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Monday, May 21, 2012

Livin' It Up at the Hotel California

Yours Truly doing shovel duty
Washing windows, selling "stuff," having garage sales, cleaning out the barn, dumping old files, sorting through photographs for scanning, moving boxes out of the barn, moving boxes back into the barn, shoveling dirt from rotten planter boxes -- oh, and long walks on Cronan Ranch trails. Welcome to life in California! Other than some nice dinners with our good friend Ruth, our social life is just about non-existent here, at least compared to the busy schedule of dinner parties around Marcial and Seidy's outdoor firepit, philosophical discussions with Marc, trips to the beach with Sally and Leonard, breakfasts with Mark and Nancy, chili cook-offs, dances at Kay's Cafe and such that we enjoy in Costa Rica. Quite a change!

Of course, we do enjoy wildlife sightings here, such as deer on the front and back acres and a wild turkey wandering around the front yard now and then. The neighborhood dog Abby pays regular visits to demand some petting and we enjoy having her come around.

A busy location for a nest
One delightful little wildlife vignette involves a bird that had foolishly built its nest, apparently while the house was empty, right in the jumble of jasmine vines along our back patio next to the gate. It took me a while to realize it because the nest is virtually invisible unless you move the vines aside. But when we first moved back in, whenever I would walk toward the gate, a bird would suddenly fly out of the foliage up into a nearby tree. Finally, I pushed the jasmine leaves out of the way and found the nest with four small eggs in it. Since then we've tried to be sensitive to her need to stay with her little ones but it's tough since we have to walk through that gate frequently. My curiosity prompted me to look in the nest occasionally and I soon saw little fuzzy heads in there, meaning the eggs had hatched. The other day when I looked in, I came face to face with momma-bird, who looked at me with a frightened eye, then zoomed out of the nest. How she'll teach the little ones to fly I'm not sure, but we await that development with great interest.

Images of the eclipse on our wall
The solar eclipse yesterday offered us a unique vision when we went outside to watch the oddly dimming light from the setting sun. Naturally, we couldn't look directly at the sun but what a surprise we had when we turned away from the western skies and noticed the shadows being cast on the wall of our house. Somehow - and I certainly don't understand this - as the sunlight filtered through the trees, it created multiple images of the eclipse on the wall. What an eerie effect and quite amazing to us.

Dinner out to celebrate!
Our really big news of the last month is that Layne finished his novel, I completed the formatting for electronic publishing and it has been published on It is available for downloading and can be read on computers or electronic readers such as the Kindle or Nook; there is no print version. It's been about two weeks now and we anxiously await approval for inclusion in their Premium Catalog so the book can be sold through Amazon, Apple and other major retailers. Entitled "Moral Turpitude," it's quite an adventure story, a real page-turner, I think. (No I'm not prejudiced!) Here's a description:

Davis Sheffield, formerly Robert Davis Jones, is the billionaire majority shareholder of Sheffield Industries, a private defense contractor. When Sheffield family members accuse Davis of “moral turpitude,” based on kinky exploits from his past, he faces a civil suit to remove him from management. Warned by Ange Parker, a young, idealistic attorney, he must go into hiding to avoid being served even as he sends Ange, armed with proxies and powers of attorney, into the corporate lion's den to represent his interests. Enjoying his sudden freedom and anonymity, playboy Davis heads for San Francisco where he indulges in fanciful and erotic adventures involving street people, city officials and a beautiful Pagan dominatrix. Meanwhile, Ange has learned she must face far greater dangers than she bargained for as she maneuvers between corporate intrigues, the ruthlessness of a drug cartel and a paranoid arms dealer, all while struggling with inner demons that threaten her confidence. Only the protection of her female Zulu bodyguard and unlimited financial resources from Davis help her avoid disaster. Under desperate circumstances in far-flung corners of the world from Costa Rica to the jungles of Borneo, Ange and Davis fight for survival against a sadistic killer, hungry tigers and corrupt CIA agents. Finding unexpected strength in their growing love while devising creative strategies to survive, Ange and Davis learn how precious life and love can be.

I hope my readers will take a moment to visit his page: and download a free sample - or just buy the book! It's only $2.99 and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

So as the days heat up here in the foothills and the dry air begins to turn the grasses golden brown, we fill our time working on the house and clearing out the barn. Although we enjoy seeing the yellow flowers open up each day, the smell of the jasmine and the majesty of the blue oaks, we still miss the world we came to love in Costa Rica. One of these days.... 

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