Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Christmas at Misty Hill Lodge

I, too, have been negligent with my blogging posts, but I will be making a few New Year's resolutions to keep up with my writing in 2013.  In the meantime, my extended family (two children and their spouses, six grandchildren, my mother, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and my daughter's mother-in-law) will be celebrating Christmas at Misty Hill Lodge with my husband and me.  It will be a bittersweet holiday this year without my dear father, but he will be with us in our hearts.  As you can see in the photo above, the mantle is decorated, a fire is blazing, and the Christmas tree is lit.  You can't hear it, but the room is filled with music.

Merry Christmas to all my spuds and to all our readers!
I am hitting my chest with my fist three times while saying, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa." I pray on my knees for you to give me absolution for the mortal sin of not blogging. But hey! Read on.

I finished DalĂ­: Genious or Madman? I graded finals for my Workshop class at Whidbey MFA, and  read stories from my Writers in the Schools high school students.

We also removed the peed carpets in the living and dining rooms and hallways. No, I am not yet in the habit of peeing on carpets, but my Maltese dog, Lily, is."

Everybody warned me about how difficult it was to work while the floors were being changed from carpet to hardwood. That wasn't too bad. We could hear the hammering in our basement office, but we could work. What was una locura was when the workers took off the wood panels from the walls. The super thin dust was so bad that the smoke alarm went off and on--all day, all night.

That was enough punishment for the mortal sin of not blogging. So, please, send me your absolution.                       


This was the holiday card I sent out my first year of parenting, when our daughter was just seven months old. I cut a window for a sneak peek, but then the card opened to our angel. The lightness of young life contrasts with the darkness of events in Newtown, CT this last week. I am reminded of a poem I wrote at the same time I created this holiday card.


The wind is whipping 'round outside,
   the rain is beating down.
My Kate has stirred awake inside
   listening to the sounds.

         Be still, my little one;
         So much remains of night.
         Go to sleep, my sweet one;
         Dream of morning light.

The sirens wail, but don't you too;
   there is no need for fear,
The world is cold and often cruel,
   but you're safe and warm in here.

         Drink deep, my little one;
         Listen only to my heart.
         Shut your eyes, my sweet one;
         Sleep away this dark.

I am savoring this holiday season—our last before Kate leaves childhood and heads away to college. Here she is again as a high school senior. Now I must write a sending-her-out poem to follow the holding-her-in poem written seventeen years ago.

Christmas Traditions

Way back in December of 1990, my husband and I were Peace Corps volunteers. At a carver's market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I traded a short wave radio for a three and a half foot tall wooden Masai woman. Because she was too big to fit in our luggage, we left her with a dear friend who worked at the American Embassy who promised to bring her home when he packed out. Over two years later, we were living in western Minnesota when Mama Masai, as we christened her, made her way home to us. And every Christmas since then, she has been decorated. Here at our house in Oregon, we even had a special section of the bookshelves made just for her. ( The tapestry to the left is one of my treasures from a trip to Addis Ababa.) Over the past twenty years, she has been a constant in our household, first towering over my babies, and now of course, with them both in college, she seems short to them. I suspect that if I had to grab one thing in the house and my family and pets were safe, I would drag her out with me.

And another favorite item that just sees use at Christmas also came from the carver's market in Tanzania. I don't quite remember what I traded for it, but I certainly got the better end of the deal, because I treasure this nativity set. ( I lost Mary this year, but she turned up in a different Christmas box. Whew.)
Here's to a Merry Christmas to all of you!