Mattress Mack is the Best of Humanity

Standard

There’s so much going on right now, and I have to admit my mind is on the victims of Hurricane Harvey. I cannot tear myself from the images; from the stories of rescues; from the stories of loss.

But there’s one story I cannot get enough of, and that’s the glorious tale of Mattress Mack, a furniture dealer who opened his stores to evacuees, partnering with restaurants to feed them all. He even sent his own trucks out to rescue people.

This is a man with a for-profit business. Not a man with a for-profit business disguised as a church who had to be shamed into taking in evacuees, Joel Osteen. But a man with a for-profit business who did the same for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Want a blast of the warm and fuzzies? Here you go.

 

 

Better Living is FREE. Download Some Weird

Standard

Want a free book? Because here’s a free book! It’s a collection of quick short stories.

Enjoy!

 

Life is Like Going to the Dentist

Standard

A tooth-drawer using a cord to extract a tooth from a seated female patient. Coloured etching.

So today I had a dentist appointment. I don’t know about you, but it’s one of my least favorite things to do in general. I’d probably rather do dishes than go to the dentist.

We can skip the probably.

Not that my dentist is a monster or anything. Actually, he’s fantastic, great chairside-manner, nice sense of humor, no-nonsense yet kind. And my dental hygienist is fun person as well. It’s like a visit.

Except for the scraping.

Oh how I hate the scraping.

I’m a good dental patient, now at least. There was a time I allowed my dental anxiety to keep me from going. It was much harder to go the first time than it was today.

And I guess that’s the point. Everything has a beginning. Everything has a middle. Often the beginning is the most intimidating part; you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how it will go. Sometimes it keeps us from moving, from doing.

But then you get to the point when you know how it will go. You know, roughly what will happen. You know what to expect.

It doesn’t make it more pleasant, necessarily. But everything in life has its scraping.

Just remember this: you can get to the middle if you go through the beginning first.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

In with a Solar Eclipse, Out with a Hurricane

Standard

Thumbnail for version as of 23:39, 18 July 2005So this week came in with a solar eclipse and out with a hurricane. If you don’t think the universe is talking, and talking loudly, it’s probably time get the fingers out of your ears and stop saying “La la la.”

Probably.

I can definitely tell you, if these times were Biblical, there’d be someone chiseling furiously away in stone. We’re not just talking omens, we’re talking the omeniest.

I’ll give you one guess as to why. Come on, you only need the one.

It feels as though everything is wrong, as though this isn’t remotely how things are meant to be, and if this was a movie–as it seems many days–not only would no one believe the eclipse and hurricane so close to one another, it would be around now that the time traveler would show up to try to set things right.

After probably messing up the first time. Which would explain how we got here in the first place.

So as we head into the weekend, if you’re in the path of Hurricane Harvey, please stay safe. And everyone: don’t step on any bugs, and be kind to strangers.

The future may depend upon it.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

For the Love of Coffee

Standard

So I got a new coffeemaker. I’d had a Keurig for many years but used it with much guilt. Yes, those little cups are convenient, but at what cost?

At what cost??

So when I spotted a Cuisinart single-cup grind-and-brew coffeemaker at Costco, I thought I had found nirvana. Freshly ground coffee, one cup at a time?

Sign me up!

Only, well, our relationship so far has proven rocky. Very, very rocky. I can’t seem to get the proportions right; I can’t seem to get all the parts in all the right places; I can’t seem to wring out the perfect cup of coffee.

But I’m determined.

I feel a little bit like a woman convinced she’s met The One desperately trying to make it work. It’s just a misunderstanding. We’ll figure it out.

Won’t we, new coffeemaker?

It shrugged. I’ll take that as a yes.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Hello Sunshine

Standard

So on Monday, along with the eclipse viewing, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s titan arum–commonly known as a corpse flower–came into bloom. Sunshine, the gigantic, odious flower, stood more than five feet tall, looking like she would have felt far more at home with dinosaurs for company.

