Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tundra has his own Facebook page now!

I will be using this blog to comment on non Tundra related things now.  Please see Tundra's new facebook page to keep up with his updates.

He has been deemed unreleasable and Carlton could still use your support.  The community's support will be the success of this project.  Donations can be accepted at.....

Carolina Mountain Naturalists
3150 N. Mills River Road
Mills River, NC 28759
Tundra Thanks you!

Painting by Billy Smith

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 325 - Fifty Cents - Never Ever Hate

My mother always calls me on my birthday.  She doesn't just "call me", she patiently waits until the second hand hits the twelve on the clock at precisely 10:05 AM to call me.  And I answer the phone always anxiously awaiting anyone who will call me on my birthday.  She answers with....Happy Birthday!  I remember exactly when you were born 10:05 and I first thought I had a 10 lb 5 oz baby!  This always makes me laugh.  That is what is so great.  Mom makes me laugh!  It's been a long road for us as daughter and mother. We've finally reached the plateau of mutual respect and deep cherished love.  It is a special place. 

So today my hip hurts and my stomach isn't so good, and after four knee surgeries and a foot surgery, a broken arm, a broken collarbone, I'm glad to report that most things work!  So physically my body is wearing down.  I still ride a bike (shows balance and tenacity), and hike waterfalls, and walk.  NO more aerobics and running or playing basketball or refereeing.  But mentally I'm more alive than I have ever been.  A friend called today and left a simple message, "Welcome to the Club!"  Wow I'm finally part of a group! Never did like sororities, or groups where I couldn't be me and say what I feel.  This club seems perfect for me!

I  received more love this year to accompany the gifts.  Friends from Germany sent their special chocolate, and of course chocolate and shoes are any woman's favorite so Steve blessed me with shoes from Johnston & Murphy!  So cool!  I love saddle shoes as they remind me when I was a cheerleader.  My best friend who cheered with me also sent a box of gag gifts like old-age soap and WD-Oldie for creaky joints.  And of course I had my date with my tiara.  A tradition I hope never ends. Wearing it out on my birthday is so fun!

I have noticed that through the last decade I've evolved to a point that I really don't care what people think anymore.  It is a fabulous place to be.  I'm a good person, always try to do the right thing, ask for forgiveness when I don't but more importantly, I can look myself in the mirror and know that I have tried to assess the best of any given situation and try to look at the positive of anything.  And I mean anything.  

I've started painting and really feel very good to have been asked to paint a set for a play only to be asked again from an emmy-nominated artist to return and paint a second set.  Wow! I'm truly humbled!  I like buying $5 soap and $9 scented candles because I think I'm worth it.  So many years of scrimping and saving to pay for the groceries, the kids shoes, the dentist appointments, the healthcare, the car payment, the utilities, and the bills.  Now its just bills from things I WANT to buy, not the things I didn't have cash for and HAD to buy.  It's different, bills of choice.  My friends told me once when you get to this age, it's just bills and pills.

Don't Dress for Dinner Set French Barn turned into Cottage Decorations from my actual home!

Which is not true.  I still have grandchildren to experience, selling my first painting, sharing my love of life with people who really appreciate my past.  Someday I hope they will make a documentary about my involvement with the Multiracial Movement and my speech I gave, as that was history that we haven't come to a place to appreciate yet.  I might learn how to play the piano.  I might play my flute in a symphony again, I may act, Lord knows I can't sing.  There are still many things to do.  I want to travel and see Europe, Brazil and Australia.  Laugh with others from another culture.  There are two things that transcend all languages and cultures, laughing and smiling.  (don't smile at bears, they see this as a sign of aggression however!)

And I have a dream to follow in the father's side of the family to own a business. I really want to own a Wine & Design franchise.  The ability to paint has liberated me.  How soothing the paint brush feels when strokes take on a life or object or movement.  You can play with the style and learn from each painting.  I know I am grateful to God for another year and hope that this year he continues to bless me.  There are still a couple more dreams I have, not many, but a couple.

We watched the short movie (Oscar award winning) A women in Room Six.  It was about a woman who was a nine-year old child in the Holocaust and played piano.  She died just two weeks before the film won the Oscar.  She played the piano everyday even at the age of 109!  The German soldiers even listened to her play in Auschwitz.  In this film, her friend said, you know we come into this life alone and we leave this life alone.  If we are lucky enough to be able to spend part of it with others, cherish it, be grateful for it.  I have always subscribed to this philosophy.  Who would know better than someone who had their father, mother, brothers, grandmothers, friends entire support system killed at the hand of one emotion ...hatred.  Alice Herz  Sommer, the woman in room six stated she was honored to know her son of sixty-four years.  She outlived her own son and still was grateful for knowing him.  She said, never ever hate, never ever.  And if there was a mantra to her life, this would be it.  She was able to memorize all of Chopins twelve movements and many more.  Her body failed but her spirit will live on for ever.  I hope that will be my case....I only dream of this.

I'd like for my sons to truly appreciate the road I have traveled.  Each year one son will call and the other will forget, alternating years.  My oldest is spending time with me on this very special day, and my youngest son called at 11 PM on my birthday.  He remembered!  Today was a special day! Sometimes birthdays don't mean much to a person, they view it as another day.  It was always a special day growing up.  We didn't have much but Mom always made sure she baked a cake and invited our friends over.  So for me, it is special.  And I can always count on one thing...Mom will call at 10:05AM.  Love you Mom!  Thanks for making my fiftieth birthday so sweet!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 324 - Global Warming, Extreme Weather There IS REALLY SOMETHING GOING ON!

The Documentary Chasing Ice tells the cold hard truth about global warming or extreme weather.  Fox News and all the other people in denial need to go buy a bag of popcorn and sit their pompous asses down and watch this film.  (And for those here the natural selection process will take care of you eventually.) Everyone should beg their local movie theaters to show this film as a Sunday Matinee until everyone in their community can see this.  If we don't stop using aerosol spray cans and make the other collective tiny changes in our lives, we are all going to be under water or at least our grandchildren who once lived in Florida will be moving North to Georgia!  As the film explains if these glaciers keep melting 1.5 to 2 million people will be displaced in the southern United States in our children's lifetime!  The glaciers are the canary in the coal mine James Balog warns us.

James Balog
Jim is the photographer assigned by National Geographic originally assigned to go to the artic to take photographs of the Solheim Glacier and then realized there was a bigger story here.  The Film was captured by Filmmaker Jeff Orlowski who served as director, producer, and cinematographer of the documentary. According to the Chasing Ice website, "Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers."

Solheim Glacier = Sólheimajökull (Icelandic name) Photo by James Balog / EIS

The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in April 2006.  Photo by James Balog / Extreme Ice Survey

The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in February 2009.  The line represents how much the glacier changed in nearly three years. Photo by James Balog / Extreme Ice Survey

The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in April 2006.  Photo by James Balog / Extreme Ice Survey

The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in October 2006, just six months after the previous shot.  Photo by James Balog / Extreme Ice Survey

Chasing Ice features the journey of internationally acclaimed photographer James Balog who single-handedly decided to capture the death of four glaciers; The Ilulistat Glacier in Greenland, the Solheim Glacier in Iceland, an Alaskan Glacier, the Glacier in Montana. Balog set up five cameras in Iceland, five cameras in Alaska, two in Montana, and twelve in Greenland. This camera experiment was called the Extreme Ice Survey (EIC). Five were placed in Iceland, five in Alaska, Twelve in Greenland and two in Montana.  It was trial and error at first, navigating the icy cold conditions, knee injuries, electrical circuit problems, but eventually through the time lapse lenses, there is visible proof that the earth's atmosphere is warming. 

His film has won 30 awards (YES THAT IS THIRTY INTERNATIONAL AWARDS! COME ON AMERICA WAKE UP) at film festivals around the world including the Excellence in Cinematography Award: US Documentary The Environmental Media Association’s 22nd Annual BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD at the Sundance Festival in 2013.  Chasing Ice is also the recipient of the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation's 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award.

But I have to say what impressed me most was the ending of the documentary. As you watch what is happening, you still can't believe what you are watching.  You KNOW this is what you are watching but it is unfathomable.  If this doesn't wake you up, NOTHING will.  These glaciers are receding yes, but it isn't this, it is HOW they are... they don't "calve" off at the ends anymore.  They are melting so fast that they are imploding from within the size three times the size of Manhattan!  Then chunks of ice three times the size of a football field are thrown up into the air SIX TIMES THE length of a football field.  It is unsettling.The vibrations you feel in your body, the sounds in your ears and you are only watching from a warm seat...can you only imagine.....They are forming pools of water on top that melt through the top and form waterfalls in the middle. These become streams called moulins.  They then just implode in the middle and fall into the ocean.  Solid Frozen ice that have been that way for MILLIONS Of years! GONE!

The Illistat Glacier in Glacier is melting at a rate of 130 feet daily and dropping vertically the height the size of the Empire State Building annually.  These apocalyptic changes are 100x faster than they have ever been and scientists are alarmed that they may in fact cause plants and animals to be extinct.  Mass extinction of between 1/2 to 3/4 of the species.  These are plants that clean our air and water, that pollinate our food sources.  We will have to do this by hand like China does now.

Ice Core Scientists drill holes in the Glaciers and pull out Ice Cores. They study the Bubbles and chemistry of ice and look at the air.  They have seen an increase in Carbon Dioxide parts per million (PPM) over the last decade.   The CO2 content has increased from 280PPM to 390PPM since 1850 but now the rate is exponentially changing and scientists estimate this to go to 5000PPM in the next century!   They have also seen a change in temperature based on these scientific footprints left in the ice. Since 1850 there has been a steady increase in temperature of 1.5 degree Fahrenheit.  The air is simply changing and the proof is in the ice.

The statistics are startling.  The Alaskan Glacier prior to the year 2000 had retreated 9 miles in 100 years.  Balog's cameras had to be pivoted four times during his study to capture this receding glacier as it kept going out of the view.  The glacier retreated 2.5 miles in 3 years all totaling it had retreated 9 miles in just the previous ten years.

Do the right thing, reduce your own carbon footprint.  For things you can do to shrink your own carbon footprint click here:

James thinks Ice is beautiful to photograph I happen to agree with him!
 For James Photo blog click here:  Jim says, "Taking photos of ice is like taking photos of people, each glacier has different lines like the lines of a face.  There is tension in these powerful chunks of glacier and ice and yet such fragility."

The film quotes John Coleman Weatherman for KUSITV9 as saying about denying there is such a thing as Global Warming, "Believe me, twenty years from now, I'll be the one laughing"....Here is my response:

You should see Chasing ICE, you can't deny the visible proof.  You are in denial and you were quoted as saying "Twenty years from now you'll be laughing"  Just curious so you live in San Diego Right?? No one will hear you!! you'll be under water!!!