August 2019

August 24 was the fifth anniversary of the death of my one and only dawg, the late great Boogie Girl.

Boogie Girl on the day I adopted her in New York City.

I was watching a local TV news program one Sunday morning and the stories shifted from the latest house fires in the Bronx to animals up for adoption at the Manhattan ASPCA. One of the animals was a 17-year-old cocker spaniel named Boogie Girl. . . and I knew that that was my dawg.

Boogie Girl in her adorable Winter coat.

I adopted Boogie Girl in November, 2013. “You can change her name”, the manager of the shelter told me. But I thought Boogie Girl was a fine name and besides, she’d had it for 17 years already.

On the day that I adopted Boogie Girl, I drove two blocks away from the shelter before my hands started to shake.  I had to pull the car over on Second Avenue, and collect myself. Boogie Girl and I looked at each other. I have a dawg!, I said to myself. What have I gotten us into??, I wondered.

I had never had a dawg before, and having a dawg in my life turned out to be harder than I thought. For instance, I hadn’t been told that Boogie Girl was not housebroken. So, after much trial and error, I figured out that I had to lay down two layers of plastic sheeting down on the den floor, over which I put up a flexible “fence” to keep Boogie penned in at night. Every night, I covered the plastic sheeting with newspaper, and over that I laid out Wee Wee pads. By morning, the pads and newspaper would be covered with all manner of doings, so I would put on rubber gloves and ball it all up into a bundle and trudge out to the garbage cans with it.

Boogie would soil her bed every night and day, forcing me to wash her beds daily, so she had a roster of five beds, each one maybe a tad too small for her but that’s what would fit into my washing machine.

Boogie was nearly totally deaf, and her eyesight wasn’t good. She needed professional grooming every six weeks, and frequent vet visits (she was old and I was a nervous new dawg owner), and outings in every miserable weather. Top Cat and I had nine cats in and out of the house at the time, but Boogie Girl never noticed them, not once, except for their food (which she loved). Although I kept her under constant supervision, she still managed to crap in every room in the house, and in two hallways. Boogie Girl was a lot of work.

Also, she was not a very affectionate dawg. She would not sit on my lap or let me hug her much. This is the best picture I have of her tolerating me:

And I was totally crazy about her.

There’s something primal about the way dawgs touch our human souls, and Boogie Girl got to me on a cellular level. She was my dawg for nine months, two weeks, and a day; and when she died on August 24, 2014, my heart broke in places that I did not know a heart could break.

I gave Boogie Girl’s beds and dishes to our local animal shelter, but I still have her adorable pink Winter coat. I still have her leashes. Most days I am very busy riding herd on my usual herd of cats, but some days I stop and remember that I used to have a dawg, Me! Of all people! And she was the worst dawg ever! And I miss her, my sweet Boogie Girl, my dawg, in a way that I never thought I would.

In cat herd news: Lickety had a very good week!

He’s mooching for hugs and kisses! He’s eating his regular food!

In every way, he’s acting just like the Lickety of old (but skinnier) so we did not make that dreaded trip to the vet after all.

The only annoying thing he does is that he will not come into the house. I’m fine with that — if this were my last weeks on Earth I too would want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors — but Lickety annoys me because he sleeps on the hard, cold cement in the garage, under the rear bumper of Top Cat’s Saab. I want him to come inside and sleep on the soft pillows in the den, like he used to do, but noooooo.

So I put a mat down for him and he figured out how to use it, which is the best I can do for now:

In fact, since Lickety’s been doing his Great Outdoorsman thing, the other cats have been keeping him company. This is how they line up for breakfast:

About my non-rickety duties, I was very busy this week and I’ll tell you all about it but first, I have to show you this house that I drive by each day on my way to my job at the used book store that I manage for the benefit of our local library:

I’m used to seeing this house on the ground.

This is the house of a local veterinarian, who is working out of a trailer while his house is hoisted into the air. There are men commandeering huge heavy machines digging a big hole under the house and if you ask me, there is not enough money in the world to get me to dig a hole under a house that is perched 20 feet above my head.

At the used book store that I manage for the benefit of our local library here on the north shore of Long Island, I have been clearing out the shelves, getting rid of books that have used up all their chances to sell in the past year.

