From the Black Cat

Dear Inferior Beings,

You probably think Halloween is all about tricks and treats, goblins and ghosts, witches and jack-o’-lanterns. Wrong! Wrong, I tell you!

We black cats rule on October 31, and don’t you forget it.

Now, make sure you leave me a tuna flavored treat and no one’ll get scratched.

Meow, people.


I’ve known some witches in my time

Not the cloistered crones of legends; although, they, too exist

Cackling over crackling cauldrons

Working at wickedness for fun and profit

No, those I’ve encountered don’t give a newt’s eye for sinister stews.

They are the progeny of those who could not be burned, who steadfastly refused to drown.

Is it any wonder, then, that men fear witches?

Happy Halloween, people.

Double Edged Reblog

For some reason this attached piece never appeared in my published posts section, yet it’s no longer in my scheduled section. Weird. I know it was published because folks have commented on it, but just to be safe, I’m doing a reblog.

Here’s an irrelevant photo of a cute kitten.

Double edged

Do you build bridges or burn them?

Are you a crafter or a crusher of dreams?

Which side of the coin are you carved on?

It’s not always as clear as it seems.

Heads, some win; tails, some lose

While the joker plays both sides

A doubled edged sword cuts the work load

But seldom serves as a guide.

Good intentions don’t count for much

‘Cept on the road to hell,

Build that bridge or swing that sword

Your actions surely tell.

I was just playing with thoughts on this. As poetry, it’s fairly lame, but it suited my mood.

Peace, people!

Tuesday Tech Miscellany

Yesterday (Monday) I wrestled with my internet connection all day long. Studly was traveling, and I didn’t want to exacerbate the technical issues by doing something stupid in his absence. Instead, I was mostly tech free all day, and it was kind of nice.

My understanding of WiFi and connectivity and the million other little things that go into making my devices communicate smoothly is limited. I know that some of the little lights on my home router need to be flashing while others need to remain constant, but beyond that I’m lost. Thank goodness Studly Doright arrived home in time last evening to tell me how to fix the problem. (Basically I had to unplug the router, count to five, and plug it back in.) My hero!

Speaking of being lost, one of the things I like best about my Apple Watch is the gps feature. When I ask Siri for directions to a location, my watch will sync up and provide brief instructions as well as a pleasant buzz on my wrist as I approach a turn.

For some reason, though, on Saturday the watch lost its ability to guide me. I was heading to an estate sale using iPhone guidance and kept driving mile after mile waiting for the friendly buzz to indicate I needed to turn. Finally, I pulled into a parking lot and realized the watch wasn’t doing it’s part, and I was stuck with just the phone instructions. Plus, I was way north of Tallahassee. Not lost, but not where I needed to be either.

When I returned home I googled possible remedies to the situation, but none of them bore fruit. I figured I’d need to seek out some technical assistance at a local tech shop. Then this morning I noticed the little airplane icon on my watch. Hmmm. Had I accidentally switched it to airplane mode?

Why, yes. Yes, I had, and as soon as I figured out how to take it out of airplane mode the gps was back in business. I literally just asked Siri for directions to Trader Joe’s and my watch responded with a turn suggestion. It’s a bit confusing since I’m still inside my home, but still, I’m back in business.

Now, at the risk of making myself seem even more foolish, my car has a gps built in. Yes, I could, and often do, use it for directions. But it doesn’t buzz on my arm. I like the buzz.

No, not that Buzz; although, the wallpaper on my Apple Watch can be set to Toy Story.

To infinity and beyond! Or to Trader Joe’s. Whichever is closest.

Peace, people.

Things I Know (War of the Worlds version)

These are things that occurred to me as I watched the War of the Worlds, Tom Cruise edition, on HBO Sunday evening.

–Studly Doright would absolutely be able to maneuver through traffic to put distance between us and the Martians. Whatever it took, he’d keep me safe.

–I’d be the one to declare we were up against Martians. Studly would try to convince me it was a natural disaster.

–I’d rather have Studly by my side in an emergency than Tom Cruise. Unless snakes were involved, then I’m going to go with Cruise.

–Martians are not good people.

–I really shouldn’t watch scary movies when I’m by myself.

–Tom Cruise hasn’t aged in years. It’s creepy.

(War of the Worlds, 2005, top. Mission Impossible: Fallout, 2018, bottom)

–Maybe he’s an alien.

–Dakota Fanning’s character is annoying as hell.

–The scariest scene of all is when humans are attacking Tom Cruise’s car with him and his family inside, begging the question, “Who are the real monsters in this movie?”

–Have I mentioned what a total pain in the ass Dakota Fanning’s character is? Shrill little fart.

–Storm shelters can provide some protection from alien attack. Unfortunately I live in Florida, so a cellar is out of the question.

–“Little Deuce Coupe” is a passable lullaby when sung by Tom Cruise.

–Society breaks down quickly in the face of catastrophic events. Why does that always surprise me?

–Never trust the crazy guy who invites you to stay in his storm cellar.

