Charlotte’s Web, Revisited; Twice, Thrice and Now a Half-Dozen Times!*


This is Charlotte, the OG(S): Original Garden (Spider). She made her home over our pool house last summer.

To say I don’t love spiders is being understated. I have a major fear of anything with 8 legs, but writing spiders? (AKA yellow garden argiope, yellow garden orb-weaver, golden garden spider, golden orb-weaver, and the writing spider.) I may have a soft spot in my arachniphobe heart for them.

Last year, Charlotte, as we called her, took up residence right over the doorway of our pool house. Initially, I was petrified to even try to walk under her web, but unlike phlegm, I became desensitized to her presence and even became happy to see her. She was eating her weight (and then some) of house flies, stink bugs and mosquitos! I posted a blog about her on Random Musings, because I actually grew quite fond of her. (Who knew, right?) She left a couple of egg sacks for us. We figured we’d be inundated with a gazillion tiny arachnids, but we weren’t. Only six, plus multiple males, and counting.

So spring came and went this year, and in May I was transplanting some plants from a haul to a local nursery. I went to grab a spare pot, and there, in one of them, was a really tiny Charlotte. She had made her signature zig-zag web, but it was maybe the size of a quarter. Then she disappeared.

Two weeks ago, we found this right outside of our back door in the corner of our deck:

Little Charlotte

Little Charlotte

She’s positioned herself right in front of our outlet, so in order for me to light up the deck and the hammock stand, I would have to put my hand through her web, and I think we all know that’s not happening. She’s eating flies and I even found a daddy long-legs carcass at the bottom edge of her web. She really needs to relocate, but my husband said she’ll do that on her own, when the time is right.

Then there is Big Charlotte, who’s strung up her mansion in the above-right area off our porch by our front door. I know that the eats are plentiful, because she’s about doubled in size over the past week.

Big Charlotte

Big Charlotte. We leave the light on for her.

The porch lights, which we usually leave off because they attract bugs, have been on more frequently so that she can get her dinner on.

While there is still a shudder-factor when I see the girls, I’m not going to swat them down, because I know that they are not pests. (Just, please, Ladies, don’t try to take up residence inside my house, otherwise all bets may be off.)

Big Charlotte has actually found a mate (or three), who are a fraction of her size and have their webs just below hers. They’ll mate later in the season and she’ll eat them. It’s what they do. Nature, right? Then there will be another egg sack floating around that we might find, or we might not. She’s gotten a LOT bigger since the first image. Use the siding panels as a guide:


Big Charlotte and the last of her little men.

My grandson was here one weekend and went after Little Charlotte with a broom because he could reach her. Nana had to ask him not to, because that was the Original Charlotte’s baby. (It’s hard to put this into language that a three year old can comprehend, but he did remember the original Charlotte, and I showed him the shell of the egg sack and some how, he got it! He leaves her alone. Go figure!)

At any rate, while Little Charlotte is kind of too close for even my comfort, she stays, and I don’t even give as wide a berth going in and out of the back door as I might have before, but that I even let them be THISCLOSE to where I traverse? That speaks volumes for someone who almost drives off the highway because there is a spider in her car.

In the ten days since I posted the original images we’ve had some additions to our spider family.

Last week we found another large female and collection of her male harem under the eve by the driveway. She’s just Driveway Spider.

We also discovered The Twins, two females that have taken up residence against the back wall of my former studio earlier this week. I’ve tried to get a picture of them together, but both are so scared of me that when I attempt to approach them, they scatter. How’s that for a bizarre change of pace?

This morning, on my way out the door, I discovered the sixth (AKA Nikki Six) on on the far right of our front porch.


Meet Nikki Six

We are becoming overrun, it seems, but I don’t have it in me to kill them. I’m not even sure how I would go about relocating my two original door guards. With the absence of pests at both doors? I’m not sure that I’d really want to.

If someone could find a way to desensitize me in airplanes? I’d be almost totally fearless, except for that slow-death-by-cancer-thing!

*Originally published at in the Members area.

Posted in In the Yard, nature, Of Interest, Spiders, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I Work SOOO Hard at Being The Nice Girl…

Some days, though. I can’t even, for the most part.

Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up, thinking it was Saturday, but it was Wednesday. How soul-crushing is that?

I get to my office, head up to my daily Safety Huddle, grab an omelette from Chef Carl, who is my reason for getting up on Wednesday mornings, even if I think they are Saturdays. I order my usual: egg whites with the good veggies, some ham and mozzarella inside and out.

I get in front of my computer with my Tabasco-laced breakfast and open my email and there it is. The downfall of my day. I went home early sick on Monday and on Tuesday morning I found an email from my nemesis, written during second shift. The content of said email is neither here nor there, but I respond in kind, sort of drawing a picture without crayons, even though I believe the recipient needs an actual picture drawn out for them. The response was sent early yesterday morning, to which I replied. I worded my response as carefully as I could, simply because I know my nemesis would probably forward this response to my boss and his bosses above him.

I’m still not exactly sure what transpired between this person and my boss, but I receive a call from my boss wanting to know what, exactly I sent to my nemesis, so I forwarded all correspondence to him.

By now? I’m pissed (sorry, Mom) because while I used to be able to do evaluations and write-ups? That falls in my boss’s lap, now, and just about every day for the past week or so, my nemesis has screwed something up, so I keep my boss in the email loop, yet NOTHING is being done. In the old days? I would have already written her up for insubordination and lack of professional communication, separately, which would have gotten her terminated. It’s out of my hands now.

I regressed to my former, unprofessional, Sicilian-tempered self and blurted (out loud, no less) that should I come across this person on the street, I would happily whoop her ass. (Again, sorry, Mom.)

A nice girl can only take so much.

For every email I now send, my boss has a courtesy copy, and I print everything, so to say I have a thick file of paper-trail is an understatement. I don’t know what my boss is waiting for, but I’m hoping that someone will do something before my nemesis takes another patient off of the cardiac floor without notifying a monitor tech. These techs need to know where their patients are at all times in case their monitors (or God forbid their hearts) go ka-floo-ey. I don’t need someone dying on my watch to prove a point.

All that being said? I’m done being the nice girl. Nice doesn’t save lives and it doesn’t win friends and influence people in my immediate circle.

Until next time…


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What to Write When Your Mind Draws a Blank


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplashkelly-sikkema-594314-unsplash

Originally posted on Medium

There it is; that road block that anyone who writes dreads.

I have nothing to say!

You log onto Medium with a gazillion different thoughts in your head, yet none of them seem to have enough substance to write about, yet you click on “new story” because you are certain the inspiration will hit you once you’ve done that. Except that it doesn’t.

Then there is that cursor on the blank page. It just keeps blinking at you, taunting you, daring you to just close the window and go on with your life; hit up Facebook, play the online games or binge watch that series you stopped watching when you decided that writing was a worthwhile pursuit.

But you can’t. You’ve made a commitment to yourself to publish something every day. You know that at some point, you will publish something that is worthy of going viral in the Medium world, or at least garnering a payment. No, it might not be today, tomorrow or even this year, but you know it willhappen.

Because when you were just blogging for the fun of it? Writing was optional. When you had an off-day, and let’s be honest; when we are just blogging for the hell of it? It’s no big deal when your brain draws a blank. Now that you’ve made a commitment to yourself? All of those old bets are off, and that just makes you feel worse!

So you sit there and you watch that infuriating cursor, which used to be your friend, while it blinks and mocks you. It’s almost as if the Wordgod only gave you so many words to use per week and you blew them on the three pieces that kind of sucked last night. Now you’re on empty.

Suddenly you realize that this is something that every other writer has encountered, so you decide to write about it, because just maybe your piece on having nothing to say will speak to someone else; another writer being taunted by the infernal blinking cursor. This isn’t the one that will garner you a payment, or a grand following or even a few claps, but you put it out there, anyway, just because you feel like you might help someone else feel better about the blank page in their mind, and it might prompt them to write about their own “have nothing to say” day.

So here it is, writing family; the piece about having nothing to say. Worry not. It happens to everyone (or so I am told) at one time or another.

Write on!

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