Archive | Summer Lovin

The Joy of Meeting an Airplane Named Chuckie

I had admired her from a distance, lusting after her and her sisters through various photographs I had seen over the years. Coming face to face with her was a defining moment, though and I believe it was then that the feelings of lust Chuckie1became the beginning stirrings of love in my heart.

In thinking about that moment, I believe that the erotic scent hit my nostrils before my eyes could gaze upon her and seductive curves.

There she was, right in front of me: an operational B17 Flying Fortress named “Chuckie”.

Of the 12,726 B17’s manufactured between 1935 and 1945, only twelve have been lovingly restored to be in the condition to fly.

The smell that sent my olfactory glands into a twitter was the combined scent of oil, high octane aviation fuel and waxed aluminum….climbing inside the nose of the plane and putting myself into the position of the bombardier was exciting…and then moving into the cockpit where the navigator, pilot and flight engineer worked was close to orgasmic.

When it gets down to it, I’ve always loved history. The lives of Henry the VIII and Abraham Lincoln were equally fascinating to me, but nothing held my interest like the stories of World War II. After my divorce, I realized I need to cultivate some new interests. My love of history soon fell prey to the seduction of the Warbirds of the 1940’s turned to lust and a bit of an obsession.

Yes, I said the “o” word: obsession, but perhaps a better word would be passion.

My exploration into the aviation of World War II was something I could really sink my teeth into. I discovered Aviation Museums where the stories I read about suddenly became something real to me as I found these Me_in_Florida_P51remaining aviation marvels just waiting for me to connect with – and admire – them.

With friends, I began to plan weekend getaways centering around the chance to gaze upon the polished aluminum and bubble canopy of a P51D Mustang or khaki painted B25 Mitchell.

Nothing spoke to me, though, like the sheer power of a B17.

The best collection of planes I had the chance to gaze upon was in Polk City, Florida at the Fantasy of Flight museum.

During that visit, I realized that all the other women on the tour were tolerating the trip because their husbands wanted to visit while I was drinking in every moment. Part way through the behind the scenes tour, I realized that some of the men were watching me more than they were listening to tour guide.

I couldn’t tell if the men on the tour were watching me because the level of my breathing, flush faced and dilated eyes reminded them of a woman in an orgasmic state, if they were staring at my cleavage, or if it was the shock that I knew the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Pratt & Whitney engine.

Amused at their distraction, I soon forgot them. I became lost in my lust for polished aluminum, camouflage paint, Chuckieand the seductive sweet spot where the wing merged with the fuselage.

In my obsession….er…..research….I learned that those old engines have to constantly drip oil to be lubricated enough to work. Dry engines can be the death of a vintage engine just as much as dry cuticles can be the end of a successful career in hand modeling.

I still recall that first visit to Chuckie seven years ago on a hot Texas day. All four of the beautiful engines were dripping oil into bright yellow barrels, which told me that the engines were functioning. I could actually run my hands along the polished aluminum and get a close-up look at the repaired bullet holes.

JB_roadsidestop_florida_jan2015I’ve been lucky in my quest to connect with Warbirds over the years.

JB has a deep love for aviation history and it isn’t unusual for us to pop into a tiny museum that houses one plane or spend the day immersed in history we can (almost) touch.

And though I’ve visited with hundreds of planes, I’ll always remember the enticing scent of airplane wax, oil and aviation fuel on that hot summer day.

The joy on the day I met Chuckie.

Photos all by author: #1 – Chuckie in 2007, Me in Florida with a P51 Mustang in 2007, Chuckie in 2010, JB in Florida at a roadside museum in 2015

Of Note: Chuckie moved to the Tillamook Air Museum in June 2013.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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A Leap of Faith for Love

The sun was setting on a scorching-hot July day as we sipped cocktails on a balcony overlooking The White House. cocktailsDespite the heat, a shiver ran down my spine when he touched my hand. He leaned in to kiss me and whispered in my ear: “Let’s go find somewhere more intimate – and quieter – for dinner.

It was 2010, and I was done with relationships. At least, that’s what I had been telling myself all year.

I was in my prime – professionally and sexually. I was forty-two, divorced for five years, and almost an empty-nester. I traveled often for business, loved great food and wines, and frankly, loved sex and adventure.

Still, I was exhausted with the dating game – the dating sites, the first awkward date, and the shallow conversations. If the dates were promising, eventually they would lead to intimacy, which was often just disappointing.  And the drama! These well-educated, mature men seemed to have more drama than the average middle-school girl!

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I was a man-hater. In fact, I love everything about men.

I declared that 2010 would be the year that I simply enjoyed the company of intelligent and charming men without too many strings.

I decided that if anyone even mentioned L-O-V-E, it would be time to cut and run to avoid the ensuing complication and drama.

Yet, here I was spending a romantic weekend with JB. I had flown in on a Saturday and didn’t have my first business meeting until Monday afternoon. We had plans to spend Sunday at Mount Vernon and had (hard-to-get) sunset reservations at the Point of View Lounge in the W Hotel.

I’d met JB the old fashioned way: we’d been introduced by a mutual friend.

He was everything I loved about men. He was tall, strong, and handsome. He was also witty, fun-loving, and intelligent. We both loved history and enjoyed great restaurants. Even better, he was a true gentleman – the first time he invited me to stay at his place at the beginning of one of my business trips, I slept in his guest room.

Best of all: he made me feel. For the first time in a long time, I felt passionate, alive, and excited.

At the same time, though, I was also scared.

Sure, I had declared that I was done with relationships, but it wasn’t just because of the drama and disappointing sex.  My mother had been diagnosed with cancer that March and died in June.

I just didn’t think my heart could handle any more heartbreak.

Choosing to see dating as recreational only would protect and cushion my already tender heart.

I can still very clearly recall sitting on the bed in that guest room in June texting a girlfriend about how angry I was with myself: “How dare my heart betray me! I don’t want to have feelings for ANYONE!”

She encouraged me to TALK to him and tell him how I felt, but my fears of being hurt or rejected had me avoiding any conversation about anything but fun. And here we were in July after a full day together.

holdinghands_dinnerIn truth, it would be our last night together in DC. He had accepted a new job in Ohio. The casual nature of our relationship – getting together when I was in town – was about to end. I had no clients in Ohio!

Our quiet dinner included laughter, and sharing our favorite parts about the city. We touched often across the table, and as we dug into another deliciously shared meal, he turned serious.

“I wanted to let you know that I have real feelings for you,” he said. “Not just the ‘you are fun to hang out with and exciting to be around’ feelings. I’m talking about the deeper and more passionate feelings. And I want to know if it’s just me – and one sided – or if you feel the same.”

I held tears back as he spoke. I had been too afraid to talk about anything serious, yet here he was, standing in bravery and sharing his heart.

“It’s not just you….” I replied just as the waitress popped up and asked if we needed anything. We said no and waited for her to leave.

“Then I want to be all-in. I don’t want to see anyone else but you. I know my move may make things more challenging, but let’s just take a leap of faith. I think we deserve to see what develops.

Hawaii Merry Christmas Dec 2014That small statement spoke volumes to me.

You see, each year I choose a word or three to serve as my guiding principles for the year. My word for 2010 was “Faith,” and I had written in a blog post:

“Most of all, I need to re-learn to have Faith in myself. I need to listen when my gut is telling me something isn’t quite right – that if I’m steadfast to all areas of my Faith, that my soul will always lead me to my heart’s desires rather than astray.”

It was no accident that the fates had helped guide his words so that I could not only hear them with my ears, but with my heart and soul.

So, we took a leap of faith.

The older we become, the easier it is to let past heartaches keep us from love in the present.

We look for signs that a new love interest will disappoint us or hurt us, but if we lean into the joy and exhilaration of finding someone we connect with and can build something with instead, we have the opportunity to find real happiness.

We can discover that there is comfort and passion to be found simply breathing the same air they breathe.

Five years later, we are sharing a daily life together in Ohio.

That leap of faith we took to bridge the divide between us led to creating a shared life filled with tenderness, adventure, passion, and the comfortable companionship that only true love brings.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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A Single Summer Day from Cami Flake

We begin the day…


We share a smile…(and a Coke)


We share a little laughter and a lot of fun…


We fall in love…and marry our best friend…



“Like we could be a thousand miles apart and I’d still know you were there.”
–Pete Hautman

About the Artist – Cami Flake

Cami_Flake_BioI’m Cami Lenox Flake: open-minded, openhearted lover of beauty in all forms and proud mama to my sweet little boy who fills me up every day with his curiosity, his humor, and his unbridled enthusiasm.

I am a freelance videographer, a lifestyle photographer, and a visual storyteller. My work is about movement, light, color… and heart felt connections.  I believe photography is about letting go of the rules and being open to the beauty in front of you.

You can find me online at and in Mill Valley November 7th-8th, 2015, co-hosting Eat, Play, Sleep, a delicious weekend of pampering and play, with the lovely Sue Ann Gleason of Chocolate for Breakfast and Conscious Bites Nutrition.

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Sliding Into Joy by Christine Mason Miller

When I was in the fourth grade, I wanted a Slip & Slide so bad I could taste it.

It was such a simple concept – a bright yellow piece of plastic, a few feet wide and three times as long, that attached to a garden hose and sent steady ChristineMasonMiller_photostreams of water along its length, enabling kids my age to run, leap and – swoosh! – slide all the way down to the end.

Commercials showed boys careening by on their stomachs with arms stretched out in front of them and girls twirling around like the teacups at Disney World, all framed by the misty haze of sunny, sparkling water.

Most of my outdoor water play around that time involved running through our sprinkler. Don’t get me wrong, I loved running through our sprinkler. I could be entertained for an entire afternoon leaping back and forth across the fanned-out sprays, doing cartwheels, trying somersaults, and even turning the sprinkler upside down over my head. Give me a bathing suit and a sprinkler and I’d be set – as happy as a kid who’d just been given a bathtub full of puppies. (Well, maybe not that happy, but close!)

But when I saw that Slip & Slide commercial, it was all I could think about.

I imagined the kind of fun and frolic that would take my sprinkler gymnastics to a whole new level, and, if the commercials were any indication, would also lure all of my friends to my own front yard, where we’d all be jumping and leaping and spinning all day long.

Sadly, my coveted Slip & Slide never materialized, which meant it was still on my mind when I headed to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents that summer. My visits with them were always long enough that I’d manage to befriend some of the kids in their neighborhood, and that year was no exception. On one particularly hot afternoon, I was telling my grandma and grandpa about the Slip & Slide, and somehow the three of us came up with an idea which had us immediately rifling through various drawers in their kitchen in search of every available plastic table cloth they had.

I don’t remember why we didn’t simply go buy one – maybe we tried to find them but they were sold out, or maybe I was just too impatient and wanted to get the party started as soon as humanly possible. Or maybe – and I like to think it was this most of all – it was because when I was in the company of my grandma and grandpa, I felt like anything was possible.

And if anything was possible, then why on earth would I have been interested in having the same Slip & Slide everyone else had when I could make my own out of my grandparents’ perfectly good plastic table cloths?

Today I have a small stack of photos taken by my grandparents that day of me and my summertime friends careening down our own private water slide (thereby mildly flooding their front yard in the process.) They are some of my favorite pictures of those summers, a reminder of all the ways my grandparents allowed my creative imagination to run wild. I have a special fondness for the Slip & Slide, but not because I actually had one. I had my grandparents’ table cloths. And their love. Both were awesome.

About the Author – Christine Mason Miller

ChristineMasonMiller_bioChristine Mason Miller is a writer and artist who lives in Santa Barbara, California.

A second, revised edition of her 2008 self-published book Ordinary Sparkling Moments is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

The latest offering from Wild Roots, Sacred Wings is right around the corner…

You can follow her adventures right here:

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The Tease of Love by Evelyn Lauer

Will was the college boyfriend I never got over. He was also the guy from my twenties with whom I could never get the timing right. 2003 was our back-together summer—fireworks and festivals and warm nights on his back deck Michael_Mayer_Flckr_Creative_Commons_Navy_Pierwhere we ate dinner. Or so I thought.

After six years of on-and-off drama, I was convinced this time we would last. On the third of July, Will invited me to a rooftop party of a rich guy he hardly knew—a friend of a friend, someone who lived in a penthouse in downtown Chicago that overlooked Lake Michigan where we could watch the fireworks.

More than anything, I wanted to be a couple again. I wanted Will to take a chance on us, now that we were adults living and working in the same city. College—and all the confusing years that came after, before I had secured my career as a high school teacher—was not the right time for us. I was 27 now, ready to settle down, ready to commit to Will.

But I didn’t tell him this. I let summer, and her lackadaisical ways, control me. I remained distant—and so did he.

The night of the party, Will’s friend Amy asked me, “What’s going on with you guys?”

I hadn’t seen Amy since Will and I were dating in college. I understood how we must have looked.

“I don’t know, really,” I said.

“Like, are you dating again?”

“Not really, but we’re spending time together, again. Trying to figure things out.”

“Uh-huh.” She nodded, but I knew she was wondering what was really going on. I was wondering the same thing.

“How do you feel about him?” she prodded.

“I’ve never stopped loving him,” I said after several glasses of white wine had been consumed.

“You need to tell him how you feel, ” Amy insisted.

There it was. What I knew but couldn’t face. I had to speak.

“I know, I know.”

Frank MalawskiBoom. The sound of the first firework over Lake Michigan echoed in the black sky, red veiny lines. Amy and I turned our heads away from our conversation. Everyone moved closer to the edge of the twenty-five-story building. Will wrapped his arms around me from behind.

Boom. Crack. Crack. Pop. Pop. Fizzle.

The fireworks turned from white to pink to red to the color of a streetlamp on a warm summer night, glowing against the dark sky. I wished we could stay like that forever. But I knew: tomorrow I would be back to wondering about if he’d call or if he could ever love me again. Tomorrow, things would go back to normal. I would pretend not to care; he would go back to work. I wouldn’t hear from Will until the weekend or some mid-week golf game that pulled him out early and into a buzz of beer drinking. Then I’d get a phone call to come over.

This was summer: the tease of love. Love—for Will and me—was out there, waiting, waiting for fall when the threat of long winter nights loom. But we would never last long enough to watch the leaves turn their brilliant shades of red. I never told him how I felt, and when summer ended, so did we.

About the Author – Evelyn Lauer

evelynlauerheadshotEvelyn A. Lauer is a writer and teacher who lives in Chicago. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University.

Her poems and essays have appeared in several publications, including. Huffington Post, Education Week, MaMa Mia Australia, Sentence, Denver Syntax, and Releasing the Words: Writers on Writing.

She’s also appeared on Huffington Post Live and Al Jazeera America.

More of her work can be read at or

She has recently completed her first book, a memoir about her twenty-year on-and-off-again relationship with Will. She posts updates about this project on social media.

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Digging in the Earth

“The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions, as it is the latest. Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure. Fondness for the ground comes back to a man after he has run the round of pleasure and business, eaten dirt, and sown wild oats, drifted about the world, and taken the wind of all its moods. The love of digging in the ground (or of looking on while he pays another to dig) is as sure to come back to him, as he is sure, at last, to go under the ground, and stay there.”
— Charles Dudley Warner

As I may have mentioned, my father was a farmer.

I say “he was a farmer” like he chose that as a profession for awhile, but in truth, he did what many Depression Era Old_Tractor_stock_morguefilechildren did: as a child, he helped the family keep a roof over their head and food on the table.

My grandfather was a sharecropper and relied upon my father to get the crops planted, tend them, and harvest them. He began driving a tractor at the age of nine and and didn’t head off to school with his sisters until the late summer crops had been harvested and the earth readied for fall. Many years he began the school year two or more weeks late.

After leaving home, my father never wanted the backbreaking life of a farmer, yet couldn’t keep his hands out of the earth. We had vegetable gardens during most of my elementary years, and for years, his yard was awarded the coveted Yard of the Month with it’s lustrous St. Augustine grass and perfectly tended flower beds.

The backyard, with its fragrant roses,  was more beautiful than the front.

Age and poor health have robbed him of his ability to actively work in his yard now and has had to hire someone to mow, but he still provides loving care tending to a few hanging plants that have been around for decades.

I always wanted to have a beautiful yard and a bountiful garden. I’d plant radishes when he planted okra, cucumbers and tomatoes. I realized, however, that I didn’t quite have his green thumb, though, the year I tried planting cantaloupes and watermelons.

Over the years of being a grown-up, I’ve tried my hand at varying types of gardening. I’ve learned that I can grow Abandoned Shovel by Jaina Jmint, basil and rosemary, but veggies are pretty much out of my realm of expertise. So, I go for beauty if I can’t create bounty from the earth and try my hand at flowers.

