A Fresh View of Spring in a Post-Covid World

A Fresh View of Spring in a Post-Covid World

Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs overlays, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. SO GOOD!

We passed the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 and I hope we will never pass another anniversary like it ever again. Tom and I recently had our first and second vaccines and we’re getting out a bit more too. We go for our morning walks and a few times a week we enjoy our favorite breakfast at our local Duchess restaurant in Fairfield, CT. It’s not very busy when we go and it’s nice to get back to a routine that is feeling more like “normal”.

Covid didn’t keep us down though, Tom and I have been busy revising my books Indigo Sky (soon to be re-released as THE MEMORABLE MRS. DEMPSEY) and THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. Tom is the best editor I could ask for. I can’t wait to re-release both books with brand new covers, I’ll let everyone know when they come out.

Spring is in the air and soon our flowers will bloom and our backyards will be a lovely oasis. With that in mind, here are some lovely images of spring I painted a few years back. I hope these pictures give you hope for renewal and healing as we move forward. Enjoy!

Bridge to Tranquility

New England Peace

Waterfall at Lake Mohegan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for a sneak peek next month. 🙂

All the best,

Gail Ingis.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter, and interior designer.

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Birthday blowout!

Birthday blowout!

Birthdays, ah, we love them, but do we? They’re inevitable, some are good, some are weird, and some are long-awaited. We can’t wait to reach thirteen.

WOW, finally—I’m a teenager!

A teenager at thirteen doesn’t seem to make much difference except we begin to feel grown-up, and start to notice our parents are becoming disagreeable.
Then there’s that sweet-sixteen party for the girls, leaving the boys out in the cold unless they get invited. Well, that’s a piece of cake to figure out, we can dance with them. If they don’t know how we can teach them.

But wait, isn’t eighteen grown up? We get to drive. That’s the driving age in Brooklyn and New York City—and vote. Both driving and voting are huge responsibilities. The day my driver’s license arrived in the mail—I couldn’t wait to open the envelope—’PASSED.’

Dad danced with me when I showed him my shiny new license. “Good job, now I want you to pick up your mother at work, she gets off at 5:00 pm.” She worked on 47th and Broadway in New York at a place they make dungarees, Blue Bell. I did it! I took the Belt Parkway to the Gowanus Expressway and over the Manhattan Bridge, and I drove back the same way with my Mom in the car. “Good Job,” she said.

The other biggie, voting. We choose all kinds of governmental people, like the President of the United States. You’ve almost forgotten all the fun you had at your sweet sixteen, dancing with the boys, eating goodies and blowing candles out on your cake–and now you can vote? Have you been following the presidential candidates and the promises to their country, their philosophy, and their skills to make appropriate decisions that will affect the people and you?

Are you busy graduating from high school, and choosing a college, be it virtual or not? I don’t know—the responsibilities of an eighteen-year-olds’ are daunting, aren’t they?

Should I go on? What happens at twenty-one, turning thirty, or even forty, supposedly over-the-hill? I don’t think there’s an over-the-hill anymore. We are healthier than ever. We exercise, make our hearts more robust, and our lungs better to fight off dangerous viruses.

In this house, we’ve seen fifty, sixty, seventy, and even eighty. Life has gotten better and busier, and okeydokey as daddy used to say. We win contests for writing, for dancing, for fashion. We promote healthy products for Beautycounter, the most innovative and forward-thinking company in the USA!

Where will it all end? In heaven, I guess. I’m just too busy. Heaven can wait.

My current books

 

My Big Brother Jay Gerber – Success Written in the Sky

My Big Brother Jay Gerber – Success Written in the Sky

From the army to the skies – Jay Gerber never backs down from a challenge.

My big brother, Jay Gerber, is my spokesman for his memoir. You guessed it, I’m writing his story with him.

Jay has accomplished more in his 87 years than most people could in two lifetimes. But he’s not done yet! He wants to get it all down in a book – all his adventures, and he asked me to write it.

It was the beginning of him becoming a mature teenager—oh, I know that’s an oxymoron–but the high school at Carson Long Military Institute taught Jay a thing or two. Then off to college, then into the army, then back to university and successful completion of medical school. He did a short stint as a podiatrist but was too busy making movies, flying, then sat in his own Piper Cherokee 180, and filming football for NFL Films. Not necessarily in that order. And somewhere in-between he married a gorgeous blue-eyed blond, My fabulous, amazing sister-in-law and friend, Barb.

