My mystery novel, 20 years in the making, will be published this fall. I’d like to thank the zillion people who supported my efforts and the pandemic for giving me time to get ‘er done. The title?It’s a mystery.
Outside Yuma, Arizona—not far from the Mexican border—my husband and I got lucky in finding a dispersed camping spot along the Senator Wash lake front. The reservoir water level had receded, leaving extra beach space, and I spent hours soaking in the view while walking a swath of dried lakebed. Strangely, the mud had dried into zillions of baseball size pockmarks. I wondered if some special property of the soil caused it to dry with depressions. Had some aquatic species somehow excavated indentations? Too small for people tracks…dog, coyote, bobcat, deer? Maybe, but probably too small, and anyway, that many […]
The Norse had no last names so used nicknames to specify which Harald, Olaf, or Sven. Some nicknames were graphic, referring to genitals or, say, skull splitting. Others were funny: Furbreeches, the Amorous, or Lousebeard. Many were simply descriptive, Forkbeard, Thinhair, Bluetooth. Women’s nicknames included Horsegelder, Shipbreast, and one of my favorite ancestors, Aud the Deepminded. Odd that Aud’s nickname is so exalting. Cnut the Great and Aud are the only very positive ones I’ve come across. Aud’s father was Ketil Flatnose who made himself a king by conquering the Hebrides and Isle of Man. Her husband was […]
A few years ago I managed to gather our family in a beach house on North Carolina’s Emerald Isle for Thanksgiving week. I’m still overjoyed when I think of it. We walked the beach, played in the waves, collected lost treasures, watched dolphins, danced, cooked, explored the island, and bonded. Some met our baby granddaughter or new son-in-law for the first time. Our three-year-old grandson met the ocean. He ran 50 yards to escape an incoming wave. How was he to know how far that wave would chase him? My mother, who was still adjusting to life without her husband […]
Kevin Costner introduced himself to me as I waited in line for the train to Machu Picchu. He was amazingly well disguised as a Peruvian jewelry vendor, but he couldn’t resist leaking the plan for his upcoming sequel. He and Julia Roberts were going to start filming Dancing With Llamas the following week. That was about five years ago, so I expect it will be showing anytime now.
Inches from my head was a critter scratching, skittering, gnawing, hellbent on creeping me out and doing a fine job of it. I wondered if it was looking for a secret passage through the propane tanks, storming the storage compartment under our bed, or using the headboard as a jungle gym. Wherever the intruder was, it was not the nature I’d come to commune with. Other pests we’ve picked up over the years have been more considerate-except that mouse that built a nest on our pickup’s engine and started a family overnight. The festive looking light strings I noticed under […]
When the American Civil War broke out, Jacob Evans joined the northern army, hoping to help save the Union. He was a teenager when he marched off with his regiment. They were rugged men battling fleas and lice in huts made of logs and dirt. Worse, when officers weren’t savvy enough to order the latrines to be dug downstream, sewage leached into the men’s drinking water. Many of the soldiers came from isolated farms and had little immunity against diseases we now immunize for. One sick soldier could wipe out a camp in short order. Ninety-five men died of disease […]
We noticed some people target shooting as we looked for a camping spot in Arizona’s Table Mesa BLM Recreation Area. Unlike other BLM camping we’ve used, these primitive campsites were grouped which seemed a good idea to prevent bullet riddled campers. I could almost smell the testosterone wafting off rough and ready campsites and wicked rigs. Between that and the steady barrage of gunfire, we weren’t sure we’d stay long. If our poor dog had had a vote, we wouldn’t have stayed at all. The sunset was killer, but the firing continued far into the night. Bullets rattled in bursts, […]
In 1884 Tom and Alice Glover drove up Colorado’s Grand Valley in a covered wagon to start a new ranch along the banks of Parachute Creek. Alice held their baby daughter Queenie. When they arrived, Tom pitched a tent for the family to live in that summer. Once the camp was set, he found a couple cowboys to help him build a ranch. While the men were building, Alice was on her own to make the camp a home. On wash day she carried water from the creek to heat in a kettle over a fire. She made her own […]
New Mexico’s City of Rocks State Park sounds vaguely interesting. Not true; it’s a Don’t-Miss! Ancient volcanic showers of pumice and ash melded into a slab of rock that then eroded into a labyrinth of channels like streets and allies, tunnels, and caves. Many of the passages called to my inner child. If only my knees weren’t so cranky, I’d crawl in and explore. I longed for a few grandkids to help me enjoy it vicariously. In the distance an evocative peak invited a creatively framed photo, preferably involving a hoodoo. Sure enough, as we left the “city” I spotted […]