Category Archives: California

summer + nature = redwoods

redwoods

No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.

~ John Steinbeck

Summer along the California coast is inspirational, nothing more so than the Redwood National Forest, enjoying it so much I’m making it a feature in the next series.

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Filed under California, California Historical Landmark, Creativity, Entertainment, Features, Humanity, John Steinbeck, Life, Native American, Nature, Posts, Quotes, Redwoods, Romance, Series, Summer, Summer fun, Suspense, Vickie McKeehan, Weather, Writers

Kindle Book Review names Sea Glass Cottage Finalist

Romance is a tough category to write. I’m thrilled that Sea Glass Cottage has been recognized by the Kindle Book Review as a winning story. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. It’s such an honor!!

You can only run so far before you have to stand and fight. 

Mysterious Isabella Rialto comes to Pelican Pointe to find solace, shelter, and quiet. What she gets instead is Thane Delacourt, an ex NFL jock who’s come back home to raise his little boy. Sparks fly between them from the onset. Thane’s wary of making another relationship mistake. And he has Jonah to think about. But that’s nothing compared to Isabella’s past. Will their love be enough to ensure a future together? Or will everything crumble around them in a  deadly game of obsession?

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Filed under Amazon, Announcements, Awards, Blogging, Books, California, Cover Reveal, Entertainment, Features, Fiction, Kindle, Kindle Book Review, Life, Love is life, Novel, October, Pelican Pointe, Posts, Promote, Relationships, Reviews, Romance, Series, Suspense, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

Traveling, working, and a broken ankle

In the grand scheme of things it seems the best plans are meant to go sideways. Some even snap, crackle, and pop in the blink of an eye. No one plans for a broken ankle. For that matter, no one wants to think like that. But life intrudes and you deal with it.

WalkingCast

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, I’ve been MIA because I cracked my ankle. It’s not a hairline fracture but it should heal in due time. After spending hours in the ER with a terrific staff who took great care of me, I made an appointment  to see an orthopedic surgeon who assured me the timeframe getting my cast off is right before Christmas. I’m already anxious for that to happen. My hubby says I don’t make a good patient. He’s probably right. I have to remember to slow down. Hobbling isn’t a choice but a necessity.  Everyone hates crutches. Now I know firsthand the reason. It’s a humbling experience. I’m already looking forward to the day I don’t have to use them at all.

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Filed under Blogging, California, Features, Humor, Life, Personal Ramblings, Posts, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

Could you really go green?

It was not until we saw the picture of the earth, from the moon, that we realized how small and how helpless this planet is – something that we must hold in our arms and care for. ~ Margaret Mead

 

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So many PSAs out there suggesting we make going  green and cutting back during the drought a part of our daily lives. But could you really take the necessary steps to make an impact to save the planet and go green even if the drought wasn’t an issue? Could you make significant  changes in the way you do things to make enough of a difference to cut down on greenhouse gases, sending waste to landfills, and cutback on the energy you use to do all those things you still love doing?

Here in Southern California we’ve had to rethink the way we do everything. That’s why a year ago we took a few first steps to do our part to go a little greener. It might not be much but every little bit helps, right? Here are four simple things we do now that have become habit.

1. Cut back on water. Our household has learned to use much less water, both outside and inside. Yes, my plants have suffered. But keep in mind I’m not the world’s best gardener anyway. Inside the house, I don’t start the dishwasher unless it’s completely full. I don’t let the water run while washing dishes.  We take fewer showers, choosing to shower every other day instead of daily. We’ve shut off the faucet while brushing our teeth instead of letting the water run like we used to do. Score!

2. Recycle. We recycle everything. Glass, aluminum, plastic, paper, cardboard. Leftovers. When you consider that there’s 60 million plastic bottles in use in the US every day and only 23% of those are recycled, that leaves an astonishing amount out there that ends up in the trash heap and ultimately in landfills. To cut back on plastic, we invested in BPA-free reusable water bottles. We take them with us everywhere we go. Filling them up cuts down on the cost of buying the individual plastic bottles. We also recycle furniture by finding new homes for things, like a couch we had for years that went to a single mom to furnish her new place to live. Score!

