Living in Paradise

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No Building Back Better

Thank God for Aaron. Straight-shooter. Full of information. Expert plumber and observer of modern-day life.

Aaron is the guy they call to fix everything the youngsters in the company have screwed up. Aaron and his sidekick/apprentice have been at our condo remodeling project for a day and a half now. His lingering presence speaks volumes.

Everyone has plumber stories. Maybe you think you’ve heard them all. But based on what Aaron told me yesterday and today, more of us will be having ugly construction tales to share in the future. There doesn’t appear to be any building back better in much of the younger construction trade these days.

Our story began with the neighbor’s casual observation that there was water dripping onto the top of his Audi. My man, the patient neighbor and I looked up at the maze of condo plumbing over the luxury car, searching for an answer to his concerns.

“I’ll flush the new toilet in the powder room,” I said, dreading that our fixture could be the cause of his problem.

Five minutes and six flushes later, the drip appeared. If toilet water was falling on the top of my expensive car, I might display a certain amount of pique. Lucky for us, our neighbor is from Canada — the land of accommodating folks not prone to hysterics.

The original plumber seemed a nice young fellow. He told us how good he was at his job. But maybe he should have doublechecked his work before spiking the ball in the plumbing end zone. Not one, but two toilets were leaking; the one over my neighbor’s car and a second one over where my convertible will be parked at the end of January.

Furthermore, Aaron pointed out that the original plumber did a lousy job connecting the second bedroom sink to the wall. Caulking was also not one of his strong suits.

“My kid could do a better job,” Aaron observed. I couldn’t disagree.

Aaron was also able to fix the dishwasher that was installed by the hotshot “services” team that works our area and is not affiliated with the company he works for.

“Notice they used an old connector,” he said, pointing to a darkened metal hose that had seen better days.

I took a photo of the one the installation team used so my man could point out the difference between that and the one Aaron put on our dishwasher in his future discussion with the services company.

“Don’t forget to mention that Aaron had to reinstall the garbage disposal, which he said would have fallen off after a couple of uses.”

Aaron, who at 42 is still a baby in my world, seemed wise beyond his years as he discussed today’s workplace dilemmas.

“We’re so busy that you get these guys in here and don’t have time to train them properly before they go out on the job,” he said. “Almost all my work these days is fixing easy mistakes made by our new employees.”

By the way, the electrician wasn’t all that great, either. Our condo failed its electrical inspection twice, requiring the company to send in a new team to get the job done right.

Apparently Covid is not the only thing that is becoming endemic these days. Incompetency comes to mind.

When my man called the installation services folks to put in the hood over our range, I cringed and asked him to find someone else. But who?  “They have to drill through the tile in our new backsplash…and they can’t even install a garbage disposal,” I whined.

He just looked at me and shook his head. What was he to do? If only Aaron could do that job for us, too.

Nancy’s Botox Surprise

What Tucker Carlson didn’t realize when he criticized Nancy Pelosi for looking like Michael Jackson the other night – implying she’d had too much plastic surgery – was that she appears to have been over-Botoxed.

I’ve seen it before on our little island where some women don’t want to go quietly into that dark night known as old age. A little nip here and a syringe there and pretty soon you end up with a face that belongs to someone else.

Count me in as one of those folks who hates the thought of looking my age. I’ve avoided the sun since I was in my late 20s. I’ve slathered on expensive creams. I’ve discovered that wrinkles can be pushed out by layers of fat under the skin. At least that’s my excuse for carrying 30 pounds of excess baggage around.

And I can sympathize with Ms. Pelosi. She is constantly in the spotlight. And she is trying her best not to look 81, which isn’t easy when you have a gaggle of very young Progressive women nipping at your heels of authority.

But I recently learned something that the Speaker must not have known. Too much Botox can make you look constantly surprised and, well, somewhat strange.

I mentioned the idea of injections to someone who has a friend who recently turned 80. She looks really good for her age my friend insisted, with a little help from the medical profession.

“Yes, her face is great, but her eyebrows look funny. They are halfway up her forehead. I mean what is with that?” I asked.

“Botox,” my knowing girlfriend said. “I got some injections not long ago and one of my eyebrows went up and the other didn’t.”

I hadn’t noticed her cock-eyed expression, so her eyebrows probably weren’t that bad. After several months, the Botox dissipated and her face was back to normal, she explained.

All of that does not make me want to get that particular injection. But it does make me want to defend anyone who travels down that path.

