Happy Valentines, Mama & Papa

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I  am writing today about my father-in-law, Efigenio Raul Mustelier, who died on February 14. I want to acknowledge his life and honor him. Writing about him and his life is perhaps the best way I know now to recognize his humanity, and provide him witness.  Sadly, in writing about his life, I realized there was so much about him I didn’t know. Papa was more than the facts of his life, as we all are, but part of respect is getting the facts right when we can. I asked David, my husband and his son, a lot of questions; there were a few he was not able to answer, or least couldn’t be sure.

Efigenio (pronounced ‘Eh-fee-heh-neo’ and more commonly called “Efi”) was born in 1922 near Manzanillo, Cuba on December 11, 1922. His parents, Miguel and Clara Mustelier, had 8 children (and a 9th, the eldest, a half-sister); Efi was the youngest boy, and elder to one sister. Miguel was a landholder, and involved in agricultural endeavors – sugar and cattle – and was reputed to be a tough father. The family worked hard but was economically comfortable.

From a young age, Efi dreamed of going to college and becoming a doctor. He met the love of his life, Angela Dionysia Ferrandiz (known as Gela, pronounced Heh-lah), a first-generation Spanish-Cuban woman, in Manzanillo the year before he left for college and medical school. Most of the 10-year relationship leading to their marriage was long distance. Efi attended medical school in Havana and in 1950 went to New Jersey for his internship, followed by Chicago for his residency in obstetrics and gynecology.

In 1952, his brother-in-law Manuel (Manolo) Remon Sr., came to visit Efi in Chicago where Efi gave Manolo his power of attorney. Manolo returned to Havana where in the office of an attorney, he completed Gela’s marriage to Efi by proxy. She left that same day to fly to New York. Efi took the train from Chicago and they stayed at the Hotel Pennsylvania across the street from the “Penn Central” train station. The picture above is of the two of them on their first night as newlyweds, celebrating with friends and family in Brooklyn.

Efi and Gela returned to Chicago by train.  Around this time, Efi was drafted into the US Army due to the Korean War (he was a Cuban citizen but also a US Resident).  Ten months later, their first son Raul was born in Chicago. Efi loved the United States and was very proud of being in the US Army, and made it his career. Their family grew as they moved from station to station during his 24 year career, and Efi and Gela evolved into Mama and Papa, which is what I knew them as, and what many people called them.

Papa’s first assignment was in Munich, Germany, where Miriam was born. They went next to Camp Leroy Johnson in New Orleans, where both David and then, two-and-a-half years later, Roy was born.  Their first tour – there would be three – at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the headquarters for the Army Medical Service Corps, came next. They spent time at Fort Irwin (near Death Valley) before going back to Germany (Darmstadt) this time. Then came Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, followed by the second tour in San Antonio. The San Antonio tour included a year in Vietnam, obviously without family, where Papa along with his duties as a hospital commander, became popular for delivering babies for some wives of high ranking South Vietnamese army officers. Fitzsimmons Army Medical Hospital in Aurora, Colorado came next, followed by Fort Ord in Monterey, California (where Roy would meet his future wife Kristen Swanson many years later). The family then returned to San Antonio, where Papa completed his final tour with the Army and retired.

Mama and Papa, growing older, moved from San Antonio to Austin to be closer to Miriam (the “boys” were scattered: Raul lived in Seattle, David lived in San Francisco, and Roy in DC). They built an in-law extension on the house so Miriam could live there and help them.

Papa loved food and wine. One of David’s most formative memories is of his father taking over the kitchen on Sundays to prepare a large family meal. All of the Musteliers have an extraordinary appreciation for flavors, and fresh ingredients, and well prepared foods; they are amazing and creative cooks, and most of them also love wine.

I first met Mama & Papa in Tuscany, Italy in 2003. I had just become engaged to David, and so was included in the family trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. In fact, I met the whole family for the first time when David and I walked into the living room of the large refurbished farmhouse we rented. From there, the whole group took day trips to surrounding towns, and enjoyed meals outside under the trellises. We ate and drank wine, and lined the empty bottles against the terrace wall, honoring them as “soldati caduti” (fallen soldiers). Mama and Papa were welcoming and lovely to me in my first entree to the Mustelier family, perhaps in spite of being occasionally overwhelmed by the enthusiams of their adult children and their spouses.

