Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Best Books

As an author . . . 
And a ravenous reader -
I thought I would finally share my list of the ten best books.
All of these books have been read by me more than once,
which is saying a lot!

Fiction for me must be haunting,
a story that has stickiness
that I can't forget
that keeps me thinking
and wondering what happens next?

All of the fiction books below all into that category.

Non-fiction just needs to have a universal appeal.
I will be honest.
Getting my list down to ten was a challenge.
So it came down to which books do I recommend, buy for others, and re-read

First, because I'm eclectic in my reading,
please know I'm going to give books
from a number of genres.
Also, I have many authors not listed that I would consider my favorite authors.

In any event,
Let the fun begin:

1. A Brief History of the Dead
by Kevin Brockmeier

Apocalyptic Fiction

I was at the airport and needed a read.
It was recommended as a book similar to one I'd liked.
Don't remember the book I liked.
And can't forget this book.
It haunts me.
Enough said?
Was recommended by my book club the best book of 2012
And it's the comparison for all other books we've read.

2. Ellen Foster
by Kaye Gibbons

Literary Fiction

I was at an airport and needed a read.
I thought it would be a plane ride's worth.
It was . . .
The voice is evocative.
The story begins:
"When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy."

3. The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver

Literary Fiction

My daughter had to read it.
She recommended it.
I couldn't put it down.
Love the women's narrative voices.

4. The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak

Young Adult

Someone told me our book club should read it.
They did,
You should as well.

5. Norwegian by Night
by Derek B. Miller


The characters! Yes! Love!
An elderly man,
a young boy
and a story,
what a wonderful story.
I laughed . . .
I cried.

6. The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy

Romantic Fiction

I wanted to read the story before I saw the movie.
I cried.
And then I saw the movie trailer
and I cried - 
every time I saw the movie trailer,
                                                every single time
                                                    even now. 
                      I see the bridge in the movie trailer and I bawl.

7. Layover
by Lisa Zeidner

Women's Fiction

I was intrigued by the front cover.
And the back cover
I read the book.
I have re-read the book.
Haunting tale.

8. True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure
by Andrew Weil, Sam Fox and Michael Stebner


True Foods is my most favorite restaurant
so is it any wonder that I love their cookbook?
Not only are the recipes simple
they look and taste wonderful.

9. Leadership and Self Deception
The Arbinger Institute


I routinely recommend this book to:
like parents
like I said people.
                                 It talks about treating people
                                  as people.
                                  Great concept.
                                Great read.

So is:
10. Good to Great
Jim Collins


An overall great business book.
With timeless insight
into what works.

I would love to hear what books are in your top ten.
I should to my top ten authors.
It would be an entirely 
different list.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rolling on the Floor

First of all,
Happy Pink Day
to all the gals at
Stop on by and say, "Hi!"

This weekend I'm supposed to be working
really, really, really hard.
So I didn't sign up for a 5K.
My daughters did though.

for weeks they've been talking about this run.
They didn't realize when they signed up 
it was in Flagstaff, AZ,
but they made the most of it.
They are staying with AirBNB.
If you are not familiar with this site,
run and check it out -
I have too much fun searching for places to stay on dream vacations.
(I've several times checked out the island section!)
We are actually using it for our London trip and will be staying
in a really old converted rectory.
Oh the fun.

So my girls prepared for their run.
They met and I gave them hugs and wished them well in the race today.

They left and drove all the way to Flagstaff.

Looks like a raining day, I say.

They entered the address of the home where they are staying
and then, yes, only then, did my driving daughter say,
(Are you ready?)
Where do we go for our run tomorrow?
Her fellow traveler typed in the address and was confused.
we are getting further away.
We're going the wrong direction!
Oh, no!"
The race was in Tucson.
Okay, now I can pick myself off the floor and I'll get back to work.

Have a great and fun-filled day of joyous happiness! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Year

Can you believe? Today is the first day of school!

Hope you boys have a great year! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

How Proud Are You? Very, Very Proud!

Happy Pink Saturday!!!!!
Please join with all the ladies at How Sweet the Sound,
and most important,
go around and leave a comment or two,
let them know you were there.

So now to my post.

My youngest daughter won a teaching award this year.

And that meant that she was able to go to Brazil to learn about the educational system there. A wonderful opportunity. She has been asked to write about her opportunity and has given me permission  to share a part of it here. Thanks!

This summer I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Brazil. The goal of our group was to create our own global perspective by learning about a culture other than our own.

We visited four schools, two in Sao Paulo and two in Rio. Each school had a unique partnership with a local business. In Sao Paulo we saw a high school and an elementary school, and in Rio we went to a technology high school, and then a middle school. At each school we watched instruction, talked with teachers and students. In the high schools we were lucky to have students that spoke English and who could answer our questions. When we went to the Elementary school in Sao Paulo, we had three older students who translated for us. In the elementary school, the students allowed us to be a part of their classrooms.

