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Mom is 103

Mom, shown here with her caregiver/soulmate of 20 years, Clara Morales

My mother, born Virginia Essie Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 13*, 1907, was 103 this Saturday. She discovered Christian Science when she was in her 20s and didn’t go to a doctor for the rest of her life (us 6 kids were also raised sans doctor). Her mother’s grandfather, Johann George Krieger, was born in Pennsylvania in 1759, and fought in the American Revolutionary War from 1779-1781.

There was a birthday party for her on Saturday at her rest home (Aegis Assisted Living, Corte Madera, Calif.). Staff had hired acordian player Karl Lebherz. My brother Bob brought his banjo and I had my box bass. We played a bunch of songs and my mom and a few of the more lively ladies were tapping their feet and/or swaying to the songs. My mom and dad’s “song” when they were young was “Hold me,” and I sang the lyrics to her (first time I’ve ever sung with a “band”):

Hold me, honey won’t you hold me,

Hold me, never let me go

Take me, honey won’t you take me

Never to forsake me, ’cause I love you so…

*She claims 13 is a lucky number.

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Chest Pains in the Night

Que experiencia! A few weeks ago I went paddleboarding in the lagoon late in the day. The water was like ice and as I came back toward the town dock, some people were watching me. My (racing) paddleboard is really fast, it seems to skim across the water and people are invariably surprised to see its speed. And so what do I do, being the mature person I am, but showboat it, sprinting, paddling as hard as I can. I should add that I hadn’t paddled for some time. Things were OK until I got into bed that night. I felt chest pains and had trouble breathing. Never happened before. 911-time and the full rescue experience. A roomful of local firefighters, an IV in my arm, the EMTs, and then a ride to the hospital. There was also a helicopter, which I declined: “No way!”

I ended up spending the night in the ER of Marin General Hospital, where they ran test after test. I saw 4 doctors, got spritzes of nitro-glycerine, the whole catastrophe. The ERs are geared for serious stuff; a dumbass condition like mine isn’t on their radar. Too simple. One doctor was pissed at me because I wouldn’t get a chest X-ray (by that time I knew I was OK). The next morning a cardiologist put me on a treadmill, and said, “I didn’t know you were a runner.” Everything was fine. Sheesh!

Home never looked so good. Got into my own bed with a hot water bottle and bowl of homemade chicken soup. Paradise!

Conclusion, later talking to my own doc: chest contractions from overexertion, muscles constricting lungs, brought on by showing off. I know, I know…

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Stewart Brand on Wade Davis

Stewart Brand hosts the weekly “Seminars About Long-term Thinking” in San Francisco. Last week it was Wade Davis, who wrote The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. Here are a few excerpts from Stewart’s write-up:

“He began with Polynesians, the wayfinders who mastered the Pacific ocean in the world’s largest diaspora. Without writing or chronometers they learned 220 stars by name, learned to read the subtle influence of distant islands on wave patterns and clouds, and navigated the open sea by a sheer act of integrative memory. For the duration of an ocean passage “navigators do not sleep….”

“In the Andes the Incas built 8,500 miles of roads over impossibly vertical country in a hundred years, and their descendents still run the mountains on intense ritual pilgrimages, grounding their culture in every detail of the landscape….”

For more, go to this link and click on “Hide Stewart’s introduction,” and you’ll get Stewart’s synopsis of Wade’s (sold-out) talk:

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Poet Nanao Sakai Memorial in Santa Fe

Dan Kuehn, author of Mongolian Cloud Houses (a book on yurts) just sent us an email about a memorial this Monday for Japanese poet Nanao Sakai in Santa Fe:

Nanao Sakaki died a year ago on Winter Solstice. Friends of Nanao will attend a one year memorial at Upaya Zen Center next Monday, December 21, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. Carol Merrill wrote: “If you can’t make it… Well, he said it best:”

If you have time to chatter

Read books

If you have time to read

Walk into mountain, desert and ocean

If you have time to walk

Sing Songs and dance

If you have time to dance

Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot.

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Crispy Hippie Coffee

My friend Mike Durrie’s daughter Jessica runs 2 very cool cafe/coffee roasteries in Princeton, NJ, Small World Coffee. When the local Whole Foods, which carries her coffee, asked for something “…new and exciting,’ Jessica emailed Mike: “…the label for the Crispy Hippie…was designed with Lloyd Kahn, of Bolinas, in mind. My graphics guy asked me, ‘what do you want this label to look like?’ And the only image that popped into my mind was Lloyd skateboarding or surfing. So, I showed my graphics guy a photo of Lloyd and told him the story my dad told me of Lloyd getting a ticket or something for skateboarding up at Sea Ranch. So, anyway, Lloyd, I guess, is the Crispy Hippie! I hope he takes no offense.”

Heck Jessica, I’m honored—tote-uh-lee… “…a high density bean that can take the extra heat.” Yeah!

Sent us by Michael Mery

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Veiko Lasting—Builder in Estonia

We had a rather large network of builders, gardeners, and practitioners of the home arts in the ’70s after we published Shelter. We lost track of most of these people in subsequent years, partly because had a 20-year interlude publishing fitness books, partly because the Whole Earth network faded away. Now that we’re back in the home building field, we’re assembling a (now online) community of like-minded folks. We have a huge amount of stuff for another general book on building (HomeWork 2) somewhere down the line. Here’s an email we just got from Estonia; it’s great to be hearing from simpatico people all over the world.

Dear Mr. Lloyd Khan,

My name is Veiko Lasting and I’m from country Estonia. Some years ago I saw one book HomeWork – and now in this spring I ordered it also to myself and soon also Builders of the Pacific Coast and Shelter.

Your books are very inspiering. after my friend Indrek saw how John Welles (HomeWork pg.25) was moving the house solo he started to build sauna also solo 🙂 picture of it added.

I made myself nice cosy apartment, in the middle of Tallinn near old city, to the basement of one old wooden house…

Best regards


some of my handworks:

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Joe Bark Paddleboards

“Joe Bark does not have down time. The Palos Verdes shaper/ /firefighter/freediver/spearfisher/father/surfer/paddler/boardbuilder/husband/harbor patrolman doesn’t get much time to sit back and relax. Not that he’d want to. No, Joe is a study in constant motion, in fusing work and life and passion into one all-day marathon of doing what you love. And what Joe Bark loves is the ocean. Everything flows from there.”

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