Saturday, August 20, 2011

100 Truths about me + Hawken on Anderson

Flowers at Green Gulch Organic Farm and Zen Center - Marin County, California.
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I did this silly thing on Facebook (reminds me of "slam books" we had back in the day) and thought I'd share. I think I did something similar on my blog a while back but who knows where that is or what I called it.

But first... drum roll please... I wanted to link to my latest article, this one for Miller-McCune magazine; it appeared only on their website. Miller-McCune has a print magazine plus original web content and I have now written for both. I first wrote the "Save the Birds - With Doppler Radar" piece for the print mag April/May 2011 issue, and now this came out in August online "Texas Thirst for Dams Bucks National Trend." Let me know what you think! This issue is near and dear to my heart, especially given the terrible drought we are in the middle of in Houston and other parts of Texas.

100 Truths about me (it was originally 99 but my daughter changed it to 100 so I had to also!)

1. Full name: Wendee (Wendy) Nicole Holtcamp (maiden name Finlay)
2. Nickname: Wen (Daline, etc), Wiggly and Urchin (dad), Wendelheimer (Trish)
3. Zodiac Sign: Cancer
4. Male or female: Female duh
5. Elementary school: 2 different ones in Eugene, OR (1-2), 1 in Rainier, OR (3-4), one in Carrollton TX (Dale B Davis - 5,6)
6. High School: Apple Valley High School (MN - 9th), Cy-Fair High School (Cypress TX - 10-12th)
7. College: Texas A&M, Rice University
8. Hair color: Blondeish
9. Tall or short: Shortish
11. Sweats or Jeans: Jeans
12. Phone or Camera: Phone with camera XD
13. Health freak: YES! Though I eat plenty of ice cream & desserts & queso & otherwise fattening stuff.
14. Orange or Apple: Orange if a Cutie
15. Do you have a girlfriend/ boyfriend?: Usually LOL
16. Eat or Drink: ??? What does this even mean?
17. Eye color: Hazel
18. Pepsi or Coke: Coke (but I never drink either)
19. Been in an airplane: A zillion times
20. Been in a relationship: Yes duh
21. Been in a car accident: Yes
22. Been in a fist fight: No
23. First piercing: Ears have no memory of when though
25. First award: No idea! Something in elementary school I’m sure (saved in a book cuz I’m a memory packrat)
27. First word: No idea. Probably supercalifragilisticcatchbealidocious or something. Ha ha.
29. Last person you talk to in person: The lady at Blockbuster video
30. Last person you texted: Paige LaCombe J
31. Last person you watched a movie with: Myself! Before that probably Doug
32. Last food you ate: Homemade nachos
33. Last tv show you watched: Bachelorette. I don’t have a working TV and usually never watch TV shows (I do watch movies on dvd). Got addicted to Bachelorette though at the gym! Watched the finale at Dougs in early August.
34. Last song you listened to: Lose My Soul by TobyMac (KSBJ)
35. Last thing you bought: well I RENTED a movie but bought - hmm - groceries at Target.
36. Last person you hugged: Sam and Savi before they went to Taylor and Logans to swim
37. Food: Favorite?? Um… Thai food (Panang curry).
38. Drink: I love Water and coffee, but Bittersweet’s salted caramel hot chocolate is probably my fave thing (couldn’t drink it everyday)
39. Bottoms: Jeans
40. Top: I love white bohemian blouses (paired with turquoise jewelry)
41. Animal: Mountain gorilla (the furry ones with long hair) and sloths.
42. Colors: Indigo blue and forest green
43. Movies: Romantic comedies are my favorite kind. Ice Age is a movie I can watch over and over! Cracks me up! I soooo am Sid the Sloth!
44. Favorite subject: Ecology

