Cougars Are Watching

Cougar alert here.

He was watching me.

A family of cougars are in the area.  I feel he is waiting for me.  The hairs on my neck raised a few days ago when I saw him hustle across the road into the forest.

“Don’t go walking alone,” warned a neighbor soon after.  I saw out my window a deer rushing out the woods into the meadow.  He had no tail.  I thought that was odd and as I watched, I saw why.  A cougar was chasing him until he spied a newborn calf and went to take it down.  This is one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen.  He was at least three fence posts in length from his head to his long tail.”

Martha, Rose, Delores and others do go walking along Cedar Creek Road on Monday and Friday mornings.  It’s safety in numbers if I do have the yen to join them.  In my Western novel, Rusty Springs, I tell of a cougar stalking the main character along a mountain road.

You may not see them.  But you feel their presence.  A friend told us that he was similarly stalked one early spring when hunting.  When he felt he was being followed, he spied tracts in the snow and knew it was up ahead waiting for him.  As he came around the mountain trail, he saw the glint of his yellow eyes behind a fallen log and knew just where to aim his rifle.

These beautiful beasts have bad eye sight so if one if near, be as tall and as wide, with wide-spread arms as possible.  Their strong hind quarters and legs give them the ability to leap to the top of a tree or two-story building.  They are aware that they must not face a prey that can hurt them.  They must feed themselves. Instead, they patiently wait for prey and then come up behind them and leap upon their prey’s neck and break it.

In this forested area near the Canadian border in Eastern Washington, still considered to be a wild place, it’s common to see bobcats, bear, wolves, coyote and cougar.    It was a bear, however, not a cougar which one by one snatched all eight chickens from their fenced area last fall.  He broke their wooden coup and returned several times until he had all of them.




Why I Blog

Why do I blog?

“I want to see something and then tell you about it.”

Word Press is running several ten-day seminars for bloggers.  I am studying blogging.

The first question asked in my category was ‘Why do you blog?’  After much thought about the subject, I say:

a) My number one delight is to see the different countries where people view it.  The last blog, Native American Tells of Tribal Holocaust drew the attention from Germany, Singapore, U.S. and Australia.  Last year the report from WordPress was that almost 90 different countries had done so. Amazing.

b) People save my blog.  Jane Conn told me she put the one I wrote about her unique and imaginative Christmas décor in her collection of e-mail favorites.  Nice.

c) For a news reporter like me, blogging comes naturally.  You need research, the trust of people you interview and the skill of being super-quick getting words down. Fun, too.

d) It’s in my genes to be curious.  As someone once said to me:  “You can talk to anyone about anything.”  One of my first memories is riding in a car with tiny windows.  I’m under two years old because my brother, Jack, hasn’t been born yet and I am squirming in my mother’s lap trying to stand up.  “What are you doing?” she asks.  “I want to see something.”  Already I am a quester.

e) My vast range of topics is probably the best when I write about a person.  When I was in public relations, or even doing free-lance articles for magazines, the most notable ones were about people.  Stories that gave answers: Why are ginseng hunters so secretive?  How could a couple who did two artists economically manage to make a living with little paid employment? (Barry and Mareleen Farmer, artists in Phoenix, once retrieved a tattered copy of my Des Moines Register Sunday magazine’s article about them) And, Kurt, the cousin of Sherryl Roshdy of Spokane who lives on the East coast, What are your next plans for hunting the Big Foot in the Pacific NW?

f) The blog continually keeps up with the Lebensborn program around the world.  Not too long ago, an Australian photographer contacted me and said she was seeking people in her country who had been in the Nazi program.  I wonder often if she continues her search.

Meanwhile what I call my signature novel, Lebensborn, is soon to be republished with a new cover by artist Gloria de los Santos of Colville, and the new title: Lebensborn Secrets.  So, now you know why my blog is entitled: Lebensborn.









Native American Tells of Tribal Holocaust

Indian Child

“It’s the truth,” says tribal member.

Jennifer Ferguson was explaining how Native Americans suffered “our own holocaust” in the United Sates between the early 1900’s and l960, when a man in the audience jumped up and ran up to her.

“Liar,” he yelled, sticking his fingers into the middle of her chest.  Dumbfounded, she turned her back to compose herself before continuing and heard several men in the audience shout, “Shut up!”  “She’s not lying!”

“By the time I began again, the outraged Catholic man had been removed by police.  After I finished my talk, I went into a room and was soon joined by many others who found me crying.  Soon everyone in the room was crying with me.”

Jennifer is an artist who has a museum and archeological background.  She’s the woman behind the fresh and creative displays at the Colville Tribal Museum and Gift shop at Coulee City, WA..  The building sits in the shadow of the Grand Coulee Dam and is a noteworthy place to see.  The new Fort Colville museum in Colville recently credits and thanks her for help at their site.

The U.S., in an effort to assimilate tribal members into the ‘white’ world, Jennifer told us that young children were forced to go to federal or religious boarding schools, both protestant and catholic for training.

