Sunday, December 30, 2012


The mass exodus from the Bay area towards the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe resembled a scene from an Armageddon movie. Complicating the situation were the icy conditions requiring drivers to put chains on their tires. The ride, which normally takes three hours, stretched into seven. But with a full moon illuminating the snow capped Sierra Mountains, we arrived at our lakeside home for a week of skiing.

Sit-down skiing is a relatively new sport and I only started participating after concluding my Paralympic swimming career in 2000. As a warm weather athlete, cold snow took some getting used to. I was also not used to speeds in excess of 44 mph while barreling down a slope strapped to a bucket perched on top of a shock absorber with a single ski below. Skiing yearly at Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows, I took the sport seriously and progressed from intermediate to some more advanced slopes without breaking any bones.

After a recent five-year hiatus from the sport however, punctuated with one shoulder surgery, in was wise to gingerly approach the slopes and our first runs. But slowly we regained our confidence and were soon carving down the mountains through a luxurious landscape of snow covered pine trees and steel-grey lake views.
Maneuvering the sit-ski takes some patience. It is all too easy to let it get away from you as while bouncing from one snow mogul to another. Carving into turns and through slopes, it is exhilarating to be moving so fast downhill without a motor. The silence in the pines is only interrupted by the ‘puff puff’ of the ski as it slides through the snow. We rejoiced in the moment, the views and the magic of moving through nature with bald eagles circling overhead.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Angie & Gregory Joint Exhibition  
at Los Gatos Chambers, California 
All Paintings and Photographs Copyright. All rights reserved. 
Over a year ago, Angie and I began the process and preparations for our exhibition. Working closely with Jade Bradbury, the curator, made the selection and organization process much easier. Through internet and telephone calls, we eventually hit on a series that we hoped would fill the walls of the County Chambers and bring some of our ‘Asian Journey’ to an American audience.

The paintings selected all spoke of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ (as referenced by Joseph Campbell), and how humans continually seek their greatest good. Through traveling and casting a wide net, we reap the stimulations and questions derived from living across cultures. Our learning’s we then bring back home to share with our respective tribes.   The photographs sought to present layers of experience through single shot images captured from reflective surfaces. Presenting multiple views of people and places, not dissimilar to the Cubists’ attempts to show objects from different vantage points simultaneously, the photos offer a rich texture of imagery for the viewer to rummage through.
Carrying most of the work across the ocean and back to California posed some challenges as the size of two of the paintings reached 4x8 foot. Photos mounted on aluminum supports also needed to be packed carefully. Fortunately we managed to land everything and then with Jade’s help, hang everything in a timely manor.

The opening reception was well attended and graciously opened by the Mayor. Our 200-image slideshow perhaps overwhelmed the audience as we tried to include six residencies and almost as many videos. But the bludgeoning left no scars and we took no prisoners. Now we are off to our next adventure though we don’t have the luxury of knowing where that might be just yet. Stay tuned.

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Friday, December 14, 2012


The blue skies offered clear views for 40 miles. Speeding towards the horizon of Baylands ahead of us, our four-seater lightly jumped across the runway until we took flight. Up into the sky and out over the San Francisco Bay we slipped as the foothills receded behind us. The towers of the city to the north sandwiched between the Golden Gate Bridge above the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra mountains to the east. Looking down at the commuters in traffic and the sailboats on the Bay, we were with the birds of prey.

Banking out and over the ocean, below we could see the cliffs of the California coastline as they crash into the sea. Swells from storms far away slowly wrapped their arms around the headlands before depositing white foam waves on the shore. Banking right, we headed towards the snowcapped peaks and the famous Lake Tahoe, the size of Singapore. Emerald green and phthalo blue waters so deep the bottom of the lake has hardly every been reached by humans. Scratchy shorelines of rock and sand create a thin line between the water and surrounding mountains.

And then it was time for the glorious Yosemite National Park area with its Half Dome Mountain. Like an enormous ball of granite that has been split in half, this 4000-foot high face shoots straight up from the valley towards the sky, veiled with pine trees. Its spectacular from any angle but rarely do we enjoy these fleeting views from the clouds, looking down on a landscape that takes days and weeks to traverse by foot.
And then we are off to Columbia, the old gold mining town famous in the 1800’s as the frontier town that absorbed all the gold and dreams of the Forty-Niner's and countless souls in search of their mountain of gold. The wood and brick buildings still wear the patina of history and it is easy to slip back 150 years into a time of lawlessness in the Wild Wild West. After a lunch of sandwiches and sarsaparilla, we hike back to the tiny airport and head home A magical day spent in the heavens with birds of prey.

Puerta Vallarta MEXICO

Here we are in Puerta Vallarta Mexico on the beach but it's difficult to feel where we are. Flying from freezing Pennsylvania yesterday, we now sit by the pool and watch a group doing water aerobics to pop music with an instructor that looks like Julio Inglesie. Around and in the pool, sipping beers mad margaritas are tourists. Lycra and baseball caps. Sunglasses ans sunscreen. Hawkers selling hats ans sarongs in the sand. It is difficult to feel a sense of place because we could be anywhere in the world! This is the vacation package that families save up all year for in order to break away and get some vitamin E on their skin. It's where people escape from the cold, the job, the same old thing in order to reconnect With something lost living in routines. We all need some change, some laughter and sunshine where we can unwind from the tensions created during our 'normal' lives. We eat, drink and try to meet Mary.

But perhaps there is more here than meets the belly. This is time for connection. Time to find grounding and consistency in our relationships, with those we came here with. With those we meet. With ourselves. We reach back into whole ness and balance. Into a full course meal of life with a balanced diet of the major food groups that feed our hearts.