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My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When You Leave for the Weekend, You Provide for the Kitties

I was out this weekend, up in Duluth for All Pints North, a "beer review" situation that I did not fully attend, spending that time, rather, shopping/eating/pedicure-ing with a pregnant friend.

The following should've posted Monday (yesterday) and now there are two Mondays this week.

My bad.

The following is an approximation of the note left for Andrew, who came in to check on the kitties in our absence.


Hey, Andrew!

Thank you so much for coming in to take care of the cats. 

Just a note, however, that the kitties, as delightful as they will present themselves, are manipulative creatures that cannot be trusted.

The small one, for example: the tiny, striped one.  I don’t like to predict behavior, especially in someone as potentially unpredictable as a cat, but I feel I should tell you that the last time I looked over her wee, fuzzy shoulder, she was checking your credit score.

The larger one – the Siamese/badger mix – is less devious but is looking forward to your leftovers.  One doesn’t get winter-ready overnight, you know.

Generally speaking, though, they are well-mannered kitties.  Kitties with heart.

Kitties with agendas. 

A couple things:
1.     No matter how much Liza Bean (the small one) begs you, do NOT bring out the ladder.  She will claim that she is studying to become a fireman.  This is not true.  What she wants is to pry the ceiling vents off and hurtle through the ductwork.  She is over-confident, however, and prone to getting lost and then howling pitifully.  Word to the wise: it’s disconcerting, listening to a mournful cat that you can’t reach.

2.     Dolly (the larger one) is not allowed to smoke in the house.  We’ve been over it a hundred times, and no matter what she says, the rules against smoking inside do cover both regular and menthol. 

3.     Be aware that if you use the bathroom, Dolly, in her valued role as Bathroom Kitty, will want to join you.  Do me a favor and just let her.  She has so little, and it will only seem strange the first couple of times. 

4.     Liza Bean gets a third of a can of cat food at noon and at 6:00.  Please put each meal on a clean dish.  Reusing lunch’s dish for dinner results in her pretending to “cover” the meal – much as she would cover her own “leavings” – and scathing texts to me regarding “good help”.  Frankly, I don’t need the aggravation.

Thank you so much, Andrew.  We’ll have dinner soon, and you can tell me all about the cat tattoo Liza Bean has sworn she will talk you into.  You didn't get it on your neck, did you?

Hugs and Kisses,


Pearl

Friday, July 25, 2014

You Don't Have a Spare Mil on Ya, Do Ya?

Shoot, I know I’ve said it before; but I could really use a million dollars.

First thing on the list to buy with that mil: Electric fencing around the house, the kind people use on dogs, only for people. The coalition of inebriants that formed a giggling chain of imbalance in the back last night?  I’m thinking a little acid (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) in the drinking water (or their beer) oughta hold ‘em still until I can get those little collars around their necks.

Anybody know where I can get some acid? E-mail me. Put the words “Dave’s Not Here, Man” in the subject line.

The next thing I want to get with my million?

My own bus.

The bus this morning, the bus immediately following the one I usually take, was just downright low-class.  Hard to imagine, iddin it?, a bus with low-class characters on it? I found it hard to believe myself. Frankly, who would’ve thought they’d be awake so early in the morning? But there they were, off, if the vocalizations this morning were any indication, to some sort of Baggy-Pantsed Hollering Competition.

Things are looking loud for us this year – I like our chances.

I’m gonna hold out on buying the shirt until they make it past the Incoherent and Inappropriately Proud prelims, though. Don’t want to end up like last year. My 2013 Shoutin’ and Poutin’ jersey is just embarrassing.

Next thing I want to get? A professional hair brusher. Not a hair brush – a hair brusher. He can stand behind me at my desk and brush and/or braid my hair.

Wait. No. That’s a little self-indulgent, don’t you think?

OK. So it’s between a professional hair brusher and a full-time toady. I haven’t quite decided. I’ve never had my own toady, and I think it’s about time.

You look very nice today, Pearl. Are you losing weight?

Maybe I can get a hair-brushing toady?

So let’s see: electric fencing plus enough collars for my neighborhood, enough acid to get said collars on said neighbors, my own bus, and a hair brusher and/or full-time toady.

The rest I’ll put into mutual funds. Or lottery tickets. Whichever seems more lucrative.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Who Turned the Heat On? or Pearl Shakes A Hot Little Fist at the World

I lie on my back in the dark, defeated and, seemingly, baked. 

And before you believe I’ve gone misty-eyed and confessional in my old age, we’re not talking about “baked” in the traditional sense, wherein one’s eyes are, perhaps, bloodshot, maybe a bag of Doritos on the coffee table, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on the turntable for the 11th time.  We're talking "baked" in the heated, suffocating, why-hast-though-forsaken-me sense.

I roll over, check the bedside clock. 

Two o’clock.

Nothing has changed in the last three hours but the time. 

And there will be a repeat of that for the next three.

Life is hard, peoples, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  One moment you’re just your above-average woman, fighting evil-doers and the creeping cellulite, and the next moment you’re that same above-average woman fighting the urge to stick your head in the freezer whilst weeping.

And then there’s still that cellulite to fight.

I call my friend Pat after work, on my way to yoga.

“I have to tell you about hot flashes, Pat.  I have to warn you.”

Pat laughs at me, as Pat is wont to do.  “Oh, you don’t have to tell me, darlin’.”

“What am I going to do?” I whine.  “I’m uncomfortable!  I’m moody!  I have a headache!  And I’m uncomfortable!”

“You already said that.”

“And I’m repetitious, okay?”  I stop at a red light, wait for the chance to be just another Ped Xing.  “ARGH!” I groan, frightening the young man next to me.  I show him my teeth, and he takes a careful step to the left.  “Remember how annoying I was a teenager?”

Pat laughs.  “No, but I believe you.”

“Well you’re not going to believe this, but I’m annoying again.”

“Again?”

I know Pat is smiling.  She has to be.  We’re friends.  “Yes,” I say, “again.”  The light turns green, and the young man next to me bolts.  “Coward,” I hiss.

“Pearl,” Pat says.

“Hmmm?”  A car passes within feet of me, and I show it, too, my teeth.

“You need to calm down.”

“Calm down?  CALM DOWN?  Me?  Why do you hate me?  Why are you being so mean?”

Pat laughs.  “You just keep that sense of humor,” she says.

“Hey, Pat,” I say.  I am smiling, and I know she knows. 

“What?”

“I’m burnin’ up, baby.”

Pat laughs at me, with me.  “Ain’t nobody hotter,” she says.

“Thank you,” I say, heading into the yoga studio.

“Any time,” she says. 






Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Well, I Can See I'm Going to Have to Take Back a Lot of What I've Said

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day when the subject of the state of our bodies came up.

Having known each other since shortly after high school, we had a lot of ground to cover, and much of it was freckled.

My friend confides that the picture of her in a bikini in her early 20s and doing the dishes maintains all the lithe detail you’d ever want in photographic proof of hotness and remains a source of pride and inspiration.

Plus it’s evidence that she has, indeed, done the dishes at least once.

Me, I am pleased to report that my ankles continue to be identifiable as separate from my calves and that I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

And that concludes the uplifting news.

The truth is that it appears that the very things we noticed in older women, as younger women, have reared up to bite us on our unthinking and uncharitable asses.

Me? No, I’ve never been thoughtlessly cruel. Unless you count my teen-aged snickering of a rather mountainous woman on a beach in Florida. My sister and I sat on our smug little beach towels and spoke in nasty asides of balloons stuffed with grapes, of large and quaking puddings. I am confident that the woman in question didn’t hear us, asleep and with headphones on as she was; but decades later, as I contemplate the state of my thighs, I can only be glad that we didn’t mock a bald woman.

What were we thinking? Or was it a matter of not thinking? For surely no one ever got toward the head of the age line and said, “I’d like to develop jowls, please. Ooh, and if I could get the weird tiny veins at the back of my knees that would be lovely as well.”

The summer season, in all its flesh-baring and short-lived ways, is a reminder, isn’t it?

Wear that bikini while you can. Autumn is coming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Liza Bean Has Her Demands

“You’ve ruined a perfectly good cat.”  I say this, in all sincerity, to the mumbling form next to me.

“I have no idea what you’re saying,” he says.  It is dark, but I know he is smiling. 

“This,” I say, lifting a small, striped animal by the scruff.  “You took a perfectly good cat and turned her into the pawing, insistent little creature she is today.”

And tonight, like every night, Willie shrugs genially, gets up and heads toward the kitchen. 

The cat squirms from my grasp.  Shaking herself, she gives me a stern look.  “I heard that, you know,” she says.

And with that, she leaps from the bed.  What follows is the sound of tiny paws galloping across the hardwood floor, through the sitting room and into the kitchen, where the fridge door opens, spilling a yellow glow into the hours between sleep and awakening. 

I roll to one side, check the clock next to me.  Twelve-thirty.

It wasn’t always like this.  At one time, the cat – a smallish, dainty-pawed animal known to us as Liza Bean Bitey – was content to sleep in the crook of my knee.  How simple life was then!  Just a couple of humans, a cat on one end, another cat on the other.  We slept, then; and outside of a playful bite at my earrings, as my grandmother would say, ever so often, we led a quiet night-time existence.

