Category Archives: Vacations

Day 2 of My Writer’s Retreat


Day two of my writer’s retreat.  Well, that’s what I’m calling it even though it’s not exactly what I planned.  I was supposed to go to Bowers House, a Writers Retreat and Literary Center in Georgia, but given that my husband is still recovering from major back surgery, I felt uncomfortable being so far away – just in case.  So, feeling deprived and sorry for myself, I decided to take the week off anyway and just write at home.

It’s not that I can’t write at home, I do it all the time, but I also do the laundry, organize drawers, clean the closets, clip my dog’s nails – you get the drift.  Did I say I also check my kitchen cupboards to see if all my exotic spices are still in the house just in case I get inspired to make an amazing Indian dish?

While I was gearing up for my make-do “retreat,” my writing mentor and dear friend, Peggy, was going out of town to visit her children the exact week I had to cancel Bowers House.  I know Peggy’s place because my writer’s group meets there every other Tuesday.  It’s only ten minutes from my house but it feels like miles and miles away.  It’s quiet, serene, with cream colored furniture, and best of all there is Gracie,  her pure white cat who thinks she’s a dog.


Wouldn’t Gracie need someone to take care of her?  Yes she would.  What an amazing swap.  I get to write at Peggy’s place all day and leave when I’m ready.  So far, I’ve been going around 10:00 and returning around 7:00. Gracie is happy and I’m ecstatic.  In two days, I’ve revised 12 chapters, and hopefully, I can finish all 25 of them by the end of the week.

In addition, I have given up all household chores, including cooking, so we’re either eating out or bringing in, and the only thing I do in the morning before I leave is walk Terra, our dog.

Oh yeah, look at this little jewel I see in the morning.  A dove has decided to build a nest in a planter near Peggy’s front door.  I’ve watched it grow in just two days.  What a perfect metaphor for my writer’s retreat!

Creating a Nest
Creating a Nest

Pittsburgh: A Great Place to Visit and I Might Want to Live There


We just got back from a wonderful trip to Pittsburgh.  We never expected to spend a vacation there.  After all, the city doesn’t have much of a reputation as a vacation destination!  But the wedding of a daughter of dear friends took us there, so off we went, and the trip has changed Pittsburgh in my mind forever.  (I have to say: my glowing view of Pittsburgh was helped along by the wonderful Air B&B where we stayed, called “The Doll’s House”.  It’s in a great location, and the gourmet breakfasts that they advertise are real!)

Pittsburgh, PA

Here are some things I didn’t know before:

1) PIttsburgh is a beautiful city!  It has three rivers, great vistas overlooking the city, great architecture (a lot of it supplied by the Carnegie and Mellon families), great parks, especially Point Park where the rivers meet.

2) Although it has had some hard times, Pittsburgh is a hip city, with great restaurants, great shopping areas with ethnic markets, and great outdoor music.  We only sampled a few restaurants, but here were my favorites:  Cafe on the Strip for great local and affordable Italian deliciousness, Primanti Brothers for the Pittsburgh experience of eating a sandwich with french fries on it, and the Milk Shake Factory for yummy, unique milk shakes.

primanti brothers sandwich
Primanti Brothers Sandwich

3) Pittsburgh has tons of great places to explore.  First of all, there’s the two incline railways that take you up to Mount Washington for gorgeous views of the city.  Then, there are the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh, which sound somewhat dull on paper, but, believe me, you will be enthralled by them–if you allow enough time to listen to the audio tour guide.  I don’t want to say more about them because they are such a hidden treasure, but trust me on this one!  There is also the Phipps Conservatory, full of every plant or flower you can imagine, all laid out inside of beautiful, Victorian glass houses. Then, there are the amazing places that we didn’t even get to:  the Carnegie Natural HIstory Museum or Science Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the museum devoted to the history of cartoons and book illustrations called the Toonseum, the World War I war memorial.

But I don’t want to forget to mention one we did visit:  Frank Lloyd Wright’s beautiful Falling Wateron the way to Pittsburgh from the East.  That house, in itself, is worth the trip.

This sounds like I’m being paid by the City of PIttsburgh!  I wish!  No, I just feel like singing the praises of a town that doesn’t often get mentioned in people’s lists of Top Ten Places to Visit–but deserves to be!

A Winter Storm, Oh No!



Friends and loved ones have been calling all day, asking if we’re OK.  The weather is varying to say the least, and while we are getting snow, we aren’t getting the ice that is making a lot of the state and south of us treacherous, so yes, we are OK.

With the media making THE WEATHER one big, bad monster, I just want to say that I love the four seasons, and I love snow.

Especially the kind that makes it look like a New England postcard, the kind that it is coming down covering everything right now.  And the kind that will be gone in a day or so.

The only weather site I will look at is Ray’s Weather, since he is like a big brother (not Big Brother) telling me what to expect, without the fear factor.  Thank you Ray.

It’s quiet out.  No on is on the streets.  Everyone is going to be staying at home tonight, reading, watching movies, coloring, sitting next to a fire with a cat on their lap, and eating some warm and comforting food.  Oh, and we will all sleep in tomorrow morning.  The whole town.  Nice.



Cleaning up some of my photos this afternoon, I came across the ones from the Beach taken this past October.  I loved looking at them, and remembering…

The feel of the water on my bare feet, and the quiet that I felt with the sound of the ocean around all the time.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.

Yeah, I love it all.

(Hey, I think I just wrote a poem 🙂 )


Top 10 Reasons to Go to the Beach After Labor Day


1.  The crowds are gone, and if you’re over 50, you like having the beach to yourself (well, almost)

2.  House rentals are greatly reduced – thank you Edisto Realty

3.  The temperature is still hot (88 degrees at Edisto Beach, S.C.)

Edisto Beach House
Edisto Beach House

4.  The seafood is excellent and the local shrimp practically tastes like lobster

5.  In case of evacuation, easy to get out

6.  The sound of the waves is magnificent

7.  Dogs can be off leash 


Terra at the Beach
Terra at the Beach

8.  No waiting in line at Whaley’s – our favorite restaurant

 9.  All the tacky beach souvenirs are half price

10.  It’s just so much easier