Gibbs has always wanted to be a movie star – the feline equivalent of Lassie – with a diamond-encrusted collar, a monstrous cat tree made out of finest, tightly-woven berber, a butler that serves his ego and his hunger, and a spectacular cee-ment pond full of edible goldfish. Today, I finally took the close-ups that he insists will make him a celebrity bigger than Taylor Swift and Hugh Jackman put together. These photos will be FedEx’d overnight to Hollywood on Monday (or so I’ve told him).

He expects a phone call by Tuesday.

Well, I guess you can be the judge…

Close-Up #1: The Innocent “I’m a Poor Kitty” Look

The Kids & Stuff 009

Close-Up #2: The Blue/So-Sad Period

The Kids & Stuff 012

Close-Up #3: The “I’ll Kill You in Your Sleep” Look

The Kids & Stuff 010

Close-Up #4: The Audition for Monochromia (or Fat Chance in B&W H*ll)

The Kids & Stuff 011

What do you think? Is Gibbs ready for the limelight? Is this a movie star?

Or shall his name be submitted to “My Cat From Hell!” for ego intervention?

Two weeks past, I went for a walk amidst the brown of early April.

Grass seized the only color, peeking its newborn green out of a former blanket the color of straw.

Trees held the first offering of spring buds, waiting to burst into naïve, pale leaves.


The creek crept contentedly past a thicket of brown bits along its bank,


and under the speeding wheels of a four-lane highway.

Destination unknown.


The path of April’s newness begins with shades of brown and wooden slats,


waiting for the splendor of color and life to spring in an instant before us.


Of pit bulls and human respect. Excellent read.

Originally posted on The Dad Letters:

Dear River,

I want to tell you a story about your dog, Zoe. We found her cowering at the pound. She wasn’t barking like the other dogs. She was simply laying there, looking up at us. The tag said, “lab mix” and she was slated to be killed in a week. We fell for it, thinking we were buying a lab.

She is not a lab. She is a pit bull.


As Zoe grew, we came to realize the pound had lied. I was scared. I felt irresponsible for letting this type of dog into my home. All of the stereotypes, preconceptions and worries filled my mind. Should I take her back? What would people think of us?

She is the definition of disenfranchised. When first time guests visit we lock her in her cage, not because she is dangerous, but because of unspoken fears. She receives wary glances from strangers as…

View original 637 more words

So says my mother.

Black 1Mom has a ratty black cardigan sweater that I have been wanting to replace the last few months. It is her “wubbie” of sorts, a cover-up when the A/C is too cold or the heat is not warm enough. It is also in a condition that Goodwill would consider ripe for the “no” bin. This black sweater is full of pills and pulls, linty pieces of Idontknowwhat and a hole big enough for a child’s hand to investigate. Yet, she seems attached to it.

The last few weeks, I have been searching online and in the stores for a replacement cardigan sweater. It hasn’t been easy because 1) the stores are packed with spring and summer merchandise, 2) manufacturers don’t seem to understand the concept of a simple, button-front cardigan sweater, and 3) the manufacturers that do understand the concept want to charge high prices for their understanding. In going through the web pages of what is considered passable for a cardigan sweater, I found 1) items that would look good on a slim 20-year-old, 2) sweaters that wouldn’t look good on anyone, and 3) cardigans that are so flimsy they would not keep a hot-flashing, 50-year-old woman warm.

On Saturday, though, I got lucky. I found a black, spring cardigan sweater hanging in a far corner of the ladies’ department at Kohl’s. They also had one in a pretty “opal blue.” The price was right. I grabbed both of them in what I hoped would be the appropriate size and felt a sense of accomplishment.

On Sunday afternoon, I went to see mom and to present her with the two sweaters and a spring shirt that I had also purchased at a different store. I was excited to see if everything fit and met with a certain someone’s approval. I pulled out the black sweater first.

“What color is THAT?” were the first words across mom’s lips.

“Black,” was my reply.

“Black? I HATE black. Black is for dead people.”

“Ummm…mom…I wear black and I’m not dead.”

“You wear black?”

“Yes, mom, lots of black.”

She had a look of disbelief and disdain.

“Black doesn’t look good next to my face.”

Black 2I looked at mom, with the black sweater wrapped around her shoulders and buttoned at the top, and didn’t come to the same conclusion. I tried to tell her she looked fine, but mom would have none of it.

“Take it back. I don’t want a black sweater.”

“Ummm…mom…you are wearing a black sweater.”

“I only use it to cover up. I don’t go out in it.”

Yes, she does. Go out in it.

This go-around with a black sweater reminded me of a time, long ago, when mom and I were out shopping together. I selected a black dress off a rack at an unremembered store in the mall. Mom immediately frowned and asked me why I wanted a black dress.

“You need color next to your face!”

“But mom, black is sexy.”

Mom laughed.

“Mom, black is sexy. I love black.”

She laughed again.

I was not amused by her non-support, although she failed to mention anything about dead people at that time. For that, I was thankful. I also spent many years after that rebelling against mom’s disgust of black next to her face or mine. I still love black, I wear it often. I have black coats, black pants, black tops, black dresses, black sweaters, black shoes, and black socks. I was at my prime during the Biker Chick years when black was the expected color of fashion. I have to admit, though, that I often mix the black with bright colors because I have this dang voice in my head.

“You need color next to your face!”

Black 3Anyhow, getting back to the two sweaters and shirt I bought for mom. Both sweaters have to be returned because she needs one size bigger (mom liked the opal blue, so I’ll be reordering online with my 30% off coupon), but the shirt fit.

Mom asked the size of the shirt and I told her.

“What? So big?”

“Mom, that’s the size of your other shirts.”

“Really? You better check.”

Yes, it’s the correct size.

Mom had another look of disdain and it didn’t have anything to do with the color black.

I fully expect mom to shove her Starlight mints back at me this coming Saturday and declare that she needs to lose weight. This will be after we go out for her brandy manhattan and a lunch plate full of food.

Rest assured, mom will not be wearing black.

She hates black.

Black is for dead people, after all.

Happy Trails 005

Ziva Cat: Ohmigosh, mom, you really need to do something with that hair.

Mom: Shut up and go back to sleep.



As an early riser – 5:20 am – Monday through Friday, I often get the early bird special of a beautiful sunrise. This particular morning, on April 1st, it was a little chilly and I chose to take a photo from the other side of a car window that wasn’t completely cleared of the frost.


The very next morning, April 2nd, I was greeted by another colorful sunrise, this time accented with the onslaught of puffy gray clouds. Since then, the days have grown longer and the morning sunrise has turned into morning sunrays.

Either way, it’s a win for me.

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.  ~Susan B. Anthony~


On a brisk and blue Sunday afternoon, she was an emancipated, free woman.

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.  ~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle~

The virgin ride of the season, spirits high, she thought of nothing but the mount and the road before her.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.  ~James E. Starrs~

So true, she rejoices! So true!

Back on March 15th, I wrote how mom’s KitKat habit switched to a Starlight Mint habit. (The latter is still in full force.) The comments were wonderful, but I had a special back-and-forth with The Master of Something I’ve Yet to Discover, who tried to educate me about TimTams and the war between Crunchies and Violet Crumbles. I got the distinct impression that this is the Australian “Hatfields vs. McCoy” war of candy bars. I relayed to The Master how difficult it is to pick sides without ever having eaten any of the aforementioned. I suggested an overnight Fed-Ex delivery.

Fast forward a few weeks and a Scot wearing a glengarry in New York City went to the UPS store and sent a package to a cheesy sort.

It arrived on Friday.

TimTam Assortment 032

Thank you Master H, you are too sweet! I was so excited to receive this box that I took very little time in looking over the property…

TimTam Assortment 033

and inspecting the merchandise…

TimTam Assortment 034

Golden Hokey Pokey Honeycomb covered in Cadbury milk chocolate. I’m not sure how a song and participation dance from the 1940’s and 1950’s relates to a candy bar. Is it required that I stick my right foot in and shake it all about while taking a bite? The Crunchie reminded me of a cross between a Butterfinger bar and Angel Food candy, a confection that is prevalent around Christmas. It was also extremely sweet.

Have you picked up on my affliction for dark chocolate in prior posts? And that I went on a two-week sugar purge to reduce my cravings? I bet you did. Anyhow, they might be the reasons why I found the Crunchie bar to be too sweet. As the honeycomb crumbled all over the counter, the sugar blast hit me hard. As a 10 year old, I would have LOVED Crunchies. That was a time when I ate sugar dots off pieces of wax paper and drank flavored sugar water out of wax bottles. (Lots of wax here, but that has no bearing on anything). On Friday, the Captain Crunch taste buds of long ago were sending the Crunchie taste buds down the gang plank.

I know, The Master has to be saddened, as well as the rest of the Crunchie-loving world.

Or you’ve all fainted in disbelief.

My apologies.

Get up and keep reading.

To make matters worse, the TimTams didn’t fare much better. A little less sweet, I found them to be just “okay”. As much as I wanted to revel in confectionery heaven, I couldn’t get excited about the little chocolate biscuit. Not good – I will never be an honorary Australian.

So, my next conundrum was passing on this information to The Master. Dare I be honest? Or do I reply with an, “Oh Master, you are so wonderful for sending me that most delicious and yummy and wonderful chocolate. It was to die for and I’ve eaten every last morsel. I love you forever!” What you, dear readers, may or may not know is that I am honest to a fault. No, I will not tell you that you are wearing the most hideous red shirt ever (that would be mean), but I will tell you to go in the bathroom and pick out the green that is stuck between your two front teeth. In this instance, I had to tell The Master the truth.

Over the last week, The Master and I have been in secret email communique, sharing barbs and an assortment of useful and useless information. I let her know that I received the package on Friday and her reply was…

Ooh, goody. I hope you enjoy them. But if you don’t, feel free to be honest about it. I won’t be offended. I will doubt your sanity, but I won’t be offended. :)

I never said I was sane.

Saturday afternoon, I sat down to give feedback to The Master and said pretty much what I’ve written here. And then I waited. And waited. And waited. (I hate the differing time zones.) This morning, there was an email reply…

I am overwhelmingly happy that you gave me your honest opinion. I meant it when I said it. I’m well-travelled enough to know that often the standard food of a culture can cause the citizens to develop certain tastes and quite often those tastes just don’t translate across cultures. It explains Vegemite. :P

Whew, dodged a bullet. A blogging friend from across the pond remains a blogging friend. The Master is too sweet. She deserves an award of some kind (I think I still have a slightly used rubber band and shiny paper clip from my desk drawer at work).

So, the chocolate goodies have been mailed, experienced, and deemed not-so-great by Yours Truly. And The Master is cool with that. However, the final question of Crunchie and TimTam lovers everywhere would be, “What on earth did you do with the rest of our beloved chocolate hokey pokeys and biscuits?” Well, the answer is a pleasant one. I visited with mom on Saturday and gave the remaining chocolate to the health care aides at the assisted living facility. Aide Terry asked, “These are really from Australia?” Why yes they are, Terry! It did not take her long to sample the goodies because 15 minutes later, she came by mom’s room to proclaim the TimTams as really, really good! (Terry’s eyes kind of bugged out and sparkled when she said that.)


Unfortunately, the Crunchies bar was not touched during my visit and I have no knowledge of what the aides thought of this candy. Perhaps next Saturday I will get a full report. I imagine, though, that the TimTams were history by the end of the day and all that is left are some teeny tiny chocolate morsels left in a crumpled package.

To put an end to this post, I have to say this is one of the reasons I find blogging so enjoyable – connecting with sweet people like The Master. And having intelligent Star Trek conversations with bloggers like Dan. Snarking with another Aussie, M-R. Meeting author Andra Watkins in person (her books will rock your world). Always admiring Herman’s photos of Mr. Bowie. Enjoying the escapades and cookies of a Canadian named Joanne. There are many, many more, all of whom I enjoy bonding with in some way or another.

Thank you again Master H, for the special package. The Crunchie bar and TimTams might have been too sweet for me, but your good deed has not gone unnoticed or for naught. The postie* will reward you soon.

*Postie is a mailman in Australia – unlike a pastie, which is a meat pie of Michigan’s upper peninsula or a round, battered pie from Northern Ireland or something to cover part of a woman’s anatomy. Further explanations can be found at Wikipedia.

Flags Afloat

Afloat across the sky, they symbolize respect of a township, adoration of a state and allegiance to a country.

You do not have the right to access data in this universe.

This is a message I received when trying to access report information in a web-based program at work.

Hmmm…I wonder what they mean by “in this universe”?

Is there an alternate universe?

Do I need to go there to run a report?

Will I understand the alien data in the alternate universe?

Do I require the assistance of a tardis or warp drive or an IT guru?

How do I get access to data in my own universe, on my own planet, in my own office?

Does anyone have answers?

While you are contemplating a creative and crafty response based on your scientific knowledge, I thought I would transport all of you back to the late 80’s/early 90’s when I was in my early to mid 30’s and mom was in her late 60’s.


This picture beckons another question: What was I thinking?

Someone called and wanted their extra-large glass frames back. I believe it was a character from Growing Pains. It had to be.

The yellow dress I had on in the photo was really cute (I swear) and I wore it often until an inmate at the correctional institution (where I worked at the time) told me how good I looked in it.

Really good!

Really, really good!! *insert an ogling glare*

I never wore the yellow dress to work again. I became a customer of the Black & Dowdy Cover-Up-Everything store after that incident. I only dressed as the “real me” outside of the office.

TV was fun and silly during this time period. In 1989, the Simpsons aired on primetime TV after spending three years as a short on The Tracey Ullman Show. ALF, Cheers, Full House, The Golden Girls and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on the tube. When I first saw TMN Turtles, I thought, “This is a really stupid cartoon, it’s never going to make it.”

I should never be allowed to predict anything.

At the movies, in the late 80’s, I laughed alongside The Mighty Ducks and Look Who’s Talking while Ernest P. Worrell went to camp, then to jail and was finally scared stupid. In the first half of the 90’s, life took a serious turn with Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Pulp Fiction and a favorite of mine – Shawshank Redemption. I fell in love with Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.

This was a fun time for fanny packs, lace finger-less gloves, rollerblades and the Macarena. Did any of you dance to the Macarena? 

But I digress. Let’s get back to those darn glasses of epic proportions.

In trying to make myself feel better for my HUGE faux pas, I went in search of other fashion choices  of the 80’s and 90’s that were similarly bad, made by other people.

bad 80s hair Bad 90s Twins

bad gold suit Bad Hair 80s

Wow, someone wants the gold lame, big hair, big hair mullet, Batman T-shirt and all-kinds-of-wrong jumpsuit back. Wow.

I feel somewhat better. Batman guy had the bad hair AND the over-sized glasses.

If there was ever an alternative universe that I had access to, this was it. Here was a wide range of topics on which to report: bad hair, bright clothing and big glasses. Topics worthy of some memory loss. Can a Vulcan help us forget? Or do we need a Time Lord?

I’ve been rummaging through old photos again and some of them are fabulous and others I would rather burn at the stake. Most days, I don’t consider myself a photogenic person. I just happened to look really adorable on the day I wore a yellow dress and big glasses. And mom was adorable too. I look back at the photos of my youth and adulthood and I seriously wonder why I let someone cut my hair like that or why I wore flowered bell bottoms or why I allowed my brother to walk around with high-waters. Then I find a photo of myself at four years of age and I look adorable again.

