Beauty in a Small Space

Garden. Flower bed.

The words conjure images of large scale plantings. Or perhaps long and narrow along the length of a building or walkway.

May I present an exception.

This small, precise, medallion garden is found on the grounds of an extensive, public garden.

However, one of my neighbors maintains a similar beautiful spot where a tree was removed several years ago.

Remember, the area of planting need not be large to be a showy spot for the neighborhood.

Janet, the heroine in the sweet romance, Comfort Zone, attempts a more conventional flower bed with plants flanking her home’s front entrance. (With a moderate amount of success.) She’s better at HVAC repair — and living with gusto. Find her story here:


July Beauty

The purchase was an impulse. I didn’t read the label careful and thought I was buying a different sort of flower.

Imagine my surprise – and delight – when the flower returned the next year. And thrived (a condition which seldom happens in my garden). After a few years, I even moved it a short distance and still it returned in the spring.

The balloon flower, a happy perennial, blooms in July.

For a sweet romance which begins as the balloon flower fades — August, during a heat wave — try Comfort Zone. Will the empty-nester stay in her comfort zone — or live with gusto?


A Corpse to Remember

What were you doing in July 2017?

Do you have prompts such as photos or notations on a calendar or planner to prompt your memory?

When I was looking through photos from past summers, I came upon this:

This huge (or pick another word) flower was not in full bloom yet. However, a few days later, after mention on local radio and television, there was a line of people to see the corpse flower.

Yes, some held their nose (or breath) when they got close. I was thankful for a poor sense of smell — it’s always described as similar to rotting meat.

Have you ever seen one? It’s really an experience — even a few days before fully open. Keep an ear, or eye, out for mention of one at a public garden near you.

Want to treat your mother? Consider an outing to your local public gardens. The hero in the sweet romance, Stare Down, spends a fine day doing that exact thing.

More about the book here:


Fine Feathered Friends

My breakfast view constantly changes. No, I don’t eat the meal in different places. I have a view of my patio and a brush-covered berm separating two properties.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal visit often. Blue jay puts in an occasional appearance. Sparrows and mourning doves are regulars. Woodpeckers examine the trees on the berm a few times a year.

No feeder. No birdhouse. I leave those items for others in the neighborhood.

This puzzle artist combined a colorful cast. How many of these visit your neighborhood?


The Real Mother Goose

Simple rhymes. Counting guides. Every parent, teacher, aunt, uncle or neighbor has likely recited at least one Mother Goose rhyme to a child.

Have you ever thought about the REAL thing?

Oh, the rhymes have double and triple meanings as political commentary. According to some language and/or history experts. I wonder if they have ever read them to a three-year-old for twenty minutes straight.

But I digress: we were talking about the real Mother Goose —

–like this one spotted across a busy street/state/federal highway from an inviting pond. She’s too busy teaching life skills to worry about words in a book, double meanings, and politics.

I do hope tat soon after this photo the family enjoyed a nice swim. Hint: you’ll be safer if you stay near the pond.


It’s a …Tree?

Four springtimes ago, in an effort to beautify the grounds, we planted sprigs (too small to be saplings) received from a charity known for forestry efforts.

This one was placed in front of my condo unit. I watered. I fertilized. I kept watch and rejoiced at a few green leaves.

The plant survived the first Missouri winter. And the second. I removed a piece of drainage pipe that kept the lawnmowers and rabbits at bay.

It’s doing well. Soon clusters of tiny white blossoms will open. Later in the summer small, dark berries will feed the birds.


we’re casting our vote for “bush”.

The hero in HIDING PLACES knows what he’s planting in his orchard. Check out the sweet, small town romance here:


Two Sides

You’ve heard the saying “two sides to every story.”

I think the same is true for buildings — especially public buildings which have been around for a while.

Consider this — a nice, traditional entrance to the Missouri History Museum.

However, if you walk – or drive – around to the other side — you see this:

It’s possible to get confused. I know I did one day when I walked in, picked up a brochure, and was pointed the wrong direction.

Direction aside — the displays on the inside give a nice overview of Missouri and St. Louis area history. It’s just the sort of place I could see the hero and heroine from Comfort Zone spending a winter, weekend afternoon.

So you suppose that’s one of the places they went after the book — a sweet romance — reaches “The End”?

Are you curious how a mature couple getting to know each other spends their time? Check out Comfort Zone here:


Clean and Ready

Like a piece of paper with three hundred sixty-five invisible lines, the year 2023 has only two little squiggles in the corner. The possibilities for the year stretch out beyond our imagination.

Do you have anything grand planned? Graduation? Wedding? Vacation?

Smaller goals and plans? A change in diet or exercise? New clothing? Garden or flowers?

Clean and delicate, these metal and glass flowers are really sturdy. Strong enough to withstand the breezes, precipitation, and temperature changes of a typical year.

Have you prepared yourself for change? While keeping supplies of food, water, and clothing on hand is a wise thing — you also need to prepare your mind. Are you open to new ideas? Will you accept something unexpected?

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, the heroine lives out a year with several unexpected events and opportunities. Is she ready?

More information here:


Visiting the Farm

Shall we drive to the farm? A good question, and proposal for an afternoon, for an urban or suburban family.

Don’t have relatives or family friends that are farmers?

No problem — at least if you live in St. Louis.

I may be best to check the website and find out if anything special is happening. Then, off you go for a relatively short drive to the southwest.

Your bench awaits your arrival outside the Event Center. Are you here to watch dogs? The large, modern building behind this view is where our canine friends are often judged for obedience, agility, and conformation.

Interested in a more traditional farm?

Walk down the hill to a complex of barns and visit the horse, cows, pigs, and sheep.

Love cats? They have their own quarters, complete with clever places to hide.

Yes, children of all ages — including those of us old enough to be as interested in the benches for resting as the walking and looking — can find enjoyment at Purina Farms.

Think for a moment. A pair of young professionals sitting and talking at the above bench. What’s the topic? If it’s the detective and the surgeon from STARE DOWN I’m thinking dogs are under discussion. Perhaps they are comparing the aspects and personalities of different breeds — before they get serious about a pet.

For more information or to purchase STARE DOWN on Kindle, click here:


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?