Things that sting

Sept 25, 2019–In one 12-hour period I was stung on the bum by a scorpion, zapped on the forearm by a red wasp, and stepped barefoot in a trail of fire ants. It was exhilarating, in a hurty sorta way. And it’s not like I was Indiana Jones-ing. The scorpion got me in bed, theContinue Reading

The Third Thing

Sept 18, 2019–At the risk of being obvious, my topic today is avoiding the obvious. Let’s begin with comments on social posts. Why are most of them “obvious?” (my live-in editor said don’t use the word “lame”) Because they are literally the first thing you think of. The post usually contains a word that triggersContinue Reading

Picture imperfect

Sept 11, 2019–Photography is dead. With today’s technology, you might think it would be the opposite. Because, for the first time in history, with the advent of smart phone cameras, every single human being holds in their hand the ability to take a perfect photograph. Yet rather than raise photography to an art, as itContinue Reading

Seeking Lee Ethel

  Sept 4, 2019–Descendants of artist Lee Ethel are on a scavenger hunt, and they need your help. Anyone who has spent any time living in or visiting Fredericksburg and surrounding towns has seen the work of Lee Ethel, even if they didn’t realize it. For two decades, the prolific artist created distinctive paintings forContinue Reading

Fighting Entropy

August 28, 2019–At the next parade, pay special attention to the flatbeds filled with high-fiving athletes and leaping cheerleaders. Take note of the pure joy, the enthusiasm, the energy on display. They are punching fists into the sky, jumping up and down, and shaking pompoms. It is wonderful. As someone with their days a-leaping behindContinue Reading

Unexpected Excellence

Aug 21, 2019–I love encountering unexpected excellence in unusual places. This happened when I was traveling back to my small hometown in Iowa. Our regular stops include the local general merchandise stores run by Amish and Mennonite families that have settled in the area. My wife had asked me to pick up some wooden toasterContinue Reading

Predictive Text: What will I say next?

Aug 14, 2019–I’m the type of computer user who doesn’t require or want “assistance” from typical word processing software, thank you very much. A good example was that annoying paperclip thingie that used to pop up in Windows to ask if you needed help. First thing I did on every computer was turn him off,Continue Reading

Day at the Museum

  Aug 7, 2019–As an elementary science teacher, I was perennially fascinated by the fascination dinosaurs held for all students. I now have a granddaughter who requested a dinosaur theme for her 3rd birthday, and she was talking Triceratops, not Barney. So when I learned there is a museum in the Hill Country that featuresContinue Reading

Art of the interview

July 31, 2019–The “other” part of writing a weekly column is getting interviews. The interview is the raw material of writing, so snagging a good one is essential. And getting the most out of an interview requires both a broad base of knowledge and a compulsive attention to detail. It helps to have some knowledgeContinue Reading

Other Mother: The Virtue of Vinegar

  July 24, 2019–Never thought I’d write about vinegar. Over the years I’ve covered the rise of various beverages in the Hill Country. It started with the wineries and breweries. Next, distilleries began turning out whiskey, vodka, and rum. The most recent libation to bubble up was cider. But now Fredericksburg residents David and LisaContinue Reading