Goodbye, Sweet Car

My Toyoto Corolla was sick and sluggish at times. I’d be tooling along without any problems until I stopped at an intersection with a Stop sign. Then it was like pushing an elephant to get it to move. Cars behind zipped around me while I jammed my foot on the accelerator. Nothing changed. Then all of a sudden, the engine decided to jerk ahead, and then I was fine–until the next time.

Goodbye Toyota

Goodbye Toyota

I was hoping to make it to Sunday School on time when the car just crawled for a whole block. When it finally decided to move faster, I turned around, headed home, and drove my husband’s car to church.

In the meantime, my husband woke up and wanted to go to the donut shop to meet with his cronies that gathered there in the mornings.  He took one look at my car sitting there and decided something must be wrong.

Monday morning, I drove my Toyoto to Jack’s Auto Shop to get it fixed.  Jack, bless his heart, said the transmission was about to go out, and the catalytic converter needed to be replaced before I could pass inspection. He asked if I wanted to spend $3,000 to fix a 14-year-0ld car with 175,00 miles on it.  Not ready to do that, I drove home and had a conference with my husband.

He checked out prices and informed me I could only sell it for $1,500 if I fixed it up. Since we’re both retired, we had planned on downsizing to one car when mine wore out, but I didn’t feel ready to let go.

We could donate it to Cars for Kids, an organization which helped pay to educate teens. I drove by Jack’s and took my last picture.

Then I had an idea. Maybe Carmax would buy it. Sure enough, a phone call confirmed they would probably take a car that old and that sick.

Now, I am counting my blessings. First, I received a $300 check from Carmax. Second, my sweet husband agreed to let me use our other car for all my writer’s meetings as long as he gets to join his cronies for coffee at the donut shop in the mornings. Third, we don’t have to pay for car inspection and registration, and fourth, we can get a refund on our car insurance.

The only catch is we have to remember to pass the extra key back and forth in case one of us forgets and leaves the key in the ignition. I can live with that.



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For Better Sleep

We updated our Sleep Number bed.  My husband and I carried out the old frame. He unpacked the new plastic frame pieces and assembled them. I had to vacuum the rug underneath. We enlisted my daughter to help carry the heavy stuff as he has a weak heart. Then we had to push like mad to get the top supports into the frame. Finally, blowing up the mattresses again was easy. We tugged the mattress cover into place and made the bed. I got my mattress so full, it felt like I was lying on the floor, so I let out some air. Now we have the foundation for a good night’s sleep again.img_0821 img_0822 img_0823 img_0825


In the background of the second picture, you can see the new frame. The oblong black thing lying on the mattress cover is a spongy filler that goes between the two mattresses. The last picture shows us blowing up the mattresses.

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Something you don’t want to meet

Horned Viper

While doing research for my next book, I discovered a picture of this venomous snake.  Its fangs grow to 13mm in length. That’s half an inch long. Their length can be as much as 95 cm. (over 3 1/2 inches). While females are usually smaller, if I saw one, I wouldn’t bother checking one’s sex. Like a rhinoceros, it has a single ‘horn’ protruding from the snout. The snake may be dark brown or grey to black and has a zigzag pattern.

The venom produced by this snake is very toxic based on experiments using mice, but does vary between species and areas and is neurotoxic. Pain, swelling, and redness will occur within moments of being bitten around the bite area. Dizziness and possible blackouts may occur with a tingling sensation around the body.

It’s venom can attack the nervous system. A bite may cause nausea, muscle spasms, as well as possible death through cardiac arrest.  However, most people recover after being treated with antivenom.  Now I have to decide if I’m going to let my heroine and hero come upon one when they are lost in the Northern Alps.

Never run from a snake, always walk calmly away. 

Horned Viper

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Carrara Marble from Italy


I’m trying to write my ten pages a day, but keep getting detoured by interesting research. My characters are flying over the Carrara mountain marble deposits. See the white streaks on the lower peaks. The photo is by Myrabella.

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A Carraran marble quarry

Carrara marble (often mistakenly spelled “Carrera marble”) is a type of white or blue-grey marble of high quality, popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried in the city of Carrara located in the province of Massa and Carrara in the Lunigiana, the northernmost tip of modern-day Tuscany, Italy.


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Rom.con Raffle Basket Bonanza

dscn1194I had a great time at Rom.con. In addition to all the fun and games, including getting my clothes stuffed with balloons, I won an awesome basket brought by Tameri Etherton  (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Tameri.) I couldn’t wait to read her book, The Stones of Kaldaar. I don’t usually read fantasy, but this was good. It was worth waiting until my friend who was driving instead of flying brought it to my house.

I like the little red dragon, which now sits on top of my computer, the beautiful flower decorated fan, and the Amazon gift card so I can buy more books. I’m saving the wine to celebrate when my next book, Pretend Princess, gets published.

I also couldn’t wait to wear the fun T-shirt entitled, “My muse must be sleeping off a drunk behind a dumpster somewhere.” I’m sure that’s the case, because I’m doing the Nanowrimo thing and trying to write ten pages a day. Somehow, the weekend got shot, and today I’ve only done three pages.

Well, I did have to research the great pyramid. Although I have forty years of National Geographic, my index only goes to 1976, and I couldn’t get into a more current online index without subscribing again. My husband says we can’t resubscribe because we’d have enough issues to sink the house.

I loved Rom.con and will be going again. Even if I don’t win a raffle basket, I’m sure to enjoy it.

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Catfish Catastrophe

Getting a Bargain???

Catfish for $4.29 sounded better than fillets for $5.79, so I bought it. “Yes, there are bones inside,” said the clerk behind the seafood counter as he wrapped up two fish. My butcher knife didn’t seem sharp enough, and it was hard to cut the flesh off. The only other time I’d cooked fish straight from the water, I’d cooked it bones and all before eating, so I’d never done this. What a chore. I ended up with odd-shaped pieces, but I rolled them in cornmeal and fried them anyhow.Since I couldn’t completely clean the flesh off the bones, I cooked that, bones and all, and ate it myself. Of course, now the flesh was easy to get off. When I told my husband how much the fillets cost, he said he’d rather buy steak. However, since he doesn’t like to take fish oil pills, I may buy the more expensive fillets from now on.



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Fun at Rom.con

Balloon Stuffing Contest

At Rom.con, a romance readers conference in Denver, I had two volunteers stiff balloons under my shirt and sweater. They actually managed to get fourteen underneath. Then I had to try to dance without losing them. Kim took my picture, and I’m sure she’ll use it to show how ridiculous I looked.

Speed Dating with Books

I had two minutes to talk about my five books to each person who sat in front of me. I decided five is too many to talk about, but generally managed to talk about my Witness Protection Series and either Romancing the Gold, set at an archaeological dig in Peru or  Searching for Love, where my hero and heroine hunted for her missing sister, got arrested, and spent the night on a cot in a Mexican jail.

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