are healthy activities no longer stalled along with my career by drinking.

I know AA is not for everyone, but it is for me. I have a place to go on any given day where others just like me share and socialize. My sponsor keeps me on track as she leads me through the twelve steps. I am ready to do the sixth step now. After going the fourth and fifth steps I recognize things throughout my life that may have led me to comfort myself with alcohol. The closet clean-up is important and the inventory must be on-going throughout my life as I remember more or gather new sour behaviors or resentments.

Being honest and learning to rely on God and others for help is better than trying to rely on my own damaged mind. I have so many new friends to call when I just want to talk and a new respect from my other friends and family that I think I will be successful in life-long sobriety. I believe what I hear from AA members that have been sober for decades. That life gets better with sobriety and that getting to meetings will always be important since the disease is always ready to attack me and hurt me. I need Support.

I recognize the progressiveness of addiction through keeping a written journal of my own drunken episodes, while funny at the time, accumulatively, they do not seem so funny. From listening to stories from others I learn that I cannot tackle the problem alone.

For example- I met a person that had four DUI's in the distant past and then became sober for twenty years with the support of AA. He let his vigilance wane and after easing off of his meeting frequency over a period of a year, drank again, woke up in jail and was convicted of another DUI, all this after being without a drink for twenty years. That story is sobering to me. I hope to keep that and similar stories close in my memory. I am not so special that the same could not happen to me without every day fighting against it.

Practicing self-respect, self-examination, and learning from while accepting help from others are what I will rely on to keep me away from alcohol, hopefully for good.

Cheers- no pun intended...


An Instant Brother for Michael: My Experience with Adoption

An Instant Brother for Michael: My Experience with Adoption

When deciding to place my son for adoption, I initially faced some obstacles from my family; they have since grown to agree with my choice. The initial surprise sets minds and hearts in every direction. I wanted to do what would be correct for me and my child.

Single, working at a minimum wage job earning enough to support myself tenuously, the choice was made easily once my boyfriend and I realized that we could not agree on any other option.

Instant relief washed over me once I had made the choice. I did not, however, know what to do next. When a child grows inside you, time is important, procrastination is not feasible. In the past when I read advertisements in the newspapers for couples seeking a child to adopt, I thought it strange to resort to classified advertisements about something this important. I was scared though, and I called an 800 number of the best- sounding couple.

It was a great decision; I connected immediately to the woman that would show me the love, respect, and support that I needed. We spoke nearly daily. We talked about why I could not raise my son (at this point, that fact was still undetermined) and why she and her husband could. We became friends.

The couple had tried for ten years to conceive and without success. Following county channels had been positive for them but they had already been waiting for years to adopt a child. I was pregnant only a couple of months when I entered into the agreement with the couple for an open-adoption proceeding.

In addition to their personal attorney to handle the adoption, they supported my attorney as well. It was important to them that my interests were represented. I was confident as the pregnancy moved forward.

We were all pleased when my five month sonogram showed I carried a boy. We even decided on a name together, Michael.

It was in the eight month of my term when Jackie (Michael's mother) called to say she wanted to talk with me about something important. I was worried sick that for whatever reason she and her husband had changed their minds about adopting my son.

Instead, the news she called to share elated me. They had received word that finally a child from the county system could be placed in their home. Initially, I feared that the new circumstance would negate our agreement.

Jackie and I both faced fears of different things. She and her husband had every intention of continuing with the open adoption regardless of the new development. We had become so close and they had virtually gotten attached to Michael as he grew in my womb, that an instant family of four was created.

I was thrilled that my son would be raised with a brother. The other child, Aaron, was not a new born however, but already close to a year old. Michael would have someone to look up to and learn the ropes of life from as they grew together.

Years have passed and while the 800 number connections ended when my son was born, contact remains through correspondence mediated by the attorneys. I see visually through photographs how happy the family is together and I am proud that the panicked decision I made for myself and my son turned out as blessings for so many others. -30-

Tattoo or Not Tattoo?

New Zealand seemed like the perfect place to submit to my fear of getting a tattoo. I knew plenty of people that came home from vacationing there with gorgeous body art.

I had always admired tattoos on men finding them sexy and alluring. I am a bit old-fashioned though and tattoos on women are another story.

I talked myself incredulously into searching out a tattoo shop while in Christchurch and thought something I would never regret would be a blue Star-of- David committed to my ring finger.

As my trip neared its end, I thought I should make a decision. I wondered at my convictions and descended a set of stars into a tattoo shop near the city centre. I was welcomed warmly by a woman and I bent my head to watch the tattoo artist that was busy creating a masterpiece on a patron's back.

