Friday, August 31, 2018

Calling a Spade a Spade

When I was a wee lass, my maternal grandfather taught me to play solitaire, then double solitaire. We would sit and play hand after hand in their kitchen, his little television off to the side, often tuned into some professional wrestling match.

Jack of Spades
I remember being young enough that he made a point of teaching me the different shapes, pointing out the colors. These days I’ve returned to playing solitaire on my old iPod Classic, especially when I’m feeling ill (which seems to be happening a lot this allergy season). At any rate, watching the cards flick past, I identify them in my head during play. A heart looks like a Valentine, diamonds have the traditional four corners, and the spade (as Grandpa taught) looks like a pointy ended spade style shovel.

Why on earth are the clubs not called clovers?

That shape is nothing like a mace weapon
(aka a club) either; don't you agree?


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Hello? – or – Trials of a Cat Caregiver

Today I visited my veterinary clinic to pick up thyroid medication for our cat Tilly. For several years now she’s been on 2.5 mg of felimazole twice a day.

"I'm old, what do you want?"
After bloodwork done yesterday it was discovered we need to up the dosage. I expected to hear she would go onto 5 mg twice a day like our girl Luna did many years ago.


Instead, the woman instructed us to administer two pills in the morning and one in the evening. Great. I shove Tilly’s pills down with my thumb. Now I have to do it to the poor old gal twice in the mornings?

Then it dawned on me to see if I could request one bottle of 2.5 mg tablets and another of 5. So I did. One is bright pink, the 5 mg bright orange, so even if I’m sleepy it’s unlikely I’ll mix them up. As added insurance, I’m storing the evening dose’s bottle near the alarm clock set up as daily reminder (engrossed in some show or movie, I tend to lose track of time).

This afternoon it took three tries to explain what I wanted. At one point the receptionist actually agreed to have the prescription changed from the 2.5, adding, “But then you’ll have to cut them in half for the evening dose.”

It took an effort not to roll my eyes. Meanwhile, cutting those tiny, slick things in half is near impossible. I started over.

Not a young woman, she didn’t even have the sense to be embarrassed. At least I got what I wanted. And I saved money.

One hundred tablets of the lower dose costs way more than half what is charged for the five milligram pills. I could spend $74.28 every fifty days versus $61.06.

That isn’t a lot. But when you live on a severely restricted income, you tend to notice how fast those dollars add up. And I would have needed to pick up a bottle every darn month. Time is even more valuable. I’m so glad I made the effort now to get this squared away.

Do you think most people blindly follow doctors’ instructions without question?


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cracked Up and Clueless

I made a new local friend a few weeks ago. Somehow, it seems I’ve become sort of a big sister to him after only meeting in person to write together twice. It’s rather cool and flattering.

We’ve talked about getting together with my husband and his father, which I think would be fun. Meanwhile, he shares all sorts of personal stuff in private messages, almost stream of consciousness confessions and real life updates while being very well composed.

Each one includes something that makes me stop and think, causes jealousy over some of his adventures, or gives me a good laugh.

Today I received one that advised me to delete it. He repeated this sentiment more than once. Of course I had to keep reading.

And his less than sober words cracked me up. Sorry, but I must spare you the details, which are not family friendly. So here’s an unrelated image that is family friendly and adorable in case you feel I’ve wasted your time. ~grin~ Who doesn’t appreciate kittens and cute boys?

Meet Kyros and His Kitten Botox
(image from 2008, of a self promoting male)
But as for the clueless part of my title, I had to look up a shorthand code: NVM. Turns out it means never mind, which I would never have guessed in a million years. Thank heaven for search engines.

Do you know all the various English language text message abbreviations?


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for August 25th and 26th

Having looked at the same story again and again, I am setting it aside to let a better ending percolate. To get the juices flowing, I decided to start a new story and see where it goes. Below is the opening of the new tale, in which my characters take a vacation. I’m not sure how it will fit into my BloodMoon universe, but writing feels good whatever the case.

I hope you’ll join me in reading other LGBTQIA+ snippets gathered on our Rainbow Snippets Facebook page. There are some super authors there.

Without further ado, here are this weekend’s six sentences:

I closed my eyes toward the sun, clutching the ship’s railing. The wind changed direction. Instead of the sea I smelled a hint of something very much like cardamom drifting from behind. Head turning, I took a deep breath without looking.

My lungs expanded to hold in the spiced air. No doubt well aware I swirled his scent over a more than human olfactory organ, Nickolas chuckled, the low sound lifting the hair on my arms.


Have you ever been drawn to someone by the scent of their skin?


