The Magic of Believing

IMG_20141212_134013-1-1Did you know that if you receive a Christmas card that has the three wise men on it, you should hang it over your doorway because it will bring good wealth and good luck?

Well, I’ve heard of putting a St. Joseph statue upside down in your front yard if you want to sell your house (I tried it once long ago). I’ve even heard of posting your wishes on your refrigerator (I’ve done that, too). And, of course, there are all those crazy Facebook posts and emails that circulate around promising if you share the post/email with so many people in a certain amount of time, how lucky you will be. (Most of us delete those.)

However, I never knew about this one until someone told me about it today.

Do I believe it? No, no, of course not.

But, you know what?  If I receive a Christmas card this year with the three wise men on it, I’m going to put it over my door. Why?

Because, besides having a little fun, I think that anything that reminds people of the real reason for Christmas is a good thing to display.

That’s what I believe.

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Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks. My life has been more than busy this year (and especially this week). Here’s some news I’ve been wanting to share with you:

snow day

  •  Kindle versions for both in Polyester Pajamas and the sequel in Woolen Bikinis have just been reduced to $2.99 throughout the holiday season. Remember, E-books make great inexpensive gifts and you can send them instantly with no postage needed.
  • Third book in the series, in Leather Chaps, is starting to go through the editing phase. Unfortunately, because of other demands (like house hunting) this year, release for this new book won’t be until Feb/Mar of 2015, but, still, that’s only a few months away. It’ll be worth the wait—I promise!
  • Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but in Polyester Pajamas was an Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Chick Lit/WombestbooksfinalistJPEGsmall (1)en’s Lit” category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards. Yay! Earlier this year, it also received the NHWP (New Hampshire Writers’ Project) 2013/14 Readers’ Choice Award for Outstanding Work of Fiction.
  • NH Governor Hassan has proclaimed November 30th through December 6th, 2014 as New Hampshire Writers’ Week. Find out more details about this HERE. Also, be supportive and read a book by a NH author during this very special time.
  • Last, but not least, as you can see by my photo, it’s snowing here in New Hampshire. I took the picture above around 1 pm today from my deck. Visibility is low and the snow is coming down quickly. I’m sure the roads are already slippery. Be careful if you are traveling somewhere in New England today and/or early tomorrow.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family and friends and put the electronic gadgets away for a while (shopping online can come later). Live in the moment and give thanks for all you have. That’s what this holiday is all about.

Blessings to all!

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Dinner in the Dark

IMG_20141110_172816Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend a Dinner in the Dark, a benefit for the New Hampshire Association for the Blind, hosted by Giuseppe’s Restaurant in Meredith, NH.

Dinner in the Dark is a unique sensory awareness experience where participants eat their meals blindfolded, using only their sense of taste, smell and touch, to experience what is is like to dine as a blind person.

This was an experience I will never forget!


Here are some of the insights I had while dining in the dark:

  1. Noises in the room were magnified so much that I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying at the tables nearby. It was even difficult, at first, to hear conversations at our small table of four. It made me realize how much we utilize our sense of sight to understand someone when they are talking to us by watching their lip movements, as well as facial expressions and hand gestures.
  2. My sense of smell and taste were also magnified. I could smell my wine and food better. I could even smell my salad! Everything tasted wonderful, but the butter, onion and lemon ingredients in my meal became overpowering after a few bites. A blind person might prefer less of certain ingredients because their sense of taste is so heightened. This is something that never occurred to me before.
  3. Perception of distance seemed different. The table I was sitting at wasn’t that big, but it felt like it was. When the people around me became silent, I felt so far away from them.
  4. Also, time went slower, and I ate slower because I was conscious of every moment and bite.
  5. I didn’t talk as much as I do when I have my sight. Imagine that!
  6. My posture was lousy. I leaned into the plate more because I didn’t want to make a mess. I’m sure if I always had to eat like this, I would suffer from constant back pains.
  7. When talking with others at the table, I felt more engaged. We passed around our wine glasses to smell the different aromas, and had to touch when doing so. I thought it was intimate and every movement and word was important between us. When no one at the table was talking, though, I felt a little lonely, even with the loud background noises.
  8. I didn’t eat everything on my plate and that’s unusual because I eat everything in sight. But, of course, I didn’t have my sight and for some reason I became fuller faster (hmmm, maybe I should dine blindfolded more often!).
  9. I wish I would’ve been able to see what my food looked like. It’s like I missed out on something big. Two days later, I’m still wondering what it looked like!
  10. After the meal, when I took my blindfold off, the light in the room, although dimmed, was almost unbearable. It hurt my eyes and I was overwhelmed with all the sights around me all at once. Until my eyes adjusted, I had a strong desire to put the blindfold back on.

As I mentioned before, it was an experience I will never forget. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a Dinner in the Dark, don’t pass it up. It’s very “eye-opening” and a great benefit for a very worthy cause.



