#ThisAndThat – #AndThatOtherThing

Hi, Folks! Hope you’re all having a great Wodin’s Day, and things are going along at least fairly smoothly for most of you. Just wanted to take a moment to catch you up a bit on a few things.

THIS: First things first. After well over 20 years of blogging (since before they were called blogs, and were usually referred to as Bulletin Boards), I’ve finally been forced to admit that I’m having a lot of trouble juggling all the things I’m trying to do these days. Once you’ve fallen behind, catching up is next to impossible, as I’m sure many of you have experienced from time to time. So, with that in mind–and after having read several articles and blog posts on the subject–I’ve decided I need to take blog breaks now and then.

This is to let you know that I’m aiming for one day a week, and while I’ll be flexible according to what I have going on, I’ll probably take them on Thursdays or Fridays, depending on what I’ve got scheduled that week. For instance, this week I have ThorsDaySmile scheduled tomorrow, so I’ll take my day off this Friday. Next week, I have #GrannySays scheduled for Friday, so I’ll take it on that Thursday. Alternating between Thursdays and Fridays should work, because I do like to be on hand to respond to comments on days when I have something posted.

I’m hoping I can get myself dug out of this crater I’m in, and maybe even get back to work on my novella, Cole, Cole, & Dupree. (I miss Rabbit!) Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ˜Š

AND THAT: Next, I want to remind you that I still have some fall openings for the #TenThingsList series, so if you’d like to take part, just drop me an email and we’ll find a date to hold for you. (I won’t need your actual post until a week before it’s due to go live.)

I’d also like to let you know that I’m ready to start scheduling #GuestDayTuesday posts again (like the one Amy Reade shared yesterday.) I’m pretty flexible with those, as they are meant to help you in all sorts of ways. If you have a new release, if you want to generate some interest in an older book, if you have a cover reveal, or an event coming up you want to promote–#GuestDayTuesday is perfect for that. Just email me so we can choose a date that will work for both our schedules, and I’ll happily share your good news with the Immediate World.

AND THAT OTHER THING:ย Last, I’m leaving you with some words of advice I hope you’ll take to heart. If you live in the southeastern part of the country, you’ll understand exactly what I mean when I caution you to WATCH YOUR STEP when outside. While planting a new hedge this weekend, I stepped into a fire ant nest hidden below the mulch and got swarmed. I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled with my shriekingย  and hollering as I danced around the yard, trying to get those Minions from the Dark Side off my feet. I did succeed, but not before I had 29 bites on one foot and 20 on the other. Now if you live in a part of the country where these miserable invasive ants have moved in, you’ll know how painful a fire ant bite is. The rest of you will have to take my word for it. See?

Fire ants attach themselves to you with their jaws, which hurts enough as it is, and then bend double and sting the HE** outta you.

Their venom is nasty enough to make awful sores, and many people are hospitalized if they are victims of too many bites or have an allergic reaction to them. They can kill small animals, and make children very, very sick. So, in spite of how bad these hurt and how long they’ll take to go away, I was actually lucky. (And I’ll keep telling myself that over and over until I stop shrieking “Yeah, RIGHT!”ย 


And there you have my very first This and That and That Other Thing post.
There will no doubt be more of these now and then.
Be afraid. Be very afraid!

63 thoughts on “#ThisAndThat – #AndThatOtherThing

    • Thanks, John. I think the breaks will help me a lot, and I suspect you are very familiar with fire ants. You know, I grew up before they spread over Florida. They appeared in the northern part of the panhandle in the 1930s but I was grown before I ever saw one. Now they are blinkin’ everywhere! GAH!!! And thanks for the recovery wishes. I immediately slathered both feet with hydrocortisone and it helped remendously with the itching, but the things really hurt, too. Can’t wait for them to be gone! ๐Ÿ˜€ Watch where you step, my friend! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  1. Yikes! Hope you recover quickly. I’ve been lucky to have avoided them, but I know they are around this area somewhere.

    Taking a break on occasion is totally understandable and necessary. Hopefully you can get caught up soon.

