Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone has a happy, safe, and memorable Christmas. I am praying for a world in peace.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Don't Give Up

Caring about things like animals and the environment can be emotionally difficult for me. I try to do my part to help, but there are times when I feel hopeless. No one seems to be listening, or maybe they just don't care. I don't know. 

Last night I watched Racing Extinction, a show about the rapidly escalating climate change and increasing animal extinctions on Earth. It showed on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel simultaneously.

I almost couldn't continue watching it because it had such a profound effect on me. I felt hopeless about stopping any of it. And then, toward the end, one of my greatest heroes, Jane Goodall spoke about not giving up, of having hope, and of doing something, if it was just one thing, to turn things around.
So this morning I made a list of things within my power that I can do to make the planet a better place. I'll start with the first thing and then add on to it as I go along.  


Thursday, November 26, 2015


No one can take us back to peaceful times and the real feelings beneath our holidays than a Norman Rockwell picture of Thanksgiving. I wanted to post this one because I am grateful for the service men and women who stand between us and those who want to destroy us and our way of life. I pray they are safe and return home sound in mind and body.
Mostly, I wish for peace. The world has been in turmoil for so long. I long for the time when we're not involved in a war somewhere and feel safe in the peace of that once again.
I hope all of you are having a great Thanksgiving, heaps of tasty food, family and friends gathered around the table, and enjoying those you love.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


A new release with Celia Yeary Sarah McNeal Meg Mims Agnes Alexander and Karen Mihaljevich

FLY AWAY HEART (a Wilding series book) is now included in this 5 book boxed set of western romance stories, LOVE'S FIRST TOUCH. What a bargain for only 99 cents. All of the stories are sweet romances.
Available now at

Monday, October 26, 2015

You're Invited to a Facebook Party With Prizes Today

Today Victory Tales Press is having an Author's Bash on Facebook. We're giving away prizes from each of the authors and a grand prize of $60. All you have to do is come by and leave a comment to enter. The more comments you make, the more entries you have for prizes.
I'll be kicking off the event at 11:00 AM (EST) or 8:00 AM (PST) and I'll be giving away a digital copy of the new fall anthology, MYTHS, LEGENDS, & MIDNIGHT KISSES in which my story, PENNYTOOK is included. I will also be giving away my 3 novel trilogy LEGENDS OF WINATUKE to another commenter.
So, come on over and join in the fun and enter to win something.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015


A Childhood Adventure by Sarah McNeal
Luthersburg, is the last and only town I remember from the time when we lived in Pennsylvania. Even though my parents were born and raised in Pennsylvania and my sisters and I were all born there, most of my recollection of Pennsylvania is from visits to grandparents except for the village of Luthersburg. We lived in that quaint farming village for less than a year before the weather station, more like a wilderness outpost, closed and Pop moved us to North Carolina. Luthersburg was a quiet little place where nothing exciting happened, but there were plenty of adventures to be had for my sister and I. We were “free range” children in the terms of today’s social speak. I was four and my sister was five. In a time before computers, mobile phones, I Pads, or GPS, and in our family like most of our neighbors, no television, it was a necessary part of growing up to explore the outdoors for adventures. Imagine what a drag it would have been to be fenced in with only a backyard and the house to hold our attention.
Halloween brings to mind one of my sister’s and my adventures into the unknown. Near our property was an old abandoned, two story house. It had long held our interest, but when we discovered no one lived there, we felt free to enter that domain and give it a good look-see. Naturally, the door was unlocked. I’m not certain anyone really bothered locking their doors in that town. Our fascination grew when we discovered that all the furniture and household items had been abandoned along with the house. Dirty windows still allowed a clouded view of our house across the field. The furniture had fallen into disrepair from the time it was left there. I noticed the paint had peeled away from the wooden furniture as we made our way through the rooms to the kitchen in the back of the house. The old, rusting silverware still slept quietly in its dark drawer. I think I stole a butter knife from the drawer just before the sound of footsteps upstairs echoed through the house. Someone was up there!
My sister and I looked at one another with wide-eyed horror. It had to be a monster. What else could possible lurk in an old abandoned house. We made for the door like a couple of rockets. I don’t even remember looking back to see if IT was coming after us. We made a bee-line straight to our house, up the stairs to our room and under our beds. For my part, I don’t recall that we ever told our parents about our adventure or that someone or something must be living in that place. There are some adventures any kid knows not to talk about to their parents—and this was one of those.
Now that I’m an adult, I have enough experience and knowledge to know a little about the darker side of life. When I think about all the horrible things that could have happened to us in that old abandoned house, I shudder. There are all kinds of real monsters in the world, and some of them resemble human beings. Still, in the freedom and innocence of childhood, that old abandoned house was quite an adventure—one we never revisited.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Between the Stories

Now that I've finished my novel and submitted it, and submitted both my short stories, I'm in between work. I don't like this in between feeling, like a trapeze performer who has left the bar of one trapeze, but hasn't grabbed the next bar--just hanging there in midair. . .and no net. Oh, okay, maybe a little net because I have story ideas waiting in the wings, but no outline or roughed out idea yet.
I saw this quote once that is a little scary, but somewhat true: "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." (Franz Kafka) I feel at odds with myself and adrift without a compass when I'm between stories. I'd rather be in my procrastinating mode than to be like this. Well, the only solution is to get a story on the drafting board, because nobody wants to see an insane monster on the loose. Of course, it is Halloween, so maybe I'll fit into the scenery.
So, if you see a glimpse of something lurking in the shadows, don't be afraid; it's just me attempting to grab that next bar. 

My new releases:

Myths are supposed to be false…but some are terrifying and true.

Pennytook is a war weary Gypsy who longs for peace from the past and wants something meaningful in his life.

Esmeralda, a Gypsy trick rider, has harbored a deep affection for the chieftain, Pennytook, for many years. But her dark secret will never allow him into her life.
Buy Link: Smashwords  Amazon


A Terrorized Town…A Killer Beast…And Deliverance

Joey Wilding isn’t certain what’s killing the livestock in Hazard. Some believe it’s a bewitched beast, others a wolf gone rabid. As the town veterinarian, he’s seen mutilation before, but not like this, as if something enjoyed the killing.

When Claire Beau asks Joey to help her injured wolf, and begs his discretion, he begins to suspect he has found the Beast of Hazard—and its beautiful mistress. But as he walks through the woods after dark, something more ominous than any wolf stalks him from the shadows.
Buy Links: AMAZON  Smashwords

My novel, HOME FOR THE HEART, has been submitted to Prairie Rose Publications. It must be contracted, edited and then a cover will be created for it. I look forward to all of those processes. 

Love doesn’t come easy…for some, it may never come at all.

Lucille Thoroughgood is a social worker for orphan children. She is known to the town’s folk as dependable, logical, determined, and…well, stubborn. But Lucille has a secret affection for the determined bachelor, Hank Wilding.
Hank Wilding loved hard and lost. He has sworn to never marry. After Lucille makes a bargain with him, he agrees to allow troubled and physically challenged children to ride his horses as equine therapy. One of the orphans is a half Lakota boy, Chayton, who reminds Hank of his own father’s painful childhood.  
But danger follows in the shadows of the rejected, embittered teenager that may take the life of someone Hank and the town of Hazard holds dear. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Here Comes Autumn

It’s chilly and raining here in North Carolina. Autumn is beginning to get a foothold now. There is a tinge of colored leaves on the oaks and maples on my street. The dogwoods seem to be in a hurry to get their autumn foliage out. On the news this morning, I heard the leaves have changed colors in the Smoky Mountains. It you’ve never seen that, it’s a beautiful sight.
I am flooded with memories of road trips to the North Carolina Mountains each autumn with the purpose of buying a pumpkin to carve for Halloween at one of the pumpkin farms. Oh sure, I could have bought a pumpkin at the local Farmer’s Market or even at the grocery store, but then I wouldn’t have had that memorable road trip.
One cannot travel through the mountains without stopping to buy apple cider and honey at one of roadside stands. Naturally, I had to visit every antique store along the way to look for a new whirligig or hand crafted Christmas ornament. Sometimes I had sensory overload looking at all the handcrafted items and quilts.

The trip wouldn’t have been complete without having a hot meal at a family owned restaurant. I loved those trips. Those were the days, my friend. I didn’t know at the time that I would be storing up all those wonderful memories to relive now.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


People do weird things, sometimes touching and sweet, and sometimes they do things that are evil, careless, or beyond my understanding. But whatever they do, if I encounter something that results from their actions, you can be sure I’ll write about it in my writer’s journal. Sometimes the situation is such that I can’t get it off my mind. It will haunt me and make we wonder why a person would do such a thing. Such was the case with a baby grand piano that was left out in the front yard of someone’s house which I noticed on my way to work.

The scene was odd enough when I first noticed it, but I thought the owner was trying to figure out a way to get it into the house and the piano would soon be safely ensconced in the house and played by someone who would enjoy it and care for it. But as the days marched by and the weather turned stormy, the piano remained outside. In the beginning it had not occurred to me that someone intended to leave the piano out there on purpose until I saw it standing there in the pouring rain. Then I finally got it—whoever owned that piano intended to destroy it by allowing it to slowly deteriorate in its exposure to the elements. Such a diabolical plan for the destruction of something that, in itself, was a thing of beauty, but also brought delightful music into the world, just seemed too dark for my understanding. In the end, the piano fell into pieces and ended up on the side of the road for trash pickup. I found its demise in in this strange way dark, sad, and disturbing. What led a person to do such a thing? Did they throw puppies and kittens in the trash, too?

Of course, I wrote about it in my journal. I wasn’t sure how I would ever use it for a romance story, but I couldn’t let go of it. I wrote a paranormal short about it in which the piano was possessed by an evil spirit, and then another story in which it was cursed, but that didn’t satisfy me. That piano still crept into my subconscious and haunted me. The piano wasn’t evil, it was sad and broken. Finally, I realized it was a representation of how many of us feel when we are rejected or abandoned by those we love. No one who has lived a life fully has managed to escape heartbreak in one form or another. But it isn’t the heartbreak that’s important, it’s how we respond to it that counts. There are those who get back up, and don’t let the hurt destroy their search for true, forever love. Some people are so devastated by it, they guard their hearts against falling into love and allowing themselves to be vulnerable that they choose “safe” love, not too exciting or deep to hurt them. And then there are those who decide to harden their hearts and even become the people who hurt others before they can be hurt themselves.

Eventually, I was able to use this little chunk of real life into a story titled, CAST AWAY HEART. It is one of my rare contemporary stories without even a dot of paranormal in it.

An abandoned piano, rejected love, and hope

After her fiancé breaks her heart and humiliates her on what was to be their wedding day, Ella Dubois has vowed never to open her heart again.
Nickoli Vesa, a Romanian pianist, has loved Ella for years, but she only sees him as her longtime friend.
How can a deserted piano heal a shattered spirit and inspire it to sing again?
Buy Links:  Now on sale for 99 cents!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Prairie Rose Publications Is Having A Party With Prizes

At last, I can tell you about the big Christmas in July Fandango and book sale. The party begins today. The big Fandango on Facebook begins July 27 at 5:00 PM eastern time and lasts until 10:00PM eastern time on July 28. All the Prairie Rose authors will be there giving away free stuff including new releases. Find out all about it here:

Sarah McNeal's photo.

This graphic shows all the books that will be released for very discounted prices.

I will be giving away e-book copies of my newly released singles
When Love Comes Knocking


Unexpected Blessings
as well as print copies (In the continental United States) of Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, my Time Travel western that began the Wilding family series

The Violin, a Time Travel story dear to my heart

Also, during this time, my novella, Fly Away Heart, part of the Wilding stories is on sale for 99 cents.

You just don't want to miss this huge shindig because there are plenty of authors giving away lots of books, gift card, and other cool prizes.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Childhood Summer Vacations by Sarah McNeal

Summer Vacation

Most of our vacations growing up were spent visiting my grandparents in Pennsylvania. Pop wasn’t much on vacations that cost a lot of money like going to the beach, traveling to see national parks, or visiting historic monuments. As much as Pop was an Eagle Scout and a Boy Scout leader in his youth, he never wanted to go on camping trips either.

Still, vacations were fun. I liked that I could stay up as late as I wanted as long as I didn’t disturb the household. Going for walks in the woods and eating family meals down in the orchard instead of in the dining room were always fun. We visited my grandparents once or twice a year. The trip in the car on roads before there were interstate grand slabs was tedious and long. Mom always packed a big basket of sandwiches, fresh fruit (mostly bananas, and, for some unfathomable reason, hard boiled eggs, and a thermos of coffee. The eggs and bananas filled the car with their combined scent which is still imprinted on my brain. When I get a whiff of those two scents, I immediately think road trip. Oh, and did I mention we always took the family dog with us? Yep. A big Irish Setter, named Robin whose whole purpose in life seemed to be how to take up lots of room in the back seat and slobber in our hair all along the way. My sister and I were probably quite a sight upon arrival. 

 My maternal grandmother was a great cook. It sticks in my memory that she always had a vanilla cake covered in thick layers of vanilla buttercream frosting with sliced bananas between the layers and colorful nonpareils on top waiting for us when we arrived. Everything she made tasted great—even pea soup. Don’t know why. Maybe it was just the magic and wonder of being in a different place with people who weren’t like us. I loved to play her piano even though I couldn’t really play it and no one ever told me to stop or be quiet.

My first memory of my Grandfather McNeal’s house fills me with a kind of wonder even now. He bought an old school house and converted it into a home. I looked and looked for a picture of his house, but I have yet to find one. All the pictures they took were in the yard. Bummer. When I walked into the front room I remember the huge wooden ships with real canvas sails sitting everywhere and the sun gleaming through the long windows to the left of the room. I think my dad made the ships, but he never really said. My grandfather died when I was six, but I still remember how gentle and kind he was. He was frail and almost blind in his later years, but he was fiercely independent and insisted on living in his own house with a rope tied between his house and the outhouse to guide him. The last year of his life, Pop chartered a small plane to fly to Numidia, Pennsylvania to get him and bring him to our house in North Carolina. He died a few months later of a heart attack. I wish I could have had him longer. I didn’t get to hear his stories or ask him questions.

Summer vacation meant freedom for me. No one kept me from flying down the dirt road on my hand-me-down bike which I imagined was my horse or setting up a playhouse in the garage. My life was my own until Mom called us in for supper. Freedom from rules and restrictions allowed me a chance to be who I really was with unfettered imagination. I spent a great of time in solitude after we moved from the first house we lived in to the house beside Berryhill Elementary School. There just weren’t any kids around to play with. I didn’t mind. I had tea parties and gunfights with my imaginary friends and on a rare occasion, with my older sister who was usually more interested in reading or sewing doll clothes.

I didn’t miss having vacations at the beach or traveling. I had plenty of things to do right there at home going on my adventures into the woods, to the neighbor’s pond to fish, and pretending I had a horse. Mostly, what I loved was the soaring amount of freedom my parents allowed me.  

What were summer vacations like when you were growing up? What kinds of things did you do? What is your fondest memory of summer as a child?

Sarah J. McNeal
Author of paranormal, time travel and western romance

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Memories of Pop on Father's Day

My Dad, James William McNeal

My memories are filled with Pop and his sometimes eccentric ways. He taught me to respect nature and all God's creatures. He kept a bird feeder just outside the kitchen window so we could watch the birds while we ate.
The shelves behind his seat at the kitchen table were filled with slides, his microscope, jars of nails, screws and little instruments he used to make slides, and stacks of books. In fact, there were stacks of books everywhere. Homemade bookcases filled with all kinds of books lined the walls and all the nooks and crannies of the house.
No lampshade was safe from his newspaper clippings that he pinned to them like little bulletin boards everywhere. If someone walked by them or opened a door the clippings would rustle and flap around on the shades.
He liked to fish, shoot pellet guns and even arrows at targets on the potting shed door. I managed to shoot well enough to at least hit the potting house with those arrows, but many times the arrows just flew off into no man's land.  I got good at shooting my B.B. gun (a replica of a Western Peacemaker). We even hung tin cans from strings and swung them to make them harder to hit.
Pop loved the ocean even though we seldom went to the beach when my sister and I were growing up. He was a meteorologist. His favorite job was when he worked for Ocean Weather on a coastguard cutter that went as far north as Greenland. Unfortunately, it seemed every time he left port, some catastrophe would take place. Mom finally had enough of Pop's long absences out at sea and he gave up Ocean Weather to work for the United States Weather Bureau.
After he retired from the US Weather Bureau, Pop accepted an offer to be the weatherman for the local news on TV. What he really loved about this job was making films teaching kids about wildlife. He was pretty good at it. Pop was a conservationist before it was cool. Jacques Cousteau was among his favorite wildlife conservationists.
We played our harmonicas together. He liked to play what he called "Dixie", but it wasn't Dixie at all. It was a tune he made up, but we played it just the same. We also played in our grand repertoire, my favorite, Shenandoah.  
He and I sat on the screened in porch during the hot weather to watch the political conventions while we ate caviar with crackers and drank cold beer. That was my first taste of caviar. It's an acquired taste, but I came to like it. 
He taught me to play chess. I only ever won one game. Pop wasn't the type to let a kid win on purpose. If you won, you really won, so that one game was quite a victory for me.
We traded stuff a lot. Once we traded my Thesaurus for his brass ashtray. I liked it because it had a deer in the bottom of it. Pop sometimes forgot what he traded and tried to reclaim his stuff. Because of his forgetfulness, I made him write and sign a release of that ashtray in trade for the Thesaurus. I still have that note and the ashtray.
I still miss him. I miss fighting with him. I miss laughing with him, I miss bargaining for goods with him, and mostly, I just miss him because I loved him.
To all of you who are fathers, have fathers, have kids that are fathers, or miss your fathers, I wish you a Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

THE VIOLIN released today!

Revised Edition Released Today!

THE VIOLIN by Sarah J. McNeal
Released today: April 21

Can the heart live inside a violin case? Can a message reach across time?

Genevieve Beaumont is haunted by dreams of a drowning man she is helpless to save. When she buys a violin and discovers news clippings and pictures of its owner and how he died from downing, she knows he must be the man in her dreams.

She travels to the little town where he died 90 years before to investigate who he was and how he died. Little does she know how her own life is tangled in the mystery…until she steps through the threshold of time to 1927. 
Available in paperback and all e-book formats including Kindle at Amazon, Smashwords, KOBO, and Barns & Noble.

Buy Links:

John took her hands in his and just stared at her for the longest time before he spoke. When he did speak, his voice sounded raw, almost sad. "Remember me," he said softly. He took a little shaky breath and hesitated. "I mean remember that day after tomorrow you're coming to the house to help Mama bake. I'll meet you here about noon and walk with you to the house. Maybe I could take you for a ride on my motorcycle after all that baking." He grinned, and it warmed her.
He has a beautiful smile, Genevieve thought. "Unless something prevents me, I'll be here." She didn't want to leave him here. God knew what was around the other side of the curve. She might never be able to get back, might never see John again. Her heart sank like a stone in her chest. She wanted to say something, but words wouldn't come to her.
As if he sensed her dilemma, John pulled her to him and laid his cheek on the crown of her head. "Don't worry so much, Genevieve. Everything's going to be all right." He said it with quiet reassurance, like an unspoken promise.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

THE VIOLIN for Preorder

 THE VIOLIN revised edition from Fire Star Press now for PreOrder on AMAZON

Can the heart live inside a violin case? Can a message reach across time? 

Genevieve Beaumont is haunted by dreams of a drowning man. When she buys a violin and discovers news clippings and pictures of its owner and how he died from downing, she knows he must be the man in her dreams and is compelled to investigate his death. Little does she know how her own life is tangled in the mystery…until she steps through the threshold of time to 1927. 



Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter Y'all

When I think of Easter, it takes me back to the years growing up with Mom, Pop, and my older sister. Often times, when the weather was good, we would move the Easter dinner to the orchard. Does food taste better when it's eaten in the out of doors? It seems that way to me. It felt lazy and festive at the same time. Mom made my sister and I Easter baskets long after we were grown. She loved holidays and made certain we celebrated with her. I didn't realize until after she died how much she contributed to our happiness on holidays. But I sure do appreciate all the memories she gave us in the time we had with her.

Mom made chocolate covered Easter eggs, some coconut, some peanut butter, and cherry. I can still remember how good they tasted. Of course, we made dyed Easter eggs. What's Easter without those? And it doesn't take much skill to make them, so I was all into that.

I still have my old Easter basket and some of the fuzzy chicks with hats she included in it over the years. It's kind of worn and the chicks have tattered, but it brings back those wonderful memories of home.

Parents may have no idea how important the memories they help create are to their children. All grown up and looking back, I still hold dear those cherished memories of Easter in the orchard and baskets full of delight my parents gave to us.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day today celebrating with your loved ones, both family and friends creating memories that could last a lifetime.

Monday, March 30, 2015


THE VIOLIN is undergoing revision and will be released on April 21, 2015 by Fire Star Press.  Livia Washburn Reasoner has created a new cover for it. What makes this cover so very special to me is that Livia used a picture of my Uncle John Douglas McNeal on it. I wrote this story about John who died long before I was born. He was only twenty-one when he drown while fly fishing with his friends. My father was devastated by John's death. I wanted to give John the life he never got to live so I wrote THE VIOLIN in his honor and in memory of my father's love for his older brother.


Can the heart live inside a violin case? Can a message reach across time?

Genevieve Beaumont is haunted by dreams of a drowning man. When she buys a violin and discovers news clippings and pictures of its owner and how he died from downing, she knows he must be the man in her dreams and is compelled to investigate his death. Little does she know how her own life is tangled in the mystery…until she steps through the threshold of time to 1927. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In Remembrance

James William McNeal

Pop and I shared a birthday. In the years since his death, my birthdays have never been quite the same. Someone is always missing.
In my early years I didn't like having to share my special day with my dad. I wanted it all for myself. But as the years went by, I began to enjoy sharing that cake and birthday greetings with pop.
Even now I have my personal tribute to my dad on our birthday. I write a note for him, light a candle, and play his favorite bagpipe tune. It's my way of celebrating his spirit and all the things he ever taught me like the reverence of nature and conservation of Mother Earth.
 He wasn't a saint. Just like every other parent, he made his fair share of mistakes and missteps. But he was my touchstone. If I had a problem I couldn't solve, Pop was my go-to guru. He was all common sense and rational thought. And he made me laugh.
So, today on my birthday, I just want to take a moment to pay tribute my dad. He always had my back. I love you, Pop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day


Whether you are Irish or have the heart of the Irish, I wish you a happy and very lucky Saint Patrick's Day!!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Oddball Ancestors

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I come from a long line of oddballs and unconventional ancestors. Some might call them eccentric, and others might call them weird. I choose to call them inspiring, free-thinking, and dear.

Will and Matilda McNeal (my grandparents)

My grandfather McNeal was a collector. He collected paper bags, boxes, string and tin pie pans. Being a bit of a neat freak, he quite naturally kept these items in neat and orderly fashion. He kept the string in a ball. Whenever he added more string to it, he would just tie it on and roll it around the ball. Back into the kitchen drawer it went until he needed it to wrap packages or tie tin cans together for an impromptu communication device for children.
True to his sense of order, he stacked the paper bags, neatly folded, of course, according to size in a corner of an empty room next to the kitchen. I know for a fact that you can never have enough paper bags. They’re perfect for art projects, wrapping gifts, writing that scene that may have just popped into my head, and preparing a package to send off in the mail.
The pie tins were all neatly placed in a tidy stack after my grandfather washed them. Who hasn’t needed a pie tin at some time? They’re great hung from strings in the garden to keep the birds from carrying off the seeds, and handy for making Halloween masks and stars for on top of the Christmas tree as well as making all sorts of shiny ornaments. Pie tins make perfect bird feeders and bird baths, too. 

Pop on Ocean Weather

Not to be left out of the eccentric circle of relatives, my dad had a few quirks, too. Pop believed every lampshade had a secret desire to be a bulletin board. Whenever he found an interesting article in the newspaper or a picture of something he liked, he pinned it to a lampshade. He and my grandfather had the idea that books can be turned into scrapbooks. I have a couple of books with newspaper articles and magazine pictures pasted onto their pages. I never understood that one. In our large kitchen sat a breakfast nook by a window with Pop’s birdfeeder so we could watch birds there while we ate. Pop built the nook and added several shelves behind the seat on one side. This was his “office” where he kept his microscope, slides and other hobby paraphernalia.  I think I mentioned before that my dad thought the big freezer was an animal mortuary. I never knew what I would find in there. Once he put a cat in a paper bag with its tail hanging out for me to identify when I got home from school. He found the cat on the road in front of the house and thought it might be mine. It wasn’t, so he buried it. Another time, he had a huge horned owl someone hit with a car in there to keep until he could get it to the Rapture Center for study. He dug up an ant hill, bagged it, and put it in the freezer to keep until he could construct an ant farm for my oldest nephew. The ant farm turned out pretty nifty, but he didn’t get the queen, so they all ended up dying. .  My mother was so tolerant of my dad’s quirks. She never fussed at him to clean up his mess—or mine, either.

Mom with her new perm and me on my maternal grandmother's farm--a whole other strange story

And speaking of Mom, she had her own little eccentricities, too. Mom hated to iron. She would sprinkle all the clothes, roll them up tight and place them in the freezer to keep from getting mildew until she got around to ironing—which barely ever happened. We ironed as we needed something. There was seldom room for actual food in the freezer.
Of course, there’s more, but I've probably already made you gasp and shake your head. My parents and grandparents were “different”, but for all their weirdness, I feel so lucky to have had them…just the way they were.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Midwinter Blues and Exercise

This is my idea of dealing with winter.

Here we are in the middle of winter. It's that place where the light at the end of the tunnel isn't quite visible yet and all the really fun holidays are behind us. Working on either of my WIPs seems to take an act of sheer will like deciding to go out and plow a field with a spoon. Well, what'd you do to keep the blahs from taking over?

I read an article that said exercise improves your mental outlook and your physical health. My sister swears that it keeps her depression at bay. She goes to the gym like it was church and takes long walks as if it was fun. I hate her. I'm more the slug type. I like to conserve my energy. I think naps are beneficial.

In my younger days I would walk every where and thought exercise was just part of the daily routine. I don't think I really knew how age could change things. It all seemed so easy then. I remember practicing the bagpipes and losing 2-3 pounds from the effort. Those were the days, my friend.

I could probably hibernate for the entire winter laying around watching TV or reading, but my doctor seems to think exercise might help me get some wight off and give me some more strength. What do doctors know?

Well, I've been giving this whole exercise thing some thought. Along with the physical benefits, I want to see if exercise will help me through this infernal winter and improve my spirits.

Have any of you tried to use exercise to chase away the winter blues? What do you do to get your happy back? I expect a full report.