–Mirrors are our friends when used to confuse Martians.

–An idiot with a gun can threaten the lives of everyone.

–Sometimes good guys have to take extreme measures to insure their children survive.

–Dakota Fanning. Can we get a muzzle?

–It’s hard to beat a good hand grenade detonated in a timely manner.

–Remember why the aliens die? We’re toxic, that’s why. Big surprise. Not.

–It’s a better movie than I’d remembered it being.

Peace, people.

Backstory on “Encounter”

Yesterday I posted a piece based on an encounter I had at a Publix grocery store a few days ago.

I’d tried to explain the event in narrative form, but no matter which way I placed the words on the page I felt like I was misrepresenting the encounter. As I told one commenter, in my attempt to tell the story I came out looking either judgmental or saintly, and neither is accurate.

Let’s give it another go, shall we?

I’d met a friend for lunch at a sushi restaurant across town in Tallahassee. On my way home to Doright Manor in Havana, Florida, I stopped at Publix to purchase a few items. Normally I’d park well away from the store in order to increase my daily number of steps, but I’d hurt my back doing heaven knows what last weekend, so I found a spot on the row nearest the store.

As I got out of my car, I noticed an older model Chevrolet sporting sun faded blue paint and a cracked windshield. It was idling erratically, directly in front of the Publix entrance, and the driver had to keep revving it to keep the engine from dying. From the passenger side a woman emerged.

In her bare feet, the woman would easily have been taller than my 5’8″, and her stilettos added at least three more inches. Her sleeveless leopard print mini dress rode high on her thighs, and she tugged on the hem as she toddled towards the store.

I reached the door about the same time she did, and realized just how unstable she was on those heels.

“Careful,” I cautioned. “These floors are going to be tricky with the shoes you’re wearing.”

She nodded, and her long blonde hair fell over her eyes. “Great,” I thought. “Now she can’t see where she’s going.”

I hurried in front of the woman, at least as fast as my back would allow and suggested she borrow one of the electric scooters the store provides. She thought that was a fine idea, and I guided her to the nearest one.

After she settled into the scooter chair she looked up at me. There were tear stains marring her heavy makeup and mascara in places mascara isn’t supposed to be. Her eyes were unfocused.

“Is there anything you need?” I asked, fully prepared to give her money or contact someone who’d come pick her up.

“Would you pray for me?” She asked.

“Of course. Tell me your name,” I said, thinking she meant later when I was home saying my nightly prayers.

To my chagrin she struggled out of the scooter where she’d been relatively safe and stood, towering above me, swaying on those toothpick heels. She grasped my hands in hers and looked me straight in the eye. I was supposed to pray. Right then and there. Heaven help me.

“My name is Stacy,” she said.

I looked down to gather my thoughts, noting the not-so-subtle track marks on both arms. My words needed to be healing. Deep, even.

“Dear Heavenly Father,” I intoned. “Please forgive us our sins.”

“Hey. What’s goin’ on?” a male voice croaked behind me.

“Oh, baby, this nice lady just helped me. We’re prayin’ here.”

“That’s enough,” he said.

To me that sounded ominous. I pulled my hands out of Stacy’s grasp. “Take care,” I said, grabbing a basket for my shopping.

I left her in the hands of this man. It felt wrong, but I was really out of my depth there. As I went about my shopping I saw the two of them a couple of times at a distance. He was driving the scooter. Stacy was sitting in his lap, her head on his shoulder.

That night at home in my room I prayed for Stacy. I’d let her down. I can’t forget the feel of our hands clasped together during that aborted prayer. If I was her lifeline, I was a frayed one. I’d snapped and she’d floated away.

For all the Staceys in this world, I don’t know if prayers do any good, but that’s all I’ve got right now.

Peace, people.

Fantastic Ant Fact #3

I’m enjoying the Olli class I’m taking at Florida State University more than I could’ve imagined. The class, The Parallel Universe of Ants, taught by Walter R. Tschinkel the author of The Fire Ants, is everything I’d hoped it would be, and more.

For one thing, Dr. Tschinkel has a great sense of humor, and he employs it with endless patience as we laypeople ask basic questions, often the same questions multiple times in one class period. He’s a veritable encyclopedia of ant info. I like the class so much I purchased his book.

It’s at least an inch thick, so it’ll keep me occupied for some time to come.

I know this is what you’re waiting for–FABULOUS ANT FACT #3:

After mating, female fire ants literally break off their wings after returning from the mating flight. That sounds harsh, but at least they don’t perish after mating as their male counterparts do.

Here’s a bonus tidbit that might come in handy at trivia some day. The study of ants is called Myrmecology, and those who study ants are myrmecologists.

I found this video of Dr. Tschinkel’s appearance on CBS Sunday Morning. The segment was filmed at the place he calls Ant Heaven. With any luck I’ll get to visit there in a couple of weeks when our class goes on a field trip!

I’m no myrmecologist, but I know an ant when I see one.

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