I am training for my 15th ride in the STP, or SEATTLE TO PORTLAND Bicycle Classic of 204 miles on July 13, 2013. Once again I am working on making it a one day ride and I am not riding with a team or a family member. There will be about 8,000 at the start point, so I will not be alone.
I have just completed my first Century training ride and am hoping to do a few more miles, maybe 125 this weekend. The weather is holding out for great possibilities.
Also my daughter and I have been planning a birthday/vacation hike for about 10 days at the end of July.
We submitted reservations for the Wonderland Trail but did not make the lottery cut. Disappointed we got out the map and started studying different routes and finally settled on doing the hike from the Canadian Border following along beside Ross Lake in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Maps and videos are found with this link which we are enjoying exploring.
One of us had to get new hiking boots and now need to break them in, and the other has a new backpack. We are filling them full and walking to work every day to prepare. Also we are both running to keep our legs in shape. I think it is going to be quite the adventure.
We found a source of Gluten Free hiking foods on line.
This is how we love to celebrate our birthdays: My daughter is also having a picnic with friends in a park in San Francisco to celebrate and my Portland daughter is hosting me after the STP and then going camping with her friends for her birthday.
How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you like to be in Nature?
I think it is a good thing for an architect, a software engineer, and a librarian to get outside and touch base with the lessons of nature – a true dose of Vitamin N makes for a healthy new year.
More adventures in Nature:
First 100 mile ride in 2011
Cascades and Siskiyou Mountain Pass Biking Tour 2011
Fall Tour- Columbia Basin 1012
Mon, June 10 2013 » On the Road » No Comments
Raising Elijah-Protecting our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis
The other day I was watching a movie and had arrived at the part where the female and male leads are having a heart to heart conversation about their failed communications during the previous 50 minutes of the reel and the young man says, “What is it that women want?” and the young woman replies, “Here’s the secret – they do not know what they want.”
Some of that statement might be true, and I think we believe it because we have heard that answer so many times during so many movies, but I do not necessarily think it is even 75% the right answer.
So many of my workshops begin with an exercise where the participants take out a sheet of paper and write down 100 things they know how to do…..Most get to about 20 before I have to give them a hint such as: tie your shoes, drive a car, twist your tongue, or what color is a fit for you.
After they get the hint, their pencils just fly and most folks get to at least 75 before times up.
When we ask the question, ‘What do women want?’ we need to put it into a context and make it smaller or categorize the possible answers to see that there is a clear message – especially when those women have children to consider.
Recently, I heard Sandra Steingraber, biologist, writer, mother, and activist, share her story on Bill Moyer’s and Company. On a program called, THE TOXIC ASSAULT ON OUR CHILDREN , Steingraber was exceeding clear about what women want and she was going to be locked in jail the very next day for stating clearly and acting on her beliefs on behalf of all children. She is very clear and poignant about her facts and actions.
Women want love, respect, safety and protection, health, meaningful endeavors and to be heard. When they are not heard, they take these issues into their own hands and create a healthy environment for themselves and their children. We create BUBBLES of security by shopping for organic foods, leaving toxic relationships. and keeping our kids off sugar and drugs while helping them to learn and be their best.
When we know what to do we do it; when we understand women strive to accomplish it.
It is time now to step out of the BUBBLE of Security and create a Global environment for everyone. We need to see that there is a great deal of TOXIC TRESSPASS going on and we need to educate ourselves and others to issues like how the Gulf Oil spill has damaged the seafood supply – yep we can just make sure we don’t purchase Gulf seafood ( 75% of our seafood comes from the Gulf in the USA) or we can go vegetarian, but then we have to know about GMO foods and pesticides – yep we can go organic but without labeling and with the factory farms and Monsanto having all the money, well this maybe a dying possibility in the very near future. And with coal trains and their health hazards and carbon dioxide problems and fracking destroying our ground water, What’s a mother to do?
Get out of the bubble, learn everything you are able to learn and then take to the streets and raise your voices. Go to your legislature, write to Congress and your representative and raise money for re-election campaigns so that those folks are not dependent on the Greedy few. Make the architects in your community share their knowledge and what they are doing with all their LEED knowledge. Do a LIVING BUILDING PROJECT create a model environment in your neighborhood – teach others.
