Miscellaneous thoughts for a Friday night

First, a big “THANK YOU!” to Jenny Hansen for this blog post. WordPress is not the most user-friendly platform (although I like it better than Blogger), and Jenny managed to simplify things considerably. Like I said, she’s my hero.

As if the Blogging from A to Z Challenge isn’t enough, I’ve also decided to tackle A Round of Words in 80 Days, better known to those in the know as #ROW80, in April. I need something to light a fire under me. The writing hasn’t been going as well as it had been, and given that it wasn’t going that well to start with…well, you get the idea. #ROW80 was part of the reason I started this blog. Like I said, it looks fun and I wanna play.

I’m about to undertake a major project: decrapulating my Documents folder. (Yeah, I’m one of those Mac people.) I’ve had this computer for over five years and Documents has become the junk drawer for electronic receipts, articles that I kept for whatever reason, bits and pieces that I’ve written and put in there, a formal folder for my writing that has become my junk drawer in a junk drawer, and files that applications (e. g. Dragon Dictate and Parallels) have put there. Wish me luck.

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Farewell, Lucy

We got Lucy as a kitten about ten years ago. Mary wanted a half-Siamese to replace Sherman, who was all black and didn’t talk so much as squeak. In Lucy, we got the noisy half.

A good thing, too: we had a kitten, Amy (another half-Siamese), who had somehow managed to get trapped next to the dishwasher and couldn’t get out. It was Lucy who raised hell until we went out to see what was wrong. Thanks to her, we managed to get Amy out safely and unharmed.

We also adopted two kittens, Homer and Jethro, from the guy next door, who worked at a scrap yard where there were a lot of feral cats. They trapped, neutered and released the mothers, and took the kittens so they wouldn’t become feral. Anyway, Mary and I had just lost Larry, who was an orange tabby who lived twenty years, just that morning, and before I could stop her, she had picked out the two orange tabbies and said, “I’ll have these!” We brought them into the house and did what we always did when we got a new cat: set them on the floor and let them wander around and meet the others. When we did that, we had the shock of our lives: they were too young to walk.

We took them to the vet, who explained to us that they were about a month old and hadn’t been weaned, which meant that we would have to bottle feed them, then use a dishrag to stimulate their little bowels into going. Fortunately, we didn’t have to do the latter, because Lucy, still technically a kitten herself, took over and cleaned the two of them up and did so until they no longer needed that sort of help.

Recently, as I posted earlier, Lucy hadn’t been doing well. She was hiding and getting skinny and a little weak. The vet had given us medicine to help her, and she did all right for about a week or two. We took her in Tuesday so they could draw blood and give her some fluids, because she looked a bit punk. She slept most of the rest of that day Tuesday and yesterday, and was pretty much out of it both days.

The vet called yesterday, and told us that while her phosphorus level was great, her creatinin (I’m not sure about that; it might be creatine) was sky-high, and to fix it would require hospitalization, more medicine, and us giving her subcutaneous fluids almost every day. Then, maybe she’d live another few months.

Mary and I discussed it, and decided that if the best they could promise was a few months, it wasn’t worth putting her (and ourselves) through the suffering. After discussion, we decided it was time to say goodbye and send her to be with Toby (who she came with) and all of the other cats we’ve lost over the years.

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, she came into the bedroom and it was like having the old Lucy back. In short, she was being a pain in the ass, clawing me when I was trying to sleep, then settling down. She slept with me all night, and I was starting to think that maybe we didn’t have to do it right away. However, when we put her into the cat carrier to eat, she wouldn’t, and was howling as only a Siamese (or the noisy half of one) can, and we knew we were doing the right thing.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

Man, I HATE Daylight Saving Time

Twice a year, the wise folks in Washington require that we disrupt our circadian rhythms by setting the clocks forward by one hour in the spring, and setting them back by the same hour in the fall. It kind of makes sense, since by doing so the sun isn’t rising at 5 AM during the summer, and the clocks are reset so the kids aren’t going to school in the dark during the winter. I’m not complaining about that, although the sun just started rising at 7 AM here in the South, which is now 8 AM Eastern Daylight Time, so the kids end up going to school in the dark anyway. But I don’t have kids, so it doesn’t matter to me.

Back when I was much younger than I am now, Daylight Saving Time (note: not Daylight Savings Time) started on the last Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday in October. That made sense: we had six months of Standard Time and six months of Daylight time, everyone was happy and no one got hurt. Sometime in the mid-1970’s, in order to save energy, we observed the “spring forward” part of DST, but didn’t set the clocks back for a couple of years. That was fine, too; there weren’t the couple of days after the clocks were changed where everyone wandered around lost, asking each other, “What time is it? It feels like it should be earlier/later.”

