A-Z Theme Reveal

Today is the day we reveal what our theme is for the April A-Z Challenge. I got the idea for my theme after reading a book entitled, Can’t and Won’t, Stories by Lydia Davis. Some of the stories were mere sentences, a few paragraphs, and I thought, “I can do that…”

So, I’ve entitled my theme, “Meditations, Memories and Musings” with the caveat that the “memories” portions may at times be akin to those described by  the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass:

“That’s the effect of living backwards,” the Queen said kindly: “it always makes one a little giddy at first —”
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great astonishment.”I never heard of such a thing!”
“— but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.”
“I’m sure MINE only works one way,” Alice remarked. “I can’t remember things before they happen.”
“It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,” the Queen remarked. [Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll, Chapter 5]

Given that the theme of my blog is Synchronicity, forward-looking “memories” shouldn’t be a surprise. See you in the (near) future!

Our “Alice”


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Top 10 Favorite Heroines from Books

From my Secret Garden

Wisteria from my Secret Garden

It’s Top Ten Tuesday!

My top 10 heroines taken from my Goodreads, and not in any particular order.

1. Vianne Rocher from the Chocolate series by Joanne Harris. She lives in Paris and quaint French villages, is an expert at making chocolat, and does magic!

2. Corrie Ten Boom from her autobiography, The Hiding Place. She is such a role model for Christian behavior

3. Flavia de Luce from the eponymous series by Alan Bradley. Spunky pre-teen I wish I had been.

4. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I pretended I was Jo when I was a pre-teen.

5. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. There are a few boys upon whose heads I wished I would have broken a slate back in the day.

6. Izzy Spellman from The Spellmans series by Lisa Lutz. Besides the drinking part, she is one cool private eye.

7. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Do I really have to explain this one?

8. Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I wish I lived in an old English manor and found a key to a secret garden…

9. Kinsey Millhone from the alphabet mystery series by Sue Grafton. A down-to-earth detective I admire. (I like that she cuts her own hair with nail scissors, keeps one little-black-dress balled up in her VW for emergencies, and runs 3 miles every day.)

10. Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Favorite scene: She finds out Edward is NOT actually married after all…

And if this was the top 12, there would probably be more of Jane Austen…


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Top 10 Books I want to read from the Sci-fi/Fantasy Genre

I’ve drawn my list from the Classics list as well, as I thought since I don’t read much Sci-fi, what I DO read should be a classic. So, here goes…and correct me if I’m wrong and you have better suggestions for a sci-fi neophyte…

1. Invisible Man by H. G. Wells–classic

2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes–Is this considered sci-fi?

3. Dune by Frank Herbert–My brother-in-law’s favorite

4. Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood–I liked Oryx and Crake…

5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick–I liked his books-to-movies Minority Report and Adjustment Bureau…

6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy–This is on so many lists!

7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley–classic

8. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury–Classic

9. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman–not even sure if this is categorized as sci-fi, as much of Gaiman’s work is fantasy, but it sounded good.

10. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein–The only other thing I read of his is Stranger in a Strange Land, which I loved. Don’t know why I never followed up with something else..


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10 Things of Thankful #85

Not MY #85, but joining in at Considerings for the 10 Things of Thankful feature. Here’s my offering:

1. Good wishes from co-workers during a stressful time.

2. Yummy vegetable soup for lunch, made by a friend who happens to be a gourmet cook.

3. A new space carved out of our second bedroom for being creative and contemplative.

4. FaceTime with children and grandchildren.

5. A thoughtful and attentive spouse.

6. Living in the Pacific Northwest (There’s a Nor’easter brewin’ back where I came from, and it’s 50 degrees and sunny here today…)

7. Music! A peppy song can change a bad mood. [“Say Geronimo!” by Sheppard turned our 2-yr-old from Mr. Grumpy Pants to our Happy Boy again.]

8. An evening in the temple with two of my beautiful daughters.

9. Getting a good night’s sleep.

10. Being productive–having an opportunity to help others.


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” GK Chesterton


My spacious new art/exercise/meditation room

My spacious new art/exercise/meditation room

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Left Behind

This gallery contains 14 photos.

These are the items not rescued when/if my house burned down. I didn’t include them in the five most important because of their bulk and the difficulty in getting to them in an emergency. 1. Genealogy Binders of birth certificates, … Continue reading

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Expressing herself

Expressing her feelings as only a 2-year-old can!

Trying to get Desitin out of the hair of a 2-yr-old

Trying to get Desitin out of the hair of a 2-yr-old

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House on fire!

Quick! The house is on fire! Grab….

This is a great wake-up call and reminder to re-assess our emergency grab bag. We each have a backpack filled with 72-hr emergency supplies, including a change of clothes, MREs (Meals-Ready-T0-Eat, in military lingo), water, toiletries. But we haven’t check it in….way too long. That being said, my five items would be:

1. Emergency backpack

2. laptop (contains photos, music, etc.) and/or the backup disc.

