Is it Time for America to Re-read the Story of the Country Mouse Who Went to the City?

America has a problem and it’s not pickup trucks or people who drive them. The problem is a closed mind. Has it come down to country people versus city people? Please tell me no. For many reasons. One is that some of us are both. Whether it’s North Coast, West Coast, Rural America, the Heartland, the Eastern Corridor or any other location, some Americans have a problem appreciating the culture of those from another neighborhood. I saw a well-respected journalist on twitter make a crack about Americans who drive pick-up trucks. I’ve got some words for him. Hard-working people who drive trucks are cool. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There’s no yee-haw about it. Wake up America. The people who put eggs on your breakfast table drive trucks to the feed store. The carpenters who build your home carry lumber in their trucks. The fisherman, the plumber, the surveyor, the musician, the woodcutter… all drive trucks. They’re good people and they’re doing their job, providing for their families and maybe going boating on the weekend. (You need a truck to haul a boat.) Americans today should know better than to think “us” and “them.” It’s just US and some of us drive pick-up trucks.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Women Who Weedeat

Gas powered weedeaters are heavy so a few years ago, when I ran across an electric “string trimmer” that looked like a weedeater, I bought it. They’re light and do a fairly good job cutting the tall grasses around my house. But this year, with all the rain we’ve had in Northern California, I didn’t want to burn out another entry-level weedeater so I bought a Black & Decker 14” string trimmer/edger. It has a 7.5-amp motor. The box says that it “provides high performance trimming of tough weeds, grass and overgrowth.” When my husband saw it, he said, “Wow, you’re going to go to town with this.”

I don’t usually give testimonials for a product but I’m so pleased with this new tool, I had to give a shout out. I’ve been running it all week for at least an hour a day and I’m still on the same spool of string. It has not faltered. Not even once. The other string trimmers, the dinky ones I used for several years, burnt out. Literally. I had to buy a new one every year. When they got hot and started smoking, they were done. This Black & Decker has the motor up at the top, just below the handle, so it doesn’t get clogged with grass. I think that’s what caused the others to burn out. Grass clogged the vents meant to cool the motor. That and they just didn’t have enough amps. Too bad I can’t just let the grasses grow. I hate cutting wildflowers, so I try to leave them as long as I can for the birds, butterflies, moths and bees. But I’ve seen first-hand the damage from a woodlands fire. So, in my neighborhood, we weedeat. Ladies too.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Do Men Read Romance? Yes They Do. They Write it Too.

I am here to tell you that yes indeed, men read romance. I know that for a fact. They are also the first to snicker about it (the men who don’t read it) and I’m sure that’s most men. But hey, everyone watches television and goes to movies and what great movie doesn’t have a little romance? So therefore, millions of men “watch” romance on some level. Yes, maybe some men will get up off the couch if they think they’ve been tricked into watching a chick flick. It just depends on the man and… the quality of the movie.

I know of several men who write romance. They say that they use a pen name. I did not ask what that pen name was but I’d be willing to bet that it is a woman’s name. But guys, before you chose that female sounding pen name, realize that men needn’t be shy about putting their name up there. Front and center on the cover. One of my favorite romance endings was written by a man. I will never forget how William Somerset Maugham lit up the page. It doesn’t matter. Love is love.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

Book Two, Blue Violet:

Book Three, Black Lilac:

Book Four, Ellie:

Book Five, Rose Thorn:

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: