Chase A Squirrel

He was afraid to touch her because he said his hands were rough. He rubbed them together like he was testing them to see for sure or to use them like sandpaper on each other. “They might feel like bricks,” he claimed.
She said, “They don’t feel rough to me.” He hadn’t touched her yet but he always said that and they never felt any rougher than a loofah might, if that. Mostly they just felt strong and sure and like they loved her. Good, working hands that often reached back to find one of hers whenever they were walking somewhere where he might worry about a crowd separating them or just to keep her closer to him.
He had been out on their tractor and doing lots of manual work that day as most all days he did the same. For some reason that made the rough hands more attractive and not hard to take at all — more like a pleasing scratch when they found their way around the surface of her naked body or even just her face.
He took her face in his hands and asked her if they felt too rough to her. “No, not rough at all,” she assured him.
He gave her a little tap and said, “We’ll pick this up later.” He had just come in to get a drink of water and to put his hands around her face to hold it and kiss it once before he went back out.
She kept sweeping the floor and looked out the kitchen window to see him back out on the tractor moving dirt around — the dog following beside or running off to chase a squirrel. He was getting their land shaped right for planting and channeling the rain — just the earthworks not plowing.
They were making this life together — way out in the boonies where the distant train sounds were far enough away to sound like music — romantic lullabies to help them fall asleep once a hard day’s work was done and his rough hands could come to lie in bed with her again.


Like We’re Dancing

Karmella always likes to know when it is Sunday, or Saturday for that matter, because it is on those two days that the people that can’t be seen are the most likely to be stopping working long enough to play and she feels a little like she is playing with them — even though she and Puggles are on the other side and they play every day because they are always doing work they love to do — so it never feels as much like work as it feels like play.

It’s still nice to know that others are playing too — it feels less like she’s cheating and more like she’s sharing her good fortune and it helps her feel a little bit less like other people don’t know exactly where she is.

Those two days always feel a little warmer even though she feels happy and warm most all of the time — especially because she has a little warm, sandy brown-colored companion that likes to be picked up any time she wants to pick him up to be snuggled. Puggles is a very warm little fella and they get warmer the longer they snuggle and they both love to snuggle and be warm so they snuggle any chance they get to do it — every few minutes unless Puggles happens to be taking one of his many little naps.

“Do you want to come with me?” Karmella calls out to Puggles. “I’m going to visit the butterflies in the vegetable patch for a minute or two to see what they’ve been up to,” Karmella informed her little sandy brown companion.

Puggles leapt a little in the air and pounced back down on his soft pad on the porch so Karmella got the message that Puggles wanted to be picked up to be carried to where the butterflies in the vegetable patch around the corner might be flying.

Karmella leapt up to the porch to pick Puggles up.

Karmella leaps a lot.

She cradled little Puggles in her arms and leapt a little a few more times to get to the garden around the corner.

Puggles, being cradled, couldn’t help but leap along with Karmella and Karmella said, “Doesn’t it feel like we’re dancing little doggy?” The little doggy agreed and they both continued to dance until they got to where the butterflies were flying around and around in swirls and up into the sky all colorful and light, flapping away with their wings and softly singing loud enough for Puggles and Karmella to hear because they also spoke the ever-so-quiet butterfly language — which sounds more like humming or a quiet breeze.

They didn’t have to ask because it is always pretty clear what butterflies are doing when they get to where the butterflies are — so they simply watched in their regular delight and didn’t try to disturb them in their airy, fairy-like, delightfully pleasant, swirling, spiral, skyward-direction-and-back-to-where-they-started flight.

“Isn’t it fun to be in Sunday?” Karmella whispered into her little doggy’s ear. “It feels like we can almost touch the other side,” she included.

Puggles snuggled a little closer and she thought he might be going to whisper something back, but Puggles simply licked Karmella’s ear.

Karmella kissed little Puggles on his nose.

“Maybe next Sunday, or Saturday for that matter, the purple-colored man will come back to see us another time. He might like to see the butterflies or dance around with you and me or maybe we can even talk him into staying. What do you think about that my little fella?”

Puggles and Karmella decided it was time to have some food so they leapt like they were dancing again together back around the corner to the porch and kept dancing til they got into the house where they were about to find something that they each wanted to eat.

She gave the little doggy a cookie while he waited for her to fix his meal.

“Everything I do is for you — my sweet little lovey dovey snuggley puppy. I couldn’t be more happy that you’re here.”

Puggles wiggled his little body with his tail while Karmella got to cooking both their meals.

image credit: F(r)iction

Additional Puggles and Karmella adventures here:
Something Quite Unusual
While You Sleep

What They Gained

Looking through frosty glass can make the world outside appear imaginary. Maybe it is an illusion, even unfrosted. After all, it is only what it is while someone is thinking. Depending on what kind of thinking is attending, it can shift shape and meaning. Who knows what colors others see.

The woman said that she would rather that she had never been born. Her fans were telling her that they were dismayed that she could be thinking that way and advised her strongly against it. She made no apologies and dug her heels in deeper — saying, “I stand firm. I wish I had never been born. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone.”

She gave no clue about feeling this way until she said it outright. She was effervescent and animated in her videos and so natural and earthy. She spoke her heart and minced no words — shit, fuck and damn fell out with ease, unedited, and well-congealed thoughts tripped out of her mind with ordered precision. Her communication was easy, made good sense and she was unabatedly funny. She claimed later that that was because of anxiety and not because she was actually comedic.

She was sticking and stitching bright colored scraps to a backing making a new piece of fabric out of bits and pieces left over from other things she had sewn. She seemed so full of life and was so very chipper and everything she picked to patch was cheery and so well considered. She turned pieces this way and that while the camera was watching, trying to make the piece aesthetically pleasing — it was obvious she was filled with a fluid artistic persuasion.

It’s easy to hide behind the fog of the war that is living.

She didn’t seem to be trying to hide. She seemed to be undressing while still keeping on her clothes. She was emotionally fully exposed.

Unrehearsed and played aloud, more about her story started coming out. She had set a stage for telling her truth. She said she wanted an audience to help her understand herself. If it helped someone else, she didn’t mind. The sewing and cooking were just a way to make her viewers look and find a content value. Her story was as much.

“I had a parka that I opened the seams of the pockets so that I could fit all the beer cans along the bottom, inside the lining. It was hard to stuff it all in my locker at my elementary school. I don’t know why no teachers ever confronted me. I was drunk everyday. It was as if nobody cared. My parents certainly didn’t. I was taking beer to school when I was twelve and stumbling and falling in my parent’s presence. I drank champagne when I was ten and drank as much as I could get my hand on at a wedding. When I couldn’t find alcohol elsewhere, I stole. One day my father had to pick me up, drunk and lying in the snow and bring me inside. He never said a word. I was a child. I never hated myself for drinking. And I always thought I was living a grown up enough life to warrant doing grown up things. I hated the people who never seemed to care and who let it keep going on when, clearly, they had to know.”

She was rambling. It seemed like she could burst out crying any minute but didn’t. She stuffed it in. She’s claimed to be a hoarder.

“I hate to look at pictures of the past. I’ll look and see that someone’s gone — has died — and that some of the others will leave before much longer — one way or another. I wouldn’t wish life on anyone,” she repeats. “It’s just a bunch of crap. Whatever’s good isn’t enough to make up for all that’s bad about it.”

She claims it’s not depression, just a realist’s way of seeing her condition.

Her condition might just be a way for others to see what can end up being so subtly gorgeous once the full measure of its being is exposed. That she has undressed, so to speak, is what has let others see. It’s a useless exercise — someone, who once has been, cannot go back to never having been — and certainly not without others losing what they gained.

She is certainly subtly gorgeous and anyone who has seen her has gained.



Image credit: Simple Stylish Makes


A Syncing Event

Funny life is. All these constraints we put upon it. January 1 is the day before January 2 and so on. But it’s another good excuse to have a party. And, apparently, parties are good for us. Why, one might even meet the next love of their life there because parties sync people together, they say.

Being synced would be nice but it isn’t essential. All anyone really needs is what is essential but still, being synced must be nice. Certainly there are enough opportunities for celebration worked into our culture to indicate that most of us would like a syncing event to increase our chances.

There was a year when my mother and her best friend were sitting in and telling me to not tell anyone that they didn’t have dates for New Year’s Eve. It’s hard to imagine who, being told, would have mattered. Maybe the neighbors. She was probably somewhere in her mid fifties and I was probably off to the the Airman’s Club to dance my feet off with some cute young men — maybe hoping to find a love of my life. Dancing was what we all did to meet each other then. There was a party every Friday night at the Airman’s Club with a live band and often more boys than girls — at least just as many.

