Tag Archives: Family

Mom’s Favorite Reads – New March Issue of Our Magazine Available!

The March issue of our Amazon #1 magazine!

In this issue…

• An exclusive interview with Terry Deary, bestselling author of the ‘Horrible Histories’

• Our new series of travel features, Off the Beaten Track

• How to start your own small business

• How to learn a new language

• The difference between psychology and

psychiatry, and so much more…

Read FREE here https://issuu.com/momsfavoritereads/docs/vol-2_iss-3_march2019_momsfavoriter?e=0

What in the World is Kate Doing?

Oh, yeah, I’ve been off the grid quite a lot lately.  I have my reasons, and I think they are pretty valid.

I’m a Baby Boomer and my husband and I have toyed with the idea of retiring somewhere different. Our 165-year-old home requires a lot of care and maintenance. As we get older, we won’t be able to give it the justice it deserves.  So, we started researching, traveling and sometimes making lists of the pros and cons of living in different places. We considered spots in the Midwest, living on an island, moving to Ireland and several other possible destinations.

We had a list of what we wanted in our final home and commuIMG_1953nity.  We wanted a newer home to reduce maintenance. A small town with plenty of safe areas for walking, easy access to a grocer, pharmacy, a few restaurants and a golf course that was close to our home. We wanted that small town feel that we love in our tiny village along the Mississippi River with small-town festivals and friendly neighbors.  But we decided after this past winter, we also needed warmth.

We’d lived along the Gulf Coast (Texas and Florida) as well as in Sicily, Italy.  Two years before my hubs retired from the military, we started looking at where we wanted to raise our sons. Growing up in the Midwest, we determined we wanted to return. Now, after twenty-three years in Wisconsin, we think it would be nice to be back in a warmer climate, so we headed to Arizona.

We found a community that meets all of the requirements we determined were important to us.  We are building a new home where I can walk the miles I need for my health and creativity.  We can play golf anytime.  It’s close to a larger community so we don’t have to drive hours for certain services like an airport, for example.

We are fortunate to have this opportunity, and one of the things that I like about the town where we are moving is that they offer a variety of housing options in several different pricing levels.  We will be in a community that values diversity with different age groups, socio-economic levels, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Isn’t that what America is all about?  We believe so.

Stay tuned as we begin our new adventure.

 

Book Review — Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

My local book club selected the novel Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for January’s meeting. I had two days to read it and let me tell you, I couldn’t put it down.

The story is set in Seattle’s Chinatown area, and the story’s protagonist, Henry, is in his mid-fifties at the story’s beginning.  Henry is passing by an old hotel in what was once the Japanese section of their community. It has been recently purchased for restoration, and the new owner has called a press conference after making an unbelievable discovery. After 40 plus years, she has found the stored belongings of Japanese residents of the area who were taken to internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The news has Henry thinking back to those days when he was eleven years old and struggling with his place in this wartime world where the slant of your eyes and the color of your skin could make you a target.

The author does an insightful job of weaving his WWII tale of growing up in a strict Chinese family. Henry faces conflicts with his father, children at the “white” school and his former classmates at the Chinese school. His life seems dismal, and then he meets Keiko, a fellow scholarship student at the school.

The only problem is that Keiko is Japanese, and his father hates all the Japanese people because of their invasion of China.  Henry’s father makes him wear a button that states “I am Chinese” on it,  Whether it was for his protection so he wouldn’t be labeled as Japanese or because of his father’s hatred for the Japanese people or not, Henry detested wearing it.

The story painted a raw, detailed portrait of life for immigrants in this country; and especially for Japanese-Americans as they were forced to leave everything behind and were taken hundreds of miles away from their homes until after the war ended.  The conditions they lived under at the internment camps is a terrible stain on the history of the United States.

The story jumps back and forth between the 1980s and the 1940s as Henry tries to mend his relationship with his son as he searches for a treasure from his past.

This is a story of families, of different cultures, of generational conflict, of love, of loss and of prejudice.  I would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction, romance, and stories set in the WWII era.

Odd Things About Me

It is those quirky differences which make humans so interesting. Jane Austen had a knack at finding the humorous in her interactions with her neighbors and acquaintances that she later immortalized in print. The outrageous, bizarre and laugh-out-loud hilarious moments are the stuff of writers’ dreams.

I’m an odd duck. Always a bit nerdy, I loved school, reading and history. In elementary school, I read every biography of the founding fathers of the United States. They were my heroes. I loved playing “Landslide” — a board game about U.S. Presidential Elections where you collected Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. How many ten to eleven-year-old girls today would find that game captivating?

I asked for a globe for Christmas one year and on my img_1199 1bedroom wall, I had a poster of the universe. I would force my younger sisters to sit through my rendition of the Catholic mass or would drill them as their teacher using old school books of my mother’s from her youth. (I wonder what happened to them?)

I had a rock collection when I was young and kept it in an empty cardboard egg carton. Way before Indiana Jones had youngsters wanting to be an archeologist, I wanted to explore ancient ruins for artifacts. I also wanted to be a pop singer, Peace Corps volunteer and a nun. I ended up being a nurse, an Army Reserve officer, a bed & breakfast owner, and an indie writer, go figure.

We all have our stories about our youthful fascinations and dreams. They are the very things which mold us into the individuals we are today. What were yours? Did you follow through on your dreams?

Wait, Please…

I once could waltz around192ab708-48c6-4396-8e34-6160619f78fb the dance floor light as a feather for hours with a glowing smile on my face. My skin was smooth and my eyes sparkled with joy and enthusiasm. I was young and vital — once.

