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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

This blog began four years ago as a place where I could record my reviews of others' books ... primarily, other independently-published authors whose books might otherwise not be reviewed for publication.

Of course, I was an independently-published author at the time, and earnestly seeking recognition of my own stories. When I joined the Facebook community of authors, I had the opportunity to read and review others, and they in turn sometimes read and reviewed my work.

In the second and third year of this blog, my reviewing began showing the benefit of continued practice, and I was proud to share the reviews I'd written.

In re-reading those early years of reviews, I am amazed that I have forgotten many of the stories themselves, and while it pleases me to read the reviews I was able to write, it humbles me to admit that I doubt I could do the same today.

As consistently as I deny the prognosis of MS, I have to recognize the damage that is happening to my cognitive skills. It is challenging now for me to sit and read a book with any cogent assimilation to the characters or setting. I seldom read for more than half an hour in a session, as I lose track of what I'd read in the first portion of that span of time by the time I am reading the second. I read and re-read things that I need to remember, and often try to jot down notes here on the computer to help me remember what it is I've read.

Those notes are not the polished reviews you'll read on earlier pages of this blog. They are simply notes ... reminders for myself, or responses to my friends in email-style conversation. Sometimes, the synapses are firing late at night, when the house is quiet, the television off and the others asleep ... I love my "others" ... my husband and my son, my friends on Facebook ... and I love my quiet time, when I can think and try to remember, and write what I might one day forget.

My recent year of postings here has a different focus, a different content. That's because I'm unable to read book after book as I used to do. I'm reading, but slowly, more consciously than fluently.

If you're looking for some good reviews of good books, I invite you to find the menu of dates in the right column, and choose some from the earlier years of this blog. I've read some great books of independent authors, and though I don't remember many of them now as I once did, it is pleasant to re-read my reviews of them, and try to remember more of the stories themselves.

I still have at least one more book to finish - maybe two - in my new mystery series. When I began Helen and Henry's story, I thought I might get four or five books written about their love. That may have been overly-ambitious, as I've been unable to finish, in the past year, their second book. Life has a way of going on, whether a task is finished or not. I've been pretty consumed by starting my own quilt and fabric shop these past eighteen months ... it's a different context for my life ... different setting, different characters, different energies.

I am doing what I can still do well ... which is to say I am still teaching, but in a hands-on way ... with more about creativity and less about skill-sets. Rick and I both participate in a montly "mind mapping" group where we sit with other independent artists and brainstorm, critique and celebrate our goals and accomplishments. It helps keep each of us on track with what we plan to accomplish in our various endeavors. It gives us a sense of community, and a sense of belonging, and of value. It has helped me cope with the loss of the teaching community.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading this ramble. It may be a while before I'm back here with another book to share.  It's not that I'm not writing ... as I said, the context has changed, and so the site has changed.

You can read more of my 'new' life at my newer blog. You'll find it at  There are several different pages at that blog ... some are my quilt journals, some are my shop's offerings, one is about my new hobby of rescuing vintage sewing machines ... it's a picture of a new me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Legends of the Lake, by Philip Nork

Philip Nork has captured the nostalgic memories we all wish we could share. A multi-generational cabin maintained for generations in one family, with stories that become family legends. The good, the bad and the forlorn all make appearances in this story, told with perspective, compassion and empathy in the wings. 

Philip Nork explores what many recognize as the American Dream, and does so with a sense of history, realism and truth. I would recommend his writings to history buffs, family accountants and wage earners past and present who struggled and continue to struggle to acquire the best for those they love. Love is a central theme in his writings, and Nork's stories resonate with its power.

Nork has many other books published, and a list of them can be seen at Goodreads here.  You can also find them at Amazon here. Check them out - you won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

More information on Depression

Hello everyone,
As I write this note, it is cold (36 degrees Fahrenheit) and raining. Not my favorite kind of weather - I much prefer a dry, flaky snow followed by bright blue skies and a clean white cover over Autumn's debris. And I know that the snow will be here soon, and all will be bright again. I have confidence, and trust.

A few years ago, this weather wouldn't have troubled me,  though, as my drive to school at this time of year took place in darkness; the classroom itself was soon filled with colorful excitement of middle school students, and the weather beyond our windows was essentially ignored.

The year I had to retire, though, this weather was very troubling.  I was depressed, and anxious about our financial future, and resentful of the medical prescription for multiple sclerosis that I had been trying to accept for four years of self-injecting nightly, with discomfort, fear and denial of the condition that required such treatment.

Following retirement, I had plenty of time to see additional doctors, was then finally diagnosed with depression, and through trial and error the doctor and I found an effective dosage of the correct antidepressant. It is not an easy determination, but well worth the pursuit.

I had posted a guest essay back in April  titled Depression in Older Adults on this site, and invite you to read that again and see what you might be able to gain from the information shared there. I have recently received an infographic that may help some recognize the reality of their own depression, and seek more and effective treatment from doctors.  I hesitated to admit that a psychiatrist was needed in this journey, but in fact, a psychiatrist is the one who helped me find the correct medication which opened the right path back toward a happy, productive life after retirement. The psychologist that I also found continues to meet with me to help me assess and address ongoing issues through talk therapy.

This infographic was sent to me by Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager of Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107  | @Healthline  | @HealthlineCorp

Maggie asked that I share it here with you, and I am happy to do so.
Happy. Yes, that is what I am now.  No longer a teacher, but a quilt shop entrepreneur,  signing on to medicare in just a few months with the knowledge that I am still able to meet expectations, provided needed goods and services (fabric and quilting guidance) and enjoy a happily ever after long sought.

Here's the link to the graphic that will help you recognize the Effects of Depression on the Body.  Just click on a label that you want to read more about.

Thank you, Maggie, for helping me to keep others informed and actively seeking appropriate medical care. 

Be well, all.

Related Links:

Depression Treatment Options:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Book Filled with Blessings and Beauty

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a treasure for all who live and love through life's trials and troubles, celebrations and successes. 
September 25, 2014
This review is from: Remembrance: The Pink Chair Project: an artist's journey of love (Paperback)
It was my privilege to read Lynne's book as a work in progress, and to view her incredible paintings in a showing at a local library on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The book contains the brief annotations exhibited with her paintings, and so much more. The connections between Lynne and her mother, Lynne and her art, and the thoughts and inspirations they shared are palpable within her words and paintings. This book is a treasure for all who live and love through life's trials and troubles, celebrations and successes. Buy one for yourself, and one to share with those you love. It will be the best book you purchase this year.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Depression in Older Adults, a guest blog post

This guest blog post is written by Laura Chapman, who has written an article posted at, and to which she shares a link here in the blog.Thank you, Laura!

"Depression amongst adults is said to be present in roughly 10% of the population. However, a lot of cases go unreported and therefore never get treated. Symptoms of depression in adults are changes in sleep patterns and appetite, feeling hopeless, numb and disinterested, and an irritability that wasn’t there before. Fortunately, treating depression is fairly straight forward and a combination of therapy to find the route of the problem and anti-depressants are usually used to ease the symptoms. If thought of suicide occur, the sufferer should seek professional help straight away."

Living With: Depression in Older Adults

anxietyDepression affects more than 35 million adults each year. Of these, 6.5 million are over the age of 65. In the later years of a person’s life, changes occur that can lead to depression. These include medical illnesses, death of spouses or other loved ones and retirement. Depression prevents older adults from enjoying their lives like they did when they were younger. The effects of depression, however, extend far beyond changes in mood. Patients become less energetic, experience changes in sleep patterns, changes in their appetites and decline in physical health. However, depression is not always inevitable when it comes to aging. There are steps and strategies that older adults can focus on to overcome the symptoms of depression.

Causes of Depression in Older Adults

Health Problems

As people get older, their health typically begins to deteriorate. They may experience severe or chronic pain, become disabled or have surgeries or diseases that damage their bodies. These symptoms can cause a person to become depressed and feel useless.


Many elderly people live alone, usually due to the death of a spouse, have decreased mobility and no longer have driving privileges. These factors can contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Increased Sense of Purposelessness

When people reach retirement age or are physically challenged, they may feel a sense of purposelessness.


Anxiety over health issues or financial problems can cause one to become depressed. Additionally, as people get older, they become more afraid of death.


When people lose their spouses, friends or pets to death, they may become saddened; this can lead to depression. In this case, the bereaved might consider moving in with family members or friends.

For more on how to spot and treat depression in adults, read this article."