A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part two Blog ten)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part two Blog ten)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

As the horizon grows redder Master Jo Anne is shocked to see Captain Peg leg’s Surprise less than ten fathoms away. 

“Mornin’ Kyaputen, Zala,” she hears Umi say.

“Morning Umi,” the Captain replies groggily.

She hears the Captain walk up to her. 

“Bastards are trying to take our wind now that we’re in the open,” the Captain says.  “You are officially relieved to sleep Master Jo Anne.”

“I thanks you Captain Alejandra,” she replies passing the Captain the telescope.  “Zala will call for you?”

“Aye,” the Captain replies rubbing sleep from her eyes.  “Could you send our ‘Master-at-arms’ to me?”

“Aye Captain Alejandra, that I will.”  She and the Captain consider each other sisters.  In front of the crew she will only say ‘Captain’ but alone they refer to each other by title and true name.  A reminder that they are no different than any of the other girls. 

As she walks towards the stairs she says, “Morning Zala.”

“Mornin’ ‘Navigator’,” Zala replies wavering on her feet.

On the deck she sees ‘One Eye’ talking to ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Harlot’.  ‘One Eye’ has her mandolin strapped around her shoulders.

“Looks like Humphrey peeing over the gunwale,” She hears ‘One Eye’ say mischievously.

“That’s who I want,” the ‘Harlot’ says followed by a cooing sound.  The ‘Harlot’ steps up to the deck’s starboard gunwale, and making a funnel with her hands shouts out.  “Looks more like a mushroom than a carrot.”

“I’ll carrot you, you flat chested harpy.”  She can just hear Humphrey shout back at the ‘Harlot’.

The ‘Harlot’ undoes her blouse and shakes her chest in reply.

“What are you doing?” ‘One Eye’ asks as she bends over laughing.

“He’s seen it a few years ago,” the ‘Harlot’ replies with a shrug.

“Did you try to get pregnant than?” ‘One Eye’ asks.

“Nay, was too young, made him pull out.  Kinda regret that now.  But I’d want to keep him with me and that’s not allowed.  Well my mischievous sisterlies, I’m off to make strings for bows and crossbows.”  The ‘Harlot’ nonchalantly sways her hips as she walks away.

“Why would she be making strings for bows and crossbows?”  ‘Wheel Turner’ asks.  “And a bit of regret in that last statement.  Wonder if we ever get a permanent place on the mainland if she’ll surrender her sea feet to have a land bound family.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” ‘One Eye’ says.

“Her last statement reminds me.  I’ve got to wake the ‘Master-at-arms’ before I can sleep,” Master Jo Anne says as she wonders what the Captain has in store for the crew.

“I’ll go with you,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says.

“Both of you be careful,” ‘One Eye’ warns them.  “She sleeps with a knife.”

“I’ll poke her with a mop handle,” Master Jo Anne tells ‘One Eye’ with a grin.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part two Blog nine)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part two Blog nine)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

The water in the channel to the sea has white caps now.  She bites her lower lip in concentration.  In the light of the two moons she can see boulders to the port and starboard.  “Stay be forward ye cranky dawdler!” she shouts out. 

“Keep ye straight ye long haired nilly!” she hears Umi shout out in her Japanese accented English and nearly chokes with laughter.

“I’m be straight ahead ye incompetent lassies!” she can just make out ‘Wheel Turner’ shout back.

She finds it hilarious hearing the girls argue in a variety of accents mostly in English.  But often as not the girls will incorporate a few words of their native tongue.  A boulder comes into sight right in line with the Nagua’s bow.  “Turn ye port like a banshee!”

“Port ye Yōsei!” she hears Yumi scream out.

She stops breathing, clenches onto the scrying ball, and stares eyes wide as the boulder looms ever closer.  Then the ship turns and she exhales.  She closes her eyes and thanks the two moons that ‘Wheel Turner’ is so fit and strong.  “Thank ye Eau-de-vie,” she says to the smaller cognac coloured moon, “And ye Cachaça,” to the larger whitish coloured moon.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part Two Blog eight)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog eight)

She laments how a single moment can damage someone so badly.  Until they’re ready to fight Barthadrow the Ship Builder will have no closure.  She on the other hand keeps memories close, to give her strength.

Her father was coerced into sailing to Australia on a ship of criminals.  For her it was an adventure.  She had lost her mother to Scarlet Fever when she was four.  So her father brought her up in his blacksmith shop.  As they sailed her father told her that a lot of the ‘criminals’ were people who were caught stealing food in order to survive.   

Somewhere on the Indian Ocean their galleon, the New World, was attacked by a pirate galleon.  Sailing nearby by though, was Captain Barthadrow’s dreaded Corrupta; a hundred canon galleon.  There were also five more, smaller galleons in his fleet.  So the Ship Builder told her when she was older. 

