Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Half Favorites for 2016

My friend Lesa posted her First Half Favorites for 2016 at her blog -

Nor surprisingly, we share a few faves.

I don't always do a favorites list at the end of the year any more, but I do post the list of what I've read during the year.  And I will highlight a few that have stayed with me.

But this half year list intrigues me.

When I thanked Lesa for coming up with such a clever idea, she told me it was actually Jen Forbus's idea of a couple years ago.  And that doesn't surprise me a bit.  Jen keeps her blog - - fresh with a wealth of continuous new ideas.

So, I'm going to hop on this bandwagon and tell you my favorites of the year - so far.

"The Never-Open Desert Diner" by James Anderson

"My Southern Journey" by Rick Bragg

"The View From the Cheap Seats" by Neil Gaiman.  (Actually, I haven't finished this on yet.  I'm plucking essays out slowly and savoring them.  Which is exactly what I did with Rick Bragg's "My Southern Journey."  They're both delicious books and I can't say enough about them).

"Night Shift" by Charlaine Harris

"Wilde Lake" by Laura Lippman

"A Great Reckoning" by Louise Penny (I read an ARC - official publication is not until August, but worth the wait!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cowboy Boots and Pearls

I talk about a lot of things here at Meanderings and Muses.

Books, politics, music, and friends.

Photography, family, Harley.

Clothes, jewelry, food, and art.

Donald, the beach, sunrises and sunsets.

Shopping, cooking, baking and poetry.

Have I missed anything?


Yes, yes, yes, I think I've mentioned my love of boots a time or two.

I've been wearing - and wearing out - boots for a long, long time.

They've always been a part of my "go to” look.

I guess every woman has a look that she's most comfortable with and feels her best in. Sometimes it might even be an unconscious decision that just happens and evolves and become that "go to” look.

Mine is a long top (usually a white shirt), and leggings. And boots. And there's more than likely a long scarf tossed over my shoulders.

Looking back at pictures taken over the years boots are evident more often than not.

And the leggings were jeans.

There may have been dresses or suits rather than jeans for work, but there were boots.

This look that I so love and declare as mine is one that is very "in" at times and very "not so in" at other times.

When it's not so in the only thing I've ever done differently is just not tuck my jeans into my boots. Then it’s just a classic boots & blue jeans thing and not a trendy thing.

At least, I think that’s true.
Truth be told, I'm a little slow on the uptake when it comes to fashion trends. I have a closet full of clothes that I've had for a long time. If it fits, feels good and I like the way it looks, I wear it. "Fashion Accuracy" isn't too much in my lexicon. I love to dress and to buy clothes and I think it's fun being female. But the latest in fashion isn't at the top of the list for me when it comes to how I dress.

Really, it's about how I feel when I walk out the door.

There's more to clothes than looking nice, I think. I like clothes that help me feel an extra spark of confidence.

If they don't, it's an easy decision to just not wear them.

We've all made mistakes while shopping. I've made more than my share. Usually, I'll wait before taking a tag off anything I buy until I'm home and ready to wear it out the door. If it doesn't feel right, back to the store it goes.

And I don't really give two hoots about Fashion Faux Pas.


That was a lie.

There are a few that will make me cringe.

I really do think there's such a thing as "too much" animal print.

And I do think there's such a thing as clothes that are too tight. Maybe it's just me, but I do not think visible pantie lines are sexy.

okay, so. Now that I think about it, maybe there are others. But. That's a discussion for later, methinks.

(I do tend to go off on a tangent now and again, don’t I?)

Back to boots.
I became a lover of cowboy boots beginning with a little pair of red boots I got for Christmas when I was probably 4 or 5. They were part of a cowgirl outfit that included a holster with a pair of six-shooters that hung low on my non-existent (then) hips, a red and white skirt and top with white "leather" fringe, a red cowgirl hat and silver spurs to wear on the boots. Honey. I was Queen of the Rodeo! I loved that outfit and if I remember correctly, it was hard to get me out of it, I eventually outgrew it, which is what continues to happen to my favorite outfits even today.

I left the cowboy boots behind for awhile, but fell back in love with them a few years ago when I tried on an adorable pair of embroidered pebble gray leather Seychelles in a little shop on King Street in Boone.
They were, and still are, the most comfortable things I have ever put on these feet.

Since then, Ellen Watson at Watsonatta here in Boone has contributed to my cowboy boot addiction over the years. I don't see that coming to an end anytime soon, truth be told. Ellen and I will walk off into the sunset together. Wearing cowboy boots. We may be using canes, or even walkers, but we'll be wearing our boots.

There's another thing I really love.


And I don't think they should stay at home in the jewelry box waiting for a special occasion.

Actually, I've decided they pair perfectly with cowboy boots.

I think they do.

Don’t you? No? Oh, well.

Here's the thing.

Boots rock.

And there are all kinds of boots.

Short boots, tall boots.

Sexy boots,

and you know . . .

even work boots (although you may want to think twice about wearing pearls with your work boots).

Or, then again . . .

I'm thinking a good looking pair of really sturdy butch looking Harley-Davidson motorcycle boots paired with pearls?

I just might be able to rock that look . . .

or, perhaps it's just another way for me to fight this invisibility thing I've found myself fighting recently.

If you're a woman who has not found herself in the invisibility zone yet, good. But don't fool yourself into thinking it's not going to happen.

And, as you may suspect, I've got a lot I want to say about it.

Still gathering thoughts.

It's a subject that has been written to death, but -

each person writing it is writing it from their own, very personal, perspective.

They're stories that deserve to be told.

And heard.

Mine's coming.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A few vacation highlights

I still have lots and lots and lots vacation photos and stories -

here's just a few more highlights with more to come.

I was able to spend a little time with one of my oldest and closest friends.

Jackie Aaron McGlaughlin and I lived down the street from one another as little girls.  A lot of time has passed and a lot of miles separate us most of the time, but, we're still sisters of the heart. It was good to be able to spend a little time with her, not as much as I would as liked though.

We got to see some cousins.

Pat, Laurie & Joani greeted Donald with a hug (to which he had no objection)

We got to see my Aunt Shirley, one of my mom's sisters, and one of the closest.  While we were there my cousin Donnie showed up along with her daughter Courtney and Courtney's little boy aka "Lil' Man"

I stopped by the Dorchester County Public Library and brought home a few books from the Friends of the Library sale, AND spotted my Whimsey in the stacks.  Was that a highlight of this trip?!  Pfft.  You better believe it was.

I was able to attend a book event hosted by my friend David Magayna at the Stevensville, MD library where he interviewed Allison Leotta and Lisa Unger.  I also got to visit with pals Kristopher and Michael, and buy a couple books from one of my favorite booksellers on God's green earth - Kathy Harig, owner of Mystery Loves Company in Oxford, MD.

All in all, I'd have to say it was a perfect vacation.  

We had lunch with David in Easton, Donald got to meet Belle the mascot corgi of the Oxford Ferry, and we also got to have lunch with my cousin Bill along with Joani, Laurie and Pat.

I ate a lot of crab this vacation.  

 And, I was able to buy a painting I am totally in love with.

A painting done by friend and former classmate, Patti Lucas Hopkins.

Nice to have a piece of The Eastern Shore back home with us in Boone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ocean City, MD - Another walk down memory lane

We don't always get to Ocean City when we go home to Maryland.

This time, we did.

And I was a happy girl.

Ocean City is a huge part of my childhood.

I've written about it here -

And Brandon Seidl did a guest spot here about Trimper's Haunted House in Ocean City -

Trimper's is, and always has been, a cornerstone of Ocean City, MD

My first stop after parking the car in the inlet parking lot at the very end of The Boardwalk is always going to be the old Trimper's Carousel.

(This from

" . . . 1912 purchase also adds to the historic significance of Trimper's Rides. It was that year that Daniel Trimper purchased a massive carousel from the Herschell-Spillman Company in North Tonawanda, NY. It was 50 feet in diameter with a uniqueness derived from the only other carousel made by the firm at that time having been sent to Coney Island, and that one was later destroyed by fire.

The merry-go-round's forty-five animals, three chariots and one rocking chair were driven by a steam engine; rides originally cost just a nickel. One-hundred years later, the ride (now electrified) costs you four tickets, or $2.00 - unless you buy the discounted package of 40 tickets for eighteen dollars, and then your ride only costs $1.80. Classified as one of the oldest still operating carousels in the nation, generations of families come every year to ride their favorite animal. Smaller children tend to prefer the horses but many choose their own steed from among a menagerie of a cat, dog, frog, rooster, deer, goat, lion, tiger, ostrich, pig, dragon, et al."

The carousel is believed to be haunted - I only learned about this recently. I've never noticed a ghostly Mrs. Trimper while riding, nor have I caught a whiff of her perfume, Crystal, but I'll keep an eye out and my nose a sniffin' from now on when I do ride. I can't think of a more magical place to haunt, and I love that this is where Joanne Trimper has chosen to stay for her eternity.

You can read more about Trimper's here -

We spent some time doing one of the things I most wanted to do this trip. Play in, ride on and photograph Trimper's. 

Especially that beautiful, magical carousel.

Does anyone ever actually capture anything in one of these?

And, after Trimper's there's the rest of Ocean City . . . We, however, did only a smidgen of it.

We walked, and shopped, and ate, and did a lot of people watching, and ate, and walked and did it all again.