Cathlamet — Skateboarding and so much more…

The fifth annual Cathlamet Downhill Corral skateboarding contest took place over 3 days in late August with my attendance on finals’ day. I went to Cathlamet the first time on 4th of July after moving to Longview, Washington and attempting to find Lake Sacajawea. I was told there would be fireworks and a lot of activities during the day. I turned the wrong way from the driveway of my apartment complex, which I soon realized. Since I was anxious to take a much-needed break from unpacking, I kept going having sufficient time before it would be dark enough for fireworks. I drove along the scenic Columbia River and followed the sign to Cathlamet (Cath-lam-et), 20 miles farther along, wanting a bit of rest and relaxation. Life on some days is good and possibly an adventure.

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When I arrived on the main street of this very small town, (approx. pop. 600 people), I visually took in a diner, massage salon, coffee shop and small grocery store. It was quiet and mostly shuttered, which wasn’t a surprise for the time of evening but it was the 4th of July. Everyone must have gone to Lake Sacajawea for the fireworks. As I continued on my drive, I saw a bridge that crossed the Columbia River and a sign that there was a ferry 3 miles ahead. Wow! How cool is that? I saw a woman walking across the bridge and decided I would come back and walk it another time and turned the car around and went back to the town.


I was to find out, as I shopped in the grocery store, that there was a local farmer’s market. I put it in my memory for a return visit. This took place a few weeks later. I came back on a Sunday and the young woman who served me coffee told me the market was on Fridays. I had a cup of great coffee at the Tall Tree Cafe, and then walked the bridge inspired by the beauty and calm of nature. I looked forward to coming again to see what the farmer’s market had to offer, as I like to buy local.

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The small farmer’s market, known as Two Islands Farm Market, has locally grown produce, plants, and baked goods. After buying produce and a houseplant I got on the cable car on wheels, (original body is vintage San Francisco), and went to the marina where I got a latte at a freestanding coffee shack. The aroma and taste of fresh coffee and the delight of boats were a delicious combination. There is signage of the passage by Lewis and Clark through the water corridor that yields magnificent scenery where the marina exists.


Sitting by the water eating a bowl of pasta was a gentleman who told me about how beautiful the area was and how much he enjoyed semi-retirement living on a boat.  This contemplative man told me about the upcoming skateboarder’s contest. It was a few weekends away and I planned on returning. I wanted to take pictures having been a skateboarder earlier in my life. I wasn’t disappointed.

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It was thrilling watching the young males (mostly) speed downhill toward town and hearing cheers from the expectant fans. A sharp left at the bottom of the hill and rounding the curve took those who stayed on their boards toward the water. But first it meant taking the ramp and getting air and, of course, there were crashes. It was exhilarating to be an observer photographing the action and capturing happy smiles. Come visit Cathlamet any time you want a dose of small town fun, adventure and travel rewards.

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Diva Livingston Flash and Brash WordPress blog and DLLivingston photographs are the property of owner. Unauthorized use and or application of this material without express written permission from this blog’s author and or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Diva Livingston or DLLivingston with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Washington, DC – 2013 Inauguration “On the Scene”

Apolitical is how I would describe my lack of engagement until a decade ago, when I finally registered to vote after many election cycles had passed since I was age-eligible. An invitation from a politically savvy friend to go to the inauguration provided a chance to participate in a moment of history, meet people from around the world (I was to learn after getting there), and the opportunity to capture photographic images. It proved to be a fascinating experience that will always be an important memory.

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Seal: erected temporary seating for inauguration

My friend is an educator and had previously been to inaugurations, and had a friend who had been to a few before, and offered his place in Virginia where we could camp out during our stay there. It was great to be with people who knew their way around DC and learn how to navigate the wonderful Metro subway. It is an amazing transportation system to get everywhere and the people who work for Metro, especially during the inauguration with a multitude of visitors pouring in from all corners of the world are to be commended for their courtesy. I found the people in DC very giving of directions in finding places to eat, and which could be a quick route or the more scenic route depending on one’s available time.

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The Willard Hotel is breathtaking and worth a look inside

On inauguration day, the three of us were up and out the door at 4:45 am to get to the Metro station in Virginia and board with others who were already waiting for the 5:00 am, first train. I spoke with a woman who was from North Carolina who said she could not forgive herself if she did not travel the distance to be present for the inauguration. I loved listening to her talk with a soft Southern accent much like how my new friend in Virginia spoke. It was only one day earlier at a Sunday open market, where I heard accents from two Australians, a father and son, who we gave passes to as one of the people who was to fly out and join us came down with a horrible cold. They were pleased to have extra inauguration passes so they could get a close up view. The son had written a paper in college which won him the trip.

