Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You…Author, poet and book reviewer Balroop Singh

Welcome to this week’s Getting to Know you interview and this week my special guest is author, poet, book reviewer and blogger Balroop Singh.  Balroop is a wonderful supporter of other writers and I have been delighted to share her insightful and constructive reviews for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. Balroop has also shared some of her wonderful poetry here over the last two years.

Before we discover which five questions Balroop has opted to answer, here is a little more about her… and I will share details of her books at the end of the post.

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Welcome to Getting to Know You Balroop and perhap you could let us know if you prefer the big city or country life?

I have lived in a big city all my life and therefore seem to be tired of it. I chose a big city due to good schools, competitive class spirit and better learning opportunities for my children and have no regrets for having spent more than half of my life in a big city. Once again, when choices were thrown open to me I chose a big city, this time again for my own selfish reasons – to stay in the same vicinity, to remain in touch with my children and grandchildren. I love country life as it has its own charm but it wears off after a few days just like the grandeur of staying near a ski spot wanes.

What does it take to make you angry?

Anger has been my closest companion; I have seen it unfold before my eyes… sometimes admiring it silently when I saw how much power it could unleash! I don’t believe in suppressing anger as my culture advocates, especially for women because nobody could ever explain to me why men have all the freedom to be angry and why women are expected to be calm.

Each ounce of my blood revolts against injustice, gender bias, discrimination, diktats of tradition, human apathy towards intolerance and I had impulsively learnt to vent my anger…giving it back instantly. I have mellowed down with time and age.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

One of my friends gave me this recipe and I am proud of this dish because each time I had to host a party or contribute a dish to pot luck, everybody expected me to cook this dish till it became ‘Aunt’s special chicken,’ as children nicknamed it and devoured it fondly.

Nobody knew how easy it was! I have never used any measuring cups or spoons. So I am sharing it without professional details.

  • Cut 1 pound of chicken into small pieces.
  • Make a puree of 5 tomatoes, one green chillie, some garlic and ginger according to your taste and dip the chicken in it.
  • Sprinkle cumin, black pepper and salt.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook in its own juices for half an hour on medium heat.
  • If you want a little curry, switch the gas off when tender or let it simmer till it is dry.
  • You can add some yoghurt to make a rich curry and cook it for five more minutes.

No oil or water required! No frying! Most healthy!

Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?

One of the finest heritage hotels in Himachal Pradesh, (India) The Palace Hotel in Chail, surrounded by the forests of chir pine and gigantic deodars has been our holiday destination for almost 30 years.

This palace was built as a summer retreat by the Maharaja of Patiala but is now is a dream resort, where one can relax in the elegant lawns and just look at the majestic peaks of mountains, listen to the whisper of pines, go for romantic walks, sit at the ‘lover’s hill,’ enjoy a glass of wine at the royal bar and eat at their finest dining room.

The splendour of the royal rooms has been maintained quite well. We have been missing our destination holdays since we came here.

Sally here:  I have found a video on Chail and its amazing surroundings and I can understand why Balroop enjoyed her visits so much.

Describe the strangest dream you’ve ever had.

I am sharing a poem that I had written about my strangest dream:


The stage was set…in the house of my dreams
All of us dressed in our finery
Around the stage…some celebrations…
Happy faced gleamed
Echoing excitement of meeting each other

Suddenly, water gushed towards me
And I was alone… safe though
I knew I could escape this deluge
Taking a new route
Cycling my way out

The path seemed endless…
Waiting for the water to recede
I found some new friends
Making merry at a strange place
Some faces seemed familiar

Old secrets were shared
But I couldn’t understand a word
Am I in an alien land?
Is it my imagination?
Or my soul wandering to new places?

Why am I here?
Water drowned us all
Oh no! I was marooned
All alone but awake and comforted
By the thought – what a weird dream!
© Balroop Singh.

Books by Balroop Singh

A review for Emerging from the Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment.

So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads:

Connect to Balroop Singh.


My thanks to Balroop for sharing her poetry, favourite holiday destination, love of the city, delicious recipe.. and what makes her angry. It has been fascinating to find out more about this lovely supportive writer. I am sure she would love to answer your questions..

If you would like to participate in this series of the Sunday shows.. here are the details and also my efforts at answering five questions.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Get Caught Reading Month – Writers who have inspired me – Dorothy Parker

Welcome to the third in my Get Caught Reading Month posts…this week a woman with an acerbic wit and who could write the most beautiful poetry. Whilst appearing to be this witty and sophisticated woman of her times, there is an element of poignancy and vulnerability present in her work, that makes it all the more appealing.

If I was able to invite guests who are no longer with us to a dinner party, Dorothy Parker would definitely be one of them.

I was given a copy of The Penquin Dorothy Parker nearly 40 years ago as a parting gift from a very good friend. I still have it on the shelves next to my desk and will often reach out and browse for half an hour or so to get my writing mojo back.

The book contains stories and poems published in 1944… in the blurb it says ” Beneath her carapace of electrifying wit which reflected so brilliantly the age she lived in, was a woman for whom happiness was, at best, precarious”.

There are some wonderful quotes

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
Dorothy Parker

“I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.”
Dorothy Parker

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
Dorothy Parker

“A hangover is the wrath of grapes.”
Dorothy Parker

Although her essays and short stories are a joy to read, It is her poetry that I have enjoyed the most. Including these two.

The Little Old Lady In Lavender Silk

I was seventy-seven, come August,
I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I’ve experienced zephyr and raw gust
And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.

So I’ll say, though reflection unnerves me
And pronouncements I dodge as I can,
That I think (if my memory serves me)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

In my youth, when the crescent was too wan
To embarrass with beams from above,
By the aid of some local Don Juan
I fell into the habit of love.

And I learned how to kiss and be merry- an
Education left better unsung.
My neglect of the waters Pierian
Was a scandal, when Grandma was young.

Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.

For contrition is hollow and wraithful,
And regret is no part of my plan,
And I think (if my memory’s faithful)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

and another that is one of my favourites

War Song – 1944

Soldier, in a curious land,
All across a swaying sea,
Take her smile and lift her hand –
Have no guilt of me.

Soldier, when were soldiers true?
If she’s kind and sweet and gay,
Use the wish I send to you –
Lie not lone till day!

Only, for the nights that were,
Soldier, and the dawns that came,
When in sleep you turn to her
Call her by my name.

You can buy this book in paperback:

Some other books by Dorothy Parker most of which are second hand.

You can buy them here:

Find out more about her books and quotes:

About Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in publications such as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.

Discover more about her life story: Dorothy Parker – Wikipedia

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the writers who have inspired me and would love to hear who your literary heroes are. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – Dorothy Cronin (1949 – 2006) – Her poem ‘Immortality’

It is 12 years since our family lost a dear and much loved mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She is still missed. I originally shared this at Easter 2014….

‘Immortality’ by Dorothy Cronin


Those I have loved
Flow gently around me
In the scent of flowers:
Here a compassionate rose,
Here woodbine,
Here the sweet scent of clove carnations.
Temper them with the sound
Of crickets in hot grass,
Of a lark above crumbling cliffs,
Of the whisper and crash of the sea
And I am part
Of the Maker’s heartbeat.


©Dorothy Cronin Rainbows in Amber 2007

About Dorothy Cronin by David Cronin

Dorothy was always a prolific writer, and in the introduction to an earlier collection she wrote … “As long as I can remember, words and the rhythms of speech have fascinated me. I was drawn early into reading poetry, but did not begin to write poetry until I was 13. I was instantly hooked, and, through dry and fertile periods, have remained so…” She has produced some wonderful work since then, and this collection holds just a few of these jewels.

