Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sancocho: Gumbo, Colombian Style

Friend and fellow author Diane Skelton published a post I wrote in her blog, The Gumbo Diaries. I write about sancocho, and you can read it here:…/sancocho-gumbo-colo…

In anticipation of the upcoming release of my novel, The Existence of Pity. I'm sharing stories about Colombia wherever I can. It was easy to talk about Colombian food on Diane's gastro-literary blog! I hope you enjoy it, and if you write a blog, I'll be glad to write a guest post for you, too! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Christmas in Cuzco

Fellow Red Adept Publishing author Kelly Stone Gamble published a post I wrote about my father. You can read it here:
 and I hope you do! This is in anticipation of the upcoming release of her novel, Call Me Daddy. She asked for stories about family: the fun, the inspirational, the heartwarming moments that make us part of a family. 
Mine is about a family vacation to Machu Picchu and Cuzco. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Juana Good Time Regatta!

Last weekend's Regatta at Juana's in Navarre: gorgeous weather, happy sailors, beautiful boats. Juana has been in the Beach Bar business since 1989 and hosting the Regatta about as long, and this year's event didn't disappoint. I don't sail, but I enjoyed watching the colorful sails on the water from our white-sand beaches. Everyone was easy-going, too, but that might be because the bar was already open when we arrived at 10 a.m.
I could get used to this lifestyle. Juana, my tennis doubles partner, sure makes it look fun. Maybe Chris and I will get a sailboat and compete in a regatta. I'd want the most colorful sail out there. For now, though, we'll just take pictures of everyone as they work hard to have fun. Or we'll be at the bar ordering some cold ones at 10:15 in the morning.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our Marriage Revisited wrote this post six years ago, and wanted to share it again with an update at the end. Today Chris and I finally took an axe to Our Marriage. It had to be done, but it was a scary step, and now that it's over, I feel much better. Our Marriage had grown out of control, literally bursting out of its container, exposing its roots to such a degree that we were worried about its survival. Oh! I'm sorry, did you think I was talking about our marriage? No, no. I'm talking about a plant -- a lady palm we received on our wedding day fifteen years ago. At first we ignored it, which is probably a wise thing to do to a marriage. Five years later, when we moved to the house we live in now, we transferred the plant to a bigger container and left it to its own devices on the driveway, where it silently grew bigger and bigger over the years. We started calling it Our Marriage and were happy that it was a healthy home to a family of lizards and a welcome sight when we came home every day. After a while it started bothering me that the plant's job was to hide the trash can, so we potted it up again and moved it to a special place beside the park bench that sits under our oak tree in the front yard. The plant continued to thrive, but maybe more than we expected, because on yard day not long ago, we noticed the palm had split its container, exposing a huge root ball that really needed more room to grow. The problem was that Our Marriage was in the biggest pot we could buy at Lowe's. Alas, there was only one thing to do. Chris freed the plant from its pot and started hacking away at the root ball. We planted half of the palm in the ground in its honored place by the park bench, and the other half we put in another large pot. We watered the two halves of Our Marriage and set the new pot in the back yard. We will have to leave half of Our Marriage here when the time comes to move from this house, but we hope that the new pot will grow strong and travel with us.
Chris and I are watching to see how Our Marriage will stand up to the axe's work, but not too closely. We know that plants are unpredictable, just as marriages are. We will try to enjoy each day that the lizards jump from the palm's frond-like leaves as we sit beside it on our park bench under the oak tree, grateful that Our Marriage is surviving the axe of time.               It's been six years since we split Our Marriage, and as you can see, it's healthy as ever. Anyone want a cutting? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Souvenirs from Colombia

One of my favorite things to do in Cali is find souvenirs, and the more unusual they are, the better.
Back home, I love how they catch my eye on my dresser or on a shelf above my desk, and remind me of a moment, or a story, or a loved one. The Cristo Rey statue reminds me of the trip my dad and I took up to the mountaintop one windy day. My Conchita cup from Juan Valdéz came with the cute burro and reminds me of delicious granizados, iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk, shared by my family and my brothers' families on a hot afternoon in Cartagena.

 This little metal piece of art was created  one cool and clear night at the Belalcazar Statue. A caleña made it for us by bending one long wire as she spoke to us about her unique craft. Under the star it says, "J y C," Jeannie and Chris, then O for Olivia, and N for Natalie.
There's no leaving Colombia without the trademark fabric art with it's bright, bold colors and designs. I remember pouring over all my choices until I decided this pink-haired girl with chickens all around was for me.
What are your favorite souvenirs? Where are they from?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We've Just Landed!

In early March of 2014, my parents moved to Cali, Colombia. Dad found a retirement home there where he and Mom could live together, even with her Alzheimer's. The adventure worked out surprisingly well -- for a while.
Looking back, I remember how emotional it felt to have them go. I won't forget the panic that gripped me when Mom turned to me with fear in her eyes as they wheeled her into the airport security checkpoint. What were we doing?! But Mom in her fragile state and Dad in his characteristic confidence sailed safely off into a completely unknown situation, and not for the first time. If they had gone to any other city, I doubt if I could have accepted the move. Cali, though, was where I grew up. I loved this city and never dreamed I'd get to see it again. I knew I would love visiting my parents in Cali, and sharing the country with my husband and daughters proved deeply rewarding.
The home my parents stayed in was beautiful and the people could not have been more kind and attentive.  But in the end, two and a half years later, it was just time for Mom and Dad to come home.
My brother John and his wife Karin flew down to escort them back to Atlanta, and at 5:09 pm yesterday I received a text that said, "We've just landed." I didn't realize until that moment how much I missed having them in the same country again. Relief doesn't begin to cover it.
I know I'm not the only one who will miss being able to say, "My parents live in Colombia," but living in Atlanta will be pretty cool, too. My brother Dan and his wife Michele found an amazing place for them to live called Southside Personal Care Home. This licensed facility has a team of three people who take care of five residents in a large, comfortable house. I foresee homes like these becoming the favorite choice for those in need of care. This link has a few pictures.
It's doubtful I'll grow to love Atlanta as much as Cali, but my family plans to visit my parents soon, and no international travel will be required.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cover Reveal!

Cover by Streetlight Graphics
Here's my cover! The book won't be out until the fall, but here's my cover! Thanks Red Adept Publishing and Streetlight Graphics! This process has been exciting and scary and exhilarating -- exactly like a roller coaster. I've gone through the first ups and downs, and now I'm on that long, slow chug up to the very top. My heart's pounding, I've got a bird's eye view of the world below, and I'm willing my stomach to calm down. Almost there, soon, very soon!