Twenty-Two and Counting . . .

Today, twenty-two years ago, my first day as Mrs. Bennett, was a scorching hot Tulsa Saturday. One of those hens be warned it's egg-frying HOT! Blistering feet HOT! Saturdays that are best spent waist-deep in a wallow. 

Today, other than being Friday, I'm gardening same as I was then. Knowing it was going to be hot--what July 25th isn't?--in the garden was where I started today. Then, I started at the car wash because I hadn't let Curtis go through the car wash last night. Johnny B had helped the kids "Just Married" up his precious BMW with tin cans tied to the bumper, whipped cream signs and hearts on all the glass. (Traditionally folks use shaving cream, but Johnny is a restaurant dog.)

"It's bad luck to wash it the wedding day,' I told Curtis. 

"it will stink like sour milk tomorrow if we don't," Curtis told me. 

We compromised. 

US back then, on our Honeymoon bike trip in the San Juan Islands

US back then, on our Honeymoon bike trip in the San Juan Islands

The morning after our wedding, I was in the garden digging up plants; this morning after our anniversary, I was in the garden planting plants. That was Tulsa; this is Westhampton Beach; that was then, this is now. Same song's wafting through the windows. 

Chet Baker's "Funny, each time I fall in love/it's always you" is the song. "Let's Get Lost" is coming next. I know because this album (that's what we called them back then) followed by Handel's Water Music is the sound track of our courtship. It's the Cafe Ole' weekend morning music. We didn't meet at Cafe Ole' but that's where we found each other. 

I ask Curtis if he picked that music on purpose, because he was remembering me waiting on him. 

"If someone asked me 10 things that come to mind when I hear this music," he said, "You waiting tables in Cafe Ole' would not be one of them." 

"Does it make you crave Ole' Hash or Huevos Rancheros?" I asked.

He shook his head. "It makes me want to make coffee," he answered. Transference?

Ours was a shotgun wedding of sorts. I'd been evicted from my house. I'd found another house to rent and had planned to move it, but Curtis--ever practical--and maybe, already, thinking marriage, decided why move twice--if I'd say yes."

We got married on a Friday at the Justice of Peace office in downtown Tulsa. "Which ceremony do you want" asked the JOP. We had a choice: The 3 minute quickie or 5 minute long "Ruth's Prayer" ceremony. We're only doing this once, we decided, let's make sure it sticks. So we opted for the long ceremony minus the Promises to "Obey" business. 

Chelsie, several years older than she was back then. But she looks much the same then, back then, now . . . (this is from a dance recital.)

Chelsie, several years older than she was back then. But she looks much the same then, back then, now . . . (this is from a dance recital.)

Lexi and Chelsie were flowers girls (we all had to have Laura Ashley flower girl dresses, of course),

Max was best man;

Barbara and Gene Johnson drove up from Houston to bear witness at our wedding as we had at theirs a few months earlier.

Max & Lexi with Barbara and Gene--back then! IThe photo is clear as a bell, it's our eyesight . . . don't see as well as we did back then. (Maybe it's a good thing?)

Max & Lexi with Barbara and Gene--back then! IThe photo is clear as a bell, it's our eyesight . . . don't see as well as we did back then. (Maybe it's a good thing?)

John, Joanne and Liz Kester were choir singers; Teri Fermo led the sing with "Going to the Chapel . . ." Everybody sang/everybody signed the certificate/everybody cheered. After, everybody feasted at McGill's Steak House--a celebration complete with flowers and cake courtesy of Barb and John. We have pictures--somewhere--Trinidad, Curtis's Mom's, Houston . . . one of those boxes. 

Somewhere inside one of these pods on our driveway maybe. . . 

Somewhere inside one of these pods on our driveway maybe. . . 

That day, after I ccme in from the garden we finished packing up my household and moving it over to blend with Curtis. We found each other after both of us had moved away from Tulsa and returned having decided to stay.

But life doesn't always heed our decisions. After that came Houston, Indonesia, Trinidad to Westhampton Beach. 

George called as I was coming in from the garden. "I'm on my way to your place with 4 guys," he tells me. "We're puling out your frigging big table today."

And so, 22 years later we're moving and unpacking again. Then across town; today across the driveway into our home.

Mixed in with the packing crates were several TV boxes Curtis has been saving. "Why does he have these?" George asked. "He keeps them to to repack the electronics when we move," I explained.

