I’ll Be Peace…and I’ll Be Quiet


That’s a “What About Bob” reference by the way, yet another movie that I and my wife are fond of quoting.

I’ve been looking for a block of time this week to get back to writing and until this afternoon there has just been a wall of small stuff preventing me. Medical stuff, a family crisis, a couple trips out of town, a piece of furniture to set up, and just small stuff that gets in the way. I get a little frustrated but hey, it’s small stuff and it’s all past now. From here on out it’s nothing this week but writing and watching baseball playoffs. Oh, and I promised my wife I’d take her to a crappy horror movie. File that one under the things we do for love.

In writing I’m trying to rework those opening chapters and then shuffle back to the opening chapter of book two. It’s all good so far I just have to keep hammering away until I hit my groove. To be honest, most of writing is just hammering away. The moments when you hit the groove, when everything falls into place and every word is golden are fewer. You battle, you revise, you walk around the room trying to strain your brain for something, anything that will ring true. And the next morning when you look at what you’ve done, you discover it wasn’t as good as you thought it was and it’s back to square one. The key to writing is persistence.

So I’ll step away and get back to work. Got some Zebulon Pike grinding in the background and a stick of Nag Champa burning. It’s hammer time.

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Falling into Autumn

1380794014101After weather in the 90s, we have now fallen back to normality. This weekend was cool and windy. The leaves are turning and falling fast. We drove through the White Earth Valley last week and the colors were breathtaking. I know when we drive through next week many of those trees will be barren. That’s the way it is when you live this far north of anywhere else in the US.

The school offers high school kids to do chores for community members. My wife always is frustrated by me trying to do jobs that are either at the edge of my abilities with my ankle or just too strenuous for someone my age. She has threatened for a couple years to call them up and two weeks ago she did. There is a patch of ground bordering the south side of the garage. It is overgrown with rhubarb and weeds. It is also the site of our pet cemetery. I’ve tried to battle it but pulling rhubarb with one steady leg or any work low to the ground about kills me. She called the school and asked for someone that could do some yard work.

Friday morning two high school boys showed up in a beat up SUV. One of them went to work on the patch behind the garage while the other mowed the back yard. In half an hour both of them were done. Damn, I wish I had that kind of energy. The pet cemetery is clean now, ready for winter and the back yard, whose uneven terrain is torture for me to push a mower across, is done for the season. I mowed the front lawn a half hour ago and that should be it for mowing. My last fall chores will be raking leaves, taking the hedge trimmer to some perennials we always cut down, and stringing orange lights on the shrubs for Halloween/Thanksgiving.

It’s been a battle this year keeping up with the outside of the house. I’m usually happy doing those chores but this year they’ve been a stress. Somehow I suspect shoveling snow is going to be easier than mowing or pulling weeds. Please note, I am not wishing for snow. I’d like to enjoy a long crisp autumn, eating apples and watching the cats chase the leaves in the wind. Winter can wait.

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Caturday – People Will Think We’re in Love


Yesterday the temperature soared to 94 degrees and we had the air conditioning working hard. The two bald old men of the house both lusted after the plaid comforter so they shared it. Today it might reach twenty degrees lower than that. I suspect that they might not be snuggling for warmth.

Correction. I just turned around and while they are not sharing the comforter, there’s only about an inch or so between the two of them. Maybe there IS something going on here?

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Our Default Source for News

This is the only hour of the day

I watch the NBC Nightly News out of habit but my source for news is usually internet based. I get a daily email from the NYTimes, check out NPR, and then some tech/geek sites. My wife is a news channel junkie and if she’s in front of the TV anytime other than evening or watching Netflix, it’s going to be CNN or MSNBC. Once in a great while she flip to Faux News to catch if they’re ignoring something the other two are blanketing with coverage or Headline News to see them spin out over the latest missing white girl. Both of us are well aware that cable and broadcast news are no longer good at reporting. No depth, no checking facts, and very little analysis. CNN is particularly good at letting crazy people speak without once checking to see if what they are spouting is true.

Two spots from the Daily Show and Last Week with John Oliver are perfect illustrations of what could be done is the TV news media had some stones. The Daily Show segment is about a hearing in front of the “Science” committee in the US House on climate change and yes, the House does not disappoint in their display of ignorance. Stewart eviscerates them with glee.


