29 March 2008

earth hour


The movement is growing. Tonight at 8pm local time I will join neighbors and friends in turning out the lights, unplugging the computer, and knocking back energy consumption for one hour, for Earth Hour. This time last year the people of Sydney, Australia (as well as 2100 corporations) turned their lights out for the first annual Earth Hour, coordinated with the help of the World Wildlife Foundation. The impact of 2.2 million people's short term commitment to reducing consumption was impressive, doubling the target of 5% energy reduction within the city.

This year, the project has grown into a worldwide movement. It is easy to participate, gives people a chance to reflect on their personal energy use, and is a rare opportunity to be part of a global statement about consumption and the effects of living in excess.

Please, light a candle tonight. Spark a conversation. Play a hand of cards. Kill the lights.

Earth Hour is from 8pm to 9pm wherever you are.

20 March 2008

capoeira


Capoeira. It's part martial art, part dance, energetic and captivating, and born in Brazil. The specific origins of capoeira are the source of many theories, but there is no evidence to determine exactly how the history unfolded.

One popular theory holds that slaves brought to 16th century Brazil from Angola, Congo, and Mozambiqueused used capoeira to practice moves for combat against their opressors, disguised as a game, sport, or dance.

1888 saw the end of slavery in Brazil, along with a migration of former slaves to cities. Capoeira was banned shortly thereafter, with stiff consequences for practicing what was considered an anti-government activity. It was considered an activity of the lower classes until the work of Mestre Bimba brought attention and respect, as well as students to the art form. It became recognized as Brazil's national sport in the middle of the 20th century.

Still popular in Brazil, the art form has spread into other parts of the world as well. The activity is social, active (even acrobatic), and fueled by homegrown music played on easily constructed instruments. When you hear about a group playing in your area, go check it out.

19 March 2008

neti pot

There is a tickle in the back of my throat. It appeared out of nowhere, though not surprisingly in the midst of the party that is the springtime in a ski town. I'm quite keen to knock it back well before I have a full on chest cold just as the birds are starting to chirp and neighbors are hosting barbecues. I am laying the responsibility of ridding my system of potential illness on none other than the neti pot.

As somewhat of a water girl, I am sufficiently familiar with nasal irrigation. And until my first encounter with the neti pot, I was never a fan. But with this little pot, just the right amounts of warm water and non-iodized salt, I'm pretty much hooked on filling my nose with water.

The practice of nasal irrigation is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition. The simple cleansing process clears the nasal passage of particulates and excess mucus while also moisturizing the nasal cavity. In parts of India and South East Asia the neti pot is used with as much regularity as we use our toothbrushes.

Popularity of the pot has only recently grown in North America, predictably spiked by the mention of the product on Oprah. Now there are more than 130 videos on YouTube highlighting the neti pot, with the majority of those likely being a little bit gross (do we really want to watch snot being flushed out? I didn't think so). I thought I'd spare you the action shots and took this one instead. The spout goes in one nostril, tilt the head over the sink, the saline solution works its way through and comes out the other nostril. No discomfort, simply fantastic.

17 March 2008

fingerprinted

Immigrating is no easy task. The stack of papers on my desk is large and full of exceptionally verbose but also somewhat cryptic instructions. Last week the process led me into the police station for fingerprinting. After careful inspection of the swirls and patterns created by the tips of my fingers (amazing that each is so distinct) I sent the prints off to the FBI. When they get around to it, they'll let me know if I'm a dangerous criminal or not. Information that I can then pass on with all the rest of the immigration papers.

16 March 2008

with character


The idea of investing in real estate is appealing. That, and the possibility of living in my own home one day, paying my own mortgage instead of someone else's. I'd like a house with character, something with a peaked roof and a bit of charm. Fixer-upper is a word that comes to mind.

