Friday, February 29, 2008

speaking of butt hairs...

Every time I think about that message Savannah just posted, it makes me chuckle, and speaking of chuckling and butt hairs in the same sentence reminds me of my ol' friend Chuckles who I met in Nepal. I know he won't mind me blogging about this because he blogged about it on his own blog (how many times can I use the words blog, chuckle/s and butt hairs in just a few sentences? Sheesh, it's starting to sound like a Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers or somethin'). I would link to it but I think if some of my younger readers read his many &%$X* words and saw some of the videos, they may be scarred for life. So, the other day I was telling my girlfriends about how when I was in Nepal there was a guy who got his butt hairs in a wad and got such bad hemorrhoids that he had to go to the hospital. They thought that was very funny indeed. But the sad thing, besides the fact that I really DO have bad hearing, I have really awful space cadet syndrome and I can not remember for the life of me who I was telling this story to. Amy and Melody maybe? So if you are out there, comment!!!

Now this would ordinarily not be such a funny story I suppose because the poor guy was in so much pain that he literally could not walk toward the end of the trip. I guess that is what happens, I said, when you have to go 12 days without bathing or showering and you're basically pooping in a hole in the ground inside a tent. OK sometimes when we visited teahouses or familes we did have a glorified porcelain-lined hole in the ground, but it was still a hole in the ground. No flusher. And little bricks you stick your feet on. No TP unless you bring your own. And you had to squat and then whoosh your goodies down with a bucket of amoeba-infested water. Ah the joys of Nepal. Or the joy of knowing that journey is in my distant memory!

So Chuckles kept us all laughing I can say that for sure. He is quite the character!! He's a photographer who I met in Nepal who was traveling with the rest of the Cultural Film Fund crew who were filming a documentary series on environmentally conscious travel called It's Your World, and this leg was on Nepal and the red panda. He and I sat next to each other on the bus on the first leg of our journey, before we started trekking by foot, and shared his ipod. For a few short days, we became Wonder Twins...I used to LOVE that show! Wonder twin powers activate! Form of... water! Shape of.... a waterfall!! Or something like that!

Oh and being that they were a documentary crew, they filmed the whole hemorrhoidal thing - all the jokes, and the visit to the doc in Kathmandu, then wheelchairing him through the airport to Bangkok (we all traveled to Bangkok together) and then after I left, surgery in Bangkok when his "issues" just would not go away.

Anyway here is his version from his blog: (but first reading his blog reminded me of the time the porters put up our tent right ON TOP OF COW PATTIES!!! I had to tell them, "This will not do!!" They just didn't get it.)

so....after the last day of hiking....we too a jeep ride into the india side to get together with a friend of brians who is bulding a high end tea house / guest house.....we stayed and drank and froze....its still in the building process....but that morning on the way....i had HEMEROIDAL the 45 minute bumpy four wheelin drive....was not user friendly....the next day....was the same....but for six hours.....what a royal pain in the ass that was....the next day...brian decided to book he, myself and john kane (so it could be caught on film) an earlier flight back to katmandu so i could get to the clinic....while there....i saw 2 different doctors.... before i had a surgeon stick two painfully bent fingers where the sun dont shine.....
I told you I wasn't kidding! The things I see and hear in my career...

From Savie

Me and Sam (I know it should be Sam and I) were comparing our socks. I said, "Yours swamp your feet, and mine barely cover the heel." my mom then said from the kitchen, "Did you just say something about butt-hairs?" My brother and I promptly burst out laughing, falling on top of the laundry we were folding. Once we got a hold of ourselves, we corrected her. Then I came to write this. That's another sign my mom needs hearing aids. I doubt she ever tells how much she can't hear us. We have to repeat everything we say. Now to finish that laundry.
From Savie

Thursday, February 28, 2008

the latest excitement

I'm trying to blog more often - aren't you excited? :) It has been a very full week with a lot of time away from my computer out and about, which has been a blessing. I often sit at my computer all day, and all night... Tonight I'm making it an early night. I'm trying to get to bed at midnight! Yep that's early for me.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to a Hatha Yoga class downtown with two friends, and then having a Raindrop Therapy Massage by my friend Charlotte. I'm using part of a $200 gift I got for Christmas. I could not for the life of me figure out what to spend it on. Things I want are either relatively cheap and I can just buy them, or they're extravagantly priced like oh, a hybrid car. A jacuzzi. An eco-house. I held onto the check thinking some brilliant idea would come up but finally decided to reward myself with this cool kind of massage once I finished my cash flow plan/budget. I'm doing the budget in association with Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University -- which is awesome by the way. I'm taking it through my church there's a video each week plus discussion - and he is just a funny guy.

I have tried to do a budget for years but could never get myself to do one. Finally I did though I still have to create the electronic version of it. I'm generally pretty good with financial stuff since I've spent the last 5 years learning bits and pieces about it - mostly from Suze Orman. I have learned a lot! But doing a budget is like getting me to tie my tooth to a door with a string and yank it out. But I did one, and I still need to get myself to live by it consistently now for a while... then I'll give myself another massage reward!!

Here are a few pics of the last couple of days. Then I'm hitting the hay rack!
Maggie & I the other night before going to see Michelle Obama speak at U of H.
The "stompers" that performed before Michelle Obama spoke. Pretty cool. I'd never heard of such a thing! Well I think they were called stompers but now I can not find anything about that term with Google so if anyone knows what they're called, let me know!
Girls night out Round 1! Melody and Amy and I first had a couple bottles of wine, and then they had to leave. But not party girl me! Enter friends round two...

Trish, Maggie, me and Georgia hung out until the place closed then headed to Starbuck's only to get there as they were closing the doors. So we stood outside in the 40-degree weather talking for an hour! It was great! I love all these awesome ladies! It was so good to get out and hang and talk and laugh. Then I saw them again this morning at Starbucks!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

accidental death & dismemberment

It's been a long day, but a good one. I had lunch with a friend and that was not only an absolutely delish meal but more importantly, great companionship and conversation! And hey, I recruited an Obama supporter!! Yea! I read an article on that said he was now a bit ahead of Clinton nationally in polls, and would beat McCain whereas Clinton might not.

