Looks like, clever person that I am, I’ll be growing food this summer. I hadn’t planned on it. My plan was to tear out the raised beds and reclaim my yard from the dogs (if possible) but given that going to the store is what it is in these days… Sadly, I missed the golden hour to order seeds, but they’re still on their way. I can’t put stuff outside until June 1, and I usually start seeds too soon. This year I won’t.

Yesterday I opened the composter (I didn’t even open it last year). It’s so dry here that the compost is more desiccated than decayed, kind of like the Dead Sea Scrolls. The banana peels are still legible in places…

I stirred it all around like burger in a skillet, pulling up the lower layers (2015) and pushing down the older layers (2018), dragging out indomitable strands of zucchini vines and the allegedly compostable bags from my kitchen composter (which I tossed). When I’d worked it over good, I decided it would be a good augmentation to the tired soil in the beds. I loaded up the Worx Aerocart (wheelbarrow) and went to work. The bed with more shade will have Swiss chard and salad veggies. The bed with more sunlight will have Scarlet Emperor beans, tomatoes and Genovese basil — and I will attempt again an Australian pumpkin ❤

Nasty weather here, though. Sunny, breezy, 60ish, dry, according to some people, “glorious spring weather.” I find it gruesome, but any good farmer knows there’s nothing to do about the weather. Bear isn’t faring so well. Some of her day is spent searching the yard for somewhere cool, reminiscent of a normal April. I’m putting ice cubes in a bag and saving them so when I get enough, I can make her a “happy place” out there. Three years ago we got a foot of snow at this point in the year. It was THE BEST for all of us as well as for the barley which is now emerging from the winter fields.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


I resisted a lot of things back in the 90s and one of them was the Internet. The other was cell phones. I didn’t want to complicate my life with stuff that I didn’t need. It made sense at the time. My life was complicated enough trying to provide for me and my dogs the stuff we needed. But it was a case of I didn’t get it…

I agreed to baby-sit Bonny, an Akita/Golden mix, for some friends who were going to Korea to teach. They wanted me to get the internet at home so we could email. I didn’t want to email. I didn’t have the internet at home. SO… I didn’t hear for them for the whole year. They didn’t send money for food, either, which was part of the deal. I ended up (it was no punishment; Bonny Honey was a wonderful dog) thinking they’d abandoned Bonny Honey. When they got back, I didn’t want to give back their dog. BUT a long tear-filled heart-to-heart revealed the hell that year had been for them.

I write historical fiction which means I do a lot of research. All four of my historical novels is almost a PhD dissertation in terms of research (but no citations needed 🙂 ). I did all the research for Martin of Gfenn the old-school way, in the library. Thank goodness I was at San Diego State at the time and had access to everything there as well as online sources I could access from the writing lab where I was working at the time. Even my tiny cell phone could give me access to the Catholic Encyclopedia. I could see it was a Brave New World.

Using (comparatively very fast) computers in the libraries of the schools in which I taught, and in my various offices, I’d learned everything necessary to teach my students all they needed to know about online research. It was fascinating to use search engines such as Alta Vista to do research. I did use them, and since I didn’t have the Internet at home, I printed out pages and pages of answers to questions I had about medieval life in Switzerland.

Still it was a while before I got the Internet at home. And when I did, it was dial-up.

A few years later, having made the transition to a more online life, I went online and found a Swiss Medievalist Historian who had written about the very place in which Martin of Gfenn is set. I emailed him. In 2005 we met up in Zürich and that led to one of the absolute best days of my whole life.

Connections made online can be as “real” as face-to-face connections. I have online friends I’ve known for more than a decade. It’s a different kind of communication in its way, as anyone reading this blog knows. However, I feel as a writer that something is lost in the manner of doing research this way.

Online research yields fast answers as well as access to data bases and sources all over the world. Writing three more novels after Martin of Gfenn, all also written about Switzerland, I have been able to use Switzerland’s amazing Swiss Lexicon to research for the novels I wrote after Martin of Gfenn. That was an immense boon. It’s published in all the Swiss languages so one way or another I have been able to find information I needed. Everything is there — even old maps! It’s magical and wonder-filled, but finding information is not the same as the ambulatory scavenger hunt of true old-school library research.

