Wilderness — A Meditation

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lost Mind

Annie fled to the mountains to escape her fear of losing her mind.  It was always going astray.  Last night she had tucked it under a cushion of the high-back chenille chair standing guard in the hallway by the front door.  In the morning, it was missing.

Her teeth were brushed, her hair combed, her new red skirt flared below her white silk long sleeved blouse waited for her to decide what to do, but how could she. Her mind was missing.

Standing quietly in the hallway, her foot had tapped the rhythm of a tune from yesterday's radio onto the polished oak floor. She closed her eyes and meditated on the possible places her mind may have chosen.

Perhaps if she counted?  No, that would only locate her left brain.  She wanted her right hemisphere as well.  Yes, the mountains were the  place to find that part of her persona.  For sure! She'd have to change her clothes.  There were streams in the mountains, streams that would ruin her new long sleeved silk blouse.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Which Words Are the Best Ones?

BBC New Magazine has an article that may interest all of us who enjoy 'words', who are just a tad embarrassed by those who insist on 'simple English' - a relatively new approach to business writing.  Not that I think writing ought to be obtuse, but I do shiver when an academic suggests that using 'big words' is off putting to readers.  Especially today in the world where google can give you a definition in only a moment's search time, it is difficult to imagine why anyone would consider limiting his/her expressiveness in writing in order to 'dumb down' a manuscript.

As those of you who know me will attest, I am anything but an intellectual.  My world is ruled by my heart, not by my mind.  No doubt!  However, I love words, love English, flirt with Spanish and German, and enjoy listening to Chinese and Korean.

And so, I would like to share just a para of this article.  You may find the rest at the following addy:

"We are living in a risk-averse culture - there's no doubt about that.

But the risk that people seem most reluctant taking is not a physical but a mental one: just as the concrete in children's playgrounds has been covered with rubber, so the hard truth about the effort needed for intellectual attainment is being softened by a sort of semantic padding.

Our arts and humanities education at secondary level seems particularly afflicted by falling standards - so much so that universities are now being called upon to help write new A-level syllabuses in order to cram our little chicks with knowledge that, in recent years, has come to seem unpalatable, if not indigestible - knowledge such as English vocabulary beyond that which is in common usage."

Will Self
BBC NEWS Magazine, 20 April 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Bit Windy.........

Just taped up the front door..wind is whipping in from the EAST..swear word!

Been blown away at least six times today and I've only gone outside three times..whew!!

Snow predicted for tomorrow..doubleurgh!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Looking for Beta Readers here's the deal.  I've finished the 9th draft of an 80,000 word manuscript - women's fiction - Butcherbird Blues

Here’s a description:

 Fifty-five year old Demi Tryon has a problem with balance. In the daylight she is steady and in control, but as darkness closes in, ghosts threaten. She attempts to banish memories of childhood abuse by focusing on survival skills in the wilderness of California’s Sierra Nevada.

 Confrontation with a 300 pound California black bear and a struggle with hypothermia, developed after an early summer crossing of raging mountain streams, prompts Demi to seek support from a stalwart male for her next adventure. On the Internet she meets Sy Macintosh, an Australian mountaineer who often calls the Himalayas home.

As two brilliant adversaries each seek control, the success of their partnership grows more remote. Demi’s emotional roller coaster, initially delighted, is eventually confounded by Sy’s dry wit and no nonsense approach to life. Her attempt to balance sanity and need for security with her desire for adventure produces psychological and physical mayhem.  Learning to trust her own wisdom and intuition, Demi faces the wilderness within and without.  

I'm searching for a couple of BETA readers to volunteer to read the manuscript and answer a few questions about plot, characterization, theme and pacing.

If you would be interested, please jot me an email at or leave a note after this post here on my blog.

Catch ya as the sun sets over in Montana

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maybe the Best Tourism Ad Ever Made

Go to the link!  Great Aussie art, yet again.  Why ever is it that pictures and music from Australia produce tears for me?  The Down-Under is simply one of the spots on the planet where I am most at home, thoroughly comfortable.  I yearn for our return!

Now, that's not to say that North Dakota is less beautiful, less evocative.  Indeed home is where ever I find myself these days - in the companionship of good friends and the best partner one could imagine.

