Because I Just Can’t Talk Enough About My Cats…

Okay, not really.

But you do get to be treated to this picture of Max, who is trying to hurry me along in opening a bag of treats he received from a kitty friend in Florida.

Hey, don’t roll your eyes. He and Buddah got a whole box of goodies from a kitty friend.

After this morning, they deserve a treat or two. I woke a whole lot earlier than I would have liked, my back feeling like someone had beaten it with a crow bar. I wasn’t surprised; yesterday as I sat down in my nice comfy chair, a muscle in my back clenched, and it’s been sore since. But this morning it was screaming at me, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to roll over, much less get out of bed to function as the cats’ can opener.

Then Max jumped up on the bed, crawled carefully onto my back, and began to purr. Buddah joined him, although his aim was a little off: he plopped down on my butt and began to purr just as hard.

Fifteen minutes of kitty therapy loosened the muscles that were in spasm enough that I was able to get up, and as reward they got fed early.

A bonus for all three of us.

It occurred to me, as I was bending over to put their plates on the floor, that I’ve been in varying degrees of pain for over nine years. No, don’t go “awwww” or feel sorry for me. It’s generally not significant pain and not nearly as bad as 99.5% of people with my problems have; usually it’s just this annoying little thing that settles on me the way the buzzing of a fly settles into background noise.

It’s not a big deal, but like this morning, every once in a while I find myself pondering how long its been. And then I think there should be a trophy for milestones: 1 year, 5 years, 10 years.

Next year, I want a freaking trophy.
Or chocolate.
Or a chocolate trophy.

Yep, that would be nice. A 5 foot tall chocolate trophy. I might even share.


Lost to slumber, my inner child romping through the playground of my dreams, it made perfect sense that we would take our psycho cat, Max, to the movies, and that he would sit quietly on a lap and watch the movie. It also made perfect sense that the theater had at least 10 attentive and polite ushers, who would be so impressed with his behavior that they would reward him with his favorite kitty treats. The only thing that didn’t make sense was that we took Max and not Buddah…


Because it is rainy and dreary where I’m at, and because my brain can’t seem to string enough words together to compose a coherent post, I give you Cute Kitties To Make You Squeal:

Click on the thumbnails to see bigger versions; these are all pictures I’ve found surfing around online (probably The Daily Kitten or Cute Overload), and they made me smile.


Max does not eat bugs. He will torture them, ripping off their little wings or pulling off their little legs, but he then leaves them on the floor to die a painful and horrible death, unless someone sees them first and engages in insecticide.

Buddah, on the other hand, delights in chasing bugs down; he’ll play a long game of cat and mouse, even if it’s just a fly. And when he’s done playing, he has himself a tasty little treat.

While it grosses me out, I appreciate the little guy’s fine hunting skills. I don’t like to see him eating bugs but I don’t take them away and toss them outside to freedom, as I am wont to do when I catch them. The only live toy he’s had taken away was a Yellow Jacket the Boy found him playing with yesterday. Buddah was apparently winning the fight when the Boy realized what he was playing with and then squished it; Buddah didn’t get stung, and the Yellow Jacket was too tired to attempt an escape from the shoe zooming towards it.

So I avoid watching Buddah with bugs. Let him enjoy it, I don’t need to be a part of it.

But a couple of mornings ago…I was still in bed, trying to convince myself that getting up would not be fatal, when he bounded in, something with long legs and wings hanging out of his mouth. He jumped up on the bed, onto my chest, and presented me with half of the biggest damned bug I’ve seen in years.

Um, yeah. Just half of it.

My initial thought was get that thing the hell off me! but here was my sweet little kitty, offering me part of his kill. As much as I wanted to get out of bed and away from the bug guts, I petted his head, thanked him, and said I wasn’t really hungry. And then I picked it up by what was left of a wing, dangled it in front of Buddah’s nose, and was trapped there as witness to the devouring of the remains.

I seriously hope we never have another mouse…


Tag, I’m It…

First, your eyes do not deceive you; I changed the template to the blog again. And yes, it looks an awful lot like Buddah’s blog…but with spiffy red lines!

