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Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

The weekend has been busy. I spent Saturday night with my daughter and her family at a Winter Wonderland attraction. For Zeppelin, who recently turned three, this was a magical adventure. Being a “COVID” baby he hasn’t had much exposure to the outside world over the past couple of years. Snow cascaded down on us inside the gate, generated by a snow machine set up towards the entrance to the light show. This, for the small set, was the big deal of the night. The look on his face reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw fireflies while living in St. Albans, West Virginia. Only difference, I was thirty-eight at the time. Wonderment, is wonderment, no matter what the age, I like to think.

The Christmas elf in me seems to surface no matter what external forces are going on in my life. Always, I have come to life this time of year, and in spite the fact Dale will not be with me for the official lighting of the tree, the tree will go up as it always does. My son-in-law stores my tree in his rafters each year. Before going over there I asked him to get it down for me so I could bring it home with me. There was a time when I wouldn’t have owned an artificial tree. Part of the experience of having a tree for me, was to go to a lot or Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree the day after Thanksgiving. Since the kids have their own kids, and particularly now the cat and I are the only ones here to appreciate the splendor, I’m happy to have a conveniently accessible tree-in-a-box to put up instead.

Getting ready to head home yesterday morning, my son-in-law offered to put my two bags in the back seat of my car. I thanked him as I was going out the door, where he pulled me aside for a moment. “Don’t open the bags in the house”, he whispered in my ear. “Why not”, I asked? Apparently, Zeppelin had been playing in the garage with my son-in-law and he told him he was afraid of the bag. When asked why, he indicated the bag had been moving by itself. Oh-oh. Soooooo, I am being told there could be something in the bag? The bag now resting in my bag seat? Swell.

On the way home I jumped every time I heard a noise, and kept looking over my shoulder expecting to see two little rat ears and a big set of razor sharp teeth staring back at me. Thankfully, nothing escaped and hopefully there was nothing to escape. Once home, I unloaded my other items leaving the bags in place for last. Pulling on my industrial plastic gloves, I retrieved a long pair of tongs from my utensil drawer. “I’m going in”, I thought to myself. Dragging the cumbersome bags over to the side of the house, I watched them for a moment to make sure I didn’t detect any movement before unzipping the first bag. There were no obvious signs of entry so I felt pretty comfortable removing the contents, picking them up with the tongs just in case there were any surprises in store for me. The second bag was a totally different story. On one side there was a huge jagged hole obviously gnawed by huge jagged teeth. Let the games begin. Gingerly I pulled back the zipper. Grabbing the section of tree on the top with my tongs, I pulled hard dislodging a jack in the box ornament flying which came flying up out of the hole and landed on my head. The dance that ensued was worthy of at least a 10 from Len Goodman on Dancing with the Stars. Good form, excellent footwork, nice content. When my toes finished tapping, I looked up to see my neighbor leaning on his rake watching me. What? He waved at me cautiously in my direction, as one might do when dealing with a crazy person. In the end, there was no creature tucked in with tree either dead or alive. However, something had definitely eaten a hole in the side of the bag as well as all the fake cranberries off some decorations in the bottom of the bag. Note to self: Find a place in the shed for my trees.

Rats, well pests in general, are a way of life. Whether you live in the inner city or in rural areas a rat or two is going to turn up at one juncture or another. I try to find the inherent blessings in all living things, but I have to stretch a little farther to find the value in these nasty flea carrying rodents. Wherever there is food, rats will congregate. When we owned the restaurant I would sometime see them foraging out by the trash bins. Euuuuwww. When recounting the above rat story to a friend of mine, she said she saw a wire hanging beneath her car. When she reached up to yank on it to pull it out, a dead rat fell out on the ground and she was holding his tail. Ugh. They will get up under the hood of your car for the comforting heat of the engine. While visiting, they will chew on wires and connections leaving a mess if you’re not careful.

Moving on lest you’re eating and rodents put you off your food, this morning I am making soup out of what is left in my vegetable bins. I haven’t been shopping lately the way I did when Dale was here for meals, and I haven’t been cooking much either. The refrigerator, I’m afraid, reflects this lack of interest. I found four carrots, three stalks of celery, two onions, and some green beans hanging on for dear life in the bins. I had a half a rotisserie turkey breast that was about to travel south with the veggies so figured they’d all play well in a bit pot of soup. It’s supposed to be cold today, so what is more perfect on cold days than a piping hot bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, yes?

Murphy has been mucking about in my house the past week. As I mentioned in my previous blog, both toilets went on the fritz one right after the other. At the end of last week I was working on organizing my shed and one of the doors came off in my hands when I tried to close it. Thankfully, I figured out how to reattach it, or that would be the perfect place for critters to take up residence as the cooler weather prevails. Don’t misunderstand me, I do love my critters, but don’t really want any unwelcome surprises when looking for a package of paper towels out there in the dark.

So, this morning I began to assemble my soup ingredients. The landlord installed shelved pantry units in the laundry room to give me more storage. As I’ve said, this is a small house. I am very creative when it comes to using up all the available space, but even I have my limitations. The shelves in these cabinets are held up with little metal fasteners which regularly wear out, or come out and disappear into the atmospheric continuum somewhere. My theory is they are out there hanging out with all my missing socks. I have stocked these shelves fairly substantially so these little fasteners are being asked to hold up a fair amount of weight. This morning they rebelled. Opening the cupboard, cans, boxes, bags of pasta and all manner of consumables came pouring out like the dam had sprung a leak. A large can of crushed pineapple landed on my baby toe which is now the color purple. Ouch. I will find that Murphy one of these days and see he gets some of what he has dished out. Sorry, lost my head for a moment.

Not to be deterred from the task at hand, I sorted through the mess until I located what I needed and made my soup anyhow. What is it they say, “it’s not what happens to you in life that is important, it’s how you handle what happens to you”, or something along those lines. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Another minor annoyance, more to Boo than to myself, is that because nothing is getting to the store shelves these days, her cat litter brand of choice is out of stock. Boo, like most cats, is not a fan of change. Forced to either choose a new litter or allow the aromatic smell of ammonia to waft up to permeate my nostrils, I bought a different brand. The one I got was clumpable. I know, or really I didn’t know. At any rate, I diligently cleaned her box and sanitized it and poured the new litter inside. Shortly, as she always does, she sauntered up to take a virgin run at the fresh litter. First she smelled it, then after circling the box for ten minutes she deigned to step inside. You would have thought I had filled it with hot coals. She walked around lifting up her paws and behaving as if torture could only be a worse fate. Really? After a few days she accepted the fact that the old litter was not returning any time soon, and adapted herself to the situation. I, on the other hand, didn’t do as well. The clumps as it turned out were how the litter dealt with the bodily fluids etal. Huge clumps form in the litter after the cat uses it, looking like meteorites. They weigh a ton and hardly fit in the trash can I’ve always used to store the ……..um, well, poop. At any rate, it got kind of funny to me at one point but finally just annoying so I went and bought a new brand. Boo is circling the box as we speak. Life on the edge over here.

Happy Monday. The beginning of Thanksgiving week. Stay safe, spread kindness, be happy.

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I have to say, Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats, has stepped up to the plate in a big way since Dale passed away. As it does after someone dies, the house goes from a hotbed of activity, to a quiet, sometimes deafeningly quiet, refuge. Family and friends return to their lives, and you are left alone (if just the two of you) to sort out the remnants of yours. Boo has been my steadfast companion over the past weeks, and I don’t know what I would have done without her. In times where I felt lost, she would find me. Her beautiful silly furry face would lift me up from whatever dark space I had crawled into, and pull me back into the world. God bless animals, really. We could learn a great deal from them about humanity.

I have had many pets over the years. I never say I owned my animals. To my mind you can’t own a living entity. You share space, possibly rent one for a while, as they can be costly, but never own one. My first “pet” was a loaner who haughtily sauntered into my life when I was about the age of six. Whiskers was a grey tabby with attitude, who lived with our neighbors, The Bells, in the house directly across the street from ours. Not permitted an animal of my own, Whiskers and I made a silent agreement to meet every day in front of the garage for scratches behind the ears and a few moments of cat to human companionship.

I didn’t get an actual pet until third grade, when three guppies, and two angel fish showed up in a small aquarium under the Christmas tree. A puppy was what I had written on my Christmas list, but fish were what Santa delivered. Watching them milling about inside the glass I believe for a moment I thought about leaving him a hunk of coal instead of chocolate chip cookies and milk the following year. To give Santa his due, we lived in an apartment with a “no pets” policy, so fish were all I was allowed to own. He must have read the lease before crossing my golden retriever off his list. They were entertaining, for creatures that basically just swam around, pooped and ate, but they weren’t much when it came to going for walks or playing in the yard. Santa had included a manual detailing the care and feeding of each species, however, it included nothing about the reproductive status of guppies. As things will happen when you put males and females of a species in the same environment, one of the guppies got pregnant. When she produced her offspring, I watched in horror as the father immediately gobbled up all his own children. It seems this is not an uncommon phenomenon among the male guppy population, which leads me to wonder there are any guppies in the aquariums at the north pole to provide for children over the holidays. The following day, my mother found a new home for my tank.

