October 1, 2015

While working with a life coach and then immersing myself in a personal growth seminar called Reflections, I’ve come to the part in my life where I want more. I want more of my life celebrating stories, Whether it be my story or other people’s stories.

Why is it so hard for me to tell people that I want to be a published author. What right do I have to say I am good enough? Is that what is holding things up? The dam is so clogged with these ideas that it feels as if all of my energy has been drained out of my being.

There are hurdles to be cleared. Writing is the first of those hurdles. I’ve met lots of people who want to write, but they don’t write anything, not even a grocery list. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been journaling for at least thirty-two years.  I’m really proud that I took my writing to the next level and started blogging. My sister Barbara had been after me to stop Facebooking and start blogging. The goal is to write a blog a day. I should look to see what my longest stretches of publishing have I been able to do.

I thought that when I first started to blog, I’d get readers. I’d get comments. I’d get suggestions. I’d develop my writing. But that’s not been the case. Not that I’m not developing my writing. Just the act of doing will help me get better. Maybe it’s a matter of changing my platform.

I recently took the challenge to set a date to be published, but I didn’t really pay too much attention to where I would publish. I thought I saw an email with a contest that I could use as a new platform. I just want to be published. I just want to be read. Later on, I’ll want the money and fame that goes with it, but for right now, I just want readers.

I don’t know much about Wattpad, the place where I published my first chapter. It might just be the same as WordPress. Only time will tell. I took an older blog I wrote and worked on it. It might just be easier to copy the text in here than to teach my friends to go to another internet page.

October celebrates my 33rd year in Oregon.
Thirty-three years ago, I drove my dog Kahlua to Eugene from Boston, Massachusetts. It’s amazing what can happen three thousand miles away, especially when there’s no plan.
Deb, sister number three, visited me not too long after I had moved from Massachusetts to Oregon. I believe my dad had sent her on a mission to make sure I hadn’t joined a Cult or something like that. Oregon had never been on the radar until my friend Heidee moved here. She practically promised that my life would be so much better. It felt as though I didn’t have anything to lose. I don’t think I expected to stay; I think my main purpose was to get my life back onto the tracks and get it moving in the right direction. Because of my sister’s visit, I was able to get one part of my life lined up and that came in the form of two little tiny cats. Stanley & Oliver: My first cats.
In a previous blog, I wrote about search for the specifics on Stanley & Oliver. I’m so horrible with dates that there’s probably only a handful of dates I remember. I mostly have fuzzy ideas floating in my head. Yes, this is why I write. If I hadn’t written when Stanley and Oliver came into my life, I’d not be able to look things up and be reminded. There are so many things that I read that surprise me. So many names that no longer have faces in my memory. Even the connection has turned to dust.
I remember that I had taken my sister to Saturday Market in Eugene, as well as to the Oregon coast. These are two musts for any out of towners. I’m thinking that it probably wasn’t winter as I don’t remember freezing my ass off, but my memory likes to play tricks on me.
Pulling out my journal for the first seven months of 1984, I’ll skim to see if this journal mentions him or his brother Oliver. This shouldn’t take long, though I am thankful in the index I created back in the time I still printed my journals. Of course, it just occurred to me that even though I haven’t printed my journals for the past five or so years, I could still index my documents. Why let a three-hundred page document, which is just for the month, be in such a state of disarray? That’s another reason I write: to come up with new ideas, but that’s not the point of this story, and I need remind myself that the purpose was to reduce the six pages not increase it.
What was one of the first things you did when you first tasted Freedom, something you were never allowed to do? Getting a cat. My dad hated cats, and I don’t think he even had a rational reason. I had always wanted a cat, but it seemed as though the situation didn’t present itself.
Once I broke free, my life was rather full with just having a partner and dog and job was enough.
In fact, I don’t ever recall thinking about getting a cat. I also have to confess that I seldom do planned things, especially when it comes to animals. Spontaneity is the path I typical stroll down. My animals tend to come to me out of the blue,, and every time they do, their spirits are devine.
Stanley and OliverStanley and Oliver were my first cats. Oliver was jet-black. I should have named him Cheshire. At night time, all I could see were his eyes.
Oliver’s time on earth was short. His purpose was to help wake me up, but his main purpose was to be one of my angels to protect me from the many stupid things I did in my twenties and thirties. I might as well say forties and fifties as I still do stupid things. I won’t create any readers if I just lie to you.
Stanley was all grey and reminded me of a Russian Blue. Tough cat; my hundred pound dog Kahlua was petrified of Stanley. When Harold and Maude were just pups, Stanley made sure they knew who was boss. It was very funny to watch a six pound cat take on a hundred pound dog, and he did it all with his eyes, a sharp tongue with his Siamese Meow, but the slap to a big black nose every so often punctuated Stanley’s point. Stanley was known to even chase strange dogs out of the yard. He was the King of Rasor Avenue.
Stanley introduced me to the essence of Catness, As I said, I had never had a cat my dad detested them probably more than my current partner does.
I believe that every being, whether it be animal or human, which are animals, this being has something to teach me. I should have known that Stanley was going to be an amazing teacher.
The bond between Stanley and I wasn’t all roses at first; there were plenty of times when I or he pushed the boundaries. One of the things he taught me was to read his body language, his meow, his eyes; he always told me what he was feeling, and if I didn’t pay attention, I would get two paws to the face with all claws out. I was a quick study. If he huffed, I had a choice of either clamping down all four of his weapons or walk away. Yes, he would give me plenty of notice. Perhaps we all do, but I’m not so great at picking up the hints or perhaps I don’t want to.
I learned to watch Stanley’s ears, his eyes. I especially learned to listen to his meow. Once I knew his language, our bond was one of those special ones that I’ll never feel again.
I hadn’t even planned on having a cat. This was an unplanned family. I hadn’t been living in Eugene for maybe a year or two. At 24 or 25, I was rather a mess. Imagine a big wad of twisted barbwire, and that’s what I was like. I wasn’t even a neat ball of barbed wire, but a tangle that seemed like it had no solution.
I had moved away from Boston, though basically I ran away. My sister Deb came out to visit. I get the suspicion that my dad sent her out to check up on me. They were worried about m. I should have been at least half as.
I took my sister to the sights, the coast and the Buttes. I had to take her to the infamous Saturday Market. There were these two kittens. I am a sucker for a kitten or a puppy or anything cute. Baby snakes do nothing for me. But there was this black one that drew me to him. Sorry Stanley, but I had always had a soft spot for black cats; you were after all named after my sister Barbara’s black cat Stanley. That’s got to say something. Once I found out their gender, which wasn’t obvious at the time, I landed on Stanley and Oliver. I had always loved Laurel and Hardy. That comment is for the younger readers.
I brought Stanley and Oliver home, and they taught me, trained me to be their servants. At least these guys were indoor/outdoor cats, so I didn’t have to sift kitty poo like it was gold. Oliver had this thing about sleeping on my head. I’m not sure why, but Oliver would gently bite my chin. Love bites. Stanley preferred to be under the covers with me. I would wake to hearing, feeling Stanley gently pawing at the covers to signal he was ready for bed. I would lift the covers and he would come under and curl up against my body, purring me back to sleep. My present partner came after the cats, so even though she was used to cats staying outdoors, my cats were grandfathered in.
As I said, animals com into our lives to teach us something, and sometimes the lesson isn’t learned during their lifetime. Sometimes seeds are spread, but the learning doesn’t happen for years. And unfortunately, to make that lesson even more powerful, the cat is not destined to be in my life for very long. Oliver was one of those fleeting brushes with a spark, a little meteor, bright for such a short while, but too bright to sustain the fire for very long. Oliver. The cat that the night would engulf him and leave only his eyes; I often teased him about being a Cheshire Cat. Unfortunately the Midnight black Oliver didn’t survive River Road’s death trap. What he was trying to do crossing a four-lane road, I never could figure out.
And as I write this blog, I am realizing how many of those lessons that Oliver and then Stanley really did teach me. Be patient with me as I flit back and forth. Patience is one of those things that I’m still learning. I might as well teach it as I learn.
I wish dogs could live as long as cats. But I am grateful for the lengthy lives of felines. A long life isn’t so hard on the eyes as those lives who explode with sparks and flame for the short period they are with me.
Stanley might have been eighteen or nineteen when his kidneys started to fail. I bought some time with medication, specially food, and lots of coercing to stick around. I begged and prayed and demanded that Stanley stick around; i couldn’t imagine going through another lose. It hadn’t been that long since I had lost Kahlua, and time hadn’t healed the wounds of Oliver’s death. I just couldn’t take another loss, and he knew it; he probably stuck around an extra year or two to help me deal with his impending death. My track record for dealing with loss, whether it be animal or human loss hasn’t been easy for me, but I gather that’s the same for anyone having to deal with the break a solid bond.
I don’t quite know if my mom’s death caused me to bond so tightly with my animals. I was rather tight with the beagle, but my mom’s death did was part of the reasons I stepped back from relating to humans and only relating to animals. Anyone who knows me has heard me say that if I had to choose between a dog and a human, there would be no question the dog would be the choice. As a result of investing so much energy into every dog, cat, bird, gerbil, and even turtle, and the fact that their lifespans are so short, every light that goes out takes a little bit of light out of myself.
Stanley was never a heavy cat. Sleek and powerful. But as his Siamese build thinned and his Siamese meow got quieter, I could tell he was done. And then he wouldn’t eat anything. I was constantly cooking for him or opening various cans for him. I must have had at least a dozen bowls of food in the fridge that I would try him on. Sometimes it took eleven tries to find that one thing he would eat. And we’re not talking about cat food. Sometimes he would eat tuna, other times he would eat tuna juice but not tuna. Chicken, hot or cold. Chicken broth, hot or cold. Shrimp, shrimp juice. Liver, cooked, raw, pureed. He hated when I gave him subcutaneous fluid to fend off dehydration. I can still hear his screams of protests and his huffs that told of his protests and show how really ticked off at me, he was.
Stanley and I had an amazing relationship by the end. Yes, I did have to worry abut his lightning fast claws, though not toward the end. He had a twisted sense of humor; you could see it in his eyes. Maybe he had watched Garfield too often, but his eyes would close a bit and there was a sharpness to his look. His favorite thing was to wait for me to be in the room farthest away when he would begin the indicating sound of a cat ready to vomit. I used to tell my military school students that when they beepopped or whatever that obnoxious sound is, it reminded me of a cat throwing up. I would hear the sound and be like O.J Simpson, during his nice guy days, and race through the house. Mind you, the house was perhaps six hundred square feet in totality, so there really weren’t that many steps from the back bedroom to the kitchen.
Stanley had the Laurel and Hardy timing down. Just as I would come flying into the kitchen, Stanley would send a projectile from the highest point, the fridge, and onto the floor, creating as much splatter as possible. Maybe I should have taken pictures; maybe Stanley was just expressing his artistic side.
Stanley trusted me whole heartedly. He loved traveling on my shoulders. He didn’t like it, but he tolerated being rocked like a baby; most cats I have had will not expose their vulnerable spot, but I don’t think Stanley had one.
We taught each other humor, as I had my twisted side as well. I had never seen cat yodelling before, but I was a practioner. Just in case you are unfamiliar with the activity, the main ingredients you have to have is a slightly pissed of cat and perhaps gloves. Along with his short powerful huffs that warned me that a storm was coming, Stanley had a meow that was more like a angry tone. His body language would shift; his tail would begin to twitch. His ears would start to lie down. Energy was being transferred to his paws, especially the back ones that could do the best rabbit punch. I considered this moment the prime. Carefully i would hold onto all fours as tightly as I could without hurting him,, but mostly to prevent him from hurting me. I would then as he growled, I would gently shake him and his growl would sound like a machine gun. I didn’t do this very often, and when people would accuse me of doing bad things to my cat, I would ask why he would keep coming back?
But then we got to the point where there was no coming back. I was the only one having a tough time coming to terms with his death. Forever wasn’t even long enough time for him to be in my life, but at least I had plenty of notice. It’s the abrupt deaths that really beat me up. Took me a long time to get over finding Oliver dead on River road. My dog Kahlua almost got hit because he followed me and I wasn’t paying attention to him, just on the lifeless black form on the farthest side of the road.
I arranged to meet Devon, my vet, at the unfinished dome; it was a few years from being livable. I think it was a Wednesday, a day that we didn’t normally go to the dome. I opened the taped door and stepped into the skeleton of a home, our future dream home; there were some interior walls up, giving a basic idea of room constructions, but you could walk through the framed walls. Electricity and plumbing didn’t exist. Both sets of stairs were done so we could get from the basement to the main room and then to the loft. Devon suggested the loft as it was the warmest part of the uninsulated house. When we got up to the loft, there was a bird flying around, frantically bouncing off of walls, low ceilings, and the plastic that covered the windows. I don’t remember a kind. Maybe a Chickadee. I created an opening and the bird flew out. Do you believe in omens? That bird was Stanley’s ticket out.
I gave Stanley to Devon and he didn’t resist her. He didn’t do his usually imitation of what a cat on ice would be: claws out and feet flying. I think the person who wrote Edward Scissorhands was actually holding onto Stanley. Nothing worse than a fearless and furious feline. Devon told me that there are only two times a cat will be nonchalant with Devon; the first and the last time they meet. I could be talking to her on the phone and cats would hide.
There’s probably a lot more to this story, but I’m running out of tissues. It’s been 25 years and tears still come when I think about Stanley and his brother Oliver.

Digging through the past

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s the end of the month. The end of another chapter in my life. What have I learned in the month of September? Are there tricks of the trade of life that I have picked up that will make October 2015 the best October I’ve ever had in my life?

This is the first time I have made the intention statement that I will submit a story, an essay to be published. Publishing to WordPress for my blog has been filling the niche, but now it is time for me to push for that next level.

As I work on a story about Stanley and Oliver, the first cats in my life, I’m digging through old journals to find out when I actually brought the kittens home from Saturday Market. Not a clue. My brain doesn’t retain dates and names and other miscellaneous details, which is my main purpose of  journaling, though I have never been very good writing with the idea of what would I remember in ten years, yet alone thirty something years. I spent a lot of time with a woman by the name of Sarah Jane, but I have no memories clinging to that name. I went to her house a lot, but I don’t say where.

Skiming for Stanley and Oliver’s names. There was a comment in a journal of Devon Trottier, my Veterinarian, coming over to check Stanley out. That three-ring notebook was put back with the dozen of other binders, and two more were taken off of the shelf. Looking for clues.

I know my sister Deb was visiting. I believe that my dad sent her to check up on me to see how I was doing. That memory doesn’t help me figure a date, though since we did go to the coast, I’m thinking that the season was warmer.

Math helps. We’ve lived in the dome for about fourteen years. Back up to the year 2000. I do remember going to the coast to celebrate the finality of the 90s, and the Y2K stuff was really bugging me.

Stanley was old when he died, though I don’t remember exactly how old. This narrows it down. I didn’t move to Eugene until 1983. October 1983 is my anniversary. My friend Heidee and I practically were at each other’s throats by the time we stopped living together, but that memory doesn’t give me any hints.

hqdefaultFirst real hint came from a comment marked in the margins of Friday, September 7, 1984: Laurel and Hardy. Stanley and Oliver, though I’m not sure if I have the Laurel and Hardy matched up. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. I’m wondering if “Laurel and Hardy are causing holy Hell in the apartment.” My comment that they need to learn how to be by themselves leads me to believe they were young when I mentioned them.

