Questions for a Conspiracy Theorist

The other day I was chatting with an acquaintance of mine. He’s very gregarious and therefore quick to start up conversations. He’s a pleasant man, the kind of person that makes you grin, but in truth we don’t have that much in common. Mostly we stick to safe topics, such as the weather.

But on this day, it turned out that the weather wasn’t as safe a topic as one would hope. He said, “Well, you know that all those tornadoes that are being kicked up out East are because they’re seeding the clouds over California to make it rain, don’t you?”

True confession: I’m not particularly quick on the uptake. I kind of blinked at him for a few seconds. I mean, what does one say when hit with such a loony concept? It’s probably best that I am a little slow in these instances, because the first thing out of my mouth would otherwise be, “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

I could easily disabuse him of this belief if he were willing to listen, which I’m sure he wouldn’t be, and if I had the energy, which I’m sure I don’t possess. I could just pepper him with the following statements and questions until he was left realizing he didn’t have a retort.

  • What are they seeding the clouds with? Because it sure isn’t working. California is dry as a freakin’ bone.
  • California consists of 163,696 square miles. How much of that stuff do they use, where do they store it, who supplies it, and how have we overlooked the hundreds of planes flying back and forth in a grid pattern to distribute the stuff?
  • If you are referring to “chemtrails”, see, also, my blog post entitled, “Debunking Chemtrails.” And besides, contrails are in sloppy, messy patterns over well-established flight paths, so these wouldn’t equally distribute this substance, whatever it’s supposed to be, and it would interfere with commercial flights, so private passengers would get awfully cranky.
  • The whole problem with having a drought is that there are very few clouds to be had, so where are the clouds coming from that they are seeding?
  • And who is “they”?
  • How do the chemicals in the West wake up the tornadoes in the East? Do they use Twitter?
  • And how are the hundreds of people it would take to pull off this little caper, the pilots, the materials producers, the distributors, the logistics personnel, the air traffic control people, the accountants, the support staff, and so on and so forth, able to keep it a secret when three people can’t keep most secrets?
  • Where are the Smart Phone pictures?
  • And if this project is causing so many weather disasters and not producing rain for California, why don’t they just stop?
  • And why is it a secret?
  • Isn’t it much more likely that it’s all of us doing our own horrible part with our disastrous carbon footprints trampling the planet (especially the major industries who are the very ones paying a great deal of money to prop up your conspiracy theory), who are the cause of the weather problems? Hmmm?
  • And even if global climate change caused by man didn’t exist, despite the fact that 95 percent of the world’s scientists say it does, why would you resist the urge to take care of the only planet we have, just in case?

But you know, while I was blinking at this guy, I suddenly felt tired. Nope. Nope. I couldn’t. I just didn’t have the energy. Because some people, as nice as they may be, just have no grounding in science, education, and critical thinking to grasp reality.

So instead, I just stammered and said, “Erm… well… California could certainly use the rain…”

And we both went on our merry ways, his way comprised of utter fantasy, and mine, at that moment, full of frustration and disappointment and shock.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book!

Chillin’ at Tahoe

Tahoe. Those in the in crowd can drop the Lake. Even though the lake is the whole point. Unless, of course, you’re there to ski, or hobnob with the rich and famous. “Sorry, I can’t go to your fundraiser, darling. I’ll be in Tahoe. But here’s a check. Ta ta.”

Despite my raging imposter syndrome, I was really looking forward to this day, because the ultimate form of conspicuous consumption while in Lake Tahoe is to do absolutely nothing at all. Tahoe gives you the impression that money is constantly flowing like sand through an hourglass. Standing still implies waste.

So I slept in after having been awakened briefly by a pack of howling coyotes, which made me smile. But yeah, I slept way, way in. And then I grabbed a book and took a long, hot, luxurious bath. And then I went back to bed and read some more. And then I fell asleep. It was heavenly.

But then, of course, I was in Tahoe after all, so I decided to ride around and enjoy the view. I went to Inspiration Point, which has stunning views, and a rock as big as the restroom. But Inspiration Point made me think of an episode of Happy Days.

From there I went to Emerald Bay State Park, which has absolutely gorgeous views of a tiny, intriguing little island that has a really interesting story that I will tell in a separate post. For now, just know that I really enjoyed the view.

I saw a plaque that expresses it really well. “I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty and wish to see you with a hundred eyes.”

I viewed, I breathed the fresh air, I contemplated what to blog. I rode back and forth between Nevada and California as I was staying at Stateline. I got to see the gas prices double as I crossed into California. I’m amazed that any Stateline, California gas stations make a go of it.

But I wasn’t there for gas or even the view. I was extravagantly chilling. So I went back to the room and watched the presidential debate. (That’s a few hours I’ll never get back.) But then I went back to reading and chilling and napping, and it was, without a doubt, the best Tahoe day I’ve ever spent.

Enjoy my pictures, below.

There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. And here’s a link to the next day’s adventure!

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!

Mono Lake to Lake Tahoe

On day ten of our road trip, we got an early (for us) start. Before heading to Lake Tahoe, we wanted to explore Lee Vining and Mono Lake. I must say, for such a tiny town, there was a lot of delightful public art. There’s also a place called the upside down house, pictured below. It wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped.

The lake itself was pretty, and had unique rock formations, but hey, we were about to go to Lake Tahoe. Dear husband had picked up a fall colors map, so we decided to take the leisurely scenic route today and enjoy all the lovely yellows and golds.

Random things we saw on our route: A hot pink poodle, a fascinating mud dauber nest, a rock formation that looked like a plumber’s butt, and lots and lots of cows. Don’t believe me? Check out our pictures below.

When we reached Lake Tahoe, I was blown away by how clear the water was. If California and Nevada can do that, anyone should be able to. We all need to.

My first introduction to the lake was a lovely place called Sand Harbor. It was full of winding trails and little rocky coves. It would be a delightful place to bring a book and just read, while watching people play in the water.

We then went to dinner at Lone Eagle Grill. If you’re ever in the area and are in the mood for a bit of a splurge, I highly recommend this place. I had salmon topped with crab cake, and it was the best salmon I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Before you leave the restaurant, be sure and get your parking validated. We made the mistake of not doing this (it’s not spelled out clearly), and almost got charged $45 for less than 2 hours parking. Oh heck no! For that price I could get more salmon to go! We went back inside and cleared that up, believe you me. Crisis averted.

Feeling well satisfied and very content, we went to our time share, which was high above the lake, and so fancy that they even folded the kitchen towels for us. I was suffering from severe impostor syndrome.

It had been a lovely, leisurely day, and the next day was to be all about relaxing. I was thrilled. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it.

Enjoy the photos!

There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. And here’s a link to the next day’s adventure!

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!

Yosemite. Wow.

I woke up in my dump of a quaint little motel to discover that I did, indeed, have a view of Mono Lake, if I was willing to venture out onto my sagging balcony. I decided it would be better to explore the lake from solid ground, but that would have to wait for tomorrow, because today was dedicated to Yosemite, a place I have wanted to see for my entire life.

First, I ran across the street to the Mono Market to stock up on a few provisions, and then went next door to pick up some coffee at a place called, I kid you not, “Latte Da”. I love it when businesses have a sense of humor.

When I was about to start on the day’s adventure, I decided I needed a drink of water, and grabbed the nearest water bottle. When I tilted it toward me, I discovered that the lid was not screwed on, and I proceeded to pour the water down my face, chest, and lap. And it had been sitting in the car all night, so it was ice cold. Who needs coffee? I was officially awake.

I was sensing a theme in Lee Vining, California. Yesterday, I mentioned getting drenched by a cruelly-angled shower head. And now this. Between these insults and the profusion of Trump signage, I was really starting to take issue with this little town.


On the way to Yosemite, I was seeing smoke on the horizon. And a lot of fire devastation. I hoped that this smoke would spare Yosemite Valley. But as you can see from this picture of me, compared to a picture taken from the same rock by someone else a few years earlier, it was not to be.

Regardless, the word for the day was WOW. Even obscured by smoke, the grandeur that is Yosemite beggars the imagination. Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, Glacier Point… all are beyond my abilities to adequately describe.

I must have taken a thousand pictures. I hoped to capture the iconic image of Half Dome glowing orange with the sunset, but I could barely see the sun. Still, I wanted to capture this entire place and take it home with me. I wanted it to be mine. But just as with words, pictures do not do it justice. And the beauty of national parks is that they belong to all of us. That’s what I love most about them.