To ease the loss of my guppies, a new furry face arrived on the scene in fourth grade. A Boston terrier by the name of Puck. That is Puck, from Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a P. To be honest Puck was not a name I might have chosen for obvious reasons, but he came to us at six months old, and his previous owner had a leaning towards Shakespeare. Not wanting to confuse him, Puck he was, and Puck he stayed. Puck was a little black and white shivering bundle of energy. He had one blue and one brown eye and was prone to passing truly obnoxious clouds of gas at the most inopportune moments. His favorite game, if left alone and the bathroom door open, was to grab the end of a roll of toilet paper and run through every room of the house until the roll finally came to an end. Often I came home from school to find him sitting in clouds of Charmin looking really pleased with himself. In his defense, the only companion the dog had when I was in school was my mother’s roommate’s brother’s mynah bird. Follow that trail if you can. The black menace, was a contentious feathered creature answering to the name “Uncle Charlie”. Uncle Charlie could match expletives with the vilest of sailor’s mouths and could often be heard in his owners room blaspheming loudly to his little hearts content. Puck’s bent for flatulence, unfortunately, turned out to be more than just socially unappealing, but also an indicator of an underlying serious intestinal condition resulting in his demise before he celebrated his second birthday.

I didn’t venture into the realm of pet ownership again until the eve of my thirteenth birthday. The doorbell rang that night just after we had cut my cake. I opened the door, to find a delivery man standing there carrying a cage. Reading from a card he had in his hand he announced he had a special delivery for Susan Dennis, which at time would have been me. Handing the cage across the threshold to my waiting hands, he turned and walked down the driveway. Looking inside, I was more than surprised to find two large frightened looking topaz eyes staring back at me. “Hello”, I said? Taking the crate in the kitchen, my mother determined the gift had come from my Aunt Eleanor. Eleanor was not really my aunt, though I called her Aunt El, but rather an old friend of the family. Eleanor was in her seventies at the time (I perceived her as ancient and more than a little eccentric). The woman lit one cigarette off the last, drank vodka by the truckload, owned three beagles who smelled like old socks, and was a retired legal secretary. She had never married, had no children (except her beagles who she called her “girls”), and her only relative was a rather unproductive brother who lived in her spare room with Mr. Charlie the foul mouthed mynah bird. Aunt El, however, in spite of her many quirks, had a heart the size of New Jersey. Knowing it was a difficult time in this girl’s life, she knew a kitten might just fill the fill. Had she asked my parents permission, I’m sure the answer would have been a resounding no. So El came at the situation like she did most situations she had during her life in the legal field, and just cut through the red tape. The eyes as it turned out were attached to a peach colored persian kitten, who aptly came to be called “Peaches”. Peaches was gorgeous even by persian standards. In the dark, her golden eyes shone brightly like the orbs of a underworld goddess replete with locks of flowing curly golden hair. Her regal bearing belied an underlying love of martinis, which came to the fore after a night of partying on the part of my parents and a group of their friends. I woke up to find the living room littered with the remnants of the previous night’s festivities including half filled martini glasses and bowls of crusted over guacamole. In the middle of the disaster sat Peaches happily lapping up what had to be her second or third gin martini.Oh-oh. On seeing me, the fuzzy sot weaved across the carpet in my direction getting about halfway to where I stood before dropping on her side like a possum caught in the headlights of a car. Thankfully, the amount of alcohol she consumed did not do her in, but the next day she had the same look on her lovely face I’d seen on my parents the day before. Peaches would be my steadfast friend and companion for the next two years, before being hit by a car on our street and having to be put to sleep. My young heart, as they say, was broken.

It was to be, that once again I was to mend my broken heart from the loss of one furry friend by finding another one to step up to make me smile. Don’t misunderstand me, you can not simply exchange one pet for another and make everything all right, any more than you can with human beings. Each animal, like each person in your life, if special, occupies a certain space in your heart and mind that is unique and belongs only to them. Their imprint, can never be written over with a new one, but will rather stand side by side with the others. Such was the case with the little Pomeranian puppy given to me on my sixteenth birthday by my mother. Mandy, like another guardian angel, arrived on the scene when life was a bit bumpy at our house and a loving companion was just what was needed.

When Mandy came into my life I was sweet sixteen, with more emphasis on the age than the description. My home life was complicated, and in reaction to that chaos I was a bit rebellious. Toss all those ingredients in a bag and no matter how much sugar you added the cake it still didn’t taste that delicious. My mother and I were trying to find a way to communicate, and teenagers aren’t notably gifted in this area, and my stepfather, well that’s for another blog. Mandy helped to iron out some, not all of the wrinkles at home, making life a little easier for all concerned. Small in size, with a pointed snout and a bush of reddish gold hair, she resembled a little fox. Before long we were inseparable. She understood me, didn’t ask a lot of questions, and was an excellent snuggler, and for a small being, a fierce protector. What more could I ask for? My stepbrother, Mike, also had a dog, Chip. Mike’s parental visits included every other weekend at our house during the school year, every other holiday, and a month during the summer break. Chip accompanied him on the summer break the first year Mandy came to live with us. My mother and I had discussed getting Mandy fixed as soon as her first heat and come and gone. Apparently Chip, an ardent suitor, hadn’t read that far in the book. Sure enough, before the surgery could be done, Mandy was pregnant. The vet said the pregnancy was too far along so we would need to complete the journey. One night I noticed Mandy was very restless. She stood up, then laid down, yawned, and then whimpered. This went on for some time. Alerting my mother something was wrong, she called the vet and they said we should bring her in. After an xray revealed two puppies, one too large to come through the birth canal, (Chip was a mutt, but a mix of larger breeds) Mandy was prepped for a C-Section. This would end up costing my mother nearly $400, pricey even in those days. Mother was not wearing her happy face on the drive home two puppies richer. Mandy produced her only offspring, Chip and Dale. The boys were healthy but an odd pair, with Chip being at least double the size of his brother. When they were old enough,we put them up for adoption and they were scooped up before the ink was dry on the ad. Mandy remained with me until I got married three years later. She stayed with my mother until I could find an apartment where I could bring her. I think she died of a broken heart, though they said it was liver failure. As I’ve said often, life is a series of hellos and goodbyes.

There have been many other memorable fur babies between Whiskers and Boo. If I mentioned them all you’d have to put on a fresh pot of coffee. Dale’s memorial is tomorrow. Nursing a big case of sad this morning but Boo is here at my feet keeping a watchful eye on me. Happy Saturday!!

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I woke up to a light rain falling outside my window. Boo, the Queen of Cats, was curled up in a tight knot on the pillow next to me and all felt right in the world just for that quiet moment lying in my warm comfortable bed listening to the glorious sound of water falling from the sky. California has been so dry the past few years. It fascinates me there are people out there still trying to argue climate change is a figment of people’s imaginations. The polar ice cap is melting, sea levels are rising, mega storms in the Atlantic are becoming the norm, drought is on tap nearly every year out here on the west coast and fire season now lasts all year long, and still there are doubters shaking their heads in disbelief. What, one has to wonder, will it take for these non believers to see what is clearly unfolding in front of their eyes? I really do try to leave room for opinions other than my own under this mop of blonde hair, but this I have trouble even following the logic of the opposing argument. How do you argue with what is obviously happening as a result of we human beings being less than diligent caretakers of this beautiful planet? Perhaps it’s just easier to deny. Doing nothing is always easier in some way, then taking a stand.

I get denial, believe you me. My daughter used to call me “The Queen of Denial”. I have to confess to being a bit of a fairy duster. I would prefer to think the best of people initially and perhaps later be proven wrong, then to assume the worst from the onset and find out I was mistaken down the road. Always I will assume a friend or loved one to be telling me the truth unless given reason to believe otherwise. I do have to say though, once I have confirmed a person has lied to me about something important, that original assumption goes out with the bath water. Now I’m not speaking to little white lies. I believe most of us will admit to telling those little fabrications now and then. Aunt Millie calls when you’re in the middle of a good book, and you tell her you’d love to talk but you’re on the way to the dentist. I’m sure these little “fibs” get noted on our record somewhere, but I think in the end they are fairly harmless diversions meant to keep the other person from feeling hurt or offended. Anyhow, whether this premise is true or not, it works for me, and until proven otherwise, I am sticking to that plan of action.

I am a terrible liar. My face gives me up every time. So, in my case, there is no point in even launching into a big whopper. For one thing, I over embellish, providing details as finite as commenting on what color footwear the person was wearing in the concocted fairy tale, or what they were eating at the time the incident occurred. People telling the truth don’t need to add copious details or write things down to recall the intricacies of what happened when relating a story. They do not need to take notes because what they are saying actually did happen and they have imprinted the sequence of events to their memory bank. Hello? Dale, as far as I know, has only attempted to tell me one “fib”. Have to say, he wasn’t very adept at it. It was at the beginning of both our relationship and the pandemic. Like everyone else on the planet, I was nervous about contracting the dreaded virus. I told Dale because of my asthma, it would be helpful for him to avoid public places if possible with large gatherings of unmasked people. There was no vaccination to turn to at that time, so masks and social distancing were about the only weapons available against the disease. A friend of Dales has a brother who races cars. This particular Saturday the brother was bringing his current “ride” to a local track and Dale had been asked to come and watch the car put through it’s paces. The temptation proved to much. He went, knowing this probably wouldn’t sit well with me. To keep me from knowing where he was, he called me from a copse of trees about a half a mile away so I wouldn’t hear the engines roaring in the background. The thing about lying, is one lie generally breeds another. In order to support the first fabrication, other fabrications need to fall into line after it to keep the illusion going. If you have a healthy conscience, once you have let the lie out out of the gate, then the guilt sets in. Sitting in the stands after our phone call, Dale began to not only feel the guilt, but guilt had invited a new friend to the party, worry. He began to worry I might find out he had not told me the truth. Remembering I knew the friend’s wife, he texted her to ask she not mention where the two men had gotten off to. Problem in this move being, he sent the text to me instead of her by accident. Oh-oh. The text I received read, “Please don’t mention to Susie I went to the track with Mike. This might upset her. Thanks so much.” I replied, “Too late, Bubba. The jig is up, the cat is out of the bag, the beans, as they say, have been spilled.” There was no reply for a moment, and then the phone rang. Somebody was in trouble. I told him then and there lying was one of my least favorite behaviors in a mate. If you can’t trust your partner, and believe me I have been there, then there isn’t much point in going forward.

