Reading, Writing & Chocolate

March 4, 2020

I’ve been looking forward to the month of March!  Five of my spring session writing classes start this month, and of course, I get to celebrate my birthday.  I can finally stop wearing my red fleece winter hat and put in my colorful beaded hand-made earrings.  I actually made several pairs of ...

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I am always reading. Novels, nonfiction, biographies, essays, short stories. If a title or subject grabs my interest, I put the book on hold at my local library. I just finished reading a parenting book called, The Happiest Kids in the World. This nonfiction book was written by two women, one ...

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I feel like I live in a Disney movie when I glance out of the window and watch the geese flying overhead, the squirrels racing across tree branches, birds chirping and chipmunks scampering across the lawn. But lately media reports of unusual behavior make me think that wild animals are getting a ...

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I like to watch travel shows on TV. Globe Trekker is a favorite, especially with Ian Wright or Zay Harding as the travel guides.  These congenial hosts bring you along on their adventures to remote parts of the world. You can imagine yourself hiking up a mountain in Switzerland or trekking in ...

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I invented a new soup recipe over the weekend.  I’d been thinking about making a pot of soup for the last couple of weeks. The freezing cold outdoor temperatures encouraged me to put on my culinary thinking cap.  I gathered my Dutch oven 5-quart pot, special wooden spoon, ladle, and cutting ...

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Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain. I recently read an obscure reference to the “Dancing Plague of 1518.” I needed to learn more about this!  Historical records document the growing epidemic of a dancing mania in Strasbourg. The phenomenon started in July 1518 with one woman, Frau ...

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A couple of years after college, I started working at a public relations firm. A co-worker called in sick and I was told to go home and pack for my first business trip. My task was to accompany the product spokesperson to radio interviews and make sure that she mentioned the product name in her ...

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A few weeks ago, I attended a wonderful poetry and art reception at the Norwalk Public Library. On my way out of the library, I was drawn to an enchanting display of miniature rooms created by miniaturist Vance Alexander. I was amazed at the detail and craftsmanship presented in each distinctive ...

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At the start of a new year, many people resolve to make big changes – physically and emotionally - to improve health and happiness. Gyms, diet food companies and health food stores look forward to this time of year. So do publishing companies, offering a whole new crop of self-help books. Popular ...

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I don't receive that many unsolicited phone calls but when I do, it is particularly irksome when the person on the other end of the telephone can't even pronounce my name correctly. I can tell immediately from the background noise that the person is sitting in a phone bank surrounded by hundreds of ...

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I remember the excitement of tip-toeing down the stairs with my younger brother early on Christmas morning. The lights on the Christmas tree would already be lit. Our eyes widened at the stacks of beautifully wrapped presents and the bulging red holiday stockings hanging nearby. We did not write ...

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The holiday season can be a relationship tester. Expectations are high, especially if you intend to drag your significant other to meet the family for the first time or attend a holiday work party. These can be very stressful situations by themselves without the added pressure of buying a gift for ...

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One of my new interests is learning about the artists who were paid to create murals and paintings as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. As part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s plans to put Americans back to work, many ...

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Men and women have worn hats for hundreds of years. Pioneer women wore cloth bonnets and men wore leather or straw hats to keep the sun, rain and wind off of their heads as they traveled on horseback or in the front seats of wagons. When the automobile became a more popular means of transportation, ...

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You know how we inherit different traits from our parents? Well, I did not inherit the accessories gene from my mom. My mother always dressed nicely and applied lipstick before leaving the house. Other mothers would throw on a bathrobe and slippers with their hair still in curlers to drive a child ...

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They are everywhere. Running across the lawn, scurrying up trees and gutters, darting across the roof tops. Squirrels gathering their provisions for the cold winter months ahead. The Eastern Gray Squirrel, common in this part of the country, is part of everyday life. I only notice a squirrel if ...

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When I was a little kid, my first Halloween costume was a witch outfit. The costume consisted of an ugly-looking greenish plastic face mask with a black hat attached and a long black skirt to complete the ensemble. I think my brother wore a skeleton costume.  Halloween was much simpler in those ...

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I am staring out of the window at a six foot tall stem with a pink flower on top swaying in the breeze. I like the color pink. It is not one of your typical fall colors – orange, red, brown, yellow. This lone pink flower appears to be a survivor. A hardy pink cosmos that has somehow risen from the ...

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Remember when I wrote about a fun-loving British woman named Dawn Winfield-Hunt who decided to wear her wedding dress every day for an entire year? I admire Dawn’s clever attention-seeking ploy and her self-deprecating sense of humor. Photos of her doing every day activities in that long white ...

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Last week I started teaching a new six-week series of writing classes for adults on the campus of Norwalk Community College. I experienced a feeling of déjà vu as I parked in the way back of the college parking lot and walked a few blocks to the building entrance on the West Campus. My alma ...

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The other day I had a full schedule of errands and appointments. I turned the key in the ignition and, to my horror, the tire pressure warning light was illuminated on the dashboard. I immediately hopped out of the car and walked around to see if any of the tires looked flat. Back in the Corolla, I ...

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It’s that time of year when yellow school buses are back on the roads. Riding on the school bus was not a highlight of my school day as a child. But walking home from the bus stop to be greeted by my mom with an after-school snack waiting for me was something to look forward to each ...

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I went to the medical center recently for my physical. The doctor made a comment that an annual exam doesn’t mean every three years, but I feel healthy and didn’t see the need to rush. The good news is that my blood work is excellent and my blood pressure is fantastic. The bad news is that I’m ...

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Most people have at least one thing that makes them feel uncomfortable. Speaking to a room full of strangers is the most common. While public speaking (glossophobia) tops the list, the five most common things that make men and women feel uncomfortable includes spiders (arachnophobia), heights ...

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Do you have a favorite phrase or mantra that helps get you through the day? I remember an episode of “Seinfeld” where George Costanza’s father invoked the phrase, “Serenity now!” several times a day during stressful situations. He was always yelling the words, so I don’t think he understood the ...

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Are you familiar with the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing? Devotees of forest bathing are popping up all over the world and discovering the many benefits of immersing yourself in nature. Developed in the 1980s in Japan, shinrin-yoku is based on ancient traditions going back ...

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When we were kids, my family planned a different vacation experience every summer. Sometimes we would travel by plane and other trips by car, usually during the first two weeks of July. One summer our destination was Montreal, Canada. My parents had friends who lived in Montreal and they had ...

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In the late 1980s, I spent weekends at a summer share house in the Berkshires. A group of us drove out of the city on Friday nights and spent the weekends hiking, horseback riding, boating, visiting museums, historic sites, and farm markets. Over the years, we enjoyed outdoor concerts and theater ...

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We have so many milestones in our lives, starting with taking our first steps and saying our first words. Entering kindergarten, losing a first tooth, learning to ride a bike, going off to sleep-away camp, and getting a driver’s license are celebrated. But one of the biggest milestones is high ...

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I wear running shoes every day. Am I preparing to run a marathon or 5K race? No. I just like to wear comfortable shoes. The choice of footwear can say a lot about a person. Thinking back to my choices over the years, comfort usually won out over style. I started wearing sneakers most days in ...

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