And since I got tagged by Redneck Mommy, I bring you this meme:

Accent – Californian. Seriously.
Booze of choice – Vodka. Goes well with diet Mountain Dew
Chore I hate – All of them
Dog or Cat – Prefer the kitties, but I do like most dogs.
Essential electronics – It’s all about the computer, baby…
Favorite perfume(s)/cologne(s) – NONE. I want them BANNED!
Gold or Silver? – Gold, for sure.
Hometown – Don’t really have one
Insomnia? – I have sleep issues…have had for about 10 years.
Job Title – Literary Goddess
Kids? – Just the one. He makes me feel old.
Living Arrangement – renting a house. It’s a nice house, even with the ants.
Most admired trait – I have an admired trait?
Number of Sexual Partners – That’s kinda personal…
Overnight Hospital Stays – Hmmm..’79, ’83, ’02…so 3 of them.
Phobia – Heights and dying.
Quote - The flipside of doubt is faith...
Religion – Well…yeah…
Siblings – Yes.
Time I wake up – Which time? The cat wakes me at 6:30; I call him names and then go back to sleep, and wake up whenever I feel like.
Unusual talent/skill – Hey, my kid might read this…
Vegetable I refuse to eat – Mushrooms. Because they’ll kill me. Or at least make me wish I was dead.
Worst habit - Procrastination
X-rays – Are you kidding? I’m surprised I don’t glow in the dark.
Yummy foods I make – cookies.
Zodiac sign – Virgo. Not sure that means anything important.
I’m trying to get myself motivated to get off my butt, grab my backpack, and head to the library. Granted, it doesn’t open for another hour or so, but I may need that much time to peel myself up, do something about the persistent case of bed-head I seem to be afflicted with today, and then get myself out the door.

For a brief time yesterday, I worked. I ran errands and then went to the library (I just don’t write as well at home; I’m not entirely sure why.) Library Bob was there, in his usual place, with one of the world’s thickest books perched on his lap. Because the lighting seemed a little dim, I chose a table towards the back, where there are plenty of windows; I’m sure Library Bob as able to read just fine without my presence at my usual table.

I dove right into it; usually I have to ponder and muse, read over what I’d written last, then ponder and muse a little more, but yesterday there was a fire lit under my creativity, and the words just poured out.

And then I smelled vinegar.

Not just a whiff; this was as if someone dumped a five gallon bucket all over the floor, where it soaked into the brand new carpet. That the odor arrived along with a guy who sat at the table behind me might have been coincidental. All I know is he sat down and 10 seconds later my senses were flooded with the smell of vinegar.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t unpleasant. I like vinegar. I just don’t expect it in the library.

And it was distracting; my train of thought completely derailed and I found myself oddly hungry. Instead of thinking about how to wrap up a conversation between my main character and a dead guy, I was thinking about a chicken wrap sandwich with vinegar-soaked lettuce and onions. My mouth started watering right along with my eyes.

After five minutes, I gave up. So now I’m trying to muster the energy to get cleaned up and get out of the house, and I’m hoping Vinegar Boy isn’t anywhere near the library today, because frankly, if he is, I’ll wind up headed for Safeway, where I’ll dive head first into a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.

I don’t even like salt and vinegar potato chips.

Now, if someone is there today smelling like donuts, I’m doomed…


Everyone needs one of these.
Well, everyone who is with someone who likes to ride a bike needs one of these.
They’re great fun for chasing the person on the bike.
It’s all the fun of the ride, without any of the sweat.
Plus, when you’re done, your back isn’t screaming in pain.
Your butt is, but your back is just fine…

You likey?

Start checking yard and garage sales… lots of people who paid $200 for scooters at Christmas are now trying to sell them for about $40. They just have no concept of fun. All the better for those of us who do.

Oh, and get a gel seat.
:::rubs backside, and walks away:::


It's Not A Complaint...