I’m getting closer, but I came across a passage that really surprised me. I was calling the cats Ying and Yang, which is strange since I know have a pair called Ying and Yang. I didn’t realize that I had tried these names on a different pair. What caused me to change my mind?

The mystery has been solved. On Saturday, September 1, 1984, I came home from Saturday Market with two kittens. I hadn’t planned on bringing home any cats. My sister Deb suggested the name Bonnie & Clyde, and so I ran with that. I don’t remember if the people that sold me the kittens told me that the black one was male, getting the name Oliver, and the grey one was female, and would be called Stanley. It certainly wasn’t the first time I mismatched a name with gender or would that be mismatched a gender with a name. I had a gerbil named Charlie that had babies, so I think I changed her official name to Charlotte.

At this point of my life, I had been spreading my wings of being a radical feminist. I stopped using the words man and men to describe woman and women and threw in a y instead. Womyn. I had a Lane Community College Writing teacher that knocked off points every time I misspelled man or men. Yet, when it came to names of my animals, I followed the standardized script.

Pe840716Stanley and Oliver were born July 17, 1984. Cancer kittens. Unfortunately, Oliver’s life was cut short when he wandered out to River Road. I was devastated. He was buried in the field along the Willamette River.

Even though Stanley never did get a chance to live in the dome, he was buried on the property since the dome house was being built and would eventually become our home for what we hope to be the rest of our lives.

I am ready to work on Stanley’s story; this document is like stretching before going for a run. I would hate to pull something while writing.

Off the Grid for four days

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Last Spring we traipsed to Europe, and I didn’t lose a beat in the steady pulse of electrical life called the internet, but go a hundred a dime miles away in Oregon, and I experienced a flat line. Dead.

It never occurred to me that I would go through withdrawals. I made sure my coffee connection would be held together with the liquid duct-tape called Starbucks coffee in a glass bottle. Cold press would suffice for a place that used to not even allow coffee on the premises. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember my Breitenbush experience of thirty years ago: I was too busy going through coffee detox.

We arrived at Breitenbush Hot Springs Thursday evening. It sounds sacrilegious, but our last meal before diving into forced vegetarianism, we stopped by McDonalds. My quarter pounder stayed with me almost the entire four days I was at the hot springs, and it always made sure I knew that it was sticking with me.

My withdrawals from Internet access didn’t hit me until Saturday morning, or I suppose it could have been the burger, fries, and milkshake, but I think it was the lack of Facebook, email, and the other sundry of electromagnetic energy.

Friday night, I was pumped. My new found friend Belinda and I were celebrated like Rock Stars. We were the talk of the town, and I loved every minute of it. Less than twelve hours later, my coin had totally flipped and I was tails, flat on my face. I wasn’t that sick; just a slight headache. All I wanted to do was read and sleep. I was reading an ebook on my cell phone, so it’s not like I had to go Barney Rubble or anything. I just didn’t get out of bed. I skipped all three meals, and for those of you who know me, this was a rare thing indeedy. My only food of bread and butter came around ten o’clock that night.

I wanted to do the same thing this morning, but I was at a Seminar and it wouldn’t make any sense to sleep most of it away. I didn’t care how much I was missing. Not only was I missing the Reflections Women’s Retreat, but I was missing the great Breitenbush food, but the natural hot springs. It’s a good thing that I soaked myself into bliss the day before.

Maybe one of these blogs down the road, I’ll come to an understanding of why I needed to stay in my cocoon in a liquified state of being. Or maybe not. I’ll keep writing to see if I can unveil that mystery, though I have a long trail of those unsolved cases; just look at the lovely slime trail that follows me. To distinguish mine from another, my slime has a hint of lavender.

BreitenbushspasI did enjoy my stay at Breitenbush Hot Springs and the Reflections Retreat was as sweet as can be. It was the puffyiest. But I am glad to have football and the internet back.

For those of you who could use a break from the frantic rat-race of the thing that most of us call life, check out


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If Variety is the spice of life, I’m going to need a lot of water

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Sylvia. I sure hope you are having a fantastic day.

The best part about being a substitute teacher is the variety. During the course of a school year, I am all over the map. Yesterday I was at Springfield High School. The last class of the day was a challenge, to put it mildly, I don’t know about other subs, but I believe that there’s not a whole heck of a lot that I can do in one class period to turn things around, Not knowing names and background is a massive deficit. A few of the boys flaunted the fact that they are have detention, this being only the fourth or fifth day of the new school year. Not much I can do.

Today I was rewarded for my efforts by given a half day job at a Spanish Immersion elementary school. I didn’t have to get up early, and I get a chance to work with the kids.

Sorry that today’s blog is so short. I wanted to make sure I got something in since Tuesdays are jam packed, and I know that when I come home from school and then when I come home from choir practice, I’ll be exhausted and may need to nap in-between activities. I’m sure my friend Bex is thankful. Maybe I should start to make a thousand word cutoff so I don’t go meandering about into strange directions. I could save that kind of writing for my journal.

Well, it’s time to head of to El Camino Del Rio Elementary. Have a great day.

Back in the Saddle

Monday, September 21, 2015

My summer break officially came to a close when my dear old friend Janet called me this morning. How could I turn down a chance to revisit where I student taught?

May was a long time ago.

Janet has hit the jackpot with this year’s crop of kids; they were a little bit on the quiet side, but for the most part the juniors and seniors were self-sufficient, and for the few others, at least they didn’t cause any ruckus. I wish I had a wand that I could use to inspire and motivate.

My ship of a day was clear sailing. Calm waters. And then a favor was asked. Could I take over a pre-Algebra class? Uh. I hadn’t eaten. I was out of coffee. Sure, I said. Why not? Not helping a school in dire need is not a wise professional choice.

I don’t know why I was needed at the last minute, but there I was. Small class. You would probably think that this is a good sign, but that’s not been my experience for the most part, and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing at attention.

Luckily through my many years of substitute teaching, most of the time lesson plans guide me through the class, but this time there was nothing. I asked the students, and my hunch was that most, if not all, were freshmen. So early into the school year, middle school cells are still residing in their brains. Middle School has always been my Albatross.

I knew that chances were slim that anyone was going to tell me what they were studying. Predictable answers like nothing, it’s a study hall, and he lets us go early. I finally got one to say that they had been coloring in circles like pies. Ah, Fractions.

I’m an English teacher, but for a year at the Willamette Leadership Academy I pretended that I was highly endorsed in Mathematics. I did a lot of pretending at that school, but that’s a different blog altogether.

What do you know about fractions I asked. Words popped into my head. Denominator and numerator. Common Denominator. LCD. Lowest Common Denominator.

I got their immediate attention when I broke a pencil in half. Okay, I used to have a whole pencil, but now I have two pieces. One over one is one. I had a couple of boys break those pieces in half. Too bad they couldn’t get credit for that feat, but they rose to the challenge. Of course, I did run the risk of other pencils being broken, but I do want math to be fun, and since I didn’t see any manipulatives, creating some was the next best thing.

Around and around we went. The waters got choppy. I think I was getting a tad bit seasick. I had one kid who knew this stuff and was probably ready to actually study pre-Algebra, not pre pre. It took a lot to get him to not shout out answers. I needed to find out where the other students were. I was trying to find a place that was comfortable, but challenging. I was trying hard to avoid the frustration level, hence avoid misbehavior.

Every so often, I’d get a light bulb to flicker, but there was a group of boys that had different goals and spent most of the class entertaining each other with off the wall answers to my questions. Fractions were beyond their grasp; they needed remedial math with addition and subtraction.

Because behavior and frustration go hand in hand, I’d recommend that the group of boys be separated since they play off of each other. I know from experience all too well. When I was in junior high, there were many who thought that my friend Leslie was a bad influence and that we should be given separate schedules. They were probably correct, but it’s hard to say.

My first day of school tuckered me out and needed a two hour nap to recharge the batteries.

In beginning my eleventh teaching season, I think about specific goals that I can have, and the one that jumped to the front of the line is the teeter-totter. I’ve got one student who could care less about the class. They’ve never been able to grasp many math skills and have given up. On the other side, the one way up in the air, is the student who wants to understand the lesson. Of course I want all of the students to understand, and even with extending the class to an hour and a half long, more time isn’t the solution. Without constant attention, misbehavior increases. I felt like I was playing whack a mole rather than teaching.

I wish I could focus my attention on those who want to learn and not get so tripped up over the ones who just want to yank my chain. The hardest part about being a substitute teacher is that I don’t know these kids, I don’t know their stories. I have no idea of what their proficiencies are. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who I’m writing about, I may never see some of these kids again.

Well, I just might get a call at six or seven in the morning, so I better hit the sack.

Probably a little more of this and that

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I’ve got my eyes closed as I type. Hopefully my fingers will not stray from the home keys and all will be right. One slip and we’ll be spending twice as much time reading this. So far, so good.  Liquid Mind plays  Into the Light. Past tense. Pandora disrupted my meditative state of being with an intrusive commercial. Might have been Nissan and the “rrroom room vroom”  I don’t know how to spell sounds. Must not have paid close attention to Batman cartoons. I vaguely recall the sounds and words in a gigantic font on television and in magazines. The person who gets sucker punched in the stomach would mumble an Umph or a Oomph or something  like that. I do recall Pow and Wham. Was there a Bam? Of course, what I have been forgetting is the exclamation point. Did they have more than one?

Come on faithful readers, help me out on this one.

Now that I’ve got your attention, do you remember how old you were when you realized that a bunch of symbols typed equaled a swear word? @#!&*. Maybe there’s a specific order of the symbols to represent shit or fuck or whatever.  Speaking of, does anyone know why Archie Bunker was so angry and argued with everyone? He must have been related to what’s his face Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners. Where the H E Double Hockey Sticks did that name come from? They had to have been reruns of the reruns by the time I was watching.

Dear reader, I have no clue what I was going to say here and am glad I changed my mind on the writing a free-range, carefree draft that needs no editing. Wishful thinking. I try to write off the cuff, but often times my brain can’t keep track of the various tangents, and I probably come across like I’ve recently sustained a head injury with some of the gobble gook I’ve published, though even with a few rounds of editing, there’s no guarantee I’ll avoid that here.

Jeepers, Creepers, I must have fallen asleep while writing this. I do, after all, type with my eyes closed, I’m going all out on this one; tell me an error in this text, and the first beer is on me. Literally, not figuratively.

Falling asleep at the keyboard is my only explanation. I’ve had to do some serious editing of this text when I can’t make heads nor tails of what I was trying to say. Strange    ideas are rising to the top, though the remembrances of early sixty stuff impresses me. Trivia holds my interest. Did you know that not one college has ever asked Vanna White to speak at a commencement ceremony, and I’m sorry that I’ve probably slipped up on spelling the name of the Queen of Jeopardy. Most likely all of this pussyfooting and dancing I am doing is to skirt a serious subject. Avoidance tactics. Or maybe I don’t really have anything to say and am just filling up the white space. Now that I have slept on this, I can’t replicate what I was thinking at two in the morning.

At half past midnight, the witching hour, I was thinking that I had two choices: To publish this with a To be Continued and leave you on the edge of your seat or tuck it into the draft folder and finish when I have more synapsis firing. What is the plural of synapsis? Synapsi? Nope.

Wishful thinking that I’d be having all of my pistons firing this morning. Something is off. Last night, or should I say, early this morning, I wrote about being the youngest of four girls and how I learned to observe my sisters’ behavior, especially the things that landed them in hot water; I’m treading water as I write this, not wanting to say something that would land me in hot water with my sisters. The ten years between my sister Barbara and I didn’t give me much time to monitor her wrong doings. And Deb. Well, if Deb did do anything wrong, she was very sneaky about it. (Maybe by the time I get ready to publish this puppy, I’ll have a reason for this paragraph.  Right now it’s an island all of its own.)

What an amazing September evening. I’ve got one office window open and can hear the pulsing sound of the crickets or are they Cicada. (I suppose if Cicada gets a capital, cricket should also get a capital, though probably the correct answer is neither.)

More avoidance tactics. I can tell myself that I’m just setting up the scene for you. But I know that when I am skimming the surface, there must be some deep and personal matter lurking.

I’m scratching my head over this cryptic paragraph. Where was I going with this? “How do I determine whether I need to take stage left or a right. palm of my hand, and my main source is from a fictional cat. A Cartoon cat. I can’t remember his name. Begins with a S. Maybe. Something like Puss & Boots, but that’s a cat and a mouse. Snagglepuss? I don’t think that there was any Snuggling with the Tiger.  I’m putting my chips down on Snagglepuss. (Hey folks, I need your feedback here. Should I have deleted this paragraph or was any of it  worthwhile?)

Obviously, I think that these strange tangents are interesting or they would be left on the floor. It’s almost as if an angel whispered in my ear and that’s where out-of-the-blue thoughts come from. I think about the network of neurons digging deep into grey matter to extrapolate information, archaic information. Extrapolate. I’ve been waiting for this moment where I can use such a fancy word. What’s that phrase about why spend a dollar on a fancy word when a nickel word works just as well, perhaps even better. I don’t have to worry about my readers not understanding. I’m not suggesting that my readers aren’t smart. I would never insinuate such a thing.

Extrapolate isn’t even a word I can use in Words With Friends unless I hide some tiles up my sleeve or in my sock but that would cheating, and I will be the first to admit that my Integrity is still in shambles;  cheating in Words With Friends is a sign of desperation. I don’t even use the internet sites that tell me what words to use in the game, but I consider that cheating. Other people might say that they are just using the resources available. Using a dictionary isn’t allowed in scrabble, so using the internet is worse than using a book.

Speaking of Words With Friends, I owe about twenty people an apology for not playing recently. I have been distracted with writing. My blog. Emails. Essays. Eventually, I suppose, the story ideas will dry up and I won’t have anything to write about. No, I’m not serious. I believe in infinity when it comes to ideas. I’ve been gathering them for fifty-five years, some real, but most are from my warped and demented imagination.

Sometimes I just amaze myself. I’ll sit down to write and my etch-and-sketch of a brain has been wiped clear and it doesn’t seem like I don’t have anything to write about.  Sometimes if I have forgotten a piece of information, I can write myself right to the answer.  It’s just like walking back to your point of origin, the place you had the thought, but you only have to move your fingers; walking isn’t necessary. Is it the Yellow pages that tells us to let your fingers do the walking?

Back to last night, which really was this morning, I  thought that I ought to make a sound track of the outdoor sounds. There’s a hum that’s accompanies the Cicadas. It’s a miracle that none of my dogs aren’t barking.  Please Murphy; please let sleeping dogs  lay or is that lie?  Bex, I did tell you that I was hopeless, didn’t I?

I love the Pandora heart meditation channel. Swimming in a Lovely Sea Of You by Michael Whalen. Does the violin represent the sea or the you? The Piano is prominent and strong. Maybe the Piano represents the swimming stroke. I’m not liking the direction this blog is going, so I’m shifting.

Okay my peeps, my faithful followers, my lurkers, and readers, of those of you who are writers, do you remember  what drew you to writing?

Writing entertains me. Writing is like putting the period at the end of a sentence. I sure hope that I didn’t just steal that from someone because if I did, I have no clue, but it sounds too good to have come from my brain.

Writing documents that I really am here. Those times I felt  invisible, not noticed. I could call those cockroach times . I’d just scurry around when the lights came on.

I have been a survivor for a very long time.

I have also lived behind a mask. A mask of many faces. That’s gotta be someones’s line, but I don’t know. At first I wasn’t sure if it should be faces are facets. Sort of the same thing, but such a different tone.

When I think of Fake it until I Make, I think of the times I have to suck it up and stand firm. I might be way out of my comfort zone, which really doesn’t take much, but I pretend that that’s where I fit. Meanwhile this square peg is being hammered into a round hole.

By my freshman year at Ithaca College, i had transformed into a triangle, which makes mathematical sense. Is there another shape that I’m blanking on or is circle my only choice? Please don’t make this a hypothetical question.

If I had finished my physical education degree at I.C., I was not even close to being ready. I flunked Rhythmic Gymnastics just because I had to wear a leotard.Certainly didn’t help that I arrived to class under the influence and without sleep. Embarrassment is a powerful force. (Oh, I suppose you want me to get rid of the mixing of the past and preset tenses. Go ahead, I may or may not listen.)

Sometimes I think that my emotional state of being is ten to fifteen years  lower than my chronological time. This really messed up my Freshman year of college. Dorms. Close quarters. wanting to fit it. Yeah, I’d have today that this was the beginning of the Fake It Until I Can Make It.

I’m curious  as to how or why this came to be. I’m so sick of blaming everything on the death of my mother and college wasn’t until six years later. Residual effects perhaps. Before my Freshman year at college, I don’t really remember being self-conscious. Maybe my sisters could make a statement and tell me if this is an untrue statement. But let me qualify this somehow. Yes, I did worry about looking like a dork, and dresses and leotards and skirts and makeup all fit in the dork box.My maturity level was probably not chartable. I think of Rainman and I think of me.

The tracks are about to cross. They have, but the tracks are in my head. Even though I wasn’t self-conscious, this may have been true, and may be true, that it is really hard to be self-conscious if you don’t have a self-image. There’s no one in the mirror when I looked in. Maybe I can blame it on my monocular vision, especially when the right eye is the M.I.A. Missing in Action may not be the best acronym. The ability to send message from right eye to brain is what is M.I.A.

I have to write to find out where my brain just fell off the track. Chugging along, noticing that I just missed seeing 11:11, and wondering if that’s a sign that I ought to go to bed. Long day tournament bowling waits for me. I don’t want to be late again.

I think it was last month that I came running into Firs Bowl, well running may have been exaggerated a tad bit. Thirty pounds are on one shoulder and my computer and electronic gizmos are on the other shoulder, so perhaps I was waddling, fast uncoordinated walking. And we all know, all three of us, how much I hate getting up in the morning. Maybe I ought to imbed a prize for the first local reader. The first local person that responds to this blog gets lunch on the house?

If I can’t wow people with my prose and mastery of the English language, perhaps I can just bribe people. And I could convince them to pat me on the back and tell me what a fantastic writer without having read anything I have written. I’m starting to sound like Donald Trump, but I do have much better hair, and I’m not swimming in extra cash.

I keep hoping that I’m beyond the need for the Scary Mask to wear when I play the role of writer. Perhaps I have the mask turned inside out and that’s what is scaring me.

The following might have a connection, but at this moment that’s a tenuous prediction.  Jon Clifton, my beginning of life best friend, and I used to study how batters batted, copying the crazy ritual that they did at every at bat. How much or where do they twirl the bat? Tapping of the plat. Digging with our feet. Next time you see a baseball game, watch the player do the exact same thing before being ready to bat.

Routine.  ritual. Sherrie, this thought is for you, as you help me hold the knife to carve the new me, knowing that I’ll be carved until I’m a mere chip of wood.

Did I lose anyone with my whittle wood analogy? Could have been soap. What’s the real smelly soap. Irish Spring. Do they still make that soap. Even when that soap was dry, it still squirted right out of my hand like a greased piglet. Hard to carve a moving object. Come to think of it, is carving and whittling the same thing.

Maybe my first book should be a list of all of the things that I don’t  know and is afraid to ask? I’d have to write a few volumes to fill in all of the important parts.

I say that I’m trying to be the writer that I think I can be, the one I know I can be, but I’m still using chicken shit words and phrases like I’m trying or I think. Wasn’t it Yoda that said that there’s no trying; there’s just doing? What Nike gear did I recommend  for writing. Make wrist bands and carpal tunnel prevention sleeves really cool colors and patterns. The first time I saw a bowler wear a sleeve one arm, I took a double-take, and then asked him where his other sleeve had gone. No, I hadn’t started drinking yet. Maybe if I could wear a sleeve over my entire body, I might feel like I can move, and this definitely going to be the case after tomorrow’s eight game marathon. Maybe I could ice my back. This is not a good time to play the part of caring  more about what people think of me than what is right for me. Lying on the floor would be great for me. Stretching ad so on.

For those of you who know me, I enjoy a good quote. Some people like good cigars, but they only cause me to lose my cookies. I love a good quote I don’t think I am very picky as I have a lot of  quotes stashed away in my computer in my Mail signature. I set the thing on random and I never know which one is going to come up. Don’t ask me to tell you one of them. I just know how to copy and paste, and I do tend to read them almost every time I read my emails to other people I sometimes stop and read and then reflect And other times  I want to admit something. at least a once in a while. on this one and just climb over already. Isn’t it okay to say that I’ve faked it, faked any writing abilities for a very long time.

I suppose I could do a To Be Continued for this blog, though my bigger fear would be that no amount of writing to retrieve would put me back onto the same track of thought  with a night’s sleep in-between. How many of you jumped off the train after that sentence? No, I’m not going back. this car has no reverse. Perhaps I ought to have warned you one thousand and four hundred words ago.

What about confidence. How much confidence should one have. Or is there a number. Maybe the confidence isn’t a god or bad thinkg thing. No way of measuring it.

Humility. Humbleness. Confidence. I’m on my own side. I trust my intuition. I am not better nor am I worse than anyone. We are all equals. Since I have my eyes closed I hope that the wrods are coming around right.

Bowling night

Friday,  September 18, 2015
Friday is bowling night.  Strike City Lanes on Highway 99.
Last week we established averages.  143 was the result of my messing around, using four different balls, which could be a good or bad thing. One hundred and forty-three pin average isn’t good,  but maybe I need to let go of that judgment. As a team we won three out of four games. Tied for second is good.
Today I brought in just two bowling balls, the Hammer Red Wheel. Tonight I am determined to focus on lining up.  It has been so long since I paid attention to where I stand that I had to ask Kathi Sutherland what board the middle dot was. She didn’t even laugh at me when she told. Twenty board.
Typically I start on the fifteen and adjust from there. Sevens and spares was the the pattern the first game started with,  but I was picking up my spares, something I struggled with last week.  Last week it looked like I was collecting wood for the winter, especially when two pins are staring at me.  I  was not even consistent with the pins I chopped. Sometimes I would chop the six off of the ten and other times visa versa.
Tonight’s first game of 178 was made up of lots of spares and a few strikes.  The one split was my only open. We won by twenty-four pins.
Snafu, the team we are bowling against,  has a hundred pin lead going into the tenth frame. Not good. I need to strike out, or fill up the woodshed. I have never figured how three strikes in the tenth is called fill the woodshed up, a good thing, yet chopping wood isn’t a good thing.
Maybe I should see what my second ball will do.
Green Gargoyle. Poor neglected bowling ball left in the basement. Adding the hammer and the gargoyle to the Arsenal in the Subaru, I think I have eight bowling balls. Maybe there are ten. I probably have at least ten more in the basement.
In my endeavor to lightening the load of stuff I have collected over the years,  I should seriously consider giving some bowling balls away.
Three frames and I have one strike and two opens. Totally missed the six ten the first time and chopped the six off of the ten.  Time to adjust and move to the left with my feet.
Result was a Brooklyn strike. I will stay where I am. I have the philosophy of staying where I am if I am striking. Make that a double on the wrong side,  or to remove the negative stigma, on the left side.  I need to do better this game since we are losing by nine.
I  am probably boring most of my readers, and I apologize, but I am working with what I have.
Six seven split. Joe Garcia, the anchor on the other team, and I both had a double. He managed an eight and spare, but me,  Ms. Pushing her Luck, bowled another split. Darn it. Our deficit has grown to 46.
Seventh frame,  Joe struck. I moved my feet five to the left to give the Gargoyle some room,  and it worked, rewarding me with a pocket strike.
Joe doubled, but I  guess I am working on my handicap as I just got another split. Oh well.  It isn’t looking so pretty.
Hey my Duck fans, if you are heading to tomorrow’s game at Autzen, come by the Kettle Korn and buy a bag from me. Six bucks and a free hug.
I like to pretend that I have this long list of followers. Certainly can’t hurt to have imaginary friends, right.
Sunday is Trio day
I am going to miss seeing Jessica, the woman that runs the tournament, but I respect her need to take a time out.
Tenth frame. The only good thing that is happening is that the Fine Young Cannibals are singing About being driven crazy, which is fitting for the way I feel about bowling.

A Tale for The Time Being

Saturday, September  19, 2015

Even though the book club discussed A Tale for The Time Being yesterday, I will finish the book before I start the next book. If I am lucky, I’ll be able to see and hear the book. This a new experience. To listen to the audio while reading the text on my cell phone or tablet is something that I tried so hard to get my students to do. Most balked, but since this is a new experience for me, I had been balking along with them. No wonder sales were low.

Sometimes I listen with my eyes closed and write, like what I am doing right now, though I’m doing a lot more of listening and imagining than the typing.  Ozeki’s writing draws me in and when there is a ceremony, I’m taking part. I imagined myself drumming. I learned that  “when you beat a drum, you create now. Sound and no sound are examples of the Time Being.” There are so many layers of this book.

I love hearing Ruth Ozeki read The Tale of The Time Being. I prefer her voice over mine any day, especially with the Japanese pronunciations. I don’t really make an attempt. I don’t skip over it, but I don’t try to attack the word with my mighty phonic decoding skills. I scrolled over the word, perhaps looking at the beginning middle and end or perhaps hope that there’s a grouping of letters that I recognize. Sometimes an English word, a word that had no translation in Japanese, would mingle with Japanese words, and at least I had something to grasp.

Ozeki enjoys bouncing between languages. Sometimes there are a lot of English words and then a Japanese word is inserted and it’s like a stop sign. I don’t recognize it. I don’t even recognize the letter combination:

“The night, she came to my room to say good night, slipping along the engawa and in through the sliding doors like a breeze from the garden, so quietly I didn’t even hear her coming.”

If I had been just listening to this passage, I wouldn’t have paid much mind to the word engawa. I wouldn’t have even met it. Reading a word that I have never seen before, it reminds me of meeting a new person. Some become a friend, and some only become brief acquaintances.

I could go on and on about all of the times I have tried to make words become my new best friend. I kept lists. Sometimes I wrote the lists of new words by hand and color-coded. No one told me to write the definition, to identity the part of speech, and write the example. No one assigned me the task of typing the word and definition over and over, pushing obscure  words into my head. At least it gave me something to do.

Having the author read her own book is just like having her sitting next to me. Reading to me. I know she doesn’t have The Tale memorized, but since she owns the words, owns the characters and their accents, owns the story, when she reads, the tempo of her her words exude so much meaning. It’s like having another dimension of the book. There have been many times that her words are so exciting that I have to find the words in the text.  I play Hide and go seek with her words. Only takes me a couple of minutes to find the place of where she’s reading.

Was it Ozeki that said something about how each and every word she wrote, words that would survive the cutting block had to pass the oral audition? If it was she who said this, I picked up this little nugget of gold at the book club meeting, I had wanted to join a book group for so many years. Just never got around to it. There are lots of things swirling around in this whirlpool of things that I have always wanted to do, but so far I’ve not gotten around to it. Sometimes it’s more like a cesspool rather than a whirlpool. Too many things are churning.

It’s too bad that my cell phone is about to die and no longer have it as a source. The characters, Japanese soldiers, are facing death in the war, but maybe only hearing the story is better than hearing and seeing it.

Listening to this story is helping me to own the story because there are so many parts that I relate to. In so many ways, I am a Time Being reminded that I too have limited time. Perhaps this is why I seem to be compelled to get my house in order, my life in order.

Looking closely at all of the things that I have wanted to do, but never got around to, there are things that have been swirling for more than forty years. For example, take learning how to play the drums. Buddy Rich. Beating my right thigh  with the drumsticks my mom gave to me, the last present I ever got from her was therapy. I still love to crank the rock, and I will never part with the sticks, but do I intend to learn to play the drums some day?

Intention. Attention. Those are the things swirling about in my mind. It’s time to sort and sift. I am not ready to let go of playing the drums, and it’s okay for me to throw it back in with the realization that I’m running out of time, I want to think about how much longer do I want this activity to be into the future and not into the present.

If the state of my house represents the state of my mind, I obviously have a problem with letting go of things. It wouldn’t be the end of the road to take a good hard look at the idea of my drumming and not see lessons or practice or doing on a regular basis in the near future. Letting it go of this dream  is like weeding the garden. Can’t have big juicy carrots if they are squished together. It’s time to make room for the other dreams I have picked up along the way.

As I sort and paw through the things I want in my life, I reprioritize, like all of the stuff that surrounds me. I typically have three containers, stuff I definitely don’t want, stuff that I definitely want to keep, and stuff that I don’t know. On the fence things. And guess what? I don’t have to make the decision. I allow myself to use one of the I don’t know card. I tell myself that  IDK cards should be limited. Why do I believe that there always should be rules?

Just as I did with the 39 polo shirts that now occupy the inside of a large black plastic garbage bag, destined for St. Vincent De Paul, I’m feeling strongly that having too many things on my dance card is preventing me from really getting a dream fulfilled. I image all fifty-something polos in my closet, most of which are blocking the view of the clothes that I really like, rather than clothes that mere cover my body.

If my dreams and Want to Do’s are crowded, the Sort of Want to Do’s and the Used to Want to Do’s could elbow their way to the front of the line, causing the Really Want to Do’s to yell out, “Cuts and Cutted, but then it only becomes a bottle-neck of one word against others. Nothing is resolved and nothing is complete

Or, I could pitch the things that block my view of things that I really want to do, that I’m serious about getting around to sooner than later.

Ruth Ozeki’s story, A Tale for The Time Being is tickling my fancy. It’s almost midnight. No, make that 1:44 a.m. I don’t want to stop listening to her. I had paused her at eleven, momentarily thinking that I ought to go to bed. It didn’t take much self-persuasion to press the play button.

I paused another time, thinking that I had another blog in me or that if I happen to be writing after midnight, I could count this as Saturday’s blog, which I am going to do, and at this rate, perhaps I’ll just write right on in to Sunday.

It’s a strange feeling to think that I have absolutely no time to squander. It will be a foreign feeling to not be able to lounge in bed until ten or eleven or twelve like I did today.  The seven o’clock alarm, just five hours from now, will definitely be a rude awakening. I am shaking my head disgust since I have no choice.

I don’t know what I have against the early morning? Is it worth figuring out why? My friend Joyce Watts would say yes; not that long ago, we argued about the value of Why. I fought fiercely that Why isn’t important to come to answers, but the longer the debate dragged on and raised voices occupied the room, I lost hold on my arguments.

Why I do the things I do is the sun in my life. My subconscious must be nudging me, reminding me that seven o’clock a.m. is only fifty-five minutes. The more I think about  the question of why I do the things I do, the more I think about why I don’t do the things I want to do.

It’s too bad that Nike doesn’t sponsor writers. I suppose I could ask for a sock contract. They do make great socks and the logo of “Just Do It” will last  for centuries to come. Who coined the phrase “Just Do It?” So simple. So powerful.

