Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holiday Bread Recipes

Below, Susie in the cold, rain and mud on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, UK, where a fellow fossil-enthusiast (met online) showed her where to find ammonites - after pussy-footing her way over ground strewn with boulders. (Like all enthusiasts, sometimes you have to be a little nuts.)

Fossiling in Folkestone
Find of the Day (Ammonite)

In the dire days of Winter 2021, Susie & I ventured out to a Gem & Mineral Show in Sanford (they were taking everyone's temperature at the door). And we shared the purchase of an ammonite that had been split down the middle and polished (never dreaming Susie would ever have the chance to find one in the wild). Alas, the light for my photo wasn't right to highlight the shining red streaks in the ammonite, but it truly is a spectacular shell. Below, my half of what we bought that day.



While Susie was in Europe, I broke my rule about not buying any more Recipe magazines. (I was tempted, as I so often am, by a magazine displayed at the checkout counter at Publix.) Sigh.

I made the Sausage Pesto Ring first, which is more of an entree than a side dish. It's not only tasty but it freezes well. I will get several meals out of it over the next few weeks. And then I did the Cranberry Buttermilk Bread. I ate two slices without stopping and quickly froze the rest, to be thawed as a new addition to our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. (Yes, it was that good.) So here they are. Enjoy!



 PREPARE AHEAD: Melt butter, rinse cranberries ahead of time & give them time to dry. [If using frozen cranberries, measure while still frozen. Thaw slightly & chop while still icy. Fold into batter as directed.] If you cannot find jars of tangerine or orange zest in the spice section of your store, you will need to grate your own before starting this recipe. (I have treasured jars of dried orange & lemon zest which I bought years ago and which still do their job.)

2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup sugar
2½ tspn baking powder
¼ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
6 TBspn butter, melted
1¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup roasted, salted pepitas (or pistachios)*
2 tspn tangerine or orange zest**
2 TBspn sugar

*I used pepita nuts & they added the perfect touch.

1.  Preheat oven to 375°. Grease bottom and ½" up sides of an 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk & melted butter. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cranberries, ½ cup of the pepitas & the zest.

3.   Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Coarsely chop remaining ¼ cup pepitas. In a small bowl combine chopped pepitas and 2 TBspn sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

4.  Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If necessary, to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil the last 5-10 minutes.) Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan & cool completely.

Grace note:  Yes, the bread froze well. I let it thaw overnight in the fridge, then on the counter in the kitchen for several hours before our Thanksgiving feast.




I have made a number of pull-apart breads over the years, but this one is definitely easier as you do not have to slice the biscuits into smaller pieces. Repeating what I said at the top, this can be an entree or a party snack. And like so many things made with Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits, it is really tasty.

5 TBspn butter, melted
2 16.3 oz pkg. refrigerated biscuits
    (16 biscuits total)
1/3 cup purchased basil pesto (or homemade)
1/3 cup cooked & crumbled bulk Italian sausage*
1¼ cups shredded Italian cheese blend (5 oz.)**
Fresh snipped basil or parsley
*I always used Jimmy Dean as it is pure.
**Because of my allergy to preservatives, I shred my own cheddar & add organic grated parmesan to the mix.
1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10-inch fluted tube pan (Bundt) with 3 oz. of butter. (*See Warning below.)
2.  Top each biscuit with 1 tsp pesto, 1 tsp sausage & 1 TBspn cheese. Stack four biscuits, press down gently. Turn stack on its side & place in pan. Repeat (4 at a time) to create a ring. Drizzle with remaining 2 TBspn melted butter.
3.  Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle bread with remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Cover with foil & bake about 5 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean, top is golden brown, and cheese is melted. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley. Serve warm. 

*WARNING. I found using butter to grease the pan was the LEAST acceptable of the various means I've tried for other pull-apart bread recipes. Strongly advise a heavy coating of cooking spray or lathering on Crisco. Fortunately, the ring still tastes good, even if comes out of the pan in chunks. But for company . . . ixnay on greasing with butter.

~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Why I Enjoy Editing

 This week's Gallery starts with a true eye-opener, a "would you believe" for all my readers who have watched my grandgirls grow since they were toddlers . . .


