Category Archives: Hobbies

Cats and Flowers

One of my dear friends ordered two sets of hand-painted, personalized thank you notes recently – one with a cat theme and the other floral. I’ve had more fun doing this!


My friend knows my work. The cats will be silhouettes and cartoony and the flowers I paint are mostly ones that never were – except in my own mind. I’m spending a bit of time each day playing in my art room, trying to create thank you notes that will bring a smile or two.

Spending time there working on a project, trying to bring order out of chaos, or just experimenting, is just about the best time there is for me. The years fall away. Aches and pains fade. I’m totally absorbed, bopping to my music, surrounded by fun materials, with the only limitations my own imagination and ability. HEAVEN!


Filed under Childlike Fun,, Favorite Things, Hobbies


J.D. Salinger via

There are two authors in this category for me – Nora Roberts, both for her romances and her J.D. Robb/Eve Dallas In Death Series; and Robert B. Parker. I’m now in the process of rereading his Spenser books, of which there are 40. I’m on #13 “Taming a Sea-Horse.”  Some of them have been read so many times that they’re falling apart, so I’m ordering ones in better shape to keep my collection intact.

Both of these authors have given me countless hours of pleasure with interesting characters I feel I know and care about. I can dive into a book and leave current worries behind. I feel so lucky to be able to read for pleasure.

When I was about 3 my family was all together one day in the living room. My mom was working a New York Times crossword puzzle and the daily cryptoquote. My dad was reading a book on archeology. My older brother was reading a comic book. I was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room looking at each of them in turn. I suddenly shocked everyone by saying, “I wish to HELL I could read!” There was silence after my brother’s gasp at my language. My parents were torn between washing my mouth out with soap and listening to the desperation in my voice. The desperation won, and my mom sat down beside me and began teaching me to read.

The school system tried to kill my love for reading and almost made it. By the time I got my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was read something. For years I read as if I would be tested on it, or would have to write a paper about it. There were a couple of years where I read in order to prepare for teaching, but couldn’t read for pleasure. When I realized what I was doing, I made a conscious effort to get back the gift my mom gave me so many years ago.

I tried to give the gift to others, in the classroom and then in my own reading clinic. I only stayed in the public school system for eight years. I was constantly in trouble for using unorthodox methods, such a playing the guitar to teach phonics to my first graders, or giving out paper certificates under a tree on the playground on Fridays for good work that week. The clinic was a joy. My partner and I changed a lot of lives. We had children cry because they realized they weren’t ‘stupid,’ that they had just missed something they needed in order to make sense out of what they were seeing. We convinced one wonderful young man to go to college. He came back, several years later, thanking us for helping him become a park ranger. We did everything but make a profit, and so we had to shut the clinic down after three years. I feel lucky that we touched several lives.

I find it hard to imagine a life where reading isn’t an integral part, whether learning how to do something on the net, finding out about something interesting, following directions to cook a new dish, figuring out how to put something together, or the simply joy of escaping into different worlds, vicariously visiting places, meeting fascinating people!

I’m not sure what I would SAY to Nora Roberts or Robert B. Parker. I would probably be tongue-tied, trying not to sound like an idiot. Suffice to say, I would say a very sincere, “Thank you” for making my life so much richer.

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Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental