For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year’s Blue Moon

Happy New Year to everyone, and pause for a moment as you celebrate to acknowledge the Blue Moon—which means the second full moon in a month. Then toast the inspirations, joy and friendships ahead in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Mile-High Move: SOLD!

Against all conventional wisdom, we sold our home (with the much appreciated help of Lonnie Larson) in a down economy in less than two months over the holiday season. I’ve spent a lot of time with the buyers, who have come out now four times from St. Paul, Minnesota, to walk the land and spend time with me and Sharpie (they keep asking if he can stay with the house). All outdoorsy people, the mother will live in the house with her Great Dane, and maintain it (the house, not the Dane) as part of a family trust. The adult children will come to visit from their homes in Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. I am so excited for them, and they are pretty dang excited, too! We close on March 1 . . . now, Carl and I are bustling around to find a house in Golden that will suit the needs of our Little Prince.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Red ink means more than just edits

In my college classes, I spend time on multicultural communications and the importance of being aware of how different cultures view things. I always learn something new myself as well. This quarter one of my students told me that in many parts of Asia, red ink is viewed as a death threat. I assured everyone I wasn’t issuing any death threats . . .

For more information on cultural issues and education, check out this paper published for a Canadian conference on understanding Asian students at

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Winter Wonderland

As the snow comes, as the holiday arrives, and as the new year hovers on the horizon, Sharpie and I are settling into a quiet snowbound few days. Carl is cat-sitting for a friend and Sharpie is grossed out at the very thought! May your holidays be safe, fattening, and filled with books!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recently read: John Harvey’s Lonely Hearts

I’m addicted now to this series of English police procedurals and Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick's forays into the darker side of life. This is another gem. A woman is brutally murdered at home and her violent boyfriend is hauled off a train to Scotland, apparently fleeing the crime. An easy case to close for Resnick and his team—except another woman is killed, and the boyfriend ends up with alibis for both crimes. Some ace detective work by all members of the team reveals a common thread between the two women: they both had advertised in the local Lonely Hearts classified ads. The book has well-developed characters, and a page-turning plot.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Combining art and words: Kowitt’s poetry book and Marney’s workshop

A while back I mentioned Kowitt’s book, In the Palm of Your Hand. It is a poetry workshop that takes you through structured exercises in the construction of a variety of poem formats and subjects. I am slowly working my way through it (I am such a BAD poet!). As I was laboring over a poem about a childhood memory, it dawned on me that it would be fun to combine the poetry workshop with Marney Makridakis’ Me-Flections art workshop through Artella ( ). So, I am using the art topic and the poem exercise together to see what evolves, and seeing the results as I create a small book of illustrated poems.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Recently read: Elizabeth George’s Careless in Red

After personal tragedy strikes his family, Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley disappears on a walking tour along the coast of England, the violent waves and bleak setting matching the emptiness in his heart. After six weeks his usually elegant grooming has evolved into a disguise good enough to make him a suspect in the suspicious death of a young man. Slowly Lynley finds himself again interested in living enough to help solve the murder. I am never disappointed by George!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Books to the ceiling

I just read this quote by children’s book author, Arnold Lobel. It describes me (well, hopefully no long beard) and just about everyone else I know!

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. (Lobel)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recently read: Henning Mankell’s The Man Who Smiled

Here is another work in the Kurt Wallander series by this Swedish author who never fails to keep me up late at night turning pages. The mysterious deaths of a father and son—one considered by the police to be an accident, and the other shot several weeks later—don’t appear to be connected to each other. Wallander has been on sick leave and has finally decided to leave the police force. The son’s visit, followed quickly by his death, bring Wallander back to work. And always in the background is a mysterious businessman whose generosity seems above question and whose smile strikes Wallender as increasingly sinister.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Digging out from Wednesday’s blizzard

After an unseasonably warm and snow-free fall and winter so far this season, we—along with most of the country—got hit hard this week. Wisconsin shut down on Wednesday from the snowfall. We got less than some parts of the state like Madison, but eight inches is still a lot of snow! I got plowed out about 8 p.m. that evening by Chris, who had been plowing in the Twin Cities for almost 24 hours and stopped by to clear me out on his way home. Later today our friend Roger is bringing two more cords of wood to replenish my fuel supply.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recently read: Leonardo Padura’s Havana Black

