Lynda or Skillshare, which is better for your wallet and for your life?
There are only so many classes most will want to take at the going rate for an American education. California, thankfully, has a policy which keeps those earning an above average GPA in school for free. You must pay for your own books, which can sometimes cost as much as the class itself. Some teachers are kind enough to not have a textbook requirement – this helps them to fill their classes quickly but you can only imagine how much extra work they must put in to teach the curriculum according to the the accreditation standards.
In the State of California, education and healthcare is nearly universal.You must submit information to Covered California or take a nice cut on your tax returns for not doing so. I appreciate my school, the art department I’m in has been nothing but helpful and supportive, but there are other more affordable ways to learn the techniques that supposedly would have cost me $10 k a semester had it not been for said GPA and a long residency on the dean’s list.
Lynda or Skillshare, these websites are filled with fun classes teaching everything from computer science and robotics to painting and SEO. If I was to pick one, I’d say skillshare.com is the affordable choice. They are not owned by LinkedIn and the monthly cost is minimal. Where Lynda is a hefty $400 annually, skill share is $99. Plus, with skillshare, you have access to every single piece of tutorial you can get your hands on. If you changed your mind tomorrow and decided Python programming was better for you than screenprinting t-shirts, then you would have every right to start your new path quickly and effortlessly. With Lynda, the saving grace is that if you attend UCSD (The University of California-San Diego)you could access the website for free. However, Mesa (my school) doesn’t have a Lynda account – but we have other awesome free perks for attending and probably the greatest benefit is the amount of tutors we are allowed to see any time. In fact, we are an international language school, you can learn Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and at one point Tagalog from tutors if you happen to walk into the Learning Resource Center which is usually open from 6 am to 10 pm. Whatever the case, education is easy to come by – the practice and the willingness to seek what you’re interested in learning is on you.
Recently, I’ve become interested in using eco dying techniques for fiber art. I know the power of the stomach lining all the way to the esophagus, it’s easily found if you’ve ever had a bout of heart burn. However, coca cola and soy milk are some additional solvents to use in said, techniques and that’s when a red flag comes up.
Since I was child I kicked the habit of drinking soda. Children tend to gossip about all types of things but one instance of overhearing that coca cola can clean rust and drive worms from red meat was enough to make me put the can down. Soy milk is used in eco dying as a cleaning process for cotton fabric to help color to fasten on. Kind of interesting but it brings up this great curiosity and concern. If the gut is the gateway to good health, we must certainly be on alert as to the chemicals and substances we allow in it. Not so much that you can’t enjoy a meal but so much that you wouldn’t allow a drink to sit in your stomach for long that could clean a rusted old metal lock by the morning after dinner.
Forgiveness, tolerance, and all out watching and being vigilant without being in survival mode. Taking it easier. I wrote this poem about the inner parts that speak under the roof of one house. Ease to us all. Tolerance!
Internal Familiar Systems:
Kissing your light side
watching your dark
our dark parts want to make amends
I don’t want them two as friends
cause this is my girl
and he says this is my mens
mens denoting more than one within one
parts/scattered/ with all that inner chatter
what do I mean?
like he wants to be sweet
and he wants to be an ass
this one is OCD neat
and this one’s just an ass
so when we meet
my interpersonal connections and communications are on levels
can’t skirt it
the mammalian and reptilian say
This one’s alright and this is an aching civilian
the internal familiar system is watchin’
and I’m telling you, you will get tired of boxin’
thinking, maybe we just don’t get along
it’s much deeper than that
cause you got parts that are cool
and though you may hide it
another that just a brat
could live alone and be totally fine
then all of a sudden,
here comes your inner feline
and you know what cats do
don’t want to listen
but will need some food
(and a cuddle)
oh yeah that’s just about it
the internal familiar system
on the surface and much deeper than that
a whole inner kingdom and queendom speaking out of one mouth
Doula, is an ancient greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. She serves women mostly, as the word also meant hand maiden. She serves those who are bringing life into the world, she serves the mother as she is reborn through the rite of passage of giving birth, and she serves the woman during the postpartum passage as well.
A Doula also serves those who are on their death bed. She helps by holding space for the dying and their families. She helps to arrange the memorial, she brings the family food, she listens and doesn’t need to talk too much.
My teacher recently gave me homework, to find three people to serve on their death bed. She is a funny woman who tells it like it is. Shes sweet and hilarious with a funny accent. I find myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes in a class where we are talking about death and dying.
My god I love women. They are brilliant, hilarious, deep, mysterious, and can teach you so many things. Going through the death doula course has really helped me tremendously and apparently its rubbing off. My lover is far more open with me as I am more open with myself. I feel more here with my feet on the earth and I love air. Maybe it is all of the talk of not having things unrequited. Maybe its having your teacher tell you to make a bucket list and then making you revise it based on immortality. Maybe its being in a space with women who are unafraid to ask ourselves and answer these questions and who are willing to hold the hand of those who might not be here. I have certainly had plenty of Doulas in my life, women such as aunts and friends who have inspired me. Held my hand in general, been good examples, and really loved me that has made me see how many Doulas I have had. In this way they have served me and I have served them.
I have served them by not taking their teachings for granted. Thank you.
I have a new book to read. It is all about connecting with spirit children. I am after a new movement. I would like to support women and children. One of the most vulnerable places a woman can be and is, is in the processes of birth. Prenatal, all through out the process, and post natal. Whats really wild on my journey as a doula is that I would really like to adopt a child. One who is already here, one who could really use so much love and attention. So much work to be done so I can feel like the child receives so much love for me yes but my attention that doesn’t wonder to how I will feed it but wonders more about education, nutrition, and how in the world I will be a good mum to anyone at all.
I am grounding in the fact that I do not care to nor want to compete with women. I think it is by time women joined together. Together to support one another. The talk is of equality of pay, who in the world has whipped out their breast to feed their baby on public transportation, and how women are being treated in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. My word if there is anything i care about so much in my activism besides making damn sure to treat people with love and respect so that there is more love and respect in this world it would be my observation as to how women are being treated and how we women are treating each other. So midwifery is right there for me to embrace. Because in order to truly represent the kind of woman I want my children to know my grandchildren to know I must become a better selfless servant to those most in need of love and care and that would be pregnant women and newborns.
I am excited, I am sitting with my girlfriends and we are sharing what we know of the processes. What the legislation is. We talk about the healthcare system and the sad fact that in such a country as developed United States women’s health during pregnancy is sometimes at risk because of utter neglect and abuse. Which it in its self is so hidden but new reports show that if a midwife could be apart of the process then the mortality rate would greatly decline. I admire midwives in developing countries because in some instances they have their shit in order. I cringe at what has been happening in Australia, that women have been turning on their own sisters having them sent to jail for offering up services during illegal home births. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE. The numbers, the lives, the need speaks for its self.
So I have my books to read, retaking classes, and sitting at the feet of women who are midwives with a stance a grounded affirmation. I will not compete against my sister.
By the way this country, Singapore is sooo clean. I went to China town, it was the cleanest China town I have ever seen. It was like I had flown into Ba Sing Se from Avatar the Last Air Bender. The library is in the mall. The past time is shopping and eating. Yet, I hadn’t seen an obese person. Statistics speak that Singapore is one of the happiest countries on earth. Wow. The food is amazing. There are diamonds in the rough here. The people are sweat. They helped me to get on the bus today to go to China town from another part of town. Here I am thinking and bracing myself for Mama China. I know it is a while off in the distance but I am thinking oh my word. I love Mama China and I am so ready to see her again. More beautiful diamonds in the rough please.
My dear friend Rex used to tell me to write everyday, just write, I find that the more revealing the writing is the better. My goodness how personal and yet so good to simply write. Keep writing people!
When I walked into the gym I was simply excited to be there. I was half of a salad in with sprouts added and thought for sure I had time to let it continually digest before class was to begin at 6pm. Tariq, the instructor, was sitting next to the front desk. When I said my name to the attendant he looked up and said oh you are Sabrina, turns out when I was emailing the gym to let them know I was coming since I was in Australia, I was emailing Tariq. I brought along a new friend from my hostel, he thought the class sounded like a lot of fun so he came along. Actually he drove us there on his rented motorbike.
Tariq was to instruct us and he began with the philosophy of parkour. Overcoming obstacles. Especially the mental ones so that the body responds physically performing feats we never considered doing. No time for the rest of my salad and sprouts to finish digesting. I was scaling a wall by my fingers with my feet helping me move along. I was leaping to catch a bar and swing feet to the area ahead of me. We were moving like animals. Then the one practice I wanted but I will admit was a task for me to overcome.
When I was a little kid I loved climbing trees and running around. There was one day when I decided I would back flip but I landed on my head and since that day (this was around kindergarden) I hadn’t done backflipping unless it was on a trampoline and even then it was to the side. Or I would slowly curl backwards and try to throw my feet over. No jumping and tucking for me. However It was apart of the class. So what was I going to do. Tariq was showing us how so now was the time to overcome. I turned around on the raised platform. He told me to throw myself backward and just land on my back without tucking into the styrofoam below. I didn’t like that at all, but I did it. He said it was the beginning. Then he said raise your hands in the air and leap upwards into an arch when I felt I was high enough raise my knees and my body would do the rest for me. OH MY WORD! but…I did it. granted each time he said I was getting better but it looked like my body was doing it sideways. But i did it! Then he taught us the front tuck flip. I did it! It was really great. Me and the guy from the hostel was flipping over and over again. It was so much fun! There is still so much to do because i usually don’t land on my feet but the point is that I am back flipping.
The art of Parkour is brilliant. Get from point a to point b in the most efficient way possible. If there is something in your way climb it, leap over it, and move like an animal to get over it to get to point b. Humanity has looked to our animal cousins for so long to teach us. The circular philosophy of Tai Chi, the brilliant animal moves of qi gong. My teacher told me he used the philosophies to move from being behind a desk to now teaching in a gym, the art of parkour and over coming obstacles in a gym, which by the way glows in the dark if your turn off the lights.
By the time we returned to the hostel I was drenched in sweat my tank top soggy wet.
I am in my hotel room. Very affordable by the way because in the bed over there, I mean about less than 7 feet away is a total stranger. The hotel attendants have brought us two extra beds because also accompanying us are two women from Holland. All of this began because I wanted to bike solo to the rice paddies.
It all began…(love when a story begins this way)…when I was in a small area outside of Kuta town. I was in a hostel and reviewing the best ways to get to where I wanted to go when two women walked in. We said hi to each other and they said they were going to Ubud. The next thing I knew I said to them, want to rent bikes and journey to the rice paddies. They looked at each other and said something to the tune of, yeah we can do that. The very next day, being today, we got on a shuttle for Ubud. In the same shuttle was a British man. Once we arrived in Ubud we decided to try the same hotel that another two women were staying at. When we got to the other women hotel (which was quite a walk by the way and I had to pull out the “are we there yet”) we realized the place was too expensive. So me, the women from Holland, and the Brit decided to trek back towards where we were dropped off. A man standing outside of a Villa started yelling at us. We ignored him at first but we realized with the four of us, maybe if they could let us all be in the same room, we could pay hostel prices for a nice space. The attendants were okay with that in the end and so there is a stranger in the bed not too far away. It really actually pays to say what you feel when you feel it.
I am sitting here thinking I rarely do these things. Just felt right to me so I am going with the flow. Going with the flow also landed me at an ice cream parlor with vegan ice cream and a gluten free cone for a good price.
I was in the kitchen talking to a new volunteer. A sweet family from Texas actually, all the way in Australia. My mom had been sending me messages to my phone and when I checked again I was smiling. Let me paint her for you.
My Mom is a 50 year old angel. I mean this. She has the moods of a human but the sweetness of an angel. She loves to laugh, watch westerns. I run. The other day my friend tried to get me to watch a western and I thought no thank you my mom has been trying for years, and by the way yuck. It actually turned out to be a good movie.
My Dad is a 53 year old play boy. He just goes with the flow does his own thing. He used to date a lot.
They met in high school. My dad was a class clown. (I was voted class clown in school also by the way). My dad has jokes for days. When I came out of the closet, which didn’t take long at all I wasn’t afraid to say I was queer, I didn’t think it was all that taboo although my family was very christian I never felt an interest in being afraid of my sexuality. My dad wasn’t mad but he had jokes for days which culminated in him showing up at my high school graduation with his girl friend at the time and yelling as I walked across the stage: “Go Dick!” “That’s My Son Up There!” If you know me you know that I am very much into my own world and as I was walking across the stage I hardly paid any attention to what was happening. I think I was more concerned with the mere fact that I didn’t get the memo that we were not supposed to be wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes to a formal affair. I was also concerned that my cap might not stay on my big fro. So as my dad was yelling, “Go Dick!” and his girlfriend was probably crying laughing next to him and applauding I simply thought it was a normal thing, got my diploma, and made it, thankfully, to my seat with my graduation cap still attached.
I hope that painted a picture of my parents for you. My mom, as I stated before, sent me a message earlier that she had a nice breakfast with my dad and that he had her laughing so hard her side hurt. She said he was kind to her and that this morning he told her he loved her. I was thinking oh geesh Mom, how cute.
They met in high school, they married really young, they had twins that didn’t make it and then me and my sister came along. They divorced after I was born. There is one thing about my parents which I appreciate and I use all of the time. It doesn’t matter what you did, you can and always will be loved. I have known for years that my dad would call my mom to check up on me and give tid bits of information on my sister. My mom and I lived in California, my sister lived in Texas where my dad was. He would call to see where in the world I was relying on my mom to know. She would call him to find out any information on Clarissa if she couldn’t reach her. There is something about having children together that will do that to two people I think. They talk far more now than ever since we are not little anymore, they talk more than when we were teenagers. The conversation is mostly still about their kids but it has finally started to lean in towards each other since we are independent.
So today my dad told my mom he loves her and my Mom sent me a message about it. Word on the street is when my dad saw my mom for breakfast he was beaming (well, that’s what Clarissa said and if you read my last post you know Clarissa is eccentric and has a joke for everything) apparently she weaseled her way into a free breakfast and of course had her opinion on the whole thing. I can just imagine it now, my mom and dad sitting there having a chat and Clarissa looking at them out of the corner of her eyes, and leaning in to interrupt the good moment for the butter 🙂 . My mom said she gave my dad relationship advice,now I know we have come a long way.
I am 28 now and my parents still call me their baby. It stems from a union they had and still in someway have. I am now quite a grownup and independent in my own right but I admit, there is still something about your parents getting along and forgiving and loving each other that makes me smile and happy inside. I think Clarissa is happy too, she has jokes for days.
My sister Clarissa was one of my favorite orators in our drama club. She was hilarious during practice. We would all laugh as she joked around or did some funny gesture. The teacher sometimes didn’t like it because we tended to join in with Clarissa and her antics.I loved it.
At first I wasn’t even in the drama club. I just showed up to watch the performances. This was no normal club. All of us were black children and we did traditional black poetry; Langston, Maya, Countie. I loved Langston. Eventually Clarissa’s hilarious actions had me joining in on the fun with everyone else and the next thing I knew I had memorized something and was performing it for everyone.
I went to a famous historic black school. I mean old, it was the original Yates school before Yates became a school. Before the Civil Rights Era it was called James D. Ryan School for Coloreds. There was a worn out plaque in the entrance someone had tried to scratch out. I took a picture in front of it once, smiling and pointing with my friend Nicole. Our school was slightly modern but in the 3rd ward neighborhood there was certain things black children learned and did by way of tradition. How to Step, How to Orate, How to Debate, How to Sing a Gospel Song like you Deserved to Be On Stage, and How to Pray. All the keys to eloquence.
My teachers would put me in play after play. My family and my teachers would make me dress up to go to Museums to orate a speech or a poem. My friends and I would make up dances and step it out in front of the school. My Uncle would make us kids sing like we knew what we was doing at church. The frilly socks, the super done up hair, and the attitude to boot. Those were the funny, black traditions a young child was taught in the historically black neighborhood I grew up in and at the historically black school I went to.
Oratory competitions was my thang!
I think it helped me to be the person I am today. These powerful poems and the awareness of black history, it helped me along the way. It gave me a foundation of what I believed in, what I thought was fair, how I wanted to see the world, how I wanted to be treated.
I will make a grammar mistake like anyone can do. But when I really mean business, I can get my point across. I love to remember and perform poetry. My own now a days.
Even when I went to my first year of college I spent what money the school I was working at gave me for free books on Langston Hughes poetry. I loved a new poetry book from San Francisco’s Marcus Books which catered to black authors. I would sit in my living room remembering by heart Langston’s poetry and performing for myself since no one was around
Sometimes when the children were good in my class room, I taught visual and expressive arts in the historically black neighborhood of Bay View at an elementary school, I would perform for them. They ate it up, they loved it. One of my favorite poems I will never forget by Langston was called Suicides Note, it simply goes: The calm cool face of the River asked me for a kiss.
Not only because it was easy to remember, simply a sentence, but he brought the River to life and maintained that the River wanted him. The spirits in it’s depths wanted him and he kissed the River.
I don’t think I told the children what the name of the Poem was. 🙂
Our drama club, the one I was at first a spectator in at school, had only a few girls. Priscilla, Clarissa’s and I childhood friend was a helpful ringleader of the foolishness we drummed up. After drama club we would go to my grandmother’s porch and make up dance steps with the radio blaring and our ice cream melting and my bag of hot chips all over my fingers. Our drama club also had about one or two guys. I forgot his name for now but I know we had no since of what managomy or jelousy was. We used to practice kissing him and I tell you I only did it once and I don’t think I kissed another boy for a while after that because I thought it was so gross.
The girls remembered one poem in particular. I don’t think we could truly eloquently put into words why we all personally thought this poem was important to remember but we just did and kept it to ourselves. The poem was Maya Angleou’s Phenomenal Woman. We blared it, our hands on our hips as we performed it, walking sassy across the stage. I Am a Woman Pheno-na-ma-na-ly! Phenomenal Woman That’s Me!
My sister was really good at this poem. We didn’t laugh when she performed it, we watched. I think our drama teacher was calmer when she performed it. She certainly didn’t have an annoyed look on her face when she did. Another favorite of ours was Fire by Langston Hughes, the guy we kissed performed this one so well. Like he was about to get smote. His hands in the air over his head, a pleading in his loud clear voice. Begging and unbelieving that he could be burned by fire in hell.
However Phenomenal Woman, I will always remember that poem. How important it was for me. How important it is for me. I think I once shared it with the children of my art class. In front of all of those beautiful black boys and girls in my class. My voice ringing out: I am a Woman!
Now I am learning French. My tutor told me to do things I would normally do in French if I would like to become better at speaking. I love to read poetry. I love to read Alice, Tony, Tananarive, Octavia, Langston. I love to read. I love to read more than I would like to see a movie or video. So I pulled up this poem for you. A reminder for us all. No matter your race, age, or beliefs. No matter if you are a woman or a man or a transgender person. I think this poem has something to teach us all. I think this poem matters even to feminist and womanist (some might not like the note on high heels). It is a triumphant cry with defining verses opening doors or perception and the bare bones truth.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size But when I start to tell them, They think I’m telling lies. I say, It’s in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them, They say they still can’t see. I say, It’s in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
Now you understand Just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, It ought to make you proud. I say, It’s in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need for my care. ’Cause I’m a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.
And because I would like to get better and make myself and my tutor smile 🙂
PAR MAYA ANGELOU
Merveille de jolies femmes là toute mon secret. Je ne suis pas mignon ou construit pour adapter la taille de mannequin, mais quand je commence à leur dire :
Ils pensent que je suis dire des mensonges. Je le dis, C’est dans la portée de mes bras, La durée de mes hanches, l’enjambée de ma démarche, la courbure de mes lèvres. Je suis une femme Phénoménal.
Je rentre dans une chambre Tout aussi cool que vous s’il vous plaît et à un homme, Les boursiers debout ou Tomber à genoux. Puis ils pullulent autour de moi, Une ruche d’abeilles. Je le dis, C’est le feu dans mes yeux, et le flash de mes dents, le swing dans ma taille, et la joie dans mes pieds.
Je suis une femme Phénoménal.
Les hommes eux-mêmes sont demandent ce qu’ils voient en moi. Ils essaient tant de choses Mais ils ne peuvent pas toucher Mon mystère intérieur. Quand j’essaye de leur montrer, ils disent qu’ils n’est pas visible. Je le dis, C’est dans l’arc de mon dos, le soleil de mon sourire, Le trajet de mes seins, La grâce de mon style.
Je suis une femme Phénoménal.
Maintenant vous comprenez Juste pourquoi ma tête n’est pas courbée. Je ne pas crier ou sauter sur Ou dois parler vrai fort. Quand vous me voyez en passant, Il devrait vous rendre fiers. Je le dis, C’est en cliquant sur mes talons, la courbe de mes cheveux, la paume de ma main, le besoin de mes soins. Parce que je suis une femme Phénoménal.
When I carried a smile on my face all the time. This ever-present part of my costume, look, wardrobe, and expression. It was my white flag.
“Look, I like to just be, I want to talk to you but don’t bring your shit, opinions, and too much violent babel over here!” That is what the smile was about. I didn’t need another group of cowboys, outlaws, and sass talking women in my life. I have a family. They had shown me a lot of that already.
My smile was also my way of hiding the beast, the shadow, and the opposite in my clutches. The smile was an innate room for the sadness, disappointments, and rough housing I had inside of me that looked like me. The critic who let me know when something was wrong. I ignore just about anything now. To some degree I must. I must come stepping back into my eyes to peer out and see what is going on. I have gone on a soul retrieval before to go and get the little girl that tried to hide in the underworld below the trees in a room, thinking she might be safer there. Even when I placed her in safe keeping inside a part of me I knew she would like- I still have to meditate constantly and walk very slowly sometimes to stay behind my eyes.
How I am feeling and one thing I have learned is not to listen to no one. I will listen to my gut, but I don’t take opinions lightly anymore because I have realized those who give opinions are probably afraid of something I am or could do. They want things to be designed their way for their comfort. Women I looked up to, the men who did things I wanted to do. The people I loved but walked away from because I didn’t need another disappointment and i could leave just as fast as they could.
Power says that doing such things will make you lonely. Indian gurus and Mexican sorcerers say that doing such things will make you detached, ready, and happy.
I am both.
I came to another country town with my backpack too heavy for some reason. I walked into another man who had far too much clothing in his sack. Toys to play with including his shaver. The most I brought I gave away recently. I won’t speak too far on these things because what I did has already been done. I gave away my Uno cards. I gave away my hacky sack play toy, because there is no one to play it with. A few articles of clothing I had to be brave and cry a little have also crossed the counter at the local thrift store. The bag they came in went to and I still have a heavy backpack because I refuse to get rid of my hand blender which has a food processor and attachable mixer handle. A woman wants and needs her smoothies.
We, me and the stanger, had been at a local man’s house pulling weeds out of his garden for room and board. What a kind stranger he gave me a pair of his pants, which are very comfortable by the way. He gave them to me and I wear them a couple of days throw them in the wash and put them back on. So comfortable. I just change my shirts.
A few days of fun and then he wanted to spend a major holiday in a bigger city. He’d met someone online and he wanted to see the fireworks. I felt I might miss him but when he left I didn’t so much. I helped to drop him off at the bus station and went with the local man to buy mouse traps for his home. I wanted him to buy the humane ones that catch them and you drive a bit away and let them go. He doesn’t like to listen to anyone either much so he brought the ones that you put the cheese in the middle of the trap and the trap snaps and kills the mice. When we woke up the next morning I think he made the mice really angry. They had bitten a few apples, thrown the walnuts, and pooped on the stove. I thought damn! You made them mad!
I haven’t really been singing. I used to but they were the same songs and I had gotten tired of them. I felt like I wasn’t giving it my all. I stopped singing the same old songs with hope that I would find new ones to sing and that I would sing them out loud so that the spirits I like would have songs to hear.
I have been in my own world. I figure this is necessary for me to come to my eyes. I have been helping foreigners improve their English. They have been teaching me French. I have even signed on to help a man who speak Arabic. Yesterday a man who speaks Portuguese reached out to me. He wants to improve his English and asked if I would talk to him. In return he would teach me Portuguese. Well first he asked if I was interested because he didn’t see it in my profile. I wanted to say no, I am not interested in Portuguese. But then I thought here is an opportunity. Here is a free opportunity to learn a language you don’t know. A language you haven’t cared about. Maybe you could use it some day or at least have it around. So I said yes. I need to say yes more.
