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Thanksgiving 2020


Yes, even this year, with a horrible virus going around, I am thankful for many wonderful things. I suppose we used to take life for granted. This year it's on the top of my list.Being alive and being able to sharelife with those we love is a gigantic blessing. Of course, I miss relatives and friends, but I'd rather know they are snug at home, instead of taking a chance and being exposed to dangerous germs.Fortunately, I also have many virtual friends like you, and I imagine you're staying safe!It's not that I'm oblivious--I'm a writer and I have a great imagination. I can visualize you with a mask on, while you're social distancing!Additionally, I can think of about five thousand other thin...
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  8 Hits

A Dose of Sunshine on a Rainy Day!


      This morning, it’s raining outside. Fluffy gray clouds are passing overhead unveiling patches of blue. Californians are always grateful for rain, especially because of the recent fires. Me, I’ve never liked gloomy gray. It’s my least favorite color and it’s sort of depressing. Usually however, the rain doesn’t last long, and rays of sunshine will soon be blasting down.  Today, as luck would have it, I notice an Amazon package at my gate. I step over a few puddles to retrieve it and am delighted at the timing! Inside the wet, brown wrapper is a dear friend’s book, filled with instant sunshine! Sunny Simon recently published a book called Life on the Sunny Side—Inspirations for Busy Wome...
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  24 Hits

An Autumn Recap of 2020


I guess I work better under pressure. After all, I remember how my patriotic love for this country helped me stay positive after 911. Even through tears, Americans pulled together to show solidarity during a difficult time. People wore flags on their lapels, or red, white and blue knitted beanies, even stars and stripes on their baggy pants. I still own a flag scarf I’d wear with my navy-blue suit. Yes, things were different. Somehow, things have changed. Everyone, even kids, are so darn independent. Personally, I think people have forgotten all the beauty surrounding us. I challenge anyone to argue next to the rim of the breathtaking Grand Canyon. No one will hear you shout next to the incr...
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  101 Hits

Our crazy world


This year has certainly been the most surreal I can remember. On 16 March, the Notaire where I was working as a clerk, packed up boxes of files and we all left the building not knowing when we would be back. The night before, President Macron had told us live on TV that from the next day, we were to 'stay at home'. He wasn't asking politely.For several weeks I was able to leave the house only to walk the dogs within a small radius around the house, go to the nearest supermarket and that was it. The road where I live was unusually quiet, there was no one anywhere to be seen.The disease remains an enigma and untamed. We now all wear masks although at work I conveniently rip mine off when I'm i...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  85 Hits

Don't Forget to Vote!


Many of you may have already watched this short video, but I wanted to make sure everyone sees it before the election.    Our local library invited me to create something about our town, the founder, and the 19th Amendment. Though a huge honor, it took some planning due to the pandemic. Everything had to be done with computers, phone calls, books, emails and text messages.What to do? So, I wrote an introduction, a skit, a song and a short narrative. The song is called, "I'll Never Stop Thinking" and I needed to find a composer! I have a few musical friends on Facebook but only asked one, and he came through like a true professional. (Last time I saw Keith, he was 8. I remembered a flurry of ...
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  123 Hits

Lessons From Sir Lawrence for 2020


  As a young archeology student, Sir Lawrence of Arabia was sent to the Middle East by the British Museum. During that time, he was beaten, shot at and robbed, and yet, when the military sent him back to Syria on a fact-finding mission, where Ottoman Turks lorded over the land; Lawrence saw it as an opportunity to help liberate Arabia. Recently, I re-watched the legendary Peter O’ Toole, in the famous 1962 movie. I saw it before, but in my case, age and experience helped me appreciate the finer points, the cinematography and the all-star cast. (Plus, I always thought Peter O’ Toole was a handsome fellow.) With a bounty on his head, Sir Lawrence led his rag-tag troops into battle against soph...
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  135 Hits

The Happy War-A Novel


 Have you read it?  If yes, please leave a short review on Amazon. Thank you! Original link
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  156 Hits