George yelled over to Curtis, "You're not moving again are you?"  

Curtis laughed and said, "Hell, no!"

Twenty-two years, a day at a time, a month at a time, a box at a time, an adventure at a time... And Counting!

Whenever I roam through roses
And lately I often do
Funny, it's not a rose I touch
It's always you 

Thank you Chet!

Why Paper Books?

A paper book aids my concentration by offering to do nothing else but lie open in front of me, mute, until I rest my eyes upon it,
— Verlyn Klinkenborg on "Why he likes 'old fashioned books'"
    I LOVE MY BOOKS!

    I LOVE MY BOOKS!

Even now as I'm packing my bags for yet another trip. Even though I know how bulky and heavy they are, I will pack paper books!  Why?

 

Top 10 Reasons for Paper Books:

1. They don't talk back, move, dim, brighten, flicker or change font size mid-sentence

2. No batteries or charging required

3. Never have to be switched off during take-off or landing

4. Withstand bubble bath dunking

5. Readable in all lighting conditions

6. Ease of flipping back and forth between pages/chapters/passages.

7. Make excellent side tables, decorative touches,  and coasters

8. Shatterproof regardless how many times I drop them

9.  Biodegradable & handy fire starters

10. Excellent toilet tissue alternative (Emergencies Only)

As if these aren't reasons enough, consider this question posed by Klinkenborg in his New York Times essay "Some Thoughts About E-Reading,

The question Isn’t what will books become in the world of electronic reading. The question is what will become of the readers we’ve been—quiet, thoughtful, patient, abstracted—in a world where interactive can be too temping to ignore.



A Pregnant Pause

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the millworkers sing in CarouselJune is bustin’ out all over…”  Flowers are budding, birds are chirping, bees buzzing and as a recent grandmother to Ben,

Bennett experienced the wonders of Indepencence day: Parades, fireworks & watermelon!

Bennett experienced the wonders of Indepencence day: Parades, fireworks & watermelon!

Great aunt for the second time: 

                        Welcome to the World Felicity Allain Smith, born June 9th, 2014.

                        Welcome to the World Felicity Allain Smith, born June 9th, 2014.

And recently revealed gran-to-be:

    Lexi & Ryan are expecting, their baby’s due the end of the year.

    Lexi & Ryan are expecting, their baby’s due the end of the year.

I have babies on the brain, literally and literate-ly.

They—Farmers in the know— say trees always produce best after a “hard” year (“hard” being either an especially cold winter or hot, dry summer). Which might be the reason for the largess . . . although I’m not questioning or complaining. Rather, I’m simply, joyfully, reveling…and pondering gestation:

Elephant gestation takes 547.9 – 669.6730 days (the longest period for mammals).

Salamanders—tiny as they are—about the same. And, considering it, size-for-size, mother discomfort, bulkiness, effort-wise, probably the same elephantian experience too.

Velvet worm—actually NOT a worm and NOT velvet—takes up to 456.553 days,

Velvet worm—actually NOT a worm and NOT velvet—takes up to 456.553 days,

From conception to birth cat's gestation takes 58-65 days. (No wonder they're such hussies!)

 

Manatees 396 days on average.

Manatees 396 days on average.

Donkeys, "Jennys"  330-440 (with lots of variables), camels take 410ish.

Giraffes between 400-460, rhinos about the same, seals and sea lions: 330-350 days.

Giraffes between 400-460, rhinos about the same, seals and sea lions: 330-350 days.

Whales and dolphins: 517.426 (on average with some sperm whales taking 578), humans: 268 days give or take . . . 

Whales and dolphins: 517.426 (on average with some sperm whales taking 578), humans: 268 days give or take . . . 

 As for novels??????

Cause for my literary revelry stems from a cluster of new books by writer friends. With one exception, all by classmates of mine from VCFA. As I have been there through all of these books since inception, in some cases offering a shoulder, always watching admiringly, I’ve declared myself “auntie” to them and as such entitled to muse:

Here are some of the Unreliable Narrators at VCFA last summer.  B.R: Trinity, Cindy, Sarah, Barb, Cynthia; F.R:  Tam, Kelly, Erin.  I fully expect all to be published authors!

Here are some of the Unreliable Narrators at VCFA last summer.  B.R: Trinity, Cindy, Sarah, Barb, Cynthia; F.R:  Tam, Kelly, Erin.  I fully expect all to be published authors!

