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Friday, June 26, 2009

Reality Shows - Why Are They So Popular

For Postcard Friendship Friday on Cpaphil Vintage Postcards I found this postcard sent to me by my exchange student from France. This is a photo of a place close to her home. I love the swans swimming in the mirror-like lake.

My Article is Published!!!

I wanted everyone to know that my article, "Reality Shows - Why Are They So Popular" has been published on I'll print a little bit of it for you here, but please go and read the whole article. I am very happy that they chose to publish it and also have conferred on me the title of Expert Author! Here is a part of it:

Reality Shows - Why Are They So Popular
by Barbara Ehrentreu
Shows like "The Soup" with Joel McHale make fun of reality shows while being on the same network as they are. There is an entire network devoted only to showing reality shows, The Reality Show Network. Activities from tattoo parlors to motorcycle places are on reality shows. Many times these shows actually interact with each other as in a recent episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" where Jon wanted to get a motorcycle and he went to the Motorcycle Guys where he put together his own custom made cycle. Then they delivered the cycle and made one for Kate. Being Kate she decided to ride it and then donate it to a charity, McDonald House. Meanwhile, the Motorcycle Guys, who have their own show were also featured on this one.

So many people watch this show that after the last episode when Jon and Kate decided to get these Crooked Houses for the kids, the manufacturers of the houses received a lot of business from viewers who had seen the houses and wanted them. On one of the older episodes Jon and Kate answered emails from viewers. They get endless emails and when they go out in public as Kate is now doing on her book signing tour, fans are always there. What makes these shows so popular? Should we examine this phenomenon to see if there is anything to be learned from it? Or is it just the armchair mentality of people who once sat on their front porches and viewed the activities of their neighbors? Are people becoming armchair voyeurs? Read more...

As Featured On EzineArticles

How do you feel about these shows? Hope to hear from you. Until the next time, Happy Postcard Friendship Friday.

My thoughts on the passing of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

When I heard that Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal were getting married, I knew that she was probably not going to live much longer. This couple had avoided marriage for decades. It reminds me of one of my best friends who married her ex-husband about a week before he died. This friend is probably the closest to an angel I have ever seen. Her husband cheated on her and then left her to live with the woman he had been seeing. But when he got cancer and needed someone to nurse him she didn't want to do it. So she threw him out and my friend, who is a hospice nurse, offered to have him live with her and she nursed him. They got married with him in a wheel chair. He died soon afterward, but my friend was at peace.

Anyway, at least Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal were going to get married before she died. Before she got cancer and started to come on TV and talk about it and wrote about it, I remembered her for her hairstyle. What a furor there was over the Farrah Fawcett style. Every woman wanted to have it. I remember half the hair salon walking out with her hairstyle. Everyone wanted to have those sweeping wings on either side of the center part and it was so popular that even into the '90s women
wore that style.
The style that bumped it completely was Rachel's from "Friends" which then became the style to have. Then after the "Charlie's Angels" movie there was a brief revival of the Farrah style with younger women. I wonder if Cat on "So You Think You Can Dance" wearing the Farrah style will influence others to have this style in memory of Farrah.

I was just getting used to her death this afternoon when we came back from Starbucks with a stop at Whole Foods to get a cooked chicken and a few other ingredients for quesadillas I made for dinner. As I got into the living room I saw the banner on the TV that Michael Jackson had died. It's pretty unusual that two people who were such icons would pass away on the same day. As they say these things usually come in threes. Ed McMahon died at the beginning of this week and now the two of them were gone. But with Michael Jackson's death we weren't prepared. So although it was very sad and certainly news, the news media immediately showed everything about Michael Jackson. Hours and hours of the young Michael and the Jackson Five ran on the usual cable news stations like MSNBC and CNN. CNN had commentary on his life and a two hour program devoted to him. Larry King gave his whole hour to it. Even on "So You Think You Can Dance" Nigel talked about the deaths of all three of them and they showed a brief clip of Michael Jackson in "Thriller". Nigel said that Fred Astaire had actually called Michael Jackson and told him he was a great dancer.

I think that people just incorporated Michael Jackson's dancing into his entire performance and yet when you look at "Thriller" and you seen the innovative steps he did all the time you can see the excellent dancing. He was a world phenomenon and it is because he was a monster performer. I never saw him in concert, but I remember how everyone was transfixed by the "Thriller" video. Little boys imitated his moon walk step and it was the step that every boy tried to do. Michael Jackson became a larger than life celebrity so it was a real shock when the details of what was happening on his "ranch" came out. What really happened with those boys and Michael Jackson will probably never be out in the open unless they write a book now that he is not longer here. It will be very interesting to see if the truth does come out as the various boys realize they might make some more money. It's hard to decide if they took innocent incidents and transformed them into sex abuse or if it really happened.

Who was Michael Jackson? He was very talented and a real powerhouse on stage. People were riveted by his performances and they translated into any language. He packed houses all over the world and he was preparing for another concert when his heart gave out. This concert series was also sold out.

As you can see, I am a big fan of "So You Think You Can Dance" and we've been following it this year from the auditions. So many of the male dancers said that they started dancing because of seeing Michael Jackson. There are many videos of cute little kids dancing to Michael Jackson on TV. And they adopted his hairstyle too. But the thing that was very unusual about Michael Jackson was his jeweled glove. When he burst onto the music scene no one looked like him. I never did find out why he wore the glove. If anyone knows and wants to tell me that would be great.:)

It's always hard to lose big stars. They have filled your TV screens and movies with their presence and if they are close to your age as Farrah Fawcett was you have pretty much known about them for decades. They have been a part of your life in some way. So losing them is more losing a part of your life. Both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson did not have easy lives. But with celebrity comes a certain amount of sadness I believe. Yes, they had all the comforts they needed and in Michael Jackson's case, much more than he needed. But she had a stormy marital life and he had a notorious personal life bringing him into courtrooms more than on stage in the later part of his life. We're saying goodbye to two celebrities, but in some way it's more like saying goodbye to a huge chunk of each of our lives. Both of these people have shaped our culture and created huge crazes in society. Both will be missed for their contributions to our culture as well as their personalities.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Father's Day Dinner- Honey mustard glazed salmon with dill

