Monday, Monday

It’s raining, but we need it, so no complaints.

Marika– Debby planted the moonflower seeds a while back, and some varmint immediately began digging in the dirt to make a meal of them. But at least some of them are finally sprouting, so there’s hope yet. Fingers crossed!

This is NOT the varmint. This one’s busy doing other things.

Button Sunday


I’m a somewhat lackluster Pink Floyd listener. It’s not them; it’s me. Still, there are some songs I like a lot, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is one of them. There are specific people the song makes me think of (though the band wrote it as an homage to their bandmate, the late Syd Barrett, as all good songs should, it taps into its listeners’ own feelings, in this case of loss and regret).

Though the following three people are not part of my Crazy Diamond Crew, certainly they were all jewels to me and the people who love them. I honor their memory and am grateful to have known them.


It was my good fortune that the best friend I made at twelve, Lynne, had a whole family of sisters, a brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins who took me in as one of their own. Lynne’s mother Elnora mothered me and I loved her. Elnora had two sisters: Audrey, who fed me, tolerated me, and taught me progressive rummy; and Lil, pictured above trying to hold onto Jess, who was the aunt who got right down amongst us.

Lil was a friend, an accomplice in our shenanigans, and she made the best chocolate pound cake and fried potatoes (we call them “Lil Fries”) ever. Her home was always open, her heart was always giving, and she had the best laugh. Many qualities of these ladies were borrowed for Phillip’s aunts in Three Fortunes in One Cookie. Lil was the last of them. Though she lived far away, her son kept up our tradition of sharing Christmas cards to keep me updated on her declining health. The sisters are all reunited now, and I’m going to imagine them enjoying fish fries with catfish, corn, Lil fries, and Audrey’s divine hushpuppies, long-running card games, and snappy conversations like the ones in my memory.


We knew him online as “Rob,” “Really Rob,” “Cody Frizbee Jr.,” and “Smiling Bagel.” His friends and family knew him as Bob and Uncle Bob. I dubbed him St. Louis’s Ambassador because his posts and photos about his home city made me want to visit there so much. He loved opera, books, and art. He had a talent for growing things and liked to cook and bake. During the time that I knew him, he loved his dog Nickie DaDoggé and his cat Oskar LaChat. When they were gone, he adopted his fabulous dog Mlle. Renee in 2009. I absolutely loved his stories about and pictures of Renee. In addition to being online friends, we exchanged many letters, cards, and gifts through the years. Though I never was able to meet him in person, I’m grateful he became part of our online group of friends and my life. I’m not sure who has Renee now, but I know Rob, Nickie, and Oskar will be her family again one day at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you, Rob, for your many kindnesses, your friendship, and your loyalty as a reader.


Some people coast through your life for a brief time and change it forever. I was a bit player in this story, and it’s not mine to tell. But this gentleman had such a profound effect on our lives that I borrowed part of his name for one of my characters. The character, though unpublished, is still with me always and is one of my muses. The person whose name he took has been gone from our lives for a long time; he actually died a couple of years ago, but we only just found out. It’s not really a goodbye when you remain so alive in my memory and my work, but I do mourn on behalf of all those who lost you as a daily presence in their lives.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond.

Photo Friday, No. 550

Current Photo Friday theme: Perspective


Rumor has it that I may have access to the library of my digital photos soon. But for this week, I’m going old school. It’s August of 1998, and that person in the distance is Tom walking on the rocky beach of Los Padres National Forest on the California coast. These were the days when I shot film and hoped for the best, never knowing what would come back to me when it was developed. Anticipation was part of the fun.

Transport Thursday!


Meet Forry! He was one of a family of four gorgeous German shepherds who were dumped near the airport and recovered by BARC. Two were adopted at BARC, and RPM took the other two. Forry is the first to travel. I named him for a kind donor to my fundraising team for the 2017 Saving Pets Challenge. (There’s still time to donate! Any amount is appreciated, and please opt out of the fee. Your entire donation will go to RPM.)

Thank you, Timmy, and happy life, Forry! I’m so glad I was able to meet you.

