Words Are Like Jewels

To a writer, words are the tools of the trade. We agonize over finding just the right word to convey a specific meaning. Don’t use “walked” when “strode,” “shuffled,” or “ambled” is a better fit. Sometimes, it’s not the word, it’s the order of the words in a phrase or sentence. […]

Words are like jewels

The way is hard

Which Way to Go?

When I travel by car, I enjoy noticing unusual road signs, especially town names. I’ve had a fascination with odd place names for a long time. I remember Monkey’s Eyebrow, a real town in Kentucky, and Wildcat Hollow (pronounced “holler”), a vague location where my father grew up. Minnesota has […]

What to Do When You’re Speechless

Ever worry about what you’re going to say in a crucial moment? I sure do. I’m heading to a writer’s conference this week, with some anxiety about being effective when I pitch my story idea to agents and editors. But there are other times I feel inadequate about expressing my […]

what to say

Waiting for Irma

Like hundreds of thousands of others, we spent much of the weekend waiting for and watching the progress of Hurricane Irma. We’re safe in Iowa, but we have many friends in Fort Myers and other parts of Florida, and we’re concerned about our winter home there. I think the waiting may […]

What Is Labor Day?

I’ve been grandparenting for the past week, and in the process got a bad cold, so I’m following my own advice and taking Labor Day off. Here’s what I posted a year ago. I think it remains relevant: A character in the Sunday comics this week mistakenly thought Labor Day had something […]

Eclipse crowds

One of the Crowd

Are you one of the millions of people in the path of totality for the eclipse today? Is there a crowd where you were, or did you watch it with just a few people? In my hometown of Hopkinsville, Kentucky–one of the sites with the longest duration of totality–some hundred thousand […]

Jumping into the Dark

The dog went on an adventure the other night and wound up in the lake. Our son’s family was visiting for the weekend, the stars were out, and meteor showers were predicted. We live a couple miles outside town with few lights around us, so the night sky view is […]

Samoyed by water

"But I don't want to"

‘But I Don’t Want To’

This weekend we took care of two grandchildren without their parents. It’s not the first time, but it was the first time we’d had the three-year-old granddaughter along with her older brother. Her favorite two phrases seemed to be, “I want” and “I don’t want.” Whether it was food or candy, […]

Rolling Along-Until the Bumps Come

A town on wheels, moving across the state of Iowa and stopping in a different location every night for a week. It’s called RAGBRAI (Register Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), sponsored by the Des Moines Register, and my husband is participating this year for the second time. An estimated […]


Sprint racing

Going to the Races

Temperatures in the 90s. Humidity just as high. Sweat–excuse me, perspiration–pouring into my eyes. Plugs in my ears insufficient to drown out the noise. Why was I here? I don’t even care about auto racing. I didn’t know any of the drivers. I didn’t really understand all the ins and […]