I was honoured when my blogging friend, Marcia Strykowski, gave me a spirit animal award some time ago. This is a special award for me as choosing a First Nations totem or spirit animal was an activity I used when I taught job finding skills. It was a good way for individuals to discover their attributes, which could then be put on resumes and used in interviews to answer questions like, What are your strengths? or Why would you be successful in this job? It also helped build confidence which job seekers need. The question, If you could be an animal, what would it be? is one some employers ask so it is always wise for job seekers to have a good answer. So thank you very much Marcia and I am sorry I took so long to respond. But as my dad would say, better late than never!
Spirit Animal Blog Award Acceptance Rules:
1.) Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their page.
Thank you so much, Marcia, for including me. Please check out her wonderful blog full of gorgeous pictures, interesting libraries and book lists.
2.) Post the award on your blog.
3.) Write a short paragraph about yourself and what your blog means to you.
I began my blog 6 years ago and like many others I was not sure what to write about. My slogan is dreamer of dreams, teller of tales. Ever since a young girl, my dreams have been to travel to interesting places, meet amazing people and write books. So I decided to blog about my travels, my family, books (mine and others) and the amazing people I have met. Through blogging, I have met some incredible people and I am so glad I have kept it up. I have the best followers ever!
4.) If you could be an animal, what would it be?
As a facilitator, I did most of the activities along with the participants. For this activity, I would usually choose a hummingbird as I felt it best described me.
The hummingbird enjoys the sweetness of life, focuses on the positive and stays away from negativity, expressing love. Despite its small size, this fascinating bird is capable of the most amazing feats such as travelling great distances. The hummingbird is adaptable and resilient and has a playful and optimistic outlook. Words that describe the hummingbird are messenger, timelessness, healing, warrior, energy, vitality, infinity, affection, playfulness. I like to think this is me.
5.) Pick and notify ten nominees.
It is difficult to choose ten nominees from all the wonderful blogs out there, but here goes off the top of my head and in no particular order. There is absolutely no obligation to participate. I just like spreading the word about your awesome blogs!
Beth Ann Chiles at It´s Just Life
Marian Beaman at Plain & Fancy
Pam Wight at Rough Writing
Sally Cronin at Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life
Patti Jarrett at A New Day Dawns
Christa Polkinhorn at Bookworm Press
Laura Best at My Little Corner of the Web
Lynn Davidson at Polilla Writes
Sue Slaght at Travel Tales of Life
Patricia Tilton at Children´s Books Heal
Lorna McInnes at Lorna´s Blog
Barbara Fisher at March of Time Books
Okay, so I picked twelve. What can I say? I´ve never been good at following the rules exactly! Please check out these amazing blogs filled with great information, stories, pictures, books and laughs.
I would love to hear what your spirit animal would be in the comments.
For a list of totem animals and their meaning check out this site.
This week’s 100 word Challenge from Tara at Thin spiral notebook calls upon us to use the word Loquacious in a story in 100 words. But this week she is adding an extra twist – the story must be in exactly 100 words but it must also be in only one sentence.
Here is my effort:
David could never be called loquacious as his responses to most anything always consisted of one or two words so you never really knew what he was thinking or feeling, which was very frustrating to a talkative person like Maggie who wanted to know everything and opened up her heart and soul to anyone who would listen even strangers, embarrassing David who thought she simply talked too much and shared way more of her life than she respectably should, causing him to say even less and creating a rift as deep as the Grand Canyon between the two of them.
Whew, that was not as easy as I thought it would be.
If you would like to try, go ahead and link it to Tara´s site. Have fun!
My publisher and I have created a fresh new cover for my next book, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music. I am excited to share the finished product with my readers. We will be updating the covers of all the books in the Amanda Travels series soon.
Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music will be released October 1, 2016, and is available for pre-order here on Amazon.
What other authors are saying about this Amanda Travels adventure:
A charming and fast-paced story that will delight its young audience as Amanda and Leah travel along the historic Danube River to deliver a very unique and mysterious violin.”
