Featured Posts

Springing into Spring – No Kidding!

Today at 10:28 UTC (5:28pm CDT), the Spring Equinox will occur.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 17, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers*)

Eelgrass Meadows, the Tidelands’ Global Nursery

 

Eelgrass Meadow along eastern shore of Bellingham Bay

This diary is about the wonders of eelgrass, one of the major components of near shore habitat that nurtures a myriad of sea critters. Additionally it provides many other functions in support of our sea life, our recreation, and it even contributes to reducing the CO2 problems in our oceans and atmosphere. There are other sea grasses and kelps that contribute as well, but I think that eelgrass is a star.

Eelgrass is a common name for a species of seagrasses.  I will focus on the salt water variety of Zostera marina and describe its vital ecological functions, its current status, and efforts to sustain it. This form of eelgrass is the most widely distributed aquatic flowering perennial in the northern hemisphere, growing largely in the cooler waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

World distribution of Zostera marina

I will in part highlight eelgrass in Puget Sound, the southernmost part of the Salish Sea which is the second largest estuary in the US (by volume). However, most of what applies to our local intertidal waters also applies to eelgrass beds and other seagrasses elsewhere in the Salish Sea, along the shores of Oregon and California, the western Atlantic Seaboard and near shore habitats globally.200px-World_map_ocean_genus-Zostera.jpg

This is the first of a two part post. In this first part, I describe the many gifts it gives us. In Part 2, I describe its current status, take a look at its threats and the efforts underway to preserve this valuable resource.

   

World distribution of Zostera marina

It Takes A Village – VNV Tuesday: Patriarchy Dismissed Us 3/7/17

A postcard from about 1910; imagine receiving this in the mail!

I’ve decided to continue the exploration of the unspoken history of our country as seen through political cartoons and messaging. I’m not doing this as an exercise in hopelessness. It’s easy to fall into that trap when seeing so many of the same themes over and over. But along with the recurring issues, I see the battles that have been won, even when the “war” is ongoing. For me, remembering the past gives me courage to fight for our future. I hope it will do the same for our Village.

This week, I wanted to focus on the misogyny in our history, but the topic was so broad, it became unmanageable. Since I have no desire to do a dissertation, I chose the suffrage movement as the exemplar of the patriarchy in our midst. The images today are mostly postcards from the early 1900s, as well as political cartoons.

There is no them, there’s only us – raising money for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS

This diary is about my fundraising effort for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, but if you know me, you know that I usually use music in these diaries, so: there has been a lot of “us” and “them” lately. “We” are good and pure, “they” are awful. This is not true. Neither statement is true. We are here to elect more & better Democrats — because we believe they will do better for our country & our world. We want things to get better — we know things can get better. Please, can we be good to each other? The best thing about the AIDS Ride is that it is a day of the way you wish the world was. People help each other, people cheer each other on, push each other up hills…. It is just beautiful. I want to live in that world.

It Takes A Village – VNV Tuesday: Genocide and Slavery Shaped Us 2/28/17

Moral Map of the U.S. (about 1847) with caption, “It is a dark spot on the face of the nation; such a state of things cannot always exist. – LaFayette

Warning: This post contains offensive, racist images. They are hard to see. They are included not to perpetuate racism, but to challenge the privilege which allows us to ignore our own history.

This post is the result of two intersecting lines of thought. First was the accidental discovery of the political cartoons of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) last week, which illustrated that everything old is new again. The second is a line of thought that has been percolating since Election Night. If one ascribes to the belief that our country was built on the evil foundations of genocide and slavery (as I do), should the post-Obama whitelash surprise us? And if it does, what does that say about our knowledge of our own past? Most importantly, what will we do for our future?

It Takes A Village – VNV Tuesday: We Will Not Be Erased 2/14/17

Contemplating the headlines at the Newseum (32451207185)

I had originally intended to recount my experiences at the Michigan Democratic state convention in this post; an experience that was personally negative, even while positive overall for the future of the party in the state. However, now that I’ve had time to process the whole experience (with the help of Villagers here and on Twitter), my viewpoint has changed. Because I promised though, I will include an overview of the events that impacted my experience.

Ten Years Ago: Barack Obama – “I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America.”

On February 10, 2007, United States Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) announced his candidacy for president of the United States. On a cold day in Springfield IL, near the statehouse that he and Abraham Lincoln both served in, he addressed the gathered crowd.

Barack Obama:

This campaign can’t only be about me. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push us forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

By ourselves, this change will not happen. Divided, we are bound to fail. […]

I’m in this race [not] just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform a nation.

I want to win that next battle – for justice and opportunity.

I want to win that next battle – for better schools, and better jobs, and health care for all.

I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America.

Transcript below.

Spring is in the air!

At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.

Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls start breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring, the owls are already beginning their nesting year.

(Don’t forget to hover* …)

Final Weekly Address of President Obama – The Honor of Serving You as President

This will the final Weekly Address of President Barack Obama’s Administration. Thank you, President Obama.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

This week, President Obama delivered his final weekly address thanking the American people for making him a better President and a better man. Over the past eight years, we have seen the goodness, resilience, and hope of the American people. We’ve seen what’s possible when we come together in the hard, but vital work of self-government – but we can’t take our democracy for granted. Our success as a Nation depends on our participation. It’s up to all of us to be guardians of our democracy, and to embrace the task of continually trying to improve our Nation. Despite our differences, we all share the same title: Citizen. And that is why President Obama looks forward to working by your side, as a citizen, for all of his remaining days.