It was a desperate fight for the pirates, whose ship was rotting.  They used grapples to attack the ship.  As they fought the Spanish soldiers and British mercenaries aboard, the chained criminals cheered and cried out to them.  She remembers her young eyes widening with wonder when a woman with flowing brunette hair and icy blue eyes dressed in a shimmering robin egg robe climbed aboard the ship.  The fascinating woman stole a ring of keys from the main jailor as he was fighting the Ship Builder and started unlocking the criminals.  Meanwhile, her father was stabbed in the chest.  He managed to defeat the soldier he was fighting and unbuckle the belt that held the sheath of his rapier.  He tossed the belt and his rapier to her and in a fading voice yelled, “Hide!”

That’s when a shooting star flew overhead, alighting the sky in a cobalt blue glow.  At the same time a funnel as wide as the eye could see appeared over the sea.  She watched, mesmerized, as it pushed into the water until there was only a massive whirlpool.  That’s all she remembers until the Ship Builder and the Witch saved her and Alejandra at the other end of the Milky Way.   

They told her they had found an abandoned bilander and swam to it.  Three other men, all former prisoners on the New World joined them: Jandamarra, who was captured from Western Australia; Drissa from the Ivory Coast; and Esadowa from somewhere between the Northeast of the Thirteen Colonies and Southeast of Canada.

She remembers gazing over the gunwale at the wreckage of ships.  Later the Witch would tell her they may have come from different time periods; perhaps different worlds.  She wondered if the shooting star kept the earlier ships and people swirling in the whirlwinds before letting them all go at once into the sea of this world. 

Jandamarra, Drissa, and Esadowa now live among the horsepeople.  All three men warned the horsepeople about Barthadrow and the European idea that if they disembark on your land they can claim it.  It made finding a land base difficult but it also stopped Barthadrow from taking over anything on the mainland.  So far Barthadrow only controlls a single island, she and the other pirates call Dread Island.  The Ship Builder told her that peaceful giants with long arms and big bellies let Barthadrow and his crew land on their shores to trade.  But Barthadrow struck a Spanish flag and a smaller British flag for the mercenaries into the land and claimed it for Spain.  The giants were butchered until they submitted and became slaves.

The only good outcome of the battle was that Barthadrow used up most of his cannon shot and so far no alternative to gunpowder has been discovered on this world.  Oh well, there’s always trouble on whatever planet your on she supposes.   

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part Two Blog seven)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part Part Two Blog seven)

Part Two

The sun is down and the two moons visible,” Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne sings as she stands at the base of the bowsprit peering into the darkening horizon with a telescope.  “Smell the salt in the air to know how close to shore you are.”

Compare the direction of the wind to the movement of the waves

And you’ll know where you’re heading even in thick fog

Learn the stars that are the same but just off from those you remember seeing on lost Earth

Then take another sip of rum and you’ll see dolphin-tails and fish-tails even when there are none.”

 She hears the Captain talking to the Ship Builder behind her.  The Captain will sleep through the night before taking over her role as navigator in the morning.  ‘One Eye’ will take ‘Wheel Turner’s’ position during the day until they get through the deadly shallows of what is secretly called Hidden Cove Strait.  She watches the rapid water flowing between the barren island No Life and the cliffs that contain the cove they just left, known as Only Death Lives Here.

She glances back just as Umi climbs up to the fo’c’sle with a dim lantern.  Umi will be the caller for the night until they get through the shoals.  She has quite the lungs for such a quiet girl.  Normally Master Jo Anne only sees her dressed in a white loin cloth; white to ward off sharks or whatever swims below in this world.   Right now Umi’s in a mix match of capris, fish boots, and a blanket.  What she’s wearing under the blanket Master Jo Anne can’t tell.  She sees the Ship Builder nod at the Captain and Umi as walks her way.

The Ship Builder stands beside her with a rolled cloth.  “In case you need it,” he says in halting words.

“I’m good,” she replies tapping the coiled hand guard of her rapier.  Her gaze stays on his missing finger.  “I miss her too,” she says.  She looks up and notices his face drawn in.  “Look,” she continues as she lifts a small scrying ball attached to a thick silver necklace from her shirt.  His expression turns to admonishment.  “I didn’t steal it, she gave it to me,” she says hurriedly.  “She was teaching me how to use it.  When I’m out here alone it helps me to focus.  I don’t think it tells me what is about to happen.  More it clears my thoughts so I can predict what is up ahead based on what I already see in front of me.”

She notices his lips quiver before he takes in a deep breath and tells her, “I’ll leave you to it then.”  She watches him climb down the ladder of the fo’c’sle.

Book Review of Barak Obama’s “A Promised Land”

Book Review of Barak Obama’s “A Promised Land”

By Dan Watt, B.A. Anthropology and History, W.L.U.

“Here’s the thing,” I would say.  “Most people, wherever they’re from whatever they look like, are looking for the same thing. They’re not trying to get filthy rich.  They don’t expect someone else to do what they can do for themselves.

“But they do expect that if they’re willing to work, they should be able to find a job that supports a family.  They expect that they shouldn’t go bankrupt just because they get sick.  They expect that their kids should be able to get a good education, one that prepares them for this new economy, and they should be able to afford college if they’ve put in the effort.  They want to be safe, from criminals or terrorists.  And they figure that after a lifetime of work, they should be able to retire with dignity and respect.”  – Barak Obama (p. 48)

A Promised Land is an insightful autobiography of national and international politics that gives you a front row seat to what it’s like to be a political leader.  Obama describes where his values came from and his evolution as a person and politician.  He doesn’t claim everything he did succeeded but he does demonstrate how his team did the best they could under the circumstances.  He gives examples of what his goals were and the necessity to often make compromises to reach those goals. 

The book is in chronological order with historical inserts of social, political, environmental, military, and economic history to help the reader understand why certain events like the economic crash in 2008 happened, and why the war in Afghanistan continued.

Throughout A Promised Land Obama refers to the influences his mother, Ann Dunham, and his maternal grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, had on his belief system. 

When he was a child and his mother found out he had been part of a group teasing another kid his mother sat him down and told him:  “You know, Barry (his nickname), there are people in the world who think only about themselves.  They don’t care what happens to other people so long as they get what they want.  They put other people down to make themselves feel important.  Then there are people who do the opposite, who are able to imagine how others must feel, and make sure that they don’t do things that hurt people.  So, which kind of person do you want to be?”  (6-7)  From his maternal grandmother he learned stoicism:  “She taught me to marry passion with reason, to not get overly excited when life was going well, and to not get too down when it went badly.” (114) 

Obama gives credit to those who helped him along the way.

Such as his Chief of Staff during his early senator days, Pete Rouse, who helped him recruit “a topflight staff”.   (55)  David Axelrod, media consultant (43) and Robert Gibbs, communications director (50) along with a host of others are mentioned throughout the book giving a sense that a democratic leadership is really a ‘We’ government.  

He also talks about how surprise moments drove home his belief in himself and that he could become the next leader of the United States.  In Greenwood, South Carolina, he was preparing to give a speech when he heard Edith Childs shout out: “Fired up!” and the gathering reply with: “Ready to go!”  Obama admits hearing the chant energized him.  The chant became the rallying call throughout his candidacy for the presidency.  (97, 196)  The chant was also a reminder throughout his campaign that he wasn’t just running for the presidency but that upholding belief in the Declaration of Independence still meant something. 

He mentions that “a burly, bearded guy in biker garb and covered with tattoos strode up to me after an event and shoved something into my hand.  It was his lucky metal poker chip…”  As others gave him their tokens or lucky charms he started keeping them in his pocket during speeches.  (p. 190)

Obama demonstrates his willingness to work with individuals in a bipartisan manner and his thankfulness to those who stood up for him when others were attacking his character.

In his junior year as a senator Obama connected with Dick Lugar, a Republican from Indiana and the chair of Foreign Relations Committee.  Lugar and Democratic Senator Sam Nunn were able to pass legislation that allowed America to help the Soviet Union deactivate nuclear warheads.  Lugar invited Obama to travel with him to Russia to see where nuclear weapons were deactivated.  He mentions how Lugar opened his eyes to the difference a senator could really make.  (60-61)  

When Sarah Palin started accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists who would target their own country” and other false accusations it was John McCain, his Republican competitor for the presidency, who stood up for him.  At a rally in Minnesota McCain told the audience, “I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”  (195)

Obama lets future leaders know that anything you do in a public place will be made into news.

At the Western Wall in Jerusalem he wrote a prayer on a piece of paper and placed it into the wall.  It was meant as a private message to God but someone dug it out after he departed and gave it to an Israeli newspaper who printed it.  (160)   

Keeping grounded is something Obama truly believes in. 

When Michelle asked her mother Marian Shields Robinson to help take care of the girls and also so she has someone to talk to Obama embraces the idea.  “My mother-in-law didn’t act like she was better than anybody else, so our daughters never even considered that an option.”  (223)

Obama made sure he visited Walter Reed and Bethesda naval hospitals throughout his tenure as president.  Seeing up close what war can do to an individual reminded him to be as sure as he could be, that the decisions he made, were the right ones.  Not all the sons and daughters in the United States military came back alive, and many others that did, didn’t always come home whole.  He mentions visiting a soldier so bandaged up the soldier’s mother had to remind Obama that he and her son had met before.  (576-577)

Obama learned early in life to reverse the roles so he could try to understand another person or groups perspective. 

He demonstrates this often in the book so the reader sees both sides of an argument.  On why the Tea Party seemed such an attraction to working and middle class whites he points out that: “Many of the working- and middle-class whites gravitating to the Tea Party had suffered for decades from sluggish wages, rising costs and the loss of the steady blue-collar work that provided secure retirements.”  (404)

To initiate a program to protect the environment Obama once more demonstrated that getting the job done was his first priority.   

He used the cap-and-trade system initiated by the Republican President George H. W. Bush’s administration in 1990 as a template.  In Obama’s words Bush’s system worked, because “Despite dire predictions that the measure would lead to factory closures and mass layoffs, the offending companies had quickly figured out cost-efficient ways to retrofit their factories, and within a few years, the problem of acid rain had all but disappeared.” (501)

There is so much in this book I have not mentioned.  It took me a long time to read, not because it’s a big book at 700 odd pages but because Obama deals with so many aspects of his personal and political life.  His grandmother and mother’s influence; his love for his wife Michelle and their two girls Sasha and Malia Ann; his gratefulness towards all the hard work the people he collaborated with on his journey to the senate and then the presidency; and how his knowledge of national and world affairs helped him to see from different perspectives that allowed him to negotiate whenever possible but demand if necessary.

This book answered a lot of questions I had about a number of events over the last twenty years.  I still remember watching a meeting Obama was holding at a town on TV.  To paraphrase, I heard him say: This is what people are asking and this how I reply.  I had never heard a leader say that before.  And he did answer.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in taking political science, or simply wanting to learn what leadership should be like.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog six)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog six)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Oli nods at the Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turn’ Synthia who is standing before the helm.  The spoked wheel is almost as tall as she is.  Next she and Aarini climb up the steps to the fo’c’sle where the Captain is holding Oli’s mandolin and standing with the Navigator and Zala.  Together they watch as the girls pour up the stairs of the hold to the deck.  Making sure they line up properly is the Master-at-arms.

 “We’re a sisterhood of pirates,” the Captain whispers into her ear as she passes Oli her mandolin.

Ahoy, me hearties!” Oli sings down to the crew.

We’re a sisterhood of pirates!

The Captain says it’s time to sail

Turn the capstan to lift the anchor

Unfurl the masts it’s time to go

 “Aye, aye, Captain,” the crew sings.

We’re a sisterhood of pirates,” they continue as the Master-at-Arms grabs a hold of one of the capstan’s bars.  The cook, ‘Unibrow’ Nippie joins in along with some of the teenagers.

Round and round clockwise we go!” They sing over and over again.

The surgeons get some of the younger girls to climb the masts and help unfurl the main and mizzen sail.

Once the anchor is locked into place at the side of the forecastle Oli changes the song:

Heave the sheets to open the sails

And watch the position of the sun in day

And the stars at night

While we search for things to steal

From that Monstrous Captain Barthadrow!

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog five)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog five)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Oli flips open the covering to the stairs to the hold.  She doesn’t need to switch the eyepatch yet, there’s enough sun seeping through the canon windows left open by the girls.  “All hand hoy!” she shouts out at the rows of hammocks hanging from the hold’s beams.  Some are two abreast a side.  She slaps the thick wooden pillars and shouts out again “All hand hoy!”  Some of the younger girls wake up with a start and fall out of their hammocks onto the chest below that contains all their belongings. 

She goes farther into the hold, occasionally with her hands above her head running her fingers along the thick ropes that connect the helm wheel to the anchor.  Her eyes methodically check the condition of the overhead rope that attaches the capstan to the chain of the anchor.  Once she reaches the section of the hold where the teenage girls sleep, she shouts, “Zala!” to a tall girl originally from Ethiopia.  “Go immediately to the Captain.  Aarini, you’re with me,” she says shoving the hammock of a girl born to a fishing family in India.

Aarini follows her as she walks farther along.  She finds the surgeons Canneta and Areso already out of their single extra wide hammock.  Canneta is so tall her head nearly touches the ceiling of the hold.  Oli has always been fascinated by Canneta’s appearance.  The surgeon has short orange hair and blue eyes with dark skin that Oli could only wish she could get tanning in the sun.  Canneta was ten in Nigeria when her father took her and her mother on his fishing boat to escape a battle between local tribes.  Areso on the other hand is much shorter than Canneta.  Oli thinks of the attractiveness of Tristan’s crew when she sees Areso.  Long dark hair flows over Areso’s shoulders and her face is mesmerizing.  She too was on her father’s fishing boat to escape fighting in North Korea when a whirlpool in the Japanese Sea sucked them into this world.   Both girls are attractive and smart and yet they cannot continue their hereditary by being together.  Oh well, Oli thinks.  Life is full of mysteries.

Past another set of wooden pillars is ‘Unibrow the Cook’ Nippie and her helper Janice.  Janice tosses and turns in her cot.  Maybe the string necklace the Captain asked ‘Harlot’ Thelma to make with the boy Dirst’s molar will set her at ease.  Nippie was on a ship full of orphans heading from Britain to Australia when it was sucked into a whirlpool.  Nippie doesn’t know her age or just refuses to tell anyone.  Where exactly she’s from is another mystery.  She’s tall and stalky and strong.  Her voice is harsh and boisterous.  Most of the time she keeps to herself so the galley is a perfect spot for her.  However, every girl has to work with her at some time.  Learning to cook and salt fish and other meats, knowing the right amount of beer or wine to add to fresh water to keep it safe, and how much vodka to add to fruits is imperative to survival on a ship.  ‘Unibrow Nippie’ is still snoring so Oli shakes her awake.

Next Oli wakes up ‘Ship Protector’ Umi.  Umi, a Japanese Ama pearl diver was on the ocean floor collecting oysters when she was pulled into a whirlpool.  Tiny and very fit, Umi is the only one who can search the ship for damage or ocean passengers.  She is also the one who communicates with the dolphin-tails and occasionally the fish-tails.

Lastly Oli gets to the stern of the hold where a door leads to the room where the Ship Builder sleeps and works.  She bangs on the door and shouts, “All hands hoy!  The bow of the ship has a funny smell.  Could be one of the sitsees in the Head is clogged!”  Inside the room she hears a thud she is sure is his head hitting one of the overhead beams.  Grinning she returns to the deck with Aarini.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog three)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog three)

“I asked her,” Oli says with frustration, “I swear that one is the child of Lust.  She got drunk on rum and admits she may have opened herself willingly to Captain Peg leg’s crew.  It’s Janice I worry about.  One of Captain Peg leg’s younger men decided she was willing when she was not.  “Wheel Turn” Sylvia stopped him before he could get on top of her.”  As she worried would happen the Captain once again spits into the water.

“Master Navigator Jo Anne,” she hears the Captain call out with a voice full of icy decision.  Their Navigator ties back her long brunette hair with a blue ribbon as she saunters towards them.  Oli notices how the Navigator already has her hand wrapped around the hilt of her rapier.  The hand guard is a marvel of coiled metal.

“She sleeps with that rapier,” Oli says, hoping it will dwindle down the deathly coldness she feels emitting from the Captain.  “I asked her if I could try it to see how smoothly it wields.  She took a step back and partially withdrew it.  I won’t ask her again after that.”

“It was her father’s,” the Captain says, “the last reminder of him from Earth.  We’re off to see Captain Peg leg,” the Captain says to both her and the Navigator.  “Our dear Helmswoman, “Wheel Turn” Synthia, will be in command.”  Oli follows the gaze of the Captain as she peers over the railing of the fo’c’sle where a female figure is slouched against the base of the foremast with her right hand still holding a bottle of rum.  “Or our Master-at-Arms “Dizzying Blade” Sadie.”  Oli once again follows the Captain’s gaze.  This time towards the centre of the deck, where their Master-at-Arms is sprawled against the capstan.    In her right hand she is grasping the hilt of her rapier and in the other a jug of rum.

“Thelma,” the Captain calls to the girl sewing the battens into the extra mainsail.

Oli is always amazed how Thelma’s skin constantly glows with sensuality now that’s she’s a young woman.

“Yes, Oh Captain my Captain,” Thelma replies while continuing to sew.

“Your encounter with Captain Peg leg and his crew, was it consensual?” 

“Aye Captain, it was.  Not all seeds sown grow.  So I can’t rely on a single sower can I?”

Oli is as surprised as the Captain by Thelma’s nonchalant words.

“You want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks.

“What about the Ship Builder,” Oli blurts out.  She wishes she hadn’t as the Captain is now giving her a dark look.

“You wouldn’t know this because you moved out of the hold years ago,” Thelma says to her.  “But he’s like an absent father, the kind who is always around.  We’ve known him since we were children and never has he abused any of us.  I thought he was just arrogant, only ever speaking to the Navigator and Captain.”  Oli didn’t miss the sarcasm.  “However,” Thelma continues, “when the Captain told me to sew up a torn sail with poor instruction–.”

“I was never good at it,” the Captain interrupts.

“The Ship Builder came over to me, and in his deep, hesitant voice, kindly showed me how.  I’ve been excellent ever since.  Also, where he’s missing a finger is creepy.  How do you only lose that finger—it makes no sense.”

Oli gasps at the sudden paleness on the Captain’s face.

“So you want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks regaining her composure.

“I do.  I want to sail with the Pirate Queen again.”

“You don’t like it with us?”  Oli can hear the hurt in the Captain’s voice.

“It’s more I don’t just want to have a baby I also want to be around them.”

“Well, by the time we reach the Pregnancy Ship we’ll know if that’s to be or not,” the Captain says.  It’s the first time Oli has seen the Captain flustered.  “By the way, until the Helmswoman or Master-at-arms wakes, you’re in charge.”

“Lovely,” Thelma replies.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog two)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog two)

“Aye, and when Barthadrow tried to put him into the evil barrel he escaped with some of the other boys.  After telling us his story he talked of consent and that as he built up his crew any of the original boys who prefer the opposite sex were allowed to join other ships.”

 “Tristan is a good man,” the Captain says.  “We would have been captured or killed by Barthadrow’s crew a number of times without him.”

“He is,” Oli says with a smirk.  “Probably because our surgeons Canneta and Areso are mated his crew thinks ours is like theirs and we prefer to partner with other females.  The exception being the Ship Builder of course, the only male you let live on the Nagua.  I know you and he are close, as is our Navigator is to both of you, but he doesn’t seem to fit our motley crew and I sense he would not be a fit on the Unbroken

“You and the Pirate Queen saved me when I was ten and I would guess at least ten years have passed since then.  I was so busy trying to prove myself all that time that I never bothered to ask about him before.  Yours and the Navigator’s relationship to him, is hard to grasp.  Not a lover, not a father figure, nor an older brother but I’ve always sensed a deep comradery between the three of you.  And it’s an interesting finger he is missing.”

Oli sees an anguished look cross the Captain’s face.  “You are like my sister,” the Captain says in a faraway voice, “You and the Navigator, but I think it’s best to keep that story hidden for now First Mate.”

“I don’t understand the desire to be with the same sex,” Oli continues.  She realizes drinking so much brandy the other night has loosened her tongue.  “So many of them are good looking and intelligent and we are not a large population yet.  However, at least they have their mates with them.”  Oli hears the lament in her own voice.  “Yours and mine are currently captaining ships hardly larger than sloops.  Not favourable odds when you consider they’re guarding the Pregnancy Ship against Barthadrow’s fleet.”

“We’ll be departing tomorrow.”  The Captain reassures her.  “As for your other point, I think as long as there are enough children on the Pregnancy Boat, it won’t matter.  They could always begrudgingly mate for the sake of continuance.  What’s important is Tristan considers children sacred while Barthadrow treats them the same as adults.”  The Captain spits into the water and changes the subject.  “We have quite the variety of ship crews in the cove.”  The Captain points at the farthest ship to their left.  “The Cannibals, vegan until they go mad during the crossover of the two moons.  We want to stay far away from them.”

“From a distance we saw a few of the other crews trading for flour and other goods with the Cannibals,” Oli says.  “I used the spyglass you gave me and all the Cannibals look anemic.  It’s too bad we can’t get them to attack the island Barthadrow has captured and made into a home base.”

“Perhaps the crossing of the two moons tells them they are missing something in their diet.”  The Captain points at the next galleon.  The Sames have the complete range of human skin colours.  Midnight blue to almost translucent skin, some even have patches of different colours.”

“But they all have the curly blonde hair of the poodles from Earth, or like some of us have below,” Oli adds with mischief in her voice.

They both laugh.

She sees the Captain gaze far to the right.  A ship so huge it seems unreal bobs up and down there.  “The Real Talls should make it to the Pregnancy Ship first.  I know we and others were sucked into the whirlpool during the giant shooting star that caused Luna to turn a cobalt blue colour.  I think though, the Real Talls, Sames, and Cannibals are from somewhere else.  Did you get caulking along with the other supplies?”  Oli follows the Captain’s gaze as it wanders to a nearby galleon, one just a bit larger than the Nagua.  Captain Nathan Peg leg’s Surprise.

“I bartered some of the excess spiked orange we had in the barrels from trading with the Horse People with Captain Peg leg for caulking,” she says.  “Most of our supplies we bartered with Tristan.” 

“Any problems?” the Captain asks.

This is the part of the conversation Oli is dreading.  “Yes,” she replies with a tremble in her voice.

“Someone has wronged one of our crew?  Our Harlot, Thelma?”

They both look down at the deck where a buxom girl with her blouse partially undone sits needling battens into a spare mainsail while a lit lantern swings from an overhead rope. 

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Seven) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

A swashbuckling tale of adventure!

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Seven) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris (reference links at bottom)

As Australia and the rest of the world learn how to better harness the sun’s power more electricity will come from solar energy and less from other sources.

A woman with frizzly natural blonde hair and devilish green eyes opens the door for Rita.  “Iluka told us you were here,” the woman says in a wonderful New South Wales accent.

Rita is confused.  “Iluka?  You are Professor Aurora Martin aren’t you?”

“Yes, yes come in, and call me Aurora or it will be confusing when you meet my husband Oliver.  It’s too hot to walk during the day so he’s out with Taz right now.  As for Iluka she is a Yawkyawk.”

Rita wants to know who Iluka is and what Aurora means by a Yawkyawk but her feet are killing her so she steps into a hall with silky oak flooring and a carpeted staircase that goes up.  She notices pictures from places around the world line the walls and up on the ceiling a fan blows much appreciated cool air over her.

“We use solar energy for the fan,” Aurora tells her.  “I just made some ice tea, would like some, and have you eaten?”

“I would love some ice tea, and something to eat would be fantastic,” Rita replies as she follows Aurora into a kitchen with lots of Wollemi Pine cupboards and an extensive hung wine rack just underneath.

Aurora gestures for Rita to sit down on one the high back chairs at an square table made of eucalyptus.  Rita places her dilly bag beside her and takes in a long tired but relaxing breath.

“Chicken Parmigiana okay with you?” Aurora asks.

“Anything,” Rita replies with a thankful sigh.  She unintentionally guzzles the ice tea down.

“Is that all the clothing you have?” Aurora asks as she heats up a plate of food in the microwave. 

“Yes,” Rita replies. 

“Well, I think we’ll get you fitted with some clothes tomorrow morning before we bring you over to meet Iluka.” 

As Aurora is talking Rita hears the sound of a man whispering to a dog as it barks excitedly.

“Stay!” the man shouts as she hears the scrapping sound of a dog pulling and getting away.

The next moment a chocolate brown Australian Kelpie is stalking around her sniffing.  Occasionally he looks up at her with cognac brown eyes.

“Hello,” says a man with disheveled dark brown hair with a streak of white on the left side.  Rita notices that Oliver Martin’s eye colour is similar to his wife’s but with more of a thoughtful stare.  “I don’t think Taz quite knows what to make of you,” he says as he kisses his wife.

https://nga.gov.au/exhibition/niat07/detail.cfm?IRN=163786

https://arena.gov.au/renewable-energy/solar/

Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt

Caedar-writing-artwork.com

Mythruin.simplesite.com

Fallen (from the as yet unpublished 4th book in the Children of the Myth Machine series)

(From “Miya” the as yet unpublished 4th book in the Children of the Myth Machine series)

Fallen

I rebelled against destiny

So Father Sky severed my wings

And I plummeted into Mother Nature

Who chained me to her bosom

In vines dense with iron

But still I rebelled

So they gouged out my eyes

And I can no longer see the future

Now as I wander with these chains around my neck

Listening to the betrayals and laments

I grow tired

Of killing my insides

So you feel safe

I never belonged to you

Nor do I answer to you

Though I answer

And as my destiny nears its end

I will listen

I will encourage and promote

And if necessary

I will judge

Listen with keen ears and remember

If you follow your destiny

You will have the choice to return or not

But if you don’t

You will have no choice but to return

And I won’t be here when you do

  • DW

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Six) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Six) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris (reference links at bottom)

Dhimurru Rangers trying to keep land clean while saving wildlife.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/15/monstrous-indigenous-rangers-struggle-against-the-plastic-ruining-arnhem-land-beaches

At night she climbs up onto a dock near the Sydney Opera House and waits by one of the docked boats until she changes back.

Figure 1 Sydney Opera House by Peter Samuel 9

In the sky she sees stars in the shape of two serpents and follows their touching tails towards where she hopes the professors Aurora and Oliver Martin live.

She’s thankful it’s nighttime so the pavement is cooler on the soles of her feet.  She’s faring better than Marlo who only had on swimming shorts when he changed on Haida Gwaii.   

Although she wants to protect Mother Earth she also understands that countries rely on strong economics.  It isn’t as easy as saying shut down coal mines and stop using it.  There could be technological advances that allow countries to keep or improve their economic situation while decreasing the use of environmentally damaging energy sources.  Then there’s plastic.  She wonders if Marlo is discovering any solutions.

If factories can be converted to using renewable resources with low to no pollutants than everyday use items such as water bottles can be designed to break down without leaving micro particles that can be ingested and accumulated in plants and tiny animals.  She looks into the sky and sees the snake tails glowing.  In front of her is an older style townhouse with a number 16 written in bold letters over the lintel of a door with many indigenous symbols.  There are too many symbols to count quickly.  She wonders if there is a symbol for each of the 500 plus clan groups.        

https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/04/nsw-and-queensland-coal-industry-uses-as-much-water-as-all-sydney-households-report-finds

https://skepticalscience.com/Australia-coal.html

https://www.statista.com/statistics/271748/the-largest-emitters-of-co2-in-the-world/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/

Sydney Opera House background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt

Caedar-writing-artwork.com

Mythruin.simplesite.com

Interview with Michele Bischof (High Vibe Fitness Coach)

Michele Bischof is a Holistic Health and Fitness coach and self-love guru, boss babe business woman, empowerment and motivational coach, personal growth mentor, and creator of Finally Free transformational program and Resilience Training for Young Girls Program. 

Her mission is to help as many people as possible design and live their life to the truest potential.

Michele in her home gym
  1. We’ve known each other for years and you have always kept yourself in fantastic shape.  I know you were a respiratory therapist and worked for Pfizer in the past.  Now you’re a High Vibe Fitness Coach.  How did your years of exercise, medical knowledge, and focus on nutrition lead you to become a High Vibe Fitness Coach?

I have worked as a Respiratory Therapist for 10 years and then I went into the business aspect of healthcare working as a pharmaceutical sales rep for 15 years.  Currently, I am working as a medical sales rep for Icentia.

In my personal time I enjoy coaching and helping others meet their personal health and wellness goals through my Holistic Fitness business.  My passion for health and wellness is deep rooted and I thrive on helping people.  I want to help others achieve their goals and feel their absolute best so I started my own coaching business.

  • How did you get started in weight training?  You also told me about the Eat Clean Diet which I think Donna O’Quinn originally told you about.

I was feeling like I needed something more and a friend of mine introduced me to Bill Phillips.  I bought the book and got serious about making a personal change and I committed to doing a 12 week challenge.  I had a significant transformation and physical fitness and health became an even more important part of my life.  I lost weight, gained tons of energy, and started to build muscle.  I was hooked.

I took it further to learn more about clean eating and was introduced by a friend (Donna O’Quinn) to Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet.  I followed her meal plans and it took me to a whole new level of being fit.

Holistic Training
  • I know you were in a bad car accident.  Instead of giving up I watched you adapt your program. 

My passion for my work stems from my own healing journey.  After being involved in a car accident in 2014 that severely injured my back, I found my way back to health and wellness using an inside out approach. Tapping into the power of my mind and determination to keep moving, focus on feeling strong and to never give up has led me to not only physically healing my body, but also starting my own business to help others.  My personal experiences have been powerful teachers and in becoming attuned to my body messages, I have healed my body, mind, and soul and I use this approach to help others do the same.  Turning my pain into passion I changed my thought process and adapted my program focusing on core strength and setting small goals for myself along the way.  In doing this, I became strong in my mind and my body.  I overcame huge challenges and I’m stronger today because of it.

  • Your oldest daughter was training to become a paramedic.  How did you help her out to succeed?

My oldest daughter is a paramedic.  Helping her has been one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of my life!  With my medical knowledge, business background, and love for health and fitness, I offered nutritional guidance and coached Rachel using motivational and mindset techniques to help her prepare for physical fitness testing and interviews. She has since also adopted a very similar healthy living and active lifestyle.

  • All of your kids are in sports, like hockey.  What eating habits and fitness knowledge did you pass onto them so they stay healthy and energetic?

My kids have all been in sports over the years, baseball and hockey and my son also enjoys Kung Fu.  They started at a young age, making it part of their lifestyle.  I believe in educating my kids on the value of taking care of their bodies and minds, being active, and eating well.  My kids understand what a balanced meal is and I teach them that food is fuel and active movement is essential for their wellbeing. Food choices are important and we focus on choosing healthy foods and occasionally eating not so healthy foods. It’s amazing to watch them choose healthy nutritious options on their own.  I’m also a hockey trainer for my youngest daughter’s hockey team.  I encourage active movement and activity with the girls and run a 30-minute virtual dryland training once a week.

  • You now offer coaching and fitness programs for adults and kids.  What age range can work with you and how do you determine their current fitness level?

I work with adults and kids (9 years and up).  I offer 1 on 1 personalized life coaching, customized success plans, customized fitness programs, and nutritional meals.  If a client is interested in a physical fitness program I ask that they talk to their doctor before starting a physical training program if they are new to it.  I assess their level of fitness based on their mobility, flexibility, strength, past experiences, injuries, and current level of fitness.  I also discuss and establish goals and objectives with each person I work with.

  • What are the best ways for people to contact you?

You can find me at:

Website:  www.michelebischof.com (Holistic Fitness – Physical Fitness, Mental Fitness, and Spiritual Fitness)

Facebook: Michele Bischof

Instagram: @_michele_bischof

Email: michelebischof@hotmail.com