Friday, January 15, 2021

Why our Christmas tree is still up


The short answer is "because we're still enjoying it."

But there is, of course, the long, longer, and longest version. 

 As my friend Michael used to say to me, "can't you please, for once, give us the Reader's Digest version of this story?!"  Lord A Mercy, I do miss Michael Dean.


I like to read in bed.

Some days, I'll read all day (have I mentioned how much I love being retired?).

And no, I rarely feel guily about it.

I'm 72 years old.  I started working when I was 16.  

Feel Guilty?    Pfffftt.

Guilt is for other people - not me.  Certainly not for something as benign as spending a day reading in bed.

While I'm reading in bed, this is what I see when I look up - 

And it has brought me comfort.

This has been a very hard year for everyone.

Taking pleasure in small things has been life-saving.  And I do not say that lightly

And I have taken enormous pleasure in our small  pink tree.

There are dozens of symbols related to Christmas trees and every family has their own traditions when it comes to Christmas trees; some based on religious practices, some purely secular, and some based simply on when busy families find the right time for them to do whatever it is they feel like they want to do that particular year.

We would have normally taken it down and put it away by this time but this year.  And I did think about that every single day beginning on January 1, which is when we normally pull out the boxes and packing up.

The few Christmas sit-abouts we put out are back in their hiding places.

But this tree -   -   -   -

This tree has been a joy this year.  If I have to pick one word as the symbol it represents to me this year it would be "hope."

The plan to put it away on January 1 came and went.

It was still a comfort.

And then January 6th happened.

We watched with disbelief as people started streaming into The Capitol building.

The disbelief became fear and sadness and anger as it became clear this was not a normal legal protest.

These were criminals.

Thugs and punks.

Intent on doing harm.

As the days go on we learn just how intent they were.

As inconceivable as it sounds, it could have been so much worse.

This mob failed in that regard.

They didn't get to hang Mike Pence.

They didn't get to shoot Nancy Pelosi in the head.

Those were words heard, and recorded.  

Words spoken by American citizens in this mob invited to Washington, D.C. by donald trump.  Those damning words were also recorded; "the president invited us!"

Invited to do harm. 

While we were watching the violence on TV, so was the president of this United States.

They didn't do as much harm as they wanted.

They say they're coming back.

If they do and the havoc they plan on wreaking is still in our future.  It could all start playing out today and possibly last at least through Inauguration Day.  

But the sad age of trump isn't going to go away anytime soon. 

He spent years fomenting violence, turning over rocks to reveal the scum living under them, inviting that scum to show the world their worst selves.  They have no plans to go back under those rocks.

We can only hope that the good and decent overcome.

We can only hope for the safety of the good and decent.


Our plan, right now, is to leave the tree in place until Joe Biden is safely in office.

Trump was impeached for inciting insurrection.  IF convicted (fingers crossed!), maybe we'll put up another tree and and cover it with our own symbols of hope and beauty and things we love.

We'll call it our Tree of Hope.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

January 2021 Newsletter

Friday, January 8, 2021

It was not a protest.


It was a riot.

An insurgence.

New and increasingly horrible facts continue to be revealed.  



 I think we need to be prepared to hear more about the extent of complicity.  

Those people who were dressed foolishly and talk with southern drawls? 

They were, unsurprisingly, underestimated in their desire to do murderous damage, not just leave a bit of shameful destruction.  

People just don't understand that because they believe they're using a group of people they believe they're superior to, that those people aren't, in return, using them. 

They're used to being underestimated and referred to as yahoos.  And, of course, many of them are.  

However,  IMO, as disgusting as those punks are, some of our very own congressmen dressed in their expensive suits are every bit as disgusting.  

Every bit as dangerous.  Just sneakier.  

Don't underestimate their ability to be the ones to attempt to pull the final switch on our democracy. 

The days to come will reveal the well-dressed as well as the foolishly and poorly dressed monsters under our bed.  

Some, sadly, might be wearing uniforms.  Leaving us to forever wonder who we search for when we need protection. 


Let's not forget that this is a demographic who, supposedly, believe in the philosophy behind Blue Lives Matter.  

That said, it should be hard for them (as it is me) to watch the video of the police officer being crushed in a door in The Capitol. I don't believe it is.  

Hard for them to live with the fact that they were part of a group causing the death of a police officer by beating with a fire hydrant.  i don't believe it is.  

They're heartless monsters.  

Time for Trump supporters to admit their loyalties have nothing to do with making this a better country.  

It's loyalty to nothing.  


Self-serving bullshit.  

That's all it is.  

I think we need to be prepared for more riots of this sort.  And we need to remember Trump and his enablers have blood on their hands.