Papa was garrulous and outgoing, and loved to tell his stories. In his later years, he charmed the Costco food sample purveyors, and chatted up anyone within earshot on his outings to the grocery store. Not surprisingly, for being a Cuban of his generation and a Colonel in the Army, Papa could be tough on his kids, especially as they came into their own adulthood and engaged their fierce intelligence. All said, Papa was extremely sentimental: he loved his family, and was very proud of his children.

Mama died in 2011, and Papa missed her terribly these last 6 years. They had been married just short of 59 years.

Papa had just turned 94 when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2016, but he was otherwise extremely healthy and hale. He was expected to recover from the surgery to remove the tumor, but his digestive system never really worked again. A friend of mine said at the time: “Efi is full of surprises, and he has surprised people most of his life.” Still, after some time in the ICU and on a ventilator, and a week of trying to recover from both, Papa died on February 14.

Our thought was that Mama had come to get Papa to celebrate their love on Valentine’s Day. We think their eldest son, Raul, who died in 2008, made the reservations and ordered the wine.

David and I will leave God’s Pocket next Tuesday for a few days to join his siblings, extended family and friends for Papa’s funeral. He will be buried on March 2, with full military honors, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

Love,
Susan

Get regular updates via email from DancingOnTheWayHome by clicking the “follow” button (on your tablet or pc screen – the mobile screens somehow don’t show it!). And thanks so much for reading!

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Greatness Big and Small

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Since stepping away from my career as an executive in January, I’ve sought space and quiet to listen for insight about what might be next for me. I know that slowing down, nurturing my creativity and focusing on building habits of self-care are essential to that process. I have listened to my brain and mind for most of my life, and they have served me well. This gap year was intended to develop a more heart-centered approach to my life and work.

Round about August I got a little panicky about the future. I had been exploring the idea of enrolling in a life coach training program, and was as excited about the journey of discovery I’d be on as I was the picture of myself at the helm of a coaching business. Coaching has always been an interest, and I currently work with a few people. But suddenly I felt urgency about deciding on the training, and figuring out what was next. Part of the pressure was the deadline for the upcoming training session, but I knew that a fair amount of the urgency came from an untended well of questions about identity and purpose.

The idea of setting myself on a path to be a life coach – something I feel naturally and experientially inclined toward – answered so many of those questions. But the urgency was self-inflicted, a response to the discomfort of the untethered, highly disrupted, and confusing sort of year it has been. I realized (doh!) that the training and a coaching and consulting business would still be there for me if I decided I wanted it after listening to my heart rather than my brain (and the many shoulds that live there!).

I learned a valuable insight several years ago from a woman I took an art class with. We chatted one evening about navigating one’s path in the world, and she said the man who was coaching her told her to “listen to your inner voice” for guidance. She told him that she had many voices in her head, and asked how she would know which one to listen to… “That’s easy,” he replied, “listen to the one that’s kind. The voice that is kind and gentle is your true inner voice.” The loud, stringent voices are hard to ignore, and while even the harshest internal critic is trying to keep me safe, the methods are outdated and not useful to me anymore. I have to get very quiet to hear the kind voice, the one that knows my wants and needs better than I (consciously) do.

In all this sorting through “what to do next,” I have toggled back and forth between thoughts of doing great things in a small way – like working with individuals or consulting with small businesses or non-profits – or doing great things in a big way, like joining an organization with audacious goals and the potential to change the world, or at least a corner of it. The constant is my aspiration to do great things, which I define as making a difference, having integrity and high standards for myself and others. I want to continue to make a difference in the world, and I know that I can do so any number of ways.  My assumption has been that I while I’d be willing to work with large organizations, I wasn’t inclined to do so from inside the organization but rather as a consultant.

So I found myself surprised by my enthusiasm late last week when a friend forwarded a job description for a big job at an organization with audacious goals. Not at all the picture I had when I left my career in January, but one so aligned with my values, my experience and my aspirations, I am compelled. And watching my thoughts and feelings scramble about as I contemplated the role and putting my name in for consideration was an instructive adventure in itself.

I was drawn to the role, obviously, and recognized the “juice” of ambition the job description sparked in me. I realized that this would be an “all in” role, and likely wouldn’t allow me a flexible or reduced schedule, but that would be offset by the learning, the adventure, and the amazing potential of the role. I also entertained a litany of “not good enough” thoughts so common among us. I realized I wasn’t afraid of rejection per se — I have been seasoned by a career with many rejections, or as I have come to think of them, re-directions to something better. My core fear was being mocked for thinking I could compete, for having the hubris to raise to my hand.

