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Welcome to the April 2020 edition of
Micki's Latest Gossip

May Flowers are Blooming!

How are you doing? Are you finding ways to cope and adjust? Blooming flowers and gardens certainly help. That's why I've included some of my recent "bloom" photos below. Another way to cope is to stay active. Hubby and I have added neighborhood hikes to our routine. Five to six times each week, we take a break from teleworking, housework, yard work, and Netflix. Then, for an hour or so, we walk the meandering hills of our neighborhood. The fresh air, change of scenery, and socially distanced smiles and hellos to neighbors does wonders for our spirits. And it helps us rationalize the richer diet we've recently adopted.


I'm thrilled to announce I'm a Talkabook Certified Author!
Soon I'll be available for visits with young readers and their families through the Talkabook Network.

Work In Progress

Have you been losing sleep? Are you restless at night? Stress can do that. And we're all experiencing various levels of stress as the pandemic rages on. 

The magic of being a writer is what happens during those restless hours in the dark. Last week, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to think about my WIP. I let my thoughts drift from the spot where Zahra met her human best friend to their newfound struggles in the sequel. 


In the quiet of the extra-early morning, the names of two characters, and their back stories, jumped into the scenes playing out in my brain. At 6:30 a.m., I opened my eyes, grabbed my phone, and wrote down everything I now knew about these new characters in my Keep app.  

Zahra has yet to meet the new characters. She'll have to wait until books three and four in the series. (My WIP is book two.) In the meantime, my new friends are budding like May flowers in the recesses of my left brain and the formal character sketches I recently drafted from my notes. 

Pandemic routines, a.k.a, what's for dinner

Routines help us feel secure. They let us know what to expect. They provide us with something to control in an out-of-control world.

Things we can routinely schedule include journaling (no surprise coming from a writer), exercising (we like to walk), getting up and going to bed at regular times, outside time (gardening is a favorite around here), get the idea.

In our home, we try to stay on a regular schedule. But a few of us are still working. And a couple of us are still in college. And we have pets. And there's weather. And sometimes the internet works well. Other times it kicks me off during a Zoom meeting.
What has really brought us together in our household is dinner. My Italian heritage from my mom's side kicked in as I began to soothe the family with food. We eat six dinners a week together. Every day except Thursday. That's our leftovers night.

READ MORE about our Pandemic Meal Routine and feel free to replicate!


Yes, I made a video out of our Pandemic Meal Routine. Enjoy!

Earth-Friendly Tip from Zahra

Zahra loves that Hubby and I are walking more these days. As our cars sit in our driveway and collect pollen, we put miles on our tennis shoes. Lots and lots of miles according to my Fitbit. 

On a recent walk, we noticed some local art on the sidewalk. The artist is about the same age as the audience for my
Thurston T. Turtle books. I bring this up because both Zahra and I—and Hubby too, if we're being honest—suspect the artist to be a Hubbleville Series fan.

No, we didn't actually see Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville or any of the other books in the series in the vicinity of the artwork. What we did see was a love for turtles. At least that's how we interpreted the piece.

Doesn't it look like a turtle where the heart would normally be? And doesn't that mean that this child artist was expressing her love for turtles?  We thought so.

This particular chalk art piece also reminded us that turtles may be out and about looking for places to lay their eggs. 

Zahra's Earth-friendly tip for May is:
If you see a turtle crossing the street, carefully pick it up and place it on the other side in the direction it was headed.

Here is a link to a video created by the NC Zoo that explains how to properly assist a turtle found in the road. 

My Personal Gossip

I can't do it any longer. Since the beginning of our stay-at-home pandemic adventure, Hubby and I have been venturing out every other week to secure provisions. Food, toilet paper, wine—the necessities. 

But each time we head out, donning masks with our baggie of Clorox wipes at the ready, it gets worse. 

One week, an older woman came right up to me, well within the 6-foot radius of safe space, to brag about how she was wearing a mask, too. I scooted away to create more space between us. She moved closer and explained that her husband thought the masks were silly. I scooted. She followed. She told me she wasn't going to the store without a mask. I scooted. She stepped closer. She laughed at her husband, pointing out him and their cart. I nodded and hightailed it out of that aisle, following the arrows on the floor. The woman's husband, without his mask, drifted against the flow of arrows taped to the floor. I saw him roll his eyes at his wife. And me.

Then there was the week I needed a bottle of red yeast rice. I couldn't get to it because the entire supplement aisle was blocked by a family of seven—all five children were under the age of 8—bouncing off the shelves like balls in a pinball machine. No one in the family wore a mask. The kids touched half the products from the middle shelf down, pausing only to wipe their noses with their fingers.

On another trip to the "wild west" of public places in our town, I was happy to see plastic guards separating the check out clerks from customers. As I approached the cashier, she craned her head around the clear plastic shield and asked for my rewards card. Her hand and face were within inches of my head. I backed up and stepped behind the protective window. She rang up the order, then craned her head and hand around the other side of the shield to give me my receipt. She was not wearing a mask. Or gloves. I can only assume she had not yet been trained on how to check people out from behind the shield.

Each trip out jacked up my anxiety, and blood pressure, beyond what was reasonable for Hubby to tolerate. Hubby is now our designated shopper. He also picks up the to-go food on Monday nights.

As for me, I stay home where unmasked strangers can't penetrate my personal 6-feet of space. I'll see y'all in person again when the human race wins its battle against COVID-19.
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