Monday, September 26, 2022

La Vie En Rose

Awhile back, I told you that I would show you the music box that I found on Amazon for Mia for her birthday.  Nel gave me a framed picture of Mia two years ago, and she was holding a dandelion.  It is the sweetest photo cause I love dandelions.

  I browsed all through Amazon for a music box that was just right for her.  I came across unicorns, carousels, fairies, and finally after all that searching, I found it, the one I loved, the one I wanted her to have.

So Nel ordered it for her, but she suggested getting it in white, so it would go well in Mia's room as she got older.  I thought that was a good idea.

The music box that Mia gave me for Mother's Day is small and special, and the song it plays is La vie en rose.

Remember I said that special things seem to happen when Mia is around?

On Mia's birthday, I was watching Emily in Paris.  Lily Collins plays Emily, who very much resembles a young Audrey Hepburn.

While watching the movie, there was a scene where Emily was with her friend, Mindy, at the park, and she asked her to sing.  Mindy didn't want to, but reluctantly did, and the song she eloquently sang was La vie en rose.  Right away, I thought of my little Mia, as I was hearing the song that plays from the music box she gave me.

Both of our music boxes are small, but I will keep mine forever, and I know Nel will keep Mia's forever too.


Monday, September 19, 2022

September Showers!

My brother-in-law asked if I wanted to meet him for breakfast at a cafe' in town.   He had to come into town to do this and that, so I said, "sure."  I ordered my usual pancakes, because they are so good, with three sausages on the side.

I haven't seen him in while, cause he was gone all Summer on a music tour in the south, and he just got home.  It was a wonderful experience for him, playing the keyboards, and visiting many different states in the south.  He sent me a couple pictures of some of the sites he saw along the way.

It was such a nice visit catching up.  He has always had a good personality, and has a knack for telling interesting and funny stories. 

He is back traveling again for a few weeks, and headed for Seattle, home of the original Starbuck's.

I told him to bring me back something, as Starbuck's is my favorite.  ; )

After breakfast, I headed over to the grocery store, and when I saw this door mat, I had to bring it home with me.  It made me smile, as this was the title of my last post.

My neighbor made some Wontons with mushrooms, pork, and ginger, and a curry and soy sauce to go with them.  She brought some over for me to try.  I didn't get a picture, cause they were so good that I gobbled them up.

I always think of my mom in September.  Maybe because it is her birth month, or maybe it's that September is a calm month for me, and she was a calm mother, or maybe it's because school starts in September, and she always went above and beyond to make her five children's school year a good one.  Whatever the reason, I think of her.  She used to make hot chocolate and toast, and when the butter would melt a little, we would dip the toast in the hot chocolate and eat it.  She kept the toast coming, and I remember having two or three slices each time.   I had some cocoa and bread and butter, so I thought about making this one day.  The only difference is that she used the Nestle Quik, which was popular when I was growing up....and still widely used today.

While I was enjoying my hot chocolate and toast, I thought about my mom.

Disney is all decked out for Halloween already, and I love this picture of Jess and Francesca making a scary face.

It's supposed to rain this week!   It's cooler now, in the 50's and 60's, and I even had to turn my heater on for a few days.  Getting my flannel shirts and sweaters ready to go.  Happy Fall!


Monday, September 12, 2022

Hello, Pumpkin

September is just a sweet month.  It's a calm one for me.  I did some work outside last weekend.  Most people do Spring cleaning, but I do Fall cleaning.  The back porch area gets so dusty, so I swept that, washed down the floor mat, washed my car, and cleaned the 'not so easy to get to' areas in the laundry room.  It always makes me feel good when things are cleaned and polished, but I tend to get sore afterwards.

I have decorated for Fall, and I realized that I have lots of pumpkins! - a velvet pumpkin, ceramic pumpkin, glittery pumpkin, and even pumpkin donuts!

  I visited the antique shop and talked with the owner, a, for awhile.  I love going in there and browsing around.  She originally worked at a shop in the San Francisco area, which is only a few hours from where I grew up.  Her shop is decked out, and packed with one of a kind items.  As I was looking around, I noticed a hot plate with a unique design, and it was made in Turkey.   I've always been drawn to international items, so I brought it home with me.