Yesterday was one of those incomparable spring moments - time to play in the soil, to spread eventual color via tiny seedlings into my household garden.  My charming neighbors came to visit, a goose stood guard along the roadway over the slough as I walked my two miles, a gasoline trucker parked his truck to search for feathers to take to his beloved who makes dream catchers.  The coots, mallards, and wood ducks clucked, whistled, honked, and made nests.  The muskrats plopped into the water at my approach along the road and then turned to stick their noses out to see if I really was there.

Life is good and I apologize for having been absent from this blog for so long.
love you all.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Population Density Across the Planet

A Vanity Faire interactive map, this site might surprise you. For Nordacotah residents - worth a look. For any entrepreneur, be sure to check it out. There are places to advertise and places to ignore and this map certainly highlights (er..lowlights) those locations.

7 p.m. view from my kitchen window

The sunlight shimmering in from the west across the lawn and then across last years wheat field was lovely...the prairie has magical moments


15 degrees below freezing at dawn today. Whats'up with this prairie weather? Overcast with pin prickly snow bits on the Aussie's shoulder as he did his morning water rounds. The coots on the slough are puffed up to twice their normal size as they dip and do head stands in the shallows for seeds and insects.

I've re-arranged my costume. Wool socks, wool beanie, fleece pants and top over thermals and cashmere sweater to ward off the cool. I could handle the whole situation by jumping aboard the Nordictrak and doing a little exercise or running round the city once or twice. There is almost no wind which is a goddess send, to be sure, but my once upon a time frostbitten fingertips would complain - not about the Nordictrak - my shoulders would complain about that exercise.

Bottom line, I'm lazy. Gonna make a spicy soup for dinner, work on the synopsis of Collision of Two Hemispheres and generally just make myself comfy. Catch ya all laters.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Booming North Dakota

Jay Nordlinger has an article in the National Review that you may find interesting. We live in the middle of the Bakken and I find his article to be 'right on' - The only exception I can take to his commentary is that the infrastructure is NOT receiving the money it needs.

Roads, in particular, are literally falling apart. Huge holes exist in the pavement of many roads in northwestern North Dakota—holes large enough for a car to drop into and not be able to get out of. In some places gravel roads are cess pools, traps awaiting the unwary - unnegotiable without 4-wheel drive and even then, one can sink so deep that getting out requires the effort of a major sized crane.

The 25 ton gravel and oil trucks that move constantly, day and night, to and from wells to distribution points have torn what once was a modern road system into fragmented, dangerous byways and the state has NOT allotted sufficient funds nor manpower to repair what private enterprise has destroyed.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs of the article and the link so that you can read the rest of what Nordlinger has to say:

"FOR many years, North Dakota has been the least visited state in the Union. There are no real tourist attractions here; Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota. The late newsman Eric Sevareid, who was born in North Dakota, called his native state “a large, rectangular blank spot in the nation’s mind.” But reporters from all over the world have been coming here lately, because North Dakota boasts one of the most interesting and exciting stories in the country: an honest-to-goodness boom.

The state has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, at 3.1 percent. Some wonder who could be out of work, given all the “Help Wanted” signs. North Dakota is No. 1 in job growth and No. 1 in income growth. At the heart of this prosperity is the Bakken formation, located in the northwestern part of the state. It’s a vast pot of oil. “Bakken,” incidentally, rhymes with “rockin’.” They have a bumper sticker here: “Rockin’ the Bakken.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Changing Face of America

Interesting map of the continental US showing the demographic changes between 2010 and 2050. The United States may have ripped off the Central Americans back in the day, but there is no doubt that the current generation of Hispanic surnamed families will own the day in much of America by 2050.

My little corner of North Dakota will see some massive changes according to these predictions.

Check it out at this web address:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

All Good Poetry

"the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling" according to Wordsworth

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hillary Cool

If you haven't seen it, check this website, a meme for Hillary Clinton.
She's cool!

here's the link:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Collision of Two Hemispheres

Fifty year old Demeter Tryon has a problem with balance. Keeping upright requires constant attention. In the daylight of her classroom she has no problems, but after dark the ghosts of an abusive childhood threaten chaos. To balance her dark childhood she sets out to conquer wilderness in California’s Sierra Nevada, the range of light.

Desiring to share her success, she seeks a relationship on the Internet where she meets Sy Macintosh, an Australian mountaineer whose own love of all that is wild takes him regularly to Nepal’s Himalayas.