I was on the radio!!
I am including my Father's Day dinner here, but this was the most exciting thing that happened to me this week. I realize this is kind of late to post about the dinner, but it's been a busy week. I was on the Robins Falls Story Time for Kids show on Blog Talk Radio yesterday and preparing to be on the show - actually anticipation of being on the radio was a little stressful. It was my first time and I read my story, "The Trouble with Follow the Leader". I was going to put the message to go listen to me on the blog, but I didn't get to post this. So here is the post I was going to post on Monday talking about my Father's Day dinner.:) I am also including the entire program here. So if you didn't get a chance to hear it you can hear me reading the story and discussing why I wrote it. I am the 4th person speaking. It's about 25-30 minutes into the show.
Getting the Ingredients and Cooking the Dinner
We went to Stew Leonard's, which was featured on The Next Food Network Star, on Saturday afternoon to get the ingredients for my husband's Father's Day dinner. By the way, we got there at the best time to get the most samples. This was good, because we hadn't eaten any lunch. You can fill yourself up for free if you time your shopping visit right.:) As we passed the Seafood section, I couldn't resist the wild Alaskan salmon. So I decided to make my honey mustard glazed salmon with dill, garlic mashed potatoes, and found the thinnest asparagus I ever saw.

On Sunday I sauteed the asparagus in butter after I'd microwaved them for a little over two minutes and ran them under cold water to stop the cooking. I had found sun-dried tomato and basil panko crumbs at Stew Leonards, so I toasted them in butter until they were golden brown. I sprinkled some on the asparagus. When you cook salmon you cook it with the skin on so it stays moist, but there is a trick to removing the skin when it's cooked. If it's cooked properly when you put a spatula between the skin and the meat you will find that the skin will stay in the pan and you won't have to peel anything.

The one thing to remember when dealing with fresh fish and a car ride is to make sure you get ice to put the fish over before you leave the store. At Stew Leonard's they had an ice machine by the seafood department. When you get home put the fish into the refrigerator on top of the ice. You might need a bowl to hold the dripping. Don't keep fish in the refrigerator longer than a day. It can be frozen if necessary, but it will not be as good. It's best to use it right away, which is what I usually do, but there were only two of us for dinner on Saturday night. My husband was working and my older daughter had a date.

To get started preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat the salmon dry and check for pin bones. If there are any make sure you take them out. All other salmon bones and the skin can be eaten, but I like to serve it without the skin. Place the salmon on a sheet pan or any shallow pan. Grind fresh pepper over the piece or pieces and a little bit of salt. Since it's salt water you don't need that much salt. Make the glaze with dijon mustard, about a half cup. Add about a teaspoon of honey to taste. Also add lots of garlic powder, about 2 teaspoons, a dash of Italian seasoning, a half teaspoon of onion powder, a dash of cayenne, and a sprinkle of thyme. Squeeze about a half a lemon over the fish before you glaze it. Also squeeze half a lemon into the glaze. Mix it thoroughly until it is one color. You might want to add more honey. The honey cuts the bitterness of the dijon mustard and helps to give it more of a glaze. Take a pastry brush and brush the mustard glaze onto the salmon. Keep brushing it on until almost all of the glaze is used. Take some fresh dill, about a tablespoon chopped very fine and sprinkle it onto the salmon. Then take the pastry brush and brush one more time to incorporate the dill. Put into the oven and set the timer for about fifteen minutes. The salmon is done when it starts to flake with a fork. Remove the pan if everything else is ready or you can turn off the oven and leave the salmon for another five minutes at the most.

When you are ready to serve it take a spatula and do that trick I talked about earlier. It's always fun to serve it together with the vegetables. Sometimes I put it over spinach, but not Sunday night. I arranged the asparagus next to the salmon and sprinkled more toasted panko crumbs on top. When my daughter saw it she said it looked so good we should take a picture, but as usual we were too hungry and forgot to do it. If you get a little over a pound and half of fresh salmon it will serve four people.

For the mashed potatoes I used Yukon gold and also added about six cloves of garlic. This is funny and it wouldn't have happened if I'd drained the potatoes, but I put the garlic in without peeling it. My daughter who is the mashed potato maker, didn't notice the peels and mashed everything together thinking I'd peeled the cloves like she does all the time.:) During the meal I started finding these small white pieces and thought maybe it was salmon cartilage. But when I found it in my potatoes I realized what had happened.:) So if you use unpeeled cloves remember to take out the peels after you drain the water.

I can tell you this meal was a great success!! My husband loved it and the crunchiness of the crumbs combined with the salmon and the asparagus was a real treat! It was also very filling!!

Tell me how you spent your Father's Day. We usually go out to eat, so this was much cheaper, even if it was wild salmon.:) Also please leave your comments about either my reading of the story or the story itself.

Until the next time, please scroll down to the end of the page to take a little quiz about you. :)

Father's Day Thoughts

My old neighborhood in Crown Heights - Brooklyn,NY-1946

My father always seemed larger than life although he was only about five feet seven or so. His voice was booming and he was the kind of man who never made a quiet entrance. He was a salesman and I think it didn't matter what he sold. He was able to get you into conversation and before you knew it you were trapped. Yet, he was a very compassionate man most of the time except for that time when I was about seven or eight and I came in after playing in the snow with my fingers frozen. My parents owned a dry goods and trimming store then and there was a radiator in the front. My dad always warmed my fingers when they were cold so I ran to the radiator and put my hands in front of it. But that wasn't enough and I needed my father's warm hands to cover mine and make them feel better.

He was in the middle of a sale with someone, but I begged him, "Daddy, my hands are cold. I need you to warm them." It would have been okay if I had stopped there, but being hungry and cold I wanted instant gratification. I yelled, "Daddy, my hands are cold!!" At that point he came over to me and I saw I'd gone too far. I tried to smile at him and get him to put back the expression that I loved so much that would make me feel all better inside. But he glared at me and then he told me to go home. We only lived a little way down the street in a section of Brooklyn that was mostly cement sidewalks and city streets. Where trees were almost non-existent and weeds covered my backyard looking like trees and bushes, because they had grown so tall.

So I trudged home in the city slush to my mother and the welcoming smell of my favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs. But my mom's face didn't have a smile either and I worried what was going to happen. She didn't say a word and made me sit in silence until I heard my father's key in the door. Actually I always knew he was coming when I heard his footsteps climbing the one flight up to our apartment. He'd always come and give me a hug and then I'd sit on his lap and we'd talk. But tonight he came in and sat down at the kitchen table while my mother continued getting dinner ready. I saw the sauce she whipped up from scratch and the spaghetti already cooked and waiting in a bowl for us. She poured the sauce onto the spaghetti while I watched and then the most awful thing happened to me. She only put out two plates on the table. My father looked at me and said that I had done an awful thing and I had to be punished. Then he said that since this was my favorite meal I would not be allowed to eat supper. He sent me to my room, which was on the other side of the kitchen. They closed my door and I had to hear my parents eating that spaghetti and meatballs through the door all while I was crying so hard that I thought I was going to die.

As I heard their forks scraping the plate I hated both of them so much. How could they do such an awful thing? I was starving and couldn't even go to sleep. My stomach growled and I curled up in bed to lay there until morning. But my mother and father weren't heartless and later after they'd eaten my mom brought me a snack. I think it was a cheese sandwich, but I wolfed it down and I think she hugged me. I don't remember it that well, because it was so long ago. But unfortunately that night was to have dire consequences for me.

After that night I couldn't even eat spaghetti and meatballs without feeling sick. I got heartburn every time I ate it. This continued until I was out of college. I never forgot the pain I felt when I heard my parents enjoying the meal right behind my door. It wasn't until I was able to talk with them and that wasn't until I was an adult, that the whole night was put to rest. But this is Father's Day and I suddenly remembered it.

My dad had a very short temper, so he used to yell a lot and when he was really angry he'd chase me and my little brother around the house with a rolled up newspaper threatening but never laying a hand on either of us. He'd always tell me that if I didn't stop the behavior I was exhibiting that he would get a "Cat 'o Nine Tails" . I never knew what that was, but it scared me a lot. (When you click on the link you can see what it looks like. At the time I had never seen one, but the sound of it was so scary I'd do anything when he talked about it.:)) But at the same time he would go out of his way to get me anything that I wanted.

But my father didn't stay angry long and soon he'd be telling us a story or a joke and we'd be laughing again. I loved to sit on his lap and he'd make everything better with a gentle touch and a smile. He was a very creative man and drew doodles that should have been framed. He always lettered the signs for the store and he did them meticulously. We had some famous customers who shopped in our store, because of my father and his reputation. People liked to come there and listen to him. Sid Gordon, who used to play for the now defunct New York Giants baseball team, lived on our street and he and his wife came into the store to get materials. It's hard to believe that such a celebrity of his time would live in a second floor walk up over a toy store. Today he'd have a huge mansion somewhere with a locked gate and millions of dollars from his career. But then baseball players lived in their own neighborhoods. Sam Levinson, the comedian, lived in Brooklyn at that time too and my mother was friendly with his wife who came into the store

I miss my father most on holidays like this one. When Father's Day comes I really have no reason to buy a present. I've been without him since 1972 when he passed away in his sleep not wanting to bother my mother when he woke up so wet he had to change his pajamas. I remember him making tea using a metal tea holder as a tea bag. He'd put loose tea into it and slip it in and out of the cup. Then being the product of the Lower East Side and a big family where food was something you pushed into your mouth as fast as possible to make sure you got your share, he would slurp his tea and sigh.

His father always drank tea out of a glass and slurped it too. He came from the a small shtetl in Poland called Gradnoh which I mentioned when talking about the Holocaust. They adopted the Russian idea of drinking tea from a glass. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the slurping or my father's habit of humming in between bites at the table. Looking back, I guess he had terrible table manners, but it didn't matter. No one cared about that in his circle. They'd all been brought up to stuff in the food and leave a clean plate. What would my father think about our world now?

He was a self taught man having dropped out of school by eighth grade to work. He read the newspaper cover to cover every day and watched the evening news when that was the only news program they had. He was up on current events and loved to expound on the situation to us. He knew what it was like to be poor and he didn't want his kids to have to live the life he had led. He grew up tough and he had muscles like steel before his heart attacks that weakened him. He'd been a chauffeur for the Jewish mob, an airplane mechanic in the Air Force, a worker at Wellbilt stoves, a storeowner and finally an appliance salesman for Friendly Frost. But when I sat on his lap all I knew was that he was my Daddy and he'd make everything okay.:)

This was supposed to come out yesterday, but with my family home all day it was a little difficult. Plus, I made dinner for my husband for Father's Day. More in the next post. See the following post for the recipe.

Meanwhile, I found this great website full of people who have lived in my old neighborhood. It's so great to relive old memories. It's called Eastern Parkway memories - Brooklyn,NY. If you lived in Brooklyn around my time, go over and take a look at the pictures.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quotable Thursday and We Have a Winner!

Writers write for the same reason readers read, to find out what's gonna happen.
--Elmore Leonard

Today for Quotable Thursday on Pamposh Dhar's Teratali Reiki and Counseling I came across this from a favorite author, Elmore Leonard. If you haven't read any of his books, try reading at least one of them. Several have been turned into movies.

But the reason I chose this quote is because I understand what he means here. As a writer I never really know what will happen when I put my fingers on the keyboard or if I'm writing long hand what will happen when my pen touches the paper. Usually I start with only a few words or a sentence in my head and when that is written it takes off on its own. It's kind of like I write this blog.:) I have an idea of what I'm going to say, but the actual words come straight from my fingers. This is not always true for other writers. I've heard of writers who write the whole thing in their head and it comes out like a copy machine. But it's fun to know that I have something in common with Elmore Leonard.:)

For anyone who is interested, here is Elmore Leonard's essay, "Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing". If you're looking for a way to start revising your manuscript you really don't have to look anywhere else for a succinct list of what to do. And this prolific author is still on TV plugging the movie of his book at 83! He wouldn't like my exclamation points at all.:)

I did the drawing for the free book and we have a winner!!!!! Actually, to be fair, I had my daughter do it.:) If you didn't comment remember there's always next time. For the others thank you so much for participating.

The winner is: Out - Numbered!!!!!!!

As soon as Cynthia is contacted she will send you the book. For anyone who doesn't know who this is, Out-Numbered AKA/ Jason Mayo, writes a blog called Out-Numbered. You will see that I have it as one of my favorite blogs. I try not to miss any of his posts, because they are funny and honest. I actually featured his blog here on one of my posts. You can go here to read more about it. Since then he has won a number of awards that are well-deserved and of course, he has now won a free book, Remote Control by Cynthia Polansky. Jason, I hope you enjoy the book!

