Newport Harbor: Whales, Crabs, and Good Seafood

Close up Crab
I took a spontaneous solo trip up the California & Oregon coasts, all the way to the Olympic National Forest in Washington state, making inland ventures to visit friends, family, and natural phenomena. But that was more than 20 years ago. My recollections of Newport were hazy at best. They didn’t include the Oregon Coast Aquarium (which opened one year later), nor the touristy fisherman’s wharf area. I remember natural seascapes with real working towns and real fishermen in little buildings behind mounds of oyster shells. Things have obviously grown up a bit since then. For all of its 10,000 inhabitants, this seaside community really holds its own, maintaining charm, natural beauty, and culture. There is something for everyone here, from family style tourist to hard-core naturalist to artsy bohemian to yuppie culture vulture.

While I used to grab a pair of shoes and a backpack and just go when I wanted to travel, I now have a family where things must be planned in advance. So for this trip to the Oregon coast, we checked the tour books, researched the websites, and booked our hotels and activities. One thing I was glad to have reserved was seats on the Marine Discovery Tours boat in Newport. It’s an educational vessel that goes on tours to see marine life: specifically, hopefully, whales.

A slight nip in the 9 a.m. air sent us off under a gray sky. Our seasoned captain gave facts about the history the Yaquina River and Harbor, as well as the impressive Yaquina Bridge and Bay. Our young naturalist guide (a University of Oregon student) pointed out the NOAA research facility and ships, as well as the Hatfield Marine Science Center, operated by the University of Oregon. We went “over the bar” into the ocean, where the dip and roll of the waves necessitated rail-grasping for those brave enough to ride the bow. The sky was overcast, but the slight chill would soften to a muggy warmth within an hour. Our captain, a retired seafaring policeman named Bob, was kind, about 5 feet tall, with an easy smile and an outgoing manner. He invited all the children on deck to take turns “driving the boat.”  Our naturalist student showed the young people how to bait and set out crab pots off the stern of the boat.


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Pandora: Catalyst of Conscience

From Under the Pages

IMG_0041

Pandora
was framed;
Zeus should have
manned up
to Prometheus.

No one likes
bones and fat,
when
expecting
meat.

Red with rage toward the titan,
the thunder god
punished us,
like uncomprehending children,
for receiving fire.

Maybe Pandora
is just a metaphor;
not for women, but for childish mankind
toying with the elemental force.

© 2014 Anne Campagnet-Reed

(For the final poem in my NaPoWriMo–National Poetry Writing Month–commitment, I decided to try my hand at the new Gogyoshi form: five lines, no meter or rhyme, concise imagery. In the above series, four Gogyoshi are arranged to tell a story, but each one can be read and understood as a separate unit.)

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A Magical Evening at the “Best Restaurant in the World”

Entrance to Chez PanisseLast weekend I did something I always wanted to do: I had dinner at Chez Panisse. The Berkeley, California restaurant, opened in 1971 and still owned by world renowned chef/food activist Alice Waters was everything I had heard and imagined it would be.

CP Sunset thru WindowFirst, it was a magical spring evening in Berkeley. The weather has been unusually warm over the past several days, so it was in the balmy 70s as the dinner hour approached. Walking along leafy Shattuck Avenue, we were charmed by the  Arts & Crafts style homes and shops in the neighborhood. We passed through a homey but elegant entry patio on the way to the front door. The warm wood interior, punctuated by Mission-inspired wall sconces and chandeliers and subtle stained glass, welcomed us as we ascended the stairs. The restaurant is really a two-in one establishment. Upstairs in the “Café,” you can buy your meal à la carte, whereas downstairs, the more formal “Restaurant” offers one menu per night,  “prix fixe” style. The food and dining experience are equally magnificent in both. The menu changes daily. For either, phone reservations a month in advance are advisable, as the best seating times fill up quickly.

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We eat our bagel and cream cheese

Tsunami

In Honor of the Third Anniversary of the monstrous tsunami that hit Fukushima Prefecture in Japan on March 11, 2011, I am re-posting this poem, which I wrote as soon as I heard the news. The tsunami leaves a lasting legacy of loss and radioactive pollution from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that was crippled by the enormous wave. This was my very first post on WriteWireless. Heartfelt love and prayers of comfort go out to all of the people affected by this catastophe.
 

We eat our bagel and cream cheese

We eat our bagel and cream cheese, thinking mildly…

From above, it looks like a Godzilla movie–the tidal wave filmed in miniature, the

…about carbs and fat intake…

cars being swept along under overpasses,

…and sip our freshly brewed coffee…

boats crashing into city bridges,

…wondering what we’ll write about today…

cars parked in lots swept along, buoyant like mini marshmallows in hot chocolate or like drowning ants

….or whom we can network with…

huge mases of splintered buildings, cars, people;

… What time is our interview?…

a burning oil refinery.

… What picture should we post on LinkedIn?…

It isn’t until the next day

… Should we look business-like or should we be casual?…

that the close-ups on You Tube are available

“What time should we work out today?…

and we see the huge buildings and cargo ships floating down the street

… Oh my God!…

and coming to rest with the cars and uprooted houses in heaps against the few structures that have stood their ground.

That night, we watch the nuclear plants begin to break down and release their poison into the air, land, and sea. The videos on Yahoo show clip after clip of people walking, dazed, past a car on top of a house, a huge ship standing up on land, nose poised over the water. Street after street of soggy rubble, not a house standing. Hiroshima and Nagasaki come to mind. The devastation is similar, especially on a human level.

On day 3, we see stacks of photos online: the land is reduced to a splintered wasteland. Brothers and sisters, lost, bereft, sift through mud to find a connection to a life so newly and brutally ripped from them. A grandmother finds a pillow, a mother finds a photograph, a boy finds a soiled school award. A grandfather wanders the wet ruins of his ancestral neighborhood. A father weeps, the reality of the catastrophe dawning on him. How many of his relatives were among the 10,000-plus who perished? Will he ever have dinner with his family again?

A hand pokes out of the rubble, motionlessly grasping for something that is gone.

Nobody in Hollywood or Toho wrote this script.

How can we ever know what it feels like?

PBS Newshour: Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Continues to Unfold

nuclear-news

PBS NewsHour

Published on 28 Feb 2014

Description:

The site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan remains a post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in time. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien got a rare tour inside the plant, where three nuclear reactors melted down after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, to learn more about the long-term solutions for stemming the radioactive contamination.

PBS special on Fukushima starts tonight with rare look inside plant — Correspondent loses arm after filming in Japan — “Amputated after an apparently minor injury”

http://enenews.com/pbs-special-on-fukushima-starts-tonight-with-rare-look-inside-plant-correspondent-loses-arm-soon-after-leaving-japan-amputated-after-an-apparently-minor-injury-quickly-worsened-video

Published: February 28th, 2014 at 11:31 am ET
By ENENews

PBS NewsHour, Feb. 27, 2014: Three years after a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O’Brien returned to Japan for an update on clean-up efforts and the continuing impact of the radioactive spill. Friday, February 28:…

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The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook – Definition and Theory

chriscondello

Definition and Introduction

This post is part of a larger body of work titled “The Guerrilla Gardeners Guidebook”. For the introduction and table of contents please click here

Urban Gardening – is the cultivation of land, primarily located within the confines of the city. Urban gardening presents challenges not commonly found in the suburbs and rural areas found around a metropolitan area. Urban gardening has many sub categories ranging from food to forest, personal needs typically being the deciding factor.

Guerrilla Gardening – In my own words… Is the cultivation and remediation of blighted land that the gardener does not own… Manifestos differs from garden to garden, but the common denominator is always vacant, bare or blighted land. This land can be anything from a small street side “hell strip” (the grass between the road and sidewalk in urban areas), all the way up to massive “brown sites” (tracts of land that at…

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