Saving the World

We spent Thanksgiving with Studly Doright’s family in Hereford, Texas. Studly’s mom, Saint Helen, lives on the outskirts of town in a pleasant home with a generously sized backyard. The yard is decorated with a variety of cute gnomes and small plaster animals that have always delighted her great grandchildren.

Our youngest granddaughter, Harper, invited me into her world of make believe in this backyard paradise, telling me that a bad villain had taken over the world and turned all the real gnomes and animals into statues. Only by defeating this villain could we bring the statues back to life.

Five-year-old Harper launched an impressive attack on the villain using a mix of martial arts and boxing, admonishing me to stay out of the fight unless things looked really dark. At one point she staggered back and urged me to enter the fray.

I must say I was something of a whirling dervish, kicking and clawing at this imaginary bad guy. I threw in a few impressive head butts and Harper said, “Nana, you can stop. You won several minutes ago.”

“Harper!” I exclaimed. “We did it! We saved the world!”

In her most serious, matter of fact voice, Harper replied, “Of course we did.”

We then went around the yard waking up all of the animals and watching them reanimate.

“They’re all alive now,” she smiled. “Well, except this one. He’s still headless.”

I guess we didn’t save everyone, but we came so close.

Peace, people.

Barbie and the Cave Bear

In my youth I was into playing with fashion dolls Barbie and Ken, along with their friends Midge and Alan. My collection of the dolls never extended past that core group. Alan was lost early on and all of Ken’s fuzzy hair rubbed off, so he was essentially bald for as long as I can remember. Maybe that’s why I find Studly Doright so darned attractive. 
Unlike most of my friends I didn’t go in for dressing my Barbie dolls in ball gowns and high heels. The latter never stayed on for more than ten seconds anyway. No, my dolls were meant for greater things than parading about in too tight skirts and sweaters that showed off their alarmingly enhanced charms. 

I had two favorite scenarios: 

1) “Space Barbie” in which Barbie and Midge are the first women in space. They travel to a distant planet where they rescue Ken who had been marooned for months. Together, the trio fight off strange life forms and build the foundation of a dynamic colony. There might have been some mild romance. I wasn’t very old, and had no idea where babies came from. 

2) “Cave Barbie” in which Barbie and Midge are foraging for food in prehistoric times and wander too far from their home village. They take shelter from a violent storm in a cave and discover Ken who’d been exiled by another tribe. Together, the trio fight off strange beasts and build the foundation for a dynamic new clan. 

Anyone see a pattern forming? There were other scenarios–“Pirate Barbie,” “Ranch Barbie,” and “Archeological Barbie,” to name a few. In each scenario Barbie and Midge had to pull Ken’s butt out of a life threatening predicament. Keep in mind, this was well before the popularity of career minded Barbie. I was either way ahead of my time or suffering from delusions of grandeur. 

Two of my granddaughters play with Barbies. I tried to tell the oldest one about my dolls’ adventures. She wasn’t impressed.

“Did you have a Barbie house?” she asked.

“Well, no, I piled up blankets and created little caves in the folds. That’s where they lived.”

“Did your dolls have lots of pretty dresses?”

“No, but my mom found some fake fur scraps and I draped them around my Barbies to keep them warm in their caves. Cool, huh?”

“I think I like my way better,” she said. 

“Fine. Be that way,” I retorted. “But just know that Ken’s blood is on your hands.”

I’m not allowed to babysit anymore.

Peace, people.

There’s No Place Like Home for a Faerie

Our faerie family decided today that they could return to their home.

They still have some cleanup to do, but they gathered in their garden to thank me and all of you for supporting them during Hurricane Hermine. 

They’d so admired one of my decorative plates that I presented it to them as a gift. I think it will be appreciated by the wee folk more than it ever was by me. And it makes a colorful backdrop for their garden.

Quite frankly, it was time they moved out. It’s not that I didn’t want them staying in the house, but the cats were having a hard time remembering that they’d pledged not to eat them. I can’t imagine the bad karma that might ensue from having one’s cats devour a fae family.

Peace, people!

Outlander Angst

I started book seven of the Outlander series today. Those of you who urged me to read Diana Gabaldon’s epic tale of love, lust, war, and time travel should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves. Before entering the universe occupied by Jamie (sigh!) and Claire, I was relatively normal. 

And, when pressed as to why I hadn’t read the books, being the avid reader that I am, I’d smirk, “I don’t read romance novels,” in a slightly condescending voice. 

Then one day I panicked, having found myself without a book queued up on my Amazon wish list, and so to pacify my earnest Outlander loving friends I placed an order for that first book on kindle. I’ve not been the same since.

From the outset it was clear that the first book, from whence the series takes its name, was more than a simple romance novel. There was complexity here, and, well, time travel. I read science fiction and fantasy, so this was right up my alley. 

In the middle of the third book of the series, Voyager, something shifted. I began dreaming about the characters, not just as they are in the books, but as if we were interacting in real time. We’d have full-blown conversations. In addition I began thinking in a Scottish accent. Please tell me I’m not nuts. 

Now, at the beginning of book seven, I’m on the verge of a breakdown. At present, there are eight books in the series. I’m on the next to the last one. 

The books are long, and I am not a fast reader. Jamie (sigh!) and Claire will be with me for at least another month. Even so, that special heartache of knowing I’m in the final stages of a great series has set in. I can’t put the book down, thus I soon will have nothing left of Jamie (sigh!) and Claire.

And if anyone suggests I watch the televised version of the series, I will slap them. After all, I don’t watch romance!

Peace, people.

Snapshot #’s 16 and 17

Note: This post was written several days pre-hurricane. Carry on.

Would you look at this? The faeries agreed to move in with three conditions: 

1) They can stay on the screened in porch.

2) The cats have to stay at least 15 yards away.

3) A suitable temporary home be found.

The cats were willing to give in to the distance provision, and I’m okay with the faeries using the screened in porch as long as the storm doesn’t threaten that area. 

I had two bird houses from which to choose, and after looking at photos of both, the faeries said this one would do. 

I asked if I could snap a photo so that everyone would know they were safe. While they agreed to the photo, they were surprised that anyone even knew of their existence.

I assured them that a great many folks were concerned about their welfare. 

The cats are keeping their oath to refrain from eating our guests. I’d say in the realm of human-faerie-feline relations this experiment has been an unmitigated success.

Peace, people.

Hurricane Prep, Cats, and Faeries

After much procrastination (not to brag, but that’s one of my specialities) I decided to drive into Tallahassee to stock up on supplies. I knew we’d need bottled water, but beyond that I didn’t have a clue. I’m not a terrific grocery shopper under normal conditions, but with a possible hurricane headed our way I needed to focus. 

I only had to shop for Studly Doright and me, so there was no need to go overboard. I figured a loaf of bread, a fresh jar of peanut butter, mixed nuts, Cheez Whiz, tuna fish and chicken salad snacks, crackers, power bars and fruit snacks would tide us through a couple of days without power. Of course I couldn’t leave the store without buying Studly’s favorite Vienna sausages. Shudder!

My problem now is convincing myself not to eat any of our supplies until there’s an actual need. I can leave the little sausages alone, but those Apple Straws look interesting. They were an impulse buy to substitute for my favorite Little Debbie oatmeal cream cakes that had already sold out. Damnit! Everybody wanted that chewy, creamy goodness. Here’s hoping a dearth of Little Debbie oatmeal cream cakes isn’t a matter of life and death.

After putting away the groceries I noticed a note propped up against the cookie jar on the kitchen table. Hmm. Maybe Studly stopped by Doright Manor during his lunch time. But when I looked closely I realized that wasn’t Studly’s handwriting:

The cats seldom leave notes for us, and when they do they mostly pertain to the quality of their treats or the state of their cat litter. Scout once wrote me a thank you note for cleaning the carpet of her upchucked hairballs, but that was an exception. This apparently was another exception. Not far from this bit of writing was the indicated note:

First off, I could see the cats need a lesson in changing the “y” to “i” when creating past tenses and plurals, but I was overcome by their thoughtfulness. 

I delivered the note to the faeries, now it remains to be seen if they trust us enough to accept our invitation. Of course if they do I’ll need to figure out how to feed them. Maybe Studly will share his Vienna sausages. 