This is what I appreciate about Ruth Ozeki. Simple and powerful. So interesting. At one point, I paused the story with the idea that I would blog about Jubei-chan. Perhaps I could get my niece Andrea to tell me what she knew about the Ninja Girl. I know absolutely nothing about anime. I always thought that my so much smarter than smart niece would be a a published author. I had never known anyone who had such an appetite for reading. It just occurred to me that my niece Andi and I both have hollow legs. When I was growing up, people would tell me that I had a hollow leg for food. I was proud at my ability to eat as much as a grown man could. Where did this come from? Why did I think this was a good behavior?

The realization of the eleven o’clock kickoff time is kicking me in the butt, but at least I got a blog in…


Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Photo on 9-16-15 at 12.04 AM #2Yang is sound asleep on my lap. I don’t want to disturb my Calico Girl. I may have to steal an earlier photo since I can’t get her head in the shot if I used my laptop photo. Maybe it’s time I use some of the photos I have been taking.

thistle091515Almost every time I walk the dogs and cat, I have my large Canon camera with me. I’m a fan of closeups, and this camera does a better job than my cell phone camera.

IMG_9611Every day I walk the same paths, perhaps not always in the same order, but my choices are limited with the takeover of the blackberries. I’m seeing different things every day. There are miniature works of art every where I go. To me, art doesn’t have to  be complicated. This picture of feather, stick, and cone remind me of life’s textures.

IMG_9618The leaf and cone, more texture, also remind me of the life cycle. Leaf has done it’s job and now is ready to composite and help the seedlings from the cone grow into more trees.

IMG_9620One of my favorite trees reminds me that even if you get pushed down, it’s a matter of adjusting. Carry on and grow. I love the unique bends to this tree. I’ll have to take a picture of a leaf and see if I can get it identified.

IMG_9623Who is the god or goddess of weeds? Well, talk about an imagination. This picture astounds me since this is “just” a weed. What an incredible imagination.

I also am reminded to apologize to all of my neighbors in not doing my part in keeping the population down. The seeds from our property could be causing a lot of work.IMG_9636

Saving the world

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I don’t want to be writing this blog. I just want to be clear about this. I’m tired and falling asleep right here on the keyboard. Good thing I know the keyboard because I can at least type with my eyes closed. I wonder if it is possible to go into REM while typing. That would be neat to tap into that part of my brain.

I’m listening to the numb of the feezer in the adjoining room. Steady pulse. I can’t tell if I can hear my cat Yang’s purring or if it’s just remnants of when she was here.

I just felt her tail up against my knee. I can hear her licking her lips, making sure she didn’t have kitty chow crumbs on her face.

Now that she’s parked on the head of the chair, I can hear her our. My head touches her and I can feel her pulsing

Is it good luck or a good sign when a cat pulls a strand or two out of one’s head. Yang has never done this before, so for a moment I thought it were Catsby on my chair. I had toopen my eyes to see if there was fluffy grey or calico.  Calico.

Yang is my story kitty. Sometimes when I sit quietly with her, I get this ideas for writing. It is as if Yang is telling me to write about something. Earlier this evening, she told me that I should write a story with my Great-Nephew Liam. What do you think Liam? I doubt Liam has ever read by blog. I’d have to change my game plan completely if I wanted fourth grade boys to read my blogs, though I bet Liam could tell me what to write about, especially if we were to write them together.

The other day in an email from Liam, he told me that he was trying to figure out Time Zone. This is what he and I could write about for the first book. I’ll have to send him an email and find out if he’s interested. We could even do our own illustrations, though that might be pushing things, but maybe.

There’s so much I don’t know about the time zone. I don’t know how long we’ve been changing. I know it has to do with capturing more daylight working time.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there wasn’t such a thing as time. I’d never have to get up early again. How would schedules work? Meet me right when the sun sets or rises? And then I suppose, if weather permitted, you could gauge between as the sun is moving for the in-between times. Life would be different. We wouldn’t have a way to determine how old or young we are, though sometimes I feel a lot older than I actually am, and for the most part I definitely don’t act my age.

This would be one way to change the educational system. You are in a grade until you pass that grade’s test. You work with people who are at your maturation level. I’m feeling a sigh of relief as a teacher, imagining what it would be like to teach a class of the same level kids. Kids could be large because kids would be closer together in understanding the material. There wouldn’t be the lost kids because they are two to three years below the material you are trying to teach. There wouldn’t be the bored kids who need to be challenged and not held back.

Wow. To think that I didn’t want to write this evening, and instead I solved our educational system.

Hopefully I’ll write about something

Monday, September 14, 2015

I’m leaving the best for last in following my Ten Things I do to create a Hell Yes day. Blogging every day with the strong hope of multi-blog days. Since this is a new behavior, I’ve not been very good in creating this habit.

I didn’t count into August, but I’m amazed that I have blogged every day in September, and the feeling is fantastic.

Are there any readers who can relate? Who have wanted to write every day, but something always seems to get in the way, like all of the things we have to do in this live.  I really ought to be taking the garbage out or cleaning the house. I started vacuuming last night, but only did part of the kitchen. I can’t remember if the interrupter was Sudoku racing or figuring out insurance forms, but something distracted me from doing one of my favorite activities.

Is there anyone out there who get hung up on not having anything to write about? I know this feeling. I’ve had these thoughts off and on from when I first began writing today’s blog. Most of the time I come up with something to write almost right away. And sometimes I get distracted, as I was today, and my idea evaporates, as it did, and I am back to step one: have faith that something will come up.

Even if I write about how I have the Birds playing the Birds on the big screen in the first game for Monday Night Football. I would have missed this early game on ESPN between the Eagles and the Falcons if I hadn’t scanned the Register-Guard’s sport’s section. To my right, on my Samsung tablet I have the Red Sox playing more birds, the  Orioles. Baltimore is in contention; whereas, the Boston Red Sox are just waiting for the season to technically end. For my beloved Red Sox, their season ended almost immediately after it started, and it started so well, too. But a week or two in a marathon season doesn’t matter; the reverse is also true. Technically, there are more games left to play than the Red Sox need to catch up, but there are too many other teams to make that even a valid component to the mathematical equation.

While watching football, which is muted, and baseball, not muted, I have Yang Cat on my lap; she’s gently kneading my left forearm. Sometimes she shifts and hits something on the laptop, causing my cursor to jump to a different place in the text, and if I am not paying attention, I could be inserting text in places that will cause  some confusion. I don’t think this has happened, but since I don’t re-read my blog before I send it, you will know sooner than I.

So, what do you think about this philosophy of not re-reading my copy before I send it off to you? I know I have had typos and sentence structure failures as I have grimaced upon seeing them, knowing I let something out that’s not perfect.

I’m hoping that these things don’t turn you off and conclude that I can’t write and am not worthy of reading. Oh, I’m just going through one of those melancholy moods when I think about the lack of responses. In a minute or two, that mood will change. I will remind myself that by writing every day in September is what I am proud off. I never promised a perfect product. I have to problem creating a perfect product, but I’m also okay with my ripping out a stream of consciousness piece and calling it good. This is after spending so many years of writing and rewriting and rewriting and so on and those pieces of writing have never been seen by anyone but myself.

I imagine after I get the willingness to share my naked drafts, I’ll shift into the editing mode because I will be submitting something to be published, and then of course I’ll dress my stories up.

So, if that’s what is holding you up from blogging or letter-writing, you aren’t confident in your writing skills, well it’s time to drop the gloves and stop fighting it. Get the words on paper. That’s the first step. I did this step for thirty something years. And then share it in the form of a letter or a blog. Set it free. I figure that if someone stops reading my work because I spelled spaghetti wrong, that’s okay.

Well, the garbage needs to go out. Dogs need to be fed. I don’t want to disturb Yang Cat on my lap, but…Well, I can’t go now. Rusney Castillo has ducks on the pond with the bases loaded, and the Sox got lucky in not hitting into a double play. Swihart, the catcher has the bases loaded, but also has the pressure of having two outs. Two outs. Two strikes. Two balls, and two runs would put the Red Sox ahead by a  run. The rookie hits the ball into a routine fly ball. Darn. Now I have no excuse but to appease Abby the Labby Number Nine, except now she’s whimpering and I don’t want to reward her with dinner to say this behavior is acceptable. Okay, I’ve waited long enough. Good night.Yang9-14-15 at 5.16 PM #5

Story for my great-nephew Liam

One reason I enjoy reading and writing is that I enjoy words. Linguistics fascinates me. I see or hear a new word and curiosity causes me to question it. Where did it come from? How long has it been around? Is it used anymore or is it antiquated? How can I get it into my writing vocabulary. More words are added to my my writing vocabulary than my spoken vocabulary. I reject words that might make me come across as being pretentious.

I’ll do anything to avoid making spelling or vocabulary words boring. I was probably in fourth grade when it dawned on me that instead of just creating sentences with the words, I could create a story. One of these days when I find that box that has some of my stories from the late 60s. I’m too lazy to do the math of how old I was when I was in the fourth grade.

My niece, Ruth, emailed me her son Liam’s words for the week, and I created a story around the word. Since the words aren’t covering a certain topic, the stories tend to be very strange. For the story I am working on now, I’ve got to pair up bowling with poodle. I could have the poodle bowling and behind the lanes there’s a lagoon.

Here are the words:


And the story:

41T4FEC7WAL._SX300_The toaster dinged, but Philip poodle didn’t hear the bell nor the toast jumping out of the heat and onto the counter because of the noisy mower right outside of the kitchen window. It didn’t help that while Philip were shaking up the orange juice so it would be foamy, that he started to daydream.

Daydreams are a great way to get those bizarre black sheep of the word lists.

Philip had an important hockey game tonight; his team, the Crowing Roosters were going up against Blue Lagoon, a team that hadn’t been beat in two seasons and would test Philip’s goalie skills. The pressure was intensified with the knowledge that all of the boosters for the team would be in the stadium, taking stock of who should stay and who should go.

The sound of Ralph the Retriever scarfing up a piece of toast  that Ralph absconded with as the pair sat on the counter unprotected and not guarded. The retriever slowly sauntered out of the room with tail between legs and head bowed, looking as apologetic as possible. The Retriever knew. Philip knew; they both knew that if the same thing happened again with the toast landing on the counter instead of on a plate, the same outcome would happen. Philip hardly ever had the chance to eat two pieces of toast.

Philip put away the no longer needed bamboo tongs, but couldn’t resist playfully snapping in the direction of Bo Jangle Beagle, sending the hound dog fleeing as the pretend crocodile snapped. Philip laughed; silly dog was afraid of everything.

If Philip hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn’t have believed that his dog was even afraid of cats, but Sylvester Cat had that dog running for his life. Sylvester’s owner Jake witnessed the bizarre reversal of roles and acted as if it represented that Jake’s ability to make Philip run and would probably never let Philip forget the embarrassment.

At least the toast wasn’t burned, but burnt toast at least welcomed butter to spread, but cold toast was not so welcoming and fought the clumps of butter. If he weren’t so hungry, he might have microwaved the butter, but he had to get something into his stomach soon since he had already taken his vitamins, and vitamins on his empty stomach only motivated his stomach to reject the pills.

Holding the sort of satisfactory toast over the sink, Philip looked out the window and thought, What a trooper the baboon was being to be on the lawn mower. At least that was one less thing that Philip had to nag about though that list was endless, so getting this one thing done really wasn’t going to get Bergeron off of the hot seat.

Bergeron the Baboon slowly shook his head, muttering to himself, Why in the world am I doing going around in circles, when I could be out on my boat? Because of the chores, Bergeron had to turn down an opportunity to go bowling. Why did I tell that goofy poodle that I would get it done today, though he’d been telling Philip that he’d get it done for the last three weeks of todays.

Below, the mower blades approached the dry grass and various weeds as if the Red Queen were shrieking, “Off with their heads” over and over and over. Meanwhile, all of the critters that reside in the grass, weeds, and ground were scurrying around madly trying to avoid the fate of being harpooned and chopped up.

Thinking about all the things that needed to be done alongside with all of the things that he wanted to do, caused the baboon to have gloomy thoughts. It was easy for Bergeron to compare his life living with his husband as to that of living with his parents and in many ways, things weren’t much different. Chores are chores regardless of how old someone begins. Nagging is nagging; doesn’t really matter if the nagger is a partner or a parent or a teacher, and Bergeron sure had his hands full of those who enjoyed nipping at his heels, directing his life. Why did he think his life would be any different now that he was out on his own.

Maybe, just maybe, Bergeron would agree to do something different on this Saturday night. The Bloated Blue Fish were in town playing, but Jazz infused with Blues and a little bit of country music wasn’t the Baboon’s favorite kind of music, but the Poodle knew that if he played his cards carefully, used that long laundry list of tasks that Bergeron had promised to take care of.

While Bergeron rinsed his soapy hands, Philip snuck up behind him and the poodle poked him on both sides of his love handles, causing the Primate to jump and utter a swear. As a result, he flicked the remaining soapsuds at the Poodle.

Careful, careful you brute of a Baboon, I just got my hair done yesterday. How come you never notice when I get my hair done?”

Bergeron lovingly embraced his poofy Poodle, the love of his life, but his hands were still wet so Philip worked himself free. Was this playful interaction a sign that Bergeron was in a good mood? No point in asking about the concert if he were stewing in the same bad mood he’d been in for the last three weeks. Philip reminded himself of the leverage.

“Remember how you asked me if we could go rowing in the lagoon, and I said that I would think about it? I’ve got a proposition for you.”

“So, you are finally getting around to propose to me?”

“No, you silly, I’m thinking that if I agree to row with you, will you at least consider going to see the Bloated Blue Fish with me. I know that BBF isn’t really your cup of tea, but that’s a deal where you can’t go wrong.”

Bergeron sighed with a loud humph. He imagined how much fun he would have fun exploring the lagoon, and would that balance out how bored he would be at the concert. He could use the noise canceling ear muffs that Philip gave him for his birthday and at least be cancel out the painful noise that Philip considered music. He thought about how he could negotiate and perhaps either swap out a chore or at least buy some more time.

Bergeron couldn’t get out of cleaning the bathrooms or doing the dishes, but he was able to get out of grocery shopping.

Philip embraced the burly baboon, giving him a quick kiss on his cheek. He was so excited about going to the concert, and he would have taken on going grocery shopping all year if asked, but Bergeron hadn’t thought of that.

Getting up in the morning

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Groan. I just can’t seem to get out of bed when I want to. Alert enough to check my cell phone for the time, I saw two times that would have allowed me to feel accomplishment instead of shame.

Obviously, I’m not good at making decisions while still in bed, especially when there’s nothing on the docket.

I had told Sherrie, my Life Coach, that I would not be in bed longer than eight hours. This is a modified agreement that used to state that I’d get up at 8 a.m. I might have gotten up twice at that time in the first two weeks of our coaching relationship.

Yesterday I was up and ready to go. It was a really great day. I think what isn’t helping is that even though my integrity is in shambles due to not following through with an agreement, I forgive myself easily. And I know that even though I got up at 11 a.m., I can still have a really good day. When it comes down to it, there’s not much the coach can do aside from firing me due to my inability to habitually not do what I want.

There are two questions that come to my mind. Why do I have such a hard time getting up in the morning? Why do I have getting up in the morning on my list in the first place?

I have a hard time getting out of bed for a few reasons. My back doesn’t hurt when I am in bed. Gravity is not my friend when it comes to pain. The second I am upright, my lower back asks to be medicated. That’s a good reason, but it’s still an excuse. I touched on this during a previous blog in that it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that’s making this a problem is the agreement, and obviously I don’t have a problem with ditching those agreements.

Why is it important that I get up earlier in the morning? How can I be a productive if I spend half the day in bed? That’s a lot of time.

