What My Barista Taught Me This Morning

After purchasing 2 bags of my beloved French Roast, I asked the barista what they had currently brewed that had the most caffeine, as I felt my breakfast fix was already wearing off.

To my surprise, she informs me blonde roast has more caffeine!

“The darker the roast, the more caffeine is cooked out of the bean,” she tells me.

Who knew?!

Certainly not I, who adores espresso and brews my French Roast at home so strong it could eat the siding off a house. After a full pot of my brew, I can hear the phone ring through my skin!

I sipped the blonde roast on my way home, and I gotta say it’s not bad but I’m sticking with my French Roast. After a few cups of that, every cell in my body turns into a big yellow smiley face 😃.

The blonde roast is now a memory & I don’t feel any more buzzed than usual.

But surely the barista knows her stuff?

Guess I’ll find out if my phone rings within the next 30 minutes.

That time I accidentally flipped my mother off

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

As Summer slips away, I’m reminded of one early Lucille Ball Moment that occurred when I was probably 12 years old.

During August, my mother and I often spent evenings on lawn chairs gazing up at the darkened heavens, watching for falling stars.

Growing up on the North Dakota prairie, our nearest neighbor was my uncle Lyle’s place a mile away, and our back yard was affectionately called “the park,” complete with picnic table, swing sets, a merry-go-round and a teeter-totter. Life was so quiet and tranquil on the farm you could hear cows lowing in Canada–5 miles away!

So one summer night Mom had the idea that we sleep outside in the hammock, stretched between 2 tree trunks in the park. We brought pillows and blankets and placed our eyeglasses on the nearby picnic table before carefully mounting the suspended webbing.

We lie side-by-side, talking softly as we watched for meteor showers. Then Mom glanced over at the picnic table to find a cat sniffing our glasses that rested there.

“Oh, Peni,” Mom said. “The cat will knock our glasses off. Go chase it away.”

Always eager to please my mother, I leaped out of the hammock and shooed the cat away.

When I turned back to the hammock, mom was lying on the ground, on her back, the pillow still beneath her head.

I wish I could remember the quick, funny remark Mom made as she lie there. But whatever it was, it sent us both into a fit of giggles that to this day bring a smile to my face.

This summer was lacking in such moments, but the memory is a sweetly golden one I’ll treasure for years.

Meet Sister Authors Julie Bair and Susan Leininger!

Susan Leininger and Julie Bair

Taking creative advantage of the unusual situation we find ourselves in this year, sisters Julie Bair and Susan Leininger put their heads together and wrote a timely book for kids heading back to school, School Is Different This Year And That’s OK! Read below to learn about this creative duo!

1. Congratulations on the release of this timely picture book! What was the writing process like for the both of you— challenges, rewards?

Susan:Thank you so much!  Writing a book with my sister has been the best adventure! As we continued to talk through the back-to-school decisions we knew we weren’t alone facing this dilemma and this special book evolved.  Writing this book channeled all that unknown energy into creativity and we just had fun meeting the moment. The biggest reward besides doing this with my sister has been when a child comes up to me and says they like our book – that is the ultimate compliment. The biggest challenge was getting this book out in a timely manner.

Julie: Thank you! We are overwhelmed by the success of the book. People have been so supportive. The writing process was honestly a lot of fun! My sister and I wrote the book over FaceTime, phone calls, and text messages. We were struggling with back-to-school decisions for our families and this provided a relief from that anxiety. The most challenging part was writing our first book in under 30 days. Given the timely nature of the subject, speed was important. We learned a lot through the process and had a lot of fun doing it together!

2. On a scale of 1-10, how high would you say your concern about the threat of COVID contagion in school is?

Susan: I would say I am a solid 5 in my non medical opinion. I feel like they continue to be forward thinking and proactive and schools are doing an incredible job to protect everyone.  I also think because they continue to learn more everyday and it’s such a contagious virus that we have to do our part to protect one another outside of school.

Julie: I’m not a doctor and can’t put a number on it for you. I can say that the schools and educators are working very hard. It really comes down to the communities. Schools are a reflection of the community’s progress in managing it.

3.Can we expect more children’s books from you in the future?

