Most Recent Stuff
- It’s Release Day! New Novel by Jill Weatherholt #NewRelease August 20, 2019
- Three Reasons Why I Can’t Quit My Day Job #cats #don’tquityourdayjob August 18, 2019
- Mi Casa, Su Casa #amwriting #MondayBlogs August 12, 2019
- Under Construction . . . Soon #dancinginthedark #MondayBlogs July 22, 2019
- Changes Among Other Things #changes #growingup July 6, 2019
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Well, I can’t quit just yet. For those who read my post last week (click here if you need a refresher), let me assure you that all is now well in the Bailey & Brown household. Still, it was a rough week. Now, here are the reasons why I have to keep my day job (for now).
Reason #1: Wendy
Reason #2: Maxine
Reason #3: Junior
La Historia de los Tres Gatos
A week ago Thursday, Wendy got the ball rolling with a diagnosis of bladder stones. She hadn’t been showing any symptoms of blockage or pain. No, she was just in for her annual physical when the results her urinalysis suggested something was amiss. We left with a case of prescription cat food and a long waiting period for the stones to (hopefully) dissolve on their own.
The following Friday, Wendy decided she didn’t like the new food and went on strike. She refused to eat anything. Given that she was overweight, we figured she could fast for awhile and eventually get hungry enough to start eating again. By Sunday, not only did she continue to refuse any food, but it was obvious that the smell of cat food nauseated her.
That refusal resulted in a trip to to the vet on Monday afternoon. Our mistake was in giving her the prescription food right away and not transitioning her by mixing a bit with her regular food over time. Over the weekend she had lost two pounds.
A crash diet is not good for people or animals, so my husband brought home an assortment of prescription foods (dry and wet) for tummy troubles along with a few doses of Cerenia, anti-nausea medication. Wendy took to the dry food right away, but still turned away from wet food, even her old favorites. In desperation, I bought an assortment of “gourmet” cat foods that came in pouches: shredded chicken in broth; chicken and tuna bisque.
While all this was going on with Wendy, by that same Sunday, Maxine and Junior also decided to go on a hunger strike.
Imagine: Three cats all refusing to eat!
Thank goodness my husband is retired and could keep an eye on the kids. Even though Wendy had gone off her food two days before the other two, we suspected there was some common reason all three were now off it.
That week the heat index in Tallahassee was well into the three digits with high humidity. Up until Monday evening, the kids had free access to the back porch during the day. We had been marveling at how all three couldn’t wait to go out onto the porch only to drape themselves on the chairs and table like Dali’s kitties. When my husband ushered them in for a break late Monday afternoon, he noticed that Maxine was wobbly, like she was drunk.
He promptly locked the cat door to the porch. No salir!
Our cats love heat. They’re southern kitties and when temps dip below 90 degrees, they act like the ice age is settling in, burrowing into blankets and seeking out our body heat.
But, in hindsight, the heat this weekend was way past the boundaries of what they should be exposed to. So my husband kept them in, and they didn’t complain. Maxine found a nice box to curl up in, Wendy decided to settle in on my bed, and Junior played sentry on a desk in our living room.
Still, they didn’t eat anything but the dry food and only nibbles at that. Wendy, though, was getting better. After a couple of days on Cerenia, she started to eat her dry food with gusto. A call to the vet, and by Thursday evening, all three were taking Cerenia.
At this point in my writing (Sunday afternoon), they are finally back to eating wet food. We’re being cautious though, trying small portions of different over-the-counter varieties. Today, for the first time, I mixed a little of prescription food in with some Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals beef pate and crossed my fingers.
They licked their bowls clean. Can you say “Hallelujah”? (And I don’t mean “Hello Julia“!)
So what’s all this got to do with my day job?
Well, just this week:
- Two vet visits.
- Prescription food for Wendy to (hopefully) dissolve the bladder stones.
- Possible surgery if Wendy’s bladder stones don’t dissolve.
- Teeth-cleaning for Wendy once the bladder stones dissolve or she has surgery.
- Three weeks of antibiotics for Maxine because she has E. Coli in her urine again (oh, did I ever tell you that I now have to wipe her butt after she does #2 because the vet suspects poor hygiene?)
- Prescription food for Maxine because she also is in early stages of kidney disease.
Not on this list is the teeth cleaning (and removal) that Maxine had last month, and the removal of Junior’s last few remaining teeth earlier this year.
Am I complaining? Nope.
Times like this we are reminded not to take our furred babies for granted. I never felt so much joy as when they gobbled down their wet food today.
This week my husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had plans to go out of town for a couple of days, to enjoy a getaway in a favorite place, to bike a favorite trail, and to eat out at a favorite restaurant.
