Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Linda Bradley – #FREEbook #Bookbub – Montana Bound


Delighted to welcome Linda Bradley as a guest writer today, sharing her research for her books in the Montana Bound series. Also there is an FREE offer on Maggie’s Way on BookBub and details of that later in the post.

Montana Bound by Linda Bradley

Montana Bound is more than the name of my book series telling the story of a middle-aged Midwestern woman finding her way.

When I began writing Maggie’s story, I knew she’d encounter a sprawling ranch alive with horses and cattle, a place much different than her suburban Michigan home. A faint childhood memory of being in the back of a 1972 Buick station wagon staring into the blue Montana skies prodded me to embed the beautiful land into my work.

My first research trip took me to Gallatin Gateway, Montana. My twenty-two-year-old son was my travel companion and just as eager for the adventure. We chose Bozeman as our destination, then packed our bags. I knew I had to ride with the wranglers, experience a chuck wagon, and explore the land to connect with its history and the hearts of my characters.

When my son and I arrived, it was close to midnight. We had no idea of the terrain on the hour drive ahead of us. When I’d called ahead to confirm our stay at the 320 Guest Ranch, the receptionist assured me that the animals would all be sleeping at that hour, and the drive was easy. I chuckled to myself thinking about mountain roads and deep gorges. As the door of the plane opened, the aroma of sage drifted in, and I knew I’d chosen somewhere special to write about even though its beauty was blanketed in darkness.

As we drove away from the airport, the eyes of a bobcat shone into our headlights, then it scurried into the tall grass. Without hesitation, I rolled down the windows and listened to the stillness. The rambling sound of a river running wild was the music we traveled to. My nerves settled, and the drive was peaceful. I knew if I had the courage to navigate the unknown road ahead, Maggie would surely find her happy ending, too.

In the morning, mountains dotted with Quarter Horses and wildflowers welcomed us. I couldn’t wait to meet the people who’d share their knowledge and experiences with me. Sure, I’d done some reading about the land, Montana demographics, and history, but no article connected me to its rich life like the wranglers I met along the way and the excursions on horseback. Talking to the trail guides and wranglers taught me more than I ever expected. The conversations seeded a personal foundation, much more meaningful than any book or article.

Image Linda Bradley

I’d inquired about the cattle in Western Montana and was informed that most cattle lived in the eastern part of the state due to the terrain. One wrangler I chatted with tipped his hat and said, “But you’ll find the Ancient White Park on the other side of this mountain ridge.” Our trip didn’t allow time to make the trek, so I booked another trip the following summer and stayed at the B BAR Ranch where the cattle thrive. I didn’t realize there was such a breed and quickly grew fascinated by their Celtic roots. They were brought to the states prior to World War II as a preventative measure because Nazi troops were expected to invade. After being herded to different parts of the states and Canada, the cattle found their way to Montana.

Their migration and hard road to survival prodded me to cast them as the 617 Ranch’s main staple. For me, the history of these great heifers parallels the struggles of humanity. They symbolize strength and pure intention.

Researching Montana was more than an opportunity to learn about the setting in my Montana Bound Series. The trek brought me closer to my characters. While discovering their roots, I learned a few things about myself. The experience was much like reading a great book. I was hooked. I wanted more blue sky, more sunshine, more adventures on horseback, more huckleberry jam, more wildflowers, and more tales about the men who planted rosebushes in the hills to mark their treasures of gold.

Not only was my main character, Maggie Abernathy, Montana Bound, so was I.

Image Linda Bradley.

Research included:

Book: We Pointed Them North, Recollections of a Cowpuncher by E. C. Abbott (Author), Helena Huntington Smith (Author)

Websites:

http://www.bbar.com/Stewardship/white-park-cattle
https://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_National_Park

Riding excursions:

https://www.320ranch.com
https://www.hellsaroarinoutfitters.com

©Linda Bradley 2019

About Linda Bradley

Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

About Maggie’s Way

Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jun 03, 2017 Barbara Wall rated it it was amazing –Recommends it for: Romance readers

Maggie’s just been hit with a summer full of middle age life’s worst surprises: breast cancer, finding out her the love of her life husband is gay, divorce and a needy seven year old whirlwind moving in next door. On top of all of this Maggie realizes that she has compromised her own dreams away and now is time to figure out what she wants while battling cancer and being tired from radiation treatments. This is not a depressing read, it’s actually a romance novel with a probable happily ever after. There is another book that continues Maggie’s journey that I haven’t read yet, but this one feels complete

The book is FREE at Book Bub until July 2nd: https://www.bookbub.com/books/maggie-s-way-by-linda-bradley?ebook_deal

Also by Linda Bradley

Read all the reviews and buy the series: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS

Read more many reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6498473.Linda_Bradley

Connect to Linda

website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LBradleyAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Bradley/389688594534105

Linda would love your feedback and questions.

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you have enjoyed visiting Montana as much as I have, and I hope you will take up the offer for Maggie’s Way.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up -Herbie Hancock, Gems from Your Archives and Talkative Parrots.


Welcome to the round up of posts on the blog you might have missed this week.

We currently have a digger in the back garden, a cement filled trench awaiting blocks for a retaining wall and mounds of earth, that I am sure will be turned into a wonderfully landscaped vista by the end of the week.. that’s the plan anyway.

I had to do a complete replant of my pots this week as the ones I bought from a supermarket as good value, turned out to be duds.. I did think when I put them in that they were too dry and watered them and gave them some feed but after two weeks of TLC… most had died. Anyway… I went to my usual garden centre and paid a bit more and they are all thriving. Just goes to show sometimes bargains do not work out. It is the first year out of about 50.. that it has happened so I should count myself lucky.. All the pots are round the side of the house at the moment with equipment coming in and out and I will have fun putting them back later in the week.

We have old friends arriving Tuesday for two days. They are currently touring south and west Ireland finishing in Dublin over the weekend before coming down to us.. we are only an hour from their return ferry so handy… This is their first time in Ireland and I am looking forward to hearing how they got on..

The Posts from Your Archives is going well. I am so enjoying browsing and reading everyone’s posts to select the four I am going to publish… I feel I am getting to know people a little better and I am discovering some hidden gems to share as you will see later in the post. If you are on the list and have not heard from me… I am just about to begin scheduling the June spots and will get in touch with dates shortly.. It looks like this series is going to run into July which is terrific.

Time to get on with the round up and as always I am very grateful for all the contributions, shares, likes and comments..

William Price King shares the music of American Jazz Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer, Band Leader and Actor Herbie Hancock.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-american-jazz-pianist-keyboardist-composer-band-leader-and-actor-herbie-hancock/

Another two part series from Paul Andruss on Poetry… with some iconic examples from the masters.. According to the Muse….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-according-to-the-muse-a-dialogue-in-2-halves-part-1-what-is-poetry-paul-andruss/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-according-to-the-muse-a-monologue-in-2-parts-part-two-born-to-die-by-paul-andruss/

This week I reviewed Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday Bush Fires by Frank Prem.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/smorgasbord-book-reviews-devil-in-the-wind-voices-from-the-2009-black-saturday-bushfires-by-frank-prem/

This week in early June 1986 we drove the 7 hours to reach South Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico.. fabulous place (those shrimp were to die for) and also I up my exercise routine (makes my knees ache just reading about it!)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-june-1986-south-padre-island-and-getting-fit-sally-cronin/

Delighted to welcome guest writer, singer/songwriter guitarist Michelle Monet to the blog today who explores the concept of fame and the inclusion of ‘big names’ in memoirs to catch the public’s eye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-michelle-monet-memoirs-i-was-told-that-my-memoir-could-be-a-huge-bestseller-if-i-do-more-celebrity-name-dropping-huh/

Robbie Cheadle with a short story in response to one of Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt Challenges  Memorandum left by Dr Thompson

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-short-story-memorandum-left-by-dr-thompson-by-robbie-cheadle/

Jacquie Biggar with a delicious recipe for soup that can be adapted for everyone’s tastes and would make a great starter or main course.

outback-steakhouse-2490458_640

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-sunday-potatosoup-cooking-up-memories-by-jacquie-biggar/

This week D.Wallace Peach back to nature, and if you think you have bats in your belfry… you might not be crazy.

photo by John Pearce via Flickr

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-bats-in-the-writers-belfry-by-d-wallace-peach/

Finance expert Sharon Marchisello shares some of the ways you can pay off your mortgage early.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-finance-paying-off-your-mortgage-by-sharon-marchisello/

Our resident foodie, Carol Taylor, shares the stray dog and welfare issues in Thailand and how one mum and her pups enters their lives

SAM_7011

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-properly-trained-man-can-be-a-dogs-best-friend-by-carol-taylor/

Miriam Hurdle takes us on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and Alaska with some amazing photography.

alaska-1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-a-trip-to-yellowstone-park-and-alaska-by-miriam-hurdle/

Pete Johnson, Beetley Pete, takes us on a ride in his time machine to ancient Rome.. where would you like to travel to.. the past or the future..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-my-time-machine-by-beetley-pete/

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies has a wonderful book review feature every Sunday and here is an example where she reviews Midlife Cabernet by Elaine Ambrose.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/smorgasbord-post-from-your-arcives-potluck-d-g-kaye-sunday-book-review-midlife-cabernet-by-elaine-ambrose/

This week I am sharing a guest post by author A.C. Flory from the archives of Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-story-reading-and-his-guest-author-a-c-flory/

A heartwarming and poignant short story from Darlene Foster…The Special Date.

il_570xN.1634546600_og8o

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-shortstory-the-special-date-by-darlene-foster/

Author Christine Campbell shares the first part of a tour of Scotland when she and family drove whilst her husband cycled from John O’Groats to Embo..

surf 1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-cycling-days-1-to-3john-ogroats-to-embo-by-christine-campbell/

Another wonderful episode in the linked flash fiction family saga.. The Fold by D. Avery

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-arcives-potluck-the-fold-part-three-by-d-avery/

Charles Yallowitz takes a look at the art of ‘Banter’ the exchange between two people… usually comedic. The Art of Bantering: Not as Easy as You Think

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-art-of-bantering-not-as-easy-as-you-think-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

This is the third post from author Jane Risdon and since you enjoyed the audition posts last week.. here is part two…The Auditions Part Two: Let’s Play Rock ‘n’ Roll by Zeppelin

Red Corvette rear end

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-auditions-part-two-lets-play-rock-n-roll-by-zeppelin-by-jane-risdon/

This post by Mary Smith, illustrates that sometimes the hardest part of caring for a person who has dementia can be leaving them to have some much needed respite… even when they are never far from your thoughts.

October 2014 028-800

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-my-dads-a-goldfish-downhill-slide-by-mary-smith/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-undercover-crime-shorts-by-jane-risdon/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-mystery-fire-in-the-vineyard-by-christa-polkinhorn/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-children-davey-derek-junior-detectives-series-the-case-of-the-mystery-of-the-bells-by-janice-spina/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-ghost-horror-haverscroft-by-s-a-harris/

Author update #reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-hugh-w-roberts-don-massenzio-and-nicholas-c-rossis/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-victoria-zigler-sue-coletta-and-amy-reade/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-jokes-from-sallys-archives-episode-10/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-some-snippets-from-sallys-archives-episode-11/

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Michelle Monet #Memoirs – I Was Told That My Memoir Could be a Huge Bestseller If — I do more celebrity name dropping. Huh?


Delighted to welcome guest writer, singer/songwriter guitarist Michelle Monet to the blog today who explores the concept of fame and the inclusion of ‘big names’ in memoirs to catch the public’s eye.

I Was Told That My Memoir Could be a Huge Bestseller If — I do more celebrity name dropping. Huh?

“Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are” — ERICA JONG
“Fame is proof that the people are gullible” — ANONYMOUS

I recently sent the first few chapters of my Memoir in progress to a popular Memoir Author friend/mentor. She has 9 Memoirs published. I respect her and her writing. She is prolific as hell too, which I admire most. She just keeps flinging her books out there.

She responded:

Honestly Michelle, this could be a huge best seller. Especially if you have any other big names to drop in there, you know how the celeb-worship scene is today! I loved it. Go girl!! xxxx You are the only really famous person I know these days . You stand the best chance of all the writers I know of making it big, really big…”

Hmmm. The part that made me ponder was ‘…especially if you have any other BIG NAMES to drop in there..’

I might not want to do that.

So, what she’s saying is that if I get BIG NAMES TO DROP into my Memoir it could help it become a bestseller?

That just doesn’t resonate with my heart.

I mean, I can be a name dropper I suppose — if I want to.

In Las Vegas and Atlantic City, back in the 90s I sung for audiences that included President Gerald Ford and Betty, Michael Jackson and even Donald and Ivana — back when he was married to his first foreign wife. Ohhh, and I had a bitch fight with Donny Osmond once at his theater in Branson, Missouri — and did a gig with Tiny Tim in New York once. Do these count? LOL

I asked another fellow Memoir writer friend about this.

She said:

‘I don’t think you have to add big names. Your story stands all on its own… Sprinkle them throughout if they add to your story.’

I mean I COULD add a few stories about these celebrities and famous people that I had encounters with, like this title:

My Bitch Fight With Donny Osmond (That’s an attention grabbing one eh?)

• Would that title intrigue you?
• Would that make you want to buy my Memoir if you found out I had a fight with Donny?
• Do you think that would make the book more worthwhile viable and/or sellable?

To be honest, my goal is just to write the Memoir with authenticity and purpose.

I started writing this Memoir 4 years ago and have put it aside a few times to ‘let it simmer’.
Many emotional derailments. The best feeling of all would be to get this book done. Like an Exorcism THIS BABY WANTS TO GET OUT OF ME ALREADY!!

I think getting it done would be far more fulfilling than for the book to become a bestseller. I mean, I wouldn’t say NO to having a Best Seller. I do think my story is a damn good one. Some say it’s riveting. I think it can also help inspire others, not only help me to heal by writing it.

I’ve had some fame and some fortune in my past, as I wrote about here. I discovered its not all its cracked up to be, although I wouldn’t mind the fortune part to be honest…

Photo by Tinh Khuong on Unsplash

I wrote about the Downside of Fame in another articleMy Story The false promises of fame and fortune.

So, I’m asking YOU as readers of memoirs

Do you think if I drop some ‘famous names’ into my Memoir that it would somehow make it more valuable or successful?

More than that I’m asking myself: Do I really wanna go down the salacious path of the Kardashian culture insanity who drop names and write about their wild sexual positions, people they’ve slept and hobnobbed with, all to sell more books?

Nope. I’d prefer to just tell my truth.

I think my story has enough in it to keep readers interested and that’s all I want from my memoir.

Thanks for reading….

©Michelle Monet 2019

About Michelle Monet

Michelle Monet is a multi-faceted creative human being.

Her career began as a singer/songwriter guitarist act in lounges around the Denver area. She progressed to performing her original music in cabaret clubs and concert halls around the US. In 1989 she landed the role as a Barbra Streisand impersonator for the hit show Legends in Concert. She traveled throughout the US appearing in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Atlantic City, and around the world in countries from Russia to Japan to South Africa.

In 1996, while starring in a production in Sun City, South Africa she suddenly had a passion to switch callings. She began studying visual art. Since then she has sold her art in her gallery/studio and at art shows and festivals. She continues to make and sell her unique creations for happy customers and collectors.

Her upcoming Memoir will be about her life in show business including her surviving domestic violence, panic disorder and a dependency on prescribed medication.

These days you can find Michelle typing away on her next few books and chilling with her five cats and boyfriend Bob in the Smoky Mountains.

Books by Michelle Monet

One of the reviews for Catch a Poem by the Tale.

She tapped into my inner child and that’s not easy to do. Her poems are often simple but that’s just the point. Whimsical, childlike and at turns profound, there Is the sense of true poet playing a flirtatious peek-a-boo game with her first published audience, like the lament on menopause interrupted by the phrase “I just want pie.” That one made me laugh out loud. She’s a bit of a tease and at her best when she teases us to confront life arduous challenges, with a playful and unbounded sense of humor.

As the old saying goes, “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” Michelle Monet’s courage isn’t all that emerges in her poetry – she also seems to get the joke. She in on the act, part of the punchline, writing from the wings. Though personally not polished enough to earn a perfect score (I don’t think I have ever given a five), she’s a refreshing and fun voice, with some dark moments to share, but always prepared to rebound with enthusiasm. Highly recommend it for those who need a lift in mood…or want to spend time with a kindred spirit who has learned to ride life’s up and downs like a roller-coaster ride to what-the-heck and back!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Monet/e/B01J5X26QS

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michelle-Monet/e/B01J5X26QS/

Read more reviews and follow Michelle on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7209847.Michelle_Monet

Connect to Michelle

Website: www.michellemonet.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MMonet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.monet.77

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Michelle is looking forward to your feedback on the subject of ‘name dropping’ in memoirs…thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Bloggers, Authors, Music, Health, Food and Funnies.


Welcome to this week’s round up where I share the posts you might of missed, and thank you for taking the time to drop in.

It has been a busy week from a blogging perspective as the new series of Posts from Your Archives gets under way. I did wonder if the previous series which usually featured 12 or so bloggers was restricted due to natural reticence. I have noticed before that you are a shy in coming forward which is why I changed the concept this time so that I went into your archives to select four posts to share.

Boy, did that turn things on its head.. there are now 45 bloggers on the list and I am having the time of my life delving into all the archives to select posts to share. And I am finding some gems that I delighted with.. such as poetry hidden away, wonderful personal stories, travel experiences, family sagas and it just goes to show what a thoroughly talented bunch you are. It has also been great to see lots of discussions going on between everyone about the subject of the posts… loving it.

Clearly it is going to take me a little while to get through all the archives and they will appear over the next three months.. I will try to let you know dates in advance of that, but I am totally privileged to be allowed to access your archives and thank you for trusting me with that. This week’s archives coming up later in the post.

Facebook

After several attempts to delete my account (following weeks of blocked posts and nasty messages), and then receiving emails welcoming me back to Facebook…..(I do not understand the inner workings of FB Bots!) Anyway I have been back tentatively for the last month, keeping in touch with friends and sharing their posts internally, and so far so good. I am hugely grateful to those of you who have manually shared posts using the URL.. and that has worked thank you.

I am now re-installing my Facebook share button and I would be grateful if you would let me know if you get any messages if you share a post. I know that a lot of other bloggers such as The Story Reading Ape, Debby Gies and  Ellen Best to name a few had exactly the same problem, and there is apparently a reason for it.. Facebook does not want their members to leave the site to go off to visit another, particularly if that site is selling stuff they are not getting a cut of!

