Book Review and Giveaway!!!



There have been several people in my life that I think I have been very fortunate to meet and then call friend.

Letitia Suk is one of those people. Letitia was my neighbor for 31 years. During that time, we both had families and watched them grow up and out of the house. Letitia is quite different from me – she is the epitome of calm (at least it looks that way) while I might be a bit, well, you get the drift. She was very helpful in suggesting (subtly) when I might be viewing an issue from the wrong perspective.

I am so proud to say that my friend, Letitia Suk, has a new book out. Getaway with God, the Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat is a joy to read. It is meant for women of any age who may need some time to reflect on life and their relationship with God. Reading the book is like having a conversation with Letitia – warm and nurturing. The ideas in the book move along at a good pace.

The great thing about this book is that while Letitia does talk about using the retreat to get closer to God, the personal retreat is something that every woman can use whether for religious reasons or not. There are ideas for what you can do during your retreat and they can be adapted to your own needs. (Easily, Letitia might kill me for saying that you can leave God out of your retreat. And she would be right but the retreat could be used just to get away to regain perspective.)  Letitia started encouraging me several years ago to take a retreat for a day and use it as a planning day. I did not follow the idea about going to a retreat center but I did try to quarterly take a day in a different room in my house and use that as a planning/thinking day. I would encourage everyone to take up this practice. I would agree with Letitia that getting out of the house to do the planning day is a better idea than going to a different room in the house. One of the added bonuses of the book is that there is a section at the end of the book with several references for finding a retreat center. (I looked up where centers are close to my new home.)

The book has several different paths for you to take in planning a retreat. The retreat may be for a few hours, a day, or up to 5 days. Letitia also talks about keeping the Sabbath and ways to do that. It may be that if this is new to your that you would want to start slowly with a partial day retreat. Don’t worry, Letitia starts slowly with you.

I thoroughly enjoyed Getaway with God. I think that no matter what stage in life a woman finds herself, this book will be an inspiration.

And I have a giveaway! I have an autographed copy of Getaway with God that I will send out to one lucky person! All you need to do is comment on this post or on the Facebook post about this post or send me a tweet @carolearlycoone. I will pick one name at random. Good luck!

Thanks for reading!


Thanks for the Suggestion



In one of my last posts,  I talked about the changes that my family and I had been going through. All good but there had been many changes in a short period. I also spoke about how hard it is to meet people when you don’t have kids to draw you to events. Fortunately, I was given the suggestion by a few people to join a local “newcomers club”.

I did it! I looked on line and found a local club and joined. This may not be the case everywhere but this club is very active and has many different activities that you can join. I have gone to several coffees and two book club meetings so far. It has been great. Everyone knows what it is like to be new and is very helpful. There are people who have been members for 15 years! The group obviously has been a great friendship builder for people. Interestingly, the group is not just for newcomers. They also welcome women who have retired and perhaps had not made local friendships while they were working.

One of the other changes - our new grandson. I am over the moon about him.
One of the other changes – our new grandson. I am over the moon about him.

I also have been going to the local library book club. I enjoy that book club. I think it is a hoot. Okay, the books have been good but the meetings are so entertaining because of the participants. The first month I attended, we had read The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. One of the themes of the book was about the main character not always going along with society’s norms. During this part of the discussion, one of the women (completely out of the blue) stated that Princess Diana was murdered by the British Government because they were not going to let her marry a man of the Muslim faith. Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I am sure I sat with my mouth open catching flies. Another part of the book was about slavery. During part of the discussion on that it was brought to light that one should never buy shrimp from Aldi. I guess it has something to do with slavery. (Please, you don’t have to write and tell me about this issue. I promise I would never buy shrimp from Aldi.)  Let’s just go with the discussions at the library book club are interesting and entertaining.

Also, I have read books for both book clubs that I might not have read and I will be telling you about them in upcoming weeks.

So things are going well in our “new life.”



