The Home-Maker – A Persephone Book Review

Over the spring the wonderful Persephone Books gave me the opportunity to read and review their book The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (Persephone book No. 7)  So while this is terribly late in coming, I do hope you enjoy this review, I hope you consider adding Persephone books to your list of book sources, and I also hope you might consider reading The Home-Maker.

This is a wonderful little gem of a book, little mostly in size, but not in story. No, indeed, this is the story about people. About life. About the interactions between family members when life isn’t so perfect even though from the outside, all appears to be perfection.

This story is set in a three person perspective; from Eva’s, Lester’s, and Stephen’s point of view. At the heart of the story is Eva Knapp. Mother of three and wife to Lester. She’s a perfectionist, a little controlling, but deep down, all she does and all she demands comes from her devotion to both the children and Lester. She worries about her willful son, Stephen, who at three seems to be going through that stage of almost being “like the traditional changeling, hard, heartless, inhuman.” Or so Lester, at one point, thinks to himself about his son. Stephen has his own troubles from a disappearing Teddy, to a mother who seems to always be correcting him. It’s a lot of work being only three.

Eva is also troubled with her two other children; Henry who has a weak system, and Helen who just needs guidance.  And lastly, she worries about her husband, who just doesn’t seem to have the drive to move up in the company he works for.

Lester is a dreamer. A writer. A man destined for more  than working the numbers at the Emporium.  Then suddenly he is faced with having been let go. How in the world he will ever tell Eva, knowing how much she relies on him, and how much he wants to give her, but can’t seem to make happen.  There is only one solution. To end his life and the insurance policy will take care of Eva and the children.

But the ‘accidental’ leap from the roof fails to accomplish what Lester was hoping, and now he is paralyzed from the waist down. Now life changes as Eva has to become the breadwinner and Lester the home-maker. Eva ends up working for the Emporium and making a smash of her position, moving up quickly. And Lester? Well, surprisingly, being a home-maker is the perfect job for him as suddenly there are happy children and a happy home.

Eva has a true purpose in life instead of always feeling like she can’t accomplish a perfect house, and Lester finally can be the dreamer he needs to be. The question is, will this continue this way? Will Lester ever recover and will Eva go back to being the housewife? It’s not till the very end of the book we find out.

I read this book quickly and found myself touched in so many ways. I can feel the inner desperation from Eva as she tries so hard to make everything just so, and just right for her family.  As she scrubs the floor trying to rid then of grease spots only to have her son dribble grease the next night. I wanted to cry for Eva because I saw myself in an instant what I could be if I was a mother. That turmoil to micromanage and control everything in an uncontrollable existence. Feeling like you are doing everything right while your own family thinks you don’t care a whit about them.

I want to scoop Stephen up and comfort him, but at the same time, when I see him from Eve’s side, I want to send him to his room with no supper.

Eva loves her husband from her side. Adores him practically. From Lester, he always feels like he can’t measure up. Eva adores her children, in her own way, but from their point, she’s always displeased with them.

This is a book about two sides of the story. And in a very simplistic view, a book about how sometimes the hand we are dealt in life is not what we should actually be doing. Sometimes the woman is just not the home-maker. And that’s okay.

I can honestly say this is a very impressive book and there are not too many books today that could ever match up to the mastery Dorthy Canfield Fisher has created in such a small novel. I would send this to any friend and feel I could read it again and again pulling out every nuance. This will be a book I treasure for years to come.

Again, I hope you consider trying out this book along with checking out Persephone Books. They are truly a little gem of the book world.


Late August Mornings and Looking Ahead

Rugburn, taking a selfie.... Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

Rugburn, taking a selfie…. Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

I’m up early this morning, and while 8am isn’t the crack of dawn, when you go to bed after two, 8 is early. My puppy, a 12 year old puppy mind you, has an unusual growth under his eye, the same eye that I had a cyst removed from back in June.  So it required calling the vet first thing this late August morning.  (and while I have to wait till Wednesday for a visit, I’m stressing. I mean, I don’t know what I would do without him)

It’s one of those mornings where it smells like almost fall.  Not quite there, but almost.  I feel like fall might come on a bit sooner this year because everything else seems to be coming on so fast.  Yet looking back, it I remember everything falling into place at its normal time. In July we had our massive heat spell, then out of nowhere, it broke with two weeks of rainy sort of coastal weather. Suddenly, Boom! There was that first hint of fall in the air.  I always hate when that happens because I actually like the summer heat and smells.  Okay, I can’t really handle anything above 95 and feel really good, but that’s beside the point.  I like summer. It’s usually the season I’m feeling the best.

You know it's late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

You know it’s late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

So here we are at a week from September.  Today is the first day of school… No really I just pulled up the School District and there it was. No one in my family could remember.  So it is like officially fall, in that pre sort of way that it happens a month before it reads on the calendar.  Truthfully though, after reading Liza Dalby‘s East Wind Melts the Ice, where she says how the seasons actually start before the date on the calendar, I never look at the dates on the calendar as accurate. I think about fall almost a month before it happens, while mentally grabbing a hold of ‘summer’ that is and trying to dig my heels in.  I want to wear shorts and summer camisoles as long as I can. I want to feel warm when I walk outside.  And gosh darn it! I want to keep my tan which is so pale since I have this super pale FinishGermanWelshIrishWhatnot skin. My tan is like what a normal person gets in one week of the summer.

I’m hoping though with the cooler weather (ha! right. considering it was 90+ degrees yesterday) that I might be able to settle down and write more. I have pretty much given up doing much major writing over the summer because it was hot, I was tired, there was so much to do, I was reading…….. excuses. Except for the fact that I just got a letter from Susan Wooldridge who said she wasn’t writing a lot either.  I need cooler weather to write. Granted, I have dabbled in some poetry. I have a couple marvelous ones that I’m happy with and some that I have half finished and various starts. Eventually I hope to have them finished.

I never know what to do with my poetry. Do I post it here? Do I try to publish it? I have this Coral flushed series I’m doing that sort of relate to Boris… Okay, fine, they are technically just for Boris, but in my opinion they are good. So what do I do with them?  I really like dabbling in poetry because it’s something ‘small’ but I can take it anywhere with me.  I have my little book and pencil, because I seem to like to write poetry in pencil unless I’m out and all I have is a pen and several pieces of scratch paper or the back of my library book receipts.(those are actually fun to write on)

Fiction is sometimes so BIG in feeling that I feel like I have to really sit down to write it. But poetry is really something you can take with you, even down to having a small Moleskin or Field Notes and pencil (or pen) in your back pocket You don’t have to take hardly anything with you. It kind of makes it this perfect thing to write, because even if you don’t really do poetry, everyone has a poem in them just from how they might describe a flower they just saw.

And now I’m starting to ramble off on a tangent that is far from what I was thinking when I sat down on the couch on the porch waiting for the coffee to finish perking and listening to the Stellars Jays…… Oh wow does that sound so good to me.

What I wanted to say was that I am going to be doing a 31 Days in October again.  This year the theme will be ladies, femininity and all things girly. Or relating to me since I’m a girl. I have to keep a few options open just in case I can’t figure out a post or two.  I need to start working on posts and plotting out some ideas a bit more, along with deciding what I want a button for the  challenge to look like and a place for all these posts to go. I didn’t like that I have a header tab that is for last years listing. Maybe I can add under that or something. I clearly did not thing about it at the time.

So, new stuff for October is coming…. along with three new book reviews this month. I received a book last Monday and by Wednesday, I was done.  Okay it was lightish reading, but still I flew through it.

And now I am at 900+ words. Wow, I really just let it all fly out. I should stop.

Until I write again at some random point. Happy Monday, Dearies. (September means OUAT is coming soon! Yes!)


Unmotivated Me

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. It’s not even that I don’t have the time…. Okay, well time is limited right now. But I’m just not motivated to write.  I have a two book reviews I need to post, a book I need to finish reading before I can write a review, letters to friends, ideas for writing, a blog post on haying season, pictures….. The list goes on and on.

But right now about all I’m interested in doing is daydreaming and reading. I haven’t even written much of anything. Okay, that’s not true. I did write a poem just this last week titled “Elephants”. I should type it up and share it because I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

I have been dabbling in a new piece of fiction which was inspired by ASMR and The French Whisperer over on Youtube. I seriously suggest if you are interested in ASMR to check his channel out. The tingles this guy can put up my spine….. Whew!  Magic. Puts me to sleep every time I listen to him at night.  Recently I listened to his take on the History of the Palace of Versailles.  That was really interesting for one, and really relaxing for another.  And I’m going off on a different tangent.

My reading has consisted of a bit of poetry; Rumi, Billy Collins, Rilke; an Emilie Loring, a few random fiction books, and the desire to read A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby.  I have failed to finish anything nor get very far in anything.

