Sunday, August 3, 2014

Just Something Otterly Fun

Villagers brought me 3 baby Asian small clawed otters last year and I have raised them since then. Here is just something light and fun to watch for today. They are now 8 months old. Unfortunately, one of the pups died earlier this year, which broke my heart, but he is here still enjoying his life.

I miss little Owen, but I he would have died when his mother least I know he had a good a life as I could give him while he lived.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adorable rescued kitty

Last week my husband and I were driving along the highway heading to town and in the middle of the road, on the yellow painted divider I saw something tiny moving....after we zipped past it, I realized it was a kitten! I begged my husband to go back, we already have so many rescued animals he wasn't too thrilled about it, but I knew if we came home and I saw it as a splattered ink spot, I would feel guilty all my life about it. So he relented and took me back. There were cars zipping and weaving as we approached it and I thought for sure it was a goner!

This is the poor lil guy after I grabbed him from the highway!
However we managed to safely pull over about 15 feet away and I ran over to it. The poor thing was so scrawny and thin, it could hardly move! I called to it and it began to stagger over to me! However it wasn't moving fast enough so I ran over to it and picked it up and brought it back to the truck.

I had to de-f;ea the lil guy, clean his ears of mites, put ointment in his eye and get him fed
before we introduced him to our other rescue, a puppy named Lucy! Here they are trying to get to each other through the screen slider.
Holy moly, it was flea ridden, skinny as could be and had mucous in it's left eye. But it did seem grateful to have some comfort and it just sat peacefully in my lap. I called my mom, who lives in town where we were headed. She made up a box for it, and put in some milk and readied some ophthalmic eye medicine to put in it's eye. She's the best mom! I got my love of animals from her and my dad.
When we let him out after 3 days, he ran into an image of himself in the mirrored glass door and caused himself quite a fright!
He was so frail and thin, he walked like a tin soldier, all stiff and wobbly! He would occasionally even fall over. But what an indomitable little spirit he had to survive with such a cute personality.

While I was playing a game on my iPad, he looked up and saw things moving on the screen and even tried to play with them. He even looks up and watches TV or a movie on my PC monitor!

Here he is on the 3rd day, much stronger and very aware of his surroundings, especially games on my iPad! He trys to swipe at the moving things too. He especially enjoys any movies with animals in them.
We finally named him CatMan, as he has a hero type mask and flys all over the room now. Here is a rare quiet moment with our puppy Lucy napping on our bed.
After napping they like to play, usually all over the room, but I was able to capture them gently playing pretty much in the same spot on my bed. Take a look at them's just too adorable. They are now best of friends, these two. It's amazing how gently Lucy is with him.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Handy stuff with our bamboo

We have several bamboo groves on our property. Consequently, we build a lot of things with it. Here are a few of the things we have made with the help of local carpenters, who had never made anything like these things before. I think they did well.

Bamboo dish drying rack. I bought a wooden one many years ago, and it lasted so long, but it finally fell apart and our assistant Jhun Solis, who is not really a carpenter copied it and rebuilt it in bamboo! I love it don't you?
Bamboo jewelry tree! I have so much bling. They were stashed for many years in clear boxes and I had to dig through each one to find what I wanted. Now it's all there for me to pick and choose. All with scrap bamboo from building our native deck. It also doubles as a hat rack!
When we built our new bedroom cottage, I didn't have anything to put the towels on and when I shopped for stainless steel towel rods, there were so expensive. Having seen these in a couple of hotels we stayed in, I showed the carpenter a photo and they came up with this. It works quite well.
Our entire wrap around deck is bamboo as are the guard rails.
Our place is small and there was nowhere to put our mops, dustbins etc., and they were always in sight, which wan't great, so I had them build this broom closet on our deck.  It now hides the necessary, but eyesore household tools.  It looks pretty good I think.

Bamboo kitchen cupboards. Again when I went to the local hardware store, the modern cupboards were so expensive, even so, I was willing to pay for them, but they were out of stock! So once more, our handy carpenters followed my instructions and came up with there. In back of the tea kettle is a screened bamboo wall, to keep with the open airy theme and allow ventilation. Things get moldy when totally closed up in the tropics.
I only have a small amount of counter space, and the microwave took up quite a bit of it, so we had the carpenter retrofit it into the far left cupboard. It works quite well there and I have my space back!

Bamboo couch bench! Dave even added electrical outlets for me to charge my laptop and ipad with.
Close up of the electrical outlet which is power by solar cells!
Crooked bamboo for the railings. The carpenters were not going to use the crooked bamboo, but I think it is beautiful. I had them come up with their own design for the railing with my basic guidelines. They once more, did a great job. We have a lot of coconut shells from making coconut milk.So we used them as end caps to keep the water out of the bamboo so they don't get waterlogged and begin to mold. A fried of ours said they look like dancing stick figures. That works for me.

Read more about the sustainable things we are learning to do on my other blog.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mount Shasta 4th Of July Community Fireworks Fund

I lived in the Mt. Shasta area, and neighboring towns at various times in my life since 1977.  Before I went there, I had a vivid dream about a woman and a mountain. The next day I was invited to lunch at a friend's place and an Israeli kibutznik was there. After a few hours conversation, he mentioned he was thinking of going up to Mt. Shasta, because there was a woman who wrote an esoteric book, and he wanted to meet her. (This is a whole other story though)
I immediately offered to pay for the entire trip, if we left the very next day! He agreed!  Thus began my love affair with that area. The pristine evergreen forests, interspersed with Aspens that turned gold in the fall, wild blackberries covered in raindrops, wild sweet pea flowers blooming in all their pink splendor. I left West Hollywood the next year, with what would fit in my car, moved there, and never looked back.

Every year that I lived there, there was an annual fireworks display by Lake Siskiyou in the town of Mt. Shasta. It was the one time that friends, family and tourists would converge upon the town in vast numbers. Even more folks that any other time at once, even Christmas! I don't know where most people watched, but the people I knew at the time, would park at Lake Siskiyou and we would have to tramp through the shrubs and trees to get a good vantage point. Then we would stumble home in the dark; not so fun through the brush.  There were a few campgrounds that everyone else watched from.  There was a resort, the Mt. Shasta Resort later a few years after I moved there, and they had good views from their restaurant and deck, but only if you were a guest or having dinner at the restaurant.

click to enlarge

The whole 4th of  July celebration was a 3 day affair, ending in the Annual Fireworks display. It was fun because there were always so many vendors and food stalls downtown, live music, local art, and bric a brac and to buy. My friends and I would get together and party down (I was in my 20's). It was a tradition that the town had for over 50 years at that time. It was looked forward to, and planned many months in advance. The 4th of July would start with a parade in town, with live music afterwards, then in the early 80's Dr. Jim Parker started a "Small Town Run - Walk".  It became so big, it could no longer be called small, in fact it is now the largest small town run in the country. They still have it on going to this day.

Well anyway, I was sitting at my dining room table in 1997 and I saw an article about not having any more annual fireworks because it was too hard to raise the funds for it. Wow, I couldn't imagine the kickoff for summer without the fireworks, nor could most of my friends. I called the number in the paper and thereafter became the new fund raiser along with a local businessman, John Kennedy and initially Nancy la Mott. John and I made up the perfect partnership. He knew everyone in town, and I knew how to promote events and work with the media, do the photography, and media flyers. We only had a meeting when we both had something that needed to be done. Otherwise I would just call him if a sponsor needed some media exposure and he would show up for the Newspaper photo ops. He drafted letters to corporate sponsors, something I am lousy at. We just made things happen, working with him was a dream.
The Fund O Meter we used each year to
let folks in town know how we were
doing with funds for the fireworks.
John and I looked at each other and put our thinking caps on. We came up with donations boxes which John designed and made. I made the art that went on them and we put them all around town. One day a girlfriend of mine, Kathy Ahearn was listening to me groan about how slow the donations were coming in, and she suggested a thermometer of sorts, a giant one placed where everyone in town could see how we were doing with funding and whether or not there would be fireworks that year. I gave the idea to John and he ran with it! As the donations went up, the empty space would be filled with red. We placed it in one of the most strategic places, where you just couldn't miss it. It seemed to do the trick a got a lot of attention. It was also a good spot to take photo ops for the various donors and sponsors as well. We used it for the 3 or 4 years that we were in charge of getting donations.

