Monthly Archives: December 2015

Endings and A Hope for New Beginnings

The year is winding down, and it’s been quite a year for me. I guess it was my turn. You’ve probably had your own years with lots of ups and lots of downs. I feel a post brewing about mine, but I don’t feel up to it today. Maybe I’ll write it for New Year’s Eve.

So I’ll show you some other endings: the sunsets in Arizona have a lot of pink and red in them. I took this one at a truck stop along the 10, and the sky was a vivid burgundy. I wish the color here were more true.

This one is typical of almost every December night. Sometimes there are palm trees silhouetted across the pink and dark blue sky.

OK, those were the endings of the day. Now for the hope of new beginnings!

I know a few “special needs” cuties in Phoenix that need a home for Christmas and beyond.

This is Betty. She was born in 2007 and has lived at the shelter for years. Yes, that says years. She is overweight, although you can’t see that from this glamour shot.

Why is she overweight? Maybe because for a very long time she was confined to a cage without exercise. She now gets to roam free in the cat roaming room with the other cats.

Betty (I think she needs a name change) had gotten a reputation for once in a while biting someone. I haven’t been so honored (yet), but I am trying to figure out what causes her to do so. I think it’s when she gets mad because she is being touched when she does not want to be touched. A volunteer might be petting her for a long time and then starts to forget she’s petting her, which means she is ignoring her. Betty might bite a bit to get her to stop over-stimulating her or to pay her attention. Anyway, several of us brush her and she likes it. When I sit on the floor at the shelter, she crawls into my lap and likes me to pet her and then stop and just let her sit there for as long as she likes.

Betty needs a home with an experienced cat person who wants to give someone who needs a chance THAT CHANCE. Betty will reward that person with loyalty and demonstrative love.

Lisa is a sweet black cat with a wonky left eye. Her vision is fine, but the eye itself is scarred so a bit cloudy-looking. Her official name is Lisa Left Eye, but I refuse to call her that. In this photo, I think she’s praying for a home.

Here is Lisa again:

Finally, here is 4-year-old Slupe, a darling Calico that has been at the shelter since long before I started there (which is now almost a year!!!).

Slupe doesn’t like living in a shelter environment and desperately needs a home of her own. Recently, she has lost fur in a few patches on her body, and I think it’s a reaction to stress. She loves to play in water and hide in boxes. She enjoyed playing with the kitten Scarlet, but Scarlet was just adopted so now Slupe needs a human friend and a home. Slupe is considered special needs because she has not been adopted for so long.

Even if you don’t have the right home for one of these adorables, please share their photos and stories in case you know someone who can! They are available here:

HOME ‘FUR’ GOOD

10220 N. 32nd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85028

602-971-1334

info@homefurgood.org

On a cat-related note, I gave my daughter my Homer’s Odyssey book to read. I wrote about it in this post Cat Heroes. Now I see that there is a sequel out about the blind wondercat Homer!

homer

I can’t wait to read about Homer’s life as a celebrity :). Raising Betty, Lisa, or Slupe would be a piece of kibble compared with raising lively blind Homer.

Our shelter’s cat newsletter contained the following very important Christmas tip for cat owners:

This holiday season be careful with all those curling ribbons, tinsels and other Christmas decorations. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, “Cats have barbs on their tongue that point toward the back of their mouth. These barbs are used fo r both grooming and removing the meat from the bones of their prey. These barbs are the reasons cats cannot easily spit items out of their mouth; things get stuck. This is why toys with thread and string can be dangerous if left unattended.”   Pam also warns us about real pine needles being toxic to cats as well as the tree water, so you should never let your cat (or dog) drink it. You can use netting or Sticky Paws for Plants over the reservoir to ensure your pets don’t have access to it. To read more about how to deter your cats from nibbling on tree brunches or Christmas lights and more, read Pam Johnson- Bennett’s article here http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-to-keep-your-cat-away-from-the-christmas-tree/

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope yours is full of peace and joy. And for everyone, I wish you much peace and joy in your lives. See you next week!

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Filed under #AmWriting, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Nonfiction, Photographs, Writing

Getting All Out of Art

When we visited New York in October, we saw this sculpture:

I didn’t really understand what it was, although there was a sign that said it was the Merchant Mariners’ Memorial at Battery Park. I thought it was amusing because of the bird perched on the guy’s head.

Tourists were in front of it, snapping photos, and I had a hard time getting an angle I wanted.

And there was a fence around it, too.

I was with hubby and daughter and we walked on through the park. After all, we could see the State of Liberty and Ellis Island. I don’t know much about Merchant Mariners other than:

  • my dad’s uncle was one during WWI (he died in his 30s from a car accident)
  • my dad’s friend when I was a kid was one (he was a very sweet guy but used to get drunk and in bar fights when he was on leave)
  • Daniel Keyes, the author of Flowers for Algernon (run to library if you haven’t read it), joined the Merchant Marines at age 17 and practiced medicine on the sailors

Daughter has been visiting (and has to leave today BIG SOBS). She’s packing right now. I just ran across these pix and wondered more about the sculpture. A lot of effort and money goes into these public art projects, so what is this one about?