His love for flying and football always took center stage, and his knowledge in technology and photography is embedded in his DNA.

Jay has earned many accolades over the years.

At seven-years-old, he built his own planes from balsa wood and tissue paper. It all began after a trip with Dad to the 1939 World’s Fair Aviation Exhibit. He built the planes while I watched as he glued the pieces together and smelled up our shared bedroom. No, we don’t remember getting a hit from the glue. Back then, the glue was handy to put things together. Then he added rubber bands and threw the planes up in the air till they ran out of the twisted rubber bands and crash-landed. He didn’t care if they got damaged—he fixed them and threw them back into the air again. I asked Jay to build one for me so we could fly them together.

 

 

This model planes grew in size, then he installed engines and even created a control shift like the stick shifter in Dad’s 1938 Plymouth. He landed the plane by doing something with that stick, remote control is what it’s called. The planes kept growing until he eventually bought a ready-made plane that he sat in and flew. Jay was fortunate to own a Piper Cherokee 180 and then a Cherokee SIX 260. He certainly earned his wings including the private instrument, commercial, and twin ratings.

He sold the Cherokee SIX to a ham radio retailer. As part of the sale, he received a ham radio station. This led to his extra class license as an N3AW and a ham radio contest station where he competed in many worldwide phones and CW [Morse Code] contests.

“Very few people build their planes anymore. Many of these ships come pre-built as carbon fiber fuselages and foam core covered wings…and are beautiful…we have to do a lot of work to install all the motors, radio equipment, and servos (surface control devices) which are very costly,” Jay said.

And at the ripe young age of 72, Jay learned to play the piano. Well, it’s about time he learned. I’ve been playing since the age of 7. I asked Jay was he jealous of me playing the piano? “Nope” because he played clarinet and sax, and had a band when he was in college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, what would retirement be without adding a few rounds of golf into the mix as well? Leave it to my brother — he’s an expert on the links too.

He’s been honored by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) for his brilliance in all the above. For most of his career, he worked for the NFL in their film and technical division.

Franco Harris, Steelers running back & President George Washington

 

Jay is also the guy who filmed the famous Immaculate Reception play during the Steelers and Raiders divisional playoff game on December 23, 1972, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. At the airport, there’s a statue of Franco Harris, who caught the football, next to one of George Washington. You all know who that is, right

The time Jay and I spend together is the best part of writing this book. All the memories of our childhood, teenage adventures, and the joyful and poignant changes that adulthood brings. Through it all Jay has always been my big brother. My first hero. And my dear friend.

 

Jay filming for NFL Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is us! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gail (Gerber) Ingis is an artist, interior designer, and published author. Her historical romances Indigo Sky and The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin are both available on Amazon. Gail is currently writing a memoir with her brother Jay S. Gerber. He’s a man that rose from rags to riches, find out how in his memoirs, maybe by the end of this year.

My current books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

Coronavirus Versus Us – Just a couple of lovebirds taking it one day at a time

This is us!

That’s Tom on the left. 🙂

It’s a scary time out there for all of us, especially those of us in our golden years. We’ve been through a lot in our time, war, unemployment, illness, divorce, death of loved ones, but we continue to march on because that’s what we do. We are the generation who have learned to make the most out of every day we have. And these days, it’s even more important. Like everyone else, we want to do our part and stay healthy and not overburden the medical system. We’ve done all our shopping and stocking up on supplies. Although it’s tempting to get take-out food from restaurants, it’s probably better to cook at home. Except we couldn’t help getting our breakfast “to-go” this morning from our favorite eatery:  Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs over easy, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. He gets the bigger portion. SO GOOD! – Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.

We will keep going on our morning walks, and we decided to have some alternate fun beginning in the garden on those almost warm and sunny days, maybe take out our favorite swing. The plan is to give our little Honda Insight a fresh waxing and make it sparkle.

Happy Birthday, Ed! That’s his granddaughter Carley. She’s hanging out with him for a while.

Runners and walkers love to come to our neighborhood to enjoy the views and the ever-changing spectacular designs of God. We also get visits from foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and packs of deer, eight of them were on Ed’s lawn the other morning. I guess they heard it was Ed’s ninety-fifth birthday and came to offer good wishes. Maybe they were the ones who tied the birthday balloons to the lamp post? (Psst…actually it was Diane, who lives down the street.) Ed is made of sturdy stuff too! He was a navy man in WWII and he walks every morning, our inspiration.

I’ve done a few things in my life too. In 2009 I decided I wanted to write the love story about the artist, Albert Bierstadt. And I did, not before taking enough workshops and courses that would have given me a Masters in writing. I’m eighty-four and I’ve written two historical romance novels (yes even us old folks remember what it’s like to fall in love). And, now, I’m writing my memoir. What a trip down memory lane. Some of it is fun, some not so fun. But that’s the thing about life, you take every day as it comes. Yes, Tom and I are holding hands and are doing well.

I did mention we were going to do something funt?  Today was Hat Day! I wish you all good health and happiness in these coming months. May this time bring us closer together and may we make some good memories pitching in to do our part.

Farewell till next time.

Gail Ingis is the author of INDIGO SKY and THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. You can find her books on Amazon.

My current books

Fast and Furious Flash Floods

Fast and Furious Flash Floods

The emergency notice came loud and clear on my cell phone, Flash Flood WARNING. I didn’t have too far to go from the building where I had been at a meeting. My car was innocently waiting for me under the torrents of rain, so I held my so-called raincoat tight, pulled the hood over my head, mocking myself for leaving my umbrella behind, and raced to the safety of my sweet little Honda Insight. And got soaked.

This wasn’t the day to be driving that small driving machine that still gets fifty-six miles to the gallon, more than my son’s motorcycle. Once in the car, I raced up the hill out of that parking lot that was sure to flood in another five minutes. Traffic was heavy on the avenue, all heading to Connecticut’s truck highway, the infamous Turnpike, I95, the least likely to have a flash flood. It was around 4:30 pm, traffic is usually mega heavy, heaven only knows why the vehicles were not horizontally stacked.

Traffic was moving steadily, but slowly. I got into the middle lane, the safest that would be the last to cover over with water. But it was moving too slow for me, so I maneuvered to the left lane that was practically empty of cars and water. I kept up my speed watching for any sections that were filling with that stuff falling from the thick black clouds.

I only had to go five exits, about thirteen miles. Moved back to the middle, noting the water beginning to fill in my current position, and hung there till I got close to the next slowpoke. I moved back to the left lane that now had one of those tour buses illegally in front of me, but thrilled to have it carve the way. Almost at my exit, I moved over and out of the now backed up traffic. It was easy to leave the highway and onto the road home, praying that I wouldn’t drown on any of the streets.

I ran into one significant puddle, but my little car behaved like the Little Engine that Could. It took me straight home with nary an incident. I got the mail and pulled into the garage.

WAIT! I’m not done. On my way up the stairs from the garage, I could see that Tom was outside doing something. I stopped, went back down the steps and turned into the basement, the floor was filled with about an inch of water.

“Oh no.” I traveled all that way, no problem, and found the flash flood inside my basement. Soaking wet through my raincoat, my jeans wet too, I forgot about my condition, put on my snow boots that I keep in the ready and headed to help fix the situation.

Yup, water was filling our basement, the drain outside the back door was clogged. Asked Tom where our wet vac was, got a couple of pails to bail out that water like I was in a sinking boat, while Tom was building a dam to try to stop the water from running into the drain and wishing I had sandbags.  I started vacuuming out the water, my priority, and Tom was building a dam, his priority. We survived, both of us soaking wet, but in spite of all this, my Geraniums were blooming in their pot on the deck, a little bit of pink sparkling reminding me that mother nature is amazing.

And how was your rainy day?

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

Chocolate is Never a Mistake

Chocolate is Never a Mistake

It was a perfect plan, or so I thought. Last week, I sent out a newly revised newsletter to my subscribers. So many of you emailed me that you, “love the new look.” Thanks for that!

After proofreading several times, the newsletter looked pretty good. New logo, new banner, new images. And I included a fun, little quiz asking my subscribers what kind of chocolate they preferred: dark, milk, or white. As a treat, I would draw a name and send that person a $10 Amazon gift card.

