Soft kittie, warm kittie…. (emphasis on ‘warm’)

My cat is so strange.

Here it was, 90-some degrees out today, with heat indices of 100+.

My room has no air conditioning. None at all. I have my windows open and a fan set up. That’s my air conditioning.

And yet, Nuala slept upstairs, in my stiflingly hot room, all day long. She’s still there now, all stretched out on my bed.

She loves the heat, while I worry about her getting heat stroke.

What a strange cat.

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Write and run

Yes, I am still here. And I’m sorry to not be posting lately. Things have been hectic around here, what with work and family and everything in between. So, sorry for that.

As it happens, I’m off for a few more days, to house-sit for Older Sister while she makes her yearly sojourn to Dallas (it’s a long story).

Just wanted to let you know I am still here.

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Happy 4th of July!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend, all!

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Liebster Award, the Fifth

Dear John at writingthebody has nominated me!

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Thank you so much, John!

The rules are:

1. Display the award on your blog.
2. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer 11 questions provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs you feel deserve this award, who have less than 1,000 followers.
5. Ask 11 questions of your 5 – 11 nominees.

5 – 11 Nominees:

I’m not good with choosing who to nominate, because everyone is so strong in their own right. In that regard, if you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated. You can either answer the following questions in comments or on your own blog.

11 questions from Mouse to you:

1. Why do you blog?

2. What is your favorite musical instrument?

3. Do you have a favorite season, and why?

4. What do you believe in?

5. What do you like most about your job; or, if you’re a student, what do you like most about school?

6. What do you fear?

7. Are you a wanderer or a stay-put type of person?

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

9. If you drink soda, do you prefer Coke or Pepsi, or something else entirely?

10. If you had to be a teacher of something, what would you teach?

11. What is something unexpected that has changed about you in the last few years?

11 facts about myself:

1. Despite my good memory, I can be very forgetful. Like, I’m the kind of person who gets bummed out because she doesn’t have enough change to use a pay phone while she’s out, until she remembers she has a cell phone!

2. I can be impatient at times, but I hope I cover it well.

3. The sole time I have ever tried to drive (aside from driver’s ed courses in high school), I nearly ran into every parked car on our block. Got a lot of long horrified looks from passerbys, too. How embarrassing.

4. I like to input codes from soda bottle caps and try to win prizes. I won a Flip video camera that way.

5. Every house we’ve ever lived in has been in relatively close proximity to train tracks. Hence, a fascination with trains on my part.

6. Thanks to Elvie, I learned that vanilla scented perfume will ward off pesky gnats. And that’s actually a scent I can wear without breaking out, thank goodness. So now I wear it all the time, and it really works.

7. At work, I like to be busy all day. I hate having downtime at work.

8. I’ve been told I have a Wisconsin accent by many a discerning Iowan, and I can’t understand what they’re hearing that tells them so. While some of my formative years were spent in Wisconsin, I also lived in Illinois and Georgia for a time, too. So, I don’t know.

9. I have K.M. Weiland’s ‘Wordplayer’s Manifesto’ printed out, framed, and prominently displayed on my computer desk. It inspires me.

10. My current library (in my room) is full to overflowing with books. Thank you, Half Price Books, and curse you as well.

11. I like collecting pewter figurines but, since pewter is so expensive anymore, I don’t have very many.

My answers to John’s 11 questions:

1. Do you have many friends?
~ I don’t. I have some acquaintances, and my co-workers of course. But no friends.

2. What do you value in a friend?
~ Being able to talk to a friend about anything, and they don’t judge.

3. Can a purely online relationship be a true friendship?
~ Sure. Why not?

4. How long have you been friends with your longest friendship?
~ I don’t have a close friendship like that. I mean, I’ve known Cora for about twenty years, but we’re hardly close anymore.

5. Can a lover also be a friend?
~ Yes. I would think that should be the way it goes, shouldn’t it?

6. Do you have a pet?
~ I have three – a cat (Nuala), a dog (Muirne), and a parakeet (Little Blue).

7. What do you like reading?
~ I’ve found my taste in reading is becoming eclectic. I can read just about anything now. I like reading coming-of-age stories the most, which is not technically a genre of reading, but it’s what I like reading. Journeys of the soul. Yeah, I like reading those. And writing them, but that’s another story.

