Category Archives: Blog

of education

For university students to indulge the knee-jerk reaction, “This concept or idea offends me, I don’t like this, so take it away,” is not progressive or adventurous. It’s weak, solipsistic. It’s treating a vital endeavor as equal to the ‘Like’ button on Facebook. In all disciplines students should grow to understand what they don’t like … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog

Moments of Truth

Books. How can you have too many books? So many minds and ideas, stories told, wonder shared. Someone asked me the other day how I wanted to write, so I said, “…like Max Brand mixed with Dickens, Jane Austen with Robert Parker, T.E. Lawrence and some Gerald Durrell.” In other words the only way I … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog

Reflections from a Writer

Today I’m sharing a friend’s guidelines for a meaningful critique. I’ve mentioned many times how strongly I believe in solid critique groups, and that all of my work owes much of its strength (and none of its errors,) to writers’ groups to which I’ve belonged. At the Santa Barbara Writers Conference some weeks ago, I … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, education, writing

The Suitcases

They sent her overseas to save her life. A small-boned young woman just beginning her twenties, hair fashionably short in the American style swinging against her strong jaw, her black eyes proud and watchful, ranging over the seething common crowd of Chinese at the dock. She moved, flanked by the black and white of two … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, family history, history

Interview Dinners

Our geology department has faculty job candidates coming through and to hold down costs, candidates will not be put up in hotels but in faculty guest accommodations. The advantages? Casual discussions over coffee in the morning and with that a far better sense of what living and working here is like. As I used to … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, food

What the choices are…

Warning– this is a post that includes cleaning, garbage, purity, diapers and a rant. It’s not about our trip to Ramsey Canyon in Arizona and what we saw there… I will get to that after the clean up. We hosted our Earth Sciences Department party yesterday and about seventy people attended. We prepared and cooked … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, food

The Sequel to All for Pie

Time has passed and we are harvesting the concord grapes. My little rat proofs have worked. If you try it, I have a couple of observations. One, simply having these strange objects in the vines will decrease rat activity. It won’t stop the little brats, but there will be less damage. Two, a trick I learned … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, food, gardening, pests


  I am done with these rats. Traps do not suffice, poison feels unethical and gives a horrible death, the tricks of radios and deterrents are fantasies. Plus, I refuse to have an outdoors cat because of traffic, coyotes, parasites, and the mass slaughter of birds and my delightful lizards. But these rats are eating … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, food, gardening, pests


I’m posting this one because I came across it in the pursuit of something quite different in my files. However, it illustrates what I think portraits should do– depict body language more than features, and give a sense of context. Here are three people I know well, exploring the land and the plants they love. … Continue reading →

Posted in: Blog, painting

Chapter Twenty Seven: Upon a Field

  We assembled before the dawn was more than a suggestion, and ate our cold breakfast with slow care. As color entered the world, sunlight touching the golden leaves of the woodland, we checked our swords and other weapons, pulled on our chill helmets and settled the straps snugly. Berann muttered to herself her regret … Continue reading →

Posted in: A Stranger's Blood, Blog, free novel, writing