Posted by: nativeiowan | May 13, 2018

2018 v5.0.bloodsportsunday

Another Sunday coming down. Watching the prelims of UFC 224. Won’t buy the main card but will watch the free-fights and write an update…

Golly, half of the 5th month of 2018 behind us. Damn, almost half the year gone. What have I been doing? Another month slips past. I must have been snoozing!

Not really. Been real, real busy. Been having way, way too much fun… Some visuals of this past month…

On Friday 4 May my buddy Big G and I took off from Pasadena, CA for a bit of a bike ride. G keeps his BMW R1200RT in my parking spot in Pasadena. He’d been planning a trip so I chose to jump in and tag along for a couple days. Here we are loaded and ready to ride… Image-9


We pointed north heading for Monterey. Only about a 7 hour trip. The road was friendly. We made good time. Rode right into the city and found a friendly hotel.Image-12

The guy at the hotel gave us directions to a good place to eat. Here I am trying to decipher the map. We did not find THE Place, but we found a good meal then headed out to explore Monterey.Image-13

We walked past a basement “English Pub” and had to stop in for a couple good IPAs. Image-3

We were up early and off northwards by 8am. Of course this route means you drive through SanFran, always a drama, but the view from the north side of the bridge always worth while… IMG_9966



We next took hwy 1 north…

We were heading to Occidental to pay Willis and Suellen Eschenbach a visit. Here we are taking a break at Point Reyes… Image-6

By end day we were ensconced in Casa Eschenbach… Image-7



It was great to back for a visit. Been ages and ages. Many thanks to MissEllen for her fine hospitality. And of course, big Bro Willis, always worth the time and discussion.

The next morn we rode south but split up a ways after SanFran. G continued his ride and I headed home.

My trusty Trumpet… what a machine!IMG_9973

Here are a couple of shots from G…Image-1Image-2

Once home (got back Thursday eve) I started catching up here. Went yesterday to watch Mendoza and Angelo play soccer. Brought Mr M home. AAA was heading out with friends. Of course, once home M needed feeding… Angus rump steak and eggplant were on the menu. He ate two of these…IMG_9993

And life is guuuud

More later



Posted by: nativeiowan | April 27, 2018

2018 v4.lostamonth

A brilliant Saturday morning here in QLD. Been over 3 weeks since I’ve got anything written.

I am packing for another trip to the US. Been a number of months, almost a year. Originally I was heading back for my Mother’s 91st birthday. But weather in the midwest has not been cooperative this year. Last week it was still snowing, so I am passing on an Iowa trip. I’ll go hang in Sunny So-Cal instead of visiting snow country.

I head to So-Cal, to Pasadena, with the task of packing up our apartment there. After five years we will be moving out of our great transit-pad on Cordova Ave. Its been a very useful asset. Pasadena has become a home to us, and in a funny way, the LA area has become less of a foe and much more of a friend.

So, as I procrastinate the day away – it is 920am – watching the daily blewz, drinking fresh black coffee my partner in crime and mother of my children smilingly serves me, I think about the word we live in…

Politics, wars, subjugation, terror, mass killings, social disobedience, foolishness, and basic bullshit… Hawks n Doves and boarders and refugees…

I dig the fact that the Koreas have met in the South. This is big. This is good.

I have visited Korea a couple of times for business. I enjoyed the hell out of each of my trips. So-Korea is a kick ass country filled with smiling hard-working honest open loving people. I can’t imagine the North is much different, other than they are subjugated by a dynastic family and have been terrorized and starved for over 5 decades.

One can only be optimistic for the Peoples of that lovely land.

Gracie walks around with her wireless headphones on. She is listening to SIBC radio. Perhaps, after 35 years of marriage, bliss is fresh coffee, daily newz and a set of wireless headphones?

So… I need to make a move. Have seen enough Newz. It do become redundant after a certain point.

And the beat goez on…

more later


Posted by: nativeiowan | April 3, 2018

2018 v4.1sundaycomingdown

So, another Sunday coming down post.

Only its Monday afternoon.

But it feels like Sunday.

Easterweekend. It’s one word. Like Hehasrisen. Or Gawdamnsumbitch.

Have had 8yr old Dylan and his 6yr old brother Max staying with us. It is boarding school holidays so both Angelo (AAA) and Mendoza (M) here too.

So two teens and two boys hanging. Like four pups, working out the pecking order.

Of course M and AAA are at home here. Dylan and Max have settled in pretty well. The big room we call “the dorm” has a four beds and a very sleep-able sofa. The Xbox n cable TV n AV bells n whistles are there.

On school holidays the boys are free to decompress, use bandwidth and manage their interests. I learned with my sons that some times all they want is to be left alone.

I can’t really say if I was that way when I was a teenager. I know I was surly to a degree. But I never had a choice in NOT WORKING. I always had a job or chores or some daily drudgery that I had no say in, I had to do it.

Daily, without fail or prevarication. I learned to enjoy the tasks at hand and the solitude many tasks allows. As a teenager, if I was busy no one fucked with me. No one told me what to do. I come from  a huge family. I am the middle of 9 natural-born. So I had elders n youngers n frustrated parents. Mowing the lawn was a blessing. I got to be alone.

Tho both AAA and M do a lot of work when they are here. Everything from laundry to dishes to lawns, and often babies. They do have heaps of freedom.

Dylan and Max (Terry’s sons) are both here for a visit. Its their first time.  Both are happy to hang with the bigger pups. They like netflicks. So much good viewing is like sugar, but its real good. The pool is busy a couple of hours a day. The bikes n quads n toys are out. It is still raining twice a day so not always conducive to use of the machines.

But we are doing pretty good. Look at the donut tracks in the grass.2018-03-26 17.37.23-1

What they all prefer is to do is what kids have done for a couple of generations… watch the tube… The dorm has two big screens so TV and Xbox running side by side.

I have now reared my sons (Thanks mostly to Gracie) and added two grandsons. So I think I am kinda good with the raising pups.

Like dogs, like pups, all you gotta do is have fun and learn the rules. Learn who is the boss, who you listen to. Learn to follow instructions. Learn to fetch.

I raise good kids and good dogs.

It is fun but it’s also challenging – again – to be having children around. See, these guys are not babies. They are lil-dudes. I had forgotten that lil-dudes are kinda fragile.

I think of my son Paul in the back seat of my mother’s car… between my elder brother Jim and my younger brother Rooster… Both the older hounds where being rough with the pup. When it got a bit rough – noting Paul has always been big and strong so I suspect Paul put an elbow into old-hound Jim’s ribs n Jim struck back and caused pain. The pup thought crying was appropriate.

Jim said “If you can’t hang with the hounds, get off the porch”.

We all laughed and the tears ended.

But it is true…

Dylan is dude-ish enough to hold his own with the big pups. When we first got to the pool I asked if he could swim. He said yes and did a nice dive into the deep end. His soccer skills are good enough to keep pace with both AAA and M, noting both are playing for the A grade soccer team at school. Soccer is one of their “things”.

Max is not yet a dude but ain’t a baby. Tho he still thinks he can get his way by breaking into tears. I just take him into the house. He can be there if things get too rough. Whats the family motto?

Wimps Need Not Apply.

And it is good. Check out the visuals…

Almost perfect. The fragrance insane!2018-03-28 13.13.27

A pot of beans n corn. I prefer to feed the boys really good meals. And I like to cook. So far no complaints or leftovers.2018-03-28 15.24.40

A mess of lasagna. Always make enough for a coupel days of reheating. 2018-04-02 15.26.46

Kuma taking Max for a walk2018-03-28 16.36.35 HDR2018-03-28 16.36.48 HDR

Splitting wood as a past time. My shoulder feeling much better so swinging the big splitting maul is fun.2018-03-31 12.44.18

The first full-log split the old skool way. Mendoza is getting right into it. It is very rewarding when you crack a big log in half with a couple wedegs. 2018-03-31 13.32.40

Old style quartering. End result are long “rails” of unfinished heart-wood. 2018-03-31 13.44.38

M whittling away on a piece heart-wood. Grobably get two nice long sticks out of this one. First step after splitting is trimming with the machete. 2018-04-01 16.42.53 HDR

End result of all this madness will be heart-wood sticks like Don’sdv

Which was a lot of fun to make.IMG_6145IMG_6146IMG_6159

Max at the Australian Zoo.2018-04-03 10.54.31

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | March 31, 2018

2018 v3.lastday

March is ending.

A blazing bright bigassed moon lights the night’s sky. An impressive display… It is cloudy out but the moon breaks through the clouds and turns night into day. Pretty impressive blue worm moon.

Like they say, “once in a blue moon”. In fact, for 2018, this is twice in the blue moon, in 3 months… pretty impressive.

I’m sitting with the boys watching old movies.

It’s a lazy day for me. I am still recovering from Sheena’s elbows of doom…

So I slept late, did a lil-bit of yard work in the midmorn then hung with the boys, watched TV, ate leftovers n achieved little. Gracie went out so it was rather male oriented, meaning we did little other than watch the tube n eat.

