Wilderness — A Meditation

Monday, December 29, 2014


Dr Who May Understand..;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Izaak Walton Inn-Glacier Park, Montana
Holiday vacations for Cross Country skiers in winter and hikers- cyclists in summer.  We've arrived via Amtrak, whose Essex, Montana, station is a quarter mile from the lodge. Come on along and join in the holiday cheer. We'll be back in Nordacotah 29 December.  In the meantime, we will meet you on the ski runs!! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shortest- Longest Day? Yes, but Mornings? Well, Mornings Will Be Darker in the Northern Hemisphere
Today is the shortest day of the year, so it should follow that mornings will start getting brighter from now on, shouldn't it? Not necessarily, writes Kris Griffiths.

This Sunday, 21 December, the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day of its year, marked at 23:03 GMT by an astronomical phenomenon known as the winter solstice - the moment the North Pole is tilted furthest from the sun as the Earth continues on its orbit.

The solstice doesn't always occur on 21 December. Sometimes it nudges into the early hours of 22 December, which will happen again next year. The hour of day also varies. Last year's arrived at 17:11. Next year's will at 04:38.

Whatever day or time it happens, for many commuters it means leaving the house and returning from work in darkness, in the knowledge that from here on in the long nights will get shorter, with the sun rising earlier and setting later as we journey again towards the spring equinox.

However, the more astute of these early risers might have perceived a curious development, which may have passed by the more bleary-eyed unnoticed.

It would seem logical that after the shortest day has elapsed the mornings would start getting lighter earlier, but this isn't what happens - the mornings continue darkening until early in the new year.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


We turned the corner drawn by the yeasty smell of baking bread. Stepping into the shop cluttered with ovens and flour covered counter tops, I headed for the oak-planked service area where small candies, fudge brownies, and oatmeal cookies surrounded the register.

“May I help you?” asked the tiny clerk whose kerchief covered head barely rose above the

“Small latte, and please don’t make the milk too hot. What do you want, Merrie?”

“Chai, medium. Thanks”

“Do you mind sitting outside? It’s warm in here and besides, no tellin' who’ll pass by.” “You’re permanently on the prowl, woman. Looking for anyone in particular today?” asked

“Yeah, right. Always waiting for some fellow who loves the wilderness as much as I do. I’m
such an introvert. I don’t meet new people very well. Not like you, people collector.”

“You flatter me,” Merrie allowed. “How can you claim to be an introvert? A hundred and
fifty teenagers a day pass through your classroom.”

“Pass through, now that’s the truth. Some of them leave their brains elsewhere, but their
bodies certainly fill the desks. Nonetheless, they all come into the classroom where I set the agenda. Kind of an introvert's version of social nirvana.”

“Control freak, more like it. Introvert. I wonder?” Merrie tagged the screen door with her toe, pushed it open with her shoulder and headed outside.

Distracted by Merrie’s very accurate description of my personality, on our way to our table on the boulevard, I sloshed a too full cup of coffee and stooped to wipe the shop floor where impatient carelessness left a creamy brown puddle.

Rising with a wet napkin in hand, I commented, “By the way, saving money is what the L.A. and New York Times travel sections are about. I hunt for bucket seats, left over reservations big travel companies buy from airlines at the last minute. I can buy a ticket from L.A. to London for $300, but it's non transferable and non refundable. Could we plan to be finished in the Sierra before July 4th?" 

Sierra Sunrise: A Travel Adventure

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Green Squaw Dress

Do you have a memory of a precious child hood possession? Certainly I do.

The affluence of the family in which any of us was raised, the time we had to enjoy or despair of our parents’ involvement with us, where we lived, and how large or small a family raised us often impact our memories of precious childhood possessions.

However, one item swirls into memory as my most important when I was eleven years old. A pale-green cotton squaw skirt made by my mom for me signaled my first step into what this sixth grader considered high fashion. 

We were poor. My dad was then a first-sergeant in the Michigan Air National Guard that had been nationalized as a result of the Korean War.  You know about that stuff? Similar to the National Guard troops nationalized and sent to Iraq and Afghanistan today.  Same deal only in 1951.  There was this war going on between North and South Korea.  Nothing to do with us in America except one of those countries was communist and supported by their northern neighbor, China, and one of those countries was capitalist and supported by guess who?  Yup..USA.  World politics via the United Nations encouraged folks to take sides and go to war to defend the economic system of their choice.  Europe and the U.S.A. were concerned that China was about to overtake even  more acreage in eastern Asia than they already governed. Capitalists didn’t much like that idea.

