Inside Out

When I was a little girl, as soon as I got up in the morning I was out the door, most often with my dad, or sometimes with my mom in the garden, and I spent the whole day out there. I didn’t come inside to stay until my mom called me in when it got dark.

IInside Out kids outside grew up this way, playing outside, in the barns, in the fields, in the yard, and climbing trees. I made interstate “overpasses” for my Matchbox cars out of maple roots, and I used scissors to cut grass short enough to make “pastures” for the tiny animals from my farm sets.

If the weather was fit, and sometimes even if it wasn’t fit, I wanted to be outside.

Then I started school and made a wider circle of friends, and I discovered that not everybody liked to be outside as much as I did.

“Hey, let’s go outside!” I’d say. Some of them would go “Yeah, let’s go outside!”Inside out it's too hot

But others would frown. “It’s too hot,” they’d say. Or the worst of all… “Let’s just stay in,” with no reason given for why they preferred this choice.

Little Cassondra could not fathom this.

Outside, after all, there was this enormous, glorious world to explore.

Soon enough I realized that people tended to be either “inside people” or “outside people.” I was born an outside person.

Of course there are people who like both, but in my observation, true “outside people” tend to look for any opportunity to get outside, and we will still be out there when the “inside people” have gotten too hot, too cold, too bothereInside Out sunsetd by bugs, or just plain too bored. Inside people generally do not like to sweat, I think, and can I just say, I totally get that.  The ugly parts of sweat could someday make me switch sides.

I’m married to an inside person.

Right now, as I type this, I’m sitting on my deck, under the umbrella, watching the sun play peekaboo with the clouds as it sinks toward the horizon way across the fence toward the west.   That’s a photo, on the left, of the view i had as I typed this.  Insideout  mosquito

I’m surrounded by an army of citronella candles, and the Deep Woods Off is on the patio table beside me, just in case the candles are not enough. I’ve got my glass of wine, my bottle of water, and four bars of wifi from the internet router in the house.

I’m good.

Steve is inside, in the air conditioning, on facebook.

He comes out for short bits of time when I’m out here in the evenings, but once the mosquitos come around, he waves thmorning sun 3e white flag.

Mosquitoes love Steve the way dogs love ice cream, and honestly, they can take all the fun out of anything.

Lately I’ve been having to wage war with the nasty bloodsuckers too.

But I’m willing, because, you see, I’ve figured out that if I’m outside, I’ll write.

If I’m inside, I tend to get distracted by laundry, dishes, and the internet. Inside does not feed my muse.  I’ll have to figure out what to do different when the weather turns cold, but for now, I’m loving the return to my outside self.

For the past few weeks, any time I get a chance, as soon as I get up anWriting Assistant TKd moving around, I bring my pot of coffee out onto the deck.

I also bring my laptop, and sometimes I bring writing assistants. This past week, TK (short for Tiger Katt) has been lying in the shade of the umbrella, helping me with research and providing encouraging purrs and toe licks as needed. He has a bowl of water on the upper deck, but day before yesterday, he decided he wanted to taste the water in the birdbath.

The wrens who were waiting their turn for a bath were not amused. I put TK back inside when I realized he was in their way, but still, they cussed loudly in wrenish for a solid hour, telling me off.

But see….I made a note about being cussed out by a wren, and since I’m writing small-town contemporary romance,  I’ll use that in a future story. :0)

When I come out here in the mornings I open the story I’m working on, and when my eyes need a rest, I stare off into the distance, at the neighboring farms, the wildlife on the pond behind the house, and the rabbitwriting in the evenings running around the yard.

I stay out here all day. Other than bathroom trips and drink refills, I don’t go back inside until the evening. I’m out here through the light breezes, through the heat of the 90-degree, mosquito-infested, Southern Kentucky August afternoons (not too bad for this time of year, honestly—it could be over a hundred degrees right now) and then I go in to fix supper.  But  I come right back out and these days I type late into the night on my trusty laptop, surrounded by citronella candles and tiki torches.

