One of Life’s Mysteries


How can a fake Christmas tree, which is DEAD, grow larger and larger each year, until it no longer fits into its original box?


The Vortex Made Me Do It: Adventures in Northern Arizona, Part 4

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Linda (left) and I on Airport Mesa, before we knew it was a vortex area.

You know how, when you go on trips, you sometimes end up with a running joke in your conversations? The joke can be related to an event, a person you met, or a hapless comment made along the way. Well, for Linda’s and my Sedona trip, our running joke was The Vortex.

Because Linda and I are from Minnesota, we were mainly familiar with Polar Vortexes. You know, that’s when all the cold air comes down from the arctic and tries to freeze everything in its path. Although we had heard of Sedona’s reputation as a vortex center before we began our trip, we didn’t know any specifics.

Personally, I just thought the whole place was the site of mysterious energies. Little did I know that there are specific locations and different types of energies to be had.

Let me back up and define the word vortex (plural = vortices or vortexes). Merriam Webster says that a vortex is something that resembles a whirlpool. I assume all of you, dear readers, have watched water swirl down a drain. That’s a whirlpool — except that in Sedona, the swirling involves invisible energy more than it does water or freezing arctic air.

Our Vortextual Education

Our resort offered various programs for its patrons. Among the classes, which had titles like “Crafting a Festive Wine Glass for Christmas,” was one about vortexes. We decided we had to attend to learn more about this phenomenon. The presentation was given by a local Reiki healer.

She described the concept of vortexes and said the energies involved come from the rocks because of their mineral composition. She passed out a sheet that listed eight locations that are thought to be vortices and it described their different kinds of energies.

Some of the energies come out of the rocks (upflow), some flow into the rock (inflow), some are combinations of upflow and inflow, and some are horizontal (lateral). The lateral flow places involve the energy from nearby rivers and streams.

The sheet she gave us was an excerpt from a book entitled, “Scientific Vortex Information,” which was written by an author who claims to have been educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I don’t know. The title seemed like an oxymoron. “Science” and “Vortex” don’t really go together in my world, where I move among scientists every day. I suspected there wasn’t that much science behind the information — more like wishful, imaginative thinking.

Once I got back home, I looked inside the first few pages of the book on Amazon, hoping to see proof that scientific instruments were used to actually measure electromagnetic fields at these locations, but all I saw were explanations of inflow and outflow, with nary any hard proof in sight.

But that’s okay. We weren’t in Sedona for the science. We were there for the experience. We were there for . . . The Vortex!

Our Vortextual Experiences

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Oak Creek Canyon.

While looking at the list of locations, Linda and I discovered we had already visited a vortex the previous day. The site was Airport Mesa, which is easy to access because it’s right in town.

While we were enjoying the view there, we had noticed a couple of people sitting on the rocks in a lotus position. We didn’t think much of it – maybe they were just doing it because the scenic view inspired meditation. But after reading the list, we knew better. Those lotus people were trying to feel The Vortex.

We decided we needed to try that. Our journey the next day involved a trip north to Flagstaff, so we made plans to stop at the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook, which is on the way. The overlook scenic vista is located at the top of the switchbacked road at the end of the canyon about 15 miles from Sedona. A short walk on a paved path leads to an impressive overlook.

I sat on a bench near the overlook and Linda stood near the wall. Neither of us were hard core enough at this point to get into a lotus position (which is sort of hard on a bench, after all). So we just closed our eyes and tried to feel the feels.

I felt my own internal vortex more than any external one. My heartbeat rocked my body and made it sway a little. The Arizona sun felt good on my face and the breeze whispered its secrets.

After having our moments, we conferred. Linda said she didn’t really feel anything. We walked back to our car, but along the way, we stopped to look at some Navaho jewelry being sold at stand along the walkway. I was drawn like a magnet to one ring that featured a bright blue opal. I picked it up and it fit perfectly. I had to buy it.

We joked later that The Vortex made me do it. Who knows, maybe it did? It was like the ring was calling to me.


Cathedral Rock

A few days later, after a day of hiking, we visited Cathedral Rock, which is thought to be home to an upflow/inflow combination vortex. We hiked up to the flat rock plateau below the formation.

Someone had scratched two spirals into the rock about ten feet away from each other. Linda and I thought they looked like logical places to sit for people like us who were trying to find a vortex, so we sat with legs crossed and eyes closed.

The day had been breezy, but not particularly so. A few moments after we got into position, big gusts of wind started buffeting us. They were so powerful that Linda’s hat flew off.

We opened our eyes and quickly stood, spooked. The wind stopped.

We headed down the rock toward our car. We didn’t joke as much about vortexes after that.

Photo Caption Contest!



My family celebrated Thanksgiving early this year. This is my favorite photo from the memorable occasion. My dog Buddy is looking longingly at the turkey carcass.

It begs a photo caption. Suggest your best one by commenting below. I (the sole judge) will send the winner a free copy of my novel, Plover Landing. I will ship it anywhere in the world, so put your creativity caps on, people!

The contest will be open through Saturday, November 25. I will contact the winner privately for their address.

The Story of the Target Credit Card


I was in the checkout line at Target the other day, about to pay for my purchases. The cashier was trying to interest me in applying for a Target credit card. This is our brief exchange, which left both of us laughing:

Cashier: “Can I tell you the story of the Target credit card?”
Me: “Sorry, no. I’ve been told it many times . . . and it doesn’t end well.”

How Donald Trump Cost me a Boyfriend

trump-frowningIt’s been almost a year, so I figure it’s safe to write about this dating mishap. I had tentatively dipped my toe into online dating after a long absence and some unsatisfactory experiences. One of my first dates was a local man who was a few years my junior. We met for lunch at a popular restaurant and had a good time.

We kept in touch and made plans to meet a few days later at an evening work event I was hosting. Then we’d go out for drinks afterwards. The event was on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election.

During the day, I had a lot going on at the office. My date emailed me a few times, saying his grandson ended up needing unexpected surgery in another city, and his daughter wanted him to go along with her for support. He wasn’t sure he would be able to make it back in time for our date.

I knew he had a grandson, but he never mentioned he was ill. I was understanding and told him not to worry about trying to make it back in time. I wished him and his grandson the best.

He replied that he’d let me know his logistics as the day progressed. After a few more brief exchanges, he emailed me, saying that he wouldn’t be able to make our date because the surgery took longer than expected. Again, I sent my good wishes and said I hoped we could get together some other time.

That evening, after the event, a group of us wanted to go out and have a post-election debriefing/support session. None of us were Trump supporters, and like much of the nation, we were in shock at his election. I got home from that late and depressed, with no energy to turn on my computer and check for messages from my wayward man friend.

The next morning, I dragged myself into work and checked my email. It contained a nasty note from my date. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something snarky about my lack of communication skills and that he no longer wanted to date me.

It was bad enough having a president elected that I didn’t like, but now I was getting dumped, too!

Both things caught me off guard. Not to mention the irony that I am a professional communicator who was getting dumped for my lack of communication skills. 🙂

Although I had doubts about the veracity of his claim of a sick grandson, I gave the man the benefit of those doubts and, after taking time to collect my thoughts and rein in my feelings, apologized to him for not “being there” when he needed someone during a stressful time, and I explained my situation.

But I also thought it was a rather knee-jerk and severe punishment to break up with someone you just met because they weren’t attached to their email at all times. So I told him I would no longer be contacting him, either.

Despite all this, the person I’d really rather blame the whole thing on is Donald Trump. If he hadn’t been elected, I wouldn’t have needed a group therapy session, and thus might have had more time and energy to be attentive to my date.

So you can add my love life to the list of things the president has dismantled since his election.