Lying to avoid consequences is something we learn at a young age. I remember finding one of my grandchildren, around four years old at the time, standing at my outside refrigerator with the door open. I had put a lot of food out on the table in the kitchen for whatever party was going on, including a huge bowl of fruit for everyone to enjoy. The one statement I had made to the children specifically was “You may have everything I put out, but the strawberries in the back refrigerator are for a luncheon I’m going to tomorrow so please don’t touch them”. Standing there in his bare feet he looked up at me with that innocent baby face nearly totally obscured by red strawberry juice. In his hands, and on the floor below him, were an assortment of leaves and partially eaten berries. I said to him, “did you eat Nana’s strawberries?” To which he answered vehemently while shaking his head, “no”. Uh-huh. Nana’s got your number little man.

As a mother I was a big consequence girl. I felt “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”. Never was I a hitter, but there was punishment to be exacted if they did something they knew was not in their best interest or mine. Usually my punishments involved extra chores, or lost privileges. To me, an integral part of being a parent is teaching them about life. When you grow up and do something you should not, there are consequences for your actions. I remember one time asking my son to take out the trash I had sitting in a 33 gallon trash bag by the door heading out to the garage. I asked twice, as the dogs, a large golden retriever named Barnaby, and a Shih Zsu answering to Sushi, would have access to the house through the dog door due to the rain outside. Barnaby, already had his name on the books as a known trasher.”Sure, Mom”, was the standard answer. I placed the bag against the door as I left for work so that my son would literally have to repel over it to get out to the garage to go to school. No problemo. Later that day, I arrived home from work before my children had gotten in from school. Pushing on the door to go into the kitchen, it did not move easily. As I pushed harder against the door, I heard tin cans rattle and paper rustle. From beneath the door, an ooze of tomato juice seeped through onto the stairs. Sigh. Inside, the kitchen floor was littered with trash and debris. Barnaby, so it would seem, had made the best of his time on his rainy day break in the house, indulging himself of the feast left at his disposal. Calling the dog’s name, I got no response other than the familiar thump, thump, thump, of the dog’s tail whacking against the hardwood floor in the next room. Sushi, wisely had distanced herself from the scenario, having her back to me sleeping in her dog bed. She did not look up, lest she be caught in the crossfire. Conveniently, Barn had already put himself in the corner in the family room, totally aware trash bags were not a place I wanted him to bury his head. The culprit, it would appear, had been apprehended. This was not his first infraction. Giving me a side eyed glance while I told him I was unhappy about the situation, I could see flecks of cheese clinging like stalagmites to the end of his snout. What a mess. Shortly thereafter, my son arrived. Surveying the damage, I could see my boy’s mind working to find some plausible explanation to offer me as an excuse for the oversight that would get him out of cleaning up the ungodly mess. Nope, nothing there. There really was no explanation needed, so I handed him the broom and the mop and left him to his job. Truthfully, it was not the dog’s fault temptation was left in his way. The next time I asked for the trash to be taken out, I noticed it had disappeared when I got home. Lesson learned.

As I say often, life is but a series of lessons. We either learn them, at least in my case this is true, or they show up again somewhere down the road offering us another chance for redemption. I have found the lessons I have most stubbornly resisted learning, are the one’s in the end to have hit me the hardest. The current process we are going through with Dale as the cancer tightens it’s grip, makes me wonder what the lessons I am to be understanding in this. For him, I would guess it is a lesson in surrendering, a lesson in faith, and in the beginning, a lesson in unrelenting hope for a miracle. How difficult I was thinking this morning, it must be to know that your time here on earth is coming to an end. That the sip of delicious sweet coffee you are taking might be your last sip, or the kiss your daughter plants on your forehead might be the one that fills the cup. I struggle with understanding all that is going on in my world, but try to still find much joy in the lovely fall colors sneaking into my neighborhood as each day unfolds, or watching the silly antics of my crazy cat as she chases a furry mouse (toy of course) around the kitchen floor. Each day really is a gift, perhaps that is the simple lesson here. Ta ta for now.

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A friend of mine recently started dating for the first time since going through a messy divorce about five years ago. Her children are grown, so that is one issue she won’t have to deal with. Still, dipping your toe in the dating pool again is a slippery slope when you first put yourself back out there. On this specific subject, I can speak with some authority having been married four times. Now, having been married four times certainly does not qualify me as an expert. Let’s be real, betting on four horses who never crossed the finish line is not exactly to be considered a stellar track record. However, those unions and others have left me with a sizable bank of experience on the topic of relationships at this stage of the game. For the most part, I have already fallen in most of the potholes encountered while looking love, and climbed back out of them more times than I care to mention. Hopefully, I have gathered a little knowledge to take with me each time I made it back to the surface.

I was thinking about Rick and our first date. He took me to a hockey game in San Jose. The Sharks were playing the Canucks. At the time, we were still at the stage where we were gathering information about one another. The fact I am Canadian by birth hadn’t been a topic we’d discussed at any length. Seated in his excellently positioned season ticket seats, we had a great view of the ice. Naturally, being in the Shark’s home stadium, the stands were packed with ardent Sharks fans wearing all manner of team shirts and waving Sharks paraphernalia. A man two seats over from me had his head completely obscured by a full size shark head with a hole in front where he could watch the game between the teeth. When the Canucks took the ice something deep in my roots pushed my nationalism button and I began whooo-hooing vigorously for the Canadian players. Rick turned to stare at me with his mouth fully agape. Aside from the fact he was a die hard Sharks fan, this was not recommended behavior when seated smack in the middle of a huge pool of fans rooting for the other side.The man who’s face appeared in the middle of the sharks teeth turned and actually stuck his tongue out at me. Really? In spite of a bit of a rocky start to the evening, people forgot my indiscretion in the heat of the game, and we had so much fun. Talking came easily between us. After the game was over, and my Canucks had plummeted down like a maple leaf swirling in a stiff breeze, we decided to go to a local hot spot where there were video games lining the aisles of every type and description. Sitting side by side on motorcycles connected to a screen in front of us, we leaned left and then right. Manipulating the controls on the handlebars, an animated screen simulated our movements as if we were actually careening along the highway faced with obstacles along our way. That, I have to say, was the highlight of the night for me. By the time we said our goodbyes, we’d sewn the first seeds in what was to be a nearly twenty year relationship.

I have had some really memorable dates over the years, both good and bad. Just because you remember an evening, doesn’t always mean you recall the details for the right reasons. Getting married the first time at the ripe old age of nineteen, I never dated as a legal adult until I was single again at twenty-seven. Though unattached, as far as relationship status on my Income Tax papers, I did not consider myself unattached. There were two children in the picture. This puts dating on a very different level. Being a single mother is very rewarding but it isn’t a walk in the park. All the parenting falls to you, and the decisions you make whether the right ones or the wrong ones, lead back to your door as well. Essentially, though there were stepfathers in the picture, my biological father died when I was one year old, so I consider myself raised by a single mother as well. After my father passed away, my mother didn’t start dating again until I was around four. I was her point man. As she likes to tell it, if a date came to pick her up at the front door, I would look up at the man she was going out with and say, “are you going to be my daddy”? There it was, I was a buzz kill at four. As you can imagine that cooled off a lot of engines before the first rush of gas even made it to the carburetor. Looking back, I think I was interviewing for the job. My mom was a beautiful young woman, so there were a lot of eligible men interested in getting her attention, who I perceived as potential fathers. About two years into the program, I had made my choice from the selection I’d been given of the gentlemen in her social circle. Admiral Fox, was his name, Foxy to his friends. The first time I saw the admiral, he arrived to pick up my mother to take her to a dinner dance. As my grandmother was to describe him, the admiral was a “tall drink of water”. When he entered the house from the foyer and stepped into the downstairs hall, he had to remove his hat to keep from knocking it off as he walked through the door. An impressive man by any standards, to me he looked like a prince standing before us. Bending down to shake my hand, I thought him resplendent in his naval uniform adorned with all manner of medals detailing the history of his military achievements. Interested in winning over my mother, and understanding the chain of command standing between him and that goal being my grandmother and then myself, he wisely brought my grandmother flowers and for me a sailor’s hat plus an armload of comic books. He had my vote tucked in his well decorated pocket before he left on my mother’s arm for the evening. Unfortunately, though he was my choice for hero, he was not to be my mother’s. The heart wants, what the heart, wants, and in the end Foxy was not what my mother’s heart wanted. That being said, after a lovely lunch on the aircraft carrier Admiral Fox commanded and several dinners and outings following, I bid a regretful “ships ahoy” to the admiral and the search for a dad continued. Note to reader here, I am still on that mission.

