Books, crafts, and dieting will have to wait

Hurricane Ian

Until yesterday around 10am, when Ian decided he wanted to visit Southwest Florida, we had planned to ride out the storm at home.

When Charlotte County Emergency Management called for mandatory evacuation of our zone (B-orange), we looked on Expedia again and by some miracle, we found a hotel room up near Orlando. We decided to get out of Dodge. Run from the water (storm surge) hide from the wind. Even though Orlando is under the hurricane warning as well, a Cat 1 or 2 inland is better than a direct hit/landfall of a Cat3 or 4. We live right where the big M is on the picture above.

An almost 5 hour drive (normally 2 1/2 hours) without stopping for food or drink and we arrived tired and hungry. We stashed the cat in our hotel room and headed to Publix for some fried chicken and cat food, which we forgot in the rush to leave.

We’ve slept a bit and now are resting and praying for everyone.

When I woke up a few minutes ago, I looked at the weather and my stomach dropped. It looks like the worst possible scenario. The storm moved South and East and looks like a direct hit of a Cat 4, just like Charley in 2004.

I have friend that have stayed and I’m extremely worried for them. My coworkers, whom I have grown to love like a big family, are in danger.

I’ve been humbled by the friends who have reached out to offer shelter and money. You all are my angels. After all is said and done, we may need that help.

I ask for prayers for everyone dealing with this. I want to thank meteorologist Denis Phillips and Mike from Mike’s Weather Page for your calm, straightforward info. I want to thank Charlotte County Emergency Management for their guidance. Thank you in advance to the first responders. Thank you to the regular Charlotte County employees that have volunteered or been assigned to work the storm shelters. You are truly heroes.

Stay safe and PRAY!

Creator God, we ask you to calm the wind and the waves of the approaching hurricane, and spare those in its path from harm. Help those who are in its way to reach safety. Open our hearts in generosity to all who need help in the coming days. Amen.

Be kind. Check on your neighbors. Hug your family.

Somebody’s mother

If you go online or turn on your TV, you can’t avoid the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death this past week. After a 70 year reign, it will take some getting used to someone else in her seat.

Besides the tributes I’ve seen online, I’ve also seen people making cruel comments about the royal family. I guess these people are from perfect families. While I am not pro-royal and realize that there are problems among the family, I do have sympathy for them because, after all, somebody’s mother, grandmother, great grandmother, etc. has died.

I lost my own mother in 2021 and know that, rich or poor, royal or peasant, the death of your mother is not an easy time. Whether you are the black sheep of the family or the perfect prince or princess, the loss hurts. I, for one, will keep them in my prayers.

If you have lost a loved one, know that I am saying prayers for you as well.

Thanks for reading.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I’ve been feeling uninspired lately.

It’s been over a month since I posted anything. I’ve had ideas for reviews of both books and healthy food, I just haven’t had the motivation. I need to get back on track.

Here are some highlights from life in the past month +:

  1. Swimming – Mike and I have started going to the pool at our local recreation center on Saturday mornings. It has been wonderful for our joints. We didn’t go last week when I had the flu. This week we went to a comic book show instead. Next week we plan to go to North Port Aquatic Center to check out their pool and lazy river. Can’t wait.
  2. The Winners by Frederik Backman – I had the pleasure to read the upcoming third book in the Beartown series. I am a a big fan of Mr. Backman. His books are wonderful. A review of the book is in the works and will be posted closer to the expected publishing date of September 27, 2022.
  3. Cozy mysteries – I’m on a cozy mystery reading kick. I love to go on Amazon and find the first book in a cozy mystery series to see if I want to read the whole series.
  4. Crafts – I haven’t been crafting as much. I’ve been craft brainstorming but haven’t done much more. I’m starting to feel a little inspiration to get ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas crafts. Stay tuned, there may be a how-to video or two in the works.
  5. Trying to stay cool – I’ve not been successful. It is has been pretty freakin’ hot since what feels like forever. Can’t wait for “cool” weather.

So, what have you been up to this Summer?

Thanks for reading.

Sapphire Beach Mysteries – Angela K. Ryan

I love reading books set in fictional towns near where I live. Angela K. Ryan’s Sapphire Beach mysteries are just that. Cozy mysteries set in Southwest Florida. I have been to many of the towns and cities mentioned in the books, which makes them even more interesting. I just finished the last book in the series and I am sad that it is over. There is a “spin-off” – the Seaside Ice Cream Shop Mysteries – which continues the story of Anna, the cousin of the main character in the Sapphire Beach Cozy Mysteries.