For some reason the two older women were embarrassed that they were alone for New Year’s Eve. That registered something profoundly in a young impressionable mind. It wasn’t quite clear what they meant then, but the implication was that there was something wonderful about being young and something not so great about not being so young anymore. They must have said something like, “It’s hard to find dates when you get older.” The implication was also that, if you didn’t have a beau, your weren’t as valuable and should hide in shame.

It is much easier to see, once one isn’t so very young and dates for New Year’s Eve are hard to come by, that the passing of time is not a thing that can be put on hold and that as it passes, things do change.

New Year’s Eve is always a poignant reminder about time’s passing. Documenting the minute that the clock registers going from the end of one year into another is it’s express purpose. It is our worldwide culture’s inclination to make a big deal about it. It’s a little hard sometimes to understand why unless there is just a need for another party.

Most of the aspects of it are for commercial reasons — taxes, funding, appropriations, sales, bonuses, profits and losses.

But then there is the somber aspect of documenting the passing of a year in the life of an individual and the culture collectively and of accounting for accomplishments and defeats as if that should be done on a regular bases — say once a year on Dec. 31 and that the somber event should not be done while sober.

I was watching one of the two main strays that visit my yards lately. He’s a big, woolly black cat that has a full face and a fur coat — not hair. He and the other main cat got into a giant row lately and I noticed blood on him when I tried to break them up. They went off in the same direction after I shooed them and it took several days before I saw either one of them again. Both of them have eased their way back to visiting. Mr. Shire is very skittish and the black woolly one less so when he shows up — so, I’m not quite sure which one thinks he won. The black one now has a flaming pink patch near his ear and I worry that it may get infected. There is not much that I can do, because he scats the minute he hears me and goes over the fence.

What I find so soothing about watching them both is how calm they are about their daily lives. They come, eat food, lie in the sun, groom, lollygag around scouting, sniffing, scratching wood and neither one ever seems to be wondering what day of the week or what month it is. They might be thinking about getting synced and that may very well have been behind the row. Woolly shakes his head like his ear is hurting, but he takes his pain like a trooper, while soaking in the sun, curled up on the mound of sticks or a soft chair.

So cats and humans have syncing in common, but cats don’t seem to like to dance or have a party as a means to do it. They don’t care about paying taxes either. Lucky cats.

This year, as I sit in like my mother and her friend, without a date for New Year’s Eve, but as content as a happy cat — it seems more fitting to put off accounting accomplishments or defeats for another day because sitting her thinking about syncing is a lot more fun than that. And also like a cat, I don’t need to worry about paying taxes either.

Happy New Year!


Image credit: Safe Haven For Cats




Popcorn And Berries

There was the year that the Christmas tree was hung from the ceiling, in the home of the man who never paid us, so that we, who were attending his house party, could spin it to trim it with the popcorn and berries that we were stringing while we were eating fudge and cookies and drinking wine and enjoying each other’s company with music and dancing.
We were all in it together and he was like our cult leader — charming and charismatic.
We scarcely noticed that we weren’t making any money all the while he took the money out of the cigar box under the counter to buy new shoes to schmooze a new client who might put more cash back in the cigar box that could, sometime later, be used to pay us. That was just the way it had to be.
His sister was worried and a member of the ones who had invested. She was as worried for us as she was for herself. She snuck us pay on a very few days and not much of it the few days she did while she apologized profusely. She was as kind as he.
He didn’t mean to. He did everything with the best of intentions but he was known around town for failing one adventure after another — though not by us.
We all wanted so much for it to all succeed because, well, because he was so handsome, charming and charismatic and we loved him and loved the work that we were doing — and each other.
He discovered me and had great hopes which, in turn, made for hopeful me. It was my first job out of high school and he called me his Girl Friday. I delivered papers all over town on my gas in my car — loving every minute.
He wanted to get me on the radio and send me out for promotional broadcast talks. He had more confidence in me than I could seem to stand — but none of it came true before he had to let us go — without any pay.
My mother kept saying, “Wait and see. He’s just getting off the ground.” My mother had found that job for me, driving by his window with a “Hiring Girl Friday” sign and she was pleased because she knew that I didn’t like peas or doing anything conventional and she saw how charming the man could be and she had great hopes for him to succeed — especially with me on board doing something she knew I’d love.
It was long before Kinkos was well known, though it had been founded, but he had a copy machine and could bind a book and made business cards and did ad copy and published ads in newsprint and hired copy-and-pasters who used press on letters and tape and cut them with X-Acto knives and he had an artist who designed logos with pen and ink and another artist who curated the gallery on the top floor that you got to by going up a flight of stairs lined with gold-veined mirrors that he left.
He had one idea after another and set about instituting all of them and everyone he knew wanted to be a part but then got nervous. If one of us came up with another idea he tried to institute it too.
I saw him years later at a bar, as charming as ever, selling something to the ones clamored about him listening to him like he was still the cult leader that he had always been except that by then he was more of a cult leader who got drunk and stammered some. I still loved him and longed for the hope that we had all had all during that Christmas in the 70s when none of us made any money to buy our families presents but had nothing but hope for the future.
Hard and soft it was a Christmas when conventional wisdom got in the way of play but satisfaction kept trying to bring it back. Waiting and hoping just the same way kids wait for Santa. I’ll never forget the Christmas with the tree hanging from the ceiling right side up instead of upside down the way they do now mocking Christmas.
If memory serves, I think his name was Walt. Thank you Walt for making Christmas 1972 as indelible as Mozart’s style of writing.