I’ll begin with the exceptional Russell J. Sanders, who I first met back in/around 2000 when he was a newly retired High School English/Theater teacher and wanna be author at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. Russell recently celebrated the birth of his second novel, which is garnering excellent reviews, Special Effects (Dreamspinner Press, 2014): More about Russell:

How long did Special Effects take from idea to sale?

About 2191.45 days . . . 

Gestation: about 2191.45 days (with, as Russell noted “ some stops and starts”

Gestation: about 2191.45 days (with, as Russell noted “ some stops and starts”

Erin Moulton’s third novel came out this June. This being her third, one might think the whole “birthing a novel” thing would have lost its novelty for her. Maybe that’s why Erin “made things interesting” this year, but combining the birth of her newest novel, Chasing the Milky Way, with the birth of her first human baby, Tucker! Oh, yeah, and if that wasn’t excitement enough, timing it all to coincide with the date her new manuscript for her work in progress was due. More about Erin: 

Gestation: It's a bit of a blurrrrrr

Gestation: It's a bit of a blurrrrrr

Jennifer Wolf Kam's path has been by award-hopping to publication! A 3-time finalist for the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, Jen first won publication of her ghost story, White House, in Hunger Mountain. Spectacularly, publication of her debut novel came as a result of writing 2 of 5 finalist in the NAESP 2013 Children’s Book ContestMore about Jen! 

Gestation:  5 years: 1826.21 days

Gestation:  5 years: 1826.21 days

Sarah Tomp, author of my often lauded, put-it-back-in-print fav, The Red, White and Blue Goodbye, had a relatively easy time of it with her debut moonshine novel, My Best Everything, which “walks the line between toxic and intoxicating” The gestation time was only 1 1/2 years=547.9632996 days!  More about Sarah:

Gestation: about 1 ½ years:  547.863298611 days

Gestation: about 1 ½ years:  547.863298611 days

Tamera Ellis Smith, who’s writing credits include a first-person essay in  BREAK THESE RULES: 35 YA Writers on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself,  welcomes her debut novel Another Kind of Hurricane, August 2015.  (Publication is scheduled to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.) Here's More about Tam!

So, Tam, how long did it take to write Another Kind of Hurricane?:  Almost 9 years . . . 3287.18 days, with “A lot of starts and stops along the way.  Sometimes big stops.”

Last but not least for this crop: Teresa Harris, author of the spunky picture book, Summer Jackson: Grown-Up,  won two prizes (one for humor) for this novel-in-progress while we were still at VCFA.

Teresa's WIP, acquired by Clarion, is forthcoming (I could not find a pub date on the web.) So by my calculations, gestation time: 5.6 years=2045.36 days. However, if you count post-sale as gestation,* the interview announcing the sale was Feb of 2012 and Teresa’s book hasn’t been published yet, gestation's is ongoing. So make that 2921.94 and counting . . . More about Teresa 

 

Why the disparity?

I like to think of it in shark terms. Sharks are K-selected reproducers, (as are, cats aside, the other animals noted above.) Rather than producing a large number of poorly developed offspring, “they produce a small number of well-developed young.” In this way offering their offspring the best possible chances of surviving. Additionally, in these animals, birth can be delayed depending on a variety of external pressures.

That’s why I’m thinking shark. Maybe it isn’t’ about how badly we want to publish . . . what brilliant writers we are . . . the fantastic story premise we’ve dreamed up . . . Or about everyone, anyone, our expectations. Maybe there are other forces beyond our control determining how long it takes.

“You can feel it in your heart/
You can see it in the ground/
You can see it in the trees/
You can smell it in the breeze/
Look around! Look around! Look around!”
— June's Bustin' Out All Over by Rogers & Hammerstein

* The question of whether a book is “gestating” in that time between being sold and publication is up for debate. Might this time be the equivalent of Novel neo-natal?--It certainly adds to the w-a-i-t-i-n-g t-i-m-e. . . tick-tock

Care to give a little listen?? JUNE IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER on Utube

Turned the Page

We wonder why we try to write, sometimes. Especially when the phrases aren't coming easily, the book contracts aren't forthcoming, or it's just one of those straight uphill days. If we're lucky something happens to make us realize why the struggle is worth it. 

That something, this time, is what's happened to my mother.

My mom's been waiting to die for years. Not only waiting, wanting to die. It's no secret, you can ask anyone who knows her, even her. Why this time last year, with so much most anyone else would consider every reason to live--her grandaughter's upcoming wedding, a new great-grandson, two grandchildren's graduations and money enough to do whatever she wanted, and reasonably good health--mom said exactly that, not once, but several times. "I want to die." "I wish I were dead." She said it loudly and seriously enough that the staff at the assisted living reported it and therapy was ordered. 

Mom doesn't get out much. Not that she can't. Or doesn't have opportunities. But she chooses not to. Days go by and she never leaves her apartment. Not even for meals. (Even though going to the dining room is a requirement in her Independent-Assisted Living facility). Mom's tried some of the activities. She's gone on some field trips, took art classes for a while, even played bingo for a spell (because her then boyfriend "Charlie" liked to play). But then, she started having bladder issues and despite what they say in the Depends commercials, her will to participate flew. And took with it, her will to live. 

Then, someone got the brilliant idea to start a Book Club. The staff coerced--insisted-- mom attend.. Now, this isn't what you'd think of as the usual book club. Usually, book club members read the books on their own and then coming together for discussion. In this book club, members listen to a book. Why?  Because most of the folks in the club can't see to read anymore. So, an hour at a time, once a week, they listen as one person reads a chapter or two, with occasional pauses to discuss parts that aren't clear or might be particularly interesting. They continue on this way until the book is finished. Unless the chapters are super short, at a chapter a week, it takes months to finish a book. 

At first, specifically because working through a book was slow going, Mom wasn't keen on the book club. In fact, if Dana, the director, hadn't told Mom she had to participate in "something" or she would have to move out as this was not a nursing home--and even then, if they hadn't served snacks (cookies, cakes and coffee)--Mom probably would have quit. But then fate intervened by way of a novel entitled A Journal for Jordan.

 Other than that it was an "Oprah Book", I have absolutely no clue idea what A Journal for Jordan is about. Or whether it's particualrly well written, or interesting, or not... All I know is that the young aide, the "designated reader" for the Book Club was having "a difficult time" reading some of the passages. "She kept mispronouncing words," Mom said. 

What you may not know is: my mother is a retired teacher, a reading specialist, and an excellent reader. (Something the aide found out soon enough.) After being corrected a few too many times, the aide--perhaps in a slightly irritated voice--asked Mom,  "Do you want to read the book?"

To her surprise, Mom said, "yes!" 

Ever since, every week, Mom's been the designated "Reader" in the Book Club. Attendance in the Book Club is on the rise. (The other day "a man" join it!) Mom's become something of a celebrity in the Assisted Living, and best, there are plans afoot to increase club meetings to two-a-week.

The satisfaction Mom gets from reading to the other residents who can't read, and the praise they heap on her for her "lovely voice" and "excellent expressiveness" and "cheerful clothing" is what made the difference. It literally changed Mom's life! Not only doesn't Mom want to die anymore, she's got the club booklist . . . and her Book Club wardrobe planned out for quite some time to come.

Books can transform--save lives! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Visitors

Visitors use towels, dirty dishes, take up space, have the nerve to claim the TV clicker . . .basically wreak havoc on routine. And more...

. . . If were lucky that is!

After having a home in New York for more than 3 years, I could name the sights on my way to and from the grocery, post office, hardware store & the airport exits. . .  I was especially familiar with the view from my desk chair. And since we're being truthful, with the view from the fridge to the TV. . .  I had a drawer full of New York/Long Island "Sights to See" Guides but had never cracked the spines. 

Then the visitor came! 

The visitor was framly (friend-so-long-they're-family) John from Tulsa. John and I, almost 30 years ago, worked together. We were both restaurant cooks. Our working relationship spread from kitchen work, to raising kids, gardening, decorating, painting, unpacking, packing. We work well together and have fun while we work. Our motto is: 

Crank up the music and get er done! 

Without apologizing, I'll admit how, in anticipation of John's visit, I looked around at my house, at the columns of boxes needed to be unpacked, at the stacks of pictures waiting to be hung, and the cupboards waiting to be organized, at the wallpaper waiting to be hung, and practically salivating. Imagine what John and I could accomplish this week!

And even though John was using one of his two-only weeks of vacation to come and visit, he wouldn't have minded one bit. In fact, I know he would have loved it! (He's that kind . . . )

Still. . . as enticing as the thought of all we could accomplish was, instead we:

Walked and walked and walked the city, discovering wonders like this Zipper Graffiti

Walked and walked and walked the city, discovering wonders like this Zipper Graffiti

Hunkered under a nut vendor's umbrella during a rain shower, then finally broke down--after we were soaked--and bought umbrellas.  

