Archive for the ‘reading’ Tag

04-08-2016 Journal–Who Doesn’t Love Shopping?   Leave a comment

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After yesterdays shopping trip with my better-half I’m sitting here this morning trying to figure out exactly what kind of positive benefits I might have reaped from it as well as any negatives.  The trip was relatively short compared to her usual shopping forays so I was forced to sit and read my Kindle at only three locations. Fortunately for me they were all in the Mall and out of the weather.

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The positives.

Positive #1 – I sat an hour or so in the Mall out of the rain and cold weather.

Positive #2 – I had a free hour of reading time.

Positive #3 – I made my better-half happy by accompanying her.

Positive #4 – I was out of the house.

Positive #5 – I was able to continue my detailed study of black leggings and the effect they have on me when worn by skinny, well built, chubby, and the occasional obese woman.

Positive #6 – The good feelings that are generated by all those black leggings on the really well-built women.

Positive #7 – We ate a really delicious luncheon meal at Uno’s and:

Positive #8 – Our well-built waitress was wearing black leggings (that were even better than any dessert).

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Now let’s move on to the negatives.

Negative #1 – I was forced to go out in the rain and cold weather to sit in an effing Mall.

Negative #2 – I wasted an hour of my precious time trying to read my Kindle in a crowded and annoying Mall.

Negative #3 – I remained silent and refused to voice my displeasure so not as to upset my better-half.

Negative #4 – I was taken to the Mall when my time could have been better spent at home with my X-Box.

Negative #5 – I was continuously distracted by a steady stream of women wearing black leggings.

Negative #6 – With all the hormones flying around because of the black leggings I was forced to remain seated the entire time (I hope you get my drift here).

Negative  #7 – Eating out requires that I pay for a meal that I could have made at home for a fraction of the cost.

Negative #8 – Our waitress was way too efficient making numerous trips to our table to distract me from conversations with my better-half (it was those damn black leggings she was wearing).

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Since the negatives cancelled out the positives I suppose you could say we had a reasonable day.  Not outstanding but not terrible either. If it wasn’t for my better-half and all of those black leggings it could have been much less enjoyable.  It’s amazing to me how our excellent relationship has developed over the years due to those thousands of little inconsequential compromises we make. Only one thing could have made our day better and close to absolute perfection.

MY BETTER-HALF NEEDS  TO BUY A FEW PAIRS OF BLACK LEGGINGS !!

Critical Disclaimer: Darling this entire post was written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. You’ll just have to compromise a bit for all of the sarcasm.

03-29-16 Journal–Reading & Writing!   Leave a comment

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Most people who blog love to write and I guess that’s understandable. What I don’t understand are those people out there who choose not to write or read. I’m not criticizing, just questioning why. It seems that some people are wired differently and just aren’t all that interested. I read almost the entire Lord of the Rings story to my young son and he enjoyed it immensely.  I can honestly say that might be the last book he ever had read to him and he hasn’t read one on his own very often if ever.  He just isn’t interested in reading.

Is it nature or nurture?  I really don’t have a clue.  Using my son again as an example, on his twelfth birthday I bought him a book on the history of baseball and statistics on every player of note for the last fifty years. I knew he loved sports and I took a shot. The book was four inches thick and I thought if nothing else he could use it as a door stop.  He read the entire book in a few weeks and remembered almost every statistic on every player. After a time he drove me nuts quoting stats every time we talked.  Apparently he was over-the-top interested in sports.

You all know how much I love the written word and trivia so I decided to combine them for todays post.  Here’s my collection of useless information on the written word.

  • The number  of children in  the United Kingdom appearing in hospital emergency rooms dropped by 50% on weekends when the new Harry Potter books were released.
  • The first edition of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) sold only 351 copies in it’s first six years.
  • Five years after the 9/11 attacks, 1248 books had been published on the subject.
  • More than  150 books have the words “before you die” in their titles.
  • Charles Dickens created 989 named characters.

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  • Only half of American adults have read a book since leaving high school.
  • Five of the ten best selling novels in Japan in 2007 were written on mobile phones.
  • In 1893, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, 20,000 people cancelled their subscriptions to The Strand Magazine, which had published the Holmes stories.
  • Around 200,000 academic journals are published in the English language. The average number of readers per article is 5.
  • The word “bible” does not appear in the works of Shakespeare.

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  • Thirty percent of hardcover books go directly from the printer to the warehouse.
  • The Da Vinci Code is the bestselling book in French history. A quarter of the population is estimated to have read it.
  • Mein Kampf was second bestselling book in Turkey in March of 2005.
  • The eighteenth-century scholar Edmond Malone calculated that 4,144 of the 6,033 lines in parts I, II, and II of Henry VI were plagiarized by William Shakespeare.
  • The record for the highest number of short stories published in The New Yorker by an author in one year is held by E.B. White (twenty-eight in 1927). The overall record is held by James Thurber, who published 273 stories from 1927 to 1961.

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That’s it for today.  Hopefully they’ll be a few non-readers out there who’ll decide to read this post. I know for certain my son won’t be one of them unless I add some silly facts about batting averages or Babe Ruth’s weight problems.

NON-READERS MAKE ME CRAZY

12-28-2015 Journal–New Year’s Resolutions!   3 comments

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Thank God the Christmas season is finally behind us for another year. As much as I enjoy it while it lasts,  when it’s over it’s over. Let’s’ move right along to the next all consuming holiday, New Years. It’s during this in-between time every year that I usually do a final review of my New Year’s resolutions and introduce my list for 2016. With that in mind here is a quick recap of 2015.

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2015

1.  I vow to exercise for forty-one minutes every other day for the entire year. COMPLETED – I’m now up to 46 minutes.

2.  I vow to call President Obama nasty names only during months with an "R" in them. COMPLETED, This one was easy.

3.  I further vow to never say anything good about President Obama in months without an "R". COMPLETED: This one was even easier.

CAUSTIC COMMENT – Goodbye OBAMA, your fifteen minutes is almost over.

4.  I vow to never blurt out any F-Bombs in front of the grandson now that he’s started repeating damn near everything. COMPLETED

5.  I vow to say many more F-Bombs around those people (except the grandsons) who irritate, annoy or piss me off. COMPLETED, and still going strong.

6.  I vow to stop flirting with just anyone.  There are times when I feel like such a slut and that’s not good for my self esteem.  INCOMPLETE, It’s really difficult to break this semi-bad habit but my hearts not really into trying.

7.  For the third year in a row I vow not to prance naked anywhere near the front picture window.  It creeps out the neighbors and one or two of our regular joggers.  COMPLETE, Due entirely to my better-half’s purchase of a new window treatment.

8.  I also vow not to screw with my cat as much this year due to his advanced age and sharp claws. INCOMPLETE, I have a few new scars but he really deserves being messed with whenever possible.

9.  I vow to take at least 500 really good photographs a month. INCOMPLETE, I’m just not getting it done.

10. Read 2 books a week for a year. COMPLETE, 104 AS OF 12/29/2015.

Now for my resolutions for 2016. I’ve been giving these a lot of thought because I feel the need to shake things up a little. Here goes.

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2016

1.  With the help of my better-half, complete the family recipe book. We’ve procrastinated long enough.

2.  Complete my blog book for 2015.

3.  Between August 8th and New Years, complete at least one more tandem skydive.

4.  Buy a dog.

5.  Keep my foul language to an absolute minimum around the grand kids. I know at some point they’ll both learn all those nasty words but let it be from someone other than me.

6.  Set aside at least two days a month for some quality time with my camera along the Maine coast or in the woods.

7.  Try as hard as I can to give a damn about politics. You should know this  resolution has absolutely no chance of ever being accomplished.

8.  Try to be a little more confrontational and assertive with ignorant people who insist on annoying me.  No more Mr. Nice Guy.

9.  Stop eating potato chips.

10. Set time aside to get back into sketching and painting.  I’ve gotten away from it for a few years and it’s time to return.

There you have it.  I completed seventy percent of my resolutions for 2015 and I’m really proud of myself but I’m also reasonably sure the list for this year will be a lot more difficult. 

I can only keep on keeping on.

08-12-2015 Journal – Computers, Reading & Boredom!   Leave a comment

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I feel like I’m in a rut of late which means this posting may ramble a bit. I seem to spend most of my time these days doing yard work, gardening, fighting with my computers, exercising, and reading endlessly.  I’ve complained for decades that I never seemed to have enough time to read as much as I’d like and now I do.  I should know by now to be careful what I wish for.

I set a goal for 2015 to read two books a week. I thought that was an unreachable number but something still worth shooting for. Believe it or not I’m ahead of schedule for the first seven months with a total of fifty-eight books read.  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind. Since we decided to eliminate cable TV from our lives my reading time has increased ten fold. I’m making Amazon really happy because my purchases of Kindle books has also increased dramatically.

My better-half agreed to work a special two week schedule for Lowe’s requiring her to wake up at 3:00 am and to return home at 2:30 pm. Of course that also means she’s asleep by 7:30 pm giving us approximately five hours a day together.  Just what I didn’t need was more free time to read.

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I still love reading but OMFG.  This home has become a flop house for a cat who sleeps eighteen hours a day and for me who reads almost that much.

With the fiasco of Windows 10 making me crazier than usual and frustrating me beyond belief I immediately fell back to reading as a way to clear my head of all things “computer”. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say something like this but I have no choice . . . Microsoft sucks!

Things have gotten so bad of late that I’ve actually considered going back to school just to have something to do. For someone who absolutely hated every school he’s ever attended, that quite the admission.

I’ve even thought about going back to a daily posting of this blog but decided against it. I’d rather start a new blog entirely to take a more critical look at current events and politics from my unusual and sarcastic perspective. I’m feeling a little meaner these days and with Obama on his way out the politicians of all parties have once again become fair game. It’s what our military would describe as a target rich environment.
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So to summarize . . . I’m freaking bored.

10-25-2013   2 comments

Doing a journal entry today is what I hope will be the beginning of a lazy day.  My better-half is gone until Monday to see her parents in Delaware and to spend a little quality time with her sister in Maryland. She’s on a short four day vacation but guess what, it’s also a vacation for me and the cat.

The cat doesn’t say much but I know he’s been enjoying himself a great deal.  He finally has total control and ownership of her half of the bed and is making the most of it.  He’s not all that big but if he sprawls out he can cover a pretty large area.  He hasn’t left the bed for more than a few minutes since she departed and I’m sure I can anticipate an interesting evening on Monday when she returns.  Since the cat can be almost as stubborn as my better-half it should be quite a show.

I was able to get a lot of tasks completed yesterday and spent a few hours running from store to store.  Shopping is always a chore because I find myself more interested in people watching than roaming mindlessly around looking for deals. I avoided Walmart completely because people watching there is no longer a challenge. Weirdo’s, freaks, and oddballs as far as the eye can see and that’s just the employees.

I visited another local establishment to look for a few used books and possibly a movie or two.  I picked up a copy of Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence.  It was a little cheaper than I thought it should be which usually means that it sucks and unfortunately it did. After watching it last night I discovered that even the great Spielberg can drop the ball every so often.  I dearly love science-fiction but this move  was a real stinker.  Lesson learned, buy no movies from that store that are priced less than four dollars.

My dieting continues and I’m into my third month.  My bodies adjusted to both the changes in my diet as well as the ever increasingly difficult exercise program.  The workouts have become a normal part of my weeks activities and I’m finally comfortable with them. I’m down twenty-five pounds and going strong.  I hit a plateau that lasted for almost a week where my weight refused to budge but after adjusting the workout routine I finally broke through it.  It was frustrating as hell to be working so hard and seeing no results.  At that time I was exercising twice a day, seven days a week.  I cut back to one session a day, five days a week, and almost instantly began to lose weight again.  The more weight I lose the harder it’s becoming but I just have to persevere and stay mentally strong.  I’m more than half-way to my goal and that keeps me going.

As I mentioned, today is a down day for me.  Nothing too strenuous, no exercising, and no errand running or shopping.  I plan on watching a little TV and reading a lot.  The Maine weather has gotten considerably colder in the last week so staying in and enjoying the quiet time is the perfect thing to do.  Nothing is better than a hot coffee, a good book, and a lot of peace and quiet.

This is my 364th straight day of posting without either graphics or catchy headlines to grab your attention.  My goal of one complete year without missing a day will be completed tomorrow.  Hooray for me.  I’ll be starting the second year of this blog with a fresh outlook, a clear head, catchy headlines, and all the photo’s necessary to keep it interesting. 

09-03-2013   Leave a comment

I’m standing at my kitchen window sipping on an extremely hot cup of coffee and watching my neighbors as they walk with their daughters out to the main road and the school bus that will start this new school year.  Their younger daughter isn’t quite old enough for school but she’s there to see her sister off and seems very excited by the whole experience.  They’re taking lots of photo’s to mark this special occasion as I’m sure they will do for many years to come.

The older daughter’s of another neighbor were seen packing their cars a few days ago and are now off to college to begin their school year.  They also seemed excited to begin another year that moves them a little closer to independence and a life of their own.

For me this is the beginning-of-the-end of summer.  I’m excited by the tourist season being over as I again watch them leaving the area in droves.  By next week the population of many nearby coastal towns will drop almost ninety percent.  Many of the beach businesses will close for the season and our lives can slowly get back to what we consider normal.  My better-half and I are looking forward once again to visiting several bars and restaurants we’ve been avoiding all summer.  Large crowds, high parking fees, and higher than normal prices have kept us away all summer long.  It’s northing new just a normal transition we have to deal with every September.  Caravans of vehicles heading north to return to Canadian soil and just as many heading south to Boston and beyond.

Our summer gardening is also coming to an end and the Fall season will be upon us in no time.  We’ll visit a few local fairs and festivals and of course the big Fryeburg Fair and  I’ll be getting out the snow thrower and preparing it for the coming season.  I’ve lined up a few winter projects and also collected a healthy stack of books to read during the next five months. Then we’ll settle in for what will hopefully be a quiet and thoughtful Winter with just enough snow to keep things fresh and clean until Spring.

I always look forward to Winter if for no other reason than the time it offers me to read, think, and write.  This blog becomes a major priority once again and I’ll finally have the proper amount of time to research things I want to write about.  That the best relaxation I can think of and I ‘m looking forward to it.

04-17-2013   Leave a comment

My drywall frustration continued again today shortly after I started priming the ceiling.  I’m enough of a realist to understand that no matter how hard you try it’s almost impossible to do a remodeling  project in an old house that is just perfect.  I accepted that fact and decided early on I would deal with those problems as they occurred. Well, they did.

I purposely made the decision to for this to be a winter project and to take as much time as necessary to do it right.  From the first that freaking ceiling was a problem.  It wasn’t level and the room wasn’t square but I fixed each issue as best I could and proceeded on. In my heart I knew that no matter what there would be certain areas I could never get perfect.

As soon as I began painting today I discovered a new drywall rule of thumb.  Everything good is really bad and everything bad is really good. Every area that I was concerned with turned out perfect and the two areas I was worried the least about became the biggest problems. One area couldn’t be  properly fixed and will require additional repair work once the remainder of the room is completed. It’s just so damn frustrating.

Enough with the damn remodel.  I finally made my way outside and it was the most gorgeous day so far this month.  I managed to complete some of the yard cleanup, chatted with a neighbor or two, and cleared my head of remodeling issues.  After my better-half arrived home from work we sat down and began to plan the garden.  What and where we should plant, buying additional soil to fill the frames, and a possible expansion of the garden to allow her to plant thirty of forty of the larger species of sunflowers.  It was an hour well spent that will make this year’s garden preparation less of a challenge.

One of our neighbors stopped by and he really has a bad case of garden/spring fever.  Over the past few summers he and his wife created a basic home garden and discovered how much they enjoyed it. This year their two young daughters, ages five and seven, are becoming more involved.  The girls are are ready to jump into things immediately and  have already started a few seeds and can’t wait to get a little dirty with their mom and dad in the garden.   It should a great summer for all of us exchanging gardening tips and canning techniques.  I’m looking forward to my first visit from his girls to talk about our gardens.  They’re too cute to be believed.

My book reading goal was reached last night when I completed both my sci-fi and non-fiction novels.  I read well into the night and had a great time in the process.  Now I can finish the third book at my leisure and take a little time to properly enjoy it. 

Slowly but surely I’m making progress.

04-16-2013   2 comments

It seems to me that this one little room remodel has consumed me for a very long time.  It continued today much to my chagrin.  I thought I’d finally begin the priming and painting to move this project into its final stages but I was wrong again.  I decided to do one last up-close inspection before starting to primer and after completing that inspection I put the paint and supplies back in the workshop and returned once again to the joint compound to make a few small repairs. Nothing pisses me off as much as realizing I’m not as meticulous as I thought.

I put down the plastic sheeting one more time, slopped some more joint compound around, and now I’m forced to wait until tomorrow before I can again smooth it out.  Another freaking day  lost that I could be doing other things but can’t.  This project needs to be completed and over. I need to keep in mind that I can’t rush things because if I do I’ll be creating even more problems. So I’ll shut up now and get back to work.

It’s now a few hours later and the minor repairs have been completed to my satisfaction.  Of course, my better-half arrived to conduct her own inspection and make a few comments which always makes me a little crazy. She was somewhat kind and took it easy on me because she knew how pissed off I was. So now it’s time to kick back for a few hours and try to change my focus from drywalling and painting to the garden and yard cleanup.

I briefly checked in on the progress of the Boston bombing but there wasn’t much new to hear.  I realize it’s too early to expect anything new but like every other citizen of this country I’m angry and want justice and some dark and savage revenge on the fuckers responsible for this outrage.  Again I’m forced to wait for results.  I’m a very impatient person and waiting makes me effing crazy.

I have a little extra time today to catch up my reading.  I normally like to read one book at a time but I find myself with three different books only partially read.  I’ve been skipping from one to the other and it’s a little distracting. On top of that, one book is on an e-reader (science fiction), another is a large and bulky hardcover (non-fiction), and the third an old tattered paperback (fiction). It’s effectively ruining all three stories for me and it’s time for me to fix things.  I plan on finishing the sci-fi today which should be easy enough with only a couple of hundred pages remaining.  Then tomorrow I’ll knock off the non-fiction book after finishing the first coat of primer and paint in this freaking room.

The next few days are expected to be sunny and clear but not particularly warm.  I plan on spending some quality time with my camera and maybe walk a few quiet miles through some nearby woods.  It’s a little early in the season to expect much in the way of photographs but it’s really more about getting out  the house for a few hours.  Believe me, it will be a pleasure to take photo’s of anything that isn’t covered with or standing in snow.

C’mon springtime.

04-04-2013   2 comments

Can you quickly name twenty-five things you love?  Are you a hater?  Can you immediately name twenty-five things you hate?  We as human beings seem to have the ability to quickly list those things that adversely effect us and to verbalize them  loudly to anyone nearby.

On my shopping safari yesterday I found myself rubbing elbows with the normal everyday human insanity to which we’ve all become accustomed.  I visited a few businesses in the area and as always was pretty much forced into listening to my fellow men and women  bitching about almost everything.  I’m only mentioning it because it became painfully obvious very quickly that an infection of some sort was in the air and effecting everyone including me.

I first visited my favorite book store to make a few purchases, check out some new authors, and people watch, of course.  I was in a great mood and anticipated a quiet restful visit. This is a very small store and when new arrivals show up they’re easy to spot.  A woman arrived in a rather expensive Audi, dressed very well, and with a walk that showed a lot of attitude.  She was in her fifties, fairly attractive, and well maintained, if you get my drift.  She wasn’t in the door more than three steps when she began talking at, not to, the proprietor.  That poor SOB was manning the register near the door and couldn’t escape.  This well-to-do looking woman began complaining about a book she purchased a week ago and didn’t really like and wanted a cash refund.  I think the term I’m looking for is "a bitch on wheels". She pissed and moaned about a three dollar refund for so long I was tempted to give her the money just so she would go away.  Thankfully neither the manager nor I gave her that refund and as she marched out the door we both breathed a sigh of relief.  She must have a real fashion sense though. It’s can’t be easy to hide such a huge set of balls in such a tight dress.

I then made a short drive to a nearby Wal-Green store where I was forced to stand in line behind two young ladies in their twenties.  We were in that line for maybe ten minutes but OMG it seemed much longer.  These young ladies were the queens of public trash talking.  Friends and foes alike couldn’t escape their wrath. To quote, "that bitch was all over him last night, what a slut", "I hear he uses so many drugs he can barely function (wink, wink) and finally a few choice words about someone who is their BFF and who threw up all over the side of her car.  I walked away really glad they didn’t consider me a friend.

