Monday, April 30, 2012

Oxford Messed Up

~A Novel~

By Andrea Kaye Kaufman

This is a novel of a complicated relationship. Two very uniquely different people meet, and unexpectedly connect in the very academic and educational environment of Oxford. Initially, their relationship is tenuous. 

Gloria is an overachiever, serious about her studies in feminist poetry. Her rigid parents fuel her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her continuous problems with it include possible contact with germs.

Henry, a musician, is her opposite. He tends towards underachievement, lost in his past and in grief. His emotionally supportive mother gone, he is left to deal with his overbearing and difficult father. To make it worse for him, his father is an Oxford official.

At first, the pair bond over a mutual passion for the music of the great Van Morrison. Gradually, they learn to open up to each other, forming a trust. They begin to depend on each other for acceptance and even validation. Their obvious differences now complement the relationship, and the relationship grows.

On their journey of learning about each other, they are on a journey of self-discovery as well. There comes a point when they must face their demons. This strains the relationship, testing it.

The characters are interesting, and well developed. They draw you into their problems and their world, making you want to follow their journey.

Andrea Kaufman writes of O.C.D. and all of its facets and behaviors with intelligence and understanding. Oxford may have messed up, but Andrea Kaye Kaufman did not.

*Note: May 1-5, Amazon has a special offer on the release of this EBook!

A Manly Man

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway had a zest for
reading, writing, life, living, 
the ocean, sportfishing, and 
many things.

Hemingway also loved
polydactyl cats,
and was known to have several.
Many of their descendants
still live at the Hemingway
estate and museum
  in Florida.

Ernest Hemingway
most definitely 
was a "manly man".

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Personal Critter Classic

"A Basket of Beans"
(aka "Beanie")

The Orphan Sister

The Orphan Sister

By Gwendolen Gross

The Orphan Sister tells the story of a set of triplet sisters. Two sisters, Odette and Olivia, are identical. The third sister, Clementine, knows she is “different”.

As they grow, the identical sisters continue seemingly identical lives, careers, styles, even childbearing. Yet there is an underlying feeling of loneliness.

The third (“orphan”) sister, Clementine, learns to embrace her status as “single sister”. She develops her own life and identity, yet maintains her connection to her sisters.

The sisters struggle through family problems, yet learn there is a special strength that they have as triplets. Though their father creates problems through his absence, and is distant when he is there, the mother also has issues of detachment. This further cements the girls’ connections to each other.

Through Clementine, we learn there are twists and turns and surprises that reveal secrets and explanations, as well. The writing is well done and the storyline is unique and intriguing.

Gwendolen Gross draws you in and makes you want to understand these fascinating sisters.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Spiritual Feng Shui"

This was recently passed along to me; 
I felt it is worth sharing.

Spiritual Feng Shui
1. Give people more than they expect, 
and do it from the heart.
2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. 
This will be more important as time goes by.
3. Don’t believe all you hear, 
spend all you have or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.
5. When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye and mean it.
6. Be engaged for a good amount of time before you marry.
7. Believe "love at first sight" is possible, and that "second time around", is also.
8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People's dreams are sacred.
9. Love deeply and passionately; it is the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. 
11. Don’t judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When asked a question you don’t want to answer, simply smile. 
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.
16. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
17. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for your actions.
18. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
19. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
21. Spend some time alone with yourself.

Yay! Good News in Six Words!

Bill will be 
HOME this week!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My One Wish...

Create with Joy poses the prompt:
 Make a Wish.
If we had one wish, 
what would we wish for?
I thought all day about this.

I have had a rough life; 
and now know that
crying is not a weakness.
It is a release, a coping, 
and very human.

My wish comes down to the one thing 
that always makes me cry: cruelty.
I truly wish people would be kind.