HAVE YOU EVER: (Put an X in the brackets if yes)
45. [X] Gotten Baptized.
46. [X] Celebrated Halloween.
47. [X]Had your heart broken...
48. [X] Went over the minutes/texts on your cell phone.
49. [ ] Had someone question your sexual orientation.
51. [X ] Got pregnant.
52. [ ] Had an abortion. (I didn’t but I also don’t think this question is any of anyone’s business so if you reply don’t answer! Sheesh)
53. [X] Did something you regret.
54. [X] Broke a promise.
55. [X] Hid a Secret.
56. [X] Pretended to be happy.
57. [X] Met someone who changed your life.
58. [X] Pretended to be sick (Who hasn't?)
59. [X] Left the country.
60. [X] Tried something you normally wouldn't have tried and liked it.
61. [X] Cried over the silliest thing.
62. [X] Ran a mile.
63. [X] Went to the beach with your best friend.
64. [X] Got into an argument with your friends.
65. [X ] Dated someone.

67. Eating: Nothing
68. Drinking: Water
69. Listening to: KSBJ Christian radio
70. Sitting/Laying: Lying sideways on the couch in the living room
71. Plans for today: Go to bed! LOL! It’s 1121pm. Tomorrow? Work on grant writing stuff.
72. Waiting on: you to fill out your 100 truths … :D

73. Want kids: I always wanted a third but somehow I think the window is disappearing. :D
74. Want to get married: I am not sure
75. Career: Enviro writer and photographer; maybe in a couple years I want to return to life as a wildlife biologist studying… mountain gorillas or bears

WHICH ONE in a significant other:
76. Lips or Eyes: Eyes
77. Shorter or taller: Taller
78. Romantic or spontaneous: Romantic
81. Hook-up or relationship: Relationship
82. Looks or personality: Both but personality is more important for sure

83. Lost glasses/contact: Like every day - ha ha.
84. Snuck out of a house: About every weekend as a kid! Sad but true.
85. Held a gun/knife for self defense: No but had a gun pulled on me (not for self defense!).
86. Killed somebody: No. duh. Like anyone would answer yes.
87. Broken someone's heart: Yes
89. Cried when someone died: Yes

90. Yourself: Yes
91. Miracles: Yes
92. Love at first sight: Umm… maybe infatuation at first sight that turns into love
93. Heaven: Yes
94. Dreams coming true: Absolutely! I’m assuming we mean dreams as in aspirations not night-time dreams bc it would be really weird to be flying around on a unicorn or having magical powers or something in real life
96. Kiss on the first date: Maybe

97. Is there anyone you want to be with right now: Yes (it’s a secret ha ha)
98. Do you know who your real friends are: Yes!
99. Do you believe in God: Yes
100. If you had a million dollars that you could spend on only one thing, what would you spend it on? Probably would invest it and spend the interest to form a nonprofit that could helps both the environment and the impoverished.

Last... I wanted to link to this heart-wrenchingly beautiful tribute by Paul Hawken to green biz visionary Ray Anderson. To be honest, I don't really know much about either but this is just so amazing I had to share. Memorable and inspiring quotes in this piece include:

"Before we die, may we know that to be alive is astounding, inconceivably precious, a privilege beyond reckoning. When we know and cherish this existence, the rest of our life is a shimmering field of light because we have come to recognize one unalterable truth -- that we are one with all living entities and beings, and that we are never alone." [WOW!]

"Seventeen years ago, he had a realization. At that time, Ray came home. He rediscovered a sacred earth with all its complexity, beauty, and mystery, free from the constraints of this or that ideology, free from narrow-minded thinking, and he was freed to reimagine the relationship between humanity and nature with Interface as the model."

"when we become literate in the sweet treasures of creation, there arises a sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude for one's very existence and the swirl of living beings around us."

And finally...

"For Ray, reimagining the world was a responsibility, something owed to our children's children, a gift to a future that is begging for selflessness and vision."


