Archive for the ‘Life’ category

Fantastic News!

April 7, 2022

April is poetry month. The following may not be poetry, but it makes my heart sing!

I’m thrilled to announce my newest book, THE BIG STINK: The Legen-dairy Tale of Colonel Thomas S. Meacham and His Enormous Cheese. (This is a working title.)

I’m a children’s book author. I had two early chapter books published years ago along with a variety of educational magazine articles and stories. Then, life got in the way and my writing was intermittent. In the last five years, I’ve been free of major commitments. I’ve used those years to commit to my writing.

I happened to see an unusual story of a huge cheese that was made and delivered to the president of the United States with considerable pomp and circumstance in 1836. It piqued my curiosity, and I began researching the story behind the story in 2019. When I felt I had enough information, I wrote a fictional picture book manuscript that was based on the incident. After many revisions, using comments and suggestions from my critique partners, I sent it to my agent. She liked it, and after more revisions suggested by my agent, she sent it to various publishing houses. The common response was that the editors liked the historical information in the story but didn’t like having a mouse as a narrator. I went back to the drawing board. Or I should say, I went back to the computer board. I turned the fictional story into a narrative nonfiction manuscript. I made sure my research and facts were accurate before sharing the manuscript with my critique partners and my agent. More revisions. The new version was sent out once again. There were more rejections, but Barb McNally and her team at Sleeping Bear Press liked what they saw. Through my agent, they made an offer in August of 2021. Lucky me!

The book is now in the works with talented Lesley Breen tackling the illustrations, and Barb McNally skillfully guiding me through the editorial part of the process. You’ll be hearing more from me as the publication date in Spring of 2023 gets closer. You can check out my website here. I hope readers will find THE BIG STINK a tasty slice of cheesy history.

What’s Going On In The Kitchen?

March 21, 2022

Last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day – something odd happened.

I planned a light Irish dinner featuring Irish Soda Bread and Colcannon Soup.

I was all prepared, or so I thought. I had the dry ingredients in a bowl for the soda bread. All I had to do was to add the liquid ingredients. Faith and begorrah, the milk that was in the refrigerator earlier that morning had disappeared!

My husband offered to get more milk. While he was gone, I prepared the soup. I chopped the cabbage and peeled and chopped the potatoes. When I unbundled the leeks, another not-so-lucky surprise greeted me. One of the leeks was rotten. To compensate for the loss of a leek, I chopped a large onion that brought tears to my eyes.

I melted butter in a big pot and put in the vegetables to cook until slightly tender. I stepped into another room for no more than two minutes when my nose told me something was amiss. The veggies at the bottom of the pot were more than slightly tender. They were burning! I quickly dumped the top layer into another pot, picked out the charred ones, and put the burned pot into the sink.

When my husband returned with milk in hand, he asked, “What’s that I smell?”

My usually calm demeanor disappeared.

“Don’t ask!”

I finished the bread. I finished the soup.

My Irish eyes gazed at the kitchen mess. They were NOT smiling.

It suddenly dawned on me. The likes of those mischievous wee folk had paid me and my kitchen an unexpected St. Paddy’s Day visit!

The redeeming factor of my cooking calamity was my husband. He raved about my delicious dinner. But then again, he’s like Mikey – he’ll eat anything!  

Sláinte!

Seasons Greetings

December 23, 2021

From our house to yours…

May your home be filled with the warmth and glow of love, family, and friendship this Christmas.

A Perfect Pick!

September 23, 2021

On Tuesday, my husband and I picked a peck of apple-icious apples!

Pick a Peck

Each picked apple conjured up tasty treats – apple sauce, apple crunch, apple pie, apple cake, apple donuts, apple cider, apple butter…

It was a beautiful day at Sunnycrest Apple Farm and Farmer’s Market.

Apples, and Mums, and Pumpkins, – Oh, my!

There was no need to mask up. We had wide-open spaces to roam up and down rows of apple trees.

Walkin’ Down the Apple Highway

There were no crowds, but the branches were jam-packed with apples.

Apples Galore

After picking our pick of apples, we splurged and bought ourselves a special treat.

Yum!

It was a great day to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Apple anyone?

Remember. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Pick one of these apple books.

How to Grow an Apple written by Beth Charles and illustrated by Katie Rewse, Albert Whitman & Company, 2020

Let’s Go Apple Picking written by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrated by Nila Aye, Golden Books, 2020.

Applesauce Day written by Lisa J. Amstutz and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, Albert Whitman & Company, 2017

Apple Picking Day! written by Candice Ransom and illustrated by Erika Meza, Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016

A Wish

September 16, 2021

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

 ~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

September 11th is my birthday. On that day, twenty years ago, I was teaching in an elementary school near Boston. As a gift to me, I asked my husband to postpone his business trip so we could celebrate together. He did. (He was not booked on United Airlines Flight 175.)  By the end of that September 11th day, there was nothing to celebrate.

I was in class when the news of the terrorist attacks passed quietly through the halls as school administrators whispered to teachers what had happened. There were parents in our school community who flew out of Boston to various places to do business. It was imperative that students need not know what was going on before their parents could explain the situation to their children on their own terms.

It was a sad day – a scary day. “It was the worst of times. It was the season of darkness.”

The downside of the horrible terrorist attacks was the many people who perished and the first responders who have health complications today from desperately trying to save lives. The upside is that suddenly Americans, no matter what religious, ethnic, or diverse background, came together. We flew the American flag – a symbol of liberty, justice, and freedom, and we embraced each other to become a strong, resilient America.

It’s now twenty years later. Our nation is more dived than I’ve ever seen.

This year, my September 11th birthday wish is that we end our political divide. Stop the craziness on both sides. Listen and respect other’s opinions. Work to unite rather than divide. I wish this to be our “season of light” and “spring of hope.”

God Bless America

A Nation’s Strength

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
~Emerson

I’m Back!

September 9, 2021

It has been a busy six weeks. We celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and family gatherings. Here are some high points.

Anniversary Flowers
Birthday Cake
Another Birthday Cake
And Another Birthday Cake
Three-Legged Birthday Games
Birthday Wishes
T-Ball Fun
Roasting Marshmallows
Cornhole!

We have lots of memories of days spent with family and friends. Now it’s time to get back to business, and…

.First Day of School

that includes the little ones, too.

Until next Thursday, enjoy each and every day!

Family Matters

July 29, 2021

A baptism last week. A wedding this week.

Last Friday, we headed to the Midwest. We haven’t traveled on an airplane in over two years because of COVID-19, but when a family wedding celebration is on the horizon, we go! Our destination was not an easy place to get to. We drove our car to the park ‘n ride to catch a bus that took us to the airport. We boarded a plane for a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We then boarded a regional plane for another hour’s flight. Arriving at the small airport, we picked up our rental car and drove another hour and a half to our destination. In all, it took us thirteen hours. We missed the rehearsal dinner, but the Midwest heat and humidity were there to greet us!

Saturday – Wedding Day

The Bride – Our Niece

Parents of the Bride – A Nervous Dad

The Bride and Groom

Father/Daughter Dance

We didn’t get a family photo of my brother and two sisters, but we did play cornhole at the reception. What else do you do in corn country? (Notice the determination on my face.) I lost to a five-year-old!

Me!

Sunday morning, we did a reversal of our Friday travel schedule. I was immediately reminded why flying is not my favorite pastime. Besides delays, cancellations, and turbulence, other problems creep up. On our first flight, all I wanted was a cold glass of ice water. Problem One:  No ice available. Problem Two:  They ran out of water before they got to us! Really?? The second flight had a mechanical glitch that had to be fixed. And so, we waited until it was a go. Twelve and a half hours later, we finally reached home. Even though it was a short visit and there were a few minor problems with our flights, it was wonderful to be able to get together with our family and enjoy a day of celebration! Family matters!

When Life Gets in the Way…

July 1, 2021

Is the week over yet?

Every time I think I have a free moment, something else comes up. My creativity is on hold as I try to get my life back together.

I’ll be back next week – a calmer, gentler person!

The Heart of Friendship

June 17, 2021

KNOCK! KNOCK!

No one is home. I’m visiting a special friend today.

Take time to visit your special friends!

Making “Scents” of Life

May 27, 2021

When my Bloomerang tree presented itself with a bounty of blossoms, I was more than excited. I’ve always loved the smell of lilacs. From the day I discovered the tiny buds on the tree until the buds grew into full-blown lilacs, I was anxious. The weather was good. The weather was bad. The weather said frost and that frosted me. I wanted to take the tree inside to protect it, but it was attached to the ground. After a few weeks of worry, the buds slowly began to blossom. During that time, a robin built its nest in the crook of the tree. Going near the tree caused the mama bird to become overly excited. I learned to quickly DUCK as I admired the tree and the animal life growing in it.

When the blossoms were in full array, the glorious smell of lilacs wafted through the air. I was immediately transported to my youth. After a year of dealing with COVID-19, not seeing family or friends, wearing masks, grocery shopping at six in the morning, and being stuck inside the house, the scent of the lilacs lifted my spirits. It brought me back to a time when lilacs graced our backyard and life was simpler. It was a time when children could play in the park by themselves, ride bikes freely, walk to the store down the block, play outside until a familiar whistle called them home.

My life has been filled with wonderful family and friends and very few worries, but this past year I feel like the world has been turned upside down. An ugliness has crept into our everyday lives. We all need to work harder to bring calm and kindness back into our world. Sometimes I wish we could go back to when life was not as complicated as it is today.

It’s time to stop and smell the lilacs. 


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