Sunday, October 15, 2017

It's time to get ready for ALL HALLOW'S READ!

What's All Hallow's Read, you ask? It's giving away books along with the candy - or any number of other ways to celebrate reading along with Hallowe'en. Let Neil Gaiman explain it!

I've been doing this for 4 or 5 years now, and it's wonderful. The kids really love getting books - I think some of my veteran trick-or-treaters have been spreading the word because every year I get a few more than the previous year.

I get most of my AHR books from the Friends of the Omaha Public Library's book sale that goes on all year. I've written an Instructable on how to prep the books for The Big Night.

Celebrate All Hallow's Read! Scare your friends! 💀 👾 👽 🎃

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today's cancer checkup

Passed it with an "A" again! That's two years down. Next appt: August 2018!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heather Heyer is an American hero.

But she should never have had to be. I think a statue of that brave young woman should replace every goddamned Confederate statue in the country.

It occurs to me, for someone who claims to hate losers so much, The Orange Ass has certainly picked a couple of global-level historical losers to side with. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

*needle scratch*

Er, well, no. I decided against NaNoWriMo since the last post.

I find myself having a hard time committing to anything that's going to require that kind of dedication, these days.

So, No NaNo. The world will survive this loss.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

I wish I could just get over you

Yeah, so, NaNoWriMo has hooked me again. Fortunately, they've adopted more flexible "rules" for Camp NaNoWriMo, in that I can go back to the most recent November novel attempt and work on that; it no longer has to be a brand-new work. So, That ol' 24 Spaces keeps bugging me like crazy, so here I go: July will be 31 days of Camp NaNoWriMo insanity. Well - not quite. This time I've pledged to work on the piece at least 1 hour per day, on average.

So I need to collect the sunscreen, s'mores ingredients, flip flops and lemonade, and get ready to CAMP!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

It's been a long drought.

I haven't been doing much worth posting, and I'm still fighting the depression (and winning, but slowly), though the situation in American politics today has not helped that process. In fact I expend probably more energy than I realize fuming and worrying about that.

I just came across a terrific pick-me-up. Last year, Warren Buffett wrote a letter to Bill and Melinda Gates, urging them to publish a kind of update to their philanthropic activities. Read Mr. Buffett's letter, then read and view their response. Then come back here because I have a question.

Buffett's letter.

The Gates's response.

That's really something isn't it? Wow. Everybody should read/view it. Heartening!

Look at all they are doing, all the good and how it ramifies, multiplies, spreads geographically and through generations, benefit upon benefit, lifting entire societies out of poverty, disease, and ignorance. Providing the world with generations of healthy, educated young people who will continue lifting their families, communities, and countries even higher.

Now look at what Trump and the Republicans are doing. They've been rabid dogs, tearing down every good and humane thing that we have worked so hard and long to build. Health care, education, infrastructure, science, equality, international aid, diplomatic relationships - everything.

My question is, why haven't these assholes been charged with crimes against humanity? The impacts of their greed, viciousness, bigotry, sexism, racism, and hatred will also ramify through generations and geography across the world. People have already died, literally because of their actions and policies, and they have barely started. If that isn't crimes against humanity, what is?

Friday, March 17, 2017

I've just got one question:


I don't understand why all the hate for clothes and accessories whose colors or patterns match or at least harmonize. 

Yep, you're right, I'm not into fashion. For decades I've figured if I can get an outfit together where my socks match or at least coordinate somehow with my shirt/sweater/pants/skirt, I'm home free! Some snotty chemistry tech (a male!) made a snide comment about how my socks always match my shirt - that was um. well. like. 1987? or so? So it's a venerable tradition of mine.

I think people should STFU about "matchy-matchy." It's just another way to be a snob and put other people down.

That's my fashion manifesto. I don't have a picture or anything to go with it. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

All of these inspire and move me but it's Malala that brings the tears. They tried to blow out her brains and look at her. 

Our enemies are stupid and small. They don't have a chance.