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Australians who knew a lot about American politics

It was quite a bit colder in DC for the Australians as this is their warm season, but was relatively mild compared to the inauguration four years before, as told to me by my friend who I traveled with this time from Portland, Oregon. We were prepared for the weather. I had gloves and wore a full length, lined, and hooded coat and was warm all day. It was hard not to be with the body heat of people who you stood by for five hours, elbow-to-elbow, shoulder-to-shoulder from Atlanta, Georgia and KU in Lawrence, Kansas. The ground where we stood had bark on it and we tromped down grooves for each foot. No beverages were allowed, not even water, but I was glad I brought a Clif® Bar and a couple of ounces of dried fruit.

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All drinks left behind

The section where we got passes was just behind the railing and just behind the seating. We had a view of the red arch where each of the speakers and singers presented their part of the event. There are a lot of pictures that will show the inauguration in its glory, but mine show people in the scene, and the close proximity where ordinary individuals could position themselves to view the happenings.  Nobody, not even a nearby ten year old, complained about anything. The exception was about a guy who had climbed up in a tree with a sign that supported his position on a divisive issue and ranted about it during the entire program. He was so high up in the branches that a ladder brought by officials and propped against the tree could not reach him. He was arrested at the end of the inauguration when he descended his perch.

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Camera stretched to screen to capture Obama speaking

Many people had stood in line starting at 4:30 am that morning to get an advantageous viewing position even though we were not let in to the security areas until 7 am. It was there I downed my half bottle of water, had my purse and camera checked, and merged with the crowd while trying to keep my friends in sight. The people moved quickly but did not push and shove. It was just as amazing how considerate everyone was when it was over and we moved again as a wall of people to exit the crowded grounds.

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Amazing spirit after the inspiring speeches and music ended

The days before, during, and after the inauguration will remain a part of my history as an American who came reluctantly to a point of involvement and am glad I made the decision to do so. It is my hope that what I have written and the images I share will be a source of inspiration to motivate the reader to get involved in the process because without each of you – how can we have hope for the future? The next four years as President Obama and the lovely Michelle Obama work to make the desired improvements here will be appreciated by all who took the time to vote and contribute to the democratic process.

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The young people are the next generation decision makers

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The button man — one button $3 including picture

You can reproduce the photographs with a notation of my name. D.L. Livingston

Forest and Waterfalls

Forest and Waterfalls – a Natural Delight

Diva Livingston

November 30, 2012

The palest of winter skies reflected soothingly in her eyes and the woman’s introspective gaze altered as she stepped from the fertile forest into a clearing to continue on a well-worn foot path with its puddles and high ground littered with gravel. The northwest sky typical at this time of year was gray and heavy with clouds that moved ever so slightly. A breeze felt miles below caused the physically fit woman to look up in the event it darkened with the advance of rain. The pensive mood which occupied her wandering senses while among the magnificent trees changed to keen observation upon entering a meadow with its grasses and shrubs. Might there be plant material to gather?  A few days ago while reading a book about floral arrangements, her interest was piqued in the discovery of a Japanese designer who used only foliage, no flowers in his arrangements. This could be a possibility in all seasons then, she sagely mused.

A favorite season of this wayfinder was spring because of the newness of life that comes forth from the earth with a variety of colors, textures and shapes, and the pungent smells of nature. It was a playful time with scurrying and leaping of lively insects and furry creatures — a time of wonder. Whenever the adventuress was  alone in the forest or in other natural environments, she was attuned toward a contemplative mood more so than what seemed to be revealed in most people. Then again, the lone hiker determined with a smile, she wasn’t like most people. Most people wouldn’t notice the shade of green in grasses that changed with the seasons or the rocks that glistened in the stream but were not so vibrant once dried and lying on a sandy bank. The “not so pretty any more rocks” made fascinating miniature Stonehenge creations where balancing the stones was a fun, idyllic activity. The woman made them when she went out on walks and noticed that adults and children made them too. There must be something magical in the pensive ritual that keep people’s interest in doing such a task. Maybe this was the key – simplicity in a multi-task, time line driven, hurry-to-the-next-thing, and far too distracted world of automatrons.

Water saved the woman from being an automatron.  The magnificent waterfalls close to the Columbia River Gorge, where she had been living only a few months, were indeed salvation to her soul. Getting to them required a more invigorating walk but was entirely worth it. It was peaceful and an enjoyable realization to be removed from bustle of the city, even with its delightful activities, she readily determined. Renewed and with a creative mindset, she advanced with her camera toward the cascading waterfalls. Voluminous water pummeled over the peaks and bounced against the ground with fierce velocity invigorating her. It was almost unbelievable and incredibly fascinating to watch. This cost-free entertainment could be enjoyed by anyone willing to take a hike. With a trained eye for photography and composition, she moved her body — bending down and climbing up, to the left or the right — peering through the lens and wiping it dry, after a few seconds, as  the water lightly sprayed her face. This was what she loved — Aliveness! A superior moment brought by an adventurous walk and an open-minded attitude toward the possibility of all seasons having something to offer to those who sought joyousness in nature.


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Diva Livingston, Photographer – Oregon, USA

Watermark (#3 image) Photoshop enhancement  by Jon  Livingston

Please ask for use permission!

Live a Meaningful Life with Purpose

Original for a Marylhurst University Public Presentation Class – Fall 2011

Three years ago, I met a Children International spokesperson in downtown Portland. I learned about the advocacy organization and outreach program. I liked what I heard in that as a sponsor your monthly donation helps to provide health care, education, food and clothing. Then I asked a few questions:

  • Is Children International in Mexico?
  • Can I have a choice in the gender?
  • Can I visit the child I decide to sponsor?

Why my interest in Mexico? An early fascination with the country of Mexico began with a fourth grade class project studying the history of the Aztecs and the arrival of Cortez and the Conquistadors. The Aztecs were considered an advanced society who ruled by intimidation and sacrificed war prisoners to give thanks to their nature gods, as a tribute to their reign of power and in anticipation of bountiful harvests. The Spaniards are known by some to be European Imperialists and their advantage to conquering the Aztecs is that they had guns and horses. The Aztec population was estimated at 150,000 at its peak, but many died from small pox. In a few years the indigenous people and their gold were under the control of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabel of Spain who wanted to convert the Indians to Catholicism but also knew of the value of gold.

A few years after that class project, my parents took the family on a vacation from California to Texas to visit relatives there. On the way we saw the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and then went out of the country crossing over the border from El Paso to Juarez, Mexico. Mexico is known to be a country of extremes, which I saw for myself the first time I visited there. Homelessness at the time in that country was unbelievable. People were living in the streets in lean-to shelters and the holes in salvaged pieces of plywood were patched with lids from food cans and nailed in place. We drove farther into better neighborhoods where the large-scale houses were surrounded by concrete and stone walls. The top of the high walls contained broken pieces of glass. This was achieved by placing bottles in wet cement and when it dried breaking off the necks leaving jagged edges. There are still areas of Mexico that are not much changed from that first scenario in regard to the level of simple existence for many people.


Diva Livingston, photographer/ Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, 2009

How this affected me and how I viewed life from that first imprinting was multi-layered. I felt sadness for those people who seemed to have no alternatives and wondered why the people in the big houses didn’t help them. As I grew older and became an adventurous young adult, I went to Mexico often for the weekend as I lived in Southern California. It took only about 2-3 hours to cross the border and go to Ensenada for a good time. From the perspective of an adventurous twenties something surrounded by Americans, it was not the same impression as that of a child all those years ago. Later I went to Cabo for the first time in my late twenties before it was discovered and developed as it is today. I went again years later and it was still a great place to vacation but quite different than before. I learned photography and can create new images and perspectives.


Diva Livingston, photographer/ Cabo, Baja California Sur, 2009

The reason for becoming a sponsor was self-focused in the beginning. I determined I could do a good turn by helping someone in need and be able to take a vacation in Mexico and visit the sponsored child. Naturally the focus shifted when I got a picture of my sponsored child, named Escarlet, who was 10 years old and simply a delight to me. I read her first letter that was written in Spanish and then translated to English by a person who worked in that CI agency location. The packet I received also contained a fact sheet about Escarlet’s family. The long ago memory of the Mexican people having a tough time came flooding back to me. I was glad I had taken the time to become a sponsor and make a real difference.

Letters from a sponsor are written in the Children International web site and translated for the sponsored child. It is suggested that sponsors write appropriate to the child’s age and engage him or her about school, family and general topics that are relevant to their culture. The letters form a bond and a sponsor receives at least two letters a year. The letters have a drawing outline of a butterfly or flower that the child colors. It is always a special experience when I get a letter in the mail from my sponsored child and sets a happy mood for the day. In addition to writing letters and the monthly contribution, you can donate an amount to celebrate the child’s birthday, Christmas and other occasions that are a part of the Children International outreach program. Children in any country love getting gifts and so everybody benefits from the charitable experience.