Today my older daughter found out that she has a double vitamin deficiency. She has a vitamin B12 and a vitamin D deficiency. So she now has to get a B12 shot every day for seven days. Then it will go to once a week and finally to once a month. We're hoping it isn't going to be a serious diagnosis since she also has anemia and already has some symptoms like numbness and tingling in her fingers. To add to this she has arthritis in her neck!! Holy sh-t!!! Who knew? She did complain about this, but she is the one with depression and we all thought that it went along with it. Now it seems that the vitamin B12 deficiency could have caused her depression! Now I'm wondering how long she has had that, because she became depressed at 16 and if it was a vitamin deficiency I'm wondering why a doctor didn't pick this up before now. Think of how much money we could have saved in psychiatrist bills!!!! Also, think of all the pills she's taken through the years. As I said, I'm just hoping that she doesn't have anything serious. Fingers are crossed that they got this in time!!

Here is another little tidbit from Betty Butler, who has most graciously sent me material since I put her on my blog. For anyone who did not read the first material you can find it here... I am going to post both the essay she wrote about the poem and the poem she wrote about the experience. First the poem:

By Betty Butler ©2000

Finding my mission, path, my life’s work
Was a gift from God, not a whimsical quirk.
A friend and I wrote a song called Healers of the Heart™
This is how our business names got their start.

Playing therapeutic harp has blessed our lives,
Conventions, hospitals, memorials and at bedside.
We’ve both traveled extensively, far and wide
But the why and how of this work is difficult to describe.

While my music will not impress a Broadway critic
I provide more than moody music for the sick.
My training in hospice and grief counseling,
Enlightens my intuition so compassionate service is fulfilling.

Alongside my harp with my poems and my songs
I am invited to journey along.
As a companion and a sacred witness
Of life’s passages of pain, joy, and bliss.

One Christmas a Rabbi came to my Christian congregation
Lecturing on the camps of Auschwitz concentration.
I played a lengthy prelude and then postlude too
Over and over, just the three Jewish songs I knew.

Rabbis said, “This Holocaust pains me, but I can’t forget
My goal is to pass on remembrance permanently set
In the minds of all, past wrongs and honored memories
These words and music will bring everyone to their knees.

The audience rose but did not applaud
Awe struck by the miraculous ways of God.
Tears flowed freely as they embraced
Sadness glistened, streaming down each face.

Many stood, arm-in-arm, swaying
Transfixed by what my harp was saying.
Grief stricken for hero’s stories untold
Grateful for the many sacrifices of long ago.

“His story makes my hurting heart cry inside.
I can’t stop the tears and I really have tried.
Please fix me, Mommy!” My baby girl cried.
My soul prayed the Healing One would comfort & abide.

Three Christian matrons approached: “We’ve toured Israel,
The lyrics of those tunes we know very well.
Christmas songs today would not do. We’re glad you are only playing Jewish songs
Rock of Ages, Amazing Grace would have been all wrong.

Another matriarch said, “Keep playing, don’t stop, keep going.
Your healing heart harp is steadily showing
How distance and difference can be moved aside
One-by-One, note-by-note, heart-by-heart, side-by-side.”

I’ve learned music is our common language
In our tears there is a sacred message
Our hugs are our universal vocabulary
For healing the heart to be an eternal emissary.

So what do I do exactly, you ask?
I’ve really been given a simple task.
I play only a small part
I attempt to touch each heart.

From birth through life’s journey to closure at the end.
I encourage acceptance and celebration of life’s transition...
Home-coming, Home-going, I try to set the mood for life’s reunions.
With sacred songs creating bonding communion.

Whether stateside, Oceanside, out or inside
No cure, but soothing comfort and healing besides
In the doorway, chair, bedside or side-by-side
I hope my Harpside Theraharpy will meet you Heartside.

Healers of the Heart Outreach
Heartside Theraharpy at Harpside
Are trademarks of Healers of the Heart™

More information contact Betty Butler
113 Velarde N.W. Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107

My Job Blessed By a Rabbi

This poem took a long time for me to process, digest, because it was so profound an experience. People talk about when their hearts break open... or "when what you do meets what the universe needs then you have found your destiny". That's what happened.

I got to the church an hour early to be tuned, [cuz] cold weather causes harp strings to break even in the heated car.. etc....

I started playing (the) prelude about twenty minutes before (the) scheduled start as people trickled in.

There were few teens or younger, [cuz[ this was a Holocaust speaker, A Rabbi from a large Synagogue in Albuquerque. I was at a church in a rural northern New Mexico village.

We were not expecting many, but mostly baby boomers. The grey group started to arrive...and were quite familiar that I was not playing any of their favorite hymns.One practically yelled at his spouse,"Doesn't she KNOW anything else?"

I only had three Jewish Hymns in sheet music before me.

The starting hour began, and no Rabbi. This was 1999 so cell phones had not caught on much. Someone ran to a gas station telephone and called his house. Whomever answered was disturbed from her nap and cranky (and said) that he had left an hour before.

I played on...and on....and on. By half past the hour, the chapel was full and they were antsy. They were bored with my music, and I was being very stubborn about not playing anything else.

At a quarter to the hour, he and his driver arrived, having gotten lost, gotten off at the wrong freeway exit and turned around... He was elderly and frail and stressed. He looked around for the source of the music. The guide motioned to me, up on the stand, just behind the podium to his right. He smiled, nodded, put his hand on his heart and said, "Oh, you have found one of mine." As he passed in front of me, he patted the air above my head, above my shoulders and above my harp. I wanted to weep.

My Native American part of me wanted to say, "Thank you, Grandfather."
The Chinese Dragon Lady wanted to bow and say, "SheaShea"
The Kahuna in me wanted to say, "Mahalo, Aloha."
The city mouse wanted to salute and say, "Namaste"

The little country mouse did nothing.
She folded her hands in her lap, and looked at them thru out his speech, letting the tears drop in puddles in my palms.

The guide had to touch me that a closing prayer was going to be given, blessing on the refreshments (Bagels and Cream Cheese how cliche)...and then I was to play until the Chapel emptied and all had a chance to shake his hand in the reception line.

