Flooz Scaggs

Flooz Scaggs (floofinition) – Floofmerican singer, songwriter, and musician. Born in Floofton, Floofhio, he cultivated a rhythm and floof sound, resulting in a rise in prominence and several hits in the 1970s.

In use: “Flooz Scaggs’ songs, “Floofo Shuffle” and “Floofdown”, which became hits on the Floofboard Top 100 in the 1970s.”

Floofsession

Floofsession (floofinition) – 1. Someone who has an inordinately passionate fixation about animals.

In use: “Her effort to rescue one puppy become a floofsession to find, help, and rehome strays and abused animals.”

2. A visit focused on seeing or socializing with animals.

In use: “Petting zoos are an effective floofession for young children, giving them access to different animals under supervised conditions.”

3. An object or activity which keeps an animal’s attention.

In use: “With birds and squirrels busy in the backyard, the cats and dogs all developed a floofsession for looking out the back window.”

Santy Paws

Santy Paws, Santy Paws,

where are you?

What holiday mischief

will you put me through?

Are you climbing a tree

that you shouldn’t touch?

Or stalking ornaments

that you think are lunch?

Maybe you’re unwrapping presents

while I’m out.

Oh, Santy Paws, Santy Paws,

come out, come out!

Puzzles and Writing

Okay, here comes a little humbragging.

My life isn’t challenging. I retired from the military, so I have a pension egg that comes in each month. I worked for a few startups when I retired from the mil. Tyco and IBM bought them. I made stock off those deals, and my nest egg ballooned. In other words, I’ve been lucky.

Challenges amount to coping with cats, dealing with modern life, helping my wife in her adventures, maintaining things, writing novels, and doing puzzles. Writing novels was a desire delayed as I stayed in the military to retire and have a pension, and then stayed with companies to get stock options and build a nest egg, so I don’t feel guilty now pursuing my writing dream. Puzzles are a pleasant diversion. I do a few online every day, something to pump up my endomorphs so I feel good about myself.

There’s also the jigsaw puzzles. They started in 2019. We were on vacation at the coast. A puzzle was there and we worked on with another couple as a social activity. It was fun. Early this year, pre COVID-19, we decided to do more. They were a pretty diversion during cold and dark January days. My wife likes them in theory but finds herself discouraged by the struggle to find the pieces and make it all fit together. I, though, find tremendous satisfaction in fitting those pieces together and making it all come together. Is it any wonder that I think of novel writing as being just like puzzle solving?

I’m almost finished with the Christmas puzzle. We didn’t finish the Halloween puzzle until November. I then joked that we need to start the Christmas puzzle in November so it’ll be done by Christmas.

Well, it’s almost finished. Four percent remains. It’s a thousand piece puzzle; you can do the math.

While I was doing the puzzle, I was contemplating how much it is like my writing process, and my work process. I used to work alone in my tasks as an IBM analyst and service planner. People would give me problems or ask my opinion, and then I’d work alone, come up with answers, and feed it back to them. I enjoyed those challenges and learned how much working alone entertains me.

With those issues in IBM, I used to gather facts and insights, then walk away from it for a while. The length of time varied. Then, something would come together in my brain and I’d go back, attack and finish it. I also did the same in my final years in the military. Although I’d been in command and control, I was appointed a special assignment as Quality Air Force advisor to the commander for my final two years. A one-person office, I worked alone, setting up the curriculum, then teaching it to the base population while facilitating team building and strategic planning in parallel. It was fun.

That’s also how I do Sudoku puzzles each day. Bring them up, take a look, close it, and walk away. Then I come back and do it later.

The jigsaw puzzle is also like that. Finding an area to focus on, I’ll consider the finished image, where I’m at, and the pieces that remain. Then I walk away. Returning later, I discover that I can fit several pieces together, click, click, click, click.

(And this is where my wife and I have moved apart on working on the puzzles. I have my style, whereas, she tries fitting them piece by piece, picking them up and trying them until she finds one that fits. That’s so counter to my style, it irritates me. But, I’m an easily irritated person. That’s probably why I worked alone, too.)

That’s often how my writing process works. The character is HERE; the story is HERE; what must happen NEXT? Wander off, do tedious chores, wash the car, play with the cats, drink coffee, etc. Then return; sit; type. Walking and my pre-COVID-19 writing process was built around this. I’d walk to a coffee shop, then write, leave, think about what’s to be next, and then do it again the next day.

When it works — with puzzles, computers, analyses, writing, whatever — it is beautiful and rewarding. When it works, it feels like magic.

