The worn cover of Carole Kings 1971 Grammy Award album “Tapestry”


So, a while back a friend said she could finally afford to buy that bohemian coat she wanted.  The use of the word “bohemian” spurred memories. I’ve considered myself a bohemian ever since my aunt gave me a turquoise & silver ring when I was seven.  My aunt lived the bohemian lifestyle and getting that ring from her, in my simple-kid mind, meant I was in the club. My contributions to the movement were growing out my long straight black hair, wearing a bandana when I mowed the lawn and, as often as possible, sit on our couch in an incorrect manner.  

Circle of pipe vibe

Before the pale blues and mauves of the ’80s made their appearance into my childhood, I was surrounded by beatnik leftovers from my parent’s first home; my mother’s early ’60s style contrasted with her sister’s  ’70s experience melting together into a sweet avocado green.  Of course, I had no idea what either of those lifestyles was about! Our living room was crowned by a 3-foot round metal, astrological chart wheel hanging above a black and white leopard print flop couch, adjacent to a row of mahogany stained bookshelves and dad’s tobacco pipe cady. In my room, Barbie was living clean in her shoebox and lego “Dream House”.  Literature in the home included encyclopedias, LIFE Book collections, sci-fi books and poetry by Kahlil Gibran.  Music was predominately 60’s jazz albums, Bill Cosby, Helen Reddy, and Carole King.

But it wasn’t my stuff, it was the life and home that my parents built for us.  It was warm and happy.  As an adult, how do I recreate a modern art of living? Somewhere along the way, I lost it.  I need to get out of survival mode and find my faux-bohemian again.

Get Small
For $110 you can own this view, hang it on any wall, “Mount Corcoran”, by Albert Bierstadt

Turn those dreams of the high retired life down a couple notches.  First, be honest with yourself.  Instead of a dream retirement cabin on the lake, you can be just as happy in a studio apartment that’s 30-minutes away from a lake.   Just visit the lake.  You don’t need the whole lake. This isn’t the 50’s.  No lake for you.

The west coast of Washington and Oregon offer a high quality of life, clean air, water including water in the shape of lakes that we can all visit.  In WA we have all four seasons, mild winters, besides the scratchy track of volcanoes down the middle of the Cascades, we’re doing alright…except for the cost of living.  According to the site the cost of living in Washington is higher than the national average.  They report,

“Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Washington is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Washington, Washington is more expensive.  Washington’s cost of living is 118.7.  Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.  The median home price in Washington is $381,300.”

D.I.Y. Life

How do you add quality to your life on a tight budget?  Of course, defining “quality” is person-specific.  In this economy, in this city, I am trying to live a good life but I feel like most efforts bring me down, and I am starting to take it personally. This American Life has it out for me.  I pissed it off somewhere along the line and it’s not giving me anything, no living income, no happily ever after, no satisfaction except in a sunrise, no joy but in my neighbors blooming trees, no love but when that orange cat comes by and rubs its cheek against my doorway, no peace but the ocean that tells me it’s always there—it goes out, but it will come back, it always comes back.  No glory but a rainbow around the moon and my childhood friend the Big Dipper and Orion chasing each other in the sky. The world is a big and resourceful place if you are a tiny red ant working with a million other clones.  It’s all about perspective.

photo credit



Abigail, the Short Story

In honor of my dad’s birthday I submitted a 72 page short story, “Abigail”, to the magazine Asimov’s Science Fiction. Isaac Asimov was one of his favorite
sci-fi writers. A small segment of the story is posted below.
Love you dad, rest in peace-

“One of the monitors detecting brain activity jumps up and down, setting off an alarm in Dean’s bedroom. The Doctor went to sleep just three hours prior, wearing nothing but his boxers and a t-shirt, his white lab jacket thrown over a chair. For five days now he kept a vigil at Abigail’s bed side, seeing to every detail regarding her recovery. It was after all HIS discovery. He wanted to be the one to revive her, to talk to her, and welcome her into the new world. Dean set up an office at the lab two doors down from the revival room, with a small bed and brought over some clothes. He and his assistants were not allowed to leave the lab. Ray had to be sent out to get some sensitive items that could not be beamed or generated in just the other day. “Hopefully he kept his contract of confidentiality in mind.” Dean thought, as he ran down the hall, white jacket in hand, “It’s the moment of truth…”

The doctor was thoughtful enough to redesign one of the lab rooms into an apartment for her. Hopefully it would help Abigail adjust to waking up in what is to her the year 5096. He brought up some of the paintings and furniture he found in the storage area of the underground vault; assuming of course that they were hers. He closed the shields on all the sections of the lab she would have access to so as to conceal the fact they were on a massive space station orbiting the Earth. He even had the simulator create clothes for her from some fabric and designs he found at the famous New York fabric warehouse site.

When he entered the control room positioned behind a two way wall made to look like a book shelf, he was shocked. Abigail was sitting up right and was in a daze. “Oh my God is there brain damage?” he wondered.

Pushing an intercom button he announced “Boys get over to the observation room now- she’s awake”

The twins rushed in, and were also speechless. For more than five days with little sleep, seeing their subject awake and walking was like a dream. “Is it real? Could it be she is alive?” Ray thought.