I was allowed to begin dating, other then in coed groups, when I was fifteen. The one place I was forbidden to go whether as a couple or with other couples, was the drive-in. My parents viewed drive-ins as hot beds of raging hormones populated by steamed up windows and overheated teenagers. Which, of course, is exactly what they were. Mother was a bit of a helicopter parent, before the phrase had ever been coined. I can remember when I was in high school she would send my dog in the den with us if I had invited a boy over. To preface, my dog, a tiny Pomeranian named Mandy, didn’t like men. This, largely due to the fact my stepfather didn’t like dogs. It was a Mexican standoff between the two of them and there were to be no winners. He would make his distaste evident by leaving her in the back yard when she wanted to come in or yelling loudly when she barked. She, would exact revenge by urinating in his slippers or lying in wait for him as he was headed to the kitchen for coffee, and nipping at the back of his ankles. Even more than the dog’s dislike for men, she resented anyone sharing my affections. If she detected someone else was getting more attention than she was, she would give it her best effort to level the playing field. Positioning herself between my date and I on the couch. If I put her down, she’d jump back up. If I removed her from the room entirely, she would sit outside the door and howl until let back in again. If put outside she would scratch at the screen until my mother let her in. What she lacked in menacing stature, the dog made up for in dogged (pardon the pun) tenacity. I believe she was in fact a well trained agent in my mother’s network of spies. If the boy as much as lifted his arm to scratch his nose, Mandy would curl back one lip and growl menacingly. Should he try to place that arm around my neck, my diminutive guardian might attempt a coup and snap her teeth together in his direction. In her defense, though she could appear menacing, she never bit anybody. That being said, she could be a fierce little defender when the spirit moved her.

The trouble, beyond the obvious, with ending a relationship with one person, is eventually you most probably will have to begin a new one with someone else. This means starting at Ground 0 once again, answering all the familiar questions and establishing new bonds with yet another potential mate. The song “Getting To Know You” is now freely streaming in my head. Sometimes I think I’d rather get a puppy or a bird and just leave it at that. Other things to think about might be if the new man or woman in your life has children. If they do, it will mean meeting them. Just because you are enamored with one of their parents, does not offer any guarantee you will feel the same way about his or her offspring, nor them about you. Friends too can be a problem, especially best friends, if there isn’t a connection to be found there. The more I write about this the more attractive adopting a little Corgi puppy is beginning to sound.

Thankfully, Dale and I haven’t had any problems over the last couple of years. He is a likeable being who attracts likeable beings to him making the whole process so much easier. He, in turn, likes my friends, an eclectic bunch, but very lovable. I like them just that way, and wouldn’t change a hair on their pointy little heads. Always I have chosen to associate myself with interesting, somewhat complicated, fun human beings. People who can see more than one side of the coin, and have something interesting to contribute when sitting across the table from you. I also like people who are willing to get a bit silly at times, dance in the moonlight, or sing karaoke even if totally off tune like myself. People, I guess you might say, not afraid to color outside the lines on occasion, wear white after Labor Day, or live their lives without having to always do the “right thing” at the “right time”.

Many times I have gone on dates where I knew in the first ten minutes of the evening would last for only that one encounter. Chemistry, I believe, is not something that can be created. It is either there, or it is not. For whatever reason like little fireflies blinking in the dark, some people’s lights shine brighter for us than others, and that is a fact of life. I have met people I instantly felt a connection with, both friends and love interests. People who I could talk to right out of the gate, and share a commonality with that would endure over the years. Other people, and I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences, I could be locked in a vault with for thirty days and a single spark would never ignite between us.

There are certain traits I have identified over years of dating, I choose to avoid. I don’t enjoy people who still have the first dollar they ever earned. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not a high maintenance female, but also I don’t like someone who when you share a tab tells you your share is $15.92 exactly. It is important to establish from the beginning who you are and what you enjoy doing before you fully commit to getting to know someone. For example, your idea of fun is staying in binge watching “The Crown” and ordering take-out on weekends, and he is a guy who climbs Half Dome for fun on Saturdays or has a kayak rack on top of his SUV you have to wonder how that is going to work out on down the road when the fairy dust has dispersed. Picking the right partner in the sea of humanity we have to choose from is no task for the feint of heart I’m telling you. I always admire people who do so successfully in the beginning and remain in one union for sixty or so years.

So my thoughts for a Monday. Rick’s birthday was yesterday. Seems like he was sitting next to me in the car last week and it has been nearly three years since he passed away. Happy Birthday dear Ducky. Thinking of you.

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Hamburgers are on the menu for dinner tonight at our house. You can pretty much gauge my mood by what I’ve got planned for the evening meal. Right at the top of my comfort food list you would find in bold capital letters and underlined, “cheeseburgers”. Funny isn’t it, how comforting food can be? Perhaps that’s why so many people in the country are overweight? Being handed a bowl of hot chili in the winter, is like being offered a warm blanket on a frigid night. Food is the obvious solution for so many problems to my mind. Your boss is an idiot? A Kit-Kat will make it all better. Your husband ran off with the cleaning lady? Wolf down an entire bag of double dip Oreos and that will mend a few holes in that broken heart. If we’re not eating away our problems, we are numbing them into submission with alcohol or drugs. It’s the American way. Let’s face it, none of us want to feel the pain in our lives, particularly when it becomes oppressive. So much easier to drown our misery in a caramel frapucinno or bury it in a couple of oversized tubs of brownie batter ice cream. I know for me, simply saying the words “I’ll have four number three’s please, oversize it” into a microphone, makes a bad day feel better. Easy peasy. Please believe me, there’s no finger pointing going on here on my part, simply making some observations. Why do you think cheeseburgers and home made fries are on my menu tonight? My hands are definitely not clean, if you get what I’m sayin.

Believe me I am hardly one to talk. I am a good pusher of feelings. Push, push, push. It wasn’t until things were spinning out of control in my early thirties, I realized this method of handling my innermost turmoil, was not proving to be an effective way to manage my life. Now, I didn’t exactly come to this conclusion on my own during an epiphany over my cheese omelet. Noticing my life was taking on water, and the boat slowly sinking, I sent up a distress signal. This resulted in me soliciting the help of a wonderful therapist who guided me through some of the rougher currents. With her assistance, I began to figure out why, though I was paddling really hard, I wasn’t finding my way to the shore. I hope you didn’t get seasick with all those ocean analogies. Please understand, going through that soul discovering journey does not mean I found all the answers to my problems. Not even close. I work on plugging up the holes every day (Sorry, I can’t seem to help myself today.). It only means, I took the time to stop and take a look at what I was doing, rather than just doing, and began to explore which behaviors worked for me and those I needed to cut loose and allow to move away from me. As I’ve said many times, I am a creature of many flaws. The difference being, now I can examine my flaws daily and manage to love myself anyhow, and have learned to make friends with these dents in my armor. Along with my finer qualities, these less desirable traits are an integral part of the whole that makes me who I am.

Though I may still enjoy a good juicy cheeseburger with all the trimmings when my life is threatening to overwhelm me, I try also to deal with what is on my plate, aside from consuming the perfectly seasoned ground beef. This isn’t always easy for me. For example, in the last two months four boils have risen up one after another on the lower half of my face. Fortunately, we are wearing mask, so no young children have been traumatized by these events. Also, thanks to a good dose of antibiotics, my facial features have returned to their pre-eruption smooth landscape. Whew. I am not subject to boils as a norm. However, skin, being the largest organ, as well as one we can see, it is often the first to reflect signs of stress in our bodies. Though stress definitely effects all organs in our body, skin is the only one where the effects become immediately obvious. When I was going through a particularly angst filled time with an ex-husband, I ended up with psoriasis over 70% of my body. Never had it before, nor have I experienced it since. It took me a year of light treatments, nightly soakings, a myriad of creams and prescriptions, and releasing the ex-husband, to right that ship. Not boarding that cruise again, so deal with my feelings I must and will do. Dramamine anyone?

Yesterday began like a Monday, and continued to behave like one all the way through the day. At 8:00 I showed up at the DMV to complete my application for my California ID. There are extensions in place for getting this done in place due to Covid, but I like to move things off my to-do list as quickly as possible, that way I don’t have to think about them. On the DMV website it was suggested you make an appointment. Right. You click on “yes, make an appointment” and are redirected back to “yes, make an appointment”. Fine. So, I completed my application, gathered the necessary supporting paperwork, put a bottle of water in my purse and headed to the DMV with no appointment in place. The seats were fairly occupied but there were several in the back with no one seated directly next to them. Everyone was wearing a masks except one couple. There is always one in the crowd. Also there was one guy who had a mask on, but it was pulled underneath his chin. I haven’t read the CDC guidelines word for word, but I don’t believe this is the suggested way to wear one. Just sayin.

My number was G12. The PA voice was calling G01 when I sat down. Didn’t seem like too long of a wait, but that was before I discovered there were “B” people waiting as well as “G” people. K. All about letters and numbers at the DMV it would seem. About an hour later, my number was getting close to the starting gate. The “G” man before me totally lost it with a clerk about a registration snafu with regard to his mother’s car. I know this, because he was yelling loud enough to trigger a car alarm in the parking lot. After enjoying a meltdown any two year old could have been proud off, he tore his mask off, threw it on the ground, and stomped out of the building throwing all his paperwork up in the air on the way out the door. We all watched as the papers floated to the ground, nobody saying a word, as if this is what one does when exiting the building. Love human nature. Fascinating really. “Next.” Oh, that would be me. I had to produce my actual green card. My name is listed on my immigration card with my middle name, as that is what is required by their office. All good. However, my driver’s license has only the initial. Apparently the DMV system didn’t like this, so it kept spitting out the application. Forty-five minutes later, it finally decided M was a good enough equivalent for Maureen and we were off to the races. Sigh. Next, the clerk had me stand in front of a blue screen to have my picture taken. She told me to smile, so I did. It won’t matter, I will still look like a felon when my card arrives, but what the heck, I’ll play. Holding the smile for what seemed like fifteen minutes, my lips were beginning to get stiff. Relaxing for a moment, I asked if we were done. Exactly at that moment, the flash went off. Should be an interesting shot. Anyhow, done and done.

