Category Archives: Quotes

summer + nature = 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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Lemon tree… very pretty

do you know the land where the lemon trees blossom; where the golden oranges glow in the dark foliage.

~ Maeve Binchy




I use lemons so often in cooking that I’ve decided to try my hand at growing my own lemon tree. Will my venture be successful? We’ll see. I may have to wait two years for it to fruit. Ugh! But I’m willing to give it a shot.


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Mother Earth, oh, happy day!

“He plants trees to benefit another generation.”

Caecilius Statius

Earth Day. 2015.

Give back.

Plant a tree.

Big Sur


For most of my life I’ve taken trees for granted. They’ve always been there when I needed one. If you’ve ever been outside on a really, really hot summer day and looked for shade to get some relief, you’re probably a BIG fan of trees. Here in Southern California the average temps have increased by 6°F over the last 50 years.  We’re losing trees at a rapid rate. Every day somewhere, developers move into an area, cut down a swath of trees without blinking an eye. But trees are valuable. They give something back. They cool urban areas by up to 10°F. Trees provide shade for picnics, or for those times you take a break while riding your bike. Through their leaves, trees release valuable water vapor into the air. For the complete list of good things trees do, go to

Celebrate the earth. Plant a tree. Your children’s children might one day thank you.

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I survived January!

Hello February

 Hello, February

The February sunshine steeps your boughs

And tints the buds and swells the leaves within.”

~ William C. Bryant

Yeah, baby! Ever since I was a kid I’ve hated one month more than all the others—that gray, drab, tax-sucking month they call January. I mean, it comes right on the heels of Christmas, barely a week afterward, forcing its way onto the calendar and into your business. Before you have time to recover from the headache of New Year’s Eve, you’re pressured into making resolutions you never wanted to make and having to remember to write a new year on your checks and contracts. To me, January arrives on your doorstep like a rude, unkempt, in-your-face, annoying family member who refuses to go away and pushes her way into your house whether you want her there or not.

January has always been a real drag for me. For some reason, it challenges my creativity in a way I am unable to explain. It’s always a tough month for me to get through. Why? I have no idea. Maybe when I was in first grade I was traumatized by having to come up with a show and tell that I was ill-prepared for and therefore did not go well. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, I’ve hated Januarys for so long that it’s a way of life for me.  When this particular month comes to a close I invariably celebrate the end of it. (No, really, I do.) I have my own party. The fact that this year it falls on Super Bowl Sunday is a mere coincidence. No matter the day of the week, I take out my cell phone and start dialing. I get  the dip ready, drag out the chips, and set up the bar. I invite a small group of friends over who help me greet the new, shorter month, known as beautiful, lovely, FEBRUARY!!!!!

Now February is a month I can really wrap my arms around.  It’s a month that many associate with love, bright bold colors, and hearts. What’s not to like about a month that pulls all those things together as well as February? It’s so much better than January and all those tax prepping, shove-it-down-your-throat commercials. Yes, I know it’s a bias I must live with and I do. Yes, I know February is still winter. Yes, it’s still cold, icy, snowy or raining in some parts of the country. But  the upside is, it’s NOT January!!!

So live it up in February. Do crazy things. Do all those things you’ve been talking about doing. No, don’t wait for spring. Forget those resolutions you felt pressured to make and embrace your February persona. One way is to grab your Kindle and spend all 28, cozy, February nights curled up by the fire reading and escaping to another time or place. It’s the best way I know to celebrate a new month. In fact, it’s the best way to celebrate a winter’s night anywhere in the world!

And for me, did I mention it’s NOT January!!!!

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A New Year, A New Attitude

Box of DecorationsAll those hectic treks through the malls, elbow to elbow with strangers just to seek out that perfect gift is over. The Holiday parties are behind us, the festive gatherings put in the memory bank. It’s time to take down the lights and place the ornaments and decorations back from whence they came, that special corner of the attic or garage dedicated to once-a-year Christmas decorations. It always amazes me how many boxes there are of Christmas junk I’ve collected over the years. Cute little Hallmark elves and pretty snowflakes share space with so many strings of lights I feel confidant that the McKeehan household could easily decorate the White House or any other large structure and never miss a bulb.  I suppose I should think about downsizing.

