Beat the Christmas Rush

I wasn’t sure if the egg was real or not.

A friend’s post on Facebook caught my eye. Actually, what caught my eye was the picture. It was of a large egg with something obviously pecking its way out. Although the egg looked too large to be a natural egg, the woman’s post said something about waiting for it to hatch, so I wasn’t sure.

I “commented” a question, “What is it?”

Her reply, “An ‘Owlicorn,’ a cross between an owl and a unicorn.”

Well, that is something to see. I must admit I still wasn’t sure if I was watching a special species of bird hatching or if it was a toy. I waiting in breathless anticipation for the next post.

Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.
Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.

My friend said her daughter was determined that the egg would hatch soon. In my experience, an egg hatches when an egg hatches, and nothing can be done to hurry it along.

Finally, the Owlicorn hatched!

It Hatched!
It Hatched!

My friend told me that this is an interactive toy. Cool! I want one!

These toys are called “Hatchimals®.” You can purchase an egg at Toys R Us®.

Having perused the Toys R Us® website, I found that many species are available. In addition to the Owlicorn, there is a Draggle and a Penguala. All of them are super cute!

How does it work? When the child gets the egg, s/he plays with it. The playing stimulates the creature inside to begin pecking at the shell. Once the egg is hatched, the Hatchimal goes through three different maturity stages: Baby, Toddler, and Kid. It can learn walking and many other skills from your child.*

This sounds like a fun pet for any child, especially for a child who cannot have a live animal due to allergies, rental regulations, etc. My friend’s kids love theirs.

If you decide to get one for your kid, or for yourself, please post your experience below. Post a pic if you like. I would love to see what hatches out of everyone’s eggs.


*Information taken from the  Toys R Us® website. Toys R Us® does not endorse, recommend, or otherwise advertise on this blog. The opinions expressed here are solely the opinions of the author.


On Support

This is a table I set up to promote my free online story, "Pieces." You can read it by clicking on the tabs above.
This is a table I set up to promote my free online story, “Pieces.” You can read it by clicking on the tabs above.

Bookmark this post and come back to it when you are discouraged. I am going to refer to authors as “she” in this post because most guys just don’t say anything on this topic. Before you read further, I want to point out that this is not a passive-aggressive “lashing out” at people. It is a realistic look at writers and their support.

Most writers feel their families and friends do not support them. I have seen writer after writer voice disappointment in the support of family and friends. The book is finally published; this masterpiece that has been years in the making, and no one buys it. No one shares about it on social media. No one even congratulates her on her success. She is alone.

I never felt more alone than about two weeks after I self-published my first book. According to Facebook, I know at least 664 people. I expected at least 100 sales. Almost no one bought the book. Some people said they bought the book when they didn’t. How do I know? Because my sales did not match the number of people who claimed to have made the purchase. Authors who are in denial accuse Amazon and Barnes and Noble of not recording all of the sales so that those companies can keep the author’s money. I am skeptical of that. In a way, I hope those companies are stealing my money, because I would like to think more people read my book than actually did.

And, this is not about me turning a profit. I put the books on sale at the lowest price possible. I also donated books to church libraries and to public libraries so people could enjoy it for free. It is pretty depressing when people who read won’t even read my book for free. Some people actually told me they weren’t going to read it—at least they were honest. They said things like: it’s not my kind of book, or I only read thrillers that involve Paleo-vegetarians who wear bright colors.

Every author thinks she is going to get just loads of support. People are going to buy her book and get their book clubs to read it and share about it on social media and give it all kinds of good ratings and invite her to their towns to do book signings. If that happens for you, I am sincerely happy for you. Our family and friends do not realize how important they are for an author’s success.

I expected people to read the book because they like me and because I wrote it—kind of like a mom hanging her daughter’s crayon drawings on the frig. That is really too much to expect of people and is unfair. And, I did, and still do, have a fan club, and I did have encouragement from the most unexpected places. My real mom and dad and sister, and John, who you have all met, were supportive from the start. They have known about my dream to write for as long as I have. Thank you.

A ton of my friends beta read for me–no small task for a full length book. I gave each of them a free copy as a “thank you.” One of my beta readers regularly reads my blog and asks me about my writing. I appreciate that so much.

One of my friends actually walked alongside me, helping me find venues and think up ideas and find the most inexpensive ways to promote. She even set up a radio interview for me! I did not expect this support, and I am so grateful for her.

One woman who I met online somehow (We follow each other’s blogs.) still emails and encourages me. She is dear to me.

