And then there was more…

I discovered this week that I have been merrily sending people off to look at my author’s website–and it’s not there.

*collective gasp*

Well. Surely I have to remedy that situation.

Therefore, please stay tuned over the next few weeks when I hope to unveil a new WordPress page, one I’ll be able to keep updated myself, as I never did know how to access the old HTML one. I will have a couple of interactive stories, one from a collection I made called “A Life in the Day,” a series of moments that changed people’s lives, and the other featuring a fictional Pittsburgh lawyer I’ve written about several times named Suzanne Taylor. Also a list of what’s available out in the world of my writing, and a lot of fun tidbits.

I hope it will be interactive for readers and writers and we will all come together and share great things. The leaves are coming out, flowers are blooming, and we’re all going to blossom into creativity!

Tourney for the Journey!

Every year as the excitement for the NCAA basketball wars heats up, so too, does the push for fun and funding at Sierra Nevada Journeys, an environmental camp near Lake Tahoe.

My daughter B is currently Director of Community Partnerships at SNJ, having moved up through many different capacities over the years. She says, “It’s amazing to see how successful Sierra Nevada Journeys has been in such a short period of time. We attribute that success to SNJ’s ability to really address community need and meet our partners where they are.”

Clearly SNJ’s growth shows that it is a worthwhile cause, and here’s your chance to get in on the action.

For a mere few minutes of your time, you can choose your teams, just like at the office pool,  and have the chance to win fabulous prizes!

1st place will receive a travel adventure package including a $200 Southwest Airlines gift card, and a 2010 National Parks Pass
2nd place will receive a $75 REI gift card, to help fulfill athletic and outdoor aspirations
3rd place will receive a Reno themed box, including Atlantis Casino playing cards and dice, and items from Reno eNVy.

But when you donate to SNJ, this will be the real prize, because as little as $25 provides an hour of experiential classroom learning for two students. $100 could sponsor one student’s six-hour journey to understanding what a watershed is and why it’s important, and $250 could support an entire classroom of students engaging in a hands-on energy or earth science lesson. These lessons will stick with these young members of our next generation for years to come.

You don’t even have to know about basketball to win! In fact, the Cabana Boy and I came in dead last two years ago, knowing absolutely NOTHING about B-ball except how to spell it, and we won a prize for last place. This year the last place prize is a 2010 Tourney for the Journey Snuggie to keep you warm and snug after cold, hard defeat.

B’s work on the program emphasizes the effort every person on staff puts out: “Before we do anything, we ask, is this in the best interest of our students? If the answer is yes, we find a way to make it happen.”

But to do that, they need our help, too.

If you don’t want to donate cash, you may choose an item off their current wish list:

  • 30 Solar Panel Kits
  • Binoculars
  • 5 Whisperlite Stoves
  • Bus

How could you not take a chance? Support the future of a healthy environment  and a concrete gift to the youth of our country today.

(To see some photos of the camp and surrounding area, see our trip from the summer here.

If you sign up, post a comment here so I can help SNJ keep track of success rates –thanks!!)

Clearly a chip off the old block

Little Miss brought home her “how to” story today:

“How to Play Basketball

I play basketball all by myself but no one has to play with me. First you grab a ball. Then you see the hoop. Finally you shot the ball into the hoop and score. Score one for the girls and zero for the boys.”


Does the truth really set you free?

Candor is a double-edged sword; it may heal or it may separate.–William Stekel

I’ve seen promos recently for a program on the WE network called “The Locator.” It’s a reality show about a guy named Troy Dunn, who’s made a career out of looking up long-lost family members for hire. This week, for example, the featured hunt is “a young woman’s search for the biological father she didn’t know she had.”

My thought would be, if she’d grown into young womanhood without this man, does she really need to find him?

I don’t know anything about the facts of that case, but I’ve run into this sort of situation many times over my years of legal practice. It almost never turns out well.

For example, husband and wife live together for ten years and raise two children. Everyone remarks over the years how daughter looks just like dad, but son must have traits from a prior generation. Lo and behold, when they break up and he wants to file for custody, mom pops out with “But he’s not your son. Mr. X is really his father.”

Son learns this truth and then spends the next however many years trying to rationalize why his real father left, whether he should love or hate the man who’d raised him, and why his mother is a cheat and a liar. Lose-lose in my book.

Or a case where one parent has moved far from the other to escape domestic violence or a parent who’s commited sexual acts against the children. It’s possible to change names, Social Security numbers, and vanish into a new place, where parent and children can be safe–as long as they’re not traced.

What if one of these children finds some evidence of a former life and begins to unravel the careful web that’s protected her?

Or in the worst possible set of facts I’ve encountered, mom has an affair which brings her a child. Husband, horrified because of the affair, divorces her. Because she’s married at the time of the birth, a legal presumption applies and the biological father, though verified by genetic testing, is let off the hook for support.  Husband will have nothing to do with this child, knowing it’s not his, and the father has vanished from the child’s life. Child grows up with no father at all.

When he gets old enough, what could he possibly learn from the man whose DNA makes up half his chromosomes but who walked away and washed his hands of the mess?

Would someone like Troy Dunn really help any of these people?

On his website, Dunn talks about the need to “purge,” that people will heal and feel better once they’ve come clean, as it were, and revealed the truth.

Every family has one or more secrets they have chosen not to share, for one reason or another. Some of these old family stories might just be a fictitious wedding date, to protect the legitimacy of a child, or they might be something very serious, like the ones above. Even adoptees desperate to find information about their birthparents might discover that that mother or father had very good reason to place a child into a loving home, and the revelations uncovered could do a lot of damage.

Sometimes Col. Jessup is right: we  can’t handle the truth. And we shouldn’t have to.

No wonder…

Overheard at the Ponderosa buffet line tonight:

Extremely overweight woman to small child: Do you want pudding?

Pudgy child pointing to the bowl of shiny apples: I want an apple.

Woman: No, do you want chocolate pudding or vanilla pudding?

Child: I want an apple.

Woman: Here’s some chocolate pudding.

She took him back to the table where she sat down with another woman, also extremely overweight, who was eating a plate of mashed potatoes and dinner rolls.

What’s wrong with this picture?

(After the pudding, she got him jell-o, ice cream and some kind of green smeary bits. The Cabana Boy and I kept wanting to go pick the child up and feed him some green beans.)