What Are You Reading?

Official Website for Margot Livesey

What Are You Reading?

There is nothing like a good book. One you look for every spare minute you have. Especially in the pandemic. I haven’t had a really good read in a long time and read The Flight of Gemma Hardy in three days, lying leisurely on a couch in the afternoon and staying up past my bedtime to finish a chapter. The author, Margot Livesey, was born in Scotland but now lives in Boston.

What I especially liked about the novel was it was set in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

The accolades from several other well know authors are numerous and Livesey is the recipient of grants and winner of awards.

It was a great read and I’m currently reading her latest book, Boy In The Field.

What are you reading?

. . . just saying

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Zingo Netty it’s raining cats and dogs in Florida. The locals call it big rain. The down pour is fast and furious. Drain pipes on the sides of the house empty with the intensity of a water hydrant being flushed. The wet and windy August days are accompanied by lightning and thunder so severe, the clap sounded like a gun shot, and I jumped off the couch.

Our phone has not rung, unless you count nuisance calls. Nobody has anything new to say. How many times can we complain; the Democrats hate Republicans and vice versa, or bemoan fake news?

  I watched a PBS program, Searching for the Truth in the Age of Misinformation. They concluded fake news is real but previously labeled propaganda because a twist is added to convince the audience to adapt a specific view.

Then there is the pandemic. Today’s newspaper included a police report about two eighty-year-old men who got into a physical altercation in the grocery store. Someone was going the wrong way in the aisle. The article didn’t mention social distancing or if face masks were ripped off.

I am taking solace in watching TV, although there is not much to watch. Martha Knows Best is enjoyable. Martha Stewart has an 150 acre farm, with horses, goats, chickens and peacocks. She is missing one of her 17 peacocks and offering a $500 reward to find the bird. Martha is committed to gardening and offers many how to tips. I’m not much of a gardener. The weather is too hot, the deer too numerous, and the soil is sand, all sand. The best I can do is grow celery in water. Once it has roots I will plant in a pot.

. . . .Just saying

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See The USA Going To Jackson MS.


Jackson, Mississippi

How many of you are done with not traveling, social distancing, and wearing a face mask? Me too! I am going to Jackson, Mississippi, virtually of course.

I can hear Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix singing the song in Walk the Line and then Minny (Octavia Spencer) teaching Celia Foote (Jessica Chastin) how to fry chicken in Crisco The Help.

“[Crisco] ain’t just for frying. You ever get a sticky something stuck in your hair, like gum?… That’s right, Crisco. Spread this on a baby’s bottom, you won’t even know what diaper rash is…shoot, I seen ladies rub it under they eyes and on they husband’s scaly feet…Clean the goo from a price tag, take the squeak out a door hinge. Lights get cut off, stick a wick in it, and burn it like a candle…And after all that, it’ll still fry your chicken.”

The scene is memorable and Minnie says Crisco in such a way that made me want to see the area.

(FYI words appearing in blue are links you can click on. To tour Pensacola, click on the arrow.)



The movie currently is under scrutiny for its recent popularity on Netflix. . . but I am tired of sitting at home.


Author Eudora Wetly Museum

Jackson is the state capital and there are many sights to see, although like all cities the coronavirus pandemic has left its mark.

King Edward Hotel and Lobby

The distance from my house to Jackson is728 miles and a 13-hour drive. So I’ll spend the night or a few days in Pensacola Beach, but the first stop is Gainesville. probably for lunch. Gainesville is the largest city in the region of North Central Florida and home of the University of Florida, the nation’s ninth-largest university campus by enrollment. What impressed me about the area is the trees. The aerial will give you a good view. There are some YouTube advertisements that you have to wait through. It is worth the wait if you want to travel virtually. Remember the benefits of virtual travel; it cost nothing, you are never stuck in traffic and is enviromentally smart.

Unlike the beaches on the east coast, the Gulf sand is pure white in color. The water smothers the shoreline with a butterfly kisses.  You may want to visit  Apalachicola  it is near by.

Please watch the above virtual tour. She does an excellent job of telling travelers about the area. Have a good time.


                    . . . . just saying


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If You Come To Florida

If You Come To Florida

I feel like Ginger Rogers dancing backward in the arms of Fred Astaire trying to get my barrings. World War Two bombs are not being dropped, however, the coronavirus and police brutality are in the air. Even virtual travel seemed risky, so I searched through my photos of where I have been. If you ever get to Florida, come prepared to visit the Stetson Mansion.  


The John B. Stetson House, built-in 1886 for the hat manufacturer and designed by George T. Person, an architect from Philadelphia, in 1886 is an historic home in Deland, Florida.

The Stetson Mansion is well known for its Holiday Home Tour and I have been there several times during the Christmas season.

Stetson Mansion ranked third in the nation by USA Today for the Top Ten Readers’ Choice Best Holiday Tours in 2019. Tours are scheduled for the year 2020 beginning in November. The pictures below were taken on an off holiday tour of the home and quilts were displayed.

20140802_102345Home owners, Michael and JT, lived there when I toured. They purchased the historic house in 2005. Their creativity shows in the details. On the tours I attended, JT gave the tour, walking us through the mansion. The website gives extensive information about its history and the renovation process in a drop-down menu. 


The woodwork is amazing.  20140802_102731   Flooring, no room is exactly the same

20140802_102325The handiwork of the quilts was top notch.

20140802_102716The master bedroom wardrobe was transformed into a bathroom. The original doors conceal its whereabouts in the room.

20140802_102232This is a must-see restoration. The kitchen has all the conveniences necessary for catering and yet maintains the integrity of the home. The website tells you everything you would want to know.


The Stetson Mansion is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Be sure not to miss it.

Other winners in the Top Ten Best Holiday Historic Home Tour were:

  1. Graceland – Memphis
  2. Wildwood Manor House – Toledo, Ohio
  3. The Stetson Mansion – Deland, Fla.
  4. Filoli Historic House and Garden – Woodside, Calif.
  5. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens – Akron, Ohio
  6. Meadow Brook Hall – Rochester, Mich.
  7. Brucemore – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  8. Glessner House – Chicago
  9. The Mount – Lenox, Mass.
  10. Webb Deane Stevens Museum – Wethersfield, Conn.

I have toured White House at Christmas twice and been to the Stetson Mansion several times but never to the other homes on the list.  Are any of these on your list?

      . . . just saying

Who Or Whom Are We Protecting?

Who Are We Protecting? Or, Oops, Is It Whom?


Friday night, we invited friends over for pizza. I had put an extra leaf in the table and after everyone was properly distanced and had removed their face covers the conversation turned to masks. Should they be mandatory and who, or is it whom, were we protecting anyway?

We sat and talked, two males and two females married to each other. Oops, that is not quite right. The girls were married to the guys and the guys were married to the girls. Well, you get the picture, two old white married couples. Oops, I did not mean to imply only white straight people stay married.

So, forget about gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. Four adults sat around the table talking.

“I wear a face mask to protect me.”

“Really? Doesn’t my wearing the mask protect you?”

“They should be mandatory. People in the grocery store aren’t wearing masks. I got yelled at the other day.”

“You weren’t wearing a mask? You came to our front door wearing one.”

“No, I was yelled at for wearing a mask. What about my First Amendment Rights?”

“Well, it’s hard to believe a piece of fabric really protects us. What about gargling with Listerine?”

“My mask prevents molecules from the transmission into the environment. I’m protecting you.”

“But you don’t have the virus.”

“I don’t have the virus yet.”

“Right. Your mask protects you.”

“We wash our hands. Why not wash out our mouths. We should be gargling.”

“Would public gargling be considered a First Amendment Right?”

“Why isn’t the media reporting on gargling?”

The discussion was interrupted by television coverage that a statue of Calvin Griffith, a former owner of the Minnesota Twins, was removed for racial comments he made in 1976.  Other incidents of statues being taken down flashed across the screen. Many of them not peaceful. In Seattle police questioned who, or is it whom, to protect when activists injured and killed two fellow protestors. Police across the country faced similar challenges. Who to protect?

The conversation resumed.

“So, who, or is it whom, are the police protecting?”

“They were protecting them.”

“No. The police were protecting US.”

“Shouldn’t they protect everyone?”

One of the men put his head in his hands and like the grandfather in the movie Moon Struck lamented, “I’m so confused,” and then ask, “why can’t we watch baseball?”

“It’s not on.”

So, is it who or whom?

Who is the subject of the verb and whom is the object.

In the sentence, who/whom are we protecting? The subject is we. Are is the verb. Therefore, the answer is; whom are we protecting? Oops, that is right unless it is wrong.

  . . . just saying

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See The USA In Your Chevrolet . . .But Not


Virtual Travel

Fallingwater Tour

Fallingwater, a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935, is located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, and about an hour south of Pittsburgh. The house, the former weekend home for the Kaufmann family (owners of Kaufmann Department store),was designed and built partly over a waterfall.

Needless to say it is unique, well known and one of the places I would like to visit before I die. That’s why I’m going to Pittsburgh this week. It is now a museum and can be toured. . . BUT NOT. . .Because of the coronavirus.   The weather forecast sounds perfect; mild eighties, sunny and zero chance of rain. So I’m going, virtually of course.

I’ll explain.

The year 2020 was going to be a year of travel.  After all, if not now, when?

So, I ordered a Push Pin Travel Map.

The framed map came with a cheery post card from owners, Mike & Brenda, saying, “Hip hip horray!“ and to please use the push pins to “track past travels and dream of future ones,” I was excited. The television advertising jingle, See The USA in Your Chevrolet, sung by Dinah Shore, popped-in and stayed in my head. It was not going to be a Thelma and Louise adventure.

Then the coronavirus hit.

Pittsburgh is one of many places I’d like to visit. My husband asked. “Why?”

“Because I’ve never been there.”

The city sits at the junction of three rivers and includes several “Gilded Age” sites; Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Museum of Art, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.I have always wanted to visit the city. I even know where I’ll stay.

The Renaissance Hotel.

 The Renaissance hosts Braddock’s Side Street Grill, specializing in American dishes, and Prelude Wine Bar. French-American cuisine is served at Braddock’s American Brasserie. The online pictures and description made me drool.

I believe our room has a view of the Ohio River. It’s way above my budget . . .But Not.

The Andy Warhol Museum is 2,650 feet from the Renaissance. The hotel is 15 minutes’ drive from the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. Clink on the link below to see more.

But, Pittsburgh is a thirteen hour drive from northern Florida. We’ll stop along the way.  and spend the night in Roanoke, Virginia. Someplace cheap or maybe not. Virtual travel is basically free. Even gas expenses has been waved.  Hopefully we’ll still be awake after dark to take in Roanoke’s well know attraction, a man made star on Mill Mountain.

(Mill Mountain in Roanoke,  Falls City Pub in Mill Run and Kaufmann’s Dept. Store)


I enjoyed my virtual visit to Pittsburgh. Someday I’ll walk the streets, people watch and soak in the river view. And see more of the USA

.   .  .  .just saying


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Mind Your Own Business



Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers. The Coronavirus has changed the way we will celebrate the day.

I am fortunate. My daughter is with me. So, no one has to wear face masks, or wave from a vehicle to say, “I love you.”

My mother died last year at 96 years of age. She worked until she was 85. She had eight children; all surviving, and will be missed. The holidays centered around her even for those of us who lived miles away. I never heard her complain about changing a diaper or cooking a meal. She had a great sense of humor, but also a temper and I knew when to stay out of her way. This is one of the memories I have of her and me, or is it she and I?

Mind Your Own Business

After being told to go to my room, and think about what I had done, I ran away. I was three years old.

We lived in a Cape Cod style house in Levittown, Long Island. The bedrooms were upstairs. By the time my mother realized one of her children was missing, I was long gone.

She went looking and asked a neighbor wearing penny loafers and Bermuda shorts, “Have you seen a little girl?”

He stopped mowing his lawn. “I did,” wiped his brow with a cloth handkerchief and said, “I asked where she was going and I was told to ‘mind my own business.’ ” (Actually I said minch your own business because I had a lisp.)

My mother said, “That was her. Which way did she go?”

Mind your own business is a phrase I have used frequently during this stay at home virus. Until my daughter informed me. “Mom, it’s get off of me.”

She’s afraid I am getting old, and wants me to be on Instagram.

Shortly after, her dad, my husband stood in my way and asked. “What’s that?”

I held a legal-size paper in my hand. Befuddled by his question, I answered. “A piece of paper.”

He continued his inquiry, like an FBI agent. “What’s on it?”

He still did not move. I wondered if he had a concealed fire arm and thought he might flash a badge.

Exasperated I said, “Claire’s banana bread recipe.” Then circled behind him to file it in my baking folder.

I wanted to tell him to mind his own business, but said, “Get off of me,” in too loud a voice.

Happy Mother’s Day.,

. . . . just saying


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A Chirping Bird Pandemic


Chirping Birds

A Chirping Bird Pandemic

My neighbor phoned to ask if she could borrow two rolls of toilet paper. Her TP order on Amazon was back ordered. The delay? It was coming from China.

I was face timing with my doctor when I overheard the request and my husband announcing he would leave the items outside our front door. Afterwards, I expressed my concern, and he reminded me. “She made us face masks,” he sighed and said, “relax I gave her the smaller rolls I bought at Walgreens.”

Life is certainly different.

I have stepped away from posting due to several life altering events and my attempt to write a novel. Writing a novel, for me, has been like saying I was going to build a cabin in the woods and waking up to discover I constructed a lean to. No worries, I am not giving up. Writing is my pass-time.

Oprah Winfrey said, “If the Pandemic hasn’t affected you something is wrong.”  I never thought I would face time a doctor. The session required a how-to discussion with a staff member who was working from home and unable to put me on hold. Long pauses filled with silence occurred during our conversation until she said, “I hear birds chirping.” I was sitting outside as I have been for most of the Pandemic. It was sweet and we savored the moment.

I count my blessings, thankful we have not been affected greatly.

Mornings, I enjoy a cup of coffee surrounded by quiet. Slowly the sun creeps up to announce its presence through the mist. Then tangles in the trees. The leaves create a mosaic on the grass while the birds sing. In the background a motorcycle’s dual pipes crescendo in a drum roll. I imagine Leonard Bernstein conducting nature and hear a rhythm band triangle chime. It is a horn honking.

How has the Coronavirus affected you?

Oh, by the way, my novel will have a happy ending.

. . . . just saying

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