"" Writer's Wanderings

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Holiday Sale!! 99 Cents!

Three of my Kindle editions are on sale beginning July 4 for 99 cents . Here are the titles and links:

Ginnie Scott looked forward to the beginning of a new life in Fort Lonesome. She felt a new sense of freedom leaving behind the parents she had so deeply disappointed. She was starting fresh as a preschool teacher where no one knew her past. Little did she expect that the past would catch up with her.
Grant Richards’ life has been through some deep valleys. Just as he thought his heart might mend from the loss of his wife, Becca, he has to cope with his daughter’s perilous brain tumor. Then Bonnie’s new preschool teacher arrives to throw his life into more turmoil. Is she Becca’s ghost? The resemblance is uncanny.
Martin Westfall ruined Ginnie’s life with his rash promises and failures to fulfil them. He’s found her again and this time he won’t let anything come between them, not even a little girl and her cowboy father.
Fort Lonesome, Florida, is classified as a ghost town but the only ghosts in town are the ghosts of the past that come into Grant and Ginnie’s lives. Will those ghosts bring the two together? Possibly, but only if they can overcome their fears and find the hope they need for the future.

Annie Pickels, a 65 year old widowed pickle entrepreneur is in real trouble. One of her city farmers is growing marijuana on his rented plot of land. Annie, thinking it is marjoram, uses it as a secret ingredient in her pickles. 

Insisting Tommy is a nice young man, Annie discovers his beloved Mary Jane is not the name of his girlfriend when Annie is arrested for cultivation and sale of marijuana. But Annie knows God always takes care of her. On a cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, Annie met Arnie, the man who may solve her impending legal dilemma.

Elma, Annie's best friend, knows that Arnie is just what Annie needs in her life. But is he? Annie's niece thinks Arnie is out to fleece her aunt. Is she right? Or is Arnie the one who can get Annie out of the pickle she's in?

Annie Pickels, a widowed pickle entrepreneur, and her best friend Elma are off to London for a little holiday. While in London things are happening back home that threaten to cause the loss of Annie’s farm property. Once again she will rely on Arnie, her friend who is a lawyer but who wants to be so much more in her life, to help her out of trouble. A trip to Alaska and a meeting with her deceased husband’s family solves some of her problems but there are still questions to be answered. How far will the people who want her property go to get it? And, is there room in her heart for Arnie, the one Elma keeps telling her is the “man of her dreams”? It’s a dilly of a pickle Annie finds herself in but with friends, family and faith the answers become clear.

The 99 cent sale is good until July 11. To see all my books, go to my author page: Karen Robbins, Author

Thursday, July 02, 2020

1996--Our Amazing Fall Road Trip

Fall colors in Northeast Ohio are spectacular in the perfect Autumn weather. We had always heard though that the fall foliage in the New England area were the best. In the Fall of 1996, we decided to see for ourselves. We weren't disappointed.

Our trip began with a flight to Connecticut as best we can recall since our first stop was in Mystic. The Mystic Seaport Museum has quite a few historic ships moored there and we explored several. I remember it being a quaint town but that was back in 1996. Hard to say if it is still the picturesque place I remember.

From there we drove north through Boston and up to Salem. Of course how could you visit Salem without exploring all the history behind the infamous Salem witch trials. For some reason, I was surprised to discover that Salem was also home to the House of Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name. I had no idea that it was an actual place.

Acadia National Park was a little more than a four and a half hour drive. I believe we stayed in Bar Harbor but again, I did not take good notes and I've lost my initial planning for the trip. The park was beautiful and the surrounding seaside was fun to explore. We took a whale watching tour where we sighted a few whales but the season for seeing the really big whales was over by then. They had headed south for better food prospects for the winter. 

I have a picture that appears to be a huge Maine clambake of sorts with lobster. I don't remember that but I do remember a very nice dinner in a restaurant that was on a dock where we could look down and watch the lobster boats come in and unload their catch. Needless to say, the lobster was really fresh.

We also made a stop in Kennebunkport after driving past the Bush compound. In town, we treated ourselves to a lobster roll. By the time we had left Maine, we'd had quite a lot of lobster. 

From Bar Harbor we turned west and began our journey through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The weather was a bit misty and rainy but I was amazed at how brilliant the colors of the leaves were--mostly gold but even in the cloudy and rainy day they stood out. We began to see signs warming of moose crossing. We didn't see any but when we stopped for the night, we heard stories about them.

Vermont is where I believe we found the covered bridges I have pictures of. Of course we made a stop at Ben and Jerry's which was interesting and amusing. Vermont was very beautiful and the Burlington area was a nice place to stay for a bit.

Burlington was our "turnaround point". We headed southeast again to the place we'd started to turn in our car and fly home. As I recall, the trip back to the airport was not quite as picturesque. I think we went through more populated areas. 

All in all, it was a great trip but I think in any given year, our Fall foliage in Ohio is as pretty as anywhere else.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bits N Pieces

There have been so many surprises and discoveries I've had during my COVID cleaning spree. There have been paper manuscripts I had forgotten about and an unusual number of little notebooks, most of which I used on travel adventures to record the things we saw. I was better at the journaling some times better than others. 

One little notebook I found tucked way in the back of a shelf in a cupboard I was cleaning out in out den was a definite surprise. It was was in the back and I mean WAY BACK. These shelves were not as well thought out as they should have been when we had them built. I got the ladder and reached in, then sat down and leafed through it. It was full of little gems that I'd copied from somewhere along the journey. Here they are. Enjoy!

  • Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image
  • If you must cry over spilled mile, please try to condense it.
  • Hug your kids at home. Belt them in the car.
  • Tact is the ability to see others as they wish to be seen
  • We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
  • You can't direct the wind but you can adjust your sails.
  • A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.
  • Kindness is a language deaf people can hear and the blind can see.
  • If you can laugh at it then you can live with it.
  • Live as you wish your kid would.
  • Forbidden fruit is responsible for many a bad jam.
  • Birds have bills too but they keep on singing.
There are a lot of good memes in there.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Going To The Keys? Pack a Mask!

We left Key Largo just before they completely closed the Keys off to visitors in March. The residents of Monroe County were calling for that to happen and had protesters at the bridge into Key Largo (the entry to the Keys) telling visitors to turn around. Things were beginning to shut down and we decided to leave a little earlier than we'd planned as we weren't sure of what we would encounter on our drive home.

While in Key Largo we enjoy worshiping at First Baptist Church Key Largo. They have been live streaming for a few years now so it was probably a little easier to slip into virtual church for them. We have gotten into the habit of watching them just before we join our home church's live stream. Recently we were surprised to see everyone in the praise team as well as the pastor with a mask on. What had changed, we wondered?

Monroe County legislated masks. The new law requires masks to be worn anywhere in public there is a roof overhead and what's more, there is a $500 fine for not wearing one. These people are serious about protecting their community. 

If you would like to read the whole thing, it's here at the Monroe County COVID-19 Information page

The penalties are described in the ordinance which you can read at this link: Monroe County Face Mask 

The ordinance is in effect through June 2021 and will be reviewed quarterly should conditions in the spread of COVID improve. 

With COVID cases spiking once again, and especially in states like Florida, I wonder if more communities will respond in similar manner. Obviously with the opening of so many venues and businesses, large gatherings are becoming more frequent and from what we have observed just in our local shopping malls, the youngsters (I use that term loosely) are not taking precautions, either with masks or distancing. Who knows what the future will hold?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cruising After COVID

The dreaded Norovirus has caused cruise lines to come up with a protocol for cleansing and treating ships so that the next bunch of passengers can cruise safely. Some of the things we have experienced after an outbreak on ships are no serving yourself in the buffet, even to get drinks, no library books, and staff squirting sanitizer into your hands more often. Many times they will have someone standing at the drink stations the first few days to serve so you don't touch the common touchpoints. 

