Adult Coloring Books: Color Your Dreams

It’s hard to avoid the adult coloring book craze. They’re prominently displayed by the checkout counters of every grocery, drug and big box store I enter, though I haven’t personally seen anyone buy any as usually they’re too busy looking at their phones or unloading their carts.

Thanks to Scottish author, Johanna Basford, the industry has taken off. Her 2013 title, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book became an instant bestseller and spurred others to join the publishing bonanza. And the news industry hasn’t ignored the fad, writing about its success and giving advice on how to produce your best effort.   “An estimated 12 million adult coloring books sold in the U.S last year, up from 1 million in 2014.”

Adults are coloring to relieve stress, relive their childhoods, or to keep their hands busy when phones aren’t allowed, like doctors’ waiting rooms. (I knit).

We had one son and his family visiting us at our lake in PA these past 5 days. My brother and my niece joined us. Dasha,  an accomplished artist, shared some of her drawing techniques with the kids.  IMG_1511

They prefer to draw “outside the lines,”  and don’t seem that eager to color in books. I know my kids had coloring books at times but don’t think they ever loved them much. Free style doodling and painting led to many artistic works that were hung on refrigerators, sent to grandparents, and framed for posterity to hang on our walls.

Yet far be it from me to chastise a harmless hobby. So here’s a new adult coloring book created by illustrator Ryan Durney. He’s a master at fantastical drawings and produced

Color Your Dreams: Adult Coloring & Dream Journal Unknown-1 after spending months fulfilling orders for commercial adult coloring books. I met Ryan through the and contracted with him to illustrate my soon-to-be announced picture book, Clara & Her Nutcracker.  9781522752509_p0_v1_s192x300

Please check out Color Your Dreams if you’re an adult into coloring.

And if you’re into anything Nutcracker, please check out Clara & Her Nutcracker!

In the meantime, I found this cartoon amusing:







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Cleaning Out: Goodbye Cello, Sax & Oboe

“Do you think you’ll want your cello?” I asked my son many months ago. Apartment living, graduate school, working and four small children didn’t allow much space or time for music.

The local high school happily accepted my donation. I added a saxophone and oboe my daughter had played, and bags of sheet music, boxes of reeds, and other accessories accumulated over the years of participation in school band and orchestra.

Culling through the stacks of music, glancing at tattered notebooks from various teachers, I remembered the many hours spent driving to lessons, bringing forgotten instruments to school, and the many concerts we proudly attended every winter and spring.

Our children took piano lessons  and each one selected a a band instrument in 4th grade. Our eldest played bass clarinet, which he still has and picks up for fun now and then.   Through the music programs, we joined a community at the high school and town. Our sons participated in marching band all four years of high school and we attended not only football games to cheer them on but also competitions in far-flung corners of the state, joining other parents clanging cowbells and other noisemakers when our team took the field.

Our cello- playing son moved to Israel last week. He and his wife brought his trumpet and her saxophone, but said no to the cello. Hopefully they’ll find some time to make music in their new home.

We unloaded the car and carried the instruments into the band room, leaving them against a wall with other instruments awaiting students when school opens. New fingers will play these instruments; other families will take pride in their children’s musical prowess.

I did however keep one of my daughter’s oboes. I’d called her former teacher and asked if she taught adults. I can read music, having taken piano, but have always wanted to be in a band. There are many community orchestras nearby and I’m hoping I can get good enough to join one day.

Stay tuned.




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…”a very, very, nice, long vacation.”…

Wise words from my friend, Millie, aka hugmamma.

hugmamma's MIND, BODY and SOUL

Image result for donald trump golfing images(photo…

…that’s what Donald Trump wants. That’s what he says he’ll do if he doesn’t win. In this case I, for one, would love to give the man what he wants.

Trump rightfully deserves to be put out to graze. No one has worked harder at distorting the truth than The Donald himself. God bless him. He didn’teven break a sweat in his Goliath undertaking, unlike Marco Rubio who was drenched in his own sweat according to Trump.

Trump is to be admired for driving his own brand of rhetoric that had him circling roundabouts of his own making that had the experts tied up in knots, stumbling over their own tongues.

The presidential candidate will go down in history as having done it “his way” all the way. Move over Sinatra, Trump can sing those lyrics better than you any day of the week…and some.

If I had…

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Acupunture at the Norman Bethune Hospital

Mom remembers watching surgeries in China.


In January, 1975, the National Guardian newspaper, a radical, independent weekly and the Chinese government sponsored a three week tour for American farmers. My husband Marty and I were excited to be invited.

We travelled through six major cities and their surrounding areas, tasting every aspect of Chinese life, as guests of the Chinese government. There were twenty-two in our party, including our coordinator from the United States. Two or three translator/guides accompanied us throughout our travels in China. In each of the regions we visited, local officials joined us to enlighten us about their work, and the history and culture of each site.

One of the most memorable events of the tour was the visit to the Norman Bethune Hospital in Shih Chia Chuang. Dr. Norman Bethune, a thoracic surgeon from Montreal, relinquished his privileges at state of the art hospitals in Canada in 1939 to establish the hospital in Shih…

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Let’s call it what it is

More wisdom from my friend Dr. Judy Washington.

A Family Doctor's Reflection

What a few months we have had!!! It has been a busy few months.  I  had the opportunity to hear Dr. Camara Jones who is the president American Public Health Association.  If you have never heard her, please view this TEDxEmory Talk Allegories on Racism. Dr. Jones addresses the three levels of racism: institutionalized, personally mediated, and internalized.  I had to reflect on my personal experience and how I could stop and confront racism.  Dr. Jones talks about being on a conveyor belt and just moving forward without ever addressing these issues. She urges us to turn around and look.  Then we must stop and confront racism. Throughout my professional career, racism has been evident and has decreased access to health care for my patients and opportunities for my own professional advancement.

Academic Medicine has less than 2 % representation by Underrepresented Minorities(URM).  The overall number of URM students in medical school is…

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Being a Mentor

My friend Dr. Judy Washington. Saving lives every day.

A Family Doctor's Reflection

I look back over my career and realize something very important. Every patient I cared for, every position I held and every time I had the courage to change my location provided an opportunity for my professional and personal growth. There were painful moments of uncertainty and regret but they gave me strength and determination. It was really the colleagues I worked with that in their small ways lifted me beyond those difficult moments and allowed me to develop my clinical skills.

When I started in academic Family Medicine in 1996, there were so few African-American and Latino educators in Family Medicine. Unfortunately, that is still true but for those of us who are there, we are committed to the next generation. Those pioneers that I met are still paving the way for me and others through their work.  I have been fortunate to have those mentors call upon me…

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Object Lesson: Plagiarism is WRONG


You’d have to be mole not have heard or read about how Melania Trump plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Melania’s quickly become the butt of many jokes, including, “I want to thank my speech writers, Cut & Paste.”

As a teacher and journalist, I take the issue of plagiarism very seriously. I taught my students how to write in their own words and follow the practice meticulously as a writer. College students must sign ethic statements vowing academic integrity and must use on-line programs to verify that their work is their own. Plagiarism or cheating, can result in expulsion from school.

Academics, including some prominent historians have been accused of plagiarism and have had to apologize, diminishing their  credibility.

Yet, here’s the wife of the presumed Republican nominee, engaging in outright plagiarism in a national forum. She and her writers  should be ashamed.

Let’s take this as another example of how careless and dangerous this potential leader could be. Here’s one of my favorite reminders:

Let’s not be complacent. Get out the Vote.



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