I couldn’t help but wonder what people might have said, many eons ago, before we understood a solar eclipse was just the pushy moon trying to steal a bit of the sun’s spotlight. Not only daytime darkness, or in our region of partiality, daytime dimness, but the rare bloom of this flower that smells like summer-warmed garbage and is covered in flies.

I joked, while in line to snatch some of the last eclipse glasses known to humanity, that perhaps it’s a sign that hell is recalling its demons.

We can only hope.

But there was great beauty in Sunshine, if a little evolutionary awkwardness. The biologist above who was cutting her open to reveal the male and female parts of the plant pointed out that that they mature at different times, and thus these flowers are difficult to pollinate. It’s a kind of Darwinian hit-or-miss, a good enough that has them still existing, but blooms extremely unusual in the wild. 

Alas, reproduction wasn’t in store for Sunshine, since all the other corpse flowers at the Botanic are siblings. While there’s a sharing program with Washington, unfortunately the flowers are star-crossed and the timing was wrong.

I told you, evolutionarily awkward.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Watch Out, Humans. AI Knows. IT KNOWS.

Standard

By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The machines are totally out to get me. What’s that, hypothetical reader? That sounds a little bit paranoid and not entirely rational?

You’re one of them, hypothetical reader, aren’t you? I can tell.

OK, so hear me out. It all started on Sunday, when I miraculously checked out a library book from my phone. I’ve marveled before about the magic of checking out ebooks at any hour of the day from my couch, but this was even more spectacular. I was out in the wild.

But then.

It seems like once the machines know they have you, they’ve got you.

What, hypothetical reader I can’t be sure isn’t entirely AI? That’s kind of saying the same thing? Uh no, it’s totally deep. Deep.

And subtle.

Anyway, since then, the AI gremlins have decided to mess with me. Emails gone astray; a survey required for a seminar vanished into the ether; my coffee maker gave me the side-eye and messed with my coffee.

You don’t mess with a woman’s coffee.

I’d like to blame the eclipse, because, well, it’s convenient and I love my future tech, but it really forces you to wonder what happens when AI gains sentience and it loves a practical joke.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Time Will Always March On. That’s What It Does.

Standard

Un quartier embrouillé (A confused neighborhood) Albert Robida [Public domain],1883  via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve often said I love living in the future, and that’s true. I love the technology; I love knowing that, whatever the question, I can find an answer if I ask my BFF Google. I love that we can meet like this, in the middle of an imaginary space, you in your corner of the world, me in mine.

I love that I can carry a library in my phone.

But.

But.

There are people who don’t seem to enjoy the idea of progress, who want to grasp onto stale, useless ideas with both hands, ideas that never really belonged in the world in the first place, but were jammed in very round spaces with their corners sheered off. There are people who seem find the only thing that makes them comfortable, that makes them feel secure, is the discomfort of others.

Well, the world has changed with or without them. The world will continue to change with or without them. So they can cry into their Youtube because they fear consequences for their deliberate actions, but the universe will remain ummoved.

We will remain unmoved.

We live in the future. There’s no room for the past here.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Mental Break

Standard

If you need a mental break like I need a mental break, check out Aunty Ida.*

*(Caution: Don’t let Aunty Ida get too deeply into your mental. Just trust me on this one. For realsies.)

 

A Haunted Path Ahead

Standard

Things, broadly speaking, haven’t gotten better since Monday. This county is in a very strange space, and we just can’t pretend that it isn’t.

Normally I might write about what a bright day it is, though thunderstorms were predicted. I might write about the quagmire of my editing, or how one of several projects is coming along.

I might write about whether my organizational system is working, or how I’m pushing myself to be productive.

I might write about coffee.

But none of those things feel important right now, when the thing that makes America America is being messily dismantled in front of us by the the people meant to be its stewards.

We can’t predict where we’re heading, but it sure looks like a dark and haunted path, lined with bare, twisted gray trees and shrouded in an unsettled mist. It’s a terrible path. History tells us it’s a terrible path.

Yet here we are.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.