Movie star Joan Collins said it best when she noted that a woman should try to look her best no matter her age.

And while Tucker is charming, attractive and still a young man, what right does he have to criticize Ms. Pelosi or any woman, for that matter, for their facial features. You want to go after her politics, have at it. But keep the comments on her looks to yourself. It’s not fair game.

Old age is not pretty, so I say here’s to anyone who tries to keep it at bay.

 

 

The Covid Crapshoot

I was bemused to see that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came down with a case of Covid shortly after visiting the free state of Florida and partying without a mask. I’m no fan, but I wish her well. Even a mild case is no picnic.

I can’t say I blame her for not wanting to wear a face-covering. Girls just want to have fun, you know. And Florida is the best place to do that as long as you leave your politics in New York, honey.

Many of my friends are “so over it” and have been for some time, which is why a few of them have recently been infected with the unyielding virus and refused to get tested because they were certain they had the flu or a cold. I call it Covid denial.

The problem is that we aren’t over it, which is why I’m keeping a mask in my purse and avoiding crowds wherever possible.

After being vaccinated, suffering from breakthrough Covid in August and getting an infusion of monoclonal antibodies, then being boosted the first of December, I’m guessing I’m still not safe. Still, there is this need for life to go on.

So, it was with some trepidation that my man and I attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home of dear friends and rampant anti-vaxxers. They had Covid early on, gave it to a few friends at a birthday party and are convinced they are immune forever. Maybe they are. Who knows? Call me skeptical.

The party started at 6:30 and the food was sumptuous: fresh-caught grouper, shrimp off the boat from earlier that day, lobster from Maine. I could have stayed there all night stuffing my face and chatting with people I hadn’t seen for a long time. But about 8 p.m. a whole new crowd arrived. Young, enthusiastic and unknown to me.

“Where have they been?” I said to my man.

“I think we need some fresh air,” he responded. We walked outside and headed for our car.

The next day several of the people at the New Year’s Eve party celebrated at a neighbor’s house. He had also been at the party the night before and spoke at length with me and my man. We weren’t invited to his home but apparently the Omicron variant was. It seems that many of the folks that avoided the Covid on New Year’s Eve got it the next day, including the host.

“Weren’t you lucky,” my friend said as she related the story to me about the second party.

‘Holy moly,” was all I could think to say in response. I guess we were fortunate, but I felt bad for my friends.

This morning I headed for the new condo that we’ve been remodeling since June. When I arrived, the construction manager was standing next to one of the workers in front of the kitchen cabinets. When he saw me, he put his hand out: “Don’t come too close, I’m not feeling well.”

We all shrank back and covered our mouths. When he left, an uproar erupted.

“What the hell was he doing standing so close to me?” one of the workers demanded.

“Yeah, if I’m sick, I stay home,” another said.

We passed around a battle of hand sanitizer and joined in taking an antiseptic bath of the clear liquid. Not that any of us thought it would do any good, I suspect. But we had to do something.

Here we are. Wanting desperately to be normal. To party like AOC. And realizing all the time that, despite everything, we are still dealing with the Covid crapshoot. Enough now.

 

 

Bring on the Willpower

“Poor grandma,” my friend said. “The doctor says she can’t have calcium so we took away her morning cup of hot chocolate.”

“Isn’t this the woman who’s 95 and in failing health?” I said.

“Yes. The doctor thinks she won’t be around in six months?”

“And you took away her morning cocoa?!” I practically yelled at her. “What? Does the doctor think it might kill her?”

My friend was at a loss for an answer, like so many of us when it comes to health care and what we should and shouldn’t eat.

If my doctor said I had six months to live, the first thing I’d buy was a carton of cigarettes. Hang the cost. Light me up. I gave up smoking almost 40 years ago, and I still miss the disgusting things.

And bring on the steak, pie and ice cream … gallons of it.

Almost every day, someone adds a new item to the no-no food list. By the time I reach 95, the only thing left to eat will be lettuce grown in California without pesticides and downwind from any radioactive material floating in from Japan. The greens will be wrapped in paper. No plastic please; it causes cancer. This healthy bundle will be delivered to my front door by a drone.

Just yesterday, a doctor on my computer told me about a new menace to our bodies. Lectins. They’re killing us, he said, along with all the good flora, fauna and microorganisms that live in our digestive system. No longer can we eat tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, beans, cashews and grains. Peanuts are the food of the devil. Splenda is akin to cyanide.

Forget red meat. It contains antibiotics that also do a number on us. No wonder we need antacids, stool softeners and laxatives.

When my personal physician decided I had acid reflux … and doesn’t everyone these days … I googled a list of the items I shouldn’t eat. Tomatoes were at the top. (I sense a pattern here, so bye-bye Italian food.) Then red meat, alcohol, fried foods, peppermint, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, refined sugar and so forth. You get the picture. Everything edible.

At my last visit, my doctor’s assistant told me to give up cereal for breakfast. At no time should I be drinking milk. Yogurt was a must in the morning but only the most foul-tasting, sugar-free brands. So, I was mixing yogurt with blueberries and other tasty fruits to please my doctor when I discovered that blueberry skin is No. 1 in the retention of pesticides. It’s a can’t-win world.

My physical is coming up in a month or so. My cholesterol will be sky high like it was last year. My doctor took away my Crestor on suspicion that it was messing with my liver and hasn’t come up with a panacea. I predict she’ll be removing my cheese next.

I shared my food woes with my friend Joan recently. This is the Joan who looks terrific, seems to be quite healthy and has wine at 5 p.m. every day.

“What’s your secret?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t worry about any of that stuff.” She smiled as she scooped up the last of the dressing-free salad on her plate.

That’s it. Willpower. Self-control. Where can I get a couple pounds of that to go in 2022?

Liz Versus Elon

Here’s the starting point. Consider that Elizabeth Warren paid $268,000 in taxes in 2017. Elon Musk is preparing to pay $15 billion for 2021 according to media reports.

The two were in the news when, shortly after Musk was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine, Warren tweeted: “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”

It takes some nerve for a member of Congress, among the biggest freeloaders in the country, to level that charge at someone else.

Musk responded that Warren reminded him of when he was a kid and “his friend’s mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

In my opinion, Musk would also have been correct in saying: “I created a corporation that is helping us reexplore space. I’m building one of the world’s most successful electric vehicle companies.  I provide jobs for 110,000 people worldwide. What have you done for the world, lately?”

Ms. Warren has been feeding at the taxpayer trough since 2012 when she was the first female senator elected to that office from Massachusetts. Before that she practiced law and then moved over to teaching. Those that can’t do, teach, as the old saying goes.

Elon Musk was born in South Africa and moved to Canada, landing in the U. S. to settle in Silicon Valley. At age 24, he started Zip2 with his brother and another partner. They sold that company to Compaq four years later for $307 million. A month later he used his $22 million share of the sale to co-found a payment company that was sold two years later for $1.5 billion in stock to eBay.

In 2002, he founded SpaceX; in 2004 he joined Tesla and became its CEO in 2008; in 2006 he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company that is now Tesla Energy; in 2015 he co-founded OpenAl, a nonprofit research company that promotes friendly artificial intelligence and on and on.

It’s people like Musk who are willing to throw caution to the wind, who let it all hang out there in pursuit of their dreams that make a difference for the rest of us more-cautious, less-visionary folks.

It’s people like Warren who stifle our ability to pursue the American dream by seeking to drown entrepreneurs in rules, regulations and government bureaucracy. To my knowledge, she has never started a company or envisioned what life could be like on Mars.

Warren says she considers herself a capitalist because she has a reported net worth of $12 million. I for one would like to know how she made all that money since it doesn’t appear she brings much, if anything, to the table and is a “civil servant” beholden to the public. She is certainly no Elon Musk.

I don’t care how much Musk pays in taxes. I think he’s more than paid his dues by simply being an asset to our world. Based on her contributions to bettering our lives, Ms. Warren should return 100 percent of what she earns as a member of Congress to the rest of us taxpayers and return to the classroom.

Trump As Speaker?

We talked about it as we ate dinner with friends last night in a restaurant where the company far excelled the food. I’d heard the rumor before – perhaps from the same source – but there it was again.

When the Republicans take over the House of Representatives in the 2022 election they will name Donald Trump as Speaker, my friend said. The first order of business will be to impeach President Joe Biden.

He didn’t offer support for the thought, just noted it was floating out there and had credibility.

I inwardly rolled my eyes, a technique I mastered in the corporate world when the ideas being floated in a meeting were so ludicrous that I had to do something to keep me from screaming out loud “that is the most ridiculous, ill-conceived suggestion I’ve ever heard.”

And there it was on my computer’s newsfeed this morning – a Newsweek article on the very topic we were discussing in hushed tones last night across a white tablecloth. It quoted Florida congressman Matt Gaetz who said he’d spoken with Trump about the possibility.

