how does your garden grow?

square-foot-gardening 3Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock and am very late to this party, but similar to folks buying and installing “microwave drawers” in new kitchens (oh, that’s a whole other conversation) this gardening idea is a whole new concept for me.

Boy Howdy, after reading only 31 glorious pages, I’ve strapped on my party shoes (read that as cute gardening boots) and ready to get planting.

Okay, this book has sold over 2.5 million copies.  Really?  Seriously, people, I must really have enjoyed living in the dark. Where have I been?  Why didn’t I spy it while at the library?  Why hasn’t someone shared this amazing concept with me?  Why isn’t this being talked about?  Do I need to find new friends who want to talk about growing food?

I am excited (to the point of wanting to take out some of my garden beds and start over), fascinated and can’t wait to get started even this late in the growing season.   

20180513_175724_resizedMel Bartholomew’s innovative grid-based method is explained so simply (I wish I had the common sense to think of this myself, drats), All New Square Foot Gardening.  “The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space”. 

***By the way, I took the picture of the book laying in our lush, thick, feels amazing to walk on (grounding, is real and it is something we all need to do)  backyard grass.  If you get a chance might I suggest you ask Mr. Right what his secret is?  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s white, it’s granulated, it’s sweet and you purchase it in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

Goodbye, weekends of weeding.  Goodbye buying fertilizers.   Goodbye digging.  Goodbye, remembering to turn on and off the sprinkler to water everything. 

Hello beautiful, productive garden with an amount that I can handle, throughout the growingsquare foot gardening 2 season.  

This book is for sale everywhere, heck it is in its second edition.  For $15.89 through Amazon, you can be reading in a day or two!  

I highly recommend this book.  Need a gift idea?  Need a new homeowner gift suggestion? Give it to the seasoned gardener in your life.  BETTER YET, give it to someone who is toying with the idea of gardening but is hesitant because they think it is too much work, takes too much time and the list goes on.   Best part?  No matter where you are reading in the country or world, everyone can enjoy & use this system.

squarefoot0011This solves the issues of gardening is hard, it takes too much time, I can’t garden because we have poor soil, we don’t have a large enough area, the list goes on.

However, would you like to know what hooked me? 

I loved that when asking people why they planted gardens in rows with so much room between and using fertilizer………….and the answer was always, “because that is how we’ve always done it”  “because that is how my grandfather did it”.  You KNOW that was a reason for me to like it. 

As my own public service announcement, I highly recommend this book.  Please for the sake of people living under big rocks everywhere, do them and yourself a favor…………at least read the description & review on Amazon.  If you don’t want to part with $15.00, please consider checking it out of the library. 

If you are still thinking this is silly, there is no way this will help feed people.  There is no way this could be a remarkable thing to teach………just ask anyone in the Utah School system or homeschooling programs or world Mission programs……. 

Or for the love of anyone living under a rock, buy the book, slip it gently under the rock to them.  At least they will have something fascinating and interesting to read. 

In this together folks, 

Chat soon. 

summer reads

20170713_085830-1_resizedI am on my third check out of Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.  No, not renewal, actual go to the library and check out the book again.

Do you do the same?  Do you review, thumb through, try a 20170713_091025-1_resizedrecipe or two and start to decide on how many stars you will be giving a book?

I happen to have a tendency to collect, buy, wish for, way, way too many cookbooks. Getting in the habit of checking them out first, before I buy has been a delightful option. So, last night, I dashed to the library and checked this beauty out once again.  Third time’s a charm.  I am buying this book of hers for my own.  Side note, I love it when I see that box from Amazon on my doorstep.  A little shiver goes up my spine.

Deborah Madison is a tremendous author and founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.  We had the insight and good fortune of planning for and indulging in one of the most memorable meals of our lives at that glorious restaurant.    May I gently suggest you jot it down on your bucket list?  That meal, that view, that moment in time was honestly, one of the best of our lives.  

So today, I have some raspberries calling my name.  My crystal balls tells me there is a tart in the dreaming stage.  By tonight it will grace our table.

In the summer months, most days, I forgo the hour study on health and wellness in the morning and spend my morning, afternoon sitting in the sunshine and evening reading times with glorious summer reads.  Steamy, action packed, romance, mystery,  cookbooks, travel, adventure, can’t put down kind of books.