I reduced our hardback fiction section by 251 books:

So far, I have removed 128 books from the History section, and I gave the heave-ho to 168 books from the Memoir/Biography section. In total, I packed up 547 books into about 30 boxes, loaded them (one by one, one miserable box at a time) into my car, drove the car to the backside of the library, pulled them out of the car (one miserable box at time) and lifted them over the edge of the dumpster and let them crash into garbage. It was a lot of filthy, heavy, boring work and I am never doing this again.

It was during one of those dismal dumpster sessions that the thought came to me: I don’t have enough fun in my life.

And then I read this news item:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A prominent Mississippi businessman is facing serious charges after he admitted to stealing luggage from the Memphis airport.

Dinesh Chawla is charged with felony theft of property.

Arrest records show he was seen taking a suitcase off the baggage claim belt on Sunday. Police say he put the bag in his vehicle, then returned to the airport to catch a flight.

While he was away, police towed his car and say they found several bags that had been stolen, containing thousands of dollars worth of items.

Chawla was then arrested Thursday when he returned to Memphis.

Chawla is 56 years old. Police say he confessed to investigators that he stole the bags, adding that Chawla explained that he stole the bags “for the thrill. “

I get that.

When I was in my 20s and 30s, even in my early 40s, I knew how to give myself a thrill. Traveling to distant lands on a one-way ticket was thrilling, dating was thrilling, falling in love was super-thrilling, shopping for dresses was thrilling (the clothes of the 1980s were great!), staying out all night was thrilling, etc. Every wrong choice and every right choice was a thrill, because it all led to adventures, and adventures were fun.

But now I’m 63 and those things aren’t fun any more. The most fun I have is when I get to sit with a glass of ice cold white wine in my backyard after a dreary day of book store managing. And that’s not enough.

Now, I’m not desperate enough for a little excitement in my life to start stealing bags at JFK, but I get why a middle-aged man would resort to felony theft. That’s big thinking, in my book; I know of little old ladies who dabble in a little shoplifting but this Chawla guy, he goes for the stuff that comes with serious jail time.

So I’m back at the book store today (Friday) for one last round of purging so that the store will look brand new when we re-open on Sept. 3 (did I mention that we were closed for the month of August, like we were French?).

And I’ll be thinking of ways to stop doing the dirty, boring, worthless stuff I don’t like to do, and how to spend more time doing the thrilling, fun stuff I need to do.

Any suggestions?

 

 

All memes stolen from Yellow Dog Grannie. Thanks, Jackie Sue.

Have a great holiday weekend, Dear Readers. All you Floridians — have a fantastic hurricane party! To the rest of us, Remember: it’s not over ’til it’s over.

P.S. To Rachel in Texas — are you still interested in hosting the Stromness Rock? Check your email’s spam file; there might be a message from me in there.

XXOO

 

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Advance copy from the newsletter of The Bryant Library for September 2019:

In 1919 local author Christopher Morley published The Haunted Bookshop.
In 2019, figments of imagination from Morley’s one-hundred year-old bookshop will be on display at The Bryant Library, starting Sept. 28 until October 31.
Don’t miss this once-in-a-century exhibit.
Warning: Judge these books by their covers. They are very creepy.

 

My current “fun” project is making bits of things for an installation that I will be putting up in our local library inspired by a 1923 copy of the dreadful book by Christopher Morley that we got in as donation at the used book store. Some of the bits that I am making are scary little bonsai that erupt from tatty books.

I know. I have to work more on making with the “erupt” part. I thought that having the tree’s roots creep out from inside the book would be, well, creepy, but it’s not. It’s barely noticeable. Back to the  drawing board mat knife.

P.S. The editor of the newsletter gave me two days’ notice about getting a blurb ready, so I wrote this in about ten minutes and I  took a photo of the only finished piece I have so far.

Officially, the used book store is closed for the month of August, but I still have to show up a few hours a week to meet with crack pot hoarders donors and to process their stinking shitty trash donations. On Thursday, I had scheduled to meet with three separate donors at the used book store, so there I was, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon until 2 o’clock in the afternoon, as per our arrangement, dutifully keeping myself busy while I waited and waited and waited. . .

. . . NONE of the pissant purveyors of filthy paperback crap donors showed up!

Jesus. My time is very valuable and I am not to be trifled with. From 2:00 until 4:30 I was in a murderous mood, resentful of all the good work I do for an ungrateful community yadda yadda yadda.

At 4:31 I remembered that it was only Wednesday.

