Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beale- Drone Protest Arrests

 I just want to quote this:  Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an "accomplice" in drone killings. The 5 activists arrested attempted to deliver a letter to the Beale AFB commander that demanded:
(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.

"US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In the name of combating terrorism against the U.S. we are terrorizing innocent people, and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process," said a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Nevada County Peace Center, Peace Fresno, WILPF and World Can't Wait.
 It was inspiring, scary, bewildering and thought provoking how this morning went. This is a very heavily used gate into Beale AFB and a lot of people had very valid reasons for getting to work on time and were very upset at the point that I think one of our numbers would have been injured had a military person not redirected the traffic.
 However, there are no forums for the truth of what is happening to civilians in the countries where the U.S. is using drone strikes. In this shot, Fred, a physician, looks over his shoulder as his wife, Toby, is taken off for booking after stepping over the white line defining base property.
 Both he and Shirley took advantage of all the young military people lining the road to speak out about the drone attacks and give the perspective of those communities where civilians have been killed and communities exist in constant fear. We really tried to communicate, to share what we have learned, to humanize the situation so the young soldiers will realize they must take responsibility for their part in this illegal, immoral killing.
Hopefully more people will join us and we will be able to stop the drone killings and put limits on drone surveillance in our own country. It will take a lot more pressure on the Obama administration to counter the corporate-military- executive branch collusion on this though.

Almost too much but the earth, ahhhh.

 So right now I'm listening to a Webinar-- Breast Cancer Action's Fracking and Breast Cancer. Before that, a House "Party" with a representative of Corporate Accountability, focusing on their work, especially against bottled water. (A corporate plan is in the works to get the public to accept that bottled water is better and therefore to eventually control all water access.) And, before that Beale Air Force Base and the struggle to stop drone attacks.
But First. Michael above Sunday at dried up Table Mountain, a well-loved area usually covered with wildflowers this time of year. He's healing, the wind is blowing everyday and it hasn't rained since about Jan. The uncovered rice fields are being disced and the air is filled with brown soil particles all the way up the valley. I worry but had a wonderful night in nature last night at Beale, at the base of the Sierra foothills.
 This was the sunset over the Sutter Buttes down N. Beale Rd. The North Beale gate closes early now and very few planes/jets were in the air so it was lovely camping last night with peace activist friends at the gate.
 Folks came from as far as Fresno where they do the Over Bridge Light Brigade. (I hope I have that title right-- it's a project that started during Occupy at the Brooklyn Bridge and is remarkably simple.)
 We demonstrated in the afternoon Monday at the Wheatland gate and my next post will show the demonstration there today but for awhile this morning I was by myself waiting for late comers at the N. Beale Gate watching the light play on the drying grasses across the prairie where coyotes and birds still sing all night long. It was the best night sleep I've had in a month... blessed earth even in all the madness of what humans are doing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Over the Hump

 It was nice to see photos of Gus and Susa with Bob, our land partner, on the camera. As special as their whirlwind visit (from Germany) had been I'd forgotten all about it with the intensity of this last eight days.
 Michael has finally left the hospital today and I am incredibly relieved. All there is left to do is heal and then do six more rounds of chemotherapy. The photo above and below show a church you could see from his window... a church with a labyrinth that I was able to walk to help my stress during the tedious and sometimes uncomfortable hospital stay. We were really lucky to have such a beautiful view. Today as he was getting his discharge instructions I was watching a red tail hawk circling above Sutter's Fort across the street. We are both greatly relieved to be home no matter how lucky we were to have so many advantages.
 He is looking thinner and paler but feeling pretty well. After a rest he went off to an acupuncture appointment-- getting all that sluggish pain medication, residual stress, healing energy all moving in the right direction.
And I just wanted to Thank Darien one more time for hosting me during my city week. She's busy with full time work, peace and union activism, so I put in a small summer garden in her front yard--which is why she is in classic "Vanna" pose in this photo.
Many, many people are very dear to me after all the support we have had through this dangerous but necessary "Sugarbaker" cytoreductive surgery with intraperitoneal heated chemo followed by four days more of continuous intra-peritoneal chemo.  We both sincerely Thank Dr. Graves, Dr. Yang, our nurses in surgery, ICU and the Oncology Unit of Sutter Hospital for what we hope will be many, many years of health.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Drone Protest on Tax Day

 People have been blinded to Federal Spending habits since WWII. The constant increase in military spending is not going to be touched by the small nick caused by Sequestration because it is so bloated from the onset. This sign illustrates that and here's a tax graphic we have used over the years to explain that--
Today I gathered with activists from Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, The Nevada City Peace Center, The Chico Peace and Justice Center, ANSWER Coalition and others, including my dear friend Darien (below) and her friends from Sacramento Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. The protest, like others across America, was to demonstrate against our taxes being taken from human needs for wars and war planning with a special emphasis on the illegal and immoral Drone Strikes Program.

