Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Middle Child

Well, she's started her big adventure, a semester abroad. She's studying in Aix, France. And, as expected, some of her courses are in French! Damn impressive, isn't she? One of them requires her to give a presentation at the end. I don't know why she's nervous. I know she'll be awesome. Sure wish I could go visit while she's there. It's been forever since I've been away and wouldn't it be cool to have my very own personal native tour guide!

If you want to follow along with her this semester, she has a blog to keep us all posted on what she's up to. You can also keep tabs on one of her friends, Kelsey, who's gone off to Ecuador. Quite a bunch, aren't they?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gotta Laugh

At some men’s irrational fear of feminine products. I’m sorry. I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone by discussing this but I have a question. If you are put off then stop reading now and come back tomorrow.

What’s the big deal with carrying an unopened box of products? Why do grown men get so flustered about this stuff? Today I watched a male grab two very heavy boxes, allowing the other guy with him the two very light ones just because one was a box of hygiene supplies. He’d rather risk injury than be seen crossing the street with that box in his possession. It made me wonder. After all, if they’re putting tab A into slot B then surely they are aware of certain facts about how women work, just as the vast majority of the adult population is. If not, they have no business doing the slot thing in the first place.

Years ago I was a buyer and I had to order the supplies to restock the machines in the ladies’ restrooms. The first salesman I had blushed and couldn’t talk about it. Cracked me up every time and of course I had to call with questions often just to torment him. He had a problem even giving me pricing. As you might guess, he didn’t last all that long. Possibly I had something to do with that but really, he was in the wrong line of work.

The next rep I had was a pleasant surprise. He not only could discuss the products with ease but showed up and asked questions when his company shipped the non-preferred variety. He went so far as to open a package of each to see the difference so he would be knowledgeable with his other accounts. He did very well and lasted for years. In fact, that was over 20 years ago and we’ve both since moved on but still stay in touch.

Sorry, got sidetracked. As I started out asking, why are men so silly about something that is simply a part of everyday life? Ladies, if you have sons, please teach them better. Gentlemen, if you’ve made it this far, explain please.

A note on yesterday's blog - Taz is not a new kitten. He's the first cat I had when I got my house 25 years ago. He always wanted his story told and I think it's time. There are more episodes to come.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Taz Comes Home

Once upon a time there was a little orange and white kitten who lived in the Tall Grass with his brothers and sisters. They played and chased butterflies in the sunshine and then all curled up in a heap to sleep.

One day, strangers came to the Tall Grass and looked over all the kittens. One by one, the others were taken away until only the little orange and white kitten was left. He had heard his Food Givers talking with the strangers. No one picked him because they all thought his ears were much too big. They laughed at him.

The little orange and white kitten was very sad. He was loney. He had no one to play with and his Food Givers ignored him most of the time. He was afraid he would be alone forever and then suddenly one last stranger arrived. She scooped up the little orange and white kitten and hugged him to her, declaring that he was absolutely perfect. She tucked him in close and took him with her out of the Tall Grass.

The stranger took the little orange and white kitten to someplace she called Home. Inside, she hadbowls for his sips and crunches, just for him! She also gave him his very own sandbox. She carried him all over Home, talking the whole time, telling the little orange and white kitten how happy she was that he was there with her.

Then the stranger, his new Food Giver as he figured out, put him down and let him explore. The step mountain was too high for him to climb easily so he only went part way up but once he was there, he sat down and looked around. She was watching him closely. When he started to climb down, he almost fell but she caught him, cuddling him close again, telling him to be careful because she would hate for him to be hurt.

As he wandered around his Food Giver talked to him. She asked what his name was and wondered if it might be Cody. Cody? No, that wasn’t it. The little orange and white kitten had to help her. He remembered the other Food Givers had a loud box with little creatures that moved inside it. One of them had the same name as he did. She had a box just like it so maybe she knew about the creature too. If he acted the same as it did, maybe she would be able to guess his name so he ran around in circles really, really fast until he got dizzy and fell over.

The new Food Giver saw him. She picked him up and looked right in his little face. She asked what he was up to. When she put him back down, he did it again but this time he sat before he fell and looked at her. He meowed his little meow. After a minute, she picked him up again and asked if his name was Taz. Yay! She understood!

And that is how Taz found his Home.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I’m in a mood. I even brought it on myself this time. I figured it was better to trigger it than to let it sneak up on me. So I read something that I knew would get to me. It worked. A little too well perhaps.

Well enough that I’m now questioning everything again. Mm, been a long time since I’ve done that. For example, do you know anyone who’s honestly happy? Long-term I mean, not fleeting moments of joy. Happy as in is thoroughly pleased with everything in their life, wouldn’t change a thing, all their dreams have already come true. Nope, me either. I can’t even come up with anyone who’s moderately content most of the time at the moment. Content as in no true worries, like could they afford to live through the next week if something major goes wrong.

And when it comes right down to it, does it really matter anyway? In the overall scheme of the universe, that is. No, it honestly doesn’t. Seriously. not much of anything does. There will always be individuals better or worse off than you are and the only person your troubles make any difference to is you. Just like only I care about what’s going on with me. After all, that’s life. Take it or leave it.

