Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Favorite Lake Havasu Birds

The place where I'm staying here in Havasu is only about 200 yards from the shore of Lake Havasu and I've been taking a morning bird walk on the shore of the lake.  Here are some of my favorites so far [all the bird pics were robbed from the web]:

Anna's Humming Bird

Double Crested Corrmorant

Great Egret.

Northern Harrier.

Belted Kingfisher.  [My favorite bird ever!]

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lovell Wash

It only got up to about 40 degrees today and so was about the coldest day we've gone out hiking.  We hiked to an old mine prospect horizontal shaft above Lovell Wash.

I walked about fifteen feet into the mine and got creaped out...  Wayne thought I was a sissy for not going in further but this is as far as he got.

On the hike out we scared up this bunny.  Wayne got this telephoto shot before it took off into the desert.

Friday, January 11, 2013

CCC Trail - Boulder City, Nevada

I took another hike up the River Mountain trail yesterday since the trail head is only a mile from where I'm staying.  It's a really great hiking trail built in the 1930's by the  CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] with lots of signature CCC features like this stone retaining wall.  We should be putting people back to work on these kinds of projects today... what's wrong with us?

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Langins - Marjorie Langin Leeak

I finally learned that I like the idea of doing some things—playing chess, studying plants, fishing, canoeing… but cared very little about actually doing them.  My loves are few and intense, and practiced constantly. How did I grow old before I learned that?”

 Marjorie Leeak - January 20, 1988 journal entry

Marjorie Leeak was my mother and she died in early August of 2007 at The Courts of Holt Nursing Home in Holt, Michigan of natural causes largely resulting from complications of a long struggle with diabetes.  Until January of 2007 she had been living with her husband, my father,Don Leeak at their home in Roscommon, Michigan. Both my mother and father were living at the nursing home in Holt at the time of Don’s death in April of 2007. Marjorie continued to live there after his death until she died in August. In accordance with her wishes she was cremated without a service.

 Joe Leeak - September, 2008

Home - Family

My mother and dad made a home that was a quiet place.  My dad wanted it that way, and my mother wanted hustle and bustle, which reflected her home as a child.  …my mother and father, unwittingly, created a quiet home.  They wanted warmth and bustle but couldn’t create it.  They had only one child and she was a bookworm.”  Marjorie Langin Leeak - September 7, 1987 journal entry

Marjorie was born in Flint, Michigan of homemaker mother Clara Wickline-Langin and father Linwood Langin-- a hardware salesman. She had one older sister who died in early childhood before her birth and had no other siblings.

In her early childhood, during the Depression, her father’s employment was often unstable and caused the family to move a number of times. She lived with her parents in the central Michigan area of Flint, Saginaw, and Bay City. They ultimately settled in Lansing, Michigan where she graduated from Sexton High School.

 “Daddy’s birthday—he would have been 90 years old. I still miss him and remember him as he was when he was in his forties. How would he have felt about computers?”   Marjorie Langin Leeak - November 19, 1987 journal entry

In 1946 Marjorie, then a chemistry major at Michigan State University, met her future husband, Donald Leeak, where he had returned to resume his engineering studies upon returning home from WWII. My brother Dave was born in 1949 and followed by me in 1952. Another brother, Daniel, died as an infant before coming home from the hospital.

Reading and Writing

Marjorie was an avid reader for her entire life. Nearly every room in our house on Fenton Street in Lansing, Michigan, where I grew up, was lined with book shelves. Like a lot of us she loved the idea of being a writer and living a thoughtful well examined life. Her writing that was left after her death consisted of a few essays, letters that she had sent to her friend Phyliss, and a journal that she kept for three years from 1986 to 1989.

“This diverse society has left us thinking that our myths are worn and primitive. Noachic, Noahical, Noahian—antiquated or long obsolete, from Noah. Aren’t they wonderful words?”
Marjorie Leeak - December 20, 1987 journal entry

The Fresh-Air Room
By Marjorie Leeak, February 27, 1977

During my first year of school, I spent more time at home than at school, but, somehow, I learned to read well enough to stay with my class. However, due to my miserable attendance record, it was decided that in subsequent years, I was to be imprisoned in the fresh-air-room.

There was special suite of rooms which included a large classroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. Only that classroom had special, mullion –pivoted windows, adjusted to catch every stray spray of snow or rain. The windows tilted open winter and summer, closing only when there were no kids to blow around.
At the age of five I was laid waste by “ammonia”. My mother attributed this illness to kindergarteners being forced to lie on the cold, bare floor to rest either themselves or their teachers. As she pointed out, thereafter all children brought rugs upon which to lie. She neglected to add that the day before I was stricken, she and I, trailing vapors of Vicks, had enjoyed a trip downtown in a blizzard.
As a child I was held hostage to fresh air and naps, at school as well as a home. I don’t know whether W.K. Kellog or the A.M.A. was responsible for this outrage but I protested tearfully and noisily.

It was an open classroom, open to all grades, all illnesses. If there were two kids at the same level, their class was taught by Mrs. Sutter, the fresh-air teacher. Depending on the number of kids available, there were all six grade levels, A and B.  If a kid was a loner, he was paroled to a regular classroom for part of the day.

Everyone came back for lunch, sandwiches we brought from home and whatever delicacies the kitchen produced. We ate at white oilcloth covered tables. Predictably, on my first day, I began sobbing as soon as the milk was gone; I could no longer swallow the desolate, homesick lump in my throat. Later, I learned to slurp soup and jiggle Jello like all the rest.

After lunch, we marched to the bathroom, pretended to brush our teeth, relieved ourselves of excuses for further trips, and returned for naps. We pushed the desks against the walls and set up cots with blankets from the cupboard. Laying down, awake and alert, we listened to stories and music. We seldom slept, proving that naptime is the province of the very young, the very old, or the very board. What kid could be bored surrounded by his peers, rustling, sighing, humming, hissing?

Finally, we were allowed to fold away the blankets and cots, to return to education. When the bell rang at three thirty, we reported to the kitchen for milk in white enameled cups, thoughtfully set out to warm for the three hours after lunch. We had to drink it if we couldn’t pour it down the drain. We needed an empty cup to gain our release.

Mrs. Sutter was a warm, loving woman who was our teacher, comforter, and top sergeant throughout the day. She ate and played with us, taught and scolded us. No doubt today, no union would allow such unrelieved responsibility. Her job was much like that of teachers in country schools, with additional concern for children in frail health.

No child likes to be treated differently, to stand out as weak, ill. None of us fresh-air kids appreciated our special room, special care. We were different, and we didn’t like it.

I finally convinced parents, teacher, principal, nurse that I wanted out. Re-entry was difficult; I had to deal with the lump in my throat without benefit of the special love and care that I had received in the fresh-air room. I had been changed and challenged by the diversity of ages and grades. I had been in the kind of open classroom that schools are striving for today.

By Marjorie Leeak, April 6, 1977

My assertiveness has been trained and my consciousness raised. Now I feel guilty if someone crowds ahead of me and I do not protest. I used to think that there might be a good reason for another’s rudeness, but now I must feel that my rights have been violated.

Grievance counting is a new hobby. Stress on compassion and empathy is lessening. We are becoming a nation of protectionists--- I am protecting my interests.

Now I carefully consider every action for sexist role-playing. How dare anyone suggest that because I am female I must be able to cook and clean. Let them make their own coffee and wash the cups.

My language has become saltier and my outlook grimmer. There is discrimination everywhere. Instead of becoming more humanistic, I am becoming more chauvinistic. In protecting my rights, I have been urged to exchange a philosophical shrug for grim determination.

If I were not a Langin, I would not be a Leeak…
By Marjorie Leeak, February 1, 1977

Langin, female, rode the bus to register at M.S.C. [Michigan State College]. Leeak, male, rode the same bus to register at M.S.C. Registration was in the alphabet’s order, to the point. The bus cost a nickel, interesting, but Ignoratio Elentio. M.S.C. was a college then; it used to be M.A.C. [Michigan Agricultural College] (I.E.)squared.

