Monday, April 30, 2012

Serious Stuff

In the wee of hours Sunday morning I was awakened by gun fire.  About a dozen shots in all.  A bunch fast. A half a nano second pause.  A few more.  A slightly longer pause.  And one final shot.  It sounded extremely close so I was on full alert, waiting for either silence, more shooting or sirens.  Sadly, this has become a routine occurrence in my neighborhood.

This time there were sirens.  Many, many sirens.  I heard on the radio last night that someone was indeed shot.  And killed.  So as I was laying there, waiting, I was also listening to him die. 

According to this morning’s newspaper the deceased had been visiting a house about a block away from mine, got into a fight outside and was shot.  It doesn’t specify whether or not the fight was with someone passing in the street or someone who was also in the house.  Either way, it was a specific shooting, 

Horrible though it is, in my mind it is somewhat better to be specific rather than random.  Specific means that unless my luck is even worse than normal, I won’t be shot by mistake.  Though that’s not quite true.  Just a few weeks ago there was a gentleman shot in his living room by someone shooting outside who missed the intended target.

Growing up, I lived in the middle of nowhere.  There were no lights other than the moon outside my bedroom window.  The only noise that wasn’t part of nature was a train that echoed from about 10 miles away.  When I moved into the city it was to the nice section of town.  Oh it was still an adjustment but I made it.  I used to roam in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep because it was a decent area.  That stopped years ago though the desire hasn’t which makes it very difficult some nights.

There’s so much gunfire these days that I barely react when I’m awake unless it’s right outside my window.  Yeah, I’ve learned to drop to the floor instantly when it’s that close.  It still startles me if I happen to be sleeping.  Statistics indicate that crime is down in Reading.  Um, no I disagree.  My theory is that reported crimes are down because the police force has been cut so dramatically.  Why report something that’s not major when no one is going to come?

No, I’m not afraid to leave my house.  I am however, beginning to be intimidated to return to it, depending on the time and activity in the neighborhood.  My illusion of safety, which was never very strong anyway, is crumbling.  It’s becoming more and more obvious that I do not belong here though, after surviving here I suspect I could exist anywhere.  Exist, not thrive which is something that everyone, including me, should have the opportunity to do.

Forgive me for rambling but there’s a lot swirling through my head today.  I’m having some trouble sorting it because honestly, I don’t know what to do.

And in other news, the FDA has approved an antibiotic for plague.  Now doesn't that just make the state of things so much better?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hopewell Village

Charcoal barn and wagon through the ironmaster's lilacs.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Pics...

Of my day at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in French Creek State Park are posted over on JPG.  Click here to see!


Taken at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in French Creek State Park, PA

Thursday, April 26, 2012


There are so many iris blooming in my yard now that the scent is intoxicating.  This one decided to open sideways.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Over the weekend I watched the fish episode of BBC Earth's Life. Included in it are sea dragons. They are the coolest of sea creatures. Their shape and fins really do make them look like dragons.

 Last night I dreamed I was diving, not something I’ve ever attempted, in order to go see them in person. I found some and was having a blast, watching them flit about as they did in the show when a real dragon scooped me out of the water. It was huge! And very, very angry with me. Apparently it was overly protective of its aquatic counterpart.

The interesting thing was that the dragon could talk. I tried to explain that I was just looking, not interfering in any way but it was still furious. It raised its bristly eyebrow and told me I had to pay for my transgression and the fee would be me. As in I was to be its dinner.

As you can imagine, this turned into quite the debate with me protesting and it insisting. Strangely enough, I kept being distracted by the waggling eyebrow. I don’t think I ever knew that dragons had eyebrows. For some odd reason it didn’t faze me one bit that it was speaking.

The most intriguing thing was its reasoning for snacking on me. In addition to my peering at its compatriots, that is. It seems that the dragon determined, without even taking the first bite, that I taste like Cracker Jack. I truly wonder how it knows that, don’t you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Rambling

I was drinking my spring water today and paused to read the bottle. What? Don’t you read everything that’s in your hand? Though truthfully, it began with noticing the design of the bottle. Reading the label followed. Natural progression and all that.

 The bottle itself made me curious. It has a bunch of ridges and a section that has bumps. Or bubbles? Columns perhaps? Anyway, one section is different. No clue why. After I studied it, I experimented on picking up the bottle, holding it and drinking from it. As far as I can tell, having this altered stripe makes no significant difference in regard to functionality. So it’s purely for aesthetic value?

Back to the label. What caught my attention was the 5¢ refund in Maine, Connecticut and New York. It has me calculating. How many bottles do you think it would take to make it worth the trip? Do you think enough would fit into Howie? Would there be so many I’d need to crush them? How long would it take to gather them up? And, once Howie and I made the trek and got there, where do we turn them in for cash?

So. How was your day? Any pressing dilemmas like this for me to ponder on next?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today's Ramble

“Forecasters said that recent rains have caused the trees to replace leaves lost in winter, which could cause them to be heavier and more prone to breaking if snow accumulates.”

 I was reading about today’s late season snowstorm and came across this statement. I don’t quite understand it. I’m approaching old and it’s been my experience that deciduous trees in this part of the country routinely sprout new leaves around this time, recent rain or not. In fact, we’ve barely had any rain at all the past month or so and there are leaves galore. Yes, I just don’t get why a major news reporting organization would put the potential for leaf-covered trees blanketed with wet snow to cause damage when high winds are predicted in those terms.

 In my little corner of the world we haven’t seen any snow yet and it’s not real likely we will. Perhaps a few heavy wet flakes and that’s it. This winter was a tremendous disappointment to me. No snow to speak of since the fluke storm we had on Halloween. Barely any rain for me to wander in either. Or not until last night when I think it was making up for all the time it didn’t rain.

I sleep so much better when it’s raining. Yeah, it’s been a difficult couple of months. I think the cats have been afraid to come to bed these days. They’ve been tossed on the floor too many times lately when I’ve been battling nightmares. They were happy last night though, with the rain. I woke up this morning trapped with them snuggled up close.

You know why we’re having this weather now? Because I put the vent in the attic window last Thursday. It was hot inside so it was time. Now my house is chilly and damp but since I didn’t really turn the heat on all winter I’m certainly not about to now. Nor am I taking out the vent since it’s nice and secure and a tremendous nuisance to do. Nope, it’s in until fall and the cats can just deal with it. They’re furry and spend their days burrowed in my covers without me. They’ll be just fine, I promise.

Can you tell being trapped inside all day has me very restless? There was beautiful heavy mist and I was a good, responsible employee and didn’t go out roaming as I wanted to. But I can now so have a good night!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last Night

I went to breakfast last night with some old friends. Yes, I said last night and breakfast. Just because they happen to label it breakfast I see no reason why it should only be eaten in the morning. Perhaps menu makers should call that stuff Eggs and Things for people who like that food but can’t get passed the thought of having breakfast after 11:00.

Anyway, we met up at the Fifth Street Diner in Temple, PA. Do you know it? You should. It’s nummy! And cool vintage! I got there first and, since I had my camera, wandered the parking lot, taking pictures to go with this ramble. It only took about three minutes before a slightly concerned woman came out and approached me to see what I was up to. She identified herself as Megan, the owner and, as soon as I explained, couldn’t have
been more pleasant.

When I went in she turned me over to an equally pleasant waitress who was there with a smile instantly when needed but knew how to fade into the background. I had a few moments to observe as I waited for my friends and it seemed as if the majority of the staff shared that ability. I don’t know about you but that’s something I really admire. It’s a true talent.

The menu is huge! If I hadn’t already known what I was having it would have been a struggle choosing since so many things sounded tempting. The cakes I passed on the way in were too much to resist. What? Just because I had eggs doesn’t mean they couldn’t be followed by something sweet. Oreo layer cake. Need I say more?

