December 29, 2007

Most Addictive Game . . . Ever!

Don't say I didn't warn you . . . Traveler IQ Challenge.*

*Thanks to Dan's Distractions for finding this gem.

Aargh (stuck on level 6 -- after lots of practice),

Shine a Little Light . . .

Having lived in South Florida for over a decade, we sometimes forget to appreciate the wonders around us -- beaches, the Everglades, animal sanctuaries, fascinating species of birds, etc.

With glorious winter weather upon us, I’m determined to enjoy some of the special places in our area this year.

I played tourist today, grabbed our youngest son and climbed 105 steps to the top of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.

What a view! Boats cruised through Jupiter Inlet from the ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway. The lighthouse was one of the first to use the Fresnel lens. And it was erected because boats kept crashing into the reefs that extend two miles beyond Jupiter’s shores.

I’d never been in a lighthouse before. Have you?

It was fun to do something different. We even received a certificate stating that we climbed to the top of the lighthouse . . . and survived!

Can’t wait to see what other adventures await this winter!

December 25, 2007

Happiest of Holidays

Wishing you a peaceful, joyous holiday.

“Family is what it’s all about,” my father-in-law said.

“Couldn’t agree more, Pop.”

Holiday hugs,


December 14, 2007

Duck Butts, Santa Anarchy and a Supreme Court Associate Justice in D. C.

I took a break from novel revisions, parenting and pet care to spend a glorious long weekend in D.C. with Hubby.

Don’t we look relaxed? Well fed? And happy? We had actual conversations that weren’t interrupted every third word.

And we walked and walked. And walked! And saw amazing things.

The Lincoln Memorial

The White House (from really far away because of security fences)

The Washington Monument (“Hello, up there!”)

The Capitol (I was in awe that the laws of our land are crafted and debated here.)

We were humbled by the WWII Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Then we strolled through a park with a pond full of ducks.


But most of the ducks had their heads in the waters, so it was actually a pond full of . . .


As if that weren’t funny enough, when we reached the Smithsonian "Castle," a hundred people dressed as Santa marched to the carousel. They were delighted and let up a whoop when they found out they could all ride the carousel for sixty bucks. When asked by a bystander what was going on, one of the jolly santas said, “It’s like anarchy, but with Santas.”


They provided lots of laughs and candy for nearby children.

We explored a few Smithsonian museums and saw the Hope Diamond, Archie Bunker’s chair, one of the first airplanes, an incredible nature photography exhibit and so much more all for free.

The man who started all of this, James Smithson, had never set foot in the United States, yet he loved our country and wanted to promote the "increase and diffusion of knowledge." He did all this with an initial investment of $508,318. Thank you, James Smithson!

The next day, it was off to the National Zoo where I saw . . .


And pandas, iguanas, an octopus, lions, a baby hippo and a tarantula so large it eats small birds.

And butterfly butts! (Okay, I don’t think butterflies have butts.)

In South Florida, these are called rat snakes. In D.C., they're called politicians.

This is Lucy, a friendly orangutan who interacted with visitors and enjoyed eating.

Before we knew it, we were enjoying our last meal in Georgetownpizza -- and heading home.

It turns out that a Supreme Court associate justice shared our plane from D. C. to South Florida. Can you guess which one? (Hint: I think I saw him sipping a Coke in first class.)

December 5, 2007

Who Says Boys Don't Read?

Every year for the past eleven years, our family has collected children’s books for the Wood Memorial Book Drive.

People know about our book drive and often hand us bags of wonderful books. Area schools and businesses have helped our collection efforts as well.

But we’ve never had anything like this happen:

A couple weeks ago while volunteering at our school’s book fair, I met Lucia, a fellow volunteer. When a student was a few dollars short, Lucia reached into her pocket. That child left with the book she’d wanted. And I left with a great impression of Lucia.

Two days ago, Lucia called. “Do you still need books for your book drive?”


“My son, Todd, has some he’d like to donate.”

With a couple plastic bags in hand, hubby and I showed up at their home. We should have brought a Mack Truck.

Stacks of books covered their dining room table. Hardbacks. Paperbacks. Fantasy. Mystery. Humor. Classics. Current favorites.

“309!” said Todd, a sixth grader, standing beside the books.

“Did you read all these?” I asked.

He nodded. Then he helped us load his books into our car so we could bring them to the Palm Beach County Literacy Council to be distributed to children in our area.

Todd’s a charming kid who collects author’s autographs. He handed me a card and asked for mine. I put my signature at the end of sincere thank you note.

Thank you, Todd, for proving the naysayers wrong. Boys do read! Thank you for generously donating your books so other children can have good books to read. And thank you for being the kind of kid who makes me glad I’m a children’s book author.

If you’d like to drop Todd a line, leave a comment on this blog, and I’ll make sure he reads it. A gift certificate is on its way to Todd so he can begin to replenish his supply of books.

Happy reading everyone and hope your holiday happenings are happy ones,