This Old Cat

She’s nearing the age of 17, this old cat. Until recently she was as playful as a kitten, sure-footed, and ready to attack any rebellious stuffed mouse that came her way.

Nowadays, her steps are halting. She stumbles now and then and her toys are neglected. The saddest thing is, she doesn’t enjoy snuggling much anymore, preferring the cool tile of the bathtub surround to our warm laps. Sometimes I think she’s ready to move on, and selfishly I keep her here.

She’s still my baby, this old cat. I give her whatever she asks for no matter when she asks for it. She wants to eat six times a day? Fine. She wants to eat at three a.m.? No problem. Anything for my Scout.

Peace, people.

My girl.

Feeling Nostalgic for Apple Orchards and Corn Mazes

Studly Doright and I lived in Mahomet, Illinois, for eight years. We’d moved there, reluctantly, from our spot by the ocean in Melbourne, Florida. While we were no strangers to the Midwest, having lived in Kansas at one time, going back to the country’s midlands had not been part of our game plan.

I missed the Atlantic and the perpetual summer we’d enjoyed in Melbourne. In Illinois, we had to deal with a definite lack of beaches and a surplus of cold winters. It took me awhile to appreciate central Illinois.

When our daughter and her family moved to Illinois, just a couple of hours away from us, that helped immensely. Instead of seeing her a couple of times a year I could get in my car almost any time and have lunch with her and the grandkids. I do miss that.

Aside from their presence, though, I began to enjoy all that Illinois had to offer. We weren’t that far from Chicago, and I could ride Amtrak up to the Windy City for almost nothing. I only did that a couple of times, but they were both memorable.

We lived near the University of Illinois, in Champaign, and often went to college basketball and football games with friends, even doing the whole tailgating thing.

We had the best neighbors you could ask for in Mahomet. I think maybe that was the friendliest neighborhood we’ve ever lived in. Just across the road from our neighborhood was Studly’s golf course set in the beautifully wooded park, Lake of the Woods. Sometimes, he’d ride his bicycle to the course. And for Fourth of July fireworks we could sit in our front yard and enjoy most of the spectacle while fireflies flitted in the bushes.

Now, in the autumn, I find myself thinking about the apple orchard we’d visit at this time of year. It was the first place I’d tasted honey crisp apples, and we took the grandkids along so they could jump out of the hayloft (it was kid-sized) and feed baby goats, and wander through the corn maze.

Corn mazes are a big deal in central Illinois. Just between you and me, they freak me out. I have a lousy sense of direction and always fear I’ll become hopelessly lost. There’s a particularly difficult one at the Reindeer Ranch outside of Rantoul, Illinois, so after one failed attempt I opted to spend my time petting the reindeer. They are definitely worth the trip.

I wonder if these places will be open this fall. Covid has spoiled so much. The memories are lovely, though.

Peace, people!

Be Like Ruth

I found this piece written by Bruce Lindner on Facebook. It’s helped me climb out of the pit of despair and look to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s example to navigate the future.

“When the announcement came that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away yesterday, my iPad went berserk. Over a hundred Facebook friends sent me private messages within the first few minutes. They ran the gamut from “We’re so screwed now,” to “It’s all over for America,” to “It was nice while it lasted.” I read the first few and decided that I needed a few hours of space, lest I lose a few friends. So I played some music. I still haven’t even read most of them, and probably won’t for a few days. I have little appetite for negativity.
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg led a life of constantly swimming upstream. Everything from institutionalized sexism, misogyny, ignorance, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and for her final curtain, five bouts with various types of cancer. FIVE.
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Throughout it all, never did she throw up her hands and say; “That’s it, I’m so screwed.” or “My life was nice while it lasted.” To the contrary, she never, EVER complained. Instead, she fought. Because she knew the ultimate beneficiaries of her battles weren’t just herself. They were us.
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I realize these are depressing times, and I confess that I get depressed too. But I have ZERO tolerance for defeatism. Do NOT message me to tell me how bleak your world is. What makes you think I want to hear it?
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If RBG showed us anything, it’s that defeatism is for the meek. And the meek are the lambs that conservatives eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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Don’t be meek. Be like RBG. Be STRONG. She was all of 5’1” tall, and maybe 110 pounds soaking wet. Yet never in her eighty-seven years did she say to herself or anybody else; “It’s pointless to fight on.”
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Now is the time for Democrats to assume the role of the wolf. No more lambs. And Goddamnit, don’t you DARE message me with your “woe is me” attitude.
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Be like Ruth. If for no one else’s sake, do it for our daughters.”
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BeLikeRuth

Drawing Hope from A New Hope

https://www.starwars.com/video/help-me-obi-wan-kenobi

“If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
“It’s not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than 2 meters.” — Luke Skywalker
Okay, this one’s from Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back, but I needed a little Han in my life.

2020 has been a year to try men’s and women’s souls, but it’s hardly the first time that our country, our world, has faced such incredible odds. I know the Star Wars universe is fictional, but still, I draw hope from the resistance. We might’ve lost our Obi-Wan when we lost Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, but just maybe we can rise up in her honor, making her more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine.