I was actually rather fortunate, because Yosemite wasn’t nearly as crowded as usual. They are limiting access due to the pandemic. If you don’t have a preregistered pass these days, you’re out of luck. Thank goodness I did my homework, or I’d have been at the gate in tears.

As with so many of the places I’ve visited on this trip, Yosemite is designated an International Dark Sky Park. With that in mind, as I exited the park that evening, I came upon an area that wasn’t smoky, so I parked my car beside a lake, opened the sun roof, tilted my seat back and just gazed at the universe. I reflected on all the beauty I had seen that day, and all the beauty I was seeing at that very moment, and realized that I was very fortunate indeed.

Life is truly a gift.

Enjoy my pictures from the day!

There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. Here’s a link to the next day’s adventure!

Claim your copy of A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude today and you’ll be supporting StoryCorps too!

Day 8, in Which I Walked through the Valley of Death

Okay, so I didn’t actually walk. As has been the theme of this trip, I drove. And drove. And drove.

As I descended into Death Valley, I watched the temperature rise from 81 degrees to 98. And “descended” is putting it mildly, as I wound up 282 feet below sea level. (Later in the day, I’d be up at 8036 feet above sea level. My ears were not amused by all of these shenanigans.)

I had never been to Death Valley before. It is a hauntingly beautiful place, and you pretty much have it all to yourself. Because of that, you can’t shake the feeling that if your car breaks down, you’re most likely going to be dead. I was way beyond cell phone signal, out amongst the 20 Mule Team Borax mines.

The funny thing about highways in the desert, when the horizon seems to stretch on beyond the impossible, is that you can’t really tell if you’re on a hill unless you look in the rear view mirror. Its as if balance takes a little holiday, and then all of a sudden you’re above or below where you expect to be.

And the terrain in the valley changes rapidly. I never realized just how many types of mountains there could be. You’ll see a few varieties below. The only thing they all had in common was that they were freakin’ hot, and unexpected, and sun-blasted beautiful. Adding to the other-worldliness of the place, I listened to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale all day long.

I stopped at Stovepipe Wells, which is the closest thing to an oasis that one can find in this desolate place. I got an ice cream bar at the convenience store. I was also able to get a stamp for my National Parks Passport at the Death Valley National Park visitor center, so now I can die happy.

This was my first day in California on this trip. You can tell you’re out West when there are cattle guards on the exit ramps. And the further into California I went, the smokier it got. I should have been able to see the Sierras, but the smoke got so thick it was hard to believe there were even mountains. A cashier at the next place I stopped for gas said she hadn’t seen the sun in 3 months. I’d lose my mind.

At a certain point along in there (time seemed to get a bit mixed up), I also passed by Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp. It was all the more chilling for being totally unexpected. Through the smoke, I could only get a slight sense of how isolated, hot, miserable, and hopeless that place must have been. It made me sad and ashamed. Not all of our history is as glorious as many would have us believe.

Gas prices are obscene in California. Double anywhere else. And every place I went, whether it be a convenience store or a grocery store, the restrooms were entirely closed due to the pandemic. That’s a little extreme, if you ask me. People have to pee. I know I sure had to. I finally had to go off on a side street so I could do it on the side of the road. I was amused to discover that the place I picked was a dump station. But you do what you have to do.

I finally checked into Yosemite Gateway Motel, in Lee Vining, California. It was after dark and the place was, I’ll go ahead and say it, a dump. I found this to be really funny, because I had misunderstood. I thought I was staying at one of the national park lodges.

Instead, the entire motel was at an odd slant as if it were going to slide into the crevasse at any moment. The stairs, too, were slanted, and soft. The room had no clock, no microwave, no minifridge, and very sketchy internet. When I went to take a shower in the little corner stall, the shower head was facing the door, and when I turned on the water to warm it up before undressing, I was drenched in the face and torso with ice cold water. Cursing was involved.

Since I arrived so late, the only place open where I could get food was a diner called Nicely’s, across the street. It was not nice at all. Julienne carrots straight from the freezer. Three day old, store bought dinner rolls, and steak as tough as shoe leather. 

But hey, I was told I had a great view of Mono Lake. I’d have to wait until the next day to find out. The view disappears after dark.

But I had a warm and dry place to lay my head for the night, and I was excited, because tomorrow, I’d be seeing Yosemite for the very first time!

