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Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

Thank you both, Corey & Deb, for allowing me to see your solar/geothermal/eco-friendly house up close and in person. Along with Tys & Melissa in Boulder Creek, I feel I’m witnessing the revolution to sustainable energy firsthand. My photos barely hint at the labor of love you guys have put into your well thought out, well executed homestead. I learned something today. Thank you.

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For the real deal, here’s Corey’s web site:

http://www.ermunch.com/projects/omey_home.html

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A Weekend in Portland, OR

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I am most grateful for my third host “family” – Claudia. Her 1921 home in a short distance from downtown, and in a most friendly neighborhood. My room was in the basement, just like my home. Her “spare room” was much bigger, and nicer. All the hard work she put into the restoral is amazing.

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I spent several days in Fortuna, Eureka and Arcata. I attended a Center for Spiritual Living service Sunday, where I met a lot of friendly energetic folks. My hotel was definitely bare bones, so they dropped the price for me. I went to Humboldt State University, and asked around for my friend, Aman Mellow Blume to no avail. I did drive on the walkways though, following (or so I thought) the map Admissions Office provided me. Luckily, it was summer session, so just a few people had to get out of my way…joke. Later I visited with the good people at US Servas headquarters in Arcata. Amy, Shelly, and Laura were pleased to see a traveler drop by. Of course. I’m feeling a bit road weary, for lack of a better term. No melt down, but something to keep in mind. Then I stopped at a rest stop on my way to Crescent City, and it all cleared up. What has Nature wrought?

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I spent almost a week with Fred & Judy in their Penn Valley home. What a place and space! What wonderful friends. Kayo and Mira, two huge German shepards shared the grounds with Horace and Bing, the cats. Wildlife abounded, with special note of the African guineas that traipsed by the front deck daily. Wide, open decks surrounded the home, affording both sunshine and shade throughout the day. We ate well. The dogs provided a daily wake-up call, usually around 5:00 a.m., but that’s par for the countryfied course. Judy had to work (she’s a midwife) some days, and Fred continues to write in his office. We had wide ranging talks, took trips into town, and visited the Empire Mine State Park. This is, after all, gold country. I took a solo day trip to Shingle Springs in El Dorado County, wondering if I could find any clues about George Duke, my great, great grandfather. I expect to fill in more details about this week as time allows, but for now, pictures need to be uploaded.

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Godspeed Phillip

My good friend of many years passed away Monday, June 4th, 2012. He had been in a hospice for a little over a month, after they found stage 4 cancer. Prior to that, he was in assisted care for memory issues. He had just turned 69, May 24th. His sister, Tangie, has set the funeral for tomorrow, June 9th in Southern California. No other details are available at this time.

There are the “details” of his life, however. And what a rich, full, loving, laughter filled life he led. I can readily hear him laugh and see his flashing smile even today. He was my friend, my mentor, my brother in life. His quiet, sublime demeanor allowed many others to see what he saw, to walk paths less traveled, and to not take life so seriously – a lesson I’m still learning. One of his many passions was the study of mathematics. He would have paper and pencil appear at times, with a problem or theorem that he would puzzle through, until he “got it.” His other passion he shared was chess. We even tried to see Bobby Fischer one time, when he heard that the grandmaster was in Pasadena. (That the World Championship of Chess just finished is a homage to Pete, in a way.) He let me win once or twice – thanks Pete. When he was over at my place, going hungry was impossible, no matter what was in the fridge or the pantry. His assembly or disparate food groups is legendary, in my mind. I will not relate what he used food coloring for, you’ll just have to use your imagination, just like Phillip did. Our friend Toshiko carried on this culinary tradition as well. Music? He turned my to so many groups and genres, from CS&N to Keith Jarred to The Last Poets. They remain mainstays in my iPod. Judy, Pete and I were called The Mod Squad, and we went everywhere together, from concerts to various other gatherings that seemed appropriate at the time. My thoughts and prayers go to his sister at this time. I am glad I got to spend time with him, holding his hand, talking to him about this and that, just like we did back then.

Phillip and I took a road trip from LA to the Bay Area back in the day, and the CHP officer let us go, after pouring out our liquid refreshments. (We rolled down the windows before we found a safe (sic) place to pullover, a lot of good that did!) My road trip of today will have him riding with me once again, off into the sunset if you will. (Right alongside a troll named Jay.) Hey, besides Me, Myself, and I – I got company. He will never be gone from my heart and memories – he just has a new address is all…

Phillip with our former boss and great friend, Ken K (2008)

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Just a brief jot to say my Subie is in the body shop getting her skirt repaired. Three or four days they say. The cost in time, money, and aggravation has to be paid if I want my EOL car whole again. The car rental people provided me with a GMC Acadia SUV. It even has satellite radio and hands-free phone. (It still drives like a truck though.) Host families are unavailable for the moment, so I got a room in Ojai. I’ll be having coffee with Craig Walker tomorrow, and going back to The Gables for lunch. I’m still thinking about going to Reyes Bar & Grill. The winding road may be a bit much. Getting the blog more of less current, doing laundry at a laundromat(?) and contacting family and friends in the Bay Area is filling my time. No pictures worth uploading. Okay so I found a couple…

Here’s Craig at our chat at Java & Joes.

 

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I’m sitting in the yurt, the guest house, up in the mountains above Boulder Creek. Getting here was a thrill, finding one hidden road – track really – after another. Tys directions were superb, and the skull-on-a-stick was the clincher. I wish I had mounted my camera on the roof rails, so you could see the narrowness, the rutted-ness, the twists and turns of the track. The Subie was so much fun, being in her real element (outside of the snow and ice mode) for the first time. I didn’t even need the skid plates as she did her version of goat-on-hillside. On indicator of the climb was my mileage: 10.4 mpg! I just made one wrong turn towards the end, and was lucky to find a neighbor who told me how to backtrack to the skull thingy. And then I was there, May 31. Melissa saw me first, waving and smiling. Correction, Jack, their dog saw/heard me first and gave me a good once over almost jumping into the car.

To say I was in another world is an understatement. After five years of constant work and effort and design choices, they had their housewarming party just two weeks before. Their house is almost finished. And what a house it is. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but adobe walls play a big part of keeping the house cool/warm as needed. It was in the high 80’s that day, and going inside was a palatable relief. And they are off the grid, using solar for their electrical needs. No big screen TV (no TV at all) and no microwave, but in this Eden of theirs, who needs them? I will fill in more of the details later, but for now, these people have created, and live, in the real deal.

‘Later” is now. July 6

The five years of home building goes like this:

  • The “Year of Stone”
  • The “Year of Wood”
  • The “Year of Mud”
  • The “Year of Inside Finishing”
  • …and The “Year (plus) that IS”
If you would like to see more details (photos with text) you can visit his wonderful blog at: http://ideamountain.com/

All our meals have included fruits and veggies from their gardens. Gray water drains to some of the veggies that can use it. Their well, 340′ deep is pumped to a water reservoir. The 3/4 ton diesel pickup runs on waste vegetable oil, which an on-prem machine converts. Tys does his work remotely, connecting to the web from his phone’s modem. My phone showed “no service” but my Kindle got five bars. Go figure. When Tys and I go into town, I’ll upload the text and show pictures, but in the meantime I am incommunicado.

Their ten acres is natures cathedral, redwoods reaching for the sky far above. Sun glinting through here and there, birds, lizards and other critters unseen sharing the habitat. Melissa and I took a walk to their neighbors and from there, the Pacific was visible to the west. This is my second host family for US Servas. I am so glad that this volunteer organization exists, and doubly so for the great people I have met, and their unconditional hospitality. I am blessed.

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