In this novel, Padura again provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into the dark world of Havana in the late 20th century. Lieutenant Mario Conde has to refresh his knowledge of history at the time of the revolution, including looking at the hidden secrets of those who came to power with Castro. A returned exile, Miquel Forcade, whose services to Castro included confiscating priceless works of art abandoned by the fleeing upper classes, is found dead and mutilated on the beach. Conde must first figure out the questions to ask before he can uncover the answers. Well written, the book evokes the decaying luxuries and bitterness of a world that disappeared with the revolution, and a world that came into being with the revolution and is now sinking into the night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Facebook and high school reunions

All the reports in the media that Facebook is now the meeting place for the middle aged are true! I’ve been hearing from so many classmates from Urbana High School, class of ‘70. We even have our own Facebook group for our 40-year reunion. One of the many fun things is that people are sharing photos. I had never seen the above photo of me taken in 1990 the night before our 20-year reunion dinner. Heck, I didn’t even recognize myself at first!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

29 Days to a Smooth Move

I’ve been using the handy workbook written by Donna Kozik and Tara Maras designed to take you step by step through the process of moving. It provides you with places for your notes, schedules, and a wealth of helpful tips. This writing team has produced a number of these useful books, each with its own web site. The Move book was published through iUniverse. Often books I’ve seen that come out of iUniverse are full of typos and errors, but Kozik and Maras’ is well done. This is giving me an idea of my own series of workbooks and web sites . . . when life settles back down!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Recently read: Donna Leon’s The Girl of his Dreams

I love these mysteries set in contemporary Venice, all featuring the low-key Commissario Guido Brunetti. In this one, a priest asks a favor of Brunetti; a charismatic leader of a new religious sect seems to have undue influence over his flock; and a dead girl in the canal, gypsies, and too many questions have the Commissario struggling with his own beliefs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kenton and Rebecca Whitman add to their creative repertoire

I have written about the amazing talents and energy of Rebecca and Kenton in previous blogs. I met Rebecca years ago when she taught the first belly-dancing class I went to, and I got to know Kenton well because we’re both writers. Now, in addition to music, dancing, horse riding, photography, writing, computer services, and too many other things to mention, they have officially launched a new enterprise: K and R Creative at

Their services and products include website design, graphic design (logos, ads, brochures, etc.), writing services (grant writing, newsletters, ad copy, editing, etc.) and personal coaching (life and spiritual coaching as well as the intensive Metamorphosis Training Program).

One of the things I’ve observed during the thousands of hours I’ve spent on the Internet is how poor so many websites are. Writers may have brilliant words on their homepage, but the graphics make the words hard to read. Artists may have splendid pictures, but the impact is spoiled by misspellings. And don’t you hate when you click on a tab and nothing happens? If you want to start a website, or make your existing website more professional, K and R Creative is having a special through the end of 2009. Contact them by December 31 via their site at and receive 10 percent off website design. Be sure to tell them you saw this offer through my blog to receive the discounted price. As usual, I do not make any money off of any books, services or products I mention on my blog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recently read: John Sandford’s Easy Prey

I’m enjoying working my way through this prolific Minnesota writer’s thrillers. In this one, debonair cop Lucas Davenport moves with ease through the rich and famous attending a party where a top model was found strangled. Sex, drugs, and the model’s strange family from Northern Minnesota all turn up, but as usual, nothing fazes Davenport in his quest for justice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a safe holiday and, of course, a filling one!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recently read: Michael Gruber’s Tropic of Night

This is a particularly gripping thriller, full of darkness and powerfully vivid descriptions of the rites and religious mysteries of Africa and Cuba. The book takes place in Miami, with flashbacks and journal entries of African travels. The main characters are a Cuban-American policeman, Jimmy Paz, and a woman who faked a suicide and is now using the name Dolores. Both are rich, deep characters, who are surrounded by minor characters just as richly drawn. The plot concerns a serial killer whose murders of pregnant women are ritualistic. The book focuses on black magic, presenting it—to my surprise—in a believable way. I highly recommend this book for those of you who have strong stomachs. Oh, and there are zombies, too! Late-night reading just doesn’t get better than this.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Matron Saints

Friday the Matron Saints of Menomonie gathered to help me and Sharpie get rid of some of our (literally) thousands of books. Of course, one can’t do this job unless one has had proper sustenance in the form of food and booze . . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

If I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed, I would . . .

