My dad died back in 1969 of cancer. Shortly after his death, his mom accused my mom of having killed him. Grandma A’s reason was that mom didn’t rinse the dishes well enough. That was not the cause of his cancer, but I think about Grandma’s comment from time to time while I am washing the dishes.
Clearly, dish washing detergents are not meant for human consumption. But we do wash our dishes, cutlery, pots and pans and the like in them. And in the case of detergents meant for use in automatic dish washing machines, they leave residues that you can feel and smell and taste. Well, I can anyway, and that’s why we don’t use a dish washing machine.
So it just seems to me that in all good conscience, the manufacturers of dish washing liquids, powders, pods and the like should never put anything in them that should never go in a human’s body.
Last summer, I realized that we were feeding one particular stray cat more than the others. I’d see the cat coming into or leaving our yard quite often. I started calling the cat Orange Kitty even though OK is not the orangiest of kitties ever. More of an orange marmalade color really.
I didn’t think much about OK beyond noting the presence and the absence of food.
Then the late fall settled in and temperatures plummeted. And … one day I saw that most of the skin had been ripped of the right side of OK’s face. The whiskers on OK’s muzzle were spared as was the skin and hair directly under the right eye. But the corner of OK’s mouth was exposed and the whole thing looked like a piece of raw, wet meat. It was an absolutely terrible wound.
So a process was begun in earnest. I’d been getting closer and closer to Orange Kitty just before OK was injured and so I began to build on that.
It required weeks, but we finally got OK into the house one night. Orange Kitty was fine while eating some food while sitting on the rug in the foyer. But when OK was finished eating, OK wanted right back outside. There was crying and scratching at the storm door and we had no choice but to let OK back out into the night and the cold. We built a shelter for OK, but it was not heated and I worried.
Luckily, the overnight low temperatures had not yet hit the lows we have right now. It required a few more cautious short visits inside the house before OK would come in and stay in. On those short visits, Orange Kitty wandered everywhere, examined everything and apparently decided that despite the presence of a dog in the house, that it was pretty nice.
You cannot imagine my joy on the first night that OK stayed in the house all night. I was ecstatic.
It’s been a few nights now since that first night. Good food, fresh water and a warm place to sleep … really sleep … seems to have worked wonders for the wound on OK’s face. There is one small spot that is still red and opens up from time to time, but otherwise it is looking good.
I don’t know if OK’s hair will ever grow back. But it doesn’t matter.
After having to put our last cat, Bonfire, down on August 28, 2020, I’ve been bereft. I have so terribly missed having a cat in my life. I love our little dog, Maddie, and she’s a treasure and a comfort. But she’s not a cat.
I don’t really know if OK will stay with us permanently. Right now, OK still wants to go outside for part of the day. So when the spring and summer come along and the weather is nice and OK is not injured, OK might just decide to find a different situation. But I hope not.
I’ve fallen in love with the floof. I hope in time the floof falls in love with us too.
She is a small dog with enough scrappy for a mutt five times her size. Brown, she is, with a black stripe down the middle of her back that reaches to the tip of her short tail. That tail is always wagging in its funny back and forth way. Hampered from a real good wag by the curl in it.
Some folks think as she must have some pug in her. Wouldn’t know it by her face though. Narrow-snouted but not as narrow as some and not as long as some, but not short either. Just about right really, if you must know. And eyebrows. Let’s talk eyebrows. Light tan and so expressive in a face that is dark brown. Her eyebrows are always moving.
Brown-eyed, she is, big-eyed too. You could get lost in her eyes.
She has sharp little teeth that she almost never shows. Because she doesn’t need to. She can stop other dogs in their tracks with just a look. Doesn’t matter how small she is. She’s got presence.
She almost never barks. When she does, it is high pitched and piercing and you can’t help but pay attention. But her growl is low and meaningful. And though it is quiet, it still means business and you know it. Dogs know it too.
She’s a dog you’d want with you just about anywhere you might go. She sees things you missed and smells things totally beyond human ken. Her nose is the most amazing thing. A little black button, wet and sensitive and always questing. It doesn’t miss a trick. It knows where the bunnies have been and where the squirrels have lingered. It knows where something met its end and when it had done that.
She has the biggest ears. Ears to match her scrappy. Semaphore ears that will tell you as much about what she’s thinking as you’d ever want to know. The hubby likes to say that we paid extra for those ears.