I got a bit productive this afternoon and tried out a new idea for physical training. With my shoulder getting better I am going to start working out again. Rather than pumping iron I have decided I am going to start splitting wood.

I am sure you have heard about the 7min high intensity workout, and the upside down brazilian workout… but not the splitting wood workout????

You start with a big arsed log of hard word and start whacking steel wedges into it… 3.18a

We use a couple different hammers n sledges and mauls. Swinging a big maul is good for my shoulder… so you use the big one and the little one and even a smaller hatchet and three small wedges. It’s kinda cool.

If you whack it right, and enough you split the log…2.18b

It’s rather fulfilling to use basic mechanics to split a several hundred kilo log in half. Mendoza came out and played with me. He thought it was cool… So we split another “rail” off the log. As we go we’ll reduce the log to a number of rails.


Why you may ask… why not is my reply.

And I’ll turn this luvely dense hardwood log into  few handmade canes… this is one I mae last year… IMG_6146

I sent this one to my odl friend mr DV… he likes it a lot… dv

Pumping iron or splitting wood… it’s all good fun and great exercise and for my shoulder.And I end up with a big arsed log all split up. Makes sense to me.

Been raining a lot. The garden is gorgeous… I reckon this to be as close to perfection as you can get…3.18

and life is good…

Posted by: nativeiowan | March 29, 2018

2018 v3.endofMarch

Wow, can I say WOW!?


That feels pretty good… WOW… wow, wow, wow…  Sounds like my dog.

Been quite a while since I blogged.

Wow, what have I been doing?

A philosopher would ask “what have you NOT been doing?”.

The moon grows. An EASTER moon. A BLUE MOON.

Another full moon here the 31st. The second Blue moon of the year. Pretty cool…

The Worm Moon, no less.

Can I send a big WOW to Sheena of

Sheena is fixing my terribly damaged shoulder. She is making me cry and laugh. But I feel straighter and stronger. Round 2 just finished n I sit here with shoulders back and spine straight… after, that is, she beat the living day-lights outta me for 90 minutes…

The story?, I hear you ask…

I’ll start at the beginning… from July 2015: 

So it’s not quite 3 years and I have lived with a disability known as an A.C. dislocation.

In common vernacular my shoulder is shot. Dislocated. Buggered. Crippled.

But no…

Enter Sheena, the magician. Sheena beats n pushes n digs… Sheena is known as the  Elbows Of Doom.

Golly, I feel grand. Have not been so – OK – for ages.

Thanks and honour and respect to Sheena and her Elbows Of Doom.

I feel grand.

Big smiles


Posted by: nativeiowan | March 3, 2018

Sunday morn coming down…

9am QLD time. I watch the BlueZ and consider the coming day.

Weather here in QLD has been fickle of late. A week of rain and cool temps. Now hot n humid n weather filled days. One can feel the weather building up.

The property looks great. Lush and green and bursting as the seasons change.

The world appears to be in a funk. Still. The Russians rattling their nuclear sword. The US jumping like a trained dog in response.

The winter olympics came and went without much impact.

Obama and Hillary still lipping off about the unfairness of their election fixing not working. I gotta ask here… do folks out there still think the political arena is a nice friendly fair and honest place? When are we going to wake up to the misleading lying nature of the beast?

I listened to a guy speak  who I think made a lot of sense… check out:

Also been looking at the stars…

Here are some shots from Cassini at Saturn. I think they are mind blowing…

And life is good.

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 9, 2018

2018 v2.gizotimecomplete

My time here in Gizo is done.

It has been better than great. Golly! These islands are fantastic.

I carry away a bone-tired happiness. A muscle-sore memory of seas n adventure and fun.

I am, as Otis sings, sitting on a dock on the bay…

I am sure many of you reading this have memories of Nusatupe International airstrip? Can’t call it an airport. It’s only a strip…

I ponder the multitude of passings I have experienced here. Coming and going over the past 38 years. Leaving and being left.

And I feel better than great.

Life is good.

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 9, 2018

A Native Iowan in the Islands

the original Arnavons tale…

The Native Iowan

78 nautical miles north east of Gizo is a little known group of islands named the Arnavons. They are made up of three main islands and a number of smaller sandy rocks sticking out of the sea. The place is known for is unspoiled raw beauty and the fact that it is a favored nesting spot for a number of big sea turtles. I don’t mean a number of sea turtles chose this islands for nesting (though they do) I mean that a number of different kinds of turtles use the island for nesting. A big difference!