In the afternoon, I went to my kids' track meet and boy it got windy and cold!! We were there until well after dark. Savie was supposed to run in the Relay but one of the girls left early - which is really annoying - and so the whole team had to forfeit. Why the heck would she come out halfway across Houston and then leave before doing their event?! That was Savie's only event, but then I told her she was going to run the 800m whether she wanted to or not! ;) Mean mommee strikes! She wasn't really upset about it, she was just complaining a bit that she was cold, her knee hurt etc but then she ran and did awesome (3:28 time for what is a half-mile - she didn't medal but that's a good time for her) and she was happy she got to run. I knew she would be! We got home late, almost 9pm.

Copyright (C) Tim Calver/DCL 2007

I'm trying to get caught up on some things, and am getting super stoked about going to Australia in just about a month. I still have not even looked at my wall map of the world to see where the heck the Coral Sea is! OK just did - it's just the name of the Pacific Ocean section off the NE tip of Australia. Here's some of what I know so far: I'll be on a liveaboard ship for about 10 days out at Osprey reef and scientists are tagging white tip reef sharks, grey sharks and tiger sharks, which happen to be the 2nd most dangerous sharks to humans. Richard Fitzpatrick is the main scientist on this project, and you can see a photo of what they'll be doing here at his research website, Shark Research. They have tagged the sharks and will be catching them and gathering information on the sharks. Meanwhile a crew is shooting the Discovery Channel Shark Week 2008 documentary, based on this groundbreaking research. The filming has been going on for a year already but this is the last big shoot. I'll be blogging almost daily from the boat -- not to here but to the Discovery Channel website along with photos by Cat Gennaro.

At the track meet, I was talking to some parents from the kids' school about me diving with sharks and of course everyone is kind of freaked out when I mention this because most people think Oh My Gosh diving with sharks?! Are you crazy?! (as a matter of fact...I am! LOL). I have no fear at all at this moment in time but when I get down there in the water with them, I'll probably pee my pants. At least I'll be in the water. ;) When I was in the Galapagos we were supposed to get to snorkel with sharks at one spot but we couldn't find them that day, and I was disappointed. Anyway, the funniest thing is that one of the moms asked me if I have a good insurance policy (I think she meant life insurance) and I said no but I'll get an accidental death and dismemberment policy for travel, and only when I said it out loud did I get the irony of what I was saying - or realize that there is a real risk of "dis-member-ment"!!! Well my friend Elise told me yesterday that I'd still be damn sexy without a leg.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the lady impressed me

I gotta hand it to her, I was impressed by Michelle Obama. Blown away is more like it. I went down to the University of Houston with my friend Maggie, who is a Precinct Captain for Obama. I was super stoked about going before I even got there. There was so much energy too. I'm already an Obama supporter, voted earlier today in the primary (and I'm going back on March 4 for the Caucus) but since I don't watch television I had not seen Michelle Obama speak. WOW!
She has incredible oratory skills but is very genuine and down to earth. I have read both of Barack's books so I knew most of his story but I didn't know hers but she also shed new light on his for me. I loved how she talked about Barack's mom being a single white woman raising a black son. She said something like, "You know she had to be a dreamer, and in the 1960s!" And she talked about how they moved to other countries so his mom could get him a broader education and do her own social work. Yet they lived on food stamps at times (I related to this because so did I when I lived with Dad).

She moved me to near tears a few times, one of which was when she mentioned how hard it is for single mothers. My fist went up on that one! She used the concept of a bar always being raised higher and higher - first to say how they said the Obama campaign was impossible - and then to relate to what every day Americans are going through, and it’s so hard to keep up with the rising costs of living, and make ends meet, and how it's easy to give up on hope. She also moved me when she talked about growing up with all these messages from her family that she could make it, but messages from the world that she couldn’t or wouldn't or shouldn't (her grades/scores were not good enough to get into Princeton, but she applied anyway and got in). She spoke for probably an hour - and we stood the whole time since it was a Stand for Change Rally and I'm worn out! But I was and am so pumped! There was so much to be inspired by within her talk, and the very real hope for change in America. I was hoping Youtube had a video of already of her talk, but alas they don't. However the Houston Chronicle did an article, "Michelle Obama rallies Houston supporters" on that discusses the speech, and this one little fact speaks volumes about the momentum the Obama campaign is seeing. When she spoke in Galveston earlier in the day, apparently 900 people showed up at her event. A week earlier, Bill Clinton stumped for his wife in Galveston- and only 300 people showed (oddly this info about Clinton's visitors was in the earlier version of the article but it's not in the updated version...). Something like 1,200 people were at the U of H Rally. There was an incredible sea of diversity, and it was beautiful to see. There were also some cool signs. One said World for Obama, another Tijanos for Obama, and at one point some people started chanting Si Se Peude which is Yes We Can! in Spanish.

The only thing I wish she/Barack would address more seriously is the environment. To me, it's a critical issue and I'm not hearing it being spoken of. It may be because, unfortunately, it's not an issue most Americans are concerned about -- though they should be! I hope the issue comes out more in the general eElection once Barack secures this nomination!It is so awesome to see people coming out in support of Obama - I am finally excited about a candidate for the first time in my adult life!!

And I have to hand it to Michelle. She was genuine, eloquent, and an inspiring speaker and human being. I was so pumped up and excited just to be there. I am thinking of signing on as Precinct Captain. This election - and the future of our nation - is too important to not get involved!!! Then Maggie & I grabbed dinner at Chilis and it was so awesome to just have some friend-time!

Here's a video from the Obama campaign with Michelle. Woohoo! A great day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Voting for Obama

I'm going to cast my early vote for Barack Obama, then to see Michelle Obama talk at the University of Houston with some friends. I'll report back!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

hippie log cabin memories

I ate a lot of dog food as a kid. I am listening to the Eagles Hotel California and it's bringing a lot of memories of life with my dad in the log cabin in Oregon. I've written about it in so many venues, but honestly I'm not sure about on this blog?! In about 1972 or '73, Dad moved from L.A. to Oregon and bought 24 acres of land where he built his own log cabin (the image to the left is a photo of it when it got a rare snow). My parents had gotten divorced when I was 1 and Mom moved to Eugene with her twin sister and my cousin. Eugene was a few hours away from Dad's cabin which is about 20 miles from the blink-and-miss-it town of Deer Island - on Meissner Mountain. My dad was a hippie who wanted that back-to-the-land lifestyle, and he grew his own food in a huge veggie garden and also had chickens from which we got eggs and, well, chicken. (though I would never eat the chickens he killed for meat!).

