We Cats...
Cat: Mom! What the heck are you doing??? It's bedtime!
A: What does it *look* like I'm doing? I'm making the bed at the last possible moment because my sheets are only 90% dry because I didn’t want to aggravate an existing migraine with the dryer, and it was rainy today.
Cat: I’m not moving! It’s bed time!
A: Look. I’ve made you a perfectly nice nest on the recliner.
Cat: I am going to bed on the BED!
A: I can’t *make* the bed with you in it!
Cat: Too bad.


Car: What is your phone's access key
A: Uhhh
Car: Turn on phone bluetooth, Dummy!
A: fumbles through protocol
Phone: This is your Access Key: #### ####
Car: Type in your phone's access key
A: types in access key
Car: dead silence
A: Well, at least it didn't complain.

A: driving
iPhone: Ring!
Car: RING! HaHaHa! I have bigger speakers! I have bigger speakers!
A: I'm driving, dammit! I don't *want* to be interrupted by a phone. turns off phone ringer
Car: But it's your mom calling! RING!!!
A: I'm driving, dammit!
Car: Then click "Hang up on your mother" and I'll give you a guilt trip.
A: clicks "Hang up" Gotta remember to turn bluetooth off. (Forgets)

A: brings up Google Maps App on phone How do I get to the funeral home?
Phone: ittybittyinstructions
A: I think I can remember. heads off 30 minutes later, "Wha??? It's not here! Oh crap! Google used the OLD address." reprograms Google Maps & starts driving toward new destination
A: punches map button on car I wonder how this thing works?
Car: Turn right! No! Do a U turn! You went too far, Dummy!
A: Wah??? You talk?
Car: Of course I talk. I'm trying to get you there. You went past it AGAIN!
A: There was no place to turn. examines sign after sign in a large strip mall, and fails to find funeral home
Car: You're a total dunce. It's right here!
A: I'm turning off mapping. I'll bet you ate my entire monthly data allotment today. kills bluetooth
Car: Hahaha! I can still talk to your phone!
A: kills Google Maps App
Car: sulks
A: Dials up Funeral Home
Car: You better be stopped! It's dangerous to drive while dialing.
A: Of course I'm stopped.
Funeral Home: Hello?
Car: Booms voice across stereo speakers
A: finds an appropriate menu button and punches it
Phone: On
Car: Sulks
Funeral Home: Hello?
A: Sorry. I'm lost. How do I get there?
Funeral Home: We're next to Landmark.
A: OK. Give me a second.
A: Car, come back. You can relay the phone call while I drive around this parking lot.
Car: Goody!
Funeral Home: The connection is bad. booms across car speakers
A: Sorry. My car ate my cell phone.
Car: Burp

During the last few weeks, I've taken on more chores than I can manage. Among them, getting a patch of iris and grass turned over and replanted. There's one more plant that I want to put in this garden - a rose. I went down to the local nursery in search of the right rose. They had many tea roses, small and large. I sniffed each one and failed to find any that had a good scent.

What? Aren't roses supposed to perfume your garden? Fill your house with scent? Apparently not. Apparently roses are supposed to look nice. I, however, am constitutionally unable to purchase a scentless rose, so my garden has languished.

The next day I went out on a hike along a rivulet, and there in the wet I found wild roses. Single flowers, each with a gorgeous scent. Like roses are supposed to be. Too bad I can't post scents to lj.

I'll have to get on the phone and call all the nurseries. Perhaps one of them will sell me a wild rose.

Ode to Books
As I move my library onto my iPad I’m faced with some tough decisions. Do I keep the very thick, very heavy, and signed copies of Gabaldon’s Outlander series, even though I’ve already reinvested in bits? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read them, nor how much I’ve loved them, nor how many happy memories they’ve given me. They stay on the shelves. And there are the books by my friends. I’ll keep Doranna Durgin’s signed books. Those are easy. Not so easy is Little Women, the first book I ever owned. Keep, I think. But it’s foolish to save things for such sentiments. Especially hard to dust things. Easier to let go are the numerous other books that I have that are signed, but that I won’t reread. Even so, they clutch my fingers. “I brought you solace during hard times!” cries one. “I carried you away from a migraine far more effectively than any painkiller!” cry countless others. I shed tears as I nestle each happy memory into the box.

What about Arthur Randsome's Swallows and Amazons? My husband read the boys to sleep with them. I can’t let them go. Not even if I can have them as eBooks. Those I’ll move into the living room in hopes my friends ask questions about them.

Some series are easy to toss in the donate-to-the-library box. I read them long ago. I loved them then. I’ve grown out of the author or the characters, once loved, now upset me. Some are easy to keep. Jennifer Roberson’s SwordDancer novels are not available electronically yet. Neither is CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series. When I read them, I not only get to visit old friends, I also learn some lessons from master authors.

I think the hardest books are those that I have read and reread, but they are readily available electronically. I worry that if I let the paper go, I’ll forget the author or run out of money to buy them electronically. Toss or keep? Toss or keep? I find my heart isn’t a very reliable guide. Some much-loved books go in the box. Some stay on the shelves. I may need two things. A very long wishlist on the eBook store, and a box for later donations.

Perhaps most wrenching are the tbrs. Books I bought and tossed into my to-be-read pile, but have never gotten around to reading. How can I choose which of those to donate? I haven’t even read them! But here they’ve languished, sometimes for years. And it is hard, hard, hard to give them half my shelf space when there are so many beloved books that I know I’ll want to read again.

Or perhaps I’m thinking about it all wrong. Maybe the only paper I should keep are the books with deep sentimental value. Those read to tatters or signed by favorite authors. After all, if I haven’t read something in my tbr pile in too many years, there are probably other things I’d rather read more.