20170712_205630_resizedAs I have previously written about, I have only (so far) lost one book in the bubbling, swirling, frothy bath.  (yes, you can laugh).  I try to be much more careful.  Somehow magically, time flies and my cares & worries take a back seat, while I indulge in an excellent summer read. Before the water turned cold for the third time, I managed to zip through 145 pages of the latest Stuart Woods book,  Indecent Exposure.20170712_210015-1_resized

Summer time reading is where I get to indulge like a school girl free to read what she stumbles upon.  Pure entertainment to allow my mind skip and tumble and dance for fun.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts is a 466-page turner that you will finish on a long20170712_081059_resized weekend.  Horses, high-end resort, intrigue, mystery,, sadness and romance……all rolled together easily transport you to a family in Montana and that beautiful big sky country.

Bread baking has tickled my fancy yet again.  I love to bake bread.  I go through phases where it is not on my “to-do” list all the time.  That yeasty smell has drawn me in again and I have purchased a few new books.

20170711_070636-1_resized_1We had the insight and good fortune to visit Ken Forkish’s bakery while visiting Portland, Oregon.  I have had his books on my wish list since the very moment I bit into the most heavenly piece of bread I have tasted in ages.  Before I even swallowed that first bite, I knew in my heart, I had to learn everything I could from this genius baker.  He has some quick videos on YouTube to help with the techniques which has made the baking so smooth.  Money well spent on these two beauties.

Not a book, however, one of the best documentaries we have watched in a long time was “What the Health” free on Netflix.  I would love, love, love to discuss this with anyone.  However, I am fully aware that it is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I just needed to share it, in case you were looking to improve your or your loved one’s health.  There.  Now, I shared, so I don’t have to worry and fret that I forgot to tell you.  Well worth your time to watch.

As the middle of July is knocking on the door, there is still plenty time to indulge in summer reads.

I know it is not a passion of some folks.  Just thought I would share some suggestions in the hopes that you will share what you are reading.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.



what are you reading?

20170327_084223-1_resized7 or 8  years ago, I had somehow managed to work up the courage, thought I could do it, jumped in before I really thought it through, started a book club on-line.

The premise was pretty simple.  I would choose, sift through (everyone offered up suggestions, many genres) a book, once a month.  I would via e-mail, announce the new title to the 25 -30 folks that I arm-twisted to join me.

We all had 4 weeks to get the book from the library, purchase or borrow, read the book and then write a few sentences about our thoughts on the book/author.  I would compile everyone’s thoughts and share them all at once.  For about a week, we would have a “discussion” via email.  Then on to the next book.

Near the end, a very slim, scraggly group of us hung on. The book club lasted about 3 years.

My thought was, folks wanted to read and share thoughts. Many of us did not want to get dressed up, go to book club, bring a snack or mingle at the dreaded potluck, make polite conversation, politely decline yet another glass of white wine, make small talk about some ridiculous hot new movie or hear someone talk poorly about their spouse.

I wanted to talk about books.  That is all.  Just get to the meat of the matter and jump in with a glorious swish to the next new book.

Gosh, everyone had excuses.  More excuses than a 4th grade teacher collects on why homework isn’t done.  My all time favorite excuse of course….” I was too busy”  Which I started to understand as, “I didn’t want to do it and saying I was too busy sounded better”.

News Flash!  Saying I am too busy is just a twisted way of saying,

“I am a poor manager of my time.”

I got plum tuckered out, trying to be a cheerleader and chant….

“oh, this book will enrich your life”

“you’ll love the adventure”

“this book is worth your time”

“I learned so much, you will, too”

book 2Why can children/teens tell us about an entire television show they watched, but are less eager to share about a book they have just finished?

When Mr. Right interviews folks for a new job, one of the questions he asks is, “what book are you reading?”  He is always looking for a new book to read, so I am guessing he just wants to ask something he is interested in hearing about and of course, “what book you are reading” tells a whole lot about a person.

If the average American family who typically spends $125.00 per month on television/cable were to all of a sudden, stop all television for one year……well, you don’t need a book on math to know, that’s a whole lot of moolah to spend on books.