94% of the Architects in Washington State do not want coal exports here or processing. Did you know that? When they lost their candidate for Governor on this issue, the Koch Brothers are now using a new tactic to make their wants come true and make more money. They appear to be the true EARTH TERRORISTS.
What do women want? Clean air and food and a future earth for their children and generations beyond.
Get out of the BUBBLE, it’s the sexy and right thing to do.
Wed, May 1 2013 » Reading » No Comments
Recently we attended a photo lecture called National Geographic LIVE! Jodi Cobb was sharing her photographs from her tenure on staff at the magazine – the only women photographer for many years.
Her work is stunning. Her lecture was about getting us to be aware of what was really there in her journey and in the photograph. Secret worlds and mysterious images allowed her words to enable us to see the details what were not revealed earlier. Our blindness.
“For her book Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art, Cobb entered another world closed to outsiders, the geisha of Japan. She was also given special access to photograph inside a different sort of closed world, the ill-fated Gore presidential campaign of 2000.” (From National Geographic website)
We remembered the picture of the Geisha’s perfect heart lips first thing, the survivor’s story, and then decided that was because it was hard seeing all the other pictures of child slavery and sex slaves and the horrid conditions they worked within; often their parents or families not knowing where they were sold. Those photographs invaded our thinking.
This was the second program on present day slavery, I had attended.
Then I saw the pictures of the Oil Sands pipeline rupture in Arkansas and realized that I had heard the phrase THIS IS THE TIME TO END OUR DEPENDANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS AND RADICALLY CHANGE OUR SOURCES OF ENERGY – WE MUST BE INVOLVED IN CLIMATE CHANGE RECOVERY IMMEDIATELY.
The photographer, the news, and the discussions all produced the dramatic need for immediate change and that the pollution was out of control – often a mystery or secret we were unaware of until it is unmasked before our eyes.
We need to educate our clients about when we are using toxic materials or problematic materials and we need to not use these Products any more:
- No Added Formaldehyde
- Halogenated Flame Retardants
- Neoprene (chloroprene)
- Chlorinated Polyethylene and Chlorosulfonated Polyethlene
- Wood treatments containing Creosote, Arsenic or Pentachlorophenol
Do our Clients know? Do folks in our communities know? Do we know? Are we trying to address this problem? Have we developed a new product? Have we found companies that are aware and creating new products to use? Are we educating people – especially children about what we can do and change?
I am learning to read labels differently in my work and how to share and inform. I no longer compromise with many of these items. The time is now.
Jodi Cobb’s website and pictures
Design With Life In Mind
Thu, April 4 2013 » Inspiration » No Comments
On a recent sunny winter’s day we traveled to Eastern Washington to visit a family member. We loved seeing the folks skiing in the passes, hiking with sleds and some with horses as we traveled along. Wind farms abound on the hill sides and the gorge. As we entered the apple growing valley and approached the Columbia River we saw all the frost turbines in the orchards and hundreds of folks in the sunshine pruning the row after row of orchard trees and grape vines. There were some burning the limbs and some folks bundling them and packing them up; fascinating.
The Rivers presented a spectacular panorama surrounded by the snowy bare foothills.
There seemed to be something missing and it took us until we helped take out the garbage to figure it out. We did not see any solar panels in this sunny, warm spot on our planet. Well they are located not far from one of the largest Dams in our world? Hmmmm? We also did not see any recycling cans or collection boxes, or carts, or bins – all of that was missing. We found it very irritating and harmful to our earth and we made a judgment call which was very negative.
Our home town is working towards ZERO garbage in the very near future. We developed one of the most amazing recycling programs in the State and for a short period of time in the whole USA. It has taken years and hours of education, and not all our neighbors are compliant but there is evidence of our hard efforts very visible everywhere. And in our rainy clime, solar panels abound – our local company is even solarizing folk’s electric cars.
On to the Internet, and we searched the City we had just visited and did find a recycling day set aside this spring – in a parking lot and there was a recycling center listed which was going to pick up what people brought by and the limits of tires and appliances posted.
