Friday, December 28, 2018

Going Solo by Roald Dahl: Book Review

Going SoloTitle: Going Solo
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Puffin Books, 1988, YA up
Pages: 210

Believe it or not, this was my first Roald Dahl book. Lucky me, it was geared more for adults, as I found the book in a Roald Dahl collection for children. Wonderful read. I highly recommend this memoir. 

Dahl tells the story of his life as a young twenty-something British employee in east Africa working for the Shell Company. The adventures with his sometimes dangerous surroundings and the people he meets along the way are daring enough, but with the outbreak of World War II, his life turns on a dime. 

With minimal training, he finds himself flying all makes of planes for the Royal British Air Force in active combat against incredible odds. Few in his squad survive. Told with humor in great detail you will laugh and marvel he even survived. He was one very "green" pilot. 


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things - Christmas Chores

--I finished my Christmas letter yesterday. The cards are stacking up, nearly ready. I always breathe a sigh of relief when it's over. 

I hate to call it a chore, but it's a lot of work and there are all those added handwritten notes you have to write. I'm not faithful every year. I missed last year. We were just too busy getting my mother moved into her new place.

--Email greetings. I have family in Norway and write special letters to them. Thank goodness, I can do translations with Google Translate Some of my relatives barely speak English.

--Decorations. About all I'm going to do. No tree this year but I have plenty of other Christmas do-dads to pretty up the rooms. I might pull out the Christmas village.

--Outdoor decorations. Sorry, just a wreath and a "Merry Christmas" door hanger, but I do admire my relatives who could easily win a contest.

--Presents mailed. Yay for Amazon Prime. An hour away for shopping is no problem at all. I go to my computer and can order just about anything, even gift wrap. Please "Mr. Government" don't take my Amazon away. I can afford this service at the current rate. I heard somewhere that Amazon was under attack by the administration. 

--Christmas gift to Vince and me this year is coming - A 55 gallon aquarium and stand! Can't wait for it to arrive. Then it's off to the pet store for our new pets. I'll post pictures after it's all set up. 


To join "Celebrate the Small Things, visit Lexa Cain's blog

Co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Gifts I Have Loved - The Singing Teapot

Gifts come in many forms, big and small. Many I have forgotten over the years, but some stand out in my memories, and many I still have. A singing teapot is one of them.

It was Christmastime and we were exchanging gifts at my job, where I worked as a Service Representative for General Telephone. In those days you called the phone company and ordered service. I was was one of many you might reach in the Moscow, Idaho region. 

There were sixty of us. Holiday and birthday parties were celebrated all day, so some of us could man the phones. My turn finally came to open my gift , and I don't even remember who gave me the teapot, but I loved it right off.  You tipped it over to serve tea and it played Christmas music. Neat!

Years passed and apparently the battery had failed. The teapot no longer played music. I liked it though and decided to display it on a glass shelf in our china cabinet as a keepsake. Suddenly it began playing music randomly throughout the year. When I lifted it up though, the music would stop. Strange. Nothing. Again and again, it would play randomly. 

It became a family mystery. A visitation by a ghost, an angel? We didn't know. I just knew we loved it. We finally concluded it was vibration on the floor when someone walked by the china cabinet that caused it to play. Logic dictated this but the music was never consistent and sometimes we heard it playing in bed.

Frankly, it's still somewhat of a mystery. Any ideas?

Today I can get it to play if I tilt the pot just right, but we are in a different home now and nothing else triggers the music. So far... 

Hear for yourself:


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wise Words.... No Better Time Than Christmas

I was about to hit the 'send' button. I'd spent a good deal of time wording and re-wording my disappointment in a group I had briefly participated in. Someone in the group had put together a survey asking for feedback as to the future of the group. 

Evening meeting times were my biggest complaint, as I live an hour out of town and didn't like traveling back home in the dark during winter. As a result, I never got to know the people in this group very well. Was it any wonder they treated me like a stranger when I did come? Yet suddenly, this became my biggest complaint. I did not feel welcome in the group, I complained on the form. I added a carefully worded paragraph restating my impression.

