Book Review–Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Book Review–Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain. The U.S. is obsessed with extroversion. We organize classrooms and workplaces in open space design with little privacy. Jobs are advertised for potential employees “who have enthusiasm!” Quiet kids are encouraged to break out of their “shell” or even sent to therapists for their apparent problems “relating” to other children. The DSM-IV (that bulky and often controversial diagnostic manual for psychiatrists) lists fear of public speaking as a disease (right alongside homosexuality and caffeine withdrawal?) “They [people in the U.S.] became captivated by people who were bold and entertaining.” These…continue reading →
You are Invited

You are Invited

From 2007--edited only slightly. Travels from Savelugu, Northern Ghana through the eastern Volta Region. Leaving Savelugu was unsurprisingly chaotic. A familiar, beat up yellow and blue shared taxi pulled up to the compound. The children began yelling a sharp blend of English and their native Dagbani as we struggled to hug and kiss each child, while balancing our over-heavy packs. “Hurry, hurry!” shouted Mr. Baba, shoving the children back. There is never “hurry” in Ghana until the moment you need extra time. And, like that, we smashed ourselves, and our packs into the…continue reading →
The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood has all the peculiarity of fuchsia lipstick, asexual teeth, PR teams, hidden cameras, teddy bear fetishes, Elvises at a retirement home, organic (although spoiled) chickens, special-order Possibilibots (sex robots), smarmy CEOs and just a few other warped obsessions. Stan and Charmaine are a couple living in their van during a social and economic catastrophe. Stan is out of work and Charmaine bartends at the seedy PixelDust with her two energetic hooker co-workers. Day-to-day life is rough scavenging food in dumpsters and evading car thieves. The police…continue reading →
From the shores of Two Medicine Lake

From the shores of Two Medicine Lake

There is a small woman, she is Japanese, wearing a bright pink and orange tunic and a wide-brimmed white sunhat. She is giving orders to her husband and motioning toward the camera in his hands. He takes a shot. She turns to look at the lake in a stiff pose and says something. He takes another shot. She turns sideways and half-smiles. Snap. Forward pose. Snap. Snap. Same pose. Snap. She laughs. Snap. There is a little girl with long, stringy brown hair wearing a faded red swimsuit. She is further down the…continue reading →
A Note on the Portfolio

A Note on the Portfolio

If you are looking for photographs, please click on the "Portfolio" tab and you will be directed to the correct location. New portfolio items do not appear on the homepage. So far I have four albums: My Favorite State (Montana, of course), A Walk in Nepal, Absaroka-Beartooth Loop, and Yellowstone Dream Sequence: 1. Enjoy these images of some of the most beautiful places in the world.continue reading →
Cat Hunting in Hot Springs

Cat Hunting in Hot Springs

(A mostly true story). There is a pale lady with a potbelly and dyed blonde hair that morphs into dark ink at the roots. She flings her green robe over the chain-link fence and sinks into the hot pool next to her husband. He is red-faced and likely potbellied too (although distorted by the water) and drinking a dented can of Coca-Cola. An apparent local starts up a conversation and the husband puts an arm around his wife when he speaks. “Oh, yeah. I been cat huntin’ out here. Mmm…hmmm…me and my buddy…continue reading →
Found in the Floorboards.

Found in the Floorboards.

My art teacher once made us do a "found art" project. Mine was a shoebox painted black on the inside with a white candle. I flipped the thing upside down. It did not mean anything. I'm sure I said it did so I could get the points. Here are some found poems from years ago. Found in the floorboards of my computer. Maybe a bit dusty and outdated. Meaningful? Not sure. Worthy to be shared? Sure. Why not? And yes...every single one involves food. Untitled Stew. she bit off a hunk of the…continue reading →
In Praise of the Letter-Writers

In Praise of the Letter-Writers

"I'm not good at keeping in touch." We all have friends/acquaintances/co-workers/bosses/people who use this excuse often. I've used it. We have friends that we email or call once every six months and that works quite fine, thanks. We catch up, pick a quirky short story or two to tell, and say goodbye until next time. We meet those few rare friends in "real-life" to go hiking, eat frosted cupcakes, or more likely to drink a glass of red wine. But then come those people that you really care about...and try over and over…continue reading →
Mishmash: Gravy and tomato soup overheard at the coffee shop.

Mishmash: Gravy and tomato soup overheard at the coffee shop.

I love finding old Word documents with funny poems from 2008...if you can't think of anything to write, just listen. Talking Gravy There is conversation. Well, small talk. Me: making no direct Eye contact. You: probably wondering why. We repeat empty, colorful details about our Thanksgiving dinners— While I fiddle with my dangling yellow earrings. They resemble A turkey like a cloud might. Stuffing and all. You say something witty about gravy but I just blink And sip my coffee. I mumble “sorry” and you stare. The sorry is for what I imagine,…continue reading →
Summer Survival Tips for Yellowstone National Park

Summer Survival Tips for Yellowstone National Park

From mid to late June until after Labor Day. Just a few things I've learned during my first summer in YNP. Yes, this might be a little snarky. But, seriously. Everyone we invited to visit this summer (originally from Montana) was like "Sure! I'll come in the winter!" Smart.  Thanks to Ryan for most of the photos, since my computer is out of commission.  -Drive into the park ridiculously early (like 5 am). Or drive into the park ridiculously late (like midnight). Otherwise you will be stuck in very long entrance gate lines with…continue reading →