Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What kind of music do you like?

Music is a big deal to me. It can trigger so many moods and emotions, slow down time, or speed it up. Which type of music depends on the day, but I'm generally a rock kind of girl.

In Sweden we have something called "dansbandsmusik" - I don't have a good translation for it, but I hate it. Refrains can still sneak into my mind and replay themselves at the most inappropriate moments. Weirdest thing.

Like this one. I can't stand this song, but I hear it in my head all the time.

I think my subconscious likes to torture me, hahaha!



Here in the USA, I hate country music. I think it's related to the "dansbandsmusik."

Unfortunately, one of my neighbors loves country - especially the really self-pitying kind with lots of steel guitars and violins. He likes to play it really loud outdoors. You know, to make sure he can hear it in case he goes inside and accidentally closes the door...

Jazz music makes me nervous. It's because of the drummers, they're so syncopated and think they're really cool, but I can almost feel my blood pressure rising. lol!

I also often say that I hate rap music. That turned out to not be entirely true.

Me, in the car. "I really hate rap music."

Husband, "So, why are you listening to this?"

Me, "What? Oh no, this is Mike Shinoda. He doesn't count. I love Mike Shinoda."

Husband, "Oookay."



Five minutes later.

"I thought you said you hate rap music."

"This is Prince and the New Power Generation. Doesn't count. They had melodies and stuff."



Five minutes later, I'm singing along to "Cleaning out my closet" all happy.

Husband, "Again, you say you hate rap music."

"Mm-hm. But I kind of like Eminem. At least some Eminem songs. Catchy refrains. I don't like the kind the neighbor kids play. You know, a guy talking to a bass drum."

Husband rolls his eyes.


Yeah, I'm getting old. Clearly!

What music do you like? What types of music can't you stand?

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?