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The Cast Iron Skillet
In August my sister Rachel and I had the chance to spend several days together. We were bound to talk about childhood memories, our deceased parents, and the difficult task we faced when dealing with their possessions. “I wish we hadn’t given Goodwill the old cast iron skillet,” my sister said, while helping prepare lunch in the kitchen. “I’d love to have that back.” “That old thing that was so hard to clean?” I pulled out one of the new coated pans. My sister smiled. “We never did really wash it. We’d just wipe it out with a paper towel…
My Secret to Weight Loss
Want to increase your exercising and maybe lose a few pounds?  Forget joining the gym. I have the solution. Get a puppy! Six week old Josie, a silky black Cockapoo, came to live with me and my husband at the end of August. Since she loves adventures, I have been more active than ever. She’s an ideal personal trainer. Before the snow fell, her jumping on my bike tire was all the motivation I needed to don my helmet. She contentedly sat in her special basket and took in the scenery. Some days I was tempted to do less than…
A Simpler Time In My Plymouth Valiant
While waiting for the light to change, I pulled up alongside an older woman driving an antique blue Plymouth Valiant. My first car was a turquoise Valiant. I wondered if this one, too, had the cool push buttons for neutral, reverse, and drives 1, 2, and 3. The light changed, and I let the Valiant pull ahead. Years faded away like paint. When I drove my old Valiant through the neighborhood with the windows down, (it didn’t have air or a radio), the world was a quieter place. Many women were stay-at-home-moms. No car alarms blared, no ATV’s roared, and…
My Purse: Mirror To the Soul Or Where the Heck Are My Car Keys?
If the purse is the mirror to a woman’s soul, I’m afraid mine needs polishing. I dump the contents out on a tray and begin sorting. Ah, here’s my granddaughter’s missing barrette. Hmpphh! So that’s where I put the Map-quest directions. I could have saved myself five dollars worth of gas and a lot of frustration last week if I’d remembered I put them in here. As I look at the pile, I marvel at how some women manage to carry those cute, tiny purses. Aren’t they afraid they’ll be caught without two Chapsticks, or their choice of three lipsticks?…
Great Things Come in Small Packages
Great Things Come in Small Packages Greetings fellow story lovers! Shortly after my young daughters and I began taking riding lessons, I dreamed of buying a horse of our own. In order to save money, I considered bidding for a wild horse at a Bureau of Land Management auction. I read many books and articles, and attended an auction where I wistfully stared at a pregnant mare. For only $125 I’d be able to get a mother and her foal. But I’d done enough research to know the many regulations about owning a wild horse. Furthermore, a horse newly captured…
Colorful, Colloquial Characters (Rated PG for Earthiness)
As a child, and okay, as an adult, too, I happily read Robert Newton Peck’s Soup books. His ability to describe his characters such as Soup’s nemesis, Janice Riker, is peachy. “She was the biggest and strongest and meanest kid that the world ever knew. She had the body of a hunched-back, bowlegged ape and the brain power of a fully ripened bean.” I could visualize her so easily. Along with physical descriptions, speech patterns or a character’s colloquialisms can add to our understanding of characters.  My use of “peachy” above made you form judgements about me. Bridget Birdsall, www.bridgetbirdsall.com,…
Living Other Lives
The beauty of the world of literature is that it allows you to live other lives. I’ve been an attractive 17-year-old red-head whose many adventures include solving the mystery of who’s trying to harm Fortune, the racehorse on my aunt’s ranch. In the same story, I had the chance to brood (as only a teenager can brood) then choose between one of the two young men who drew my eye. Now that’s living. I’ve also been nine years old again, trying to earn enough money to go to Adventureland, and discovering, after a thief breaks in and steals Mom’s electronics,…
Interview with Author Kathleen Ernst
Kathleen Ernst, a Madison native, is a social historian, educator, environmentalist, and the award winning novelist of 24 books. Her historical fiction for children and young adults include American girl mysteries. Her long anticipated American girl six-book Caroline Abbott series will debut September 4th. The third book in her adult Chloe Ellefson mystery series, THE LIGHT KEEPER’S LEGACY, will become available October 8th. What an exciting fall you’re about to have. Two new projects! The third book in your adult Chloe Ellefson mystery series, THE LIGHT KEEPER’S LEGACY, as well as the long anticipated Caroline books for younger readers. Will…
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