Sunday, January 31, 2016

Man and his dog

You've probably seen this, since there have been nearly 10 million hits, but that still leaves about 7 billion of us to go. It's brilliant and worth the tears.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recommended Daily Dosage: Take a moment with your morning coffee

Rough-skinned Newt
The stock market is tanking; Sarah Palin and the Donald insist the sky is falling; China's economy is circling the porcelain bowl; the oil companies are shaking in their rubber boots. How do we cope?

You might try what I do. Every morning, to put things in perceptive, I look for Ron LeValley's "Outside My Window" picture of the day. Starting with a reminder that we are surrounded by beauty puts me in the right frame of mind to deal with whatever the next 24 hours brings--good, bad, or the same old, same old.

I got permission from Ron to share a few of my favorites and invite you to join his list.

  To join Ron's List
Red-footed Boobies
Lupines Galore

Black-footed Albatross

 Ron's website
Forster's tern

Western Grebe

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bob...and his "siblings"

An eccentric but tight-knit group that consists of one golden retriever, one hamster, and eight birds. Thirty-one year old Luiz Higa of São Paulo, Brazil, says Bob, his golden retriever, is a little less than two years old. In the beginning, he just had Bob, a cockatiel and a parakeet.
     “Since the beginning I put them together to see their behavior,” he tells us. “It was nice,so I decided to have them play together during my free time.”
      He then added more birds and a hamster to the group.
      Higa’s photos show the group posing, playing, exploring, and resting together.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hurt Go Happy, 10th anniversary edition

I'm proud to announce that Tor Teen has issued a tenth anniversary edition of Hurt Go Happy, my novel based on the true story of Lucy Temerlin, a chimpanzee raised as if she were human. HGH is the story of a deaf child's unique friendship with a sign-language using chimpanzee.

For years, I believed the original story that Lucy, the real Sukari, was killed by poachers. I Googled her and found this article. As it turns out, the truth will never be known, but the story is no less sad.

This is 20 minutes and includes a story about another chimp. It also doesn't go into what happens after Lucy's sexual awakening. 


Lucy Temerlin, Lucy's pet cat

Friday, January 8, 2016

Girl Under Glass On hold

... failure with plants you found that perfect plant brought it home and
Girl Under Glass is being looked at by an editor at Penguin Random House. I'd like to say she wrote and asked to see it, but the opposite is true. Her only request was, that while she looks at it, I stop posting it on my blog.

This editor has rejected it before, so I'm not expecting a different outcome in spite of the fact I've rewritten it about 10 times since she last viewed it.

So here's the deal, and the only fair thing to do. If those of you who really enjoyed reading it so far will email me, I'll send the chapters to you weekly until I'm free to put it back online, or with a bit of luck, not. 

Email me at and use GUG in the subject line.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Y'all Qaeda in Oregon

The last time I visited Malheur National Wildlife refuge was October 2013. Some of you might remember. I was Schlepping Sully V,  the ring-billed gull I bird-napped from Holland Lake, MT. Malheur, one of my favorite places on the planet, was my first choice of where to release him. I spent the night in Burns with Sully in the bathtub.

As it turned out, the next day was cold, windy, and raining. I couldn't find a single bird much less a population of gulls to introduce him to, so I drove on.

Fotos de Frenchglen - Imágenes de Frenchglen, Oregón - TripAdvisorMy first visit to Malheur was long before I moved to California. I was still a student at University of Miami, finishing up a degree in Biology. I'd started writing by then and I was into photography and birds, birds, birds--thanks to Dr. Owre, a professor of ornithology. On that first trip, I "discovered" Frenchglen, a wonderful little B&B, and spent the next day or two driving round and round the refuge.

After that, I visited every chance I got. I took my friend, Janice, when we drove my husband's old SUV back to Miami from San Francisco, and broke down 5 times in 4 states. We learned to pee on the side of the road by sitting on the running board between two open doors.

