inspiration

I began writing poetry several years ago and still think of myself as a literary fiction writer, not a poet. Not really. Poetry is something I dabble in and play…

Memories of International Women's Day in Nepal

Four months after I gave birth to my son in Nepal, I celebrated my very first International Women’s Day in 1988 in Gunjanagar, a village in western Chitwan District. It was also Gunjangar’s first time to organize an event for that day. I describe the scene in Sacred Threads, my ethnographic memoir-in-progress….

Within 24 hours, Howard Zinn and J.D. Salinger die, and Steve Jobs announces the iPad (which — menstrual jokes aside — may or may not revolutionize how we interact with…

Grumpy Bears Unite

I feel like a grumpy, old bear this holiday season. I don’t want to put my energy into decking halls. I avoid shopping as much as possible. I have no idea what to get anybody, and the muzak playing everywhere makes me want to poke holes in my ear drums….

Ama: My Greatest Teacher

Growing food this summer in northeast Oregon, I relied on all that I’ve learned over the years from books, conversations, observations, and personal experience. But I probably heard Ama’s voice more than any other….

Walla Walla Sweets

In other gardens, I haven’t had much luck with bulbing onions.  Rationing bed space in small spaces, I lavished most of my attention on more flashy vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers,…

Harvesting Garlic

I planted fifteen pounds of organic garlic last October and finished harvesting it this morning.  Given that my soil needs more improvement (mostly a few more years of working in…

I retired from teaching at an independent high school several years ago to free up time for writing and growing food.  One of the things I miss most about it…