We were prepared for the DMV. We timed it so that we'd feel justified in going to the Chinese Buffet (King's Buffet on Orange Drive, for those who live nearby and want to try it... they have lotsa choices, plus a Mongolian BBQ) afterwards and we each took a book so that we'd have something to do to pass the time whilst waiting. God forbid we should sit there and talk. The only thing I forgot was my iPod. Green Day blaring American Idiot would have been nice.

The parking lot was packed, so we had an "ugh" moment but reveled in the dea that we were more than ready to face the crowds. I thumbed my early-issue paperback copy of Freakonomics (ha! You want the paperback, too, I know you do!) and figured I had half of it left, that was plenty to read. And if all else fails, there's always conversation with the Spouse Thingy. Sure, he might me engrossed in his own book, but that wouldn't stop me from annoying him by talking and talking and talking...

We stepped in, got our number, which was C007, and checked the TV thingy that displays what number they're on.


We'd barely had our butts in the chairs (yes! Our DMV has seating!) when our number was called. It took less than 5 minutes, in and out.

What happened to the DMV? This is the second time lately that we've gotten in and out in under 15 minutes. What happened to the 3 hour wait time? What happened to the mass confusion and clerks pointing you to a second then a third line before sending you back to the first? Who finally got organized???

Is this one of the End Of Times signs?
Are we doomed?
:::wanders off, worried:::


Searching For Silver Linings, And All That...

The bad: We have to stand in line at the DMV tomorrow to pay my car registration; I tried to pay online, but because the plate has changed since last year, it wouldn’t let me.
The good: The DMV is located near an awesome Chinese buffet.

The bad: Buddah understands how a door knob works
The good: He hasn’t yet figured out how to get traction to make the knobs turn.

The bad: After 4 years of enjoying its absence, PMS has returned with a vengeance.
The good: At least my bones are better protected now, thanks to the freaking hormones.

The bad: Now I crave chocolate a lot.
The good: Now I have an excuse to have chocolate more often.

The bad: Major, major weather-inspired headache today.
The good: Since I could not think, you’re now spared any further of my musings today.



I had to do it myself. All by myself. =sniff= All those boxes, cluttering the garage, needing to be moved hither and yon…

Okay, so the garage needed to be rearranged because *I* wanted to get the table that the Boy had in his apartment out for use in my office. And *I* wanted to be able to park my car on one side of the garage and not the middle (because frankly, that’s a pain in the tuckus when there are other cars in the driveway and I want to pull my car out…if it’s on one side then only one other car has to be moved so that I can drive my beloved…) Just because it was all *my* idea that doesn’t mean *I* wanted to put forth the effort.

But I did. And I didn’t even whine while I was doing it, because frankly, whining is not worth the effort when there’s no one within ear shot to annoy.

In moving these boxes around and stacking them just so, I discovered a few things:

♦We own entirely too many books.
♦Book boxes are very heavy and are difficult to sling above head height for stacking purposes
♦If we ever get around to really going through all those boxes, we’re going to need a much bigger trash can
♦We seriously own too many books

I did not reward myself with pizza, though I’ve been craving it since the idea popped into my head and if I still want it tomorrow, dammit, I’m getting a pizza. And I did not engage in the mass consumption of drinkage and snackage, unless you count having 2 snacks last night, an orange and then later a little baggy of pretzel sticks. And certainly no one gave me $20… but I can go to the ATM and pay myself later.

Ooh. Maybe I will.


I will pay someone $20 to come rearrange the contents of my overstuffed garage.
Really, I will.
In cash.
And I'll provide drinkage and snackage.
Or pizza! I'll order a pizza!



I did not wear green today.
I did not pinch anyone else I saw not wearing green.
I did not eat corned beef or drink green beer.
I did not speak with a fake Irish accent.
I did not say things like Erin Go Bragh.

In fact, I did not do anything to acknowledge the date, mostly because I would have totally forgotten today was St. Patrick’s Day if the Spouse Thingy had not made a point of wearing a baseball shirt with green sleeves.

(And now I have that stupid song going through my head. Anyone who suffered through elementary school choir knows the one. Ack.)

