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Mind your Posture

Sit up straight. No slouching.

This advice, mostly given when I was a child, plays in my mind most often when I’m sprawled – or slouched – while watching TV.

Some seats encourage better posture than others. My nice, soft, worn sofa invites me to lean back, prop up my legs, and ignore correct posture. Other chairs in my house entice me to keep my feet on the floor and back upright.

Whether it’s the material or the crisp angles, this bench at the St Louis Zoo brings to mind all those admonitions to sit up straight and mind your manners. Actually, I tested this bench, and it’s really rather comfortable — at least for the first few minutes.

Seating in public spaces is often designed into the building, park, or attraction from the very beginning. A bench like the one above, can serve as a meeting place as well as a resting spot for elderly bodies getting exercise. No worry about tipping this one over. And employees can clean off the spilled ice cream with a hose.

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, one of the couple’s first “dates” is at the zoo. Do you think they tested this bench?

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Be Bear Aware

Have you visited the Northwoods? Planning a trip soon? Woodland creatures might consider you a trespasser. However, no problem with most. Smart creatures, they tend to scurry away when they hear, or smell, humans approaching.

However…

Taking the trash to the campground dumpster? May I suggest daylight hours. Some wild creatures tend to view trash cans as midnight convenience stores — where they don’t pay in cash.

Little bandit raccoon ahead of you? Perhaps a slight delay would be wise.

Mice and other critters of that size sniffing out the possibilities? No problem.

Black bear looking for a snack?

I advise a retreat.

Bears are enjoyable to watch at the zoo. Next time you see one — take a close look at the feet — or rather — the claws. I don’t care which brand of garbage bag you use — one swipe and it’s open. Metal can with a lid? Push it over. Dump it out. Snout and paws to push away the tightest cover.

I’ll take my bears behind a fence — thank you!

Portions of the sweet romance Seed of Desire take place in Bear Country. Our heroine, Beth, however, needs to deal with a different sort of predator.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2RDFgxH

You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats a dog.
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A Girl and her…

My goodness. I can think of at least a dozen ways to end that sentence. Shall we test a few?

Brother? Parents? Dog? Friend? Bicycle? Blanket? Cousins? Classmates? Hamster? Cake? Prom dress? First car?

Sorry — none of the above. Although several would make good photos and I actually have some of them. I was flipping through childhood photos and could not resist placing this one on the scanner.

The name of this college-money-on-the-hoof is Soprano.

A pretty girl, Soprano and I were good friends. I did my best to halter train her (like big sister Silk the year before) and she spent many summer mornings trimming the grass beneath our large elm trees.

Have you sampled any of the Crystal Springs Romances? Sweet, small-town romance with a touch of suspense. An angus steer tries to steal a scene in Starr Tree Farm. Kindle link: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

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Imagine the Conversation

What do you think, Charlie?

I don’t know, Betty. The small one is attractive. But they’re all moving.

I was concentrating on the larger one in the floppy hat. Not carrion, but looks promising.

True. When do you suppose the keeper is going to deliver breakfast?

Not soon enough, Charlie. Not soon enough.

Alert. Watchful. Powerful. Scary jaws and teeth. I think I’ll be sure to keep at least one body part moving when enjoying the sight of hyenas at the zoo.

Whether you prefer mammals, reptiles, or birds; you’ll find some examples at any well-tended zoo. Collect your sweetheart, children, and/or parents and enjoy your visit.

Kindle readers: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av
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Fish Friday

St. Louis is located in a portion of the country where late winter and early spring brings weekly fish fries. In a slightly different region, a few hundred miles north, the fish fry on Friday night is a year-round tradition.

However, there is always one in every crowd who demands the food each and every day. Each and every meal. Welcomes it as a snack also. Fried? Yuck — I’ll take it straight. Fresh preferred. Frozen accepted.

Another fish, please. Yes, I practiced the trick for the nice people. Now — may I have my fish. No more tricks until I get a reward for the last one. I know you have another in the bucket. Haven’t I got you trained yet?

Always interesting things to see and do at the zoo. Great place to take the family. Or a date. The characters in Comfort Zone visit the fine facility early in their relationship. (PS: They have a great time.)

