The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not

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twenty-one pi salute




Sending a 21-Pi salute to our adventurous son … what an exciting 21 years!



Well, another summer in the books … which means it’s time to go back to college

I made it through another college departure, as our son headed off for his junior year after dinner. ¬†And I didn’t even cry in front of him. much. We did it, I remind myself, as my emotions run the gamut from heartbroken to overjoyed … because all of our hoping, dreaming, planning, and saving have made it possible for him to return for another year to university, to pursue the things that most interest him, and will help build the man he is to become. But I’m sad … now it’s just me and Steve. Well, and my husband (who’s way better than Steve). Summertime is the best because we get in so much adventuring and dreaming and all the stuff. Sigh. Good luck to all the college-bound kids out there, and good luck to all their parents. You did it, even though it breaks your heart to know the future is just that much closer. If I close my eyes, I can still feel his little heart beat against my chest.

We adventured in Colorado this summer.


So long, house!

acornIn 1997, my soul mate and I kicked off an adventure in a little town called Apex, in a beautiful little house on Acorn Hill Lane. Nineteen years, one son, three dogs and three cats later, we’re moving on to a new adventure half an hour down the road in a new little town. When we moved into this house, I was four months pregnant; I had breakfast one morning with my husband, went to work, and came home to a different house in a different town. Today, our son woke up and had breakfast with us, went to school, and will come home to a different house in a different town. I’ve passed the torch. I’m going to miss our house, where the most exciting (the birth of our son) and the saddest (the death of my father-in-law) events have occurred.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 5.07.40 PMBut we are nothing if not adventurers, we Sickles Three, and anticipate that our new house on two acres in the meadow will bring with it more of the good stuff, and likely more of the sad stuff … eventually. Either way, we face our new adventure head-on, where being together makes any house a home.

So, so long house … and thanks for all the fish!

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Adventuring in Vancouver

While my sweetie was conferencing, I tagged along to get in a little adventuring. I found Vancouver to be a rather functional working city, with pretty spots peeking through on occasion. The Stanley Park area was our favorite, particularly watching the rowing club in Coal Harbour. I walked about 45 miles over four days, took the city bus, the Sea bus and the water taxi. All around, a fun week.


21 and counting …

On any given day¬†I’m happy to follow my flights of fancy to see where they’re going. I’m an optimist and an idealist, after all. And loathe though I am to admit, numbers can tell a story as good as words (had I not spent years as a technical writer and grant writer before turning to fiction, I never would’ve admitted it). Here are some numbers for you.

Today is my twenty-first anniversary with Matt.



  • At 42, I’ve now been married half of my life.
  • I’ve loved my partner over half¬†that time.
  • The¬†thing I’m most proud of is our son, Peyton, who’s been with us for 24.7% of my life (and 81% of our marriage).
  • And though nothing in life is certain, I am 100% sure that I have lived a happy, adventurous, challenging, fulfilling, hopeful life. And without the man at my side, things would have been quite boring.

So here’s to 21 x 21 to infinity more … I’d still stop the world and melt with him.


Running Shoe Advice

I’m on the search for some new running shoes. Here’s what I need: medium to high arch, good for back injuries, good for healed plantar fasciitis, no pronation or¬†supination, and¬†if possible –¬†magic endurance. Here’s what the nice lady at Dick’s suggested:



They’ll spend their time on the treadmill at the Y, on the trails around town, and on the boot camp black top. My last shoes were a pair of The North Face trail runners, which took me from¬†the trails at Umstead Park to the¬†tropical Grand Cayman and Belizean rainforest¬†… and all points in between. But they’re not available any more.

Any thoughts on these choices … or perhaps, other shoes to consider?


Beautiful Belize – Into the Tropical Rainforests We Go

day5_38 (Large)We had two excursions into the tropical rainforest jungle of Belize, which offered windows into the world of the ancient Maya. Last year, when we were in¬†Arizona, we visited the Tuzigoot National Monument, which lies in the Verde River floodplain in Cottonwood. Tuzigoot was built by the Sinagua people between 1125 and 1400 CE.; in Apache, it means “crooked water.” But in Belize, we have visited structures thousands of years older. It’s so hard to grasp.

On Easter Sunday, we traveled a short distance to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park.¬† Arwyn once again was our driver, and our guide along the Southern Highway. In terms of parks, it’s rather compact (11 square miles), but it packs a big wallop. We chose the mostly vertical 2.9K hike up to Antelope Falls, where we ditched our hiking gear and bags, changed in the middle of the forest into bathing suits (there’s nothing as exhilarating as stripping to the skin under cover of giant palms and praying that nobody comes along), and swam in the cool swimming hole formed by the Antelope Falls waterfall. It would’ve been nicer had we had the swimming hole to ourselves, but we enjoyed ourselves all the same. Two small Maya pyramids and nine other structures that were occupied in the late 9th and early 10th centuries are located here. The whole park, for the most part, seemed to have only 10 or 15 people … beyond the swimming, we rarely ran across other humans. On the way home from Bocawina, Arwyn stopped along the Southern Highway, surrounded by Valencia Orange groves, to let us pick a couple of oranges (it’s how we learned to select them). The groves, we learned, are owned by a man in Florida who most often just lets them fall to the ground. The crop from most of the groves is turned into concentrate and makes it way to Florida, where it’s labelled “Florida orange juice.” Tsk, tsk. But they were some pretty good damn oranges, however they’re labelled.

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Our next journey into the jungle was on Tuesday, when Santos took us up into the Maya Mountains, to the Maya archaeological site Xunantunich¬†(pronounced shoo-nan-two-neesh). It’s about a mile from the Guatemalan border, and Santos told us the neighboring countries¬†didn’t always have good relations. Santos, by the way, was remarkable. At one point in his life he leased farmland in the Maya Mountains, selling cacao beans to Hershey’s in PA. Cool, right? We rode a hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan River to reach the ruins.¬†Xunantunich is estimated to have been occupied as early as 1,000 BC, making it two millennia older than that of Tuzigoot. There are three main plazas at the site, with the dominant structure being El Castillo (there’s a photo of my family there). El Castillo¬†rises 130 feet high, with NO guard rails on the way up or down, and is the highest structure in Belize. From the top, on a clear day, you can see for about 11 miles; most days you can see the Guatemalan border, just a mile away. There are a couple of plaster friezes at the site. It’s amazing that we got to (a) actually climb El Castillo and (b) got to touch the friezes. We told the mini me that once the Belizean government caught up with tourism, these things would likely be roped off and no longer accessible to visitors. We learned that the bedrock forms the foundation of many of the structures, but the variety of stones brought in were carried by hand, not cards, meaning the primitive/formative Maya were extremely strong (short) people. In the side-show, you’ll see photos of the ruins, where mounds of earth and grass cover parts of the structures. Before they were excavated (and they’re still in the process; it’s very expensive and slow-going), all but the top levels of El Castillo were covered. Beneath the earth is perfectly formed and preserved stone. Cool, huh?

Simple things, like the way our Mayan guide, Edri, would refer to the people who built El Castillo as “the formative Maya” stick in my mind.¬†Or the way our guide Santos, who took us along the Hummingbird Highway and up into the Mayan Mountains, talked about how “the primitive people followed the animals; when the animals ran, so did the people,” in reference to the¬†destruction incurred at the hands of Hurricane Hattie in 1961 and not standing on the shore watching the ocean, wondering what was happening.

Here are some great sites with information on Maya archaeological sites in Belize: