Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Veteran's Day

To all Veterans:

Thank You!

And to all the spouses (is the plural of spouse, spice?), parents, chldren, siblings, shirttail relatives, and friends who support those Vets:

Thank You!!

You are all very much appreciated.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Yes, today's post is about socks. In particular, my new socks by Smartwool. I very seldom wear cotton socks, and cannot wear synthetic blends at all, so I mostly wear wool socks, and in the summer, I prefer the lightest weight ones I can find.

So, yesterday, I went to REI to partake of their sale, and bought three pair of socks by Smartwool. (These are washable/dryable socks, by the way, and 100% wool)

So, because I was just a tad bored, I decided to read the laundry instructions. I am quoting here. " not iron." Say what? Do not iron my socks? I can't iron my socks? I always iron my socks, don't you???? Yeah, right. Jeans, maybe. Tee shirts, sometimes. But SOCKS?

OK, I've quit laughing and am now down to now and then chortles.

The 2010 Indy 500 is over. Some spectacular crashes, but I think all the drivers escaped serious injury--not sure about the last crash. My idea of a great race is lots of crashes, destruction, fires, whatever--AND THE DRIVER WALKS AWAY unscathed.

Not a whole lot of excitement in my life today. It's cool, windy, more cloudy than not. The Big Race is over until next year (Danica came in 5th, by the way. Go Danica!)

I'm reading Genghis Khan by John Man. This is the third book by him I've read -- and I hope to eventually have all his books. He is an Historian, and his books are very readable. The people he writes about are real, not just some paper cutout filled with nothing but dates I can never remember. I took the above photo just up the road a piece (3 miles +/-) from where I live; I live in what is classified as High Desert by some and Steppes by others. I can't help but wonder if our part of the world would look familiar to Genghis Khan, should he ever be so inclined to visit? We have many of the same flora--including tumbleweed which, I've been told, came from Russia. I've heard two stories, both of which sound plausible. The first is the tumbleweed seeds came over in wheat (this is wheat country); the second story is that Russian immigrants missed them, and sent for seeds.

Although it is 73 degrees out, the breeze and clouds make it feel much cooler.

If you're a Veteran and reading this blog, Thank You!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

...And Finally, Home!

Not all the old homes were built at the base of a cliff, some were built out a ways. I think, though, most were built at the base -- possibly to use the cliff to shelter from weather, as well as give quick access to safety in case of a raid by enemies.

Petroglyphs. Ancient language? Ancient graffiti? Crooked Snake was here? Wind Mother was here?

The rock on the left broke away from the rock on the right. It would have fallen considerably farther than it did; however, just out of sight of the camera was a huge boulder the breakaway is sitting on. In the early 1900s a huge rock like this broke away from the cliff and smashed some of the ruins. Fortunately, no one was home when it happened.

Blooming cactus

Our last sight-seeing stop of the trip, The Devil's Slide, in Utah. This was after driving through two snow storms. I didn't know if the clouds on the hill top were rain or snow, and we didn't want to find out. There is a pull out off the freeway to view the slide, and when we pulled off, we were looking in the wrong direction. Fortunately, Sonja turned around and saw this. It is quite impressive.

From here we drove on to Jerome, ID where we stopped for the night. The next day's trip was mostly in decent weather. Well, there were no more snow storms to go through, and the closer we got to Kennewick, the nicer the day became. Or was I just happy to be home?

Sonja is visiting Luke and will be home Sunday. I am working on another novel.

Life is good!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chaco Canyon

When Kay and I were here a year ago, we had 50mph winds and snow. Not overly pleasant! This time, Sonja and I had enough of a breeze to keep us comfortable, and sunshine. We heard after we got home that the next day we would have had 65mph winds and a blinding dust storm! We were very glad we left on Monday instead of Tuesday;-)

The walls of the old buildings are about 3 ft thick, and all rock. Most buildings were built near the cliff base, but not all.

The windows were square, as were the door ways. The builders were truly masters of their craft!