One of my friends—I love you to pieces—bought FIVE copies of my book, asked me to autograph them, and gave them to her friends. One woman borrowed the book from the library and gave me a stellar review on Amazon—thank you, thank you, thank you for that. One woman read the book, asked me to autograph it, and then bought two copies for her friends and asked me to autograph those—that was awesome! A few women keep asking me when I am going to write a sequel and ask me about my writing—I really appreciate your support. Some people subscribe to my blog or “like” my Facebook author page. That is more important than you know. My eighth grade science teacher showed up at my book signing. It was out of her way, and inconvenient, and she went anyway. I was thrilled! I have an aunt who asks and asks about my writing—you are gold.

My ninety-seven-year-old father-in-law read it. So did my ninety-three-year-old mother-in-law. (They tried to read it. I am not sure if they got through the whole book, but I am grateful for their effort.) That was a huge compliment to me.

I am sure I have left people out–which is a good thing. That means even more people on Team Catherine.

When a writer complains about no support, she really means: not as much support as she expected. If all of my Facebook friends had shared a couple of posts about my book after it was published, a lot more people would have known about it: at least 6,000 more people if you figure each of my friends has 100 friends that don’t know me.  A recommendation from a few of my more popular friends would have prompted more people to read the book. A few shares of my blog posts would probably pick up some more subscribers.

This time, I only asked once for my Facebook friends to “like” my author page. Out of 664 Facebook friends, 30 “liked” it. Of those 30, about 5 follow it and hit “like” once in a while. I am grateful for those thirty people. Right now, I have six subscribers to my website—one of them is me because I want to see how the posts look in emails—and I am grateful for those five people who have subscribed. This time around, I want to make sure the people reading my work are reading it because they like it and not out of obligation.

In reality, I would like for people to say, “I like Catherine, so I am going to read her book no matter how boring or painful it is for me to read,” but again, that is asking too much of people.

Also, do I do that for my friends: buy their books and read them no matter how boring or painful and post about them on social media? Yes, yes I do. I at least buy the books and try to read them. As a writer, I know how much work went into that masterpiece, and I want to honor that work by a fellow writer.

What I am trying to say is: don’t get discouraged if your book is not an overnight best seller and if your family and friends are oblivious to your achievement. You will pick up fans as you go along, and they will be people who are fans because they like your writing and want more. If you are feeling really low, write an essay about it, like I did here. I’ll bet you will find you have more support than you realize.

In case you are curious, the title of my book is Until Jerusalem It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats, and on Barnes and Noble in paperback (I am not Nookist.* I wanted to see how it would sell before I paid someone to format it for Nook.).  Don’t go out and buy the book, however; borrow it from your local library (You can even borrow it in Kindle format.).  If you do read the book, let me know what you think.

See Ya!

*Nookist: someone who does not like Nooks.  Catist: someone who does not like cats. Bookist: someone who does not like books.  You can add -ist to any word to form a label for someone who is against a particular person or thing. (That is not an official English rule, btw. My daughters made it up, or saw it somewhere, or something.)

On Fleek

On Fleek
On Fleek

I recently read an ad, aimed at the average person, which used the word aesthetic. I asked my young adult daughter, “How many people actually know what that word means?”

She said, “We (meaning people her age) use it all the time. Like: that’s her aesthetic.” Aesthetic in this connotation meaning style.

Another time,  I was talking to a teen in the library. She said, “Her outfits are really on fleek.” I asked the girl to repeat what she said and wanted to ask her to spell fleek but decided to just Google it. On fleek is a term meaning really nice eyebrows. It can be used to describe other things as well. About anything done to perfection is on fleek.

My eyebrows, above, need combed, so they would not be termed on fleek.

Some other new words:

Baller: Something really awesome.

Basic: A person who follows the crowd and doesn’t like to appear different.

Fam: Group of close friends.

Hella:  Extremely (To quote Taylor Swift: “The fella’ over there with the hella good hair.” meaning he has great hair.)

Lit: Cool

Same: Same (LOL! It means, “I feel exactly the way you do,” or “I am exactly how you are.”

Squad: Group of Friends

The Bomb Dot Com: Greater than Great

RBF: Resting B**** Face (Resting Mean Face): A person who looks mean even when her face is relaxed.  The B**** is, of course, is a curse word.

