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

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.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Moving on to the next phase

We are back from two days of celebrations, good-byes, and paperwork in Madison. Carl had his last day of work yesterday at the State of Wisconsin, Department of Administration. He begins his new job at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office at the end of the month. He’ll move to Golden, Colorado. I’ll stay here in Wisconsin for a few more months to sell our house and teach at Globe University through the end of the fall quarter. Then Sharpie and I, too, will head west! I'll of course keep blogging throughout it all . . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Recently read: Pierre Magnan’s Death in the Truffle Wood

This book, originally published in 1978 and translated in 2005, is a quick, charming read. Mysterious strangers are disappearing around a tiny French town. The townsfolk, whose lives revolve in part around the annual truffle harvest, are puzzled by odd happenings near the woods where the best truffles are found. We get to meet a delightful cast that includes a trained pig named Roseline who is pampered and treasured for her ability to root out the expensive gourmet fungi. We also meet a small group of men who uphold the traditions of generations hunting the treat, a rich girl whose brother is among the “disappeared,” a shepherd who can see ghosts, and a visiting investigator who gets sidetracked by his lovely landlady. The book provides suspense and a delightful peek into the small yet lucrative world of truffle hunting.