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Colorful Fall Foliage or, The Best I Could Do Considering What I Have to Work With

Facebook friends from around the country are posting pictures of colorful fall foliage.

Last week I walked around our apartment complex and snapped a few shots of our foliage. Most of the trees around us are live oak, post oak, pecan, and Ashe juniper (a vicious allergen, known in Central Texas as cedar, and loudly cursed for several weeks every winter).

I got one shot of an anemic crepe myrtle, but it didn’t turn out.

Speaking of crepe myrtles, back in Mrs. Dauchy’s second grade [Hi, Cullen], we were instructed to gather pretty leaves, put them between two sheets of wax paper, and iron them to make pretty placemats.

My yard boasted a number of trees—pecan, elm, ash, hackberry, peach, chinaberry—but no pretty leaves.

Three huge crepe myrtles lined the street on the north side of the house, and one grew at the end of the driveway, and in summer, when they bloomed, they were gorgeous.

 

But in the fall, the little green leaves got a few reddish-brownish-yellowish-deadish spots. Then they fell off.

My mother suggested I go across the street and ask Miss Essie Langley if I might have some leaves from her something-or-other tree—big yellow leaves, they’d have made lovely placemats.

I was shy. I wouldn’t ask.

Note: The Langleys were our wonderful neighbors. We often sat in their yard on summer evenings, and Mother and Miss Essie were always back and forth across the street. Mr. Will gave me two rat terrier puppies when the mama dog that lived on his farm had litters. Miss Essie would have been pleased to give me some leaves.

But I was shy. And stubborn.

My mother said she wasn’t going to ask Miss Essie for me.

So I ended up with a bunch of ugly little crepe myrtle leaves ironed between two sheets of wax paper.

But I’m sure I wasn’t the only second-grader in my class—or in the whole of Central Texas, for that matter—with ugly placemats. Even the socially inclined would have had trouble finding colorful fall foliage.

***

Fall foliage, Austin, Texas.

This is, of course, only a small sample. Some places are lovely.
But all in all, we save our color for spring.

Multiple pictures of colorful leaves
are actually several shots of the same tree.

 

***

Image of crepe myrtle blossoms by Deborah Jackson from Pixabay

Image of giant crepe myrtle by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

Images of fall foliage in Austin by Kathy.

Pearls and Teeth and Abject Mortification

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On November 3, I joined women across the United States in wearing pearls to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I admired, and admire, the Justice for her intellect and her dedication to extending the rights guaranteed under the Constitution to people who had been denied them.

I was happy about the pearls, a gift from my husband, because I don’t often wear them. Sheltering in place has shrunk my social life. I could wear them to medical appointments but am afraid they’d get in the nurses’ way.

Before I posted my photo on Facebook, I cropped out my face. Then I thought, Justice Ginsburg didn’t crop her pictures. So I published the whole thing.

I have little vanity left anyway. I went around bald during chemo, and recently I became desperate enough for a haircut to submit myself to David’s new clippers, which have two settings, extra-short and scalp-showing-in-places. I chose extra-short. My hair has grown a lot since then. I look forward to the day when I no longer look so much like Hercule Poirot.

Yesterday I had a scare: a throbbing headache above my right ear. I haven’t had any headaches at all since the migraine that sent me to the emergency room in 2000. That was the best migraine I ever had. They knocked me out for forty minutes and when I woke up I felt great. All those years of twenty-four-hour migraines, and I could have gone to the ER and had them zapped.

Kathy wearing pearls

But I digress. Last year, when I was having some problems with balance, the oncologist mentioned the possibility that cancer had made it to my brain. So when yesterday’s headache suddenly blossomed, throbbed, in just that one spot above my ear, I had a choice: to report it at my appointment in December, or to call the triage nurse immediately. David called. I described the symptoms. The nurse told me to stay near the phone for a call back.

Waiting, I dredged up all the no-big-deal causes I could think of: I spend most of my time reading and writing, and I really, really need new glasses; I’d skipped lunch and was very hungry; it was the day after the presidential election. . . .

Within fifteen minutes the doctor’s nurse called and asked for details.

I recited my history of headaches, my current symptoms, and my emotional state.

In one way, it was like the Friday afternoon at 4:48, a couple of years ago, when I touched my neck and felt a lump, and panicked, and called the nurse, and she said to come in Monday morning . . . and then on Sunday night I realized the lump was part of my new port. They’d removed the malfunctioning one on the left and installed a new one on the right, and a right port sometimes feels different from a left port . . .

So on Monday morning I told the nurse practitioner I was there on false pretenses but refused to feel silly about coming in. She confirmed the false pretenses and said, “Never feel silly about calling when you suspect something’s wrong.”

Yesterday’s experience wasn’t so pleasant. Before the nurse called, I had figured out the reason for headache. I knew I had to disclose everything, and I did, but this time I felt silly. No, not silly. Mortified.

“The headache was caused by . . . I was wearing a tiara.”

Two sets of tiara teeth and the paw of one cat

The string of pearls had made me feel so dressed up, so elegant, that the next day I celebrated the democratic process by wearing my tiara. It’s a little tight. On each side, there’s a comb whose teeth–emphasis on teeth–slide into the hair to keep the tiara in place. If the wearer has no hair, they pierce the scalp.

Hearing the full story, the nurse, instead of saying, “Never feel silly  about calling,” said, “Hahahahahahahahaha.”

“So I took it off a few minutes ago and the headache went away.”

“Hahahahahahahahaha.”

When she caught her breath, she said she was glad I felt better. “Hahahahahahahahaha.”

We hung up. I spent the next half-hour imagining her repeating our conversation to the doctor.

Now. Some women in my position would be so embarrassed they would run out and find a new oncologist. I thought about it.

But then I remembered Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Would she be mortified ? Would she run out and find a new doctor?

Not on your tintype.

So neither will I. In December, I will don my tiara, ignore the excruciating pain, march into the doctor’s office, and show him those teeth.

Ever since I told him I can’t sleep because when I go to bed the voices in my head start talking–I meant my characters–he’s thought I’m a little crazy.

I might as well let him think I’ve gone completely around the bend.

And if he says, “Hahahahahahahahaha”–that’s good medicine.

###

Someday I’ll explain why I have a tiara.

###

Portrait of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Simmie Knox, under commission of the United States Supreme Court, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

The Maven: A Poe-ish Poem for Halloween

2018-10-20 ttm pixabay poe cc0 pd writer-17565_640

I would say this post is back by popular demand, but I’d be lying. I’m posting it because it’s Halloween, and because I had fun writing it way back when, and because I want to.

For the reason I wrote it, read on.

*****

Why? Because–A friend, calling to confirm David and I would meet her and her husband the next day for the Edgar Allan Poe exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center, reported her house was being leveled for the second time in three years: “There are thirteen men under my house.”

I hooked up Edgar Allan Poe with the number thirteen and house with Usher and wrote the following verse.

Note: Tuck and Abby are my friends’ dogs.

Another note: Maven means expert. I looked it up to make sure.

THE MAVEN

To G. and M. in celebration
of their tenth trimester
of home improvement,
with  affection.
Forgive me for making
mirth of melancholy.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a rapping,

As of someone gently tapping, tapping at my chamber floor.

“‘Tis some armadillo,” said I, “tapping at my chamber floor,

Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the dry September,

And my house was sinking southward, lower than my bowling score,

Pier and beam and blocks of concrete, quiet as Deuteron’my’s cat feet,

Drooping like an unstarched bedsheet toward the planet’s molten core.

“That poor armadillo,” thought I, “choosing my house to explore.

He’ll squash like an accordion door.”

“Tuck,” I cried, “and Abby, come here! If my sanity you hold dear,

Go and get that armadillo, on him all your rancor pour.

While he’s bumping and a-thumping, give his rear a royal whumping,

Send him hence with head a-lumping, for this noise do I abhor.

Dasypus novemcinctus is not a beast I can ignore

Clumping ‘neath my chamber floor.”

