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.

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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.


Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado

What I Ate and What I Read this Week

Every Friday night  my BFF and I engage in a long phone conversation to catch up on what we ate and what we read that week.

hand to mouth book coverThis is What I Read: Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado, Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler, and American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus. 

This week I read two books and started another one. I feel like an over achiever.

Each book is different from the other. All were good. Do I recommend them? Of course. But each book has a different audience so don’t feel obligated to like them just because I did.The one common factor in these books? They were all written by strong women.

Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado

I read Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America written by Linda Tirado. Linda Tirado writes a first hand account of what it’s like to live as a working poor person in the U.S. It’s something I know about from my own personal experience too. She’s angry. I understand. I’m angry, too. I thought this was a good explanation of how expensive it is to be poor and an accurate representation of how hard it is to live hand to mouth and still be expected to pull yourself out of the quagmire of poverty. You get no respect. And Linda Tirado tells it like it is.


Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Then I read Chelsea Handler’s new book, Uganda Be Kidding Me. She writes about a safari trip that she and her entourage of drunken friends took to South Africa. I like to read Chelsea’s books because she’s forthright, outspoken, lewd, sarcastic, and vulgar. She’s also really funny. Don’t read it if you don’t like Chelsea Handler’s humor. I know, I know…she’s profane. Sometimes…all right, every time…I watch her on TV, I am embarrassed by her straight up, snarky, catty, awful remarks. But she often says exactly what I’m thinking. So, if you’re embarrassed by your choice in humor you should read it in private. That’s what I do.

American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus

I am also reading American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus. It’s a non-fiction account of her search for the ghost of her great-great-grandmother. This is a beautifully written story of the questionable history of Hannah Nordhaus’s family who settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1860s. She searches through historical records, geneology files, family journals and letters, and newspaper reports as well contacting psychics and ghost hunters to find the story of her grandmother, Julia Staab.

Julia Staab’s ghost is said to haunt her former family home, La Posada, in Santa Fe. La Posada is now a hotel that consists of the main house (Julia’s home) and a courtyard of small casitas. It is open to the public. You can stay there if you are interested in the possibility of seeing a ghost, or if you simply want a restful stay in an interesting city.

Hannah Nordhaus follows the breadcrumbs of history that lead to the story of her great-great- grandmother’s life. The book reminds me that history is translated and colored through the prism of  individual perspectives. We cannot know the absolute truth of anything through its report from other humans.  We all leave only a partial story of our lives and leave a ghostly trail behind us when we are gone. I highly recommend this book because of Ms. Nordhaus’s excellent ability to tell an interesting story.

What I Ate: World’s Simplest Peanut Butter Cookies

I was busy reading, so I made very simple peanut butter cookies …possibly the World’s Simplest Peanut Butter Cookies. Then I shared them with my red-headed granddaughter while we read a book about her newest interest (earthworms) called Wonderful Worms.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! (this recipe is just one of many easy recipes published in my recipe/story book Heart & Soul Food) 



1 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1/3 cup water

1 box yellow cake mix


Place peanut butter, egg, water, and one half of dry cake mix in large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Add remaining dry mix, mixing with a wooden spoon.

Roll into 1 inch balls with hands.

Place on ungreased baking sheet, 2- 3 inches apart. Flatten with fork dipped into flour.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Cool 1 – 2 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Heart & Soul Food by Peggy Browning

Read More stories and recipes in my new book Heart & Soul Food. Available at and


How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy

How to Be Happy
image from usamedeniz/

Not so very long ago, I attended the funeral of a man who knew the secret of How to Be Happy. I don’t know if he had always known that secret or if it was something he learned as he made his way through the World as we know it.

What matters is that, no matter when he learned the secret, he practiced it and he spread it around.

At his funeral, the mourners were given the opportunity to say something about this man. Though hesitant at first, as modest people are, they rose one by one to say how this man had touched their lives and taught them how to be happy too.

Neighbors, friends, and other beneficiaries of this man’s attention to them spoke of his humility and cheerfulness and his encouragement when they hit hard times. This is what I learned from his example.