However, since I’m embracing my inner lameness this week, I will pay homage to the date by typing in green, and have my fingers crossed it actually shows up as green and not some other weird color on computer monitors across the world…


No, We’re Not On Crack…

…but we did really “celebrate” the cat’s birthday. There was no cake, but there was grilled beef and some shrimp for him (and he shared with Max) and presents. There’s even photographic evidence.

Go ahead and laugh. We’ll be doing it again in June, when Max turns five.

I am merely embracing my inner lameness…


Random Acts Of Thinking

  • Buddah’s birthday is tomorrow. One year old; we’ve had him for almost 9 months.
  • Yes, he’s getting presents. And shrimp.
  • We survived the commissary today.
  • We were out of everything, so we spent 300 freaking dollars.
  • The commissary isn’t always as cheap as we’d like.
  • No, the commissary is not free.
  • The Spouse Thingy was not amused when I then suggested we go out to dinner.
  • He cooked. :)
  • The state of Ohio sent us a notice saying we owe a school district tax from 2003.
  • We lived on base; most places base housing residents do not pay school taxes of any kind.
  • In Ohio, the courtesy evidently does not apply.
  • They’re giving us two whole weeks to respond.
  • If we don't file, they'll fine us $500.
  • I don’t think we really owe anything, we just have to file.
  • We hate Ohio. Again.
  • We need a break in the rain longer than 12 hours.
  • Our back yard is about a foot tall.
  • I will not be the one mowing it.
  • That is all. :)


It started with one email—“hey, we all seem to want the same thing, to lose some weight, so why not lean on each other”—and became an email ring. In the short time since it started it’s been more about just having people to talk to than about weight loss, but when the topic actually drifts to food and exercise, the support has been there. Ideas and suggestions flow freely and are welcomed, whether the advice is taken or not.

Well, it was like that until this weekend, when the group erupted into a “You’re not really fat so you don’t know what it’s really like so SHUT UP!” temper tantrum.

I’ve always been a little on the outside looking in (per my usual, it seems) with this group so I sat here at my desk, watching the emails fly fast and furious, not really sure what to say, or if I should say anything at all. I’d hoped it was just a hiccup, people having a bad day taking it out on each other, something that would blow over by the end of the day, but by the end of the day almost everyone had announced they were quitting this little group. The only ones left were me and one other person, both more or less outsiders.

I had a moment or two of What The Hell Just Happened, then moved onto something else. Blog hopping, I think, until I realized that Blogger had molasses running through its cyber-veins and I would have a lot more fun watching TV. Hey, Grey’s Anatomy was on and that required my full attention, anyway.

But as I checked my email one last time before going to bed, it started to bother me. The eruption began with someone having a hard time getting through a plateau; she’s frustrated and can’t figure out how to get the last ten pounds off. Someone else is frustrated because she has 100 pounds to lose and is tired of hearing all these skinny people moaning about their pitiful little 10 pounds. With those two emails, there was a giant =boom= and the fur started to fly.

Fat people, it seems, need to get off the Internet and into a gym.
Thin people, evidently, need to stop whining about body fat that hardly matters. Eat a cheeseburger and get over it.

So I mused about it, and was glad I didn’t get into the thick of it, because I have the tendency to sound like I’m lecturing even when that’s not my intent. But the thing that was swirling around in the back of my mind, then stuck to the tip of my brain’s tongue, finally percolated into a Real Thought when I was munching on my Oatmeal Square this morning.

I weigh mumblemumble pounds. Two years ago I was 36 pounds heavier than I am now; since September I’ve lost 23 pounds, have been in a plateau since December, and have 50 more to go. Yep, 50. That won’t get me to my lowest weight ever, but it will get me to where I felt healthiest. Those 50 pounds are frustrating. I want them gone. I keep hoping that wishing will be enough and that the Fat Fairy* will bonk me over the head with her mighty wand, and the plateau will break; I’ll start dropping 2-3 pounds a week.

A girl can dream, eh?

The thing is, someone with “only” 10 pounds to lose and has hit a plateau is probably just as frustrated as I am with my 50. Because it’s less weight, that doesn’t make it less important. And I’m 5’8” – for someone who’s considerably shorter, 10 pounds would be like me fighting 20.

A person’s battle with weight and body image is their own, whether it’s losing 10 or losing 100; whether it’s gaining 15 or just holding onto a healthy percentage of body fat. Someone seeking support needs it regardless of the number on the scale. And judging someone…well, frankly, that just sucks.

I’ll miss the email group, but for once, it wasn’t my fault…

*The Fat Fairy seems to be of the opinion that I need to get my butt to the gym, and until I do she’s not gonna help me one iota. $itch.


Library Bob.

I don’t know if Bob is his real name, but I saw him again today, and that’s what popped into my head. He is Library Bob, and I’m not entirely sure he ever leaves the library. I am fairly sure he’s a voracious reader, since he never seems to have the same book in hand. It’s always a thick book, too, a Stephen King-sized tome.

I’ve decided I like Library Bob. Anyone who reads like that has to be okay. Right? I don’t even care that he’s reading all these books for free. One might argue that if he bought each of those books he’d be contributing 10.7 cents to the authors who wrote each of those books, but most writers don’t write for the royalties. They write to be read, and Library Bob is certainly doing his part to pad the read count of each of those books.

No, I don’t write for the money; as much as I pimp myself and get on my cyber knees to beg people to buy my chit, I don’t write for the money. Few people ever make a whole lot o’loot in the writing game. Yes, I was mightily ticked off when the entire text of Charybdis wound up online, and as far as the publisher could tell there had been 25,000 downloads, but money was only a tiny part of that anger (Ok, in this case more than a tiny bit, seeing as how royalties on that would have gotten us out of debt and set us up nicely...) The biggest factor to that anger was the idea that I spent so long working on that book, I chipped away at its layers until there was something of substance, then I chipped away more until there was something worth presenting to the public, then I read and re-read until my eyes bled, then my head exploded when I found incontinuities and had to re-write yet again, get the picture.

If someone really wants to read my books, even for free, I’m all for it. But I don’t want to be ripped off. I don’t want anyone to assume it’s ok to throw my work—something that took years to grow from idea to birth—online and offer it to the masses without my consent.

But a library...they pay for the book. Sure, 20,000 people could check it out and read it, and they don’t have to pay a dime to do so, but that’s different. It’s not a deliberate act against the author. Instead of feeling ripped off that my book might reach so many people, I’d feel honored if it wormed its way into the library system where it has the potential to reach so many people.

Then people like Library Bob could sit there in the chair at the end of the aisle, glasses posed Just So on his nose, and visually inhale the wonder that is my brain.

No, I won’t introduce myself to Library Bob to find out his real name. Aside from breaking the Protocol Of Regulars--thou shalt acknowledge each other but not intrude--I can’t do that on even my best day. I can approach a total stranger who seems to be in some sort of need in the middle of Tarzhey Booteek, or someone looking confuzzled in the hallways of the base hospital, but I can’t just walk up to someone and start talking. I am a crappy friend because of this; there’s always that “...but what if they don’t want to talk to me? I’m in the way, aren’t I? What in the hell can I contribute to a conversation because I AM SO LAME.”

Yeah, my brain works like that.

Don’t even ask me to go someplace new by myself. It won’t happen.

No, I am not on medication.

But because I AM SO LAME, I will not be introducing myself to Library Bob. I would be most happy if he introduced himself to me, and I wouldn’t mind in the least if he needed to share my table for whatever reason, but Thumper just does not introduce herself, especially to strange men in the library.

So Library Bob he shall be.


The library is starting to remind me of the cafe in the Ohio Barnes & Noble; no coffee aroma, no baked goodies behind the counter, but lots of books, and Regulars.

I’ve been coming here at roughly the same time of day often enough to notice the same people are here most of the time. There’s a woman who is here with her daughter nearly every time I’m here; I’m pretty sure they home school, and this is as good a place as any to have access to books and a computer, where there’s no chance of sloughing off math to watch All My Children. There’s a group of older teens who occupy the same table towards the back of the library; they’re always very quiet and have stacks of books in front of them—some even open—so I’m pretty sure they’re studying. I haven’t figured out where they go to school; maybe the satellite campus to Solano Community College. Or maybe they all go to the main campus, but meet here to study because they all live in Vacaville (phfft, yes, these are the things that flit through my mind.)

