Fifty years ago (on June 9, 1970), I was getting ready for a special party celebrating the end of the semester at Sacramento State University…and I wore those beads you see in the photo above.  As it turned out, that event would be the beginning of a completely different life for me, as I met the man who would become my second husband.

Incidentally, we were together for ten years and had two children.

When people separate and/or divorce, they often think of the relationship as a failure, and might even avoid sentimental objects.  I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult to end a relationship like the one I had, but I have maintained positive feelings about that time in my life…and the treasured moments we shared.  Not to mention the children.

The photo below was taken in December of 1970, and shows my surroundings at that time:  colorful, youthful posters, and a hairstyle that was reminiscent of the times a la Mary Tyler Moore.  LOL.

Those years were unique, since the 70s were all about changing the way we saw ourselves and the world in which we lived.  Protests, antiwar sentiment, and shortly thereafter, the impeachment of President Nixon (1974).

We were all passionate about our beliefs, not to mention the styles we chose, which conveyed our individuality in new ways.

Below, we enjoyed traveling throughout California in our trusty VW bus. The photo below was taken just outside a home in Auburn, California, where we liked to visit family.

Nowadays, I feel a deep emotional connection to those times, especially when I reflect on the bitterness and anger that seem to seep into every moment of our lives.  Change is on the horizon, and we hope that we can turn the corner and move into a more positive era.  But until that happens, if it does, I will cling to the feelings of a more hopeful time in my life.

The beads hanging on my jelly cupboard have followed me from place to place, serving as a touchstone of a life and time that launched a value system.


Do you reflect on the past during troubled times?  Does the past offer hope?




Maybe it was finding this image on Pinterest, or perhaps it was just the nostalgia that creeps into my mind during the holiday season.

But this morning a name from the past circled around in my brain and lodged there.  So I had to Google it.

And what do you know?  The childhood magazine that we subscribed to and for which I eagerly waited once a month is not in circulation, but there are copies of those vintage periodicals.

Wee Wisdom.  Does anyone else recall that?  Is there anyone else in the blogosphere as old as I am?  lol

This one is an issue from 1953, from an Etsy shop.


My favorite parts were the stories.  And the paper dolls.

I’m tempted to send off for it, but one of the things I know for sure (to quote Oprah), is that sometimes when we revisit the past, the reality of it from our present day perspective casts a kind of jaded aura upon it.  Those beautiful moments don’t often live up to our memories, considering how far we’ve come since those days.

So perhaps I’ll just let it lie.  And think about it.  I did bookmark the page, though.  What would you do?



If I had my druthers, I would curl up in a bed like this today…and just vegetate.

Instead I’ve been blogging and reading and watching movies on the big screen TV in the living room.  Probably the reason I’m not still curled up in bed (even though mine doesn’t look like the bed in the photo) is the absence of a big screen TV in my bedroom.

Plus I don’t have a DVD player there (why don’t I?); and I’m in the mood to watch DVDs.

Yesterday I was reading You Tell Your Dog First, by Alison Pace (click for review).

In one section, the author describes searching for dog-friendly buildings in NY, and how she wanted to live on the West Side.  Then she mentioned the building where Meg Ryan’s character resided in You’ve Got Mail...and naturally, I had to grab that DVD and watch it again!

New York has been in my thoughts for the past several days due to the storm.  And I’m hoping that the magical city is restored to its wonder again. 

I read a lot of books set in NY, and love movies set there, too.

Today I’m reading a book by another NY author:  Gretchen Rubin, whose Happiness Project inspired me a couple of years ago.  Her newest one, Happier at Home, is inspiring me to surround myself with the objects that mean the most to me.  I sort of do this already, but there is no end to the projects I could launch.

And I’ve added another sentimental piece to my surroundings this week.  Watching another movie, Stella, I saw the beaded curtains that made me think of another time in my life.  And went online to order some.

My curtains arrived by FedEx on Thursday.  I had to wait the whole day for them, so I scrounged around for hours, not leaving the house.  And at 4:30, the doorbell rang.

These are nothing like the ones I had in the seventies, or the ones I chose in the nineties; I like these better.