Before leaving the house to go to the DMV, I changed the sheets on both beds. Love clean sheet day. There’s nothing like climbing into clean sheets after a long hard day, particularly if they were hung on the line to dry. Nobody does that anymore, I don’t think. When I was growing up, my grandmother always hung her sheets out “to get some fresh air” during the summer months. Coming home this morning with my California ID mission completed, I went in my bedroom to change and get on with the business of the day. Dead center in the middle of my freshly clean blanket was a huge mass of ewwwwww. At first I thought it to be some sort of creature that had possibly crawled up there after meeting a nasty end, but on closer inspection, I realized it was, in fact, a hair ball. Ewwwww, again, and it had friends. Friends on the pillow, friends on the carpet. Sigh. Last week I had taken Boo to the vet to be checked out for a suspected UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). They gave her a shot of a long lasting antibiotic that works on 65% of animals. Leave it to Boo, she has to be an over achiever, she obviously ranks among the unworkable 35%. The next step would be a urinalysis, and a culture. Those babies amount to $325 and change. She’s my cat, and I love her, so, of course, I’m going to do pay the ransom, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to complain while I’m writing the check. Sooooooo, I called the vet and made an appointment for Boo to get further evaluated, then stripped the bed and threw the sheets back in the washer. Monday, Monday…….can’t trust that day. Go, Cass. That woman knew something.

Finally settling in with a soothing cup of chamomile tea, I picked up the stack of mail I’d brought in earlier. Second envelope in the pile had printed clearly in the left hand corner in bold letters “Internal Revenue Service”. It was addressed to my mother at this address. I believe I mentioned some blogs ago I was doing a couple of rounds with them over some unfiled tax returns of my mother’s. I spent $600 to get everything straightened out months ago, refiling the missing years. Before I opened this letter, I considered just burning it and not bothering to look at the document inside. The better side of me voted to go ahead and take a peek. Remind me not to get my better side her pumpkin spice latte next time she asks for a treat as we pass a Starbuck’s. Damn. After all the trouble my tax accountant and I went to, it was yet another demand letter for thousands of dollars which my mother doesn’t owe printed on half a ream of paper. Wow. Don’t they have more to do than to hound an elderly woman with dementia on hospice who’s only income is Social Security? I could give them a few leads to follow that would guarantee a much more satisfying end result. Let’s see Trump, Bezos, come to mind. Gets my Irish up.

So, Monday was a bit of a wash. Tuesday seems to be shaping up to look much better, but it’s early yet. We are all praying for our beautiful Lake Tahoe. Please put your good energy in the pile for the people living there and the glorious lake and landscape surrounding it. That gorgeous piece of California/Nevada real estate is now under siege by the Caldor Fire. So much of this lovely state has been devastated by the incessant and relentless fires, and fire season is just getting warmed up.

Keeping your chin up lately seems to require two men and a ladder. Have a great Tuesday.

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I am uncharacteristically grumpy today. Usually I try to at least begin my days in a sunny and upbeat mood. This morning was no exception. I sat quietly next to the cat enjoying a steaming hot cup of coffee, watched enough news to want to turn it off, and read a couple of affirmations to help jump start my positive energy. When my smile was adjusted perfectly on the lower half of my face, I set off to have a productive day. Over the course of the morning, one call came in after another. It seemed each person on the other end of the line was either upset by what’s going on in our world, or upset by something going on in theirs. Before long, the barometer on my end seemed to adjust to the mood shift, and my smile began to droop slightly along the edges. There is no denying the outside world is a bit rough to deal with lately. The persistent virus continues spreading like wildfire, and in our area, the wildfires are spreading like, well, viruses. People are feeling unsettled and irritable. I caught the mood from someone somewhere along the way, and now seem to be a carrier.

Adding to the macabre feeling of gloom and doom, the outside air is heavy with smoke and the sun is surrounded by an eerie crimson ring. Reminds me of one summer up at the lake, where Rick and I bought our first house. It was our third summer in that house, and it was a long, and tedious season, we referred to as the “red summer”. Fires raged on all sides of us during most of the hotter months. An ever present reddish cloud hung ominously over our heads. Even when the blinds were shut, the reddish glow managed to seep in through the cracks. My asthma was as bad as it has ever been. Worried about my health, Rick planned an escape in an effort to find some fresher air. “ROAD TRIP“. Immediately, I jumped at the idea. Had it simply been a matter of us hopping in the car and heading for the open highway, we would have been gone that day. However, there was also Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats, to consider. Boo, is not a good traveler. In a normal situation, our regular pet sitter would have been the obvious solution. Boo could have remained at home with all her creature comforts. But, with fires nipping at the fringes of our county, it didn’t seem prudent to leave her behind. So, it was either take my feisty feline along for the ride, or stay home and wait for fall to arrive. As miserable as the conditions were, the decision to take her with us was was not one we made easily. We’d traveled with the cat before. It was not an experience fraught with heady, happy memories. Only once before, actually, and on a relatively short trip to my mother’s house in the Bay Area.

The trip going down to my mother’s passed uneventfully. Boo howled annoyingly part of the way, but we tried to tune her out. On the way home, we decided to allow her to roam free in the back seat in an effort to keep the complaining (both on her part and ours) to a minimum. We were just pulling out of my mother’s 55 and up housing community, when I caught sight of Boo out of the corner of my eye. The cat was standing on her hind legs looking out the window in the back seat. While I watched, she placed one paw on the control button for the window and down the window went. Sensing an avenue of escape, Boo plunged out the window into the oncoming traffic. At that point, I lost my composure, and began yelling for Rick to stop. By the time he pulled to the side of the road and I got out, Boo somehow made it safely to the meridian, and was hunkered down under some plants and shrubs with only her tail visible. Praying she would not make a run towards me, I waited for the remaining cars to pass, and ran to where the cat was hiding. Finally, after coaxing, pleading, and perhaps some ardent begging, she climbed into my arms and I got her back in the car. Releasing her to the back seat, one of her claws got stuck in the skin over my left thumb. Panicking and still terrified, she sprang out of my arms taking half the skin off the top of my thumb with her. In seconds, a gusher rose up out of the gash. I was staring at my mangled hand while Rick, unaware anything was amiss, was looking out the window trying to merge into on coming traffic. Seeing my hand when he turned back, his mouth hung open. Again we pulled over, this time to try to stop the blood flow. The only paper in the car was a map, so Rick grabbed his tee shirt and wrapped it around the side of my hand. First, he asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I’m not fond of ER’s. We would have been there for hours, and again, we had the cat. If no medical attention was forthcoming, it was obvious I would at least need some kind of first aid items so we pulled into a drug store parking lot. Leaving him in the car, I went inside looking like the victim of a shark attack. I asked the lady behind the counter where I might find bandaids. Horrified, she suggested a local Doc in the Box instead, but I declined. I bought first aid cream, disinfectant and bandages. By the time we got home my thumb looked like an over inflated water balloon. Amazingly, I didn’t get an infection, and my thumb remained attached where it was intended to be next to the four fingers associated with it. But, when it came to traveling with the cat once again, you can understand how I might be hesitant to give it another go. To add to my trepidation, this trip was to take us much farther afield. First, to a friend’s house on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho, then west to Oregon to visit another friend of mine living in Ashland. Three weeks was to be the total time away from home.

Even though we would not be in the vehicle the entire time, the thought of those moments shared with Boo in between destinations was a bit daunting. One thing we had learned from our first debacle was to ensure the “child lock” was on when the cat was in the car so her window trick couldn’t be repeated. The SUV was a good sized vehicle, but with Boo loose inside, a tour bus didn’t seem like it would provide us with enough wiggle room. The reason she has to be loose is because if confined to her much detested crate, caterwauling ensues until you give in out of total desperation and let her out. After about two hours of the endless yowling, your mind begins to unravel. Images of the cat sitting by the side of the road with a sign around her neck reading “Free Kitty” begin to pervade your brain.

Another bump in the road, aside from the above, was locating pet friendly accommodations along the route we were to be following. Hotels or motels allowing furry friends were few and far between crossing Northern Nevada at the time, particularly along Highway 50, touted as the loneliest road in the United States.

After some research, a motel was found and booked. We went through the usual song and dance associated with getting the cat in the crate to transport her to the car. Sophisticated secret agent avoidance tactics must be employed to stealthily maneuver the cat into crate without her knowing this is the desired end result. If Boo sees the crate, game over. Get a beer out of the fridge and relax on the couch for a few hours until she resurfaces. I swear she’s a shape shifter. When she wants not to be seen, you can look under every bed, in the back of every closet, and behind all the furniture and no furry face will be looking back at you. I believe Boo morphs into a potted plant on the window seat. I could swear I saw a blinking eye in the middle of the wandering Jew. Successfully completing our mission, Boo was loaded in the car with the rest of our gear. Relaxing a bit, we gassed up and headed out of town.

Leaving the red sky behind as we made our way east, felt like dropping a heavy burden you’d been carrying onto the ground. My lungs, though already impacted by the incessant onslaught of tiny particles, were even feeling somewhat less restricted. Boo began her siren song about five miles down the road, but after a while even tired of the game herself, and found a place to settle down on top of some duffel bags for a nice long nap. Quiet returned to our world.

Entering Nevada, we began our trek across the high desert. Looking out the window there wasn’t much to see beyond cactus and tumbleweeds, but possibly more cactus and tumbleweeds. Occasionally, a road sign would pop up or an abandoned building could be seen hinting at some sort of life form existing out there. Pretty much, though, it was mile after mile of the similar nondescript scenery. Deserts are not my favorite part of the world. I do have to admit they offer up a certain sort of stark beauty. Coming from an area replete with green forests and deep blue seas, I think for me I find them a bit one note. All the muted and subdued colors blending together in a melange feels desolate and bleak, like a property abandoned by it’s owner, all overgrown and scruffy.

My step daughter is always trying to sell me on desert living. She lives in Phoenix, has for many years, and loves it. I am not a person who enjoys extremely hot weather. Perhaps it’s because I hail from a colder climate, or it could be as simple as I don’t like hot weather. For me temps in the eighties are perfect. I can live with 90’s, but when the thermometer starts pushing up over 100 I’m all about air conditioning and swimming pools. In Phoenix during the heat of the summer the average temperature ranges around 106. Not for me. Nope. Also, when it starts to really amp up and climbs into the hundreds and teens, even the swimming pool isn’t an option because it will cook you like a crab in a pot. I can remember going on a trip to Arizona when my kids were toddlers. Their dad thought he wanted to go to college in Phoenix, so the visit was sort of a scouting expedition, to see if I would consider it. While checking out the campus, we walked out on the tennis courts to give the kids a chance to run off a little excess energy. The expedition was a short one. It was so incredibly hot, I had to abandon my tennis shoe on one of the courts because the sole melted onto the asphalt. For all I know, that blue Van slip on is still a permanent part of the back court.

In the end, all my worry about the trip to Idaho was for naught. Boo behaved herself most of the way. She rode along like the queen bee that she is, allowing her minions (that would have been us) to transport her in and out at our various stops and destinations, empty her litter box, and fill her feed bowl, without giving us much push back. The only real issue we had was coming back into California stopping at the California/Nevada border inspection. Boo, it appears, is considered to be an alien of sorts, in need of papers. Who knew? A certificate from the veterinarian is required stating that your animals have their pertinent vaccinations and are in good health before they are allowed to cross the state line. Oh-oh. Here I thought he would be more interested in the bag of peaches I had tucked away in my overnight bag. Darn. For a moment, I thought my dear sweet feline was going to have to be relinquished to kitty jail while we drove back to retrieve the necessary documents. We got lucky. The border patrol guard was either a really nice man, or in a good mood that day, because he allowed us to go through. Whew. As annoying as that old cat can be, she and I have been through a lot over the years and I have big love for her.

Driving over the hill and back into our town it was like driving back into the bowels of hell. Everything was still touched with a hint of red from the midday sky to the leaves on the trees.

Thankfully, here today the wind will come up and blow the smoke out of the valley so we will have a respite for a while. The problem is when it leaves here, people down wind have to deal with it. Also, more wind doesn’t bode well for the fires already burning.

What a strange couple of years it has been. We sit here dry as a bone hovering one spark away from disaster, while residents on the east coast are floating around in their backyards in kayaks. I heard Tennessee got 17 inches of rain in a two hour period. When all the bad vibes pile up on me, I try to remember to be thankful for all the gifts in my life and concentrate on that. So easy to allow a glass half empty mood to overcome you, if you let life take you down. Make it a good one. Hope your smile is perfectly placed for a Tuesday.

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Growing up in Canada, Fourth of July was significant in our house only in that it was my grandmother’s birthday. July 4th was Independence Day, after all, for the United States of America, not the Canadian provinces. We do, however, celebrate Canada Day on July 1st in much the similar way. It’s a time for Canadians to celebrate their history, achievements, and culture. Since it began in 1867, nearly a hundred years after the U.S. claimed independence, I have a feeling perhaps we looked across the border and saw all the Americans having a helluva party and decided to join in. I’m just sayin. There is no doubt we Canadians enjoy a good party.

In Halifax on Canada Day, just like here, we packed a picnic, grabbed a blanket, and headed for a fireworks display. Often our venue of choice was the Waegwoltic Club, or “The Wag” as we referred to it back then. The name, so I’m told, is derived from a Mi’ kmaw word loosely translated to mean “end of water”. The Mi’kmaw were the dominant tribe in the Maritime provinces. The Wag was, and still is, located on the Northwest Arm of the Halifax harbor a fork which defines the western side of the Halifax Peninsula. My grandparents always held a membership at the club, and as their progeny I reaped the benefits of this membership during my childhood. In the summer months my grandmother would walk me to the bus stop around the corner with a friend or two in tow. When the bus arrived, we would excitedly pile on,locate a seat, and ride the bus to our final stop just outside the gates of The Wag. Many times she would have packed me a picnic lunch which I would eat at one of the many picnic tables provided, but sometimes I was given money to eat at the snack bar in the main clubhouse or to get an ice cream. Thinking of this now, it strikes me how kids don’t have these kind of adventures anymore. Nobody seemed to worry back then about us being abducted, least of all us. It’s not, I’m sure, that there weren’t plenty of bad people to go around in those days, I just think it was there wasn’t as efficient a transport of information such as the Internet to tell us about it, or perhaps times were simply different. In either case, I loved those days of freedom right down to pulling the cord and waiting for the bus doors to release us for a day of swimming and boating on the Arm.

“The Wag”

The Wag was my families usual spot to spend Canada Day. Sitting high on a hill on a blanket laid out on the grass, I would watch in fascination as the fireworks exploded in vivid splashes across the dark sky over our heads. The most impressive display of fireworks I ever witnessed was not above the Atlantic, however, but rather right here in Northern California. When they were youngsters my second husband and I took our three children (two mine, one his) to an Oakland A’s baseball game to celebrate the Fourth. Being California, there was no weather other than good weather to deal with, so the day was perfectly constructed for spending the afternoon outside. The stadium, near the San Francisco Bay, got a welcome ocean breeze to keep the temperature down, so even though we sat high in the more exposed nosebleed seats, we were not uncomfortable. The game was really secondary to everything else going on around us. Though it had been a long day, the children, having had their fill of typical baseball fare, were still wired for sound and raring to go. Between the hot dogs, peanuts and nachos their little stomachs must have been lined with cast iron to still be asking for ice cream when the vendor went by our aisle just before the fireworks began. As night fell, with the game decided, the festivities centered around the holiday began to ramp up. When the show began, we were so far off the ground as the fireworks exploded over our heads it felt almost as if we were part of the blast. For the youngest member of our group, my stepdaughter only “free” as she liked to pronounce with three chubby fingers extended, this was a bit too much. Was it not for the loud bursts overhead, the scream that emanated from that child’s mouth after the first rocket went up, most likely could have been picked up by spy cams in the Kremlin. OMG. In the end we watched the show fading out of view out of the back window of the car exiting the stadium parking lot with two sulking older children and and one sniffling little one. The price of parenthood. Sigh.

This year, though we’re now fully vaccinated and able to mingle with others, we decided to stay home. We binge watched “The Virgin River” series on Neflix most of the day in between filling our faces with leftovers from a dinner party we hosted on Friday night for several friends. There is something absolutely freeing about doing nothing. I didn’t bother to get dressed any further than the boxer shorts and tee shirt I was wearing when I rolled out of bed. My hair, though having had a good brushing along with my teeth (but not with the same utensil) when I first got up, was then left to fend for itself the rest of the day. Generally, I was a lazy no good layabout for the next twelve hours after rising. Loved it. Thankfully, we don’t live in a neighborhood, like many in the area, where people were up at three in the morning setting off fireworks. It’s not just how annoying that is to the people around them, but animals are traumatized by fireworks. My girlfriend’s schnauzer used to live in the cupboard under the sink when the Fourth of July rolled around. They had to medicate him. I love fireworks myself, but when we’re sitting on a tinder box like we are at the moment on the west coast, activities involving fire don’t make me comfortable. Fire crews responded to 1500 calls over the weekend. Wow. They had a busy couple of days.

Seems we are all “busy” all the time. When my kids call, they generally begin the conversation with “Mom, I’m really busy so I have about fifteen minutes before”….. a) a meeting, b) I arrive at whatever destination I am headed to, or c) I am tired of talking and just want to drive along in silence for a few minutes before the fun begins again once I arrive where I am going. Trying to book a weekend with my children is like trying to get reservations at Yosemite for Memorial Day weekend. Calendars are researched, children’s schedules are consulted, it is a major undertaking of epic proportions.

I’m guilty of “doing” constantly myself. Truly, I can’t remember the last time I spent a day pursuing not one thing above and beyond sloth. Doing so Sunday left me with the most peaceful feeling in my head. It felt as if everything I’d been worried about over the past few weeks had either faded considerably or even disappeared all together. I must remember to add to my calendar “Day off” from time to time and honor the writing. I think women suffer more than men from this. Now, now, if you’re male don’t get all upset by this. Statistics indicate women have much to be responsible for. I told a friend the other day it still amazes me I have been married four times and cannot ever remember seeing one of my husbands holding a toilet brush. More is expected of us, and for the most part we are up to the task. As I’ve mentioned before, though in many houses both parents need to work to keep things going, often women are still doing two more hours of housework a day than men. This is changing certainly, but not at warp speed for sure. A woman put up a post on Facebook a while back that said simply, “Can we all now agree that housework is not gender specific?” I’m in.

