Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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April 2018
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04/30/18
Wishing Spring Was Really Here!
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 6:59 pm

I do not remember experiencing such a cold April as this one has been. Pennsylvanians love the change of seasons, and we are desperately waiting for real spring weather. Two weeks ago on a snowy windy day, we lost a couple shingles from our roof. Luckily we live in a small tight community and within an hour of our desperate phone call, our contractor friend was on our roof with extra shingles from the shed, and a couple hours later, the roof was as good as new. Double lucky because the icy rain started a few hours later. Last week we finally put our snow shovels away. I spent much of this day outside in the wind and sunshine. I hung our sheets on the clothes line to dry, nothing beats bed sheets smelling of sunshine and wind.

We had a wedding this month, even thought we didn’t attend, our thoughts were with them on April 7. Our Air Force grandson married his beautiful fiancĂ©, she’s also in the Air Force. The wedding was in England. We plan to have a BIG celebration when they come back to the states. The wedding photos were gorgeous, he wore a tux and she had a lovely wedding gown, I so wish now that we had made the trip!     

We’ve also been busy with Track Meets, (brrrr…they have mostly been cold this year), our granddaughter is a senior in high school and she’s a champion pole vaulter. She already has a track scholarship to Mansfield University. Her younger sister is having a great year this year in track also, winning in long jumps and relay races. Some times I can’t help wondering if I’d have been any good at some of these events way back when. But in those days there were no options for girl sports. I’m very glad things have changed. Another granddaughter was awesome in her dance recital.    

And  it seems it is always someone’s birthday in a family as big as ours! We have a small group of friends who gather at our home very other Wednesday evening, we’ve been doing this for years. The open discussions are stimulating and sometimes tempers almost flair. Most importantly at the end of each session, we’re still friends.      

Yesterday we went to the Strattanville American Legion for a banner reception to honor all veterans of the area.  One hundred fifty four banner flags were on display inside the Legion, including one for my father. Fifteen family members gathered for pictures and reminiscing: it was a wonderful afternoon. Dad received a purple heart and three gold stars for combat missions - he rarely talked about WW2 and refused to ever watch any war movies. Five of my high school classmates were among the honored flags for Vietnam era service, two deceased. The flags will be hung for public display from before Memorial Day until just after Veterans Day.

We are now losing sleep watching 24 through Netflix - not staying up late binging, but our adrenalin is revved up with the tension of the show, fantastic script writing!

I read Hidden Tapestry by Debra Dean. Biography. *It was like no other book I ever read - unforgettable.  Please read my review by clicking this Story Circle link: 

 http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/hiddentapestry.shtml

I read Faith  by Jimmy Carter. Christian memoir. It was a gift and I loved it, so inspiring. I have read almost all of his books and admire him very much. We attended his Sunday School class in Plains GA several years ago, it was one of the best experiences of our lives. We still have a photo of us with Rosalyn and Jimmy on our fireplace mantel.

I read The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah. Fiction. WOW! This author is amazing. It deals with PTSD, domestic abuse, coming of age, moving to Alaska’s frontier with no preparations for surviving the winter and so much more. The characters are well developed and the plot is wickedly smart and unpredictable. Loved it!

I read Twilight Empress by Faith L. Justice. Historical fiction about Roman aristocracy between 410 and 461 A.D.
It is well researched, with twisted plot developments and great characters. Especially the protagonist, Roman Empress and Gothic Queen Placidia, she suffered loss, love and betrayal. Palace intrigue was almost like a secondary character. (This book was also sent to me for review by Story Circle. My review has not been submitted yet.)

It is unbelievable how long my next project is taking. Should be ready to launch within the next few days. I will keep you posted! Until next time, keep reading my friends.

Ann

 

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04/03/18
Belated Easter Greetings
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 4:30 pm

 According to the our calendar, spring is here, but obviously Mother Nature hasn’t received that message yet. I do have an appointment to have my snow tires removed and my summer tires installed this Thursday… and I am hoping it is not too early! This seems to have been a winter for the record books, a winter that just keeps hanging on. Of course, things could be much worse, we have plenty of warm clothes and a cozy home. And we have had a few sunny, though chilly days.

We had a lovely Easter with adult children, grandchildren and great -grandchildren too. Being April 1, it was also a day of jesting April Fools jokes on most of us by the trickier family members. I didn’t hoodwink anyone, though I tried! Our Easter egg hunt had to be in our basement this year. The weather was cold and wet.

We have been binging on Homeland season 6 and loving it. Can’t wait for the next disc to arrive from Netflix!  We also saw the movie Red Sparrow. It was pertinent with all the news stories floating around about USA/Russian relations. The ruthless training of their secret agents, and layers of deceit made for a very exciting movie.

We also watched Lady Bird, it was a good movie though not particularly memorable to me. We went because it had been nominated for an academy award.

We also watched Darkest Hour, totally amazing movie. It didn’t feel like we were watching actors, it was great.  We plan to watch it at least one more time.

We went to see Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri again. I noticed so many more details that I’d missed the first time we watched it. Wonderful movie even though much of the dialogue is profane.

This month I read Grant by Ron Chernow, the Pulitzer Prize winning biographer. His biography of Grant was well researched and well written.  He maintained that Grant was our most misunderstood, underappreciated and one of our finest presidents. He was Lincoln’s most trusted general, Grant proved to be the genius military strategist of the Civil War. He knew all the other generals on both sides, their foibles and strengths, since they were all educated at West Point. Grant kept the North and South together during the tremulous reconstruction period after the war. Political intrigue seemed even worse during that period than today.

Hidden Tapestry by Debra Dean. Historical Biography. Subtitle: Jan Yoors, his two wives and the war that made them one. I loved Dean’s The Madonnas of Leningrad, so much that I jumped at the chance to review her new book. Of course, it was well-written; and definitely a surprise to me to read about such a different lifestyle choice. This artist left a legacy and his two wives exhibited more devotion, forgiveness and tolerance of Mr. Yoors than most men ever get from only one wife! This book was sent to me by StoryCircle.org for review.

Last Dance, Last Chance by Ann Rule. A true crime book. Well written and well researched. Very disturbing story about a bad doctor in Buffalo NY in the 1990s. This was our book club choice for March.

A Chance In The World by Steve Pemberton. Memoir. Another disturbing story, but one that weaves its way through so much heartache and turmoil to give a hopeful ending. I highly recommend it, especially during Child Abuse Awareness month.

I also read Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. Historical fiction. Well researched with intriguing characters and surprising plot twists. Fascinating insights into lives we would never otherwise encounter, and the difficulties some had to endure to create the world as we know it today. This is our book club choice for April.

I reviewed Nothing Forgotten by Jessica Levine. Historical fiction. Well written and well researched novel with memorable characters and unexpected plot twists. You can read my review at:  http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/nothingforgotten.shtml

My debut Willow Lane Newsletter is very close, the newsletter is free but only sent to those who request it. IF you want to receive one you can send an email and request to be added to the list. Quite a few of you have already signed up and you are probably wondering what happened. It has taken more time than I ever dreamed would be necessary. But I think it will be worth the wait!

Till next time, keep reading my friends.

Ann

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