Mt. Shasta had an old steam engine #25, that had recently been put back online we enlisted them to take tourists for rides. The train became a nice fundraiser and a fun family event. One year I enlisted the Mt. Shasta Police chief and his deputies. They would set up a robbery somewhere along the route at the base of Mout Shasta. When old #25 steam engine (which made it's last run in Nov. 2008) hit the mark, these masked bandits on horses would stage a blockage with old barrels and rifles poised in the air (unloaded of course). They would then "force" the conductor to stop so they could board. They would then extract more money from the passengers for the Annual Fireworks display!
Steam Engine #25 - Photo by Michael F. Allen at
I designed and printed up gobs of large WANTED posters with the masked faces of the "Banditos" and posted them everywhere I could in town.  It was the Chief of Police and his deputies posing for me in full cowboy outfits, and on the poster. Of course, you aren't allowed to nail posters to city poles or walls, but because it was the Chief's mug on it, no one ever took them down. I guess they figured it was for a good and mutual cause. It was a popular ride, except when the unpredictable weather would turn cold and it would rain or snow.

I wish the hard drive I had years of photos on hadn't crashed. It took with it many wonderful memories. It was a lot of work and also a lot of fun.

One of the innovations we initiated in 1999, was holding the viewing spot at the golf resort, The Mt. Shasta Resort. I approached the owners and they agreed. It was one of the best spots to view the fireworks from high on a hill overlooking Lake Siskiyou. We then decided, we would charge $1.00 to use the greens. The event had been free for over 35 years, so many people resented it, and I got a lot of F you's from people when we asked for the 1.00!! But how else were we supposed to get funding for this event? Every year it was such a struggle to get the businesses in town to foot it. I figured, the townsfolk wanted to see the Fireworks, so why should we not make each person a part of the funding?

Jon Thomas, one of my all time favorite jewelers in Mt. Shasta. Always very generous.
For the major sponsors, I asked if we could rope off the private parking at the resort, everyone else had to park anywhere they could, and it was quite a hike up those hills. It became a coveted thing to have, one of those spaces right there by the event.

I haven't been around since 2002, but I notice that the Mt. Shasta Resort is still allowing the public on their greens. I don't know if they still charge, but they should. We made a lot of money from the 3 or 4 thousand attendees, it really took a load off of us for the next year. We often had a little under half of the next year's fireworks funding from each 4th of July.

We got a lot of help and support as well as exposure from the Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce and the only newspaper, the Mt. Shasta Herald would send a photographer and reporter out to promote the events and feature our sponsors any time we called them. But even with all of that, the one event that took us over the edge for the next year, was charging that 1.00 entrance fee to watch from the resort-golf club.
It was the first time the history of the Community Fireworks fund that the funds were raised ahead of schedule. Congressman Herger presenting Mayor Gibson with an American flag flown over the capitol.  Click to enlarge. L to R: Diana Limjoco Pollard, Congressman Wally Herger, Mt. Shasta City Mayor Audra Gibson. 
It seems to be forgotten now how the fireworks display started, but I have a vague memory that it started in 1948 as a part of a fund raiser for the park. It then became a tradition and when I picked up the funding, it was 50 years old. The new website for the Community Fireworks Fund says over 35 years, but by my estimation it is now 66 years old! Many of the old timers have passed away, and much of the history of the traditions has faded with them.