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

San Fran Chinatown plus Stanford and Caltech

Last Wednesday, me and the kids went on a campus tour of Stanford. It was great! There was an hour with an admissions counselor and then an hour walking around campus on a student-led tour. I met up with Kirk Bertsche, a research scientist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally SLAC=Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), who I met at the ASA conference the previous weekend, and he came along on the tour and then later showed me and the kids SLAC which is a couple miles away in Menlo Park (I didn't get any pictures - darn!). At any rate, both kids really loved Stanford! Me too. The saying on Sam's shirt means (in Latin) Seize the day before the eyes of God (or, in the presence of God). It's from when he attended Holy Trinity Episcopal School.

A close up view. This is all done in tile! And it was destroyed in some sort of disaster like 3 times... and redone. The story the tour guide told about it was pretty amazing. It was created by the wife of the man who founded Stanford (Leland Stanford) in memorial for him (the University was founded by the couple for their son who died young). Kirk and I snuck away from the group and peeked inside - O.M.G. ... it is absolutely stunning inside!A shot of the Old Union at Stanford. Before the tour, we ate lunch at Jimmy V's sports bar which was actually quite good! It is in the Athletic facilities, because that was the closest place to eat on campus near the Student Center where the tour started.Savi in the Stanford hoodie that she bought, standing in the lobby of the Donatello (where we stayed). After we got back to San Francisco, we met up with Paige and headed to Chinatown for dinner. San Fran's Chinatown is the biggest in the nation! This is a phone photo of the Chinatown gate at Grant and Bush.
The kids at one of the statues at Chinatown Gate. The eyes are painted with a fluorescent color and in Paige's photos the statue's eyes glow! I think they did that on purpose... I think I took this pic without flash though so you don't get the effect.
We shopped and had dinner at a little hole in the wall that got good reviews on Yelp (love the app! Very handy. We avoided one nearby that had bad reviews...). That is Paige, Lu and Sam on the left side of the picture. Some cool looking lanterns outside a Japanese restaurant. It's actually not in Chinatown (a couple blocks away) but goes with the theme. :)This is Savi and Paige by the Polyhedron Fountain at Caltech - California Institute of Technology - in Pasadena (phone pic - apologies for poor quality!). We lived there for two years because my ex-hubster was a postdoc there. Sam was born in Cali (see photo below for the apartments we lived at where he was born - yes a homebirth!). The kids have seen Caltech campus before because we stopped by 5 years back when we went to LA for a day and a half en route to Australia, but they were younger and not thinking about colleges! Savannah by the Gene Pool.
Paige looks comfy in the grass at Caltech!Where Sam was born! I actually hated this apartment sooo much. It was a roach motel, and no matter what they did to treat them they would just go next door and come back. My ex refused to move for the two years so I was stuck there (probably why we're divorced - ha ha). A woman's home is her haven, and I find great pleasure in having a simple, colorful, peaceful space to live now! Anyway they have painted the outside and it looks even nicer than it really is. Even Savannah said, "I can't believe I lived in such a ghetto place." LOL! Across the street when we lived there, the building had windows shot out and there were gunshots on occasion. A guy was killed down the street. It's only a few blocks from Caltech but I guess it's the less-safe side... Maybe it's different now.The last night I was there we had a barbecue for Renata (Paige's roomie) returning and my farewell. This is Paige, Bruce, Kim, Renata, Randlet and me! It was a lot of fun and we got a lot of laughs!! I even impressed Bruce with my 49ers knowledge (well I may not really have impressed him, LOL, but we can thank Doug for teaching me more about football and knowing more about the 49ers from watching it for 2 seasons now).

The Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast, California. Copyright (c) 2011 Wendee Holtcamp

