Archive | August 2012

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

by Cheryl Strayed(Goodreads Author)


Cindy Knoke‘s review

Aug 11, 12  · It is noteable that this author chose the name “Strayed” for herself, because stray she certainly does in her life choices, emotions, and finally solo on to the Pacific Coast Trail to hike it, by herself.
Initially the book annoyed me and I even decided to stop reading it. Did I really want to read another memoir about a sex addicted, heroin injected, husband dumping, mother obsessed woman, who made up her name and maybe her memoir?
Well, yes.
It was her decision to deal with these, uh, problems, by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that hooked me. It was a novel approach to some seriously common problems.
Plus she really doesn’t try to make herself look good in this book at all. She is unfailingly honest, even about the really embarrassing stuff, like how woefully unprepared she was to hike the trail and how many really dumb mistakes she made while doing it.
So this book, like this author grows on you, and once she is on the trail, boy are you rooting for her!
It was a subtle change for me, from not liking her much at first, to genuine admiration that slowly builds. All the while though she stays humble, pointing out to you how imperfect she really is.
Good for you Cheryl. You did it. You strayed back on course with your hike, this book, and your life.

South America, Patagonia and Antarctica~


This was our most epic trip, so we did it twice, in 2008 and 2013! The Antarctica component was nothing short of surreal. A trip to Antarctica begins by departing Ushuaia Argentina by ship and crossing the infamous Drake Passage. Wandering and Giant Albatross began following our wake as soon as we entered the passage and wildlife is viewed up close and personal 24/7 in Antarctica. Upon entering the passage, skuas landed on the ship and stayed for days. Minke Whales, orcas, grey whales, leopard seals, crab eater seals and penguins were not only seen every day, but the deeper one gets into Antarctica, the more curious and fearless they are. Whales were continuously spy hopping alongside the ship watching us with their huge eyes, curious and very unafraid.

Growlers and icebergs, and stupendous tabular bergs (some as big as Rhode Island) became our constant companions for the next eight days as we explored the peninsula. It was very cold, but clear, unbelievably pristine, with fantastic visibility. 16 hour days were the norm in Antarctica with brief breaks taken to eat, use the bathroom and sleep, all of which were done grudgingly. In 2008 we learned that just over 100,000 people had visited Antarctica making it the most pristine, untouched place anyone will ever see on the surface of the planet. Huge fields of snow and ice that have never been marred by human contact are everywhere. It is ethereal and otherworldly. We also had an ice pilot who navigated us through the bergs and growlers, and lectured us on how he achieved this amazingly difficult feat. Everyday we watched his eerie skill with wonder.

A biologist who was a penguin expert gave fascinating spontaneous lectures about the wildlife as it appeared.

We saw penguins by the 100’s of thousands.
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In Antarctica we visited the volcanic and warm Elephant Island. We saw Shackleton’s winter shelter and navigated the treacherous Lemaire Channel clogged with shifting ice and fierce winds. We visited the often-impassable Paradise Bay in the sunshine and explored countless bays and channels. We visited a scientific station and had the scientists attempt and succeed a very risky boarding operation by zodiac in high winds and rough seas. We wittnessed leopard seals hunt penguins causing them to leap out of the ocean like burnt toast from a toaster. They usually were toast too, once the leopard seals had them in their sights. When they caught the penguins, the leopards would shake them like rag dolls, effectively skinning them before swallowing them whole.

We skirted a Japanese whaler in close proximity for several days that was hunting Minke whales which was quite dismaying, especially since the animals were so curious and had little fear of humans.

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Our luck held out for the entire Antarctica experience as we had spectacular weather the entire time. The Drake Passage is the roughest ocean passage in the world and can be terrifying to cross. Rarely, it is calm as glass. When it is calm it is called the Drake Lake, and this is how both passages were for us.

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Leaving Drake on the return trip, we entered the spectacular, glaciated, Beagle channel, teeming with wildlife.

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We got off the ship and spent time in gorgeous Ushuaia on the Beagle Channel,

ethereal El Calafate,
and wonderful South American cities like Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
We closed our trips with four nights at the spectacular Iguazu Falls.
We understand that increasing tourist restrictions are being implemented in Antarctica. So, if you want to go, don’t tarry too long, you will be so glad to have this seen this incredible, unspoiled part of our planet, before it is ever altered by global warming.





he wasn’t meant

to be a lawyer

sitting on my shoulder


up there

in heaven or hell

watching me disappoint

and you too


don’t forget

all of us




he was nice to dogs

and neighbors

he was from chicago

he struggled

with anxiety

maybe that

was the reason



the case

was his idea

not mine

i couldn’t



he said it was

my only option

so i did



and then

he seemed

to balk

he said

he was uneasy

had never done


quite this before



i tried to help


let’s proceed


on the merits

like you would





that didn’t work

the case

wasn’t the problem

the lawyer was



the case now won

the lawyer lost

would that one could

call him up

and ask


or say

please don’t



was it because

he was a good person

nice to dogs


or from chicago

a cold city

so i hear



was he burned



to turn on himself

this way



we all are

you know

in some ways

someone said

kill all the lawyers

but maybe he

was wrong



we don’t have to

if they do it themselves

in the process of billing

they can’t cash

the checks


after all



what do the dead

think of us

do you wonder

i think

they do




why did he not

self correct

reverse this course

of selfish action

find a way

another way



what do i know


with a dead lawyer

bothering my shoulder

except that he

deserved better




the case

he was right

about that

after all

Central America

We have traveled extensively throughout Central America and have visited Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. We love Central America, the slow pace of life, the warmth of the people, and the lush natural beauty that is everywhere.

We have zipped on a zip line through the tropical jungles in Costa Rica. We went by dug out canoe to visit an isolated and unspoiled Embera Indian village in Panama. We dove among ship wrecks in Belize, swam in the beautiful beaches in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, and spent several days exploring the stunning town of Antigua in Guatemala.

Here are some photos of beautiful Central America:

Antigua Guatemala

Panama City



Charges River Panama

Bridges of The Americas

San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua

Roatan Hondurus
images (4)

El Salvador

Intertidal Zone

DSC04785 (1)


if you

keep your eyes


and are

very lucky

you find

an avenue

of escape

from mistakes

in the past

an intertidal zone

of opportunity

for second stage

second hand

second chance



to rewrite

your future

sometimes though

this makes


unhappy bystanders

unable to escape

tainted pasts

or correct


in the future


in sorry sameness


if you

keep your eyes


and are

very lucky

you may find it too

and if you are

really lucky

you might even



deserve it

New York

in new york

people live vertically

but walk horizontally

there are so many of them

colliding there

that there is anonymity

in numbers

as you walk through the crowds on the street

you hear

“is it normal to have such a screwed up mother?”

“my psychiatrist says I need different medication”

“i am SO angry about it”

“i am really pissed off”

“my diagnosis is ptsd…..”

“if i can bring my counts under 40, my hiv will controllable for life”

in new york

since you know so many people are listening

who you will never meet

you don’t really care

you can say loudly

on the street

what other people whisper

in private

in a corner

that is not in new york