Product Review: L. L. Bean Full-length down coat

Quick version – great coat, does what it’s supposed to, water-resistant, order a size up from your usual.

Longer version – I needed a new long winter coat, one for dress and Day Job. I have one that is nice, boiled wool, but it is not wind or water-resistant and really not suitable for serious winter wear. I’ve made do for a while, but it was becoming a safety issue. So I asked for this coat for Christmas. Continue reading


Horse Lessons

When I was flying full time, I needed something to do in my free time that was not flying airplanes or reading. It just so happened that the stars aligned and I was able to take riding lessons, both western and modified English. I loved it, and it did wonders for my posture and my knees. I almost had a six-pack (thank you, cantering). I also had bruises in interesting places and learned how to fall with grace and dignity, sort of. Continue reading

Remembering and Forgetting

What should a people remember? What should individuals forget? What is the danger of forgetting?

The lectionary text this week was Deuteronomy 8. I freely admit, it has been a very, very long time since I read past Exodus without skipping to Joshua and Judges (typical, dodge all the world-building and background to get to the battle scenes). Continue reading

New Release: Woman’s Work

Woman’s Work, the fourth Shikari book, is now live on Amazon.

Rigi and Tomás, now married, are stationed on Verdina, the northern continent, assisting with the re-founding of Staré settlement there. And human settlement as well. Rigi learns that life as a proper officer’s wife doesn’t exactly suit her. And that honor may matter more than career.

Exploration, holy-terror-birds, wombow breath, a lecherous cad, and the Officers’ Wives Club. Which peril is the most dangerous? Read and find out!

Alma 1: Beethoven 2

So, I successfully survived Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. It is a miniature version of the Ninth Symphony. The pianist has a solo for about five minutes or so, then the orchestra begins passing around a theme and variations for another ten minutes before the chorus and soloists enter. We get five very challenging minutes, then the orchestra gets the last word (or note, in this case). Continue reading

Who are You, and Why are You at MY Gym?

Ah, January. When everyone decides that they really need to get in shape, and do it at a gym. I am all in favor of this, so long as they go to someone else’s gym. 😛

I made the mistake of going to the gym Monday morning, mid-morning. Usually, this is between rushes, because the early-birds are all at work (they get there between 0530 – 0630) and the lunch cardio crowd. Alas, everyone else who was off of work apparently went to the gym. Continue reading

Self Defense Reading: De Becker, Miller, and Others

During winter break I caught up on some reading that I’d gotten behind on. One was Rory Miller’s Facing Violence, one was a book about avoiding social problems that I quit half-way through, and one was Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. I probably should have read de Becker first. Mostly, I read him because I was curious why so many well-intentioned people tell others not to read him because “he is triggering.” One sentence, as it turns out, is the problem. One sentence in the entire book. Now, I had other problems with him, and not that one sentence. Continue reading

Stamm on Shikhari

Of all the things that confound well-meaning people about Shikhari – the animals that want to eat them, scratch-mint—Stamm has to be the greatest conundrum. The Staré sort themselves by size and color, and enforce a set of brain-twistingly complicated duties and restrictions on themselves. It strikes newcomers and horrible unfair and the worst sort of discrimination. Long-timers and those humans born on Shikhari who have spent time learning about the system of Stamm find it just as complicated, but accept it for what it is.

So, what is it? Continue reading

January ’18 State of the Author

Enjoying the three-day-weekend, to begin with. The first half of February will be rather fraught because academic competitions are starting, and I’m assisting with two, plus supervising testing for a third and starting to coach for a fourth.

The fourth Shikari book, Woman’s Work, is in cover design, so I will begin a final check-over and formatting this week, if all goes well. Continue reading

But What Does it Mean?

What does “populism” mean? What do you want it to mean? Are you a political scientist, a historian of the US, a modern journalist, a pundit? Each one has a slightly – or very – different definition of that word, and others.

My students are familiar with my precision, enough so that they probably roll their eyes, at least now. There are times in history when words had very different meanings, and I feel compelled to hammer this into them. Not that it takes, not always, but sometimes it works. Continue reading