The Bookends

bookendsThe Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Enza and Ciro live very different lives in the Italian Alps. A very special bond is formed when they meet as teenagers. However, they are not able to be together, as Ciro is forced to leave Italy and emigrate to America. Enza is heartbroken as Ciro disappears with no word about where he is going. They meet again, years later, as fate brings them back together in America. However, they are separated once again as Ciro leaves for World War I. They find each other once again and realize the power of their connection.

Pam: This book was inspired by the author’s own family history (she includes pictures in the book, which are very interesting). I have never read any other books by this author, but I did enjoy this one. Did you enjoy this read, Becky?

Becky: I enjoyed this love story but was not aware that the book is based on the author’s grandparents until the end of the book. They lived in villages in the Italian Alps five miles apart but met years later in New Jersey. I would normally roll my eyes and think that it was too coincidental but this author has opened my eyes to the reality of chance encounters. In the beginning of this story we meet ten year old Chiro and his eleven year old brother, Eduardo. Their widowed mother is unable to care for them and has no family to take on the responsibility for her two boys. With no other choice, she is leaving them at a convent where they will work for shelter and food. How did you feel about this decision?

Pam: As a mother, this was so difficult. She loved her boys, but knew she could not take care of them. What an awful choice to be forced to make! She tried to find a safe and secure place for the boys, but after losing their father it was a tragic loss to also lose their mother. The brothers had a very strong bond that continued to strengthen and grow all their lives, even during separation. Did you find this connection touching?

Becky: I thought that this was a beautiful example of brotherly love. They were different personalities but instead of creating a wedge, they had a connection that was everlasting. It was good to see a close male relationship. This was an unexpected treat since most of the books we read are written by a female author and about feminine characters. Which one of the boys stole your heart?

Pam: Well…that is a hard one. Eduardo was so strong, faithful and loyal that it was impossible not to love him. But Ciro had such strong emotions and passion. If you had asked me while I was reading the first part of the book, I would have definitely said Eduardo. However, after reading the rest of the book, I am going to go with Ciro! Did you lean towards one of the brothers?

Becky: As much as I admired Eduardo it was Ciro that I was drawn to and cheered for through the story. I loved his feisty personality but I also was angry with some of his decisions during parts of the story. The author did a good job giving this character depth and dimension which I didn’t find in some of the other characters. What I enjoyed most about this book was the story of immigrants coming to America. Ciro accidentally witnesses an event at the church and is forced to emigrate to America. Did you enjoy the story more during his youth in Italy or the process of his coming to, and settling in New York?

Pam: I enjoyed his process of settling into a new life in New York. This part of the story was full of detail and really developed his character. But my favorite part was when he took his adventure to an unknown and new area. I loved reading about the development of his family and friends. Did you enjoy this part of the book?

Becky: This section that we are referring to is the last third of the story when they are around thirty. I thought that the writing in this section had a different tone and the pace of the story was slower. There was a beauty in that change that I enjoyed as she represented the characters in a more mature state of their life and their relationship. However, some of the negative reviews for this book hit this area or the very last part of this book, which some say was rushed. The ending is a bit to the point but it didn’t bother me. How do you feel about the end of this tale and would you recommend this book?

Pam: I agree with you, Becky. The way the author wrapped up the book didn’t bother me at all. I enjoyed this book and liked the fact that there were parts of the book with different pacing. I would recommend this book to others and think it would be a great book for a book club. What will we be reading next?

Becky: I thought that we would try something different and read Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Dan Torrance from The Shining is now middle -aged and he must save a very special twelve-year-old girl that also has The Shining. Join us as we read this spooky novel.

Don’t Miss the Parker Christmas Carriage Parade

parker_holiday_webBy Julie Wassell

Experience a special holiday event in downtown Parker at the Christmas Carriage Parade on Saturday, Dec. 14 at noon! The Christmas Carriage Parade has become a well-known Parker tradition across Colorado. On this festive afternoon, the streets of Old Town Parker fill with families and eager children ready to see spectacular marching bands, equestrian entries and catch a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Claus!