We decided on Monday, April 23rd, midnight for the deadline to the quiz. And the draw on Tuesday, April 24th. Then we decided to change it to the 19th and 20th, but forgot to change the dates in the newsletter! Big sigh. So this is what I did: instead of one winner, we had two winners: one from Friday, the 20th, and one from Tuesday, the 24th. No way would I leave anyone out. Mistakes happen, every day, in every way. Whether big or small, I was happy to have two winners, that date change turned a mistake into a double delight. Love Gail.

By the way: here are the results of the chocolate survey: It was pretty even between those who preferred dark chocolate (40%) and those who preferred milk chocolate (40%), with a smaller group who preferred white chocolate (20%).For Tom and me, we prefer dark ’cause ‘they’ say it’s good for you. Right?

And of course, it’s never a mistake to enjoy a piece of chocolate: dark, milk, or white.

I post here every Thursday morning at 5 a.m. Hope you’ll stop by.

Here’s another delight for you, Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark, or their imported Belgian big bar with or without almonds, or from Phoenix, AZ, Cerreta French Mint Truffles.  Yum! Cerreta.com.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in summer 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

It’s that time of year – Spring Cleaning. Tom and I have been busy re-organizing our home. Our focus this year is my library, a room that I adore. We have about 2,002 books (2 are tom’s) in my professional library. WOW is right. This year we made the decision to scale it back.

So far we’ve packed up 5 boxes of books (about 100 books in total) and donated them to a local charity, Silvermine School of Art. These are all art books – of course. Even though it’s hard getting rid of things we love, it’s important for our peace of mind. Why? Because we need “white space” in our lives. That extra space where we can reflect and relax. Clutter can lead to anxiety and after the heaviness of winter, it’s time to let go.

So if you’re pondering the clutter in your own home, think about how liberating it will be when you let go, and give yourself the gift of “space”.

Love, Gail.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

 

Talking the Talk and Walking The Walk

Talking the Talk and Walking The Walk

Tom and I walk every day. Rain, snow, or shine.

Spring is in the air, (hopefully) and so is our desire to get into shape. But instead of thinking seasonally when it comes to your health – think long term. I’m going to give you three bits of advice so that you can be independent for the rest of your life: Move every day. Eat well. Sleep well.

Our friend Ed, 93 and going strong!

At the ripe old age of 82 I have done it all. I lost 50 pounds twenty years ago and kept it off.

Tom and I walk every day with our neighbor Ed, a former WWII Navy Vet. Ed is turning 93 in a few days. Yup, you read that right. 93. Ed walks every single day, except when it’s slippery. He is truly an inspiration.

Youth is a forgiving time, but when you treat it poorly, the consequences catch up to you eventually. That’s why it’s important to get out there and walk the walk. I say that metaphorically. If you have a treadmill at home, do that every day. If you enjoy swimming, make it happen. The point is to stay active, just like Ed. If you don’t do it now, you’ll have to rely on family and friends or pay someone to help you later. It’s a sobering thought.

Don’t diet! Instead, eat healthily. Don’t believe those TV diet commercials that show people scarfing down cupcakes. For weight maintenance, have that pizza and ice cream, but no more than once a month.

Cooking healthy in the kitchen.

What works for you may not work for others. For example, nuts are a healthy snack for many people, but for me, not so much because of my food sensitivities. The only way to figure out what foods work for your body is by trial and error. It takes a few weeks, but trust me, your digestive system will thank you. Eat in moderation, small portions, but 4-6 times a day to keep your metabolic rate steady. Drink water that amounts to half your body weight.

Don’t set weight loss goals, instead set actionable goals that you can accomplish. For example – set a goal to walk a 5 k. Work toward that goal over the course of one to three months. Start with 1 k then 2 k and so on, gradually add more to the walk and your time will improve as well.  No Olympian ever won a gold medal by getting up one morning and deciding to run the 100-meter sprint. Nope. They train every day to achieve that goal. And so can you.

Until next time, keep active and eat the food that your body loves, not the food that your emotions crave.

Love Gail

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Tag, You’re It.

Tag, You’re It.

Brite Brilliance  16×20″

When I was a kid, hearing the word “tag” meant it was my turn to find and tag the kids who were hiding, with ‘you’re it’. In baseball, if you get tagged running the bases, uh-oh, you’re out.

These days, I’m dealing with different kinds of tags – dialog tags in my writing. Let me tell you that the hide and seek tags were a whole lot easier than these pesky dialog ones. When I first began writing, I was told that tags are meant to let the reader know who is talking: he said, she said, etc. But having written and published one book, and writing my second, I decided to review the system. In my efforts to be a better writer I began wondering about all the rules and when and how to break them.

The “Less is More” motto has always been my mantra. It’s touched all parts of my life including my career as an interior designer and my work as an artist/painter. My painting Brite Brilliance (on the left) could have included a lot more in the foreground like a tree or trees, people, animals, taller plants, and shrubs,. But I decided that “less is more”. I wanted the eye to focus on “the big picture” and so this is the result. And guess what? I sold Brite Brilliance in no time at all.

Thumbs up! For Johnson’s tags.

Here’s the scoop. According to an article by D.M Johnson, He Said, She Said: Dialog Tags and Using them Effectively, on Scribophile. Simplicity is key. Johnson writes that the “less is more” approach is better than all the alternative creative ways of saying “said” i.e. “agreed”, “countered”, “offered”, “argued”.  Let alone those pesky adverbs: gently, quietly, softly – she said softly, he said quietly. Dialog tags like “he growled”, “she exclaimed, he replied, etc. Tags that try to be heroic are deceptively dragging your reader out of the story. Those tags are stopgaps, disruptions and a way to ensure that an editor, agent or publisher will toss your manuscript into the garbage. They usually check your dialog first, if they see all those fancy tags, they go no further. You’ve been tagged a reject.

A way to see: How does your brain see this image? Is this about two profiles in black or a goblet in white?

Johnson says that dialogue tags (or speech tags) are like signposts, attributing written dialogue to characters. Dialogue tags don’t need to be fancy, splashy, or self-conscious. Their primary purpose is to show which characters speak and when. The greater the number of characters involved in a scene, the more important the frequency and positioning of tags becomes.

Adding adjectives and adverbs to tags to provide specific information about the speaker or the speech—she asked warily; he said innocently. These are called adverbial tags. Sometimes adding an adverb to a tag can be useful, a quick way to indicate a mannerism or emotion (she said quickly; he said coldly) without drawing it into a longer, descriptive sentence. As a caveat, it’s frequently suggested in writing advice columns and books that such tags be used with a careful hand; an adverb can make a tag more obvious and remind people they’re reading a story instead of experiencing it. Still, published authors use them when it fits the situation.

You can apply this motto to everyday life. When you’re organizing your home office, decorating your living room, putting together an outfit for a job interview or a night on the town. Remember, “less is more”.

For more information on dialogue tags check out DM Johnson’s article. She has a ton of great stuff to say.

D.M. Johnson is a published author and an editor dedicated to helping writers achieve their goals. Her background includes a BS in English and marketing. She provides editing and critique services through Word-Edge.com, offers specialty publishing for unique projects, and teaches writing classes online.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

Click the image! Linked to my Amazon author page

 

Click the image!. A work of art, linked to my Facebook page

 

 

 

 

Rose-Colored Glasses

Rose-Colored Glasses

I just got a new pair of glasses and I love them. They have a rose tint in the frame. It’s nice to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Putting on a new pair of glasses changes your perspective a bit. It takes time to “see” properly.  Life changes are like that too. Sometimes we get a real curveball whether it’s a health issue or a family issue and we have to figure out how to catch it or get out of the way. At the age of 82, I’ve caught quite a few doozies.

I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. Fifteen years ago I lost 35 pounds and I’ve maintained my weight loss. So you could say, that you’re never too old to gain (or lose) a new perspective. Of course, the benefits are vast; feeling sound in body and mind is the coup de gras. But don’t think for a minute that I gave up pizza. I still enjoy it in moderation of course. I don’t eat the crust, I just get the grease, and leave the carbs behind.

Roses and Glasses

Another new perspective is my writing. I’ve added “published author” to my list of accomplishments, a list that included graduating from design school with a BFA and cum laude, working as an interior designer for more than 50 years, founding a school of interior design, Architecture school, master’s studies in architecture and design criticism, Not to mention photography and painting. I am just about finished writing my second book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, a romance set in the Gilded Age of New York City. Allie Baldwin is quite a gal, lives across from Central Park and is a journalist for her father’s syndicated newspapers. And she’s a suffragette. I love spending time with her.

So if you think you need a “new perspective”, it’s okay. Try on a new pair of glasses and I’m sure you’ll see the world in a whole new way.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

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