Tag Archives: reading

Dog, Cat and As the World Turns

Note to self, remember to bring the poor cat inside tonight. Cat has been sequestered for days while the dog was visiting. At the first chance of an open door, clear of an intimidating looking muscular but actual cream puff of a bulldog has gone back home to my son’s house, the cat has bolted outside. It is dark. Coyotes lurk in the nearby bush.

Cat has made a break for it. Anyone would after sitting in a wicker basket on a high dresser for two days. Food, water, litter tray and a nice oscillating fan to stir the air is nice enough for a cat staycation for one day but after that it gets old fast.

Since the dog has left I can eat without worrying about the head butts against my leg that signal begging for food. My books, glasses, coffee cups, journals and pens are safe from being snatched or knocked over. The large bay window with it’s wide lower ledge in the living room is now just a window rather than a showcase for a chubby bulldog to stand in, prance around on and bark at passerby’s, tousle around the new spiffy drapes, lick the glass panes and sleep upon for hours. Things are returning to normal except for the cat escape.

Point being?

We all get a bit set in our ways. We do things the same old way. It’s good to hang out with interesting characters but send them home once they become a bit much. Let loose when you can. Get out there. Take a chance or two. Watch out for coyotes and leave the porch light on.

 

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Uh, Just Give Me Time…

Knowing what I wrote in my last post, about being on the ball and getting things done because the dog was visiting and I had to focus on everything better and the end result being that I felt more inclined to blog and possibly write for my stockpile as well, I seemed to coast through another day and let things happen.

Groceries were bought at 9 am. Who does that? Misleading energy event. Once I got home and unloaded the car and put the milk and eggs in the fridge I had my breakfast, coffee, journal time, read for an hour and fell asleep again. Dog spent quality time with an eleven dollar bone. (Once more, who does that? Buy an eleven dollar bone?)

Later on in the day a few pots of herbs got moved to the back yard and I had a visit with my sister-in-law, drank coffee, went home and peeled potatoes, scrubbed some veggies and overbaked some chicken

. Dog and I spent the evening watching the neighbours go by from the big window. Dog barks at people with dogs because she is brave and strong sitting inside looking out, at people going by with flashlights because they are obviously up to no good and at me because I’m reading quietly rather than giving her a back rub.

Cat stays clear. In hiding. Bribed with expensive succulent cat pate. Waiting. Hoping dog will vapourize.

Dog wants to cuddle but she is a chunk and barely fits on my knee while balancing on the footrest of my recliner. An hour passes. Back rub and soothing messages later, before she tries to nest under my chin , she is encouraged to move her sturdy eighty pounds of bulldog off of me and go for one more outside break before being stuck in her crate for the night.

Outside it is very dark, pitch dark and village rural. Skunks, racoons and possums swagger along the lane. Rustling noises, looming shadows from trees caught in the light from our porch and the threat of garbage cans put out for morning  are thrilling enough for the dog. She willingly makes it a quick trip and nips inside for a good sleep in the crate. Covered up with her kitty screened decorated blanket ( giant brown and white kittens with huge big green eyes) and savouring the last peanut butter treat for the day, she sleeps and I write.

Nothing earth shattering. Poised for inspiration, though.

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Muse It or Lose It

What is there about having the dog come to stay for a few days of respite care, or as my son refers to it as holidays, that stirs my desire to blog, yet again? There have been blog bog down periods before and somehow as soon as the dog appears a rattling at the door and skiddering in the hall, the house takes on a new vibe conducive to a variety of projects, those left for a rainy day. Without the dog, the house and all the projects of which I speak so fondly, just exist in their own quiet way , no pressure to complete at any breakneck speed or deadline. However, having the dog here a routine seems to surface and jobs like cleaning, gardening, shopping and other assorted daily tasks need to be done in such a manner as to accommodate the care and needs of said dog. Rarely, does the cat have this effect on me. Indeed, the cat and I have come to an understanding. Food, water, shelter and some quality sleeping time are the basic requirements of cat . There is none of this stick to a routine stuff with the cat. The cat doesn’t care.

There is something very healthy about having the dog here, for holidays. Vitamins and supplements, often forgotten are suddenly ingested as energy to deal with things is a priority. Piles of projects begin to dwindle, oddly enough as I’ve already mentioned…mainly because with the dog here things cannot be left just sitting around waiting for a rainy day or a sudden inclination. For example, half empty paint cans must be removed before a catastrophe happens that would be most regrettable. Laundry might as well be done on time rather than just accumulate until the seasons change. Stuff gets put away, out of reach, out of dog range. Garbage gets carted to the curb exactly on time, thereby avoiding being dumped during a sniffing around episode.

