Feb 032016

Being a big believer in listening to those quiet whispers in your soul that serve so well as guides, I found myself driving yesterday to Frederick Meijer Gardens for a bit of Gray Tunnel Relief (GTR). The Gray Tunnel was named by the man formerly known as my husband, who loathed the day-after-day grayness of this lake-effect affected patch of terrain known as western Michigan.

It seems worst at this time of year, even though the optimist in me knows that the days are, in fact, getting longer. Although it’s personal policy never to complain about the weather, it can be challenging to maintain a chin-up attitude when confronted by the monocolor of late January—especially when a warm front adds fog to everything in sight, from the dirty old snow to the unyielding grey-scale of the sky.

The billboards proclaiming relief at the end of a flight to the warm, sandy beaches south of here are not helpful when that’s just not in the cards for whatever reason, so, my soul whispers, why not go to the Gardens?

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Jan 192016


In the year 1966, a loaf of bread would run you about 21 cents. I, for one, remember being a little shocked to discover that my best friend, Julie, had lunch sandwiches on bread with chewy crusts. Mine were made with the staple: the white-white, mostly air pocketed Wonder bread. It was an early lesson for me about variety.

Nowadays, when I want to know the price of bread, my information is instantaneous, thanks to the internet, but there ends the simplicity of knowledge, and the fluid and efficient use of time as I enter the worm-hole of All That Mankind (Thinks It) Knows. Continue reading »

Dec 022015


Being a writer can sometimes weigh heavily. As a representative of and advocate for the written word, I recognize the opportunity to demonstrate good writing. That means accurate, clear, truthful, compelling, and correct writing. Doing all that successfully, time after time, is an aspiration, and the quality is for others to judge. But as with any craftsperson, I am proud of what I do, and want to make the things I write as polished as I can in the time I have. Continue reading »

Nov 112015

This is that day, the one you know is coming for weeks, the one when you know it’s over. You are on your road thinking about the day when you realize: the color is gone.

This is that day, when the branches are naked, and the trees are as if suddenly upside down, their roots reaching to the sky.

2015.11.NakedTrees Continue reading »

How Is It Possible I Feel Cold?

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Sep 232015

As a rule, I see no sense in whining about the weather. As my sensei, Gaku Homma was fond of saying, “if you don’t like the temperature out, just wait six months.” But I’m also an ardent fan of fairness—so when I have to put on five, count ‘em, five layers in August at home in Michigan, it seems…unfair. I understand the wisdom of planning to wear multiple layers in the mountains, where the full range of weather can crop up any time. But in my sweet, safe, predictable lower-peninsula Michigan? In August? It just doesn’t somehow seem right, or fair, to feel cold.

And so my observations lead me to one of my favorite topics: expectations. I may expect to have to wear layers in the mountains, but I do not expect that at home in August.

IMG_1563 Continue reading »

Aug 252015

How can anyone not love a place surrounded by place names like Vilcabama and Urubamba and Salkantay. Indeed, the name “Machu Picchu” itself rolls off the tongue in such tantalizing fashion that it’s easy to like even before you know how amazing it is. It’s the “lost city of the Incas” which, as with the city of Sleeping Beauty, was covered by dense vegetation for centuries before being rediscovered.

In the case of Machu Picchu, rediscovery had to wait from around 1530 until July 24, 1911, when American archeologist Hiram Bingham was snooping around those dense, green mountains looking for something else. (Technically, he didn’t “discover” it—the locals knew something was there and, indeed, farmed some of Machu Picchu’s terraces. But Bingham, through an April, 1913 article in National Geographic, brought the site to the world stage, making it now the most-visited tourist destination in South America.) Continue reading »

Aug 122015

Inhabiting my current world is a cadre of emergency care providers who are often less than half my age. I feel humbly grateful to have the health and well-being to remain in their midst, and to feel accepted as one of them despite our generational differences.

It occurs to me, though, that as an elder in this crazy, wonderful world of providing assistance to those who call for help, I have perspective that they cannot. Although history sometimes seems irrelevant to those who have not lived it, perhaps it doesn’t hurt to be reminded, now and then, that today’s status quo didn’t come without someone proving it could be done. Continue reading »

Jul 272015

I honestly might not have gotten to Peru but for the urging of my travel buddy, Margaret, who has held Machu Picchu high on her wish list for years. Our travel materials claimed that National Geographic Traveler Magazine named the Inn-to-Inn trek as a “Tour of a Lifetime.” For me, such the hyperbole morphed into reality in June, 2014.

An early view of Salkantay Peak

An early view of Salkantay Peak

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Jul 012015

“Every now and then, bite off more than you can chew,” says the quote on the paper end of my Sweet&Spicy teabag from Good Earth this morning. No problem. I do this all the time.

07-01-15 498

The first realization that maybe I was trying to do too much came in seventh grade, when the only time left in the day to practice piano was 5:30 a.m. I played quietly, and pondered the thought that this was probably not normal, but that’s about as far as that idea went. All my life, I have delved into a wide array of opportunities because, dang it, I don’t want to miss anything. Sports, adventure, games, reading, thoughtful conversation, joining rescue and other assistance groups, serving on various boards of directors, raising a child, training dogs and horses, lately, firefighting. Why not? Everything is fodder for a broader life, a chance to learn new skills, try new things, push forward into the unknown.

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