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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Who Let the Dog Out? by Bea Tifton

Sometimes a dull, predictable day takes an interesting turn. It was raining lightly and the dogs were snuffling around before the rain worsened. My senior terrier pug does *not* like walking on wet grass, so he was grumbling a bit. My father’s mini labradoodle began barking excitedly and I caught a flash of red fur just outside the fence. I thought at first it was a cat, but when I walked over there I realized it was a small dog, peering in the chain link fence and trying to make friends. When I ran into the house and out to the side of the yard, the little dog pancaked but didn’t try to run. I scooped him up as the rain began in earnest and put him in the bathroom before running out to the backyard to retrieve my dogs, who were sitting under the covered porch in front of the back door with a collective, “I’d like to see the manager” look on their faces. 

When I went back into the bathroom to check on our guest, I put out some food and water. He drank the water but seemed uninterested in the food, which told me he hadn’t been lost for long. He was damp, of course, but his fur was glossy and he looked well cared for. No collar. I tried to give the people who owned him the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe it had fallen off.

What to do? Throughout the day, I made the rounds of the online lost pet sites like Pawboost and consulted Nextdoor. I took numerous photos of the cutie. He didn’t seem overly concerned, a little nervous but very friendly and affectionate. It was pretty apparent he was a lost pet and not an abandoned one.

My vet checked for a microchip, but there wasn’t one. I left a “Found Dog” post on Nextdoor and waited. If you ever find a pet, Dear Reader, insist on seeing some photos and/or vet records. People can claim a dog that isn’t theirs for a variety of nefarious reasons, from thinking they just want to keep the dog as a pet to the more gruesome goal of selling the pet to a lab or using him as bait for dog fight training.

My little house guest spent the night in the bathroom, and I washed my hands each time I played with him before I left the room. He looked healthy, but I had to protect my own pets (I also thoroughly scrubbed out the bathroom when he was gone).  


The next morning, I had a message with a photo on Nextdoor from his worried owner. I called her and her husband came to pick up little Luke that morning. The dog was ecstatic at reuniting with his person, and the man was clearly relieved and snuggled Luke into his arms. They were new to the neighborhood, but the woman admitted Luke was a little escape artist, but that “he usually came back home.” She was very gracious when I sent her a link to the microchipping site from the city. I hope they tighten up their fence, add a collar and a microchip, and aren’t so unconcerned about their seven pound dog going on walkabout in the future. They were nice people and they clearly loved their pet.

If you have a small child, you probably don’t let the youngster roam the city alone. Dogs have the emotional intelligence of toddlers. And even in the best neighborhoods, people can steal them, cars can hit them, other animals can attack them, or they roam so far they just can’t find their way home. I have small dogs and I go out with them but I know not everyone feels that’s necessary. My pets also have collars with pet id tags engraved with their names and my phone number. I have microchipped all of them. Most cities have animal shelters that will microchip at a reduced price. It’s $20 in my city. Go online and register your pet when they are microchipped, uploading a photo. Dog proof your fences and make sure no one leaves the gate open. Your companions are depending on you to keep them safe.





Photo Credits: Pexels.com
Roman Odintsov "Brown Short Coated Medium Sized Dog on Brown Dirt"
Bilge Seyma Kutukoglu "Puppies Sitting Behind Fence"
Rachel Claire "Crop Man with Puppy in Hands"
Ron Lach "Girl Holding an Open Umbrella While Standing Beside Brown Dog"


 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Wedding Traditions~ Sherri Easley

 I can’t believe it is already June. I would love for just once to write this blog without saying my life has been hectic. Back in the office two days a week with special projects, and DFW Fiberfest are all hitting at the same time.

True to nature, I requested a double booth this year at Fiberfest, because preparing for a single booth wasn’t stressful enough last year. I have been busy sewing up my Harris Tweed and knitting project bags just like I waited until the last minute to prep (because I did).

Now for my blog:

When I think of June, I think of June Brides, dressed in white, carrying floral bouquets, and the happy couple eating a beautiful cake at the end.  

Today, on a radio talk show, they were talking about the weird history of a certain wedding tradition and it got me thinking…what else did I not know…

Here are a few wedding traditions and their histories from Minted.com. Am I the only one who didn’t know this?

1.     “SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE.”

From an Old English rhyme, this saying refers to the four good-luck objects a bride should have on her wedding day.

“something old” represents the couples’ past lives.

“something new” symbolizes their happy future.

“something borrowed” means incorporating an item belonging to someone who is happily married, hoping some of their good fortune rubs off.

“Something blue” represents fidelity and love.

 2. BRIDAL BOUQUET

The bouquet that a bride carries today is different for every bride, and while traditional bouquets are floral, I once saw one that was creatively made from antique broaches.

Back in ancient Greece and Rome, it was all about herbs. During that time, it was en vogue to hold aromatic bouquets of garlic, dill, and other herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits. Carrying a favorite floral variety is a tradition that became popular in 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert and carried a bouquet of snowdrops, his favorite flower.

*The radio station I mentioned earlier stated the reason for the bouquet was because in old days, people didn’t take baths but once a year, usually in June, and carried flowers to mask the smell. 😉

3. TRADIONS FOR REPELLING EVIL SPIRITS

In Roman times, matching outfits meant good luck and were a common wedding tradition. Ancient Romans believed evil spirits would attend the wedding in an attempt to curse the bride and groom. To confuse the spirits, bridesmaids acted as decoys and dressed identically to the bride with the idea the spirits would be confused, leading them to leave the couple to wed.

During the same time period, the bride would walk down the aisle wearing a veil over her face to disguise herself from any evil spirits looking to ruin her wedding day.

 4. WEARING YOUR RING ON THE “RING FINGER”

Also traced back to the Romans, the fourth finger on the left hand was believed to be connected directly to the heart by a vein called “the vein of love.”

 5. WEDDING INVITATIONS

In olden times, it was only England’s aristocracy who used wedding invitations. The noble class would commission monks, skilled in calligraphy, to hand-write the announcements. The invitations would often depict the family crest or coat of arms and would be closed with a wax seal.

The tradition of double envelopes where the wedding invitation is enclosed in both an inner envelope and an outer envelope also originates from this practice. The courier’s journey might damage the outer envelope, so upon delivery, the outer envelope would be removed and the sealed inner envelope, with the invitation inside, would be presented to the invited guest.

Higher-quality printing became possible with the invention of the metal-plate engraving printing press in 1642, which allowed artists to engrave the invitations using an inked metal plate in reverse that was stamped onto paper. Since engraved invitations needed time to dry, tissue paper would be placed on top to prevent ink smudges. This tradition remains to this day.

We request the honour of your presence. Have you ever received a wedding invitation with “honour” spelled out with the British-style “u”? This formal spelling style lets guests know that the wedding ceremony will be held in a place of worship, like a church.

6. “GIVING” THE BRIDE AWAY

This wedding ceremony tradition dates back to a time of arranged marriages, where the “giving away” of the bride represented a transfer of ownership. Back then, young women were used as collateral and were given away in exchange for a “bride price” or dowry.

 7. TYING THE KNOT

In Celtic and Hindu weddings, the bride’s and groom’s hands are joined and tied together to symbolize the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple. The Celtic ceremony ritual is called handfasting, while in Hindu weddings, the ceremony is called the hastmelap.

8. TOSSING RICE AT THE END OF THE CEREMONY

Back in the day, marriage meant expansion, from starting a family to increasing one’s assets. Rice symbolized both fertility and prosperity, and tossing it at newlyweds at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony conveyed best wishes and good luck—for babies, bountiful harvests, and everything in between. Nowadays, the wedding tradition of tossing things on the couple takes many forms, from dried lavender buds and blowing bubbles to biodegradable confetti.

9. THE WEDDING CAKE

The tradition of a wedding cake also comes from ancient Rome, where guests broke a loaf of bread over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. The newlyweds would share a few bites while guests would scoop up the leftover crumbs for good luck. In medieval England, the bride and groom had to try to kiss over a pile of stacked spiced buns, scones, and cookies—a precursor to the tiered wedding cakes of today—supposedly ensuring a prosperous future if they were able to successfully smooch without toppling the whole thing over.

Saving the top tier of the cake

Traditionally, the top tier of the wedding cake was saved and kept frozen to be enjoyed by the wedding couple once again at their future child’s christening. Back in the olden days, many people assumed the couple would have a baby within a year, so by preserving the wedding cake, they wouldn’t have to buy another dessert to celebrate the pregnancy or birth.

 10. CANDY WEDDING FAVORS

Like many Western wedding traditions, candy wedding favors also date back in history to the European aristocracy. In the 16th century, as a show of wealth, couples gave guests a bomboniere, which was a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and precious stones that was filled with candy or sugar cubes. Sugar was an expensive delicacy during this time period. As sugar became more affordable, bombonieres were succeeded by sugar-coated almonds. The now-traditional wedding favor of five Jordan almonds symbolizes five wishes for the newlyweds of health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity.

 

There you have it. I knew a couple of these, but I am skeptical about a few of these. At least next time you are sitting teary eyed at a wedding, you have something else to think about.

Monday, June 3, 2024

BOOKS OR MOVIES?

 By Caroline Clemmons

Obviously, I love reading, especially romance. If the romance includes mystery or suspense, even better. But I also love movies, especially when I can enjoy them in my own home. When my eyes are too tired to focus or my mind and body too tired to concentrate, a good movie on TV is relaxing. Like a mini-vacation for the mind.


When a movie is a depiction of a favorite book, I have mixed emotions. With a book, the author’s descriptions create images of characters in my head. If the book is engrossing, I know who these characters are, how they dress, even how they walk. The reader is privileged to characters’ internal dialogue as well as vivid descriptions. Of course, a movie doesn’t need setting descriptions, but I miss the author’s version. 

One example of excellent description that comes to mind is Loretta Chase’s LORD PERFECT. When the main characters first see one another, Ms Chase has what I think is the most enchanting reactions recorded in any book I’ve read. It's too long to include here. My favorite is this part of the hero’s reaction to the heroine’s astonishing beauty and presence: “She is a woman who causes accidents merely by crossing the street.”




Depicting books like Nora Roberts’ or Debbie Macomber’s as a screenplay usually results in an engrossing movie. I love Ms Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle movies. (Say that fast three times.) For me, though, the movie often doesn’t quite live up to the book. For instance, one of my favorite books by Nora Roberts is MONTANA SKY. That book scared me in many places and kept me turning the pages hurriedly to learn about the sisters. In the movie, some of the edginess disappeared. Oh, the movie was great, but the book is much better.

For long, involved books like LES MISERABLES or EYE OF THE NEEDLE, only portions appear in the movie. I enjoyed “Les Miserables.” Hugh Jackman! Oh, I mean the movie inspired me. Each of the actors performed superbly.

Ken Follett’s EYE OF THE NEEDLE is one complicated book, as is each of his fascinating works. The movie depicted only the last few chapters of the protagonist’s journey and the heroine’s courageous actions. Again, I enjoyed the movie, but it paled in comparison to the book. Ken Follett is a gifted author and I am in awe of his ability. 

Every author hopes one day his or her book or books will be adapted into a movie. I was excited for Lori Wilde, a friend and local author whose books I enjoy, when one of her books became a movie. Now she's had others adapted into movies. Yay, Lori!



The fact is, I enjoy reading books. I like to visualize each of the characters and the settings. Perhaps it’s because I’m old enough to have played “pretend like” as a child before watching TV or playing video games commandeered imagination. Yes, I watched TV, but the selections for kids were very limited and I had chores and homework to keep me from being glued to the set. And I read and read and read. Not great works like LES MISERABLES. Nope, but Nancy Drew and Louisa Mae Alcott launched me into other worlds.

Which do you prefer—movies, books, or both?