When this male Leeak spoke to Langin, she did not ignore him because she was nearsighted. Her mother said she was nearsighted because she read too much, guilt by association with too many books.

Furthermore, she did not ignore Leeak because she sat in the front of the Kedzie chem lecture hall. Many myopic people sit in the front of a classroom, more guilt by association, with an unreliable sampling. The exits of said hall were two; the front, first-floor doors were locked when the lecture began. Stragglers came in the rear, second floor exit. In general, exits can become entrances.

Langin had snubbed men who made passes at her in her glasses until she found out that they were in her chem. classes, high in the back where she could not see them. She sat in front, eyes forward, no ad hominem.

It turned out that Leeak, a civil engineer, was not in her chem. class, but she had already spoken to him. So, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, they got married; Langin became Leeak, female.

By Marjorie Leeak, February 2, 1977

I hate quarreling. It implies anger and frustration. Even its spelling is open to dispute. It sounds peculiar, and it’s hard to pronounce.

I withdraw into silence. I must consider this word. Argument, dispute, disagreement, even conflict are better.

I meditate. I am mad, angry, disgusted, pissed off, and spoiling for a fight. Down with quarreling.

I advance on inanimate objects. I slam doors, drop plates, kick cupboards. I need someone’s attention.

You may say I behave this way because I’m bitchy, dominating, premenstrually tense, hyperthythyroid, bossy, menopausal, or mean as hell. But that is only because you are indifferent, unrealistic, inconsistent, or pedantic.

I bellow my arguments and follow them with a shrill recitation of your transgressions, real and imagined. My voice cracks and tears threaten.

When the noise and adrenalin fade, I return to my pensive silence. I consider. I ponder. I realize that I am wrong, selfish, stupid, unmotherly, unwifely, unfriendly, and loud. Sheepishly, I apologize. We understand each other no better. I hate quarreling.

Marjorie Leeak at home at the Lansing Towers Apartments. 1978.

By Marjorie Leeak, January 11, 1977

My view of children has been colored by my own experiences in being one. Childhood is a frustrating; bewildering time that demands compassion. What child can comprehend what is going on. Why do all those adults laugh when s/he cries? Why are there so many of them and only one of him/her. (I was an only child.)

At the time I bore our sons, children were touted as a woman’s reason for being; childbirth and motherhood were the ticket to instant fulfillment. That the babies of the fifties survived the demands of such addled mothers is tribute to the toughness of human infants and their psyches. The fact that they rebelled in the sixties seems, in retrospect, inevitable. Fortunately, their mothers have had sense enough to rebel, too.

With the perspective gained over the years, it now seems to me that society as a whole owes great care and concern to all its children. We must realize the oppression and abuse heaped upon our children in the name of civilizing and educating them. Oppression seemed an unlikely accusation to me until I read Shulasmith Firestone’s “The Dialectic of Sex”. With increasing objectivity, I realize how seldom we treat children with the civility associated with common courtesy. A child’s total dependence on adults for decent and fair treatment is frightening as more and more adults prove themselves less than decent and fair.

In addition, with fewer women choosing to have children, we must treasure each child. Society, as a whole, has the responsibility to treat each child with grave courtesy and honest concern for his/her welfare. We can no longer protest intrusion into our space and time by our own children or the children of strangers. All adults must actively care for and about all children.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Liberty Bell Arch

Today we hiked to Liberty Bell Arch which is just over the boarder into Arizona from Hoover Dam.  The trail proceeds down a dry wash to an old mining road and then on to the arch on a boot beaten foot trail.

The road ended at an old abandoned mine.  Here Wayne is walking over to an abandoned ore bin.  From this point the road ended and we continued on a foot trail to the arch and river overlook.

The trail ends at a high point above the Colorado River.