While they stood there prancing, fretting, I imparted one last petting,

Loosed their leashes and cried “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.

As they flew out, charged with venom, I pulled close my robe of denim.

“They will find him at a minimum,” I said, “and surely more,

Give him such a mighty whacking he’ll renounce forevermore

Lumbering ‘neath my chamber floor.”

But to my surprise and wonder, dogs came flying back like thunder.

“That’s no armadillo milling underneath your chamber floor.

Just a man with rule and level, seems engaged in mindless revel,

Crawling round. The wretched devil is someone we’ve seen before,

Measuring once and measuring twice and measuring thrice. We said, ‘Señor,

Get thee out or thee’s done for.'”

“Zounds!” I shouted, turning scarlet. “What is this, some vill’nous varlet

Who has come to torment me with mem’ries of my tilting floor?”

Fixing myself at my station by my floundering foundation,

Held I up the quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.

“Out, you cad!” I said, “or else prepare to sleep beneath my floor,

Nameless there forever more.”

Ere my words had ceased resounding, with their echo still surrounding,

Crawled he out, saluted, and spoke words that chilled my very core.

“I been down there with my level, and those piers got quite a bevel.

It’s a case of major evolution: totter, tilt galore.

Gotta fix it right away, ma’am, ‘less you want your chamber floor

At a slant forevermore.”

At his words there came a pounding and a dozen men came bounding

From his pickup, and they dropped and disappeared beneath my floor.

And they carried beam and hammer and observed no rules of grammar,

And the air was filled with clamor and a clanging I deplore.

“Take thy beam and take thy level and thy failing Apgar score

And begone forevermore.”

But they would not heed my prayer, and their braying filled the air,

And it filled me with despair, this brouhaha that I deplore.

“Fiend!” I said. “If you had breeding, you would listen to my pleading,

For I feel my mind seceding from its sane and sober core,

And my house shall fall like Usher.” Said the leader of the corps,

“Lady, you got no rapport.”

“How long,” shrieked I then in horror, “like an ominous elm borer,

Like a squirrely acorn storer will you lurk beneath my floor?

Prophesy!” I cried, undaunted by the chutzpah that he flaunted,

And the expertise he vaunted. “Tell me, tell me, how much more?”

But he strutted and he swaggered like a man who knows the score.

Quoth the maven, “Evermore.”

He went off to join his legion in my house’s nether region

While my dogs looked on in sorrow at that dubious guarantor.

Then withdrawing from this vassal with his temperament so facile

I went back into my castle and I locked my chamber door.

“On the morrow, they’ll not leave me, but will lodge beneath my floor

Winter, spring, forevermore.”

So the hammering and the clamoring and the yapping, yawping yammering

And the shrieking, squawking stammering still are sounding ‘neath my floor.

And I sit here sullen, slumping in my chair, and dream the thumping

And the armadillo’s bumping is a sound I could adore.

For those soles of boots from out the crawlspace ‘neath my chamber floor

Shall be lifted—Nevermore!

STABBED! by Manning Wolfe and Kathy Waller–FREE eBook–Limited Time Only

STABBED

Bullet Book Speed Read #5

FREE ebook

STABBED, co-written with Manning Wolfe, is celebrating its first birthday!

From October 13 through October 17, the ebook edition is FREE.

Click the link above or the image below to download your free copy from Amazon.

See the book trailer here. Read the excerpt below.

Like all Bullet Bullet Book Speed Reads, STABBED is for readers who want to escape into a good—and fast—read. 

*

 

Click the image

I didn’t want to call Hart. I knew him too well.

I didn’t hate him. I’ve never liked extreme emotion. It clouds the brain. It can lead to obsession.

At one time, I guess, I loved him. But love is also an emotion taken to the extreme. I couldn’t afford to feel it again.

Except for Trace. Years before, I had vowed to do my best to keep my son safe and happy. That meant breaking with Hart. He could cut with words like no one else I’d ever met. Sweet Trace cowered in his presence when Hart went on a yelling spree.

But I had no choice. When I found myself that night alone in the dark, covered with blood, I knew I had to call him. Because he would never believe I was capable of murder.