Their initial transcontinental relationship collides in conflict as two seemingly similar cultures require them to crisscross the equator in order to soothe inner demons.

Sy’s rational grounded understatement at first entertains, eventually startles, often irritates, and always confounds Demi’s emotional roller coaster as she creates mayhem in an attempt to balance her need for security with her desire for adventure. Although she seeks peace, more often her outspoken American habits grate on the more subdued Australian culture.

This fictional account uses the Demeter/Persephone/Poseidon myth as background. Based on real life wilderness backpacking, adventure travel, and trans-cultural relationships, the plot pits two brilliant fifty year olds as adversaries seeking long-term relationships while criss-crossing international borders.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Curtis and Dorothy Hook

My grandmother and my grandfather on their wedding day..rather romantic, I'd say..but I do wish they had chosen to look at the camera..although it is maybe more personal and sweet and candid that they did not..

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The US Postal Service - Is It Bankrupt?

Published on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by
The Truth About the US Postal Service
by Jim Hightower

What does 50 cents buy these days? Not a cuppa joe, a pack of gum or a newspaper. But you can get a steal of deal for a 50-cent piece: a first-class stamp. Plus a nickel in change.

Each day, six days a week, letter carriers traverse 4 million miles toting an average of 563 million pieces of mail, reaching the very doorsteps of our individual homes and workplaces in every single community in America. From the gated enclaves and penthouses of the uber-wealthy to the inner-city ghettos and rural colonias of America's poorest families, the U.S. Postal Service literally delivers. All for 45 cents. The USPS is an unmatched bargain, a civic treasure, a genuine public good that links all people and communities into one nation.

So, naturally, it must be destroyed.

For the past several months, the laissez-fairyland blogosphere, assorted corporate front groups, a howling pack of congressional right-wingers and a bunch of lazy mass media sources have been pounding out a steadily rising drumbeat to warn that our postal service faces impending doom. It's "broke," they exclaim; USPS "nears collapse"; it's "a full-blown financial crisis!"

These gloomsayers claim the national mail agency is bogged down with too many overpaid workers and costly brick-and-mortar facilities, so it can't keep up with the instant messaging of Internet services and such nimble corporate competitors as FedEx. Thus, say these contrivers of their own conventional wisdom, the Postal Service is unprofitable and is costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year in losses. Wrong.

Since 1971, the postal service has not taken a dime from taxpayers. All of its operations — including the remarkable convenience of 32,000 local post offices — are paid for by peddling stamps and other products.

The privatizers squawk that USPS has gone some $13 billion in the hole during the past four years — a private corporation would go broke with that record! (Actually, private corporations tend to go to Washington rather than go broke, getting taxpayer bailouts to cover their losses.) The Postal Service is NOT broke. Indeed, in those four years of loudly deplored "losses," the service actually produced a $700 million operational profit (despite the worst economy since the Great Depression).

What's going on here? Right-wing sabotage of USPS financing, that's what.

In 2006, the Bush White House and Congress whacked the post office with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act — an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to PRE-PAY the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who'll retire during the next 75 years. Yes, that includes employees who're not yet born!

No other agency and no corporation has to do this. Worse, this ridiculous law demands that USPS fully fund this seven-decade burden by 2016. Imagine the shrieks of outrage if Congress tried to slap FedEx or other private firms with such an onerous requirement.

This politically motivated mandate is costing the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year — money taken right out of postage revenue that could be going to services. That's the real source of the "financial crisis" squeezing America's post offices.

In addition, due to a 40-year-old accounting error, the federal Office of Personnel Management has overcharged the post office by as much as $80 billion for payments into the Civil Service Retirement System. This means that USPS has had billions of its sales dollars erroneously diverted into the treasury. Restore the agency's access to its own postage money, and the impending "collapse" goes away.

The post office is more than a bunch of buildings — it's a community center and, for many towns, an essential part of the local identity, as well as a tangible link to the rest of the nation. As former Sen. Jennings Randolph poignantly observed, "When the local post office is closed, the flag comes down." The corporatizer crowd doesn't grasp that going after this particular government program is messing with the human connection and genuine affection that it engenders.