And then there’s the old guy. Every place I frequent seems to have a resident old guy. At the Beavercreek YMCA it was Creepy Old Guy; he always seemed to be walking in the swimming pool lane next to me, and he always stared. Every time I’d come up for air, there he was, watching. At the Barnes & Noble cafe there was the Other Creepy Old Guy, who sat there with a cup of coffee—I’m not sure I ever actually saw him drink any—and watched the people coming and going. He wasn’t exactly creepy, but I’ve never come up with a better name for him. Observation Man? Quiet Old Dude? In the end, I kind of liked him, even though I never knew him.

And here...the old guy isn’t creepy. He sits in the same chair at the end of one of the book aisles, and reads. Logic says he could check those books out and take them home to read, but I get it. Why bother when there’s this fantastic place to sit and read, and to watch people in between chapters? I think he’s here for the same reason I am: home has distractions that prevent anything from really getting done. Here has distractions that seem atmospheric.

If I can write while sitting in the library, being entertained by the kids who dance up and down the aisle to tunes only they can hear, why can’t he be here, reading?

I like that he doesn’t stare. While I gradually came to realize that Creepy Old Guy at the pool was not staring out of perversion, but because he needed something to do to keep from dying of boredom while he walked his laps, and the Other Creepy Old Guy was just a people-watcher and I only noticed him because we were both there a lot, I don’t like being stared at.

Hell, I don’t much like being noticed, period. Yet I also wonder if any of them have clued into this regularness, if they realize we’re all here at the same times, but respecting each others’ need for privacy and space, or if I’m just the oddball who seems to notice these things.

Um, yeah, I fully realize it could be the latter. And I’m ok with that. There’s nothing wrong with being an oddball, as long as you don’t inflict your oddness on other people.

I think.

I need to come up with a name for the new Old Guy in my life. Not-So-Creepy Old Guy? Reader Man? Book Worm Guy?

I’d ask him what he wants to be known as in the empty hallways of my brain, but he’s got a very big book in his lap, and I’m afraid he might hit me with it.


In the interest of blowing my diet completely out of the water today, I have had both a bean burrito and a small pizza with onions and green peppers... and for some reason no one wants to be in the same room with me.

Yeah, I ate all that...If I couldnt have Schlotzsky's and a diet CF Mountain Dew, I was gonna have a freaking pizza. I really need a new gym membership now...


Since I'm still feeling like a whiny little brat about Schlotzsky's I might as well go ahead and whine about something else.

Like Diet Caffeine Free Mountain Dew.

Damn you, Mountain Dew people, for getting me hooked on this when we lived in Ohio, and then not selling it on this side of the U.S. You're missing out on incredible market potential. Think of all the people like me, who have 2-3 case a week habits, but cannot have too much caffeine lest our boobies turn rock hard and hurt like a mother. (TMI?)

Why do companies do this? Why do they torment the people who move from place to place?

I want my caffeine free diet Mountain Dew!

:::cries a little, then goes off to bake brownies to make herself feel better:::


Lately, I’ve felt this compulsion to go to Las Vegas. It’s not the first time; when the USAF decided we were entirely too comfortable in California and had to move somewhere new for the last 2.2 years the Spouse Thingy was active duty, we put Nellis AFB at the top of our list. We’d heard good things about the base and the area, and, well...Vegas, baby!

We were sent to Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio instead, where we lived amongst the Evil People and where we got Red Drink Stupid with them many, many times. Partway through our 2.2 years there we contemplated what would come post-retirement: back to CA, stay in OH, or maybe try Las Vegas.

I could take the heat in Las Vegas. It’s dry heat. I can do that. I think.

But the Boy came to visit and brought A Girl, whom we liked a whole lot, and we realized we’d already missed out on a couple years of his life, and there would only be so many more where our presence would not be too much of an intrusion, so we decided to go home.

