Archive | December, 2011

Mama Says #13

Olivia Newport Mom and Tag

Bugs. Who needs them, at least inside the house? Especially not in the silverware drawer. My mom had an infestation of some sort. The exterminator came and took care of things, and she was in the phase of “Let me know if you see any more.” Well, she did see a few. Her response? “Whap! […]

Do You Want to Be in the Movies?

Olivia Newport Sunset and Sails

  Don’t you love how the leaves twirl in the movies? You know what I mean. The camera fades out of a poignant scene, and when the screen comes to life again, it’s a tight shot on a pile of leaves that stir and suddenly rise like Ezekiel’s bones. Or it might be the snowfall […]

I Remember Christmas

Olivia Newport Christmas Star

The family photo album shows me in my feetsie pajamas enamored of a pink cardboard kitchen set. Christmas morning, and I grinned at the camera. I remember the photo more than I actually remember the day. (But I do remember loving that pink kitchen.) When I was ten, I made a list. Probably this was […]

Mama Says #12:

Olivia Newport Mom and Tag

In south Florida in the middle of August, it’s hot. It’s hot in the morning, it’s hot in the afternoon, it’s hot in the evening. Overnight it cools down to what we call hot in Colorado. People don’t tend to sit around outside. Late one evening during my visit, Mom looked out the front door […]

A Victorian Christmas on Prairie Avenue

Olivia Newport Glessner House Museum Christmas 2011

Four days till Christmas. Are you rrrready? I’ve mentioned before that I had a terrific research partner while I was writing the stories for the Avenue of Dreams series. Stephen Reginald is a docent for the Glessner House Museum on Prairie Avenue in Chicago. The museum does an elaborate rendering of Christmas at the Glessner […]

Best Christmas Concert of the Year

Olivia Newport King's College Lessons and Carols

How many Christmas concerts or special services have you been to this year? I went to two, which is pretty typical for me. The first was a low-key, small crowd sort of thing, with a single performer on a piano in a mismatched venue that made the crowd look paltry. (It did not help that […]

Mama Says #11

Mom and Tag - Olivia Newport

My mom named her dog “Tagalong,” Tag for short, because since the moment she adopted him he has had trouble differentiating himself from her. Wherever she is, that’s where Tag is. Actually, he’s gotten a little bossy about telling her where she is supposed to be. He sleeps a lot. One evening Mom was on […]

How to Become an Author

Olivia Newport stack of books

“I want to be an author for my career.” Mind you, I’d only met this nine-year-old boy a few minutes earlier and he had no idea what I do. But we shared an aspiration, and he was the proverbial breath of fresh air for me that evening. He just loves books so much that he […]

Christmas in July. And December

Olivia Newport Christmas Craft

Years ago, I lived in a town with limited employment opportunities. A woman in our church caught me working on a quilt, discovered I was capable of sewing wearable garments (not any more!), and offered me a job. She was the manager of fabric store, part of a national chain. Retail work seemed like a […]

Mama Says #10

Olivia Newport Mom and Tag

My family roots are in the Chicago area. My mom has lived other places as well, but most of them involved cold winters. A couple of years ago, facing the onset of about her fiftieth Chicago December, she’d had enough and moved to Florida. She lives a leisurely, relaxed—and warm—life (and deserves every minute of […]