The main character is Connie. Other regular characters in the series are: Grace – Aunt Concetta’s best friend and employee at Connie’s jewelry store, Stephanie – Grace’s daughter, Elyse – the local realtor, Josh – Elyse’s husband and Sapphire Beach police officer, Zach – Josh’s friend, police officer, and eventually Connie’s love interest, Gertrude – a friend of Aunt Concetta’s and great aunt to Elyse, Abby – employee at Connie’s jewelry store, Ruby – a fellow Sapphire Beach shop owner, Gallagher – the owner of the restaurant across from Connie’s store… and more.

1. Condos and Corpses – Connie must find out who killed a man in Grace’s condo

2. Surf, Sand, and Skeletons – Connie gets to the bottom of what happened to the previous owner of her shop

3. Piers, Pliers, and Problems – A student in her first jewelry class is murdered with Connie’s pliers and she must figure out who did it.

4. Candy Canes and Cadavers – During her family’s visit to Sapphire Beach, she must find out who murdered a local theater actor.

5. Snowbirds and Suspects – When her friend, Ruby’s niece is accused of murder, she asks Connie to help clear her name.

6. Bridesmaids and Bodies – When the best man of one of her jewelry clients is murdered, Connie needs to find the killer so the wedding can go on.

7. Hurricanes and Homicides – While hunkered down during a hurricane, Connie finds the body of a fellow condo owner and must find the murderer among those sheltering in place.

8. Kayaks and Killers – When a kayak floats near shore with a body in it, Connie and friends investigate.

9. Friends, Foes, and Felonies – Connie’s former boss and mentor, Sam, is visiting for two weeks. When the head of a local non-profit is murdered, Connie and Sam investigate.

10. Passion and Poison – When a former tennis pro is murdered at Connie’s friend, Gallagher’s restaurant, he turns to Connie to help solve the murder.

11. Daffodils and Death – Connie’s visit to the botanical garden with her mother and sister turns into a murder investigation.

12. Marriage and Mischief – Connie and Zack are getting ready for their wedding. As friends and family gather, the wedding officiant, Fr. Paul goes missing. Will Connie be able to solve his disappearance in time to prevent a tragedy and a ruined wedding?

Give these light and refreshing mysteries a try.

Thanks for reading.

One year

It’s been one year. On the daily, I still think “I have to call Mom and tell her…” and then suffer through the gut punch that of remembering you are gone.


I still think about how we used to talk for hours about books. It hit me hard this week because one of our shared favorite authors, Adriana Trigiani, had a new book come out. Normally, you and I would have been doing a countdown to publication day. I did stop, look up, and say “don’t forget to preorder The Good Left Undone so we can start reading it together” last week. In the past I would have devoured the book so we could talk about it. To be honest, I haven’t even started reading it. I just can’t bring myself to start yet. I promise to start reading it next week. I can’t thank you enough for instilling a love of reading in me.

The year of firsts without you is over. First holidays without you. First time I was sick (yep, Covid) without calling you for advice. First Easter without a lamb cake. First Mother’s day without you. I think you get the picture.
I know we all miss you and love you, Mom.

2021: My year in review (don’t get too excited)

This year started with a very busy time at work. I was working on a team creating How To Festival videos that aired in January as well as a Centennial video celebrating Charlotte County’s 100 year anniversary. It was nice to wrap those projects up and get them out to the public.

Things seemed to be calming down when my Mom got really sick. I really can’t write about that yet. I am still grappling with the fact that I didn’t make it home to see her before she passed at the end of April. I have kind of just been surviving since then. I miss her like crazy.

I have enjoyed being closer to my brothers and my Dad during the aftermath of losing her.

Had some work disappointments in the second half of the year. I will not dwell on them. Instead of wallowing in my misery, I found a new job. I started in September and it has been really good for me. I actually feel like I am able to contribute to our mission. It is a great feeling.

To finish off 2021, I thought I’d join in and catch Covid. I was sick over Christmas break and I am almost finished my quarantine. I’ll be able to head back to work on Monday January 3, 2022.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Thanks for reading.

The good, the bad, and the WHAT??

It’s December and time for my annual “the good, the bad, and the WHAT??” of my 2021 reading life.

I’ll admit that I have not been as avid a reader this year. Between the state of the world, being burnt out at work, and losing my Mom, I have not been reading like I used to. That being said, I don’t have a very long list of favorite books I read this year. So, let’s get started.

