Category Archives: Short and Random


Well, this is the end of the month. Ready to do a little two step. Had two challenges and this finishes the second one successfully. Ultimate Blog Challenge, write a blog post every day for a month, that you post on your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Check, check, and double check.

This will be the last post for a while until I get the first draft of the current book finished. Actually enjoy writing these little posts, forever hopeful that people read them and can relate. See from other writers, that the act of blogging helps them finish tasks, especially when writing nonfiction. I can see how it would do that if it didn’t steal time from the story or book I’m currently working on. Keep intending to try a video blog or podcast format, where you just blab for five to fifteen minutes and say goodnight. So far, haven’t had the time to learn how to do that. Maybe I’ll try as I get caught up on my writing.

Children started school today. Actually miss the getting ready for the new year, cleaning the room, and making the bulletin board, all for that first day when you get to meet your new students. But not enough to give up and go back to the classroom. Remember one of the hardest tasks was teaching little ones to tie their shoes. Finishing this is that hard, not sure how to tie the bow to end it. Finding images takes the most time, few would save.

So, knowing I’m not Betty Grable or Minnie Mouse (ignore her happy easter), will just leave their images to say I love you.

My first fan sent me a note today and she is the reason I want to blog. Thanks, Joann. Love all of you and will write back, anytime you want to say hello.





I mentioned the other day that we gave up our cable subscription and are relying on a subscription to Amazon Prime and the Internet, mainly YouTube for entertainment. So far, it has been wonderful. My daughter added us to Netflix the other week. Had no idea that this would be any good. My husband started watching a show this morning about eleven. It was after eight this evening before we came to the end of the show, Stranger Things.

We both love stories of adventure, especially starring children. It had hooks at the end of each little episode that compelled us to come back and watch just one more show. Thank goodness there was no Season 2 shows yet. I may never recover. Still trying to hit my word count for my Camp challenge tonight. And this is my shortest post yet. But did love it, always nice for us to spend that much time together doing anything.


I carried my cable box in last month and have been going cold turkey. I have an Amazon Prime account so I can watch movies and since our new television is a Smart one, far smarter than me, it lets me surf the web. I can watch news and old movies on there for free. And reruns of game shows, mostly posted by people who appeared on them. The problem, Internet news tends to favor the weird, even more than network news. I guess the weirder it is, the more hits it gets.

Here are a couple of links to some of the stranger ones, in case you’ve missed them.

Not sure why anyone would want to move hagfish or slime fish.

This is Russian, seems to be the most frequent word online, other than UFO.

Some jobs are tougher than others. At least this guy could handle his.

I love these big guys, not sure why everyone is herding them, they seemed to have their trunks packed and plans made.  These two might be a honeymoon couple. The nerve of some animal lovers.

And lots more. I miss real, honest, truthful news. I’m a lot like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man. A had a fixed routine. I finished my work,  watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then watched Local News to see what was happening close to home, the weather and local sports, then National News to see what was happening in America and around the world. The change of our media into one united voice of hate and ridicule for the new President and most Americans, unless they are part of the fringe along the coasts, destroyed that. I cannot relax and listen to it. There are no factual reports of what is actually happens. Everything is an editorial, someone’s view of what they think is important and how I should see it. It was making me crazier.

I could not relax and listen to it. There are no factual reports of what is actually happens. Everything is an editorial, someone’s view of what they think is important and how I should see it. It was making me even crazier.

So, I’m left with the weird Internet news and listening to BBC, Fox, and the fringe broadcasters. I miss regular television, wish there were some way to return to the simpler days of the big test pattern, then cartoons, old westerns, game shows, news, and shows about normal families living normal lives. I miss my routine.

At least I wrote my count tonight in Camp challenge, and did this silly blog, although trying to get the links to click mean it is late. Apologies for sharing.


Late again tonight. Just barely finished my thousand words, and inclined to keep writing. Thought I would punt again with a few quotes from one of my favorites, Will Rogers.

Rogers was a witty cowboy from Oklahoma who could poke fun at the politicians of his day in short pithy comments that never mentioned murder. Part Cherokee, he first charmed the nation by doing rope tricks for the Ziegfield Follies, but his wit and jokes were the best part of his act. He made movies, wrote columns, and kept the nation laughing through some hard times. Here are a few of his words of wisdom.

First politics, since I was wanting a quote to use on Twitter when I started reading these.

This next group is just his philosophy of life, at least the part I agree with. Enjoy.



Shared images of intriguing roads yesterday, but the one I’ve been on today is certainly the broadest and most prone to lollygagging. I’ve fallen into surfing the web. Although I love company, I spent more time cooking, talking, watching films, and none watching television news. In catching up on current events, I’ve read and watched the last three days in wonder. Too late, coming to my senses and writing.

Mere 1056 tonight, although may write more after I post this.

I gave up cable about six weeks ago because I’d become obsessed with the continued climate of political warfare. In book three tonight, I’m in the prelude to the Civil War, when heated debate, a hard-fought political campaign, and the direction Americans believed the country should take were so different it led to five years of war and the loss of lives and destruction of much of the countryside. Probably would be better off if I were writing a contemporary mystery or one of my quieter, Mountain Wives stories.

