Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bella, Destruction and further adventures

So, before I start the next installment of the stories that apparently, only I like, I have to relate an event from last night. Kevin and I were in the study looking at something on the computer. Bella and Banks were playing around on the rug. Without any warning, Bella shot across the room and knocked into one of the bookcases (these things are floor to ceiling, eight feet high...big). The damn thing just exploded. A couple of hundred books slowly tipped out onto the floor. It was a strange, surreal slow motion kind of experience. There was some damage to a few of the books but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. The bookcase is a loss.

However, it does get a bit stranger. Kevin has a gold pocket watch that is kept in a glass bell jar. And I have a wrist watch from my grandfather that are (were) on that shelf. The glass jar apparently hit the thick, wool rug and then rolled onto the wood...didn't break; and the watch was fine. But, the band on my wrist watch broke into several pieces...who knew?? So, I'll have to take it to the jeweler and have it fixed.

I'm sure Bella must have sustained brain damage.

Anyway, back to the princes. It came to pass that the younger prince fell in love with a beautiful girl. He would, on occasion, take her into his room but this angered his mother so that she pounded her fists on the door and demanded that he come out with his love lest he be arrested for statutory rape. Eventually, he married the girl and they moved to a sunny and warm clime far to the south and west.

The intervening events are really rather inane so I'll skip those.

After much anticipation, a babe was born to the couple. (By this time the prince was no longer a prince.) The baby boy was adored by his grandparents. To paraphrase Francoise Sagan, "They have loved to the point of madness; that which is called madness but which to them, is the only sensible way to love." The boy was most assuredly a prince...and it appeared likely that he might even remain a prince for the entirety of his life. There was nothing at all that was too extravagant or too precious nor too costly for the youngest prince.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Princes continued...sort of

Now, the elder prince developed a friendship with another prince. Their stories were very similar and they got on marvelously. And even though the elder prince had hoped that the relationship might develop into something more, it did not but he was more than content to have his friend. In fact, this other prince became one of the best friends that he'd ever known.

There came a time when it became necessary that the princes go their own way and find out who and what they really were. Neither of them would be princes forever. The other prince fell in love and knew what he wanted to become and did not lose sight or faith. He became what he saw for himself and even though his love had spoiled, he found love again. It did not take long before the other prince realized that the person he had wished to become was not within the life that he was living. He found another love and this love accepted him, prince or no prince.

Meanwhile, the elder prince still struggled. It was many years before the friends found each other again. In fact, enough time had passed that each was no longer a prince but their friendship was not based on their status and had endured. The elder still struggled and the other tried with all of the vast knowledge that he'd managed to accumulate to help his friend but it was not within the scope of his powers to do so. The elder still knew that it was his own lot to navigate his way. The other supported him and encouraged him in every way he knew. The elder knew that the other would love him regardless of his course but that did not dispel the fear and sadness that the elder held tightly within himself.

Monday, March 30, 2009

That wasn't at all transparent, was it???

Experimental Literature

I'm going to try something new. I have no idea where the idea came from so I hope I can be forgiven for whatever trite or negative karmic points I get for this...but, I'm going to try a short story.

The backwards format of the blog doesn't make for the best conduit for this but it's my blog, damn it and I'll do what I want!!

Once upon time, there were two princes. Each was very much loved and their parents wanted nothing but the best for them. So, each was encouraged to learn languages...three apiece. They were taught music...both theory and instruments. One chose the piano and the other chose the saxophone. They were encouraged in sporting events such as soccer, baseball, tennis, riding, skiing and the elder in golf. Literature was of paramount importance and each was endlessly read stories and encouraged to read anything and everything that struck their fancy. They were continually supported and loved beyond all measure. They were denied nothing.

There was a twist to this story, the princes' mother was raised as a princess herself but their father was not of royal birth. The boys' mother believed that children should be allowed to be children and the father believed that they should be taught responsibility. However, the father doted on his sons as well. There was no problem or issue that arose for the boys that their Daddy could not fix.

There came a time when the mother decided that the family should have a portrait to commemorate themselves. It was said by a friend of the boys that they looked like the princes they were but that it was too bad they had no kingdom. To the younger, this made no difference. He'd always been one to go his own way. However, to the elder, this meant that he'd have to fend for himself. This terrified him beyond all reason.