We did recently take a vacation. If you have read this blog before, you may remember that I rank vacations by how many books I read. It is a good vacation – in nine days I read 6 books. A little slower than usual but I had two book club books to read and they were not my usual popcorn books. So I have plenty of books to tell you about in the next few weeks.



Thanks to those who suggested joining the local newcomers club. It was so helpful!




Nostalgia Wins – Go Cubs Go



I must admit it. I am not a huge baseball fan. I think when you go to a game it is fun. But I don’t watch games on TV.

I lived most of my life in Chicagoland. As you may know, there are two professional baseball teams in Chicago. (Although sometimes it was hard to believe…) When I was growing up, my Dad was a White Sox fan. (Interestingly, when he grew older and had some dementia issues, he was suddenly a Cubs fan. No judgement, just the facts.) Then I married a White Sox fan. We even had what were called semi-season tickets for a few years with friends. The White Sox were doing well during that time and it was fun to go to the games.

I have been to Cubs games and they were fun too. Not because the Cubs usually won, it was more the atmosphere.

I am drawn into the World Series and I really want the Cubs to win. I think part of it is nostalgia. I remember Steve Goodman and his songs. I remember that he died too young and feel glad that his Mom can watch Cubs games now and hear his song. I love the stories of cutting school to go and sit in the bleachers and waiting for wins.

Part of going to see a Cubs game is taking the “L” to the game with thousands of new friends. (or they should be since they are physically so close.) It is great to see all the fans at the corner of Clark and Addison. They are happy and it is good.

I hope that all the old Cubs players are enjoying the winning season. I love seeing Ryne Sandberg at the games. I wish there was a whole section for former players where they all sat together – Mark Grace, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Glenn Beckert, Billy Wiliams, Randy Hundley and Keith Moreland. How great to see them all there?  Of course, some would be there in spirit only but give them a seat so that they are remembered.



There was an article in the Chicago Tribune  by John Kass  about a Father and Son and the World Series. The story was about Bobby Lannon and his son. Bobby is Robert now but when he was just Carole and Phil’s little brother at St. Pets he was Bobby. The story is about making memories that will last a lifetime and the shared love of a game.

So perhaps what I am feeling is a lot of nostalgia for the city and the fans. Whatever it is, I hope that they win. In a city that has a few issues, there is nothing like a winning sports team and especially a winning sports team that has as its informal motto “next year”.

I’m thrilled there is a game 7 but sorry that it is in Cleveland. For the Chicago fans, I wish that they could watch the manual scoreboard change to show the Cubs having the winning score. I wish everyone could see the “W” flying over Wrigley.

So, I will cross my fingers and check the score occasionally tonight. No, I won’t watch the game – I might be a jinx.

Go Cubs Go….

Thoughts on Our Move

Dear Reader,

I know that there is usually a book review here but today there are some reflections on our recent move. I hope that you find them interesting/humorous/not boring…

In case somehow you missed it, my husband and I moved from Evanston, IL to Mequon, WI four months ago. We had lived in our house in Evanston for 31 years. Yes, that was 31 years.  I am not sure how that could have happened but somehow it did.

Reflection #1

You cannot clean out enough.

I thouMoving (1)ght that I had done a great job getting rid of stuff. We started at least a year before we moved. (I started cleaning out before I knew we were going to move.) Once we got past the “How do I get rid of that?” and the embarrassment of getting rid of things that had never been used, we did what I thought was a pretty good job. My husband estimates that we got rid of almost HALF the stuff we owned. That was a lot of stuff!

It was not enough. Due to timing issues, we had to store most of our possessions for a month. We were told that we stored 10,000 pounds of stuff.


Yep, 10,000 pounds.

My only suggestion to anyone about to move is to just get rid of everything and start over. Really, I am serious.  You will keep too much stuff.  Now I have to find out how to get rid of stuff in a new location.


Reflection #2

Don’t underestimate the love of local sports teams.

BrettFavreThis might not be as big an influence in other places but WOW we seem to have walked into it.