3. Cut back on electricity usage. We follow all the energy alerts or what is called Save Power Days. Save Power Days is where you sign up voluntarily to reduce your electricity usage on certain days between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During these days we delay running the dryer or any other large appliance. We set the thermostat to 78 degrees and open the windows and doors (which lately in the heat of summer has  sometimes made for a sweltering sauna.) We also power down our electrical devices for two hours. The more electricity you save during these energy alerts the more bill credits you can rack up. Score! Buy-Local1

4. We shop locally. Shopping locally means supporting businesses in our neighborhood which translates to saving on shipping. We buy as much  as we can that’s grown or made locally. I live near a lot of fields where produce is grown that ends up at the local farmer’s market. And there are fruit stands open here year-round. We shop at thrift stores whenever possible. That means taking gently used items and giving them a new home and saving cash! Score!

So far, so good, right?

Now comes the problematic area.  To save on fuel it’s recommended we take public transit more often, at the minimum, once a week. To be honest, we drive most everywhere we go. If the trips are fairly short it seems less of a hassle to just jump in the car and get it done.  We do take the train on longer trips, but other than that, it’s the car for most everywhere else. Let’s face it, it’s hard to break that reliance and convenience of having your own wheels, able to come and go as you please, whenever you please, without waiting on a bus timetable.

But we do manage to conserve fuel in other ways, like combining our errands into one major shopping trip. Although public transportation here is first rate and will get you to local shopping malls and back without too much waiting time between buses, as cooler weather gets here, we do plan on expanding our foray into taking the bus. I’ll let you know in future posts how it goes.

The changes we’ve made may seem small now. But it wasn’t always that way. All in all, I think our greening effort is a good first start. As with any change, the more routine things become, the easier it gets. Hopefully, over time, we’ll be able to incorporate even more ways to go green.

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Filed under California, Life, Nature, Southern California, Vickie McKeehan, Weather, Writers

Oh, those crafty mason jars!!

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Give me a jar, any kind of jar, and I can rule the world!!

 

Make scented oil candles for Christmas

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Store stuff

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Make an herb garden!

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A mason jar wind chime

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Use them for inexpensive luminaries

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Got seashells? Display them in jars!

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Photos: Pinterest Pinners

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Filed under Art, Artists, California, DIY, Life, Love is life, Vickie McKeehan

A few of my favorite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.

~ Maria Rainer, Sound of Music

Give me your quirky, your eclectic, the huddled artists inside yearning to run free with ideas.  From shadow boxes to earrings to no-knit scarves to beach chic, these are a few of my favorite things.

Shadow box

Old tree lights as ornaments

No Knit Scarf

SeaGlassMobile

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Filed under Art, Artists, Beach photos, Blogging, California, Life, Love is life, Personal Ramblings, Photos, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

All the leaves are brown

National Forest Service

Dead Pine trees in Fresno

All over the state of California the drought is taking its toll on the flora, leaving trees and shrubberies, flowers and plants, dying alongside roadways and hillsides.. The lack of water is stressing them out causing their thirsty condition to become vulnerable to attack by all kinds of insects, particularly beetles. The dried up remains causes fire dangers in areas that used to be known for their greenbelt, garden-like settings, their picturesque mountaintops, and now it pretty much looks like scorched earth. Forests are browning, fruit orchards are yielding less fruit, which will eventually have an impact on what we pay at the supermarket for our produce.

According to the U.S. Forest Service 12 million trees have died  during the last year. I look around my neighborhood and there are dead and dying trees everywhere. The drought is a sad reality. Pray for rain. As for me, I’m thinking of holding a rain dance ceremony pretty soon.

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Filed under California, Drought, Gardening, Nature, Photos, Southern California, Summer, Vickie McKeehan, Writers