Now when I am talking to someone my languages have been mixing up. I say Hola, Guten Morgen, Comment vous-tu? Oh dear. But what I most love about it is that no one has an opinion about it. The only ones I hear now is the ones where someone is correcting my spelling or context. Far away in a land that I do not know I can be myself. I can speak my quirks. One man wanted to know why I kept a green hoodie on. I shared the quirk I have about my neck and ears being cold. He nodded. The guy I dropped off at the bus stop the other day, he has the same quirk. I didn’t share mine with him he said it himself, that he doesn’t like the wind at his neck.
He was the second person to share his babel with me. A list of words while he tried to convince me I should drink hard cider with him. I drank apple juice instead and asked him to write the list. I think he had two drinks. He wanted me to write it. He only got excited and really wrote the rest when he pronounce at the pub that I should learn a few cuss words to boot. The first one in German he shared was shit. We had a little in common. That’s my favorite cuss word in English.
A day and five hours from the country I called home I am embracing that I had better make promises to myself and keep them as best I can rather than not. I had better live life so that life doesn’t live me. I had better dance my ass off. I had better look and stop trying to atone for what I don’t control. Love now! Practice now! Learn now!
My paternal grandmother passed away last year. My Father put up some of his property and some of her’s to pay for her funeral. My cousin took it and the deal was he would be paid back in a year or he could keep it. The year past and my sister found out about the deal. Which meant the property we had been told since we were little kids would belong to us when my grandmother passed and my dad was no more, might not belong to us anymore. For some reason as I listened to my sister’s very violent rant about what she wanted to do and who she was going to cuss out in a more white way sounded so beneath what I wanted and how I wanted to deal with this. I want no more parts of it and the only thing I could think of was that I hope my Papa who made it so clear before he died that the only way land could pass from one person to the next in our family was through each other and there could be no outsides, wouldn’t be disappointed with me.
That’s why my sister was so angry, my dad has only his children and his land but no real male son to inherit his “place”. We are his “sons” to carry on his line. I was thinking as she went on and on that I would give my son my last name to be sure my great great grandchildren could find their blood line. My dad had passed the land to our cousin and once our cousin was gone it would pass to his children and in his line. Yep pretty biblical and royal I know.
My cousin tried to use his best speech to explain why this was a good idea. My sister tried to use her most diplomatic cuss words to explain to him why he could kiss her ass and be thankful she couldn’t hurt him. My great aunt just held her head a little low, I think because she has witnessed her family unravel and the new generation speaks to each other like so.
I snapped my fingers at my sister and asked her to let it go. I thanked her for dealing with it, somehow she felt that dealing with it she was protecting me. She said she will load and I can shoot and that’s how we are supposed to be. She said while I was over here with peace she had been dealing with those MFers for me. I thought I want nothing to do with this. I wouldn’t like to have anything to do with them. I wear a smile for them. My smile says look this is my white flag… mask. It is and it isn’t real. It is partly a I love you too much to come down to your level and underestimate you, it’s partly don’t come over here with that bull Scheisse, and it’s partly don’t make my beast leap out and tear you to shreds I am holding it back for your safety and the care of what some may call my karma. Trust me you want non of this.
I am on the island of Kauai, my hair has had a lot of sand and tiny sea shells in it from visits to the beach. Just recently I was on the shores and as I was leaving I slightly jumped and asked a friend, hey! is there sand in my hair? She said no, that it was on my face. Thank goodness. After weeks of wash and rinse most of the tiny shells and sands have come out of my dreads. This journey with my wild hair has inspired this poem. There is something about hair that is so important to me. I am reminded of Samson. I am remembering black folk tales of hair and how folks would say watch who you let touch your hair. So in honor of these deeply curly antennae …
Black Girls Hair
Your hair stands on top of your head my child
it points in all directions
sponges suck the water up
don’t let it be too dry
antennas for the heavens
speak of cosmically
wrap them up and hide them underneath beautiful decorated cloth
or t-shirts you don’t want to wear anymore
or hide them in a sun hat, brim level to your eye
big huge hair you’ve got my girl
dress it in oil
smell likes coconuts
smells like chocolate
smells like dirt
is that sea shells trying to escape from the beach
dry them out
shake them roughly
use your nails
clean your scalp
and please take care your hair
I am remembering this song by Regina Spektor as well
I love animations, as a sketch artist it feels like a great direction. So with a script in hand I begin a new animation. Longer than the Wren, which was a project for someone and you won’t see the final product until the client releases it.
The Wren animations project started as a request from a friend. He asked if I could make up a flip book for his foundation which fights against human trafficking. I said yes and the next thing I knew I bought a really cheap used book for a dollar and some change, cut up some recyclable paper bags as a background, glued a frame to each page of the book, and drew the frames. I know long run on sentence. Then I filmed it using a stop motion animation program and sent it to him.
When we met up to discuss the flip book, he decided he wanted it for his book project instead. A few changes were that the frames be a white background, the color choices were mine. He also wanted to film it himself and add music himself. I don’t blame him the first flip book film I did the music for, and I used my camera phone to film. He’s a photographer, I am sure he could really capture the work better than my camera phone.
The process was extensive indeed and all 2d classical animation style.
1. On each page I drew the frame using a 2b pencil
2. Since the paper I used was carbonless, I could see the frame before it. So I built the work piece by piece by placing each paper on top of the other so as to capture the right placement and hope for fluid action. This style mimics the light board classical animation style.
3. I colored the frames in using marker and colored pencil
4. I inked each frame
5. I showed a friend 🙂
I am so relieved the work is done
I really love animation. It’s a lot of work but I knew it could be done and I was excited for the opportunity. So I am sure there will be an update. I now look forward to other projects. Such as…The mushroom bench installation. To art! To music! To colors.
We are all in seperate beds
My room door closed
Came down off the mountain to a plateau
Breath heavy till lifted light
We are across from each other
Keys on the dresser
Mirror turned away
I am really here
Manipulating what moves in the air
Suspended by string
Its been quiet
We sit together
My every foot step announced by the beam of my smile
Its from someplace where they meet
we play games
Can you feel when my hand is near
You had better practice
Am i confessing or digressing
These things aren’t speedily played with anymore
I practice discernment
I know better now
I digress it is done
We venture to our seperate rooms right across from each other
It is my keys behind the locked door on the dresser
I sprawl across the bed I will not share
tell you i have ventured in your head
know the jumble of your thoughts
Wouldn’t you believe i saw you walking by
Left me lone
To hold my head
Grit my teeth
Facing down fears
Quick never to judge
I couldn’t get too far
I know what little I have felt
In these days of scorpion tales
Ripped sympathy sticks
Cold in the night
Chill and cool water pouring from clouds
I stare at them
So as not to miss what is coveted
You and Me
We are what I no longer know
It is in the mess
I would rather look at the clouds
Than fix what only one will confess
I have bared myself for you
Shut my mouth
Ignored the cry of my ego
Wanting to save itsself
Looking for a savior, me
And you forgot me
You didn’t even know me
You couldn’t have
Still the ego cries
Save my name
And I wouldn’t
I would rather look at the clouds
And bare my heart
Pull back the shoulders to get a better look
The heart cries out
I am open
all the mistakes in the world
Will be forgiven
Tell me which road you’re on
I could meet you
With gathered red apples and
You could only eat
I will drink
You can only think
I am unattached
So much so I believe I can fly
I believe i can wade the valley on my own
And lay a bible on my faith
Older women have looked me up and down
Men have been shy
I have dressed in safe clothes
Paid no notice to my really curly hair
Modest and wild
The many ways I think to make a heart jump and surprise the unexpecting
All the stories I have hidden and thrown away
Of bodies I have coveted
Of tears and film
And all the days I have wanted more than twice
Hiding inside all of these clothes
Who is the fire kidding
god of sex
Not enough fingers
Not enough toes
Digging for a hug
Feigning for a grip
Play on nerd
Pretend you geek
What is one and two
But when the doors are shut
And only you are watching
All the ways, words, and abandon no one else needs to know
Its honest but how much
I am not to know just yet
When everything is mundane and same
The same prayers
Only with a knew depth
I am tired of sticky peanut butter
Need more to keep me here
These grounded nuts
I am wondering in dream fields
Lost the care to be perfect
If we came before time
I am needless
Yesterday I was sitting at a table attempting to calm my breathing but my quick heart beat wasn’t helping and the feeling in my right arm wasn’t helping either coupled with the sensations in my chest. I wasn’t afraid of dying I was however concerned of my bodily reactions. So I called a center and they said Ma’am your symptoms are for emergency care. So I finally got off it and admitted I think I needed to go there for the up tenth time because if I went anywhere else they would send me there. Now here is where everything took a turn:
We walked in. I sat in the chair. I was leaning over because now I had to adjust to the smells. The woman behind the counter said what’s the problem ma’am. I said I was experiencing radiating sensations in my chest and my right arm feels funny. My friend standing behind me told me I should tell them everything. So I said okay just so you know I feel funny in my uterus too but my periods coming ( I turned and said sorry Chris, he said no problem). The woman said how long has this been going on. I said for a few days it went away and then I was feeling it again that day. Then Chris said tell her about when you were hospitalized in Africa. the woman said where in Africa ma’am were you hospitalized. I said Burkina Faso. She said ma’am where is that. I said West Africa. And shit. got. real.
First she put on a mask. then she made me put on a mask. then she told the people around her who also put on masks. then she stood up and there was more questions they took my passport they wrote down Burkina Vaso (not a misspell they thought I said vaso) then they had us move into another room. All the while I said what about my chest and arm here. Then another woman came out she had on full garb protection with a mask for her mouth and eyes they moved us into another room and I took my temperature and some vitals and started getting vague. Sadly she said people were scared and freaking out back there in the ER. I was like you…you guys are in suits and its really not helping (it wasn’t at all I started breathing faster).
I had to pee they wouldn’t let me out of the room they brought a toilet to me. Then after an hour (no one gave a care about my chest by the way as you can tell) I was just walking around holding my hand to my chest and they were like ma’am tell me again this and that. my temperature was 99 they were like that’s a slight fever so we are going to give you something for that. I didn’t want to take their medicine it was just 99. Then they moved us to another room which was far more isolated and taped off with a section in between where people were to place supplies and throw things out. Thankfully Chris was there he said, if they are so concerned where is his mask. I really laughed at that one. They never gave him one. Phone calls went out across the country and to the CDC. The county health person got involved. The head doctors of the Hospital got involved. Two came to visit us. One wearing the full garb and asking me questions. I really wanted him to get it right and I was so glad I did check before all of this even if it was in glancing about Ebola because I had to tell them. I never kissed anyone. I never so much as touched anyone much while I was there. I poop fine. and I don’t have a fever. But can we talk about my chest and the mere fact that I’m really hungry. I said I felt light headed I didn’t say I had a headache.
They told me I would likely have to stay there until they got my test results from the CDC back. We said how long would that be. He said probably a week or three days they were really trying. They had a room sectioned off for me (another one) but if my friend left he wouldn’t be able to come back in. Actually he probably couldn’t leave. He shook Chris’s hand and left. I got that sandwich.
Well after a few more hours or something another doctor came in without the full on suits and no mask at all. He said I’m sorry about all this but we had to make sure but the symptoms you are exhibiting doesn’t point to Ebola. You also aren’t anemic anymore like you were in Africa we feel you might have been dehydrated and that’s what made your counts off. I was thanked for coming in because I apparently showed them how ready they were if there was an emergency and they saw some ways they could improve. I was given a discharge sheet, a GI cocktail (oh my gosh it was like heaven) and sent on my way. I have pictures of course I didn’t know it was illegal but I figure since I was in isolation and no one else was around it was okay to take pictures. but here is one:
Of course more things happened but I think this is good. Good day people. Just so you know I feel okay again the GI cocktail did the trick and they think I might have some kind of bacteria. (that did not come from Africa)
I am excited to have finally turned in my first artist in residency program application. It’s a start. My hopes is that my proposal is liked and approved. It will be the beginning of a dream to create large sculptures sparking play, imagination, safety, and community for many people around the world. After I submitted the application I felt so happy to have taken the initiative and put one foot in front of the other towards action. Now I don’t know if I want to feature at burning man (that’s if I can feature at burning man 2015) or keep exhibiting around the world instead. My partner and I are after using trash and reuse materials and my favorite paper and cardboard.