The importance of keeping on top of our constantly evolving language cannot be stressed enough. When I was a teen, my friend’s mom wanted to nick-name her son, “Boner” because he was so skinny and bony. When she told us that, my friend and I laughed so hard we almost passed out. We finally said, “Don’t.” She said, “Why?” We were teenage girls; we were not going to explain that to a mom. We said, “Just, don’t.” She didn’t. That boy is lucky his sister had his back, or he would have been in for a ton of embarrassment.

If you know any new terms/words, please put them in the comments along with their meanings–with curse words written with first letter and ****. We’re all in this together when it comes to staying on top of pop culture and current trends and making sure we can still speak, and understand, English.

See Ya!


The Last of the Mohicans

This is not a real gun or lantern. It is a real tree.
This is not a real gun or lantern. It is a real tree.

I nicknamed my pretend Grandpa Dave* “The Last of the Mohicans.” The story behind the nickname goes something like this. Grandpa Dave was sitting high up in a deer stand one day when he heard something rustling around behind the tree. Stealthily, one small movement at a time, he bent as far around the tree as he could to see what was there. It was a huge buck! If he got out of the stand, the buck would spook, but he couldn’t get a clear shot from where he sat. Unfortunately, he strained a little too far off the seat, lost his balance, and started to fall. He took a shot at the buck on the way down. Fortunately, he landed on his belly and only got the wind knocked out of him. When he could breathe again, there was the buck, dead: perfect shot through the heart. He had the deer, and no one was there to disprove his story. I have no choice but to believe him.

I got my gift of story telling, or at least of embellishing, from Grandpa Dave. I always tell people, “I don’t lie, I exaggerate.” When I am speaking, people can tell by the tone of my voice that I am “stretching the truth.” In my writing, not so much. It is safe to assume that everything in this blog is, to some extent, exaggerated unless I say otherwise.

People ask me, “Where do you come up with ideas for your stories?” My answer: “Everywhere.” Most of life strikes me as peculiar and funny. Byron said, “If I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” That about sums up my attitude.

If you want to write, you need to keep a journal of story and anecdote ideas. It can be a paper journal, a phone journal, a computer journal-whatever suits you best. I use paper and the computer to store my ideas.

When I was young, I had about ten notebooks, each with a separate story. (This is way before computers were a household item or were even available to the average person.) That is how I am now, except its worse. I have five memory sticks with stories on them. I have several notebooks, also with stories.

Stories are all around you. All you have to do is write down the facts, and then exaggerate a little. . .or a lot.

*Remember: I have made up a fake family because my real family refuses to be acknowledged by me—for good reason—LOL! Everything I say about Grandpa Dave is either made up or changed so no one can recognize the true origin of the story, which makes no difference anyway because Grandpa Dave is not a real person.

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Stranger Things

Stranger Reeper
Stranger Reepicheep

If you haven’t seen Stranger Things on Netflix, stop reading this, go get yourself some popcorn and some soda pop and watch it. You might as well schedule some pizza delivery and prepare to sit in front of the tele for the next 8 hours because once you start, you will not want to stop. (There are 8 episodes which average 42 to 52 minutes each; however, eight hours will allow time for bathroom breaks, Snapchat updates, and Instagram posts.)

If you grew up in the ’80’s, watch out because the show will bring back memory after memory about how life was back in the day. If you didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, this post will answer some questions you may have about the show.