In L.A., my dad had delivered candy and toys to those little .25-cent trinket machines (then, they were 1-, 5- and 10-cent machines). He was a working class man. He also raced motorcycles and had a band called Homegrown in L.A. He played bass guitar, and I have many memories of my childhood listening to him and his brother Pat, his girlfriend Celeta, and some others have incredibly loud jam sessions in the log cabin - and if you can sleep through that, you learn to sleep through anything, anywhere!! I also fell asleep at many a party in my childhood. Lots of pot smoking, drinking, music, and generally good times. I'm not condoning drugs, don't get me wrong - this was just what I experienced growing up. The attitudes of Oregonians with respect to marijuana is very different than in, say, Texas. Of course this was also the early 1970s, coming off the hippie era, but I would say things haven't changed too much since then in Oregon. However I will also say (in case you are wondering) I haven't touched a drug since I was 20 years old. OK maybe I did eat those brownies one time... heh heh. Kidding! Seriously I barely take tylenol! I hate any medication!

So anyway when Dad got to Oregon, at first he made money by logging here and there, and then got into a business of building log cabins. The log cabin of his own was very humble. It was one large open room with an upstairs loft that took up half the cabin space. That is where his bedroom was, and eventually I had a small room up there also when I lived with him. Before that, my brother and I just slept in sleeping bags on the floor.

One time, while sleeping, I fell off the loft all the way to the downstairs which was very far below! Lucky for me, the couch was right underneath and I landed on it. Dad woke up and came down to make sure I was ok, but the funny thing is that in the morning I woke up and was like "Why am I on the couch?!" And he was like, "You fell! Don't you remember?!" Nope, I didn't remember a thing.

At first Dad didn't have electricity and we used kerosene lanterns for light, and of course we had two wood stoves - Gandalf was the cook stove, and Smaug was the potbelly stove used to heat the house. Dad didn't have running water. Gandalf looked identical to this stove except it was all black. We cooked everything from scratch. I mean EVERYTHING. We had huge glass mayonnaise jars filled with dried beans, flour, salt, etc which he bought in bulk. We grinded our own peanut butter. We even "made" our own honey! Dad had a few bee hives and I remember him putting on this all-white bee suit including the head-covering which allowed you to see but had mesh (our hives and the suit look pretty much identical to the photo below).

However, needless to say, for a kid who can't exactly start up the stove on their own there were many times when I was hungry, and went hungry. Dry dog food pellets are actually pretty tasty when you're really hungry, and I had many a dog food pellet snack. Dad left me alone a lot because he had work to do, and well there really weren't people anywhere nearby. I often got scared, especially when he was late coming home - which he often was - and would concoct all these thoughts in my head about what had happened to him or what I would do. I also would spend hours listening to his amazing record album collection, and reading the liners. He has about 1000+ albums, including many bootlegs of bands like Cream, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin - some of the concerts he attended. They're probably worth a lot of money! But for me, they are my memories. Music is such a huge part of my life because of growing up constantly listening to music, this really great classic rock-n-roll music as well as a lot of funk like Bootsy Collins and Rick James.

Since we didn't have running water, we would drive several miles away to a freshwater spring and fill up several large Igloo containers with drinking water which we'd then use until it was gone. For bathing and washing though, we collected rainwater in big 50-gallon drums. We did not have a bathtub but Dad had made a makeshift shower by putting a 10-gallon bucket hanging underneath the loft, and made a spigot coming out the bottom. So we'd heat water on the wood stove, mix it with cool water until you got the right temperature and then pour some into the bucket. We had a shower curtain for privacy but there was not enough water in the bucket to have a full-length shower. You'd have to get wet, turn the water off, lather up your body and hair, then turn the water back on to rinse. In winter it was sooo cold and then I'd wrap up and go stand by Smaug until I was toasty warm. It was very Laura Ingalls Wylder Little House in the Big Woods pioneer-like.

Oh and of course we had an outhouse which had several locations through the years but was typically quite a ways away from the house, so in the middle of the night I would just go pee in the yard. It was kind of scary because I would hear coyotes howling!!! At one point Celeta got me a "pee pot" which is what the women used in the old times, and you emptied it in the woods in the morning.

There's a hilarious story of when I moved back with my mom in 5th grade. She lived in Dallas suburbia and I'd gone to bed at like 7 or 8pm and she happened to stay up that night to watch the 10 o'clock news, which she normally didn't. Well it was a good thing because I got up and started going out the front door. She asked me where I was going, and I said I was going to the bathroom. She said it took her a while to convince me that the bathroom was down the hall! I apparently was sleepwalking because I didn't remember in the morning but I assume I was going to go pee in the front lawn. ROFLOL!

Well more stories will have to wait, I have to get some writing done on an article about the Gulf Dead Zone, which is really depressing me as a matter of fact! We are destroying our oceans and killing the life within...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wild Life and random thoughts

I've been thinking about why, when I'm home I always feel so constricted and not quite so happy as when I'm off roaming around the world. And yet when I'm roaming on my adventures I love parts of it but not all of it. I am sick of traveling solo on adventures and realized I think my absolute favorite adventure over the past few years was the one where I took my kids to Australia, and the many trips where I've visited friends & fam (NYC, LA, San Fran, hiking Guadalupe Peak, Glacier with Dad), plus the 2 weeks I spent alone in the cabin in New Mexico - rather than my big adventures like the Galapagos or Nepal where I just met people on the way but traveled solo. I love seeing beauty in the natural world, and photographing it and I love that traveling removes me (temporarily) from deadlines and pressures of daily life.

So I sort of see myself with these two lives- the big adventures and the kind of boring daily life in Texas. I actually pitched my agent the idea of doing a book on this and she liked it, but we're focusing on Losing My Religion: A Christian Struggles to Reconcile Evolution & Faith (working title) first. The title I thought of is Wild Life: Ordinary Suburban Mom, Extraordinary Bohemian Adventures and based in large part on my blog, being this bohemian Oregonian environmentalist tree-hugger adventurer and world traveler living in this conservative Texas suburban neighborhood - and my journey from heartbreak to strength as I find my way post-divorce. I envision the cover all white with these pencil-outlined identical cookie-cutter homes and then this one in all color with me holding an alligator popping out of it. I've already done part of the book proposal actually, and on the cover page is a quote someone wrote me once "There's not many women who would venture into swamps. You seem like a women's version of the Crocodile Hunter!" Hey, it could make the next big TV series!! That's my dream... so maybe in a few years it will be the next Sex & The City (though without all the sex - LOL).

