Thursday, December 02, 2010

pumpkin thieves bomb my dog...

I know, I know... I write children's books, so it's a given that I'm always on the look-out for interesting story material. That said, I do tend to attract cutesy and sometimes odd happenings to my day. But what happened today was right up there with when I was standing in Kansas, and it started raining frogs.
Ok... so I already know you guys aren't going to believe me because... well, because I don't have a youtube to back up my claims. It happened so fast... (Riiight... that's what they ALL say.) And plus, I just talked about raining frogs.

First a little background: Lulu, the dog, thinks our furry squirrel friends are deli meat. She is ALWAYS chasing them back into the trees, challenging their speed, upsetting their apple carts every chance she can get.

Today, as I was watching the little shi-poo patrol the back yard, (here it comes,) suddenly pie pumpkins started plummeting from the sky down toward Lulu. One missed her by a foot... 3 dropping nearly simultaneously from the maple tree around her. Splat. Splat. Splat. I looked up and saw three squirrels. (Maybe those were smiles on their faces? I don't know.) Was this revenge on the puppy dog day?

Anyway, they cleaned up the mess too, so I can't even prove that. EXCEPT that my husband knows that I recently put all the pumpkins out on the patio table. Oh yeah, and the squirrels are significantly fatter.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Autumn is for caramel corn as summer is for_____________(fill in the blank.) You will be graded on uniqueness. :O)

Here's my problem. Consumption quantity. I can't stop at just one handful of my not-so-secret recipe of caramel corn. Is it the organic popping corn? Or the healthier sweetners? (Don't kid yourself like I kid myself-- it's still sugar.) Or maybe it's the crunchy-crispness? Or all of the above?

Carmel-a-Corn (revised from Creme de Colorado)

8 quarts freshly popped organic popcorn (not air popped!)
1 cup unsalted organic butter
1 -1/2 cups organic dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Rapadura sugar
1/4 cup organic corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 teas salt (plus a little)
1 teas baking soda

Pop corn and pour in large roaster pan.
Preheat over to 250.
In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add sugars, corn syrup, water and salt. Whisk. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. Watch carefully while it gently simmers for 5 min. Remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir quickly but thoroughly (It will rise!)
Pour over popcorn. Gently fold until popcorn is coated. Divide corn into two parts. Evenly distribute on two baking sheets. Place in oven on lower and middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Smile... Say Cheese! Click!

Here... the latest addition to my art collection.
Gourds by Beaa... a sweet gardener in Colorado who grows families of gourds each year. She harvests, scrubs, dries, then hand paints, and varnishes them into life.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy Charlie Brown Monday...

A small cottonwood branch zig-zagged to the ground a few hours before I found it. Its school bus yellow leaves caught my eye as I walked near. "Mine," I thought, sounding a lot like my toddlers once did. I scooped it up, and finished the rest of my exercise walk with it flanking my right, rustling front to back with each step.

I made plans for it... I would plunk its super yellowness into a wood vase and put it on the dining table. And then, I'd make a Italian canneloni soup with crusty French bread for dinner. Then light some candles and call it "Autumn!"

But, and here's the Charlie Brown part, by the time "we" got back home, there was only one lonesome leaf left on the branch. Too much exercise for the little guy, I guess.

Of course... my plans will stay the same. The soup, the crusty bread, the candles... and my mono-leafed branch looking awfully cute inside that wood vase. Thanks Charlie...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Common threads: Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? and President Barack Obama's, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, written by President Barack Obama, and playfully illustrated by Loren Long will be in book stores Nov 16. (Right around when my latest
Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever? illustrated by the fabulous Mike Gordon, hits the shelves!)

Whooosh... should be a whirlwind in the bookstores. My little princess book will be in "brisk sales" company.

I am intrigued by President Obama's content premise in Of Thee I Sing...: a father sees the admirable traits of thirteen heroic Americans in his own children.

Sigh... what a lovely thing. Seeing heros within our very own is something we all can do. Our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews have within them the parts and particles of greatness. Big and small greatness. Tall and short. Their very own unique greatness. Every notch on the scale counts.

I am reminded of the punch line in my humble little book Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? as the princess stands before an ever-expanding vista on the final pages.
A rainbow... and all-possibilities surround her:

Princess: Oh Daddy... look at the view!
Daddy: There's something about it that reminds me of you...

To read an editorial review of President Obama's tender new book on Amazon visit: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To my Daughters.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Off to college. Setting the table for three.

Today Nick is leaving for his third year of college. I stand nearby snapping funny pictures. Wait, what's that weighted feeling in my heart? It's uncomfortably familiar. Smile... snap... say cheese...snap. Mike photo bombs yet another photo...laugh...snap. I snicker as I simultaneously stuff the lump back down into my throat... for later.

Our little family of four is changing back to three, yet again. Bittersweet. Double-edge sword. I'm so SO happy, elated, for my son to move forward into his own wonderful life! It is quintessentially satisfying. And yet...

Tick-tock... tick-tock...tick......

Now that it's later... I'm blubbering over my keypad-- (hopefully salt water doesn't damage Apples.) The house is quiet. (Unless you count the sobbing.) Crickets are squeaking outside. The sky is lobelia blue. Nick has left. And everyone else has gone for the day. Except for Lulu. She is slumped at my feet-- saddened that her walking buddy has gone away. Hey, me too! Earlier, she nervously watched and sniffed every duffle, cardboard box, bedding, clothes, camera equipment, as they went out the door. Me? I watched too, alongside the dog, only I refrained from OCD jumping up 'n down and panting nervously as the last of his stuff got lugged out.