I heard him say, "What does she want." I explained that I wanted a representation of the Jewish icon on my ring finger. He paid attention to me and explained the risks of getting a tattoo on my finger. He told me that chances were it would turn out great but there was a possibility of smudging. I do not know if he was being straight with me or just did not want to waste his time on something so small which surely would not have turned him a profit.

The man convinced me not to take the chance. I had gotten attached to the idea of having the symbol on my finger, however, and browsed at a street market for a ring that would do the trick temporarily. I found a silver one and wore it proudly. I loved it.

I wondered why a man on my flight home kept looking at me strangely. I guessed that he was a Muslim and did not appreciate my choice of jewelry. I did not learn until much later my mistake. A co-worker asked me why I was wearing a pentagram on my finger. Horrified, I said, "What, it is a Star-of-David." It turned out that I had chosen the devilish icon instead of the respectful one I had intended. I threw the ring in the trash and laughed and sighed at the fact that I was taken for a witch for about two weeks.

I would only have hoped that the man that would have done my tattoo would have known the difference. I returned home ink free, this time. 

Answering the Call to Crater Lake

Answering the Call to Crater Lake

As a woman that enjoys my freedom, traveling alone has benefits. No need to compromise or wait for others' free time to match my own. Like many inspired travelers, my to-see list is long.

Crater Lake tugged at my spirit for a few years before I made the Oregon vacation come true. A research paper for a college science class put my love affair in an empirical light, this added to my experience but the color of the water, the steepness of the crater walls, and the circumnavigation in my rented Chevy elicited a strictly emotional attachment.

I couldn't wait to lay my eyes on the famed pure blue water of the ancient volcanic crater basin. Driving through the National Park, my chest grew tight with anticipation. I was not disappointed as I rounded the left-hand turn leading me to my initial viewpoint at Rim Village. The shade of blue that met my eyes as I dared a glimpse could be called Persian, Hans, or indigo. I was stunned to tears before I could put my car into gear to park.

I shared my area of trekking with a couple that was almost as moved as I was and a family of deer. The deer were camera shy and I nearly broke my neck following them down the steep snowy crater walls as far as I safely could while balancing my camera at my eye. I succeeded in getting some shots of their rear ends.

The caldera is five miles wide and was formed when Mount Mazama violently erupted almost 8,000 years ago. Wizard Island, the near perfect infant cone volcano that grew up from the floor of the basin, shows its tip (500 ft.), with another 2,000 ft. submerged. Phantom Ship, a dike visible at the surface is so small it is easy to miss. Below the lake's surface and poised around the diameter are many geologic features that are easily overlooked by the amateur enthusiast. The record depth of Crater Lake is 1,949ft.; it is surprising that the depth around Phantom Ship is only 20 ft.

I lingered for a long time before turning my tiny car toward the winding exit road. I was nervous encountering other vehicles since the road was also rather narrow and I passed many brave RV owners. The gift shop at Mazama Village had a sale on clothes so I bought gifts for friends. I noticed a strong smell of smoke about the air but only full appreciated that reason for the clothing sale once I got my gifts back to Florida. I tried to sell my friends on the fact that not only were they getting a souvenir but also a true sensual Northwest fire experience.

I abandoned my time restraints and drove back toward the rim. I had come this far so decided to take the eastern drive around the full diameter of the crater rim. This less traveled road had me wishing many times that I could turn around. After the fact, I am happy that I took the hour-plus drive, but I was blue with fear while enduring the sheer cliff drop-offs. Most of the time, I stared at the yellow line at the inside of my lane to avoid the petrified feelings that had me close to tears. There was no way I could look off to the right and my doom. I was giddy with relieve at the areas that were obviously built into the road to give drivers a chance to take pictures and thank God for sparing their lives for another few miles.

A gift along the road was a close-up view of Phantom Ship. There was plenty of level ground at this particular stop-off and I remained there quite a while gaining my composure and breathing in as much of my surroundings as I could. I was not even three-quarters of the way around the rim.

When I got to North Junction, sad to leave but happy to relieve the fear in my heart from the vicarious route, I turned north.

Indeed, I kept an eye in the rear-view mirror as I began the drive north through the Pumice Desert. I remember thinking, "What is going on with this landscape." My memory returned to my research paper and I remembered this was the area that took the greatest brunt of the volcanic fallout from the Mount Mazama event; again, I wanted to turn around and further inspect the scene. I was being closely followed by a white van and my sensibilities reminded me that I may want this van on the road with me as I ventured north-west on lonely roads into the nearing darkness. I continued on.