Solitude or Loneliness?

The idea of “introvert acceptance” was floating around a few years ago. Articles were written about it, explaining it to extroverts and hoping, I think, to find better understanding from society in general. Science (through personality testing which is NOT the same as a horoscope or a Mewkid ‘test’ on Facebook) has determined that Introverts make up only 35% of the population. It’s difficult to know how accurate that is because a lot of introverts might have been in the basement setting up a model train and didn’t know any of that was going on.

I found the idea of “introvert acceptance” paradoxical. Does it mean we’ll be invited to parties? Because we won’t go… I wrote at length about introversion on this blog post, Introverts R Us.

Since the virus (new era, BV and AV. We’re in DV) there have been a lot of memes about introverts (see below) but it really is a situation in which a person like me is unlikely to feel “lonely.”

Loneliness. I HAVE felt it. It’s pretty rare, though. I was a kid in my room (with the door closed!) reading a book — probably I was 14 — and I read something that set me to pondering the difference between solitude and loneliness. I can remember the MOMENT, the carpet, my hair, a book on the floor, stuff like that, but I can’t remember the BOOK. Anyway, I went to talk to my dad about it, and the upshot was that solitude is comforting and loneliness is miserable. I found I can get lonely for someone in particular or a place; for me it involves yearning.

I know a lot of people feel loneliness DV. I am sorry for you. It has to be miserable. Just know the people are still around and 65% of them are feeling just like you are. This confinement probably wears you out, leaving you feeling directionless, low energy and depressed like introverts at a large party.

But, if you’re having a hard time with this, here are some ideas… (The “links” aren’t real. This is a photo of an email I got this morning from my Internet service provider). I would add exercise to this list.

Here’s an OOOOLLLLDDDD song…

Random Quotidian Thoughts 4.2.ii.b

I have given up the painting of the tree, in fact, I don’t want it in my house. It’s an incredibly disturbing piece of art work. I don’t want to spent hours in my little “play room” painting something I don’t want to happen. A few weeks ago it would have been a painting of a woman, a tree and the sky. Now? And, the panel is a really weird shape — FAR larger in one dimension than I think it should be. My will to paint something after I begin is not infrangible. In fact, until today, nothing in my life has been infrangible. Indomitable, unbreakable, determined, resolute, sure, but never infrangible.

Otherwise? I just hope everyone is doing as well as they can under the bizarre circumstances. The broken plumbing seems to have made it easier for me to have some perspective. Hearing OFFAL speak yesterday — and seeing him appear authentically confused and far less self-centered than usual — gave me hope (hope is often illusion) that he’s finally heard what the smart people around him have been saying. Anyway, the doctors got equal time on his daily rally and that was a little something. Dr. Birx showed us charts that I’ve seen before (really?) but they’re still good. Concerned about what will happen — most people can’t stay at home forever — I looked around until I found a decent explanation “Social distancing can’t last forever. Here’s what should come next.”

I hate the way people write now that we’re not relying on print media in which space on the that page costs money. I think back in the day, the inverted triangle made it possible for people to find out what they needed to know and then, if they chose, to move on to details if they wanted them. Anyway, the inverted triangle leads to clear, information-centered writing. If I’d written this article it would have had the bottom line at the top, but I didn’t. It’s possible to OVER-explain something. Still (having said my piece there) the article spells it out and is well worth reading.

Some good stuff has come from this, for me, anyway. I haven’t shopped for groceries for three weeks, as of yesterday. I think that’s awesome. Even in the best of times I don’t like shopping. I’ve relied on Amazon, yes, more than usual, but not that much.

Older person shopping is from 7 to 8 am, and I’m 30 minutes away from the store and like to sleep until 8 so THAT’S not happening. Instead, I’ve also compiled a list of groceries that I will pay for here at home. Then I will drive to City Market (Krogers) in Alamosa to pick it all up at an appointed time. Someone will put it in Bella and I won’t even get out of my car. Putting the list together was not that difficult because I always shop there, I have an account (for extra gas points!) and when I started it came up with a checklist of stuff I regularly buy. All I had to do was click on boxes and tell them how many. I saw more clearly what stuff costs, too. It could happen they’re sold out of some stuff, but so what?

I haven’t submitted my list yet, but I’m aiming for Friday.

The San Luis Valley has 8 known cases of COVID-19, but there are probably more. The majority of people here live in the country and the only thing anyone can do now is stay home with their symptoms unless they are grave. This isn’t a place given to sensationalizing anything.

Monday, after the plumber and I had derived the maximum enjoyment from the compelling video of my sewage line, we were talking toilet paper (the subject of the hour) and he said he’d cleaned out some lady’s system and found she’d been using paper towels. “She was an older lady, but,” then he looked at me, “not that that matters.” TMI about TP but I’m a single ply person having lived with a sensitive septic tank for 11 years.  And then I thought, “Do young people REALLY think we older people are so dumb? Sure there are plenty of examples around of dumb older people, but seriously? How did we GET here at all with the level of intelligence often imputed to us?” Then I thought, “He forgot he was speaking to ‘an older lady’.” 

And so I flopped between feeling insulted by his expectations of older people to feeling complimented that he’d forgotten I was one and back again. Then I thought, “What exactly is wrong with being older? I earned it. It wasn’t easy to get here and now there’s a new challenge.”

The human mind is a strange labyrinth… 

In honor of this April Fools Day I give you Ambrose Bierce:

n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war — founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. …in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.”
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

  • The featured photo is the dog’s yard. You can see my bizarre old garage which is frame/wood covered by steel panels ala the style of the San Luis Valley. Anyway, it has a new roof and protects my car. We love steel panels down here. In truth, my entire yard is the dog’s yard at this point… Sigh.

Nothing Pedestrian About It

I am a pedestrian. I walk. I’m not the first and, god-wiling, not the last of the species to make this claim, even to make this one. I love to walk. Love. Yep.

My dad had Multiple Sclerosis and had problems walking that got worse with time. Watching him struggle and persist probably contributed to my early sense that being able to walk is not to be taken for granted. That knowledge has been affirmed many times by my own mobility problems, two hips that went south and various injuries. My mom didn’t like walking, but she HAD walked to school in 40 below degrees with newspapers in her hand-me-down shoes, her feet in hand knit socks. It wasn’t “uphill both ways,” it was legit, but I did hear a lot about it. I never had to walk to school in 40 below, but 10 below is no picnic. But you do walk fast.

Some of my sweetest memories from childhood involve walking home from school with my brother over a little mesa where the wind blew like a, like a, oh well, like it does here. My mom knitted us short scarves she pinned around our heads, kind of like a Buff, and we often arrived home with icicles hanging from the place above out mouths, but, in the meantime, we’d fought through a barrage of space aliens; snow flakes — coming at us head on.

I still go out in that and like it.

Walking has often provided the transition, the liminal moment, between one life and another — between work and home, school and home. It was transportation (literally, TRANSPORT-ation) for much of my life. I didn’t drive if I could walk. Simply.

Walking to work and back from my Denver apartment in my late 20s was so important for me. My walk was 3/4 of a mile to and from, just long enough to prepare myself for whatever the day would hold in the morning and to clear the spiders of law from my mind in the evening. There were no electronic devices back then to pump music into my ears on my walks. There was only the sound of the streets, cars passing, snippets of music, vroom, the fragrance of dinners cooking.

I was a paralegal in an immense 17th street (Wall Street of the West) law firm. I was having my first experience with the kind of squishy integrity inherent in “billable hours.” My law firm had some huge clients — the City of Lakewood, for example — for which my boss was the city attorney. I was deep in municipal law, public improvement agreements and and and … I did well, but for me there was no governing philosophy to anything we did other than the bottom line. I liked my job OK. It was challenging, changing, fast-moving, but it wasn’t “me.” Invariably, somewhere on the walk home, I shed the paralegal and encountered my”self” and we went home together. It wasn’t much of a walk, but every day I saw something new and apparently I wrote convincing rhapsodies about it because the man in my life at the time, a man who’d trekked all over and been on the support team for a climb up Annapurna II, wanted to make the walk with me when he came to Denver. “I want to see what you see.”

I wasn’t aware of it then, but I was learning the lesson that if you go out, you will see something. Simple, huh? One day as I headed down the hill to the State Capital building I saw a hot air balloon preparing to rise. The design on the balloon was an immense blue Columbine, the Colorado state flower. There was no one to witness this but the denizens of the balloon and me.

I learned that you don’t have to walk in some “grand place.” All places are grand places.

If you would like to read some beautiful and inspiring words about walking, I turn your attention to Walking by Henry David Thoreau and “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are other writers, such as John Muir, who have extolled the quiet wonders of a pedestrian life, but those written Thoreau and Emerson are still my favorites.

This, from Thoreau’s Walking sums up my feelings and experience — and did the first time I read it in Robert D. Richardson’s graduate American Lit survey. Life — just like walking — comes down to putting one foot in front of the other.

“…We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return,—prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again,—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.” Henry David Thoreau, Walking

The best book about walking I’ve read recently is A Walk to the Water by Daniel Graham. Definitely a good choice for a time like this one (“like” this one?)

Class Warfare

The windshield wipers flapping back and forth on the rapidly icing window were no help at all. Maureen opened the wings to let the cold, outside air defrost the inside of the windshield of her 70 VW Bug.

The thin layer of snow on the ground had turned the slick ice below it into a booby trap. “At least I know that,” Maureen thought as she inched along toward the closest free parking lot to the law firm where she worked. “Why didn’t I walk?”

“You could slip on the ice walking those four blocks from the closest free parking lot,” said the voice inside her head. “Look at your shoes.” Dress shoes. Christmas party. Sheesh.

There was really no point in having driven. Even parking at the closest free lot, she had a quarter of a mile to the old building on 17th street that housed the law firm where she worked. “Christmas party,” she thought.

“I could’ve put my shoes in a bag and carried them,” she sighed. “I don’t do my best thinking at 6 am.”

She slowed gradually to a stop at the light on Downing. Watching a big Chevy slide to a stop, almost in the middle of the intersection, Maureen made up her mind. When the light turned green she turned left, left again, pointed her car toward home and pulled into the parking lot of her apartment building. “This is as close as free parking needs to be.” She closed up the wing windows, locked the car and went inside to change her shoes. She put her fancy disco sandals in her daypack, put on her boots and headed out the back door. “Much better,” she thought, taking long strides down the alley, down 13th street on the old flagstone sidewalk, bordered by winter grass and frosted leaves. To the west, a band of grey/blue was attempting to make some headway into the dim, grim light of 7 am Denver December. Maureen looked at the snowy peaks of the distant range hoping for the Alpenglow to climb up the front of Mt. Evans, but no. Still, if there was light over the mountains, maybe?

“You’re late.”

“I know. I started out driving but the roads were slick, and I decided to turn around and walk.”

“Seriously? It’s not even 10 degrees out there.”

“Well, yeah. Are the bosses here yet?”

“Of course not.” Lori laughed. “Losing valuable billable hours.”

“It’s bad out there. I wouldn’t want to be on the Interstate.”

We’re here,” said Lori who had an elevated sense of justice.

“You take the bus,” Maureen laughed.

“Yeah, well…”


Lamont and Dude Discuss Existential Doubt

“Lamont, you want a sandwich?”

“Whaddaya got?”

“Your favorite. Turkey breast, bacon, provolone and avocado.”

“That’s not my favorite. That’s Clarabelle or whoever’s favorite. You just can’t forget her, can you?”


“I don’t know her name. I can’t keep track. It seems like there’s one perky blond after another traipsing through here.”



“You’re in a mood.”

“Who wouldn’t be?”

“It’s actually cool you were a Columbian Mammoth. Why are you so hung up on being a wooly mammoth? Besides, who’s to say you WEREN’T a wooly mammoth? It was a long era.”

“That’s a good point, Dude. I don’t know why it matters so much.”

“I think I do, but if I say, you’ll hit me.”

“Just say it. If I hit you, you’ll get over it. You can always run.”

“You hate to be wrong. Especially about your earlier lives. You hate it. You’re afraid you might be, might be…”

“Might be what? We’ve BEEN giants. There’s no ‘might be’ involved there AT ALL.”

“You’re afraid you might be the fake you’ve been accused of being so often by the mainstream press and the scientific community.”

“I know I’m not a fake and you know it, too.”

“But still. You’re human. There’s always that lingering, existential doubt.”

“So you think I MIGHT have been a wooly mammoth in some iteration I can’t remember?”

“What if I leave out the avocado?”

Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past iterations which gives them an uncanny perspective on life the universe and everything.

Habitats in my Habitat

I’ve had some cool pets over the years. Not mine to start with but I often ended up with them for a while. I’ve been the co-human and temporary-human for snakes, spiders and a green iguana.

One of them is more than twenty years old now, a ball python was who only recently “sexed” and re-named Samira. Until last winter she was known to all and sundry as Mr. Slithers.

A ball Python — not Samira. She’s much larger

I had the pleasure of snake-sitting Samira for a while my friend returned to Europe for a long visit with his family. This meant I had to procure live meals for her. My little pit bull LOVED that show. When I came in the door with the rat, Persie could smell it. She would start jumping up with joy. (Terriers are terriers.) I would say, “You want to watch TV, Persie?” and she’d dance all around me. We’d go into the room where Samira (then Mr. Slithers) was living and I would drop the rat into the tank. Persie would sit, eyes rapt on Samira just like a kid from the 1950s watching Saturday morning cartoons. If Samira was hungry (and that was usually the case) she would employ her hunting stragedy. I know what Persie wanted was the rat, but, as long as she could watch the show, Persie honestly seemed happy to let Samira have it. Of course, if Samira didn’t want it (this happened maybe once) Persie got to hunt it in the backyard.

Besides Samira, in this menagerie were the green iguana (Wilma), the Nelson’s milk snake, Sydney, Ananda, the red-tail boa and the ill-fated rosy tarantula, Kinky Boots. There were more. There was a tarantula named, uh, Martha, and a nasty poisonous spider whose name I have forgotten but whose little tank I managed to clean.

Ananda — the snake around my neck in the featured photo — was a baby red-tail boa. These guys grow to be immense as you see below.

Alice Cooper and his Boa

But while Ananda lived with me he was a little guy and very “affectionate.”

If you’re going to have a snake, it’s important to handle them often so they are used to people otherwise, well, you might be using your imagination a lot reading this post anyway. Ananda hung out with/on me whenever I was home. He liked to make a hammock of my t-shirt, going in the left sleeve, across the back, and resting his head in the right sleeve. He was so tame that one day as I was grading papers, he decided to shed. To shed, a snake needs a certain texture that’s rough and resistant but not too rough (a nice rock, a log). He bumps his nose against the resistant surface then drags himself across the rough surface to take off the old skin, sort of like taking off panty-hose. I was sitting there, expressing dismay over comma splices and employing my red pen as needed. I felt Ananda on my head. It was a hot summer day and my hair was up in a twist, held by a barrette. Suddenly, there was a hard pull on my hair. OW!! I wondered what was going on up there. I got up, went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and saw Ananda was shedding. I know it sounds gross (and was in a way), but from a snake’s point of view it was kind of an honor to me. Snakes seek privacy and safety when they shed. It’s the time they are most vulnerable to predation. That Ananda felt safe shedding on his human was a huge compliment.

If you have animals like these in your life you have to adapt your own habitat to theirs, but you also have to make a good habitat for them.

We adopted Wilma, the green iguana, from a neighbor whose kids had HAD to have her and then didn’t care for her. She was pretty young, but not a baby. She had a giant tank with large branches to climb on. I found a towel made a good “substrate” because the texture was perfect for her, and it was easy for me to clean. True, it didn’t look like the forest or something and wasn’t all that scenic, but Wilma was happy. What she liked MOST was going outside with me. She loved — and needed — real sunshine and fresh air. I planted a hedge of red hibiscus for her because hibiscus flowers are one of the favorite foods of these animals. Feeding them can be the biggest challenge.

Wilma looked like this. ❤

They grow quite large, and anticipating that, my friend found her a home with someone who was able to give her a much better habitat than I/we ever would as she grew.

Sydney was a sweet young milk snake who really LOVED me. I won’t go into the details, but there was NOTHING he loved more than a nice warm bath/swim being dried by a towel. Milk snakes are a variety of king snakes. Sydney, and many other king snakes have the coloring of a coral snake, red, yellow and black, but the bands are in a different order and they are not venomous.

Nelson’s Milk snake like Sydney

One of the great benefits of having gotten to know Sydney was improved snake identification in the “wild.” Knowing all these creatures taught me a lot about the beings I was surrounded by on my hikes but seldom saw. I saw a lot of snakes on my rambles — most often rattlesnakes — but sometimes king snakes and rosy boas. One day I was hiking in the Laguna Mountains and had the privilege of seeing this beautiful, rare, very shy little guy:

San Diego Mountain Kingsnake (Laguna Mountain Kingsnake

I don’t know if we should make pets out of these wonderful animals, but since we do, the best we can do is make sure they have a good life. I do know that my life would have been less without having had the chance to live with them.

Pondering Painting a PICTURE of a Tree

I have a painting in mind and it involves an old cottonwood tree growing next to a dirt road in the Big Empty. The painting is from a photograph I took last year in a moment when I saw a painting happening in front of me.

Trees, however, individual trees, are not easy to paint. I did OK on this painting, though. It’s tiny, 7 x 5.

Cottonwood tree in a March Blizzard in Descansso, CA

The tree I’m hoping to paint doesn’t look much different from this one, but as it will not be in snow, the demarcation between branches won’t be as easy and THAT, for me, is the big challenge. The other challenge is that I imagine this painting as a very large painting. Maybe THE painting for the big canvas — 4 ft x 6 ft — that’s been languishing in my “studio” for the past two years, but probably not. Such a large painting will take a lot of paint and I don’t think oil paint manufacture and sales is on the list of necessary businesses. Canvas takes more paint than panel, too.

This is the photo, but I cropped it wrong and shortened the road between the viewer and the tree, so when I paint it I’m planning to put the figure a ways down the road so she doesn’t look like she just got out of my car to take a photo of a tree. One of the things that bothers me about the concept, though, is it might be too Andrew Wyeth. I don’t see the Big Empty in the same way Wyeth seems to have seen his world. His painting reflect it (to me) as kind of a bleak place filled with intimate neutral-toned relics of human life. His paintings of nature convey — to me — a troubled relationship between man and nature.

This is an awesome tree, but…

Andrew Wyeth painting

To me many of his paintings say, “Ethan Frome.” Shudder. It’s not that I don’t SEE that in the numerous dilapidated farms in my valley, the numerous log cabins, the frame and adobe buildings where someone tried to make their stand and find their dreams. The thing is there’s no way to know what happened (unless it’s obvious that there was a fire). As sad as a ruined cabin appears, it’s entirely possible that the people who built it and lived there were very happy.

So, in my painting, I want to capture the isolation of the Big Empty, but also my friend’s (and my) feeling when we saw that amazing tree. There was nothing bleak or sad about it.

“You Don’t Want to Know”

Long long ago in a cabin outside Bailey, Colorado my friend, Sonia, and I found a Ouija board in a hidey-hole where her childhood toys were also stored. We pulled it out, found the little triangle thing that moves and reveals. Being 19 or so, we were very interested in who was going to be the love of our lives. I loved someone (he may have been the love of my life but that’s another story that I probably told somewhere on this eternal blog) so I was trying VERY VERY hard to TELL that triangle where to go.

We “scryed” for about an hour — until 1 am because that’s the kind of thing you do at midnight. I was very stressed by the whole thing. I felt in my bones I’d done something very wrong. I didn’t sleep and when morning came, I went up a hill to think in the very wet grass and the dew-dripping branches of a spruce tree.

“It’s not your business,” said a voice inside or outside of my head. I’m not going to take a position on that because I’d look psychotic. “You’re going to live it,” said the voice. “It’s my business, not yours.”

And now I know, from my vantage point near the end of the story I was trying to scry, that the Ouija Board might have been trying to tell me by racing all over that board.