I am too juiced I woke up and went to work on this post to share and document.
What I liked about today was that I saw a dear brother of mine and we played flutes and drums together and he kicked my ass in chess three times. It truly taught me not to nurture during the game but go for the king by any means possible. Also plan ahead a few steps because setting up the center court isn’t good enough. I liked sharing with my friend about my experience with the car sharing program Uber and how I honestly thought one night that I could yell Uber and the people would pull over. I yelled it a few times before my friend Teri let me on that that doesn’t work and you need the app. If you can imagine my hand waving and gestures in the middle of a cool night. Anyway that was a side note.
What was difficult about today was an email I received and how I thought at first to ignore it because I wasn’t ready for a response. I was just going to let it be, read it, and admit how exhausted I was to myself. Then I felt how much it would just nip at me and so I let it all out in a reply. Not my best moment in the world but I felt it was a sit on the pot or get off moment. Not the best analogy either. But today I think I would rather be honest than hide which would have been probably a bit easier for me.
What I like about tonight is that I am in my room. I am here. and I am very appreciative of this moment.
There was a passage in a book which hinted at the movement of the stars and the language we speak. for such a reason some stories I rarely recount anymore. for in the book I mention there is an age old belief brought to light. When we are born the light and placement of the stars and planets in the sky effects our mentality and therefore our behavior. We hardly think of the cosmic connection to the words we speak and the planets arrangement when the fire spits.
Fire in the context of words, language, logos. for it is thought when one speaks of a past event they recall the placement of the stars and planets. and it is the stars and planets memory connecting with the fire of our speech which is living and therefore a flame which could move in the placement recounted upon. or summon such a placement to the point you feel it as if it was happening or it tries to replay its’self. 🙂
It is no wonder why people feel during recapitulation that they are in the exact moment recounted and it is what one is willing to do in such a moment which will determine if they will live out the night mare, addictive, or additive. If they will finally wrap it up and give the experience to the dark eagle in exchange for more life and more vitality which isn’t being sucked on like a breast filled with the sugary substance of comfort and fear of the unpaved. It is moments like such which will determine if you can begin anew, a whole new life. A life in which you decide if you will stay continuously on the carousel of dead horses or take the exit to the unknown and reinvention.
Which brings me to my next point. To reinvent yourself you must do the following.
Begin a new.
Do not bring up the past, leave it as the reference it is. Never to leave the library.
Do not talk to your self. ( chattering to yourself in your head, the chatter is usually about old events and what you coulda, shoulda, woulda done)
When the fire spits make it count. Speak loudly to beings with fur and without two eyes to see. Stop using this and that to address what you see. Make up your own language fitting for you.
Be grateful to the stars and planets. For you know not what you do when the fire spits, the words spark.
Allow the clouds to whirl about you
Pay little attention
Till the fog clears
Strip the syrup from your skin
Break the moulds and climb away
Lose one mind for the other
This might be your independence day
Ignore but don’t be ignorant
Believe in your archetype
Jesus, Mary, Storm, and Queen
Moon, Snake, and Diamond
Gambit flinging fire scenes
Banchees screaming find them
Sirens singing on the rocks
Steer the ship to harbour
Rabbits with their ticking clocks
Breach the shallow water
Doggy paddle to bay
Ignore the thundering clouds
Mad hatter poetry
You just want your cup of tea
He will never get old
only you may age
You can either stay and pretend
Don’t think they care too much to commit their children early to the holy spirit
They, I think, are nervous of requests
Maybe if their child wasn’t a representation of their faith and vulnerability
Maybe if the baby wasn’t a representation of a heart on a sleeve
Easily they shake as a poplar tree
Ptsd with a spot of pee
A woman practicing feeling safe in trust
While hurdling through space
Like comet dust
Aint got the right mind for
Fancy shoes and fake jewelry rust
The unknowns been tapping her door for years
But before, all one heard
Was her spite, spit, and tears
Playing sassy sex games
Hiding in a community of queers
Just cause she stood on the sands
Dont mean she got to the bank
But love will do that to you
Trail you along
Bring you out
Drop you in a cream of cake
Shower you in the cold of water
When you need to be clean
Sugar in the faucet
Tears down the stream
Now you realize you must stand alone in your power
Only if my cup runneth over, will I give you medicine from my saucer
Visiting Africa has truly been a wild journey. Yesterday, Sunday, I was taken to a town called Dande. It was a while from the city of Bobo. Mostly I tried gesturing to people when they spoke or I used my un pau francias. Wasn’t feeling so great so I sat under a tree for most of the day with Stephan, Larry, and the other folks in the compound. The people are so relaxed.
Some of us took turns in a way shooing the goats from the food bowls. Baby chickens walked straight over my legs while I laid on a mat trying to rest.
The women of the compound were all active cooking foods, holding children, and assisting in offerings. When they saw me breathing slightly funny one came up to me with a blue cup with red water in it. They motioned for me to sniff the liquids. I did, my nose started running it was as if i had taken in cayenne pepper water. I could breath better which was nice. My nostrils however were burning.
I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to hang out with the women. Before it was all said and done I was placed on a stool and somekind of plant resin was burned while i held my head over the coals with my shawl to keep the smoke from escaping. A woman had grabbed me layed me across her lap and held me really tight, yep I needed a hug. i was offered something that tasted like donuts, and danced for the family with my shawl over my head in rhythm with beautiful music on the radio. I loved dancing for them they made sounds like eh’ when they liked something and one of the women danced too while singing the song she knew.
I needed to dance barefooted on the earth. I needed to shake off the winds around me and dance. Silly, theatrical, and like it is the medicine that brings me to myself again. I do imagine it was a sight to see.
But thats why I came. To tell a story, to dance and sing, to see and grow. To touch mama Africa hands and barefooted on Mama Earth. To say hello.
Call me a pilgrim if you will.
Today is Monday. It’s been a day no doubt. My blood test results spoke of iron deficiency and low counts in the iron and b vitamin departments. There are no real super veggies about except Moringa as far as I know. So I am going to take drastic action and eat meat voluntarily after 5 years of being a veggie lover. Oh goodness wish me well.
Update: I ate chicken! Thank you thank you thank you.
In dedication of the world’s first clitoris reconstruction hospital in Burkina Faso.
A baby comes out of the womb
Skin climatically adjusts with the introduction of air
Lay the baby on the mother’s stomach and the childs first crawl will be for the primal quest of milk and comfort
they will open a clinic for the clitoris, we should open a church
They will sow her back her pleasure
We should say our prayers:
Holy tantric web of spidey strings
The light from the darkness
Bless the epicenter of our second coming
One by conception
The other by birth
Grant her her healing pleasures
Lead her not into austerity
May it be her time to feel alive with
Conviction and dexterity
From pastures, and the rushing moors
Give her back her heart
Polished first to a gorgeous shine
This is but a start
Stand down those who only know pleasures with guilt and shame
For that only makes you move too fast. Sadly limp and lame
Shakti may I call your name
And goddess council us please
We need to remember to smile and feel the web beneath out feet
Cause if everything is making love
We all must be beasts
And I for one love the animal that embraces the east
Last night Larry and a friend of his whose name I don’t know took me to the clinque (thats how it is spelled). Opened the door for me and both of them sat on my bed as I waited for the doctor. I was in a room with three other people. A crone I imagine, who was lying on her side in and out of sleep and a child and her mother. The child was probably no more than four.
Then came the part I didn’t like…they wanted to check my blood. Prick one, my finger, prick two my arm. Cotton swab. Rest. As for the glucose IV bag by the bed I said no thanks for the sugar and three men tried to continuously convince me it was necessary to have the IV. It took twenty minutes then I sat all pricked and upset.
I noticed it but didn’t say anything but you know you have to leave it to someone else to say it. Larry said, Sabrina haha look girl over there iv no problem but Sabrina big problem haha. Everyone laughed. Very funny. On this.trip.I brought a big bag of candy chocolates and three blowpops. I had put the blow pops in my pocket that day and so being in a room with three people I gave them the three candies. Seemed very serendipitous to me.
Larry and his friend came in and out of the room keeping me company. Then came the next big deal. They put medicine in the iv that made me feel tired, then they wanted to put more in my arm. I said, oh my gosh what! and everyone laughed again the elder in the room kept trying to convince me by pointing and making gestures and speaking french, Larry translated.After a long time I consented. They were trying to get me to relax and go to bed and the way they thought to do it was that way. It took twenty minutes, Larry must have known cause he said you feel sleep, and I finally couldn’t do it anymore I was out. So many dreams.
When i woke up it was just us.the women. They were sleeping under their blankets I was cold. I opened the door of the room. I just wanted the iv out of my arm. It wasnt easy sleeping with it in. I tell you one thing …I would like to donate blankets to hospitals in Burkina because there weren’t any. It was a cold night. The women must have brought covers from their home.
I went to the desk and woke the man who was the receptionist lying on the floor. I gestured that wanted the IV out because the bag was finished. He went to get the doctor who at first didnt understand probably because he had just woken up too. Then he thankfully removed it and I layed out to go to bed. About six in the.morning, or shall I say four hours later, a woman was washing the floor in the room she was so thorough that she was hitting the beds with the mop. Then about seven something i was still pretty much tired on the medicines. But awesomely I turned and saw Larry’s friend. He walked up to the bed lifted the mosquito netting held my arm and helped me out of the room. Larry was thanking the doctors who asked him do i smoke? No. Do i drink? No. Am I on any drugs? No.
Then he handed.over my blood test results and we were out. By the time I made it to the hotel I had many messages from friends wondering about me. Larry was adamant about bread, eggs, and tea.
One message from a friend was that I should come home. And to send them my info so that my ticket could be changed. But it was so late there in america and so early here I called the airline. They changed my ticket for free because of all the hastle getting me here and because I had to come out of pocket. So that was great news. I just told them the truth.
I would like to go home early. They were nice about it. They just changed it and said something like ma’am have a great flight home.
What’s wild and this is TMI is that every country I have been to including Canada I have had to go ernestly but here nothing. I hope thats a good thing. But i have only been eating hot foods, and bottled water. I only stepped out once when an elder offered me food. I ate some of it out of respect. Whats cool is that she offered me moringa stewed. Larry’s friend whose name I didn’t know brought me Moringa seeds yesterday. If you know about Moringa…all it takes is a few seeds or a a dose of the leaves and it will give you lots of Vitamins and Minerals but at the cost of having to go ernestly to the restroom.
Okay lets continue because these posts will become not so frequent if any at all since tomorrow I will travel to the country side to stay with a friends family. Which by the way is a very nice blessing and an opportunity to be immersed in the language they will use and see the place I have heard that remained free from colonozation, Gaoua.
So here in Bobo we arrived at a hotel that was finally cheaper than the rest. Thankfully because after being here for a week I reached out to three people asking them to borrow funds till I arrived in the states and could offer their money back. I dunno if it’s kosher to mention their name but I say thank you and can’t wait to fulfill my promise. So crisis averted we began a journey of venturing about this city….second largest in the country and I could see here the remains of the muslim traditions that sustained long past the atlantic slave trade. Wouldn’t you know I began to look at the features and faces of many people trying the see if I recognized any simularities. Not too much but I can say I saw the feature resemblances of many people I have seen in the states.
I saw textile makers sitting on the ground pounding fabric. Large tin tubs of dye. And journeyed further into the bush.
I was amazed at how beautiful these large vast spaces of green are just outside the city. I looked around and was simply amazed. One place we journeyed to the car got stuck and we had to petition local folks of the bush to come help. It’s not the first time but it was very memorable the communal friendliness and how folks are willing to support one another. No problem.
What do I enjoy about this place? It is the feeling that when you address a tree outloud, say hi to a creature, or offer food at the side of your plate. It is a norm! It was my new friend Larry who said….you pour some water for the ancestors, water for the kontombles, and water for good luck. I think that was before he realized that pouring water was an important practice for me. It is ancestral. My friend Larry was kind to introduce me to his friends who helped me along the journey. And thankfully to save money, because hotels are expensive and there are no guest houses like South East Asia and no hostels like other places either, I will stay with his family. Oh my a family compound I am so curious and would love to sit with the women. Except for one, most of the people I’ve met have been men. I would love to meet women, hopefully I can learn from them. I know for certain they will have so much to teach. Don’t think there is wifi so with that I will take more pictures and when I can keep you posted on the journey.
