Chris and Susan’s (next) excellent adventure?

sea mercy


Dear Sea Mercy Crew Applicant,

Thank you for registering with Sea Mercy as a crew member for Dragonfly during its transit to Tonga. To be considered for a particular leg, please complete this next step in your adventure….

Ever sailed a 65′ catamaran from Belize to San Blas, Panama? Me neither. Ever spend 28 days at sea, sailing 900 miles to bring a 65′ catamaran that’s been outfitted as a Floating Health Care Clinic from Belize to San Blas, Panama? Nope, not me. Ever think you’d want to? No, I can’t say the thought ever crossed my mind.

That is, of course, until the Sea Mercy and Dragonfly folks invited Chris to crew on the boat and he said, “Yes, but only if my Lovely can come along!” Let’s see. My husband’s been sailing for more than twenty years, has his captain’s license, and can do amazing things like get us safely to port when lightning knocks out the navigation system. I am qualified to hold towels, dispense sunblock, and pour rum and fruit juice. For some reason they want me anyway. The application I’m filling out this morning is a formality. They want Chris, so I get to go, too. Yippee!! I think…

If everything goes as planned, we’ll be joining the Dragonfly on the second leg of it’s journey from Florida to Tonga. There are six legs altogether, and we picked the second one so as not to interfere with Cuyler’s rugby schedule. Nice of me to remember I have kids, no? Fear not; they will be well taken care of and overseen while we’re away. And besides, we can Skype so I can see them and say things like “You need a haircut, honey,” and “No, that’s not a zit. It’s dirt. Wash.”

Here’s a look at where we’re going…


You can read all about it here on the Sea Mercy website.

It’ll be an adventure for sure, and it’ll be fun, and it’ll be for a very good cause. I mean, how often in my lifetime am I going to have the chance to help bring medicine and healthcare* to remote islands where there isn’t any? This could be it. And you know what else it could be? A book.

I’ll keep ya posted.


*I promise to bring other important things, too, like copies of Vogue and People, a variety of OPI nail polish colors, PEZ dispensers and plenty of refills. You know, the things people count on me for.


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Do you DeJaVu? Now there’s one more reason to!

DeJaVu 43 Main Street, Warrenton

It’s rare that I leave DeJaVu, the adorable consignment shop at 43 Main Street in Warrenton, without a fabulous Michael Kors bag or Ann Taylor top in my hands. It’s even rarer that I leave without buying jeans  (I’m a total jeans hoarder), and something, anything, a scarf, skirt, pair of shoes, or belt in my favorite color: beige.  If you’ve been there, you know why I think the store’s so terrific. And if you’ve been there lately, then you know why my enthusiasm has reached a whole new level. DeJaVu is now carrying signed copies of 500 Acres And No Place To Hide, More Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl. So go in and do a little shopping. Pick up something Chanel, Armani, or Boden, and of course a good book. And tell Alison and Sandra Susan sent you. Thanks!

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Perfect for your beach bag (and your friend’s)

beach chair yellow

My beach bag is a mess. In it I’ve got a sticky tube of sunblock, melted lip balm, bug spray from 2009, broken hair clips, over-stretched hair bands, a comb missing several teeth, a brush that could be worn as a wig, crumpled (but not used) tissues, band-aids that have long since lost their ability to aid anybody, and several paperback books filled with sand.  Two of those books, believe it or not, are the ones I’ve written. I like to walk up to women who are sitting on the beach reading and say, “Forgive me for interrupting, but I just finished this and it’s a terrific summertime read. Would you like it?” Nine times out of ten they say yes, and I give them a copy of 500 Acres and No Place to Hide.

According to several top book reviewers, 500 Acres IS a great summertime read. If you’ve read it, thanks. If you have a friend who hasn’t, and is headed to the beach or lake for one last Summer escape, why not get them a copy? They’ll have to stick sand in it themselves, but they’ll thank you!

From Story Circle Book Reviews:

Summertime. A perfect time for a memoir that is light-hearted and fun. McCorkindale’s humorist look at life in the slow lane is a great fit.

This is a sequel, but certainly nothing in the book requires you to have read the first one. The author’s approach is self-depreciating as well as funny, and the serious elements (e.g. her husband’s battle with pancreatic cancer) are dealt with in such a way that you can laugh and cry at the same time, and feel comfortable.

My own father used to say “I’m just a country boy trying to get along in the big city.” Well—McCorkindale is the complete opposite; a city girl trying to get by on 500 acres of beef cattle, outnumbered in her household by her two sons and husband.

“How many kids does it take to close the one and only gate that keeps the cattle in the pasture?” the author muses. Her answer? “Two. One to say, ‘what gate?’ and the second one to say, ‘I didn’t open it.'” With this sally, the intrepid McCorkindale takes on the farm. A woman a tad too obsessed with designer footwear and crow’s feet around her eyes, she is still able to bring a biting wit to her descriptions of farm animals, bad weather, and wearing Prada to do chores in the barn.

She mourns the loss of Taxi Takeout and made-to-order lattes, and in each essay in this book she takes a original look at her life in the country, complete with crowing hens, stinkbugs and Kudzu. She deals with her frustration with her writing: the local newspaper that has stopped printing her articles and owns up to the fact that her local readers feel she has gone to “the dark side.” Readers have complained that she is “…a bit bawdy, rather ribald, even risque…pining for bigger breasts and a smaller butt, my unabashed enthusiasm for high heels, tattoos and margaritas…even my reminiscences about high school boyfriends…are verboten. Taboo. Who knew?”

McCorkindale’s obsessions with personal looks, glamor, fashion and beauty may be a bit off-putting, but she writes ’em as she sees ’em. You may wonder about her style, her vision of child-rearing and her methods of dealing with a terminally ill husband, but you can’t deny that she has a strength in her humor, a veracity to her approach, and a refreshing ability to make a life for herself that she never planned. You come away from the reading of 500 Acres with a smile and an appreciation for someone who constantly makes lemonade when life gives her lemons.

I recommend this book for any woman, at any age, who wants a fun summer read that will also provide some introspection and self-evaluation!

by Laura Strathman Hulka
for Story Circle Book Reviews

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They like me (or at least they think I’ll like me).

Got the receipt below when I checked out at my local Barnes and Noble today. The young woman who rang me up was going on and on and on about their rewards program when, unable to figure out how to politely shut her up, I looked down, saw what she’d handed me, and just said, “You’re so sweet but, a recommendation from Barnes and Noble is reward enough.”

I’d paid cash, so she had no idea what I was talking about. I felt funny telling her, so I thought I’d tell you instead. Thanks for sharing all this excitement with me!

Don’t forget — Tune in to 92.5 WINC FM Monday, August 1st at 7:50am. I’ll be chatting with Barry Lee and you can hear us live on the radio (if you’re local) or online (if you’re not). Here’s the link — Thanks for listening!

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