Thursday, April 22, 2010

One day...

One day
I'll forsake the company of man
The drama, pettiness
preferring the company of mollusks,
fish, and echinoderms
Decide to be a hermit
Pursue hermits in their houses
Maybe get a dog
Always the sea
and just

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sustainable Seed Project

I received a notice announcing that the cash-strapped CNMI Government will start austerity measures that will reduce personnel spending up to 12.5% therefore the need to reduce working hours from 80 to 7o per pay period. CNMI is in trouble financially due to continued low tourism numbers and the collapse of the garment industry. As Bill 17-45 is still being deliberated in both House & Senate, I am trying not to stress about what this will mean to my already cash-strapped wallet.

I've been thinking a lot about Tinian as well. Are the leadership and residents really that open to moving the Futenma Airbase that readily? If the Okinawa does not want them and Guam has been pretty vocal about the D-EIS, will the economic assistance that this will bring outweigh
possible detrimental impacts to our lives in the CNMI?

I love Tinian the way it is: Full of history, full of nature, friendly people, peaceful, accessible. It is a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of Saipan (hehe) and I enjoy going there when I can. The Mayor's Office also initiated a project there that was pretty impressive. It involved crafting seeds into leis, necklaces, earnings, and other ornaments. I am pretty sure that like everyone else, I find it disheartening to have very little selection in CNMI crafts and wares. Sure there are the Boyogo Dolls, and some local drink and food items, but shouldn't there be more? And there is enough (if not too many) of other things crafted elsewhere. Sometimes, you just need a keepsake or a give away from here that has a story here and not "bought here but made in the Philippines.

I think the Tinian Mayor's Office got something going on there: a product that they can call their own, from sustainable, readily available materials, attractive and sell-able. I am sure they just need some savvy marketing to make this work. I mean, can we get more creative than reintroducing another casino initiative for Saipan? Rehashing the casino initiative has been submitted (count them) two times by our legislators against the will of the people who voted against it in the last election. Well, this is slipping a bit into politics and this is not what this post is about. It is about exploration, experimentation, art, beauty: a sustainable seed project!

Props to Tinian for the idea, but i just wanted to see how viable an endeavor this will be. I mean seeds are aplenty and a sustainable supply.

All you need is collect, prepare them and figure out how you want to design them. Voila!

Actually, to do this right you've got do your research as to the materials and tools that you should use. Not all seeds can be used and not all plants used are easily accessed. Can you believe I grabbed a pod that I didn't know and got a handful of stinging hairs? That was a painful and itchy lesson!
Collecting and prepping can be difficult. Some seed pods are not for the faint-hearted (insert Deece name HERE) since they can be full of bugs and worms.

Well, Laurina and I put these together to see how they'd work out. I wanted the project to be sustainable and green, avoiding the use of chemicals like varnish or polyurethanes. I need to research natural varnish and oils that will coat and protect the seeds (maybe linseed or tung oil). We reused a discarded nylon fishing line I picked up at San Antonio Beach and made at least 4 seed leis.

More updates later as I research, discover and try to get creative.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happiness is spelled: T-A-L-I

Nothing is better than this!
Well, except maybe a visit from my lovely Tali! After 8 months of living in Portland after she and her family relocated to the States, my girl came home to the surprise of many.
Amy and Tali

I missed my girl so much. She is the closest person comparable to a daughter that I have here on Saipan. I've known her for almost 8 years now. When people asked if we were father and daughter, Tali was quick to say (albeit long), "He is my non-biological father...figure." What is not to love about that?
Hayden, Laurina, my non-biological daughter-figure & Amy

We got to spend 10 days with her: going to church, watching her act a skit, eating, going to parties, eating, hiking, swimming, eating and just getting and giving updates on life. I did however missed a Managaha Island day trip. Darn work! Did I say that I miss my girl yet?
We ate at Coffee Care overlooking the Saipan Lagoon and Managaha Island one evening.
Although I didn't catch it in picture, I got to show Tali her first green flash! She said, "It wasn't much of a flash." But she was happy to see one non the less.
We got to do one of our Sabbath afternoon rituals with my other church "daughters"- Eat! Here are my girls. We often played a game with the waitstaff asking them, "Which of the three is my real daughter?"
Joy (got 2 votes), Jirene (got 1 vote) & Tali (got 2)


Of course Tali's younger brother Noah was there. They had a "vacation from each other" vacation since Noah stayed with one of his classmate's family for most of the 10 days. Here he is (don't the two look so light complected? Not a whole lot of sun in Portland I guess) with the Pierson family. This was also the first time I met Shyla!

The Maycocks! Sean, Babs and Elijah got invited by the school for Week of Prayer. Sean did a fantastic job firing up and inspiring the students, staff and the church family for our Lord. Our life with the Lord is not just a sprint, he says, "It's a marathon."

Babs chatting with Amy in the foreground. Sean with Frank at the back.

Joy said something pretty descriptive of the quartets' visit. She said, "It's weird, but it's not." She was saying that it was strange to see them again after being gone for so long, yet they simply still fit in, like they never left at all.
I suppose that is the way with most of our friends and church family after they leave and then return. Saipan will always be "home" for a lot of us and if it was for you once, maybe it is time to come back. I hope you know that you are missed. Sorely.

Until we meet again... Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Monday, April 12, 2010

Telosma Update

I forgot that I stuck a mature Telosma seed pod in a bag a few weeks ago. I found it opened to reveal the feathered seeds inside.
You can really tell at this stage that they really are from the milkweed family. The silky hairs or pappus are soft and silvery.
It is quite a gorgeous seed pod really. I think we're going to have to collect some more seed pods and have fun releasing the seeds.

What a fun discovery!

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I do! I do!

He turned around holding
something sky blue and silver. Can it be?

I do! I do! A thousand times- I do!

So I got a call from one of the airlines saying that I needed to come down to their office. Good, I thought. I still had a postcard that was mistakenly mailed to my address and the guy it was intended for worked at the airport. After dropping off the postcard, I made my way up to the offices. I didn't know they had stairs behind the check in counter.

Immediately after walking in, a guy got up and addressed me formally by name.
Welcome, sir. So glad you could drop by! Joanna, please get Mr. (Beachcomber)'s gift.

How did this guy know me? I quickly looked at his name tag.
Uhmm, hey, James... I don't remember you, uhmm, being so tall! What's going on?

Sir, you are one of our elite members and we have a gift for you. Here it is, sir. Thank you for your continued patronage!

Wow! Oh, man! Hey! Wait.
Aren't you supposed to get down on one knee?

So I got a crystal candy dish. Cute. Italian. Classy. This particular airline has been exceptionally good to me. Last year I got bumped up to Business Class twice, and First Class once. They even gave me a seat right next to Daryl Hannah and her sister after we both dove Palau. (Yes, I saw my mermaid!) Pretty darned amazing. I was pretty ticked at the other airline last time I flew. Somehow I didn't get an isle seat and couldn't negotiate for a different one. I flew round trip sandwiched between two people to and from Atlanta. I usually sleep a good deal in the airplane and don't complain much, but I didn't enjoy that trip a whole lot. I have to admit though that my flying experiences have been quite good over all with both airlines. It was just a nice surprise to get such a fancy gift. I wonder if I will ever attain George Clooney's character's super elite status in the movie Up In the Air? I wonder if I'll sit next to a celebrity again? I wouldn't mind sitting next to Jessica (Anna Kendrick) or Vera Farmiga. We will see. I have another trip at the end of the month. Maybe I should carry my gift with me?

I think I'll give it to my BFF otherwise it will sit in my office filled with Original Ricola.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Twilight Dance

Between sunset and dusk, I set off to look for the phantom of twilight. You can barely see it in these pictures, but I managed to finally find it!
It tried to elude me behind a slow moving cloud. But I knew I had to be patient to finally catch the fleeting phenomenon named after the swift messenger of the Roman gods. Because it was so mysterious and only visible at either sunrise or sunset, the Greeks even thought it was two different objects. They named it Apollo and Hermes respective to when it could be seen. We know it more commonly now as the Roman equivalent of the later, Mercury.
Join me at sunset and find Venus following the setting sun. It is easy to find since it is the 3rd brightest celestial object in our sky. Venus will be brilliant. Look for a smaller star close by. Marianas' skies offer a great view. If you have binoculars or a telescope use them, but it is clear enough to see without.
I really need a memory card to afford better resolutions. Maybe you can share with us your own pictures. You have another week till Mercury disappears from our view again. Mercury follows the Sun and hides in its light so, this is the best time to see it.
I played a bit with the pictures to help you see elusive world more easily.
It was still visible up to 8:00PM so try to catch the two planets together when you can. When you scratch those two off your list, you can still see Mars in the evening and now Jupiter close to dawn.
Including Saturn, this brings my list to 6 planets in total that I have seen so far.
Yes, I am counting Earth as one of them. One day, I will have a chance at viewing the others that cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Come out and enjoy the ones we can see tonight.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber

P.S. To learn more, check out Earth & Sky.