For more information:

Civil Dissent: A Method of Persuasion?

Civil dissent is part of the United States history, and uses this method of persuasion to communicate value in the upholding of our civil rights, such as the First Amendment. Scholars, politicians, and government agents, at least on the surface, agree that citizens have the right to civil dissent where there is “conflict between the populace and the ruling power”, as defined by Oxford Dictionary. Bloggers are apt to be empathetic to activities involving civil dissent more so than corporate journalism, which relies on advertising.

Media uses persuasion to frame its own perspective; unfortunately, unbiased viewpoints are diminishing due to ownership by a few super-powers in the gigantic global media machine. As readers scan items, also as known as info snacking, the depth of research of pertinent issues, or what is real news versus entertainment, perhaps intentionally, gets left out or misrepresented in articles. As an element of persuasion, civil dissent can rapidly hit the downward slope to its own demise when the cause is lost to anarchic chaos.

This article focuses on three incidents located in the west coast cities of Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. Many people reading this article do live or have lived in one, two or all three of these cities, as has this writer. This is a national election year and it also is an election year for the mayor in Portland. Recently there was an online article on Fox 12 Oregon, dated February 28, informing us about Tre Arrow’s decision to run for mayor in Portland. Tre Arrow, as some may know, is an advocate in environmental civil dissent.

In the Fox 12 article’s first sentence, Tre Arrow immediately was described as “a man once convicted of firebombing trucks at a logging company” and it was noted that he had “filed paperwork to run for mayor in Portland.” Tre Arrow’s employment and community service wouldn’t generate much support; however, I was inclined to continue reading.

What was more of a surprise than Tre’s decision to run was the stinging response to it by the other readers who posted comments. Fox is thought to be on the conservative side of reporting and naturally would attract a similar readership. Some may read an opposing or slightly different media viewpoint to gain insight, or to be annoyed with the content, and or at times to be sneeringly thrilled to not be on that side of the issues’ equation.

This writer was a little surprised by the comments posted following the Tre Arrow article. BadRooster stated in three posts: 1) “Look at that crazy eyed f… Somebody hit him with a fresh cut 2×4.” 2) “AHHHH the smell of fresh cut timber. I think I’ll go hug my Stihl and whip up some spotted owl hot wings.” 3) “Will someone take one for the team (real people) and get rid of this oxygen thief. Three more feet to the right and he would have nailed that stump and gone splat when he fell from that tree during that useless protest years ago. Too bad he’s not Tre Stain.” The least derisive comment was posted by mtdho who stated, in part: “He’s a narcissist. Don’t stroke his little ego by giving him attention.”

Another media portrayal of civil dissent is what occurred in Seattle in opposition to the World Trade Organization. These riots occurred downtown on November 30, 1999. It was only a matter of destiny that this writer had moved away that city only a few months before. While a resident in Seattle, I had completed a two-year commercial photography program and immediately thought, after seeing a Time magazine cover of the incident: I could have been there with my camera! It’s doubtful that getting as close to the situation as the photograph in the scene below illustrates really would’ve been that desirable.

Steve Kaiser Photograph/Seattle, WA, USA

Steve Kaiser Photograph/Seattle, WA, USA

Police officers fired pepper spray and rubber bullets into the huddled crowd. Protestors included environmentalists, labor unions, religious groups, and an anarchist group who formed what is called a black bloc. These protestors wear black clothing, ski masks, and motorcycle helmets to conceal and protect their identity. The black bloc was a part of the group who damaged property at Starbucks, the Gap, and Old Navy.

Another incident of civil dissent took place on July 8, 2005, in the charming city of San Francisco. The Anarchist Action group were in the streets and were in solidarity with those “marching in Gleneagle, Ireland” to protest the “G8 Summit that was going on at the time.” Josh Wolf is a political blogger and a videographer using freedom of press as a persuasive method to inform the public. His blog is The Revolution Will Be Televised.

Josh Wolf was covering the march that day in San Francisco when a policeman was injured and a police car burned as a basis for civil dissent. The protest is included in a four-part Frontline presentation, titled News War. (Link below; What’s Ahead, Part III, Chapter 7). Wolf videotaped the protest but he did not capture the injury of the policeman or of the police car burning. FBI agents would later want this videotape for evidence. Josh told the FBI agents that the videotape did not contain the incidents, and refused to testify in front of a Federal Grand Jury or hand over the videotape for a “fishing investigation.” Wolf was arrested and served time in the Federal Corrections Institute, in Dublin, California. Possibly his act of civil dissent was an effective, but high-risk method of persuasion.