3. Box of DoTerra oils. Over the past three years I’ve amassed hundreds of dollars worth of oils, and in a case of this magnitude, I’m sure to want my Serenity Blend, as well as those for physical healing (Past Tense for headaches, lavender for burns…)

4. Cell phone

5. Purse (I actually hate writing that word. In New England we call it a “pocketbook.”)

This of, course, is an ideal situation with time enough to linger and retrieve these items. In reality I’d probably just grab the cell phone off my nightstand and run.

Today on my to-do list:

* put slip-on shoes under my bed

* put out a change of clothes on the chair by my bed every evening

* update that 72 hr. backpack and put it in the car.

Emergency supplies

Emergency supplies

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Lexicography–Secret Names

The Daily Prompt was an easy one for me today. Our family makes up words–names, actually–for each member of our family. It started when my husband was a child. His father made up “secret names” for each of the 6 boys in the event of an emergency. Their secret name would be a code word to know the message came from a trusted person. I don’t believe they ever had to use the words, but the tradition carried down through the generations and now my children give “secret names” to their children. The names usually have something to do with their favorite things, or early sounds they made. For example, one of the original names is Sysifuscatchawatchafoo.

One of the names we created for our children is batterinahummerkeekai. Broken down into its component parts, our daughter was involved in T-Ball as well as ballet, twisted her fingers in her hair and called it “hummering,” and loved kool-aid, calling it “keekai.” Voila! A secret name!

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Top Ten Books I’d Like to Read with My Book Club

This week’s entry into the ongoing feature over at The Broke and the Bookish : Top Ten Tuesday.

1-3.  Peaches For Father Francis by Joanne Harris. I just finished this and would love to discuss it with someone! It’s book 3 of the Chocolat series, coming behind Chocolat, and The Girl with No Shadow, which I also enjoyed.

4-5. The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. This is an “in demand” book for book groups, and having read and loved Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From The Sea, I’d like to learn more about Mrs. Lindbergh, even if this is billed as an historical fiction.

6.  I read 11/22/63, Stephen King’s alternate history of the Kennedy assassination, a few months ago for my book club, but was unable to attend the discussion. So, yea, I’d like to find a group to discuss this with!

7. Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I’ve been to Florence, read Dan Brown’s Inferno, (note no number to discuss this title…) but would like to get to the root of the story and be able to read and discuss with others this Magnum Opus.

8. The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost Childhood by Helene Cooper. I’m always fascinated by these autobiographical accounts of such traumatic magnitude. I’d like to write my own autobiography but I can’t think of anything so dramatic to recount from my pretty-much idyllic life.

9. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family history, a love denied, and a mystery…what’s not to love??

10. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. Quirky characters, a peek into the life of vanished American Frontier, great writing–I can hardly wait!

Dante in Florence

Dante in Florence

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Digging For Roots, or What the past has cooked up

Indian Pudding, courtesy of Yankee Magazine

I set aside blogging for a time after the April A-Z Challenge, but those who have read my entries there, may understand why I couldn’t pass up this Weekly Challenge. Thanksgiving Day, actually evening, as we couldn’t fit in desserts until later in the day, I am sitting around the kitchen table with my daughter and husband sampling the smorgasbord of sweet offerings: Pecan Pie, Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Pie, Indian Pudding… My daughter savors a bite of Indian Pudding and asks, “Who’s side of the family does this tradition of Indian Pudding at Thanksgiving come from? Your mom or your dad?” And inspite of the many thousands of hours I’ve spent doing family history and interviewing relatives, I did not know the answer! But being a good librarian, I knew where to find the answer… “Let’s call Grandma and ask!” I replied. I got my mom on the phone right away and asked her the burning question, “Who started the Indian Pudding tradition?” “I did!” She said. “The only time I’d ever had it was when we went to the Old Mill Restaurant for special occasions. I loved it so much I searched for the recipe and finally found it in a magazine [probably the Yankee Magazine! I just checked and found several versions there, but prefer my family’s after all, which I’ve included below as well as an introductory excerpt from one of the recipes] and we’ve had it every year since.” So even though this particular tradition is only a few generations old, it still harks back to my New England heritage and that Yankee ingenuity of making do with what one has. In this case, cornmeal instead of wheat flour! My challenge: Tell what family traditions you enjoy that have been passed down from your ancestors. I look forward to reading them in the comments! Indian Pudding Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Early colonists brought with them to America a fondness for British “hasty pudding,” a dish made by boiling wheat flour in water or milk until it thickened into porridge. Since wheat flour was scarce in the New World, settlers adapted by using native cornmeal, dubbed “Indian flour,” and flavoring the resulting mush to be either sweet (with maple syrup or molasses) or savory (with drippings or salted meat). In time, Indian pudding evolved into a dish that was resoundingly sweet, with lots of molasses and additional ingredients such as butter, cinnamon, ginger, eggs, and sometimes even raisins or nuts. Recipes for Indian pudding began appearing in cookery books in the late 1700s

4 c. milk 4 eggs, beaten ½ c yellow cornmeal ½ c sugar 2 tsp salt ½ tsp ginger 1 ½ tsp cinnamon 4 Tablespoons cold milk ½ c molasses scald milk in double boiler Blend remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add scalded milk gradually, stirring until smooth. Return all to double boiler. Cook over direct heat stirring constantly until thick (about 10 min.) Cover and cook over simmering water 15 min Remove cover and cook 15 min. longer. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

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