There’s a Gnome in my Pumpkin; DIY Toothpaste

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Palestine’s Fine Excerpt: Peace in the Middle East Tea

Sunrise in Palestine

I learned about this tea recipe while volunteering at a goat farm in Jerusalem. The farm was within a village called Moshav Zafririm, which was probably once occupied by Palestinians but invaded/apprehended by Israel in 1948 when the country was established. Out with the old, in with the new it would seem.

Unlike in Hebron, there was not trace or retelling of foul play in this village.

Propaganda in Hebron
Israeli Propaganda

It was quiet and rather empty, with no banners or propaganda to be found, just an unmanned military check-point at the base of the village to ward off intruders. Unfortunately I have no photos from the village to share.

The tea on the other hand….

Peace in the Middle East Tea Recipe

This tea was made on a daily basis at the farm and we enjoyed it throughout the day, hot and cold. All the ingredients were picked at the farm or gathered in the nearby hills.

Today I drink it as a reminder of the crazy experience I had in “the Holy Land,” encouragement to continue telling the story, and nourishment for the soul.

Ingredients:

Geranium

Pelargonium ‘Citronella’ : Large citrus-scented leaves on a robust plant. Lavender flowers.

Sage “Culinary Sage”

Sage. One of my favorite culinary herbs and one of the herbs people have easy access to no matter where they are. Salvia officinalis – even the Latin name gives us an idea of the respect this Mediterranean beauty has earned. Salvia in Latin derives from the word salvere which means, “to save.” Historically, it has been used in many ways from a facial toner to a plague remedy, as well as drying up breast milk and easing a cough. Sage is a well-loved and well-used herb throughout the ages.

and

Mint (any variety will work)

mint grown in pot

Process:

Steep a few leaves of geranium, a bunch of sage, and a cluster of mint in hot water for any amount of time, add sugar or honey to taste (or not), and serve hot or cold.

Enjoy the pleasant pink color and floral taste of a tea that will sooth the senses, calm the mind, and bring peace to the middle east in your heart, which reflects the world. Enjoy with friends for greatest therapeutic benefits.

Cheers!

KB

Clotaire on “Environmental Activism”

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Inspiration to give up plastic straws for good: Turtle Noses

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Sustainable Business Review: Hand-made Shoes in Austin, Tx and the Triple Bottom Line

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Palestine’s Fine: Introduction

This is a story about when I accidentally went to Palestine in the Winter of 2014.

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“Wait what? This bus is going to Palestine?”

Surprised, yet not utterly shocked by my circumstance, I was both intrigued and alarmed by the situation at hand. How did I get myself HERE? I wondered.

No stranger to pickles, this was definitely my most unnerving to date. What had begun with a free trip to Israel two months earlier now had me alone, astray, and headed straight into the West Bank via minivan.

Remaining calm, I began to speak with some of the other passengers on the bus. Amongst them was Hanan, a beautiful woman I had noticed earlier carrying a US passport. Turns out she was on her way to Palestine to visit her parents and plant olive trees in an act of defiance against Israeli settlers.

“Hm,” I thought, “a twist.”

Everything I had learned up to that point was from the pro-Israel perspective. I had, after all, come to Israel via a program called Birthright, which sends young Jews from all over the world to Israel for an all-inclusive, highly insulated, 10-day bus trip to learn about Judaism.

Palestine’s Fine: Chapter 1

Chimpanzee Sanctuaries YOU can visit

Hello all,

I am researching places you can go to visit/volunteer with Chimpanzees. Not saying I’m going, but just looking into it a lil’ bit.

One place thats popped up a few times in my internet research is the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage. It is a German organization, me rikey. It is in Zambia. And there is some connection with Jane Gooddall but I don’t know yet and I’m too lazy right now to look into that.

Here is a video of someone else’s time there. Looks like they get HANDS ON contact with the chimps, which is super cool because at one point I was looking into volunteering with Koko the Gorilla, who lives in Woodside, Ca, surprisingly, and the deal would have been that I would cut up and prepare Koko’s food, but I wouldn’t get to come into contact with her…maybe not even see her? I think it was the former, but anyway my point is, most Ape Conservation programs do not let you come in contact with the apes, for health and safety reasons, which I understand. But COOL that Chimfunshi might let you.