And they don't seem the least bit bothered.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Another day, another Republican/trump Drama


In my humble opinion, the GOP splits apart and implodes as a few B-List attention whores show us they would rather lick trump's boots than honor their oaths of office.

They raise their fists and declare themselves the party of law and order.

With NO evidence they continue screeching about a stolen election, while some of these idiots won their seats on the same ballot trump lost on.

They support a cornered rat named trump as he calls on a bunch of ragtag ignorant rednecks who love their guns to come to DC for a "wild rally," i. e. A Riot against democracy.

They're supporting violence against the 81 million of us who voted for the man who legitimately won the election.

And when Jan 20 rolls around, trump will be just another punk facing charges that should land him in prison.

And these phony congressional "representatives" will still be B-List attention whores believing in nothing except their own brand of success; lining their pockets and reaching for power with no thought given to the people they're supposed to be working for.

Not a care for the American citizens who are, right now, suffering.

If COVID doesn't kill us, it can leave us with devastating after-effects, including financial situations leading to empty bank accounts and the loss of homes.

The lack of guidance or concern of our own government has led to unnecessary deaths from COVID and the loss of jobs and homes.

But hey, it's okay.

Not a single member of congress will ever have to worry about being homeless.

Or hungry.

Or feeding their kids.

Or their healthcare.

And they will actually be able to retire.


The Republican party will still be around, but it won't be able to ever again refer to its self as the party of law and order, or the party of family values - WHAT a laugh!

They're gonna have to work real hard to even be seen as a party with an ounce of honest credibility rather than a bunch of jackleg clowns and crooks.

And, in regard to the tape released today. You know the one I'm talking about . . . You can listen here - 


I think Dan Rather has summed it up quite nicely -

January 20 cannot get here soon enough.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Cookies at Dawn

Sometimes when my mom can't sleep she'll read all night.

And I'll keep her company.

And sometimes we'll watch the sun come up.

And eat cookies.

Dad too.

My hoomans are . . . odd.

And sometimes they keep strange schedules.


I wouldn't live anywhere else in the whole wide world than right here with my two favorite peeps.

2020 was a tough year.

I'm glad the three of us made it through healthy and hope we continue being healthy.

And here's to a New Year, a new president, and some nights when we'll all be able to sleep again.

Here's to 2021,




Thursday, December 31, 2020

Books Read in 2020

Here's my annual "Books I Read" post.

If you're wondering about what sort of order they're in, the book at the top is the most recent book read.  Some are Advance Reading Copies I was lucky enought to receive, so may not be available just yet - but worth the wait!

Mixed in with the books is some "book art" I like.

There were periods of time during the past year when books just were not holding my attention.  

Then there were periods when I needed the escape and would read two books a day.  

And it hasn't been all that unusual for me to read until the sun comes up.

Sleep has been elusive for me during 2020.

I read quite a few books, again this year, about Paris. 

I have done a lot of day dreaming and wondering when we might be able to visit Paris again.  Reading about it is the next best thing.  

Those books, besides being listed here, have also been included in my Paris Reading List -

I've highlighted my favorite books read in 2020 in purple.  

Choosing my faves was an almost impossible task, truly.

And probably I would not have done it if not for the fact that I had invited a group of women friends to share their 2020 favorites.

That said, I chose a few figuring if they could do it, by golly, so could I!

That's not to say that tomorrow I might not choose different ones.

And that is simply because I truly loved every book I've included here.

However . . . 

It IS fairly easy for me to say

my most favorite book of 2020 was 

Louise Penny's 

* * *


Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman (which I wish everyone would read)  
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
A Promised Land by Barack Obama

The Essence of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis
The Proposal by Tasmina Perry
The Skeleton at the Old Painted Mill by Celia Miles 
The Bookstore on the Beach by Brenda Novak

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews
The House of Dreams by Kate Lord Brown
The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
The Struggle is Eternal - Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation by Joseph R. Fitzgerald

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson, Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley

The Haunting of Brynn Wilder by Wendy Webb
The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor
The Awakening by Nora Roberts
The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers

Lost in Lavender by Lise McClendon
Dead Flat: A Trilogy by Lise McClendon
Bolt From the Blue by Lise McClendon
Blame It On Paris by Lise McClendon

The Frenchman by Lise McClendon
The Things We Said Today by Lise McClendon
Give Him the Ooh-la-la by Lise McClendon
The Girl in the Empty Dress by Lise McClendon

Blackbird Fly by Lise McClendon
Friends From Home by Lauryn Chamberlain
What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton 
Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Never Far Away by Michael Koryta
The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas
A Time for Mercy by John Grisham
The Searcher by Tana French

Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin
The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville 
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
The Grand Louvre: From the Fortress to the Pyramid by Catherine Chaine