I began to play, I glanced three or four pews down in the center. I could see my two little girls, 9 and 11 were clinging to each other weeping. Everyone else was swaying, crying and not leaving. No one was complainng now about my music. They stood and silently hummed and wept.

Rabbi finally took the guide by the hand and said they would have to leave or no one would move out. It was the most somber reception I've ever attended. That Sunday was one of the most profound, sacred Sabbaths I've attended.

It would be several days for the poety to percolate.
My littlest one would come and lay her head on my shoulder and weep.
A few days passed...One morning as I was going to drive them to school, she came in the foyer for what I thought was a cutsey Eskimo Kiss Goodbye but she leaned forward to touch forehead to forehead. Little crystal saddness drops landed on my chest. She begged to be allowed to stay home.

The REAL MOM would not let her.

Several Days later I got the letter from the program I had been in for almost a year to tell me I was dropped because I was too emotional and teary and "Unsuited for this work."

As I write these memories now, I recall my youngest coming to me in the hallway at her school. I had just gotten home from a week of speeches in Washington, DC on American Airlines. I had been called to school to substitute for the Journalism/FIlm in TV class for the instructor who had been called away to go to NYC/DC to cover the Twin Towers/Pentagon "story." My child dove into me, arm in arms, we were once again forehead to forehead....
heartside to heartside...

"Mommy, my heart hurts."
OMG! Who could say anything after this! Yes, there really are people like Betty in this world and thank goodness for that!!

Until the next time, thank you to all my readers and Congratulations to Out-Numbered, Jason Mayo, who will soon have Remote Control in his hands.

One more thing you should know is that there is a way for you to copyright your blog for free so none of your material can be altered without your permission. Check out the copyright logo at the bottom of the page. You have to scroll all the way to the end.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are You Doing Enough to Create Peace?

Unfortunately while I was getting this blog post together I found out that the bill discussed here, the war allocation funds bill, has passed the House. It's now going to be an uphill fight for the 32 Democrats who did not vote for it. I applaud their courage, since the bill contained funding for flu vaccine too. But these 32 stayed strong and together and the organizations and people here deserve your support too.

I don't always get political here, because since I've been blogging there hasn't been that much that has caused me to stop everything and protest as in the past. While Bush was president I did protest a great deal to stop the war. I wrote poems and I protested with hundreds of thousands of people. But with Obama as president I thought that I could rest a little after eight long years of constant stress and turmoil for peace.

However, this weekend I received an urgent email reminding me that I needed to do more to help the cause of peace. There is a war supplemental bill in Congress now that many groups are trying to block. This is exactly what it said.

"The following groups and individuals are working very hard to block a war supplemental bill in Congress that would fund the continued war and occupation of Iraq and an escalated war and occupation in Afghanistan: After Downing Street, American Friends Service Committee, Nick Baumann, Brave New Films, Jennifer Brunner, Brendan Calling, Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, Dday, Declaration of Peace,, Digby, Docudharma, FireDogLake, Bruce Gagnon, Glenn Greenwald, the Hip Hop Caucus, Howie Klein, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Just Foreign Policy, The Nation, Cynthia McKinney, Linda Milazzo, Michael Moore, Military Families Speak Out, Out of Iraq Blogger Caucus, Patriot Daily, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Jason Rosenbaum, Coleen Rowley, Jonathan Tasini, True Maine Blue, Doug Tudor, United for Peace and Justice, US Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Voters for Peace, Joan Wile, Marcy Winograd, World Can't Wait, and the Young Turks."

For people who have been sitting on the sidelines and not calling or writing to their Congress people this might be the time to start calling and writing. We want the war to stop and we need to push our representatives to keep their word. There are no more big bad Republicans stopping them. It is now only the temerity of these people in Congress who need to hear from us NOW!!!! So if you see any group of person you know mentioned in the above people go ahead and support them. If you have a group that needs to start working, this would be a good time to start.

Progressives need to show the rest of the country that there is a better way. Yes, we all want to support the troops, but maybe we need to do that by bringing them home. We can all see by events in Iraq that they don't want us there too much longer anyway. Why not come home and save the money for the domestic problems we have here? Why keep so many troops in Iraq to stabilize the situation? Moving them to Afghanistan is not going to help as much as everyone thinks. There is too much complicated stuff going on there.

I hope you will visit at least one of the links above and will decide to do more to have peace.

Tomorrow I will be giving you more of Betty Butler's thoughts and works. Thank you to all of my followers and any new people who happened upon this blog.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Welcome Guest Author Cynthia Polansky at Last!!!

Before we talk with our guest author, Cynthia Polansky, I think I have to say something about the white supremacist who shot the guards at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I have been to that museum and being Jewish it tore my heart out seeing the actual remains of the clothing. The exhibit that got me the most was the shoes and the suitcases thrown in piles. My own father came from a village that was obliterated by the Nazis. The idea that any kind of hate crime could occur within the borders of my own country sickens me. I am so sorry for the family of that guard who saved the lives of the people who were visiting the museum. The hatred in this old man's heart that caused him to commit such a heinous crime is the same poison that created Hitler and allowed him to destroy the lives of so many innocent people. I am happy that this mad man, who even at 88 years old still carried such vengeance in his heart, was unable to continue his attack. I will not put the name of this person here. Please see more about this story by clicking on the link for the Holocaust Museum.

Our guest author, Cynthia Polansky's book, Far Above Rubies, shows how even when a society seems safe and open, almost anything can happen to cause freedoms to be destroyed. We must be constantly vigilant and make sure that this hatred does not spread.

Cynthia, welcome to my blog! So happy to have you here at last as the title says! I can't wait for all of my readers to meet you. Here is a little bit about Cynthia Polansky before we start our interview.

She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, United States. Cynthia Polansky is the author of two novels, Far Above Rubies and Remote Control and four nonfiction books (written as Cynthia P. Gallagher). She has terrific friends who continue to provide support while she works on her next book,WHIFF: Human Aroma Through the Ages. She writes a blog, Crossing Polansky where you will find the longest list of homophones I've ever seen.:) Visit her website at

After learning more about her and her writing I hope you will see what a very special writer Cynthia Polansky is and why I am thrilled to have her here.

Lets get right to the interview.

Barbara: The first thing I noticed is you are listed with two different names. Why do you write fiction as Cynthia Polansky and non-fiction as Cynthia P. Gallagher?
Cynthia: When Far Above Rubies was written, "Gallagher" didn't strike me as a credible name for the author of a Jewish-themed book, so I used my maiden name, "Polansky." I had already published a number of small magazine articles and other work under my married name, "Cynthia P. Gallagher," so for consistency's sake, I decided to continue writing nonfiction as Gallagher, and fiction as Polansky.

Barbara:. I have read and reviewed Far Above Rubies, but I haven’t read Remote Control. How is it different from your first novel?
Cynthia: Remote Control differs in every way from FAR except that both protagonists are Jewish. Where as FAR was based on a true story in a historical era, and written in a literary voice, Remote Control has a contemporary, humorous voice and is totally speculative. That's when it hit me that I wasn't going to stick to one genre!

Barbara: How did you get the idea to write Remote Control?
Cynthia: During one of the many fascinating discussions I have with my artist friend Mary Yaeger about life after death, a topic we both find interesting. We've read a lot of the same authors on the subject -- James Van Praagh, Sylvia Browne, George Anderson -- and have a grand time speculating on spirituality and what lies ahead. Somehow the notion came up of reviewing your past lives from the comfort of a lounge chair in heaven, and a novel was conceived. Must have been the wine.

Barbara: The heroine of Far Above Rubies seems larger than life. How did you get the idea to write this book and who was the inspiration for it?
Cynthia: The heroine, Sofie, was the aunt of my friend, Mieneke. We were both volunteering as docents for a touring photographic exhibit called "Anne Frank in the World." Each time I listened to Mieneke telling her aunt's story to the school groups I guided through the exhibit, I grew more convinced that the world needed to know about the woman who had voluntarily gone to a concentration camp just to look after her six stepdaughters. I urged Mieneke to somehow preserve the story, but she didn't think anybody would want to read about her family. Now I love saying to her, "Told you so!"

Barbara: When did you start to write your books about dogs? How did you get the idea to do this?
Cynthia: I adore dogs, so it's not surprising that most of my published works have been on that subject. In addition to articles for dog magazines, I wrote a monthly column online called Boxer Shorts, funny anecdotes about Boxers (I intend one day to reinstate this column, by the way). One day TFH Publications, the parent company of Nylabone and a leading dog reference publisher, contacted me. They were updating their single-breed guide books (found at most pet supply stores), and asked if I would be interested. I've done three titles for them (The American Pit Bull Terrier, The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Boxers) and one for Bow Tie Press (Bulldogs).

Barbara: The story of Far Above Rubies takes place in Germany before the war. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Cynthia: My friend Mieneke is Dutch, as was her aunt Sofie about whom I wrote, so I needed to learn about life in Holland in the 1930s and 40s. Mieneke supplied me with the background info, Dutch terminology, the town where Sofie grew up, etc. I had previously visited Holland myself, which helped with the visuals. The historical facts about Europe and the war came from research books. I've never traveled to Auschwitz, but some day I plan to participate in a "March of the Living".

Barbara: For people like me who don’t know what it is, would you please tell us about a “March of the Living”.
Cynthia: As stated on their website,THE MARCH OF THE LIVING is an international, educational program that brings Jewish teens from all over the world to Poland on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, to march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built during World War II, and then to Israel to observe Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day, and Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day.

The goal of the March of the Living is for these young people to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and to lead the Jewish people into the future vowing Never Again. They have a similar trip for adults.

Barbara: Do you have a preference for writing fiction or non-fiction? Why?
Cynthia: It took me a long time to figure out the answer to this question! After 2 novels and 4 nonfiction books, I've concluded that my heart is in nonfiction. I prefer reading nonfiction to fiction, so it's natural that I would prefer writing it. I had always thought that a "real" writer must write fiction, so I started out that way, but I'm not going to fight against nature.

Barbara: I noticed you have two websites and a blog. In addition to this you are currently touring to promote your new book. How do you juggle all of this and have time to work on your WIP?
Cynthia: Who says I have time? Seriously, it is a problem! Hiring an administrative assistant has helped a lot; she takes care of much of the daily mundane tasks that eat up my time. I've also resolved to stay away from email until the end of the day. Checking my email first thing in the morning generates so much ancillary work that I never get to anything else!

Barbara: Please share your writing process with us if you would. What does a typical day look like?
Cynthia: I don't have a rigid routine, but one thing is clear: I cannot write in my home office. Too many distractions. When working on a manuscript, I go to coffee shops or the library. Writing "dates" with a friend keep me accountable. I tend to write in bursts, which is stressful, but I can't force creativity.

Barbara: Do you have any work published online? How do you feel about eBooks and devices like the Kindle?
Cynthia: Most of my work is available online as well as in print. I know I have to keep up with technology, so my books are available electronically, but for my money, nothing replaces a real book. E-book readers have come and gone, and I suspect the current Kindle craze will eventually subside. Perhaps we old-fashioned book lovers are a dying generation, but for me there's no substitute.

Barbara: How involved are you in the marketing of your books? How much has your publisher helped?
Cynthia: I am the primary marketer of my books. It is a full-time job and a learning process, but it's the norm for authors. The days when publishers did it for you are long gone. Publicity budgets are spent on the successful authors likely to make money, not newbies. My publishers are small independent presses, so their resources are limited, too. A lot of promotion is cooperatively accomplished. But the truth is that if an author doesn't have the means and the will to dive headlong into consistent, long-term self promotion, commercial success is unlikely.

Barbara: How do you feel about writers having an agent? Do you have an agent?
Cynthia: Agents definitely help get a writer's foot in the door, but that doesn't mean you can't become a successful published author without one. I had an agent many years ago for Far Above Rubies but nothing came of it. It requires a lot of tenacity to get a publishing contract on your own, but it can be done. I hope to land an agent for the book I'm now working on because I feel it does give you a certain amount of instant credibility.

Barbara: What are your feelings about self-publishing? Would you ever self-publish any of your own work?
Cynthia: I have self-published in the past. Far Above Rubies was initially self-published through Booklocker, a wonderful company with integrity. I would be reluctant to self-publish again, having seen first-hand the stumbling blocks and prejudices self-pubbed authors face. The industry still believes that self-pubbed books were not of sufficient caliber to be traditionally published, and this stigma is very hard to shake off. A lot depends on an author's goals for her book; sometimes self-publishing is the right thing to do.

Barbara: Do you have any interesting anecdotes to share with us from your touring and book signings?
Cynthia: I always chuckle at book events because nobody seems to realize I'm the author, especially if I'm in a bookstore. I am standing behind a table stacked with my books, with two posters on either side, each containing my photo, and wearing either a badge that says my name, or a tee shirt that says, "Yes, I am the author." Yet nearly every person who stops to look asks me if I've ever met the author, or if I know where the rest room is. I've never liked talking to people whose eyes are on my chest, but in this case, I encourage it!

Another classic happened right after I wrote Far Above Rubies. I was at a reunion of airline personnel with whom I worked at Reagan Airport in DC about 20 years ago. Catching up with everyone's news, I proudly told my former boss that I had just finished my first novel.

"No kidding!" he exclaimed. "You've never read a novel before?"

Cynthia, thank you so much for being my guest today and I hope that people will comment or ask you a question, because I know we are giving away a copy of your novel, Remote Control to the lucky winner of the drawing. To be in the drawing you need to leave a comment or question for Cynthia here. I only take the names that have commented here. So if you're new to this blog or you don't leave comments, you might want to jot down something quickly so your name will be here for the drawing. Also, if you haven't read Far Above Rubies, you should definitely get your own copy and read this incredible story. You can see my own review of this amazing book on or you can read the other reviewer's reviews. I didn't go into enough detail for some people, but I don't like to give away much of the story before it's read.:) I like surprises.:)

Until the next time, I will be checking back from time to time and Cynthia has said she will be around too to answer your questions. Tomorrow I will be posting more from Betty Butler as promised.

Quotable Thursday

George Eliot 19th Century Woman Writer
"from a painting by D'Albert-Durade,
made when the novelist was thirty years of age

"Yes! Thank God; human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth; it does not wait for beauty—it flows with resistless force, and brings beauty with it."
---George Elliot, Adam Bede

This is for all the women writers I know. Pam of Teratali Reiki and Counseling, this is for you too. This is also for the Women's Blogger Directory of which I am a part. We are women hear us roar!!!!

Today I am posting a quote I recently saw that expressed how I feel about expressing feelings. As you can see, it comes from a writer from the nineteenth century. She was a brave forerunner for the women who are now commonplace as authors. Yet at the time she wrote it was highly unusual for women to be well known authors. She lived from 1821-1881 and during that time she constantly challenged the accepted mores for time in which she lived. In this biographical information we can see why she might have written this about feelings.

Unfortunately, George Elliot whose real name was Mary Ann Evans/Marion Evans, was unable to write under her own name. In fact there was a controversy over her first novel, Adam Bede. Impostors tried to take credit for it. When it was revealed that she had written the book all was solved.

There is more about this fascinating author, but I have to get to my guest author. So that is all for this post. Please see the following post to learn about Cynthia Polansky and her writing.

In the meantime, I'm so glad that people like George Elliot came before us and women no longer have to disguise their own identities to publish major works. I don't think she has been paid enough attention by modern writers. I do remember reading Silas Marner in high school and not really appreciating it. If I had known that George Elliot was really a woman I wonder how much more interest I would have had in it.:) Come to think of it my teacher never told us it was written by a woman or else it just didn't sink in, which is probably because I was so bored and didn't pay attention.:)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

There's so much to talk about from the few days I've been away. I find that it's difficult for me to post on weekends. So I hope everyone had a great weekend. Yes, this is Tuesday, but if you've had a good weekend it should spill over into Monday, don't you think?:)

I am going to have the Guest Author, Cynthia Polansky here on Thursday. We had a little mix up last week, but that's all straight now and she has graciously answered my questions and will be here to answer yours too. Learn more about Cynthia and her writing here. She is the author of two novels and several non-fiction books about dogs. She has also written a column and is currently in the process of a new fiction book. Please come back on Thursday to meet Cynthia Polansky. In the meantime, I will post part of my review of her book, Far Above Rubies. You can find the whole review on under Reader Reviews.

Far Above Rubies: A Novel is a thin book, but starting in pre-war Holland it tells a powerful story. Imagine you married late in your life to a widower who has six daughters. The heroine in this novel,lovingly called "Tante Soof", overcomes the natural antagonism that her new stepdaughters have for her and she and the daughters form a bond that is almost stronger than with a natural mother. When the joy of an engagement lights up the family they never dream that the next moment everything will change forever for this loving Dutch family. Read more...

Cynthia is giving away a free copy of her novel, Remote Control to the lucky winner of the drawing we will hold after her visit. You need to post a question or a comment to be in the drawing. So for all of you who visit and don't comment, please try to write something so you will be in the drawing.:) You will have until Monday to make your comment or ask a question.

Tomorrow I will be telling your more about Betty Butler, who has sent me more of her writing that I will post here. I also have more pictures of her. Until the next time, welcome to my new readers and for all the people who have friended me on Blog Catalogue. I am enjoying m
eeting all of you. To the people who have been readers for awhile, thank you for continuing to read and enjoy my crazy thoughts and meanderings.

One more thing before I go. I am going to be on BlogTalkRadio on June 24th to read and discuss my story, "The Trouble with Follow the Leader." If any of you are interested you can go read it on Story Station Archives. It is based on a true story that I will discuss here after the interview. If you click on the link you can sign up to hear the broadcast. It is being held by Red River Writers for Robin Falls Kids. I hope many of you will be able to hear it. But if you can't I will try to find a way for you to hear it too.:)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quotable Thursday and Apologies for no Guest Author

I thought we would have a guest author today, but that has not happened yet. So since this is Quotable Thursday I will leave a quote for Pam from Teratali Reiki and Counseling here. My quote for the day is from Salmon Rushdie:

"A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."
- Salmon Rushdie

I am sorry that we don't have the guest author as planned. It is a matter of internet kris-cross. I sent her the questions, but unfortunately though she returned the answers, they got lost somewhere in the outer reaches of the internet where email goes to die.:) I have no idea where it went, but we are planning for next Thursday. So please come back for the interview. In the meantime I will be giving you more information about Cynthia Polansky and her writings.