I stopped to scoop some sand from a cliff along the road to add to my soil collection wondering why there was sand this far inland and that it I not seem a very strong support for the cliffs above it. Again, the amateur geologist within me had questions but no answers.

Darkness fell quickly and I looked for any place to rest for the night. My tarrying throughout the day had made me late for the main road north toward Eugene. I came across The Dogwood Motel suddenly on the left. Thankfully there was a vacancy and the proprietor, Norman Call, was a vigilant host. He showed me to the cabin room I rented for the tiny charge of $45, the grounds which were decorated with flowers and a Koi pond. He walked me across the road to where there was a set of stairs that led down to the river. Back in his office, he offered me DVD's as entertainment.

Instead, I placed my pack on the second bed and walked to the river across the road. I spent the rest of daylight there writing about my day's adventures. Sleep came quickly that night and I dreamt...

For more information about visiting Crater Lake inquire at Crater Lake National Park P.O. Box 7 Crater Lake, OR 97604-0007 or learn more at www.nps.gov/crla

Visit The Dogwood Motel and Norman Call at 28866 North Umpqua Hwy Idleyld Park. OR 97447 telephone: 541-496-3403 website: www.dogwoodmotel.com or e-mail dogwood@mcsi.net -30-


Having Trouble Respecting Strangers I Encounter in the City

Having Trouble Respecting Strangers I Encounter in the City

Today, at the bus-stop, a woman needed to tell me that she wanted $7 for a pair of earrings she wanted. You may say, so the woman was just making small talk. I wish I believed that, but in the past couple of months any positive thoughts I held toward strangers has been tried.

She waited until I went into my purse to get out my phone; she thought that would be a convenient time for me to supply her with the $7 from my wallet.

Later that evening on a bus ride home, a man asked me for fifty cents, regardless of the fact that he was holding a giant BIG GULP drink that surely could have been sacrificed for the needed change. I told him I did not have any money, so he asked me for a cigarette instead. Can you see where I am going with this?

I honestly told him, "I do not smoke." In reality, I had become so irate because people all over the city have asked me for a cigarette each time I produced one for myself from my $5 pack. This was a factor in my actually stopping the habit. I supposed if I didn't smoke myself they would not ask. Strangely, they still do but less often. Without any exaggeration, I have had as many as five people, one after the other ask me for a cigarette in a ten minute wait at the bus station. This is just what they do.

So, if you are reading this and you are one of these types, don't wonder why we scoff. Enough is enough.

I am newly reformed, the last straw came when again, a stranger asked me for a cigarette. I reminded him that they were costly these days, and by the way I did not have a job at the moment either. So, unbelievably, he asked me if he could finish the live one I was holding.

Seriously, encountering this type of behavior several times a day makes me wonder how these people sleep at night. I cannot find the understanding for these people that really believe they have a right to live parasitically. It is hurting my spirit. I don't want to think insolently toward others, but I am saturated with people that do not respect themselves. My apartment is great but I dream of transfiguring it to a small coastal town in Oregon. -30-

 

Seal Island, South Africa: The Seals of Shark Week

Seal Island, South Africa: The Seals of Shark Week

Shark week on TV always captured my attention and I remembered the story of Seal Island near Simon's Town, South Africa. When looking for things to do on my Cape Town vacation, taking the train south was a great idea. Too chicken to cage dive with the sharks, I decided that getting a close up of their feeding grounds would be an exciting way to feel immersed and stay alive.

My companion (another lone traveler I met at the hostel) and I found a tour outfit through word of mouth while roaming around Simon's Town. We secured a 7:00am appointment by phone for the following day to circumnavigate the popular feeding frenzy location. We showed up on time, but the pier was deserted. Besides the irritation of waking so early for no real reason, I was happy. There was enough coffee shops near-by to help jump- start my mood. Later, I realized that drinking several cups of coffee just before a boat trip on a small minimally equipped vessel was not the best idea.

When the captain of the boat appeared on board at 11:00am, we hurried over and expressed out confusion about our appointment time. Casually, he explained that others would join us and 7:00 was too early for them. He did not seem bothered about the inconvenience to us nor did he apologize for not calling our hostel (of which we had provided him the phone number, in case this very situation arose.)

We left the dock with about eight people on board. My eyes were busy looking in all directions at once, making mental notes of the blueness of the water, the height of the shoreline from the new perspective at sea, and the cozy looking homes built onto the cliffs throughout Simon's Town.

