Monday, January 28, 2013

Destination: Canyon de Chelly Window

The window is a famous rock formation in Canyon de Chelly.  We had an option to take a 7 mile hike on Sunday to find the window.  It rained all day Saturday.  Our guide texted me, "I'm still planning to hike tomorrow.  Rain, snow or shine. =).

On Sunday it was "iffy".  Cloudy, dark clouds, no rain.  Our guide texted, "  Might be lil muddy in some areas and possibility of some sprinkles but I think it will be good for a hike to the Window."

Steve and I decided to go for it, jumped out of bed. "C U at 10,"  I texted back. We had and hour to prepare for all contingencies.  We were nearly out the door when I go this message...from our guide,  "Ok, I'm having a lil trouble.  Haha.  Let's say 10:30 .  It's too muddy at my house and my car got stuck.  Lol.  So 1030.

This was not a propitious beginning.  Still we were committed.

800 fee down.  It was a little slippery, sky was gray and we had a few sprinkles.  We only had to cross water once....One option was to take off hiking boots and socks, wade through and put sock and boots back on...a lot of work in a lot of mud.  We built a bridge...of sorts instead.

  It worked.  We made it across.

 I got to see the canyon in a new light...cloudy day.  I have been in the sun and the rain and the snow...the colors are ever changing.   I want to know all the moods of this sacred place.

We made it to the window and there was sun.

We climbed up and got  the view from the window.

Headed back to White Sands trail to be up on top before sunset.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing Friends: Nancy Bo Flood

The internet was new( to me anyway).  It was 1993..or 4.  We had just returned from Haiti.  I was working on a quilt to auction off to raise money for Hospital Albert Schweitzer where we had lived and worked for 2 years.  I sent out a letter to the hospital email list asking for quilters to design a square for the quilt.

One of the responses came from Nancy Bo Flood.  Turns out she is a quilter ...and she lived for while in Haiti at HAS.  She writes children's books.  Like me!  She has four children and her husband is a doctor.

We emailed back and forth.  They lived in Malawi.  One of their sons was born there....a lot like me.  Is this internet connection thing getting creepy yet?  I had shivers.

At the time Nancy and her husband and some of her children were in American Samoa...I told my husband I knew where we would be going next.

Turns out we went back to Haiti for a year instead of American Samoa.  And Nancy and I lost touch.  Fast forward to 2009.  We applied to work with the Indian Health Service.  I heard Steve on the phone talking to a recruiter.  It was evident from the one sided conversation that I has listening too that there was a children's book author living in the Navajo community, at the very site where we would visit and apply to work.

More shivers..."Steve I know who it is,"  I said.  And it was.  Nancy Bo Flood lives around the corner from me.  We critiques each other's work and it turns out we have a lot more in common.  But she is not me and I am not her...quite.

 Check out Nancy's books and her blogs. (children's lit and social justice issues) 
and  (linking books and young readers)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Best Kept Secret: Rico, CO

Rico, CO population "200- plus" in winter.  You could miss it altogether if you aren't looking  or maybe you are just distracted by the natural mountain beauty.  Several storefronts, a volunteer fire station and a gas station tucked away along the Dolores river.  That's about it but then add the natural beauty and you have plenty to explore.

I never paid much attention on the way to Telluride on previous trips.  But this time we stayed at the Rico Argentine Bar and Grill right in town.  It proved to be an idyllic and economic get away.  We were the only guests for the first two nights until a lone lost stranger stumbled in on the third night only adding to the adventure with stories and character.

This bed and breakfast is a remodeled minor's dorm.  The charm is not overdone but makes for a whimsical stay. If the rooms are small, the breakfast is huge.
Served next to the old stone fire place in the comfortable and cozy common room, we enjoyed a choice of vegetarian or quiche with meat, oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, cold cereal, banana bread, toast and jam, coffee and tea and orange juice and that was just the first day.

Breakfast matched the five star evening meal served on Friday through Sunday or on weekday evenings by request.   We enjoyed salmon and a vegetarian lasagna with a salad of greens, pomegranate fruits and goat cheese.  Chocolate cake was our choice for dessert and there is a full bar to be enjoyed during dinner and after in front of the fireplace.

The perfect place to dry boots and clothes after a day of winter sports.

Rico is situated as an excellent jumping off point for the trail head to Lizard Head(see earlier blog last year about this hike)  if you want to hike, snow shoe or back country ski.  The trail gets you here:

Where the imposing rock formation  for which the trail is named towers just above.

Rico offers an economic stay close to the famed Telluride ski area.  But don't overlook the options to rent snow shoes, cross country skis and even sleds at the town- owned alpine lodge in the park at the far end of town.  With  cross country skis another surprise near Rico are the miles of groomed trails at Priest Lake.

Or stay closer to Telluride for the day and explore the boutiques and skating and sledding options.

Of course there is the down hill ski option too.

 And when Rico Hotel is not serving dinner try a pizza or black bean burger at the Enterprise Bar and Grill across the street.  With a pool table and a player piano you know you are in a western mining town.

 Or try Dew South another bar and eatery in town.  It is on our list to try next time.

And speaking of next time?

In Rico and at the Rico Hotel I have found my next writing get away.  With just enough local color, solitude, a place to take me out of my element and a place to inspire.  Watch this blog for more about Rico, the place, the people, the natural landscapes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Libraries and Miracles in Haiti


Take a look at what one librarian from Pittsburgh is doing to build libraries in Haiti.  First of all she is using my books!

She is also using the art children create inspired by my books.

 They will discuss big ideas.

And use them in their art.

Sheila plans to exhibit her student's art along with the art of Haitian children which she will bring back from Haiti with her.  She plans a fact finding mission as the first phase on her first trip to Haiti.

She will hold an art auction of student art to help raise funds for books.

 These kids will know their work is valued and they helped to build a library in Haiti.

Lucky to have such a creative, committed, enthusiastic and hard working librarian!
Sheila says:  For the month of January, I am going to be reading each of your Haiti books to all of my primary students. We will pull out big ideas and discuss what kind of art we want to make in response to them.   


For more about Sheila, this project and other amazing work she has done to build and support libraries for kids go to these sites:

And stay tuned here for updates as the library project Libraries and Miracles in Haiti progresses.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Plodding into the New Year

I notice on Face Book that most people either couldn't wait to see 2012 end or they hated to see it pass.

As for me, I will mostly plod from the old year into the new.

But sometimes I will gallop.

Or hobble...

Or Dance. 

Sometimes I will let others lead.  Take the uphill path with the down.

But I will try to make my own fresh prints as often as I can....

 try to remember that looking back can be as valuable as moving forward.

I will revel in campanionship, sharing with family and friends.

I will open those old files and make what I can out of rejection.

Use the traditional to create something new with my own vision.

Find beauty in what has passed before.

I hope I can embrace the good and try to make sense out of the bad.

May you too find inspiration in this New Year!