Farewell 2014

Hello Friends,

There’s always a bittersweet tug in my heart that comes with the end of another year.  I say good riddance to painful experiences, so long to happy ones too, and tuck away the fond memories made between January and December, hoping I’ll have time down the road to visit them again.

On the eve of 2015, I wish you all peace, health and happiness. May the new year find you doing what brings you joy, spending time with people you love.

Thank you for your support, friendship and good wishes throughout the year.

Be careful out there tonight.

With love and gratitude,

Kim    1405325_orig

His First Friend

Her name was Alice.

We were in an over-crowded TGI Friday’s at a midwest airport, waiting for the snow to stop so we could board our connecting flight and escape for awhile. Our destination? Gorgeous Salt Lake City, Utah, for some spring skiing at Park City. We were giddy and didn’t mind the wait. We shared a secret – just the two of us – and no delay to our plans could bring us down.

Steve and I were fortunate enough to have found seats at a small table. We placed our order and when the waitress left, fighting through the crowd to reach the kitchen, that’s when we saw her.

She was an elderly woman, standing at the door alone, gazing about the restaurant in search of a place to rest. Steve stood and invited her to sit at the only spare seat at our table. She accepted with a warm smile.

“I’m Alice,” she said as she took her chair. “Thank you for sharing your table.”

Over nachos, we introduced ourselves and discussed our travel plans. Alice was in a more somber mood and explained she was on her way to her sister’s funeral. We offered our sincere condolences and suggested we’d talk and pass the time together. No one should be alone with their grief, waiting in a crowded bar. Alice gave us a small smile and said “I have a special feeling about the both of you.”

My husband and I looked at each other. He raised his eyebrows to me in question. Can I tell her? I smiled and nodded, listening with cautious joy as Steve told Alice that we were expecting our first child. We had told no one yet. In fact, we’d only found out ourselves the previous day. She clapped her hands in prayer and smiled wide.

We talked into the night. I cannot recall the details of our discussions, but I’ll never forget Alice’s reaction to our news, her brief respite from mourning her sister, and how it lifted her spirits, if only for a while.

Eventually our flight was announced over the loudspeaker. We exchanged addresses and at her urging, promised Alice that we’d send news about the baby. We reluctantly took our leave and wished her a safe journey.

We met Alice in March of 1998. I sent a birth announcement of our son, Zachary, just days after he arrived in November. Alice wrote back quickly and signed her letter: Love, Alice, Zachary’s first friend.

Each year at Christmas, we sent Alice a letter with a detailed update on Zachary and soon after, his baby brother, Alex. Without fail, she sent a long letter back, with news of her family and activities; her granddaughter’s wedding, the births of her great grandchildren, poetry classes taken near her assisted living community. She included pictures as well – one of her girls at her granddaughter’s wedding shower and one of her great-granddaughter’s first smile. We felt as if we were extended family, sharing her news.

Every letter we received began the same: Your card and note is something I look forward to with joy at Christmas... Our thoughts exactly.

Every letter was signed Love, Alice, Zach’s first friend.

In 2009, she posed the ‘big question’: Have you yet told Zach you met his first friend in a bar?

The last letter we received was in 2011. In December, 2012, I walked to the mailbox every day hoping to find an envelope with her familiar penmanship, and every day I closed the box disappointed. I sent another card and letter last year, hoping…and performed the same searching ritual with the same disappointing results.

We won’t look for a letter this year. We know why Alice doesn’t send one anymore. But at Christmastime especially, amid busy holiday preparations, we will take the time to think of her and appreciate how truly wonderful chance meetings can be. I’ll continue to write to Alice because it’s something I’ve done for fourteen years, but I’ll keep the letters with me, sure that she knows she’s in our hearts.

We are grateful for what she brought to us, for the years of correspondence and smiles, and we will always remember with love, Zach’s first friend.

Rest in Peace.

Alice Burroughs, September, 1923 – January, 2013

An Early Christmas Gift…For Me

Hi Friends!

I’m so excited! I’ve been following a blogger/book reviewer for several months. Her reviews are witty, well-written and I love her blog. Today she published her review of Both Sides of Love and I’m thrilled to share it with you.

If you want to know what romance novels to bring to the beach (or leave home), or just want to have a good laugh while building up your TBR list, this is the site for you: http://www.romance4thebeach.wordpress.com. I promise, you’ll enjoy it.

Here’s the review:

Both Sides of Love by Kimberly Wenzler.

Giving Thanks II

Hello Friends,


It’s Thanksgiving again. Went quick, didn’t it? Feels like only yesterday, I wrote my first Giving Thanks post. And here we are, at the end of another year, the beginning of another hectic holiday season and the perfect time to extend my gratitude for your continued support. Thank you.

For those of us with much to be thankful for, there is a whole day devoted to appreciating what we have. One whole day.  So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I will push aside the nagging thought that there are only 4 Fridays before Christmas, turn off the news and turn on the NYC Macy’s Day Parade. I will embrace the time I have with my family, remember, with love, those who are no longer with us,  and count my blessings for the friends in my life and the abundant food on the table – even the brussel sprouts in that sauce. Why pray-tell is that always served?


There will be plenty of time for the craziness. Beginning on Friday.

I’ll leave you with a prayer of thanks, borrowed from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”

Happy Thanksgiving.


The Man In The Arena

Hello Friends,

My son had an English assignment recently, where he had to memorize and recite a short poem or excerpt by a poet or author. He chose an excerpt from a speech delivered by Teddy Roosevelt, in 1910. The full 35-page speech is called ‘Citizenship in a Republic’. The excerpt, referred to as ‘The Man In The Arena’, has since been quoted by President Nixon, Nelson Mandela and others facing events that required courage, skill and tenacity.

Written over one hundred years ago, I believe it’s relevance is timeless. In essence, this brilliant, motivational man believed that true character and success stemmed from discipline and hard work.

I hope my son, who memorized every word, carries this message with him. And perhaps, like me, you’ll find some inspiration too.

Here it is:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

What do you think?

What inspires you?

When I Grow Up

“What do you want to do with your life?”

It’s a loaded question high school students face regularly.

Myself, I didn’t have an answer in high school. Four years of college, a summer stint through Europe and a decade in Sales couldn’t answer the question. It wasn’t until I got married, had two babies, and decided to stay home to focus on them that my love of writing surfaced.

The rear of the school bus was still in view when I decided to put pen to paper. I wrote some articles. I wrote a manuscript. Then another. And another. At thirty-seven, I discovered I had a passion for something. I was finally able to answer that elusive question: What do you want to do with your life?

The feeling was (and still is) euphoric.

Though I can’t quite pay the mortgage – or fill my gas tank- I feel fulfilled. I’m happy. My regret? Not starting sooner.

I think the question that needs to be asked is: What do you love to do?

If someone would have posed that question to me, perhaps I would have reached this conclusion earlier and avoided years of career-based turmoil.

My son is a high school sophomore faced with the question of his future plans. His answer? Depends on the day: “Restaurant owner.” “Business Manager.” “Sales.” “Um, I don’t really know.”

He is less than enthusiastic about his classes, getting through them with minimal effort. I’ve become that nagging mom, reminding him daily:Pick up your grades or you won’t get into a good college.” He politely stares at me, waiting for my mouth to stop moving so he can resume his focus on his IPhone.

He loves hockey. He plays on the school team. And he loves music. He’s in the school marching band and jazz band. Do you know what he does with that phone? He watches marching bands from all over the country perform.

At dinner last night, he put down his fork and with a wide smile said, I have band tomorrow.” My husband’s gaze met mine over the chicken. I shrugged. Okay, so it would be nice if his eyes shined when he talked about his math or science class, but we have little control. You can’t make someone love something. It’s a part of who they are.

For his upcoming sixteenth birthday, he asked for a tuba. That’s right. You heard me. Tuba.

Like every parent, I want my children to earn a good living so they can have choices and be able to give their own children choices. But more than that, I want them to be happy. Earning a good living and being happy can be mutually exclusive.

Maybe I needed to travel and work at jobs I detested before I was ready to express myself through writing. Who knows? If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met my uber-supportive husband, so I can’t help but be thankful for my past.

Life is short. Why not be truly satisfied with how we spend our time? Most of us spend a majority of our waking hours at work, don’t we?

I told my son Do what you love to do and you’ll have a happy life.” 

Is that realistic? Perhaps not…but a mother can dream.

Let’s ask the right questions, such as: What kind of future is out there for a hockey-playing, tuba-touting young man?


What do you love to do?

Crumb Cake Anyone?

Hello Friends,

I wanted to share some photos of my latest visits with three wonderful book clubs –  friendly, funny women who have welcomed my into their homes, into their tightly-knit groups and spent hours making me feel like one of their own.

In September, I enjoyed a luncheon at this meeting. The average age here is 75+. But don’t let the number fool you. After an enjoyable discussion about Both Sides of Love, I listened – rapt – as all of the women took out their calendars and planned their next outings – rattling off various dates and plans until my head spun. There was a Broadway show the following week, Italian-American night dinner, Canasta, party at Eileen’s, dancing, movies, lunches, and on and on.

I left feeling very optimistic about my Golden years.


Here are six women who manage to discuss various topics amid laughter. They’re a small group, but they’re loud and they know how to have a good time. What separates this group from the rest? They incorporate the food mentioned in every book into their meetings. When trying to remember past books, they’ll ask Was that the one with the cream puffs or the apple pie? 

