September 1, on the Rim of Wonder


Dappled clouds

Owl hooting

Wren climbing




Later, I graded papers and watched part of John McCain’s funeral, some of which almost brought me to tears.  I often disagreed with him but never did I question his passionate love of country, his courage, his willingness to buck the norm, to defy convention when he thought it was the right thing to do.  I think he and I shared certain values on which this country is based even if the country as a whole rarely lives up to them.  These include the conviction that all people are equal, that everyone deserves justice, and each person carries the right to find his or her own share of happiness without judgment and condemnation from others who may think differently.

Later, while working on the latest book I am writing, I found handwritten recipes written by my grandmother, my mother’s mother, Nellie Narcissus Duke (Kaiser),whose father came here from Switzerland as a child.  One, for dumplings, remains readable.  The other written in pencil on the front and back of thin paper is fragile.  It is for Strawberry Shortcake.  If Grandmother Duke ever made dumplings, I do not remember it.  Mother did–chicken and dumplings.  I wonder if she used this recipe.  I do remember conversations about the shortcake because Dad did not like strawberry shortcake even though he liked strawberries.  I took photos of these two recipes written decades ago in my grandmother’s handwriting.




Prom Night

Tonight was prom night where I teach high school  All teachers, unless they provide a really, really good excuse, must go.  Many teachers find this a rather tiresome assignment.  Last year I did not go until time for the cleanup crew because I was singing in a big concert.  Tonight I signed up for the first half and ended up staying a bit later because it was fun.  No kidding, I was having a good time for two reasons:  dancing and dressing up.  As a girlie girl, I really like to dress up and dancing is akin to heaven so…I teach in the “country”–not exactly far from town but they think country–horses, country music, guns, four wheelers–you get the idea.  I have owned horses for years, but I am not that kind of country.  Can I dance to country music–sure, but I never listen to it.  What did they play a lot of??  You guessed it, country music.  I did not dance to that, oh,no.  Once in a while they played something else.  I danced some fast dances.  I asked one student why he wasn’t dancing and he told me he did not know how to two step so I taught him.  It took less than five minutes.  He can dance–I had already fast danced for a few minutes with him.

Can most of these students dance well?  Not exactly, except for a few.  And then there is the question of super high heels.  Most of the girls arrived with them on their feet.  One half hour later they were dancing barefoot.  In a brief chat with the new principal, we discussed how perhaps we should provide dance  and high heel etiquette classes, starting about two months before prom night.  I often wonder how these ballroom dancers spend so much time dancing in high heels. Dancing is such fabulous exercise, I think I will try it alone at home to get in shape.  If I plan to take even a little walk in about six weeks at Simien National Park in Ethiopia, I must get in better shape than I am just doing yoga.  The mountains there are over 13,000 feet high.  Now I need some sleep.