C’est la pandémie

It’s been 38 days since the COVID-19 pandemic became real for me. That was the day I started working from home, the day most businesses in Washington closed their doors, the day my knuckles started to crack from the sheer amount of handwashing I was doing, and the day that the numbers of the sickContinue reading “C’est la pandémie”

Hell on Earth: Dachau

When I was in high school, we read Night by Elie Wiesel, a semi-autobiographical account of the Wiesel’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. In one scene, a child is hanged and someone asks where God is amid the horror. Someone else responds, “Where He is? This is where–hanging here fromContinue reading “Hell on Earth: Dachau”

The Old/New City: Munich

There’s nothing like summer in Munich — somewhat due to the heat and partly to humidity, but mostly to the Bavarian charm of one of Europe’s great cities and the rest to the laid back, almost Mediterranean atmosphere that has led some to jokingly dub it Italy’s northernmost city. Personally, I think it’s the iceContinue reading “The Old/New City: Munich”

Writing About the Great War

One hundred years ago today, millions of men in Europe were fighting and dying in trenches in a war that not only unleashed the terror of modern warfare on the world, but set the stage for nearly every conflict that would follow in the 20th century. I’m referring, of course, to the Great War, which todayContinue reading “Writing About the Great War”

I Look Forth on a New Year

In downtown Tacoma, tucked away between two buildings, is a sculpture of a drop suspended as it hits the surface of water. Tiles ripple out into the sidewalk. An 1891 newspaper quote about the city is written in cursive letters on the ground: “From amidst a sombre forest of firs a city has arisen asContinue reading “I Look Forth on a New Year”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 6

Grace was entranced by the coin in Sam’s hand. It was definitely gold. It might be a simple Sacajawea dollar — but then again it might be part of the Rivera fortune, she thought. She needed to see it up close. Gingerly, she opened the door. He didn’t seem to notice. Ever so carefully, sheContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 6”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 5

The rushing flood waters threatened to tear Grace from the branch. She glanced upstream and saw Ingram coming toward her, propelled by the current. She reached out one hand and caught his before he was swept father down the canyon. Barely, she caught his wrist and dug her nails into the fabric of his plaidContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 5”

The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 2

Grace awoke early. In the grey twilight, she knelt by he carved cross and traced its lines with her fingers. She tried to imagine the Spanish explorers carving this with chisels and hammers in this remote corner of the desert canyons. Why take the time? What was important about this spot? She had spent fiveContinue reading “The Spaniard’s Gold: Part 2”

Lucky Thirteen

When I eventually retell the story of my life, I think that I’ll say that 2013 was the year that everything changed. The funny thing about stories is how the details vary with the telling. The exact words are misquoted, the specifics are glossed over, timelines are stretched or squeezed and the wrinkles in theContinue reading “Lucky Thirteen”

Breaking All the (Phone and Grocery Store) Rules

I committed a minor fraud today. In the process of buying lunch at a grocery store down the street from work, I entered a phone number on the self checkout’s touchscreen. The number was not my own. For several years now, I’ve seen someone else’s name at the bottom of my receipts. It used toContinue reading “Breaking All the (Phone and Grocery Store) Rules”