Susan: We had so much fun writing this book and continue to get feedback that children enjoy reading about what is happening right now. I do think there are more stories to tell. 

Julie: We really enjoyed writing the first book. We are brainstorming ideas now and would love to write another one in the future!

4. Where can your book be purchased?

Susan and Julie: Amazon

September Book Recommendations

Yesterday my Willie’s Red Hat Women attended our first Book Discussion/Recommendation on Zoom. It was a lot of fun and we covered several different genres. Thanks especially to Leigh Ann, Queen of the Zoomers, for allowing the use of her Zoom Room!

LEIGH ANN’S RECOMMENDATIONS: The Boob Girls: The Burned Out Old Broads of Table 12 by Joy Johnson. After reading the first three sentences, Leigh Ann says she was hooked. There will be 12 books in this series about 4 women friends who live in a retirement home and their adventures. “Funny as hell!” Leigh Ann says. Leigh Ann also enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series.

BARBARA’S RECOMMENDATIONS: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Nicola Winstanly. “One of the best books I’ve ever read,” Barbara says of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, calling it “A book within a book.” Highly recommended! Barbara also enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars.

KARI’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Kari is a big fan of Nora Roberts and mentioned several titles and trilogies she enjoyed by this author. She even enthusiastically mentioned the author’s very first novel, The Irish Thoroughbred.

CHRISTINE’S RECOMMENDATIONS: Christine recommends the Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters. She also enjoys Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher Series. Christine is looking forward to meeting this Australian author sometime next year!

PENI JO’S RECOMMENDATION: I had read Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight a few years ago but found it so fascinating I had to recommend it. The author, a neuroscientist, maintains her awareness while suffering a stroke, and knows exactly what part of the brain is being affected as it’s happening.

Our next book discussion/recommendation is scheduled for October 12, 3pm Eastern time on ZOOM, open to Red Hat Zoomers but I will post the recommendations here on my blog for all to read later.

Happy reading all!

Meet Author J.E. McDonald!

Canadian J.E. McDonald blends humor and wit with paranormal romance. Read on to learn about this exciting author!

  1. Congratulations on the release of your novel, Ghost of a Gamble. Where did you get the inspiration for your work?
    Thank you! This particular book began with my research of unusual jobs. The more I learned about ghost hunting, the more intrigued I became and the more I knew I needed to have it as a strong element within the story. And since I love playing with opposite personality types, I had to pit my broody, ghosthunter main character with a bubbly skeptic to watch the parks fly.
  2. How would you describe your writing style?
    All my writing is character-driven, punchy, and to the point. I love playing with witty dialogue, humour, and steamy love scenes. Readers will see those elements running through everything I write.
  3. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of being a writer? The most fulfilling?
    The most challenging thing is finding time to write. Every writer knows we need to be a little bit selfish with our writing time, but luckily I have a very supportive family who helps out with that.
    Holding my debut book in my hands for the first time was extremely fulfilling. So much goes into the process of creating a book, and seeing the finished product, hearing that people enjoyed it, makes everything worthwhile. I’ll never get tired of hearing people say they couldn’t put my book down!
  4. Ghost of a Gamble appears to be the first in a series, The Wickwood Chronicles. When can we expectBook 2 of this series?
    It is! Ghost of an Enchantment comes out early spring 2021. It centers around a witch we meet near the end of the first book, Stella, and I can’t wait to share her story with the world.

The ROSe Project

After gleefully posting on Facebook that I got my RHS queenship, I was immediately attacked by a member of my basically-defunct and not-legit group calling me « childish and rude » for not telling them about it first.

Until I smudged that uncalled-for negativity away, I felt icky, but now I’m all fresh & shiny again!

Watching a video on YouTube, I heard someone call someone else a POS (a piece of 💩).

More negativity!

I’d rather be called a ROS ( ray of☀️sunshine)!

💡 💡 💡

Since my RHS chapter will focus on positivity, I decided to utilize ROS energy by tacking on a small e on the end. And voila! I created the ROSe 🌹 project!

If anyone has encouraged you, assisted you, supported you in any way, they were a ROSe, as are you when are also kind and compassionate to others.

My little ROSe 🌹 project isn’t just for my Willie’s Women Chapterettes, so please feel to share any anecdotes you may have about when you have encountered a ROSe 🌹 or were one for someone else.

Whenever you can, be a ROSe!🌹

Lucille Ball Moment # 246

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday evening while Dave crossed the street to speak with a neighbor, I finished my nightly routine by putting my jammies on, arranging my pillows and climbing into bed with my iPad for some Netflix watching. Lily, always happy to join me at bedtime, perched herself on the dresser and washed her pristine white fur. I rested the iPad at an unfortunate angle on Dave’s pillow (wherein lies yet ANOTHER tale, but that’s for another time), but even more unfortunately, the head of the bed was about 2inches from the wall.

Predictably, the iPad slid off the pillow only to rest between the wall and the mattress.

For someone of normal size and with knees lacking arthritis, this would not pose a problem.

I reached between the wall and mattress, and my fingertips just brushed the errant iPad.

Thinking I could reach it better from a different angle, I gingerly abandoned the bed and, avoiding putting pressure on my aforementioned painful knees, rested on my side on the floor between the bed and my dresser.

Alas, the iPad was even further from my grasp.

Sitting up, I could not hoist myself to my feet without putting pressure on my knees, and with Dave nowhere near earshot with only Lily observing me from the dresser with a curious look on her face, I decided my best option was to scoot out of the bedroom, into the hallway and to the landing until I got to the stairway. Afterwhich, I would pull myself up from the banister.

With all the grace and poise of sea lion, I proceeded to do just that.

Not knowing when Dave would return (and he hadn’t taken his phone with him), I wrote on a sticky note, I Need Help, and added a smiley face just so he’d know it wasn’t a serious “call 911” type of matter. Then I place the sticky note on the front door above the knob so he’d be sure to see it when he returned.

But he stayed away longer than expected, so I decided to try once again to reach the unobtainable iPad. So I clambered up to the bedroom, and carefully laid myself prone on the mattress.


My fingertips made precarious purchase on the wayward iPad, and I was able to retrieve it after all!

Of course now the Post-It note was moot, so I once again descended the stairs and removed the distress note from the door.

A few moments later while sitting up in bed with the iPad securely in hand, I heard Dave return.

After 34 years, he’s used to my frequent Lucille Ball Moments, and in his sweet, low-key way, just smiled and shook his head after I told him about this latest incident.

So the lesson I learned here was; make sure the mattress is as close to the wall as possible, but keep in mind that should I find myself in a similar situation ever again, I can get myself out of it with no assistance.

And next time Dave leaves the house, make sure he takes his damn phone!

I’m a RHS Queen!

As they say, I did a thing.

After being a Red Hat Society Member for over a year, I paid the extra $19/year and became a Queen. Not only that, I’m creating my own Chapter!


Well, I joined a chapter last year, but was disappointed to learn that our Queen let her Queenship lapse and the chapter wasn’t an official one. I was told nobody else in the “chapter” was a paying Red Hat member and it was suggested that the presently-defunct’s Queen shouldn’t have to pay her own dues but that the members should reimburse her for it. My question was Why? I’ve paid for MY membership.

So I am bidding that unofficial chapter adieu and have created Willie’s Red Hat Women. And can you guess who our official Mascot is?!

I only applied for my chapter yesterday so I’m waiting for it to become official so I have established a private Facebook group. We have 3 members already!

Although I am an author, I’m not promoting The Puritan Chronicles on my RHS page; that’s what my author page is for. However, Willie’s Women will promote reading and book discussion, as well as friendship. With Willie for our Mascot, this chapter will also promote positive body image. And FRIENDSHIP! And LAUGHTER!

I’m so excited about this and just BRIMMING with ideas for my new chapter!

This is the brightest, cheeriest development of 2020 for me!

Meet Health Expert Tricia Silverman!

If you’re looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, Tricia Silverman has you covered! Read on to learn about this knowledgeable author!

  1. Congratulations on the release of Healthy Dividends: Investments in Nutrition, Movement, and Healthy Habits that Pay Off   last October.  What makes your dietary advice stand out from similar publications?

Thank you so much! Rather than have one approach to wellness, my book is a buffet of options and ideas for people to consider, and then to embrace the ones that resonate with them. I see people as wellness puzzles. Everyone is unique, and to feel their best, we need to figure out if they are missing any pieces. For example, when people are looking to lose weight, one person may be eating too much junk food, while another may be consuming too much alcohol. Someone else may be eating too much healthy food, and  just need to work on portion control. In the book I share many stories that serve to inspire people, and get them looking at their health from different perspectives.

2.Can you define NuTricia’s Way of Eating?

A NuTricia’s Way of Eating is a balanced style of eating that promotes foods and nutrients needed to feel your best physically and mentally. After looking at the government recommendations for healthy eating in the US and Canada, I also researched how people eat in cultures of longevity, where people live long healthful lives, and came up with my own healthy eating icon called the NuTricia’s Plate. The plate is a helpful representation of what to put on your plate at meals. Half of the plate is vegetables, one quarter protein rich foods, and one quarter whole grains or starchy vegetables like potatoes. Additionally, having three different fruits a day, along with healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, can boost your immune system, and contribute to healthy skin, amongst numerous other health benefits.

A NuTricia’s Way of Eating also encompasses eating foods closest to their source, such as choosing oranges rather than orange juice, and doing your best to eliminate food additives and preservatives, and highly-processed foods. This is also known as a “clean” way of eating. Be wary of food ingredients on the food label that have names you don’t recognize, or can’t pronounce. I have a mantra: “If you can’t read it, don’t eat it.”

3. Which contributes more to poor health in America; poor diet or sedentary lifestyle?

I would have to say it’s definitely a combination of the two, and the two feed into each other. If you have a poor diet, you may feel sluggish and more sedentary. If you are more sedentary, you may be eating at the computer, while reading, or watching tv, and this can lead to poor food choices and overeating. Exercise or as I like to call it, movement, can help to give you energy. And some movement is better than no movement. Moving your body can enhance your executive functioning, strengthening your brain power, which can fuel better nutritional choices, and the decision to move your body again. If someone is sedentary I ask them to make just a 5 or 10 minute commitment to take a walk, or get on a treadmill, so they can get into that movement pattern, without feeling they have to give up a lot of time. It sets the stage for a good habit to form, and they can keep adding time to their walks. Small commitments lead to huge gains in wellness over time. I call this, “Breaking the Ice on Your Exercise.” Once you break the ice, it’s easier to do these healthy habits again, and for a longer time. A jumpstart is all that’s needed. And a 5 minute walk today can be that jumpstart.

4. Can we expect more books to follow Healthy Dividends?

For sure! I am working on a course, first, based on Healthy Dividends. I have a lot more to say, as each day goes by I am learning new things, meeting new people with interesting stories, and discovering more about myself and my clients. I am open to suggestions for the next book because my mission is to help people, and I want all of my books to make a difference.

The Mascot, the Icon and the Aspiration

Although at times it can be scary contemplating the future (especially in this post-Covid world), I am buoyed by 3 aspects of my own personality, represented by 3 very differing archetypes.


Childhood Saturday mornings were spent staring and the test pattern in its shades of gray until 6am when cartoons came on. Always a fan of Looney Tunes, Daffy was a favorite character. After hitting adulthood, I embraced Daffy as my personal mascot, reminding me to be silly and never take myself (or anyone or anything) too seriously.


I’ve blogged about my beloved icon before so I won’t repeat myself here, other than to reiterate that this paleolithic masterpiece speaks deeply to my soul, teaching me to find beauty in my own aging, plus-sized body as well as in the bodies of others who don’t fit the social standards of physical perfection.


This Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion is imbibed with a gentleness I aspire to. While Willie represents Mother Earth and abundance, Kwan Yin is more ethereal. She’s the image of serenity and benevolence I aspire to.

So those are my Big Three. I’ve adorned myself with jewelry, clothing and tattoos of each one. Their likenesses can be found all over our house. It makes me happy to look at them, and reminds me that despite all that’s wrong in this world, I can always find solace and in my archetypal support system.