8. What kind of person are you?
~ I still don’t know. The best word to describe myself would be ‘unconventional.’

9. How do other people see you?
~ As shy and quiet.

10. What is your favourite food to eat?
~ Hmm. That’s tough, as I have a love-hate relationship with food. Fruit, probably. The cafeteria at the current company puts together the best fresh fruit cups.

11. What is your favourite food to cook?
~ I like cooking and baking just about anything, so I don’t really have a favorite thing to cook.

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Shoe strangeness

I’m not one of those girls who has a whole closet devoted to shoes.

I’m one of those people who will wear her shoes until the shoes wear out, and only then will I go buy new ones.

Take my work shoes. They wore out last week, scuffed clear through the toes, so I had to get new work shoes this past weekend. The new shoes I got should last me a while, as they’re quite sturdy. So I’m not going to worry about buying new ones for a couple years now, if I’m lucky.

Same with my tennis shoes. I had to get new tennis shoes, too, because the heels of my old ones cracked clear through, and were letting in water when it rained. Yuck. So I bought a new pair. Again, I shouldn’t have to buy new ones for another couple years.

Yes, years.

At most, I have five pairs of shoes – a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of work shoes, a pair of casual sandals, a pair of dressy formal shoes, and a pair of winter boots. I don’t change my shoes when the fancy takes me, or if I get bored with them, and I don’t wear shoes for style. I wear them because they’re functional and comfortable, and they can last me for years.

I don’t understand women who have thirty, forty, fifty pairs of shoes, or more, and who constantly have to buy them. Since when did shoes become the be-all and end-all? You know?

Not trying to knock those of you who have a shoe obsession.

It’s just….there’s more to life than shoes.

For the record – I cannot and absolutely will not ever wear heels. Ever. So there.

skate-shoes

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Another book questionnaire

I can’t remember where I found this questionnaire – possibly via Jodie Llewellyn, possibly just on an online search. But this was fun to do.

For the other book questionnaire I’ve ever done, read this past post.

1. Favorite childhood book:
~ I can’t really remember all of them. I know I loved Danny and the Dinosaur. There was The Pokey Little Puppy, and several other Little Golden books. There was Dr. Seuss, of course, and Shel Silverstein (who I didn’t really like, strange but true). And I remember one particular book on tornadoes that I was fascinated with.

2. What are you reading right now?
~ I just finished The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath for the umpteenth time (great stuff). Next, I think I’ll start either I Totally Meant to Do That by Jane Borden or On Beauty by Zadie Smith.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
~ I don’t. Usually libraries have always had what I’m looking for. Surprising, considering some libraries I’ve been to had rather antiquated selections.

4. Bad book habit:
~ Having them in piles on the floor in my room. Not very respectful, I think.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
~ I don’t currently have anything checked out from the library, because I haven’t been to the library for a long time. It’s time for a trip! (That, and I buy a lot of the books I’m looking for at Half-Price Books.)

6. Do you have an e-reader?
~ Nope. Don’t want one, either. Why bother? It’s just another electronic thing that’ll collect dust in the end. Plus, you have to pay for the reader in the first place, which is what, depending on the reader, $150 to $300. Plus the cost of purchasing individual books. And then you’d probably have to erase a book when you’re done with it. Why not just spend $6 on a paperback that’ll last forever? You know?

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
~ I used to be able to read several at once, when I was younger, but I’m more comfortable with one at a time nowadays. That way, I don’t miss anything.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
~ Yes. In fact, ever since I posted on my lack of reading, I’ve started up like crazy again. But, again, only one book at a time. I’ve been thinking about doing book reviews here on my blog. What do you think?

9. Least favourite book you read this year:
~ Hmm. Hasn’t been read yet. I mean, there are books I didn’t really like, but I don’t have a least favorite yet.

10. Favorite book I’ve read this year:
~ Both of the Kazuo Ishiguro novels I own, which are Never Let Me Go and Nocturnes.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
~ Anymore? A lot. I’ve been branching out, reading authors that are not familiar to me or books that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet (which, sadly, is most of them in my collection).

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
~ Anything familiar is comfortable, I guess. Hence my answer above, in that I’m reading outside my comfort zone as of late.

13. Can you read on the bus?
~ You bet. I just have to be careful, or I’ll miss my stop. That’s happened before. (Yes, I’m one of those people who can read while in a moving vehicle and not get sick in the process.)

14. Favourite place to read:
~ My room.

15. What’s your policy on book lending?
~ I’ll lend anyone any book, as long as I get it back.

16. Do you dog ear your books?
~ I used to. Now I have these cute little magnetic owl bookmarkers.

17. Do you write notes in the margins of your books?
~ No, and I never have. To me, books are sacred, and notes distract from the text. I do have some secondhand books that have writing in them, and that drives me insane.

18. Do you break/crack the spine of your books?
~ I’d like to know how it’s possible not to do that.

19. What is your favourite language to read?
~ English. It’s unfortunately the only language I know.

20. What makes you love a book?
~ That’s really hard to say. I’ll have to think about that more. Let me put it this way – I know it when I read it. Vague, I know, but that’s it.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
~ A good plot, and a good message.

22. Favourite genre:
~ Coming-of-age stories. While that isn’t technically a genre, that’s the kind of story I like.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did):
~ Mystery.

24. Favourite biography:
~ I don’t read biographies much. I have a couple autobiographies in my library, by Maya Angelou and Gilda Radner.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? (And was it actually helpful?)
~ I’ve read several self-help books. Par for the course. Some were helpful, some weren’t. In fact, I own several of the ones that were helpful.

30 How often do you agree with the critics about a book?
~ Not very. A lot of times, they give reviews that are the opposite of what I thought of a particular book. So I don’t listen to critics.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
~ I don’t care. If I dislike something, I’ll say so. They’re right – negative criticism is so easy.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
~ Russian.

33. Most intimidating book I’ve read:
~ Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. And I didn’t even finish it.

34. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin:
~ The Complete Saki.

35. Favourite poet:
~ Sylvia Plath.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out from the library at any given time?
~ Five to seven. I try to limit myself to only five or seven!

37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
~ Not very often.

38. Favourite fictional character:
~ Carrie Stokes.

39. Favourite fictional villain:
~ Don’t have a favorite villain, but Severus Snape was a favorite antagonist.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation:
~ Hmm. Good question. Most times when I’m on vacation, I tend to try to write; it’s a change of scenery sort of thing, plus I don’t usually have time to read because I’m visiting or sightseeing. You should ask ‘what would be a desert island book?’ instead. A desert island book would be The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. That way, I could write my own stories and develop my own desert library. Maybe.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading:
~ There were a couple years in there where I could not even pick up a book, but I’m reading more now.

42. Name a book you could not/would not finish:
~ Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, and Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
~ My dog barking. That’s about it.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel:
~ I haven’t seen them all, so I really can’t say.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation:
~ Again, I haven’t seen them all, so I really can’t say.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time:
~ $80+.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
~ All the time. Usually a page or two, or even the first sentence. If I’m hooked by then, I’ll keep reading and/or buy it.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through?
~ Boredom with the plot. Jane Mendelsohn’s Innocence is a perfect example – I literally fell asleep reading that book. Which was a shame, too, because I really liked I Was Amelia Earhart.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
~ Yes, to a degree. I don’t alphabetize them like I alphabetize my movies or music, but I like to keep books in some semblance of order. You know, all the Edith Wharton books together on the shelf, all the poetry collections together on one shelf, etc.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read?
~ I keep all my books. I’m loathe to give any of them up.

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding?
~ Tons. Most romances (unrealistic), most crime thrillers and mysteries and science fiction (can’t wrap my head around them), most medical dramas (too much jargon), most popular books like Twilight or Hunger Games (overrated). Mostly it’s intimidation, I’m sure. It’s an ‘I’ll never be able to write like that’ complex, you know?

52. Name a book that made you angry:
~ Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – a couple characters, namely Amma, made me angry.

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did:
~ Jemima J by Jane Green. I don’t know why I didn’t expect to like it, but I’m glad I did.

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t:
~ The Liar, The Bitch and the Wardrobe by Allie Kingsley. Perhaps I just need to give it a second read.

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading:
~ Phantom by Susan Kay. Weird, seeing as how I didn’t really like The Phantom of the Opera.

Here are a couple questions I added to this questionnaire:

56. What was the last book you purchased?
~ I purchased a whole glut of them via Amazon.com, mostly writing how-to kind of books. To wit: Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris; The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer; The Writer’s Idea Book 10th Anniversary Edition by Jack Heffron; and both the K.M Weiland books, Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel.

57. Are there any books that you want to read?
~ Recently I found an article online with a listing of books every woman should read (but I didn’t save the link, sorry). Several of them on that list I already own, but most of them I haven’t read and don’t have. One of which was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I desperately want to read that book. And I’d also like to read those Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children books, just on a whim.

Finally:

58. What is your favorite book of all time?
~ The Language of Goldfish by Zibby O’Neal. That book would tell someone more about me than I ever could.

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It’s helpful to read

This past week at work was Employee Appreciation Week. What a concept. No, really. It’s all right. It was fun. There were word games all week, and a Bingo tournament, and a chance to win prizes, just for being an employee of the company.

(Only I didn’t win any prizes, so I didn’t feel the appreciation. kidding!)

Yesterday, the office essentially shut down at 11:00 for a company-wide luncheon, and then all the employees took to the yards for frolic and fun for the rest of the afternoon. There was live music, and a ‘build your own trail mix’ snack station, and drinks, and mingling, and games being played.

Carmen and Elvie decided to sign up for a couple of the games that were going to be played.

They both signed up for the Bags tournament, which is where you throw bean bags through a hole in a cardboard placard…

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….like so. (Image found via Google search for ‘bags,’ sorry.)

Then Elvie signed up for the Potato Sack Race, which was exactly what it sounds like, only there was a piggyback twist to it. Literally – the contestants would start off wearing their potato sack, then after a certain point would doff the potato sack and run back to the starting line straddling and hugging inflatable pigs to themselves. Odd, that, but one guy did a spectacular somersault in the process.

Then the company was going to have something called a Bear Foot Race. It required four teammates. Carmen and Elvie were two. They were trying to recruit two more.

This is where is it helpful to read any and all instructions, be it with a shelving unit you put together to a recipe to rules of a game. Okay?

Here Carmen and Elvie thought the Bear Foot Race had something to do with bare feet. See? Bear = bare; misspelled for a reason. They thought the game would entail getting down on your hands and knees and crawling across the lawn. Like a bear. It stood to reason.

No. The Bear Foot Race involved each of the four teammates chugging a 12-ounce drink as fast as he/she could, then sprinting in order to win.

Oy.

I could possibly chug water that fast, but only if I’m really thirsty. And I couldn’t imagine running at all after chugging a 12-ounce soda as fast as I could. I told Carmen I was afraid of throwing up, which is why I did not want to take part.

In the end, Carmen and Elvie recruited Diane and a gentleman from the reporting staff. They didn’t win, but they had a lot of fun doing it. Just as I had a lot of fun watching them.

But, you know, it’s helpful to read. tee hee.

Believe it or not, I had intended to work all afternoon, until one of the higher ups gave me a bit of a talking to – I was either to join in the fun or go home.

Well, I’d already put 4:30 down on my timecard, so I joined in the fun.

(*a la Richard Nixon*) I am not a workaholic.

Oh, and, wouldn’t you know, my face got terrifically sunburned. Yeah. Didn’t have the foresight to bring a hat with me, or sunglasses. Oh well. It hurts today; been applying balm all day. Next year, I’ll know better.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. (Just a disclaimer - no copyright infringement is intended, at all. All songs and music posted herein on this blog belong to its respective performers and creators. All songs and music posted herein was all legally obtained by the blog author. If anyone wants any song or piece of music removed from this site, please visit my “About” page and drop me an e-mail. Thank you.)
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