I haven’t been super active on my blog. It’s a shame really because I would love to be posting two or three times a week.

So why don’t I?

Because I’m an idiot when it comes to using WordPress.  I’ve read claims it’s simple, a drag and drop sort of builder.  Yet, somehow it never quite works out for me and my blog posts end up looking like they should be on a Geocities page.  For those of you who are full of youth and vigor, and do not know what Geocities was, it was a free site that would host your own personal website. You used their format.  It was clunky with awkward graphics.  It was so awful, it was awesome.

Why can’t doing a blog post be like setting up a Shutterfly photobook?

I think I’m aging myself here.

In any case, complications or not, I plan to post on a more regular basis.  Interesting, snazzy stuff.

About squirrels

Or stories about alien octopus

Or something about my perpetual love of lettuce.

Or….whatever I feel like.

If anyone has suggestions on how to make visually interesting posts with the least amount of work, let me know in the comments and please don’t say use AI.  No, just no to that.

For the bored, or maybe just the curious, check out what Geocities websites looked like.  Of course, this is not representative of ALL of them, but you get the vibe. 


This is the second part of the short story The Blind Date which was inspired by the painting “Medusa” by Susan Sheets. You can purchase the painting at the Archway Gallery.  I encourage you to check out more of her art and the rest of the artists at Archway.


part 2

Bill and Marsha eased into light-hearted, semi-thrilling conversation, and she giggled at some inane comment he made about taquitos vs flautas. She licked her lips. Flirty.

She flushed at her silliness. Of course, he wouldn’t pick up on her visual cues.

He paused in their conversation and took three hard swallows of wine as if he wanted to finish the glass off all at once.

“So, uh,” he stammered, searching for the right away to approach the topic, “why were you so excited when you realized I was blind?”

Her shoulders tensed, waking up the dormant snakes as they sensed her unease. The turban undulated slightly, moving off kilter on her head.

She inhaled.

“I have a physical feature that people might find off-putting,” she said, hoping her voice sounded casual and light, like having moving snakes on her head was common, like a crooked nose or a wondering eye.

He nodded.

“Me too.”

He placed his hands on his sunglasses, then hesitated a fraction of a second before removing them.

“Look,” he instructed and leaned in closer.

His eyes were golden in color, expanding across the entire eyeball, and his pupils were narrow rectangles. He had goat eyes.

“They’re beautiful,” she murmured.

He leaned back and smiled.

“What’s your unusual characteristic?”

Oh shit. Here it goes. One… two… three.. go…

“I have snakes on top of my head.”

He didn’t recoil, or laugh, or swear. He didn’t claim to not believe her or comment only evil women had snake hair. In fact, he seemed nonplussed, like every other woman in his life had legless reptiles on top of
their head.

“Snakes? Like Medusa?”


“May I touch them?”

No one had ever touched her snakes before. The thought made her anxious.

“Yes, but not here.”

They paid their bill, and Marsha drove them to Bill’s apartment for some heavy snake petting.

She could hear her blood swish in her ears as she got out of her car, louder with each step closer to his apartment. She wished she had some gum.

Once inside, all thoughts of strangers touching her reptiles disappeared. Shelves lined the living room, wall to ceiling, with every space occupied by dolls, New Kids On the Block dolls to be exact. Donny, Joe, Danny, Jordan, Jonathan, and even Mark who quit the band after a few months so he could enjoy cocaine instead. The dolls eyes, lifeless glass orbs, stared at her. He led her to a sofa. She bumped into a coffee table, and a New Kids on the Block vase stuffed with dead flowers wobbled.

“Who decorated your apartment?” she asked.

“I did. Ok, maybe not exactly, but I told my sister what I wanted and she put it together.”


A grown man in love with the New Kids on the Block. She had to get out of there.

“The snakes?” he asked gently.

She hesitated. They did have a wonderful dinner, he
respected her rules, and he had eyes like a goat’s. Maybe it’d be OK.

She removed the turban from her head. The snakes waved in the air, happy to have fresh air after being stuffed into the warm head-covering. She guided his hand to them. At first, they recoiled and scooted away from his touch, but as the seconds passed, they relaxed. His hand slid down one of the slender bodies.

“Amazing,” he whispered.

His face was inches from her, his cologne gently drifting in the air. A man was touching her with her snakes loose and free, and he didn’t die.

Screw those New Kids on the Block.

She inched forward, ready to make her move.

A scream shattered the moment. Startled, Bill fell backwards on the sofa. An arm slithered around Marsha’s neck while another pinned her arms behind her back. The screaming continued.

She twisted her body around, desperate to free from the person’s grasp. Whoever it was had a tremendous amount a strength, and it couldn’t be a man because he would have crumbled to the ground, clutching his chest.

The person dragged her into the bathroom. Marsha struggled to get free, trying to dig her heels into the solid floor, but the assailant managed to shove her head into the toilet. She had Marsha pinned down.

It was Marsha’s turn to shriek between gasps of air as she lifted her face out of the water. Each time she was  pushed back into the toilet water. If she couldn’t get her head out soon, she’d drowned.

Suddenly, the evil woman was jerked away.

“Tina. TINA! Stop it.”

Bill was yelling at this person, this Tina.

He pushed her aside and took Marsha into his arms.

“Are you OK?”

A bit shaken, but overall, physically OK. Mentally was another story.

“Who is this person who tried to kill me?”

Tina, the wanna-be murderer, sobbed and shrieked, her arms flinging in the air and the occasional foot stomping on the floor, a grown woman sinking into a tantrum.

“My sister Tina. She sometimes stays with me when she’s, uh, between boyfriends,” he rotated to the direction of Tina. “Who is leaving right now. Get out.”

“She’s a monster!” Tina screeched.

“Oh, that’s rich coming from someone who has a lizard tail.”

“Wait, what?” Marsha asked, her curiosity peaked, and the attempted murdered almost forgotten, almost.

Tina flounced at of the bathroom and slammed the apartment door behind her as she left.

He apologized over and over as he helped Marsha to her feet and helped her rinse and towel off her snakes. He left, only to return with a large t-shirt, jogging pants, and a fluffy bathrobe.

“I’m sorry I don’t have anything closer to your size. Would you like to shower?”

“I just want to calm down first.”

They returned to the living room where he sat her on the sofa and brought her a hot cup of tea. Earl gray forgotten, he drew her into his arms, and rubbed the back of her neck. The snakes curled up and went to sleep. She could get used to this. 

Maybe the evening wasn’t a complete disaster.

“Will you ever go on another date with me?” he asked.

“Yes. I’m glad I stuck around, despite getting assaulted. You know, I almost left when I saw the New Kids on the Block stuff.”

“New Kids?”

“Yea, you know your décor.”

“My décor is all horses. I love horses. I rode them as a child as part of a program to help me gain my independence.”


She looked at the dolls that had fallen to the floor during her attack and laughed.

“One of these days, I have something to tell you,” she said as they curled up in each other’s arms, ready to forget the weirdness of the night.

When I saw this painting hanging up at the Archway Gallery in Houston, TX, I was intriqued.  Here was a modern day Medusa. My mind started whirring about what that would mean for a woman, being a Medusa during contemporary times.  Would she hide it from the world or start her own Youtube channel? Do the snakes, or looking into her eyes, turn people into stone like it did in Greek Mythology? How does she feel about the burden of the snakes? There was a story there; in fact, dozens and dozens of potential stories.

“Medusa” was created by Susan Sheets, a Texas artist who made this one and other incredible paintings that are soulful up close, and take on an element of photorealism as you step away.  I recommend you stop by Archway Gallery and check out her work.  I encourage you to purchase a painting or two.


part 1

Marsha had sworn off dating. Nearly every first date ended the same. With death. The man simply keeled over.

No, Marsha was not slipping poison into their drinks or shooting large doses of heroin into their arms.

Truth be told, the deaths were the men’s fault. She gave them specific instructions, and being the gender that always thinks they are right, the men did not follow the instructions. They had to be the ones to make the rules, not her. And it cost them the ultimate.

However, there was one man who did follow her requests, and his death was neither a result of his aggressiveness or need to break the rules. It was entirely an accident.

It was the fourth date when it happened. Up to that point, he had been respectful and continued do so. When she was with him, he made her laugh, and she found herself looking forward to the next date. This one had true potential.

They were at his apartment, a tidy one bedroom with sparse furniture and a rabbit named Fred that hopped around with freedom and glee as he chewed on the baseboards. They settled on his couch, obviously something his mom insisted he purchase from Crate and Barrel. It was nice but not his style.

They proceeded to kiss, light at first, and then with a bit more intensity. Passion bubbled through both and before either realized, they were going at it hot and heavy.

It was then he knocked the turban off her head.

Yes, Marsha almost always wore a large turban, often a pink and turquoise one. Sometimes, she mixed it up and wore a large floppy red hat instead or a ridiculous beehive wig.

The head covering was a life-or-death situation. It served a purpose greater than anyone would expect. You see, Marsha suffered from Medusa Syndrome.

It started in her early twenties, with itchy nubs protruding from her scalp. In a few weeks, they shot out to look like sticks, and before long, they had eyes and tongues that flicked in the air. They were full on reptiles, more specifically, snakes. Marsha was terrified.

They waved in the air, happy to have a home and not much responsibilities. She didn’t know what to do, but going to the doctor seemed out of the question. They might lock her away in a laboratory, performing scan after scan, test after test, blood draw after blood draw. She showed them to her best girlfriends who suggested she keep them covered.

Her best friend asked, “Do you have to feed them?”

She didn’t know.

But it didn’t take long for Marsha to discover that if a non-relative male human looked at the snakes, they collapsed clutching their chests. In a few minutes, they passed away from a heart-attack. She was even more horrified by this than the actual snakes.

Interestingly enough, the snakes had no effect on women. Marsha sometimes wondered if she shouldn’t switch to being a lesbian.

Still, she wanted to be in a relationship with the opposite sex. She went on dates with the men, giving them clear instructions to never remove her head covering. Most couldn’t make it through one date before ripping it off. She didn’t understand the desire to see what was there. Did they think she was bald? And if so, so what?

Back to the man who made it to the fourth date. He followed her instructions and ticked off all the right boxes. He volunteered to feed a cat colony once a week. He visited the nursing home and played songs on his guitar, just for the fun of it. He had steady employment and made wise choices with his money. He had a pet rabbit that he adored.

But more importantly, he was fun to be with. He made Marsha laugh until the corner of her eyes crinkled, and tiny tears of joy slipped out.

It was the make-out session on the couch that accidentally knocked the turban off and cost him his life. Crying, she ran out of the apartment, and swore off dating.

Now her friend wanted her to go on a blind date. This was a bad idea. It could only end one way.

Her friend insisted. Just this one, to see if she liked him.

Reluctantly, she agreed.

They met in a low-key, not very busy restaurant that had a reputation of not serving you what you ordered. You told the waiter you wanted spaghetti, and you got minestrone soup.

You asked for a steak, you got grilled chicken. Still, Marsha liked the place. It was adventure to eat there.

When she arrived, he was already at the table, the glow from the candle on the table flickering. It reflected in the wrap around sunglasses he wore.

She sat down and introduced herself. She extended her hand. He did the same, four inches left to her hand.  

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed, “You’re blind!”

He stiffened.

“Is that a problem?”

“No, absolutely not.” She couldn’t hide the glee in her

He frowned.

Her friend was right. This one might actually work.

PART 2 will be posted shortly.

I expected a lot of things when reaching middled aged as a woman: the beginning of fading into the background, perimenopause with hot flashes and grumpiness, a bigger sense of “I don’t care what anyone thinks,” and diving into whatever I wanted to do without care.

The one thing that surprised me was the weight gain. 

Sure, I had been warned, I had been told by knowing women with sympathetic nods. But I wasn’t sure I believed it. Maybe I didn’t want to believe it.

Well, I told myself, if I eat right and keep moving, the gain will be minimal.

Of course.

If I eat right and keep moving.

But did I do that?


I do get my 5 plus servings of vegetables a day and most days keep the fat down. On the other hand, I drink more wine than I should. After all, how else are you going to wash down bitter kale?

As for exercise? It’s become non-existent other than a 30-minute walk during lunch. I try, I really do, but one of two things happen, I either go all out on day one, surprised that I can no longer do what I could before, and then stumble around the next several days due to muscle soreness. Or I ease into it, start to see gains, then get swamped by work, book stuff, and life for two weeks and must start all over. I never make progress. As someone who used to long distance run just for fun, this is frustrating.

This weight gain must be the stuff of menopause lore and not snacking too much, drinking too much wine, and being a stagnant blob 23.5 hours a day.

So, I did what any educated woman in their 40’s would, I got on the internet to see what was causing my weight gain and unattractive belly.

Images popped up all over from my search. If your belly is shaped like this, then it means this. Oh good, google was guiding me into the right direction.