Since Smorgasbord is not monetized in any way.. I am hoping that things are now back to normal.

It looks like we will be getting the contractors in to do the back garden this week… fingers crossed.. and we are then 95% finished on our project that began 3 years ago on this house. When I look at the before and after pictures the thought runs through my mind “What were we thinking”…..but it is now a lovely family home that we hope to hand over to someone with lots of kids who will enjoy for many years. Our original plan was to put it on the market next spring but now we will probably go ahead as soon as it is finished.

Anyway… time to get on with the posts from the week that you might have missed… thanks as always to contributors and guests who give so much time and effort to providing amazing posts.

D.G.Kaye.. Debby Gies, gives us the low down on the popular holiday destination of Puerto Rico…essential reading if you are planning to travel there.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-san-juan-puerto-rico/

This month Siliva Todesco serves up a quick and simple classic that is hard to resist for pasta lovers…and I am sure your families… Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Pepper spaghetti.

GARLIC, OLIVE OIL AND RED PEPPER SPAGHETTI (Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-italiancookery-with-silvia-todesco-garlic-olive-oil-and-red-pepper-spaghetti-spaghetti-aglio-olio-e-peperoncino/

Two stories from me this week.. one in response to Diana Peach’s Speculative Fiction Prompt I went a bit outside my comfort zone and went forward in time….with The Enhancement Project..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-mays-speculative-fiction-d-wallace-peac-the-enhancement-project-by-sally-cronin/

and the second story was in response to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills on the subject of getting old. A Small Price to Pay

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-a-small-price-to-pay-by-sally-cronin/

Weight loss and sleep are connected, and if you are not getting enough sleep your body will not get sufficient time to repair, regenerate and restore balance…The sleep process and the benefits of a good night’s rest.

beating heart GIF

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-health-size-matters-the-sequel-weight-loss-the-benefits-of-sleep-by-sally-cronin/

Debby Gies was back on Wednesday with a guest post about a topic we are reluctant to talk about… with doctors included.. our inner workings and colonoscopies. Debby shares here experiences to demystify the process and stress the need to get checked.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-health-column-guest-writer-d-g-kaye-what-i-did-yesterday-besides-having-a-colonoscopy/

I look at the myths surrounding cholesterol and the importance of eating good fats from grass fed animals, including dairy to obtain sufficient Vitamin K2

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-health-column-cholesterol-and-fat-myths-part-two-vitamin-k2-and-healthy-fats-by-sally-cronin/

And a reminder about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, a silent killer that almost ended my life. The statistics in the USA and the UK are not improving fast enough.

 

Each year, approximately 20,000 people in the United States visit the emergency room because of carbon monoxide poisoning. While many of those people are treated and released, on average, 400 people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning in a given year.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-health-column-something-to-think-about-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-statistics-by-sally-cronin/

Do you remember the song Dominique by The Singing Nun?  Find out more about the singer and this one hit wonder and the life it led to.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-one-hit-wonders-the-singing-nun-dominique/

This weekend I share two more posts from my archives, featuring Paul Andruss with Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.

picture29

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-rosabelle-b-e-l-i-e-v-e-by-paul-andruss/

Doyle and Houdini (library picture)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-doyle-and-houdini-the-dream-team-by-paul-andruss/

Jacquie Biggar shares her first camping experience which seems to have been one shared by many….would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of the tent!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-camping-woes-by-jacquie-biggar/

Robbie Cheadle with some Flash Fiction…and it is all about the lavender.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-flash-fiction-lavender-not-forever-by-robbie-cheadle/

Financial expert Sharon Marchisello shares some of the ways to prevent being taken for a ride.. literally in New York..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-money-navigating-new-york-by-sharon-marchisello/

Fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach shares the miracle and importance of reading with grandchildren…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-miracle-of-reading-by-d-wallace-peach/

In Miriam Hurdle’s first post I shared her responses to a challenge that asked specific questions about life… such as ‘A piece of clothing from your younger childhood you still remember?’

Miriam_0001 (2)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-share-your-world-by-miriam-hurdle/

Beetley Pete.. Pete Johnson with a thought provoking memory of meeting a man blind from birth who explained how he perceived images we take so much for granted.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-thinking-aloud-blindness-by-beetley-pete/

Debby Gies shares the stunning photos of her grandmother who competed in the Miss Toronto 1926 pageant, and also other photos that show that the good looks run in the family.

Miss Toronto beauty pageant 1926

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-miss-toronto-1926-my-grandmother-by-d-g-kaye/

The Story Reading Ape.. Chris Graham is well known for his guest posts and in this series I am sharing four from his archives.. this week his guest is Michelle Clements James who puts forward the perspective of a reader.. important for all writers to understand.. after all, readers are our customers.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-story-reading-ape-with-his-guest-michelle-clements-james/

Darlene Foster poses the question… Are blogging friends real friends? and there was a lot of discussion on the matter.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-are-blogging-friends-real-friends-by-darlene-foster/

A lovely poem on the joy of sunshine from Christine Campbell.. certainly one I can endorse.. we so little of of it, it is like gold around here!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-summer-sunshine-by-christine-campbell/

Fantasy author Charles E. Yallowitz on the subject of standing out from the crowd.. and being labeled ‘odd’.. and why there is no ‘normal’ to be judged by. Something to think about…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-whats-wrong-with-being-odd-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

The second part of the linked Flash Fiction that reveals a family drama – The Fold by D.Avery

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-pot-luck-the-fold-part-two-by-d-avery/

Jane Risdon who has been in the music industry for many years, shares an audition in Hollywood that had its moments!! Part one here with more to follow.

 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-auditions-part-one-snore-poison-so-ill-know-it-by-jane-risdon/

Mary Smith takes us on a trip to visit some sacred crocodiles.. fascinating history.. watch your fingers now!

IMG_0008 (Small)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluckmary-smiths-place-karachi-crocodiles/

New book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-desolation-bluff-by-toni-pike/

Author Update – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-lizzie-chantree-and-sheila-williams/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-robbie-cheadle-leslie-tate-peter-weisz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-3/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-4/

Thank you very much for your ongoing support and I hope you will pop in again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Guest Writer – D.G. Kaye – What I did Yesterday — Besides Having a #Colonoscopy


D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies has updated her post from 2015 on her experience with a colonoscopy which was repeated last week. It is one of those things that people are reluctant to talk about, but needs to be demystified and discussed.

 

What I did Yesterday — Besides Having a #Colonoscopy by D.G. Kaye

As I was digging through some older posts, I came across this one I wrote 4 years ago after a colonoscopy and before another one was to come, and I’ve had a few more since that time.

Although this post is quite humorous in parts, colonoscopy is serious business. We all dread them, and if you’re anything like me, worse than the actual procedure is the poison prep we have to drink the day prior to the test. In this post I share some of the humorous findings I came across while searching out alternative methods to getting the guck down, but no matter how you slice it, a beast is still a beast, even with lipstick.

Since the time of this posting, I have managed to find the potion of lesser evil that actually works for me, but everyone’s system is different so what works for some may not be as effective for others. Just remember, having a colonoscopy can literally save your life. So many people who have them have had polyps found and removed in routine checks which could ultimately have led to colon cancer left unchecked. So put on your big girl/boy pants, choose your potion and do yourself and your families a favor and get yourselves checked!

Colonoscopy – An ugly word, with fearful connotations.

Yesterday I went for my overdue colonoscopy appointment. When I say overdue, I mean that it’s been three and a half years since my last one, and consequently, that was my first one.

After having my first one and enduring the awful, but not most awful of all the preps, I was lectured then by the gastroenterologist because I didn’t take the prep she instructed me to take, and my colon wasn’t 100% clear. Although, she had told me it was clear enough to see, and that I was fine. I was elated to hear the good news. But she also informed me that because I have Crohn’s disease, I should be having an annual colonoscopy.

I pleaded my case to her that my Crohn’s is holistically under control, I eat a healthy diet, and being that I had a clean bill of health from her, could she please let me do it every three years. Thankfully I won my plea, and she conceded.

So last fall, I was to have my three-year scope, but life was happening for me in full force, one crisis led to another, and the winter had passed in 2015. My doctor’s referral for this scope was to end by May, so I booked the appointment, and yesterday was the day.

Now, let me preface this by saying, the procedure itself is really no big deal, honestly! I mean, I go to this lovely digestive clinic where everyone is treated so well by lovely nurses, they put you in what looks like a small hospital ward, each with his own private curtain and gurney, and eventually you are wheeled into the small operating room, asked to verify some questions we previously filled out on the forms, and wham, we’re put under with anaesthetic. Just the way I like it!

But heaven help us all, that preparation the day before to cleanse the colon is the most vile, disgusting, nauseating, ass-burning day to endure. (I probably could have used more adjectives here!)

Getting back to the prep, after my first colonoscopy, I was reprimanded for taking something other than what was prescribed. The doctor didn’t feel that the prep I used (Citromag), was effective enough to empty the colon. I had researched something easier than what she had prescribed to ingest. All the preps are disgusting enough as is, and I am the sort of person who gags from a teaspoon of cough medicine. I also have a very slow digestive transit time, thus I get full very quickly, food and liquids hang around my upper stomach much longer than the average person’s.

The difference between taking Citromag and the many other formulas, is that you only have to drink two – 300 ml. bottles of gross stuff, chased down intermittently with 64 ounces of water throughout the day. This is a cakewalk compared to drinking 4 LITRES of other gross stuff mixed in with the water!

