Tag Archives: Reading

peace, solitude, the arboretum

“The Arboretum now nurtures people in the same way it once nurtured trees. It feeds their spirits and souls, their minds and bodies. It provides somewhere to put down roots, to be part of and give strength one to another through its collective efforts, its coming together whether to fight that which threatens it or to nurture its young and old, each “tree” supporting and being supported by its neighbours.”

~ The Arboretum Story, 1991

prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and gardens–find it all at the arboretum.

Morris-Arboretum-23391

Morris Arboretum Philadelphia, PA

 

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Filed under Blogging, Life, Love is life, Nature, Posts, Promote, Romance, 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

 

Greening_Your_Life_logo_sized_

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

Beat the heat. Read.

summer-heat

What better way to deal with the triple digits of summer than to stay put and settle back in your easy chair to read. Nothing like getting your hands on an adventure to another realm, a touch of romance, a splash of suspense, or a hard-edge mystery to  get your mind off the August doldrums. Get your beach read on before school starts!

 

 

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Filed under Amazon, Books, Crime, Evil Secrets Trilogy, Fiction, Kindle, Novel, Pelican Pointe, Posts, Promote, Relationships, Romance, Skye Cree, Stalking, Summer, Summer fun, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

And the Liebster Award goes to…

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Getting to know new blogs is a fantastic way to connect with more people. Katherine at The Fashion and Mind…Travel! blog has nominated Romance, Suspense, & Chocolate for the Liebster Award, which we gratefully accept.

In order to keep the nominating process going and allow you, the readers, to find more and more interesting blogs, I’ve been tasked to answer ten questions and then nominate other blogs to hold that honor. First, I’ll answer the questions thrown at me.

What’s your favourite color?

Bluegreen. Tomboy that I was, in first grade I used to fight to keep that particular crayon all to myself. I know, selfish, huh? But I’d gladly share all the others, so there is that. 🙂

Coke or Pepsi?

Personal preference, definitely Coke. But I have a few characters who favor Pepsi. I have no idea why that is. 😉

What is your most prized possession?

My imagination. It’s gotten me through tough spots from teen years to an office environment.

What does the perfect date for you look like? With whom? Place?

A walk on the beach or a hike in Big Sur with my hubby.

What is your passion in life?

Hands down, writing is my passion.

Best compliment you have received?

I get letters, emails, and Facebook messages  from readers who tell me they connect with my characters.  That IS the ultimate compliment.

What does a perfect day look like to you?

Any day I can get in a thousand words minimum writing is a perfect day.

Your dream vacation? Worst vacation? Best vacation?

I have yet to experience Hawaii. It’s on my bucket list though. The worst vacation would be when we took off for Florida in the middle of a thunderstorm. Turns out lightning hit our house while we were gone. Then on the flight back, we hit horrible turbulence which convinced half the passengers we were going down. To this day it’s the scariest flight I’ve ever been on.

Who do you most admire in life?

People who have the courage to follow their hearts. People who stand against the criticism of the world when all that world wants to do is hurl insults at them for wanting out of a toxic relationship, who want nothing more than to be happy.  As Jay Leno once said, you want a soulmate, not a cellmate.

If you were president, what is the first thing you would do?

Declare all Fridays free chocolate and coffee day!


That’s it for my part. Now to nominate the other blogs I enjoy. These blogs don’t have to do a thing, participate or not, it’s up to you.  But I highly recommend giving them a look-see.

I Didn’t Have My Glasses on

Helle Gade Photography

Backyard Edible Gardening

Crafts and Coffee

Be Like Water

Bitch Can Write a Book

Bookmobiles A History

Everything Else Thrown In

Jump For Joy

Keep blogging and connecting,

Vickie

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Filed under Blog Awards, Books, California, Chocolate, Entertainment, Features, Life, Photos, Posts, Promote, Summer, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

An Ambien state of mind

“I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.”
~ Leonard Bernstein

I don’t sleep much, never have. That’s especially true when I’m in the middle of a manuscript. My mind is usually going in seven different directions anyway, let alone when I try to sleep while forging through plot lines. But I must say I do my best thinking when I’m at my most quiet, in the middle of the night, in the darkness and silence. That’s the way it’s always been. In high school when I had a writing assignment, I got it done first in my head. Images come and go, some warm and fuzzy, others, not so much. But I have to “see” the scene in order to nail it. Engaging in the scene often makes for a crazy few months until completion.

There’s a point when the lack of sleep starts taking its toll. I think it’s that way for most writers. When that happens I need a break, of mind, of spirit, of soul, and recognize when it’s time to get away to recharge. Everyone needs downtime. In these waning days of July when the heart longs to travel, I’m going to hike into a forest long enough to do research, trek down a sandy shore I’ve never experienced before to get my creative juices flowing again.

As always, here’s to all of you having a happy, creative August!

Pfeiffer-California-hiking-trail-ak-avenue

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Filed under Big Sur, Books, California, Life, Love is life, Romance, Summer, Summer fun, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

San Diego abounds with fun and food

“People who love to eat are always the best people.

– Julia Child”

On our weekend trip to San Diego we may have missed out on its infamous Comic-Con by days but we made up for it by eating and drinking our way around town while there. Our destination’s purpose was a beachside wedding. The event turned out to be uber romantic and a lot of fun with dancing, plenty to eat and drink, and hooking up with old friends we hadn’t seen in ages.

Sunday morning we met same friends for brunch at a little cafe they favored called Hash House a Go Go. Apparently it’s claim to fame was when it had been featured on Food Network once upon a time. The place is located off the 163 on 5th Ave. They have other locations in places like Nevada, Connecticut and Illinois.

When we were there it was crowded, lots of people waiting and I began to wonder if it was even worth hanging around. The food turned out to be quite good. They serve buttermilk biscuits which were a hit with the hubby. The breakfast bacon sandwich is so huge you couldn’t possibly open the mouth wide enough to stuff a single bite  inside. In fact, it’s  big enough to be split between two people. Anyway, the trip made for a fun weekend before getting back down to the nitty gritty of plot lines.

Hash House

Photo credit Hash House a Go Go Website

Bacon Waffle @ Hash House a Go GO

Hash House a Go Go

Be sure to have a great week at whatever you do!

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Filed under California, Entertainment, Features, Food, Life, Love is life, Personal Ramblings, Photos, Posts, Romance, Summer, Summer fun, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

Saturday on a train!

There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful. ~ Paul Simon

1 Carlsbad Train

Train Day

Scored free tickets from LA to San Diego!!

Time off from writing…weekend time away from laptop!

Woohoo!

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Filed under California, Entertainment, Features, Life, Love is life, Personal Ramblings, Posts, Romance, Soul mate, Summer fun, Vickie McKeehan, Writers