 The girls' parents just spent 10 days in Europe - part vacation, visiting Mike's cousin in Spain - but essentially due to Mike running tech for a big convention in London. Below, behind-the-big-screen pics of what Susie dubbed, "Mission Control."


And from Facebook . . .

If anyone knows if this truly exists & where . . .

 Don't miss this one! Sent by my politically like-minded son in Connecticut.

The quote that went with it:

 "She got quite a bump on the head.
We kinda thought there for a minute she was gonna leave us."


~ * ~



 As most of my readers know, I retired from giving advice on Writing and Editing after publishing a compilation of all my "how to" blogs since 2011 under the title Making Magic With Words. But every once in a while I feel the need to keep my hand in, so as I edited Chapter 14 of my latest Regency Gothic, Menace at Lincourt Manor, I was inspired to dust off my editing advice column and say a few new words. 

"Editing is torture. Why would anyone enjoy editing?" 

I suspect the majority of authors would agree with the above. I do not. I not only like it; it gives me great satisfaction. "Why?" you ask . . .

1.  First and foremost, it gives me a chance to "see what I've got." Do my words make sense? Are they strong enough to keep a reader's attention? Does the chapter pass muster, even though it needs work?

2.  Secondly, editing gives me an opportunity to add all the things I left out in my rush to move the action forward.

Grace note:  although my editing almost always consists of additions, other authors might find they need to make deletions. Never forget that author styles of writing are as diverse as snowflakes.

What are some of the many things I look for while editing?

1.  Missing descriptions (both background and people), bad transitions—did I make a leap too far from one paragraph to the next?

2.  Major plot point flubbed—a hint too vague; perhaps too much, too soon; or no set-up at all for a major event to come

3.  Those old bugaboos—typos, words left out, repetitive words, a sentence that simply does not say what you thought it said.

4.  The sudden need to name a character who was simply "a friend, a maid, an acquaintance," but you realize the story would be better if this person were not completely anonymous.

I could go on and on, but I absolutely love to pounce on my omissions and find a way to make my story more vivid, more colorful, more understandable.

How should you go about editing?

Again, the answer to this is as varied as the number of authors currently struggling over their manuscripts. As far as I am concerned, until somewhere around Edit Four, I edit hardcopy. For me, having an 8½ x 11 page in front of me makes sense. I can scribble changes in pencil, erase them just as fast as something better comes to mind. I can scrawl long inserts in pen on a legal pad, crossing out 2 or 3 versions perhaps before I find the exactly right words. (If editing on screen, such major changes can easily become confusing.) 

Yes, I have to type in these edits at a later date, but it couldn't slow me down very much if I'm currently working on Book 52!

[As stated in previous blogs, my style - not necessarily yours - is to edit after every chapter, again after every 5 chapters. A 3rd edit, starting from the top; a 4th, and hopefully final, edit online after converting my Word Perfect draft to Microsoft Word.] Don't groan! Only a few authors manage to get satisfactory copy from anything less.

For the novices among my readers . . .

Do not forget to run Spell Check! But do NOT depend on it. It will not find the word you skipped, the word you typed by accident, the phrase you accidentally deleted. Only careful reading of your work will help you avoid catastrophic mistakes. (And yes, even after four or five edits, I still have typos in my work, I admit it. I found somewhere around nine when proofreading the paperback copy of The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle. Believe me, none of us is perfect!)

It's been a long while since I tried the technique below. Using the first draft of Chapter 14 of Menace at Lincourt Manor as an example, here is an excerpt from page one with the additions indicated in red. Deletions, an unusually high number for me, are listed below the excerpt.

Chapter 14

    I would like to record that my visits to the farms and dairy were a grand success, establishing a comfortable rapport between the Manor and our tenants. Truth was, whatever good impression Julian and I might have made on our initial visit had been seriously eclipsed by the odd manner in which I had located Betsy. And now, despite my attempt to play gracious-lady-of-the-manor, I had the feeling that the moment my back was turned every hand would be contorted into the “keep away, evil-witch” gesture Lottie had shown me.
   There was little I could do but hold my head high, keep a smile on my face, and hope time would lay the matter to rest. With determination in my soul and hope in my heart, I returned to list-making; this time, a compilation of the names of all our tenants, their children and employees. I would become a proper chatelaine for Lincourt Manor! When I had doubts about managing the role of chatelaine, I consoled myself with recollections of tales about Medieval ladies who held their domains for years on end while their husbands were on crusade. Then again, whispered that niggling voice in my head, I doubted any of them had a staff who thought the lady of the house a witch or put dishes of smoldering sage in the main rooms of their castles.
   I received a hasty scrawl from Julian: Violet, you disappeared without a word. Explain, if you please.

 Deletions to the above paragraphs:

I would be fortunate; the role of; alleviated even a small modicum of their wariness; even Betsy, after once again expressing her abject gratitude, contorted her hand; Nonetheless, I was back to list-making; What happened?

Grace note:  it was the extent of the edits in these opening paragraphs that prompted me to write this blog. Even after all my years of experience, "it ain't easy."

Summary:  If you are not editing multiple times, you are headed for an amateur presentation. Concede you are not Nora Roberts, Lindsay Buroker, Jeff Wheeler or any other of the handful of authors who appear to churn out words with nary a stutter. READ your work, make it better. REPEAT as often as necessary to make it sing. Or at least be the best you can do at this stage of your career. DO NOT insult your readers by giving them pages tossed off in haste, pages you believe to be so "perfect" you cannot possibly make them better. Cuz for 99.999 percent of us, it just ain't so! 

Go forth, write, then edit the @#$% manuscript!

~ * ~


For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Saturday, November 12, 2022




Another week of storm prep, hunkering down, constantly watching radar & TV reports, carrying a lantern around while hoping for the best, and . . . once again lucking out, while many here in Florida were hit hard. For the second time in six weeks. This time, not by a Cat 5 hurricane like Ian but by the incredible tidal destruction of the barely Cat 1 Nicole. 

While I sat high and dry on my little plateau in Longwood, giant trees toppled over 15 miles north in Sanford as Lake Monroe flooded over ground already saturated by Ian, turning the soil to mud. And much worse, along the coast 15-25 ft waves pounded ashore onto dunes already severely eroded by Ian and swept away sea walls previously damaged by Ian. Some 49 structures along the beaches in Volusia and Brevard counties (the Space Coast) have been declared uninhabitable. Many of these are towering condominiums, not simply single-family houses. A number of homes fell into the sea, and condos were left "on the brink," the ocean lapping at their foundations. 

For a link to one of the many videos of the damage to homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea (Volusia County), click here.

On top of all that, of course, this was election week, Floridians who left their vote to the last day had to endure a succession of cloudbursts as Nicole's outer bands approached us from the Bahamas. All in all, a week we're all glad to put behind us.

We've truly earned our lighter moments! Hopefully, you'll enjoy the variety of photos below. 


In this dramatic week, we did not forget to celebrate Veterans' Day.


In honor of our fallen heroes


* * *

Below is a link to a Facebook video showing a construction of 10,000 dominoes biting the dust - the most elaborate domino-stacking I've ever seen.

For a link to the fall of 10,000 dominoes   click here.

* * *


Fabulous photo found on Facebook (no attribution)

From long ago - Cassidy & Bear

Can't have a Gallery without a Cat Photo . . .


From Facebook

My daughter has been posting all sorts of fabulous photos from Spain, but this is the one that really struck me - taken at the dinner table of Mike's cousins.


And then there is this marvelous poem, found on Facebook this morning . . .


And to close, this truly remarkable post-Nicole photo taken by Seminole County friend, Sharon Studenc . . .


~ * ~

Please remember The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle is now available in paperback.

For a link to Secrets on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Democracy at Risk

 Last week the famed Thunderbirds were at an air show at Sanford International Airport. Naturally, the Reale family was present, giving Cassidy an opportunity to meet and receive advice from some of the pilots present.

Photos by Susie Reale


 I don't know if the deterioration of American politics (and most of the other nations allied against Hitler in World War II), began with:  

a) a cabal of Nazi survivors determined not only to revive fascism but to spread the concept of dictatorship to the most powerful nations in the world; 

b) a conspiracy of the Elite determined to hang on to the concept of an all-white "right to rule";

c) the determination of the all-powerful super-wealthy to reign supreme;

d) too many nations becoming so prosperous and "fat cat" that, like the Cloud People in the movie Wally, we sat back, overindulged ourselves and our children, and let the values that got us to the top slide.

