Hump Bear and Bleak Days

I wanted to kick about two unrelated topics with you this week. Both are of a personal nature. Neither one has anything to do with the other.

Here goes…

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Hump Bear

Hump Bear

Marble is our one male cat inside. You can read more about his past here. Being fixed, it would stand to reason that some of his desires no longer exist. At least, that’s been my logic. After all, if you don’t have the equipment to do the job, you aren’t going to be spending a whole lot of time think about that activity. Right?

Well, I guess Marble is different. He still spends time contemplating sexual activities despite having the surgery done. No wonder Miya and Nutty run from him all the time.

Back this last fall, the teddy bear husband bought me when we lived in Cookeville [one town west of us] ended up on the floor. Neither husband or I thought much of it at the time. It was dusty and I hadn’t thought about it sentimentally for years. After all, husband and I have a good relationship without the materialistic attachments.

Marble eyed it laying in the middle of the floor and decided to latch on to it. A-okay by me.

That’s how it started out, but I think he might have gotten too fond of it.

He’s been humping the silly thing.

At first, it was a sporadic occurrence. Then it became a daily activity. I would just shake my head as I walked by this spectacle. So I’ve got a strange cat. What else is knew? However, as of late, this cat is humping that poor bear several times each day. Does he need a therapist?

My poor little teddy bear has become Hump Bear.

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Bleak Days
Image provided by Stuart Anthony
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuant63/

Bleak Days

Most people around the globe peek at the weather, online, on TV, or in the newspaper. I consider it an obsession our society has had for a while. The same can probably be said about how we keep track of time too.

Here in the U.S., we’re having our cold months right now. In Tennessee, this time usually isn’t all that cold, though. Especially if you compare it to the northern states. The highs were reaching up into the fifties [Fahrenheit] until right before New Year’s Day. Yes, jacket weather but not cold enough to bring out the wool.

When the colder weather finally hit these mountains I live in, I felt a little apprehensive, although not about the temperature. I had been going through so melancholy and the thought of it turning into actual depression wasn’t something I wanted to deal with in any shape or form.

I started making plans that would, hopefully, keep the deep dark blues away. All this is, is preparing to do spring housecleaning in January. I’d forgo any intentions of getting serious writing done on my WiP in exchange for a clean house with a fresh clean springtime smell to it to chase away any depressing moods.

Believe it or not, this activity works for depression. At least it does for me. I remove everything from sight that reminds me of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Anything with black, rich orange, roasted brown, rich green, or rich red gets tucked away where I can’t see it.

I take a damp sponge to all of the walls, making sure I get the base boards. I spray Windex all over the windows, wiping them with a paper town. I deep polish wood furniture. I move furniture to vacuum and, with some pieces, rearrange so the rooms look a little different.

I even buy air freshener in one of the tea fragrances and spray the rooms afterward.

I made all these plans two days before New Year’s Day in preparation to ward off that nasty mood of despondency I thought sure would hit me January 2nd.

Although, it didn’t hit. It didn’t touch me. In fact, I don’t think it even put one foot in my yard outside. I woke up, greeted with a mood of smiles and wellbeing even though, looking out the window, it was clear that the days hadn’t changed. It was still gray and dismal out there.

As I waited for the coffee to brew, I gazed out onto the backyard, really not paying attention to anything that was out there because I was trying to figure out why I felt so good.

Did a giant-sized brick wall of gloom crumble for me in the middle of the night while I slumbered? Did I receive some divine wisdom that put all things right for me during one of those dreams I never remember?

Is it that the other shoe hasn’t dropped?

While I wait for the answers to these questions, I’m going to enjoy my days.

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How are your first days of the new year going?

“When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” ― Shannon L. Alder

 

I’m Not Inspired

Image provided by Kelly W. Dora https://www.flickr.com/photos/turn_off_your_computer_and_go_outside/
Image provided by Kelly W. Dora
https://www.flickr.com/photos/turn_off_your_computer_and_go_outside/

As a “want-a-be”  writer, I don’t have the luxury of reflecting about the novels I’ve written to get me out of a slump. This is fact and has nothing to do with the emotionally tart shaft I find myself in.

True, I probably shouldn’t call myself a “want-a-be” because, after all, I do scribble in this blog that is  societal throughout WP and beyond. Nonetheless, most of what I write here doesn’t come into the category of “fiction” or “story”. (Notice I said most as opposed to all.)

Could it be the dreaded “Bah Humbugs” of the holiday season? This is a possibility. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I’d find myself wishing, pleading for the winter holidays to be over. The financial burden of this time of year has become phenomenal. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this crunch. The days of prosperity are long gone and it’s high time–past time– to realize it and find a way to accept it because it isn’t changing anytime soon.

If my problem is the mopes, I’m unseemly aware that I’m the only one who can turn my mood around. Now to decide how I’ll accomplish this is a baffling endeavor. What will inspire me to lift my own spirits and, thus, give me inspiration?

