All posts by Sonja Hakala

I have been a professional writer since 1987. I've written for newspapers, magazines, worked in the book publishing industry, and published novels and non-fiction books. In addition, I've guided numerous authors through the process of independent publishing, and offer workshops in that same vein. I'm the founder of the Parkinson's Comfort Project and over the course of six years, we gathered and gave away over 500 handmade quilts to people with Parkinson's disease.

That Banging Sound You Hear…

…is my head hitting the wall.

Transferring a phone number from TracFone to TracFone is not easy
Transferring a phone number from TracFone to TracFone is not easy

I absolutely hate taking on new technology because no matter what anyone promises you, it NEVER goes smoothly.

I am one of the last adopters to any new software, figuring that someone else can do the beta testing.

I don’t replace my computer until I’ve dragged it behind my car for a couple of years.

So when the battery on my old TracFone started turning off at random, I waited and waited and waited.

Then I finally bought a new phone, another TracFone because I don’t use these darn things very much.

Now, they promise that transferring a number from one TracFone to another will be easy. Activating a piece of cake.

They lie and I know it.

So I’ve had this new phone for a couple of weeks now, dreading this moment.

Now I have two—count them—two dead cell phones. One doesn’t work because it’s been deactivated. The other because it has not been activated.


Bang. Bang. Bang.

On the Way to Work

My studio and house are separated by 60 steps or so on a path that is surrounded by gardens on both sides.
Ripening cherry tomatoes
Last year was the first time I grew veggies in a small plot close to the door of my studio.

There’s a trellis of cherry tomatoes right on the path. We grow cherries because we have such good luck with them. And when we harvest them all in a few weeks, we’ll wash them, drain them and then pop them in plastic bags for the freezer.

That’s it, no other processing, no making sauce when the temps are high.

Then as the cold times roll through here, I’ll pull out handfuls of the green and red fruits. (Yep, we harvest them all and the green ones are as great as the red.)

They are a terrific addition to soups, chili, spaghetti sauce.

But for now, it seems that some of them just go from hand to mouth, hand to mouth.

Sure makes my commute a treat.

The Comfort of Quilts

Both of my parents died of complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Werthy Sampler 2 for web
I have a very dear friend, quite a bit younger than me, who has also been diagnosed with PD.

She’s having a hard time right now. We visited today and it was moving.

After my Mom died in 2010, I started the Parkinson’s Comfort Project to channel the gift of handmade quilts to people with this disease.

Quilters have been so very generous with their talents and their hearts, making objects of great beauty that not only warm but reduce anxiety and spread compassion to people who are struggling.

I made this bring quilt for my friend. I know how much she loves COLOR.

After all, she is the person who introduced me to quilting so many years ago.

We are launching a major fundraising campaign to spread our goal of providing comfort soon. I hope you can help.

Sweatshirt Summer

Ten years ago, when my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a Windjammer cruise, we bought navy blue hooded sweatshirts, zip front, to keep ourselves warm when on deck.
Windjammer copy
They are from the Lewis R. French (it’s the Mary Day pictured here) and they are still our favorite sweatshirts after all these years.

Every spring, right after I move my winter wardrobe out and my warm-weather clothes into my closet, we end up with about three weeks of weather cool enough to warrant wearing a sweatshirt. I always joke that I spend more time in that article of clothing than anything else I own, except maybe my winter slippers.

But then, every so often, we have a sweatshirt summer where the mornings are cool enough to warrant something comfortable and long-sleeved.

Except for a few days in June, that’s been this summer.

Loving it but it’s making me think that we really need another Windjammer cruise. They are awesome!

OK, Now I’m Happy

Started searching for a photo for the new The Road Unsalted cover among my collection of pictures and finally came across a picture I took on the last day of winter from the top of Galaxy Hill in Pomfret, one of my favorite places to walk.

New cover for The Road Unsalted
New cover for The Road Unsalted

Then I fooled around with other elements and finally achieved a look that makes me very happy.
Cover for Thieves of Fire
Cover for Thieves of Fire

The best part of these covers is that all of the photos were taken in Vermont—in Pomfret, on Holland Pond in Holland, Vermont and at Woodward Reservoir in Plymouth.
Cover for The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life
Cover for The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life

Now I can go do the other things I should be doing.