High in the Sawtooth Mountains, my Molly mutt charged into a small valley. Through the trees, I glimpsed the creature she’d spotted. It was a little bigger than Molly, dark, and slow. Bear cub? The glance I’d gotten had left a calf shaped impression, but rough-cut, like a Gumby character. Bear or bovine, that critter’s mama was not going to stand for this. I shouted with little hope. I knew that Molly was too excited to hear me, and that my lumbering pace would make me a fine target for that mama’s wrath. This sort of situation is […]
Sometimes my family hangs around with a bunch of turkeys. I was lucky enough to get a nice shot of them, or at least one with a background I love. It seems strange to me that these gobblers are black. As a kid I learned turkey anatomy by way of art projects featuring a tail of brightly colored feathers. I’ve never seen a turkey with a tail like that, but then I’ve seen few turkeys–none of them very close. I only started siting the big birds around our family’s western Colorado ranch in the last couple decades, probably because turkeys […]
“The painted ladies are migrating.” Puzzled looks prompted our biology teacher to describe the butterflies he’d noticed. Sure enough, as I drove home that afternoon, I glimpsed a smallish orange and black butterfly wafting along. Then a few more and a few more, all fluttering north. Unreal! As a lifelong Puebloan, I’d lived in the path of the great painted lady migration for 35 years and never noticed. That evening, I shared the news with my mother. She’d seen no signs of a butterfly migration in her area of Colorado’s Grand Valley. […]
After my Mile High Lab Rat book launch, we wheeled the scientist photo props back toward the van. Unfortunately, one of the cart wheels hung up on a sidewalk crack and upset the load. The crash was gentle, thank goodness. Nothing broke, but one of the live rats in the terrarium bailed. The rats were breeders on loan from a raptor center and highly replaceable—I’d guess, but I didn’t want to find out. Also, the college staff had been so accommodating in hosting my book launch party. Introducing a rat infestation to their campus seemed seriously shabby. I’d tried not […]
Not long after becoming Pueblo Community College’s science lab coordinator, I saw a notice that the Packard Foundation was offering small grants to boost preschool learning programs. I’d just left a preschool teaching job, and I’d been admiring the lab gizmos and thinking how much kids could get out of experiencing them, so I had a brainwave: wouldn’t it be cool if we could check kits out to teachers, so every kid in class could have a set of bottles full of magical but harmless chemicals to explore? I talked to my bosses Regis Opferman, who approved the project, and […]
In 2002, I started a mystery novel set in the science lab where I worked. I wrote and rewrote so long and hard, it got stuck in my computer and wouldn’t even try to find its way out. Finally, lockdown gave me time to coax it through the maze, and Mile High Lab Rat will launch on March 31st. After all my efforts to make it thrilling, it needs readers to thrill, so I hope you’ll try it, love it, and spread the word.
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 […]
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.