Photo Challenge: “This week, think about TIME and portray it photographically.”

Cat Time

All felines have a time clock.

It tells them when it’s time to sleep and play.

It tells them when the human is expected to arrive home.

It tells them that although the human is sleeping, it’s time to get up and make noise.

And it tells them when it’s time to eat.

Natasha and I had a good laugh the other night. We were sitting mostly in the dark, on the couch, watching a Star Trek episode on Netflix. When the episode ended and it was time to move on to the next adventure with Captain Jean Luc Picard, Natasha asked me to turn on the hall light. It’s right next to the couch.

So, I reached over and flicked the switch to the on position.

Guess who was patiently sitting in the hallway, waiting for their 8:30 p.m. feeding? 

(This is about as patient as it gets.)

The door closest to Ziva (the one in front) is where the cat food resides.

These two are spot on (give or take an hour) with feeding time, especially in the evening. Gibbs and Ziva start circling around 8:00 p.m. Neither will come sit in my lap. They will alternately sit by the couch, staring, shooting “feed me!” darts at whoever will look their way and occasionally sending out a sorrowful meow from the depths of their empty bellies.

It’s pitiful, in a way.

Yet, to avoid any interruption in the space/time continuum of the felines, this human complies at the specified moment (give or take a few minutes). It’s not in my best interest to ignore, avoid or purposefully wait.

They both have claws and sharp teeth.

The feline time clock is real, it works, and cannot be denied.

Make it so, human!

“The only order in the universe is just a cycle of calm and chaos.”  ~Toba Beta~

Foggy Tuesday Morn

Foggy Calm – Tuesday, February 2, 2016

6:30 a.m.

Frosty Tuesday Aft

Snowy Chaos – Tuesday, February 2, 2016

1:30 p.m.

ConversationMom and I had a wonderful visit on Saturday. Given mom is minus a hearing aid at the moment, we were able to converse fairly well. I had to spell a couple of words for her, but that will occur even with two hearing aids.

Our conversation drifted from parents to siblings, to her own mother’s cooking, to how the food at the home sucks, to her children, to “why doesn’t your brother get married?” These are many of the topics on repeat that invade our weekly visits. In an effort to talk about something else, I asked mom a question about Evan, her husband and my father. She answered. That answered spurred on a memory.

“Do you know that Evan and I were driving in the mountains one time and he didn’t know where he was? Neither of us knew where we were. We just drove around and around and around. I didn’t know what to do, if I should cry or…”

Mom’s voice tapered off.

I asked her what happened.

“Evan said that we’d eventually come out somewhere. And we did.”

I remember, as a family, we would go on Sunday drives, in the country, watching for deer and enjoying the scenery. Mom would ask dad, “Do you know where we are?” He’d always reply, “No, but we’ll eventually come out somewhere.” I wonder today, given dad’s sense of humor, if he really did know where he was and found it funny to pull our collective legs.

Mom recounted that once she and Evan found their way to civilization in the mountains, they happened upon a little grocery store, from which they purchased two ice cream cones. All is well that ends well with ice cream.

Somewhat out of my mind, I then decided to explain technology to her. This is not always a bright idea with the woman who has asked on several occasions, “What is a computer?” It’s difficult to explain this technological wonder to someone who has never worked with a computer and probably doesn’t have an image in her head of what one looks like.

“Mom, do you know that cars have computers that help you find your destination? You tell the computer where you want to go and it tells you how to get there. It’s called a GPS.”

GPS“What is it called?”

“A GPS. Gee…Pee…Ess.”

“A TBF?”

“No. G…like in Gary, P…like in Peter, S…like in Sam. GPS.”

She finally gets it.

Mom asks, “It tells you how to get there?”

“Yes, mom.”

And now we interrupt this program with a totally different topic…

“Have you found a man yet?”

“No, mom, not yet. Maybe one of these days.”

Mom thinks for a moment and then says, “Can the computer tell you how to find a man?”