  • There are two missing days from the writing one-a-day commitment, (returned to drafts because they were too auto-biographically intimate), at the beginning — that started July 12, 2019 — and today is one of those days where my fingers are itchy, so it’s a dose-of-two day for filling in a missing link.

Forgive Me Shelly

Shelly and I were walking and she said this:
“We had had a wonderful love-making session. We both agreed. That visual wasn’t in the dream but the afterglow was. We were walking down a busy bridge touching and separating, and touching and separating and he said, ‘You know I still want to do things on my own,’ and I tried to reach out for him but he kept moving out from reaching distance and then suddenly disappeared into a space for disappearing and didn’t return. I kept walking on the bridge, sadly and feeling very missing. He was just too quick and didn’t give me any choice.
The essence he appeared as in the dream was everything I wish he was in person, except for the disappearing which he does quite well in person — and it’s the thing he does in person that I dislike the most. He doesn’t really mean to but I’m just too much — so he has to disappear to get some of what he is and I’m not back, before he forgets who he is without me trying to manifest him as something he’s not.
I don’t blame him. I blame Coca-Cola. They’re good for blaming everything that’s wrong on. My bad personality especially.
He’ll never be in person, the essence of what he is in the dreams, so when I wake up disappointed that I’ve only been dreaming, I have to remind myself that it’s just great to have whatever it is for all it’s worth — something to dream about if nothing else — a big round teddy bear that loves me as much as I do him. We’re really good friends in the dreams and not too much less for real.”
It was a whole little story for recounting here, so I’ve stolen everything that Shelly said.
Forgive me Shelly, for not giving you credit but you have disappeared to the same place that he did and I don’t really know who you are.

Perfectly Well Backward

“Celery,” he decided to call her. He was giving them each nicknames probably because he was having trouble remembering their real names. He wasn’t that old, probably something close to forty, one way or the other — but since they were just fifteen or sixteen, he seemed old to them.
The first thought that entered her mind was that he thought she was a vegetable —  a thing with no brain. He was teaching her how to drive, along with two other students — one boy and another girl. The girl she knew from her classes — the boy she didn’t. They were doing eights around markers in the parking lot, backing up with the automatic transmission in reverse.
“Once you can drive perfectly well backward, we’ll go forward,” he said. It seemed like they did those backward eights for days and days. It was all after school but they all got real good at doing crazy eights.
“Where’s the fire?” he asked her.
She didn’t know what he meant. There was that missing brain thing haunting her again.
“You’re going too fast,” he said. Then she realized that she was speeding down the highway and her teacher was trying to be a comic. She was pretty brave going forward now after all that backing up in the parking lot. The teacher was the brave one, sitting there so peacefully while they each took their turn as baby drivers.
He gave each of them a turn for a long distance every time they went out and they always went quite far. He must have made them change along the way because there were only three of them and he never drove and it would have been four trips — there, back, there and back again otherwise — somehow evening out each of their time at the wheel somehow in the long run. They stopped to look at scenery and have snacks along the way from time to time — sometimes down in canyons running beside railroad tracks way out in the boonies.
He never did reveal why he’d picked that name for her — Celery — probably just because it somehow sounded like her real name but what possible context had he found to associate her name with a vegetable? Vegetables don’t have brains and she was depressed at the time — so, a lot of the time she had a feeling that her brain was missing. It was probably depressive paranoia and she was just projecting what she thought he was thinking. Depressives can be high achiever nonetheless — so, of course, it wasn’t surprising that she aced her driving test and her teacher applauded in his silent way, saying her Celery name with a big smile while he handed her the certificate. She could feel a sense of fondness in his voice as he told her how well she had done compared to the others. She liked to please and be applauded by adults —  the good girl, the nice girl.
She would later be the goodbye girl — always saying goodbye to someone — trying to be a high achiever didn’t always pay off. **