Hunkered under a nut vendor's umbrella during a rain shower, then finally broke down--after we were soaked--and bought umbrellas.  

Toured Radio City Music Hall--and sneaked snaps of Tony Award rehearsal through the camera room window. Then, come Sunday night, glued ourselves to the TV with take-away dinner to watch the show because "we were there"!

Toured Radio City Music Hall--and sneaked snaps of Tony Award rehearsal through the camera room window. Then, come Sunday night, glued ourselves to the TV with take-away dinner to watch the show because "we were there"!

Braved the long and winding line at The Original Shake Shack. Which shake should we try? 

Braved the long and winding line at The Original Shake Shack. Which shake should we try? 

Took turns playing "photographer" with Russian tourists at Rockefeller Center--while pretending not to speak English

Took turns playing "photographer" with Russian tourists at Rockefeller Center--while pretending not to speak English

Before I knew it, I notices my mind drifting back to my stories. The "What ifs" and "I could trys" were popping, snapping, pinging and zinging in my noggin. At a level I hadn't experienced since first beginning on this writing journey, I found myself wanting to get to work. I even pulled out my cell phone to jot some story notes. 

Sniffed spices and filched samples at Grand Central Station Marketplace

Sniffed spices and filched samples at Grand Central Station Marketplace

And even bought souvenirs  

And even bought souvenirs

 

Played with Dots pillows--even though we knew we'd get in trouble-- in Dylan's Candy Store

Played with Dots pillows--even though we knew we'd get in trouble-- in Dylan's Candy Store

Sat at Meg Ryan's infamous "Sleepless in Seattle" table at Katz's Deli (with the bossiest, grouchiest staff in the world!)

Sat at Meg Ryan's infamous "Sleepless in Seattle" table at Katz's Deli (with the bossiest, grouchiest staff in the world!)

Note one, but two tours of the Tenement Museum, and walked the streets, and explored the gift shop . . . 

Note one, but two tours of the Tenement Museum, and walked the streets, and explored the gift shop . . . 

And finished with a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3--because of that scene in the movie . . . 

And finished with a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3--because of that scene in the movie . . . 

Julia Cameron, discusses the importance of taking ones' self on "artist dates" in her 12 Step Guide to Creative Recovery, The Artist's Way. She believes these dates to be so restorative, she prescribes them weekly as a vital component of the recovery process. 

As prescribed, I've taken myself on Artist Dates. However, as with gym time, spa time, dentist visits, and other "good for you" scheduled events, regardless how enjoyable,  I tend to rush through Artist Dates to art stores, playgrounds, museums and the like. After,  I tick them off like just another chore on the list and more on. 

When the Newark Express pulled away last evening, I was sad to see John leaving.

When the Newark Express pulled away last evening, I was sad to see John leaving.

At the same time I was bubbly, energized and excited to get back to writing. Why?

When we were kids and acting fussy. Not naughty, but that sort of irritating, pestery, whiney baby-ish, my folks would send us outside. "Let them play it out," they'd say. As though, by playing hard, we could use up, expel our peevishness. 

Artist Dates can be inspirational, informative, restorative even. But let's face it, they aren't necessarily fun. On the otherhand, Play Dates are fun. What the heck? We are writing for children + We are trying to tap into our inner children + Play Dates are fun = Maybe you do need to stay focused, keep your butt in the chair, approach writing as seriously as every other career. But, but, every now and again, especially when we're feeling peevish, we need to get out there and play! 

The truth about visitors is: Visitors visit to have fun. They want to play. And, unless they visit when we're away, they come looking for a playmate. Sure, we can do our best to stick to "business as usual" when we have visitors. But why?  

Playmate! Come out and play with me/And bring your dollies, three/climb up my apple tree . . . 

 

 

 

 

Mama's a CA Chromaniac

Mama has a brand new bag: she's a CA Chromaniac! In anticipation of the Belmont Stakes, Mom sent a packet of newspaper clipping of California Chrome along with a check and instructions to "Bet it to Win!"

Racing Form in hand, Curtis lines up at the Betting Window

Racing Form in hand, Curtis lines up at the Betting Window

Truth is, Curtis & I started this latest of Mom's obsessions by attending Kentucky Derby weekend 2014.

