Thursday, May 19, 2016

Catcalling and compliments

I ended up in an interesting discussion on Facebook. One of my friends - female - shared a blog post that included this screen dump of a tweet. My friend added the comment, "Your right to speak to me does not trump my right to feel safe."

Predictably, one if her friends - male - wrote, "You feel safe when someone says you're cute?"

That comment sums up the problem perfectly.

No one answered him, probably a wise decision, but I was in one of those moods when it's hard to shut up. I had to comment, and leaned back to see what would happen. I know no one ever changed anyone's mind on Facebook, but sometimes you just have to, lol.


By now I am well over 40. Life has stacked up more than a fair share of problems, and the mirror shows a tired woman with silver in her hair and sagging boobs. The thing is, at this point in life, I don't care. I have other things on my mind.

A couple of weeks ago, I was dressed up and heading out to an event at work. I was going there to work, taking photos, and I stopped in a McDonalds drive-through on the way, thinking a cup of coffee would help keep me alert.

The young man in the window smiled and said, "Are you going somewhere? Because you look very beautiful."

That was a compliment, said without thought of getting something, and it made my day. I arrived to my event smiling, because he was so nice to me.

Cat calling is something completely different. A couple of weeks before the McDonalds compliment, I went to KFC on my way home from work. 

There was a skinny man, sweaty, lacking most of his teeth. He fixed his eyes on me and said, "You wouldn't look bad if you took care of yourself."

I ignored him and another customer muttered, "Yeah, you're the one to say that."

He stepped closer. "I said, you wouldn't look bad if you took care of yourself."

Am I really supposed to be grateful for that sort of attention? 

A lot of snarky comments came to mind, but I bit them all down and just muttered, "Right."

"What? I'm not good enough for you? c**t"

At that point, the people working in the restaurant asked him to leave. It became my turn, I ordered, paid, got my stuff, and headed for the door. Through the window I could see the man leaning against the wall right outside.

As a woman, you're well aware that men are stronger than you are. Even the small ones. I'm also well aware that I'm not good at running, so if he wanted to keep pushing, I wouldn't be able to get away from him.

One of the other customers - a man - got up from his meal and said, "I'll walk you to your car."

Of course I was grateful. He was probably tired too and had no reason to help me, except for being a good person. It still struck me as sad that as a woman, even in the year 2016, I'm still dependent on the protection of men. If I don't want to argue and don't want to fight, the certain way to be left alone is to walk next to a man.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Save Samson!

When I started working at Cat Depot, a pretty white cat would greet me every morning, meowing until I entered his office. Once there, he'd sit on my lap and snuggle. Samson was my first Cat Depot crush, and I was unhappy when he was adopted. Though, I had only been there for a couple of weeks, and life went on. 

A pretty black cat in the same office took over the meowing and morning greeting, and he eventually became my cat: Koda.

I've heard many writers claim they need a cat to write. Seems to work the opposite way for me; I've rarely been so unproductive as after adopting Koda, but that's okay.

I digress. This is supposed to be about Samson.

For a couple of months after Samson's adoption, I kept my eyes on the cat database, just in case they brought him back. Nothing happened, and I assumed that everything went well. I had a nagging, unpleasant feeling, but time soothed it. After a couple of months, I stopped looking.

Imagine my surprise when one of my colleagues approached me a couple of weeks ago, saying, "Did you know that Samson is back?"

I did not know, but finding him only took a few seconds. He was in a cage in admittance, where they check the health of incoming kitties before they're ready to meet the public.

I pretend that he recognized me. He's a friendly cat who loves everyone, but I'm still pretending he recognizes me and that I'm special.

Be that as it may, Samson had developed a problem. A big problem: kidney stones.

Many forms of kidney stones in cats can be dissolved through diet. Samson's are of the kind that can't be dissolved. Of course.

He has so much kidney stones that they cause blockages and impair kidney function. I'm certainly not a vet - I'm barely qualified to put Band-Aids on humans - but it sounds like something that would hurt.

He was moved to an office, because moving around is better for him than sitting still in a cage. Probably more fun too. I offered fostering him while waiting for treatment, but our shelter vet said he's too sick. He needs to be close by so they can take samples and such.

It's kind of hard to work with that little face looking out at you. Isn't he adorable? Every morning when I come to work, he meows and meows until I go in and visit him.

Then, this happens. Cat on lap!


My friends at Cat Depot have informed me that without surgery, Samson will cross the Rainbow Bridge in not too long. Because everyone needs at least one kidney to survive. He has been to several specialists outside our own medical team, and the shelter vet is discussing with University of Florida. They are prepared to perform the life-saving procedures he needs, but estimate a cost of $5,500.

That's a lot of money.

I'm the grant person. If I can raise the money, Samson will have his surgery and live. 

If I fail, well, let's not think too much about that. Failure is not an option.

If you want to help Samson get the long and happy life he deserves, there's a donation form here. Or, maybe you would please help share him with his link. Spread the word. Together, we can save Samson.

Is one shelter cat worth saving?

Definitely.

Is Samson worth saving?

Oh yes.

This is the nicest, friendliest cat you can imagine. He greets visitors with a little meow, jumps up on their lap, and purrs, purrs, purrs with joy.



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cover art for The Sorcerer

My next book will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing in July. I found inspiration for it when I started working for a Germany company and researched old German castles. All the images sent my imagination into overdrive. I wouldn't have known where to start making a cover for the story, luckily, talented Gwen Phifer was on top of it. I love it!




Blurb: 

When Anne accepts a job in a German boarding school for gifted children, her main concern is surviving without California’s sunshine and beaches. She doesn’t anticipate anything more dangerous than getting lost in an unfamiliar place. Nowhere does her work description mention three men betting on who will get her into bed first, or being rescued by the reclusive math teacher David Lindeman, a man her new friends claim is evil incarnate.

The old castle houses many secrets, and as days go by Anne finds it increasingly difficult to separate reality and superstition. She becomes a reluctant participant in an ancient battle between good and evil, and to survive, she must channel a power from deep within herself she could never have imagined. Who can she trust in a world where myths become real and nothing is what it seems?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Florida doesn't do anything small

The title of this post may puzzle you if you haven't spent a lot of time in Florida. Everything here is an extreme. I needed a couple of years before I realized the extent of Florida's extremes.

If it looks like a nice, sunshiny day, odds are it's 99 F (37 C). After a while here, you start thinking that 86 F (30 C) is nice and cool.

When I grew up, my mom always emphasized the importance of being outside in the sun and enjoying sunny days. In Florida that way of thinking will get you a heatstroke and possibly skin cancer.

If it's cold, it's probably not all that cold on the thermometer, but the combination of high humidity and being used to 99F makes 45 feel like the coldest it has been anywhere. Ever.



If it rains, you think investing in a car might have been a mistake - clearly you should have bought a boat. Or, built an ark. My current workplace would be understanding if weather prevented me from appearing on time, but I have had an employer who said, "It's just a tornado."



A windy day somewhere else might be an inconvenience. A windy day in Florida will blow the roof off your house.



Plants that barely survive potted in a greenhouse in other places become trees in Florida.

Big trees.



Bugs in other places are small and can be annoying. Bugs in Florida grow to the size of small birds. Or, there's a billion of them. Not joking. A billion.

Since I'm afraid of bugs I'll do everyone a favor and not include a picture of that.

Love bug season sounds cute. It is not.

Snowbird season also sounds cute. It is not. It's hard to find crowds like tourist season in Florida.

Do you have extremes where you live? What's the worst?

Friday, April 29, 2016

My fur kids

I talk a lot about my fur-kids, because they are the center of my life. =) 
Here are some photos of my babies. =)

Bonnie, my princess. She has a heart problem, but I'm hoping she'll hang in and stay with me for a long time yet. 


Topper's full name is Topper Goodbye, because he's such a good boy.


Boo Bear snuggle-bug


Ellie, beautiful girl and explosion of energy


Koda, handsomest kitty anywhere if you ask me

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bathroom-craze

If you're in the USA, you can't have missed the current bathroom debate. If you're outside the USA, let it suffice to say, people have gone insane. 
The big insanity is all about who should use which bathroom. Like, if you're a transgender fifteen year old girl, should you use the men's room or the ladies room. Or, if you're a buff 45-year old transgender man with muscles and beard, which bathroom should you go to?

To me, it seems really easy. Go where you feel comfortable and fit in.

Americans are going bonkers trying to make the girl use the men's room and the man the ladies' room, because that's the way they were born.  Makes perfect sense, right?

First of all, I never thought so many Americans would openly discuss the toilet.

Second, I think the debate stems from people fearing change. Any change. Suddenly the world doesn't conform to their ideas of what it should be, and this makes them uncomfortable. 

A question that arises in my mind is, how will you know? Are you going to lift people's skirts and check what's under them? Force a transgender man to pull down his pants to see what kind of body parts might be hiding there?

I don't care who pees in the stall next to me. I generally don't interact with the person in the stall next to me. I guess I might if there was a real bad toilet paper emergency, in which case I truly wouldn't care about the body of the person who took pity on me and helped me out. 

I do care that a female trapped in a man's body might not want to go to the men's restroom to use a urinoir, because what woman would want to do that? If you had been cursed with a different nether region than the one you have, would you want to do that? 

If it were me, I would find it humiliating and horrifying. 

And then there's the matter of a man born in a woman's body. Do you want these men to go back to using the ladies' room? Think about this before you answer, because any laws regulating these things will go both ways. If you're uncomfortable with having a transgender woman in the stall next to you, how will you feel about having a transgender man there? 

Another thing I care about is moms bringing their little boys to the ladies' room and not looking after them, so there's suddenly a kid peeking up at you from under the stall. Not because I'm shy, but because it's annoying. Children, and moms with sons, and dads with daughters need to pee too, but please stay on your side of the divider. 

And, in the spirit of truth-telling and bathrooms, I have backed away from using a public restroom once. This was in Italy, and the toilet was a tiled hole in the ground with water pouring into it. I couldn't figure out how to use it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Interesting perspective on things

Sometimes life can feel a little uphill, and it's good to put things in perspective. We live on the little dot there. Look how tiny it is. And the sun that looks so ginormous compared to the planet is really just a little speck compared to some of the giant suns out there.

Also, note how small Mars is.



I watched "The Marsian" the other day. Not a bad movie, but I kept getting hung up on problems with the science behind it all. Like, Mars is a small planet with a super-thin atmosphere. The entire premise of the movie stands on a dust storm giving the astronauts trouble, threatening to topple their craft over, and forcing them to leave prematurely.

While I think Mars has dust storms, I can't see how the wind could possibly be strong enough to cause such problems.

I must study up on this.

Yes, sometimes being a geek takes the fun out of things, but it adds a new layer of fun too, so it's all good. =)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Frontier, because it's like the wild west, or what's up with this mess?

Last fall I switched provider for Internet and TV from Brighthouse to Verizon. The main reason was that Brighthouse ticked me off through helping themselves to a large amount of money from my bank account and refusing to pay it back, but there were more factors involved in the decision.

Like, the Internet dropping out on a regular basis, Verizon tempting with a really good offer, and Verizon having a fantastic app that made the husband happy. He likes TV, and suddenly everything worked on his phone. (Brighthouse has an app too, but in our case it was more theoretical than functional, lol.) Since Mike spends so much time in different healthcare facilities, the app made a huge positive impact on his life.

I was very happy with being a Verizon customer.

Everything worked exactly as I wanted it to.

Then, they sent out the message of death: Florida customers would be transferred to Frontier.

I didn't think much about this at first. I actually forgot all about it until April 1st, when everything stopped working. We're now nine days into complete chaos. Frontier's customer service gives elusive answers like, "Everything will be solved by the ninth" - it is not - "We have to transfer millions of accounts" - not my problem - and "We don't know when the problems will be resolved, but we're working on it."

Great.

Because there aren't enough problems in the world without something like this?

Of course it takes time to transfer all these user accounts, but they must have known that before they started, right?

The only thing they seem really interested in is getting paid. I have several times gotten the reply, "But if you need to pay your bill, we can help you with that."

Yes, I'm sure customers are lining up to pay their bills for services that aren't functioning.

Who is your provider? Are you happy with them?