Hey, I warned you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wrong Number

For the last year there’s been an elderly woman, Thelma, who calls my number by mistake. Initially I just told her she had the wrong number and sent her on her way. Over time, however, we’ve begun to chat a little. After all, I do speak with her more than anyone else these days.

At first it was once or twice a week. Gradually that has increased. Yesterday, I spoke with her four times. She was trying to call her son and kept misdialing. Now that we talk, I don’t really mind. You see, she’s 93 years old and lives alone. Just like my great aunt.

Ah, now you get it. Though my aunt is still in great shape, better than Thelma I’m sure, she is getting up there. I would truly hate to think someone would be rude to her just because her eyesight is failing and she dials the wrong telephone number. Really our conversations last less than a minute and it certainly isn’t a big deal for me to be pleasant to her.

During one of the calls yesterday, Thelma apologized yet again for disturbing me. I told her it was no bother and by now I’d worry if I stopped hearing from her. I would too. Isn’t it funny how people just kind of show up without warning and become a part of your life?

Monday, January 26, 2009


Is it just me or are certain people just plain annoying? For instance, the man who walks through the door, sighs and says “Okay” every damn time he comes in. Every. Damn. Time. Sometimes six times a day. Or more. Can you imagine? I’m ready to say okay what since it’s generally not followed by anything that requires an okay first. Either that or stuff a rag in his mouth so he can’t speak.

Or how about the one that always double checks what you’re doing even though he already knows it has absolutely nothing to do with him? And, while being nosey and paranoid that he’s out of the loop, he says “What” sixteen times since he didn’t bother to listen the first fifteen?

And then there are those who can’t seem to close the door, the outside door, behind them. Oh and let’s not forget the ex who still insists on continually parking his truck with snowplow in front of my house, taking up two spaces.

Yeah, it was definitely Monday here today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Notable Pennsylvanians - Andrew Wyeth

Born – July 12, 1917 Chadds Ford, PA
Died – January 16, 2009 Chadds Ford, PA

Andrew Wyeth was the best known in a family of three generations of artist. His father, N.C. Wyeth, did illustrations for Scribner’s Illustrated Classics such as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe.His sister, Henriette was a portraitist who is considered on of the great women painters fo the 20th century. His other sister, Carolyn, avoided publicity but has been called the best painter in the Wyeth family and the strongest woman artist in America. His son, Jamie, received his training from his aunt Carolyn and has a style that is clearly influenced by his grandfather’s work.

Andrew was a sickly child who, because of his frequent illnesses, was home schooled. His father recognized and encouraged his artistic talent at a young age, helping him master figure study and watercolor. His brother-in-law, Peter Hurd, later taught him egg tempera That was the only formal training he had. He studied art history on his own.

In 1937, Andrew had his first one-man show at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City. His father selected the paintings from his series of watercolor landscapes of the Maine coast where the Wyeth family spent their summers. When Andrew married Betsy James two years later, she became the driving force of his career and has been said to have been very manipulative with his image, especially concering the Helga Pictures, a series of over 240 paintings and sketches done over a fifteen year period of a Prussian woman he discovered while she was helping care for a neighbor. When this series was first introduced, his wife claimed no knowledge of it since it included many nudes. Later it was revealed that Betsy did indeed know of their existence and was merely generating sensationalism. It worked because newsletter publisher Leonard Andrews bought the entire collection for $6 million in 1986 who resold it to a Japanese collector within a few years for $45 million.

Over the years Andrew used several other friends and neighbors as his models, the Olsons, his neighbors in Cushing, Maine and the Kuerners, his neighbors in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania however many of his pieces contain no people. Andrew himself said his biggest failing was too much subject in this work. Whereas his father’s illustrations were full of action and drama, Andrew’s work contained images of absence, silence, desolation but also expection. He liked to portray fall and winter scenes with the powerful structure of the landscape prominent and a promise of what’s to come lying beneath the surface. Much of his work has a melancholy feel to it that Andrew preferred to call thoughtful.

Although his work is exhibited world-wide, the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford is the place to visit. It’s a converted grist mill that houses hundreds of pieces by three generations of Wyeths. To see more of the landscape that inspired them, watch the movie The Village which was filmed very near Andrew’s studio.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ordinary Saturday

Doing the usual stuff. You know, groceries, laundry, cleaning.

And then I decided I'd give Howie a bath, get some of the salt off of him. Okay, found the car bucket but of course it's been so long since I washed a car that the sponge crumbled into dust. Hm, a rag would have to do. Filled the bucket with semi-hot water since it's still below freezing today. I was about half finished when the nail on my pinky which was by now soft from being in the hot water got snagged in the rag which then got caught between the fender and the mudflap. You guessed it. The nail ripped right off below the skin line. Figures. And, just to make it even more fun, I decided I couldn't stop with Howie only partly clean so I dipped my hand right back in the bucket which by then had salt from the car mixed in with the water. Damn if that didn't hurt. Too bad Howie didn't come the option of washing himself like it the picture.

Yep, typical day here. So what did you do?

Friday, January 23, 2009

So Disappointing

My favorite fur-lined boots are about done for. One of the soles is separating from the bottom of the shoe part. I’m going to try to glue it back on but I have serious doubts that it’ll work, long-term.