As we approached Seal Island, the scene was unbelievable. I was unprepared for the amount of seals. They covered the entire island, and bobbed around thickly from the shore all the way to where our boat passed by. I wanted to see a shark for the novelty but felt pity that one of these easy-going creatures within my arm's reach could be lunch in a little while.

I cried for many reasons. The joy of being there, in those waters which I had dreamed about for so long from television specials and knowing that my hero James Cook probably sailed in this very spot centuries ago. A cow wailed and flailed her baby around in the air. From the blood surrounding her and her sickening cries and demeanor, I concluded that her offspring was dead. She reacted violently and her pain touched me.

No shark appeared to make a meal out of the excited seals while we toured the area but the reality of nature's cycle of life touched me in an unexpected way that morning.

My spirit soared along with the white birds that flew overhead. I cursed the coffee I had that morning while whales lumbered by our boat as we cruised back toward shore. I spent a few more days in the Simon's Town area, happily making more epic memories before climbing on the northbound train back to Cape Town. -30-

Girl's- Don't Wait for Someone to Travel With

irl's- Don't Wait for Someone to Travel With

Smart women traveling alone prepare for their safety through thoughtful packing. Below are ten things you can do to have a great trip and get you moving when your friends and family just can't go along.

1. Do your homework. Spend time at the bookstore reading all the guidebooks about your destination. Pay special attention to the sections about concerns to women traveling alone. Make notes from the books on tablet paper to tuck into the small one you do purchase. Think small when packing.

2. Leave copies of your itinerary, health card, prescriptions, credit cards, passport, airline tickets, and motel phone numbers at home with people you trust. This will ease their minds and help in replacing the items if stolen. Bring copies along as well. Guard the originals but keep copies together in a separate place, perhaps in a zipped pocket.

3. Keep a spare wallet available to hand over if a criminal accosts you. Fill it with old family photos, a small amount of cash, and fake credit cards (the ones they send to you in the mail that say John Doe but otherwise look genuine). Appease an offender until you find safety.

4. Wear a wedding band. Do this whether you are married or not. Never let on; however, that your real or imagined husband is 2,000 miles away. Be friendly to those around you and act like a part of the group. It is best if any person who wants to harm you thinks your husband is traveling with you.

5. Jot down names of those you meet. When you meet new people and decide to join them for a drink or other activity, take a minute to jot down their name and where you are going

with them. Write their name, the place, and the time. If possible, leave this information in your motel room.

6. Dress plainly. Look like you fit in and do not make yourself a target. Leave all flashy jewelry at home. Wear only the most basic makeup--if any at all.

7. If you wear glasses or contacts, bring an extra pair. Your outdated frames may be unattractive but will be invaluable if you lose your current ones. Also, carry a copy of your prescription in your envelope of important papers.

8. Sacrifice style for practicality. Bring only the shoes on your feet (if this is just not an option for you, stick to only one extra pair.) Choose a neutral color that will work with all your cloths. There are many attractive brown or black leather walking shoes that can pass nicely even with a skirt. Be sure these are comfortable and versatile.

9. Keep in touch. The Internet is available almost anywhere in the world these days; e-mail your friends and family as often as possible. Traveling alone often means spontaneity; if you change your plans without notifying them, they might panic if you do not return when anticipated. Notify those back home of changes to your plans as often as is feasible.

10. Bring your cell phone and charger. Even if out of range, it will allow you to access all of your contact numbers. You may never expect to need your Aunt May, but if so, you can access her number from your phone. Also, your phone can act as your alarm clock. When you come back into range, your phone will be there and ready to go. Be sure to bring along an outlet adapter when traveling abroad.

Considering the above tips will help women travel confidently, have a great time, build good memories and return every-day life safe and sound. Go happily. -30-

 

Belize- Kayaking Fun and Fear

Belize- Kayaking Fun and Fear

Belize- kayaking fun and fear

I just had to kayak while on the Island. Caye Caulker in Belize is a small island (actually it is broken into north and south sections now that a portion of the center has been submerged.)

It is small enough that I could walk around and quickly find a kayak to rent. The Tropicana Inn rented them, I only paid $30 and I was at it for an hour. I rented an open top style and dragged it to the water's edge. I tried to appear graceful for the benefit of the onlookers as I straddled the yellow craft, sank into the seat, and pushed away from shore with the paddle.

