The Most Disturbing Site in the Grand Tetons and 2 Things You Can Do.

We just returned from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Hiking. Rafting. Exploring. I was transfixed by this backdrop.

GrandTetons (1).jpg

We stopped at every observation point to inhale the majesty of this place.  At first these peaks don’t seem real, the way they pop up out of the earth.

The mountains are immense, expansive, glorious. The land goes on and on. Thank God for our National Parks and the 1964 Wilderness Act, for all the lands they protect, and for our Senior Passes (62 gets you one).

Driving the single lane road between the two adjacent parks, we stopped behind a line of cars. Was someone in trouble? An accident? Then we saw them, a pair of bison, creatures bigger than our car meandering down the road. We were intruding on their property.

The park is home to living things of all sizes. From moose (yes, we so one) to grizzlies (no, we didn’t) to Archaea (single-celled organisms) living in the deep blues of this extremely hot (199 degrees F) pool in the Geyser Basin.IMG_2943.jpg

We lingered as long as we could on our last day, not wanting to take our eyes off the mountains.  A red-tailed hawk soared, circled and flew off toward the mountains reminding us these lands are not ours. We are just the current trustees.

At one point, we came across this sign.IMG_3114 (1).jpg

This is a disturbing reality of climate change. Two things you can do.

1) Donate to the Park Service. Here’s a link. Yes, I know Trump gave his first quarter paycheck ($78,333) to the parks (designated to preserve battlefields), but this does nothing, zilch, nada to offset his proposed $1.5 billion cut to the Interior Department.

2) Protest Trump’s heartless budget (if you needed another reason) and protect the parks for present and future generations.


The Surprise at the Top of Yellowstone’s Iconic Waterfall


“This is not a hike for climbers without experience at high altitudes,” the ranger warns us. Then, he adds, “It is the best view of Lower Falls.” Gary and I walk down a few yards to see the Upper Falls pound down on the Yellowstone River. We stand at the lookout mesmerized by its 109 feet of power. A few hikers coming up from Lower Falls stop on the trail. They struggle to breathe. One bends over clasping her hands on her knees. “Was it worth?” we ask when she raises her head. Their eyes open wide. “Oh yes.” They both nod and grin.

Gary and I look at each other. Sure, we live pretty close to sea level, and we’ve got a few years on anyone we see coming up the path. (We carry our Senior Lifetime Park Passes in our wallets.) But here we are. We can do this. Right? Continue reading

Not Always Happy


Not Always Happy by Kari Wagner-Peck is not about raising a child with Down syndrome. It’s not about raising a child with a disability. It’s not about raising an adopted child. Not Always Happy is about doing whatever it takes to nurture a child and to help that child grow and flourish and thrive. All children should be so lucky to have Kari and Ward for parents. Hey, they can be my parents. Continue reading

The Perfect Prom Dress

Gabriela and paintings 2

Try to find a prom dress for an 18 year-old who uses a wheelchair, needs access to the feeding tube protruding from her abdomen, and wears a Girls size 7. That’s right — a child’s size 7. Continue reading

Lucky Me

I’m a guest blogger today on the Listen To Your Mother website.Harriet headshot copy

Audition Day! Harriet’s Story

by TARJA on FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Submissions are officially closed and LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER San Francisco is rolling ahead to our  auditions!  Thank you to everyone who bared a piece of their soul. Each and every story was recognized and appreciated. As always, it was very difficult culling it down to the next level of auditions.

Harriet Heydemann, one of our talented 2016 cast members, shares her audition day experience with us – and how her lucky charm made all the difference.

Continue reading

Writers Resist

IMG_2837 (1).JPGNo rhyme can be said where reason has fled.                                                                                                  June Jordan

The Bay Area Writers Resist event last night in Oakland was the most uplifting few hours I’ve spent since November 9. Continue reading

Have You Seen Santa?


It’s that time of year again, and hidden amidst the gazillion catalogs are the holiday cards. I love to get them. I always felt badly about not sending anything in return and envious of mothers who managed to put together the family photo shoot and sign and send. If you’re reading this and wondering why you weren’t on my holiday card list, that’s because there was no list. Continue reading