Then came the cream.

“Just a touch,” Willie’d say.  “The kitties only live for such a short time.  They deserve treats.”

And so began the nightly insistences, and in no time at all, Liza Bean had penned, usually somewhere between midnight and 1:00, the words “Demand cream” onto her calendar.

“Calming cream,” Willie’d say, grinning.

“She’s trained you to get up in the middle of the night,” I’d say.  “And when you won’t wake up, she bites my ears until I have to threaten her with gas-station sushi.”

“But they’re only here for a bit,” he says.  “You gotta love the kitties while they’re here.”

And so there he goes.  12:37 on a Monday night and, like every night, Willie gets up to pour a modicum of cream on to a thrift store china saucer.

Because you gotta love the kitties while they're here.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Just Another Zombie Sunrise

I wouldn’t say I was a paranoid woman, a suspicious woman or even a woman with grave concerns.

But indication that the zombies are gathering was apparent on my ride to work this morning.

There are three steps, up and into the bus.

The bus driver has been the same person for several months now.

“Good morning,” I say. A crotchety, pinch-faced individual, he continues to stare straight ahead.

This particular driver has not once, since taking over this route, responded in any way to my greeting and I now say it while mentally calculating the number of people he acknowledges a day, a number I place, having seen him every morning for roughly four months, at zero. I wonder if he knows that I now say “good morning” without any real wishes that he actually have a good morning.

I refuse to let the crabby fart stand in the way of my being friendly, however, and I scan my Go card and proceed toward the back of the bus.

The light at this time of morning is high and diffused, and despite getting sun on both the walk to and from work -- that's a good 15 minutes of sun, people!  my summer tan is fading quickly, leaving me mere shades from my original and in-the-box condition.

From the looks on the faces of the people around me I am not the only one for whom this is true.  It is 6:14, and while mostly awake, the faces around me are slack, eyes unblinking,

I settle into my seat and touch my cheek, checking for similar slackness.

I turn to my seat mate. “Does anything seem different to you today?”

She smiles and holds up her hands, palms up. She doesn’t speak English.

“Zombies,” I say, smiling. “Think any of these people might be zombies?”

She continues to smile, shakes her head, and resumes staring out her window.

It occurs to me that, when the zombies come, they will take public transportation. I can see it now.

“’morning, Jim!”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaah.”

“What’s that, Jim?”

“AAaaaaaaaaah.”

“Well that’s true, but they have just as much a chance as any other team. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaah.”

“Well, here’s my stop. See you later!”

“Aaaaaaaaah.”

Who will notice?

I look around the bus. So many zombies already: on the bus, in the elevator, standing in line at the bank.

Ever vigilant. That’s me. Ever working, ever tax-paying, ever vigilant.



Do I look pale to you?

Aaaaaaaaaah.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Moment on the Bus; or I Also Found a Stick of Gum in the Bottom of my Purse

Early-morning Pearl is a simple creature, a woman who dresses, gathers her things and heads to the bus stop without thought of why but with the knowledge, only, that she must.  

I’m not saying that you should, but if you were to, say, ever require a favor of me, early morning is your best bet for a favorable outcome.

While a bit slow in the morning, I am also observational, my mind a clean slate upon which the early-morning commuters leave tiny, crabbed notes.  Sometimes those notes are about interesting smells, sometimes they’re about the advisability of wearing spiked heels in a snow storm or giving a baby Diet Coke in a bottle. 

This morning's observation boards the bus four stops after mine, sits across the aisle and several rows ahead of me.  She is young, with fine features.  Dressed in nothing you would be able to recall later, she is wearing no make-up. 

As a woman who does not leave the house without lipstick, I note this in particular.

I watch as she digs through her purse and pulls out a tube of lotion.

And for the next 15 minutes, I watch as she applies lotion to her face.  With tiny, delicate fingers, she is almost artistic, blending the lotion in concentric circles across her cheekbones, down the line of her nose, blending up and out in every conceivable direction.

The woman across the aisle from me watches as well, frowning.  She self-consciously reaches up and touches her own cheek before returning to her book.

I away as well, look out the window, but I can’t help but look back, again and again, as the young woman continues.  Fifteen  full minutes of patting, pressing, fluttering ministrations done with the very tips of her fingers. 

Fifteen minutes.

And then it is over.  She pulls the cord and the bus pulls over at the next stop, and the young woman departs, taking her tiny fingers and her moisturized skin with her.


And early-morning Pearl stares out the window, and wonders about the people on the bus.