So, what’s it going to take? Do I have to take something away to make me be accountable? Sherrie suggested that for every day that I don’t get out of bed at the scheduled time, I should donate ten bucks to a charity. I certainly don’t like giving away my money, especially when subbing work hasn’t started to come, and no money in means I am more protective of the savings account.

I’m going to have to find something that is going to hurt if I don’t get to do or have. I suppose I could take my cell phone away from myself. For some parents, this creates a lot of leverage in getting a child, especially a teen.

I think I have come up with something I like to do and it would make a major impact upon my day if I took this away. No, I’m not going to state what it is even though declaring this action has more power than the vague declaration, but there are just some things I don’t feel comfortable sharing with the whole wide world, even though I have only a handful of readers, and that might be an exaggeration.

New Theory about re-incarnation

In a previous life, I was a parakeet. If you want to learn more about that, you’ll have to dig through my blogs and read it. I’m not going there again, at least not in this blog. Now for a commercial timeout.

My beloved Ducks are not doing so well offensively and defensively, I might as well concentrate on this blog. I may have to turn the game off so I can live the comfortable life of Ignorance is Bliss. The ducks are behind the Spartans by a touchdown and Michigan State is marching down…Oh, an interception by the University of Oregon. Breath of relief, especially if the Ducks can score. Return to your regularly scheduled program.

Reincarnation. I don’t have the slightest idea what caused the development of this new theory, but it’s quite simple. You are the age you are in your new life as you were the day you ended the prior life.

I haven’t figured out the physics or math of this theory. Maybe there’s a formula. I can’t spell the word that I really want to write, but since I’m too lazy to look it up, and I don’t want anyone to think I can’t write by misspelling a word. Talk about ignorance is bliss. In the good old days when I wrote, I could blindly rip it out of the carriage return and send my letter or my story loose in the world, wild as it was without any structure of grammar, but the typewriter was just as ignorant as I and couldn’t point out my mistakes like the computer can do. I don’t like it when they give me a squiggly because I write sentence fragments. Doesn’t like fragments. Maybe the computer has gotten tired of correcting me because there’s no squiggly line under Doesn’t like fragments. Maybe the grammar guide is taking the weekend off.

If I were to die right now, this fifty-five year-old spirit would be in need of a fifty-five year old body to co-habitate with all of the other spirits that have died before. Once your life points were verified, you will be shown a handful of Prospectives, and you get a choice.  You might be wondering what the life points are. Think of Karma points. Do the right things, and you get points. Be like Michael Vick, the dog killer, you get points taken away. So, if Michael Vick got picked off, because of his negative score, he wouldn’t have a choice, and he would be assigned to something appropriate. How about coming back as one of his pit bulls in a dog-fighting ring. Not a cushy gig. It’s going to be a while before Vick gets anything better than an earthworm. Sorry earthworm lovers if you have just apologized. I do love them. I try relocating worms when I garden and feel really bad when I cut them in half.

How do you know what your choices are? There are teams that go out and collect samples, and they won’t quit bringing you possibilities until you are happy with your new body.

By now in your life, you have experienced that there are some people that talk way over your head. Oh, that happens to me all of the time. I’m not the  brightest tool in the shed. Sharpest tool. See what I mean? I’m always mixing idioms up. If my theory is correct, not all of my pistons aren’t firing because this body hasn’t had that many lives. Think of the smartest person that you know. Well, they are so smart because they have more souls living in that body.

This really does make sense. I wasn’t sure I believe it until i started writing. My friend Mindy Brady has a freshman son at Churchill High School. G.V. reminds me of Harry Potter; this kid is so smart that I bet his body has seen a lot of lives. He probably has photographic memory. These souls that keep recycling have gone back to the beginning of time.

When I was at the University of Oregon, I judged a teacher to be arrogant and conceited; he acted as if he had known Virginia Woolf. Was that Kingsley Weatherhead? Oxford educated. Now in retrospect, I’m thinking that his should could contain thoughts from someone who knew Virginia Woolf. Better yet, maybe her soul chose his body, though with the generation difference, somehow that soul had to have one or two in-between. There’s probably a mathematical equation to tell me if this is plausible, but let’s just pretend it is possible. Of course Dr. Weatherhead could talk as if he knew her personally because he once had been Virginia Woolf. My theory is getting better and better as I write.

I’m also thinking that there’s a cap, that there’s a great reward to living so many lives. The cap  age is determined by who is the current oldest person of the world. The team that searches these people are able to go anywhere and everywhere, especially in the outer off-the grid places.

Jeanne-Calment-1996Example of a supercentenarian.In 1997, the eldest verified person was a French woman Jeanne Calment (1875-1997), who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days. The odds of a supercentenarian not passing the good person evaluation are extremely low, almost nonexistent. Think of all of those souls that had been swirling and co-mingling in this one body, doing good deeds is automatic. As a reward, Jeanne upon her death, would have a choice to live whatever life she wants. A dog with a comfy life? A cat that sleeps in the sunshine all day and has not a care in the world? Perhaps Jeanne is tired of all of that rigamarole; she can elect to transfer to a star, a planet, a puffy cloud. The sun. Whatever in a good way.

Wikipedia refers to Jeanne as “The longest unambiguously documented human lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who died at age 122 years, 164 days. She met Vincent van Gogh when she was 12 or 13.”

Maybe Jeanne had tracked down what body Vincent Van Gogh was currently residing in, and she chose to meet up with him again for the rest of that lifespan. Maybe she was that meteor that we saw flying over the dome last night.

Not all lifespans are very quick. Take a dragonfly for example. Once you see a dragonfly flitting about, their days are already numbered as they spend the majority of their lives in the murky water of slow moving or still water.

In my system, beings are on the same level. There’s no hierarchy. Yes, I still eat meat. Yes, I am a hypocrite.

I’m going to use my thousand word goal is a good time as any to bail out.

Reading and understanding

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Even though I have a degree in English and am a highly qualified Reading Specialist, I am an extremely slow reader. What I lack with rate, I make up with passion. I love to read, and I adore great writing.  I want to understand everything, not only what is going on in the book and what the characters are going through, but I also want to know why the author did what they did. Even down to word choice. This just means I have to re-read. Oh, that’s a major hardship. Often I don’t use bookmarks. I will pick up a book and skim to see what I remember. If I read something that doesn’t look familiar, I read, though sometimes I’ll do that and then several pages later realize that I had indeed read that section.

I enjoy writing about what I am reading because it gives another part of my brain to be invited to the dance, though I’m especially hyped to be joining a book group. I have always wanted to join and just never got around to it. Thanks Sara Marvin for the invite.

A Tale for the Time Being is my first assignment for the book club. I downloaded a sample, which I’ll probably end up buying as the $11 ebook is five dollars cheaper than the book itself. My preference is to own the book. I have a great collection of books, and even though I have run out of shelf space, that doesn’t stop me from buying. Maybe I should make book copies to put on my shelf if I have it in digital form.

In attempting to download the e-book from the library, I came upon an audio version. My sister Pam, a non-reader in her early years, enjoys audio books. I may have listened to one book; we had a lot of time on our hands driving from Eugene to San Francisco. I don’t remember the name of the book or the author. It may have been so long ago that the book was actually on tape.

But I’m more of a visual learner. I enjoy reading to others more than being read to, though that wasn’t true when I was a youngun. There’s also the physical sense of curling up around a book, a real book. I’m getting used to curling up around my phone. Now that I can get my books on my phone, my small tablet, my large tablet, and sometimes laptop, the variety makes it so easy to go the e-book route. What amazes me is how Kindle keeps track for me. If I read some of the Tale book on my phone, and then picked up one of the tablets, it would ask me if I wanted to stay where I am at the tablet’s page or go where my phone left off. Sometimes I don’t say yes. Sometimes it gives me an excuse to re-read. Where did this rule come from? I wonder if there’s a book on unspoken rules that we live by, though I imagine we all have different rules. Can you think of a rule that you might be living by, but you aren’t sure where you got it from.

I’ve written lots about how I fell in love with reading and books and Maddy Wetmore, my mom’s best friend and Children’s Librarian at Weston Public Library, but I don’t come from a reading family. Barbara, the eldest, read a lot, though I don’t remember seeing a lot of books in the basement, her domain. I’ve already mentioned the second eldest Pam. And for the third eldest, I don’t recall Deb reading much, but her daughter, my niece, Andrea Duffy is a voracious reader. She runs circles around me. And she’s like a sponge; she soaks up so much even while speed reading. I wonder if she’s a member of Mensa. We had some books in the house. In the living room there were pretty books to look at. I enjoyed reading the encyclopedia; just skimming. For a while I was fascinated by how long people lived, and so my skimming focused on pictures of people in the Encyclopedia or dates.

I can’t skim a book, though skimming on a second read isn’t a bad tactic. Most people I know re-read a book only after they have finished reading it, but not me. Anyone out there do the same thing? It’s okay if I am unique. It won’t be the first or the last.

In the education field, there’s this phrase called scaffolding. Just a fancy way to say to build some support In preparing the brain to take on new information. What do I already know about the subject or don’t know. So for me, it helps if my brain gets a little warmup and I read to see what others had to say about the book, the topic, or the author:

“As concisely descriptive as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, with the breadth of genre and topic of Tolstoy and Orwell, while as easily readable as any YA fiction, A Tale for the Time Being is nothing short of genius.”

LawI don’t know who Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is. Does it really matter? It matters to me. I am an extremely sequential person and I don’t knows or IDK don’t work for me. If I don’t know, then I have to find out. Sometimes this means I have to climb down one scaffold and climb up another.

The glimpse of her writing from that paragraph wowed me, even though I really didn’t understand it, but for her to be able to draw from such an incredible bank of knowledge, it is impressive.

If I were to give Ruth a position to play in baseball, I’d have her as a starting pitcher. Her writing style changes like different pitches. In an article she wrote about when her father was kidnapped, she described him with such simple, yet creative words:

“My father is 83 years old. A small, calm, contented man, with a quietly mischievous humor and a luminous faith in God, his beautiful dark skin unlined, his hair in sparse silvery tufts, his life shaped by that stoic, dignified responsibility of being an Igbo first son.”

I tend to not read book or movie reviews. I don’t agree most of the time, and I want my opinions to not have any filters. I want to have my own reasons for liking or not liking. I am so glad I make an exception as not only is it making me want to read Ruth’s book all the more, but the writing about Ruth Ozeki was well-crafted:

“Anything you want from a novel, you can get from this one. Except maybe romance; this book values other types of love, exploration, and interest over the romantic type, showing that people (teenage girls, female writers, soldiers) can care more about other things, which is a huge breath of fresh air for those who loath the amount of romance our culture forces on us at any moment—cue aromantics cheering.” (

It’s good to support my fellow wordpressonians. I’ll have to read more from Notstraightwhiteman. The unrepresented. I admit that I have formed preconceived notions of the blogger with that name. Makes me think of how sick and tired I was at the University of Oregon with all of the dead white males that I read to get my English degree. Women. Minorities. They fit in the elective category.

I like reading something and have to re-read because something is unsettling or unusual. The NSWM blogger defines the people who care the most about Romance novels are teenage girls, female writers, and soldiers. Is he saying that all female authors like romance books? Maybe I’m just reading too much into the statement. That’s another thing that holds me back. I did get a chuckle when I saw soldiers on the list. The next best thing from being away from home.

The purpose of this blog was to discuss the book A Tale for the Time Being, but I seem to have been distracted. Just one of those days.

Back to the book. First chapter has the character Nao “sitting in a French maid cafe in Akiba Electricity Town, listening  to a sad chanson that is playing sometime in your past, which is also my present, writing this and wondering about you, somewhere in my future.

Of course, I had to look up what a French maid cafe would be. Not my cup of tea. I have no desire of having people coming to my house or going to their house and having others pretend that they are maids, the servants, and I am the master or mistress. Nope, these things don’t do anything to me.
Okay, so another rabbit hole to explore. What is a sad chason? I try to get a sense of what the words mean by the context of the words around it. Nao is listening to this song and thinks that those of us in the future will eventually play. I did learn with the help of Wikipedia:

“A singer specializing in chansons is known as a “chanteur” (male) or “chanteuse” (female); a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.”

Eventually, I start to skim over names I don’t know. I’d never get the book read if I looked up where Phuket or Abu Dhabi are? This is a book of fiction, so it’s plausible that these are made up places, so I keep reading. I don’t have much time to read or listen to A Tale for the Time Being, I better get back to it.


Friday, September 11, 2015

On this day, especially, I find myself overflowing with gratitude. Gratitude that I get another chance, a new start.

I had written about my recent experience where I volunteered my time and energy to work with teens as they went through the True Colors personal growth seminar through the Wings organization. I’ve been in and out of the Wings doors since the mid to late 80s. I’ve learned so much, and have so much more to learn, so much that I’m wondering what exactly have I learned. Have I really gotten my money’s worth?

I mentioned that upon returning home, I found myself in an extremely vulnerable place. I hadn’t realized that I had been walking through the week with my eyes closed. I was there. Physically I was present, but for some reason everything else in my essence had checked out. It was as if I had regressed into the teen that should have been enrolled not in the back as a support person. I am sorry to those participants that I wasn’t much of a support person. I’d like to say that I did the best that I could, and that’s true, but not much good if I don’t mine for the wisdom, the learning opportunity.

As I have told Sherrie, my Life Coach, my integrity is in shambles and has been for a very long time. I suppose it doesn’t matter if it’s been fifty years or five. it only matters as to what I want to do about it.

The first day of True colors, I was a half an hour late to the meeting. Oh, the excuse machine was busy cranking out really good ones. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I might have gotten four, but I was having such digestive distress, I spent more time climbing up and down the ladder to my loft bed than actually being in bed. Being sick is a good reason for being late to a meeting, but it also is an excuse. I did not admit to anyone that I also didn’t know what time the meeting was, and didn’t realize I was late before I showed up. I think that’s my favorite excuse that I use all the time. I didn’t know.

Running confusion is a great way to keep me from living my life with integrity.

When I started working with Sherrie, I created a list of ten things I would do every day to have a kick-ass day that would support me to live a Hell Yes life. I sleep a lot. Sometimes my bed is the most comfortable place for my back. Yup, that’s just another great excuse. Since I had a hard time keeping my agreement to get up by eight o’clock in the morning, I dropped it. Last night, Sherrie finally put her foot down and said that changing the ten things on my wellness list every week won’t help me get into the routine, and that I had to come lip with a list that was going to not change.

I know that the more I am actually out of bed, the more I can get done, and the more I get done, the better I feel about life. So, I put it back onto the list, though I re-worded it  to say, I would not be in bed no longer than eight hours. I used to be the kind of person who would stay up until one or two or later, and get up late. And then the part about going to bed late shifted to going to bed early and getting up late. Going to bed early was just in case I was called for a job, and getting up late was my feeling unwanted and unnecessary. What’s the point? or It doesn’t really matter. By my staying in bed until ten in the morning, it doesn’t impact anyone aside from myself. Or does it?

For the rest of my ten things that I do every day, I am much better about taking my medication and supplements, though I am about two months behind in my supplements by not routinely taking them twice a day. They won’t do me any good by sitting on the counter in their shrink-wrap cocoon. The company just keeps sending them and sucking money out of my account.

I believe that every time I say I am going to do something and I don’t follow through, I not only lose the faith that others have given me. I told my Kettle peeps that I work for at the football games that would bring them pears from my endless supply, but I didn’t. No one said anything. I hoped that they had just forgotten, but that was just so I could gloss over the cracks I created by saying that I’m going to do something and not do it.

I’m a survivor. I have learned how to cope with such personal deficiencies by altering how I do something. Okay, so I’m horrible about following through with my plans. But by not making any commitments or plans, this doesn’t solve my issue with integrity; just skirts the issue.

If there’s any of you who are having these kinds of issues, it does not make you a bad person. I do have this little speech in my head; this isn’t about being right or being wrong. It’s not about being a good person or a bad person. It’s something that I want to work on.

What do the essence words mean to me

Leave it to Sherrie to push me just a little bit. Now that I accomplished my blogging homework, and way ahead of schedule, she merely asked me to really own these words by writing on what they mean to me. Are some easier, harder? Where was my resistance? Do any of these scare me?

They all do. Right after I pasted those words into this document, my slate was erased. My etch-a-sketch all shaken up. I seldom find myself speechless, especially in a written format. Walking into a crowded room and having to talk to people, yes at being speechless. But writing?

Creation. I am creative. I create stories. I create photographs. I create laughs, though sometimes creative sarcastic quips aren’t always appreciated.

Light. I’m extremely light on my feet. Ask any of my former students. I have been known to sneak up on a student to wake them up. I tend to walk around the room anyway, and it’s really funny when a student hasn’t been paying attention and they’ll start to say something and by the expression on their friends faces, they know I’m standing behind them. I usually announce my presence before they say something to incriminate themselves. Subject at hand. Light in taking things seriously. I’m just like a feather pillow. Really I’m that light an easy.

Joy. My dogs represent my joy. When they come running to greet me or greet anyone, Joy is expressed from the tips of their nose to that wiggly tail, though it’s more like wiggly body. Playing and having fun is where it’s at for me. I’d rather play than work anyway, so turning work into play is the formula I’m working on.

Wisdom. Yes, young Grasshopper; there are things that you will learn from me. I don’t have much rubber left on these tires after all of those miles. I have learned that the moment I stop learning is the moment I stop living. Actually. I have something to say. We all have something to say.

Strength. If I could take half of my strength of my stubbornness, I’d be one of the strongest women on the planet. Maybe even a quarter. I haven’t decided to blame the English or the German genes for that stubbornness, but when I dig in. Now all I have to do is get stubborn when it comes to submitting my writing, though I suppose actually submitting would be a good place to start. I am strong in spirit.

Attack, Attack, Attack!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I have spent years trying to morph my skills as an athlete to that of a writer, to take the tenacity I held on the field, the ice, and the lanes. How can I be good, better, the best? As I have written, I’m confident that I’ve been practicing my writing all of these years, but I don’t feel ready.

I remind myself that there were many times that I would arrive at the lanes, carrying some confidence, feeling light on my feet to only find reality was like walking full speed into a door. Faceplant vertical-style. Even when I came in dead last, I would go home with the idea of trying again.

I have mentioned Sherrie Patterson-Goggins, my Life Coach. A month ago I started. I thought that this was going to be it, the beginning of my writing career. I really thought I was ready.

Each week I call  for an hourly chat. I’m really good about that. I’m spot on in my timing. But I’ve not been spot on with my homework.

There was one assignment where I was supposed to call ten people and ask them what qualities to do I bring to the table. I hate talking on the phone. I never do it. I was supposed to do it by the second time we talked, so a week. It took me three weeks to get it done, and I only got it done because Sherrie got tired of my bull and practically hung up on me. No, not quite, but she did tell me to make the rest of the calls and call her back.

It really wasn’t that difficult. The people I talked to were really nice and said some amazing things about me. In an earlier blog, I wrote a list of my essence words. These words are like the base to a really good soup. This is  who I am, and with you, my wonderful faithful blogging fans, and you know who you are, I want to celebrate the words.

My Essence Words:

Now is it time for me to become a best-selling author?

Insurance part B

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This blog is my tailgating activity before the big game tonight between My New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and since I’m still working on my insurance choice, this means I have an hour and thirty-four minutes to get it done.

I’m so confused with my insurance choices. I got an email telling me of this great opportunity to pay for my own insurance. Who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity? I went to a two hour meeting about these choices, but I could have sworn I had the choice between letters A and something else, but HR is telling me:

“4J offers you five medical plans from which to select coverage. Within Plans C, D, E, F, or G you will have the option of selecting one of the two Moda Networks. You may select either the existing “Connexus Network” (Statewide), which provides you more provider choices or the “Synergy Network” coordinated care model, which will require you to make a selection of an In-Network Primary Care Medical Home for you and each of your covered dependents.”

I came away from the meeting overwhelmed and saturated with too much information, but they said that we could go to the O Whatever Acronym and enter those procedures that might be coming down your pike. I’m at that second colonoscopy time and who knows how long my knee will last time. The program would then give me an estimate of what my costs would be and to compare the the different coverage.

I tried to log in, but the system said I needed to call and talk to a real person. I did that immediately. Dawn was extremely helpful and told me that I had to call and talk to an entity at my place of work. Did that. That person was out of town for the holiday. But as warned, the over working person calls me last night when she should have been home with her family, but she said that once I send in the paperwork, I’ll get entered into the system. She was adamant that wall of the pdf’s and attachments would answer all of my questions.

With you as my support network, my faithful fan-base, even the lurkers, perhaps I can hold onto your hand as I walk the maze. Are you with me? Thanks. I knew I could count on you.

What I know right now is that I get to choose a letter between C & G. So what if B happens to be my favorite letter. No, I don’t have a favorite letter. Do you? It’s never occurred to me that someone would have one. Isn’t it right up there with favorite number or color or food?

From within those letters I then:

“You may select either the existing “Connexus Network” (Statewide), which provides you more provider choices or the “Synergy Network” coordinated care model, which will require you to make a selection of an In-Network Primary Care Medical Home for you and each of your covered dependents.”

I like the phrase more prover choices, but I wouldn’t mind if my care were coordinated; My doctors don’t speak the same language. My primary can’t read the X-rays I had for OMG. I don’t think anyone ever saw those X-rays since I never have.

When I look at the Monthly contributions, We’re looking at what can I afford not whether I want it or not. And I don’t know what any of the letters mean, but EE is $516 a month in plan G. Four letters to the left and it’s $677 a month, and that’s just straight EE. That is with dental. The same plane without dental, I’m down to $464 a month. Plan C is $677 a month.

Is it do I want to pay now or later? Plan C has a $500 Deductible and plan G has a $1500 deductible. Am I going to see the doctor a lot and hit the deductible quickly? Or do I want to have to pay at least $1500 before insurance starts paying. Darn. I didn’t realize that there were two pages, so now I double my choices because there’s the statewide plan and the synergy plan.

I wonder if I can get a loan if my savings account goes dry when I don’t work  enough to pay my monthly bill.

More of this and that

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

stevienicksimageI’m blaming Stevie Nicks for my most recent pre senior moment. I had a blog all lined up, but once I started singing along with Stevie and Don, I was toast. All thought directed toward Leather and Lace. Pandora does great time following up with a great Fleetwood Mac song, though what songs of theirs aren’t great? We all have those “bad” things; some of us just happen to have more of it than others.

I love the drumming of “Go Your Own Way” and towards the end of the son, the percussion just swallows me up for less than a minute and takes me somewhere else.  jungle-journey-skip-nallJourney? I got this. don’t Stop Believin’ I may have to step aside and do some singing or at least moving around or perhaps just thinking. Up and down the Boulevard. Life’s gamble. And on and on it does go on, but I love every single note.

I may have just remembered in which direction this blog was supposed to move in. I had been emailing my niece Ruth when I realized that I had to steal what I was writing to her and use it as a blog. It was perfect at the time. And Pat Benatar is confirming that I’m going in the right direction. I melt when I hear Pat’s voice. Yes, you are the best that I have had. I don’t even regret the fight I got in during a Benatar. I’ve 20150224_165422_672711_benetarprobably told this story a zillion times. I was just lucky that I didn’t get my face punched in as I was very close to having this happen. This is what I was writing Ruth. I don’t recall anything too personal; I’m rather gifted in writing on the surface level for the most part; sometimes I take a dip and realize that writing is also a Battlefield.

I wonder if I’ll just stop watching the Red Sox one of these days since they are not playing for anything but the future. The future is important, having something to aim towards, but I’m working on keeping my head in the present, the right now. Worrying about whether I will work or not. We’ve only had one day of school, and Septembers do tend to be slow. I focus on not taking the quiet phones and lack of jobs as a personal comment. Yes, if I didn’t get a call all year to sub, I would not have to look hard at that message, but so far there are no messages to interpret.

Focus on Stevie Nicks and the guitar work in the Edge of Seventeen. Like the White Winged Dove. Love this song. And then suddenly there was no one standing in the hall.  As a writer, I struggle with staying in the present when my brain is trying to go to the past. What was I just about to write about? What was I in the middle of. Maybe I’ve put too much emphasis on paying attention to the things happening right now. Heart. Another song I like, but it’s not my favorite. Listen to Your Heart. Feels sappy. I can never not like a Ann and Nancy Wilson song, but I can have my not so favorite.

Yes, I did take my meds, but I’m still all over the place. And tonight I’ll be eating at a Chinese Buffett, so that’s fitting for today’s flitting all about.

Listen to my Heart. Why am I still watching the Red Sox? Every day one of the first things I do is check to answer all the who, when, what, and specifically for the Sox, why? Why did they put that pitcher in the other day that allowed four runs. Hasn’t he allowed runs every time he gets into the game. Has anyone checked to see if he’s getting paid by other teams or someone on a winning streak for beating the odds. Why is hie still on the roster? Aren’t there younguns itching to get to the big leagues.

Speaking of baseball, Does anyone know who the Eugene Emeralds baseball tame was taken as part of their farm system. They’d been supporting San Diego. There’s a lot of people who are big Bryce Peterson fans in this area. I may be misremembering, but he’s playing for the Atlanta Braves. It wasn’t that long ago that he played for the Eugene Emeralds.

No, I can’t stand Cindi. I may have to switch from Stevie Nicks back to soothing music. The Outfield doesn’t fit for me. I’m only using your love tonight, but I don’t want to lose it even though I just want you for a night? Nah. There’s got to be more to that, but I never stick around. Philip Phillips has admirable words. I want to surround myself with positive words and messages.

(Boston, MA, 09/08/15) Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Henry Owens and catcher Blake Swihart react after Owens   hit Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Ben Revere by a pitch in the first inning of the MLB game at Fenway Park on  Tuesday,  September  08, 2015.  (Staff photo by Matt Stone)
(Boston, MA, 09/08/15) Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Henry Owens and catcher Blake Swihart react after Owens hit Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Ben Revere by a pitch in the first inning of the MLB game at Fenway Park on Tuesday, September 08, 2015. (Staff photo by Matt Stone)

I can’t seem to erase the picture I saw of Owens, the young Red Sox pitcher. Poor Henry. I detected a look on his face that I hadn’t seen any other time he has been on the mound.

Wallace-and-gromitHenry Owens reminds me of the Gromit character. I can’t remember. Maybe if I keep writing, I’ll remember the something and Gromit, and I don’t know if that’s the correct spelling. You probably know…Wallace. Henry Owens. Poor Henry wore a kind of shell-shocked expression. Bewilderment. No big ear to ear grin. But the honeymoon is over; the realization that you make it to the top level; your dream has come true, and maybe it is nothing like you imagined. We see so much comrades in arms. Talk is of the magic of team chemistry, but losing teams are seldom awarded that chemical bonds. Perhaps at this professional level, people are all plugged into their individual musical gadget. Perhaps the older player is tired to breaking in the new kid, especially when it’s more than likely that that kid will be replacing you when you are sent to greener pastures.

No, this blog isn’t even close to where I had thought it was going to go…

We’re living in such different social groupings. I have thousands of Facebook Friends. I try to give some attention, but it’s impossible. I’ve never figured out how to get paid to write emails and poke people, but until then, there’s not much time to  spend on this. I’m seeking a more balanced life. There are problems in the way I have been doing things. Spending more time with Facebook Friends, people I don’t know, have never hugged, and might not even agree with, than with my real friends. The ones that can grab a cup of coffee, a beer, a game or two of bowling. I want to change the way I have been reaching out to people. I used to be very good at it, but I’ve been out of practice.

What a great quote to end my blog on: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

I think I’ll end on the song: Say Something. A Great Big World. Love this song. How about you? If you have read this blog, please Say Something. Anything.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do Spiders fight each other to the death?

I’m not a big fan of spiders. Usually Sylvia has to clear the way of such things or I can’t go in the vicinity, but I’m working at my very irrational fear of them. I have never been bitten by one at least not that I am aware.

20150903_205450_001Last week I noticed a spider in the hallway going into the basement. It’s a daylight basement, so not a great setting for spiders. But this one made the ceiling feel just a tad bit lower as I descended.

I tried to identify my spider in the Oregon Spider web page, but my picture doesn’t give enough detail. The legs don’t seem to match the Hobo Spider, but I’m leaning towards this as my identification.

I managed to walk under the spider for several days and then there were two. One on each wall. I really though I had gotten a picture of the two of them, as if there were a standoff going of. Take your imagination one step further. Imagine, They are at the ultimate standoff. They are ready to draw as they are in a gun battle. I think the imagination has to take some creative licensing since I can’t see how the spider would be able to grip a pistol, but let’s say they could and they could in every hand, but these are like feet. These are extra amazing spiders since they can shoot with their feet.

Back to the spiders . One was on the left wall, the other on the right. Stair Case Chasm muttandjeffbetween them. They looked identical, so it couldn’t have been a male and a female; according to the spider web page I was on, the difference between the female and the male were drastically different. Mutt and Jeff kind of thing, though I’m just guessing since I don’t have the slightest idea who Mutt and Jeff are, though now that I have posted their picture they do look vaguely familiar, but I”m must more aware of the phrase than the icons themselves.

having a spider was bad enough, but two was really pushing my buttons, but as long as I kept a close eye on the spiders as I went under, I felt okay, but that’s risky business around here. I have dogs that stick rather close to me, and if I am busy looking up and now where they are, I’m going to be using that health insurance I’ve been writing about.

This arrangement didn’t last very long. Just a day perhaps. Back to just one. I noticed a fairly large object on one of the stairs and realized that that’s where number two went. Did number one cause the demise of number two? And is this why the remaining one is gloating?20150909_00130620150909deadspider


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I have never had to pick out an insurance plan. How did I get so lucky to have made it to fifty-five and not have had to do this tortuous ordeal.

I am thankful that the Eugene 4J School District has invited me to join their health insurance plan. I’d be even more appreciative if they would pay the bill, but I’m not looking a Gift Horse in the mouth. I’ve never really understood that phrase. If you look in a Gift Horse’s mouth, they won’t give you any more gifts? And what are you looking for? If a Gift Horse has the teeth of a real horse, there are a lot of teeth and those teeth hurt. Just a little nip on my shoulder was all it took to get me a yelling.

I think I want to tell a story before I delve into the insurance, or maybe it just means I need to procrastinate some more. I know I’ll have more fun writing about the Morgan Horse Joe that my neighbor Jill Harvey had recently brought him back from college.

I had noticed that there was a strange shift in relationships since Joe joined Dominique. Dominique probably would never have agreed to share quarters with the big guy. I I’m not sure why I thought that Dominique hated  him. I sensed that Dominque was acting up because of Joe taking Jill away. She was doing things that was frustrating Jill. I gave Dominique  more time, and perhaps Joe didn’t like that or perhaps he was just being a young brat, but when he pinched me with his little bit, and then gave me the look to suggest that he had done nothing wrong. That wasn’t the last time Joe got the best of me. Several times just that summer. A summer so long ago.

I guess this story reminds me that if I want to create lots more of those memorable moments, I better get health insurance, though assurance is sold separately.

I had never heard of OEBB, Oregon Education Benefits Board. Now we know. If you stay with me, you may learn something that you never thought you would ever want to learn. I’ve no clue what a Moda is. I have seen the word Synergy before, and I do believe Synergy in my life will help.

I wonder what kind of budget OEBB had for art, as this book about Health choices is rather nice to look at. There’s a little birdie drawn on the word Welcome in the introduction. Even the quarter-size bullets announcing Log In / Re-enroll, Lower Your Deductable and OEBB Fitness Rewards look like they were done in water paint and are  artistic. Yes, I must be so desperate to avoid this task that I’m giving a commentary on brochure art.

I just realized that it’s after midnight and no longer Tuesday, so I think I’ll go to bed and work on this tomorrow.

Perfect Sunday evening

I’m parked, as usual on a Sunday, in front of the large television in my very comfy, green chair. Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans. It’s preseason and doesn’t count for anything, so I don’t have the sound on.

For sound, I am listening to a Heart Meditation channel on Pandora. East of the Full 1575772Moon is the song. Artist is Deuter. According to Pandora, “Like many artists in the contemporary instrumental realm, Deuter mixes acoustic and electronic instruments, ethnic influences, and sounds from nature — only he’s been doing it since the early ’70s. Born in the German…” You’ll have to look up the rest yourselves. Very soothing flute music. Sometimes I wish I had not given up on the flute, but most of the time, I don’t even remember playing the flute.

My best bud Bex sent me a link to an awesome site, so part of me was investigating the link and reading poetry

Even in Kyoto —
hearing the cuckoo’s cry —
I long for Kyoto.

Soon after moving to Eugene, I was scrambling to fill my time. Work. School. Anything portrait-of-matsuo-bashoto keep myself out of trouble. Some people really don’t do well with time on their hands, and in my twenties and thirties that was me. I swear my angels worked overtime during those decades to keep me afloat and sometimes even stationary and upright. This poem by Basho reminded me of the classes I took at Lane Community College.

I wasn’t a very confident student and didn’t know what I wanted to study, so I thought I would take two of my favorite subjects: Writing and Photography. Delta Sanderson taught writing 122. I’m thinking it was Pete Peterson who taught photography. Immersed myself in the darkroom and often lost track of time. I never tired of the developing chemicals. I had finally found a home where I belonged.

1907The writing 122 class wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what I needed. I had had enough college credit to skip around 120 and 121, so going to the head of the line for the hardest course in the sequence, was easy, and that was the last time I saw easy for that class. Delta Sanderson was a stickler to every rule possible. She had this computer printout that would say, “This is a sentence fragment,” define sentence fragment, and give me an example of how to correct it. The program kept track of sentence fragments, comma splices, run-on sentences, spelling, and so on. In my twenties, I was running with a rebellious  crowd. It was as if I had taken a feminist oath to never spell woman or women the correct way anymore. Womyn was more my style. Some writers like wommin. I don’t know if Delta’s strict religion played a part in her teaching. I am vaguely recollecting that she was Latter-Day Saints.LW-Logo_590x277px

She and I struggled. I had a hard time writing even in my journals. I couldn’t seem to do anything correctly. I started to take it out on her and lashed out every way possible. In one paper, a compare/contrast paper, I had the topic of should I drop the class or not. I chose a Rita Mae Brown Book, author of Ruby Fruit Jungle, just so I could ruffle the teacher’s feathers. I don’t think it did anything, but ruffle mine. No matter how hard I tried in that class, I couldn’t come up with anything higher than a C; not good for someone who had aims on becoming a writer.

unnamedDelta Sanderson was so right and I was so wrong. My writing was horrible. Horrendous.  No, an ellipsis is not a piece of exercise equipment. I was like a lot of writers that new of commas and periods, but only knew that there had to be some on the paper, so I would like sprinkle them on afterwards.

Delta was so right and I was so wrong that I enrolled in Writing 121 after I took her 122 class. I think I had Susan Swan. Very good. I was still very wrong, so I enrolled in Susan’s Writing 120 class. I had to get down to bare bones and brass tacks. This is a sentence. I started to invest time and energy with grammar books. I volunteered at the Writing Center and tutored students, especially foreign exchange students. Things began to click.

arthur_ruth_albrecht_largeI continued classes at LCC and took a World Literature class with Ruth Albrecht. She was an incredible teacher. After taking the year’s worth of World Literature, Ruth was one of those teachers that I had to visit if I were in the vicinity. It was in this class that I read Basho. I loved that class. I had already had a strong passion for reading, but I had never really dissected a book before, not really gotten into a discussion about the patterns a writer might use. It never occurred to me that an author, for example, can use different colors and different repetitions to add depth. This fascinated me.

billwoolum_1422241601_140I had quite a few amazing teachers at Lane Community College. Rita Hennessey. Bill Woolum. Because of the volunteer work I did at LCC, I  spent a lot of time hanging out in the English department lunch room and talked to teachers I hadn’t had as teachers. There was so much for me to learn, especially after I decided to study English Literature at the University of Oregon.

lanDA0060aThe University of Oregon wasn’t as much fun, but the UO is more of a serious place. Academics were so serious, I often felt like I was in a different country or on a different planet, only understanding perhaps  half the words spoken to me, and the ones I had to read, well that was like Greek. I never really did figure out what deconstructionism was and why Literature needed a canon.

Walking and Talking and Blogging

20150905wheresthepathDidn’t work. Walking and Talking and Blogging all at the same time is making blogging a lot harder. Not even remotely easier like it was supposed to. I thought that my Samsung and I were speaking the same language. It was really cool, walking casually around and just talking to myself. I hardly ever looked at the cell phone. I just looked to make sure the speaker thing was still recording. I felt like the Starship Enterprise captain as I explored a new planet surface. There are so many low hanging branches and blackberry vines and various excrement, surveying my surrounding while walking is the safest way to go.

Not only is there no punctuation in my talking blog, but some of the word replacement, the misunderstood word comes out totally different. And to top it off, my Smart Ass Phone will then predict phrases, so I get some off the wall sentences that I know I didn’t say. I’m not even sure where to start. I don’t know if anyone would be interested in the very, very strange interpretations. I just want to make sure readers know that there are some perhaps offensive phrases that I didn’t write. Before I continue to make it seem even stranger than it may be. Not having more than two paragraphs also make it harder to edit.

wp-1441564711088-1I’m hoping to figure out how make a talking blog easy. I can’t seem to remember how to make a paragraph verbally. Paragraph only gets me the word Paragraph. I don’t think I have anything to say about Paragraphs except they make writing a lot easier to read. Sometimes I just can’t get the recording to start or don’t realize the words have indeed been written, like getting the date twice. I’ve already forgotten if the magic phrase is paragraph return or carriage return. I can’t imagine carriage, but maybe.

Maybe, the voice recognition picked up the Blue Jays. Upon stepping outdoors with the dogs, I scattered a few Scrub Jays. They can’t fly and not screech. I think they were cursing and some of the swears written on my cell phone were from the birds. I must have F-Bomb_Logodisturbed their eating frenzy. There’s so much fruit that needs to be eaten. I’m curious to know what word I speak that makes the voice catching program write F***. It took me five minutes just to type the three asterisks. Yes, I do drop a F-Bomb here and there; there’s quite a few in my journal, but that’s for my eyes only. I hardly ever swear. Car and Journal are the only places.

What really blew my mind as I scanned the text to see how much of what I recorded was worth repeating, like cutting the fat away from the meat, was the bleeped out P****. Really? What word could have caused this transcription. Plums? I did write a lot about plums. There are a lot of plums on the ground and there is one area of the walk that’s got a slight decline and it can get slippery with plum guts.

20150901plumsThere are more guts outside with the plums than in the talking blog. Some of it just causes me to scratch my head. For example, is there anything you can make out of this gibber age?

“The press those big book of course the dogs go jason this is a great way to start walking the book was able to get away easily you know were enjoying a nice warm how to fold nissan you so funny videos don’t know if a ring anything I was walking dogs”

Yes, I was walking the dogs. No book. Who is Jason? Looks like I dropped the book or perhaps Jason did. I was enjoying a nice warm walk; wasn’t too cold nor hot. I had grabbed a fleece jacket just in case. And Sylvia does drive a Nissan, but I don’t remember saying anything about it. Funny videos? What ring?

“I’m not sharing the phone what is a I don’t have to do what’s the address so far so good z dodging tree limbs back in awhile u_c use to really cool with walk with us today.”

20150902_112640No, I’m not sharing my phone with the dogs or Jason or whoever. Neither of us, Sylvia and I that is, have done much work around the property, so all eyes are needed to dodge the low hanging branches and blackberry vines that have slowly taken over the property. Do coach roaches and blackberries get along? I just realized I have forgotten how to spell that roach bug that I hate and still have nightmares about them in the Boston apartment, though the Rat in the alley on same said apartment is nastier.

“sesame no chords and the same time I doubt it so I might have just freakin awesome pictures.”

I wouldn’t mind a fresh sesame bagel, but hold the chords. I much prefer cream cheese. While attending Pacific University in downtown Eugene, I ate a fresh bagel every day. Bagel Sphere? That’s only been eleven years ago. Did I catch a picture. I never write freaking. I never say it either, though I will confess to littering the word Awesome. Guilty of redundancy.

I must have been nice and warmed up by the time I started recording the second paragraph. Somehow I had even figured out how to get the Smart Ass Samsung to give me another paragraph. Good thing I’m writing on the lap top now, though I’m so robbie-rossengrossed into  this writing that I forgot completely about the Red Sox game. Not much of a game. My older laptop is showing me the game. My antique Desktop won’t get past 33% in loading MLB.TV, the only way I can see my Red Sox. Beating up on the Phillies can’t be helping the Red Sox moral. Beating a team that’s even worse than the Red Sox doesn’t say much. Back to my talking blog, though it could be renamed delirium. I just don’t know where these words came from.

“Does easy drawing a picture of you and Abby reading each other for the morning okay so right now better watch out for the little plums I’m in that area literally stepping on them but it’s getting to the point where simulated and its gonna be then again slippery plum jam going on and now,”

oliver-reading-ODBI don’t draw. Abby’s a dog and doesn’t read, though I do read her emotions through her eyes. And I already wrote about the little plums. I know the feel, the texture of a plum under foot. Barefoot is not recommended for my yard. Deer. Dogs. Droppings of all kinds are plentiful; doesn’t matter how much time I run around with the scooper. Good thing I have lots of blackberry bushes to toss. Could be a track and field sport.

“stretch with a little parade refuse ahead looking for something to chase Abby and Lucy the girls you’re looking for something to eat we are near another plum trees so this is it this is where I have to keep him from eating any of them almost impossible task no more good girl no more eating.”

20150905paradeI did describe the walk as a little parade. That’s how we walk. Ricky’s always in the lead, looking for something to chase. Of course, right after I write this, Ricky’s in the rear with me and not in the front…

As we passed by another plum tree, I continued to speak my blog, but I was also trying to keep Abby and Lucy from sucking up all of the plums. So, I was transcribing a lot of no’s to the dogs. This is an almost impossible task. Yesterday after telling Abby for perhaps the fifth or sixth time to stop eating plums, I had to reach down her throat and pull out plum pulp. I didn’t have a a towel or anything and wasn’t about to wipe my hand on my pants, so Abby got to wear the remains. I don’t think I remembered to wash her off…

Well, there was more to the talking blog, but I think I have taken up enough of your time.


I wonder what I have to say

Saturday, September 5, 2015

travel_g_05autzen_800Usually I have a glimmer of an idea of what I’m going to write about. Not today. I could write about football, about the University of Oregon Ducks and their first game of the season. I was there, after all, but I didn’t get to see any of the game; a cement wall kettle-corncame between me and the fields of Autzen Stadium while I sold Kettle Korn, my fourth season.

Typically, I start typing and the words just come spilling out of me. Not this time. Now what? Maybe nothing. Maybe this is just one of those days that a short and brief blog is better than no blog. It’s eleven at night, so it’s not like I can go do something to give myself something more to write about. Sometimes Done is Good is Good Enough. Goodnight.

When a deadline is pressing, the number of blogs I write a day will increase

There are so many things that I do in my life that don’t help the cause, and in many cases I don’t even notice. Since I seem to be quite verbal today. I’ve lost track of how many blogs I’ve written. I might as well start blogging about the insurance choice I have to make since I have to make it by the fifteenth. Eleven days is really not that many days to work with. Where to start?

Yesterday’s OEBB meeting was a great start. I was almost feeling like a full-fledged Eugene 4J School District employee. I’ve been practicing, “I am a substitute teacher.” I’m leaving the “just” out of the mantra. Just a substitute teacher deflates my importance. The Black Lives Matter is helping me to tease apart the places in my life where I feel less than. (So much for the insurance blog….)

Think about how many times we say just a substitute.Oh, what do you teach? Oh, I’m just a substitute. Substitutes matter. We all are parts of that well-0iled machine. I’m being generous by saying well-oiled.

I have to go feed the dogs. (These kinds of interruptions have been happing all day…)

Step one: go to!pb.main

Step two is because of a problem: “The system could not locate your record. Please review the information you entered below and make any changes if necessary. Please contact OEBB for assistance at 1-888-4MY-OEBB or 1-888-469-6322.”

contact my entity. What the hell does that mean.

So, I just hit a dead end. I called the eight-eight-eght number. The wait time was nonexistent. I pressed one and out of the magic bottle, Dawn was my genie. Well, she couldn’t find me in the system.

I sure love hoops.

Ask for what you want

A while back I wrote to my wonderful readers. I have many lurkers, which is great. As long as my numbers of following or reading or perhaps just looked at my blog, this means I must be doing something correctly. “Correctly.” Correctly has so many connotations. By whose standard? It is whose, isn’t it? That’s one form of correctly. According to the Grammar Gods, and there are plenty out there.

Let me put it clearly: I do not have one Grammar Gene in my entire body. It doesn’t come naturally. Spelling, for the most part, is natural. I love my internal phonics as I sound out the word I am spelling. Am I the only one that does that. when I am alone, I even sound it out so I can hear it. Can’t do that in public. Correctly is important in social situations as well as self interactions, which to me is what writing is. I get to hear what I have to say.

I suspect that the weather is influencing my verbosity. the wind to my left, not quite westerly, but could be if the wind can take a sharpish turn to come into the dome and into my left ear. Feels good. To the right I have my mellow heart mediation music going with a blue or scrub jay screeching about something. Probably fighting with the squirrels over the food. The plums. The Filberts. The Apples. The Pears. I didn’t see anyone fighting over the Fig.I’d be one of the last to fight over them. That’s probably the only fruit I don’t like. See I told you I was going to be going on a ride. Ready?

A while back I asked my faithful readers to rank my blogs. To tell me if it’s worth revising or if it’s ready for another dimension. I might have gotten a triple on one, but no one ever said I hit one out of the park or that it stunk up the place and was close to a strike out. I don’t allow strike outs in my version of Blogging Baseball. Maybe most of my faithful fans didn’t read that blog. That’s always a possibility.

I realize that I didn’t get the feedback that I was looking for because I wasn’t very specific of what I want. For example, if I want a birding lens for my camera, I have to ask for a specific brand and model. In terms of my blog, since grammar and technical writing are self-taught and only learned later in life, I would like feedback. Yes, I love sentence fragments. There are times I like to break the rules. But if it doesn’t work for the readers, it doesn’t matter how much in love I am with a sentence or a phrase or even a paragraph or even the entire thing.

