A Little R & R

I’ve been away, traveling across America (southern Oregon to western Pennsylvania) to visit with Mom and my sisters and their families for Mother’s Day. It was an impressive gathering. All five of Mom’s children were present, along with spouses, children, and grandchildren of three.


Mom and my little sisters

Besides that, to celebrate my older sister’s birthday, we did a Gateway Clipper Sunset Dinner Cruise. Fun and informative, we saw Pittsburgh’s bridges and buildings from the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, or we danced to the DJ’s music. Oh, yeah, and we had a buffet dinner, and we drank.


A large group of teenagers were on our cruise. When the music broke out, they appropriated the dance floor by forming a large circle. People then danced inside the circle. I wasn’t familiar with this practice, but others assured me that it started with the first homo-sapiens centuries ago.

The young ones were friendly and inclusive. I requested “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang for my sister’s b-day. When it started, they all let out a whoop, and then began dancing and singing the song. Sis got up to dance to her birthday song, and they all started dancing with her. “Happy twentieth,” one girl called to my sister, who replied, “Twenty-fifth.” “Can’t stray too far from the truth,” my sister later confided.

Fun as that was, more fun was the “Cupid Shuffle”. All were familiar with this, and it was terrific. Most didn’t know how to cha-cha, though, but one of my little sisters had it nailed.

One of my younger sisters organized everything for us. She’s my little sister (one of three), but she’s also a grandmother. My sisters are all attractive, intelligent, and accomplished, so I’m always nursing a suspicion that I might have been adopted. Of course, I inherited Dad’s face, arms, and hair, and Mom’s chest, shoulders, and legs, so there’s no doubt I wasn’t adopted.

My younger sister and her husband were also our hosts for several days of eating and partying. They took such great care of us. Her husband, Pat, is a fellow who remembers everything that I tell him. Told him once that I like Blue Moon with orange slices. Guess what he had on hand for me? I’d mentioned in a previous visit that I prefer other cheeses over American, so he had sharp cheddar available for my cheeseburgers. They’re good people.

Oh, the food was good. I immediately transformed into a glutton. I don’t regret it.

I didn’t write during that period. That wasn’t planned. As other writers have noted and been quoted, writers don’t take vacations. No, I didn’t sit down at my computer or even pull out a notebook, but I wrote in my head. I did attempt to get up and go write in the early mornings, but frankly, I was lazy, and chose sleep.

So now, a little R & R is required: reconnect and recommence. That is, reconnect with my novel and characters (done, thanks!) and recommence my writing routines and rituals (done, thanks!)

Time to write like crazy, once again.

Baby Steps

“I’ve seen some things, man.”

Recognize that line? Anyway, this is about what I saw while traveling through airports during the last few days.

  • Breast-feeding rooms. I need so many hands to address this, and its pros and cons. Good that moms are given a space for privacy, but are so many people shocked, outraged, embarrassed, repulsed, disgusted, disturbed, et cetera, by a woman breast-feeding her child?
  • Service animals relief area. There is a need for this. Nice the animals are being taken care of.
  • Police carts. These appear to be the courtesy carts used in airports to give people a lift between gates, but with police markings and lights.
  • Fewer designated smoking areas. I’m amazed people still smoke, but I still drink, and both habits can have adverse impacts on your body. So does living, though.
  • More and more drinking, eating, and shopping areas. These are a good thing, because air travel is a gritty gamble. You can have a ticket, but not a seat, and if you don’t have a seat, you’re not on a plane. Even with a seat and ticket, you might not be going anywhere because weather is the controlling authority. The biggest issue with these is that when people really need them, after all the flights are delayed and canceled, and nothing can be done for you to get to your next destination, they start shutting down for the night, leaving passengers in the terminals restless, hungry, and thirsty. Basically, we become abandoned by capitalism, because, you know, convenience is expensive.
  • By the way, eating in an airport is not a cheap affair.  Beer at one place was six dollars, and eight at another. Margaritas were eleven at the latter. Healthier options are emerging, at least.
  • More Internet options on aircraft and airports. I encountered more airports offering free services. They’re not secure, so they’re a risk. Protect thyself. Aircraft are also offering more inflight Internet services. Some entertainment is free through these aircraft nets (airnets?), but connecting to the greater web will cost you. The prices are reasonable.
  • More people are trying to take as many bags as possible onto aircraft to avoid paying to check bags. You should see the size of some of these. Yes, they’re checking them planeside in many cases, but more often, they’re being dragged onto the flights and shoved into overhead bins. I kept hearing the words, “We’re oversold,” or, “We’re a full flight,” or, “If you can, store your bags under the seat in front of you because there’s no room left in the overhead bins.” That last is ideal, as we have so much leg room to sacrifice to begin.

How about you? Notice any trends in your air travels?


Cattercalling (catfinition) – to go around a house, yard, or neighborhood, calling for a cat by their names, and making noises to get their attention, such as shaking kibble containers.

In use: “Whenever his floofs weren’t visible in his yard, he would start cattercalling them in an ever-widening circle until they answered, showed up, or were found sleeping in the house.”

All That’s Left

Inflammation surged in her right shoulder through several days, demoralizing her. Pain afflicted her with the smallest motion, dressing, cleaning, even brushing her teeth and combing her hair. Trying to think through options, she put bread in the toaster and considered conversation with her rheumatologist. He disliked giving cortisone shots. What else was there for the agony?

The toast popped up. Flinching her shoulder at the sound, she cried out in pain and fell to the floor, where all she could do was laugh and cry. Sometimes, that’s all that’s left.


Enfloof (catfinition) – two or more cats entwined, typically while sleeping or grooming or wrestling with one another; having one’s limbs or hair entangled or entrapped with a cat; a cat wrapped up in clothing or bedding.

In use: “As soon as she removed her work clothes and dropped them on the floor, her big black cat with the white diamond on his chest enfloofed himself in them, falling asleep in the time she took to turn around, get out her pajamas, turn around again.”

Dreams and Writing

My dreams and writing seem to be part of my creative and imagination mind system. I figure, as worlds and space has weather, so do our minds. When a high-powered dream system moves in, it always brings a strong imagination ridge, and writing levels rise.

I wish I could track it and forecast it. Imagine us having an app on our phones or computers that can bring up radar imagery of our mind systems, with some prognosticator telling us what it all means.

“You have an emotional front moving in. It’s going to settle on you for a few days beginning Monday, with Tuesday seeing the strongest activity before it begins to move back out of the area on Thursday, so watch out for those swing moods and crankiness. The front will decrease your physical energy, and increase your maudlin memories. This activity will probably call for some comfort food on Wednesday, which will wreck your diet, and a few glasses of wine or beer, but a strong will system will arrive on Friday, enabling you to get back into healthy eating routines. The ten day outlook calls for rising optimism in the following week, with some periods of intense exuberance.”


Once again, I’ve been reminded that travel brings out the best and worst in coffee. People have different ideas about what tastes good, but they’re also part of geographic trends. “Isn’t that good coffee?” they ask, handing you some swill.

Which challenges politeness. I always err toward gratefulness. Coffee’s aroma helps ground me and restores my balance, to give nothing away about what the caffeine does to stoke my will to live. “Yes, yes, it’s very good coffee,” I reply. If pressed, I’ll mention, “It’s not quite what I would usually drink, but this is delicious. Thank you.”

Unless, of course, my taste buds are so offended that they’re lobbying my brain to spit it out. Then I swallow the coffee and say, “Mm mmm,” and complain privately later.

Some of that hotel and aero-plane stuff really pissed off my taste buds, though. I was afraid they were going to stop speaking to me. But then, they were given pie, and they were happy.

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