Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Frank Lloyd Wright Find at Auction

A few weeks ago, we went to a local auction house. We coveted this pretty pair of Arts and Crafts candlesticks. We had agreed on an upper limit of $200, so we stopped bidding when it reached that price. The other buyer got them for....$200. Which is probably just as well. Who knows how high they would have been willing to go? Plus, we have too much stuff as it is. But they sure would have looked nice on our dining table.

Theyalso had a lot of books, including a bunch on Frank Lloyd Wright. We (especially Frink) have lusted after the the collectible Selected Drawings Portfolio, issued in 3 volumes in a limited edition of 700 copies by Horizon Press. These are huge 17 x 21 books with loose leaf, colored reproductions of the presentation drawings Wright gave to prospective clients. Some are for buildings that were never realized. The books are listed online for $1500 or more apiece. The auction house estimate was $600-800. Even that was way more than we could afford. But after losing the candlesticks, we stuck around to see what would happen.

We bid on several other FLW books, usually competing with the same two buyers. One guy, a stocky, long-haired fellow in a white t-shirt, was very determined. We were sitting in the back of the room, he was in front. When the FLW books came up, he just held his paddle steadily aloft, not raising and lowering it like everyone else, not looking around to see who else was bidding. If this was meant to intimidate, it did. We had set our upper limit on everything, generally $60, and when the bids reached that point, we stopped. (Thanks to Frink: I tend to get overly competitive and excited in auction situations, but Frink has a very steady and cautious approach.) So, White Shirt Guy got several lots of books for $60. We did win one book that sells online for $150-200 (a steal at $50.)

Then the 3 volumes of portfolios came up. Now, we had no delusions that we would be able to afford one, but had discussed what our upper limit would be if, by a fluke, they went for less than the estimate. We settled on $300. In the pitch of excitement and confusion, we dropped out and the first volume went for $275 to White Shirt Guy. Then volume two came up, and we bid. Amazingly, we got it for under $275!! Volume 3, which is usually the most expensive of the three, went to the other person who was bidding for the great price of $400. But we left very happy. And determined not to eat out or otherwise spend money for the next couple of months.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Neon Blue Laser of Death

I have two questions for the universe: When did red lights on electronics become blue? And why do our TVs, CD players, clock radios, and laptops have little glowing laser beams anyway? Are they all going to come to life some night when they get a secret signal from the Technology Overlords and steal our firstborn children?

At some point in the last couple of years, things that once glowed red started to glow blue. This just seemed to happen one day when I wasn't paying attention, like the sudden change of Peking to Beijing, or Bombay to Mumbai, or B.C. to B.C.E.

A couple of years ago we splurged and bought an LCD TV for the bedroom. The TV has been great--there's nothing so decadent as crawling under the down comforter on a snowy night and watching a chick flick or M1-5 with your sweetie -- except for one little thing: a neon blue laser beam that seeks out the unwary retina like a searchlight or the evil eyeball in The Tell Tale Heart. If the TV is off, that blue light is on. Always. Glowing much brighter than a nightlight. So bright that we have to put a candle in front of it so we can sleep.

And when we bought a replacement for a defunct digital clock, the new one came complete with neon blue light. Now, I don't know about you, but I find the blue lights much more difficult to read than red. My eyes are bleary enough when I wake up without having to try to decipher that blurry blue glow. Granted, this isn't global warming or swine flu or anything. But it is one of life's little annoyances. And one of life's little curiosities. What are these lights for? And what happened to good old-fashioned red? Come to think of it, didn't digital clocks used to have a sickly green glow? Now, those were the days.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Book Notes -- Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe

I'm inaugurating a new weekly feature -- Sunday Book Notes. If I counted all the objects I own, the vast majority would be books. I've lived a lot of my life in worlds spun of words, so much so that when I was a kid, I often couldn't remember if I had read something, dreamed it, or lived it. Plus, I am lying in bed sick (on Memorial Day weekend! No Fair!), so I've had a lot of time to read this week.

Fittingly enough, I picked this book up at a cafe. Like the one in the book, the cafe is old-fashioned and a little disheveled, serving up unmatched tables and delicious apple pie in a sunny corner building that once was a hardware store. One wall is covered with bookcases. You are welcome to borrow or donate a book. So, when I saw
Fried Green Tomatoes on the shelf, I took it home.

