"" Writer's Wanderings: November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Books for the Road

As a regular post, I will be suggesting some books to take along on your travels. Here is a great choice for your next getaway or just for curling up under a blanket next to the fire on a cold winter day.

Linore Rose Burkard promises a Jane Austen-type read in her recent release of Before the Season Ends and certainly fulfills that promise. With her plucky character, Ariana Forsythe, she pulls you into the story that takes place in 1813 Regency England.

Burkard's characters take you through an exciting, curious, and often smile inducing read as Ariana searches for the man God would have her marry. A little misguided at times, she finally finds the man of her dreams but must deal with the dilemma of loving a man who does not follow her Christian beliefs or choosing a 60 year old preacher who she knows holds to the same faith she does.

If you enjoy inspirational historical regency romance, this is a good read for you.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is just too good not to share. A few days ago I got a phone call that started with someone giggling. I never hang up on those until I check the caller ID. Sure enough, it was from our seven year old grandson, Tyler.

"Tee-hee. Grandma? Can you come and give my Daddy a spanking? Tee-hee-hee."

"A spanking? Why? What's Daddy doing?"
"Well, he's your son and he keeps teasing me."

"Yes, he's my son, but what's he doing?"

"He flipped me with his sock. And it smelled, Grandma! Tee-hee-hee."

"Tyler, is this a 1-800-Grandma call?"

"A what?"

"Never mind. But if your Daddy needs a spanking, you better call 1-800-Grandpa."

Guess I still subscribe to the "Just wait until your father gets home" threat. Tee-hee-hee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Go Bucks, Beat Michigan!!

It's that time of year again. And this promises to be a win for the Buckeyes. Of course, with Michigan, you can never be sure. But it is all fun and I'm looking forward to Beat Michigan Weekend!

As you can see below, we are always developing new Buckeye fans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sinter Klaas

While on our cruise, we dined each night with the same four people, two ladies traveling together and another couple, Pieter and Pam. Pieter grew up in the Netherlands and Pam is from Great Britain. When they discovered I'd coauthored a Christmas book, and I was excited to have found a church in Croatia dedicated to St. Nicholas, Peter began to share about the Christmas celebration in the Netherlands.

December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. In Holland, he is called Sinter Klaas (Santa Claus). He arrives in a boat dressed in his red bishop's robes along with his servant called Black Peter. When they come ashore, all the church bells ring. He then, on a white horse, leads a procession to meet the Queen in the palace.

The night before, December 5, children leave clogs or shoes out to be filled with gifts. Like our children who leave treats for the reindeer, the Dutch children also leave carrots for the horse. Black Peter is the keeper of the naughty-nice list.

Rather than the North Pole, Dutch tradition says that Sinter Klaas lives in Spain. I guess he prefers a warmer climate than our Santa.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last Port on the Cruise--Madiera

Well by now I was feeling really lousy with a cold and under the influence of decongestant, Nyquil, and Tylenol. I wasn't sleeping well and once we got on the bus for the tour, I just vegged out and dozed. These are the only pictures I got of Funchal, Madiera, which is an island off the west coast of Africa that belongs to Portugal. It is relatively near the Canary Islands.

They are famous for their Port wines but in my daze, I didn't quite understand all the intricacies they explained about how it is made.

From Madiera, the ship headed west to Fort Lauderdale. We spent seven days crossing the Atlantic (one more day than it takes the Cunard ships from NYC to Southampton). The cruise director's challenge in all this is to keep a little more than 1500 people happy and entertained. He did a great job. He's a PK (preacher's kid). I'm sure that had something to do with his knack of entertaining.

One of the activities was a contest to see who could guess our position each day at noon as we crossed the ocean. They held a class and instructed those interested in how to chart our course and calculate position based on speed, direction, etc. One of the things they didn't mention though was current and our tablemate, Pieter, who participated took that into consideration as well. He won! There was one day he was only off by a few kilometers. He also got up at 4 a.m. each morning to make his calculations so they would be more accurate. The map we're holding in the picture was signed by all the officers of the ship.

Finally, here is a shot of the two of us from one of the formal nights aboard ship. Our tablemate, Jean sent it to us. She's still taking pictures the old fashioned way but I love the picture. My husband of 40 years cleans up so nice!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Best Seller List

So, okay, it's not the NY Times list but it is exciting. Check it out. A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts made it to the top 100 list at Tower.com and this morning is #4 on the Holiday Bestseller list.

Whoohooo! Praise the Lord!

Snoopy dance is in order!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cruising on to Spain

We made three stops in Spain on our Mediterranean cruise. The first was Barcelona where we took a walking tour. The start of the tour was pretty funny. They handed us all Ipods with the recorded tour on it. It was a rough start for most people on the bus whose closest contact with an Ipod has been to watch their teenaged grandchildren plug them in.

When everyone finally got on the right channel and learned how to stop and start and adjust the volume, we were let out of the bus at the circle that is on the harbor end of Barcelona's main street, La Rambla. We circled around the statue of Columbus pointing to the new world and began our walk down La Rambla listening to our Ipod tour guide and watching for the landmarks. The tour was relatively easy to follow and we only had to back up and retrace a couple of times.

Barcelona was a wonderful European city with quite a different feel than the cities in France, Germany and Austria that we've visited. The Cathedral was the most interesting building but unfortunately there was some sort of special event taking place (we could tell by the TV camera men present and the limos with men who looked like body guards) and we couldn't get to see all of it inside. Guess that means we will have to return.

On our way back down La Rambla, the main pedestrian area had come alive with vendors, sidewalk cafes offering tapas, and lots and lots of mimes who truly wanted you to take their picture--for a fee, of course. It was all very entertaining and truly invites a return visit to spend more time tasting and taking in the sights.

Our next stop was Cartagena, where we wandered around on our own--sans Ipods. The town square was amazing as was the restful park area on top of the fortification wall that extends across the harbor area. We walked up to a vatage point that had some nice views and peacocks. We could see down into the ruins of an old Roman theater. Along the way we also ran into a couple of sections of a Roman road.

Cadiz was our last stop in Spain. We took an excursion to get a panoramic view and then went on to a winery that specialized in sherries. The airport in Cadiz was amazing. It is quite an architectural feat. The runway extends out over the ocean and there is a roadway below. It is quite a source of pride for Cadiz.

I was beginning to come down with a cold and most of the Cadiz tour became a blur. Bob had some time on his own in the city after we returned to the ship. He came back to our stateroom with a small bouquet of flowers to cheer me up. Now you can see why we've made it through 40 years of marriage. Awwww.

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