One major reason for all this lack of motivation is right now the farming is in full swing.  What with watering, picking, and the heat….. well there isn’t a lot of down time. I am getting to the point of the season where I can spend two to three hours picking blueberries. Not to mention a few hours watering, oh and I cook two meals a day and do the laundry and pick up the house… Okay the house is kind of a joke right now.  There is way too much dust in all spots and I would NOT want anyone to come over.  Some places make me want to scream.

California is in a serious drought so watering is a conscious effort to not waste water.  Lawns? Pshaw! Those are going by the wayside except for where there are fruit trees because anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that fruit tree roots extend beyond what you think.  So the lawn around the trees gets watered.  And because this is a very dry year, the spider mites have set in.  On the positive side of things, the spider mites are the reason we have had burnt looking leaves on several plants for several years.  One would think it would be crazy to say that was a positive thing, but now I know that it wasn’t my fault in how I watered. Okay, indirectly it was because lack of water leads to the mites coming in, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t watering good enough, it was more that it wasn’t quite enough to deal with the infestation.

So, as you can see, it’s rather busy.  I hope to get a book review for a Christian romance up this week. And also Persephone Books let me read their book The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  Marvelous book. I have been a bit behind with getting that review written as well.  And lastly, my post on haying season with pictures…..

So, hopefully soon this blog will be back into ship shape…. Excluding my random pages that need a serious updating.

I need a maid.

Le sigh, as Jules says.



Right For Me – A Poem

472622366Back over my birthday and the week prior I met a darling boy/man, and I was still dealing with new feelings about Boris.  Recently my emotions have gotten the better of me as I watch The Bachelorette and drool over gorgeous men, at the same time dealing with Boris and possibly someone new in my life.  (Online dating can be a whirlwind in it’s own way)

I have had poetry and romance and kisses in my head to the point where I have this perpetual knot in my chest.  I can’t write it all down enough and I am getting stuck and lost in my mind more and more. Fortunately, I was able to capture some of what I’m struggling with in a piece of poetry.  I am titling it ‘Right For Me’ because I’m not sure what else to call it. I think my birthday….. no, pardon Neeko, was the catalyst to all of this.





Right For Me

I’m too old for you
Too young for him
Just right for me

I’m too close to there
Too far from here
I’m just in between

My words too long
The story too short
The plot just right

I’m looking back
I’m plowing forth
Just standing still

I like you a lot
I love him a little
I’m happy with me

I wish on you
I hope for him
I dream for me


Just a little something to express myself.




Poetry from Poemcrazy Workshop

Here are three poems from the workshop with Susan Wooldridge.

Using word tickets, word pools, post cards, stolen words and pure magic.  All of these poems here brought tears, full of raw emotion and feelings.  I do hope you enjoy.

I Remember by V. Krueger

I Remember
Hewn stone
Hopscotch on the kitchen floor,
Blue sky, full moons
Strange surprises and early spring
I remember
Frail old people, laughing children
Rambunctious conversations over dinner
The smell of a warm stove and coffee

I remember
Enchanting, silly, lost little girls,
Plates stacked, silver, really?
Dark, dank, scary, stairs to the cellar
I remember
Cold winters, pancakes and syrup
Important dreams
Steaming milk, the smell of diesel.
I remember
Shaggy horses,
The delightful smell of cows,
swish, swish, swish , milk in the pail, a warm barn..

Amnesia, I Have Forgotten What I Was by Katie Lyn Branson

I am Life the dishsoap in the
Spanish home disembodied as my
Mother stands at the kitchen sink
Singing to my sister about shortning
The sweet, sweet, sweet smell of chocolate
Chip cookies, the chlorine as she cleans the
Sewing up shadows of compact berries
I remember the expression, No problem
Knocking full of neon light-script
Nom Nom she says, yes yes I’ll have
Another song
The language of the north hand calls me
And I’m the dishes as I set the table
Come back to me potato chips
Crunchy with mustard, sour, salty
Honey tastes, not dainty
Amnesia, I have forgotten what I was
Encounter me in Monaco, a glittering
Firebrat, stunning as a Japanese Geisha
Three lovely syllables form me
Mira, headlights Wildfire
I am leafless trees of burnt umber
Dancing and sensual,
I am a cactus prickly when you prod me
I am a Victorian lady, proper and prim
Every moaning lover calls me home
The agony of eternity’s with them
An ocean full of squares, sharp
The softness of a waterfall full of leaves
Beckons me to the bloodroot of me
The Swamp Dewberry, earthy and sweet
I am so many things knocking at myself
As I chain-smoke my words on paper and
Become a lurking mask of myself
sewing up shadows of a bubble