Even though it is legal, constitutional and clever, it feels like the idea would be political suicide for every office holder that identifies as an R. Just because there are a large number of idiots in the Democrat party doesn’t mean that Republicans should be working to increase their own number of crazies:  Gaetz appearing to be one of the unhinged.

The only politician who seems to be on sound footing these days is Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. And I worry that someday even he will let all of us down.

Recent actions to the contrary, the Speaker of the House should be a serious position held by a thoughtful person who has the country’s best interest at heart. The Speaker should conduct herself or himself with decorum. She or he should at least try to rise above politics and promote bipartisanship in an effort to help the country move forward in a positive manner.

Nancy Pelosi was bad enough. The idea of Donald Trump in that position is laughable.

In my opinion that job should never go to someone who hasn’t been elected. I don’t think the public would stand for it.  And if the Republicans were lucky enough to take over control of the House and do something that egregious, they would pay for it in the 2024 election.

I can’t imagine that the former President would want the job. Any Republican Speaker can oversee the impeachment of Joe Biden if he or she is willing to waste the House and Senate’s time again. And being Speaker after being President – playing second fiddle to two other heads of state – seems like a big step down for an individual with an insatiable ego.

Finally, it doesn’t feel like Trump would like all the minutia involved with being Speaker and would quickly tire of a position that didn’t involve campaign speeches with thousands of adoring fans wearing red hats and shouting his name.

I’m no prognosticator and crazier things have happened in politics as witnessed by my news feed on this – and any – day.

Example. After I read the Trump as Speaker article, I came across the Hillary Clinton as Masterclass lecturer piece. In an episode called The Power of Resilience, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee reads from the remarks she had prepared to give in New York on November 8, 2016 before she learned that she was beaten by Trump. Then I watched an excerpt with her weeping as she read the part where she thanked her mother for her positive influence.

One reporter called it “poignant.” I call it embarrassing. If I had been Hillary, I would have ripped up that speech just like Nancy Pelosi did to Trump’s State of the Union — and moved on. But that’s the lure of politics for you.

Shockingly Unprepared

It happens frequently around here. People rent golf carts, don’t listen to what Steve at Kappy’s tells them about how far the carts can be driven and end up out of juice in the middle of the island after several hours of fun.

I tell you this because golf carts are electric vehicles. What happens with a golf cart can happen with an electric car. So, while everyone in the Biden Administration is getting excited about electric vehicles, I’m pondering the realistic side of traveling without a tank.

For starters, you can’t just park your dead vehicle on the side of the road and walk a couple of miles to the nearest gas station for a couple of gallons of voltage. Will AAA have a fleet of electric trucks whose drivers are willing to sit around waiting for your car to recharge?

As a southwest Florida resident, my biggest nightmare is trying to evacuate in an electric car when a hurricane is bearing down on me. I might make it to Ocala on one overnight charge but then I’m toast. When everyone else is looking to charge their vehicle, where will I go?

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is a big advocate of electric vehicles. He says people will be saving money because they won’t have to buy gasoline.

“The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas, and underserved urban residents in areas where there are higher gas prices and lower income,” Buttigieg told MSNBC.

Today, a compact SUV/crossover costs about $31,000; an electric vehicle $42,000. What wage earner in a lower income bracket can afford an electric vehicle, and where will an apartment dweller in a big city plug in his or her car? And that’s if there are cars available to purchase. My man was at the Toyota dealership earlier this week to have our SUV serviced. There was not a new gasoline-powered car in the showroom, let alone an electric vehicle.

And Pete’s comment about rural residents who have the most distances to drive saving money? Oh yes, let the rural residents find themselves stranded on the side of the road when their pricy new vehicle runs out of juice.

There has also been talk about a $12,500 incentive for purchasing electric vehicles. It reminded me of one of my favorite electric car stories. It took place when the Obama Administration was trying to encourage folks to buy electric many years ago.

At that time, anyone who purchased an electric vehicle got an $8,000 rebate. My clever friend, a multi-millionaire, called the nearest golf car dealership and asked if their vehicles qualified for a rebate. They did, he was told, as long as they had turn signals and seatbelts.

“Load one up,” my friend told the dealer. He went over to pick up it up a couple of days later. He traded in his old golf cart, for which he got $1,000. He also avoided buying a new battery for his old cart. It would have been another $1,000. And he got a snazzy new red vehicle that cost him nothing. He called it his Obama Cart.

I’m not opposed to electric cars. I wouldn’t mind owning a Tesla. But it doesn’t feel that we are even close to being ready for electric cars to replace our gasoline-powered vehicles no matter how much we talk about it. In fact, we won’t be ready until someone figures out where all this extra electricity we’ll need is coming from….how we’ll get charging stations on every corner…how we can make the grid more reliable…how auto batteries will be disposed of safety? And on and on.

Instead of getting excited about electric vehicles, I’m for diverting a big part of our attention to encouraging the manufacture of semiconductor “chips” used in all sorts of important devices. Business writer Will Knight reported recently that only 12 percent of chips sold worldwide were made in the U. S. in 2019. That’s down from 37 percent in 1990. When the U. S. is dependent on other countries for essential items, we put ourselves at greater risk.

So many challenges; so few realistic plans.

Money, Money, Money

My daughter said a perplexing thing to me a couple of days ago: Kids these days don’t care about money.

As you know from previous blogs, my daughter and I don’t see eye-to-eye politically. But I thought we were in lockstep when it comes to money. She and I have always liked having it and spending it. She, however, is not so much into earning it.

I had already chastised her for implying that my man and I were “too busy” to come north to my grandson’s high school graduation. As though it was something we casually tossed aside without much thought.

There was much angst involved in the decision not to drive from southwest Florida to Evansville, Indiana, last week for the ceremony. Even criticism from some close friends. But I had to admit to my daughter and myself that I didn’t feel comfortable making the two-day drive alone. And my man was managing three construction projects and workers.

He definitely was too busy. I was just timid.

So, having reminded her of why we didn’t attend the ceremonies, I hesitated to challenge her latest assumption that money is just too mundane for the younger generation to focus on.

This isn’t her first head scratcher. She has also told me that kids these days don’t care about gender.

Based on what I see on my newsfeed, many young people care a lot about gender and how they can use gender fluidity to draw attention to themselves. Like Demi Lovato who announced the other day that she is nonbinary — not identifying as either male or female all the time.

And, really, Demi most of us wouldn’t care if you identified as a dog or cat if it made you happy. We just don’t need to hear about it, especially when there are more pressing issues in this world.

If Demi’s gender is a question mark, apparently money is not for her. Internet sources that seem to know these things peg Demi’s wealth at $33 million.

I have memories of sending my grandchildren money for Halloween and Easter, along with Christmas and their birthdays. There were many dark years when I got no thanks or acknowledgement of my gifts. So maybe my daughter is right. They don’t care about money.

I would contend, however, that kids don’t care about money in the same way most of us don’t care about it. If we don’t have any, we care a lot.

My daughter’s two children have never had to think about where their next meal is coming from or how they were going to pay for the private school they attended. The oldest graduated from college debt free a few weeks ago. The youngest will be heading off to school this fall under the same arrangement. Neither of my grandchildren have held paying jobs in the summer. Both have cars.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that both have been Bernie Sanders supporters and that my grandson gave a shout out to Eugene V. Debs in his graduation speech. Debs was a well-known socialist from Terre Haute, Indiana. Debs is also a man revered by Senator Sanders, who has never held a real job but has instead been on the public payroll as a politician most of his life. Bernie only seems to care about other people’s money and how he can spend it.

In essence, both of my grandchildren – like most children – have grown up in a socialist society where they haven’t had to work for anything and all their needs have been met. Why should they care about money?

As happens to all of us sooner or later, I suspect my grandchildren will one day realize that money does matter. Luckily, they live in a country where they can earn enough to feed and house themselves and their families and have something left over for fun.

If I’m wrong and my grandchildren really don’t care about money, they should let me know right away. I can change my will and leave my few dollars to the millions of people in other countries who don’t care about money either because they are too busy focusing on finding something to eat and a safe place to sleep.

Questioning Their Views

The stories that appear on my newsfeed often leave me scratching my head and asking questions. Like today, when I clicked on an article about Joy Behar, co-host of The View, which I never watch, and Caitlyn Jenner. I guess I was in a mood.

I thought Behar had retired from that show months ago, but her face and asinine comments keep popping up on the Internet. She knows how to stir the pot.

Apparently on today’s show she “misgendered” Caitlyn Jenner while talking about Jenner’s announcement that she is running for governor of California. That means she referred to her as a him — not once but many times.

I’m not berating her for that error. In our family, where a beloved granddaughter is now a treasured and much-loved grandson, we sometimes make that same mistake and are gently excused – and corrected – because we are, uh, old and often not with it.

But it seems Twitter users were all too happy to call Behar out over her pronoun error. Leap to judgment is what so many do so well these days.

In criticizing Behar for her alleged transphobia, some folks took the opportunity to criticize Jenner for her politics. That’s when it got interesting.

“I don’t know why Joy misgendered her but it’s an important reminder that we don’t misgender people even if we don’t like their politics,” tweeted Yashar Ali, a gay journalist who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, has uncovered various scandals involving political figures and is well -known for his love of elephants. An interesting obsession for a Democrat.

Charlotte Clymer, a transgender who is director of communications and strategy at Catholics for Choice, had this to say about Behar’s faux pas: “Appropriate response: Caitlyn Jenner is deeply unqualified hack who doesn’t care about anyone but herself. Her views are terrible. She is a horrible candidate. Inappropriate response: Misgendering Caitlyn Jenner because you think transphobia is okay here. It’s not.”

When did it become okay to call someone a “deeply unqualified hack … terrible and horrible?”

I checked and Behar is leaving The View in August, if anyone cares. Still time for her to stir up more trouble for herself and for my newsfeed to decide I must be fascinated with her and her mouthy remarks. Please don’t flood me with Joy Behar stories. I was just in a mood today.

The next article that caught my attention was an interview with the mother of the 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer earlier this week while attacking another teen-ager with a knife.

Noting here there was nothing from the mother of the girl whose life was possibly saved by a policeman responding to a 911 call. Not one word.

“I want the world to know that Ma’Khia Bryant was a very loving 16-year-old girl. She was my daughter, my baby,” the woman told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I was shocked when I heard the news. No parent should have to go through this.”

Any death of a 16-year-old is a tragedy. But what struck me about this article that talked at length about the mother’s grief was the following sentence: “Ma’Khia was in foster care at the home where the shooting took place.”

No judgment. Just a lot of head scratching and unanswered questions, like normal.

The Prince and My Book

I watched the funeral of Prince Philip today and found myself feeling wistful.

I was thinking about those days when acting with dignity and respect for others was expected … where people didn’t come to funerals wearing jeans and carrying their cell phones … where a life well-lived that included service to others was something to celebrate.

And where a person like Prince Philip could make a snarky comment now and then without being canceled. Here was an alpha male who understood what it meant to be a man and was still willing to walk two steps behind his Queen.

Those days of courtesy and kindness still exist among most of my friends who genuinely care about others. But it feels like so many in the younger generations always have an axe to grind, a self-interest to nurture, a judgment to pass about others, a complaint to lodge. It’s all about me.

I sent my granddaughter, a college grad, a check and a little note the other day. I said I was proud of her and hoped she had a good life. Then I passed on some grandmotherly advice: “Others matter; don’t judge.”

I hope my words are meaningful to her. We can’t let those values disappear.

***

If you are lining up books for the summer, be sure to include Scavenger Tides, my newest novel.

It’s a mystery that takes place in southwest Florida. The characters are fictitious, although there is a nod to a couple of my real-life compadres, Dianna the hair stylist and Candace the jeweler.

Here’s the story: When our heroine Leslie Elliott quits her public relations job to move to a small island in southwest Florida, her dream of becoming a mystery writer threatens to become a nightmare as buzzards lead her to a headless dog carcass and a human body rolls in with the summer storms and then disappears, only to reappear and vanish again.

Leslie’s search for answers and her run-ins with the sheriff take her on a journey that involves a fisherman with too many secrets, a local couple struggling to survive in a millionaire’s playground and dangerous men who will stop at nothing to protect their lucrative criminal activities.

Stephanie Williams, one of the co-leaders of the Sleuth Book Club on the island, reviewed the mystery and said: “The plot moves quickly, the characters are realistic and believable and the dialogue funny as well as accurate. Read it in one setting with a break for dinner and then back to Scavenger Tides.”

I started the book a couple of years ago and polished it up during the Covid summer. The mystery is a sequel to my first novel, Leslie’s Voice. Incidents in the book incorporate stories from the area’s past, which included drug-running at the little airport not far from where I live.

My next book, another mystery, is underway. It’s loosely based on a shooting that took place on the island several decades ago. My main character, Leslie, and reporter sidekick, Wes Avery, will feature in this novel as they have in the last two.

Scavenger Tides and Leslie’s Voice are available in Kindle and paperback versions through Amazon. Please check them out.