Now I cannot even conceive the thought of drinking 16 GLASSES of liquid in a few hours span, even if it were my favourite drink, let alone with the vile taste and consistency. So, once again, I drank the Citromag and gagged from the briney/sugary mixture of fake lemonade, but held it down.

It took almost 5 HOURS until anything started to happen, other than the huge hard feeling and distention of my stomach, and nausea. Even after the rumbling urges came, they weren’t of much substance other than many Niagara Falls- like liquid showers. I was bloated, tired, starving — I was sure this prep was not going to be effective. I wasn’t wrong!

After I had the procedure done, and the doctor called me in for consult, I was informed that I wasn’t properly cleaned out, and I had to admit my crime of not taking her prescribed method of choice. The doctor then added that from the parts she could see through, she had found, removed, and sent for biopsy, two polyps. Just as I was processing the fears that came attached to this news, she then added that I was to come back in 2 MONTHS to do it all over again to be sure there was nothing else she missed. I immediately froze in fear. I knew my charade of switching preps was no longer effective for my lazy colon, and I didn’t have three years to put it on the back burner.

I began to panic with worry about my biopsy results, and what on earth was I going to have to drink, worse than what I had already ingested.

I returned home around noon and made myself a piece of toast and an egg. Surprisingly, after 36 hours without food and starving, I no longer felt hungry. My husband went back to work and I got on the computer to catch up with emails and intentions of doing revisions on my next book. But the looming fear within me about having another colonoscopy wouldn’t allow me to concentrate on anything other than searching for a potion that I could possibly tolerate for ROUND 2.

I checked my emails then went directly to Google. I typed in numerous search words with the names of each prep available here in Canada and the U.S. And then I went on forums to read about other people’s experiences with different potions, and read about their stories and success rates. I was obsessed and engulfed in the stories and blogs I read. There were moments I laughed so hard at some descriptions, and I could barely breathe as I pictured them.

Many offered tips and tricks about how to get through the dreaded prep process. The most repetitive information I read was to stay close to the loo, (I know that) have baby wipes handy to ease the soreness down below from the acidic explosions, and to use baby zinc cream to comfort and protect the delicate area below from the sting. But when I read about some various methods used to ingest the vile and copious amounts of liquid, I couldn’t stop laughing.

One girl advised to cover your nose with a Bounce dryer sheet as you gulped, to avoid the smell, which enhances the flavor. Many advised to drink from a straw and to make sure it’s placed at the back of the tongue to avoid the front palate where most of the taste buds are located. Others had their own rendition of avoiding to taste, admitting there was no way to fully mask it. But the most hysterical description I read was from a boy who was trying to describe what his prep tasted like. He said, “Imagine a hockey team’s socks soaking in a tub overnight, and then drinking the water.” I gagged at reading it, as well as doubled over in laughter. Another said that he sat on the throne so long that his foot fell asleep and he didn’t know it until he got up and his foot turned over and he sprained his ankle.

I processed so much information, that before I knew it, I had been sitting at the computer for 6 HOURS! It was 8PM and I had yet to eat dinner. My work day had vanished while it was spent investigating ways I could get through the next scope.

It really is a procedure feared by the masses. The actual procedure is nothing, like I mentioned, but that prep day is the horrific part that keeps people from having the procedure done.

Yes I’m nerved out about doing a repeat and then having scopes annually after, but I have to do it. These polyps they find are a precursor to colon cancer. And after losing a grandfather to colon cancer, an aunt to pancreatic cancer, a cousin to colon cancer (from Crohn’s disease), and another aunt on her way now to the next world from stomach cancer, I have no choice.

I know I had a hard enough time taking the Citromag and litres of fresh water. I don’t know how I’ll be able to chug 4 LITRES of mixed prep with my gag reflex, but I know I have to start summoning up my courage NOW.

Addendum: This article was written in 2015. Since the writing of this article I have endured another few colonoscopies. I’m happy to report that my new choice of weapon that works is Miralax, a clear crystal, tasteless, odorless powder I mix in with gatorade, totally palatable and effective.

Do you have any helpful tips or experience you’d like to share?

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Twenty Years After I Do.

Aug 27, 2018 Janice Spina rated it it was amazing   A Loving Reflection of Twenty Years of Marriage!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Twenty Years: After “I Do”. It was a heartfelt journey through the author’s life with her devoted and loving husband who is much older than she. I laughed along with her and shed tears of sorrow when she did.

D.G. Kaye expressed herself in endearing terms when she spoke of her husband and their wonderful life together. She wrote with deep expressions of angst over serious health issues they both experienced and then joy over happy times with much shared laughter.

Marriage is a difficult union as anyone who has been married knows. This book takes the reader down this path to discover the true meaning of soul mates and undying love from one another. D.G. shares the beauty of each day that she and her husband, Gordon, have had together and continue to have even in adversity. She displays a remarkable wit in tough times and a brilliant resilience to go on no matter what she must face.

This book is a must read for all who have been married whether for a short time or a longer time. All couples face similar situations and must make tough decisions in their lives together. The author has shown how she has had to deal with serious health issues and come out stronger and more persistent to make the best of every day she and her husband have left together. For isn’t that part of our marriage vows – to love each other in sickness and health till death do us part?

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

My thanks to Debby for sharing this experience and demonstrating that humour can go a long way to making daunting medical procedures bearable.. along with Miralax……..

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Constantine the Great, a horde of talented authors, canine petty thiefs and some jokes


Welcome to this week’s round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed.

After the glorious Easter weather the storm fronts came racing in and I am very grateful that the small plants that went into the pots last weekend have survived and thrived. I am amazed as they had such shallow roots and yet most have managed to also flower despite the high winds and torrential rain. Miracles really.

I was in Gorey today to get some food shopping done and on the way into town is a large roundabout which has recently be revamped by its sponsor. They had planted about five mature conifers about 5 foot tall in a circle and whilst my little petunias weathered the storm and bloomed… three of these conifers are now on their sides. Obviously not planted deep enough but a lesson on how the mighty fall and the meek might just inherit the earth.

I am waxing lyrical now so had better get on with business. 

The first thing I want to share is the new series of Posts from Your Archives and if you missed the post this morning here are the details.

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 400 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history and the most recent series was on any aspect about family.

Many of the posts were written at the start of a blogger’s experience and perhaps there were not as many followers at the time. Such a shame not to re-share all the hard work that went into the post in the first place.

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 40,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts.

So what is different about this series?

This time, rather than you send me four links to posts from your archives, all I need you to do is give me permission to dive in myself and find four posts to share here on Smorgasbord.

Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random across a number of subjects from the time you began blogging up to the present day.

If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.

Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.

Here are a few examples so you can see how a post will appear.

Darlene Foster shares the devastation caused by wildfires that destroyed old family homesteads in Canada.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-what-was-lost-in-the-fire-by-darlene-foster/

Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful post about her wedding.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-contrasting-colours-a-poem-for-my-wedding-anniversary-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sue Vincent shares the wonderful dogs who have been part of her life since childhood and today.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-a-family-of-dogs-by-sue-vincent/

So do you trust me enough to delve into your archives and select some posts to share here on Smorgasbord?

All I need is your name in the comments here or in the original post and I will do the rest.

Time to share the posts from the week…slightly fewer than usual as I posted last week’s round up on Monday.

I thought over the weekend I would share a two part series from Paul Andruss posted originally in November 2017…As with any legend, there is usually some variations on the origins and plenty of embellishments by later historians, that need to be resolved. Paul takes on the task and unravels the stories to reveal the probable truth behind Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor.. and his mother Helena.

Part  One

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-thirteenth-apostle-and-his-mum-by-paul-andruss/

Part Two

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-thirteenth-apostle-constantine-the-great-part-two-by-paul-andruss/

They were not really the good old days, especially for women and children, particularly the babies. Robbie Cheadle shares the truly terrible tale of Amelia Dyer…

Amelia Dyer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-baby-farming-in-the-late-victorian-era-britain-and-amelia-dyer-by-robbie-cheadle/

Susanne Swanson turned her blog over to her cat Benji who shared an experience with a mouse…

20161023_19371322

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-the-mouse-had-no-chance-by-susanne-swanson/

Personal Stuff

This week on The R’s of Life… Reason.. have we lost all of us, or does our education system let millions down by not providing them with the tools to make informed decisions.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/smorgasbord-something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-the-modern-world-reason-by-sally-cronin/

This week our friend’s cat goes missing and I grow tomatoes…Houston 1986

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-houston-april-1986-lost-cats-and-tomatoes/

My response to This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills is about ‘exhaustion‘… Tramp’s Heartbreak…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-tramps-heartbreak-by-sally-cronin/

Special Feature – the final contributors to Understanding An Anthology of True and Significant life events.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/smorgasbord-special-feature-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-contributors-clive-pilcher-abbie-johnson-taylor-stevie-turner-and-beem-weeks/

New Book on the Shelves.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-devil-in-the-wind-voices-from-the-2009-black-saturday-bushfires-poetry-anthology-book-2by-frank-prem/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-crime-thriller-irmas-endgame-by-paulette-mahurin/

Author Update #Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-jack-eason-jack-eason-m-j-mallon-bette-a-stevens-and-olga-nunez-miret/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-hugh-w-roberts-judith-barrow-and-linda-g-hill/

The truth is you cannot have your cake and eat it and lose weight.  If you want to enjoy a varied and healthy weight loss you need to get moving.. even if it is a walk around the block each day… and flexibility is key.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/27/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-getting-moving-and-shifting-the-pounds-by-sally-cronin/

There are a great many myths about food and one of those foods is salt. The fact is we are taking in far too much sodium in industrially produced foods, 75%… and not enough of the natural salt that we need.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-health-column-food-myths-do-you-have-enough-salt-in-your-diet-overweight-sugar-cravings/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-8/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-9/

Thank you very much for dropping by and your support…have a great week. Hope to see you here again soon…thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Joy Lennick – A Tribute to my dear Mama/Mum


In this post from Joy Lennick, she shares the life and cherished memories of her mother.. born in Wales in 1906, who clearly passed on resoluteness, adaptability, love of hard work and creativity to her daughter. A wonderful tribute.

