Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Let's Go To A Tiny Italian Farm Where Mozzarella Is Made

The roads in remote areas of Italy are very narrow. Our travel bus barely fit on a few. The driver didn't even attempt to drive the bus on others. To visit this farm, he dropped us off at the top of the hill. We walked down a small road to the driveway then farther down to this farm. Now I see why they have such tiny cars.

Along the driveway is this huge garden. Roma tomatoes!

I wish my garden looked this lovely. The animals roam free. Such a fun place to be!

Every inch of this property is used to raise income.

Our hosts live here. In a corner of the lower level they crush grapes for wine. It is very dark down there.

Through a vineyard a distance away, we walk to this family's restaurant. It is a cozy room with round tables for diners and an open kitchen.

Next to the restaurant, is an outdoor classroom. We sat on benches and watched the grandmother make mozzerella using waterbuffalo milk.

She did not speak English. She didn't speak to us at all, but her daughter explained the steps.

How her mother began with milk

And ended up with fresh mozzerella in about thirty minutes

She set the cheese on the table along with fresh pizza dough

 She invited us to make our own Marguerite pizzas using the freshly made ingredients, We have Marguerite pizzas here in America, but not ones that taste THIS good!

Last, the pizzas are removed from the oven, cooked to perfection. This truly is the best pizza e-ver.

Last week I showed a cover reveal for my new Christmas Mystery Book: Sylvia's Secret. I ran into a few difficulties and so redesigned the full cover. What do you think?

This mystery is due to release in October! Go ahead a read the back cover copy. :)

Tell your friends about our travels. Everyone is invited to go along with us. Today was Italy, next time....

This post has been brought to you by: DeliciousWaterbuffaloMozzerella

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

How Goldenrod Affected Lighthouses

A reminder for all who read my Let's Talk blog, Blending Sites and Storytelling is the new look and new name. I look forward to seeing you here each week and reading your responses. Feel free to share what you also know. 

I'm not an expert, but I am easily intrigued by crazy things like how nature can have a power play over a lighthouse.

I'll show you. 
(All photos below were taken by me.)

Taken in Gay, Michigan, Upper Pennindula
 at a copper stamping ruin

The goldenrod is a rascal of a plant. 

Beautiful. Lacy. A brilliant shade of gold shining in the sun. 

Unfortunately many people are allergic to it. My own daughter becomes weapy every fall over the appearance of this flower. Tears flow as if she had cried during the taking of her school pictures in goldenrod season. We laugh when we look back at them.

Ludington, Michigan Lighthouse

Besides allergies, golden rod inadvertantly causes another problem.

From 1825 to 1983 lighthouse keepers lived in the lighthouses with the charge to keep the light burning for ships.

Whole families lived in some of these. Schooling their children. Washing clothes. Cooking food.

Pier walkway leading out to Ludington's lighthouse

Due to nature of the job, lighthouses are located in extremely remote areas. Some accessible only by boat.

The residents had no neighbors. The structure could never be left unattended. In some cases, supplies had to be delivered by boat.

Lake Michigan

Solitude struck hard in the long winters during a time when cell phones and the internet had not yet been available. Even today cell coverage is not available at some lighthouses.

So, how did the goldenrod create problems for lighthouses?

Little Sable Poin

The lightkeeper's wives especially notice the goldenrod in full bloom. They called it the last blooming flower of summer. It was the yellow flag. The warning. Winter. A terribly, long winter would be there soon.

Among the many stories written about and by lighthouse residents are the ones telling about the goldenrod, so powerful was its affect on the keepers of the light.

Somehow the lighthouse keepers and their family found ways to play and live in these circumstances. Truly amazing.

Have you walked through a lighthouse or visited the grounds? Which one did you see?

Friday, August 30, 2019

Reboot and Refresh

Mary Vee's blog has a new name and a new look.

I thought about what I write, what I post on social media and even what articles I prefer to write here on this blog. 

The bottom line is, I like to see our world. Big. Small. Rural. Woods. City. You name it. My extended family has a cabin where family members like to vacation every year. One said, isn't it nice to sit back and listen to the water? Sure. But not in one place. I haven't seen the Indian Ocean, but I've seen the Pacific, Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, and others. The Creator has made a world filled with variety. This is what I want to share with you.