*daughter thinks, wow, if only…*

Yes, if only I could plug into the GPS what I’m looking for in a man and have it give me directions to a final destination. Better than, where the trip can be long and arduous and full of detours.

I answered mom, “No, it doesn’t work that way.”

Mom smiles and says, “That’s too bad.”

Yes, mom, it is. It truly is.

PhoneCall1Mom’s right-ear hearing aid broke a couple of weeks ago. I’ve since been trying to get it fixed and waiting for the audiologist to call me. The hearing aid needs a battery cover/holder that has to be ordered. Mom is down to one hearing aid and I’m sure that she and those that take care of her are struggling to have pleasant conversations.

Wednesday, as I was on the highway, headed home from a meeting, the phone rang. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it because I forgot to un-silence the phone and had the radio turned up to a sing-along volume. It was a call from the audiologist.


I called the number she left on voice mail. This number is a main answering line that services two or more locations. I can no longer contact the audiologist directly at her location. Calls are now funneled through one number. Herein lies the issue. Upon dialing the number, I get a standard, automated message: “Press 1 to make an appointment, press 2 if you want to speak to a nurse, press 3 if you want to reach Dr. So-and-So, press 4…”

You get the point.

I chose to stay on the line until I could be transferred to further automation.

“Thank you for calling. You are 7th in line. The wait time is two minutes.”

Oh boy! Only two minutes! (Herein lies a totally absurd assumption by me that it would be only two minutes.)

Que the symphony/piano Muzak. I would have preferred Journey or Whitesnake, but so be it.

“Thank you for holding. You are currently 7th in line. The wait time is two minutes”

Ummmmm…didn’t you tell me that two minutes ago?

More Muzak. And waiting. I believe 5 minutes has passed.

"Press 8 to be put on hold for what seems like 9 to phone back tomorrow."

“Thank you for holding. You are now 5th in line. The wait time is one minute.”

One minute! WooHoo!

The boring Muzak continues and I’m getting sleepy.

“Thank you for holding. You are 4th in line. The wait time is three minutes.”

Hey, wait a minute! You told me the wait time was one minute about two minutes ago. What’s this three minute nonsense?

I’m beginning to tire of the deadly symphony Muzak. I may need to pull over and take a nap while waiting.

“Thank you for holding. You are 4th in line. The wait time is four minutes.”


There must be something wrong with the timer for the wait time.

Five or six or seven or ten minutes later…

Phone Call 2

“Thank you for holding. You are now 3rd in line. The wait time is six minutes.”

I am [this] close to hanging up.

Nope, I made it this far. No Muzak or automation is going to hold me back from a deed that must be done.

“Thank you for holding. You are still 3rd in line, you naieve twit. This may take a while.”

No, it didn’t really say that, but it may as well have.

Shut up, stupid Muzak. I hate you!

There goes another five minutes of my life I can’t get back.

“Thank you for holding. You are next in line. The wait time is two minutes.”

Well, that’s more like it.

At this point, I am singing the Jeopardy last-question song. It goes on for another five or six or seven or ten minutes.

Finally, someone answers the phone.

“Hello, this is __________. How may I help you?”

“Yes, I would like to speak to Cathy ________ at your Oshkosh location.”

“What is this about?”

“It’s about my mother’s broken hearing aid. I’m returning Cathy’s call.”

“Okay, just a minute and I’ll send you through.”

Oh yay!

One ring.

Two rings.

Three rings.

Several more rings.

Voice mail.

“Hello, this is Cathy _______. I am unavailable at this time. Please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.”


“Hello, this is M-J, calling about my mother’s hearing aid. Please call me at this number.”

End of call.

So in summation: It took exactly 22 minutes and 53 seconds to dial a number, be placed on hold in the queue for most of that time, listen to crappy Muzak, talk to a live body, be transferred to voice mail, leave a message and hang up.

I suppose it could have been far worse.

I could have been on hold for 90 minutes…listening to a bad polka band.

And then get cut off.

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
~Yoko Ono~



“Boredom: The desire for desires.” ~Leo Tolstoy~

Queen Ziva:  I’m bored.


Jester Gibbs:  What do you want me to do about it?

Queen Z: It’s your fault that I’m bored.

J Gibbs: *huff*

Queen Z: What’s that suppose to mean?

J Gibbs: You’re as bad as the humans…blaming me for everything.

Queen Z: That’s because you are to blame for everything.

J Gibbs: *huff*

Queen Z: Face it, you deserve the blame. You can’t control yourself. If there’s a door to beat on, you beat on it. When humans eat their disgusting human food, you beg. When it’s time for the humans to go to work, you hide under the couch. If there’s a plastic anything lying around, you have an obsessive/compulsive desire to chew on it. If there’s a fake tree on the balcony that will bring you closer to a bird…

J Gibbs: Okay, okay, enough already. At least I’m doing what I can, in the midst of winter, to keep myself from being bored. All you do is sleep and eat, sleep and eat, sleep and eat – in between snoring, pooping and the goat sound that continues to make the humans laugh.

Queen Z: If it wasn’t for the lack of opposable thumbs and a way to earn money for kibble, I’d kill the humans.

J Gibbs: Well, see, that’s why you’re bored. You lack the social graces to go out by the humans and snuggle with them on the couch. You’re a bit uppity and bitchy, just like that dark-haired English woman who lives in an abbey and constantly picks on her sister. Why don’t you sit in their laps and purr loudly? You are totally capable. Instead, you wait until human mom is sitting on her throne or at the computer to act all lovey-dovey.

Queen Z: Excuse me, Mr. Conniving Brown Noser. I see how you get all up in their faces and try to act like a pathetic, slobbering dog. If you could make sad puppy eyes, you would.

J Gibbs: What’s a puppy?

Queen Z: Oh, stop pretending. You know full well what you are doing. It’s all a charade so that you can continue to be naughty and the humans will continue to forgive you.

J Gibbs: You’re jealous.

Queen Z: No, I’m bored. I desire something more. More treats perhaps.

J Gibbs: You don’t need more treats. You are looking like a rump roast these days.

Queen Z: I beg your pardon?

Rump_RoastJ Gibbs: Rump roast.

Queen Z: I call it pleasingly plump.

J Gibbs: Rump roast.

Queen Z: I am big-boned.

J Gibbs: Rump roast.

Queen Z: I am genetically predisposed to roundness. You can blame my mother.

J Gibbs: Rump roast, rump roast, rump roast, rump roast, rump roast, rump roast…

Queen Z: STOP IT!

J Gibbs: No! Make me!

Queen Z: You are so immature. If you were closer, I would dig a claw into your backside and draw blood.

J Gibbs: Why don’t you get up and do it? I dare you.

Queen Z: I would, but I am tired and in need of a nap.

J Gibbs: You napped ten minutes ago. Since then, you’ve only been complaining about how bored you are. How can you be tired?

Queen Z: I’m tired and bored. I desire a nap.

J Gibbs: Why don’t you desire something fun? How about if I chase you around the bedroom until human mom gets home? That would keep you from being bored, or napping, or turning your genetic predisposition into a furry cow.

Queen Z:  Meowrrrr. *hiss*

J Gibbs: Whatever. Do you know what I desire?


Queen Z:  I can only imagine.

J Gibbs: I desire roast beef instead of kibble. I desire open windows and chirping birds. I desire a new toy every day. I desire to never be yelled at again.

Queen Z: Good luck with that. You might get open windows and chirping birds in another three months. The rest of your desires are dreams.

J Gibbs: Three months? Really?

Queen Z: Get used to it.

J Gibbs: *huff*

J Gibbs: Hey, Your Thighness?

Queen Z: STOP IT!

Gibbs: No.

Queen Z: *sigh*

J Gibbs: I want to ask you a question.

Queen Z: Can you ask it without insinuating that I’m a tad bit overweight?

J Gibbs: Well, the human Natasha calls you fatso. You don’t do anything to stop it.

Queen Z: I swear, if I had opposable thumbs…

J Gibbs: So, can I ask a question?

Queen Z: WHAT?

J Gibbs: What can I do to pass the time until the human gets home? Suddenly, I’m bored.

*long pause*

J Gibbs: Well? Did you hear me?

J Gibbs: Hello?

Queen Z: *snore*…Zzzzzzzzzzzz…*snore*

J Gibbs: Stupid rump roast…*huff*

Weekly Photo Challenge: How do you fuel the fires of optimism?

Peninsula Park 018

The answer is in the waves.

I have the biking itch. In January. In Wisconsin.

I used this photo in a post last fall and in eyeing it again, I see the optimism of spring and feel the hope of an early biking season. The neighbor and I were looking out upon the shores of Green Bay, in September 2015, during a Door County two-wheeled trek. The day was absolutely gorgeous, the kind of day one wants to bottle and then release in mid winter when the cold overstays its welcome like a rude, uninvited guest.

Ahhhhhh…that’s better.

Optimistic waves.

Good for the soul and the itch.


“It’s nice out there!”

So proclaimed one of the bosses after walking in from outside.

The afternoon was partly sunny.

The temperature was a balmy 18 F.

Or -7.77 C.

Nice? Say what?

This is weather relativity after several days of bone-chilling, below-zero wind chills. I had been wearing long underwear, two pairs of socks, long-sleeved T-shirts under heavy sweaters, and not-so-cute-but-warm boots for much of the week. The many layers are necessary to keep from shattering teeth into a million tiny pieces.

This is when I dislike the term “frozen tundra,” given to Wisconsin in the throes of Old Man Winter. Actually, the term was given to Lambeau Field many years ago during a sub-zero football game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys. The Packers won with a quarterback sneak, but I’m sure both sides were ecstatic when the game was over and they could make their way back into a heated building.

Getting back to weather relativity…

Have you ever said, “Gosh, it’s cold outside!” when it’s 52 F (11 C) and raining?

Then, in the spring, “What a beautiful day!” when it’s 40 F  (4.4 C) and sunny?

Or are those temperatures cold for your part of the world at any time of the year?

Do you whine when summer heat and humidity gets out of control?

And then yearn for same at the first glimpse of cold winter weather?

When is it too hot? 80 degrees F (27 C)? 90 degrees (32 C)? 100 degrees (38C)?

When is it too cold? (Someone in Siberia or Antarctic can answer this question.)

According to one dude at church, it can’t be cold enough or gray enough this time of year. He loves winter. He doesn’t mind the short, dark days. One of the ladies standing near asked if he was a mole. I asked if he was a vampire. He shrugged and smirked.

Whatever dude.


I suppose one could say that 18 F is relatively nice for January 20th in Wisconsin.

Although, the forecast of 30 F on Sunday is relatively nicer.

And, relatively speaking, a warm, sunny summer day of 75 F is nicest.

When I can ride my bicycle.

What is weather relativity in your part of the world? Is the warmth of spring as welcome as the warmth of summer? What temperature do you consider too cold? Just right? Too hot? 