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The Best Pleasures


What could add to the enjoyment of  a cup of coffee and a good novel on a beautiful October afternoon?

Using a bookmark my oldest son made and gave to me on Mother’s Day when he was only 7 years old (he is now 31). Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. :-)

Simple pleasures are the best pleasures.


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Salads in Mason Jars

Salads aren’t just about lettuce. And salads in a mason jar are the best idea ever! I’ve been preparing my weekday lunch salads this way for a couple of months now.

Prep time for a week’s worth (5) is about 30-40 minutes, depending on what’s put in them. I usually make mine all the same each week to use up all the ingredients I buy, although I’m sure others would like more variety. They’re so convenient (imagine having all of your lunches prepared ahead of time), and the salads stay fresh in their mason jars for 5-7 days—no kidding! I’m telling you, you have to try this.

Cost for a case (12) of 1 quart wide-mouthed canning jars – $11-12

Average cost for ingredients for 5 salads – About $20 ($4 a day)

(Google “salads in mason jars” and you’ll find out everything you need to know to get started.)

So, what am I having this week?

Spring mix, cooked wheatberry, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, sweetened dried cranberries, golden raisins, almonds, honey crisp apples, beets, cucumbers, golden tomatoes, and golden balsamic vinaigrette.

Calories per salad – about 400

salads in jar

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October Delight

There is no place more beautiful than New England in October. Just look at the view!

(It’s less than a mile from my home in New Hampshire.)

Gilford Bypass3b

The photo above was actually taken a few years ago. However, it’s a good example of what it looks like around here this time of year.

IMG_20140927_123043 (1)

And this scene, with it’s carpet of leaves, was in Vermont about a week ago.

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Back to School Blog Hop – Meet YA Author Linda Ulleseit



Author Bio: Linda Ulleseit was born and raised in Saratoga, California, and has taught elementary school in San Jose since 1996. Her first novel, ON A WING AND A DARE, was published in 2012. It is a Young Adult fantasy set in medieval Wales, complete with flying horses, a love triangle, and treachery. It’s sequel, IN THE WINDS OF DANGER, was released March, 2013. The focus of that book is the misty past of a groom and the murky future of a rider. The last book in the trilogy is UNDER A WILD AND DARKENING SKY, May 2014. It follows a brother and sister, new to High Meadow, who become involved in a plot to steal flying horses.

Linda has also written a novella titled WINGS OVER TREMEIRCHSON, released as an ebook in Fall 2013. It follows the story of Hoel and Neste, parents of a main character in ON A WING AND A DARE.

Linda Books


Follow Linda Ulleseit:

Character Interview with Ralf (Under a Wild and Darkening Sky):

  1. I understand you are newly arrived in High Meadow. Are you pleased to be here?

The only reason we’re here is because my father is obsessed with flying horses. Oh, and the town needed a baker. My father’s a baker—perfect fit. Not so much for me. I have friends in Merioneth, where we’re from. I don’t need to be here slaving for arrogant riders of pampered flying horses.

  1. And your sister? How does she feel?

Alyna’s a quiet one. Too soon to tell. Mum pushes her to make friends, and maybe she has one here in the new town. She’s stopping by one of the barns pretty often to talk to the barn leader’s daughter. She’ll probably fall in with the whole Aerial Games sect and absorb herself in a barn.

  1. Would you like to be a rider or a groom?

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy cheering for my favorite barn during the Aerial Games. I’ve met a girl…she’s got a different view of High Meadow and its horses. The winged horses came from Tremeirchson, you know, which is nearly a ghost town now. She hopes to revive it…maybe I’ve said too much.

  1. Revive Tremeirchson? Won’t High Meadow object?

Of course! But a little competition is healthy! All we need to do…um she needs to do…is get one flying horse established in Tremeirchson. Just one.

  1. A noble pursuit, I suppose, but aren’t all the flying horses in the world controlled by High Meadow’s riders?

Exactly my point. Time for a younger generation to spread the wealth. We’re not alone, you know. Many eyes watch High Meadow for just such an opportunity as we are waiting for.

  1. Do your parents support this idea?

You can’t tell them! They barely think of me as grown up—they’d never believe I could be valuable to this quest. Papa is devoted to Evan, making a fool out of himself whenever the barn leader appears at the bakery. When he doesn’t come, Papa bakes bread and delivers it for free. Mum worries, I know, but she’s tired of traveling. We spent a year on the road after being booted out of Merioneth. That was hard on her. With Alyna settling in, too, Mum is afraid to upset the town elders. Or she would be if she knew. We’re a very secret group.

  1. Your hints are mystifying, Ralf, but I know when to stop asking questions. Good luck to you and your family on your new ventures in High Meadow.

You are very welcome. Take a loaf of the pandemayne, the good stuff, when you go.

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