A Few New Posters – Please Vote!

So – here are a few posters that have been made for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven. I’m asking that you vote in the comments for which you like best; please explain why. I’ll be having more posters done, and I want to incorporate your suggestions and ideas!

That said, if you’ve read Moose Tracks and want to suggest a quote to be made into a poster, please do so as well in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. The quote chosen has to be fairly short, obviously, but it can be several sentences long. 🙂

Okay, here are the latest three posters:

CFoHWhKUgAE-G8b    1.

Forest poster 1    2.


 That’s it for now – tell me what you think, please! 🙂

It’s National Siblings Day in the US

Ma and seven daughtersseven girls 1As the sixth out of seven daughters, with two bonus”sisters” thanks to the Fresh Air Fund program (children from NYC who spend summers up “in the country”…we were blessed to have the same two sisters each summer for most of my childhood and have remained in touch with them both for 40+ years), much of my memory from growing up revolves around my family.Carol and Judi

I wouldn’t trade having these sisters for anything in the world. Being in this big tumble of a family helped to form who I am and how I view the world, and I often recall those times with great fondness and love.

I wonder how the dynamics might have changed if there had been a brother or two in there? 😉

Old Kitchen Nostalgia

imagesGTMBP5VTI enjoy home improvement shows. I particularly like those where renovations happen to bring a “bargain” purchase up to modern speed…but my “weirdness” comes in during the first look at the “before” aspects of the homes.

renovation101216dIt almost always makes me feel a little twinge of poignancy. A pang. A bittersweet sense, of nostalgia for those times and places gone by.52ebec5f697ab040980006d1__w_540_s_fit_


Beautiful 1950s kitchen

I can’t help envisioning, sometimes – especially with the kitchens – the happy times, the meals cooked and eaten by countless people, the gatherings enjoyed, and holidays and birthday celebrated. It can be places from times long before I was born; it doesn’t matter.


Kitchen from around the time I was born in the 1960s

The room(s) that hosted those events is being cleared out, emptied, stripped down. That wallpaper or those cabinets and countertops so lovingly selected in 1957 or 1963, or 1990 are nothing more, now, then a mark of a bygone era, and the people who chose them and lived there have moved on, literally or figuratively, to greener pastures.

It makes me kind of…sad.


peeking into a lit window at a cozy scene

Perhaps my feeling is connected to the game my mother and I would play (and that I still do sometimes even now, I confess) when we’d be driving somewhere, especially at night, and I could glimpse through some open shades or curtains a lit room or two in a home as we passed by. I was always fascinated by that, imagining the people who lived there by having that quick look. What were they like? What were their hopes, dreams? Were they happy or in the grip of a tragic or challenging circumstance? That “What if?” game led to me writing novels, I’m sure – but it’s also part and parcel of what niggles at me during those home improvement shows.

I’m pretty sure that makes me weird (so if you’re akin to this, or even understand what I’m talking about here, please chime in through the comments, so I know I’m not alone, LOL)!

Do YOU ever get a bittersweet sense of poignancy about something that doesn’t have personal meaning to you?

Some Bone Deep Memories that led to Writing “Moose Tracks”

Now that Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven is published, I’ve been thinking about some of the “behind the scenes” and inspirational  kinds of things I enjoy reading about/seeing when it comes to novels I’ve read by other authors – and so I decided to do a post of this sort today, for anyone who might be interested.

Mary on threadbare chairWe were pretty materially poor when I was little. So much so that when my father married my mother (it was a second marriage for them both, and she already had my five older sisters) there was a carpet pad instead of a carpet for quite a few years, and some furniture that was extremely threadbare (like in this picture, taken from inside our living room, in our little house near the lake).

Pa took this picture, I’m certain, as he was the camera-expert in the house, and I only found it recently, on a slide he’d given me years ago. I love it, actually, because of the ragged carpet pad and chair. I felt so much love and nurturing in my young life that I have no memory or distress at having so little in a material sense. My parents ensured that we had plentiful, wholesome, homemade food (with one of Ma’s delicious desserts every night!) and plenty of sturdy, warm clothing and shoes; we were living on my father’s salary alone with many mouths to feed, and we didn’t have a lot of frills, but we always had more than enough in that regard. I felt then and still feel I wanted for nothing.

Mary cyI’m sitting in the pic above with my hands uncharacteristically folded and a solemn expression on my face. Here’s another one on the left of my more usual, energetic demeanor, and on the right, from a professional photographer about six months earlier. Mary at 22 monthsI was two years old in the picture on the right and about three in both of the pictures taken at home – a happy, exuberant kid. However, my parents often told me that I was also a child who would sometimes retreat into a profound stillness and deep thoughts. When I had the kind of expression I’m wearing in the pic above – the one with my hands folded – my mother said she always wondered what I was thinking, and people often said I spoke and seemed far older than my years. I wasn’t so still and quiet very often, but I had the makings of a bookworm/thinker even then.

I’ll finish this post with some final, visual examples of the kind of happiness and love I experienced as a young child – the foundation of the life and family atmosphere that would inspire my writings so many years later. These pics are from my first birthday and were taken in the Homestead’s kitchen, next to my father’s chair (empty in these shots, as he was taking the photos), back in the winter of 1967. I am the sixth of seven daughters, but my parents ensured that each daughter was recognized in her own right, with attention, conversations, and of course recognition of us as individuals on our birthdays. Pa was at the ready with his camera, and we always had a cake baked for us lovingly by my mother (who is a wonderful cook, even today, though she is in her 80’s now).

Birthday 17 Birthday 16 Birthday 14 Birthday 13 Birthday 10

Life was good in the purest and best sense…filled with ups and downs, conflict and struggle, but also filled with the kind of warmth and nurturing that helped a little girl understand what’s really important, far above and beyond material goods.


Vintage Cookbooks

cookbook frontI love cookbooks. I must have upwards of 50 of them, tucked in my “cookbook cupboard” or lined on my little “cookbook shelf” under the slot in the kitchen cabinetry where the microwave oven is.

I collect them and enjoy trying recipes from them.

Cook books_edited frame-1

Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery cookbook set

But my all-time favorite is a set my parents gave me about 15 years ago.

It’s the same exact set my mother often used when I was growing up (and my mother, I have to say, is a consummate cook…she can do fancy and five-course, or simple and filling. We had the simple and filling most often when I was growing up because, well, there were nine of us to feed every day, and only one salary).



As a kid, I loved this set, not only because its publication year was the one in which I was born, but also because it came in encyclopedia form, and I was the kind of kid who read everything. These books are stuffed full of interesting history and information about the various ingredients, foods, and the cultures that inspired them. Plus, the title has Cookery in it. I love that word in and of itself. cookbook closeup

cookbook open2

Luscious pictures of cakes from the “chocolate” section

cookbook open

Awesome 1960’s illustration from the same “chocolate” section







Oh, and it’s got pictures and illustrations, too, all delightfully vintage. Which means, I guess, that I’m vintage too, since the books are as old as me. 🙂



I really enjoy looking up recipes (there’s an awesome homemade custard recipe, pies, breads, holiday foods…and of course recipes from just about every culture in the world that you can imagine, since it’s an encyclopedia of cooking).



corn chowder

Today, I looked in Volume 3 to find a quick recipe for corn chowder, since that’s what my kids really wanted for lunch (and I knew I had the ingredients – or some that were close enough – on hand). A few minor substitutions later (i.e. diced ham instead of salt pork, and regular milk instead of evaporated), and I had lunch ready for them.

Anyone else have a favorite cookbook – or set?