WOMEN’S OPEN FORUM- A Gathering where women help other women awaken to their own inner possibilities.

DSCF3131On occasion an event is offered where women of any age or economic situation can benefit. The Women’s Open Forum is one of those occasions. In September, Charlene Ellington was the first speaker about her journey on becoming a Certified Reiki Master, Medical Intuitive; stating “I believe in women helping women empower themselves.”

In October, Maggie Chalifoux, Multimedia Artist, opened her heart to tell us about her life as an artist, and how she reached the level of success she has achieved, reminding us that “I believe every person has the spark of creativity just waiting to be kindled.”

On November 15, I delight in being scheduled to address the subject on how I became the writer I am, and knowing, “Any woman with a desire can become the writer she dreams to be.” Many intuitive and synchronistic moments happened throughout my life. I want to share them with other women to encourage them to pursue their talent, whatever it is. Please spread the word; come join us if you can.

You are invited to an intriguing afternoon – spent with interesting women.

The Gathering Place on Lizard Creek,   115 Magnolia Court, Wildwood Pointe, Littleton, NC

Fee $5.00  Inquiries: Ellie Newbauer: ellienewbauer@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Celebrating a Birthday

DSCF3382DSCF3391Remember the days when it was embarrassing to buy anything from Bangladesh? Well, yesterday while in Richmond, Virginia celebrating another year happily tagged onto my birth date, I purchased a ‘messenger’ style cloth bag at Ten Thousand Villages. I am very proud of it! It is exactly what I want in a purse to carry what I need (since clothes designers refuse to give us women pockets in our skirts & slacks, etc.)  I was informed on the little tag that came with it, that I am now providing many women with the opportunity to improve their lives. I’m all for that!

It was delightful to getaway for a day in lovely Richmond, learning my way around while poking in here and there and finding the area called Carytown. Charming! It put me a bit in mind of the New Hope, Pennsylvania of my youth. It was truly an artist’s colony before big money chased the artists away.
Can Can Brasserie was my choice for lunch; again, a wonderful choice. The young waiter, Daniel, took good care of me, taking a few minutes to actually talk to me even though by being a single diner, his tip would be small; especially since I wasn’t drinking wine with my meal. I compensated by ‘gifting’ him a sizeable tip. I considered it a birthday gift, thinking it is time I gave gifts on my birthday rather than receiving them.

Can Can struck me as very French, not American French, but fashioned on the real thing. The Lobster Crepe and Arugula Salad (with shaved fennel) were perfect, as was the interior of the brasserie. The authenticity carried into the ladies’ room where a chain hung down from the water closet. Cool!


Filed under Uncategorized

Writing in Cookbooks

Here’s a question for those who love to spend time in the kitchen and there are still many of us out there, fortunately. How many times have you come across hand written notes in a used cook book you bought? Or one handed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter or thankfully, today to sons, etc.? Have you written adjustments to a recipe to suit your own tastes? I know I have. The first time I try it their way. After that, I’m doing it my way, altering their recipe and sometimes my own to accommodate a healthier recipe.
Think about the way our Moms cooked 40 years ago and how we cook today. Especially if you have changed Mom’s recipes for healthier ones. That is how tastes evolve, restaurants stay at the top of the list; by tasting, adding more of this, less of that, and changing this ingredient or seasoning for that one. It’s like exploring without leaving the kitchen!
We are lucky here in America where immigrants bringing their herbs and spices with them when they came, introduced us to new tastes; even their fish and meat unknown to us as children. I was 40 before I ever tasted goat and 60 before I tasted kale. We definitely have a melting pot of ethnic foods and I have definitely altered cookbook recipes to suit my own taste. Try it……

Leave a comment

Filed under books, cookbooks, general, opinion, Uncategorized, writing

Writing in Margins

DSCF3343 DSCF3342

This kind of writing in books is so very different from writing inscriptions. It was appalling to me to find that people actually wrote in margins, crossed out printed text of the author’s, and put their own words in their place! Sacrilege! This is the very last kind of writing in books that I learned to do.

These past few years I began to follow suit, but only in books I have bought, not borrowed books, be them library or a friend’s. My reading habits have changed, too. I’m reading more non-fiction books, many that require major thinking. So this is the place to respond…..in the margin. Because the word is printed does not mean I have to agree with it. Sometimes I agree with a passion and just have to take note! Placing my small, printed notes in the margin will attract my attention when I read that book again. Who knows? My opinion may change the second time I read it.