Stream of Consciousness Writing On the Anniversary of 911


  There’s a virus among us. It came from far away and is now everywhere. We’re supposed to stay home and when we go out, we’re supposed to wear a mask, like Zorro. And, there are fires all over California. People with asthma can’t breathe. People are sad. There are riots all over the place and a few peaceful protests that end up being taken over by mobs. I think God turned up the heat on the chaos in the streets. Bad folks don’t like 120 degrees either. I don’t like people who act like animals. Those people who flew into the tower—they were animals. There’s an election and some political crazy talk. Each side sounds horrid. Wake me when it’s over. But, if you really think one side is better ...
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  146 Hits

Be careful what you wish for


The world we know has changed beyond recognition this year with the virus and its impact on the world economy. I've been here before when my successful career in London was so severely impacted by the financial crash that I had to reinvent myself in order to survive. In the darkest days, the last thing on my mind would have been rushing to share my plight on social media or posing half naked on Instagram. Who does that and why? Why is the approbation of complete strangers a necessity? How does that make an individual self aware? My faith provided solace when confronted with challenges that I found too difficult to surmount on my own. Faith, along with age and experience, helped me discover a...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  140 Hits

When wildlife is far more interesting than homo sapiens


Sometimes going for a walk is more inspiring than reading the news. The animal kingdom is full of wonder and I'm grateful to be filled with awe when for example, I come across this little fella in his armoury crossing the road as if he has all the time in the world:Or this little guy who has taken up residence with his mates/family on my terrace. Watching him catch flies is sort of miraculous:Much more interesting than politics, celebrities, #LeftWingLunatics, don't you think?Both of these creatures carries on about their business without fanfare or calling the paparazzi. They just are. A lesson to us all perhaps?Photos copyright SvD.Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  197 Hits

Summer in Your Mouth-A Recipe


  When life gives you lemons, either you make lemonade, or search everywhere for a unique and delicious recipe. Here’s a simple one that is sure to make you smile, or at least pucker up. (Please maintain social distancing when puckering up.) Painted by my husband, Steven Michelangelo GaalHe also grew the lemons.   Old Fashioned Citrus Bundt Cake (I prefer: Summer in Your Mouth Cake)   One cup milk Three eggs ½ cup canola oil ½ cup melted butter--that’s cooled off Zest of three lemons (3 or 4 tsp) or oranges and lemons ½ cup lemon, orange or tangerine juice.  (Optional: You can add a tablespoon of Cointreau Triple Sec or Grand Marnier  I went with Cointreau.) _________________ Three cups flou...
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  182 Hits

My Newest Book is Out! (A Soft Launch)


    It was bound to happen. A friend coaxed me into trying NaNo-for those who aren’t familiar—it’s the month of November--which is set aside as a time to write an entire novel –in one month. Yes, one month! Many try to do it and can’t finish, and a few have bestselling books because they forged through and made it.  I finished, but the book I wrote became a rough outline for my finished manuscript. There were so many bizarre things, such as errant words inadvertently stuffed into the one-month time limit, that later, during weeks of editing and months of rolling revisions, I began to pull my hair out,deleting paragraphs and changing complicated sentences into something comprehensible. As the...
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  178 Hits

Watching a bee hop around is great therapy


My lifestyle is pretty frenetic running here and there, fielding calls from clients, sorting out problems with Notaires and agents, rushing off on viewings, plus I have a home life too. Dogs, a partner, a house to maintain. I do feel at times that my head is literally spinning. Sometimes shutting out the noise in one's head necessitates switching off 'phones, retreating to the garden where I have planted buddleia, a fragrant flower beloved by bees. This morning I found a good 15 minutes to just stare at the bees as they made their way around the plant hungrily feeding off each flower. What joy! Simple stuff makes me happy. Always remember, happiness is in your head. I met a client last week ...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  194 Hits

A Time To Read Books!


I don’t care what anyone says, my hair is supposed to be a long and tangled mess. This selfie displays my first attempt at trimming my bangs and it's from way back in April. I know it's funny, but you should see me now! In the kitchen, I ran out of a few spices and made some substitutions, heck, it still tasted good, didn’t it? So, hubs got involved, making crusty bread which turned out delicious.  We had help from a friend, who air-dropped packages of yeast over the garden gate. It seems his idea wasn't unique. Everyone bought up all the bread-making ingredients in the county! For awhile, flour became as rare as toilet paper.Anyway, the Fed-Ex guy is fast becoming a friend and, the Instacar...
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  179 Hits

The march of the Far Left


Watching the prince and his handler as they rabbited word salads gleaned from self help books beloved by the likes of Oprah Winfrey (who as it happens grew very rich by regurgitating 'meaningful stuff' and 'changing lives'), I couldn't help feeling a surge of anger and exasperation. The prince and the handler are clearly a massive embarrassment to us Brits in general but the thing that riles me is their genuine lack of self awareness. I recall an American friend telephoning me in tears when the last episode of Oprah aired on TV. She felt bereft and mentor-less. Her days of soaking up wisdom while lying prostrate on a sofa in her pyjamas had come to an end and she felt rudderless. I watched O...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  201 Hits

A Poem-The Tireless American Rose


The Tireless American Rose Eve GaalThe tireless American rose. Graced our fallen, pricked our foes. A graveside decoration, saluted by soldiers, a comfort to widows, the perfume of angels, to any discerning nose. A queen’s bouquet, a honeymoon kiss, where petal strewn walkways, grace romantic getaways. Glistening with a bride’s tears, or a lucky graduate’s surprise, maybe a new mother’s gift, and those wreaths explode with beauty, when loved ones die. The tireless American rose, seen at parades, waiting after war. There backstage, awarding every star. A centerpiece at the gala, a holiday corsage, there to win, every battle, every kind of heart. With, or without thorns, Through raging pain, O...
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  187 Hits

Crying or Laughing?


Those of you who visit my blog regularly, know I like to dabble in drawing. My last post was about painting, and how landscapes can become a type of escape, especially during tough times. Most fiction writers’ study human behavior or psychology, so they can create or “paint with words,” characters with realistic qualities. Right now, all you have to do is turn on the television, where the evening news is filled with colorful protesters who shout about peace, while carrying firearms. Oddly, if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it and novel readers wouldn’t find it believable either.   Mark Twain said:  “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction, But It Is Because Fiction Is Obliged to Stick to Possibi...
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  216 Hits

Spread Peace Through Art--Wish I Knew How to Paint!


Art Pastures painted in vivid greens, ‘neath skies of blended blues; soothing scenes depict tranquility, of places past-- Where tall grass blows upon a lea, shepherds tend gentle flocks, work horses graze, farmhands nap, chickens waddle to a trough. How fortunate that grandmother knew how to paint. Her heart, in cracking oils on canvas, randomly splashed on my suburban walls, reminds me, and those who visit, of peace and serenity. And you! How lucky are you? Given a chance to leave a legacy, to express yourself with art. A lifetime ahead--anew-- to spread love to future generations. Please pick up the brush, the pencil, even a box of crayons. It’s never too late to begin. (Written by Eve Gaa...
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  260 Hits

Rufus van Dalen


My darling doggie, Rufus, went to Heaven today. I could not have asked for a better friend. For ten years of the fifteen years we were together, Rufus and I only had each other and my priority was always him. I organised my life around my dear, faithful, wonderful hound. I could have given him up and gone off to live in London enjoying theatre, opera, art, all of the things I love. But here was someone who totally relied on me and who was my responsibility. People used to say that I should give him away so that I could have a better chance of meeting the man of my dreams. To me that wasn't as important and seeing my doggie smiling and knowing HE was happy and contented.Rufus and I used to  w...
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  214 Hits

Happiness is...


...sharing when you love someone..Photo copyright SvD.Original link
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© WordsandphotoscopyrightSamanthavanDalen

  27 Hits