A tribute to my dear Mama/Mum by Joy Lennick

Until I went to school aged five, I called my mother: Lila – named after a Fairy Queen seen in a play! – Elizabeth – mama. It was my God-mother, Aunt Doris,’ suggestion as she had grandiose ideas as to my up-bringing and saw me as a little lady of breeding who would doubtless learn to play the piano beautifully, knit Fair-Isle sweaters, blind-folded… embroider as if to the manor born, and POSSIBLY end up marrying someone higher up the ladder (and I don’t mean a window-cleaner.) As it transpired, while I may have mastered Chopsticks, sewed a fairly neat hem, and even made a peg-bag, I’m afraid I disappointed in all other areas. And, because a strange, deranged little man with a moustache wanted to dominate the world and promote a “Master Race,” I didn’t attend the Convent School my aunt had mapped out for me. Meanwhile, I enrolled at the local, Dagenham village school, before being whisked away to live on a Welsh mountain when war was declared in the September of 1939. Then, realising I just belonged to the hoi poloi, I thereafter called my mother mum.

The Mansfields (my paternal relatives) thought they were a cut above: there was Royal Doulton china and crystal cut-glass in the display cabinet and a framed picture of Churchill on the wall to prove it!! The ladies of the family also bought glossy periodicals which “the toffs” purchased; and shopped in the very best West End stores whenever possible. Oh, and both Dad’s sisters owned FUR COATS. And wore Perfume by COTY…But I mustn’t give the wrong impression as, with the exception of, later (one of their number), they were consistently kind, caring, charitable and generous. But quickly back to Mum…

So, what was she like, my pretty, loving mum? Imagine a blue-skied and sunshiny day, with a soft breeze blowing and birds wheeling in the sky… That was my mum. She epitomized Spring and was blessed with a sunny, happy personality. (On later reading Laurie Lee’s book “Cider with Rosie,” mum sounded like his quirky mother as their sense of fun were similar!) She was a perfect foil for Dad’s no-nonsense, a spade is a spade, sterner make-up, although he had an earthy sense of humour and was as reliable as the clichéd Rock of Gibraltar. Around five feet two inches, with a slender figure, mum belied an inner strength which repeatedly revealed itself.

Born in 1906, she lived to experience the Great Depression in South Wales and helped look after her two younger sisters. Grandad said she had ‘Dark brown hair like fine-spun sugar…’ A brick-layer and later, shop-keeper, he may have been, but he was a gentleman and charmed the ladies. Mum had left school at fourteen and worked selling ribbons and cottons in the market and in her parents’ greengrocer’s shop/and on a pony and trap serving customers living in the mountains. Too soon, everything was ‘on the slate, please, mun’ because of The Great Depression, and money was fast running out. Aged seventeen, mum begged to go to London to work but Grandma was convinced it was worse than Gomorrah:*

‘Duw duw, you could be murdered or worse.’ she cried. But, when feeding her family became critical, Grandma relented. Mum pointed her “winkle-pickers” in the East End of London’s direction and worked as a Nanny for the two children of talented Jewish tailors in Stepney.

Soon Lila was not only a Nanny, but taught how to cook Jewish dishes and do intricate beading work. Linking up with her best friend, Edna, the pair went dancing on their one day off and, as she said ‘The streets weren’t really paved with gold,’ as promised…but the lights were brighter and you could have ‘six-penny-worth of fun’ and watch American pictures. too.

She saved hard and soon had the requisite ten pounds to add to her mother’s hard saved purse. Her family: Mam, Dad and three siblings, caught the train to Dagenham Dock station with packed suitcases and little else and were given a new Council house in Becontree, which her enamoured mother announced, was ‘Like a miniature Buckingham Palace!.’ Mum said that was pushing it a bit… But it had a new roof which didn’t leak and a bathroom.downstairs, three bedrooms up, and a proper garden at the back. ‘Not like that old slum in Dowlais,.’ Grandma was heard to say.

Leaving the Soloman’s employ with regret, Mum then became a cinema usherette, also working part-time in the building’s café with her sister Peggy. She found life fun as she loved to dance and, being pretty, caught the eye of many a would-be suitor. One in particular pursued her and they became engaged, but he spent too much time on his motor-bike and Mum wasn’t cut out to play second fiddle to a bike! The move couldn’t have been luckier for another dancer and natty dresser (first in his crowd to wear plus-fours. it is said… ) called Charles (Charlie) who quickly stepped into the breach. He and Lila won a few prizes for their prowess on the dance floor – including “The Black.Bottom’”- of the Cross Keys public house in old Dagenham and were soon seriously courting.

Eager to show off his new girl-friend to his family, Charles invited her to tea, much to the delight of his father, also Charles: a well-heeled Freemason, who had a penchant for pretty faces… The females in the family, however, on being introduced to an uneducated girl “from the Welsh valleys” almost had them reaching for their smelling salts… but Lila was polite, friendly and possessed a winning smile and they gradually accepted the inevitable. Charles was smitten, but found it difficult to ‘write my own life script’ as he later discovered. The happy pair were married in a – horror of horrors – Registry office, while the Mansfields were staunch Catholics, a fact the Father of the local church found difficult to comprehend and led to harsh words being exchanged. Although to keep the Mansfields’ happy, when I arrived on the scene, I was Christened by a Canon, no less. (Dad said ‘She should have been fired from one!’ when I decapitated his row of red: soldier erect tulips, aged two.) After the birth of my second brother, the Priest visited our house and tried to persuade Mum to marry “in the church,” but went beyond the pale when he suggested all three of us children were illegitimate, and was quickly shown the door.

Like most working-class women then, mum was familiar with the Monday-wash-boiler, the scrubbing board and the outside mangle. Although we had indoor plumbing, we had no central heating until the mid/late 50’s – and only had a gas-fire for warmth on in the bedroom if we were very ill (once with measles…) The stove in our tiny kitchen was much cosseted…as was the rare fire in the lounge fireplace. And the telephone, also installed in the 50’s, was almost revered, as was the “new-fangled” TV set.

Meanwhile, mum – by then a trained hairdresser – crimped and cut hair to help expenses go further, cooked delicious meals for the five of us and was everything a good mum should be. Then – wouldn’t you know – the .lunatic little man mentioned above, started strutting his stuff and war – an incomprehensible state to us children – was declared. When rationing was introduced, Mum made all sorts of filling dishes, using more potatoes and vegetables from our garden, bread puddings and ‘apples in blankets’ (pastry) to fill our corners…she also made sure we had concentrated orange juice, cod-liver oil (ugh!) and Virol to keep us healthy, as –in due course – did dear aunt Sal.

Dad, having been an Air Force Cadet at the end of World War 1, and in love with aeroplanes, re-joined the Air Force and was one of the first wave of airmen to be called up for duty. After hastily digging a huge hole in our pristine, green lawn, he erected an outdoor air-raid shelter, as instructed, and then accompanied us three children and mum to South Wales. We were to stay in the relative safety of her cousin Sarah Jones’– Aunt Sal to us – tall, thin house, set into the side of Mountain Hare, just above Merthyr Tydfil. It didn’t have all mod.cons. like ours, but I was enchanted with gaslight and candlelight…not so with the outside “lav,” with squares of the Merthyr Express on which to wipe ones bottom!

Mum stayed on awhile, but dad had to join his unit in France. Having entrusted brother Bryan to the loving care of another aunt in Ebbw Vale as Aunt Sal couldn’t cope with three children due to a badly ulcerated leg, mum left to stay with her mother and do “war work.” As mentioned above, Mum wasn’t very tall and quite slender, and we were surprised when next we saw her, as she had developed muscles…after working on a moving assembly belt of Army lorries at Ford’s Motors. She later moved to another company, where she was taught welding and became even stronger. Fortunately, during the first part of the war, it was fairly quiet, so we were transported back and forth a few times, especially as dad was given leave from France before things hotted up.

Thereafter, Dagenham, and more specifically: our house became a dangerous place to live in as it was near the River Thames, the Ford Motor works, churning out war machines, a huge drug factory and railway – all likely targets for the German planes. A land-mine fell at the end of our street and demolished many houses and killed several people, but our house was only marginally damaged. In all, we were evacuated three times: to Merthyr, Neath and – with my secondary school, to Derbyshire. Towards the end of the war, dad was stationed near enough to visit our home and mum gave birth to my third brother, Royce (despìte being warned about the aphrodisiac quality of eels to which he was partial). As mum was unwell, the doctor advised her to stay somewhere quieter, and the most generous family, who lived in Neath, Wales – and had two children of their own – took the five of us in, as aunt Sal was ill.

