Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GB Tran, Artist and Writer


While looking in the Biography section of our local independent bookstore to see if they still carried Suze Rotolo's splendid book, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, I noticed GB Tran's book and took it off the shelf and was immediately drawn into this story of a family's journey told by a man who was born in South Carolina in 1976, a year after his parents escaped from Vietnam.

GB's father, Tri Huu Tran (a teacher and artist born in 1947), says to his 30-year-old son near the end of the book, "You can't look at our family in a vacuum and apply your myopic contemporary Western filter to them. Our family wasn't alone. We weren't a special case. EVERYONE suffered. EVERYONE had to do whatever they needed to survive. Years passed before families reunited, before people felt like they had a future again. By then it was too late for my generation. Our hopes and dreams lie with our children. Every decision we made ... every sacrifice we gave ... was for their future."

GB Tran says, " Making this book broke my heart -- my deepest gratitude to Stephanie for putting it all back together."

I am deeply grateful to GB Tran for this complex and compelling memoir that he wrote and illustrated between April 2008 and April 2010.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mr. Peabody's coal trains in Bellingham?

This was forwarded to me by a friend this morning.

Dear Whatcom County Resident:

Perhaps you’ve heard. Peabody Coal wants to make Whatcom County home to a port exporting as much as 48 million tons of coal per year. That’s right – coal. What you likely haven’t heard, is that the Whatcom County Council will be voting on a resolution in favor of this project TONIGHT at their bi-weekly meeting. That’s because it was added as an agenda revision at 3:15pm yesterday and made public sometime after that.

The Council is voting with virtually no information about how this project would affect public health, clean air and water and traffic in Whatcom County. The Council is moving ahead based on assurances by Peabody Coal and the project developer who stand to make big profits from this project. Is that how we should be doing business in Whatcom County?



UPDATE in response to an email I sent to the Whatcom County Council:



3. Resolution encouraging industrial investment in the region’s
economic vitality (AB2011-115)


What is going on here? Odd, isn't it?

UPDATE: March 17, 2011 -- Email from Whatcom County Council member:

I am sorry you got the impression that the county council was approving a resolution for coal transportation to Cherry Point. The draft resolution that was written by a council member was given to the rest of us council members late Monday or early Tuesday. There was no mention of coal transportation. It was a resolution encouraging industrial investment in the region's economic vitality. Further, a resolution has no force of law. The draft was withdrawn. There was no vote. This was not some secret deal done behind closed doors. It was written by an individual council member. Even though it was withdrawn, I believe it is considered a public document since we received it so you can request a copy at the council office or e-mail me at or call me at 384-2762 if you would like a copy.

Regarding coal, I know little about coal except what I have read from e-mails I have received in the last two days. I believe, if there is any application, eventually the issue may come before the council but I don't believe it would happen for many months. There would be plenty of public process before any decisions could be made. Any decisions of this magnitude require adequate time for details, deliberation, and public process. I always educate myself before voting on any issue so I sure wouldn't be voting on an issue about which I had no background. Obtaining background would take time on anything specific and of an industrial nature because I do my own research instead of just accepting what anyone tells me. I appreciate being given information but that is where I start, not end, in educating myself. I can't speak for the other council members but I would be surprised if they do not process issues the same way.

Please send all e-mail correspondence, including any questions or comments about this to my council address, for retention of complete public records.

Thank you.

Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Council Member

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Namazu and the roar of a wave

First came the earthquake, then the wave.

So many hearts going out to Japan today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


While doing my asana practice this morning, I noticed light on the second of the two pillows I bought in March of 2008, the one on the left. The pillow on the right was a gift from an old friend who made the beautiful print in the photo below this one:

Then I drew two peacocks with a #6B pencil:


Translated from Sanskrit by Ravi Shankar and Dr. Nandakumara:

May there be tranquility on earth, on water, in fire, in the wind, in the sky, in the sun, on the moon, on our planet, in all living beings, in the body, in the mind and in the spirit. May that tranquility be everywhere and in everyone.

This morning I had a good talk on the telephone with another old friend who lives in North Carolina and who reminds me that a sense of humor is essential. We've been friends for 44 years, beginning with our freshman year in college.

Today is the first of my two days off. Yesterday was exactly one year since I began working at home at my new/old job of proofreading medical reports.

This is the 903rd post on my blog (-:

Thanks to all who continue to stop by!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Babar and Celeste

After dropping into a Yoga class at the studio where I first practiced Yoga, I have resumed a vigorous early morning asana practice. At the end of this morning's practice, as I was in the corpse pose, something in me said to draw the elephants from one of the two pillows I bought on the morning of March 21, 2008, a few hours after I had learned that Richard had a Stage IV brain tumor.

It's been a long time since I have felt like drawing, but I am newly inspired by Suze Rotolo's Art Books:

The inspiration may also have come from,

a copy of which sits close to where I practice the asanas (-:


"... the elephant in the room of my life ..."
(from A Freewheelin' Time, by Suze Rotolo)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Love Minus Zero / No Limit

Yoga Sutra I.2

Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.

Yoga Sutra I.33

To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:

Kindness to those who are happy.

Compassion for those who are less fortunate.

Honor for those who embody noble qualities.

Equanimity to those who actions oppose your values.

The brain, thought to be the provider of thoughts, develops much later than the heart. The heart remains independent in its rhythm until near the time of birth, when the central nervous system takes over the regulation of the heart. From then on the heart is reliant on the brain, and subsequently feelings seem to combine with thoughts and become virtually indistinguishable.

(from A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras: The Secret Power of Yoga, by Nischala Joy Devi)


What I love about yoga is what I learned from my first yoga teacher, that yoga is not a competition and that it does not matter how flexible one is, but it does matter that one experiences where one's limits are and explores them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Message from the South Pole / Hi Amy

Look here. I love this webcam (-:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, Canada Geese / Nesting Time

This morning, because of the light in the sky, I took the above photo looking to the southeast from my porch. You can see the light grey gravel trail into Whatcom Falls Park. Looking at the photo, I noticed two Wood Duck (Listen) nesting boxes. Looking up just now, I saw one of the Bald Eagles (Listen) carrying branches to their established nest that I can see in the cottonwood grove to the northeast.

Yesterday I took the photo below. For some reason, the zoom worked better in black and white. The bird in the nest yesterday did not have the white head of a mature Bald Eagle. Now I'm wondering why a "yearling," if that is what it was, would return to its nest of birth. Could it have been an Osprey? That seems unlikely.

This morning a group of Canada Geese (Listen) arrived at Scudder Pond. A clear sign of spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Suze Rotolo (1943-2011)


"We were very curious, and we were both in search of poetry, and we fed each other's curiosity."

(Suze Rotolo, from NPR interview in 2008)

Thank you for your messages. Truly. Suze.

A woman of heart and mind, loving, loved.

Of songs written long ago, she says:

"I can recognise things. It's like looking at a diary. It brings it all back. And what's hard is that you remember being unsure of how life was going to go - his, mine, anybody's. So, from the perspective of an older person looking back, you enjoy them, but also think of them as the pain of youth, the loneliness and struggle that youth is, or can be."