Based very loosely on Hamlet’s soliloquy, Act 3, Scene 1

ElizabethTo blog or not to blog, that is an unending question

Whether tis nobler with thy fingers type

The verbs and pronouns of outrageous silliness,

or to flay arms against written emptiness

And by doing nothing? To sleep with writer’s block

No more, I say, this shall not be an end

The heart aches for words in natural ability

To consummate a worthy post from flesh

Comments to be wished, to be liked, to be followed

To be followed, perchance to be pressed and discovered

Ah, there’s the challenge

For all bloggers sleep and dream dreams of what might come

When thy post is raved by mortal souls

Let us give pause, for this is respect

Gone is the calamity of longing

For those who bear the angst of stats and all-time views

No longer oppressed, proud of good fortune

The pang of a world’s love and an Aussie’s snark

The politeness of peers and the note

woman-writing-a-letterThat Huberman shall merit this worthy post

When he himself of perfect prose make

And of Krista? Cheri? Who would challenge fair

To photograph and sweat words of engaging life

But the dread and joy of living after discovery

The awaiting emails, the mass from the internet bourn

No blogger resists, nor one ever will

And makes us happily bear this curse we have

To write this prose to others known virtually

Thus blogging does make community of us all

And thus the familiar hue of family

Through sickness of winter cold and flu

And moments of absence, damn work and life

With regard, the blogger turns to the fold

And asks the name of action, hear me now

Fair followers, likers, commenters, in my words

To blog or not to blog?

Shall all my posts be remembered?

Thy apologies to Mr. Shakespeare and thy unashamed exploitation of spoken names @BenHuberman @KristaStevens @CheriLucasRowlands

What can one find at the book store?

Books. Duh.

And the alphabet in several forms.

I love the local Half-Price Book Store, especially when I can pick up a John Sanford hard cover for $2.00, order a book that will be shipped home for less than Amazon, and be paid for the used books that others desire. It’s also a great place for musical aficionados of CDs and vinyl and the odds and ends that normally adorn this type of business.

There would have been additional photos (so many letters!) except that Half-Price was filled to the brim with employees and customers. I felt weird, as it was, cowering in a corner to snap a photo of The Gigolos album. The last thing I wanted was a “What the heck are you doing?” glare from a customer and a “What the heck are you doing?” question from an employee.

My only regret was not switching the H and the M before snapping the photo. Duh.

For additional alphabet soup from the weekly photo challenge, click HERE.


I came across this sign at the local pub where Natasha, her daughter and I were watching the Green Bay Packer football game this past Sunday.

They won.

Go Pack Go!


Truth or no?

Do you have a great story from ordering a beer? Or another adult refreshment?

Can you debunk this supposition with an awesome soda story?

Relative to moi, I have a memorable soda story, but it’s not a great story. Several years ago, I had walking pneumonia and there was a critical desire to go to the local Walgreen’s for a liter of 7-Up. I was miserable, but made myself get in the car and go. Back at home, upon opening said soda, it turned into a volcano of fizz that landed all over the kitchen counter, the kitchen floor and on me. I had been fighting illness for nine days, with no end in sight. The volcano soda put me over the edge. I threw myself on the floor in a childlike fit and wailed, “Really God? What did I do to p*ss you off?” Then I called my co-worker and wailed (again) to her about how awful I felt. Then I called the then husband and told him to come home and take me to the ER.

Nope, not a great story. Rather, it is pitiful. A pitiful soda story.

On the other hand, I have fond memories and great stories of  beer and brandy old fashioned’s and wine and chocolate martinis. (You can read about chocolate martini therapy HERE.)

Not that I’m a big drinker or need intervention or hide bottles in the underwear drawer. Oh no, I’m very much a weenie when it comes to alcohol. My 96 year old mom could drink me under the table. Yet, I could tell a story or two of great times with a glass of adult refreshment in hand…

Celebrating freedom from a bad marriage

Celebrating a football win

Celebrating a holiday with family

Celebrating a mother’s birthday

Celebrating a co-worker’s retirement

Celebrating the ability to talk stupid and laugh lots with a friend

But this is not about me. It’s about you, the sudsy and fizzy readers of this post.

What is your beer or soda story? I want to know. Your fellow bloggers and connoisseurs of comments want to know. The world wants to know.

We’re waiting…


The weight of the world is upon her.

So miserably heavy.

She must sleep and forget.

Gibbs Sleeps

The world has no weight for him.

So playfully light.

He must defy gravity and remember.

(See additional Weekly Photo Challenge entries HERE.)