Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Siggy Buckley, inspiring women over 50

Siggy Buckley, author of I Once Had a Farm in Ireland.
One of the inspiring women over 50 that I have the pleasure to know.

As Siggy puts it…”we over 50s can rule the world!”

Author, organic farmer, matchmaker…given all of Siggy’s qualifications…I believe she is one of the most inspiring women over 50 that I know!

She has a new book out: I Once Had a Farm in Ireland. She writes about her experience on her organic farm in Ireland. Funny, touching,and full of information….you will want to read it.

Siggy Buckley Bio:

A former English teacher, Siggy Buckley’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, a CPA, opted out of the rat race in Germany and made his family emigrate to Ireland to become organic farmers.
Her new life only produced a crop of misgivings and the breakup of her marriage. Single again, she reinvented herself, launched a dating service in Dublin. Remarried, she now lives and writes in Florida. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Amazon author page

My blog:

My books

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Dreams of becoming a journalist were thwarted early on; I became a college teacher instead.

What or who inspired you to write?

I had kept a diary through my formative years as a farmer’s wife and then as a matchmaker. My now husband encouraged me to put my accumulated memories and experiences into a book while blogging about several topics. Authors who inspired me are strong female voices like Benoit Grout and Irish writer Nuala O’Faolain.

What is your favorite part of your book?

My Favorite part of Next Time Lucky is the beginning of the last chapter on p. 230:

“ Homeward Bound

The only obstacles that could keep us apart were visa issues.  A European resident is allowed to visit the USA for up to 180 days a year but only 90 per visit.  My first 90 days were up.  At the end of January, shortly before I had to leave the country, I started to feel blue.

“What’s up, Sweet-pea?” He wrapped his arms around me on the sofa.

“I don’t want to leave you.  For once I’ve found a man I love whole-heartedly, who respects me, who fulfils my needs, and I have to go away for silly reasons like a frigging visa.”

“We’ll find a way.  I’ll visit you in Germany next month.  And then you come back to me here in the US.  Are you sure you want to come back to me or do you want to think about it while you are over there? Maybe make a trip to Spain and check it out as planned?”

“Why should I go to Spain if all I want is to be with you, Connor? Start all over in yet another country? I’ve felt uprooted for such a long time; I don’t know anymore where my home is.” I leaned more into him, and he caressed my neck and shoulders.

“After my break-ups in Ireland, I didn’t know where I belonged.” I continued.  “I didn’t want to stay in Ireland any longer and now I miss it.  Imagine!”

“Well, it was your home for a while.  It all makes sense to me.”

My head snuggled even further into his arm that embraced me.  “When I am with you it feels like belonging again.”

Connor took my face in his hands.  Our eyes interlocked.

“My poor darling! I want you to be with me, I want to take care of you and spend my life with you.  You are my partner, my friend, and my beautiful lover.” He placed a gentle kiss on my lips.  “We have so much in common though we come from different backgrounds.  Quite extraordinary, really.  You are like the female version of me – maybe at long last the proverbial soul mate I have been waiting and searching for all my life.  We’ll figure something out.”

“But how?”

“Something will come to us.” This line from Meet Joe Black had tickled us both when we watched the film together.  In the eyes of adversity, that couple kept looking for a way to master their future together.  Sometimes all you can do is keep trying. “

 What have you learned from writing?

Patience, persistence and that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details–Insider-Successful-Homeswapping-ebook/dp/B005N0N3CO/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-6&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Inspiring Women over 50: An Interview with Children’s Author, Margaret Arvanitis

Margaret Arvanitis chose writing as her second career. She started writing children's book after she turned 50.

Margaret Arvanitis started writing children’s books at the age of 50.

Source: Inspiring Women over 50: An Interview with Children’s Author, Margaret Arvanitis

Southwest Egg Rolls

What I Ate: Southwest Egg Rolls

and What I Read: The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

Southwest Egg Rolls and Avacado Dip

Southwest Egg Rolls and Avacado Dip

I like to read. I like to eat. I like to eat while I read and read while I eat.  This week, in honor of the Lunar New Year, I read The Good Earth and I ate Southwest Egg Rolls.

In fact…I ate them for several days because this recipe makes a LOT of egg rolls and I don’t like to waste food. They were good when microwaved, but not as good as when they were fresh from the skillet.


Life’s Great Mysteries

Life’s Great Mysteries

Pondering Life’s Great Mysteries

Life's great mysteries

I sometimes sit and ponder the great mysteries of Life. And sometimes I just sit. Image: Stuart Miles




I don’t always sit and think, but when I do…I ponder life’s great mysteries. There are things I will never understand, but then I suppose I am not meant to understand them.

That’s why they’re called mysteries, duh.




These are just a few of the things in life that I find are totally unexplainable:

  • Steel balls shaped like bull testicles that hang from the trailer hitches of pick-up trucks. Is there a reason for this? I think not.
  • Blouses with back hems way longer than the front hems. They look like a bathroom accident just waiting to happen. I imagine terrible moments of anxiety when the back end of one’s shirt drops into the toilet while one is “freshening up” just prior to an important job interview. Ew.
  • People who complain about the quality of beef in a McDonald’s hamburger. One must not expect Kobe beef for $1.29; nor must one expect the cook to “hold the pickles.” You cannot always have it your way.
  • The popularity of WWE wrestling. It is  not honorable…it is not the way of the great Sumo tradition.
  • Commercials featuring an elderly couple sitting in separate claw-foot bathtubs while watching the sun set and waiting for the Cialis to kick in. I mean…WTF? Uh, I mean…namaste.
  • Toilet tissue commercials. By the time you are old enough to buy your own toilet paper, you are probably too old to be influenced by little cartoon bears that go poo-poo in the forest.
  • And then there’s man buns. I know the guy in Kung Fu Panda wore something like this, but…seriously guys…you don’t have to. Honor yo-self and just wash your hair.
Life's Great Mysteries: Balancing rocks.

Balancing rocks…something else I will never understand.
Image: Stuart Miles/

I know I sound cynical ( SOUND cynical? yes, I AM cynical) and that is probably why I will never know the answers to all of Life’s Great Mysteries. OMG. Uh, I mean…Om.


The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals

Buy The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals

heart & soul food cooking with friends

Heart & Soul Food
Tales of Food, Family, and Friends
perfect for cooking with friends

Cooking with Friends

Cooking with Friends

I love cooking with friends.

I love cooking with friends.
image: stockimages/

Today I spent time cooking with friends. So…today I renewed my spirit and soul . Cooking with friends is like that, you know…it fills you up, satisfies your heart, and nourishes your soul.

Today was a deliciously delightful day because it’s been a while since we’ve been together. Prior to the Christmas holidays, we spent hours on end preparing yummy dishes for other folks.

The last time we cooked together we spent about 26 hours over the span of two days…making meatballs, bacon wrapped chicken, chocolate sheet cakes, iced cookies, and decorous cupcakes. We prepared big fat strawberries and set up a chocolate fountain to dip them in.

Then we served all that deeewicious  food to people at parties and weddings at elegant venues.

I work part-time for a catering service. We cook, we serve, we load the van, we unload the van, we clear the tables, we load the van again, unload the van again, and we wash the dishes and greasy pans. Then we put everything back on the shelves, and sweep and mop the floors. Then we stock the van again with all the gear we’ll need next time.

It’s a lot of fun, but it’s hard work.

So when everybody else was finished with their celebrations, we washed the dishes and went back home to celebrate our own holidays by kicking off our work shoes and sitting a spell.

Goodness knows we needed a little rest and recreation time.

Cooking with Friends …

I dearly missed my friends and was so glad to see them again today. We hugged and smiled and asked about kids and grandkids and caught up on news. Then we pulled out the cream cheese and the recipes and got started once again.

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to gear up for weddings, spring banquets, retirement parties and what not. Wherever there’s a need for tasty cakes and beef tenderloin, we’re there.

We’ve got a big shindig for 450 people tomorrow evening. It takes many hours for the four of us to prepare the food. It takes even more hours to set up the event with chairs, tables, tablecloths, and centerpieces. I love doing this. I love it all, even though I am exhausted when we’re done.

I love that we all work together…I love that we laugh and giggle and wish the very best for each other. I love working beside my friends…the friends I didn’t even know four months ago…while we prepare good food for other people to eat while they celebrate an important milestone in their lives.

We build a bond while we are cooking with friends. Sharing food and recipes…warm dishwater and stories…time and love…builds a special friendship that is remembered and cherished long after the dishes are done.


heart & soul food cooking with friends

Heart & Soul Food
Tales of Food, Family, and Friends
perfect for cooking with friends

It’s National Pie Day … Bake One for Someone You Love…

Today is National Pie Day.

by Peggy Browning

National Pie Day

Today is National Pie Day. Bake a pie. Eat a pie. Give someone a pie.

It’s National Pie Day. How will you celebrate this most special of all special days?

As for me… Imma eat some pie. Chocolate cream pie to be specific. Home cooked/home baked/from my Mama’s recipe.

There’s no better way for a proper Southern woman to express her undying love for someone than to bake them a pie. You need to bake one today…and maybe Every Day.