At the dinner party Friday night we were discussing how expensive things are getting. It’s hard to imagine my mother’s house when I was in high school, a nice, three bedroom, two bath, tract home in a lovely middle class neighborhood, was purchased for $28,000 and change. To add to the mix, it had a huge Olympic sized pool in the back yard. Today in California at least, you couldn’t purchase shares in a garage for that amount of money. I just filled up half of my tank on Saturday, and with the new gas tax just implemented, the receipt totaled $49.74. Now I have a mid-sized sedan I’m driving around in, so I can only imagine what people with SUV’s or trucks are dishing out. Where is all this tax money going one wonders? They say it is for infrastructure, roads, and bridges, etc. They have been saying that for some time. I went down a road the other day in a local park. The ranger at the gate told us it had a few potholes. A more accurate description would have been it had a few flat spots. Good Lord. My kidneys were up under my left ear lobe by the time we got to the bottom.

Last week when I went to Costco I could not believe how pricey meat has gotten. A package of short ribs was selling for nearly $50. Whoa. I half expected to see a guy in a trenchcoat waiting by the curb as we exited the building selling a little black market beef on the side. Thought of doing it myself. No wonder people aren’t getting enough to eat. I was distressed to hear a news commentator talking about food insecurity in this country. So many little ones going to bed with grumbling stomachs. I have volunteered at the local food bank since I moved to this area. You think your neighborhood is immune to this because there are nice houses and well manicured lawns, but food insecurity is a serious and real problem in the U.S. At any rate, I hope we all do what we can to help when we can. I had to use a food distribution place once while living in Washington. I remember the humiliating feeling of standing in line for a handout, and I also remember how kind the lady handing me the free box of food was, and how relieved I was to have it. I asked what I could do to pay them back, and she said simply “pay it forward”. Words to live by.

Hope you had a safe and sane Fourth and got to hug a few family and friends this year. Something to be doubly thankful for.

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I really think we women are the queens of multi-tasking. Sometimes I stop and look at all the pies I have my fingers in and am amazed when I hit the pillow at night I don’t slip into a coma, rather than spending most of my time trying to convince my mind to go back to sleep. Part of night restlessness, of course, includes the eternal march back and forth to the bathroom that has become part of my repertoire in the last couple of years. John Phillip Sousa should have devoted some time to penning a piece about that. I have followed all the suggestions, “don’t drink anything after six”. Check. “Use the bathroom right before going to bed.” Check. I don’t drink alcohol, nor do I use any artificial sweeteners or consume processed sugar unless in small amounts. Then we get to reducing caffeine. Now, there I draw the line. Susie has got to have her coffee. Logically, it would seem if I drank coffee at 8:00 in the morning, it shouldn’t be processing through my system at 3 a.m., but apparently it can have an effect even after all that time has passed. Disappointing. Coffee is my only vice these days, and they will have to pry my favorite owl cup out of my cold dead hands before I’m giving it up. To be interesting, I believe you need to have at least one vice. This should be limited to something obviously that doesn’t cause you bodily harm, like collecting bottlecaps or being secretly addicted to Pringles. Whoops, it appears I have two vices going at the moment.

Yesterday was a grueling day at my house. The phone was relentless, as there is a lot going on in my world at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than thankful I have such a wonderful and caring group of friends who keep up with me, but still sometimes my lips get worn out with making words and I have run the white flag up the pole. My list of errands was starting to get past the manageable stage, so I decided to cross some of those trips off before I had to run an add for an assistant. Also, I am having my first small dinner party since the Pandemic on Saturday night which requires I actually purchase some food to put on people’s plates. When Rick and I owned our restaurant, we entertained a lot. Looking back I wonder I had time to pull together a large dinner party with the restaurant consuming most of our time, but somehow it all got done and I enjoyed doing it. The house we lived in at the time was set up for entertaining. This little house, as sweet as it is, is more an intimate dinner party than a large gathering. More than six people under this roof would feel like a crowd. As I’ve said before I refer to my kitchen as a “two butt kitchen” because if you get more than two people in the room at once you cannot avoid some intimate contact. I tend to deflect any offers of help cleaning up, because if someone else is in there with me we spend the whole time saying, “I’m sorry”, “excuse me” and it becomes annoying rather than helpful.

Surveying my to-do list I decided to go into Home Goods first. Home Goods is my happy place. You could just lock me up in there for days, and I would never call for assistance. Specifically, I was looking for a kibble container for Boo, the Queen of Cats. I’ve had the same jar for years, with kitty paws decorating the outside, and the lid finally gave up the ghost. Rummaging about in the pet aisle, a lady joined me on the other end with a small wiener dog in tow. The dog, I’m sure much to it’s humiliation, was wearing a pink tutu and had a matching pink and white bow attached to one floppy ear. Dachshunds really are such funny little creatures, with their long tubular bodies, and short little legs. This little one immediately went to the dog toy section. Without hesitation it began politely sorting through the shelf, sniffing this toy and sniffing that one, until finding one that apparently suited its needs. Retrieving the oversized stuffed toy with it’s mouth, the animal sat politely while the owner continued looking at something on the shelf in front of her. Made me smile. The toy was nearly the size of the dog who chose it and was, appropriately, in the shape of a hot dog in a bun. Sometimes life achieves perfect harmony. When the dog’s owner saw me smiling at “Sadie”, she told me Sadie comes into the store quite often and always selects her own treat. Animals really are amazing. When I look at what’s going on in our world these days, makes me wonder if they aren’t the ones who really have things figured out not we humans.

Sometimes, in a weak moment, I think about having another dog. Boo, of course, is not ever going to raise a paw in support of this idea. My sweet old cat believes my world revolves around her furry puss, and in some ways she’s not far off. What I would have done without her over the last few years, I really don’t have an answer for. Was I to get another dog, it would have to be an adult dog, a rescue probably, and already trained. I don’t have the bandwidth at the moment to train a puppy. I have a friend who recently got a Yorkshire puppy, and this little guy has become a full time job. As much as I love animals, I simply don’t have room in my day for long walks in the park, and cleaning up deposits on my rug. Nor do I want my currently disorganized world further disorganized with pee pads, and leash training. The dog, I’m afraid, will have to come later on down the road.

In an effort to reduce my load a bit, the other day I handed the new man in my life a grocery list and sent him off to the store. Yay. Oh, not so fast. The first phone call came in about twenty minutes later. By the time he was done there were six calls in total with questions about this item or that. I could have been in and out and made a pie and had it cooling in the window by the time the trip was complete. My granddaughter went shopping with me a few years ago. Loading the bags in my trunk she said, “Nana, you are the fastest shopper I ever saw”. There’s some truth to that. I am an in and out girl, no side trips. My mother, on the other hand, when she shops, is soooooo slow. Each zucchini has to be examined. Only those passing the Mary Mack comprehensive vetting program will eventually be placed in the bag. Back when she was still living independently, I often visited her in the bay area. While there, a visit to the grocery store was often part of a day out. Mother liked to shop at several higher end stores. The kind of stores where pears are sold with little hammocks swaddling each piece of fruit. One store in particular, had a very attractive produce manager. Mother took me right up to him and while introducing the two of us went on and on about how good looking he was and that he was single. It happened I was as well at the time, so the innuendo was not lost on either of us. This hunky vegetable man kindly selected only the very best produce for my mother to take home with her. Really? Once we’d cleared the vegetable department with no matches made, we moved on to the meat department where every butcher seemed to know her name. After collecting the white packages of meat, we went on to the bakery where small pink boxes wrapped with twine marked “hold for Mary M.” would be waiting for her to pick up. It was like having a concierge grocery store at her disposal.

Grocery store, was fourth on my list yesterday. My plan was to run in and run out with only three items I needed. You know how that goes? You go in for a jar of pickle relish and come out with enough food in your cart to feed an army. While waiting in line, a lady walked through the doors not wearing a face covering. The store had an employee seated by the entrance to provide cart wipes and ostensibly welcome shoppers to the store. Secretly, I suspect they also are tasked with making sure masks are in place before people proceed any further. This lady was not happy when asked to put on a mask. For me, I’m so used to it that I don’t quite get the problem. Just put it on, do what you need to, and get over it. I could see this wasn’t going to go well. The CDC says fully vaccinated people can ditch the masks but unvaccinated people need to continue wearing him. How do you enforce that I wonder? It’s not like we get a stamp on our hands or something once our regimen of shots have been completed. People who weren’t inclined to wear masks in the first place are also likely to fall under the people who don’t want to get the vaccination in the first place umbrella. Why would you think they’d suddenly volunteer to wear one if it wasn’t mandated? Is is just me?

At any rate, this irate lady got her irritation out LOUDLY, and then stormed out of the store. K. Susie just needed her chicken, and now apparently twenty or thirty other items. Shopping seems to have become my favorite pastime lately. I like to attribute this to not being able to get out of the house for the last year and a half, but truthfully I think it’s hereditary. My mother is a consummate shopper. I have known her to arrive at a mall when it opened and remain there until nearly supper time. As a teen, I can remember helping to unload bags and packages from her trunk. These were stored in my closet out of the way of my stepfather’s watchful eyes. One by one the clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry were introduced into the household. My stepdad would say, “Is that new”? My mother would reply, “This old thing”?

So today I am off to finish my list. Think I’ll get some fresh flowers for my table. Feels festive to have guests again. Have a great weekend.

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What a picture perfect day it is here in Northern California. I would be celebrating the glorious spring weather was it not for the wind rustling through the freshly sprouted tree leaves, distributing a fine layer of dusty golden pollen now covering my freshly washed car. I am an allergy sufferer, so each spring I pay the price for enjoying all the lovely early blooms popping up in my garden, and reveling in the happy dance of the bees hovering over my azalea bush. Last year I went in for a series of skin tests to narrow down what, in fact, was triggering the endless bouts of sneezing and perpetual drip, drip, drip of my nasal passages when April and May roll around on the calendar. When the results were in, it would appear I have checked all the boxes. Cats, check, dogs, check, mold, check, trees, hay, check. Check, check, check and on and on.

