Making a Scene

Jardin-a-Giverny-Claude-Monet-reduced-for-blogWhen I was a child and I found myself in a museum, I’d start fantasizing about walking into the paintings, as the characters in Mary Poppins did when they jumped into the sidewalk art that Bert, the Chimney Sweep, created. I didn’t want to be with dancing penguins and galloping carousel horses, though. I wanted to walk beside the purple irises in Monet’s garden at Giverny or climb the red mountain peaks Paul Gauguin painted in his Tahitian landscapes.

Maybe this wish to immerse myself in a painting is what led me to fall in love with writing and photography, because the act of writing about or photographing something does, in a way, let you walk into a picture – you’re capturing that scene on your own terms.

Photography is only a hobby for me, but it’s a serious one. Since the age of six, I’ve had one camera or another in my hands, from the simplest of Kodaks to the string of Nikons that’s carried me through my adult life.

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Thank You, Jim

Mary-and-Jim-P-at-Classic---saved-for-webI met the author, Jim Patterson, and his wife, Sue, a number of years ago when our children were young and began attending school together. Sue and I became friends after being room mothers at school, working on the book fair committee, and getting involved in the kinds of things you do when your kids are small.

Five drafts into the writing of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, I mentioned to Sue that I was working on a novel. When I described the plot, she said it sounded like a story she’d love to read, and offered to look at my manuscript. I immediately accepted.  About a month later, after I finished the fifth draft, I dropped a copy at the Pattersons’ home. Soon after, Sue told me that not only had she read it, but she’d passed it on to Jim to read as well. Trust me when I tell you I was close to passing out from excitement when all this was going on.

“You’ve got the gift,” Jim said, when I went to their house to talk to him a couple of days later. I’ll never forget those words. He gave me some great suggestions for the manuscript, suggested the title (my working title was The Letter – blah!), and said he’d take the book to his publisher if I wanted him to. It was all I could do not to leap out of my chair and scream, “Yes! Yes!” Somehow I managed to contain myself and tell him, in a more civilized way, that I would be thrilled to have him show my book to his publisher.

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Irresistible Blueberry Muffins

Here’s a simple recipe that makes great blueberry muffins: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3/4 cup whole milk 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1 heaping tablespoon sugar (optional, for tops) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Reserve one tablespoon of the mixture to coat the blueberries. In a smaller bowl, combine melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla, and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula or whisk until just blended (the batter can be … Read more