Monday, December 28, 2015

Pet News 18: Dogs and Cats and all that Jazz!

Cat training is much like dog training, except it takes double the tries for the cat to do what is expected.

As always, you want to reward the good behavior you see your cat doing (and when your cat’s relaxed) and ignore the bad.

Another thing to remember is that cats are hunters and jumpers and scratchers and climbers and… well, you get it. So don’t punish them by screaming, spraying water, or holding them down aggressively.

Instead, provide alternatives. For example, a scratching post by that corner of the sofa the cat just loves to scratch would be nice. Maybe a tree house looking out into the world outside.

Also, be consistent. Reward promptly so your cat gets it.

Last, but very important, keep your cat stimulated by playing and providing toys and taking him/her for a short walk in the front or back yard on a leash.

Have a great New Year’s! Keep your pets safe…




Note: Cat training tips summarized from DK (Dorling Kindersley)’s 2014 Complete Cat Care: How to Keep your Cat Healthy and Happy 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and all that jazz!

Whether you celebrate or not,
everyone deserves a little break from work
to spend with family and friends or just to relax.
Maybe catch up on the various blog posts here.
Enjoy this time and don't let the Consumer Grinch steal your fun!

Peace, and love,
Maria

Monday, December 14, 2015

Books I’m Reading 19


California Poetry: From the Gold rush to the Present, edited by Dana Gioia, Chryss Yost, and Jack Hicks (2004). This is a nice collection of poets since the 1800s. It’s interesting the themes written about and how poetry has changed within a few years of each other.



The Power of Forgetting: Six essential Skills to Clear Out Brain Clutter and Become the Sharpest, Smartest You by Mike Byster. This book deals with the power of learning every day and gaining the confidence to do so by exercising your brain to focus and concentrate on what’s important with various games, activities, and patterns. His website is www.mikebyster.com



What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, edited by Michael Wiegers. Stanford creates some vivid and strange images in his poetry it takes a while to digest the genius of his writing style, but if you like a challenge, this is the book to get your head spinning in all directions. There’s some really great poems, too.



The Postcard by Tony Abbott is a middle grade novel where the main character, Jason, discovers the truth about his grandmother after her funeral and the secrets that had harmed his father. You get the two stories of the grandmother and the boy in one book.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Short Stories & Such 21: Follow that Man

The following story is revised from the original draft written on July 17, 2012 on Writer’s Digest. The prompt dealt with following a man and I decided to make it about a vendetta-like thing. What came out was a little too strong so the revision has a new ending.

 Follow that Man 

The downtown library faced an antique shop. Neither got too many customers, but there I was, waiting for the chick who called me. Said to park up front by the book drop off at 1 p.m. So where was she?

“Hi,” a girl no older than thirteen said. She opened the door to the cab.

“Where’s your mom?” I looked through the rearview mirror.

“It’s just me.” She snarled her lips and sat right in the middle.

“Oh, yeah? I’m not the tooth fairy kid. Scram. I’m waiting for a client.”

“I’m the one who called, you jerk.” She turned her attention to the library.

“Is that so? You have money to pay for this fare?”

The girl sighed and pulled out a $50 bill. “Is this enough?” She waved it in front of my eyes.

“Okay, girly, let’s say it is.”

She pulled out another $50 bill.

I turned the engine on to start the meter. “Where’s your house?”

“That’s not where I’m going.”

“Look, I’m not pressing the metal until you tell me what you’re doing. I’m not going to jail for this.”

“You see that Mexican restaurant across the street past the lamp post? In about five minutes, a man is going to come out of that restaurant, and I want you to follow him.”

“Follow some guy from that building?” I jolted my head back. “What for?”

“Listen, for $100 bucks, do you really care?”

“You’ve got some mouth, kid, but no tamales.”

“Okay, then. You’re going to follow that man because he owes me. He owes me big for hurting my sister.”

“In what way? Not that I believe you, let’s say I’m open to anything.”

“We’re wasting time, there he is!” She pointed past my nose. Her finger almost grazed it.

Sure enough, a man in a dark gray suit and tie stepped out of the restaurant. He pulled up his sunglasses and waltzed over to his car.

“Come on! Put the metal to the pedal!”

 
 

The man in the suit survived somehow. The girl wasn’t pleased. She vented and stomped her feet. Tears streamed out of her eyes. Inside the precinct, she was questioned along with me, but in separate rooms...

“So, there I was, driving behind some guy in a silver sedan. I didn’t know how we got there.”

“Go on.”

“Well, that girly jumped out of the cab the minute I parked behind him. She ran toward the guy and stabbed him several times. It was unbelievable. She was like, eleven or something.”

“Do you know what the motive was?”

“All she kept repeating was that he would pay for what he did.” I looked up at the detective. The light from above hit me like a boxer’s punch.

The detective nodded to the officer by the door and they brought in the girl.

“Is this him?”

“Yeah. He raped my sister.

I bolted off my seat and opened my mouth when I spotted the guy in the dark gray suit drinking coffee. A wide smile smeared his face.

 

If you’re interested in the original draft and any comments, take a look at http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/follow-that-man   (see under July 16, 2012)




Note:

Two of my poems were published on the Fall-Winter issue of Sleet! You can check Featured Poet and Welcome at www.Sleetmagazine.com. You have to scroll down from the astronaut to the Poetry section. I’m the first one listed!