Sitting like a little kid, with her legs straight out in front of her, she was shock-white, with glazed- eyes seeing nothing. The webbing between her left hand first finger and thumb …

You Are My Only One

My mother and I got into a huge argument during my senior-year spring break. We disagreed so vehemently that after three days, we were still at a ragingly fierce stand-off. The tension between us was so tangible you could pick it up and chew on it.

She and I were usually pretty tight, so to have her at such an emotional distance was devastating.

On the morning of the fourth day, on a whim, I asked if I could go with her to that day’s job site — she was a well-respected horticultural landscape designer. Continue reading


One day about a month before she left the planet, she turned to me with such a galvanizing look that I felt my feet suddenly get cemented to the floor. If I’d wanted to pay attention to anything else, I could not have.

Journey of the Soul

I’ve always said I’d be a psychologist if I hadn’t trained to be an artist. My family is full of them — my mother, her two sisters, and their daughters were/are all artists, although only one cousin and I do anything commercial with what we create.

If I had not fallen into the here’s-some-paint-go-have-fun-dear trap, and wanted to do something else, they’d all have keeled over in absolute shock. Continue reading


The secrets every last one of the characters carries are all starting to dribble out, with horrifying consequences. Everyone’s true nature is being revealed.

Freedom in Broad Daylight

I’ve been watching a fairly new show on Amazon called POWER.

You have to know that I don’t watch TV. Not EVER. So it’s pretty near miraculous that I even heard of this show, much less deigned to view it — much less all nine episodes so far!

It’s an excellent show.

The premise, as I have shared before both here on medium and on my blog (, is that girls are getting a bizarre awakening of power: they can shoot electricity through their hands.

Soft little arcs of pretty zingy light jumping from one finger to the next, or electric power increased to the point of electrocuting someone.

You can imagine how the patriarchy is reacting. Continue reading


Images flooded my panicked mind of internet police coming to Get Me and Punish Me, hoards of angry women descending upon my house and doing Bad Things to me, being banned from being online forever….

Friends Help Friends…

The first time a customer complained to me and told me she was really upset about trying to buy my first book, I got really upset, myself.

This was 2002. I was barely beginning to learn how to market my art, classes, and books online. Using computers was no biggie — I’d been into them since 1985.

But marketing? Whole new world. Scared me to death.

Remember, I’m the gal who was so shy I virtually never spoke out loud in public until I was almost 20. So to think about talking to people about my work — or heaven forbid, selling — put my entire nervous system into a massive dizzying tailspin. Continue reading


I guarantee you that if you do not, they will hang around and expect you to do and pay for everything for them — just like you have their whole lives!

The only monsters are the things we don’t communicate

Because my parents were so tight-lipped about money, I had no idea the sacrifices they made for all of us. No. Idea. My three brothers and I all went to private schools. All four of us went to college — art school, in my case. (Yes, private school. I was so glad to get away from home!)

Did I have one single iota of a clue what that cost them? What they had to do to cover those expenses, year after year as we grew up?

Not until way, way later, when it was far too late to say thank you, thank you, thank you — for caring about our futures, for doing what it took, for going without so we could have. Writing this is so hard. Shame and tears. But that’s done and gone. Got to move on, right?

So what did I learn from all this?

This is what:
Talk to your damn kids about money.

Continue reading


One of the problems that exacerbated my naïveté was my dad’s panicky behavior around discussing money. As soon as the very word slipped past any of our lips, it was hammered into oblivion: “We don’t talk about money! It’s nobody’s business!” So, we just zipped our lips. And our minds.

Helloooo! Can you see how naive I am?

After I had walked the stage and received my high school diploma, I went home and crashed. More than tired — I felt as if some demon had sucked all the life out of me. I awoke next morning frozen to my bed. I could move, but the effort it took was as if I was single-handedly lifting the Empire State Building. Not gonna happen.

Somehow my mother convinced our family doctor to come over and do a house call. After examining me, he looked at my ma and announced, “Mononucleosis, Mrs. B., bed rest for the summer.”

Continue reading

27 Days from KAUA’I to CALIFORNIA, Part III

On nights with no moon, if you looked over the side into the water, the waves the hull made as it glided through the pitch-black water frothed up thick, sudsy lines of brilliantly glowing neon-blue phosphorescence.