15 March 2008

i do [wear a one-piece]

Last night Hugh and Vanessa took a serious step in their relationship. They got married, but in one of the least serious formats I have witnessed. The evening involved night skiing and flasks guarded safely in the pockets of retro ski wear. One-piece ski suits, to be more specific.

the bride and groom

guests were striving to look this ridiculous, some succeeded.



14 March 2008

james jamie jimmy


Not a James. Hates the sound of Jimmy. Jamie it is. And I like to call him anything but. We bonded over hangover stories and play boating. Road tripped within the first few weeks of acquaintance. He tolerated me asking how far to that mountain, to that river, to the valley in that picture. Helped me orient.

Now he is the love of one of my favorite humans. Thereby making them one of my all time favorite couples. We ski when we're together. Or paddle. Or drink beers in the sunshine on their deck. He makes us burgers from wild game and breakfasts of sourdough waffles. He definitely qualifies as one of the 'People I Don't See Nearly Enough of Anymore'.

12 March 2008

the hut experience



assessing the avalanche hazard


on top of the outhouse



We just spent a few days in a hut tucked into tall trees and held solidly to a knoll by an entire winter's worth of snow on the roof. We rooped in on the machine (happy to have the GPS with us as a storm built overhead and evening approached), melted snow on the woodstove to drink with hot chocolate and amaretto, read ski magazines piled high from previous users, inspected the topo map by candlelight.

The little cabin sits in a valley filled with exceptional ski terrain. The only downer was the stability, or lack there of, and a relatively high avalanche hazard. So all the incredible skiing was just something we dreamed about while snow accumulated outside the cozy hut.

The sled was a means to an end for me, appealing only in that it offered access to potentially great skiing. But it served to be the primary form of outdoor entertainment on the flats once we had determined no slope would be especially safe to ski.

09 March 2008

cowface


It was months ago now. We were on our way to Gongshan to paddle the Salween. There was a fatal accident on the narrow road a few miles upstream from a little town where traffic piled up. A bolder had fallen directly on top of a motorized trike serving as a taxi. We waited a few hours, I sent a couple emails from a smoky internet spot, then wandered toward a patch of green with fresh air. This is who I found there.

08 March 2008

'dids' tomkins


The next in my series of 'People I Don't See Nearly Enough of Anymore' is none other than Katherine Tomkins, better known by some as Katie Dids. My first memories of her were at sixth grade dances when she and her posse from the Bay School would show up at the public school shindigs. I was pretty sure she was a ring leader. She had greenish hair and a huge smile. When all the kids from grade schools of seven different towns came together for high school a few years later, I was welcomed into the posse and quickly realized that Kate's smile was easily seen and that she is downright hilarious.

She has since become more of a source of inspiration than entertainment for me. On occasion, like the evening these photos were shot of her on the dance floor in huge green gumboots, she still is the source of good belly laughs. But mostly I spend my time worlds away from Kate, marveling at her tenacity and adventurous inhibition. She works in international aid, spending the bulk of her time living in places like Nairobi, Banda Aceh, or at the moment, Kabul. The stories only get better, the pride in my ring leader of a friend only grows. Happy Birthday Katie.

06 March 2008

any good party has a theme


The one we threw the other night carried the 'euro' theme. Leaving things quite open for interpretation, some folks showed up in retro ski wear, a few togas attended, one or two people looked a bit posh, and one in particular was sporting a pair of jeans so tight we all had to wonder when his younger sister had grown out of them.

02 March 2008

breaking the fast





Inspired by the extensive collection of beautifully simple images at this popular blog. Breakfast is worth loving anyway, but I like an excuse to further dote on the meal. For the oat bran muffin recipe, check out my other blog.

01 March 2008

sew kunming




Need to hem some pants. The sewing machine is locked in a storage unit many miles from me. Wish it was as easy as finding some wizened old lady on the sidewalk with her pedal machine ready to stitch. It is exactly that easy in Kunming, a city in the Yunnan Province of China, as long as you know how to say hem in Mandarin.