But lately...I feel that pull to Las Vegas, a place I’ve only been in a couple of times, and that was when I was too young to gamble or do anything that might get me into trouble.

There has never been a logical explanation as to why I feel so compelled to go there. If it were just the gambling thing—heck, we have casinos here. And Reno is just a 3 hour drive away. I could gamble there AND see some friend-type people.

But Las Vegas keeps calling to me.
And today I learned why.
Las Vegas has Schlotzsky’s.

Northern CA does not have Schlotzsky’s. There was one not too far from where we resided amongst the Evil People and Drinkage in Ohio, just far enough that it wasn’t an every day temptation, but close enough we could go if we wanted. But there is none here, and I wants it.

My preciousssss...

Las Vegas has what I need. It has sunny days and cool nights. It has Stuff To Do. Topless driving weather. No state income tax. And it has Schlotzsky’s.

Either I need to go to Vegas—hell, just a few days there would do every few months, enough to eat there until I barf—or Schlotzsky’s really needs to open up in Vacaville, CA.

Do you hear me, Schlotzsky people?

I’m sitting here, longing for an Original Turkey, no black olives. I’m almost drooling at the thought. Save me from uprooting the Spouse Thingy. Open a Schlotzsky’s here.

I’ll even work for you. Minimum wage!



Public Library Internet Access 101

“Excuse me,” the elderly woman sitting to my right said, “how do I get to the Internet?”

I pointed out the Internet Explorer Icon on her monitor and told her to double click on it. After a moment, during which she looked at me as if I had just said “Yeghzzzme ooolblah domadna krep,” I explained what I meant by ‘double click.’ She followed my directions, and when IE opened up, I proclaimed her to be on the Internet, and looked back to what I was working on.

“The Internet,” she said, looking at the empty browser window, “is a lot more boring than I was lead to believe...”

“No, Mom, I don’t think that’s right. It looks wrong.”
“It’s a possessive. It’s right.”
“But not every possessive has an apostrophe!”
“Yes, they do.”

I looked across the study table I had moved to after helping the little old lady navigate from a blank browser window to actual content; I’d been seated there for 5 minutes tops when they asked if they could share the table with me. It’s Saturday, the library was packed…I said yes. And I didn’t make burping and farting noises, because they asked nicely before invaded my public work space.

Mom was helping Junior Miss with her 6th grade English homework.

Junior Miss saw me looking and asked if I knew anything about English. A little, I admitted. Mom wanted to know how much. It was part of my major, I told her (politely, I think.)

“You majored in English? What can you actually do with that besides teach?”

Write books.

Junior Miss grinned. And then asked, “Do possessives ALWAYS have contractions?”

I asked for an example.

“In this sentence, ‘the dog scratched its head,’ is there an apostrophe between it and the ‘s’?”

No, I said. When the word ‘it’ is in play, you use an apostrophe when it’s a contraction. Suppose the dog was looking at a ball. The ball is ‘it.’ The dog knows where it is. The sentence might be ‘the dog knows where it’s at.’

(I did not point out I had just dangled my participle.)
(That might have sounded obscene.)

Wisely, Junior Miss did not sneer “I told you so” to her mother. And Mom was not pissed off. Mom did, however, ask me to look at the rest of the worksheet.

Twenty sentences requiring punctuation, completed with Mom’s help.

Eighteen of them were incorrect. To be fair, Mom has not taken an English class since her sophomore year of high school, which was, she assured me, one hundred and fifty years ago.

For the record, I should never be an English teacher. Thankfully I was not asked the difference between lie and lay, nor the whole who/whom thing.

Hours in the library: 2
Work accomplished: 0

There's always tomorow...


I write.

It’s what I do. It’s what I am. Whether I’m employed changing diapers for runny nosed little monsters in a gym’s drop off child care center or lopping sauce and cheese on raw pizza crusts, I am a writer. Whether I get paid for what literary regurgitations I manage or not, I am a writer.