Apparently, it’s supposed to look like THIS:

American Merchant Mariners' Memorial, designed by the sculptor Marisol Escobar, is located just south of Pier A on a rebuilt stone breakwater. It is a representation in bronze of four merchant seamen with their sinking vessel after it had been attacked by a U-boat in World War II

American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, designed by the sculptor Marisol Escobar, is located just south of Pier A on a rebuilt stone breakwater. It is a representation in bronze of four merchant seamen with their sinking vessel after it had been attacked by a U-boat in World War II

These men were drowning after a Nazi U-boat attacked their ship. And look how powerful it is. Why is it so blocked now that you can’t get the effect of this drama? A beautiful work of art, but because the “setting” or “context” is no longer correct for it, much of the meaning and beauty is lost.

Like a diamond needs the right setting and a painting needs the right placement, does writing need the appropriate context, too? Are there ways that the full expression of a book, story, or poem is lost because the context has changed? Or is writing something that we can always access in just the way someone did 20 years before? or 200? What do you think?

 

 

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Filed under #AmWriting, Nonfiction, Sightseeing & Travel, Vintage American culture, Writing

Where Do You Store Your Treasures?

I store photographs and documents in a fire safe in hopes that if there was a fire, they would be safe, but from what I’ve read, it depends on how hot and how long the fire lasts whether even a fire safe can save them.

Other treasures I store in an antique trunk I stole received from my father years ago. He gave it to me to use because he didn’t have room for it, so I got it refinished because I was 25 (many people would say I should not have done that), and I’ve loved it ever since.

The furniture restorer followed the original look of the trunk–with the alternating light and dark oak stripes. It’s an antique dome-top steamer trunk that would have been used for travel.

antique trunk

The pictures inside are classic Victoriana.

Here are some close-ups.

So what do I store in my antique trunk?

I store holidays decorations, including Hanukkah decorations and my grandmother’s vintage glass Christmas decorations.

Where do you store your treasures?

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Filed under #AmWriting, Family history, History, Nonfiction, Vintage American culture, Writing

Poetry Potpourri

the museum of americana is a literary magazine with a mission close to my heart:

the museum of americana is an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.

They’ve published two of the poems I intend for my chapbook of poems based on my family history. You can read them here.

Two poems by Luanne Castle

I love how my interest in family history and genealogy and research connects with my partnership with poetry in these poems.

On another note, if you bought a copy of Doll Godsend me your address and I will mail you a sticker to complete your book cover.

If you haven’t bought a copy, please consider it if your finances allow–either for yourself or if you think you’ll hate it (gotta allow for that) as a gift for someone you think will enjoy it. Amazon says it will arrive before Christmas.

Have I ever told you what book existed before Doll God? It’s a scrapbook my daughter made for me two years ago. In it, she hand wrote many of my poems and she included posts from the adoption blog, Don’t We Look Alike, that we worked on together.

In the slideshow you can see a sample of the scrapbook. Note the subtle cat-themed touches. And if you see a pic of a high school couple just remember that it’s easy to find stock pix online (big winky face).

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Filed under Book Award, Book contest, Book promotion, Books, Doll God, Family history, Literary Journals, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Research and prep for writing, Vintage American culture, Writing

On the Trail of MaryGold I Came Across Pinkie

MaryGold has not made an appearance. She isn’t under the bed, and she hasn’t sent me a postcard. As some of you pointed out, her disappearance is a mystery. MaryGold has a story to tell. But I don’t know what it is!

In a little twist, while I was searching for her yet again last Thursday, I happened upon her sister! Her sister’s name is Pinkie, and though she isn’t in Doll God, she does look remarkably like MaryGold. In fact, she could have been MaryGold if MaryGold hadn’t been MaryGold. You know what I mean, right?

Isn’t she something? Almost a twin, except for her pink outfit. You won’t catch her playing in mud puddles like MaryGold. She has her own merits, but she’s not my MG.

She’s even more flowery than MaryGold.

That’s why she’s named after PINKS, which if you are not a gardener, is a type of flower also known as Dianthus.

Still on the scent of MaryGold. And I do mean scent. After her frolics in the tidepools and mud puddles for her photo shoots, she exuded a lovely beachy dirt smell when I last saw her.

Several of you mentioned that I ought to write about MaryGold’s disappearance. Cinthia who wrote Dolls Behaving Badly mentioned she might do so. Marie at 1WriteWay had a great idea: that if enough people write about her she might turn up! So if you want to write about The Mystery of MaryGold, I would be thrilled to publish it here on my blog!

In the meantime, Pinkie will have to sit on my bookshelf and keep the books company.

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If you wonder why I am being so silly, it is fun, but also I have been trying to get my mind off the San Bernardino tragedy. I taught at the university there for fifteen years and still feel part of the community. Also, the killers’ home in Redlands? The same town I had my poetry reading at last month. And while it was all going on, I was driving past the city. It really shocked me. I still feel numb.

On a smaller and even closer to home note, this weekend hubby was tree trimming with the landscaper and he looked up at the worst moment: when a big branch came crashing down. He has a corneal abrasion. The doctor used a dye and optical light to examine it. He showed me the scratch across his eyeball. It looks as if I took a big diamond and scratched the window on purpose. He wouldn’t fill the Percocet prescription, but I am making him take the antibiotic four times a day because apparently it’s easy to get an infection from a tree branch scratch on the cornea. But it should heal well.

 

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Filed under #AmWriting, Doll God, Dolls, Inspiration, Writing, Writing prompt