How sad is it that these boots have only lasted as long as they have. Only 30 years. I got them right after I got my first job, working at Woolworth’s. They were from Thom McCann’s, the shoe store across the hall in the Berkshire Mall. Well, the mall's still there but both Woolworth's and Thom McCann's have had it. Just like my boots.

Sigh. Things just aren’t made to last, are they?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fellowship

Alcoholics Anonymous began as the Society in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, founded by an prominent Ohio surgeon and a New York broker, both suffering from severe alcoholism. The first three successful groups were located in Akron, New York and Cleveland. At the beginning, it was a very slow growing fellowship with few success stories.

Then, with the publication of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1939, membership took off. This was is the first text that described alcoholism from the alcoholic’s viewpoint. Soon after publication, the Society took on the same name. In addition to stories of alcoholics’ experiences with recovery, the book contained the Twelve Steps which are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole. These principles are still essentially the same as they were first written.

Between that and the growing number of recovered alcoholics spreading the message, the organization received tremendous free publicity in newspapers and magazines world wide, causing people everywhere to flock to AA meetings. Faced with internal questions and external pressures, the Fellowship set out the Twelve Traditions in 1946 which apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which AA maintains its unity, how it relates to the world and how it lives and grows.

For more information about AA or to find your local meetings click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Anyone Do This?

“Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.” Robert Half

I was reading The Manager’s Intelligence Report, no, I am not staging a coup so quit it, and came across an article on nine tactics to boost morale. Naturally I shared it with my office mate. Some of them had us laughing so hard I decided to see if any of the places you work do these things.

For example, one recommendation was sponsoring a “Noon Movie” as in set up a TV in the lunchroom once a week and show a funny movie. Or, if time is a constraint, show an episode of a preferred sit-com. Right, I’m sure that’ll happen.

How about setting up a “Humor Corner”? Designate an area in the office and then encourage employees to post cartoons, jokes, or other funny material. Can you imagine the sorts of things you’d get?

Along the same lines they suggest managers liven up their memos by including a one-liner at the bottom. Hm.

Whenever possible, hold meetings outside of the office, say at a local coffee shop or restaurant down the street. Even outside, weather permitting. Yes, they actually felt the need to clarify the weather bit. No, I say we wait until the next torrential downpour and then all go out and get drenched together.

Play with the dress code by holding an “Ugly Sweater” day. Fine but what about the person who shows up in the same ugly sweater they wear all the time? Do you award them the prize even though you’re not sure they’re participating?

There was one tactic I really liked. “Late Day Mondays”/”Early Day Fridays”. That’s where everyone is permitted to come to work either an hour late Monday or leave an hour early Friday. Yeah, let’s do that, leave early on Friday. Only, just my opinion here, if they really want to boost employee spirits, let’s leave two hours early. Even better, give me the whole afternoon off, with pay of course and without using vacation time. Yep, I guarantee that would do wonders for my morale!

“Trust our instincts. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of someone else’s.” Billy Wilder

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Time

Today was an historic event for this country. We reached a milestone. And I think, to honor it, we should now all be referred to as Americans. That’s it, just Americans.

No, I’m not suggesting anyone stop celebrating their heritage. It’s an important part of why we are who we are and should never be forgotten. But our new president said it’s going to take all of us to make this country great again and that we need to work together in order to accomplish it. So very true. I say let’s stop segregating ourselves and join with every other American to do what must be done.

Monday, January 19, 2009

They Fibbed

The weathermen that is. We were supposed to have a possibility of a brief snow shower late this evening. Well, it’s been snowing for most of the day. This morning was odd, more of a snow mist than real snow. At lunch it began to snow for real, big flakes, lots of them. And it’s still snowing.

The window I sit beside at work looks out into a walled garden and that was snow covered from yesterday’s snow when I got in this morning. At one point, I was doing something on the other side of the room and glanced out. Nothing but wet. Half an hour later and everything was white.

I put nuts out for the squirrels and the poor things had trouble finding them by the time they wandered into the yard. And then, by the time they did manage to dig them out, their tails were white with snow.

Don’t get me wrong here. I love snowy days. They’re just a little hard to enjoy when you’re trapped at work during the daylight hours and know you have to drive home with a bunch of crazy people. Too bad we aren’t like the schools who close on days like this.

Howie was not at all happy coming home but then even the fancy SUV’s were all only going about 4 mph so I’m not going to judge his snowability on today. Reading was caught unprepared and did very little to the streets and everyone else was sliding, not just us. But he got me home safe and sound so what more could I ask for? Well, other than tomorrow off but that’s not going to happen unless we get a hell of a lot more snow than this.

Thanks to everyone who enter our contest.
The winners are: First prize – Ray, second prizes – Charisse and Gaynor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Was Bad

Last night I realized it has been several months since the Jehovah's Witness boys tapped on my door. No, I did not flash them. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I think what I did was even better. In fact, it was so good I'm sure they've decided I'm so in the loop they don't need to try to save me anymore. Got you wondering now, don't I? Okay, I'll quit teasing you and tell you.