~ Suzanne de Montigny, Award-winning author, Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy
Young readers will have great fun travelling alongside Amanda Ross as she cruises down the Danube by riverboat, revelling in the picturesque landscape and captivating cities along the way. This novel is chock-full of social and cultural history that will leave adventurers longing to explore this part of Europe for themselves. Thanks to a mysterious boy who entrusts Amanda with a timeworn violin, this fast-paced mystery will keep readers guessing until the very last chapter.”
~ Jan L. Coates, Children’s Author, Governor General’s Literary Awards
The cab dropped them off beside a long, low boat with The Sound of Music written in large letters on the side. The ‘f’ was replaced with a treble clef.
Once on board, they entered an elegant lobby furnished with blue velvet chairs and couches. “This is sooo adorable,” Amanda said. “You love that Sound Of Music movie, Mom, and there are pictures of the von Trapp family all over the walls.”
Her mom’s face lit up when she saw the familiar scenes.
Suddenly, everything went black and Amanda couldn’t see a thing.
“Hiya, Canadian girl.”
Amanda recognized that English accent. She peeled off the hands covering her glasses and turned around. “Leah!” She gave her tall, blonde friend a huge hug.
“We only just got here ourselves. Mum and Dad are putting the luggage in our room. Your room is just across from us.” Leah flashed a wide grin at Amanda’s parents. “I’m so glad you could make this trip. We are all going to have loads of fun. Come, Amanda, let’s explore the boat.”
“See you later.” Amanda barely looked at her parents as she tripped down the narrow hallway behind Leah.
First stop was a large room completely surrounded by windows. Round tables with crisp white tablecloths, set for a meal – without a fork or knife out of place – indicated it was the dining room. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
“Wow! Every table has a view. This will be a fab place to eat.” Amanda looked around. “I hope we can all eat together.”
“Mum has already made sure of that. We got here early so we got to pick which table we wanted for the entire trip.” Leah pointed to a table at the very front of the boat. “Ours is that table for six, the one with the best view.”
Amanda noticed an undone shoelace on her runner and bent down to tie it. Her purse slipped off her shoulder and fell to the floor. As she picked it up, she spotted small red dots sprinkled on the beige and blue carpet.
“What’s this? Do you think someone spilled ketchup?”
Leah bent down to look closer. “Yes, it could be tomato sauce.”
More red spots appeared further along. “Something must have dripped from a plate when they were clearing the tables,” remarked Leah.
“I think it might be… blood.” Amanda followed the spots to a set of stairs.
Leah shook her head. “There goes your overactive imagination again.”
My favourite day in Provence was when we attended a cooking class in Vaison la Romaine. Cuisine de Provence is run by the lovely Barbara Schurenberg at her picturesque country home. The grounds are postcard perfect. They include an olive grove, where the olives are harvested and pressed into olive oil used in all her cooking. There is also a substantial herb garden.
Our class of four learned to make typical Provencal dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Barbara was an excellent instructor using a hands-on style of teaching, giving each of us an opportunity to practice what we learned. At the end of the lesson, we sat down to a feast of our efforts and a glass of local wine, served on the terrace. We left with tummies full, a file of recipes and smiles on our faces.
We started by picking herbs from the garden and then learned how to chop them very fine to make our own Herbs de Provence.
We made Tapenade with green and black olives. The secret ingredient – two anchovy fillets. Oh dear, I guess it is not a secret anymore. It was excellent served on a fresh baguette!
We also made Verrine Melon Glace. Very refreshing on a hot day. Provence’s answer to Gazpacho and so easy to make.
Here I am making Mini Onion Tarte Tatins, covering the mixture with puff pastry. It was two French sisters, Carolina and Stephine Tatin, who created the upside down tarte by accident, in their hotel during the 1880s.
The finished tatins straight out of the oven. A great hors-d’oeuvre to delight your guests.
