Monday, February 17, 2020

February Half Over

Wow, here it is the 17th of February already. The month is going by quickly.  Seems the older I get the quicker the time goes by.
It's been a fairly decent month weather-wise. A few cold days, but mostly above normal temps, just like January.  I hope that means an early spring and not that winter is delayed.
The bad thing (in my opinion) thing about these warm temps is the flu seems to be worse this year. I think we need those cold temps to kill the germs. On the other hand different types of germs live in cold temps, so maybe it's a trade off.
So far this year, my husband and I have been blessed to escape the nasty bug. Not that the flu season is over by any means. There's still a long way to go.
It is nice, however to see the days becoming longer - I should say daylight, shouldn't I - the days are still only 24 hours long.  And it's really been nice to see a lot of sunshine this winter. Normally the days are dreary, sometimes to the point of having to keep the lights on all day.
Beginning March 8th, only a few weeks away, the time changes again and it'll be light even later. Can't say I mind. I just wish they'd leave it one way or other already.  I hate they keep changing it. Of course, if they leave it to daylight savings time, it's going to be dark in the morning longer. If they leave it the way it is, it'll be dark earlier in the evening during the summer months. I think I'd rather have it get dark earlier. It's bad enough it doesn't get light until almost 8 AM in the winter. I can't imagine it not getting light until almost 9.
I guess I don't have much to say about it. They've been talking about changing it for years and so far it hasn't happened. Probably never will.
Today is a bright sunny day, and I'm enjoying it. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 50 again. Last Friday, it barely made it to 17 for a high.  No wonder everyone is sick. Crazy roller coaster weather.
We'll take the good with the bad and suffer the frigid winters every so often or the snowier than normal winters. And yes, we'll enjoy the warmer than normal also. We have no choice.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Welcome, Rita Lee Chapman

Today, I'd like to introduce a guest author to my blog, Author, Rita Lee Chapman. I was privileged to interview her recently.
           


It's  my pleasure to interview Rita Lee Chapman. Thank you for joining us.  Would you please introduce yourself to my readers and share something about your life.

Thank you for having me on your Blog-spot, Roseanne.  I was born in the UK and moved to Australia in my early twenties.  Although I loved writing, it was not until I retired that I published my first book.  Since then I have written another five books; there are three in the Anna Davies Mystery Series and the others are completely different.

When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

When I retired I wanted to write the book I had always felt was within me.  But where to start?  When you can write about anything it is not easy to settle on a subject.  Then I remembered our holiday in Egypt – a mysterious land where anything was possible.  Where better to set a mystery?  And so Missing in Egypt was born.

Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?

I write mysteries mainly, although some are romantic travel mysteries, others crime mysteries.   I have also written a book for horse lovers, from teenagers upwards, Winston – A Horse’s Tale.

When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?.

Being a very organised , I would love to sit down and plot my books in advance!  Unfortunately, I can’t.  Sometimes I know the ending, sometimes I don’t.  As every writer will tell you, quite often the characters take over the writing and take the story in a completely different direction to the one you had in mind!  My latest book, The Poinciana Tree, started with the idea that the amazing Poinciana tree would make a splendid book cover.  I wrote the story from there.

Would you like to give us a short excerpt from one of your books?

Yes, I’d love to.  Here is the Prologue from The Poinciana Tree.

She looked out of the kitchen window at the spreading branches of the Poinciana Tree.   She gazed at the familiar limbs, dotted here and there with lichen, which formed a canopy over the grass.  She thought of the picnics she had enjoyed under its shade as a child and then, later, as a mother.  It was summer now and the tree was covered with the huge red flowers for which it was famous.  So beautiful.  It was a tree she had loved ever since she was a little girl – right up until that dreadful day.  Now it only reminded her of the things she most wanted to forget.  She let out a long, deep sigh and turned away.”

Who is your favourite character and why?

My favourite is Winston from Winston – A Horse’s Tale.  He tells the story himself.

Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write?

Again, it was Winston – A Horse’s Tale because the story flowed so easily.

What is the best marketing tip you have received?

Write more books – particularly a series.

How would you describe yourself?

Determined and creative, in the face of a challenge. 

What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I enjoy playing tennis, walking along our amazing beaches, swimming and entertaining.  My husband and I have made some great friends through our tennis club and we socialise regularly.

If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

I love travelling and have been fortunate to have visited many countries, but there are always more you would like to explore.  Sicily and more Greek islands appeal at the moment.

If you have owned pets, do you have a funny story you would like to share with us?

The tap on the horse trough was always being left on by someone filling it up and then forgetting about it, so a sign was put above it, stating that it was not to be left unattended.  Every horse that came up for a drink stood and looked at that sign as if he was reading it!

What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?

The cover has to appeal – I don’t like dark covers.  Then I look at the blurb and read the first page to see if I like the writer’s style. 

Do you have your own website?

Yes!  www.ritaleechapman.com.  Here you can learn more about my books, see photos of my latest travels and read an interview from writers of all genres.

