Sandy Points Blog

The Dingo Got My Baby!

cinco1.jpgI'm recovering from a tremendous scare. We had just returned home from a volleyball game and dropping the girls at piano. I went into my office to check email and heard our little chihuahua, Cinco, bark. In another second there were high-pitched, panicked SCREAMS. I popped out of my chair and wrestled with the door leading from my office to our yard. (The deadbolt was released but the handle lock was slippery and I was acting too quickly.) I got the door open, went outside and saw a coyote IN OUR BACKYARD with Cinco in its mouth!

Talk about animal instincts. Mine kicked in immediately. I screamed and ran toward them waving my arms and yelling “No! No! Get out of here! Get out!” The coyote tried to scale the wall with Cinco in its mouth, and as I continued screaming and got closer to them, this #@$*&! dropped her, bolted across the playground and climbed the wall, returning to the undeveloped desert surrounding our home. Cinco scurried to the opposite end of the yard.

She was not injured as far as we could tell. No cuts. No blood. But OMG the SMELL!!!! The saliva all over her was one of the foulest things I've ever smelt.

She had an immediate bath. I had a glass of wine. Actually, I think she recovered more quickly than I.

Shortly after it happened I contacted my girlfriend, Jeanine, a former college roommate and a ‘would-be’ wildlife biologist in another life, and related the above. She said coyotes not only carry away small dogs or critters, they will lead away larger dogs by using just one from the pack . . . and then the pack descends. Not a pretty Circle of Life.  She also said, “wildlife will succeed despite our moving into their places.”

Yes, I’m quite sure the coyotes roamed this desert territory long before we came with our little domesticated dogs.

Jeanine lives in rural Colorado. She said a couple of years ago in Elbert, a guy went outside and saw a mountain lion near his dog pen, which contained a lab and a puppy. He went in to get his gun and when he came back the puppy was gone.  She related another story that happened recently near Denver. A couple was sleeping and their Lab was in their bedroom. The dog was taken by a lion and killed. She said the Division of Wildlife confirmed it was a lion that killed the dog and, in fact, used the dog's body to lure the lion back so it could be killed. (It was).
“You may need to install a large wire kennel or other dog walk with a top so Cinco can safely be in the yard without you,” said Jeanine. “Poor girl,” she added, “she probably needed a glass of wine too.”


It Just Ain't The Same

dsc05545.jpgAnd so another summer season at Sandy Point comes to an end. Mike was on property to host the Northwoods Open over Labor Day weekend and stayed through the next weekend to help tend to a full house. Now he's back in Tucson with the kids and me, leaving behind the cabin-cleaning and pro shop-tending, and shifting focus to the carpool-driving and sports-spectating. Our girls, by the way, will bring home interim grading tomorrow. The first quarter of sixth and eighth grades is FLYING by.

We all leave behind Sandy Point with memories of the birch and pine and the beautiful reflections of Squaw Lake. What we have instead here in Tucson is a Caribbean blue swimming pool along with palm trees and cacti. It has its own beauty, of course, but it just ain't the same. 

The good news is my feet look better here in the Valley of the Dolls than they do in the wilds of the Northwoods. 






Reflections on a Late Summer's Eve


It couldn’t have been more peaceful when I opted to grab my laptop and camera and head down to the lake for the rare quiet time afforded a resort owner. The sun had set in the west leaving butterscotch yellow and pink grapefruit afterglows around the puffy clouds, and the calm water of Squaw Lake looked like a reflecting pool.

And then came the teenagers barreling across the bay. Rub-a-dub-dub, three teens in a tub, who yelled at one another using every swear word they’ve ever learned. They were dismally unconscious of the mellow-harshing influence it had not only on me, but on my next door neighbors out enjoying their dock and the fishermen anchored over the sand bar just beyond our pier. All the yelling boys heard was the roar of their 9.5 hp outboard motor.

I DETEST being put in the position of Mother Superior, but I gave them a good “this is UNCOOL Dudes,” tongue-lashing . . . which was nothing compared to the one they got from their grandmother, who has been kind enough to put up with them for a week’s vacation. She heard them from her cabin, as I suspect did everyone else within a mile radius.  They’re good boys—just being boys—and if anything, tonight they learned a science lesson about how sound carries over water.


