Peevish Pen

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

© 2006-2019 All rights reserved

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday, etc.

I stole borrowed these questions from Anita Firebaugh's "Blue Country Magic" blog. You can compare her answers to mine.

This is a picture of a black cat (Dylan) on Black Friday.
He's casting his black Batman shadow.

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 29, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?
A. There is no way I would even venture onto the roads on Black Friday, so I didn't do any shopping. I haven't been in a mall for well over about two years. I did, however, shop online at the Apple Store and order a 32G iPad Air that I'd been coveting. Shipping was free, and I'll get a $75 gift card for the Apple Store. (Target had a slightly better deal, but I'd have to go to Roanoke, fight the crowds, eetc. After I factored in the cost of gas, I probably came out ahead by ordering online. I did have to contend with a cat on my desk, but at least it wasn't a crowd of cats.

2) Legend has it that Black Friday began as a neighborhood phenomenon among storeowners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. What else comes to mind when you think of Philly?
A. Benjamin Franklin eating a "great puffy roll" as he walked the streets of Philadelphia. He also had a roll tucked under each arm. When I hear the word "Philly," I hear "filly" so I think of a young female horse.

3) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game?
A. Absolutely not! As a diabetic who low-carbs and doesn't eat gluten, my food choices are limited. Consequently, I didn't make a special dinner. (If I can't eat it, I don't cook it!) Neither my husband nor I enjoy football, so we don't watch.

4) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) Do you have a signature dish?
A. Maybe my great-aunt's spoonbread, which contains no flour and doesn't mess up my blood glucose levels too badly. (It's been years since I ate gravy, homemade or otherwise.)

5) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose?
 A. Like Anita, I'd rather have cash. But if I have to choose a gift card, I'd like one from, which isn't listed. 

6) You're in a public restroom that offers both paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which one do you choose?
A. I always use paper when available. The hot air hand dryer not only wastes electricity (how many mountain-tops in West Virginia or Kentucky are removed because of folks electrically drying hands?) but blows bacteria all over the place. Besides being more hygienic, paper is more efficient at drying hands, according to this study. Plus, paper is a renewable resource—and I'm not just saying this because we grow loblolly pines for pulpwood. Paper towels are not made from old-growth hardwood (like your fine furniture or oak flooring); paper is from trees specifically grown as a crop. But I'm getting off the subject.

7) While Back to Black is the best-selling Amy Winehouse CD, her first was called Frank, named for her hero, Frank Sinatra. Tell us about someone you inspires you.
A. My inspirations vary from day to day, and perhaps moment to moment. At this moment, my cat George inspires me. He makes do with what he has, assumes responsibility for patrolling the property, and is a companion for an elderly dog.


8) Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist?
A. A pessimist with optimistic leanings. I hope for the best but try to plan/prepare for the worst.  Better safe than sorry.

9) Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone (a verbal conversation— not an exchange of texts)?
 A. My farrier, who called Thursday night to let me know he'd be coming a little earlier than scheduled to trim Melody's hooves on Friday. I have never texted. Neither my husband nor I have smart phones, and we've never needed them. I have an old Trac-fone that might have texting capabilities, but I've never used them. 

This isn't a Black Friday picture;
It's George—a golden cat.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Season's Greetings

On Thanksgiving morning, I was greeted by the sight of the newspaper not in its box but lying in my driveway.

Apparently the newspaper wouldn't fit into the paper box. I suppose finding the paper lying at the end of the driveway was better than finding it lying in the road.  

The paper was really heavy, so what sections greeted me when I opened it? Well, there were these two sections, which I read.

The rest of the paper was the sports section (which I never read) and lots of ads.

 I didn't bother to read the ads. I don't need anything.

But apparently others do. And lots of businesses will sell (insert name of product here) to them—and even sell it to them before the day that's come to be known as "Black Friday." Thursday night's TV news had stories of folks who had waited outside some Roanoke stores since Wednesday morning for the stores' Thursday night openings. 

I kind of miss the old days when there was considerable space between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I  even miss the not-so-old days when Christmas decorations didn't appear before Halloween. 

This morning, the paper greeted me in its usual place. While it contained some ads, it wasn't nearly as heavy as the Thanksgiving paper.  I'll bet a lot of people won't read the paper today—they'll be out shopping.

But not me. Nor the cat who walks me to the paper box. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bed Buddy

Today, I bought a Memory Foam topper for my mattress. I didn't have the camera handy until after I'd spread out the foam and covered it with the mattress cover. Then my little buddy Tanner decided to help with bed-making . . .

"This is so comfy!"

"I can stretch out good."

"I can stretch out even better!"

"Oops. I got tangled in the sheet."

"Ah, that's better."

"Need to smooth out a few wrinkles."

"I ought to wash my feet before going to bed."

"This one looks pretty clean."

"Do I see something I might want?"

"A box! And it has an armhole!"

"Not enough room for me to get both my head and arm out of this hole."

"The inside is nice and roomy though."

If my furry little buddy hadn't helped, I could have made up the bed in half the time.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23 Sunset

The evening sky was especially beautiful today. Here's how it looked at Smith Farm when the sun was low:

At home,  a few minute later, it looked like this: 

Looks sort of like a galactic war over Chestnut Mountain.

Here's a closer look.

This one looks like a spaceship is hovering over Jack's Mountain.

Here's a closer look at Chestnut Mountain.

A few minutes later, the sun sank below the horizon. Jack's Mountain is to the right; the edge of Chestnut is to the left.

Another close-up shot of Chestnut Mountain.

You can see the mountains in Floyd County in this close-up.

 The sun sinks, but the odd clouds linger.

To the north, a narrow cloud-band stretched across the sky.

To the northeast, odd clouds hung over Smith Mountain.

The clouds put on quite a show today.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

House-cat work

by Tanner (Youngest Resident Cat)

The other day, I blogged about my decorating skill. I still have a bit of work to do on the window treatment, so it is a work-in-progress.

Sometimes I have to stop and read the writing on the wall. I think I live pretty well.

But, as a house-cat, I have certain work that I must do. Sometimes I have to look high and low for meaningful work.

One thing I do around the house is check to make sure the dishwasher is properly unloaded.

Getting out can be a little tricky. Plus there's one dish that hasn't been unloaded yet.

Good thing I noticed that.

Next, I have to check the cupboards to make sure the dishes have been put away properly. Opening a cupboard door isn't easy, but I have learned how to do it. 

Everything in here looks OK.

I also inspect clothes going into or out of the dryer to make sure they have enough cat hair on them.

One way to see if the clothes are dry is to lie down on them. This also helps add cat hair.

Wait! Those jeans need a little more drying time!

Sometimes I have to re-read the instructions.

Doing cat-work can be tiring, so I often make time for a nap. A warm dryer door is a good place if you're not too heavy. (I am a very svelte cat, so it works for me.)

From the dryer door, I can reach other clothes that need washing.

A load of warm clothes fresh from the dryer is a good place to nap. It also gives me another chance to add cat hair to the clean clothes.

The top of the dryer is another good napping place.

Writing this blog post has made me so tired that I think I'll take another nap now.