Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Grizzly Peak, after the storm

Looking east toward Grizzly Peak in the Berkeley hills from Emeryville after the storm.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


So, you sniveler,
declare yourself: are you a
cold, or (spring) fever?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Raining red centipedes on Earth Day

April 22 OK, so maybe I took on more than I could handle by replacing the outside planter shelves. It seemed so simple at the time. I should've swapped the simple shelf unit out two years ago—before I hurt my knee, and before the herb planter box completely rotted through and grew through the shelf. How on earth did it remain standing all this time? 

Centipedes galore, oh my. Of course, I was wearing flipflops so the little red centipedes took refuge under my feet. No no no! I managed to save them all from further harm. When I had to cradle the rotted planter box and shore it up with wood, they fell like a crazy red rain. Didn't get stung either. Saved a couple of worms too. Not a job description I want to share.
Made my proper contribution to Earth Day by planting! I remember the very first Earth Day at Drake High School. We made shaving cream pies and lobbed each other. Not sure what that had to do with Earth Day but it was memorable...

Still queasy from knee pain. Managed to avoid taking Advil, but it was hard. They get stuck in my throat and dissolve, their fire is worse than a centipede sting.Not that I've ever been stung. I'm completely covered in dirt and am icing my knee. First things first. Priorities. Hopefully I'm not harboring too many insects in my hair. I don't think I can handle getting into the shower. The tub is precarious when you can't step, stand, or otherwise use one leg. And my other leg is so very tired, it's beginning to hurt too. I am a stork standing on one leg.

April 23: Still very yeouchy today. But also feel good that I accomplished a few big things. I'm sure all that boardwalking in Armagosa Valley is also playing havoc on my knee. Ice is my friend. 

April 30: Finally back in P T, electric injection (osmosis) of topical anti-inflamatory brings some relief. Also ultrasound. And ice, of course. I feel like I am stranded in purgatory. Will this confinement never end?

Revised from Facebook posts, 4/19

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Incredible Shrinking Lake Mead

Once the largest man-made reservoir in the world, Lake Mead Reservoir in Nevada, has already dropped more than ten vertical feet this year; and it's expected to lose another 10-20 feet before next winter's rain and snow comes. Lake Mead is now about 1,106 feet above sea level. The historic high water mark was 1129 feet above sea level. The lowest pump intake is at 1000 ft. After that, no water for Vegas, baby.

This photo puts it into perspective: the bathtub ring marks the high water mark from the 1940s to the 1980s & 90s... That bathtub ring represents a loss of more than 90 vertical feet of water. That's a 3-story ship in the foreground. Lake Mead once held 9.2 trillion gallons. Over 4 trillion gallons of water have vanished since 2000.

The once mighty 1,450-mile Colorado River that feeds Lake Mead (from Arizona's Lake Powell Reservoir some 180 miles upstream) has nearly disappeared. As it turns out, the 20th Century was one of three wettest centuries during the last 13 centuries in the Colorado Basin. So the prospect of abundant water returning to the Colorado Basin in the future, is slim, to none. That's not accounting for global warming either.

A 14-year drought (since 2000—nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years), has lowered the water level in Lake Mead by more than 90 vertical feet, it's the lowest the reservoir has been in over 40 years. This is the second year in a row that the Colorado River will flow with less than than half of its historic average due to low snowpack in the Rockies, its primary source. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the overall storage of water in the basin is at 47 percent of capacity, down from 53 percent last year.

Lake Mead now holds 162,000 acres of water, and is daily dropping. The 1.5 million acre park has over 550 miles of shoreline (and that too is daily diminishing—Lake Mead once held 760 miles of shoreline). The east end of the lake has completely dried up, the town of Overton, once boasted of lakefront beaches, is landlocked, and two Lake Mead marinas have had to relocate twice. One marina went belly up. Boat ramps now lead to dry desert floor.

If the lake water level drops much more, then, Las Vegas, the Southwest's city of light, will go dark in more ways than one. Intake valves are in danger of being exposed at 1000 feet. That's 106 feet before shut off. Las Vegas (20 million people) gets 90 percent of its water, and 100% of its electricity from the Lake Mead, which is also a crucial source of water for Los Angeles, and for millions of acres of that water irrigates California's Imperial Valley farmlands.

Hoover Dam and Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. That's a whole lotta dam showing.

Aerial view. We motored into Castle Cove, near the top of photo (longest finger). Black Canyon & Hoover Dam is at bottom. You can't see Hoover Dam from this photo.

Lake Mead Water Levels — Historical and Current

More on Colorado River & drought.

NASA CA & NV snowpack gif from October 2013 to April 2014.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bio Notes for Brian Kervin

For all you North Bay folks, Neil O"Neill and Maureen Hurley will be on the air live reading poetry (and music) on The Learnin' Kirven Show April 6th, from 4-6 pm at KWMR West Marin Community Radio  at 90.5 FM Point Reyes Station, and 89.9 FM Bolinas kwmr.org (live stream). Maureen will be reading poems of place, growing up in West Marin, highlights of our upcoming CPITS' 50-year anniversary, West Marin kids to read their poems. Neil will talk about coming to Marin in the 1970s, Ross Valley Players, his 30-year gig with Bread & Roses, and play some music.

I began to write Brian some bio notes and it got out of hand. Bloggy material, it is.