One of the more memorable moments was when an aide called from Congressman Wally Herger's office, saying that one of the senior High School graduate students, a Ryan Curtis, had written a letter to the Congressman asking for support. I immediately saw it as a good opportunity to highlight the efforts of the young man and perhaps inspire others his age to care about the community as much. I arranged for Cong. Herger to come up for a photo op. I called a local caterer and got some canapés donated, after which I called our Mayor, Audra Gibson, a personal friend, and told her she was sponsoring the Congressman at her house, after which we would proceed to nearby Shastice park. We gathered the many of the major fund raisers, two supervisors, Bill Hoy and Lavada Erickson for a photo op.  Congressman Herger gave us a good donation, and presented a flag to Mayor Gibson to fly over city hall, with a certificate that it had been flown over the nation's capitol
Circled is Mt. Shasta High School graduate Ryan Curtis, who was responsible for getting Congressman Wally Herger to come up to Mt. Shasta in support of our fireworks fund. He praised Ryan for his effort to help the community by writing him a letter. That's me holding the right corner of the banner, and Congressman Herger in the center front in the dark shirt in back of the banner.
Click to enlarge.
The last year I helped the fireworks fund in 2000, I thought it would be a good idea to put it on the local Mt. Shasta TV station, Channel 15. It showed in every hotel room and had a lot of local subscribers. At that time it was just a blue screen with text typed in by the city clerk, mainly alerting people to any disasters and parking information in the winter.  I approached the Mt. Shasta City Council to see if we could put up our information there, they agreed, but I had to be the one to type in the information.  The City Clerk taught me how and I would type in updates about the funding.

I then asked them why we don't actually have shows on Channel 15, wanting to air some of the video footage of the fireworks. The City Administrator took me to the community center, unlocked a closet, stepped over folding chairs and showed me a funky tube TV on a stand with a VCR underneath it on one of those cheap portable rolling TV stands. No much public access there, the one key unlocked the entire Community Center! But now I am getting into another story, of how I founded MCTV-Channel 15!

Since this seemed like a more far reaching venue, I quit the Fireworks Fund and at the behest of the Mt. Shasta City council, I embarked on my new adventure. Learning all about public Television.

There you have it, a little bit of trivia. Next Chapter, how I started MCTV-Channel 15.   The station now airs in Mt. Shasta, Yreka, McCloud, Weed and Dunsmuir.  It has since become Siskiyou Media Council.

President Tom Moore, of the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce giving me a plaque of Appreciation for my 3 years as Mt. Shasta Community Fireworks Fund.

L to R: Diana Limjoco Pollard, Congressman Wally Herger, Ryan Curtis, Mt. Shasta City Mayor
Audra Gibson - 1998 at Shastice Part, Mt. Shasta City.

Congressman Wally Herger came to Mt. Shasta in support of the Mt. Shasta Community
Fireworks Display Fund, at the request of newly graduate student Ryan Curtis of Mt. Shasta
High School. We wanted to make Ryan and example to his peers for his outstanding
community appreciation and support.

Always a great turn out. When I got there in the late 1970's, the parade wasn't that thrilling. I always screamed with delight an clapped though, just to give the participants a little gratification!
2002 - 4th July Parade -downtown Mt. Shasta, City

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Electric school trike

Our daughter is now going to the local public school since we live almost 2 hours round trip to city center, which is where the private school she last attended was. Now she gets to ride in her daddy's e-Trike which he developed as a R & D research project with former Mayor Edward Hagedorn.

It's still going strong and now we use it to take our daughter and her friends to school everyday. We only live 5 minutes by etrike away from her school. Several of the her friends ride with her everyday and we pick up more kids as we go. It makes 3 round trips per day, as Alysha likes to come home for lunch since we live so close.
Our number one assistant Jhun, taking our daughter and her friends to school. This trike prototype was built by local a Palawan  body shop owned by William Russel.  We used some of his mechanics and ours. Dave Dewbre designed the mechanical system and helped Russel with the design based on the roads here and passenger capacity of the 5000 watt motor.
Alsyha is a lucky girl. She gets to share this great ride with some of her friends. They are all amazed how quiet it is and there are no awful diesel or gas emissions to smell.