It’s full-on dark as I finish this blog. with a half-moon peeking through the trees above me.

For the past two weeks, I’ve waked up in the morning and my first thought has been, “I get to sit on the deck and work on my story!”  And it’s coming along nicely.

Del is the heroine of book 1 in this series, and she’s an outside girl like me.  But her best friend is completely different.  Let’s just say that all of Rainey’s friends have set Material Girl as her ringtone on their phones because it aggravates her.  Her friends might know she’s not really like that, but a lot of people see her that way, and she hates it.

Which has nothing to do with her love or hate of sweat…..

That all depends on whose sweat she’s looking at.

inside out writing at night

So I’m interested in your take on the outside vs the inside.

Are you an outside person?

Or an inside person?

Or are you a combination?  Can you relate to both?

When you were a kid, did you like to play outside? Did you like to get dirty?

Or did you prefer to stay inside and stay clean?

Is your idea of a perfect vacation a resort hotel where they pamper you all day and you never have to set foot outside? (Okay that sounds good even to me!)

Or is it a hike in the woods, camping on the New England coast, or going with Bandita Nancy on a boat trip through her beloved Okefenokee swamp to see the wildlife up close and personal?

Are your evenings spent out on the deck until long after the sun has set?  Or inside, watching movies in the blessedly cool air conditioning?

What’s your best cure for mosquito bites?  Any tried and true advice for beating the heat or the bugs outside?

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  • Steve Tabor says:

    I am definitely an outside person…Living on the “Why Knot?” since mid-April. What mosquitos? I leave my boat hatches open at night and haven’t had any problems with them this season.

    • Cassondra says:

      Steve, that’s fantastic that the mosquitos don’t bother you there at the lake. My Steve has to take repellent with him when he goes to the lake. They’re not as bad on the water as tehy are on land it seems, but when he’s anywhere outside, they find him.

    • Cassondra says:

      Oh good grief. I completely forgot to warn you, Steve, that the first blog commenter of the day gets to take home the notorious Golden Rooster of the Bandit Lair.

      I’m guessing you took him sailing, so tomorrow should be an interesting day when we hear what he has to say about that!

  • Amy Conley says:

    Totally an outside person. My mother said I only stayed outside because (heaven forbid), I smoke. This is so untrue, as I informed her last summer when she accused me of being able to do anything inside because I am a smoker. I informed her I smoke in my iwn house, and yet I decide to spend my time outdoors. I always have. I don’t care how hot it is outside, I want to be out there. Now, I HATE cold weather a d if it gets below 60 degrees outside, I come inside and find my blanket, wrap up, and basically hibranate. Also, if I had my way we would not use our ac at all, but since hubby has had 4 heart attacks, when it gets too humid he can’t breath and that puts him on the road for another heart attack. And number 5 will mean open heart surgery.

    • Amy Conley says:

      PS watch out for those citronella candles, I had one explode on me, and when I say “on me”, and it hurts when you catch on fire. But the dr said if you have to cat h on fire from a candle, citronella is the best because it is the softest wax and will remove the least amount of skin.

      • Cassondra says:

        Amy I got a little aggravated yesterday because I bought some “OFF” Citronella candles that were not actually citronella. Got them home and it’s a regular candle with a little insecticide pad to put in the top of the lantern. I have no idea what I’m breathing, but I obviously should have read the box more closely. I think I’m going to take the rest of them back.

    • Cassondra says:

      Amy, as I’ve gotten older, I want it really cool in the house at night when I’m sleeping. I didn’t grow up with air conditioning, but I guess I’ve just gotten used to having it. To sleep well, I need it cool now. Other than that, I could live without A/C in the house. In the car is a different story. I really appreciate having the A/C there!

  • Helen says:


    I was always an outside kid although I did read a lot I could find a nice place outside to read when it wasn’t raining but these days I am am inside person LOL I am much mor compfy on the recliner winter or summer with my kindle in may hand. But when the grandkids are over we do spend time outside playing it is much better in my opinion for kids to be outdoors 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Cassondra says:

      Helen, age does that to all of us I think. I tend to read mostly at night nowadays, so that usually means curled up in bed. But one reason I love my Kindle so much is that I can read okay on it outside. I think the new tablets are harder to use if it’s sunny because you can’t see the screen.

  • Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I am from the inside camp now, when I was younger I was more an outside person but age and menopause fixed that pretty quick.
    I am one of those people that if you had a group of 100 peeps and there was a biting bug in a 10 mile radius, it would bite me. Repeatedly.
    Between my skintone and meds I now take the sun can also do serious damage. I am paying for lack of knowledge from my youth when several sunburns each summer is showing what the true damage was all those years ago.
    Nope, I still don’t have sense enough to stay in all the time, I go out on the boat but I have 75 spf sunscreen and use it faithfully. I still don’t like to sweat though

    • Cassondra says:

      Dianna, I now use spf 100 on my face. I’ve got 55 and 75 for the rest of me. I hear you about the meds. I was once on some medicine that made my skin much more sun-sensitive, and it was a big change to have to be that careful. Glad you still go out on the boat though!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Cassondra, I have to say I am genuinely both. I tend to spend most of my life indoors, but that’s mostly because of my day job and then my writing. When I am outside, though, I love to do all the things. I like to work in the yard, walk, hike and partake of any and every outdoor adventure. I was passing over Jordan Lake yesterday and thinking fondly of going windsurfing and kayaking again. It’s been years since learned to windsurf and actually go to do it, but we tend to kayak on every vacation.

    My sibs and I spent most of our childhoods outside, too. My mother is a diehard outdoor person and my father loved to do all the outdoor things, so we were geared to live outside. My husband is much like I am: a person who loves the outdoors and is forced to spend most of his life indoors.

    I think if I had been adventurous like Susan Sey (and knew you could actually do such things) I would have studied outdoor education or something similar. I seriously considered becoming a forest ranger, but decided it would be too lonely living out in the woods. Young Caren didn’t realize that might have been a great way to meet outdoorsy men. Doh! 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      Caren, no greater truth has ever been written than Things sure got a lot better since Betty got a bass boat… just sayin.

      I did outdoor education for a living for a while. I have to say, I think it works better for the young. As I’ve grown older, I’m sort of glad I’m not schlepping gear up and down hills every day. That said, I’m sure I’d be in MUCH better shape if I were doing that, rather than sitting on my tail on the deck, typing. ;0)

  • Mozette says:

    So I’m interested in your take on the outside vs the inside.

    Are you an outside person?Or an inside person?Or are you a combination? Can you relate to both?

    I’m a combination of both. I love being inside and love being outdoors too… but I have really want to go outside and be involved in the great outdoors. I’ve had people in my family force me to leave my home, taking me places and I’ve been a complete misery guts while going. My folks didn’t get it and when they told my brother, he’d tell them that they shouldn’t do that and let me alone that I might have wanted to stay home and read a good book, or I might not have been feeling very social (and yeah, when I get non-social I get really snappy and awful; and I hate hurting people). And there’s times where I get very quiet and so I hibernate inside and watch the world pass by from a window… that’s really nice to do sometimes too. 😀

    When you were a kid, did you like to play outside? Did you like to get dirty?

    I loved getting outside when I was a kid. We had a neighbourhood filled with children to play with – and we lived on a busy main road! But we all looked out for each other and loved hanging out with each other.

    Or did you prefer to stay inside and stay clean? Then there were days where I stayed in my room and read my books from my collection… 😀

    Is your idea of a perfect vacation a resort hotel where they pamper you all day and you never have to set foot outside? (Okay that sounds good even to me!)

    I love going to Brunswick Heads and caravanning there… it’s a sweet little seaside village on the far north coast of New South Wales. It’s a fishing village and I pretty much grew up there through the school holidays… I love sitting out on the fly and reading a book, or hanging out in the caravan on Mum’s laptop and writing my next chapter of Fry Nelson or my next book or story… great fun! However, Dad doesn’t seem to think it’s very productive to live inside your imagination… he likes to go fishing on his own for hours on end… hmmmm… I think that’s unhealthy in itself.

    Or is it a hike in the woods, camping on the New England coast, or going with Bandita Nancy on a boat trip through her beloved Okefenokee swamp to see the wildlife up close and personal?

    Now I have a car, I’ll be travelling around Brunswick Heads and the Far North Coast a lot differently than in the past years… I’ll be able to visit book stores, arty spots on the coast and friends I’ve missed seeing for over a decade.. as well as take a day trip on my own if I wish. 😀

    Are your evenings spent out on the deck until long after the sun has set? Or inside, watching movies in the blessedly cool air conditioning?

    Well, living in Australia, we live with the Aeroguard all over us! The mozzies are dreadful! And none of us want Dengie Fever on our holidays…. so we keep ourselves well-covered.

    What’s your best cure for mosquito bites? Any tried and true advice for beating the heat or the bugs outside?

    Well, I put on Lavendar Oil and it stops the bite from itching. An antihistamine is a good one, but you have to wait for it to take… but I have tried out hand sanitiser… strange but true… and it does work! 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette, so great to hear about the car and the upcoming visits to old friends! Your description makes me long to see your fishing village. I’ve said for years that if I could have a second home, it would be on a harbor in a place just like that.

      I will definitely try the hand sanitizer. most of the bites don’t affect me too much, but night before last I came inside with a really bad one on my ankle. It’s still sore, and I didn’t even feel the bite. He probably drank half my blood and fell off in a stupor. I think I also have Lavender oil here. I’ll try both of these things!

  • Susan Sey says:

    I’ve been feeling tremendously guilty about this point lately, Cassondra! Funny you should hit right on it on the blog! See, we’ve been painting the girls’ rooms this summer & this entails a lot of hours spent indoors.

    But we live in Minnesota, where summers are brief & precious. We hate being indoors when the weather’s nice.

    But the rooms aren’t going to paint themselves, & we’ve only got three weeks of vacation left before school starts. It’s going to get busy up in here any second, & if we don’t have the rooms done & organized by the time school starts, we’ll spend the next nine months managing chaos.

    So we’re indoors, at least this week.

    But next weekend we’re off to the Boundary Waters for a weekend in canoes & tents, so maybe that’ll make up for it?

    I know it’ll do my heart good.

    • I hear you Susan. The wallpaper is falling off my kitchen & dining room walls. The cat has scratched the rice paper wallpaper that it’s in shreds. I’ve pointed these things out to my husband that we have to strip the paper and paint the walls. He says it’s summer – that’s a winter job. I pointed out that we’ll need open windows when we paint or the fumes will kill us off 🙂 Can’t do that in winter. Sigh. The wallpaper remains.

    • Cassondra says:

      Susan I’ve been ignoring everything to be outside and work this summer. The house is a complete wreck, and we’ve got rot on the windows–that IS an outside job, but I’m looking away and going “lalalalalala” with my fingers in my ears. I’ve been living in chaos for a while now, sometimes managed, sometimes not, and it’s a royal pain. I admire you for doing something about it. Maybe you could come down here and fix my chaos instead of going to the Boundary Waters?
      Yeah, I didn’t think so. ;0)

  • Cassondra –
    I think I’m a combination but my husband is definitely an inside person. Spring through fall, I write outside on a screened in porch no matter the temps. There’s a ceiling fan if it’s too not and blankets & sweaters if it’s too cold. I prefer to ride in my car with the windows open and rarely turn on the air inside the house. I’d rather sit outside to eat than inside at a restaurant.