So anyway I'm going to start to think about how I can create some of these same feelings of expansion and joy and living large within my home life in Texas. I'm "stuck" in Houston until my kids graduate because Matt & I both agreed to stay here so they would have both parents near and in their lives daily. After having to choose between parents I swore I would never do that to my kids! (Then again I also swore I'd never get divorced, but well life happens). I'm not condemning anyone who lives away from their kids, but for me, it's a committment I made and something I'm gladly willing to sacrifice for even though I completely feel like a square peg in a round hole here. Before long, when they go to college, I will move out of Texas - and maybe travel the globe for a couple years or live on the beach in Hawaii or Australia.... Still I have learned, with some struggle, to try not to conform in this place and to instead be true to myself... which I've been more successful at since my divorce!

So that comes back to the question, how can I have a "larger than life" life while still here in Houston?! One thing might be to get a different house. I'd love a house in the country again, like along the San Jacinto River maybe. I've even looked around for land at one point. I think part of my answer also lies in physical activity. I need to get out and do something active besides just running. I've pondered martial arts, or Zumba or other cool new fitness classes. The photographer I'm going to work with in Australia runs a Poleates Studio - I'd never heard of that before but it looks amazing! She said the boat has a pole on deck believe it or not and she'll show me some moves. So watch out everybody! ;)

I used to have these lyrics at my website. This song, Joining You, by Alanis Morrissette reminded me of myself, and I am listening to that album now (it's on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie but technically I'm listening to the MTV unplugged CD). She will be in Houston in concert Thursday and I soooo want to go but alas I am pinching pennies. The entire song's lyrics are here. But I like this part:

you and i we're like four year olds
we want to know why and how come about everything
we want to reveal ourselves at will and speak out minds
and never talk small
and be intuitive
and question mightily
and find god
my tortured beacon
we need to find like-minded companions

Friday, February 22, 2008

A day at sea the best kind of day. Finally I've got some of my pictures from my trip out to the Gulf of Mexico with the TX Parks & Wildlife guys a few weeks back. I'm working on this article now. Or that is when I'm not putting my pictures on my blog, etc!
This is my favorite photo from the day. I LOVE these totally awesome groovy Little Squid - aka Brief Squid (Lolliguncula brevis). They have the coolest irridescent eyes and their bodies have chromatophores that change color and darken and expand. I brought a few home and made a makeshift saltwater aquarium but they didn't make it.

TX Parks & Wildlife biologists Greg Lawrence and Kirk Blood sampling water quality in the Gulf of Mexico. This is on the R/V Sabine Lake, a modified shrimp boat they use.

Peace out man! Greg's holding some kind of small fish.

TPWD Captain Robert Martinez holding something... I'm not sure what... but I think it might just be a bighead searobin, the totally awesome fish that 2 of which are now Sam's 2 new fishies in our saltwater aquarium that I made from a lucky mix of Gulf water and sea salt!!! The squid didn't fare so well but these guys have thrived.
A better image of a bighead searobin (Prionotus tribulus), from TPWD. Cool huh? Sam loves them! So do I. They're totally cool. Though they are bottom dwellers, they swim all around so are not "boring" at all.

A new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal on the upper Texas coast near the Louisiana-Texas border.
Heading back to shore, and the sun's going down.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

cleansing like the rain

cleansing like the rain
sorrow of the world
energy around us
we're so sensitive
hard to stand strong
- ZV

Reads like a poem, but they are words from a phone conversation with one of my dearest friends today. She's like an angel, so warm and kind and full of light. Man I wish I had a zillion dollars so I could fly to see my girlfriends every weekend. I miss them so much!

penis balloons and other funnies

OK this made me laugh, so anything that makes me laugh when the moon is full and my spirit is sapped is a good thing. People Magazine online (yes, I admit I read it) had an article about Ellen DeGeneres interviewing Christina Aguilera:

Aguilera, 27, did not demure when talked turned to her son's Bris. "We are not a very conservative couple," she told DeGeneres. "For decorations we put up penis balloons all over the place. It was really fun, it was really great." A stunned Ellen replied: "Really, they have penis balloons in a shop ... you can just buy them?"

That made me laugh out loud!!! I've been down a bit but today I'm feeling resurgent again. It's a full moon and as a Cancer, I'm ruled by the Moon... I know all the scientists will think I'm nuts and all the Christians think I'm a heretic, but I'm telling you one day scientists will discover a link between the zodiac signs and certain personaity traits! No matter what you say! But I don't read the "prediction" type horoscopes... I just stick to the explanations of personality. I'm tellin ya!

Today I woke to take the kids to school, shot some photos for the school, then went back to bed until 130pm. I love the freelance life! When I'm down, I just feel like sleeping. I love to sleep. I love my all-white comfy bed that is like a big cloud with a down comforter. Mmmmmm. And so you don't think I'm a total slouchy slacker, I do tend to stay up super late at night, writing and slaving away. My friend and I call one another the ghoulie girls because we're both up like vampires in the wee hours of the night!! I can be very prolific in between my ADHD-like checking of CNN, People (my two favorite sites), friends blogs, Myspace, Facebook, Googling my name, and researching and writing articles. Speaking of MySpace, check out my new (public) profile!

Tonight I'm going to crank out a draft of my article on the Gulf Dead Zone. I'll put up some pics of the trip very soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

imagine my surprise...

When I walked in the room to see my darling daughter typing on my blog again. I would have deleted it but I laughed so hard when I read what she wrote I about fell off my chair. OK, really I was standing up but it just sounds better to say fell off my chair. Fell over?! I was laughing pretty hard. The video is kind of funny and kind of stupid! But what can I say, they're kids!

And imagine my surprise when I learned that one of my favorite words, transmogrify, is an actual factual word! I had always read it in Calvin & Hobbes cartoons but I thought it was made up. But I used it to describe the involuntary sex change and color change of a Mardi Gras wrasse in an article I'm writing and my spell checker didn't flash "no no no no!" I thought hmm, maybe this is really a word. And sure enough it means:

transmogrify \trans-MOG-ruh-fy\, transitive verb: To change into a different shape or to transform, often with bizarre or humorous effect.

One person in my writing critique group said I should get the verb of the year award for using transmogrify in my writing! LOL. More soon, I have to go get the blog-criminal from confirmation :)

Savie Attack!!!!

I, Savie, RULE!!!! I am sooooooooooooooooo cool. My mom has a bazillion pairs of *** floss. I have to do the laundry. I should know. Oh, and the coolest YouTube video ever is The Gummy Bear Song in German. WATCH IT!!!! There's also swedish, english, german, spanish, spanglish, czech, hungarian, french, and I think a few others. You should hear me say that. I say it reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaallllyyyyyy fast.
Exquisitely, Savie:)!!!!!
P.S. German version (below) is the best!
P.S.S. I ROCK!!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

turning things on their ear

Isn't it great how as soon as you think one thing, God turns it on its ear? So here I was writing about how I was happy that I was unaffected by the negative criticism that I knew wasn't accurate (a wonderful Godly man I know once said that he always listens to criticism and asks God, "What do You have in this for me?" Learn from anything that could be true, and then discard the rest, and don't let it get to you). And with a group of friends, I'm working through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way workbook, and she also has sage advice on Dealing With Criticism.

So not a day after I was so proud of myself for thinking I didn't mind the ridiculous negative comments I realized that while I genuinely don't care about the people who I don't care about (well I care about them as human beings, but I don't care what they think of me), I sometimes put too much weight on what people I want to like me think, or my friends, and what they think... There are people that I genuinely really like or feel a connection with, and I really do not want to say things to upset them - or rock the boat. However being the sometimes too-honest and heart-on-my-sleeve person that I am, I often share my thoughts when maybe I should just shut the heck up, and then I obsess about whether I said too much, or in the wrong way, or.... you get the picture. So maybe I really do need to continue looking only to God for what He would have me to do, or think, or say.

But I also got to thinking, in line with the teachings of Debbie Ford (author of The Best Year of Your Life, and Dark Side of the Light Chasers) how even what we perceive as our most negative traits are part of our makeup, and instead of hating or despising them we should look at what we gain from them. If we're a bitch sometimes, then ask, are there certain situations where being a little bit of a bitch can help?

So I think that maybe while I should ultimately draw my self-love from the love I believe God has for me (and for all people), the trait of being hyper-sensitive to how others feel about me can help me constantly be aware of, and introspective towards, what I may be saying or doing that could hurt someone - even if I don't intend to. It allows me to apologize or make amends, even when the person hasn't expressed to me that they were hurt. People often don't.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


"There's something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk"
- Drew Barrymore.

OK if you all didn't already think I was a bit loony (not to mention my kiddos), now I'm sure you will have no doubt! It all started when, after watching the movie Stardust (which was pretty cool by the way) S decided to put clothespins on his ears. (Ah I wish I had the picture of his dad sitting in the bath with baby Savi with the plastic earring things on his nose and ears to go with it... but I digress.)

Then S decides he'd put them on my head, or hair rather, forming "horns."

Very nice touch. Devil mama I guess?!

S #1 is getting a bit loony in the background, making faces.

And a great big hug! We give lots of hugs in our family! :) And earlier in the day we were jumping up and down like kangaroos!

Bless his wittle heart, that boy. S brought me in this flower from our garden today with a big smile on his face. (This from the boy, recall, who said "Why do you buy people flowers on Valentine's day? Why not just take them to the flower shop and let them look around?!" (in all seriousness!) Or maybe he was pulling a fast one on me. ;)

And I'll end with an awesome quote about love from the Stardust movie, "I know that love is unconditional but I also know it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable, and strangely easy to mistake for loathing." And she (the Star Yvaine who had fallen to earth, became a woman and fallen in love with a young man, Tristan) also said "My chest can barely contain it, like it doesn't belong to me anymore." And last, I'm going to go watch Across the Universe which I've wanted to watch since it was in theatres but didn't get to. I adore the Beatles, so this should be good. It's been a good lazy day, getting some work done, and some play. G'nite!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

celebrating my kiddos

Driving in the car yesterday, my son says to me, "Mom, I don't understand why you buy people flowers for Valentine's Day?" I said, "Well it's just a nice thing to do. People like flowers." He says "Why don't you just take them to a flower shop and look around?"

At this point I'm cracking up. But I try to explain that you can put them on your desk or kitchen table and it looks pretty and reminds you of the nice gesture. He then adds, "Well then why not just take a picture?" I can see I have a little work to do on his romantic skills. And this from a boy who from when he was a toddler would always pick wildflowers and give them to me! I have hope he'll revert to his old ways.

My daughter just told me that her favorite store Justice has a new line of "green" clothes, and lots of "tree hugger stuff." "I think you would like it," she said. "Do you think I am a tree hugger?" I said. "YES! Mom, you are the ultimate tree hugger hippie freak." LMAO!
Today I celebrated my kids with a yummy dinner. I have an ice cube tray with hearts, and I made these by using red food coloring in orange juice. Then I place 3 ice cubes in each glass, which we filled with sparkling apple cider. It was good!
Dinnertime! I bought the kids a couple roses and set the table all nice, and made red-dyed orange juice ice hearts in their glasses of sparkling cider, lemon chicken cutlets, spinach salad, pears, and parmesan rissotto. And amazingly both kids ate EVERY bite!!
OK the pic didn't turn out great, but we here's a pic of the lemon chicken cutlets (it's dipped in lemon juice then breaded and cooked in a little bit of oil), parmesan risotto (don't worry, I'm not that prodigious - it's from a box - BUT it was an organic and all-natural one!) and spinach salad. It was all very good!!

OK I look like a dork but whatever... I think this is the first picture of my daughter with her braces! :)

The best part - both kids ate every bite including salad!! This was the first time I'd made this recipe and made the risotto- ka-ching!

I'll leave you with some of my favorite quotes. Wishing lots of love and light and laughter to you!!

