Category Archives: Hobbies


email from Marsha Koenig

In-between sessions clearing out my square foot garden, I’ll enjoy my current re-read – # 30 in the “In Death” series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts).  I love being able to do a little bit of ‘have-to’ or ‘should’ in my life, and then escape into Eve Dallas’ world for a time. I’m re-reading the whole series and then will give myself permission to enjoy the latest one in paperback, #48.  :0)

I’m reading several books at once right now – my usual mix of

  • studying a cookbook to find more delicious recipes by Suzanne Ryan, Simply Keto,
  • reading a book called The Flying Nun, Oprah and Me: 40 Years Making $$ as a Freelance Writer by John Riddle
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout, and
  • Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

What are you reading?


Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

The Love of Books

Garrison Keillor – Generate Status

We made 13 donations to our local library last year for their fundraisers. ( I don’t know how many this year) We’ve  sold a LOT of books on Amazon and eBay. We STILL have books in almost every room in the house. I keep promising myself I’ll get into the mindset to go through our books with the idea of giving them new homes, but I have to admit I’m greedy and want to keep them all, as well as buying new ones.

My husband and I each have our personal libraries of books by favorite authors. His thing is mainly Science Fiction. He reads fast and remembers most of what he reads. At one point, in an effort to conserve money, he read books upside down to try to slow down. :0)  He also has technical books of all kinds, math books, books we’ve bought in the library fundraisers, project books, and more. Our personal libraries are in built-in shelves in our bedroom. I guess the only rooms that don’t have shelves for books is our bathrooms…

I am re-reading book #29 (Kindred in Death) from the In Death series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) I’m fascinated by the world and characters she has created. There are 48 books in the series that have come out in paperback so far, with more to come. I have the latest paperback on my table beside my chair in the living room. I won’t allow myself to enjoy it until I have finished re-reading the 47 books that come before it. I feel lucky to be able to dive into the current one and live in their world for a bit before tackling another item on my to-do list for the day.

I have all books written by Robert J. Parker and enjoy re-reading those, too. (I feel sorry for my husband that he remembers books and movies so well. I don’t have that awful ‘affliction’ and can enjoy things over and over again almost as if it were the first time) :0)  Another favorite is the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovitch. I think there are 25 paperbacks in that series so far.

I plow through truly wonderful art books that are everywhere. I can’t ever get very far when I look at them, though. I get caught up, grabbed by an idea, and have to go play in my art room to see what I can do with it.

We had another set of shelves built for my husband to add on to his space for his personal collection. Mine spilled over into the built-in shelves in the guest room. We feel rich in books.

I would (and probably should) give up many things in life, but reading is something I’ll do with great enjoyment until my last breath!


Filed under Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

Do It

Kurt Vonnegut via Linda Sweigart via Cathy Ruggiero


I am planning to spend time in my art room today. I have yet another tee that is in good shape with the exception of a stain on the front. :0(  :0)  I will see what I can do to give it new life.

I look forward to shutting myself away for a bit, turning on some of my favorite music, and losing myself in the joy of playing with glorious colors.

I hope that you are doing something to grow your soul today, too.


Filed under Favorite Things, Hobbies, playing in my art room


Unknown Artist via Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn

I received my paperback copy of Nora Roberts’ “Connections in Death” – the latest in her “In Death” Series. I ordered it months ago and then tried to put it out of my mind instead of waiting, crossing off days, like a kid waiting for Christmas. Finally, I have it in my hands!

I’m re-reading the other 47 books in the series, thoroughly enjoying the escape of living in the gritty, absorbing world of Eve Dallas, a homicide detective in New York City in 2058 and beyond. I admire her strength, determination, absolute dedication to her job. I love the people in her world and how she reacts to them. I can dive in and lose myself and my worries for awhile, caught up in her latest case and situation.

Right now I’m on #10 – “Witness in Death.” When I finish the first 47 books, I’ll give myself permission to enjoy the latest.