Both children had always been told that they were wonderful, intelligent and could do anything that their hearts desired. "Anything" tends to be a very long list.

The elder prince had a very difficult time in deciding what he may want to do with his life since he learned that he would not always be a prince. The younger knew exactly what he wanted to be but he did have some difficulty in adjusting to life as a common man and not a well-provided-for prince.

As the years went by, it became obvious that the princes would have difficulty adjusting to their new roles. While their Daddy continued to fix the impediments in their lives, they each continued to struggle. Each had his own battles but some they fought were common to both. Some, Daddy could not fix. Even with all of the resources at their command, Daddy and their mother could not lift all of the burdens that each of princes had to face. (It must be noted, however, that most of these hurdles where placed by the princes themselves.)

To this day, the princes continue to struggle with the reality that they are NOT, in fact, princes but ordinary men that must fend for themselves. While their Daddy will continue to endeavour to make their lives as trouble free as possible, he cannot (and ultimately should not) fix all of the obstacles that his sons must face. They will love him no less for this and will of course, when needs be, depend on him to come to their aid and "fix it". Their mother, the princess, will always love them no matter what they may do or become.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've had a humbling experience in that I've learned that my sense of humor can, quite often, be taken the wrong way. I posted that according to Kevin, I haven't been right since 1997. This is a joke that I've said out loud on a few occasions but that it can most certainly be taken the wrong way and cast Kevin in a bad light. That was certainly NOT my intent. I think it's funny but I guess, sometimes funny can hurt.

A lot of people keep a blog as a journal. I very dear friend of mine does and has been recognized for it. It has never been my intent for this to replace a private journal. I have chosen to keep it public, for whatever that's worth. That decision has caused some confusion in that I've often been tempted to vent in an attempt at catharsis but I've resisted that in favor keeping things on a more even keel. Obviously, the last days with Nellie were not exactly light but they were true feelings and that's the closest I've come.

I received my first fan message via Facebook yesterday (regarding the anthology) was very humbling, appreciated and really kind of fun.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why yes, it can get worse!

The POD is bordering on unbearable. Given that I have no staff (I have a secretary that works part time for the nursery and two temp agency guys), I'm VERY quickly running out of steam. I only have three months left but traditionally, these are the busiest three months. I'm actually looking forward to unemployment at this point. Although, being the cynic, I'm sure they'll find a way to fire my instead of laying me off so that I can't collect unemployment.

Anyway, via Facebook, I've reconnected with some old friends. Memories that have been forgotten on one side have been held on to and cherished on the other. And what they say about "everybody's on Facebook" certainly seems to be true. There's only been one person that I haven't been able to find. Which is sad, I miss her quirky sense of humor.

However, all of the old times have certainly made me melancholy and given my propensity toward depressed states, that might not be the best thing for me. I have a couple of new friends but nothing like things used to be. Kevin tells me that I live in the past and sometimes in the future but never in the moment...screw that. The moment sucks rocks!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bella...hell hound or cuddle bunny????

So, I finally have a picture of Bella to post. She really is a sweet dog...when she's not barking, and jumping on me and trying to bite me. She doesn't do those things to Kevin so it's so sort of game that she's come up with for me. One of us is still going home around lunch (today it's my turn) to make sure that she's walked and hopefully doesn't do anything naughty in the house. Lately, she's been very good about being good. (knock on wood!!!!!) She's had a couple of accidents recently but we think they had much more to do with a urinary infection than not knowing that she's supposed to piss outside. There for a while, Kevin was convinced that he wanted to throw her into a dumpster...I think he's finally given over on that.
She has developed this thing about hopping around on the bed when I'm trying to make it. Apparently, it's great fun to get in the way and make it almost impossible to take care of the bed. I try walking away and when she comes after me, I turn around and run back to get as much made as possible before she hops back up and then start over again. Of course, Kevin pointed out that I've made the game even more fun for her. But then again, if one where to ask Kevin, I haven't done anything right since sometime around 1997. But I'm sure that date is wrong :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Another Day

Things have been a bit rough at the POD these days. I only have about three months left before I'm unemployed. I've been going through Career Buildings and Hot Jobs, etc but there just isn't anything that I seem to be qualified for. I'd make more on unemployment than I would working for McDonalds or Wendy's...but when that runs out, I'm certainly not too proud to take a job working fast food. The first job I ever had was at Nordstrom when I was 18. After that, I worked at KFC for almost a year. So, I've done the food service industry thing before. Honestly, I'd really rather not do it again...but I would. I do think that everyone should HAVE to at some point in their life; just so that they know what it's like and not be such douche bags to the folks stuck behind the counter. (Incidentally, and not to sound like a snob, I also think that everyone should go to Paris once in their life...not that it would come close to explaining why the Parisians are such douche bag dildos. The rest of the French aren't like that. Most are nice people.)

So, I've been thinking of all of the projects that I'll do while unemployed. Scrub the walls, touch up the paint, finish my sewing projects, I'd like to finish one of the novels that I've started, get the attic organized...then there are the everyday things like cleaning the house, cooking dinner, ironing and laundry. I don't know what kind of house frau I'll make but it will be kind of fun to find out. We're trying to get as much paid off as possible before July and have all sorts of schemes involving the pay out for my annual leave and shuffling money around. I think we'll be alright but it will certainly be tight. No Prada shoes or Armani jeans. One of my big goals, however, is to go to the gym everyday...religiously. However, I have enough "skinny" clothes in storage from before I gained 45 pounds that I won't have to worry about a new wardrobe. In fact, I have at least three wardrobes...the one I'm wearing now...let's call it the "fat" suite. Then there's the "in between" suite...that's fairly small and not too designery. (I don't know if that's a word but let's go with it.) Then there's the "skinny" clothes. When I was 45 pounds lighter, I bought all sorts of wonderful things by the most wonderful designers. Anyone who really knows this stuff and pays attention to it will recognize that they are a couple of years old but I don't care. If I can fit into Armani, Burberry, Kenneth Cole and Prada would be SWEET!!!! That doesn't make me shallow and vapid...does it??

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Grant Thee Beauty, Harmony and Serenity...or whatever

Someone who has become a very dear friend recently gave me a coin. She'd carried it for some time so the fact that she'd give it up so that I had something to worry on when I get stressed out or run my thumb around the raised edge to remind myself to breath properly means a VERY great deal. I doubt she realizes just how much. She reminds me that there are still good people in the world...they may be a rare commodity...but they're out there.

So, I stopped by Starbucks last night and ordered a DECAF latte. I didn't fall asleep until 3ish this morning. The 6:10 alarm came all too quickly. It didn't occur to me to connect the two, I just didn't know why I couldn't sleep. Kev was the one who put them together...I'm banking on the bastards slipping me regular and since I always order a double...that means four shots of caffeinated espresso. Again I say bastards!!!

I finally found a picture of Banks so that will be added...don't have one of Bella as of yet. She's picking up the rules of the pack pretty quickly. I think she'll end up being a good dog and addition to the family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hyposcricy, closing ranks and love in varied forms

I recently saw the movie "He's Just Not That Into You", and in it, there is a diatribe by Drew Barrymore where she goes on about email, text, voicemail, mobile phone, home phone, Facebook/MySpace, etc. That has really hit home for me. As anyone looking at the dates of this blog can tell, all portals of technology are done in fits-and-starts with me. I'm really bad at getting back to Facebook stuff (although, to be honest, most of it is because I have not the damnedest idea what the different between a "wall" and a "note" are...I think that a "message" is similar to an email...although why they don't just call it an email is beyond my limited range of understanding) but I do try and all of the friends in my list are much loved and represent very, very fond memories.

In fact, (to get a bit off topic), some of them have literally made me the man I am today and I can't even begin to imagine my life without them. Even those that I haven't spoken to in decades have had such an impact on the make up of "me" that they will always be much loved and reside in my heart, whether they know it or not. It simply amazes me that I'm now able to drop a note to someone that even a year ago, I couldn't imagine that I'd ever see or hear from again. Case in point (and while I doubt he'll read this, I apologize for using his real name but there's really no way to tell the story without it), in high school, I had a friend named Blake Evan, Blake E. Dursteler (I guess I could have left the last name off???). Somehow, I got away with calling him Blakey all through our peer group years. The only other person that I know of who managed that was his grandmother. I have no idea how it worked out that way but it's something that just stuck in my's been an endearment that hasn't lost any affection even though, until a few weeks ago, I hadn't seen or spoken to Blake in God only knows how long.