The last mileJust last night, I finished David Baldacci’s book, The Last Mile.  To say, he is an extremely good writer, is to understate his ability.  Like a dog with a new chew toy, he captures your imagination in the first chapter and doesn’t let go. Moments, during the day, while I was folding laundry or rebounding, I found myself wondering what Amos or Melvin were doing.  Yes, the characters are so real, it’s baffling.

I am in the thick of reading, Thomas Keller’s, Bouchon.  The sheer act of turning those overly large pages, somehow, makes me want to take more time and become a better bouchonbaker.  I want to serve Mr. Right, the perfect cookie.  I want to make less and yet at the same time, put more heart and soul into the few loaves of bread I do bake a month.  That man, heard his calling and followed.  Inspirational.

Of course with Spring upon us, I am toying with gardening books, methods, ideas.  Trying to find a book that will inspire me and somehow help me become a more satisfied gardener.

As I do five days a week, I read for one hour this morning.  Learning, researching, trying to educate myself. Today’s topic was Rosemary and how it helps our brains repair and function better.  I also learned more about keeping fluoride as far away from our beings as possible and I did 15 minutes of more essential oil reading.

While I am not persuaded to read a book because the back book jacket says a famous actor enjoyed the book, I am curious to read what my friends and family are reading.  While there are only a couple of genres I make little to no time for, my interest is quite often piqued just enough, that I will most likely give a variety of books a

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead.  Just think of all the glorious pages we will read?

In this together, friends.

Love to hear what you are reading.

Chat soon.

















happiness is what will save us

20170303_165258_resizedI just finished a wonderful book, “the happiness dare”  by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Actually, I worked my way through the book with a friend and we compared our answers/had discussions at the end of each chapter.   It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, underline sentences, draw arrows on the side of the page, dog ear the corners, write out your answers………  you work, you learn so much,  you re-read paragraphs to understand every sentence.  My paperback edition is a bit rough-looking after a few weeks of love/use.

I highly recommend this gem of paper and ink.  Jennifer has common sense, a splash of humor and as a follower of Christ, offers up a perspective that is doable, most helpful and at the same time, she somehow makes you feel like she is talking directly to you.

Working your way through this book is both insightful and encouraging.  I think of myself as a person who seeks the happy.  I look for it.  However, oh yeah, as you can tell by my lack of blog posts, I have stumbled lately with finding that sweet spot of happy.

This thing we call life has a way of tossing in some tricky times, situations and events that are not so happy.

page 259….. Jennifer writes…..” Believe me, I know that there are days  when happiness seems like an awful lot of work………….But those are the days when happiness is absolutely worth the work – even if it’s hard.  Because sometimes happiness is what will save us. ”

Did you catch that?  Let me take a moment and stencil that on my wall.  Oh yeah, you KNOW I am going to paint that somewhere in our house.

Happiness is what will save us. 

Currently our Spring weather is more like a lion than a lamb.  We have pouring rain, dark ominous clouds, 40* and a wind that is blowing plastic sacks around the neighborhood.

20170303_165249_resizedI needed to find some spring.  I went to a local nursery and bought some.  When I paid for my purchase, I said to the cashier, thanks for selling spring.  She laughed.

Then I did something that really made me happy.  I bought a door.

A little, tiny, 4 inch fairy door.  I want to welcome sweet, charming, happy fairies into our home.

When the grands come to visit, I want them to stumble upon a little tiny door that is hidden, just enough to feel special.  I want 20170303_202341-1_resizedthem to find a tiny bit of glitter sprinkled on the miniature stone step.  Makes me happy to think about.

Some how day dreaming about what’s behind that fairy door makes me happy.

20170227_143424-1_resized_2Crocheting a new baby owl hat makes me happy.  Sewing an apron for a birthday girl makes me happy.  Hiding a sweet love card in Mr. Right’s suitcase makes me happy. Buying fluffy, white towels makes me happy.

In this together, friends.

What makes you happy lately?

Chat soon.








delicious read

bookwormBook Worm.  Do people even use that term anymore?

Funny how you never see the police pulling over people for reading books in their cars? (Yes, I have seen people reading with the book propped up on the steering wheel also eating cereal and playing a musical instrument and….. that is a whole different post.)

While growing up, my middle sister was a book-worm.  She would stay in her room and read and read and read.  Until my mother would shoo her outdoors.  My mother would say, you need sunshine & fresh air. So my sister would, with the book open, not really taking her eyes off her page, walk slowly outdoors, throw a quilt on the grass and plop down and continue reading.  My mother was happy and my sister was happy.  Ah summer.

A book so good, you delay getting out of the bubble bath.

A book so good, you delay standing up to start the potatoes for dinner.

A book so good, you peddle past your 4 mile goal on the stationary bike.

Wait for it kids…………………A book so good, you don’t even think about turning on the television and you actually turn off your phone.  Yes, that good.

Let’s hear it for summer reading!!!!



What the heck is going on?

The other day, Mr. Right and I were waiting for the library to open.  It was about two minutes until 1 pm on a summer Sunday. Much to my happiness, there were 27 people (young and old) waiting!!!  I know this because I counted.  Then I counted how many people had books.  3.  Everyone else was there for the computers or the air conditioning or the video check out.


We were returning two overflowing bags(side note:  new book bag is working wonderful!) of books.  We exchanged them for more ……………books.

While I do oodles of research during the other 9 months of the year, there is something fun and wonderful and happy, and scary, and exciting and relaxing about summer reading.  It is free and easy and anything goes.  Such a pleasure.

I am currently reading a novel.  While you all know I can’t keep my hands off a good murder mystery………..this is a regular, no dead bodies, no mystery, no cops and robbers, book.

And BOY HOWDY is it a GREAT summer read. “Delicious!” A novel by Ruth Reichl.  delicious, a novel

Yes, that Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for 10 years, best-selling author, mom, wife, cat owner (as if you really “own” a cat).  She is smart and witty and has a knack for drawing the reader in and holding on.

She makes lovely and hilarious observations. She has this charming ability to capture people and celebrate them.

“effortlessly entertaining” as one critic wrote.

paragraph four, page 67, “The meal was the epitome of simplicity, but it made me feel as if, until that moment, I had never really tasted anything.  Later we wound our way through the hills, singing arias from our favorite operas as we peregrinated from one tiny town to the next.  Late in the afternoon we suddenly found ourselves embroiled in a traffic jam.  I believe it was cased by a religious procession.  We sat there for quite some time, and then Remy leapt from the car, crying, “let’s go!” as he began to climb the hill.”

I am only on page 127 and I gotta say, it is sitting here, taunting me to finish this blog post and fall back into the story.

The stress free fall into the pages of a good book are very liberating.  You can become the characters or just simply drink espresso and watch from afar.

Beach_Read_Nasos_Zovoilis_251855-590x420I love to indulge in summer reading.  No notes.  No highlighter.  No serious discussion over dinner.  Just reading for the simple pleasure of reading.

Have you been to the library this summer?  Have you dropped your kids off at story time, while you thumbed through the “new book” rack? Have you sat on the beach, with a big floppy hat and read a steamy paperback?

Don’t fret, there is still a month of glorious summer reading time left!

May I gently suggest a trip to the library?  Or stop reading this and download a book on your Kindle.

Another gentle suggestion?  May you value yourself enough to bathe yourself in the Grace of time spent reading for fun. Just for you to breath and relax.  No pressure.  Just the act of reading to let off a little steam.  Like that crazy hissing valve on a pressure cooker.  Only, not as noisy.

I would love to hear what you are reading this summer.  Please share.

Don’t you love going to the book store or library and seeing where they showcase “staff picks”?  I am always so curious as to how a book is so beloved that a staff member is willing to put their name on it and shout to the world…… this book, it will change your life!

I don’t know if “Delicious!” will change your life.  I do know it will bring you hours of entertainment, relaxation, and time to breathe and escape.

Please share,  I would love to hear and check out your summer “pick”.

Woman in deck chair on beach


Within a year of being a newly wed, we moved from one side of the country to the other.   From Washington state to North Carolina.  To say it was a drastic change would be the understatement of the year.

New life, new baby, new husband, new roads to learn, new stores to learn……….and no friends, no mom, no mother in law, no funny Aunt’s living near by.  Back in the dark ages, no computers, no cell phones, basically no contact.  To make a phone call was extremely expensive and you had to wait until the weekend or after certain times.

We were alone.  period.  Two young kids and a baby.  Culture shock is the perfect way to describe it.

Rules of being newly married, um?  I was clueless.  Honest.  In no way am I putting myself down.  I just didn’t have a clue.  I was the person that could barely remember “my turn” to clean the bathroom once a week while in college.  I kind of don’t even remember if we had a vacuum?

Back in the day, we stumbled upon a little book, not too expensive, and was a whole lot easier to read and remember than a 5 pound Emily Post Etiquette book I had.

I needed help.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I left home with oodles of knowledge.  How to set a table for a formal tea.  How to send a proper thank you note, sympathy note (what color ink to use), what to say in a get well card and house-warming card.  How to send a proper invitation to a dinner party.  How to set the table with good china and crystal.  What to wear to a funeral.  When to wear gloves or not to wear gloves to any occasion.  The proper title and how to address any envelope.  I know the proper direction to pass food at a dining room table.   The proper shoes to wear with the proper purse.   If you had an etiquette or good manners question, I had the proper answer.

By all means, good manners have gotten me through many a situations.  I lived in a very structured and proper world.

Real life, um, not so much.  I needed, I craved a list of rules.  What to do, how to do it.  I just wanted a list that would help me live my life.   Yes, I had/have several etiquette books, we have several Bibles, Mr. Right had volumes of books on proper behavior for an Army guy.  Heck, we even had a copy of Dr. Spock’s book on how to raise a child.

Big thick books that really are a bit overwhelming at times.

I/we needed help.  Fast, quick, black & white rules to live by.

Oh yes, I came armed with oodles of etiquette and proper behavior knowledge.   I just didn’t know about “life rules”.

20150129_084948The book that helped us over the rough spots was written by a Dad .

H. Jackson Brown Jr.  is the author and his son Adam was leaving home for his freshman year in college.   He wrote the book for his son.  He wanted to send him off into the world with a little help.

It is really a collection of advise, rules, observations and reminders on how to live a happy and rewarding life.  They totaled 511.

Our book’s spine is broken.  That is how much we used it.

Learn CPR.

Keep a tight rein on your temper.

Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

Over tip breakfast waitresses.

Give thanks before every meal.

Take a brisk 30 minutes walk each day.

Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.

Plant flowers every spring.

NEVER criticize the person who signs your paycheck.  If you are unhappy with your job, resign.

Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.

Lie on your back and look at the stars.

Give yourself a year and read the Bible cover to cover.

Learn your representatives in Washington DC.

Let your children overhear you saying complementary things about them to other adults.

Learn 3 clean jokes.

Don’t postpone joy.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Be forgiving of yourself and others.

The list goes on and on.

You would be amazed at how many of the 511 things we do every single day of our lives.  They were/are our rules.  We read them and we memorized them and we put them into practice.

Give little surprise  WRAPPED gifts to your spouse for no apparent reason.  Not a birthday, or anniversary, just because.  Make sure you take the time to wrap them.

20150128_135710Last night when Mr. Right pulled out his chair to sit down to dinner, there was a wrapped surprise gift just for him.



the hunt for…..Food glorious food

While on vacation, eating can be a tricky, enlightening and eye-opening. Eating out during vacation can also be amazing and wonderful and the best thing ever.

20141008_111316May I gently suggest a little planning, a book suggestion and an open mind?  For us, part of vacation means exploring and trying new things.  Different things.  While yes, the lure of the familiar establishments has a magnetic pull to others………….we shy away from every restaurant  we “have back home”.  We are looking to fill up our scrap-book with new and different.  We set out with open minds.  We are on vacation to experience new and fresh and sumptuous.

Several years ago, while traveling in France, why yes, yes there was a McDonald’s.  No, we did not eat there.   One afternoon, we took the boys to Q-Quick.  A fast food place they have.  We each have a story about Q-Quick.  I am guessing we would not have a European story to share  if we ate at the familiar American joint.

