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.

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

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

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

“Lower the Pinnace!” Oli shouts.  Not a single crew member from on the deck or in the hull stirs.

The Captain takes a swig of brandy and says, “We’ll do it ourselves.  Let’s take out the mast first and we’ll row.”

Oli grimaces.  Normally it takes six women to lower the pinnace.  At least it’s tied to the port side of the Nagua instead of flipped over on the deck. 

The Captain climbs down the rope ladder first while Oli and the Navigator hold onto the lowering ropes to keep the pinnace stable.  Once all three are in the boat Oli takes one set of oars while Master Jo Anne grabs hold of the ones nearest the bow. 

“How long to shore?” the Captain asks with her hands on the rudder stick.

“About ten minutes,” Oli replies.  She knows that with two more crew members the rowing would go much quicker.

They slide onto the sandy shore of the cove where Captain “Peg leg” and most of his crew are sleeping around a dying camp fire.

 The Captain stands up and unlatches the lid of her seat.  Oli sees her take out a wooden stake and mallet.  The Captain shoos her and the Navigator off the boat before she follows.  The Navigator throws a rope with a loop at its end from the bow of the pinnace to the Captain.  The Captain hammers the stake through the loop into the beach sand.  Watching the Captain has Oli thinking of what she would like to do to Barthadrow’s rotten heart.

Oli with the Navigator follow the Captain as she saunters over to Captain “Peg leg’s” snoring form.  Captain “Peg leg’s” stump is bare for all to see.  The Captain nudges Captain “Peg leg’s” side.

“What!  Are we being attacked?!” Captain “Peg leg” shouts out as he groggily grabs his detached false limb and twists it over the bottom of his stump.

“That would depend,” Oli hears the Captain say in a voice thick with contempt.

“Captain Alejandra,” Captain “Peg leg” says as he stands up and gives a sweeping bow.  Oli doesn’t miss how quickly Captain “Peg leg” composes himself by combing his grey hair back and pulling the sides of his waxed mustache to regain the curls.  He gives a toothy smile while his eyelids hood his calculating slate grey eyes.

“Captain “Peg leg”,” the Captain replies.

Captain “Peg leg” screws up his face and smooths out his goatee.  “This about the harlot girl?”

“No,” the Captain replies.

“Oh, well nothing really happened there,” Captain “Peg leg” says in a soothing, paternal voice.  “The tall girl with the amazon body.  The, the “Wheel Turner” I heard them call her.  Long brunette hair and eyes that blaze blue.”

Oli smiles as the Captain says nothing in reply.

“Aye, The Helmswoman, that’s who.  The one a man would gawk at but daren’t approach.  She pulled off young, innocent Dirst before the younger lass and he could be as one.”

“Where is he?”  The Captain’s voice echoes Death’s own call.

“Look, I heard the story about what you did to Crazy Bumbee when he tried to force himself on you.  How you slashed either side of his mouth so he had a permanent smile.  But this is different.  And I’m short on capable men.”

“I’ll take that into account,” the Captain says and draws her rapier.  Oli does the same as does the Navigator.

Captain “Peg leg” licks his lips.  He walks over to a young man with tousled dirty blond hair.  “Get up Dirst,” Captain “Peg leg” says in a hushed voice.

After the young man stands up Oli guesses he’s maybe sixteen or seventeen years old.  Tall and Lanky with a handsome grin but the dull blue eyes are miserly. 

“Consent,” the Captain says up into the young man’s face, “is much more enjoyable and safer than forcing oneself on another.”

“Oh, I learned my lesson,” the young man says with a false smile.

Oli sees a blur of motion from the Captain’s rapier.  The next moment the young man is looking at one of his molars lying at his feet. 