My favourite was the Petites Quiches Provencales made with sweet grape tomatoes straight from the garden. I have made this crustless quiche since I came home and am proud to say it turned out well. This will be a regular at my house now.
Sauteing the vegetables for the Tarte Provencale. Am I having fun or what?
The finished Tarte Provencale, soooo tasty. This and a salad is all I need for a summer meal.
Our excellent instructor, Barbara, with the Apricot Galette ready for the oven. Barbara is mentioned in Rick Steves’ Provence and the French Riviera.
The Apricot Galette ready to eat. A perfect dessert.
It was a marvellous day, one I will never forget. Especially every time I make one of the delicious recipes at home. Hubby is looking forward to the Apricot Galette and the Poulet Provencal, which I plan to make very soon.
You could also say, “You are only as good as the last book you wrote!”
If you are ever in the area, I suggest you consider taking a class with Barbara at Cuisine de Provence. She has a variety of recipes and changes what she teaches daily. My friend has taken three classes already and each one was unique. Check out her website here.
Have you ever taken a cooking class while visiting another location?
Cicadas chirping in the trees, doves calling out to each other, a fluffy grey cat named Cerise sprawling on the pathway, a colourful bougainvillaea in one corner, a potted palm in another, the scent of herbs wafting from the herb garden and a gingerbread house for a tool shed. I lean back in the most comfortable S-shaped chaise lounge and view a huge pine tree soaring to the sky, pine cones glistening on top like Christmas ornaments. Where am I? Lounging in a delightful garden beside a glimmering crystal clear pool in sunny Provence, France. I reach over and have a sip of Rosé and nibble on brie, apples and a fresh baguette. Maybe I am in heaven!
It is a girlfriend get-away and we eat, nap, read, eat some more and chat in the most delightful setting. We wake up to the sound of church bells and have breakfast on the balcony with a gorgeous view of the village church. We have tea and handmade nougat before bed watching the lights come on in the church belfry. I do some writing.
We drive the back roads through a canopy of trees and visit a market in Cavaillon where we buy Herbs de Provence and table linen and enjoy a lovely lunch at Cafe Jardin.
On another day we drive past fields of sunflowers and vineyards, stop at a village boulangerie to buy fresh baguettes and amazing French pastries and attend a cooking class.
I have a fabulous and relaxing five days in Provence.
It may not be heaven but it is close!! I will be back.
We stayed at a wonderful holiday rental owned by the charming and accommodating Robert and Dominique Boyer. Check it out here.
Next post – more about the cooking class I attended.
Four years ago I wrote this blog about a very special dog. Today I heard the sad news that she has crossed over the rainbow bridge. RIP Olivia.❤
Olivia is a British Black Lab, and is registered with the Canadian Kennel Club as DGC (Dog Guide Canada) Lexis Olivia. This lively, friendly dog belongs to Gloria, a hearing impaired person who depends on Olivia for her safety, security, independence and companionship. Olivia is not her pet. She is a working dog, on shift 24/7, who takes her job seriously. She is a Hearing Ear Dog.
Olivia has been partnered with Gloria for 6 years. She came from the Dog Guide Canada school for dogs in Oakville, Ontario. The dogs come from DGC’s own breeding program, the SPCA and individual dog donations. They come in all shapes, sizes and breeds, to suit the needs of different individuals. They are all dependable, smart and loyal. The dogs go to foster homes when they are weaned from their mothers for about one year, and then return to the school for six months of…
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Lynn Davidson is giving away a copy of my bi-lingual book Pig on Trial/Cerdito a juicio on her blog. Read her review and make a comment. You may be the lucky winner!
Imagine medieval times, bizarre accusations, a pig on trial and the efforts to rescue him – as told by a ten-year-old boy. Now you have an interesting story. Plus it’s in two languages – English and Spanish.
When I asked author Darlene Foster if there was anything she wanted to tell me about the story or the writing of it, here is what she said:
Read the rest here
Thank you, Lynn, for reviewing my book. Good luck to those who enter the giveaway!!