I don’t meet anyone that doesn’t utter the words “Bears or Packers?” Truly, it is the first thing my husband and I hear when someone finds out we are from the Chicago area. (Even the examiner at the DMV!)

I am sure that I probably didn’t even notice it the influence of the Bears in Chicago. The Bears were a big team in Chicago but there were other teams.  (Have you heard about a team called the Blackhawks?  Or those Cubs?  Or my poor White Sox?)

Here there is only one team. (Apparently the Brewers and the Bucks don’t count but I am not exactly sure why.) I think it might be a religion. The Packers are incredibly important.  Maybe is it that they actually win (in contrast to you know who) or that they provide social activities during the cold winter months.

When Brett Farve was inducted into the Hall of Fame a few weeks ago, the local news station had two reporters in Canton, OH for a week before the induction. And they both reported every night.  Brett Farve was a great football player. No doubt. But really, there was not that much to say about the activities in Canton, OH. It is a good thing he played so long so there were lots of old news clips.

Reflection #3

It is harder to meet people when you don’t have kids.

woman alone readingWe moved into our new house and two weeks later I went back to Evanston and had knee replacement surgery. I was not very mobile those first two weeks and then I was gone for three weeks for surgery and rehab. I am going to blame this for the fact that I have met exactly ONE neighbor so far.

The people I have met so far have been incredibly nice. I had rides to PT for the first six weeks. The drivers and the people at PT were so nice and friendly. There was always lots of conversations and laughter.

I guess I just have to work up the nerve to walk across the street and introduce myself. I have gotten my local library card and am hoping to go to some book clubs there. There is also a quilt store and I thought that once I get the sewing stuff set up I would take some classes. I need to take some action to meet people.

Reflection #4

It is good to shake up your world.


Yes, even though things are harder because I don’t know anyone or how to find places, I think it is good.  (GPS on my cell phone means more than ever before…) Change is hard and I whine about parts of it but overall, it is good to have to start over and have to find things out.  I look at things around here because it is all new.  We have to find new restaurants and shops because we no longer have old favorites. I miss the life we had but I look forward to finding out more about this area.

Now, if only someone would tell me who to call to fix/paint/repair stuff….

Thanks for reading!



Dorothy Cannell Cozy Mysteries

Dear Fellow Reader,

Wow, it has been a long time.  I never meant it to be so long.  Let’s see, since I was here last I have moved twice, had a total knee replacement, and became a grandmother for the first time.  So, I have not just been sitting around ignoring you.


I am pretty thrilled to be back.

I have been reading.  I will admit that my concentration level has not always been where I would want it.  As a result, I have done  a lot of re-reading.  Yes, many books got a second look.  These re-reads include the Tommy and Tuppence books by Agatha Christie, Sarah Addison Allen’s books (one of them The Sugar Queen, even got a third read) and there was a A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy.  It was like visiting with old friends.  Do you have times when re-reading is just what you need?

The thin Woman

After all those re-reads, I then moved on to cozy mysteries.  I started  several series.  The one I would like to bring to your attention today is the Ellie Haskell series by Dorothy Cannell.  In the first book of the series, The Thin Woman,  you are introduced to Ellie, a talented interior decorator who (like many) is dreading an upcoming family event.  She decides to bring an adoring boyfriend with her to help her stand up to her judgmental relatives.  If only she had one.  She sees an ad and decides to rent one!  She finds that adoration may be hard to get even when paying for it.  When murder enters the picture, Ellie has more than she expected.

There are 13 books in the series.  I would suggest reading the first four or five books in order so that you can follow the plots easier.  After that you will have the idea.  I was able to find most of the books at the library.  Dorothy Cannell has written 23 books.  She has another series (Florence Norris Series) and several stand alone books.  One of those books, Sea Glass Summer, was also very enjoyable.

sea glass

Have a great summer weekend!  I hope there is some time for reading!

Thanks for reading!