 One of the most striking visuals of this protest was this long panel illustrating fictitious images of children, just being children, with some of the ages and names of those innocents killed by Drones in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The U.S. tries to hide the 176 children/800 innocent civilians killed in countries too politically weak to stop these acts of aggression. As is perfectly obvious, we are not doing anything other than cultivating hatred in these poor countries
 My own small project has been to embroider this quilt square for a civilian man in Pakistan named Munir bin al Haji bin al Assi. Often as I worked on this (I know, it isn't great embroidery,) I thought of him-- did he have a wife and children? was he a kind person? what was his life like and what happened to his family after he was killed by the drone strike? You can't help but wonder what the repercussions were. Veterans for Peace is doing the quilt and I'll send it off soon--it was a good project for contemplation though as I sat by my dear husband (whose birthday just happens to be today) these last six days. My Love goes out to Munir's family. I am very sorry for what our country has done.
p.s. This is what the Killer (Reaper/ Predator) Drones look like except you don't see them before they kill you, your family and your livelihood.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sugarbaker at Sutter Hospital

 Michael and I drove to Sacramento at 3:30 in the morning Wednesday. Because he'd had the laparoscopy the week before we were not as tense as we would have been had this been new terrain. The surgery he had took seven and a half hours and was very extensive--removing organs as well as cancer that the surgeon found throughout the abdomen. After that he returned to the Intensive Care Unit where he had three long days of excellent nursing care, continuous disruptions of monitors and pumps and a few little molehills of problems.
 Yesterday, while Orien was visiting he got moved out to the Oncology unit. Today he had his last intra-abdominal chemotherapy and today his intestines started to work again-- a very big deal as anyone who has had abdominal surgery knows.
Orien treated me to a night at the Marriot-- this is a fuzzy picture but I liked the color and composition of it. My dear daughter is over-whelmed with work but took the time to be with her step-dad in his time of need and to treat me to lovely meals and this luxury...
 I'm not one to ever pass up a rose. The Capitol rose garden is right by where we stayed last night. Otherwise I've been staying at a darling little house owned by my kind friends' Darien and Louis and riding my bike between the hospital and their home-- a comfortable ride that takes me right by Sacramento Natural Foods and through quiet neighborhood streets. I've been pretty much fine when I'm by Michael's side but when I go away from him I start to fret... less so now. He's really turned some invisible corner.
 He's taken all of what appendiceal cancer seems to do (the body doesn't recognize it and it goes all over the place) and what the medical establishment throws at it without a single complaint. With his usual demeanor of calm and presence he's gone forward in each moment fearlessly and without an ounce of drama. We'll be home soon and back into some more chemo and then, HOPEFULLY, on to a healthy life without recurrences.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Request

 Michael's cytoreductive surgery (for abdominal cancer) is on Wednesday. Yesterday we went up to Lassen and skied above the Sulfur Works. The snow was heavy and wet and the wind was cold but we were out there and he was doing what he loves. My Michael from mountains is now organizing things for what comes next.
 So you'd think I'd have it more together but I'm just batting around like I always do. Of course I have a list but I've got no sense that I'm prepared for whatever happens. I think we are both just approaching the day with trepidation and respect but not with the fear of potential death or serious outcomes. Should we? I don't know, but this is more like heightened confusion than moving in wisdom, but at least we are together.
 Love and Beauty. The spring, friends, meaning of the work we are doing, our love of the earth and each other. What else can we do but move forward? We are older and retired and very, very lucky---whatever happens there is a sense of completion and harmony with just this irritating hump to get over...The promise of a hard pull.
If you read this, wherever you are, whoever you are, please send Michael a kind thought on Wednesday. Thank you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pancakes for Peace and early April

A lot of loving volunteer effort, including rabbits, made for delight and full tummies at the 32nd Annual Pancakes for Peace. Luckily it didn't rain at 11am when every small person was out on the Chico Area Recreation District lawn, looking for eggs... This year the emphasis was on organic eggs and less toxic dyes but I don't know if the kids cared. Reports of eggs journeying down Big Chico Creek were not uncommon. At any rate, the tradition continues.
 Once home we have been enveloped in our own world of things to of which was going to Sacramento so Michael could have a laparoscopy to check his innards... to see if they were amenable for a major cancer surgery which is now scheduled for next week.
 Rain and sun have produced bumper crops of weeds but also the earth fortifying ground-covers of vetch, peas, and fava beans. Down the road, at the intersection of Normal and Not So Normal, the wisteria spill over everything.
 And the wild cucumber, fragile and prolific creeps over the swimming hole steps that Michael built. It won't be long til hot weather and an end to those things that are running amok. Everything in its time. I love spring but will be glad when this period has passed.

