Verbal… | #AtoZ #LetterV #nonfiction

…are my animals.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I have four cats and a bird in my house. The bird is kept by JY, while the cats keep all of us.

They all talk.

The bird is a parakeet. We were assured by JY that they’re quiet birds, and perhaps they are, but this one generally isn’t. He sings, chirps, chatters, flutters, and reacts strongly when the cats get too close to his cage. (Or her cage. We’re not sure yet.)

The cats are strays we adopted shortly before they were able to be Altered. They match the personalities of the team in Space Cats from Space, a story I wrote when I was like, “Huh. What should I write about? Here, let me start a story by describing a cat licking his butt, and see where it goes.” Oh, look, said book is on sale at Smashwords in some kind of site-wide Authors Give Back sale going on over there. A perfect time to buy!

Okay, okay. I’m done with the commercial.

Shadow, a large, long-haired black (dark brown) male, has the sweetest, prettiest meow. It’s high-pitched, and adorable. When you hear him beg to be let into EY’s room in the morning, he stands on his back legs and grips the doorknob with his fluffy paws and cries like a kitten.

And it works. He gets let in.

Static is a stocky, slightly cross-eyed, short haired tabby, and he doesn’t meow too much. He does have this little chitter, though. Just when you’re not expecting it, he’ll snap his jaws together rapidly and emit a little noise. It’s cute, and little.

He also sneezes, or wheezes, or maybe he’s just always trying to cough up a hairball. We’re not sure.

S. Fluffy McFlufferson, our largest cat, is a long haired tabby, and his meow is just a meow. Not too high pitched, not too needy, not too bold. He meows when he wants some love, and once he has your attention and you move to pick him up, he’ll run into the living room and jump up onto the Tower of Love.

Which leaves Shybutts. He is the smallest of our cats, the most cat-shaped, and a short haired tabby with distinct markings. He is, as his name implies, a shy cat. He will allow attention when he’s in the mood, and dart away when he’s not. But when he’s in the mood, usually after everyone has just gone to bed, he will stand in the upstairs hallway and emit the loudest, most demanding, most authoritative meow I’ve ever had the experience to listen to. He is not shy when he wants attention, which is why in Space Cats from Space he…wait, that’s spoilers. I will not spoil the story for you!

Anyway, my animals are vocal. And I know you were dying to know that, and now you do.

<3

Ubiquitous… | #AtoZ #LetterU #nonfiction

…was the domain name for my very first website!

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

It was “Ubiquitous.nu,” actually. Why did I get a .nu domain? Unclear.

I do remember that I came up with it with the help of DH in our first apartment sometime before our first child was born. My first design sucked, as first things can do, but I improved. I learned HTML, I did the thing at the time, which was to start an E/N site, and at some point I installed Greymatter to facilitate the posting of random crap.

Which, hey! Is a lot like what I do now!

My second domain was DieselNights.com, and it was the same kind of thing.

Then OfftheBeatenPlan.com.

And now this, GrowingUpWalls.com.

In terms of domain names, this has been by far my best choice. One of my best friends helped come up with the idea (or was it entirely her idea? I do not recall, but am happy to pile all the good idea vibes at her feet).

I wonder how many times I’ve written blog posts about my past blogs? I know this isn’t the first one.

This is a thing about me. It was a thing about my grandmother, and it drove me nuts with her, and I believe it is my duty to drive others nuts with this now that she is gone.

I retell stories. I have tons of great stories, but I do not have tons of great personal awareness of when I’ve already told the story to certain people. I’m going to embrace it. Feel free to stop me at any time.

Or, y’know, since this is my blog, wander on, my friend. Wander on.

Oh, look, I’ve even got links here (currently in the sidebar, but who knows how the site will change over the years–I’ve gone through a couple domains this month already) so you can find someone whose content doesn’t repeat itself every dozen posts or so.

^_^

Times… | #AtoZ #LetterT #nonfiction

…they are a-changin’.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

And I’m not even a little bit sorry for getting that song stuck in your head. In fact, if Bob Dylan (or The Byrds, or Peter Paul & Mary, or Simon and Garfunkle, or anyone else who has covered that song) isn’t running through your head at the moment…well, I mean, not everyone has such amazing musical taste as I do.

😉

Things that are new that I’m getting used to these days:

  • not getting all of the grocery items I ordered
  • not being able to get my family’s staples every week for groceries
  • working from home, and being productive while doing it
  • making more meals and washing more dishes
  • being mentally prepared to wear a mask in stores
  • not running out to the store every time I realize I need/want something
  • having orders cancelled due to unavailable inventory
  • longer shipping times

Yeah. I’m getting used to these things. I’m grateful I’m able to adapt so well. I know not everyone has the luxury of being so adaptable.

