Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins by Antonia Hodgson / A Book Review

One of the pleasures and perks of belonging to is the opportunity to read an occasional Advance Reading Copy of a soon to be published book in exchange for an honest review. has introduced me to authors I might not otherwise have discovered, which has afforded me hours of pleasure.

The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins will appeal to fans of Anne Perry and C.J. Sansom with the murderous activity occurring during the reign of King George II rather than Victorian or Tudor times.

Thomas Hawkins is a “gentleman” ne’er do well who finds himself strapped to his coffin in a cart jostling along the road to his hanging at Tyburn for a murder he did not commit. While Hawkins pleads his innocence and hopes for a pardon from Queen Caroline for whom he has provided some valuable services, he knows that dead men tell no tales and that his death might prove convenient for the Queen.

The book is well researched, entertaining and gives the reader an intimate look into life in London during the early 18th Century including the filth, seediness, prodigious interest in porn, fetish brothels, spousal abuse, criminal investigations and the pomp and circumstance of executions. 

Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Friday, December 18, 2015

Celebrating Today!

As we all know, life throws us curve balls. We never know what tomorrow brings. But I choose to expect the Universe will bring me blessings. I know some of those blessings will be bittersweet. There are some milestones I don’t want to face. But I know I must. Until that day when I must let go of what must come I want to celebrate the joy of having both of my parents and in-laws in my life. I want to give thanks that my husband’s 103-year-old grandmother is still with us.

I give thanks that the changes coming with the acquisition of my company may ultimately be beneficial. This week I was advised that my name is in a box in the new organizational chart. I have a job in the coming year. There will be changes but I am ready to embrace the changes, celebrate the opportunities, and forge ahead with an open mind. I will be reporting to a manager that I like and respect. For that I couldn’t be happier or more grateful. I feel like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon ready to spread my wings to fly into the pollinated flowers and embrace whatever comes.  I’ve come to appreciate that changes are not just inevitable, changes generally brings good fortune if I approach what must come with the right attitude.

Yes the changes will be bittersweet. I’ve been blessed to work for a company that has treated me well. I’ve had the pleasure to work with dynamic, committed individuals who has taught me a lot and given me some enhanced tools so that I can succeed anywhere. But I am committed to press forward and see what the future brings in this new organization. I can feel the energy. The road will likely be rocky. I’ve been through mergers & acquisitions in the past and even in the best of circumstances there will be challenges. But I do believe the future waits with abundant opportunity. I just have to be receptive.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Embracing Change & Accepting What Will Be May Be Positive~

Since July 1st my colleagues and I have considered the potential ramifications of the announcement that my employer, Chubb, was acquired by ACE, a rival insurer. It was unsettling. It is still unsettling to consider what we will face in the coming years. But unlike many of my coworkers   I have experienced mergers / acquisitions in the past and know that it is possible to not only survive but to thrive. 

For the first 45 years of my existence I feared and resisted change. I don’t know the reasons other than a fear of the unknown. Ultimately, however, I learned that every second, minute, hour, day, week or year presents an unknown future. I discovered that I’d spent so much time worrying about what may occur that I missed enjoying a moment in time that could have provided joy and memories.

Fortunately, some personal challenges caused me to reflect, delve into deep introspection, take a personal inventory, participate in spiritual awakening, embrace experiences, look forward to opportunities, find fellowship in Al-Anon which gave me the tools to live life on life’s terms, study the lessons of Doreen Virtue and Louise Hay, find peace and serenity in meditation, appreciate the gifts of yoga, and come to understand that change is not only inevitable – it is also healthy, positive and an opportunity for growth .
By the end of this coming week I should know where I fit in the current puzzle of the new organization. I plan to give it a go and see where it leads me. If it isn’t the path I’m meant to follow, I will know and plan my next move. But I anticipate that there will be opportunities for growth that I never imagined.


Yes, there will be people I care about that may not like the changes. I may not like the changes. But I can’t control it, so I will approach what comes with an open mind and the belief that whatever happens is meant to be.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Gun Debate From the Perspective of an Average Gun Owner~

I have a lot of friends on both side of the gun debate. I am an educated woman, well employed, no tattoos, married, Libertarian, commute to our nations Capital, shop at Garnet Hill or Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom, am well traveled, practice yoga and I own a firearm. For decades I never imagined I would buy a gun. While I’ve always believed the 2nd Amendment affords citizens the right to own a gun for personal use – not as part of a militia, I did not see the need to own a gun myself. And, I had a bit of trepidation being around guns because I’d never learned how to handle a firearm.

I had a fear of guns until I learned to shoot one. We live in the country.  There is abundant harmless wildlife that transverses our property such as possums, wild turkeys, raccoons, deer, chipmunks, squirrels and an abundance of cats. But we’ve also seen bear and coyote. And there was a quadruple murder down the road a few years ago.

At my husband’s insistence I bought a firearm for protection. Okay, it was a wedding anniversary gift. But I discovered that I absolutely LOVE target shooting – particularly at zombie targets.  We joined a gun club with several shooting ranges. I’ve learned I have a good eye, a steady grip, and a propensity to hit my target dead center.  

Most gun owners like me are ordinary responsible citizens who want to protect themselves and also enjoy the sport of shooting. Frankly, it is fun.  And I do not want my rights trampled upon because of a few bad apples. If somebody wants to commit an atrocity he or she will find a way. Guns just seem to be an easy target (pun intended).

I have no problem with background checks. But background checks won’t stop criminals from getting guns anymore than it will stop criminals or terrorists from hi-jacking airplanes, making bombs with fertilizer or strapping C4 onto their bodies.