About two months after JB moved into this house, I planted daffodil bulbs in a small patch of earth around our little pond. I say “our little pond”, but at the time, I hadn’t committed to Ohio being my home yet.

Planting those daffodils was like holding my heart out to God, a leap of faith that I would be here to see them burst forth from the ground the following spring.

We are approaching our fifth year in this home together now. The daffodils that I planted that first fall have been joined by annual plantings of more daffodils  along with tulips and hyacinths buried deep into the dirt with that underlying faith that we’ll be here to witness the next spring (along with the hope that the squirrels don’t dig up too many of them.)

The earth calls to me when summer approaches, though. The remnants of the bulbs need to be clipped after fading summerflowersand there’s always weeds to pluck and creeping grass to be tamed.

What I am compelled to do, though, is put my (gloved) hands into the dirt. To free the soil from any stray bits of greenery where it doesn’t belong. To use a sharp spade to cut through the layers – from rich top soil down to sticky clay. To gently free any earthworms I’ve excavated in my urge to coax beauty from the earth.

Summer calls not for burying treasure into the earth to await the spring, but to highlight delicate blossoms. So, I transplant a scattering of hearty periwinkles to provide us with the pleasure of beauty.

As I sit back on my heels to admire my handiwork, I realize that though I may not have much of a green thumb, digging in the dirt is a sacred ritual and I understand my father’s need to farm in some small way.

It’s the consecration of making a plot of land home.

“To dig in one’s own earth, with one’s own spade, does life hold anything better?”
– Beverly Nichols


Images: Tractor (Stock Photo via MorgueFile),  Shovel by Jaina J via Flickr Creative Commons, Summer Flowers Debra Smouse

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015  

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

Get Social with Debra

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Why Your Summer Mindset Is Attractive Year Round by Elizabeth Stone

Summer has always been my favorite. I’ve always thought of the hot months of summer as a muse of sorts. Not just for creative work, but for relationships. We aren’t used to thinking about relationships as having seasons, but the number of breakups initiated in the spring and fall tell a different story.

That’s why now is such an exciting time. The heartbreak and renewal of the spring has passed, and it’s time for the summer love stock juanjo_ripollesbloom of summer love.

As the heat of summer creeps up on us, so does the thought, the hope, the excitement about something fresh in the love department.

New, exciting relationships crop up right and left. Some meant to last forever, and some, elegant in their brevity. But the warm energy of summer beckons us to shed our winter protection, and along with it, our guard and inhibitions.

Summer’s easygoing vacation mindset is an absolute balm for attraction. This rebirth makes us feel sexier, more awake, hotter, more alive—and along with this mindset shift, more confident.

Suddenly, we aren’t trying so hard—we just are.

If we’re single, hope blooms in the air. If we’re coupled up, our energy is renewed. This season most of all, renews our fun, playful nature— and along with it, our easy, hopeful attractiveness.

Why is this a big deal? Because you can take it with you. Your contagious, carefree summer mindset is irresistible—and so are you, more now than any other time. But this doesn’t have to stay in the summer time—there’s power in bringing it with you year round.

What if you dropped your guard more often?

What if you shed your inhibitions more often— not just for a vacation-sized glimpse—but all the time?

What if you used that fun, playful mindset, year round?

I relish the thought.

Embracing our summer energy is not only magnetic right now— as we’re in the midst of it— but if we can bring a drop with us year round… magic just might happen.

*Image by Juanjo Ripollés Via Flickr Creative Commons

About the Author – Elizabeth Stone

elizabethstoneElizabeth Stone is  an author focused on all things love.

Elizabeth’s work has been has been featured on YourTango, DigitalRomance, Fox News Magazine, Madame Noire and many more.

She is author of  four books, including “How to Get a Boyfriend: Your Foolproof Guide to Attracting Your Dream Relationship” and “Make Your Man Stay Forever: Your Foolproof Guide to Lasting Love” all available on Amazon now.

Obsessed with getting you results in your relationships? Let Elizabeth share some guidance with a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and daily (almost) email series.

After 10 interesting and often hilarious years of navigating the dating world, she has settled down with her feisty husband and unruly dog.


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