Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Fast Away the Old Year Passes

 It's incredible that 2022 is nearly done, isn't it?

I am pleased that I posted more on my blog this year than I did on the previous few years combined. Despite the world's troubles, some things have been on the upswing for me, and I'm making my way.

This year was certainly colorful for me, and was a landmark year for closing old stories and beginning exciting new chapters. My emotions teeter between feeling delighted that I completed graduate school, and almost disbelief that the task is completed. Even more amazingly, I landed my dream job teaching at the school that I would most have preferred. I love the faculty and the campus, and not a single day passes in which I don't thank the Lord for blessing me with this job. I think nearly any job besides this one would have been rife with unhappy features for me. As it is, I have zero complaints about my job, and I'm so looking forward to the coming semester, as I'm building two new courses from the ground up. Fun! Particularly the Britlit survey course-- it's my dream subject, and is the course I've always longed to teach. My students seemed to enjoy it, they did well on tests and essays, and a handful are taking the second half of the course with me in the Spring. Wheee!

Another milestone for me was the publication of my first novella, which has been kindly received, generally, and sold well and steadily since September. I have two more novels and a short story cooking on this subject, but the semester and ebay sales kept me busier than a one-armed paper hanger all semester, so I did little writing. I'm hoping to complete the short story this week and get it throwed up on Amazon next week. Fingers crossed. 

I had some precious time with Mom and my siblings at Christmas. We lazed and grazed in the proper holiday fashion. Mom took a crack at making chicken and dressing casserole like Grandma Smith used to make, and it was delicious. I've been thinking about the wonderful, simple feasts that Grandma made. Heaven will be incomplete if it's not full of food cooked by all our grannies. Am I right or am I right? Grandma grew and canned her own green beans, and it is a marvel to me to remember how delicious they were. And my Grandma Bertie's buttermilk biscuits and gravy were toe-curling - I taste them in my dreams. Some day, up yonder...

Dad is part of every thing, and I know always in our hearts and minds as our family gathers. He's the heart and soul of our family, so he continues to bind us, even as we miss him so very dearly. Late Christmas Eve after Mom went to bed, I sat with my brother and sister in the living room watching Kingpin, which Amy had watched many times with Dad. It's a ridiculous movie, a lot of fun, and it was really special to sit there with her and have her say "Dad laughed his socks off at this part" or "he really thought that was funny." Vicariously enjoying how Dad loved the movie was the next best thing I could hope for. Also, I have no need of one, but I want a gold glitter bowling ball. Someday.

I hope you all were warmed and heartened by memories of dear ones, and that you had precious moments with your families. Make the most of every opportunity. 

I may post again before 2023, but odds are that I won't pop back into the blog, so in that case, I hope you have a happy new year, and that 2023 brings health and happiness to all who read this post. Until then, my best wishes to you and yours.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Clickbait garbage articles deriding oldsters.


I work to teach my writing students to not make sweeping statements. I'm baffled by the sheer dreck churned out here by one Erika Salen or Sallen-- it was written both ways on the hyperlink attached to the author's name (below). I'm not a baby-boomer, and I'm not her target for derision, but I also realize the only point of articles like this is to get people to hop on their site to scroll through (hopefully, for them!) hundreds of ads. Still, articles such as this aren't well written, are rife with logical fallacies, and their overall theme seems to be that Baby Boomers are stupid and have terrible taste in food. It's going to be fun for them when they're the oldsters. "NO!" they will insist, "we were the COOL ones, and we have great taste!"  Their condescending progeny will tell them how hackneyed and sad they are, because they will have learned how to respect older generations from their own parents, i.e., not at all. 

Impudent upstarts gotta impugn, I suppose. It's really sad what passes for professional writing, of late. I'm too busy now, but I may come back to pick this apart.  The sheer amount of things they get utterly wrong is staggering, perhaps most especially the idea that the 1970s alone were solely responsible for any kind of food suspended in jellies. Hello? Aspic? From times before electricity and modern refrigeration? If one is going to write about historical periods of food production, one should, ya know, do a little research. If only there were some readily available compendium on the history of everything that the author could have consulted for some facts, instead of this judgey screed.

Oh, never mind. What an absolutely ignorant load of twaddle!

Tragically Gross Foods Baby Boomers Wont Let Die – Herald Weekly

Okay, zoomer. "How dare I?"  