Ball on the Green by Katie Lyn Branson
I feel like the endless golf ball on the
green, lonely and waiting to be hit from
the club
The luminosity of the sun shines on my
white surface in a desert of green
The rain hits the umbrella, plink plunk thunk
The feather boa around my neck is soft
Tickling my chin
I feel like wearing red and dancing on the
green. The green velvet lawn in July
as you take the weekend to burrow yourself
away and forget what I said to you in a musical moment.
I feel lost waiting for the hit to come
from you sending me spinning and reeling
towards the hole.
Another point for you as you score a
Par four and write it with your little
pencil of grafite
I could erase your marks and write
in my own.
I win! I shout at you.
For once I have the upper hand
Your stalking Jaguar-self won’t scare
me this century
Photograph me as I dance in the rain
over cobblestoned streets, my silken skirts
An Oriental Poppy of endless movement.


All poetry is copywrited 2015 by V. Krueger and Katie Lyn Branson.  Do not use without permission.

A Real Character Study

Jamie is my sister’s nurse. She’s this bouncy brunette with an amazing personality that makes me want to hug her, laugh with her, and pull her into my life.  She’s like your best friend in her girlish manner as she tries to be as mature as she can be. She’s a perfectionist.

She’s a single mom. She’s an independent woman. She’s cool.

Long, silky brown hair, with hints of chocolate low lights and honey high lights, that she keeps in large , loose waves. She cut her bangs in winter and looked uber cool, but now they have grown out. Eyes are not something I have ever paid attention to, but I can say her facial features remind me of Catherine Bell.  This cute, pert nose, and the way her cheekbones sit and how her lips rest when she’s not talking. How do I explain the look? Because while she looks like Catherine Bell, at the same time she doesn’t. She’s all Jamie with her repertoire of scrubs that are fitted half the time and in various shades of brown, pink, green, black (my favorite), black and white patterned. She used to come in different outfits, but now she’s in these cool scrubs.

She’s plump and curvy, the kind where when you hug her, she’s just the perfect size to wrap your arms around and have this cushy hug. Since she’s my height, we are the perfect size of fit. Not too tall, not too short.

She has these nails that always look amazing, always done super nice and in shades and patterns I can only dream about as I try to do my own manicure. (Turns out, they are her own nails that she has done every three weeks for a steal at $10! Gel nails! Ten bucks!) It’s her one splurge.

She needs a splurge since like I said, she’s a single mom of three. A daughter that’s 20, and then two more girls that are 8 and 12, I think.  Jamie’s my age. (I know what you are thinking and that math isn’t good if you think about that, but you are wrong… like I was) The 20 year old girl is adopted. 

She’s insecure, she’s confident, she’s childish, she’s mature. She’s several things all at once. Next to her I feel like a little girl sometimes and other times, like she’s like a younger sister.

I get excited to see her. My sister get’s excited to see her. We love her. I wish she was a close friend that I could spend time with. She’s cool.


I haven’t done too many character studies, actually only one that I can think of and that person wasn’t real. I’m not even sure I know what I’m doing.  So….. it’s an attempt. I think I need to work a little more on this.


Do You Deal In Conflict?

Life is messy. People are warped and messed up and we are living in a backwards, far from utopian world. How you choose to move through life, though, determines a lot.  As Eve in Serendipity says: ” Life’s a mess, Sara. It’s… it’s chaos personified.”  Life is a mess and when you mix in people’s opinions, emotions and beliefs with relationships, chaos can be a big part of it.

And as we go along in life, how we interact with people says a lot, at least I think so. How you deal with an argument determines your level of maturity, or lack thereof. We all have our childish moments. We all through some sort of tantrum, even as adults. We want our way. We want to win the argument. We aren’t willing to say the other person might be right. It’s human nature.

And we make mistakes.

Right now I am in an argument, if you can call it an argument through emails only, with Boris.  What it’s about is unimportant. But it got me thinking about maturity levels and whether or not a person is willing to fight for a relationship, or just say “fine, I’m not winning so I’m going to walk away without trying to make this work.” There are two kinds of people; those that try to find a solution even by means of an argument, and those that just walk away.

Where do your characters in your novel fall into place? Do you even think about how your character will deal with conflict?

While I would rather not be in an argument, it is a life lesson, if not just for myself, but just to view a specific type of relationship.  I’m actually using it in some ways to write about my character, Phaedra. She is in a relationship with a country singer who is going to be on the road. There is going to be conflict. Something is going to happen where Phae has the choice to walk away, or to fight for what she wants.  Does she walk away from the singer? Or does she stand her ground and demand for her say; her rights?  Do you make your character a pushover? Or do you give them strength? And how much is enough.