Under the Surface: the Mystery

I’m no singer, but I can kinda carry a bit of a tune, so I brought my 8-string tenor ukulele with me on our cross-Pacific odyssey. I was thinking that I’d have lots of time to practice a few chords, and maybe memorize some of the Hawaiian songs I’d learned at Kaua’i community center classes. When it was James’ watch, I’d go sit on the bowsprit and study, strumming and humming.

Eventually, astonishment for what I was doing — the grandest adventure of my life at that point — the incredible presence of the vast ocean, these life-changing events — all combined and detonated something in my brain that came out of my fingertips into words on paper that I then stuck strange musical sounds to.

I’m not sure I’d call them songs, really, but it was fun trying to sing them and trying to make them work right. James didn’t like how I sounded, so I figured I was getting somewhere. He was such a pill about it by the last week of the trip I put the ukulele away. Maybe he was right — they certainly weren’t award winners.

But I was compensated in a big way. Continue reading

27 Days from KAUA’I to CALIFORNIA, Part II

One moment, sunny sweet skies — the next, the Mother Hulk of a demon storm with hideous, grotesque grey-green and black clouds pelting us square on with sheets of ice-cold rain. We were hard-put to keep our footing, being tossed around by gigantic heaving swells. I could hear the planet saying, ‘it’s ain’t over yet, you puny humans.’

Yummy yummy yummy…

You know about the Doldrums, right? Officially, the area known to sailors around the world as the “doldrums” is the ‘Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.’ This is the windless belt of ocean around the earth near the equator where sailors sometimes get completely, utterly, desperately stuck. Boats with no other way of propulsion than wind can be becalmed there for weeks. Some never make it out.

Because of the earth’s rotation, the ITCZ shifts locations season to season, so it’s impossible to plot from afar on your sea chart. Oddly, each one has its own weather.

Every day as we sailed along, James plotted our course. Today, he thought he had plotted our way around the Doldrums, according to the latest weather and ocean-current reports.

But somehow he must have miscalculated, because there it was right in front of us, in all the beauty of its glassy, flat, windless sky-reflection. Continue reading

27 Days from KAUA’I to CALIFORNIA, Part I

I struggled to sit up, holding my head on with both hands. I couldn’t seem to stand, so I slid off the bunk, and inch by inch slowly creeped on my hands and knees over to the box….

Cruisin’ with my buddies

It was a hot mid-August, 1984, just a few months before my 39th birthday. At the start of the month, as a representative for the Hawaii yachting association that held a trans-pacific race from California to Kaua’i every two years, I had welcomed ‘James’ and his son, a father/son team, who had come in second in their 31′ yawl* in the double-handed (only two people on the boat) race from California to Kaua’i.

*A yawl is a two-masted, single-hull boat. The first mast is the main one, holding the large mainsail. The second, shorter mast is located behind the steering wheel, almost at the end of the boat. This particular boat was a double-ender, meaning it had two pointy ends, not just one in the front, like most boats.

I met and greeted them when they came in, helped them tie up and secure their boat in their berth at the dock, and helped them unboard. We worked together to empty their supply containers, carry gear, trash, and dirty laundry up to the docking station, where everyone was busily dumping, meeting, greeting and celebrating.

After two weeks on the water, they still had wobbly sea legs, so we went slowly on up to the club house. Continue reading


Despite feeling so insulted and so enraged, and so helpless to do anything about what had happened, I also knew I had to, could, and absolutely would, change How Things Were.

It Takes Two to Tango

After I got home from my sailing-across-the-Pacific journey, I spent a good amount of time cogitating about what I wanted next in my life. The kids were back home, school was starting, and I was back at work as a (not-very-good) sales rep at the art gallery in Kapa’a.

I had to acknowledge that, while things were OK, they were just that — OK. I wasn’t feeling happy, excited, enthusiastic, expanded.

I asked myself what I’d have to be, do and have, in order to say, “yes, I’m happy.” I realized that thoughts and feelings had to come first.

It isn’t ‘I have this, so I can do that, so I can be/feel a certain way.’

It has to be ‘out of who I am, I do what I do, and receive what I receive.’

It had to start with thinking.

And I was brimming with destructive thoughts. Continue reading


Friendly race

I’m not one to fill the space with a lot of talk or jabber — I’m really happy just sitting with someone in a companionable silence — there is something sublime and sweet about just BEing with someone you love.