So, we, my family, were moved from our home in Michigan where we froze in the winter and sweltered in the summer, where snow mobiles had not yet been invented, but sleds worked really well on the low hills of our neighborhood. We were sent to Glendale, Arizona, just a few miles north of Phoenix, which in 1951 was a po-dunk town in where the rodeo was the best show in town. As an eleven year old, I loved it. 

I started reading westerns at age eight. My favorite author was Zane Gray who wrote novels like Riders of the Purple Sage.  I didn’t know what sage was, but I loved the lonely heroes who saved the girl or defended hard working ranchers from  outlaws, where sheep herders and cattle wranglers were bigger than life. I loved the hole in the wall gang and all of their kindred.  As they rode into the sunset, my imagination carried me across open spaces. In the midst of these stories I forgot which younger sibling I was supposed to watch or which dishes needed washing. When old man winter frost-bit my fingertips while I hung washing on the line or carried frozen clothes inside the house, I imagined I was rescuing yearling cattle from fingers of frozen snow near Flagstaff.

Moving to Arizona changed all of that, ‘cause there I no longer had to hang out clothes in winter storms. Phoenix may have had temperatures in the 40s at night, but the sunlit skies were warm enough that sheets dried long before sunset.

Mother worked early in the day.  She was a pretty good grape packer at the railroad.  All those desert grapes had to be hand packed before they were shipped to northern markets. Paid by the packing box filled and loaded, she claimed what she called ‘decent money’.  However, we lived pretty close to the bone in those days.  There was no extra money although gasoline was less than eighteen cents a gallon and we already owned our own car, a dandy, huge Nash on whose back floor my little sister and I would lie side by side and squeal with delight whenever mom drove over a dip in the road.  Our tummies floated for a moment.  It was the most fun of the day.

All that changed the day mom called me into her bedroom where she kept her Singer sewing machine.  She was in the midst of gathering up three rows of fabric to attach to a waist-band, creating my first squaw skirt.  The fabric was dyed mesquite green. I loved this skirt.  As I walked in it, I could kick the bottom fringe up in the air.  It was such fun.  The hem didn’t quite touch the ground, but close enough so that my black patent leather shoes would push it in a puff forward with each step without catching me and causing me to trip.  There was a blouse to go with it with short sleeves and an elasticized scoop neck.  It tucked into the waist-band showing off my very slender tomboy self. 

When I wore it to school the first time, I told my classmates, “We visited the reservation, the one down by the River yesterday, and my mom bought me this skirt.  The Pima Indian woman who sold it to us said she had sewed it all by hand.”

“Sure she did.  Looks like an old sheet to me. She probably stole it from some ladies clothesline and ripped it up into layers and pinned it together.

“Indians don’t sell clothes. You’re lying.”

Despite my lies and the attitude of the other students, I could have worn that outfit every day of my life and been happy. I didn’t need any of the other clothes I owned, not that there were many.

Naturally, the skirt of a thousand gathers is the one I chose to wear to the spring concert at school that year. We were to sing Arizona cowboy songs while Ms. George, the second grade teacher accompanied the choir on piano.  It didn’t take the teachers long to discover, however, that I couldn’t carry a tune, but that didn’t hinder the loudness of my contributions to the choir. After all I was the eldest child in my family and was accustomed to being heard.  The teacher in the classroom always waited a bit to call on me.  I suspect it was because my answer woke the whole class, so she waited for some of the slackers to almost fall asleep and then call on me. My mid-western ‘warsh’ startled them all awake. I’m not subtle, especially with the cowboy songs like “Home on the Range”.

“Trudy, would you step over here for a moment?” directed my teacher, Ms Ambrose.  I have a special job for you for next week’s presentation.  Ms. George cannot play and turn the pages at the same time. Would you like to sit here next to her and when she comes to the end of a page in the music, turn the page.  You may need to stand up to reach the top of the page.

I was thrilled.  I did want to sing with my classmates. But to be singled out and given this important job made my heart sing.  I could still mime the lyrics under my breath and I could read them on the page of the music so I would know when Ms. George needed the page turned. And if I wore my green squaw dress, everyone would see it because no other students would be standing in front of me.  It was almost like being asked to sing a solo. I was in heaven. 

The concert went off without a flaw, almost.  My dad managed too make a scene, but no one knew he was my dad cause he had never come to any other presentation at school before.

It was then I learned where my loud voice came from. He came in a bit drunk and as he entered the auditorium, I could hear him say, “where’s my kid? I came to see my kid, how come she isn’t on the stage?”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw mother tug on his arm from where she was sitting.  Always a wise woman, she chose a seat closest to the door knowing he might come in and wanting to stop any scene he might create. “She’s on the piano bench, dear.  See her there in her green squaw dress.”

I heard mother.  I didn’t turn to see ‘cause I had to keep my eye on turning the page for Ms. George, but I heard and I knew everyone knew it was me who was responsible for turning the pages correctly.  I had to do it right.  No hitches.  I was so proud of my dress and of my black patent leather shoes and my braids. 
Mother had braided my hair in the French style.  I knew I looked pretty. And I paid attention to my job.  No foul ups here. 

When the concert came to a finish and Ms. Ambrose turned and pointed her baton at the choir so they could take a bow, I was proud of them.  We had done a good job.  I loved the music.  But, then I was surprised because she turned to Ms. George, who pushed the piano bench back just a tad, took my hand and both of us stood and bowed while holding hands.  The hem of the green squaw dress touched the floor as I bowed. I was so proud.  I loved that skirt. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Precious Childhood Moments Create Great Holiday Gift Giving

Do you have a memory of a precious child hood possession? Certainly I do.

 Mostly those possessions were books.  Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor was the first and only important because mother took it away and punished me for reading it.  What a marvelous heroine Amber was.  She gave me hope that someday I, too, could stand alone, could be recognized for my witty, charming, beautiful demeanor. 

The summer after seventh grade, I slept on the front veranda daybed.  In mid Michigan, the sun rose at 4:30 a.m. I reached under my little bed to pull out an adventure. For days, I read until 6:30 when the house echoed the sounds of pop’s first cup of coffee, of teeth brushing and little brothers and sisters looking for diaper changes and hugs.  

On the morning in 1953 when I was caught in flagrante delicto, I was so immersed in 17th century court life that I didn’t hear mother step out onto my screened-in veranda.  She reached for the book, turned and with a horrified tone demanded to know where I had found this piece of trash. 

Suddenly the horror was mine.  Caught! Caught doing what I most enjoyed in the entire world – reading. 

Sure mother would not have thrown out a book, I searched the house every time I was home alone for the next three weeks and finally found the book tucked into the bathroom towels on the very top shelf way in the back.  I exchanged the book jacket with one from another book of a similar size, tucked the substitute back into the closet and crept away to hide my precious childhood possession in a spot where mother would never think to look. Early morning reading was done thenceforth with one ear open. I read and re-read.  Surely there must have been something terrible I had somehow missed else why would I be kept from reading.  I never found the offending language, scenes, or philosophical moments.  It still stands as one of my favorite books of all time.  And, it’s now available for all of you who just love period romance and adventure on Amazon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Perfect Holiday Gift for a Traveling Woman - The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague

Lady Mary is one of those intrepid travelers whose primary motivating force is her curiosity.  Her letters are written to close friends and therefore any diplomatic assignations are missing.  Instead, Lady Mary, traveling from London to Constantinople in 1717 offers us an honest and often humorous view of the courts of several European countries as well as her heartfelt appreciation for the Muslim women she encounters in Constantinople.  Her position as the wife of the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire gives her the opportunity to see not only the hovels of the poor as she passes by, but also the privileges of the ruling  classes.  Her judgments are visceral. Her willingness to meet the culture of the mid east with an open mind presents a view which is absolutely the opposite of what her male counterparts sent back to London.  I love this woman.  I love her letters.  I love traveling with her.  You will, too.  
Try Lady Mary's commentary.  I promise surprises, laughter, an occasional giggle and at the very least a sense of what it means to travel without insisting that the world be a mirror of the home country.

Lady Mary is my favorite travel writer.  However can that be? I am a modern woman who follows the travel adventurers of women like Robyn Davidson, whose first travel book, Tracks, is today an excellent little Aussie film. I also love Kira Salak's discovery of her own limits in Four Corners, a trek through the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

However, Lady Mary's sense of humor, somewhat reminiscent of another intrepid British traveling woman, Mary Kingsley in Travels in West Africa, is what captures this reader as one surreptitiously follows the uneven tracks that some call roads and looks forward to doors opening upon scenes that only women can see since foreign men are not allowed in the soiree of The Otttoman Empire.

If you are looking for a thoroughly modern and always entertaining set of judgments about the courts of seventeenth century Europe and Eurasia, spend a few moments with Lady Mary Wortley Montague and like her once dear friend, Alexander Pope, you will be entertained.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Memory here is not a faded photograph but a library in disarray."

An interesting read. With only nine more days til the shortest/longest day of the year at hand, I am remembered that time is kairos far more often than it is chronus.  If you, too, suffer from this realization, you may wish to check out Dickey's article.