I wanted to though.

Third time is a charm. Phhhffff. Are you kidding me? It does get easier, true, but it's still NOT exactly charming. And okay O-K-A-Y... so Nick's only 45 minutes away in Boulder. I already know I'm a whimp, so no need to rub it in!! (Still friends?) It is what it is. "I yam what I yam," says Popeye. Hmmm, I wish I had some of Popeye's super strength right now. Hand me some spinach, would ya? (And a tissue, please?)

When family structure changes, it takes time to adjust. (I'm more like a comfy pair of slippers than I would like to admit.) From the movies we watch to our long debates about film directors on down to cooking pasta for three instead of... six. (What can I say, he likes my cooking.) And I adore his company.

All the emotion and commotion of "kids leaving for college" reminds me of labor pains. Some women swear up and down (mostly down) that giving birth, to them, doesn't hurt. And I believe them (sort of...maybe.) But, my point is, I want "them" to believe "me" when I say labor hurt "me" like h...&$%#^()*ouch !^%@%^snip!.^%???!! We all process life's passages differently. The end result finds us both smiling into the eyes of a remarkably charming boy or girl-- for about 18 years.


So. Once I've used up a couple quarts of tears, I find a diversion. And no, it's not the same as "stuffing your feelings." (Remember the tears?) Once we've acknowledged the sadness... diversion is a little blessing from the angels. I begin a new writing project or find a cluttered cabinet to clean. Or BOTH!

Soon after, it doesn't hurt anymore. In truth... after I'm metaphorically all stitched up... it's kind of liberating. Because through the discomfort, there is great joy in knowing my child is excelling and he's happy. What more?

So. I'm going to be okay.

We're ALL going to be okay.

And before I know it... I''ll be setting the table for four, once again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Well, do they?

Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever?

Hmmmm....wonder-wonder. My guess is, they do! They must! But then again, Cinderella, by Charles Perrault translated by Marcia Brown, did not, (not even mice!) Neither did Princess Daffodil in A.A. Milnes' The Magic Hill, (just a bunch of pretty flowers.) Two of my favorite storybook princesses by the way.

In real life we cherish our small, medium, and large moments with our friends. It's pretty much at the top of most of our to-do fun-lists. So, in my latest book, Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever? illustrated by the fabulous Mike Gordon, our everyday princess learns that she...whoops, well with only 250 words in the entire book, I better not give TOO much away. :O)

Coming Soon to a book or toy store or library near you.
Pre-orders available now at Amazon , Barnes and other favorite online stores!!

Special thanks to my little test group of awesome girlfriends for your input. (Aunt Jinnie, Thea, Sharon, Mary, Cindy)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Little words of wisdom...

In celebration of Annie's birthday month-- from the archives.

June 24, 1997

Nick and Annie were having a terrible argument concerning how they were going to play a rain forest game next to the climbing tree. Neither one of them would give in. So I entered the battle. Nick was SO mad he stammered with a red face, "Mommy, I feel like calling Annie stupid!!!" Then he quickly added. "NO, I feel like calling Annie butthead!!!" I said, "Well if you do, you will be in alot of trouble." That was when Annie responded in a quiet voice with, "I feel like saying to Nicky, 'I love you.' " I said, "Really" She nodded. I added, "Then tell him that." She turned to him with eyes alive, and said, "I love you, Nicky." He made such a face and then said, "Come on, let's play." And all was well... until the next time.

time FLIES...

A Tribute to a Home

August 10, 1997

The parting hour draws near. Another home awaits! And it comes complete with the life and character that one might expect from a forty-five year old honey-brick house. It is a charming place to be.

But soon we shall remove ourselves from the only home this little family has ever known. Eleven years in-residence. How will the disconnection affect us? Only a bit more time will tell. Oh- the children, Mike, and Molly-the-dog will be fine. The four cannot wait to browse the park of their own backyard. But I think that I shall kiss each and every wall of this home goodbye. Yes, I think I shall. Just as I did when I was seven and we were leaving New York for the wilds of the west.

Change is always a disconnection of sorts. Letting go is paramount. But I do not change or let go without a reason for the bittersweet. This home was the framework of our family. It was palette and canvas for my creativity. Many, many things have happened here.

Come the eve of August 17 the house will be free of all our treasures. It will be a shell of memories. I will tour the property one last time. Will I be able to hear the echoes of Nicholas's cries for an eleven o'clock, one o'clock, three o'clock (and on and on) feeding? Will I be able to hear a one-year-old Annie's Italian-like calls for her "mama mia?" They were babies for only an instant.

My hands will graze the handmade oak mantle that Mike constructed. I will remember how Nicky insisted on putting a candle in the fireplace so that Santa Claus would not be frightened. I, too, will wish for a candle this night. Will the memories be as keen without the cues??

Some of you may say, "Doesn't this woman have a camera, for cryin' out loud?" And I will say to them, "I have one, thank you very much." This is different.

Then I will kiss each and every wall of our home goodbye... I will walk through the entry one last time... and out the door. I have another canvas to tend to! And there are more memories to be made.

This disconnection is an opportunity to change... to let go. A beautiful door has closed... but another has opened!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Italian Peasant Woman

Isn't her pretty? I found her years ago-- hand casted and painted by a sculptor who lives in the Artic half of the year and Boulder the other. The lemons are mine. Depending on her mood, her basket is sometimes filled with nuts. Sometimes fancy soaps. Sometimes walnuts... or olives. She's fairly moody. (You can see it in her eyes... hmmmm?)

(there...just for you, Theeeeee.)