UNDER CONSTRUCTION

See those big rocks the builder had to remove before pouring the foundation?
I also need to root out something from my blog…

I owe a deep apology to my readers. You see, I knew WordPress placed ads in my posts as compensation for my free blog site. But I saw my posts only when I was logged in. Each post looks just the way I set it up, with one bit of text added near the bottom:

Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here,
as well as a Privacy & Cookies banner at the bottom of the page…

By “an advertisement…” I assumed they meant ONE ad, maybe a nice little ad for cute dresses or a charming vacation spot.

I assumed that right up until a month ago, when I visited this blog without logging in first, to see it as my readers do.

Yikes. Will you look at alllllll those ads! The page was riddled with them. A banner at the top, flashing ones between my lovely (or goofy) photos, jumping ads that spring to different locations as you scroll, so you can’t get away from them.

Different users see different ads, but I found myself looking at gross cartoons representing gut bacteria.

Animated gut bacteria.

By the time I reached the end of the post, I realized
“I would NEVER subscribe to this blog with all these hideous ads!”

All that to say, I’m in the process of ending the abuse by upgrading to an ad-free plan.

Why am I just now telling you this, if I saw the problem a month ago?

I’m glad you asked.

Frankly, I was hoping to upgrade quickly and move on, barely missing a beat. But it turns out the process is more complicated than I thought. And I’ll have a different web address, which I’d better figure out how to connect to my existing content, besides letting everyone know how to find me.

So. All that to say, I’m truly sorry for flashing you with hundreds of ads. I’ll be back when I can give you ad-free content. I hope to accomplish that within the next month. Like the house in the photo, my blog is Under Construction, only without the Port-a-John.

Meanwhile, I’ve started a handful of new posts that I’m eager to share. Bicycles, appliances, travel, hometown adventures… what fun!

Thanks for reading and for bearing with me,
Jan

Posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories) | 8 Comments

Ankles Aweigh!

One Sunday last month we had plans to visit our friends’ church in north Dallas, then go to lunch with them. I put on my dressy black pants with a pretty-but-not-too-fussy blouse and blingy earrings.

Since I was going to make pancakes before church and also do a good bit of walking after, I decided not to put on my black leather shoes just yet. They’re low heeled, but don’t have a comfy wide toe area like my customary canvas Toms. I’d wear a pair of Toms now, and change when it was time to leave.

Afraid I might forget to change shoes, I slipped on my fuzzy, super comfy, multi-color striped ones. They look hideous with black dress pants. No way I wouldn’t notice them and remember to change.

For added insurance, I told Brent, “Don’t let me leave the house in these shoes, okay?”

“Okay.”

After pancakes, juice, and coffee, it was time to finish getting ready.

The church is about a 40-minute drive away. When we’d parked and I started to get out of the car, I looked down for my purse.

Imagine my surprise when I saw…

Great.

Bad enough I was wearing fuzzy Toms. My bootcut dress pants would have at least partly obscured the shoes. But no–today I’d put on the ankle pants that I rarely wear.

This compounded the error, giving me a general air of nursing-home chic.

If Daisy Duck wore fuzzy slippers…

I gotta hand it to Brent… he made valiant efforts not to laugh.
“Oh well,” I said. “No sense being self-conscious about this. It’s not like they’re coming here to criticize my shoes.”

That being said, we went into the lobby where I tried not to think about my much-too-comfortable shoes. If anyone was judging my feet, they didn’t say anything to me about it.

When our friends approached, I casually maneuvered my feet behind a trash can and maintained eye contact with them. Equally casual, I…

  • Brought up the rear going into the worship center.
  • Breathed a sigh of relief when the main lights went down.
  • Kept my feet under the seat in front of me.

Other than that, I never gave a thought to my fashion faux pas.

Actually, I wasn’t nearly as embarrassed as you might think. By the time we went to lunch, I really did put it out of my mind and just enjoyed the meal and company. I guess I’d learned, years earlier when I started back to college as a middle-aged grownup person, that

no one is looking at your clothes.