The water was a bit rough and I relied on faith that I would not tip the thing over. I had not anticipated the many obstacles I would face on this adventure. The first was the fact that all of the piers on this side (west) of the island would have to be cleared, that meant rowing (is that the correct word for what one does during kayaking?) far away in an opposing direction that I meant to go to circumnavigate the island. I met a struggling kite surfer and felt better about myself.

I constantly looked down into the water knowing but not wanting to accept that there were sharks down there. I just continued on happy for the adventure and enjoying seeing from my tiny boat all of the sights I had seen on foot while exploring the island, especially the farthest north of the island. My adventures there are a separate story.

As I rounded the northern part of the island, it almost immediately occurred to me that the wind would be a factor as I attempted to make my journey around the east side of the island. So far, I had not noticed it because any drift only drew me toward the banks of the island. On the east side, a real fear gripped me. I was getting tired and the breeze was pushing me away from the island. Behind me was open-ocean. I worked very hard to make progress. Coming about the south-eastern quarter of the north section of the island, I resigned myself that attempting to kayak around the entire island was not going to happen. I was exhausted and if I would have seen a person on the deck of one of the sailboats moored there, I would have called out for help.

I made it to the bar at the Split (where north and south sections of Caye Caulker separate), a fun drinking spot where I spent many evenings (and mornings.) Dragging my kayak onto the sand, I rested for while. The people on the beach paid no attention to me and I felt slighted because of the fear I had felt and the workout I endured to reach this place.

I had trouble dragging the kayak and carrying the paddle since I was not near the Tropicana where I had started. I did not have the strength to put back in and paddle to that point. Only a few minutes along the sandy road, a woman came to ask me whose kayak I was destroying by dragging it through the abrasive sand. I told her, she scolded me but provided me with a wagon in which to properly haul the craft to its owner.

I had only been gone an hour. I had such an adventure and experienced so many emotions that I felt I had paddled for hours. I was tired but I had a great time, I rewarded myself with a slice of the best cake on Caye Caulker while I watched the turbulent sunset. -30-

 

Walk Across the Golden Gate

 

Walk Across the Golden Gate

From my hostel, which was a former military barracks, Fort Mason, I had a great view of the reddish-orange icon of San Francisco. The walk over to Marin County and would be ten miles, I felt up for the excursion.

I followed the pathway behind the hostel, it winded through a sort of park until it met with the boardwalk along the Bay. Looking behind, I saw the waterfront harbor from a different view that the one I had for the past few days. Ahead of me stretched a playground for bicyclists, joggers, dog-walkers, and picnickers.

The smell of the sea and the sights of vessels from small sail boats to giant container ships plying the choppy water to my right sent my mind forward. In the next week, I would be joining forces with other people from around the country to form a crew that would take sailing lessons based out of Sausalito.

I had added a few days onto either end of my live-aboard sailing lessons to enjoy San Francisco. The history of the place excited me. Now I was heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge at a snail's pace compared to those determined to finish their workouts before work or on their lunch breaks.

I was in no hurry and paused at a café to get a coffee and cake. As I neared the Bridge, the path took me upward into a wooded area. There was a photographer seated with a gigantic camera set-up. It looked like he was settling in for the day with a cooler and a comfortable chair. I was jealous of him at this moment realizing he probably made his living at this type of vigilant hobbying.

In order to make the Bridge I traversed the area below it. I went through a dark tunnel; it was surreal because it was so dark and at the end was the shining daylight. Even though I passed through the tunnel in a few minutes, the light made me feel as if I had been in a cave.

On topside of the Bridge, I walked the sidewalk lane with many other pedestrians and ducked the people on bikes. I paused halfway across the bridge to read the dedication sign and look below. I saw the commercial ships from above and a sailing vessel that looked like it was probably on a pirate re-enactment day trip.

The mood struck me to call my father and say hello. I dialed his number, when he answered I said, "Hi, Daddy, guess where I am." I loved him and wanted to share my excitement with him while also bragging about being in sunny California while he was in not-so-sunny New York.

I finished the trip across and when I reached the end, I turned around immediately, no use lingering in Marin County. I would spend plenty of time there while in Sausalito. Besides, I still had to walk the five miles back. The trip back was fun. At this time of day, people had gathered on the coast to sunbath. I had Levi's jeans on and had to wade up to my knees in the water since the tide had arrived and broke the beach into two sections. There was only one way across. I silently cursed the day because I still had a great distance to walk in my soaked jeans and it was hot. I was uncomfortable and had to reason with myself to look on the bright side of my day's experiences. It was something.

 

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