I've wanted to read
Fried Green Tomatoes since the movie came out in 1991. I loved this quiet little film, which alternates between the story of Eleanor, a fat, unfulfilled, middle-aged housewife in the late 1980s and the tale of lesbian couple Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison in Depression-era Alabama, which Eleanor hears from an old woman she visits in a nursing home every Sunday.

Now, a strange thing happens when you've seen (and liked) a movie before you've read the book: It is almost impossible
not to imagine the actors -- their voices, expressions, hair and clothes -- when you read the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when the actors capture the characters as beautifully as they did in Fried Green Tomatoes. Kathy Bates is perfect as the frumpy housewife who discovers her spine, and Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker are just as good as tomboy Idgie and the gentle, doe-eyed Ruth who steals her heart. So, as I've been reading the book, I've been seeing and hearing these actresses in my head. (That said, I always try to read the book first. I pity kids whose first exposure to The Lord of the Rings or other treasures is through the movie, no matter how wonderful the movie may be. But I digress.)

While the film captures the essence of the novel, it does gloss rather daintily over the lesbian relationship at its core. The book's matter-of-fact depiction of this life-long love affair is one of its charms. When 16-year-old Idgie, the fierce "bee charmer" who hunts and fishes instead of going to school, falls for "sweet to the bones" Ruth, it doesn't seem to faze anyone. Years later, after Idgie rescues a pregnant Ruth from her abusive husband, Idgie's father gives her $250 and tells her to start a business so she can feed her growing family. There's no sense that they must explain or justify themselves. It is just the way it is. Whistle Stop accepts them into the fold, just as they accept and expect segregation.

Flagg portrays the violence and racisim of the South as matter-of-factly as she does the love affair between Idgie and Ruth. Idgie and Mary are quietly subversive, selling barbeque out the back door of their cafe to blacks in spite of threats from the Ku Klux Klan, among other details I won't give away in case you plan to read the book.

The fictional world of Whistle Stop, Alabama feels real. You have the sense of observing lived lives. The book captures, in a way the film cannot, the full fabric of this little town, through vignettes of people, black and white, most of whom live on the wrong side of the tracks. It's not just Idgie and Ruth's story, but the story of their son Stump, of hobo Smokey Lonesome, Eva the town whore, Buddy, Sipsey, Big George, Onzel and Naughty Bird, with all their joys and human failings. When the trains stop coming through Whistle Stop and people start to move away, when the decades roll on by until the cafe is replaced by a McDonald's, I feel a pang of loss as strong as that when a beloved character dies.

Despite its often rather grim subject matter, this book is full of its laugh-out-loud humor. But, whenever I'm tempted to lapse into an idealized vision of a simpler time of practical jokes and tales tales and scenes of big extended families laughing over Easter egg hunts, Flagg brings me up short with a young man being beaten to death in a tar-paper Hooverville or an ominous visit from men in white sheets.

Perhaps I'm also drawn to the book because it sheds light on my grandparents and parents. Mom and dad spent their childhoods in hardscrabble Oklahoma during the Depression, and Whistle Stop, Alabama reminds me of pictures of my grandmothers standing in their faded cotton dresses in front of sagging frame houses, babies draped casually over their arms.

I also enjoy the disjointed nature of the book, which shifts time periods and narrative perspective from one short chapter to another. We may hear about an episode first from a brief item in the chatty local newspaper, then observe that same event from an omniscent perspective in the next chapter. As I a writer struggling with structure in my memoir, I'm fascinated by Flagg's deft handling of this technique. I wonder if she wrote the book chronologically, then moved the chapters around afterward?

I suppose I ought to give the some stars or thumbs up or something. I'm tempted to use tomatoes, in honor of the book inaugurating this weekly feature, but that's already been done. So how about pies? Every time Evelyn visits Ninny in the nursing home, she takes her pie or cake or biscuits or some kind of tasty treat, and reading this book made me hungry.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: 4 slices (out of a possible 5).
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Naminator and the Furminator--Another Cat Post

Sam-I-Am the cat loves life more than any creature I’ve ever known. He’s a dark-toned, bow-legged Siamese mutt, with piercing blue eyes, stubby legs that barely keep his belly off the floor, and a head too small for his chunky 18-pound body. Sammy is a dog cat. Like any puppy, he loves brisk belly rubs, and he comes trotting and mewing when he is called. When you pick him up, he wraps his short chunky arms around you in a kitty bear hug and nips your nose. He goes by many nicknames: Sammy, Green Eggs and Ham, Penguin, The Doings Kitty, The Naminator. He drinks by dipping a paw in his water bowl (or a glass when he can get away with it), slurping the water off his paw. He winters on the heat grate in the kitchen and summers on the printer in my office window.

The Naminator loves to play, desp
ite a chronic breathing condition that makes him snort, wheeze, and occasionally sneeze ribbons of brown snot. Sam-I-Am was found on the street when he was barely a week old, suffering from a respiratory disease that left his sinus cavities in tatters. The consensus among the half dozen vets we've consulted is that there is nothing we can do to stop his sniffles (except the one vet who tried to sell us a $2600 surgery that might or might not work and might or might not kill him), so we toss him on the floor whenever he gets ready to erupt, wipe off his little nose when he’s done, and make do.

Sam-I-Am enjoys tearing up paper and batting paper balls we throw at him. But his favorite treat of all is being brushed with his Furminator. I bought the Furminator at the vet’s office. This was a new vet for us, and I was annoyed that they h
ad a tv in their small waiting room running a looping infomercial for a pet brush. I resent being a captive audience for advertising, but this time they got me. I sat watching the tufts of fur fly off the cats and dogs, and by the time I left the vet, I had succumbed.

The Furminator was the only good thing that cam
e of that vet visit. The doctor was sure he could cure Sammy’s sneezing and prescribed some antibiotics that nearly killed our cat. The pills made SamIAm so nauseated that he stopped eating. He lost 6 or 7 pounds in 3 days and had to be hospitalized. The (new) vet told us that some cats who become anorexic never start eating again, refusing food until they starve to death. When we brought him home, we spent days spoon-feeding SamIAm soft food, rubbing it on his mouth until he finally remembered how to eat. We never returned to the vet who nearly killed our Sam, but at least one good thing came out of it: The Furminator.

Every morning, the Naminator rac
es to the bathroom and leaps up to the edge of the tub with a little cry, demanding to be brushed. His Furminator throws him into paroxysms of bliss. He rubs his nose and cheeks on the shower glass and writhes as the fur comes off in fluffy bunches. And I am happy to report that he can spare it: Our one-time anorexic kitty is back to his fighting weight, plus a few extra pounds to spare.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Piles of Pillowcases

I used the line “from pill bottles to pillowcases” in my bio blurb because I liked the alliteration and rhythm. I never considered what would be involved in actually finding something interesting to say about pillowcases. But regular readers know I am rarely at a loss for words. So here, as promised is a post on pillowcases. (Yes, I am literally airing my linen in public.)

We have 3 kinds: The ones we inherited or held onto from our childhoods, college days, and first marriages; the ones that go with “bed in a bag” sets; and an enormous quantity of orphans that don’t match anything and seem to reproduce with abandon in the dark privacy of the linen closet. We put most of them to good use. We have 6 or 7 pillows on our bed and never have enough matching pillowcases. We compete over who gets the 4 down pillows, which we call "numphies." (Embarrassing detail of the day. Like most couples, we have a private language.) There's nothing as satisfying as sinking your weary head into a numphy, especially one stolen on the sly from a sleeping partner.

We have two bedspreads (with matching shams and pillowcases) that we rotate. The purple and maroon one is the most glam. I’m usually not much for frou-frou, but purple is my favorite color, and when I saw this set on sale, I had to have it. With its mix of rich velvet and gauzy chenille it looks like something you would find in Cinderella’s castle after she marries the prince. If she was ever the victim of an economic downturn, she could even turn it into an elegant gown a la Scarlett O'Hara. I got an incredible bargain on it…you might even say it was a steal. The department store (Macy’s) was having a half-off sale, along with a coupon for another 20% off. When I took the bed-in-a-bag set to the register, it rang up for about $120 less than it should have. I don't remember exactly what the problem was, but I pointed the mistake out to the clerk. Her response was of the huffy “we don’t make mistakes, this is the right price, don’t make me do any extra work” variety. I tried again,and her attitude became even ruder. So I smiled and accepted the price, getting my $400 bed set for around $70.

