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From a Plane to Rome to an Elevator into Space

 Trip to Rome & the Amalfi Coast

I haven’t been posting since before  a plane deposited three other ladies and me in Italy this May. Thank God for cameras because words cannot adequately express what we saw while roaming through Rome, Naples and along the Amalfi Coast. I’ll let these YouTube videos–okay, and the Italian music–speak more eloquently of the beauty of the art and countryside and of the calamitous ruins of the Coliseum and the city of Pompeii.

http://youtu.be/8v7eF-FSoJQ and

Travel through Space & Time

I had also abandoned my work on my second novel until just recently. Now I’m back, or maybe I should say I’m off to outer space. I’d love to have you join me to  explore what a tiny, but unified team of rebels with divine connections will encounter as they resist a global corporate empire, owners of a working space elevator, who have their own otherworldly partners. Here’s the beginning:

Space Elevator Malfunction

The two in the climber unit had no warning. One minute they were looking down at the blue marble as the elevator lifted them and their cargo of grain into deep space, the next they were space junk.


Looking skyward, the small group on duty at the anchor station couldn’t spot the tether.  At less than eight inches wide—a tiny silver ribbon in a wide open sky—it wasn’t the easiest thing to make out, even with binoculars, as it climbed upward from the space station to the counterweight 62,000 miles up. But it had hung there for fifteen months now, never swinging in the breeze, as taut as a bow string.

One end of the cable remained anchored to the floating platform on which they stood. That connection was easy enough to see. When Torin, the chief mechanic, finally spotted an airborne section in low-Earth orbit, he understood why they hadn’t immediately detected it. It was not straight up.  Rather it had drifted to the left of the anchored section and appeared to be curving just where visibility with the naked eye became a struggle.

“Omygod,” he yelled. “When did the last climber unit start up the space elevator, Callie?”

“Two days ago,” the team’s girl Friday—a title no one would call her to her face—yelled back. “According to the log, loading was completed at 6 a.m. Tuesday with the lifters aloft thirty minutes later.”

“That means the elevator car should be 10,200 feet up by now. Please take a look ’cause I’m not seein’ it. And please tell me I’m only imagining a curvature in the cable!”

Callie looked over Torin’s shoulder while he zoomed the attached camera into the right height. An empty computer screen stared back.  As she turned toward Torin, an inscrutable look passed between them.

He turned back to the screen before he said, “They would’ve made contact if they were in trouble.”

“Maybe they encountered some space debris and had to slow down. The Maintenance Climber is still not as fast as we’d like. Try a different height.”

“No, that’s not it,” he replied instantly. “The orbital debris tracking system would’ve alerted us. I’ve already initiated a comprehensive search. We’ll know in thirteen minutes if the climber cars are up there.”

Nothing. The three moving cars–a vertical railroad–that had been crawling up the screen an hour before, were now invisible. Panic made Callie’s slim body shake so that she could barely get the words out: “You’d better.. make the call.. to Dad’s office.”


If you will give me your reaction to these paragraphs, I might save you a seat on the space elevator…

Flowers for My Followers

I found these flowers today in Saugatuck. I give them to you to say “thank you” and “you’re beautiful!”

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One Week to Tulip Time – Here’s what you may see


woods & water

If you wonder where women go for a night out, our secret is exposed below…

Click on the image below to view a Picasa slideshow:

Photo op 101011

Sunset over Lake Michigan

Click on the image below to link to the Picasa slideshow of my sunset photos:

Ottawa Beach 10-7-2011

Coming Home to Holland, MI

Coming home is a ritual for many people when their living conditions change. I did not expect to perform this ritual because I have changed. Memories of my childhood home were not all positive: I remembered a very conservative small town with almost no diversity (except for the summer help brought in to work in the blueberry fields) and not very welcoming to those like me with no Dutch heritage. Only aging parents and sibling appeals drew me back.

Two years have passed since I made that difficult decision; astonishingly, they have been two great years! I have found the truth in the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index which placed Holland second on their list of healthiest, happiest cities in America. An ABC World News article from February 17, 2010, said, “Residents here know that solutions to problems are not found in the maze of ideas that come out of Washington, but from the rewards that come from caring about their neighbors. The Dutch, who founded this city 163 years ago, have a word for this — gezellig — which translate to ‘close-knit community.”

Not only is it a close-knit community, embracing aliens like me, but it exudes natural beauty along the length of its lake shore and tributaries and six miles of tulips blossoming during the annual Tulip Time festival.

Other downtown activities include the summertime Downtown Street Performers Series and the winter Ice Sculpting

Even with all the natural resources and activities, it’s the people that have made coming home priceless, the renewed relationships with high school friends and the new relationships within groups dedicated to becoming good neighbors to long-time residents and newcomers.

If you have rejected “coming home” because you have changed, consider the possibility that your hometown has changed even more and may now be your ideal home.

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