On Thursday, we left San Francisco and drove to Sonoma Coast State Beach, which I'd preselected and reserved based on recommendations online from Yelp and other review sites. A lot of campsites near the Bay Area were already sold out two months ago when I made the reservations! I found this one, which still had sites available, and it had positive reviews. The state park/state beach has two campgrounds - Wright's Beach which has no showers and Bodega Dunes which has regular toilets and showers so I picked that one, naturally. :) Paige stayed in San Fran a little longer than we did because she wanted to take her kids to see the Gertrude Stein exhibit at the MOMA and I took my kids on a slower drive up the coast via Highway 1 which winds through Marin County and up to Sonoma County. Me and the kids visited the southern part of Marin County when we went to see my best friend Daline at Green Gulch Zen Center in 2007 and we also went to Muir Woods, Muir Beach and then Yosemite (See photos from the Bay Area and my kids crack me up!). I love Marin County! And Anne Lamott, one of my favorite authors of all time, lives there. But I was excited to go further north and see what was there. It turned out that the windy Highway 1 coastal route was a bit longer and the state park was generally further north than I originally realized, but it was 'all good' as the kids and I arrived at the campground within minutes of Paige and her kids despite them taking the fast route after the MOMA and stopping to get groceries for camping! Serendipity!

As we drove, Sam kept seeing some flower that "looked like a tulip, only different" and yet he'd see it and we didn't have time to stop. Sam likes plants and gardening so he notices stuff like that. Savannah, not so much. So at one point he saw one at a place we could stop and I got out and shot some pictures. And then I noticed a couple of hummingbirds flitting around, sipping nectar from the flowers. Very cool! I don't know the species - does anyone recognize it? Maybe a ruby-throated hummingbird? They had a brilliant reddish-orange neck but the photos I shot didn't capture that color, unfortunately (UPDATE - a friend identified the species as Anna's Hummingbird - a new one for me!). There is a lot of agriculture and farming in the Sonoma Valley and in Marin too- obviously vineyards but also I saw a lot of tomato trucks driving through, and citrus groves. We also saw cattle grazing and I would remark to my kids, "Look! Wild Cows of California!" which really made Sam mad for some reason - "Mommmmm!!! They are NOT wild cows!" LOL!

