Monday Musings: Family Weekend

Last week was the BaldMan’s mother’s eighty-fifth birthday. She and his Dad, as well as his sister and her husband, came to MA from New York for the weekend to celebrate. Stephanie came for dinner on Friday, and was with us Saturday and Sunday, as well. Jill, John, and Carter came on Saturday for some visiting and when we all went out to dinner that evening.

Everyone who drove in from NY arrived on Friday afternoon, got settled in their hotel, and came to our place for dinner. We grilled steaks, had a farro and barley salad, and green and wax beans. It was all very good, but then, when the BaldMan grills steak, it is always good! We may have sat around talking and drinking just a little bit of wine after dinner. I counted four empty bottles in the morning. Hey, it was a fun night!

On Saturday, we went to the Nashoba Valley Winery. We haven’t been there in years. They’ve expanded quite a bit since the last time. Originally, they specialized in fruit wines, mainly apple. They have added some grape and grape-fruit blends now. Apple is still a main ingredient, since they are an orchard. We tasted some wines, relaxed, and, yes, bought a few to bring home! We are going to go back at some point with Lambeau, because dogs are welcome in the picnic area. He would enjoy hiking around the orchards and meeting some new friends, I am sure.

Saturday night, we went to dinner at the Bull Run Restaurant here in Shirley. It’s an old inn and tavern from colonial times and is still operating as a restaurant, bar, and concert hall today. They don’t have a huge menu, but the food is good. We learned something new, also. The air conditioning (or at least the part that was behind our table) is a shaft running deep into the ground, and a fan pushes the cool air up into the rooms. It works. That breeze coming through there was chilly! After dinner, we took some pictures at the covered bridge on the property. Thanks again to the nice lady who was nice enough to take a picture of the whole group so we could all be in it. Here’s the whole bunch (minus our youngest daughter and her family who are living in Great Britain):


After dinner, most of the group came back here for carrot cake and ice cream.

On Sunday, we went to the Wachusett Brewing Company for lunch and some beer tasting. Lunch was good, if a bit pricey. They do brew some good beer there. We brought out growlers to be refilled and they do Wicked Big Cans, as well. It’s neat- they fill a 32 ounce can with your choice of beer and seal it right there. I am normally not a big fan of fruit beers because I think too many of them are overwhelming in the fruit taste, but Wachusett’s are nicely balanced. They also make a stout called Aloha-ha which is made with coconut, and is a stout I think I could actually drink. Probably the most unusual one is the Willy Dilly, brewed with dill pickle juice. I did a flight of four tastings with lunch, and had to try that one, served with a wedge of dill pickle. And it was good enough that we got a Wicked Big Can of it to take home.

All in all, it was a good weekend. Going to make this a relaxing evening, because the real world awaits tomorrow!


Coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition. Artificial intelligence, corporate plots, spaceships, a heroine with an attitude. More details soon!

Available now :

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here




tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.




tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.





In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

Five and Daemonthumb

Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?

Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here


Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.

Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.