Baker’s Dozen Signing

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I thought I’d share a photo from the Baker’s Dozen signing in Boise a couple of weeks ago. Standing next to me is Robin Lee Hatcher. Sitting (from left to right) is Jan Hambright and Joanne Pence. The turn out for this signing was great! Thanks to all who stopped by to say hello.

Just Ducky

So we have a pond at our house. There are cat-tails surrounding some of it and in the summer, the frogs love to keep us up at night by croaking. There are moderately sized green frogs and then the large bullfrogs. We have a blue herron who comes around and eats the frogs so this is a good thing. There are large carp in this pond–they’re about two feet long. Then we have lots of blue gills and other fish. I don’t know what they are. Doves fly in at dusk to get drinks. We have quail (about 18 of them) who run by quickly to search for seeds along the shore. But the most prominent birds on the pond are the ducks.

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I’m no camera genius, but this was a sunrise one morning with the ducks on our pond with the sun coming up through the weeping willows. We have about fifty ducks a day who hang out at our house. For a while, five geese showed up. Our ducks are mostly Mallards, but now we have one American Coot (it looks like a duck, but it’s not) and eight Baldpates aka Widgeons.

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I absolutely love this duck–a baldpate. The coloring on its head is amazing. I like these fifty-plus ducks so much, I started feeding them cracked corn. They go nuts for it. Now when they see me, they come waddling out of the pond and are practically tame. The other morning, it snowed and when I went outside, this was the sight that greeted me.

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While this is all great, and it’s fun to be able to stand there and feed them while they are mere inches away, there is the downside . . . they now think our swimming pool is better than the pond. This doesn’t make my husband too happy. But you have to admit, this is one cool photo!

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What’s On Your Mind

This is an area for anyone to post what’s going on in their lives. It’s an off topic area to let it all hang out. Within reason. ;-)

My Space Or Yours

So, my stepson and I were contemplating putting up a My Space page for me and we have pretty much decided not to. My daughters have My Space pages and I periodically check out what’s going on in their lives. I know a few of their friends and when I read about the stuff they’re doi

ng, it’s like, “Does your mother know?!”

From what I’ve gathered, the object of My Space is to collect as many friends as you can. I don’t know a ton of people. My two dearest friends live in Florida and DC and neither would be interested in logging on to say they’re my buddy. Locally, my lady friends are from my church. We meet Wednesday mornings for our Bible study . . . and I’m not seeing them as posters on My Space.

That leaves the readers of my books to be my “friends.” Given it’s a challenge to keep my blog updated, I’d like to propose I nix the My Space deal, and we use the blog for any comments you have. I’m going to start a comment area for “What’s On Your Mind”. I don’t care what you post. Even if it’s the fact you’ve blown your diet again (I’ll be posting my “me too” right behind you), or the washer broke, or you don’t know what to get your great nephew for Christmas. Let’s use that thread as an off-topic for any of you to air your thoughts about books and life.

Ciao Italia – Part II

We spent a week at the Amalfi Coast of Italy, in a small town called Ravello. We stayed at the Hotel Caruso. The views of the water and lemon groves were postcard perfect.

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This is the coastal town of Amalfi. We had lunch on the wharf. This is also where we caught the ferr

y to Capri.

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Standing on the steps of the Catholic church in Amalfi. The bones of Andrew are buried underneath the church in a large crypt-like room. We were able to tour the room and listen to the history about the church.

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The spectacular coastal town of Positano. Remember the movie UNDER A TUSCAN SUN? I believe this is the beach where Diane Lane had lemoncello. That is one strong drink!

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This is a figure cast in stone at Pompeii. When the site was excavated, the bodies were hollowed out and a substance poured in form the body shapes. All the artifacts behind this body were discovered as well. Pompeii is preserved in ways that is unbelievable.

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This was a cistern in Pompeii. At one time, it was a part of someone prominent’s home. The tile colors haven’t been restored, nor has the coloring in the wall plaster. This was simply amazing.

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Our little town of Ravello where we stood on the top of the town square. It was on a hillside with a Catholic church. When you walked down these steps, there was an open market. We bought fresh olives, cheeses, crackers and a bottle of wine and sat on our private patio and ate lunch. The view from our room patio was of the ocean, and the hotel’s lush gardens.

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My husband knows I love to cook so he signed us up for a private cooking lesson with the Hotel Caruso’s 5-star chef. The other couple that took the class with us were from Minnesota. We learned how to make homemade pasta and a delish sauce. I’ll post the recipe in an upcoming blog. This chef Masimo (I’m sure I’m spelling that wrong) was on Italy’s top cooking show on TV.

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A view of the Hotel Caruso’s “infinity” pool. That means the railing where I’m standing goes straight down on the other side. You swim in this pool and the edge is a cliff that is a drop off into nothing but a lemon and grape arbor below. It was a bit freaky–but we loved swimming in here and enjoying the mountain and ocean view.

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This was one of the many “markets” in Italy. The selection of cheeses and meats are many and the quality is wonderful. We never ate so many delicious cheeses and we loved all the varieties of olives. The natural ones were actually the best.

Italy is truly a wonderful place to visit! We’d like to go again!

Ciao Italia – Part I

Throughout my writing career, I’ve had a propensity to write about Italian characters. I’m not sure why–I’m Swedish/Polish. Perhaps it’s because I love Italian food. This past May, I was able to travel to Italy for a romantic getaway. We had a fabulous time. The sc

enery and food were beyond description. The people were generous and kind. Loved all the olive and lemon trees. We never had a bad glass of wine, ordering the house red for, usually, less than five Euros.

Here are some photos of our trip.

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This is what I call two geeks at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The marble statue work was amazing.

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This photo doesn’t do the artwork justice. This is the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. We spent a day touring the Vatican with a fantastic American guide.

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This is us in the lobby of the Hassler Hotel. It’s where “Tom and Katie” had their wedding reception. An interesting story . . . So Greg and I go to use the business suite. He was going to check e-mail and I went in to see the results of the Indy 500. There were these two guys in there. They were gi-normous in beautiful three piece suits, good-looking men of color. We were like–oops, sorry to intrude. Mind you, this room was the size of a small walk in closet! They both said no problem. So here Greg and I sit using the computer and after the fact, we asked the bellman who those distinguished guys were. One was a body guard. The other . . . the President of Cameroon!

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This is the view from a restaurant called La Pergola. It’s at the Cavalieri Hilton in Rome. A reservation here should be made three months in advance. Thanks to my dear friend, Millie Criswell, for letting us know about this gem! XO

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This is us on the balcony of La Pergola, having a drink before we’re seated at our table. The dessert was a work of art. A sterling silver cabinet (about 5″ tall with drawers) was delivered to us by the chef, and each drawer was filled with a bite-sized candy, cake or chocolate.

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The incredibly beautiful Isle of Capri. The shopping was very exclusive and high end. We had a wonderful pizza lunch on a patio terrace and watched the street vendors below.

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The geeks are back! Us on a scooter on Capri. It was a blast to “putt-putt” around the island on that scooter. We got to see one end of it to the other. Gorgeous weather. So clear and to have the warm breeze on our faces.

To be continued . . . next up, the Amalfi Coast. I could die and go to Heaven in Ravello. It’s simply the most beautiful little town. Ciao for now!