*

Manning Wolfe, co-author of STABBED, is the author of the Merit Bridges Lady Lawyer mystery series. Read more about her here. Read about all 13 Bullet Books Speed Reads here.

Kathy Waller, co-author of STABBED, is the author of this blog as well as a number of short stories. Read her bio here. Read the rest of her bio all over this blog. She’s still working on a novel. She still lives in Austin with the same two cats and the same one husband.

John Brown’s Intestacy or, Singing What Used to Be the Texas Probate Code

The song “John Brown’s Intestacy,” written as a mnemonic in preparation for a test over the Texas Probate Code in paralegal school, was correct in October 2003, when I wrote it. The Probate Code, however, by order of the Texas Legislature, is no more, so the content of the song is no longer accurate. See note from Texas Law Library, below.

“Probate is primarily discussed in the Texas Estates Code, which was added to be effective Jan. 1, 2014, replacing the Texas Probate Code. Some older resources may reference the Probate Code, but that information will now be found in the Estates Code. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to view the “plain English” resources on this page or speak to an attorney.” Texas Law Library

But I’ll wager the ideas expressed herein haven’t changed much.

Disclaimer: The song does not constitute practicing law without a license.

 

John Brown’s Intestacy

By Kathy Waller

(To be sung to the tune of John Brown’s Body,
aka The Battle Hymn of the Republic).

I.

John Brown died and went to heaven but forgot to make a will.
His intestate succession now the Probate Code will tell.
Was he married, was he single, do his kids sit ‘round the ingle?
Had he common prop. or sep.?

Glory, glory, Texas Probate!
Separate property Section 38!
Common property Section 45!
Make a will while you’re alive!

II.

If John’s married and he leaves a wife, no kids, or kids they share,
Then 45(a)1 leaves wife all common prop. that’s there.
But if he has an extra kid, wife ends up with just half
And the kids share all the rest.

Glory, glory 45(b)!
Don’t omit Section 43!
By the cap or by the stirpes,
Wife shares it with the kids!

III.

For separate prop., if he’s no wife, it goes to kids or grands.
If none of those, John’s parents halve the personal and lands.
If only mom or pop lives, the surviving one takes half.
John’s siblings share the rest.

Glory! Both John’s folks are deceased–
All his sibs will share the increase,
And if no siblings, 38(a)4 means
They’ll need a family tree.

IV.

If John has separate prop. and leaves a wife and kids or grands,
38(b)1 gives wife one-third of personal prop. at hand,
And a one-third interest just for life in houses and in lands.
Descendants take the rest.

Glory, glory 38(b)1!
It’s one-third/two-thirds division!
But if John leaves a wife but no kids,
Section 38(b)2 applies!

V. – VII.

John’s wife gets all his personal prop. and half the real estate.
The other half of real estate goes back to 38—
38(a), to be exact, and up the family tree,
Unless his gene pool’s defunct.

For if John Brown was an only child with parents absentee,
No brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, or cousins on the tree,
No grandparents or great-grandparents to grab a moiety,
His wife will get it all.

BUT if John Brown leaves this life with naught a soul to say, “Amen,”
The Probate Code’s escheat will neatly tie up all the ends:
The Lone Star State will step right up to be John’s kith and kin,
And Texas takes it all!

Glory, glory Texas Probate!
Slicing up poor John Brown’s estate!
Avoid the Legislature’s dictate:
Make a will while you’re alive!

***

Last will and testament of William Shakespeare,
who didn’t have to worry about intestacy
or the Texas Probate Code

Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Public domain.

The Words Fit the Music, or Not

Do not fear. This post begins with a little poetry, but it soon veers off in a different direction.

[I don’t know what happened to the double-spacing between paragraphs. It’s there in the draft, but then some of it vanished. I hope this isn’t difficult to read.]