This is where living life gives you that experience to write. As children, we can’t evaluate situations and really understand  or learn from them. But each interaction we have with people helps shape and mold our writing experience.  You have to be a part of the world and pay attention.

Now, having had this experience. I’m rethinking how much of a pushover I want Phae. See, I’m usually a bit of a cream puff. I will argue with my family, but in public, I don’t cause conflict. I’ve never been in an actual argument with past boyfriends. Either they backed down, or I did. We never went at it. I’m not saying going at it is healthy, but if you are a passionate person, shouldn’t your responses be passionate?  I think so.  So, Phae is a passionate person about her life. She’s a photographer that sees things that others don’t. She lives life to the fullest.  So, she’s not going to just back down in life. That doesn’t mean she’s going to go out swinging, but she might land a well placed kick here or there.

So, do your characters have conflict? How do they deal? And would you change them if you could?

Just something to think about this Sunday. Hey, it’s Sunday, you might have some time to work on your WIP and rethink your characters.



Telling Fortunes

Published in the US - 1895, US Playing Card Co...

Published in the US – 1895, US Playing Card Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not someone that believes in the occult, nor do I go for all that mystical thing or fortunes or tarot…. I am honestly a Christian.  But I am still fascinated by things like fortunes or tarot.  Just because. I can’t explain it. And even in the Bible, games/lots were thrown. It technically wasn’t biblical, and it doesn’t follow along with trusting God.

But again, it still interests me.

Someone in my life is frustrating the heck out of me and I just found out today I don’t rate as high in his life as he does in mine.  It’s rather depressing and I’ve been trying to mentally deal with that.  A few years ago I found this fun way of determining who you will end up with using playing cards.  Yes, I suppose it is rather ridiculous in the scope of things, but I decided to play with it today.

Here is the original link.  How to tell if he likes you, and other sleepover occult games

So, I just ran my cards, picking the main person, someone new and a possibility, someone who I don’t consider but like talking to, and then someone I can’t stand.

The results….. Um, I ended up with the one I wanted, and it was relatively decent in the scope of things.  I suppose if one believed in this, it would be hopeful…..

But I don’t believe in tarot………. Do I?

Christmastime Rewind A La Charlie Brown

charlie brown christmasIt’s the second of December and tonight A Charlie Brown Christmas will be playing.  I’ve yet to watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  I feel like I am horribly behind with these Charlie Brown’s. I think he’d be proud.

I seem to be quite behind with certain things. I haven’t watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade….. Yes, I dvr’d it. This seems to be my MO for a lot of holiday things. I record them then get back to them when I can.

Sometimes I wish life was like this. I wish I could record something or put something on hold till I had time to get to it.  Pause a part of my life so I could skip forward to what I want to do or need to do.  Rewind if I make a mistake. Fast forward when I really want to get out of the icky parts.  Not that I’ve had a ton of ick, but you know, sometimes it happens.

Life hurries by to quickly, but then not fast enough sometimes. I’d like to be able to stop and savor or fast forward at will.  For instance. I’m a 32 year old woman who lives at home and is waiting on Mr. Right.  (I am not willing to settle for Mr. Right Now) Years ago, this would be okay, but by societies standards, it’s not.  Yes, I run the family business with Mrs. B, since Mr. B can’t, but still, I am a 32 year old woman living at home.  My parents would like me gone, but at the same time they tell everyone they couldn’t do it without me.  They tell me I can go at any time, but they also are getting up there with health issues that I am not ready to help manage.  I feel like I can’t even manage myself.  Heck, I can’t even find a guy who will take me. (that sounds really weird when I write that out….)tumblr_luwdgfhdkp1qb9pa3o1_500

I’d like to fast forward this part of my life.  I want to speed by and get to the point of where I meet Mr. Right (if that ever happens)

But then if I were to do that, I’d miss all the other things in life. It’s the unknown that get’s to you.

And if I could I wish I could rewind to moments in my life when it was really good. So that I could go back and savor.

But then, you are living in the past, before you knew what you know now. Was it really better?  Probably not. We think life would be easier if we were kids again, but that only works if you don’t know anything that you know now. If I were a kid knowing what I know now, I’d go insane.  Ignorance is bliss, and that is so true.  Yet, saying that, I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to know as much as I can and keep learning….

And all of this because of Charlie Brown. (This was not where this post was going at all. I was going to talk about Christmas music. Another time, I guess) But a rather morose post. Sorry, dearies.  But on a brighter note, this is my 400th post. Whoo Hoo!

Signing off