The Date

It’d been three years since her husband had passed away.

Amanda decided it was time to put herself back out there. She rationalized (without hard thinking) that her husband’s slow demise (three years of fighting lymphoma and brain tumors before his death) had left her long enough without male companionship. (She didn’t define herself that way, but she liked having a masculine presence in her life.) As she’d heard good things about it, she decided to give Silver Singles a try.

In her early sixties and a successful business woman with two grown children, she thought she’d have no problems. She was right. Within days, she had a first date.

He was as described, six four, two hundred forty pounds, mostly muscle, not bad for sixty-five. Lunch was scheduled. They hit it off well. This being Sunday, he said, “Shall we go back to my place to watch some football.”

“Sure,” she replied. “I have nothing better planned.”

Off they went! After a short period, she excused herself to use his bathroom. When she left the bathroom, he was standing nearby with a small smile. Apparently, he’d assumed (she assumed) that her going to the bathroom was to freshen her lady bits for him, as he said (with a suggestive smirk), “Shall we adjourn to the bedroom?”

“No,” she replied.

“Well, can I touch your breasts?”

“No.”

“Will you show me your breasts?”

“No!”

“You want to make out on the couch?”

“Nooo.”

“Well, you wanna see my bits?”

“I think it’s time to go.”

*True story. Only the name was changed.

The Fingerprints Dream

I was working for a company whose mission seemed to be tracking fingerprints on the Internet. A young and brilliant bearded guy was our leader. Many young people worked there.

I’m not certain of my responsibilities with this company. I also had a second job with the NSA. When I came into work at the company, they told me, “We can’t find any traces of you on the Internet. Your fingerprints are completely missing.” They took some time to explain that was very unusual.

I resumed working but kept thinking about what they were saying. I knew that the NSA was always covering my tracks and hiding my fingerprints. I suspected something they were doing was spreading to other activities.

I took my suspicions to the CEO and engineering time. They didn’t know I was working for the NSA but thought that what I was suggesting was possible.

It was time to party. The company was celebrating a milestone. As part of that, they were re-creating early scenes from the company. Everyone but me was involved. I hadn’t been there, so I stayed back to watch. It mostly involved people singing, dancing, and laughing.

The CEO visited with me. “Do you want some tea?”

“Sure,” I said.

We were both lying down, which is how we worked there. He turned. Behind his back was a small white tray with two tiny white cups and a small and delicate teapot and creamer.

He handed me a thimble-sized cup. I reached for the pot to fill it but discovered it already full.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Wheatberry.”

I drank it down. It scalded my throat but tasted fantastic.

“Wow,” I said. “That’s amazing. I feel like it’s a shot of energy.”

Nodding, the CEO answered, I”It is,” and walked away.

The dream ended.

Monday Muddlings

  1. It’s day six since the Almeda Fire started. We last left the house on errands (other than stepping out to look at the sky and yard) last Thursday.
  2. One cat was sitting on the floor. Another one came around the corner, encountering the first. Both released a startled, “Meow!” We thought that was so funny. I think maybe we’ve been locked up in the house too long.
  3. Looking back to March. COVID-19 struck. Stay in the house, we’re warned. Then, wear a mask. Businesses shut down. Eventually, we made progress about what should and shouldn’t be done. Businesses opened and set up to accommodate new guidelines to help flatten the curve. Summer arrives. We’re warned to curtail outdoor activities due to extreme temperatures. Wildfires spread up and down along the west coast. We’re warned to stay inside because of unhealthy air. The Almeda Fire starts in our town and rips north and west, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses within twelve hours. We’re warned to stay inside because of hazardous air.
  4. Meanwhile, we monitor hurricanes and cyclones, melting ice caps, rain and flooding in other places.
  5. It’s been a tense and stressful six months.
  6. With all that’s happened in the world, and the things we’ve survived, we’re still among the more fortunate.
  7. Took the trash out last night. The smoke’s smell seemed less offensive and irritating. Am I developing a tolerance to the stench, or is it finally starting to leave our valley? Naturally I check purpleair.com. Eureka! One monitor reports we’re down to two hundred in one part of town and below four hundred. If we can lop off two hundred more, the air will be just ‘unhealthy’.
  8. My broken arm and hand’s swelling has finally significantly decreased. I can make a fist with little pain and tightness. Hurrah for progress!
  9. Writing isn’t going well. I’m an info junkie, hunting a fix, and vetting what I learn. I keep letting myself off the hook. Where the hell is my discipline? Going to go get some coffee, and you know…try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Witless Wednesday