We cats...
Cat: I hate rain and I'm afraid of thunder. Velcros himself to A's leg.
A: We needed the rain in the worst way. I won't complain even if I have to run errands in the wet.
Cat: Errands! You can't leave me! Stands between A and her driving glasses.
A: Leans over Cat and gets glasses.
Cat: Runs ahead and stands in room doorway.
A: Steps over cat and heads for front door.
Cat: In the most pathetic possible voice, Nooooooooooooooo!
A: Cuddles cat and puts him in his "den" under the bed. Not all of us dissolve in the rain, you know.

I love the scents of spring. I love the first scents of grass when the ground thaws and the lawns start to green. I love the overtones of vanilla when the ponderosa pines warm up in the sun. And of course I love the flowers. I've been caught with a yellow nose from sniffing dandelions and I've pulled down apple branches to get a heady whiff apple blossom. Mostly people smile when they catch me in the act. But recently I stopped to sniff a spike of lilacs, and I was roundly scolded.

I startled and stepped back, and a robin flew out of the lilac bush and told me off. If she'd just sat there, I might never have noticed her. But having gotten my attention, I had to go back.

The next day, I went back, and she wasn't sitting on her nest. I'm always amazed at how blue robin's eggs are.

And of course, later she was guarding her children.

I've never been so glad to be scolded!

While fall is our best season, spring is my favorite. Spring comes in with snow and slush and cold dreary days and people say it's awful. It also comes with daffodils crowned with snow, and hoarfrost and green grass and flowers of every sort. I love the way the world comes to life after the dreary brown days of winter.

This year was a dry year. We didn't get the late season snows that bring the best wildflower blooms. But in nature, somebody always profits from the weather. The lack of a late frost has given us the best crab apple bloom of recent memory.

One of my favorites is the lilac. Common. Unpretentious. Bursting with color. And a fabulous scent.

But I think this spring's biggest treasure is the pasque flower. As I said, we've had only a few teasing hints of snow this spring, and nothing like the moisture needed for a good wildflower season. Also, the pasque flower is a shy girl. She rarely shows up two years in a row, even if you know where to look for her. Last year she made a strong showing on a hillside. And this year, she's come back. Smaller. Fewer. And all the more a treasure!


DRM-free eBooks
For those of us who aren't willing to buy and rebuy our libraries every time the format changes, there is a solution. Buy DRM-free eBooks. Many authors are offering previously published books DRM-free eBooks. Here are a few of my favorite sources for these treasures.

Backlist eBooks has authors from all genres and a quickly growing list. Some of my favorites include Doranna Durgan, P.B. Ryan, and Julie Ortolon. You can't go wrong with any of their books, but my favorite is Durgin's Hidden Steel.

The eBacklist Collection is another collection site for authors from all genres. This list is strong on the romances. I've just begun to investigate this website, but they have China Rose, by Marsha Canham, which I very much enjoyed.

Smashwords is the amazon of indy authors. It's a little overwhelming because there is so much stuff there. But there are lots of gems. Also, most Backlist eBooks are available through smashwords, which offers nice excerpts and a variety of eBook formats to choose from.

BookView Cafe is a coop including some of my favorite SF & F authors, such as Judith Tarr, Vonda McIntyre, and Sarah Zettel. I very much enjoyed Chris Dolley's Resonance.

Closed Circle C.J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher, and Lynn Abby, three well known SF & F authors, have teamed up to create this website. I do so love Cherryh's work.

And the best part? Buy books from these sites, and you're supporting the author. They get paid, and they are often paid better than if you buy a "published" book.

Also of interest is Baen Books a publishing house that specializes in SF & F. They also sell DRM-free eBooks.

We Cats
Cat: Starving!
A: OK. Here's some kidney.
Cat: Gulps it down.
A: That was quick.
Cat: I'm going hunting.
A: That's not a good idea!
Cat: I've caught a mouse! Gulps it down.
A: That's a really bad idea.
Cat: I'll just sit here on the bed and look miserable, shall I?
A: I don't know about that. I think maybe you need to go back outside in case you lose your dinner.

A little later...

A: Eeek! A mouse in the laundry!
Cat: I'm full.
A: You have to catch it.
Cat: I don't feel so good.
A: Locks cat in laundry. You don't have to eat it. Just catch it!

An hour later...
A: Rats! I forgot Cat. He's going to be so mad at me!
Cat: Hi Mom! I love you so much! Strop, strop, strop.
A: Did you eat the mouse?
Cat: I'm all done in here. Can we go cuddle on the bed now?
A: But what about the mouse???
Cat: Not telling.

Next morning...
A: Wakes at 4am with a cough, takes some cough syrup, and settles on the couch so as not to wake Hubby.
Cat: There you are! Jumps on A from on high. Walks all over A's breast, claws extended. Finally curls into cat ball against A's chest.
A: Drifts off.
Cat: Oh look! A mouse in the entry way! Launches off A and chases after mouse.
A: Couldn't you catch it last night?

Wiley E
Today my body was on strike. Really, completely on strike. After being down for the count for three and a half months this winter with bronchitis that threatened pneumonia twice, I'm trying diligently/desperately to get fit again. It doesn't help that 80 year olds gain tone faster than I do. Hopefully Doc will have some ideas on that when the blood work comes back. Today, I felt like I was dragging two 50lb balls and chains up the trail. It was the kind of day where I tend to question my sanity. Should I have taken the day off walking?

But then Wiley E showed up. Sleek, lean, beautiful, and not the least shy of us. He stopped to mark a bush and let me take a shot. I switched to my telephoto lens, and walked back down his trail where I found him diving nose first into the ground 100 yards away. He did happy little jumps, as opposed to the lightning moves that would catch him a vole. He was so happy to celebrate spring.

He made the balls and chains worth every step.



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