Kitten Update!

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Harvey has now been joined by his brother, who is unnamed as yet.  They are both doing well – eating, playing, and getting used to humans.  Harvey was named that because he was found on the night of the full Harvest Moon.  Since the mom is called Maple, one suggestion for the other brother was Syrup.  I’m not sure about Syr as a nickname though.  Anyone have any other suggestions?

A Fable for Our Time

Once upon a time there was an evil orange, and the orange thought he was the best fruit ever. He thought he deserved things the other fruits didn’t. He lied to all the other fruits and got them to make him their leader. (Because in fables fruits do have leaders.) Then he made crazy proclamations and all the fruit argued. Some though his words were brilliant; some thought they were crazy and hateful.
He even decided to build a fence around the orchard, and got many of the fruits to hate and fear the fruit from other orchards. And while all the fruits were busy arguing the Original Orange sneaked around changing things to bring him more of everything.

Some of the apples noticed the sky was changing and a big storm was coming. They tried to tell the others. Meanwhile, some of the grapes noticed that the Original Orange had a rotten spot and it was growing larger. When they tried to tell the other fruit, the Original Orange said they were just sour grapes who were fake and could not be trusted. Then he said it was an apple that was rotten and soon it would ruin the whole crop.

No one knows why so many of the fruits in the orchard believed the Original Orange, but while they were arguing with the fruits that didn’t, a big storm was indeed brewing. So, when the terrible storm came no one was prepared. Violent hail and rains knocked all the fruit to the ground and the whole crop was ruined; even the greedy Original Orange who thought he had everything.

* A bit of prose for you, now that NaPoWriMo is over.

Fulfillment Center

What has happened
to a nation,
a people
who think its fulfillment
can be ordered from a warehouse?

Yesterday I was listening to a program about jobs on NPR.  The guest said many people are leaving the retail sector for jobs in Fulfillment Centers.  Well, when I heard ‘fulfillment centers’ I thought of something like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (though, actually that creeped me out a little bit).  But some place beautiful, that involved nature and spiritual pursuits and maybe puppies (but not puppy mill puppies, and no puppy poop), or maybe a library that had free coffee and tea.

Ok, basically I had no idea what a fulfillment center was.  But as I listened I realized what they meant by ‘fulfillment center’ was warehouse that dealt with e-commerce.  That’s just so Orwellian, I sort of couldn’t believe my ears; but when I looked up the definition, sure enough, I found this:

“Fulfillment Center: The location where incoming orders are received from affiliated stores or locations. These orders are processed and filled. These centers may also work independently of specific companies where orders are outsourced for the purpose of fulfilling customer orders.”
You can see for yourself here: Business Dictionary

I’m not sure I can express how profoundly sad this makes me.

My Toes are Betraying Me

This started out to be a piece called “Why High Heels Should be Banned,” but titles are tricky and it’s important to get a good one.  So I thought about what I really wanted to address with this post.  And while I would sort-of like high heels to be banned, I decided that even more than that, I wanted to complain.  And if it serves as a cautionary tale to anyone to not wear high heels that would be a bonus.  Actually, if anyone other than me reads this it will be a bonus.

So, I’d like to start by saying that ageing sucks.  But, given the alternative I’ve had to refine that sentiment, because ageing does not suck as much as death, in the vast majority of instances.  So what I actually mean is that many of the changes that happen to our bodies as we age suck.  And the funny thing is, you think you know about getting old.  But there are all these little things that start happening that no one ever mentions.  Until now.  So, here are some under-reported problems of ageing:

Everyone knows your eyesight gets worse.  Especially close up vision.  We all know about “cheaters” (The glasses, not the rotten spouses. If you know firsthand about them, sorry. But I digress.)  What I didn’t realize is that you also need more light to see as you age.  I first noticed this while driving at night.  And I was so clueless about it being an effect of ageing I actually took my car in to the shop and told them there was something wrong with my car’s headlights.  The mechanic said, “Oh we’ll just re-aim them.  Sometimes headlights need to be adjusted after a while.”  And I thought, “Good.  That’s sorted.”  But when I picked up the car the young mechanic seemed puzzled when he told me there was nothing wrong with the lights.

And where do I start with hair? My friend LuAnn, who is an amazing writer (that’s amazing in a good way) wrote a brilliant essay on ageing and hair, so if I’ve stolen any of this from her I apologize, but it’s not on purpose.  It’s because another of the many delights of ageing is that your memory gets faulty. Ok, with that said, grey hair wasn’t ever an issue for me.  I always knew it was my destiny.  Both my grandmas had gorgeous white hair, and I found my first grey strand at age eighteen.  Yes, that’s right, eighteen.  How would you like to be a freshman in college and find that?  It might or might not have driven me to drink.  But by now I have accepted that grey roots are my lot in life (cause I haven’t completely resigned myself to grey hair, yet).   What I didn’t realize is that grey hair is insane, and even color can’t cover that crazy.  It boinks up randomly, defying the laws of gravity.  (Think of the Albert Einstein posters.  He wasn’t a careless groomer, that’s just how grey hair behaves.)

Another thing I didn’t realize about ageing hair, or rather one’s hair as one ages, because hair itself is dead.  (Don’t think about that too much, or it becomes a bit disturbing.) Anyway, what I didn’t know was that my hair would get thin.  Even my eyebrow and eyelash hairs.  Really God?  Really?  Eyebrows?  I spent so much time and energy in my teens and 20’s trying to restrain my eyebrows.  Now I’m painting them in because they have become so sparse and light. Or have migrated to my chin.

And as if that wasn’t enough, now my toes have betrayed me. (Yes, I’m finally getting to that.) Or maybe I betrayed my feet by wearing pointy-toed high heels when I was young and foolish(er).  Honestly, I know those kind of shoes make women’s legs and butts look better.  I understand that.  And believe me, my legs and butt can use all the help they can get.  That’s why I propose heels be made illegal, so no one has an unfair advantage.  I mean, let’s face it, a boycott would never work.  Most women would break the ban to temporarily impress some loser guy she didn’t even know in exchange for years of debilitating foot pain.  Totally worth it, right?  It makes no sense.  We have:

-Super-models and singers falling off their shoes on stage

-You and I twisting ankles, tearing ligaments and not able to keep up with our male counterparts who stride obliviously on in flat-footed comfort

-Business women, and others who have to get stuff done, pack and carry around extra shoes they can actually walk in.

-Women over 35 or 40 hobbling around on ruined feet, with toes twisted and malformed and Achilles tendons shortened to the point where they can no longer wear flat shoes comfortably either

-Global climate change (ok, maybe that’s not the fault of high heels, but I always like to add it to lists of things that upset me)

-Women on tv news and talk shows, sitting with their stilt-shoes, talking about equality, when they can’t even walk down the block or run from a fire.

And what about all those dumb women in horror films who can’t escape the sensible-shoe-wearing hatchet murderers?  I suspect one day anthropologists will dig up evidence of our society and honestly not understand what was going with all the bathroom debates and Kardashians and reality tv shows.  And they will wonder what type of society tortures its female population by forcing their feet into these pointy, stilted devices.

Anyway, back to my traitorous toes.  I don’t have gross, thick, yellow toenails – yet; still looking forward to that.  But recently the second and third toes on my right foot are starting to act like annoying, middle school girls.   They are staying as far away each other as possible and instead making bffs with the toes on the opposite sides.  Besides looking weird and twisted it also hurts.  So, I looked on the internet, asked friends, bought 13 different types of foot and/or toe pads at the drug store and finally asked my doctor about it when I was in for a totally unrelated reason.  She knew exactly what to do.  Make an appointment with the podiatrist.

When I got there, the first thing he told me he wouldn’t judge me for wearing flip-flops.  I was a little bit put off by this, because I was wearing good flip-flops, the ones with a little arch and lots of cushion.  I seriously considered giving him my rant on high heels, but decided to hold off for now.  After all, he might be charging by the hour.  So, after a brief examination he concurred with google.  I had the beginnings of hammer toes. His treatment consisted of giving me a type of toe/foot cushion that wasn’t carried by the drug store, and told me I would eventually, probably need surgery.  But not until the balloon payment on his yacht was due.  Ok, maybe I made up that last part.  So, I went home with my new toe/foot pad and it helped, sort of.  Then the following week I got his bill for $17,541.23, or something like that.  Because the health insurance industry in America is the devil.

But that’s another rant for another day.

NaNoWriMo

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo means (National Novel Writing Month) you don’t need to worry about any of this. Continue happily on with your sane lives. But for any of you out there who have accepted the challenge of writing a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days I have compiled some advice from well known authors to help (and by ‘help’ I mean, ‘not help at all and marginally harm by distracting’) you through your odyssey.

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
― Stephen King

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
― Louis L’Amour

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
― W. Somerset Maugham

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
― Jack London

This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.
― Neil Gaiman

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.
― Natalie Goldberg

Nothing’s a better cure for writer’s block than to eat ice cream right out of the carton.
― Don Roff

In writing, you must kill all your darlings.
― William Faulkner

And finally:

Beware of advice—even this.
― Carl Sandburg

So, to those of you making the attempt I wish you all the best!

Happy Pi Day!

Pi Pie

Well, like a true nerd (which I claimed to be in my “About” blurb) I had to make a pi pie today.  Here is the result, a blueberry-cherry pi pie.  If the letters look a little goofy, because they are… hand crafted – yeah, that’s what I’ll call it.  Anyway, I wish you all a sweet (or savory) Pi Day!