In the year before her untimely death, in April 2006, Dorothy and I had discussed the publication of a collection of her poetry, and she was in the process of selecting poems and creating a number of short, themed groups for publication. Unfortunately, that process was cut short and we shall never know her final choices. However, this collection comes mainly from her own personal favourites.

I believe that anyone who reads these poems cannot fail to be moved: be it to tears, laughter or just a wry smile. They show a keen observation of the world she lived in; a profound insight into the people about her; the perception to find beauty in the simplest of things; and above all, the ability to encapsulate a moment of feeling in a package of words.

My one regret is that she is not here to see the impact that her words will have.

I will be sharing a number of Dorothy’s poems during April in tribute to a remarkable woman and friend.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Things you should know about your characters by The Story Reading Ape

Chris the Story Reading Ape shares a very useful checklist on things you should know about the character your have created.

Things you should know about your characters by The Story Reading Ape

These are what I would consider to be the most basic, bare-bones questions of character creation.

  • What would completely break your character?
  • What was the best thing in your character’s life?
  • What was the worst thing in your character’s life?
  • What seemingly insignificant memories stuck with your character?
  • Does your character work so that they can support their hobbies or use their hobbies as a way of filling up the time they aren’t working?
  • What is your character reluctant to tell people?
  • How does your character feel about sex?
  • How many friends does your character have?
  • How many friends does your character want?
  • What would your character make a scene in public about?
  • What would your character give their life for?
  • What are your character’s major flaws?
  • What does your character pretend or try to care about?
  • How does the image your character tries to project differ from the image they actually project?
  • What is your character afraid of?
  • What is something most people in your setting do that your character things is dumb?
  • Where would your character fall on a politeness/rudeness scale?

From The Right Writing on Tumblr

©Story Reading Ape 2014.

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the recent reviews for the collection

I have always loved to read poetry and I do favour well written rhyming poetry as I enjoy the way it flows and how the words roll off your tongue when they are spoken. In my opinion, poetry is meant to be read aloud with passion and expression.

My vibrating vertebrae and other poems is a collection of delightful, rhyming poems that fall into this category. The collection features poems about people discovering inner strength, courage and overcoming adversity as well as delighting in the small pleasures and joys of everyday life in Ireland, before and after the Troubles. Each poem is packaged with sharp wit and an all encompassing humour which highlight the poets uncanny ability to pierce right to the heart of the matter.

I enjoyed each and every poem in this collection with my personal favourites being Ulster’s Shame and The Terror and Tears.

This verse form Ulster’s Shame gave me goosebumps:

“The empty streets, the broken glass,

the vacant car-parks, the crumbling halls.

The smoke spirals on the skyline,

the blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls.”

This extract from The Terror and Tears gave me the shivers:

“You, who are on the evildoer’s side,

remember, our God both sees and hears.

The horrors you do, the deaths you cause,

you shall one day know the terror, and shed tears.”

I have always retained five star ratings for poetry for the very famous and great poets like Shakespeare and Chaucer. Rightly or wrongly if feels to me that a collection of poetry would have to attain very heady heights to compete with these amazing works.

Certain of the poems in My Vibrating Vertebrae, however, made a big impression on me and wormed right into my mind and so I am giving this book of poetry a five star rating.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author.

Connect to Chris


Thanks for popping in today and I it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Winter Wonderland Finally by Aurora Jean Alexander

It is actually nearly four weeks since Christmas but this poem from Aurora Jean Alexander from this time last year is very topical for many of you.