Our next stop was the town of Bolinas, which is a bit off the path from the main Highway but we were hungry and I used my Droid Yelp App to find a good place to eat, and it recommended the Coast Cafe in Bolinas and I gave the kids a choice to go there or keep going a bit and visit the tule elk in Point Reyes National Seashore. They picked Bolinas. I had been through this whole Marin County area with my ex-husband and the kids back in 1996 or 1997 when he was talking at some conference. We brought Savannah and we stayed at some B&B and I got the flu and remember that she called the B&B the Flower House because it was surrounded by flowers! Wish I remembered where it was exactly. At any rate, on the way to the town, we pass by Bolinas Lagoon where I remembered there were harbor seals and sure enough, there they were! It was right across from the Audubon Canyon Ranch Preserve that I wrote about for Animals Magazine in the profile of an octogenarian mom turned bird researcher Watcher of the Herons - back in 1997 after we visited. I didn't have time to stop by the preserve again unfortunately! But we did see the cute harbor seals!!A closer view. I could watch wildlife for hours! I love how they look like they're smiling in some photos. We got to the Coast Cafe starving and Sam and I split the local halibut fish & chips and it was sooooo good. It was flaky and mild and the battering reminded me of the way they do it in Australia. I got the coleslaw rather than "chips" (aka fries) and a bowl of lentil soup. The prices were a bit high but the place has local, organic food so it was worth it I guess. :)Savannah looking cute in her new hat she got in Chinatown! I can't remember what she ordered...
I thought this sign was funny!Just outside, they had a sunflower with a ginormous flower head! Sam thought it was cool. This altar was right next door to the cafe. Then we headed on!Finally we made it to the campground like I said within minutes of one another, and selected our campsite after driving around and checking them all out. We got one that had enough space for our two tents, bought some firewood for the next couple nights, and set up camp. This is the boys being boys! It was an almost full or full moon! Not a great photo (phone pic) but still gives you the general idea! Savannah climbed pretty high in a tree! We made a campfire both nights of course, and made S'mores. Paige & I shared a bottle of wine we'd bought in San Francisco and I got giggly and had S'mores ALL over my face and hands and the kids thought I was "drunk" because I was being so silly and though yes I had a bit of a buzz I certainly wasn't "drunk"! But it was pretty funny playing it up and I was cracking up. The kids had some sparklers from Chinatown. The next morning we drove north to Goat Rock Beach which is the northernmost part of the state beach. We parked and walked out onto the dunes, which had dark-colored sand. It was foggy in the morning and cool, and it gave the area a mystical feel. This is apparently one of the most dangerous beaches in California!This sign was on the outhouse/toilet. I'd read about all this in the website and brochure and sure didn't want my kids walking along the beach close to the water... However if you go to a slightly different area it is not as dangerous. A path through the dunes.Another shot of the dune vegetation in the morning fog. A shot of the ocean and beach.The water was actually very blue and the sand was very dark. I find the ocean completely mesmerizing. Sam and Wylder found a big piece of driftwood to climb on.Paige strolling down the beach with the rocky coastline in the background! She did so much to make our camping trip wonderful including bringing air mattresses for everyone, two tents (one for us girls and one for the boys) and planning two days worth of meals with very yummy and delicious food she picked up in Petaluma on the way up. Thanks Paige - you are awesome!!Sam took this pic of us all on the beach (minus him).
Sam and Savi on the beach. Wylder dragged a big stick along the beach...
And after a pretty decent walk, we got to what I was looking forward to - California's largest harbor seal rookery! It's right where the Russian River flows in so I was told by the park ranger that they eat salmon there.I wonder why they are all different colors. Some are clearly smaller and young uns, but others are larger and dark, light, brown and in between. LOVE the little brown and white one on the right. So cute!Like I said, I could watch wildlife for hours... We walked out onto this jetty and one time got splashed by a big wave but mostly we watched the seals, and they watched us. I had a telephoto lens so without it you couldn't see in this detail, but in several of my shots you could see they would lift their head up to look at us.A couple swam right over to us to "people watch"! We walked over to this other little area and I saw a flock of terns. My ex used to call these monkeybirds because when we would kayak in Lake Houston we would see them and they would squawk like monkeys. And so the name stuck. I'm not sure what species this is. A closer view. I think I scared them...After exploring that for a while, we stopped briefly at Blind Beach which is actually where the Danger sign was and so I didn't want to stay at that location long! This is a view of Arched Rock offshore from there.Next we drove down to Shell Beach where we spent most of the rest of the afternoon, letting the kids climb over all the rocks, look for crabs, anemones, and other critters in the tidepools between the rocky crevices. The tide was going out but it was not a negative tide where you could actually really see stuff (like I saw on the Oregon Coast recently!). The negative tide in August was, around 450am! This is a view from the top of the trail. There's a steep staircase leading down.A tree at the top of the trail in the fog.Amazingly enough the sky started to clear around mid-afternoon.Some of the rocky formations.Paige noticed all the different kinds of seaweeds that were on this beach. What diversity!
The boys first found a tiny orange crab. Then a bigger purple one. This is a male. You can tell because of his large pincers.
Sam is having fun exploring the rocky beach! Wylder's got crabs! Err, crab! Just teasing Wylder! :) Try as she may, Savi just looks bored. She just isn't as into nature as the rest of us!
A shot of the beach/coastline. Sitting out on the rocks, soaking up the sunshine after it came out! "Please give me some of that yummy crust from your PB&J sandwiches." After a long while, we discovered a young seal chillin' on a rock offshore.
After a little while, I was getting antsy and wanted to explore more of the stops along the way back south towards our campground. The state beach is 19 miles long and has two larger chunks, one at the south (Bodega Dunes) and one at the north end (near Goat Rock) and a long, narrow bit in between with several access points. I wanted to see them all! So Paige stayed behind with the boys since they were intent on smashing one rock into another rock in hopes of moving it - gooood luck on that... it was massive. So Savannah and I drove up the coast a bit and stopped at nearly every single stopping point along the way, including one that had a field of these beautiful succulent plants. I thought I took more photos but most of them didn't turn out so this will have to do! It was a beautiful coastline and park and a magnificent adventure!