Fellow Floridians, Beware of toilet lizard and iguana aggression

From Dave Barry– Miami Herald

Here in South Florida we’re accustomed to lizards, of course; they’re everywhere. When I moved here decades ago, the lizards were one of the things I had to adjust to, along with the hurricanes, the 250 percent humidity, and the fact that Miami drivers actually speed up for stop signs. But the lizards didn’t bother me, because even though there were a lot of them, they were small and cute and non-threatening. They seemed to spend most of their time just standing around doing nothing, like members of a miniature highway-repair crew.

The most aggressive lizard behavior I’d see was the occasional male lizard trying to attract a sex partner by displaying the skin flap under his chin, which is called a “dewlap.” Apparently it is a strongly held belief among male lizards that the chicks really go for a guy with a big dewlap. It’s kind of like weight-lifter human males who believe human females are attracted to large biceps and consequently wear tank tops everywhere, including funerals. But I was not threatened — nor, for the record, attracted — by the dewlap displays. I left the lizards alone, and the lizards left me alone. If I encountered lizards, say, on a sidewalk, they always respectfully skittered out of the way, in recognition of the fact that I was, compared to them, Godzilla.

But lately the lizards are different. I don’t know what’s causing it. Maybe it’s global climate change. But what’s really disturbing is that many of these appear to be a new kind of lizard: They’re bigger, and they’re uglier. They’re not the cute li’l Geico Gecko types. They’re
more along the lines of junior-varsity velociraptors. And they have an attitude. More and more, when I encounter sidewalk lizards, they do not skitter away. At best they casually saunter off in an insolent manner. Sometimes these lizards don’t move at all: They just stand there defiantly, giving me that beady lizard eyeball, clearly conveying, by their body language, the
message: “Why should I fear YOU? You have a small dewlap!” Which, much as it pains me to admit it, is true.

Perhaps you think I’m overreacting. Perhaps you’re thinking, “OK, maybe the lizards are getting bigger and more aggressive. But why should I care? I spend most of my time indoors anyway, so this issue doesn’t really affect ME.”
Oh really? Let me ask you a question: While you’re indoors, do you ever have occasion to use a toilet? I ask because of an alarming report I saw July 8 on NBC6 TV news. The report begins with a camera shot looking down into a toilet bowl, which contains a large iguana. This exchange introduces a report concerning retirees Janet and Bruce Bleier, who, since moving to Hollywood, FL. from Long Island, have encountered not one, but TWO commode iguanas. The first time was in October, when Bruce went to use the bathroom late one night.

Janet discovered the second iguana. She offers this advice to NBC6 viewers: “Look before you sit.” In both cases, the Bleiers called Harold Rondan, proprietor of a company called Iguana Lifestyles, who came and took the iguana away. (Iguana removal is a major industry in South Florida.) Perhaps at this point you’re thinking, “OK, so this one couple had two iguanas show up in their toilet. It’s probably just a fluke. It’s not like it’s an epidemic.”

Oh really? Well perhaps you would be interested to know that on July 10, just two days after the NBC6 report about the Bleiers, another local station, WSVN 7News, carried a report about another Hollywood resident, Michelle Reynolds, who came downstairs one evening and looked into her toilet. Guess what she found? She found an iguana. A LARGE iguana. “He took up most of the toilet bowl,” she tells 7News. There’s video of the iguana being removed, again by Harold Rondan of Iguana Lifestyles, who identifies it as a Mexican spiny-tailed iguana. Even by iguana standards, this is an ugly animal, and it does not look happy. You can tell by its facial expression that its goal in life is to grow much bigger so that one day it can come back and eat Harold Rondan of Iguana Lifestyles.

And that’s not the end of our story. On July 11, one day later, the Bleiers were once again on the local TV news. It turns out they had yet another toilet iguana. This was their THIRD.
So please don’t try to tell me this isn’t an epidemic.
I spoke by phone with Janet Bleier, who said she and her husband are trying, with the help of Hollywood authorities, to figure out how the iguanas are getting in, but so far they’ve had no luck. “We never, ever, walk into one of our bathrooms any more without checking. Even if we’re not going to use the toilet, we look.”

In case you think this epidemic is confined to Hollywood, I urge you to Google “toilet lizards.” You’ll discover that this has been going on for a while now, and not just in Florida; it’s happening in warmer climates all over the world.
So I repeat: The lizards are up to something. But what? Are they planning some
kind of coordinated attack?
I don’t have the answers. But for now we all need to do our part. This means keeping our toilet lids down, of course, but it also means standing up to the lizards and letting them know we’re not afraid of them, even though we actually are. The next time you encounter a lizard, either on the sidewalk or, God forbid, in your bathroom, look it straight in whichever eyeball is closest to you and tell it, in a firm, clear voice:
“We know what you’re up to.“ If it’s a Mexican spiny-tailed iguana, you should say this in Spanish.
Also, if you have a dewlap, you should display it. They respect that.

I was lounging peacefully on my chair, admiring the ocean, but something was rubbing right under my …
Try to imagine my scream when I saw that big iguana
coming from under my lounge chair.

I hope you enjoyed Dave Barry’s article, especially if you don’t live in South Florida!!!

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Florida: More Than a Beach by @PatriceWilton

When you think of Florida, you envision the beach: cerulean blue skies, sparkling turquoise water, the sight and sound of waves splashing on the sandy shore. There are so many things to do on Florida beaches. Enjoy the sunshine with a good book. Surfing. Dolphin watching. Shell collecting, kayaking, building sandcastles, laughter, and fun. Let’s not forget swimming! Sunny Florida delivers the very best in outdoor living.

Florida is more than a beach

Yes, there are a multitude of things to do on the beach. But Florida has a great many other activities and sights to offer. Like scary alligators at Everglades National Park. Did you know that America’s Everglades is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States? And then we have Disney World and Universal Studios. We have the Kennedy Space Center. Then there’s Daytona Speedway, and Busch Gardens. There are museums, art galleries, and wonderful restaurants.

Sunshine 7 days a week?

I have to admit that it’s not all sunshine and roses. We do have downpours like nobody’s business. Did I forget heat? Oh, yea—we have that. And humidity. And hurricanes that hit us every year.

But… do I love living in the Sunshine State? You betcha!

Florida Beaches Horseback Riding

Yesterday I took my granddaughter horseback riding on the beach. We had so much fun, and both of us will do it again. There were two people in charge of us, one went in front the other took the rear. A group of five riders at a time. We walked through a trail first that led us to the beach, and then we were on the white sand feeling the sea breeze in our face, enjoying the sway and feel of this magnificent animal under you. It was a real thrill and adventure for the both of us.

Horseback Riding on the beach

Come on down to Florida and enjoy the beauty of nature and everything else my wonderful state has to offer you.

Learn more about me and my books on my Amazon Author Page.

Where nothing bad ever happens…

Imagine a nice neighborhood of fancy high-rises lined along the seashore, each looking like a picture perfect resort, with a private beach and a pool sparkling under the blazing sun. I am sure you must have received postcards from well-intentioned friends, rubbing it in that they are sunbathing in Florida while you are freezing in arctic weather.

When you visit friends living in a high-rise, you have to sign in at the front desk. Security officers would check with the people you are visiting before directing you to one of the elevators. In other words, high-rises benefit from a tight and reassuring security.

Nothing bad could ever happen in these places. Right?

Wrong! This crime occurred in a neighboring building. A friend related the story before it was printed in the local newspaper.

The couple have been married for a year. Picture her tall, artificially blond, fashionable with tight dresses and high heeled-sandals. It’d be difficult to guess her age, anywhere between 40 and 50. Her husband, well-tanned, rugged, often looking younger. He likes the beach and often swims. She protects her face with a wide-rim hat when walking to her car. The neighbors regularly see her taking her daily jog in the morning and the security officer at the front desk greets her with an appreciative smile. Mrs. X. is wealthy and gives generous Christmas bonuses to the building employees.

So when Mrs. X didn’t show up for her daily walk for three consecutive days, security got worried. Her car was still in the parking lot but not her husband’s. Security called her apartment several times. No one answered. Having an extra key, the security officer knocked on her door and opened when receiving no answer. The apartment was empty. Maybe she was gone with her husband.

Mr. X returned from his trip in the night and two days later called the police saying that his wife was missing.

The police found her purse and car keys at home. So where was she?

A day later, a woman body dressed in bra and bikini, and high-heeled sandals was found lying on the sand of a beach at a two-hour distance. The woman was identified as Mrs. X.

Mr. X collapsed, crying that his wife has committed suicide.

What is your verdict? Who killed Mrs. X and why?

Police suspected everyone. Husband, security guard, creep from outside, Mrs. X committing suicide.

Then police looked at motives and alibis.

1-Creep from outside could have killed her while she was on the beach but would have thrown her in the ocean in front of her building. Why take extra chance in moving her elsewhere?

2- Security guard had no serious motive to kill her. In the contrary he benefited from her gifts when she was alive.

3-Suicide: how could she have gone to that faraway beach without her car? The way she took care of herself was not characteristic of a depressed woman.

4-husband had a great alibi. He was on a trip and proofed that he met with people, but the fact he took so long to report the crime incriminated him. Also the fact that her car keys were in the purse left at home.

Police report said that the husband killed her by strangulation, shoved her in his trunk, then went on his trip, came back to dump her in the ocean, then went back to meet again with his partners, there by consolidating his alibi.

His motive: Money. Police discovered he had taken an insurance on his wife, and claimed she was depressive because she often visited a friend who was a psychiatrist, but they were friendly visits, not professional. He is in jail, awaiting his sentence. The apartment was sold.

Think you know your neighbors? Reviewed in the United States “This is an enjoyable cozy mystery, its emphasis on the romance between the main characters, Alexa Partson and Dante Cantari. The Italian hunk is every woman’s dream – smart, attentive and a dynamo in the boudoir. As well as on the beach! When Alexa is accused of killing her neighbor and nemesis, Steve Bairey, Dante steps up as her lawyer and protector, too. Through it all, the author skillfully weaves in the high life of condo living on the sands of Fort Lauderdale. And it’s dangers. Because someone in the building wants Alexa dead. And won’t stop until she is. There’s a host of interesting secondary characters, who become suspects in Alexa’s eyes, as she and Dante play amateur sleuths in order to catch the real murderer. The conclusion is fast-paced and the mystery kept me guessing right to the end. I will definitely be reading more from this writer.

“Her French Count is a great romance with an excellent mystery.” ~Publishers’ Weekly
“This is a wonderfully exciting romantic suspense novel. The characters are appealing and the setting is very romantic, a chateau in the Loire Valley. There is an interesting cast of characters. The plot is full of action and the reader is never sure who is on the side of good or evil.” ~ Romance Studio
“Murder, mystery, and intrigue seem to follow Cheryl as she assists Francois on his project. A great contemporary romantic read.” ~Review Your Book
“Mona Risk brings old-fashioned romance back into style… full of mystery and intrigue.  I loved Ms. Risk’s injection of humor into the story. A sweet mystery romance you’re guaranteed to enjoy.” ~ Two Lips Review
“Ms. Risk does a nice job of building the relationship between the main characters while exploring the mystery of the lost statue.” ~ Simply Romance Review
“Mona Risk will pull you in with her amazing characters and in-depth twisting suspense. She takes armchair travel to whole new heights as her characters travel to their heart wrenching and spine tingling doom.”~ Night Owl Romance Book Reviews
“A great romance with an excellent mystery. The instant attraction is met with a slow and sure build up of emotions. The couple are very complementary, compelling, and wonderfully romantic.” ~Coffee Time Romance