Picture courtesy of:

Picture courtesy of:

Winter Wonderland Finally by Aurora Jean Alexander

It was Christmas, three weeks ago,
the grass was green, there was no snow.
The skies were blue, it was too warm
Green Christmas? Here? This needs alarm.
New Year came -no flakes in sight
The sun had fun, the sky was bright.
But unexpected, it took us off guard
we woke up to a white yard.
Even though it’s freezing cold
I still will say – and I am bold
Sometimes I like the soft white mass
It can be fun – and it’s got class.
Snowy bushes and white trees
are surrounding the lake that will go freeze.
In such a time I love a forest walk
watch the squirrel, the deer, the owl and hawk.
Each snowflake is unique in art
a piece of glass and a piece of heart.
A fleeting existence and still so real
a wonder of nature, that’s how I feel.
On rare days I see romance be built
by the tiniest crystals, and still, there’s no guilt,
knowing that the picture is soon to be gone
We know it’ll be back, will soon be re-drawn.
Enjoy the little miracle that’s natures gift
when everything changes, from old to new shift.
Life circles, we know it, and it shows us first hand
This short lived but beautiful Winter Wonderland.

(Copyright, and all pictures Aurora Jean Alexander, January 2017)

About Aurora Jean Alexander


I’m a new author working on my first paranormal romance. I have written short stories and poetry in the past and now am looking to try my hand at a full-length novel.

My rare free time I’m spending in extreme reading, excessive pool swimming and playing monster-monopoly. My strongest support system are my sister, my family and my three cats.

Connect to Aurora Jean

Facebook Author Page:

Thanks to Aurora Jean for sharing this lovely poem and I know she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas posts from My archives – The Leftovers by Sally Cronin


The Leftovers

I opened the fridge this morning
To check on the state of the world,
I hoped to see that the turkey,
Was not all shrivelled and curled.

It peaked from its packet of foil,
Still juicy and raring to go
I shredded it into some sauce
With some shrooms and onions for show.

I took the spuds, carrots and peas
And slathered with butter and oil.
The brandy was down to the dregs,
I added and brought to the boil.

But what to do with the trifle
Still lush with custard and berry
Guess I shall just have to eat it
Topped with a schooner of sherry.

So if I sound a bit pickled
The leftovers carry the blame.
Since to throw good food in the bin
Would be a dire waste and a shame.

My waist has expanded to fit
All the goodies that have been served
But thankfully my beloved,
Likes his women rounded and curved!

©sallycronin 2015

Please let me know if you have any leftovers that required consuming in the comment section of the post and be kind!!

Smorgasbord New Book for Christmas – A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben

A perfect gift for poetry lovers for Christmas, this is the latest collection from Annette Rochelle Aben with A Tanka Picture Book.

About A Tanka Picture Book

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

An early review for the collection

This beautiful little book will warm your heart and stir your soul. A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with picturesque images overlaid by touching verse. The author explains that Tanka means “short song.” I find this the perfect description, considering I felt my heart singing while I read. Compassion, encouragement, and gratitude create a texture and mood that will leave you feeling both peaceful and exhilarated. Whether your spirit needs fortifying or you’re simply looking for a splendid gift, this book is sure to deliver.

Buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

 Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

The most recent review from Colleen Chesebro for Perspective

Perspective is an uplifting collection of poems, meditations, stream of consciousness prayers, daily affirmations, and photos compiled by an author who possesses the soul of a true spiritualist.

Each selection is loving written, encouraging readers to get in touch with their feelings and to embrace the positive. The message is clear, we define our own reality by the thoughts we choose. When we shift our perceptions our vision clears and we find truth and wisdom.

I’ve read this book twice as it is a short read. Yet, each reading has given me insight into something I didn’t catch the first time around. At times, I felt the author’s words were written primarily for me. What a fantastic connection to experience.

Annette is a prolific author and has published many books of poetry and inspirational books. If you are looking for a bit of magic to help you through some tough days, this book will wrap you in a warm glow.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

About Annette Rochelle Aben

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a writer, an author, a wordsmith and perhaps find myself to be more interesting than is necessary. So I shall NOT go into grand detail as to what I have done in my 40 + career of writing and instead shall use various pages of this blog site to reveal this energy. As with most writing it may take some time, so please bear with me.

