Monday, June 18, 2018

The Cars and The Bees

Hey, All! 

'Tis the season for audiobooks and road-trips!

I'm excited to announce my latest audiobook, The Sexy Librarian's Dirty 30 Vol.2!

My #Dirty30 series is special because I get to put a fun spin on my #SexyLibrarian theme. This #Dirty30v2 features a card catalog--even in the audiobook version! I want readers and listeners to feel free to skip around! Go ahead and start in the middle or even at the end. My card catalog allows everyone to begin the book wherever they want, based on whatever intrigues them most. Ultimately, I want folks to be in the moment and have fun with this collection. Because the cherry on top? Well, for the first time ever, I have brought new voices on board to narrate these 30 stories with me. 

Joining me in this Dirty30v2 cast are; Big Daddy-Dayv Caraway, Jade A. Waters,
and Donna Stone


Speaking of road family vehicle broke down for the last time on June 1st while Dayv and I were on our way to Point Reyes. We left early that day, wanting to tool around for a bit--you know, get in some adult alone time, and eventually, we'd planned to make our way into San Francisco to celebrate Dorothy Freed's Perfect Strangers book release party. Well, we didn't quite make it.

Our van--which also served as our very first recording studio for the KMQ podcast, broke down on the freeway in Novato. Oh, it was terrible and hot waiting for the tow truck, but somehow we managed to laugh through it all. Even during the bouncy, 3-hour towtruck ride all the way back to Sacramento. 

It was really hard to say goodbye.

We bought our beloved van, brand new, back in 2003 when our oldest was just over a year old. In 2011 we started our Kiss Me Quick's Erotica Podcast inside of her. It's now that I wish we'd gotten pictures of me tucked inside, drenched in sweat while narrating stories for our show. Part of me is glad we didn't though. If you've ever ridden in a minivan, you'll know that they're the most practical vehicle on the planet and there's generally plenty of room for seven to eight passengers--but turning one into a recording studio is quite...challenging. You see, I would sit in the third row, with the middle seats folded down and Dayv would be up front in the passenger seat holding his giant laptop on his lap, with his enormous soundboard on the left, resting precariously on the little fold-up console between the driver and passenger seats. It was a snug fit in the back with a mic stand between my knees and a music stand squeezed in nearby to hold my scripts. Stretching was impossible. Movement was minimal due to the sensitivities of our somewhat crappy microphone. The slightest movement of my head and the sound would be off. I got really good and holding still and reading from the corner of my eye, stinging sweat be damned.

Through summers and winters, we'd both tuck ourselves in there, cramped and sweating, recording erotic stories for our growing audience. And just to be clear, when I say 'sweating', I do mean that we were drenched. Dayv eventually snaked one end of this eight-inch tubing through one of the barely lowered side windows (I think it was some kind of dryer vent tube thingy), he attached the other end of the tubing to the output of this little compact air conditioner unit. Then he'd bust out the duct tape and seal up any open gaps. That little air conditioner is still with us today, cooling off my real recording studio. 

But it was Dayv's sound-proofing skills that were most impressive. 

Vehicles already have pretty decent sound-proofing, but to really get the best sound out of a mini-van, you need sleeping bags and quilts. Dayv would grab every single sleeping bag we owned, all our heaviest quilts, and drape them around the inside of the van using bungee chords for added soundproofing--which also kept ALL the heat in. We gave new meaning to the term 'hot-boxing' let me tell you! The complete set-up process would take my husband anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to get the van ready for recording. Retakes were a bitch. Most of the time, we'd wait until night to record episodes, after the kids had all gone to bed and when neighborhood noises were at a minimum, but not always. We spent plenty of hot afternoons recording away. I'm sure we made an announcement on the show, but for the life of me, I can not remember which story was last recorded in our minivan and that saddens me. It truly was difficult to say goodbye to that good ol' mini-van.

Dayv and I are still saddened by the loss, but we'd put thousands of dollars into saving her--we went well over her market value and, well, in the end, we knew that 'peace of mind' was worth more than good memories. Anyway, one week ago, today, Dayv and I finally bought a new-used family car and she's absolutely beautiful. We've named her Betty. But more importantly, everything about her works! All the windows roll down. She doesn't overheat. There's no bisecting crack in her windshield. Both electronic side doors open with the press of a button. She's got a backup camera, a push-start engine, and she practically floats on the road--there's no second-gear jerk to brace for! We fall in love with Betty more and more each day. I think maybe we'll get down to Point Reyes now.  I've just got to get another audiobook narrated, and two more anthologies edited and published! Okay, maybe I'll take a couple days off and just go for a drive.


You guys! My MIL is back in town finally and we've added our very first honey super! Yay! It is a little weird and somewhat nerve-wracking to work the hive with another person, but I do love sharing this experience with her because she's just as enamored as I am! We've both gone to the same classes, read all the same books, so we've got a pretty good handle on things--though there are little differences in how we do the things we've learned, lol! I've got a few pictures here to share the goings on with any who might be interested. This little nugget of honeycomb (on the left) was scraped off the bottom of one of the brood box's frames and, I don't know if you can tell, but there is a tiny bit of honey in a couple of the cells. This little girl would not leave it alone. I postponed writing any notes down so she could gather the honey back up. She was there on my notebook for the majority of my inspection. It still astonishes me just how hard bees work.

This last inspection was different than all the rest. 
  • #1, my MIL was there with me, but also we used way less smoke than I usually do when inspecting alone--my MIL hates the smell of smoke and so resists using it. 
  • #2, this is our hive's 9th week and I swear, they must be pushing somewhere around the 60k mark.
  • #3, we now have a honey super to inspect and my understanding is that this makes the bees much more protective of their hive.

Bee 'traffic' is just as spectacular as it is mesmerizing. And my goodness, watching new bees take their maiden flight is precious. They climb up the sides of the hive, do a couple of low circles in the air above the lid and sometimes they fall. They get back up though and do it again. So cute. Right now, our hive is 3 boxes high; as you can see in the picture on the right; we have 2 super deep brood boxes and one medium honey super, all with 10 frames each. These babies are getting heavy to move around. If you look closely, you'll see that there looks to be a small 'gap' between the top honey super and the middle brood box. That's not actually a gap. It's our 'queen excluder' which is a slotted plastic screen that allows worker bees to pass through but prevents the queen (because she's bigger) from getting up there and laying eggs in the honey cells. Some beekeepers use excluders, some don't. We've elected to use one.

Since this is our first year, we are inspecting the hive pretty thoroughly--every frame in each box gets inspected, top-to-bottom, and we're very much learning as we go. We're checking brood pattern, pollen & honey stores, rotating frames, watching for robber wasps and other pests, and cleaning off propolis as we go. We did spot a few supersedure cells, during our 8th-week inspection, which was alarming. We worried that our hive was getting ready to swarm because there might be something wrong with our queen, but there weren't any eggs in the queen cups and our beautiful queen is still laying perfectly patterned brood. We did reach out to our local beekeeper's association though, just in case. They examined our many pictures and said everything was fine. The 'queen cups' are sometimes made 'just in case'. This last picture (below) is of one of our honey frames. You can see that the bees haven't quite filled it up yet, but I have a feeling that when we open up the hive at the end of this week, it'll be full.

Remember when I mentioned that we used less smoke during this 9th-week inspection? Well, I believe that combined with us diving into the honey super is why for the first time I got stung. (It might be fun to have some kind of sting counter widget somewhere on this blog.) We went into the hive last Friday and my left thumb is still fairly swollen, and it's still not quite bending all the way. 

But here's the amazing part. I always tell myself before going in that I'm going to get stung--like a kind of 'expect it, don't be surprised by it' kind of thing. I tell myself to be calm, move slowly, follow protocol. Well, I ended up getting stung while holding this very honey frame and I didn't drop it or run screaming, lol! In fact, it was almost casual the way I switched my grip on the frame and just scraped the stinger out. I did let out a little gasp though. But only a little one, and then, I just carried on. I totally maintained my cool.

Thank you so much for reading!

All My Best,


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