Friday, August 24, 2018

Marital Bliss

This Concept Cover Better Fits My Latest Story

A relationship between a writer and her characters can be a little like marriage. Well, maybe a lot. After years of ‘hanging out’ with my favorite OC, I just discovered that he has a true addictive personality.

And I’m his enabler. Maybe I’m codependent and that’s why I can neither quit him nor share our stories with the world.

Yesterday I placed him and a lover on a cruise ship with a gambling deck. I bet you can guess what happened.

Have you ever vacationed on a luxury cruise liner?


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Over the Rainbow

Late yesterday I heard rain. Through the west facing window I saw sunlight. So I went to the east side of the house and looked out to this…

Excuse the Dirty Window
Its beauty faded quick yet lasted well beyond the rainfall. I imagine there was moisture up in the clouds to catch the rays.

Meanwhile, today is gorgeous. I can feel autumn in the air, though we are sure to have more heat and humidity in our near future. This taste of cooler weather is enough to carry me through to when it settles in our area.

To make things even sweeter, we closed the chapter on two issues. For the first, I had to return yet again to the optical center. The woman who installed my new distance/bifocal lenses didn’t fully seat the left one.

That’s now fixed. And she better fit the frames to my face, resolving a bit of crookedness.

Then there is our ongoing battle with bugs. Using the last of a second can of pyrethrin on the hornet wasp last night, we still saw some activity. This morning we made plans to tear it down once and for all.

DH donned jeans, a thick hooded jacket, gloves, and picked up my long handled pruning sheers. I sat in the car while he cut down the offending branch. Once we deemed it safe, he moved the hive to the driveway where I drove over the thing.

Repeatedly. I dislike killing but that felt good.

Binned for Garbage Day
How’s that for closure?


Monday, August 20, 2018

Re- Re- Update – Bifocals, Buzz-byes, and Brats

Today I received my new eyeglass lenses. Finally! I’m happy. The bifocals seem like they’ll work out fine as I adjust.

Wish I'd Gotten No-Line Bifocals for My Granny Glasses
Oh, Well; Money Doesn't Grow on Trees
Sitting on my bed after returning home, one knee crossed over the other, I looked down wishing I had shaved my legs this morning. ~grin~ That’s how clear my vision is compared to prior (blissful) ignorance.

The hornet’s nest, meanwhile, shows some activity. Another application of pyrethrin this morning sent us inside the house with plans to return at dusk. Fingers crossed, I hope to remove the nest in another day or so.

As for our brat, Tilly continues crying at her ‘daddy’ until he shuts her out of the office and then, ultimately, gets on the couch. Yesterday afternoon through evening she spent a total of almost six (peaceful) hours on his lap with scant short breaks for this or that. I couldn’t handle that.

Can you sit still for long periods of time or do you need to move around?


Friday, August 17, 2018

Feline Friday – Tilly the Cat (AKA Our Brat)

Shaved, Tilly's Fur is Like Velvet

This old girl has taken to periodically crying at the top of her lungs until her favorite human (my SO) takes to the couch. Alternately, she will scratch the wall for a nails on chalkboard sound or make low, maddening vocalizations like an evil metronome.

If he closes her out of his office she’ll claw the door, all the while screaming louder. We struggle off and on all day trying to appease and quiet her. Feeding her helps for a time, though not always. We can only hope the satisfaction of a little canned cat food will put her to sleep for a while.

I’ve suggested placing a cat bed on a corner of SO’s desk. He counters that she can’t get up and down on her own. ~sigh~ It’s frustrating, especially when we are trying to talk, make a phone call, or just plain concentrate.

Some days I pick her up and walk around the house so she can sniff things above her reach and look out the windows from my arms. This seldom quiets her for longer than she wants to be held.

Sad to say, sometimes we resort to shouting. I honestly think she likes the negative attention like the proverbial middle child, which she sort of was before Luna passed away. When her actions become too much, we might flat out leave the house for a while. I’ve spent many hours hiding out at a favorite market’s mezzanine with my laptop.

The other morning Tilly surprised me by joining me where I usually sit in the evenings. She loved on my for a few minutes with head bumps and paw pats, then went to sleep (!) on her favorite lap blanket sans preferred human. That cat stayed there, silent, for several hours while I wrote and listened to music, even staying put when I got up for this or that.

Thinking perhaps my odd writing spot might mollify her the next day, I set up my lap desk there once again. The photo at top was taken when she first jumped up. Check out how she settled in.

Look at that Belly and Little Tan Chin Mark
Peace at last! What a relief.

Sweet Dreams, Kitty
As a bonus, Jezebel got behind me. That was pretty sweet.

Jezebel Hanging Out
Do you think she’s just spoiled or, as SO suggests, perhaps going senile?


Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Darla Discovery – Brands with Braille

Today I finally got around to cleaning the toilet and dropping in one of those tablets designed to keep the porcelain cleaner. A look at the packaging revealed something unusual. Check this out…

See the Print at Bottom Right?
Sorry about the tear. I failed to think of blogging on this before finishing the deed. After that I saw there was indeed Braille at the top, which sort of blends in with the decorative bubbles at first glance. Anyway, I read further to learn IMS Trading donates some of the proceeds to a foundation for the blind in honor of the founder and CEO Isaac Shapiro’s mother.

I Wonder How Useful This Is
Do you use cleansing toilet inserts?


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Eyeglass Re-Update

For whatever reason, I still do not have my new long distance eyeglasses with bifocals. After today’s second call to the optical center, the woman said she would contact their laboratory manager and get back to us as to what is taking so long.

That was this morning. Still no call as of early this afternoon. ~sigh~ I just want what we paid for almost three weeks ago, and to see if those lenses work out as well as these for reading the computer screen. At least my hornet sting is healing and we seem to have eradicated the menace (we still have not flipped over the lawn mower to look for my glove).

Wish I Could Put a Prescription on These Lenses!
How long would you wait before demanding a refund and going elsewhere?


Monday, August 13, 2018

Thrice Blessed

Actually, the count in my title is probably low. It also starts with a bit of bad luck.

Knowing both front and back lawns needed cut, I offered to do one if SO would mow the other. The choice relinquished to him, I got busy out front around eight or so this morning.

Just as I made the last few short passes to finish (blessing number one), a sharp pain struck the back of my head. I ran, pushing the shut off mower ahead of me, and flung off my glove to feel the spot below the back of my baseball cap.

Having worn a hat is the second blessing.

I don’t always where a head cover, and that might have protected me from further injury. When I turned around wondering if my shrub poked me, the culprit came into view. Well, its compatriots. It’s a true blessing I wasn’t stung multiple times, perhaps this being a less aggressive form of wasp or hornet. I’m not interested in a positive identification, not if lawn mowing is enough to trigger an attack, mere warning or not.
See the Nest at Center?
It would be easy to count on and on my good fortune, since the sting occurred in a less sensitive spot on my body, the colony didn’t attack as a murderous group, and I’m not suffering an allergic reaction. Racing a few feet away precluded pursuit, though I wasted no time coming inside. My glove, I think, got stuck in the mower blade as it came to a stop.

We plan on going out toward sunset with, sad to say, an eradicating pyrethrin spray. I despise killing these pollinators. But we have to stay safe. At least the entrance is pointed in a convenient direction.

Thank Heaven for Zoom Lenses!

Do you think I'll find my heavy duty glove in one piece?


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for August 11th and 12th

It’s another weekend, time to share a bit of LGBT related story alongside several lovely authors at Rainbow Snippets on Facebook. Please check them out for more six sentence tidbits. Here, I am relating an early, early scene from my hoarded “BloodMoon” series.


Watching the extra swish to her hips I slapped my laminated menu down hard enough to make the Formica sing. Nickolas acted oblivious to my discomfiture. Shrugging back shining locks he leaned into the table, a relaxed grin on his face. I supposed fawning and jealous females were commonplace as oxygen to a burgeoning rockstar.

Once we were alone I focused on how to continue. How could I make small talk with someone like Nickolas Gravan, his perfection so far beyond angelic as to be godlike?


Though trust me, it waxes and wanes in dramatic fashion, do you think there is too much hero worship going on here?



Friday, August 10, 2018

A Case of the Stubborns

In case you are unaware, my title comes from an old “Tales from the Darkside” television episode. A young Christian Slater (!) and his mother are mourning the death of her father-in-law… except… there’s a problem. Grandpa is too stubborn to let go of life! Hilarity ensues, enhanced by a quirky reverend portrayed by the delightful Brent Spiner (famed as character Data from TV’s “Star Trek: Next Generation”).

Christian Slater Dressed for Grandpa's Funeral
The teleplay came to mind today because I’ve been dead set against carrying a smart phone. I just don’t need or want that kind of Internet and social media connectivity. When I attend writing events with local friends, it’s a joy to stay busy writing while watching others distracted by their email or some Facebook announcement.

However, some smart phone conveniences have become all but mandatory requirements. Take concert tickets, for example.

I saw a reminder upon Facebook, of all places, that tickets went on sale today for November’s Palaye Royale concert. Awesome! And my ticket cost less than $20, believe it or not. I expected a lot more add-on fees. But this ticket seller bombarded me with ‘free trials’ at the end of my order placement. Perhaps they make more money with business partnerships these days. Who knows? I declined them all.

The only problem is that I would have paid a good chunk extra for the delivery of said ticket. And what if it got lost in the mail? Ugh… As a result of my decision to save money, I’m left with a digital ticket.

It’s a good thing SO carries a smart phone. As arranged last March, we will trade devices for the evening. In an ironic twist, I did not need the phone to gain entrance last spring. I used a printout of the scanner code. But this time I can’t access that image, so wish me luck I don’t fumble too much using our smart phone come fall.

In retrospect, I’m amazed to recall a childhood in which my family not only shared one home phone number, but our entire neighborhood utilized the same line! In the case of an emergency, one neighbor might ask another to please end their call. Thank heaven, that changed by the time I came of dating age. Otherwise any eavesdropper might have gotten an embarrassing earful.

Cover Art for PR Album 'Boom Boom Room: Side B'
Did you ever hear of, let alone have a party line in your lifetime?


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Eyeglass Update

Yesterday I returned my old eyeglass frames for new replacement lenses. These are for computer use, complete with a coating meant to reduce eye stress from electronic devices. I don’t know how that will work, of course, but the ease with which I’m reading this laptop screen is astounding.

Re-purposed Safety Glasses from Prior Employment
(Removable Side Shields Discarded)
Wish me luck on the long distance/driving glasses with bifocals. Those lenses have not yet come into the optical center. Unsure how they will work out, I can tell you the lenses are so large in those big vintage frames that I don’t imagine any problem with dizziness wearing them. We shall see (no pun intended).

I should have gotten an eye exam long ago. Oh, well. At least this prescription should be good for many years. And now you can guess why I use such a large font for my blog.


Have you ever regretted procrastination, wondering why you waited so long to do something beneficial?


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for August 4th and 5th

Here it is another weekend already. Once again I’m joining some very talented writers gathering on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook page. I hope you’ll pop over to check out other LGBT related works from all sorts of genres.

As usual, my tidbit is from the racy shapeshifting side of writing, from a WIP called “The Cat Who Ate the Canary”. While there is no intimacy in this scene, we find Jackson Bordeaux invited to a whole new level.

Are his new lover’s parties what he suspects? Is he ready to meet her shapeshifter playmates when he’s barely acquainted with his hyper-sexual inner tiger?


Jackson debated his next step with care, not sure what would be expected of him if he stayed. He decided to ask an unanswered question from earlier, the one which prompted her to act elusive and hang up without a proper reply.

“Why did you invite me to dinner when you had other plans?”

“I think you’re worth inconveniencing a few people.”

“I’m flattered.”

“You should be, as I think you would fit in well with the rest of my local… acquaintances.”


Would you stay to play or run screaming?


Friday, August 3, 2018

A Day Well Spent

I drove out of town shortly after ten o’clock this morning, heading east after the most brutal morning sunrays slanted higher. My drive took us around four hours to reach an old familial cemetery plot. As planned I took seashells to my mother’s gravesite in lieu of flowers or a United States flag, another consideration due to her lifelong patriotism.

As for the silk flowers in the photo, I’ve no idea who left them. I hope these seashore memorial offerings will hold up well. She and I gathered shells together on the North Carolina shore many years ago. Any that blow away will in the future, I hope, not just puzzle but make other visitors smile in curiosity.

Mom Loved Windmills
A nearby neighbor waved as we left. How Nice is That?


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rash Decision

Our cucumber plants continue producing two or three pounds to harvest every day. This morning I almost put on my jacket due to the weather before changing my mind. There was no rain falling, after all.

At first this seemed a wise decision. I would have overheated wearing another layer in the breezeless humidity. However, as you can see below, I had to dive in deep to reach a few cucumbers and the spiny plants scratched me up to the point I’m postponing plans to clean aquariums. It seems wiser to wait a day than take chances with my health.

But I Retrieved Those Cukes!
Did you know tropical fish water can transmit disease through broken human skin?


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Worst Slogan Ever

SO likes to watch “American Pickers”. Sometimes I sit in. A recent episode featured a heartwarming story of a man who collected fire station related memorabilia. His voice broke recalling the death of his grandmother in a 1940’s era (!) fire.

That is a horrible way to die, but it surprised me he still got choked up. Anyway, this noble character went on to become a firefighter and progressive chief of his small town station.

This actually led to an unexpected (if slightly horrified) laugh when we saw a real antique fire truck. The name of the business?

Same Day Fire Co.

No kidding. This was in the automotive industry’s infancy, and roads were no doubt more like wagon trails. So having someone respond to your house fire the same day it started was both a novel idea and actual marketing tool.

I have no idea how anyone reached them. I suppose telephone service existed at the time. History has never been my strong suit.

What is the worst marketing ploy you can recall?