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It all started closer to thirty-five years ago when I met this black-belt in karate class.  He was a brute, able to break cinder blocks with his head. Yes, I guess you could say he’s hard-headed. 😉 And when we sparred, I’m sure he could have killed me…

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But happily, he fell in love with me instead!

We had quickly become friends, and that friendship gradually developed into so much more. We fell in love. We got married.

And the wonderful thing is, we are still friends.

We have celebrated many anniversaries since then–well this is the thirty-third so I guess that’s obvious;)–and there have been many surprises along the way. Of course there are the kinds of everyday surprises, good and bad, but I think more good than bad, BUT Lee has also given me some special anniversary surprises… Like gathering family and friends at Coombs for our 25th

And then there was the time our bestest friends, Bev Stiffler Smith and Michele and Wendell Harper drove all the way down to the beach to help us celebrate our 30th. I had no idea they were coming until they showed up. These people sure do know how to keep a secret!

Dinner at Sunset Grill
Lunch

Our thirty-three years of marriage have been filled with fun and adventures, and we’ve traveled to places I never thought I’d see…

South Africa
London
Paris
Rome
Cliffs of Moher

The travel has been amazing–neither of us was a world-traveler–but half the fun was in the planning and anticipation. In this our thirty-third year of marriage we had planned trips back to two of our favorite places–Hawaii and South Africa–but we, like everybody else, did not travel this year. We spent all those months together–just the two of us–and that was okay. I was recently thinking how miserable that time could have been if we didn’t get along well–if we didn’t like each other. But we do. Hallelujah!

And I am grateful!

This final picture I will borrow from my husband–who by the way is about half the man he used to be after losing weight and getting so svelte–because this is the perfect then and now.

Happy Anniversary, Lee!

As we headed to our place in Lewes, DE, I texted my sister that we were on the road again, heading to the beach house.

“Have fun!” she said.

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Well, I knew there would be lots of work involved–at least for my hubby as he would be installing new flooring–but was sure we’d work in some fun as well.

We arrived late that afternoon, went for the necessary groceries, settled in, and had a good dinner. After dinner, Lee decided to remove a little of the old carpet in a hall closet that backs up to the laundry room.

That’s when the fun began.

I don’t recall his exact words, but it was something like, “Uh-oh!” Much of the floor under the carpet was black–not good. It was obvious there was water damage, and further investigation revealed water had been leaking, probably for years before we purchased the property, and this was not going to be an easy fix.

Our water damage

The next day was a nightmare that began with Lee having to rip out large sections of both the floor and walls in the closet, laundry room, and even a small area of the living room. The more he dug into the problem, the more he saw how much needed to be done to rectify it.

After a trip to Home Depot (which would be the first of many), he began work on fixing the leaks–replacing things like pipe, elbows, couplings, shut-off valves, etc. Step one – Shut off the water. Done!

And the water nightmare began!

With the water SHUT OFF, it continued to flow out of the pipes he was working on. How could that be you say? We were told later that we must have a faulty shut-off valve.

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So meanwhile, Lee was faced with the dilemma of repairing, replacing, etc. while water continued to flow. There was much hurried switching and emptying buckets and bowls of water from down under the floor as my husband problem solved and somehow got it done. This was at least two to three hours of craziness.

But my superman husband got it done!

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Friday was at least a twelve-hour work day, then finally sitting down to a late dinner and bed about an hour earlier than would be typical for us.

The next morning, I awoke to the sound of hammering at 6:20 a.m.

Lee had been up for hours, and work began early and continued for another twelve plus hour day. “Are we having fun yet?” I asked at one point. He said yes, and we both had to laugh. It amazes me the good humor my husband has kept through all this back breaking work. But thank goodness I am married to a Jack-of-all-trades (I swear, he can figure out how to fix anything), and things are looking up.

The floor and walls are almost all rebuilt, and the real work of laying the new luxury vinyl tile flooring will begin today. This will be so much nicer and easier to keep clean than carpet in the beach house. And who knows…

Maybe we’ll even get to the beach one day soon!

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So, how’s your weekend going? I’d love to hear.

684CatccGloria

Backyard Visitors

We have always had birds in our backyard of course, but this summer we have had a wider variety and closer encounters than in the past.

My hubby, Lee, put the birdfeeders closer to the house and keeps them filled and the birds happy. Well not just the birds…

So yes, we have these bushy-tailed guys stealing our birdies’ food every chance they get, but we also have lots of our feathered friends.

The red wing blackbird

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Photography by Lee Bostic

The red wing blackbird is one of my new favorites. This guy is one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds in North America and is easily recognized by its black body with a conical red shoulder patch surrounded by yellow in most species. He is quite vocal, and I love his voice.

The bluebird

Bluebird

Photography by Lee Bostic

One of almost everyone’s favorites is the bluebird. They prefer platformed birdfeeders containing mealworms, but we have enjoyed this beautiful visitor who stops by our feeders from time to time.

The downy woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker

Photography by Lee Bostic

 

Male Downy Woodpecker

Photography by Lee Bostic

 

My husband captured these pictures of a female and a male downy woodpecker. I had never seen this smallest of the woodpeckers before–well I am a city-girl after all–until Lee put this feeder in our yard. I love watching them.

The Cardinal

It’s so pleasant to look up from my writing and see the bright red cardinal, too. His lady friend, though more subdued, is also lovely. Did you know that the colonists named this a cardinal because the red crest reminded them of the Catholic cardinal’s biretta?

There are times when I try very hard to keep my attention on my writing, but then all of a sudden…

dug-squirrel

I am convinced I’m keeping my neighbors entertained with my squirrel chasing, but what can I say? They can be real little squirrel pigs! And apparently, the word is out because they’re coming in groups now. So I make frequent visits to the door… or out to the deck… or sometimes all the way out in the yard to shoo them away. They no longer scamper away as soon as they see me. As a matter of fact, they sometimes give me a look that says,

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“Seriously lady, if you don’t want us to eat it, then why’d you put it here?”

But at this rate, in a few more months he and his friends will probably look like this…

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And I don’t want to be responsible for an increase in obesity among the squirrel population.  So I’ll continue in my role as “The Squirrel Chaser” to try to give our birds more opportunities to eat and to pose for my photographer husband and me.

What kind of entertainment are you finding in your backyard this summer? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Bird tag

 

 

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA

God Bless America - Irving Berlin

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
light from above
From the mountains
Mountains denali-national-park-1733313_1280
to the prairies
Prairie 1200px-Cumulus_Clouds_over_Yellow_Prairie2
To the oceans white with foam
ocean white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home!
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Please pray for our country!
SunsetonthWatr-gkb

Summer Solstice

What is the solstice? 

Solstice comes from the Latin “solstitium” from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), meaning the sun standing still. It literally means “furthest or culminating point; a turning point.” Now that sounds good to me.

A turning point! I think we’re all ready for one of those.

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Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

Our summer solstice occurred at 5:43 p.m. on June 20, 2020. If you’re interested in the science behind it, the summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined toward the sun, at the degree of 23° 26′, its most extreme. Can you imagine being in the Arctic circle where it will mostly stay light from June 19 to June 21?

What does all this mean for us? It means it is summer! It is truly summer! Time to leave our winter habits behind…

“I am summer, come to lure you away from your computer… come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches.” ― Oriana Green

It’s that turning point where we can turn away from the darkness of our winter worries, and look toward the hope of the future. Let the sunlight of hope lift your spirits, clear away the fog, and strengthen your resolve. 

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“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ― St. Francis of Assisi

The following quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald seems to echo what many of us are seeing, feeling, believing…

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

So shall we let our lives begin again with the summer!

Bathe in the light of the sun, do some gardening, watch the birds and listen to their songs, add summer decor to your home, walk on the beach, or do whatever lightens your spirits and brings joy to your heart.

“Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.” ― Kahlil Gibran

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Picture courtesy of Pixabay

SunsetonthWatrSm-gkb

It’s Here!

The wait is over!

Now available on Amazon…

WatercolorWhispers-GB-v2-front

On Kindle or Paperback.

You’ll have to wait just a wee bit longer if you’d like a signed copy.  I should have my books in hand to sign for you before the end of the month.

Let me know if you’d like to pre-order a signed copy.

1421PencilccGloria

 

Coming Soon

Pummeled by icy daggers, every cell in Detective Ron Bishop’s body screamed to wake up from his fifteen-year-old nightmare. Freezing shower shards cut through the 5:00 a.m. drowsiness. He knew he needed to be awake—wide awake and in the present—when he reached the crime scene.

WatercolorWhispers-GB-v2-front

So begins Book 1 of my new mystery series.

You will, of course, get to know the detective better as you read on, but he is not our main character. That would be our protagonist, Mia Reed. If you’ve read the Bridge Club Series, you will remember Mia as an adolescent in book 3, Premonition Bridge. We meet her again (now a twenty-three year old art therapist) at the beginning of the next chapter.

When the invisible hand guided hers, Mia Reed knew the image would hold a message—a crucial message—possibly a matter of life or death. But on this Tuesday morning her hand was her own as she looked at her newest client’s intake information.

So what’s it all about? 

Art therapist Mia Reed has a calling to help her patients as well as a special gift—paintings that provide clues to crimes. However, Freddie Alessi—an assault victim whose wife has gone missing—leaves every session more disturbed than when he arrived… almost as disturbed as Mia feels about his charming and attractive older brother Anthony. Her brain says run, but his fervent kisses keep drawing her back.

Detective Ron Bishop is intrigued by Mia’s gift as he struggles to solve missing persons and murder cases. But when Mia’s hand is guided by an outside force, can the clues in her drawings lead to the killer and answer the questions in time?

You can find out in the soon to be released Watercolor Whispers.

TO BE RELEASED THIS MONTH!

BlondeSig-gkb

 

 

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Tomorrow is the first day of June, and most of us are happy to say goodbye to May. Not that it was all bad, but having been quarantined for so long, the very idea of a new month that introduces a careful return to normalcy is exciting. June 21st is the summer solstice, but June 1st is the meteorological first day of summer, my favorite season of the year.

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From the musical, Carousel, Rogers and Hammerstein gave us “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” and boy does that sound like a theme for this year’s month of June. I think we’re all ready to be bustin’ out!

And whether you’re in or out, there is something to celebrate every day of the month. Well, actually more than one each day, but I’m just going to mention some of my favorites.

  • June 1 — Oscar the Grouch’s birthday, but more importantly, Donut Day
  • June 2 — National Rocky Road Day — After the stock market crash in 1929, William Dreyer mixed chunky almonds, mini marshmallows, and milk chocolate ice cream to create a new ice cream flavor that would make people smile in spite of the tough economic times. Thank you Mr. Dreyer!
  • June 3 — Egg Day
  • June 4 — Aesop’s birthday and especially for a good friend of mine, Cheese Day – Oh, and for some of my other friends, it’s Hug Your Cat Day.

Aesops_Fables_Pinckney

  • June 5 — National Gingerbread Day — In June? Who knew??
  • June 6 — D-Day-WWII and National Yo-Yo Day
  • June 7 — National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • June 8 — National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day – Yes, please!
  • June 9 — International Young Eagles Day
  • June 10 — Maurice Sendak‘s birthday

wild things book

  • June 11 — Jacques Cousteau’s birthday
  • June 12 — National Peanut Butter Cookie Day – Now there’s one I can get behind!
  • June 13 — National Juggling Day and National Lobster Day – Oh yeah! Lobster-Tails-Lemon-Butter-Recipe-1S-5798
  • June 14 — Flag Day – Fly yours proudly!

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  • June 15 — Power of a Smile Day and Fly a Kite Day
  • June 16 — Fudge Day
  • June 17 — Begins National Week of Making (So get busy!)
  • June 18 — International Picnic Day

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  • June 19 – Lou Gehrig’s birthday and William M. Muhly, Jr.’s birthday (that’s my brother) 😉 and National Martini Day
  • June 20 — National Ice Cream Soda Day
  • June 21 — Father’s Day and World Music Day

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  • June 22 — National Onion Rings Day and National Eclair Day — Celebrate!!!
  • June 23 — National Pink Day (for my Mary Kay friends)
  • June 24 — Swim a Lap Day (Maybe those of us who can’t swim can just walk back and forth across the pool?)
  • June 25 — National Handshake Day — Perhaps this year we’ll do something a little different, like a tip of the hat, peace sign, or simple smile and nod. 😉
  • June 26 — National Coconut Day — Think I’ll celebrate with a pina colada.
  • June 27 — National PTSD Awareness Day

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  • June 28 — National Paul Bunyan Day
  • June 29 — National Waffle Iron Day – That could be fun!
  • June 30 — Social Media Day — Time to post, post, post!

What’s your favorite day to celebrate? I know I’m ready to celebrate every day in the beautiful month of June. I hope you enjoy yours too!

Humr-gkb

Never Forget

Memorial Day

Memorial-Day-Quotes-And-Sayings

How many have died for their country? How many have we lost?

How many have given their lives for our freedom?

Here are just a few numbers…

          American Revolution – 25,000                Civil War – 655,000

                       World War I – 116,516                    World War II – 405,399

                   Korean War – 36,516                      Vietnam War – 58,209

      Gulf War – 294           War in Afghanistan – 2,216 — Iraq War – 4,497

This is what Memorial Day is all about. I certainly enjoy a good barbeque or time at the beach as much as anyone, but I cringe when I hear someone say “Happy Memorial Day.”

For this is a day of remembrance.

I think we must all take time out from our “kick off to summer” to remember all those who gave their lives for our freedom. Remember the mothers who lost their sons and daughters, those who lost their spouse, those children who group up without a parent because theirs made the ultimate sacrifice…

And it was for you.

God bless them, God bless the Gold Star families, and God Bless America!

 

914USAccGloria

 

 

Have you ever felt out of step… different from others… like a weirdo? 

Do you always feel that way?

Well don’t worry. That just means you haven’t found your tribe yet.

Find-Your-Tribe_crop-2

This spring has been filled with disappointments. Things we’ve lost or missed out on. Trips to exciting places. Relaxing vacations. Weddings, reunions, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries. The list goes on and on.

Things we’ve looked forward to with great anticipation were suddenly snatched away because of COVID-19.

Like all of you, I lost some of those things. Between my husband, Lee, and I, we had trips to Maui, Argentina, Cape May, South Africa and Lancaster, PA all cancelled.

But wait… Did I say Lancaster, Pennsylvania? What’s so exciting about that?

For me, it may have been the greatest let down of all because it was the annual Pennwriters Conference. I started looking forward to this conference the day after last year’s conference in Pittsburgh.

Now what has all this to do with finding your tribe? Or being a weirdo?

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Let me explain first by saying I found my tribe.

I found a small part of my tribe (but a big part of my heart) sitting around my publisher, Demi Steven‘s, dining room table in 2015.

And then my tribe grew and grew through Pennwriters.

My tribe of funny, quirky, wonderful, inspiring writers always lift my spirits, and I discovered I’m not all that weird. Well, at least if I am, I’m in good company. Make that great company! (I am fortunate enough to have found myself part of several tribes, but that’s a story for another day.)

Yesterday — A good day — A great gift

People from all over Pennsylvania and beyond were feeling bummed as the weekend of “the conference that wasn’t to be” approached. Then an amazing group of people from Pennwriters gave us a delightful surprise–The Mini-May Madness.  They learned and mastered all the necessary technology, put in the many hours of ZOOM practice, etc., and presented us with a Friday night and all day Saturday experience.

I still missed seeing and hugging everyone and all the great happenings of a live conference BUT…

My tribe didn’t let me down. From the Read & Critique evening to morning meditation to mini workshops to Q&A with two amazing authors, Susan Meier and Jonathan Maberry, it was a day filled with inspiration. I am in awe of these presenters and their generosity.

 

And when Jonathan Maberry referred to himself as a “weirdo” like all of us writers, I was suddenly proud to say, “I’m a weirdo too!”

Who inspires you?

I hope you’ve found your tribe, but if you haven’t…

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Until next time,

GloriaBooks-gkb

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