We know this to be true.  Years ago we learned from a Blackfoot artist the story of the horrors he suffered during such schooling.  He said that they cut his long hair, that he had to be in school with children of unfriendly tribes, made to conform by such austere means as having to clean the institute steps with a toothbrush.

Jennifer grew up in a big ranching family.  “I didn’t have steak until I was eighteen.  My Did said cows were not to be eaten but sold so he hunted and fished to provide food for our large family.”

She learned tribal culture and history after her little seven-year-old entered a Miss Colville pageant and won.  As the winner, she was to do the honor dance with me.  “I didn’t know how but we did the best we could.  After that, I began to ask and to study the culture of my ancestors.  And, this is something I always encourage school children to do.”

Indeed, we are fortunate to meet and learn from Native Americans like Jennifer during my husband’s visits to tribal headquarters and other places as he shares his stories from his historical fiction, Courage Beyond Expectations.





U.S. Economy in Grave Danger

Moon Watching

Causes of coming crash differ from the Great Depression.

Predictions by economists for our nation’s coming economic troubles have been mounting in their intensity for years.  Now these warnings are roaring and imploding  like the great wildfires burning through Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

Here are two reports from among the analysts that I have been following and studying.  Harry Dent says that his patterns of stock market and other economic downturns over four hundred years show that when real estate and commodities and other bubbles burst, the leading cause is real estate.

Leading cause of the Great 30’s Depression he reports was the demise of real estate.  This was at the time when the U.S. was primarily made up of farmers.  The new technology of tractors and more land which they’d been buying went fine  until banks failed and they couldn’t repay loans and lost everything.

We’re in an Indian Summer now and Harry expects that in the next months real estate may shed 48 percent of its value; new cars, too.  The economic peaks and valleys are driven from diapers to real estate by the predictable things people do.

Baby boomers are now in their 70- 80’s.  The peak in age for need for nursing home care is 84 years.  There are l09 million boomers who will be selling, not buying real estate.  He anticipates a shortage of buyers until 2036.  Now our most beloved asset, the home, becomes the most illiquid one.  The younger generations, like Echo Boomers, face job insecurity and student loan debt and are slow to buy a home.

Demographic cycles accurately predict economic cycles.  Our nation is changing and we all sense this but can’t put our finger on why.  Thom Hartmann in his book, The Crash of 2016, makes a good case that mainly it’s the corporations who now have been given by the Supreme Court the rights of people.  Jobs have gone away and factories here have been shuttered.  His story of one bankrupt country in which the workers on their own went to the deserted factory where they had worked and began to make the product is eye-opening.

That country now has over 250 such worker-coops and is having economic recovery.  He explains the way critical social lessons fade over time and how dangerous that cycle is.  According to Hartman, we are at the tail end of such a cycle today and are on the precipice of tremendous change.

In my next blog, inflation and deflation and how experts predict that to unfold.









It’s a Beautiful Morning


bird singing

Start your day with a song.  Sing your favorite lyric out loud or in your heart.  It will be a nutrient for your soul.  Here are a few of my favorites.  These may put a smile on your face.

From Disney:  It’s a small world after all.  It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears.  It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.  There is just one moon and one golden sun and a smile means friendship to everyone.  (Then repeat four times:  It’s a small world after all, etc.)

Or, from the musical Oklahoma:  Oh what a beautiful morning – Oh what a beautiful day – I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.  There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow.  There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow.  the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, and it looks like its  climbin’ clear up to the sky –

Or, should it be your birthday, choose Las Mananitas.  In Mexico it’s sung before the cake is cut.  The words are perfect for its lovely melody. Here’s a verse or two:  How lovely is the morning in which I (we)come to greet you.  We all come with joy and pleasure to congratulate you.  The day you were born all the flowers were born.  On the baptismal font the nightingales sang.  the morning is coming now, the sun is giving us its light.  Get up in the morning, look it is already dawn.

I would like to be the sunshine to enter through your window to wish you good morning while you’re lying in your bed — Of the stars in the sky I have to lower two for you.  One with which to greet you and the other to wish you goodbye.  With jasmines and flowers we come to greet you because today is your saint’s day, we come to sing to you.

Be refreshed and light-hearted then send your smile to the people around you.



Luxury Cruising


There is a widow who makes her home on a luxury cruise ship sailing around the world.  Eight years ago she sold her five-bedroom home, said goodbye to her children and set off. Her story in the Washington Post made me so happy … Continue reading

How to Spot a Sex Slave

Dr. Cyndi Romine was in the Philippines when she saw a foreigner raping a preschooler he’d just purchased from her parents.  Witnessing this horrific scene made her so angry that she started the non-profit Called to Rescue, an agency that saves children from being  a sex slave.

“It’s not the economy,” she told me, “that makes sex trafficking the second most profitable industry in the world, after drugs, for 32 billion dollars.  It’s the demand of these perverts.