Given enough virtual paper (though I am old enough to remember writing on REAL paper, using a noisy-assed typewriter and enough white-out to get the entire sophomore class high) I can cough up a story. Given enough time to rewrite and edit, it might even be worth reading. I can outline, conceive of getting characters from point A to point B with quite a few detours to points G, K, and Z along the way, create the narrative and the dialog, and tie it up in a neat little package before typing THE END.

But if you ask me what my book is about…well, my brain freezes. I can tell the story, I can write the whole danged book, but I can’t tell you what it’s about without wrapping my tongue around my teeth and nearly hyperventilating.

“Uh…it’s about this family…and what they go through…and stuff.”


That’s about the extent of my ability to convey the gist of the things about which I write.

I’ve been asked nearly 20 times in the last couple of weeks what my books are about. A few of those people wanted to know in what genre I write, and I have a hard time even coughing that up. I write mainstream fiction. No question about that. I personally consider all three novels to lean towards women’s mainstream fiction (but not chick lit, which I do find enjoyable, especially Jennifer Weiner) but then men who have read one or more books and enjoyed them get insulted.

And who knows? The first review I saw for Charybdis, couched in praise that made me all giddy with joy, said that it would appeal to “fans of Tom Clancy and Danielle Steele.”

Um. I think there was an ouch in there somewhere. And it didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but hey, someone compared me to two huge names, so who am I to question it?

Except I write nothing like Tom Clancy. Or Danielle Steele.

When I grow up, I want to write like Anne Tyler. And Pete Hamill.

For now, I write like me, and me is mainstream fiction.

So we’ve established genre. Mainstream might be women’s, definitely NOT romance, but men might like it too fiction.

As to what the books are about…?

Uh…it’s about this family…and what they go through…and stuff


Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl but he can be an ass so he might not keep girl. Boy’s life is a convoluted mess of anger over having stupid parents. Boy used to have a death wish and almost married a hooker, but she up and croaked. Boy finds happiness with girl, but boy lets STUFF get in the way. Later, in the second book, boy has lost girl but really girl blows it and boy is just fed up; their offspring, being teens and all, have a way of making them finally talk. And then finally boy has girl, they are happy, but their youngest is going through something they can’t quite figure out; he’s home from the seminary and obviously not going back, and they’re worried they’re going to find him dead in his room one day… :::takes deep breath::: but boy meets girl, and, well…

I have to admit, of the three novels, I am most proud and most satisfied with Finding Father Rabbit. It was the most difficult to write, and anyone who knows me inside out knows why. But in my not so humble opinion, it’s the best of the three.

So. Yeah. I really do not do well at telling people what I write about.

I suppose, in the end, I write about people.


The Highlights of My Day So Far...

  • Waking up 3 hours earlier than usual, with no one to blame for it
  • Making a credit card cry as we paid for brake pads and rotors and a brake light switch thingy
  • Knowing it was the Boy's car, so eventually he'll pay it back
  • Chicken fajita pita and onion rings at lunch
  • Ignoring the calorie count of lunch
  • Noticing the mold on the buns after dinner was over
  • Trying not to barf after finding the mold
  • Realizing there is no chocolate in this house and I need chocolate right now.
  • Needing chocolate
  • Needing chocolate
  • Needing chocolate

Yeah, I know, everyone should have it so rough...


Pimping the Kitty

My cat is more popular than I am.

‘Tis sad, but it’s true.

He has a bigger reader-base for his blog, plus he gets fan mail.

And he has a new book. Well, his newest will officially go into distribution in late May, but there are pre-publication copies to be had. In an effort to be cheap, I wanted to get a proof copy using Cafepress as the printer, and honestly, it looks better than what comes off the presses of my “real” printer. The text is better, and the pictures are crisper. (More crisp? Eh, they look better…)

He’s very excited about this book. Not only is it what one might expect from the PsychoKitty, but he’s sharing his poetry with the world, plus he answers his email. Questions from “How do I get my people to clean my litter box more often” to “If lemonade is made from lemons, and orangeade is made from oranges, what is Gatorade made out of?”

The PsychoKitty Speaks Out Page O’Psycho Books

Yep, it’ll be available retail this summer, but you can have it first… Either directly from Cafepress, or an autographed copy from His Snarkiness...