Staying in Focus: Escape from Mount Sanctuary

ANNOUNCING the release of my novel for children:



Book Cover small


Although written with children in mind, the story is one you will never forget, a story of friendship, acceptance and tolerance for those different from us, of family and courage and sacrifice. It is a cautionary tale written to remind us how beautiful, yet fragile, is our world,  and how important is our stewardship of  it. It is  a story of  a boy coming of age, for readers of all ages.


Escape from Mount Sanctuary now available from the Kindle store at It’s a bargain at only $.99. No Kindle, no problem. Simply download the FREE Kindle app  and you can view the book on your computer.  Here’s a link to the site:


On the lower right hand corner of the page you will see a link to the free Kindle app. The book will be available in print on demand in the coming weeks if you prefer traditional books.

Book Description

 April 25, 2014
What if you had the chance to discover the world all over again? In Escape from Mount Sanctuary, a young boy named Ke does exactly that. Ke has lived his life in special caverns built to shelter survivors and their descendants beneath the Earth’s surface following a cataclysmic event ages ago. Ke learns that there is an “outside” to his world, a world long thought abandoned. Ke is intrigued, especially when he meets a girl (Mira) from an outside settlement and a wolf named Tip, who possesses special abilities. With this pair of adventurers, Ke and his elder friend, Tuck, embark on a journey into a world far more wondrous, and dangerous, than they imagined. During their journey, Ke, a naïve young boy with dreams of becoming a storyteller, learns much about friendships and family, self-reliance and sacrifice. By journey’s end, they all come to realize that courage is not measured by one’s size or one’s age, but by the conviction in one’s heart. Their story celebrates the joy of discovery, the wonder of our world and the rewards of perseverance. It encourages its readers to follow their dreams wherever they may lead. It is about discovering the world all over again.

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: All It’s Cracked Up To Be: Our Trip of a Lifetime

Daily Prompt: Tell us about a time when everything actually turned out exactly as you’d hoped.

Our cruise around Great Britain last summer was a bit complicated, but fortunately, as it was the vacation of a lifetime for us, everything went well. This was the first time we had ever used passports, but we sailed through security at RDU . We were in plenty of time to catch our ride (we even had time for chocolate ice cream). IMG_1204 We boarded our tiny plane and made it to Toronto, where we had a quick supper before boarding a larger, nicer plane for our trip to Heathrow Airport in England.

We had an almost glitch when, about halfway there, the flight attendants asked if there were any medical people on board because a passenger was having chest pains.  Fortunately there were, and when we arrived at Heathrow, a medical team was there to meet the plane.

We made it through customs and security, collected our luggage, which had the decency to take the same plane, and found our cruise line representative waiting for us, holding up a Princess Cruise Lines Card. We waited for a little while and were able to tap into the free Wi-Fi at the airport. Then we headed for a bus which whisked us off to the Southampton to board the ship.IMG_1180 IMG_1215We arrived at our cabin, and so did our well-behaved luggage, attended the requisite Titanic Scene safety drill, wearing our life jackets and assembling for a brief demonstration on how not  to drown while fumbling with our life jacket. Finally we were free to enjoy our cruise.

We didn’t get the Norovirus, or lose engine capacity or anything like that. We ate a lot of great food, enjoyed the musicals at the theatre at night, and the shore excursions by day. We even lucked out in getting the best guide for our Liverpool excursion, which was called “In the Footsteps of the Beatles.” Our guide, Marie, grew up across the street from Ringo and she was a font of information on everything to do with the Fab Four. Fantastic!IMG_1253

The weather was warm and dry for the most part, with one day of rain in Ireland. We also visited Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the beautiful town of St. Peter Port in Guernsey .IMG_1091 We spent a day in Paris and our two days at sea were spent enjoying the hysterical humor of the two cruise directors and their staff.

When our cruise was finished, we stayed for 2 more days to explore London and visit Stonehenge. We walked from our hotel to Buckingham Palace, ate some fish and chips in a pub, and rode on the upper deck of those familiar red buses of London.

Unseasoned travelers that we were, I think we did pretty well on our first foreign country experiences. I must give credit where credit is due, to my husband who did the planning and to the cruise line staff and the tour guides, who made it all, come together.  And, of course, to Air Canada, who flew us safely there and back to Toronto and then to RDU.  In Star Trek vernacular, the trip was “as smooth as an android’s bottom!”