The doctor’s first suggestion, one which I have already implemented, was to use air purifiers. I put one in the living room, and the other one is happily humming away in my bedroom. Unfortunately, a full-nature model covering the planet at large isn’t available on the market as yet, so this only alters the indoor environment. Also, he told me to be sure my heater/AC vents are properly dusted, and to replace the filters often. Vacuuming and dusting regularly will help as well, something I already do, and keeping the cat outdoors if possible. Done, done and, um, not done. These suggestions have been a big help, up to to the outdoor cat situation, which simply which isn’t doable. Noticing I ignored the outdoor cat invitation, my doctor took a different tack, this time pointing a finger directly at my cat. He felt it would be better if Boo slept somewhere other than my bed and if I wished to keep a pet, I should keep her out of the bedroom entirely. Right, Dr. M., you tell Boo. She’s pretty sure that’s where she is going to be. As for me, I’m not comfortable sleeping with both doors shut to my room, nor am I inclined to get up twenty times in the wee hours to remove a reluctant feline from the bed. I’m already up three times for other reasons, if you get my drift. I mentioned casually to Boo she might consider using the lovely fleece lined cat bed I purchased for her last winter. I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure the extended paw I got in response had only one middle claw pointed upward for emphasis. Let’s say I was getting a lot of cattitude. In her defense, this is a standard of behavior we have established over some thirteen years, and neither of us is looking to change it any time soon. The third choice he gave me, which I liked the best of the three, was for me to begin a series of allergy shots. Apparently, these shots can prove very effective in lowering a persons allergic response to irritants. That is, of course, unless I prove allergic to shots, which isn’t entirely off the table. Where do I sign up? I start in two weeks. Have to wait until the Covid shot effects are completely out of my body. So, Miss Boo, the Queen of Cats, will continue to sleep on the pillow next to me in my new bed, and I will continue to regale her with her much needed belly rubs and brush her eternally molting coat. Life is good.

Aside from the allergies, I have asthma. Essentially I signed up for the whole litter of the breathing spectrum kiddies. I went to pick up my inhaler the other day, my first refill of 2021. $285 lighter, I received my teeny tiny small bag from the pharmacy clerk for my donation and went out in my car to weep in private. My deductible allows for one whopping price tag at the beginning of the year, and this was the one for 2021. Don’t get me started on drug prices. I pay a small fortune for health insurance to fill in the gaps that Medicare doesn’t pay. On top of that, I pay a prescription drug plan costing another third of a Hamilton to cover my medication, and yet still lay out $285 for an inhaler. It is not like this is a face cream where I have a choice on which one I select, or the option to not to select one at all. I need my inhaler to breathe. What do people do who do not have $285 to lay down on the counter? Gets my Irish up.

As I said one can choose or not choose how much to pay for beauty products. My mother, for example, always did her shopping at the Lancome counter at Nordstrom’s. If we were shopping of a day we’d often drop by to pick up her latest batch of high priced beauty products as well as the little gift bag usually handed to her by the copiously fragrant and perfectly put together sales girl at the end of her hefty purchase. You can tell you are in the high rent section of a store when you get a gift bag for buying something at the counter. In my case, I generally get my beauty products at the local drugs store where they charge you $ .10 if you wish to have a bag for your items, and it is plastic not pink or lilac, and doesn’t come with a little fabric tie. What I’m saying here is I could live nicely without any beauty products, though undoubtedly I would live alone, but an inhaler isn’t an opt in or opt out kind of decision I can make. The drug companies have us backed in a corner and they know it. It’s like the oil companies. Unless everyone is going to run out and purchase a Tesla, we are going to continue to have to pay whatever the price is at the pump that the traffic will bear. It would make me nervous I think to have an all electric car. What if you’re driving in the middle of the desert and you can’t find a place to recharge? A bad memory I have is going over the grapevine once in the dead of winter across snow packed highways. I had borrowed a friend’s diesel Mercedes to make the trip as my car was in the shop. At the time diesel wasn’t sold as readily as it is now and I found myself on a steep grade late at night with the gas gauge needle pointed directly at E. Thankfully, a huge amount of commercial trucks travel that particular route so I located a station with a diesel pump before I had to pull over to the side of the road and wait for my extremities to begin to go numb.

Well there’s my hump day hump. I’m done now. Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope your week is without frustration and running as quietly as a Tesla on a deserted country road (hopefully with a recharge station). Talk soon. Stay safe.

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I slept in my new bed for the first time last night. Funny how change effects you more as you age, or that is the case for me. There I was comfortably tucked away on my brand spanking new mattress, and I was wide awake every half hour counting the pock holes in the ceiling. My old mattress, like a pair of well-loved old jeans, had conformed exactly to my shape. This one is still factory fresh, and a bit stiff. When I got my couch a few years back, I went through a similar transition. Rick and I had a double recliner couch which was extremely comfortable. When I moved into this house, a much smaller space, I realized trying to fit that large piece of furniture into my new living room was not doable. It would have been like trying to shove a hot dog into a drinking straw. Stuff was going to ooze out one end or the other. So, I sold the recliners and bought a lovely hide a bed couch and scheduled a delivery one week after I moved in. Once the van arrived and the sofa was in place, I knew I’d made a good choice. When the delivery men left, I poured cup of coffee and went into the living room to take a test drive on my new purchase. The couch pillows were packed so tightly, when I sat down the spring back nearly catapulted across the room. I called the store I’d bought it from. Explaining the problem to the salesperson, she said I needed to give it a month or two to settle in. Also, I was told a hide a bed will feel a bit tighter because of the extra interior space taken up by the bed and mattress. The woman went on to ask if I was a small person. When I told her I was, she actually suggested I invite some heavy set people over to sit on it to help loosen it up. Really? Are you kidding me? How do I word that invitation exactly, or do I simply run an ad? Anyhow, sure enough, it did indeed loosen up, and now is very comfortable to sit on. The cat too is going through an adjustment period with the bed. In the middle of the night I caught her walking across the blanket so gingerly you’d have thought she was traversing a field of cut glass rather than a cotton comforter.

I was far more resilient when was younger. Back then, I could throw a sleeping bag on the hard ground, hop in it, and zip, zip, zip enjoy 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. For three months when living in our house in the Santa Cruz mountains, my ex-husband and I slept on an old blow up mattress on our living room floor. The outside of the mattress was really more a patchwork quilt of duct tape and patches then it was plastic. As holes popped up, we applied another bandaid, until the original dark blue color was nearly obliterated. Each night we pump, pump, pumped it up, and each night by around 3:30 all the air would have escaped through one slow leak or another leaving us sprawled on the hardwood floor. When we finally did bite the bullet and purchase a bedroom set, it took me three weeks to once again acclimate myself to sleeping on a soft surface.

Now, let me say I don’t mind sleeping on an inflatable mattress for short periods of time. For those of you having slept on them, though not uncomfortable, they can sometimes be a bit tricky to navigate. Rick and I slept on one at a friends house some years back. I got up to make my usual pilgrimage to the loo in the wee hours (no pun intended). Slipping back into bed, my weight apparently created a sort of air tsunami raising Rick up on the crest of a plastic wave then propelling him into a rather unnatural looking back flip over the top of the bed. Once I determined he was unhurt, I giggled myself back to sleep. He, I have to say, was less than amused.

Another bed requiring a learning curve was the waterbed. I had one for nearly a decade. Amazingly, they still have these floating around (if you will). I would imagine they are far improved from the large water balloons we originally slept on. One thing I can tell you for sure, water beds and cats are not a working combination. When I had my bed, there were three cats in residence at my house. Actually there were two dogs, three cats, two hamsters, and a maniacal rabbit. My husband at the time traveled about two thirds of our married life. His rules were simple, no animals on the bed ever. When he was away I often bent that rule a bit. Kitty, the matriarch of our cat family, enjoyed a little human companionship from time to time and I didn’t mind sharing space with her as long as she stayed on her side of the bed and didn’t snore. This particular night was humid and hot. I was wearing a diaphanous nightgown suitable for the hot weather. In the middle of the night I had a vivid dream. In the dream I was floating weightlessly in the warm waters of a hot spring. It was such a glorious feeling, so light and warm, until my subconscious was interrupted by a harsh “meow”. Reluctantly opening my eyes, I realized quickly the cat and I were submerged like two shipwrecked sailors in a huge puddle created undoubtedly by the cat kneading on my bed. Good lord. What a mess that was. I was up before the roosters siphoning water into the backyard and blow drying my soaked feline. That was to be my last water bed. I do have to admit, looking back, they were lovely to sleep on.

What I do find interesting is here I am now able to luxuriate in bed of a morning. Finally I can sleep as long as I choose with no annoying alarm to pull me out of my sleep, and what do I do? I find myself wide awake at 2:00 a.m. thinking about making a meatloaf or knitting socks for the soldiers. For years, I ritualistically set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. in order to get to work on time. I always left ten minutes of wiggle room to hit the snooze button before dragging my tired behind out from under the warm covers. Sometimes there is no justice. I’m just sayin.

So, on that note I will head outside to do some planting. I ordered some live plants through the mail. Interesting that. I got a box that looked like it would house a large microwave. Opening it, there were two diminutive boxes toward the bottom each holding one tiny plant. K. Anyhow, I shall plant them and hope they do better than the last one I purchased by mail guaranteed to cascade over the top of my deck planter. Not. It never bloomed, never grew, there was never a single cascade or additional leaf produced, ever. I called the company after a month to complain, and they’d gone out of business. No mystery there.

Have a great day!!

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