Thursday, April 20, 2006

Crabby Morning? Not At All!


I re-arranged my work schedule today so that I could take Robb out on an outing with BORP. This followed a physical therapy session with Doreen, where, among other things they walked the entire Cleveland Cascade. This is a public park near the lake that has a huge staircase as its main feature. Robb did great.

We arrived a little late at Crab Cove, but soon found our group, who were learning about the denizens of this particular shoreline from two naturalists. We fingered assorted seaweeds, hydroids, and bivalves. Then they brought out the more challenging specimens. There were live (and very lively) crabs, pelts (from both a leopard shark and harbor seal), a frozen body of a small leopard shark, and a harbor seal skull.

I had never had the opportunity to touch shark skin before. It is a material that one sees occasionally in the decorative arts, by the name shagreen. It was popular in the Art Deco period, and also in traditional Japanese decorative arts. The skin was also used as a polishing material for fine woodworking and jewelry making, sort of like a proto-sandpaper.

That tiny thing in my hand is a crab that I found under a rock. The naturalists allowed us to flip over rocks. Most of them were teeming with tiny crabs. A little creepy, and not very easy to pick up. One crab ran up a woman's sleeve. Luckily, this was one of the able-bodied companions, and not one of the blind women!

Robb isn't crazy about this picture. He thinks he looks like a grumpy old man. In my opinion, the photo looks like some alternative production of Hamlet. Say this out loud: "Alas poor Yorrick. I knew him Horatio."

Now pretend that you're a seal. Clap the backs of your hands together and say, "Alas, poor ORK! ORK! ORRICK!"

Yeah, we're idiots.

But, on the other hand, we're perfect for each other...

After the session with the naturalists, we socialized with the other participants, but Robb was feeling really tired from yesterday's therapy session, so we didn't end up staying very long.

I'm hoping that there's room on the upcoming BORP trip to Point Reyes. Robb and I haven't been out there in ages. Neither of us really enjoy the drive, though, so the thought of going on a trip with someone else driving is very appealing.

A couple of the women on this outing had the coolest Braille Personal Digital Assitants. One even had a global positioning system, that could tell her directions through the PDA's speaker. She walks down the street, and the device tells her to turn right or left, or if she has gone off course. I wonder what her guide dog thinks of the computer voice.


Ryan said...

Speaking of shark skin, I once heard rumors that those large screens you see in movie theaters are made of shark skin. I'm not sure if there's really any truth in that, and I'm scared to do an Internet search because I just love the idea of watching Jaws on shark skin. How cool is that? It would burst my bubble to confirm it's only an urban legend. Sometimes, it's fun to believe in urban legends. =)

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a cool feature the Cascade is - and what fascinating history! Do you know how the plans are coming to restore this to its' former cascading liquid glory?

It also made me smile in an "only in California" kind of way to think of the "demise" of this architectural feature happening because, after the water was turned off, the community put dirt and and giant fragrant rosemary plants in them.

I shudder to think what might have been dumped in them in Baltimore!

Lisa and Robb said...

There are theatrical fabrics that are called "sharkskin," but -- alas -- there aren't sharks big enough, or seamstresses skilled enough to sew a movie screen out of pelts.

On the other hand, many shoreline organisms are named after the textiles they resemble -- seersucker kelp, turkish towel kelp and feather boa kelp spring to mind...

Lisa and Robb said...

Unfortunately the cascade restoration has been stalled for now while they raise funds. The committee installed a container garden to replace the flora they removed but the plans are still in place. BTW the landscape architect who designed the original in 1923, also did the grounds of the hospital where I had my surgery. R

Gina said...


I SHORE hope you continue to pursue these fabulous marine life theaterical performances! While certain to meet with an environmental SEAL of approval, with you at the HELM they are destined to serve an even greater artistic PORPOISE.


Lock Wench said...

I love the gps...but I don't think guide dogs have anything to worry about. They may not be able to read a map but at least they can prevent you from walking into a manhole.

"Ork Ork Orrick?" This is the kind of humor I miss....


ajt said...

we dissected bivalves this semester in my biology class. one valve of seawater in, one valve for waste products out.
life is so cool!

glad to know you are out enjoying your area's attractions.


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