In addition to writing I am also a guide, a muse and a mentor and to that end I am available to work with YOU! So please reach out when you are in need of my services and allow me to use my talents, skills and above all compassion to help you in your personal or professional life.

For years I have enjoyed being part of the “traditional” broadcasting industry, you know, the kind where one simply turns on a radio or television and there you are! Many people I would interact with would tell me how much THEY wanted the chance to be a part of that world and yet there were only so many jobs, so many chances to work in their own home towns doing something they really wanted to do with their lives. So when I found the world of INTERNET RADIO I was thrilled because here was something people could DO to fulfill their dreams and do it in a way that allowed them to have CONTROL over the broadcasting process. Naturally I started doing my own internet radio program and fell in LOVE with the FREEDOM and EASE of it all and was eventually hired by a company to TRAIN others how to do their own shows and I did this for years with wonderful results. (I will add testimonials soon) and when that company and I parted ways, I decided to continue offering the TRAINING and SUPPORT to those who also wish to CREATE and HOST their own internet radio programs.

You can find out more about Annette’s radio programmes here:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Google +

Thank you for dropping by and it would be great if you could spread the news about Annette’s latest release.

If you would like to be included in the various book promotions in the run up to Christmas then please check out this post and get in touch. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – Happiness by Balroop Singh

Delighted to welcome Balroop Singh to the series with one of her beautiful poems.

Happiness by Balroop Singh

They lived in the valley of happiness
Away from the hypocritical world
A valley, surrounded by flowers
Welcoming sunshine, rain and snow.
They had braved the storms of life,
They believed in themselves!
Broken dreams didn’t bother them
Happiness was not a destination
It was harmony with their thoughts
It was absorbing the radiance of stars
It was merging into the dark clouds
It was reveling in the glory of the rainbow.
The door to happiness was always ajar
The key to that door… in their hearts
Happiness just sneaked in!
Sometimes the door was left unlatched
Serenity and calmness tiptoed
To warm their hearts with inner peace!

© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

This poem is an excerpt from my book ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life’

Are you happy? What does happiness mean to you? Have you ever added happiness to somebody’s life? Please share your thoughts.

About Balroop Singh.

61ebbw1tqhl-_ux250_Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Books by Balroop Singh

A review for Sublime Shadows of Life

First of all, I would like to congratulate one of my best English teachers – Balroop madam for her sheer will and effort to come up with this poetry book. I read all the poems in this book. All the poems are beautifully written with my teacher’s soul into them. The language is very articulate. There are some poems which I felt are straight away lifted from my life experiences so far. I could relate the journey of my life to these poems. Specifically, I loved the poem on ‘Hollowness of Life’ that talks about ‘Attachment’ and ‘Detachment’.

I feel attachment only brings pain and suffering because it is very difficult to outgrow this emotion and the more attached we become to a particular situation, the more is the work to be done by our soul to eradicate feelings of attachment and grow in detachment. I would recommend everyone to read this book as one will surely discover some deeper part of oneself in these poems that display myriad of emotions.

I immensely liked the parts that focus on growing in human and spiritual values of unconditional love, hope, faith, determination, patience, generosity and many others. These are the values that are going to enrich our human life and will go with us once we leave this life rather than our power, prestige and material possessions.

It is my honor to write this review for my venerable teacher who has been an integral part of my existence as a human being. I am grateful to you for reposing your faith in me and considering me worthy of writing this review. I apologize for the delay on my part. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Wishing you and everyone associated with this book real peace, happiness, harmony, bliss and liberation.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads:

Connect to Balroop Singh.


My thanks to Balroop for sharing this poem and if you would like to share your books of poetry here, with one of your poems then please email me on

Smorgasbord Reblog – Elderly Health Care: Keeping colds at bay by Sally Cronin

Last week I was the guest of Christy Birmingham on her eclectic blog – When Women Inspire. Christy invited me to write a post on the subject of elderly care and in particular in relation to keeping colds and flu at bay.