Etrike mascot, our assistant's doggie, and our daughter on way home for lunch.
Dave Dewbre driving to school to pick up Alysha for lunch.

Our assistant's dog, always has to come in the etrike to pick up Alysha every trip! If we don't bring him, he will run alongside us until we stop!
Here is a short video I too a in 2012 of the etrike scooting up Puerto Princesa National highway at 75 kilometers per hour.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Just more rambling

Taken in January 2014
It's hard to believe that I'm going to be 66 this year. Now I know why people always say, "it's just a number".  The mind doesn't feel age, except in wisdom gained through life's experiences, if you have strived for it. The body, on the other hand, is feeling it. Not that I ever had a strong body to begin with.

Mom, Helen is a breast cancer survivor.
Mom, Helen Limjoco when she
had breast cancer and was using
only natural therapies. She looked
When I was just an infant, mom said I had a bad case of chickenpox, and nothing my grandfather, a physician, administered would help. They finally called in an "albolario", as they are called here in the Philippines, at least where I'm from. She was a natural herbal healer. She simply boiled some gauva leaves and had them bathe me in the guava water until I showed signs of improvement. Which apparently I did soon after the treatment.

My proclivity towards more natural forms of healing have persisted till this day. When my mother wound up with advanced stages of breast cancer, she beat it with all natural therapies, no chemo or radiation at all. A brave and determined mother I have. I moved in with her and gave her something for her immune system every 3 hours or so. Within a year she was deemed in remission.
Helen and Ramon Limjoco
Mom Helen, and Dad Ramon in
2013 with our daughter Alysha.
I don't totally eschew pharmaceuticals if prescribed by a doctor, but I always ask what they do to my system and try to find something in nature that will do the same thing.  Sometimes I will do a combination, but I do always take an herb or vitamin along with to counter any drug side effects.

My parents are long lived. They are both very much alive. Dad will be 95 in September and mom will be 88, August-2014! Dad is legally blind, but if he weren't, he'd still be very active. His mind is sharp as a tack! Mom is just the most steadfast person I know. There is no stopping her if she has her mind set on something. Dad was one of the first jet fighters for the Philippine Air Force, trained by the US Army Air Corp. A young man from California is coming in a few days to interview him about his World War II experiences. I'm so happy dad's stories will finally be told and remembered. Unfortunately, my mind doesn't retain any of that info. Sadly, only the barest bones of his stories, do I remember.

Being a mom as 65 certainly is turning out to be quite rewarding. I must admit I didn't enjoy the crying baby phase at all and mostly the diapers. Also it was so frustrating not knowing what she wanted. But now, at 6 years old, she's turned into quite a great kid. She's been exposed to our rescued wild animals here in Palawan, and has helped me feed them since she was 4. She loving, kind, generous and smart. She loves people and animals alike. I guess I did a good job inspite of a total lack of experience with children!
rescued otter pups.
Alysha with otter pups.

Since we moved to this farm lot, Alysha and I have raised a baby palm civet, a baby pangolin, aka scaly anteater, and three otter pups! We now have a second wild palm civet and it's the only wild thing we have had to raise that wasn't just a few days to a week old. It still won't let anyone come too close, except me.

We recently released the wild civet with three legs. His leg was amputated at the elbow, and he happily hobbled away from us, looking back only once when I called out to him to say my final goodbye.

We also have domestic animals which Alysha likes to play with.
A rescued baby pangolin
This is a baby pangolin or scaly anteater that came into our care for a few months. Such a divinely
sweet creature and very important to our environment.

Blog of Diana J. Limjoco of the Clan Limjoco