Thursday, June 02, 2011


CONGRATULATIONS Linda s! You’re the May winner. To receive your free autographed books please contact Megan Kelly and Barbara White Daille through their Web sites.

To enter the contest simply leave a blog comment and your name will go into the drawing. Simple and painless. And FREE BOOKS.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Abundance and abandonment

This is the sexy, dramatic and romantic story of two
gardeners, mother and son. And two gardens, one in Arizona and one in Southern

Let’s get the sex scene out of the way up front. I (the
mother and the Californian) have been faithfully nurturing my baby squash
plants. At the first sight of male and female flowers … wait. Back up.

Some of us highly gifted gardeners – highly gifted at
looking things up on the Internet, anyway – know how to tell a male from a
female blossom. The gals have little baby squashes beneath the flower, and the
center of the flower looks like, well, female organs. (After what I saw Lady
Gaga do on TV in the American Idol finale, I suppose I shouldn’t be shy, but
some of us retain a trace of modesty). The males have long stems and the
flowers contain organs that look like … you get the idea.

So there I was, poking the male blossoms into the female
blossoms to assure fertilization. Well, my squash got the idea. Boy, did they
get the idea. It’s barely June and I’m already going to the neighbors, bags of
zucchini in hand, begging them to adopt a squash for Jackie.

For my 21-year-old son, who’s enrolled in a masters in
education program at the University of Arizona and plans to be a high school
biology teacher, matters took a more dramatic turn. Much to my surprise, he too
has become an avid gardener, starting with a love of pesto and the discovery
that it’s fun to grow your own basil.

This year, he went all out in the small garden plot behind
his apartment. Then, just as his tomato plants were ready to produce in that
hot climate, he decided to move. I don’t know all the details, but he and some
friends are getting a new place. Yes, there’s room for a garden, but it means
leaving behind the beautiful corn and tomatoes he’d planted.


A gardener loves his or her plants (this is the romance
part). It’s not just a matter of producing food or being out there with the
dive-bombing hummingbirds that keep my life interesting. Why else would I drag
myself out of bed in the early a.m. to weed, prune, feed and sprinkle black
pepper to keep the squirrels away? Or sneezing, anyway.

And so, across the miles, my son and I share a love of
growing things in the earth. And eating them. For those of you who share this
love, may your garden be bountiful and may you never have to abandon it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From the Heart

I love homemade gifts. As cliche as it may sound, they truly are gifts from the heart. They can be little (like a hand-drawn card) or big (like a homemade quilt), but, no matter what, the gift giver put something of themself into the gift and had you in mind as they went through the process.

In just the past month alone, I've been the recipient of three such expressions of love/friendship.

The first came from my 16-year-old who presented my new husband and me with a "love jar." This particular gift made me teary-eyed for several reasons. First, it's a variation of the "summer fun jar" I made for both my girls each summer when they were a little bit younger. Only my daughter's gift to me, contained slips of paper with date ideas for my husband and I to do together (rather than the summer outing ideas mine once had). Second, it (along with the note) was one more shred of proof (in a long line of them) that she is happy for us. Priceless, that.

She spent days leading up to the wedding working on her jar, writing ideas on paper, glittering up the outside of the jar, and making it something special.

The second homemade item came from my youngest just two days ago. She walked into the kitchen with a necklace for me. She'd put it together using a chain she had and the dual heart charm we'd put around the favors at the wedding. She thought it would be a way for me to remember the wedding and to keep it close always. Very sweet (I'd show a picture of this, as well, if blogger wasn't being a bit difficult/I wasn't being a bit inept).

The third homemade item came from a fan-turned-friend of my mysteries. She reads my personal blogs and Facebook page and knew that I love certain types of candy. So, when I went down to her town for a speaking engagement, she presented me with a bouquet of my favorite candies alongside little placards depicting the covers of all of my books. It was great!

So tell me, what are some of the best homemade gifts you've received?