Monday, April 17, 2017

Bunnies, Inner Peace, and Murder








          Spring must even come to Florida, the land of perpetual summer. 
        Squirrels are everywhere, a different crop of flowers is appearing and Mamie and I are seeing bunnies in abundance, augmenting the aerobic portion of my walks with her as I’m suddenly dragged by ten pounds of determination into the shrubbery. As it turns out, this quiet little lap dog has discovered her inner hunter. 
















      

This spring has also sprouted progeny of a different sort. Big Red, How I Learned Simplicity from a Suitcase, a memoir by my friend Ellie Dias, is now available at Amazon. It’s a chronicle of the mishaps and detours on her solo trek through the Himalayas. Just to give you a taste :

     When I received the three separate ten-page documents about what to expect and what to bring on my adventure in Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet, I had my work cut out for me. I approached this trip with a level of preparation appropriate for taking the bar exam. . . . . .
    It didn’t register that I somehow missed the essence of the minimalist nature of Buddhism. In hindsight, I became an oxymoron of sorts—some would say leave the oxy out. I was intent on packing and carting all my must haves while forgetting the purpose of my journey: to free myself from my Western attached way of being. I neglected to practice what the Buddha meant about clinging and attachment as an impediment to spiritual freedom. If I had, I might have packed a hell of a lot lighter.

           
 




        And my time here in Florida hasn’t been all sloth and margaritas (although I’ve learned that I excel at both). Well Murdered, a mystery and my second book set in the small town of Calvin, Massachusetts, is also newly available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions. Here’s a sampling:




The door chimes in My Irish Rose sounded and Cate MacLeod looked up from her laptop. Two women in their seventies entered, their eyes lighting up at the cute-as-a-bug kitchen signs, the claddagh rings, and the endless array of merchandise festooned with shamrocks.
            Cate was filling in that morning while her mother was out tracking down a delayed shipment of woolen shawls. She could think of any number of places she’d rather be on a Friday morning, but then graduate school didn’t come free. With the smile she’d developed for customers, she said, "Good morning, ladies. Let me know if I can help you find anything."
            She was answered with delighted nods, smiles, and thank yous. They burrowed into the tight aisles, calling to each other to see this or admire that, their white hair bobbing behind the shelves. It would be at least another twenty minutes before they came up for air, but their arrival provided an excuse to postpone that paper she’d been writing for class. She stowed her laptop beneath the counter and pulled out the inventory sheet for the jewelry that had come in earlier in the week. 
            The ladies, whom Cate learned were Esther and Pauline from their calls and responses through the store, finally made it back to the register. They continued chatting happily as she bagged a plaque proclaiming “Sometimes I Laugh So Hard, Tears Run Down My Leg” and then rang up a replica of a castle that twirled, lit up, and played a tinny version of “Danny Boy.”
            ". . .and Barbara will just love this place, won't she? We'll have to call her. You must really, really enjoy working here!"
            Cate realized that Esther – or was it Pauline? – must have been speaking to her and was twinkling at her expectantly. She looked up from her wrapping and again trotted out her customer smile, saying, “What? Oh, yes, absolutely. I’m one lucky girl!” She finished boxing Esther/Pauline’s purchase and said, “Thank you so much! Be sure to tell your friend!”
            “Oh, yes, indeed we will, won’t we, Pauline?” Aha, thought Cate, the one in the World’s Best Nana sweatshirt was Esther, and Pauline had on the purple top with the bedazzled face of a terrier on the front. Oh, and even better, when Pauline turned to leave, Cate was treated to the bedazzled back end of a terrier. Nothing like the suburbs for those fashion-forward styles.  She could feel her old life in the city receding that much faster into the distance.
            She called out, “Have a good day, ladies!” and dropped onto the tall stool behind the counter, thinking not for the first time that it was patently unfair to have a bar stool and no bar.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Familiar Faces





          I’ve grown resigned to the wonky knee, the shock of seeing my mother in an unexpected glimpse of a store mirror, and the difficulty of staying out and awake past 10 at night.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Claim to Fame



I checked in on Going Gently, my favorite blog in the ENTIRE WORLD (and judging by the numbers of comments, the favorite of the entire world) and was intrigued by his topic for today.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Gray Rush




         One of the things that most amazes me about Florida is the huge expanse of undeveloped land interspersed with cattle ranches.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Age and Trust





          So the other day at the pool a neighbor whom I barely know turned to me and inquired whether I had a doctor locally.