My Aunt Lily was wonderfully friendly and fun. She lived in San Jose, California, so even though we Coloradans didn’t see much of her, I felt like I knew her well. When our daughters attended West Coast colleges, I sent them to meet Aunt Lily, and they agreed that Lily was a “cool aunt.” I will always appreciate Lily’s kindness to me and my girls, as well as her help with the book No Market for ‘Em which is excerpted below. Lily’s wholehearted enthusiasm over my first book also encouraged me to follow through on the next. […]
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 […]
I pounced on an early arrival to my Culture of the Sea presentation, hoping to recruit people to join me in crafting souvenir knots later that day. Jan Hanley, it turned out, was once a knot-tist extraordinaire. As a full-time mom, she’d supplemented her family’s income by sculpting massive knot artworks for display in shows and as book illustrations. Huh? How many strapped mothers even consider knot tying as a possible money-maker? Jan seems to specialize in inspired paths less trodden, and I cannot wait to read her latest travel book: “Today We Bought a Cow.” Such a privilege to […]
For over 10 years I’ve been pushing, pulling, pleading, and praying to get a gig lecturing on cruise ships. With a whole lot of help from some priceless folks, THE day finally arrived. Except, thanks to an ice storm/flight delay, I missed the boat. I stood at the Denver airport customer service desk and watched my dream go Titanic. I couldn’t rebook a ticket to the next port without approval from the cruise line. I couldn’t hold up the crazy-long line while I tried to contact my agent, and she tried to contact her contact. I couldn’t even get my […]
Mother Nature outdoes herself on so many of the trails we walk: trees, flowers, rock formations, waterfalls, stunning skies, sometimes even snacks. Her gifts warm my heart, but much as they tempt, I generally pass them by. I hope she and her other guests aren’t offended that I’m more comfortable sharing from a distance.
This post is borrowed from my daughter Shawna Williams who lived in China for three years. To read more of her exploits click on this link: https://americaninchengdu.wordpress.com/ August 20, 2010 I’ve discovered that a good way to strike up conversations with Chinese strangers is to knit in public. I think this is because Chinese people assume that knitting is a Chinese thing, so they figure that a knitting foreigner must be picking up local habits. On a recent four-day trip from Chengdu to Beijing via Shanxi Province, a man in a bus station mimed knitting and gave me a thumbs-up, and a few […]
In a dream, an oracle counsels: When you believe in your beliefs and doubt your doubts, you will forge forgiveness and find relief. But be wary… If you doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts, That is the path of grief. This jewel is by Maggie Honton who has been hosting our writing group for over ten years. If only I could write like this in my sleep!
I wanted baleen bad, but I didn’t want to go to jail over it — especially in the middle of giving a whale lecture. So when Steve and I set out for Anchorage, I called NOAA and asked how I could carry a piece of a protected species around the world without risking handcuffs. No problem, actually. If a member of a Native Alaskan tribe inscribes the baleen with artwork, it is no longer taboo. Better yet, the agent I talked to, had a few illegal pieces that were cluttering up the NOAA office, and he was happy to gift […]
In the fifties, Crater Lake was overrun with bears. My parents watched a man taking a picture, go rigid when he realized that a bear was using him as a leaning post. A less friendly looking bear tempted Mom to try for a bear-on-the-attack photo. She popped out of the car and waited for the bear to rear up and threaten her. When it did, she lost her nerve and sprinted around the car. She kept trying, and she might have pulled it off if a cranky ranger hadn’t got involved. In the sixties, tattoos weren’t for “nice” people. […]
I spent much of last year begging people to listen to programs I’d slaved over for months. I got a few takers here and there. Then I got my foot in the door with half a dozen libraries and the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and life is good! This year I let their schedulers know I’m rolling out my Whales presentation, and I’ve got five speaking date just like that. I’ve always appreciated libraries—Steve says I’ve never seen a library tax I didn’t like—but now I am profoundly grateful to libraries, not only for speaking ops but for so many of […]