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: On the Edge: Use It or Lose It

 Daily Prompt: On the Edge – We all have things we need to do to keep on an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?

Use It or Lose It

I’ve learned a lot during my six-year journey with Parkinson’s disease, especially how important it is to exercise – the body, the mind and the spirit. Keeping these three aspects challenged, keep me on an even keel. Daily physical exercise is vital if I plan to move at all. I usually do a few stretches right in bed  before I get up. I take my medication around 7:30 and by 8:00 I am ready to move. I alternate exercises because I get bored with them after a while.Some days  I use a motorized peddler, striving to keep my revolutions per minute at 85 to 90  I alternate this with the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home program on DVDs . I like these because  a strong musical beat helps me to keep my steps at a steady pace. The DVDs present a variety of walking sessions, from 1 to 5 miles. I enjoy doing these programs because I can pick the length of a program, walk whether it is cold, hot, raining or snowing.  I also do not have to worry about tripping over uneven pavement. The climate is always just right. I follow my aerobics with either a session of yoga for flexibility or tai chi for balance; on the smaller scale, hobbies like painting, cross stitch and jewelry making keep my fingers nimble.

To exercise my brain, I write for my blogs, write poetry, do Sudoku and crossword puzzles, and am trying to conquer my old nemesis, algebra. I really enjoy online classes which I take through the Ed2Go program at my local community college. I haven taken  courses on using Photoshop Elements, Travel Photography, Pleasures of Poetry, Writing your Memoir, Making Money from your Writing and I am beginning a  Writing for Children course now. I really enjoy the exchange  with classmates through the forums and  I find the teachers excellent. I am also writing a  scrapbook style memoir and revising the first draft of a children’s book.  And I musn’t forget photography. I exercise my spirit#ith  meditation, collecting positive quotes and reading books of poetry.  I have  a scrapbook which chronicles my journey with PD. I fill it with poems, quotes and journal entries. Below  is a page from my book of collected quotes and my PD Journal. I have  a schedule that alternates these activities so I never get bored. I certainly don’t do all of them everyday.  I’m sure to leave time for outings with my buddies. This year we’ve gone to museums and movies,  a Lemur sanctuary, the farmer’s market, walks around lakes and “treasure hunting ” where I found  a perfect little  desk for my snuggery (my all-purpose writing/painting/reading/creating room.) My husband and I just returned from  a cruise around the British Isles. We went on

quotebook excursions every day, and I am proud to have completed a 5K walk the deck for the cure while we were at sea. It’s important to keep in contact with friends and family to keep you on an even keel. There i so much I want to do, I IMG_0001_NEW refuse to let the PD rob me  of the opportunity. Right now the morning sun is shining through my window. I have  a whole day ahead of me, and plenty of creative ways to fill  it.


my treasure; my new desk

What it all come sdown to in the end is use it or lose it, and losing it is not an First of all, sten/option for me.IMG_0428 IMG_0425 IMG_0429

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Planes, Trains and Automobiles/On the Road Again

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Daily Prompt: : Planes , Trains,  and Automobiles


Given enough time to travel leisurely, there is nothing that beats a road trip by car. When I was about 13 years old, my parents decided  to set aside two weeks each summer and pack two adults, three children and lots of luggage into the family station wagon and take off on a cross-country adventure.

We explored most of the nation’s national parks; we ate dinner off a chuck wagon in North Dakota and sang with the cowboys under the stars.  We were cave spelunkers so we explored caves of all sizes, some large enough to house a cafeteria (Mammoth Caves of Kentucky), and one we traveled through by boat (Lost River Cave) in Tennessee.

We gazed into the Grand Canyon, watched the divers dive for pearls in Mexico, attended the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Canada, rode a trawler out on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Alberta, Canada, and had a snowball fight in the Rocky Mountains on the fourth of July. (see photo)

We saw Old Faithful erupt, danced with Native Americans, and joined friends for a catfish fry in South Carolina. We experienced New Orléans, reached the top of Pike’s Peak and crossed the Mojave Desert into California.

My parents gambled a bit in Las Vegas, my father excelled at haggling with the craftsman in Mexico, acquiring us lace beach hats and cover-ups, alligator purses, pottery and jewelry.  (see photo) We swam in both oceans, Lake Tahoe and the Great Salt Lake.

We encountered history at Monticello and Mount Vernon, at Custer’s Last Stand, and on the civil war battlefields of Manassas, Virginia. In between stopping to explore various attractions, we would love to stop at Stuckey’s restaurants and buy souvenirs. I collected charms of the states and places we visited.

I could go on forever about our vacations. It was a time my father shed his worries about his business and concentrated on family. The time together in the car lead to family sing- alongs  (The Bear Went Over the Mountain was dad’s favorite).  We played license plate Bingo and evenings found us swimming in the motel pool and sampling the local cuisine.

The advantage of a car road trip for us was the ability to set our own schedule, avoid missing things by flying over them or passing by so fast we couldn’t be sure what we’d seen. We were able to immerse ourselves in the local culture, talk to Native Americans, Mexican craftsmen, cowboys of Canada. We saw history through the eyes of others : the Civil War through the eyes of the southerners, living a simple life through the eyes of the Amish, traditions of the Native Americans, the lore of the cowboys, the songs of the prairie.

There is so much to discover in this diverse, yet united, nation of ours, as well as those of our neighbors to the north and south.  It was always my dad’s dream to take the family to Alaska, but we ran out of time to do it together. We did, however, cover the lower 48 states in our travels.

The downside to traveling by car these days are traffic jams because of the number of people on the road.  GPS can help here. A car trip can’t be beat for providing family time, for truly experiencing  all the wonderful, diverse cultures that  make up our country, exploring our neighbors and their cultures to the north and south.

I can still feel the excitement of that first day, the car packed, the open road and lots of time  ours for the taking.. I can still hear the sound of the tires spinning as we headed down the highway, nothing weighing us down, nowhere we had to be, just enjoying the freedom  and looking forward …  to see what we could see.

If you haven’t read John Steinbeck’s classic, Travels with Charley, do so. It is the ultimate road trip story, recounted only as Steinbeck can do.

More on methods of travel next post.

Staying in Focus: LIfe is the Journey

Daily Prompt: JourneyIMG_9657

We all on a journey because life is the greatest journey we will ever take.. Where we began and where we end is not the focus of life, but the journey through it is. What have I learned in my 60 year journey through life so far? I’ve learned that there will be joy as surely a there will be tears. There will be success  and there  will be failure. There will be moments of fear and acts of heroism. There will be days when I think  I’ve  had just about all I can take,  and days so beautiful I never want to see  them  end. I’ve learned that my life experience is up to me. I can make choices and I can make changes. The journey is not always  a straight line from beginning to end.  Sideroads and hidden paths sometimes confuse my progression, other times lead me to new experiences that help me grow.

Take my Parkinson’s disease, for instance. Never that one coming. A bit of a roadblock,  it has become my constant  companion for six years now, and  it has, of course,caused me to make some changes in the direction I was going on my journey before PD. As John Lennon so wisely observed, Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. My advice is  make plans, but make them out of silly putty,  so they can stretch in whatever direction your journey requires. PD may have slowed me  down, but my journey continues and I am moving forward.

Let me add that the journey will  provide opportunities for mystery and promise, challenge and  despair, triumph and heartbreak. Life is not a journey for the timid or the weak. It is a journey of discovery, of finding a way past the roadblocks, meeting the challenges,  finding the opportunities to be magnificent.  Discovering who you are and what you are capable of achieving  is the quest of the journey.

I try to take my journey one step at a time, not so intent on trying to see what is coming that I miss what is, right now.  If I am mindful, when my journey is complete, I will have the memories of a life well-lived; if not, I’ll be filled with regret for all those lost opportunities to make my life matter , to embrace my journey. no matter where it leads or how it challenges me. I intend to complete my journey with no regrets.

So, perhaps, I will see you out there on the road,. Our journeys intersect and mix with others constantly. May your journey be just what you need it to be. may you be what your journey needs you to be – magnificent.

Daily Prompt: Journey of a LIfetime

Daily Prompt: Journey

I have to return to my lovemom timelinely mother as a model again for this one.  90 years of life is certainly a journey!

This is mom’s timeline, stretching from 1923 to 2013. I included milestones in her life as well as  social, cultural and technological changes which have occurred  during her lifetime. Foe example, she has seen the change from 78 rpm records, through 45 and 33-1/3 rpms, to 8 tracks, cassettes, cds, mp3 players and ipods. She has lived through WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has seen man reach the moon, and terrorists destroy the Twin Towers. She has seen the good man can do, and the evil as well. She has battled cancer twice and won, and we hope she can do it once more, and be with us to celebrate her 100th birthday!