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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today is . . .

Time pops in bursts and simmers in pauses, delicious and satisfying, spreading in front of me temptingly. I linger in the moments of a Saturday morning, anticipating what’s ahead, savoring what’s behind, enjoying what’s present.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recently read: Michael Connelly’s Lost Light

Another good read by a favorite suspense writer of mine. In this one, we continue to follow the adventures of Harry Bosch, now retired from the L.A.P.D. Bosch, an appealing character whose sensitivity gives him depth, tries to re-examine an old unsolved murder of a production assistant. Without a badge and the resources of the police, Bosch pulls in old debts and performs a few fast moves to get the murder file. Interviews with people who were involved at the time show there were connections to a theft, a shooting that crippled a cop, a missing FBI agent, and several deaths.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kenton Whitman’s nature columns

A trio of area fox kits get comfy with onlookers close by. Photo by Rebecca Whitman for The Dunn County News column “Bountifully Wild Menomonie.”

I’ve known and admired Whitman’s writing for several years now. His outdoor columns on nature for the Dunn County News are not only a delight to read, but they also provide insights into life in general through the natural world around us. For his latest column, titled, “Vampires Among Us,” see For another recent piece, titled “Bountifully Wild Menomonie,” see

Monday, May 25, 2009

Recently read: Nina Wise’s A big new free happy unusual life

This book by performance artist and teacher Wise is delightful, and I count it as one of the more influential books in my life right now. The subtitle sums it up: “self-expression and spiritual practice for those who have time for neither.” I’ve always thought of my creativity as being bound up in words until a few years ago when I “discovered” collaging, and I then extended it to art. Through Wise’s teaching, I have now extended it further, to movement and singing as well. She delves into each topic and accompanies her teaching with practices to implement as the reader chooses. In Chapter Two, “Something in the Way We Move—Rediscovering the Body,” I learned how to Tree Dance, and in Chapter Three, “To Sing Like a River—Opening the Voice,” I learned to sing (off-key) even when I don’t know the words. Besides, how can one NOT love a book with a title that opens up a big new free happy unusual life?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair

The Fair is certified as a green tourist event by the State of Wisconsin

June 19 through June 21 is the 20th anniversary of MREA’s Energy Fair. I went to the first one back in 1989, and have gone to several others over the years. Held in Custer, WI, in Central Wisconsin (look for Stevens Point on the map and move your finger east), this event has become a draw for people from across the country who are interested in the current and future applications, technology and sources for renewable energy and sustainable living.

The Fair’s Travel Green certification recognizes tourism events that are reducing environmental impact. According to the MREA web site, the Fair received its certification for the following reasons:

  • All food is served on reusable or biodegradable plates and food waste is composted

  • Shower house for guests is heated by solar water heating system

  • Carpooling is encouraged through rideshare page on website

  • Organic, local, and fair trade products are purchased

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for solar panels or a composting toilet, the Fair is fun. For more details, see

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morel season

Photo by Al Clare

It’s morel season here in Wisconsin. Morels, for those of you who are not from America’s Upper Midwest, are a delicious wild mushroom that is found mainly in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. A neighbor stopped by the other afternoon to ask if he and his nephew could hunt for the mushrooms. Since neither Carl nor I have had any time lately to wander around the beautiful spring woods, we were delighted someone would be able to enjoy them. And in true country-living spirit, our neighbor presented us with a big bag full of their bounty!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recently read: Henning Mankell’s Chronicler of the Winds

I’ve been an avid fan for years of Mankell’s police procedurals set in his native country of Sweden. In addition to being a bestselling author of crime novels, Mankell spends part of his year in Mozambique, where he’s been the director of the Teatro Avenida for more than 20 years. He has written a number of books set in Africa. This is the first one I’ve read. It is a gripping story of a man, Jose, who has a steady job as a baker in the city and a boy who fled the countryside. The boy, Nelio, lives on the streets. Late one night, Jose discovers Nelio, dying of a gunshot wound in the middle of an empty theater, and carries him up to the roof. Jose tends to the boy for nine days, during which he learns the story of Nelio’s short life. Jose realizes he must continue the tale so that the world will learn by it. Now Jose is the Chronicler of the Winds. A chillingly beautiful book of poverty, death, political violence, and the evil that lives beside the good in the world. This is a must-read.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sad news for the Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater

Gary Schuster, Executive Director since 2005, has announced he will be stepping down from his position in June. He plans to return to school at UW-Stout. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Schuster through interviewing him for my book on the Mabel Tainter Theater, as well as my being a long-time patron and supporter. I’ll miss him, as will many other folks in the area. For further information, see the Dunn County News at

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wendy Bartlett and Cellini’s Revenge

I met Wendy Bartlett at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference and we continue to keep in touch. Her first book, Broad Reach, was published in 2008. She contacted me this month that her second novel, Cellini’s Revenge, will be available this summer through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse. She had submitted a segment of this novel to the Writing Competition at the Conference, and won the runner-up award. The book, subtitled The Mystery of the Silver Cups, is about a 20th century murder, a 16th century theft, and a woman’s decades-long wish for justice. It’s on my summer To Read list!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Recently read: Charles Todd’s A Long Shadow

I’m getting very fond of Inspector Ian Rutledge, whose return from the battlefields of World War I have left him anguished, and with the ghost of his sergeant whispering in his ear. In this novel, someone seems to be stalking Rutledge, leaving cartridge casings around for him to find in odd and private places. Rutledge has to head north to investigate the shooting of the local constable in a haunted woods, which seems to be linked to the disappearance of a young woman three years earlier. Rutledge hopes to be rid at least temporarily of his stalker. Not to be, however!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chippewa Valley Business Report

Check out the current edition above by clicking on the image or click on I wrote the article titled, “Sacred Heart’s Smart OR” on page 10 about the world-class technology in Eau Claire for brain surgery. Also in this issue, see my article, “Metal Fab the Micro Way” on page 16 about the microfabrication company located in the NanoRite Center.

When you write, you meet the nicest people and you get to learn about a wide range of subjects—doesn’t get better than that!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The World Digital Library

This far-reaching project began in 2005 with a speech to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO by James H. Billington, a librarian at the U.S. Library of Congress. This electronic resource will bring together human knowledge in seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian. The web site, , is free and available to everyone. Designed to promote multicultural understanding and ultimately to provide virtually unlimited resources that include manuscripts, maps, musical scores, recordings, images, and other materials, you can already start to browse the collection.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Recently read: Laura Lippman’s Another Thing to Fall

This is another Tess Monaghan book set in the heart of Baltimore. A TV production company has upset the town figuratively, and Monaghan literally as she tips her scull into the murky Patapsco River when she rows obliviously into the filming crew’s wake. Against her better judgment, she agrees to “babysit” the pouty princess who’s the female star of the series, as well as to investigate a series of incidents related to the production. Fun characters, good plot, and Lippman’s usual entertaining read.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Start planning now to write by the lake in Madison, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin’s Write-by-the-Lake Workshop and Retreat is one of the nicest ways to immerse yourself—in writing, not just water. Again, all types and levels and categories of writers are welcome. The event is from June 15 through June 19. There are sessions ranging from poetry to nonfiction, experience writers to beginners. Laurie Scheer is back to instruct aspiring screenwriters as well as teaching novelists how to adapt their books for the screen. For more information, see

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Karen Brees: The Practical Preserver

You can pre-order Brees' book (due out in July) here:

I met Karen Brees several years ago when we both attended the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. Since then, she’s been busy with several books, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Preserving Food. She also provides editorial services. Visit her at Check out her blog, The Practical Preserver, at where you can read her Lesson of the Week. This week’s lesson is about rotating your food—move your older cans and jars to the front of your shelves.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recently read: Peter Robinson’s Friend of the Devil

A good British police procedural again featuring Inspector Annie Cabbot and Chief Inspector Alan Banks, this book in the series covers two murders in two separate spots in the north of England. A woman in a wheelchair has her throat cut by the seaside, while a young college student is strangled in the ancient alleys that snake behind the bar scene frequented by the young and wild. Banks is investigating one, while Cabbot, who is lent out to another force, investigates another. Meanwhile, Cabbot is being hounded by a hot young man and Banks is drifting in loneliness. I must have missed the book that included their break-up, even though I try to read series books in order. Robinson is always a satisfying read.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The new Creamery

Terry and Paula Vajgrt, owners of the new Creamery, and their executive chef, Brian Griep, are busy serving up the season’s offerings of asparagus, morel mushrooms and local meats and cheeses. The restaurant and inn is located in Downsville, Wisconsin on the banks of the Red Cedar River. This is one of our favorite spots to eat and drink. You can read more details in my article above or at this site beginning on page 22 of . . . etc. magazine To visit the Creamery's site directly, go to