Let the Holiday Shopping Begin

Good news for those of you who have started your shopping already. I have a new release to offer.

Book Blurb

When David Sands lost his wife, he promised he’d sell their condo contents and donate proceeds to their non-profit that supports families of MIA and POW soldiers. He’s been procrastinating for three years.

Debra Hughes, antiques business partner and best friend to David’s late wife, promised to look after David, to help him through his grief. Debra kept her promise to her friend, but the strong feelings she developed for David rocked her calm world.

Now the estate executor requires David to fulfill his promise and hires Debra to oversee the antiques sale. Will David and Debra be able to work in close proximity without avowing their love and declaring new promises -- this time to one another?

It’s taken awhile to get this one written. Lots of life erupting, but at long last Book 4 of the  PROMISES series is here.

There are now four published novels telling a continuous story of two men and one woman who met at Eighth Army Headquarters, Yongsan, South Korea in the sixties.

The idea for these stories came from my days as a Department of Army Civilian at Headquarters, Eighth Army. Though the books are completely fictional, you’ll find much from my days in South Korea sprinkled throughout.

Each sequel is a standalone novel that chronicles the stories of Lily Johnson, Alex Cabot, David Sands, and Shirley Carlson from the turbulent Vietnam War years through the decades that follow. To paraphrase a reviewer of the series, if you were around in the sixties, you will be immersed with memories. If you weren’t around then, you’ll understand better what it was like.

Buy links are in the column on the right. Simply click on the book cover. Or click here for my Amazon author page.


Candy Corn Fan Club

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I’ve discovered there are two kinds of people in the world – those who love candy corn and those who don’t.  Guess which group includes me. <grin>

I wrote a Candy Corn Song (to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”)

Oh candy corn, Oh candy corn

You are my favorite candy.

Oh candy corn, oh candy corn

I think you’re fine and dandy.

You are the one I like to eat

Because you are so very sweet.

Oh candy corn, oh candy corn

You are my favorite candy.

I make candy corn cookies:I even dress the part: My mom supports my habit.  She bought me these place mats:One year she sent me a candy corn shirt which I proudly wear every October.  This year I discovered a fellow candy corn fan at my new school.  She just may be my favorite student!


Quotes about Doors – Mehmet Murat ildan


Why Red and Blue for Political Parties?

Mid-term Election 2018 campaigning is over. No more political robocalls. No more political ads. Are you as relieved as I am?

There’s a no politics policy here on the blog so we’re not discussing election results.

Instead, we’re going to look at how color designations for the two political affiliations came into being.

So why use red and blue colors to identify political affiliations? The simple answer is those colors project more clearly on screens, but there is more to the story.

Most of us are so accustomed to watching the United States map turn red or blue on our television screens as election returns are tallied we forget for many decades television broadcasts were black-and-white and color didn’t matter. A check mark beside the totaled vote indicated the winner.

Also remember for the first 40-plus presidential races newspapers were the only means of relaying results. There was no television!


But, as you can see on this chart from Philip Bump’s article in The Fix, prior to 1988, networks chose whatever color they wanted to designate state wins by political party. Red designated Democratic wins and blue or yellow Republican wins.

By 1992, networks switched the color designations, settling on red-for-Republican, blue-for-Democrat. That assignment solidified with the historic election of 2000 and all the missing chads.

For those too young to remember that election, Al Gore won Florida and then he didn’t; George Bush won Florida and then he didn’t.

For weeks, the public had no idea who the next president would be.

The media spent hours upon hours discussing maps of the states and speculating how Bush or Gore might win. Commentator discussions centered on election night maps. States that voted Republican were colored red and states voting Democratic noted in blue.

The shorthand usage of the specific color simplified reporting. Red states meant Republican electoral votes and blue states meant Democratic electoral votes. The party color association became firmly established.

Nothing prevents the colors from changing, but it’s become so familiar there’s no reason to think it will. Not when election night audiences understand the code.

Want to read more history: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/08/red-vs-blue-a-brief-history-of-how-we-use-political-colors


Rooster Dishes

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

A friend of mine recently found herself in possession of a set of rooster dishes. She immediately thought of me and called to see if I was interested.

We still have most of the set of stoneware we received for wedding gifts along with two sets of Talavera we purchased in Mexico. But none of these have roosters on them so I had to at least take a look.

I am so glad I did – they are wonderful!

They were packed in plastics bags and labelled with a Sharpie.  As I unpacked the bags, I made an interesting discovery.  The bag marked “salad plates” contained larger plates than the one marked “dessert plates.”

Here is a picture of the dinner plate, salad plate and dessert plate stacked for comparison: In researching the dishes I discovered they are Poppytrail Red Rooster manufactured by Metlox probably in the 1940’s.

I should have known they were from a different time period.  Today our dessert plates are much bigger than salad plates, if there is a distinction at all.

I have packed up the Talavera (it wasn’t dishwasher or microwave safe) and replaced it with the rooster dishes.  While they say they are dishwasher safe, there is no indication about microwaves – probably since they weren’t in use yet.

I hope having the different sized plates will encourage me to eat more salad and less dessert.


Quotes about Doors – Akiko Busch

This quote in the November Martha Stewart magazine got me to thinking about doors.

Doors not only appeal to our sense of arrival and coming home, doors also signal welcome and give a first impression of our homes and our personalities. Doors can remind us of the current season or holiday. Doors can be open or closed. Doors can be metaphors for life. Doors can offer opportunity or keep us from opportunity.

November’s Wednesday quotes about doors should get you thinking about doors too.


Two Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

I know blogging about thankfulness and gratitude in November is cliché, but what better time to focus our thoughts on thankfulness and gratitude.

After all, we do celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America this month.

Too often, though, our attention on thankfulness is missing for the rest of the year.

Being grateful is a choice. If you’ve lived most of your life NOT focusing on gratitude, it’s not so simple to change that perspective.

Here are two ways to help you cultivate an attitude of thankfulness beyond one Thursday in November.

Keep a thankful list.

It’s sometimes hard to write down things that you’re thankful for, especially on those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days, but over time the act of physically writing out a daily list can produce an grateful attitude.

Start your list with simple things like a bed to sleep in. A house that keeps you dry and warm. The sunrise/sunset. If you look around you, there is so much to be thankful for.

If writing out a list isn’t for you, you could try grateful beads. That’s what I use.

My grateful bead string has ten beads to help recall things to be thankful for. Three beads for three people who touch your life. Six beads for six things, events, and occurrences and the final bead to remind you to give thanks to your creator.

You can find beads like mine here  or do a search online for grateful beads. There are many options.

Share thankfulness on social media

We are a plugged-in culture, which makes it next to impossible to avoid social media altogether no matter how hard we might try. Social media sites are filled with an abundance of thoughts and images of wars, earthquakes, floods, fires, sick children, murdered spouses and, lately, politics.

By sharing positive, uplifting posts, memes, and videos instead of those, you encourage attitudes of thankfulness in yourself and others.

Give these two ideas a try, I think you’ll find an attitude of gratitude grows the more you use it.


Secret Pals

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My new school did secret pals for the month of October. It was a really fun way to get to know the other teachers.

We would leave things by the sign in computer and they would disappear throughout the day.

The best part is always the timing of the surprises.

My secret pal got me a travel mug and flavored coffee on the very day my 5th and 6th graders made me want to quit.  I’m glad I didn’t.

The next week she got me an orchid plant.  It is beautiful.

Beekeeper Brian researched and found it is best suited for east facing windows.  My kitchen window just happens to face east. Now I enjoy it as I’m working in the kitchen.

I can also see it when I am walking back to the house from the chicken yard.  It is a very pleasant sight after mucking around in the mud collecting eggs and feeding chickens.

It makes me smile.  I hope it lives a long time.


Halloween Inspiration – Linus

This Halloween may your pumpkin patch as well as Linus’ patch be found without a sign of hypocrisy.


Black Cats, Black Dogs, and Bad Luck

Around Halloween time, black cats and black dogs get a bad rap for their reputation of bringing bad luck.

Black cats have had a major role in folklore and mythology for centuries. Some of it good, some of it not so good.

In some places owning a black cat is considered lucky. In others, a black cat that crosses your path signals misfortune will come your way. This illustration from thesprucepets.com shows more folklore connected to black cats.

Illustration: Hugo Lin. © The Spruce, 2018

Then there’s all the black cat connection to sorcery, witchcraft, and devil worship. Cats are nocturnal and roam at night. Folklore says witches often take the form of black cats to carry out their nefarious schemes. Satanic cults use animals for ritual sacrifices, particularly black ones. Around Halloween many shelters will not permit black dog or cat adoptions because they fear for the animals’ safety.

But black cats aren’t alone with their associations to ill luck, black dogs  also have the reputation. Folklore stories tell of a huge black dog with glowing red eyes that roams the countryside as the embodiment of the devil and warns that meeting a black dog at night is an omen for death.

Big, frightening black dogs appear in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the Harry Potter series, movies like The Omen and even on “Beware of Dog” signs.

Superstitions surround black dogs too. The Irish claim if a black dog visits the grave of a priest that priest was untrue to his vows. In Germany, if a black dog visits a woman’s grave it means she committed adultery. And, if a black dog follows you home, it brings good luck.

All this superstition and folklore has led to the Black Dog/Black Cat Syndrome. Animal shelter workers note that dark colored cats and dogs are overlooked for lighter colored companions. Campaigns to promote adoption of black animals help diminish the phenomenon. However, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) tends to discount the syndrome. In fact, this 2016 ASPCA blog shows that black animals are actually adopted more.

To me, a dog or a cat is a good dog or a good cat, regardless of appearance. Color has nothing to do with character.

So should you come across a black cat or black dog in your wanderings this Halloween, don’t run away.

It could be they’re not out to cast a spell or bring you bad luck—they’re probably looking for a little love.