Monday, February 28, 2011

Ice Boats

Ice Boats on the Harbor Springs Harbor
 Ford Park Boat Launch
Little Traverse Bay
Ice boats waiting for a new day
Photo by M Wild Hansen

I don't know these little skaters but they sure are cute!
Photo by M Wild Hansen

The Phoenix
Photo by M Wild Hansen

A lonely boat at dusk
Photo by M Wild Hansen

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skating on Thick Ice

Now THAT's an ice rink!
A few days ago I took my ice skates to the harbor in Harbor Springs after work.  I heard the ice boats were out so I knew the ice would be nice and smooth.  This only happens a couple of times a year when there's a thaw followed by a freeze without snow so I was lucky to take advantage of the conditions.  I got there when the sun was low in the sky and stayed long enough to get a few night shots, too.
Smooth as glass

What a feeling of freedom!
The cracks in the ice showed about a foot of ice thickness
Harbor Point, a favorite kayaking destination
Photo by M Wild Hansen

City lights of Petoskey reflecting across Little Traverse Bay on the ice
Photo by M Wild Hansen

Downtown Harbor Springs and the Holy Childhood steeple from Zoll St. Park
Photo by M Wild Hansen

Raw Nature

A few years ago I witnessed a coyote nab a black squirrel outside the window of my office. My patient saw it, too. When the snow cloud of the encounter had cleared there was the coyote sitting not ten feet from the window with the squirrel in his teeth while he panted and dripped bright red blood on the white snow.  I'll never forget that moment of raw nature.  What?  You didn't think I had a picture of it, did you?

Friday, February 25, 2011


     I've always known nature has calming, healing powers.  Not because I've read it or heard it somewhere.  Because I feel it.  My house is surrounded by woods and woodland animals visit daily. 

 It's always been fun to see deer saunter across the backyard as well as the occasional turkeys, rabbits and the more common squirrels and birds.

  On occasion I've been thrilled to see coyotes, turkey vultures, and owls, too.  Anyone who has ever watched a bird feeder knows how mesmerizing it can be. There is clearly something calming about gazing out the window to see the woods whether it's a winter wonderland or the cool green summer view.

     Check out a study on this subject - -

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Whiter the Bread, the Sooner You're Dead

I've been reading a couple of books on nutrition & health by Joel Fuhrman M.D.  My interest in nutrition goes back many years and Eat for Health intrigued me enough to make some changes in my diet the past 6 or 7 weeks.  The idea of a nutrient dense diet excluding or greatly reducing things like meat, salt, sugar, fat and additives makes perfect sense.   Studies have shown amazing reductions in weight, cholesterol levels & blood pressure, reversal of diabetes and general achievement of superior health.  On the other hand, "everything in moderation" has always seemed like a good idea too.
  Last night I baked some whole wheat-oat-raisin muffins.   When I realized the recipe had no salt, sugar or oil my hopes for a mouth watering experience faded.  As I offered one to Erich I prefaced it with, "These muffins may help you live longer but you may wish you were dead."  Ok, I'll give this thing a chance but of  Fuhrman's four phases I may only make it to phase II or III.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart to Heart

 Mary Kathleen Heffron Wild was my mother.  The last beat of her heart was ten years ago today, Valentines Day.  She lived with a heart defect, mitral stenosis from the time she had rheumatic fever as a child.  She later had two mitral valve replacements, first a porcine valve then a mechanical one.  In her last years she suffered from progressive congestive heart failure. 
 So with a lifetime of heart issues we somehow found it fitting that she lost her battle on the day that celebrates hearts and love.  She may have had a defective heart but it was full of love.  We still miss you, mom. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak Resigns

This post is not about an exciting change in the course of history that is happening at this moment.  It's about the role of the internet and the power of communication and information.  Within minutes of this momentous occasion I was searching for information on the internet and happened to notice Wikipedia had already been updated!
 "Muḥammad Ḥusnī Sayyid Mubārak; born May 4, 1928[1]) was the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011." 

    Wael Ghonim, a 30 year old executive from Google is widely credited with organizing the first day of protest on January 25... with the help of Google Instant Messaging (the most secure way to organize), Twitter and Facebook (an anti-torture page where it all started)!   As Ghonim said, "This was an internet revolution.  I'll call it revolution 2.0."
     Dalia Ziada was also a core activist.  As a long time human rights activist when she came across a book from the 1950's that told Martin Luther King Jr's story she was inspired by his nonviolent tactics and translated the book into Arabic and published it online.
     Days after the protests began the Egyptian government "shut down the internet."  This was actually about 93% possible because there are only 4 major ISP's, all government controlled,  whose engineers could access the ISP's routers and delete most of the IP addresses. (from Slate).  However, many Egyptians could still access the internet through old dial up modems.
     There are countless examples of the role of the internet in Egypt's revolution but the bottom line is the importance of communication and information.  You can't keep control of intelligent people who want their voices heard unless you restrict or remove their sources of communication and information.  Why do you think slaves in the U.S. were not allowed to learn to read and write?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Les Cheneaux Islands by Kayak

This story has to start with my brother Dave's post from July 1, 2008.  I'll just add my 2cents worth after you read it...

(Les Cheneaux is pronounced:   lay shin oh)
An all day guided kayak tour of the Les Cheneaux Islands in Lake Huron.  Sounds adventurous, challenging, fun, right?  So we packed up our sunscreen and Keens and headed for Woods and Water Ecotours in Hessel on the east side of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
A couple of warning signs that this may not be the day we had expected: 
1-Pouring rain.  2-A car accident on the smallest, least traveled road in the world.
I've lived in small towns most of my life but I've never seen anyone bring coffee and cookies to a car accident before!
The initial instructions for the novices went well...
The weather is clearing and Brian is ready

Dave has already mastered this kayaking thing!

Or so we thought...
The wind kicked up some choppy waves that proved difficult for a parking lot full of idling kayaks
Ok, so the trip was postponed by the guide, the sun came out and we went for a hike.   It was one of those days that seems somewhat unreal because the one thing that was planned didn't happen so everything else is pretty much ad-libbed.  Later on at dinner we had some laughs about the waitress who sounded like she was speaking English but all that came out was "rfdj saepfj tu4ir9 mctld".  I don't think those were her exact words but we did wonder if we had slipped into the Twilight Zone or a parallel universe...
After a LOT of laughs I decided that's what I love about my family -  When Plan B can be more fun than the original plan all is well with the world.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

~Chinese New Year~
 A year ago Erich and I celebrated the Chinese New Year (year of the Tiger) with Tom and Wendy in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario who were hosting a Chinese exchange student.  Dan Dan (the student)  made traditional dumplings for the celebration.
Wendy, Dan Dan, Mary on dumpling duty

 Wendy and Tom's house was decorated appropriately in the golds, reds, lanterns and such for the occasion.  I wasn't quite sure what one wears to celebrate this day so I just got a pendant with the symbol for the year I was born, Year of the Horse.
Year of the Horse

Dan Dan and John make dumplings while Wendy prepares duck
Last year's festivities

Dan Dan's mother and father visiting from Beijing this week.
My brother Brian just returned from a business trip to China in the Szechuan province and judging from some of his photos I'm glad I was dining from our menu and not his!  
Chicken feet and heads?  No thanks, pass the dumplings, please.

(Happy New Year, Year of the Rabbit)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Batchawana Wolves

Erich's next door neighbor Willie saw a wolf in his backyard and snapped some photos.  Then he spotted the wolf out on frozen Batchawana Bay working on a deer carcass.  Later on, Erich skied out on the bay and found the deer carcass the wolf had been feeding on.  Here are the photos...
Wolf in the backyard
Where's my dinner?
Wolf and crows out on frozen Batchawana Bay
Remains of the deer carcass
Not much left!