I have a dear friend here who is the most amazing talker. Continue reading


There was one point where I felt funny, and I looked over to see his face flash this weird face-video of emotions. I couldn’t read it, it went so fast. But I felt alarmed….

FELIX, always looking for better ways…

Right after George W. Bush the very junior got elected, I left the USA. Bush’s idiocy during and after the event of 911 made it very clear to me that he was Not My President. You might disagree with my views, but that’s neither here nor there — the end result of his getting into office was that I left what I considered to be the not-good-anymore-good ole USA.

I’d ‘met’ a guy online who lived in New Zealand. A fellow stone sculptor, artist, and … a labyrinth maker. We had plenty of those long, drawn-out, I’m-in-love phone conversations. I decided to leave New Mexico, go down to NZ and find out if we were a fit.

Continue reading


I was astonished — I didn’t remember ‘screaming bloody murder’! I said so, and he laughed and said, “Yep, you sure was, and boy was it loud, yeah man!” Huh.

SAM. Likes shiny things.

The second time I was raped was a far cry from the first. Looking back, I count what happened to me that day as a stroke of incredible good fortune for myself, and a completely out-of-the-blue show of the amazing solidarity of a community in its endeavor to maintain peace, and its deep-seated intolerance for violence and cruelty.

I was 17. My first year at Parsons School of Design. My father had loudly lamented sending me there, telling me, “You’ll probably just get married and spend your life making babies and washing dishes, and give up making art anyway, so why should I go to the trouble of paying for this expensive school?”

If he meant that as a joke, it didn’t ride. Our family’s forté was the say-the-reverse-of-what-you-really-mean thing, so I never really learned how to tell if someone was speaking the truth or not. I still struggle with that.

As an example, instead of telling me I looked nice in a new dress, he’d say, “Too bad your ears stick out — kind of detracts from how nice that dress should look.” Gee thanks for the kind, supportive words, Dad. Not. Continue reading


Granny made it very clear that she was disowning me because she thought I was a ‘sex maniac.’ Those were her exact words, conveyed with a contorted look of appropriate horror by my father.

When I was a little kid, my dad’s mother would come stay with us. Granny. The one whose middle name, Treat, I carry.

I couldn’t stand her. She smelled like Eau d’Oldde Peoplle. And she made this weird little sucking-in warbley whistle sound whenever there was something she disapproved of, but wouldn’t speak about.

This image is how she appeared to me then. Looking back now, from the perspective of someone who is the same age she was then, I think I might understand more.

She wouldn’t speak up about things she didn’t like because my dad would shut her down. Never in front of us — always in another room. I heard him one time — it wasn’t pretty. So she communicated by sucky-whistle, or one of those high, wobbly hoity-toity voices as she asked us to do something we didn’t want to do. Her voice sounded like she was in one of those old-timey movies. Continue reading


…his voice was deep, gravelly. For some odd reason, I felt like I could totally trust him, so I told him I was just back in town, 54, no place to live, sleeping in my car, yadda yadda. Him nodding, listening, focused, kind.

OLIVER: Sees You

September of 1999 was stifling hot. I had just returned to Santa Fe after a summer stint back east, house-sitting for my dear friend, Cynthia, out on Long Island. I hadn’t been able to find a place I could afford yet.

I did find a little secluded glade I could park/camp in, down by an arroyo hemmed in by cottonwoods and brambly brush, on the edge of town. It was just big enough to park my little Kia and have room to turn around in.

Fortunately, I found work doing ad design at the main local newspaper, so at least my dog, Io (pronounced EE-oh), and I weren’t starving.

One evening as the sky wheeled through its usual brilliant show of cerulean blues, purples, and fuchsias, Io and I came out of our little hidey-hole to go for an evening walk. It was earlier than usual, so I was cautious about anyone seeing where we came out of the weeds. Camping out in your car as a lone female was not safe in that area, so I practiced safe space. Continue reading


BUDDY: in the Light, Shadowed

When I drew this, I was focusing on the white part so much that it wasn’t until later that I saw the funny blue face.

I particularly like this one because it’s so silly (Silly really ought to be my middle name), and so obvious … but not. I bet if I hadn’t said anything, you wouldn’t have focused on just the blue part, and you wouldn’t have seen the silly face.