It’s like no place I’ve ever been. My sensitivities has been ringing alarms and also shielding me. Instead of jumping fully in I have been having to introduce myself. Say hi and be on the outskirts looking about.
First off this is the first place I have been where french is the language you use if you want to speak. The universal language. Then there is the mix of indigenous languages weaved in like julu and others.
But let me get to that. So the next night i was invited to dinner at a cafe by a friends friend and his family was there. He’s the best at the english language I’ve spoken to so far, however his child was grabbing unto his leg and he affectionally said this is my son. I was like word….certainly looked like a girl to me with her hair in cornrow braids and her fingernails painted. She was probably also playing in make up because the little one wore hints of pink lipstick. Either way i asked for his childs name and he said Anna. So. I knew he meant daughter but I was being open minded like hey maybe it doesn’t matter here. But I know I know he meant she was his daughter.
I sat down. Before coming to Africa I had been briefed on water. Do not drink the water and even.if its in a bottle put your steripen in it and zapp it, wait ten to thirty minutes and then drink. I ordered what I spaghetti no tomato sauce but my stimach wouldn’t let me finish so sadly I spent the rest of the meal needing to go sit kn the toilet wit the seat down and my head down to calm the nauseous feeling. The man’s family was nice and wanted to share their pizza and french fries but after having lost my pizza the day before i figured maybe i didn’t need it.
Oh the scents oh the scents! You need a mask for one whose nose is sensitive a mask will help you to be outside. I smelt mens cologn, dust, chemicals, and food scents. I readily went to the room i rented and layed down. The next day we were to take off i wanted to be ready for the trip to Bobo which I heard was five hours from Oaugadougou. The next morning came and i was so ready to go from the capital that i had.my bags packed and turned in my key by 8 am. I sat and waited. I glanced outside. Waited…drank water. Waited. Nothing. When the guide and I finally talked he let me know the students in Oaugadougou were upset about not having food at the university so they shut down the fuel station for a time. It would be an hour till we were ready by then it was noon.
Okay, I realized something then. My bags were very light. I lost my tent. Oh great. Anyway lets continue. So after another hour and or so he pulled up…just as I was about to order food by the way. But I dropped ordering to get on the road to the music city of Burkina. It was so hot in the car fhe windows rolled down or up the air conditioner on or off. Oh dear. I turned it on high, pressed another button. Mens cologne, no food oh dear. Heat. Just as we were going across a bridge i saw the smoke…it was like someone turned a small fogger on in the car. He pulled over and we got out. The belt of the engine had seen its last days. Oh great. Lol. I went to sit at the roadside plant nursery were did not go to Bobo that day.
For the evening that follwed I spent time handing mini chocolate candy bars to kids. The next morning we were on the road. Five hours of me trying to just go to sleep to take my mind off of the air, the scents, and my stomach.
When we did arrive I sat down in the lobby of the hotel. Up to then I was amazed at the wild ride this trip had been. But lets recount the many times I’ve gone somewhere and found out what was happening.
2011: I thought, you know what I’ve never heard of a black girl sailing. I will go do that. The day we decided to set sail we learned a tsunami had had hit Japan and Hawaii and the coast of Cali was bracing themselves. My friends told me later that someone said where the hell is Sabrina? Of course I was the one on the ship on the Pacific Ocean off the southern coast of Cali. They knew because I had them drop me off at the train so I could make it to the docks a few nights earlier.
Maybe I should write a memoir. I remember telling my bestfriend that I want these stories to inspire my grandchildren.
Slow and steady
Too big for all that rushin’
Saving energy for the meat of a savory large fine
Prey, look both ways
Dream hunting in the cool
Mud caking up the shoes
Hidden in the leaves
Taking naps in the breeze
Fall back in the ease
Waves passing as a sneeze
Bless your heart
There are caverns, then there’s carts
Braiding up the hair
Kicks for kicks
Snare for snare
This and other
Raise your toast
Spit your liqour
Eye and eye
Belly know them both
Up and over, deep and slumber
Wings return to their dragon
When the illuminated stretch
Though are loosed
So it worked out, that night I walked up to the agent at the desk and she stamped my itenerary. The woman at the help desk from the night before was glad too, she stopped what she was doing…helping some customers to ask if I had everything squared away. Walking through the hallway to the plane was a victory! This time when the plane took off I knew my body was simply acting from a remembered stress response to anxiety. just breathe and let it go. Ten hours to Ghana.
The flight attendants made it known that windows were to be closed due to the Intensity of the light from the West African sun.
Kind of private how I felt about seeing the land of Africa and the clouds over. I just felt like I was bringing my ancestors home. No one walks alone. 🙂 when the plane finally landed the drama started.again. It went like this…
I grabbed my passport pouch and must have dropped it. So while standing waiting to be ushered to the main airport I realized it was gone! The airport attendants ushered me back and forth from my bag in the building to the seat I sat in on the plane. About three times. By the third time the seats had fresh little pillows, red blankets in bags, and the magazines put back in their cubby. Check your bag again they said, so I did. Check everyting’ tak’ your time. So I did. Adrenaline. Burkina faso requires a visa upon entry from America, America requires a passport upon entry from another country. A man sat next to me, an officer at the airport, he was calm in approach and questions. He said come with me. They had me check my checked luggage. Trying my best not to sound like a smart alec I said, ” there was no way I could board a flight from america without my passport in my hand, it was on the plane.” Its not there anymore. They looked at me, some agreed I was sure. Hmmm. I must have dropped it. I thought of the blankets I covered myself with. Nothing. Then a man and woman entered the luggage area she with my passport pouch in her hand. She was holding it out looking at me. I ran up to a stranger and gave her a big excited hug. Don’t think she’d ever recieved one of those before. Lol, she got out of it and said give me 100 dollars. I looked at her like oh shit woman. Come on! She said and give him to $20 dollars, referring to the airport attendant. I grabbed my wallet gave her twenty bucks…my debit card was in there I was Uuuberly grateful. The pouch had a protecting layer in it so that none of my documents could be illegally scanned.I said I would pray for her every night. The man who was helpful to me said in a quite voice, come on lets go. He signed me into thier guest book and had me sit in a seat for the next three hours. I was so bored I didn’t know what to do. Music, no. But by then I started to notice that my body was feeling funny. Nausea, restlessness, and birping. Oooh shit.
I had to stand then sit then stand. Oh no! Then I thought maybe it was because on the flight I hadn’t had much to eat and I drank a bunch of orange juice. I didn’t know what to do. So I made a request to please let me get up and go to the main airport I needed to eat something. It had probably been a day and I hadn’t noticed because of the traveling. It still took them half an hour to let me into the main airport. But with a perk, a card which permitted me to miss most of security because I was with them the whole time. It was to verify I did only come there to go somewhere else. It’s just that my flight was later.
I found something to eat. Fried rice, i think it was. But it only intensified the feeling I had. I had to gather my strength then. I had to look well enough to get on the plane. The plane to Burkina was small and someone had dosed themselves with soo much Cologne it was nauseating. I started breathing in through the nose out through the mouth as slow as I could. Then we took off.
The Gold Mine Boys
On the plane was a man who previously in the airport I noticed wss staring at me. I sat down and looked to my right and I mean staring. He was a white man maybe in his fifties, french is what I thought. I said are you staring at me. he said he didn’t know. I got my things and went to another seat. Well well well boarded the plane and guess who had the seat next to me. It was stated on his ticket. Ahhh shit. Lol. He said he was a geologist. I thought okay geologist. He said he worked for the gold mines industry and made more money in Africa than in Canada where he was from. At the same time a conversation between two white men behind me started to really take off and what do you know they delt in the mining business as well. It was the most uncomfortable, stirring, annoying twitch moment. Men who wore thier suits and spoke of how much money they made in the business while the people whose country had the gold rightfully under the ground under their feet had a life expectancy 56 due to malnutrition and polluted water.
The man next to me was a strange fellow indeed. I looked out the window and just as I’d turned around, you guessed it he had been staring at me and mouthing something. Oh dear.
Turns out it was an hour and some flight and when we were descending to land he was nervous on the airplane and said he didn’t like that part. He was gripping the seat and covered his eyes. I thought okay, scene. I fanned him with an immigration card. No fainting allowed.
So we finally got off the snug little plane and got to the airport building. Saw my first african mozzy! In the building I had to pull it together. Look okay? I did and walked away. Then the test stand in line. I was shifting from foot to foot. Breathing slow. Got in! went to the luggage grabbed my bag…”you American!” I wish I could go back with you was the end of that statement.
I was looking for a friend of a friend. He appeared at the door. He said, “you hungry?” At that time I thought don’t mention it. I didn’t eat anything till late the next night.
It’s the second night before the day. Well before four am, I can’t sleep. So I will continue the story.
Decision made, I am going to Africa, I worked three jobs this summer for one special round trip ticket with my name on it. Then came the visa, check. Yellow fever vaccination, you can’t enter the country with out it, check. When you walk into the airport your vaccination is the first thing checked not your visa.
Malaria pills, check.
The evening before my flight, I was pushing my bike up a hill when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. The airline texted me informing my flight from France to Ouagadougou had been cancelled due to Air France’s pilot strike. So began the fight to get to Bukina!
First, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had two layovers for my trip to Africa. SFO to ATL, ATL to Paris. Paris to Africa. I could make it to France but there wouldn’t be a flight to OUA, Ouagadougou. After sitting on the couch stunned for a moment I decided to call the airline. Eventually the agent let me know she could get me to two places close to the country, I would have to choose one and find my way from there. The airline would pay for my ticket to the place I chose but it stopped there. Nigeria or Ghana? I chose Ghana.
The ticket was changed, instead of leaving the next day in the afternoon I would be leaving early the next morning. I packed one bag! ( an accomplishment from days of carrying too much with me). One simple backpack, and my small tent..hey keep your options open.
When I reached JFK, part of my new flight, JFK straight to Ghana, no need to go to France fly direct from NY. When I reached JFK I was relieved and excited. For one when the plane took off from SFO my body had a sensation of a large weight flying off of me. I was so intense I jumped, I though it was anxiety. The woman next to me assisted me by telling to breath through my nose and out my mouth. She gave me water to drink. At JFK I had two hours two hours to board a flight to Ghana.
Ten minutes before boarding or so a man on the intercom mentioned, for the flight to Ghana if a passenger did not have blue visa stamped in the passport, that passenger would not be allowed on the plane. I went up to the desk of the agent, they asked…What’s your final destination? I said Burkina Faso. They asked…how do you plan to get there? I said, bus. Sorry ma’am, you are not allowed to enter the country of Ghana with out a visa as an American. You could be fined $5000 usd. And so could the airline.
I went quickly to the help desk. Explained what they knew, Air France pilots were on strike, the agent on the phone changed my ticket literally only the past evening. How could it be that this is okay. I had no idea it would be such a hassle. The woman said, ma’am it’s the passengers job to make sure they have the required visa for the country not the agent. She put me on the phone. The woman on the phone said, ma’am i don’t know what the woman at the desk is talking about it clearly states on the computer that you do not need a visa to enter Ghana. The woman at the desk and the woman at the phone debated back and forth…turned out the woman at the desk was right and the woman on the phone hadn’t read everything. It clearly states you must have a visa as an American citizen. The woman on the phone apologized and hung up the woman at the desk started listing options:
A. Delay the trip, go back to SFO
B. Stay in NYC till Friday (it was Monday)
C. Go to the address on the page she gave me to hope to get a rushed visa and she could change my ticket for the next night
Decisions. I chose option C. She said go back to the agent at the gate she has more info. Okay so by then because of all of the confusion. Plus! The disappointment. My teary face was wet and I walked away with a voucher with the words sorry for the inconvenience printed. The voucher was for transport to the hotel the airline was offering complimentary. The agent looked at me and said…you don’t need a rushed Visa what you need is a ticket. Show me a ticket tomorrow that clearly states you are not staying in Ghana and I will let you on the plane tomorrow… So budgeting for this trip became a little interesting…She said by the way you can keep your luggage here. See you tomorrow. I Ieft the airport in a nice car to a nice hotel and a nice room in Jamaica, NY. I immediately began looking for tickets. I went to bed probably around 2 am. Woke up around 6 am. Dressed and caught the 6:30 shuttle to the airport. Walked in and began looking for that ticket. I needed it by the time the planes began to load and my main concern was how much time was needed for a small airline in west africa to issue a ticket for next day travel. Would’nt you know! I found one! Received confirmation email in my inbox.
