Oct 15, 2016

My NaNoWriMo piece from 2015 - sneak peak. (Be kind).

I had a cat when I was little. Its name was Millicent. My mum would call it Millie for short, but because I was only two I would say, Mellie. When I got older I would call her Smelly Mellie. I would sing her the Smelly Cat song from Friends, which Phoebe always sings. Luckily, she didn’t understand or she might have had a complex. Like most female cats she was actually really clean. Her white fur parts were so beautifully white, and she was always grooming herself. She would sometimes groom us, too. She would lick my hair and, and my toes, making sure they were clean.
I heard a theory once that cats just think we are big, stupid cats and they have to teach us how to be better cats. That’s why they bring us mice to teach us to hunt. I think Smelly Mellie thought I was her kitten.
She did have kittens once.
The man next door drowned them.
Millicent had been getting a bit fat around the time I was five. She had gotten out a couple of times and mum said she was probably eating at someone else’s house. Dad said to cut down her food a bit and no-one thought much about it.
“Hey Mellie, dad said you can’t eat too much, you are getting fat. ‘’ But, I would give her more cat biscuits anyway. I was five.
One day I couldn’t find her anywhere, I called and called and started singing the Smelly Cat song. My voice was cracking, and I had little tears rolling down my cheeks as I prayed my cat would be found. Finally, Mr Pomphrey showed up and found her (or should I say them?) under the hay rack we used for the chicken nests. Quite a bit of hay had fallen on the ground and it made a lovely bed for Mellie and her kittens.
We had big blocks in those days, so to a little kid, it seemed the hay rack was way down the back of the property near the chicken pen and the compost heap, so I hadn’t looked that far. But Mr Pomphrey had heard them miaowing.
Mr Pomphrey was like my mum’s BFF. He lived on his own and he was different to the other men I knew. He was kind and would talk to kids and not ignore them. He would always have tea with mum and they would laugh and mum would be okay for a few days after. He was really nice. That’s why I couldn’t understand what he did next.
I was so excited by the kittens, imagining I would now have three more Smelly Cats to play with. But Mr Pomphrey, who was so kind, told me to go back to the house, and not to tell my mum that the kittens had been born. I was confused, and I didn’t have any reference for this seemingly stern Mr Pomphrey. He was nice, he didn’t yell. He was our friend.
“I mean it, Philippa!” He said. “Go to the house and make sure your baby sister doesn’t come out either. We need to keep this a secret. Your mum doesn’t need any more stress “
I knew he was serious, he always called me Pip. I was scared and I started to cry, but I ran to the house wondering what he was going to do with the kittens. Maybe he was going to keep them for himself. That was it! He was alone and he was going to steal Mellie’s kittens.
I went and found Epony, who was about three I guess judging by the age I was at the time.
“Can you keep a secret, Ep?” I said. “She nodded her little head, her curls bouncing as she did so. “Mellie has had kittens, and I think Mr Pomphrey is going to steal them. We have to watch where he takes them, so we can tell Dad.“ I said very quickly. She made a kind of O with her mouth then nodded again more importantly. I grabbed Epony’s chubby toddler hand and snuck out the back door. I think mum was having a lie down anyway, she didn’t really know what we were up to most of the time, and so we were free to play on our own.
We went to the back verandah and peered over the low wall that encircled it, trying to be really quiet. I saw Mr Pomphrey shove a kitten into one of the sacks that the chicken feed came in. Then he left through the back gate, I assumed to return to his own house. He was so intent on what he was doing that he didn’t notice us girls. I knew it! He was stealing MY kittens and putting them in a dirty old sack just like a burglar.
“Come on Ep,“ I said to my baby sister, and we went to the spy hole that would allow us to see into Mr P.’s yard.
By the time that we got to the spy hole, which was really just a broken part of the fence from one of Dad’s cricket games with his mates, Mr Pomphrey had reached his own back yard. He had a giant bucket, the kind that caterers use for mayonnaise. I remember in those days he belonged to some sort of club and he would run the canteen. I think it was collecting something, but I don't remember what. Who knows, maybe rocks or stamps, maybe Lego?
Next, he filled the bucket with water and I thought that was too big for a drink for tiny kittens. I wanted to call out but we weren’t supposed to be looking. I supposed that if he was going to steal my kittens, at least he was going to try and look after them properly.

Once all of the kittens were in the bucket, he turned the hose on again, so the bucket was full to the top and the kittens were squirming about, and then he put the lid on.
I gasped and cried out “No, they will drown” and Mr P. looked up and tears were rolling down his cheeks, and tears were rolling down mine, and then he ran. I cried and cried and didn’t know what to think, my kittens were drowning. Next minute, Mr Pomphrey was hugging me and we were both crying and he was comforting me and saying sorry and something about no stress for my mum and we had to keep it a secret and he was like a kind uncle again and I couldn’t understand how he could kill my kittens.
After I calmed down a bit, I looked at Epony, who had just been standing there and watching the whole thing unravel, like she was watching a toothpaste commercial.
“Are you okay, Epony?” Mr P asked. We both looked at her to see if she was crying, to see if she needed a hug.
She shrugged, ”I’m hungry,” she said, and Mr Pomphrey took us inside and microwaved some hotdogs.

Oct 12, 2016

Cat Thursday - Jigglypuff's semi-retirement

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! This fun meme is hosted by The True Book Addict. Go over to her site to join in the fun.

Jigglypuff has developed a tumour on her eye. We were hoping it could be drained but it is a solid mass that is growing. Due to its position and her age, it is inoperable. She is developing some other lumps and bumps n her body, too. 
However, for now, she is happy and her coat and teeth are in great condition. She sometimes goes into a room and miaows because she doesn't remember why she went in there (don't we all?) but she is still reasonably well for her age. 
We know the time may come when we say goodbye but for now, she is enjoying her old age. Lucky girl.

I wrote a poem for Jigglypuff.:
Geriatric cat.
You dribble
on your kibble,
then say, "I'm not eating THAT! "

Oct 7, 2016

Hutchins Creek Cache Book Tour & Giveaway


Paige MacKenzie heads to the town of Hutchins Creek, Colorado, to research Old West railroad history for The Manhattan Post, with plans to meet up with her favorite cowboy, Jake Norris.

When a mysterious coin from the 1920’s is discovered behind the Hutchins Creek Railroad Museum, Paige starts digging into four generations of Hutchins family history.

As legends of steam engines and coin mintage mingle, will Paige discover the true origin of the coin or will she find herself dangerously close to more than one long-hidden town secret?

Available to buy from....
Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback

"Can't say enough about this book! Wonderful! Deborah Garner is a wonderful writer! She makes you feel like you are right there with Paige and Jake. I loved the setting of Hutchins Creek and the characters were all great. I was on pins and needles and even shed a tear or two. I can't wait for more of this series!"  review from Goodreads

Scroll down or see after the jump break for more information about the author and the giveaway.

Oct 6, 2016

The Fabulous@50 Re-Experience Book Review & Giveaway

My Review:

The Fabulous@50 Re-Experience, from Dianna Bowes, is partly autobiographical, partly a self-help book and partly a led discovery of your own life. It includes many exercises to create your own wellness journal and life planner to make your dreams come true. I'm a big believer in writing things down and planning. It'ss the best way to visualise and make things happen.

Bowes reminds us to let go of our plans we had made or those that didn't work out, and make room for new, better plans. But in order to do this, we need to take many other steps along the way. She leads us through this journey but allows room to make it your own.

One step for me is definitely letting go of false beliefs about self-worth. Dianna addresses this with ideas about how to silence that inner critic. This is so essential if you are to move forward, I believe. Learning to love yourself is hard, but we can learn to be kind to ourselves.

Bowes discusses gratitude, which has been a popular idea lately because it works. But she also talks about how our adversity can make us stronger, and that we need to express gratitude for that as well as the good things. My Nan always used to say that adversity builds character, and this reminded me of that.

Throughout the book are little anecdotes and larger stories by other women, to give these women a voice and the ability to own their own story. It also reminds us, as Dianna points out many times in the book, that we are not alone.

This book leads you through how to dream big and make those dreams come true by learning to think creatively. Unlocking your creativity will ultimately produce startling results in all areas of your life.

In the last couple of years, I have come to accept the maxim about no emotion is a negative one, you are allowed to feel whatever you feel. If you are sad, then you are sad. The problem, of course, is learning to express emotions in a constructive rather than a destructive way. Bowes discusses how to harness emotions like anger and use them in a proactive, not reactive, manner.

Another really important concept addressed is that of honouring our past and those who helped us develop. But also letting go of our past and forgiving. Dianna also tells us to be a bit of a rebel and learn to say no when it's not best for you.

I have written myself a little note here that I really liked Chapter 3 and the test. Now you will need to read it for yourself and find out why.

No wellbeing book is complete without discussing how we reward ourselves for doing well. There are more guided ideas and discussion around this.

When you have finished you can put on your theme song and dance. :)

Scroll down to see the book and author information and a chance to win a signed copy of Dianna's book for four lucky people.