The kids are gone and on their own. It’s been this way for a while now. As the years have passed, the holiday decorations, one by one, have been left in their boxes. The house environment looks the same as it would any other time of year. The one decoration that still gets brought out is the wreath. Is that because I want people to consider that I might be receptive to any good cheer they have to offer?

This lack of eagerness for something I’ve loved so dearly in the past could be triggered by what I see outside the window next to my desk. Most days are cloudy, and sometimes the rain is pouring down relentlessly. The trees and bushes are leafless. The  dispassion within the atmosphere is almost  foreboding. Yet how can this scenario be uninspiring? If you like the dark and dramatic, which I do, what I’m seeing should be contributing to my creativity.

This lack of yearning to write what I most desire could be just that I’m not giving the suggestions I’ve received the chance to ferment into the juices that could flow from me–maybe. I have always felt different from others; and experiences in my life have given me the proof of this. Through the years I’ve become altogether comfortable with it. This means I go my own way, ignoring advice, suggestions, and concerns given by people in my life. I’m obstinate. Pure and simple.

Maybe it’s time for me to get out of this unyielding mode and take some of the suggestions I’ve read from different sources. Or maybe I’ll just ride this out and see what evolves.

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It isn’t all that surprising a person would find inspiration misplaced or even altogether gone this time of year. Just in remembering this, the  millstone becomes a little lighter to carry.

Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.  ~ Robert Frost

 

Weekly Recap 5/30

Image provided by William Allen, Image Historian's photostream  @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/woodpainter/
Image provided by
William Allen, Image Historian’s photostream
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/woodpainter/

It’ll be the first of June on Monday. This May seemed awfully long. Usually it rushes by and be for I even blink, it’s getting close the U.S. holiday of Independence Day, July 4th. The Memorial Day weekend that ended five days ago was uneventful. In the past, Hubby and I have spent it with his family. Chances are, that won’t be happening anymore. It’s a very long story, and I refuse to go into detail here.

Last Week’s Review

  • I got on the stationary bike four times. Yay! I’m not shedding pounds and I doubt I ever will. Nevertheless, my energy level is up a little.
  • Except for Miya’s long fur, the house is relatively clean. That is except for a mess around Hubby’s swivel chair in the ‘computer room’. Even though he should be the one to straighten it up, I may do it later today or tomorrow morning. I wish I could live with clutter and gunk but it bothers me to the point of insanity sometimes.
  • The WIP: I made it. I got over the 3000 mark, 3142 words this week. Now that I’m near the end of chapter 10, it’s obvious to me that I’m going to have to explain more when I do the first revision. I’m assuming the reader is going to follow along without much detail. (Not a reasonable inference, is it?)  I’m not showing enough of each character — how they dress, what they’re doing during events in the story, facial expressions, etc. And I don’t think anyone can picture the town it’s all happening in either. That has to be remedied. It’ll get done. From what I’ve read about first drafts, most are sketchy at best. Word count: 24,184
  • Although I haven’t got into a rhythm with the personal journal, my entries are getting longer and I still am learning how not to complain all the time in it.
  • I got my hair cut. It was down just barely past my shoulders. I am now wearing my hair in a pixie cut. Yep, quite a change. In reality, I used to wear it short all the time. I just have one of those faces that looks better without so much hair around it. When there’s a day that my hair looks exceptionally good, I’ll have Hubby take a picture of me to show all of you.

Next Week’s Plan

  • I’ll keep on with the bike peddling. For now, I think four times a week is good.
  • I’m going to try to talk Hubby into taking me for a drive south of here. The town I’m using in my WIP is down there. I’d like to actually go on some of the streets there and just get a better feel for where my characters live.
  • The WIP: I’ll do another 3000 words or more. I’ll be working on how to incorporate three characters more. If this was a movie, it would be the roles of the support actors that I work on. This story is about the inner struggle of a young woman and the real life struggle of a family she’s trying to help. (My one-sentence summary) If what I’ve read is true, my genre is Literary Fiction. If you know different from this, please tell me.

I didn’t put anything in about the ‘me time’ outside. It was intentional. Although it is a little part of my life, it really isn’t something I’m trying to improve on.

If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.
Rabindranath Tagore

 

Going to the Potluck

Yesterday afternoon the weather had become that blustery stuff of late autumn. It triggered a scene in my head so I decided to write it out. Tell me what you think – be honest.

Going to the Potluck
Image provided by
cobalt123 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/cobalt/

The afternoon sky was gray when she looked up into the heavens, but toward the horizon it appeared to be the color of dead dry leaves. As she walked along the highway, the breeze wrapped around her like a blanket that had been left out on the porch during a cold winters night.

Occasionally, there would be the flurry of wind blowing the dead leaves of late autumn to and fro. It whisked her hair across her face making it impossible for her see. She bent her head down looking just at her shoed feet as she trudged on. Her long cotton stockings weren’t much good against the cold and she wished her wool skirt went farther down than her mid-calf. The sweater coat was doing the best it could for her. She remembered the time when her mother made it for her, making sure to put in a silk lining. Thank you, Mom.