Because Emily Dickinson wrote many of her poems using the ballad stanza, they can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” You might like to try it yourself.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry. . . . 

or

He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality. . . .
Some of Dickinson’s poems don’t sound quite right sung to that tune, but it can be done.
Sometimes it works the other way. Lyricists—or somebody—take a well-known melody and write their own words. For example, there’s John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” No matter who plays it, I hear Mitch Miller’s version:
Be kind to your web-footed friends,
For a duck may be somebody’s mother,
Be kind to your friends in the swamp
Where the weather is very, very damp,
You may think that this is the end.
Well, it is!
Another tune that lends itself to parody was originally known as “John Brown’s Body,” but is now famous as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Here’s the hymn performed by the United States Army Field Band.
Please excuse me, but I always cry when I hear it. You might do so as well, so we’ll take a few moments out for that.
But rest assured—the remainder of this post will prompt no tears at all.
Children have for decades sung their own lyrics to the “Battle Hymn.”
“Glory, glory hallelujah
teacher hit me with a ruler
I bopped her on the bean
with a rotten tangerine
and she ain’t gonna teach no more.”
The lyrics get worse, so that’s as far we’ll go with that one.
Often, lyrics are written as mnemonics. When I was in paralegal school, I set a portion of the Texas Probate Code to the tune of “The Battle Hymn” to help me remember content for an exam. It’s called “John Brown’s Intestacy” and explains what happens to the property of a person who dies without leaving a will.
I’m proud of it because, in 2003, when I wrote it, it was accurate,* and composing it was a mammoth task.
If you’ve read it, you probably won’t read it again. If you haven’t, it might prove interesting. There’s a story, not just facts. You may sing it if you want.
Melvil Dewey. Author unknown. Public domain. Via Wikipedia.

Before paralegal school, when I was a librarian, I wrote a “Battle Hymn” explaining the Dewey Decimal System of Classification. The idea was to teach children the Dewey decades by having them learn the song. Unfortunately, it turned out, like the system, long and complex. Elementary students couldn’t have learned it in the twenty minutes a week I had with them, and no self-respecting high school student would have touched it.

In addition, I got stuck, couldn’t finish two of the verses, and stopped. I thought it was lost, but today, twenty-five years later, I found it in a box of old papers.
It isn’t perfect. I consider it a work in progress.
But it’s accurate.
Dewey Marches On 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Melvil Dewey plan.
He hath numbered all the classes so that we can understand
How to find those books and shelve those books, both squeaky clean and banned.
Our Dewey numbers on!

REFRAIN:
Glory, glory Melvil Dewey!
His Decimal System is so true. We
Now sing the praise that he is due-ey.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Generalia is a class designed to hold a lot of kinds
Of subjects like computers, magazines, and quotes. We find
It’s zero-zero-zero up through zero-ninety-nine.
Our Dewey numbers on!

100’s for philosophy, beliefs of humankind,
And also for psychology, the workings of the mind,
And ghosts and magic, ESP, and dreams that are divined.
Our Dewey numbers on!

200’s for religion—Bible stories, the Koran,
The Talmud—all the sacred book explaining God to man;
Mythology from Greece and Rome and many other lands.
Our Dewey numbers on!

300 is for social science, things that people do
To live together, like make laws, build schools, have manners, too.
Folk stories are a special treat—398.2.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Dewey spine labels. CC BY-SA-3.0. Via Wikipedia.

400 is for language—English, Spanish, German, Greek.
The dictionary tells us meanings of the words we seek,
The alphabet and languages we sign as well as speak.
Our Dewey numbers on!

Natural science is 500, mathematics is a start,
The solar system, heat and light, and weather are a part,
Wild animals and vegetables and minerals we sort.
Our Dewey numbers on!

600’s for technology—what we use science for,
Space travel and inventions, farming, cooking are just four,
And doctors for both folks and pets, and building things and more.
Our Dewey numbers on!

With arts and recreation, 700’s just for fun!
It’s sports and games and making crafts and paintings that we’ve done.
Photography and music make this class a number one!
Our Dewey numbers on!

800 is for literature, the books we love to read,
There’re plays and poems—Where the Sidewalk Ends and Hamlet’s deed,
And even jokes and riddles—almost more than we will need.
Our Dewey numbers on!

