2021 is a weird writing period for me. I am awaiting presales of my new poetry book in May (release is scheduled for September 2022). I have sent out my memoir to see what happens to it. That will probably take a long time. Then I have 3 essays that are taking forever to be published–in fact, one of them, I don’t know if it will be published or not as I’ve lost contact with the journal’s editor. Maybe I should send the piece out again. I’ve been waiting on a few poem publications. And I stopped writing. That doesn’t usually happen to me.
I think it has to do with waiting on these books. I feel disoriented and unfocused.
Luckily, my creativity group is working on two books by Eric Maisel that I think will help. We are reading Unleashing the Artist and doing exercises in The Creative Workbook for Coaches and Creatives. For the first exercise, we listed all the creative projects that we have going on–either in process or imagined. Then we had to assign values as to how important they were. That was eye-opening. Give it a try!
I wrote a book review of a new poetry book this weekend and sent it off to a journal. And I have one more review I committed to for December. Then I have to say NO for awhile. I do not know how anybody can tackle NaNoWriMo in November because of the holidays. That blows my mind to even think about it! If you are doing it, you are probably not reading this right now.
I want to reach out and say Hi and hear back about how everyone is doing. I really want to know how readers are faring in the midst of the pandemic.
There is such a wide variety of how the pandemic is affecting Americans. I’m blessed that so far Arizona is not overrun with Covid-19 cases, that my family and I seem well, that the kitties seem well, and that we have food and shelter and a sunny sky.
I might get to see my granddog Riley today or tomorrow if things go well and her Mom and Dad stay far enough away from me. Isn’t she cute in her University of Oklahoma jersey?
Riley’s big sister Isabella Rose is a proud Sooner, but not a proud Tshirt wearer.
There might be a shortage of soda, beer, and seltzer coming our way. I guess we can handle that. There is always wine and vodka. And I have a soda machine for my soda water.
But the stories I’ve heard that others are enduring upset me. It’s impossible to push aside their pain and not absorb it as my own. It’s also upsetting to see that the NYC subways are still packed with people who have to go to work that way. They don’t have the luxury of holing up in their apartments and waiting it out.
We all have different coping methods. Praying is always a good one. So is self-care, like meditation, yoga, essential oils, healthy food, and kitty love. Or doggie love.
I like to keep my sense of humor as much as I can because it really does help. It boosts the immune system. But sometimes my sense of humor fails me.
We focus on the mundane tasks, as well as the tasks we have to learn to do ourselves.
On Saturday I used the hair color kit my stylist made for me and covered my roots. Well, most of my roots. Or if not most, enough . . . because I have nowhere to go anyway. My hair is very very resistant to color. It always has been. Therefore, it takes superwoman efforts to cover the gray. Over time, stylists have figured out that my hair has to be covered twice, with cap and dryer each time. Trying to just keep the color on longer and only doing it once does not work. Nobody can figure out why my hair is like this. It might be hormonal, but in what way? Anyway, I don’t have a dryer, so couldn’t do that part. And after I colored it once and showered to remove the Redken, I figured, screw it–this is good enough for now. So there are some patches of gray left. Who cares?
I had considered buying a box at Walgreens, but my daughter and daughter-in-law were horrified that I would ruin my hair. I guess they would have been shocked at the grad school years when the gardener used to color my hair with a box of Clairol. His method was not the “comb and part neatly” one used by stylists. His method was a chaotic attack from all angles that tangled my hair beyond combing. If I survived that, I can survive these gray patches.
Lots of my friends have gone gray, either over time or suddenly when they stopped coloring their hair within the last few years. But I doubt I will do so as I’m not fond of how pasty I look with “ash tones.”
Yesterday I did a supermarket pickup. They have it streamlined so I don’t have to sign anything and the employees are not allowed to accept tips. The young man put the bags in the back of my vehicle, and I just sat in my car. Of course, when I got home I exhausted myself sanitizing everything. I had ordered 3 kinds of jelly beans in the hopes that there would be at least one bag for the gardener (I hate jelly beans, by the way). He was not in luck. But I did score a big bag of russet potatoes, so I have real potatoes for the first time since before we went to Costa Rica mid-March. Last night I made latkes!!!