For Both Sides of Love, they brought out everything Beth and Noreen ate, including crumb cake, chips, Mallomars and – wait for it- Dutch Chocolate ice cream! Blew my mind.


This was my most recent gathering below and my last one scheduled. These women have been together for twelve years and it showed.

I have been invited to six book club meetings since I published in May. Six. This one here, like the others, made me feel welcome immediately. They are open, intelligent and friendly and – as with the rest – I loved my time with them. I appreciated their questions, all so similar, which shows me that women love love. We love to talk to each other. We love to learn and discuss and connect.


Though each group brought a unique personality to their meetings – the common thread weaving through every one was easy conversation, quick, unadulterated laughter and a bond that was evident from the moment the night began to the last hug goodbye.

Thank you all. Thank you.

Password Loser

Every morning when the house is quiet – the boys off to school, husband at the office – I sign onto my laptop.

This morning was no different. I depressed the On button and within seconds the screen alighted and a small cursor asked me for my password. So I entered it. It’s like second nature, this password. Took no thought at all.

After an hour of typing (read as “writing”), I decided to take a break and do what any normal, red-blooded American does. I checked my Facebook page.

I need my email address and password to enter. Fortunately, this information is saved on my laptop so I never have to enter it. An hour later (and don’t tell me you can get in and out of Facebook in less time for the first visit of the day – it’s like going to Target for one item and spending $80 – every time), I decided to check my Goodreads account to see what’s happening in the reading world.

In goes my email and password, as requested. No problemo.

Late morning, I needed to start my paid job. I’m a teleprospector. Exciting, I know.

Another email and password required at the gate.

I’ve signed into four different sites, used four different passwords and two email addresses, all before lunch.

I received a text from my son who’s at school. Plz put money into my lunch acct. Thx.

I jumped onto the school website,  clicked onto my online lunch account and was greeted with this message:

Enter email and password.

I did. This is what happened.

We were unable to recognize your login/ID and or password. Please try again.

My palm hit my head and I smiled. Silly me. Wrong password. I tried again.

And got this: We were unable to recognize your login/ID and or password. Please try again.

Hmm..I mentally sorted through my password vault trying to decide which word I assigned to the Lunch site. It’s got to be one of these. I tried another.

This is what I saw: Hey idiot! Has it been that long since you’ve paid for your son’s lunches? Why can’t you remember your password?!

When in fact, the screen said this: Still unable to recognize your login/ID and or password. Please try again.

WTH? I tried – very hard – not to throw my laptop across the room. Very hard. But I was tempted. After several attempts that included various forms of capitalization, I got the dreaded condescending message:

Do you want to re-set your password?

NO! Because that admits defeat! I will NOT re-set my password!

I started talking to the laptop: “I don’t want to have to leave this site, go to my email and wait for you to send me a note to re-set my password, then return to your site and do this again! That takes precious minutes away from my already busy schedule!” (Facebook hour notwithstanding)

Breathe. I’ll return to this later. The boy can use a reality check and not have food at his beck and call. There are starving children in the world. He should understand some pain.

Where was I? That’s right. Taking a lunch break.

My son – the same one who expects lunch – grows three inches a year just to annoy me, and needs jeans. So, I ventured onto the Hollister website, where I’ve purchased clothes dozens of times before. I explored the site and thirty minutes later, had a full cart and was ready to make my purchase.

I got this question: Are you a returning customer?

Well, thank you for asking. Yes, I am.

Enter password.

I did. This is what I saw:

Your password is invalid. Try again.

I did. I tried three times until the site wouldn’t let me try anymore. So, I signed in as a new customer, not getting any credit whatsoever for my purchase and I had to re-enter all of my shipping/billing information which is somewhere ALREADY IN THERE!


Got a text from husband. Did you register the boys for basketball?

I tried years ago to push the sports sign-ups and all extra-curricular activities onto my husband’s plate, but he pushed back – successfully – making some outrageous claim that he “needs to focus on keeping us in the house” or something like that.

I jumped onto the sports website, adeptly navigated the screens to find the basketball registration form, filled it out in duplicate for each child and when I went to pay, got this message: Are you a returning member?

Oh no. I am a returning member.

I clicked “yes” knowing already what would happen.

Please enter your password.

So I did. Again. And again. And again. I got rejected more times from this organization than I did over the past three hours of telemarketing, which is quite a feat because I get hung up on often.

Do you want to res-et your password?


But if I don’t, then my children won’t play basketball this winter and somehow this will affect their future and I’ll be blamed.

So, I swallowed my pride, and with angry pounding on the keyboard, admitted I forgot my password.

I’m a password loser.

Everyday I’m asked for a secret code or word or both to enter sites, or my own house, or to use my debit card. It seems everywhere I go, everything I do, requires some sort of act of initiation. And because I was advised not to use the same password combination for everything, I varied them all just enough to make me crazy.  I simply cannot remember what words or numbers I’ve assigned.