900 holds our history, the years that came before.
Geography tells where we are and where we might explore.
Remember that the Alamo’s 976.4!
Our Dewey numbers on!

To Dewey add some letters and our system is complete.
REF for Reference, F for fiction, B’s Biography.
And E for Easy/Everybody’s picture books so neat.
Our Dewey numbers on!

REFRAIN:
Glory, glory Melvil Dewey!
His Decimal System is so true. We
Now sing the praise that he is due-ey.
Our Dewey numbers on!

***

DISCLAIMER CONCERNING THE PROBATE CODE:

*The substance of the Texas Probate Code was codified in the Estates Code by the 81st and 82nd Legislatures, and for that reason, the Texas Legislative Council is not publishing it. If you would like more information, please contact the Texas Legislative Council.

In other words, “John Brown’s Intestacy” is no longer accurate. And the author is not attempting to practice law without a license.

***

Image of rose by JacLou DL from Pixabay

Alien Resort: The Bride Was Lovely

King Benjamin of the Archipelago reported the marriage of Coy and Susan on the Alien Resort blog, but in a just-the-facts-ma’am account, lacking the detail readers expect in the Sunday Society rotogravure. Well, that is men for you. Fortunately, I paid attention to the matters of most importance and am pleased to supplement King Benjamin’s account. King Benjamin gave me permission to post this, although he noted it’s awfully fancy. ~ Queen Ramona


*

Not Consuelo Vanderbilt’s wedding dress. See note at end of post.

Coy of Alien Resort and Susan of Alpha Pegasi exchanged marriage vows on Wednesday, July 15, 2020,  with Spaceship Captain Plucky officiating.

Social distancing was in effect at all times.

The bride was lovely in a floor-length gown of cream satin with a ten-foot train, fashioned after the dress worn by Consuelo Vanderbilt at her 1895 marriage to the 9th Duke of Marlborough. Her low-heeled slippers were of cream peau-de-soie.

Susan carried a tropical cascade bouquet of Asiatic lilies, ranunculus, and bright blue orchids. Around her neck she wore an antique pearl choker belonging to Queen Ramona, thus completing the tradition of old-new-borrowed-blue.

Ladies-in-waiting were attired less sumptuously but just as attractively in floor-length gowns of orange organza with ruffles at neckline and wrist.

The groom, best man Deadpan, and groomsman Dan Rosandich of Dans Cartoons wore black Vera Wang notch lapel tuxedos. The soles of the groom’s shoes were painted black so they wouldn’t look all dusty when he knelt.

Best man Deadpan carried the rings. Coy had considered having a juvenile ring bearer but dropped the idea when Susan reminded him that children, although cute, are unreliable.

Queen Ramona wore a rhinestone tiara and her Writers’ League of Texas sunglasses, the latter in hopes that no one would recognize her.

The altar was tastefully decorated with a lovely gift of flowers from bluejayblog.

Security was provided by Jett of Comically Quirky and Toby of the Adventures of Bitey Dog. All guests being of a peaceable nature, no biting occurred.

Following the wedding ceremony, guests partook of refreshments of brownies, mixed nuts, and pink champagne, with the option of plain pink punch for teetotalers.

 

Coy and Susan were especially honored by the presence of a Special Guest, the author of mydangblog, who came all the way from Canada to attend the reception.

Unfortunately, the bride and groom skipped the brownies and left for their honeymoon immediately after the service, and most of the guests followed throwing birdseed, so the crowd at the reception was rather sparse, and the guest author was stuck talking to Queen Ramona and an anonymous Truck Driver. The Queen and the Truck Driver enjoyed the conversation immensely, and the mydangblog author proved a really good sport.

When the festivities ended, King Benjamin announced that a good time had been had by all.

Queen Ramona surveyed the leftover brownies and begged guests to take as many as they could carry because there were at least 3,000 and the palace freezer wouldn’t hold them all. She said she’ll store the champagne in the wine cellar for future celebrations.

