Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 208: Backyard Drama

It’s time again for Succinctly Yours, a delightful meme offered courtesy of Grandma’s Goulash. We are invited to play with the photo to create a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer. The bonus word this week was “disdain.”

Scampy was terrified of doves—strutting around the yard the way they did, like they owned the place! And Lily viewed squirrels with distain. Those nuts!  123

Squirrleo and Doviette’s love was forbidden. Both sides would look on the union with disdain. So they squirrelled away moments to coo to each other behind the lilacs. 139

I’ve been struggling with more than the meme this week as our beloved Catsby is very slowly going downhill. The vet says there is no effective treatment and he won't recover, so we are making him as comfortable and happy as possible and hoping we will always choose the course of action that he would choose for himself. Right now I'm grateful he still obviously enjoys life, looking out the back door and "barking" at scenes much like the one pictured above. Again, I thank you for your good thoughts!

Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What’s one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally every day, very faithfully. ~Jon Katz

Friday, March 13, 2015

Inspiring Blogger Award

When I found out the other morning that I’d been nominated for a blog award, I realized it was just what I needed. Catsby—the kitty who appeared on our doorstep just two years ago—has been sick. The nice thing about adopting a senior kitty is that he arrived neutered and declawed, and with very nice manners. The bad thing about adopting a senior kitty is…this. Just the other day I was thinking how much I’ve grown to love the little guy. If you can spare a prayer for his comfort and ease, we’d sure appreciate it.

So this award has been a bright spot, as is the blogger who was kind and thoughtful enough to nominate me, Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff. I’ve been a fan of hers since I first happened across her blog, oh, years ago now. She is a fierce spirit who captures that combination of strength and grace and warmth for which the quintessential Southern woman is known. Add to that her own brands of wit, wisdom, and cleverness, and she never fails to inspire me in the most delightful ways. Her posts make me think, but she adds deft touches of humor while never, ever allowing those naked truths to approach the bad kind of naked. In fact, they never cease to be art.

On to the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! The rules are these:

• Display the award on your blog
• Link back to the person who nominated you
• State 7 things about yourself
• Nominate 3 bloggers (I guess it was originally 15, but Lisa changed it and so am I), link to them, and notify them about their nominations.

  1. The day before I was born, my mother—who apparently couldn’t see over her giant baby bump—tripped on the dog dish and broke her leg. It was after her due date, so when they took her to the hospital no one knew whether to put her on the maternity floor or the one for breaks. They couldn’t give her the pain medication necessary to set the leg, so they put her in traction and left her there, and then later discovered they couldn’t get her in the door to delivery because of the traction-contraption. When they gave her a spinal for the delivery, she was so overcome with relief that she flopped back and set her own leg.
  2. There’s a congratulatory card tucked into my baby book that says, “At least it wasn’t two broken legs and twins.”
  3. Supposedly my name means “trouble.”
  4. Almost majored in earth science in college because it’s hard to make a living as a writer, and I did major in psychology for the first couple of years before switching to English. Have possibly spent more of my life trying not to be a writer than trying to be one. It’s just that every time I get away from it, I seem to be drawn back in.
  5. Okay, I admit it: I’m a Downton Abbey fan. But now that this season just got over for those of us in the U.S., I’ve been awarded a new Sunday night love: The Last Man on Earth. I don’t want to like it, and I’m probably the only middle aged woman in the world who considers what is practically the antithesis of Downton Abbey to be a welcome replacement for the show, but so far (only two episodes in), I love it. Only don’t tell anyone, or they’ll cancel the show the way they do most of my favorites.
  6. I’m a little creeped out by beards. I know it's weird, and heck, my own son has one, but still.
  7. For some reason I attract: small children, large dogs, and the guy with the phlegmy cough on the bus who wants to tell me his life story.  Librarians love me—or maybe they love everyone and I’m just taking it too personally—and so do the clinically insane. Also spiders love me, or maybe hate me as I seem to get more spider bites than other people do. Oh, and I also attract men with beards.
Lisa Ricard Claro’s revised rules state that I need to nominate three bloggers. So I hereby nominate these women who always seem to inspire me:

  • Lynn Obermoeller of Present Letters. I don’t know if she will accept the award, but I do know she just had an anniversary, so stop by and wish her well. Multitalented Lynn is a critiquer extraordinaire who inspires me often with her disarming honesty, her unwavering spirituality, and her writing that positively soars on wings.

  • Donna Volkennant of Donna's Book Pub. Donna is a polished professional and a lovely human being. It doesn’t matter if I’m reading her work or meeting her at a writers’ group—I am always left feeling as if I’ve been in the presence of greatness. She truly is as gracious as she is talented and vice versa. Wow.

  • Pat Wahler of Critter Alley. I don’t think Pat accepts awards, and I respect that. I’m nominating her anyway because I think of her blog as an inspiring treat. It has a clear, focused brand, top-quality pictures, and short, pithy prose. I don’t know her well, but every time I’ve talked to her, I leave thinking that she, too, has her own grace and style. She also just got published in Sasee. Congratulations, Pat!

Thank you again, Lisa!

But the thing you don’t realize is that there’s good naked and bad naked. Naked hair brushing, good. Naked crouching, bad.

~Seinfeld, The Apology, 1997

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 207: Not Quite On Time

It’s time again for Succinctly Yours, a delightful meme offered once a week like clockwork by Grandma’s Goulash. We are invited to create a story of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer to accompany the photo. Please consider giving it a try on your own blog! I am late, I know, but I’ve had an itsy-bitsy and much-needed vacation and feel a little more refreshed. The bonus word this week was “limp.”

Quasimojoe hated his job taking care of the clock tower during daylight savings time. His limp might make him spring forward or fall back from that little ledge.  134

Sesame Street’s Count Von Count rarely has guests in his castle. Time seems to limp by when every chime from the clock tower distracts the host.  118

Big Ben had a long distance crush on Big Jen. She was bleak and threatening, not terribly reliable, and her movement had a limp…but what a build. And that face!  131
Cornelius Fudge: Oh! Albus... I see you got our notice about the time change of the hearing.
Albus Dumbledore: I must have missed it; but by a happy mistake, I arrived at the Ministry three hours early. 
~Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Michael Goldenberg screenplay based on the books by J.K. Rowling, directed by David Yates and released in 2007.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Succinctly Yours Week 206: Sure to Go

It’s time again for Succinctly Yours, a delightful meme courtesy of Grandma’s Goulash in which we are invited to spin a little yarn of 140 words or 140 characters or fewer to accompany the photo. The bonus word this week was “pace.”
Mary’s little lamb may have been sent from school at a hasty pace, but Mary’s family filed a suit declaring it a service animal to treat her ADHD and rewrote those rules. 139

It may at last have gone out like a lamb, but the whole March was a reluctant pace for those who were sick of winter.  93

Me: Why do you have a purple back-scratcher sitting on your desk?
Sixth Grade girl (smiling sheepishly): My grandma gave it to me for no particular reason, so I made it my pet.