At the time we decided to cancel, the kids were getting better but we were still on edge about them. We also decided, that after going through such a rough time, we just wanted to be with them.
Pray, tell me, what “sacrifices” have you made for your furred babies?
I know some people think we’re crazy, but then, we are crazy about our kids.
Still under construction. Mind that step.
Things are changing around here. Just baby steps right now, but so far I’m enjoying the process. As I’ve already written about here and here, I’m trying to give my blog a more professional appearance. At least more organized. I’ll settle for that. I’ve added a page for my publications (few though they may be) and a page for links to the book reviews I’ve written. I’ve revised my About Me page and my Contact Me page.
Whew, organizing always tires me out 😉
Some of you may be aware that I also write on Medium, a place to read and write big ideas and important stories (their words, not mine). If you’re a Medium member, or even if you’re not, you can find me there at @marieannbailey. So far writing on Medium has been an interesting experience. I’ve made some new friends and read some really interesting and well-written essays, stories, and poems. Recently, I was published in P.S. I Love You, a Medium publication: “Bonita: A Short Story.”
What’s not to like about all that?!
Well, Medium is a different experience from blogging on WordPress. Not a better experience, just different. I’ve been casting about for a way to describe how they differ when it finally hit me.
1WriteWay on WordPress is my home, mi casa, where my friends, mis compañeros, come to visit (mi casa es su casa). Likewise, through WordPress, I visit my friends’
blogs homes and hang out for awhile.
Medium is like the Barnes & Noble in my town, where sometimes I meet up with friends for coffee and to browse magazines and books. It’s like a community center where you can learn about writing or programming code (or writing programming code), photography and travel. Or
listen to read ideas about politics, relationships, and sundry other topics.
Some writers use Medium as their only platform, the one place they express themselves. Medium does most of the work; the writer just needs to learn the different but limited formatting styles.
I believe in diversification, both in my finances and in my personal life.
On WordPress, we get to decorate our houses (or renovate as in my case here). We share ideas on themes, plugins, whatnots, and thingamajigs. We get to express our individuality in ways other than writing.
I was relieved when I thought of WordPress, or more specifically 1WriteWay, as my home and Medium as a community center. It fits with the introvert that I am, the homebody that I tend to be.
1WriteWay es mi casa y ustedes son mis compañeros.
In other news: my girls are driving me crazy.
Maxine has a chronic urinary infection that seems resistant to antibiotics. I’m grateful that she still has her appetite and seems no more cranky than usual for a sixteen-year-old cat with arthritis and in the early stages of kidney disease.
Wendy went in for a regular checkup and came out with a diagnosis of bladder stones. She shows no symptoms of a urinary tract infection, no crying or straining when she pees. But we saw the x-ray and it’s there. Our vets tend to be conservative so we’re starting with a special diet but today she decided to go on a hunger strike. Sigh. War of the Wills. I’m hoping she’ll give in because our only other alternative might be surgery. Double sigh.
Fortunately (as I knock on wood), Junior (our toothless one) is disease-free and just happy to hoover the girls’ food bowls when they leave bits behind.
How do you cope when your furred kids change their behavior and won’t say why?
In the past, I’ve known some writers who wrote both on WordPress and Blogspot so I’m not an anomaly. What are your thoughts on writing on different platforms?
I’ve done it. I’ve upgraded my WordPress account. Now I just need to learn how to use all my new fancy features.
It will be a slooooooow process. I’ve gotten good tips and advice from other bloggers, but given my day job, my WIP, and my cats, I’ll be taking baby steps. [What about my husband, you ask? Oh, he’s low maintenance and he gives me time to work on my writing and blog . . . unlike my cats.]
For now, let’s celebrate that I no longer have those rather vulgar ads showing up in my posts. Although I may very well come up with ads of my own.
A girl’s got to making a living somehow.
I just hope I don’t break my blog in the process and disappear into the dark.
But if I do, you might just find me dancing . . .
On Saturday, after years and years of waiting, I finally turned 62 years old. To some of you, I probably seem ancient; to a few others, I’m just a young pup. To the rest, I’m in good company.
Over the years I’ve become indifferent to having a birthday. Yes, the alternative would be worse, but I’m just too much of an introvert to want a big deal made of it. Small gestures are the best: goodies from Australia; Facebook messages with birthday emojis; a shower of Tweets; thoughtful cards from friends and coworkers. The small gestures make me feel loved but not overwhelmed.
I took Friday off work with the vague idea of going to a beach. All I knew is I wanted to wade and experience that bit of Florida that I don’t often make time for, the salty side of Florida.
We headed out and did what we do best–make up our plans as we go. First stop was The Edward Ball Dining Room at the Lodge in Wakulla Springs.
It’s an “old-timey” kind of dining room, spacious with tall windows, tables covered with heavy white tablecloths, low black leather swivel chairs. The Lodge’s website will give you the best feel of the place: https://thelodgeatwakullasprings.com/. It tends to be dark inside so I decided against trying to take pictures.
We had a wonderful lunch. The last time we had eaten at the Lodge was in March 2001, a few days before I was to have major surgery. The menu then was good but definitely heavy on Southern cuisine. It’s improved since with more salad options and vegetarians entrees. The Lodge also includes a soda fountain so, yeah, ice cream for dessert.
Back in the car with full bellies. It’s already late afternoon but we’re on our way again. My desired goal is to go to Mashes Sands Beach, a semi-secluded beach that we’d only been to a couple of times before, the last time almost two years ago, another “Living in the Moment” experience: https://1writeway.com/2016/07/05/living-in-the-moment-mashes-sands-and-more-fiddler-crabs-nature-fiddler-crabs/ .
We made another but slight detour, this time to the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory Aquarium. Another place we had not been to in years. As we toured the tanks, a young docent attached herself to me, making sure I got to meet and greet each urchin, starfish, and whelk they had. What’s a whelk, you ask? It’s a gastropod, or mollusk. Some, like the crown conch, are herbivores, but the whelks can be downright cannibalistic. Here are some scenes from the Marine Lab.
The Lab was great fun, especially for the little kids. We also saw nurse sharks and manta rays being fed. The aquarium part of the Lab is not huge; it’s rather modest and comparatively low-tech, but it’s purpose is more to educate than entertain.
From the Lab, we headed to Mashes Sands where we waded, Greg taking photographs of insects and me looking for signs of marine life. Thanks to our visit at the Lab, I had the added benefit of being able to name what I saw.
I’m not a swimmer, although I know how to swim, and I’m a bit afraid of deep water because I know I’m likely to not be alone (especially in Florida where the bays teem with sharks, and rivers and lakes teem with alligators and snakes). But I love being near water. In these moments, I feel like I could forget and just exist in peace.
My photographs of Mashes Sands pale compare to those of David Moynahan. Here’s some real eye candy: https://www.davidmoynahan.com/blog/2019/1/mashes-sands
To bring the day to a perfect close, on our way back home, we spied this:
That white speck is an albino squirrel. First one I ever saw in my life.
This was by far the best day I had in a long time, spent with the love of my life, cavorting with Nature. I hope you enjoyed it too.
Thanks for coming by to visit!
Is it too much to ask
That when I washed my face at the sink in my gym
I did not see the CNN news-crawl crawling with the words “another mass shooting.”
Is it too much to ask
That I don’t bear this knowledge alone
That I can tell my husband as soon as I get home, to share the pain, the horror
Is it too much to ask
That I don’t keep silent during dinner
That I don’t refrain from sharing the pain because he doesn’t know yet
I don’t want to be the one to break his heart
Is it too much to ask
That I wake up in the morning not feeling anxious and afraid
And when I do wake up feeling anxious and afraid
It’s only because I had too much wine last night, or had a bad dream that I don’t remember
Is it too much to ask
That I don’t get used to this
this murder-suicide that my country seems so intent on committing
Is it too much to ask
That I don’t feel a need to write these words instead of working on my novel or my essays or my short stories or anything but my grief over another mass shooting
That my grief doesn’t grow with every shooting, every time one person is injured, one person is killed
Is it too much to ask
To not talk about how mass shootings could be prevented if only:
if only that shooter hadn’t been bullied by his fellow students
if only that shooter hadn’t lost his job
if only that shooter had met a “decent” woman who would have sex with him
if only the Tree of Life Synagogue had had better security
if only houses of God were not perceived as sanctuaries
if only the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio had had metal detectors at the entrance
if only the yogis hadn’t been in child pose and at peace
if only the worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church hadn’t welcomed the shooter to pray with them
if only they hadn’t had so much faith
if only everyone carried a gun
if only we all lived in constant fear would we be free
Is it too much to ask
to live in a society that values the freedom to go about our daily lives unmolested and unafraid, not worrying about whether today is the day you die because you went
to your yoga practice
to your place of worship
to the movie theater
to a concert
Is it too much to ask
To live without fear
To live without being in a constant state of grief
I wasn’t born yet when my family moved in next to you.
My older sister got your heart first. You still had dark hair. You often told me how pleased you were when my family moved in. You never had children of your own. You never married. My family came ready-made for you.
Did your heart sing when I was born? Perhaps more than my mother’s heart?
Anyone looking would see how you took possession of me like a blood relative, like a grandfather aching for a child to caress and teach and spoil.
