Anyone over 35 there? Third edition



I took lessons at nine or so in an Optimist club fleet. We had a Hartley 14 on Lyttelton Harbour, a dear wee tub that looked like a child’s drawing of a sailboat. After we moved to Auckland, I scored a Laser hull that had fallen off a roofrack on the motorway, incurring huge scars and gouges. A mate from the yacht club helped me fix it up. The regular rig was too powerful for a slip of a girl, so I bought a smaller sail from a woman who made them (a design later known as a Radial).

It’s basically a paddleboard with a sailing rig. Super fast and super wet.


I just wish I had done so many more things back then. Life was busy in grad school, and I never seemed to have enough time - but I enjoyed the things we did get around to.

Our problem was that I kept taking us back to Mexico so husband could meet my family - and that chewed up a lot of vacation time. We did trips there, but they were mostly sightseeing, not the other stuff.

I thought there would be time as we got older - then there was work, kids (ditto to Mexico), and I got sick at 40. Downhill from there. But I love writing, and that I can still do.


Where in Mexico? I’ve spent time in Baja but that’s it. I liked the people and the food and everything except the heat.


Grew up in Mexico City. Family vacations were in Acapulco. Visited places I remember - Veracruz, Puebla.

Visits back with hubby went to several places - Oaxaca, Huatulco, the Riviera Maya, Queretaro, Guanajuato…

And Mexico City is not hot; because it’s 1.5 miles up, it’s temperate.

I don’t like hot Mexican food; I always get very mild. They used to make fun of me and try to trick me into trying things which turned out to be hot. It made me very controlling about what I eat, in self-defense. My dad (Hungarian, first-generation American) and husband (Italian/German background) both liked hot food way more than I do.

The closest I’ve been to Baja is Puerto Vallarta.


I went with my guy of the time and rode buses and stayed in cheap hotels, late October into November. It seemed hot to me, especially in a room with tiny windows and a gasping old window-mounted cooler.

Spent a week or so in La Paz, hitching out to Tecolote Beach, swimming, hanging out under a palapa with a tall drink or beer, eating coctél del mariscos with heaps of chile and lime. There were harbourfront cafés with live jazz where we could dance on the sand.

Then we took a long, hot bus ride out to Todos Santos, which is rather artsy-fartsy. There’s a block of craft shops with prices in dollars rather than pesos (as I found out when I carried a couple bargains to the counter). Because of the risk of hurricanes and storm surge, the town is set 2-3 k inland, with some sandy two-track roads to the shore.

We’d hit the grocery and the morning tortilla bakery (there was also an evening one). A half-hour walk down from the lagoon was a beach where the fisherman launched and landed their pangas, 20-foot skiffs with big outboards. They’d catch a wave and gun the motor, shooting up onto the beach where a kid would dash out with a hook on a steel cable to catch the boat before it washed back out. There was a surplus army truck with the tyres dug in and a winch, to haul the boats up so they could be unloaded. Quite a show.

The sons of the fishermen had fires going and were roasting fish on sticks. I bought one at a time, wrapped a fresh tortilla around it with sliced avocado and hot salsa, and wolfed it down with a beer. Depending on the size of the fish, I could eat two or three.

Then we sat and luxuriated and watched the brown pelicans patrol the surf.

We were there for Dia de los Muertos, but that’s another story.


Which made it into your story, right?


You do limit your potential audience if you write in a Marvel fanfic - they’re probably very protective of their universe. OTOH, if you have to invent your own universe, it’s a lot of work.

But it seems wrong to me to make your readers decide where it’s going next - that’s your job, your story to tell.

UW law professor - that’s actually funny. I’m sure you have lots of details.

Good luck.


Depends on how you do it. Anybody who tries to detail everything when worldbuilding is in for a hard time. I use a ‘points of light’ method: start off with the important things, then keep copious notes.

Comes from 40 years of dealing with gamers!