In our mind, this was not enough. So we deepened the search and we found some good news. The City was just finishing up a Sustainable Study Grant from the AIA International and Seattle chapters and although they had not posted the outcomes yet, it had resulted in a new community center for the Southern Section of the City, which was in desperate need. They have some plans of action outlined, but no more results listed. We were hoping the outcomes would create a smaller cultural divide and less separate but attempting to be equal opportunity? Sustainable?
Whew! We relaxed our judging position and sprinkled into our minds some positive buzz. We are still disappointed that we could not find any evidence online of Organic farming or recycling, or even carbon understanding. What were they spraying those orchards with and did anyone care? How was it affecting and effecting the citizens and the minorities. How was this impacting the health of the community and the city? It seemed as though we needed to make our study more personal.
I looked up our City’s RUDAT study from 1979, which I was a noted volunteer on the project. All the drawings and recommendations are in place and wow was it a change artist for our city and wow has that AIA study and the architects in our community made great connections and communications happen. It is impressive what has been accomplished and the rewards in our life that have come about.
(I will say that the latest City Council seems to be ignoring the recommendations of that study – and maybe we need a fresher study as a new base? I am judging again, I do not think folks care right now.)
Architects have a powerful role to play in our future. I just went to look at LIFE OF AN ARCHITECTS blog about his 24 favorite Architectural Blogs to read and was very judgmental again. There was so little there about products and climate change and how architects can truly educate and be models for amelioration. 24 blogs was a lot of reading; I was disappointed….I will just have to keep deepening my search, because I find it disheartening and discouraging that what I am reading is the same fear found in US vs. Them thinking and our Federal Government. This is an opportunity for architects to be leaders/educators – not just following the norms and trends; the 1940s revisited?
Every building should be NET ZERO at the minimum…
What do you think?
That Funny Picture in Discoveries
Net Zero Energy Homes
Thu, March 7 2013 » Discoveries » No Comments
“Humans are social creatures and it is embedded in their brain the function of socialization. It is a natural thing for them to start a conversation at the register in a grocery store, in a bus stop, or any other place where two people remain close to each other for a minimum amount of time. It is an instinct that creates the need for connection between creatures that contributes to the survival of the species, not only by promoting the reproduction but also the mutual cooperation.” Raul Ojeda
I have been reading and re-reading Charlene Spretnak’s book RELATIONAL REALITY: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World It is an amazing read. The first part of the book is all about how all things/ everything/ all people/ all biology/ all earth matter is related and how over time scientists and spiritual questers have truly come to the same page. It was very much about people and their care and relational beingness. This was a fascinating study and overview.
Part II then related all this relational information to how we are shifting our educational views and our parenting systems as we learn about our relational modality. Could hardly put it down or stop reading.
Part III was about the Shift in Health and Healthcare. I have to admit I read this section of the book 3 times before moving on. Powerful thinking happening here.
Part IV is called the Relational Shift in community Design and Architecture. I have just finished this section and would wish it would be high up on everyone I knows’ list to read next – because it is very vital, potent material which over the past 35 years I have heard alluded to, and here it is all combined into overview form.
Chapter 5 and 6 I have not started yet they are on economics and how people can step up and respond.
Very good summary and overview here, which I want to enthusiastically share with you; please find a way to read this book.
I also want to share this creative communication with you and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Life of an Architect Blog: Architect + Architect
The Social Animal by David Brooks
Architecture Which Repares It’s self
Biomimicry Architecture and Living Building Challenge
Thu, February 14 2013 » Reading » 1 Comment
The tree in middle
A loud crack and crash greeted our morning at about 5 am. It was the part of the top of our neighbor’s Historic and Giant Western Cedar tree breaking off and coming down.
When we went to investigate we could see that the top had gone through the neighbor’s garage roof and another large branch had taken out our fencing, some of the landscaping and fortunately missed the house and the deck.
The whole situation was assessed and it became apparent that the entire tree would need to come down for safety reasons and to save the house which was built around it. Someone about 40 years ago had TOPPED the tree and 3 new trees had grown from the cut off spot. I had heard all my life NEVER TOP A TREE and we certainly got a lesson on how dangerous that practice can be.
It was estimated to cost about $10,000.00 to remove the tree for lumber or sale – the wood is stunning. But the insurance would not cover that large a cost. It was decided to cut the tree and fell it into the woods on the bluff allowing it to become a nursery log. Large branches were removed and the top came down.
Top half down
It was amazing to witness. The section began in slow motion to come down and tilt towards the rope and pulleys. It just lay on air for a second or two, followed by a free fall and finally a race to crashing down. One of the loggers took a movie of the descent.
The skilled crew enjoys their work
On to the second half, and we were all prepared for the lift and the ballet of this fall.
What remains to ground out
It has been an exciting week and we have learned many lessons and how the city, county, state, and insurance companies work with Acts of Nature. Architects need to know and understand these big trees before they design the structure and we all need to know the rule DO NOT TOP THE TREE.
Mount Rainer watches tree fall
I know that some of these pictures are a bit blurry, but I did the best I could with the cellphone camera and my shaky hands. I believed that it would still make a good story even when not being picture perfect.
Do you understand the trees in your life? What is the life of the tree you know? Trees help us breathe clean air, do we help them? When is it an act of Nature and when is it encroachment?
Trees Coming Down (Patricia’s Wisdom)
The Tree of Life (Patricia’s Wisdom)
Men in Trees (Patricia’s Wisdom)
Fri, January 18 2013 » Discoveries » 1 Comment
Always open to new ideas and looking for the beauty that surrounds us in nature, the Biking Architect set off to take a fresh look at the Pacific Ocean and drive Highway 101 and 1 to California. He did this trip on his bicycle nearly 10 years ago with a group of guys, this year he took his wife, connected with daughters and was renewed by the fresh air and beautiful sites.
There were many stops along the way because his passenger insisted (did not nag). BA discovered that the batteries were not charged in his camera. So pause here for a moment and visualize the sand dunes, Marine Museums, lighthouses, redwoods, tourist traps and the magnificent Pacific Ocean Waves; all of these attractions highlighted by wind, rain, RVs and glorious sunshine.
First bike ride in California was Coyote Point to Chrystal Springs Reservoir (It was No Cars day!)
My wife and I experienced an Intuitive Painting Wild Heart Workshop at Creative Juices Arts Studio owned by Chris Zydel in Oakland.
Adventure #3 was to San Jose’ to experience the Tech Museum of Innovation with my new friend Roan and then to my daughter’s home and we went to see the movie LINCOLN – Wow I hope you have all gotten to see this movie?
On Turkey Day we did the Turkey Trot (under an hour for me!) and then we painted and explored Healdsburg having our feast at the Madrona Manor .
Last but not least, a glorious hike on the Scott’s Valley Trail thru the redwoods southwest of San Jose.
Our return trip home was also along the coast with a stop in Portland to see our newest family member – Lorax!
Refreshing the ideas and visions for the year ahead and hoping that your holidays will inspire you and your work in the coming year.
How do you refresh, renew and invigorate?
Up Hill and Down
Fall Tour 2012
Sun, December 2 2012 » Discoveries » 1 Comment
I like to keep discovering things and people and one of the office peeps shared with me this very witty blog by Bob Borson who resides in Texas and writes a blog called Life of An Architect
I passed along the following blog post because my partner said it is all true what he says here, except she knows several spouses who went years without a refrigerator and yet had incredible art hanging on the walls, which is something she would add to his impressive list. She also subscribed to the blog and often laughs upon reading a new post and “liked” his page on Facebook.
The following is a whole post that is worth considering in full and jumping over to find the blog yourself:
From the Post: Dating an Architect 10/1/2012
Perception versus reality is a topic I have covered a few times on this site. One aspect of that topic that I haven’t delved into is the perception of the architect. The general consensus is that architects are intelligent, honorable, stylish (e.g. wear a lot of black) creative types … the plus side of being an artist without the “starving” precursor.
Architecture is frequently chosen as the profession for characters in the movies and on TV for the simple reason that there is no downside to the character perception of an architect. They can be all the things you want your hero to be without the baggage that comes along with other vocations typically associated with highly intelligent people. You also can set your story however you want … meaning if your character is a doctor, it’s a medical show, lawyer … a legal drama, a cop, well, a cop show. Architects can do and be anything the writers of these shows want them to be. Even if Hollywood doesn’t really understand what we do, there is clearly a perception that architects are ethical and responsible and will endeavor to make the right decision to their own detriment.
