Tag Archives: Jacksonville

THAT SPECIAL ONE ~ Hurricane Irma and brownies

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What on earth has my new release, THAT SPECIAL ONE, got to do with Hurricane Irma and brownies. Read on and find out…

Last week, with Hurrican Irma bearing down on Miami at something between a category 4 & 5, I sat at my laptop furiously trying to finish final editis before the storm reached Jacksonville. It was a race against time, trying to get my first attempt at a New Adult novella published on Amazon (downloaded) before JEA ran into serious service problems.

Alas, due to the high volumne of downed trees and flooding, the power went out in nearly all of Jacksonville. My next door neighbor was kind enough to run an extension chord from his generator to my refrigerator. That still meant, no lights, no a/c, no TV or audio system, no Wi-Fi, and manual toilet flushing for three days as the temperatures climbed (is that too much info?).

After three days, the power did come back on. I think I must’ve looked and felt much like Jonah had after three days in the belly of the great fish. The upside was, I was able to continue with edits offline…but, still no Wi-Fi. I couldn’t download the novella to Amazon. Finally, the Wi-Fi came back on and I was able to launch THAT SPECIAL ONE.

Where do the brownies come in? I made a batch for my very kind next door neighbor who shared electricity from his generator with me. When I handed him the plate full of brownies, he broke out into a huge smile and said, “I’ll have to pour a glass of milk.”

THAT SPECIAL ONE in a nut shell…

New Adult Contemporary Christian Romantic Suspense

College freshman Ivy Chalmers moved in with her aunt and uncle in Arroyo, Texas. She needed to get away from her alcoholic and weed smoking mother.  Ivy longed for a different life than the revolving-door-men in her mom’s life. Making a one-eighty, she vowed not to make a serious dating commitment unless she knew it would be that really ‘special relationship ‘.

Corey Jones had been the man in his house since age twelve, when his alcoholic dad abandoned him and his mom. Once in a while, his dad showed up trying to extort money from them using threats. Then his blue-haired, self-centered cousin Ava came to live with them and the way she treats his mom enrages him.

Ivy is thrilled when she meets an upper classman from a neighboring college and thinks he might be ‘that guy.’ When she is horribly betrayed, her world is thrown upside-down, and she plunges into a depression.  In a steady and kind of clumsy way, Corey is there for her during her worst moments. But his family is plagued with alcoholism, the life she had with her mom, the life she ran away from. What’s wrong with her that she attracts the wrong guys? As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s an arsonist terrorizing their tiny village.

Purchase on Amazon.

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Today’s Jacksonville Weather Was Perfect ~ a 10!!!

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The weather was balmy in Jacksonville today. That’s the only word to describe it. In the low 80s with a soft breeze. I had to mention it.

This is the street Sophie and I walk down twice a day so she can do her business.

 

Since I’m a transplant from Brooklyn, I hate to lord it over anyone…especially since the northeast is supposed to get more snow. Oh, who am I kidding. It’s fun teasing you Yankees about it. All of a sudden, I’m a southern gal. Isn’t that a kick?

Fire Pit 4-17

 

I moved my fire-pit today. I live in what they call a duplex here. In Brooklyn they would call it an attached house. It had been on my neighbor’s side of the property. He didn’t complain. But I knew I’d put it up too far over. So, I remedied the situation. As the day was gorgeous, the little bit of work went quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@ JacksonvilleTrump Inaugural Ball ~ had a blast

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Last night there was no shortage of good food, happy people having a wonderful time, a great band for dancing and fun. Grand Banquet Hall, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Fl.

One of the most wonderful things about this inauguration, from the Trump Welcome Concert to the Washington, D.C. balls (which we watched on a large screen with sound on mute, as our own band was playing)…to the upcoming National Prayer service on Saturday is the feeling this is the people’s inauguration. Watching the D.C. inaugural festivities, though certainly elegant and replete with pomp, also often had a hometown feel. I loved the absence of so-called “A-List” celebrities.

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Hurricane Matthew Approaches Florida ~ stay safe

hurricane-evac-routeThere’s a light rain outside, but winds have been brisk at times portending what is to come… and that’s Hurricane Matthew. This, they say, is the ‘big one’. I lived through Super Storm Sandy in NYC, so I know what a ‘big one’ can do. Plenty.

 

There is a mandatory evacuation of Jacksonville Beach. Dangerous winds of 55 mph are expected to hit the JAX area tomorrow afternoon. That will be the outer edges of the storm. As the eye comes closer, the winds will increase. They were as much as 110 mph when they hit Haiti, which was devastated. The Bahamas were very hard hit as well. I love the Bahamas, love the people. Have been there twice. Hope to go again. Many of the buildings on these islands are not up to the ‘hurricane code’ we have in Florida.

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Open air street market, very common in the Bahamas. Many homes are small wood framed structures.

There is a steady stream of cars and trucks, some pulling campers, and RVS pulling cars going north on I 95. The entire city of St. Augustine is under mandatory evacuation. ‘They’ are taking this very seriously. Governor Scott has given several press conferences and local mayors have been giving alerts on radio. The weather channels are doing an excellent job.

I spoke to my cousin Lois early yesterday. She lives in Melbourne with her grown daughter. At that time we thought Matthew would land on Daytona Beach, which is about in the middle of where we both live. We bolstered each other’s moods and said we “thought we’d be okay through it.” Now I’ve heard reports Matthew may land in Melbourne and I’m worried for her and her daughter.

I manged to get outside this morning when the rain was light so Sophie could do her business. She’s’ become quite the Florid1an trooper, truckin’ along between the drops. Unfortunately, once inside, I became ‘mean mommy,’ as I’m holding off on breakfast. It’s going to be a long day with winds and rain increasing and she will probably NOT be able to go out this evening, and might not be able to tomorrow morning. I’ve placed plastic covered by towels by the back door in case she has an “accident.”

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I’ve got all necessary gear. Food that doesn’t have to be cooked that will last me more than four days, a good supply of drinking water, plus water for the pets, a hurricane lamp with batteries, a flashlight, candles. I’m as ready as I can be. Now all that’s left for me to do is pray. Has it come to that? [A feeble joke. I’ve been praying right along and will continue to.]

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10, NASB


Preparing For Tropical Storm Hermine ~ don’t get caught

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I’m not a novice when it comes to tropical storms. I survived Tropical Storm Dennis when I lived in Miami in 1981. I’ve also survived several hurricanes that hit New York City, while living in Brooklyn, including Super Storm Sandy. And I’ve learned to take all storms very seriously.

I now live in Jacksonville and we’re hunkering down and waiting for Tropical Storm Hermine to hit tonight. It will be the first large, hurricane-type storm to hit Jacksonville in 11 years. I’ve learned that even if I’m not in an area sure to be flooded (and I’m not), a water main can break and I’ll need to have a supply of water in the house. Everything runs on electricity in JAX. If the power goes out, the stove goes out, the refrigerator. Everything.  I filled my Brita filtered pitcher with water to drink, filled an ordinary pitcher with filtered water, and made a container of fresh brewed iced tea for drinking. These I’m keeping in the refrigerator. I put all my thermal freezer bags in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator.I filled my container for ice cubes to the top with cubes and made two additional trays of ice. I didn’t shop for meat this week and I’m hoping what I have will keep if power fails.

I will fill my large blue plastic salad bowl and keep it filled in the sink for washing dishes. I filled plastic containers with water for washing dishes, and if (God forbid) a water main breaks and I need water to flush a toilet. I’ll also fill all my pots and containers in case they’re need for bathroom use. (Uugh) In addition I have new batteries for my emergency lantern and I have candles, if needed. I have easy access to my cat carriers in my outdoor storage ares should an evacuation be needed, but they’re not predicting anything as bad as that. I will keep my eye on the weather reports and if predictions worsen, I’ll bring my cat carriers into the house. I have cat and dog food and pet dishes I can easily transport, but I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Cans of tuna and a manual can opener are sitting on my kitchen counter, in case. These are easily transportable, if I have to leave, but I don’t expect that. I have a briefcase style purse near the door with my wallet (drivers license, bank cards, medical insurance cards). I know where my Social Security Card, birth certificate, will, and other important papers are if the storm gets bad in the wee hours, and I need to take them. I know where my rain poncho is.

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Last week, during a heavy rain, not a major storm, large tree limbs in the neighborhood were severed and fell. So, when the rain gets heavier (probably around 5 or 6 o’clock this evening) I’ll move my SUV to the center of the church parking lot across the street from my house. It should be safe from branches falling on it there. I always keep a blanket spread out in the cargo area of my vehicle. So, if needed, I’ll have a blanket. Just by happenstance, I have a few beach towels in the back seat of the SUV and I’ll leave them there for the duration.

Super Storm Sandy was grossly underestimated and under prepared for. The results were devastating and some NYC residents have not recovered from their losses yet. Equally, many in New Orleans have not recovered from Katrina and Rita.

 

 

 


I Went To The Jacksonville Trump Rally ~ and had a blast

 

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Terrible at taking selfies, I gritted my teeth.

Disclaimer: I’m a yuge Trump supporter, so everything written here has to be viewed through that lens. The rally was held tonight at 7pm in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. I was supposed to meet author Linda Wood Rondeau and her husband Steve. In fact I never would’ve printed out a ticket if Linda hadn’t said she was going. They were scheduled to leave  at 4pm. I’m new to Jacksonville and unsure of driving downtown, so I left at 3:25 and arrived just after 4pm. There was already a line and people were being admitted into the arena. Street vendors sold a variety of Trump paraphernalia. A bottle of water cost $3.00. I decided I didn’t need hydration right then.

The line moved quickly and folks were admitted right away. What totally amazed me were the number of supporters who chose to stand for the entire event just so they would be under the podium. My friends Linda and Steve hadn’t yet arrived. I suspected it would not be easy to meet up with them in that crowd, so I looked for a seat. The very best ones were already taken, but I did manager to get one with an excellent view of the podium half way up in the bleachers.

There were plenty of red “Make America Great Again” hats in evidence around the arena. The crowd was much more diverse than is reported in the media. To be sure, white working class males were in evidence. However there were also quite a number of blacks, Latinos, women, as well as teenagers and college kids. Two twenty-something guys ran around in homemade ‘Trump-capes’ like super-heroes.  I found the people around me to be friendly. Active cross-conversations were taking place. Supporters not only spoke to the persons on either side of them, but leaned forward to talk to those in front of them and turned around to address those behind.After all, there would be at least two hours to fill before the opening speeches. The arena holds 16,000 and it was packed solid. My earlier suspicion was correct. I never did find Linda and Steve, though we texted each other for a while.

The opening speeches were rousing, though the crowd didn’t need much pumping up. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry didn’t run away like John Kasich did at the RNC Convention. Mayor Curry warmly welcomed and addressed the crowd. The local chair of the RNC and Sharon Day, co-chair of the national RNC spoke, the dynamic Florida senator Ted Yoho, as did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The bottom line seemed to be jobs, national security and personal safety, and the Supreme Court. There was an obvious law enforcement presence and all of the speaker lauded them, as well as giving accolades to first responders, and the military. This was always accompanied by loud cheering from the crowd…and I clapped and cheered along with everyone else.

I was a bit surprised by the pounding music which seemed to favor songs by the Rolling Stones, although there were a few arias by The Three Tenors tossed in. And odd combination to say the least, but also emotionally moving.

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Finally Donald J. Trump arrived with Secret Service agents preceding and following him.

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Naturally Trump spoke about building the wall and having Mexico pay for it. He decried how heroin and crime were coming across the border, saying a nation without borders is not a nation. He said jobs that had been outsourced to foreign countries would come back to the United States. That the American people would win-win-win so much, they’d get sick of winning. He instructed each supporter to not only vote on November 8th, but to bring five people to the polls with them.

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When the crowd left it was dark outside and the atmosphere had changed. Protestors shouted at us, but the police had the situation under control. What shocked me was the number of vendors had astronomically increased and they were hawking tee shirts bordering on the obscene. They yelled at supporters to get our attention focused upon what was printed on the shirts. I won’t repeat any of it here, but many of the blurbs on the shirts involved Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and were graphic. I hurried to my car without incident. There were few police in the parking lot and few were needed. I got out of the lot relatively quickly…then got stuck in the traffic jam rally goers were creating.

And I kept having the sense that I’d become part of American political history. That sitting there waving my ‘Trump sign’, standing and cheering over and over, I’d become part of a phenomena that had never before occurred in American political history. A phenomena that didn’t’ pay attention to the political rules, and it felt good. Of course this phenomena occurred because the average (and that cuts across all categories of those voters, not just HS educated white males) had been lied to by their politicians for decades. Trump couldn’t do this with out us, and we couldn’t do it without his leadership. It felt real good. And I have to admit, yelling “Lock her up,” is fun.


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