Thank You To Readers Of This Blog


book shelves book stack bookcase books

(Photo by Pixabay on

As this disturbing and often terrible year is approaching its end, I have been thinking about what I am thankful for. One such thing that I am deeply grateful for are my readers on this blog. You are a disparate group, but you are also unfailingly intelligent, kind, and civil. I have also made several friendships here with people who live far away, and I am deeply grateful for those connections.

To all my blog followers:

Thank you!

Charles F. French

thank you signage

(Photo by on

Look Who Came to Play Today~


Enjoy these beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Cindy Knoke

A burrowing owl,

at his Salton Sea home in California.

He stayed out for his modeling shoot,

and didn’t fly off or run into his burrow.

He was definitely ready for his close-ups!

Burrowing owls (athene cunicularia hypugaea) are a California species of special concern and are listed as endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico due to excessive development and habitat loss.

This is his Salton Sea home.

Cheers to you from Southern California’s sociable burrowing owl~

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Preschoolers, Christmas Emotions, and ‘Gloria’


Please read this wonderful lesson from the excellent teacher, Jennie!

A Teacher's Reflections

The emotional roller coaster of preschoolers is in full swing at Christmastime.  Tears, yelling, hitting, not sharing – it all surfaces at this time.   I’m there to help them navigate the waters and make things right.  In the end, children ‘move on’, quickly.  I am convinced the source of ‘Forgive and Forget’ must have been founded with young children.

Here is a classic example of how it goes:

A child is crying, wailing, on the playground.  This is a child who never cries, so it must be important.

“What happened?”

“She hit me with the shovel.”

It was a hard hit.  Did I reprimand the aggressor?  No.

I looked to make sure the victim was okay, but first I made sure the aggressor was there beside me, watching and listening.  She needed to see the care I gave to her victim.

Then I turned to her.  “How can you…

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Have A Happy Yule and Blessed Solstice!




I want to wish everyone a Happy Yule and Blessed Solstice–this wish goes to everyone regardless of religious beliefs or otherwise! This is a season of generosity, kindness, and forgiveness. Please try to spread kindness wherever you go.

Also, I am one of the unusual people who loves Winter–I always feel at my best physically and mentally at this time of year. I become more energetic, and I always feel like a child with delight when it snows.

Again–Have a Happy Yule and Blessed Solstice!



#Bookreview: November Weather Spell


Please read this review of Robert Fillman’s poetry and his book November Weather Spell!

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Poet Robert Fillman

Review of November Weather Spell

Click on image to purchase from Main Street Rag.

I bought Robert Fillman’s debut poetry chapbook, November Weather Spell, on the strength of his poem “The Blue Hour,” which I first read in the literary magazine Ninth Letter. The blue hour of the poem’s title refers to the extra hour of dusk gained when the clocks are set back in the fall: “that sacred time when the living / and the dead can see each other.” 

The speaker goes on to describe inhabiting that sacred space for just a moment twenty years before: “the steam whirling / from chimneys like hundreds of souls / lured by stars.” 

I knew I wanted to read more from this poet. 

The same concrete imagery and clear, precise word choice from “The Blue Hour” appear throughout November Weather Spell. The word that kept coming…

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Favorite Holiday Movies: Part Three: The Man Who Invented Christmas



I have several Christmas movies that carry great meaning to me and that I have loved over many years. I have written about them before in this blog, and I will continue to do so. Now, however, I want to make a new entry into my list of favorite Christmas movies.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is an extraordinary film that was released two years ago. It is a wonderful movie  that explores the creative process of Charles Dickens as he wrote the classic novel, A Christmas Carol. The director is Bharat Nalluri, and this work is marvelous! We get a direct entrance into Dickens’ mind as he struggles with his writing. His characters appear and talk to him, which is an excellent touch.

The film is based on the book by Les Standiford, and the stars are Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, and Jonathan Pryce. The entire cast, without exception, give extraordinary performances. Christopher Plummer as Scrooge is especially brilliant. Dan Stevens should be recognized as one of the finest actors today.

This film delivers the message of Dickens’ masterpiece, that humanity should be the business of everyone, that money should not be the focus of our lives, and that we should all try to help each other. It will capture your heart and soul, and it is a film I recommend completely! On a system of 5 stars, I give it five!


Please, do yourself a favor, and watch this movie!

The Art of War for Writers Book Review


This is an excellent review of The Art of War For Writers by James Scott Bell by Michelle at Please check out her site!


Filler Photo

I’ve heard it said several times by many different people that The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a must read book, especially if you’re going into business or just need a source of inspiration and guidance. Apparently a lot of life lessons can be learned from this book. I’ve never read it, but my fiancée wanted to, so one day while at work, I looked for the book and found that we had at least ten different editions of it. Some were illustrated, others had a few photos in them. Some were large, some were small… basically he had options! Well after I had put aside the one I was getting for him, I was going through the store looking for a book for a customer (or I might have been organizing, I can’t remember which scenario it was) when I came across this book. I…

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Escapist Landscapes Pt. 1~


Please enjoy these beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Cindy Knoke

Feeling a bit stressed out these days? (The Beagle Channel Argentina).

Who isn’t? (Banff National Park Canada),

Let’s escape (Coastal Norway),

to peaceful places (Vancouver Island Canada),

and forget our worries (Zermatt Switzerland),

for awhile (Huahine French Polynesia).

I will do another peaceful images post after this (Yellowstone National Park),

because we all benefit from balancing negativity with peace and beauty (Grand Teton National Park).

Cheers to you and remember the beauty~

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Favorite Holiday Movies: Part Two



There are so many aspects of this holiday season that are wonderful to me: getting together with loved ones, friends and family alike (although this year on a very limited basis); the spirit of giving that I hope continues to grow; celebrations; the holiday music; and the memories of happy times.  Among the favorite memories I have are a few specific Christmas movies.

The movie I will talk about today is Scrooge with Albert Finney as the star; he does a magnificent job in his performance as the miserly and misanthropic loan-shark. This musical version of A Christmas Carol is one of the finest filmic adaptations of the classic Christmas Eve ghost story and morality tale.  This film follows  the story closely with Scrooge being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, of Christmas Present, and of Christmas Future. Among the movies best songs are Scrooge singing “I Hate People” which clearly shows his despicable and greedy nature,  “Thank You Very Much” in which a tap dance is done on Scrooge’s coffin in the future, and “I Like Life” in which the ghost of Christmas Present teaches Scrooge about experiencing life as well as having empathy for others.

Scrooge-Ghostof xmaspresent-m

This movie does an excellent job of showing Dickens’ critique of a greed based society and one that did little or nothing to help alleviate the enormous difficulties of the poor.  When first confronted by the ghost of his dead partner Marley, Scrooge tells him that he was always a good man of business.  Marley’s ghost responds, “Mankind should be our business.”  This is a sentiment that stands today.  We should be putting the good of humanity above the pursuit of greed.



I was a teenager when this movie was first released in 1970, and I loved seeing it with two of my closest friends.  We were captivated by the music and the story, and it remains as powerful to me as when I first saw it. If you have never had the opportunity to see this particular film, I give it my highest recommendation.


I also remind all of us, in paraphrasing the Master Charles Dickens, that we must always remember to make the good of others our business.