You should be in school.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Make a joyful noise.

 To be called the superlative version of anything is a mighty feat. I just have a problem with people saying crappy things about a bunch of kids who dare to get out there and try something despite not being the most polished presentation ever. 

Tonight I watched a few high school marching bands on YouTube and then I had my heart a little dashed by the sight of my old high school band circa Fall 2022. Back in the day, we were a strict military marching style band, and the sloppy masses were corps style, which is pretty much everyone these days. I can forgive the corps style. I can forgive many things, even the spats, but capes? I admit that the capes sort of broke me. 

Then in my feed came this video, which I'm sharing not to mock these kids, but to say good on you for putting it out there. The video has a terrible title, and it's interesting that the video is still on YouTube, but... 

Were these young people the first ones in their school to even have a marching band? Did they have million$ in band booster supports, with luxury transport to and from the game? I think it took a lot of heart for them to get out there. I'll bet they got better and better with each performance. Most likely this was a marching competition (based on the fact that this was during the daytime, and the opposite stands are populated by groups that look like other bands. Competitions are nerve-wracking for young performers, and no one hits it out of the park every time. I say good for McAdams High School Band, and I hope they kept trying.

I guess this rant is simply to say that people are told to "make a joyful noise" and I take that literally. We may prefer if the noise is tuneful, well-rehearsed, and delivered by someone at the top of their game, but most performers have to go through the baby steps of some awkward performances before they get to that polished state. It's great that we have the means to record everything in the world these days, but it's also important to remember that the awkward performances we'd perhaps prefer to forget are still crucial for our development from ugly ducklings to the big sassy swans we're all meant to be. 

I say good on this group of musicians. I hope they went on and got their moves down pat. I hope they showed everyone how to haul off and win, even if they didn't on this day.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Sing quietly along...


Fuel to Fire by the exquisite Agnes Obel

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Thank you, drive through!

I'm super-busy.

I've said that many times before, and it's always been true, but never to this degree. Each day is consumed with teaching full time, keeping my online selling business rolling, and working to get my next story completed to publish online. I'm also trying to be a decent human being, a task at which I feel I often fall short. But I try to be kind, and considerate, as much as I am able.  Even when I'm pulled in many directions and there aren't enough hours for all my obligations and so I have to cut out sleep and down-time for myself, I try to be kind and polite to friends. 

However, my wish to be pleasing and kind does not give anyone license to treat me as a doormat. 

People who want to see the worst in the world are guaranteed to find it. People who go around spoiling for a fight will, likewise, always find one or drum one up. I would never claim to be perfect, but I'm doing the best I can, here. Two people in recent times have come to my door spoiling for that fight. I didn't let them walk all over me, and yet I didn't engage in nasty personal attacks.

Indeed, I feel sad for their desolate states, that they should hold our friendship so cheap that they would try to turn their angst at others/the world/life's unfairness into a fracas with me. 

Not sorry, I simply don't have time for that. I wish you all the best. Thanks, but no thanks. Not interested. I will help you if ever I can, I hope to always be kind, but I'm disappointed. And with that, I have no more time to think about this. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

"God save the Queen. We mean it, man."


I don't mean to put words in Johnny Rotten's mouth, but I never believed that his classic punk anthem "God Save the Queen" was actually railing against her, personally, even when he said "she ain't a human being". Yes, he literally said that, but the song was about a government and society that was seemingly indifferent to the struggles and suffering of its citizens. It was a song about the loss of hope, a sense of utter futility. Much of the punk catalogue is of/by/for the recognition of that very bleak perspective. Here is a quote from the video interview I've linked at the bottom of the page:

"That is a song of question. It is not an assault on any human being."

England of the 1970s was bleak in many ways. The UK was still recovering from WWII, with the food rationing that went on well into the 50s. Elizabeth II was a handy countenance at which to lob the petard that calls out an indifferent government that purports to represent all her citizens. I get where he was coming from when he wrote that song, even if I disagree with that oversimplification of the situation. 

Then again, I wasn't there, so who am I to tell anyone there what they lived through? I respect his right to express this in a way that he saw fit. 

On his website, John Lydon posted the following statement regarding other former members of his band The Sex Pistols who are reissuing merchandise and music related to their anthem "God Save The Queen" in an attempt to cash in on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II’s death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John’s wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement.

