"Optimism is a cheerful frame of mind that enables a tea kettle
to sing though it's in hot water up to its nose."
Dear Friends and Avid Readers:
After experiencing the loss of family members, friends and business associates to cancer over the past few years, my husband and I recognized the need for preventative medicine rather than focusing on aftercare. Together, with Governor Kitzhaber, Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Lynn and Dave Frohnmayer and many like-minded individuals in our community, we're seeking ways to raise awareness and to direct our fund-raising efforts toward expanded research and the care and treatment of cancer patients and their families.
This year, ticket sales and profits from our upcoming Artful Giving Blanket Concert will benefit Portland’s Providence Cancer Center. The official site for this event will be held on the grounds of our 15-acre estate in Troutdale, Oregon on Saturday, July 16th 11am – 6pm. With KATU Anchor - Steve Dunn as our presiding MC, musical entertainment will be highlighted by Aaron Meyer, Linda Hornbuckle, Sonny Hess and Northwest Women Rhythm and Blues, Patrick Lamb, and Curtis Salgado. Nearly two dozen local artists will display their artwork for purchase, and complimentary food and beverages will be provided by Duck Pond Winery and ten of Portland's finest restaurants, including Morton's, El Gaucho and Portland City Grill.
Together, we can make a difference by improving the quality of life for families affected by this indiscriminate disease. Visit www.artfulgiving.net and be sure to make plans to attend this exciting event!
Quote of the Month:
"It is not intelligence alone that brings success, but also the drive to succeed, the commitment to work hard, and the courage to believe in yourself. Know that your dreams must come from your heart's deepest desires. Only then will the barriers come down before you. To know your heart, you must know yourself. You are who you decide to be, not who other people decide for you to be. Be noble. Stand on the higher ground. Create your life and then go out and live it." --- Unknown
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Set in the 1940′s, on the eve of the NHS in rural England, a Doctor visits an old stately manor to see a maid who was complaining of stomach pains. When Dr Farrady dug a little further it turned out that the maid wasn’t ill at all but trying to get sent home as she was afraid of things “going bump in the night” (and day!) in the house. Farrady strikes up a friendship with the house members (of whom there are only 3 left) and becomes embroiled in some very strange goings on. The real taking point is at the end of the book. It appears that Waters has left her readers to make up their own minds about what was really going on in the house but there are some great theories flying around that makes this a good read for debate.
Blindness by Jose Saramago. This book is amazing, incredible and breathtaking. The story starts with a man in his car at traffic lights who goes suddenly blind. He is helped home by a stranger, who a few hours later also goes blind. Within a few days the blindness has spread round half the city and also those afflicted are herded up by the government into a disused mental asylum and left alone. The wards quickly become overrun with filth and chaos ensues. In the middle of this, though, we get to know a handful of characters very well and it is really their story that we follow through the never-ending days, lack of food and riots. The whole story is told through long paragraphs of unbroken text. There are no quotation marks, hardly any punctuation and none of the characters are given names. But it works!
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. This is one of the weirdest books I have ever read but also one of the best. Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of 17th century Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human’s. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill.
Kaylin's Favorite May Recipe: Corn Bread Cobb Salad (Yummy!)
Corn bread croutons add a kid-friendly, Southern spin to this classic salad. This recipe will yield enough for a picnic potluck or a light family dinner and lunch the next day.
* FOR THE CROUTONS:
* 2 cups cubed corn bread, preferably day-old
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* Coarse salt and pepper
* FOR THE DRESSING:
* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* Salt and pepper
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* FOR THE SALAD:
* 3 hearts romaine lettuce, shredded
* 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
* 4 large eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
* 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
* 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
* 1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
* 1/2 cup diced red onion (optional)
* 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) Monterrey Jack or Cheddar, shredded
1) Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, toss the corn bread with the oil, and salt and pepper to taste, until the cubes are well coated. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, turning once with a spatula, about 8 minutes. Set the croutons aside.
Tip: Croutons can be made the day before and stored in a ziplock bag until ready to use.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle in the oil and continue whisking until the dressing has thickened. Add the lettuce to the bowl and toss to coat it with the dressing. Transfer the lettuce to a serving platter.
3) Arrange the chicken, eggs, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, red onion (if using), and cheese over the lettuce. Season the salad with more salt and pepper, if you like. Serves 6 to 8.
Here's a little something to make your smile:
An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night. The bartender finally said that the bar is closing. So the Irishman stood up to leave and fell flat on his face. He tried to stand one more time; same result. He figured he'll crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that will sober him up.