I studied the drawings. I went into the bathroom and gazed at myself sideways. I went back to the photos, and back to my profile.

What does it mean if your protruding belly doesn’t match any of their drawings?

Mine is kind of trapezoidal shape. You heard me right, trapezoidal, more specifically an isosceles trapezoid. It slopes slightly at the top, right under the breasts, then juts out in a flat line, and finally slopes towards the pelvis region. My back creates the parallel line to my protruding belly line.

What on earth does this mean?

(It means you need to lose weight!!)

My legs, not as firm and muscular in the past when I happily jogged along 15 miles on an early Saturday morning, were still oddly skinny.

My belly, as stated previously, had jutted out in a trapezoid shape. If you don’t remember your high school geometry, look it up. But let me say this, you don’t want any body part to look like this.

My arms, always an issue and chunkier than I wanted, appear jiggly and bigger than normal.

I’m a mess. I know it, and on top of it all, my doctor told me I had “male patterned baldness,” and I’m thinning on top.

A thinning hair pigeon shaped lady. It sounds like a pitch for an SNL skit.

When I go to the doctor, and she does routine blood work, the test results are normal.

I know I should be ecstatic for this, but my insides don’t match my outsides. My blood pressure is low. My cholesterol is low.  All my blood markers hit right in the middle.

What’s going on?

The all-knowing older women in my life nod, and whisper the secret to my ears, “menopause.”

I think it’s more than that I think it’s menopause, not enough exercise, too much wine, plus stress. It’s an evil combination for the modern woman.

Or am I the only one who suspects this?

People tell me to embrace my body whatever shape it morphs into.

I will not go quietly into a larger pants size. I will do something about it.


The mug shakes when I accidentally bump into the table. Droplets of hot 2023 optimism caffeinated liquid spills on to the surface. I wipe it up, a smidgen less optimistic than before. Still, the mug is full, and I’m ready to drink what I like to call my New Year’s Resolution coffee.

It’s the first cup of coffee I have of the new year. I haven’t taken a sip yet, but am confident I used the correct ration of grounds to water, sugar and half-half. This will be consumed while I create my New Year’s Resolutions List.

Sure, I failed at nearly all of mine from last year, and if I take a moment to be honest with myself, will fail at all of them this
year. My plan to trek on the treadmill every day and lift weights every other day did not happen. But I don’t care. I love starting the year brimming with enthusiasm for changing myself, making life improvements, and trying new activities.

Wincing, I drink my hot beverage. I pray it’s not an indication of the year to come, too bitter yet too sweet.

Yes, I will make resolutions, not intentions. For years we’ve had it drilled into our head by magazine articles, TV hosts and
psychologists, if you make a new year’s resolution, give it concrete details, so it’s more likely to happen. Don’t use vague phrases and terminology. 

Now people are saying, don’t make resolutions, set intentions.

Wait, what?

Resolve vs intend. 

Resolution vs intention.

One word is stronger, more emphatic, more concentrate.

Here’s a hint.

The United Nations (UN) says United Nations Resolution #432,  not United Nations Intentions #432.

If I say I intend to go running later, it implies there’s a chance I might not go. If I say I resolve to go to the running at the park,
that’s a firmer word choice, and a show of actual future plans.

Someone said I was missing the point, that intentions were generalizations about over all changes and mood, like “I set the intention to be a better person.”

Better person. What does that mean? Does that mean posting platitudes with photos of cats dangling from trees to inspire
people and thus make you a better person? How is that being a better person?

Does that mean once a week volunteering to clean the park and an additional day a week to feed the homeless? Or does it mean you will cuss at people less? How much effort does one have to make to go from a mediocre person to a better person?

Too vague and honestly, too annoying.

Here’s the worst of the Debbie Downer New Year Resolution nay-sayers: embrace and accept your flaws, be kind to yourself.

So, I’m suppose to embrace my mediocrity, smile at my unhealthy fat squeezing my heart, and welcome my ever-shrinking ability to walk stairs. Do not bother to change anything. Don’t try anything new or different or fun. Remain the same. Be kind to yourself.

Sounds like a cop-out.

And a bunch of nonsense.

I want change, for better or worse.

Besides, if I fail, I will not cry tears into my now cold cup of 2023 optimism coffee. I will simply shrug and move those items to the following year’s list.

In the end, who cares what people think. Do what you wish. Set intentions. Don’t make resolutions. Agree to embrace being out of shape. For myself, I wish to set resolutions.

