About Me

IMG_6417 2I am a Pacific Northwest native, transplanted to the Southeast as America celebrated her bicentennial. After 36 years away, I returned to my Washington roots in the summer of 2012.

I am a grandmother, a writer, a photographer, a hiker, an adventurer, a teacher, a learner, a curiosity seeker, a sunrise lover.

I welcome you to join me here as I explore my world and my life through words and pictures.


I am a writer!

You know that question: “What would you do if nothing were standing in your way?” Nothing like fear and not knowing how and lack of confidence and the need to make a living. For as long as I can remember—well, maybe not that long, but pretty long—my answer has been, “I would be a writer.” I envisioned myself in a tower room with a 360 degree view of mountains and water and sky, losing myself in the characters of a novel. Writing and writing and writing.

I don’t have the tower room. But I am no longer afraid to write. I write to discover who I am and what I am thinking and feeling. I AM a writer, because I write. I share it with you because saying it out loud to the world makes me a better writer. I share it in the hopes that it will spark something in you: perhaps an acknowledgement of your own creativity, perhaps a recognition of something you have not been able to voice, perhaps inspiration to view your world with new curiosity. I AM A WRITER! Sing out loud, sing out strong. 

And now I am an author! My memoir, Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver, was published by She Writes Press in October 2022. It is available wherever books are sold. 

“She promises one year, living with her stubbornly independent 96-year-old mother, cleaning out the house her parents had stashed musty history in for five decades, and getting her mother moved elsewhere. Four years later, the author is still trying to stay sane in the face of her mother’s increasing dementia, fighting old battles and learning respect and acceptance.”

I welcome your feedback and comment on any of the content here, especially what embers are burning in your soul. Especially your stories.

Tomando canta (drink care),



I acknowledge that I live on the ancestral lands of the People of the Sands (Chi-ke-lis,) who thrived along the Upper and Lower Chehalis River, until the encroachment of white settlers forced them to give up their ancestral lands. 

5 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Gretchen: I am overwhelmed by your “Letters Home” and I am awed at the breath of its content and scholarship. When my dad, Richard Leslie, and I attended the Kiwanis International Convention in Seattle in 1988, I think it was your dad who gave us a guided tour of the paper plant and the city. I am into digital recording and production of programming of local history and my web site is: http://www.YouTube.com/WatchmanOfTheTracks I used to write on occasion and my former wife could not understand why I devoted a large amount of time (in her mind) to thought, writing and editing. My two sons would bring their term papers to me to proof. I’d return the drafts with the comment, “I want you to review what you’ve written and cross out all the unnecessary words.” “Dad! These are the final drafts!,” they would respond in unison. But, when they returned the papers to me for another review, there were fewer words than the initial “Final Draft.” If you know what I mean? =;-)


    1. Thank you, Dale! And yes, I do know what you mean. As Mark Twain said, “If I’d had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” I figure should I ever want to make this book marketable, I would have to devote even more time than this one took to cut it in half. For all their complaining about writing letters, those Staeblers were a wordy bunch!


  2. THANK you Gretchen. ‘I am a Writer because I write’.- the most delicious sentence I’ve read today. I am thrilled to have come across your blog today via Karen Miller’s post. x


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