I hope all of my American friends are enjoying the 4th of July surrounded by the love of family and friends. And I just have to give a shout out to all the soldiers who are in foreign lands away from those who love them so I can enjoy the freedom of celebrating. May God hold each and every one of you in his care until you’re returned safely to the arms of your family.

With that said, I thought I’d share a few Independence Day factoids with you! Have a good one everyone!

1. Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941.

2. Fireworks were made in China as early as the 11th century. The Chinese used their pyrotechnic mixtures for war rockets and explosives.

3. $128,800,000 will be spent importing fireworks from China, representing the bulk of all US imports. By comparison, US exports only 13,500, 000 in fireworks with the bulk going to Germany. (2002)

4. Uncle Sam was first popularized during the War of 1812, when the term appeared on supply containers. Believe it or not, the U. S. Congress didn’t adopt him as a national symbol until 1961.

5. There are many precise rules for taking care of the American flag. And speaking of flag traditions, we’re sorry to report that contrary to legend, historical research has failed to confirm that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag.

6. 125,000 US flags flew over the Capital last year at the request of House and Senate members. On July 4 alone, 1,200 were flown at our nation’s capitol. (From the U.S. Capitol Flag Room.)

7. $272,000,000 were spent on shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation’s manufacturers. (1997)

8. Not all members of the Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate about it. One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.

9. The first two versions of the Liberty Bell were defective and had to be melted down and recast. The third version rang every Fourth of July from 1778 to 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.

10. The National anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner is set to the tune of an English drinking song (“To Anacreon in Heaven”).

11. The iron framework of the Statue of Liberty was devised by French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

12.  More than 66,000,000 Americans said they participated in a barbeque. It’s probably safe to assume a large number of these events took place on the Fourth.

13. Father of the country and architect of independence George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.



This was a fun little Valentine writing exercise. I used a WORD GENERATOR to pick some words that I had to use in a romance story. A roll of the dice and we’re given three characters, mine were a BANKER, A COWBOY, and A BASEBALL PLAYER. I need to work in the adjectives PICKY, FAMOUS and ANGRY. And the whole scene needs to take place in a TAXI CAB. Well, okay, here’s my Valentine’s story writtene especially for my visitors. Please enjoy …

The taxi driver set the gray-haired woman’s two oversized suitcases on the sidewalk of the Plaza hotel and handed the happy chihuahua’s leash to the doorman. She folded two bucks in his hand with a wink and a smile as if the five percent tip were an overpayment. He bent and kissed her on the cheek. “Happy Valentine’s Day Mrs. Bozeman. I hope you enjoy your second honeymoon with your beau.”

A sweet blush crawled up her cheeks. “Forty-seven years ago today Mr. Bozeman asked me to be his girl. Pinned me right there in the hallway before he went on to win the high school state basketball championship.”

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Santa_FullDear Santa,

It appears I’ve done it again. I’ve frittered away the month of December and Christmas has crept up on me like an old pair of panties. 

And I can only hope this letter finds its way into your hands before Rudolph is hitched to your sleigh. You see there’s only one thing I want for Christmas. I’d really like… if it’s not too much trouble… a doover.

It seems like only yesterday it was the week before Thanksgiving and I was thinking “oh, another whole month stretches out ahead of me to enjoy the holiday season”. *Gulp* Where did the month go? I want it back. If you could turn back the clock I promise the second time around I’d use my allotted time more wisely.

