Happy Holidays




Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

The longest night – hidden hope

Darkness surrenders to light

A Winter Solstice tanka for you, gentle readers.

May you find peace & joy this holiday season.


❄️ Happy Holidays ❄️




Wedgwood and Wine


Delighted to be over at Sue Vincent’s place today, sharing the story of Tracy and her family’s not-so-perfect Christmas dinner. I enjoyed writing this one. It’s not a feel-good holiday feast and involves family drama, fine china, and a Prince Charming…of sorts. You can read it here: Wedgwood and Wine

Ani (Sue’s adorable ‘Small Dog’) invited me to write a story for her Advent posts this year. Do think about sending Ani your letters, stories, or holiday memories this season.



Wedgwood and Wine

Sarah Brentyn


“That’s not how it happened,” Terri barked.

“Maybe…” Tracy began.

“Who cares,” Kim interrupted, “I want to hear more about Tracy’s new ‘boyfriend’.”

“He had a…” Tracy said.

“No, no,” Mark gestured with his beer, “let’s hear more about this supposed thing I said about Tracy. I hurt her wittle feelings?”

Britney laughed. “It’s bullshit. Like her new job.”

“Tracy?” Her mother glared. “Don’t just stand there like an idiot.”

Tracy concentrated on smoothing her velvet dress, which was quite free of wrinkles.

She swore the merlot wouldn’t flow this Christmas but found herself holding a crystal goblet like a life vest in the storm that was her family.

Slow sips, at first, then an empty wine glass. More merlot and wishes of civility or, at the very least, quiet.

It was a gift she wouldn’t get. Dinner was excruciating. Six courses served with cruelty and foie gras on floral Wedgwood china.


Wedgwood and WineContinue Reading…


May Day Celebrations



The fire of the sun

In a spray of bright flowers

Spring turns to Summer

Petals float down from blue skies

Dancing with me in the breeze


May Day A spring holiday celebrated for millennia around the world, usually with flowers, crowning of a May Queen, and dancing around the maypole. Every country or region has its own specific customs.

Read more about May Day 🌺

Beltane An ancient fire festival marking the first day of summer (making Summer Solstice in June “midsummer” – Shakespeare, anyone?). Fires were used to represent the waxing sun and thought to provide protection and abundance for the coming season. The Green Man is often associated with this festival as are fairies and tree spirits.

Read more about Beltane 🌺

Lei Day In Hawaii, they celebrate Hawaiian culture and tradition with dancing and the giving of leis (necklaces made of flowers). Each island in this archipelago has its own distinct flower which is used to make the leis.

Read more about Lei Day 🌺


The May Queen

(an excerpt)

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;

To-morrow ’ll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year,—

Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;

For I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.


The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,

And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;

And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray;

And I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Wishing you all joy on May Day!



Share the Love of Reading #BookGivingDay



Oh my love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
Oh my love is like a brand new book
That’s in a waiting room

What? (I know. Hold on. I have a good reason for that atrocity.)

I’ve written about my love of books before.

I also have a few essays out there complaining about Valentine’s Day.

Red roses, puffy pink teddy bears, gaudy glitter-covered greeting cards, caramel chocolates, and the fact that this stupid day clearly brings out alliteration in full force. Along with the need to butcher perfectly beautiful poetry.

So February 14th is a wonderful holiday. Yes, I’ll say it again. Wonderful.

It’s International Book Giving Day.

It’s true! A glorious day dedicated to the love of reading and, in particular, sharing the love of reading by giving books away.

Know about this? Awesome. Get out there and spread the love.


Never heard of it? Check it out.

Here are a few ways to get involved, from a toppling pile of books donated to your local school or library to dropping a single book off at a hospital or waiting room. You can even give books from the comfort of your own home to the organizations listed here.

My family? Well…


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


What will you do for International Book Giving Day? Let me know—I’d love to hear some good book-giving stories.

If you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, tag it: #bookgivingday



I posted this last year on February 14th which didn’t give people who hadn’t heard of this holiday time to plan so I’m re-posting this year to give you a little nudge, heads-up, or reminder that you’ve got a few days to give books. And here’s a PDF to download printable bookmarks to place inside those books you give. Seriously, give a bunch of books or leave just one in a waiting room somewhere. It’s all good.


The birds and books blog badge by Marianne Dubuc

The cute foxes bookplate by Karl Newson

The space cat & moon mouse blog badge by Ben Newman


Poetry Foundation {Robert Burns}  The poem I ruthlessly butchered in the beginning of this post.

Happy Holidays!




Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

A winter haiku for you, gentle readers. May your days be merry & bright.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season! ❄️


Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart




These are some of the charities we give to regularly. We love them. I’ve sorted out the ones that let you email the recipient or print your own card.