One Friday night last fall, right around twilight, two young men in crisp white shirts and ties came to my door. They wanted to speak to me about Jehovah and salvation. Now I have nothing against religion but I do have a bit of a problem with others attempting to force it on me. Believe whatever you will, just leave me out of it. I have my own beliefs that I'm very content with, thank you very much.

Anyway, experience has shown that telling them no thanks and to move on only causes them to return another day. So instead of my usual not interested I tried something new. I greeted them warmly saying thank goodness they finally arrived. Yes, that got me a look of wonderment. I went on to say that I was waiting for them because I had a message from God. The look intensified. I told them that God was concerned with their safety, being on the street as dusk as they were and He wanted them to return to their rooms immediately in order to be able to continue spreading the word another day. They thanked me and scurried off.

Okay, so maybe that was bad of me but not entirely. My neighborhood really isn't safe for them to be wandering around in after dark. Dressed as they were was the same as hanging a please mug me sign on their backs. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Don't forget today, Sunday, is the last day to enter the contest to win new releases by Amarinda Jones and me. Scroll down for details.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Entirely Too Social

I was out yesterday, having breakfast and doing some visiting. I was out again for lunch today. I'm about to go back out now since the Middle Child is about to embark on her big adventure, a semester in France, and I'd like to wish her well before she goes. Also Neeley and her man are in town.

Now I'm about as far from a social butterfly as you can get so this is really hard for me. I used to be much better at it. But all things go in cycles and I'm in an avoid the world phase these days. My mind is too full of characters to have much room left for real people.

Today's lunch brought back lots of memories. We went to Ronies, Home of the Steak at 936 Exeter Street. Ever been there? If not, it's an institution. A tradition for folks in Northeast Reading. Owned by Ronie and Donna Burns, forever I think, it's a somewhat typical corner bar. Reading has a gazillion of them so why should you make Ronies a destination of choice? Not the atmosphere, that's for sure. It hasn't changed one bit in the twenty-five years I've been hanging out there.

So what is it about the place that's kept me going back? Ronie and Donna. A pair of real characters I assure you. Ronie is very set in his ways. If he thinks you might be okay the first time you go in, you'll be served in about an hour. If you go back a second time it will only take half an hour. The third time, a few minutes. If he decides you're riff raff you never get served. That's one reason I used to go there every Friday night, to watch the kids from nearby Albright College attempt to attract Ronie's attention. I tell you he can ingore you with the best of them. He makes it into an art. Even when refreshing my drink, he could look right through the smartass kid sitting next to me no matter how loud the kid got or what he said. But I warn you, if Ronie really likes you, he never takes your money so you can't ever leave. Or not until Donna comes in and has everyone settle up. She's the chatty one of the pair, remembering every detail of each conversation so she can continue it next time you're there. Amazing.

The other excellent reason to head to Ronies is the steak sandwiches. Ronie starts with a slab of delmonico steak which he slices himself. He fries it up on a flat grill with sliced onions beneath it. A slice of cheese melted on top, slap it into a club roll and you're all set. Some add worchestershire sauce but not me. I prefer mine plain.

I remember one summer when I had vacation to use up. I took off every Friday afternoon from Memorial Day to Labor Day and spent everyone of them at Ronies. Since I was social back then it wasn't unusual for various people to join me throughout the afternoon. Nor was it unusual for me to have a steak sandwich for lunch and then another with spicy fries for a late dinner. Of course that was back when it was safe to walk around my neighborhood so I could also enjoy several beverages. At that point I was there often enough that Ronie had a bottle of Johnny Walker Black stashed behind the bar, just for me. Memories...

Don't forget you still have time to enter the contest Amarinda and I are having in honor of our new releases Friday.

Want a chance to win a copy of two brand new e-books releases from Ellora’s Cave? Of course you do.

Linked by Barbara Huffert and Tantalizing Tilly by Amarinda Jones are out now. To be in the running to be a winner just answer these two simple questions:-

1. Where does Tori see the killers?

2. What creatures is Tilly fighting off?

The answers are in the blurbs. Click on the two covers for the blurbs. Simple. The first correct entry drawn at random will win both copies. The second and third entries drawn win one book each. Send your two answers to either or Contest closes midnight (EST USA) Sunday 19th January. Good luck.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Dance With Me

Want a chance to win a copy of two brand new e-books releases from Ellora’s Cave? Of course you do.

Linked by Barbara Huffert and Tantalizing Tilly by Amarinda Jones are out now. To be in the running to be a winner just answer these two simple questions:-

1. Where does Tori see the killers?

2. What creatures is Tilly fighting off?

The answers are in the blurbs. Click on the two covers for the blurbs. Simple. The first correct entry drawn at random will win both copies. The second and third entries drawn win one book each. Send your two answers to either or Contest closes midnight (EST USA) Sunday 19th January. Good luck.

I thought I should do something special to mark today's release. I arranged to be off from the day job and got as far as deciding to take Howie out visiting. I hadn't gotten much further in my plans than that when an email from my wonderful editor solved everything for me. She offered me a contract for my super steamy new story, Hot Rush! No specifics yet but I'm anticipating a summer release at Ellora's Cave. How's that for celebrating!

And now, since we're sharing our release day, how about a tease from Amarinda's Tantalizing Tilly?

Tilly Moor was pleased with her efforts so far. She was pretty sure the target had no idea she was trailing him. But then, nor should he. She had been doing this job for many years now and she believed she was damn good at what she did. Hiding in plain sight was an art. Tilly dipped her sunglasses down her nose and watched him as he turned down Eighth Avenue.
“Yep, that’s where I thought he would go,” she muttered to herself as she waited a moment before following. She did not want to follow him but she had no other choice. Tilly had a problem to sort out and she was not one to shy away from unpleasant things. As she put one of her Doc Marten boot shod feet down on to the metal grate set in the pavement, she felt it tilt dangerously beneath her. She looked down in horror.
“Oh shit!” Tilly yelped in panic when it gave way completely beneath her. She plummeted helplessly downward, knowing the landing was going to be painful and yet there was no way she could stop it happening or prepare herself for the fall. She closed her eyes and hoped for the best.
The best was she landed in the outstretched arms of a man. The worst, she had no idea who he was or what he was doing standing in an underground sewer tunnel in the middle of Brisbane city. Even in her less than sane world, that was not normal.
“Hi,” said the tall, blond man. He grinned at her widely.
“Hi?” Tilly struggled in his arms as she tried to free herself. “Who the fuck are you?” She turned her head and glared at him as she tried to break the hold he had on her. The arms that held her were like steel.
“I was just passing by,” he murmured pleasantly as he held her against his chest.
And what a chest it was. Tilly could feel the rock-hard pecs against the side of her breast. She was disgusted to find herself getting all girly and giddy at the firm, warm flesh pressed against hers. Get a grip, woman. He’s a weirdo standing in a sewer.
“And you just happened to be standing in an underground sewer?” She slapped at the arms that held her tight. “Let me go.” It was weird being suspended in the air like this. Tilly had no control at all and she didn’t like it one bit. Added to that she was amazed he was holding her not inconsequential weight without any effort at all. She had heard that crazy people did sometimes have supernatural strength. I always attract the nutcases. Why me?
“I saw you falling.”
“So you immediately stretched out your arms to catch me?” She looked in the vivid blue eyes and saw amusement. How dare he be amused by this?
“Lucky huh?”
“Bullshit.” She smacked his chest and wriggled to free herself. “Put me down.”
“I like holding you.”
The way he said it in a deep, husky voice made Tilly suddenly hot all over.
“Put me down before I poke you in the eyes.” She held her fingers up threateningly.
The man shrugged and gently placed her feet on the ground.
“As you wish, cariad.” He set her down carefully but kept his hands on her shoulders.
Cariad? Tilly looked up at him. Whoa. He was much taller than the average man and he appeared to be solid muscle under the black knit t-shirt and well-faded jeans. His dark blond hair could be best described as shaggy but neat and the plain polished metal stud in his ear gave him a rakish look of battered elegance. He smiled at her as if amused by her perusal. It was an awfully nice smile and a delicious looking mouth. It had the full bottom lip that she found sexy in a man—if she was interested and she wasn’t. Tilly dragged her eyes from him and looked around for a way out. Be proactive and find a solution and not reactive and panting at the hot guy. The hot guy in question suddenly pulled Tilly to him.
“Hey, back off, mate,” Tilly snapped in anger and shock. The shock was due to the fact that the heat from the body plastered tightly against hers was seeping into Tilly’s senses and her sex-starved hormones were going crazy with delight. She pushed her hands against his chest in an effort to stop feeling stuff she did not want to feel.
“Shh,” he dropped his head and whispered again her ear.
Oh boy. The hot breath skittered teasingly over her skin. Tilly felt an instant tightening response between her legs.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Linked, Coming January 16

From Ellora's Cave!

I'll tell you a secret. All the nightmares in this book are ones I've actually had. Hey, at least something good came of them, right? Now you really have to read it, just to see how my mind works.