1. Eat less cheese. Do I really have to explain that one? We all know cheese, with its full fat, creamy yummyness, isn’t the best for human cardiovascular system or waistlines

a. Steps to
take- um, eat less cheese?

b. Eat barley
instead of cheese

2. Lose 20 pounds. Yikes, how did I let that much additional fat latch on to my body?

a. Steps to take – see above

b. Eat more vegetables

c. Eat lentils three times a week

d. Eat steamed or raw cabbage 3 times a week

e. Exercise more (um, at all?)

                                          i.   Do old lady yoga – fun and easy

                                          ii.   Return to running – start with walking, then walk running, followed by running and increasing to 6 miles a day, 5 times a week, Easy peasy.

3. Drink less wine. It’ll help with the top two resolutions. After all, it’s caloric and what goes great with a glass of wine? Cheese!

a. Steps to take – don’t buy wine

b. No wine when eating out.  Done

4. Learn to sew – I’ve been collected fabric for years. It’s time to do something with them.

a. Steps to take – purchase sewing machine

b. Read manual to sewing machine

c. Watch youtube videos on how to sew

d. Buy some patterns

e. Start sewing!

5. Make a lizard costume, and take photos crawling out of the ditches at Bear Creek

a. Steps to take – see NYR above

b. Make costume, figure out the best fabric,

c. Recruits friends to help

d. Schedule one weekend or two. Whatever it takes

6. Write another book

a. Outline

b. Write every day, minimum one paragraph

Typically, I’d come up with an additional five resolutions but have decided to stop here. 2022 was a busy year, and I need a bit of down time.  



Treadmill to lose weight in 2023!

One of my NYR, use the treadmill, consistently, and by that I mean walk on it, not hang clothes on it.


Humans spend way too much time fretting about the future. They worry, they plan, they talk about what they are going to do, but fail to do much in the moment they are living.


They need to observe cats for a happier life. Cats care about what’s going on right then and there, not what’s going on the next day. Unless it involves going to the vet, then that’s cause to worry. Excluding that, even if it’s something awful happening like a dog chasing after you or not enough cat food on your plate, you deal with it as it happens, not lie on the floor dreading that it may one day happen. Because it may not.


However, I will add that having gone to Japan, I do see that at times there is value in planning, and also, learned about how sometimes you can’t help but worry about future events. I stressed over what the cat box situation would be in Tokyo, which, turned out fine. Stressing solved nothing, but it did help me understand Audrey a tiny bit better.


Right now, Audrey’s chirping about, going on and on about improvements in the next year. She does this every January. She pulls out a sheet of paper, chews on the end of a pen, and stares off into space for a really long time. Eventually she writes something down, and declares to me how the new year would be better. Then pesters me until I run away.


This time I jump up on the table to see what she is writing. 


“2023 News Year’s Resolutions.” Followed by a smiley face, a carrot, and an odd shaped cat face.


She reaches out to pet me on the head and rub my ears.


“Are you making any resolutions for the new year? Maybe eat more tuna?” she asks.


My ears perk up. I definitely could eat more tuna. Maybe this resolution stuff wasn’t complete nonsense.


Giving it a whirl, I came up with the following:


1. Eat more oysters

2. Eat more tuna

3. Go back to Japan

4. Lose a pound, so when I go back to Japan, I won’t be the fat cat puttering around

5. Walk on the treadmill to lose weight, since eating less isn’t going to work if I’m eating more tuna and oysters. Ten minutes a day, that’s what I’ll do.


Audrey bought that weird contraption during the middle of 2020. She walks on it and goes nowhere. Literally, she stays in one place.


I really don’t understand the purpose. If you want to walk, walk. Go outside, or pace around in the house, but strutting in one place and never going anywhere seems pointless and silly.


She tells me it will help her lose weight.


Well, if it helps her, then it should help me. Right?


Then again maybe I’ll just go outside and chase after squirrels. After all, that sounds more fun.





Time to be grateful, time to care,

Time to say grace, before luring the kids

into your lair

You give them chocolate, pecan, and even coconut pies

But then down comes the largest of lies

You call it dessert, a mash of puree

Spices and such, tufts of whipped cream,

So thick it will float like a cloud of dreams

Where plonked down in precious crowns

On top of the orange, in hopes of smiles and not frowns

But the silence covers the truth

They all know,

It’s not candy

or fruit.

