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.

April 2023
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April Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 4:38 pm
I’s a good day to write my blog as April showers continue to turn our world a lush green; even though last week we had snow flurries on two different days. We are so ready for the season’s change here in western Pennsylvania. I didn’t find a new blog platform yet. But I did copy and paste my entire blog to a permanent file on my hard drive. (200 pages with small font. I wanted access to it as a resource for my writing -  just in case I needed it some day.)

My husband and I have both been ill this month with bad cold symptoms of congestion, severe coughing and fatique. It hung on for three weeks. I finally called our doctors after ten days and prescriptions were ordered which after a few days made a difference. I even ended up having a chest x-ray and thankfully my lungs were clear. We’re blessed with family who visit often enough to make us feel part of their lives. And because there are so many of them, no one has to come too often. Our phone helps us stay in touch with our immediate family who now lives in several distant places: Rapid City, South Dakota; Summerville, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; York, PA; and Basel, Switzerland.

I’ve read four books this month:

Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons. 2009. Fiction. Readers laugh and cry while reading Up Island by this wonderful writer. The protagonist Molly Bell Redwine’s domineering and often cruel mother taught her that family is everything. Then Molly’s life unravels - her husband leaves her for a pushy younger woman who not only wants Molly’s husband but her home and money as well. Her mother dies, her friends prove to be shallow and false. Yet Molly proves to be resilient –a truly great novel.

Into the Planet by Jill Heinerth. 2019. Memoir. This is a mind-numbing and often frightening story. But I’m glad I read it since I never read anything remotely like it before. A good friend loaned it to me and highly recommended it. Jill was the first person in history to dive deep into an Antartica iceberg. This book is a blend of science, adventure and Jill’s memoir. Did you know: More people have died exploring underwater caves than have died on Mt. Everest? We know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans?  This was a great book which I highly recommend.

The Lighthouse by P.D James. 2006. Fiction/Mystery. From the novels jacket: “A secure and secluded retreat for the rich and powerful becomes the setting for an unsettling series of murders. Combe Island off the Cornish coast, is a restful haven for the elite. But when one of the distinguished visitors is found hanging from the island’s famous lighthouse in what appears to have been a murder, the peace is shattered…” An insidious virus has taken hold and everyone fells threatened by the the deadly virus and the fear of an unknown murderer among them. It is a Commander Adam Dalgliesh novel. If you haven’t read a PD James novel, you really should. She was another master story-teller.

Irene Deep In Texas Trouble by Judy Alter. 2023. Fiction/Mystery. The prolific writer, Judy Alter’s fourth novel in the Chicago Culinary Mysteries. You don’t have to read the first three to enjoy this one, though it would be best if you did. This is one of those novels that make you laugh out-loud while reading. I have a love/hate relationship with Irene and find myself wanting to shake her at times as she says and does the most outrageous things. Ignore what I just said about Irene, the other characters are people readers want to be their friends. The Irene series is a real hoot. I highly recommend this book, too. Bonus: In the back of the book are some great recipes.

We streamed a three year Netflix series: Designated Survivor this month. It was a good show starring Kiefer Sutherland. Guess when we are sick we have more time to watch television.

Till next month, stay well and keep reading my friends.
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Happy Easter — Delayed March Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 5:21 pm
Technical difficulties on my end. My blog site was down and I had to use a ‘chat room’ to consult with the 24/7 technical support. But let me be clear, there was NO chatting at all, only typing. I’m a slow typist and struggled to keep up the so-called dialogue. After 20 minutes the first chat person passed me on to a Level 2 chat person, who soon passed me onto a Level 3 chat person. I was promised a resolution to my problem within 48 hours. It took 72 hours. They recommend I find a new web hosting site since my current blog platform is almost obsolete. I’m hoping this blog will find its way to my readers, as I attempt to navigate the online world of blog sites, etc. Yikes!

Spring is officially here and I’ve been prepping my lawn and gardens. I removed the burlap wraps from around all our bushes and shrubbery, and each burlap wrap was placed in separate labeled bags for next winter. I’m also trying to do some spring house cleaning which, of course, includes trips to the Goodwill Store with donations. Then I’ve prepared a large box of plastic eggs - each one with a small prize inside for our annual Grandchildren Easter Egg hunt on Sunday afternoon.

On the Saturday before Easter family and friends will be gathering for a Bridal Shower for our Mechanical Engineer granddaughter who will be married next August. It’s a happy exciting time for them and all of us!

On Sunday we will host a traditional Easter family dinner, expecting only18 this year as some are unable to attend. It will be a good time, though a bit of work with all the preparations. Thank goodness everyone brings something to contribute to the meal.

I’ve read only four books this month.
(And I’ve had no time to write. But trust me, stories are percolating in my brain.)

The Spirit of the Horse by William Shatner. 2017. Nonfiction. Autobiography. Surprisingly the author is now in his 90s and very articulate. His lifelong love of horses is documented on every page. It’s a well-researched book with lots of history woven into his tales. If you like horses, this would be a good book for you to consider reading.

Wish You Well by David Baldacci. Fiction. 2000. (Inspired by the author’s mother.) This is Baldacci’s 6th novel. He and his wife started a foundation for adult literacy after it was published, named Wish You Well Foundation. He’s written dozens more best-selling novels since then. In this novel the protagonist is a 12 year old New York city girl. Her distracted father crashes the family car and dies, Louisa and her brother were protected by their mother, she’s been in a ‘wide awake coma state’ ever since. Virtually leaving the children orphans.  All three are sent to live with their great grandmother, their only relative, on a mountain in western Virginia, the same grandmother who had raised their father. The children’s adjustment to rural life is engaging and beautifully written. It’s one of my all-time favorite books. Wish You Well was our book club’s choice for March and it generated a very good discussion. It was a strong factor in the club voting to read another book about the women of Appalachia.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron. 1996. Fiction - based on autobiography of her life with her husband, Carl Bernstein. Her wit and heartache ripple through the pages. The protagonist is a young mother with a two year old son and seven months pregnant. It covers a six week period of her life from the time her husband tells her he’s in love with someone else until a few weeks after her baby is born. She’s an excellent and acclaimed writer. I found the book to be more sad than funny.

The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Women. Edited by Kami Ahrens. 2023. Nonfiction. Oral History. This anthology includes the stories of 21 women of varying in ages from their 20s to their 90s. But it’s almost like the mountains are a constant second character in each of their stories. These women are strong in their convictions and work ethics. Most came from very large families. However, these women had only about half as many children as their mothers had birthed. They all had a strong sense of community too. It was our book club choice for April and I look forward to the discussion later this month. It’s an excellent book. I’d never heard of the Foxfire series before, it’s all in the women’s own words as they were interviewed and taped by high school students starting in 1966 in the southern Appalachia mountains of Georgia and South Carolina. It’s a worthwhile enlightening read.
We became hooked on Michael Connolly’s Bosch series on Prime. There are six seasons and then two additional seasons, called Bosch Legacy. Only season one of Bosch Legacy is currently available for streaming. They are so well written and acted. The author is one of the show’s executive producers and also a frequent writer of the weekly scripts. We also streamed the mini-series, George and Tammy. I was never a big fan of George Jones and Tammy Wynette but after watching that I became one. I cried after watching Elvis as I did after watching George and Tammy. It’s horrific how managers drug up people to stand out on a stage and make them earn every last dollar they can.

Till next time, stay well and keep reading my friends.
Later, Ann
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