When I moved to California, I drove hundreds of miles out of the way because I wanted to see it again. I'd bought an RV for the move and was hauling Hopi, my parrot, now 35 years old, Rosie, my albino red rat snake, Lovie, a tame white dove, and Nauvoo, the coal black kitten I acquired on the way. We stopped for lunch under a stand of cottonwoods in Malheur. The RV door was open and I was making a sandwich when a young deer stuck his or her head in. While I ate, sitting in the doorway, the yearling munched the apple I gave it and let me rub its neck, then broke my heart chasing after me as I drove away. 

My friend, Janice, sent this NYTimes story to me this morning. It's a reminder, Malheur NWR belongs to all of us. Anyone can visit. This B.S. about 'returning it to the people' is just that. It was never theirs. What they want is to take it from the many for the use of the few.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

Girl Under Glass Chapter Four

Restaurants on the North Coast
Headlands Cafe

Girl Under Glass Intro
Chapter One
Chapter Two

Chapter 4  

Kelsey sits on the floor with her back against the sofa watching Jeopardy! then Wheel of Fortune. By the time Dancing with the Stars comes on, Lydia has slumped sideways in the chair and is draped over the armrest, her hand brushing the carpet.
Kelsey’s legs are out straight, her feet in a pair of socks with threadbare heels. As she watches the dancers, she points her toes, then studies the positioning of her mother’s fingers, and the way they brush the carpet, looking as if they’ve just unfolded to release a bird.   
“Did you ever want to be a dancer, Mom? I’d like to be one some day and homecoming queen, too. Maybe if I took ballet lessons, I could be Miss California one day.” She lifts her right leg and points her toes. “I have a nice arch, don’t you think?”
Lydia’s out cold.
“A beautiful arch, dear,” Kelsey says, and raises her arms like the upbeat of wings.
Her mother starts to snore.
Kelsey raises her voice. “The coolest thing happened today, Mom. Besides my new the job, I mean. This guy I know from school that I kinda like asked me to go—” Kelsey has to think for a minute. If a boy ever really asked her out, where would she like to go? “—horseback riding with him,” she says. “He lives on fifty, no a hundred acres—somewhere. His family is very rich.” Tears come to her eyes, and she gets up. “Damn it, are you gonna sleep through my whole life?”    
What’s the point? Her shoulders sag and she sinks back to the floor. It’s useless to get mad. Saying mean things might make Kelsey feel better, temporarily, but nothing changes.
            Sometimes she does, though—say awful things to her mother knowing that in the morning they will be forgotten. No harm done. The night before she stole the gardenia, they’d had the usual fight: Kelsey trying to get Lydia to drink less; her mom’s more and more ridiculous list of excuses, until, in a rage, Kelsey threw her mother’s glass across the kitchen. The gardenia would have eased Kelsey’s conscience even though her mother either had no memory of them arguing, or pretended not to.
Maybe I’ll go to Laurel Street just for an hour. She hasn’t seen Carly since her arrest, and Carly hasn’t called, but Kelsey’s sure she’ll want to know how things turned out.
            Carly’s lawyer father got her off the hook and the blame settled on Kelsey, which was okay. It had been her idea and a present for her mother. She didn’t want Carly getting into trouble. Maybe if Kelsey had a father, he’d have rescued her like Carly's did.      