Most likely, it's e) all of the above.

Whatever the reason, we are at risk of being overwhelmed by the Rabid Right. Of losing all that "Democracy" stands for. Of losing the Freedoms our ancestors fought for, the Freedoms that beckoned so many immigrants to our shores. 

Grace note:  Although I use Florida's governor and senator as examples below, the principles involved apply to just about every one of our fifty states.)

At the top of the list of Scary People are Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, and Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. DeSantis because he does too much, overstepping the purview of his office by a thousand miles or so, and Marco Rubio, who does too little—in fact, "nothing" would be more like it. 


I'd like to dismiss Marco Rubio as a lightweight do-nothing—I mean, as a Senator, he's nothing more than a vapid smile. And for that reason alone, he needs to be replaced. Florida deserves ACTIVE participation in government from its Senators. But Rubio has to go for another reason. As long as he opposes abortion, even for rape or incest, he is a menace. And since his opponent is the dynamic, intelligent, well-spoken, and politically active former Police Chief of Orlando, VAL DEMINGS, how can you consider voting for Rubio, the invisible man, unheard from except in his campaign ads?

Rubio, NO.   Val Demings, YES, YES & YES! 



Ron DeSantis is so scary I hardly know where to start. He has all these campaign ads boasting about the "Freedoms" he's given to the residents of the State of Florida. Right. Here are some of his Freedoms:

1.  The "freedom" not to wear a mask during the height of Covid, thus ensuring our Freedom to die and pass along the virus to others so they can die with us.

2.  The "freedom" to visit our relatives in Nursing Homes during Covid; results, ditto.

3.  The "freedom" to worship without masks; results, ditto.

3.  The "freedom' of parents to tell teachers what to teach; resulting, among other things, in a white-wash (pardon the pun) of our history and the by-passing of the LBGTQ community.

4.  The "freedom" to tell schools which textbooks they can use, what books can be in their libraries. (All things that should be decided by educational professionals, not by politically minded Power Groups.)

And Ron DeSantis has granted the following "Freedoms" to himself:

1.  The right to declare doubts about the efficacy of vaccinations, while promoting the latest cockamamie ideas from a hopelessly unscientific State Surgeon General (after firing the highly competent previous Surgeon General).

2.  The right to threaten Disneyworld, because it demonstrated a few "woke" ideas and refused to be intimidated by Gov. DeSantis.

3. The right to do nothing about Gun Control, even though the Parkland school shooting was one of the worst in the nation.

4.  The right to spend $600,000+ in taxpayer money to send a two planes to Texas to "borrow" immigrants* and drop them in Martha's Vineyard, promising them jobs at the end of the Summer Season when even local residents were being laid off. (A purely political move intended to garner attention on a national scale but which, happily, back-fired, just about everyone horrified by this politically scheming high-handedness.)

*A ruthless necessity designed to make a political point with no thought for the immigrants' welfare, as beyond an occasional overloaded boat from Cuba or Haiti, Florida does not have an immigrant problem.

4.  The right to run again for governor, when everyone knows he'll be spending most of the next two years campaigning for nomination as President, Florida and its citizens no more than an afterthought.

I could go on and on, but surely that's enough. Nip this "more dangerous than Trump" candidate in the bud. Do not give him the power of a governorship to support his campaign for the White House. 

Ron DeSantis, NO.  Charlie Crist, YES!


Whatever your decision,


~ * ~


Please remember The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle is now available in paperback.

For a link to Secrets on Amazon, click here.

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Saturday, October 29, 2022

PAPERBACK - The Secrets of Stonebridge Castle


GALLERY - Homecoming & Halloween

Daddy's girls

Alex, Cassidy

Denzel, Riley

Cinderella's Chariot, 2022

 For Halloween, let's go back a couple of years to a photo that includes Hailey, now our college girl.

~ * ~


I am delighted to announce availability of my first paperback since I went "e" in 2011. Possibly because I love reading on my Kindle, I've never bothered with print copies of any of my books on KDP. But I have to admit there's something about waiting for my author copies to arrive on my doorstep, picturing being able to give out signed copies to family and friends . . . okay, it's an ego-booster, I admit it. Below, please find a repeat of the Cover of THE SECRETS OF STONEBRIDGE CASTLE, as first seen on the e-version in 2021. (The blurb is the "short version," originally written for Smashwords.)