Xmas Tree RecycleAnyway, once you take off all the ornaments and garland, you have a naked, bare tree that either goes back into a box or is headed for the curb and the landfill as trash. Or if you’re truly energetic and environmentally conscious, you load that dry, brittle, biodegradable tree that somehow managed NOT to catch on fire this season, back up on top of the car and haul it off to a specific drop-off site where it’s recycled into mulch. Side note here. These facilities also use Christmas trees to prevent beach erosion, which is truly appreciated and under utilized. See, there was yet another purpose to that slightly imperfect, but great smelling Douglas fir, other than to string lights and hang handmade, glittery school projects from long ago.

Whatever you decide to do with your tree after you’ve discarded it, you can now breathe a sigh of relief because you are allowed to reclaim all that space again back inside your house. Woohoo!!!!!

After the holidays, it’s normal to feel a little sad to see all those sparkly decorations go back inside a drab box where they wait for you to take them out next year. 2015rJust remember though, all is not lost, no need to go into a nosedive of emotions. Starting a brand-new year comes with 365 days of possibilities.  So instead of dreading leaving behind the old, look forward to starting the new. Don’t lose a minute to begin again with a new chance at something. 2014 is gone, it’s over. Don’t dwell on what was. This is the day to start your life all new again. A new year, the new beginning, a new start. Which brings me to the reason for this post. In 2015, take the time to find your own niche, your own place. No matter what it is, plant yourself there and make the most of it by expressing yourself, stay true to yourself, never settle, never accept anyone who trashes you or makes you feel small about yourself. Put the negativity and the criticism behind you. Step out of anyone’s shadow and make your own presence felt. Let the sun shine down on you for a change. You have the opportunity to sparkle, to shine. New possibilities. Make it happen. Good luck in all you do in 2015!!!!!!!!!

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads – at least that’s where I imagine it – there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


January 1, 2015 · 12:27 pm

Summertime in LA = The Hollywood Bowl

Summertime concerts in Los Angeles are synonymous with the Hollywood Bowl. It should be. The infamous venue has been around since the 1920s. Surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains and overlooking Mulholland Drive, this is where the cream of the crop come to keep the crowd on its feet. From Black Sabbath to Jim Morrison to the LA Philharmonic’s summer home, the amphitheater is known for offering us diverse performances–something for everyone–the Bolshoi Ballet in 1959, the Beatles in 1964. You’ve no doubt seen the venue on the big screen in movies like Xanadu and Beaches. It’s no wonder that June through September, Angelenos flock to its superb acoustics.

There’s nothing quite like getting there early to take a trip through the free museum, especially if you’re a history buff. Don’t expect a massive archive because it isn’t that. But there’s enough information that will give you a good idea how the place has gone through significant changes over the years and managed to evolve into what it is today. Bring your own picnic basket and bottle of wine. Seriously. It’s encouraged. Then after you’ve stuffed your face, settle in as the sun goes down, the moon pops out and the stars begin to wink, one by one. No matter the performer or the band, I’ve never been disappointed.1 Hollywood Bowl

 My first time there came courtesy of free tickets to see the LA Phil and an all-Mozart program. What I remember most—other than the beautiful-sounding symphony, the brilliant pianist and the outstanding soprano—was the ambiance. You don’t forget the very first time you hear Mozart’s Symphony 38 or Yuja Wang’s perfect Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto or see David Newman conduct the HB orchestra during “Oscar Night” to such films as Dances With Wolves. There’s just something enchanting about sipping wine under the night sky, feeling the summer breeze on your face all the while tapping your foot or swaying to the music.

Legend has it that when the Beatles played here the crowd got so loud you couldn’t even hear John, Paul, George or Ringo keep the beat. But no doubt the fans were ecstatic and made an everlasting memory that will stay with them for life. And isn’t that what it’s all?

The Hollywood Bowl is an institution. And summer wouldn’t be the same without making the trip, even with the traffic nightmare that is LA. But don’t let that keep you away. Why? Because you can’t beat spending a beautiful summer evening outdoors. Throw in music and you’ve got yourself a stellar setting you’ll remember forever.