But raise my hand I will. I’ll forward my interest and resume by tomorrow, and see what happens. If offered a chance to meet, I will be enthusiastic about the ways I can lead and contribute to the organization. I’ll be prepared to adjust to a future I hadn’t envisioned but would be excited about. If not, I have learned still more about myself: what calls to me, the ways I want to contribute to the world, and the many ways, big and small, I can be and do great things.

Under Observation

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We arrived on Sunday at God’s Pocket for our week of scuba diving. After a glorious week of sun and fishing at the Cluxewe near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island North, we arrived to learn of a very low water supply on the island.  Surrounded by water and not a drop to drink! The universe has since provided: it has rained every day this week, sometimes torrentially.

The diving goes on in all weather, gale force winds or 3 meter seas excepted. I chose not to dive this week, but planned to go out on most of the trips.  Humpback whales have been common sightings, and I yearned to see more otter, seals, and especially, wolves, all possible from the boat.

On Monday, as the divers suited up on the deck, I felt myself tense in empathy: diving is an equipment intensive sport, and diving in cold water require layers of clothing – thick neoprene wetsuit or, more likely up here, sealed canvas or crushed neoprene dry suit with fleece body suit underneath – which is then layered with a hood, buoyancy vest, mask, etc. Getting ready to “get wet” can take up to 15 minutes, and by the time one is ready, the boat may not be. It gets hot and claustrophobic waiting for the signal to jump in the water. And then I relaxed with the realization of how relieved I was not to be on deck, suiting up.

I am an observer this week, not least in the context of diving, and I’ve mostly been fine with that.

David surfaced on the first dive of the week, the check-out dive, with air leaks in his buoyancy vest. Then his computer malfunctioned too. In assessing potential solutions for his diving, we both realized that he could use my vest and my computer. The universe provided: we had one vest and one computer between the two of us, only a good scenario if one of us wasn’t diving.

I have come to God’s Pocket for scuba diving six times over the last 12 years, and I remember the experience of many of the dive sites in this unique environment. As the divers surfaced, I could again empathize, this time with their descriptions of their experiences, their joy in an interesting, good dive. I have had brief moments of envy, of wishing I had chosen to dive this week, remembering the fun of being under the surface, reveling in the remarkable experience of breathing underwater.

This week has also been more people intensive: our charter consists of 12 vacationing people, many of them with large personalities.  The owners and crew add five people, so meals are talkative and loud, and the clubhouse is frequently full of people chatting, trying to be heard over each other. I have enjoyed skimming the surface of these gatherings, and escaping to the quiet of my room with a book.

My yearning for peace and quiet, so strong that I wrote about this vacation as a “misery” a month or so ago, is still palpable. I so want to be home, with the cats, not worrying about restoration and workers and dust, returning to a bit of routine, exercising with my bootcamp peeps, eating clean and eschewing the daily cocktails and wine, and, well, just being home. I have enjoyed our two weeks in British Columbia, but also know this week, with all these people in close quarters, has again pushed against my introversion and need for quiet and calm.

Today is the first of September, not technically fall, but still the path to shorter and colder days is well established as the rain on the roof now affirms.  My gap year is nearly three-quarters done… mostly not at all what I planned, and certainly not what I had envisioned. Still, I have an abundance of observations and insights to guide me and to inform these next four months.

Love,
Susan

I usually post about once a week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, but sometimes later…  Get regular updates via email from DancingOnTheWayHome by clicking the “follow” button (on your tablet or pc screen – the mobile screens somehow don’t show it!). And thanks for reading!

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Here and Now

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It’s hard for me to believe that my most recent post was on July 30th. I’d decided, when I started to blog, that I’d be intentional about it, keep a schedule and inform you of my plans if my schedule were to change. Somehow, it has been nearly a month since I’ve posted, and all without a word of explanation. Intention can slip away from action while still being held in the heart.

That’s because the explanations, like so many things in life, are only clear in retrospect. At the time, and over the time since, well, I have experienced a fair amount of overwhelm: getting back to San Francisco after a five weeks in Canada and trying to get organized and regulated; work on the condo ongoing (the famous “impressive hole” in our slab was only filled with fresh concrete the Friday before we returned!) including the installation of new wood flooring and then painting, and a bath cabinet and plumbing that didn’t work as expected after (say it with me now) MORE THAN SIX MONTHS OF WORK AND DELAYS; and house guests and a sick pet and getting ready to leave town again…

I was grappling with a sense of overwhelm when I last posted, and it only intensified in the weeks following.  Now, however, I’m now on Vancouver Island North, with my spouse and our good friend Richard. In my last post, I described vacation as one of my “other miseries” and yet I am reminded, again, that the worst vacation is better than almost anything else.  And this has been a wonderful vacation so far.