I spent many, many years not really being able to make time for reading for pleasure. I was earning my teaching degree, then teaching full-time and taking night classes and summer school for my Master’s. It was YEARS before I could actually sit down, become absorbed in a book, relaxing – reading for the joy of it – finally realizing I wouldn’t be TESTED on it later.  Now it’s one of my greatest pleasures. I’m grateful I found Nora Roberts years ago. Her books have reminded me of how beautiful life can be, full of humor, love, and interesting, good people. The In Death series is another part of that, with strong, sometimes wacky characters, who each have lovable flaws that bring you closer.

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“Fritz the Cat” Mailbox Decoration

Fritz the Cat is a comic strip created by Robert Crumb. Set in a “supercity” of anthropomorphic animals, the strip focused on Fritz, a feline con artist who frequently went on wild adventures that sometimes involved sexual escapades. Crumb began drawing this character in homemade comic books when he was a child. ~ Wikipedia.

This is one of my husband’s favorite comic strips and characters.  This decoration will stay up until the middle of August.

We cut the outline out of sheet metal using our CNC machine. My husband did the computer coding that makes it so the computer can ‘see’ the design we’re trying to make and can guide the torch. This was a difficult one for me because it was mainly just bare sheet metal with the mailbox mounting on it. I did a lot of work with our overhead projector marking the metal so I could then try to paint the design on both sides of the piece. We sprayed the finished piece with polyurethane to protect the paint as much as possible.

You can also see our ‘welcome’ robot and one of the two owls on either side of our driveway.

It’s easy to see that you are passing a weird place as you drive by. :0)


Filed under Hobbies, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art

Two Good Books

Getty Images

I’m reading two books right now: The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer by Sergio Bambaren and Totally Incorrect Volume 2 – A Conversation with Doug Casey as told to Justin Spittler

The Dolphin book I just received in the mail today. It was recommended by a contact on Linkedin – Dieter Onken.

I ordered the Casey book because I wanted to read his opinions on the newest things happening in the world and to also find out what he’s recommending for good investments to shield ourselves from the tumult of our world today.

I plan to do a good bit of reading today, since our weather is so unfriendly.

I hope you are somewhere safe and warm, too, and can enjoy your day.

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Filed under Book - Movie - TV Reviews, Hobbies, quality of life, Reading is FUNdamental

It Feels Like Christmas!

I found a super-good deal on a set of acrylic paints a few days ago. They arrived today, and I feel like a kid at Christmas! There are 14 tubes of paint in the set and I have paid more for 4 tubes – plus shipping – than I had to pay for this set with FREE shipping. Woo HOOO!

For some reason I haven’t been up to my art room in quite a while. I felt I needed to accomplish more on my purging project to go through 30+ years of STUFF we’ve accumulated and really don’t need.

I’m beginning to figure out now that the more I go through things, donating a bunch of things to others, throwing away a bunch of things, and then reorganizing and cleaning before putting what is good to keep again, I’m in a never-ending job. The more I DO, the more I SEE to do!

I’m going to give myself permission to take a bit of a break from all the work and play in my art room this week.


I don’t know if I’ll come up with anything, but I’ll have a wonderful time dreaming, experimenting, and playing! – via Sherry Dellaria McGrath

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Filed under Attitude, doing what you love, empowerment, Favorite Things, Hobbies, Lewis Art

Learning New Things

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

I started a new book, The Longevity Code by Kris Verburgh, M.D. because my husband read it and was really affected by the information and suggestions he found. He posted some changes in eating he wants to make and we got – or ordered – several supplements we aren’t taking.

I wanted to learn more about this, since my husband usually reacts that the information is ‘hype’ or ‘hooey,’ so I got the Kindle version of the book and am reading it now.

I don’t particularly want to live forever, although I would love to know what happens in the future. I mainly want my remaining time to be spent as healthy as possible. We’re trying to get the lard off, and use no more added salt or sugar anymore. We try to avoid foods that are high in either of those, and I’m exercising 5 or 6 days a week now.

I haven’t gotten far enough to share anything with you yet, but I wanted you to know about the book, if you’re interested to read what Dr. Verburgh has to say.

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Reading is FUNdamental

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Right now I’m reading

  • Paleo Beginners Guide
  • The REALSIMPLE Method to Organizing Every Room and How to Keep it that Way
  • iPhone 8 Guide, and
  • Rereading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (#1 of a 5 book series I love),
  • Draw Real Animals! by Lee Hammond, and
  • Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners by Jason Johns


Elizabeth Scott via

What are you reading lately?

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Watch Out!

Thinking People via Melissa Eastman

I’ve been splurging – re-reading my collection of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. There are 25 books in the series so far, 24 in paperback. I’m on #23, smiling all the way through it.

I love this series because the characters are seriously flawed and – if not lovable – are likable, and very amusing.  On re-reading, I sometimes laugh out loud, but not as often as I did the first time. The writing is so good, though, I snort, or at least smirk, through much of them. The wacky characters get into totally bizarre situations.  Sharing the situations with them, and seeing how they get through them, and the consequences, is a joy. I don’t really want to BE in their world, but I love sharing it from a bit of a distance.

Janet has # 25 in hard back now, and, of course, it’s a best seller. I’m not sure when the paperback will be available, but I’m looking forward to being able to add it to my collection.

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Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Hobbies, Reading is FUNdamental

And the Answer Is…


I am always reading several books simultaneously.

For example, I’m pouring over a really good one about what I’m supposed to be doing in my greenhouse. Though he is obviously in a place where heating is the primary issue, I’m learning a bunch about how to attack my goal of eating fresh lettuce as we go into winter, growing my own celery, starting new tomato plants from suckers and then keeping them alive over the winter. I’m also looking forward to starting seeds in March or so, getting a jump on the spring garden. It’s wonderful to be able to learn from someone who knows what they’re talking about. :0)

I’m re-reading a series of four books by one of my favorite authors, Nora Roberts. There is a quartet of books I’m reading now, and then a trio of books that I read once a year when I would like to feel better about people.

Then there is the new series by Robert Bryndza about Detective Erika Foster that my husband shared with me recently. Since that’s on my Kindle, I’ll take it to my husband’s doctor appointment today.

Another one I’m reading and trying to absorb a bit at a time is The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room and How to Keep it That Way.  If you’ve read my blog, you know what a slob I am. You also know that I continually try to HEAL my home by going through things, donating the things I think others might enjoy or make use of, throwing out a bunch of ‘stuff,’ and then cleaning and organizing the rest. (Today it’s the double cabinet under the kitchen sink.)

Though this book stresses getting EVERYONE in the house involved, our pets are of  little help, and my husband, thankfully, is oblivious to the chaos, dirt, dog hair, etc – or would have probably dumped me years ago. He does do things like empty the dishwasher, and lately he’s taken on the job of vacuuming out our truck before we pick up our friends to take them bowling, but basically, I’m on my own on this effort.

The book also assumes that we have the money we would LIKE to have, and could concentrate on buying furniture, rugs, paintings, and pricey knick-knacks, putting more of them on the bookshelves than books. I AM picking up some general good rules, though, from reading this, and I AM enjoying the beautiful pictures.

Reading is a big part of my life. I love learning new things. I love diving into a book and forgetting everything around me. Reading is a quality-of-life thing for me.

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I finished  “Dark in Death,” Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb’s #46 in the series a couple of days ago. It was wonderful to totally immerse myself in the unusual world and vivid characters, re-reading ALL 46  of them in preparation for the “Leverage in Death” paperback due out in December that I preordered.

I feel lucky to be surrounded by many wonderful books, some of which are teaching me things, such as how to grow things in my greenhouse; others which allow me to enjoy favorite worlds and forget any problems I might have; still others which stimulate creative juices with pictures and descriptions of art techniques I’d like to try, plus recipe books supplying delicious meals I can try to replicate while trying to eat healthy.

They are, indeed, magic.


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Filed under Favorite Authors & Books, Hobbies, quality of life, Reading is FUNdamental

Once You Learn to Read


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Love of Reading

Goodwill Librarian via Cathy Ruggiero


There are two new books coming out in paperback in the J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts “In Death” Series.  I’ve received one of them, and preordered the one that becomes available this December.

I’ve been having a wonderful time diving into the series again, reading from the first book, until I’ve read them all again. There are 47 in the series now, and I’m re-reading #33 now, “New York to Dallas.”