Monday, February 06, 2017


So the roof is re-shingled and it looks great. But there are several other projects the contractor is supposed to do, but I haven't heard a word since the roofers finished last Tuesday. I'm not worried. We're also waiting to find out if the insurance company is going to foot the bill for a LARGE project that became obviously necessary once they'd got the old shingles off - there were three layers instead of just the one.

So I wait. There is still some material, and a wheelbarrow and a ladder, here, so I assume they'll be back when all the ducks have got in line.

Mood-wise, the third antidepressant seems to be doing its job. I'm feeling more like me than I have for a year. And I'm resuming some of my grown-up habits I was secretly proud of developing before the black dog bit me. My spirits are much better, even though my country's agony under the putsch harrows me daily.  I do what I can to help resist. I wish I could do more. But my year's inactivity has taken its toll on my very body - I'm going to have to build up my muscle strength gradually because I'm weaker now, and have very little stamina. And there's an ever-growing list of home projects I need to address; so much piled up while I was depressed, I can't believe it. Ah well, I'll plug along and do the best I can.

I am so glad the black dog went away!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Big doins here today

At 9 the roofers showed up. So, a few days of this constant racket from all over the roof will keep us company. I don't watch them because it makes me nervous. There's at least an inch of 3 day old snow everywhere.

O'Keefe flat-out hates it of course. Every once in awhile a particular bit of noise scares her and she galvanizes into a geriatric half-crouch on the hassock where she's napping against my leg. It takes her a minute or so to settle down and go back to sleep. So many monsters attacking her house!

Turns out I had a lot more roof damage than I'd thought in the May 11th hailstorm.

The morning after. You can't really see it in the photo but there were still 1" hailstones *everywhere* and of course, the trees' new leaves just got pulverized. Looked like a giant had strewn green confetti over everything.

All those years of homeowner's insurance is paying off now, big-time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Only we, the people, can stop this.

It's so much worse and it's happening so much faster than even I imagined. I'm watching my country go from a flawed, but functional democracy, to a totalitarian state. For the first time in my life, I'm deeply afraid.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Good-bye, Old World

Hello whatever the hell it is that's showing up as of tomorrow afternoon.

Keep your friends close.

Keep your enemies closer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Three more days

Unlike many, I haven't found myself afire with hatred of the year 2016. My benchmark for feelings about years was 2006; both the happiest and unhappiest events of my life occurred then: the marriage of my son to a wonderful woman whom I consider my daughter, then the death of my husband a few months later. Neither of which had anything to do with the numerals we assign to a twelve-month period of time.

Nonetheless it hasn't been the greatest of years here. I've been fighting depression - real depression - for the first time in my life, since way back last winter. It robbed me of my interest in things I'd loved (knitting, walking, cooking, baking, EATING) and sat on me like a goddamned satanic elephant throughout the summer and fall. I did get a prescription - which didn't work - and a different one which *may* be working but it also is having some side effects I could do without (that isn't an ironic understatement, they really are minor, though annoying). And of course, losing my dear cat Adams all of a sudden in October didn't help matters, either. But at least in the past couple of weeks the elephant seems to have lost some weight and I've ben getting back into caring for my house (a bit) and getting caught up with household things I've let go completely. I mean, last evening I put away six baskets of clean clothes, and there are six more waiting in the laundry room to be washed, dried and put away.

The lack of appetite has had something of a silver lining, leading me to about a ten - to - fifteen-pound weight loss. It's not a method I would recommend AT ALL. But it does mean I've got more energy and I don't wipe out quite so fast.

But ALL of this could just as easily have happened any other year. I grieve for all the wonderful talents we as a society have lost this year, and for the world because the Orange Clown takes the Presidency next month. But all is not despair. Lots of people are banding together to challenge whatever awful offal he sends down the pipe at us.

A lot of people are looking around at their neighbors and thinking we could maybe be more friendly and caring toward each other, and be mindful wherever we are of how others are being treated - and to step up and do something about it, in whatever way seems right to us at the time. And artists will keep doing their work, and doctors and nurses will keep doing their work, and people will go on being kind and helpful to each other (I believe that's a huge majority of people - the nasty ones get all the headlines) and we will get through this.

