A Member of the Family

We’ve watched this little one grow from a teeny tiny creature into the two-inch long beauty he/she is now.

Our banana spider, Octavia/o, lives out their life protecting us from pesky insects, and for that we are eternally grateful.

My only wishes are that I could be a better photographer or she/he more photogenic, and that I’d taken pictures of them as a baby. My, how they’ve grown.

Peace, people!

Letting People Down Since Way Before 2021

My first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is doing well right now. It’s received 96 ratings and/or reviews on Amazon, and all but four of those are of the four and five star variety. The one star rating threatened to undo me, and the two star didn’t exactly cause me to jump up and down in celebration, but when I put them in perspective they didn’t bother me quite as much.

I love reading the reviews. When I’m feeling low I read through them and bask in the really good ones and when I’m feeling terrific I read through the less positive ones to see what I can learn. It’s my weak attempt at balance.

I love the juxtaposition between these reviews:

Proof that beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.

The funniest review I received wasn’t on Amazon, though. I discovered it on my Facebook author’s page and it’s made me giggle more than once. I hope this reader will hold on for the sequel.

I’ve experienced the exact same feeling, and I get it. The heart wants what the heart wants. All I can say is, Dear Reader Whose Name I’ve Scribbled Through, Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is being edited and revised right now, so don’t despair. And please don’t throw tomatoes my way.

Peace, people!

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_3B4RG80QB3PBVZXZK2CH

To Be (Succinct) Or Not To Be (Succinct)

Shakespeare once declared

Brevity the soul of wit;

All the world’s a stage

Succinct Hemingway

Manuscripts pared to bare bones

Never words to waste

Miss Jane Austin, though,

Played with epic paragraphs

Bursting at the seams

Advice for writers

Can we get our stories straight?

Be succinct, methinks.

A Picnic for Ants

A revelation

Issued an invitation

To all hungry ants

Disturb not my lunch,

I’ll provide a crust of bread

Instead, to tempt you

Nibble and carry

To the depths of your abode

Tell your queen my name

Covid has resulted in the addition of many al fresco dining opportunities at local restaurants. My favorite place, Sweet Pea Cafe, in Tallahassee, serves up terrific vegan food and guests are invited to dine on picnic tables scattered about the outdoor area of the premises.

I dislike eating in my car, so even on the hottest days I gravitate to one of the shadiest tables and read as I eat. There’s only one problem: Ants. The ants also love the shady tables and they were interrupting my reading as I continually had to shoo them away from my food.

Rather than fight for my right to enjoy an ant-free lunch I decided to encourage the little guys to focus their attention elsewhere by providing a small bit of bread placed on an adjacent slat of the table. Now their antics provide a dinner show as they gather round the bread, sharing their information up and down the line, and taking pieces of their discovery back to their nest.

Once I’ve finished my lunch I carefully relocate the bread, or what’s left of it, to a space a few feet from the picnic table, hoping the attached ants will inform their brethren of its new location. Call me crazy, but it’s worked every time. I can read as much as I want while also getting a wonderful performance.

All pictures were found on Pinterest because I keep forgetting to snap photos when I’m there.

Peace, people.

Finding the Right Camper Van

My fantasy of owning a camper van hasn’t gone away. Every day I search Craigslist and eBay and any other site I can think of. I’ve found several that would fit my needs. Now there’s just one thing keeping me from having a van of my own: Money.

A brand new one is out of the question, but I have hope that one day my slowly growing little cache of travel money will be ample for purchasing a good used vehicle. Of course I’ll be 95 by then.

Until that time I’ll satisfy myself with YouTube videos of those already living my dream. If you have a minute, watch the video linked below. It’s amazing, even if it’s not what I’m looking for.


My goal…
All I need is a bed and a toilet.

Help a girl out—buy my books. 😊

Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_JE39S2D4P4WT9AZS5H3W

The Cowboy and the Executive: A West Texas Romance https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095F6VW2C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_VESWSBTCR424N3V9ESK9

Awareness Issues: Who’s Clueless Now?

I’m not known for my mindfulness. Frequently I walk into doors, trip over lines in the floor, and manage to poke myself in the eye while applying makeup. I once nearly caught the house on fire by accidentally dropping a load of clean laundry on top of a burning candle. If not for the unique scent of burning elastic, I’d likely be living somewhere other than Doright Manor. And those were my favorite panties. 😢

Studly Doright, on the other hand, prides himself on his observational abilities. And I have to admit that he notices stuff other males often don’t—new haircuts, new eyeglass frames, anything new I happen to have purchased hoping he wouldn’t notice. That old line “This old dress? I’ve had it for ages!” never works on him.

Very rarely will he be out of the loop when something changes in his domain. But when he slips, I’m there to take note.

Just a couple of days ago I heard him say, “Hey, you finally hung the grandkids’ senior pictures!”

“Yes, honey, they’ve been up in the same location for two months now.”


“Yep. A couple of feet from the door you walk through multiple times every single day. Now who has awareness issues?”

Then he reminded me of that time when I didn’t realize he’d shaved off his beard until he’d been clean shaven for a month. In my defense, it never was much of a beard.

And the time I got into the driver’s seat of a complete stranger’s car and wondered why my key wouldn’t fit into the ignition.

And also the time I had a conversation with my own reflection in a mirror. I was a bit drunk, but still…

I guess I remain the clueless one. How could he not notice these stunning young people though? Boggles the mind. Has anyone seen my phone? Oh, right, I’m using it to blog.

Garrett and Dominique

Peace, people?


This morning I was halfway to Tallahassee when I realized I’d left my phone at home. I came close to turning the car around and going back to Doright Manor to fetch my little rectangular lifeline, but resisted the urge and continued on into town.

I’m not going to lie; I felt helpless without it—not nearly as helpless as I felt when I lost the phone at Whole Foods last week, but that’s a story of its own.

Then I remembered those days when my daddy drove us from Floydada, Texas, to Los Angeles, California, without a cell phone or a GPS. He did it with maps and a pocketful of change for phone booths along the way. Freaking amazing.

Today’s kids need to remember the bravery of their grandparents and great grandparents who crossed deserts in cars without air conditioning. Monuments should be erected to those brave souls who didn’t have heated seats when driving in blizzard-like conditions across the plains of North Dakota.

And lest we forget, we should all pay homage to those pioneers who continue to physically insert keys into ignitions or manually roll down windows or drive in reverse without the benefit of a backup camera. I’ve done them all and lived to tell about it. Hear me roar!

Those of my generation might never have driven a team of mules through the muck and mud of an unpaved, rut-infested road, but by golly, we’ve had our share of hardships.

Now, I think I need to go back and get that phone.

Peace, people.

Vaguely relevant photo

Studly Doright: Air Conditioning Hero

Florida is hot this time of year. I mean really hot. So, when one of our air conditioning units went kaput last week we didn’t hesitate to call on a heating and air conditioner service.

We are gold level customers at B_________’s Heating and Air in Tallahassee. That means we pay an annual fee that covers biannual maintenance visits and results in discounts for any labor and parts costs. Sounds great, right?

Well, when the unit failed, the company sent out two guys to work on it. One seemed to be a trainee, but hey, two heads are better than one, right? The two guys fumfered around for several hours before declaring that either the air handling control board had gone bad OR our thermostat needed to be replaced. Their lack of certainty was less than reassuring.

They wanted to install a rescue motor to bypass the circuit board until they could get a new board from the supplier. The rescue board, a temporary fix, would cost $250. When the new board arrived (it was currently on back order) in a month or so, it would cost $1200 ($1500 if we hadn’t had the gold discount) and that didn’t include labor.

Studly Doright was having none of it. He got the parts number, looked it up online, and found the same brand new board for $486. It came in today and in about ten minutes Studly had the thing installed and now our home is pleasantly cool.

I’m all for companies making a profit. Honest. But that kind of mark up on a simple part is ridiculous. Couple that with the need for a temporary “rescue motor” because the part we needed was unavailable (even though we found it in one simple search of the internet) and one might come to the conclusion that we were being snookered.

All I can say is thank goodness for Studly Doright. It’s too bad every home doesn’t have one.

He’s good with dogs, too.

Peace, people!

Still Wearing My Mask

I’m fully vaccinated, but I live in Florida where only 49.8% of the population can say the same. Good old Florida, where the number of those infected with Covid continues to rise and hospitals are again running out of resources with which to treat them. I personally know a man who was sent home on oxygen because the local hospital was out of beds for Covid patients. He’s not doing well.

The Delta variant is resulting in breakthrough infections among the vaccinated. And while if I were to be infected I’d likely have a milder case of Covid than an unvaccinated person, I’m not willing to risk it.

This stubborn refusal to take the vaccine coupled with the anti-mask mindset of many in my state is literally killing people. And I just don’t understand it. For some it’s become political—a show of solidarity for a former president (who, by the way, admits to having received the vaccine). I guess I put common sense above politics.

Others have fallen victim to disinformation spread via social media. I’ve had people tell me that the vaccine inserts a device into the bloodstream so the government can track them. That one gives me a headache. Guess what, folks, the government really doesn’t have time or the need to track every single one of us. And unless you’re up to no good, why would that even worry you?

Others believe the vaccine is the biblical mark of the beast. C’mon man. I’ve had every vaccine available since I was a little kid. Chances are, these naysayers had as well—until Covid came along.

So yes, I’m still masked up even as I see most of my fellow Floridians unmasked in stores. I smile at them with my eyes while they give me dirty looks. Like I’m the one potentially spreading a deadly virus. Hm. Go figure.

Peace, people.

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