My thanks to Christy for inviting me to write a post on the health challenges that face the elderly as we move into the winter months.

In most of our countries there is some form of elderly care system in place, either in a person’s own home or care facility. However, wherever an elderly person might live, apart from a natural reduction in immune system efficiency, at this time of year, there are many more opportunities for pathogens to take advantage of a weakened host.

I looked after my mother full-time for four years until she died at age 95. She loved visitors and there would be a lot of hugging and kissing of cheeks with people sitting to chat and holding her hand. It was great for her morale and the subject of much discussion long after they left. But unfortunately, sometimes they left more than their kindness behind. That first winter, my mother had two colds and a respiratory infection that lingered for weeks.

Christmas was the biggest challenge as she wanted to go to the church gift fair, the pensioners’ lunch and the coffee mornings. Although there were many of her old friends there, she was also greeted by strangers wanting to shake her hand and spend time talking to her. As with any event where there are a great many people, some around her were coughing and spluttering; inevitably she would be under the weather within three days.

After that first year, I knew that we needed to put some safeguards in place. It is difficult to build an elderly person’s immune system back up when their appetites are not as great as they used to be. Some may also have certain food restrictions due to dentures or other dental issues that make eating difficult.

However, it is important to make sure that any food they do eat is nutrient rich and full of anti-oxidants.

It is better to provide six small meals a day rather than one or two larger ones that might go unfinished. It is also easier for an older person’s digestive system if they eat smaller but high nutritional density meals, and this is how I worked with my mother to improve her immune function.;

Find out about my adventures with my mother and keeping her immune system firing on all cylinders:

My thanks to Christy and I hope you will head over and read the rest of the post. thanks Sally

About Christy Birmingham.

Christy Birmingham is a freelance writer in Victoria, BC, who has a BA in Psychology and has taken professional writing courses at the University of Victoria. She is the author of Pathways to Illumination (Redmund Productions, 2013), her first poetry book. Her work also appears in the Poetry Institute of Canada’s From the Cerulean Sea: An Anthology of Verse (2013) and the literary journals The Claremont Review and Tipton Poetry Journal.

Books by Christy Birmingham

About Pathways to Illumination.

Pathways to Illumination is the debut poetry collection from Canadian writer Christy Birmingham. The book follows one woman’s journey following the end of an abusive relationship. Read how she struggles to rise from darkness, a soul reaching for light, with words that weave hope and despair through the pages.

A review on Goodreads for Pathways to Illumination

By Rolly A… Five Stars.

I have been reading Christy Birmingham’s poetry and writings for the past three years. This is a work of art at its finest which paints a riveting story of a journey she has travelled filled with what was thought to be love, but resulted in pain, suffering much emotional trauma and eventually finding her way out to live with freedom and an amazingly positive outlook.

Through Christy’s book, we are able to live the fear, trauma and eventual healing we see in the closing poems. Poetry that touches the heart of the reader as it is written from the heart of someone who has been through a great deal.

The greatest blessing is to know Christy and the heart and willingness she has to share in hopes of helping others who suffer. It is my pleasure to call her a truly gifted writer and friend I admire and a person who many look to for strength, courage and support.

Never stop writing Christy, you have been given a very special gift and a gift which will bless many. 

Pathways to Illumination is available exclusively at Redmund Productions (less)

About Versions of the Self

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

One of the reviews for Versions of the Self

Versions of the Self is a collection of poetry that inspires and enthralls. Each thought-provoking piece is one to be savored. A variety of topics are explored, from nature (Painted Mountains) to simple pleasures (A Sundae Type of Day), from love to heartbreak. Ultimately, this collection is about relationships in all its forms. Christy Birmingham delves deep into the bonds of family (Tender Hands) and friendship, and she also examines the many ways love can go wrong (and right). But the most important relationship she writes about is the relationship we have with ourselves, or more specifically, with the many versions of ourselves that reside within us.