The parallels are too troublesome. Most of what I read, fortunately, was about Europe and the G-20 conference. Enjoyed reading the speech to Poland by the President, and was impressed by the warm reception he received there. In Germany, the sessions seemed to be productive and for the most part positive. But then the Antarchist destruction and mob riots in Germany all under the guise of protest were shocking. We are definitely living in strange times.

Three days of the current craziness in the news is far too much and I’ll try to go cold turkey tomorrow and get more work done on this book. Still reminded as I write how extreme language is divisive, words can and do have consequences, and a nation so divided cannot long stand. Miss the days of objective reporting instead of editorialized presentation of viewpoints. Too many people trying to tell us how and what to think.

Praying that sanity and unity are soon restored and we make progress on the harsh issues that confront us. Would love if there were harmony and love among all as we work as one people, one nation, to solve our current problems.  Praying for all hearts to open and share love and charity and that the hate groups remain in Europe and never return to this land that we love.




My company is still here, but I made my word count for the night and feel back on the path. It’s a long road with no end in sight, but one only reaches a goal by moving forward one mile at a time.

Since I’m still writing and pushing to get a blog post in also, will close with a few inspiring images of roads and gateways. I like this one best because of the rainbow up ahead. It is our first day without rain this week and we are looking forward to a couple of rain-free days this weekend. My husband is actually looking forward to having a chance to mow.

Still in love with Pinterest. Sometimes when I’m wool-gathering, I enjoy looking at striking pictures that lead down a secret path or road and imagine who might be tempted to follow it all the way to the end. It’s always intriguing to follow along on their adventures.



Turned a year older today. Daughter visiting baked me a wonderful cake, chocolate with chocolate icing. Not enough of it left to take a picture, but prettier than this. Also, mine didn’t have any candles, since we didn’t want the fire department to break in.

I cooked one of her favorites, cabbage rolls, and we overindulged all day. Continued the movie fest and conversations. My husband ate nearly half the cake, so I could have been worse, but not sure how, since I ate mine with ice cream. As I told her, it’s not something I normally make, try not to make anything that can’t be consumed in one meal. She promised to take some of the cabbage rolls home with her, so it doesn’t count. Love female logic.

With movie binging, between the thunderstorms that swept through off and on today, the cooking, eating, and talking, I did very little work.  A few over two hundred words and this self-indulgent blog. Since retiring, I try to push to maintain a writing schedule. It always gets broken for family, travel, or editing. I know editing is part of the process, but it is the slowdown and run through the wet concrete phase for me. Want to finish the current novel, but just had to stop and be a little bad today.

Without the guilt, I’m not sure there would be half the pleasure. What about you? Do you ever overindulge in things that just make you happy, then feel guilty about it? Would love to hear from you and what hobby or duty drives you.

Find retirement to be its own special challenge. I’ve always believed persistence and hard work provides the greatest satisfaction in a job well done. Maybe it was the way I was raised. We were taught to believe everyone has a purpose and a reason on this earth, and the main one is to contribute to making the world better and safer for others.

Doesn’t seem to be true for many young people. Read in the New York Times the other day that there are thousands of young men who have never joined the workforce, many are happy staying home and playing video games. Maybe if there were someone to bake the cake and bring me a slice, I could try it. No, probably too much guilt.




I start every new year the same, making resolutions. The first month ends tomorrow and I have already cracked a few.

Image result for images cracked egg

Promised my husband I would buy no ice cream this year. Snuck in some vanilla ice cream bars on a trip to the store, rushed to hide them behind a frozen pot roast as soon as I got home. I’ll beg for mercy (if he finds them before I eat them). After all, in forty-eight years of marriage, he has never beaten me.

I took another blog challenge, and here I sit, two minutes before midnight and I need three more blogs. If I post this one (late) tonight, then I’ll only have to write two tomorrow, when I get home from swimming (to burn off the ice cream, I know, I know). Sometimes it is tough being a weak human. I do have high goals and good intentions but alas, I am a weak soul.


Nothing wild. I started reading a book on my tablet, then read some of my 800 emails. We went out to eat with friends tonight, something we never do. Have never been a social person, but she is another writer and it was such a special treat. We all talked so long, my husband and hers, she and I, that the little waitress came around three times to ask if we needed anything else.

I ate half a slice each of pecan and chocolate pie for desert. Still doing the 5:2 diet and fasted yesterday. It does say eat what you want the other five days – but I think I fractured the diet pretty good today. Might weigh tomorrow to see.

Tonight, instead of researching and writing, I sank into my recliner and indulged in two episodes of Antique Road Show. I always wonder why, as much junk as I’ve accumulated, I never see anything like it on the show. Unless it’s at the end where the people laugh about their not so valuable treasures.

Such a nice day.


Tomorrow I’ll be good. Write a blog when I get home from the Y, eat a salad, work on my new book, and write another blog. At least, that is what I intend to do.

th2b9fv1pm  Not sure this really works, look at POTUS.