Who knew, when we donned our fancy hats and duds that was the beginning of CA Chromania! 

 

So, as we await the running of the Belmont Stakes--and California Chrome's shot at the Triple Crown and diamond-crusted path to stud infamy--it seems fitting to recount highlights from our Derby 2014 Experience: 

Look, Mom! I placed the bet!

Look, Mom! I placed the bet!

Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. . .

To date, 289 horses have won a single leg of the Triple Crown, 52 horses have won two of the races, and 11 horses have won all three races. Pillory won both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1922, a year when it was impossible to win the Triple Crown because the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes were run on the same day.
— http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing
                Mom's betting that after today's race, I'll be able to name another: California Chrome!

                Mom's betting that after today's race, I'll be able to name another: California Chrome!

Joy decorated her "Roses" bathroom for Derby Weekend

Joy decorated her "Roses" bathroom for Derby Weekend

 

 

The Kentucky Derby is all about tradition. We were especially fortunate to be guided through our first Derby weekend experience by veterans, Joy & Donna, both Louisville natives whose Derby history stretches back 30 plus years.

 

 

Michael led the way into Churchill Downs . . . 

Michael led the way into Churchill Downs . . . 

Note the gallon ziplock bags Michael is carrying!

There are rows of booths selling all manor of food on both race days, but locals traditionally bring in their own. Joy and Donna's specialty, and a Derby tradition: sandwiches with a cucumber-cream cheese spread called  Benedictine

Donna stopped to pose with a a pair Pinked up for The Oaks--her personal tradition! The Oaks is run the Friday before the Derby. As Derby Day has attracted more "tourists" and become more expensive, locals prefer The Oaks. 

Donna stopped to pose with a a pair Pinked up for The Oaks--her personal tradition! The Oaks is run the Friday before the Derby. As Derby Day has attracted more "tourists" and become more expensive, locals prefer The Oaks. 

Our  box for Derby Day was right at the finish line. 

Our  box for Derby Day was right at the finish line. 

Tony Danza walking his horse, "Danza" to the starting gate. Danza ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby (Tony Danza doens't own the horse, it's named after him.)

Tony Danza walking his horse, "Danza" to the starting gate. Danza ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby (Tony Danza doens't own the horse, it's named after him.)

Before races, attendees gather at the stables to check out the horses. 

Before races, attendees gather at the stables to check out the horses. 

"The Derby" is really 2 days of racing. The Oaks is held on Derby Friday; the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. “The Oaks,” so they say, has gained in popularity with locals as The Derby has become more commercial and more expensive. Too, “The Oaks” is a fundraising event, for Breast Cancer research and awareness and most folks dress in pink. 

The Oaks is a charity race day to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer:  It is all about the hats, too. And most every one wears pink.  (I have pink on underneath my sweater, really (It was freezing at parts of the day)

The Oaks is a charity race day to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer:  It is all about the hats, too. And most every one wears pink.  (I have pink on underneath my sweater, really (It was freezing at parts of the day)

Pink Lily is the traditional Oaks drink                           Mint Juleps are the traditional Derby drink

Pink Lily is the traditional Oaks drink                           Mint Juleps are the traditional Derby drink

A portion of the sale of each Pink Lily goes to charity: Bright Pink and Horses for Hope. We donated of course!

No clue if/what Moet Chandon donated, but we supported that, too!

No clue if/what Moet Chandon donated, but we supported that, too!


Let's hope the Cigar proceeds were donated, too!

Let's hope the Cigar proceeds were donated, too!

Kentucky Derby day was bright--so we posed at the finish line between races. L-R: Michael, Aaron, Joy, Donna, Kelly & Curtis

Kentucky Derby day was bright--so we posed at the finish line between races. L-R: Michael, Aaron, Joy, Donna, Kelly & Curtis

It’s really Derby “week” with events including steamboat races, parades, parties, etc. culminating in two days of horse races. Those we all know of “The Derby,” locals favor Saturday’s event, “The Oaks.”

Here's Aaron with Lee. Tradition and convenience demands they always park at the same place: Ms. Lee's house.

Lee's made Derby Weekend a business. She turns her yard--front and back into a parking lot, and blocks off as many street spots as she can. 

She used to cook for both The Oaks and The Derby, but now Lee only cooks on Derby Day. Her specialty is greens, beans & ham. 

The Rule is:

No matter what, Meet back at Lee's!

