Monday, January 30, 2017

Life With Dragon Larva

Can you stand one more post about my new cat? I promise, she will not be a weekly topic on Odds n Bods. It's just that she brings so much joy and I just feel the need to share. There is no such thing as too much joy, is there?

The day after coming to the House of Frog and Dragon
She definitely likes to snuggle, and to curl up in my lap. She will get in my lap while I'm at my desk, but usually doesn't stay. When I'm on the sofa, she will curl up and stay as long as I sit still. She smells Tashiko, but seems at ease that another cat lived here, but has moved on. She tosses her wee mousy then chases it, rolls in cat nip, and always comes to whatever room I'm in for pets and naps. Being basically white, she prefers to nap on dark quilts rather than light ones. Isn't she special?

Same day, same bed, and not pleased with the camera being out
I alluded to the possibility last week of changing her name from Miss Kitty to something more fitting the House of Frog and Dragon. And then I remembered—my favorite radio and then television show growing up was Gunsmoke. Those of you of an age may remember the main characters—Marshall Matt Dillon (William Conrad on radio, James Arness on tv), Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake on the tube), Doc Adams (Milburn Stone on the tube), and the deputy, Chester B. Goode (Dennis Weaver on the tube). When Miss Kitty ran the Longbranch Saloon, she had red hair. My Miss Kitty is white with gray, but I figure it's only fitting she spend her retirement years in the Good household, don't you? So, she remains Miss Kitty. As full of spirit and self-confidence as the red-headed saloon keeper.
  
Snuggles with Mom
 Speaking of Miss Kitty and saloons, I tumbled to a very interesting tv show on AHC (American Heroes Channel http://www.ahctv.com) called America: Facts vs Fiction on Saturdays. This past Saturday they had an episode about the old west and women in saloons. Turns out, what we grew up with on Gunsmoke and other western tv shows and movies was a Hollywood fabrication. Gambling was held in one building, drinking in one, and women (would that be gamboling?) in a third. Hollywood combined them into one for ease of story telling and cost savings in only having to build one set instead of three. There was an interesting segment on gunfights, too, but that doesn't really fit in here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dragon Larva

As any of you know who know me know, I have a real soft spot in my life for Dragons. I've yet to meet a dragon I didn't like. If nothing else, they can melt snow, and hearts, and truly nasty people.

I also love small furry animals. Most of my life I've had cats, sometimes cats and dogs, I've had white rats, mice, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Oh, and two kids, who shared the zoo. Or were part of it? I'm not going to say I prefer one over the other, and yet, my heart always gravitates toward either the dogs or the dragon larvae. Alas, since I've moved into the condo I can't have a dog. But I can have a dragon larva. I could have two, but I'll settle for one at a time.

Lenora and Miss Kitty
 When Tashiko Akuma Pestini morphed into her Dragon form a couple months ago, I thought I'd do without another cat for a while, but yesterday, Sunday, I paid a visit to the Humane Society and now have a white and gray dragon larva prowling around the house. Her name is Miss Kitty. That's the name she came with. It may or may not remain her name. Adoptive parents do have some perks.

When I put the crate (with her in it) into the car, she only meowed a couple of times on the way home. I brought her into her new home, showed her where the scratch box is, and turned her loose. She explored, and came to me several times. I expected her to hide until bedtime, but she had a new home to check out. At bedtime, she not only got on the bed, she snuggled. She is not Tashiko. She is four years old, and came from Utah. She is white with gray patches and startling blue eyes. There must be a Siamese somewhere, but she doesn't sound it, or really look it. Except for the eyes. And she sings like Frank Sinatra only dreamed of.
Miss Kitty and Lenora

I am a firm believer in caring for orphans, widows, and small, defenseless animals. Especially cats. For when they have used up their 9 lives, they morph into Dragon. And as everyone knows, cats and dragons have very long memories, and if one is not nice to cats, and whoever they care to befriend, when they become Dragon, the evil entity may become a crispy dinner!


How do I know cats morph into Dragon? Easy. Look how cats sleep, how they sit, how they watch. Now look at pictures of dragons. Notice the similarity? Indeed, they are in practice for when they shed their fur for scales – and a truly hot breath. Be nice. You are forewarned. Me, I have a cuddle kitty ;-) I'm safe.




photos by Stacy at Benton Franklin County Humane Society

Monday, January 16, 2017

How Do You Read?

