Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


Dogwood Time

Straight out from my bedroom window, in our dogwood tree, a little robin sang, “Winter’s over. We survived another one!”


Did you know that the Pacific dogwood is the provincial flower for the province of British Columbia? Its flowers have four to six petals. That in itself is unusual, as probably the most common number of petals for flowers is five.

While researching the number of petals on a dogwood, I came across the term “Fibonacci Numbers.” The number of petals on most flowers is one of the Fibonacci numbers, but the dogwood only sometimes complies. The Fibonacci number sequence is named for Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, for introducing the concept of these numbers to the western world in the early 1200s.

The Fibonacci sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 …

Can you guess what the next number is going to be?

I was amazed at how it works. The next number is always the sum of the previous two.

I think someone used this sequence to figure out the rate at which rabbits breed. I think, too, that Fibonacci must have done his research in my backyard.

Math and nature are so connected, it never ceases to amaze me.


Baking Bread

I’ve been baking my own bread for a long time. Forever, I suppose. As a child, I watched my mother make bread, and I have always associated it with that warm and fuzzy homey feeling. The smell of bread baking, the warmth of the kitchen, the happy faces of those who bit into the freshly baked bread–a basic anchoring of a primitive nature.

I wrote a post about The Staff of Life last February, after I discovered how to make easy ciabatta bread. (Click on the link if you’d like to see it again.)

I mumbled to myself as I kneaded the dough for regular whole wheat bread this morning, “The staff of life … hmm … people have been baking bread for many hundreds of years.” I got hung up on the term “the staff of life,” and decided to look it up.

A staple or necessary food, especially bread. For example, Rice is the staff of life for a majority of the earth’s people. This expression, which uses staff in the sense of “a support,” was first recorded in 1638.

Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company.http://www.dictionary.com/browse/staff-of-life (accessed: April 27, 2016).

That got me thinking, only some cultures bake wheat bread. Some use corn, or other starches. Then there are those countries that grow rice more easily than wheat. The staff of life is rice for millions of people the world over.

Every culture has its own special kind of bread. I love experimenting with baking them, but I tend to come back to my basic whole wheat bread as the staple in my own family.


Today I threw some caraway seeds in my whole wheat bread even though it is generally meant to go into rye bread. I know the flavour will be fine in this batch too.

Do you bake your own bread?





Desert Camping, Hot Love

I’ve copied this post from my other blog, https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/ in the hopes that I could interest my wordsfromanneli followers to check out my second blog. That blog is dedicated mainly to authors, writing, and books, but it need not be of interest only to writers. Without readers, we writers are like rudderless ships.

Please indulge me the copied post this time, and please do go visit my other blog if you feel the slightest interest in writing-related topics. Check out the archives in https://annelisplace.wordpress.com

I wanted to tell you how it came about that I wrote the book Orion’s Gift, so if you’re still with me, here it is:

While camping in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, I noticed a woman sitting alone in a van parked near the beach. I never saw her get out of her vehicle. She sat in the driver’s seat most of the time, listening to audio tapes and chain smoking cigarettes.

armenta (1)

The beach was beautiful, the sun shone every day, the water was clear and inviting, the place was a paradise. Why would she not get out and inhale that fresh air, go for a walk or a swim, or enjoy this little bit of heaven? I certainly did.

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It puzzled me and I wondered what her story was. Her plates said San Diego. I mulled over many scenarios. Why was she alone? Why did she never get out of her van? Was she trying to kill herself with the first and secondhand smoke in the enclosed vehicle?

The seeds  of a novel were germinating in my head. A California girl comes to Baja alone. But why? I would make her health-minded, young, and beautiful. Yes, the character was taking shape in my head.

palapa 2

She would need to find a love interest, but who would be down here on his own and why? Men come to Baja alone, looking for … something ….

Each of the characters had good reasons for being on the run, but would that interfere with them starting a new relationship? What if the attraction was so strong, they couldn’t resist?


But what if their past troubles are coming after them? Will the new lovers stick together? Will they panic, split, and run to escape their pursuers? And what about that drug runner who is out for revenge for a slight on the road?

sunset at La Perla

Life could be so perfect, if only those nasty people from their past weren’t coming after them.

For a gripping story of love and suspense wrapped up in a Baja adventure, why not spend a big $2.99 and download Orion’s Gift from amazon.com or smashwords.com today?

Cover design for Orion’s Gift is by Anita B. Carroll. Thank you, Anita for a great cover image. You can contact Anita at anita@race-point.com



A New Path

The sheltered area on the right side of the picture is under the back deck, an ideal place for the dog mats and their food dishes. From there to the backyard it used to be all grass, until Emma came to live with us. She made her own roads all over the yard, wore the grass down and carved her own path into the dirt by the back door.

That dirt was tracked into the house faster than I could vacuum it up. Something had to be done.


We shoveled out a path that was a bit wider than Emma’s own homemade runway, and it was my job to lay bricks on either side of it. “I put two bricks at the side,” the Captain said. “Did you move that one to the middle of the path?”

“Nope. Ask Emma.” She’ll steal anything – caps, gloves, underwear, and now bricks.


The dogs kept getting underfoot so I gave them a short timeout while I took their picture.


The Captain had cut a stick 40 inches long for me to use as a measure so the path would be the same width all along. He painted the ends black so I’d know this was the special measuring stick.

“Where did you put the stick?” I asked.

“Over by the wheelbarrow.”


We had to go looking for the stick. Lying in the grass some distance away was the measuring stick with most of the black missing on one end, and now measuring only 36 inches.


Underfoot again, Ruby is trying to be a black and white spaniel instead of liver and white. Check out the feet that will want to curl up on the living room rug later on.


And this little hellion (below) is dirtier than her black coat allows us to see, but if you click on the photo you’ll see the dirt magnified. Look on her feet, her nose, the ends of her ears, and the flag on her tail. She’s SO dirty. But that’s what happens when you run under the shovelful of flying dirt that is heaved out of the path to make room for the crushed rock.


To help keep the weeds down, we put down some landscape matting that is supposed to let water through but keep weeds down.

The Captain will finish filling up the path with crushed rock, but then comes the dilemma. Do we let the dogs inspect the new path  while we go into the house? Emma is a thief, a chewer, and a notorious hole digger. Do we dare leave her out here? I have a picture in my mind that I can’t shake off. It’s an image of Emma having dug a  deep hole in the middle of the crushed rock path, grabbing a hold of the landscaping mat and running around the backyard with her prize trailing behind her like a bridal train.

Life was easier when we had cats.



Where’s My Bed?

Since she was a puppy, Emma has always been attached to her bed.


She’s all grown up now, but still loves her bed. The other day I took the “pillowcases” off the doggie beds to wash them. I put the insides of the bed on a lawn chair and the wheelbarrow to air out while the cases got washed and dried. It appears that Emma has reclaimed her bed even in the wheelbarrow.








Thankfully, the doggie beds are all back to normal, smelling one shade sweeter, and Emma has been able to come down from the wheelbarrow.