The Nature Police

butterflies

Normally, Sky & I and our families spend much of our time outdoors biking, snowboarding, hiking, and swimming. It is mandatory in LT.  You get tickets from the Nature Police if you don’t and then you have to do community service, i.e, picking up garbage by the Truckee River.

I am drawn to the French, French lifestyle, and language (inspired by Leon, Parisian Grandfather) but also to be outside as often as possible in glorious nature.  Having spent a lot of my free time outdoors fortunately I have had astounding encounters with many creatures.   If you are quiet enough, lucky enough, and spend enough time, you see things in the fields, forests, and by the waters of wherever you are.   I have seen:

A half dozen baby red foxes rolling around & nipping each other on a hillside field in the Cascade range of Oregon – the mother ran behind me, jumped high over the grasses, & yipped to distract me and try to have me pursue her & leave her pups alone

Thousands of monarch butterflies covering the surfaces of every available plant, bush, tree & limb by the cliffs of the the Pacific in Santa Barbara, California.

A white ermine slinking over the rocks of a fast running, half frozen creek in the northernmost part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A gigantic black bear by my yard & back door in Port Hardy, Vancouver Island – before I looked more closely I flashed that my neighbors purchased a black pony for their kids

Two moaning, huffing cougars stalking my boyfriend & me on a ridge above us on a remote country road by the Snake River in Idaho as we hiked at midnight to beat the heat

Dozens of wild parakeets chirping & fussing in the leaves of huge mahogany trees of the mountainous tropical rain forests of the Lacandon jungle in Chiapas, southern Mexico

A very large sleek & dark chocolate colored sea otter rolling and playing alone in the early morning on the beach of the dog park in downtown Vancouver, BC

An osprey plunging into the golden Rogue River in Oregon then muscularly beating its wings against the waters to rise with a huge spotted trout, to fly off into the trees…&

Three leggy grey wolves ambling down a isolated forest road near Prince George, BC…

Actually, I didn’t see the three wolves, a Cree Indian friend of mine did but I appropriated his memory.  It happens. Wish I had seen that.    

wolf

Categories: Animal habitat, Climate change, Environment, Green living.

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I became what I tended to want to become

Giclee print of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox pup

Giclee print of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox pup

I became what I tended to want to become while I recovered from a serious back injury, I wasn’t able to do what I usually do. Instead, I became what I tended to want to become:- I became a Science Nerd. I read about topics related to mammals, fish, insects, reptiles, and birds. Speciation, adaptive radiation, size change.. I think it all started with Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic novel The Signature of All Things, but I can’t be sure because I’ve read so many more books since then.

“There is a Dutch word, uitwaaien, “to walk against the wind for pleasure.”  Elizabeth Gilbert – The Signature of All Things

I can sense that you are thinking to yourself “that sounds too depressing – we all know what is happening right now” regarding the environment. Yes and no: we do know of the endangering perils for the earth’s creatures and lots and lots of us are trying to make change. Change that protects species, habitat, slows down climate change, and reduces or stops pesticide use. As some smart person said in the 70’s or sometime “Fix the problem, not the blame”.

As an artist and designer I am interested in sharing my sense of appreciation and love for wild things. I do this with and for Soleil, Sky’s daughter and my granddaughter, who is 7. While more or less immobilized, first I painted an albatross chick for her room.  Soleil and I liked the painting so much that next I painted one of the elusive and endangered Sierra Nevada Red Fox pups. Then a California Spotted Owl chick, and on and on. I read about the creatures, fall in love with them, worry about them, and spend much time staring at photos of them in the studio while I paint their portraits. Very very satisfying work.

So, here is our new line of nursery and kids’ rooms art of endangered species babies. Original pastel paintings of sweet baby albatross and fox and and and and owls and bees and turtles (they can be sweet too) for your little ones’ rooms.

Giclee print of a Pacific Harbor Seal pup

Giclee print of a Pacific Harbor Seal pup

 

Categories: Artisan works, Climate change, Design, Eco-nursery, Environment, Green living, Green nursery, Inspirations.

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Confessions of a Science Nerd

albatross-chick-ocean-mysteries

Since I badly hurt my back in July 2015, the number of hours I have spent looking at Paris apartments on Airbnb and other such sites equals obtaining a degree in the new field of Vacation Apartment Rental Theory. I couldn’t sew (or sit up) and oddly was drawn into a new love, in addition to all things French – environmental biology. The stories of ancient tiny elephants the size of pigs that inhabited the Channel Islands off Southern California and SWAM there from the mainland took the edge off during the back recuperation. As did other such stories, like the evolution of the rare and insanely beautiful Madagascar island lemurs.  (Thanks David Quamman, author of The Song of the Dodo)

I’ve lost you, yes??  I do not wish upon you a back injury to help you to understand how bizarre true facts about the evolutionary development of animals created for me a will to overcome the adversity of an uncertain future for my health.  

A few months before the back problem Sky and Soleil, Sky’s 7 year old daughter and my granddaughter, went to a film in Truckee about plastic in the oceans http://plasticparadisemovie.com/.

Plastic Paradise film

We learned how the goofy looking, very large chicks of the Albatross were unable to grow to adulthood because their mothers fed them plastic.  It washes up on the beaches of the island nesting sites in the middle of the Pacific because of the current.  Afterward, Soleil and I drew many pictures of Albatross chicks  – we named them, made up stories about them, and talked about how to save them.  Then I painted a “portrait” of one for Soleil and made a giclée  print for an artist friend in Canada.

The back problem happened.  Everything stopped.  And I started reading about how unique every animal is.  All animals are a miracle of biology, chance, place, conditions, and proximity to humans. Especially the latter.  

So now you know – we have baby endangered species animal paintings for the nursery or kid’s room on the Mimi & Sky website.  And when a print is sold on our website a portion of each sale goes to Oceana and Protect Our Winters.  I hope that you like them.        albatrossyellomatframed-1  

Categories: Climate change, Inspirations.

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Aloha–Part Deux (2)

 

Sky, Soleil who is 6, and I just got back from the North Shore of Hawaii for our annual vacay.   Here is a crazy, great Mai Tai for you from the Koloa Rum company on Kauai.  Let us celebrate all good things Hawaiian here: ocean, Hawaiians, sky, tropical forests & plants, and Mai Tai’s.

maitaiphotoIf you read our last post, which was a long long time ago, you might remember how we learned that the word Aloha means caring and kindness.  It means grace, as in always giving to others light and love.

On this trip, we had many many experiences of Aloha.  For example, someone built a kids’ swing on the flowery tropical bike path that runs along the North Shore for many miles, often right next to the ocean.  Northshore15d

Families go through lots of positive & challenging experiences all the time.   The Aloha spirit was just what our family needed & Hawaii gives with a generous hand to help families to come together, play hard, laugh, reconnect, at times to heal & always to see with fresh eyes that which is most important.  Northshore15cedit

Teaching children about the joys of being in nature.  That is Hawaii, depending on where you stay.  Put down the device, turn off the video, get out of the house & go feel the Aloha energy of peace & freedom & joy in nature.   Soleil was watching her mom Sky surf off the point at Turtle Bay after she had been swimming in the ocean.  Northshore15b

We were supposed to leave on a Thursday but Lindsey, who owns the apartment that we rent off Rocky Point, told us  about a fundraiser to help support the family of a 38 year old elementary school teacher who died suddenly.  Three local favorite musicians & a number of caterers & artisans volunteered their unique gifts.  One such volunteer was Jack Johnson.  We changed our plane tickets.  Music, laughter, tears, giving, dancing, food, love and a celebration of this sweet & lively woman’s life made this such a special event – and memory.  The essence of Aloha.  Her work & the community’s response to her passing.   Northshore15e

Thank you for joining us here on a thoughtful revisiting of our visit to what we feel like is our second home.   Hawaiians have been blessed with a paradise of nature’s most exquisite gifts.  Thank you or Mahalo, to Hawaii.  And Aloha to you.

Categories: Green living.

Aloha Tahoe, Part I

 

Sky, five year old Soleil, and I went to the North Shore of Hawaii in May for a vaca.  Sky is a surfer and had spent many months there in the past.  She’s  told me that we needed to go there and we finally did.  Good call, Sky!  We rented a small & comfy apartment through VRBO that was almost on the beach.  Totally recommend this lovely apartment.  The visuals by it are astoundingly beautiful & heavenly to behold.   And to smell (flowers literally everywhere) and to listen to (ocean).  Obviously, you might say.  But until you are there in the countryside and feeling that NS feeling, you kind of can’t imagine the energy of the place.  People are in board shorts, t-shirts, bikinis, on no speed fat tire bikes with surf boards, totally laid back and seeming very, for lack of a better word, grounded.  There is a bike or walking path in a lush long garden that envelopes it & goes for miles by the ocean.  People on the path ride their fat tire no speed cruisers, steering with one hand and holding their board with the other.  Next time we will rent bikes.

Photo May 15, 5 43 49 PM

I have to tell you as well that there is the Hawaiian rum – a fantastic discovery of mine from the grocery store, Foodland.   Kohoa Rum, especially the Coconut one  is…there are no words for it.   Just try it sometime and you will be happy like I was.  Sweet but not too, with a coco-nutty essence – puts a smile inside your mind.

It is slower and quieter and sweet on the North Shore.   It is “aloha”.  The Aloha Spirit webpage defines the word as “”the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).”

Here is what aloha means: you find a tree swing used by some local kids you never met before, pretty soon they boost you up – a stranger – and you take off into the sky – over the ocean.  They laugh and yell with you & than take a turn, too.

Photo-May-11-9-30-08-AM-1.jpg

You meet another local kid while your Mom is surfing .  You & she climb a tree to watch your Mom and her sister surf the break at Turtle Bay.  You see her the next four nights when your Mom surfs & you play & hug each other & beg the bartender (it is at the Turtle Bay Resort ) for maraschino cherries, which he gives to you.  You take them up in the tree & watch Mom & Sis surf.

Photo May 15, 9 48 33 PM (1)

This is Aloha.  Open, happy, friendly, present, celebrating nature.  It feels like that in Truckee/ Tahoe.   We have our own Aloha Spirit here which is why Lake Tahoe is so popular, like the North Shore of Oahu and why those of us who live here are very very lucky.

Squaw2

Categories: Environment, Green living, Inspirations.

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