Monday, March 03, 2008

Price of Silence Is Up

Hey, I forgot to do this for a few weeks, but I've started a new blog called Price of Silence.

It features the stories from my linked collection, called (wait for it) Price of Silence. How did you know?

Check it out here

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I won't be posting on Inland for the foreseeable future. I have, however, just finished a long writing project on my April trip. Please check the April 2007 archives for those entries.

Soon I will be starting another writing blog. I'll announce it here when I get it set up.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Today I was in Borders at the mall and was suddenly struck by all the paper there.

Not in a "oh-my-god-the-dead-trees" way. I wasn't having a recycling fit.

No, I was filled with happiness at how much there was that was written, both books and magazines. And how what was in Borders was only a fraction of what was published in the United States, let alone the world.

And I was happy that I was a writer, even thought I haven't yet had the success I plan on.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


On May 23rd I saw the Boulder Dinner Theater's production of Ragtime, from the E. L. Doctorow novel. I wasn't expecting much, quite frankly. I had just seen a production of Romeo and Juliet by the Upstart Crow, and the quality of the acting in their productions is always uneven. (Though Mercutio was great, and Romeo's ass...was he wearing a thong underneath those tights? Well, I'm getting off topic, aren't I?) I was expecting the same from Ragtime.

But I was blown away by the show! All the acting was good, and the ensemble singing was wonderful. The main character, Coalhouse Walker Jr., had a lovely deep voice, and several of the women singers were also very good.

In fairness to the Upstart Crow, I suppose it's possible for a less-than-stellar actor to "hide" behind a wonderful voice in a musical. But there's no hiding in Shakespeare.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Shave and wig

I actually paid money to see a tough-love dermatologist today.

No, I don't have skin cancer. I'm losing my hair.


So I go to see Dr. Sheila Boyle in Westminster, who has very thick dyed blonde hair. Oh, no, I'm not bitter.

And I tell her that I think the diagnosis of telogen effluvium that I received from my GP is wrong. It's usually caused by an illness, or childbirth, or great stress. I haven't had any of those in the last five years.

So she agrees that I probably have genetic hair loss and tells me there's nothing to be done. For women, that is.

"You're healthy," she says, hiding behind her hair (wisely).

"Buy a wig."

I wonder how much this little 10-minute pick-me-up visit cost.

Today was the second time I've gone to a "cosmetic" doctor and really not enjoyed it. I once went to see a plastic surgeon about laser surgery to remove some acne scars. I just wanted to see what the options were; I knew insurance would never pay for it. He told me all about the risks of having laser, but none of the benefits. What is wrong with these people, anyway? Are they desperate to be taken seriously by their colleagues, you know, "real" doctors who don't do cosmetic procedures?

I just read a book titled "Hair Savers" that has dozens of options for treating women's hair loss. I get the distinct feeling that Boyle doesn't know what she's talking about.

And I'm also annoyed because I quizzed her assistant on the phone. "Well, does she regularly treat WOMEN with hair loss?"

"Oh yes. There are injections and things."

Buoyed by visions of needles being stuck into my scalp, I sallied bravely into the office today.

To be told: Buy a wig.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

And she's off!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

One of my goals on this trip was to seem some of the tiny museums in Kansas, but I managed only one: the Prairie Museum of Arts and Culture in Colby, Kansas.

I tried to see the High Plains Museum in Goodland, but it was closed, because it was Sunday, or permanently, I couldn't tell. I did go see the giant copy of one of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings, though. Here it is.

I also took pictures of some of the farming buildings in Goodland. I like their looks.

The Prairie Museum, I discovered, was both inside and outside. I also remembered, upon entering it, that I had been there before, though I couldn't remember when.

First I paid, then I toured the outside buildings, and then I sped through the collection in the main building. My favorite building was the schoolhouse. The desk could hold two people; so you couldn't sit alone. There was a large wood-burning stove. I wished it had been my schoolhouse. I also liked the house—it was nicely decorated. It had a display about rabbit drives. In the mid-1930s Kansas was plagued by hordes of black-tailed jackrabbits, so the town would hold hunting drives to keep the population down.

The 1930s were also the decade of the Dust Bowl and the beginning of the golden age of comics. Hey, maybe Superman would put the soil back together, eh?

The most impressive building was the Cooper Barn. I walked up to it and pulled the door out sharply, expecting it to open, but it didn't. Finally, after a lot of banging around, it occurred to me that the doors might slide, but when I tried to slide them, they didn't budge. I had to drag a staff member out with me to get them to open the doors, and she commented that it looked like part of the door had been broken. I wondered if I had broken it when I was trying to open it like a regular door. That would be so typically Beth.

It was very windy.

It was a Sunday, so the museum closed at 5. After I had my fill of the outside, I went into the Kuska Gallery, pausing to enjoy the way the building had been built into the land, almost like the sod house on the property, and to pet the hungry cat that I was not allowed to let in.

The gallery had all kinds of crap, or treasures, depending on your point of view. The woman who had collected most of it, Nellie McVey Kuska, was a local monument, and apparently pushy and a bit of a klepto. She had the most amazing collection of dolls. More black Barbies than I've ever seen, a few Japanese dolls, dolls with porcelain faces. It was overwhelming the 30 or so minutes I spent on it. It was also amazing.

Past Colby, I listened to KHAZ radio (The Haze) for a while and enjoyed the country sound. I meant to go to the Oil Patch Museum in Russell, and maybe another one, but didn't have time.

South of Russell, on my way to Cheyenne Bottoms and my campground, I passed tons and tons of similar oil rigs: blue with red heads. They were as beautiful as an oil rig can be, but I kept whizzing by them, thinking, "Should I take a picture?" Highway 281 is a really nice drive. I recommend it.

Now I'm sitting in an unimproved campground on NE 60 Road, north of Great Bend, KS. I wanted to get here before dark and bird at Cheyenne Bottoms, but I got here just as the sun was going down and set up my sleeping bag in the back of my truck. It wasn't cold when I arrived, but it's getting colder and slightly breezier by the minute. There are strange noises from the trees and bushes near the creek, or whatever it is. I feel a little bit like I'm in the Blair Witch Project. Some strange bird—perhaps an owl? I hope so—is calling now.

Now that call was loud.

I can't see much beyond my feet because the combination of my computer and the lantern lights only the inside of the truck back. But I'm going to keep working because I don't think I can go to sleep.

I'm looking forward to birding Cheyenne Bottoms in the morning.

Now back to Women and Peace.

OK, now there's something that sounds like a cat. And probably it is just a cat, a house cat. But I'm going to shut myself in the back of the truck just the same. Are there bobcats in Kansas? I'm quite sure there aren't any mountain lions.

I'm a wuss. Just think if I were backpacking somewhere and had nothing between me and nature but a tent. Or worse yet, had to sleep on the ground. Though that seems like a bad idea in a place like Colorado, where there are lions and bears around.

It's 10:30 and time for bed. The wind is getting quite strong.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birding and Driving. Yes, that will be the story for two weeks

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ate pineapple for breakfast. Saw a cardinal and a downy woodpecker.

Noted the mileage: 85104

Birded Cheyenne Bottoms this morning. Saw about 30 birds, including American coots displaying their white butt sacs. Didn't go all the way around the auto tour but enjoyed watching the shovelers and redheads and ruddy ducks and yellow-headed blackbirds especially.

Great Bend and McPherson, KS, remind me of Grand Junction—the buildings in the downtown look similar. Great Bend had “Please Go Away” tours company. Later I saw Marmie's Ford and Kiowa Kitchen, a Mexican restaurant, and Rickabaugh's Auto Market. Many of the towns in KS have a list of churches on the entrance to the town. I wonder if that's some kind of code. A lot of them also seem to have automotive businesses along the main highway—no surprise there.

On the way east on 56 (parts are on the Santa Fe Trail), saw lots and lots of turkey vultures but very few hawks. There were even three turkey vultures circling over what looked like an abandoned barn at the intersection of 2 highways. I wasn't fast enough to get a picture. I wish I had gone and looked in the barn to see what birds were in it—the place looked like no one lived there.

In McPherson, I went to Java John's and got a latte and biscotti. I talked quite a bit to the woman who made my coffee and the man there. He said the town had about 13,000 people. She said she was from a really really small town in Indiana. I was reading an article in a magazine that mentioned Lake of Fire, an abortion documentary by Tony Kaye.

There are a number of signs like this one throughout Kansas (I later saw one in New Mexico too.) Central Kansas is as flat as the San Luis Valley in parts—much of it used to be wetlands. Then you get into the Flint Hills. There were cuts in the road where swallows were nesting, but I didn't stop. At one point I stopped to take pictures of a fire some farmer had lit in a field. I crossed the highway, but I don't think the shot was any better from that side than from the other side.

It took about 5 or 6 hours to get to KC, and I didn't arrive until 4. Russ was at Dor's house repairing a towel rack for Dorothy.

Dor and Dad and Don and Matt and Russ and I went to Jack Stack's BBQ. I had burnt ends but they weren't burnt enough. I was expecting something like french fries, really crunchy and carcinogenic on the outside and soft and squishy with fat on the inside. I don't really like BBQ all that much, I guess.

I asked Matt where I could find information about Shannon and other 1930s political bosses in KC, and he suggested some unusual sources—which I guess he must have read himself—the Payne papers in the Black Archives at the Main Library on 18th street; a dissertation on Shannon at Downtown Public Library—5th floor, mostly letters; and stuff on Pendergast at the Truman Library. Matt said a book writen by a KC Star editor was biased because it was written to make Truman lose the election (in 1948?).

Then we went home and hung out as we always do, talking about the past. Russ looked at a road atlas. I asked him how many states he had been to, and he said “Ten.” I showed Dad where I was going to go on the road atlases. Matt walked around and outside the house. Donald told stories about all the people he knew. He met someone he knew at Jack Stacks and said, “Hi, Grandpa.” Apparently the man's son knew Matt in college or sometime.

At the end of the night, I showed Dad the information I had on my grandfather Marvin's service in WWI and suggested I could write to the Defense Department and get papers, if there were any. I told Dad I thought part of Marvin's life would make a good story. He got a funny look on his face and said all the kids thought Marvin was a "blowhard." He said he'd never taken him seriously, but as he got older, people would tell him about all the things Marvin had done for them. As a minor political boss, Marvin could hand out favors or food or coal and get people to support the Southside Democrats.

Dad said he never wanted to be like his father. And I think he succeeded in that.