I know and love the characters. I am fascinated by the strength, yet humanness of the people. I wish I knew them in real life.

I feel rich in books right now, with 12 more to enjoy before I’m introduced to #46 and await #47. I’m so lucky to be able to open books, dive in, and try to absorb what they have to offer!

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I’m Having So Much FUN!


I’m having so much FUN this afternoon! About two months ago I saw an ad on Facebook (I know, but there it was) for a “light box” or “LED tracing board.” Since I’m currently trying to learn new techniques for adding fur and feathers to animals, being able to trace a few outlines and distinctive features of drawings or pictures I like and then being able to concentrate on the techniques for making feathers and fur more realistic in various media seems like a wonderful idea.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to try to draw the animals and birds from scratch as time goes on, but – to be honest – I’m intimidated and it will take a while to work through that. With the light box or tracing board, I can bypass my insecurities, learn, and have fun!


This gives you an idea of what I ordered. It came today and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. It’s ultra thin and you plug it into your computer. There are three intensities of LED light settings.

I hooked it up, then ran upstairs to get my sketch book, tracing paper, carbon paper, pencils, plus my “Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf, and plopped down in front of my computer. I’ve now traced a bird and am now using carbon paper to transfer it to my sketch book. I have the outlines of two drawings I did years ago already in the sketch book. When I get several sketches (tracings) added, I can then concentrate on the suggestions for adding feathers to these beautiful creatures in colored pencils, watercolor, pastels, acrylics, pen & ink, and mixed media.

Here is my drawing of a kingfisher

And my drawing of a parrot

and this is the first step in the tracing of another bird I found that I like. This is being transferred to my sketch book using carbon paper.

I know this isn’t easy to see, but you can get the idea of what I’m doing.

I have to stop and get lunch for us now, but I’ll get back to this ASAP. :0)

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Childlike Fun, doing what you love, drawings, Favorite Things, Hobbies, quality of life


Kurt Vonnegut via via Cathy Ruggiero

My friend Debbye Hughes, who was dying of recurrent metastatic breast cancer, got angry with me because I was afraid to even try to draw, paint, or do anything artistic. She looked at me, sitting in her bed, paintbrush in hand, and said, “Who CARES if your work never gets off your own refrigerator door? Who CARES if others don’t like it? JUST DO IT!!!!!”

That was in 2000, and I started painting, crafting, trying to draw, experimenting with all kinds of things that gave me joy. I started a website with the wonderful help of my son who designed my website to show my own stuff and then expanded it for me so that I could add the work of others. He helped with the the business, end, too, and I enjoyed 17 years of association with some of the most creative, talented people from all over the world I’ve ever known. I made friends long distance. I worked my heart out trying to do all I could with the tiny budget I had to promote all of our work. I wouldn’t give up the opportunity I had for anything.  I shut down my website, Creative Artworks, last year, and put my stuff on ArtFire and Etsy.

I love playing in my art room. The problem is that I have to set an alarm now so I don’t lose all track of time!  I just love experimenting with color, texture, and different techniques. I’m like a little kid with finger paints taking joy in the process.  Most of the time I make a mess. It just doesn’t turn out the way I envisioned it.  That doesn’t matter, though. I’m doing something I love. I’m practicing!

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What is a Bookshelf?

Bookstr via Cathy Ruggiero

“Dark in Death” by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) will come out in paperback in August. I’ve preordered it, standing on one foot and the other trying to be patient.

I’ve decided that, since I’ve only read the series one time, I’ll begin with the first and re-read all 45 preceding the newest one.  Nora has created a world of truly interesting, admirable people that I would love to actually know, so I’m looking forward to diving into their unique world again.

I hope that you, too have at least one bookshelf that has authors who take you into another dimension, too.

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Mother, May I?

Healing with Art via Cathy Ruggiero


I planned to make glorious mistakes in my art room yesterday, since it was raining and I couldn’t work outside. Somehow, I couldn’t give myself permission to ignore some of the things that were staring at me inside our home that have been needing my attention. I ended up cleaning up the kitchen, getting the filing under control in the office, playing with the dogs, and the afternoon was gone.

