How to Do the Right Thing


When starting any day, do the first best thing advises Beverly Greenslade.  That thought probably helped her downsize and move her jam-packed home in Colville, WA., to the Palm Desert area in California with such calm deliberation and ease.

Alexander Green says people are either essentialists or non-essentialists  It’s better to be an essentialist because then you live by choice, not default.  Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason because you choose to this not that.  An essentialist sees that only a FEW things really matter.

For my artist friend, the talented Gloria de los Santos who just completed the cover art for Lebensborn Secrets, it will be to return home from the hospital to laugh for the last months of her life, dying as she is from a massive brain tumor.  When and if she is able, I hope to share my favorite humorous movie, “Forget Paris.”  Or, perhaps Barbara Thisted who recovers from a stroke, and someone who enjoys telling a good joke, might also enjoy.

An essentialist chooses carefully in order to make maximum contribution to their greatest priority.

Others, the non-essentialists say, “I have to,” believing everything is essential, usually adding something instead of subtracting.  Green warns that those who don’t choose deliberately pursue more and more only never to feel fulfilled as they sacrifice what really matters — time with family and friends, for instance for something in the long run that ends up less — the promotion for example, or accumulating things not needed that have little value.

(Nearly ten percent of American households not only fill their homes and garages but need to rent a storage unit.  That up 65 percent in the last fifteen years.)

Here’s how to know when you are doing the right thing:

l) Decide your best contribution.  What are you particularly good at?  What inspires you?   What are your talents?

2) To achieve what is important, sacrifice what isn’t.  Cut, condense, simplify your daily routine to achieve more by taking out rather than adding more.

LISTENING, PONDERING, SAVORING are good traits of an essentialist.  Give yourself time to do these to increase passion and joy.  I’ll pause today to appreciate the luminosity of the sun upon the land and forest this warm fall day as I send warm thoughts to Gloria and Barbara.

The Brazen American Female Spy


I am awed by this femme-fatale spy and the life she lived before and during WWII.

Men couldn’t help themselves.  They told her secrets.  Women intuitively hated her, but came to her for help.  Her society mother could not control her.

In the photos we see of her today, the intensity and mystery of her green eyes has the force to pull us in with an unbelievable power.  She’s someone we’ll never forget.

British and American intelligence forces before and during WWII gave her the code name: Cynthia.  The achievements of Betty Pack and her dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions remained classified until now.  It’s told by Howard Blum in “The Last Goodbye.”

Betty risked her life to seduce diplomats and military men, leaving a diplomat husband and two children alone and adrift, when she went off to ply a craft she developed with her own intuition and guts.

Blum’s fierce narrative non-fiction only bruises the surface of what truly happened to this extra-ordinary woman who wrote and published a novel at the age of twelve spelling out what one day she’d do.

She used not only her wit and beauty but her journalistic skills to live a life of high intrigue.  As I read of her accomplishments and the few letters that she wrote and he included — her words direct, inviting, compelling and captivating — I could only wish that Blum might have included more such letters so I could feel her authentic voice.

Betty, or Elizabeth, as she sometimes called herself, experienced life and the feeling of being truly alive.  She had ardor and passion but she always wanted something more, according to Blum, her biographer.  She never felt content or at peace.  So many times she sensed love, but it never lasted and she’d go on to the next.

Maybe you can’t have it all.








Let’s Go Hiking




Hiking can be the pause that refreshes. Today we are off to find Silver Creek campground trailhead to Abcromby Mountain, a tower we can see from the Lazy Bee.

The air is especially fresh this lovely late summer day.  We’ll take a thermos of homebrewed soup, dust off a log somewhere along the trail and breathe in the fragrance of earth, sky and tall pine trees.

We’ll be looking for late blooming mullein stalks.  Their bright yellow flowers are late this year.  On top their stalks we are hoping to find the flowers in full bloom and bring them home to start an herbal tea which relieves coughing.

Family and friends take time out of their busy lives to clear their minds by going on hikes.  Suzy, Teri, Brady, Nathanial, Jack and Claire recently flew to Hawaii and found themselves caught on a cliff during a hurricane.  Fortunately, they came across a hiker’s shelter to spend the night.

In Iowa, John and Judy Focht watch for a tornado as they hike.  Mainly, the photos they share are of tranquil Iowa scenes.  Once an Iowa resident, I always loved the Pike’s Peak Park trails above the little town of McGregor near the Mississippi River.

Our favorite hike was in Glacier National Park.  A reservation was made for Sperry Lodge early in the spring for a fall hike thirty miles across mountains to reach this remote lodge.  You got there by foot or by horseback.  The narrow and twisting paths brought us eyeball to eyeball with white mountain goats.  Fortunately, the only grizzly bear was down below in a valley.

There are many hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest and you can see awesome views, or just relax on a well-maintained path to let your brain relax so that your brain restores some prefrontal cortex mediated executive processes.

In other words, hiking is good mental exercise.  Tests show there is an advantage to spending time unplugging from technology and getting outside in nature to be among forests, fields and skies.