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    • Thanks for all of the above, Jeanne. I hope you NEVER EVER step on a fire ant mound, and only have to suffer them vicariously. And hopefully, one day a week will help me get things in order again, so I don’t have to take anything longer. Not sure I could handle a whole week off, for instance. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ But I may be absent for a few Thursdays and Fridays for a while. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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    • Aw, thanks, Olga. Trouble is, I really MISS being here when I have to be away, so it’s gonna take some getting used to. But I think it’s necessary for a bit, anyway. And the ant bites WILL heal. I’ve just never had this many at once, so it was quite a shock. But hey. If catching breakthrough COVID twice didn’t do me in, these dadblamed ants aren’t gonna kill me, either! *shakes fist out the front door and yells at the miserable creatures* ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  2. Oh no, fire ant bites are awful!! I first learned about them when I stepped on a small mound in Texas. Fortunately it was very small. In Florida, I always watch where I step, but sometimes those suckers are hiding. Hope you heal quickly.

    I’m amazed at how you maintain your blogging schedule. One day a week off is definitely in order!

    (And I’d love one of your fall TenThings dates if you still have any open–September or October maybe?)

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    • Thanks, Kass! This was a huge bed about 2′ or more across, but completely hidden under the mulch where we were working. I sank down in it up to my ankles. Eeeeek! Truly, they are wretched creatures! Glad you’re interested in taking part in the Ten Things series.Email me so we can decide on a good date for you! marciameara16@gmail.com ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  3. OUCH! I remember accidentally standing in an ant hill during a soccer game. I had shin guards and long socks and the suckers still found a way to bit me up and down both legs. It was horrible, and I understand your pain. Hope you feel relief soon! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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    • Thanks so much, Yvette. I’m sorry you had such a run in with them, but boy, you never forget it, do you? They are such awful creatures! I can usually find a good reason for most critters out there, but I haven’t found one (yet) for fire ants. Today is better than yesterday, but it will take a couple of weeks for them to really heal up and disappear. But I’m tough. I can take it. (With plenty of moaning and groaning until it’s over, of course. ๐Ÿ˜ )

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  4. Taking a break one day a week is a wonderful idea, Marcia. I’m sure your presence brings delight to this blogging community. I only post twice a week as I have other regular in-person activities. Some of those activities need time for preparation and I enjoy them as much as blogging.
    Sorry to see the terrible fire-ant bites on your legs. It must be painful. I hope you have some remedies to ease the pain and prevent the infection. Take care.
    I picked oranges three days ago with a bucket in one hand that threw me off the balance. I fell off the ladder and hit my head against my husband’s pile of firewood. For a second, I thought I cracked my skull. I sat on the ground to see if I felt dizzy while using some fingers to press my head. Fortunately, I only had a deep cut. Yesterday I used a sturdier ladder to pick oranges! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
    I may have a cover reveal later in the year. It’s wonderful of you to help the authors, Marcia. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yeah, most of the southeast has loads of them, Sharon, and you’re right. Even one bite hurts. I did have some allergy issues, but nothing serious. Just a nasal thing and some eye irritation, but they went away before I needed to take any antihistamines. And they weren’t severe. Now it’s just waiting for the bites to stop hurting and itching. So, I was lucky overall. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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    • Now that you mention it, Priscilla … it WAS pretty horrific. Maybe I stumbled into one of your tales while I was distracted by the sweat pouring into my eyes as we were digging holes and planting shrubs. I mean, it could have happened, right??? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

      And thanks! I hope my poor tootsies feel better soon, too! (On the positive side, they itch less than yesterday, though it will take a few weeks for these to heal up and go away.) ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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    • I’m hoping everyone will enjoy the things I still manage to get posted, Janet, but I didn’t want anyone to wonder if they realized I wasn’t around quite as often as usual. We’ll see how it works out, though. It’s probably going to bother me more than it will anyone else. It’s not like we don’t all have lots of wonderful blogs to visit or anything. ๐Ÿ˜ But I feel better with folks knowing where i am, and why I may not be responding to as many posts as I’d like to. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  5. Oh, you poor thing, Marcia! That looks so painful. I’m highly allergic to insect bites so I know I would blow up like a balloon. I hope all that nasty venom is out of your system soon. I am so thankful we don’t have fire ants in the northeast, and just hope you heal quickly.

    And blogging breaks are necessary. I’m offline every weekend and often Friday’s too. Plus I usually take the whole month of November off. Do what you need to do. It’s also great for squeezing writing time in.

    Hugs to you my friend! ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ

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    • Aw thanks, Mae! I’m glad to know you don’t have these wretched ants where you live. They have made their way to many other states, though not in the numbers we have here. So far. I hope you never have to deal with them!

      And I’m really hoping a day for catching up on various things every week will also increase my writing time. Mark and I are in the midst of some major home improvement things we want to complete before he retires, so weekends are kind of out of the picture right now. But the faster we do those jobs, and the more stuff I catch up with on my blog-free days, the sooner I can really focus on writing. I’m MISSING it, for sure!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hello, and here’s some hugs back atcha, too!
      ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

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  6. My first sentence was going to be what Mae said, Marcia. I’m so sorry! Fire ants have bitten me, so I know how painful the bites can be. I was standing on a tee box getting ready to hit my golf shot and they were on me in seconds! Yes, you were very fortunate not to have an allergic reaction. Several years ago, I heard about a woman in North Carolina who died after being bitten while gardening. You can’t mess around with those things.
    Everyone needs to take a blogging break now and then. When I decided to start a much-advised newsletter, I combined it with my blog, and it’s been a great move for me. I still visit all of my friends on WordPress, so I get my fix! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I hope you’re feeling better soon! xo

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    • Thanks, Jill. I’m doing fine, except for the pain & itching, but I’m trying to focus on other stuff while it runs its course. I know how serious these can be, for sure, and had they gotten any farther up my legs, I might have been in trouble. I had some nasal issues and some eye itching and blurring for 24 hours, but that’s pretty much gone. And they only got to the top of my ankles, so that was good. They probably weren’t on me more than 30 to 45 seconds, but they swarmed up en masse and they were ALL biting like fury. I don’t even want to think about people who have fallen and been bitten everywhere. It’s too awful to contemplate.

      SO glad you weren’t seriously injured when you were golfing, but every single bite is a misery, so let’s you and I try not to ever get any more of them! Deal? ๐Ÿ˜„

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      • Marcia,
        Goodness knows I have had my share of fire ant bites! The only thing that works for me is Benadryl Gel. I slather it on until the stinging calms down. I swear I never learn – when I see a weed I just have to pull it and every time I forget that there is probably a bed of ants under that weed. Ouch! So my tube of Benadryl Gel gets a workout. I hope it works for you.
        As much as I enjoy reading your blog, don’t feel bad about taking a break in blogging to catch up. We all have to do that at some point.
        Hope you are feeling better soon.

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        • Thanks so much, Marie, and I know what you mean about the weeding. We have to be ever-vigilant, don’t we? I used Aveeno hydrocortisone anti-itch cream, and it really worked, too. Might have the same basic ingredient, I’m not sure. But the dang bites still HURT like any blistered-up sore would, and wearing shoes is not very comfy. I will be hosting a Meet the Author Tea Saturday at DeBary Hall, and they always put on such an elegant luncheon. Sure hope I don’t have to show up barefooted, as it would definitely impact the Elegance Factor. ๐Ÿ˜‚

          The good news is, they hurt less today than they did Sunday, so there’s hope ahead!

          Thanks for letting me know you enjoy my blog, and for sharing your experiences. I’ll check out the Benadryl and see how it works, too. (One can never be too prepared around here, right?) ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  7. Never have I felt happier about living in a country that has no extremes of weather or wildlife! Fire ants sound (and look) vicious. I had no idea that they could do so much damage. Healing thoughts winging your way.
    As for the blogging, I don’t have a single one and I still struggle to fit things into my day. Quality of life comes first and taking a (tiny!) break sounds like an excellent plan! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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    • I enjoy many of our “extremes” as you know, but neither our heat nor FIRE ANTS are not included in my list of favorite things, that’s for sure. I’ve tried to find a way to justify the existence of these miserable ants, but even I can’t think of a single good thing about them. At least with our weather, our sweltering summers are followed by beautifully comfortable winters. But I see NO UPSIDE to fire ants, period.

      Fire ants came here from South America and are gradually spreading across the country. They have also spread across the ocean, too, but range maps for their locations vary widely. Some show small dots of them in your part of the world, but others don’t. It’s predicted they’ll get there eventually, as they can make large rafts of their own bodies, holding on to each other, and float across water for miles and miles. I’ll have to share some pictures one day. No, maybe I better not. If you ever saw them heading your way, you’d probably freak out. Let’s hope that never happens.

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    • Range maps for fire ants vary widely. Some show small dots of them in your part of the world already, others just say they’re on the way. They are definitely not done spreading across the globe, but I hope they are moving so slowly you never have to worry about them, Jaye. They arrived in Florida’s northern panhandle in the 30s, but it took several decades before they made it to central Florida and southward. Now they are pretty much in every state along our southern border all the way to California, and spreading northwest steadily. Someday, they’ll probably rule the world. (Maybe they’ll do a better job of it than we do! ๐Ÿ™„) Hopefully, you’ll never meet one! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  8. That looks painful. I have a storyboard somewhere with a scene of my main character nearly dying from fire ants, and abuse. I only post about once or twice a week these days. I just canโ€™t keep up with a more rigid schedule.

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    • They really do hurt, Craig, but they’ll be gone in a few more weeks, so I’ll live. And I don’t even want to think about the misery of someone bitten so badly, they’re likely to die. That sounds like one scary story! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      You have a “Real Job” job to handle too, so I don’t know how you manage even one or two posts a week. If I had to leave for work every day and then come home in the evening and try to find time to write, I’d have given up long ago. I don’t know how so many of you do it. Even in my younger years when I DID work “real jobs,” I came home at night too tired to do anything but collapse. I congratulate you finding time for blogging at all, with double congratulations for being able to produce a whole bunch of amazing books, too. Yay, you! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  9. Whoa, Marcia! Those nasty fire ants live at the top of my most hated list!! Sorry they got you. I understand the need for a break. I’m frantically trying to get through today’s blog posts before I head out for a four-day trip away. I will do what I can. That’s all any of us have the ability to do. Take care!

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    • I’m right there with you on the fire ants, Jan. I tell you, they are Minions of the Dark Side! But I’ll live to face them another day … only I’ll be ARMED with something lethal next time! *evil laugh here*

      Good luck on all you need to do before leaving on your trip, and I hope you have a wonderful time while gone! Thanks for stopping by today and taking a moment to say hello! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  10. We totally get you Marsh. It seems there are always more things in life taking up more of our time. Take all your breaks as needed! And oye!!! You poor thing. I know Sally had an experience with those fire ants. Holy cow! Relax and stay out of trouble already, would you. Lol โค

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    • Thanks, Debby! For all of the above! ๐Ÿ˜ The fire ant bites are less painful than they were a week ago, but it will be another couple of weeks before they disappear. *sigh* Minions, I tell you! And I think having one day a week off is going to be good for me in several ways, so I’ll give it a try for a bit and see how it goes. But staying out of trouble? Probably never gonna happen! ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Thanks for stopping by, and hope your week is off to a good start! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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  11. Um, okay. Let’s address the nightmare first. Fire ants? Yep, it’s time to move AWAY (up north). Very unacceptable. Second – my goodness, take as much time off as you need! A day here, a week there. It’s perfectly fine. And third, I’d be interested in the guest post thing. No hurry. It can be any time you happen to have an opening/need to fill a date. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank YOU!!

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    • Up north won’t do it for too much longer, Sue. They’ve already spread all the way across the south to California, and I’ve read they are working their way northward at a steady pace. I wonder how cold it will have to get to stop them from their endless migrations?

      And yep, a day off a week is going to help me a lot, I think. We’ll see how it goes.

      And last but not least, will be very happy to have you as a #GuestDayTuesday guest any time. Just contact me when you have something you want to share, and we’ll pick a date that works for your schedule and mine. Looking forward to it! ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

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