There is never a reason or excuse to be mean.
If people would think before they speak or act,
the world would be a nicer place for everyone.
I just wish people would be nice.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Follow Friday with Feeling Beachie

Each week,Hilary lists four statements with a blank to fill them in on your own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to her at If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Beth Ann from It’s Just Life
This week’s statements & my answers: 
1.  I never sleep well when I know I have to get up really early.
2.  I used to read true crime books but I stopped, because now they tend to be too graphic and often sensationalize the crimes.
3.  My favorite picture of all time is of Bill, Maisie & I at Presque Isle Falls, Porcupine Mountains, U.P. Michigan. But I love my great grandparents wedding portrait, too. It is in the original frame & glass, from 1891.
4.  When it gets dark I think about all of the things that I stow away during the day, when I'm busy.

My Sunshine Award!

I am honoured to be awarded the Sunshine Award, 
by my dear friend and fellow blogger, Andrea of From the Sol.
Thank you, Andrea. I appreciate this award...and you.

The rules of accepting this award involve the following questions, & my answers:
1. Favourite favourite colours have always been blues & greens. I love earth tones, in general, especially love rust colours. I seem to be attracted to wearing grey a lot, though.
2. Favourite animal...Obviously I love cats, especially polydactyl cats. I love dogs, especially Shelties. I hope to have another Sheltie someday (sable). I love all animals. I also have a fondness for Sandhill Crane. I seem to have a deep connection to Coyote. I am very drawn to them. I respect and admire their ability to survive alongside man, in our shadow, in spite of our environmental destruction. 
3. Favourite favourite number has always been 3. Always. 
4. Favourite non-alcoholic drink...I don't drink alcohol, so...I love milk! I also love water & vitamin water, and I enjoy coffee drinks and teas.
5. Facebook or Twitter...Facebook. I don't "tweet". I think "social networking" is overdone! Good grief! Where does it end?! Facebook is time consuming! I love blogging best; it is more personal.  
6. My passion is obviously animals. I cannot imagine life without animals, and am quite sure they do go to heaven, or it wouldn't be heaven. Reading & writing are also passions of mine. I try to reflect all of these on my blog, as they are important to me and who I am. I want to be genuine.
7. Giving presents or getting presents...I definitely am a giver. I am uncomfortable when the center of attention. I would much rather give or do than get or receive. It is important to me to show my love and appreciation to others as much as possible.
8. Favourite pattern...I actually prefer solid colours on my own clothing. I do wear & love tie-dyed stuff! I like patterns on quilts! I am really very plain & simple.
9. Favourite day of the has got to be Sunday for me...NASCAR & football. Just sayin'. It has always been a day of relaxing & spending time together. Now with Bill driving a truck over the road any day he is home is my favourite day!
10. Favourite flower...I love Mums for their longevity and assorted colours. I also love Angel-Winged Begonias. Bill always buys me a couple of baskets of them to hang from the back porch each Spring. My birthday flower is the Lily of the Valley and I love the look and scent of it.
Now...I pass this award to the 
following people...
*Josie of Two Shoes in 2012 
*Patrice of Everyday Ruralty
*Sherri of The HomeSteader's Cottage
*Julia of Of Petals and Wool
*Marti of Marti's Musings

Your Cat's Just Not That Into You

By Richard Smith

This is a book for cat people, those who love cats, are owned by cats, or want to try to understand cats.

Divided into sections, Richard Smith makes a humorous attempt to help people understand cats. Some questions are posed to Richard, in which he addresses issues to the cat owner, including illustrations.

Issues range in topic. A common one is why cats seem to ignore their owners, or seem to "fake" interest. There are also questions regarding aggressive behaviour, why they do it and how it should be handled.

Richard helps with tips in making and keeping cats happy, though he wonders if cats ever  can be. He tries to decipher if cats are ever really into you, or really just themselves.

The book offers quizzes, checklists, pledges, lists of rules, do's, don'ts, games, and advisories. Richard's book is humorous, fun and yet informative. His advice is realistic, practical, and useful, and his explanations are sensible. The illustrations are amusing, adding levity and enjoyment to the book.

A Cat Thursday Update

I'm getting ready to go back to Mayo
(Phoenix) next week, for another
re-check, x-rays, & new cast.
Bill will be going with me!! (Yay!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Farmhouse Porch Chat #40

It's time to visit Patrice & Wendell for a good old fashioned chat. 
Come join us at Everyday Ruralty
This week's questions are:
1. Do you prefer wallpaper or paint?
2. What qualities make a good friend?
3. Are you planning a summer vacation?
4. Do you have a garage, carport, park on the street 
or park in your driveway?
5. Tell me something interesting about your week. (oops- please)

My answers are:

1. I prefer paint, but like a border depending upon the room.
2. Honesty, a good listener & one who will openly discuss anything, faithful, who loves you in spite of yourself...these are qualities of a good friend. I am lucky & blessed with a neighbor who is also that good friend (Andrea).
3. No summer vacation this year! between Bill's job & my ankle rehabilitation, not this year.
4. We have a garage; thank goodness!!
5. I am getting ready to go back to Mayo/Phoenix for another re-cast & x-rays! Bill will go with me, but it is only a 2-day trip.

Thank you Patrice & adorable smiling Wendell! Hugs!

WW: Tulips

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Me, as an "Animal Cop"

 I am joining in with RoryBore on her blog Time Out For Mom . Her prompt this week is: "If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which one would you choose?"

I could say "Big Bang Theory", I enjoy funny intellects. I love Andy Griffith. There are several shows that come to mind.

I also watch a lot of forensic shows, my favourite network show being "Criminal Minds", too. I really find the true ones fascinating. Human nature never ceases to amaze me. However, man's inhumanity to man tends to wear on me.

If I were to spend a month in a TV show however, it would have to be meaningful to me, useful, have substance. It would have to be something that I felt was of value not just to me, but to others.

I would choose to be an Animal Cop.I would be able to put my knowledge and skills to use, while learning more! I could be the voice for the voiceless. I could not merely see their pain, but help to help ease their pain.

I would be able to hold those responsible for the neglect and abuse of animals accountable. I could follow through with it to see them pay the consequences for their selfish actions and the harm they caused.

I could make a difference in the lives of those truly in need, that are unable to get help or to help themselves. For one month, I could be an Animal Cop and I would be a darned good one!

The Ultimate Bird Lover

Product Details

Stories and Advice About Our Feathered Friends, at Home

By Marty Becker, DVM

Written by “America’s Veterinarian” Marty Becker, this is a fun yet educational book for anyone who enjoys birds, wild or domestic. Dr. Becker is featured on Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and PBS. He knows birds.

The book is written in sections. He offers stories about wild birds in our backyards, companion bird stories, bird rescue stories, and teaches about lessons we can learn from them all.

The stories in this book entertain, but more importantly have an educational value and purpose. We learn how to care for wild birds, including creating a proper environment and feeding of them. Dr. Becker also teaches us how to choose the appropriate companion bird, and then how to create a healthy and long life for it.

All of the stories are interesting and well written, making for a very enjoyable book. The photographs are amazing and helpful in identification of birds and species. It is a thorough yet readable book for any age, youth through adult.

One Smart Owl!

Animal instinct is acute 
& creative!

Monday, April 23, 2012


"Inspire Me Monday"

This has been on my mind a lot lately. 
Having to go through two major operations 
for the same reason,
the second a revision of the failed first, 
is difficult for many reasons.
I am trying to be positive, 
and I am looking for inspiration.
I am looking for things to keep me positive, 
and give me feelings of hope.
Then, there she was.
In the garden at Mayo Clinic, Phoenix,
there is a walkway, with benches, 
a waterfall,  cactus, and 
many local colorful birds.
In the middle of it all, there she was:
The Transformation of the Shaman

Shamans are spiritual healers. 
They heal by healing the spirit, 
healing from within.
In her, I sense a peace, a calm, 
a healing hope.
She inspires me through her energy. 
I feel that things will get better,
that I will be okay.
I feel that this is what I needed to do, 
where I needed to go
to get the help I need to heal, 
and recover.
I feel a transformation in myself.

Critter Pictures!

 Gray Tree Frog
in my own backyard!

Manly Monday

Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
7-Time NASCAR Champion

Goodwrench Chevy #3

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. is a classic "Manly Man". 
He was a self-made man, who knew himself.
He earned each accomplishment in NASCAR,
including 7 Championships, through hard work. 
Determination, perseverance and a steel will 
gave him the nickname of "The Intimidator". 
He will be forever missed. 
 (April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001) 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day!

It's Not Easy Bein' Green

It's not easy bein' green
Having to spend each day 
the color of the leaves
When I think it might be nicer 
being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more 
colorful like that

It's not easy bein' green
It seems you blend in with so many 
other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over,
'cause you're not standing out 
like flashy sparkles
on the water,
or stars in the sky

But green is the color of spring
And green can be cool 
and friendly like
And green can be big 
like an ocean
Or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be,
It could make you wonder why.
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am green, and it'll do fine
And I think it's what I want to be
                                                  ~Kermit the Frog~

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Heaven is Here

By Stephanie Nielson

Stephanie Nielson began writing her blog in 2005 (
It became very popular as she wrote about her happy life with her husband, four children, and Christian community.

Then tragedy struck in 2008. A plane crash changed life for the couple and their family. Christian was horribly burned on almost half of his body. Stephanie was in a coma for four months, burned over 80% of her body.

In this extraordinary memoir, Stephanie tells the story of survival, and coming to terms with devastating disaster. She is honest in her pain and sharing of her raw feelings. However, Stephanie manages to find humour and use wit, as well.

Together, Christian & Stephanie, draw on their love as a couple, sharing the strength of their marriage, and the support of their community and faith. These elements combine to sustain them, and not only do they survive, they thrive.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Inspirational Stories from the Heart

By Debbie Hoffman Nutile

This little book carries quite a hefty impact. Debbie Nutile has compiled 23 true stories full of inspiration and hope. Each story is heartfelt and faith filled, yet as unique as the storyteller. The positive message of hope is the common thread throughout the book.

The stories are varied in their lessons of comfort, peace, joy,love, and healing in nature. All are told from the heart, and with soul. 

Debbie Hoffman Nutile is an amazing person in her own right. She is an educator, speaker and life coach. In compiling these stories, she did not want to take away from them by editing them. She has tried to preserve the story and respect the author, by telling the story as it was told to her.

A truly uplifting book.

Farmhouse Porch Chat #39

It is time to join Patrice & Wendell at Everyday Ruralty, 
for a chat!
I am so very glad to know you are feeling better, Wendell. 
You had us worried!
It is always a nice time here; thanks, Patrice!

This week's questions:
1.What's the last big gathering you attended? (wedding, funeral, graduation, party, riot,etc)
2.Do you switch over your seasonal wardrobe, wear the same things year round, have a huge closet to put it all in, or throw everything out and buy new each season(I threw the last one in there to see if you're paying attention;)?
3.What sweetener do you use most often?
4.Slippers, socks, or barefoot?
5.What questions would you like me to ask the group over the next few weeks?
My Answers:
1. The biggest was in 1981. I attended a huge concert at the the University of Colorado, Boulder. It was George Thorogood, Heart, and The Rolling Stones (Tattoo You Tour). It was wild! 
The last one...? It's been awhile...maybe a poetry reading this Spring, before surgery. Gettin' old...
2. I always switch over my wardrobe, only adding what is needed. I'm not a "Clothes Horse"...*lol* Wendell.
3. I usually use sugar (at home), but sometimes Equal, if out somewhere. I don't use much of either, really, not even in tea or coffee (nothing or just creamer).
4. Socks...comfy & cozy thick socks.  :)  It is a simple joy. Barefoot feels too vulnerable.
5. What is your favourite song, & why?
     What is your favourite place to go/thing to do for vacationing?
     Do you keep a journal?