The writing routine, long avoided, set aside, almost forgotten and definitely ignored suddenly skidders in too. Journal writing takes on some streams of thought, to-do lists start appearing on my writing desk, bulletin board and refrigerator. The reading diary gets filled in during the quiet times when the dog is sleeping beside me and I feel more inclined to sit and read all the books that I like to read rather than try to read stuff recommended by others. Finally, late at night with all the shenanigans of the evening play, bone chewing and treat sneaking over for now, with the laundry sounding off it’s finished cycle, and the loaded dishwasher ready to do it’s job, dog covered up in her crate and cat somewhere behind the drapes….I write my blog once more. A good thing, to start again and it will lead to more writing…. the writing project left in a pile, for example.

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Nomad?

A berry crumble day, laundry going to beat the band and a pile of library books stacked and ready. One more day of doggy duty involving wild times in the snow banks at the side of the house and spot cleaning. Tomorrow, son and dog move yet again. Within my driving limits, they will be only thirty minutes or so away, so close but on their own. They are modern day nomads.

I’ll read all day and night if I want to and no saucy pup will be barking at me to smarten up and feed her or walk her or play with her or deal with any late night disturbance outside on the yard such as a rabbit zipping about, owls hooting in the big old tree or next door neighbour putting out his garbage. Once the floor is clean and washed and all the pee pads are trashed things should really pick up.

Tomorrow is still a busy day of details. The day after will be a recuperation with feet up in between tidy up. The day after that will be back to dealing with unfinished projects. Can’t wait.

As an ancient Scottish ancestor might have said…”.I’m no mad but just a wee bit wearie Dearies….”

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Type B Willy Nilly

One thing I have done this year is read. My book lists from reading book blogs around the world have kept my local library on point I dare say. Sometimes I get just one book from my list. Sometimes several. Sometimes I get funny looks from the neighbours as I haul two huge bags full of books to the car. The librarian is delighted and so is her supervisor (so I hear). The tiny library puts out the call and the inter-library loan answers as best as it can. A few of the books have been not entirely to my taste but every single one has been well written.

My free spirit will not allow me to record in depth each title, author or review of each work. My system is to simply read a variety of book blogs, jot the book title, author and maybe a few other details on a single piece of note paper and bundle up all the notes for my librarian and hand them over when she calls me to let me know something has come in for me. It is like a lottery. I never know what it will be and I take what I can get, gladly. Do I miss any of the books that she can not find for me (rhetorically asked)…no. Hundreds of books have passed my way this year!

One thing I have not done this year is write. I have written some blogs and a few short stories. I had a short article published and one of my poems included in a day journal for charity. So happy, happy, happy about both little events but for some reason not so inclined to send out too much else. The writing stockpile is still under the desk with revisions pencilled in but not permanently worked into a polished piece. Still, the great question. What is it I want to say when I do commit to writing something .At this point I am trying to outsmart the computer and avoid the weird little marks it is making when I chose certain endings and punctuations. Seriously,Ièmbaffled…see what I meanÉ!

All I know is I am a free spirit, making jot notes randomly and handing them over to a professional so that I can read what I want to read, decline the ones that do not entirely appeal and perhaps that is what my writing needs at the moment. My writing can be so Type A.

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Confession

It may strike some of you as odd that my printer is in a black shopping bag in the backseat of my car. It has been there now for over a month….uh, make that…two months. Thinking it was in need of repair I took it to my tech savy nephew to check over and advise me on it’s glitches. Although it was given a clean bill of health I just left it, abandoned and bagged. If I didn’t bring it into my study I couldn’t hardly use it, could I?

With no printer in the house my excuse for not working on my writing stockpile convinced me to just let it stay there for the time when it would be needed and work would then commence. It is not totally alone out there as I tend to keep things from garage sales and various projects awhile in my car until can deal with them.

With the chaos caused by my son’s belongings returning home for storage in the so called empty nest and then being claimed again in several carloads going in another direction I felt the need to sit in my  recliner, drink hot milky tea and eat fig newtons ( my favourite)  while reading Graham Greene, Mary Stewart, Katherine Webb and Laurie King . Visits from his bulldog also occupied my concentration and composure. Coping as best as I can with the commotion my printer and garage sale stuff faded into the background.

Any theories on this behaviour might reveal my underlying procrastination problems. Tomorrow, if not later tonight after I finish this blog , I will get the printer out of the car and place it on the desk beside the computer and hook it up like a normal person trying to develop a writing stockpile. I believe I have been cured or maybe I have just seen the light.

Once that simple act is done, the next step will be to use the new writing program purchased with my laptop…over two months ago. Ignoring the unfamiliar features and widgets on the program that intimidate me I will forge ahead and make use of the parts of it I understand. Most of the program is fluff stuff and I will never need it and despite my buyer’s remorse I will carry on with writing, filing, editing, saving and printing.

Time to make hay after the drought and being lost in the wilderness .