** (If you feel this has any merit for continuing, vote with a “like” — otherwise, it shall be filed and remain in the Practice, practice, practice bin.)

Over The Phone

“You want to get married?” It wasn’t a proposal. He wanted to know if that was what she was wanting.
“What!?” The pitch of her voice went up at the end of her exclamation as she tried to imply he was joking around — like, how did he expect her to answer that? It almost sounded like he wanted to know so that he could ask her to marry him — trying to feel her out. It rolled off his tongue like it was sitting there just waiting for a chance to roll off.
“No,” she went on, “Marriage only makes something that isn’t very good less good. It certainly shouldn’t ever be what’s used to try to fix a thing.”
He tried to build a case for how marriage could be good, and how they weren’t bad but finally gave in and said, “I guess you’re right.” He sounded resigned, or defeated. “I keep hoping you’ll come on to me.”
“Sexually?” she wanted to exclaim again but tried to keep her cool.
“In every way,” he said. “We get along. We laugh. We think the same about a lot of things.”
He was always prodding. She was always trying to dig out the truth. They never really got anywhere, but they couldn’t seem to let each other go. They were hashing over their history, twenty five years and counting — most of it over the phone.
“I just wanted to hear your voice,” he said. “I love to hear your voice. Tell me a little story. Tell me about the cats. I just want to hear you talk.”
“I thought you were tired and wanting to go to sleep,” she puzzled.
“I do and I don’t,” he said. “Just keep talking. I just want to hear you talk.”
She could tell he was trying to go to sleep while trying to listen and then he perked back up and started again with sentiments.
“I know I messed things up. If we start a relationship again, it’ll be different.”
She’d heard those words before and said as much.
“Yeah, I know,” he said, “But things will be different. I can promise you that for sure. I just want a good woman. You are a good woman. I’ve always known that. I don’t know why I messed things up so much. Why don’t you move back here?” he asked for the hundredth time.
“Why don’t you move here?” she asked.
Another stalemate.
“Everything we’ve been for most of these years has been over the phone. It’s crazy to think we could ever be, again, something that we’ve never been. It’s too late.”
“It’s never too late until you’re dead,” he said, without skipping a beat and completely matter of fact. One thing was for sure, he didn’t give up easily and his sweet demeanor hadn’t changed one iota. His voice was always laced with sugar and subtle and he always came to conclusions about their affair that were kind and thought out — eventually — like he’d been mining for gold. He never fought — sometimes she wished he would.
They said good night, he called her honey and they let the conversation end again, without much resolve — as if there should be some.
So many different kinds of love there are. They really can’t be labeled. They’re made up as they go. There was love between them. There was no denying.
Sometimes what you want is too close to see. Just the day before she’d been thinking of how a miracle could occur and there he was the next day, pretending to be one — or maybe he actually was one and she was just incapable of seeing that he wasn’t pretending. Maybe he was scared — too scared to tell the whole truth. Had they been holding places in their hearts for such a day as this? Too many similar moments. She was backing up, in her mind, at the thought that she’d been fooled like this before and by him. Then she tried to think if it was really he or maybe it was she. It takes two to tango. “I keep hoping you’ll come on to me,” rang through her head again and she wondered if she had all along been too resistant and unforgiving. Maybe the truth she was digging for, the whole truth and nothing but, was that she was the one the most afraid of giving in, of getting and had been all along. Had she always backed up too quickly and gone running? Maybe she didn’t think that she deserved it.