In the meantime I am a member of a group called acewriters and today I was sent an email from one of the group, Betty Butler, who is an extraordinarily good poet and has actually been doing an angel's work for awhile. She has allowed me to post her poem and the story that goes with it. She had me in tears by the end of the story. Here it is:

A TheraHarpist's Prayer
by Betty Butler

As I dedicate my life this day

To the service of all those who come my way

Let my music, my words, my voice be a start

To touch each one with healing of their heart.

When at last the day is done,

If I've helped someone, just one,

Let wisdom, joy and peace fill me,

And rejoice that it was done as if to thee

(c)2000 Betty Butler
Healers Of the Heart Theraharpist (TM

Now here's the story. Warning: Read it with tissues close to you. You will need them.

Betty Butler on Inkwell, Inc.

A Fragile Life

My regular station is Friday afternoons from Noon to 3 at the Hospice here. I had just finished my "shift" and was just finishing my last song when the Firemen noisely brought in a comotose patient on a stretcher and her social worker followed close behind. The social worker ordered me to follow them to the patients' room to "help the transition go better." I complied. I played several songs while they transferred her to the bed and they left the room. The social worker motioned for me to follow her into the hall.

The social worker said she was going out of town for the weekend and that I was now "it." I told her I was a grief counselor, not the case worker, and that I left at 3. She said, "well you can't now, you have to stay and be with her until the end. It will only be an hour or so."

I explained I had a school age child getting off the bus in 20 minutes and I had to be there to meet her. The charge nurse came to mediate and confirmed my situation and that if anyone was in charge it would be her. I went back into the room to get my harp and said out loud, "I have to go home for a little while, but I will be back to play more music for you."

When I got home I found my front door wide open, the dining room table had jewelry box drawers upside down, and the den double french doors swaying in the wind pulled off their frames. I ran to my harp room, my other harps were safe. Then I ran out the back door to my neighbors to call police and then wait for my daughters. The next four hours were consumed with police, house searches, drama, and my guys having to board up doors until the next day. After dinner my husband had both girls under his wing and he asked why I was acting so agitated since the house was barricaded. I told him I wasn't frustrated about the robbery and our wedding rings being stolen so much as I felt I was breaking a promise to my comotose patient. He said, "She doesn't know you aren't there, but if it will make YOU feel better, go."

I got to the hospice at 9PM. The charge nurse smiled and said, "She hasn't died yet. She's waited ALL this time just for you. She should have been gone hours ago." This woman was ancient, only 80 pounds and had already outlived family and two of her lawyers!

I went into the dimly lit room, sat next to her bed and bedside table. I whispered, "Lizel, I am back. I will play some music for you and you can relax and breathe easy now." I played for ten minutes and there was no change. Then I noticed the bedside light was burning hot on my right arm but I didn't want to shift away from her. As I brought my gaze back to her, she had rolled over on her side in fetal position facing me, not laying out straight. I continued to play every song I knew, some improv. At ten till ten she straightened out on her back and let out a big sigh. Intuitively I began to play 'Till we meet again.' She sighed again and there was a smile on her skeletal face, showing huge teeth! Then her mouth closed, her face muscles relaxed and tears were coming down the sides of her eyes. (I've learned in my hypnotherapy work, this is a natural relaxation state for tears to release, this was not tears of joy or sorrow.

I matched my chords with her breath. I started watching the clock, the inhales were a minute apart. About ten o'clock the inhales were 2 minutes apart. I sycronized with her, and pulled long resonating chords (G) at each intake breath. Then at 12 minutes after ten I noticed it had been 3 minutes since the last one, I turned to look at her face and she was indeed gone. The room was now very cool, the lamp didn't seem hot at all, my arm was very cool as was I, there seemed to be a light breeze like the air conditioner but this was winter. I continued to play for another 20 minutes. Used Healers' of the Heart(tm) naturally .. most often..thanks Cyndi.

When I walked out to the hall with my harp and case the two nurses at the charge station were crying. They said, "thank you for playing for her. We don't get time off to go to patients' funeral and there won't be one for her since she leaves no one behind. So you actually played her funeral service here for her. We loved her so much and you gave her that gift."

The charge nurse came down the hall with her arms wide open. She took me in a hug and said, "Thank you for coming back. She waited for you. You did the right thing all along. God bless you for k eeping your promise, for her and for us."

If ever that was pay back, that far exceeds any hard cash... this was heart cashing in.

{Copyright Betty Butler, MA, NCC, CMP, CHt Healers' of the Heart(tm) Outreach Grief Counselor, Hypnotherapist, EPEC trainer (Educating Physicians On End Of Life Care) 2006}

Check out this article about Betty in "Latter-Day Woman". You will see why I call her an angel.:)
If you are in need of grief counseling, please email Betty:

That's about it for now. Thank you to my readers and any new readers who happened to visit here. Again, no guest author today due to the irregularities of email and the internet. Sucks doesn't it?:)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Guest Author Cynthia Polansky Coming Tomorrow - Thursday

See I told you there might be a guest author here this week.:) In fact, this author contacted me to remind me she was coming. This promises to be a very good interview with an author who writes both fiction and non-fiction.

It's very interesting how I met Cynthia. We were both at BEA two years ago and we were both on a line to get a book signed by another author. She gave up her spot in line for me, because she had somewhere else to go. I was grateful to her for doing it, so we exchanged emails. Then I began receiving her newsletters every month and soon I realized that we knew each other but from where? Then I received her book, Far Above Rubies, in the mail to review and I read it. I still didn't put the pieces together until I saw her picture and realized it was the same Cynthia Polansky.:) If you have never read it, go to amazon and get a copy. After this interview you will want to read it. For those who don't like reading long books this will take you only a day or a few days to read. Just click on the amazon banner to get there fast.

Here is a little bit about Cynthia Polansky:

She lives in Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Cynthia Polansky is the author of two novels, Far Above Rubies and Remote Control and four nonfiction books (written as Cynthia P. Gallagher). She has terrific friends who continue to provide support while she works on her next book,WHIFF: Human Aroma Through the Ages. She writes a blog, Crossing Polansky where you will find the longest list of homophones I've ever seen.:) Visit her website at

Come back tomorrow to find out more about this amazing and fascinating author, Cynthia Polansky. We will be having a drawing for a free book. If you leave a comment you will be in the drawing. This will start on Thursday and Cynthia will be here to answer any questions you may have. Hope to see a lot of you here and commenting. Remember, you can't be in the drawing unless you leave a comment or question.:)
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