Grow Old with J.J.

It’s the only thing I can think of, starting with the letter J. Oh, sure – there’s “jump out of a perfectly good airplane” or “jump from a bridge, into an icy river.” If I liked that feeling of freefall more, maybe. But no. Spend a night in “jail”? Three hots and a cot and a girlfriend named Bertha? No, I think not. “Jousting,” anyone? (That... read more


Iceland has just about everything that’s actually on my #bucketlist: Breathtakingly gorgeous scenery, waterfalls, auroras, volcanoes, and a distinct lack of overcrowding. It also has one of my sisters-by-choice, Asdis, and my favorite photographer, Chris Lund. Iceland is also known for it’s wool and yarn, but I suspect I’d need about six trunks to pack enough warm clothes for a camping... read more

Hamilton Pool

Let’s face it: What I’d really like is my own cave behind a waterfall. With tapestries and a hand-carved desk of antique oak… What might actually be within my grasp: A swim at Hamilton Pool. Or maybe just a hike. I think “swim” and then I remember this is Texas, and we have deadly snakes and scorpions and things, and I’m less enamored of the idea of swimming with them. I... read more


It seems that galloping is out of the question – just like at Girl Scout camp. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to ride across Haleakala Crater on horseback. Having hiked cinder cone, I’m not sure I care about camping in the crater or hiking it on foot. But the horses don’t seem to mind, and I love riding. It’s chilly up there – even when Maui’s... read more

Fairy Garden

It combines my fascination with art, clay, dirt, living things (like moss, air plants, and small succulents – all fairly hard to kill), and dollhouses. I want to create it all from scratch, even though I have visions of ending up featured on Pinterest Fails. My fascination with miniatures began with Queen Mary’s Doll House. Such “inspiration” can hold us back; nothing I could create... read more

Eat Bugs

When I was five, my family took a cruise on the S.S. United States. There, I had the opportunity to try what might best be described as “odd” foods – things you don’t judge when you’re five, but might turn up your nose and squeal, “Ewww, gross!” at at twenty-five. Our waiter, José, watched me eat such delicacies as caviar, escargot, turtle soup, kangaroo tail... read more

Drive to Dine, Drink, and Demolish

D was more difficult than I imagined it would be. I recruited my husband’s help, on this one – and it’s probably going to get me put on a list, somewhere. But since his suggestion of “dunk a basketball” was met with heavy sighs, eye-rolling, and “you surely know me better than that,” he shifted into high gear and proved he does. “Drive a... read more

A Spring Walk in the 100 Acre Wood

My son’s come home for a break from his university studies, and today we took a walk in the 100 Acre Wood. We hiked nearly four miles, together, talking and taking photos, and it was good to have him home. We got a bit lost, exploring the nature preserve, avoiding the dirt bike paths as best we could. We couldn’t go too far afield in any direction, so we weren’t too alarmed at being lost,... read more

5 Day Black and White Challenge (Day 5)

There was a loophole, of course. Nothing said it had to be “five days in a row,” or “five consecutive days.” I was waiting for the right photo. I think I got the shot, today, finally. I can’t help but wonder at the story behind this. Surely it was a bit of corrugated metal pipe – once upon a time. But how did it get shredded, spiraled, and impaled with a branch? Perhaps... read more

Collaborating on a Book with…

…my daughter, Katie! Yes, definitely on my bucket list. Katie and I make a great team, don’t we? I remember telling my dad, once, that I would not work with computers. They’d been around all my life, and it wasn’t resistance to change or “newfangled technology” that made me edge away from them. It was simply that I associated them with unwieldy, bus-sized boxes full of... read more


I warned my daughter Katie, the other day, that I would be blogging about my “bucket list” for the next month. “I’m not dying,” I assured her. “It’s just…well, I’m doing this A to Z blogging thing, and I wanted a theme that was flexible.” Remember me saying that if I were given only six months to live, I probably wouldn’t actually do any of... read more

Aurora Borealis

Enchanting, magical Aurora Borealis is the first item on my A to Z Bucket List. Colorful, undulating curtains of light between earth and space – fascinating geomagnetic storms touched off by the sun’s fiery eruptions. Better than fireworks on New Year’s Eve, if only you can be at the right place, at the right time. So where might that be? I think I’ve found it…  I only hope... read more

Michael Twitty, Afroculinaria: Flaming Red Pen of Death™ Award

Every time I find myself grappling with the complex issues of racism in the U.S. – struggling with the million things I’d like to say and feeling tongue-tied or inadequate to write them – I end up at Afroculinaria. Afroculinaria is “a food blog authored by Michael W. Twitty, (Twitter: @Koshersoul), a food writer, independent scholar, culinary historian, and historical... read more

Wordy Wednesday Thursday Testers’ Bonus Pack

I am experimenting with various options for Wordy Wednesday that will, I hope, enable more people to join in the fun. I hope you don't mind helping me to test them out before next Wednesday! Remember, these quizzes are meant to be devilishly difficult. Do not "cheat" yourself by consulting Google or a dictionary before attempting the quiz; DO look up the words you missed, later, for fun and learning. Now, o read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 4)

Today’s B&W Challenge post is a study in glass, water, light, and shadow. While it’s not a great image, it was an interesting exercise. Literally. I lay down under the glass top table in the dining room and, unsure of whether I’d manage to get back up on my own again, contemplated what it must be like to be a turtle. Or a pheasant. Under glass. I don’t think I’ve ever... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 3)

Today’s black and white photo is stolen from white and pink. I’m calling it “Mineral for Animal and Vegetable,” which gives you a huge clue as to what this close-up is all about. Think you know? Leave your guess in the comments. Its grainy look has nothing to do with my photographic skill; it’s naturally grainy, powdery, irregular, and you’re seeing it through a layer of... read more

Wordy Wednesday

It’s back! Who has been reading this blog long enough to remember “Wordy Wednesday” quizzes? Let’s see how well you do with these – remember, don’t peek in a dictionary or Google the words until you’ve given it a good try! (You’re only cheating yourself if you do.) Share your score in the comments below, but please do NOT share the answers or hints... read more

The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal

“One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: “Should I have a theme?” Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest!” I always wait till the last minute to decide... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 2)

A few years ago, we explored the Art Institute of Chicago. They have an amazing collection – Trip Advisor claims they’re the #1 Museum in the World. I’d quibble, unless they were hosting that delicious Chocolate Exhibit again. But that’s tantamount to bribery! I’ve always been partial to the Museum of Science and Industry – also in Chicago. I love art, but I can’t... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 1)

Cheryle of Lightwalker’s Blog has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged me to the 5 Day Black & White Photo Challenge. It is a lovely white gauntlet, by the way – I pick it up off the dusty, gray earth, brush it off, and hand it back to her. “You had only to ask…” It’s late, but I’m eager to play. I think about the word “challenge” and feel drawn... read more

Happy Nowruz 1394!

Two years ago I decided to celebrate New Year’s Day quarterly – none of this waiting 365 days to reset the resolutions and refresh the commitments. No reason to wait a year for a clean slate! No, it makes much more sense to celebrate it seasonally. The first day of spring – or the exact moment of the vernal equinox – marks the start of the Persian New Year – Nowruz –... read more

Weird Wednesday Metrics

According to Alexa, nearly 30% of my blog’s search traffic comes from the query, “amoeba music.” A friend said that sounded like a so-so name for a band (as it turns out, it’s the name of an indie record store in Berkeley – which doesn’t begin to explain how anyone got here that way). I thought Paramecium was a catchier band name, although I wouldn’t rule out... read more

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