Tuesday, January 29, 2013

#iPPP & WW { The Other Woman }

Driving north, the green freeway signs continued to pass on my right, assuring me the small town my new boyfriend lived in was getting closer.
I might have been a touch nervous.  My first visit to his place and I had heard all about the other woman who lived there.
Word on the street was how fiercely she ruled the nest.  Supposedly, it could get downright nasty if her claws were out.  She never hesitated to tell any female exactly what she thought of them.

I wanted none of that.
No way was she going to interfere with my first visit to my new man.
Whipping my li'l white car into the driveway, turning the engine off, grabbing my purse, stepping out and squaring my shoulders.  I climbed the stairs, determined.
A single knock on his door and there he is.  Leaning in, he tries to kiss me.  No.
"Where is she?"

"You can have a kiss after.  Where is she?"
"Oh.  She's over there, on the couch."
Without hesitation, I walked away from him and over to her.
Holding out my hand to her, I waited.
She sniffed.  She gave me the eye.  She opted to play coy and appear bored.
But, I knew.  I was in.

You see this sweet, nearly twenty year old kitty?
This is Bonnie, the other woman.
Legend has it, before I came into the picture, this sweet, innocent looking cat would hiss and spit at any female that came over.  And I'm not a fool, I knew who's fur not to ruffle.  While she merely tolerated me in the beginning, there was never a hiss for me and ultimately, she came to know where to get the best cheek scratches.
On January 16th, Bonnie passed away in my husband's arms, just like her brother did three years ago.  This photo was taken two days before she left us, happily soaking up sunshine.
We miss her.  But, there are so many sweet and often silly memories with this li'l nine pounder.  She was a Manx/Siamese/Tabby mix and high on personality.
In her younger years, you had to keep your eyes peeled with this one.  She was the original Stealth Kitty and could jump up, cross your lap and steal a piece of pepperoni off the slice of pizza in your hand and you would never know - until you looked at said toppingless piece.
Bottlecaps were prized kitty toys.
There was never a sun's ray she didn't like.
The same kidlet who sent her running for the hills when he learned to walk as a tyke later became her best buddy to hang with.  They were amazing calming forces for each other and in her last year, when arthritis was hitching her hips, he was her own personal physical therapist getting her to go on "Walk Races" back and forth, until she no longer limped - every single day.

And she was the bomb at the photobomb and never failed to get in on everything I snapped out on her deck.

We love her.  We miss her.  We happily remember her.
Linking up with these awesome sites - come join us!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What are you reading?

Here a book, there a book, everywhere a book book.

On a shelf.  Stuffed full, spilling over with pages.

Stacked in closets. Next to bedsides. In cabinets and cupboards.

On a computer. In an app. On a phone.

Books, digital and paper, everywhere.

I love books - both reading and simply books themselves, keepers of information to grow brain bumps with, fantastical tales to get lost in, both the familiar and the foreign.

The words of Chris Pavone's first novel, The Expats have whisked me off to Europe this month. I read it with the From Left to Write book club and shared my response inspired by the book earlier this week. It's a thriller filled with a husband and wife wading through, running from, living their secrets.

 The Hunger Games.  Who hasn't read this one by now?!  That would be me!  At least, not all the way through.  I couldn't get into it and put it down pretty early on.  A Target receipt playing the role of a bookmark has rested on page 43 for the last year.  I am refusing to see the first movie until I read the book though and with the second one, Catching Fire coming out next fall, I pulled it out to get back to reading.  Really hope I catch the Hunger Games bug that infected so many others.

I'm about to dive into is a collaboration by one of my favorite thriller writers, James Rollins and new to me, Rebecca Cantrell.  The Blood Gospel is a blend of thriller, mystery, and horror.  I don't read horror.  I don't even watch horror movies.  So, needless to say, this isn't exactly a genre I would naturally gravitate towards.  Rollins is what sold me on trying it.  So, I read City of Screams, a short story eBook also co-authored by the same two writers that sets up The Blood Gospel late last year in order to give this a shot.

The Taker by Alma Katsu has been waiting more than patiently for me to pick her back up.  I was fortunate to win a copy during a From Left to Write Twitter party and enjoyed tweeting and chatting with the author.  The cover is gorgeous and Alma was kind enough to sign it.  Once again, this is a genre I haven't read much in.  But, I'm enjoying stalking words from books and in new to me genres, opening my eyes to so many other worlds, proving our imaginations are our only limitations.

As bookstores continue to disappear (ack!), I have found a way to compensate by using the samples available for download and reading a little bit from the inside pages to decide what book I'm interested in, which words speak to me most - much like I would inside a book store. (Don't worry, I still haunt bookstores too!)  Currently, I have several different books on Buddhism, Zen, and Romanian Gypsies in my e-reader app, looking at their samples to see which ones need to come home with me, either with paper pages or digital words.

What are you reading?  What's waiting in the wings, hoping to be your next read?  Are you a die hard paper bound book fan?  And exclusive eBook reader?  Or do you, like me, enjoy a harmony of both mediums?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#iPPP & WW { Car Wash Style }

Car washes. I could. not. stand. them as a kid. I had some irrational fear that the whole place would fill up with water; even held my breath while going through them.  Seriously big aversion.

And now?  Love 'em.  Besides the obvious clean car factor, it's fun to take pics while inside the car, inside the wash.

That last one, is overhead, taken through the moon roof.  All of these were snapped with the ever handy phone.  One of these days, I'll remember to take my good camera with me...to add to the already unusually large number of car wash interior water, suds, brush photos already in my files.

It's official.  I'm obsessed.

I'm weird, I know.

That's okay.  Normal is boring.

Angry Julie Monday Live and Love Out Loud

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Word 2013

One word.

Just one word to see me through 2013.

2013 marks the fourth year of selecting one to march three hundred sixty-five days forward.  Each word and each year have varying levels of connectivity and impact.

2012 and my word, Animate, didn't gel quite so well...which probably played a factor in my late arrival at 2013's word, this twenty-first day of the first month of this new year.  But, 2011 and my word, Grow, taught me just how much focus a solitary word can bring to a year's journey.

Late last year, the word Imagine called to me, but when January 1st arrived, it was no longer set on the navigator's seat.  Act, Do, Forward all rang at the door, but never fully stepped through.

And then in the most surprising fashion, as I wrote the last paragraph for a book club response earlier today, a word that had only whispered so softly before, charged through the door and rather assertively took the navigator's seat.


One word, Create.

2013, meet Create.

I'm looking forward to our journey together.

From Left to Write: The Expats

Moving from one home to another, state to state, town to town, one coast to the other and back again, layers up inconveniences and work.  It also affords grants many favors and freedoms.

Beginning a childhood career of moving at three weeks of age, it took many less years that one might think to garner awareness of these delights.

From early on - though, not quite that first move at three weeks old, for sure - I reveled in the excitement of a move.  Dad always left for the new location, Mom prepared the house for sale, and there were lots of visitors that I learned, as I grew, were people looking to buy what would become our old home.

Sure, there was the pain in the backside to packing - whether it was a company move that provided help or not - deciding what to keep and what could be parted with permanently.  And when little, the parade of people visiting your home is fun, but as you get a little bit older, you have to help prep the house for each potential buyer.  The man that came with the video camera who insisted I stand in the pictures for his wife, so she could get an idea of scale - even though I was home sick - was certainly worthy of a groan.

There's the work and the inconveniences and the good-byes and all the changes.

And then, there's all the changes.

Moving to a new place means everything is new.  A new house to explore.  New friends to find.  New schools to enroll in.  A new neighborhood to navigate.

And a new You.

Everything is new.  Everything is full of possibilities.

Loaded baggage will travel with you from one place to the next.  But, each new location also leaves one hand free to explore what might happen if that baggage is laid down.

Baggage can always be laid down, regardless of a new location, a new you.  But, inevitably it is a much easier and obvious choice to make when geographically starting over.

Moving more than many military families growing up, I can vividly remember the dazzling excitement of a new locale...at least, until I was old enough to assume the responsibilities of moving myself - then, it was a whole lot of work!

And now, happily living in one location for more than a baker's dozen years, I also know the peacefulness of remaining still.

But, no longer will a new location invariably create a new me with little effort.  Staying still means any change I now want, I have to create.  And that is an entirely different, and foreign to me, journey to travel.

This post was inspired by mystery thriller novel The Expats by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore happily sheds her old life to become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband's secrets. Join From Left to Write on January 22 as we discuss The Expats. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
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