After a honeymoon of sightseeing at the main island of the archipelago, Coy and Susan are at home at their spaceship at Alien Resort.

***

Coy and Susan extend thanks to all who celebrated with them. They’re especially grateful to Zoom for assistance with social distancing.

***

Image of wedding rings by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Image of brownie by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Image of pink champagne by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Image of the dress not belonging to Consuelo Vanderbilt comes from Flickr and is in the public domain. It is identified as American and dated 1894. It’s not so opulent as that worn by Miss Vanderbilt, no ten-foot train (or five-foot train, depending on the source) but it’s as close as I can get without possibly violating copyright or paying a licensing fee.

Many and varied dresses show up on the Internet identified as the Vanderbilt wedding gown. The one I believe is accurate, which  appeared in a magazine of the time, is available for use on the web for about $44.00. I’m not that desperate.

Reverted to Type

(The following was first posted on partner blogs
Ink-Stained Wretches and Austin Mystery Writers.
I wrote it, but, due to technical difficulties,
couldn’t reblog it here.
Had to post the whole shebang again.)

When I opened my personal blog, back in the Dark Ages, I titled it To Write Is to Write Is to Write. I intended to tell everything I know about writing.

Everything I knew filled roughly 2.5 posts.

Now I write about what I don’t know about writing and leave giving advice to those who know what they’re doing.

Reverting to my old librarian persona, I also write about blogs by writers who aren’t anywhere near running out of material. Here’s a short list.

Friday Fictioneers

Each Friday, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields invites readers to compose 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. Writers post stories on their own blogs and then link to an inLinkz list to share with other Fictioneers and with the public. It’s fun. Specific rules are found here.

Sammi Cox

Sammi Cox posts a weekend word prompt: The rules: “Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.” Participants are free to link their efforts in the comments.

Chris the Story Reading Ape

TSRA introduces readers to authors, gives authors a platform, and provides information for writers aspiring to be published.

—from Uninspired Writers“Writer’s Block? Relax! Do Something Else”

—from Jami Gold: “Tips for Creating the Right Impression of Our Characters”

—from Lucy Mitchell: “Why Some Stories Are Like Bridges to Other Stories” 

—from Anne R. Allen’s Blog  . . . with Ruth Harris: “Freewrite: How to Write About Traumatic Events Without Adding More Trauma” by Marlene Cullen

TSRA also promotes—and thank goodness, considering how much writers need it—”FUN and an OASIS OF CALM and Font of useful Knowledge andTips for Indies (please do NOT feed my naughty chimps or they may follow you home) from the woes and stresses of the real world”—such as,

“LOLs Courtesy of BlueBird.”

Kate Shrewsday

Kate was on a bit of a hiatus for a while but is back now with “Social Distancing for Dogs.” She’s posted a lot of dog stories—my favorites are about the dear (and sometimes smelly) Macaulay, the dog with the Neville Chamberlain mustache, including

“The Miasmatron: Or Never Feed Steak to a Dog”

“The Terrier’s Apprentice”

“The Day the Dog Did What He Was Told” [with video]

Rummage through her blog. You’ll find many more gems on many more subjects.

Hugh’s News and Views

Hugh posts about “this, that, and everything else,” but my favorite posts are the Blogging Tips, such as,

“7 Things To Lookout For Before Following A Blog”

“How to Use Excerpts to Get More Visitors to Read Your Blog”

and one treasure for WordPress users:

“How to Backup Your WordPress Blog to Prevent Losing All Its Contents”

A Pondering Mind

A Pondering Mind posts words of wisdom,

Old wisdom:

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” ~ Rene Descartes

New wisdom:

“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.” ~ Stephen Hawking

And—again, thank goodness—amusing wisdom:

“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” ~ Jean Kerr

*

I could go on—my first draft is twice as long as this one—but the deadline loomed hours ago. I hope you’ll check out some of these blogs. And I hope you enjoy them and return for more.

And—do you have any blogs you’d like to share? Including your own. Record them in a comment.