Music! Art! Excitement!- Headlands Coffeehouse-Fort Bragg*

Carly isn’t on Laurel Street. None of the kids Kelsey hangs out with are there. Will and Ryan, with their usual knot of spiky-haired friends, are sitting in the alley by the fuse boxes, smoking. She definitely doesn’t want to hang out with them. They are in some kind of trouble most of the time—big time trouble like breaking and entering and stealing cars. Will is the one who told her Juvie wasn’t so bad.
She waves, and goes straight to the pay phone outside the Headlands Café’s screen door to call Carly. Carly’s mother answers. “I’m sorry, she’s doing her homework and can’t come to the phone.”
“That’s okay, Ms. Jeffries. Just tell her I called. Please.” 
            “Kelsey, I’m not going to tell her you called, and I don’t want you calling here again. You’re just not the kind of friend we want for Carly.”
Kelsey holds the dead receiver to her ear pretending someone is still there. She’ll cry if she hangs up, but before she can compose herself, the shrill disconnect signal goes off in her ear.
A jazz guitarist is playing in the rear corner of the Café, and the people sitting at the front door turn and glare at her. She slams the phone into the cradle and walks toward Main Street.
“What’s up, honey?” a man’s voice calls from the dark doorway of the camera store on the corner.
Kelsey turns and retraces her path. Her bike is leaning against the phone stand. “To hell with you, Carly,” she hisses at the phone. “Who needs you? Who needs anybody?”            
           “We need you, Kels.” It’s Will’s voice, but it takes Kelsey a second to see that they have moved and are now sitting in the shadows with their backs against the café wall. Only their three pairs of shoes can be seen in the light from the windows, and gray wisps, like ghosts, that rise from whatever they are smoking. 
Well, I don’t need you,” she says.
            “I heard you gotta do time with old Doc Hobbes.”
            “So,” she says.
            “He’s an okay guy,” Ryan says.
            “How do you know?”
            Will laughs his creepy laugh. “Been there, done that, right?” He elbows Ryan.  “What’d they get you for?”
            “None of your business.”
            “Damn. Testy, ain’t she,” Carlos says.
            Rather than ride down the dark alley, Kelsey wheels her bike toward Laurel Street, which is lighted. When she’s opposite where they are sitting, Will jumps up and grabs her handlebars. “Don’t go, Kels. I’m tired of these bums. I’ve got some good weed.”
            “Let go.” She tries to back out of his grip.
            Will straddles her front tire. “Why don’t you want to hang with us?”
            “’Cause I gotta go.” She twists free.
            “You sure ain’t being very friendly.” He grins, glances past her, and jerks his head. Poof, all three boys are gone. 
            Kelsey glances over her shoulder. A cop car is coming up Laurel Street. She turns her wheel sharply and hops on her bike. She's about halfway to Redwood Street when she glances back to see if the cop has followed her and is caught squarely in his headlights as he turns into the alley. He drives slowly, his searchlight probing the garages and the spaces between buildings. To be on the safe side, Kelsey crosses Redwood and turns left into the alley between Lee's Chinese and the Furniture Mart. She's furious with herself for coming out tonight. Why didn’t she stay put for once?
            At Franklin, she crosses into the Purity Market’s parking lot and stops behind a big SUV. From here she can see if he’s following. It’s a couple minutes before his car stops at the corner of Franklin and Alder by the post office. She ducks down. When she peeks again, he’s turning right onto Franklin. 
            “That’s my car. What are you doing there?”  
            Kelsey turns. A man is approaching with a basket full of groceries.
            “I’m not hurting your stinking car.” She mounts her bike and rides off.

LEARN MORE / Short video 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sperm Whale Rescue

We can help. 
Ted's Photo 

I have it on good authority that the biologist heading up this rescue is well known. This email came in from a friend of mine and expert on marine mammals.

Hi Everyone,
I have gotten a few inquiries about an entangled sperm whale in the waters off Dominica ( an island country in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique.) I am fortunate to have met Ted Cheeseman of Cheeseman’s Safaris at various Marine Mammal meetings. He has been kind enough to send me information on this whale.

Digit has been entangled since March. Despite what you may have seen on the web – whale disentanglements are difficult and dangerous for both the whale and the rescuers. It is essential that they be attempted only by well-trained people with the right equipment. It is very easy to do more harm than good for the whale. As most of you know, sperm whales can dive deep and long – making any disentanglement effort even more difficult and dangerous for both the whale and the rescuers. There is also the issue of permitting and coordinating in a less developed country.

Here’s some images of Digit. It is amazing that she appears to be in good health, because the rope is unquestionably cutting into her tail.

Cheeseman’s Safari Company has set up fundraiser website: — it will take money to get a team there. So far, they have raised just over $5000 of the $8000 needed. This is the sort of thing – much like donating to PCLK (Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers) -- where you know even a small donation will make a difference. We all have contact lists – feel free to edit and send this out to yours.

The good news is that not only are funds being raised, but three locals from Dominica received disentanglement training.

Thanks to Ted Cheeseman and all that are helping this whale,

Ted Cheeseman is crowdrising for Rescue a Sperm Whale: