HAPPINESS AT NO COST

Give Thanks
Many studies have been done and books written on the subject of happiness and its affect on our health and well-being. The #1 non-pharmaceutical way to increase it? Gratitude. And it’s free.

It takes two people to be born. We can’t die without at least one person dealing with our remains and things. Someone is always taking time out of their life — or money out of their pocket — to help us. Acknowledging them is so simple and feels good.

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CASEY KASEM AND HIS END-OF-LIFE FAMILY DRAMA. HOW CAN YOU AVOID SOMETHING SIMILAR?

In 1997, I was honored to present a prestigious radio industry award to one of my heroes in the business, Casey Kasem. The sordid drama that unfolded around his death made headlines around the world. As author of the national bestseller WHEN I MARRIED MY MOTHER: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters – and How She Found It Caring for Mama Jo I’ve become an informal eldercare and grief counselor. Click on the DAME MAGAZINE link below for a closer look at what happened to Mr. Kasem and how to handle a similar situation yourself.

CASEY KASEM DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE LIKE THAT

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A MEETING WITH MAYA ANGELOU AND UNEXPECTED GIFTS.

Photo by Nelson Kepley of the News & Record, November 9, 2010, in her Winston-Salem, NC, home.

Photo of Maya Angelou by Nelson Kepley, News & Record, November 9, 2010 in her Winston-Salem, NC, home.

I interviewed Maya Angelou for the Greensboro News & Record’s Go Triad arts section in the fall of 2010. She lived in the next town over, Winston-Salem, NC, and was releasing a cookbook for the holidays. I was nervous meeting an icon whose work I had admired greatly for decades, especially after being instructed to only refer to her as Dr. Angelou.

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Q&A with TERESA ENGEBRETSEN, THE SABBATICAL CHEF

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Teresa Engebretsen has been teaching French to middle school students at Durham Academy in Durham, NC, for over 30 years. Often she takes her students on field trips to France. Her blog The Sabbatical Chef began when she took a sabbatical from teaching in 2008, lived in Arles, and worked with a French chef. It’s still going strong and a great way for anyone to experience France vicariously and learn delectable French recipes. Teresa loved OPPOSITES ATTACK: A Novel with Recipes Provencal and the mishaps of its heroine Alyce. Soon you’ll find out why.

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SHIRLEY TEMPLE: The girl, the woman, the dolls

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The news of Shirley Temple Black’s passing wasn’t only sad, it was eerie. It arrived as I was about to ship off the last Shirley Temple doll I was selling from my late mother’s vast doll collection. Not only was it the last one, it was the best one. The incandescent 35″ life-size Ideal Playpal Shirley in her original bi-color party dress from 1959. She lit up my mother’s doll room just as the real Shirley Temple had in all of her movies.

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MY DANCE WITH ONLINE DATING

My P.O.V. on online dating after trying it for a year. Published in the Northwest Observer 1/17/2014. UPDATE 4/14/2014: The very last man I met online has become the best guy friend ever. No regrets!

Click on the image twice then enter Ctrl+ to make it larger, Ctrl- to make it smaller.

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Q&A WITH TOMMY HAYS on WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU

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Tommy Hays is the author of the 2006 novel The Pleasure Was Mine which was selected for several community-wide reading programs in various cities and counties, including Greenville, SC and Greensboro, NC. His other adult novels are Sam’s Crossing, which has been recently re-released, and In the Family Way, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University. What I Came to Tell You is his first middle grade novel.

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THE TALE OF THE SQUIRREL-PROOF BIRD FEEDER

From Audubon.org website

From Audubon.org website

Let me explain why I was so determined to outwit the squirrels stealing birdseed from the wild birds I’d attracted to my yard. Of course they didn’t see it as stealing. It’s their natural right to snarf up anything they can. And boy are they smart. Ultimately though, I won this war.

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AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR: JO MAEDER’S Q&A WITH SUSAN CRANDALL

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The new novel from Susan Crandall is a departure from her previous books and yet pure Susan: rich characters and dialog and a can’t-put down story. Thank you Nicki Leone, Authors Round the South “Author 2 Author” series, Wanda Jewell and SIBA. And, of course, Susan!

Jo: The South, to me, is filled with fabulous, exotic names. Like Starla. How can you not love a character named Starla? Is there a story behind her name? Eula, too. Or shall it remain “one of Egypt’s mysteries”?

Susan: I can see Starla has influenced your phrasing.  She had a way of doing that to me too!

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PISSALADIERE RECIPE – THE QUICK AND EASY (ALYCE) WAY

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Hi. This is Alyce speaking. Or Al-ees, as the French say. I chained Jean-Luc to his computer to write. Also so he can’t see me make my E-Z pissaladiére (or the spelling of easy). Pissala is a fish paste made from sardines and anchovies. I’ve left it out. This is supposed to be quick and easy, and I’ve already added more time with the tomatoes — which are a big no-no in J-L’s eyes. Trust me, this is plenty pungent without the paste. Anchovies alone are enough to cross it off a lot of people’s list, especially with onions, garlic and olives as well. But it’s one of the first things Jean-Luc taught me how to make (Chapter 17 of Opposites Attack) so I’ll always have a soft spot for it. He calls it “what your American pizza wishes it could be.” And remember to put a pretzel in your mouth while slicing the onions. Just rest it between your lips. Your eyes won’t tear. 

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