Take Your Glasses And Cell Phone On Walks!

Hiking Trails

Take your glasses and cell phone on walks!

Why did I title this blog post Take Your Glasses And Cell Phone On Walks? Well, here’s why…

Last week, at late dusk, I saw a stray dog walk around the corner of our street. “Hey, little fella,” I said. “Are you lost?” It looked at me, and I realized I was staring at the pink nose of a bear! I inched slowly backward into a neighbor’s yard while the bear disappeared into a hedge on the other side of the street.

A car came around the corner, and I noticed the driver was another neighbor. But it was dark, and he didn’t see me. I found out later he was following the bear to make sure neighbors out walking didn’t get surprised. With the car between the bear and me, I sprinted across the street and burst into our front door. “There’s a bloody bear outside!” I said to my husband through gasps.

Apologies for not having a photo of this bear sighting. Now maybe you’ll understand why I titled this blog post Always Take Your Glasses And Cell Phone On Walks!

Since then, several bears have been seen in and around town. Some swimming in pools and jacuzzis, eating avocados, knocking over trash cans, and leaving bear poo all over the place. They’re eating whatever they can before they enter their dens to hibernate.

More News

The big news from my neck of the woods is that it rained for nine hours here two weeks ago. While the rain consisted mainly of heavy drizzle, it was enough to have green tufts pushing through the soil the following day. Outside my study window, I see daffodils emerging. Like us, the plants can no longer trust the weather to tell them the time of year.

It’s November, and I’m still picking tomatoes, and I’m not complaining because fresh tomatoes mean fresh tomato sauces with garlic and basil. Like most of my backyard veggie-growing neighbors, I’ve no idea what to plant. I’m guessing we’ll have a frost at some stage, but I could harvest summer veggies between now and then, even though it’s supposed to be winter!

Spring bulbs sprouting
Still harvesting tomatoes
Penne with fresh tomato, basil, and chili sauce







Books, Books, Books!

My life revolves around stories, books, and audio.

One of the caveats to producing a podcast based on indie bookshops and authors is that it’s pushed me beyond my regular reading genres. For instance, over the past few months, I’ve read about baseball, missing children, leadership, aphasia, the lives of three women, Shakespeare, and heroin addiction.

I’m currently reading A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghriofa, and oh, my, this is a beautifully written book. During my interview with him, Jon McGregor recommended this book, and I’m glad I picked it up from my local indie bookshop, Bart’s Books. After two friends recommended Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art by James Nestor, I figured I’d best buy it and read it, and it’s given me plenty to ponder.

In preparation for my interview with David Poses, author of The Weight of Air: a story of the lies about addiction and the truth about recovery, I read Chasing The Scream: The first and Last Days Of The War On Drugs, by Johann Hari. I highly recommend both books. David’s book is a raw and achingly honest account of his twenty-year addiction to heroin and his recovery.

Of course, to bring me down to earth, I revisited (again) Paul Rudnick’s Gorgeous. I’m a fan of Paul’s writing, not only his novels but also his plays. If, like me, you lean hard left, check out Paul on Twitter. He always makes me giggle.

Pip presenting Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick
A Ghost in the Throat, Doireann Ní Ghríofa


The farthest I’ve traveled since February 2020 is 160.3 miles north to Cambria. I’ve been there twice in the last six months, thanks to a dear friend who owns an art gallery in the area. My traveling is via reruns of TV shows such as Escape to the Country and Escape to the Continent.

Hubby’s sorted out the camping gear, so hopefully, we’ll find ourselves sleeping under the stars one day soon. Meanwhile, I dream of pizza in Florence, France and croissants, Australia and Cadbury’s chocolate, and the UK and Sunday veggie roast dinners. I miss my family and friends dotted all over the globe, and I envision drawn-out dinners with you all in the near future.

The Bookshop Podcast

October 30, 2021, marked The Bookshop Podcast’s first anniversary. The team is proud of this as only 20% of podcasts make it past year one. We are small but mighty!

To celebrate, I’m giving away free eBook copies of The Legend of Astridr: Birth, the companion novella to The Creatives Series. Click here to download your free copy. I recommend this story to lovers of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. The novella features five full-color illustrations by the talented Australian artist Becky Stonehouse.

The Legend of Astridr: Birth, Mandy Jackson-Beverly


If you’re in the UK, make sure to listen to episodes 48, 50, 67, and 69. You might hear your favorite indie bookshop owners chatting about all things bookish and local authors. In episode 81, I spoke with Jane Yolen. Jane is 82 years young, has published over 400 books, and in my book, she’s a true storyteller and an inspiration to writers of all stages and ages.

Another interesting interview is with British author Jon McGregor, long-listed for the Man Booker prize numerous times and winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Costa Book Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Academy of Arts and Letters E.M. Forster Award. To read my review of Jon’s latest novel, Lean, Fall, Stand, click here.

Check out episode 85,  where I interview David Poses, author of The Weight of Air. We discuss addiction, and I talk about living with depression and my 34 years of sobriety.  This episode goes live on November 17.

What I’m Watching

TED LASSO! I love this series. Also, we’re watching The Morning Show; twisted, like a modern-day soap opera, but I enjoy the cast, especially Billy Crudup, who shares my birthday, July 8! Admittedly he’s eleven younger than me, but hey, he’s a Cancerian.

The Chair is another series worth checking out, as is Only Murders in the Building—corny, but I enjoy Martin Short and Steve Martin. What We Do In The Shadows cracks me up, and what’s not to like about Matt Berry? Mare of Easttown is excellent, and if you’re interested in the background of how certain films get made, check out the MOVIES that made us.

 Fitness: Walking and Stretching

If you follow me on social media, you’ve most likely noticed I love seeing sunrise. I hike three times a week with a friend, often starting at the local high school track before heading off for a three-mile jaunt. What I’ve noticed is while I adore walking, it does little to stretch my muscles, and after spending eight to ten hours a day at the computer, my body screams for more than a good hike.

The antidote to my body’s screams is stretching. This simple task is truly a life-saver, and I now set my cell to go off every 55 minutes. Rising from my desk chair, I either go outside and walk around the garden or step onto my yoga mat and stretch, holding each pose for 30 seconds before repeating. This article by Ginny Graves shares the poses I’ve found helpful. Of course, ask your health care advisor before you start any fitness program.

Perhaps the most crucial muscle I exercise is my brain. I meditate daily and have found this practice helps me sleep and genuinely feel better.

Sunrise in Ojai, California. No Bears Here!


My husband, Brian Beverly, musician, engineer, and producer of The Bookshop Podcast, has a new album on Apple Music; you can listen to it here. I’m singing in the chorus of a song, maybe you’ll hear me.


As always, I’m super grateful to every scientist and doctor who made the COVID-19 vaccination a reality, and I’m heading off to have my booster next week. Thanks to everyone listening to the podcast. And if you’ve left reviews and checked the stars next to the episodes, thank you, thank you!

Before I Sign Off…

With the holiday season approaching, please remember to purchase your books now from your local indie bookshop. Local businesses need our support. Also, don’t wait to order books. Every publisher and bookstore owner I’ve spoken with says this holiday season will be difficult, meaning fulfilling orders is tough, maybe more challenging than last year.

Be well. Be kind. Be happy.

Mandy xo

P.S. Remember, ALWAYS take your glasses and cell phone on walks!




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About Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly studied flute in Sydney, worked couture fashion in London, and has been a successful costume designer in LA, working with artists such as Madonna and David Bowie. She’s danced the tango with Robert Duvall, sewn buttons on coats with John Galliano, and discussed the art of sobriety with Alice Cooper and Russell Brand.

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