<![CDATA[Monique Holden - Updates]]>Fri, 04 Jun 2021 00:43:33 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[June 2021 Update]]>Tue, 01 Jun 2021 07:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/june-2021-updateWhat I'm reading:  Henry James disparaged Jane Austen (most probably because she was a woman). Many critics have disparaged the genre of romance writing and Georgette Heyer as a simple historical romance writer. I think she’s fabulous. Read Fredricka and see if you don’t agree.
What I'm writing: I am still writing the skinny draft of the third book.
What I'm cooking: Lots of quick easy meals with fresh ingredients. Last night we had grilled shrimp tacos topped with garlic cole slaw.

What's happening in the garden: I haven’t put in a vegetable garden this year as I’ve been working on planting everything from Nellie Stevens to Beardtongue pristine blue penstemon and weeding. I am trying to enjoy weeding as an exercise in…persistence, as in how to be more persistent than the weeds

My dallies are blooming, much later than last year but they form a gorgeous border along the back fence in front of my red-tipped photinias.

The quote I'm loving: But if our sex would but well consider and rationally ponder, they will perceive and find that it is neither words nor place that can advance them, but worth and merit. --Margaret Cavendish

<![CDATA[May I?]]>Wed, 19 May 2021 14:09:18 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/may-iWhat I'm reading:  I’m reading a book called The Last Best Cure by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. It’s about using her brain to heal childhood trauma. Nakazawa is a science writer so this book has loads of good science behind the story.
What I'm writing: I am writing the skinny draft of the third book. I’m about at the half way point—granted this is a very skinny draft.
What I'm cooking: It’s warming up outside so I’ve been making some interesting salads with dates, goat cheese, walnuts and a homemade balsamic fig dressing. I even tried a new recipe with pea shoots that I stir-fried in avocado oil and garlic with a dash of low sodium soy sauce. Very nice!

What's happening in the garden: Azaleas are still blooming, but their blooms are waning. If you aren’t in the part of the country that can grow azaleas, it’s a shame. They are so lovely against the newly emerged fescue. Mine aren’t as pretty as usual because of the subzero temperatures we had this year when the poor things dropped their leaves from the extreme cold but still, the fuchsia is gorgeous and cheering.

<![CDATA[Clean up]]>Thu, 08 Apr 2021 15:49:30 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/clean-upWhat I'm reading:  Unoffendable by Brant Hansen. Even if you’re not a Christian, this book offers a choice of freedom from anger, the freedom from being offended.
What I'm writing: I’ve finally gotten the third book plot started (eyeroll). The plot will change as it always does as I go along.
What I'm cooking: I’m on a scallops kick right now. The trick to getting that nice crust on them is to make certain they are completely dry before you put them in the oil of your choice (I used ghee).

What's happening in the garden: I lost an azalea or at least part of an azalea. There are blossoms at the bottom but the top three feet appears to be dead. The leaves are sparse and some have buds others are rather sulky and the leaves remain rather dark. Those are my wait and sees. Hard winter but we’re coming back!

The quote I'm thinking about: To hold a pen is to be at war. –Voltaire Interested to hear what you all think about that one. Comment below!

<![CDATA[Marching toward April]]>Mon, 15 Mar 2021 07:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/marching-toward-aprilWhat I'm reading:  The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. This was a lovely book set in India in the 1950’s. Henna artist to the wealthy women of the upper class, Lakshmi is on a journey of self-discovery but must carefully guard her reputation and that of her younger sister as she tries to advance her career.
What I'm writing: I’ve rewritten The Standard of a Man and feel satisfied with it…for now. 
What I'm watching: We are still watching the Poirot Series on Amazon Prime. We are on season ten right now.

What's happening in the garden: My bulbs are coming up. That’s the good news. The severe snow storm we had unfortunately killed many of my nandinas and probably some of my broadleaf evergreens. I hope my azaleas made it. They’ve dropped a great many leaves. I've hired a new lawn and landscape team. So far so good. Just getting some of the shrubs trimmed makes things look so much better.

The quote I'm thinking about: Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized. – Allan Armitag
<![CDATA[Feeling February]]>Tue, 16 Feb 2021 08:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/feeling-february

What I'm reading: I am reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles. Once in a while a book comes along that is so good, I read or listen to it again with my husband. This one is so good it is worth a second read. Highly recommended.
What I'm writing: I am jotting down ideas on the town since I’m struggling with my plot. I’m reading John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story. It is really helpful.
What I'm watching: I am watching the Poirot Series on Amazon Prime. It’s been fun to see how this series improved and developed. We are on season six right now.

