Monday, April 30, 2007

one small step...

I am so proud and happy. Today, a bill passed the Texas Senate that will require permits and a reclamation plan for sand mines on the San Jacinto River and parts of Spring Creek - SB 359.

A year and a half ago, I came up with the idea to nominate the San Jacinto River as one of American Rivers "Most Endangered" (they pick 10 every year) and got Jennifer Lorenz of Legacy Land Trust to co-nominate it with me since she runs a nonprofit working to preserve habitat along the river, and I run San Jacinto Conservation Coalition (which is really at this point just me drumming up awareness about various things related to the San Jacinto River).

So the river got selected, due to the problems caused by sand mining all along it's edges. Check out the photo at SJCC main page - it's hideous. I thought for sure the issue would get some media coverage after the big announcement. But the announcement came and went in April 2006, and the much anticipated media hype never happened. A few short blurbs ran in newspapers in the state, but not even a big piece in the Houston Chronicle!

So I said, heck I better write about this myself. I had some concern since I had nominated the river, and there's this whole debate over journalistic objectivity. But nothing was happening. And honestly, although we strive for objectivity true objectivity is impossible, and there are plenty of people actively involved in issues and writing about them - Rick Bass, David Helvarg, to name a few. I gave my talk at UNT recently about this issue of objectivity versus advocacy. I think it's important to be upfront about one's involvement in an issue, to be sure, if one writes about the issue so the reader understands where you're coming from. My piece is a very first person approach.

Anyway, I wrote a couple in-depth pieces for but then I wrote a feature article for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, Many Bayous, One River, which also included my photos nabbing a polluter. I really liked the way it turned out. I didn't know about the legislation in the Texas Congress until several months later but my editor at the magazine emailed a few weeks ago to say that someone had requested 20 copies of my article. Turns out the entire Senate Natural Resources Committee got a copy of the mag issue with my article. Cool beans! The legislation specifically mentions that the river is an "Endangered River" so the nomination and article both helped get this legislation passed! I am very grateful to Jennifer who worked with Senator Tommy Williams who sponsored the bill. Now it just has to get through the House...

Yea! This is the coolest professional accomplishment ever. Let's just hope it gets passed for real!

Friday, April 27, 2007

New York City photos

Jenna and Wendee, together after 20+ years! I last saw her when I was 16, and she was 15. Oh yea we did catch up in San Fran one year after I'd gotten back from Australia in college also.
This place is heaven on earth.... There's one in SoHo, one in Greenwich Village.
Inside the Chocolate by the Bald Man "chocolate factory" which has a chocolate fountain, and pipes filled with chocolate... it's awesome!
Inside the cool Evolution store in SoHo. SoHo by the way means South of Houston and don't ask me how or why New Yorkers call Houston house-ton rather than the typical pronunciation of Houston, but they do. Go figure!

I had to take this for Savannah's sake. One of her favorite words!

Jenna outside The Coffee Shop, where we had brunch. It was a very good restaurant!

A fish market in Chinatown
Miranda, Sharon and Wendee. The original Charlie's Angels! Ha ha! Gads my hair looks greenish-yellow...
Les Miz on Broadway (or in the general area)
Musicians in Central Park
A fountain in Central Park
Times Square - full of motion and energy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Girlfriend time

I'm heading to Galveston tomorrow to spend time with Kim and Amy and a whole bunch of girls. We'll hang at the beach and stay in a condo there, having a few drinks, talking, hanging out. Yea!

Next weekend I head to LA for my friend Paige's wedding. Savannah was going to go with me, but she had the gall to win 1st place in the PSIA (Private Schools Intercollegiate something or other) competition in - get this - Writing! (OF course, I'm totally proud of her!!) She also won 2nd place in something else and so she will go to the State competition that same weekend. I'd already bought her plane ticket and everything, but I think I'm going to take her and Sam to San Francisco in June instead. I am going for Daline's big ceremony so it will be a fun summer trip. I love the Bay Area. I will also visit my niece Kira, her mom Zofia, possibly my brother, and go explore and show the kids the cool places like Haight Street, and the Point Reyes peninsula with all the seals lounging on the beach, Muir Woods with its tall redwoods, etc. Matt and I went up there once when we lived in LA and I just loved it.

I'm turning my Bohemian Adventures blog into a book... I need a good title. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Christian Evolutionist Speaks

I did it! Just as I said I would. Last night I set up a new blog, The Fish Wars: A Christian Evolutionist Speaks. Visit it at

Monday, April 23, 2007

I love NY!