You can imagine our sheer joy when peace was declared and we were all able to return to our own home: shaken and stirred but still intact, and dad was, at last, demobbed.
During our absence, we soon discovered, Mum had re-decorated several rooms herself. There was a shortage of wallpaper, so she had “stippled” the walls with a design in a contrasting colour and I spent many odd times imagining all sorts of animals and magical “objects” floating up to the ceilings…It seemed, Mum was able to tackle most things, and a great advocate of “make do and mend.” She was always darning socks, turning shirt collars and bedsheets, and aware of the hard times, often said “That will do…” if an item of clothing had a vestige of life left.

A keen dancer herself, she encouraged me when I reached my teens and joined the youth club. Mum and her father both won prizes for dancing and she played a mean piano, I recall her pounding the ivories in our Welsh centre during her visits. “Amapola,” “The Seigfried Line” and various popular tunes and songs were requested during her time with us, and she urged me to take ballet and tap lessons, which I adored.

As far as “lessons subtly learned” while under my parents roof were concerned, Mum in particular emphasized that I should ‘show willing and be helpful to others’as she did…and, while sex was never actually discussed….whenever I went out with a boy, she always told me to ‘be good now!’which I interpreted as ‘keep your legs together,’ which I dutifully did, much to their annoyance.

Every week, Mum and I went to the local cinema to see the latest British or American film and lapped up all the glamour and fantasy and she loved reading “Nell’s Books on Wheels” delivered locally every week She was particularly fond of romances and favoured medical tales. Mum had a knack of bringing sunshine into the house with some of her embroidered tales of people she worked with and even when it rained for a few days, managed to lift our spirits. Fortunately, both my parents were able to enjoy several holidays abroad as we children grew older, and still managed to impress on the dance floor!

As time wore on, and after I married, mum took advanced cooking courses and learned “Silver Service Waitressing,”securing an excellent post in the directors’ canteen of a large company nearby: May & Bakers and worked there for several years. When she retired, she hated it, so arranged wedding functions and 2lst birthday celebrations and the like, with the able assistance of one of my sisters-in-law, Doreen; and made beautiful, iced celebration cakes. She also did flower arranging and made bridal bouquets, buttonholes and the like…(and even won prizes for her arrangements at the local Town Show.)

When my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding, as my husband and I were then running a hotel, we were able to entertain them with family and friends, for a fun weekend. It was so good to be able to make a fuss of them for a change! Sadly, as dad approached eighty, his lungs started letting him down – he was a heavy smoker when young and in the war, apart from working for so many years on the river. But he made it to eighty-three. Mum was, naturally, at first desolate at his passing, as were we. But we sold her house for her and bought her another, smaller one, just around the corner to ours.

Her hands were rarely still thereafter. She made delicious petit fours and boxed them up as gifts at Christmas time, still made large and small assorted cakes, and embroidered many pictures which my husband framed for her. She also knitted toys, covered coat-hangers and sewed lavender bags. We were able to take mum and a friend on two continental holidays – which she loved, and we spent many happy hours together. She so enjoyed being in the company of our three sons and her other grandchildren, was alert and keenly interested in them and what was happening in the outside world. She only went on one “Old people’s outings” as she termed them (aged eighty) but said: ‘I shan’t go with them again…Some of them clicked their teeth and talked about their operations all the time’

It was tragically ironic that mum – apart from a worn heart – and comparatively healthy for her age, was struck by an unlicensed car a few inches from a kerb, while out visiting a relative,
suffered a broken hip and lapsed into an unconscious state for six, long weeks before dying.

It was the most cruel blow of my life and I was bereft, but I still carry her treasured memory in my heart, as I will until I fall off my own perch. Mum loved all us four children unconditionally and, despite our faults, thought us “the bee’s knees…” and, as we thought she was too, you can’t ask for more than that. Can you?

*Gomorrah: A House of ill repute in the bible.

©Joy Lennick

What a fascinating story and my thanks to Joy as always for her entertaining storytelling…

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point. The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:

“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
is OK.
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

If you would like to become a regular contributor with new or posts that you have already published on your own blog then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com. It is an opportunity to promote your blog and books if you an author and to reach a different audience.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Joy Lennick and Sweet Pea Lodge #Humour


This week Joy Lennick shares some shenanigans from her visits to an old people’s home where life was celebrated as much as possible, and sometimes romance overcame the sensibilities…

Sweet Pea Lodge by Joy Lennick

Having joined a ‘Help the Community’ scheme initiated by the local Branford Council, I had changed my usual visiting day to the present one to help celebrate resident Kitty’s birthday, and upon arrival at the ‘House,’ could hear raised voices and singing coming from the lounge….

“Father had a donkey;
stuck it in the yard.
One summer’s day it was snowing effing hard…”

sang Kitty in full throttle, before ‘Matron’ (as I privately nicknamed her) – in fact the head carer – intervened. Her name is Veronica, but I always think and refer to her as Matron as she has a ‘no-nonsense-take-no-prisoners’ persona which masks a kind heart.

“Really, Kitty!” she said, tutting, “ Control yourself…”

Kitty, aged 90 years old on that very day: a tiny, jolly lady with an earthy sense of humour which even Alzheimer’s – somehow or other – hadn’t completely destroyed, had no intention of controlling herself…. I gave her a birthday card and said two of the most over-worked words ever, while giving her a hug. She may have been 90, but Kitty had magically retained or refashioned ‘a little girl’ mentality, and swished the skirt of her favourite cotton dress like a ten-year-old. The effects of her illness were still evident, but her lively personality shone through.

“Is this for me?” she asked, tearing open the envelope. The card was a funny one intended to make her laugh. She duly obliged.

“Yes,” I answered, “What does it feel like to be ninety, Kit?”

“I’m not!” she refuted hotly, ‘I’m seventy!’ Well, whatever age she thought she was, she had worn well and had one of those soft pink and white complexions which now and then endure the ravages of time.

“By the way, I like your hair do!” I said to placate her. She didn’t answer, but patted her newly permed grey curls with a satisfied smirk.

“Tea and cake in the dining room soon, Kitty!” announced Matron. Another voice belonging to a friend piped up: “Goobedly dando!” she said and grinned. A newish visitor to these ladies, I hadn’t met Margaret before that day. Matron had just introduced us. “Bludog verly…” she replied. I had to stop the tears from spilling as she was such a sweet person, quite oblivious of her dysfunctional state. That could be me in the future, I thought…

Before I continue, I must tell you where this worthy ‘establishment’ is sited…

Starting with its name, ‘Sweet Pea Lodge’ is, on consideration, an unfortunate epithet for the sprawling, not unattractive, brick built building, as it houses a motley collection of mature folk of both sexes (mostly female), some of whom are – how can I put it? – well, slightly (and sometimes more so) incontinent.

Someone once wrote on a London wall ‘Harwich for the continent and Frinton for the incontinent,’ but I mustn’t labour the point… I am not being indelicate by pointing this out, as it is a fact of life for some of us unluckier souls. Cans of lavender spray, and bowls of carefully placed pot pourri are not uncommon sights in Sweet Pea Lodge. (The latter placed higher up in case they are eaten by the residents!)

This particular ‘Home for the Elderly & Infirm,’ is situated on the outskirts of Branford in Essex and squats on one corner of an average-sized park, generously planted with various trees and plants, providing a ‘child friendly’ area with swings, slides and so on. (The park, that is!) The building is well thought-out, with airy, private rooms containing a sink unit: bathrooms being separate. Both lounge and dining room have been carefully ‘colour co-ordinated’ and are bright and cheerful. Outside, there is a large patio area with tables and chairs, where the residents are encouraged to take the air, weather permitting. Architects periodically receive a lot of sometimes deserved flak, but whoever designed this place earned a thumbs up.

Branford has a fascinating history for, in the distant past, at least two Kings, with their Queens and retinue regularly visited nearby Havering-atte-Bower, situated a few miles east of the town, during the summer months to escape the steaming London streets, which literally stank to high heaven. Havering-atte-Bower and the surrounding countryside – still lush in parts – and now dotted with attractive, often detached houses and bungalows, was relished for its cleaner air; and trips to the perfumery (vital in those days among the rich); the milliners; glove and parasol-makers; dress.- making and leather-goods shops in Branford – all treats for the royal entourage.

The shopping centre then consisted of two rows of stores facing each other over a cobbled square. Now, of course, hundreds of years later, Branford presents a somewhat different face to the new visitor. Glass and steel edifices pronounce the ‘new religion” (according to some): shopping! Public houses – some of which have out-witted time – stand cheek to cheek with more modern large and small stores, most of which seem to do a fair trade, despite the sad economic situation which prevails today; although ‘Charity’ shops are growing apace. But I digress…Back to Sweet Pea Lodge.

“Come along Kitty! We have lit your candles. You have to blow them out.” (nine to represent the decades) said Matron. En masse, our group shuffled into the dining-room.

Kitty clapped her hands and dutifully blew on the candles: several times… The cake was then cut and tea poured. All very civilized until Maud Canter: a contrarily quiet and moody lady who wielded a walking stick one had to keep clear of… let out a very loud fart which convulsed Kitty (having a lavatorial sense of humour) into enthusiastic guffaws. Matron tried pretending that everything was quite normal, but Kitty said “Phew – that was a corker!” to Maud, who, fortunately, was hard of hearing as well as windy. I passed around the cups of tea and made as sensible conversation as could be understood.