The weather has been spectacular. This part of the world is known for rain – we have been here when it rained every day for a week — and we have been lucky to have clear skies and calm seas. We’ve had great fly fishing for ‘pink’ salmon at the Keogh River, had a few somewhat close calls with bears there just to spice things up a bit, and been smoking the fruits of our labor most of the week. (The picture above is of me and my first salmon, a respectable but not overly large fish. I caught three that day – the limit is four – and the last was the largest.)

I took my standup paddleboard out on the very calm waves on Tuesday for the first time, which was both easy and exhilarating. We’ve also had time to hike and hunt for mushrooms.  Yesterday we found a cache of hedgehog mushrooms, garnish for our grilled chicken dinner, just off the trail to a beach where we found bear prints, those of a mother and cub, in the sand. I am in awe of the bounty and beauty of this place, tripping from one find to another delight. In all of this, there has been peace and ease.

Being away from home, in spite of my resistance to packing up and leaving, has been restorative. We are in comfortable cabins here, right at the beach and surrounded by trees and eagles and ocean waves. I have wanted to find an eagle feather for several years now, and in the last few days have found more than a dozen. Our friend Richard says: “Now they are winking at you where ever you go!”

My main challenge has been to let go of doing, and allow myself to do nothing, or something, as the moment calls. I think of it as being here and now. I’ve had good sleep (and yet still want more!), good exercise and fresh air, and a fair amount of just sitting and listening to the waves. Something about vacation makes it “okay” to do little, or to follow whim; I’d like to be in this place of just being more readily and without the ‘cover’ of vacation. Wherever I am, I want to be here and now.

We pack out of the Cluxewe Resort on Sunday morning, and meet the Hurst Isle in Port Hardy on Sunday afternoon for our trip to God’s Pocket. While others scuba dive this coming week, I will have more time to practice laying low, following my mood and wants, enjoying the beauty of British Columbia. It is my intention to post next Wednesday, and to reflect on what my ‘here and now’ is then.

Love,
Susan

I usually post about once a week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, but sometimes, like today, on Fridays… I’m coming off a month of quiet and hope to post regularly again. Get regular updates via email from DancingOnTheWayHome by clicking the “follow” button (on your tablet or pc screen – the mobile screens somehow don’t show it!). And thanks for reading!

Follow me on Instagram (dancingonthewayhome), where I post whatever catches my eye. Leave a comment or send me an email at DancingOnTheWayHome AT gmail dot com; I’d love to hear from you.

Violence, Paralysis, and Hope

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It has been two weeks since I last posted, and I have struggled to identify what to write. My guiding principle is always to write what is on my mind, that way I can always be authentic and try to find a way to put words to even my most confusing times.  Here is what has been on my mind, and what I have wanted to write about… but haven’t.

July 5 – the killing by police of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Louisiana
July 7 – the killing by police of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota
July 7 – the killing of policemen Lorne Aherns, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa by a sniper in Dallas, Texas
July 13 – the sight of a pod of 10 orca swimming north through Christie Pass, in front of God’s Pocket, completing sightings of the “big seven” over the month (bald eagle, humpback whale, otter, seal, sea lion, wolf and orca). Later that morning, on our way to check the crab pots, we saw a gray whale swim right near our skiff, passing with a different pace and breath than humpbacks do
July 14 – leaving God’s Pocket after a month for our return to the US, and a few days with our friend Elizabeth in West Seattle
July 14 – the killing of 84 people in Nice, France on Bastille Day by a terrorist in a truck  July 15 – news that the 30 inch hole in the concrete slab in our condo had finally been filled with fresh concrete, after 3 ¼ months
July 17 – the long drive from Seattle to San Francisco: we made it in 12 hours 59 minutes  July 18 – the ambush of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, resulting in three dead: Montrell Jackman, Matthew Gerald, Brad Garafola
July 18-21 – the Republican National Convention, and Trump’s official nomination for the presidency
July 18-22 – the chaos of getting home, our condo still a construction zone, and the intensity of city life on the senses after the quiet and peace of God’s Pocket
July 20 – inconclusive blood test results for our cat Lucy who has lost yet another 1.5 lbs since May, and is down to 7.2 lbs. We had hoped for hyperthyroidism, since there’s treatment for that
July 21 – Lucy gets an ultra sound and has an enlarged spleen. She may have mast cell growth or maybe lymphoma. If the former, there are treatments, including a spleen-ectomy; if the latter, we will love her until she dies
July 22 – Opening 25 boxes of ‘refugee stuff’ from our condo from before the 2nd floor restoration (May 23rd with the expectation that we’d have it back out of storage within 3 weeks) looking for a printer cable from David’s office and the charger for my camera batteries. Needle in a haystack but we found them, and were able to move a lot of 2nd floor things back to the condo. My instinct is to put everything in the dumpster.
July 22 – the killing of 9 people in Munich, Germany by a (terrorist) gunman

