Monday, August 31, 2015

Dancin' the Night Away

Apparently my late night dancing sprees do not impress my cat Jezebel. The face says it all, really, as she apparently can't bear to look at me here.

Must I Watch This?

That's okay. I have determined that my clubbing days may be over but rhythm remains in this body and music still gives me joy. So why not turn pleassure into exercise?

As a bonus I managed to mask my camera moves with dance, capturing that effervescent cat in a rare still.That's a win in my book.

What gets you moving?


Friday, August 28, 2015

Gratitude Circle - August 2015

I really do have much reason for gratitude. Thanks go out to monthly Gratitude Circle hosts Vidya Sury and Corinne Rodrigues for reminding me to share. Since I list five things every morning to start my day's journal writing, I'll stick with that format. And if you'd like to join us and link up, here is the badge which you can put on your blog:

I'm actually posting this a day late, but here goes!

#1 My lower back pain went away after a few days and I never needed to take the muscle relaxants or pain reliever my doctor prescribed.

#2 A trip to the store provided me with four rather flattering new blouses with which to refresh my wardrobe. And coupons on top of sales made the foray satisfyingly affordable.

#3 My old winter coat's ripped seam can be repaired, saving me from searching for a replacement.

#4 For loving friends and family.

#5 That my parents' health insurance is allowing my mother to stay in a nice rehabilitation facility while awaiting surgery on her broken leg (at least for now! I pray this will continue). The surgery scheduled for early October will hopefully help her walk again.

I hope you find many blessings in your day. And please share them in the comments!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Eight Photos of Happiness

How delightful that my Miniature Schnauzer blogging pal Riley nominated me for the Eight Photos of Happiness blog hop. Thank you! I urge you to visit Riley’s page for lots of adorable photos and joyful, fun facts lauding canine companionship.
Now, let me list the guidelines:

Thank your nominator and link their blog, then:
  1. Link the creator of the tag, Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet
  2. Display your 8 photos of happiness
  3. You can add a little description of the photos
  4. Tag up to 10 other blogs!
Okay so here I go with my 8 happy pictures. They are a memorial to my cat Luna, who passed away last August. This may seem sad, and we still sorely miss her, but I'm thankful for the happy memories.

A Cat's Idea of Packing
Luna Demonstrates the Proper Treatment of Laundry
If You Don't Talk to Your Cat About Catnip, Who Will?
This is a Dog Bed? I Don't Think So...
Luna Strikes a Pose
The Feline Use for Stationary
No Scaredy Cat Here
Now I need to tag up to ten other bloggers. There are some great folks out there, so here is a short list in no particular order:

Please enjoy the great blogs while I go tap all these folks on his or her virtual shoulder. I hope everyone will have the opportunity to join in the fun!


Monday, August 17, 2015

The Darker Side of Chalk Pastels

At the risk of showing further ineptitude at drawing, I have decided to share another chalk pastel foray. With this one I portrayed what I know well, vultures, in a scene inspired by a "Twilight Zone" apocalyptic classic and my own back yard view of local wildlife groupings. For the birds' fascinating presence, I'm very grateful.

Burning Sun

Of course "The Midnight Sun" has a classic twist ending and for that reminder 
 I thank Wikipedia (Huge Spoiler Warning). Additionally my gratitude goes to About.Com for the information on vultures. I always thought of a grouped flight as a tornado before finding this awesome information.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

By Popular Demand...

Well, since two dear commenters asked to see my fledgling artwork with chalk pastels I decided to share. It's all in fun, so please don't judge me too harshly. ~grin~ Here goes...

A Crabby Day at the Beach

The important thing is that I enjoyed myself in this endeavor. And I'm sure Julia Cameron would approve of that. In the meantime, I'm studying more advanced techniques than my initial YouTube discovery offered.

Have you played today?


Monday, August 10, 2015


The Sky's the Limit (or at Least a Beginning)

Blessedly, I still have both my parents. They have reached an advanced age and I’ve mentioned before that my mother suffers numerous health issues. For now, Dad is doing pretty darn well. And I thank the Lord. While Mom hangs in there getting regular occupational therapy, she’s in limbo waiting for more leg surgery. We hope she will walk again.

Meanwhile, Dad is slowly working toward a decision that my siblings and I consider long overdue. He has begun cleaning some of the accumulation from nearly four decades at their current main residence in a long-term goal to downsize (and hopefully dwell in a single story home). During my last visit he surprised me by handing over a box of unused chalk pastels. Mom probably purchased them back in the 1980’s and I’m tickled that he opted not to toss the set out of hand.

To tie into my serendipitous notion, I actually looked at buying a set of these very art supplies a few months back. Deciding I shouldn’t spend the money, I forgot the notion just like I’d forgotten my mother buying the set I currently possess. Received a week ago, they saw some preliminary childish play today.

A video on YouTube introduced me on their use, which is simple but not necessarily intuitive. As a writer, I tended to want to hold them like pens or pencils. ~grin~ It will be fun to see what I can create.