Do you have a photo you’d like to burn? Or one that screams “I’m cuter than a bug’s ear?” Or one from the universe of big glasses?

I’d like to know.

Along with scientific answers to at least two of my questions.

And a report.

I’ll wait…

Nope, it shall not be the former husband.

Or the turtle I had as a child.

Or the cockatiel named Banana.

Or the awful boss from 24 years past. Why would I?

This time of year, in the youthful days of spring, I miss him the most.

I hear the roar of his brethren and sisterhood in the distance and it gives me chills.

I know he’s out there somewhere, racing in the wind, guiding a free spirit along blacktop trails.

I am jealous, he is no longer mine.

Given up for the sake of something new that never satisfied.

He satisfied.

I remember his countenance, his enticing form.

He was a stud of movie star proportions.

George Clooney, but even better.

Shiny, sexy, deep red and black.

Adorned in hard steel and iron, smooth chrome,

and a leather he beckoned me to touch.

Right there.

My love had a deep, throaty growl and a vibrato that moved the woman in me.

His mighty shield protected me.

His pegged hands held my feet.

I was held softly in the curve of his lap

and by the strength of his back.

This being never talked back, unless he was ill.

He never quit on me, even in the dead of summer’s heat.

He encouraged me when I was in graveled despair.

He whispered gratitude when rescued from a cold winter’s grave.

This love I once held close

in the days of shared sun, wind, rain, cold, heat and bugs.

The days of shared exploration and relaxation.

I wish I could straddle handsome George again

and feel the beat of his iron heart with mine.

Share the ride of ecstasy.

I still miss him.

Miss him bad.


Dad 1961

“Hello? Is that you? This is me!”

When dad was alive and he would call, more often than not, that would be his opening line. On other occasions, he would simply say, “This is your dear old father.”

I found a photo of him cutting a birthday cake in 1961. I cannot figure out if the photo was taken on March 9th (his birthday) and developed in July or if this was a late celebration. At any rate, dad turned 44 in 1961, his face reflecting a very handsome man – husband to a pretty lady and father to two adorable children, ages 5 and 3-1/2.

This Easter weekend, mom made me think of dad by swearing. She recounted a story of years ago, before she met dad. Mom was working at the grocery store and people were lining up for day old bread. One of her co-workers was disgusted by these people and their excitement over the discounted price. Mom continues, “And then this guy says loudly…those sonofabitches…”

(Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything at the time, because I would have spit out liquid. Mom never swears.)

“Yeah, he called them sonofabitches, and then the manager fired him. Can you imagine?”

I could barely contain myself. Mom remained serious, until she realized I was engulfed in giggles. Then mom smiled herself and I thanked her for the day’s chuckle.

As I’ve mentioned in at least one prior post, dad had a dry, killer sense of humor. His smarty-pants retorts were fabulous. When brother’s girlfriend told 93-year old dad that her house remodeling would be done by December, his quick reply was, “What year?” (She had been the victim of a bad contractor who took forever to never finish the job.) When dad would make contact with me at work (after trying several times with no answer), his first question would be, “Were you in a meeting or were you in the bathroom again?” Dad’s other humorous events would include dressing up in crazy costumes for Halloween and stirring my adult drink with his finger while recounting how he just went to the bathroom.

Really, dad? Ewww.

Anyhow, mom’s humorous story reminded me of the man behind the birthday cake. He would have been 98 this past March. I still miss his voice, but I really miss his humor, the retorts, and the smart-aleck questions related to my bathroom habits at work. Mom tends to have a more reserved and serious demeanor and it’s the strange questions and stories brought on by her dementia that usually elicit a chuckle or two from her children.

When dad was living, he was one of the few that would laugh at his daughter’s stupid humor because he knew from where it came.

It was the alien in the spaceship.


In reality, dad was never sure if he made contact or if he was just being silly.

Now I’m being silly.

Happy Belated Birthday, Happy Easter, Happy Giggles to my Dear Old Dad.