Frink has been most gracious in tolerating its frou-frou-osity, but recently he found this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired duvet cover and pillowcases online. The only problem is that the cats like to sleep on it, and their hair shows up quite starkly against the white. Thank goodness it’s washable.

My favorites pillowcases are ones we don’t use often: the 100% cotton cases that were decorated with cross-stitching, embroidery, rick-rack, and ribbons by my mother and grandmother. They are to linens what tuna casserole is to comfort food. Laying my head down on one of these old-fashioned pillowcases softened by decades of wear is a delicious feeling, like being tucked in on a cool summer night or wearing my feet-pajamas to the drive-in movies.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vitamin P (Prozac) and the Big D (Depression)

My bio blurb says I will be writing about every object from "pill bottles to pillow cases, from death notices to DVDs." It's time to make good on part of that promise.

Like most Americans, I have all sorts of bottles full of all sorts of pills: Advil, Tylenol and Excedrin for the occasional muscle or headache; Zyrtec for allergies; and a daily dose of Doxycycline to keep my rosacea in check. But the most significant pill bottle contains my Vitamin P, my "happy pills," AKA Prozac, which my insurance covers only in the generic version, called fluoxetine.

Depression runs in my family. My mother had undiagosed depression for much of her life. My younger sister took her own life at 17. My grandfather was an alcoholic, which might have been his way of numbing the despair that comes with depression. To name just a few.

I have not been immune. When I was a child, I had wild mo
od swings and temper tantrums. As a teen and young adult, I had periods of the blahs (or, more formally, anhedonia). But I didn't suffer my first full-blown depression until I was around thirty.

It's a long story, so I'll try to tell the short-hand version. Not long before my ex-husband finished medical school, I found him on the bathroom floor in a drooling stupor. He had smoked an experimenta
l drug he was researching in his lab. He spent 10 touch-and-go days in the hospital, during which I didn't know if he would survive or regain his mind.

Matt did recover and I learned that he had been secretly using drugs for years. (Full disclosure: We both experimented with drugs in high school, but I outgrew it in college. He didn't. Instead, he just went u
nderground.) After Matt's overdose, we thought his career was over. Amazingly, he was offered an internship in his first-choice program, which was in Los Angeles. We were living in the Mid-West, and I was loath to move. I had a good job, I was in grad school, and we had already moved 8 times in pursuit of Matt's ever-changing career goals. What's more, we would have to go to yet another city for Matt's residency. So, we agreed that I would stay in the Mid-West and visit LA when I could.

After Matt left, I learned I was pregnant. With Matt both geographically and emotionally distant, I went through the pregnancy alone. I queried friends, found an OB, shared the news by phone with my sister and mom. Then one afternoon around the third month, I noticed some spotting. Matt and my doctor both said not to worry, that spotting was common. But that evening, the bleeding began in earnest. On the phone, Matt sounded conce
rned and worried, but he didn’t have much time to talk. That long, lonely night, I lay in bed, cramping and sobbing, as my baby bled out of me. The next morning, when it was over, I asked Matt to come home. He refused, saying that asking for time off would jeopardize his standing in the internship program.

A day or so later, a friend drove me to the hospital, where I had a post-miscarriage surgery. I never felt so alone, sitting in a blue recliner in the tiny private waiting room, wearing my hospital gown and nubby-bottomed slipper socks, or in the recovery room, where the n
urses made soothing noises and wrapped me in heated blankets. Shortly after I lost the baby, I put our furniture in storage and went to California while Matt finished his internship.

He was living in a tiny converted garage.
It was in this dark, wood-paneled room that I spent most of my time, sleeping, watching TV, and perseverating. I remember little about those months except that most days I counted it a victory if, after hours of thinking about it, I managed to get up and walk to the mailbox by the front door. Matt worked 36-hour shifts, but when he was due home, I would rouse myself, take a shower, and fix something to eat. This was in the spring of 1992, and toward the end of our California sojourn, the cops who had been taped beating Rodney King were acquitted. I watched the riots on television, venturing out in the smoke-filled city for groceries, shocked at the eerie sight of military tanks and armed soldiers on the streets. It seemed a fitting backdrop to my own mental siege.

After Matt's internship, we moved again. But the geographical change didn't lessen the grip of my depression. Finally, I went to a psychiatrist, who recommended an anti-depressant.

I was skeptical and reluctant. Prozac felt
like a failure. Why couldn't I just buck up and cope? And too, as a writer, I was worried that it would turn me into an emotionless automaton, that it would sap my imagination. (Name five of your favorite authors, and I'll bet three of them were depressed, alcoholics, or depressed alcoholics.) I was as surprised when the drug actually worked. Within a few weeks, the shadows lifted and I felt that life had a purpose, that I had a future. It didn't solve all of my problems--it didn't bring back my baby or improve my marriage -- but it also didn't flatten my moods and stifle my creativity as I had feared. It simply lifted me out of that trough of depression and set me back on level ground. I stayed on Prozac for about two years, then tapered off. And for a long time, I was fine without it.

My second full-blown depression came several years later, again sparked by trauma. For brevity's sake, I will simply say that while I was again pregnant, Matt had an affair and got the woman pregnant. I lost my baby (my fifth and final miscarriage); she had hers.

One thing about depression is that you don't feel like you deserve to be treated well. But even I had reached my limit. I asked
Matt to leave and began divorce proceedings. But I also sank back into a debilitating depression.

By this time, I had been attending Al-Anon for seven years. People in AA and Al-Anon share one thing in common with Scientologists: their disdain for anti-depressants. There is an outspoken contingent of amateur psychiatrists in AA/Al-Anon who insist that people who take these drugs are failing to truly "work the program." My Al-Anon sponsor and her husband, who was in AA, shared this view. To them, Prozac is a crutch. It masks un
derlying problems that can only be dealt with by rigorous honesty and by "letting go and letting God." So, I resisted going back on Vitamin P. I convinced myself that my depression was only situational and would recede as I got more used to my new reality and kept trusting in a higher power. But after a year went by, I knew I had no choice.

It was the semi-hallucinations that did it. Usuall
y these involved various sharp objects slitting my throat. I call them "semi-hallucinations" for want of a better word. I knew these flashing images of butcher knives, scissors, saws, or guillotines slashing my throat were not real. I didn't "see" them like one sees an actual object or a photograph. And they weren't like the few hallucinations I had in my wayward, drug-using youth. Nor were they ideations: I had no conscious intention of actually hurting myself. (I have lived under the protective knowledge that I could never do that to my parents, who already lost a child to suicide, or to my sister. And besides, if I ever did kill myself, I would never choose such a messy, painful method.) These semi-hallucinations were just fleeting images that flitted across my mind in a nano-second and then were gone. But they were happening more and more often -- dozens of times a day -- and they were scary. I needed help.

I went to a psychiatrist, who put me back on Prozac. Once again I got better. Day after day I had struggled through low moods and energy levels, a sense of worthlessness, racing thoughts that looped all
night like hamsters in a wheel, preventing me from sleeping, and all those slashing, hacking knives. The Prozac took most of it away. I still had to do the hard work of the 12 steps, still had to practice rigorous honesty, still had to learn how to let go of resentment and bitterness and my need for control. I am certain that the insight and skills I learned in Al-Anon are essential to my happiness and perhaps to my very survival. But so too is the decision to treat my depression.

Although my depression was kick-started by trauma, I know it is a physical disease, an imbalance in brain chemistry. I have read the scientific literature on depression, but that's not how I know it's true. I know this from the inside out. I have experienced it.

I've also learned that people who have suffered more than one serious episode of clinical depression often have to stay on anti-depressants for the rest of their lives. Always a bit of a rebel, I've tested this
theory. From time-to-time, I've gone off of Prozac for a few months, but eventually, my depression always creeps back...not the full-blown, knock me off my feet variety where I can't even get out of bed, but the low-level, droning depression, where life is sucked of all energy, where my mind is filled with negative self-talk and racing thoughts . Frink can always tell when I have gone off my medication. I have learned that I am simply healthier and happier when I take it.

So, while I may be a member of the derided and criticized "Prozac Nation" and considered a backslider by the Al-Anon crowd, at least I am alive and, for the most part, happily so.

And that's the story of my pill bottles. Now, about those pillowcases.....

Update 5.12.09 -- Here's an article I just found about the efficacy of anti-depressants. I guess I am in the subset for whom they work; I don't have a substance abuse or personality disorder (that I know of). Read more!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Help Needed Decoding Scarf

This fascinating and mysterious silk scarf tells a story in pictures, each of the 36 blocks depicting a different scene. The scarf reminds me of my books narrated through wood prints. It presents the same kind of reading challenge, trying to figure out the story it tells. Unlike the wood prints, it has words, but I can't even identify what language they are written in, much less read them. It looks something like Arabic, but for some reason I don't think it is. I don't even know where the scarf is from. It belonged to my Aunt Fern, who might have bought it in Ethiopia, where she lived in the 60's, or in Egypt (given the pyramids in some of the scenes.)

I'm not sure what direction it should be read from. There is, however, a clue early on in the story, where a letter is given to a messenger, who in subsequent panels gets in a boat and hands the letter to a priest. Based on this, I photographed the 36 panels in groups of 3 from left to right and from top to bottom.

The story is obviously religious, probably Biblical. It starts with two men (or a man and a woman), one carrying a child, the other a sacrificial lamb or goat that he feeds to some kind of monster or spirit. A crowd gathers, including several kings or priests. They have a celebration with music and drinks, culminating in what looks like a canonization or ordination (judging from the cross on the crown.) Two richly robed men travel in a boat past the pyramids. They are given a letter by some priests (?) and return to their boat, which travels past the same two pyramids. The letter is passed on to two priests, one of whom has a Star of David on his robe. A whole crowd gets in the boat and journeys past the pyramids, where they attend a big feast. We see still more priests, a figure that might be the Madonna and child, a lion, camels, what looks like a game of hockey (!) and perhaps a dead body. What it all means is a mystery to me.

In hopes that some of you can assist in interpreting the story, or identify the language or religious tradition it depicts, I'm posting it here. (If you want a closer look, right click on the photos to open them in a new tab, or just click on them then hit the back arrow to return. I haven't figured out how to make pictures open in a separate window.)

And even if you can't read it, I hope you enjoy its charm nonetheless!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

Many thanks to Rae at WeatherVane for honoring me with the Kreative Blogger Award. The community of bloggers is something that I didn't know much about when I started this blog, and I've really enjoyed getting to know so many interesting, creative, and profound people.

I'm supposed to tell you about seven things I'm grateful for.

1. Frink, the love of my life, who taught me how to laugh again.
2. My family.
3. Birds, especially those that sing outside my window in the morning.
4. Canyons and deserts.
5. Words.
6. Cats, the most beautiful creatures on the planet.
7. The whole universe. Okay, this sounds silly, but how can you not be grateful for stars, and planets, and oceans, and mountains, and kangaroos, and bamboo, and fireflies?

I also get the pleasure of nominating seven bloggers for this award. I know that not everyone out there participates in awards, so I won't have my feelings hurt if they don't accept. But these are a few of the blogs that have brought me pleasure, amusement, and insight. In no particular order:

The Women's Blogger Directory A great source for learning about wonderful blogs.

Blogpourri A beautiful, insightful writer and an incredibly generous member of the blogging community.

Tina, at Passive and Aggressive A funny, brave, inspired writer.

Butler and Bagman one of whom may be more Hemingwayesque than he knows.

The writers at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, who allow me to live vicariously through them as I pursue my quest to publish my children's books and my memoir.

Chrissy at I Shoulda Been a Stripper, an amazingly honest writer and story teller.

Adlibby, who I nominated for another award but who deserves another one because she's having a rough year.

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A Warm Kitty

We're having a chilly, grey, rainy spring day, and we've both been sick, so Frink built a lovely fire in the fireplace today. SamIAm the cat enjoyed it most of all. (I realize the stated purpose of this blog is to discuss objects. Fireplaces count, right? So, what can I say about the fireplace? Hmm...I don't care for the brass surround. I'm not a brass type person; copper and wrought iron are more my thing. The copper pot in the photo was my mother's. There. Now on to the cute cat pictures.)

Our other cat, Puki, preferred to enjoy the fire from the comfort of a lap. Puki is on a new medicine, given by dabbing it inside an ear (what a wonderful invention!) and is doing much better of late. She's eating, although she hasn't gained much weight, and her fur looks a little healthier.
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