Using a hanky the Captain scoops it up.  “It will remind her of your apology.  However, if you still don’t understand the importance of the word consent, I’ll send my Master-of-Arms to visit you.  Oli sees the Captain glance at Dirst’s crotch.  “Perhaps a ball would make a better reminder than a tooth.”  Having said this, the Captain smiles sweetly up at the young man.  “Whether from below or above.”  Oli watches the young man for any rebuttal as the Captain turns away.  “Captain “Peg leg”,” she hears the Captain say.

“Captain Alejandra,” Captain “Peg leg” says with a sigh.

The young man stands frozen with one finger pressed against the gap in his mouth.  Oli turns and follows the Captain and Navigator back to the pinnace.     

Back on the deck of the Nagua the Captain turns to her and says with mischief, “Time to put your eyepiece on.  We’ll pull up the pinnace then I need you to go below into the hold my First Mate.”

“Aye Captain,” Oli replies with a cruel grin.  Out of her chest pocket she takes out an eyepatch and covers her left eye with it. 

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. 

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

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

It’s dawn after a saturnalia night.  Within a cove two young women stand side by side on the forecastle of a small galleon.  Nearby are other, larger galleons.  The woman on the left is shorter and lithe with strength.  Her unruly black hair is tied up with a red ribbon in a wild pile on top of her head.  She’s wearing a black knee length studded leather jacket and a worn azure cotton shirt underneath.  Her charcoal trousers are tucked under sturdy knee high boots.  The other woman is wearing a black tricorn hat.  She has on faded black linen trousers and a dull bourbon waistcoat that covers the egg white cotton shirt underneath.  Both women have sheathed rapiers.

“Did you enjoy the party last night?” Captain Alejandra, the woman with the tricorn hat, asks Oli One Eye, the First Mate and Minstrel.

“Oh, it was fascinating,” First Mate Olanis “Oli” Morgan replies.  “Master Jo Anne,” she continues nodding at the woman standing at the base of the bowsprit, “and I went to Tristan’s galleon Unbroken.”

“Did you bring your mandolin?”

“I did,” Oli replies.  “Tristan and his crew of all men were nothing but gracious.  Yet none showed any attraction towards us.  I think it’s the first time I’ve been somewhere where the men have longer eyelashes than I do, and are much prettier.”

“Did he tell you his story?”  The Captain asks.

“About Barthadrow capturing him when he was a young boy?” she asks in reply.

“Yes,” the Captain says morosely.

“Our Navigator, Master Jo Anne, and I drank fine brandy with him in his cabin until late into the night.  In the whispers of a childish sounding voice he told us his story.  Lucky I have good ears or I wouldn’t have gotten it all.  He said when he was just a boy Barthadrow told him what a wonderful singing voice he has.    And since he seems to be effeminate anyways he was going to have a special procedure done.  While he was sleeping in the hull of Barthadrow’s ship Corrupta with the other children two of Barthadrow’s crewmembers covered his mouth with a cloth.  The next day his groin was wrapped in bandages.  They had castrated him.”

“He has a reason to want revenge on Barthadrow.”

Brought to you by Dan Watt (author of Brackish and the soon to be released epic fantasy adventure BARD) and Taylor Norris (co-author of Rita Walker and Rita Walker:  Australia).

Medieval Rapier by Fire & Steel: http://fireandsteel.ca/

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!

Just a little while ago I was looking at different agents and one wrote that she would love a story about female pirates.  Also not too long I finished reading Samuel Bawlf’s “The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake”.  This all culminated in me talking to Taylor Norris (co-author of Rita Walker, Rita Walker: Australia) about writing a female pirate story. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is one of my favourite movies.  I remember Joshamee (Kevin McNally) introducing Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to his new crew.  When Jack stopped at Anamaria (Zoe Saldana), who is also a captain, I thought who is she?  In the next movie I looked for her but that was the last Pirates of the Caribbean, Zoe Saldana was in.  Since then she has become Queen of the Universe. 

Although I can’t use Zoe Saldana’s image nor directly use the name Anamaria I am determined to continue Zoe Saldana’s ruling of the galaxy.  Captain Alejandra is the captain of the Nagua, and she looks suspiciously similar to Zoe Saldana.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates song!:

Lost on land

At home at sea

Where the hills are liquid

And the mountains roll

We’re a raucous, wild sisterhood

We mock everyone including ourselves

But harm any one of us and your days are doomed

At dawn we groan at all the work, to do

By noon we’re laughing

And at night, with a cup of rum to keep us warm,

We sit on the deck in a circle singing

As First Mate One Eye Oli’s plays her Mandolin

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

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

Tom Paxton – Whose Garden Was This? (Live 1971)

“It won’t just be the Australian government and businesses that will be watching this conference but also many governments around the globe,” Aurora is saying from the front passenger seat to Rita and Zsofia.

“Do you know Professors Bappy and Jules?” Rita asks.

“Don’t tell me those two blokes are involved,” Oliver says in a voice full of disgust.  “Whatever you do don’t agree to meet either of them for drinks.  Whatever they offer you whether food or drink-wise it’s probably spiked with Ecstasy.”

“They are most certainly are going to be there,” Rita replies with a frustrated sigh.

At the entrance to the University both Aurora and Oliver hug Rita and Zsofia.  “Let us know when you’re done,” Aurora says before she and Oliver drive away.

“I feel like we’re going into a dream or battle,” Zsofia says with her game face on.

“Just a conference,” Rita says in a shaky voice. 

Inside they meet Merindah.  Like them she’s dressed professionally.  Rita notices that Merindah’s clothes are the colours of the University.  A red blouse and blue pants with gold stripes.  “Ready?”  Merindah asks.

“No,” Rita and Zsofia say at the same time then laugh.

Together they walk down the long hallway with the ceiling so high Rita still thinks it’s meant for giants; if not from the past then perhaps the future.

The conference room is modern with a round table at the centre.  Rita sees a number of women and men already seated with folded name cards facing out.  They all have intent stares and wear business suits.  Rita gives a sigh of relief; Iluka is among them.  Directly across from where she and Zsofia are to sit are Professors Bappy and Jules.

“We owe Aurora for the blouses and slacks we’re wearing,” Zsofia whispers to her.

“We owe both her and Oliver a great deal of gratitude,” Rita whispers back.  “And if this works so does the rest of the planet.”  Rita’s blouse is semi-translucent white on purpose.  She wants to make sure the two rainbow snakes are at least partially visible.

“You’re by the globe maker,” Merindah tells them.

“Let us get started,” Professor Bappy says.  “Unlike my cohort Professor Jules I do think we need to be concerned about the environment.”  Rita is intrigued at how smooth Bappy speaks.  “However, I fear the financial cost is too great.”

“That’s why we need governments and businesses to work together,” Rita says. 

“Each country should deal with its own problems,” Professor Jules says with a grumble as he sits with his arms crossed over his chest.    

“On March 11, 2011 an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan causing a tsunami and affecting around 805 km of its coastline,” Zsofia says.  “Up to eighteen million tonnes of debri from that earthquake was estimated to land on Canada’s west coast by 2014.”

“What does that have to do with today’s meeting?  And remember I’m very educated in environmental issues,” Professor Bappy throws in.

Rita smiles as Zsofia leans forward and says, “That means, what happens in one place effects another place on Earth.  Australia’s use of coal is affecting air, ground and water causing illness and death.”

“Now you’re attacking Australia!  This is nonsense,” Professor Jules shouts out as he stands up and slaps his hands onto the table.

Zsofia leans farther forward.  “We’re in Australia so we should include it,” she replies.

“Plastic is another concern,” Rita says, intentionally changing the subject.

“Are we here to talk about plastic?” Professor Bappy asks sarcastically.

“We’re here to discuss the environment,” Rita replies with a soothing voice.  “Almost all countries are polluting the environment with plastic waste.  Too much of it is entering the ocean creating plastic islands.  Renewable, recyclable, environmental friendly energy and products are needed.”