Friday, December 12, 2014

8 Things Every Woman Should Know About Men Over 50

That's why these eight things about men over 50 are tips you can use right away in your dating life. These tips have made a huge difference in my both my life and the lives of my coaching clients.

1. Appreciate a man for who he is.

Men are wonderful but they aren't women. They don't think like women nor do they communicate like women. So don't expect a man to act like a woman or you're guaranteed to be disappointed.

2. Men over 50 are very masculine and they love when you bring this trait out in them.

Men have no interest in competing with you and that's exactly what they see it as when you approach them as an Alpha Female. For a man, this is like dating another man and he isn't interested in dating men. The key is learning to come into your true feminine power ... one that compliments a man's masculine power. When you do, he'll jump through hoops to make you happy.

3. Men show you love with their actions.

Hollywood has messed with our heads on this one. On the big screen, they show us men like Tom Cruise's character in the movie, Jerry McGuire. Think back to when he professed his love with the romantic words, "You complete me."
Real men show you their love by cutting your grass and giving you their coats when you're cold. If you expect love to come in words ... you could be waiting a very long time.

4. Men want to give to you.

Let them open the door for you or change that light bulb you can't reach. It makes them happy to please you. All they want in return is to be appreciated and thanked. If you do this, they'll do anything you want, which leads us to number five.

5. Don't criticize the job a man is doing for you.

He's doing his best and, yes, you may be able to do it better or faster than he can but don't. It makes him feel emasculated. If he has offered to do something for you, allow him to do it his way. Otherwise, the next time you ask for help, he'll tell you to hire a handyman. He doesn't want the aggravation of not being able to do anything right for you.

6. When you're dating a man over 50, don't place demands on how he must be or what he has to do in order to date you.

Men tell me again and again how much they dislike profiles of women who demand nothing less than the best restaurants or certain salaries to date them. Men have had enough demands put on them at work and from their ex's. The last thing they want to do is meet yours before you've even met.

7. Don't try and remodel a man by making him your pet project.

Either accept him for who he is or let him go and move on.

8. A lot of men over 50 are pretty insecure when it comes to asking you out.

Having been rejected time and time again by so many women, they aren't too quick about putting themselves back in a vulnerable position unless it feels safe to do so.
If you like a man, encourage him with eye contact, a warm smile or a flirt online to let him know you're interested.
Remember, men weren't given a Dating Rulebook with their divorce papers either. So be kind to them and understand that as scared as you feel about dating, most of them are too.
Lisa Copeland is the best-selling author and dating coach who makes finding a great guy fun and easier after 50. Find out the 5 Little Known Secrets To Finding A Quality Man at

Monday, December 08, 2014

Straddie - The Island Just East of Morton Bay - A Fine Vacation Spot

Huffington Post copied Fodor's 15 Vacation Destinations.
Just happens that the Aussie who is my partner
built his family's first vacation home just a few hundred feet inland from the spot 
on Straddie photographed for the article.
What a surprise.
Check it out
A sensational vacation spot.
Be sure to stop in Brown and Blue Lakes while you are there.
Stunning sands; pristine waters; a fair dinkum spot to vacation

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Catcher In the Rye - and Other Profound Phrases That Once Had REAL Meaning

Peter Bruegel - Peasant Wedding

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"
But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jig

"Although world events outside my control established safe havens for me from my youngest years, home has always been where ever I lay my head at night. I celebrated my first birthday as Japan threatened the west coast of America. Mother placed me in foster care shortly after. At the end of the War, I returned to my parents' home.

By the time I entered second grade I was again dislocated. Mother sent me to live with the family of her older brother. Cousins grudgingly shared their bedroom until I convinced a compassionate second grade teacher to talk with the adults in my family about how miserable I was. Can you imagine a seven year old wanting to go home so badly that she convinced an outsider to reach out to her uncle who consequently insisted that she be returned to her parents' home?

The Korean conflagration caused my family to relocate from Michigan to Arizona near my eleventh birthday. Just after the celebration of my fourteenth, the two halves of Korean agreed on a demarcation line. My family of five tumbled into our old Nash and followed U.S. Route 66 back to Chicago and from there to the eastern shores of  Lake Michigan.  Some semblance of consistency prevailed for the following four years.

Nonetheless, at age twenty, completing university, I fled to the desert communities of southern California in order to escape. Heeding the admonition Go West, Young Woman, Go West, I am about to continue another 7500 miles in that direction in search of a safe continent on which to protect my inner child, the Persephone who had yet to come to terms with early years of abandonment in the underground."
Oaxaca: Delighting the Senses