While all those items might (or might not) be true, if you find yourself on the singles market and learn that your suitor is an architect, don’t be fooled by what you have learned on TV – there is a lot of other information about architects that you need to know. You can’t base your information off what you learn from Hollywood … be sensible, you need to include some information you find off the internet.
Here are some traits – some good and some bad – that almost every formally trained architect around the world share. In no particular order:
- Do you need something glued? Architects can tell you when to use white glue vs. hot glue vs. rubber cement vs. epoxy. It’s not complicated but everybody gets it wrong.
- Do you think you have an opinion? If you can’t “articulate” why you have said opinion it will be considered inferior. It will probably be considered inferior anyway but you have no chance if you can’t explain exactly why you have the opinion that you have.
- Thinking about taking a trip (like to Hedonism)? If it isn’t somewhere architecturally significant or have some redeeming historical context … you probably won’t be going.
- Architects don’t have as much money as you think they do … and what they do have is on the 10 year “Eames Chair and ottoman Savings Plan.” The flip side is that architects don’t spend money either. It’s not that they’re cheap, they are just saving their money until they can buy the exact thing that they want.
- Architects don’t seem to love anything that actually exists. They might say that they really like something … but even then they will systematically point out all of its flaws.
- Did you know that there are different shapes of X-Acto blades? Don’t feel bad … unless you build models, N O B O D Y knows that. Architects will make sure that when you need the right X-Acto blade, you will have the right X-Acto blade.
- The science fair and art projects of your future children will be amazing … (it just won’t be done by them.)
- The likelihood that you will attend “Late Night at the Museum”, gallery openings, and photo exhibits is extremely high.
- Ever thought about buying a new piece of furniture? Be prepared to never have new furniture ever again. Architects are okay having bookcases made out of 2×12?s and cinder blocks but they will not let a couch that has rounded arms, a dust ruffle or floral patterns in their house (‘cause that’s just crazy.)
- Architects think they are handy when in fact, most are not. Just because they own a nice screw gun and understand what the contractor is saying does not necessarily translate into being able to do it. (Of course you won’t learn this lesson until after the cabinets have been pulled off the wall…). The few that are handy will take an extremely long time to complete a project because they are striving for perfection.
- Architects are constantly learning new skills. As a group, they tend to want to learn by doing but since they are erudite, they will most likely read a book about it first.
- According to a very scientific research study (conducted by me), a very high percentage of architects enjoy cooking. According to that same study, an even higher percentage of architects hate washing dishes.
- Be prepared for all your new friends to be other architects. Architects lose the ability to speak like regular people because in college, “archispeak” is drilled into their heads like waterboarding. Listen to an architect talk for an evening and I can guarantee that you will hear at least one of the following words: ”juxtaposition” “axis mundi” “clarity” “truncated” “uniformity” and “composition”.
- Architects are very good at giving their opinion as if it were fact and will be so convincing that you will think they know something about everything. Do not be fooled, they learn to speak this way in architecture studio.
- If it isn’t black, white or grey (but mostly black, let’s not kid ourselves) architects don’t know how to dress themselves. You might think that architects have a good sense of style, they don’t … it’s the same style and the rules as passed down from one generation of architects to the next. Architects will continue to wear black … at least until something darker comes out.
- Any hope you had of remaining ignorant to unresolved plan geometries that create chaotic roof forms is lost.
- Architects don’t have tremendous upper body strength. Or lower body strength.
- Architects have an unnatural relationship with their coffee. And if it isn’t in a particular paper cup from a particular coffee vendor, it will be out of the same mug. Every day.
So there you go, a little inside information on the character traits of most architects – man or woman. All things considered, you could probably do a lot worse. From what the research would indicate, the character traits for “Homeless Alcoholic Gambler” would be worse.
Thu, November 1 2012 » Inspiration » No Comments
Every year I go to a number of new product meetings. I get credits to upgrade my license and keep current and I go to information meetings to learn about changes and details. I am teaching one client at a time and adding to the designs I am creating one project at a time.
At one seminar, an engineer shared with us the list of new products that had to be designed and developed in order to complete a Living Building Challenge Project. This fellow had 22 people working over a year to research and find people and companies to make the products that they needed to complete the school on time and within the required boundaries and scope. They had to educate many managers and company CEOs to what they needed and how the products needed to function and with a bit of “push me pull me” everyone designed and developed the products which were needed.
Now a group of folks want us to help them complete the next phase of their energy efficient co-housing project. They want to complete the plans as they designed them a number of years ago. That is fine, but it seems like we need to share with them the 100s of new possibilities that have been designed and created to help them be even more planet friendly, energy efficient, hypoallergenic, and carbon clean. Such as, the new ductless heat pumps which can provide larger spaces with extremely cost effective units that will only cost $160 a year to heat and cool the buildings. We have the test results and are now using these products in our projects – folks are very happy with what we have learned.
Designing a school or classroom with these new ideas and products is a way to educate. The people who use these buildings will believe this is the way to go and to be part of the future. Most people do not know.
It is still primarily just one on one education; how can we expand that?
20 years ago we got a documentary about the future of the transportation industry and showed it to all the middle school students in our district. One of the statements in that film was that the Federal Government was predicting that most 6 year olds would never own a personal car in their lives. Our infrastructure has not kept up with that model, but I do know of a number of those students who are choosing not to own a personal car and have designed their lives around that concept.
Do people you know understand that biologists are involved in the design process of many buildings now? Does your city council, school board, and leadership understand all the new ideas and designs? Do the contractors understand the new products and design needs? How are the codes changing to meet these new understandings?
I think we need a way to teach and disseminate more of this information. Folks are not so afraid when they can see and understand. They often do not know what they do not know - are not looking either.
What are your ideas on getting the word out?
Living Building Challenge 2.0
Where Have All the Design Leaders Gone?
A post about Leed Certified Buildings
Mon, October 1 2012 » Discoveries » No Comments
This summer I was privileged to attend two very interesting presentations which activated my excitement about the LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE 2.0
The first presentation was in Tacoma, Washington in July 2012 at the Cascadia Green Building Council and AIA joint event : THE SCIENCE OF DESIGN – BIOMIMICRY AND BIOPHILIC DESIGN. We met at the Center for Urban Waters and heard two very capable and exciting speakers.
Nicole Isle, Director of Planning and Sustainability/Brightworks
“As a watershed ecologist and urban planner, Nicole helps project teams understand how biological knowledge can accelerate sustainability goals in the built environment. She is trained as a Biologist at the Design Table through the Biomimicry Guild and helped to launch the Oregon Biomimicry Network. The organization recently won a Bullitt Foundation grant in partnership with the Puget Sound Network to help implement Biomimicry projects in the Pacific Northwest.”
Her talk and slides were a wonderful resource and we took lots of notes.
Amanda Sturgeon, AIA, Vice President, Living Building Challenge/International Living Future Institute
“She is an award-winning architect and has been recognized as a pioneering leader in the green building movement in the northwest region. Amanda was a founding board member of the Cascadia Green building Council, has served on the board of AIA Seattle and has been a visiting Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington. Amanda won the Betterbricks Architect award in 2008 http://www.betterbricks.com/awards/interview-amanda-sturgeon , and was the 2011 AIA?NAIUSI Fellow through which she spent a month in Italy studying biophilia and beauty as a pathway to restorative future. “
Stunningly beautiful and inspiring experience.
Just a few weeks ago we went on a home tour of energy efficient homes. We were totally impressed with the Inspiration Home on the tour. “It is an innovative, sustainable home with exceptionally clean indoor air and extremely low energy bills ($15 a month $160 a year for heat or AC and solar Hot water heater)” We wanted to thank Scott Homes for doing such a great job and showing us personally around. There is a great slide show with the Inspiration Home featured on the website.
The house was designed for clients, who will be moving in soon.
We were so inspired by the presentations that we are working on developing our own LIVING BUILDING Challenge site to be used as a teaching lab for builders and future homebuyers in our area.
What refreshed and inspired your work over the past season?
Sat, September 1 2012 » Discoveries, Inspiration » No Comments