Raccoon Encounter


Not long ago, Pat and I were taking a walk on Cicero Road when we were surprised to see this raccoon picking its way across someone’s lawn.  It seemed to barely notice us as it made its way slowly to the drainpipe on the roadside.

Something was wrong.  The raccoon wobbled down to the water where it appeared to take a drink.  Then it returned to the lawn and started across the road.  It staggered, fell sideways, and then wobbled in a confused circle in the middle of the pavement.

Sick? Dying of old age? Rabid?

We kept our distance until it moved away.

When we got home, I called the DEC. The man I spoke to said there was an officer nearby who could check on the situation.

I’m left with an undercurrent of sadness from meeting up with this failing wild animal.  Maybe because I’ve reached the age when my peers and I are struggling with illness, solitude, and mortality.  Bodies get sick, need repair, and ultimately quit.

What comes next?  Raccoon heaven?



Outdoor Concert

Betty and the Boomers

Saturday, May 25

Waterstreet Market, New Paltz, NY



Tight harmonies, fabulous songs, sunshine, iced chai latte–what more could anyone ask?

from their website www.bettyandthebabyboomers.com:

 When Betty Boomer, Jean Valla McAvoy, Paul Rubeo, and Steve Stanne began singing together more than 30 years ago, the name made sense—a play on Betty’s name and the fact that all are children of the baby boom. Bassist Robert Bard fit right in demographically when he joined later on. If they’ve had second thoughts, it’s too late to change now. “Betty and the Baby Boomers” appears on the covers of the band’s five CDs, and the name is known to folk music fans from the mountains of Connemara in Ireland to the Catskills overlooking New York’s Hudson Valley, their home base.
I’ve known most of these performers since my days with Clearwater and the Beacon Sloop Club. In fact, I used to sing with the Sloop Singers, but mostly on the choruses.

Husband Pat enjoyed every minute.


Listen to them here:


What I’m Reading

inheritanceMountain or Molehill?


by Dani Shapiro

Alfred A. Knopf, 2019

Even though I became a bit disgusted, I read the book to the end.  How Shapiro managed to make a full-length memoir out of this event in her life was impressive. I kept wondering if this discovery–that one’s father was not the biological parent–could be that traumatic.  The answer, for me, was “no.”

The word “self-indulgent” comes to mind about the author, and perhaps, also, “drama queen.”

However, the actual situation brings up a lot of ethical and scientific questions that are certainly important and valid.  With DNA testing, and the sharing of data from 23andMe, Ancestry.com, etc., we are confronted with issues of privacy and anonymity.

As far as the book goes, I would advise reading the summary, and bypassing the memoir.

Time Away

Jm9ZRhamReqSZVG16O9hTQBeautiful, yes?

This glass design is in the ceiling of the Belchertown, Massachusetts Library.  The library is a magnificent building with many features to admire.

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It’s always so helpful for me, as a writer, to get away from my desk and out into the world to meet new people and see new sights.

This library visit was courtesy of our gracious Airbnb host, Fran Ferry, who lives directly across the street.



The lacy fan of woodwork spans the ceiling in the main entrance.

Fran introduced me to the children’s librarian.  Hopefully, we can arrange an author visit in the future.  Serendipity!

Please like, comment, and/or share.

And remember–the new Karakesh Chronicle, Awakening Magic, is available now on Amazon.

Awakening Magic cover2

Skunk Cabbage Meadow


When the skunk cabbage pushes up through the melting snow, it’s a curious-looking plant, even a little sinister in my view.

skunk cabbage in snow

The new plants remind me of Little Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. I almost expect them to start talking. “Feed me, Seymour!”

Skunk cabbage does have an odor, and most animals won’t eat it.  The exception is bears, who will eat the “spathes,” the emerging blossom pictured above.  The smell of the skunk cabbage attracts pollinators who like the odor of rotting meat.

Skunk cabbage has the ability to produce heat, sometimes up to 70′ F, which explains how it is one of the first plants to push up through the snow.  Skunk cabbage flowers before it produces leaves.  A single plants can live for 20 years.

Native Americans used skunk cabbage to treat coughs and headaches.  It is actually available as an extract online!

skunk cabbage extract

Check out this site below for more information.


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What I’m Reading

The Gift of Sarah Barker

by Jane Yolen

Viking Press, 1981.

sarah barker

The Gift of Sarah Barker is one of Jane Yolen’s earlier books.  The young adult novel explores the growing romance of Sarah and Abel, who live in a Shaker community.  The novel kept me reading, carried along in part by my curiosity about how the Shakers lived. It must have been a challenging situation, especially for teens, to be so disciplined.  The men and boys, and the women and girls, worked near each other every day, but strict rules guided how they interacted.

Yolen’s description of daily life in this religious community pushed me to do a little research after I finished the book.

The Shaker’s main tenets are Celibacy, Community, and Confession of sin.  The Mother Ann Lee, the founder, arrived in America in 1774 with eight followers.  At its peak, the Shaker community numbered 4000 to 5000 Believers. “Hands to work, hearts to God” are the words they lived by.

Today the last active Shaker community is found in Maine, at Sabbathday Lake.  The website below provides comprehensive information about the Shaker sect.


The Hudson Children’s Book Festival

HCBF 2019

I spent a couple of happy hours wandering around this fabulous event at the  Hudson middle school.  In the gym were various organizations with tables of information and books.  Free books were displayed on tables in the middle of the room.

Pat and I gave a pass to the cafeteria full of loud music and children blowing off steam.

The authors’ area was packed.  Writers came from as far away as California and Tennessee.  I was thrilled to meet two of my favorites: Jack Gantos of Dead End in Norvelt and the legendary Jane Yolen–Owl Moon.  Coincidentally, I was reading one of her earlier books that weekend.  She kindly gave me some tips about how to move forward.

On the way home, we paused at a truck stop to get gas.  I also needed a phone charger for the car.  Two Pakistani guys owned the place.  The first cable I found was three feet long and $15.99.

“Don’t you have anything cheaper?” I asked.

The taller man went to a carousel and found a better choice for $9.99.  Then the short guy came up with one for $7.99.  What kindness and lack of greed!

In the bathroom, I appreciated this sign:


It was a great day for book fun and information.