As a writer, I use pieces of these amazing places in my stories. I also post here, on social media, and in my newsletter opening readers eyes to amazing places.

I'm so excited to invite you for a walk in the woods, a ride up the Eiffel Tower, climb the Alps, sail on a pirate ship and so much more. 

Become a follower of this blog to receive weekly posts in your email.

To start, let's go to: New York City

New York City us a thrilling vibrant city. My family and I packed so much into a few days. Today I am sharing one aspect. I'll take you back again sometime in the future. 

I never had a problem with theft, but we were cautious. 

We did get lost :) A wonderful Chinese woman detected we had a problem and, with her very broken English, offered to show us how to use the subway. Five levels down! This rural gal (me) was amazed at the underground transportation. I was so thankful for her kindness.

Would I go again? In a heartbeat!

Central Park, NYC
Photo by Mary Vee

A great place to escape the noise, cars, and epic rush of the city is Central Park. I understand many find the park unsafe at night, but during the day, a few moments here with a picnic lunch sure refreshed the spirit.

Photo by Mary Vee

Tall buildings are in every view. When you live in an area that boasts ten-story buildings, a visit to NYC will leave you gobsmacked.

A view from Central Park. 

NYC boasts all the latest fasions.
Photo by Mary Vee

I became an expert window shopper in NYC. Bloomingdales, Prada, so many notable fashion stores. Just walking inside can be a treat.

Streets of NYC
Photo by Mary Vee

Where there is time, a carriage ride through a jungle of skyscrapers can be quite nice. Don't forget your umbrella or coat. Maybe some bread for the birds. 

NYC specialty shops
Photo by Mary Vee

NYC offers a great variety of whatever you want to purchase. Just as I expected, the trip to the stores proved much nicer than shopping on line.

This is only a taste of shopping. There is so much more to the city. We'll visit other notable places in the city sometime in the future.

NYC is the setting for two of my books.


Daring to Live takes place in a train station similar to Grand Central Station. This military/suspense story focuses on survival and finding the will to live. The story is on sale this Labor Day weekend.


Sylvia's Secret is a Christmas story. Sylvia is missing. Her daughter calls Detective Carhill, a man who promises to solve crimes fast and keep the story out of the papers. Everything an elite family needs when a crisis hits.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Something So Simple. Yet So Difficult

Last week, the director of the Literacy Council in my county asked me to tutor a single mom who wants to pass the GED.

My first thought: How awesome is that. She wants to pass the GED. Good for her. Of course I want to help.

The director then said, the woman needs help in math.

My first thought: how hard can it be? I taught third grade math.

Are you laughing? I would too...if it wasn't me.

I researched the GED test (which I have never taken) to find out the highest level of math tested and rolled up my sleeves. 

Our family room library has LOTS of books. Some from my college years. I dragged out the math books and chose one for review. Last night, problem 16 threw me for a loop. 

My gift is tenacity. Incredible, nothing can distract me from whatever is plaguing my mind until it is solved tenacity.

Problem 16 was the age old, two consecutive numbers problem. This particular question wanted even integers only and the product had to equal 288. All I needed was the set up. Solving would be easy. I went to bed thinking about problem 16.

I woke thinking about problem 16.

I showered, dressed, made and ate breakfast thinking about problem 16.


YES, the answer came. X(X+2)-288 = 0 All you math persons are nodding. Of course. 

One minute later I had the answer: 16 and 18. 

I felt like I'd won a gold medal when checking the back of the book for the answer.

Something so simple. Yet so difficult.

This experience was exactly what I needed before meeting my tutoring client this Friday. It placed me in her shoes and will hopefully help me to be a better tutor for her.

Header Photofor today's post was made in Canva

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: TutorAndHelpOthers

The next issue of my Never Give Up Stories
Newsletter goes out September 15th
Sign-up Today!
In my newsletter, readers take a virtual trip to various places. No bug spray. No snow or rain. No packing. No passport. Explore something new in each letter! Sign up today at http://eepurl.com/dITkz5

Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary and chat on Facebook or Twitter

Photo to the left was taken at the top of the Eiffel, Paris, France.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Scavenger Hunt-Hidden Treasures-Summer Idea

Here is a fun summer idea for any number of persons. 

Go on a city scanvenger hunt. Choose one or more unusual items, google all the venders that typically have that item and hop in your car or on your bicycle.

The day was Monday, hubby's and my anniversary.

We had an unusual cake for our wedding. One that had to be specially ordered. It was banana nut.

We've asked bakeries if they made the cake for years. The answer is no.

So, we set out with a list of twenty bakeries that took us to parts of our city we hadn't visited.

Many were the old parts of town with brick roads. 

The interior walls separating stores are still the exposed brick.

Workers at the bakeries recommended other bakeries not on our list, so we added them.

We walked tree lined streets. Met people sitting outside shops reading newspapers. The original kind. Ink on paper. And found many shops that we will visit next time.

Look at the cool antique cookie jars on the upper shelf.

Of course we stopped in a used bookseller. Isn't it wonderful Can you smell the dust on the books and hear the clock ticking? I love this store.

Two days later, my daughter had some free time. We drove into the city, parked the car, and had a wonderful time in this store alone. It has a few less books, and our wallet is a little lighter, but it sure was worth the trip.

What city is near you? Perhaps there are interesting sections you haven't visited yet. 

This post has been brought to you by the one word: HiddenTreasures

 The Link for my books is: Mary Vee Books

*If you would like to see patriotism on American soil and how they help those in need read Daring to Live.
*If you would like a Rocky Mountain vs Chicago --McCoy vs Hatfield story read Christmas with the Enemy
*If you enjoy fantasy, adventure, quest read Fire and Thorn
*If you would like a short novella how a community comes together to help one in need read Anders' Redemption

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Those Who Became Naturalized Citizens This Week

The final step in the long process to become an American citizen is taking the oath. A ceremony is scheduled for a large group of applicants to take this final step together.

This week, seventy individuals from fifty countries dressed in their best and brought their friends and family to the event.

The Gerald R Ford presidential auditorium was filled to capacity with several individuals standing in the back.

I went to support a dear Guatemalan friend.

Unlike the movies, the seventy enthusiastically stood for the anthem and boldly sang, spoke the pledge of allegiance, and waved handheld flags during the ceremony. 

The presiding judge said they had the freedom to walk up to the platform to accept their naturalization paperwork or remain in their seats to have the papers brought to them. All seventy individuals, including a man who could barely walk, stood when his or her name was called as though winning an Oscar or an Olympic gold medal. They proudly walked the ramp to the platform, smiling and waving their flag, shook the judge's hand, and proudly carried their papers across the platform and back to their seat. 

Their joy knew no bounds.

Sure would be nice if everyone had a chance to attend one of these ceremonies. 

The newly naturalized citizens cheered when the judge said, "Welcome home." 


This post has been brought to you by the one word: Citizens

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Amazing New App That Lets Us Help The Blind

Technological advances have come a long way to help those who are visually impaired. Those devices are used only by the individual, which is great.

The Be My Eyes app won two awards for technology in 2018 and they need our help.

Say this individual goes to the store and the items have been moved or a new item has been introduced. He or she is unsure which to buy.

This new app lets them connect with a volunteer at a moment's notice. They turn their phone screen to the store products and ask their question. Perhaps they might say, "Which one is ... brand." 

The price is great. The app is free.

My daughter has signed up for this app. She is excited to have her first opportunity to help someone.

Here is the link for the explanation of the app. The link will direct you to FB:  Be My Eyes - Helping the Blind 


You can go to the app store and find the app on your own.

What I like about this idea is it gives me the opportunity to help someone in a very practical way. If I am available, I answer my phone. I listen to the question and do my best to help. That simple.

I should mention that over a million have signed up to volunteer which shows it success already. Does this mean you aren't needed? No. That one minute when someone needs help they might call you.

So, what do you think? 

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: HelpingTheVisuallyImpaired