Of course, hand sanitizer has always been a big part of keeping passengers healthy. I remember an incident on the QM2 where the attendant would not give me a tray until I sanitized my hands--again--because she hadn't seen me do it the first time. 

Now we have COVID-19 and while cruise lines are still not operating and cruises are canceled mostly through October, I can't help but wonder what precautions will be in place when we start cruising again.  We have a cruise planned for 2022 and hopefully this will all be past history with a vaccine in place but I wonder if we will have to present proof of vaccination before boarding. There has always been a health form to fill out but who is going to say they had a cough or fever and forego the cruise they have paid for? 

Will we have to wear a mask? Perhaps some social distancing? I wonder if the number of passengers will be reduced for a time? I'm guessing there may be a natural reduction in passengers simply because many will be a bit leary of cruising after all the stories of those caught in the COVID mess and certainly those who have never cruised before may not be willing to start anytime soon.

From what I've read, cruise lines are hard at work coming up with new ideas to assure passengers of the safety of cruising. The problem is that so much of the preparation depends on knowing the facts about the virus and those facts seem to change as more and more is learned. While patience has never been my strong suit, I will not begin to panic until we get closer to our World Cruise date. By then this too, hopefully, will have passed.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Remembering The Cayman Diving Lodge

It wasn't long after we were certified as scuba divers that we took our first dive trip. Unfortunately I didn't date my pictures but the year was 1998 because earlier that year was when we became official divers. One of the things that was stressed in our dive course was that we should always take care of our own equipment. We arrived at the Cayman Diving Lodge, East End, and the first thing they told us was to set our rental equipment out at our door so they could take it down to the boat in the morning. What we didn't realize was that they would set it up for us. They took care of it for our whole stay.

Our dives were spectacular. The dive lodge was a bit rustic. We returned for several years in a row. We enjoyed the room at the front with a view but sometimes there was a sewer smell in the shower. We solved it by putting something over the drain when we didn't use it. 

Meals were included and were excellent. There was no TV in the rooms but there was a common area where we ate that had a TV at the bar. More often than not though we would sit and watch dive video from our day's dives on the TV. 

The Diving Lodge dogs were a favorite part of everyone's day. Upon our return from diving, they would greet us at the dock. There was a story that one of the dogs went out with the divers one morning and then decided he'd had enough. He jumped in the water and started swimming toward shore. When it was discovered he was gone, everyone thought he was lost at sea. Late that afternoon he showed up in time to greet the divers on their return from the afternoon dives.

One of my favorite non-diving memories was laying on the dock one clear warm night. We were just enjoying the relaxing slight breeze and the sparkling stars. Suddenly on of those stars streaked across the sky. We both blinked and looked at each other. Did we really see what we thought we saw? We continued to watch and were rewarded with several sightings of shooting stars. Now I realize we were there during the Perseids Meteor Shower. 

In 2001, we had planned a dive trip for our anniversary in September. Our first grandchild was due in late October or early November. We felt safe in following through with our plans. After all, first babies always came late. Right? Wrong. He decided to come early.  On the day of our anniversary, we came in from our morning dive to find the office girl running down to the boat, shouting our names. There was an email and a picture (all this before cell phones and Facetime). Postscript: That grandchild has been diving with us since he turned 11.

Unfortunately the Diving Lodge was destroyed when Hurricane Ivan devastated the Cayman Islands in 2004. We sadly passed the ruins as we headed to a new dive operation--Ocean Frontiers. While there was a great effort to try to rebuild, the Diving Lodge could never recover and eventually the property went up for sale. The three large palm trees still stand there marking the spot where so many enjoyed terrific diving experiences and the fellowship of fellow divers. Many divers fondly remember the Diving Lodge and occasionally great dive stories are shared.

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