Lost in Paris by Elizabeth Thompson
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
The Last Tiara by M. J. Rose 
The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

Ink and Shadows by Ellery Adams 
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams 
Watch Her by Edwin Hill 
The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester

The French Widow by Mark Pryor
The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry 
The Chocolatier by Jan Moran
The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Cold Wind by Paige Shelton 
Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb
We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida 

The Last Correspondent by Soraya M. Lane 
The Woman Outside My Door by Rachel Ryan 
The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous 
The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

Every Now and Then by Lesley Kagen 
Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine 
The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel
The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly 

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson 
The Lakehouse by Joe Clifford 
The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill
Little Comfort by Edwin Hill

Believe by Julie Mathison 
My Life as a Villianess: Essays by Laura Lippman
All the Missing Pieces by Julianna Keyes 
The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Ten Women by Marcela Serrano
Outsider by Linda Castillo
The Push by Claire McGowan 

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth 
The Best Part of Us by Sally Cole-Misch 
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose
The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins 
Cartier's Hope by M. J. Rose
Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose
Dark Hollows by Steve Frech 

The Cookbook Club by Beth Harbison 
Deep Into the Dark by P. J. Tracy 
The Silence by Don DeLillo 
The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase 

Margreete's Harbor by Eleanor Morse 
Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana de Rosnay 
The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris by Evie Gaughan
Insidious Intent by Val McDermid

Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom
A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore
Do Not Go Gentle, Go to Paris by Gail Schilling
Riddle Island by Steve Hamilton

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little 
The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin Harper 
No Woods So Dark As These by Randall Silvis 

A Long Way Down by Randall Silvis
Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis
Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis
Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams 

One Night in Paris by Juliette Sobanet
All Girls by Emily Layden 
The Wizard's Butler by Nathan Lowell
The Heat Wave by Kate Riordan 

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand 
Dance Away With Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam 

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
Hidden Lake by Ruhi Choudhary 
The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
The Last Piece by Imogene Clark 

Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst 
The Lost Manuscript by Cathy Bonidan 
Their Last Secret by Rick Mofina 
Hideaway by Nora Roberts

The Shore House by Heidi Hostetter 
The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson 
The View From Here by Hannah McKinnon 
The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman 

Hide Away by Jason Pinter
Someday in Paris by Olivia Lara
Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan by Deborah Reed 
Whale Day by Billy Collins

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Seven Days in Summer by Marcia Willett
What You Don't See by Tracy Clark 
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin
Enchantment, The Life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman 

Force of Nature by Jane Harper
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Dry by Jane Harper
Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay 
The Alchemist's Illusion by Gigi Pandian
The Elusive Elixir by Gigi Pandian
The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian
The Lost Gargoyle of Paris by Gigi Pandian
The Sea of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman
Grace's Table by Sally Piper

The Bride by Wendy Clarke 
Carpe Glitter by Cat Rambo
A Tender Thing by by Emily Neuberger
The Missing Sister by Elle Marr 

Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling 
The Book of Hidden Wonders by Polly Crosby 
The Safe Place by Anna Downes 
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis 

The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan 
The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King 
Touchstone by Laurie R. King

The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly 
Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer 
Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett 
The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards 

The River Home by Hannah Richell 
Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger 
The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake
South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber 

The Paris Hours by Alex George 
The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal 
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner 
Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews 

Dead Man's Mistress by David Housewright
Like to Die by David Housewright
What the Dead Leave Behind by David Housewright
Stealing the Countess by David Housewright

Unidentified Woman #15 by David Housewright
The Devil May Care by David Housewright
The Last Kind Word by David Housewright
Curse of the Jade Lily by David Housewright

Highway 61 by David Housewright
The Taking of Libbie, SD by David Housewright
Jelly's Gold by David Housewright
Madman on a Drum by David Housewright

Dead Boyfriends by David Housewright
Pretty Girl Gone by David Housewright
Tin City by David Housewright
A Hard Ticket Home by David Housewright

From the Grave by David Housewright 
The Moon Always Rising by Alice C. Early 
All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale
Perfectly Famous by Emily Liebert 

Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale 
The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis 
Golden in Death by J. D. Robb
Blood and Brume by Maki Morris

A Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke 
Crooked River by Preston & Child
It Started With a Secret by Jill Mansell 
Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman 
On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe 
The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Cohen 
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles 

All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig , Karen White
The Vacation by T. M. Logan 
Lake Life by David James Poissant 
The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland
The Housekeeper by Natalie Barelli

The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle 
Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle 
Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman 

Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley
The Stranger's Wife by Anna-Lou Weatherley 
Last Day by Luanne Rice 
Cosy, The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir