Contrary to how you may read the title — this entry is not about the class subject which follows math. That would have been two separate words.

We’re in a portion of the calendar where one big party – Christmas – is past and it’s not quite time to count the glasses and prepare the food for New Year’s.

We’re rather like these fellows:


deflated….er, resting.

Or in the case of St. Louis, keeping an eye on creeks and rivers as God gives us a generous serving of rain. Yes, rain. And I’m ever so glad it’s not this much moisture in the form of snow.

Thinking of a New Year read? Starr Tree Farm is set in a quiet, peaceful town during January. Peaceful is relative — it’s a romantic suspense.          


Keeping it Simple

Lighted, animated figures in the yard. Colorful marquee lights along the eaves. Santa’s workshop revealed in a spotlight. Or a nativity set with a dozen figures.

Yes, the large, complicated light displays are beautiful. It’s a pleasure to be the passenger when someone else drives the neighborhoods where they sprout up in December.

The smaller, simpler decorations have a charm also. A wreath on the door — cheerful green and red against white or natural wood. An electric candle in a window.

Contrary to the claims of the retail establishments — it’s possible to celebrate simple and inexpensive. The owners of the decoration below proclaim as much Christmas spirit as the winner of any neighborhood contest.



Fear Not…

New reports are filled with the actions and reactions of fear-filled people.

Is the person over there a different skin tone? Religion? Political party? Be afraid.

Sorry, dear reader. The author needs to register an opposite opinion. May I offer a word of remedy — communication. If you are in a situation which allows the action — then go introduce yourself. Shake hands. Exchange small talk. That person that looks or acts different breathes the same air, has a heart pumping blood, and a brain capable of learning.

And remind yourself — fear is not a new emotion. Angels frequently introduced themselves to the human prophets and chosen by a the familiar phrase — Fear not, for …

December 2013_423


A Generous Heart

Americans can be a generous people. Many of them give of their time, talent, and treasure all year long.

December appears to be a time to focus on gifts and giving and helping those with less materials goods. And our mailboxes are full of more giving “opportunities” than one person could possibly keep straight.

Giving is a good thing. A generous spirit is always appreciated.

Sometimes we need to learn to recognize it. The neighbor or friend who patiently listens to our complaints is giving a gift of time. A person picking up a little trash as they walk along the street contributes to the beauty of the landscape. A kind word. A smile.

Consider the character below.

A tough exterior and toothy smile over a generous heart.



The Roving Reporter Returns

Today your St. Louis roving reporter is at Grand Avenue Hospital. In keeping  with our series of interviews with young professionals, we’re sharing a cup of coffee with Dr. David Holmes. I’d like to begin by offering my congratulations on your surgical position.                                                                                                             GetAttachment

D.H. Thank you.

 R.R. Could you share with our readers when and how you first became interested in medicine?

D.H. During junior high we were assigned a project which included interviewing a person in our dream occupation and touring their workplace. I thought I’d keep it simple and interviewed my aunt. She discussed her college training and gave me an in-depth tour of the hospital lab where she worked. I walked away from the hospital and her co-workers knowing I wanted medicine. The details, such as physician vs. one of the ancillary fields, solidified during high school.

R.R. Could you describe the educational route you took to your current position?

D.H. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Missouri in Columbia. I returned to St. Louis for medical school and was fortunate to do all my interning and surgical residency programs right here at Grand Avenue Hospital.

R.R. Did you have any detours or side trips during these long years?

D. H. I was determined to avoid detours. However, medical school can be expensive. I did receive several grants and scholarships. One of the scholarships required nine months at a medical mission of the sponsor. I’m happy to report that I’ve recently returned from Guatemala.

R.R. That’s a significant side trip. Do you plan to make further contributions of this sort?

D. H. No current plans. Perhaps in a few years I’ll participate again.

 R.R. Describe some of your off duty interests and hobbies for our readers. Where would we be likely to see you on your day off?

D. H. You’ll find me in my kitchen. I enjoy baking traditional desserts and adding new flavors to classic main dishes. I also try to get in a run when possible or play some basketball with friends.

R.R. What do you see yourself doing in five years?

D. H. Five years from now I’d like to be training future surgeons. My surgical mentor and I have floated a few collaborative ideas and I’d like to think that at least one of them works out.

 R.R. Thank you, Dr. Holmes. We wish you well in both your career and personal life.

Stare Down picks up Dr. Holmes’ story a few days after this interview. It’s available now from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

(This “interview” first appeared as a guest blog on in Nov. 2015.)


Holiday Memories

When I was a child…

Lots of conversations begin with the above phrase at this time of year. It seems that the holiday traditions of our youth are the ones that stay most firmly in our minds. It’s easy to remember the positive from the past and find the present lacking in some way or another.

Music gained importance during December childhood years. We had practice for concerts at school. Extra rehearsals for a church program. Favorite records (yes, I’m that old) came out and filled the house with seasonal sounds as we cleaned and cooked and decorated. Even the music on the piano stand developed a holiday flair. And for either the good or bad, other family members would sing while either mother or I played the piano.


Popular December music. In the future too if you can trust the photo date. (I won’t.)


The Roving Report

Today your roving reporter is at St. Louis Metropolitan Police Headquarters. We’re sharing a cup of coffee with  the department’s newest detective, Ms. Maylee Morgan.                                                                                                                           GetAttachment

I’d like to begin by offering my congratulations on your promotion.

MM: Thank you.

RR: Could you share with our readers when and how you first became interested in police work?

MM: It’s difficult to remember a time when I didn’t enjoy solving puzzles and reading mysteries. When I was in junior high, one of my older brothers started bringing “True Crime” paperbacks into our home and soon I became convinced I wanted to solve real life puzzles.

RR: Could you describe the educational route you took to your current position?

MM: My formal education includes Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri St. Louis. It has a nationally ranked program and prepared me well. Of course, the first step after acceptance by the department was attendance at the Police Academy. This combination of classroom and hands on training is vital. And an officer’s education continues with seminars, on-line classes, and workshops sponsored by universities and law enforcement agencies.

RR: Describe some of your off duty interests and hobbies. Where would we be likely to see you on your day off?

MM: The most consistent activity for my down time is a good run in the park. Yes, there are times when weather doesn’t cooperate, but then I visit the department gym for physical training. When I have an entire day off I try to spend part of it with family. My mother lives in South County and two of my four brothers live within the Metro Area. We have a long list of family traditions, some started three or four generations ago, which we continue. All of us are Cardinal fans and are looking forward to a winning season.

RR: Family sounds important to you. Can you see yourself blending career, husband, and family in the future?

MM: It’s going to take a very special person to understand and accept the time and emotional demands of my occupation. I like to believe that he’s out there, but we haven’t crossed paths yet. Oh, and it would be a bonus if he can cook.

RR: Thank you, Detective Morgan. We wish you luck in both career and personal life.

Stare Down picks up Detective Morgan’s story a few weeks after this interview. It is available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

(This “interview” first appeared on the blog of The Wild Rose Press in October 2015.)


Two Views

The first day of December. Do you realize that 92% of 2015 is past, done, in the history books?

What’s your reaction to the fact?

What happened? I had plans. Now I’ll never… I may as well give up. I never get anything done. Time goes too fast.

If that’s your view I’d call you a pessimist. Your glass is half-empty. Your mind is on the unattainable.

Shall we flip it? Did you know we have 8% of 2015 yet to live?

I can do this. I’ll find a little organization and accomplish many things in 31 days. Yes, I missed sending out…, but I’ll add a note to the Christmas card. It’s too late to plan that summer gathering, but who said picnics had to be in summer. (Think picnic blanket on the living room floor. {Advantage: no ants.}) I’ve time to start one new, positive habit.

Yes, an optimist to the end of New Year’s Eve.

Whichever view you take (and I favor the latter) here’s wishing you a reward for your effort in the final stretch of 2015. We’ll talk about 2016 in the near future.