How to Be Happy

  • Be tolerant. Everyone has their own story. Listen to it and keep your heart open without being too critical.
  • Be generous. Money is not necessary to be generous. Share your time, care, and concern.
  • Be encouraging. A kind word, a sincere “thank you”, an honest word of praise…”you’re doing a good job” is often all another person needs to face another day.
  • Be open to change. Stop fretting about the good old days and accept how life is in the present. Make changes if necessary or if you want to do something different.
  • Be willing to grow. Learn something new. Accept that life changes. Study something you’ve always wanted to know about.
  • Be mindful. Choose to see the good. You will see things you never knew were there.
  • Be appreciative. When someone does something for you, acknowledge it instead of criticizing what they didn’t do.
  • Be helpful. If someone needs help, then help them. Don’t make them earn your help.
  • Be grateful. If you went to bed with a full belly last night, give thanks. Acknowledge good fortune with thanksgiving, not entitled thinking.
  • Be cheerful. Smile. Let positive words come from your mouth. Your smile may break the shell of someone’s sadness that you didn’t even know about.

After all is said and done, it is our actions, not our words that speak for us. People may forget what we say or do, but they never forget how we made them feel.

I think that learning how to be happy and spreading that around is the whole point of living. And being remembered with love and gladness is the whole point of dying.

(This is a partial excerpt from How to Be Happy, an essay in my book, The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals.)


Tomato Onion Cucumber Salad and Virginia Ironside

tomato onion cucumber salad

tomato onion cucumber salad Image:

What I Ate & What I Read

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I like to talk about what I ate and what I read during the previous week. This week I read the novel No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club: Diary of a Sixtieth Year by English writer and columnist Virginia Ironside. In honor of the vinegary attitude in Ms. Ironside’s book, I ate tomato, onion, and cucumber salad.

I liked Ms. Ironside’s novel. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, but it was entertaining in a stiff upper lip British kind of way. The English unspoken no-whining rule has always intrigued me and it does even more so now that the population of the USA is so prone to whining and complaining and pissing and moaning. That includes me, too.

I liked Ms. Ironside’s attitude about aging, which was…accept it and move on. She talked about her friend’s impending death, her other friend’s search for a good “boyfriend”, her own renewal of hope and faith upon the birth of her first grandchild. Her character was determined to enjoy life as is. I like that in a person even if it is a fictional person.

I ate tomato, onion and cucumber  salad. It’s one of my most favorite salads any time of the year, but it’s especially good when you are celebrating the approach and promise of spring and summer after an insufferably long winter. (I know that sounds like whining, but I’m American not English, so cut me some slack.)

It’s even better when you can use fresh tomato, onion, and cucumber from your own garden or your friend’s garden. The best vegetables are ones that are shared with friends and neighbors.

The recipe is found in my own book of recipes and stories, Heart & Soul Food: Tales of

Food, Friends, and Family which I am shamelessly promoting here.  But I’ve also included it in this post.

Anyway, here’s a tomato onion cucumber salad recipe from Heart & Soul. I hope you enjoy it. I do! 


A combination of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers makes a delicious, healthy salad. Add some fresh or dried herbs and let this combination marinate for about an hour before serving.

3 TBSP rice vinegar

1 TBSP canola oil

1 tsp honey

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper, or more to taste

2 medium cucumbers

4 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced thin

2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chives and/or tarragon

*If using dried herbs, start with ½ tsp. and add to taste.


Whisk vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a large shallow bowl.

Peel cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds. Add the cucumber slices, tomatoes and onion slices to the dressing; gently toss to combine.

Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Add herbs just prior to serving and toss again to mix.

My Six Month Diet Progress – Or Not | ZestNow

Six months ago I started a diet and declared it publicly on Zest Now, a website for women over age 50. Check my progress ( or lack of it)!

My Six Month Diet Progress – Or Not | ZestNow.

Sweet Memories of Chocolate Cake & My Bundt Pan

image by apalonia/

image by apalonia/freedigitalphotos.netSweet Memories of Chocolate Cake & My Bundt Pan

Sweet Memories of Cake & My Bundt Pan

Regarding the casket, May I be blunt?

Screw the coffin, And bake me in a Bundt!

-Poem attributed to a chef who liked  his Bundt cake pan (and I mean REALLY liked it!)-

Heart & Soul Food by Peggy Browning

Read More stories and recipes in my new book Heart & Soul Food. Available at

I received my first and only Bundt pan as a wedding present in 1975. As I write this book, my Bundt pan and I have been faithful partners for 40 years and I expect to celebrate a golden anniversary someday.

I no longer have the original husband, but I still have my original avocado colored Bundt pan. Well, you know…when you find a good cake pan, you need to hang on to it.

The Bundt pan was a relatively new design in cookware in 1975…just as I was a relatively new cook. It was designed by H. David Dalquist and it exploded in popularity when it was used by a Texas housewife to bake a cake for a Pillsbury Bake-Off.

My wedding present allowed me to explore a whole new aspect of cooking.  Having my own cookware and a kitchen of my own to use it in was like having the playhouse I had dreamed of as a little girl. Instead of stirring up a batch of mud-pies, I could bake real cakes and pies.

It was great fun learning to cook and bake.

With my Bundt pan, I could bake all manner of cakes and when I turned them out of the pan, they looked rather elegant due to the design of the pan. All I had to do was to add an icing or glaze and pour it over the top of the warm cake.

Ta da! I had a beautiful cake, ready to take to a church supper. If I didn’t burn it to a crisp first.

One of the first cakes I baked in my Bundt pan was the Tunnel of Fudge Cake. It became my “specialty”.

The Tunnel of Fudge Cake was invented by Ella Helfrich. She entered it in the 17th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off and won second place.

Mrs. Helfrich’s recipe had only 6 ingredients, one of which made the delicious gooey tunnel in the center of the cake…the tunnel of fudge. Mrs. Helfrich’s original formula required the Pillsbury Dutch Chocolate frosting mix for the inside.

I baked the Tunnel of Fudge Cake to good reviews from my friends and family until the day the unthinkable happened. Yes, Pillsbury stopped making the Dutch chocolate frosting mix called for in the recipe.

It was a sad day at my house.

It must have been a sad day for a lot of other bakers, too, because Pillsbury revised the recipe and re-issued it without the Dutch Chocolate frosting.

Here is the revised recipe, word for word, from the Pillsbury website,


1 ¾ cups sugar

1 ¾ cups margarine or butter, softened

6 eggs

2 cups powdered sugar

2 ¼ cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups chopped walnuts*



¾ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

4 to 6 teaspoons milk

Preparation directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan. In large bowl, combine sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar; blend well. By hand, stir in flour and remaining cake ingredients until well blended. Spoon batter into greased and floured pan; spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is set and edges are beginning to pull away from edge of pan.

Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 ½ hours; invert onto serving plate. Cool for at least 2 hours more.

In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store tightly covered.

*Nuts are essential for the success of this recipe.

**Since this cake has a soft filling, an ordinary doneness test cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking times are essential.

Can You Name All The Book References In This Hilarious Parody Of “Uptown Funk?” | The Literacy Site Blog

You all know that I love Books. I love Libraries. And I love Uptown Funk.

What happens when you mix all three? Something clever and entertaining and cute as can be. Watch this video of Unread Book.


Can You Name All The Book References In This Hilarious Parody Of “Uptown Funk?” | The Literacy Site Blog.

What do you want? When do you want it?


What do You Want? When do you want it?

I’m feeling confused today. Not the kind of confused where you feel like you’re losing your mind or your heart or your soul.

I am feeling confused about what I want to do. I have plans and goals

what do you want? when do you want it?

What do you want? When do you want it?

and ideas and notebooks full of affirmations, five year plans, and journal entries that say “ Today I will…”

But today I’m not sure of what I will. I merely want to crawl back in bed and curl up in a ball. I want to sleep today and maybe tomorrow. I want to spend the day doing nothing and “will-ing” nothing.

And before you get concerned about my mental stability: No, I am NOT depressed.

It’s not unusual for me to spend a whole day occupied doing as little as possible. But even when it appears that I’m doing nothing, I am usually asking myself “What do you want? When do you want it? “

Since adolescence I have been on a journey looking for enlightenment…looking for peace…looking for my “truth”…hoping to “live my best life.”