First and foremost, this vacation, we were traveling by car, we used a cooler.  Yes, spend the money on a good quality cooler.  Fill it up.  I travel with coconut cream (yes, an excellent cup of coffee, just the way I like it, will make the day so much better, trust me or ask my driver, ha).  Our cooler was packed with humus, almond butter, fruit, seeds and assorted snacks to get us through until we were at the new (to us)  restaurant, pub or diner.

With so many nice hotels offering “free” breakfast included, we did enjoy that option several times.   A good hearty breakfast goes a long way to setting the tone for a good travel day.

Yes, we all have our familiar and favorite restaurants “back home”.  Let it go, people.  Let it go.  You are on vacation.  Get out there.  Explore, expand your mind and your palette.

Before we headed out on our California Adventure 2014 vacation…. still working on a catchy name.   We searched for a book that would give us some ideas.  Anna Roth wrote a book perfect for us.  We live on the West coast, so this gem of a, now dog-eared book, notes scribbled, was heaven-sent.  Well, if you go into Barnes and Nobel and give them some money, you too can have this heaven-sent book. “West Coast Road Eats”.  20141028_105953

It does not list the usual chain restaurants.  You can do that on your own.  boring, but have at it.  This book lists places that you need to drive around the corner and look for the address.  I might add, all were exceptionally easy to find and the book was truthful.  While I did not always agree …. Anderson Split Pea soup is the best soup on the planet (she says nothing to write home about….URGH, I LOVE it and I am writing about it.)

In all honesty, we loved the review on every place we tried.  Well worth the money we paid.  Side note, if a restaurant was found and not mentioned in the book, we collected the  business card and taped it into the back of the book with notes and comments.

Picture yourself, driving on a Sunday night, after a long day’s drive…… you still want to go another three hours….. you have booked your hotel room ahead………………. however, you need dinner.  Do you :

A.  skip dinner and become the grouchy, unhappy couple trying to make it to the hotel?

B. take the next exit and eat at a fast food joint?

C.  take exit 551 in Ukiah and drive one mile off the freeway to the BEST, most amazing food you have tasted in ages?  The mushroom, grilled onion toasted sandwich was the perfect find.  Hello Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant!  You rocked our world with Falafel so good and flavor packed I can still sort of taste it.  While your beer made with yarrow flowers was interesting and will not be ordered ever again, your great service, great atmosphere and garlic fries were so delicious that we have reminisced with smiles already.

C.  was the correct answer!

Here’s the way it works; you find out where you will be for what meal and then look at that town or area for restaurants.  Some might be heavy on the meat, others will give vegetarian options.  While a couple of towns only seem to have desserts spots and “100 flavors of fudge”….. there are amazing gems of hidden places across our great land.

You know you want to eat at those off the beaten path places.  The good spots where people grab their coats and boyfriend and head out for a casual Sunday dinner.  Those special, unique restaurants that have the most amazing deep-fried french fries with deep-fried capers?  (Hello, Republic in NH)

Speaking of amazing…………… Linn’s of Cambria, California.  It just happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving and we were road warriors.  We wanted something “thanksgiving ish”.  So Turkey with cranberry sandwiches fit the bill.  While driving we read about Linn’s.  They are known for their preserves, pies and sauces.  They are FAMOUS for their Olallieberry pie!  The berry was first developed in 1949.  The characteristics of the classic blackberry, but it is genetically about 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 red raspberry.  So we shared a piece of pie.  One of our better choices on this trip.

Sharing.  Yes, we have crossed over to the old person side and proud of it.  We order one main dish and share.  We order one dessert and share.  Telling ourselves if we want more we can order another.  With today’s portions, it has never happened.  We have never still been hungry.  20141013_160215

So after we became clean plate club members and set down our dessert forks, we paid and decided to stretch our legs a bit.  We walked through a fun, small, tourist town with hundreds of scarecrows!  Yes, they were having a contest.  Boy did we get lucky.  This was their second year and it was super happy and fun to walk and choose our favorites.  Funny, happy, well worth the stop.  The scarecrows, the town shop keepers and yes the Olallieberry Pie.

Question:  Do you rely on old stand bys or are you adventuresome and try the local fare?

I would love to hear your favorite “find” on the road.