So I think 2016 contains exactly the same weird mixture of stuff any year has. And 2017 will, too, but a LOT of people have been awakened to the fact that we need each other. And that cannot be a bad thing, can it?

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Adams Pussycat Hairypaws Hickman, 2004 - 2016

On October 11, my two cats and I were enjoying a nice, quiet afternoon in the front room reading (me) and snoozing (them). Adams was on the couch. Suddenly he started a sneezing barrage. It woke him up. He stood up looking grumpy, and I said, "Gesundheit!" and he turned his sweet face to me, all bright-eyed and interested, and I know he was thinking, "She's talking to me! Ima gonna go get some pettins!" I said, "God bless you!" (in case he didn't understand German).

And he turned around and jumped down off the couch, now hidden behind the lounger. He started making noises like he was going to puke (he did that several times a week) so I grabbed a sheet of newspaper and leapt over there to try to catch it - but he wasn't vomiting, he was seizing. In the one second it took for me to get to him, I could see by his eyes that he wasn't there any more, even though his body was still seizing. I ruffled his fur and spoke to him - I don't remember what I said - then raced upstairs to get my shoes and back down again - and in those 5 seconds (I was *really* moving), he had gone for good.

One second, peacefully, happily sleeping in one of his favorite spots. 5 seconds later, gone. Not really knowing what I was doing, I called his vet. She came right on line, and then I realized there was nothing she could do. I apologized but she kept me on the line for several minutes, sympathizing and oh, just being so kind. She had pulled up his records, and said the last time he was there, in July, for his lion cut, he was in perfect health. They did blood screens for him every time he got shaved, because they had to sedate him else he wouldn't tolerate the process. And that day when I picked him up, the other vet who handed him over to me exclaimed about what good shape his teeth were in: "He's got the teeth of a two-year-old cat!" So on October 11, the vet told me it was most likely a stroke that killed him. She assured me emphatically that they could tell he was well-cared-for. 

I live alone (except for my cats)(er, now, cat) and I held my sweet Adams in my arms and just howled. I cried until I couldn't anymore. For the next week I went around in a daze, crying when I saw his kibbles bowl, a patch of his fur, when I cleaned the litter boxes. I kept expecting him to be coming around the corner, talking to me. Whenever I was doing stuff in the kitchen, he would get up on top of the microwave on its rolling cart, and do a little Adams dance with his front feet, and talk to me demanding pettins. And he always got them, he was so damn cute I couldn't resist. In the couple of months before he died, I was *finally* getting to where he'd allow me to brush him all over - for a few strokes. He loved me brushing his cheeks, but it took a long time for him to realize the all-over brushing felt pretty good, too. (His sister gets brushed every morning and loved it from the start.) I called him my Eeyore cat, because when O'Keefe would barge in between us, jealous of my petting him, he'd meander off to the other side of the room and sit there, his head down, looking dejected (I always made it up to him). He was timid, and quiet, and so loving.

On the night in early 2014 when I had an infection go septic, the only image I remember of the moments the EMs were in the house bundling me up to go into the ambulance, was Adams' worried little face, looking at me between their legs, trying to get to me (my dear friend who'd come when I called her, mostly delirious. kept having to pull him out of the way, she says). That image, and the last, bright, happy look just before he jumped down off the couch, will stay with me until I die.

I can still feel his fur, the muscles in his back, the delicate bones in his front legs, his whiskers tickling when he rubbed his face on mine, his warmth. It still doesn't seem quite real. But, he's gone. Another loving little soul tucked deep in my heart that I will treasure there forever. 

ETA: Well, really to subtract the "last month" since I only just realized that we're already in December, so October is not last month. - T.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Me, too.

I know this is small comfort, but it's how I feel. Gonna stick to this one:

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

On the anniversary of Kristallnacht

From Wikipedia:

Kristallnacht was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues had their windows smashed.