In John’s view, the timing for endorsing any Sex Pistols requests for commercial gain in connection with ‘God Save The Queen’ in particular is tasteless and disrespectful to the Queen and her family at this moment in time.

John wrote the lyrics to this historical song, and while he has never supported the monarchy, he feels that the family deserves some respect in this difficult time, as would be expected for any other person or family when someone close to them has died.

However I may disagree with him on this or that point, I think better of him for disavowing an attempt to make money at the moment when so many people are mourning the death of a beloved sovereign. 

There have been many times he defiantly called out people in the public sphere who were horrid and exploitative, such as when he accused British tv presenter Jimmy Savile of abusing the young fans who came to his pop music TV shows. Lydon was met with shocked silence and was shunned for many years afterwards. After Savile died in 2012, many people came forward to say they'd been abused by him. It's ironic that Lydon was the lone voice who dared to speak out against the popular personality. He is a man of strong character in a world of changeable folk who simply run with the tide. 

Here's a video from a decade ago in which he talks about his career.

As for exploiting the idea of the old Sex Pistols classic, I've seen him perform as P.i.L. (Public Image, Limited) many times, and I have never once heard him perform any of the tracks from the Sex Pistols. I think he's far more intelligent than most people recognize. He has a strong moral code, is plain-spoken and unapologetic. This looks like strong character to me.

I respected him before for his integrity. I'm not calling him a saint, but I think he'd be mortified at that accusation, too.  I'm not saying that I agree with everything he's ever done. What I'm saying is that in this moment, I admire him a little bit more. And he is so good-natured. "Anger is an energy," but it matters how we use that energy. John Lydon sets a great example.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Almost Blogiversary


I began this blog on September 16, 2002. I wanted a creative outlet, and this seemed a good way to go. Oddly enough, I'm thinking back to that time, and remembering that I was feeling depressed as we were one year out from 9/11/2001. It was a challenging time in a changing and less-certain world. 

Some years I've blogged more extensively than others, but it's good to have a place where I can park ideas, or mark important moments. It's interesting to cast forward and consider how the world will change in twenty more years. Or one. In any case, I hope to make the best of however many years or weeks or days are left to me. :)


Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, 8 September. She was a remarkable human being, and a unifying influence for the English people and people in Commonwealth nations around the world.  She was a jolly decent lady who always put her duty first. I pray her son will model his reign on hers. 


This year has been so brutally hot (yesterday was in the mid-90s) that it was startling to leave the house this morning in 66 F comfort. Also, my Prairie Sage-- which I call my harbinger of Autumn-- was blooming this morning. I noticed yesterday the spikes of buds looked too ready too soon, but there they were this morning, blossoming and full of sass. This is two weeks earlier than when they bloomed last year. Make of that what you will.


My job is going well, and I'm loving the work. My office is big with tons of bookshelves. I had to build a heavy course from scratch at the last minute, so I've been taking time to get settled in, but it is coming along. I'm doing a little more fluffing of the arrangement every week. It should be in order by mid-term, hopefully. It's amazing that three full weeks already have passed. I'm hopeful for the progress of my students. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

One down, fifteen to go.

 First week of the semester went well. Oddly enough, one of my students is child of an acquaintance from town, so that is kind of neat. It feels like it is going well, and I'm so thankful for the job in general, and in particular that I'm doing the very job and at the very school that I would have chosen for myself. Meanwhile, I still have my fiction writing and online auction stuff bubbling away on back burners. I'm insanely busy-- I keep referring to it as chainsaw juggling-- but I obviously like being TOO busy. I will take it. This is all moving in the right direction. I expect to take an actual day off on Saturday or Sunday next week, a novelty.

Since I was a relatively late hire, I have only even been in my office for 11 days, and it was a mad scramble to get my ducks in a row in time for class. Hopefully most of the administrative stuff is resolved. 

I WILL NOT have an insane beginning to the next semester, though. I plan to begin the template for Spring 2023 schedules this week so they are ready to go prior to the time. Everything I can do now to reduce chaos in the future is time well spent.