I sometimes feel so overwhelmed right now, with our moving preparations, teaching, and all the other things going on, that I am almost paralyzed. Who hasn’t had this happen to them? I am testing out some new ways of dealing with time, action and too many things to do—and am having a number of successes. For fun, I thought an exercise in wishes would perk me up. So here are the rules to this new game:

Complete the sentence, “If I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed, I would . . .” with any words or phrases that pop into your head, no matter how outrageous. Here are mine for today:

  • Plan a trip to Paris

  • Read art books for 12 hours in a row while Sharpie brings me pizza and refills my wine glass

  • Sleep until December

  • Dance along the creek

  • Call the movers to pack immediately

  • Visit my home town of Urbana, Illinois

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recently read: Robert Wilson’s A Darkening Stain

Wilson is one of the best contemporary writers around. This book is one of his novels set in West Africa, full of Wilson’s stark descriptions of a world that is dangerous, corrupt and mysterious. Bruce Medway has been navigating these byways for years. He is often called on to help out with problems by his associates, other ex-patriots, the few people he calls his friends, and even sometimes his enemies. In this, schoolgirls disappear, Medway’s former enemy has “a job” for him, and as usual, nothing goes smoothly in the dark world of kidnapping, diamonds and murder.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wisconsin Trails magazine article

My first article for Wisconsin Trails is in the current issue (cover shown). Unfortunately, they don’t provide access to the actual articles online, so you’ll have to buy the issue. Here is a link to the table of contents: Another unfortunate aspect is that it is probably my last article as well as my first for the magazine since I think it is probably unlikely that Wisconsin Trails will be interested in having a Colorado Correspondent . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recently read: Pamela Redmond Satran’s How Not to Act Old

Carl and I both enjoyed this light-hearted book this fall. Gotta love the subtitle: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame. It is a fun read that is full of useful points (like don’t bother leaving voice mail for a young person because they don’t listen to them and for heaven’s sake don’t refer to it as a voice message), puzzlers (like don’t read the Sunday paper), and the what’s-old-about-that suggestions (don’t wear a watch). You don’t need to take every piece of advice seriously (like wearing a thong!), but the book does help give life today a new perspective, and it might help you be able to actually talk to that 25-year-old coworker covered with tattoos you’ve been avoiding in the cafeteria.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Visit to Golden, Colorado—More than a Mile High

I had my first opportunity to fly to Golden this weekend to see Carl, his office, our friend Cathy, the community, and, of course, Carl’s Bachelor Pad (so to speak!). I couldn’t fit both the elegant fireplace and Carl’s new HD TV in the photo. Also, his view off his balcony (shown) is of NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), which is loosely connected with his job at the U.S. DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office. For us “energy conservation” folks (that includes me), a view of NREL is pretty nifty.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recently read: Jonathan Kellerman’s A Cold Heart

Kellerman is always a good read, although he’s not one of my first choices. In this book in the Alex Delaware series, psychologist Delaware and his buddy, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis seek the killer who has been targeting artists in all fields from painter to musician to dancer. Delaware suspects a serial killer may be at work, but there seems to be nothing tying the deaths—not the age, gender, geography or artistic line. Yet consistencies start to show up. Interesting plot, well-drawn characters (yes, my weak attempt at a pun!) and a satisfying ending.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Grammar Vandal

If you haven’t checked Kate McCulley’s Grammar Vandal blog at , it’s always worth a look. I wish she’d post more often. See my class blog for my students’ reactions to this site plus examples of errors they have found at or go to and click on Week 4.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recently read: Ed McBain’s There Was a Little Girl