We ended up staying way longer than most people do and the staff was very pleasant about it. This again is not something you find everywhere. Yes, if you’re ever in the area I recommend you stop in. You can believe I’ll be going back. Care to join me?

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's The Weekend

Eat Cake!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Tomorrow is Beau’s birthday! Can you believe he’s two? It seems like he wandered into my life just yesterday. But then, other times, it seems like he’s been here forever. Maybe he'll pose for a new pic tomorrow if we all ask real nice.

He’s still a cross between pure kitten and wise old soul. One thing for sure. He is most definitely a mystical creature full of magick. I suspect he’s brilliant and I should consider myself lucky he permits me to live in his house and provide him with food. I can tell by the expression on his face some days that I’m pushing my luck and working his last nerve. But he works mine too so I guess we’re even.

I certainly am glad he decided to take over and stay here. I’d miss his antics and his tales if he’d moved on instead. So join me in wishing him a happy birthday. And yes, he is accepting gifts, should you have the desire to send one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yes, Please

I’d like some cheese and crackers to go with my whine today. Only it’s too hot so I really don’t because the 35 degree jump in temperature has my head fighting to hurt. I’m ignoring it as best I can which is easier said than done. Did I mention that it’s 88? In mid-April. This is not right. That’s about 25-30 degrees above average. It hasn’t rained for real in weeks. This is also not right. Where are the April showers? Oh that’s right. We don’t need them since all the May flowers bloomed in March.

There’s a wildfire still burning less than 20 miles away in French Creek State Park. It’s up to 740 acres. I know that’s not a lot compared to some but it is for this area. It’s the biggest we’ve had in 100 years. Supposedly it’s contained though not controlled. They said the same thing last week when the area was only 500 square acres. Then it got windy and jumped the containment lines. Hmm. It’s supposed to be very windy again tonight. I’d like to go wander the area that is already doused with my camera but I’ll wait until it’s completely out. Better to stay out of the way of the people doing their best, risking their lives to fight this fire. I’ve never walked through a burned out forest. I suspect it’s eerie.

Due to the current conditions, the powers-that-be in various townships around the county have enacted burning bans. As in no burning trash or brush until it rains for real. You’d think that would be common sense, not lighting a fire in dry, windy conditions but no, sadly, it’s not. That also means no fireworks but people are a bit thick sometimes. The folks that live two houses away from me have been setting them off for about a week now. I’m not happy with the temperature or the lack of rain but that will be nothing compared to my unhappiness if idiots being stupid cause my house to burn down. Yes, that’s a valid concern in my neighborhood. It may be time for me to move although I’m sure there are similar idiots most places.

Okay, enough grumbling. Time to go stare in the refrigerator and try to make dinner appear out of nowhere. Happy Monday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm Angry

A statement made by the White House following the North Korean missile test yesterday said “North Korea is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry.”

Read it again. “North Korea is wasting its money on weapons and propaganda displays while the North Korean people go hungry.” Now take a moment and ponder it.

In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, but isn’t that rather hypocritical? Doesn’t the government of this country do exactly the same thing? Or is it okay for the powers-that-be here to spend money on weapons since the majority of ours don’t crash and burn almost immediately after launch?

Oh. Wait. They don’t call it hunger in the U.S. anymore. It’s now termed food insecurity. According to a study released at the end of last year, “In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.” which is a tremendous increase from a study issued by the same people in 2008. Add to that the 6.7 million households that experienced low food security which means normal eating patterns are altered due to financial circumstances.

Think about that for a minute. Okay, go back and read the White House criticism again. To me, it seems pretty damn nervy of this government to use that tactic to poke at that government when the people of this country are facing the same problem.

It’s time to stand up for ourselves and do something about this. I know that. Sadly, I have no solutions. We need new government but the people who could honestly make a difference aren’t the ones who stand a chance of running things. It’s time for all the little people, like you and me to band together and insist on change. Yes, I know that too. But again, I don’t know how to inspire people to breach their comfort zones and step out of their status quo lives to take a chance, possibly risking everything, in order to make things better for future generations. It’s going to take all of us to accomplish that. Yeah, that’s something else I know.