One smaller thing that has been weighing on my mind in the midst of all the big worries is my daughter’s wedding. She has it planned for March 2021 here in Phoenix. She’s continuing to plan it. The guest list will be about 95% out-of-towners, from New Jersey, New York, California, etc. I think one of the reasons this stresses me so much is that it forces us to look eleven months ahead and predict the relationship we will have with the virus at that point.
On another note, writing is a good focus for me, but I have not been able to do too much writing. Happily, I’ve had a lot of publications coming out this spring. Still at least four more journals before summer. I guess this year publications, rather than new poems, are my contributions to National Poetry Month.
This week has been difficult for me because the gardener and I are self-employed and our businesses are shut down temporarily for the pandemic. I spent my week dealing with the resulting issues with nobody to call for advice.
So today I am reeling from a week of that. And frustrated by all the stuff I didn’t get to do that I wanted to do. But I did keep up with tweeting for the shelter (takes longer than it would seem to as I have to collect the info first) and other animal work.
I hope that I get to work on my Scraps scrapbook and write and go for walks this week.
On top of the government and bank crap, the gardener has been damn grumpy. Anybody else living with someone who is grumpy during the pandemic?
Today I will give you a couple of photos of the grump’s handiwork in the yard .
Both these photos are at the wall we share with the neighbor.
The flower wheel was made by my father, and I think I’ve posted a photo of it before. The metal flowers are fading, but I sort of enjoy seeing them become different shades over time.
I sure hope that I get to do some writing before National Poetry Month is over.
By the way, Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus is now available for purchase through Amazon. Why should you buy it other than reading a lot of poems about a Very Timely Subject? Because the purchase price goes toward both Doctors Without Borders and Partners In Health! The poets are from all over the world and from all age groups, even a 7 year old! Makes me tear up to think about it. POETRY IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Hope your week is good enough and, most importantly, that you and yours are well.
Here is a photo of the cutest puppy you have ever seen.
Why, yes, she is my new granddogter!!! This one belongs to daughter and her boyfriend. That makes six furry grandchildren (and no furless ones). Three dogs and three cats. This one is a little too young for me to watch. She cries all night long, and I am bloody exhausted. (I admit to coopting swear words from another culture–what of it?!) Mom has gone home (we did have fun), but it’s such a busy time of the year and work just goes on and on ET CETERA.
You can tell how tired I am from the upper case.
This sweetie’s name is Riley, named after Lincoln Riley, the amazing and young (born in ’83) Oklahoma head football coach. BOOMER SOONER.
Hope you have a good week. Mine is going to be very jam-packed. I hope yours is just the right amount of excitement and activity.
Dashing in here to tell you that Mom is on the way back home to Michigan. We had a good visit, and I am exhausted.
Near the beginning of our visit, the gardener and I took Mom on a cruise on the Desert Belle on Saguaro Lake.
We saw some landscape typical of the area. You can only get a view like this from the lake or by hiking fairly far.
Swimmers are not allowed at this lake, but it would be fun to boat, jetski, etc. The problem is, if you go in the summer, they only allow a certain number of “vehicles” on the water, so if you’re not there by 5 or 6AM you might have to wait for hours for your turn!
We also took Mom to California to see son and ND (new daughter). We thought we’d take them out to dinner because their wild little dog Theo and the two cats are pretty chaotic in their condo. But when we got there, my son said, “Oh, by the way, there’s another dog here.”
“What?!” That was me being astonished.
“Um, yeah, we’re fostering him.” Son was walking ahead of me into the building so I couldn’t see his face.
“Fostering???!!!!” I’m sure I looked disbelieving and he could hear it in my voice because he caved right away.
“OK, Mom, we had to keep him. He’s the one I told you about.”