BUT —

You knew it was coming. It’s not always like this in any of these cases. My success with that process leads to overconfidence. I attempt to manipulate and hurry the process. I think I can force myself to see and do at will. I then end up overthinking everything, losing confidence, and stalling.

I’d learned that before. That’s why I developed my walking and writing routine. But when it was cut out from under me with the pandemic restrictions, I was at a loss. How do I do what I used to do without doing what I used to do? Doing the puzzles helped me understand myself, yet again. Developing that insight into myself was rewarding. Keeping it in mind is yet another challenge. It basically amounts to relax; take your time. Trust yourself. Be patient. And always, always stay positive and persistent. Go back when you fail, regroup, and try again.

Looking back at previous blog posts, I’ve learned this all before. Oh, boy.

Got my coffee. Ready to give it a go and write like crazy, at least one more time.

A Dream Snippet

I’ve been having many dreams each night. A short source yield three to six dreams a night, so I’m average. Maybe it seems like more because they’re vivid and intense, and I remember a lot of them — or so it seems. Remembering dreams always brings a challenge. Trying to remember them usually causes me to remember more of them, but then I get into this cycle of dreaming more, remembering more, dreaming more, until it seems like I’m taking a lot of conscious time thinking about the dreams. As with everything, a balance must be found and maintained.

I’m just going to highlight a series of scenes from one dream last night. Friends and I had gone to a club. I wasn’t in the military but many military peers were in the dream. They weren’t in the military any longer, either.

We were talking about DJs when we arrived. I’d heard one on the way while in my car, and thought he was great. I learned that he was going to be at the club. That excited me. I wanted to meet and speak with him, if I could. It was late in the afternoon/early in the evening. The club had only opened a short while before. Staff was still setting up. My friends and I were some of the first customers. As we walked about looking for a table, I heard the DJ’s voice. Saying, “Hey, that’s him,” I went to find him.

He and I almost ran into one another, earning me a resentful look from him. I apologized to him but he blew me off. Well, okay. Shrugging that away, I returned to my friends, who had now selected a table. A waitress came around with typewritten menus. Although there were many pages, there wasn’t much on them as offering, one or two items per page, and nothing that called to me. I thought I’d just order an appetizer and a beer.

Asking about what beer was available, I discovered that a young Penny Marshall was my server. My question about what beer was available seemed to upset her. As I preferred dark beers, I asked her what darks were available. Looking sour, she responded, “I’ll check.” Then she turned to take others’ orders.

She suddenly reverted her attention to me. “We have some new Sam Adams in.”

“Oh, okay, I’ll take a Sam Adams Octoberfest, if you have that.”

Penny looked upset again. Her companion — a young Cindy Williams — said to Penny soto voce, “It’s okay, it’s okay.” I was like, WTH? Why is Penny so upset? My friends and I joked about it after she left the table.

Some conversations took place about different topics. Then I was watching some people. Some were previous military I worked with. They were out now. Some were belligerent toward one another. Turning to comment to my friends, I discovered that I was alone at the table. There was silverware, and my beer, but there were gone.

Picking up the silverware and beer, I walked around. Finding that they moved to another table angered me. I tossed the silverware onto the table. It slide across and fell on the floor. That caught their attention. I then put my beer down and set six dollars on the table to pay for it. They were asking, “Something wrong?”

I replied, “Yeah, thanks for telling me you were moving. I appreciate it. I turned around and you were all gone. How did you expect that to make me feel?”

They were sort of chuckling and stammering apologies about pulling a bad prank, but I walked out, deciding that I didn’t need friends like them.

Outside, I entered my car. It was a cool, sunny evening, still early, Putting the top down, I took a drive, enjoying myself as the air flowed over me.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s song comes as a reflection on 2020 and its events. As I cogitated about what was and wasn’t, and what might be, I thought of how mojo rises and falls. What will the mojo be like in 2021?

All that thinking led me to a Cat Stevens song, “Wild World” (1970). I was fourteen when I heard the song. His singing tone spoke to me as it did a significant swath of my generation.

“But if you want to leave, take good care. I hope you have a lot of nice things to wear. But then a lot of nice turns bad out there.”

Yeah, you never know how things will turn. You can predict and plan, expect, hope, and pray. It often turns without warning, spurred by a sudden wind, a sharp word, a surprise pain, a shy glance, a quick smile, a brief hug. For want of a nail…

Have a good day. Stay positive, test negative, and wear a mask, please.

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