Not your usual Gothic heroine, the widowed Aurelia Lacey, with a five-year-old to protect, reluctantly accepts an offer of shelter from an old friend, and ends up in an isolated castle, her haunting memories from the Peninsular War vying with a host of hedonistic London guests, a serial killer, seven hundred years of castle ghosts, and the biggest challenge—her friend, the once-gallant spy, now turned drunken sot.

For a link to Secrets on Amazon, click here.

~ *~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Democracy or Autocracy? - Time to Choose

 This week's Gallery begins with yet another Hurricane Ian disaster, this one as close to my heart as Snook Haven. 


Venice, Florida, is the only town for a hundred miles north or south unprotected by a barrier island, yet its waterfront survived remarkably well. Wind damage three blocks inland, however, was more intense. (See photo below.) 

Even before I moved to Venice, Florida, I was aware of the Venice Little Theater. My father ushered for the productions back when it was in a Quonset hut at the Venice Airport. (Yes, that's right - the airport forever infamous as the place where Mohammed Atta learned to fly.)

By the time I became a permanent resident of Venice, the theater had moved to the downtown auditorium abandoned by the private military academy that once flourished there. My daughter participated in several productions at VLT while in high school. Below, what the theater looked like after Ian. (The VLT website declares that rebuilding is underway and is announcing auditions for a Christmas musical. Bless them!)

Photo by Susie Reale


On a happier note . . .

Below, a photo I never saw when Susie first took it. Was delighted when she re-posted it from Facebook Memories this week.

Mike & Riley


Grace note:  Friday a.m. I just had a phone call, asking about the possibility of Riley borrowing my car for Senior Prom night. Sigh. How times flies!

Our Cassidy was in Tampa last weekend for another Central Florida Police Explorers training event - everything from take-downs to emergency medical. And shooting competition of course. Surprise, surprise - someone actually out-shot Cassidy - she ended up in 2nd place, but with a 1st for her team.


Below, you'll find a great photo, but not surprisingly, kits adapted from Bengal tigers are not the best bet for a household pet, no matter how cute they are.


Lastly, a re-posting from Facebook to usher in my rant of the day.

I titled this one, "If only. . ."

And yes, I'm a liberal who believes every one 
of the items in the boxes above should come to pass.


 I don't have a lot of money to contribute to election campaigns. I no longer have the strength to take my views door to door in my neighborhood. But before filling out my mail-in ballot, I did take the time to research the more obscure candidates, such as those running for my county's school board or the Soil & Water Commission. I also pondered the three amendments to our State Constitution, finally choosing two yeses and a no. And then I put my ballot in the envelope, sealed and signed where indicated, and dropped it in the mailbox, satisfied that I had voted in every election since I turned twenty-one (the minimum age at that time).  

VOTING is the foundation of Democracy. Without easily accessible voting rights, Democracies wither and die, allowing the "dog-eat-dog, devil-take-the-hindmost philosophies of megalomaniac dictators to make slaves of the vast majority of the population.

And yet, even after the current Leader of this rabidly anti-democratic attitude has been shown to be liar, a cheat, duplicitous to the point of treason, there are those who cling to his muddy coat-tails - most astonishingly, a great many blue collar workers, for whom Mr. Trump cares not a snap of his fingers as long as he can pull the wool over their eyes long enough to get them to vote for him or for those espousing his to-the-right-of-Attila-the-Hun policies.


And then there are people like Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis, whose "throw-back" philosophies are far more dangerous than those of Trump the Dunce. Because DeSantis is way smarter and Yale-educated, to boot. Was it at Yale that DeSantis was indoctrinated with "elite" ideas that should have been humbled decades ago? (I say this as the daughter of someone with a father who had a Masters from Harvard, as someone who was married in one of Yale's chapels, whose husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew are all graduates of Yale. And as one who lived in the New Haven area for more than a quarter century and was among the Fellows' wives who were asked if women should be granted entry to Yale!) So yes, as much as I love Yale, I am aware of the hard-core elitism that lurks there.

Back to Florida . . .