So today (being the real Thursday) I was back at the used book store, taking in boxes of garbage. I should have known: the old couple who called saying that they “want to get rid of some books”, and with whom I very carefully went through the list of books that I will not take. . . still brought in four boxes of old, moldy, beat up religious and text books.

They also brought a few books of collected short stories from mercifully forgotten writers. Such as this, from 1955:

It seems to me that Anne was not all that sure that this book was Harry’s cup of tea. So, Jesus, girl — go get him a book that you know he would like!

A woman brought in about 25 children’s books, of which a good 16 were acceptable. Among them was this, my new favorite book in the whole world:

And something that has never happened before, happened today.

With the third donor, a young boy just graduated from college who was giving me all his old space books (he called them “space” books, so I had to ask, “Do you mean astronomy?” and he agreed that yes, they were about astronomy, and I had to wonder, good lord, what the hell kind of college did you go to??) included some general reading materials, along with the “space” books.

He gave me a copy of Wonder, without the dust jacket — exactly the same book, in the same sans-dust jacket condition, as I got from the woman who gave me the children’s books. I can’t remember which copy of Wonder was which, but one was the 40th printing, and the other was the 70th.

SEVENTY PRINTINGS!!  5 million copies sold in 29 languages and it was made into a film that starred Julia Roberts.

I have never heard of this book! Or the movie! (It’s a YA novel about a 10-year old kid with severe facial deformities.)

So here’s one example of how working at the used book store has brought me up to date with the culture around me. Which is a good thing, about 80% of the time.

In other zeitgeist news:

In August, the world flocks to Edinburgh (Scotland) for a theater and comedy festival that is the European Sundance of theater and comedy. It’s a very big deal, worth about 250 billion pounds to the Scottish economy and has been responsible for such break out stars as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (a long time ago), Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Sasha Baron Cohen, Steve Coogan, and Billy Connolly (who is crazy famous and beloved in the UK and not so much in America ).

Every year, the festival awards a prize, called Dave (ha ha) for the funniest one-liner. This year, a Swedish comedian who goes by the name Olaf Falafel (I think he’s trying too hard, with that name) won the Dave.

He took the title with the gag: “I keep randomly shouting out ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cauliflower’ – I think I might have florets”.

Well. There has been a broo-ha-ha about this joke. A lot of people don’t like it because it  makes a “joke” at the expense of sufferers of a much-misunderstood neurological malady. It’s also not funny.

Suzanne Dobson, the chief executive of Tourette’s Action in the UK, told the BBC: ”Humour is a great way of educating people – but not only is it not funny to poke fun at people with Tourette’s, it’s not even that funny a joke, is it?”

Tourette’s Action has now urged Olaf Falafel and Dave to apologise and try to see things from the perspective of someone with Tourette Syndrome, according to the BBC.

If you make a pun in my presence I will go all wild wolf on your ass.

I didn’t know why this dumb broccoli joke won the award until I read up in the competition. Some of the other contenders are just as bad, but a few are actually funny. Here is a sample (from The Edinburgh International Festival 2019):

“I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell.” Gary Delaney 

“I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!” Stewart Francis 

“I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad.” Lou Sanders 

“Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.” Tim Vine

“I picked up a hitch hiker. You’ve got to when you hit them.” Emo Philips 

“As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn’t afford a dog.” Gary Delaney 

“I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: ‘This could be interesting.’” Paddy Lennox 

“I’m sure wherever my dad is; he’s looking down on us. He’s not dead, just very condescending.” Jack Whitehall

“I’ve given up asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?” Alexei Sayle 

“I have two boys, 5 and 6. We’re no good at naming things in our house” Ed Byrne 

“I wasn’t particularly close to my dad before he died… which was lucky, because he trod on a land mine” Olaf Falafel

“Whenever someone says, ‘I don’t believe in coincidences.’ I say, ‘Oh my God, me neither!”‘ Alasdair Beckett-King 

“A friend tricked me into going to Wimbledon by telling me it was a men’s singles event” Angela Barnes

“As a vegan, I think people who sell meat are disgusting; but apparently people who sell fruit and veg are grocer” Adele Cliff

“For me dying is a lot like going camping. I don’t want to do it” Phil Wang

“Why is it old people say ‘there’s no place like home’, yet when you put them in one …” Stuart Mitchell​ 