I will try to check in again here to give updates. I hope that I'm teaching there again this time next year. That will be a blessing, indeed. :)

Monday, August 22, 2022

Today was a good day. :)

 In August 1971, I was a 5 year old little cherub in an adorable blue and white jumper with a wide red cotton sash belt and an sweet matching red/white/blue satchel. It was to be my first day of school. My brother, one year older and a bit, had gone the previous year, and when I found out about school, I began to chatter obsessively at Mom (and probably anyone else who would listen) that I couldn't wait to go to school, and wouldn't it be the most grand thing ever? So, properly be-cutened, I walked to first grade with Mom and Rob. When Mom met us at the end of the day, I told her "I'm never going back there."

Anyway, today was another momentous first day of school, my first day as a full time teacher. I hadn't dared to hope that it would be wonderful and happy-making for me, but it turned out to be wonderful and happy-making. At the end of the second class, a student came up to me and said she'd tried to sign up for my class, but I wasn't on the course listing. (I was a late replacement for a teacher who took a job elsewhere). She said she was thrilled to find me teaching the class, because she wanted to thank me for being so kind when she took my course online previously* and had to drop for personal reasons. That was the icing on the cake. So many students smiled back at me, and I hope they are excited about the course. They seemed to be.
I love school. I love my school. I'm going back tomorrow. You can't stop me.
*I was teaching as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Sunday, August 07, 2022

To work, to work.

 I have landed a job, looks like. I am quite pleased, and this is a welcome development. I begin next week. Don't tell anyone. It's a secret. I will not believe it until I sign the contract on the 15th.

Onwards and upwards.

I have many sewing projects in mind, but I'm super busy, what with my chainsaw-juggling habit. Hopefully things will feel slightly less dicey with the exciting new additive of positive cash flow. 

The pressure dome that has been over this region of Texas for weeks and weeks is predicted to bugger on off starting tomorrow, and we'll have temps on Monday-Friday in the mere high 90 degree range. Fetch me my parka, Jeeves! Nighttime temps in the 70s will feel like a glorious reprieve. 

For now, I'm prepping for new job, and hoping to start some new container gardening for cool-weather crops for the fall. I'm planning on turnips, radish, and some lettuce in pots. I'm sure I'll bore you with the details as they develop, but I'm at least a month out on that development. 

I also would love to do some Ruth Stout method gardening. Our climate is mild in the winter, with the occasional snowmageddon, but I think if I started in late September, I could squeeze in one cycle of crops. It would be good to grow more of my own stuff. As it is, I currently have one beautiful fruit on my Ichiban eggplant. I'll probably harvest it tonight or Wednesday to go in the pot. It set many other blossoms, but they all disappeared in the last 2 days. Also, the plant is on my front porch and it is straining towards the light. I had help moving it over into a more full-sun situation, and I put a tomato cage in the pot, so hopefully it will pick up and thrive. We shall see. As it is, I claim the victory of a successful harvest even if the one fruit is the entire yield. We all must start somewhere.

I wrote a short story last week that was funny and skewed in a surprising sort of direction, and on that basis, I will soon announce a call for submissions of short stories on that theme for an anthology. I hope it will be fun and well-received. In any case, it is good to be writing again. 

It also feels good to blog again, even if I'm the only one who ever sees this. :)

Me:          "I'm blogging again."

Also Me: "I noticed!"

Me:          "Isn't this nice?"

Also Me:  "Yes."

Have a lovely day.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Thoughts on food, and food for thought.

 This is a serious concern.

Not sure how long this Redacted segment will remain available on the streaming video service, but I think it should be a wake-up call for people who have not considered whence come their foodstuffs. More of us need to start producing small bits of food for our own tables at the very least to supplement what is (currently) available in stores. 

The recurring theme they mention here is "control the food, control the people" and this is a concern.

Remember Live Aid in the 1980s? I'm not going to do a dive to find out the particulars, but it was a global concert fundraising event to generate funds to feed starving people in Africa. Years later, I read somewhere that much of the food had spoiled in ships off the coast of Africa, because regional warlords did not want the population fed, because hungry people are more compliant. This is creepy. 

I am particularly concerned about the fact that many homesteader content creators are having their videos or their entire channels wiped from streaming platforms. Wake up, indeed.

Vandana Shiva has popped up on my radar more than a few times in the past year, and I think what she has to say merits serious consideration. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Workie workie.

     The heat continues. It was 113F here today. Yuck.

    It's hot now and has been for some many weeks, but this is not forever.

    Last night I watched a video of a guy in Japan clearing about 5' deep of snow off his roof from last winter. I'm thinking cooling thoughts. 

