bits and pieces

OpenDoor Magazine, which accepted my story “A System Reboot,” is also doing a system reboot. They sent a nice email saying they’re taking a couple of weeks off but that their next issue with the theme of mental health should come out in mid July. (And subsequent issues have been pushed out a month each. They’ve also listed upcoming themes, and I think I may have a story for one of them!) So I should be able to post the link to my story in a couple of weeks.


Sad news to report: the Mourning Dove that was sitting on a nest in the curb tree I need to take down has abandoned her nest. Further, I’ve seen some certainly not-doves dashing in and out of that tree. And I found an eggshell on the ground under the tree.

Thanks to everyone with their comments about their experience with taking down trees. I’m having some additional trimming done to the trees in my back yard, which is why I’m hiring a service. And the whitebuds were small enuf that I knew I could take them down myself, especially with Number One Son here for the week. And, our trash crew took away all of the stump sections and branches from the one I took down already, which was a concern.

And I can report that thanks to help of my son and daughter-in-law, the second whitebud tree is now down and in pieces at the curb, waiting for pick up.


Small Paul and the New York grands are here this week. And the two grands down the road will make several appearances. I expect mayhem. (I wish the outdoor temperatures were a little more moderate though.)


Here are the books I read in June:

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – More mild sci-fi dystopia, with a sentient artificial companion living and learning about life with a family and its sick child. To me this was reminiscent of Never Let Me Go, maybe too much so.

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle – Well known for his novel Wolf in White Van (which I have not read), this book makes you want to think its going to be a horror novel, but it’s not. In fact, it’s far from that, though it defies definition by me. If I were going to say what it was “about” I’d say the endless longing for things we can never have.

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson – This is the debut novel by a British writer in her 70s. It’s really well done and well realized. Told completely in letters exchanged between an unsatisfied British farmer’s wife and a curator at a Danish museum, ostensibly about the Tollund Man (a bog-preserved human sacrifice from ages past), their conversation ranges into their lives and hopes. While this is not normally my kind of book, it is a good read, and I’ll probably pick up Youngson’s next novel.

Millard Salter’s Last Day by Jacob M. Appel – A day in the life of an esteemed psychiatrist at a New York hospital as he prepares to retire (from his job and his life). Of course, a thousand things happen (including getting attacked by a baby lynx somehow loose in the hospital) to frustrate his plans. This reminded me a great deal of middle-period Philip Roth, especially his novel Zuckerman Unbound. In fact, some passages seem directly inspired by Roth’s novel.

Driver’s Education by Grant Grinder – It took a while for me to figure out what was going on in this novel. It’s narrated in alternating chapters told by a father and a son about the son’s grandfather. It’s part road trip and part reminiscence, filled with fantastic accounts of fantastic events. It all pulls together nicely in the end and left me wondering whether any of it was true or if the narrators were creating stories within this story.

All of my June reads have been library finds. I’m enjoying just wandering the stacks, pulling out books that interest me and reading the jacket synopses.


I finally finished making entries in the last journal (Villanova University) and now I’m writing my newest (Medgar Evers College). The paper in my new journal is slicker than I’m used to, so I’ll need to take care as I direct my mechanical pencil across the page until I’ve grown more accustomed to it. You can read the thrilling account of how I acquired this latest journal here.


I’ve had my Macbook Air for two and a half years, and for the most part I love it. (It’s especially great for traveling, whether to and from a cabin in the woods or New York for dog sitting.) However, my fingers have still not grown accustomed to the keyboard. Sure, I can type, but I’m hitting a lot of stray keys. Still, I can live with it.

Except when the down arrow key suddenly gave up altogether last week. Since I work so much in Word and have documents sometimes with hundreds of pages, the scroll bar isn’t always the most efficient way to move incrementally through the lines of text. Thus the down arrow key. So when it stopped working, I was frustrated. But I’d purchased the insurance on my Air (at the sage advice of my favorite son in law) and scheduled an appointment at the Apple store. I showed the tech the problem, and he was able to repeat it (always a worry when I take any machine in for service). He did a little research on his tablet and found this to be a common enuf problem (which pricks my ears because it suggests a design flaw that ought to be addressed globally). Anyway, he replaced the down arrow key (and two other keys — A and S — that were getting their characters rubbed away by my fleet fingers) and that fixed the problem. Just like that. And at no charge since I had Apple Care. So no I have no excuse for not working on my latest epic.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic


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