Update on the storm: As I typed this post, Tropical Depression 9 was reclassified as Tropical Storm Hermine. I just heard on the Weather Channel that the Tallahassee area could experience the worst storm in decades. Oh joy. Maybe I need to go in search of those Little Debbie cakes.

Peacr, people!

Faerie Update 

I had not been to check on the faeries in our backyard since returning from Clearwater Beach. This morning I went out bearing a gift of chocolate, but before I got too close to their home, a flash of blue caught my eye. 

Afraid to move any closer, I took this photo and then zoomed in. Can you see them? Two faeries, one on the porch and another beside the fallen ladder. Perhaps they’re working to put it back in place. 

I’ll give them time to make repairs before going out again.

Peace, people!

Faerie Sighting!

Since placing a faerie house behind our home I’ve been anxiously awaiting a glimpse of one of the wee inhabitants. Knowing that the fae are shy by nature I figured it might be weeks, months, or even years before one appeared. 

I began leaving small gifts for the faeries: buttons, bits of bread, and a thimble. Every day I checked the house, and noted that my gifts had disappeared. Of course, we have a great many squirrels who call our forest home, so I reasoned that it was they who’d taken my offerings.

So imagine my delight when, upon returning from an afternoon matinee, I spotted a tiny visitor outside the faerie house! Now, the photo isn’t terribly clear; I feared getting too close lest I frighten the faerie away. See if you can spot the tiny being.

There, a few inches to the right of the ladder, if you look carefully you might see a pair of wings. 

Hopefully, now that our newest neighbors know we mean them no harm I’ll be able to get closer for more definitive photos. I’m trembling with excitement. I must get this news to the grandchildren as soon as possible.

Peace, people!

Clan O’Laughlin

We completed work on our faerie home and placed it on a stump in our backyard. We checked on it first thing this morning, and sure enough, a family of wee folk had already moved in. 

It seems they’d already had a home there, we just couldn’t see it until we built one! Fae magic is a strange and wonderful thing, indeed. Their story, that of Clan O’Laughlin, is recorded below. I had a little help with the telling of it.

Clan O’Laughlin

According to legend, over two hundred years ago, young Seamus O’Laughlin accidentally poached a lamb from his faerie king, the fearsome Grady O’Grady. Seamus wasn’t a thief, but his family was starving and when he came across the lamb wandering along a country lane he didn’t think twice, but took it home to be made into stew.

His wife, Brigid, knew immediately that the lamb belonged to Grady O’Grady and that if the king discovered the crime Seamus would be hanged in the public square for all the wee folk to witness. After cooking the stew Brigid gathered her loved ones together for one last meal in the family home.

“We must flee this place, and be quick about it,” Brigid told Seamus and their little ones, Ian and Aileen, as they partook of the hearty lamb stew.

That very night Brigid and Seamus placed their few valuable possessions into their small wagon. The door to their humble domicile, constructed many thousands of years ago by Seamus’s great-great-great grandfather was laid atop an heirloom bench and Brigid’s wash tub for their journey to parts unknown.

After many days of rough journey across the Irish countryside, the O’Laughlin family arrived in a port town and stowed away on a huge ship. Safely belowdeck, Seamus scavenged for leftover food from the human passengers while Brigid tended the little ones and made tasty meals from scraps. 

Weeks passed before the boat docked in a place the sailors called “Florida.” Anxious to be off of the shop, Brigid climbed to the crow’s nest undetected by human eyes and scoped out the prospects for her family.

“Seamus,” she said, returning to their hideout after breathing the fresh air and looking out over the green land, “I believe we can make our new home here.”

And Seamus, eager to make Brigid happy, agreed. The family once again loaded the wagon and set off for the interior of Florida. 

Many strange creatures accosted the family on its journey. They quickly learned to avoid lizards, snakes, and alligators. Seamus lost a finger fighting off an aggressive gecko, but Brigid nursed him back to health with herbs from Ireland that she’d packed for the trek.

Finally Seamus led the small band to a forest beside a lake. Here he and Brigid built a home and established Clan O’Laughlin on American soil. And to this day, Seamus’s family resides near Havana, Florida, in the shadow of a home occupied by kind, peace-loving humans. 


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