I list the names of the dead in the police incidents because I want them to be real for me, to know that all were someone’s child, all loved and were loved by others. I want to honor their lives in this small way, knowing that their deaths would be felt acutely by many.

What has been on my mind is a mix of the quotidian and the basics of my life, and the bigger issues that demand my attention, demand our response as citizens. What to think about the violence that has taken over our national and international experience and narrative? More importantly, what to do?

I found these two recent blog posts, by writers I follow, to be useful to me, so I share them in that spirit:

For my part, I have felt a bit paralyzed, and not just about what to post. I have been deeply troubled by the national and international news, and I keep hoping for a few days of quiet and peace on that front. Personally, I’ve felt stuck: I’ve hardly exercised – except for moving heavy boxes – and have slept poorly. I know that self-care matters even it if doesn’t change the world.  I’ve also had flashes of joy – like Lucy stretched out with her arms over her head between me and David at night in bed in “the valley of love” – and been in awe of nature.  I have experienced quiet moments of peace, and recognize the grace in that; not everyone can say that.

None of those good things came from the Republican Convention. Although I have generally felt it would be wise to stay away from politics in my blog, I find I can’t.  I find Trump appalling, even as I understand the anger and disruption in the lives of some people who have become his supporters. I just don’t believe the narrative and the tone is helpful to progress, or to national unity, or frankly, to a just and civil society.

I was reminded the other day of a moment years ago, stunning in the shame response it created in me, when I expressed my disdain for the reality show “Survivor.” I commented that I thought the show brought out the worst in people, both on the show and in viewers. The husband of a friend of mine, someone I didn’t know well but had respected for his position in academia, said “oh, poor baby – you can’t handle it!” As if “handling it” was better than wishing human nature – human behavior, in any event – weren’t so bald or crude. I chose to hope that we can all be better than our baser instincts.

I’m off to the Russian River tomorrow for a long weekend with my women’s group: stand-up paddle boarding, walks and wine, and generally hanging out and being together. I’m looking forward to it, even it means being away from home (again!). I know we’ll talk about how we each want to navigate our lives internally and in the world in this moment. And we’ll share laughter, wisdom and hope.

Love,
Susan

I post about once a week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, but sometimes, like today, on Fridays… Get regular updates via email from DancingOnTheWayHome by clicking the “follow” button (on your tablet or pc screen – the mobile screens somehow don’t show it!). And thanks for reading!

Follow me on Instagram (dancingonthewayhome), where I post whatever catches my eye. Leave a comment or send me an email at DancingOnTheWayHome AT gmail dot com; I’d love to hear from you.

A Welcome Return

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Out of the corner of my eye, in the distance, I saw an enormous splash. Was it a wave hitting a barely submerged rock? Looking more closely and seeing the splash repeat, I realized it was a whale. A humpback whale was breaching and slapping the water with her pectoral fin. She did it again and again.

David and I were on the Hurst Isle, the boat that would return us to God’s Pocket Resort for another sojourn, this time for one month. Bill Weeks, co-owner of God’s Pocket and our boat captain, offered an explanation: “She’s waving to you, Susan, welcoming you back!”  Of course she is, I thought…

We have been here just a few days, caretaking the resort this week. The area has been receiving some much needed rain, coinciding with our arrival. So on that front, things don’t seem much different from when we here for two and a half months over the winter: it is cold and wet!  But other things are quite changed. The water, crystal clear to depth in January and February, is murky green due to the algae bloom that happens every year at this time. The large number of otter we saw on the back side of the island are now gone. There are no cormorants on the breakwater, let alone on Cormorant Rock at the mouth of the cove. My favorite great blue heron no longer comes to the cove daily.