What's happening in the garden: We are in the middle of a snow storm right now so I enjoy watching the different shapes the hibernating shrubs take.

The quote I'm thinking about: You know, a dog can snap you out of any kind of bad mood that you’re in faster than you can think of.  - Jill Abramson. I might add, and so can a dog playing in the snow.

​Have a happy day.

<![CDATA[Blue January]]>Sat, 09 Jan 2021 08:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/blue-january
What I'm reading: I am reading Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien. Unbelievable what these young women endured.
What I'm writing:
I am still plotting my third book (no title yet) in The Bridge Series and doing some rewriting in The Kitchen Dancer. I can’t seem to get it fixed.
What I'm watching: I am watching Moonstruck with Cher and Nicholas Cage (before he was famous). It ranks up there as one of my top movies. The writing is incredible.

What's happening in the garden: Honestly, nothing. It’s too cold to venture out. I have ordered a few seeds.

The quote I'm thinking about: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers (humourist). We got a dog. A Tibetan terrier named Quimby and we are in love. There's nothing like a puppy to chase away any January blues.

<![CDATA[Delay in December]]>Tue, 08 Dec 2020 17:48:21 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/delay-in-decemberA December to Remember

What I'm reading: I always read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens during the month of December. The redemptive nature of the book reminds me that it is never too late to do good in the world.
What I'm writing: My writing is sluggish but I’m still editing The Kitchen Dancer. I should have that wrapped up by the end of the month.
What I'm watching: Just watched It’s A Wonderful Life for the millionth time. I still love it. My husband won't watch it anymore with me because he's seen it too many times. What's wrong with that?!

What's happening in the garden: I am cutting down ornamental grasses and we’re taking out a hedge to put in a raised bed garden.
The quote I'm thinking about: I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.  Maya Angelou]]>
<![CDATA[November News]]>Mon, 02 Nov 2020 08:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/november-newsHello November!

What I'm reading: I am reading The Body Keeps the Score. Fascinating read by Bessel van der Kolk about how trauma effects the body. This book, written by a psychiatrist examines the history of trauma treatment and delves into contemporary neuroscience and current treatments.
What I'm writing: My writing is somewhat on the back burner but I start again in earnest. I need to follow my own advice and write every day, no matter what.
What I'm watching: Finishing up The Crown and then we are starting The Great British Bake Off. I don’t think we’ll continue more than the first season as my watching partner (husband), is a bit bored by the repetition. 

What's happening in the garden: We haven't had our first freeze yet so I am nursing along my mums and a few confused iris. Gathering leaves and making a massive compost pile.
The quote I'm thinking about: The first wealth is health. --Ralph Waldo Emerson
<![CDATA[October's Best]]>Thu, 01 Oct 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/octobers-bestFall

What I'm reading: I am listening to “The Nightengale” by Kristin Hannah. This book has been made into a movie. So far it’s very good.
What I'm writing: I am plotting my third book (no title yet) in The Bridge Series and doing some rewriting in The Kitchen Dancer.
What I'm watching: “Avatar: The Last Air Bender” on the recommendation of my younger son. It’s an American action-adventure fantasy film written, by M. Night Shyamalan. We are enjoying it so far—it has three seasons so we might be binge watching this!

What's happening in the garden: I harvested the last watermelon a week ago and I am cutting my basil back and probably making some more pesto!
The quote I'm thinking about: The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. Charles Darwin. I’m thinking about this because we are considering getting a dog. I miss everything about having a dog except when they die. It’s that last bit that breaks my heart.

<![CDATA[September Heat]]>Wed, 02 Sep 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://thekitchendancer.com/updates/september-heatEarly Fall

What I'm reading:
 I am listening to “Cilka’s Journey: A Novel” by Heather Morris. Heather wrote The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This story is based on a true story.

What I'm writing: I have sent my first book “The Kitchen Dancer” out to Beta readers. I am editing my first draft of a science fiction story and plotting a third novel in “The Kitchen Dancer” Series. 
What I'm watching: “Endeavor” on PBS as well as “The Vote” an excellent documentary on the women's suffrage movement.

What's happening in the garden: I have planted Swiss chard, radishes and I might try some lettuce. We have a rather long growing season so there's still time! I'm also pulling up some plants that are looking tired.
The quote I'm holding on to:
"It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.