“Boys we are witnessing a miracle. She’s been revived! Now we need to pray her mind is still in one piece. The psychology of waking someone after all those years…” Dean didn’t want to continue his sentence; the words seemed too heavy to leave his mouth. He was prepared to interact with her. Rehearsing in his mind all week, since he first saw her, what he would say and how he would say it. Three pair of eyes watched her as she explored the surroundings.

“Look she seems to recognize the paintings. That’s a good sign.”

Abigail came around to the bookcase and reached out to touch a book. The vibration of the field tingling her down her arm. Compelled to join her, Dean got up and touched the shield on the opposite side of her hand. For a moment he could feel her.

“I’m going in. Set the visual document device on.”

“It’s been on.”

“Good. I’m going in.”

“You said that already.” Ray couldn’t’t help himself. It was strange enough to see the doctor in his boxers much less around a pretty woman.

The doctor looked at Ray. “I know I just said that.”

“Sir, you need some pants.” Jay, always the helpful one.

“Yes I do. I need pants.”

…oh my goodness! What will happen next? Does Abigail have brain damage? Did Ray keep the secret? Will the doctor find his pants?
Hopefully by Fall 2010 you’ll be able to read the whole story in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine!


written January 2010

This story is about a woman who is a lab created cyborg, in the way far away future. Humans are trying to perfect human and cyborg technology, and Abigail is their first success.
The DNA for this project needed to come from a pure source. Archeologist had uncovered a vault full of human DNA collected from a site dated in 2011 before human DNA made a major shift due to an epidemic. The DNA was buried and the vault’s power was able to keep charged all these years.
Unknown to the discovers this vault of DNA was a collection from people with super auras and proven skill at ESP and supernatural abilities or heighten senses. It was collected by a mega billionaire who was trying to improve himself using gene therapy.
This story will mainly be about the power of genenitics and love. The future humans don’t have an aura anymore. The spirit has left them they are only souls. Too much machine in their bodies has caused them to loose so much of their natural instinct and auras. Our hero has been “created” and has spirit and the strength to bring the human spirit back to its people. She will rise from the lab to become their MOTHER….

The night shift: The Lab is quiet, a large group of windows on the side of the room frame views of Earth and part of the space station. Two scientists walk out of their lab for a break.
“When Abigail wakes up she’ll have a mature body of a 25 year old. God, wouldn’t that be nice.”
“This one is our hottest model yet. Cybernetics are riddled through out her body, all the latest stuff, but they are INSIDE unlike this crap hanging out of me.”
“When are you going to get that fixed?”
“Next payday. It ain’t cheap either. But it’s mandatory for this pay grade.”
They both chuckle.
“You know the biggest difference with this one, Charles, is that she has a fully functional libido and womb. What would happen if she joined with one of us? A modern human? Would the nano organisms duplicate and carry into her offspring… creating the first naturally born cyborg?”
“I have been thinking about that a lot lately. And you know who else has? The Blue Coats.”
“Upper management?”
“They are frothing at the idea and have started to consider various “mates” for her. But the naturalist from C Wing refuse to see her bread like a dog and claim that “she will know him when she sees him”. As if her spirit will automatically hone in on the one that will “complete her” and be compatible to her DNA? Like natural selection or some shit?
“I say let’s let her choose, but insist that the companion be confirmed, by us, by the coats, before they reproduce.”
“I saw in the station news that hundreds of rich and famous people from the surface have ask for meetings with her only to be turned down. Even the station president has tried to earn favor with her handlers.”
“Ass holes. All of ‘em”
“I mean she’s just got out of the CGM last week. It’s all too soon.”

Down the hall Abigail awakes. She stretches and flexes her aura. A blue light faintly shines around her like a solar eclipse. She stops and stares intensely at the wall.
Abigail emits a signal like an AM antenna. Low frequency ground waves. The metal in her body amplifies her emotion and transmits. The signals are increased when she walks along the floor building up static. Abigail lifts her chin and concentrates; the signal shuts off.
She is walking through a section of the lab that is guarded by an invisible field. A bubble like wall connected to a different part of the space station. It’s like one way glass. She can see out but they can not see in. It’s the internal loading dock for the lab.
Military and maintaince crews are busy with their evening chores. She watches them in sadness; she’s not allowed to leave the lab. Then something catches her eye. Three men, large and strong, lifting and giving orders, working together, smiling joking. Her “signal” is turned on and sends out a “message” or feeling like a pheromone smell to these three men. Which one would respond? These three guys drop what they are doing and walk towards the glass bubble where she is standing, like sailors to a siren.
“What is it?”
“It there a crack in the glass?”
“I don’t know it seems to be vibrating. I’ve never seen that before.”
“Ya me neither.”
They reach out and touch the glass- it’s like they are touching her somehow.
“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“I wonder what those lab nuts are doing in there.”
“I don’t know. It’s warm… nice.”
“Shhhh just listen to it…”
The scientists come back from break and immediately notice Abigail is out of her room.
“Hey look! There she is…”
They watch this interaction on their security cameras. All of their gadgets and gizmos and they can’t understand it. Love and emotion bringing four people together. Like moths to light, love attracted these three to her position- she called them to her.
A blue coated man walks in with his two assistants.
“Show me the footage.”
“One of these guys is the one. Her natural selection.”
“Find out who they are. I want complete DNA and genealogy reports downloaded to me before the end of the day” said the blue coat.
“Abigail. What were you thinking? Was this a game you were playing?”
How could you want one of THESE men? They are ordinary.”
“Who said I wanted one- I want all three.”