Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – where we are encouraged to share a slice of our life at “Two Writing Teachers”. I have been absent for a while – a need to take a break from blogging. I am ready to return though.


This past weekend, our city held its first “Street Art Festival” – for grafetti and chalk artists from around the world. Part of our downtown was closed off and along the river walkways huge tarps became canvasses for the artists.

From all reports, the streets and riverside walkways were packed. We missed the actual painting as the rain kept us indoors, but did not stop the artists.


But then some disgusting racist had to deface one of the paintings with derogatory words. Why do people have to be so depraved to show their ignorance? The town had to make the decision whether to leave the words or cover them up. The decision was made to leave them over the weekend, with a note”

This is an example of a hate crime that unfortunately happened last night.”


This afternoon, we wandered along the bridge over the river to look at all of the canvases. What stunning images. I took photos of most of them – my favourites were:

the chess game


And the dog.


It looked like the disgusting words had been covered up now.


The painting on the left.

I hope they charge the twisted individual(s).  So much hate in the world – and it has to touch this wonderful festival. I hope it will return next year.


“Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s” Review – Part of WOW Blog Tour

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Today I am part of the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour for Francie Healey’s new book – Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s.

My mother had been diagnosed with dementia in her mid 70’s, although she died of stroke at age 78. As I near 65, my concerns about stroke and dementia as well as about my own health issues (arthritis and stomach problems) are weighing more and more on me.

When I had the opportunity to read Francie Healey’s new book Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, I jumped at it. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was a fascinating, informative read. One that I plan to use to improve my own eating habits.

I was greatly impressed with her knowledge of the brain, how diet affects the brain and how to eat to improve brain health. Ther knowledge really affects everyone – not just the elderly.

Francie is well qualified to share this knowledge and provides it in an easy to understand manner. From a discussion about what Alzheimer’s is, to how it affects us, we learn some startling statistics about just how many will be affected in the years to come.

Then Francie discusses why a diet high in high-quality protein and fats, as well as complex carbohydrates is a necessity to brain health. I loved the quote she shared (pg. 31):

“Food can either be the slowest form of poison or the most powerful of medicines, but knowledge is power.”

Francine provides us with the knowledge we need to make changes to our daily diet, and gives us recipes  in the last section to incorporate healthy foods into our meals.

My daughter is vegan and has tried to convert me. I have tried and enjoyed many vegan dishes but I am still an omnivore though. I was encouraged to see recipes for fish and chicken included. There is a wide range of recipes to try – for the three meals of the day and for snacks – from eggs, salads, curries, baked dishes, sweets, as well as meat and vegetarian dishes. Many of the recipes include turmeric, a spice that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The recipes are easy to follow and provide nutritious meals to improve our health.

I loved the Sweet Potato Salad as well as the Quinoa Pumpkin Muffins. I am looking forward to trying many more recipes – from Black Bean Soup, Chicken Skewers to Seafood Curry and crab Cakes.

Easy to read, “Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s” is an excellent guide to understanding the brain and how to improve its health. Making simple changes and adding some healthy ingredients to our pantries can improve our overall health as well.

I highly recommend Francine’s book.

Francie Healey Book Cover

Summary: Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s offers a practical guide and an empowering tool to bring nourishing, healthful, and delicious food into the lives of people concerned about Alzheimer’s and other cognitive problems. Almost 9 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and the toll is rapidly increasing. This book will appeal to everyone concerned about dementia and memory loss in either themselves or a loved one.

Recent research makes clear that the impact of aging on the brain can be reduced by simple diet and lifestyle modifications. The delicious food choices and easy-to-prepare recipes in this book are based on the latest findings showing that they can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other conditions like it, or prevent them entirely.

Readers will gain the knowledge and tools to take charge of their health by incorporating tasty, healing foods into their diet. The information in this cookbook will be as relevant and useful 20 years from now as it is today. And the recipes will still be just as delicious.


Meet the Author:

Francie Healey Head Shot

Francie Healey is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Santa Fe, N.M. She specializes in the psychology of eating, helping people with health conditions to develop conscious eating habits and understand how food contributes to healing. Using her expertise to help clients manage cognitive decline through nutrition, Francie educates them on meal planning; the creation of simple, nutritious meals; and other keys to achieving a healthy relationship with food. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and is a Certified Health Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Find Francie Healey Online:



Twitter:   @FrancieHealey



Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s is available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble

 Paperback:  200 pages

Genre:  Cookbook
Publisher:  Terra Nova Books (June 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938288610

ISBN-13: 978-1938288616

Amazon Link: click here


Finding Love in Unimaginable Places – Blogging Tour

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Today I am participating in a group blogging event.
WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about finding love in unimaginable places.
Why this topic?  We’re celebrating the release of Michael French’s twenty-fourth novel. “Once Upon a Lie” (Terra Nova Books) is an exploration of the secrets families keep, and the ways those secrets can tear a family apart.