I often confuse Americans and Canadians. By using long words.” Gary Delaney

“Why is Henry’s wife covered in tooth marks? Because he’s Tudor.” Adele Cliff

“Don’t you hate it when people assume you’re rich because you sound posh and went to private school and have loads of money?” Annie McGrath

“If you’re being chased by a pack of taxidermists, do not play dead.” Olaf Falafel

“I’ve written a joke about a fat badger, but I couldn’t fit it into my set.” Masai Graham ****( see end of post)

And my favorite:

“Trump’s nothing like Hitler. There’s no way he could write a book” Frankie Boyle

And that’s the blog for this week. But before I go, I want to alert you to a situation that Top Cat and I have been tracking for most of this Summer.

Lickety in 2018

Our dear sweet Lickety was diagnosed with a mass on his liver about 8 weeks ago.

Lickety in Summer of 2019

He is still a very loving and personable kitty, hanging out with his buds on the patio and glomming onto us any time we sit on the Adirondack chairs, but his days are dwindling as surely as the Summer light.

I have a feeling that we will be making that final visit to the vet’s soon, maybe as soon as this coming week.

So have a wonderful weekend, Dear Readers, and do something extra special while it’s still August, while the sunshine is still like powdered gold and the Summer still trembles like a butterfly.

***** Dear Reader and Stromness Rock Tour Guide Angel: I’m so sorry! I know you’re not a badger — you’re a wolverine!! I got Michigan and Wisconsin mixed up like I’m from the UP or something, and I send you my deepest apologies. Statehood for Superior!

 

 

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Some time ago, this small (palm-sized) little book came in as part of a donation to theused-book store that I manage for charity here on the north shore of Long Island:

Harper’s Family Library No, 29: The Court and Camp of Bonaparte, printed in 1833.

I didn’t think much this boo. I saw that it was very old and very shabby, so I put it with my secret stash of “Creepy Books”, the collection old books, in fair to poor condition, that I am storing up for use in a “Haunted Bookshop” installation I want to do for Halloween this year, using my neighbor’s book, The Haunted Bookshop as inspiration (Christopher Morley, 1890 – 1957,  used to be a very famous American writer whose old h ouse was a little up the road from where I now live, and there’s a huge public park named for him about half a mile away and one of his books was The Haunted Bookshop, a dreadful book in spite of its awesome title).

So I was going  those Creepy Books again this past week and I picked up Harper’s Family Library No, 29: The Court and Camp of Bonaparte, printed in 1833, and I just happened to open it to check out the free end papers and I found this:

What the hell, I thought, I might as well google this name.

It turns out that James B. Fry is this guy:

Photo credit: Matthew Brady, c. 1864. Public domaine, the Library of Congress.

Here’s who this guy is:

James Barnet Fry

Feb. 22, 1827 – July 11, 1894  (67 years)

James Barnet Fry was a West Point graduate and artillery specialist who served briefly in the Mexican-American War (1846 – 1848).

Fry came into repeated contact with President Abraham Lincoln from the beginning of the Civil War, when he came to Washington DC in the winter of 1861 to protect the government during President Lincoln’s inauguration.

Fry’s conduct impressed the White House staff. Presidential aid John Hay wrote in his diary: “Fry is the firmest and soundest man I meet…He seems to combine great honesty of purpose with accurate and industrious business habits and a lively and patriotic soldier spirit that is better than any thing else, today.”

Fry served as General Irvin McDowell’s Chief of Staff during the First Battle of Bull Run (July 1861) and was the Chief of Staff of the Army of the Cumberland in its operations in the Western Theatre (which included the Battle of Shiloh in 1862). He was then appointed Provost Marshal General of the entire Union Army, in which capacity he served until the end of the Civil War.

Effective on March 15, 1865, Fry was brevetted to the ranks of colonel, brigadier general, and major general in the Regular Army in recognition of his service at the First Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Shiloh, and for “faithful, meritorious and distinguished service as Provost Marshal General during the war.”

After the Civil War, Fry continued his military career until 1881, when he turned his talents to writing books about the army, including New York and the Conscription of 1863.

So what I have is a book that James B. Fry obviously bought second-hand some time after March of 1865 for his own private library and held  in his own hands. I wish he had signed the damn book because his signature is going for $296.00 on eBay. (Above: It looks to me as though this was torn out of one of General Fry’s other books, right?)