I have so many favorites within the pages of this book. In “Equality and Vision,” Christy honors women from our past, present, and future. Beautifully and delicately woven, “Introspection and Suffocation” resonated with me for many reasons. “Beauty, In Pursuit” examines our society’s relationship with trends and obsession with outer beauty. I could go on and on. If you love poetry, or if you are interested in branching out and reading more poetry, I would highly recommend this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Can you Hear the Rumbling by Patricia Salamone

Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

Today Patricia Salamone shares something that she wrote in the 1970s which has as much relevance today as it did then. A short post but a powerful message.

 Can you Hear the Rumbling by Patricia Salamone.

Can you hear the rumbling?
If you listen close you might.
Can you see despair and poverty?
It is an awful sight!
Can you hear the children crying out in pain?
Can you see their faces as they’re calling out in vain?

Each day you line your pockets. Is that your only goal?
Is human life so meaningless you let degradation take its toll?
Do you see how you are destroying the only world which we know?
We trusted you to lead us and this is all you have to show?
You keep your little circle tight, with nothing but the best.
Once this world is finished, you’ll go down with all the rest.

Promises you made mean nothing anymore.
You will say anything you need to get you in the door.
If you think we’re not aware of what is coming down.
If you think this can go on, you really are a clown.
Quietly we gather; one by one we come.
Silently we move while all of you are having fun.

We are tired of your grabbing, and never giving back.
We are angry you’ve betrayed us. We are about to crack.
You have lost sight of what you’re there for; to lead, and not to take.
Your Greed has taken flight.
Can you hear the rumbling? If you listen close you might

©Patricia Salamone 1970

My thanks to Patricia for sharing this post from 40 years ago that illustrates how little somethings have changed… when it comes to those who lead us.

About Patricia Salamone

Patricia Salamone was born in 1943 in Queens, New York. She has 5 siblings. Her mother was Italian and her father German. The Italian influence always dominated in her home. It was from that seed that the “Italian thing” was born in her. Being a middle child of six children, entertainment was self-reliance. She started writing when she was eight years old to entertain her siblings and the rest of her family.

Patricia and her siblings attended St. Mary’s H. of C. Catholic School and Grover Cleveland High School. It was then off to work to help the family. She married at age twenty and raised three children. She was determined they would attend university, and saw that goal achieved while she worked for AT&T and continued writing. In 2002, a trip to Naro, Sicily changed her life, culminating in her first memoir, “The Italian Thing” in 2008. Patricia was featured as Author of the Week in the Palm Beach Post, and her poem, “Angel Dear”, was published in the poetry book, “Shades of Expressions,” by Gerl Publishing.

Patricia Salamone is the author of The Italian Thing an entertaining account of a family reunion in Italy with all its unexpected and glorious memories.

About The Italian Thing

Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!

One of the recent reviews for the book

In the spirit of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, Patricia Salamone decribes her trip to Sicily with her husband Mike to visit for the first time his Italian relatives for the Christmas/New Years holidays.

Their experiences, told through her wry eyes, are just delightful. Patricia has a sly sense of humor and as she encounters the familiar as well as the differences of the Italian experience, we learn as much as she does as she gains confidence not only in her limited ability in the language but in driving their rented van through the narrow streets of the villages of Sicily and in coping with bathrooms very different from her own back in Florida. Her love of the various relatives they meet (all of whom seem to have variations of the same names) and the cuisine are contagious.

Readers of this book will begin to feel they know these people, and also Patricia and Mike, as members of an extended family. And one’s mouth begins to water when reading of the meals and all those delicious pastries. This is a book anyone who loves family as well as traveling will enjoy. I highly recommend spending time with the Salamones on their journey back home for the first time.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Read other reviews and follow Patricia on Goodreads:

Connect to Patricia


If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to

Please do not send self-promotional book posts as there are several other ways to promote your books here. I am looking for posts on life, relationships, health, creative writing, food, music and travel.. If you have a short story to share that is great too.