Category Archives: News

Drake’s Estero

Drake’s Estero
Drake's Estero

Liam, Bill, and Brian

Deb Turner led four of us on an all-day, socially-distanced paddle to Drake’s Estero in Marin. Liam briefly enjoyed sailing, but the day was calm. We even had a sprinkle of rain as we had lunch on the sandbar separating the estero from the Pacific.

Drakes Estero Kayaking

Anet Paddling Toward Ocean

Drakes Estero


Liam Drake's Estero

Liam Rocks His Aussie Hat

As we paddled back from our lunch stop at the beach, we got a little too close to the seals sunning themselves on a sandbar. A naturalist saw this, put down his sandwich and paddled furiously to intercept us before we got too close. I was surprised because I had been concentrating on following the group and avoiding the shallow water and did not notice that I was on track to overrun them.

Seals Drakes Estero

The Seals Can Be Hard To See

Bob Gray brought his wooden boat and enjoyed the beautiful day.

On the way back, we tarried at Home Bay, one of the fingers of the Estero, because it is home to some leopard sharks, bat rays, and jellyfish. The heavy silt makes it shallow, so the water is warm. Bill and I enjoyed chatting as we hung out.

Home Bay Drakes Estero

Anet and Bill Crowe near Home Bay

Beginning Boater Brian Carroll did well, even though we all got in a bit of trouble for getting too near the seals that were lounging near the beach sandbar.

Brian Drakes Estero

Brian

Brian was accompanied by his friend Bill Crowe who invited us all to Rancho Nicasio afterwards where we enjoyed a socially-distanced beer and food with a view of a beautiful garden.
Bill Crowe Drake's Estero
I think this is going to be my “vacation” for socially-distanced 2020. A cut on my left hand prevented me from camping earlier in the summer, and the fires started on August 19. I wish I had taken a dip in the ocean while we were stopped for lunch, but it was cool and rainy and I didn’t think of it.

Deb Turner Drakes Estero

Our Leader, Deb Turner

23andMe: Bad News Good News

23andMe: Bad News Good News

In early February, my sister Peggy alerted me that she had spent the extra money for the health information available with a DNA test on Ancestry.com. She learned that she carries two mutations that can lead to hemochromatosis, a disorder in which the body stores too much iron. I clicked the button on 23andme.com to get my health results and they were the same. Two tests were available to determine if the condition was active: Peggy and I are negative on both tests. We do not have the disease and we have both decided to donate blood regularly because, if we had the disease, phlebotomy would be the only treatment.

Now the good news. I also carry two GOOD mutations that bestow fast-twitch muscles.
Genetic Power Athlete

This report is based on a genetic marker in the ACTN3 gene. This marker controls whether muscle cells produce a protein (called alpha-actinin-3) that’s found in fast-twitch muscle fibers. While some people don’t produce this protein at all, almost all of the elite power athletes who have been studied have a genetic variant that allows them to produce the protein. This suggests that the protein may be beneficial at least at the highest levels of power-based athletic competition.

ACTN3: More than Just a Gene for Speed

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741991/

One of the most promising genes in that regard is ACTN3, which has commonly been referred to as “a gene for speed”.

Studies have found that most elite power athletes have a specific genetic variant in a gene related to muscle composition called the ACTN3 gene. This variant causes muscle cells to produce alpha-actinin-3, a protein found in fast-twitch muscle fibers.

https://www.23andme.com/topics/wellness/muscle-composition/

France v. Germany: 150 Year Pattern

France v. Germany: 150 Year Pattern

France v Germany Covid Performance

On May 14, I posted this graphic to a Francophile Facebook group and asked why Germany’s deaths were a fraction of those in France even though they had about the same number of infections. Today, the NYTimes ran an article that seems to answer the question that is apparently circulating around France, too. The article is about the book “Strange Defeat” written in the early 1940s by

Bloch, a historian and World War I veteran. He volunteered to serve on the front lines in 1939 and later joined the Resistance, before being executed by the Gestapo in 1944.

In 1940, as a captain who oversaw fuel supplies at the headquarters of France’s First Army, he enjoyed an insider’s view of France’s defeat: an overly bureaucratic and rigid military leadership, hewing to theories and traditions, was incapable of reacting to the German threat.

