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canyon de chelly

Part II: On the Road Again

I can’t leave you on the road to Chinle for too long, you’ll get overheated! Sandy and I drove into Thunderbird Lodge in the late afternoon (this gorgeous Navajo-run lodge is inside the grounds of the national monument), and took everyone’s advice to go look at Canyon de Chelly at sunset from the south rim. […]

gas station prices

On the Road Again

It’s been a long long long long long long time since I took a real vacation. One of those go-somewhere-else jaunts that isn’t to see family (that’s called a visit, not a vacation), lasts more than three days, and you have to save up the money beforehand. Well, not have to, but it’s great if […]

house living room

Salutation: Bidding Farewell to A House

I’ve been asked, over the years, where my sense of design comes from. Although I’m a writer now, I was a sweater designer for 15 years and have made a lot of clothing, curtains, rag dolls, and painted quite a few houses inside and out. I’ve been envious of other writers, but nowhere near as […]

wall bookcases

Design: One of the Artists in the Family

Earlier this month, I went back to New England for my Aunt Mary’s funeral. This was sad, beautiful, heart-warming, and difficult. The best part, besides seeing so many people I’m related to and don’t get to spend enough time with, was staying with my cousin Michael for two days in his house full of art. […]

tulips ananda

Travel: The Tulips at Ananda

It used to be that one would call the phone number or look at Ananda Village‘s website to find out when the gardens were opening to the public every spring. Now we just wait for the Facebook posts to appear, and then we know it’s time. The gardeners at this retreat center/religious community plant 900 […]

yuba river

River as Anti-Depressant

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty punk. There are many good reasons, none of which I will bore you with here. Ordinary stuff that on other days wouldn’t have made me think twice had gathered together and weighed me down. Luckily I had an appointment with my life coach, Nancy. She said to me the same […]

broken floor

The Mystery of the Melting Floor

Once upon a time, in 1999, I bought a house. My first house. An uninhabitable house. This is a long story, so I’m going to leave lots of it out. Not just one house: an acre of land with two houses on it, both uninhabitable, and a small studio off the back deck, 10 x […]

swans

Travel: A Winter Visit to the Swans

I’ve written elsewhere about my first trip to see the migrating tundra swans, so I won’t tell you the story all over again. But know that every year I like to zip down to Marysville, CA at least once and witness the glory of many many many birds in one place. It satisfies my need […]

painting room

Travel: Staying at My Sister’s

Last week I drove down to Berkeley, CA — approximately 130 miles from my house — to water my sister’s orchids. This was not the original plan. When Sarah decided to go diving in Bali, she offered me her apartment as a refuge, writing retreat, change-of-pace place if I needed one. Which sounded great to […]

sallys cabin

Design: Sally’s Tahoe Cabins

When you’re a writer, people always ask when you began writing. The answer is often, “Oh, when I was eight,” or “I’ve been writing all my life.” I didn’t write until I was 35. When I was eight, I was drawing floor plans for log cabins in the wilderness, and trying to listen carefully when […]