Did any of you have a great week?  How was your Halloween?  Here are some pix of the grandkids at my Saturday Snapshot.


Welcome to Monday Potpourri:  today, we’re featuring Musing Mondays, at Should Be Reading.

This week’s musing –courtesy of– asks…

Do you have any hobbies outside of reading?
Or do you collect anything?


I guess you could say that my blogging is a hobby, although I consider it to be an outgrowth of my writing, which is my work these days.

But when you love something, is it really work?

Some of you may know that I have a lot of blogs.  I love redesigning them and change the headers and themes…a lot (I have had as many as twenty, but have stayed the course at twelve for awhile now).

I love Bloggiesta (coming this weekend), as it offers an official opportunity to make blog changes.  I’ve already planned out some of what I’m going to do with my Serendipity blog (I do a different blog each time).

Collections.  Have you met me?  lol

My Potpourri site is dedicated to collections and other quirky aspects of my life.

Here are a few:

Dolls and Stuff by Mary Engelbreit

Boyds Dolls

Hats and Handbags

More Dolls

Coca Cola Stuff

Then, of course, there are the fairytale things from Jim Shore.  And clocks.

Fairytale Images…and Quirky Clocks

That’s enough for today.  My daughter says I’m a hoarder, which is probably why I collected about six books (fiction and nonfiction) about hoarding.  I concluded that I’m not a hoarder, but a collector.  That works for me.  lol

What about the rest of you?  What rocks your world?


Welcome to Friday Potpourri, during which I will share snippets about reading, life, etc.

I’m currently reading Objects of My Affection, by Jill Smolinski:  a book about a woman who takes on the task of decluttering the home of an eccentric artist.

My fascination with this topic is no secret…as a collector of all kinds of objects, ranging from books to dolls and fairytale images, I think I might be searching for validation and reassurance that I am not actually a hoarder.

Maybe it’s because someone called me a hoarder once and the label pierced my sensitive soul…lol

But after reading a memoir about the topic, along with other interesting articles, and after watching the hoarder show, I’m fairly certain I haven’t crossed that line.  Didn’t I just talk about this topic, though, you might ask?

Yes…but what is inserting itself into my thoughts today is a horrific dream I had last night: I had only hours to pack up my house and move.  I’m not sure why the haste, but the panic I felt at the prospect woke me up with a pounding heart.  And I didn’t want to go to sleep again!

Once awakened, I started obsessing about my laptop shopping.  What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I do tend to ruminate over unresolved issues when I awaken in the middle of the night, so naturally, everything I had learned in my shopping exploration yesterday was right there, floating in my mind, and keeping sleep at bay.  Finally I was able to set that aside with the reminder that I didn’t have to decide anything right then and there.

Something else that is keeping me up at night is 11/22/63, by Stephen King; I’m reading it primarily at night.  Bad idea?  I can’t put it down, though, and I’m more than half finished.  I’m totally engaged!

Have you read either of these books?  I’m glad they are quite different from one another, as I sometimes have difficulty keeping details separated while reading two books at once.  I know many people can read several, listen to a few on audio, and keep it all sorted out…but I’m not one of those people.

But I just know that I’m loving the character of Jake Epping, who is living in the 1950s and 60s as George Amberson and finding himself totally connected to the people and the place where he has landed.

King has really brought the flavor of that era to life for me, reminding me of what it was like being young during those iconic times.

Yesterday, I finished reading Another Piece of My Heart, by Jane Green (click title for review)…and again, enjoyed every minute, even when I was frustrated with the characters.  A very emotional read for me.

I think my weekend will be full of intriguing books, strolls through malls, and lunches in some of my favorite places.  What does your weekend look like?  What are you excited about?



Do you ever see something that takes you right back to memorable moments in time?  And when you go there, do all the associated images and nostalgic thoughts flood into your head?

That happened for me recently when I was perusing one of my favorite magazines of flea market treasures.

I saw these colorful tumblers that catapulted me backwards.


It was summertime, and I can recall my mom bringing the groceries in, and instead of the usual cottage cheese cartons, she had these colorful tumblers.  After we ate the cottage cheese, she washed the containers and used them as drinkware.

Over time, she collected a nice set of them in all colors.

Now, for this story to really be a vintage treasure tale, I would be able to tell you that I somehow acquired those tumblers from my childhood.  But no, that didn’t happen.  I have no idea where those original tumblers went—and believe me, I don’t think my mom ever threw anything away!—but somehow, they did disappear.

Perhaps she gave them away.  But that’s a story whose ending I will never know.

But when I saw these charming little tumblers, I decided to check out Amazon to see if they had any.  And voila!  There they were.

Of course, they’re new and not the actual vintage ones.  But they do look very cute in my country cupboard.  They arrived yesterday!

Originally, I wrote a little story about them at Story Corner.

Do you ever have any treasures from your childhood that suddenly crop up…maybe when you’re looking through stores with collectibles?  Okay, I know that the only ones who probably do find such things are oldies, like me.

Like finding my Desert Rose Franciscan dishes in an antique store.  Now I bought mine in the 1960s, and at that time, they’d been on the market for around twenty-five years.  But an antique store?

Way to go…knowing just how to make me feel old!  lol

It’s fun, though, and I love remembering the sentimental tales that surround these little treasures.  How about you?  Anything that rings a bell?





Did anyone struggle with the shoppers for Black Friday specials? Not I.  Instead, I curled up and read for awhile, and then my youngest grandson came over to hang out, have a sleepover, and while here, help me decorate for Christmas.

Yes, that’s the first thing I do once Thanksgiving is over.

My decorations are not at all difficult.  It’s just a matter of pulling some things out of boxes in the garage and arranging them.  This year, I didn’t bring everything out, because, let’s face it…my house is packed with STUFF already.  And while I put some of the regular things away, others simply must stay!

Here’s a sampling of what I did.

I Love the Nutcrackers!

They like this spot between the birdcage and the Boyds bears.

Miniature Tree Hanging Out Between Birdhouse and Mickeys

Then we have some other stuff on the bookshelves and around the TV.

A Potpourri of Fairytale Images

More Potpourri

Santa and Reindeer Next to a Music Box

That’s it for now, although there are a few more Christmasy spots throughout the house.  Maybe I’ll showcase them later!


Tomorrow, I’ll be having lunch with my second son and his three kids; and my daughter and her family; two other grandkids, and possibly my youngest son.

We have this “non-turkey” event right after Thanksgiving, usually, but this year it will be on Sunday.

I’ll be back with photos of that event!






This story behind the great author is a beautifully wrought and in-depth portrait that sweeps forward from her birth and through the landscape of her life, but also fills in the picture with details of her parents’ lives as well.

In the context of what was going on historically, Louisa May Alcott’s success is even more awesome. She grew up in a time where women were not yet given the voice. Later in her adulthood, she would jump onto that cause, as well, struggling to help women obtain the vote.

Her childhood, bleak with poverty, with a father who was absent more often than not—with his own philosophical leanings toward Transcendentalism, a cause that consumed him, along with others—but her mother was very present, albeit struggling at times to feed and clothe the family. Louisa’s mother Abby lost several children in miscarriage and stillbirth, before she finally had all four girls.

What strikes me most about this wonderful biography is how Louisa finally created such a wonderful portrait of genteel poverty for her Little Women characters, polishing up her own story and embellishing it so that it would be more palatable—illuminating each family member, including her absent father, in a more favorable light.

But before we even got to Little Women, there were the years of struggle, with the compulsive writer churning out pulp fiction, adventure stories, poetry, and whatever she could sell…sometimes for just a few dollars. But she always sent money home from wherever she was—Boston, usually. She went back and forth between various boarding houses or garrets to the home in whatever village her mother was living. Her life was characterized by much instability, with more than thirty moves in her childhood alone.

This tale also includes scenes from the Civil War years, when Louisa worked as a nurse until she finally had to come home (after three years) due to exhaustion and illness.

Like many writers, Louisa used her own life experiences to fuel her work, and what she hadn’t experienced personally, she filled in with what she gleaned from reading.

There was so much wonderful information in Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (John MacRae Books) that sometimes I felt bogged down in the details of the early years, but as soon as she began to achieve success and had written Little Women, the story soared for me. I loved reading about how she wrote that book, how she finally came to write the others, and even about how she finally began to enjoy the fruits of her labor with trips to Europe.

Although I knew that she would die eventually, I felt sad when it happened. As if a great light had been extinguished, and to realize, too, that she died at a relatively young age (56).

I am still amazed, though, at how her books are still out there for all of us to enjoy. I loved them as a child and I’ll be rereading them again in the next few weeks.

Definitely five stars for this story of a major talent.


Today I’m having weird thoughts, so naturally I’ve come here to Potpourri, where the quirky, obsessive thoughts belong.

Maybe some of you know that I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and that we’re already nearing the end of our second week.

Read today’s update over at Creative Moments.

When I’m doing a major writing project, like a new novel, my paranoia starts resurfacing. I think about crashed computers and lost data.

When I was burning my latest additions to a CD (I also e-mail the files to myself), Windows had some issues.  I couldn’t shut down the computer because “windows is working on a file.”  I googled the phrase and went through a series of steps to “clear” this up—unsuccessfully.  Then I e-mailed my son (who lives in Berlin!), and a few hours later, I had some other steps I could try.

We’ve sorted out that there’s something about my CD burning software, so now I’m going to do something most people have probably already done, ages ago; get a flash drive for saving some of this stuff.

Now that I’m feeling better about that, I happily worked today and did my 2000+ words.  My grand total to-date:  23,832.

Last weekend, I accumulated a rather large number of words; about 3,000 per day.  Which put me in a good space.

But then I go to my page and see others with word counts exceeding 30,000 words, and I’m asking myself:  why?  I’m sure there are reasons, but out of curiosity, is this a “race”?  Or is our goal to get the 50,000 words by November 30 and we all win?

For me, though, the challenge is with myself.  I like having the extra incentive of a goal.  Otherwise, I tend to play around with my blogs, read, watch movies, and generally avoid writing.

The story I’m doing for this challenge is one that I’ve thought about off and on…but despite that, I’d started two other manuscripts.  One that I abandoned halfway through, and the other, which is pretty much a completed first draft.  Once this challenge is finished, I’ll go back to it and start doing my edits.

As for my various blog activities, I’ve been tweaking them again.  Changing the themes (here at Word Press, where they’re always offering something new to try!), as well as the headers.

I’m pretty happy with my Creative Moments site.  Check it out.  I love the Engelbreit posies in the background.

The dolls in the header here (today, anyway!) are from the Engelbreit collection.

Now I’m off to read this great book that has captivated me. After a morning spent blogging and writing, I reward myself with whatever current read I’m exploring.

Tomorrow I’ll be back online to write some more and to do a couple of Friday memes.


Today’s meme is all about books we love.  My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce, At Home With Books.

As usual, I scanned the older bookshelves, and today, that meant the ones in the hallway.  There they are, just waiting on the shelves, as if they’re saying “pick me.”

Rosamunde Pilcher is one of those cozy authors whose books are usually set near her home in Scotland.  Coming Home was published in 1997, and there isn’t even a blurb on Amazon.

Pilcher’s book teems with marvelous, memorable characters—people we believe in, people we care about…In telling the story of Judith Dunbar and her loved ones, Pilcher writes with warmth, wisdom, and clear-eyed insight about every family.  This is a totally involving story of coming of age, coming to terms with both love and sadness, and, in every sense of the words, Coming Home.

Why I Chose This Book:

I haven’t read this one in awhile, but lately I’ve been drawn to the sentimental moments in the past.  Those times when books were savored just because they told wonderful stories.

And lately, with all the bookish blog things, I’m noticing that reading has become like a race.  To see how many I can read in as short a time as possible; moving out of my comfort zone to other genres; and writing (and posting) reviews as quickly as possible.

These are all good things, and I’m glad I’m doing them.  But once in awhile, I just want to curl up and read.

Pilcher is just the ticket for those times.

I hope you’ll stop by and share your own favorites this week.