For a number of years these islands have been a controlled nature conservation sight. And, once there, you can see why.

But I’m ahead of myself…

A couple weeks ago my ol’ buddy “wash yer hands in urine” (that’s a story Teddy needs to tell) Pat Purcell decided we should go up to…

View original post 7,637 more words

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 9, 2018

2018 v2.03neartodeadtired

There is a certain type of tired that comes after a couple of days of adventure, No matter sea or flatland or mountains or rolling plains, if you go out a’venturing for any appreciable time you come home exhausted.

But, once again, the Arnavons do impress…

2018-02-06 19.16.50.jpg


Lets see… Its right on noon, Thursday the 8th. We took off from Gizo 6pm Monday the 5th. I may not make it far with this edition of “fools in paradise”. Am floaty like you get after a prolonged period at sea. My equilibrium is still swaying to the rhythm of the briny-blue. My muscles are sore to wore-out from the unaccustomed use n abuse. My skin is shiny n soft from the days drenched in seasalt. As I write I am feeling my eyes droop and my head nod. My fingers are not very cooperative.

I am dead tired. I doubt I’ll get this posted today. Once I go down I shall probably not wake for a number of hours. And I do look forward to it. But there is a problem…

My bunk, all the bunks n benches onboard, have been tore up. We covered everything with salt n grime during the journey so I insisted on cleaning before anything else. Abraham wasn’t too happy at first but now, after it’s all done, he gets the picture. I shall lay a sheet on the cushions and crash out very soon. I helped him make his bunk so he can crash when he is ready.

I have been back in Gizo since 6am. We had ICE safely tied up and hooked to shore power, with aircons running by 630am. By 7am we were at San Bis for eggsnbacon. By 8 Abraham and I were back hosing the boat down and cleaning the interior. It is amazing how dirty your gear gets when used and abused for a couple of days running.

I tore all the sheets and seat covers off, got my few days of dirty clothes (plus Aba’s) all bundled n ready to run up the hill to the house. I wiped all the interior decks n tables n handholds down. Abraham swabbed the exterior decks and rails and windows. By 11 we were running up the hill where we dropped the clothes off to be washed and had long nice hot showers that felt grand. I played with gorgeousgrannygirls Dawn and Vera a bit then came home before I nodded off.

All in all it does not really sound like much, this lil voyage we just did. It does not sound like much does it? Only 60 hours or 2.5 days…

Monday eve we headed north-northwest, along the west side of Kolombangara. Onboard we had Hans, Proprietor of San Bis resort, long time brother and adventuring buddy. His mate, Goran, an Aussie immigrant from the Bosnian wars. My 18yr old grandson, Abraham, and myself.



As one does, whilst packing the Winnebago, we loaded way too much. One would have thought we were off for weeks, not days. On board we had… 4doz eggs, 3 packs pasta, frozen home-made pasta sauce. 4 packs savoury crackers, a ctn of coke, sprite, fanta, 3 crates of solbrew, 4 packs UHT milk, instant and good coffee, 4 loaves bread, plus assorted condiments and munchie stuff.

We return home with the eggs, we gave most of the bread and some of the beer to the game wardens on the Island. Half the soft drinks came back, but not much beer.

Also we loaded fishing gear and 4 full sets of dive equipment. We ended up using neither.

Of course the departure night is always a party. We drank and laughed and took selfies and generally had a good time anticipating the fun and games to be had.

It was a beautiful eve to be heading-out.

2018-02-05 18.49.40.jpg


I forgot to mention that we strapped a 21footlong alloy runabout with a 40hp engine to the davits on the stern of ICE. ICE is only 15footwide so the little boat stuck out some 6foot from the port side of ICE.

2018-02-05 17.43.09.jpg

2018-02-05 17.34.35 HDR.jpg


Between 6pm and maybe 1am all was rosy. Then we hit a strange swell, running NW to SE, but winds were blowing from SSE. It made for a sloppy sea which forced us to attempt adjustments on our davit system. Numerous times.

All was not rosy as we turned the deck lights on, manned the winches, and hassled with the dern alloy boat as it banged and slid n got slapped by waves. We eventually got it up out of the seas. Retied it with terrible knots we knew we’d have to cut to get undone. It was a chore. But then we don’t go to sea to be safe n sound n warm and dry.

Stay in bed if you want safe n sound n warm n dry. Not I, says the intrepid mariner. Not I!