The 2013 parade, brought to you by Brown’s Compounding Center, is themed “Winter Wonderland,” and will begin heading west on Mainstreet at noon. Pictures with Santa will be available after the parade for $5, cash only, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the O’Brien Park gazebo. O’Brien Park will be full of holiday excitement as event-goers enjoy pony rides, ice sculpting, courtesy of Xfinity and Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscaping and the Camp Bow Wow petting zoo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along with the Home for the Holidays Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Town is proud to honor Steve Budnack, chairman of the Parker Task Force for Human Services as the 2013 Parade Grand Marshal in recognition of his tireless commitment of service to the Task Force and its mission. A 12-year Parker resident and a retired mortgage banker, Steve brings his financial background, as well as his compassion, to help the community through the Task Force. Be sure to wave and thank Steve as he leads the parade with his three daughters in a horse-drawn carriage.

Parade spectators are asked to remember that Mainstreet and Victorian Roads will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and individuals parked within these limits will not be able to exit until the roads are reopened.  Alternative parking outside of these limits is advised. Please visit for maps and more information. You may also call 303.841.0353. The Town looks forward to celebrating this time-honored tradition with you and your family.

Free Holiday Carriage RideS
The Town is providing free carriage and wagon rides every Saturday night through Christmas. Rides will run from 5 to 9 p.m. and will pick up in O’Brien Park. Riders will enjoy a trip throughout Old Town Parker and may choose to stop at the PACE Center for free visits with Santa, hosted by PACE and the Foerster Realtor Team. All riders under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information about the free Holiday Carriage Rides, please visit

A Holiday Tour of Trees & Scavenger Hunt

chamber_webThe Parker Chamber of Commerce invites you to visit your hometown Parker businesses during the Holiday Season.  To add to the fun and excitement of the holidays, we have invited our Chamber members to welcome each of you into their businesses to enjoy a uniquely decorated tree and find their special cookie cutter ornament.

You will be able to vote for your favorite holiday tree and, after visiting a minimum of ten businesses, cast your votes and receive a special Parker Hometown Christmas Cookie Recipe Book (one per family).  For additional recipe books, visit 10 additional businesses!

Participating businesses are listed on our “Holiday Tour of Trees & Scavenger Hunt” flyer available online at  Home based businesses have their trees in other facilities, so there may be more than one tree at some locations!

For more information, visit us online or stop by the Parker Chamber and Parker Visitors Center offices conveniently located in Downtown Parkerat 19590 E Mainstreet, Suite 100.

Restaurant Review: Dinner Refreshed

dinner_refreshed_webOne of my favorite pastimes is eating out with my family. We don’t get the opportunity very often. Busy schedules, work, kid’s practice, school and many other commitments make it difficult to get to a local restaurant. However, mealtime is something very sacred in the Waid household so we make it a point to at least sit down every night and share a meal together.

It seems lately that our schedules have become even more over loaded and even our at-home meals have suffered a bit. Recently, I heard of a new option in Parker to help alleviate some of the stress and prep involved with home cooked meals. For this month, I decided to offer a variation to our readers of a “restaurant review” and instead share my experience of a “home cooked meal with a twist review.”

Several weeks ago I was introduced to Dinner Refreshed, a great new locally owned concept owned and operated by Molly Hausmann. When Molly worked in corporate America, she and her husband had a nanny who prepared fresh, nutritious meals every night for their family. When she decided on a life change and left her corporate job she realized how amazing it was to have access to a healthy home cooked meal prepared and ready to go. Her concept is just that…she prepares amazing meals for your family and provides them to you for final assembly and cooking.

Our first meal from Dinner Refreshed was the Mediterranean Chicken with Roasted Veggie Orzo. This brilliant combination of zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers and red onions with just the right amount of lemon, feta cheese and oregano was a delicious compliment to the extremely flavorful Mediterranean Chicken. Although the tastes were superb, the really amazing part was how easy it was to prepare. Everything was provided and was extremely easy to prepare.