It was Early in the morning considering if 7 to 8 am is early. Rainy New York? No thank you! I spent the whole day in the airport. Walking and sitting, walking and sitting. When the afternoon came a woman stood before me, it was the agent from the night before. I could see she’d recently arrived. She said, you got that ticket? I smiled, Yes! She said, alright see you tonight. We both walked away. This was during my walk abouts, exercising, finding something to do. I only packed a small bag. No card games, rubicks cube, sodoku puzzles, nor art supplies this time. And I wasn’t that impressed with the book I’d brought along which was the only book I’d brought with me, Doorways in the Sand.
By the way. I realized something. That day I ate one thing. A veggie pizza which I couldn’t finish because my stomach was like, have you lost your mind. So I closed the box and remembered going to the hotel with it. I remember grabbing everything I’d brought with me. At the airport was when I realized that somewhere between admiring a tree across the street from the hotel while waiting for the shuttle and going to the airport I missplaced my pizza.
Wow let me begin with…this year I felt yes I must go to Africa. I have been to South East Asia and all of these beautiful places with its residual African resemblances and yet my feet hadn’t touch the soils of Africa. I remember in Oakland there was an African centered woman who made clothes in the Lower Bottoms, I used to phone her and ride my bike to her home with lentils I intended to cook for her. She had a special place in the hearts of young black women who would visit her. She reminded me of my aunts, you went over to her house, she had a rule everybody cleans up. I found myself doing the dishes, sweeping, and helping sort out fabric. My favorite part was if we all spent the night like a mother hen she read us stories. Can you imagine us early twenty something year olds lying everywhere heads resting on their palms looking up to a woman reading passages from books she wouldn’t let you borrow nor bend.
She used to say you want to go to Africa, all you got to do is confirm it and you will go. She was right, this year I decided two things were for certain I was going to see Hornby again and I was going to go to Africa.
Went to Hornby, thats another story. Now, I’m in Africa.
I love to blog. I just haven’t come to it for a while. I am on this Island where there is so much beauty. so many stories. people say this Island is very powerful with its petroglyphs and at times fast moving tides. I have been engulfed in art and dedicated to it. devoted to it. loving it. cooking, cleaning, creating, crafting. coloring, painting, cutting, gluing. I awake every morning at 5:20 am. my dear friend sometimes stirs by the sound of the alarm. so long as I am not doing too much she is fine. my tent is decorated with shawls I have collected. my altar is set up in a perfect place. I have been dreaming by a grandmother tree.
It begins like this, I wake up and lay there for ten minutes just to orient myself. then I grab either my dream journal if I remember or my journal in which I write three pages. doesnt matter what but I am writing. then I sit up and close my eyes while staying awake for an hour. I think of nothing or I do mental exercises. meditation.
then I might grab my computer and for one hour with out stopping, no bathroom break to call my own. I write for an hour. and let it just come. some of it is personal. sometimes its a story. if its a story I pray it be medicine. Then I leave where I dream after prayer and shower. then I walk to this place called the boat house where I have been working diligently on what some may call an elaborate doll house looking structure. it is indeed a large house. it has two roofs. trim. a small door. windows that you can’t see through. I finished the inside a few days ago. now its all about the outside of it. No matter what this is what I have been working on. then I might travel to clean for extra cash. look at the sea and thank her. look at the trees and thank them. I can breathe here the air is clean I feel. not too many cars. the people are kind, funny, nice, sharing their tales and art. people love to stick art where it can go. there might be a show here or there. I eat simple food for the sake of my health. peanut butter is a treat. I think if not for eggs I have returned to being a vegan but there are sweet crepes that i can only have with a bit of honey on it. but it is sooo good. there is new music I have been collecting from a guy named Jeff who is hilarious.
So that is where I have been. I think I have been touched by art. It has shown up to help me through the days and I have decided to dedicate myself to it in gratitude and also because I am interested in it. I have been in pursuing the muse. and getting over and loving my ego. I have learned that to get over it is a great thing. and also that it comes to the rescue to make sure you know when somethings not right. so what if its just an unfairity but it is better to flush it out than to ignore it. Oh dear. I thank you Hornby. A song recently written speaks about parables and proverbs.
let go, relax, and love love love
and go live on an island
It won’t be Hornby but it will be Hawaii. I have decided that I who love the Earth, Water, Air, and Fire would appreciate sea, trees, and volcano near by. The natives of Hornby speak that Hornby is a powerful land. The people would leave during the winter and the shamans would stay. for vision.That is that for now.
Hi everyone! Over the past few weeks I have been out of commission. I sincerely know what that means now. I could hardly leave my home and went to the ER twice. Anyway I am glad to report I can draw and create now! With that in mind I am having a Funraiser Sale of Art toys and paintings. Your design or mine. Sliding scale because I want everyone to have the chance to participate. I am accepting orders until Friday Afternoon. Mainly because everything must be granted to you by Saturday. A new http://www.foodwebstories.com journey is happening and I must be ready!
Here are the details:
Sliding scale depends on size. Most of my toys range from 1 to 2 feet if you wan’t one larger than such the cost will be more. Take a look at my design for this toy.
notice the detail and that I use reuse materials for all of my work. I can leave the toy blank so that you can paint it or I could paint it for you. Take a look at my painting style which is multimedia inspired.
The toys will range from $40 on up. The design will be either your’s or mine.
My style of painting is as such as those above. I am also a portrait artist or could paint on your clothing. Sliding scale applies. Either you can buy something I already have or ask me to craft something customized for you.
Please help my Funraiser Sale by ordering a toy or painting! Thank you!
I hope that if you order you are close by the SF bay area.
Hi there everyone here are some new works and showings. Mono-color, storybook art, cover art, and lots of colors. Paint and recycled paper clay. To Art!
This morning I made a batch of paper clay. Newspaper strips added to a pot of hot water, left over night. Added a lot of glue and some mineral oil. Mushed it and applied it to She Blue Toy sculpture.
She Blue Toy Sculpture with Recycled Paper Clay added for texture. I hope to coat once dry with a spackling mix, a thin layer that is. Then sand and possibly paint or leave as is. It’s taking a while to dry because the clay had so much water.
I love and appreciate comic book art. Lately I have been noticing instances of monocoloring. I wanted to try it and here it is a landscape scenery in varying densities of blue. There is a mountain, a river, and the surrounding environment. All in doodle size,
2 life, this painting explores my interest in old magazine cover art and colored pencils with various painting techniques. Markers, watercolor, and pen on paper.
Storybook cover art is also a great interest of mine. Children’s storybook art has been a technique style I have been practicing and loving. to Black Fairies, to Fairies. Peace be. It has been a day of creating art and appreciating the ability to do so. To Art! It is truly such a gift to be able to paint, draw, play music. Art is beautiful! I love Art.
Sitting here at the desk is like a meal to me. I am loving every moment of it. problem solving, what colors when and where. Sketching has always fed me in ways and coloring in those sketches is like good milk that makes you twirl your fingers in your hair. 2 Little Girls is a story that was written for the Kadazandusun Language Foundation in Sabah, Malaysia. It has taken me a while to really understand what I wanted to convey for the cover. My first take was a busy no no. The second was more like it in a good way and now I have something to show for it.
First of all I did my research. I looked up a few things about Sabah’s past and present and came up with something that was more relevant to the location and the moments the story was capturing about the change to the Kampung ways.
below is a few stamp ideas referring to Sabah in the time of the North Borneo State
From that idea and a look at a beautiful butterfly came this multimedia painting
Notice the works at the bottom is to show appreciation towards the traditional bead work of Kadazandusun people.
this was the sketch for She Blue, Horse head female body
A friend mentioned I shouldn’t run to the store for what I think is missing or needed but find it in the house, look in the garage. problem solve. So here is She Blue’s head/face using cardboard, my exacto knife, egg carton (the lips and nose, and wire I had from a creative reuse place. The tape was also in the garage 🙂
Now there is the chest and the biceps or upper arms still using the wire, egg carton, cardboard, and tape. Now I have an idea of how tall She Blue will be and its much taller than I thought. Certainly something like 2 and a half to over 3 feet tall. I am loving it.
First was the flap of the wings of a black solitary raven in the matching sky. She had traveled an empty space to spit the sun on first contact with something other than darkness. with in the wisdom of those eyes she flew with the 1st thought of sight on along a river of nothing until her claws were touched by welcoming dampness. marshes out of no where performed a welcoming mat for the bringer of light. immediately she spit out the sun from her beak and cawed the first song and moving her legs and chest to dance the first dance. the marches blessed the sun settled in what appeared to be the heavens. enough and not too much so as to keep the earth in warmth. welcome to the 1st day.
it was many years later when she raven wore her wings about her as a dress and walked barefooted, toes in the grass of the earth.
Certainly the light was spotted far off calling out the inquiring intelligences. They clamoured and they flew they materialized on the living mountain known as the first of land. watching the waters ,who knew it was blue. the seven muses in their robes sat by the rays of the burning flames and it was then that some began to notice they were not the same.
My daughters are not my own since i’ve buried them at the roots of an agar tree deep in the forest. they walked with me into the thick vines and high vegetation and they come to me now and then with their messages. I am man who could take a life and turn it to immortality. they wondered why i did not join them. why I changed my mind. how come I would choose to sit at a table in a chair with common breakfast and watch the world change daily in an organic way. organic has carbon and certainly will want to break down one day succumbing to the subtle flame. I say nothing to this. But i listen. I watch their pictures and listen to their voices when they come to sit with me.
Eventually I am sure I will grow tired and death will hold the curtain for me. but for now I am too curious for life. I thrive on the living and although I have taught those who were my children to take time and lose it, to take time and bend it, ignore time and borrow it. I am too akin to seasons and rhythms and wish to live with the tides following the will of the moon. I do this by an act of participation, empathic to life, and the story of how one comes and goes. I go the the register alone and he does not ask me where are my children. So consider it an exchange, the two for one.
Live my children in a myriad of ways. open doors and close them. but live and don’t leave her till you have grown too curious about the realm on the other side. for this is your birth right. children of the black bird.
I would like to create a toy out of my comfort zone and certainly She blue is that toy. from her side ways glace to her very nakedness. She looks at you but she does not face need not. She is blue while I ponder her hair I like where she is going. Maybe she will be a midnight blue with dark blue hair highlighted in certain areas for accentuation. Notice her legs are also her stand. Yes!
Sitting with a piece of paper the same length and width to depict the shaping of a 6 part cube by the folds of one. This will certainly take a time to come up with the entire 3x3x3, So happy to have gotten this far :). The characters face looks how I felt looking up the appropriate way to form the cube and watching the video over and over to make sure it was done properly.
thats 27 cubes, 6 questions/riddles per cube, the possibility…162 questions and riddles.
The cube comes together by placing seven elements in its proper place. However you must solve each cube (6 questions & riddles), in each element ( minimum of 3 cubes maximum of 5).
If you are able to solve the entire cube you will have answered all 162 questions and riddles making you the winner.
This is a work in progress. I am performing this task of crafting a puzzle mostly for the illustrated instructions. I need to draw them to add to my portfolio and to show a friend. While I thought of doing this alone I have been assisted by 3 people contributing questions, and or riddles. The game is called trust because you must trust yourself to stand in your integrity in solving each element. No one will be watching how ever maybe someone will help you along the way. Trust.
While folding the first cube, I learned to be ready to recalibrate and reorient the design of a usual origami cube. Such a metaphor. If the square or cube is the foundation then Trust is the appropriate name for this game. Life and the release from all obstacles depend on trust and right discernment.
If you look at the picture with the tetris shapes, this is the closest I could find to the shape of the elements of the game. The colors are good because they are about the same as the colors of the rainbow.
Malaria infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and kills nearly one million. Mosquitoes cause a huge further medical and financial burden by spreading yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus. - Janet Fang’s Ecology: A world without mosquitoes
Remember this guy? No matter how many times he tried to catch the roadrunner with his technologies and ‘wit’ the roadrunner prevailed and poor Wiley E. Coyote went home hurt. I don’t remember the roadrunner ever committing an act of violence against the Coyote but the Coyote certainly did a number to himself. Humans do this same thing with nature.
