Summer reading

Yesterday, I re-read Phyllis Whitney’s “Feather on the Moon”. She has always been one of my favorite authors and was an inspiration who made me want to try writing on my own. This book, like all of her titles, drew me in from the very first page, taught me something about the setting (Victoria, BC), and an art form (totem pole carving), and told a wonderful, intriguing story–all in under 300 pages. Lucky for me, she was very prolific, so I have dozens of other novels to revisit. This summer I plan to read a vintage mystery then a contemporary, repeat, repeat, repeat!


In the middle of May, Mama Duck constructed a cozy nest just a few feet from the library’s front entrance and even fewer feet from construction . Every day, she laid another egg until there were nine. Then, she settled in to wait.
One month later, nearly every egg hatched into seven tiny, adorable ducklings. We knew it wouldn’t be long before they would be leaving us for water. Wanting to be sure Mama and her family got where they were going, across busy streets, over curbs and around sewer grates, we decided the minute Mama set off with the babies, a few staff members would trail along.
Police responded quickly to our call to stop traffic. It made a delightful scene, seeing the caravan of ducks toddling across the busy road while all the humans waited patiently. Then, it was a slow and meandering path to the park.
A storm was coming and a big gust of wind knocked the babies down like bowling pins, but they soon righted themselves and got back in formation.
It was raining in earnest as Mama made a (relatively) quick beeline across the baseball diamond and over the grass to the edge of the lagoon. She jumped straight into the water, and every little duckling fearlessly jumped in, too. Then they swam away, still in their tidy line, safely arrived at their destination.
If this were a children’s storybook, this last sentence would read, “and they lived happily ever after”.

Lost dog found

Contact info please!

On your dog or cat’s collar

So they can get home                                   Image result for Dog Clip Art Free Downloads

The other day as I walked to work, I saw two dogs running through the neighborhood.  It was a lovely warm day and they seemed happy to be alive, darting around cheerfully and with purpose.  They weren’t lost, I could tell.  They had just gotten out of the yard.  Both of them wore orange nylon collars, and neither of those collars contained a tag with a phone number or an address. *sigh*

This is at the top of my list of pet peeves.  If they had had contact information, I could have called the number listed and given our location as the dogs took turns licking my hand. If their home address were there on a tag, I could have walked them home, since they were more than willing to be guided, at least a little.

But, no.

One dog lifted his head, sniffed the air and took off running, straight across the park, heading north.  North, to home.  The other dog was happy to stand beside me, even as I suggested we follow his friend.  He and I made slow progress to the corner and were just heading into the park when here came an SUV with a man at the wheel.  The window was down and I could see he looked relieved.

“Are you looking for two dogs?” I asked and he told me one had already come home, through the gate the wind had blown open.  My new canine friend jumped eagerly into the car, ready for a snack and a nap after his morning adventure.  I took the opportunity to implore his guardian to put tags with contact information on both his dogs.  A microchip is essential, of course, but for events like this, an old-fashioned piece of metal dangling from the collar is all we really needed.

If you have a companion animal, put your phone number on his collar.  I put both my home and work numbers, because why not?  Save them–and yourself–a lot of stress and grief.  It’s so simple.  A tag would make a terrific birthday gift for your friends with a companion animal, too. Any season, any reason, put contact info on those furry ones you love.




So excited to learn my essay, “Lesson in Lipstick” will be part of this new anthology, to be published for Mother’s Day, 2017


Failed resolution

I’d vowed to give myself time

Haven’t done it, though


At the beginning of the year, I’d decided my only resolution for 2017 would be to cut myself some slack.  The idea was to build in an extra ten or fifteen minutes to get to work or to a meeting or anywhere at all.  To lay out my clothes, neatly ironed, the night before, so I wouldn’t have to rush around in the morning like a woman possessed.  I thought of it as a gift of time, but actually it was more like a gift of peace or calm, and who among us couldn’t use more of those?

But, a month into the new year, I’m sorry to say I’m not doing very well on this project.  Every morning I take too long working on the last clue of the Jumble.  Then, because I was too sleepy to make any choices the night before, I end up jumping into whatever clothing is near to hand.  I skip over the idea of jewelry entirely and scurry out the door five minutes behind schedule.

Just yesterday, even though I knew when we needed to leave for the Super Bowl party, I didn’t plan ahead.  Indeed, I got up to my eyeballs doing the taxes.  After I did my last calculation, I tossed aside my pencil, scrambled into good jeans and a nice sweater, grabbed my purse and zoomed off.

I don’t know why I’m struggling with what should be a simple time change.  Every spring and fall when we switch to or from Daylight Saving Time, I show up to work when I’m scheduled–and that’s a whole hour’s difference!


So, like most of my resolutions, I’ll have to reboot this one and hope for better things.  It’s past time for this change.  Of course!


Lately, I’ve been rereading some of my favorite authors, even though I have stacks and stacks of unread books at home.  There is something so comforting about reading a book you already know and love, like watching an old movie for the tenth or eleventh time.

Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters–they are my all-star line up for romantic suspense. These are the women whose work inspired me when I was just thinking about becoming a novelist, who showed me the power and engagement created by the proper word choice, who took me to places far ago or far away or both.

Whether I’m snowed in and curled up on the sofa reading, or sitting in the shade on a summer’s afternoon, when I open the cover of one of their many, many works, I know I am in for another wonderful trip into imagination.  What a debt I owe them!