Tag Archives: Writing

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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Filed under California, Life, Nature, Southern California, Vickie McKeehan, Weather, 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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Filed under Autumn, Daisies, Flowers, Gardening, Life, Photos, Vickie McKeehan, Weather, 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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Gardening during the drought

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sometimes I think I need my head examined for trying to have a garden during a drought. Everything’s so brown and some days I feel like the stingy amount of drink I give the lettuce is a luxury. Lettuce is about all I have left. The lavender is struggling and so are my daisies. I follow the stringent guidelines of water restriction both inside and outside. We haven’t washed our cars in months. I’ve moved most of my regular plants indoors to keep them from frying in the blasts of August heat. But let’s face it, if California doesn’t get some relief soon, I’m not sure a garden is worth the effort.

To give you an idea of how bad things are, the trees located behind my house are dying…slowly. Pine, cypress, and the cottonwood that are located in what we used to refer to as the “greenbelt” are turning brown. The roots are searching for water that doesn’t come. The grass, once lush and green, has turned to what resembles straw.

I’ve always loved a garden setting. But here locally people are replacing their yards with rock, stone, or letting them go burnt brown naturally. I don’t judge. Whatever others feel they need to do for a yard during this drought is certainly understandable. Even though a few of the more elite are snubbing their noses at restrictions, we all wonder how long it will take to get rain. The media talks about some monster El Nino supposed to hit this winter. Cities are gearing up for torrential rain, floods, and they make evacuation plans and practice scenarios if mudslides occur. But for now, everything bakes. And we here in Southern California can only dream about a good downpour.

My idea of the perfect garden. This one’s in West Philly thanks to Farmer Liz.

 

So wherever you are, if rain is in your forecast, enjoy it. Not everyone is that lucky. 🙂

 

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Filed under California, Drought, Gardening, Life, Love is life, Personal Ramblings, Posts, Summer, Vickie McKeehan, Weather, Writers

Beat the heat. Read.

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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