Posted tagged ‘postaweek2012’

Kick The Old Year Out

December 30, 2012

Five of these since January 2012

Five of these since January 2012

Well, 2012 is on that proverbial banana peel to being GONE. Kaput. Here no more.

Geesh…I was just getting used to writing 2012 on checks and now I’ll have to start over again.

2013. Weren’t we recently worried about Y2K and celebrating the beginning of a new millennium? That was, if our world didn’t end?

Here we are. Anxiously counting down the hours now to kick out 2012 and welcome 2013. My next post will be next year. I can’t believe it.

While I might wonder where 2012 went to, I think my photo says it all. I’ve added books I’ve written to my bookshelf and those books are finding their way into readers’ hands. 2013 will see me doing the same though I’d love to add a few activities, like maybe a vacation even if only for a few days.

This is also the time of the year for those New Years’ resolutions. Are you one of those people who create a list of resolutions (usually involving more exercise and less eating) and within a week or two can’t remember what those grand statements are?

Too often those resolutions get thrown out the back door with the last of the Christmas decorations, or the now stale Christmas treats…

So I’ll give you 2 resolutions I’ve made though my list isn’t finished. After all I have one more day…

Sayonara 2012

Sayonara 2012

Resolution #1:  Get the next 4 Soul String Saga novellas ready to publish.

Resolution #2:  Finish the third Dessert Dames novel.

Resolution #3:  Take a vacation—if only for a few days.

While I continue to work on resolutions and writing, I hope you have a great time kicking out 2012 and ushering in 2013.

Happy New Year!!

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Merry Christmas

December 23, 2012

Lighting the dark night...

Lighting the dark night…

I chose this as it’s one of my favorite Christmas Golden Oldies. I saw the original broadcast. I also chose this because I think the Peace on Earth message should resonate so strongly with us this year in light of last week’s shootings at Sandy Hook, the unrest still so prevalent in parts of our world, and most particularly within our national leadership.

My title sends my wishes to all of you who’ve stopped by and enjoyed my photos and my blogs this past year. For new visitors, you have time to read, I’d suggest you read my 2008 Christmas post.

Here is the link for Remembering John.

Have a great Christmas and all the days following. See you next week.

Sandy Hook Sadness

December 16, 2012

Google image. Flag at half mast Newton, CT

Google image. Flag at half mast Newton, CT

The weather wept this weekend. At least it has here in the section of Wisconsin where I live

Mothers and fathers in the US go about their business in sorrow, mourning the loss of yet another mass shooting.

Once again the unthinkable happened.

Another mass shooting Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newton, Connecticut.

A lone shooter enters a school and proceeds to kill 20 young children, 6 adults, and finally himself. Later, police learns he killed his mother before he drove her car to the school.

Twenty young lives—most of them only 5 or 6 years old, gone as quickly as one might snap fingers together. For what reason?

Clipart image

Clipart image

Who knows?

Perhaps the gunman held explicitly detailed reasons. But since he killed himself, he’s taken his warped reasons with him to his eternal punishment.

Logic and sanity provides no valid reason.

We mourn. We pray for the families of the victims, the school community, that Connecticut town. Grief has rippling effects.

In this time when the Jewish faith celebrates the festival of light, we all lament the darkness brought by these untimely deaths. For those of us preparing for celebration of the birth of our Savior our anticipation of joy is greatly dimmed.

Christmas will never be the same. Each year we will remember with those families the loss of the Sandy Hook victims. Our joy of the season will dim.

My hope is the Hanukkah lights will brighten our sorrow and lead these little angels and their adult protectors to a place of joy where they will celebrate of this time of year being with the Our Savior as we commemorate his birth.

Clipart image

Clipart image

Introducing Soul String

December 10, 2012

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

Okay, I’m late posting this, a day late–forgive me. However, last week was crazy busy with way too many deadlines and too many care-giving hours. I needed more than 168 hours in the week. L

But did you take a long look at my new book cover?

Is that not absolutely the most interesting fantastic cover? I know I’ve been so fortunate in my book covers. Each one I think is the best ever—and then I get the next one.

But let me tell you a bit about Soul String. I first played around with my main character many years ago as a graduate student who spent many hours each week walking into campus and between buildings for classes, the library and then back to my little room.

I created stories in my head while I walked. About a student with dreams and goals.

Fast forward many years later and that character came back into my mind. Only now I was writing fiction full time. Brenna Jane Kelly rose again but so much more interesting. So compelling to me I found her story evolved into the Soul String Saga. At this time, 5 novellas cover about twenty crucial years in her life.

Brenna is on journey toward being a wise woman.

Coming January 2013

Coming January 2013

Last week between caregiving hours, I was busy putting the final touches on Book 1 which is as of last night with my formatter. Hopefully, it will be available in digital format by Christmas. Book 2 should be available in January 2013.

Notice what’s different with Book 2’s cover? That difference is important within Soul String, Book 2. I haven’t decided on a subtitle for it yet. But I’ll be inspired soon. Maybe this week.

So what do you think?

Once Lost; Now Found–The Recipe Saga

December 1, 2012

After a frost. these flowers refuse to die.

After a frost. these flowers refuse to die.

Sometimes the most delightful little gifts fall into our laps.

Such a happenstance occurred for me last weekend.

My oldest son was visiting over the holiday and we planned to visit my only surviving aunt. She and her husband were my son’s godparents so he also feels a special connection to her. She’s also the one whose husband of 60+ years died this past summer. We both figured this first important and very much family-oriented holiday would have been difficult for her.

So on Saturday afternoon we went to see her.

The visit was great. As we often do we reminisced about those no longer with us. And we talked about Christmas which will be coming soon. My grandfather died two days before Christmas. I was pregnant with my oldest son and Grandpa was very much looking forward to being a great-grandfather. In all the ensuing years since Grandpa died, Christmas got easier for those of us who loved him but always we missed him. Knowing how much he loved the Christmas holiday and what its meaning was also helped keep up his traditions. We talked about that for a bit with my aunt.

Tanker close to shore day after Thanksgiving

Tanker close to shore day after Thanksgiving

But for my son and me, we also find Christmas difficult because many years later, my second son died three days before Christmas. None of my sons ever got to know my grandfather, but they knew the story of his death shoveling snow in a major snowstorm so he could get to his last day of work before he retired.

But another part of Christmas back then while my grandmother was still alive was her holiday salad. She always made it for Christmas. My oldest son remembers eating it. I not only remember eating it, but have vivid memories of Christmas preparations shared with my grandma and grandpa while making that salad.

Grandpa chopped the nuts.

I got to cut up marshmallows into tiny pieces. I lost this task when mini-marshmallows became available. However, when those minis became available in various colors, Gram would have me pick out the colors she didn’t choose to include in her salad. Those I could eat if I wanted.

Of course, I wanted. They were a treat.

After our visit Oreo and Steve

After our visit Oreo and Steve

Anyway, come Christmas Day when the family gathered, Grandma would have her salad on the table always in the same bowl, one which was an ivory stoneware with brown and rust leaves. She’d gotten it at the Jewel T grocery store. That bowl always sat on the table during family feasts.

So on that visit last Saturday, I mentioned my memories of the salad and the bowl. I said how I’d never seen a recipe for that salad and had never eaten it since my grandmother died (again in another December before Christmas.) I said something like I guessed that recipe died with Gram.

My aunt said no. Her daughter had that recipe and had written it down for her at Thanksgiving.

Serendipity. My little unexpected Christmas gift from above.

I now have the recipe.

I’m making it for Christmas to honor my grandparents.

Taken from Google images

Taken from Google images

To see if the salad is as great as I remember.

Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if that long lost bowl suddenly appeared?

So what special food have you been thinking of? Perhaps one that’s tied into family celebrations of the past? Any that you care to share?