Just back from the Big Apple. Wow do I love New York City. Manhattan is so alive, so full of energy. People moving all night long! I went for the ASJA writer's conference and met with my agent, and with some publishers, and also spent some time catching up with friends and exploring Manhattan. Went to SOHO, Greenwich Village, East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, Broadway, Central Park... Cool beans. Seeing NYC from the air is also a trip. I loved Central Park also. The day we walked around it was a drop dead gorgeous day, and Sharon and Miranda - two writing friends - and I had a blast. The day before I'd met with a friend Jenna Minardi I hadn't seen in 20 years, who I'd gone to high school with. She now runs a yoga studio in the Hamptons. It was so great to see her!! (Photo to left - NYC through Central Park)

I have been busy working on my book proposal, the book formerly known as "The Fish Wars: How Evolution and Christianity Can Make Peace" which I'm renaming "Losing My Religion: A Christian Gets Fed Up..." I need to come up with the second half of that sentence or just leave it as is. I am taking a much more first-person approach and will talk about how the anti-science fervor, the literalism and fundamentalism and Christian right mixing politics with religion is not just about as opposite as you can get from what Jesus was all about, it's causing a lot of people to laugh at and walk away from Christianity.

My book will also talk about how the people in the church were not there for me during and after my divorce while all my non-Christian friends were. What does this say about the faith? Or about theirs anyway? Not good. I have met person after person who have said the same thing. I am not embarrased in any way to be a Christian. I love the Bible, I love Jesus, and I think it's a beautiful empowering faith. But I am increasingly embarrassed by the Christians... the judgmentalism and narrow-minded pursuit of a political agenda, making creationism, abortion, gay marriage the main topics in their repertoire. What about poverty? What about being there for people in your life, and not running away or judging people who are not perfect? What about forgiveness?

There are certainly many wonderful things Christians have done in the world and continue to do. But in America, where I'm from and what I know, it's a mixed bag. All I know is that many intelligent and compassionate people would not think of becoming a Christian because of its rejection of science - which if you understand anything about the nature of science is as ignorant as it can get. It's actually quite harmful to our society, and quite scary how sheep-like people can be. I used to wonder how people could have ever been so naive as to follow Hitler as a leader. I completely understand now. People often blindly follow and don't think much. Jesus himself spoke of this... referring to people time and again as sheep. It's not pretty folks. Think!

I think I'm going to start a blog on this topic... Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

the only friendships worth having...

I came across this awesome paragraph on friendship at Carrie Link's blog, who is a friend of Jennifer Lauck who wrote the memoirs Blackbird and Still Waters, which I LOVED and read several years ago in book club. I had just been visiting her website after thinking once again about writing my own memoir. They live in Portland which is of course where I'm from (Oregon that is). Cool beans.

Reprinted with permission and a very sweet email...
“The only friendships I'm interested in having these days, are the sister-like ones. The I don't care what I look or smell like around you kind. The stay up all night talking kind, the call at 2:00 in the morning when there's a problem kind. The go to the doctor with you for the scary appointment kind. The lingerie and high heel shopping kind. The let's talk about sex kind. The let's talk about depression kind. The let's not talk at all but don't move an inch kind. The I love you every day, all day long, my whole life kind. The love period kind.” – Carrie Wilson Link
Fully Caffeinated Blog

And another great quote by one of my all time favorite authors
"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
- M Scott Peck

Monday, April 02, 2007


I have had a strong desire lately to go on a quest, an expedition of sorts. I have been feeling a pull to write the memoir i have talked about for so long. Of course this is balanced with the need to work on my book proposal for which i already have an agent... also important. i think the memoir will take some time to write anyway. my quest would be to go and meet and interview the people of my life, and the people in my parents' lives, my cousin, my relatives in vegas, and to talk extensively and memory-mine my dad, brother, and "second mom" Celeta. i just feel such a strong wanderlust sometimes, the desire to run away and escape... to search and seek. i also want to go to festivals like the Oregon Country Fair and Burning Man just to experience them and to be reminded of that hippie era i grew up in. It seems so far away... yet it is such a part of me. I hate the hypocrisy and materialism of the place i live. I am not saying everyone is like this, but i see it around me and woe to me that judges, but gads it drives me insane.

When i got divorced, i promised myself i would always be honest with my feelings and who i was and never hide again for fear of someone's judgements. i was so brave then, even as i made mistakes. and now i struggle between the opposite poles of fierce independence and the need to be accepted and loved. it seems so hard sometimes to find people who love you, despite your flaws. everyone wants to judge and run away and not solve problems. i hate that. it makes me angry. it's the way of the world, i suppose, but not the way i want my world to be. to accept humanity is to accept other flawed humans, and to forgive and to communicate and to grow together. I love that i have such amazing bright lights of friendships shining in the world, like the stars above. just wish you all were closer. i do not fit in to texas! never did like it here, even as a kid. and of course the words of my mother ringing through my ears "of course you like texas. don't be ridiculous" ever denying every thought and every statement i make...which continues. so foolish!