    My husband never opens the car windows and hates to eat outside. He agrees with open windows in the house, though, so that’s good. He hates camping, I enjoy it. We are truly a case of opposites attract in this regard, but we compromise 🙂

    • Cassondra says:

      Donna I’m the same way. I always want to eat outside at restaurants, but all of my friends always vote me down. There is one couple who also enjoys sitting at outside tables when we go out together, and when they’re with us. I win. *looks smug*

      If it’s in direct sunlight, I don’t like sitting outside, but if there’s an umbrella for shade, I want to be out there. I especially love dining outside at night.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Lovely post, Cassondra.

    Although I used to be an outdoor person as a kid — running and playing imaginary games, getting dirty on the banks of the James River — now I’m completely indoors.

    I like to burrow. I like it dark and quiet and me alone with my computer, especially when I write.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jo, I admit that I prefer to be completely alone when I write. I used to sometimes go to starbucks, but I’d take earplugs and wait for a corner table with my back to the wall, and I kind of hunkered down there. I probably looked menacing, too. *grin*
      Now you can’t pry me off the deck.
      The unfortunate part is that the chores aren’t getting done. I do have to go in and scoop the cat litter later. I think I forgot it yesterday. That’s one chore that can’t go too long.

  • Cassondra, I’m definitely an indoor person. I don’t like to sweat unless it’s accomplishing something. Got bushes to prune but will get sweaty from doing it? Fine. Let’s get it done.

    Sit outside and sweat while I read instead of being comfortable inside? Not so much.

    I do generally prefer climate-controlled surroundings, so it kinda baffles me that I’m so ready to go out into the Okefenokee. Though I’m not doing that again until at least October because of the Biting Yellow Flies issue.

    I don’t mind getting dirty to accomplish something.

    As far as eating outside, I find it uncomfortable in humid weather, and I don’t like traffic noise, flies, or exhaust fumes with my meal. The people who choose outdoor tables at sidewalk cafes on busy NYC streets baffle me.

    I hate the smell of insect repellent and would rather do without it if I can. When the weather cools off, the humidity drops, and the mosquitoes die off, I enjoy sitting outside to read.

    I would love to sample a fancy resort hotel and see how I like it, but I can’t see myself spending oodles of time in a spa. If they have a pool, maybe that’d be okay. I don’t like to be near the beach, though, if I can’t walk on it.

    Getting sand all over my feet and sweating to walk on a beach suits me fine. Getting sand in my shoes, no.

    Because of some skin issues, I use SPF 85 sunblock.

    We sit outside in the evening when it’s not mosquito season.

    I have no cure for mosquito bites, alas, so we just put Benadryl cream on them and hope for the best.

    • Cassondra says:

      Nancy, Benadryl cream is what I’ve used for mosquito bites up to now, but I’m going to try the Lavender oil suggestion on the next bite and see if that helps it.

      I also do not like exhaust fumes with my meal, but if the environment is one in which I can avoid that, I love eating outside, but I am in the minority I’m afraid, at least among my friends.

      I am so with you on hating the smell of repellent. It’s why I’m trying to go the candle route if I can get that to work. I try to avoid teh repellent because it seems only the ones with DEET actually work, and I don’t like putting that on my body.

  • catslady says:

    I definitely started out as an outside person. My sister was an inside person lol. I have two girls and they are opposites too lol. I loved going to girl scout camp with them as a mother and leader. One of the reasons we bought our house was that it was on a dead end with lovely woods. They opened up our road and it is now a shortcut and lots of cars. Although we still have a small woods, homes were built. Once summer is in full bloom the trees that are left help keep some of the world out. But for the last 25 years I turned my covered back porch into a cat sanctuary so I don’t go out as often as I would like. I guess I’m inside now more than outside (my husband is more of an inside guy). Had things been different I think I could get back into being that outside girl lol.