This is a beautiful place and I love it here, but I miss my husband and my children, already back in Tucson for the school year that began August 7. I’m feeling nostalgic for another season gone by too quickly without enough time to enjoy the best part about sharing this small piece of heaven with the loons and eagles, the mallards and muskies. And yes, even the resort guests with too much testosterone.

It’s time for a vacation.











Gangsters in the Northwoods

sign.jpgOur neck of the woods has a fascinating gangster history, brought to the spotlight last spring when Johnny Depp was in town filming the story of the 1934 shootout at Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters where John Dillinger and his gang were targeted by the FBI. I had dinner at Little Bohemia last night with my sister and brother-in-law. We took in the history and got a good look at the setting for Depp's movie, "Public Enemy," to be released in 2009.


The shootout was actually a disaster for the FBI. Barking dogs tipped off the presence of the agents in the parking lot and when a group of innocent patrons of the lodge stepped outside, shots were fired and then everything went to hell. Dillinger's gang members, still inside, fired back and two innocent civilians and an FBI agent were shot. The entire Dillinger gang escaped, and according to some old-timers, Dillinger wasn't even there, but instead was at another lodge down the road.


Gunshots in the windows at Little Bohemia have been preserved and I have to say, looking at them really gave me the creeps. The rest of the lodge is in fine shape and sports a fresh coat of paint and new asphalt in the parking lot and driveway. The grounds are well groomed and feature stately red pines. In addition to the Dillinger memorabilia, pictures of Johnny Depp are now proudly displayed.


Because he eluded the FBI so many times, Dillinger, a notorious bank robber, was labeled "Public Enemy Number One," and the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, placed a $15,000 price on his head. He was finally brought down when betrayed by the infamous "woman in red," (Anna Sage), who identified him outside of a Chicago theater in July of 1934.

We picked up information about other gangster related sites in the Northwoods, which during prohibition and the Depression, was filled with gambling parlors and houses of ill repute. All dirt roads led to the Northwoods, an out-of-the-way hiding spot for the bad boys of Chicago.





They're Real. And They're Spectacular


Time for some UPLIFTING news . . .

Each summer when we face a new season at Sandy Point, our little family gathers as a team. We put our hands together and declare that what's ahead of us will be "the BEST summer ever!"

I'm afraid this summer didn't qualify. It hasn't even come close to being the BEST.

It began with the unexpected death of a friend just four days before my arrival, included Camille's broken arm, the open heart surgery of a very close friend's son (he's doing very well); a motorcycle accident that has put my favorite cousin in a coma for the past six weeks (she's not doing very well, I'm afraid); the microburst storm that tore apart our lakefront; and then I learned of another death of a lovely woman in our Tucson community. During a few lower points of sadness I start to wonder if I have a sign on my back that reads: "HIT ME AGAIN." And I didn't even mention the lousy economy, the price of gas or the creepy stalker posting crap about me and my first novel on the Internet . . . considering all we've endured, that jerk was just like one more mosquito.

So here we go again. 

Many of you have seen and commented upon our YouTube video of how we attempted to save the birch trees on our shoreline, which were nearly leveled after the storm. That's where the uplifting news began. (BTW: The trees are STILL ALIVE.) Photographed here in what is probably not your mother's bra, is the cover of my new novel—JUST RELEASED—and available for your reading pleasure.

It's Not Your Mother's Bridge Club is about a group of women who play the dice game BUNKO. I wanted to use the word BUNKO in the title, but the World Bunco Association wanted 50% of the royalties for that "privledge," so the short story there is, I changed the title.

You can order the book through, my publisher's website; or if you'd like an autographed copy, visit the shop on our website at

If you enjoy it, let me know, because I'd sure like to start a string of uplifting news coming my way. Meanwhile, as my kids get ready to leave me for the summer and go off to school (they've already missed the first two days), we're all putting our hands together and saying: "BEST school year ever!" 



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