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Serendipity Geek

Something I would never do just for fun would be to list my favourite books. I don’t think there is a job posting available for this  that would pay me to do this either, but no doubt someone does this kind of thing for a living. Working in the book industry in any way would be a pleasant experience except for the ruthless culling of books not making the best selling lists. It seems like a great loss to me to just toss out a book because it isn’t trending well in the current market. Then again, the monumental selection of books, old and contemporary is mind blowing, overwhelming and fascinating. A method I have used in selecting books to give them a try is rather laid back. Mostly, I read the ones left on the library table by someone else or if they are in the sale barrel marked down, way down. Finding an interesting book left forgotten or on purpose on a public bench or in a taxi sometimes turns out well but may not be the most sanitized source.

I have surfed bookstores looking at each and every shelf until a title or author speaks to me. Sometimes this works but due to the expense of books it is risky and not advised. Recently, I’ve taken to reading book blogs and copied down titles recommended by reviewers and with the help of my helpful community librarian tracked many of these books down from the far reaches of the inter-library system within our province.  Once in awhile I still venture into the dark recesses of the second hand bookstores with an attitude of adventure prepared for finding something unusual, out of print and simply amazing. The appeal of  finding old literary treasures makes my day. Obviously this method  of book selection defies list making, as it should.

It is a magical thing when you find a good book that seems to be meant for you. The connection between the author and the reader can’t be restricted to a list. It happens.

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Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Made hot milk tea today and I kind of liked it. Made it twice. Making it again, right now. It just seemed to be that type of day. Cool enough to walk. Warm enough still to wander around a closing greenhouse. Long enough to do some never ending found laundry left by a flown the coop son. Time for a historical bibliography to be read fully in parts and skimmed in detail. A visit for coffee next door and a visit in the lane to talk about the kids. Emails checked for news pertinent, personal, comic and sad. Snail mail rerouted returned yet again, rerouted once more. Addressed wrong. Milk tea however, nice, even twice, perhaps thrice.

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Subdued

Night, draws in now. Darkness has a coolness and a quiet that feels like autumn is settling around the  village. Earlier, an emergency vehicle sounded a siren briefly but the night made the interruption become silent, the panic is elsewhere. Before that, at suppertime the nearby park was filled with the chatter and laughter of an end of season barbeque attracting all the locals . The people ate their church dinner in near dusk, saying to each other, all they had to say.Night lingers longer now, soft lights are sometimes left on, forgotten by the late to bed as they sleep in front of televisions turned low. The ones who stay up to read, finally exhaust themselves by early dawn and stumble to their rest. Writers forage for seeds fallen from the husk of the day. An old cat takes the very best chair and nestles into the woolen shawl left on the side, curled into her paws, She claims the late, dark softness, rightfully.

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Soup on a Pedestal?

At first, I thought I must have entered the wrong store absent mindedly, revelling in my new found freedom from intensive dog sitting. Looking around and beyond, I saw books on display but in my immediate space, entering the bookstore I was treated to a whole section of cozy grey wool blankets, tea making things, candles, table linens, dinnerware, yoga mats and baby gifts. Bookends, word games, giftwrap and you name it engulfed the side aisle of the store.

 Near the back of this long line of lovely things I found a display of children’s books that led in fact to a whole section of children’s games, toys and oh yes, some more children’s books.

Making a quick but thoughtful purchase of some children’s books for a family gift I made a dash out the door to avoid spending anymore money on stuff I most likely didn’t need. I was tempted but I overcame the impulse.

They didn’t really want me to buy books in that store. They wanted me to buy the illusion of the book reading lifestyle. Rare teas, rich chocolates, soft woolen throws and earthy looking pottery soup bowls on pedestals demanded my attention and my cash.

A  book lover all of my life, I keep warm while reading in woolen blankets crocheted by my sister, drink my tea out of mugs collected from garage sales ,enjoy the scent of finally using ancient candles stored for years in case of a power outage and eat my homemade  soup out of small tempered glass pot that can either be heated on the stove, oven or glory be, the microwave.

I used to go into the store to just look around at the books and breathe the bookish dusty atmosphere. I didn’t mind the scent of coffee brewing along the café side of the store. In fact I found it often a temptation I couldn’t ignore. Also appreciated were the many interesting chairs and tables around the very large store encouraging the buyer to stay awhile, read and then decide about a book purchase or not. Phased out a couple of years ago, the music section was another favourite spot of mine. Replacing the jazz, blues, folk and classical vibe are displays of electronic media stuff. Oh well. I can maybe find a music store before they are totally replaced by on line sources.

Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed and out of the loop, yet again. My idea of a bookstore keeps being made over and updated while I hang onto a dream place of quiet shelves, stocked with real books. The kind of store that the second hand type of bookstores have become. A little cramped, a little dusty, rather quaint but filled with choices and treasures of the literary kind.

I’ll go back. I always do. I know the books are in there…. somewhere.

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