Sunday, February 23, 2014

Death by Glochids (by CJ Moi)

Guest blogger CJ Moi is an enthusiastically ADD OCD writer, speaker, promo agent, educator and naturalist. Once a resident of central Vermont (where she worked with Jungle Pete), her home base is now Seattle. This post is an excerpt from her first ebook, Being Nomad, which releases on February 1. The book is the story of her epic inner and outer journey, car camping and couch surfing for nearly two years across America and beyond, eccentrically rendered in email conversations, blog posts, Facebook posts, and lyrical pieces of writing and poetry. It is available for pre-order until February 1 at the special price of $2.99 at Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks. Visit Being Nomad at

Darwin Award Nomination

n Tucson I got my first lesson about the consequences of carelessness. When undertaking a journey like this, when being nomad, one cannot afford to be even a little careless.

I felt that my visit to the southwest would not be complete without trying cactus pads, and being a long time forager in New Engla
nd, I felt that it would be a total cop out to buy them in a store. So one day I set out for my walk in the desert with a mission to bag me a couple wild prickly pear pads. I captured a green and a red one, not without some wounds to show for it. By the time I got back to the house they had fairly shredded the plastic bag I had bagged them in. Not to be deterred, I got out a knife and tongs and set to work to pull their fangs.

I couldn't quite remember the cactus pad defanging instructions from the foraging books I'd read and I didn't stop to pay attention to what I was undertaking. If I'd taken time to Google it, I'd have recalled that the large canines are not the prickly pear's only defense, and that the best way to thoroughly neutralize the clumps of insidious small fuzzy glochids is by running the pad through a flame and burning them off. Instead, I attempted to cut them all off.

(Nearly a year later in California I finally got to try prickly pear fruits with the guidance of an experienced forager. Despite the hard little seeds throughout the sweet pulp, they are much better tasting than the pads. And their glochids are much easier to avoid!)

But as one begins to cut into a prickly pear pad, it starts oozing a viscous liquid which engulfs any loose glochids. By this time I was getting a bit frustrated with all this painstaking process just for a taste of cactus pad. I hacked off a couple pieces, ascertained that they were glochid-free and popped them in my mouth. The punch line here is that I ended up with a glochid stuck in the back of my throat, just far enough down that I couldn't reach it without a gag reflex and couldn't dislodge it by scraping anyway.

Now I did Google, to find that I had plenty of company in the embarrassing glochid ranks of Darwin Award Nominees. Most accounts said that I'd be fine, albeit with a resident glochid for anywhere from several days to several months - except for a few that recounted the deaths of individuals whose throat swelled up and constricted the air passage so they couldn't breathe. But after a somewhat uneasy night I woke up alive, breathing and with the annoying tickly pain gone - the glochid had apparently dissolved.

Some great forager I was. How could I have been so stupid? To add insult to injury, the damn cactus pad didn't even taste all that great. But already I was at least smart enough to see the lesson here. Pay attention. Think. You can't afford to be careless on the road.

Nonetheless there would be times when I was careless again. Every time was a reminder. Every time the lesson went a little deeper. Still, it sometimes feels like it's only by rather dubious acquiescence from the universe that I'm alive to write this book.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Help me help a friend fighting ovarian cancer

I have a favor. My friend Michele has been battling ovarian cancer for nearly 2 years. After a second round of chemotherapy, a CT scan today offered positive news and we hope that she continues to improve. The ordeal has taken a physical, emotional and financial toll which is why her friends have set up a fundraiser event this Saturday to help where the insurance companies could not.

Whether you know Michele or not, I'm asking for your help. Help me help Michele and her family. We have collected over 30 prizes which will be part of a Chinese raffle on Saturday. at Skip One Seafood at Fort Myers Beach. You don't have to be there win. We have set up a Paypal account specific for the event. You can buy tickets by transferring money to Michele's Fundraiser account ( and choosing which prize basket you would like your raffle tickets to be placed in. Or show up at Skip One Restaurant, Fort Myers Beach between 11-3 PM on 9/28 to buy them and place them yourself. We will also have a mini-golf event. 100% of raffle prize money raised goes to Michele's cause. Here is the link to the event -

The $2 raffle ticket or 3 for $5 prizes include:

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (Fort Myers) - Enjoy Dinner and a Show for 2 people.

Canoe Outpost (Arcadia) - Paddle Pass good for one 5,8 or 12 mile day paddle trip on the beautiful Peace River.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates (Fort Myers) - 4 Tickets and Guide Book.

Florida Repertory Theatre (Fort Myers) - (2) tickets to any 2013-2014 Season Show.

Fort Myers Miracle (Fort Myers) - Sky Suite for (10) guests to any 2014 regular season Fort Myers Miracle game

Good Will (Fort Myers) - $50 Gift Certificate

Gulf Coast Symphony (Fort Myers) - 2 tickets to any 2013/14 GCS concert at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

Hampton Inn (Estero) - Gift Certificate for a (1) night stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites Fort Myers/Estero

Holiday Inn (Fort Myers) - 2 nights stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown Fort Myers

Key West Express (Fort Myers Beach) - One Roundtrip Ticket aboard Jet powered vessel between Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island to Key West

Naples Zoo (Naples) - 2 adults 2 children tickets. Enjoy a wildly fun day featuring shows and cruises in a historic botanical garden.

Pure Naples (Naples) - $100 Gift Certificate

Pure Naples (Naples) - Gift Certificate for 2 on the Double Sunshine. Enjoy dolphin watching, sightseeing, sunset cruises and more!

Pure Naples (Naples) - Gift Certificate for 2 on the Jet Boat Odin. Explore Naples’ waterways with commentary explaining the sights and ecology.

Sun Splash! (Cape Coral) - Tickets for 4 day passes. Each ticket allows admission to Sun Splash for one person, valid through the end of their 2014 season.

Outback Grilling Basket - Grilling supplies and Outback Gift Card

Movie Basket - Movie supplies and Movie Gift Card

Wine & Cheese Basket - with Flip Flop Merlot includes two bottles of wine, two wine glasses, knife, cutting board, bottle stopper, two candles, cheese, salami, napkins, dip and assorted crackers

Camping Cooler Basket - includes cooler, lantern, 3 pack dry bags, utensils, relief, water proofing spray, tent repair kit, head bug net, waterproof matches, poncho, whistle, carabineers, bug spray, headlamp

The following are $5 per raffle ticket items

Everglades Day Safari - (Fort Myers or Fort Lauderdale) Gift Certificate for 2 on full day safari. Full day tour includes airboat ride, nature walk, boat cruise, wildlife drive. Lunch is included.

Scubavice (Fort Myers) - One beginner scuba class.

Robert Dellaert Air Expeditions (Fort Myers/Marco Island) - One half hour seaplane expedition

More prizes will be up for silent auction at the event!