February Book Count

I read 12 books in February. That makes a total of 25 books read this year. So, I changed my mind about the reading goal for 2018. The new goal is:

Despite the dire warnings of others who spent a year reaching for the 100 book goal, having a reading goal isn’t making reading less fun or the least bit stressful. It does make old paperback series more desirable than the lengthy tomes that win writing awards. It also means I spend my spare moments fantasizing about ways to acquire more books.

short stories

Series authors sometimes write short stories between books. These short stories are usually published in multiple author collections. It’s fun to track the short stories down after reading the entire series or when authors take several years between books. Unless the author’s last name is Rowling, nobody considers the short stories to be a necessary part of the series of novels.

The proper use of a short story explicitly calls out a character as a valkyrie, while the series books made the character’s identity perfectly clear without ever using the word valkyrie. The short story is bonus material.

The misuse of a short story has a major repercussions interaction with banshees in a short story that is hinted at, but never fully explained in the series books. The short story is important to the novels, but left out of them.

If your short story is important, it should be physically included at the beginning or end of a regular book in the series. It’s difficult enough to track down all the books in the series. Don’t make story continuity impossible by hiding part of the series in some other author’s book.

January Book Count

I read 13 books in January. It will be summer before I have a month with a double digit count again. Winter break and ice days were the primary reasons I was able to read so many books. It also helped that I spent December collecting books to read. I’ve blown through most of my stockpile and when I don’t have a book ready and waiting, I find myself reading slowly to keep from being bookless.

I’m at a point where I need to spend extended time in McKays searching for new books and series. It’s not that I haven’t been to McKays enough lately. I drop by McKays so frequently that I sometimes catch myself wondering if I’m wearing the exact same outfit I wore when I visited them a few days earlier. I’m sure the McKays employees have customers lumped into broad categories, because lately I’ve been the “looking for the next in a series” shopper. I walk directly to a specific aisle, rapidly touch every single book in one or two sections, and then I leave. Used book stores are wonderful for finding new books and starting new series. They’re terrible for hunting down book #4 in one series and #6 in another series. They’re even worse if you’re checking endlessly for a fairly new release to be brought in by another reader.

When total frustration at the inability to finish a series has me using real money instead of McKay’s trade credit, I usually end up shopping the used book sellers on Amazon. They’re less expensive and faster than eBay. I do wish that Amazon would make it easier to eliminate former library books from the available choices. McKays rarely buys back former library books.

I should have created a GoFundMe for bookstore credits months before starting this reading adventure. This would be so much easier if I could walk in Barnes & Noble and buy a giant pile of books each month.


I cancelled three hair appointments in November just to see Jeffrey Epstein, MD, FACS. The cancellations were due to the husband having meetings, social dates and hot yoga classes that he didn’t tell me about in advance. The appointment given to a child turned out to be so expensive that I didn’t even try to get my hair cut again until December. When December arrived, I cancelled yet another appointment because a child was sick. Eventually, I walked in a low-budget salon in the mall that I’ve frequented for decades. “It will be 20 minutes.” I bought a coffee and returned to the bench just outside the salon. After 40 minutes, I walked in the salon. “The stylist had to re-do someone’s color and now we’re all going on break. It’ll be an hour.” I know that was my cue to leave. They had no intention of cutting my hair. Someone recently told me that I look like a “Let me talk to your manager” woman. I’m not. If you want to have a fashionista look hair color please checkout best balayage nyc. I am and have always been a doormat. Southern women without money are raised that way. It’s a tolerable existence until you are no longer young and attractive. Then, your options are polite invisibility or b*tch.

Given a choice between going home and being a stubborn moron, I chose the later. “I’ll wait.” I leaned against the salon opening with my arms crossed and waited. Ten minutes later, they told me to sit in a stylist’s chair. The stylist took a pair of shears, snipped a chunk of hair from the back, then held out her hand and said, “Seven dollars please.” I handed her a ten and left.

