Category Archives: Hobbies


When I went to find more Linda Howard books, I couldn’t find used paperbacks, so the best option was to download them on my new Kindle.

I found her “Western Ladies Series” – A Lady of the West, Angel Creek, and The Touch of Fire.

Though I really prefer to have real books in my hands, I love the speed of acquisition of the Kindle. I just hope that these are going into the cloud somewhere so if my Kindle gets wonky, I don’t lose my collection. I only keep books on there that I want to read again sometime in the future.

Sent to me by a dear friend.

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Talking to Myself

from my friend, Cathy.

The only thing better than reading a book is reading more than one at once, as I was doing yesterday.

I finished this one and will start another of her “CIA series” today.

And then, since I got my new Kindle reader yesterday, I read the introduction to this new cookbook and will start browsing through the recipes today. I really hope this has nice, basic, easy recipes.

Yesterday I looked at one recipe on the net that sounded like it might be good. I stopped reading when I counted FIVE ingredients my husband wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-pole…

I MAY have to just concentrate on adding more veggies and fruit, serving less red meat, eating more fish, rather than trying to follow any particular recipes, but I’m HOPING to get a bit more help than that.

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Enjoying Robert B. Parker

Robert B. Parker – Penguin Random House

I have finished re-reading the Jesse Stone series, and the Spenser series. Now I’m re-reading the Sunny Randall series. Once I finish those, there are only a few books left – some wonderful westerns and other stand-alone books.

It makes me a bit sad to be coming to the end of the re-read, but I’m delighted to have the collection so I can enjoy it again whenever I would like.

Some good friends have recommended authors new to me, so I’m looking forward to diving into some new worlds soon. :0)

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I’m really enjoying re-reading my collection of Robert B. Parker books. I read the “Jesse Stone” series again, then moved on to the “Spenser” series. I’m on book #20, I think, “Double Deuce” now. Parker’s writing was so CLEAN. You’re never aware of the way he writes, unless one of the characters is poking fun or making a snide remark. He describes things so you can see or feel them clearly, yet you just ‘absorb’ the characters and situations. I find myself reading along, and then he says something so subtle that it takes me a sentence or two to react. And then I snort, or smile, or both, to the point my husband says, “What.” (He appreciates Parker’s dry sense of humor, too, and so understands with little explanation. )

When I finish reading the collection, I think I’ll start on our collection of Lee Child next, with his books about Jack Reacher. I just read that Lee Child has stopped writing Jack Reacher books and is passing the series to his brother, Andrew Grant. (In the media, I prefer Alan Ritchson in the TV series, rather than Tom Cruise in the movie versions. This is nothing against Tom Cruise, really. Lee Child is so good at getting the reader to ‘see’ Jack Reacher, though, that I laughed aloud when I discovered who would play him in the movies. Alan Ritchson in the TV version seems perfect for the role. I hope they continue the series.)

I would go nuts if I weren’t able to enjoy time reading each day.

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Enjoying ‘Parker Land’

Karen Bellandi

Yesterday I finished re-reading my collection of Robert B. Parker’s “Jesse Stone” series. There are 9 of them written by the author himself. I watch the movies made beyond that – having a huge crush on Tom Selleck – but don’t read the rest.

Today I’ll start re-reading his “Spenser” series. I absolutely love the combination of quiet toughness, competence, humor and wit of Spenser. He has a very low threshold for pomposity, self-importance, and lies. He also has a soft side that melts me into a puddle. You get to know him better book by book, situation by situation. I love it.

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Jesse Stone Series

Brass Baron Dorothy
Robert B. Parker – Penguin Random House

Robert B. Parker is one of my favorite authors. I think I have all of his books.

His “Jesse Stone” series is wonderful. I have the books AND the movies. (The fact that the main actor in the Jesse Stone series is ANOTHER favorite – Tom Selleck – lets me win twice. :0)

“In 1997 Robert Parker introduced the world to Jesse Stone, who comes to the small town of Paradise to serve as police chief, running from a past in Los Angeles where his alcoholism led to a failed marriage and a failed career in law enforcement.”

He’s a flawed man, but honest and strong and admirable. You want him to get through his problems.

I’m re-reading the books now, savoring the way Parker can say things in a very straightforward manner where you forget the ‘writing,’ concentrating on the characters and the story. He has quite a sense of humor, a dry wit, having his characters see the humor in a situation, providing sparkling dialogue that sometimes makes me laugh aloud.

Night Passage (1997) Trouble in Paradise (1998) Death in Paradise (2001) Stone Cold (2003) Sea Change (2006) High Profile (2007) Stranger in Paradise (2008) Night and Day (2009) Split Image (2010)

I will continue to buy and watch the Jesse Stone movies created by Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman, but I consider the ‘continuation of the book series’ by Ace Atkins or Reed Coleman a nice honor, but pale-in-comparison imitations of the master.

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About the only thing I don’t mind about being snowed and iced in again is that I have plenty of good books to enjoy.

I’m on book #50 Golden in Death from J.D. Robb’s (Nora Roberts’) In Death series. I’m re-reading the whole series in preparation for enjoying my newest paperback addition, #53 Forgotten in Death. I’ve pre-ordered the next one, #54 Abandoned in Death, which comes out in paperback in July.

The thing I’m particularly enjoying this time through is all the ‘extras’ that wind their way through the series, the poignant things people say and do that define their strength, humanity, vulnerability, love, and more. They make me tear up, adding so much richness to the series.

If we get all the rain/wind/sleet/freezing rain/snow forecast tomorrow, picture me, curled up in my recliner, heat pad on low under me, throw over me, coffee on my warmer beside me, cat in my lap, book in hand, appreciating the luxury of my life.

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I’m very lucky to be surrounded by books I want to read. I will never have enough time to spend with them. I’ve been bouncing back and forth from my computer to my recliner/book/throw/coffee lately, feeling very spoiled, indeed. I DO manage to get a few things checked off my to-do list each day, but a bit grudgingly. :0)

I found this recently and I WANT ONE! Such a clever idea. I’m trying to convince my husband to make us one. It makes me smile every time I see it. I’ll print the pic and keep moving it around under my husband’s nose. We might give him a hat to shield his eyes (and ours).

My husband and I both are voracious readers. He prefers his tablet, and I prefer real books. I really prefer hardback books, but have switched to paperbacks because of cost and storage space. There is something really satisfying to hold a book in your hands, turning pages, rather than swiping a screen. I do have a tablet, and take it when we go to sit in waiting rooms, but that’s the only time I use mine.

My favorite books are my art books. I have some that are how-to’s, trying to teach me watercolor techniques, for example, or how to draw feathers. (I haven’t mastered either of those things, but I LOVE to see what others have done and dream of one day getting closer to doing a bit of it myself.

I have a few books that are illustrated books – I guess for children – but they called to me. I love the creativity and the skill employed in these. They make the stories and characters come alive for children and adults, like me, alike.

My idea of a perfect ‘old-folks home’ is beds with large pillows in a library. Everyone would have headphones attached to their playlist of favorite music. Sweet animals of all kinds would visit the residents freely. Food and drink would be available, plus a playroom with art supplies. Residents who wanted to could help children find books that would delight them, or read to groups. Nice fantasy.

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I’m enjoying the third book in the Chesapeake Bay Saga trilogy – plus one written later, probably due to reader demand – by Nora Roberts.

As usual, I’m in the middle of the world she has created there, feeling as if I would know all the characters if I saw them on the street, wanting to stay in their world.

A. A. Milne – E.H. Shepard – Winnie the Pooh –

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Book Joy

I finished re-reading the 51 previous paperback books in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and am anxiously awaiting delivery of paperback #52 “Faithless in Death” I think on the 27th of this month.

In the meantime, I started Nora’s trilogy called “The Sign of Seven“, reading Book 1, “Blood Brothers” yesterday. I’ve now ordered Books 2 and 3, which should arrive shortly.

Being able to dive into a well-loved book, or start a new one, is such a quality of life thing for me. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read and write every day.

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Fun Hobby

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Never Too Many Books

Kansas City Public Library

I wish I loved close to this so that I could support the people who designed it. It makes me smile right down to my toes. Who could resist spending time in here?

I have been enjoying the work of several of my favorite authors the past few months. I re-read all of my Nora Roberts collection, including those written as J.D. Robb. Then I re-read my Robert B. Parker books, enjoying his Spenser series, Jesse Stone series, Sunny Randall series, the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch books, and his stand alone books. Right now I’m reading a new-to-me Nora Roberts book I missed somehow, and have a new book by John Grisham that my husband recommended waiting.

I feel so lucky to be able to escape from any worries I have by diving into a well-loved book or a new one by an author I like. What a luxury!

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Paul Sweeney –

I am in the middle of a re-read of book # 47 (of 51) of the J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) In Death series before diving into the newest one to come out in paperback.

I’m lucky because reading is such a large part of my life.

My parents started teaching me to read when I was very young, exasperated that my mom, dad, and brother were all engrossed in a book, a crossword puzzle, and a comic book while I sat in the middle of the living room bored out of my mind. I looked from one to the other and finally said, in a loud voice, “I wish to HELL I could read!” Instead of beating my rear for the language, my mom got one of my books, sat on the floor with me, and began to change my life.

I became a teacher, earning my Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist, using my guitar to help my sweet students learn phonics so that they had the tools to sound out unfamiliar words on their own. (That, and other things the public school frowned on, led me to start my own reading clinic, teaching students from kindergarten to adults who needed missing parts filled in so they understood what they needed to do to make sense of things.) We never actually made a profit, so I had to move on after 3-1/2 years to make money to help support our family.

After going through the school system myself, and then, particularly while earning my Masters while working full time, I lost my love for reading. I would find myself reading the newspaper, a magazine, or a paperback book as if I would be tested on it when I finished, the tension gathering in my neck and shoulders. It took me awhile, but finally I was able to relax again and simply dive in to learn something new, share someone else’s experience, or just dream.

Now I can’t imagine trying to live without reading. I find it difficult to name something else that changed my life for the better as much. It has saved my sanity – I THINK :0).

I am lucky to have several authors that I consider so wonderful I want to enter the worlds they have created over and over. Each time I do that, I find something I missed or have forgotten that enriches me, deepens my appreciation or understanding, fills my heart again.

I hope that you, too, are surrounded by people who share their expertise and creativity with you through their writing.


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The Love of Books


I’m enjoying re-rereading part of my collection of Nora Roberts books lately. Happily, I have a good number of them. Diving into them is a wonderful escape from the challenges of our world, personal problems, or just to revisit a wonderful experience, learn something new, relax.

I am going through my books once again, culling out those that I probably won’t read again. I will sell some of them and donate the rest to our public library which usually has fundraisers a couple of times each year.

Since I am definitely not Suzy Homemaker, I have gotten on some old clothes, have dust rags and damp cloths ready to clean up my shelves as I gather books to get rid of and attempt to reorganize my collection.

It seems I am ruthless each time I do this, but I have to admit there are books that will be someone else’s choice on ‘redistribution’ after I am gone.

I’m so lucky to be rich in books! :0)


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Book Magic

Carl Sagan via Chris Riddell Illustration via The Boho Tree

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Ronit Baras

I finished the 11th book in “The Rise of the Iliri” series by Auryn Hadley last night.

My main reaction is sadness that it is, indeed, the end of the series. There won’t be any more in this story. I was totally caught up in the world Auryn created, plus the unique characters and their interactions. I love the fact that the main character was a super strong female. Her world was SO different from mine it was a good escape. I’m a go-along to get-along type basically, trying to not upset anyone. The main character, Sal, was the complete opposite, challenging everyone and everything in order to make the world a better place. She was a shining example to everyone around her, bringing out their strengths, as well. Great story.

In the meantime, my husband suggested I read the “Honor Harrington” books by David Weber next. Another strong female character. I started the first book in the series last night.

I hope that YOU have the luxury of diving into the beloved books of a favorite author, or finding new, exciting ones that take your breath away.

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Rich in Books

Jane Austen via

I received paperback book #50 in the “In Death Series” by J.D. Robb (pen name of Nora Roberts) yesterday. I am re-reading book #48 right now.  I love it when I can dive into a book and leave my concerns behind for awhile.  I won the lottery when I found Nora Roberts. She has given me hours of pleasure and escape over the years. I hope she has made a gazillion dollars and lives to be at least 200, writing steadily to feed my hunger for more great characters and stories.


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You’re Never Alone

Susan Wiggs via

I ordered the newest “In Death” series book by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) to come out in paperback a few months back. It is supposed to arrive sometime this month.

I am in the process of living in Eve Dallas’ world again, re-reading the 49 books that precede the newest one for me. I am on # 36.

The world that J.D. (Nora) has created is gritty. It’s New York City way into the future. The characters are real, vivid, and extremely appealing to me. I feel as if I am ‘home,’ among friends while I’m immersed in her world.

What a joy it is to read for pleasure, finding truly wonderful authors who create worlds that allow you to escape – among friends.

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I am a Quilt

Brooke Hampton via Chrissie Anderson Peters

I am particularly aware of this while mostly staying at home due to the pandemic.

Music has always been a big part of my life. It transports me – taking me back to junior high school patio parties where I danced with boys who made my young heart throb; to places I have never been, but would like to go; expressing feelings I hold deep inside. I have so many artists I love and never enough time to listen all I would like to. Lately, I’ve been creating mini-concerts for myself while I work at the computer – listening to song after song that lift my spirits as I write posts, balance my checkbook, or…. When I finish, my heart is filled with wonderful thoughts, memories, and happiness. It’s a wonderful escape.