  1. So the classic editor is moved, not gone, the WP blog tells me. What a compromise mess. They sent me an email telling me it was done after the fact. Fairly, they may have sent an earlier heads up that I missed. Once again, I’m not a WP happy camper.
  2. Though it’s witless Wednesday, I’m not going to address POTUS 45 and the GOP, save this item. They’re just too SMFH witless.
  3. For some reason, my wife drifted into the living room and turned on the telly. This was about five PM. We usually turn on the local news at six PM for weather and wildfire updates. COVID-19 updates have been added to the menu although the net updates are way superior to the TV updates. My spouse was laughing through an old show, “Sliders”. I entered to check what was going on. (Television watching and laughing in the afternoon? This is highly suspicious.) Commercials began. She said, “This is the lawsuit channel.” We then saw four ads for suing, for Catholic Church abuse, the Boy Scouts of America, mesothelioma, and asbestos damage. What a world what a world.
  4. I desperately ‘need’ a new office chair. Got rid of the old thing in Feb, then, COVID. Been doing time with dining and folding chair. This spoiled writer’s butt has mentioned its dissatisfaction several times. In June, I began shopping them online, then…broken arm in July. As I’d be the one carrying, lifting, and putting the chair together, I felt holding off was prudent. Been this long, right? Probably order one after I shift casts. I’ll likely buy through Costco. A, cashback. B, a forgiving return policy and easy process.

Got my coffee, you know? Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Monday Meringue

  1. Busy dream night. Left me feeling energized. I was flying in one dream. An incredible, vivid dream, I woke up confused at finding myself in a bed, in a room, and on the ground. Other than flying, feeling and hearing the wind while looking down on the world, there wasn’t much else to it. But I did think while looking down at mountains, forests, and seas, the world is a fine place. Such a different impression I experience while reading the news each day.
  2. I have noted a trend. Lots of dreams translates to high writing energy. It doesn’t work out as well as it might sound. I can’t keep up with my brain’s layered intensity to the story being followed. The ability to do that might separate critically and commercially successful writers from the rest of us pluggers. I’m working on it. Just like other acquired forms (athletics, music, art, math, reading, etc.), discipline and repetition can improve the process and outcome.
  3. Other than a foray to 104 degrees F Friday, we’ve been spared the triple-digit forecast. Sat. was supposed to be 105, Sunday, 108, but we hit ‘just’ 99 and 98. Today will only be 98. Lots of cloud cover so no need for the AC. The clouds block that sun, good for keeping cool, not so much for the solar panels. I’m happy with the trade.
  4. I can always tell when we’re not producing much solar energy. The inverter is in the garage. When the panels are cranking, it sounds like a large hive of angry murder bees. As of now, it’s putting out 900 watts and is quiet as a sleeping cat.
  5. Did a little typing with my left hand today. Progress. Return to doc a week from today. Fingers crossed…on my right hand.
  6. Yeah, got the coffee. Actually already drank it. Already wrote for two hours this morning. It was write, read, post, play a game, write, repeat. So time to continue writing like crazy one…more…time.

Thursday’s Tiny Tidbits

Is it redundant to say tiny tidbits? Are not tidbits tiny by definition?

There’s a bit of whinging in this week’s short stuff, because I, an American white male, am a champion first-world complainer, often suffering first world blues much like “The Princess and the Pea”. I play the princess (call me Princess M, please) and the pea is anything from entertainment offerings, food prices, and net speeds to ‘things I can’t do well with my broken arm’.

I think I’ll start there.

  1. Typing. Buttons. Holding things with my left hand. Showering. Washing my hair. Putting on deodorant. Opening cat food tins. Opening ziplock type bags. Tearing toilet paper. These have all been challenges with my left arm in a splint and sling. Went back and read the ER report from that night. I’d overlooked the damages noted to my elbow, wrist, and fingers. I thought it was just the broken radius and broken and displaced ulna, but there was more. That more explains the struggles. All getting better, though. Give it time, right? It’ll be a month tomorrow.
  2. One-handed typing slows my novel writing. I depend on muscle memory and typing proficiency to expedite learning the tale and telling the story. Using one hand requires more thought, which disrupts the writing flow. Progress is tedious. I shoot for a thousand words a day (yeah word count as a metric, carrot, and stick) but I’m usually lucky to achieve five hundred.
  3. Other things: one, food prices. They’re rising fast now. Experts are making dire predictions about shortages, food insecurity, and distribution chain issues next year. Like, brace yourself.
  4. Example of food prices rising. Went on a groc shop today. Twelve items. One bag, mostly fresh produce: $42. Passed on a pint of mission figs for $12.99, and a half pint of blackberries for $4.99.
  5. The stock market isn’t moored in reality. It certainly isn’t ‘the economy’. One, most stocks are international businesses, reflecting global activity. Two, the wealthiest individuals own most of the stock. As an example, I own stocks, and also have some in IRAs and a 401k. Because of that, I’m worth a chunk more on paper.
  6. Running short of entertainment offerings. Basically have been rationing season two of “The Umbrella Academy” while working through “The Last Dance” and other documentaries and filling up on Brit faves “Would I Lie to You” and “QI” (with that rand Scandi Sandi and Alan Davis), and “The Kominsky Method“. Have just discovered the “Russo Bros. Pizza Film School“, which I’ll start watching tonight. Last week brought an unexpected “Red Dwarf” treat in a new episode.
  7. “Red Dwarf” remains unabashedly silly and illogical after all these years. Love it.
  8. Excitement on the streaming front. “Hitmen” with Sue and Mel on Peacock is coming. (If you asked, “Sue and Mel?”, it’s probably not your cuppa.) New Frost and Pegg series on Amazon Prime, “Truth Seekers”, is coming…someday. The second year of “The Boys” is finally arriving Sept. 4, so I’ll start watching season one again.
  9. Saying the long good-bye to a friend. Brain tumor. He’s trying to hang on to vote for Biden and have one final Thanksgiving with his family. Eighty-eight and an accomplished physicist, he’ll be the one to tell you he’s had a good life, but he had a lot more to do. He’s the third friend lost to brain cancer/tumor in the last few years.

Tell me about your world – books, streaming, writing in progress. What’re you watching? Eat anything interesting lately? “Red Dwarf”: for or against?

Got my coffee. Time to do me best to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Thursday Trifles

  1. Yes, I’m watching what’s happening 280 miles up the road in Portland and the Feds in there under Trump’s orders. Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I’m proud of Portland’s citizens and Oregonians pushing back. Bottom line for Trump: I believe it’s another ego play for him, but I also think he’s trying to energize his campaign and drive headlines away from the mounting COVID-19 deaths. I also think it’s a poor strategy for him. We’ll know in November.
  2. Went shopping at Trader Joe’s and Costco today during elderly hours. All were masked and polite but the stores were pretty lean with customers on this warm summer Thursday. Yeah, I’m not complaining. Our bills startled me: $142 and $195, all food and staples. Then again, that’s most of the groc shop for the month. We’re saving half our monthly income because we don’t go anywhere. Small blessings, right? I’ll take them.
  3. We’ve reached our summer temps. A gentle rhythm has begun. Temps stat in the low nineties and slowly rise to 100, then drop to the low nineties again; repeat. This goes on for five to seven days. It cools to high fifties to seventy at night. We throw the windows and doors open, chill the house overnight, then seal the house the next morning. The office is the warmest room, so we run a small fan in there. We’ve yet to run the air con, knock wood.
  4. Our house floofs are loving the weather. Sleep all day in a comfy place, come in for dinner, then patrol the darkness, kibbling through the night.
  5. Unfortunately, with the summer weather come lightning strikes in the mountains and wildfires. We get smoky air and worries. Ten fires were covered in the news. We  have organizations and well-trained people to deal with it, for which I’m grateful. We stay concerned about them and their health and safety. Talk about some brave, essential people. I put them on that list.
  6. Got my coffee. You know what that means. One-handed typing is slow going, but I think my muses are flourishing with the slowdown. I’m enjoying the slow train, too, and how my pace lets more unfold. Okay, onward: I’m going to go write like crazy, at least one more time, but slowly.

Had a rona moment, calling today Tuesday when it’s Saturday. I mean, Thunesday. Whatever.