We met up at Lee's then walked the 2 blocks to Churchill Downs. L-R: Kelly, Joy, Donna, Eileen, Leah's friend & Leah (Donna's daughter)

We met up at Lee's then walked the 2 blocks to Churchill Downs. L-R: Kelly, Joy, Donna, Eileen, Leah's friend & Leah (Donna's daughter)

Almost time: At 6:52 EDST the Belmont Stakes starts. The horses are making their way to the starting gates. Mama's watching!

                                           COME ON CALIFORNIA CHROME!!!   

 

Rumors Run Rampant

 As if life isn't exciting enough, . .  when I checked my email, this jumped out at me:

Kelly is this alarming post about you true?

And this:

Harmful and damaging events from your past may have surfaced . . .

Then this:

Things don’t look good for you Kelly
— Charlie???

                                                                             "DANGER! Will Robinson . . . "

Kelly, Deleterious Post About You About To Be Published
— Michal P.

I clicked over immediately. Horror of horrors! Could it be that someone is spreading rumors about little ole me? 

+++++ Potentially Upsetting Information Posted About You ++++ ===========================================================================


Alert: JJ-P-1904127903


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Someone is TRASH TALKING me!!!! Who? . . . Of all the nerve! . . . What were they saying???

You know I was temped to follow the link.  Who doesn't want to know what they --those busy-bodies--are saying about us?

Of course, I know better . . .  (But it was on my mind)

Haven't. . . (Maybe it wasn't even about me. There are lots of people with my name...like that basketball coach. . . and that realtor--)

Yet . . .

But then I got to thinking: That's what they want. For me to follow that link, right?

There are no doubt scads of folks out there who do follow the link. Where does it take them? What horrors are waiting at the bottom of that particular rabbit hole?

or . . . OR . . . (That niggly curious cat voice is what gets us. . . ) 

Sure, I know it's a ploy to get me to click on that link, leading to some sight. But, what if there's a really great PRIZE I missing out on by not following the link???  

To think there are people out there who spend countless hours coming up with ways to SPAM us. What if these same folks applied their considerable creative talents to real problems, To paraphrase Dr. Suess, Oh the things they could think!

What did I do? . . . What didn't I do? . . .  Does he-she-it like me? . . . What do they know? . . . 

What did I do? . . . What didn't I do? . . .  Does he-she-it like me? . . . What do they know? . . . 

That got me thinking. Here's my thought: Let's give them something to talk about

MAKE IT GOOD! 

Cat Pause

I have loads to do and time to do it. But instead of getting to it, I’m circling like a cat.

 

Cat-like behavior makes sense, seeing as how I’m a Leo.

Maybe it is a Leo thing?

 

 

 

So I checked my horoscope:

Today’s reading said my “Creative Powers were the center of my world today” and told me to “Let loose and indulge my inner spirit!"

If this flibberty-gibbet, kangaroo bouncing from task to pile to job and back was my inner spirit trying to break free, then it must have been seriously bunged up. Is that why I’m circling?  

                                                                                                                       

 

 

 Knowledge is power!” I justified, and Googled it.

 

 

Apparently, I’m not the only one curious about this why do cat’s circle thing.

There were loads of postings posing the same question. The consensus seems to be that cats circling before they can settle is a throw back to wilder times:

Wild cats not only tread down wild grass to find themselves a more comfortable spot to sleep; they must also carefully conceal themselves from predators in the wild.
— http://voices.yahoo.com/why-cats-turn-around-settling-down-5991708.html

Armed with this new power. I took myself to task.

“Mind over matter!”

 “You have the power!”

Do real lions, wild lions, Born Free type-lions circle?

I Googled that too. That search lead straight to The Lion King: Circle of Life

Focus!”

Now hyper-aware of how I couldn’t stop it, couldn’t make myself do what I wanted to do, frenetic-fied the circling.

Was it that, in my cat’s mind:

  • Towering Boxes=Tall Grass
  • Saw Whirring, Hammering, Workers Gabbering=Predator noises
  • Dust, Detritus, Mounded Mess=Wild

Que the Wee-Um-Um-A-Ways . . . Is that’s why I’m circling?

Circlers aren’t all cats, either. Some dogs do it too.

If you have a cure, please share it.

PLEASE?????

But don’t bother suggesting ear plugs, locking myself in the bathroom, going to the library, coffee shop, or snarfing tortilla chips in an effort to induce carb coma, because I’ve tried it!

Hey-A-Hi . . .