Oh, and here’s the recipe. The only thing that would have made this perfect is if it were written in my grandmother’s hand.

Grandma D’s Holiday Salad

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 Cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1/4 Cup flour

1/2 Cup lemon juice

Mix and cook above over medium heat until thickened.

Add 1/2 pint of cream slowly mixed into above mixture.

Then add:

3 cans Royal Ann Cherries, pitted.

2 cans large pineapple chunks, drained.

Nuts – type and amount as desired.

Miniature marshmallows – amount as desired.

Keep chilled until served.

November 22nd

November 18, 2012

Mom & Uncle Jim

This week many of you will be preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. In the US Thanksgiving always is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This year that is November 22nd.

A day most Americans will never forget. Because it was also the day our President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963.

Most likely if you were over five or six years old on that day, you remember it. It was one of those historical moments one will never forget. I remember that day vividly and come this Thursday I will think of the Kennedy family and all they lost that day and have since.

But in our family, my mother also mourned on November 22nd also because that was the day her only brother died. They were very close as brothers and sisters often are. When he died another piece of her heart left with him. So on this Thanksgiving I will be thinking of my Uncle Jim—a very special man.

And today I’m reposting an earlier blog I did about him with some revisions. He deserves to be remembered.

Here’s to you, Uncle Jim.

~~~ ~~~

These past several weeks have been busier and more stressful than usual.  I’ve been responsible for caring for my disabled son. He’s a vent dependent quadriplegic—think Christopher Reeve a.k.a Superman. Neither one was disabled by Kryptonite but due to falls. Different circumstances for my son and Christopher Reeve, but the result was the same—a catastrophic life change. Neither one of them would ever be able to do anything for themselves again. They would always need care and responsible people around them.

Catastrophic for the injured party. Catastrophic for their families.

In our case one of the consequences is that if we can’t leave our son alone. Often we must miss events or appointments if we can’t get help with caring for him. Sometimes we can’t plan on this. People get sick, have accidents, die. That often messes with a schedule or free time. But since we’ve been dealing with this for 18 years, we know if we aren’t around to shoulder his cares, he’s in big trouble.

But several years ago, 2002 I think, my uncle and godfather died on this day. The funeral would be held very close to the holiday and the deer hunting seasons in Wisconsin. Either one of those pretty much decimates our help. (The women expect time off to celebrate/prepare for the holiday and the men often want off for hunting. And so it was in 2002.)

Because of this situation and the distance between where I lived and where my uncle did, I was without help to care for me son and couldn’t  get to Minnesota for his funeral or to the small farming community in Iowa where he would be buried. I felt so bad then about that at the time. I still do.

But I knew then and still do, that Uncle Jim understood why I wasn’t there. By staying positive about my responsibilities to my son I was honoring my uncle in a manner he always understood. Why? Because he practiced that responsibility to family himself. And by his example he passed that characteristic on.

Of course, Uncle Jim had a fantastic example in his father and mother. Both were always about family and being nurturers. My grandfather even extended that to his occupation as a farmer. He nurtured and cared his land and his animals as he did his family and his friends.

Uncle Jim nurtured his family, raising 6 children with his wife Jeanette. Most of his adult life he owned a successful gasoline/repair station. I guess he also nurtured other people’s cars as well as his own since he prided himself on keeping his cars in tip-top shape for at least 200,000 miles. When he come to visit his mother or later my mom after Dad died, he’s always busy himself finding little things that needed tending.

As an adult my uncle and I lived a great distance from each other. However, my connection and deep affection for him never faltered. I loved his quiet sense of humor. I admired how hard he worked in his life to provide the best life possible for his family. I loved that he always honored his parents; I adored them.

Uncle Jim and me

I remember as a little girl and before he married, he tried to quit smoking. He always had a carrot in his pocket or a toothpick. I suspect he started smoking when he was in the service during WWII because my grandfather hated the smoking habit.

My Uncle Jim was younger than my mom but always her big brother. She loved him dearly In the last few months of her life when I was staying with her at night, she would talk of her brother and different experiences they shared growing up. A few days before she died she mentioned she was ready because she would soon be with those who went before her, especially Jim and my dad.

And that reminds me of another part of Uncle Jim. He helped me to understand my father and the complex man that he was. They were very different Uncle Jim and my dad. But they respected each other. They loved each other. Uncle Jim told me once he’d never forget that my dad drove my Gram, Uncle Jim’s mother, to Minnesota when Uncle Jim was very ill. He reminded me my dad had a sense of family and I should never forget it. (Sometimes that wasn’t easy with my dad and me.)

And another special memory I treasure concerns a strawberry milkshake. I was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and had endured two extensive and very long surgeries on my back. I’d not been able to keep any food down for over a week. The result—I wasn’t starting to heal. My uncle and aunt came down for the weekend. My mom who was staying up there to be near me was very worried. Uncle Jim had his usual calming effect and after about half an hour, he slipped from the room and returned later with milkshakes. Mom had strawberry so he got a tiny one for me. Just in case.

He teased me in his own special way, trying to get me to at least taste it. I had to try. After all, Uncle Jim asked.

That shake tasted so good. Even better it stayed down. Before he left the next day, he managed to get another one down me. Two weeks later I was finally able to go home.

From the cemetery–a view of Vail

I swear that shake was what started my healing process. Thank you, Uncle Jim.

So every year, Thanksgiving comes around. So does November 22nd. Every year I’m spending more time caring for my disabled son. And every year I think of Uncle Jim and how he helped shape me to be the caregiver I’ve become. It’s tradition. It’s family. I’m thankful I had Uncle Jim in my life.

Did you have a favorite aunt or uncle? Care to share why?

Sandy’s Backside

November 4, 2012

These were between 8 – 10 feet.

We’ve survived the last full week non-stop political ads. The money spent on political advertising in this campaign in the most ever spent in campaigns. I guess money talks and also votes.

But really this post isn’t about politics other than for this reason. Each day I listen to the news updates showing the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy/Frankenstorm Sandy. Then I hear about the escalating costs to rebuild and repair this destruction. I think how all this money could be put to far better use in helping to achieve and pay for this reconstruction. Or provide aid for those who’ve lost everything to this storm.

Mother Nature’s actions will be costly.

The scope and range of this storm made it much worse. It hit the East Coast, yet where I live in Wisconsin, the Midwest, we caught Sandy’s backside. Especially if you lived along Lake Michigan.

Hitting the shoreline and piers,

Like I do.

I spent some time Tuesday and Wednesday photographing the angry lake. My photographs don’t do justice to the deep waves which crashed against our shore protection for over 24 hours—more like 36.

A few miles south of us residents with property on the lake had to sandbag and were urged to evacuate. We didn’t have to because we are above lake level but once in a while a wave would crash above our shore protection and over our “piers.” We lost our beach sand for a few days as the waves pulled it out further into the lake.

But we were lucky because had our winds been coming from the straight east direction or northeast, we’d have had waves hitting our patio. We had that happen before.

But what bothered me the most was the constant crashing of the waves, one right after the other for over 24 hours. Those gunshot-like waves sounded worse at night when combined with the dark night and the howling winds.

Wednesday–this coloring and sky were very weirdly tinted

I got many phone calls and emails from people we know asking if we were okay. Why, because the area was in the local news because of the documented high waves, lakeside road and street closings, and the evacuation notice.

But really, we were very lucky. Sandy’s backside wagged but that was all. She did have staying power and her shaking created lots of noise.

I wish the same might have been said for the East Coast. But if wishes…you know the rest.

Now, imagine if all that money used for political advertising would be available to help with the destruction there.

I’ll bet that would make great inroads in helping pay for the destruction and help out those who’ve lost everything. Imagine…

Weird right? Late Wednesday

Might Mother Nature be disgusted with all those ads?