Also, someone who has meant more to me and has been so ingrained in my makeup than I could ever begin to describe, via Facebook, I finally admitted how difficult her divorce has been on me. Her ex was also a friend...and a good one. He hasn't made any effort to contact me but neither have I done the the friendship lacks a bit. But still, there was an affinity that made me sad to lose. Don't get me wrong, I wish her more than happiness; I wish her love beyond all measure. And as kind, generous and loving as she is, I'm certain that she has more than enough karmic points to get it.

However...I also found out via Facebook (although in all fairness, my mother did call not too long ago) that one of my cousins has a mass in his chest that certainly appears to be cancerous. He's in his 20's. A couple of years ago, I was in Oregon for his mother's wedding. The trip before that was my grandfather's funeral. As I recently told another cousin (the one that I'm probably closest to), I CANNOT make another trip to Portland for a funeral. I don't pray often but I certainly am for Joseph. The thing about my family, especially Joseph and his siblings, is that we close ranks quickly. I'll fly up as soon as I'm needed but I really, really hope that it's not necessary.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New dog and old excuses

Once again, I've become REALLY bad at this. My problem, I've decided, is that it's hard for me to figure out how much, exactly, to say. Too little is boring and too much is whining.

A bit of news, Kevin found a boxer puppy (about 10 months old) to adopt. It was a bit soon for me but she's very sweet. And a handful. Something that I found out was that boxers, as a breed, have two different ear types. One is upright and the other is floppy. Back when they'd tack the ears, it didn't matter. Well, Bella has one of each. I think, more than anything, that's what endeared her to me. She's just not quite right.

Kevin picked the name. It's "partly" from the Twilight series...not that he'd ever admit to really liking it anyway. He's never bothered to mention where the other part is from. I like the name but the problem is that I have a cousin named Isabella...Bella...or to much of the family, myself included; Bellie. So, most of the time, I end up calling the dog Bellie. Awhile ago, she was being particularly obnoxious and I referred to her as Lillith. Kevin didn't get the reference and in fact, his brother was the only one who did. After I explained it to Kevin, it didn't really care for it and doesn't like, of course I do it all the time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Banks and Books

I brought Banks to work with me today. He suffers from separation anxiety and we're not sure how he's dealing with Nellie's absence when we're not around. They certainly got along but I don't think that they bonded all that much. The folks at work seem to like him and he's being a very good boy.

One of the things that I was planning on writing about before Nellie became really sick was the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. My secretary just devoured them and loved them. My mom read them and liked them as well. With as much publicity as they received, I decided to go ahead and see what the fuss was about. I started the first book and finished in a day...same with second...and third. The last book, I read in two days because I saved the last 20 pages so that I could savour them.

On Ms. Meyer's website, she writes that she was in the process of writing another volume...the first story but from Edward's point of view. Unfortunately, 12 chapters were leaked and posted on the web. She was understandably angry and didn't want to finish the book. (She did mention that she might take it up again at some point but not in the near future.) She went ahead and posted the chapters on her own website. They can't be printed so it's a bit of a bummer to read over 200 pages on a computer screen. It actually took me quite awhile to finish it because of the eye strain. Anyway, I thought it was a great concept and it cleared up some of the gaps in Twilight. There are petitions all over the web begging her to finish it.

So, I have to admit that my inner 12-year-old-girl loves that series.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nellie Memories

I didn't go to work again today. I'm still a blubbering mess. While I was walking the dog that we adopted shortly after Kangaroo passed, Banks, I noticed Nellie's footprints in the snow. I also saw the marks left from her eating snow out of one of the banks. She always loved it when it snowed. She'd eat the icy snow but much preferred new, fresh snow. We're having a warm spell and I would imagine that the bite marks will be gone today and the footprints not long after. I realize the fact that there will be constant reminders of her everywhere in the house. It's going to take a bit of time to get used to it.

Nellie gave much more than she ever asked for. I have never regretted adopting her and she has added more to my life than I could ever hope to thank her for. She will be as sorely missed as much as she was utterly loved.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nellie's Gone

Nellie took a dramatic turn for the worse yesterday. With help from her vet, she passed quietly at 10:30 this morning. The vet technician broke down when Kevin attached the new tag to Nellie's collar.

She's resting alongside her beloved and revered sister. Nellie didn't care about much but she would certainly want to be close to Kangaroo. We also buried her with her lambie...she loved that thing and I think she'd be happy to always have it to sleep on.