First famous for his New York City 87th Precinct novels, McBain has delighted millions of readers for decades with his long list of suspense novels. This one is part of his Mathew Hope, lawyer, books set in Calusa, Florida. Hope is leaving a bar in an end of town not usually frequented by the prosperous when he is gunned down. Now he is fighting for his life in the hospital, while his friends and colleagues try to figure out whom he was meeting and why. The trail leads to a circus and the death years ago of one of the show’s stars: a three-feet tall woman.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our Mile High Move: Listing our house for sale

Lonnie Larson, ReMax realtor. See his web site and other listings at

This week I met with a realtor, Lonnie Larson, who is a pleasure to work with! After the paperwork, he measured and took photos while I went ahead hiding the most egregious piles of clutter. Sharpie headed the parade, trying to get into the pictures. To see our listing at Lonnie’s web site, visit

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recently read: Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose!

I’ve been on a lucky streak of reading life-changing books this year. My latest recommendation is Sher’s Refuse to Choose! Use ALL of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams. That long subtitle says it all. Sher has written numerous books and is well known as a life coach area as well as a motivational speaker. This book examines a type of person Sher has named “Scanners.” When I started reading, it was as if she knew me and Carl! Scanners are people who are curious about many things and can’t settle into a boring routine (all routines are boring to Scanners) year after year for a lifetime. Scanners are fascinated by a diverse range of interests, which can take many forms. Sher has identified a dozen types of Scanners.

I am a Wanderer Scanner. That explains why so far this month, I’ve studied books on Sweden, resumed my interest in photography, pondered once again getting certified as an ELS/ELL instructor (English Language Learner), dabbled in watercolor drawings, wrote two bad poems, taught classes in communications and business writing, studied DaVinci’s notebooks (the original DaVinci, not the movie/book imposter), began designing a line of mixed media dolls, signed up for getting certified as an art/life coach, and am finishing an article for a local magazine on area events for the holidays. If your life looks like a course catalog at Fascinated-by-Life Universiry, you may be a Scanner, too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

November is National Novel Writing Month

The annual challenge to write an entire novel in 30 days is right around the corner (or, to be precise, right on the next calendar page). Visit the web site at to learn about the organization and how you can participate. It is the perfect resource and opportunity for procrastinating writers. You’ll be in a good-sized crowd, with over 100,000 participating in 2007 (I couldn’t find the 2008 statistics). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to writing 175 pages/50,000 words starting November 1 (that’s NEXT Sunday!) and finishing by midnight, November 30.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recently read: John Harvey’s Still Water

This is the second novel by Harvey I have read and the ninth in his series of police procedurals featuring Charlie Resnick, set in northern England. He’s being reprinted by the Michigan publishers, Bloody Brits. Sexual violence is a theme that runs through the book, including Resnick’s personal life, when his girlfriend Hannah confides that one of the teachers she works with has been beaten by her husband. When the teacher disappears after producing an all-day workshop about violence against women, Resnick is asked to investigate. And when her dead body is found in the canal, is her death connected to a series of women found floating in the canals, or is she the sole victim of domestic violence? I like Harvey’s books so much that I just ordered the first three in this series and can’t wait to read more.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Leslie Norris and her latest Foodie Chronicles

Image from

Norris is not only sharing her love of food, her recipes, and her memories in her column in the Dunn County News, she is also the new dessert baker at one of my favorite Menomonie restaurants: Zanzibar’s. Check out her current column on tomatoes at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recently read: Guillermo Martinez’ The Oxford Murders

Martinez, well known enough outside of his native Argentina to have his novels be translated in 20 languages, sets this mystery in contemporary England. The narrator, a charming graduate student, comes to Oxford to discover his landlady murdered. A renowned Oxford logician pairs up with the narrator and they decide the murder is the first of a series that uses a mathematical theory as its guide. A complicated plot, well-done characters, and plenty of intellectual stimulation makes this a good read. I’m tracking down other books by this author.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A new quarter at Globe University means a new class blog

We’re in Week 2 at Globe University’s Eau Claire campus (and at all the other Globe campuses as well). Since I first used a class blog as a teaching tool for written and oral communications in 2007, I have learned that for many people, including the younger students and older ones, blogging is something new and intimidating. As a result, I get them started the very first week with the assignment of introducing themselves in a professional manner. This also helps them get signed on and familiar with the technical issues of posting comments on a blog, without the stress of being graded. For the first week, they earn 5 points for posting comments.

