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, 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.