Beauty of an Indian Pow Wow

A Pow Wow is Beauty of Spirit.

The sacred beauty, offered by Native Americans, is enjoyed by us as book vendors at a recent Pow Wow.

It was a fine time to be out of doors sitting at our vendor book booth.  The air in Riverfront Park, Spokane, WA., showed off late August breezes at their finest, the  hearty drumming coming from below felt amazingly soothing, the dancers passing by in their exquisite regalia as they went down to the sacred circle were a joy to see.

One intuits a pace of life here so relaxed that everything happening becomes easy with little effort.

This place, this Pow Wow, taking up the whole of this huge park in downtown, from dummers to dancers to booth vendors, was a time not to rush, because any problem coming up seemed to melt away.  The only rule was that any vehicle coming or going had to be escorted by security. We asked if we could camp behind our booth.  No problem.  Neither were we held to any schedule of when we must be at our display.

This  well-organized happening caused to me to question why it all seemed so tranquil.  Could it be the layers of stress in which we all exist?

There is the stress we lay upon ourselves as we frantically work to check off our to-do-lists.  Then, there is another layer of how we perceive the small group in which we find ourselves expect us to be (our fellow vendors and the Native Americans running and organizing the show).

The third layer would be the total community spirit.  In San Miguel d’Alende, Mexico, one hundred miles or so north of Mexico City high in the mountains, we’ve experienced a similar ease as at this Pow Wow.  Pace of life all happenings flow slower, easier; consequently become more enjoyable and relaxing.

It was a great week end.  We met many Native Americans and heard many ancestor stories. We made new friendships and will remember fondly the best reason for writing the books we do.   It’s just like my Dad told me, “You’ll never make much money being a writer.  But, if you enjoy doing so, you’ll have a good life.”

A Study of Seduction


Cowboy Casanova is finished.   Throughout the story, he stands tall, his legs with a slight bow, a smile that never fails to turn a rotten situation better. As women appear in his life, I studied seduction to understand the secret behind his charisma.

It starts thousands of years ago when power was mainly won by physical violence and maintained by men with their brute strength.

The king or emperor had to be merciless.  Most men followed the king’s example.  I wondered what was a woman to do?  The way the world worked, she had no weapon that would make a man do what she wanted.

However, she learned that if she could lure a man away from war, politics, or in the case of Casanova Cowboy away from his helter-skelter way of life, and IF she could get him to spend time in her world, she could entice him with what she had to offer.

King David, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony all became slaves of clever women like Bathsheba, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra ( in Casanova Cowboy’s life, it is Alexis).  They dazzle with their appearances and lifestyles and tease a man’s imagination.

I discovered that a woman can work on a man’s mind by keeping him wanting more of her elevated moods (such a Stormy with her playful emotions and ideas).  To plan and create enchantment, find ways to get inside their world, to see it with their eyes and in that way learn what makes them tick.

She realizes men are vulnerable to visual, women to words.  Women have the power to draw people with their character, their words, and the ability to stir emotions.  Some men are easier studies than others.

Chiefly, however, most men have one weakness – sex.  This is mainly true except in the case of Casanova Cowboy.  But you have to read his story to underway why that is so.

But, it will be some time before his story can be told.  Another of my novels, that of a French girl during WWII, is being republished under a new title and cover.  Lebensborn Secrets is soon off to the publisher.  There’s a lot of seduction in this story, too, although it’s more a study of Nazi public relations and how they  dazzled and held the world in fear for so many years.





Eyes of Wonder


Once upon a time there was a little boy.  He was clutching the dollar in his little hand in a  dollar store trying to decide which toy to buy.

He spots a pair of lacy wings and asks his mother, “I want these and I want to wear these now.” He was so anxious.

His mother suggests that once they get home it would be a good time for her to attach the wings.

In the car going home, he holds onto them so carefully.  Inside the house his mother fastens them onto his back.  She begins to put away the groceries as he runs into the living room.

She hears his little feet patter to the sofa.  Then a big thud, silence and then sobs as the lad cries with heartbroken sobs, “They didn’t work.”

It dawns on his mother that he really thought he could fly.  There was no doubt in her mind that she’d seen him picturing himself in the dragon wings soaring through the air.

“All I know,” said the mother, “When I collected him in my arms and told him that the wings were pretend and they wouldn’t work, he’d lost a little of childlike wonder for the world.

“There are moments that steal your joy in life, the things that jade the way you perceive the world, making you realize that all things aren’t possible, that you are limited.  I told him that he would be happy again, but I knew that now there was a little chink in his armor, a spot weakened.

“If in that moment I could have made him wings that would fly, I would have made a pair of the best wings hopes and dreams could build.  Yes, he’s only four but I would have done it even it he flew into a power pole, got hurt and I’d end up hearing a doctor say, “Why would you give wings to a four year old?”

This is a true story and one that I hope my son Tony will read to my Grandson David.  I wonder what David will say after he hears what happened to the boy who wanted wings to fly.

What wings are you thinking about wearing today?








