Beyond Terrestrial Podcast

After coming across my article, “Grizzly Ghosts: Tales of the Hoodoos,” I was invited to be a guest on Dan and Lee’s pod cast with ‘Beyond Terrestrial.’ The article covers ghost stories new and old that have been passed around campfires by decades of scouts attending Camp Grizzly as well as some mysterious happenings that occurred elsewhere in the Hoodoos.

Are these all fanciful tales told by rambunctious Scouts? Or is there something darker lurking in the Hoodoo Mountains? Find a stick for roasting marshmallows and sit down by the fire as we swap summer camp ghost stories! Continue reading


Submitting to the AR Catalog

You have written a book.  It’s great book, a stellar book, a magnificent book.  Yet, it sits on the shelf unsold.

If your intended audience is between the ages of 6 and 18, unless your book is listed in the Accelerated Reader (AR) catalog, it’s unlikely to be purchased by anyone.  Teachers cannot possibly be familiar with the plot, storyline, and characters of every book available to school-age children.  Because of this, many schools turn to Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader (AR) program.  The AR software provides assessments that measure comprehension and reading level.  Consequently, school and library purchasing decisions are often dependent on AR catalog listing.

Authors hoping to bypass schools and libraries, marketing directly to kids (and their parents) are out of luck.  Summer used to be a time for kids to catch-up on ‘fun’ reading.  Now, even it has fallen victim to the AR Catalog.  Racking-up AR points is highly competitive.  Pizza parties and tickets to amusement parks on the line.  Many schools allow students to log points for books read during summer break, so most school-aged children simply will not read a book that does not appear in the AR catalog.

In order to be successful with the school-age demographic, authors need their books listed in the AR catalog.  But, how does one do that? Continue reading


Covid-19: Surviving Isolation

I seldom panic and wasn’t going to prep.  Then both of my kids asked me about Covid-19.  And then the President declared a national emergency and the CDC said we should have a month’s supply of “stuff” on hand.  And now, we’re supposed to avoid places with more than 10 people.

Thanks to the wisdom of my ancestors, who instilled in me the need to preserve and store large quantities of food, I’m still not going to panic.  Some of you may remember the last government shut-down in which I went eight weeks without buying groceries and suffered no adverse effects thanks to my “Mormon Pantry.”  At the time, I joked that it was a dry run to see if I could survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  Turns out, it was a test run for surviving Covid-19.

For the benefit of my children (and possibly their friends and random strangers) I have created menus and a shopping list detailing the items one person needs to shelter in place for a month.  Since most recipes serve four or six, you’ll be eating left-overs several nights in a row, but it beats starvation. Continue reading


Ostara: Eggs and Bunnies

The time of the vernal equinox was auspicious in ancient cultures.  In the Anglo-Saxon calendar, Eostremonath was named after Eostre (Ostara in Old High German), the maiden goddess of dawn and the spring.  At the time of the equinox a feast is celebrated in her honor, replete with offerings of rabbit shaped cakes and colored eggs.  This is because Eostre adopted both the hare and egg as her symbols.

According to legend, a magical white hare wanted to please Eostre by bringing her a gift.  After careful contemplation of which gifts to bring, he settled on eggs, however, not the usual white or brown ones.   Using his magical powers, he charmed the eggs, so the shells were a variety of pretty colors.  In lieu of a basket, he presented his gift in the very same nest from which he stole the eggs.  The goddess was very pleased with the gift and bestowed upon the hare the nickname ‘Egg Bringer.’  For this reason rabbits and hares, especially white ones, are sacred to her. Continue reading


Laughter and Libations, 2019

Of all my favorite holidays, Christmas isn’t.  All the other December holidays come and go peacefully.  Unfortunately, there is something about Christmas that just brings out the worst in Christians.  The simple action of wishing someone “Happy holidays” has them frothing at the mouth, insisting everyone has declared war on Christmas.

This simply isn’t true.  No one has declared war on Christmas.  Christmas has declared war everyone else.