“Why did you come here tonight?”
“I told you on the phone. I was sleeping and then I wasn’t. I woke up and couldn’t shake the feeling that you were scared. Did you have another nightmare? Is that why you turned on all the lights?”
“Want to talk about it?” She shivered. “You don’t have to, Tori. I’m sorry. I don’t want to upset you.”
“You started trembling when I asked if you wanted to talk about it.”
“Oh.” Tori blushed and fought the urge to hide her face in his shoulder. “It’s not that. I’m just a little cold. Or the part of me that’s not against you is. The rest is nice and warm.”
Guy hid a grin. “Yeah, now that you said that it does feel chilly in here. Maybe I should check your furnace.”
“No. I turn the heat down when I go to bed because I like lots of covers. You called before I turned it up and then I got sidetracked.”
Guy was rubbing his hands over her exposed skin. “And your nightwear isn’t designed for warmth although I must say how much I like it.”
Tori glanced down at her shorts and tank top and realized how well-defined her stiffened nipples were in the flimsy cotton of the tight pink shirt.
“Oh God,” she groaned.
“Christ, could I have said anything more inappropriate? Hey, at least I haven’t lost my mind entirely or I’d be touching them instead of just wishing I were.”
At his declaration, Tori felt the peaks tighten even more. She watched his glance drop and knew he’d seen the change. When his gaze returned to hers, she saw that his eyes had darkened. Wordlessly, she caught one of his hands and drew it to her breast, pressing herself against his palm. For a long moment, he cupped her.
“Guy,” Tori made his name sound like a plea.
With a sigh, Guy slid his hand to her shoulder and rested his forehead against hers. “You could tempt a dead man.”
“But not you, huh?”
“Oh, I’m plenty tempted. If you don’t believe me, shift your hip and you’ll be able to feel just how tempted I am. As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to beg you to go put on a robe or some sweats or anything less revealing, not that it’ll do much good now that I’ve seen you like this.”
“No, Tori don’t. I know it would be pure heaven, spending the next month exploring your body, after which we’d spend the following year making love in every way imaginable but that’s not something we can start tonight.”
“Not even if I tell you I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone?”
“Oh, Christ.” Guy ran his thumb along her collarbone. “Don’t do this, Tori, please. I’m trying to be decent and not take advantage of the situation. You say you want me now but what about tomorrow? You’re the one who questioned my attraction to you, remember? I won’t do something that you may regret later. You’re too important for me to chance that.”
Tori studied his eyes and saw more emotions than she expected. “All right, Guy. You wouldn’t be taking advantage but okay. I won’t beg you to show me if those big strong hands of yours feel as good as I think they will.”
“Just trying to make you feel better by not being the only one who says inappropriate things.”
“Thanks, I think.” Guy stood her on her feet. “Go put on more clothes and stop looking so damned desirable.”
“You’ll be here?”
“Until you tell me to leave.”

Don't forget to stop back tomorrow for details of the contest Amarinda and I are having.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let's Go Pens

As you may recall I’m a hockey fan, the Pittsburgh Penguins to be specific. I must admit I’ve been very remiss in following them this year although I do know they’re not doing well, 21-19-4. J, the friend who taught me all things hockey, felt the need to email me and point that out. How, uh, nice of him. Not.

In his email he mentioned that he was going to last night’s game between the Penguins and the Flyers, his team of choice. I had forgotten about it until I was drifting off to sleep last night and heard “The Flyers lost to the Penguins 4-2.”

See what happens when you make fun of my team? I think it serves J right for tormenting me. He should know bettter because history shows that no matter how bad the Pens are playing they still have moments when everything falls into place and they play as well as they’re capable of. I’d say I’m sorry that J didn’t have as much fun as he would have had the Flyers won but you’d all know I’m not. He should have sent me in his place.

Linked releases Friday at Ellora’s Cave along with Tantalizing Tilly by my friend, Amarinda Jones. To celebrate we’re having a contest. Stop back Friday for details on how to enter.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Howie the Tweetie Bug. My new toy. Isn’t he cute?

I spotted him online Sunday when I was doing some research into what I might have to spend. The price was almost within my range and the place, John’s Great Cars, New Holland Road location was one that had been recommended to me as somewhere I would be treated decently. I figured it couldn’t hurt to start my quest there.

Armed with information of what to check for, thank you Curly, I set out and within minutes I’d decided I wanted it. Yes, that’s all it took because no, I didn’t drive it first. I suspected the clutch would be very different from the Saab’s and didn’t feel the need to have the salesman rolling his eyes at me. Not that Matt would have let me catch him if we had gone for a test drive. He was most excellent throughout the entire transaction and I’m very pleased, especially since he took the Saab off my hands instead of making me dispose of it elsewhere.

So paperwork complete I hopped in Howie and took off. Yep, the clutch and steering are a lot looser than the Saab’s. That’s okay, I’ll get used to it. He’s also no where near as zippy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. No more speeding tickets for me and I get to use all the gears. He did heat up much faster, the radio works and the instrument lights are soft blue. Besides for all that he’s a happy little car and he makes me laugh.

We’re very easy to recognize so if you pass us on the street be sure to wave. Oh and if you need a car go see Matt and tell him Howie and I sent you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Long Day

Nothing much to say.

Decided I'm not going to deal with the car problems so I've done some preliminary shopping online. Book values and such. Best to be prepared when I venture out there.

Made a pan of fried rice. I've been hungry for it and I won't eat Chinese takeout from any of the local places. Good but not really worth the work.

Don't know if I'll be here or not tomorrow so have a nice day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10

My father died six years ago today. I was at work. It was just after lunch. My mother called and said he’d been taken in the helicopter and she didn’t know anything more. As I was leaving I bumped into Neeley who was working over the holidays between semesters. She was just a kid at the time but she handled it amazingly well when I held onto her for a moment then blurted out that I thought my dad was dead and I had to go.

The road was blocked by fire police due to the helicopter. I almost ran over the first one when he wouldn’t let me through. As you can imagine I wasn’t making much sense as I tried to explain why he had to let me pass. The second one didn’t even try to stop me.

When I got to the hill at the bottom of the road where my parents lived, about a block from their house, I saw his car crashed into the stone wall across the street. There was an ambulance, fire trucks and state police. The poor cop who caught me after I hopped out of my car was about twelve years old.

