Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie.

© 2006-2014 All rights reserved

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm a retired teacher turned writer. Ferradiddledumday (my Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story) and Stuck (my middle grade paranormal novel) are available from Cedar Creek Publishing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Scams & Tales

Nothing like having scam emails pop up on your computer.

Four appeared this month. How do I know that this Discover Card warning isn't for real?

I don't have a Discover Card. And the real Discover Card folks would use better grammar. And, instead of "Discover Card Management," there'd be a person's name.

How about this one?

Well, Billy Moron, you're not going to hear from me. I don't have a marketing or sales campaign, so I'm not targeting anyone. If you "guarantee 100% accuracy," then why did you send this to me—I'm not the customer you're looking for. And, really, you should work on the spacing in your emails. Looks like your has been copied a few times.

Maybe you know Courtney, who enjoyed "looking through" my "nice website" (although I doubt she looked at it):

First clue this is scammy: I'm not a webmaster. Second clue: the vagueness: "I have some good quality sites on a related subject." What, dear Courtney, is the subject of my website? I'll bet you don't know because odds are good you never even looked at it.

Then there's the spacing issue—is she perhaps writing free verse? And her grammar—Arrggghhh! No way am I "exchanging links" with someone as ungrammatical as she is.

Then there's this one: Vasilina's subject line caught my eye because I do not remember ever meeting a live person (or an animal) named Vasilina, although I do remember a fictional character of that name.

Uh, Vasilisa, you are so targeting the wrong person! Didn't my name tip you off that I am not the man you seek? Or did you send this to a whole batch of "contact details" you'd bought from Billy (see earlier scam)? and hoped you'd find someone stupid enough to fall for your ploy get lucky? 

I hope a "sightly, smart, kind, and responsible" person like you has better luck elsewhere or at least learns to set up your emails so they don't look like free verse (see Courtney's email above). 

By any chance are you this Vasilisa (also found here)? She's a fictional character as I suspect you are. She appears in several books, including these two:


The first book is for sale here; the second, here. Like you, the fairytale Vasilisas are "sightly, smart, kind, and responsible." And therein lies a tale—er, a tail—attached to a cat who is checking his email.

But Dylan is too smart a kitty to fall for an email scam.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Doldrums

This blog has been quiet for a while, during which time I continued to have some mobility issues and our elderly dog Emma—who also had mobility issues—went to sleep and peacefully never woke up. She is buried on the farm.

The weather has been hot and humid. We have missed bad storms which struck north of us (Bedford and Lynchburg) and on the east coast, but we've gotten some heavy rain and some spectacular cloud displays, including these before one of the showers . . .

. . . and these afterwards:

One afternoon we had part of a rainbow:

And we've had some spectacular sunsets:



Saturday, July 05, 2014

Virginia Literary Journal

I have a short-short story in the premier issue of Virginia Literary Journal, an online publication. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, you can even read a version from this blog . . .

. . . but this link gives you a better reading experience.

Virginia Literary Journal is published twice a year by Cedar Creek Publishing, "a Virginia publisher of Virginia books." Consequently, all the authors in Virginia Literary Journal reside somewhere in Virginia and all the stories, essays, and poems therein have Virginia connections. 

I haven't finished reading the whole journal yet, but I'm impressed by the quality of what I've read so far. I feel honored to be among such good writers. 



Monday, June 23, 2014

Pergola: Then & Now

Back in 2009, we bought a pergola for the backyard. I blogged about it it my "Yard Thing" post on July 16, 2009. This is how it looked once it was assembled.

Back in 2009, it looked, well, bare. Even a few months later, when my husband added an accessory, it was still pretty bare.

Well, that was then. Now—five years later—the pergola is covered in wisteria and grapevines. You can hardly see it for the vegetation.

Here's a closer look.

What a difference five years makes, huh? Now it's a shady bower. But, wait! There's more. Finally the grape vines we planted two years ago produced fruit.

The grapes on one side are white and the grapes on the other are red. I forgot which is which. Once they ripen, we'll know for sure.

Here's a closer look:

This is the view from inside:

And, of course, there's some cat art.



Saturday, June 07, 2014

Late Spring Rain

On Wednesday we received some badly needed rain—mostly in the form of scattered showers. For a while, the region was under a tornado watch. One of the late afternoon showers almost looked like a tornado.

But it wasn't. Clouds formed and re-formed.

Across the road, the GMO corn crop seemed to grow a few inches. Only the corn grew; thanks to the heavy application of Roundup, everything else was dead.

Out toward Union Hall, on the far side of the toxic cornfield, you could see the rain falling.

After the storm passed, a rainbow appeared.

One end is in the toxic cornfield—definitely not a pot of gold.

The other end is barely visible as it passes over the house.

We have more rain expected  tomorrow and for the first half of next week.

I noticed the anthills were especially high (but I didn't take a picture of them).  High hills mean heavy rain. Some low-tech ways to predict the weather, including anthills, are here.

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Friday, June 06, 2014

Fixing the PT

When the driver's side window on our oldest PT Cruiser refused to close, my husband turned to his trusty iPad for help. A bit of Googling turned up a very helpful YouTube video that explained how to replace a broken power window regulator, which was apparently the old PT's problem.

My husband watched the video a few times and, again using his trusty iPad, ordered the necessary parts. This is what a PT door looks like when it's taken apart:

Fortunately, our wi-fi just reaches the garage, so the iPad was propped up while my husband messed with took the door apart. It only took a couple of days for the part to arrive.

The part of the door not being messed with worked on was propped against the truck's tire.

With a lot of stopping the video and rewinding, my husband was able to successfully repair the door.

Just in case you're interested (but I'll bet you're really not), here's the video he watched:

. . . and for those not interested in the PT but visit this blog to see pictures of cats, here's a picture of Tanner holding a flower:

Tanner, by the way, rode home in this PT when we rescued him at the dumpster back in March 2013.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cat Napping

by Tanner the Kitty

Because today is Caturday, I decided to celebrate by taking a nap. Here are some of my favorite napping positions. Sometimes I roll up . . .

. . . and then unroll a little.

Sometimes I lie on my back with my arm over my face . . . 

. . . or I might fold my arms on my chest.

Here's a close-up:

Sometimes I interrupt my nap to take a bath. I am self-cleaning, so I don't need a tub. I clean the inside of my arms . . . 

. . . and my feet . . .

. . . and the back of my hands . . .

. . . and the sides of my arms. It helps to have a really long tongue.

The bottoms of my hands and feet are naturally black. 

Meanwhile, out on the deck, my buddy George is taking a nap, too. Do you see him?

Here's a closer look.

He seems real relaxed.

Which reminds me—I need to get back to my nap.

I hope your Caturday was as relaxing as mine has been.