***

Image  of New York City Public Library lion by Chinem McCollum from Pixabay

Image of apes and books by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Image of cowboy reading by mosla99 from Pixabay

***

My blog’s original title, To Write Is to Write Is to Write, is a fragment of a quotation from Gertrude Stein, who knew how to write and who told Ernest Hemingway how to write.

The current title comes from the first chapter of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain knew all about writing. Ernest Hemingway said so.

Reception Invitation–Please Share

Coy and Susan are getting married at Alien Resort, and you’re invited to the reception on Zoom. Sign the wedding guest book (link in this post)–a link to your site will be displayed, and you’ll receive the link to the reception.

Alien Resort

I’m Plucky, a spaceship captain and the ranking officer at Alien Resort island. I’m proud to be a friend of both Coy, the founder of Alien Resort, and my roommate Susan, who lived with her parents in the island’s mountains for thousands of years. We hope you’ll join in their good fortune by adding your link to the wedding guest book. And  watch for details about the costume (optional) Zoom reception–everyone’s invited. I asked Deadpan if he was going to pick out a goose; he said he might take a gander.

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Some Wallers

 

 

Joe Waller, Rob Waller, Graham Waller, Bill Waller, Donald Waller, ca. 1980.

Bill, fourth from the left, is my father. Joe, Graham, and Donald are my uncles. Collectively, they were known as “the Waller boys.” There were a number of other Waller boys in town, but these four, along with their brother Maurice, who died in 1952, were the.

Rob is their first cousin.

The snapshot was taken at the Fentress United Methodist Church homecoming, ca. 1980. That was the last time they were all together.

Vida Woodward Waller (my grandmother) & Jessie Waller, ca. 1910

 

Frank Waller (Dad), ca. 1952
Billie Waller, ca. 1920
Billie Waller, ca. 1943, while stationed in Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happens

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

— Langston Hughes, 1951

***

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/LangstonHughes.jpg
Langston Hughes, 1936, by Carl Van Vechten. Public domain.

Learning Stuff

I am learning to use the WordPress Block Editor.

First task: insert images, one from WordPress free photo library and one from my computer.

Two Cats

Photo by kendra coupland on Pexels.com
Photo by kathy waller

Second task: Insert a gallery

More cats

Third task: Resize and align an image

One Tee-shirt

Resized and aligned center

Fourth task: insert verse

William Bit Me

William bit me at the vet,
Didn't like the aide's assistance,
Used his claws and fangs to set
On the path of most resistance.
Say I'm teary, say I'm mad,
Say that pills and needles hit me,
Say my arm's inflamed, and add,
William bit me.

***

That’s all I intend to learn today.

#AtoZChallenge 2020: X Is for ‘Xcitement, Too Much, Too Soon

 

I woke late this morning. The day was overcast, blinds were drawn, room was dim.

On the wall to my right, I saw a thing.

It was a brown, elongated thing, about four inches from on end to the other, two-thirds of the way up the wall, behind the cedar chest, pointing toward the ceiling.

I couldn’t remember any light switches or thermostats in the vicinity. I sat  up, squinted. Squinted some more.

Got up, tiptoed—why?—to lamp on left side of the room, turned it on, advanced a half-step toward the unidentified object.

Saw little horns sticking out of the end at the top.

Called for David. “Now!”

He came. “A slug!”

He picked up a shoe.

“Noooooooo.”

He ran for a paper towel.

The camera was in the living room. “Should we take a picture first?” I stepped toward the door.

“It might get away.” Paper towel in hand, David pounced, then ran.

There went my chance for authentic photo on my blog post.

He returned. “I relocated it.”

And all was well.

But questions remain:

Where did he come from? How did he get in? Where had he been hiding?

How long did it take him to crawl up that wall? I mean, he’s a slug. Sluggish. Did he cover all that territory while I slumbered only inches away?

What if he had turned toward the bed instead of away from it? Would I have opened my eyes and found myself nose to nose with him?

And, more to the point—

Was he alone? Or did he have company? Are there more? His spouse? His children? His sisters and his cousins and his aunts?

His sisters and his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
And his aunts!

***

Image by ariesa66 from Pixabay