I’ve always loved to read. I remember one Christmas – I received a Nancy Drew book from my grandparents and had it finished before the day was out. I’ve always wanted to rush through a book to see what would be said next.

That contines to be my biggest problem with reading: if the book is a good one, I wind up reading it through the night and then have to face the next day minus a lot of sleep. I’m already losing enough sleep as it is, so I try to avoid the temptation.

The solution I’ve found is to “read” books on tape. Since I’m in the car so much, it just makes sense. Listening to a book while driving does take a bit of practice, though. The first time I did it, I missed my exit off the expressway due to a particularly exciting part. Ive gotten over that and consider myself a fairly good driver while reading.

Books on tape have become a habit for me not only in the car, but while I’m in the studio doing repetitive work. I listen to quite a range, from murder mysteries to political intrigue to historical fiction to comedy – and lots in-between.

The one I just finished is The Full Cupboard of Life from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I love the series! The voice of the book is so gentle it pulls you in without thinking. And the characters become close friends.

I have to say that my sons were aghast when I first disclosed this habit. They were too embarrassed to admit to friends that their mom didn’t read but listened to books. As though that made me less literate. Oh, well. They got over it and I continue to listen.


In an effort to be ready for my planned trip to Mali (did I mention this yet?), I saw a travel doc today. She went over my itinerary and pronounced me in need of various inocculations, vaccines and boosters.

Yellow fever, although not necessary due to the low incidence of the disease, is required by the country for permission to enter. So, that was a given going into the meeting.

Flu I opted out of for the moment – haven’t had a flu shot in years and the chances of getting it there are no greater than getting it here, so….maybe I’ll rethink this before I leave.

Had a recent enough tetanus and diptheria shot so I’m good there. Also, all up on the Hepatitis A and Bs.
Typhoid is serious enough that I went ahead with that one. Also a polio booster -couldn’t see how that would be a bad idea even for home. The fourth one was a meningitis vaccine, if I got that right.

Three in the left arm and the YF in my right arm. I expect they will ache a bit for a couple days. Good excuse to lay off any weightlifting for a bit! Not that I do much of that anyway, but still a good excuse.

I also came home with prescriptions for anti-malarial pills and an antibiotic for Traveler’s Diarhrea.

All this to keep me healthy while in Mali this coming January. I’m heading there to play in the mud! Seriously… the origins of bogolan fini (mud cloth) are believed to be in Mali and I aim to work with some of the local artists there. I do a modified version here at home, but there are too many variables to overcome and I’ve not been able to get as dark a brown/black as they do. I’m hoping that, by knowing firsthand how the process is accomplished (I do know what is written and have heard reports), I may be able to modify my modifications to simulate the authentic process as much as possible and create a product closer to the real thing.

Here’s a pic of one of my pieces using dirts from around the country


and an authentic Mali bogolan fini showing the front and backside


More mudcloth pics can be found on my website, if you are interested.


After a hard frost last week, the leaves have just dropped off the trees around us – you could almost hearing them hitting the ground. My love has been raking and mulching and mowing to abolish all sign of leaves from the grass. He has taken on the yard with a vengeance and I am quite content to let him. I guess I really should have helped, but I convinced myself that I would just be in the way.

Instead, I’ve been playing around on this blog site, trying to get my space to look just right. Still not sure of a couple things, but it will all settle down soon, I hope!

I love the woods in the fall. Besides the crunching sounds as you traipse through, the underbrush is still fairly green, showing off the bare trees quite nicely – sort of like the icing under the candles on a cake. Hmmmm, not sure where that image came from but now I’m hungry!

Speaking of which, I just received an email recipe chain letter. Boy, do I hate chain letters of all sorts! Especially emails that promise all sorts of dire things if you don’t pass them on to 10 of your friends. I am tempted, though, to follow through on this one, just for the potential good recipes. A basket friend passed along a yummy sounding brownie recipe this past week – I might send that one on. And as soon as I figure out how to post it here, I will!

In the beginning…

…I’m stuck on what to say! I’ve just started my first blog and I’ve already hit a wall. I expect this will get easier as I get comfortable with the format.

I’ve been thinking about a blog for awhile. A major trip to Mali is coming up and I want to be able to let folks know how it is going. A blog seemed the way to go, so here I am getting it set up.

This also seems like a good place to be able to do a bit of ‘journaling’. I find that I don’t use pen and paper much anymore, but I do use a keyboard a lot.

Let’s see how this goes and what all I can do with this space.