It’s a great metaphor for our lives — we go forward with stuff, and a lot of tangential events and other things happen, and it isn’t until later that we realize/see it. Continue reading


Burt is the kind of friend everyone should have. He holds little babies as if they were the gods’ own precious lights; plays with the toddlers; treats little girls and boys to merry-go-rounds, lots of colorfully illustrated books, pencils, and art supplies; Tonka trucks, small-hand size tools and paints, encyclopedias, roller skates and skis; and young men and women as if they were worlds better than royalty.

Burt was given to me when I was little. Everyone else thought he was Pooh, but I didn’t like that it sounded like poop, or that he was being pooh-poohed, so I secretly called him Burt. We snuck ginger snaps from the cupboard together. Continue reading


MARTHA, Sunfaced

I was surprised by this series of black, blue and white drawings. I’d been working on a whole nother series, and suddenly, these popped into my brain and demanded release.

I can’t help it. I just keep seeing all these new beings, and have to draw them, before the inner clamor drives me batty. Continue reading



I went home that day all stirred up inside. I had no idea it was wrong of him to touch me. I had no idea it was what we’d call grooming, now. I just knew….

I was 13 years old the first time I was raped. Not to worry, this will not be a rant or a self-pity party. Rather, a story about overcoming evil who took the form of a ‘nice’ man everyone liked and respected. Maybe more of a cautionary tale. I guess.

The summer before my sophomore year, my mother thought it would be a good thing to get my teeth taken care of before I was sent away to school in the fall. Well-thought-of in the community, not overly expensive, doing good work, Dr. Rosen (close, but not his real name) was her choice. Continue reading

PUBLISHED! INSIDE SECRETS: Stories I’ve Never Told Anyone: Volume VII – Stone Carver in Italy

I’m very pleased to say that my latest INSIDE SECRETS book, Volume VII, is now out and on amazon! All about my crazy trip to Italy to learn how to carve marble.
You can get it in print here: 
Along with my tales of adventures, woes, and odd situations, I have included 70+ images, with 42 sculptures – three times as many images as in any of the other volumes!
Here is the link for the less expensive ebook on gumroad – you get the immediately downloadable pdf file with my sculpture stories and illustrations. Android and OS accessible.
Get the Ebook here for only $5, or you can choose what you want to pay:


Instead of coming to the surface and breaking out, the itchy-burny-hurty toxins spread out into the rest of my instep and into my head….


A month ago, I was bitten by a spider. Or something. I don’t know, because I never even saw the thing – I was sleeping.

It got me seven times – one on my left thigh, one on my right thigh, and the rest in a trail all the way down to my instep.

Even though I was asleep, I knew something was going on, because I remember being conscious of my legs itching like fire.

The one on my instep was the worst. It was making me crazy until I finally woke up. Continue reading


The neighborhood women were complaining that I was ‘out flaunting’ myself, and their men were spying on me all day!

Who We Really Are

After the big hurricane of ’82, my kids and I decided to move to a bigger place down the road in Kekaha, a wisp of a town on Kauai, in Hawaii.

Most of the folks who lived in Kekaha were Filipinos who worked at the sugar mill and their families. The house we moved to was a newly-built two-story house in an all-Filipino community. My kids and I were the only haoles – white folks – in the entire neighborhood. The new place was closer to their school so they could ride their bikes to and fro.

Our house was on the immediate inland side of the road that separated our place from the beach. We had a spectacular view of the ocean and Niihau, the forbidden island. Continue reading


Poipu Outrigger

On a dark mid-November day in 1982, the boisterous, heavy-breathing Hurricane Iwa* swept in and wreaked havoc upon the island of Kauai, in Hawaii. (*pronounced EE-vah)

I was a studio potter and stone caver. My kids and I lived in one of the plantation houses in the tiny, sugar-plantation town of Kekaha, way out on the remote edges of the west side of the island.

When word was announced that the hurricane was upon us, I was at a conference being held in a hotel in Hanalei, all the way around on the other side of the island from where my house was. We all needed to evacuate the hotel.

As I hurriedly gathered my things, I watched from our first floor conference room as hotel folks started throwing the plastic lounge chairs into the swimming pool, carried potted plants and heavy tables inside, and pushed recalcitrant, unbelieving guests (a hurricane? we thought this was paradise! we’re staying put – this can’t be all that bad…) in to safety. Continue reading



On a sunny late afternoon in NYC, I was on my way home from art school. Exhausted. We’d had a full day at the easel, standing on concrete floors, the instructors particularly nasty all day. As if our not knowing what they were talking about was our fault, somehow, and they were taking it out on every one of us, one by one.