Another organization is in Guinea, West Africa, called Project Primates. It is a French organization and not as expensive as other programs I’ve seen. You have to pay for airfare there, then $125/month…and work every day from sun-up to sun-down. I don’t understand why they would charge someone to work their ass off from sun-up to sun-down for 6 months straight, but a lot of other programs ask for much more so this looks good. Their website is: https://www.projetprimates.com/en/

Oh yeah, they’re French, way cool.

Thats all for now,

A Great Ape

Diary of a Sailing Lunchlady

See that toilet bowl scum?

That, my friends, is the first thing I noticed when I walked into my assigned room aboard the SS Minnow in 2017. It was my fourth year working as Lunchlady, and I would be on the ship for 120 days, from April to June, travelling from San Francisco to El Salvador, Hawaii, Seattle, and back

Thankfully, I would only be working 2 months, as opposed to 4 which I had done the previos year. And thank goodness all the green slime came off after I struck a deal with the girl I shared my bathroom with. The deal was, she brings the cleaning supplies, I clean the toilet first.

And so it went.

I had done this lunchlady gig for the previous 3 summers. This one may have been my last, but we shall see, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. I’d say this was my most successful cruise, all things considered. No co-worker drama (last year, I thought my headmate wanted to kill me, so I’ enter the bathroom with my knife drawn and quickly dash to lock her door from the indside so she couldn’t sneak attack me– dramatic yes, but it felt safer that way, and comical in a ninja warrior way); no Napoleon-complex officers calling the galley staff  (kitchen crew) “lazy and negligent,” blaming us for what was probably 10 years of built up kitchen scum, and no getting called to the captains office for allegedly fraternizing with boys. Yes, this year was a very good year.

More to come, stay tuned…

 

 

Fidlar

For Tina

full nino girls

It was supposed to be the storm of the century when we set off on our bike trip down the California coast. New Years Day, 2016.

Me, Katrina, and Jansyn.

I met Katrina back in college when we worked together for the UCSB recycling program, riding bikes around campus, collecting cans, and redeeming them for cash at the local recycling center along with all the other humble community can-collectors and even the occasional hobo. This was our crew.

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Katrina and I stayed in touch after college. I always liked her adventurous spirit. One time I visited her in Brooklyn and she fell asleep before I got to her apartment, so I spent several hours at the corner 7-11 store, talking to the flirtatious cashier I was not interested in and observing the colorful characters filtering in and out throughout the night.

In the early morning, as I waited outside Katrina’s apartment, I learned she lived next door to a methadone clinic, which helped make sense of some of the personalities I had observed throughout the night, like that crazy lady with the walker that came in yelling and left with a cup of noodles. In the end, Katrina woke up around daybreak and let me in. No harm no foul. It had made for an interesting experience, just like the one I’m about to recount to you: the FIDLAR bike trip.

Katrina started encouraging me to join in on this adventure a few months before we left on New Years Day 2016. I was hesitant because I had never gone on a long bike trip before and was concerned about chafing. Yes, chafing. Its what happens to people on long bike rides and also can happen to the male nipple after wearing the wrong shirt on a long run, which I learned in high school from Mack Reland (name changed to protect real-life characters’ identity), but that is a different story.

Besides chafing, I was a little concernd about gear. I had limited bike and camping accessories and was riding an old bike, a red Cannondale touring road bike from the 80s that I had appropriated from my Grandma and which the bike shop told me was ready to be retired. No way. I loved that bike and to me it rode well, so I decided to see if it could make the 400 mile journey, my valiant steed.

We would be leaving during a forecasted El Niño event, which another concern. Knowing weather reports usually over exaggerate, I still received a lot of concern from friends and family when I told them about the intended trip. Nevertheless, by early December I decided I would come along, at least as far as Monterey, about 30 miles away, our first day’s journey. If I didn’t want to continue, I could easily turn back from there.

As it turns out, I went the whole way. Jansyn too. Another girl Katie also joined us for a few days, but respectably bowed out when the storm hit, and Katrina….well, Katrina made it as far as she could before her bike tragically vanished on our last night before the home stretch, 80 miles from our final destination, Los Angeles.