I’ve been asking myself “What do you want? When do you want it? for a very long time. For years (about 45 years to be exact) I have noted in various diaries:

  • I want peace.
  • I want to be thin and attractive.
  • I want to be loved…respected…whatever.
  • I want to be healthy.
  • I want to make my living through writing.
  • I want my kids to be happy.And at peace. And successful. And loved. And adventurous. ETC……

The list hasn’t changed much in all those years. Sometimes I have the list mastered; other times I don’t even come close.

What do you want? When do you want it?

I just want to take a break from all those goals that never seem accomplished. And I want to take the break now. Today. Just for a little while. Then I’ll come back to work on the ever-loving goals and LIST.

In the last 6 months, I have written and self-published two books. I have moved to another house in another town in another state. I have changed my identity from Peggy: part time ticket taker at the city auditorium- part time front desk receptionist- freelance writer to Peggy: live-in nanny /homemaker –  freelance writer.

I’m tired, y’all.

What do you want? When do you want it?

I want a nap. And I want it now.


And I still want to make my living by writing, so would you please buy my new book available in paperback and ebook?


Middle Aged Mean Girls deserve a Special Place in Hell

Middle-Aged Mean Girls

by Peggy Browning

"There's a special place in hell for women who do not help other women"...Former Secretary of State, Madeline Allbright

“There’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”…Former Secretary of State, Madeline Allbright

I wrote this post about Middle Aged Mean Girls a couple of years ago. I was hoping I’d never have to repeat this. But, I’ll be damned… I find that I have to post it again… Women just can’t seem to leave each other alone and allow each other to grow to the best of her abilities.

Middle aged Mean Girls…could there possibly be anything worse than this? I mean, really, it’s bad enough when mean girls are tweens and teens, but to have to put up with middle aged mean girls is a special kind of torture that most of us would give anything to avoid. women over 50 baby boomers

Middle-aged mean girls are commonly called something else…a word that starts with “b”. And in the case of some old mean girls, it’s spelled with a capital B.

The Mean Girls weapon of choice...a knife in the back.

The Mean Girls weapon of choice…a knife in the back.

I would call them heifers, but I like heifers. Middle-aged mean girls are more like old hens who will swiftly peck a vulnerable chicken to death and then walk over the dead chicken until she is smashed flatter than a flitter. Or sometimes a group of old hens will slowly pull the feathers from another hen until she is naked and exposed and then she gives up and dies. gossip women over 50

Either way, it’s a cruel death. And it’s a method at which middle-aged mean girls are particularly adept. Pick, pick, pick. Peck, peck, peck. Finally the hen being pecked on dies…or in the case of women, quits her job because she is dying a slow death. post 50 women over 50 life after 50

Mean girls gossip, spread rumors, make shit up, and spread it all over the barnyard or office, whatever it may be. They post on Facebook, they slander co-workers, they talk in the break room until the one being gossiped about comes in to get a cup of coffee or to make a copy. They finally hush…until the gossippee walks out again. And the shit starts to fly again. women over 50 life after 50

Oh, those mean old hens. Oh, those hateful old capital Bs.

I am thinking in particular of a dear friend who has a terrible job situation. She’s currently in a heartbreaking mess . But is she being supported by her co-workers…those women who work beside her each day…those women whose support would be greatly appreciated by her right now?

Oh, hell no. She’s being gossiped about and raked over the coals. Her integrity is being questioned. Her good name and reputation is being besmirched by people who called themselves her “friends” until she really needed a friend. Now that she needs some encouraging words from them, they are busy posting on social media, texting other co-workers, and generally talking smack about her.

I’m disappointed in these women, but I’m not surprised. It’s a common occurence in the work place, as well as in most other organizations where women are in attendance. I hate those capital Bs.

With friends like these middle aged mean girls, who in the world needs enemies?

I’d like to tell my friend that things won’t always be like this, that she will go to another job where everyone is nice and appreciates her good work and her helpful attitude.  However the fact is that there’s always a group of mean girls, small or large, no matter where you go.

Women don’t have to behave this way. We should pull together, help each other, encourage each other, educate and instruct each other by sharing our hard won wisdom.

Wouldn’t it be better if we grew up to be nice, kind women rather than just growing older and becoming middle aged mean girls?

I think so…but I seem to be in the minority. women over 50 life after 50

(Clip art from