We are in this together, please share something sumptuous that you have indulged in while on vacation.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are to live in this great country of ours?  Get out there and explore and for heaven sakes……………..EAT!

turn the page

Years ago, when I was learning to be a mom, my sister-in-law was a really good example to me.  I drank in everything she did.  She was raising a polite, well-behaved, smart little cookie.  Hey, I want smart, polite, well-behaved little cookies, too!

One time, she told me that her very, sweet, adorable, blond-haired, perfect daughter decided to be a bit naughty.  Oh my………….I waited to hear what the punishment was.  How does a kind and loving mom handle “naughty”?

Really, you took all her beloved books away?  That must have been three horrible, no good, rotten, crummy days?  Did it work?  She never again disrespected her books.   Ah, I was catching on.  She was teaching her daughter and me at the same time.

DSCN5318About 25 years ago, the same niece gave many of her favorite books to her stinky boy cousins (or I am assuming that is what a  pretty, blond, fancy, sweet girl would call her boy cousins secretly).  She generously gave us many well taken care of books.    Our boys devoured them. They read them over and over.  We the parents, were asked to read them over and over and over.   Books were respected in our home.  Books were and are valued in our family.  We read those books while living in Oklahoma.  We boxed them up took them to Germany.  We brought them back to Washington state.

You know how the pages get almost “soft” from so much use?  Yes, exactly like that.  The spines of many of the books were worn, very worn.  I think it would be politically correct to say “well-loved”.   I am not even sure if a used book store would want them.

I want our Grands to have “new” everything.  Bright and shiny.  I want homemade things to grace their lives.  I want them to have the very best of the best.   We love buying brand new books, the latest, greatest authors, funny , silly, high quality art work, top of the line brand new books.

However, I wanted them to have and experience their Dad and Uncle’s books.  I wanted them to understand what a gift they were looking at.   These books are a part of our whole family.

We cared for those books.  We saved them.  Then a couple of years ago, we brought them back out and read them to our sweet, fancy grandgirlies.  We taught them to treat them with respect.  They would hop on the sofa and quickly sit and ask for a favorite to be read to them.  We the grandparents would read them over and over and over.

In less than a couple of weeks, Grand #3 will be making his arrival.

Over the weekend, Papa and I gently and with care, packed up oodles of books.  It is time for the books to head to California.  Yes, they are worn, soft and well-loved.  It is time for a new family member to be given the chance to love them.  DSCN5320

Heartfelt and Sincere thanks to our wonderful niece who was brave enough and kind enough to share with her stinky boy cousins.

Your generous gift is still being taken care of and loved.   You will now be making a difference in the life of yet another stinky boy cousin.

book look

Spring has developed into glorious days of sunshine, here in our neck of the woods.  Each day I take my bike out onto the deck and pedal through the glowing sunshine and drink in oodles and oodles of natural,  healing vitamin D.

Some days I text and ride.  Yep, it is okay to chat with girlfriends while you are biking nowhere.  Pretty safe and four miles of biking goes by in a flash.

Other days, I take my book of the day out with me.

seven year switchYesterday and today, found me flipping the pages of Claire Cook’s book, Seven Year Switch.  It is quick, only 237 pages, fun, a bit silly and happy.  Believe it or not, no murders and no mystery.  Just a light-hearted, delightful story of love.  A feisty single mom trying to stitch together a future.  It sort of feels like a summer beach read.  You know, the kind of book you read on vacation?  Your mind doesn’t work hard, you are more easy-going and relaxed.  Just for fun and happy.

I would highly suggest you find it at your local library.  Well worth a look.

Hey, while you are inside the library, may I suggest a book by Michael Moss?  Salt Sugar and Fat.  Amazing book, filled cover to cover with information that will rock your world.  It will also lend itself to a healthier life for you and your family.sugar salt fat


What books are you currently reading?  Love to hear about your good finds.  Happy Reading, friend.




books on fire

The Nazi party burned books in big fires for several reasons. Among these were the needs to remove all un-German ideas from Germany.  Also, by removing such books they were able to eradicate independent thought, which posed a threat to Hitler as he desired people to blindly follow him, without question or opposition.  His main aim by burning books, he could indoctrinate youth and maintain it.   burning books

It has been brought to my attention that an elementary school in the Washington State public school system is very seriously considering doing away with their school library, next year.  Did you just gasp?  Did your heart skip a beat?  Did you get a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach? At this time, they are only getting between 20-30 new books a year in their library.  Most by donation.  This portion of our educational system is allowing our library systems to lag behind and ultimately fail.  

Last night I was made aware, in Los Angeles, California public school system, a group of 400 students were given iPod’s to eliminate the need for books.  The experiment lasted less than one hour before huge problems cropped up and it was chaos by day two.  Another school system nearby tried iPod’s in the class room and the iPod’s were to be kept in said class room for the students to read their assignments.  That experiment failed.

451Mr. Ray Bradbury, gave us some clues and ideas when it comes to books and electronic screens.  The time has come my friends, WE all need to re-read or READ the book Fahrenheit 451.  For every kid in your life, under your roof or not…………………it should be required reading.  Buy the book for a Christmas gift.  Buy the book for a “happy November 12th day”.  Spend your money, have them spend their own money, put it on the wish list.  Check it out of the library.  Every single person living in this country must read this book.  Please tell me that you have read this book?  Please tell me that your children have read this book?

This past weekend, I had the luxury of travelling to Portland, Oregon.  Girlfriend weekend away.  I won’t go into all glorious, happy details, as I am sure I will share bits and pieces here and there over the coming weeks.  Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.  One of the highlights of our planned trip was a field trip to Powell’s Books.  book store 7Yes, you read a that correctly.  My girlfriend drove a total of 8 hours to visit a book store.  Then drove 8 hours home with a huge bag of books.  That is how important books are to her.  As I type, I am wearing a brand new t-shirt.  We both went, explored, purchased and have already started reading some of our books and yes, we got the t-shirt!  Oh and because they were so delighted that we left so much of our money with them, they gave us each a “free” book bag!  WooHOO!

Since 1971, a bookstore that is a full city block & then some and four stories tall.  powells mapThe store is so big, they give you a map when you first enter!

I am grateful that I was well enough to travel.  I am grateful beyond imagine that I got to spend some days with my friend.  I can’t tell you how much Grace I was bathed in, just by laying on our beds giggling and talking like school girls.  Yep, we talked about boys, and kids, and food, and grandkids and investing and traveling and working and crafts and recipes and friends and yes, books.  We talked a lot about books.

When you are under the weather, you set goals.  When I am well, I am going to eat at the Space Needle.  When I am well, I am going to hike 2 miles.  When I am well, I am going to sew all day long in my sewing room.  Somehow in all the planning and plotting you forget to say…………….When I am well again, I am going to ride in the car, with my wonderful, intelligent friend and hang out in a book store for 3 hours and have the best time we have had in ages.

Travelling and hanging out  with well-educated, intelligent people bring out the best in me.  I have to be on my game.  Sharp.  I have to pay attention and be able to go joke to joke, sarcasm to sarcasm.  I have to be able to remember authors and book titles and share.  I have to use my brain.  I have to keep an open mind and listen to everything new I can learn.  I have to keep and open mind and hear their lessons and stories.  Then I have to be able to offer up the same to them.

I met this friend when I was 16 years old.  We have walked through fire, searing fire.  Burning coals.  We have celebrated good and cry for the ugly crap we have both had to endure.  If someone told me 35 years ago, today you meet a new friend, if you choose to continue this friendship you both will experience some of the toughest times you can ever imagine.  It will suck (made the kids say Hoover when growing up, as the word suck is so crass) sometimes.  It will be harder, uglier, tougher than you can fathom.  You can opt out now.  Just say, nice to meet you and move on………. I am guessing, I would have been way too curious.  Way too stubborn.  Sounds like a challenge?  I might have thought,  OR, this could be that one friendship that will turn to a diamond.  You will be heated with fire but oh the prize is so worth the heat.   Glad I didn’t get a choice.  Glad this gift was given to me freely.  I am grateful & thankful, that this diamond was given to me.

I can’t imagine my life without books.  I can’t imagine my life with out my friend.  We have earned every single letter in the word friendship. Just two sparkly, fancy, girls wandering through life/walking through fire/wandering through a book store.  I love that we will both fight and fight hard to keep books in schools and in the lives of our family.

I love the “book” we are writing.

Can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring.

book store 5book store 1