But why stop with pumpkin, why not go all out?

Broccoli blend topped with sugar, or maybe mushed brussel sprouts

Drizzled with chocolate, a bit of a sugary glaze

Top it with cinnamon, everyone will graze

Sweet Veggie pie, sweet veggie pie, they will amaze

How about in a sweet puff pastry or a gramah cracker crust?

Maybe the vegetarians bellies will brim with lust

Oh that’s too weird, everyone will say

Instead, make pie from …




It’s perfect for the day

Where people say their thanks and all

And the next day people push each other down

at the shopping mall.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Are you a fan of pumpkin pie? Do you love it? Hate? Want it year round? Or can’t wait to toss it in the trash? Express your opinions in the comments.

voted best food blogger

The following is advice on how to be the most famous, best food blogger in the world. 

Ads for guinea pigs meds are a must.

Find a website to host your blog,  preferably one that has a minimum of 12 ads per page.  This will increase your odds of earning an income when people click on the link for erectile dysfunction or parasite medication for their guinea pig.  (By the way,  that would be ivermectin.)


Give your blog a cutesy name and be sure to include a photo of yourself from ten years ago.  No one really wants to see what you currently look like.  Be sure to state the obvious in your profile – that you love to cook and try new foods.  Give your significant other a code name  like  Fish Spouse or Moody One.


cutsie blog title required: creating creative curries

Time for the real reason of this blog,  recipes.   However,  you can’t dive straight into the recipe.  You  must wax on about your morning,  the more mundane the better.  You don’t want anything too interesting like a car broke down in front of your house and out stepped Elton John. Right behind him a tipsy Martha Stewart stumbled out of the back seat.  Not only did they break down, but they were also lost, in your humble neighborhood, without cell phones.  You invited them in and served them your not yet world famous grilled cheese sandwich.


No,  you want stories about how your husband forgot to take his cell phone to work,  that you stubbed your toe on the dining room table chair, or the cat threw up on the carpet, again.  Dedicate a minimum of six paragraphs to this.  


Now on to the recipe!  No,  not the actual recipe, silly, but three paragraphs on how great and amazing this recipe is.  Drive home how much the reader will love it and also how much you love it,  in case the reader gets confused and thinks you posted a recipe you hate.  In paragraph four, reiterate what was stated in the first three paragraphs. “Did I mention how much I loooooove this meal?” Yes, at least six times but it needs to be more than that! 


Finally,  you can get to main agenda,  the recipe.   Whatever you do,  do not have testers try the recipe first and give feedback.  After all, we all know that too many cooks, er opinions,  ruin a meal.  


Photos of kitchen tools = authenticity

Once you wrap up the instructions,  include a dozen or more photos of the completed dish,  all at a slightly different focal length and angles. This isn’t because you were indecisive.  This shows you aren’t stuffy like an old school printed cookbook that has one professional photo of the final dish.  This shows you are cutting edge cool.  This shows you are skilled at photography.  This shows you are on top of your game.


And you’ve done it. You are on your way to having a number one food blog and tens of thousands of dollars rolling into your bank account as a result.   Add recipes three or four times a week and you are set.  Happy cooking everyone.

It was one of those weeks. Without even going into details, you know exactly what I mean. A crappy Monday that progressively got crappier each day.

My cat would not respond to me nor eat her food, and this was a cat that would steal saltine crackers from your hand. She required an emergency visit to the vet.

I made a mistake in my data for work. No, a mistake implies one. I made 44 mistakes, and had to issue corrections to frantically make the 5:00 pm deadline, but I got it done.

The next day a technical glitch in the office informed me my numbers did not upload. The square on my computer monitor informed me I was in read only mode and can’t do anything.

I went back to the document, a bit befuddled on how I switched to read only mode when there it was, glaring at me from my computer screen, a typo. How did I miss that? Thank goodness the upload failed. With a clickety-clack of my keyboard, the number went from 10.52 to 10.25. Done. All I needed was to close out, reopen and click “stage.”

“Numbers failed to upload.”


Frustrated, I reached out to my boss to see if he had any insights on to what was happening.

“Your numbers are there.”

Oh good. They staged the second time.

Only they didn’t, they staged the first time, with the typo. I didn’t notice (I can’t look at the uploaded numbers), my boss didn’t notice, but the proof-reader noticed. You do not want to force your boss to work late in order to issue a correction to your mistake. It’s a bad feeling.

The next day my boss sent a meeting invite to the team about mistakes and corrections. Everyone knew this was directed at me.

I missed the meeting.

I saw the email invite to it, too late – after it happened.

We’ve all hit that point at work where the urge to grab your favorite coffee mug, your keys, and walk out without saying a word, and not come back on Monday, or Tuesday, or, well, ever. That Friday afternoon, I had hit that point.

With a few deep breaths, I finished my work, and used logic to talk myself in to returning next week.

Next week would be better.

I hoped.

But there was something at home that would make all the work tension fade away, forgotten until the day after Labor Day.

The Advanced Reader Copy of Whiskers Abroad: Ashi and Audrey’s Adventures in Japan was delivered! Years of work would suddenly materialize in my hand as a real physical book.

I burst into the house, immediately in a better mood than when I left the office.

“Any packages delivered?” I asked my husband.


My shoulders sagged. I didn’t know if I had it in me to wait one more day.

I texted my publisher, “no book delivery today.”

“But Amazon said it was. They sent me a picture.”

She showed me the photo, a photo of a cardboard box in front of a white door, white siding, and a sign to the left that stated “beware of dog.”

I didn’t have a dog.

Or a white door.

Or white siding.

My heart sank. My package had been misdelivered and who knew where. I didn’t recognize the door.

My husband sprang into action, declaring he’d go door to door to find it if he had to.

Fortunately, he didn’t have to. The publisher texted the address the delivery driver left the package.

We walked across the street (across the street I said, which means I didn’t even remember what my neighbor’s door looked like! What is wrong with me?) and fetched the book.

Unable to wait until I got home, I tore into the package and showed her the book.

I glanced at the dog sign.

“Do you have cats?”

“Two,” she said and waved at the sign, “I’m more of a cat person. The sign is there to, you know.”

I did know.

I thanked her for keeping the package save and returned home. She promised to buy a copy.

I sprinted home.

In my hands was the book.

A bit surreal.

And all the week’s worries forgotten.

P.S.  My cat was fine by evening time, and her blood work came back showing she’s a healthy feline. We suspect she ate something she should not have.

Whiskers Abroad celebration
Celebration time!

Recently,  I’ve been getting questions from fans about the book, Ashi, and Japan.  In the next few months,  I will attempt to answer them.  If you have a question of your own, please put it in the comments section.

Do you (the author) like Anime?

I was a huge anime fan in college and while at the University of Texas attended the anime club on Fridays.  Sadly, I haven’t watched any in a while so I’m not up to date on recent stuff, but what little I have seen,  I have enjoyed.

Do you play video games?

I’m not much of a video game player.  If given the opportunity, I’d much rather read a book, or bake bread, or dance around the living room to World Order. I hope one day to meet Genki Sudo and the rest of the group in person and that we will dance.  If you don’t know who World Order is,  check them out here – World Order

Would you ever move to Japan?

Absolutely!  But I do think it would be difficult, especially leaving behind my family and friends. I’d have to figure out how to bring Frenemy along, and to find an apartment that would allow her.  I also suspect that the Japanese work ethic and I might have some issues. Long hours at a job I don’t have much passion for scares me. I know there would be an awkward transition, but ultimately, I think I would like it.

Do you have any pets other than your cat?

Right now, all I have is the one cat, Frenemy. She’s cute, an awesome hunter, and friendly towards me and Jim (my husband). I wish she’d get more comfortable around strangers though. She is terrified by them. My previous cat Asti loved people. It didn’t matter if she had met them before or not. If they would pet her, she was happy.

Do you drive a Japanese car?

Right out of high school I did.  A Nissan Sentra that got amazing MPG. Then I switched to a Korean car, a Hyundai Accent.  Now I have a convertible mini-cooper.

Will Audrey and Ashi continue to other locations?

Yes! They are curious about many other countries, not just Japan.  Perhaps South Korea will be next, and naturally, more about Japan.  You can’t cover it all in one book, or even a dozen books. Look for more Ashi and Audrey books in the future.

Will there be a recipe book?

I haven’t thought about doing one, but if the demand is there I will. Maybe I’ll feature a recipe once a month on the blog. I do love Japanese food and cooking.

To leave a comment, click on the title to take you to the blog post with the commenting option.  There has to be a better way than this,  but I don’t know how right now.  I am working on it.

Molly & the Ringwalds plus Jumbo Ashi