Her legs are a little too short and her back is a little too long for her ever to be called pretty. But plenty of folks, young and old, have called her cute. Exceptionally cute would be closer to the mark.
Her left kneecap slips a bit when she lopes, so she just doesn’t use that leg when doing that. Someone once said she looks like she’s skipping. But her knee is fine at the walk, trot, and flat out run. And fast. Fast doesn’t do her justice. Lightning fast says it better. And with those short little legs, you should just see how she corners. The most expensive sports car doesn’t have anything on her.
She has kind eyes and a smile a mile wide. Seeing her smile brings a smile to my face.
She’s energetic and enthusiastic. When she’s been left at home and we return, her greeting is like nothing you’ve ever seen. She’s so dang happy her little body can barely contain it. Makes it hard to leave her, yes it does.
She’s smart and has a great memory. Especially if food is involved. But really, she’s just plain smart. Learns things quick. Makes us look good. Yes she does.
She comes when you call, but she has a mind of her own. So you have to give her some time if she doesn’t come right on the spot. There might be something that needs some extra smelling or is just begging to be peed on. But you always know for sure she heard you. She’ll look your way, her eyebrows will go up, and her ears will say, “Gimme a minute.”
She loves to sit in your lap. She could do that for hours. She’s not big on hugs. But she’ll take a good massage any time of day. And she’s expert at flipping your hand with that button nose to let you know that you really haven’t yet scratched all the places that so desperately need scratching.
Saw her on an adoption website I did. Knew the moment I saw her that she was the one for us. There was just something in her pose and the look on her face. There was an aura around her that came through the Internet and flew right into my brain. I can’t explain it. The in-home interview went well and I fell in love with her the moment I laid eyes on her.
When we were approved to adopt her, it was a day I will never forget. Ran the gamut of emotions from despair because we didn’t have a fenced yard, to joy at the phone call saying we could have her.
If someone were to ask me to describe the perfect dog, I could do it in one word: Maddie.
I was born in the year 1952. It was early in August.
If you had asked me when I was in my early teen years what I thought about the year 2000, I might have said something like: “2000? Wow. That’s a long ways off. That’s like way, way in the future. I’ll be really old if I make to 2000. Well, I’ll be 48 that year. That’s pretty old. Man, I can’t think about that. That’s too far off.”
In 1964 (I’ll do the arithmetic for you, that was the year I turned 12), the year 2000 was like something out of a science fiction story. We would have flying cars and household robots. Everything would be automated. People wouldn’t have to work anymore. It would be like paradise. All you had to do was go to Disneyland and look at the House of Tomorrow to know what it would be like.
And then here we are. It is almost 2022 and we have surpassed the year 2000 by almost 22 years. I’ll be 70 years old. Older than the younger me ever thought I’d be. It boggles my mind sometimes.
We are close to having flying cars. Robots aren’t exactly household fixtures, but they might be before long. And much about our lives has become automated.
But it’s not the rosy future predicted by Disney or some of the science fiction writers. But thankfully, it’s also not the future depicted by the apocalyptic writers of today. At least not yet.
And of course, there is Covid-19. Back in the 1960s, no one was predicting that.
2022 seems like a nice round number. If you add up all the digits in the date you get the number six. In numerology, six is associated with domestic happiness, harmony and stability.
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I could use a little of that.
I finally finished the novel. Then I finally finished proofreading and editing it. Then came the uploading and the checking and the re-uploading … repeatedly. But I came to a point where I thought it was about as good as I was going to get it and I pushed the publish button.
That’s always a weird feeling. Hard to describe. Part relief. Part excitement. Part fear.
It took a couple of days, but it is available now on Amazon. I did not opt at this time to create a hardcover version, so it is only available as an eBook on Kindle and as a paperback.
I think it turned out well. I guess that’s a given. I mean, I wouldn’t have written it any other way than how I wanted and that’s my best definition of well.
Whether or not anyone else likes it remains to be seen. Well, my husband liked it. But that doesn’t really count. He’s predisposed to like what I write.
If you are curious about what it is about, please check the novel’s page under My Novels. Or search for it on Amazon.
Our house has stairs. It’s a two-story house. The former occupants referred to the ground level as the basement. But there is no basement. No part of our house is below ground level.
There are about seven steps up to the front door. Inside the front door is an entryway/landing area that is midway between the two stories. So once you’ve entered the house, you either have to go up about seven more steps to the upper/main level, or down about six steps to the den and laundry room and the door out to the garage.
Our first home purchase (after living in a 500 square foot apartment for almost five years) was a two-story condo. After living in that for approximately 14 years, we vowed we would never buy another two-story abode. So the house we bought next was a one-story home. It did however have a walk-out basement that was accessed by a set of very gradual steps along one side of the house. We lived in that house for nearly 29 years. Originally, we thought we would live there for the rest of our lives.
Then we decided to move. Things change. The city in which we now live has a preponderance of two-story homes, tri-level homes and split level homes. Most homes have some sort of basement.
We looked at a lot of homes before deciding to buy this one. There was only a couple that were on one level. We did not like either of them. So we broke our rule and bought a house with stairs. We love our house. I can’t imagine being happier in some other house.
But right now, the stairs are kind of a problem. I’m a bit debilitated due to a very bad reaction to an antibiotic prescribed to me by an oral surgeon.
Getting up and down those stairs has become kind difficult. I can still do it, but I’m slow. And it’s painful. But I have no regrets.
One of the reasons we had made our rule about single level homes was that we were looking ahead to a time when we would be older (as we are now) and less fit (I’d be fine except for that antibiotic) and when stairs might become an issue. But you know what, I’m glad we broke the rule even if the stairs vex me right now and might do so again in the future. Because buying second or third best because we were worried about the future just does not compute for me. I find it is much nicer to be content right now than to worry about what might or might not happen in the future.
My mom had a number of favorite sayings. One of them was “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” It’s good advice.
It just seems to me that a lot of people are worrying so much about their futures that they are totally messing up their nows. I did that for years. I don’t want to do that anymore.
It’s kind of exciting and also anticlimactic when the first copy of your newest novel arrives. You spend months (sometimes much longer) agonizing over every word, how they sound and how they look. You worry at your sentence structure and how it all times out. Does it flow? Does it falter? You read it aloud over and over until it seems just right. And then the day comes when you decide (because you can never be 100% certain) that it is finished. You upload the digital manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing and you order your proof copy.
Mine arrived yesterday. I unpacked it with anticipation. I held it in my hands. I rifled the pages. And I felt the letdown. There it was. The result of long and hard labors. There it was. So simple and prosaic. There is no way by just looking at it to see all the work that went into it. It’s just a book. Two hundred and ninety-seven pages.
That said, I think proof copies of novels are brilliant. Once I learned you could order them in advance of actually publishing your book (I can be kind of slow sometimes), I’ve looked forward to getting them and sitting down with them and going over it page by page. Well, maybe not actually looked forward to it because proofing the book is also a lot of time-consuming work, but the result is a much better novel than if I had not done that work and taken that time.
I use a purple pen to make my edits and corrections. Somehow, a red pen has always seemed too harsh to me. Maybe it stems from grammar school and a teacher’s red marks on my homework. Anyway, purple works for me.
I’ll get started on the process today. But while waiting for the proof copy to arrive, I have also begun working on the sequel (“Millie’s Further Adventures in Time”) to my very first novel (“Millie’s Adventures in Time”). To keep from getting too burned out on the one thing, I’ll switch off between the two. It will probably slow down the publishing of “Daria’s Tale,” but some things should never be rushed anyway. Learned that the hard way.
With any luck, in about a month, “Daria’s Tale” should hit the figurative bookshelves. It will be available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats. I haven’t yet decided if I want to try out the new hardcover option. But it sounds like fun. My book as a hardcover. Woo hoo! What a thought.
Do you ever wake up and hear words in your head? I do. Right upon waking. Not every morning. But often. They sound in my head as if I am actually hearing them with my ears.
Usually it’s total nonsense. But now and then I’ll hear a sentence that almost makes sense, like this morning: a latent approach to tmb.
Latent generally means existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden or concealed. So I suppose an approach could be described as latent.
Then I plugged the letters t, m, and b into a Google search. The first page had a number of results:
“TMB – Texas Medical Board”
“TMB (3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine) is a chromogenic substrate for Horseradish Peroxidase. TMB produces a deep blue color during the enzymatic … ” I didn’t pursue it any further than that. There were a number of other references to this meaning of TMB on the first page of results.
Then I found “Tumor mutational burden – an emerging immuno biomarker.”
On the basis of my “research,” I’d have to say that this morning’s message from my subconscious … if that is indeed what these things are … is just TMB. Or “Too Much Bullshit.”