Estimates of the number of fatalities caused by the pogrom have varied. Early reporting estimated that 91 Jewish people were murdered during the attacks. Modern analysis of German scholarly sources by historians such as Richard J. Evans puts the number much higher. When deaths from post-arrest maltreatment and subsequent suicides are included, the death toll climbs into the hundreds.

Like many people who identify themselves as progressives, I'm in shock this morning. I'm trying to work through it, reading articles and blogs and Twitter feeds, trying to connect with others who are also stunned and sick at what has happened to the country we thought we knew.

People are saying, hold your loved ones close. Work through the grief and pain. Then stand up and start fighting.

So that's my plan for this week: mourn, then start arming myself with information, connection, increased involvement. And don't descend into Trump-world. Fight for love and inclusion and acceptance and moving forward. When they go low, we must go high, or else what is the point?

Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, had a clear and ringing message: We ARE stronger together. We cannot forget that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


My beloved Adams cat, 12 years old, died suddenly yesterday. He was in the pink of health. The vet said it was probably a stroke.

I'm still in shock. I will write a page for him when I can.

Love your pets extra.

Emperor Adams Pussycat Hairypaws Hickman.
2004 - 2016

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Early October, a little bit coming along

Got the bike/pedestrian count done. During one of them I barely escaped getting hit by a runaway automobile tire, which took out its frustration on some poor innocent car by exploding its headlight and seriously crushing the whole right-front of that car (whose driver KEPT DRIVING???) and then I treated the whole rush-hour linear parking lot to the delight of seeing an overweight old lady, tripping out of her sandals, trying to catch up to a tire that was accelerating down the sidewalk right at a giant pile of garbage bags and bins - fortunately a trash-hauling truck was right there and the passenger jumped out and caught the thing before all of Leavenworth Street got strewn with garbage.

So, that was exciting.

Now I've committed to visiting the Benson Library every Monday in October to do whatever yard work and trash pickup is needed. It's good to have a steady job LOL. Also, October is my month for purging more stuff out of the attic. There is a bunch of old camping cookware and other accessories that have to go. And no doubt a lot more. I'm ready to toss the old Christmas decor - some of it from my childhood in the early 50s, but of no emotional meaning to me now. And do you know anyone who wants a LARGE, sepia portrait that was hand-colored, of me in a corduroy skirt-bolero outfit and the most astonishing curls, age about 5? If I remember, I'll post a photo. It's a hoot. But who wants this stuff any more? Not me. Maybe I could sell the frame...

And, October is my last chance to actually do a hard-labor project in the back yard. It's so intimidating - and at the same time so mundane - that I don't even want to describe it. I'll do pics if I actually get at it.

I was going to mow the back yard today but it's been raining steadily all day. I am SO broken-hearted har har har.

So the rest of the day:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mid-September, nuthin much goin on

I've signed up to do six 2-hour bicycle/pedestrian counts at various spots around Omaha this month. Two Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and noon - 2 pm on two Saturdays. I did this at three sites a couple years ago. It's a good way to contribute to the civic well-being (Omaha is trying to scope out how to make our transportation systems more human-friendly! Yay!) and it's always interesting. Aside from hosting our little group's Game Day the last Sunday, that's all the excitement I have lined up for this month.

Still fighting the depression. I don't know that a double dose of this depressant is making any difference, but I suppose I have to give it a few weeks. I seem to be able to make myself do a few more things per day but man, it's hard, and I've been sleeping more than usual recently, too. Ah well, life goes on.

Oh, yeah, also, I found this gizmo at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. Anyone know what it is? It is NOT handmade, as I'd first assumed. On one side is lightly embossed "Scofield's Pat." and below that and partially hidden by that metal clasp-thingy, " '0, 085". (That is an apostrophe before the zero.)

My photo quality isn't good but if you have an idea what this might be, leave a comment please?

I first took this as a pen nib (above) but it doesn't have the split from the point to the hole, so I may be wrong about that.

The prong on this thing is *not* sharp in the concave area, so maybe it isn't a cutting tool, even though you slide the two "guitar" halves lengthwise and either the pointy or the concave instrument extends past the other one, which *could* be a slicing operation, I guess.

I'm baffled. Cool, huh?