BIO—what most people don't know about me:

I grew up in Forest Knolls,  my grandfather came to SF in 1904 from Ireland, and used to camp along Papermill Creek during the summer. Bought our house from an old railroad man (there were spikes everywhere, and the foundation was made of railroad ties) on Barranca Road in 1910. I was raised in that house in the country by my grannie, from Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland. Back then, it was on a dirt fire road. Not county maintained. So we were pretty much our only neighbors at the end of the canyon.

Dr Whitte was ny doctor. Yep. The doctor poet. Only I didn't know that at the time. And it took me a long time to slide into poetry. I didn't begin writing until I was in my late 20s.

Doc Fisher was my vet, he bought my ponies, they were out at Bear Valley for decades. Wonder if they're still alive? They live a long time.

I got my horse from Bear Valley Stables. I used to ride her in the PT Reyes Parade. Whoopptido!

My cousin Katie Collins Gallagher (who drives the little school bus) is my 2nd cousin—they own the old Bob Borillo Ranch in Pt Reyes.

My cousin Sinead Dinsmore lives in Nicasio—that white house on the square. I couch surf there a lot. Her grandfather Dave Dinsmore bought it in the 1940s

I used to work at the Rancho Nicasio as a salad girl when I was 16 with my aunt (Dinsmore) with Dorothy Dolcini & Glen Kirch. LaFrankie in there somewhere. I joined the union, lost my job. Welcome to America.

My other aunt's husband was heir to The Shadows, and other Nicasio properties owned by his adopted father Dr. Ritter, who founded Ross Hospital, Mountain Home Sanitorium, etc. Doc Ritter died when my uncle was in the Army, and his legal guardian Roy (as in Roy's Woods, absconded with it all. Tragic. My uncle never got over it.

My mom, an actress and costume designer at the Gate Playhouse in Sausalito would pawn me off to famous babysitters, Dick & Tommy Smothers, Sterling Hayden. I even remember the Kingston Trio playing in Tommy's houseboat. I loved Tommy. Didn't like Dick. My mom worked for Juanita Musson, the famous restau-ran-teer, of Juanita's Galley. Juanita had a monkey and a rooster in her house on Bridgeway. And a fawn too.

My mom got around, sometimes she'd bring her friends home for tea and Irish soda bread at my grannie's: Bobby Darin (Big Sur connection), Bobby Kaufman, Gene Ruggles, Lew Welch. He & my grannie got on like a house afire.

Lloyd Bridges (grew up in Petaluma) was like an uncle. We all went to Sacto. for a production of Guys and Dolls at the Music Circus. Jeff Bridges was a great palymate in the shallow end of the pool but Beau was a mean teenager. I remember watching Lloyd rehearse as Sky Masterson.

When I was a teenager, I worked for Alice Kent as a housecleaner and manager of Western Star Press for her dead brother John Cooke's New Tarot for the Aquarian Age. John Cooke knew Alestair Crowley, Order of the Golden Dawn, etc. New age, before it was New Age.

I met Bolinas poet Ebbe Boregaard fixing the steps outside my basement office window at Alice & Roger Kent's house. He told me stories about sailing ships and Vikings. I thought he was a god. I still wasn't a poet. I was an artist.

Went to Lagunitas School—the SGV Art Center building, then Drake High (emphasis on high), hitched home with all the rock musicians: Jerry Garcia, Jesse Colin Young, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Jefferson SS, Big Brother, etc. Janis Joplin lived on our road, I remember her practicing at Barbano's Camp, and she drove a Porsche. She NEVER picked us up hitchhiking. Even got picked up by Ken Kesey on Further. The First Further.

Went to College of Marin and studied ceramics with Pete Sutton and David Best (Burning Man temple builder, and builder of weird cars). Hung out with them at the Unknown Museum in MV. Also hung out in the Theater Dept—followed Robin Williams around like a puppy. Went to SFSU for a year, but someone got murdered in the library, so I dropped out. Went to SSU, w/ degrees in Painting and drawing. Still housecleaning all the while.

Had a stint working for a horse trainer after my horse died. Went to work in Europe at 19, lost my horse job.

First boyfriend dragged me to readings at COM, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Alan Ginsberg, Gary Snyder—at Olney Hall. Gary was reading from Manzanita, and about my ridges, my land and I said: I can do that. And so I did. I had no idea what a wild ride it would be.

I called up David Bromige at SSU, and found my passion for poetry, producing poetry events all over Sonoma County—for SSU and the Russian River Writers' Guild.  Book 'em Dano, and so I did. Those poets were my real teachers. And we booked them all from far and wide: Courso, Kinnell, Kaufman, Bly, etc.

Lee Perron and Michael Dow brought me into CPITS, and I found my life's work. I continued to work as an artist as well. 7 CAC AIR grants in Santa Rosa. Worked for Sonoma County Stump, The Paper (now the North Bay Bohemian) as a photographer and began to write stories. Bootstrap all the way. Poetry came easy. Essays were hard. I found out I was dyslexic after a car accident with Will Staple in 1981—which went a long way in explaining why I did so poorly in school (excelled in art), so that's been an important transition.

I also worked with Herman Berlandt—as a photograper, poet, editor. I spent a lot of time on the Bolinas Mesa. We founded Mother Earth Journal after my big stint in the USSR in 1989-91 as a art & poetry pack mule. We did about 10 issues, then another horrific car accident in Marshall in 1997 nearly killed Neil & me. I temporarily moved to Oakland to take care of Neil. Commuted for ages from Forestville. I still keep my west County roots. Like a bad song, I'm a country girl in an urban world.