Sunday, May 26, 2024

Best Laid Plans by Laura Hunsaker

In my little corner of the world, school just got out for the summer. The last week of school was incredibly stressful for me, so I took a few days off, now that there are no students. I had so many plans! I was going to do so many things! And it's Memorial Day weekend!

I wound up binge reading some books.

This came about because we got the carpets cleaned, and one of the things we do when we get them shampooed is to get everything off the floor, as much as possible, anyway. This prompted a big spring cleaning, and one of my kids brought out stack upon stack of books that she wasn't interested in keeping anymore. Well, you know, before we could donate them, of course I had to check them all out.

Back in 2016, she came with me to RT Vegas (it was a great book con!), and she was given so so many books! I don't think I've ever seen her so thrilled. So, of course as I saw the stacks of books come out of her room, and I see the RT books that were so exciting that night, I went through them all. I read probably 4 and apparently 2016 was the year of post-apocalyptic YA.

She wound up taking 2 or 3 books back to her room, and I think we had fun reminiscing. So, while I'm kind of bummed to see the books go, I'm glad we got to hang out and chit chat about books together.

So, I wouldn't say I wasted my time off by any means, but I will say that none of my plans got done. ;)


And a quick note! Dark Past is on sale for $.99 right now and until the end of the month, so grab it on the sale price!


Amazon Link


The small town was supposed to be safe...

Kate Landry is tired of running. Thinking she's safe, she settles in the small logging town of Chester, California to manage a cafe. She may be keeping a low profile, but she's hoping to return to a normal life.
When FBI agent Kyle Donovan visits to Chester to stay with a friend, and to recover from his latest case, he never expects to meet sexy barista Kate.

But someone is following Kate...

Kyle worries he brought trouble to her door, while Kate worries her dark past is coming after her.
With danger lurking around every corner, her safe haven isn't as safe as she'd thought. Kate will finally have to trust someone enough to tell him her secrets. Secrets that may just get them killed...

Thursday, May 23, 2024

MAY - THE MONTH OF WISHES

 by Judy Ann Davis

 "May is the month or expectation, 
the month of wishes, 
 the month of hope.”—Emily Bronte

It’s the merry month of May. The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the warmth of the sun beckons us outside to smell the newly mowed grass. It’s the dig-in-the-dirt month, too. Everyone is scouring the nurseries for flowers and plants to decorate their porches and flowerbeds and for their gardens.                                                      

Most nights, we can hear our resident owl hooting away, often beyond midnight. He’s taken up a nightly position nearby our bedroom window, possibly on the roof of the house. It’s a comforting, if not slightly eerie sound to lull you to sleep.

  I always have too many projects in half-started  states when spring arrives. The birdhouses have to be cleaned, refurbished, and set out. My hummingbird feeder is now suspended along our patio for early arrivals. The robins are nesting under our deck and in the rhododendrons. The aggravating grackles have returned, chasing away the small birds at the feeders. The sparrows have taken over the bluebird house. The chaos has begun for our springtime feathered friends.

Central Pennsylvania is in the migrating path of orioles heading north, and I was lucky to catch an orange flash of one clinging to the hummingbird feeder the other morning.

Our weather has also been erratic during the entire month with more rain than usual.  Rainy days teaches us to slow down. It’s nature’s way of telling us to shift to a more unhurried pace, interrupting our rush to get things done, but allowing us to experience the joy of spring. If we are lucky, we may even be rewarded with a rainbow stretching from horizon to horizon above budding and blooming trees in hues of green, white, lavender, and pink. 

Do you have a favorite month...or even months?

Oh, how I love the colorful month of May with warmer temperatures and beautiful landscapes here in Pennsylvania!                  

~ * ~  
                   VISIT MY  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE FOR ALL MY BOOKS 

 A sweet romantic western and mystery!
Best Book Award Finalist!

Monday, May 20, 2024

Word of the Day by Liz Flaherty

Because I'm so tired today I can barely keep my eyes open, I went digging for something old and I found this. It's old enough (2011) that I don't expect anyone to remember it. I don't even remember writing it, but what's interesting is that I still feel the same way about consistency. Isn't that...consistent of me?

Thanks for reading. Let me know how you feel about consistency. 😊

The word for the day is “consistency.” I never realized, until I was pouring cereal this morning, how often consistency—or lack thereof—shows up.

I’m cheap. Oh, not that way—I’m way too old to even go there—but cheap in that I’d rather pay two bucks for a generic item than three for a name brand. Except for sometimes. Like when cheap cereal has a different consistency than the name brand. I may feel a little silly paying more to have something feel right on my tongue, but I still pay it.

I don’t consider myself a picky eater (though my mother always did), but I won’t eat mashed potatoes with lumps, large curd cottage cheese, or tapioca pudding made from the bigger size of ball bearings. And yes, I know they’re not real ball bearings; they’re pearls, but I always thought ball bearings sounded like more fun. Whichever term you use, it’s all in the consistency.

When I was raising kids, everything I read, heard, and figured out for myself had to do with consistency. Whatever you said the first time, you needed to stick to it. If the curfew was midnight, that’s what it meant every time; it didn’t mean eleven minutes after. No allowances were to be made for being caught by a train, running out of gas, or having too much fun and losing track of the time.

I’m learning to make quilts, which is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The first lesson in making quilts is to sew with a consistent and precise quarter-inch seam allowance. I’m not there yet, by any means. My blocks tend to be a little crooked even though I’ve just about worn out my seam ripper.

Most of us want consistency in the work place. Preferential treatment leaves dissent and ill will in its wake; so does making a scapegoat out of someone.

Consistency in weather is something Hoosiers laugh at. Like promises in politics, legitimate gas prices, and no-calorie chocolate cake, it would be nice, but I’m just about positive it’s not going to happen.

Which leads me to think maybe consistency is overrated.

As in refusing to eat food because its lumps bother me is something that I would probably think was goofy if someone else said it. Aren’t you glad you didn’t?

As in, though I should have been a lot more consistent when the kids were growing up, that particular ship has already sailed. If I had it to do over again, I might do a better job. Then again, I might not. I really like the end product that was achieved without consistency.

I’ve made three queen-size quilts and lots of child-size ones. To date, no one has complained because my seams are crooked. (2024. I've made a lot more. Still no complaints.)

Even in the workplace, where we would all hope for equality, compassion has its place. Sometimes rules need to be bent or downright broken; sometimes one employee is more important than another; sometimes you just need to damn the torpedoes and do the right thing.

Which leads me to—my goodness, I’m doing way too much thinking for one short post—the truth of the matter. In all but the question of weather and possibly food, if we usually do the right thing, or try to, consistency will take care of itself.






Thursday, May 16, 2024

Plum Busy by Joan Reeves

My apologies for posting this mid-morning. I'm just tired. *LOL*

We're at our house in the country because the 4 Methley plum trees are ready to pick.

A Methley plum is the size of crabapples and are a deep crimson on the inside. Sweet? OMG, they should be named sugar plums. 

We started yesterday and will finish today—I hope because I'm really tired.

Funny how many muscles are used in picking fruit that aren't normally used in day to day activity.

WALKING IN THE COUNTRY

Even though we're tired from yesterday's fruit picking, we went walking down the country lanes this morning.

We left at 7:15, and the air was crisp and smelled so fresh and clean. No noise of morning rush hour traffic intruded. We heard only doves cooing and song birds tuning up.

Indian Blankets by vafamilyof3Pixabay.
We walked down the hill from our house and took a couple of lanes that basically made a big loop around our place.

A slight breeze kept us company as we walked through the quiet countryside.

All the wildflowers that begin in mid-spring and continue until fall are blooming.

Indian blankets, wild pink phlox, black-eyed Susans, and evening primrose all grow together in the fields around our house, creating a landscape that's breathtaking.

Even the tall stalks of the bull nettles are pretty as long as you don't touch the thorny things.

Our morning walk worked out the stiffness in our muscles so we're going back outside to finish harvesting the plums as soon as I get this uploaded. I should say we'll finish what's ripe. There are stilll green plums on the trees. Another 2 weeks will see them ripened, and we'll again be picking plums.

Black-eyed Susan by BBLDWPPixabay.
ZEN OF GARDENING

This may sound like a lot of work to you, but there's something relaxing and soul-fulfilling in gardening and backyard orcharding.

That alone makes the "work" worthwhile. Then there is the taste of something grown in your home garden and/or orchard. Incredibly delicious!

I've never found anything superior or even as good in the produce section of a supermarket—no matter how upscale that might be.

POSTSCRIPT

We just received a call from the collision center that has been repairing our Explorer after it was rear-ended by a Ram pickup on the freeway almost a month ago. It should be ready to be delivered tomorrow.

We found out that the driver of the truck had no license. The truck he was driving did not belong to him. The insurance information he provided to the police and to us was apparently non-existent or faked. It seems to me the police should be doing something about this.

Of course, that means our insurance for uninsured motorists covered our repairs.

Since I've been seeing a lot of online "news" about auto insurance hikes, I wonder if our rate will go up because of our company having to shell out big bucks for repairing our vehicle?

TRUTH

We were lucky since we escaped without injuries. I think our 2016 Ford Explorer was built really well. 

The whole thing could have been much worse. When the truck that hits us "flew" up in the air, it could have crashed down on top of us instead of beside us. I feel blessed.

By the way, several of my books are available "wide" now at most ebook retailers. If you're interested, check out Books2Read-JoanReeves. The books that are available will be clickable. Eventually all will be available there.

Enjoy this beautiful May!

Fondly,
Joan Reeves — https:/www.facebook.com/JoanReevesWrites

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Well, That's Awkward by Bea Tifton

 

I know I seem sophisticated and witty, Dear Reader, but I have two confessions. First, I know that first sentence was nonsense. Secondly, I am awkward. I am not on the autism spectrum, and I know the rules for social graces, but I am indeed awkward.  I don't make what I call "cocktail party chatter" easily. The reason is simple. I am painfully shy. 

When I was growing up, I was hampered by my shyness. Ironically, while I was often overlooked by teachers and peers, the bullies always found me. Since I was tongue tied and easily embarrassed, I was a helpless guppy in a sea of sharks. I did have friends, but most of them were shy, too. We just understood  each other. 


   
When I began teaching, I immediately realized I would have to overcome my shyness. I wasn't going to be a fake person, but I was going to have to fake being outgoing. I drew on my drama class training. Teachers must be able to talk to their students and to the parents of those students. I needed to appear confident and effective. So, even though it was hard, I learned how to talk to people, more or less, and how to ask questions that must be answered with more than a simple yes or no, then building on that answer. In my professional life, I did pretty well at hiding my shyness. But every profession has mean girls all grown up and they were never fooled. Sigh. 

It was still difficult to overcome my shyness in my personal life. And parties or events? I dread them. I realize as soon as something weird comes out of my mouth as soon as I say it, but it's to late to avoid the strange or puzzled looks I get. Recently I volunteered to help with an adoption event for a rescue I support, Highway Hounds of Texas. I was excited because my job was to play with the dogs, walk them, and answer any questions for would be adopters. I was nervous because I only knew a couple of people, the founder and her right hand helper. So, yes, I was a total nerd, I'm sure, but everyone was very kind and I'll do it again soon. 


I volunteer for a homeless program called Room in the Inn. Unhoused guests come to one of a consortium of churches and stay overnight during the hottest time of the year and the coldest time of the year and enjoy a home cooked meal, a safe place to stay, and conversation. Oddly enough, my job is to be a greeter, which means I sit and chat with the guests before, during, and after our meal. I talk and talk, and I've met some fascinating people with great stories. I've even assisted with training for new volunteers. How do I do it? I just go into teacher mode. It's too important a cause to take a pass on participating  and I've gotten so much out of it. 


So, if you need me to be professional and help you with an event or to volunteer for an organization, I'll just go into teacher mode and power through it, even enjoy it. And if you invite me to your party, I'll probably come. Just don't expect me to have scintillating conversations with the other guests. 



Highway Hounds of Texas can always use your donations. www.highwayhoundstx.org

Photo Credits: Pexels.com
Anna Listova "Turtle on Stone Pavement"
Mushtag Hussain "Little Girl Hiding her Face in a White Dress"
Max Fischer "A Teacher Standing in the Classroom"
Blue Bird "Smiling Woman Petting Two Beautiful Dogs Outdoors"
MART PRODUCTION "Homeless People Eating in the Park"
Gabriela Cheloni "Woman in Black Standing on Sunflower Field"




Monday, May 6, 2024

Smooth Sailing: A Guide to Using Pirate Ship for Shipping Your Packages ~ Sherri Easley

 

Ahoy, fellow writers! Do you frequently mail your books or other packages? Do you hate waiting in line at the post office? Are you ready to embark on a voyage to streamline your shipping experience? Then set sail to learn about Pirate Ship! Pirate Ship offers a treasure trove of tools to help to save you time and money.

Okay- for real. This is one of the best-kept secrets on the web. You can print your labels at home, take to the post office or schedule pickup and it is FREE! There are few things that make me smugger than skipping the line and placing my pre-labeled packages on the counter. Supplies are minimal. You will need a scale and something to       measure your package and, of course, a printer and tape. 

In this blog, I’ll take you through the steps of using Pirate Ship to ship your books and other cool things with ease and efficiency.

Setting Sail with Pirate Ship:

1.     Sign Up and Log In:

To get started, visit the Pirate Ship website (www.pirateship.com) and sign up for an account. It's free to join, and you'll gain access to all the features and tools Pirate Ship offers. Once you've signed up, log in to your account to start shipping.

Enter Package Details:

After logging in, you'll be prompted to enter the details of your package, including the destination address, dimensions, weight, and shipping preferences. Pirate Ship supports various shipping carriers, including USPS, UPS, and FedEx, so you can choose the carrier that best suits your needs.

3.     Compare Rates and Services:

Once you've entered the package details, Pirate Ship will generate a list of shipping options with corresponding rates and delivery times. Compare the rates and services offered by different carriers to find the best option for your shipment. I personally use USPS all the time for the convenience of stuffing it in my mailbox for pickup by my carrier. For shipping books, there is a media mail option.

4.     Purchase and Print Labels:

After selecting the desired shipping option, you can purchase and print your shipping label directly from Pirate Ship. The platform offers discounted rates for USPS shipping labels, helping you save money on postage costs. Simply follow the prompts to complete the purchase and download your label.

5.     Schedule Pickups or Drop Off:

Depending on your shipping carrier and preferences, you can schedule package pickups or drop off your shipments at designated locations. Pirate Ship makes it easy to schedule USPS pickups directly from your doorstep, saving you time and hassle. I put mine in my mailbox with the flag up. 

6.     Track Shipments:

Once your packages are on their way, Pirate Ship provides tracking information so you can monitor their progress every step of the journey. Keep an eye on your shipments to ensure they reach their destination safely and on time.

7.     Manage Shipments and Orders:

Pirate Ship also offers tools to help you manage your shipments and orders efficiently. You can view your shipping history, track expenses, and generate reports to keep your shipping operations organized and streamlined.


My Story: 

I found Pirate Ship during the Pandemic when I was mailing out masks. It was so much easier than going to the post office and waiting and easier than using stamps, and never having the right amount. I assumed everyone knew about this, but when I ordered a Celtic calendar of Men in Kilts- because you know how much I love Harris Tweed, it came to me in a very expensive priority mail envelope and was creased right across Mr. March.  After discussion with the seller, she said she only used priority due to insurance and tracking. I turned her on to Pirate ship and she sent me another calendar. Said I saved her more than $25 in shipping the first day!!!


 


 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

April Travels Aren't Good For May Flowers by @JacquieRogers


 April Travels 
(And at Home, a Greenhouse Disaster!)

I do love to travel.  We have a teeny little RV called a Casita, and when we bought it, I had no idea it was a thing.  But it is, and there are Casita rallies all over the nation.  The one we go to is in Grapeland, Texas.  Yep, that's a fer piece from Idaho, but the people are great fun and we have a blast listening to all the music and visiting with new friends.

Our Casita--it's only 14' long but has a kitchen, bathroom, and a king bed.

We drove hell-bent for leather from Idaho down to Houston, Texas, and I'm pleased to report that we didn't have any pipes freeze.  However, the first night out, a pipe connection in the closet burst and our poor little Casita had two inches of water on the floor.  Every single item of clothing we brought was soaked.  It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't a great start to our grand voyage, for certain.  I'm very grateful that Mr R can fix almost anything.  Whew!

When we finally got to Houston, we visited the Johnson Space Center (I'm telling you, the Apollo rocket is HUGE), then the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we had a little chat with King Tut.  The craftsmanship of the artifacts is incredible and so beautiful.  The display is very well done, with items positioned close to how they would've been in the actual tomb.  We spent several hours there, and of course we had to look at the dinosaurs, too.

My childhood friend, Lynda McCoy, lives in the area so we were able to meet up for breakfast outside of Houston.  Our time together went by in a flash and I was sure sad to say goodbye to her.

Then off to Grapeland for the Third Annual Texas Dogwood Casita and Friends Music Rally.  This is a mix of professional and amateur musicians--anyone who loves music.  Everyone who wants to perform gets a turn, so it's a mixed bag but lots of fun.  You can see an example on my TikTok page.  I couldn't get it to embed here.

We stayed for the eclipse but the weather wasn't kind.  We did see the before and after, but the totality was covered by clouds. Boohoo.  Then we left on Tuesday to head for our friends' house.  That would be the famous author Caroline Clemmons, Hero, and Bea Tifton.  Oh, and a whole slew of cute dogs and cats.  There's always a pet to cuddle at their house.  We did some catching  up, some computer work (by some, I mean very little), and a lot of eating.  Bea knows all the best restaurants and the best foods at each one, so we rely heavily on her advice, for sure.  We had leftovers for three days after leaving their house. LOL.  I regret that we didn't get any photos.  I was too tired to smear on my war paint, though.

On down the road at Pyote, Texas, I posted on Facebook.  Lo and behold Mr R's high school buddy and his partner, who currently live in Eastern Idaho, were overnighting in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  They'd driven to Texas to see the eclipse, too.  So we met up in Demming, NM, for a nice long breakfast visit.  That whole situation was quite a coincidence, but it was sure good to see them.

From there we went to two other famous authors' house, Ann Charles and Sam Lucky.  Ann picked a good one--Sam's not only a talented author, but he's also a dang good cook.  No weight was lost there, believe me.  Anyway, while Sam toiled away on the last chapter of his book, Ann took Mr R and I to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument near Flagstaff, Arizona.  That was really fascinating.  And up the road was what I've been waiting for decades to see, Wupatki, red sandstone ruins from a flourishing community prior to the early 1100s.  These people were the ancestors to modern indigenous peoples of the Four Corners area.

The Citadel

 
Hanging out with Ann Charles

A much-deserved rest with Mr R

The trip home from Arizona was uneventful, but being a desert girl, I had to admire the beautiful spring landscape in the middle of Nevada.  The green bushes against the snow-capped mountains were too beautiful not to photograph.  So here we are:

The beautiful Nevada desert.

And we were happy cross the border back into Idaho, to finally get home, take a long, hot shower, and sleep in our comfy bed that we didn't have to crawl into from the foot.  I love the Casita but I also love being home again, although I do have my next two trips planned already. 😊

But all was not well at Windy Hill Farm, because most of the plants in my greenhouse had cooked.  So, starting over there.  I knew the risk when we left, plus, I'd planted some things way too early.  It's the first year for the greenhouse so I learned my lesson.  Next year, the planting schedule will definitely be revised.

Anyway, so it goes on Windy Hill Farm.

Tada!

For reading, I've been into fantasies lately.  How about your book choices?


Stay safe, and until next month, Happy Reading. 📚😍


If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.