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
-- Shakespeare's Hamlet

It is not by accident that the happiest people are those who make a conscious effort to live useful lives. Their happiness, of course, is not a shallow exhilaration where life is one continuous intoxicating party. Rather, their happiness is a deep sense of inner peace that comes when they believe their lives have meaning and that they are making a difference for good in the world.
-- Ernest Fitzgerald

The road to glory is not strewn with flowers.
-- Jean de la Fontaine

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-- Harold Whitman

In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug and we shall want to live more musically.
– Vincent van Gogh

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
-- Mark Twain

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a blessed day

I had an awesome day! After the crazy stress of the "nightmare day" I'll share a good story! I had a lazy morning with a phone call from my elderly friend Carmine telling me about the beautiful snows there in Ohio, and then was supposed to have lunch with a friend/colleague at 1230. He called at 1220 and thought we'd agreed to meet at 12, but I remember very clearly because the 1215 was "15 minutes early" so we could take his car down! So, he was irritated, I could tell, so I said do you want to reschedule? He hesitated but said no, let's go ahead.

So I got downtown and his directions were wrong, so I called and was like I'm on this street, where do I go? He got irritated and goes, "Wendee, calm down, you need to pull over and let me give you directions," kind of sternly, so I was like, that's kinda rude, so I said, "look I think you sound stressed and it's stressing me out so why don't we just forget it for today." He said "You're right, ok. [Pause] Bye" and hung up the phone. And immediately I thought, well that's that.

So you'd think that might have upset me, but I really wasn't upset at all, which was part of the reason it is such a cool day - to not get emotionally riled. So there I was in Minute Maid Park parking lot so I called a few friends to see who might be able to meet for lunch since I was already down there. I have a bunch of friends who live "downtown" (I call anything out of the 'burbs where I live "downtown"). Within 5minutes I chatted briefly with like 4 friends, which was nice in itself - and one had a baby THAT MORNING! (his wife was in the hospital so he couldn't get away for lunch) but I ended up going over to see my friend David from Rice grad school who has a 18-mo baby boy who I'd never seen yet! The boy was so adorable but the second he saw me he started crying!!! LOL. I mean, he took one look at me and just started crying and ran to his daddy! Most babies like me :) David said he is never like this! Maybe it was my pony tails?!

David and I went to Mi Luna which is one of my favorite restaurants in Rice Village and had some Spanish Tapas. I'm STILL full! Yummy! And by then baby boy was all happy again. So while having a wonderful lunch talking about Christianity and religion and relationships and life (David is an atheist) and first I got a text message from the other person and then he sent a really insulting email - 3 copies of the same one in fact. Two identical and then one with a FW in the subject so I guess he really wanted to make sure I got it!

Let's see, he called me "insulting, rude and selfish not to mention irrational." and "I'm sorry but that little snapshot spoke volumes about your personality and character." This is from an almost complete stranger!!

LOL! I mean, seriously!! I look at myself with fairly clear view of my strengths and flaws, but with absolute honesty, I was not insulting, I didn't curse, or yell or raise my voice at him in ANY way! His out of proportion response of his is so ludicrous that it makes me laugh when I read it! I was mildly flustered due to his incorrect directions, and his already obvious frustration to the time mix-up (whatever happened to patience?) and was then trying to ask him directions so I could find the right street in the one-way craziness that is downtown. I did not "yell" - and trust me, I know! I was just trying to get a quick answer so I could turn while driving without getting rammed because downtown can be crazy insane with all the one way streets. Regardless, why send out such a mean email? No one's perfect, but when I got the email I was like, whatever dude!

I've seen people project their own stress (or how previous relationships acted) into others' actions so I can maybe understand him thinking I was getting upset when I was just trying to get going the right way. But the fact that HE felt compelled to send me both the rude text and this email says a lot. What's the point? At one point in my life I might have done the same thing but I've learned (am learning) often it's wisest to just let it go. Why waste the energy? Why hurt people's feelings? If one really has something negative and critical to say, it's best couched in love, especially as a Christian, which he is. Anyway I have no idea why this situation made me happy other than seeing that this negative stimulus did not upset me. I think (I hope) it's that increasingly I'm drawing my confidence comes in knowing that I am fully and deeply loved by God, and not perfect but forgiven, and also have so many amazing friends who have the traits of Christ (including those who are not Christians) - forgiving, patient, kind...

I also have decided that if I reply at all to this guy it will be to apologize and to acknowledge any of my part in the situation, and maybe encourage him to know that I also forgive him - because the Lord says to bless those who curse us. I choose to take the "best spin" which is, he's probably under a lot of stress and having a bad day. He's not a bad person, and I even would consider working with him and starting over possibly IF he could be humble enough to admit his flaws (because that is the most charming trait to me!).

OK so anyway, then as I was driving home I was just listening to music and felt so happy. Then I got home and get this! I got a Valentine's card from God! :D Remember, yesterday I told the story of the woman speaker who lamented not getting celebrated when her hubby did, and I related because as a single mom I don't get "celebrated" too much. Well one year she said she got this b-day cake from this great cake shop sort of randomly, she told us, "You may get a birthday cake from your family but I GOT A BIRTHDAY CAKE FROM GOD!" which was really cute and funny. So today I got a Valentine's Card from my pastor and his wife, and they wrote, "You are such a delightful woman of God. We love you!" And I just felt so happy. And I thought, You may get a Valentine's Card from your spouse or partner, but I GOT A VALENTINE'S CARD FROM GOD! :) It just made me happy. And then I also got a check in the mail - and that is always a happy day!!

Oh and earlier on the way home I stopped by the kids' school and got hugs from the kids and a hug from Savannah's best friend who called me "Aunt Wendee" and said "because you're nicer than my real aunt!" ;) She had never said that before, and she wasn't a kid who often hugged me either so it was very cute and sweet. :) Blessing on blessing - my cup runneth over.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

an emotional weekend

I went to my church's women's retreat this past weekend and it was emotionally wrenching. In a good way. The overall theme was about hidden longings. Sometimes in our lives we are in circumstances, marriages, situations that seem to deny our longings and if we're committed to living a Christian life, it can be incredibly frustrating to figure out whether these longings are distractions pulling us away from God and God's will, temptations, or if they have a greater purpose...

The speakers talked about how God has placed these longings within us and that they're a part of who He created us to be. One of the speakers spoke on how her husband's parents always came down to celebrate his birthday and yet her own family was more splintered, and so when her birthday came around, she always felt sad and that no one was really "celebrating her." She'd had an absentee father and when she was really young (around 5), she'd longed for relationship with him. Then one year, he showed up to visit and she thought that was it, and they'd continue their father-daughter relationship from then on out. Then she didn't see him again for many years.... As a result, she learned to push down those longings for a father and to be loved and celebrated so that she wouldn't be disappointed. She got the message not to hope, so as not to be disappointed. But no matter how much we deny those longings they stay buried and don't disappear, and by not acknowledging them we hurt ourselves.

I so related to this because I had to choose between my parents when I was 8 years old. I chose my dad, and he won custody. I left the courtroom that very day with him, and didn't speak to my mom for a long time because my dad didn't have a phone. The judge wouldn't let me go home with her and my stepdad because he worried she would kidnap me (I don't think they would have - in fact I'm sure they wouldn't have - but that is what the judge said in the transcript!). I left the courtroom without any clothes except what I had on me. Because I had to choose between parents and not live with both nearby, I got the message I could not have it all. I had to choose between two things that every kid really needs. As someone once told me, that was a grown-up burden placed on a child that was not in a position to have that level of responsibility and guilt.

In life, we don't always get what we want, and we can learn and grow stronger in the process from loss. But where we have the choice, I strongly believe divorced parents need to do everything in their power to allow their kids to have both in their lives on a daily basis. It's why I refused to have a huge custody battle, and committed to staying in Houston until the kids are out of high school even though I am like a square peg in a round hole in conservative Texas! I am hippie spawn! :) But maybe those around me need to learn that being a "liberal" Christian or a Democrat or a bohemian gypsy wanderer is not so weird. I have a lot of love, and in the end, love is all that matters.

Anyway so after living with dad in the log cabin for a couple years, I went back to live with my mom. Again I had to choose. My dad didn't even have a phone, and letter writing was not his thing. So when I moved back with my mom, I lost my dad. I didn't talk to him hardly ever, but I'd spend every summer with him. These days as a single mom when my birthday or Christmas comes around, I don't get a huge celebration of "me" like people do when they're married. My kids sometimes make a little something but I don't have the "husband" to "help" the kids create a celebration of mom. And though I can put on the face that I don't care and I don't need anybody, it can hurt sometimes. When I joke about it, or even mention it to others, people don't laugh with me about it - I think they look at me like I said I had green antennae growing out of my head! I think they don't know what to say. But I have also learned that when we have longings, we should not play the victim or the poor-poor pitiful me. If I need to feel celebrated, well then I should celebrate! So last birthday I threw myself a party and so many of my friends showed up that I felt truly blessed! If we need to feel celebrated and loved, we love those who are in our lives deeply and truly and they will show up when we need it.

Saturday night at the retreat I can only describe as an intense spiritual battle that I won't give the details of, but I was absolutely heartbroken and prayed and felt bewildered and was going to drive home but I sat in my car and didn't have any idea how to get out of there (it was a remote camp/cabin place in the middle of nowhere). Then this wonderful lady from our church came and prayed with me and I decided to stay but leave at 6am so I could go to church. But on Sunday morning I decided to stay at the retreat and listen to our pastor's wife talk and I'm so glad that I did. Her talk was so moving and emotional and again I related so much! She talked about how she would put on a smile even when she was not happy inside because she'd gotten that message as a child - smile and be happy or you won't be liked. She talked about knowing a lot of people and that everyone liked her but she didn't have many/any close friends. I completely related to that! She talked about how much that smile has cost her. For me, it's not necessarily a smile or happy face, but I create this aura that I am an island, and that I am super independent. I can do it all. I can buy my own house, pay my bills as a self-employed writer, and I don't need anybody. Yet what that cost her - and me - for a long time was that I didn't have any close friends, and now a life partner (and of course I distanced myself from Matt even in the marriage). Since my divorce I have spent much time building the friendships that I'd kept at a distance and so I feel I've mastered some of that, but most of my friends do not live close by me, so that can be tough too. But it's something I recognized and have been working through.

The last part of the retreat that just really made me bawl was when she played this clip from the movie "Shall We Dance," where Richard Gere's character has been in this happy marriage for many years but he just feels sad and he feels this longing he can't explain, so he ends up starting ballroom dancing lessons but he keeps it from his wife. He becomes very good at it and does competitions, etc. His wife thinks he's having an affair, and when she finds out he's dancing she confronts him and doesn't understand why he wouldn't share that with him. He says he was ashamed to want something more, because they had so much. He had these longings and needed to fulfill them to feel fully alive and to fulfill his life's purposes. We all seek love, but finding a life partner is not the only thing that we humans need - and in some ways it can actually distract from doing the purpose God has laid out for each of us.

I so related to this, and started bawling because although I'd seen this movie I never saw it in this way. It was exactly why my marriage fell apart. I had been deeply unhappy - not because of the marriage itself (though at the time I blamed that) but because the internal longings that God placed inside of me were not being met. I felt that I had to choose. I left the marriage to follow my passion of traveling and writing and developing my friendships, but like I've long told people who asked why I got divorced - I don't think I made the right choice by thinking it had to be one or the other. I took a fork in the road, when I could have had the fork and the spoon ;). Of course hindsight is always 20/20. At the time I actually blamed the marriage. I thought he needed to do this that or the other thing to "make me happy" but that is such hogwash! I learned that even though I felt unloved, that was my own emotional baggage from my past, and that truly he loved me more than anyone else ever has - in a deep, true, way. He wasn't perfect to be sure, but who is? He has been there for me. During our separation even I told him I didn't really want to get divorced, that I wasn't sure. He said we need to get on with it and just do it. Sometimes choices are so unclear. The enemy preys on us like a hungry lion. If only I had listened to and followed my voice hesitating, and insisted on waiting and not going through with the divorce... things might be different now.

But life goes on. I am truly happier now, and have healed so many of my hurts of the past. Day by day I will just continue to walk in the light and learn whatever lessons come along, and try to do my best.

Monday, February 11, 2008

swimming with sharks

No not the sharks I'm dealing with related to my car situation... I have a new adventure in the works! In April I'm headed back to Australia to write about a white-tipped shark research project for Discovery Channel!!!!!! (You will be able to read my live posts from there at but I'll post the exact URL when it gets closer). Check out the research: and specifically here about white-tips.

I'm sooo thrilled! Actually I'm a wee bit apprehensive about swimming with the sharks (and Savannah also said she didn't want me to!) but I am more excited than you can imagine to go back to the magical country that has my heart! I love that place. And I will go a few days early (or stay late) to visit my friends Jenny and Rin!

