Living in Our Digital World (with Chickens)

Chickens really do go “Bock! Bock! Baaaa-ock!” like in every cartoon you’ve ever seen or joke you’ve ever heard. I know this firsthand because our neighbor’s chickens make this very cartoonish call a lot lately. In fact, I can hear them right now bock, bock, bocking with a strange, urgent, panicky tone. I’ve learned in…

Welcome to Left of Seattle

In Seattle, it’s easy to forget you’re surrounded by water. Even though there are bridges over it, houses nestled up next to it, ferries that shuttle cars and people on it, it’s still possible to forget that it’s even there. Stand here, in the University District, and look to the east to see Lake Washington….

A Soggy Salutation from Seattle

What’s unique about Seattle in the winter is that lawns are bright green. So is the moss growing on roofs. Everywhere you look, it’s like someone squeezed out a tube of green paint. So that’s something.

At This Time of Year, Be of Good Cheer

I have no great love of Christmas. There haven’t been many filled with excitement and magic. And it’s not that I’ve lost my child’s heart and grown old and cynical. It’s just that this time of year, and what it means to me, has changed.

The Beauty of a Chance Encounter

Experiences leave us marked in visible and invisible ways. They stick with us whether we want them to or not. They make us fall headlong into people that leave us gasping and surprised at the wonder of it all.

Boys to Remember from a Bygone War

They were dutiful boys and men, who stood in line for a paycheck, looked eagerly for letters from home, longed for packages of socks and cigarettes, and wore their wills pinned to their jackets.

What’s Left Behind When All Is Said and Done

As I add another piece (the name of the ship they sailed on to America, a draft card, an alternative spelling of their name), I move on to the next search with a little voice prodding me along, asking, What makes up a life?

There and Back Again: Tales of Love and Adventure

We are all in search of love – in search of that person who loves us for our beauty, our warts, or our narrow-minded impatience and judgment of others (I’m looking at you, Elizabeth Bennett). We are all in search of adventure – to match wits with clever antagonists, to search for treasure and return with a boon, be it gold, experience, or knowledge.

The Night Is Filled with Wonder

At the very heart of it, The Night Is Filled with Wonder is an adventure novel. And like every adventure, the main character returns with a boon: knowledge. When faced with danger, something bigger and more unimaginable, she does this: she presses on. No matter what. She just keeps going.

Crushed By People and History in Istanbul

I felt swallowed up in Istanbul. Stunned at times by the beauty. Overwhelmed by the crush of people. Struck dumb by the thousands of years of history. A country mouse at the hub of the start of the civilized world.

When the Arrow Hits Its Mark

The first time he saw her, it was love at first sight. He was in a bar and it was the forties, in Butte, Montana, and women unescorted by men in bars were rare. Which is why the woman’s uncle, when he saw her there with her sister, got up and chased the pair of…

Carpe Diem in the Eternal City

In Rome, everything that has ever been done has been done there. Whatever will happen has already happened there. Roman air is thick with history and the millions of spoken words that have ever been spoken. I’m sure that Bob was not the first to stop and climb atop the fallen marble in the Forum…

Here Be Dragons: Let’s Go Off to See the World

When I told my rather over-protective mother that we were going to Turkey I could count on her lack of geographical knowledge to not know exactly where we were going. It is a very American thing to not know where anything is in the world. We all came from somewhere else and in the getting…