I have a lot of fun in my art room. Much of the time I just enjoy looking at the nice supplies I have, thrilled at the potential! Sometimes I simply play, trying some new techniques, stirring the pot, getting my juices flowing.

I love it when I get an order for custom handmade cards, note cards, or stationery. I can combine my love of art supplies – all the colors – and smells – and FEELS – with the joy of playing, coming up with designs I hope my customer will love.  When I have an order, I drop everything else and concentrate on creation, my customer’s wishes foremost in my mind.

At times like THIS, when I don’t have an order, it’s harder to allow myself to take time off. I almost feel I’m playing the old childhood game of “Mother, May I?” I’m trying to convince myself that playing is essential, that no one cares if the living room has been vacuumed yesterday, today, or tomorrow, and that I get no ‘points’ for crossing everything off my ever-growing list. There is a strong inner voice, though, that keeps repeating what a slob I am – that I should have a clean, well-organized home at all times….

I think I will try to SQUASH that mean little voice  – maybe just for a while this afternoon – and let the joyous part of me play in the paint!

Mother, May I?


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Filed under Attitude, Childlike Fun, doing what you love, Hobbies

Inside Plans for the Day

ABSTRACTS by Sabina via Cathy Ruggiero

I’ve been fighting with my to-do list – it seems like for weeks now – not making much headway. Since today isn’t a good day to spend outside in my veggie garden, weeding my flower planters, or weed-whacking, I think I’ll take at least a bit of time this afternoon and play in my art room!

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Alice Hoffman via TitleWaveforBooks via History Books via Cathy Ruggiero

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The Wonderful Adventure of Books

Goodwill Librarian via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m reading The Whisperer by John Grisham.

As usual, it grabs me on the first page and then I spent the new few days trying to get SOMETHING done besides reading it. I love falling into a world totally unlike mine with complex, engaging characters dealing with something compelling. If you need anything today, I’ll be sitting in my chair, coffee on the table on my warmer, reading. :0)

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Reading for Pleasure – A Quality of Life Thing

The Writers Circle via Cathy Ruggiero

Our lives have been fairly stressful lately with lots of challenges and changes. The result of all this effort is that our lives are improving, slowly but surely, but I’m finding I need to escape awhile each day to maintain what is left of my sanity.

I’m enjoying the last in the series “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” by Anne Brashares right now. I can dive into the books, losing myself in the process, cares falling away like leaves in the fall. I emerge – reluctantly – when I need to – feeling refreshed. I wish that everyone could enjoy the act of reading for enjoyment.

After I finished school – getting my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist – I couldn’t. I would pick something up, unconsciously tensing up, reading as though I would be tested on whatever I was reading later, mentally taking notes to be regurgitated whenever asked. I almost lost my love of reading because of years of reading what I HAD to read. Kind of an indictment of the school system, isn’t it?

I regained some of that joy when I began teaching. I loved sharing my joy with my students, many of whom had such frightening lives daily on the north side of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that they didn’t have any interest at first. I taught them phonics by singing a stupid song and playing my guitar. They loved the singing and the movement, and learned that letters make sounds, working together to make short words, and then combining to make longer ones. Once the magic of the printed word on the page made sense, the ‘light bulb moment’ showed in their bright eyes and wide grins.

Statistics about adult reading are depressing. I guess too many people are working so hard to make ends meet and take care of their families they think don’t have time for reading.  My heart goes out to them because a good book could help them deal with their situation so much more easily.

As soon as I finish the last book in the series of the Traveling Pants, I found two more books by Anne Brashares that I haven’t read yet, and then I’ll dive into another Jack Reacher book by Lee Childs. What are YOU enjoying today?

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Calvin and Hobbes Mailbox Decoration

I think this is my favorite of the many mailbox decorations we’ve made. It makes me feel good when I see it. This is the back of the piece. you can see where I’ve tried to incorporate the mounting bar into the design.

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip by American cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995.