So my question to you is this, and then I’ll leave you to your Happy Hours (What’s so happy about them? Better to spend your hard-earned money on nutritious food than watered-down drinks) what can we, each and every one of us, do to start things moving in a better direction? I suspect the first steps don’t have to be huge. Little things can and will make a difference. Come up with something, pass on the idea, and then go out and do it!

For more information on hunger in the US, because that’s what it truly is the article is here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Hate My New Glasses!

Oh, they look fine. I guess I did okay choosing them, considering my eyes were dilated and I can only see about three inches without glasses on.

The problem is I can’t see very well with them. The prescription is fine. Or I suppose it is. It’s the progressive lenses that are giving me trouble and I don’t understand why. I’ve had them before. I got the same kind. They’re very similar in size to the last pair.

But it seems the zones are different. The three different ranges of transition are not proportioned as they were before. So here I am, dipping my chin like some damn bobble-head doll trying to find the right spot to peer out of. No, I can’t just move my eyes. That doesn’t work with this pair of glasses as it did with the last pair. I have to tip my whole head because otherwise all I see is blur.

Yes, I admit it. I’m whining. But, with constant migraines this time of year that interfere with my vision to begin with, this is the last thing I need. I think I’ll just go to bed now. It’s too much effort today to attempt to focus on things. Night.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Extra

Fruitless (A Rant/glut of frustration) by Lance Cheuvront.

In my opinion, this is something you need to read. Ponder it. And then go off and change your lives for the better.

"I just finished reading over a really cool article about a group called Guerilla Grafters, and I will provide a link so you can check it out too! What these people do is graft branches from fruit bearing trees onto the non-bearing varieties that cities around San Francisco plant; so that the trees will (you guessed it) bear fruit.


Now I have enough journalistic integrity that I also read several articles demonizing said group because of a number of reasons. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that what they are doing is illegal?


The opponents of the grafters, largely but not always city officials are up in arms because of a series of doomsday scenarios that they believe will play out when these trees begin to fruit, and their complaints, lead me to question their sanity and our society as a whole and I will try to be succinct about this, but damn it, you know me and I get angry…


Here are some, but by no means all of the reasons that everyone fears the fruit.


1. When the fruit ripens and falls, it will destroy cars, make a mess, be slippery and be a fall risk and attract fruit flies.


2. People will try and climb the trees to get the fruit higher up and fall and die horrible, broken, mangled deaths, or even worse, live on and suffer.


3. Dirty, homeless, hungry people will be attracted to the neighborhood and may find something to eat.


4. Children may discover the fruit and (god forbid) eat it and maybe ingest a bruise or a worm.


5. Wal-mart may suffer a loss of 0.0003% of their produce sales.

6. We as human beings may discover that we can actually GROW food and shake off the shackles of retail tyranny, and that cannot fucking happen!


Now that last one is mine and it reeks a bit of sarcasm, but that happens around here and you should be used to it by now.


I am not going to tackle this point by point, I am just going to monkeystomp all over it, like grapes into wine and let you sort it out for yourselves.


I want a time machine for a few reasons and one of the main ones is to go back and find the person that pressed and won the first frivolous lawsuit over something stupid that they did, I am going to find that guy and put a huge smoking bullet in his head, and make it known why. I will stand there by my monkey tardis and exclaim for all to see, “If you do something idiotic and survive it, you will not blame anyone else but yourself and you will go to your room and be silent in your shame. If you pour hot coffee in your crotch, you will not sue anyone for not telling you it was hot. If you trip walking down the street, you will pick yourself up, pray no one saw you and try harder to walk correctly next time. If you eat so much that you begin to resemble a rogue moon from a giant planet, you have no right to sue the stupid clown (whom I have another bullet for). You will not blame Cookie Monster, Nike or Johnny Knoxville for you being rotund or in a body cast. YOU decided what you were going to do, YOU live with the results. You are the reason we have been regulated into bondage you bastards.”


Personal responsibility is not dead, but it is very ill and lacking hospice.


Do you know how long we survived on this planet, whilst and at the same time harvesting our own food? Do you know how quickly our ancestors would beat the ever loving crap out of us for being ridiculous whiners and total pansies? We are so far gone from our own instincts, abilities, feelings and natural joys that when you reintroduce many people to them, they are reduced to tears because they cannot reconcile themselves to the depths of the emotion.


Newsflash kids; we climbed trees to get fruit. We bent over and picked carrots. We crawled through the forest harvesting mushrooms. We killed, butchered, stored, prepared and ate animals ourselves for WAY longer than we have had them waiting in frozen bins at the Wimp-o-Mart! We walked across this county, from sea to shining sea (back when the seas still shone from their own glory, not from the oil laying on the surface). We walked, and we fell and sometimes we got hurt and sometimes we died, and it was part of our natural selection which is now failing miserably. We are the only non-domesticated species on the planet that does not profit as a species from survival of the fittest and natural culling. I know some of you hate when I say this, but not all of us are on the same level, not all of us were meant to survive. (and yes, I do include myself in that quotient)


So the fruit is going to plummet from on high and squish your Lexus? Maybe park somewhere else for a couple weeks and walk an extra twenty three feet. Terrified of fruit flies? We have birds and insects for that, unless you have killed and driven them all off too. Worried that your precious widdle toddler is going to find a wild plum and put it in his sugar conditioned gob? Oh how terrible that he should learn that fruit comes from nature and how equally awful that he might taste something yucky and use that knowledge to better know the world. And what the fuck, you have a helmet on him so much of the time anyway that what is another couple of weeks during the harvest? Or we could just teach them about the world around them? No? You’re right… Who has time for that?


Oh, and the homeless may find food, how terrible that would be. In a country where the average harvest it yourself farm is claiming that about 50% of all of their produce ends up as waste because we spoiled bastards will not take a perfectly good 20 ounce tomato if it has a one tenth of an ounce bruise on it and throw it down on the ground to reach for another. How awful that the richest country in the world will not only not feed its people, but its citizens object to the hungry feeding themselves. And I know, I know, you are not really against the homeless picking fruit, but they should maybe be doing it somewhere other than your neighborhood, and maybe doing it as a job, right?


And while we are messing about with the time machine, let’s go back and whack the first guy that forced someone else to grow crops for him and also the first guy that thought of the idea of growing more than he needed so he could turn a profit and allowed others enough spare time to figure out a million other ways to take everything from someone else.


Fruit grows on trees and it used to be something wild that if we found it, we could harvest and eat it. But like the land itself, man declared dominion and ownership of it, modifying it to fit his needs and maximize his profits and marginalizing anyone who thought enough to ask, “Hey, didn’t we once have places we could get that for free?”


It is truly sad how petty, greedy, selfish and afraid we have become. We are now laughing around water coolers about child raping priests, the objectification of women, the loss of millions of lives to preventable diseases, and we do it all, safe in the knowledge that we can stop on the way home and pick up a bag of apples.


I know what an apple fresh off of a tree tastes like, before it has been coated in a corn based wax, packed in crates and trucked further than most Americans will travel in their lifetimes. I know what wild grapes, strawberries, trout, elk, and blackberries taste like, all sun warmed and perfect, but don’t you go an try it, because if you fall out of a tree, or prick your finger on a thorn, you may have trouble figuring out who to sue first."




A gazillion years ago I was musical. I played a bass violin. It was huge but fun. Mainly because the surrounding schools often didn’t have a bass player of their own so they would borrow me. I played a bunch of shows and met some great people. I also got to go along on a trip to Great Britain.

There were many cool things about that trip. For instance, I saw Michael Crawford in his first leading role on the West End stage in London. I got to wander through Edinburgh Castle. I performed in the Royal Hall in Harrogate and in the Ripon Cathedral. Not bad for a thirteen-year-old growing up in the middle of nowhere rural PA. Needless to say I didn’t really fit in at home very well but that’s for a different blog.

But the best thing about the trip was that during the International Music Festival in Harrogate we were put up by the people of the town. My host family was wonderful. So wonderful that both their kids came to visit me for a summer each and I went back to stay with them the summer in between. How awesome is that!

I used the geography of that summer in my book, All Roads Lead to Ripon. As I did research to ensure I had the details correct I had so much fun revisiting the places in my mind that Claire, the daughter of the house, and I explored that summer.

I don’t know why but this morning I remembered that today, April 10th, is Claire’s birthday. I probably shouldn’t share this but she’s turning 50. I’m having problems with that because to me, she will always be the high-spirited teenager I knew way back when. Sadly, I haven’t spoken to her in years but I know she’s still out there and I’m sure she will somehow sense the many wishes I’m sending her way.

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Friday, April 6, 2012


Howie went off on an adventure without me. I think I'm having separation anxiety. He's never gone for a ride alone before.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Survive

The shutters to my soul close

Concealing me within

No more will I walk in a world

Full of false promises and hidden agendas

Where pain and disappointment encompass all

I am not like those who inhabit this space

Nor will I become so

Sheltered from the fray, my heart remains true

I had such hopes

Such dreams

That my time had come

A beacon

Shining bright

Piercing the darkness

For all who have lost their way

Guiding kindred spirits home

It is not to be

They who came wore masks

Intending me harm

The destruction of my essence

So now I go

Cloistered again

To wait an eternity

Before I rise once more

© 2012 Barbara Huffert

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Look at that Face!

I'm told mama is showing signs of having the potential to become friendly. Keep your fingers crossed for her. Isn't that the cutest little furball ever!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I was cruising my emails today and stumbled across something exciting. Linked is out in print today! I knew it was coming soon but I didn’t know it was today. Yay!

Linked is my horror erotica. There are psychically linked serial killers, thus the title. And some yummy hot sex. Of course. It’s an Ellora’s Cave book available through JasmineJade. There has to be yummy hot sex.

Shh. I’ll tell you a secret. The nightmares scattered throughout are ones I’ve actually had. Hey, if I have to deal with them I may as well put them to some use, right?

Blurb –

Tori Banks has suffered nightmares of the same two murderers for years. When she hears reports of another killing, she questions whether the others were also real or just macabre dreams. Can she trust the tall, dark detective who makes her forget about cold-blooded killers and think only of hot, screaming sex?

Detective Guy Breauchard is skeptical when he sets out to meet the woman who sees serial killers in her sleep. But one look is all it takes to stir his blood and have him yearning to fuck her. He’ll have to keep his hands off of the sexy psychic if he has any hope of keeping her safe and out of the hands of the chilling predators who have plans of their own for her.

Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of extreme violence.

Monday, April 2, 2012


We're having March winds in April and we had May flowers in March does that mean it's going to rain like hell in May? Isn't that how it goes? Better ponder on it. I'm off to the porch to seek the wisdom of Beau.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Did you know it takes less time to trap a cat than it does to chop up a pineapple? I know. Not a comparison you’d ever think of making, right? Well, I set the trap and went in to deal with the fresh pineapple I’d gotten at the dreaded store this week. Hey, I need some sort of reward for going. By the time I had the peal in the garbage and was taking it out to my trash can, the cat was caught.

I scurried back inside to grab the towel and carrier for the babies. Scooped them right up since they’d just eaten and were sound asleep. I put them right against the trap so mama could see them while we waited for the wonderful ladies to come get them. Let me tell you, the kittens are soooo sweet. Yes, I cuddled each one of them for a second before I put it in the towel. Of course I did. Did you think there was any chance I wouldn’t?

So mama and babies are off now. They will be checked over to ensure they’re healthy and then cared for until they can go to good, permanent homes. Some days life is good.