I remember clutching his coat in my fists, shaking him, demanding he tell me what was going on. I suspect I’m damn lucky he didn’t shoot me. Or throw me on the ground and handcuff me for acting like a crazy woman. Especially when I started rambling about the dog.

My dad rarely went on errands without his pup. I don’t know why she wasn’t with him that day. She loved to go along. A fireman approached at some point and confirmed the cop’s claim that the dog hadn’t been with him. A neighbor had already asked the same thing so they were certain.

Then I asked him to tell me about my dad. The look I got said it all but he called the ambulance woman over anyway. They offered to come with me to tell my mom. I refused. There was no way I was telling her he was already gone even before they took him away in the helicopter. Not after being the one to tell her of her mother’s passing and another difficult loss in our family.

Why is it always me who has to do that? If there’s someone in your life about to die, please don’t make me be the one to have to tell you. I’ve done it too often and I can’t do it again. That night I did have to call my great aunt and tell her though. After I called one of her friends and explained what was going on so she wouldn’t be alone.

I drove my mom twenty minutes to pick up my brother and then the three of us went to the hospital another half an hour away where they’d flown my dad. All the while I knew it was pointless. He was dead but I had to pretend I didn’t know that.

By the time we got there I had myself so shut down and distanced I couldn’t even cry. But now I can.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Stuff/Bad Stuff

First the good - Last night was so much fun! But then an evening with the little girls always is. Can I still call them that? They're 14 so probably not. Anyway we had a great dinner and the show was awesome.

I have to confess I never saw the movie version of Footloose. For some reason I really didn't like Kevin Bacon at all back then and I wasn't into dancing so I skipped it. Never got around to it even though Kevin's grown on me. Riley however, has and in her opinion it's much better as a musical. Go see it if you have the chance. It's long but worth it.

Now the bad - My car. Remember when I was a good girl and went off and had the oil changed? A few days after that I noticed some oil on the street. It took a little while but I determined it was coming from my car. I called and was told to bring it back, perhaps the filter is defective. So at 5:45 this morning I scooted off to the garage.

I got to be there today when the mechanic put it up on the lift. Normally I have to wait in the waiting room but it was just the two of us so he let me in the garage with him. Actually it was because we got there at the same time and he hadn't even turned all the lights on before he pulled my car inside. Up it went and instantly he started shaking his head. Nope, not the filter. Or the drain plug. He suspects it may be the head gasket. Since it's a Saab you can't really tell without taking the top of the engine apart. If that's the cause, I'm well and truly screwed here. It'll cost more to fix than a) I paid for the car and b) the car is worth.

I have an appointment for next week, just in case it's the breather valve thingy malfunctioning. That's fairly cheap and easy so it's worth checking. In the mean time I am to drive as little as possible and always carry oil to add frequently as the leak will continue to get worse.

Yep, life really sucks some days with how it can go from fun to depressing in a flash.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Adventure Tonight

Eva May and I are going out with the girls again. Tonight’s destination – Footloose. Dinner first, still to be decided. I’ll let you know all about it tomorrow.

Why don't you go do something fun tonight too?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Say What?

I heard on the radio today that the government fund to assist people in getting signal converters for their TV’s is temporarily depleted. There is a waiting list started for when it is replenished but that won’t be for six weeks. Before then, the signal will be swtiched from analog to digital and people will have missed some of their shows. Yes, that is what was reported on the news.

I have several problems with this one. First of all, so what? There’s more to life than TV or if there’s not then there should be. Second, who decided the money I work hard to earn that is then taken from in in the form of taxes should be spent on something so inane as television? I pay for my TV viewing. When I didn’t have the money for it, I did without. No government agency stepped in and offered to help me. I should add here that the converter gizmos only cost around $80.00. Anyone who can’t afford that is in bigger trouble than just missing out on remaining a couch potato.

When did the ability to watch pointless quasi-reality programs become more important than say healthcare for children living in poverty situation? I don’t get it. No, I just don’t get it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It’s dark. You’re sound asleep. Only not peacefully. You see awful, terrible, horrible things happening. And there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop it.

And then it gets worse. Whoever is doing whatever notices you standing there and decides you need to be taken care of so you can’t interfere. So you can’t tell.

Or even more horrifying. They come to get you to take you along so you can record the heinous things they’re doing. Night after night. You can’t resist. You have to go. You don’t help but you don’t prevent any of the atrocities. You walk to the end of the corridor and watch. And live with it.

Eventually what you’re seeing sinks in and you begin to struggle. You can’t at first. You try to move because you know that will wake you up. You try to scream. You can’t. You’re trapped, watching over and over as someone gets killed in the most terrifying ways ever. Ways you can’t begin to comprehend actually happening to anyone.

But I’ve seen it. Or I’ve been the victim. Sooner or later I do manage to scream myself awake. Yeah, that’s always fun. I used to have Mouse to soothe me with his purrs. The other cats don’t understand how much I need that so they don’t rescue me like he used to.

Once the screaming stops because I’ve realized it’s me and I’m fine, I have to get up and wander around the house a bit. If I don’t, I slip right back into the nightmare and it picks up where it left off. Unless it goes back to the beginning and I get to relive it, knowing what’s coming, not really asleep but not really awake either.