Another thing I’m doing is re-reading favorite books and authors, revisiting favorite characters and stories.  While my husband watches yet another “Cowboy Be-Bop” or equivalent movie as HIS escape, I can immerse myself in my book while keeping him company in a fashion.  I’m lucky in that I have books all over the house, so I have a wonderful supply of wonderful worlds to dive into.

My art room is an endless source of possibilities. I actually have to set an alarm so I don’t totally lose myself in the joy of experimenting with colors, textures, techniques, and ideas.  Sometimes I have an idea rattling around in my brain. Other times I go in there to ‘clean,’ and end up starting a project.  I go in there, start one of my CDs, and suddenly the alarm goes off…

I love watching demonstrations on YouTube. You can almost pick a subject and find lots of great information and step by step demos on how to do things. I think YouTube is a treasure.

When it’s not raining —— I can play in my flowers and my veggie garden. I truly love seeing flowers bloom around the yard, and I’m like a kid at Christmas watching my veggies grow.

I will love it when the world gets back to normal. But, in the meantime, I’m a happy lady.




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Carl Sagan via Chris Riddell via The Boho Tree

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I honestly can’t imagine myself not reading.

I guess I’m biased, because I trained as a teacher, taught for 8 years in public elementary schools in Tulsa, and then ran my own reading clinic for 3 years, but personally – I would be lost without reading in my life.

I finished re-reading the 48 books in the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and have just received “Vendetta in Death” the 49th book just out in paperback. I’m really looking forward to diving into Eve Dallas’ world again.

On a tip from my good friend, Cathy Campbell, I ordered and just received

Laska, Stephanie
This lady has lost 140 lbs and has kept it off for 6 years. I started reading the book over lunch and she’s a HOOT! Great sense of humor and has managed success without the regimentation required by many keto people. I’m interested to try her theory and see if it works for me, too.  (I keep missing my macro percentages and it really makes you feel like you just don’t get it.) So, I’m reading as fast as I can to get an overview and then will read more carefully to start using the details as soon as possible.
Being able to pick up a book and forget your problems for awhile, or learn to do something new, or get excited about a new way to get healthier, is richness beyond belief.
I will never forget sitting in the middle of my parents’ living room when I was 4 or 5. My mom was doing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. My dad was avidly reading a book on archaeology. My brother was reading a whole stack of comic books. I looked from one to the other and finally said, “I wish to HELL I could read!”  Everyone stopped and looked at me. I expected my parents to come down on me like a load of bricks for saying a bad word. Instead, they looked at each other. My mom got a book, came down and sat on the floor with me, and began teaching me to read.
I will be forever grateful.


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Tim Vine via Slide Share

I finished “Connections in Death” by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts the day before yesterday. That is #48 in her series of 50 “In Death” books featuring Eve Dallas, a homicide lieutenant. I read them all again from the beginning before I allowed myself to enjoy this last one that has come out in paperback. I have #49 arriving December 31st, according to Amazon, and am aware there is #50 out recently in hardback, so the joy continues.

I’m in withdrawal now.  I really enjoy this world that Nora has created. The people inhabiting it are people I would love to really know.  The interactions between all the characters is fascinating.

In the meantime, I have a whole stack of what I hope will be good books waiting for my attention.


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I’m am on book #40 in the 50-book “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). I’m reading them all again before I allow myself to dive into the newest one in paperback, “Connections in Death.”  I’ve been so busy having fun in my art room and trying to fit in 70 or so minutes of exercise into my day that I’ve been reading in fits and starts, just a bit at a time, but I’m loving living in Eve Dallas’ world again.

I’m also reading several other books at the same time, trying to learn some things here and there. :0)  I honestly don’t know how I would survive without reading. Physical books are a treasure trove to me. E books are great for learning things and to take while traveling. Computers are wonderful for expanding your horizons.

I just wish there were more time in the day and I had unlimited energy!


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Bookish Buzz via Cathy Ruggiero

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Super Powers

For Reading Addicts via Cathy Ruggiero

I feel lucky because I’m in the middle of re-reading the Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb) “In Death” series and can escape whenever I can make the time and come out calm and refreshed. I love her writing. She creates incredibly deep characters you feel as if you actually know. You care about them, laughing and crying with them. I can’t think of a greater compliment to a writer for the readers to want to live in the world they have created and always want more.

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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?


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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!


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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.


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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)


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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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