This just tickled my fancies while confirming my long held belief that those little people are messing with me, hiding my stuff, and stealing my socks!


When we go to bed, they sneak in
and loll about on the chair cushions,
combing their coarse straight hair,
leaving traces we’ll brush off with the lint brush, blaming the cat.


They mine the refrigerator,
looking for wine spills or crumbs of cheese.


The more intrepid jump on the rubber pillow of the sink squirter,
starting a slow drip they can drink from like a water fall,


then make the long trek into the cave of my computer room,
their eyes on the precarious towers of books.
They give each other a hands-up
onto the power key of my computer,
then all jump in sync to turn it on.

Read the rest of the story: Fairies


We set out early from Phoenix, heading due east for the Superstition Mountains. We hoped to find the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, see if we could discover the secrets behind the legend.


I’d seen movies about the legendary mine and the souls lost by their lust for gold.


It was a good day for our trip. Sunny and mild. The air was fresh, crisp, clean. For a moment, I thought I smelled honeysuckle on the breeze.

72-Sign to Dutchman-GAR-Superstition-011316_009


Along the way, the spans of cactus covered desert shadowed by mountains were constant but not deadly companions. They seemed more like nature’s patrol, riding point and drag, to make sure we wouldn’t lose our way. A pilgrim’s awe of God’s country can sometimes lead to disaster.


We made a stop in Tonto National Park. That’s right, Kemo Sabe. Things have changed. Guess the Great White Father in Washington knows change is blowin’ in the wind.


No sign of Tonto, the Masked Man, Dan Reed, Silver, Scout, or Victor. Maybe there were off chasing the Cavendish Gang again. Those guys never seem to really die.


Tonto’s land was beautiful, a fitting legacy to the faithful companion who did most of the work but received little respect or credit. Then, we were back on the trail again, heading higher and higher with majestic mountains all around us.

72-Gabby Johnson-GAR-Superstition-011316_092

Growling bellies were a sign for a stop. Turned out to be part of the vast Lost Dutchman’s Mine country. A town for Pilgrims.



Midday, and the dudes were everywhere. Shops, stores and remnants of the past loomed all around us. Fool’s gold? I’m sure the ghosts of some miners were smiling at all this stuff.


We pushed on to another picturesque stop as the road climbed higher and higher, seemingly to the sky.


A stage-coach way station beckoned. Could have been one of Jim Hardie’s drivers who worked for Wells Fargo. He seemed impatient to get moving. His horses needed water and cooling down but had to wait with all those damn Pilgrims getting in the way again.

72-Marilyn on donkey-GAR-Superstition-011316_149

Our attention was diverted by a familiar face. His voice and speech pattern gave him away. Unmistakable. Pure frontier gibberish filled the air. Yes, it was Gabby Johnson!! Late of Rock Ridge, Gabby was plying his trade now at this way station.

Photo by Ben Taylor

Photo by Ben Taylor

Gabby was glad to see us. I think he was happy we didn’t mention anything about how he and Rock Ridge had initially treated their new sheriff. Past is past, we figured.

Photo by Ben Taylor

Photo by Ben Taylor

Marilyn and I took turns on Gabby’s Donkey. Photo op time for Pilgrims who secretly think they’re not really dudes.

Photo by Ben Taylor

Clementiny – Photo by Ben Taylor

Clementiny, Gabby’s younger pal, looked on with bemusement. Probably a dawning awareness of what the future held with more Pilgrims looking for their fifteen minutes of cowboy fame.

Photo by Ben Taylor

Photo by Ben Taylor

We were burning daylight as we pushed up the mountain road. Lunch still rested unsteadily with us. The chow had been good but our guts are not what they used to be.


We found Superstition Mountain and the land surrounding the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Nice scenery, certainly evocative of the movies of my youth. Nature provided a clean, pristine, multi-hued vista contrasted with the grainy black and white images of those old movies.


We sighed in the silent satisfaction you get from seeing those fabled images up close. In my sense memory, scenes from the movies played out in a seamless juxtaposition with all that our eyes now saw and recorded. If you love westerns, it doesn’t get any better than this!!


Daylight was draining as we rode back down the road, stopping here and there to savor the endless scenes of wonder.

72-Ben & Garry by MAR-Superstition-011316_144

One last sunset beckoned. We found our spot. Our host and old pal, Ben was off somewhere. I spied him lurking amid the tumbleweed and cactus. He had a strange look on his face. Too familiar and scary. Ben reminded me of Fred C. Dobbs in his last moments of sanity in the Sierra Madre mountains.


Maybe we had spent too much time around the ghost of the Lost Dutchman.


Maybe the sun had gotten to us. Maybe it figured to end this way, as sure as the turning of the earth.



Who doesn’t wonder where the other sock from the pair went when it disappeared from the dryer? Don’t you wonder where they’ve gone? It seems to me that with every load of laundry, a pair of socks goes in, but only one comes out.

Does the dryer eat them?

I have bags of lonely, single socks in the back of my closet, all yearning for the day when their long-lost mates will reappear.

My husband theorizes that missing socks go to a parallel universe in which people find extra socks. Two socks go in to their dryer, but three come out.


I like to think somewhere in that universe live the mates to my lonely socks. Somewhere in the great galaxy, they patiently wait for destiny to reunite them with their mates. It’s kind of romantic. Depending on how you feel about socks.

I asked my husband if this theory also explains the Tupperware problem. I have many orphaned lids with no bottoms that fit. Yet I also have plenty of bottoms for which I can find no matching tops. Is my missing Tupperware in the same parallel universe as the socks?

My husband looked at me as if I were crazy. Impossible, right? Because the dryer is the wormhole to that other universe and I swear I’ve never put my Tupperware in the dryer. But maybe the dishwasher is a secondary wormhole. You can never be sure about wormholes. They can appear anywhere, anytime.

missing tupperware universe

The good news? Wormholes can reverse themselves — at least, according to my husband (but I’m not sure who else). Thus it’s possible one day we will begin to find spare socks in the dryer … and superfluous Tupperware pieces in the cabinets.

I’m going to hang onto my bags and boxes of single socks and mismatched Tupperware. I advise you to do the same. If we run out of space to store all this stuff, we’ll simply have to find a way to move to a parallel universe where there’s more storage space.


Photographs by Garry Armstrong

“Dead men don’t ride roller coasters,” said Gill Grissom on CSI.

I turned to Garry. “How would he know? Has he been talking to dead guys?”

“Well,” said Garry, “I haven’t been chatting with any dead people.”


So I got to thinking. If I were  dead, what would I want to do? Would I be inclined to haunt the living? To take revenge for insults real and imagined? To repeat activities in death I loved in life?


Would I want to travel the world, to see it without airport security? Pass eternity in the great libraries of the world, absorbing all the knowledge I missed in life? I haven’t the slightest idea what a dead person might want to do, assuming anyone gets a choice about post-life activities.

I believe — without a trace of evidence to support my belief — that whatever one does after death is not a choice. It’s a mandate. Whether it’s God or the Devil or Karma or absolute nothingness, it’s not a multiple choice quiz.


You reap what you’ve sown and, you don’t get to return to tell your friends what happened. On or off the Internet.


It’s a matter of definition. I say, magic is nowhere — or magic is everywhere. 

I prefer to believe it is everywhere. When I click the lights and a room is illuminated; when I flip the switch and the coffee begins to brew; when Amazon delivers and packages appear neatly piled by my back door. That’s magic.

Magic circleWhen the winter snow melts and the earth wakes up, bringing green leaves and flowers, nothing else can explain it. It is magic. I count on it.

Ultimately, when I turn on my computer and connect. I write, you write. I read you and you read me. That is magic. How is it possible for you, on the other side of this spinning globe, get my messages in real time?

circle of life teepee door

Just because we don’t stand in a circle and chant, we might as well be doing that. I understand about as much of how my computer uses all its written code to do what it does.

Chrysanthemum autumn

Why should all that “code” (read “magic”) make it work? I know how to write code — not well, but enough to understand its intent. That said, why do computers obey such writing? These codes?

British author Arthur C. Clarke formulated three laws:

  1. When a distinguished, but elderly, scientist states something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

My Corollary to Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.

Life is magic to me. All of it.


In another life, I was an astrologer. I drew horoscopes and wrote an astrology column for a couple of newspapers. I was pretty accurate.

I was at my best reading for strangers. The less I knew about the person for whom I was reading, the better reading I could give.


I also sometimes read Tarot, but cards made me uncomfortable. In a horoscope, you only see what you look for. Almost never does something jump off the page and scream at you.

Tarot is different. Not only do you not always see what you expect, you will see things you wish you hadn’t.


Like death. That first time it happened, I almost jumped out of the chair with shock. I knew –100% — that the man smiling across from me would die in six years. He was young, just 32. He had already had a serious heart attack, but seemed to have recovered and was living a careful, but normal life. Not employed … he wasn’t up to a daily grind … but he was raising his boys and enjoying life. Laughing in my living room while the kids played outside.

“Read for me?” he had asked. I acquiesced.


So, I did a progressive reading for him. That’s where you use the “summary” card of each spread as the foundation card of the next reading. In the seventh layout, I saw him dead.

“I’m too tired to do this any more,” I said. “It’s just gibberish,” and I gathered up the cards and refused to say more. He died exactly when I’d seen. I could not go to the funeral. I couldn’t even explain why not.

I tried reading again after a while, but I started to see things. Secrets. Stuff I didn’t want to know and certainly would never tell. I learned things about people that changed the way I felt about them.

You can run, but you cannot hide. The client always knows when you aren’t telling them something. We have “tells.” Our pupils dilate. We become pale. Our muscles stiffen. We shift in our seat. They know.

I quit reading.


I don’t believe in telling people when they are going to die. Someone told me many years ago that this year — my 68th — would be my last. I don’t believe it, but it’s stuck in my head. Niggling, nagging, bugging me.

It’s a bell that will never unring, but I’m doing my best to hang around.