And then it came back to me that my son had called a couple of months ago and asked if I could take a 16-year-old dog who had nowhere to go. The owner was Taking Him to the Pound! Any 16-year-old dog shows up at the pound, and he won’t last an hour before the shelter does away with him.
Now, I am a pushover with animals, but I do know how to draw the line (kinda) because the parade of animals in need of homes is endless. So I asked the gardener, he said no, and then I “had” to say no. I figured my son would watch over the situation and somebody would work it out if I didn’t hear any begging.
I didn’t hear any begging because son took him home to ND who was not pleased until first son and then ND fell in love with the little guy. His name is Gary, and he’s a Jack Russell terrier. They didn’t tell us for two months because last fall I’d said (with my lack of tact), “Good thing you guys are looking for a house because you can’t have any more animals in here” (they live on the 3rd floor so are looking for a house).
Of course, the gardener and I fell in love with Gary right away. And, yes, my son and I are a LOT alike.
My mother got a kick out of seeing son’s lego collection. It’s pretty amazing. I know what he’s getting for his birthday this summer!
He loves toys and puzzles like his mama ;). We’re going to hunt through the storage space this summer for his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection. Love those guys!
Back in Arizona Mom and I spent a lot of time scrapbooking together. Luckily, I had enough photos that were of interest to her for scrapbooking–and I have a lot of supplies.
These are pages I was working on for my daughter. I’m really behind, but I’ve made a scrapbook for each year of her four years at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner).
As you might expect, Perry was a little overactive for my Mom being here, but in general, he was a good boy, even when he had to be put in my office. He held still for a few pix.
I know I promised to write every day in 2018, but it was impossible with Mom here. I start back up TODAY. #amwriting
Ten months ago, we trapped Perry in our backyard. Since that time, I have written about him in 25 blog posts! It’s almost embarrassing that I’ve written about him so much.
But, in for a penny in for a pound, I guess. Here’s another post about Perry :).
He is still kittenish, although large–larger than the other five cats–and loves to play wrestle and energetically engage with these senior kitties that just want to lie around and sleep. He also still needs his daily cuddles with mom. I am constantly getting him away from the other cats. He wants to lie in Kana’s bed with her, but then he gets restless and starts to annoy.
His main targets to annoy are Kana and Felix, the other “big cats.” The three little ones–Pear, Tiger, and Sloopy Anne–are bitchy enough to him that he doesn’t mess with them much.
Tiger and Sloopy Anne waiting to hiss at Perry when he passes by
Perry and Kana are true frenemies.
Although the vet had told me she thought it possible that he was part Siamese, I (who have never had a fancy breed cat) didn’t pay much attention to that. But suddenly one day, as if the president of the Cat Fanciers’ Association had snuck up and slapped me upside the head, I realized that Perry has got to be part Maine Coon. After I looked it up and confirmed my brainstorm, I read an article that said that there are lots of Maine Coon mixes in the general cat population. If you wonder what I’m talking about google “blue and white Maine coon cat” and go to images. There you will see a stunning array of Perry’s possible daddies ;).
This explains why Perry looks different from the other cats. His outline is different, and his face is different. My son calls him “cartoon cat,” and my daughter agrees with him. The gardener calls him Curly (from The Three Stooges). I call him rat face and funny face. For all that, he’s gorgeous. The son of the man who installed our new water RO tank said he was a king of cats. His dad called Perry King Tut.
Perry has taken up all my writing time in 2017. I need to get back on track. Maybe he can go with me into my office and we can shut the door so he can’t bother the other cats. Maybe he will settle down into the cat tree and take a snooze while I work on . . . something. This month I need to get cracking because mom will be with us next month. I’ve been trying to imagine her staying with us with our six cats and all the unrest with Perry.
My only New Year’s resolution: write, no matter what and no matter what it is.
I’ve been a lot of things in my life: daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, student, and teacher, just to name a few. Add poet, writer, and crazy cat lady. Now I can add mother-in-law! I hope I won’t be like that one in the old Herman’s Hermits song (“the worst person I know”).