No FRACKING Chevron!

 Spill records, safety cultures... I am unimpressed Chevron. Occupy Chico did a powerful rush hour "Good Friday" action at one the Chevron stations in town in Solidarity with the Unist'ot'en Clan who are standing up to Chevron and Apache Oil Companies, stopping the Pacific Trail Pipeline across their unceded land in mid British Columbia.
 Many of the people here are incredible activists. We are all concerned about Fracking as perhaps the most dangerous issue facing us internally in the U.S. but also the tar sands oils, like what is proposed for the Keystone XL. So much of the fate of human-kind is now turned inward... war and imperialism for resources have now turned to self destruction by Big Oil and Gas with Canada inextricably linked to our folly.
 If a reader doesn't know much about Fracking I'd suggest that the film Gasland, by Josh Fox, is now free to watch online and there is a shorter film called The Sky is Pink ( which can also demonstrate the risks of this hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.
 Michael was out there taking in some late afternoon rays and some hefty hydro-carbons with us.
 There were over 30 people among us and many more supporters driving by. We were only slightly depleted at 6:30 when we got the "group shot" otherwise we were on all four corners, walking Fracking info cards ("occucards") to the cars/trucks stopped for the lights. It was empowering to be part of global solidarity, with people everywhere standing up against the fossil fuel industries' last attempts to squeeze one more glut of wealth for themselves out of an exhausted planet. Now is the time for Renewable Energy. It can be done and we are moving that precious Agenda forward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Seasonal variability

 We wanted to get away together before the laparoscopy Michael had yesterday. He processed veggie oil and we traveled along the Sacramento and stayed along it the first night before ending up in Mt. Shasta. We had a few days there of rain and didn't do much, just a few hikes and forays into different places but on the night before we had to start for home we camped at Bunny Flats, at just about 7000 ft.
 And finally got some snow. Mt. Shasta had been invisible the whole visit and we bent into the cutting wind and salty snow on our way up to Horse Camp, the Sierra Club hut.
 We were just inside for the time it took to eat our lunch, wrapped together in our space blanket... When we emerged the sun was out, the snow was dripping off the trees, the mountain had emerged looming above us and the temperature had bolted up twenty degrees.
 Even though we had a flat coming home outside Redding and spent that night at a Les Shwab, the adventure was worth it for the fortifying beauty and enjoyable capriciousness of the great Mountain.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

out like a lamb

 The blog has fallen itself behind and I'm just reporting from the space that isn't exactly current to these events. What strikes me about the theme of the lamb is that it is an Easter creature, the symbol of a quieted month and it is prey to just about anything... cute and fragile, precious, under-appreciated, and new.
Tentative. Loveable. Eatable.
So the story begins that I had a streak of boldness to meet some new people and invite them over to the home of people I know pretty well but really not so well that I would usually be so bold. Still, it worked out and was special for me. I met Joni, above left, on Facebook, and she seemed like a kindred spirit. Somehow I invited her, her husband Alan (nurse, writer, also an environmentalist,) to Turkey Tail Farm, home of Susan and Steven Tchudi, amazing retired academics, herb growers, Ecotopia hosts ( Tuesdays 6pm) and Steven edited and did 99% of the work publishing the Veggie Voyagers book in 2010.  The other amazing person involved in the visiting was Dave Garcia, retired from the park service, Sierra Club trip leader and anti-fracking activist without equal.
It was just a wonderful day for me to hang out with these folks and later visit the Garcia home near-by. Spring beauty abounding and surrounding must have made me feel safe...

 Then the other thing to mention for this time while Michael was away along the Eastern Sierras skiing was a memorial for our friend Saria Farr. Sheldon, Orien and I drove up to North San Juan to honor Saria's life with many of her other friends. Saria was an uncompromising hippie who lived out her life in a school bus and was part of a circle of independent and life-loving people who live there in the Sierra, mostly in harmony with the seasons and one another. Below is a snippet of a haunting song her two wonderful daughters, Terry and Barbara Manning sang. None of us is strong enough to live forever even though I can't imagine life without Saria's grin.