Peace, people.

Do I Need You Now?

When I was writing my little romance novel I compiled a playlist to set a certain mood. A sexy, steamy mood. But now I’m writing a sequel to my first book, and this story needs a totally different vibe. Except that my mind hasn’t compartmentalized enough to make the switch, and I’m still thinking about sex. Don’t tell Studly Doright; he might get the wrong idea.

Having said all that, the characters in the sequel to Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort are grownups, and a romance could very well develop as the story progresses. Who am I to get in the way of love?

I am doing my best, though, to develop a non-romance playlist, but the first song I’ve added is the very hot, “Need You Now” by Lady A. So, maybe my playlist is trying to tell me something. I’m just not sure yet what it is, but I like the song.

Lady A, the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum

https://youtu.be/eM213aMKTHg

Peace, people!

I’m Fine, I Think

I fell out of bed sometime early Wednesday morning. To be more precise, I fell while trying to return to bed after getting up with the cat.

Scout has been extra needy the past few weeks. After receiving a steroid shot for her allergies her appetite has increased exponentially. I don’t question the time she wants to be fed, I just feed her. She’s elderly, like me, and we know what we want, and we want it NOW.

Usually I can feed my girl without turning on any lights, but this time I couldn’t locate her clean dish in the dark, so I flipped the lights on in the kitchen. After taking care of Scout I turned out the lights and ventured down the hallway.

My eyes still hadn’t adjusted by the time I reached our bedroom, but I figured , “Hey, I could navigate this with my eyes closed.” Turns out, I can’t.

I took it slowly, using baby steps, but still misjudged where the bedpost was and stubbed the three middle toes on my right foot on said bedpost. In what I’m certain played out in cartoon fashion, I grabbed my injured foot and swiveled to sit down on the bed, missing my mark by several inches. Lucky for me, the floor broke my fall.

Studly Doright asked, “What happened?”

“I fell out of bed,” I said, not going into detail.

“Are you okay?”

“I think so.”

“Do you need help getting back into bed?”

“I don’t think so. I’m just going to sit here for a few minutes. Maybe forever.”

When I finally crawled back into bed I already hurt from stem to stern, and I knew that there’d be hell to pay later. Well, it’s later. Apparently I pulled a muscle in my right leg, damaged three toes, and need a crutch to get around. On the plus side, I can still feed the cat on demand. Nothing else really matters.

Peace, people

Update on the Book: It’s Complicated

Maybe some of you were hoping I’d never mention my book again. Ha! No chance of that happening.

My first book, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is still in the process of being edited, but Rachel, my editor, believes there’s a good chance it’ll be ready to publish by Christmas. That would be cool, right? And by publish, I mean I intend to self-publish, even though I believe Mayhem could be worthy of traditional publishing.

So, why will I self publish? Because I’m 63.90 years old and don’t want to spend years shopping my book around. And with the number of folks submitting the books they’ve written during the pandemic, the chances of a publisher picking it up would seem to be slim. If I had connections in the field it might be different, but I don’t.

As Rachel sends back chapters for my consideration, I look over her suggestions and decide between my original words, her suggested words, or a combination of both. Often it’s the latter. I get very excited when she leaves my words as they are. That occurs rarely, but I’m learning a great deal.

While waiting for Rachel to send me chapters I wrote a short romance novel. 50,000+ words of fun (for me, anyway.) I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I’ve had several folks read it, and none of them seem to think it’s awful, but it is totally different from Mayhem. It was a hoot to write.

Once I finished writing the romance I started on a sequel for Mayhem: Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, I’m about 12,000 words in. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed those characters until I engaged with them again. You know, they are totally dependent on me, and I felt guilty for leaving them idle for so long, It’s tough being a deity.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m hoping the next time I mention my book it’s a plea to purchase it. I’ll try not to be obnoxious about it, but it is ME we’re talking about.

Peace, people!

My Co-Author

Scout’s dreaming up new ideas. Every now and then I read a paragraph to her, and she provides feedback. She’s not big on the mushy stuff, but she adores the nude jugglers.

In case you wondered, the towel was heated in the dryer for Scout’s comfort. She often sits in front of the dryer, requesting a warm towel, and I always acquiesce. I’m a well-trained human.

Peace, people.

On the Banks of the Lee, The Version I Love

Yesterday I wrote about an Irish love song that I used to play for my rowdy fourth graders. They all loved the song, “On the Banks of the Lee,” perhaps because while it played, their rather odd teacher (me) stayed silent. Whatever their reasoning, we all felt some connection to the song.

I shared a version yesterday that was very sweet and well done, but it didn’t exactly match the rendition my students and I loved so much. I wondered if I could simply record from my cd, but the results of that experiment were less than pleasing.

So, I went searching for the more beloved version online and finally discovered it. This is Clannad, singing their beautifully haunting cover of “On the Banks of the Lee.” I could listen to this for hours. Enjoy.

https://youtu.be/Q8pu8ziEVa0

Peace, people!

Clannad