It’s about here that my well-known propensity for seasickness got me good. I managed to help sort the boat out but as soon as we were in control I was down on the deck, flat on my back. I have learned that if I lie flat and press my back to any hard surface I can oft-times control my illness. I have heard that NASA dudes learned this in space, instead of taking dopy-drugs to ease the illness, you wedge your back into a tight, hard space, which supposedly settles your inner ear disturbance.

It worked a lil bit, but not 100%. I was a bit too far gone. But I delayed the inevitable RRRaulphing over the side by a few hours.

A funny thought… no matter what language you speak, no matter what accent you have, we all sound the same when we rrraulph.

So where are we? 1 – 2am. All drenched to the skin. Me lying flat behind the wheel house. Abraham down for a snooze. Hans and Goran standing watch.

I woke (came-to) about 4am. Goran was down snoozing and Hans was in command, noticeably fatigued. Things were a bit rocky but I got up and had a bottle of water n tried to maintain my weary innards. I think I even chugged a coke to put some calories in me.

Eventually Hans went down for a snooze. I sat at the helm and watched the GPS screen mark our slow progress. The sky was brightening and I had a horizon to try to fix my gaze upon. The seas were sloppy.

Somewhere along the line Goran came up. I gave him the chair and laid down on a bench in the wheelhouse. We chatted a bit. He dozed. The auto-pilot was working well so I watched the screen as the dark seas shook n bounced us about.

This is when I lost the plot… moving as quickly as the rolling deck allowed, I got to the side door only to find Goran had reclined the chair, I had to slip in past him, out the door and to the rail in order to feed the fishies. Goran woke as I jostled his chair while gagging back a big chunder. I made it to the rail and spent then next hour or so hanging over, initially spewing a nice bubbly-headed stream of easy on the throat vomit, which of course quickly became those terribly, gut wrenching dry heaves we all know and do not love.

When I got back in Goran gave me the chair ( I doubt he trusted me not to puke over his shoulder) so I alternated watching the helm and dry-heaving over the side. I moved the chair so my exit was easily negotiated.

Dawn was dawning as we pulled towards the western passage of the Manning Strait. We had to navigate through easy but shallowish waters so I gave Hans a hoy.

9am saw us arriving at the anchorage. By 930 we were anchor-down and engine-off, genset on and aircon blowing. We dropped the boat and the conservation officers from shore came out and had  a chat with us. We tidied up then hit the bunks.

I woke about 1. Goran was up. We hopped in the boat and went ashore.

I had forgotten how magnificent these islands are. The beach is the softest white-powder-sugar sand you’ll ever see. I wrote about the Arvavons many years ago… I’ll chase that tale down and tag it here when I find it.

I still stand by my original impressions and descriptions. It is a special place.

So we hung out, the boys went fishing but caught nothing,  then out to see the turtles hatch. I did little but swim in the clean, clean waters, marvel at my surroundings and enjoyed the beauty and serenity of this very special place.

After looking at weather reports and thinking clearly we decided to pull anchor a day early. So on Wednesday about noon we reslung the little boat. Much more securely than 1st time. And headed home.

It may sound foolish to do a run for so short a visit. And it probably is. But the main aim of this trip was to use ICE. I wanted to make sure the systems were up and running without fault. Wanted to proof the vessel, make sure all was A-OK.

And ICE performed like a champ. Never a hiccough or a cough. All was grand.

I slept most of that day, Wednesday. Came on watch about 10pm.

Entering a harbour at night is never easy. Entering a harbour lined with coral is dangerous. So we did it slow and easy. Lots of yelling an noise n miscommunication but thats par for the course.

And here I sit. The day after. I didn’t sleep a lot yesterday. Spent the eve with the babes on the hill, had a nice meal and read before sleep. Woke slow and sluggish this morn. My body aches, but in a good way. A boat makes you younger, stronger, better. The sea heals things. Clears the head. Invigorates the body.

Time to go get the laundry and put the boat back together before I fly off in the morn.

And life is grand,

Posted by: nativeiowan | February 5, 2018

2018 v2.02GizoTowN

Once again, hanging at the Gizo Hotel, waiting for a feed of fishnchips. Watching the colourful scene below.

The town is bustling. Monday market. Dozens of canoes are rafted up along the shore.

One thing I find striking is the number of quite young girls with very small babies. I think the population boom is booming with quick stats telling us 35% of the totalpop coming in under 20 yrs of age.

But everyone looks well fed n cared for. Everyone is pretty well dressed and ALL have phones.

And the beat goes on. My fish is here so pardon me while I make happy noises…

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