Years later, the morning sunshine awakens me but I don’t pop up out of bed full of energy. My joints are stiff and painful. It takes me a considerable amount of time to sit on the side of the bed. Please don’t be impatient with me, I’m moving as fast as I can.  Simple things like washing my face and brushing my hair make me short of breath as I struggle to raise my arms. Even feeding myself takes too much out of me some days.

If my clothes don’t match or I put them on inside-out, please don’t laugh at me. I’d appreciate your help. My eyesight is poor despite the bifocal glasses perched on my nose. It isn’t because I don’t care, I still want af9476b2-43b7-40cd-b1db-ff6eb8844909to look nice.  The days of throwing something on and looking great are over. Now, I struggle with buttons and zippers. I prefer velcro to shoelaces because my knuckles are swollen with arthritis.

If I don’t seem to be following the conversation, please remember to speak slowly and clearly.  Don’t yell at me just because I’m elderly it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m deaf.

Thank you for treating me with respect — like the adult I am and not like a child. I have lived for decades, and I have seen this world during times of peace and war. I’ve struggled with finances, raised children,de1fdc0d-9155-465b-b146-adf17914de9c and cuddled grandchildren. I’ve sacrificed and celebrated. I’ve laughed and cried. I’ve sat at the side of my parents’ hospital beds and held their hands in their last moments on this earth.

Now that I am facing my twilight years I don’t want to be forgotten while I am still alive.  Come to visit me. Take me out to lunch. Your presence means the world to me.

If you see me sitting alone, stop to chat a moment. And if I repeat myself, please understand and don’t remind me that my memory isn’t as good as it once was. Just a few minutes of feeling relevant in the eyes of another human will make my entire day.

I am tomorrow. I am lost youth. I will be you.

Sunset Walks

When your soul is troubled and your mind is a jumble of frenzied thoughts, the best remedy is to take a walk and experience the beauty around you. How many pairs of eyes are looking at the sky at this moment, joining you in this moment of zen-like serenity and awe? Just brush away your tears and square your shoulders, because today is coming to an end and tomorrow is another opportunity to reconcile with loved ones and friends. Another chance lies ahead to create a solution to the issues which cause you concern.

 

A Day in Kate’s Life ~ Christmas Preparations

How I Avoid a Christmas Meltdown

It’s that time of year again when the holiday prep, decorating, shopping and events can take a toll on my psyche. I used to take part in the madness and over the years I’ve toned down the “I’ve got to get this done!” expectations to a more modest “How can I enjoy Christmas more?” vibe.

Gone are the fourteen — yes, I did correctly say 14! Christmas trees, and in their place is a more modest number. Now, I decorate five small tabletop trees, which I cluster in the dining room on a sideboard, as well as the main tree, but even that tree has shrunk from an eight-foot height to a more modest six-foot tree.

I make only one or two Christmas cookie selections and send them off to the hubby’s workplace and home with my sons to save me from having a sugar coma throughout the holidays. I do love sweet things!   

If I have the time and feel creative, I will scrapbook and stamp my own cards, but if I’m time-crunched, I see nothing wrong with buying a nice holiday card and sending them off to close family and friends. I will use an app like JIbJab to create a funny Christmas greeting for all of my friends and family on social media. 

Time has taught me that I’d rather spend my holiday enjoying hot cocoa and a Christmas movie with my loved ones than running from one chore to another during this season.  So enjoy yourself, and if you love to shop and can afford to, do it! If you love to bake a dozen different kinds of cookies and holiday treats, knock yourself out! 

But whatever you do, make sure you make time for the ones you love, because that is what Christmas is truly about — faith, family, and friends.

Dog Days

Dog Lover. I like to think I am.

Today I’m not so sure. My grandpuppy (a full-grown 100 lb. Lab) arrived yesterday for a long visit, and by long, I mean a two-month visit.  My house was almost a dog hair-free zone prior to the visit.  Once in a great while, I will find a little memento of his last visit.  Please don’t judge my housekeeping skills, LOL!  Remember, I’m a writer.

IMG_1528To give you a little background info, this beautiful pooch had lived with us for the first two years of his life. During those two years, my life revolved around my Labbie and my writing.  My husband needed to understand, I had my priorities. The poor guy…

But the last two years have been pretty much pet-free except for periodic visits by my son and his dog. I’d gotten used to being on my own each day.  My focus was on my agenda, so my To-Do List for today included advertising for my books and the continued promotion of my latest published book, Never Show Your Hand. Also, NaNoWriMo is happening and I need to write!

What my schedule has been thus far?????

  • Wake up at 7 am
  • Quickly dress, wash my face and brush my teeth
  • Walk dog on slippery sidewalks and in circles around every interesting scent trail he can find
  • Breakfast as the dog sits by my side hoping I drop something
  • Playtime
  • A five-minute phone call to my mom as the dog barks and whines nearby
  • Snack time for “Fido”
  • A few quick Facebook posts and Instagram posts (Yay!)
  • Letting the dog out as I try to sweep the kitchen floor and clean up after breakfast
  • Proceed to untangle the dog’s lead from a tree in the yard
  • Return inside to finish sweeping the kitchen floor
  • Have to return outside to untangle the dog’s lead from a different tree in the yard

Needless to say, we are still getting used to being IMG_1744around each other. It will settle down in a few days as he adjusts to his new environment.  As I gaze at my furbaby sleeping peacefully in an armchair across from me, my smile is so big it almost makes my face hurt.

Time to get my writing done! TTYL, everyone!

 

 

What Kate’s Reading…

A Wrinkle In Time is my local book club’s selection for November. I love this book, and I read it, for the first time, when I was in third or fourth grade. It is a “YA” or Young Adult book but I would recommend it as an inspirational read for all ages.

The winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, this book is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and the drama of coming of age for a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere but finds the courage to battle for those she loves.