When Mom Goes Down…

We’ve all been there, the family ship is cruising along, life is good – and then the mom goes down. What had been smooth sailing is suddenly rudderless chaos.

And when that mom also answers to the titles of daughter and grandma the ship doesn’t just flounder, it crashes in fantastic Titanic form. It sinks in a way that ripples across the generations and pulls in an army of helpers to do what one woman’s right arm used to accomplish all on it’s own.

But my mom and her army are getting things done.

Nobody is exempt from the draft in this army!

Nobody is exempt from the draft in this army!

“Who says a one-armed grandma and a five year old can’t pick rocks?”Clara and Mom pick rocks

Ummm… Sorry mom.

Nobody says that.

Nobody would have even thought to challenge a lady who had recently broken her humerus so high up as to be considered part of her shoulder, to a rock picking contest, with or without a five year old.

But if they had, you guys totally would have won.

The rocks have been picked, the baby chicks have arrived and the garden is planted…but the sheep are coming.

So, if my posts are a bit spotty, please forgive me, I’m part of the army that’s saving the Titanic.


The Cull – Bloodstone and Blood Feud by Eric J. Gates

I like thrillers. A good dose of running-in, guns blazing while the world blows up, just as the good guy outsmarts the bad is good for the soul…  Ok maybe not good for the soul, but certainly good fun.

But in your typical thriller those good guys, can be a little, well, male. They seem to like to swear a lot and there’s a lot of talk of, to put it not near as bluntly as they seem to, boobs. Throw in the manly stuff that men do and women roll their eyes at and I’m sure it’s all quite realistic when you are down in the trenches with the fellows. But that eye rolling us women do? That’s realistic too.

In The Cull, a series that’s as suspensefully gun blazing as one could wish for, the two main characters are ladies.  Ladies, I might add, that can get by on a reasonable amount of swearing. And between their super brains and super computers, general kickassedness and sass, those typical male protagonists hardly stand a chance in a contest of pure awesomeness.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that unlike many women featured in thrillers, these girls have two things going for them. First off they have, so far, not fallen head over-heels for some hunk they are partnered with. Because once someone starts doing that, then they require rescuing and before you know it the whole world is going to shit they are stuck on a ledge over a giant void and they choose that moment to start kissing.


And these ladies from The Cull actually excel at what they do because of their skills instead of getting by on dumb luck and hunky male backup.  Two women, getting the job done with a bit of giggling that the men don’t understand.


Despite the look of their covers…

…I’d call them thrillers for women.

Also, if you are going to have a psychopathic vampire in your book, I appreciate that they are given a sense of humor and a good Irish Brogue so they can use the phrase “me darlin” often.

Would I recommend them? Yes!

Bloodstone is the second of The Cull series.  Not as edge-of-your-seat-I’m-never-going-to-sleep-again suspenseful as the first but still plenty of drama and lots of plot thickeners. Good suspense, in a way that had me avoiding responsibilities to keep reading and yet still let me sleep at night.

Blood Feud continues the storyline and as the characters continue to develop so does the reader’s knowledge of their “grey” sides- nothing is black and white after this one! I read this waiting in line at the DMV and found myself in the unusual position of wishing the lines were longer!

There are two more books coming and I’m ready and waiting to hear what these ladies do next!



Sending RawrLove

Just over a year ago, our favorite internet dinosaur Rarasaur wrote “ Sometimes the benefit of fighting for truth isn’t worth the cost of winning,” and shortly after surrendered herself to police custody. And there she has remained.

The last letter I received from her told of her excitement to be counting her remaining days in prison in double digits and of the first hug she shared with her husband in over a year.  It was a letter full of hope and the daring thoughts of future plans.

Just days later, I heard that her husband had passed away.

A year ago, facing an unknown prison sentence, she left the her internet friends with these words:

“I know some of you have aching hearts right now, as I would if I read something like this about you.  I wish I could be here to comfort you, but I won’t be– so instead, let’s go over some Rarasaur lessons together, alright?

Take the deepest breath you can.  Then take one more.

Now let it go.

See? You are capable of so much more than you expect.  And so am I.  Let your worries about me fade away.

Wiggle your hands around.

Be dazzled by the miracle that is your perfect body!

Press your hands to your heart.  Do you feel the heat and rhythm?*

It is as constant and warm as my gratitude for you.

You are loved, and you have changed my life for the better.

Now that you’re unbeatable, try to remember what I asked of you oh-so-long-ago. I want you to laugh.  So laugh, joyfully and with strength.  I can hear it, and it brings a smile to my face.”

Now I would like to turn around and say those words back to her.

If you’d like to send her a note, a bit of RawrLove from afar, you can send it here:


Radhika Jaini WF0124
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA  92880


That’s a genuine Rarasaur “Rawr” surrounded by all the love we could wring out of our art supplies. I’ll send a picture of it along with my next letter to her.


Kid Art

flowers in spare tireA spontations, ephemeral and collaborative effort using found items.

flowers in spare tire

Sadly, this piece of artwork was dismantled immediately after being photographed as it was in an area that required “cleaning up.”

The Littlest Beekeeper

It was one of those long circular discussions but in the end Clara agreed, no pet bees would be living in the house.

Had Jane been paying attention to our conversation, rather than cowering and screaming each time an escapee honey bee from the two packages in the back of the truck whizzed near her, she would have been relieved.

Clara inspects the two packages of bees.

Clara inspects the two packages of bees.

Even I, the one who brought the idea of beekeeping and then the bees into our life, draw the line at house bees.

But neither of us could stop Clara from dreaming and wondering… What if she could hold still enough that one would land on her… and maybe stay on her hand during dinner… and she could feed it some honey… and if it was there at breakfast she could give it a little more…

“What if… Mom… What if…”

Clara holding up the queen bee in her cage for inspection.

Clara holding up the queen bee in her cage for inspection.

Needless to say Clara was a willing and enthusiastic helper when it came time to hive the bees that evening. (Jane stayed in the house with Ivy.)Clara and John open bee package

Clara listened to what needed to be done. She watched as John and I installed the first hive and then grabbing her own little hive tool, did it herself on the second.

Clara dumping the bees into the hive.

Clara dumping the bees into the hive.

As the final bees got shook out of their box and into the hive, she caught some on her glove, “What if just one of them stayed on my hand Mom…”Clara in bee suit


“What if…”





Spring Is Here

The sky is overcast.

Rain, or something like it that is colder in a way that’s best not to acknowledge, is spitting down and the spring that seemed imminent just days before has blown away in the cold gusty wind.

Yet the howl of wind and wet is abruptly muffled as the door closes behind you. Replaced by a soft symphony of tiny peeps and a friendly ring of red light and warmth.

baby chick drinking water

Baby chicks, delicate beings that defy everything about a cold spring day.baby chick

Tiny scraps of fluff proclaiming that spring is here.