My Daddy taught me to read, at least a few words, from the Daily Oregonian newspaper before I entered Kindergarten. I learned to read in his lap, then in school I learned to read at a desk. When I was in third grade, Miss Mason, Portland's Library Lady came to visit. She told us about this marvelous magical palace called, "The Library." How it was filled with books, and if we had the Magic Card, we could take the books home, as long as we promised to bring them back. She gave each of us a magic card, and every Saturday, I went to the Magical Palace where I returned the 5 books (the limit I was allowed to check out) from the week before and brought home 5 new books.

Until fifth grade. By that time, I'd read all the books in the downstairs room to which I was confined that I wanted to read. I'd read all the CS Forester books they had. I'd read all the Miss Pickerel books they had. I'd read all the Hank Winton, Smokejumper books they had. There was nothing left in the Children's Room I wanted to read. I wanted to go upstairs to the Big People room and read real books. Alas, it was not to be. Rules, you know. One must follow the rules.

So I stopped visiting the library, and started saving my pennies and buying my own books from the spinner rack at the local drug store. Mostly westerns and Perry Mason, but there were several other books of which I don't know that my mother would have approved had she known about them.

I read. I read every book I could get my hands on. I read my mother's books, and hated Steinbeck and his damned Red Pony. At some point, Daddy asked me not to read Lolita until I was an adult. I have yet to read it. (I did read all the sex manuals I found in his hidden stash, though.) I was reading Onionhead when my uncle glanced through it and told my mother it wasn't suitable for a young lady in high school to read. She asked me not to finish it (filled with F-bombs, as I recall), and I had a teacher steal my copy of The Man With The Golden Arm, because he didn't think a young lady in 9th grade should read it. (I've never figured out where they got the idea I was a young lady. I was a rebellious tomboy.) Otherwise, I read anything I could get my hands on. Including cereal boxes and milk cartons. I have never read, or finished reading, those 3 books. There are too many other good ones out there and I don't think I've missed much, do you? Now, had they forbidden me to read them, trust me, they would have been read. But they asked. Nicely. And stated their reasons. Pfft, there were plenty of other books to be read and devoured.






I often read books in a single day, seldom took more than 2 or 3 days. I devoured books in huge gulps. Until 1969 when I picked up a copy of Never In A Hurry: Essays on People and Places –by Naomi Shihab Nye. I had long been reading her poetry (to be savored, not devoured) and when I saw this book of essays, I grabbed it, and began to devour it. And then I stopped. "Wait," the book seemed to say to me. "Pay attention. What is the title?" I consciously slowed down. I savored every word and how it played with its friends and neighbors. I discovered I no longer had to read in a hurry. I no longer starved, but could eat the words and get a good mouth feel of them, taste the spices, enjoy the textures. Prose could be read like poetry, slowly, deliberately.

I began to pick up other books of essays, Errata: An Examined Life –by George Steiner, and memoir such as Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation –by John Phillip Santos and its companion book, The Farthest Home Is in an Empire of Fire: A Tejano Elegy. These books wee and are to be enjoyed, to be visited again and again as the good friends they have become. Now I am reading A House of My Own: Stories from My Life –by Sandra Cisneros. Another collection to be enjoyed, and revisited often. I finished two of her essays the other night about color and whose color is it, anyhow, and what does it mean to different peoples? When I put the book down, I spent over an hour ruminating on what she'd written, and what I read (they are not always the same). 

I admit, when I read fiction (roughly half of what I read—depending on my stress levels and what's at hand when I grab off the pile) I tend to read it in a hurry. I want to get to the end; I want to know that everyone I care about makes it. But when I read nonfiction or poetry or essays or memoir, I read slowly. I savor. I search out the crunchy parts, the chewy bits, the spices hiding in unexpected places. Rich foods with no calories, no fat, no upsetting one's insulin levels. (If you're curious about what I read, check out my book blog, Rain Day Reads at http://lenoragood.blogspot.com .)