Diva Livingston


Loyalty, Trust and Laughter

In fourth grade I joined the Girl Scouts. It is an organized group with activities and collaboration, although coming from a family of 5 children we had own group activities, like helping make food for church events and picnics. The Girl Scouts was formed in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. It was about 50 years in progress when I joined. My school friend’s parents were the Den Leaders. I loved learning about the (LTL) concepts, which stand for Loyalty, Trust and Laughter. I would sing the song with exuberant enthusiasm along with the other girls in our troop.

We wore the green Girl Scout uniform and had a guide book. In the back of the book you found out how to earn the merit badges. I set my sights on getting my first merit badge. Once earned it would be stitched on the crisp uniform my mother bought me. My favorite early scouting experience was a camp over in the Den Leaders’ back yard. Following plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers, pickles, chips and soft drinks, we made s’mores. After watching the campfire burn down to coals, telling scary stories, and gazing at the stars, we tumbled inside the tent and fell quickly asleep. It wasn’t long before I became more outgoing having been rather shy growing up.

In this learn and grow environment came an amazing opportunity. The troop from our region that sold the most Girl Scout cookies could win a trip to Disneyland. This was a major entertainment experience in the mid-sixties, as the amusement park hadn’t been around long. I had gone twice with my maternal grandmother and older sister but wanted to go again. It was expensive so getting in free was a good motivator. As soon as I had the Girl Scout cookies’ price list, order forms and money envelope, I went door to door to sell cookies right after school. I was hesitant at first but my mother said it would be OK because we knew our neighbors. When I smiled like an angel they were hooked into the sale. They bought the tasty treats for 50 cents a box.

I had the honor of selling the most cookies and our troop sold the most boxes to win the trip. I was thrilled with my accomplishment of standing out from the crowd. Disneyland! Wow! When Sunday was the day that was decided upon by the Den Leaders for the trip, there was an impasse. My father was a devoutly religious person as was my mother but even so his word was final. I could not go to Disneyland because I had to attend church. It was a devastating disappointment and an occurrence that impacted me for many years to come. Not only was I prevented from going, he called the Den Leaders and told them they weren’t good Christians for going on a Sunday.

It was a humiliating experience. I felt like a zombie. I went to the Den Leaders house for the next meeting. This occurred following the trip everyone took to Disneyland, that is, everyone except for me. The Den Leaders looked at me kindly, sympathetic to what had occurred, but I couldn’t face them. I felt awkward and never went back. When my father told my mother she should have bought a used Girl Scout uniform at the Goodwill, since I had stopped attending meetings, I couldn’t speak my anger to either of them. I just kept quiet and suffered my pain and indignation.

I was 40 years old before I let my father know, by phone a few years after my mother’s death, how unfair I thought he had been. He listened to the adult who was back in the wounded childhood experience speaking of her anguish. Quietly he said, “I’m sorry.” Blinking hard so the tears wouldn’t come streaming down my face, I said, “It’s OK, Dad.” Now I was an adult who had children and an understanding of how mistakes are made. In retrospect there was a positive outcome in that one must accept things in life are not always fair and to find the golden lesson.

Catching up and catching on!

My two twenties something sons would be proud of their mother taking a step forward to learn how it all works in the real world of technology. I entered the world of blogging late in the game, but now I’m ready to develop my online writing skills. It’s easier for the younger generations to have grasped all the nuances of technology having grown up with it in their formative years, and through their education. But nonetheless, I’m ready to join in and enjoy playing the game. If needed, I ask my sons for help as do other parents.

It seems each generation has to catch up with the younger people who follow. I see technology as more challenging, not only because I’m older, but it changes rapidly, for example more than in the industrial era. Most people who didn’t grow up with technology feel behind but I’ve heard from the under thirties crowd that they feel like they’re never going to catch up. I took steps to become more savvy by doing this this blog (which I have edited since first publishing it). It was and is an exciting way to build my skills.

Why? Because writing appealed to me from my days of diary entries under lock and key. It was a way to express what my pre-adolescent self could not discuss with a parent, teacher or mentor. Who could really understand the fragility of emotions and feeling clueless as how to make decisions? Still working in this area to some extent! It’s easier being an adult sometimes than being a child or adolescent. It’s an ever-changing, global world that looks different by the hour. While teens may have the tech advantage we have the maturity advantage in knowing what to post and privacy issues. They’ll get it either by listening to a parent or learning from life the hard way.