Tamra’s Pond

_Tamra at PondStacy Smythe came up to me at recent gathering saying “I found you a pond.” He and Alma then explained…

“Tamra’s Pond” – is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever been presented. It’s the gift of a special type of experience and state of being… being able to sit in the serenity of nature… nature that includes water – so all the better.

Stacy would have to explain any details, but my understanding is he has been using different tech, comparing satellite images to maps, to look for previously unmapped bodies of water. The real challenge was to find an unmapped body of water that I could also hike into!

Since it isn’t being accessed by people, the nature there is “more” — just more pristine, undisturbed, allowed to be. See the pics to see what I mean.

I have many pics showing gorgeous horizons, but hesitate to post publicly because I’d like to keep this place mostly human free — while still making pilgrimages in to visit.

The pond is at the bottom of a water meadow going down a rolling hill, which reminds me of one of those cascading fountains where one level pours into the next, until the water lands in the largest pool at the bottom. It will be neat to compare the spring with the late summer/fall.

Thank you to Stacy and Alma for a beautiful Sunday, and to Craig and Kevin for sharing in the adventure.  *loves*



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Four Ferrets

The ferret who originally called Craig over to the WOW Girl cage. Intelligent, communicative, and profoundly deaf.

The ferret who originally called Craig over to the WOW Girl cage. Intelligent, communicative, and profoundly deaf.

Kevin and I decided to get two ferrets. TWO. One can get lonely, and we figured that we might add a third one in the future to stagger them out so there is always at least two. Good plan, right? 

So Kevin, Craig, and I set out to the Washington Ferret Shelter in Kirkland. 
When we went to the ferret shelter, it was first asked if we would be interested in fostering ferrets. The shelter then pays for all medical (vet, medicine) expenses, but otherwise the fosters keep the ferrets for life. It’s a fantastic program! We considered this but decided to stick with the original plan of getting TWO young-ish, healthy ferrets to start out.


Okay, young and healthy, but how about three?  We agreed to spend time in a ferret playpen with a trio, enjoying these very nice ferrets.  But they were not “our” ferrets. Didn’t feel that connection. Disappointed but accommodating, the match-maker swapped these out for a pair of ferrets. This matched our original plan for TWO, but it was the same thing: nice, enjoyed them, but no connection.

I kept glancing over to where Craig had been interacting with a ferret in a cage across the room. I mentioned to him that I wanted him to see a deaf ferret while we were there. They can have certain unique characteristics, and I connected with one the first time I visited the shelter. I had even acquired toys that deaf ferrets might enjoy – just in case. Turns out that the one he was interacting with was deaf. He asked a volunteer who came in, “Are they available?” She said several things, including that this was a group of four bonded ferrets. He let her finish talking and then simply repeated his question, “Are they available?”  She said yes, so he and I asked that they be brought out in a play pen too.


Into a playpen went the quad of tiny female ferrets called the WOW Girls. I watched as Craig interacted with them, and I decided to go over to check them out before Kevin and I asked for the next pair of ferrets. Meanwhile Kevin was focusing on playing with the current pair of ferrets, having some fun, but still no strong connection.

I invited each one of the small ferrets to me, one at a time. Each time, soon after making eye contact, a little ferret would eagerly come over and want to be picked up. All were affectionate and interactive, each with a unique personality radiating out, and each providing that connection.

But there were four of them. Ferrets bond, and they grieve at loss, so these four have to stay together. Four was not part of the plan of TWO ferrets.

Still, it was fun having time with them, and Craig and I called Kevin over to see if he enjoyed them as well.  We swapped; Kevin went over to the WOW Girls, and Craig and I switched over the pair of very nice, but not “our”, ferrets. Watching Kevin, the same thing happened. Each one was connecting with him, showering him with affection, offering play, and at one point Kevin’s face was a combination of joy and “melting” followed by him saying something like, “Uh oh. Oh dear. There are four. Four.”

And they were all wonderful.

That’s when Craig and I let Kevin know that we also fell for the WOW Girls. Kevin reasoned that these ferrets were so tiny that they were the same weight as two ferrets… Laughing, I then reminded him that when he was building the “ferret mansion” the night before, he noted that it was big enough for the ultimate plan of three, and that even four would work, so maybe he just tempted the Universe too much.

So the plan has changed” Kevin said, more statement than question. “Yes,” I agreed. Craig was smiling and talking with that original ferret that called him over, seemingly unsurprised by this change of plans.


The ferret who originally called Craig over to the WOW Girl cage. Intelligent, communicative, and profoundly deaf.

The ferret who originally called Craig over to the WOW Girl cage. Intelligent, communicative, and profoundly deaf.


Zaps and Maddie, two nice ferrets waiting to be adopted.

Water Play Time

Water Play Time


Craig with ferret in a (human) hammock.

Craig with ferret in a (human) hammock.

"The WOW Girls"

“The WOW Girls”

Kisses for Kevin

Kisses for Kevin

Kevin melting

Kevin melting

Questions from Radcon 6C – from Unicorns to the Location of Double-sided Tape

Radcon 6C: Ammie Hague (aka Fairy Princess Lolly) and Aurora Miller

Radcon 6C: Ammie Hague (aka Fairy Princess Lolly) and Aurora Miller

Instead of writing a summary of Radcon, I am going to present a collection of questions asked. Some of these were overheard in passing, others asked in panels, and some during social events. And yes, many teachable moments happened. Enjoy!

  • What’s a unicorn?
  • What’s a brony?
  • If so many people in the Tri-Cities are so gratefully relieved to have Radcon for a weekend, why can’t they just change the local culture to be more like this year-round?
  • Why do autistic people lack emotions? What? What’s neurotypical syndrome?
  • Since our society has changed so much regarding property ownership and other traits that led to monogamous marriage, might this allow for more diverse family structures such as polyamory to return? Cool! How long will that take?
  • In what ways is religion presented in fantasy literature?
  • I want to propose to my girlfriend and… (this was a long one, so I’ll just let you know that she told him yes!).
  • But why is that called a unicorn?
  • How can we increase diversity in fandom?
  • Where’d you get your [insert costume/clothing item]?
  • Anybody have any double-sided tape?
  • Where is the Fan Room? And why do they call it the Fan Room?
  • Why is all the tea gone?  Is there rum?
  • Are you sure unicorns are that rare?
  • Are labels such as “Aspie” or “dyslexic” or “geek” helpful, or do labels cause their own set of problems?
  • Shouldn’t we prepare kids for the real world?
  • What’s the real world?
  • How can we change the world?
  • How do we discover a more accurate telling of history? How do we know?
  • Your wife keeps the money? Where is your wife?
  • How do we know that no means no, or that yes means yes? Even with that costume?
  • So, there are some unicorns out there, right? They do exist? Why are you laughing…?
  • Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the next Radcon?

Okay that last one was my own question.  If you want to help, or if you have feedback or ideas for programming, please visit Radcon.org to email Programming to let them know!


Home of the Mighty WurliTzer


20140829_204708On Friday, we went to see West My Friend, a band that Shanie was hosting for the evening. With catchy tunes and playful stage banter, it made for a fun evening. They played in Seattle’s Kenyon Hall – the Home of the Great WurliTzer. In a sense, we were inside of this giant pipe organ. The hall isn’t just the home of this instrument; it is this instrument. It’s a great venue, with playfully funny hosts who make you feel welcome. Popcorn and delicious root bear floats are served for only $1 each. Afterward, we all headed next door for food and drink (can’t live off of popcorn!), and I enjoyed learning more about Eden’s work teaching at a student-centered independent school in Canada – the model of which sounds very familiar to the early California personalized learning schools.

Lou draws for the door prize while Jeff of West My Friend uses the organ for sound effects. Notice the segments behind and to the upper left and right of Lou; these are all part of the organ, among other segments not pictured here.

Lou draws for the door prize while Jeff of West My Friend uses the organ for sound effects. Notice the segments behind and to the upper left and right of Lou; these are all part of the organ, among other segments not pictured here.

Alex of West My Friend, and Kevin Wiley, enjoying the root beer floats Kenyon Hall is famous for.

Alex of West My Friend, and Kevin Wiley, enjoying the root beer floats Kenyon Hall is famous for.


Where Am I Going?

"Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Where am I going? Nowhere. And everywhere. I will live wherever I happen to be at that time.

Let me explain.

I’m living in my youngest daughter’s house. She just turned 17, and she picked this place as where she wanted to be when she “moved out” — which, in our case, is when I move out. She has ties to this community and wants to make her life here, at least for now.  It will be a gentle transition for both of us, me and my “baby” who is already so fiercely independent.

Our unique approach created a situation where I am the one on a timeline to decide where I want to go. I could get another place in this region, but that didn’t feel right. Portland, Oregon is nice. So is the Seattle region. I could also just stay at my cabin in the mountains near Mt. Rainier, and this was getting closer to feeling right; after all, I have some empty lots next to my cabin where I could build a nice home along with a retreat for the travelers in my life.

After a late-night conversation with Kevin where we explored the pros and cons of various options, and wrestling with why I would feel a range from resignation to near-depression at the thought of picking just one place and adding a rent or mortgage payment, I decided let go. Ask for guidance from the Universe and trust that I would figure it out before the time came.

The next day, I visited my dad near the build site of his new cabin, hanging out at his RV that he decided to keep since he will still find himself traveling regularly; the Wanderlust runs strong on that side of the family. The idea of me building my own cabin came up, and I’m sure I made some positive sound in reply. However, my dad looked at me and said, “Sweetie, Lots 3 and 4 aren’t going anywhere. Hook up a [type of RV] to your rig and go have fun.”

Sound absurd?

All I know is that the moment he said that, I felt like I could sit a little taller for all the weight that fell off of my shoulders. Really, there’s a reason why that figure of speech exists; I felt lighter. And happier, and relieved, and oh so right. This was exactly the answer. Or at least the right concept.

RV? Maybe. Or short-term furnished housing. Or Extended Stay hotels. Couch surfing! Okay, that might be pushing it, but suddenly such details didn’t matter.

Kevin’s response was perfect: “Where do we want to go first?” My own response was that it didn’t matter; I just wanted to go. And I felt giddy about it.

My wings unfurled, stretched, and felt only the slightest effects of a long period of unuse; I’m ready to fly again.

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