As my safari continued I made my way to the Hannaford food store.  I like shopping there because I can quickly use the self-checkout and be in and out quickly. As usual I got in the checkout line behind the wrong effing guy.  I swear there could be twenty registers open and I would still manage to get behind that one customer with some huge problem or issue.  Today was no different.  I had about twelve items and planned on being checked out and gone in just a few short minutes but no way, Jose!

As I walked up to the self-checkout there was a guy just standing in front of the device with a dead stare and a blank look of real confusion on his face.  He apparently was new to self-checkouts, couldn’t figure it out, and the longer he waited the more pissed off he became.  For the next ten minutes he invited a cashier, a Front-End Manager, and finally the Store’s General Manger to help him.  I was proud of myself because I just wanted to scream a few obscenities at him and loudly identify him to everyone in the area as the dumbass that he was.  He was loud, obnoxious, rude, stupid, ignorant, and wouldn’t stop complaining.  He actually looked over and gave me a dirty look like I was part of his problem.  Those poor managers really earned their pay dealing with this schnook.  I finally was able to go on my way fifteen minutes later and was glad I hadn’t parked anywhere near that A-hole.  He was still standing in the parking lot as I drove away bitching to anyone who would listen. 

I’d planned to stop at a couple of other places but what was the point.  I was caught up in a local shit storm of complaining and unhappy people and had to get away as fast as possible.  As you can tell by reading this I didn’t get away quickly enough and was also infected.  I immediately went home and sat quietly for a while to compose myself and to let the infection run it’s course.

People are just so much fun it’s just a real pleasure to be around them. (sarcasm off)

04-03-2013   2 comments

I’m celebrating a little today because finally the freaking drywall job has been completed.  If I never see another sheet of the damn stuff again it will be too soon.  I estimate about an hour of sanding and smoothing before we can do a whole-house cleanup which could take a very long time.  That insidious white dust can be found in every room of the house even though I took great pains to control it.  Some things just can’t be avoided I guess.  The mere fact that I’m actually looking forward to doing the priming and painting should tell you how much I won’t be missing drywall. DONE AND DONE!

Other than the remodel things have been very quiet around the house of late.  My better-half’s been working a couple of weeks of some really weird shifts making our time together somewhat limited.  The grand child has brought an illness home from daycare and their entire family has been sick for more than a week.  I’ve been pretty much left alone except for the cat who is also not too happy about the lack of attention.

Today was first day in a while when I didn’t have to get up early and work on the remodel.  A day where I could sleep in and lounge around and even get out of the house to run a few errands. Why did I ever think that things would happen as I’d hoped.  The better-half left early for work and it wasn’t long before I wished she’d taken that damn cat with her.

The feline nagging started immediately since she left without feeding him.  He was unhappy and made sure I was too.  He walked slowly around the bed meowing at the top of his lungs until I brained him with a pillow.  Just as I was getting back to sleep he started his old routine of jumping on the bed, walking all over my body, meowing loudly, and then running away before I could grab another pillow.  He repeated this at least eight times before I found myself wide awake and none too happy.  Once he realized I was awake he disappeared from the bedroom and planted his furry little ass next to his food dish and just waited.  I made my way to the kitchen, fed the little bastard, cursed at him a few times and went back to bed.

Now I’m lying here writing this because I couldn’t get back to sleep.  Does the term "urge to kill" come to mind?  I think a few hours away from this place will allow me to clear my head a little and keep me from drop kicking the cat into next week.  The older he gets the more like my ex-wife he’s becoming.

This appears to be the beginning of what I fear could become a very bad day.  I think a few cups of really strong and tasty coffee just might do the trick to turn that around.  I’m willing to try just about anything to improve my day before the better-half returns from work.  The last thing we need is to have is a stupid argument instigated by the cat.

I think a quick trip to the discount book store might help.  I can calm myself with an hour of browsing through the racks to find a few interesting mysteries I haven’t read before.  This has been one helluva winter.  I been reading two books a week all winter but with the weather finally breaking that should slow down a bit.  I find myself actually looking forward to starting the yard work and preparing this years garden.

I’m out the door searching for a better day.