Tag Archives: Vickie McKeehan

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.

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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

 

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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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When home is hell

There’s something about having the safest place in the world for you in the same room. ~ Julia Roberts

Actress Julia Roberts has stunned fans for decades.  Who out there wasn’t charmed by her portrayal of Maggie Carpenter in Runaway Bride? And can you picture anyone else playing Vivian Ward, the hooker with a heart of gold, any better than Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman? Probably not. Remember Grace in Something to Talk About? Who didn’t side with her against the cheating Eddie? 5919f96512e32ec14fa6287268e8c959

That’s why it’s great to read how happy she is these days. And according to the interview she gave in the October issue of Allure magazine, she’s singing the praises of her strong, loving relationship with her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder. Since they’ve been together for thirteen years that longevity sounds so unHollywood-like. But what’s notable here is that she says Danny makes her feel safe, secure, more confident in her work, and goes on to describe a natural chemistry of joy between them. Wow! Natural chemistry of joy sounds amazing. Isn’t that what all married couples should strive for? Isn’t that something they had to feel for each other at one time or another in order to take that initial, serious walk down the aisle in the first place? You would think to achieve that goal on the road to happily-ever-after, every couple out there would practice that safe, secure, confident thing with each other, right?

Not so fast.

Maybe if two people are able to toss in a heavy dose of respect for each other along the way, you stand a greater chance of developing a winning formula that lasts. Respect for each other is essential, especially in front of impressionable kids. Without showing each other respect, all you really have is a crash and burn scenario that sets your relationship up for serious failure. Respect is key.RespectEachOther During times of stressed out and hurt feelings, if you’re able to fall back on the respect you have for the person you paired up with, it will get you through a lot. After all, neither party should expect to run a prison camp or a dictatorship and call it a marriage. A successful relationship is NOT either one of those things. When you said “I do,” you were hoping for a soulmate, not a cellmate.

Sad to say, that hellish atmosphere thing at home is the norm for many. Too many. I should know because since I published my first book four years ago, readers reach out and share their personal, painful, real-life experiences. For them, marriage hasn’t been a bed of roses. It’s more like a horror movie that doesn’t stop.

I’m not a relationship expert, nor do I want to be. For that kind of serious help you need a pro. There are plenty of blogs out there written by noted psychologists far more adept at handling questions about these kinds of situations than I ever could attempt to address. And I’ve recommended those sources  to my readers.

Having said that, I DO know one thing. No matter what people tell you, relationships are not supposed to be WORK. If you’re in one where home is hell and your partner piles on a ton of stress, day in and day out, you’re with the wrong person!!!! Plain and simple. All the therapy or couples counseling in the world will NOT change that one fact.

That’s one reason when you hear about a good marriage working out it’s worth the mention. But if your partner is a nightmare, if there’s no mutual respect in your household, if screaming matches (or worse) greet you as soon as you walk in the door after an eight-hour shift at work, if your home life is a living hell, then it’s okay to start considering the alternatives. take-care-of-yourselfIt’s okay to start visualizing a little peace and quiet for yourself. It’s okay to leave. Remember, it’s okay to take care of your health, your well-being. In other words, take care of yourself. If you don’t, who will? Improve your living situation. Don’t put up with a hellish environment where a partner makes you feel lousy about yourself. Nowhere is it written that you should endure such emotional abuse. Life is too short for that. There is hope out there. And you can do it!!!

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Filed under Blogging, Hollywood, Life, Relationships, Romance, Vickie McKeehan, Writers

Autumn

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus

Winter’s coming but until then find your favorite place in the park and enjoy nature at its best.

Photo credit: Jyothi Karthik Raja

 

Photo credit: Larisa Koshkina

 

While most summer flowers have already given up their season, fall daisies are just getting started. These hardy buds hang in there reminding us there’s beauty in simplicity.

Photo credit: Planet Natural

 

 

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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

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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

Friday is just funnier

 

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

~ Erma Bombeck

 

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Have a great weekend!

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