I found it so hard to do the exercises they gave us that I was contemplating quitting school. I felt stupid, thick, hopeless.

I was so upset that I wasn’t walking. I was striding, eyes downcast on the filthy sidewalk, not paying much attention to the world around me.

Right near the entrance to my subway station, a young man dressed all in black came at me from the opposite direction. Fast. Smirking. Continue reading


Send Love Always

Last night, I happened upon a new show on Amazon prime called The Power.

In it, young girls are discovering they have a new, odd sensation in their bodies — little courses of electricity that travel down their arms and make zippy jumping lines of lightning, that jump finger tip to finger tip. Sparks ignite upon anger or fear, and great arcs of immense power blast men and objects when the girl is ticked off or fearful.

I won’t ruin the story for you, because it’s done well and is a good script — a few minor oopses, but overall I’d give it a 9 out of ten.

You can imagine how the world reacts to such a phenomenon. At first, it’s called a hoax, and the male dominant power base tries to make the girls wrong, mentally ill, etc. The girls are punished, mocked, thrown in jail or isolation. One leader even cries ‘execute them!’ Continue reading



When I was in my twenties, I lived with my then-hubby and our two small boys, way out in the country in northern California. One day as we were driving home from a trip to Eureka selling our pots, I spotted a really sad looking horse in a pasture by the side of the road.

We pulled over and took a closer look. There were two horses in a tiny pasture – a big bay and a small, almost pony-size Palomino.

The bay was a bossy wench who commandeered all the sunny dry spots, and wouldn’t allow the Palomino to stand for a minute in any of them. We watched as the bay repeatedly pushed her out of the sun and into the wet, soggy shadows, and away from any attempt to get to the feed trough. Continue reading


Wooooing through the Night

After I left Italy, I went back to Hawaii, living there for about a year. More on that later. I then moved near San Francisco for a few months, until my friend Melissa invited me to come to New Mexico, to stay with her and help her renovate her house.

So I packed up everything I owned into one of those big honkin’ 24-foot long UHaul trucks. I didn’t want to leave my Toyota Forerunner behind, so I put it behind the truck on a 14′ trailer.

A more inept driver for such a long vehicle train you couldn’t have found. It was fun being up so tall, but I didn’t have a very good sense of where the sides were yet, or where the end of my rig was. I was probably the slowest, careful-est driver in the entire country that afternoon.

After an hour or so, I was still so nervous I had to pee – and I was out in the agriculture district, field after field, no turnoff or truck stop or even gas station was anywhere to be had. Continue reading


Curiosity — Carrara Marble

Our first day! On a hot day in June, 1989, our carving group, comprised of five students all from the US, stood poised before the hunks of stone we’d selected, waiting for us on our sturdy, well-worn, waist-high carving tables.

They had been set up for us in a well-shaded summer courtyard outside of a painting studio at the Scuola del Arte in the beautiful historic city of Lucca. On two sides of the courtyard were small rooms for more students and their work.


The bottom half of Hula Kahiko (Ancient Hula) — California Steatite, 24″ h.— carved after I left Italy

Just by looking at people’s feet, I could always pretty much dependably tell who was American and who was European (or other nationality) before I even met them.

Whereas we bumpkin Yanks almost always wore some brand of tennis shoes, flip-flops, or sneakers, Europeans mostly wore fine leather shoes or leather sandals (with socks!).

But one of the most distinguishing traits of Americans is how loud they are in public (notice how I’m disdainfully distancing myself…). Well, actually, they can easily be heard when in their rooms, too. And in restaurants. Continue reading



Upon buying my tickets to go carve marble in Italy, I also bought a language system called Sybervision so I could study Italian. It was the easiest language system I’ve ever used.

By the time I landed in Rome, I could ask where’s the city center, what street is my hotel on, where to eat, how to find the train or bus, what things cost, and more.

Sadly, I didn’t have to time to get the more advanced versions of the system, for more complex vocabulary and a deeper understanding of philosophical ideas – or even the simple difference between plain espresso and the local morning favorite, espresso-con-grappa.

It was good enough, though, to get me on the train going on up past Pisa to Lucca, and to my reserved hotel room. Which, oh we’re so sorry, had been given to someone else. Continue reading