Looking down into one of the larger Kivas. The niches around the sides were for icons (they think) of one sort or another. Possibly Kachina dolls. The big rounds held the main ceiling supports, the bench around the side was for people to sit on, and the two big oblongs were for sitting. There is a firepit between the two oblongs.

One of the original beams for the second floor

The outside wall of one of the larger ruins. Although there are a few waves in the wall, it is very sturdy.

The view from the windows in the above wall

If any of you are considering a trip to Chaco Canyon, or any of the ancient sites in the American Southwest, I strongly urge you to buy a copy of the book, Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest, Second Edition --by Stephen Plog. Read the book first, and take it with you. It is the most readable/accessible book about the Ancient Ones I've read. My only gripe with the book is he used end-notes instead of foot notes. But, as you all know, that is a standard gripe with me. A pox upon end-notes and all who write them!!!

Next up - a few more pictures of Chaco Canyon and the Devil's Slide.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

...New Mexico &...

So, after a fine treat at the Boche del Apache Bird Sanctuary, we came back, and I settled down on the patio in a comfortable chair chugging soda and ice water, and enjoying the wonderful show of hummingbirds that came to Roxie's feeders.

Roxie (Sonja's friend and 'landlady') also had a horse and 3 burros, all of whom were too curious to meet me and my camera to get any good photos. But the hummingbirds just wanted their sugar water!

Some of the little guys actually landed to feed. Most of those had their backs to me.

Oh, yes, Sonja did pack Suvie Star Car! She packed and packed, and when it was done, we went to bed. Then she got up at 2 in the morning and took everything out and packed it all over again! How much stuff can you get in a Subaru Forrester? This much...with a wee bit left over.

From the back hatch....

From the back door, looking across the car....

And Sonja holding more stuff!

No, she didn't have to hold it all the way home. We stopped at the post office and mailed it.

Sonja generously offered to drive home. She said I drove all the way to get her, she'd drive home. I figured we'd swap every couple of hours, but she really likes to drive, is a good driver, and bless her, she drove all the way from the post office!

Next stop, Chaco Canyon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

To New Mexico ...

I have been informed that I have been remiss in not maintaining this blog by one of my faithful followers. There is a perfectly good reason. Honest. Trust me.

After writing the last blog, my daughter called me and said she hoped Luke (her son, my grandson) wasn't reading my blog as I gave away to all the world that she was moving home. Oops! Luke thought she was coming in August, and she wanted to surprise him. It turns out, he doesn't follow my blog, and was surprised!

So, I took a quick trip to New Mexico to gather said daughter and whatever of her stuff would fit in Suvie Star Car, and then we made a quick trip home. I drove down, she drove back.

I had planned on taking a scenic route through Utah. Sadly, there was a horrendous (read: fatal) accident that blocked the road, and if I waited the two hours for it to reopen, I would have driven it in the dark, so turned around, and opted for the freeway instead of the by ways.

I did pull over at a View Point for the first two photos. The colors were spectacular, and the view, literally, breathtaking. Especially when I considered I would be driving down that highway in the top photo.

I spent the first night in Nephi, UT, and reached Belen, NM around 5pm the next night (Saturday). Met one of my Sisters of Choice, Kitty, for dinner, and a good visit, then again in the morning, for breakfast and a good visit before heading down the road 50 miles or so to gather up my child.

Sonja lived with a friend just 8 miles from the Boche del Apache Bird Sanctuary, so off we went. Unfortunately, it was mid day, and we didn't see too many unusual birds. The only two birds I saw that we don't see here were the Ibis (bottom photo) and the Cormorants (not shown). However, the Heron posed so beautifully, I had to take his picture. As soon as I had it, he bowed, and flew away.

Many turtles, and more cat fish than I could count. Oh, I got so hungry for fried catfish! Sonja reminded me we were in a sanctuary and it was illegal to hunt or fish. Drat!

After spending a few hours driving around the sanctuary, getting our sinuses upset with all the dust, pollen, cotton wood blossoms and pollen from the Russian Olive (nasty tree!), we headed
back to her home and loaded Suvie Star Car.

Loading Suvie was not an easy job. Fortunately, I spent several years at Boeing learing to put 10 lbs of stuff into 5 lb bags -- and was able to convey much of that knowledge to Sonja, who actually did most of the work. OK, she did ALL of the work--I was too busy fighting a touch of food poisoning from the previous night's dinner but you didn't really want to know that, did you?

Unfortunately, the Ibis' color doesn't show well. He (she?) is an Iridescent Ibis, and when the sun shines on him, he is absolutely gorgeous. Here the sun is only on his shoulder.

To be continued....

Oh, one more thing.... A friend sent me a video that I thought was one of the funniest I've seen n ages. If you're under 40, it probably won't appeal to your sense of humor, but your Mom will love it:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Got Tree House?

I moved into this home 4 years ago. The previous owners had kidlets and built, and left, a swing set and a tree house. As I had NO kidlets of the appropriate ages, and didn't want any more, I had no use for either.

My neighbors have two small boys (a third will arrive any day now, but he's too young to care) and they took the swing set. I tried to get them to take the tree house, but no luck. It was well built and would have taken a case of beer and 4 guys a bit of time, but it was made to stand alone. And would have made a great fort on short legs in their yard.

The tree house as it was.

Well, yesterday Straw Boss (above) Paco Belle, managed to get her friend Arlyn to come over and remove the tree house. It took no beer, lots of ropes, considerable know-how, one man, one Paco Belle, and lots of muscles, but he got the tree house out of the tree, onto his truck, and out of my yard all by himself. With the help of Paco Belle, too.

With strong ropes holding/suspending the tree house, Arlyn is removing the last leg of the house.

With the flat bed truck carefully (very carefully) backed between the fence and the tree, Arlyn lowers the tree house.

Easing the tree house down the last few inches with his trusty jack.

Tree house on the flat bed, waiting to be tied down and delivered to a new home - Arlyn has a young grandson who will love it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Windy, windy...

You know the old saw, "It never rains but what it pours"? Well, in the tri-cities, it never breezes but what it blows!

First off this morning (Monday) I had to get dressed, etc. then call AAA as Suvie's battery was deader than a door nail (is that deader than a dead nail?). Anyhow, I called AAA and they said someone would be out within an hour. No sooner had I hung up the phone when it rang, and it was the carpet folks. They were trying to find my house so they could fix/repair the carpet from the new door installation in my bathroom. They finally found my house, stunk it up with their hot glue. The AAA guy came, and got the battery jumped, told me to back Suvie out of the garage and let her run for about 25-30 minutes to get the battery charged. Well, that's fine -- but also illegal unless I'm going to sit in it that long. Not bloody well likely!

So, the AAA guy left, the carpet guys left, and I headed over to Sacajawea State Park to see what kind of photo ops might be available. Is it possible to photograph wind?

I managed to get a couple shots of the fence as it was on it's way down. The wind was so strong I could barely stand in it. As soon as I took these shots and walked back to shelter, the fence went down. I did NOT go back out for shots of a horizontal fence! Dear readers, you are invaluable to my life, but....

Maya Lin, who some of you may know as the designer of the Viet Name Memorial in the other Washington (DC) designed an installation for the park. The horizontal fence is, or rather was, around it. This is part of the installation. I don't know if you can get the picture enlarged enough to read the words but they are in Native American and English - "...Baskets", "... Wool Blankets", "... Bison Robes", "... Pigments". I didn't try for the Native words as I don't have all the letters, etc. I'm not sure what wll cover the circle, but there are several circles, and each one will be a different story, that runs along the bottom.

Of course, while I was at the park, there was nothing but wind and clouds. Now that I am home, there is wind and sunshine. Sigh.

I will be leaving on Friday morning, as early as I can drag my limbs from bed, and heading to New Mexico to visit my Sister of Choice, Kitty, and to collect Sonja (my daughter) and bring her back with me, so it will probably be a couple of weeks before I am able to post another entry. I am still trying to decide whether or not to take my laptop with me.

So, if there is no posting, know it's because I am travelling, and not intentionally ignoring any of you ;-)