Surely you, too, have a fashion faux pas! Do tell! There’s space for you in the “Your turn: comments welcome here” box below.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Virus Bomb, by D. Greg Scott

Image credit: Amazon.com

 

What a wild ride!

IT genius Jerry Barkley gets no respect. When he investigates a security leak for a client and gets a whiff of an impending terrorist attack on the US, he tries to warn the authorities.

It doesn’t go well.

He finally gets released from jail and rushes headlong into trying to track down the culprits before disaster strikes.

What I like best about the book is Jerry’s attitude. He has, well… attitude. Reminds me a little of Captain Kirk. But he also has compassion and empathy toward certain characters who have every reason to be angry. Also, the suspense ramps up throughout the story.

Fasten your seat belt for a Great Weekend Read.

Oh, and you might pack a parachute as well.

Find it on Amazon by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Jan

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The Night Janitor, by T. F. Allen

Here’s another Great Weekend Read, from the same author as my February one! This is unprecedented, but once I get started, I can’t put this guy’s books down.

The summary, from Goodreads:

Annamaria Gabor can kill with a whisper and a touch. Her victims never realize she’s given them a deadly disease. The cops will never arrest her. No jury will ever convict her. And no one can stop her—no one except her brother.

Luke Johnson can heal by touch. He works as a night janitor in hospitals and nursing homes, healing patients as discreetly as he can. Once people notice his work, he moves on to the next city—before the hired assassins arrive.

Luke is a hunted man. His sister wants him dead because he knows her deepest secret. And she has big plans for her future only he can destroy.

Why I Love It:

Allen grabbed my interest from Page One and never let go. This story proved to be as much of a suspenseful ride as his first novel, “The Keeper.”

I actually enjoyed this second novel even more than the first, thanks to a larger (but not too large) cast that included several truly likable characters. The little boy that Luke loves and the sassy nurse come to mind. Even the Super Evil Villain Who Must Be Stopped At Any Cost has a sympathetic human side, twisted though it may be.

Allen threw in enough plot twists to wow me and, once again, landed on a perfect ending full of possibilities.

The book releases on May 2. (I didn’t cheat… I received an Advance Reader Copy for review.) Click here to find it. You can preorder the Ebook now.

Meanwhile, you can visit Allen at his website, https://toddallenauthor.com/

Thanks for letting me share!
Happy reading,
Jan

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“Putting Down Roots” — Two Years Later

A bonus Encore edition of a previous post, just in time for Easter.
This post first appeared on this blog February 22, 2017.

One downside of moving to a new house, no matter how much you like it, is Starting Over With Your Landscaping. In our old backyard we left a mature Chinese tallow tree, taller than the house. It looks like this in the fall:chinese-tallow-fall
tallow-treeLast spring we saved a few of the tallow tree’s seedlings. Here’s the current specimen, with the Pomeranian mutt for scale:

Don’t be embarrassed if you can’t see the tree. Its branches make Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree look downright ample, and not a leaf in sight.

Besides, there’s a really cute dog in the picture.

I’ve always saved extra seeds from our bluebonnets. So I planted some of those at the new place, hoping they’d germinate. I’m happy to report that now we’ve got sprouts.bluebonnet-sprout

UPDATE: Here’s how those bluebonnets
are doing in 2019!

Ditto with the cilantro: cilantro-sprout
Some things I decided not to move, like the June-bearing strawberries. Instead I bought a couple of Everbearing plants. Maybe this year we’ll get two berries from each plant more than once! I see a ladybug has already made itself at home here.strawberry-w-ladybug
The scariest move for me was the apricot-colored daylily bulbs that had grown in my flower bed since 2008. One of my professors at UT Arlington gave them to me, so I really, really hoped they would survive. I dug into the new flower beds and poked the lumpy brown things into the holes, leaving only wilted leaves above the mulch.

