Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Here's a happy prescription to get in the holiday mood.

First, steam some lactose-free milk.

Second, use a whipping foamer and make it light and airy.

Third, share it with an eager feline---😻

Who will be filled with foam and thankfulness.

You're welcome!

💝Happy Thanksgiving 💝

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Clara Schumann’s Diet

No, not that Clara Schumann

This one

We took her out of a kill shelter only hours before she was scheduled to be euthanized. She’d been there over two months, and while all the other cats who kept her company were adopted, she was passed over. A volunteer texted me that “they can’t keep her any longer.” I got in my car and raced over, and this majestic lady, all eight pounds of her, graced us.

Three years later, Clara Schumann became even more substantial. Yearly vet records show an eleven-pound feline, generally in good health.

But in 2018, the year we lost another rescue who originally came with Clara, we gained a new cat, aptly named Nougat. Our new addition had serious digestive problems, and we finally solved those with a special rich if bland diet. The vet said this diet was fine for all our cats.

Clara Schumann thought so, too. In one year, her weight went from eleven to sixteen pounds.

The vet said to keep the same food, but restrict Clara to only half a cup a day. Three months later, she had gained 0.8 of a pound on this restrictive diet.

It was time for a blood test and a thorough checkup. The vet called, saying she had good news and bad news.

“The good news is there’s nothing wrong with Clara,” she said. “And the bad news is there’s nothing wrong with Clara.”

This meant Clara was going on a stricter diet. New diet food, and still, only half a cup a day. We are to feed her four times a day an eighth of a cup of diet food each time. The rest of the time, we are to manage our emotions as she begs for food.

Trust me, Clara Schumann’s diet is the hardest diet I’ve ever been on. Meow!

But there is good news. Seven and a half months later, she is losing her girth gradually and is gaining her pert. All eleven point six pounds of her.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


Most writers I have known, or read interviews with, would rather keep their private lives private. Publishing, i.e. making public, is for the work, not their bios or beeswax.

But today’s publishing demands some personal exposure. It’s a weird and uncomfortable transition, and in the process, some get confused as to how personal to be in the virtual social space.

To the rescue comes a polished and experienced professional, literary agent Janet Reid. See her blog post here, about how to (and mostly how NOT to) present oneself as you head to the field of publishing.

It’s solid advice from one who knows. Not arguing, and also breathing a sigh of relief that I have nothing in my digital past that needs fixing. (Actually, almost nothing, but I’ll leave it there.)

However, I have one more to add to this list of please-don’t-do-that, and it’s a personal one that has bothered me for years, mostly because it is so ubiquitous on writers’ sites.

It’s the tendency to hide in plain sight.

I took care to include in my About Me/bio all true things that are germane and pertinent to why I do what I do. I omitted plenty that I don’t want to share and don’t think has relevance to my writing life. But even as I use some humor, I wrote central and deep truths.

I understand how some do not want to say anything that goes beneath the surface. Thus, we get “fun facts” such as “I like green jelly beans, have a fear of spiders, and once climbed a mountain with a plate on my head.”

And that's pretty much all they say.

This sort of disclosure is not much fun, and serves to masquerade as personal sharing while hiding.

Maybe having a factual bio would be better. It’s not humorous, but I’ll get to know you just a wee bit. Janet Reid mentions that you should have a photo of yourself, not of a typewriter. I think a bio should also expose something.

Just my take on this tricky road. I know it isn’t easy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


If you’ve read this blog before, you know how I rail against the standard/daylight savings time change. You must be saying “’nuff already,” and “there she goes again,” and “there are much worse things, so grow up.”

Only this time I am not pleading for me. Take pity on my cats.

You see, they don’t read digital clocks, (though one of them, I swear, can read the analogue kind. She will stare at it for hours until it’s feeding time) so just pointing at the clock and saying “not yet” has no effect.

Try telling Ms. Nougat that I have one more hour to sleep. She’ll pretend to be polite for a few minutes, and then graduate to jumping and attacking the quilt and finally-- me.

Try telling Miss Clara her seven/thirteen/seventeen/twenty O’clock (think army times) feedings are not yet/not yet/not yet/not yet, and see how far that gets you.

I know, change is good. Change is a mini-vacation. In fact, why would anyone who lives in a nice place and a beautiful location schlep to a vacation? For the change, of course.
As hard as I try to convince myself these forced time changes are vacations, I can’t convince my cats.

©The New Yorker cartoons IB PG

And then, when I finally succeed, we have to do it all over again in spring.

Take pity. If not on me, then on the cats.

Ms. Nougat: “Sorry, the old seven just doesn’t feel like itself. Glad you’re up even if you prefer to still be tucked in. See how nice it is to be up an hour early? I’m on top of it, literally.”