He had talked about how way back then he’d wanted it as much as she said she did. “I didn’t want you to leave,” he said. “I thought we were falling in love too,” and “I wanted it to work out. I didn’t want you to leave,” he repeated for emphasis it seemed.
He kept talking about all the time they’d spent together and she couldn’t put her mind to when he thought that was. She had to think that maybe he had been with her in his mind and hadn’t let on– all the times he’d seemed so far away — because, certainly, they hadn’t spent as much actual time together as he kept claiming — it was in his mind.
Now she was hashing over the phone call, still digging for the morsels of truth in all the dialog. “I don’t know how I would fit in with all of the stuff you do related to your kids,” she’d said when he asked her to move back. “It would just be you and me,” he said, “I hardly see them any more. It would just be us.”
There was that miracle thing again. Sometimes it seemed like he could read her mind and knew just what to say to please her. It wasn’t that she didn’t like his kids it was just that she always thought she’d have to take a back seat and that didn’t seem very appealing. If she was going to give in to a man, any man, she wanted what she wanted and she wanted magic moments just for them and plenty of them and not to always have to play for seconds. She understood having kids, though she had never had them of her own. But she’d had a single mother and had known full well what her mother had given up for her kids and how men always took a back seat and didn’t like it and didn’t stay.
Do we just play out what we’ve always known?
“It’s exhausting!” she thought , “trying to figure this all out.”
“There’s one thing about you that I don’t like,” he reminded her. They had discussed it many times.
“I know,” she said. “I can only say that it is because I get frustrated when I feel like I can’t communicate with someone. When I think I’m not being heard and respected.”
“Where did you get that,” he asked, “Your mother, your father. Was your father mean?” He was hoping she could change that thing about herself. She assured him that she likely couldn’t as it was a condition of the way they were together and that if he couldn’t change the way he didn’t listen or respect her, she likely wouldn’t change either.
“See, when things get hard, you want to change the subject.” Now she was reminding him.
He tried to listen harder and understand. He was doing his best to make the effort.
Would they ever get better or should they just settle for over the phone? The same question for twenty five year now. When was it ever going to end. According to him, whenever one of them was dead. That was getting closer all the time too. Who could know.
She couldn’t help wondering if they could jump in and do it again, this time with more maturity, maybe their new-found happiness would overcome all their little issues. It was always fun to think — though not very likely even though they almost never get through a conversation without a guttural laugh that goes on and on from each of them laughing at each other laughing. It’s hard to fathom how a thing like that can’t overcome any kind of other little trouble.
The next thought that came rising up was why they keep trying to make it more than it already is. Isn’t it good enough to still be talking after twenty five and counting?
He wanted her to come on and she wanted him to come and get her. There’s some kind of trouble in there somewhere. The problem seems to be the follow-through. Neither one seems able to make a bold move and each of them thinks that they have made one, somewhere along the line. What in heaven’s name, will ever be the fix. Maybe it is like any drug, someone had to hit the bottom first and bounce back up — looking for the one who’s always been there. It’s just a matter of wait and see, which of them will hit the bottom first.

