Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy Continues, So Does Life

*!*!* Alert *!*!* For a more lighthearted Culebra Halloween post, go here! Otherwise, carry on, forewarned.

Stunned and sorrowful come to mind to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach with the daylight revelation of Sandy's path. The amount of devastation is, in a word, overwhelming. About every adjective that can be used has been used and each one is inadequate to really understand what each and every person, family, neighborhood, city, county and state is going through in the face of Nature and infrastructures colliding.

We watch the vignettes shown on television, the still photos taken and sent in a world that transmits information via images so quickly, and yet there are many people who are experiencing the reality who haven't seen much except what they are surrounded by, or not surrounded by. A neighbor helps a neighbor, the ones prepared helping the ones who were not. A man on a roof, cutting away a tree that has shattered his family's shelter. The Red Cross, FEMA, and many other organizations working together to start recovery back to normal. Reality.

And, I'm angry. Angry at people who are shown in photos standing on the edge of walls and streets and boardwalks while 20+ foot waves bash into them. I don't mean media, I mean men and women, often with small children, who thought somehow that this was a wonderful photo opportunity. How many of them were endangering the lives of rescue personnel with idiotic behaviour? The ones who stayed home when they should have evacuated? Why do we see and hear this over and over again? This ain't no Disney ride and I can't understand the stupidity of people who would put themselves and thereby others in life threatening situations because they are sure they can handle something they don't even have a remote clue of understanding?

Caleb Lavoie, 17, of Dayton, Maine, front, and Curtis Huard, 16, of Arundel, Maine, leap out of the way as a large wave crashes over a seawall on the Atlantic Ocean during the early stages of Hurricane Sandy in Kennebunk, Maine, on October 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) #
And, I'm here. Where a walk from the door to the water takes me by this first time blooming orchid, unlike any blossom of any others I have around the yard. This one was dying a few years ago, so I tied it up to a sea almond tree, hoping maybe it would be happy there. For ages, it has looked like it just might succumb and then, after we had that sweet 4 hour rain last week, it gave me this.

And I can't stay angry and sadness and sorrow are lifted in the pretty in my face awareness that life, fragile as it might seem, does come back, does bloom, does give beauty after appearing to be almost beyond that possibility.

Life is good, ultimately. That's all I know.

Have a safe walk on the wild side Wednesday. Do something willfully wholeheartedly.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy Continued

Culebra Tuesday dawning
While we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and stunning moonrise, those to our north were having a very different experience with Hurricane Sandy, which is now in a post-tropical storm stage. The scope of this storm is really beyond a simple grasp and understanding, the consequences still in the making.

As we wait to hear how friends and families are doing, you might feel led to help out some of those deeply affected by the storm, that count still a long way from being in. If so, here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on donating. It's a sad fact that there will be scams going on, but all of us in hurricane country know that while thankfully, these disasters can bring out our best, they can also bring out a more base response. Thanks to the BBB for providing this.

p.s. Good luck, Steve, Lisa and family, on getting home, and thanks for the early hour goodie delivery!

BBB Tips On How To Help Victims Of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is predicated to cause major damage to many parts of the United States.  People from across the country will want to help by donating money to charities.  BBB wants to remind you that although these types of disasters bring out the best in people, they can also bring out the worst.

Whenever there is a major natural disaster there are two things you can count on. The first is the generosity of Americans to donate time and money to help victims, and the second is the appearance of poorly run and in some cases fraudulent charities.  Not only do Americans need to be concerned about avoiding fraud, they also need to make sure their money goes to competent relief organizations that are equipped and experienced to handle the unique challenges of providing assistance.

BBB offers the following six tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:

Rely on expert opinion when it comes to evaluating a charity.Be cautious when relying on third-party recommendations such as bloggers or other Web sites, as they might not have fully researched the listed relief organizations. The public can go to to research charities and relief organizations to verify that they are accredited by the BBB and meet the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Be wary of claims that 100 percent of donations will assist relief victims.Despite what an organization might claim, charities have fund raising and administrative costs. Even a credit card donation will involve, at a minimum, a processing fee. If a charity claims 100 percent of collected funds will be assisting hurricane victims, the truth is that the organization is still probably incurring fund raising and administrative expenses.  They may use some of their other funds to pay this, but the expenses will still be incurred.
Be cautious when giving online.Be cautious about online giving, especially in response to spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization.  Understand that with today’s technology a website can literally be built in an hour mimicking a legitimate charitable organization wanting to scam you out of your money.

Find out if the charity has an on-the-ground presence in the impacted areas.Unless the charity already has staff in the affected areas, it may be difficult to get new aid workers to quickly provide assistance.  See if the charity’s website clearly describes what they can do to address immediate needs.

Find out if the charity is providing direct aid or raising money for other groups.Some charities may be raising money to pass along to relief organizations.  If so, you may want to consider “avoiding the middleman” and giving directly to charities that have a presence in the region. Or, at a minimum, check out the ultimate recipients of these donations to ensure the organizations are equipped to effectively provide aid.

Gifts of clothing, food or other in-kind donations.In-kind drives for food and clothing—while well intentioned— may not necessarily be the quickest way to help those in need - unless the organization has the staff and infrastructure to be able to properly distribute such aid. Ask the charity about their transportation and distribution plans. Be wary of those who are not experienced in disaster relief assistance.

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's hard to think about much more than Sandy, a monster of a hurricane. Sandy is, seemingly, everywhere, giving us 20 foot waves on the shores of the big island, and battering the east coast of the US with wind and waves without having actually arrived yet. Even the Great Lakes are being given warnings of 20+ foot waves!

In Sandy's path through Jamaica, Hispanola, Cuba and the Bahamas, death and destruction have been left behind, 51 known deaths in Haiti alone. Sadly, the replica of the HMS Bounty has sunk off of the coast of North Carolina, with the Coast Guard rescuing 14 of the 16 crew members. 