Kindle readers click here for more information: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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A Payoff for Patience

Wait. Hold your horses. Sit still.

My parents said these phrases over and over to their youngest child, a girl who wiggled much and didn’t learn patience early.

But there is hope — even for the restless. Perhaps I just needed to experience demonstrations of the reward of this virtue.

In 2019, during a visit to the zoo, I walked into the bird building. (It probably has a more elegant name.) And I encountered this fine fellow – a Bathleur Eagle.

He appears rather interested in the world as he looks over his shoulder at the people. You can almost hear him thinking. “What do they expect? I’d rather be flying free in the sunshine and hunting.”

Fortunately, we lingered at his large cage (the size of some of the rooms in my home).

Here you go, humans! Take this memory with you when you walk away. Bet you don’t look this good from the back.

Patience. Stopping to watch the bird — or sniff the flower — brings a reward.

So slow the pace. Take a second look. Visit that park, or museum, or zoo that’s either nearby or on your bucket list. Impossible to get out of the house? Travel in a book. Comfort Zone, set in present-day St. Louis includes a visit to the world class zoo. Kindle readers click here: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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August Advice

A little advice is a good thing. When it comes from an expert, it’s even better.

So here are the professor’s tips for staying comfortable on hot, August days.

Seek the shade.

Drink plenty of water.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Professor? Well, for the month of August, I decided to explore close to home. Yes, for many people this is prime vacation time. But for a multitude of reasons, some people are unable to travel. So take a look around and see what you can find within a drive of two hours or less.

Professor Chimp dispenses his advice and demonstrate a carefree attitude at the St. Louis Zoo.

Do you live near a zoo? Have you considered a stroll among the animals as a place for a “date”? Light and casual courting in Comfort Zone, a sweet romance, includes a zoo date with emphasis on elephants.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av

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Fish, Fish, Fish

Or perhaps I should say: trout, trout, trout.

Montauk State Park is all about trout. Hatched, growing, carefree, and hooked.

Fishermen of all sizes have options. Come for the day. Rent a cabin. Rent a motel room. Camp in comfort ranging from tent, to small trailer, to luxury motorhome.

At the park store, you can find last minute supplies and the all-important trout tag. Be sure to pin it to your hat or shirt.

Future fish (trout) dinners grow under the watchful eye of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources.

A coin and turn of the vending machine knob gives you enough pellets to start a brief feeding frenzy. No hooks allowed in this portion of the park.

Caught your limit for the day? How about a tour of the old gristmill? A hike on a well-marked trail? A little time watching children on the playground? Or a friendly chat, trading fish stories, with you temporary neighbors?

Fictional photographer Serena Carter had an adventure worth recording in “Morning Tryst” in this park.

Check it out with a Kindle pre-order here: https://amzn.to/35gH37S

Official release date = June 20

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Need a Hug?

Personal contact. Physical contract. Touch. Are you aware it is one of the human needs?

Depending on the people you were raised with, the frequency and closeness of hugs varies. In my family of origin, hugs were brief and reserved for special occasions. However, when certain relatives arrived for a visit — you were HUGGED!

Do you remember any particular person’s hugs? For the warmth? The length? The strength?

Kitty will HUG you — and a few of your friends. She may feel a little stiff and cold (depending on the weather), but she means well and will stay still while you photograph loved ones (human and canine) within her paws.

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Don’t forget

When touring the zoo — don’t forget to visit the elephants!

Shall we test my memory? How did the six blind men describe the beast?

Very like a wall–said the man who felt the elephant’s side.

No, like a tree — said the one who wrapped his arms around a leg.

Wrong! Like a rope — the man who grasped the tail insisted.

Not at all, more like a fan — said the man holding an ear.

I don’t believe any of you — the beast is like a snake — said the man touching the trunk.

You’re all wrong. This animal is like a spear — said the man rubbing the tusk.

Are they all wrong? Are they all right? Do you remember the first time you saw an elephant?

In Comfort Zone, during a visit to the St. Louis Zoo, Henry Taylor tells elephant stories. Want to read them?

https://amzn.to/2ZvL0Av