The Last Week segment is not exactly hard news but nonetheless a takedown that the news media should have taken on ages ago:

So how did this happen? For one thing budgets for these networks have been sliced to the bone and left many news organizations with little strength to effectively explore an issue. Another is the lazy trend to let both sides of an issue make an argument and be done with it. No need to check facts on either, no need to debunk. It’s not even “we report, you decide”, it’s “we film, we’ll let you sort it out”. The last is mergers and acquisitions. Every TV news source now is just a segment of a giant entertainment consortium. The status quo has very little interest in peeking underneath the bed and they’d rather no one looks at all. But as I have said before, those controlling the message want us focused on the circus, not who is stealing the bread. And all we are left with is a few clowns that aren’t playing the game.

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Cat You Better Come Home


This is the lovable little cat we call Sansa. She’s a feisty but dependent girl who demands to go outside often but usually sleeps all night on our bed or the nightstands. And last Monday she went missing.

It was a nice day, the first nice day in a couple weeks and all the cats we allow outside were eager to get out. And everyone checked back in every few hours. But by the late afternoon I realized I had not seen Sansa since the morning. That’s quite unusual for her. She likes to come in for her afternoon lunch and a nap. The hours stretched on and my midnight we were still going to the back door and calling her name. There was no answer.

Our cats are somewhat safe outdoors. There’s no neighbors who have a vendetta against them, the larger ones like Daniel and Sneakers take no rubbish from the dogs that wander this town, and they stick close to home. But Sansa is the smallest and has been pursued by loose hunting dogs before. She also has a tendency to crawl into any vehicle, any open door. When she wasn’t at the door the next morning it was obvious she wasn’t coming home.

My wife, who loves her pets more than anything, was in shambles. I was dealing with searing back pain and seething grief/anger. It was not a good week. Day after day and no sign of a small fat tabby with touches of caramel, a little tuft of hair springing up between her ears. If she got caught and killed by a dog, we had little chance of finding her body. If she was trapped in a garden shed, garage, or barn the likelihood of survival without water was growing thin. Humans can last three days without water. I wasn’t sure what the statistics were for felines but they couldn’t be much different. By the weekend I had given up hope. She was gone for good. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a simple post on this blog, let alone a RIP post for our gone girl.

Late Monday afternoon I was unloading the Family Truckster after a trip to our small town grocery store. There was a movement behind me and I turned in time to see a cat leap out of the thick hedge of battered Caragana beside the driveway. The cat was a brown tabby and was shrieking in a most pitiful way. I saw the tuft between the ears. Sansa.

I scooped her up. She struggled a little because she was traumatized but she stopped caterwauling as I went up the back steps. By the time I was inside the door her sides were heaving with purring. The cat smelled of dust, machinery, and motor oil. She had been trapped in a building or shed for a week. She must have gotten water in some way but she had lost a lot of weight. And now she was home.

Carjo was in bed, nursing a toothache. I brought Sansa into the bedroom and for a second she wasn’t sure which cat I was bringing in. It took a few minutes for it to sink in. Hell, I was holding her and it was just sinking in.

After a joyful reunion with her mama, Sansa ate and drank, stomped around the house purring, asked to go back out and then rolled in the driveway. She was savoring freedom. She came back inside. She went out again to stampede across the lawn. By sundown she settled down and crashed on the loveseat beside Carjo. When we were getting ready for bed she went into the bedroom and was asleep before we got into bed. She laid between us for half the night and then left the bed, probably for a snack. She came back and settled next to Carjo, sleeping safe and sound.

Today she’s been in and out. It might take her awhile to get back to her fighting weight but she’s working on it. Her “sister” Arya appears quite relieved and is keeping a close eye on her. The house is back to normal. And now I can tell the tale.

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Caturday Nappers

Arya, Sneakers, and Jasper sacked out on the bed in the Man Cave. P1010173

Remember that these are nap professionals and you should be careful when attempting this at home.

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Been Dazed and Confused All Week


Saturday I started having back issues. Just a little twinge at the spot below my left shoulder blade. I tore this area pretty bad when I was in grade school and it has plagued me ever since. Sometimes it’s just a discomfort and other times it goes into spasms that feel like a great bird of prey is digging into my back with steel-tipped talons. Every forty-five seconds. I tried going to the massage therapist in town to stave it off but that didn’t work. Monday afternoon I was in the clinic, writhing in my chair with every stab of pain. I got a prescription for muscle relaxants which is about the only thing that can kill this. And it takes a LOT of them to do it. So though the pain and spasms were all gone by the next morning, I was groggy and unsteady until last night. Now I’m out of the fog and able to somewhat type legible sentences. So I’m fine. And half a year, a year from now, I’ll strain it again. I have just enough pills left to get me through that one. I think.

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