But there are other new things. Visitors of the human variety are quite common. Normally, for a small fee, boats can tie up at the dock here, otherwise they can anchor for free between Cormorant Rock and the shore of Hurst Island. At the moment, there are three rather large boats affiliated with the resort tied up to the docks and so not much room for other vessels. We had a family of three Australians anchor their 36 foot sailboat just outside the breakwater who we invited for dinner. Within the next 24 hours we had a motor boat with a retired couple on their way up the BC coast, and another sailboat with four men on it anchor just outside the cove. Two kayakers also paddled up for a chat, hoping our “store” was open. With the resort closed this week and the limited dock space, it was easy to be friendly. But we couldn’t invite everyone ashore, let alone in for dinner!

Bald eagles are present in abundance. On our crab pot-setting adventure yesterday, we saw no fewer than four pair of eagles, some with their juveniles, hunting over the water for fish. David, too, was fishing, hoping to catch rockfish, while I watched the eagles swoop and dive and return to the trees. Sometimes there was a fish in their talons, sometimes not. We humans were lucky yesterday: David caught a 16 inch spiny rockfish and 28 inch lingcod, really the perfect size (any smaller wouldn’t be legal, and any bigger would mean prime breeding age and shouldn’t be taken). Dinner was delicious.

We’ve already had a few unexpected, exciting moments. I was doing dishes with my earbuds and music playing in my ears when we realized that there were schools of fish in the cove, jumping out of the water, to eat shrimp fry and crab larvae treats. We assumed they were herring since they are the only schooling fish we have seen up close. The herring we are familiar with come into the San Francisco Bay every December-March for their annual spawn, and often take over the water in front of our condo.

When we showed the short video of the fish jumping in the God’s Pocket cove to our hosts Bill and Annie, they wondered if the schools were not herring, but juvenile salmon… The herring had just had their spawn further north in the warmer water inlets close to shore, so it didn’t make sense to them that they would be schooling down here in the deeper, colder water. So we think: herring = one kind of cool. But juvenile salmon? = another exponential kind of cool!

Bill and Annie are staying at their cabin across the Christie Pass, slightly northward, on Balaklava Island, and they invited us for dinner tonight to share the Dungeness crab from the pots we set yesterday (that they picked up today). We had a lovely, wine-enriched time with them, and the crab was delicious. I shared with them the very short ditty I made up and have been singing to myself since my arrival:

Looking for a humpie, humpback whale,
Swimming in the ocean, fluking with her tail!

As luck would have it, on our way back across the pass, we saw two humpback whales head into the pass in our direction from the east. We cut the motor on the skiff and waited. While holding my breath in awe, I was able to use my iPhone to video one of the whales surfacing, blowing, and going back under (see my instagram post!).  One breath past us, the whale dove deep, ending our enraptured vigil, so we resumed our course towards home. We stopped two more times: we saw the blow of a whale in the distance to the north, and then again, behind us to the west in the pass as we neared God’s Pocket. Those sightings were exciting, but nothing like the close visit we had just enjoyed 25 feet off our bow.

The days are quite long here at this time of year, and we have noticed that we are exceptionally tired. We are shaking off the stresses from our last few months, and even as we arrived here, the grief-inducing terrible news of the last few days. I am grateful that it is very quiet here: it is good for reflection, for nurturing peace, and for doing very little.  I am glad to be able to retreat to nature, and to this remote island, even while knowing that doing very little is selfish and doesn’t contribute to the common good.

So, I will make my anger and grief heard. And I encourage my friends and blog followers to do as I will: please reach out to your representatives at all levels of government and let them know how you feel.

Love,
Susan

PS — Please allow me another shameless plug! My (maternal) aunt, Camilla Trinchieri, has just published her novel Seeking Alice, which I highly recommend. Here is the link to Amazon, where it can be readily procured and enjoyed:https://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Alice-Novel-Excelsior-Editions/dp/1438461283/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466138742&sr=8-1&keywords=seeking+alice. Buy it (from Amazon or your local book seller) and enjoy!

I post about once a week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, but sometimes on Fridays. Get regular updates via email from DancingOnTheWayHome by clicking the “follow” button (on your tablet or pc screen – the mobile screens somehow don’t show it!). And thanks for reading!

Follow me on Instagram (dancingonthewayhome), where I post whatever catches my eye. Leave a comment or send me an email at DancingOnTheWayHome AT gmail dot com; I’d love to hear from you.