Are you working on a new book at the moment?
No, The Poinciana Tree only came out in September and I’m busy promoting it.  I’m sure it won’t be long before I pick up my pen again (metaphorically speaking) especially if we have some wet weather.


Do you have any events or book promotions coming up that you would like to tell us about?

I have combined the Anna Davies Mystery Series into one ebook and it is on Kindle Unlimited for $3.99 until 11 April.  I would also like to mention that all of my books except the horse book come in a large print version as well.

Rita's Books

                                                                               

Friday, January 3, 2020

Twelve Days of Christmas

Well here it is January 3rd and many people have taken down their Christmas decorations and outdoor lights. Not me, I leave them up until January 7th the day after the Feast of the Epiphany, feast of the three kings or Magi. Whatever you want to call it. I do it because I celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Yes, the 12 days of Christmas start with Christmas day and end January 5th, not the 12 days before Christmas that so many people, especially stores celebrate.
It always annoys me that people misrepresent these days. Not to the point of getting angry or anything, just because the season is lost.
It's sad to see all the colorful lights gone. Everyone is back to their busy life and Christmas suddenly seems a thing of the past. Even though only a week ago, it's seems so long ago. Gone are the Christmas Carols on the radio stations, I'd say Christmas movies, but Hallmark is still playing them, but all signs of Christmas are pretty much gone. Stores are putting out Valentine's Day decorations or spring merchandise. Don't look for a winter coat or clothes. All the spring finery is replacing them.
Okay, you can still find a few things on sale, but for the most part the turnover has begun. I was in a store yesterday where shelves of Christmas merchandise was cleared to make room for the next season.
I know Christmas merchandise is out before Halloween and people have grown tired of looking at it. Not me. I love it. but they could at least wait until Nov.1st to put it out. And can't they wait until January is over to put out the Spring merchandise?
As for me, I'll celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and light my lights and enjoy the decorations for four more days, then I'll sadly put everything away until next year and hate the blah - albeit clean. uncluttered- rooms.
Happy 12 Days of Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year

Well, the Christmas Holidays are over and done. It was a busy month with a Christmas Eve Dinner on the 15th, dinner with my sister in law and brother in law and of course, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
It was a busy, fun month. And now, here it is New Year's Eve. Many years ago, we went out on New Year's Eve to a restaurant for dinner, drinks after and often ended up at someone's home. Eventually, we decided it'd be more fun to go to someone's house.
I'm from a big family, 5 brothers and sisters, so needless to say, add in my parents, and we had enough for a party. Everyone brought food and whatever they wanted to drink.
Once we had kids, we included them and the party grew. And then the kids got married and we started getting together with them, at our house at first and then at one of theirs. Grandkids came along and the party grew more.
What fun and memories we made.

Now, hubby and I stay home. It's easier and the kids do their own thing. That's fine. While I enjoy getting together with them, I don't mind staying home. It's getting difficult for hubby with his COPD to go out much.

Funny, how quickly the years pass now. Seems like 2019 just started and here it is 2020. Oh, and does everyone remember 1999 and how worried everyone was about 2000 - that everything would crash. Here it is 20 years later and all is still well.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year!

Monday, December 2, 2019

All Went Well



The Vow Renewal  went very well. I thought it was going to be at the beginning of the service, but Pastor decided to do it in the middle, which was fine. Although my nerves would have calmed down a little sooner if it had been at the beginning. Actually, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. 
The ceremony and service were beautiful and memorable. Much more memorable than our actual wedding. I don't remember much of it. I do remember it was a chilly day - normal for November in Ohio - and cloudy. At least until I walked down the aisle. just as I started down the sun came out and shined through the stained glass windows onto the aisle. 
We didn't have a mass either, just the ceremony. The priest said a few words and that was pretty much all. Why didn't we have a mass? My in-laws (mother in law especially) wasn't too keen on our marriage, especially with me being Catholic. So, we talked to the priest about it and all came to the conclusion that out of respect for her, we'd forgo the mass.  Probably wasn't fair to my parents when I stop and think about it. After all they did pay for the wedding. But that was the choice we made back then, so saying our
vows in the middle of our service was special. I was excited that most of my kids were there and some of my grandchildren.  The party after was small, immediate family, pastor and his family. 

Thanksgiving was great also. My sons and their families came to dinner and my daughters (well two of them since one was out of town) were supposed to come after. My middle daughter came but my youngest daughter only stopped in briefly because a new grandchild, for her .was possibly on the way and she was off to the hospital.  But, we still enjoyed the day. 
Next up is our Christmas Eve dinner on the 15th, hosted by my oldest daughter and all my children will be there as well as some of the grandchildren. For some reason we didn't get pictures on Thanksgiving so hope we get some on the 15th. I must be slipping. Looking forward to a busy December. 
The 13th we're hosting my brother in law and sister in law for a soup supper. Haven't decided which soup to make yet. Guess I'll have to figure out something soon. Debating on trying a new one or sticking with an old reliable.  I'm all for trying something new.  And of course Christmas to be celebrated at my youngest sons this year. Looking forward to that also, he's trying something different, going to smoke a brisket. Sounds yummy to me.  A busy year will soon come to an end. I'm looking forward to the new year, new things, and spending more time with my family. God is good!
Baby Isabella Nicole arrived on Dec. 3rd, weighing 6#4oz and 19 inches long. She's precious, as all babies are. 