I have so much work to do or I'd write more. I have a lot of blog posts I've written in my mind... Guess they will have to wait. :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

my new blog look

I had fun designing my new blog header. I took the pics; this is where they're from:
  • On the left is an orchid and a leafhopper in the Peruvian cloud forest on Road from Cusco toward the Manu Biosphere Reserve.
  • This is a sunset shot of Leon Dormido, aka Kicker Rock, in the Galapagos Islands.
  • This is a flower garden with lavender and poppies at Green Gulch Zen Center outside of San Francisco.
  • Mist in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. I shot this from a gravelly/rocky sandbar in the Madre de Dios River
  • Marine iguanas on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos archipelago. My Galapagos photo gallery is online here
I had so many more to use, but those just were some of my favorites and fit well together. I really need to look into getting my photos together for a stock agency, or to market more... so many things to do, so little time. Wish someone would send me a personal assistant! And while we're at it, I'm still waiting for my Aeron Chair! I gotta get up at 5am for my day on the Gulf, so I better hit the sack. The guys told me that if they catch a bunch of shrimp they just cook them up on the boat for lunch! Yum!

a nightmare day

I have been dealing with a horrible car repair shop that damaged my transmission in the process of attempting to fix it (A+ Transmission in Kingwood - don't go there!). I am now having my credit card company dispute the charge and thank God for consumer protection laws! A+ has threatened to repossess my car if I dispute the charge, but according to what I have gathered, the Texas Debt Collection Practices Act prevents them from threatening or doing repo if the charge is in dispute. Which it is. But according to at least one attorney they have done this to other people - repossess their cars and then bill you for the service, and holding your car. However my credit card company says that if that happens, to contact them right away and they will involve their fraud department and the local police. So who knows what will happen the next few days and weeks, but it's bound to be exciting. And stressful.

I am heading off to spend a day on the Gulf of Mexico with some coastal fisheries people to report on the Gulf Dead Zone. I hope I don't get sea sick. I am leaving now for a 2-hour drive to port Arthur and then will be back tomorow, if we don't get washed to sea in a freak storm. The Perfect Storm. I never saw that movie, and I hope not to live it!! Ciao and Godspeed.

Friday, February 01, 2008 & other Nepal stories

I got back from Nepal in November, but I have hundreds of photos I still haven't gone through yet. I'm putting these online now - just a few more from my collection. These are actually for an editor, but since I'm putting them online, I may as well tell you all a little about them. And I also wanted to let you know I'm in the process of typing up my journal entries to give a day-to-day account so you can make a bit more sense of the random jumble of photos. However paid work must come first! :) And FYI those who haven't seen the rest of the Nepal pics, my best and favorite photos are here.

I'll post a link here when I get the travelogue up. There is some funny stuff in there!! Like the fact that one of the travelers, no joke, drinks his pee every day. For "health" reasons. I kid you not! And he was not ashamed of it, and said I could blog about it. We had this dialogue when he told the group, and he was like, "It's healthy for you. It's well known." And I was like, "Where do you go to find that info"? One of the other guys, Chuckles - ever the witty one - immediately pipes up "" Needless to say I laughed so hard at that and still do every time I think of it!! And no, there is not really an because when I got home, I checked!! (To find information, according to my pee devotee friend, google "urine therapy" not "drink pee"). I am laughing!! Hey if Bear Grylls does it... A view from one of our campsites. This really exemplifies a couple of things. First, in Nepal there is a lot of deforestation. All of this used to be forest, even within the time Brian Williams, The Red Panda Project Director, has worked there over the past 10 years. Second, it shows the clouds that are constantly rolling in and out and over the top of you. Literally they would enshroud you as you walked along the trail, and then pass on and leave the scenery open again. It would get cold when they covered the ground, and sometimes rainy or snowy, and it got hot - or warm - when they went back away.

This is a photo of a home in the town of Ilam. It could be southern California! The homes mostly used these colors of earthy blue and red, and everyone grows marogolds because they are used in their religious ceremonies. Ilam is one of the better off towns in Nepal. Not everywhere is as well maintained and it had its own flair and style.
A neat shot of flowers growing near a wall at the home of the Conlons, who own the company Above the Clouds. They have homes in both Nepal and the U.S..

Another home in Ilam. Everyone has lots of flowers around their home, which I think is pretty cool.
This is a rustic fence on a misty day, as we hiked and climbed around looking for red panda in the forest - which was down the hill. You can't see the forest from this shot because the hlils are pretty steep and we had already climbed way back up by this point - plus it's kind of obscured in the photo by fog. We didn't find any red panda that day. Not yet.
This house on the hill so reminds me of the description of the "tipsy house" in the book, Memoirs of a Geisha! That house was overlooking the ocean though.
Dhurbar Square in the Patan region of Kathmandu. This place had amazing architecture!

A close-up of an intricate door in Dhurbar Square. Dhurbar means The King's square, and there are several Dhurbar squares in Kathmandu. This one is in the Patan region.
A carving of the Hindu god Ganesh at a restaurant in Patan where we had some tea.
Nepali soldiers patrolling, I guess, in Dhurbar Square in Patan. I only saw soldiers in Kathmandu, not outside of the city anywhere.
A photo of a bunch of kids in a town where they were having a market day. I can't remember the town but they must not have seen many foreigners because of all the kids and people in various towns we went through, these kids and people stared at us like none other - like they'd never seen outsiders! I mean they STARED! But when I'd interact with the kids, and say hello, they were so interested and I'd take their photo and show it to them and they loved it. They were really cute.
Langur monkeys grooming at the Monkey Temple, aka Swayambunath, in Kathmandu.

A shot of the long staircase going up to the top of the monkey temple, with Buddhas lining either side, and Tibetan prayer flags visible. This is just a fraction of the staircase. There are probably 1,000 stairs, or more!!
The Himalayas. This shot was taken near the India border.
Another view of the Himalayas. I initially thought this was Mount Everest (Sagarmatha in Nepali) but it's Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest mountain - the broad mountain in the center. To the left is Mount Jannu (aka Khumbukarna). I'm still verifying this, but this is according to my sources!
Mount Jannu (aka Khumbukarna) close up.
Tim Gorski, Producer of It's Your World with the Cultural Film Fund looking off, with Mount Everest in the far distance and Tibetan prayer flags nearby.
A pony in the snow. This was taken just around the hill from Santapur, on the Nepal-India border.