While we traveled in Brazil, the people were in the middle of protesting. It was interesting for us.  At the high schools we were able to talk with the students and get their take on the national protests. These 16 and 17 year old students talked to us about how empowered they felt protesting, and getting a chance to ask their government to give the people more. They specifically wanted to know where their tax money goes, and to know why their schools go without.

Part of the journey journey included learning about the Brazilian culture. We ate authentic and delicious food, attended the Afro-Brazilian museum, we saw a neighborhood dance group and an adult dance troop. We visited local monuments, went to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer. 

A major highlight of the trip was Meninos de Morumbi, a performance group from the Morumbi Neighborhood. An amazing man, Flávio Pimenta started teaching the children in his neighborhood how to play music as a way to keep them off the streets. Now he has 200 students that he works with, teaching them to play music, dance and sing. When we met him he talked 

about the importance of providing his students with another choice, and showing them that they did not have to sell drugs to survive.

He said that he sucks them in with music, and them gives them values. He brought us up to the top floor where a few kids waited for us. They performed two songs for us, it was overwhelming. You could see the students pride on their faces, and the passion they showed as they performed. They taught us how to play the drums and danced. “We are a band now," Flávio would yell as we completed a drum set together.  It was easy to see right away how he inspires passion and a love for music in each of his students. 

Such an awesome opportunity!


She had a wonderful trip. 
Then one day in Rio, 
she went walking alone,
she saw a park,
and in the park,
she saw four older men - 80+ years each,
one from Brazil, one from France and two Italians,
they were playing cards,
and asked her to join them.
She didn't understand all they said
 but the Frenchman spoke some English
and she speaks some French
they played cards
for an hour 
or two
the men 
But she had the most fun!

Can you imagine?
All the way

Woot! Woot!

I thought I'd try this nifty feature - blog posting from my telephone. 

Now this would be great if I was away from home and had forgotten to post.

Or if I'd just taken an amazing photo of something and wanted to share. Like this -  

Or maybe - 

This was an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad I had last week at True Foods. Believe me it's worth writing about! Yum!!!

Full disclosure - I'm sitting at home in pajamas (come on its still tea time in the morning) and have no excuse for this post being done on my mobile. I must admit though, it sure makes blogging easy.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Busy As A Bee

That's how I'm feeling these days.

There seems to be so much to do,
and as always,
so little time.

I've been organizing my time.

Projects: Those thing that must be done sometime.
People: Taking care of returning calls, stopping and leaving messages for the bloggers on my list.
Tasks: All the other stuff that must be done each day, like . . . 

My focus is on People 1st, Tasks 2nd and Projects 3rd.

The end result:
Well I feel more accomplished,
and more connected.
Which is really great!

Perhaps my busy bee behavior will become
more relaxed and focused,
and less frantic.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cool and Refreshing

With the Arizona heat
I'm in need of some cooling off.

What better way then a walk in the garden,
(even though it's a virtual walk
it's waaaaay too hot here for a real stroll.)

Today I'm linking up
for Pink Saturday.
Please stop by and share your pinks!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Today I have been working diligently 
in between appointments - 
work -
phone calls -
lunch with hubby -
and yoga
with the dogs
to find and appreciate
some of my photos.

So here, to inspire you . . .

May you have a lovely day!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Liebster! Oh My!

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award! I must admit to feeling quite humbled by this and honored. Thank you so very much Terry. She's over at Sharing Divine Inspiration where she does just that - shares divine inspiration. Thank you Terry for thinking of me. Words can not completely express the gratitude I feel for being recognized. 

Liebster is a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, pleasant and valued.

Wow! Now you understand why I feel so honored.

This is an award with a purpose. It is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers to recognize their blog and encourage them to continue blogging. I feel so blessed to have been chosen to receive this kindness.

In acceptance of this award I am to:
1. Give 11 random facts about myself.
2. Answer the 11 questions Terri asked me.
3. Nominate 11 people for this award.
4. Make up 11 original questions for my nominees to answer about themselves.

I find I'm a bit excited about the whole process. Okay, here we go!

Eleven random facts about myself: (in no particular order)

1. I read. A lot! 
And a wide range of things. 
This is my current bedside reading.
(This doesn't include the stuff on my Kindle.)
(Or the audiobooks I listen to in the car.)

2. This year I started running with my daughters. 
We've been doing fun runs. 
Doesn't it look like fun?
(Bubble Run - I was covered in colorful bubbles. Refreshing!)

My favorite part of writing is the research. 
I love to learn new things. 
A lot of the things I have characters do
                     comes from me wanting to do them too.
I think of it as a win/win!

4. I knit to keep my hands busy. 
Sometimes I even create my own patterns and designs. This is my latest work. 
A boyfriend sweater - 
         I haven't found the right buttons yet. 
                   I'm thinking elk horn? 
                             What do you think?