With mouths busy, all became quiet in the pleasantly furnished and decorated dining room until Annie, a whey-faced lady who wore a continual frown – Kitty’s best friend – let out a cry.

“Oh dear,” she said, “I nearly forgot Albert’s dinner….” And she disappeared into her room nearby, reappearing a few moments later, wringing her hands (a constant action). “Someone’s stolen the gas stove!” and she started to weep until comforted by Sally, one of the carers. Poor Albert (who choked on a fishbone in 1990) was soon forgotten.

“Shall we go for a walk, Kit?” asked Annie, brightening. And so, off they set, strolling about twenty paces down the corridor, before returning and repeating the process about four times, until they tired. Kitty reopened the card I gave her – having tucked it back into the envelope – and exclaimed in great excitement.

“Oh, someone’s sent me a birthday card!” I was standing nearest to her.

“Yes, I did,” I said quietly. That innocuous card was opened, tucked away; walks taken and then the envelope re-opened and the card re-admired no less than four times during my time there.

On another visit, it was decided that we were to investigate the ‘Art’ world… The ladies seemed quite excited when given their ‘Gainsborough’ painting-by-numbers pictures and crayons. Water colours had been banned after Matron: oblivious of the art class then taking place – having just arrived back from a trip away – found Annie with her arm covered in blood-red paint, mistakenly thinking she had injured herself!

Kitty set to with vigour – completely ignoring her picture. The stainless steel table surround soon resembled a purple snake and she took great delight in criss-crossing the table legs with yellow crayon. Fearing the nearby wall would be a perfect victim for her busy arm, I suggested poetry reading. Annie completely ignored me, so wrapped up was she on completing her picture. Picasso who? I thought…Torn, and a quarter-painted efforts, were eventually gathered up and exclaimed over.

“Have you ever heard of Gainsborough?” I stupidly asked Margaret, mistaking her for someone else.

At least she shook her head, instead of confusing my ears. “Would you like me to read you one of my funny poems?” I then asked the five ladies: anxious and fidgeting before me. Three nodded; the others were who knew where. Oh well, here goes, I thought…

I enunciated my words slowly and loudly: THIS POEM IS CALLED ‘SOLE MATES’ – S O L E, I spelled out, pointing to my feet. At least Kitty nodded. I cleared my throat.
I MUST TELL YOU OF A ROMANCE
THAT’S SADLY ON THE ROCKS
NOT BETWEEN THE SEXES (Kitty giggled at the word sexes)
BUT BETWEEN SOME CLASSY SOCKS… (I quickly picked up on several frowns on several foreheads) but carried on…
IT STARTED UP LAST CHRISTMAS DAY (“Ah Christmas” said Annie with a smile, before retreating behind her invisible wall.) I continued, nervously…
WHEN AUNT LOUISE ARRIVED TO STAY.
SHE PUT A BOX BENEATH THE TREE
CONTAINING LOVERS, HE AND ME…

Well the last bit completely flummoxed them – I could imagine their poor, befuddled brain-boxes trying to work out who the two lovers were and what they were doing in a box. So I stopped and instead started reciting: I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD.

Amazingly, one of my audience, a lady called Ruby, recited the first line with me and I found that quite touching. She couldn’t remember any more and I only read one verse, deciding that it would be less of a strain on them and me… if we had a sing-song instead.

Carer Sally offered to play the piano, and the four ladies left – Margaret had wandered off – started singing with gusto. ‘Strangers in the Night… DA DA DA DA DA…’ was soon abandoned and we sang ‘The Lambeth Walk’ instead. Both Annie and Kitty knew nearly all the words to that one, with Kitty performing a lively “Oi!” at the end.

Easter arrived, and with it, an announcement that we were to have “An Easter bonnet decorating competition.” said Matron. Sally brought along several straw hats and lots of ribbons, flowers, feathers and fluffy chicks, etc., Four of the five ladies present – Maud Canter having refused to join in – became as engrossed as they could be in the job at hand. Sally, Matron and I assisted where necessary, but encouraged the ladies to do as much as they could themselves. Lots of tongues appeared between lots of lips, plus an expletive from Kitty’s corner “Bleedin’ ribbon..” she was heard to say, untangling it. After about an hour, Margaret’s hat – a veritable farm–yard, with different sized chicks in a nest perched precariously on the crown – was declared the winner. She was so delighted, she curtsied and danced around the room. Her memory may have completely disappeared, but she was the happiest woman present!

One week, an attractive, middle-aged male dancer/singer entertained the ladies and I was surprised to witness the difference in their behaviour. Most seemed to have lost their normal nervousness, and at ninety, Kitty became a sort of ‘mature coquette’ flirting, and – for a brief twirl – dancing, with the handsome stranger. Turning to me, she said “He’s a bit of all-right, isn’t he!” He was a real sport and quite charming. I mused on the fact that vestiges, while minute, of earlier engagements with the opposite sex, still remained!

The weeks and months rolled by, with the staff more than aware of the need to entertain their charges to keep up their morale. I’d be a liar if I said that it was easy…And then, just before Christmas, there were two more birthdays to celebrate. A certain ‘Marion’ – a comparative newcomer, about to have her sixtieth birthday – and a very gentle man, soon to be 79, whose name was Sam. His mind was intact but his physical needs were such that he could no longer live alone. My heart went out to him and we had lots of chats. Marion, on the other hand, while able to sustain a reasonable conversation, had a mental problem of sorts plus a disability. About twenty of us were gathered in the prettied lounge; resplendent with decorations and balloons (the lounge not us), and I was aware of another man they referred to as Stan, who had only arrived the day before. Like Marion, he was much younger than most of the other residents and I had yet to learn of his history. Little did I know what was destined to follow that innocent event…!

Having helped to see that everyone was suitably fed: (sausage rolls, dainty sandwiches and iced cakes) and watered (tea and fruit juice), I had a few words with an entertainer who was providing the music – this time a guitar! He played well and the atmosphere grew quite jolly, with Kitty out front prancing around as was her wont. However, she soon tired and plonked herself down next to Annie, who was looking lost, as she often was. I was humming in time to the music, when I noticed Kitty nudging Annie in the ribs, and moving her head in the direction of Marion and the newcomer Stan, who were seated opposite, next to each other. Seemingly oblivious of anyone else in the room, Marion was caressing Stan in a most suggestive way, while giggling like a school-girl.

He seemed to be lapping up the attention, until Matron noticed and intervened. Defusing the situation, she whisked Stan off to speak to someone else, leaving Marion looking crestfallen. I then checked my watch; the party wound down and it was time for me to go. I left Kitty and Annie still tutting over the amorous incident.

When I returned the following week, Sally took me to one side and told me what had happened after lights out on the party night…Shaking her head, she said:

“You’ll never guess what Veronica found when she checked on Marion last week!” I shrugged.

“Search me!”

“Stan and Marion ‘in flagrante’ on her bed, stark naked!”

“What! You’re joking!” I said, giggling, “Well at least some of them had an extra good time!”

When I approached Kitty and Annie to have a chat, they both said “Hello – are you new?” I didn’t feel particularly new; rather sad actually…and thought how they would have enjoyed the story of Marion and Stan. Both ladies were particularly quiet, when Kitty broke the silence and said:

“Did you hear about that bloke giving that new woman one last week?”

What an amazing organ is the brain!

I have fond memories of the ladies of Sweet Pea Lodge, and knowing how some gossip ‘leaks out,’ I bet many of the inhabitants of Branford had a good chuckle over the last, amorous, episode too!

©Joy Lennick

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for The Moon is Wearing a TuTu

This book comprises of a number of unusual poems that certainly force you to think deeply by Joy Lennick and a few poems, limericks and humorous one-liner jokes by Eric Lennick. There are also two, clever 50-word short stories by Jean Wilson.While the entire book was entertaining to read, I really enjoyed some of Joy’s wickedly humorous poems. She uses her words like little knives to cut into the body of a matter and expose its beating heart in a manner that is humorous but sharply to the point. The one that I related to the most was Think Outside the Box:

“I think out of the box
and why not?
(Are you wary your copybook you’ll blot?!)
I’m fed up with sheep
who seem half asleep
individuals they certainly are not.
To say “aab” not “baa”
is OK.
For a change why not try it today!
The fox you could fox –
confusing his “box,”
just say “aab” and get clean away.”

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.  mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Understanding family relationships by Norah Colvin


Delighted to welcome educator and storyteller Norah Colvin and some posts from her archives. In her first post from 2015, Norah who is a dedicated participant in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge, was reminded about a family mystery.

Understanding family relationships by Norah Colvin

At the Carrot Ranch this week Charli Mills is talking about cold cases and challenges writers to, In 99 words (no more, no less) write about an old mystery in the current time. Is it a discovery? Is it solved? Does it no longer matter, or does it impact innocent generations in between?

My thoughts immediately turned to a mystery that occurred in my family over one hundred years ago when the two-year old brother of my grandfather disappeared and was never seen again.

http://www.clker.com/clipart-10083.htmlhttp://www.clker.com/clipart-10083.html

Most families do have a skeleton or two in the closet. Not all families like it to be known. Many Australian families who can trace the arrival of ancestors back to before the end of convict transportation in 1868 can find a convict in their ancestry. I have two; one on each side of the family. Generally the reasons for transportation were rather minor so I am not too concerned about sharing that information. In fact, many Australians are delighted to find a convict in the past as it adds a little interest and colour to their family tree.