Because every day should be Pie Day.

Pie for National Pie Day

Chocolate Cream Pie

1 cup sugar

3 TBSP corn starch (or flour)

3 egg yolks

2 cups milk (I used 1 ½ cups of 2 % milk and added a ½ cup of cream)

1 TBSP vanilla extract

1/4  cup cocoa

1 pre-baked and cooled pie crust


3 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • I use a store-bought pie crust. I prefer the Pillsbury brand found in the dairy section. It’s already mixed and rolled out. All you have to do is place it in a pie pan and bake it according to directions


For the pie filling: Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe

Slowly heat 1 ½ cups of milk in a 1 ½ or 2 quart sauce pan. Do NOT let it boil.

Mix sugar and corn starch in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks well then add ½ cup cold milk. Stir together.

Add dry ingredients to eggs and milk combination. Mix well. (Should make a nice smooth concoction, like a smoothie)* This is the secret to the creaminess of this pie. Do not skip this step.

Now add the mixture to the hot milk, stirring constantly until it is the consistency of pudding.

Pour into the baked pie crust. Spread meringue on top and bake at 350 degrees until meringue is lightly browned at the peaks.

*You can also put this chocolate cream pie filling in a graham cracker crust. Let it cool, then top with whipped cream. The pie filling can also be eaten as pudding. Delicious.

Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe for National Pie Day

Eileen & Vegan Cookies

What I Read: Eileen

vegan cookies

Mmmm…vegan banana cookies. Could use a bit of butter. And sugar.

What I Ate: Vegan cookies

My friend and I call each other on Friday evenings to catch up on the latest news. Yep, we talk about what we read and what we ate.

This week I was disappointed in both my book and my snack. My BFF is going to be disappointed too.  🙁

After this week, I have concluded that life is too short to read less than stellar books or to eat vegan cookies.

Read more…

My 2016 Reading List … What I’m Reading this Year

My 2016 Reading List

I always have a To-Be-Read pile of books next to my bed.

I always have a To-Be-Read pile of books next to my bed.

I read in bed until I fall asleep almost every night. Sometimes I wake myself up by dropping a book from my limp hand onto the floor. I already have a pile of books on my bedside table, just waiting for me to open them.

Here’s what I will be Eating and Reading in 2016: It’s published in Red Dirt Report, an Oklahoma digital newspaper.

PONCA CITY, Okla. — I stopped making New Year’s resolutions concerning most areas of my life a couple of years ago. Nope, I’m not planning to lose weight, get my house organized, or be a better person. I’m pretty much done with all that.

Now I only resolve to read good books and eat good food.  This is something I know I can accomplish…so maybe this is cheating a little bit. It requires very little willpower and I enjoy it. But, in the spirit of sacrificial resolutions, I made a twelve category Reading List for 2016 that I resolve to read.

Here’s the list of categories and the books in the To-Be-Read pile on my bedside table.

1. A ClassicThe Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck beckons to me.

2. Something Everyone is Reading. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee is required if you ever read To Kill A Mockingbird.


Retail Hell

Retail Hell

Christmas Eve… Just another day in Retail Hell
image by imagerymajestic/

Retail Hell

by Peggy Browning

On Christmas Eve, I walked out of Retail Hell at 7:12 p.m and I never looked back. I was not shopping; I was the person behind the counter ringing up totals for ice cream and milk and eggnog and listening to people complain because the store where I work didn’t have all the ingredients for the pie they wanted to bake.

It’s Christmas Eve. Maybe you should have planned ahead, fool.

I am convinced that anyone who works retail is a special kind of person. Actually, I am convinced they are saints. I’m not a saint; I’m a full-on sinner. I have no place in retail sales. I hate every minute I am working because, basically I don’t like people all that much.

Here’s a sample of what I endured on Xmas Eve in Retail Hell.

A woman purchased a gallon of milk for $3.36. Her change from a five was $1.64. I placed the paper money in her hand and put the coins and receipt on top of it. She grimaced.

I said, “Is something wrong?” “Yes,” she said. “That’s not how you are supposed to return change. I was taught that you put the coins in the hand first, then the paper money.”

I asked, “Is the change correct?”


“Okay, then.” Next…

“I got the last eggnog on the shelf,” my next customer said.

“Well…it’s your lucky day, then!” I said.

“No it’s not. I have to pay $4.29 for it and that’s before tax.”

“Actually, the price has gone down and is only $3.99 for a half gallon, so with tax it’s only $4.34.”

“That’s still too high.”

“You don’t have to buy it; I can put it back on the shelf if you don’t want it,” I said.