  1.  You may wonder about the authorities incessantly searching for and calling for Will Byers instead of putting his face on a milk carton. In the ’80’s, people stealing kids just wasn’t that common. Although the milk carton campaign started in 1984 and a lot of kids did go missing due to abduction, people still thought of a child being kidnapped as something that “happened to somebody else.” People felt safe in small town neighborhoods. The natural assumption was that Will had run away or had gotten lost.
  2. Nancy is really too skinny to correctly represent an ’80’s girl. Girls, for the most part, weighed more and were curvier. If you don’t believe me, watch the original Elisbeth Shue in The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, also see Mollie Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, and Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  3. Nancy’s clothes, and everybody else’s, are spot-on. Girls actually wore dresses on a day to day basis and liked it. We wore blouses and tied thin ribbons around the neck with a bow, then layered a thin sweater over it.
  4. Barb’s glasses are the best. As you can see, I had a pair of those, or two or three. It was what everybody word: round and half as big as your face.
My brother and me in our '80's hair and glasses.
My brother and me in our ’80’s hair and glasses.
  1. If a teen girl in the ’80’s returned home super late, the mom wouldn’t have said, “You can talk to me.” A mom would have said, “I don’t care where you were, you are late. You are grounded for a week.” And after finding out the girl had been with a boy, the mom would have said, “I am making an appointment to get you a pregnancy test. You are grounded for life, and you will never see that boy again.” (One slight deviation from reality and how the show portrays reality.) By the way, the show is not really clear on whether or not the teen couple actually have sex. I like that as a viewer–not to watch a teen sex scene and not to know how far they actually went.
  2. Speaking of which, back then, if memory serves, Victoria’s Secret was for grown women with extra spending money for fancy lingerie. It was not for the everyday woman. Women wore plain (mostly white) bras and pretty much plain underwear, although some of the panties were colored or had little designs on them. The girl’s bra in the show is fairly representative of the choice we women had back them.
  3. Although we did not have colored bras, we did have colored toilet paper. Blue, Pink, Yellow (?) I don’t remember all of the colors available. People had toilet paper to coordinate with the color schemes of their bathrooms.
  4. I don’t remember boys having hair like Steve’s hair–except in the movie Sixteen Candles. It was either the crew cut or the bowl haircut as demonstrated by Jonathan Byers, Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, and Dustin Henderson. The rest of the hair is spot-on, especially Barbara’s “Dorothy Hamill” hair and Nancy’s mom’s “Feathered” hair (Again, see picture above.)
  5. Dungeons and Dragons was huge. It was also considered evil. Many parents forbid their kids to play it. I wish I had had access to a group so I could have played. I would have been into the cosplay and the whole bit.
  6. We didn’t say, “Seriously.” We would say, “Are you for real?” We also said, “Well, duh,” instead of “obviously.” If someone was running fast, he (she) was bookin’. Good looking guys were foxes and stud muffins and hunks. Pretty girls were foxes and babes.
  7. I don’t know where Mrs. Byers and the pre-schooler go all day. Back then, most moms didn’t work. The show never says where they go off to. I don’t think Mrs. Byers has a job because she comes home with groceries in the middle of the day in one episode. Moms, by the way, really did bake all of those goodies for Christmas.

Stranger Things has two sexual situations that I can think of, but it doesn’t really show much. Violence is minimal although there is some.  It is a show that holds appeal for all ages.

Two aspects of this show really stand out to me.

Number One is that the teens are portrayed as teens really are: conflicted, immature, caring, curious, intelligent, and too brave for their own good. Not perfect people, but not bad people.

Number Two is that the adults and kids eventually work together. The adults are not the enemy.

If you have any memories of how things were in the ’80’s, or if you have something you would like to share about this show, please write it in the “comments” below.

(I couldn’t get my numbers to go to 5 after the picture. My daughters are sleeping, so it is going to have to stay the way it is.)

And, yes, I did that pic of Reepicheep myself. Pretty gnarly, huh?



On Getting Started at Writing (or Don’t Buy Something When You Don’t Know What It Is)

Hummingbird Fountain
Hummingbird Fountain

The above picture has nothing to do with this post. My husband built a hummingbird fountain for me this spring. The hummers come in early morning. Sometimes they sit on the side and preen as they dip water from the dish. Sometimes they fly into the water, then sit on a branch and preen.  It is really neat to watch.

How does one get started toward having a book published?

When I started writing, I found other authors on Facebook and began asking them questions. These were not famous authors, btw. I didn’t shoot for Danielle Steele or Stephen King. These were authors who were just getting started or authors who had one or two books under their belts.

One of the authors told me, “You have to buy a domain with your name. Buy it now, before someone else buys it, and then you can’t use your name.”

“What’s a domain?” I asked.

“It’s a website.”


“Where do I get one?”

“You can buy one on Google for about $10.00.”

Note: You don’t actually pay Google for the domain. You pay a different company for the domain. Google just helps you purchase it.

I got on Google and bought my domain:

One problem: When you buy the domain, it doesn’t just automatically pop up on the Internet with everything ready to go. Silly me-I thought it did.

Three months and a lot of research later, I hired a company to set up my website and my blog. You can do it yourself, but I don’t know how.

If you are a writer just starting out, see if you can find a friend or relative to help you set up your website or blog and get it on the Internet. There are a lot of people out there who know how to do it–try a third grader–LOL! A third grader probably doesn’t know how to do it, but I bet a high school kid does.

Also, do some research and look at other authors’ websites/blogs before purchasing a domain or hiring someone to set up a website for you.

#1 Thing to Remember as a New Writer: Many writers invest a lot of money when they first start out because LIKE ME, THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Research, ask questions to other writers just starting out, join some writers’ groups on Facebook, and ask questions to other writers who have a few books under their belts, and research.

Fortunately, I found a good company, and they didn’t charge a whole lot to set up and host my website.

What is “host”? Your website has to be “hosted” on a server somewhere in order for it to appear on the Internet.

I intend most of my posts to be funny and informational. I must apologize: this one is just informational.

Coming Thursday:  STRANGER THINGS

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And, please, “Like” me on Facebook.

See Ya!


Dear Younger Me. . .

Mercy Me has a song out called “Dear Younger Me. ” In it the singer tries to decide whether or not to give his younger self “spoilers” about how his life will turn out.

Here’s Mine



Savor all of those fresh vegetables from the garden. Find out how Grandpa Dave does it because when you are older, your vegetable garden is going to leave something to be desired, like vegetables.

You were a good kid. The incident with the concrete wasn’t your fault. Grandpa Dave should have locked the door.

This is how you thought you looked:

Me–Teenager in Play

This is how you really looked:


Me–High School Graduation Party*

You will look like both when you are older, depending on the day and how much effort you want to put out.

Yes, you will eventually find Grandpa Dave’s secret hot chocolate recipe. It will be in the last place you thought you’d ever find it.

Invest in Wal-Mart, Disney, and Pepsi. You will be rich in about 20 years.

The Bionic Woman doll was ugly, and you will get SO MUCH mileage out of how it gets broken. Don’t take it too hard. After all, she was truly bionic for about an hour.


Someday, you will be athletic! Believe it or don’t!

Relax more. Read more books and watch more television. Spend more time with friends. In college you are going to have so much fun with Debbie, Lorrayne, and Dale. You are going to meet some awesome people and have some great adventures.

Keep track of Lynette, who talked you into rappelling that day. (Don’t worry, it’s fun, and neither of you die.) She just kind of disappears from your life, and although you try to find her, you haven’t yet.

Someday you will meet a man who will laugh with you. You will know when he laughs that he is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.


You do get a dog eventually, and she is a good one.

Post in the comments below what you would tell your younger self. I would LOVE to know. And if you know a woman over 35 whose name is Lynnette and who is from the Chicago area, please show her this blog post, and tell her to get in touch with me.


Life Saving Tips


This article is full of practical ideas on everyday living that just might save your life.

I love watching stories about how people survive under adverse circumstances. One man was stranded on a mountain for several days.  He had to stay zipped up in his sleeping bag, make sure his hands and feet didn’t freeze, etc.  One thing he said stayed with me: he filled a water bottle with snow and kept it against his body until the snow melted before he drank it.  He said that he had to do that because eating snow would lower his core body temperature, and he would freeze to death.  Remember that for later; it’ll give my story more street cred.

On Shopping:

I was shopping the other day in an underwear store–I guess to be fancy, I should call it “lingerie.”  Anyway, the store clerk told me that if you want to know if a pair of underwear will fit, put the waistband around your neck, with the rest of the panty hanging down in back, like a scarf.  If the waistband overlaps a little, you’ve got a winner.  If it overlaps a lot, hooray!, you get to go down a size.  If you strangle yourself and pass out in the store, probably not a good fit.  My friend and I stood there wearing underwear around out necks for about half an hour.  I forgot I had one on and made it about two stores down before somebody said, “Cool scarf!”  Oops!

I tried it with a pair of skinny jeans.  I wrapped the legs around my neck–way  too big–hooray!  I am going to have to write the company, however.  When I got into the dressing room, I couldn’t even get my foot in.  They have got their pants way out of proportion.

On Body Image:

Coincidentally, my insurance company’s quarterly newsletter was in the mail box.  The main report said the new way to calculate health is waist-to-height ration.  The measurement of the waist is supposed to be half the measurement of height.  I got out the tape measure.  After figuring the numbers in my head twice and on a calculator three times, I decided to remeasure after I buy myself a pair of six-inch heels.

On Bargain Shopping:

If your husband is a bit stingier than you and looks at price tags, there is a win-win suggested by one of my friends.  When you purchase an item on sale, cut off the tag and put it in a box.  When you buy something a little pricey, get a tag out of the box and put it on the item.  Your husband will think you are a super-shopper, and no one is the wiser.  Make sure the box of tags is well-hidden and burn the store receipt.