Enjoy my pictures from the day, below.

There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. And here’s a link to the next day’s adventure!

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book!

True Reform?

I just did a Google search to see when fire season is in California. What I learned from this website is that it is easier to say when fire season isn’t. The answer to that is May. The rest of the year is pretty much the danger zone. That’s rather sobering.

Fire seasons have gotten longer and longer and and have become progressively more devastating over the years, due to global warming. With increasing droughts, increasing heat, and increasing winds, we’ve got a recipe going on that makes for a heaping helping of flame and destruction. Not good.

And fighting fires isn’t for sissies. Anyone who does so is putting his or her life at risk. It’s a heroic sacrifice.

Sadly, there seem to be fewer and fewer heroes in this world. Because of this, we’ve had to rely on a population that already tends to be stuck with the dirty jobs: inmates. But according to this article, there are fewer inmates to draw upon because there has been a reduction in low-level offenders being housed in the prisons. And now, due to the pandemic, a lot of prisoners have been released early, reducing the pool of potential firefighters even further.

So Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, recently signed California bill AB2147. Basically, it gives some prison firefighters the opportunity to have their records expunged after they’ve served their sentences. This means, for the first time, they’ll be able to apply for any of 200 jobs that require a state license, including, of course, firefighters. And they’ll certainly be able to say they have experience.

This bill won’t apply to people who commit murder, kidnapping, rape, arson or any felony that’s punishable by life imprisonment or death. That makes sense to me. But I have mixed emotions about this entire endeavor.

On the one hand, it seems as though, for the first time, someone has created a pathway to actual reform for prisoners. We all know that once you’re convicted, it’s nearly impossible to get a decent job. In my opinion, that leaves no other opportunity for survival than crime. Now there will be opportunities. I think this is fantastic.

On the other hand, let’s face it. California isn’t doing this out of the goodness of its heart. They’re desperate for firefighters. And their desperation is only bound to get worse. So, plain and simple, they need these guys to want to put their lives at risk. And they’ll do it. And many will die in the attempt.

But I honesty don’t see any other options. I just hope they don’t start arresting more people for petty b.s., simply to feed them into that firefighting meat grinder. That would be really bad.

Bad, but conceivable. So, yeah, I’m worried that this bill could backfire. (Sorry. Had to.)

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A Voluminous Tragedy

I’m heartbroken right now, because I just read an article about a 77,000 volume library in Porterville, California that has burned to the ground. Libraries are sacred things to me. They house knowledge, which is, in my opinion, the most valuable thing a human being can possess. They allow us to explore our universe. They make children dream and wonder. They feed our curiosity.

The only downside to collecting so much information under one magical roof is that when books burn, they tend not to stop. And that is, indeed, what happened in Porterville. But the more I learn about this fire, the sadder I become, because this was a tragedy on a whole host of levels.

First of all, the library, having been built in 1953, did not have sprinklers, so even though the fire department was only a block away, the firefighters were unable to combat this blaze. In fact, two of them died in it. Captain Raymond Figeroa was only 35 years old, and Firefighter Patrick Jones was only 25. Even worse, Jones’ body was not found until 24 hours later, so his loved ones had to suffer through a “missing” status before the truth came out. My heart goes out to both their families and all their coworkers.

I think firefighters are among the best of us. It’s been my experience that a firefighter’s primary motivation is to save lives and help the community, and they often put their own lives on the line to do so. Two men, so young and of such high quality, were taken from the world, and that is a loss to every single one of us.

But it gets worse. It seems the fire started in the children’s section, and just after the blaze started, two 13 year old boys were seen fleeing the scene. They’ve been apprehended. They will be charged with arson, manslaughter, and conspiracy.

If they did this, do they feel any remorse? If so, they’ll carry that burden for their entire lives. If not, they are animals. Either way, their lives will never be the same. Their potential, too, burned in that blaze. It saddens me that they were not taught to respect books, libraries, human lives, or their communities.

To recap, this one event has produced a long list of tragedies:

  • The fire itself.

  • The destruction of the library.

  • The inadequate fire protection system.

  • The death of two young firefighters.

  • The grief of the loved ones they left behind.

  • The fact that it was most likely arson.

  • The alleged arsonists are two 13 year old boys.

  • They face arson, manslaughter and conspiracy charges.

  • Their lives are effectively ruined by their own idiotic actions.

  • The community is left without a library, and is emotionally distraught.

Sometimes I just feel like weeping for the world.


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Another Disappearing Drawbridge

As a bridgetender, I tend to take it personally when a drawbridge disappears. And it happens all too often. Lower drawbridges get replaced by much taller, fixed spans. People lose their livelihood. And the neighborhood loses a great deal of its character. Folks blast on past without even slowing down anymore. They don’t take in the view. It’s tragic.

So when I saw this article entitled How drawbridge is drowning, I had that first, visceral reaction. Oh no. Not another one. Then I discovered that this story isn’t about a drawbridge. (Well, actually, it is, and it isn’t. You’ll see.)

Drawbridge, California started off with a population of one. George Mundersheitz’s cabin was built there in 1876, so that he could operate the two railroad swing bridges in the area. They were about a half mile apart, and George would walk to each one and hand crank them as needed to let vessels through. That must have been a real pain in inclement weather. And it must have been a very lonely existence.

But it seems that George was an enterprising man, because by 1880, that part of San Francisco Bay had become a duck hunting mecca of sorts, now that there was railroad access, and George started charging people 50 cents a night to stay in his cabin.

Eventually the unincorporated town was named by the railroad, as was often the case, and this place became known as Drawbridge. At its height in 1928, it had 90 cabins and 2 hotels, and hundreds of ducks were shot in the area every single day.

The town never had a city council or a school or law enforcement of any kind. And even with that small population, there were divisions. On the south side of town, people were Catholic. The Protestants dominated the north side. The two groups rarely mixed.

Unfortunately, Drawbridge was not sustainable. The duck population predictably declined, and the marshland began to sink as area metropolises undermined the watershed. The navigable waters began to silt up, and there was no longer a need for a drawbridge. The tides did not clear away the sewage like they used to, and the place began to stink. Needless to say, swimming and fishing drastically declined. And people got tired of having to raise their cabins as their foundations sank with the marsh. Trains no longer stopped in Drawbridge by 1955.

As residency declined, looters came in with annoying frequency. The last resident, Charles Luce, became known for driving people away with a shotgun. He left in 1979 when he was bought out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now no one goes to Drawbridge. It’s surrounded by salt lakes, and most of the buildings have been burned by looters or have rotted into the ground. As the waters rise due to climate change, the island itself will disappear entirely, and only those of us who are fascinated by history will even know that there was once a thriving community in this unforgiving place.

Rest in peace, Drawbridge. Rest in peace.

The ghost town of Drawbridge
Drawbridge, California’s first building: The bridgetender’s cabin.

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that?

My Magical European Summer

Recently, I came across a diary that I wrote when I was 19, and I read it for the first time since I wrote it. That summer was the high point of my life. (So far, at least. Who knows what the future holds.)

I was traveling through Europe, and I was falling in love. Those were heady, intense, joyful days full of exploration and adventure. Love, with a backdrop of Holland and Belgium and France and Germany and Luxembourg and Switzerland… it just doesn’t get any better than that. It really doesn’t.

Reading about the events as they unfolded, with the benefit of hindsight, has been quite a unique experience. It’s kind of left me in a weird head space, if I’m honest. That summer shaped the rest of my life.

I don’t know if I’m the exception or the rule, but when I fall in love, I am all in. T was the one for me. I was convinced of it then, and I’m convinced of it now. That summer was full of laughter and endless conversations and making sweet, sweet love in strange places. I recount those things in my diary in intimate detail. I would have done anything for him. I would have sacrificed anything to make it work.

Unfortunately, he was of a more practical mindset. I truly believe that he loved me, but love was not his priority. I’ll never understand or relate to that, because in the end, love is all that matters, in my opinion. So the summer came and it went and he moved on — fairly quickly, I’m told, but I didn’t know that at the time. I kind of wish I had, because it might have made things easier for me.

I, on the other hand, went for, oh, decades, feeling like I wasn’t living the life I was supposed to be living. My life was one big detour down a really messed up side street in which I tried to settle for a happiness which always eluded me. I even trapped myself in a 16 year loveless, sexless, extremely safe relationship. What a waste.