Currently, while I conceptually miss seeing my friends, exchanging journals, and checking in with my coworkers to measure their moods, I’m not feeling pain (or yearning) as a result of not being able to do these things. Not yet. I feel like that’s really insensitive to admit, that maybe it makes it sound like I don’t really like my friends as much as I should. But that’s one of those things about me. Sometimes I feel like there should be a word somewhere between “apathetic” and “sociopath” for what goes on inside my head. I occasionally have distinctively absent “I miss you” vibes. I don’t know. It’s a thing. Sometimes I do, though. So I’m not completely abnormal.

Just a bit.

I don’t know.

Anyway.

Are there things/routines/experiences/etc that are new because of this pandemic that you’re getting used to now? I’d be interested to read about them if you’d like to share. 🙂

Loves!

Stranger… | #AtoZ #LetterS #nonfiction

…danger. Sort of.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

Have you noticed people being less friendly lately? More friendly? Aside from the fact that we’re avoiding each other on the sidewalk, and trying not to pass too close to each other in the supermarket aisles, what are you seeing?

Here’s what I see.

When I pass someone as we cling to the edges of the walking path in a local park, I’m making more of an effort to raise a hand in the air, to smile, to meet their gazes and acknowledge their presence. So far, my results are about 80% – a return wave, half-grin, or greeting. The times when I don’t get a response vary. Couples chatting or walking dogs are common, as well as single people who seem determined to avoid contact with absolutely everyone. Hey, guys – you do you. 🙂

When I see my neighbors outside, I’m making more of an effort to say hello, to greet them, or just generally wave an arm in their direction. Admittedly I don’t see all my neighbors very often. In fact, I see them rarely. But I actually managed to have a three-sentence conversation the other day! I count that as a victory.

In the grocery store, the one time I’ve been out since we got the official stay-at-home order from our Governor, I made an effort to smile (from behind my bear-face mask, borrowed from Junior Youth), chat with staff, and express gratitude for the amount of items I was actually able to purchase even while they were still out of toilet paper.

I guess what I’m getting at is that online, everything feels contentious. Irritated, aggravated, and very, very Stranger Danger. Stay away, stay home, be afraid. And I do understand that those things are very true. You do want to keep your distance, you do want to stay home as much as possible, and you do want to “be afraid”, because the pandemic isn’t taking it easy on anyone.

But at the same time, when I venture out on a walk, or when I need to make a trip to an actual store instead of just the grocery pick-up at Walmart, it’s not as anxiety-inducing as my head is trying to make it out to be. People are still smiling, and trying to be polite as much as the situation allows.

The moral of this entry? I have no idea. Just that the strangers on the street still feel like people. I guess that’s it.

Restless… | #AtoZ #LetterR #nonfiction

…but ultimately satisfied.

Hi! I know you stopped by looking for an A-Z post of a short story, or perhaps the craft of writing. Perhaps you even looked so far as to see that my theme is “Catching Up.” Well, while I did spending a couple of days “catching up”, so at least on that point I’m on theme, there may actually be no fiction or writing talk.

I went for a walk today, and it was a good walk, but not a good walk. I’m not sure how to describe it, but “restless” seemed like a good word.

I’ll tell you about the walk. Yesterday (the Wednesday before this appears, actually) I went for a walk. My youngest bailed on going with me, so I went by myself. It was nice, because I was able to walk as far and fast as I wanted, so I walked through the local park on the walking path that runs along the river that borders my town. The entire trip is 5K from my house to the end of the path and back again. It’s a good walk!

And then after I got home yesterday and made dinner, my youngest asked if I wanted to go for a walk! And JY had been having a bad afternoon, so I wanted to talk with them, and so I went out. In my flip-flops. Which are very comfortable, and the bottoms of my feet didn’t hurt, but they scraped up the tops of my feet.

So.

Today, I wanted to go for a walk because I’m doing a walking challenge where I get out every day for a walk for at least 30 minutes. And again, JY didn’t want to come with me, so I went on the same path as the day before, through the park. And I wasn’t quite a mile in when I thought to myself, “Self, perhaps you should just do a mile and head home.”

But I didn’t. I did the whole thing. And by the time I reached the end of the path and started heading back, I was R E G R E T T I N G with a capital Regret my decision to do the whole thing.

There was nobody to rescue me at home with a car. My feet didn’t hurt, but they hurt. My legs weren’t sore, but they were sore.

I did make it home, by the way.

But I’m…

Restless?

My legs don’t hurt, my feet don’t hurt, I’m not particularly sore or anything.

It’s weird.

But I did the thing!

Tomorrow I will do the thing again, but not nearly so long of a thing, because dude.

Yeah.

No.