Ron DeSantis's latest dictatorial legislation went into effect this week. Teachers can now lose their licenses if they talk about "woke" ideas in the classroom - from gender identity to race relations. (Keep in mind that banning "Critical Race Theory" is basically banning a discussion of racial history in the U.S., lest some overly sensitive white child should feel "shame.")

You've got to be kidding!  

Except Ron DeSantis is serious, just as he quoted "personal freedom" as a reason for not mandating masks during the height of the Covid epidemic or told relatives they were "free" to visit their loved ones in nursing homes, taking their germs with them. In other words, he gave his constituents the right to die and take others with them!

Believe me, when researching candidates for this fall's election, I red-flagged all those who mentioned "parental rights." If your child needed surgery, would you demand your right to tell the surgeon how to do his job?? The same applies to teachers. They, too, are professionals, most with a Masters Degree. Parents have no more right to tell teachers how to do their jobs than they have a right to tell a surgeon how to wield his knife!

On the subject of cockamamie Florida laws, I could go on and on, but I'll settle for just one more (which, admittedly, I have mentioned in a previous blog).

I was a young mother living in the New Haven area during the original fight for Roe vs. Wade. I cheered when it passed, saw the vast improvement to women's health that followed. I now mourn for all the women (and young girls) who have been plunged back into the dark ages. I do not consider myself in favor of abortion, but I AM in favor of doing what must be done to protect women and girls who need one. Roe vs. Wade was a legal milestone, a literal LIFE-SAVER for women who previously had been driven to backroom abortions or DIY with coat hangers or poisonous potions. A female's Right to Choose MUST be restored.

So . . .

Consider your options. Consider your responsibility to

uphold Democracy, to keep the wolf of Autocracy at bay.



~ *~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Hurricane update & Gallery



Everyone has seen photos of the damage on Florida's West Coast, but what most people outside our state don't realize is that the damage inland was not only severe but has INCREASED over the past week. Central Florida is a land of countless lakes and rivers - all of which received 15-20" of rain in 24 hours. And even when the sun came out, the rivers kept rising from rain run-off, adding to the flood levels in the lakes they passed through, as well as WAY above flood level along their banks. An example (in reverse):  a large park in Altamonte Springs lowered its flooding lake by draining the waters into the Wekiva River, which was already flooded. So instead of the flood waters going down after the storm, the Wekiva rose, flooding even more houses. Florida's longest river, the St. John's, flows north at a sluggish pace over land that is flat. Due to our rainy season, the river was already high. Hurricane Ian sent it into a flood stage that has continued to rise over the past week as streams and run-off drain into it. It is not expected to go below flood stage UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR. 

What this means is that there are a huge number of families coping with houses that flooded from 1-3 feet up the first floor walls; i.e., all major appliances and first-floor furniture ruined. (FYI, most houses in Florida only have one floor.) Television news keeps showing us neighborhood after neighborhood with giant mounds of furniture piled out front for trash pick-up. 

I keep saying abject thanks that somehow my neighborhood was spared. Florida has few hills, but my house is on a plateau of some kind, and I give thanks for it every day. But please say prayers for the thousands who have lost everything, including those who live along rivers that are still rising.

Below, a couple of Ian aftermath photos & a gallery of miscellaneous photos that have been postponed in order to show storm pics.

Posted to FB by Linnea Sinclair (Tampa)

I lived in Venice, FL for 25 years. One of my most favorite places in all the world is Snook Haven on the Myakka River. [10 miles inland, a last outpost before jungle swamps and cattle ranches all the way to Arcadia - 50 miles.] Snook Haven is the "Bud's Fish Shack" found in some of my mysteries set in Venice. 
Update, Thursday, 10/13 - Snook Haven is currently described as, "too flooded for anyone to get in to assess the damage."

And on a happier note . . .

Re-post (by Mom) of grandgirls jumping in the dunes of Abu Dabi

Riley & proud parents at Senior Band Dinner, 10/22

Buffy's balancing act - and no, I have no idea how she got up there!

Buffy & Willow "helping", back when they were kittens

Baby Buffy & Willow, A-a-aw.

And the inevitable sign-off . . .

Sunset Wow - posted to FB 9/22

 ~ * ~

Hear ye, hear ye! THE SECRETS OF STONEBRIDGE CASTLE will soon be available in paperback. 

~ *~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)