Of course one can look at it this way. th54l9h4xc

But, I’m always prone to regrets. Think these two point to the truth as I’ve always known it. Have found my greatest joy comes from not being a slacker, but by making a list and crossing off things as done at the end of the day.


Of course, I’ve finished another post, so not totally bad. Deleted a bunch of emails today and my new book, Fires Down the Shenandoah, Joanna of Virginia is finally live on Amazon. Instead of feeling guilty, I’m headed to bed, early for me, to finish reading that little novel and get some sleep. Will close with my special plea.









Need to relax and feel at peace in order to create. Whenever I take a minute to read emails, Twitter, and Facebook these days, my calm disappears. Breathing deeply, looking at these soothing images, I hunt for my state of feeling calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

It seems to remain just out of reach. Another cold front moves in tomorrow, promise of even colder weather by Sunday with a chance for snow Sunday night. When I taught school, there was nothing more exciting to me than the chance of snow in the forecast. Cold and soft like a blanket to wrap our world for a minute in comfortable peace.

But now that I’m retired, it isn’t the same. No waking early, drinking hot chocolate while listening to the snow bird report of area school closings – hoping mine made the list so I could play hooky. If school were closed, I would have an entire day to work on anything I wanted, usually some story or book I was writing. If not, an added day for reading.


I grew up poor without ever knowing it. One of five children with loving parents, I always felt blessed with a rich life. We farmed and usually had plenty to eat. Both my parents worked, had since they were little more than children. We were all healthy and were beholding to no one, something very important to both my parents. Momma always told us, “If you want only what you have, you’ll always be happy.” Of course the Buddhist monk’s quote is a little more eloquent, but I think it’s saying the same thing.


This election has been the most divisive and stressful I can remember. Saw on television tonight, people are still protesting. Rather confusing. Thought they recounted votes because the Democrats thought there was cheating, now it’s the President wanting to check the election results in some states for the same reason and everyone is going nuts again. Not sure whether Clint sees it the right way, or old Will, but I really  want the hatred to stop and sanity to return.


Decided to follow a little good advice. Will avoid the news and Twitter until I get this new novel underway. Put the last changes in today on the old, had to post by noon, then sure enough got a few more changes in my email. Will have to wait until after it’s live on Amazon on the 30th to slide the last three corrections in. Could have been worse. Of course, other readers have the book and may send me more. Reminding myself I will be glad to have a little something more to do on it.

Listen to a lot of webinars and read about how to brand yourself as an author and develop a following, etc. Suspect I never will, since my mind flits to so many places and I keep writing odd books. Have decided to leave those wild hairs hiding in the computer. But today I felt inspired by this image and wrote myself a little book. Actually made me feel happy. All that I was looking for in the first place. If the beauty and sweetness of that  innocent face can’t bring a sense of hope and serenity, nothing can. Happy writing.





Only have a couple of more days to make any last minute changes, since I posted Fires Down the Shenandoah on Preorder. Luckily, have already received feedback from two readers and will be making changes tonight and tomorrow.

Books are never really finished. All of this will be worth it, if someone buys the book and can get lost in the story long enough to block out some of the insanity of the real world for a little while.


Would have finished already, if I hadn’t gotten caught up in watching football today. Both games were wonderful, but could spot the winner at the end of the first quarter in both.

As my Dad would say, I didn’t have a dog left in the fight. I’m sure the Super Bowl will be an awesome game with the Falcons facing the Patriots. Good luck to both and may the better team win.

Not sure why I still love football. Peyton retired, and I really only cheer for our local team now, the Titans, to keep myself engaged in watching. But it is a virile sport, and one never knows what the final outcome will be. It’s also exciting, when you finally pick a team to cheer for. With anything athletic, which I am not, it is just mesmerizing to see what a chiseled, fit, talented, well trained body can do. Some of the passes and catches are breathtaking. Love the game.


Wrote about the phenomenal Harriet Beecher Stowe the other day. Here is another awesome one.

Missed an episode of Victoria, on PBS. They made the mistake of scheduling it opposite the football game. Looks like a wonderful new series. Maybe as fun to watch as Downton Abbey, although that program will be hard to beat. The most remarkable facet of that series, even outshining the acting, is the phenomenal writing. It is incredible to me that one man, Julian Fellowes, wrote every word of the entire series.  Almost everything on television is written by a committee of writers. Also like the fact that in the 1970s, he wrote romantic novels under the pseudonym of Rebecca Greville. May have to binge watch all of Downton Abbey sometime, think it’s free with my Amazon Prime. More about him here, Julian Fellowes .


Part of the Ultimate blog challenge is to write and share more about yourself. By now, you probably know what a boring person I am. I’m interested in learning and observing the world around me. Always trying to make sense of it, to understand the motives of others, and the value of what I see others doing. Here are a few things I found inspiring today when looking for a single quote to include.

The first quote pretty much summarizes why I write rather compulsively these days. Being retired is one of my favorite phases of life. Writing makes me feel productive and happy. Wish all people who see work as a punishment or curse could do enough of it to realize what joy and satisfaction it can bring at the end of the day. When I goof off, I always feel I’ve wasted a perfectly wonderful day. The second is also very true. I write to try to understand life.