Once outside he stood up and fell flat on his face. So he decided to crawl the 4 blocks to his home. When he arrived at the door he stood up and again fell flat on his face. He crawled through the door and into his bedroom. When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up. This time he managed to pull himself upright, but he quickly fell right into bed and is sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. He was awakened the next morning to his wife standing over him, shouting, "So, you've been out drinking again!!"
"What makes you say that?" he asked, putting on an innocent look.
"The pub called -- you left your wheelchair there again."
So remember ... Stay positive, give happiness away, and be sure to recommend Flaherty's Crossing to everyone you know!
“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks go.”
- Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe
Hello Readers and Fellow Authors:
Is it really April? Apparently so! Not entirely sure where February and March went, however, between travel, family obligations, and community functions, I’ve been a bit too busy to notice. And isn’t it amazing how many clocks you find in your home when it’s time to Spring them forward? They seem to be in every room in the household…on every appliance…on every ten foot wall. It usually takes a few days to finally get them in order. But have you ever wondered what actually happens to that precious hour we lost? Could it be floating around in the atmosphere — just waiting for Fall to roll back around? Hovering in another dimension until it’s rediscovered? Now just imagine for a moment if we could accumulate that lost hour on a daily basis and eventually get them all back in one fell swoop. Ah, the extra hours we could sleep in…the blistery Winter days we could forgo…
Quote of the Day:
“Hail in the Spring, a start of new beginnings. Creativity awe-inspiring gives a reason to be living. Plant life showing life anew, a wonder to be found. New born lambs playing in the fields, birds nesting all around. People enjoying the sun and the warmth, feeling good to be alive. Spring gives a purpose to our lives, a touch of Paradise.” - Kay M. Sutton, Bring in the Spring
Congratulations to Chuck E. Otto for winning Kaylin’s “Luck of the Irish” Contest…
…and a free Kindle valued at $189… The perfect wireless reading device to download and enjoy your copy of Flaherty’s Crossing. And here’s his winning entry:
St Peter’s Quiz:
A petty thief, a teacher and a lawyer died in a plane crash and met up at Heaven’s gates. When they got there, they were stopped by St. Peter.
“Sorry, it’s extremely crowded at the moment,” he said. “If you want to get in, you’ll each need to answer one question correctly.”
They all shook their heads in agreement. Then St. Peter looked at the teacher and asked her, “What was the name of the famous ocean-liner that sank after hitting an iceberg?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” the teacher replied. “The Titanic.”
“That’s right! You may enter.” Next he turned to the petty thief and figuring Heaven didn’t REALLY need all the aggravation this guy would bring with him decided to make the question a little harder. “How many people died on the ship?” he asked.
Fortunately for him, the thief had just seen the movie. “One thousand two hundred and twenty-eight,” he answered.
St. Peter stepped aside and allowed him to pass. Then he turned to the lawyer and said, “Name them.”
Kaylin’s Recommended Reads for April:
* Red Azalea by Anchee Min -This powerful memoir, set in China, tells of growing up during the Cultural Revolution, “where the soul was secondary to the state, beauty was mistrusted, and love could be punishable by death.” A New York Times Notable Book.
* When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka – A nameless Japanese-American family is sent to a Utah internment camp during World War II. Their emotional devastation is revealed in spare, haunting prose that draws the reader into the story.
* Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers – Harriet Vane returns to Oxford University just as a rash of unpleasant incidents occur, including poison pen letters, obscene graffiti, and burning effigies. Harriet, along with her paramour and partner Lord Peter Wimsey, try to find the culprit before the odd events turn deadly.
Kaylin’s Recipe of the Month: Caprese-Style Herbed Strata
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted plus more for greasing pan
* 6 large slices of sturdy bread (about 1/2-inch thick)
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
* 4 large eggs
* 2 cups milk
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Line the bottom of the dish with about 3 slices of bread. You will need to cut some slices to make sure the bottom is entirely covered. Spread half of the sun dried tomatoes and all of the basil on top of the bread. Sprinkle half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining pieces of bread, sun dried tomatoes and cheese.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the bread layers. Gently press down bread to insure that bread is fully submerged. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or even better overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake strata until golden and bubbly, about an hour. Allow dish to sit for 5 minutes before serving. For a Provencal twist, use olive tapenade instead of sun-dried tomatoes. Both are equally good!
So remember … Stay positive. Give happiness away and be sure to recommend Flaherty’s Crossing to everyone you know!
"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within." - William C. Bryant
Hello Readers and Fellow Authors:
With the new year officially in full swing, aside from the blistering, knee-rattling cold, what does February hold in store for us? Here are some fun and interesting holiday facts.
February 1st - National Freedom Day: This day commemorates the signing of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865 by President Lincoln.
February 2nd - Groundhog Day: Each year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, folks gather round to see if the groundhog will see it's shadow and if he does, there will be 42 more days of winter! Brrrr...
February 3rd - Chinese New Year: Red clothing wards away evil spirits and bad fortune. New clothing symbolizes starting the year anew. According to 2011 Year of the Rabbit predictions, many opportunities for communication gaffes are in the offing. Now if we could only understand what this means...
February 14th - Valentine's Day: The U.S. greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making this day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. And be sure to note, out of all the valentines sent, women purchase approximately 85 percent. So now we know who the romantics of the world are...
February 21st - President's Day: This day is set aside to observe and honor Washington's Birthday, the first U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln,and other US Presidents. For most, this is just another day off...
Out of all these holidays, Valentine's Day is, of course, the most celebrated. But does anyone know its true history? The holiday of Saint Valentines Day was originally a day to celebrate two Saint Valentines: Valentine of Rome, and Valentine of Terni - both martyred in the early second and third centuries. Distinction between these two saints no longer exists, but many stories exist explaining the original saint. One such story explains that Valentine (no proof as to which one) was arrested and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II, who tried to get Valentine to convert to roman paganism. Valentine refused and tried to convert the emperor to Christianity. He was then executed, but not before healing his captor's blind daughter.
No romantic association originally existed, but according to modern created legends, Roman Emperor Claudius II made a law stating that all men must remain single. Valentine performed marriage ceremonies for couples secretly anyway. He was eventually discovered and arrested. But before he was killed, he wrote the first valentine to his captor's daughter and his true love, who he had healed. It was signed, “From your Valentine.”
In Ancient Rome, a holiday called Lupercalia was celebrated from February 13th- February 15th, promoting fertility. Some believe that Valentine's Day began as a Christianized version of Lupercalia. In 1400, Paris established the “High Court of Love” on February 14th to protect women. This is believed to be when Valentines day began to be celebrated as a loving day. Interesting?!?
Quote of the Day: (One of my favorites)
"The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough." ~ George Moore
Contest Time! So what's Kaylin got up her sleeve this month?
A chance to win a Free Kindle!! Send your favorite Irish joke, limerick or poem to firstname.lastname@example.org and on March 17th (St. Paddy's Day), the winning entry will receive a free Kindle valued at $189... the perfect wireless reading device to download and enjoy your copy of Flaherty's Crossing.
Kaylin's Recommended Reads for February:
* A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines - When a Cajun farmer is murdered outside the home of an elderly black plantation worker, several other aging black men of the plantation and the white woman who owns it rally around, each claiming to be guilty of the murder.
* Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - A young Jewish American travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.
* The Good Husband by Gail Godwin - Now in her 60s and dying of ovarian cancer, English professor Magda Danvers and her husband befriend another couple, whose marriage is also beset by adversity. Although the subject sounds depressing, this is an uplifting story.
Kaylin's Recipe of the Month: Fresh Lobster Salad
Ingredients (4 Servings)
* 1 pound cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Place the lobster chunks into a medium bowl, and pour the melted butter over. Toss to coat, then stir in mayonnaise and season with black pepper. Cover and chill for 20 minutes before serving.
2. Serve on toasted rolls or croissants. You won't be disappointed!
Note: A delicious treat anytime! A simple lobster salad with butter and just a hint of mayonnaise so that you can still taste the sweet lobster meat. Yum!
So remember ... Stay positive, give happiness away, and be sure to recommend Flaherty's Crossing to everyone you know!
For the past twenty years, Kaylin McFarren has worked in PR and marketing for her family-owned conglomerate, the Yoshida Group, which consists of eighteen diverse corporations. She was appointed as one of nine commissioners to the Oregon Arts Commission by Governor Kitzhaber while working as the director of a nationally-acclaimed art gallery in Portland, Oregon. Kaylin has also served on numerous college and charity foundation boards, and continues her commitment to hospitals and children's causes. For most of her life, she has written poems and short stories, and along with novels, currently writes articles for a syndicated travel magazine. Although Flaherty's Crossing is Kaylin's début novel, it has already garnered numerous awards and received recognition as a 2008 Golden Heart® Finalist.