That’s my life and yes, I have gotten used to it to some extent. You do when it’s always been that way.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mbuti, Colin Turnball, and a Point

The Mbuti Pygmies live in the Ituri Forest in what is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. They’re a peaceful people, a society of hunters and gatherers who have no form of government. They resolve the majority of their conflicts through laughter. Basically, they ridicule each other until they get so outrageous they forget what the original cause of the disturbance was and harmony is restored. Perhaps we could learn something from them.

Unlike their village dwelling neighbors who are afraid of the forest because they think it houses evil spirits, the Mbuti believe the forest is their friend. They sing to keep it happy and to ask for it to provide game for their hunts. Yes, recordings are available.

The primary man to study this group of Pygmies was Colin Turnball of London, England. His first encounter with them however, was before he became an anthropologist. He travelled to what was then Zaire with a friend. One of the odd jobs he had that trip was helping a movie producer build a boat. The producer, Sam Spiegel and the boat, the African Queen.

After returning to Oxford and specializing in the anthropology of Africa, Turnball made five more expeditions to the Ituri region, publishing his study of the Pygmies, The Forest People, and the follow up, The Mountain People, which concentrated more on the village dwelling Ik people in Uganda. Turnball was not your typical anthropologist in that he quite obviously did not maintain his neutrality about his subjects as is encouraged. He adored the Mbuti and despised the Ik.

Eventually Turnball became a naturalized citizen of the United States, working as curator for the Museum of Natural History in New York and then as a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University. While there, he lived in rural Virginia in an interracial, openly gay relationship. In the 1960’s.

I met Colin Turnball in the early 80’s when he was doing the lecture circuit and, since I was an anthropology major, had the great fortune of spending an afternoon with him. What a fascinating individual!

Now for my point. Both Turnball and his partner of 30 years, Dr. Joseph Towels, died at the age of 69 from complications of AIDS. The disease doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done in your lifetime. Protect yourself.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just a Click

That's all it takes to help so many good causes. It only takes a second for each one. Here's the link to the literacy page but while you're there please spend a minute and click your way across all of them. Right now they're displaying all the good done by last year's clicks. Remember to visit every day so next year the totals will be even higher. Clicking doesn't cost you a thing but if you're in a spending mood be sure to check out all the cool stuff available on each of the pages. Everything purchased helps the cause even more.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


In my area there’s a grocery store that has made a huge announcement of how it’s going to freeze prices in all 155 of its stores. Thousands of items all over the store. Starting January 1st and lasting 90 days. How altruistic of them.

But is it? Really, if you think of it, they’re doing this at a time when prices are at an all time high. They didn’t lower them first to match the falling transportation costs. No, they left them exactly where they went up to when all the exorbitant fuel surcharges were in effect.

I stopped at one of these stores today to pick up just a few things. On display all over the store there were these nifty little signs designating which items fell under the price freeze. Everywhere I looked I saw them. So I started watching people. I saw several reaching for these controlled products. I was very tempted to ask if it was their regular brand they were choosing or if they were influenced by the hype. But then I decided not to. If people are happier, believing they’re getting some sort of bargain, what right do I have to burst their bubble?

Friday, January 2, 2009


It’s been a very long day and my mind is pretty much shot. It’s being too sieve-like for me to form any clever coherent thoughts to entertain you with today. They’re there, I just can’t manage to snag onto any of them long enough to write them down for you. The frog tongue technique isn’t even working today. You’ll have to find Riley if you want an explanation for that one. Sorry, don’t know what she’s up to tonight so I can’t tell you where to look. I’m even too beat to call and see what she and her family are doing for dinner.

But I won’t leave you hanging. Amarinda has lots to say today. Click here to go see what it is. In fact, email her your opinion after you do and tell her I sent you. If you say something profound she just might post it tomorrow. Come on, I know you have it in you. Not everyone had to work today like I did so those of you who didn’t have no excuse.

Have a good weekend. I plan to work on a little research project for my next info-blog and hopefully get lots of writing done.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Nothing much going on here today. I ended up going to bed early last night. Hey, I was tired and I'd had enough of 2008. Due to the high winds, the organizers who put on the fireworks display up at the pagoda had to cut out most of them. I figured I'd be able to sleep through the few remaining ones. Not quite but they didn't disturb me to the point where I was honestly awake.

I did miss the relighting of the pagoda. As part of the hundredth anniversary celebration spruce up it got new lights all around and last night at midnight was the first they would be displayed. That's okay. They'll be on tonight too.

Today I've been domestic. Yes, I know, wrong for a holiday but it means I'll have my weekend free so I see it as worth it. Believe it or not I even cooked the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch good luck meal of pork and saurkraut and mashed potatoes. Real mashed potatoes, not out of a box. I know you're all probably thinking ew now and I used to agree with you. It's an acquired taste and I've grown into it. Actually, I started making it myself which means I can wash the saurkraut which eliminates the excessive salt taste. I also cook it without adding water so it's not soggy, my other complaint. Much better my way.

Other than that, I'll probably watch an old movie or maybe start out the year by reading a book.

Oh, talk about things that are just plain wrong, I have to work tomorrow. There should be a worldwide mandate against working the day after a holiday when it falls on a Friday.