2017 Life Logs, Day 290: Great News from Nyack

2017 Life Logs, Day 290: Great News from Nyack
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny and Cool; High 58, Low 48 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The highlight of my day was a text from Ed and Lynne Kirwin in Nyack, New York. If you have read this log over time, you know that Mark and I sailed across the Indian Ocean on Windbird with Ed and Lynne on their boat Constance. We didn’t know one another until then, but we spent six weeks in India together, two months in the Chagos, and four months in Madagascar. This gave us the chance to become very close friends. And again, if you have read this log over time, you are probably aware that Ed was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2015 and was given only months to live. But today he was given another two months off chemo because the scans show that his body is holding its own for now. He has spent the past two months chemo-free and now he has the gift of another two months without having to deal with the terrible side effects of chemotherapy. After beginning the chemotherapy treatments in 2015, Ed had so many side effects that he it was difficult, if not impossible, for him to walk for any distance. He and Lynne researched and got linked up with the Pine Street Clinic near San Francisco. The Clinic works with Ed’s oncologist at Sloan-Kettering in New York City to provide appropriate supplements to his chemo treatment. The Pine Street Clinic provides the right mix of Chinese herbs along with high doses of Vitamin D and other vitamins. And Ed and Lynne’s research led them to change their diet. Ed eats almost no sugar, including natural sources of sugar in fruits and limits carbohydrates to a minimum. He starts every day, and I mean every day, with a green smoothie that includes kale, celery, cucumber, parsley, some nuts, and an apple to sweeten it up. The apple is his one exception to the no sugar rule. He eats organic and Lynne ferments cabbage that they include with other fermented vegetables with lunch every day to keep the gut working properly. The results have been miraculous. Ed knows he is buying time, but he has been playing golf four days a week and spending quality time with his sons and grandchildren. Ed and Lynne, congratulations! I know how much time you spend buying and preparing the ‘just right’ food, but I’m sure the news today makes it all worth it.

I spent my day getting packages ready to send to Puerto Rico and taking them to the Post Office. Then I picked Ollie and Jonah up from school and spent the afternoon and evening with them. Heather was in Boston and Jed and Sam had soccer practice. I worked with Jonah helping him with a book report that is due on Friday, fixed dinner, and then spent some time with Ollie after dinner while Jed helped Jonah finish up that book report. When I picked Jonah and Ollie up from school, they were both in such a good mood. They are both really enjoying school this year. Sam rides the bus home from his school and goes to his room to read and work on homework, so I don’t get to see his happy face coming out of school. But he seems to be enjoying his year as well. Happy boys make for a happy Oma!

2017 Life Logs, Day 289: Focus on Puerto Rico

2017 Life Logs, Day 289: Focus on Puerto Rico
Date: Monday, October 16, 2017
Weather: Overcast; High 65, Low 41 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I’ve been sitting at this dining room table working at this computer screen for most of the day. I did go out to buy some Halloween fun stuff to send to Ziggy and Coco, but then I was back at work. In the afternoon, I was connected via Skype messaging with Justin. He had hoped to have a new website up and running today that would be a place for people to check in to see what the current needs are, but things are changing there and the website might be a duplication. So, he has put that on hold. The Rincon Beer Company that transformed itself into a soup kitchen after the hurricane and has now become the official relief distribution point. If they put up a website listing needs, then a second one would be unnecessary. So Justin went to Mayaguez today to try and check into a hotel so he could use their internet to get some work done. But now that FEMA and military personnel are there, no rooms are available. He paid $25 to use the internet but had to work in the very busy and noisy lobby. And internet is very spotty, not allowing us to talk via Skype. We had to message back and forth. We are trying to figure out if there is way that Justin can get back to work by installing a solar power system and satellite internet. In other words, he needs to be totally independent. Of course it can be done, but the cost is pricey. And I learned from Justin today that he has been told that it is illegal in Puerto Rico to set up an independent solar system in your home that is not connected to the grid. The grid doesn’t exist right now, but anything we do now would need to have the capacity of being connected eventually. Justin is going to a meeting tomorrow where the possibility of setting up charging stations and internet in the town plaza in Aguada will be discussed. And if he has time, he might drive further north to Aguadilla to talk to the people at Maximo, a solar energy company. He is so lucky that they are so close. Now that I have been able to get money to him, at least he can drive to these places to check out possibilities. Stay tuned for further reports on progress. And there was a bit of really good news today. Packages that I sent through the US Postal System soon after Maria are finally starting to arrive. Even a package that contained a large amount of cash arrived intact. So I have faith that packages sent through UPS or through the Postal System will arrive.