“Businesses will shut down if governments enforce these changes,” Professor Bappy says in a very paternal voice.

“People will be out of work,” Professor Jules shouts out.

“Absolutely not,” Zsofia says.  “Governments and businesses can work with universities and colleges to make changes smooth and efficient.”

“And cost tax payers an exorbitant amount of money to make these changes,” Professor Jules says with a guffaw.

“The idea of collaborating,” Rita says with more calm than she feels, “is that the transition to environmentally friendly energy and products becomes an easy transition.  Jobs aren’t lost their replaced and healthy individuals think clearer.  Less toxins in the air, ground, and water means less stress on the health system.  For the companies that need assistance for the changeover taxpayers, and such the government, can afford to financially assist.”

“And for businesses that refuse to change?” Professor Jules says with a snarl.

“There will be penalties, perhaps even shut downs,” Zsofia says.  “But the majority of businesses are willing to make changes to make an environmentally friendly Earth.”

“What’s to stop businesses from buying environmentally friendly technology or companies that create the technology and shutting them down?”  It’s the first time Iluka has spoken up.

“Laws need to be implemented to make such happenings illegal,” Zsofia replies.  “Normally a project is non-disclosure until a paper is written.  A special government department should be created, if it hasn’t already, to over-ride non-disclosure deals and stop the destruction of knowledge.”

Rita stands up and turns on the light sabre like device.  A globe of the Earth appears.  She expands it with her hands.  “When it comes to developing environmentally safe energy and products we need to collaborate as a planet, not just individual countries.  We need to share ideas and technologies.  Each environment has its own solutions.  A country’s natural resources should be used to replace coal and plastics and other environmentally damaging products.  In other words there isn’t a single answer but many.”

Back in her room at the University, Rita gathers up the few items that are hers.  Zsofia has gone with Merindah to clean out her room.  Later Zsofia will head back to Canada while she’ll meet up with Marlo.  Her door opens and Professor Bappy and Jules enter.

“No one will heed what you said today Sheila,” Professor Bappy says. 

“They will,” she replies.  She knows that you have to believe in something to make it happen.

“Those symbols on your chest and on your belly won’t save you,” Professor Jules says.  “We’ve corrupted the Dreamtime so it Dilga’s powers will arrive too late.”

Rita sees a familiar tall female figure walk by her open door but the professors don’t seem to notice.  “Shall I call you Bamapana and Julana?” she asks.

“Whatever you want lover,” Julana says with a sneer as he steps closer.

“Do you know what I am?” Rita asks as the colour of her pupils start to change.

Julana takes a step back and bumps into the tall form of Bamapana.

Bamapana starts to open the door wider to escape when he trips over something.

A giant snake the colour of the rainbow slithers over him.

Rita places her hands overhead and presses her palms together.  “Back to the Dreamtime for you,” she says as her body changes.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/18-million-tonnes-of-tsunami-debris-drifting-to-b-c-1.992049

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

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

“We’re going to present this as something the committee wants to be involved with, not a threat, so it should go over great!”

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

Ooderoo Noonuccal (November 3, 1920 to September 6, 1993) is an Aboriginal Australian poet.  Here is one link to All One Race and her other poetry:  https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/noonuccal-oodgeroo/poems/all-one-race-0719001

Rita sits in her empty classroom at the end of the day and massages her temples.  It’s the fourth week of teaching and none of her clients are elementals or from the Dreamtime.  They’re all interested in sustainability but prefer to debate each other instead of working as a team.  Zsofia steps into her room first.

“Brought you some coffee,” Zsofia says placing the steaming mug on Rita’s desktop.

“I don’t think most of the population cares about recyclable, biodegradable, renewable products or energy,” Rita says with lament and frustration in her voice.  “We have biochemists, and a number of engineers in the class yet most won’t speak up about what to do for the environment.”

