Give Thanks for the Little Things

November Sunrise (1)

It’s Thanksgiving week already. Time to give thanks. Time to reflect.

So what am I thankful for? The little things.

I get up each day and look at the morning sky. Whatever the scene, I try to appreciate something about it. The title picture is a November morning. The sun’s coming up in my backyard. The pink clouds were amazing and I couldn’t stop peeking out the window until they disappeared.

PJ steals my breakfast (3)

I’m grateful for this wee little bird who fills our home with joy and happiness. Sure she’s stealing my breakfast, but she makes us laugh.

August Shower (63)

I love that I live close to Lake Erie and can easily get there in a short drive. Maybe I don’t visit as often as I should, but am thankful it’s there.

Nighttime Visitor (1)

I’m thankful I can still be surprised by things. This deer looked like a statue standing in my yard. It was kind enough to stay put until I got the camera and captured the moment.

New phone trying to take selfie (3)

I finally joined the smartphone generation and am grateful I can take a selfie – a poor one, but at least I tried.

Of course, I am thankful for friends and family, good health and a roof over my head. But the little things? It takes effort to stop and notice. Try it this week. What little things are you thankful for?

Nancy Pennick: Waiting for Dusk Series

alicejblack

Author Pic

Cinnamon bread. Coffee. MiMi biscuits. All part of my childhood. My grandparents were immigrants from Sweden and although I never met my grandfather, my grandmother filled her home with Swedish traditions.

When I began to write this young adult series, my Swedish roots took hold and called out to be written into Waiting for Dusk. I grew up hearing stories about my grandmother and grandfather coming to America, separately, and meeting here. My grandmother found a job working as a maid in a mansion where the lady of the house helped her learn English. My grandfather eventually opened a grocery store.

WFDbookcover large - Copy

The character of Carl Johansson is based on this brave man who came to the U.S. at the age of sixteen. Carl travels farther than my grandfather ever did, ending up at the Grand Canyon back in 1927. He meets his wife in an unusual way—through time travel…

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What are You Reading Today?

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I just finished the third book of the Outlander series, Voyager. I can’t stop thinking about these books and am holding back on buying the next one. There’s a lot to absorb in these novels. The first in the series was 560 pages, but Voyager was over 1,000.

The author tends to go into quite a bit of detail. In fact, I could use less details. Get on with the story! I’ve learned a lot of history, too. Mostly about the failed attempt of the Scottish Highlanders trying to regain the throne for Bonny Prince Charles in the 1740’s.

The book is a time travel novel, too. Clair Randall accidentally steps through one of the stones at an ancient stone circle while visiting Scotland with her husband. It takes her back to 1743 where she meets husband #2, Jamie. There is too much story to sum up in a few sentences, so I won’t try.

If you’re not a reader and think the story line is interesting, Starz has turned the books into a series. My husband has watched and liked it. Although, be forewarned, I had to skip over some scenes in the book and knew I couldn’t watch during the series. There are highly mature themes of a sexual nature in these books–Outlander especially.

The story of Jamie and Clair continues on for eight books. I thought I could stop after book one. But the need to read the next kept gnawing at the back of my mind. The characters stayed with me. Such a good lesson for writers. Shouldn’t all good books do that?

So tell me, what are you reading today?

Googus and Nanita

trophy  My dad loved to make up names for people. Not in a mean way but in a fun way. He saw the humor in a lot of things others did not. I think he kept himself amused that way. He had names for some of the guys I dated. He would refer to them as “String Hair”, “Mop Head” and the like. I guess that helped tell them apart.

Dad and I would banter back and forth about a lot of things. We could go on and on about names. When I started taking Spanish in Jr. High, he asked if I knew what my name would be in that language. Of course, I knew it was Nanita. The teacher always called us by Spanish names.

Dad loved to call me Nanita from then on. I always kidded him that if I had a girl, I would name her “Gilbertina” after him.   That would be quite a name, especially back in the 60’s, maybe not so much now!  Dad also loved play on words and his favorite was “Celery stalks at midnight”, laughing as he said it.  Get it? He would always make sure you did.

When I was in high school, Dad and I were bantering back and forth as usual and I came up with a new name for him, “Googus”. It stuck for quite awhile and was later shortened to Goog.  Goog took it all in stride and wore the name proudly.  My cousin and boyfriend at the time also called him Goog. It became a special name. When my sister came home from college, she learned about the name and also called him that.

To me, it was a special name for a special guy. I guess he needed a special name. After a few years, we went back to calling him dad, daddy, uncle and the like. It just happened naturally. He never asked to be called dad or to stop calling him Goog. I think…I hope he knew it was special and derived out of love for him by many young people in his life. There will be a lot of dads in this world, but there will never be another Goog.

Love, Nanita

This is dedicated to Gilbert William Borsch, a great man and father, who we lost too soon. That short time was filled with unconditional love. Happy Father’s Day

Red Hair

baseball guyI just read an article in the sports page that has me fuming. It stated that scouts for baseball teams don’t usually like players with red hair. Really? I hoped it was a joke because the Cleveland Indians first draft choice is a player still in high school that has…wait for it, red hair. The punch line never came and I started to think this could be true. I decided to Google the topic and several stories came up on espn.go.com.

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I should not really be surprised because when my son was little he had reddish-brown hair and people commented on it. It was never bright red or orange, judge for yourself.

When he was in high school he told me in younger years, kids called him “Red” to tease him. I was surprised because my husband and I never knew it happened and he never confided in us.   Now, as an adult, it looks brown. Red highlights are still there.

 

It made me start to think how many other children were bullied or teased because they had red hair. It’s also associated with a fairer skin and freckles, so stereotypes abound. Not much I could do about it but was determined to have at least one character in every book I wrote have a shade of red hair.

There are many tones of red—auburn, dark red, copper, strawberry blonde, light ginger. Some even dye their hair to get that color. Why the fascination? Anything rare or different is unique. Many are striving for that in their daily lives. A quick hair color change may do the trick and let’s face it, it’s a striking color.

According to multiple sources, about 2% of the population has natural red hair, the rarest color in the world. Some areas tend to have more redheads, mainly Northern and Western Europe. People with red hair are thought to be British or Irish descent.

To get scientific, it takes two recessive genes to make a red-headed child. Each parent must carry the gene and then there’s still just a one-in-four chance of that happening. Hair can be lighter at birth, and darken with age.

Fiery tempers, carrot top and the red-headed stepchild, even calling someone a Ginger have been unflattering comments about this hair color. When we see someone with that color hair, we take a second look and that’s okay. But to judge or think someone is different, that is not.

Back to the baseball story…the writer commented that scouts, for some reason, are not crazy about red hair. That is unless the player is really good at baseball. This prospect is really good at baseball. He has the possibility of turning into a phenom one day. When he does, I hope it finally puts to rest the conversation that started during this baseball draft. Does red hair have anything to do with his talent? I don’t see why the two go hand in hand but have to shake my head over this strange development.

I, for one, will be cheering harder for the kid, no matter his decision. He has until July to sign with the team. He may not. He may choose college over the major leagues. Until then, I’m sure he’s going to be asked about his hair multiple times because after all, isn’t that what baseball is all about?

 

 

Coffee or Tea?

FE06OWTEAWhenever you go out for breakfast at a restaurant, the first thing they ask is if you want coffee. No one ever asks, “Tea?” Nope, it’s always coffee. What about us tea drinkers? We always have to say, “I’ll have tea, please.” Then you have to specify hot or cold, sweet or unsweetened because it’s served so many ways.

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Funny, I should be a coffee drinker because I grew up surrounded by it. My mother always started up the coffee pot after family dinners so everyone could have coffee with their dessert. It was considered a sin if there wasn’t any to go along with the cake or pie that was served.

I love the smell of coffee. It’s a welcoming smell as if it’s saying come in and stay awhile. I’ll admit to drinking a caramel or mocha latte but true coffee drinkers would say that’s not the real thing. My son likes dark roasted coffees, the stronger and darker the better.

I can’t remember how or when I was introduced to tea. Maybe I had iced tea when I was younger but all I know is I prefer it over coffee. There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea on a cold morning. One of my favorites is English Breakfast and as a flavored tea, nothing can beat Peach Apricot.

My favorite tearoom closed recently and it left a large gap in my life. My sister and I had a standing reservation there. Every Friday we’d head to our cozy table to eat lunch, drink tea and solve world problems. Well, not really solve those problems but in a tearoom anything is possible!

tea cups

 

Trying to find a replacement tearoom has been difficult. There are a few but none like that one. I still go to other tearooms because I’d miss the mismatched tea cups on each table and pouring the steaming tea into one of them. A tearoom takes you away from the real world for awhile and I can’t give that up.

When I write, I like to have a cup of tea nearby. It helps the thought process. I can lean back, take my cup in hand and think.

So given my choice in the great debate of coffee or tea, I’ll always have my answer ready. I’ll have tea, please.