I won’t mention Dad’s gift to Mom out of fear her sometimes confused mind will misconstrue the event as a sign she’s never coming home. Perhaps, however, I’ll get good enough to draw a past beloved pet. Or at least a sunrise…

How about you? Any serendipity blessing your creative life these days?


Friday, August 7, 2015

Stereotyped Women a la 1989

I’m a big fan of many Tim Burton directed films. In particular, I like his collaborations with composer Danny Elfman, whom I just learned wrote not only the theme songs to “The Simpsons” and “Tales from the Crypt” but also “Desperate Housewives”. But I digress.

Last night I wanted to watch something light and fun. 1989’s “Batman” grabbed my attention while I perused my DVD collection. Perfect, I thought. Jack Nickolson’s Joker is unforgettable. (Nothing against the late, great Heath Ledger, of course.) And the visuals are stunning.

Alas, I had forgotten Vicki Vale. She probably showed as much dimension in the original 1948 comic book appearance. What a painful character to watch.

Vicki starts out as a strong concept, a prize-winning photo journalist. Yet she never once acts the part besides pulling out a camera once or twice. Throughout the film, which Tim Burton proclaims he mainly considers boring (!), Kim Basinger gets to do little besides shriek, faint, and follow Bruce Wayne around like a puppy. At the end she meekly gets into the car with Alfred as if she has zero interest in championing the world.

I guess she is too busy being some overshadowing dude’s girlfriend now and must attend his needs. To use an eightie’s valley girl euphemism, gag me with a spoon.

Audiences purportedly disliked that Vicki earned a tour of the bat cave. But honestly, what does it matter? It’s not like this namby-pamby smudge upon female characterizations will do anything with this information. This flick shows Ms. Basinger even more mincing than as Elizabeth in “9 1/2 Weeks”.

I have no idea what might have ended up on the cutting room floor, of course. Was some redeeming scene left out with final cuts? Maybe I should write a converse sort of fanfic for myself, just to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Or maybe not. I’ve got more interesting things to do.

If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think of this portrayal?


Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Cohabiting with Cats Versus Adult Human Beings

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my beloved Luna's death. I didn't exactly feel like hanging out with people, fortunately able to keep to myself beyond a visit to the health club. I did admittedly talk briefly to her memorial stone, otherwise acting normal and finding comfort in her memory.
By NawtyKitty ( Picture by: Banazer)
Thanks to

At around four this morning when hungry cat Jezebel woke me, I thought of nothing sad while lying upon my Luna-free pillow. Instead humor came to mind as the above title proclaims. This post is for you, little Luna.

My Itty Bitty Pretty Kitty

As advertised, The Pros and Cons of Cats Versus Humans:

A cat won't complain when you turn on a light in the dark
But she is more likely to wake you for food at three AM
You won't hear complaint about the thermostat setting
But a human might offer a fun way to warm up
Cats won't gripe when you continually hit the snooze bar on your alarm clock
But don't expect him to make sure you aren't late for work
Cats never much care what you wear
But she will think nothing of clawing your favorite shirt
A cat won't complain when you pass gas
But some produce their own stinky emissions (fortunately, not my girls)
Cats don't gripe when you have stayed out too late
Nor are they likely to greet you at the door unless hungry (or like doting Luna)
Fall asleep on the couch half the night? Fine - no hard feelings
But remember steadying claws may come out when you unbalance your sleeping pal
Felines never fear the future
They also can't offer solutions to your concerns
You never need worry about your cat's college debts
But she won't help pay the bills, either
A cat will never undermine your writing goals
Unless she wants to lie on your keyboard

All in all, animals of all shapes and sizes are welcome additions to my home. Well, except for the mole digging up my front lawn. Sigh...

What furry family member rules your roost?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge - Day Five...


Scrolling through the images on my new camera, I thank Virgil for the delightful gift. He grins and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear.
“I’m enjoying it, too. This is so much better than when we had to wait days to see how the photos turned out.”
“And I can snap away without the dread of wasted film,” I add.
He points to the image of a resting dragonfly. “Did you just take that?”
“Yes. A field beyond the campground is teaming with insects.”
“What are we waiting for, then?” he asks, folding his newspaper. “I’ve been sitting on my behind entirely too much this trip.”
I haven’t complained because seeing him relax so completely has been wonderful. But if I were to be completely honest with him or myself, this sedentary side of him got a bit dull this third day of camping. I’m ready for a little adventure.
“I have a better idea. Why don’t we go into town and rent some bikes?”
Usually I’m the one happiest setting a sedate pace on foot. My suggestion clearly delights my guy. I just hope [i]my[/i] behind doesn’t regret this departure from the norm.
An hour later, I think I’m doing pretty well. We’ve ridden past some really neat historical buildings. Even better, Virgil points to an ice cream stand.
“What do you say, Gladys? Ready for a break? I’ll buy you whatever you want.”
I’m almost off the bike before it coasts to a stop beside the shop’s cluster of picnic tables. Virgil laughs. I tell him to purchase another of whatever he decides to get just as long as he makes mine smaller. It’s not often that our tastes are not in accord.
And this is not one of those times. A scoop of pistachio ice cream on a waffle cone tastes great, a cooling treat after our exertion. Virgil groans when it’s time to pedal on our way.
“Want to head back to the rental shop? You look ready for a nap.”
“I should work off some of those calories,” he says, “but yeah. Let’s go.”
“Just one second.”
A teenager walking by is kind enough to take our picture as we pose before the bicycles. Then I'm ready to park myself by our tent until time to light a fire and start dinner.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge - Day Four...