The driveway was just a half mile away now. She knew her guess was almost right on the money. The creek ran under the highway a half mile from the next mile marker that stuck out of the ground just feet away from her destination. Now that she was past the water, she hoped the cold wouldn’t be so strong as to go through her so easily.

She had put a gold bow on the white box she carried. The goody inside was something she had never made before. She had decided that she was tired of making the same old thing each year and found the recipe in one of her mother’s cookbooks. She had seen her mother make streusel many times. Even so, the one she concocted for this occasion was made with dates. Would they like it? She worried that they wouldn’t.

She saw the mile marker just ahead of her. The last hill had a steep grade so her steps became shorter and her ankles ached. Almost there, she stumbled. She let go of her box so she could catch herself before she fell face first onto the pavement. She wasn’t able to get the box completely out of the way so one side of it bent and collapsed.

She picked herself up, smoothed out her clothes, and retrieved her box. She didn’t look inside. She felt foolish and worn out. She plodded up the driveway to the porch and rang the doorbell. It only took seconds for someone to open the door and greet her with outstretched arms.

“Hi Grandma.”

Which one would you say is the grandmother, the one who was walking or the one who opened the door?

Rap, Rap, Rap (Part Three)

I promised that you’d be reading the ending of this story this week. After all, this coming Friday is Halloween.

If you haven’t read part 2 of this story, you can find it here.

Still need to read part 1? Here it is.

Rap, Rap, Rap
Hand Knocking on Window Photo © 2013 by Jim Ruppel http://sumo.ly/2AyU via @susanpcooper

The kids hesitantly crept up the hall. Kathy peered into the second room. All that was in there was a rocking chair sitting next to the window that didn’t have either a shade or drapes on it.

Allen took the flashlight from Kathy and walked up the corridor to the doorway of the third room. Looking in, he saw it was a bedroom complete with a double bed, a chest of drawers, a nightstand and a vanity. There was even a worn shade on the window.

He tiptoed into the room and went toward the door that stood near to the window. When he opened it, he expected to see the inside of a closet. However, what he found was a staircase leading up to what he assumed was a third floor. Turning his head slightly, he yelled, “Hey you guys, come here. There’s a third floor.”

The shoes feet of the other two sounded like wild elephants running up the hall. Dean slid into the door trying to make his turn too sharp. Kathy came to a grinding halt holding onto the door frame.

Rap, rap, rap.

There it was again and it was still coming from up above them. It was louder now but not as thundery as one may expect seeing they were ten feet higher and closer to it now.

“It’s got to be a bird, squirrel or some other small animal,” Kathy said.

Allen looked skeptical. “This high up it could be something hitting the house because of the wind blowing.”

“But there isn’t that much wind, Allen,” Dean said glancing up at the ceiling. “I just hope it isn’t an animal that has rabies or is just plain mean.” Allen frowned.

“Yeah, I didn’t even think about that,” Kathy said.

“Well, we’re not going to find out what it is standing here. Upward and onward,” Allen said using the flashlight as a baton.

The staircase was narrow so they had to climb single file. The boards creaked with each step they took. At the top was a door.

Allen turned the knob. It wouldn’t budge. Kathy, being at the end of the line was eye-level to the stair that Allen stood on. As she stood there waiting for Allen to do something, anything in fact, she looked straight ahead daydreaming. Someplace in between her thoughts, she glanced into the left dark corner of that stair. There in the dust she saw something that looked like metal.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Dean asked as he felt Kathy’s hand brush against his leg.

Kathy picked the object up. “I believe I just found the key for the door.” She handed it up to Allen.
Allen had to twist and turn the key in the lock some but it did open the door. Dust came rolling out on the breeze of air that the moving door had created. All of them coughed in unison.

Once past the door, Dean said, “This really isn’t a third floor you know. It’s the attic.” Looking above, he pointed to the rafters. The one window the entire floor had faced east. The little bit of light it provided from the moon coming up wasn’t enough to consider turning off the flashlight.

Now the rapping was loud. “RAP, RAP, RAP!” It came from the northeast corner. The three kids just stood where they were looking from one to the other with different degrees of fear in their faces. The the surprise of Allen and Kathy, it was Dean who got up the courage to creep toward the dark corner.

There sat a box, one that someone might use for storing things in. It was approximately four feet long and wide. Dean put his fingers under the lip of the lid and lifted. Something seemed to be keeping it closed. He felt along the edge of the lid discovering scotch tape every once in a while.

RAP, RAP, RAP!

Kathy and Allen finally mustered up the courage to join Dean. All of them broke the seals of the scotch tape.

Dean opened the box. There inside, they finally saw what was making the racket.

WRAPPING PAPER!

Chances are my cousin wasn’t the first or only one to create this story. Still, I like thinking that he was imaginative enough to believe that he was the first.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!