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Anniversaries



It's that time of year again. As Thanksgiving approaches, I reflect on things I'm thankful for. There are so many, I decided to list them on Facebook, a new one every day.  It's difficult to decide which one to post on which day.
I did this years ago and decided it was time to do it again as a reminder how blessed I am. 

Thanksgiving isn't just about turkey, dressing, and all the other delicious side dishes. While I'm grateful to celebrate the day with my family and enjoy the abundance of food, I look around and realize how blessed I am.  Not all of my family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner and that's okay. They have other
obligations, other families to visit. But I'm fortunate to have my sons for dinner. My daughters and some of the grandchildren come later for dessert ,and before you know it, chaos rules. 

Oh what a joy to hear their laughter and watch them interact. Each one speaking louder than the other to be heard. Some call us loud and obnoxious, but that's okay. I love every deafening, boisterous minute of it. 

And so begins the holiday season. Well, actually it begins a little earlier for me. Since the kids take turns hosting Christmas, I started putting my tree up before
Thanksgiving so everyone can enjoy it. - Not sure how much they enjoy it, but I love it and any excuse to decorate. Christmas is my favorite time of year and celebrating for more than a month suits me fine. 

This year, my husband and I decided to renew our marriage vows. Our anniversary happens to be today,, so we're doing it at church this morning. And it gives us another day to celebrate.
It's not a milestone year, but it's been 57 years. Several people asked why now, why not wait until 60 or why didn't we do it at 50.  

Why? Because although 50 was a milestone, we weren't in a position financially at 50 to host a party.  And I don't want to wait for 60. I learned a long time ago not to wait for something. Would we still be here in 3 more years? Hard to say. Honestly it's difficult to say we'll be here in a couple weeks. And if we are still here in 3 more years, we'll celebrate again, just not with a vow renewal. Who says you have to do it at milestone years anyway? Isn't 57 a milestone. Isn't every year a milestone, especially in today's times? 

I look forward to standing before God, my family, and the congregation, repeating my vows and acknowledging to the love of my life that I'd marry him all over again. 

So, yes, another reason to be thankful. It's a good year, and I'm thankful for my many blessings.  Praise God!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Cemeteries


 

I've always had a fascination for cemeteries. Ever since I can remember I liked walking around, looking at the names and dates. The older the better. I'm not sure where this fascination came from or why. 
I'm fortunate that my husband has accepted this strange quirk of mine and has taken me to several through the years. Once, while we were in his semi,  the cemetery was next to the truck stop and we were able to walk there. 
One of my favorite cemeteries is Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland,Ohio.  Many famous people are buried here - The most famous, of course, is President James A. Garfield. Architect George Keller designed the Garfield Monument, which was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1880. The Garfield Monument stands 180 feet tall. Around the exterior of the balcony are five, terra cotta panels by Casper Bubel, with over 110 figures all life size, depicting Garfield’s life and death.
The Memorial Hall includes rich, gold mosaics, beautifully colored marble, stained glass windows and deep-red granite columns. The stained glass windows and window like panes represent the original 13 colonies, plus the state of Ohio, along with panels depicting War and Peace. Standing in the main floor is a statue of the President sculpted by Alexander Doyle.
Venture up 64 steps from the lobby to the outdoor balcony. On a clear day you can see 40 miles of the Lake Erie shore. We are called Lake View Cemetery due to the magnificent view that one can see of Lake Erie from the outdoor balcony.
Another famous person is Eliot Ness as well as John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company of Ohio and first billionaire in the United States. 
The gardens are beautiful as well as the statues throughout. 

A smaller cemetery is in Twinsburg, Ohio - It was the setting in Trouble Comes
in Twos  Twins, Moses and Aaron Wilcox are buried there. They were reportedly so identical only their closest friends could tell them apart. They were lifelong business partners, held all their property in common, married sisters, had the same number of children, contracted the same fatal ailment and died within hours of each other. The sandstone vault standing sentry at the entrance was born out of necessity The earth proved too hollow during the winter. Bodies lied in waiting until the ground thawed.


A much smaller cemetery was one we visited several times in Hocking County. I'm not sure it even has a name. It's next to a vacant wooden church (another thing that fascinates me). Some of the markers are so old you can't read them. There are only about 25 graves there (give or take).  We stopped there often on our way to and from the town of Nelsonville, when we vacationed in a cabin at Lake Hope State Park. There's something so peaceful about cemeteries. I'd often stop at the graves and wonder about the person who lived there. 

Strangely enough, I seldom visit the cemetery where my parents and two of my siblings are buried. I guess I'd rather remember them full of life.