5. I like to travel - a lot. 
This year we are heading to London. 
I've never been there and have no idea what we shall do, but I'm thinking relaxed meeting of the people. 
      Any of my English blogging friends, feel free to give ideas.

6.  To be outdoors makes my day! 
                   Especially to hike 
                         in the mountains 
                               near the water. It's the best!

7. I love Caribou Coffee! The bad part is they don't have them in Arizona or California or anywhere I go - except Minnesota, where I only go once every few years. I'm so very jealous of those of you who can have a Dark Chocolate Mocha every morning. Yum!

I also love tea, 
                tea cups and 
                       tea pots and 
                                       and I mean everything tea.

9. I climbed this mountain. The Grand Teton - the one in the middle. The tallest one. Yep, me. Someone who was afraid of heights. There I am in the first picture climbing up, at the top, and then coming down. Yep. I climbed a mountain.

10. I have three dogs and several grand dogs. 
This one is my favorite, but don't tell the others.
I love her tongue!
         And the way it peeks out when she sleeps.
                                   Too funny.

11. I am someone who will not tell my age, mainly because I don't want a number to define me. 

And this last year, for no particular reason, I stopped coloring my hair. 

Am I an oxymoron?

My answers to Terri's 11 questions:

1. What is the first thing you do in the morning? I use an application on my phone called Sleep Cycle every evening. It records my sleep patterns. In the morning a chime gently wakes me. So first thing I remove it from between my sheets and record how I feel when I wake up.

2. What is the last thing you do at night? Turn on Sleep Cycle and place my Iphone between the sheets.

3. Do you have children? I have four children, three daughters and a son. All are grown and make me proud. I also have four grandchildren who are amazing.

4. What do you love to do? Spend time with my family. I have a fantastic and loving husband, great children, wonderful grandchildren, an inspiring father-in-law, and friends that are like family who are so much fun to be with. I am so very blessed.

5. Where do you love to be? Outside. Way far away from everyone else who is outside. Think me and wide open spaces. Or me and lots of trees. Or me beside a gently bubbling creek. 

6. Do you like to drive? I commute weekly from Arizona to California for work. It's five hours each way. I used to commute five hours each way for a job in Wyoming too. I don't mind driving, I could fly, so I guess yes. I like to drive.

7. What is your biggest dream? Everyone has a story. I have a desire to travel and meet people to listen to their stories.

8. What is your favorite animal? Coyotes. I'm obsessed. I follow the Daily Coyote and love her photos.

9. What is your favorite type of food? I'm a bit of a foodie. Right now I can't seem to get enough Indian Food. But Mexican Food is also a favorite.

10. Are you a morning dove or a night owl? I'm a morning dove who gets up while the night owl is still prowling.

11. Why do you blog? As a writer, the art of journaling thoughts is helpful to reducing blockage. Also as someone who loves photography, I find it to be a wonderful creative blend. 

The eleven blogs I am nominating:
1. My Life
2. Phamilyblog
3. 21 Wits, by Karen
4. Random Salvage
5. Knitalatte
6. The Artful Diva
7. Dip-Dip and the Bridge
8. Marie Angelique
9. Sweet Virginia Breeze
10. Midlife Poet
11. makingcardsisfun

My Original 11 Questions for the Nominees:
1. What does your creative space look like?
2. How do you create balance in your life?
3. Inside? Or outside?
4. What is your favorite tree?
5. Coffee or Tea?
6. What types of books do you read?
7. How did you come up with the title of your blog?
8. If I came to visit, how would I know what your favorite color is?
9. What do you do for summertime relief from the heat?
10. What is your best feature?
11. Flats, wedges, heels or boots?

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Pleasing Fourth

It has been a long time since I've attended the local show - fireworks show of course.
We typically head over to the local mall
directly across from where the display will be managed.
This year the whole family took part.
A few sparklers were lit.
A large number of large bottles of water were drank - 109 degrees last night.
And we ooohed and ahhhed to our hearts content.

And I was able to try out my panorama app.

Today, we help friends move.
Two more days of "vacation."
Unfortunately, I have ten more projects that must be completed in that time.
(this counts as one)

In honor of the Fourth, I'm joining up with Pink Saturday. Stop on over and see what everyone else has been up to this wonderful summer.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

 Summer is here! 
And the garden is growing, which is saying a lot with the Arizona heat we've been having. 

It will only be 109 today! Ouch!

A few of the plants seem to be having a hard time of it. 

Still we're eating lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and more.

Even the 'girl' eats out of the garden.

But the ones truly enjoying our garden this year are the 

We've planted a number of trees to provide shade and fruit 
and they hide all the feeders 
for the little ones who have come to stay with us. 

They are quite territorial, however, they seem to put up with me and my nonsense -
I read in the garden early in the mornings.

And they flutter around my head and come close to be photographed.