March Monday Madness

  1. Thinking of the post’s title brings back memories and a smile. Pre-pandemic, I used to regularly visit a coffee shop. I usually ordered mochas there. So, it was Michael’s mocha. Going with the alliteration scheme, Michal’s Mocha sometimes became Michael’s March Madness Monday Mocha. It also took place in May. Just harmless fun, banter between me and the ‘ristas.
  2. The skunk under the house was active last night. Lots of squeaking under the master bath and then arose that smell. We admire this skunk for her persistence and tenacity. She’s like a writer, never giving up, you know?
  3. I shut down the skunk’s activity last nightwell, it was this morning, really, one twenty-five AM by all the standard references — with the iPad. Turning it on, I called up a video of David Frost interviews. Setting the iPad on the bathroom floor with the volume turned up, I plugged it in so it wouldn’t run out of juice, and closed the door. As soon as David Frost began speaking, the squeaking ceased.
  4. Just to make home life more interesting, we now have what seems to be a gopher hole in the back yard. Investigations are ongoing. More reports forthcoming. We’re a no-kill household, so I’ll probably be turning to sonic stakes to drive them away.
  5. I’m always fearful of calling down the muses’ wrath when I mention that writing is going well, that I’m enjoying the process and entertaining myself with what I write, so I won’t mention it.
  6. I really enjoyed the 60Minutes interview with Colson Whitehead that aired Sunday. First novel rejected twenty-five times and never published. He writes for himself but hopes that one person will identify with and like what he writes, and maybe one will become ten, etc. That’s me paraphrasing, based on what I heard, and perhaps what I wanted to take away from his outlook. He’s won two Pulitzer Prizes, which, great, congratulations to him. More importantly, those two books are in the house in my reading pile. My wife read both and recommend them to me. I seriously trust and respect her judgment in these matters. So, I’ll put those books higher on the pile.
  7. The reading pile is always growing, it seems. Books get recommended or passed on. Reviews are read and chords are struck. Friends publish new books and must be read. A new favorite author is discovered and other works are hunted down for reading. Then, there’s the non-fiction side. Reading is a constant requirement. I’m fortunate to have the time to indulge myself.
  8. I was reading in the living room yesterday afternoon. The book at hand was Countdown City by Ben Winters. It’s a quick, engaging noir adventure. Sunshine bubbled in over my shoulders through the blinds. Sitting, listening, in a pause from reading, I heard no electronics running. No lights were on. The furnace and refrigerator were silent. Radios and television were off, though clocks are running. The home weather station was running, and so was the net and laptops and the associated equipment. But none of these things made sounds. I enjoyed the sunny stillness.
  9. Thinking of clocks…four ‘clocks’ are in the house. Two are in the kitchen, in the microwave and range. Another is in the bedroom. The fourth is a battery operated clock in the snug. But then, we wear Fitbits, which offer us the time. So do the phones, the thermostat, and laptops, printer, and tablets. We track time everywhere.
  10. I’m fussy about synchronizing the clocks, too. I think, or at least, pretend, that it harkens back to my military career. Being synchronized to the second was important to us in that life.
  11. Also to keep life interesting — because these are such boring, tedious times — credit card fraud struck us. I was reviewing my credit card billing last week. It’s a weekly habit for me to go online and review all the finances, a time-killing activity to fill space when I’m putting off doing something else. It just takes a few minutes. Well, lo’, there was a small charge that I didn’t recognize. After verifying it didn’t belong to my wife, I challenged it with the company. They responded by cancelling that card and sending me a new one. However, they didn’t tell me that they were doing that. First I know of it was when the credit card was rejected. That spun me up fast. Suspecting it was related to the fraud that I reported, I checked into the account to look for notice that such is what happened. No notice. A chat with an agent was required to verify cause and effect. It would have been nice to be warned or notified that they’d done this, right? Irritating customer service policy, to say the least.
  12. We have only two credit card accounts. Each is used for certain activities, to help limit exposure. That meant, though, that we are down one credit card. Momentarily, yes, but it’s a domino effect. Emails arrive, hey, your card was rejected, what up? No idea when the new card will arrive so some activities are on stuck in a queue. Whereas I had reduced checking the mail to once a week in general, sometimes twice in one week, I’ll now be going to the mailbox daily.
  13. Also, I knew that credit card information. I could rattle off the number, expiration date, and security code without hesitation. Now I’m forced to learn a new number and particulars. Yeah, I like whining, don’t I?
  14. Got my coffee. Ready to write like crazy at least one more time.

A Blue and Orange Dress Dream

To begin, it’s the late 1960s on a hot, dry day. I’m younger than now but not appropriate for that era vis-à-vis my life. After watching some Formula 1 practice action, a dust-up between two cars at one corner stops practice. Strapped into my car, I’d been waiting to go out. Leaving my car, I returned to the garage area to get out of the sun and get a drink.

The two drivers involved with the accident, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Graham Hill, come in. They’re trying to figure out what happened, so they’re going to talk it over. I suggest some coffee. Coffee was served to them in small glass cups. They finished it quickly. I told them that maybe we should sit down. They agreed to that and move to a table to one side. I asked and they agreed, they could use more coffee. I brought the pot over to serve them. Both glasses were sitting on a shelf above the table. I didn’t know which cup belonged to which driver. They tell me that it doesn’t matter. I poured the coffee into the cups. The coffee is light with milk as it came out of the pot.

Next, Tina Fey is walking around inside hallways which were in my body. As far as I know, I’m the only other present, but she’s acting like her 30 Rock character. My first reaction is, wow, Tina Fey is here. Second: she’s in my body. Third: there are hallways in my body. Fourth: Tina Fey is in my body making jokes about my organs. Consumed by those four thoughts, I understood nothing that she actually said.

A dreamshift takes place. I’m outside of a motel/lodge, in the parking lot, by the raised cement sidewalk. The motel is modeled after modernized log cabins. A candy stand dominates the sidewalk. Tiered rows of candy offerings face me. I’m amazed by the selection. Every candy I think of — Jujubes, Good n’ Plentys, Mars and Mounds bars, Dots, Old Henrys, York Peppermint Patties, are all there in neat rows. But they’re expanding, adding another section, to add more candy.

I’m amazed that so much candy is for sale and amazed that they’re preparing to offer yet more. There is nothing but candy. Shouting children begin running up to the stand. SMH, I enter the lodge.

Adult motel workers and customers are inside. I know several because I’ve been staying there on a writing retreat for a few days. Now, though, I’m supposed to go meet my wife at another hotel. I’m to take a pale blue dress with pale orange trim to my wife. It’s way too big for her, probably five times her width, but a perfect length if she’s six feet tall (but she’s just five four), but she requested it. So I’m carrying this dress around for her.

Discarded candy and candy packages litter the lodge’s deep brown carpeting. I’m incredulous. Laughing and screaming children — no doubt charged by sugar, I think — are running about. I change (don’t know where that was done) into new light gray shorts. They have a bright blue string. I speak with my wife on the telephone and tell her that I’m on my way. Then, first, where’s the dress? It was on a hanger. I set it down and now I don’t see it.

Then I need to urinate. I find a bathroom. Weirdly, it’s at a juncture where one side is a hallway to rooms and the other faces the foyer/waiting area. The two walls are sliding accordion doors which need pulled to and locked. I attempt to do this but each keep sliding open, though I slam them. I then discover there’s a screw lock at the top of the accordion doors; I firmly screw that in place and start to do my business. I see that the screw is turning, becoming undone. Irritated, I screw it tight again. Sure that it’s secure, I step up to the urinal to pee and discover my shorts are in the urinal. They’re getting wet. Exasperation growing, I pull my shorts back. One accordion door has slid open. My shorts are pulled half down, so I’m effectively mooning people. A manager and customer come by to tell me. I answer back with explanations about the doors and how unimpressed I am by these doors. They’re chuckling. The male customer keeps joking, “Your bulls are showing,” by which I realize he means my ass. I joke back that I’m running with the bulls. Yeah, lame.

Although my shorts are wet, I’ve managed to pee and I’m ready to go again. Someone has found the blue and orange dress that I’m taking to my wife and call out, “Does anyone claim this?” I do, I answer, then explain that I’m taking it to my wife at her request. It’s way too big for her, I explain — I think it’s bigger than it was before — but she requested it.

That’s where it all ends.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Yes. Sunrise was at 6:59 AM in Ashland, Oregon, on this soddy Sunday, February 21, 2021. Sunset is at 5:51 PM. Outdoor temp is 39 degrees F but it’s a warm 72 in the snug. The rest of the house is a more proper 68 degrees. The snug stays warm. Might be the computers and bodies, feline and human. We’re all in there. The cats, of course, are surfing the net. Can’t seem to get them off the ‘puters these days. I’m always imploring them, “Don’t you want to go outside and get fresh air and exercise?” They just cling to their mouses and click on, occasionally swatting at the screen.

Today’s theme music is a jam with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Buddy Guy. Warning: it has a lot of guitar playing. It’s my music choice for today because I enjoy when two major talents get together, have fun, and share it with the rest. Plus, given the chill rainy presence, it’s a sortofa blues and reading day. I will mix in some coffee, of course. Every day is a coffee day. I do enjoy it when I sip back some hot black coffee and gaze out the window as rain splatters existence.

There will be writing. It’s a requirement. The muses have had their coffee, and are eagerly chattering in my ears about which character does what thing where. Feels like it’s gonna be an intensive writing session.

Stay pos., test neg., wear a mask, get the vac. Here is SRV and BG with “Champagne and Reefer” from 1989.

Friday’s Theme Music

Friday! Today is February 19, 2021. Just nine days remain before we put 2021’s second month into the books. Today’s sunrise was at 7:02 AM while sunset will be at 5:48 PM here in southern Oregon. Temperature is 41, which isn’t bad, if you have some sunshine, which we don’t. We do have more rain.

I used to love Fridays, right? Back in the days when you could go places and do things, PC (Pre Coronavirus). Now it’s reduced to another mark on the calendar.

Today’s music came from yesterday’s post-writing walk, trying to put the moments into a box. The song is “I Need to Know” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from 1978. I was walking along, wrestling with the next chapter, wondering WTF the muses were. Probably snowed in elsewhere, I told myself, and then imagined them quarantining somewhere. I was basically thinking, “I need to know,” which is, um, what Petty sings.

I was also thinking about a story read yesterday regarding scientists communicating with lucid dreamers. I dream a lot so this fascinated me. While the findings’ basics impressed me, I really wanted to communicate with my muses. They come and go like college students at a party some days, sneaking off in search of other adventures, drinking too much and passing out. Like, hey dudes, where are you?

They returned after a while. I asked, “Where have you been?”

Shrugs. “Places.”

“Doing what?”

“Things.”

“I’ve been expecting you. I’ve been waiting for you?”

“So?” Shrug. “Your prob.”

It all ground to a halt as the muses smirked at me. I think they were stoned, high, or drunk. I’ll give them some coffee. Chocolate works great for luring muses out, too, but I don’t have any. Best that I can offer them is a Lara Bar.

Got the coffee. Time to go try writing like crazy. Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. Cheers

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Hello. Today is Wednesday, the forty-second day of 2021, February 17. 2021. Sunrise struck southern Oregon at 7:05 AM. It’s an assertive sun today, shining down on increased quantities of expanding greenery. Sunset will be at 5:46 PM. All that sunshine is exciting the floofs. Two — Youngblood and Black Beauty, aka Papi and Boo — are out there soaking it up. Not Tucker, though. Today is my wife’s exercise morning (M-W-F), and he likes being in on that.

The skunk declared war on something on Monday night. We were collateral damage as the smell spilled up into the entire house. Fortunately, yesterday was sunny and pleasant (the rain they said we’d get never came). We turned off the heater and opened windows. The skunk’s scent cleared. We went out for a drive. When we returned, she’d struck again. So, do-over, and success again. Then, 9 PM, we went grocery shopping for fresh produce. When we returned…guess what? Yep, she’d struck again. Geuss she was bored or something. This time we fired up the air purifier. That worked. Last night remained skunk free.

Today’s song jumped into the mental stream out of 1992. When I woke up and was still in bed, I thought, “I’m so hot.” Then, writing in my head, I noted, “I’m so excited.” About two minutes later, I said to myself, “I’m so hungry,” and hastened to make breakfast. “I’m so ready,” followed a short while later as I made coffee and then headed in to write. That’s when the Wayback Machine activated Nirvana’s song, “Lithium”.

I’m so happy
‘Cause today I found my friends-they’re in my head
I’m so ugly, that’s okay ’cause so are you
Broke our mirrors

h/t to Metrolyrics.com

Yeah, you know how it goes, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask, get vaccinated, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight. Cheers

Floofsery Rhymes

Floofsery Rhymes (floofinition) – Floofditional poem or song for animals, often made up by people associated with the animals as a play on more well-known poems and songs.

In use: “One of the more common floofsery rhymes is based on ‘Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush’ with lines modified to fit a household pet. For example, many sing,

“This is the way we feed our cat,
Feed our cat,
Feed our cat,
This is the way we feed our cat
Before we have our coffee.” 

The Progress of

The progress of the novel in progress: Arsehold is safely behind my heroes. The outlaw and the recos have an unspoken working truce in place. Selfie, Kitkat, and Cher has joined them on Ted. Today I write Zippers. So sorry Zippers is dead, but the muses called it. It was apparently about the Qiqz. I need to write it to find out.

Yeah, having fun, knock on wood. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Friday’s Fumblings

  1. The more that I’m writing, the worst that I sleep. I dream more when I’m writing more, too. Yesterday produced a great writing session, a miserable night of sleep, and a flotilla of dreams.
  2. I think that I sleep worst when I’m writing more because more of my brain is engaged in the writing process. The writing is consuming more bandwidth; shutting it down at day’s end is problematic. I keep writing while I’m doing other things, including trying to sleep.
  3. The good news with the novel in progress is that the characters escaped Arsehold at last! How surprised me, but was totally in tone with the rest of the book. This is, of course, when writing is most fun and rewarding.
  4. I always worry about saying too much about writing these days. I don’t want to jinx it when it’s going well, you know? Don’t want to scare off or anger the muses. I never elaborate to others about what I’m writing any more. It’s a novel; it’s meant to be read. I don’t want to explain it; I want people to read it. Sometimes it’s hard to stay true to this as excitement about the story, characters, and concept bubble up and make me happy. I guess I’m an eternal optimist that these stories and novels will come to be in people’s hands someday. Really, though, I write for me and have a good time doing it.
  5. I’m subscribed to HBOMax and enjoying several shows. Nevertheless, I have a complaint about the service. Every time I select it, the first thing that comes up is, “Who is watching?” My name is right there on top. It’s the only name. Below it are options to add other profiles or to add a kid. Seriously? Why must I answer this every friggin’ time? Just accept, I am the one watching, and get on with it. If I want to add someone else, I can go into options or the account, you know. It shouldn’t, I suppose, but it irks me to no end.
  6. COVID-19 vaccinations are increasing among friends and family. I know ten people who have been vaccinated. Three different states – Oregon, Texas, and Pennsylvania – are involved. All who were vaccinated except one were seventy plus years old. The one exception is in her forties and is in the healthcare industry, although she’s in research. Both vaccines have been employed among this small sampling. None have reported significant adverse reactions beyond a desire to nap and mild fevers. Let me know how your vaccination goes, please.
  7. My wife and I are a year apart in age, which adds another spin to our vaxsit. I’m sixty-four and a half. I turn sixty-five in July. I’ll be eligible. But do we want to do it if we can’t do it at the same time? Part of our formula about whether and when is that I have hypertension and she has RA. I suspect that we’ll be included as part of a group that’s fifty years and older later this year, making our one year difference moot.
  8. I mentioned oatmeal in another post, and the huntress commented on oatmeal. Her mother made it very thin. Soupy thin. I think of that as gruel. Yeah, I know it’s not the same. While that’s how my wife eats it, I’m not a fan of it. I make my oat meal so thick, it’s almost a soft cookie.
  9. I grew up putting brown sugar in my oatmeal. Well, it started as white sugar but once I had it with brown sugar, the game was done. I then learned to add raisins and nuts. Now I put all manner of things in my oatmeal. I currently add cranberries and walnuts in my oatmeal, and granola as a topping. I like the contrasting crunchiness and flavor.
  10. When I was first served oatmeal at my wife’s house while in my teens, they surprised me by adding butter and bacon on top. I’d never heard of such a thing! That surprised them, because that’s how they always ate it. Adding bacon and butter to my oatmeal wasn’t something that I adopted. My wife doesn’t add it to her oatmeal, either.
  11. The world seems weirdly calmer with Joe Biden in office as President. Is this my imagination? Am I just reading less news? That doesn’t seem to be the case. Have news outlets shifted how they’ve reported? Perhaps. Or is it that there’s less bad news, or it’s being less reported, or not catching my eye… Maybe we’re just in an intermission in the bad news cycle.
  12. Or maybe it’s some sense of numbing of normalization to bad news. Locally — specifically, in Jackson County, Oregon — COVID-19 positive cases have been declining. We haven’t had triple digits in several days. We’re trending down, but we trended down in November. Then we had a Christmas spike. Meanwhile, people aged 20-29 are the most positive cases here, but those aged fifty and older dominate the hospital beds, inline with what’s been seen elsewhere, and what’s generally expected.
  13. Okay, got my coffee, actually my second cup. No mid-morning treat to go with it. No cookies, pastries, or doughnuts. Nevertheless, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

The Mid-Morning Treat

My wife made us energy balls yesterday. You’re probably familiar with some variation. Her no-bake recipe is peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, and oatmeal rolled up in a ball about one and a quarter inches in diameter. They’re about a two bite for me, so they’re a perfect little treat to have with a banana in the middle of the morning. I mean, banana, peanut-butter, and chocolate? That’s an awesome flavor combo.

Ha, ha, I kid. I love it but I know many don’t. One thing you learn quickly in life that the foods you love and hate aren’t the foods that everyone loves and hates. Example: raisins. My wife can’t stand raisins. I love raisins. Give me a cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookie, and I’ll be wagging my tail day into night.

No, not my wife. They disgust her. (smh). Meanwhile, she eats prunes every day. We both do. Lot of benefits to prunes, and they have a great flavor. I tell her, “Prunes taste a lot like giant raisins,” just to watch her reaction. Lips tight, she shakes her head in horror and denial.

She’s a big fig fan. Paul Newman Fig Newmans are our go-to grocery store cookie buy, but the wife loves fresh figs. Her eyes light up when we encounter them at the store. The price conversation then follows. “They’re so expensive.”

I shrug. “It’s just money. We have that money. Buy them.”

“Will you eat them, too?”

“Yes.” I do enjoy fresh figs as well.

“Okay, if you’ll eat them, too. Promise me you will.”

“I promise.”

I will eat one or two, to live up to my promise. She gets the rest.

Anyway, off to enjoy my treat (banana, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, remember?). Then I’ll wash it down with coffee.

Yeah, go ahead. Judge me.

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