A Piece of My Mind

I didn’t know how much I cared about pie until I realized I wouldn’t be having one this week. We’re going snow camping and although I know that it’s possible to make a pumpkin pie with a campfire, a little creativity and the right ingredients, at this point I just want to focus on making […]

Clamming Up

I find myself thinking about the word ‘clam’ more often than is decent, at least without some thought. I call certain pairs of pants ‘clamdiggers’, even though I’ve never worn them to do such a thing. When I scrounge around to find dollar bills in pockets and drawers—and then these clams disappear quickly into other […]

Water Year

It’s October, the start of a new water year. A water year is one of several ways to measure rainfall. This way, water year 2016 starts now–when we hope the rain will begin–and will end in September. A rainfall year runs from July to June, a buffer of dry season on either side of when […]

March On

The first time I ever saw a marching band I ran away and cried. The band wasn’t even really marching–it was cooped up inside a small music hall. Maybe that was the problem. The timpani and the tubas, trapped in a single room, were far too loud for a little kid’s ears. When I finally saw […]


When I was six I had my very own windmill. At least that’s what my dad told me. We were driving to camp through Altamont Pass, which held one of the first wind farms in the country. He squinted up at the golden hills and pointed. “There,” he said. “That’s the one.” Later, he explained […]

Gathering String

I often buy presents for my kids that are really for me. This time, it was a special string for doing Cat’s Cradle. (Of course, it’s funny that I even bought a string, instead of tying a piece of yarn into a loop like I once did.) When they unwrapped it, they saw a rainbow […]

New Arrivals Daily

The park where I first saw the dog is a patch of green that’s separated from the mountains by several highways and several hills. There’s a coast guard station on one side, houses on the other, a mid-speed thoroughfare bordering its front. Early one morning, when it was foggy and my eyes were foggy, too, […]

Fired Up

I quit glassblowing because it pissed me off too much. It’s been ten years since I’ve done it, so I don’t remember much about how to make a goblet or a vase or a Christmas ornament. What I do remember is the bright eye of the furnace, the relentless heat, and the crazy dreams that I […]