Day 1

December 31, 2017

Jansyn and Katrina arrive in Santa Cruz. I pick them up downtown and bring them with their bikes up to Fern Flat, my mom’s hippie compound in the woods. We eat dinner, a thai coconut soup my mom had made, complete with red pepper corns that left our mouths a little numb when we unwittingly bit into them. It was delicious nonetheless, thanks Momma. The girls slept in my mom’s cabin, and I slept in Lance, my soon-to-be moldy cab-over camper.

Me n' Lance

Me n’ Lance, day one. Aptos, California // Photo cred: Shannon Cecil, Seafoam Films

We went to bed before the clock struck 12. The girls exhausted from a long day of biking, all of us knowing the long road ahead.

The trip started a few days before for Jansyn and Katrina, who flew in from New York with their bikes and rode down the coast from San Francisco, staying in Pidgeon Point the night before at a hostel with a very annoying family as neighbors, according to Jansyn.

Day 2

The day begins bright and early. Its cold out but not raining as we head down Trout Gulch road towards town. It was all downhill, which was a breeze, but the sun hadn’t risen enough to shine down on us, so it was cold. Our hands were aching by the time we reached the bottom, 5 miles below. I was nervous about the trip, mostly about being uncomfortable, but after warming up a bit in a patch of sun, we continued on our way along the frontage road towards Watsonville.

We biked about 40 miles that day, passing a stretch of road with a view of the ocean on one side, and a sea of plastic on the other, agricultural land covered to suppress weeds and pests I later learned. I sang silly tunes and listened to music to entertain myself and gradually we all warmed up and de-layered as the day unfolded, stopping in Moss Landing for lunch.

We biked on Highway 1 for a stretch, which was intimidating because of all the fast cars, but interesting since I’d driven that route by car many times before and so appreciated the new perspective. Biking slowly past the wetlands and dunes, the giant smokestacks, taking in the sights and smells, feeling the cool ocean air, it was beautiful.

Eventually we arrived in Monterey, where we would camp for the night at Veterans Memorial Park Campground. There we made friends with another group of bikers from Santa Cruz who were heading to Big Sur. The group was led by a guy who worked at a bike shop and had a bunch of fancy gear including a high tech trailer to hold gear and food, and the tinyest camp stove I’ve ever seen. He was accompanied by a young UCSC student with gorgeous long hair and a hippie looking Cabrillo student named Armand. He may have been riding barefoot and when I first saw him he was doing yoga. Like I said: hippie.

That night we had an alarming exchange with a very drunk girl who was fighting with her boyfriend in the car. They were making such a fus, car alarm going off a few times, the two of them yelling, both of them crying at different points of the night. They were sleeping in the next tent over, that’s how I knew about the crying. They really caused quite a scene at the campground and I was surprised security didn’t come to kick them out. Anyway, it also made for an interesting story, so I have no complaints.

Day 3

Monterey to Pfeiffer, Big Sur.

The ride started off excruciatingly uphill. We rode up and over Skyline Drive, a mountain highway where Katrina and I spotted a hobo with a busted face while passing over a bridge. I was so shocked by the sight all I could do was say “hello” as I pedaled by.

Eventually we emerged from the mountains and coasted down into beautiful Carmel-By-The-Sea, but we didn’t see the sea from there because we were in the valley.

It started raining at some point but we didn’t let that stop us. I think this was the first day I wore bags over my socks in my shoes to keep the rain out. It worked surprisingly well. In retrospect I would have selected a different shoe for this trip. The canvas Converse high tops were hell on my toes in the mornings when the air was cold.

Eventually we made it to Pfeiffer and were joined by Katrina’s friend Katie and her entourage, girlfriend Sarah, a bike mechanic, and eccentric friend Emilia who sang us a song about sharing food while we ate our fondue dinner. As the night continued we drank bourbon by the fire until one by one we all went to sleep.

There was an interesting woman at our campsite that night and the next morning. It was a hike-bike campsite like in Monterey, so we had company. This woman was strange, but of course I talked to her. I don’t know about any of the other girls did. But I think so. We were also joined by the trio from the night before. Luckily there were no drunken couples to be found at this site. Too remote.

Day 4

The next day we spent the day in Pfeiffer, went on a hike and enjoyed a day of rest. Katie spotted a deer foot dangling from a fence and was terrorized by a strange homeless man who was pretending to lather up and wash himself over his clothes while peering through the visitor center window. I had seen this man earlier that day seated with his bundle of possessions, looking out from a sunny perch over the big sur coastline. I thought to myself that he was really livin’ the life.

Katie’s girlfriend had a car so we all went out to lunch, meeting up with Emilia’s friend who had a disgruntled cat in a box.

We returned to the site and hunkered down in our tents as the storm rolled in.

Day 5

Pfeiffer to Limekiln, not our intended spot but a smart stop since the storm was really rolling in by then. The day started off dumping and we all got ready near the covered bathroom area like good little hobos.

We stopped for lunch and were advised by the waitress to stop short of our goal and hunker down at the nearest campsite. It was about 4pm and with the storm coming and it getting dark, we had to listen. We spent about an hour trying to hitchhike. Katrina started doing the stand up worm to draw attention, but it was to no avail. Its tough trying to hitchhike with 4 people and 4 bikes. Somehow or other we made it to the next campsite and were able to eat and enjoy a quick fire before hunkering down in our tents while the storm rolled in.

That night Katie started to complain of an upset stomach. It was the beginning of the end for her and this trip.

Day 6

Limekiln to San Simeon

Woke up and promptly got on the road, only to be rained out rather quickly, about 10 miles down the road. My plastic bag booties were filled with water and the rain was coming down so hard it hurt my face and hands. As soon as we could, we pulled over. Turned out we were able to find refuge at a cute little convenience store and bar stop in Gorda, about 20 miles from the next town where we figured we could get a hotel room.

It took some finegaling and courage, but we ended up finding two cars to give us a ride to San Simeon. Jansyn and Katie befriended a couple brothers in a Subaru, and me and Katrina, we got a ride from a wild haired, wide eyed, surfer looking guy with a pick up truck. And of course that was a story in itself. I will tell you a little.

I forget his name, but he was a Big Sur native. A writer, painfully in love with a woman who double crossed him, or left him, or something. He’d never been published, but had folders of his writings scattered throughout the car. I was sitting in the back seat and could hardly hear anything of the conversation that was going on in the front, where Katrina was sitting. He had the defroster on high the whole time and frequently had to use a sock to wipe off the inside of the windsheild to clear a view. Mind you, we were driving the Big Sur coast on Highway 1, which is a rather windy road. I got pretty nervous a couple times because the windsheild got so foggy and the road was so curvy, but the craziness that was coming out of his mouth was interesting and hilarious enough to keep my mind occupied.

In the end, he dropped us off at a hotel parking lot and gave all us girls a souvenier, a piece of jade he had collected at the beach. He showed us how you shine it, with nose oil. Yummy.

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Day 7

San Simeon to San Louis Obispo

Slightly rejuvinated from a night spent indoors and our things a bit dryer, we made our way by shuttle bus to San Louis Obispo. We had pussed out at this point, it was raining anyway. We made it to San Louis Obispo and stayed the night with a Couchsurfing host, a tech guy who also did product photography in his garage as a side gig. He had a gathering at his house the night we stayed over, cant remember what it was celebrating, and we had a chance to meet his friends. The one that stood out was a lady that worked as a vet tech.

Day 8

San Luis to Santa Barbara

We took the train! Katie took the train back North.

Day 9

Santa Barbara to Ventura

We biked and camped. I got 3 flat tires and biked through the taco bell drive through. Katrina’s bike got stolen.

Day 10

Ventura to Los Angeles

Katrina took the bus. Jansyn and I biked. It was beautiful. We saw a car wreck. I listened to Nate Denver. Made it 80 miles to Katrina’s friends house. Got picked up by Peter and of course the adventure continued. Ending in a very cheap rental car drive home, alone.

After this trip, the Fern Flat days continued, leading up to the Lesbian Cat Fight and my last cruise.