I've been drinking green tea lately.

People ask me if I like the white pumpkins or the orange pumpkins.  The white pumpkins are sweet, but the orange ones make my heart sing.  In fact, when I came across this plaque, it shows just how I feel.

I made some blueberry bread with Irish butter.  Have you ever tried Irish butter?  It's very creamy, and it's especially good on rolls and breads.

My blog friend, Tammie Lee, at Beauty Flows, did a post recently called Summer Creek.  She is an artist and photographer, and her nature photos are incredible.  She is so talented and recently posted a painting that she did.  I said to her, "this reminds me of myself, a lady in the mountains, going to the creek often, and wearing a red dress."  A short while after that, I got a surprise in the mail.  It was the painting that Tammie Lee did, and she wanted me to have it.

Speaking of the creek, I went there recently and saw the big strong Oak tree bursting with acorns.

Just as fast as they were growing, the faster they were being eaten.

This is the drive-inn that I go to every now and then to get a mushroom burger.  They are delicious every time, dripping with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, and a special sauce.

I've shown you my glass pumpkin before, which my sister-in-law gave me.  I never found the right place for it in my past homes, but sitting here on the kitchen window sill, it shows how pretty it is when the sun shines through.

Francesca saw Bigfoot this Summer.

It's cooling down this week to the 80's and 70's.  It's going to be a nice September week.



Monday, September 5, 2022


I have been working for the past year to develop a study abroad program between the university I teach at and Durham University in England, and this summer I was able to travel to the UK for site research. It was Mia’s first international trip! 

London was a whirlwind. We took red, blue, black, and green underground lines to all the major city sights, pulling a chubby little toddler hand up and down escalators and hot stuffy tunnels toward platforms with loud speeding trains. We explored winding cobblestone streets lined with brick pubs and dark alleyways leading up to markets bursting with flowers, cheese, fresh sea food, donuts, mushrooms, and wine. We crossed the Thames into St. Paul’s to find William Blake and cheered in the green at Chelsea. 

At the end of the trip, we boarded a train from Platform 9 3/4 on route to our next magical adventure (to be continued...)


Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Secret Corridor

My work as a professor for almost 20 years has been incredibly rewarding, but it has also taken me a very long way from the kind of literature that inspired my love of reading as a kid. 

A few years ago, while living in Georgia, just before Mia was born, I started a story. I can't say for sure how it began to form, but I do know there's something deeply magical about Georgia. Maybe I was inspired by the sweet smell of pine and fresh blooms in the backyard. 

Maybe the lightbulb moment happened as I was watching the fireflies flickering on and off in the dusky shade. 

Maybe it was always there, all along, born of a child's fascination with overgrown moonlit gardens, secret passageways in crumbling mansions, and stone staircases leading to mysterious places.

However it started, the idea started to grow. A book about magic, mystery, travel, and time. Something I would have wanted to read as a kid late into the night under the covers by flashlight.

Writing The Secret Corridor was wonderful fun. The book is about a young girl making her way through family secrets, time, and space, but at the heart of the story is a hard question: w
hat if it were possible to create a better future by sealing off the past—permanently? This question sets in motion a daring operation by a magical rebel order, eventually making its way to a small, swampy town in Corridor County, where Mitch Scarlett lives.

Nearly five years after I started writing the story, a span of time that included the birth of my first child, a cross-country move, a new job, a global pandemic, and many other life-altering changes, I returned to the secret corridor and found myself wanting to stay.

Living in this world as adults, we give so many of our hours to the different kinds of work we do and responsibilities we assume. There is always so much to do in the day. But as I'm getting older, I'm realizing the importance of taking time for things that bring us imaginative joy.

Chapters of The Secret Corridor will be released every Friday to a new website I created for the project: You can also listen to the story as it unfolds by podcast at Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. I hope, if you decide to follow along, that you will feel the same enchantment I felt as a kid every time I started a new book in the fall.