I’m not likely to re-read a novel, except for a few chosen classics that have different messages for me as I’ve grown and understand more.
As for buying a used book with notes in the margin……I love the chance to read what someone else has thought about the author’s words. However, I cannot abide a book with underlining or highlighting!!! That, for me, is strictly for studying and I don’t want to read someone else’s book that is so corrupted. Of course I do it myself now as the photo shows you. My writing group is working its way through the Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner. I find sometimes I do not agree with her statements and sometimes I am very impressed by them.

These books are kept on my shelf and will not go to the used book store or be donated to the library. They are not intended for re-use for others. It would feel like giving my fingerprints away.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Uncategorized, writing

More on Writing in Books

My hardcover copy of The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee, first printing in 1970 is also inscribed. To Mary Scoville with affectionate good wishes, Frances Haynes, it states. Somehow I feel that Frances had chosen this book especially, over many other books, like a good friend who really knows you would do. Maybe Mary has a Scottish heritage or spent a lovely visit to Scotland. The name Scoville originated in Cornwall, England and has a registered coat of arms. Peoples of the United Kingdom tended to move around from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England so it is easily possible.
The inscription makes the book personal beyond what the author accomplished. A treasure is created by the mere touch of a pen that reveals thoughtfulness. It is an addition that doesn’t come with the buying of a new book. It is also a good writing prompt. Can’t you just create a great story around the inscription inside a book?
James Graves has black and white sketches depicting scenes McPhee wrote about. Remember when publishers did that? It gave an artist a helping hand in getting their work and name into print. The reader benefitted, too. I still remember the pleasure my Nancy Drew books, with pictures, gave me when I was growing up. My Nancy Drew books came from the school library but I wonder how many an Aunt set a reader on fire with an inscribed Nancy Drew book.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, writing




DSCF3335Were you taught to not write or mark your books when you were growing up? Teachers especially stressed that the books loaned to us for class had to be reused the next year and the year after that. Strong words were spoken about the love and care of books.

That love and care of books remains with me today and the memories of those teachers. Yet after decades of keeping my books pristine has changed drastically.

In the 90s I came to appreciate and to buy mostly used books. Often I would open a book to see a personal note written on the flyleaf by someone gifting the book. This brought me into the scene of the giver and receiver. A privilege; almost like being invited to share a confidence.

Pictured here, the John Woolman, American Quaker by Janet Whitney book, a first edition published in May 1942, is inscribed, To Cousin Gertrude, a Direct Descendent of John Woolman, with love and best wishes, from H…. Hutchinson Cook. The dots replace the writing I could not read. The first initial could be an H or a TH. I wonder about the relationship between these two cousins. I imagine the delight she felt with receiving this gift. He sounds happy to have found this book for her to read.
The original price in the book is $3.75. It is listed online for $33.00 to $85.00. For serious book collectors the inscription would lower the value of the book. I think of it as adding value.

More on this subject in the near future.

Leave a comment

Filed under American History, books, general, opinion, reflection, writing

Longbourn by Jo Baker…..a review

Longbourn. The very name of the manor house of the Bennet family of Jane Austen fame will perk up the ears of any reader and avid fan of Pride & Prejudice. Yet there are so many offshoots of the Jane Austen novels that are not worthy of a true fan of hers. I found that Longbourn by Jo Baker is an excellent read. The story comes from the voice of Sarah, an orphan servant below stairs. As she comes of age, she tells the story from her viewpoint, longing for love and wishing a man would rescue her from this life.
When James Smith comes on the scene as a footman, it is obvious to Sarah that there is a secret to uncover; something to do with Longbourn. Secrets must be uncovered, she says to no one there.
Ptolemy, a freed man of Africa, who takes on his master’s name of Bingley enters the picture with big, wild, dreams of his own and he’d like Sarah to share them. Sarah longs for a life away from the drudgery and doesn’t mind going after what she desires.
Jo Baker does an exceptional job of writing. She keeps the language of the early 19th century, only revealing what the downstairs servants would have known or heard of what was going on upstairs, and describing what their lives would truly have been like. She also shows a different view of Mr. Bennet and Mr. Collins. Brava to you Ms. Baker.


Filed under book review, Uncategorized, women, writing