Simple Sunday Stuff

  1. Went off script today. Bounced with spouse to store in early A.M. Decided thereafter, screw it, movie. Who doesn’t love Sunday Afternoon at the Movies? Streaming options came through: Palm Springs on Hulu offered an afternoon respite from the daily drone.
  2. Next four months with COVID-19, political campaigns, protests, riots, Feds abducting protesters, and POTUS insanity and lies (along with his administration’s lies, and well, most of the right wing’s offerings) will be a trial. Add to that a heat wave, and now, wildfires (the Badger Fire). My soul is getting stretched pretty thin.
  3. On the COVID lines, cases in my state and county (Oregon, Jackson) are on the rise. No worries; to save our small businesses. the local Chamber of Commerce convinced the town to close some streets and parking so al fresco dining can be expanded. I’ve not checked it out — and won’t — but observers are saying, no masks and no distancing there. Yes, businesses and officials are lip syncing the requirements but enforcement seems to amount to some brief tsk, tsk. Not reassuring.
  4. Had a follow up with my doc. Arm (xrays) looks good but remains in a sling. His wife is friends with my wife and related a brief tale. “I was with Glen when the ER doctor called. They said they had a broken arm. Glen told them they could set it. They replied, no, I’m not touching this. We’re sending you film. Glen took a look and said, I’m on my way. Glen called it quite deformed.”
  5. Six more weeks and my arm will be free again.
  6. I have my writing, though, but limited to one-handed typing. Writing with pen didn’t work as the splinted arm/hand combo failed to keep the notebook from sliding around. I also have time and coffee. Guess I’ll try to write like crazy, at least once more.

Sunday’s Theme Music

So…

Contrary to world expectations, I’ve been, um, feeling good? How else can it be put, but I’ve been experiencing a rising sense of hope and optimism. It permeates everything I’m doing and thinking.

Rationally, I can’t account for it. I can say that I’m less stressed because I’m not out there socializing and fighting traffic. I can attribute it to kind weather gods; May, June, and July have been pleasantly mild for the most part, keeping anxieties about wildfires and smoke tamped.

But then there’s COVID-19 and what it’s doing to the world. And there was the death of a sweet, shy cousin, too young, just fifty-one, dead from cancer, leaving two sons behind, succumbing to the disease after a four year struggle. In my mind, she remains bright-eyed and smiling with an impish impulse.

And there was Dad, being rushed to the hospital mid-week, Dad who is rarely sick but has a full metal jacket of stents (installed a few years ago) and moderate CPOD. He is almost eighty-eight, though, so there’s always expectations and worries. We are talking about the life train. It always pulls in at the same final stop.

Writing, though, has been a wonderful escape, of course, taking me on an unexpected ride as the characters evolve and the story goes in directions that I didn’t expect. That’s always a pleasure, innit? A good writing day can propel you over many obstacles.

So…

Feeling good. Optimistic, hopeful, even joyous.

Against this backdrop, I’m hearing “Bell Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton (1971). Two aspects of the song stay on a loop in my head: “I don’t want to fade away,” and “I don’t want to lose this feeling.”

No, I don’t want to lose this feeling. It’s too good. I wish I could package it and share for free with everyone in the world. Others should know these sensations. They’re powerful stimulants.

Enough of my babbling. Here’s the music, a later live acoustic version that I think does more justice to the song.

Monday – Three Things

  1. $.49. That was our electric bill for last month (May, 2020, for the calendar impaired): forty-nine cents. To break it down, we used $14.99 worth of electricity, and we were paid $14.50 for our solar panel energy. The rest of the bill wasn’t as good. Twenty-six and change for water. We had a wet June this year, so our water use was about half of what it was for the same time last year, even though we planted a garden this year and skipped it last year. Our utilities (gas is on separate bill), then, were about twenty-seven dollars. The one hundred dollar monthly bill’s remainder, about seventy-two dollars, were taxes and fees. Yeah, it’s a regular rant; I can’t save much on my monthly city bill because most of it is taxes and fees.
  2. WordPress Editor. I’ve returned to the ‘classic’ WP editor. Didn’t like the new stuff. Found it intrusive, counter-intuitive, and irritating. It was a change I didn’t want. And that’s okay, as I went back to the old way. No one’s rights or safety was threatened by my move back to how it was.
  3. I can’t keep up. My muses tell me the story too fast for my mind, and waaayyy too fast for my fingers. They don’t tell it in order and they’re always filling in the gaps. I get excited by what they’re telling me and their implications, and jump up to pace off my excitement. It’s a fun road that I follow, that struggle to write.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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