My son and his fiancée got hitched over the weekend, thus giving me a beautiful new daughter. The ceremony was in Laguna Beach, California, with most of the wedding-goers digging their toes in the beach sand.
As you can imagine, I #amnotwriting, but have been #traveling and #celebrating.
I try to be stoic or to keep it light when I can, so I was unprepared for the tears and the joy I felt at my son’s transformation into a married man and at gaining such a lovely and thoughtful daughter.
My new daughter and my son had asked me to write a poem for the “memorial table” she had planned for the celebration. They framed photographs of the grandparents who have passed away, including my father and both my in-laws. I asked for information about her grandparents so I could incorporate them into the poem.
Those who have come and gone
leave their imprint
in the details. Oil paint
and canvas, camera
always at hand
to memorize those they care for,
the stacks of photo albums,
offerings left behind.
Daily steak dinners for
beloved pets. Advice
offered with grace. Wartime
service, a sense
of humor and a sense
of duty born of justice.
Born of freedom.
Born of love.
All this, and so much more,
from those who have come
And gone before us.
I was thrilled when my new daughter gave me a necklace and a card with a poem for me that she had written.
How my father would have loved to be at the wedding!
A couple of weeks ago I told you the story of the cat who came to visit our yard and how we trapped him so he wouldn’t get eaten by a local predator. I had him neutered and took him to the no-kill shelter where Perry was put into the ISO room until he could be vaccinated and microchipped.
Although the vet and vet techs that did the surgery on Perry realized he was not feral because he was affectionate and even let them handle his family jewels (before the big heist), once he got put into that tiny cage in that little room right next to the big dog room (with their loud chorus of barking) he became withdrawn and very unhappy with humans.
The shelter began to wonder if somebody had made a mistake or even lied about Perry being a stray, but domesticated cat. Maybe he really was feral and, if so, what would the shelter that is designed for putting friendly cats in together until they get adopted into loving homes do with him?
I talked to the wonderful organization Alley Cat Allies that works to better the plight of feral cats and to the spay and neuter clinic that had done Perry’s surgery. It seemed clear to anybody not witnessing him at the shelter that he was not feral. I’ve gone to the shelter every day, but only for a short period of time, to read to him and (don’t tell anyone, please) sing to him.
Perry’s favorite book
He seems to like the “Riddle Song” and “Billy Boy,” two of my specialties. I put an extra stanza in the latter that always seemed missing from the original. I am careful to show him the illustrations in the picture books and notice that his eyes track the images as if he is really examining them. I find that interesting . . . .
Using a soothing, but pleasantly expressive voice while reading to cats and dogs is very effective with them. It doesn’t get done often enough because of time constraints. Consider reading to shelter animals near you or bring children who are early readers so they can practice their reading skills out on the very nonjudgmental animals. In the Curious George book, Mr. Herb gets angry with George, but I am careful not to show that in my voice to Perry who can’t handle that kind of emotion right now.
The techs and volunteers couldn’t get Perry out of the tiny cage in ISO to move him to a big 3 story cage in the roaming room so that he could have better accommodations and get to know other cats and humans, too, and we don’t have a “cat den,” where a frightened cat goes to hide and the “door” can be shut so you can move him. But finally our cat volunteer and staff member ROCKSTAR Judy maneuvered him into a kennel and moved him to the new cage in the big room. I didn’t get involved in this for two reasons. One is that I want to be a safe person for him, one he doesn’t associate with grabbing and other mean shenanigans. The other reason is my primary lymphedema. Cat bites and scratches can be very dangerous for someone with lymphedema, so I am always aware when working and playing with cats that are not my own (and even my own).
