Come cruise with me…

It’s difficult to realize how our lives have changed in the last year. How often do you curse the CoronaVirus ? I do it more often than I can count. Probably every time I open my closet and glance at the gorgeous silver sandals I bought specifically for my April 2020 cruise on the West Coast, the cruise that we never took, the cruise that was canceled because of the pandemic.

Some people miss socializing, eating in restaurant, going to movies, shopping at the malls. I miss my cruises. I miss them like hell. Cruises are becoming the most common way to see the world and unwind in an enjoyable surrounding. My husband calculated that it was cheaper to board a ship from Fort Lauderdale and go on a week cruise than pay airfare, hotel, restaurants and entertainments.

Prior to pandemic, my life was divided into two parts, my life at home, a dutiful life spent writing, babysitting, driving the kids, cooking for the kids, inviting friends for dinner, and a carefree life on the ship, pampering myself, indulging in doing what I like, not what I was expected to do, visiting new countries, and far away cities, walking on the deck, showing up at the restaurants to eat meals cooked by the ship cooks, attending shows, writing new stories in a quiet lounge, playing cards with friends,… A useless, uneventful, selfish, boring life that I adored.

Now when I missed my cruises, I look at my pictures neatly organized in folders. I remember the special places with nostalgia and suppress a tear.

Would you like to travel with me around the world? I will take you on my wonderful ship to my favorite places.

In 2006, we started our South American cruise in Santiago, discovered a world of history and culture and reveled in the sights of Viña del Mar, known as the “Chilean Riviera.” We visited the authentic adobe homes once belonging to the Incas. We sailed to a Chilean Patagonia’s maze of fjords, crossing through rivers, steppes and mountains to the north, and observed a colony of delightful penguins, and continued to the Falkland Islands.

In 2014, we explored the East side of South America, cruising from Fort Lauderdale all the way to Brazil. We spent two days in Rio de Janeiro, ascended to the Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car, and had a peak at the aerial view of Copacabana, the Christ statue, and Guanabara Bay.

Next our ship docked in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. I fell in love with this European city that reminded me of Paris, and Washington DC with its monuments, parks, statues and architecture. We visited the VIP cemetery and the mausoleum of Eva Peron. Nothing beats the tour of the old city and the lunch in restaurant offering Tango shows. Here is a picture of my husband posing with a tango dancer.

 

 

BETWEEN BABIES AND GIRLFRIENDS is a romantic comedy set in Miami, FL and Buenos Aires, the special romance of Dr. Brian Dutton, a very busy American doctor, and Carla, the sophisticated, passionate and sassy daughter of the Governor of Buenos Aires.

Avoid Fear; Be Valiant by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR, 1933, Photo from National Archives and Records Administration, Public domain

In 1933, during his first inaugural address, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

FDR was talking about the fear that was pervasive in America at that time. The stock market crash of 1929 not only bankrupted 20,000 companies but also threw 15 million people into unemployment. More than 23,000 people committed suicide!

When FDR was inaugurated as President, the country was in crisis. Many people were literally starving to death. Back then the homeless were called hobos, and they road the rails and hitchhiked across the country—looking for jobs and food. My mother was a toddler in the 1930’s, but she remembered hearing men knocking on the back door of her home, begging for a piece of bread or any bit of food her mother could spare.

So FDR faced a dead economy, massive unemployment, and unsettling rumblings from Europe. People were desperately afraid of not having food to eat or a roof over their heads.

Fear Sculpture

Fear Sculpture by Adina Mayo

When Roosevelt uttered those words about fear, he was issuing a call to arms to the American people to believe that the crises they faced could be overcome—to be valiant and not succumb to an overall feeling of fear and panic.

We face pretty much the same situation today, but millions of people have never had to deal with a crisis like this. They don’t understand that perilous times call for all of us to dig deep for faith and optimism. Even the most frightened of us have the ability to “gut it out” and be valiant.

Valiant

The dictionary defines this adjective as the ability to be brave or determined. Yes, determined. We don’t have to throw ourselves on a grenade to save others or any of the acts of bravery committed by soldiers and first responders. We just have to be determined.

Sign saying VALIANT

Valiant = Determined

Determined to: believe we as a country (whatever your country may be), and as a people will endure.

Determined that we will not yield to nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror but will be calm and think logically and follow sensible rules.

Determined to set a good example for our children so they will learn how to behave in crisis.

Determined that we will remain optimistic. Determined that we will help where and when we can.

Determined that we will not yield to panic and rush to testing stations when we have no Sign: Be a Warrior Not a Worrier.reason to think we have CoVid19, thereby conserving resources.

Determined to make the best of a bad situation. Determined that we will learn lessons from this awful experience.

Be safe. Be optimistic. BE VALIANT!

Soup Month: Mom’s Potato Soup by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Did you know that January is National Soup Month?

I guess the people who create these “national” months and/or days figured National Cold, Windy, Rainy Dreary Month didn’t sound very appealing.

Yesterday evening I came home—cold, wet, and bedraggled—from a day of fighting the traffic amidst a downpour. By the time, Darling Hubby and I walked into the kitchen, darkness had fallen.

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

What’s For Dinner?

He’d been out in the bad weather with me all day, and we had missed lunch because of one thing or another. I didn’t take offense when he tiredly asked, “What’s for dinner?”

I gave him an equally tired answer. “Soup.”

He brightened, and so did I because soup is my go-to meal for dreary winter days. I fixed Potato & Greens Soup, an unusual potato soup because of the fresh greens in it which is Mom’s effort to push veggies at every meal.

Potato & Greens Soup

  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 pound of your favorite sausage with the casing removed
  • an additional 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Peal and dice the potatoes. Place in a pot with the salt, black pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are done then mash the potatoes in the broth that remains. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Slice the sausage thinly. Saute and drain well. In a large cooking pot, pour in the other 2 cups of chicken broth, heat to boiling. Add the fresh spinach or other fresh greens of your choice to the hot broth. Cook until just wilted. Whisk in the mashed potatoes, cooked sausage, and mix well.

Serve with one or all of the following as garnishes: a snip of fresh greens, a grating of black pepper, and/or a bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Serves 6 hungry appetites.

Warm Up Winter With DEAD HEAT, an Exciting Romance

Sabrina Snow knew she was going to get herself killed if she didn’t get help. Someone was after her, and he wasn’t going to stop. She ran to the only man she trusted…the only man who had the skills to save her. Too bad he probably hated her.

But she owed him the truth even though she’d wanted to keep the knowledge from him. What if she were killed? John needed to know where to look. If he’d hated her before, what would he feel once he learned the depth of her deception?

Navy SEAL John Galloway doesn’t trust Sabrina. She lies for a living so how can he? So what’s he supposed to do when she shows up in the last place he ever expected to see her?

DEAD HEAT, available as a Kindle Unlimited Free Read or buy and keep forever.

Remember to enter our January Giveaway, and also check out all of the wonderful box set collections of romances on Authors Billboard Books.

Struggling with your weight by Mona Risk

If you are struggling with your weight welcome to the club. Did you know that 55% of adult Americans are overweight? It’s a growing problem. Apparently weight-loss products and services average $34 billion a year.

Part of the problem is that weight management is hard, complicated by genes, environment and emotional issues. Chances are that unless we make long-term lifestyle changes to alter our eating habits and become more physically active, the pounds lost with a strenuous diet come back on, with a few extra.

The only way I managed to lose weight was to keep a journal and record everything that went into my mouth. Keeping records made me aware of the quantities I ate.

Exercising is essential. But I have never been an athletic person, and I suck at sports. Regardless, I make it a point to move as much as I can around the house, walk every morning, do my own type of swimming in the pool.

By the way I highly recommend getting a Fitbit watch that counts your steps and makes you feel guilty if you don’t walk enough.

I will never be as slim as my heroines, but I am trying to be healthy and make up for the hours I spend sitting at my computer, writing and editing!

Unfortunately, writing and publishing don’t fall under exercising. Yet it requires so much effort!

I have two new books published almost back to back:


Prince Philip’s Cinderella: Modern Princes Series, book 4
A charming jogger saves her from danger. But he’s a prince… and she comes from nothing. Should she run or risk her heart?

Not Ready Yet: The SEnator’s Family, book 4
High school sweethearts separated by life…They meet years later, successful but different, each with a heavy baggage.