“When a child is trafficked, they are picked up by a handler and taken to an unfamiliar city to be offered to paying customers.”  And,.yes, she says, “You can find pages and pages of fiction and non-fiction titles on sex trafficking.”  Here are a few, including hers, Called to Rescue: Real Stories of Global Sex Tafficking Survivors and the Woman Who Fought and Dared to Save Them.

Not for Sale: The Return of Global Sex Trade and How We Can Fight It  (David Batstone)A Walk Across the Sun (Corban Addeson) set in India about two girls sucked into sex traffic after a tsunami);  The White Umbrella – Walking with Victims of Sex Trafficking (Martha Frances Bowley).

Called to Rescue is located in Vancouver, WA., along the I-5 corridor which Dr.  Romine says is a prime location for moving missing children between Mexico and Canada.  With her organization, last year 1300 children were saved by the help of her affiliations along with local police, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, etc. and volunteers.

You, too, can be on the lookout for a kid who might be out of place in a shopping mall or bowling alley or other public place.  Watch for a kid who doesn’t make eye contact and often has their head down.  Their handler makes a kid avert their eyes from everyone except them.

Should you see a child that fits the profile tray to engage them in conversation and ask, “What school do you go to?”  Children being moved across state lines aren’t likely to know the name of a local city or school.  Get license number if it involves a car and the description of the handler so you can report what you’ve seen to local authorities or Called to Rescue.

Want to know more?  Called to Rescue has task force training.  Go to their web site or call the hot line:  855-646-5484.


Summer in a Forest



“I don’t think people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”    Joseph Campbell

Here’s one of my favorite writing spots.  It’s a little open cabin on top of a small hill, a spot away from visitors and phones.  This is where I’ll discover what happens in the last chapters of Casanova Cowboy.  The surprises that just “happen” are enough to keep me there writing and forgetting that it’s time for me to go to the house to make lunch.


I may pause to plan a booth display for one of Bud’s Courage Beyond Expectations at the July Rendezvous in Colville or the Indian Pow Wow the end of August in Spokane.

Or, I may be imagining a candle-lit music night at the Lazy Bee in mid-June when there may be floral breezes and people dancing on the front deck.

It may be a long fire season again this summer.  Last year it meant that firemen and women were on sent on fires many times. Fire District Ten’s crew went out five times within a few days.  Friends of Fire District perhaps will be glad that we are planning another fund-raising picnic in August.  Last year our contribution brought the new mile markers which make it easier for firefighters to find locations.

Spring temperatures are already in the mid-seventies.  Last year when our charity AAUW garden tour was taking place June 27, the temperature was l06 degrees.  This is the first year I’ve planted seedlings.  Trees have been taken down near the garden so there will be more sunlight for the plants.  I’ll be out early in the morning to patrol the weeds if it’s going to be another summer of record highs.

Perhaps I’ll find an upgrade to replace the convertible which has l96,000 miles.  It’s proved to be fun way to drive to yoga or to bridge game.  With that many miles (and a few odd sounds from the motor) it’s not a safe feeling to go too far in it.

Summer truly means relaxing with family and friends, meals out of doors, especially for a neighbor who donated manure for my garden.  It’s the time of the year to be fully alive, glad to be living in a forest with mountains all around in community of benevolent neighbors.








Delicious Feelings

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The joy of discovering that something ordinary has become extra-ordinary!

Kanab, Utah, is a little town which might have been overwhelmed by the nearby  mighty canyons.  However, what stands out for me is the Rocking V Café.

An artist has a gallery upstairs in an historic two-story building . The café on the first floor is a blast of color on the huge old walls.   Rustic red, peaceful orange, vibrant green with a blue painted floor bring eating to a new level.

Especially if you’ve ordered their award-winning whiskey bread pudding: moist and tasty as its three sauces, Carmel, Whiskey and Cream.

When my food magazine, All Recipes, arrived with a recipe for Whiskey Bread Pudding, I jumped for joy just as the girl is doing in the photo above.  The café may even have inspired me to paint a few walls in the downstairs bathroom






An Enchanting Place

smiling girl

Hello Again.

It feels good to be sharing moments with you after my long trip to the south of the U.S.  One of the don’t miss places I visited is a garden of beauty fifty miles from Flagstaff, AZ.

It’s one of our national parks – Montezuma’s Castle.   A happy place where the white hundreds year old sycamore trees still bear cellular memory of the Sinagua people who made their homes in the cliff dwellings above.

A pathway meanders below and signage explains their tranquil lives.  Harry Seavey’s award-winning flute music followed our footsteps.  He plays daily as a volunteer and donates his music albums to the park.  “When I came back from Vietnam,” he told me, “I left the chaos of the city to follow a new way of living, learned to make and play and teach flutes.”

The grandeur of life as it appears is with us very day if we only notice.  My next blog is about a café in northern Utah.  It’s tells of a man who says on his business card that he is a “fearless leader, a maniacal articator and benevolent overlord.”

Thanks for dropping by.