From here through Week 9 of the 12-week quarter, they will respond to a variety of assignments. Originally I created a blog for each specific class, but this summer and this fall, I have created one blog for all my Business Writing and Business Communications students. Not only does this make it easier on me to come up with weekly assignments, but it gives the students a broader group to interact with on the Internet. You can check out Erica Hanson’s blog for business classes at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recently read: Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb

If you are one of the few people remaining who have not yet read this book, READ IT NOW. Beautifully designed and illustrated with art by Digh’s readers, the book’s subtitle is 30 days to wake up, be mindful, and live intentionally. It is the result of observations and insights Digh learned as she watched her beloved stepfather die of cancer 37 days after he was diagnosed. She presents a great deal of wisdom in a series of vignettes and anecdotes, often humorous, always inspiring.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truman Capote and the music of words

Truman Capote spoke for all writers (and many readers who love words as well) when he said, “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recently read: Wendy Bartlett’s Cellini’s Revenge

This book, subtitled The Mystery of the Silver Cups, is an intriguing blend of intrigue, history and art. It takes us back to the time of silversmith Benvenuto Cellini and the voyage of his silver cups, dipping into England in the early years of the 20th century, the 1950s, and ending up in present day London. I met Bartlett several years ago at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference, where she won second prize for the opening chapter of this book. The intricate plot involves a murder, wrongful imprisonment, mysterious characters, DNA and art history.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our Mile-High Move: Camden Denver West apartments in Golden, Colorado

Exterior view of Camden Denver West Apartments in Golden

Carl negotiated a fairly good rate with La Quinta that was less costly than the average cost of a short-term lease for a one-bedroom apartment in the area. Then one of his colleagues, who lives at Camden Denver West apartments, suggested he check into rates there since it was now after the first of the month and there were a number of vacancies. So Carl checked it out. He got an excellent rate with all sorts of amenities (such as a garage attached to his unit). He moves in this week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recently read: John Sandford’s Shadow Prey

This is the second book in Sandford’s series of thrillers featuring Lucas Davenport. A landlord in Minneapolis, a politician in New York, a judge in Oklahoma City: all have been murdered. There don’t seem to be any connections between them other than the murder weapon, which is a ancient Native American ceremonial knife. Davenport teams up with a New York policewoman to find clues that lead to a trail of revenge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Steve Tesich on friendship

Every morning I read the day’s entry in Jill Badonsky’s delightful daybook, The Awe-manac: A Daily dose of Wonder. Today’s Soul Vitamin was a quote from playwright Steve Tesich that resonates with me—“Friendship: It’s like having a tiny apartment and somebody moves in with you. But instead of becoming cramped and crowded, the space expands, and you discover rooms you never knew you had until your friend moved in with you.” I am blessed with so many friends who fit Tesich’s definition.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Finals week at Globe’s Eau Claire campus

Kathy and Globe’s campus

Last week was the end of the summer/early fall term at Globe University. I had two great classes, with students who were serious about their goals. In fact, my night Business Writing class won free pizzas for excellent attendance! And that’s saying something—we met every Tuesday night from 5:30 to 9:10. Even with my enthusiasm for writing of all sorts, that is a long, late night to talk about active versus passive voice, and the direct pattern for persuasive writing.