For instance, our fight against the mosquito has led putting DEET, N -Diethyl-meta-tuluamide, a common active ingredient in insect repellent on our skin and clothes. DEET was originally used by the United States military in jungle warfare. DEET was later found to be a cause of seizures as it could possibly inhibit central nervous system enzyme activity. Thankfully some people have returned to using old holistic methods to prevent mosquito and other insect bites. In general, I hope we slow down before we hurt ourselves.
It is true mosquitoes cause harm to human beings. Mosquitoes are known to be the most dangerous animal in the world for its ability to spread viral and parasitic disease. As highlighted in several research studies the mosquito is one of the reasons early colonization of the Americas was not possible. Several populations of would be colonizers in the thousands stepped off boats from Europe but only small numbers in the tens survived because the would be colonizers came in contact with mosquitoes carrying diseases they were new to such as malaria. Sadly for this same reason, slavery became a major institution as Africans were not new to malaria and could survive in areas where malaria spreading mosquitoes existed.
Day after day many of the 3500 species under the name mosquito meet in the same place to perform mating rituals. The males live for a week while the female’s life span is one to two weeks in the wild or several months dependent on ambient temperatures, predators, and habitat controls. In extremely cold climates, mosquitoes spend part of the year in diapause. This means until thawed their life is in suspension. Out of the 3500 known species, only a couple hundred are known to spread harmful diseases or even digest blood.
There is a scientific and societal debate as to whether the mosquito is a necessary species. Many are confused as to their purpose. Will the fly family clan be missed if no longer living? As of recent years, mosquitoes have been genetically modified to stop their spread of malaria and dengue fever and in some countries, genetic modification has inhibited their ability to reproduce. I wonder if anyone asks if we are overstepping our importance by taking a creature we consider a nuisance and trying to wipe them out.
A few more facts about mosquitoes is that their larva is aquatic and standing water is a breeding ground beside fresh and salt water bodies. Due to increased rainfall brought about by climate change, there could be an increase in populations. Mosquitoes are attracted in some cases primarily to the following people; heavy breathers, those who produce a lot of body heat, the pregnant, and especially those of the O blood type. It’s argued the spread of mosquitoes is caused by the destruction of their habitat due to deforestation. Studies suggest the cause of large dengue fever outbreaks is recent deforestation. Most of the land near what was considered colonies of the new world was swamplands and forests.
What do you think of the survival of the mosquito?
In ancient Sedan streptococcus mutans (tooth decay) may have existed only minimally due to a diet of Cyperus rotundus. Used to regulate chi in ancient China, treat digestive system disorders in ancient India, and dress wounds in the Levant, Cyperus Rotundus, a widespread plant species of Cyperaceae is today considered a nuisance weed.
The plant’s tubers provide nutritional benefits to migrating birds. On the island of Kauai, nut weed, as it is known here, is also known to treat the feminine reproductive system. It is resilient. Spraying it with most herbicides only kill it’s leaves.Hoeing it only aid it’s quick regrowth, like Hydra, if you cut it without taking it’s tubers it will spring forth and spread.
Most weeds, or shall I say 70 to 90% of the weeds of Earth are edible. Many farmers and gardeners try to either pull the weeds out or spray them, sometimes with chemicals which cause a trickle down effect of hazard to not only the land but the water supply and it’s creatures.
Such sprays could be detrimental for humans and land for years, decades, and generations.
A Short for Nepenthes, a Carnivorous Plant of Borneo
The lone spotted mother flew drunk and heavy several meters to lay her babies down. Burdens who could eventually be called her children in only a few days time. She found a home for them in the mouth of a fanged pitcher plant known not to exhibit carnivorous longings and staunch acidic fluids. Away she flew to her remaining moments, her flight pattern bouncy as the other critters only lit by certain twilight and phases of the rising moon. Maybe she thought her little ones would act as parasitic creatures, awakening to feed on the visitors of their host. Maybe she thought them to have as much time as she did to meet a swarm and find a place to lay their progeny. But they never did.
On one monitoring occasion, he, an ant, noticed them bobbing in the mouth of the flower. Gradually skidding across the waters he grabbed the larvae with his legs. He swam backward pulling them with him and out of the plant where they died. The ant colonizers fed like this daily. In return for their certain meals with drinks of nectar, the ants gave their dead, feces, and urine to sustain she who is Nepenthes Bicalcarata. She will never need to become carnivorous, she will never need to lose energy becoming elastic like, and she will never need to produce acidic fluids for her meals will be like the meals of the ants who mutually support her; certain, timely, and appreciated.
Ants have proven themselves to maintain mutual relationships with various trees and plant species. Where ever I sit at the root of a tree here in Sabah plenty come to my feet and march up and down the trunk of the tree. It’s not necessarily a sweet ending when you find that this action from the ants only allow insects to easily slip into the mouth of its host pitcher plant, but the ants wipe the mouth of their host and spring to action hunting any that would harm her by a takeover.
The fishermen put flammable ingredients into a bottle and chucked them into the water. When it exploded the stunned fish’s swim bladders ruptured, the loss of buoyancy caused a small number of fish to float to the surface while a good deal sank to the sea floor. The fish targeted were not the only ones who suffered. Other marine life nearby, the waters, and coral reefs were affected by what is known as blast fishing.
South East Asia, home of the Coral Triangle A.K.A the Amazon of the Seas, is the number one region depending on Coral Reefs as a means for food supply. Blast fishing has caused a lot of the beautiful habitats, which 25% of marine life depend on, to become either fragmented or outright damaged. 25% percent of known marine life depends on Coral Reefs, which make up 1% of the Earths surface.
I want to bring attention to two solutionary programs helping to recreate a healthy Coral Environment for the fish and Marine life of this great region of beautiful biodiversity. First an interview with Scott Maybach, a local marine biologist planting seeded Coral. Next, highlighting a passive acoustic technology (PAM) coupled with an app that alerts Marine Park Rangers of fish bombing activities and pinpoints the exact location of the activity to immediately respond and address perpetrations.
Coral Reef seeding or Reef Planting reintroduces live coral to fragmented or damaged coral sights.
FWS: To give us an overview of who you are and what you do, I ask what is your background? What brought you to the works you do today?
Scott: I am a marine biologist working for an island resort. Basically helping to protect and monitor the reefs as well as foster sustainable use of the reefs for tourism. I founded a marine and turtle rescue center funded by ytlhotels.
FWS: Large percentages of fish and other marine life depend on coral reefs and live near coastal regions. Can you expound to drive it home for us why these places are of utmost importance to the food web and it’s supporting environment?
Scott: About 25 percent of all fish depend on reefs for food and shelter at some stage in their life cycle. Its importance lies in that the majority if people in these regions depend on reefs as their primary food source.
FWS: What is the number one cause of coral reef destruction? Can this be remediated?
Scott: Habitat degradation, due to coastal development through water pollution and sedimentation, can lead to dead zones.
FWS: What is Coral seeding? Can Coral Seeding have long-term benefits for marine life and can these benefits persist despite climate change?
Scott: Coral planting is reintroducing live corals to a dead or damaged reef that can have long-term benefits; re climate change is yet to be seen.
FWS: How does climate change affect coral reefs? I’ve learned some coral reefs have it in their DNA to protect themselves against rising and high temperatures like 97°, is there a notice in the science communities of coral reef bodies shifting with weather patterns and uncertainties?
Scott: Increase temp can lead to coral bleaching and death. If climate change is gradual they can shift but also yet to be seen.
FWS: Do coral reefs differ based on regions and the animals that depend on them?
Scott: Reefs differ based on environmental factors;
A. There are fringing reefs, which are near land and follow the shoreline.
B. Barrier reefs, that is offshore usually near big drop offs.
C. and Atolls, which are isolated islands built entirely of coral of thousands of years with a lagoon in the center.
Coral types will vary by biotope, with light, current, and water quality defining what corals become dominant.
FWS: What can we do as a people to protect coral reefs and acknowledge their importance?
Scott: Try and avoid buying reef fish for food, and home aquariums.
FWS: Can artificial reefs assist in stabilizing marine life populations that depend on coral reefs in the long term?
Scott: Yes by providing a habitat for fish and corals.
FWS: With artificial reefs are there artificial caves since natural reefs and caves support marine life and each other?
Scott: Depending on the artificial reef type, they will have caves of various sizes the largest of which are shipwrecks.
For well over 50 years the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia has experienced fish bombing. A devastating practice which could not only harm the fishermen’s physical health and other fishermen’s economic well being but damage coral reefs and affect the lives of many marine animals in the process. Recently, using a passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) device fish bombing in the area can be detected in real time and immediately brought to the attention of park rangers using their mobile phones. The technology system will act as a tracking measure. The hope of the program is to eliminate the practice of fish bombing in the Marine Park and stop perpetrators in their tracks. This project is managed by the Marine Conservation Society and is funded by the Save Our Seas Foundation.
Thanks to Scott Maybach and Elizabeth Wood, Program Lead for the Eliminating Fish Bombing project for information in support of this post.
For more information on the Save Our Seas program:
Only one at a time. She had me first. In the beginning, there was only mothers milk until I heard something innate and primal awakening me to my relationship with trees. I could hear their call from a deep place called instinct. Like a man eating something holy to him without his molars, I take their fruits to my nest and eat only what fills me. Spit, seeds, and pulp falls to the ground and becomes a new tree. It’s mutual they feed me I feed her. Being fruitful, literally, helping them to multiply.
There is a multitude at my disposal when twilight comes. Suddenly, napping and grooming turns to hunting and stalking prey. I catch the tail end of the sunset the birds go in we go out. What will end up in my claws could it be moths you can’t get rid of, mosquitoes you clamor to run from, could it be fruits whose seeds want out? It all depends on whom you’re watching. I’ve known cousins who feed on blood, small mammals, and fish from lakes, rivers, and streams. Biting as they do large palm leaves creating tents with their teeth.
My specialty is not my sight it’s in my hearing, it’s in my olfactory senses. I send a sound so profound it bounces off the belly of my prey so I come grabbing them in mid-air wrapping them in a pocket of my wing taking them back to my place.
Glad to be here. My mother waited for the appropriate time. When the insects would be plentiful when the rain would not be a hindrance to my search for food. Legend tells my father implanted her long before she decided to give birth to me. Gave me time to know how to harvest what comes after the winter and rainy seasons so that I may relax in hibernation and remember what to look for when spring comes a calling.
Did you know Lion is my distant cousin? Some of us if you stand close enough look like miniature foxes wrapped in sheaths of wings.
Now threats such as wind turbines disturb our kind on distant lands. Millions have died already from white fungus a disease that disturbs hibernating bats and makes them exhausted to death in America. You need us! Plants need us! Sure enough, we are the second largest group of mammals on the planet. But we earn our keep. We do our best. 70% of our food is insects you call pests. You can’t imagine the world that exists without us. They call me a bat.
It’s June on the island of Kauai. I have come to my door a many times at night to find that I do not scream nor run when I see a cane spider. Two years ago I would have booked it. It’s their eyes, their walk, and more than likely that darn discovery channel I watched so often growing up. What was once a phobia has turned into an all out interest. I have stood only inches away from spider webs with my camera at the ready. I have caught a few cane spiders in a jar to release them from my room with in the past few weeks. I went towards it not away from it.
There are some amazing endimic species here on the island. Cave spiders who have literally evolved themselves to have no eyes and no pigment, such pleomorphism is to make certain the creature’s energy will be saved and spent on necessities needed for the environment it lives in. Eyes and pigment, I am sure,have no use in constant complete and total darkness.
Cane spiders (Heteropoda Venatoria) who do not make webs and come out at night to catch their prey of insects aren’t endemic but introduced. Some people would love to have this spider in their home to help control pests. This spider is known to prey on bats and scorpions too.
Then there is the beautiful garden spider ( Argiope Appensa) it’s been in the kitchen for weeks and no one has touched it. I actually prepare and eat my food below it since it’s web is on the ceiling above the juicer. The spider has golden spots and isn’t poisonous. It works daily on it’s nest especially in the dark or the early early morning when I turn on the light it’s on another part of it’s web reweaving. Before leaving California I sent an email to Shehan Derkarabetian, a graduate student of professor Marshal Hedin in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University to find out more about harvestmen.