“A good manager gets people to work for them willingly,” Zsofia says with a chuckle.  “Take their knowledge and use it to get government and businesses to collaborate.   Today’s going to be rough for you Rita.  We have to discuss what happens if businesses refuse to initiate environmentally focused practices.  Also we need to go over the repercussions to buying out companies with environmentally sustainable technology and then destroying the new technology or making it impossible to use.”

Rita rubs her temples harder.  She takes a long sip of the coffee.  This is what we have so far:  “If we’re talking coal and natural gas the procedure is to invest in multiple technological solutions.  That could be better filtration, adding non CO2 producing biodegradables, and the gradual replacement of coal and natural gas by reusable energy.  As for plastics.  Micro plastics, and plastics in the water and land need to be removed and either stored or re-used.  At the same time biodegradable substitutions should be developed.  It will be important to get replacements from a variety of sources, preferably the parts of plants currently considered waste by-product.  The other reason is a variety of sources means one substitute will not hinder the growth of others.  We don’t want deforestation or the loss of food crops in order to grow one type of plant to use as a plastic substitute.”

“That sums up the technology,” Zsofia says taking a sip of her own coffee.  “What we want to do with businesses is introduce more environmentally friendly substitutes for what they currently have.  The changeover should be financially viable, even if that means the government needs to supplement the business while it starts the changeover.  We also want job security for the current employees.  For businesses who are willing to change there will need to be financial penalties that may lead to forced closure.  We also need to make sure there are government policies that protect environmental technologies from companies purchasing them then refusing to use them or from destroying the technology.”

“Do you think this will get accepted?” Rita asks.  She just wants to get the next two weeks over with now and meet up with Marlo.

“Thank you for being here,” Rita says giving her friend a powerful hug. 

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1093/reep/rex013

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

Review of Chris Hadfield’s: An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth

Review of An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield

Although this book has been out since 2013 I only just read it.

I am always looking for a story that is motivational, not because it tells me what I want to hear but because it’s real.  An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth is about perseverance but also to remember your family and friends, even when you’re out in space.

By talking about the lessons he learned to become an astronaut Chris Hadfield makes it clear his wife Helene played a major role in his success.  Helene encouraged him but also grounded him, reminding him of the sacrifices she and their family made, and reminding him to include them.  Throughout the book Chris shows his mistakes, his successes and the absolute importance of being a team player, whether as leader or co-pilot.

One of his major points is being a square trying to fit into a round hole.  His approach to becoming an astronaut was to become an Air Force pilot and mechanical engineer all the while knowing it would be next to impossible to go into space.  What I enjoyed throughout the book was that he constantly learned and went on the basis of that if the square can’t get through the circle, that he doesn’t become an astronaut, he has his pilot and engineering skills to fall back on.  He didn’t put all his eggs into one basket.

He talks about sweating the small stuff.  He points out that as an astronaut, if you don’t sweat the small stuff (haven’t prepared by going over all the finer details) you could kill yourself and your crew mates.

Encouraging others and being encouraged is a theme he mentions continuously.  He talks about the importance of “investing in other people’s success doesn’t just make them more likely to enjoy working with me.  It also improves my own chances of survival and success.”

He makes it clear how important team work is “No astronaut, no matter how brilliant or brave, is a solo act.  Our expertise is the result of the training provided by thousands of experts around the world, and the support provided by thousands of technicians in five different space agencies.”

Singing David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the International Space Station was his son Evan’s idea.  An idea that has a lot of children now interested in space.  As Chris Hadfield mentions in his book, spaceflight isn’t just about looking away from the Earth but at it.  Satellites allow for communication, the ability to study weather and pollution patterns.  To find things that might not otherwise be able to be found such as planes that need to make emergency landings or boats lost at sea. 

In conclusion this is a fantastic book.  I have not added page numbers to the quotes I used because I want you to read the book yourself.