Now, with DST starting in March and ending in November, we have eight months of Daylight Saving Time and four months of Standard Time. To put it bluntly, why don’t we just go ahead, set the clocks forward one hour, and be done with it? We did that during World War II and it didn’t create a problem, and people weren’t spending several days trying to reset their internal clocks. As I mentioned earlier, we did it in the ’70’s and the world didn’t come to an end. The people in Arizona and Hawai’i never change their clocks, and it’s not anywhere near as bad as if they never changed their underwear…Well, I think you get my point.

No doubt by Wednesday or so my internal clock will match the clock that everyone else runs their lives by, and it will no longer matter. Until November 4, anyway.

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I wanted to put in a word for 750Words.com, a webite that I’ve been using for three weeks now, and will probably use from now on. No doubt, you’ve read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, and have heard of “morning pages”. Her rules for morning pages are three longhand pages written when you first get up in the morning, the idea being to kickstart your creativity in the morning.That’s all well and good, but I lost my ability to write longhand five years ago, and I have things that I need to do before morning pages, so I was under the impression that they were useless to me.

Nevertheless, when I ran across the site, I just had to try it. And I realized that, as nice as it would be to write three longhand pages when I first get up, typing them (750 words is three typewritten pages) after I’ve done what I need to do and while I’m having my coffee works just as well. As they say, rules are meant to be broken.

You don’t get rid of me that easily….

My apologies for making everyone who reads this blog think that I’d vanished from the face of the earth (you HAD been worried about that, hadn’t you?). Life has interfered some: I had a cat, Lucy, who was ill. The vet believes that she’s showing early signs of kidney failure and gave us a phosphorus binder to give her once a day. I’m happy to report that Lucy is just about back to what passes for normal in her crazy life, being noisy and nosy, as Siamese cats tend to be. (She’s actually half-Siamese; as I tell people when I talk about her, we got the noisy half.) We’ll have to continue to give her the medicine for the rest of her life. It’s a small price to pay for having her around. She definitely adds adventure to our lives.

Another reason for my absence has been that there hasn’t been anything worth writing about lately. I’m doing a lot of writing and a lot of reading, and trying not to get swamped by social media. I had a good friend of mine quit Facebook for a time because she learned, as I have, that Facebook is a real time sink, and she had other things to concentrate on. I’ve started limiting my FB time to fifteen minutes several times a day so that I can get things done as well, including writing, having a life and doing what I can around the house so that Mary doesn’t feel that she’s the only one doing anything around here. (I won’t even go anywhere near Pinterest, because I’ve heard several friends say that they go there early in the morning and are still sitting in front of the computer in their pajamas until late in the afternoon.)

On the other hand, I found that Twitter can be a valuable tool, especially in keeping up with local news and weather. The other night, we had lots of severe weather, including thunderstorms and, as I learned later, an EF-1 tornado that struck not far from where we live, and Twitter proved to be more effective in letting us know that we should take cover than the TV news. I even tweeted from the shower, where I had taken refuge because I have trouble getting to the basement.

As a side note, my Internet Service Provider (whose name rhymes with “bombast”) did an outstanding job in keeping my service going–surprising, since I’ve had trouble with it going out to lunch a lot recently. I think that it’s technicians in the area who are playing with the wires and knocking my service out, which they deny vehemently when I call to find out what their problem is. Anyway, after talking to phone support on Friday afternoon, I haven’t had a problem. Of course, they wanted to send a service technician to the house, which is their way of saying “we’re tired of hearing from you, so we’re going to make you wait all afternoon for the guy to show up, ha ha ha screw you”, and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, so I let them set up the appointment and cancelled it this afternoon.

(Maybe it’s leprechauns. Ya think?)

I’ve been  writing every day at 750 Words, and finding that it’s helped me a lot, because it forces me to write every day. I need to be forced sometimes.

Verbal or written critiques?

I have a question for those of you who are in writers’ groups: When you receive a critique, do you prefer only a written critique, only a verbal critique, or a combination of both?

We had a discussion on this the other night in our group. There are some members of the group that prefer not having the critique presented to everyone else in the group; others feel that having verbal presentations is a part of the process as well as part of the fun. I can see both sides, and I’m fine either way, but I was curious to see what you thought about it.

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I just wanted to thank everyone who’s left comments so far. I’m still new at this, and as such I’m not posting regularly and haven’t been replying to comments like I should, for which I apologize.