A short list of December holidays includes: Continue reading


Samhain 2019

Halloween is the only time of year witches are in vogue.  Suddenly everyone is interested in black magic, spell craft, hexing their neighbor, and a host of other things that bear little resemblance to actual Paganism.  Despite the annual autumnal uptick in interest in all things occult, Halloween isn’t a Pagan holiday.  That doesn’t mean we Pagans won’t dress up in costumes and join our Christian brethren in unholy revelry, general debauchery, and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but we do have our own holiday to celebrate, Samhain.

Samhain translates as sam, “summer,” and fuin “end.”   With fluttering leaves in shades of copper, amber, and crimson, there can be no doubt that summer is truly at an end.  To Celtic peoples the Feast of Samhain is a fire festival that marks the first day of winter and the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Continue reading


Autumnal Equinox 2019

The timing of the Harvest Festival is a tricky one for Pagans, as harvest occurs at different times in different regions.  There is no specific date across Celtic culture that corresponds to a harvest festival, despite the fact that such festivals very much did exist.  Herodotus first mentioned the Celts in 5 BCE and noted that they principally lived along the upper Danube River.  At the time, their principal festivals, Imbolg, Beltane, Lughnasad, and Samhain, marked the changing of the seasons.

The connection between harvest and the autumnal equinox traces its origins back, not to Celtic, but to Germanic traditions.  Roman historian, Tacitus, first described Germanic people in 98 CE, placing them in upper Germany and Denmark, in an area which bears the name Angeln.  Like the Celts, the Anglo-Saxon Pagan year also contained four holy days to mark the changing of the seasons: Yule, Lencten Efniht (lengthening equal-night), Litha, and Haerfest Efniht (harvest equal-night).  Eostre was not recorded in the place of the Lengthening equal-night until the 8th century. Continue reading


Monsters Published!

After many delays, sabotage attempts, efforts to censor the book, and having endured intimidation tactics by school administration officials, the SFCC Pullman Campus Creative Writing Club is pleased to announce that this year’s anthology, Monsters, has finally been published.

In an email dated March 7, 2019, I learned that Dean of Student Services, Cynthia Vigil had gone so far as to contact the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington, who is reported to have told her she could not censor the anthology.  Attempts to do so violate the students First Amendment rights.  However, that did not prevent Ms. Vigil from pressuring students and faculty alike, nor is this is the first time faculty and staff have attempted to censor student work.  (See: “Concern, condemnation after Spokane Falls student newspaper reports on sex scandal.” Seattle Times.  April 5, 2018.)  Ironically, both censor attempts were for the same reason, the administration does not like being reminded that sexual predators are monsters. Continue reading


The Trouble with FTEs

FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which in academia represents an imaginary student enrolled in 15 credits.  The problem with claiming that funding should be distributed according to FTE and not based on what students actually pay in tuition and fees is that not all FTEs are created equal.  Imagine a situation where a community college has both a main campus and a branch campus.  For the sake of this exercise, assume that both campuses have 4 FTEs, meaning that students are enrolled in a total of 60 credits at each institution.

According the funding equation set forth by CCS Administrative Procedure 5.05.01-H and the Student Services and Activities Committee, students pay $11.28 per credit for the first 10 credits they enroll in, then $6.56 per credit for the next 8 credits, and pay nothing for any credits taken beyond that.  The breakdown for our imaginary 4 FTEs is below:

Continue reading


Toxic Workplace

Sometimes you just encounter a really bad boss.  The kind of boss that has no respect for your time or for you as an individual.  After two years of giving my supervisor the benefit of the doubt, I have come to the conclusion that I have a bad boss and have been existing in a toxic work environment.

Today, my supervisor started our meeting with the phrase, “I’m not going to apologize,” and ended the meeting by telling me, “You should be grateful.”  There was a lot of not listening, platitudes, talking over my concerns, or brushing them aside in the middle. Continue reading