America's postal service is a true public service, a grassroots people's asset that has even more potential than we're presently tapping to serve the democratic ideal of the common good. Why the hell would we let an elite of small-minded profiteers, ranting ideologues and their political hirelings drop-kick this jewel through the goal posts of corporate greed? This is not a fight merely to save 32,000 post offices and the middle-class jobs they provide — but to advance the BIG IDEA of America itself, the bold, historic notion that "yes, we can" create a society in which we're all in it together.

Small Talk

'It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.'

Yep. That's what Susan Cain has to say in her new book, The Power of the Introvert.

Thought a few of you might join me in silent applause of a behavior we have been involved in for a very long time.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Hunter

The New York Times has written a review of Willem DaFoe's role as The Hunter, an Australian film that you may well enjoy.

Certainly we did. Saw it before we left Oz last January.

I think you may enjoy the review. Click on the title to today's blog entry to go to NYTimes review.

See the film if it comes to your area. It's a better film that lots of stuff done recently. There is the Aussie understatement that runs throughout and as always that lack of over-emotionality makes for excellent viewing.

Unlike most American films in this genre, you actually get to make up your own mind about what happens in the end...Not every film maker in the world subscribes to 'tell em, tell em what you told em, and bore em by telling them one more time in the conclusion'.

One more item. Sam Neil, the Kiwi actor, does a fine job in his role as well...a role a tad different than most he has played recently.

Happy viewing. Here's the link in case you just want to swiftly read the NYTimes version.

Friday, April 06, 2012

70 degrees today - 36 the high for Saturday...roller coaster..

Lovely day in the neighbourhood..windy, but warm wind..haven't accomplished much..chinese food for lunch with Ken Mare...then home again with all the stuff necessary to paint and re-roof, and complete the plumbing in the public restrooms at the Memorial Hall.

Life is good..

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall.

On this sunny but breezy Wednesday my snail mail consists of two items. Both are thrilling opportunities. Each is quite different; one is a gift and the other is request for a gift. Diametrically opposed, both offer an opportunity to make a difference. Guess I do spend some time every day finding patterns in life — Seems like a good way to wax through retirement.

The first item is a catalogue along with a personal letter from Paul at Burke County Soil Conservation District. Let me explain.

Because we are in the eastern edge of North Dakota's OIL PATCH, our little town is about to be inundated with development. Housing for the approximately 3000 new folks who will soon or are already arrived in our county is limited. As a result many of the empty lots in town will be purchased at inflated prices and work will begin on mobile home or modular home installation.

I'm more than a little selfish and elitist about my prairie home, I'm told. We live on Stoney Run, a waterway about 300 yards wide and several miles long. Our waterway and its shores are home to muskrats, mallards, wood ducks, Canada Geese, coots, and various and sundry other prairie bird life as well as to raccoon, porcupine, fox, deer, moose, and I'm told a black bear wandered across our back garden this past winter.

My point is that we live in paradise. Development will incur its nasty noise, dust, and clutter into our world. In order to keep some of that impact away from our corner of this magnificent space, I want to grow a natural barrier between us and the tree filled lot which will soon be under development to the east.

And what to my wondering self should manifest but news that the Burke County Soil Conservation District sells trees - Russian Olives, Lilacs, Crabapples, Dogwood, Currant, Plum, Maples, Ash, Cottonwoods, Siberian Elms, Populars, Walnuts, Ponderosa and Scotch Pines, Eastern Red Cedar, etc etc catch this..for $2 a tree.

Now, all I have to do is decide which wonderments to plant, pay this small fee, dig some holes, and watch nature provide a beautiful hedge along the eastern edge of our property..

Life is good!

And the second item in my snail mail?

The 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winning organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres has asked for a donation.

I swear tears return to my eyes as I type these words. My life has been dottiecentric for the past few years. I have contributed so little to this planet and here in one mail delivery two amazing opportunities arise—a chance to make a difference in such varied ways.

So, the money I won't be spending on an eight foot high wooden wall because I will be planting natures best border at $2 a plant, a living display of spring time 'gold', summer foiliage, autumn color, and winter rest, I will send off to those who donate their time and energy to heal humans on our planet who have the least and are in need of succor and food and vaccine the most.

'He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?
* * *
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down'

Mending Wall, Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Dad, What Do You Think of the New Ipad We Got You?


Love you all and hope your April 2 is as loving and joyous as my own.