I walked into the house when we got back from the burial. I still opened the door slowly out of force of habit. She'd very patiently lie down in front of the doors so that she'd know when we got back. It's going to take a while to break that habit...although, maybe I won't break it. It might be good to keep a memory alive; for what that's worth. The bottom line, however, is that... baby is gone.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nellie, my baby

It would certainly appear that we won't have as much time to say goodbye to Nellie as we thought. I would never, never do anything to cause her pain and I think it would be beyond selfish to keep her going any longer just for my sake. We are still debating the specifics but it will likely be much sooner than later. (We'd planned on Thursday morning.)

As I've mentioned, Nellie has never seemed to have missed out on anything because of her lack of hearing. Her quality of life has appeared to be just as good as any of her peers. However, it is our fervent hope that while she's been deaf since birth, this life is only a small part of forever. Our last gift, besides love that cannot possibly be described, will go with her.

She has been such a wonderful part of my life. I can't believe that she'll be gone. I just can't quite wrap my head around that fact that she won't be lying in front of the door when I get home anymore, she won't wag her stub of a tail when I wiggle my finger at her and she won't be there to put her head down on my lap while we watch T.V.

I think that I've finally decided the answer to my earlier quandary...I'd rather it go fast- no warning- than have to CHOOSE the time that my baby will go to sleep and not wake up.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Prayer for Nellie

Kevin and I came to the very difficult decision that we would accept the blessing that we've had with Nellie but recognize that it's time to let her go. We are selfish enough that we'll go to the vet in a couple of days.

We have amassed an extensive art collection and one of the odd pieces we have is a clay St. Francis. Every morning, I've knelt before this statue and prayed. I'm not an overly religious person but this habit became a litany:

St. Francis, please hear my prayer and intercede.

Please help us have as much time with Nellie as we can.
Please help us take joy in what time we have.
Please help us have the strength to accept when that time is up.
Please tell her that it's alright to let us know when she hurts.
Please tell her that when she's had enough, to take one of us by the wrist, the way she used to when she was young.
In God's name; Amen.

I hope that I have the strength. I know that she'll join the adopted sister that she adored but that doesn't diminish the pain of my breaking heart. I can't help but think that a bit of my heart, a bit of myself and a bit of my joy with go with her. That won't be nearly enough to repay her for all that's she brought to me. She was always there for me when I needed a cuddle. She was always vigilant in protecting us from all the evil that lurks. (Every night, she'd get up several times and check the windows and sliding door to make sure that everything was in order...we called it patrolling.) Life just won't be the same.

I'm not so cynical to think that I will never get over this...but a small part of me never will.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pets, "Children", OCD behavior & I don't deal well with loss

Kevin and I actually make a fairly decent living. We aren't the best money managers in the world and if the POD really does shut down(which is more than likely), it's going to be a lot worse. Anyway, that wasn't always the case. When we were first starting out...and still very much enjoyed each other's company (take that for what it's worth) of our favorite things to do on the weekend was to go through the Pet Shop listings in the phone book and go just to look. I usually gravitated towards the fish and Kevin liked the odd and unusual. It was a cheap way to pass the time and we had fun. When we started making a bit more money we started indulging. Since neither of us is into doing anything by measures or half-assed, we soon ended up with a chinchilla (which later became two), two aquariums, a cat, a dog, an iguana and a cage full of finches. (A hamster, Siamese fighting fish and various other things came later.) By all reasonable measures, it was an OCD binge run amok.

We started thinning the herd, finding homes for various things and very sadly, we lost our miniature Shar-Pei to cancer when she was just two. That was certainly a VERY hard hit. (When the incredibly stupid iguana bolted and ran into the side of its tank and broke its neck, it was sad, but nothing compared to the loss of our "baby".) For those reading who aren't playing on the same team, our pets, particularly dogs and cats, tend to become stand-ins for children. For all intents and purposes, they are our babies. To lose Piggy so young was a blow that took me a long time to get over.

(I'm going to skip over a couple of misadventures for the sake of space.) We still liked to visit the pet shops but it didn't have the same appeal that it once did. It was on one such foray that an event took place, without any hyperbole, that changed ours lives. Kevin was supposed to be looking at the birds and I had gone to the back to look at the salt-water tanks. I heard Kevin calling me in a really strange voice and turned to see him running down an aisle with a puppy in his arms. She had her front paws on his shoulders like a hug and Kev exclaimed rather loudly that "I love her!!". My shocked and nearly horrified response was that puppies are not gum to be thrown into the cart at the check-out on a whim. We'd think about it and come back if that's what we decided to do. He relented and agreed to a discussion.

As we drove back the next morning, his mantra was "She'd better still be there...She'd better still be there." I freely admit now that it was one of the best things that ever happened to us. Kangaroo was a hell-child as a puppy but she out grew that and we couldn't have loved her any more. She charmed anyone who met her and while I know I'm biased, she was one of the smartest dogs I'd ever come across. We bought her one of those big, round plush beds. We'd tuck it under our bed during the day to keep it out of the way. At night, we'd tell her, "it's time for bed, get your bed," and she'd grab a corner of it and tug and pull until she had it out from under the big bed and then fluff and scratch it until it was the way she wanted and then flop down and go to sleep. (We never managed to teach her to put it away again...but we tried.)

There are a lot more stories and I wish I had a digital picture to post...I'll keep looking and add it later, if possible. But the important part is that we lost her a year ago. She started having small seizures so we rushed her to the animal hospital where they ran tests and gave her a shot but couldn't figure out what was wrong. They sent us home and told us to go to the regular vet first thing in the morning. It wasn't long after we got home that she had a grand mal seizure and even going back to the hospital, she never came out of it. We had to make the decision to let her go. When she was little, and would bite, I'd bite her back (on the nose) to teach her not to. She remembered that and whenever you didn't do what she wanted, she'd pretend that she was going to give you a kiss and then bite your nose. At the end, we both kissed her goodbye and she lifted her head to bite us both on the nose. Kevin thinks that he was so out of it that she didn't recognize us and was actually snapping...but I know better. It was her way of saying goodbye.

So, I still have a hard time with that loss. But, several years ago, we adopted a deaf dog that had been saved by a rescue but she was still running out of time. They'd called her a boxer but that didn't look right so after researching, it turns out that she's a Dogo Argentino. Her name is Nellie. And less than a year after losing Kanga, Nellie is dying. We found a tumor and had it removed. Less than a month later, we found another and had a second surgery. Before the stitches had even been removed we found another and decided that we couldn't subject her to a third surgery in two months. Where Kanga was outgoing, Nellie is sweet and gentle. She, also, is our baby.
We decided to make her as comfortable as possible and realize that we'd have to have the strength to know when it was over. The vet gave her six to eight weeks. The tumors multiplied and grew but at eight weeks we took her back and he said that she was remarkably healthy and that it might be another six to eight weeks. In the last week she's taken a dramatic turn and it won't be much longer.

I've been wrestling with the question of which is better; to lose a baby quickly, with no warning or slowly. I'm grateful that we've had the extra time with Nellie but it's killing me that everyday, I have to watch her moving one more step toward death.

Nellie worshipped Kanga and was never really the same after her passing. At least this way, I believe that Nellie will once again be with the "sister" she adored. Kevin also believes that while Nellie has never missed out on anything or had a diminished quality of life because of being deaf, that she'll be able to hear for the first time. I hope, with all of my heart, that that's true.

Watching Nellie's labored breathing this morning, Kevin and I agreed that we need to spend the weekend making plans and coming to terms with what will have to happen next week.

My life has been infinitely better for having had Kanga and Nellie in it. There will be a hole that won't heal anytime soon. I really, really hate this!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Timothy, very graciously, gave me permission to post links to his websites. His personal site, which includes the interviews that I mentioned earlier can be found at and the site that he and his writing team maintain is . While I'm still skeptical about anyone actually reading this. If can I introduce anyone to a writer that I very much admire, I'd gladly do it. And if someone is as moved or enthralled as I've been, then so much the better. (and Timothy, if you do read this, please disregard anything that sounds needy or the like)

The Good, The Bad and Waring Blenders

It was recently pointed out to me that I've horrible about keeping up on this. Which is quite true. I'm going to try to be better about it.

Shortly after my last posting, I went on a trip to visit my grandmother in Arkansas. It ended up being a great trip. I very much enjoyed spending time with her and we did some fun stuff. We went to a botanical garden that was fantastic. I bring this up for a reason other than just the fact that I had a great boss called me while I was there (there are certainly down sides to cell phones) and informed me that the Utah Legislature had decided to closed down the nursery that I manage.