How do you read? Do you chomp the words sitting in a chair? Savor them supine on the sofa? Pop them, like chocolate bon-bons while propped up in bed (with a box of chocolates close at hand)? Do you have different ways of reading depending on what you read? Or, perhaps where you are? I'm curious, I want to know ;-).

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bagels & Jam

Due to moving my blog over from Wix to Blogspot, the Holidays, my ankle, and getting my novel, Jibutu: Daughter of the Desert ready to send out to beta readers (I could still use a couple of readers, if you're interested), I did not get a Rainy Day story posted last month. So to make up for it, I'm going to post a Flash Fiction piece I wrote from one of the prompts at www.thefirstline.com. If you're a writer, you probably want to check The First Line. They provide a quarterly prompt, the first line, of a story. I wrote two flash fictions from the first line, "George pressed the call button and said, "Mrs Whitfield, you have a visitor"." This was my favorite of the two. Enjoy.

 The photo is from, http://bagelnash.com/foodservice/serving-suggestions/

Bagels and Jam
                                                                 --by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

George pressed the call button and said, "Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor."
"A visitor, George? How exciting." She paused a moment then asked, "Am I expecting someone?" Mrs. Whitfield, long into her second childhood faced every day with enthusiasm and happiness.
"I don't believe so, madam."
"Oh, well.... Is it Christmas yet, George? Maybe it's Santa Claus?" Mrs. Whitfield smiled at her joke.
"Uh, no, madam. It is not yet Christmas, and he isn't Santa."
"Well, who is he, George?"
"He will not give his name, only that he is a friend. An old friend."
"Oh, put him in the flower room, George. I'll be down in just a bit." Mrs. Whitfield turned to her maid and companion, "Now, dear, where were we?"
Sally smiled, "You were just about to take your bath, madam. It is drawn and ready."
"Oh, I so love warm baths. And look, you put bubbles in it. Thank you, Sally."
Sally smiled. She put bubble bath in the tub every morning, and Mrs. Whitfield was always so delighted. Sally helped her aged employer into the tub, and carefully washed her back.
"There now, Sally, I candle handle the rest. Oh, where's my little ducky? Is he lost in the bubbles?" Mrs. Whitfield began to search through the bubbles and let out a small squeal of delight as she found it, floating just at her arm's reach. When the water began to chill, she called for Sally to help her out, and to get dressed.
"What day is it, Sally? Is it bacon and eggs day? Or bagels and jam day?" The days of the week meant nothing to Mrs. Whitfield any more, only her meals, and she didn't really care, as she was always cooked something she liked.
"It's bagels and jam day, Mrs. Whitfield."
"Oh, wonderful. I hope it's rhubarb jam."
Sally smiled. That was the only jam in the house. She helped Mrs. Whitfield dress, combed and styled her hair, then helped her to the elevator seat at the top of the stairs. "George will help you when you reach the bottom."
And, indeed, George stood there, waiting.
"Good morning, Mrs. Whitfield. Your gentleman caller awaits in the flower room, and I took the liberty of offering him coffee, and breakfast with you."
"Oh. I have a gentleman caller?" She dropped her voice to a whisper, "Who is it? Am I expecting him? Do I look alright?"
"He did not leave a name, madam, and no, I don't believe you are expecting him. He said he is an old friend. And you're beautiful, as always."
"Oh, how nice, George, that old friends come to visit me."
George helped her out of the chair, and gave his arm to walk her into the sunroom, filled with flowers in bright and profuse bloom. The gentleman sitting on the settee stood when they entered, gave a slight courtly bow, and motioned for Mrs. Whitfield to take her usual seat, in the wingback chair covered in yellow chintz and bright flowers.
"Oh, good morning, sir. How nice of you to visit an old lady." Mrs. Whitfield studied the man. "I'm sorry, sir, do I know you? Please, sit. Breakfast will arrive momentarily."
"We've yet to meet, Sarah Jane Whitfield, though we are old friends. Why, I've known you since you were but a child. I have so looked forward to this day."
"I'm sorry, sir. I don't remember you."
"We played together when you were a child. Remember the time we swung on the rope out into the river?"
"Oh, yes." Mrs. Whitfield smiled at the memory, and then her face saddened. "I remember one time, when little Robby let go too late and fell on the rocks and died."
"Yes, that was the time. Remember your high school prom?"
"Oh, yes. That's when I met Mr. Whitfield. So odd, don't you think, we went to school together for four years, and I didn't meet him until our prom. I miss him. He died, you know. Some would call it a good death. He had cancer and was in tremendous pain. Then Death came, and he was at peace."
"Yes, you do remember, Sara Jane." There was a touch, just a touch, of sadness to his smile.
"Remember lunch with the girls last week?"
Mrs. Whitfield laughed, and then said, "No. What girls? Did I have fun?"
"Yes, Sara Jane, you had fun. You laughed and you joked, and you ate fresh salmon."
"Oh, how lovely. I wonder who the girls were? I do hope we can do it again, soon."
"Yes, happy memories, even when you don't remember them all. You've lived a happy life, Sara Jane. A very long and happy life."
As he stood and walked over to her, she looked up at him, and said, "Why, yes. Yes, I've had a very long and happy life." She smiled as he took her hand in his, bowed, and formally pressed his deathly cold lips to the back of her hand.
When George brought the tray with her bagels and jam, the visitor was gone—both from the room, and from George's memory. "Here's your breakfast, madam. Bagels and rhubarb jam, just like you requested. Madam? Madam?"
Mrs. Whitfield sat slumped in her chair, a smile upon her already blue lips.
THE END

Monday, January 2, 2017

Send in the Clowns

I'm not sure why, but this song keeps going through my head, so I thought I'd share. There are a lot of recordings of it out there, but this is the one I can't quite get rid of. Nor do I really want to. At least not totally. Besides, if I've got it going through my head, well, I like company ;-). This is Judy Collins singing Stephen Sondheim's song,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5os4NFeKFFs please enjoy.


It is a rather a fitting song; don't you think? To usher out 2016 and usher in 2017.

While 2016 was certainly a year many of us don't want to repeat, some of us might want just that. Personally, I think we've lost too many people this year, probably no more than any other year; it just seems that way – mass shootings in churches, in nightclubs, shootings in homes deliberate and accidental, people we've never met, but were loved by those who knew them. And we lost people we all knew, though few of us met. Princess Leia Organa and her mother, Lady Debbie Reynolds. We lost George Michael, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, North Carolina, Abe Vigode, Ron Glass, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the doctor who killed small pox, scientists who discovered marvelous things and sent space ships into the great beyond, and Tashiko Akuma Pestini—just to mention a very few.

This photo has nothing to do with this blog. It's the 6" or so of now taken this morning before sunrise.
But there was and is good news. Harriet Tubman replaced Andy Jackson on some of our folding money. Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar. A new gene tied to ALS was discovered; can a cure be far behind? I get out of my cast in two weeks. I'm still losing weight (per doctor's orders!). I plan to have Jibutu: Daughter of the Desert uploaded by the end of March for your reading enjoyment. (Have editing to do, and a cover to come up with.) Yes, I'm hungry. If my sadistic doctor has her way I'll probably be hungry until the end. Sigh. Cry. Whine. ;-)

All of us will have a new year in which to practice what we preach, to show kindness and tolerance, to love and not hate, to evaluate and if need be, re-evaluate our long held assumptions and beliefs, and if necessary, change them when confronted with facts. For isn't that what life is—a chance to grow, to learn, to experience, to change? If we aren't growing, we're dying. And I certainly plan to keep on growing for a while yet. (Besides, I did a pinky swear with my friend, Ann. We swore, "Hell no, I won't go!" so we're here for the duration. Live with it. We are.)

Send in the Clowns is a reflection on the ironies and disappointments in life, and lordy, we've got plenty of those right now. But, if we're alive to hear it, to sing it, we're alive to the beauty of the melody, the beauty of the lyrics, and the beauty of life. If we're still looking down at the grass (or the snow) instead of up at it, it's a good day!

Happy 2017 everyone! I truly hope you create this year to be the best year of your life. Until, of course, 2018, which will be even better. Yes? So, send in the clowns, the cake, the ice cream, and the funny little cars!


ps, I didn't steal any pictures from the web this time, because I know for a fact that some of you who read my blog don't like clowns! See, I do care. Honest. Trust me.