* ** * * * * * * * * * * * * **

This is a perfect day to take part in this event as it is my 14th wedding anniversary. It is also the perfect theme – finding love in unimaginable places.

In 200, I had been separated for two years and although I reached out to others on ICQ (an online community to meet people around the world), I had no real desire to get involved romantically with anyone, and de4finitely not remarry.
One night, the name “Lionheart” popped in the roulette section – you never knew what name would appear.
Since I love all things Medieval, I quickly sent a message. A man from my own province replied. For several weeks we messaged back and forth. One day though, I had had enough of ICQ and deleted all my contacts and stayed away for long while.
It was not until several months later that Bill saw me once again revisit the site, messaged me and we reconnected. This led to phone calls and finally to a first date.
It was a slow path to getting to know each other. We both were honest with each other, which I know may be a rare thing when meeting online. But within a year we would be engaged and a year later we would marry – at age 50.

wedding 001
Now, fourteen years later our love is strong and now that we are both retired, we aim to enjoy this new chapter in our lives.


Visit The Muffin to read what Michael has to say on finding love in unexpected places and view the list of my blogging buddies.

About Once Upon a Lie:

Twelve-year-old Jaleel Robeson is on the run after the police in his tiny Texas town try to frame him for the death of his father. A world away, Alexandra “Alex” Baten is growing up amid all the material comforts a wealthy Los Angeles lawyer can provide. One day, a simple cup of lemonade unites their lives, leading to a maze of adultery and murder that shatters Alex’s youthful innocence and Jaleel’s struggle to reshape his life.

While the forces of the law try to unravel the mysterious death―or at least find a scapegoat―the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again. Justice, Alex learns, can be a strange and nebulous thing, easily enmeshed in webs of loyalty and betrayal. Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful―but dangerous―rock on which to build a life of honor and courage. As their stories play out over the years in cities far apart, best-selling author Michael French fills the world of Alex and Jaleel with a cast of vivid characters both supporting and threatening their efforts to build a life that “works” amid the expectancies of others and their own conflicting drives.

About the Author:

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A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism, Michael French is the author of twenty-four books: adult and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptations, and gender studies. A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, a world traveler to developing countries, an activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools, which are some of the most challenged in the country.

Author Links:

Twitter: Pinterest

Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.


I touched on this during the March SOL – my love of fantasy and sci-fi – both in books and movies. For me, it is all about the mind behind the books. The creativity it takes to create new worldviews, new and different characters and unusual challenges. Sci-Fi especially, may present a positive spin on the future as well.

I just finished a freebie today from Amazon – “Dangerous Talents” by Frankie Robertson- and I loved it. It took me longer to finish as it was a very busy holiday weekend (entertaining, visiting Stratford to see “Macbeth”) I usually stay up way too late to finish a book but this time I got to savour it a bit longer.

I loved the Viking/Norse God connection (my mother’s family is from Norway) and the focus on discovering and using one’s talents. This novel had a fascinating new world and was well written.

As I looked back my reading log over the past several months, fantasy and romance predominated. Favourite romance writers are Sherryl Woods, Susan Mallery, Jude Deveraux, Robyn Carr and Susan Wiggs. One book in a series led me to finish the whole series – thank heavens for the library!

I never liked shifter fantasy novels but I’ve read a number in the past few months as well as a number of novels with dragons.

I have also read some great MG novels (the latest – “Small Medium at Large” by Joanne Levy), picture books and non-fiction (loved “Precious Cargo” by Craig Davidson).

I am well on my way to reading over 300 books this year – still lots of great books to read!

Right now I am reading/ juggling:

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (fantasy)

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (mg -one of my favourite authors)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (historical fiction)

From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir and More by Becky L. Povich (I won this memoir)


What books are you reading or recommend??


Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.


I was looking for inspiration today and found an old post by Aggie Kesler and the pattern she used really appealed to me.

Hello ~

I am many things – a wife, mother, retired teacher, a friend, a writer, an artist.

I keep my children’s artwork, reports, notebooks (and the youngest is 28), as well as cards, ticket stubs and other mementoes.

I love to read, flowers, playing cards and games, visiting new places, creating.


I like to bake, wander through thrift shops, take part in art and writing challenges, watch horse racing..

I wish I lived by water – to see sunrises, sunsets and storms over the water.


I need quiet in the morning and time with tea and a book after dinner.

I enjoy dancing, laughing, movies, time with family and friends

I think about all the work that has to be done on our house.

I try to seek positive solutions to problems and to learn something each day.

I always pray for my husband and children and for those who need it or ask for it.

Slice of Life Tuesday



Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”.

Reading Dana Murphy’s post yesterday (“Show Up and Do the Work”) on Kate DiCamillo and then watching Kate’s and Mr. Schu’s webcast was a godsend.

Kate DiCamillo is by far my favourite children’s author. There is so much power and heart in her novels. I have read and reread many of her books. What a joy it was to read her books to my students each year and see them caught up in her story-telling magic. “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” helped me heal after my mother’s death.

I have been stuck in a long writer’s block – allowing other’s words to stop me from writing with abandon. I have written some, but it feels like a chore.  I needed to hear Kate’s words and her advice.

I loved “Because of Winn Dixie” even after the fifth time. So it was refreshing to hear that Kate had at least four drafts and the first was so different from the published copy. I aim to explore her journey with this treasured book.

“There is magic in just showing up and doing the work.” Kate writes every day, even if it is nonsense. How freeing that is to hear. I just need to write and not worry about the end result. Just do it.

Kate is so right that reading does feed our souls. That has sustained me in this long drought.

I jot down ideas, but I don’t keep a notebook as Kate described. Her advice to keep all parts of oneself open – eyes, ears, heart – is wonderful advice. I need to do that consistently.

Thank you Dana for providing the link. Thank you Kate for the advice. I absolutely needed to hear it. You have eased my self-doubt.

ROW 80 Sunday Check-In


Today is Sunday check-in for ROW 80 – where accountability is there with the understanding that life comes first.

The past few days I have continued with baby steps -writing a bit each day and working on one pix book story to revise and edit.

I also enrolled in an online writing course through my local library and have worked on 2 lessons so far.

I participated in#pbpitch on Thursday and although I did not get any favs., it was still a chance to put myself out there.

Summer swimming starts tomorrow and I look forward to swimming at least 5 days a week.

All the best to everyone.



ROW 80 Mid Week Check-In



I have been, at best, sporadic in posting to ROW 80 the past month or so. I have as well had limited success with my goals, especially writing ones, which has also made me reluctant to post as well. A vicious cycle.

I had not planned to post yesterday, but reading Margo L. Dill’s post today, featured on WOW! (the Women on Writing blog) resonated deeply and I had to respond. Her first words had me hooked: “What’s the problem? Life is the problem.” She stressed as well that she felt she had “little direction” and was still in “survival mode” and still needs some “TLC”.

This past year and a bit has been a roller coaster of anxiety, fear, lack of faith in my writing, sadness. My husband’s health has had an enormous effect on my emotions, my routines and plans and especially on my writing. I’ve seen him through 2 surgeries, numerous visits to the hospital and long recoveries at home. He has been off work since February since his pace maker was implanted. Now he has found out it is too dangerous for him to go back to work and the company is placing him on disability til he retires in November.

Yes, that is good news as he can take the time to recover well. But we need to get better routines in place and I need to really give some priority to writing.

I have been lucky that I still have my escape of reading and creating art. That has most definitely helped. I will be attending a writing retreat for picture book writing in July and I am hoping that that will be the much needed boost to my writer’s self-esteem.

So I will go back to baby steps – try to write every day; work on revising the 3 pix books I am taking to the retreat and swim as much as I can.

Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”


Two days after the horrific killings in Orlando, and we are still trying to make sense of this deadly disaster.

This has been billed as a terrorist act – and yes it induced terror in all of us – but it was overwhelming an act of hatred and intolerance. Many have tried to  deny that – instead falling to the ISIS narrative that leads to seek reprisals against Muslims.

Yet, hatred for a group that has gained so many needed laws, is rampant around the world. Our religions all preach love, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance.

How can anyone call themselves Christian or Jewish or Muslim and deny any one person their right to dignity, love, acceptance?

How can anyone profess to be better than another?

How can anyone claim their way of life, their religion is better than any other?

How can so much hatred still spew forth – from politicians, religious leaders and others?

Fifty people were slaughtered, for believing that love should transcend all things. As Lin-Manuel Miranda said at the Tony’s “ Love is love is love is love is love”

Until we can all accept everyone as our equal – regardless of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation – we are doomed to a world of hatred, intolerance, war and death.


I’d like to share one last quote – from R.J. Palacio – from a letter she wrote to a school district over the disinvitation of a writer:

“The truth is, I’m tired of intolerance. I’m tired of the unkindness that breeds intolerance. I’m tired of the ignorance that fuels it and the fear that spreads it. We must all—authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, and school administrators—work together to stop intolerance in its tracks when we see it. Kindness can never grow where intolerance has taken root.”


Slice of Life Tuesday


Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”

I am now a horse owner – but without all of the work. I own 1/100th of a share in a lovely two year old filly. It was a bucket list item and now it has been achieved.


Saturday, my husband and I joined some of the other 80 or so owners at Fort Erie racetrack barns to meet our new filly. The group has just recently been formed by two former women jockeys, with the goal to race her at Woodbine.

There was a contest to name her and we learned Saturday that her new name is now “Queen’s Honor.” We got photos with her and met some of the other owners at a dinner. Quite a different adventure indeed.


There will be monthly meetings, newsletters  and a chance to watch her in the future. We are learning more each month.