Photo Friday: View from Windows

A late winter cold wave drove me inside for the most part. So I took some photos gazing outward.

Perhaps that’s a good point of view for February. What about you? Where is your focus this week?

out the window - 1 out the window - 2 out the window - 3 out the window - 4 out the window - 5 out the window - 6

For more great photos follow Pierced Wondering’s link:

Pierced Wonderings


Meet Author Gloria Doty and “Bring a Cowboy Home”

Scan0001I met Gloria Doty a couple of years ago at my very first writers conference, Write to Publish. It’s the perfect place to get your feet wet meeting publishers and have your writing critiqued.  Oh my, what a wonderful, supportive group of people. My best-blogger-friend, Kim Sullivan told me about Write to Publish, and I jumped in feet first with her, not knowing it was also a Christian writers conference.

Gloria and I have some things in common.  We’re about the same age, she’s a blogger, ≈we both have a special needs daughter, and we both write books.

BRING A COWBOY HOME is Gloria’s third book! It’s a Christian romance, and it’s about a “woman of a certain age” falling in love, plus there’s a bit of intrigue. Do those three things really go together? Gloria thinks so.  And I do too.  BRING A COWBOY HOME is a delightful, breezy read. Gloria agreed to give two copies away to my readers.  Just enter a comment below and let me know whether you prefer an electronic copy or a paperback.

Gloria won the Write to Publish’s 2014 “Writer of the Year Award” for her book about her special needs daughter, NOT DIFFERENT ENOUGH. Next she co-authored A BOUQUET OF DEVOTIONS with sister, Jeanette Dall.  They paired 50 common flowers with  50 devotions. Gloria says she’s always loved to write. But she never wrote fiction.  “I Didn’t think I could do it,” she told me.

A friend asked her to go to  a Christian Writers Luncheon.  “The speaker inspired me.  I came home with a book in mind,” she explained.  “Really, it was inspired by God. That’s the only way I can explain it.”

A close friend inspired the title of Gloria’s book. As Gloria was about to board a flight to Texas her friend ribbed her, “Bring a cowboy home.” That’s was back in the day when friends could go with you to the gate.  And, Gloria started with the last line of the book. The whole store came from the cover and the ending! “I just had to fill in the rest of book,” she told me, as if that made the whole process easy-peasy.

“I wanted to write about romance, where the main character is a mature woman,” Gloria said. She went on to say that she knows from talking to the 30 and under crowd, that younger people can’t get their heads around the idea that the 60+ crowd do fall in love, have sex, get married. “But the millions of baby boomers know it happens!”

“I give people a different flavor in a romance novel,” said Gloria. “I want to push people over that cliff.  It’s okay.”

  Even if you don’t like any of those thing,  and you will want to see how a gifted author weaves those components together in a delightful story.

You can buy any of Gloria’s books by clicking on the titles above, which will take you to Amazon.  Or, enter a comment below and get a chance to win a copy.  Oh, and Gloria liked her character so much, that she wrote two more novels following the characters’ adventures.  “I just had to see what happened to these characters next,” Gloria told me. “You know, when you write, sometimes the characters take you in an unexpected direction.” You’re so right, Gloria.

Gratitude Monday: February is here

January is behind me.  My least favorite month.  Cold, long, annual and quarterly bills due, the holidays are behind me, plus a time when I take stock in what I’ve accomplished and where I’m going.  Where am I going?  Hmm… I know where I want to go.  I better get hopping.

No with feet planted in February, the days are noticeably longer.  I know there’s more cold weather coming, but soon, the crocuses will start poking their hopeful heads through the frost.  Ahhh… I feel better already.

Here’s what gratitude flows through my fingers and onto the page on this particular February 1:

Blue skies: Yes it’s sunny outside today.  Even though the past three days have been warmer, the sun’s been hiding for the last week it seems.  Today, she’s back, warming the sidewalk and bring a smile to my heart.  I see green grass in snow-melted patches.

15 punches: I finally completed my health-club punch card for the month of January.  I’m in the drawing for some prize. Victory is completing the punches.  And guess how many punches I have for February?  That’s right… ONE.

Cat sisters: Sasha and Misha are such a great example of love. Yes, sometimes they fight, but they make up quickly. I love watching the two of them play together. Sasha jumping, Misha darting.

DSCN4853 Musical grandchild: I can hardly believe how 12 year-old Mr. L can make up songs, and explain it to me, “Now I’m switching to minor chords, to give you a clue about what’s coming next. I borrowed three measures from a song I practiced, but I don’t think the composer will mind because I improved it.”

 “Sonday”: A Saturday visiting first one son, then the other. I feel so replenished. What wonderful men they are.

Turkey dinners for no reason: Yes, all the trimmings, on the last day of January. Left-overs made into pot pie today.

Pillsbury crescent dough sheets: Pot pie made easy.  These are now a pantry staple.  Next, I’m making an omelet stuffed “pie.”

Amazon Prime and Netflix:  I’m marathon watching the Oscar Nominees, and getting my votes together.

What’s on your gratitude list?  

  Please leave something in the comments below.


Photo Friday: Out on a Limb

This week saw many deadlines come together.  I spent few minutes on blogging or social media.  I took this photo a couple of weeks ago. I watched this squirrel and his silly gymnastics for several minutes.  Disappointment struck when I looked at my photo and could barely make out the goofy hijinxer. This week I played around with some FX Studio techniques. If I squint, I think I can see the grin on this squirrel’s face.

squirrel in tree

Please hop over to Pierced Wondering. Jen has some wonderful photos. One looks very twiggy, like this one.


Pierced Wonderings

STEM Tuesday: Meet Betty Trummel

Do you know some of the differences between the Antarctica and the Arctic?

  1. Which one is a continent?
  2. Which one has no mammals?
  3. Which one is dedicated to research?
  4. Which one allows commerce?
  5. Which one is where Santa Claus lives?

Thanks to Betty Trummel, I do. Okay, I already knew that Santa lives at the North Pole and that’s the Arctic. I knew the Antarctic is a continent.  The Arctic is almost all ice and water, with small islands of land.  The Antarctica has no mammals, and it’s protected by a treaty, while the Arctic allows commerce.

The main purpose of the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in Washington on December 1, 1959, is to ensure “in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue for ever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.”

Betty is school teacher, turned Antarctica expiditioner. Soon, 59 year-old, Betty will be off to a novel leadership program, Homeward Bound Projects. The program brings women of science together to hone their leadership skills and to talk about ways to encourage more girls and young women to take on science careers.

Betty Trummel - 1I met Betty a couple of weeks ago, through my freelance photo-journalist gig with McHenry Chronicle.  I get to meet so many interesting people through writing.  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to make new friends, too.  Betty and I hit it off right away.  We might have gabbed all night, if Loved-One hadn’t sent out a distress signal wondering where in blue-blazes disappeared to.  Oh well, Betty and I are getting together soon.  We share a passion for science. Maybe we’ll make it a pajama party.

Here’s a link to the full article, “Local women selected for novel leadership program.” You gotta see the photo of her eyelashes caked in ice.

Isn’t it wonderful to see Betty launch her career in a new direction?  Do you have a passion you’d like to explore?  I’d love to hear about it.


Hijacked by Siri

The weather turned bitter cold, warmed up, and turned bitter cold again.  Cold makes me grumpy.

Does that sound like an opening to a horror movie?  It was pretty horrible, when you consider I looked forward to 5 hours of WiFi helping me meet my newspaper deadline.  But things are looking up.

Amtrak and senior rates.  I can take Amtrak to see Mom for less money than driving.  Yay!  I read a whole book on the way there and wrote and published a post.

A five day visit with Mom. What a treat.  Five whole days with an almost-88-year-old woman who is full of wisdom, humor, and strength.

 Clear January skies.

A fire in the fireplace makes me as toasty as red flannel pajamas.

On-line technical support that approaches my problem with humor and respect. How does Apple train its people with a blend of understanding without condescension?

Great breakfast restaurants.  It’s such a treat to linger over the Sunday newspaper, while fresh coffee gets delivered to me.

Downton Abby.  Love, love, love that show.

Siri. Okay, she’s insolent, going her own way inside my iPad.  Still, she continually, pulls up iMap with a fine selection of local places where I can treat myself to an ice cream sundae. Does Siri know me, or what?


What’s on your gratitude list this week?  Just add something in the comments below.  Feel free to add a link, and I’ll come check out your list.

In the meantime, I’m off to the Genius Bar. A soft-reboot, a hard re-boot and restore, and Siri still has control.  Perhaps the universe (of Apple) is trying to tell me something.

Gratitude Monday: January Freeze

First, a 3-inch snowfall right in time for my flute solo at the annual Epiphany concert. Next we hit the sub-zero weather. And that’s Farenheit, for my Celcius friends out ther.  Brrrrrrrrumba.  So where’s the gratitude?  Everywhere.

  • It’s nearly the middle of January, and it’s the very first sub-zero day.  That’s something worth celebrating.
  • The snow on the trees froze to beautiful crystals that dazzle in the cold sunlight.
  • The days are getting longer.
  • The solo went well.  Not flawless, but close enough to make me happy.  Lots of positive feedback,which I’m holding onto tightly.
  • A flute trio with a friend and an little girl, which got spontaneous applause at church.  I call in Two Old Ladies and a LIttle Girl. 
  • Amtrak. I’m on my way to visit Mom for five days.  Yeah!
  • Black paint on yellow caution signs turned beautiful in a backdrop of dazzling snow.
  • The cofidence of Gloria Doty.  She asked me to be an “advance reader” for her new novel Bring a Cowboy Home. What a lovely story.  I started reading it on the train, and had to make myself put it down to write this post. Thank you Gloria!
  • Long underwear.  I’m pretty sure that needs no explanation.
  • Blue tooth keyboards.  I can type with my keyboard on my lap and my iPad somewhere secure.