Black Widows, and Brown Recluses

Vegas is home to a whole bunch of creepy crawlies, and I’m not just talking about the human kind. We have a plethora of black widows and brown recluses in our backyard.

The chickens used to eat them like nobody’s business. Since we traded the chickens for Marsh and Taco Truck the outdoor cats, we now have to have people come spray for these suckers.

Walk softly and in combat boots, friends!

 

The Thing No Parent Wants To Think Of

 

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Comfortable? Not at all. Necessary? Absolutely.

It’s something that my husband and I have discussed for a long time. Niko is friendly, gregarious, and just as apt to sit on somebody’s lap now as he was when he was two years old. Kisses from a toddler are darling. From a teenager who can’t read the situation? Not so much.

And that’s just hugging and kissing. Growing up in Las Vegas presents a whole new set of challenges when it comes to sexual situations. I’m sure you can imagine.

I’m glad to be taking the class, but I have to admit I’m doing it with gritted teeth and a fearful heart. But we can do difficult things.

Hey! I’m in the Las Vegas Seven!

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I never thought I’d see my name on the cover of a Vegas magazine, but this dream has come true. And it is AWESOME. Las Vegas Seven has included me on its list of Intriguing People of 2017, and that’s just cool.

If you’re in Vegas, you can find free copies of the Las Vegas Seven pretty much anywhere. It’s in grocery stores, hotels, etc. If you’d rather read the online version, you can do so here.  If you want to shoot directly to my interview, that’s here.

I’ll Be Speaking at the LVWG on Thursday!

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I love speaking at the Las Vegas Writers Group meetings. They’re a lot of fun and I actually met my writer’s group, the Illiterati, at the LVWG. Please join us on Thursday, January 19 at 7:00. We’ll be talking about critique groups. We’ll discuss the pros and cons, how to give and receive feedback, and answer any questions you may have. The LVWG is friendly to novice and veteran writers alike. Please join us! I’ll also be selling and signing books afterward. It’s five dollars to attend, and you can either RSVP here or simply walk in. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

The Tap House

5589 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 

The popular Mercedes Murdock Yardley is returning this month to give us her take on joining and using critique groups. (Hint — she’s in favor of them.) Last time Mercedes presented her talk was very well received, and she has been invited back virtually by popular demand.

Here is Mercedes writing about herself:

Hi. I’m Mercedes. I have two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although I try my very best. I like to write stories. I like to write poems. I like to write essays and sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they aren’t. I’m the author of the short story collection Beautiful Sorrows, the “serial killers in love” novella  Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, the BONE ANGEL trilogy, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, and the Bram Stoker Award winner Little Dead Red. I specialize in the dark and beautiful.

We meet in the non-smoking meeting room. Door opens at six, meeting starts at 7. Come early to order a bite to eat and network with fellow Las Vegas writers! New members at any stage of their writing career are always welcome!
It costs just $5 at the door! Come early to meet old and new friends and sample some fine Tap House food!

Chasing After Joy

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Mornings are a terror. Getting the kiddos dressed, finding lost shoes, doing a five-year-old’s hair, getting Oldest onto the bus, and dropping the girls off at school usually wears me out. I was on my way home to do some work when I saw this gorgeous rainbow.

It was bright. Really bright. It was probably the most defined, colorful rainbow that I have ever seen in my life. Breathtaking.

In that moment, I made a conscious decision to shove deadlines, laundry, and the To-Do List to the back of my mind. I flipped my car around and drove off after the rainbow. There was a light rain and I was listening to Christmas music in the car. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon, to be exact.

 

Many of you know that I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s a major force, if not THE major force in my life, and I’m constantly building my day around it. But I make an effort to choose joy as much as I can. I take pictures of things that catch my eye. I remind myself of the good in the world, and while it’s an active fight, day after day, it helps me to recognize moments of peace when I can find them.

This was such a moment. Music and rainbows. I was so enraptured that I was actually surprised by an expected phone call that I had forgotten. I was to be interviewed for a city magazine.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I saw a rainbow and started to chase it. May I call you back from home?”

He quite graciously agreed and said he understood. Even that was a joy. I drove home and my terrible, stressed-out day felt more like something magical.

 

Welcome to Miss Murder’s Family Farm

My house is where unwanted animals magically appear. And I love it, I truly do.

I stayed up until 2:00 last night trying to get some words done. And I wrote 4,300 of them, which delights me. What did not delight me as much was waking up three hours later because of the chickens.

Yes, we have chickens again. A dear friend had to give hers up, and we chicken-sat a dozen for a week before we ended up keeping four.

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Morning, ladies!

We have Jessica Fletcher (my friend took her when we had the dog, and we’re delighted to have Her Prissiness back!), Pork Bowl, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, and the bantam, which isn’t pictured here. She’s called The Bantam Menace. She’s gone all day and only comes back to eat and roost. Moocher.

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Jessica Fletcher looking unusually regal in the sunrise.

Why were the chickens upset? Because of this beauty.

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He’s a stray that wandered into our yard, and then decided to visit every morning. He’s letting me pet him, feed him, and today I took the brush and brushed the yuck out of his fur.

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He’s sweet, affectionate, and look at how beautiful he is! I’m so happy he comes by. My husband is deathly allergic to cats, so I left the brush outside. Then I threw my clothes in the incinerator (er, washing machine) and took a shower before kissing hubby goodbye.

Then it was time to feed the bunnies, because. Bunnies. Thug Bunny was rescued from a shelter. He was another unwanted animal. Bunniculas Cage, whom the girls call Yum Yums, was intended to be rabbit meat. We bought him from a local feed store and promised never to eat him.

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Thug Bunny and Yum Yums deign to eat from their hooman’s hand just this once.

Now it’s time to be soundly ignored by Rush the turtle, who wants nothing to do with us. Ever. She was given up by her owner several years ago, and has been silently loathing and judging me ever since.

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She’s inside this log, flipping me off with all four feet. Just so I get the picture.

I love my animals. They give me joy, although perhaps more joy if they slept in. But the early morning furry/feathery/leathery snuggles make for a happy day.

What do you have wandering around in your home and yards? I’d love to know!