Our second meal was Pork Medallions with Mushrooms & Asparagus. Admittedly I am not a huge Pork fan, however this scrumptious meal has made me a convert. The Pork Medallions were tender and full of flavor. The Asparagus was “off the charts” good and made my taste buds jump for joy. As with the previous meal, the easy preparation was a great addition to the meal.

Enjoying a nutritious home cooked meal with your family should be a priority in life, but too often gets skipped. We all now have a great option with Dinner Refreshed. Try their services out today, you won’t be disappointed. To find out more or to order your meals visit them online at

From the Publisher: The Harry Samora Memorial Toy Drive

harrysamoraDuring this time of year, it is easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and forget to take the time to think about what the holiday season is really about. Pausing, even for a moment, to appreciate your family and friends and the little bits of joy that can pop up in your day when you least expect it.

There are few things more joyful than seeing the holidays through the wonder filled eyes of children. Children, no matter their circumstances, manage to constantly remind us that the holidays are a truly a magical time of year. For the last seven years, patients at Children’s Hospital have had a more magical holiday thanks to the generous contributions of the community and the tireless efforts of Mia Samora, who organizes Harry’s Annual Toy Drive in memory of her son, Harry Samora.

Harry was a good friend of my oldest son, Christopher. I can still remember the day when my wife called me as Christopher and I were going into King Soopers with the news of Harry’s passing. Having to explain to a seven year old that he would never be able to see his friend again was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

Winston Churchill once said,
“We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give.”

Harry’s time on this earth was entirely too brief, but his legacy of joy lives on, year after year, bringing smiles to the faces of those brave little warriors at Children’s Hospital. We should all strive to have as meaningful a life and make as profound a difference in this world as Harry Samora. By honoring Harry’s life and making a contribution in his name we are all embracing the true meaning of the holidays and in that act of giving, we are reminded of how lucky we are to be able to share in the spirit of the season.

To donate, bring new, unwrapped toys (Harry especially loved race cars) for children newborn-18 years or a monetary donation between December 3rd-December 21 to our office at Waid Publishing, 19751 E Mainstreet, Suite R-18, Parker, CO, 80138. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Holiday Time Management


Ah, the holidays! The lights, the sounds, the smells, the memories.  We look forward to them every year.  Then suddenly they are here, and we find ourselves wishing for more time!

December is a month of expectations. These expectations come in many forms; gifts to buy, parties to attend, having the perfectly decorated home, and you still have to work and take care of family. With the proper time management and a few key reminders, you can sail through December and all the stress that tends to come with it.

First, remember expectations come from other people. What you should remember is that it is ok for your focus to be on your priorities. Ask yourself, “Do my priorities line up with what others are asking of me?” If the expectations threaten to overtake your priorities, take a step back. Rethink making commitments to others if you cannot fully appreciate what they are asking. The key to time management and maintaining your sanity during this holiday season is to learn that it is ok to say NO. And you can say it guilt free. Claudia Black has said, “Saying no can be the ultimate self-care.”

Step two in any organizing project, including time, is to remove all unnecessary items. Saying yes too much can cause stress and burn out. We begin to resent all we are saying yes to!  We find ourselves trying to do too much and in the process we lose ourselves and what is most important to us and the needs of our families.  Feeling resentment to the unnecessary tasks that we have taken on will be felt in all we do and everyone we interact with.

Another key aspect to holiday time management is scheduling. First, you must maintain your current schedule. This time of year may also bring changes to sporting events for kids, work projects and even school. Be sure to update your schedule accordingly. Keeping your schedule accurate on a paper calendar or your phone gives you a chance to visualize where you are putting your priorities and where you are saying yes to other’s expectations. Be sure to write, or in these days type, your schedule. When your schedule is on a calendar you are more likely to complete your tasks.