Children generally love to hear stories of their own lives and families. I have written about that before here. However young children probably have no need for or interest in delving as far back into family history as the three stories I have mentioned above. An interest in ancestors further back than living relatives (grandparents and great-grandparents) usually develops later, if at all.

A great place to start thinking about history in early childhood classrooms is sharing stories about the families of children in the class. Most classes in Australia are comprised of children from variety of backgrounds so sharing those stories helps to develop an appreciation for each other as well as knowledge of the world. I developed a unit called Getting to know you for use in early childhood classroom which aims to develop discussion about family histories.

But children can start learning about family relationships even earlier than that by discussions of who’s who in the family and explanations of the words and relationships; for example father/daughter; brother/sister; aunt/niece; grandmother/granddaughter.

Here is a picture of some pages of a book I made for Bec when she was just a little tot, just to give you the idea.

family book

Photo books of family members are much easier to make these days with digital photos and programs such as PowerPoint, as well as glossy books you can make and order online.

I am very proud of my two grandchildren, as any grandparent would be, and am pleased to say that they have a good understanding of who is in their family and their relationships to each other. It is a frequent topic of discussion. However I was very tickled when my three year old granddaughter proceeded to tell me, with some excitement, that her Daddy and her Aunty Bec were brother and sister in real life; in REAL life, she emphasized.

Regular readers of my blog may be familiar with a character I have been developing in response to Charli’s flash fiction challenges: Marnie. Her story is not real life but, sadly, aspects of it could be, for others. There was a period of about twenty years when, after escaping her dysfunctional family, Marnie was untraceable, living without any connection to her family and past, a mystery. It took authorities five years after both parents had passed to track her down with the ‘news’. This episode takes up there.

Found

The officers looked friendly enough but still she tried to hide the tremble in her soul and tremor in her voice behind the blankness of her stare.

She’d opened the door just a crack, as far as the chain would allow.

“Marnie Dobson?” they asked. She shook her head. She’d not . . . ; not since . . . ; no longer. She shook again.

They asked her to step outside. With no other option she reluctantly unlocked and emerged into the glare of daylight.

“Marnie Dobson,” one said, “We are here to inform you . . .”

©Norah Colvin

About Norah Colvin

I am an experienced and passionate educator. I teach. I write. I create.

I have spent almost all my life thinking and learning about thinking and learning.

I have been involved in many educational roles, both in and out of formal schooling situations, always combining my love of teaching and writing by creating original materials to support children’s learning.

Now as I step away from the classroom again, I embark upon my latest iteration: sharing my thoughts about education by challenging what exists while asking what could be; and inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through use of my original teaching materials which are now available on my website http://www.readilearn.com.au

Connect to Norah via her websites

Website: www.NorahColvin.com
Website: www.readilearn.com.au

And social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NorahColvin
Twitter 2:  https://twitter.com/readilearn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008724879054
Readilearn:  https://www.facebook.com/readilearnteachingresources/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/norah-colvin-14578777

My thanks to Norah for sharing this post and I think the family picture book is an excellent idea.  I have done our family history but perhaps I can do that for the younger generation with the photographs that I have scanned and saved from the 1900s.

If you would like to share some posts from your archives that deserve to be read again and by a different audience, as well as promote your work.. then this is how…

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

Previous participants are more than welcome

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin -November – Dallas Texas – L. T. Garvin


In her second guest post, L.T. Garvin shares a poem about an event in history that is forever etched in the memories of people around the world… It is one of those events that people ask “Where were you when….?”

November by L. T. Garvin.

Dallas, Texas
1989
From the bank building,
south we go
trudging the city sidewalks
It’s lunchtime
high noon
the smell of barbecue
piques interest
of the business bunch
white shirts, ties
tweed skirts, navy slacks
we go
Willa May’s Rib Haus
where meat, sauce and all
the trimmings
are served on the line
served with a side of Blues
and there we find
mounds of potato salad
golden, creamy, tangy
southern cooked garlic green beans
black eyed peas
seasoned like grandma’s
“You ain’t seen my sorrow….”
the line server sings
Tragedy though,
wound down these streets
in 1963
The motorcade turned
and headed toward
Dealey Plaza…
these paths haunted
where they came in droves
to hammer out the truth
jack hammered bullet holes
from the curb
as the lies sunk into
the cement
“I say, you don’t know, don’t know, don’t know….”
The woman with her
smart tortoiseshell eyeglasses
well versed in Change Management
eyes the hot rolls with honey butter
considers the pinto beans
tinged with smithereens
of chopped tomatoes
decides on
pickles crisp, tart, dill
“We work til the sun go down….”
On the 6th floor of the
School Book Depository
Lee Harvey Oswald waited
And of the Father…
Sharp turn onto Elm Street
a turn that marks history
the death of a President
the sorrows of lost Camelot
The tabletops at Willa May’s
covered in bottle caps
I trace it with my fingers
it is rough
like rotten history
under the watchful tears
of the Trinity River
the sorrow that shadows downtown
spins furious heads faster
than the ball restaurant in the sky
And of the Son…
“Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone”
they told the teary public
gulping their grief
but rumors rampaged
along these winding streets
and chants of conspiracy
rose up screaming
like hot summer air
hitmen, mafia
tucked beneath
rail cars
the convertible raced
to Parkland Memorial
And of the Holy Ghost…
“All I need is to find my way home….”
The singer delves
into his music
uplifting in sorrow
defining another history
uprooting a troubled past
the essence of America
here among the pitchers of sweet tea
as the business interns eye
the caramel-colored delicacy
the nut-filled sugar confection
of pecan pie
And the Trinity River flows on
engulfed now
in a Vision Project
and a man with vision
slipped behind
earth’s barricade
away from these
scarred streets
a rendezvous with eternity
into blissful sleep
and the facts
concealed by men
who roam the dusk
are settled now
like dark sediment
at the bottom of
the Trinity River.

©L.T. Garvin

Sally: I was ten years old at the time, living in Cape Town, waking to hear my mother crying in my parent’s bedroom.. We were British but like millions of people around the world, this event shook us to the core. If you are old enough, I am sure that you remember that day in November too… Please share with Lana in the comments.

About L.T. Garvin

L.T. Garvin is a huge fiction fan and literature lover. She enjoys writing fiction, short stories, and attempts at poetry. L.T. has a particular fondness for Southern literature possibly because they have such good food and bigger than life stories in the South.

She currently has three books available, Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete, a humorous children’s book about a boy named Nathan and his exuberant experiences in school and sports. Another children’s book, Animals Galore explores unique animals and their antics. A novel, Dancing with the Sandman, is suitable for all age groups and takes readers on time travel journey back to the 1960s. L.T. Garvin maintains a WordPress site where she shares fiction, poetry, and humorous essays

Books by L.T. Garvin

About Dancing with the Sandman

The Sandman cometh dancing to the beat of rock ‘n’ roll, blasting the turmoil of the Sixties. And where are you? West Texas, of course. Billie Jo Dunstan confronts her past, traveling back to the 1960s through a decade of turbulence and swirling color memories, contemplating life growing up in rural Texas. Tragedy and comedy come alive, preserving the past and a portion of small town life that will survive beyond super highways and the ratcheting progress of time.
***
Garvin’s (And They Came, 2017, etc.) latest novel offers a reflection of one girl’s coming-of-age in small-town Texas in the 1960s. … Garvin is at her best when offering these cheeky nods to the past, never getting bogged down in nostalgia.
A winning narrator enlivens a charming tale of a town facing modernity.–Kirkus Reviews

One of the reviews for the book

The story starts and ends in west Texas as Billie Jo revisits the small town she grew up in, a town left behind years ago when progress, in the form of a new highway, raced ahead. It’s a place that holds memories so tangible they feel like ghosts rising out of the sand, and they create the substance of the story.

Garvin calls the book a fictional journey, but it reads like a memoir. If you were a kid in the 60’s, this book will feel something like a trip into childhood, a time before helicopter parents and iphones, a time when kids had to create their own fun while learning the painful lessons of life.

Though the book takes place in Texas, there is so much about Billie Jo’s experiences that felt familiar to me, a child of rural Connecticut. In a way, the qualities that make up a childhood – the way adults are perceived, the family quirks, sibling teasing, unexpected kindnesses and losses, how kids think and fill their leisure time – seemed universal. This is a thoroughly relatable book.

And told as a “look back at the ghosts of the past,” the book has a nostalgic aura that lingered beyond the last page, calling forth my own ghosts and eliciting memories that I’d forgotten. Dancing with the Sandman is a lovely, poignant, rich read for all ages, but especially for those who enjoy memoirs and those who were children in the 60’s.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DP2VJ8S

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dancing-Sandman-L-T-Garvin-ebook/dp/B07DP2VJ8S

Also by L.T. Garvin

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/L.-T.-Garvin/e/B00HC0TRY6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/L.-T.-Garvin/e/B00HC0TRY6

Read other reviews and follow L.T. Garvin on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7579153.L_T_Garvin

Connect to L.T. Garvin

Website: https://broussardlana.wordpress.com/welcome/
Books: https://broussardlana.wordpress.com/books/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LT-Garvin-791835704234435/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LanaBroussard

Thank you for dropping in today and please share your memories of that day in the comments and if you have any questions for Lana she would love to receive them.