My husband, who shares an office with me, leaned over, and said, "What's you doing?" He got an earful. Always thoughtful, and slow to respond, he calmly said, "You don't want to send that if the group is important to you." 

And of course he was right. The group would never treat me the same again if I did. They would feel bad that they had made someone feel unwelcome. To be fair, friendship takes time. My real problem was not being able to attend more. I reworded my comment and told them the group was important to me and about my problem driving home in the dark. It was a kinder response and left the door open for a solution. Not sure how this will turn out but I feel better.

Publilius Syrus got it right in the quote above. Holding your tongue is not easy for most of us, but it can mean living with "no regrets" later when we do. Among family, with friends, in the office, and doing business out and about, our words have the power to impact others negatively and positively. I tend to be bolder with the pen than in person and sometimes forget. Today was another reminder.  But hey, I'm going to forgive myself. This is the season of forgiveness after all. And there is no better time than Christmas to reflect on this, when we are faced with holiday gatherings and festivities we may or may not appreciate. There is  continued unrest in our countries of residence and elsewhere. Within our lives and without, there is plenty to upset and isolate us from others. I'm going to concentrate on the message of love and forgiveness instead that Christmas represents. This is true peace.

On another note...
I'm still trying to figure out the Christmas tree thing. We no longer have an artificial tree and I'm resisting the urge to buy another one that costs more than $300 if you want one that doesn't shed. I do enjoy these trees, fresh ones even more, with all the decorations and that wonderful, reminiscent scent of Christmas past, but I can see these stores who choose to celebrate Christmas, my church, Mother's retirement home, and neighborhood yards with lighted trees. Someday I wouldn't mind doing a survey. Fresh only or artificial? Did you stop having one when your children left home? Maybe I'll get a few answers here.  


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Call the Midwife: A Nice BBC Series

I love Christmas movies and have watched several already.  I like that they end happily and leave me with an 'all's right with the world' kind of feeling. Come to think of it, the reason for celebrating Christmas, Christ's birth, does the same if you believe and embrace this miraculous story. 

Occasionally I find a series on TV, in my case, on Netflix, that equally warms the heart, so much so I am brought to tears. 'Call the Midwife' is one such series. Set in the 1950s and early 1960s Britain, the series follows the lives of four young midwives and four nuns who assist and supervise them in the delivery of babies and female care.

When the convent phone rings for a midwife, they hop on their bicycles and ride to east London's poorest district, where families are packed in like sardines. They get an earful and eyeful about love and marriage at such a tender age. All in their 20s, they are pretty naive, barely women themselves.

Based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, their stories are told in Jenny's voice, narrated by Vanessa Redgrave. It's a marvelous adaptation of a memoir to the screen. I dearly look forward to watching it, often while on my treadmill wearing headphones. A physical workout and a delightful mental retreat all packaged in one. I highly recommend it!

Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 
The Shells of Mersing

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Hide Me Please: Reflective Time Restores the Writer Soul


We all need time to unwind .... and re-wind, especially after a flurry of activity. As life often does, it interrupts, takes you on unexpected paths, sometimes fun detours that give you an abundance of writing material for the future. No regrets. 

Family, friends, and unexpected activities that interrupt take my hand and pull me in various directions for awhile. All good, all good. Helping Mom with an arthritis fare-up. Did you know that wrapping up in an electric heated blanket works wonders? Meeting up with friends recently, talking of old as we always do. Touring a magical Christmas store in Tri-Cities, complete with live reindeer and traditional Christmas music. Shopping online and finishing my Christmas shopping for faraway family, a first to be so early. All good, all good.

But when the dust settles after such activities, there is a part of me that wants to retreat, to hide out for awhile and reflect. I find myself sitting in front of or staring out the window. I revisit a clip board I use to sketch writing ideas. There to my surprise I find a scene I'd written for my novel, forgotten but safely tucked away, waiting for my return. I begin sketching an introduction to a nonfiction book I'm working on and wonder if it would also work as an inspirational talk for young adults. Can I do this? I wonder. Much to think about as always, much to do.

Warm Wishes for a Merry Christmas! And may there be moments of reflection too that nurture your soul along the way in this busy, busy season of life. 


Sharon M. Himsl
Published: Evernight Teen 

About Me

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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.