“Conquerors of the useless”, 180 (degrees) South

180 (degrees) South is a recent documentary about an outdoorsman’s journey to replicate the 1968 voyage to Patagonia made by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins.  Pioneering mountaineers Chouinard and Tompkins sought to explore and put up a new route up Mt. Fitzroy in the far Antarctic Chilean wildlands of Tierra del Fuego.  That adventure became the film Mountain of Storms, the inspiration for the trip which frames 180 (degrees) South.

It’s a documentary about adventure, but also at its core is a concern for the environment and the narrator’s developing awareness of how man’s modern lifestyle serves to usurp resources across the globe while simultaneously destroying the land from which those resources are generated.  The film touches on the fragility of the ecosystems in Tierra del Fuego and how we, in general, are indifferent to and negligent of the global environment and its effects on the present and future of other cultures.

What this film doesn’t explain too well is who these journeymen are, and how they all came together.  As it turns out, Patagonia produces a line of wetsuits, and the film director and some of the cast are in one way or another professionally linked to the company.  The obsession to surf the frigid waters is to test Patagonia‘s line of wetsuits, so a bit of marketing therer.  Chouinard and Tompkins are, of course,  the founders of the Patagonia and North Face brands of outdoor clothing and equipment.  Curiosity led me to discover more about the cast and crew, and that Julia Roberts’ husband was the film’s cinematographer.

Having once lived in Yosemite, the legends of (climbing) pioneers are familiar.  I have no idea who this generation’s legends are, but it’s profound that Tompkins and Chouinard  spend their millions buying up bits of “the last place on earth” and lobbying the government of Chile for the sake of preservation (see Conservacion Patagonica).

This film is worth a gander.  It sports a great soundtrack and we could all use a push towards simplifying our lives and remembering that conservation begins with us.


Reasons to curb our plastic addiction

Start with refusing to buy water in plastic bottles.  Use a reusable water filter instead.  Stop using zip top plastic bags like there’s no tomorrow.  Bring reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping.  Recycle as much as possible.  Rethink lifestyle in terms of reducing plastic use.  It’s taxing at first but once you have a system in place it becomes second nature.

Just saying.

Escapist activities

Welp, after a month on the road, I saw the Hubs for about 2 days, then off to a boys’ weekend he went, to dive Emerald Bay’s (Lake Tahoe) clear and icy waters.


Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe



Meanwhile I continue in the current vein, which is to turn away from things administratively important, but stressful and a nuisance to me.  In other words, I’m escaping, or maybe just procrastinating.  I’m baking cookies, eating them for breakfast, reading, watching movies, and generally ignoring everything else except the cats.

Just down the street at the Officers Club (I live on a deactivated US naval base), the Friends of the Library are holding an annual fundraising book sale.  It’s impressive, taking up the entire chandeliered hall, from lobby to stage and all hallways in-between.  I saw quite a few books I would’ve bought, and theoretically we’re staying put so I don’t have to worry about moving them again…but I’m trying to divest, not accumulate.  I bought a few anyway, some to send to people who don’t need more books, but there it is.  Alas, today is the $3/bag sale, I might go for a few paperback fiction books.  I swear to donate at least a box in exchange, and my sister has at least 5 bags of romance novels I could help her with.

The gorgeous weather suddenly gave way to darkness and bluster, and so the heater is running  (it’s only 58 but that’s a bit nippy) and I’ve donned fleece.  Methinks a nice leek and fennel risotto is in order, along with large cups of tea, more cookies (yes, yes, sugar does suppress your immune system, but I don’t do it often), and maybe How to Train Your Dragon.  I hope I can get the new Robin Hood with Russell Crowe on Tuesday (Netflix).   Would make a good two-pack for the Hubs when he gets back.  But he may not have any cookies left ;D


Sunday morning

I’ve washed and cut my hair again, overwhelmed by the burning sensation from the Tarceva rash on my scalp.  (I think the Minocycline’s effectiveness has ceased)  I’ve had coffee and breakfast, watched Nigella Lawson and Tyler Florence, sorted through 10 years worth of saved recipe clippings, and now…well, now I really must contemplate cleaning the house.

Hubby’s been gone for a month, and while I miss him terribly, his absence has afforded me the time to diddle with the blog migration from Vox, sleep in, do very little in the way of laundry, dishes, and cooking, in short, relax a bit.  I don’t know why I do it, but when he’s home, I feel I must prove industrious—because I don’t work, I’ve got to show that the combination of housework and cancer survival must somehow equal his financial support.  It’s silly, I know, but I don’t want to aggravate the feeling of his constant work and my constant staying at home.  Both are tiring, but it’s probably difficult for him to see how staying at home could be difficult (it’s the cancer part that is, obviously.  The part where you know you can’t be cured and you have to do everything in your power to keep going and hopefully maintain the current state of limbo.)

So it’s another gorgeous fall day.  The past month has been a miracle of good weather, finally, after a miserably cold summer.  I think I might bake at some point today or tomorrow, but I shouldn’t waste the day inside.  So, out I go, to do my last bit of thinking about stuff, about doom and gloom, and wonder if I have time to take a trip to Italy and England before the other shoe drops.

Walking the line between wishing for more time and good health and trying to imagine a decline (which is only trying to be realistic) is strange and taxing.  I’ve had 4 years, but I’m still not ready.  I’ve said it before (and it bears repeating)—I don’t think you can really be ready when you feel okay.  I think you can only really prepare when the sh*t starts hitting the fan.  Until then, you just want to live it up, I think.  You can’t help yourself, can you?  I’m sure it’s just the person I am, waiting until the last minute to do everything.  Old habits die hard.


If I had a future

I want to do this!