I’ll end this log with a bit of a rant and then I’ll list the items that I know Justin and Jo and neighbors could use. It is not an exhaustive list, but it is the current Top 20. If you or anyone you know would like to contribute and don’t have Amazon Prime for free shipping, you can contact me and I will order and send for you. Now for the rant of the day. I get very angry every time I hear our President saying that the Puerto Rincon people need to do more for themselves. I think they are probably working as hard as they can. Finally, after more than three weeks, the US government help is getting out of San Juan and into the rest of the island. But they were only able to get there late last week. How were the people of Puerto Rico who have had no way of communicating, who don’t have any idea of how other people on the island were affected by the hurricane, who have had no way to get cash until the last few days (and no way to charge anything), and even if they had cash, there was limited fuel availability—How were these people supposed to know to come to San Juan to pick up water and food? And how were they supposed to get there? If there was a devastating hurricane that hit the Cape and we were in the same situation, I would not think it would be acceptable for the government to deliver water and food to Providence, Rhode Island or to Boston and expect me to go pick it up. If you don’t have water, if you don’t have fuel, if you don’t have communication, if the roads are a mess, and if many people had lost their homes or incurred severe damage, I would hope my government would come to my aid by delivering what is needed to me. I know there is corruption in Puerto Rico, just like there is corruption here on the mainland. But I don’t think that is the problem here. This has been an unprecedented catastrophe in a time with so many other catastrophes that is hard for any of us to keep track of what is happening. I could understand if things didn’t get done because of that. But I can’t understand or tolerate blaming the victims for not doing their part. Where is the compassion, the caring? Where is the spirit of what this country has always stood for?

Okay, enough of that. Let’s focus on what we can do. Here is the list of things that can be ordered on Amazon and sent to:
Justin Handley
100 Carretera 115, Unit 870
Rincon, PR 00677
USA

Deluxe Kitchen Crop 4-Tray Seed Sprouter by VICTORIO VKP1200
$18.50

The Sprout House Amazon Six – Assorted Organic Sprouting Seeds and Seeds Mixes Sample, Pack of 6
$18.05

5 Part Salad Sprout Seed Mix -1/2 Lbs (8 Oz) – Organic Sprouting Seeds: Radish, Broccoli, Alfalfa, Green Lentil & Mung Bean – For Sprouts
$11.99

The Sprout House Organic Sprouting Seeds Baby Black Sunflower 1 Lb
$15.90

The Sprout House Certified Organic Non-GMO Alfalfa Organic Sprouting Seeds 1 pound
$19.25

Winner Outfitters 6-Pack 10 Gallon Grow Bags /Aeration Fabric Pots With Handles
$16.59

KANBERRA GEL 524003 Natural Air Purifier Gel, 8-Ounce
$49.35

Kanberra KG0024P Kanberra Gel Refill – 24 oz.
$89.99

100 Pack – World’s #1 Water Purification Tablets – Aquatabs
$15.95

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus – For Camping and Emergency Drinking Water
$10.25

Personal Water Filter, Epress Mini Portable Water Purifier Straw 2000L Outdoor Survival kit Emergency Camping Equipment for Outdoor Camping Life, Hiking, Climbing, Traveling, Backpacking (2 pack)
$31.99

DampRid FG90 Moisture Absorber Easy-Fill System, Large Room
$9.82

DampRid Hanging Bag FGAM86 Fresh Scent 16-ounce, 3-Pack
$10.99

Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk, Vitamin D, 12 Ounce (Pack of 3)
$33.54

Certified Organic Whole Milk Powder (1lb), Hoosier Hill Farm, Gluten free Hormone free
$16.99