The third step in organizing is to designate zones. In applying this to time management this means when items such as errands will consume our time we can consolidate. Make a list of what you need to do each week. Run errands that are in the same general location each day. Consider things like the weather. Also consider your home schedule. Laundry needs to be done, dinner needs to be made. We can consolidate home tasks with meal planning and chore assignments.

Proper planning and time management of your priorities will help alleviate your stress and bring back the joy of the holidays.  Remember what is important to you and those you love.

From the Peace Together Spaces family to yours, have a very joyous holiday season! v

Christa Johanson, President of Peace Together Spaces, has been restoring O.R.D.E.R. to homes for 8 ½ years.  Christa may be reached at 303.563.9377 or online at

Local Author Spotlight: Pawsitively Bunnie: The Adventure Begins by A.C. Rose

local_author_dec_webIn her first book, Pawsitively Bunnie: The Adventures Begin, we see how Bunnie came to be a big part of a family’s life. This is actually based on a true story. In fact, the ‘nice man’ was really a young husband who knew that his wife hadn’t had an Easter basket for many years of her childhood. So he gave her one, with the cutest bunny she had ever seen on it, for their first Easter together.

Bunnie has had many adventures over the years, and author A.C. Rose looks forward to sharing them with you.

Written by local author A.C. Rose and illustrated by M.M Rose, the Pawsitively Bunnie series are imaginative children’s books written with fun and inspiration.
A. C. Rose and M. M. Rose are adults that never grew up inside. They love to read
childrens’ books, watch animated movies, and play as much as possible. They hope you enjoy reading about Bunnie as much as they enjoy writing about her and drawing her. v

The Pawsitively Bunnie books are available online as E-readers at

You can also find more online at

The Bookends: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

orphan_train_webFrom 1854 to 1929 trains carried thousands of orphaned children from the East Coast to farmland in the Midwest in hopes of finding families for abandoned boys and girls. Some would find loving homes but many were chosen to provide hard labor and tedious jobs. In this story we meet Vivian, a ninety-one year old lady that is living a quiet life in Maine. As a young Irish immigrant she was placed on an orphan train when she was only nine years old. She has put her past behind her until a troubled seventeen year old Molly comes into her life. Molly has to serve fifty hours of community service and has volunteered to help Vivian organize all the clutter in her attic. What the two discover among the trunks and boxes will change both of their lives.

BECKY: The characters in this story are fictional but the story was sparked by a non-fiction book that the author found at her in-laws’ house. I did not have previous knowledge of this period in American history and am curious if you have ever heard about the orphan trains?

PAM: I had never heard of the orphan trains before reading this book, but found the topic (and the fictional characters) very interesting. The book tells us about the lives of two characters: Molly and Vivian. Did you enjoy the author’s style of developing both stories, while bringing them together?

BECKY: It seems like we read many stories that weave the past and the present together. Although I enjoy that style of writing, in this story I found it hard to connect with Molly. I preferred the development of Vivian’s tale and often looked forward to returning to her side of the story. Did you feel drawn to one timeframe or character?

PAM: I agree, Becky. I was also drawn to Vivian and her story and felt that her character was much more developed. Added to her character, was the recounting of the orphan train and the time period. This was very intriguing to me and I found myself looking forward to these portions of the book, as well. Vivian had a large impact on Molly’s life. Did you feel that Molly had an impact on Vivian during their time together?

BECKY: Although it wasn’t as big of an impact, I do believe that Molly brought a special connection and friendship to Vivian’s life. Vivian lead a solitary life so I felt that reliving her stories helped to validate her past. I think that Vivian not only enjoyed sharing her life story but knew that she was giving hope to a struggling teen. The two share a number of similarities, the biggest is that they have been abandoned by their parents and thrust into care by others that don’t truly love them. Do you think that the author gave a realistic portrayal of Molly’s foster situation?

PAM: Molly’s foster situation was difficult, since the husband wanted her, but his wife did not. The wife was an unhappy individual in general and seemed to almost enjoy picking on and making fun of Molly. We have read other books that give glimpses of different foster situations and I’m sure there is a wide range of “normal” foster families in reality. Molly does point out to her foster family that they must enjoy the money they receive to keep a foster child, alluding to the fact that her foster parents are involved only for the additional income. Did you feel that the author was attempting to begin a discussion about the foster system?

BECKY: She definitely planted a seed in my head and a discussion regarding this topic could go on and on. I wonder what experience, if any, the author has with the foster care system. There was no direct insult of the system per se but the author did not paint a pretty scene regarding foster caregivers. As Molly becomes involved with Vivian she starts to make a physical transformation, “she wears her Goth persona like armor”. What do you think about this change in her appearance?

PAM: When Molly started to spend time with Vivian and get to know her, she was able to be herself (something she had not been able to do for quite some time). She was afraid to just be herself at her foster home and her new school. She needed her “armor” to protect herself and her feelings from possible rejection. However, once she began to become close to Vivian, she realized they had many things in common and it was OK for her to let her true self show. Molly’s boyfriend was her only friend at school. As she became closer to Vivian and more comfortable in her own skin, they began to have some disagreements. Did you feel this was significant in the story?

BECKY: While he did not have a big role in the story, he was the catalyst that brought these two women together. His mother worked for Vivian and was against Molly coming to help. It was for the love of her son that she introduced Molly to Vivian. For me that was the endearing part of this relationship. We have Molly who has no connection to a loving parent and her boyfriend has a mother that is willing to do anything for her only child. If you are interested in this story I would suggest buying a paper copy as the author included some photos from the past and I don’t think that my electronic version gave them justice. Did you like the extra information at the end?

PAM: I loved the photographs of the actual orphan trains and the children that were taken out west. The additional historical information was very interesting and I would love to learn more about this subject. Next month we will read The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani.

Hope and Healing, Close to Home

cancercenterwebWith new radiation therapy services, local residents have access to a broad spectrum of cancer care without traveling for treatment.

When you’re facing cancer there are a host of considerations and decisions to make, but what matters most from a medical perspective is the availability of a full spectrum of care and expertise. You want a highly skilled medical oncologist to drive your treatment, a surgeon who is in-tune with the latest oncologic procedures, access to promising new interventions through clinical trials, and a skilled radiation oncologist directing your radiation therapy. With the addition of this final component — a new 10,000-square-foot radiation therapy center that opened this fall — Parker Adventist Hospital now offers full-service advanced cancer care close to home for residents of Parker and nearby communities.

Bringing Care Home
Until now, residents of Parker and beyond had to drive 20 minutes or more to receive radiation therapy. Since radiation is often needed daily for four to six weeks, that meant a lot of driving and a lot of stress. For patients who did not have access to transportation, it could have even meant going without. The new radiation therapy center at Parker Adventist Hospital provides a much-needed service for this fast-growing region. “We’re a convenient, comprehensive, multidisciplinary center where physicians have the ability to communicate and work very closely together because we’re all on the same campus,” says radiation oncologist Darlene Bugoci, MD. “This allows patients to get all of their cancer treatments in one location.”

Spreading Hope
A full range of advanced cancer care treatment options isn’t all you’ll find at Parker Adventist Hospital. Caring here is also about giving hope. “It’s been proven that patients have better outcomes when hope exists — within themselves and in their care environment,” says Connie Wood, director of oncology and medical imaging at Parker Adventist Hospital. “We’re working hard on training staff around hope and the healing arts, including music, massage therapy, and other adjunct offerings to help our patients along this journey.” These extra programs are fully funded by the Parker Hospital Foundation through donations from the community and proceeds from sales in the hospital gift shop.

Parker Adventist Hospital’s cancer program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC). Parker Adventist Hospital received eight commendations from the CoC — a remarkably rare achievement for a new program.

To learn more, go online to Cancer Center Main Number: 303-269-4975.