Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



In regard to Indiana's current cold snap

Photo by Vic Mastrogiovanni
I must admit, it's getting old
This indoor life that's caused by cold.

The dogs are crazed, my husband bored,
I'm on my knees to beg the Lord:
"Please, oh please let them go outside."
My nerves are jangled, I want to hide.

It's peace I need, I need me some!
What shall I do...where'd I hide the rum?
What is the matter, what can it be?
What's stressing my delicate sanity?

The walls are slowly coming in,
The ceiling's nearly at my chin.
The floor is closer it seems to me
The room grows smaller or it seems to be.

My husband shares a valid thought
And in the phone book finds what's sought.
A quick phone call, oh hurry please
And soon the flashing lights we see.

Two men in sparkling coats so white
Haul me into the frigid night.
They are so kind, give me a shot
And peace descends, WOW, quite a lot.

At last I'm calm and now can breathe.
They cloak me in a shirt with sleeves
That cross in back. Not stylish: sad.
At least the fit isn't quite so bad.

My husband happily calls out to me,
"Honey, the Farm is where you'll be.
I know you'll beat this Winter thing,
I'll come and get you, come this Spring."

From the talented Indiana Guest Writer, SA Springer

(inspired by Donna and a little Dr. Seuss).


Weather Changes

Over the years I have lived many places in the United States. I grew up in Western New York... Niagara Falls, to be exact. Nasty snowstorms and thick summer humidity was the norm.

Photo by Jon Ball - Boise, Idaho
Walking to school in the snow was a delight as well as a struggle. When it was delightful, I would be late for school because I had been catching snowflakes on my mittens to examine before they melted. I would lie down in some strangers front yard to make snow angels. I would get caught in playing with other kids throwing snowballs at each other.

When the snow was not fun I would be late for school, too. Trudging through sidewalks that have not been shoveled, not daring to step into the street because a car just might hit you was a deterrent. If the wind was blowing the snow in my face, I kept my head down watching each step of my boots gloved hands in my pockets. Apparently the other kids got rides to school on those days.

At least by high school I could take the bus.

Then as a young military wife, I lived in Los Angeles, lots mini earthquakes, but nothing I worried about. Then Delaware; what a swampland! At least that was the impression I got of the place. Then, back to New York state. I live at the shores of Chautauqua Lake. Beautiful country, but lots of sub-zero winter weather. Since I lived in the country, there were no sidewalks to shovel, only the driveway. If the snow plows didn't come down my dead end road, I could drive nowhere. Snuggling down in the house, I watched the beauty of the lake through the windows.

Then, I moved back to Southern California, so hot all summer, spring, fall, winter, (you name it) and the smog. EW!

Leaving that behind I ended up in Santa Cruz, California on the Monterey Bay. I loved it there for many years but husband lost his job and we decided to be adventurous, to go where no one had gone before.. at least not us. We traveled the Southwest first, then headed to Indiana for a new job. It turned out to be a decade of what I call "My Hoosier Hell Years". Honestly, I saw more damage due to tornadoes than I ever saw from California earthquakes. (Note: I became an amateur storm chaser!) Was pretty sick there all the time with asthma because of allergies and mold. The summer humidity was harder to take than any I'd faced before. I had never had so much trouble breathing even in the Southern California smog.

Central California winter hillside in drought,
Compare to photo below
Finally, I came back to Northern California. In all my total years here, until these last few, I've never seen such drought and subsequent wild fires! The drought makes the hillsides ugly. By this time of year, after our winter rains everything is usually green and luscious. But, sadly, not this year. It's all dry tinder!

We just had a big fire recently in the wilderness of Big Sur. Thirty four homes were burned to the ground. Last summer, among other fires throughout the state, 402 square miles was burnt near Yosemite National Forest. It took a full month before the fire was contained. I don't know how many homes or livestock or people were lost. It's worrisome. A fire on the outskirts of my own town a few years back was quite threatening, too.

Just the same, I figure that no matter where someone lives there is weather phenomena that are going to be problems. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Desert heat, Snowstorms, sub-zero temps, flooding, etc etc. But, this is home now. Earthquakes, drought, fires, mudslides. This is where I want to live out the rest of my years.

Misty view from outskirts of Watsonville, California after a bit of rain.
Strawberry field on left. Orchard on right. Mount Madonna straight ahead. 


36 Books I've read in 2013

Bibi n Eric Sandstrom-Kollenberg
near Santa Cruz Veterans Hall
In no particular order, these are some of the books I've read (and finished) reading this year. If I didn't finish reading a book, I didn't like it. Therefore, these are books I liked.

Twelve Years a Slave
     By Solomon Northup

Southern Fried Sushi
     By Jennifer Rogers Spinola

Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins (Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim.)
     By Caleb Johnson

Tune In Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries
     By Tim Anderson

The Confessions of a Catnip Junkie
     By Allan Goldstein

Ten Days in a Mad-House
     By Nellie Bly

Stone of Tears (The Sword of Truth #2)
     By Terry Goodkind

Love & Darts (On Impulse)
     By Nath Jones

2000 Deciduous Trees (On Impulse)
     By Nath Jones

Dance Like There's No-one Watching : Attract Happiness the Natural Way
     By Susanne Spencer

Scout's Honor (A Tale From The Deadlands)
     By Jeremy Lee Riley

Daisy - the Autobiography of a Cat
     By Miranda Eliot Swan

The Eden Prescription: The war on cancer is not what you think...
     Evers, Ethan

Breakthrough!: How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World
     Jon Queijo

Writing Life Stories: How To Make Memories Into Memoirs, Ideas Into Essays And Life Into Literature
     By Bill Roorbach

Living to Tell the Tale: A Guide to Writing Memoir
     Jane Taylor McDonnell, Vivian Gornick

Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
     By Cheryl Strayed

Vet Tech Tales: The Early Years (Confessions of an Animal Junkie)
Phoenix Sullivan

The Funniest Cop Stories Ever
Scott Baker and Tom Philbin

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Mukherjee, Siddhartha

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake
William Gibson, Yoko Ono, Barry Eisler, Jake Adelstein,

The Fathers of New England: A Chronicle of the Puritan Commonwealths
Andrews, Charles McLean

New Discoveries at Jamestown: Site of the First Successful English Settlement in America
Cotter, John L., Hudson, J. Paul

The Big 5-OH!
Bricker, Sandra D.

Palm Trees on the Hudson
Tiber, Elliot

Hilda - Snow White Revisited (Hilda the Wicked Witch)
Kater, Paul

The Human Side of Cancer: Living with Hope, Coping with Uncertainty
Jimmie Holland, Sheldon Lewis

The Bookseller of Kabul
Asne Seierstad, Ingrid Christophersen

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
Eben Alexander III M.D.

The Son of Man
The Son of Man 2, Elders of Zion
The Son of Man 3, The Heylik
By Johnson, Charles W.

Hunger Games
Catching Fire
By Suzanne Collins