Monthly Archives: January 2011

Vote FOR the schools–and our future!

Hey there!

You know we don’t have children of our own, but we strongly believe in the importance of lifelong learning — a habit that starts at a very young age.  Peter and I have been involved in all kinds of things with the schools — judging Poetry Out Loud, speech contests and “gifted and talented competitions; talking at the Honor Society induction; and I’ve even served as a substitute teacher.

I’m writing to urge you to vote in the Teton County Election being held on Tuesday, March 8. This Election will ask you to renew two school levies. The first is a two year Supplementary Levy for operating the public schools in our County. The second is a five year Plant Facilities Levy for capital outlay expenditures for the schools.

These two levies are not new — this is NOT an additional tax. As taxpayers, our approval of these two levies is simply continuations of levies we have approved in past years and are already part of your existing taxes. Their passage will assure maintenance of needed student programs and the physical plant for our schools in the face of decreased state funding.

You can vote for the continuation of these levies on the day of the Election (March 8th), or you can vote immediately by following the instrucions below. Either way I hope you will vote and vote YES to continue both levies. Even if you, like us, do not have children in the public school system, maintaining our schools  hugely benefits the whole community.   As Brett Cooke , accountant in Teton Valley , says “It is the best investment you will ever make!”

ABSENTEE BALLOT OPTIONS: For those with a busy life that will prevent them from Voting on March 8th, this may be the best option.

A)  As of now, you can go to the Courthouse in Driggs and vote.
B)  You can go to and print the Application for Absentee Ballot. Fill it out and fax it to fax# 208-354-8410 or mail it in to:
Teton County Court House
150 Courthouse Drive #208
Driggs, ID 83422 
C)  They will then send you the Absentee Ballot and you can mail or drop it off at the Court House 

Any questions, you may call the courthouse at 354-8780.

Every “Yes” vote will be important and could change everything. Please vote and please vote YES — this levy will affect us all!  

PS. This is a favorite photo with two of my favorite high-schoolers from Teton High — Lydia Hansen and Kelly Hannon, on the day they helped me do the final inventory at Dark Horse Books before the transfer to Phyllis. These young ladies are excellent examples of excellent students! 


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How big is the Internet?

Some numbers to give us all cause to pause — from Thomas Cott  via “You’ve Cott Mail”, a daily newsletter I receive (yes, via e-mail) about all kinds of information about the arts and popular culture.  These statistics aren’t verified, but I have to tell you, my personal experience leads me to think they’re accurate:  after taking photos of people I met in Greece and Istanbul (and then sending them the pictures via e-mail), subscribing to something like 20 blogs, and with 25 photo albums on FaceBook — I’m not surprised by them.  

I hope all these technology things that try to connect us are actually DOING SO….. I read an article recently where a woman said “it seems like things don’t really happen unless they’re reported on the Internet” and while I know that’s NOT true (each of us still has thousands of personal interactions a day!), I do know that FaceBook and e-mail enable me to stay in better touch with farflung friends and family than I ever have before. 

What does all this mean? Well, for me —  I love having a writing outlet like this blog (in addition to my freelance work) and I am regularly inspired by other bloggers like Teresa Jordan, Lynn Colwell, Nancy Brook, Sue Austin, Lisa Smith-Batchen, Lisa Dyer, Thomas Cott, and others. I think of my computer as a tool, not my life, nor an addiction. I can’t image doing what I do, as an editor, volunteer, citizen, and friend, without it.

Just a little more to think about as you digest what I found to be some fairly amazing stats:

2010 update: How big is the Internet now? Posted on the blog of the web company Royal Pingdom, January 12, 2011 [hat tip to
Erik Gensler]

Internet users:

1.97 billion – Internet users worldwide (as of June 2010).

14% – Increase in Internet users since the previous year.


1.88 billion – The number of email users worldwide.

480 million – New email users since the year before.

107 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2010.

89.1% – The share of emails that were spam.


2 billion – The number of videos watched per day on YouTube.

35 – Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

186 – The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month (USA).

84% – Share of U.S. Internet users that view videos online

14% – Share of U.S. Internet users that have uploaded videos online

2+ billion – The number of videos watched per month on Facebook.

20 million – Videos uploaded to Facebook per month.


5 billion – Photos hosted by Flickr (as of September 2010).

36 billion -the number of photos uploaded to Facebook in 2010

Social media:

152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet

175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010

25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010

600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.

250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.

70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.

If you’ve made it all the way to this line, and because we all know how impossible these little boxes can sometimes be — well,  you need a little comic relief — cartoon thanks to an FB post by my friend Pam in Colorado (who I hadn’t seen in 35 years and then, yes, we reconnected via FB and met for coffee in Denver last summer!!!!)


Filed under On writing, Sorting things out

On Being Human, Two

The notion of death was to be my second “On Being Human” topic, after I learned Thursday that emergency responders had found the skeletal remains of my friend Carolyn Kasnak in the ashes of her Packsaddle home. After all, what is more of a part of life than passing on? Carolyn’s news was already old to everyone but me (the fire happened before Christmas) and it seemed like a somewhat “safe” way to approach such as sensitive subject. I wanted to tie it to the finish of year 2010, the year my mother died, the year so many friends (Hack, Sue, Kate) lost their moms, too.

Then Saturday, a troubled young man went on a shooting rampage at a Tucson political event, killing six people, including a nine-year-old girl, a federal judge, and three people in their 70s, leaving a Congresswoman fighting for her life and more than a dozen others injured.

Now I realize I have nothing profound or new to offer about death. As one of the heroes of this incident—the 20-year-old who had been Gabby Giffords intern for a week– said, “Losing anyone is a sad thing.”

That seems to capture it well.

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On Being Human, I

 “Here we go! Here we go!” As our plane left Jackson, a little voice chirped incessantly somewhere behind me (a litany interrupted only with an occasional “Mommy, we’re flying to Denver!”) 

Those three words — HERE WE GO — have inspired this new numbered series of short essays about traits we share, illustrated with interactions of the most everyday sort.

Although grownups tend to refrain from expressing it quite so loudly or vividly (!), that little girl reflected something every single person flying that day understood — the delight of setting forth on an adventure, of whatever size.

“Being excited” isn’t considered “being very cool,” (at least it hasn’t been in my lifetime), but we all recognize that telltale jump in our adrenaline as we tackle something new. Going out on a limb runs a wide gamut, from physical activity (taking up bungee-jumping would qualify) to the expected but still challenging:  moving away, accepting a new job, dealing with loss. These seem like mundane parts of life but are actually adventures in disguise.

I’m glad to have a healthy dose of that little girl’s enthusiasm, and I’m determined to activate it more, just to feel that rush… Here we go!

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After a three-week hiatus traveling abroad, it’s terrific to be back at my kitchen-counter desk.  I have so many fun challenges to tackle right now!  Several writing projects have me fired up — some are already underway and more are incubating, brewing and otherwise demanding attention!

When Kisa originally helped me set up the Dark Horse Books blog (could it really have more than two years ago now), one of the advantages was how quick and easy it was to write just a few words to update folks. So, rather than spending more time than I have at the moment, I will just share this:  2011 is already shaping up to be a fascinating and fulfilling year and it’s only six days old. 

And for a little historical perspective, this is a shot taken in a centuries-old monastery in Meteora, Greece (the monks used these giant casks to hold water at these remote sites atop limestone spires.) 

To one and all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Filed under Journeys..., On writing