I did fall in love a second time, with another California guy who also didn’t have the staying power or the confidence in our love to make a go of it. That’s a shame, because it could have been an incredible life. (I should probably run screaming whenever California guys cross my path.)

Meanwhile, T got married, and then divorced. But by that time I had fallen in love for a third time, with Chuck, who was amazing. For the first time since I was 19, I felt like life was “right”. I finally felt like I was over T. Chuck was passionate and intense and devoted and hilarious. And best of all, he loved me back in equal measure. He was all in. He was a gift. And then 4 years later, he went and died on me. Well, shit. That wasn’t the plan.

So now, on a whole lot of levels and for a whole lot of reasons, I’m even more convinced that I’m living a life that I’m not supposed to be living. Grief will do that to you. It changes you. But I’m sort of getting used to loving people who aren’t there to reciprocate.

After I read the final page of that old diary, I did something stupid. I went snooping on Facebook, only to find that T is once again in a relationship. He seems quite content. They travel to exotic places. They cuddle on the couch. They have family dinners. He managed to land on his feet, but then I always knew he would. He’s a land on your feet type of guy. I even saw a video clip in which he talks, and sure enough, my heart started pounding the second I heard his voice.

T once told me I wasn’t the kind you marry. Apparently not. Because the ones I wanted to marry didn’t want to marry me, and the ones who wanted to marry me, I didn’t want to marry. Things shouldn’t have turned out that way.

But I’m finally in a place where I think T got it wrong. I’m exactly who someone should marry, because when I love someone, that feeling never ever dies. (It’s the liking that comes and goes, and takes work to maintain.)

I have come to know that that never-ending kind of love is a rare, precious, priceless gift that should never be discounted, never be passed over. Because you may not ever see it again. Cherish it, nurture it, if you are lucky enough to have it.

It’s a strange feeling, having so much love to give and nowhere to put it. If I could go back and talk to that 19 year old, would I tell her to do anything differently? No, not really. The feelings she had were authentic and pure and undeniable. I might tell her to savor it even more. Devour that love, because you’re going to be on short rations the rest of your life, honey. When you’re young, you think there will be always be more opportunities, and that the possibilities are endless, that good luck will come to visit you over and over again, but that’s bullshit.

Before my comment section fills up with platitudes such as, “Before someone can love you, you must first love yourself,” or “You’ll find love when you stop looking for it,” or “There’s someone out there for you,” let me be practical for a minute and say that the older I get, the longer my odds become. It is equally possible that I’ll be living the rest of my life completely and utterly alone. I need to come to grips with that possibility. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still hold out a certain amount of hope, but it would be much healthier to live the life I have and try to make the most of it rather than hold out for some fantasy. I’m working on it.

That diary, after that glorious summer, is full of so much pain and confusion and struggle that the re-reading often reduced me to tears. “Why is my love not enough?” “What did I do wrong?” “Why is this happening? I don’t understand.” I wish I could go back and hug that girl. But I couldn’t really offer her that much comfort. I’m still asking myself those same damned questions 33 years later.

Here’s a secret that no one tells you: Life just isn’t like a Hollywood movie. Hollywood is in California, too.

Suddenly I feel the need to go home and hug my dog.

Eiffel Tower

Read any good books lately? Try mine!


In the past, I’ve written about the plight of the bees and the plight of the bats. Frankly, I haven’t had the heart to write about the fact that our butterflies and frogs and coral reefs are disappearing, too. It’s just too depressing.

And then just the other day a friend told me about Starfish Wasting Disease. I guess I hadn’t heard about it because until recently I lived back east, and we had problems of our own. Apparently this disease was first detected in 2013, and now it’s estimated that 95 percent of the starfish on the west coast of North America, from California to Alaska, are dead. That’s millions of starfish. And this is a ghastly virus, folks. Within days of contracting it, their legs curl up and pull away from their bodies, and then they turn to mush. Horrible. Nightmarish.

There’s not nearly enough funding being allocated to study this tragedy. Probably because we don’t eat starfish, so people are not as concerned as they should be. And they should be, because this virus is in our oceans, and could jump to other species. Species that are a vital link in the food chain that leads back to us.

Scientists suspect that the reason this virus has been able to spread so quickly at this point in time is that the oceans have been unusually warm. And that, of course, is directly related to global climate change. For the love of God, how much more evidence do you need?

[Image credit:]