Shale Drilled Ethane Goes by Ship




A few years ago when fracking came into the news, economists became enthusiastic about the great potential for the U.S. to ship oil and its by-products to other countries.  It had potential for making the U.S. even greater by providing fuel independence.  We’d be more an exporter instead of importer.

Now, the first ship has arrived in the Houston, TX., Ship Channel.  It will be the first ship to carry ethane from a Gulf Coast terminal.  It’s owner is Enterprise which has a new ethane facility in Texas and is ready to begin shipping..

The extracted by-product, HGL, is in demand for the manufacture of plastics and other products. When fracking made the U.S. natural gas supplies abundant, it also made cheap ethane available.

HGL is made of methane, propane, butane, isobutene, natural gas, refinery olefins and ethane.  There are several petrochemical plants and export facilities in the U.S. being built right now to increase the amounts of ethane extracted from natural gas.

Begin watching for these new ships transporting natural gas and its by-products.  When all the new petrochemical and export plants are working in 2018, it is expected to increase the demand.  Ethane production is expect to increase to 1.5 million barrels a day by the end of next year.





Peak Season Now

Eric Larson Tells All

They didn’t predict the deadliest one in gulf of Texas.

Fatal mistakes by the weather bureau’s central administration who never wanted to use the word “extreme,” or to consider any storm information out of Cuba, led to the worst hurricane in U.S. history Sept. 8, 1900 in Galveston, TX.

August starts the peak hurricane season, a period that runs from June l to Nov. 30th. I pay particular attention to Florida storms.  Two of my sons live on opposite coasts.  Experts report (NOAA being tops for their predications) there may be “slightly” more than coming on land than last year.

Eric Larson, the author of Beasts in the  Garden, the WWII non-fiction about the U.S. ambassador to Germany at the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power, has tackled telling the tale of this incredible hurricane which hit the gulf of Texas.  His main character, Isaac Cline, the resident meteorologist, fails to predict the power of the strange deep sea swells and peculiar winds that morning.

Although he tries to warn the townspeople when he finally realizes what is going to happen, hours later Galveston is submerged, the town destroyed , washed away, the great wall they thought would hold, crumbled.  Six thousand dead are killed and their bodies rise up through the debris, even months later.

The town two years later builds a great wall 17′ above the beach, standing behind granite boulders 27′ wide in width.  Other hurricanes come: 1915, 1949, 1983. Carla in 1961 caused mass evacuation of a quarter million from Galveston and the surrounds lowlands.

In Larson’s story of l900, based upon survivor’s information, relates emotions of several relationships and how they built just like hurricanes, especially like those between the two brother  meteorologists.

It appears to me, a person who has lived in cellars during tornado season in Iowa, and now through the fire seasons in Washington state, the folks who live with hurricanes might be the people facing Mother Nature’s the most horrifying weather.










Special Attribute of a Cowboy

Red Cowboy Boots

I love cowboys. A pair like these red boots have been invited to one of their special events.

Miles away from the Lazy Bee ranch next week on a Thursday night, I’ll be wearing my red cowboy boots to a gathering of cowboys on an island.

Last year these guys decided it would be okay to invite their special gal.  I’d heard a grand report and it sounded so much fun that I should consider going.

So, I’m off with my black Stetson cowboy hat and a pair of red boots to see first hand what this is all about.

Every cowboy I’ve known has a unique brand.  They love nature, animals, especially horses, classic country music, camp fires and hearty food like steak.

Their best attribute is the darling way they have of treating a woman.  To them, she’s a queen, and should be handled gently as a young Arab colt.

Just like wearing red cowboy boots has always made me feel.  It’s just for their opening dinner, of course, because cowboys have a very special bond when they come together and they want no women around.

It’s a very special time and I’m excited to imbibe in a little of their fun.










Untruths About Coconut Oil

Who put the kabash on coconut oil?

The many great uses of coconut oil and why movie popcorn was never again so tasty.

In 1994 movie theaters popped corn in coconut oil until the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture said it was too high in saturated fats and would lead to heart disease.

Soon after that, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) jumped in and said that a tub of popcorn popped with this oil nearly is twice the recommended daily allowance.

The death blow came and banned the oil from use in movie theater popcorn.  My popcorn never has been as satisfying in taste.

But, now it is known that certain “good” saturated fats like those in coconut oil do provide nutrients that protect the brain and CSPI reversed its position.

It happened because we weren’t consuming much in the way of corn and soybeans, most of which are biotech products.  The anti-saturated fat campaign according to John Ross Crooks ,who has done the research, points out it wasn’t only the CSPI but the World Health Organization, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the USDA, and the FDA, all fighting against saturated fats.

Crooks states it was done for biotech interests.

Besides making popcorn taste better, this oil can:

l)  Be used to sooth body aches.

2)  Put a little in coffee to compliment the flavor.

3)  Cook with it.  It has a higher smoke point than other oils.

4)  Add a little baking soda to it for chemical-free tooth paste.

5)  It makes a fine hand cream.