    I'm as busy as ever doing my usual chainsaw-juggling routine. A development is on the horizon that may be an answered prayer, so I'm hoping for the best. Hopefully, I'll have news to share with you soon on that subject.

    I have to say it's difficult for me to clear the noise of discomfort to be creative, but I need to be writing. I have a major deadline for my novel, and I need to shrug off the discomfort and tuck into the task. 

    In other, better news, I have to share this video of an adorable wee dachshund sneaking into bed with its person. This dog looks so much like Mochi that it melts my heart. At least unlike the heat, this is a good kind of melting.   <3

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The hotness.

 The heat has been terrible this year, but it's not the worst. The worst was 2011 or 2012, whatever year it was that we had more than 100 consecutive days over 100 degrees F. And those hot days started in late April, so it was brutal. This year, April and May weren't too bad, so I'm not going to complain. We have had a few days over 115, and that, frankly, is astonishing. I mean, it's awful, but it is baffling.

We also had a bit of a reprieve this week, because it was overcast and cold (like 80-95 degrees) for two whole days. The break was nice. 

I am ready for cold weather. I can put on as many layers as necessary to stay warm, but there's only so many clothes one can take off. 

I find that I'm much more heat-fragile since I've had the 'rona twice, too, so it does get old. 

I'm mostly going to try to hold it together, stay as cool as possible, and think cooling thoughts. 

Friday, July 01, 2022


 What? 2 posts in one year?

Yeah, surprise. 

Just thought I'd yank yer chain.

Found a beautiful poem today by Manoel de Barros.

O apanhador de desperdicios
I use words to compose my silences
I don't like words that are tired of informing
I like the ones that are face down on the floor,
such as water, stone, frog.
I understand the accent water has.
I respect things that aren't important,
and beings who aren't important.
I value insects more than I value planes.
I value a turtle's speediness more than a missile's.
I was born with tardiness.
I was equipped to like birds.
I am deeply happy for that.
My backyard is larger than the world.
I am a waste catcher.
I like leftovers, just like the flies do.
I wish my voice were a song.
Because I don't like informing,
I like inventing.
I only use words to compose my silences.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Alive and shuffling.

 Sorry not to write sooner. 

To my relief and disbelief, I submitted my Master's thesis earlier this year and my uni saw fit to grant me a degree in spite of it. I hope to publish the creative thesis as a novel later this summer. I expect my book to be included in the Big Ass Book Launch at FenCon in DFW in September. All the cool kids will be there. Watch this space and hopefully I'll have something to share by then.

Life has been quite busy. I am writing apace, which is where I should always have been. I'm hopeful that my writing is improving, as I am enjoying the process more and more. A wonderful writer/mentor guided me to Novlr, and I find it's a good platform for the task, except that it keeps yelling at me for the passive language. Because I'm sassy, I'm keeping some of the passive voice, but it's good to have something pointing it out as I'm in the moment.

I hope you all are well. I just moderated the comments that were backlogged here, and I thank all who expressed kind thoughts, and your prayers are much appreciated. I'm profoundly flawed and need the boost!

Wow, are we ever living in interesting times, or what? I'm trying to concentrate on the good, and to make daily process on the backlog of this-and-that flavored tasks that really piled up while I've been focused on full-time school studies and teaching. 

I have a shop selling on an auction site, and it's in the throes of a brutal summer slowdown. I'm hopeful to support myself entirely between online sales and my writing, so I'm elbows and poo-holes, lately(Mom reads my blog, and I don't want another mouth-washed-with-soap event). With the tenor of the times, and all the things on which I would not remain silent, I am hoping that I can make it financially without taking a job teaching. I don't even want to be involved in certain conversations*, and I will not join any crusade whose apparent goal is to dismantle civilization because they get their feelings hurt. They'll be shocked-- SHOCKED!-- when they find how sensitive to their feelings are the folks who run the gulags they so clearly hope to bring about. So, yeah, if you're a praying person, pray that I don't need to get a job, since I'd probably get fired tout de suite.

I will try to post updates more often. 

*For the record, I have no problem with people living as they choose. Consenting adults who do not impose upon anyone else's rights are fine with me. I strive to treat others with kindness and respect, and I expect them to requite that spirit. However, when shenanigans involve corrupting children, I will not hold my tongue. Harumph!