I finally decided to take a proactive measure and reset all of my passwords and stored them in my phone, on a new app my friend told me about so as to never have a problem entering, ordering, viewing or paying for anything. (“Password Manager” for anyone experiencing similar issues).

My phone asked me to input a password to save all of my passwords. No joke. This is what my life has become.

I assigned one  new password – for everything (don’t tell anyone): ForgotMyPassword2.

There. Who’s the loser now?

Does anyone else have this problem? If so, please share…

And, as always, have a wonderful day.


A Verra Good Series!

Twenty-three years ago, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander was released for public consumption. This past July, I decided to read it. Twenty-three years after publication. On a whim.

Actually, this series was strongly recommended by one of my readers, who is now a friend. So, when I say I read it ‘on a whim’, I really mean I finally decided to listen to her.

I read the 642-page book in four days. I gobbled it down, swallowed it and relished the entire story – every word, every page. It was awesome! If you would have told me I’d love a story that involves time-travel back to the Scottish Highlands of the 18th century, witch-hunts, hangings, and war, I would have said you were crazy.

This was all of that and more – a love story that encapsulated everything I want: a strong heroine, a good looking hero (with an accent), nail-biting scenes and the most romantic dialogue I’ve ever read. Dare I say, it’s as good as The Bronze Horseman. Gasp!

So, I read the next book in the eight-book series, Dragonfly in Amber. Already completely hooked onto Jamie and Claire’s story, I enjoyed it immensely.

Outlander 2014

Here’s where it gets a little spooky (to me). Twenty-three years after this story was published, producers from Starz! decided to make the first book into a TV series. The same summer I just so happened to read it. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Or do I have that power?

If you’ll recall in a previous post, I read The Bronze Horseman late last year (also a recommendation I finally listened to), a decade after publication, and guess who stopped into the Book Revue in Huntington for the first time this Spring? That’s right. Paullina Simons. See?

I’m thinking it’s me.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe my good fortune at being able to see the characters I fell in love with come to life every Saturday night at nine pm. I can’t remember the last time I’ve looked forward to a television program. And I have DVR, so I never actually see a show at the time it airs. Except for this one. To hear Jamie call Claire “Sassenach” and “mo nighean donn” outside of my head puts me in my happy place.


My husband watches the series with me. He’s seen my head buried in these books for weeks so his curiosity is peaked. And, he knows it will be a long, cold winter if he doesn’t.

Each week as we watch, I fill him in on snippets of information I’m privy to, having an intimate knowledge of the story. I truly believe I love the Starz! series even more having read the book – something I rarely say.

“What are they calling Claire?” He asked.

“Sassenach. It’s Scottish for ‘outsider’ or ‘outlander’” I explain.

Though husband was satisfied with my answer, I took it a step further.

“When Jamie calls her ‘Sassenach’ though, it’s with affection. And very romantic.”

I have the third installment, Voyager, waiting on my Kindle. I have forced myself to take a break from this series to read other books – but always, it is in the back of my mind, waiting, taunting, beckoning me.

Husband called me the other day from the car. “Hello, Susquehanna.” He said.

“Are you trying to say Sassenach?”

The next day, he walked in from work. “How was your day, my Sasperillo?”

“Um, it’s Sassenach.”

Tomorrow night is the final mid-season episode, which bothers me. It’s like Starz! gave me a gift and now they want to take it back before I fully enjoyed it. I’m sure the reason will be explained at some point. I hope.

In bed, husband whispered in my ear, “G’night my little Seskatchewan.”


If you haven’t jumped on the Outlander bandwagon yet, I say go ahead. You won’t be disappointed. I promise you, it’s verra good!


Letter From An Irate Customer

Dear Mr. CEO,

I am a person with limited closet space and therefore forced to store “out of season” clothes in bulky bins in my basement.

Last Spring, your clever advertisers wooed me into buying your Spacebags, promising me easy, space-saving storage.  As instructed, I filled them with my fall and winter clothes, as well as two blankets, and vacuumed all of the air from the bags until they were flat pallets. To my pleasant surprise, they fit easily under my bed and along the top of my closet. I bid a happy farewell to my old-fashioned bins.

Yesterday, upon releasing the air from said bags, I pulled out my clothes and blankets. At first glance, all seemed perfectly well. But upon wear, I found your so-called “Space bags” shrunk my clothes – every last article – by several inches.

I am so distressed, I cannot bring myself to measure the blankets.

So, I am filing a formal complaint to your company and recommend that you include a warning on your packaging that says something like this:


As for me, I’ll return to my bulky, plastic bins held in my dank basement, thank you very much.


Kimberly Wenzler

PS: Please disregard this mark here –>  ⊗    I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps an ink stain. It is most definitely NOT a Mallomar smudge.