I won’t wait until the week before Christmas to start shopping and picking over the clothing racks with only size 0 or 26 left. I’d send out my Christmas gifts in a timely fashion so the man at the post office won’t laugh maniacally at my feeble attempt to get packages to loved ones. I promise to plan my Christmas dinner waaay before the grocery shelves hold only pickles and day old bagles. I’ll not eat so much at the Christmas parties so the cute outfit I bought for Christmas Eve mass will still fit. I promise to keep the house picked up so when unexpected guests arrive to share some holiday cheer, I won’t be scrambling to clear the laundry off the couch and they’ll have a place to sit. I promise to buy tape, ribbon, and wrapping paper right after Thanksgiving and not pull the funnies section of the newspaper out of the recycling so my gifts are covered with something. I promise to put up the tree before Christmas Eve and have it down waaay before Valentine’s Day. I promise to wrap gifts and stack them happily under the tree and not wait until two days before the holiday to think perhaps I should have asked for gift boxes.

So, if I promise to do all these things, Santa… could you just deliver this one little gift. ‘Cause I could really use a “do over” for Christmas. 

Love, Nina

PS Anyone tell you… you’re looking good for a jolly old elf!

You can never have too many sexy men posted on a blog … especially when they’re wearing kilts. Enjoy ladies. 😉

1. The origin of the kilt is hotly debated … somewhere around the 16 or 1700’s depending on who you believe. But there’s no doubt woman are celebrating its introduction to the world!

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To a scientist, being tagged means a little orange clip on one’s ear or a critter-cam on one’s back. Since I didn’t wake up with either of those this morning, I’m going with the child’s version of tag… and I guess now I’m IT! Which now means I have to dig deep into who I am and tell you seven little known facts about me. Okay, I don’t have to dig so deep, but perhaps there’s something new here you didn’t know … 

I’m not going to point fingers at the person who tagged me, but you know who you are. And I know for a fact you giggled maniacally as you added me to your list of victims, errr … taggetts. (Yes, that’s a word, look it up in the official Nina dictionary.) 

The rules are simple:
* List seven things about yourself

* Link to the blog of the person who tagged you (but I’m nice and I’m not going to “out” her).

* Tag seven new unsuspecting victims, um… friends and list their links on your blog. (And once again, I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you’d like to pick up the challenge … consider yourself tagged!)

**** (Oh, and no tag backs… I added that one myself… ’cause I’m clever that way! *g*)

So here goes:
1. I’ve been with my guy for 36 years. Stop laughing, I’m still a young sexy thing… we started dating when I was 2 and married when I was 10!

2. I’ve lived in Maine most of my life with short stints in Rhode Island and New York. And though my heart will always consider Maine home, I’m happy to be living out of its cold winters.

3. I graduated Summa Cum Laude as the valedictorian of my college class with a degree in Marine Biology.

4. I love water. Feel at home swimming in the ocean, canoeing a lake or rafting a mountain stream. Living away from it has been difficult for me and in the next phase of my life I’m going to live very near a body of water.

5. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about 20 years ago. It’s an icky disease that seems to do what it wants, attack unnanounced and wreak havok on my body. Fortunately for me, though I did have to give up my teaching job, I am still somewhat mobile. And it moved me into the realm of writing… not a bad trade off!

6. I am a sun worshipper. I love all locations warm and sunny. I’ve visited the Virgin Islands and Hawaii as well as Florida of course. I still haven’t made it to the west coast and I do believe it’s God’s odd sense of humor that I lived most of my adult life in the artic north of Maine.

7. I’ve always wanted to be an actress. I was involved in drama when I was in high school and there was nothing more exciting for me than being on stage with all those people watching. (Hence the whole career in teaching… nothing better than 20 people held captive for an hour!) But my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired. I only sing solo… so low no one has to suffer through it! But I envy those children of actors who sort of just move into that profession.

Okay, I’ve beared my soul. How about sharing a couple of things about you too!

I love the olympics. I watch them with a box of tissues beside me because inevitably I ball my eyes out when someone … anyone … does something like break a world record or competes with a broken foot or gets the first ever gold medal for their country. Or when they show an athlete’s parents cheering them on (like Michael Phelps’ mother.) Or the year athletes from Russia and Georgia hugged and shared the podium proving sports isn’t about politics. Okay … I’m crying again.