Closing the nursery is not just a short-sighted, ill-advised and eco-unfriendly decision, it's just plain stupid. Our governor had initiated several "green" programs and goes on ad nauseam about how "green" he is. Well, this is about as ungreen as it gets. There are at least a couple of programs in the state that are utterly pointless...perhaps even continue without the nursery to provide plants for. There is an effort in the south-central part of the state to eradicate an invasive species that been decimating the ecosystem for decades. They've found a beetle that does a great job of killing the offending plant but without replacement plants to stabilize the riverbanks, the risk of erosion is way too great to ignore.

On a more personal note, the decree from my department's executive director to the division director was to find the two nursery employees (inclusive of myself) new positions within the department. However, there is a soft hiring freeze in effect so that makes finding an opening a bit tough. I've been looking outside the state system but with what the current administration has done to the economy, there's not too much out there. Pickin's are slim as my grandmother would say. And truth be told, I'm more than a little concerned about what's going to happen under the incoming administration.

On a more pleasant note, however, I have a short story that's going to be published in an anthology. It's scheduled to come out in February. A few years ago, I picked up a book...the cover intrigued me. I read it in a day and hadn't even closed it before flipping back to the beginning and reading it again. I haven't done that very often and never so quickly. But, after the second go through, I did something even more out of character, I looked up the author's website and emailed him. I explained that I wanted to thank him for the book and how much enjoyment it had brought me.

He actually wrote back (which surprised me) and said that if I enjoyed that book so much, I'd probably also like the first one. I went out and bought that as soon as he named it and he was right, I did like it just as much. So, every time he came out with a new book, I'd write to him and he'd write back. (In the beginning, he hadn't developed quite the extensive fan base that he enjoys now so he had more time. I received a couple of emails, like one at Christmas, that I just couldn't believe where just to me and not a bulk mailing. When I asked him about these later, he confirmed that he had, in fact, sat down and written specifically to me. I felt like a cad that I hadn't responded to those.) Anyway, we've been writing back and forth ever since...and not just when he has a book coming out. When he found out what I do for a living, he'd write and ask plant questions...some of them tough. I had to look up answers for him.

I'd ask him for advice with my own writing and he's been a great mentor. In fact, in one such email, he mentioned that his publisher had asked he and a partner to edit an anthology. They wanted unknown and established authors. He asked if I'd be interested in submitting a story. Of course I jumped at the chance. I didn't figure that it would actually go anywhere but still thought of it as an excellent opportunity. I had a story that I'd been playing with and did some editing and rewrites so that it would fit within the parameters that I'd been given and then sent it off.

Not only did they not laugh at me (well, they might have, I don't know) but they liked the story. In fact, they mentioned using it as the center piece of the anthology (since then, some better, more established authors came on board and my piece was bumped a bit from the center but hell, it's still a story, with my name on it!!). My friend (and I have come to think of him as more than just an email pal...he really has been a mentor and friend...I told him that in an email not too long ago, I guess I was feeling open and vulnerable and while he didn't ridicule me, I didn't get the same, "I think of you that way too" response that I was kinda hoping for) asked me some questions for the publicity bit and one of them was inquiring if I was surprised by the invitation and the acceptance. WELL HELL YA!!! Anyone who knows me is well familiar with my singular lack of self-esteem and confidence. I need to ask him if he'd mind if I posted a link to his website...the interview is on there along with those of some of the other authors.

At any rate, I will, technically be a published author. At the risk of beating a story to a pulp, many know that my brother (again, should ask him about posting a link) is an author (among other things). He used to wax poetic that if he ever sold a really big project, he was going to buy me a Range Rover. I told him that this was really not necessary and that a Waring blender (Professional Bartender grade) would be great. He responded that he'd leave the blender on the front seat of the vehicle. Well, it's been a while and my bro has had things published, never sight or sound of my promised blender. So, when I got a whopping check for my story (it was less than what it would have cost to fill the gas tank of the aforementioned SUV), I kicked in a little extra and bought my own damn blender. I'm rather proud of it. It's only been used just half a dozen times or so but it makes great margaritas (if you like them slushy, which I do not) but it makes great pesto as well.

So, there you go. I've started blogging again, not too painful, and managed to fill up lots of space without actually saying a damn thing!! It's better that way. Trust me. More will come.