Saturday, September 28, 2019


According to the United States Constitution the president must be at least 45 years old because “Wisdom cometh with age.”

So forty five was considered old back then.

I remember when it would make the news if someone lived to be 100 years old, but that’s not even unusual today.

My husband used to work at a nursing and retirement home. When he started working there most of the residents were in their 80s and a few were in their 90s.  When he retired 20 years later most were in their 80s and some in their hundreds.

And, when I was a kid, puberty was expected to begin in the early teens. Now it’s not unusual for girls to reach puberty when they’re only nine years old.

So, if lots of people start to reproduce before reaching their teens, and lots live more than a hundred years, our planet will sure be crowded.

And, if people predicting that the oceans will rise are correct, there will be less land so humans - and animals - will be so crowded we can hardly move.

Will we be wise enough to deal with that?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


“Oh, Janet, you have SUCH an imagination,” my mother used to say.

Of course my imagination has been useful, since I’m a writer.

But people use their imaginations for all sorts of other things, like getting ideas for inventions or figuring out how to solve conflicts.

I wonder if animals and other creatures have imaginations.

Many of them obviously figure out how to solve problems, but what about
thinking up stories?

Can gorillas imagine things that don’t exist? Can dogs?

And, what about other creatures like cows, birds, frogs, whales and insects?

Most of them probably can’t, but we can’t be sure.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Mystery of the Haunted Heater

Most stories have a similar pattern. There’s a problem and the main character tries three things to fix it. The first thing they try doesn’t work, the second one doesn’t work, and, unless it’s a tragedy, the third thing they try does work.

A couple of weeks ago we had one cool evening and I turned my heating system back on. The next day while the air conditioner was going, it turned itself on again, so I turned the system off.

A few days ago we had the first cold, rainy day and I tried to turn the heater on again, but it wouldn’t work.

I called the manufacturers of the control unit, and everything seemed to be working fine, but the heater still wouldn’t turn on.

I had my handyman come over and he tried everything he could think of, but it still wouldn’t work, and the house was cold.

I called a heating repair company and they sent someone out to repair it. He spent nearly an hour trying to figure out what was wrong, and finally got it!

During the summer I’d had new flooring installed in part of the house and the people who did it had turned all the floor vents in those rooms off. That  had caused pressure to build up inside the heater when it was turned on, so it wouldn’t work. 

All I had to do was open all the floor vents and it worked!

The mystery was solved and the story had a happy ending.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Conch Bearer

I often read Middle Grade fiction because I’m still a kid on the inside.

I just read Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

As you can guess by the author’s name, the story takes place in India.

The book about a poor boy, Anand, who is given the responsibility of caring for a conch shell that has magical powers.

The plot is so exciting that I read all 265 pages at one sitting. 

I also learned something about the culture of India.

I hope to read more books by this author in the future..

Saturday, September 14, 2019


I’ve always been fascinated by languages.

When my baby brother was learning to talk I could understand him when the grown-ups couldn’t. 

When I was four years old we moved from the East Coast to California and I was surprised to discover people here had different words for some things.

I decided I wanted to learn every language in the world, but I had no idea how many languages there are.

I did study several languages in school, but the only one I’m fluent in besides English is American Sign Language.

The way languages change and develop over time has always fascinated me, and I took elective classes in Historical Linguistics in college.

I still wish I could learn more languages, but, since I’m officially old, I don’t have the time or patience to do that.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


I have a VERY extended family. When I first got married my husband gave up trying to distinguish between cousins, second cousins, cousins once removed, cousins of cousins, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, etc., etc. so he called them all “step neighbors in law.

Now that many family members in my generation have become mothers or fathers-in-law and grandparents, the family has become even more complicated.

And I have relatives living thousands of miles away and some in other countries.

But family is family and I love them all, even though I can’t see them in person. 

I’m grateful that many of us are able to keep in touch through the internet.

There are lots of problems in our modern world, but improved communication is one thing not to complain about.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fair is the Fair

I can hardly wait to join other members of the Gold Country Writers at the Gold Country Fair tomorrow afternoon!

Of course I hope to sell lots of my books, but even if I don’t there’s something special about spending time with other writers. And county fairs are lots of fun.

I’m glad I live in a semi-rural area so things like that happen here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Cottage in the Woods

Although Katherine Coville’s husband Bruce is a well known (and excellent) author of books for kids, this is Katherine Coville’s first book. And it’s wonderful!

The story is about the Vaugn family of bears who accept the human child, Goldilocks, as their foster child.

The main character, Ursula, is a bear and she must solve a complicated mystery, cope with her own romantic feelings, and try to protect Goldilocks from some evil humans.

The story is exciting, the characters are believable, and … I could go on and on about the great things that make me love this book, but it would be better if you read The Cottage in the Woods yourself.