This is the front. The piece is about 2-1/2 feet tall and about the same wide – 3 feet + with the mounting bar and tail. We grabbed the design from the net. My husband translated the picture into code that the computer-guided torch on our CNC table can understand and cut out. We used a transparency and overhead projector to mark the bare metal for painting. I then painted both sides and then sprayed a clear protective spray on it. I hope this decoration gives people a warm feeling as they drive by our home.


Calvin and Hobbes by Sarah,


Filed under Hobbies, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art


The Eric Carle Museum of Pictures

It’s funny. Ever since I finished cleaning out years of accumulation in my art room, I’ve just looked at it, been pleased, and moved on. It’s almost as though the room belonged to someone else. I didn’t want to mess it up.

Today, since it’s too windy to even THINK about working with peat moss or vermiculite, I’m giving myself permission to play. I don’t know that I’ll come up with anything, but IT’S OKAY TO PLAY.

I hope that you have found something fun to do today, too.

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Reading and Children Quotes – Take 1

Family Read-Shutterstock-Northern Virginia Magazine


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” — Walt Disney


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Frightening Statistics

Vintage Books and Anchor Books via Ann Gilstrap

After I got my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist back in 1492, I didn’t want to read anything for awhile. I had been under so much pressure to read things I didn’t want to read and be ready to spit out the information in whatever form required for a LONG time. I found that, even when I tried to read something for pleasure, I read it as if I would be tested on it.

As I taught school at the elementary level on the north side in Tulsa for 8 years, my students have a need to learn to read at first. Their lives were such that books and reading just didn’t make the cut on what was important. I finally learned to break through that, using my guitar to teach phonics, and tossing all the rules I had just learned out the window, opting for common sense approaches. My own love of reading again broke through as I began convincing my students that they could develop a life-long love of reading.

I cannot go a day without reading. I LOVE the Internet. It’s such a good source of information, and you can learn most anything you want to if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to judge your sources. I could spend hours on YouTube. After reading and getting some background, actually watching demonstrations or explanations help make the new skills your own.

I read and follow recipes – trying to fill our lives with good-for-us low-carb food. I’m a lousy cook and have no talent for coming up with things on my own, but using the creativity of others, I can find a good recipe to try (low-carb peanut butter cookies will be tried soon), get whatever ingredients I need, and make the recipe that day (often to the delight of my husband).

I read to try to find out what’s going on in the world. I’ve learned that there is a lot of mis-information out there provided by really biased folks with axes to grind, but if I keep looking, I can find more reliable sources and then can judge for myself what is important for me to know and what the facts are.

Mostly, though, I read for FUN. I am the happy owner of a lot of books that I enjoyed reading, and now enjoy re-reading. I also love ordering new books for my Kindle. I can dive into a world that allows me to leave whatever might be bothering me behind, immersing myself in a world of interesting people doing things I’d never dream of doing personally. I emerge, feeling rested and happy.

I don’t want to believe the statistics above. I feel sad that so many people are missing such a rich source of learning and happiness.  This would be something I would want to try to change – if I had the chance.


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Ends and Beginnings


I’ve just finished re-reading all the books by Robert B. Parker – there are 40+ books in the Spenser series, plus the Sunny Randall series, the Jesse Stone series, a couple of books for youth, and then the “western” series of 3 books. I’ve had a wonderful time immersing myself in his world for the past few weeks and now – I have to admit – I’m feeling a bit bereft. I love his world, no matter the series or characters.

I’m reading an interesting book now called, “The Residence – Inside the Private World of the White House “- covering the Kennedys through the Obamas through the memories of the huge staff that not only works there, but feel an intense loyalty to whomever is living there, as well as the house itself, and all it stands for. The book is by Kate Andersen Brower.

The next thing I’m going to dive into is a re-reading of all of the Lee Child books in the “Jack Reacher ” series. He has created a fascinating, smart character confronting complex issues.


My husband and I laughed when the first movie made from the series starred Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher is supposed to be 6’4″ and lanky, kind of scruffy looking. And then there’s Tom Cruise. I have to admit that once we got over the appearance of the character we had in our heads, Tom Cruise did a good job of playing him in the movie.

I’m looking forward to re-reading the Lee Child books. It has been several years, and he has one that we just bought in paperback to add to the list!

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Cure via books rock my world via cathy ruggiero

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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