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, I don’t think it’s ever too late. I’ve spent a number of years inside mostly, and am rediscovering how important it is for me to be in the outdoors as much as I can. I get becoming one when you were once the other, too. For a long while I just got too busy, and didn’t have a good spot for it, either. When we finally got the deck set into place (it was pulled off the house for a while) I determined that this was the year I was going to get back to the outdoors.

      when I was a kid, I would have been out in the grass. now I don’t like that so much. I prefer to be on a hard surface of some sort, to discourage some of the bugs.

  • Cassondra, what a fun post. I love the photos in this one – that sky is beautiful and the cat in the bird bath is priceless! I don’t blame the wrens for taking it amiss! Wrens of the world, unite! I must say I’m largely an inside girl, although that wasn’t true so much when I was a kid. Having said that, I can remember lots of long Saturday afternoons watching old movies and reading romance novels. The thing about reading romance novels, though, is that you can do it inside or outside. Nice, that!

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, you nailed it. Reading can be done pretty much anywhere, and I admit that now that I’m out here on the deck all the time, I want a better outdoor sofa–one I can actually lie on to read. Or maybe one of those lovely chaise lounges with lots of fluffy cushions.

      Now that there are laptops, we can pretty much write anywhere too, though my posture is not the best when I sit out here. Too many hours of typing in this position would probably get me.

  • Shannon says:

    I’m more an indoors person than an outdoors one. But I do love my walks. And I enjoy sitting by the pool.

    I have yellow jackets near my patio, so I haven’t been out there for longer than15 minutes at a time. Mosquitoes are the bane of my outdoor existence. They like me, and my body “likes” them, it get nice big red welts. Thank goodness for benadryl spray. I’m fortunate that urban spaces don’t seem to have as many bugs, so I can enjoy a walk in town or at a park.

    I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that I will get to stay at my brother’s cabin in Idaho on vacation. We’ll see how much time I’m out and how much I’m hiding, looking at the lake through the windows. For some reason, I don’t have any bug problems when we’re on a boat out on the lake. Not sure why that it is. Since my two nieces love to water ski, I imagine that I will get boat time.

    • Shannon, I hope you get to go to Idaho. I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s gorgeous.

    • Cassondra says:

      Shannon, I’ve noticed that there aren’t as many mosquitos out on the lake too. I have to wonder if there’s nothing out there for them “usually” so they don’t go out there looking for people.

      Then again, my friend Steve Tabor, who was stuck wi–I mean, who took home the Golden Rooster today, lives on his boat on the lake and he says he has no trouble with them when he’s docked.

      So maybe it’s got to do with the water itself.

  • Becke says:


    We must be kindred spirits. The best place for me is OUTSIDE!!!

    Dirty didn’t describe me. I believe it was filthy and Dad threatened to hose me off before letting me in the house.

    Torture to me is a day in a blasted spa. Just shoot me. I was ready to erupt by the time the lady finished toes and nails for conference. OMG, it was awful. Darkened room. I had to perform a self-talk to stay in the freaking chair.

    My favorite vacation is horseback riding Monument Valley. However, we did a 20-mile bike ride in Austin prior to Nationals that was fun.

    I react so badly to those varmits that I hate to be out in our back woods. I don’t care for pest spray, but it beats the welts that itch like the devil.

    What’s your best cure for mosquito bites?
    Ammonia stick-After Bite

    • Becke, I can just see you horseback riding out west. I bet that was a blast!

      I salute you for the 20-mile bike ride.

    • Cassondra says:

      Becke, you are a better woman than I am. I’m not very good on a bike, and the idea of that ride is overwhelming to me.

      I did a 20-mile walk when I was a young woman, but I’m no longer in that kind of shape.

      I know a bike ride isn’t supposed to be as hard on you as a walk, but still…that’s intimidating. Go you! Get on with your bad self!