Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flagstaff Fire near Boulder

For the last day we’ve been watching the smoke plumes from the fire in the foothills above Boulder. Today I had a chance to see the progression of the fire when I took a hike on open space to the east of the mountains. Smoke was visible in Shadow Canyon behind the Devil's Thumb rock formation:

While watching, a slurry bomber dropped retardant in Shadow Canyon:

A little while later there was another drop on the top of Bear Peak where the fire had breached the top of the mountain:

Right now there is a thunder storm passing through. This is bringing some needed rain but also the risk of additional lightning strikes. I got some writing done today, but I have to confess it’s difficult to concentrate with the threat of fire so close to town.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reading Old Mysteries

I’ve been doing some research and reading mysteries from the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century. In particular I’ve been finding some fascinating women detectives in this era. One of my favorites is Constance Dunlap in a book of the same name by Arthur B. Reeve from 1913.  This book contains individual episodes of Constance’s exploits. Constance gets involved in crime by helping her husband who admits being an embezzler. From starting on the wrong side of the law, Constance proceeds to help others who have succumbed to a life of crime. She encounters forgery, gun running, gambling and drug dealing, always staying just out of the reach of Detective Drummond. More traditional amateur sleuths include Anna Katherine Green’s Amelia Butterworth and Violet Strange. Amelia is a nosy neighbor who ends up solving a murder. Violet reluctantly agrees to investigate a number of crimes as a woman of society.  Mary Roberts Rinehart has two women protagonist: nurse Hilda Adams and adventuress Tish Carberry. George R. Sims introduces ex-actress Dorcas Dene and her bulldog Toddlekins. I found it interesting to read about these characters who predated Miss Marple.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fiftieth High School Reunion

Not to date myself, but my wife and I just returned from my fiftieth high school reunion. A friend of ours went to a fiftieth high school reunion in Los Angeles, which consisted of an evening event. Going to a reunion for Punahou School in Hawaii is completely different. Ours was a nine day event. We started on the Big Island of Hawaii for three days and then flew to Honolulu for six days. Events included: a reception at the Waikoloa Marriott Hotel, a trip to a ranch, a trip to the Arizona memorial, a kickoff event on campus where I signed books, a reception at the Outrigger Canoe Club, a trip to Doris Duke’s Shangri-la estate, a visit to Iolani Palace, a party at a classmates house, a memorial church service for departed classmates, a reception at the school president's house, a luau and two picnics. Below are pictures:

Kahua Ranch on the island of Hawaii:

Kiholo Bay:

Arizona Memorial:

Doris Duke's Shangri-la:

Before luau on Punahou campus:

Luau with class of 1962:

My wife Wendy, Russell Ching, his wife Kathi, and Russell's mom who was celebrating her eightieth  reunion:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Volunteer Work

Since I write about older characters in my mystery novels, I have an interest in the subject of aging. Consequently, I volunteered to be a member of the Boulder County Aging Advisory Council. I’m currently co-chair, and our duties include giving feedback to the Boulder County Area Agency on Aging and reviewing and approving funding requests from organizations providing services to seniors. Today, we had our monthly meeting in Allenspark in the mountains above Boulder. Here’s the group hard at work.