Quick, easy, heartfelt. The perfect last-minute gifts:


Environment / Nature



Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲


Animals / Wildlife 



Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.


Hunger / Poverty



Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out, email, or text with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝




Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.


Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases



Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Christmas Cards

Ecards for Christmas


Printable Hanukkah Cards

Ecards for Hanukkah


   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️


My Cup Runneth Over




I find myself in the place where life is offering me both olive branches and snakes.

Be careful what you reach for.

There is joy and sorrow. Peace and distress.

I find myself in the place where I am most grateful for the fact that I have too much to be grateful for.

When I look at the big things, the small things, the basic things, the superfluous things…I am amazed.

My cup is so full, it overflows. Regardless of everything else, I am thankful for that.

And I am thankful for you, my friends.

I absolutely must give a special shout-out to all those who showed up to support me last week for the release of my new book. I’m truly touched. Thank you.


Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow US bloggers.


Grilling Fun for July 4th Weekend


Grilling Cookbook - sig


Happy 4th of July!

It’s time for some outdoor grilling.

I don’t really cook (at all) so here’s my alternative to a fab 4th recipe for you. Enjoy!

Visit Lemon Shark Reef here (yes, right here – just click right here) for some weekend fun.

Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

Because, as we all know, fairy tales aren’t always what they seem.

(You don’t have to celebrate July 4th to enjoy this tail tale.)

The Scrooge of New Year’s Eve


I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.


Bah Humbug - sig


For January 1st, I’ve never quit smoking, gone on a diet, bought a gym membership, or sworn to save money.


I live in my head; I think about stuff all the time. Why do I need a day to tell me to think about more stuff? And all at once?

I try to learn new things, better myself, and change what’s not working. When this holiday rolls around, I don’t sit and reflect—I barely give a thought to the past year except to say, “Huh. That sucked. Hope next year is better.”

And it isn’t.

It delivers a whole host of new and different problems. So that’s exciting.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

The thing is, like I said last year, I feel pressured to look back over my year and write something meaningful but I simply don’t want to.

What I’d like to do is drink some wine (or Baileys or beer—I’m not picky), watch It’s a Wonderful Life (I know, the irony is delicious), and eat sushi.

So here’s to sitting in front of a movie, drinking, eating, and writing ‘2015’ on all my documents for a few months.


Happy New Year, gentle readers. 🎉


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.



Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? (Let’s be honest…are they even realistic?)



Mother’s Day Dilemma


I wrote the following post last year and, while I still believe there are two approaches to Mother’s Day, this weekend I am firmly in column B. I am going for a pedicure at a spa where I can order a glass of wine while my feet are scrubbed and polished.


I’m the mum and I say so.

This tree (which blossomed basically overnight) is what greeted me when I walked out the front door. I took it as a sign that mother nature herself was giving me flowers—and I’m taking them.

Happy Mother’s Day

mothers day2015


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


There are two schools of thought regarding Mother’s Day:

  • I am spending every second of this day with my children.
  • I wouldn’t go near my kids today if you paid me!

A) It’s Mother’s Day. That’s me! I’m a mother. And I want to celebrate motherhood by being with my kids– playing games with them, talking to them, going out to eat with them, and hugging them. A lot. After all, my children are the reason I get to celebrate this day in the first place.

B) This is my day. I am going to soak in a bubble bath, pick up the book I’ve been meaning to read for two months, drink a glass of wine on the porch, and relax. After all, it’s a day meant for me so someone else can take care of the kids and house today.

For some, this is a simple decision. For others, we bounce between the two options.

Notice the “we”? Because I’m one of those moms who want a little from column A and a bit from column B.

I want to be around my kids. I want to play cards or Candy Land with them. I want to play win at Wii. I want to look at old photos and see how much they’ve grown. I want my annual handmade crayon cards with hearts and flowers and smiley faces all over them.

I also want to be a little spoiled. I’d love to get a massage or a pedicure. Some sushi and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio would be wonderful, too. Sitting outside, alone, listening to the birds chirp and just relaxing, is a beautiful way to spend the day.

Here’s what I did. I dipped my little toe into column B by having my husband take care of the crappy things like cleaning toilets, making lunches, sweeping crumbs, and wiping noses. All this while I slept in late, read a good book, sipped some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and took a long shower during which I actually shaved my legs and used that incredible strawberry sorbet scrub that’s been staring at me from my bathroom counter since December.

And then I embraced a bit of column A. I hugged and kissed my kids. I told them stories they’d heard before about when they were little. I teared up quite a bit. I felt my heart grow like the Grinch’s when I opened the cards they drew for me. I played games with them and read to them and spent some time outside enjoying the day with them.

That was a good mix for me. A very happy Mother’s Day.


Where are you? Firmly in column A? Column B? Somewhere in the AB area? What did you do for Mother’s Day?