#1 Rated TASTY Grass-Fed Beef Sticks Gluten Free MSG Free Nitrate/Nitrite Free Paleo Friendly Meat Sticks 12 Pack
$19.95

Mission Meats Ultimate Sampler Pack Grass Fed Beef Sticks & Bars & Free Range Turkey Sticks Gluten Free MSG Free
$23.95

Laura’s Lean Beef Organic Grass Fed Jerky, Original, 3 Oz Bag
$7.99

Home Depot Gift Certificates and D-cell batteries are both great things to send. I cannot get confirmation from Home Depot that a gift certificate bought electronically can be honored in Puerto Rico at this point. So, if you wanted to send a gift certificate, you would have to buy it in a store and send it. A gift card or anything else you want to purchase to send yourself should be put in a US Postal Service Flat-Rate box (not UPS) and addressed to:
Justin Handley
PO Box 870
Rincon, PR 00677
USA

2017 Life Logs, Day 288: Back on Cape Cod

2017 Life Logs, Day 288: Back on Cape Cod
Date: Sunday, October 15, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Warm Day, Stormy Night; High 76, Low 61 degrees F
Location: Back Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

After a run of absolutely beautiful, warm days, tonight it is stormy. As I neared the Cape this afternoon, it got misty and then fog set in. Now the wind is blowing about 25 mph with rain. So I am back on a stormy Cape Cod. The forecast, however, shows that sunshine will return by Tuesday. The predicted high temperatures are in the 60’, not the 70’s, but with sunshine, that is fine with me.

I had an incredible four days in New Hampshire visiting friends. Thank you to all. Meeting with yacht club friends in Concord is always special as I get to see so many friends at one time. And the three days in the Portsmouth area were just glorious. Portsmouth, NH, and Kittery, ME, are on either side of the Piscataqua River, and both are beautiful. I love the old homes and rocky shoreline. But I also love the sand beaches of Cape Cod. I just need to make sure I get out and walk along the shore here at home, just as I did along the rocky shore in New Hampshire. I will spend most of tomorrow waiting for a phone call from Justin as he can’t be sure when he might have a connection. But whenever that happens, we plan to go over an updated list of needs and get that list out to people who have indicated that they want to contribute. I am continually in disbelief of the dire situation in Puerto Rico, but I have been honored and overwhelmed at the generosity of friends. Thank you to all who have contributed. And to those waiting for that specific list of items needed, it will hopefully be coming your way tomorrow night.

2017 Life Logs, Day 287: From Rye to Greenland, New Hampshire

2017 Life Logs, Day 287: From Rye to Greenland, New Hampshire
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2017
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 675, Low 55 degrees F
Location: At Home with Detta and Tom Porat, Greenland, NH

I’m writing and posting this log a day late because the day continued into the wee hours of the morning and I was just too tired to write. It was a long day, but it was filled with wonderful hours spent with friends. Leslie and I took her dog Roo to Great Island Common on New Castle Island for a morning walk along the ocean. Leslie and I enjoyed the walk and Roo delighted in running into the water to retrieve sticks Leslie threw to her. The ocean waves were gently rolling onto the rocky shoreline, the sky was blue dotted with wispy white clouds, the sun was shining, and the temperature felt like summer even though the trees are beginning to show the colors of fall. It was a delightful morning on the coast in New Hampshire.

I left Leslie and Rich Kole’s late morning and drove inland just a bit to Greenland, New Hampshire. I stopped at a post office to get Flat Rate boxes to mail to Puerto Rico and then went to visit with Sue and David Wolowitz where we sat on their patio overlooking Great Bay. Great Bay is a tidal estuary with its waters coming from the Atlantic into the Piscataqua River which winds itself into Great Bay. As we enjoyed the weather and the view, we talked about the situation in Puerto Rico and I got to hear all about Sue and David’s recent trip to Oman, Dubai, Jordon, and Italy. You can see Detta and Tom Porat’s house from Sue and David’s, so I didn’t have much a drive when it was time to head to Detta and Tom’s for lunch. The weather was just glorious, so we had lunch on their patio which also overlooks Great Bay, and then Detta and I spent our afternoon sorting and packing up donated school materials to send to Puerto Rico while Tom researched solar possibilities for Justin and Jo. As it is looking more and more like there will no electricity for at least six months to a year, they are going to have to become energy independent. They have a little solar system that is currently charging their phones and computer. But if they are going to have any kind of refrigeration over the next few months, they will definitely need more solar capacity. Tom’s research and time spent helping me understand what might work was extremely helpful. The bad news is that because of some international agreement, most solar things cannot be sent through Amazon and we couldn’t determine if we can order through Home Depot in Mayaguez. The good news is that there is a solar company that has an office close to Justin and Jo. If they are up and running, they should have everything we need. They even sell Tesla Walls and when I sent an email to them asking for information, I immediately got an auto reply that they will get back to during the work week. I hope this means they are ‘online’. Detta and I sorted through bags and bags of the donated reading books and math materials that Jo needs for home schooling Ziggy and Coco and a few of their friends. At the end of the afternoon, we packed my little car with box loads of books. While doing this, we had Great Blue Heron that kept flying by and squawking at us. He finally decided to stand on a rock to pose for a photo. Beautiful.

Dinner was Detta delicious with cod and sautéed vegetables. A close teaching friend of Detta’s, Marilu, and her husband Dean dropped by and we really enjoyed sharing stories so much that time got away from us. And then Detta and I sat up and talked our way into the wee hours of the morning. We get to see each other so infrequently that we need to fill every minute when we are together. But Sunday, I will head home to Cape and look forward to the next visit.

2017 Life Logs, Day 28: Bow to Concord to Portsmouth, NH

2017 Life Logs, Day 28: Bow to Concord to Portsmouth, NH
Date: Friday, October 13, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 68, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home with Leslie and Rich Kole, Rye, NH

In 20 minutes, Friday the 13th will be over, and so far it has been a wonderful day. So maybe, just maybe, I should drop my superstition that makes me see flashing caution signs on this day. I had breakfast with Helaine Kanegsberg and then Alan joined us for conversation as he had already had breakfast with the Rotary Club. I then drove into Concord to meet with Scott McPherson from New Hampshire Public Radio to congratulate him on a career move. Scott came to NHPR almost fresh out of college and in just a few years became Mark’s right hand man. He has served as assistant station manager since the late 1990’s and has been indispensable in the smooth running of the station. He is now moving on to become the CFO of a New Hampshire private school. I know public radio will miss him, but I wish Scott all the luck in the world in his new job.

Then I was off to Rye, New Hampshire, to spend the day and evening with good friend Leslie Kole and her husband Rich. On the drive from Concord to Rye, New Hampshire, my cell rang and I saw it was a call from Justin. I pulled over to answer the phone and Justin and I talked for quite some time about how things are going in his corner of Puerto Rico. Packages are starting to arrive at the post office and FEMA aid workers have now reached the west coast. Justin has been back to the hotel in Mayaguez where he and the family spend last Friday night, and upon return he saw that FEMA workers and people in US military uniforms are now using the hotel as a base. He said that food and water are starting to be distributed. So that is very good news. At the same time he said overheard the people in military uniforms saying it could be as much as a year before power is returned to the country. Not such good news. He called to ask me to do a little research into solar alternatives for power and to say that on Monday he plans to return to the hotel in Mayaguez to use their internet to launch a new website that will list the supplies most needed. He hopes he will be able to build the site to make it possible for people to see what has been sent which should help in their decision making about what to send. It was great to talk to Justin and get an update on how things are going. He said he had left Jo with a whole bunch of children at Finca Maravilla in their new temporary outdoor school. Way to go, Jo!

I arrived at Leslie and Rich’s a bit late due to the long phone call with Justin. When I did arrive, Leslie had lunch waiting for me—a great green salad. Then Leslie and I drove to Kittery, Maine, right across the bridge from Portsmouth, to walk at Fort Foster with her dog Roo. After that we drove to a Kittery Beach to take another walk along the ocean and then it was home to get ready for dinner. It was warm enough for us to sit outside to have happy hour with the help of their outdoor heater. Then Rich cooked another of his award-winning dinners and Detta and Tom Porat joined us. It was a lovely day and evening.