Powers That Be

“Where did the socks go?” she wondered aloud as she was putting on articles of clothing that would seal the chill from stealing her heat. She had been doing a thorough going through of all her things to limit what she keeps and must have put them in a different drawer. Now to remember what logic she was using at the time.
With the sun not beating down on the house the hours it does in summer, it starts to chill and stays that way — no amount of sun seems to inch the interior temperature up one iota by this time. She might just have to have the heat pump looked at and the broken thermostat changed out so that it can be turned on for a spell to cut the chill, at least in the mornings — give the house a boost for warming up from the inside out. What she’d rather do is hire someone clever enough to build a rocket mass heater in the space where the little wood burning, useless metal box is.
Ah well. Better things to think of for this day, she thinks to herself. She’d get the space heater.
The sun is a space heater too — it heats space. “Crazy mind”, she says out loud.
Everyday there is some kind of issue to attend. Two days passed with little done other than to soothe a migraine brought on by eating food not from her own fridge — a local joint she and her friend frequent when they want a chat. She’ll have to stop doing that — not the friend, but the food. Once the body clears out toxins, it doesn’t want them back. She keeps thinking that once a week won’t hurt until directly after when the headache starts. What does it take to fully learn a thing?
It certainly doesn’t pay to get sick and the sickening process of trying to ferret out which policy to get from the gauntlet of vultures selling one of their better plans is more toxic than a veggie burrito without cheese.
Don’t get old” she’s heard with resentment all her life — as if there is a choice. When you’re young, you don’t think much about medical plans but keep that to yourself, old people, she would think. Don’t make young people fear the future. And it doesn’t help a thing to be a pessimist. Happy thinking makes well people.
Now her thoughts go directly to wondering if the powers that be are purposely putting fear and trepidation into everyone’s lives in hopes they’ll die sooner than later and then profiting from the policies they can sell all the way the old folks go down the sick hole. That’s not happy thinking, she thinks and reminds herself that she has decided to quit thinking about what evil people do. She’ll live in her own little bubble — it’s better for her health and might afford her a better policy.
She’s feeling really happy that she has found a wonderful lady to help her navigate the gauntlet. It’s a miracle to have good people in your life and it makes all the difference in the resentment one might feel at the corruption of it all that, at least, there is someone on your side to help you find the best out of the bunch of awful things. None of them had any value that was worth their price, but better one than none it seems since the basic plan is full of donut holes.
Her goal is to find a way to avoid needing it altogether but there is always the chance and that is what insurance is, a bet against chance. After all, she did go flying lately from an accidental trip that could have broken bones.
“So, I was reading about this Medigap thing and wondering if it might be better than having Advantage?” she asked her wonderful new broker.
They got to talking about things and she was explaining to Renata that she’d like to start a brick and mortar business but what it seems is that this shit called Medicare is designed to keep people down because the minute they get one dollar out of one box, they have to start all over and try to find a different box to fit in.
“It seems that the system wants to keep people poor and fearful of starting a business.”
Renata agreed but said, “Let me tell you something. Years ago, I divorced and had two young children to raise and I didn’t have a pot to, you know what, in. I started a business and I haven’t looked back. Don’t let the system steal your dream. I don’t know what kind of business you want to start, but maybe I can help you.”
Trying to remedy her own health issues, she’s been reading lately about being your own placebo and Norman Cousins was mentioned in the book. She looked him up and it turns out that Norman cured himself of a debilitating arthritic disease of his spine by watching Marks Brothers movies and doing a lot of guttural laughing. He had been told nothing could be done, that he’d have to decide which misery he wanted to live out the short rest of his life in, lying or sitting, because his spine would fix and he decided not to buy that idea at all and thought that if his disease had been brought on by stressful thinking, it could just as likely be turned around with happiness. And it worked.
Reading along about Norman, it was also stated of the benefits of a doctor that really cares and who lets the patient have some measure of control in his own treatment and a nursing staff that is truly helpful for people to get well. Something sorely missing in our current, for-profit driven system that hardly gives a doctor time to look into his patients eyes, if he is able.
She was so grateful to know that people like Renata are still out there. People that hold your hand, metaphorically, and truly help.
“Thank you Renata. I’m so happy I found you in this big wide world of poo.”
She had to think also that happy thinking might have brought Renalda to her, that she had had the expectation that things turn out right in the end somehow.
Now to find those socks and bring the boxes of fabrics in to replace the VHS movies she just took down from the shelves in the room that she is converting into a studio in the house so she can get farther along making plans for that business in her head. The timing’s right. People are starting to leave internet shopping looking for real venues. Maybe it’s my time, that’s a happy thought she thinks, maybe that will heal whatever ails me.

While You Sleep

Yellow and red polka dots on a gray background were painted on the steps that make a stoop that leads up to the front door where Puggles curls up on his blankets that he sleeps on as Karmella dances about her garden yards doing all their chores — whistling all the while.

She has plans to add more colors or make all the dots into flowers with peace signs in some of their middles, but there are other things more pressing at the moment. There’s always more to do once all the doing’s thought to be done and what’s the point of waking up each morning if there isn’t? All the things you think are worries, are in fact the glories — so Karmella makes sure to keep more things ahead to always have a thing or two or more to have to do.

There is a covered porch that spreads out past the front door stoop that goes all around the cottage on all sides. It has balustrades and rails that are only open at the stoop stairs and the stairs at the back door as well. They have just about as much room for doing what they want to, underneath the cover of the porch as inside too.

