Family influences do play a big role – pro or con

I still don’t know why I chose to end the earlier version of Subway Visions as I did, but it was an intuitive leap. In backtracking as he does, our hippie photographer lands in the embrace of his guardian angel’s family. Who they are gave me the foundation for my novel What’s Left.

Of course, the family influence can be largely positive or largely negative, most likely a mixture of both.

How has your family shaped who you are today?

And how do you depart from those roots?


My novels are available at the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Scribd, Smashwords, Sony’s Kobo, and other fine ebook distributors and at Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.

Within a daughter’s own living Greek drama

I’m looking for a new motto

I really didn’t use this online, but it did give me a focus:

blogging about Dover

and the world beyond

But now I’ve packed up and relocated. The way this Red Barn blog functions, though, Dover will continue to be a big part of the lineup. It’s a happenin’ place, for one thing, and my next book is a unique history aimed at the community’s 400th anniversary, which takes place in 2023.

As I refocus, I’m open to suggestions. Officially, the heading’s subtitle used to proclaim “a space for work and reflection.” Somewhere along the line, it became “come view the world from my loft,” but now even that is, no pun intended, up in the air.

This blend of here and there has me thinking of dreams, which have one foot in the present and one in the past, or so I’ve heard. From previous moves, I know that my previous home will be part of my awareness for a long time ahead.

Thanks for the memories. And for the new adventures.

Now, though, how should I define my new reality?

On the rail, head to tail

Apart from a short spur to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, all of the railroad traffic to and from Maine and the rest of the United States runs through Dover. (I’m not sure how much, if any, goes through Canada.)

When we first moved into the house, our younger one started complaining about all the train noises in the night as sand and gravel moved to Boston’s Big Dig construction.

More recently, one my my regrets about the Covid shutdown has been that a number of Amtrak trips I’d hoped to take – to museums and the Boston Symphony’s Friday matinee concerts, especially – instead got scrubbed. And since the Amtrak station was in walking distance of our house, I loved joking about walking to Boston. Ha-ha.

On the other hand, it can be annoying when you get stuck at a railroad crossing downtown while a long freight train passes. I usually lose count somewhere around 120 cars.

Here’s one I managed to shoot from the Oak Street bridge as it waited for the all-clear to continue rolling. Rail traffic, I’ve heard, doesn’t go north-south but rather east-west. Well, Portland’s north of us and Boston’s south. Make of it what you will.

Can’t see the engines up front, can you?

And can’t see the tail, either. Here we are, somewhere in the middle.

Ten largest Native American reservations in Washington state

There are 21 Native American reservations in Washington state. As Joshua and Jaya discover in my novel Nearly Canaan, living adjacent to one, they are home to a unique culture.

Here are the ten largest by area.


  1. Colville, 1,300,000 acres or 2,031 square miles. A little larger than Delaware. It’s in the arid northeast corner of the state.
  2. Yakama, 837,753 acres or 1,309 square miles. Still larger than Rhode Island. It stretches from the Cascade crest into the arid Yakima Valley.
  3. Quinault, 208,150 acres or 325 square miles. About the size of Omaha or Greensboro. It’s along the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic peninsula.
  4. Spokane, 153,600 acres or 240 square miles. Compare its area to Milwaukee. It’s just east of Colville.
  5. Makah, 23,040 acres or 36 square miles. Still larger than Manhattan. Sits at the northwest tip of the Olympic peninsula.
  6. Snohomish or Tulalip, 8.930 acres or 14 square miles. Sits along Puget Sound north of Seattle.
  7. Port Madison, 1,375 acres or 2.145 square miles.
  8. Quileaute, 837 acres or 1.3 square miles.
  9. Hoh, 640 acres or one square mile.
  10. Lummi, 598 acres.


Have you ever attended a powwow?


How does the rest of the family face up to the challenge?

Family-run businesses present their own unique operating models.

Under the ideal version, the members have an understanding of each other and their mission along with a loyalty that’s unrivaled. The business is part of their identity. Each member of the family understands his or her abilities and place in the enterprise. Often, they learned the operation from childhood on, starting at entry level. For their employees, however, that can come at the price of exclusion and upward mobility.

Sometimes the organization is headed by a patriarch or matriarch with the authority to make and enforce difficult decisions. In this model resentments and perceived sleights can mount over the years before erupting. Or the family head may no longer fit the kind of executive the company needs at a particular stage of its growth; a founder, for instance, may have technical expertise but not the people skills for marketing or adapting to a changing market.

What have you seen or experienced?