Then we had a staring contest….I guess I won because he finally broke and said, “My wife wants it.”

“Okay, then.”  Next….

More than one frantic woman yelled… “You don’t have any frozen pecan pies!”

“No. We sold out early this morning.”

“What am I going to do?! I depend on you all to do my baking!” (No, folks, I am NOT exaggerating this.)

And I said, helpfully I thought, “How would apple pie work for you?”

“No, no, absolutely not. We always have pecan pie. It’s our tradition.”

And I thought, but didn’t say…shitfire, lady, it looks like it’s time to start a new tradition. Frozen pecan pie sucks.

My register went down….it stopped scanning on the biggest order of the day while people lined up past the frozen pizza section. The manager fixed it by re-starting the computer because they don’t trust us to re-start it even though every clerk behind a register knows how to do it. Then it stopped weighing bananas…and, well, let’s just say, lots of folks might have received a banana flavored Christmas miracle.

On Christmas Eve in Retail Hell, our store ran out of half-gallons of whole milk, eggs, half-gallons of 2% milk, sausage, canned biscuits, frozen pecan pies, and whipping cream. People begged me to go look in the back storage refrigerator for them.

At first I tried to console the shoppers and offer alternative suggestions.  But after five hours of pouty, whining customers asking me to do the impossible, I finally broke.

“I’m mad at this store,” said a relatively sane looking man. He was dragging along his tween-age granddaughter and both were sucking down milkshakes. I hadn’t had a sip of water for five freaking hours.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you’ve only got gallons of whole milk. And I need a half-gallon. Would you go get me one out of the back?”

“We don’t have any.”

“Why not?”

“We sold out of them. We’ve been very busy today.”

“And you don’t have any in the back?”

“Sir, I assure you we don’t have any in the back. We are not hiding anything from you.”

“I’m not getting any then. My wife told me to get a half-gallon.” He scowled and lingered at the register.  He shouldn’t have stayed.

“What can I say, Dude? We had them this morning. You should have come in earlier.”

I could have said so much more, like…suck it up, whiny-butt….do I look like I care?…sir, you need to get out of my line before I stab you in the eye with a spork… but I didn’t. I kept my thoughts to myself.

I’m sure his wife dealt with him later…because she needed more milk, obviously,  and wouldn’t have cared if it was in a gallon or half-gallon.


Some really nice folks came in. Some wished me a Merry Christmas. But the experiences with rude jack-wagons far outweighed the nicer ones.

Moral of this story: Hell is real. You can experience it in any retail business on Christmas Eve or the day before a major snowstorm is predicted. Be nice to the person behind the counter; don’t be a jack-wagon and you might get free bananas instead of a spork in the eye.


Save me from Retail Hell next year…I’m begging you! …Please purchase my books!

Click on the image to Purchase.

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Check Out the Library

Check out the Librarycheck out the library

I have always wanted to be a world traveler. I wanted to sail the oceans blue, walk the Appalachian Trail, journey through China, and climb to Machu Picchu. I also wanted to travel back in time and explore ancient worlds or at least the 19th century. I wanted to travel to the future and see what might lie ahead.

And I have had the exquisite privilege to do all those things by using just one card. I’m not talking about American Express…even American Express can’t send me back in time. I’m talking about my library card.

I love libraries. And I love having a library card because it allows me passage into a greater world.

My first library card came from Edwards Public Library in Henrietta, Texas. Our fifth and sixth grade classes went there for our annual class trip when I was eleven years old. All the students went home with our first library card. I used mine at every opportunity.

Check out the Library.

Now that I am a well seasoned grown up, I have been able to travel a few places. And almost everywhere I go…I check out the library. I have been to the great-big-gigantic- enormous- public library in downtown Chicago and I have been to the tiny public library in Kendalia, Texas, (population 76).

I think one of the very best things about moving to a new place is the opportunity to get to know about a new library. I know, I know…libraries are basically the same everywhere. And yet…they are not.

Check out the Library.

Just a month ago, I moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma. And within a day or two of arriving, I went to the Ponca City Library and got a brand new library card. I wandered around the beautiful building, marveling at the Richard Gordon Matzene Art Collection housed there. I stumbled through the fiction section where I found Jeannette Walls’s new book, The Silver Star.

Currently nine books are waiting on my bedside table, including The Art of the Common Place by Wendell Berry, Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges by Lori Deschene, and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Just think of all that I will see and learn and love as I read these books. I will learn about conservation and ecology, be challenged to love by Tiny Buddha, and travel back in time to the era of the Civil Rights movement . When I return these books to borrow more, I can visit a famous art collection.

And I can do all of that simply because I hold a little card to the local library.