Yesterday afternoon I was heartened that Perry was no longer in his cave. He was sitting in his litter box (hahaha) on the bottom level of the cage. I had put a skirt of towels around the bottom, so maybe that was why. I assume he was in the litter box rather than the soft bed next to it because that bed might be too soft compared with what he is used to outside. I opened the skirt in front and sat on the floor to read to him. Another new cat, Oreo (a very friendly guy), crawled into my lap and stuck his nose in the book. Although I used the book as a little shield between the two cats so Perry wouldn’t get spooked, Perry was quite good at Oreo being so close and even meowed once at him. He also meowed at me and gave me eye blinks, both good signs that he is thawing.
I don’t yet know Oreo’s story, but he and another cat share a cage (that he happened to be out of at the time) and both wear lime green collars. That makes me guess somebody turned them into the shelter because they couldn’t keep them any longer. 🙁 New cats generally stay in cages inside the roaming room until they are used to the room and the other cats. Because the two cats are together and are wearing collars, they didn’t live outside like Perry did so they are more social.
Please send good thoughts Perry’s way that he loses his fear (terror) and begins to show his affectionate nature so that he can work his way toward the perfect home for him.
With my son’s wedding coming up and other family matters, the only thing I am able to handle right now in addition to work is trying to do a little promotional stuff for Kin Types. Finishing Line Press is very good about providing a sample promo packet, along with sample press releases and the likes, but it all takes TIME, a phantom-like wisp that I have been chasing but not catching for a few weeks now. So although a few ideas for writing have crossed my mind (and disappeared into the horizon) I definitely
Unlike other creatures of planet Earth, cats live in a world of more than three dimensions. This means that they are suddenly appearing and disappearing from our limited viewpoints.
Here’s a recent example. The other day, Pear Blossom was missing. She didn’t come to breakfast. I looked everywhere in the house for her. She had not been let outside, so if she was accessible within three dimensions, I would have found her. But she was not under a bed, in a corner, not even behind the toilet.
Eventually I decided to scoop the upstairs litter box since I was up there looking for a little tuxedo cat between my hanging clothes and in the shower. While I was bent over, Pear materialized behind me. Science fiction, but fact.
I don’t have a good education in math and science, so I can’t figure out exactly how many dimensions exist for cats. If their world is four dimensions, then Pear must have slipped into a different time point than I was in. But maybe she lives in five dimensions. All I have for an understanding of that world is a 60s singing group with an amazing lead singer called Marilyn McCoo.
I’m glad Pear decided to show herself to me. She’s my oldest cat, and I do worry about her health.
She and the other cats seemed happy to welcome the foster cat Slupe to our family for good over a week ago. We revised her name to Sloopy Anne Castle, and when I call for her, that’s what I call her–Sloopy Anne.
Arizona is so hot that Felix doesn’t want to leave the water bowl. Just in case he wants to drink some, he sleeps with his chin on the rim.
I’m no longer even pretending I’m going to write this summer. Maybe in a few weeks!
Lots of new cats at the shelter–and a few that have been there too long. Check out Home Fur Good’s cat roaming room if you’re in the Phoenix area.
Gigi came as a little kitten to Home Fur Good with her sister Dora. Dora was adopted months ago, but Gigi is growing up in the shelter. She’s a spunky little sweetie pie.
We have lots of kittens right now at the shelter. This little cutie is just one of many cuties of all colors and patterns.
Hope the rest of your summer is beautiful and restful. Or furry like mine haha. Gonna go on blogging break to recharge the brain batteries.
Two of the poems I started during the Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge were published in the first issue of a new magazine called Tin Lunchbox Review. I love that name. It reminds me of the old tin lunchboxes kids used to take to school.
“Tennessee Valley” is on page 15, and “Uncrossing the Strait of Georgia” is on page 31. The first poem was sponsored by a blogger for her friend who lost her young daughter. The second poem was in celebration of our trip to Vancouver Island last summer.
Yup, I’m still resting on my laurels, as I think Marie put it. #amnotwriting
Hope your week is a wonderful one. I expect mine to be busy and sweaty because for some reason even in the air conditioning I feel the heat of the weather outdoors. Disclaimer: we do have a pool. But the water is hotter than a warm bath.