You actually read it? Gollywhillickers! It’s been so long since I looked at it, I can’t recall whether you commented. Some the details came from my trip but the motel had to be nearer to the beach.

One bit I didn’t put in the story was walking through the thick palms to the laguna and hearing a growl not far off. The guy I was with started to run but I grabbed his arm and told him if it was a jaguar that would prompt an attack. I asked a few people about it and they said there was some sort of big cat in the area. But I think they used another word.


I read it, voted, and commented - and you commented back.

But it was fun to see where that bit came from.

Don’t worry - I have senior moments, too.


Games are the new stories - I swear my kids have spent half their lives gaming. But they also read, when I had them, so I don’t worry too much.

I wonder what I would have done if I’d had the ability to do some of the computer stuff they have had access to. I did program supercomputers for a living for a while, but by the time I was into Myst with the kids, the world had moved past me - and I was sick. My youngest daughter bought me Portal, and I couldn’t manage to learn the trick to turning yourself inside out past a certain level; maybe some day I’ll try again. When the trilogy is finished, maybe.


Valve? Trilogy? Laughs maniacally … .

Me? I haven’t touched a computer game in years. Tabletop games are more my area. The physicality of the games and the sociability of actually getting around a table are the appeal for me.


I was a fine carrom board player. Never played professionally. I wasn’t allowed. As the only female player amongst all the male cousins, used to compete with them in family-held competitions and win. Haven’t played in years… Someday, I’ll start playing again…


Ooops! I should blush, but I’m shameless.

Actually, one reason I post stories on WP is so I can forget about them. I seldom look at them unless someone points out a mistake.

About the growl we heard, I think I decided it was a cougar (Puma concolor) which also lives here in Wyoming. They hunt at dawn and dusk and bed down in thick vegetation, so it was likely sleeping among the dense palms and we woke it with our voices: gr-r-rowrrr. But the people in town had some other word for it that I wish I could recall.

Have you set any stories in Mexico? Or did I already ask you?


Some of the yobs who hounded me off the internet were computer gamers, and I’m sort of allergic to the whole scene. Glad to hear you’re a tabletop type.

I enjoy SCRABBLE, a nine-tile variation that goes more quickly when playing with two. Also love card games, especially poker and such. Used to supplement my income playing fire-camp poker. Shocking how many guys don’t think a woman could possibly beat them. Talk about easy marks.


I hope you do take carrot up again. I’ve played it at a local board game shop, and it takes a lot of skill. Some of the custom boards are also very, very nice - but way out of my price range!


I have to agree with you. My experience of online gamers was enough to put me off, and it’s very difficult to find games without an online component.

As for poker, doesn’t surprise me that you kept winning. I taught my daughter that when you play a game you always take your opponent seriously. It’s an insult to do otherwise.


The trunk novel was to be the beginning of a series about a young middle-class Mexican woman who comes to the States with her parents (her dad’s a doctor) and marries an American and is planning to stay. She does a stint in the Army, MP. She gets an engineering degree (her husband is in grad school for a physics PhD), and ends up investigating an accident in his department. It gave me a chance to use a lot of things; the second novel in the series was set in Mexico, and I was half through figuring it out when I had Pride’s Children dumped in my lap, and diverted my attention.

I may go back some day - there were many good parts, but a lot needed reworking. People who read it often said that the first third was a bit of a slog, but that they couldn’t put it down after that.


El gato? Un jaguar? El tigre?

Cougar is not a word in my Spanish lexicon - and I don’t know what big cats are in the area you were in.

There are other, smaller cats - I don’t have a clue.


I think the usual Mexican term for this chap—

—is puma. The Latin name is Puma concolor. I think upper BC is too dry and northerly for jaguars.

I think the word(s) they used were local slang. I didn’t see any deer thereabouts, but reckon a cougar would play hell with sheep, goats, and calves. I’ve seen their tracks, scats, and scratchmarks, and heard their calls, but I’ve yet to see one.

Are you saying Pride’s Children was dumped in your lap by the fates (or furies?)