Karmella built it that way so that Puggles can be shaded and protected from falling off the edge if he walks around looking for her when he wakes up as he does from time to time. If she catches him when he wakes up, sometimes she collects him and brings him down to sniff things and wobble around. Sometimes they’ll sit together on a grassy covered ground spot, underneath a shady tree. Puggles loves to snuggle and Karmella loves to snuggle Puggles too. Sometimes they’ll even take another nap.

Today Puggles woke up and she went up to collect him from where he was lying on his blankets near the door. She brought him down to where she’d been, he sniffed around a little, wobbled some and plopped back down again — right in the middle of a patch of grass that was directly in the Sun. Karmella stopped what she was doing just to be beside his little body while he warmed his cold old bones in the wonderful heat of their brightly shining closest star. Puggles put his whole body into it and stretched it out so every inch could get a ray. Karmella whistled softly while he drifted some into a foggy haze of happy thinking —  she could tell because his little feet were running right in place.

Karmella loves to stare at Puggles because Puggles is her favorite love.

A long time ago, one day while she was dancing, all the time whistling, he suddenly appeared at the end of a double rainbow. He was just a little puppy, wriggling around lapping and looking — she went right over to where he was to see if he wanted to stay.  It seems that there aren’t a lot of things that can manage to come and be where she is — and whatever manages to, she cherishes with all of her heart. It seems to be that only things that like to dance or whistle or wriggle or romp or dance or sing or love and be loved can manage to be in the realm where Karmella is — and only things that know or can learn their special language and sing along somehow the way they do.

She gently picked up the little sandy brown puppy and his body was plump and warm and fuzzy and he lapped her face and as much as told her with his round puppy hazel eyes and soft little puppy wiggles that he wanted to stay. And, of course, he didn’t disappear.

She held him close to kiss him on his nose.

They started their adventures right from there and from then on, he went wherever she did and danced the dance the same way with her all around the yards while they did all their chores –until the little puppy tired out enough to take a nap.

“What shall we call you little puppy?” Karmella asked before he closed his tired little puppy eyes. She said, “I’ll think of something while you sleep,” and kissed him for good measure on his little sandy-colored fury puppy face. She went and got some blankets and made a soft and fluffy bed right at the entrance to the house so that she could keep an eye on him and he could keep a sleeping eye on her. She went back to doing chores but never got too far away or if she did, she came back in a hurry. He was just a baby puppy after all.

Karmella decided to ask the birds and bees and bugs that had all managed to arrive and stay, just what they thought of the new addition and what they might think would be a good thing to call him. They all chatted for awhile, all the time that she was busy doing this, the other and that and before long came to a consensus that since he was a puppy that liked to snuggle he should always be called Puggles. They all agreed that would be the best way they would all know at any given time who they were talking or referring to. Puggles was the perfect puppy that likes to snuggle name and it was a lot shorter than saying it all, the long way.

Right about that time, the little puppy came trotting around the corner to join them and they all wondered if he knew what they’d just said. Sure enough, the little puppy did. He wasn’t very good at talking back yet, but he wagged his little tail instead — his plump little round body wiggling with it as he wagged it. It was settled — he was from then on almost always to be referred to or called Puggles. Sometimes Karmella called him My Little Lovey Dovey too. 

“Come here My Little Lovey Dovey and get a cookie.” Puggles loved it very much the times she did. That would from then on be referred to as cookie dookie time. They all liked to make up names to remember things.

“What time is it Puggles?” Karmella would ask. And Puggles would wiggle and wag and wiggle some more and she’d know that it was time for cookies. Then again, pretty much any time Puggles was asked what time it was, it was the same time all the time.

Puggles got finished warming his old bones in the Sun and Karmella got shifted by his waking, out of her memories of when he was just a puppy and they both headed back to the cottage to think about dinner. Karmella let him walk as far as he wanted to and when he stopped long enough, she lifted him into her arms to carry. Puggles lapped her face and she kissed his nose and Karmella then asked Puggles, “What shall we have for dinner My Snuggley Little Puppy?” That was another name she liked to call him from time to time. Sometime her heart was just to full to make it brief.

Puggles didn’t mind if they had cookie dookies, but Karmella said they better eat a little something more nutritious and save the cookies for after dinner as desert. Puggles somewhat reluctantly agreed knowing full well that there would be a cookie handed out for in between.


Something Quite Unusual is the prelude to this (what is likely to be an ongoing) story.

Something Quite Unusual