We know daddy long legs as spiders but in truth they aren’t they are harvestmen. Harvestmen, unlike spiders, are known to not be poisonous to humans nor animals (except some invertebrates whom they eat) and only have one pair of eyes. Also harvestmen have sex organs and have intercourse to produce their offspring. They are such a mystery with so many species yet to be known. Shehan Derkarabetian was kind to answer in detail. Pictures are from Marshal Hedin. Enjoy!
Tell me what is a harvestmen and how do they differ from spiders?
The scientific name for harvestmen is Opiliones, but they are also commonly called or harvestmen or daddy-longlegs. Harvestmen are an order of arachnids. The most familiar arachnids are are spiders, mites and scorpions. However, there are quite a few less well-known groups, including harvestmen. Like all arachnids, harvestmen have eight pairs of legs. Many people will mistakenly refer to harvestmen as spiders, but these two groups are completely different. While spiders have up to eight eyes, two separate body parts, fangs that can inject venom, and glands capable of producing silk, harvestmen only have two eyes, fused body parts, do not possess fangs or venom, and cannot produce silk. The common name of harvestmen may have come from early observations that certain species would become really abundant during the harvest season.
The most commonly encountered harvestmen are the long-legged harvestmen. Here, a Leiobunum harvestmen has captured a fly as prey.
How many species of harvestmen are known in the world as of 2015?
There are currently over 6,500 species of harvestmen described, with new species being described every year. In 2014, myself and other researchers in our laboratory at San Diego State University described a total of 11 new species from the western United States, including California. You don’t have to travel to remote rainforest jungles to find new species; they are waiting to be discovered in our own backyard!
Spiders are said to have a few pairs of eyes, harvestmen have one, can they form visual pictures?
Based on the few species that have been studied so far, it is unlikely that they can form visual pictures, butmost can see changes from light to dark. Experiments have suggested that visual signal is of little importance to harvestmen when waiting for food, suggesting that they use their other senses to detect prey and sense their environment.
What do harvestmen eat?
Looking at the group as a whole, harvestmen are omnivorous and can eat almost anything, from rotting debris to living insects. The majority of harvestmen are predators of livinginvertebrates like slugs, worms, springtails, beetles, flies, spiders, mites, and even other harvestmen. However, some have been known to scavenge dead insects and plants, and even eat larger things like wasps and small frogs. Most harvestmen are sit-and-wait predators, sitting motionless and waiting for potential prey to come near. There are several species that are to known to eat fungus and fruit. Interestingly, there are some species that are gastropod (snails and slugs) specialists. Their feeding appendages have evolved to be much longer and stronger so that they can tear open the shells of snails and pull them out to eat. Following their meal, the females will lay their eggs in the empty shells. There are some interesting methods that harvestmen have used to capture prey too. For example, some groups have modified pedipalps (second pair of appendages, in front of the legs) that secrete sticky fluids that cling to the tips of hairs. With these fluids the harvestmen can easily capture their prey with “glue”.Another group have their pedipalps modified to include many
spines that can be used to capture prey. In some species the spines are so well developed that it resembles a cage.
The genus Sabacon uses modified pedipalps with sticky fluids attached to the ends of hairs, which are used to catch prey.
What other senses does a harvestmen have to make up for its eyesight?
Harvestmen, like other arachnids and invertebrates, use other forms of reception to sense their environment. These include mechanoreception (for example, touch, sound, or pressure) and chemoreception (taste and smell). Harvestmen legs are covered with several particular types of sensory hairs that are specifically designed to help detect physical movement, either through direct contact or possibly from a distance, or chemical stimuli left in the environment. Most notably, the second pair of legs in harvestmen are adapted to function more like antennae for sensing than as a typical leg for walking. When a harvestmen is at rest, the second pair of legs are usually held in the air waving around, and as they are waking they are used to quickly prod the area in front of them.
Are there any known harvestmen species that pose a threat to humans and animals? Can you elaborate?
Other than perhaps tasting bad if you try to eat them, harvestmen do not pose any threat of any kind to humans or animals (other than the tiny invertebrates they eat). The common saying that daddy-longlegs are extremely poisonous but cannot bite is completely false! Harvestmen do not have venom or fangs.
What are the mating habits of harvestmen?
All harvestmen are typically sexually reproducing, meaning both males and females are involved in reproduction. Unlike some other arachnids that transfer sperm either through a secondary sexual organ (like spiders) or by leaving sperm packets for the female to pick up (like scorpions), harvestmen mate by direct transfer of the sperm from the male to the female via reproductive organs. The females have an ovipositor, used for sperm intake and egg laying, and the male has the equivalent of a penis. For some species there can be a pre-mating interaction (like courtship), where they will repeatedly touch each other. In some species, the males will present the female with “nuptial gifts” either before or during mating. There are a few species that are thought to be parthenogenetic, where the female produces offspring without the involvement of males fertilizing the eggs.
Is it true all harvestmen lay eggs? Including males?
All harvestmen species do lay eggs, however it is only the females that do so. Depending on the species, a female can lay anywhere from 1-200 eggs in a batch, sometimes laying multiple batches in a year. The female ovipositor, which possesses sensory hairs at the tip, is used to probe their habitat to find a suitable place with high humidity to lay the eggs. Eggs are typically laid in clumps in the soil or on some other substrate, and some species will cover the egg batches in mucus for extra protection. For most species, the female will lay the eggs and leave them to develop and hatch, which can take anywhere from 1-6 months.
How is it possible that harvestmen eggs can last up to half a year before hatching?
During development the eggs will absorb water from the air or through the mucus layer, if present. Like the eggs of other animals, harvestmen eggs contain all the nutrients it needs for the embryo to develop. The very little research done on harvestmen eggs shows that, like other animal eggs, they also contain a vitelline membrane and sometimes a chorion that functions as protective barrier and a nutrient source. Given that harvestmen eggs are generally well hidden and is a self-contained developmental structure, it is easy to believe they can last up to 6 months before hatching. In some species, diapause has been recorded. This is a process by which the embryo will temporarily pause development for a period of time due to changes in temperature. For example, eggs of the species Mitopusmorioare laid in the late summer and develop for a period of time. At a specific stage, development stops until cooler weather triggers the start of the next phase. The final phase of development only occurs when the temperature warms up again in the spring.
I once read harvestmen males are the caretaker of eggs, cleaning and guarding the brood, do the males only keep watch over their own eggs?
Yes, in some species the males do care for and guard the eggs, but not all harvestmen species do this. In some species, it is only the female that cares for the eggs, while in others both male and females care for the eggs. However, there are many species where neither parent will guard the eggs except for hiding or covering the eggs. Most of the time the female lays the eggs either in moss, crevices, or under rocks or logs and leaves them to hatch. In the case of paternal care, there are quite a few species, particularly in South America, where the male alone guards and cares for the eggs. For example, the males of the species Zygopachylusalbomarginis are well known for making open mud nests. Females of this species wander looking for males, who each have a mud nest. When a suitable male is found they will mate inside the nests, then the female will lay her eggs and leave. It is then up to male to care for the eggs, sometimes from multiple females, by cleaning them, cleaning the nest, and protecting them from predators.
What are some defense mechanisms of harvestmen to save itself from predation?
Harvestmen have many lines of defense against predators. One form of defense is called crypsis, where they have evolved to look very similar to their environment. Crypsis makes it difficult for predators to see the harvestmen’s body against the background on which they are resting. Some species even secrete a substance that acts as glue that will make dirt and debris stick to their body acting as a camouflage. Another form of defense is called thanatosis, meaning if a predator finds the harvestmen, the harvestmen will play dead and hope the predator loses interest. The most impressive form of defense harvestmen have is their chemical defense. They have a pair of openings on either side of the body called ozopores, which lead to chemical producing glands. When a harvestmen is threatened, they will secrete a cocktail of chemicals from these glands that smell and taste bad to any predators. For example, some species in the genus Sclerobunus secrete a chemical cocktail mostly made of nicotine.
The genus Ortholasmauses crypsis and thanatosis as a means of defense, often using dirt and debris to help camouflage.
If it is true harvestmen are omnivorous, has there ever been a case of harvestmen becoming an infestation?
As a whole group, harvestmen are omnivorous, although the vast majority primarily feed on smaller invertebrates. To my knowledge there has never been a report of a harvestmen infestation in the sense that some insects, like locusts, become an infestation.There are many species that are known to aggregate in massive clumps, sometimes reaching thousands of individuals (there are some pretty cool videos online). It’s possible they do this for defensive reasons (like increased amounts of chemical defense substances or an easier way of communicating alarm messages) oras a way to improve chances of finding the opposite sex for mating. Whatever the reason for the aggregations, they pose no threat to humans.
What is the autotomy practice of harvestmen?
This is another form of defense that harvestmen use where, if a predator has captured them and are holding onto a leg,the harvestman can separate that leg from their body. The leg will even continue to twitch for some time as a distraction while the harvestmen escapes. This is similar to what lizards and geckos do with their tail when caught by predators. However, in harvestmen, once they lose the leg, it does not regenerate.
In South America harvestmen are said to be endangered due to human activity, are you aware of any measures to protect the species?
Most harvestmen have limited dispersal abilities, meaning that, over their lifespan, they do not move very far. This has led to there being many harvestmen species with very small distributions, for example, a species may be entirely limited to a single cave, a single mountaintop, or a single patch of forest. Many harvestmen species throughout the world are endangered mostly due to the destruction of their habitat. South American rainforests are one of the most biodiverse regions for all types of animals, and harvestmen are no exception. There are some measures available to protect species in South America, for example there are several species of troglobitic(adapted to and found only in caves) harvestmen that are on the “Red List of Threatened Species” in Brazil. The vast majority of troglobitic harvestmen in South America, and throughout the world, can be considered threatened due to their very limited distribution, sometimes only a single cave, and their smaller population sizes. However, very few of these cave species are actually legally protected.
Are you aware of any action around the world to protect spider/harvestmen populations?
In the United States we have the Endangered Species Act, which allows for the protection and recovery of species that are threatened by extinction. As of now, only three harvestmen species are federally listed as endangered. These three species are all found in the genus Texella. All of these species are troglobitic, restricted only to single caves found in Texas, and are severely threatened due to habitat destruction and human development. There are quite a few harvestmen species that deserve to be legally listed as threatened, but are not.For example,some species in the genusMicrocinacan only be found under serpentine rocks in certain grassland or woodland habitats in central California.These species are often only known from one or two places and are severely threatened by development, so much so that some populations no longer exist. One species, Microcinaedgewoodensis (commonly called the Edgewood micro-blind harvestmen),received much attention when the planned development of a golf course threatened to destroy the only known habitat of this species in Edgewood Park near Redwood City, California. Luckily, and as a result of the danger to this species, the golf course was not built due to the threat it posed. However, this species is still at a very high risk of extinction due to its extremely limited range. Although a significant amount of attention has been paid to these species, revealing that they are only known from a few places and have small populations sizes, they do not have any official conservation status.Another example, in the genus I work on, Sclerobunus, there are several cave-adapted species that are only known from very few specimens and are presumed to be rare. The species Sclerobunus klomax is only known from three female specimens and so far has only been found within a rock-pile about 300 square feet in size.
Many of the most endangered harvestmen are cave endemics, including the genus Speleonychia, which is only known from a few lava tubes in southern Washington and has evolved a complete loss of eyes.
Can you please share the historical information of harvestmen such as, where are they most reported originating from and any possible evolutions documented?
Little is known about the early evolution of harvestmen. As a group, harvestmen have been around for quite a long time. There are numerous fossil harvestmen known, the oldest of which is around 400 million years old. Interestingly many of these fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old look remarkably similar to harvestmen that are alive today. Harvestmen are known from all continents, except Antarctica, and are the most abundant in the tropical regions of the world, like South America and Southeast Asia. There is much to be learned about the biology of harvestmen. Compared to most other groups of animals, there is little known and little research currently being conducted. Most importantly, there are many species of harvestmen that are unknown to science and still waiting to be discovered!
For more information, resources, and (of course) pictures of harvestmen, here are a few links to get started. There are also plenty of awesome harvestmen pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube.