Monday, October 24, 2016

Dushanbe Tea House: Filled with History, Myth and Romance!

Boulder, Colorado and Dushanbe are sister cities. Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. The name, means Monday, and is derived from the day of the week on which a bazaar was held in the village. 

  The area we now know as Tajikistan was once at the eastern periphery of the Persian Empire. Situated a bit south of the Silk Road trails, the area has seen invasions by Alexander the Great, Mongols, Arabs, Turks, and Russians. Today, Tajikistan, with a population of 7 million, is bordered to the east by China, to the north by Uzbekistan, and to the south by Afghanistan.

 Forty artisans from Tajikistan hand made the tea house over a
period of two years, took it apart, and then packed the pieces into about 200 crates to be shipped to Boulder. The trades used by the artisans were passed from generation to generation. No power tools were used in the original construction of the tea house.

Inside, are 12 intricately carved cedar columns. These, were sent from Tajikistan with the original gift. No two columns are alike.
                  FOUNTAIN OF THE SEVEN BEAUTIES        
 In the central pool of the Tea house there are seven hammered copper sculptures created by artist Ivan Milosovich. The life sized sculptures are based on a 12th century poem, “The Seven Beauties the 4th poem of Khamsa. 
     In the middle ages, the number “SEVEN” was considered a sacred number. Both mythological and scientific beliefs of the day held that the world was divided into seven countries, there are seven planets, weeks are divided into seven days, and the spectrum is composed of seven colors.
   In this story, our hero sees portraits of the seven daughters of the continents, and loses his heart to them. Later, when he becomes the Shah of Iran, he sends for the seven women and marries them. He has the renown architect, Shidda, build a palace with seven cupolas, each colored a different color with a corresponding planet. On the proper day of the week, Bahram would dress himself in the appropriate color, and go to visit the wife that corresponded with the day. Each woman would relate to him a story from her native land and praise the attributes of her own color.  

   The poem inspires honesty, virtue and kindness, while denouncing arrogance, villiany, greediness and treachery. And so, the princesses’ tales serve not only to entertain the Shah, but to ponder life and consider the secrets on the universe and human nature.

Recenly, my sisiter and I had the joyful experience of lunching again at the Dushanbe Tea House. Passing through the doors is a step back in time. Menu selections include various delights inspired by the Far East, and your tea comes with an egg timer so it will be properly steeped. 

The tea selection is at least six pages long, I chose Russian Caravan a longtime favorite. Its name originates from the 18th century camel caravans facilitating the transcontinental tea trade from India, Ceylon and China to Europe via Russia. "It took at least half a year to make the six-thousand-mile journey from the Chinese border to Russia, and the voyage was harsh. Anecdotal evidence had it that during the camel caravan journeys, the teas, unloaded for the night, took on the smoky flavor from the nearby campfires.

                                What a beautiful afternoon.
    Tea House hours/menu etc. http://boulderteahouse.com/

Monday, October 17, 2016

Longhopes Donkey Shelter.Rescues Donkey #900

900 donkeys rescued! Congratulations to Kathy and Alan and all the wonderful people at Longhopes. What an amazing achievement. 
This nonprofit organization is instrumental in rescuing, educating, adopting out, and promoting awareness of the plight of donkeys. 

Visit them here http://longhopes.org/ 
for more information, and check out
 their wonderful gift shop. 

My donkeys, Rosie and Jack, came from this shelter, and for over
16 years they have given me one of the best reasons for getting up in the morning! 

Longhopes is located in Bennett, Colorado. They have yearly open-houses where you can meet these wonderful animals, or make an appointment to visit (303) 644-5930. If you can't adopt, you can always sponsor a little friend in need. Longhopes Website


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nothing to Lose...Blog Tour Give Away with Darlene Fredette

                            She has one last hope–
                   a small, family-run bakery
   that might just be baking up second chances.

Nothing to Lose offers a variety of sweet treats--
like baked goods and sexy firemen.
Take a sneak peek, and leave a comment, 
you could win a silver bookmark/keychain

  Dwindling finances has Jesse Robinson running out of options. With a past filled with failures, she longs for a new beginning. Applying for a job she isn’t qualified for may be another crazy mistake, but at this point Jesse has nothing to lose.

  Juggling two jobs, Travis Cooper has absolutely no time for a relationship and isn’t looking for one. But when his mother hires an unqualified baker, he has more to worry about than three-tiered wedding cakes. Like whether to break his own no-dating-employees rule and make a little room in his life for love.

     ‘How hard can baking be? Easy‐peasy. Right?’ She knew her words to be untrue. She’d watched shows on the Food Network. The chefs on television made creating desserts appear simple, yet Jessie’s attempts always ended with opening a window and the lid on the garbage can.
     ‘I have no choice, and at this point I have nothing to lose.’ Jessie had thought the same before her previous four jobs. Though, she did excel at one particular skill—making bad choices. If only she could include that talent as a positive trait.
     She drew in a deep breath to calm her racing pulse. Desperation rolled in the emptiness of her stomach. She’d just go into the bakery and win them over. She had to. The two hundred dollars in her bank account would cover her car payment. As long as I don’t eat or drive anywhere, I’m good.

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a charming bookmark or key-chain...

Purchase this heartwarming story at...
Escape Publishing

Contact links:
Darlene resides on the East Coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab. When not working on her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loves to develop the many stories swimming in her head. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners.

Title: Nothing To Lose
Release Date: October 05, 2016
Publisher: Escape Publishing
SubGenre(s): Contemporary
Rating: Sweet (PG)
Keywords: sweet romance, bakery, cakes, fireman, family.
Page Count: 52

Monday, October 3, 2016

Longmont Library Author Open House 2016


It was a gorgeous fall day in Colorado for my afternoon at the Longmont Author Open house. Again, so well organized, we were treated like royalty and provided with bottled water, "party" favors, tablecloth-covered booths, and comfy chairs. Thank you so much.You guys are the best.     

My table-mates were two interesting ladies, Donna Baier Stein promoting her well received in-depth look at the life of Baby Doe Tabor website and Ann Parker who writes intriguing historical mysteries set in Leadville, Co. website

So happy my sister Kathy came too, 
                 thanks for taking these great photos. 


                     Something of interest for all ages--love the hat.

   The crowds were plentiful, and the conversation lively. Following the event, we ooo'd and aaa'd over delicious chocolate cupcakes and cider. Then as an added treat, we listened to Margaret Coel's humorous take on the joys of writing. Ms. Coel writes the award winning Wind River Mystery series. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eye of the Pharaoh Cover Release and Give away!

                 Enter to win a $10 GC or a free book 
              from award winning author Nancy Fraser 

   Will an unexpected trip to 1920's Egypt be their downfall, 
               or will an ancient guardian keep them safe?
                     What a fantastic cover for a time travel paranormal 

Here's what it's all about...

Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not convinced it’s even possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author.

Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archaeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour...or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move.

When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an ancient guardian keep them on-track and safe?

Sneak Peek...
Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.

Teri Hunter mouthed the motivational phrase she’d chosen for her personal mantra as she stepped across the threshold into the dark and musty storeroom.

A dim light shone from a glass-enclosed workroom in the far corner. Taking a tentative step forward, she faltered when the floorboards creaked beneath her feet. Something fast and furry brushed against her ankle. A shiver ran down her back, yet she fought the urge to retreat.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

This was obviously today’s obstacle. Were it not for her professional commitments and intricately organized schedule, she’d have no doubt bolted for the door and returned to the safety and illumination of the main building.

‘Sorry, but the storage area doesn’t have overhead lighting. Preservation of the antiquities. You understand.’ The dean’s words echoed in her head. To make matters worse, what little outside light there was had become nearly non-existent due to an impending thunderstorm.

Drawing a deep breath, she took a second step and then a third, winding her way past a half-dozen crates, some open, some not. To her left she heard a rustling of paper; to her right the distinct sound of footsteps.

Her apprehension grew, the hair on her forearms stood at attention. She’d barely made it halfway across the room before bumping into something large and solid. Reaching out, she laid her hand against the oversized object. Slowly, she raised her head and came face to face with the painted mask of an Egyptian noble. The chipped finish gave the death mask a deranged look.

“You come here often, big boy?”

            You could win a $10 Gift Card or free book!
                        CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Fun Fact:  The idea for Eye of the Pharaoh came about following a trip to the Field Museum in Chicago. For the longest time afterward, I couldn’t get the images of ancient Egypt out of my head. Then, out of the blue, I received a gift from a relative who had passed...a gorgeous necklace fashioned like an Egyptian collar. The late relative had no way of knowing about my recent fascination with Egypt so I took it as a sign. There was obviously a story inside me begging to come out.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor@nfraserauthor 

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. Nancy will release her 25th book in early 2017. She is currently working on her next Rock and Roll novella and two other equally exciting projects.

When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Shoebill Crane, Cute or Creepy?

  The Shoebill, also known as the Whale-head stork, was only classified in the 19th century when some skins were brought to Europe. It was not until years later that live specimens reached the scientific community. However, the bird was known to both ancient Egyptians and Arabs. 

Although generally ranked with storks, the bird has recently been considered to be more closely related to pelicans and herons, as confirmed by DNA studies.

The Shoebill is normally silent, but they perform bill-clattering displays at the nest. When engaging in these displays, adult birds have also been noted to utter a cow-like moo as well as high-pitched whines. Both nestlings and adults engage in bill-clattering during the nesting season as a means of communication. When young are begging for food, they call out with a sound uncannily like human hiccups

click here for...Shoebill sounds

According to Nicholas Lund...they hunt like total bosses of the swamp. The Shoebill will stand there, motionless as a statue, and wait for some poor lungfish or baby crocodile to swim by. Then the bird will pounce forward, all five feet of it, with its massive bill wide open, engulfing its target along with water, mud, vegetation, and probably any other hapless fish minding their own business. Clamping down on its prey, the bird will start to swing its massive head back and forth, tipping out whatever stuff it doesn’t want to eat. 

Mr. Lund also States, the birds poop on their legs. Apparently this keeps them cool. Warm blood passing through the legs is used to evaporate the liquid waste, resulting in cooler blood circulating through the stork. The science is fascinating, but when you get right down to it, this already mean-looking bird with a huge, clattering death bill now also has poop legs.

It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia.

The Shoebill is a tall bird, with a typical height range of 43 to 55 inches, with some specimens reaching as much as 60 in, that's 5 feet tall! For their size, they surprisingly weigh only up to 15 lbs. The wings are broad, and up to nearly a yard wide, well-adapted to soaring.
                      Cute or creepy, you decide.

Thank you Wikipedia, and Nicholas Lund @ Audubon News