Wednesday Wanderings: Ansel Adams Wilderness

It's photo time again! Back in July my husband, Eldest Son, and I spent a week backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness (in the Sierra Nevada mountains just south of Yosemite). Here are some highlights. Day One: We drove from SF to LeeVining on Day Zero, so that the first day of our hike we had only to pick up our permit at the Mono Lake ranger station/Visitor's Center and drive a short distance to the trailhead. By 10ish, we were on our way, climbing the rather formidable rampart into the wilderness. You can see the tramway in this photo. A series of lakes, dammed in the 1930s, plagued this approach to the wilderness. Finally getting above the lakes, we encountered the idyllic waters of Rush Creek. Having hiked far enough and climbed more than enough, we found a camp and settled in, with plenty of afternoon left for exploring, bathing, and sitting around camp reading. Day Two: Leaving civilization behind. We woke early, and after breakfast hit the trail, eager to get into the

Mystery Review: The Shattered Tree

Today we have another Great Escapes Blog tour, a mystery set among the violence and chaos of WWI. Title: The Shattered Tree Author: Charles Todd Publisher: William Morrow, 2016. 290 pages. Source: Publisher's ARC through Great Escapes Tours  Publisher's Summary:  At the foot of a tree shattered by shelling and gunfire, stretcher-bearers find an exhausted officer, shivering with cold and a loss of blood from several wounds. The soldier is brought to battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s aid station, where she stabilizes him and treats his injuries before he is sent to a rear hospital. The odd thing is, the officer isn’t British—he’s French. But in a moment of anger and stress, he shouts at Bess in German. When Bess reports the incident to Matron, her superior offers a ready explanation. The soldier is from Alsace-Lorraine, a province in the west where the tenuous border between France and Germany has continually shifted through history, most recently in the Franco-Prussian

IWSG: Making time to write

The IWSG question this month is "How do you find time in your busy day to write?" This one hits me where I'm vulnerable. Let me be clear: I'm not vulnerable because my days are so jam-packed I can't make time. I feel guilty when I see this question precisely because my days are NOT. Unlike many of my fellow writers, I don't hold down a full-time job (though I do hold a few part-time jobs, I still have more free time than most people). My kids are now pretty much grown. The oldest is out of the house, the younger is in his last year of high school. I'm fresh out of excuses. And still, I often seem to run out of time before I get to my writing (witness Monday: I didn't intentionally not post because it was Labor Day. I didn't post because I failed to prepare a post, and by the time I realized it, I was too tired to care). I'm forced to conclude that no matter how much time you do or don't have at your disposal, you have to consciously pick a

What I didn't finish, and why

Lately, I've found myself  not finishing some books, and while I don't like to write reviews of books I haven't finished, I thought it might be useful to talk about why I let them go. I'll say right here: it's not always because they are bad books. In fact, it's usually just because they aren't the right books and the right time. That said, here are a couple of books I let expire, and (to the best of my ability to suss out) the reasons why. The Road to Little Dribbling , by Bill Bryson Yup, that's right: I DNF'd a book by the famously witty Bill Bryson. As a matter of fact, this didn't totally surprise me. I had a love-hate relationship with A Walk in the Woods (yes, he made me laugh, but he also made me want to throw the book across the room with his lack of knowledge and planning, utter ignorance of good hiker etiquette and Leave No Trace principals, etc.). I enjoyed his book about Australia, but then when I read the one on the US, I found tha

Mystery Review: The Black Thumb, By Frankie Bow

Title: The Black Thumb Author: Frankie Bow Publisher: Hawaiian Heritage Press, 2016. 270 pages. Source: Electronic review copy Publisher's Summary: When a violent death disrupts the monthly meeting of the Pua Kala Garden society, Professor Molly Barda has no intention of playing amateur detective. But Molly’s not just a witness-the victim is Molly’s house guest and grad-school frenemy. And Molly quickly finds to her dismay that her interest in the murder of the stylish and self-centered Melanie Polewski is more than just…academic. My Review: This was a mystery that caught my attention and kept it from the start to the end. Maybe I was a little extra taken with the main character because I've spent most of my adult life in or around academia, but really the book has little to do with Molly's campus life, since it takes place during the summer vacation. It was just a good read in an interesting setting (Hawaii is just a bit exotic to me, since I've only ever been on

Flashback Friday: What's for Dinner?

It's Flashback Friday--a fun blog-hop that's a break for bloggers and a chance to give something from long ago another airing. Click on the image above to check out the hop and find the list of participants. I hunted through the archives for a story to re-share. I couldn't remember this one from May 2014, but it made me smile when I re-read it, so here you go. It's short--only about 700 words. What’s for Dinner? Mom’s acting weird.  Well, that’s kind of normal, if you follow me, because she’s always weird, but usually she’s weird like wearing strange clothes and working all night on one of those bizarre sculptures she makes.  I won’t ever tell her this, but I don’t like them.  They have too many jagged edges.  They’ll tear holes in you if you get too close.  I sometimes wonder if she’s out to destroy someone, or if she just sees the world that way, all jagged.  Either way: weird. But what’s really weird is that she’s started cooking.  No more Swanson’s pot pies, and no

Middle Grade Audio Review: The Green Glass Sea

Title: The Green Glass Sea Author: Ellen Klages. Read by Julie Dretzin Publisher: Original hardback Viking Books for Young Readers, 2006 (324 pages). Audio by Recorded Books, 2007. Source: Library (digital resources) Publisher's Summary:  It's 1943, and eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is en route to New Mexico to live with her mathematician father. Soon she arrives at a town that, officially, doesn't exist. It is called Los Alamos, and it is abuzz with activity, as scientists and mathematicians from all over America and Europe work on the biggest secret of all--"the gadget." None of them--not J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project; not the mathematicians and scientists; and least of all, Dewey--know how much "the gadget" is about to change their lives. [Note: I'm not sure where the summary on Goodreads came from, but probably not the publisher--it is poorly written and has spelling errors! Don't let this put you off.]