I am so focused on getting my blogs better because I want to feel like I had even a slight chance at being published, though you and I know that the only way to get that feedback is to actually attempt to publish. When I first started blogging, I did it here and there. Now that I’ve grown into the idea that I have so much to say, it is time for me to find out where I stand.

For those of you who don’t have a Grammar Gene or just don’t care about the technical part, I have never directly asked to respond to what I wrote without labeling it good or bad, but did it capture your attention? That’s a judgment. There’s this habit I will break that says that all writing need to be critiqued and judged. Where did this rule come from? It certainly isn’t doing my writing any good. It’s especially bad for my mental health.

I know deep down that if I put the energy into writing and being published as I did in bowling, I’d be able to afford that high-velocity birding lens. I may not have made it to the top echelon in the PWBA. I was rather horrible on the National Tour, but I did get out of my comfort zone and do it. I even had to wear walking shorts and panty hose to do so. Talk about out of my comfort zone. I heard this voice tell me that you can’t get into the door if you at least don’t get a foot in. If I didn’t like the rules and regulations about panty hose, it’s a lot easier to change the rules while being asked to the party. It’s hard to change things when you aren’t directly involved. I learned this lesson the hard way, trying to kick doors down and not while wearing shoes of any kind. Maybe in the winter I wore soft slippers to kick at the doors, but there’s not much protection for my toes. Maybe this is why they are constantly dislocating.

I would love to hear comments, even just a quick word saying, I read this, but the statistics show me exactly what’s going on, and as I said as long as the numbers increase, I’ll keep doing this.

The world really is a masterpiece

20150904_105136Friday, September 4, 2015

For me, it’s all about gratitude. When I step out of my house, I am presented with these wonderful pictures. There’s no direction I look that isn’t beautiful. The texture of clouds, blue sky, trees, etc. How can I not appreciate this amazing scenery? I remind myself to not take this or anything for granted.

20150903AbbyI want to remind myself of this as the seasons change and my schedule changes, and soon enough I’ll be scurrying around like the rest of the working class, sometimes being so busy that I forget to look around. Having Labradors helps me from doing this. Especially Abby the Labby Number Nine. She’s been with me since the beginning of June, and yesterday was the test. I was gone for about four hours, and not consecutive, but last night she was acting like I had been gone all day, perhaps even longer. Yes, I have created a monster. When she wants attention, she jumps on my lap and paws at me. Sometimes she just stares at me. She only does this with me. She’s a spoiled little brat, but she 20150904Abbydoes make sure I get a walk or two in every day. Once she’s satisfied, she’s usually conked out. As Abby steps into her almost mid-life, it still takes a lot of activity to keep her tired. If I stopped writing right now, she’d be up and ready for the next adventure.
20150904pineconesMaybe this is why I am attracted to dogs. I don’t think I have been on an adventure without a dog; they remind me to use all my senses and look at everything. With these guys, and this season, I mostly have to make sure they aren’t eating something the dear or other woodland critters have donated to the land. I call them raisins, though with the numerous plums that the deer eat, things are becoming fluid.

20150904firconeEven the most common thing on my property, the fir cone. I’m finally out of the habit of  calling Fir cones Pine Cones, but I did grow up on Pinecroft Road. I don’t know what a croft is, and obviously the computer does since it didn’t tell me it was a misspelled word.

20150904weedsThe precise patterns, the efficient system that nature has. The weapon of Mass Construction. The size of some of these cones could be considered weapons, and the odds of one of these seeds becoming a seeding is high.

Lately, I have been listening to a lot of calming music. Two thousand and two, 2002, and according to Pandora: “The new age duo 2002 consists of Texas-based multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Pamela and Randy Copus.” The song, “Quiet Days” is appropriate for my day.

20150903blur As I said, I could have taken a hundred pictures during our half an hour walk, and not have snapped a bad picture. The ones that are blurry don’t count, though some of those are even beautiful if you like texture. The colors and depth of blurry grass that’s been stomped down by deer. I can’t remember if I mentioned that I have the equivalent of crop circles, but they are deer circles. I feel proud that the deer feel safe enough to sleep and rest. There’s so much fruit for them right now. Unfortunately with three Labradors, the odds of my actually seeing them is low. They are majestic animals and always feel blessed to see them. A long time ago, during my brief stint at the Willamette Leadership Academy, we used to go to a place called Baker Camp, a boy scout camp. I hated that experience, but I loved seeing the deer; they were so tame, they would eat sunflower seeds out of my hand.

Cat sees deerMaybe this is why Yang seldom goes outside. The deer are so smart that they know when the dogs are inside or know exactly how much room they need to escape. We only put in a five foot fence so even the young fawns won’t have problems eluding the dogs. Every so often, I’ll hear the clipping sound of hoof hitting metal as they soar over. Yes, they really can fly,  and not even need much of a runway.

Since a picture says a thousand words, and I’m going to keep this blog short. This was one of my favorite pictures of our walk. Every time I look at it, I’m stunned at the beauty of the Universe.20150904favorite

This and That

My head is spinning with insurance information after a two hour presentation of health benefits. Now which one am I paying for? When someone else is paying for it, it was an easy decision. But now it’s coming out of my pockets and I’m juggling. Do I pay a lot in payments and lesser deductible or the other way around. I don’t remember there ever being so many choices. I’ve got the A-G or H decision, and then once I make that decision, I’ve got one through four. I just found out that I have the “opportunity” to buy my own insurance and the deadline is nipping at my heals. I do appreciate the insurance and I do think about the people who don’t. Ask the next person you see on the street with a cardboard sign and ask them who their insurance provider is. And if there’s a tax penalty for not having insurance, if you don’t make anything to file taxes then how does that apply?

It petrifies me to not have health insurance. I have had it so long that I can’t imagine life without it. Actually, I can, and the picture isn’t pretty. Maybe if I hadn’t been so hard on my body as an athlete, I’d not have these issues; it’s probably not going to too long before I need a new knee, but that won’t matter if we can’t figure out what to do about my back. Physical therapy. Acupuncture. Massage. All of those things help, but I’d be so broke without insurance. And I have to be careful and not choose the one that doesn’t pay for “alternative” medicine.

I can’t place the blame all on being too hard on my body, but running into things has a tendency to do that. But I put the brunt of my problems on having cancer. I’ve been cancer-free for 27 years, but there is always that thought of it coming back, and I have the residual effects of chemo and radiation with my osteoporosis. Medicine is great with  joints. I’ve had both shoulders worked on and my knee done three times. I sound like a car. Maybe that’s my problem; maybe I just need to rotate my tires. Unfortunately, with backs, their success rate isn’t so good, at least not from what I have heard.

One doctor wanted to put implants in that would stimulate to distract my brain when I was in pain. Something like that. I came home with brochures and DVDs and I was so excited. I talked to a military guy who had it done. It’s like the patches that you can put on and there’s different levels of stimulation. A distraction. My dad had that same theory. If I were crying, he would tell me to come over so he could hit me so that I’d have something really to cry about. Maybe he didn’t say it. I could have heard it on television. Jackie Gleason comes to mind. I watched so much television as a kid that I sometimes get my life mixed up with Leave it to Beaver or the Andy Williams Show. Mayberry RFD. How many people even know what RFD stands for?

Yes, I promised this and that. Wasn’t sure. I did want to write about the Black Lives Matter that has turned into a senseless controversy. I reposted a great article on why the emphasis needs to be on Black Lives. I repost a lot of stuff, though mostly it’s funny stuff, but every so often I step out into the political form where I am extremely out of my comfort zone. (I’m told that if I join this particular insurance plan and I do things out of my comfort zone, I earn bonus points. I probably won’t be able to use them as frequent flying.)

My Facebook has so many people sending rockets at one another. I have many Facebook friends from across the spectrum. I try to not be prejudicial against those people I don’t agree with and think they are absolutely Loony. Take what’s his face Trump. I’ll listen to what he has to say, though it is getting rather old, yet he’s a basket-case. But the problem with politics and arguments is they get rather personal, and I as a general rule avoid conflict as much as possible. This is probably why I prefer to stay home and not have to worry.

A little bit of this and that. Black Lives matter and that doesn’t mean other lives matter any less.

Letter to my niece Ruth

I seldom, if ever, copy my own letter. Maybe it’s a copy right issue that I’m confused about. I tend to not write the Christmas letter that goes out to everyone and then some. If I am going to write a Christmas letter it’s going to be for only one person only, though sometimes I do cheat and include family, but that’s only for Christmas. When I write Facebook birthday greetings, even to people that I only know through a friend of a friend of a friend or perhaps just because they like Labrador Retrievers. I don’t like sending the the same Happy Birthday message. I make myself change it up, even if the change up is very minor like changing the way birthday is written. I try to put personal things in the birthday greetings. I sure would like to know where I picked these rules up.  No wonder that I’m constantly tripping up.

The rest of this blog stems from an email letter I wrote to my niece Ruth. Don’t worry Ruth if there’s anything that I think would be the slightest annoying to you, I’ll have you give me the thumbs up before I publish this. No toes shall be stepped on during the making of this blog. Most of this has been edited, and so it may not even look even slightly like the email I sent my niece.

Dear Ruth,

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m living my life correctly. I feel that I’m running out of time to correct that, and in many ways I am, though it all depends upon how I  want to live my next fifty-five years. Do I really believe that I am going to live until I’m 110? No. Not really. I’m also thinking that if I get my act together right now, I stand a better chance of getting there.

When I think about not playing the hand that I was dealt I think about how I have done everything under the sun to avoid doing the things that would make me happy. Not following through with my dreams doesn’t create a best friend in aging; though aging at least is not my mortal enemy like gravity is. Well, I guess I’ll have to retract that statement since that’s so untrue.

The funny thing is that I’ve done so many things to fix this life. There’s drug therapy with a very little bit of therapy that goes with the prescriptions. For several weeks I was plugged into some sort of something, electrodes were changing how I was thinking while watching movies. My intention was to cure my insomnia, but now I’m having the reverse problem. Does that indicate that the therapy did any good? It’s hard to say, but I’ve been willing to try almost anything to fix myself.

Oh, I did promise you a funny thing. I’ve done all of these things to “make” myself feel happy and content and productive and worthwhile, when I simply wasn’t doing the basics to take care of myself and to do the things that I love to do. I’m not saying that the drug therapy and the electrode whatever therapy wasn’t helpful; maybe those are the things that led me to the point that I’m at now where I’ll do those things.

I’ve been riding a bit of a roller coaster ride myself, though most of my downs are self-induced. I’m not dealing with the things that you are having to deal with, though it sounds like you could use more of the ups than the downs. It’s only as I write this that I realize that I used to be much better pulling myself out of nose dives. I can’t really say pull myself out because I’m not very good at doing it myself, but my friends sure are great at helping, but only when I take the time to call.

As I write this, I realize that this all depends on how much I like that nose-dive feeling and wouldn’t it be better to experience the thrills of going up.

Hang in there, and call if you need someone to talk to. You have a lot of people in your life who will be more than happy to help.


Auntie “S”

A new race has begun

New month. New chance to have more pages in my journal than last year. I’ve got seven electronic Septembers to look at.  I’ve not got the foggiest notion of what happened to year 2011. It just disappeared. Lots of things have disappeared or perhaps they have migrated in my moving things around. It’s like chess around here, though Checkers is more my speed. Clear out a room by moving everything into other rooms. The passageway between the playroom and my room is single-file narrow. I’ve managed to cause two slides of stuff stuffed into a box.

My goal has been to get my office and the playroom not only workable, but to be magical spaces that can support my imagination to go wild when I write and to wipe away the hardest substitute days that I’m sure will come up. I like miracles, but I don’t see that one happening in the near future. Maybe I should steer clear of secondary education subbing jobs.

The numbers for all of the Septembers page count are all over the map for the past eight years. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn how to throw in a table in the middle of the text, but I’ll have to resort to write the stories of the last seven Septembers. I seldom do this, so I’m in for some surprises I suspect.

Last year’s 212 pages are going to give me a slight challenge in how many pages I can crank out. Not really. I’ve been regularly spitting out three hundred page documents. That’s why I no longer print, but I am getting better at backing up. The past few Septembers have plenty of pages. September 2013 has 179 pages. Makes me want to puff my chest out with some pride. Getting the pages and the routine down has been a grind. And even though most of  what I write is garbage, all of these pages of writing has been worth it.

The numbers dive and stay down for the five years I was at the military school. Something had to drop from my regimen and that was it. I wonder if I would have been able to hold onto that job a lot longer if I had journaled every day. Instead of getting it out, I did Type A personality stuff and keep most of my gruntles to myself. Five years is a long time, and I think Sylvia bored of my complained just after a year or two.

I thought about going back to the very beginning of my recorded my Septembers, but I can’t find the very thin and very worn spirals. Maybe just going back a year will be enough. For my ADD and ADHD friends, I will try to keep the count to a thousand word. I’ve got no idea where this blog is going to take me. The Red Sox and Yankee game doesn’t come on for another half an hour. I’m already a third way done…

Last and this September could be twins. The Red Sox were horrible last year. They are better than last year, especially in the recent, but last place is last place.

And then the slide happened. In 2008, I had an amazing 136 page month, but the next four years can’t beat 2008’s length combined. Numbers such as 17, 19, the missing 2011, and 2012 rounds the span with 24 pages. Writing was not my thing for three Septembers. I’d be tempted to bet that Septembers for my journal is shorter than other months on a regular basis. There’s something about the change of seasons that cause me to have this thought. I’m not one for changes, but when it comes to time and change, going for the ride is all that I can do sometimes.

This was supposed to be yesterday’s blog, but I ran out of steam. Maybe my friend Bex is right in her observation that by my having a goal of blogging every day may be a reasonable goal now, but once school resumes, that’s going to be a harder stretch.

I thought about reducing that goal to just writing every day. Between emails, my journal and blogs, I don’t have any problem with this; the routine is set. Perhaps I should work on knowing when  a blog needs to be put on the back burner and another one created. It wouldn’t have taken much at all to just create a blog of yesterday’s walk. I’m always taking pictures, I’m always seeing something new. Why do I have to make blogging so hard? I really wanted to analyze the seven years of Septembers. I didn’t even manage to finish re-reading last year’s September. There’s a lot of words to sift through to find a strand that’s worth writing about.

September is about change and I’m not a big fan of changes. Yet, I’m also not a big fan of doing the same thing over and over in a routine. This is a mismatch of my inner characteristics.

I imagine that by my having a steady routine, reliable activities and actions that will help me deal with the changes all around me, and while working with the Life Coach, I’m feeling the difference.

As I stated in a previous journal, there are ten things that I’m aiming to that will support me to have an amazing day, an amazing life, a Hell Yes kind of life. Life a bucking bronco, I’ve been fighting some of the things on my list. Getting up at eight o’clock fell off the list quickly. I managed to get up at eight two out of the first fourteen days of the experiment. I have only until next Monday to sleep until ten. Once school starts, getting up at six will be the norm.

My intention is to do the things that will make my body happy and functioning. It is a struggle to drink 64 ounces of water every day. It’s not hard to do, but just remembering to do it is the trick. Eating, especially first thing in the morning, has been a focus. I don’t know why my body isn’t telling me I’m hungry until afternoon. Maybe not eating until two isn’t a big deal. The jury is out on that.

Looks like I’m over my thousand word promise, so I’ll end here.