I’m listing thirteen sports. Only ten are actual Olympic competitions. Can you pick out the three that aren’t currently on the official 2012 Olympic program?

I’ll post the answeres on Wednesday if you’re really curious stop by. So here’s the list. Which 3 don’t belong? (Okay, and no fair googling before you answer.)

1. Women’s Badmitton
A racquet sport played on a small, rectangular court, divided in half by a net. A projectile called a shuttlecock is hit back and forth over the net until the shuttlecock hits the ground.

2. Men’s LaCrosse
Two teams of eleven hit and pass a ball around a field and try to knock the ball into their opponent’s goal.

3. Golf
A player uses different types of clubs to hit a ball into a hole in the lowest number of strokes as possible.

4. Men’s Table Tennis
Two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth, on a hard table, divided by a net. The ball may only bounce on the table one time,
and may not leave the table. A point is scored when a player fails to return a ball, or hits a ball out of bounds.

5. Sychronized Trampoline
Competitors must do combinations of twists, turns and shapes while bouncing on a trampoline.

6. Tug of War
Two teams pull on opposite ends of a rope in a test of strength.

7. Women’s Handball
Two teams of seven pass and bounce a ball around a field or court, and try to throw the ball into their opponent’s goal.

8. Men’s Field Hockey
Two teams of eleven hit and pass a ball around a field and try to knock the ball into their opponent’s goal.

9. Team Archery
Shooting an arrow with a crossbow. The archers stand 70m away from a target that is 1.22m in diameter (IOC).

10. Women’s Water Polo
Two teams of seven compete against each other in a pool. The object is to advance the ball down the pool and score a goal in the opponent’s goal.

11. Sychronized Diving
Swimmers perform acrobatics side-by-side while jumping into the water off of a platform or a springboard.

12. Taekwondo
A Korean martial art. In the Olympics, only sparring is allowed, which is a relatively “free form” type of fighting. Two fighters bout in three,
two-minute rounds, with 30-second breaks in between each round. Points are awarded for legal, accurate technique.

13. Men’s Synchronized Swimming
Swimmers perfom a synchronised routine of acrobatic/dance moves in the water, usually accompanied by music.

So What do you think? Which sports aren’t listed in the official 2012 olympic program?

I love summer. More than anything, I love getting together with my very large family. Eventually you’ve got to offer them more than a blender full of margaritas and coolers overflowing with microbreweries. And there are only so many hamburgers and hotdogs a family can consume between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

So, if you’re looking for something easy that can be prepared ahead of time AND will fit everyone’s individual tastes, I’ve got a great recipe for you. Even better, this meal is done completely on the grill.


You’ll need:
Enough pita bread for each person to have one or two pizzas
Shredded mozzarella cheese
White pizza sauce (alfredo is yummy)
Red pizza sauce
(2-3 tablespoons sauce for each pizza)

Meat toppings:
Left over chicken (from yesterdays BBQ)
Cooked Sausage
Cooked Bacon

Cooked Mushrooms


Prepare all toppings ahead of time (or in my case get the nephews and nieces to cut them all up while they’re sitting around chatting) and put in individual bowls. Set everything out buffet style. Give each person a whole pita on a paperplate. Cover with 2-3 tablespoons of red or white sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Let each person work their way down the buffet, building their own pizza with individual toppings.

Place on a medium-high grill for 5-10 minutes until cheese melts. Eat them while their hot.

If you want to add a side dish without much work put corn-on-the-cob directly on the grill IN their husks (keeps corn moist). Rotate corn as it cooks 15-20 minutes. Try mayo, lime zest and cayenne pepper for toppings instead of butter and salt.

So, I hope you’ve got something fun planned for the weekend. Me? I’m finally taking some quiet time alone to finish book that should have been written months ago. Enjoy!

I had an unexpected death in my extended family. My brother’s mother-in-law. Only, since he married the girl next door … literally … this woman is also a dear friend from my youth. It’s a sad time for our family and for that matter, the whole community where we grew up.

So as I’m traveling to celebrate this wonderful woman’s life, I didn’t have time to write a new blog post so here’s one of my favorite lists from the first summer I had the blog. This is a list of my favorite entries from that year’s Washington Post Mensa Invitational. Entrants were asked to take any word from the dictionary and alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and then supply a new definition.

Here’s a list of my favorites from those winners. (Read carefully only one letter is changed):

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer,unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

5. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

6. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

7. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s, like, a serious bummer.

8. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

 9. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

10. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

11. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

12. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

And the #1 pick:

13. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

There are stories in every marriage that get told over and over again. This is one of those classics that Mr. Nina and I still laugh about … well, he laughs and I give him the hairy wife-eye! Anyway, this happened four years ago this weekend and I just thought it was worth sharing again. Enjoy …

Okay, so Baby Girl goes off to work, Little Boy Blue hops on the bus for a basketball game and DH asks… wait for it… “wanna go snowmobiling?” Not what I was expecting, but heck, we just got another foot of snow, it’s above 10 degrees F and the sun is shining. I figure what the heck. We’ve gone around and around about how much I enjoy staying on the trails and if he could please follow the map, I might enjoy myself.

Sure. Sure. No Problem.

First… (and this is where I should have jumped off the sled, thrown down my gloves, and stamped back into the house… obviously I didn’t) First, he’d like to swing over to a buddy’s camp and check out what he’s up to.

“Is it waaay off the beaten path?” He can see I’m ready to bolt. I’m not really interested in breaking new trails in the middle of the northern Maine woods–again.

He laughs. “Now honey. Would I do that to you after our last ride?” At which point he jumps on the sled, sending us hurtling into our next adventure. 

My first inkling that something had gone wrong was our trip down a very long road a couple towns over. Now, the police are pretty lenient here. You can cross the road, you can even travel a short distance on a road to get to the trail, but the law clearly states a sled may not use the road as a throughway. Fifteen minutes at 50 mph (you do the math) and we’re still on a major road, I’m thinking something’s wrong. But hey, if the cops stop us… it’s his license and being lost in civilization works for me.

Why I didn’t ask him to turn around at that point is beyond me. I knew, I mean, I knew nothing good was going come of this. Finally he turns off the road into the woods. I’m not freaked yet, he’s not going through fresh powder, at least one sled has come this way. Besides I’ve been to this guy’s camp… it’s nice… lots of well groomed trails. But then the trees close in on us. The sled’s wobbling here and there, but I’m not panicked. DH has assured me he can control the sled. I worry too much.

But then we’re really dragged off the trail. He compensates, only to be pulled the other way. I’m not panicking, he’s only dumped me once. (Off a snowbank in front of people coming out of church… but hey we managed that unscathed.) So as the sled continues to bounce from side to side I keep thinking he’s going to pull out of it.


Next thing I know I’m being dragged off the sled as it catapults forward on its side. My foot is caught under the sled and for a moment I worry about refracturing my pelvis. But then all is still. DH hits the kill switch and tells me to get up! Now! Did I mention I have MS? Even under the best conditions nothing about my body moves fast. So he hauls my butt up and out of the brook we and the machine are laying in. A brook! The song “Islands in the Stream” took on a whole new meaning at that point.

Now, trust me when I tell you that gurgling mountain brooks are only pretty in the summer or on video tape. Seeing water running through the engine of the only thing transporting you out of the middle of hell nowhere is a little frightening even for the hardiest souls. Undaunted, DH manages to get all three of us at least out of the water. But now there is a brook and a 3 foot drop between the sled and the trail.

This is so not looking good.

“How far from the camp are we?” I ask, realizing there is no way I can walk.

“Between 1 and 4 miles.”

“You’re not leaving me here alone.”

“If you think I’m dragging your cute butt down this trail, you’re sadly mistaken. I can go faster alone.”

“At least leave me the cell phone.” I say, knowing there are no towers and it probably wouldn’t work anyway, but it might give me some comfort.   

“I didn’t bring it. Really. It won’t be long. Sit here in the trail. You’ll be fine.” And he turns and walks away.

Have you heard silence? Because snow is an insulator and it swallows all sound. There’s an eerie stillness in the middle of nowhere.

This quiet allows my vivid imagination to conjur up all sorts of wild stories. Not the least of which is the lead anchor of the local news cast reporting on the corpse of local author found frozen to the seat of her snowmobile mired in mud. 

So I sit and wait. Trying to remember all the stages of hypothermia. No, I’m not shivering, yes my fingers still move. And I wait some more wondering if I should start walking. (Mind you, I can barely get myself standing from this sitting position in the snow… but perhaps I should just give it a try.)

Then I hear another sled. And there they are, my knight in shining armor… and the @$$hole of a husband that told me we’d go for an uneventful ride.

Lots of lifting and maneuvering of a 650 pound snowmobile and some digging with a shovel and they had the machine back on the trail. I chose to ride with my knight and left DH to find his own way back to the camp.

Since many people are still riding a Christmas overload (and I’m actually still vacationing in Maine with family … don’t you love scheduling blogs?), I thought I’d take this week to share a little more about me. (Like you didn’t already know more about me than you ever needed to know. 😉 )

So here’s six more random facts about Nina that I hope you find interesting or perhaps a little amusing…

1) I love the sound of my own voice. I can talk about anything — for a very long period of time. I once won a bet that I couldn’t talk nonstop for a complete roadtrip from Maine to Connecticut (a 4 hour drive)… did I mention I won? Mr. Nina has never dared me to talk for a specific amount of time!

My mother told me when I was growing up she had to keep reminding herself to “tune back in” to my jabber because I might actually say something important.

Yep, I do love to talk… I’m sorry, did you say something?

2) I’m a bit of a daredevil. I’ve been solo skydiving. Yep, I stepped off the wing strut of a perfectly good plane and trusted the parachute would open with the fall. It did and it was one of the most exciting things I’ve done. I’ve also been in a hotair balloon, took a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon and ridden an innertube down a river, including over a busted dam. That was an interesting day!

I’d still like to do a freefall sky dive tandem and go white water rafting down the Colorado river.

3) I really admire George Plimpton. You never heard of him? Most people haven’t. I’m going to reveal my age when I tell you I watched George Plimpton as I was growing up. The man was an author who believed the best way to write about something was to experience it first hand. He has been a bullfighter, an orchestra conductor, a trapeze artist (my personal favorite) a baseball and football player, a boxer, a circus performer and a tennis pro. I had the thrill of listening to him speak when he came to the university I attended. I dragged a good friend who had no idea who he was and wanted to hide under the chair when I kept asking him questions.

4) Referring to the above, I’ve always kept my employment opportunities open. I’ve had no less than 50 different jobs since I started working at 15. My least favorites include: janitor in a girl’s dormitory, working alone in a mortgage office, and substitute teaching in middle school. I think my all time favorite had to be the summer I spent on an island off the coast of Maine as a camp counselor. Looking back, I can’t imagine how those parents let three college aged woman ferry their 5th, 6th, and 7th graders out to the island by canoe (along with all the food and camping gear for 20 people) for 4 days. I was too young and stupid to realize what kind of responsibility I had!

5) English was one of my worst subjects in both high school and college.

6) If I could be anything (education or talent aside) I would like to be a stand up comedian or a singer in a band. I’d love to be able to perform in front of all those people and help them forget about their lives for a couple of hours. I’d love nothing more to leave them with smiles and feeling really good. (And the picture below has nothing to do with anything, except this is boxing day and people are returning all those unwanted gifts … and I definitely wouldn’t return this guy!)

I’d love to hear an interesting fact about you … ah, come on, share!