As soon as I got home, I realized the back of my hair was more crooked than if I had tried cutting it myself. After all the grief it took to get this much done, I’m embracing the cruddy haircut until spring.fhair

NaBloPoMo 2017

11/1 Never stop playing – pictures can speak 1000 words
11/2 The night the lights went out on fb – How many memories are lost when we only post them on fb or twitter?
11/3 NaBloPoMo – in case it wasn’t obvious that my posting is heavy
11/4 Starbucks coloring cups – Sometimes I make videos
11/5 gun violence – my blogging is more filtered now
11/6 reading goals – thinking ahead
11/7 I live to amuse/annoy – my life is anecdotal
11/8 maybe if I added nutmeg – I like furry critters
11/9 mom’s car – not a spider fan
11/10 youth basketball – sportsball
11/11 conceptual nap – sad realization
11/12 Adios, Americorps – mom brag
11/13 how to buy tween shoes – need more money
11/14 TV ramblings – What kind of shows do you watch, Cathy?
11/15 white food – picky eaters
11/16 annual Thanksgiving prep convo – Ma & Pa Kettle return every November
11/17 Ingredients for happiness – my toolbox
11/18 Hell is other drivers – traffic sucks
11/19 NaBloPoMo update – I’m not doing this again
11/20 thank you, villagers – kindness
11/21 cleaning /= construction – oh, well
11/22 Thanksgiving “prep” – wishful thinking
11/23 Thanksgiving 2017 – a perfect day
11/24 Ed tech – we got played
11/25 Thanksgiving movie night – we did something fun
11/26 Not a puppy – you can’t always get what you want
11/27 It’s always something – still broken
11/28 musical torture – twitchy tween
11/29 parade-isms – my lawn chair is ready
11/30 matching drawers – underthings

matching drawers

Young couples wear matching t-shirts. From there, they move to matching sweaters. Before long, it’s matching sweatsuits and sneakers. Doug and I are strange. We wear matching undies. Which is all fine and good because it amuses us without bothering anyone else.


At an event with a group consisting mainly of women my age and older, I pulled out my phone to answer someone’s question. Instead of opening to a screen of boxes full of icons, it opened to the last thing I was doing on the phone, my text messages. The husband had left the house without letting me know his wardrobe selection that morning, so he sent me a picture. My phone lit up with a colorful picture of my husband’s drawers as two of the sweetest 60somethings you’d ever meet looked over my shoulder.

This wasn’t a texting politician kinda picture. It was completely benign and frankly, women of our age wash, dry, fold and put away men’s laundry without feeling anything titillating about it. There comes a point in your life where you realize that what people say and do is far sexier than what they wear or how they look. The picture on my phone wasn’t offensive, but it made me feel inconsiderate of others. Now, when the husband and I don’t coordinate our wardrobe plans in the morning, we have a mismatched day. Oddly enough, that amuses us, too.


The husband and children are going to be in a parade this weekend. They’ve been in local parades and parades in much bigger cities. They’ve been in so many parades that they are parade professionals. They know the hurry up and wait rhythm and they know the funny wrist wave. I have been in exactly one parade.

When I was in elementary school, my parents enrolled me in a tap and baton class. Performing arts classes were what everyone in our neighborhood expected little girls to do while the boys played a different sport every season. When it came time for the Fourth of July community parade, the tap and baton teacher told my mother I wasn’t allowed to embarrass her with my uncoordinated attempts at either activity. I could hand out candy in the parade and then I should not take up space in her classroom afterward. My parents didn’t waste money attempting to force a talent on me ever again.

Parades need audiences, too. That’s my talent. Sitting. Which brings me back to this weekend’s parade.

“Are you going to be spinning sabers or rifles in the parade?”
“The band director says we have to pass out candy.”

musical torture

Due to the unexpected absence of fender benders and traffic jams between home and the private school on the west edge of town, we arrived to basketball practice half an hour early. The school gym is extremely popular and arriving early means standing in the hallway waiting while boys endlessly try to jump high enough to touch the ceiling. It’s like trying to meditate in a crowded bounce house.

“We’ll go in after this song ends. It’s one of my favorites.”

Withing ten seconds, the tween became the Moaning Myrtle of loud sighs instead of moans. Sigh. Sigh. Siiigh. Sigh-sigh-sigh. Failing to get a response, he switched to making air baskets accompanied by swoosh noises. I’d like to think he figured out that sound effects weren’t going to detract me from my music, but I suspect he whacked his elbow while thrashing about.

I heard his brain click into escape mode. Technically, I heard the door click as he disengaged the latch while staring innocently into near space. This was followed by one foot dangling out of the car. After one foot escaped, both feet boldly began swinging and kicking the open door frame. When both feet were standing on the frame and his arms were holding the roof of the car, I accepted defeat.

“Fine. Go inside.”
“That was the longest song in the world.”

He still got to spend fifteen minutes trying to touch the ceiling.