TIPS IF YOU GO: If you plan a trip to the Bowl, know in advance it takes a LONG time to exit. Because of that don’t park near the theater. Park elsewhere and take a bus in. If you don’t want to splurge on box seats or superseats, no problem. Bring a blanket or something to sit on because the bench seats (cheap seats) can be hard on the derriere. If you happen to find yourself in the area early enough (maybe you’ve come from out of town and are staying overnight in one of the hotels) know that some mornings they’ll let you in to catch rehearsals which are open to the public.

Enjoy your summer no matter where you choose to spend it!



June 13, 2014 · 11:21 am

After only two months and my first blogger award!!!!

Blogger Award

That’s right, only two months in and I’ve received my first blogger award! Woot!!! If you missed the ceremony, here’s a quick recap. The room was packed with celebrities. Johnny Depp sat on my right. George Clooney to my left. I wore my little black dress and when my name was called out, even though I was nervous and did not want to leave Johnny and George, I managed to make my way up the steps and onto the stage without falling down! Major points for me since I usually dont wear shoes! They handed me a gold plaque, yes gold, people!! I had not rehearsed my speech, so I just ad-libbed and spoke from my heart. “I want to start by thanking my third grade teacher…”

Anyway, I’ve been challenged to name three traits I love and hate about myself by Sherry Fundin who tagged me from her blog. So here goes:

One: I love the fact that I’m open-minded. I usually don’t judge people. I try to give everyone a chance. I’ve gotten burned badly a couple of times because of it, but I still feel this is one of my strongest traits. I see the positive things in people until they show me different. It doesn’t always work out but it’s best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Little angel

Saint Vickie

On the flip side of that, I hate it when people are mean or lie or are abrupt for no reason. In my younger days I used to be fairly laid back. But now that I’m getting older, I’ve noticed I’m unwilling to sit back and be anyone’s doormat. I’m getting more and more outspoken about rudeness, too. My epiphany is fairly recent, as recent as last fall. So, you have now been fair-warned. 🙂

Two: I love the ocean, its sights and smells. The tides moving in and out. It’s one of the reasons I live where I live. It’s one of the reasons I write where I write. It’s one of the reasons I set my books near the water. Even Skye Cree and Josh Ander will be making trips to the San Juans in future books.

I love nature and spending time outdoors. Just take a peek some time at my Pinterest boards and you’ll see what I mean.
Couple on the beach

I hate the way people treat the beach or any other natural setting. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Okay, it’s more than that. I get irate when I see people litter some beautiful spot, whether it’s in the mountains around Big Bear, or the coastline around Big Sur, or twenty yards from my little hovel on the sand. Is it so difficult to take five extra minutes to find a trash can to toss that Burger King sack and NOT leave it where you just enjoyed a sunset? My backyard should NOT be used as a garbage dump! Every time you litter the beach, you could be putting marine life at risk!

Turtle caught up in plastic

Three: I love books!! Yes, I’m a book nerd. Sue me. I love stories. I love entering worlds of fantasy. I love going places that exist only because someone took the time to create them. I love discovering these new worlds that writers make possible with words forming an image in my head that only I see thanks to their brilliant minds and talent. Not only that, I love making stuff up, too. Funny how my mother didn’t always appreciate my made up stories.

I hate the way people don’t read as much as they used to. When I ask people I meet now what genre they prefer, you wouldn’t believe how many tell me they don’t read at all. At all. How is that even possible? I even had a teacher tell me she didn’t have time to read. Huh? True story. They’re usually embarrassed to admit it. I can tell. They usually proceed to make excuses. They don’t have enough time is a favorite go-to one. But really, what reason is there not to read? Reading opens up new worlds. It opens your mind to different viewpoints. Books are just dreams on a printed page. Why on earth would you not make the time to dream about far off places you haven’t been to yet? Or meet characters you’ve never met before?

Confucius You cannot open a book

But what do I know? I’m living most of the life in my own fantasy world with the strange voices in my head for company. I crawl out of my writer’s cave only long enough to get a little sunlight every now and again and bitch at the world for no good reason. (Please refer to the angel image above.)

Seriously, though, one last note. To all the writers out there. Don’t ever give up. EVER! The great thing about publishing these days is people own Kindles. What’s that got to do with anything you ask? Well, keep this in mind, you haven’t really arrived until you’ve been archived. 🙂


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