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.

December 2023
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August/September Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 8:02 pm
Hello my blog-reading friends. I hope you’ve all had a good summer and transition into fall. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any busier, it did! We’ve had several delightful house guests over the last few weeks, as well as some memorable events. Our granddaughter’s wedding on August 12 was absolutely beautiful, especially the bride. It was so much fun - no one wanted to go home! She had seven attendants, and a great DJ from Rochester, New York. It was in a lovely rustic restored barn with wonderful accommodations for the wedding party and guests in Frewsburg, NY, near Jamestown. My son and his wife certainly did a great job raising their three daughters; her two younger sisters were beautiful co-maids-of-honor. We were so happy and proud to share that special day with them and all the extended family and friends who attended.

The next day was our annual McCauley Family Reunion at the McCauley Farm in Clarion County, PA. It’s such a feeling of peace and belonging to sit under the shade trees, reminiscing and laughing with cousins and their spouses who after all these years feel like cousins too. We only have one elderly uncle left and two aunties. We used to have grandparents and seven sets of aunts and uncles… We were tired as we drove home but it was such a good weekend, worth all the effort.

We hosted my husband’s much smaller family reunion at our home over Labor Day weekend. It was also fun with many trips down memory lane. Everyone helped with food preparations and clean-up. One of our guests was from Basel, Switzerland and was keen to learn to drive a lawn tractor and cut grass. He caught on quickly and ended up mowing the entire lawn for us during the days of his visit. It saved me from mowing during my birthday week. This reunion was followed by my birthday with lots more family gatherings. These were mostly in restaurants, with me treated like a queen for a few days.

Of course, as usual we had several doc and dentist visits during the last few weeks. And I spend at least 6 hours a week cutting grass. Maybe that’s why I love fall so much. I’ll be trimming back my gardens for winter soon. The perennial and annual flowers are all beginning to show end of the season starkness. And I’ll only mow maybe one or at the most two more times before winter. Woo-hoo!  The leaves are already changing to the beautiful reds, orange and gold of fall. Plus cooler nights and days, what’s not to like? I love the change of seasons, but fall is always my favorite.
Our granddaughter who just started her career as a professional registered nurse, on the Intensive Care Unit in a large hospital, had the misfortune of passing out during her twelve hour shift last Friday night, she fell backwards and fractured her skull, was rushed to ER and after many tests, was sent back to Intensive Care as a patient. Not the way she planned her shift that night! The tests cleared her of all the bad things that could have caused her to pass out. She will see her neurologist this week for a follow-up. She says she feels okay, except her head and neck hurt. She takes only Tylenol for the discomfort. Thank goodness. Her eight-year-old son’s bedtime prayer on Saturday night: “Thank you Jesus for not letting my mom die today. Amen.”  Amen.

Life has come full circle for me in a way. I have joined a Bible Study where I’m learning so much. Fifty seven years ago I had my first child, a beautiful daughter. I cherished her and raised her the best I could, which included teaching her about the Bible and taking her to church and Sunday School regularly. Now she is the leader of the Bible Study I’m attending. She is such a good teacher and my faith is growing again.

I’ve read several books during my absent weeks from blogging. I reviewed The Sheriff’s Daughter for Story Circle, it was a fun and interesting read. I highly recommend it. Memoir. You can read my review by clicking:

Home Front by Kristin Hannah. 2012. Fiction. This was our book club choice for August. It’s a fantastic story, one of Hannah’s best. It generated one of our best book discussions ever. The protagonist had a very unhappy and unstable childhood, her alcoholic mother died while she was a senior in high school, she manged to graduate living alone the last few months of her senior year. She joined the army and eventually became a helicopter pilot. Later she married had two daughters and a handsome successful husband who resented her army life - she stayed on in the National Guard, playing soldier one weekend a month. The tension builds with every page, the characters are well developed and believable. Several of our members have or had sons or grandsons in the military so it was a poignant read for us.
Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen. 2022. Fiction - Murder/Mystery. Pay Dirt Road is her debut novel. It is Book One in a three-part Annie McIntyre Mystery Series. It was awarded the Best Mystery - Thriller - Suspense last year.  The protagonist, Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with her hometown, Garnett, Texas. She just graduated from college and is back home waitressing. Her grandfather is a private investigator. Annie is ambitious but has no idea how to jump-start her future. The complicated plot is tricky; the characters are well developed. This is an excellent coming of age novel, even for those of us who are already ‘of age!’

Girls Like Us by Christina Alger. 2019. Fiction - Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense. FBI agent, Nell Flynn hasn’t been home in ten years. She and her dad, Homicide Detective Martin Flynn never had much of a relationship. When her father dies in a motorcycle accident, Nell returns to the house she grew up in to scatter his ashes and close his estate. Worlds collide when she investigates a string of grisly murders on Long Island that raise impossible questions. But she doesn’t like the answers she finds and narrowly escapes with her own life. An excellent book, I want to read more of this author’s books. (*Based on the Gilgo Beach murders that took place in Long Island, NY in 2010.)

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson. 2022. Fiction.  Protagonist Libby is a brokenhearted young woman who feels her life is in tatters; she boards a bus in London and meets elderly Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 when he met a girl on the 88 bus, with beautiful red hair like hers.They’d made plans for a date at the National Gallery art museum, but Frank lost the bus ticket with her number on it. For the past 60 years he’s ridden the same bus, trying to find her, but with no luck. Libby is inspired to help Frank find his love just one more time, though it’s a race against time with his dementia progressing daily. This is a beautifully written uplifting novel about how a shared common experience among strangers can transform lives. The quirky characters and poignant plot kept me turning the pages.

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood. 2020. Fiction. ( Ms. Woods is an Australian author.) My sister gave me this book to read. It certainly did not grab me early on. But she encouraged me to stay with it. I did and it’s a book I will never forget. Three women in their seventies reunite one last, life-changing weekend in the beach house of their late friend. Can their friendship survive without her? Another powerfully poignant novel.

Civil Blood by Ann McMillan. 2001. Historical Fiction. A few pages into this novel and I realized I’d read it many years ago, but I kept reading because it was very good and I couldn’t remember how it would end. It’s well-researched and the characters are well-developed. A complicated detective story, full of interesting insights into the divided loyalties and conflicting beliefs of the times. Takes place in Richmond  in 1862, dealing with germ warfare of a smallpox semi-epidemic.

We are currently streaming Three Pines on Netflix. Based on Louise Penny ’s Three Pines mystery series. The characters are almost as good as in her books. It’s light fun and almost cozy to watch.

We watched two excellent movies this month:
First: Painkillers, a 6 part mini series on Netflix, it’s so powerful and important that we ended up binging on the on all six shows in one evening. It deals with the opioid epidemic, oxycodone and Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Mathew Broderick is one of the actors. I highly recommend it.

The second powerful movie we watched, at the local theater was Sound of Freedom. It deals with the kidnapping and sex trafficking of young girls and boys. It ’s a very important and disturbing film but should be seen by all. I have always wondered why in police busts, etc. over the years for prostitution that only the sex workers were arrested. What about all their customers? Weren’t they as guilty of the crime as the sex workers?  And when adult males are involved with underage sex workers… WHO is the real law-breaker?

Well, that’s all for now. Till next time, please stay safe and keep reading, my friends. 
Later, Ann

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