Your hair is now gray at the sides. I don’t remember this photo (I was only a year old) but it doesn’t surprise me to see myself as full in the moment, on your lap, feeling loved.
You wouldn’t miss my birthdays. Somehow it seemed that you enjoyed them more than anyone else, maybe more than me. I felt like everything I did interested you, entertained you. Even simply opening a gift, my self-consciousness starting to show, the one-year-old’s glee giving way to the four-year-old’s apprehension.
You let me be wild and plastic where my own family wanted me quiet and still. I didn’t have to be still around you. I could, as I often did, suspend myself between your refrigerator and chair. I wore dresses but acted like a tomboy, flashing my cotton underwear. I was too young for anyone to think twice.
You let me play-act. I’m a famous movie actress enjoying a drink by your pool. I spent more time in your house, your backyard than in my own.
It seems sometimes I hung on to you for dear life.
And we might have both liked cats … at least I did.
You served your country. You were inducted into the Army on March 9, 1942, a few months before you would have been considered too old to serve. Earlier they had rejected you because of your varicose veins, but then they changed their minds, as the bodies came home or soldiers went missing.
You told me how the other men called you “Pop” because of your age, how you wrote letters for the ones who could not write, protected the vulnerable from the bullies in the camps. You cooked, something you enjoyed anyway, until August 1944, when you were attached to General Patch’s Seventh Army. You never told me how you saw your friend shot in the middle of the forehead while you were both fighting from a foxhole. You never told me how you went into shock, had to be hospitalized, and then was sent back to the Front.
You did tell me you were captured by the Germans.
From a local newspaper: George Albers has been notified by the War Department that his brother, Corp. Theodore Albers has been reported missing since December 23, 1944 in Belgium. The last his family heard from him was December 15, 1944.
You remained missing until Germany surrendered and you were found in a POW camp. You were quiet about your experience, only saying that often you subsisted on only black bread and water and that you had to be deloused before leaving Germany.
As you saw the end of your life growing near, you talked more.
They would only feed us every three or four days. And we had to work in a steel factory. One day I said, “I won’t work if I can’t eat.” Well, that was the wrong thing to say. They wore these long, thick leather gloves and the guard hit me across the face, knocked my glasses off. Then he kicked me where I shouldn’t be kicked and beat me so bad I was in the hospital for, oh … five or six months. I don’t remember where they took me. Just I was gone for five or six months.
You got smaller over the years, and I got taller. The last time I saw you, the last time we hugged, your head rested on my chest.
You died on April 5, 1994, but you still live in my heart.
RIP Theodore Albers, World War II veteran, former Prisoner of War. Thank you for your service, but more than that, thank you for being the best part of my life.
I don’t think anything warms a writer’s heart as much as seeing her story in print. Two stories, double the warmth. You could triple or even quadruple my warmth by clicking the links provided below and ordering a copy or two which will net me a small commission.
Okay, I’m done marketing.
First up in my double-header: America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers!
See here, about halfway down the page, is my story title and my name:
It’s enough to make me dance in my chair.
The short story in in this volume is “Love Me Tender,” about one morning in the life of Irene Newkirk, a middle-aged woman coming to grips with her husband’s mental illness and the weight of caring for her teen-aged daughter as well as keeping up appearances.
I wrote my first draft of this story in 1992, in a fiction workshop with the late Jerome Stern at Florida State University. I remember being surprised at how well it was received and, in particular, Stern’s enthusiasm over how well I could “do cold.” Well, yeah, I can definitely “do cold” after surviving twenty-one New York winters in a two-story house with only a first-floor furnace for heat. They say heat rises, but when you’re on the second floor and it’s double-digits below zero, heat don’t rise high enough.
My second story is in this anthology, America’s Emerging Suspense Writers. The Deep South:
And again, my name and story in print. Swoon.
Even though I do not consider myself a Southerner, even though some don’t even consider Florida as part of the Deep South given its history and demographics, and even though my story takes place in upstate New York, I think it’s kind of cool being in an anthology that marks me as an emerging writer in the Deep South. Well, it’s kind of cool being in any anthology.
“Together Forever,” is a horror story, one involving a different middle-aged woman. Vicky Brooks is a real estate agent in an economically depressed part of New York. She yearns to escape the cold dreariness of her hometown and her husband. She hopes to get that chance with Miss Smith, a potential buyer for a broken-down mansion, except there is something rather odd about Miss Smith.
If either of these stories interests you, then I hope you’ll take a chance on my writing and help me fully emerge. Here again are the links:
Finally, here’s a correction for those of you who still have “Hello Julia” on a loop from last Monday’s post.