My favorite book that I read this year will shock you, since it is not my normal genre.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – Only the second sci-fi book that I can recall reading.  The first was The Martian by the same author.  Project Hail Mary tells the story of Ryland, a science teacher who somehow gets chosen to join a team of astronauts that are traveling through deep space to try to save humanity.  When Ryland wakes from his induced sleep, he finds that his two companions have perished and he is alone in space with just a medical bot.  At least he thinks he is, until another ship arrives. I listened to the audiobook and I’m so glad I did.  This book was so good that I occasionally think about it six months after I finished reading it.

There were some books I read or tried to read in 2021 that I would like to mention. Of course you will find some are filled with the quirky characters I love.


The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley Heller – This book was hyped so much that I thought “it must e great”. I however, was unable to get into it. When I read a book the characters must have some redeeming qualities. This was just nasty people doing terrible things to each other. I tried three times to start and finish the book and so far it’s a big ol’ cuppa nope for me.

The Making of Robert Mooney by Jane Gilley – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! Robert hasn’t had things easy.  He sleeps on the couch in his home because his mother moved in with him and basically threw him out of his bedroom.  He puts up with a lot of abuse from her while she pretends to be in poor health.  His life takes a swift turn when he has a life changing encounter with Brett. As Robert gets pulled into the antics of Brett and his family, who just happen to be small time thugs, he not only finds friends, his own voice, and the strength to stand up to his mother.  A laugh out loud romp that was almost my favorite book that I read this year.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! As you may know, until three months ago, I worked in a public library. This book was the perfect read for me as I transitioned out of library employment. June Jones, works as a library assistant where her deceased mother used to be the librarian. Shy and reclusive, June has never left the sleepy village where she grew up. When the village council threatens to close the library and sell the building, June and several of her regular library patrons decided to fight back and occupy the library and refuse to leave. While fighting for her library, she finds the strength to come out of the protective shell she engulfed herself in after her mother died. With all the changes in how libraries are run, it is refreshing to know that there may still be people out there who cherish their libraries.

If you read any of these books, let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

I love it when I read an advance copy of a book by an author I’ve never read before and love it. I love it even more when I find out that they have MORE BOOKS for me to read! This is what happened when I received an advance copy of The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Twenty-one year old Lillian Carter has been modeling for artists since she was fifteen. Under her mother’s guidance, she became Angelica, the most sought-after artist model in New York City. When her mother succumbs to the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1919, she is lost. When her landlord’s wife is found murdered with a flirtatious note Lillian sent her husband, she is wanted for questioning. Instead of complying, she runs with hopes to get out to Hollywood to become a movie star.

Lillian stumbles into a job interview for the personal assistant of Miss Helen Frick of the daughter of the infamous industrialist, Henry Clay Frick. She manages to not only get the job but become a valued member of the Frick household. When the patriarch of the family dies, Lillian is caught up in a scandal unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

This book, with it’s many detailed descriptions great art, New York society and it’s landmarks, was an interesting look at how life would be for a young woman with a so called scandalous profession at the time. Flashing back and forth between 1919 and 1966, the book manages to tie up all the missing pieces without being trite.

If you like historical figures and locals mixed with a good fictional story, this book is for you.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis is scheduled for publication on January 25, 2022. You can preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

Thanks for reading.

Trying to get back on track

After several stressful months, I think I might be ready to get back into the swing of blogging. I hope that 2021 has been good to you, kind reader. It has been quite the year and it still has a month and a half to go!

So many things happened and/or changed in 2021. First, my wonderful mother fell ill and sadly passed away. After six months, I am still having a hard time with her passing. Not a day goes by that I don’t think “Oh…I should call Mom and tell her about this” or “I wonder if Mom knows how to do that”. I really miss her.

Work changed A LOT. In the past three years I went from covering supervisor duties (banking, training, programming, etc.) to not having any responsibilities at work. It’s not a demotion because I was not promoted to supervisor or even paid for those extra duties. Once they finally hired someone and I trained them…that was it. So, I found another position within the company and I am happy and loving it.

The crafting video YouTube that I started with two friends has been put on hold due to the friend with the studio selling her house and moving. I’m working on setting up something at home but it is going to take some time. I will probably blog, with pictures, some craft projects until I’m ready to go with the videos again.

Last month Mike and I went to Orlando for vacation. We met up with family and went to several Disney parks. If you have been a Disney park visitor in the past and plan on coming back, be prepared for massive changes. We are not happy with the way things are going there, so it will be a long time before we visit again. It will take years for us to save up because of their new ticketing and Genie+ charges. Needless to say, it was NOT the happiest place on earth when we were there.

So, friends, I think I’ll be back to writing book reviews and commenting about life here in the blogosphere. Looking forward to interacting with everyone again.

Thanks for reading.