“This is nice,” I say, patting Virgil’s knee.
He grunts in a way that tells me my intrepid man is dissatisfied just sitting around the campsite. I take a deep breath. Dare I ask what he’d rather be doing? Dare I not?
I don’t want the dear man bored. Life is too short. And I’d much rather get off my backside than have him insist on going back to work. His father worked until the day he died and I want more for us. Besides, Virgil’s mother made me promise to someday make my husband retire and do the things of which she’d always dreamed.
Like camping for days at a time.
“You want to go for a walk?” I ask. “Or maybe take a drive?”
His face lights up, visibly erasing a decade off his age. I can’t help chuckling. The years have flown by, with plenty of amusing adventures sprinkled in despite his busy career.
“I’m just remembering the time we got lost in that reserve.”
“Geez, how long ago was that?”
Standing, he stretches his arms toward the sky. I can hear those shoulders pop from here.
“Ten years. Can you believe it?”
His gaping expression is comical. I don’t laugh. The man’s eyebrows have grown into a thicket while the hair on his head recedes further every year, yet I still see the features of the teenager who stole my heart. I used to go blocks out of my way to intercept his walk home from school when the year between our ages saw him still in junior high when I started high school.
“Well, time moves on,” he opines. “And on that note, we have plenty of daylight left for a hike if we get going.”
I try not to groan, gathering myself from the comfortable seat. The exercise will be good for me. It only takes me a few minutes to gather some things.
“We’re going for a stroll, not an overnight excursion,” he teases.
It probably is overkill to take the first aid kit, but my mother’s voice always tells me a person can’t be too careful. Unfortunately, I’m so busy stocking my little backpack for unforeseen calamities that I forget my cellular phone. And Virgil didn’t even remember to bring his along on this camping trip.
We have a repeat of the decade before, getting lost for hours longer than we planned to be gone. But we do find our way to the road before dark. And I thought to take trail mix, so we didn’t even go hungry.
As I lay in my sleeping bag later that night, I imagine us laughing about this in another ten years.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge - Day Three...


I walked the shoreline while the sun rose, enjoying the quiet. It’s nice to just stand here now with the surf washing around my ankles. Virgil will be joining me soon, I hope.
Always considering him a morning person, I find it surprising that he seems to need more time to get motivated when we come here. Perhaps he just gets into a slower vacation groove. That’s fine by me. As long as we’re both relaxed and having fun, it’s all good.
“Gladys,” he calls, and I turn with a wave and a smile.
The corners of my lips fall slightly when I realize he’s carrying a surfboard across the sand. What in the dickens? He’s too old for that kind of nonsense. And I don’t feel like spending holiday time at the local hospital.
His eyes track over my expression. Instead of looking chagrined, he beams at me, his grin widening.
“Just kidding,” he says upon reaching me. “There are predators in these waters! But you’ll never guess who the board belongs to.”
I don’t get the chance to try. As if Virgil’s renewed laughter is a cue, the young couple we met back home a few weeks ago crests the stairs over the dune. Rick matches Virgil’s amusement. His young bride, Susan, rolls her eyes in sympathy toward me. We’ve both married a couple of jokers. She gestures for me to come closer.
“I’ve got coffee and muffins up here,” Susan calls. “Why don’t you join me?”
That’s all the invitation I need. My husband takes my hand and we start up the steps. He politely declines Susan’s offer, though, saying he wants to stay at the top of the stairs to watch Rick surf. I have a sneaking suspicion he’s planning to stay on a lookout for sharks.
My husband’s thoughtfulness warms my heart, though I soon become engrossed in conversation with the younger woman. She tells me that they delayed their honeymoon because of Rick’s job.
“But now I don’t mind so much. How neat to have found you here!”
I agree with her. We make plans to go souvenir shopping later in the day. For some reason, I find myself telling her about Virgil’s surprisingly languorous morning routine. Of course it beats talking about the shark attacks the area has been recently seeing.
“The only days he gets moving early are when we’ve made specific plans. It’s odd.”
“No, it’s not. We found Virgil up here by the pool and Rick asked why he wasn’t with you.”
“He said he enjoys watching you, Gladys. Just don’t tell him I tattled.”
I won't. Thanking her for breakfast, I ask to borrow some of her sunscreen. Virgil's bald patch could use some protection.