Category Archives: Blog

Party Perfect

Have you been to a party recently?

No? Me neither. But some of my friends have attended special occasions such as birthday parties. Or allowed children to attend at a neighbor or friend’s house.

When I was a child — some of my friends held birthday parties every year. Others had one or two over the years in elementary school. We went to their home — played games outside (if weather permitted) laughed, oohed and aahed when gifts were opened, and enjoyed cake.

My children attended a few parties for their friends. Often at an arcade, bowling alley, or skating rink. Fun and food were the result.

What does it take to make a party these days? How do you dress?

Yes, Mama–I’ll mind my manners and wear my mask.

Dreams in the Field

When I grow up — I want to be a Christmas Tree.

Can you picture me — tall, trunk straight, branches full — I’ll hold your precious, antique ornaments of glass, wood, paper, or fabric. My green fingers have room for new ones too — gifts, crafts assembled by children, strings of beads, popcorn, or cranberries.

Do I look fine? Am I ready?

The workers have done a fine job shearing me into shape each year.

Want to make me a good house guest in December? Keep my water dish filled — some days I’ll drink more than others — the better to keep my needles firm on the twigs.

When the gifts have been exchanged and the wrapping paper discarded — don’t forget about me. Many towns and cities have special collection sites and will turn me into mulch for spring gardens. (Or check with the local zoo — elephants think I’m a special snack.)

Thinking Christmas trees? Check out Starr Tree Farm — a sweet romance with a touch of suspense. You never know what will have on a Christmas tree farm in January.

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Nook readers: http://bit.ly/2zpVt2X

Swim for your Supper

Yum, yum — fresh fish.

Today we’re talking birds — one particular species.

After having a rather rough time of it fifty or sixty years ago, the species now appears along waterways and in bays and inlets throughout most of North America.

Need to keep social distance? With a wingspan of up to 10 feet — this bird’s got you covered.

Born and raised in colonies — an island is good to escape foxes and coyotes — you find them either as singles or groups as adults. They will cooperate when feeding — fish while swimming (a sport I’d never participate in).

Enough with the beak jokes!

The proper name is throat sac. It serves me well when the small fish, frogs, and other tasty morsels are plentiful.

Name? My name is GLIDER– the best of the American White Pelicans in this zoo.

Classic Location

A Midwest story which opens in a church basement.

Oh — the tales the walls could tell — but gossiping is wrong — so they will stay silent.

Let’s take a tour. Kitchen with commercial stove and two refrigerators. A nice island counter with storage for all the cooks and helpers to gather around. A deep sink – double or triple. Don’t forget the serving counter. A piano in the main area — you’ll hear it during Sunday school opening and at other events. Restrooms — a necessity and so welcome. And the ever-popular smooth, round support posts. (Great fun for children of all ages to swing around until dizzy.)

Upstairs you’ll find the cloakroom — no cloaks but plenty of jackets, coats, and boots in the winter — an entry and the worship area.

Let’s return to the basement — and the party. Yes, in the fictional village of Crystal Springs — the church hosts a New Year’s Eve party — with music, food, and games. Don’t forget the midnight toast!

The model for Springs Community Church

The first of the three Crystal Spring Romances is currently available for 0.99 — this is the perfect time to sample some sweet romance with a touch of suspense.

Available at all major on-line retailers.

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The Ninety-two year Difference

How long ago? Ninety-two years! That takes a person back to…1929?

Close to a century scary when you think about it. In my childhood, it seemed as if all adults were born before then. However, I need to remember…my childhood was more than two decades ago.

So think back with me…close your eyes and imagine the streets of a medium-sized city…the county seat perhaps.

Here comes the newest from Mr. Ford…

and it’s not even black!

Watch as it chugs down the street giving a smooth ride to the driver and passengers. Oh– look!

A special seat just for the teens. Hold your girl tight on the curves, Young Sir!

Need a Rest?

Long-time readers of this blog — or people who know me in person — are aware I enjoy zoos.

Recently I visited a New-to-me location.

While smaller than the local zoo (St. Louis is rated world class) this medium-sized facility presented a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles in both people and animal friendly displays.

Perhaps I’m getting older. One of the things which caught my attention was not an animal at all — a bench with a clever design.

A smooth, simple place to sit and watch the animals — and people. Slide to the end for a stylish arm to assist standing.

Do you admire benches in public places? Want to see more? Click here for a link to my Pinterest collection. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/754845587550645255

Recent History?

Is the title an oxymoron?

Actually, the definition depends on your age. For young adults — even some in typical middle age — the events and artifacts at this museum are history. For the generation older — well, we remember when they were in use.

Do you remember the 1960’s? Or are they stories from older family members and final chapters of history books?

While many of the items at this museum were designed, built, and in-use before my birth — a large share continued in use into my young adulthood.

I spent a delightful day at this location. I started on land. However, I spent the largest portion of the time on the floating portion of the displays. It took time for me to tour to all the parts of the aircraft carrier which I wanted to see. I tried to imagine myself as a crew member. Did I work on this deck? Sleep in this section? Eat here? Ladders, not stairs. Deck, not floor. How many of the planes on the flight deck did I recognize? What a view from the captain’s chair!

When visiting Charleston, SC, I suggest you allow several hours to enjoy some recent history — or 20th Century history — at Patriot’s Point. A visit to the ships and displays makes a nice contrast to the 17th and 18th Century sites in the historic portions of the city.

No Exceptions!

All street traffic must stop! Did you see the flashing light? Hear the bell? Notice the red and white arm lower?

It does not matter if you are a bus, a truck, a sedan, an SUV, or a bicycle. ALL street traffic must stop!

But…but…but…I’m late for an appointment.

Explain the situation when you arrive. Locals will understand.

When the bridge tender raises the draw bridge…ALL street traffic needs to pause.

Best reaction? Stop your vehicle, draw a good breath, and watch the river traffic enjoy right-of-way.

Wildfire!

Following an drought which extended into the fall, a series of small fires were wind-whipped out of control and soon merged into a deadly mass. The area was filled with a wildfire of historic proportions. An estimated 2,400 square miles burned.

All of this happened on October 8, 1871 in the Northeastern portion of Wisconsin.

Isolated farms, small communities, and the thriving town of Peshtigo were consumed as the flames spread across the forest. Everything was build of wood — this was lumber country. Lumber and wood products equaled jobs and money.

The author of this eyewitness account was a priest. He and others survived only by fleeing into the river and repeatedly dousing each other with cold, river water (Oct in northern Wisconsin is not know for warm rivers.) He was in the river for five and a half hours. The number of the dead will never be known — 1,152 is one accepted number but other estimates are slightly higher. Few bodies were identified unless a belt buckle, pin, or some other possession with them survived. One of the mass graves is located in a cemetery adjacent to the local museum and fire memorial.

October 8, 1871 — does the date sound familiar?

Another fire of note raged in the Midwest that same night — in Chicago.

Food and Crafts

August: hot, humid, tired. Sometimes all the tasks come in a rush and overwhelm a person. The final, hectic weeks before school started. (I remember roasting in the store trying on a new winter coat.) The garden is demanding harvesting — which leads to canning — which requires lots and lots of boiling water adding to the already humid air.

In recent years, the tempo of my life has changed. (For the better, I think.) My children are grown. I live urban rather than rural. However, no matter how urban your current life — you can find a touch of rural at the Farmer’s Market.

Some in our area have a permanent building or pavilion. Others set up with tents in a park. Look for produce, home canned treats, honey, snacks, and local crafts. Different markets have different rules. At some you can even connect with a local author.