While French leaders were re-enacting World War I with an emphasis on infantry and artillery, the Germans came with tanks, airplanes, trucks and motorcycles.

In a painful summary of France’s defeat, Bloch wrote: “Our leaders, or those who acted in their names, were incapable of thinking in terms of a new war.’’ He added, “The German victory was, essentially, an intellectual victory.’’

Un Village FrançaisI have just watched the first two of seven seasons of “Un Village Français” which starts in 1940 with the German invasion of a village near Besançon. This article is a stunning insight into what I am seeing unfold in this series. I have just witnessed the “aryanization” of a Jewish-owned cement plant by the man in the center holding the hand of the woman in the red dress in the photo at left. It seems like France, itself, may be starting to recognize the pattern. The NYTimes article states:

In a meticulous analysis of the handling of the epidemic by France and Germany, “Le Monde’’ concluded that the crisis had led to another replay in the “eternal match between France and Germany, at the end of which the winner always seems to be the same.’’

It was the latest chapter in a relationship that has tortured and defined France since it was defeated by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, putting an end to French hegemony in Europe, said Pierre Vermeren, a historian who teaches at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

“In the 1870s, after France realized that it was outclassed by Germany, there was what was called the German crisis in French thinking,’’ Mr. Vermeren said. “France couldn’t understand: ‘How did the Germans do it? Why are their schools better? Why are their soldiers better trained? Why are their soldiers athletic, and not ours?’

“This has been going for 150 years.’’

Lupine Getaway

Lupine Getaway

We have been sheltering in place since March 18. Martha found the field of lupine about a mile from her house. As soon as we were allowed to walk to the parks (no cars in parking lots), we visited. Martha wouldn’t touch my phone, so she took this shot with her iPhone.

Peter Beard 1938 – 2020

Peter Beard 1938 – 2020

Peter Beard in 1982

NYTimes article by Margalit Fox announcing his death.

In “Zara’s Tales,” written for his daughter, he quotes a line from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” a late-18th-century work by William Blake, that seemed to have been a touchstone for both his life and his art: “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”

To those emblematic words, Mr. Beard appended a personal capstone. “If you crave something new, something original, particularly when they keep saying, ‘Less is more,’” he wrote, “remember that I say: Too much is really just fine.”

First Bouquets of Spring

First Bouquets of Spring
Sterling Silver Roses

Fragrant Sterling Silver Roses and white iris

pink roses blue iris

Pink and peach roses with blue iris

We have been been ordered to “shelter in place” for the past month to be safe from Corona virus. I am now wearing my expensive French perfume because there is no one to complain. Safe from the “scent-free” people of Northern California, my house is a cacophony of fragrance!

Taylor Regional Park in Drizzle

Taylor Regional Park in Drizzle

The light drizzle, the first rain in a month, made Taylor Mountain look like a faraway place. I loved how this fallen tree outlined the grazing cows.

cows grazing

This enormous oak tree dwarfed the hiker on the path:

oak tree

Jill took this photo of me. I’m wearing the embroidered babushka that Peggy gave me because the fabric does a good job of holding my rain hood in place.
Anet in rain

Family Outing to Tiburon

Family Outing to Tiburon

On Sunday, 26 January 2020, Peggy drove us to Blackie’s Pasture on the way Tiburon in her new Porsche SUV. Chris is “feeding” the statue of Blackie the horse who was pastured here for many years. Joining him are Mary, Peggy, Frank and Laurie, along with my shadow.

Blackie's Pasture Tiburon

Chris, Mary, Peg, Frank, Laurie

Blackie’s Pasture is on Richardson Bay, on the way to Belvedere where we drove around admiring the fabulous homes. Peggy had just returned from her fabulous vacation to Sydney, Australia, cruise around New Zealand, and a stay in Maui.

Blackies Pasture Map

Chris and Mary Rose stopped by the Old Rail Bike Trail sign for a quick snap.

Old Rail Trail

Chris and Mary

The day before, they visited Mom’s grave in San Rafael.

gravesite

The Corona virus was sweeping Wuhan, China that weekend. Here’s Chris’s version of how it would affect us.

Another picture taken on Peggy’s terrace.

Chris Laurie Frank

Here is a selfie that Chris took while we were at the park.

Selfie of Chris and Siblings

Top: Net, Law, FX
Bottom: MR, Peg, Chris