So I’ve got that short bio of General Fry (above) and I got a beautiful, sharp print of the Matthew Brady photo from the Library of Congress, and along with the book I’ll sell the whole package as a ready-made holiday gift for the Civil War buff in your life, here in our little used-book store here on the north shore of Long Island. I think $30.00 is the right price.

My co-manager of the used book store that I manage for the benefit of our local library here on the north shore of Long Island thought I was a genius for discovering this little treasure. But she’s got me all wrong.

The only reason I found this provenance in this old, battered book was because I was considering cutting it up for my “art”. Oh, yes; I would gladly have cut up this 186-year old tome with nary a dust mote of guilt because, to be honest, I am getting to be a person who sincerely loathes books.

It would be different, maybe, if I were selling antiquarian books for personal fun and profit, but I’m working as a volunteer for a charity used-book store and dealing with random people’s filthy and cheap cast-offs FOR FREE. I want to kick myself.

It’s another story when callers say, “I have some nice books to donate because we are moving/downsizing/de-cluttering.” In this case, there’s a 50% chance that only 80% of their books will be trash.

But more and more I’m getting callers who say, “I have books I want to donate because it’s so hard to throw out books.”

When I hear those last seven words I already know that they are going to be handing me trash, pure junk, and are using me as their garbage valet.  And I resent it, and their books.

I was working in the book store for two hours this week, and I took in two donations. This is what I threw out:

This is about 80% of what was bequested to us. It’s TRASH. I load these boxes and bags into the trunk of my car, and then I drive home and let the trash sit in the trunk of my car overnight. Then I drive Top Cat to the train station the next morning so he can catch the 6:49 to Manhattan and then I drive to the library when the library is closed and the parking lot is empty and I can back up the car to the library’s secret trash bin. And then I unload this crap myself and hoist over the edge of a five-foot tall dumpster. It is not fun.

And then I drive to the gym and work out so, yeah, I guess unloading trash can be as aerobic as pedaling a stationery bicycle but I still don’t like it.

Here is a close up of the kind of books that I throw out:

I want to punch the person who donated these books, AS IF they would be appropriate for sale in a nice little book shop on the north shore of Long Island.

Ugh: This is a tiny book(below)  (that’s my s6 iPhone for scale). No way, nope. I don’t want any book in my store that contains the words “in utero”:

Also, No:

Other stuff:

I found the laminated photo of a little girl inside a paperback biography of Teddy Roosevelt (the book passed muster and is now in stock at the store), and the train ticket from Livorno to Florence from March, 2009, I found inside a paperback novel, on page 25. Someone didn’t like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time very much.  I feel you, Italian train traveller. I didn’t like that book at all.

We already have 2 copies of The Curious Incident, so I threw out the one that had the train ticket in it.

To elaborate a bit on last week’s blog post, about me being bored, I now must confess that when I wrote last week’s blog I was on Day 14 of a diet. You see, a couple of months ago I had my yearly physical and I learned that I had gained 4 pounds since last year’s physical, on top of the 4 pounds I had gained the year before. It doesn’t take a genius to spot a worrying trend there.

So I put myself on a 1200 calorie / 45 grams of protein a day diet. I also joined a new gym and I work out an hour every morning on exercise routines devised by my personal trainer, so, La Di Da for me.

It’s easy to start a diet. It’s exciting to be on the road to good health! It’s empowering to know you have finally got off your ass and are DOING something!

By Day 14 you have lost the will to live. No nice thick slice of ciabatta toast in the morning (whole wheat bread instead…boring), no fabulous homemade gourmet pizza on Friday (chick pea pasta with marina sauce instead…boring). And forget about greek yogurt — there is no way I am eating greek yogurt. Salmon, in any way shape or form: Nope. Six almonds as an afternoon  “snack”? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Whoa –No cheese enchiladas??

I’m a girl who keeps a photo of my favorite cheese enchiladas on my computer’s desktop because I AM IN FREAKING LOVE WITH CHEESE ENCHILADAS:

Lunchtime enchilada special at Little Mexico in Westbury, Long Island.

And the most absolute, horrfying, life-sucking WORST OF ALL : I have to cut my wine consumption by half.

I don’t know if you’ve recently experienced a day in Trump’s America while totally sober, but it is torture.

So my friend sent me this (NSFW):

I mourn my lost wine-drinking days because I have recently discovered a  fantastic pinot grigio that is only $6.99 a bottle so, as any reasonable person would do, I recently went to Total Wine and bought three cases of the stuff. I was in line at the check out desk, behind a stall, stocky, mid-30s, blue-collar looking guy who is buying a dozen bottles of an Australian red wine called 19 Crimes.

19 Crimes, the story behind the label: On August 20, 1865  one James Wilson, an Irish nationalist who enlisted in the British Army to avoid arrest for the battery of a police officer, was court martialed for desertion and mutinous conduct and sentenced to death, a sentence later commuted to life imprisonment with hard labor. On October 12, 1867 he was placed aboard the Hougoumont, the last convict ship to sail to Australia. The wine, a blend that is brooding with richness, is like the wine rations served on convict ships in that every sip deserves to be savored.

So, yeah, I’m in line behind a big bruiser who is buying 19 Crimes wine and I’m loading my many bottles of cheap white wine onto the conveyor belt, and the bruiser ahead of me accidentally lets go of his trolly and it ever so lightly rolls backwards, into me.

“Oh!”, the guy says, “I’m so sorry, darlin’!”

I did not expect that.

Then he notices my inventory of white wine and he says, “Wow, somebody’s going to have a great night tonight!”

I follow his gaze to the evidence of my immodest lust for wine and I say, “Winter’s coming.”

Which was true. Who doesn’t stock up on wine when it’s August and you start degrading the cold, dark mornings and the cold, dark nights of November? But I had not meant to quote Game of Thrones. It slipped out.

So the guy laughed really hard and wished me a Good Winter when he rolled out of the store, and  now I wish everyone would call me “darlin'” instead of “ma’am”.

As of today, Day 20 of my diet, I have lost 3 1/2 pounds, so I’m not as bored as I was last week. And if I budget my calories just right, there is enough left over for a glass or two of wine now and then, and on one of those happy evenings recently, Top Cat and I went for cocktails at an open-air restaurant that has a fantastic view of The Long Island Sound.

At sunset there was a lot of thunder and lightening in the air, and we watched a huge storm roll across the waters of the Sound and engulf Manhattan on the far shore:

Behind the storm came this:

It was so exhilarating to be out in all that weather, watching this blessed Earth do her thing, and when the rain came pouring down on us it was warm and exciting, and life should always be like this. Because life on earth can be so wonderful. But it’s a lot better with wine.

Other news: The Stromness Rock is setting out on its ramble around America this weekend, and all you lovely volunteer tour guides will be receiving an information package later this week.

Candy has begun her annual walkabout, which happens every August when she deserts her favorite napping spots in the house and lives outside for one or two or three months. We don’t know why she does it. But she does come back noticeably thinner, so maybe there’s the answer.

Candy, Day One of Walkabout. The raccoons dug up the paving bricks in the background, looking for cat food kibble that spilled out of their bowl that is usually on that top step. I think that’s cute.

Have a great weekend, Dear Readers.

See you here next week.

XXOO

 

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No. 1 way to not be bored:

K I T T E N S.

 

I tried to get 9-week old Penelope to pose next to my favorite book of 2019 and this is how it went:

Sometimes when you are a kitten and you’ve been horsing around on the dinner bowl holder, you suddenly get the urge to catch 40 winks:

Then, when you’re all rested, it’s time to cavort with the sibs:

Pork Chop, the only boy kitten, is never, ever bored:

 

No. 2 way to not be bored:

A traditional backyard Maryland Crab Feast.

Even if you don’t like to eat crabs whole — whole crabs look too “animally” whereas a crab cake looks less like it should be scuttling across the floors of silent seas and more like something that goes well with a nice chardonnay — a traditional backyard Maryland Crab Feast with a bunch of Marylanders who always have plenty of white wine on hand is a swell way to keep boredom at bay.

P.S. I tried this last weekend and I was not bored for several days straight because, in addition to executing the No. 2 way to not be bored, I made a swift pivot to the No. 3 way to not be bored.

Which is:

Visit Mr. Fluffy.

From Maryland I moseyed next-door to Washington, D.C., which is where a certain rescue cat namely Mr. Fluffy (rescued from the mean streets of Long Island in 2017) now resides with his forever family.

In 2017 Mr. Fluffy was sick, scrawny, filthy, smelly, and bedraggled.

In 2019 he isn’t, in a big way.

This (above) is not Mr. Fluffy being bored. This is Mr. Fluffy being blasé. There’s a difference. Except if you are a cat, and then it’s just another word for “being a cat”.

Mr. Fluffy lives with world travelers who do such interesting stuff as write intellectual property policy papers on behalf of the lesser-known African countries and work within the system to alert Democratic senators to keep any more Trump judges off the bench, who also keep plenty of wine handy, so you never risk being bored any time you visit Mr. Fluffy.

 

No. 4 way to not be bored:

Read a book.

Good lord no, not that book.

The Story of Cutlery is a book that I thought would be with us to the end of days in the used-book store that I manage for the benefit of the local library but Lo, last week someone came in and bought it. I didn’t feel good about that. The Story of Cutlery is a book that un-ironically tests the outer limits of the publishing industry and challenges the book-lover’s belief that books are culturally relevant to a wide swath of readers, and having this book in stock is what made me feel that being the manager of a used-book store wasn’t a total waste of time, and was, rather, a whimsical and erudite part of my personality. But now it’s gone and I am bored.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people carry on about Toni Morrison (1931 – 2019) so I suppose I should read one of her books.  I understand that she’s a great writer and was, in person, supremely dignified and kind. So I will probably not be bored by The Bluest Eye or Beloved, I suppose, but I’m not looking forward to reading either because I fear it will be good for me.

However, it would make a nice change from the usual books with what I keep company.

This (above) came in last Tuesday. Nobody buys this book any more — the only interesting thing about it was the inscription, which I always check for before I throw any book away:

Is that it? Is that all the Scholarship Fund gave out? Or did they hide a check under the Albert Camus entry? [From The Fall: “The truth is that everyone’s bored. Hurrah then for funerals!”]

This is another inscription that also came in:

And this is the book that Abby’s admirer got her for the 22nd of December 1998 :

Abby might have been a wonderful human being but her friend thought she had a crap vocabulary or was just a tiny bit stupid, and wanted to help, is my guess.

Of course the person who donated this (below) was sure that there was a long line of people who were eager to get their hands on an old year book from a small liberal arts college in Yonkers with a C+ rated “party scene” whose 2019 graduates earned an average starting salary of $28,9000:

Sarah Lawrence has an acceptance rate of 53%:

Harvard has an acceptance rate of 5.3%. That decimal place is why parents bribe their kids’ way into Harvard, and not so much Sarah Lawrence.

And now I’ve run out of ways to not be bored and I am bored.

Oh, lordy, it is terrible being bored. At my age, being bored shows a sad lack of gumption. After all, I have many years experience of living on this planet and I’ve worked out a few ways to not be bored (see above) but on days when I’m not herding kittens, or in Maryland, or discussing how to abolish the electoral college with a nice pinot grigio on the side, I am bored. BORED.

A few years ago I took a test that was popular on line at the time, a test that answered the age-old question If You Were a Dog, What Kind of Dog Would You Be?

Turns out, I am a chow chow.

Standoffish, not good with small children, bossy, below-average “listener”, judgmental, quiet, and a teeny bit vindictive.

That’s the dog.

Except for the vindictive part. That’s all me. But I digress.

So, I asked the internet, How Can I Not Bore a Chow Chow?, my thinking being that the answer might be useful in overcoming my own bored chow chow soul.

Here’s what chow chows like to do: They like to hunt, they like to herd, and they like running through tunnels.

So I’m heading out to the Lincoln Tunnel for a little jog, and if I bag some small game along the way, well then, I’ll be in a great mood to blog all about it next week.

Until then, have a great weekend, Dear Readers.

And as always, Dear Ones, let’s Keep Hope Alive.

 

Until that blessed day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These are my next door neighbors (left to right) Penelope, Antoinette, and Pork Chop. I am riding herd on them while their parents are at the beach. I am finding it difficult to tear myself away from their cuteness.

Also, I’m in a very bad mood. I am not voting for anyone who was on stage on the second night of the Democratic Circular Firing Squad (except for Joe, who I hope doesn’t run) because if criticizing Barak Obama and Bill Clinton is the only way a candidate can think of “standing out” then here’s my big F.U.

So I’m taking a kitten break today, Dear Readers. Let’s meet up on Tuesday, when I have something more positive to say.

I’ll also have more kitten pictures!

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