People who should have evacuated are now calling for help, risking the lives of their rescuers, as well as their own. Why ask why?

A little distraction from Sandy: these five geese have started hanging out in my yard and the bay. Very loud and fun to watch if not so much fun to hear. Christmas goose? Hmmm.
To all of our many friends and loved ones in the affected areas, love and wishes for safety to yourselves and your property. Don't forget to check in when you are able to! I know there is something funny I could put here, but I can't think of anything funny at the moment.

Love and hope from Culebra
 Have a make it safely through Monday. Do something mighty.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Off Line in Paradox

I've been offline for a few days now due to the lovely folks in control of my cyber world. Hopefully, I'll get it all fixed soon. Thanks to our great library, we can sit here in the shade and breeze and get online! In the meantime, here's a little visual of our beauty lately; outside the world of customer service hell life is beautiful!

The weather has been so flukey lately, it's hard to know what will happen next. Grey skies, subtle colors or a riot of sky painting to a jaw dropping degree.

This just seemed right in black and white (and grey shades thereof)
The moon was up and almost full last evening

If you get a chance to go down bougainvillea row, do it soon because the show is outrageously gorgeous. What was to be seen between the bushes though, were geese and turkeys. What's for dinner?
Sandy the Hurricane is wreaking havoc up and down the eastern seaboard, so please be checking in to your local weather stations if you are in that part of the country. With a 1000 mile wind field, this storm is nothing to ignore.

Have a safe and satisfying Sunday. Do something (s)ertain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just Another Thursday in Paradox

Yesterday we had one of those crazy, gorgeous dawnings that wrap up the whole world in vibrancy. For all you people who say you aren't morning people? You're missing something wonderful!

This morning was a whole different story. The colors were subtle, gentle on the eyes and spirit, but still some kind of wonder full.

The water is rough today, with whitecaps piling in on top of each other. Even my little bay has some roiling going on. 

The early part of my day tripping involved a trip to the hospital to see if I'd get my cast off (castoff), and hooray, I did, snip snip snip gone. It's replaced with a tidy wrapping around the ouchy part (sorry for the medical jargon, but I like using correct terminology). A shot of something that - sorry, Dr. B, for clutching your shoulder, hope there are no bruises - either made it feel better or just seemed to feel better because the shot was over with and I was off and away. Not unlike Superwoman. It was a helpful shot.

Fun things that happen in the clinic: you always see someone you know and have time to enjoy a conversation beyond the hello's in the street, it's sort of like a weird cocktail party with water in pointy paper cups instead of your beverage of choice. Unless water is your beverage of choice; and you get one of the best views to be had on Culebra. I think us walkers get a better look at it than the drivers, though I'd skip the uphill walk if possible. The downhill walk, with Dr. time done and no place to go in a hurry, is a joy, like a lollipop for grown-ups.

How's the view from your doctor's office? Yes, we're very lucky!
It's really cold in the waiting room and the sun and breeze felt good enough to turn right instead of left to go down to the plaza for a lookabout. Like a walkabout, with your eyes. I know you knew that.

Then to the library (I tend to go for the no-need-to-check-out books, as I find getting books back on time a mystery of life not quite figured out) where there is always something to bring home, sometimes something I've read before and realize on page 3, which is why I always bring home at least two books. A good chat with a friend I ran into along the way and a party invite to celebrate, well, it sounds like to celebrate everything even remotely near the date of November 2nd. Culebra. Oh Culebra.

And while we are having this beautiful day, Sandy is plowing northward through Cuba and expected to make a run up the northeast coast, full blast. I hope all in the path heed the watches and warnings and come through unscathed. It happens.

I love this tree. I love these flowers. Eyes open, they are littering the ground all over the island.
Have an untarnished Thursday. Do something twinkly.

p.s. Welcome temporarily home, Bike Steve, along with your lovely and funny bride, and family!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Every Picture Tells a Story

I was digging around (virtually speaking, alas) in some old photos the other day, as a few were being sought for selling, Many I remembered, a few I'd forgotten - out of thousands that's apt to happen. But all of them bought back instantly that moment in time, even to feeling the weather, the smiles, the journey.

Some of you were there, in one way or another; some are gone, in one way or another. Some of you have never been here and that needs to change! If this flashback makes you feel good, I can do a bunch more (photographer tech talk - bunch, like herd or pod or flock).

If you want to see them individually, just click on the photo, any photo.

Have a totally wonderful Tuesday/Wednesday. Do something trickytreaty with wowness.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Simple Sunday ~ Culebra

Whether my bark went down at sea,
Whether she met with gales,
Whether to isles enchanted
She bent her docile sails;
By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day,—
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay. ~ ~ Emily Dickinson

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shooting Stars Saturday

Ok, it won't be exactly shooting stars, more like falling bits of Halley's comet, but regardless, we're supposed to get a good show tonight. The day here is clean and shiny, and hopefully the night will stay as clear, and the Orionid will keep us looking skyward.

This map shows the sky facing south around 5 a.m. Sunday morning October 21, 2012. The Orionids will appear to radiate from the “shoulder” of Orion the Hunter not far from the brilliant planet Jupiter. Created with Stellarium ~ from Astro Bob's site - which has a lot more information; you should check it out.

Orion is one of the easiest constellations to recognize, at least around here. When I was out West, in the northern California mountains, the sky was so full and differently oriented, it would take awhile to find thr Hunter, and the timing was different by far. But once you find him, that's where you'll want to tune in for the show.

Yes, these are fireworks, not the Orionid meteor shower, but I hope it's sort of like this.

And for you who remember...and for you who should know.

Have a star studded Saturday. Do something (s)elestial.