It sure didn’t look very promising in November… the leaves simply lay down on the ground and turned grey. But lookie what I found last week, right in the middle of those grey ribbon-like leaves:daylily

See, once more life springs from death. Didn’t Jesus say something about that?

I’m thankful for roots and new life.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Posted in A Page From My Journal, I Remember When... (my OWN stories) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eroica California: Déjà vu in the USA

Last fall, we went to Italy and spent a week in Tuscany with the touring company Ciclismo Classico. The pinnacle of the tour was “L’Eroica,” a two-wheeled nostalgiafest featuring pre-1985 bikes or replicas, wool jerseys, miles of gravel road, a relaxed pace (wine at the check-in/rest stops… really!), and lots of ’70s hairstyles and mustaches.

We both fell in love with Italy’s natural beauty, friendly people, and atmosphere, but Brent really got the bug. He got hooked on cappuccinos (never liked coffee before) and even this soda called “Chinotto” that I only tried once, upon which I wailed that it was “like licking a telephone pole.”

He not only tackled and survived the 80-mile gravel ride, but turned around and registered for the same event in California, to be held this month.

So here I am….
I got it made in the shade.

Ciclismo Classico owner Lauren wanted to have a booth at the California event, but couldn’t squeeze the weekend into her packed schedule. “Well, we’re going, and I’m not doing the ride….” So I volunteered to man the booth and hand out brochures and generally tell people how wonderful and fun our Italy tour had been. They sent the materials out and, just like that, I had something to do while waiting for Brent to grind over all that gravel.

We flew in to San Luis Obispo and got Brent’s bike from Foothill Cyclery, where he’d sent it to be put together. They were displaying the first event poster we saw…

And now I’ll let Brent share the photos he took on the tour.

First, a run down the coast to the first check-in.

Some of the roads were really nice!

Santa Rita Road summit. So green…

Then the death-defying downhill on rough road, complete with hairpin turns.
Brent was walking. The guy on two wheels must be a local.

Here he is at the finish, tired but triumphant.

Where did they get this old “Support Vehicle??”

Meanwhile, there was a contest between some of the antique bikes. Here’s a 1948 Raleigh being judged.

Well, that’s just a taste of our weekend. I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks for reading!
Tailwinds,
Jan

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When the Inn is Even Better Than the Event

Y’all… we just got back from “Eroica California,” a historic cycling event in Cambria, California. And did we EVER pick the best place to stay!

We’ve participated in big cycling rallies before, and Problem One is always parking. A little research turned up a B&B with its own off-street parking, maybe 400 yards from the rally’s start point and expo. Going the other direction, the main business district is about the same distance. We would pretty much never have to move the car.

Not gonna lie, that’s the biggest reason we chose Olallieberry Inn.

Yeah, but then we actually arrived. We found the house was built in 1865 and the front yard features a sequoia tree that’s probably a zillion years old (give or take).

A friendly staff member welcomed us and showed us to our room, which had its own window seat and gas fireplace. Travel stress started melting away on the spot.

After a comfortable night’s sleep, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast–a different one each of the four mornings we were there. The food was delicious, made with expert care by the cheerful staff.

Coffee, hot water for tea and cocoa, and fresh cookies seem to be on duty at all times. Then there’s the Happy Hour every afternoon. We sat out on the deck nibbling appetizers and sipping wine, and got acquainted with other cyclists who were in town for the event. Need a local’s recommendation for a dinner place afterward? You got it.

In the evening, we’d stroll in through the back, pausing to enjoy an impromptu chorus of tree frogs down by the creek and watch the birds stuffing themselves at two birdbaths generously filled with seeds.

Hm, those birds may have reminded me of myself at breakfast.

But never mind that… I think I’ve found my new happy place!

Next time I’ll tell you about the cycling event itself. Meanwhile, for more photos and information, click here to check out the Olallieberry Inn website.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

Posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories), Thoughts on Two Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment