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Alexander McCall Smith


Your first sentence is the most important thing you’ll write because it might be the only one that anyone reads.

So says Alexander McCall Smith, author of one of my favorite series, //“>The #1 Ladies Detective Agency,

AND the //“>44 Scotland Street Series,

AND the //“>Professor Dr. von Igelfeld series,

AND the //“>Isabel Dalhousie series,

AND a crate full of stand-alone //“>novels,

AND short stories, AND… hmmm.

You get the idea…this guy is prolific and his work isn’t formulaic or repetitive. His characters are dynamic and chock full of contradictions and quirks just like the rest of humankind.

I got to listen to him talk about his work, his life and his travels for 45 minutes today at an event hosted by the Westerville Public Library. Walking on stage in his traditional tartan kilt, Einstein hair, and rhinestoned reading glasses, he began his talk with the subject of culture and etiquette.

Americans, he says, have issues with etiquette but they all seem to revolve around when it’s okay to wear white shoes.

casual classic clean couple
Photo by Pixabay on

Other things he’s picked up in his studies of culture include that Californians bond over stories of their health challenges, and German professors use their doctorate in their titles, making a professor with a double doctorate, Professor Dr. Dr.; his wife Frau Professor Dr. Dr. . Of course there’s a complexity if the wife has her own doctorate. Then she’s addressed as Dr. Frau Professor Dr. Dr.

In a talk sprinkled with such humor, I was enlightened, making my way to the highest level of nirvana in a short 45 minutes. Buddha had the 8-fold path. Alexander McCall’s Smith (AMS) has the UK Tube that employs, I believe, two major rails for a high-speed trip to self-actualization.

RAil # 1 on the AMS Path: Everything is what you want it to be. I can’t count how many times he talked about events gone awry that always led to something positive and funny. These same circumstances could bring most of us to tears or tantrums. The moral of the story is that everything that happens in our lives will be sad if you want it to be; joyous if that’s what you’re after; funny if you look for moments to laugh.

The trick is to figure out what we want more of in our lives and look for that in every situation…every single one.

Rail #2 on the AMS Path: People are kind when we are kind. Throughout his talk, Alexander McCall Smith spoke about living in or visiting different countries and how kind the people were there: Botswana, Italy, Scandinavia, Scotland, Muncie Indiana. Yes…Muncie. I’m sure that he’d receive kindness from the same stranger who cut in front of you in the Starbucks line because he exudes a very strong kindness-aura. You can’t help but feel better about the world when you’re in the same room with AMS.

I hope his kindness, nothing-is-serious energy rubbed off on me when he shook my hand. I could stand to be more kind, to take myself less seriously, and to exude so much warmth that I could wear a kilt on a cold November day in Ohio.



And, BTW, I’ve become an Amazon Associate, so if you click through my book links and purchase any of these from Amazon, I will make a commission from your purchase at absolutely no additional cost to you. I am using this commission to defray the costs of maintaining my website. 

Hard to Label, Just Funny

3 Ways I Sabotage…

7ad1e1f6d081e65e2c87313a39743f8bLast night, or should I say, very, very early this morning, I thought of all the ways I sabotage my sleep…there are…you guessed it…THREE because I’m on a roll with threes this week. Here they are:

  1. Happy Hour at Starbucks. Are you kidding me? Who thought it was a fabulous idea to offer caffeinated deals from 4-6? Well, apparently, me, until about 3 AM.
  2. Destination Solitaire. One more game on my iPhone. Spider Solitaire relaxes me a bit because let’s face it, it’s pretty boring. But Destination Solitaire is anything BUT boring. You’re racing the clock while trying to rack up enough points to earn the little star that moves you farther up the Champs Elysses. By the time I earn my star, I’m wide awake and jazzed to earn more, get farther, conquer Paris so I can travel to Rio, and London, and Greece, OH MY!
  3. I Can’t Remember. That’s number 3…there was something I needed to do tomorrow, but I can’t remember what it is. I would have written it down, but at the time I thought of it, I was: a) driving, b) having Happy Hour at Starbucks, or c) playing Destination Solitaire. It’s 2 AM, my phone is in my hand ready to type that elusive thought into Notes or Reminders, but since I’m up anyway…and I already have my phone…maybe just one more game?




IMG_2199This is Mika.

Mika is in heat.

We aren’t having her spayed until her growth plates close. This could be 10 months from now when she’s 18 months old…but my husband and I are contemplating closing them down in about four months.  This would split the difference in protecting her from certain cancers and hip dysplasia. Waiting won’t guarantee that these conditions will stay away, but they put the odds in her favor.

We want the odds in her favor. She’s our second empty nest dog; our first having crossed the rainbow bridge almost two years ago. Empty Nest Canines are spoiled rotten, given too many privileges and get more boxes from Amazon than you do.

Empty Nest Canines are taken to dog school, doggie daycare, and dog parks. They sleep on your pillow in the middle of the afternoon and they groan when you roll over in the middle of the night.

Empty Nest Canines aren’t taken to a vet; they have appointments with doctors who are trained in integrative veterinary medicine and receive acupuncture, chiropractic massage and Chinese herbals. Empty Nest Canines hear a ton of baby-talk, have color-coordinated leash and collar sets and raincoats for the spring rainy season. They wear boots when it’s icy, sweaters in the fall, college sports wear during football season, and LeBron jerseys during basketball season.

Empty Nest Canines do fancier tricks than eating your kids’ leftovers and cleaning their cookie crumbs out of the carpet. They roll over, play dead and know their right paw from their left.  IN other words, Empty Nest Canines get all the attention you used to give your toddler and they wear their diapers too!

Well, they aren’t called diapers for canines; they’re Hygiene Pants. The difference, I suppose, is that little hole in the back for the tail.  I learned this just recently when my puppy went into heat.

Diapers…or Hygiene Pants…whatever you might call them, they still evoke the same sentiment: I can’t wait till this part is over!

Photo on 4-30-18 at 1.29 PM #2.jpg