Three Angels

Three angels up above the street
Each one playing a horn
Dressed in green robes with wings that stick out
They’ve been there since Christmas morn
The wildest cat from Montana passes by in a flash
Then a lady in a bright orange dress
One U-Haul trailer, a truck with no wheels
The Tenth Avenue bus going west
The dogs and pigeons fly up and they flutter around
A man with a badge skips by
Three fellas crawling on their way back to work
Nobody stops to ask why
The bakery truck stops outside of that fence
Where the angels stand high on their poles
The driver peeks out, trying to find one face
In this concrete world full of souls
The angels play on their horns all day
The whole earth in progression seems to pass by
But does anyone hear the music they play
Does anyone even try?

Bob Dylan, Three Angels

I found these in the bin of Jeff’s stuff. My best guess: I colored them for him, and he returned them to me. They’ve now joined the Band of Angels in the Angel tin and will be displayed at Christmas with the rest of them.

Pet Prose: Polly

Author photo.

“The problem with being roommates who were best friends and did everything together was that when one roommate was fired from her job at Mr. C’s Sizzlin’ Steaks for having a bad attitude (translation: wouldn’t let the kitchen manager grope her in the supply room), the other roommate was collateral damage.

The roommates fled to Doug’s apartment full of righteous fury and threats, and as usual, his was the voice of reason.

‘You’re students working a shitty, low-paying job for a moronic thug. The workforce commission doesn’t care. You’re not going to get unemployment benefits. You’re not going to get Yelp revenge because the public cares less than the government. Mr. C serves a cheap steak in a college town. Plus he could probably put out a hit on you. There’s nothing noble about dying young because you can’t be a server at a steakhouse, is there?’

‘Well, no,’ Amy said, but her face didn’t look convinced.

‘We need new jobs fast,’ Lindsey said. ‘Like every other student without a parental bankroll.’

‘That’s why it’s so easy for bad bosses to terminate anybody in this town,’ Doug said. ‘Amy, you pop the corn. Lindsey, you pick out the movies. I’ll go out and grab the beer. Doug’s Sanctuary offers a one-night break from studying and working.’

‘In other words, you don’t have a date tonight,’ Amy said.

‘He’s out of town,’ Doug admitted.

An entire wall of Doug’s den was lined with DVDs collected during the decades before streaming services existed, mostly from end-of-semester yard sales. With limited funds and bandwidth, Amy and Lindsey depended on him for free entertainment. When the girls were sophomores, Doug had been a TA in Amy’s English Lit class. He always wrote the best comments on her discussion exams. After the semester ended, she’d stayed in town and run into him and his boyfriend at a poetry reading. They invited her to join them for a glass of wine afterward, and by the end of summer, she and Doug were solid friends. The boyfriend exited just before Lindsey came back to town, and the girls nursed him through a short mourning period.

Two years later, they’d stopped counting the number of bad dates, lost boyfriends, crappy job experiences, bad classes or bad teachers that the wall of movies had barricaded them against. Doug was working on his dissertation; Amy and Lindsey were edging toward graduation and the so-called “real world.” Neither was sure where Amy’s English degree or Lindsey’s degree in Design and Theater Tech would take them.

It was because of Lindsey’s theater background that Amy usually got to pick the movies. Lindsey gravitated toward anything with music in it. Amy preferred romantic comedies or dramas based on literary masterpieces. Doug liked thrillers.

Both Amy and Doug rolled their eyes when they reconvened and saw Victor, Victoria and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

‘We’ve never seen them,’ Lindsey defended her choices.

‘I’ve seen everything,’ Doug said. ‘But no worries. This is your night.’

‘I’ll allow it,’ Amy said. ‘After all, you were the one who was manhandled among the industrial cans of condiments. You earned your musicals.’

In their personal history, the night would always be referred to as when drag queens and impersonators inspired The Great Idea. Two broke college girls, in need of a job, pretending to be two sassy boys pretending to be divas in costumes and wigs (“on loan” from the theater department), lip-synching and trash-talking for tips at every club and LGBTQ event that would let them perform. Amy masqueraded as Andrew who morphed into Miss Prissy Paisley Pants. Lindsey transformed into Lucas who morphed into Princess Sparklebutt. Doug became the secret-keeper who morphed into their Pepto-Bismol swilling manager.”

From Polly’s farcical novel Drag It Out.
 

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.

Parts of Polly’s story were inspired by a donation to my fundraising team for the 2017 Saving Pets Challenge.