The final project is a written proposal following a strict format. The students choose their own topics and use real situations they’d like to propose solutions to at their workplaces or in the community. Then they read them to the class before turning them in on the last night. This term, one of the students, Kathy, proposed ramp management procedures for the I94 exit to Globe. As her visual aid, she made a representation of Globe’s campus—complete with on and off ramps, a parking lot filled with graham cracker cars, and landscaping, all edible!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moving to the Denver Area: stage 1 of our Mile-High-Move

Carl prepares to move

On Wednesday, Carl headed out at 6 a.m. in our fully-packed Ford Explorer. He arrived yesterday at his new home—the La Quinta hotel in Golden, Colorado. Sharpie is distraught. In the meantime, I’m finishing this term’s teaching tasks, preparing the house to sell, and trying to pretend life is normal.

Tips: don’t assume that hotels aren’t an affordable option in lieu of apartments and townhouses for temporary living quarters. Even if you don’t have Award Points like Carl does, many hotels and motels (especially in this economy and at this time of year) are willing to work out long-term stays. And you’ll get maid service . . . Carl loves his GPS Tom Tom, which got him through two days of driving easily, with no frantic stops to pull out the map.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recently read: Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The books by this Swedish author are showing up wherever there are books and book lovers. An excellent read, this book introduces a fascinating detective team composed of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and a strange young woman whose attachment to the material things of this world are virtually nonexistent. The plot is complex, as the team track down the niece of a wealthy recluse. The young woman disappeared 40 years earlier from the family’s island enclave. An excellent read, there are only two more books. Larsson died in 2004 of a heart attack at the age of 50. He left behind three manuscripts that are now being translated and published in English. His early death is a loss to the world of literature.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A quotation from Amelia Earhart

Photo of Earhart in 1928 (public domain)

Amelia Earhart, pioneer aviator, had this to say: “Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.” I just love that! How many times have I had some whiner standing nearby giving me all the reasons I couldn’t do something! And if anyone should know what it takes to do something people said couldn’t be done, it was Earhart. She was the first woman to be honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross for her solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, a year after Charles Lindbergh’s flight. Earhart disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island in 1937.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recently read: G.G. Fickling’s This Girl for Hire

This is one of the Honey West novels by the husband and wife team of Gloria and Forrest Fickling, written in the 1950s.The idea of a tough woman P.I. equipped with a gun and a Jane Russell chest must have been shocking back then. The popular series of books inspired a 1960s TV series as well. Very dated now, of course, but fun to read as period pieces.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Workshop on writing for young adults

The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire is hosting a workshop on Saturday, October 24 (my birthday!) on writing and publishing for the young adult market. Marsha Qualey of Hamline University will be teaching the workshop. For more information, see

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recently read: Michael McGarrity’s Slow kill

I like McGarrity’s Santa Fe police procedurals featuring police chief Kevin Kerney. In this one, Kerney is on a trip to a horse ranch in California where he intends to (and does) purchase several horses for his own New Mexico ranch. Unfortunately, there is the dead body of a multi-billionaire cluttering up the guest house on Kerney’s first morning at the ranch. We get to follow Kerney as he investigates (with the help of his high-ranking Army wife Sara) the unscrupulous hotel keeper whose death doesn’t seem to benefit as many people as you might think . . . at first.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today’s quote: W. H. Auden

Image of Auden from the Library of Congress via Wikipedia

This has a blend of humor and cynicism that amuses me: “We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.” To my mind, Auden, a 20th century poet, reflected in many ways the evolving issues of the century.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Foodie Chronicles at Dunn County News

I have mentioned on several occasions that building your clip file by writing for local publications is the way to go! Another friend of mine, Leslie Norris, is writing a monthly column for the Menomonie newspaper, the Dunn County News. This not only pleases Leslie, but also delights the editor, Barbara Lyon. Check out Leslie’s first tasty column at

Monday, September 7, 2009

Recently read: Bernie Berlin’s Artist Trading Card Workshop

If you aren’t familiar with Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), they are in effect business cards that are individual works of art by artists. ATCs are created and traded—never, ever sold. They are precisely 2 ½ by 3 ½ cards that express the artist. In this book in workshop format, the author explains a variety of techniques that not only can be applied to the miniature world of ATCs, but to any type of art, including mixed media, collage, and painting (maybe not sculpture, though!). Full of detailed photos and clear descriptions, I found a number of things I’ve added to my “art technique repertoire.”