Life’s Goals Before Death’s Ghouls?

Goals or Ghouls?

Will I reach my goals before the ghouls reach for me?

My writing dates back 50 years. I had a fantastic HS English teacher who made us read Chaucer, taught us to write long essays, made us speak extemporaneously in front of the class and paddled even the girls for tomfoolery (but we wore crinolines then and it didn’t hurt a bit).

Through the years I dabbled in writing: published several newsletters, worked in my sister’s publishing house, took poetry at New College, published my first article in the Volta Review, a respected magazine of audiology and continued writing articles and stories for small magazines, but I never made the big time. I had lots of excuses. Don’t we all?

I had a husband, two children and a job. My son was born profoundly deaf and after the ‘shock and dread’ wore off I was determined that he learn to communicate and live as normal a life as possible. To survive the many difficult areas of my life I started keeping a journal. It became the therapist I couldn’t afford, a place to get things off my chest. Slowly it developed into a treasure cache of important memories, catchy little phrases, and a few precious gems. The older I get the faster the memories evaporate except for the tragic, the ecstatic and the ones I’ve written down.

I’ve dreamed of writing a memoir, but as time passed raising children, running two businesses, becoming a teacher, gaining a 2nd home in Costa Rica, losing a husband, my writing foundered mainly because it always came second, third, last.

Then I joined Patrika Vaughn’s weekly writing group in Sarasota. It gave me the deadlines that my scientific brain required. I had to submit something at least every other week to be critiqued and I learned how to critique others. The former got me going and the latter taught me how to write and not to write. The members, one by one, started publishing their books. Under her nom de plume, Regina Perry published Play Girl, and Marisa Magnani self-published The Sharkman of Cortez, a biography of her husband.

I’ll never be one of those bulimic writers that can vomit out a chapter each day, every day, but I was accumulating a body of work worth publishing. With the help of Pat’s A Cappela Publishing and my computer guru son Ray I did it.

The most difficult part, the writing, was over; or so I thought until I started on Goal 2 – Getting the Word Out. See my next post.


Life in the Treetops-Part 4

More Bird, Butterfly and Monkey Business


We could spend hours on our balcony watching the life in the canopy, one that most people will never experience. Thank you Meg Lowman, the pioneer in studying forest canopies all over the world. She was the first to construct platforms and zip-lines to sail her through one of the only unexplored parts of the world – the forest canopy. She lives and works in my hometown of Sarasota, Florida and is one of our celebrity professors from New College. She made me want to visit the upper levels of the earth. Thank you Erica and Matt Hogan of Finca Bellavista for making it happen, and thank my lucky stars for the opportunity.

The last day we descend to travel on some of the extensive trails in and around the mountain. The first, a steep heart-pounder, takes us up to the edge of the waterfall that has been the backdrop to our treetop aerie. Standing atop the massive surge of water is exhilarating yet frightening. “It’s sucking me over!” I yell over the deafening roar.


“It’s too exciting for me, let’s get out of here. Too bad we can’t fly back to our roost. Like SuperMatt, or the birds.” trumpets B. We follow the trail in sinewy curves down and along the crystal clear Rio Bellavista rippling over rocks. Eden calls. Stripping off our sweaty clothes, we frolic in the cool water.

But soon it’s time to return to the groundfloor of life. This time, while walking back to Base Camp, we get two reprieves. Tico employees continuing to extend the network of trails, greet us with a friendly “Que tal? Necesitan ayuda con su equipaje?”

“Por supuesto!” For sure. We’ll take help with our luggage. They carry it all the way back to camp while we meander back through the jungle, noticing that Erica, true to her word, has already added new signs directing us back. Now that’s service! Anyone interested in more information on this unique and wondrous Shangri-la just check into for site plans, examples of already built tree houses, sample house plans, rentals, rules and regulations and more. Thank you for your comments and keep them coming. Keep posted for our new adventure.


At the end of February we’ll be setting out with World Water Corp, a branch of the non-profit Water for People (from my African adventure), to a remote area in Central America, El Sauce, Nicaragua. We will be monitoring water systems that have already been put in place to see how they’re functioning. Here we go again. More soon.