On Ice Cream

It is my considered opinion that ice cream has gotten the bad end of the stick in the nutrition wars.  Ice cream is perfectly healthy and is good for any meal.  My kids lived on ice cream for breakfast for years (and neither one is even close to overweight.).  Their friends loved to spend the night at our house because for breakfast, they got ice cream with chocolate syrup (also healthy because of its high magnesium, copper, and potassium content and great antioxidant value).  I only see one danger in ice cream:  if you eat too much, you could lower your core body temperature so much that you could freeze to death.  It’s true; I saw it headlined in a tabloid once:  Woman eats 40 gallons of ice cream and freezes to death.  Don’t worry, I always watched the kids closely, and if their breath started to frost, I said tactfully, “I think you’ve had enough.”  You now stand warned of an inherent danger of ice cream that you probably never thought of before.  Remember:  It’s always funny until someone freezes to death.

It’s Harvest Time: A Teaching Tool for Parents

This is a combine.
This is a combine.
This is a tractor.
This is a tractor.

I am posting this for the benefit of those who did not grow up around this kind of machinery as I did not. Also for those who would like to teach their children the difference between a combine and a tractor.

My husband used to farm. He did not like it when I called the combine a tractor. I didn’t really see what difference it made what I called them, but I soon found out that their names ARE NOT interchangeable, at least not within earshot of a farmer.  I took the time to study them and learned that a combine has a cow catcher on front and a tractor does not. I guess that is because there is more chance of the cows being in the field eating the ripe corn at harvest than there is at any other time.

This is a tractor in front of a gravity wagon.
This is a tractor in front of a gravity wagon.


I am not sure why a gravity wagon is called that except that probably gravity drags the grain to the bottom of the wagon.

Anyway, if you live in the Midwest, you are going to see A LOT of these on the roads in the coming weeks and months.

This is what a combine looks like from behind.
This is what a combine looks like from behind.

Parents, please tell your driving-age children to allow extra time during harvest in case they are caught behind a slow moving farm vehicle. You can show them the pictures in case you think they might not know when they are behind farm machinery, or if you think they might not know what the orange triangle means. I failed that one on my driver’s test last year–trudat. I labeled it a “yield sign.” Hey, don’t judge, they’re both triangles. (In case you are like I was and still don’t know what that orange triangle means, it means, “Slow Moving Vehicle.” Tip: You will be tested on that if your name is ever drawn to take the written driver’s test.)

You can also tell them about ICKY: Impatience Can Kill You.

Our farmers deserve a little of our patience and a lot of our gratitude. I really don’t want to be purchasing my food from other countries. If we have to rely on other countries for our food, we will face poor quality and expensive prices.

So, remember, it’s better to arrive late than not to arrive at all. We need to support our farmers so that we’ll have good healthy food for years to come. And, if you ever need to know the difference between a combine and a tractor, you can reference my blog.

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Until Next Time: Be Safe!





My Dog and I Do Ab Work-Outs Together.
My Dog and I Do Ab Work-Outs Together.

Reepicheep and I are working out to get ready for the expedition. As you can see, she pushes me to do just one more crunch when I am too tired to go on.

When I started teaching back in the day, I commented to another teacher that I was a body builder. (Those days are long past, btw.) She said, “You are going to need that.” I puzzled and puzzled over what she meant. I now know.

Teaching, writing, any kind of stressful or sit-down work requires physical stamina. Lifting weights and running provided the strength and stress relief I needed to do the best at my job then, teaching. Running and working out provide the strength and stress relief I need now to do the best at my job now, writing.

I estimate that we will walk four to ten miles a day on our expedition. To prepare, my dog, Reepicheep, and I walk every day. When we are finished walking, Reepicheep stinks. She stinks regularly anyway because she is a dog. I really don’t like the smell, and I don’t like to think of that smell building up in my couches, etc.

I could give her a bath every day.


But that would take a lot of time and dry out her skin.

I have discovered a trick to keeping her clean and fresh smelling without daily baths.

After we walk, I wet down a cloth diaper with warm water. I then spray the diaper with Naturally Green Tropiclean ® Refreshing Body Spray for pets. Available on Amazon for about $12.00. (It is also called “Pet Cologne.”) Next, I rub the damp diaper all over her body. The Baby Powder scent keeps her smelling fresh, but someone can only detect it if sniffing right up against her fur. She seems to like the rub down.

Disclaimer: Please consult your vet before trying this on your pet. I do not claim responsibility from any detrimental effects this treatment might have on your pets– especially if your neighbors steal your pet because they think it is the one dog with the unique trait of not stinking, ever.

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See you soon!