Better Start Now… Otherwise You’ll be Bored and Depressed

There is no better time than today to check in with yourself and what you do with your “spare” time. Benjamin Franklin once said that the three grand essentials to life are… something to do, something to love and something to hope for. If we don’t keep these three things in mind, we could be in for some rough times as we age. It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone needs to fulfill these essentials. Plan ahead for the days when you are too old to ride a bike or live alone and there’s no one to cook and bake for. In the old days it was called having a hobby. It’s more important than just a hobby, it’s having a life. Tap into what has always interested you and no matter how old (or young) you are, take the steps necessary to do it. Have it become your lifestyle. You’ll live a long and happy life if you do.

Suellen Ocean has developed the lifestyle of an author. You can find her books here:

Meanwhile… Back at the Ranch…

Meanwhile… back at the ranch… I took time off to finish my novel, “Black Pansy.” It’s time to return to my blogs and my real life, whatever that means. I enjoyed writing the story that takes place at the outbreak of the Civil War and have begun work on my next historical novel. Thanks to all who take the time to read my blogs and books! Suellen Ocean

Here’s the description of “Black Pansy:”

Mabel McCrutchon has a touch of black blood running through her veins but not enough to cause her trouble… until the Civil War breaks out. In this historical romance, Mabel McCrutchon is a beautiful and brilliant “clerk” at the Pittsburgh News Herald, but in actuality she’s the ghost writer behind the region’s most popular novel, which the editor of the newspaper takes credit for, until it’s discovered that he is not the author. Mabel accepts an invitation from wealthy philanthropist, Charles Churchill, to venture into the Deep South, where she’ll confront the ghosts of her past and the reality of slavery. Mabel’s humble, respectable Scots-Irish family is pleased with Mabel’s relationship with Charles, but the illustrious Connecticut Churchill’s who pride themselves in English relations to the Duke of Marlborough and England’s Royal family, are anything but.

Mabel McCrutchon has a front row seat on Civil War America’s racial politics, changing social norms, family values and shrinking dinner tables. The new railroads reach into America’s heartland, photography is all the rage and Mabel McCrutchon catches it all, boldly exposing the new America.

The Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

Available Here:

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

eBook at Barnes & Noble:

NoBORDERCover Black Pansy

Leave Recipes Laying Around To See Long After You’re Gone

Never do I feel closer to my mother than when I run across her notes to me regarding cooking. In these notes she praises me for my skill, gives me confidence and guidance, her mothering giving me energy that makes me feel she’s still here. My mother died in 2010 but lately I’ve been running across her notes every day. Her pretty handwriting and the loving thoughts she put into her notes and letters are a gift I did not expect. Thanks Mom.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

Poor Jonny's Cover


Recession Grocery Shopping – You Can’t Win!

You absolutely can not win if you go grocery shopping, especially if you have a partner. If you spend too much, which you will, especially with prices so high (bread is four dollars in California) or if you don’t come home with anything interesting to eat. My husband went last night and of course spent more than we had agreed on. But he said, “I figure I’ll be in less trouble if I bring you something good to eat”. Smart man. I can remember years ago a very stressful shopping experience. We had this little tiny Subaru hatchback and I had the delightful experience of having only seventeen dollars. My list included a bale of hay, groceries and gas. Whew. But I did it. I shoved that hay into the hatchback, bought the least amount of gas I could and found groceries really cheap at the gas station mini-mart. I always thought those days were behind us but this recession has brought them back again. I am grateful I have all the frugal skills I acquired during lean times. These days… I need them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Protein, Protein, Protein … but not too much

As a vegetarian if I don’t receive enough protein I will eat and eat and eat … and eat! Until my body receives the protein it needs, I’m hungry! Yet I cringe when I read about cancer being caused by a “protein” that runs amok. Eating too much protein can cause its problems and finding adequate protein without turning to animal sources is sometimes frustrating. But mixing the right amino acids together, which can mean beans and rice is crucial to satisfying hunger.

It’s very tempting to simplify things and think that because one is obese they are well-fed. Protein is expensive and many who are struggling financially eat a lot of starches (macaroni and cheese boxes) to get by. Higher quality starches like whole grain brown rice and whole grain pastas and breads, though they are more expensive, are a better bargain in the long run because of the nutrition they provide.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Dangerous Garden Warnings

The garden can be a dangerous place. No kidding! On Sunday I encountered a HUGE snake, slithering amongst the end of summer overgrowth but that said, the mice were beginning to ruin all my tomatoes and cantaloupe. Now I walk gingerly and keep my hands out of those overgrown corners. Earlier in the year the hornets were everywhere but I let them swarm around me while I worked, they never once bothered me and if it hadn’t been for them pollinating, I wouldn’t have had fruit. Now they are gone and the bees have moved in for the second round of flowers but I did get stung and it gives me the chills thinking of it now. Those hornets built a nest under my front porch. In the garden we got along fine but when my hat brushed against their nest, several of them came after me, ouch! As I walk out into the garden now, after having seen that snake, which I’m not sure if it is a rattler or not, I will remember the warning the hornets gave me.  I won’t wait for a warning from the snake as it just might be the “Don’t tread on me” variety.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

From Mice To Moose-Sized Deer / Predators In My Garden

I think the mice are eating as much as the deer, although it is a huge thrill to come face to face with a buck staring you down on the other side of the garden fence. But the deer stay out while the mice party down night and day on organic heirloom tomatoes and cantaloupe. My husband told me the neighbor’s cat was in there yesterday. Much as I love those cute little mice, I hope our feline friend enjoys his daily patrol and the rodents go back to their native fare … acorns!


Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

End of Summer – Not the Time to be Apathetic

If you’re a gardener like I am, you may be a tad exhausted after months of soil preparation, weeding, watering and harvesting but the end of summer is not the time to shrug and let the garden go. Keep watering, weeding and if necessary fertilizing. You’ll get a lot more produce that way, which is what you planted it for. Right?

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

What’s This High School Skinny?

I’m not so sure we’re supposed to be high school skinny. After all, take a look at the life of a tree. Don’t they get bigger as the years go by? If they are given room to grow, they spread out and become beautiful. Yes, studies say that thinner people live longer and there is no question that too much body fat causes problems, many of them fatal. So I strongly encourage myself to do my best to keep the fat down but I don’t expect to be high school skinny nor do I expect that of anyone else except those in high school and only if skinny is their body type. I will say that I wish I knew then what I do now in regards to calories and the way our bodies burn them. The metaphor of a wood stove helps me to understand the calorie burn. The bigger the logs the bigger the fire to burn them. No fire no burn. High school skinny? Not me. Comfortable with the body I have? Absolutely.


Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Non-fat Doesn’t Mean Non-Tasty

For some of us the day comes when we need to cut calories and fat. It can be very depressing to suddenly stop our former way of eating. It’s like a death. But a good diet brings life and a higher quality one at that. Use juicy foods like fresh tomatoes and steamed onions to flavor pasta or rice and if your diet allows salt, a bit of soy sauce helps as well. Some diets allow a tiny bit of maple syrup, which can also be used to flavor. When you have a salad with a little vinegar on it and put it on the same plate as your entree, the vinegar will mingle with the soy, onions, tomatoes and spices. If you’re new at this, you’ll get the hang of it. Good luck, good health.


Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.