Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Wayward Cat Book News October 2021


Welcome to October!

Everywhere, haystacks and scarecrows are popping up on lawns. Pumpkins will soon be carved and goblins will run amok. But best of all, here in Florida, the heat begins to dissipate and cool breezes are hinted at. It's autumn at last.

Cats' Eyes! 
This beautiful cat was photographed by Terry Ballard and made available via Flickr

Wayward Writes

Pari and the Ghost Whisperer is finally out into the world and just in time for Halloween! It's already got a five-star review at Amazon. 

Next up is JoJo's Ghost, a paranormal humor tale under my pen name, D.D. Charles.

I'm also working on a book of word puzzles! Being the fan of words that I am, why not?


Wayward Reads


Beautiful World, Where are You? by Sally Rooney
"Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?"  Honestly, this one sounds slow. But it also sounds engrossing and enjoyable. It's a maybe, for me.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
"On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend. One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, DIG HERE. Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?" Ooh, sounds good, if a bit scary!

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
"As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn't believe in lasting romantic relationships--but her best friend does, and that's what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees."  This one sounds like a lot of fun!

Bewilderment by Richard Powers
"The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He’s also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin’s emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother’s brain…" That's a little creepy. 

Silverview by John Le Carré
"Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the city for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise. When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea..." Sounds fabulous!

Let's get real!

A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris
"If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leap­ing to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs." I love David Sedaris. 

The Baseball 100 by Joe Posnanski
"Longer than Moby-Dick and nearly as ambitious,​The Baseball 100 is a one-of-a-kind work by award-winning sportswriter and lifelong student of the game Joe Posnanski that tells the story of the sport through the remarkable lives of its 100 greatest players." Why is Moby-Dick hyphenated? No one really knows, but the title was hyphenated in its first edition. I guess Melville had a reason. It's not MOBY Dick, or Moby DICK. It's Moby-Dick!

Gastro Obscura by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras
"It’s truly a feast of wonder: Created by the ever-curious minds behind Atlas Obscura, this breathtaking guide transforms our sense of what people around the world eat and drink. Covering all seven continents, Gastro Obscura serves up a loaded plate of incredible ingredients, food adventures, and edible wonders." Nom Nom!

Rationality: What it is, Why it Seems Scarce, Why it Matters
 by Steven Pinker
"Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding--and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing? Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational--cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself."

*Book descriptions taken from Amazon.com


Wayward on Words

I'm still milking my Jeff Kacirk's Forgotten English page-a-day calendar for vocabulary. 

briggle: to busy oneself without purpose; meddle. Well, now, those are too different things.

wamble: to move with the wind, as the intestines. Wait, what?

zouch: an ungenteel man; a bookseller. wtf?

quimp: slack; disorderly. Finally a definition that makes sense. 

ludgathian: a bankrupt; after the debtor's prison Ludgate.

skairsburn: no warning at all of a sudden disaster. From Skyre Burn in Scotland...but why?

Each page in this calendar has a paragraph or two relating to the word of the day. I highly recommend it. 

Wayward Quotes

October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins.
O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!

                                                                        – Rainbow Rowell



Florida Crackers

While visiting the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens we had the pleasure of spotting this gorgeous bobcat! He sat and posed for me for a long time. I wanted to take him home with me. October 2021



To Autumn
By William Blake

 O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

`The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

`The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.


Thank you for reading!
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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Wayward Cat Book News September 2021


Summer's over...yay.
This adorable kitty was photographed by Alexandra Zakharova and the picture made available via Flickr  


Psychologist Pari Logan does not believe in ghosts. When Ghost Whisperer Sam Preston shows up claiming her office is haunted by the famous ghost of Downtown Strawbridge, she wants nothing to do with him or his ghost-hunting nonsense. But all of Downtown Strawbridge is caught up in ghost hysteria. Worse, her friend Melissa Stathem has a ghost story of her own and isn’t happy to be teased about it. Before she can say, “Boo!” Pari finds herself drawn into Melissa’s challenge to the Downtown Divas: Attend all the Ghost Whisperer’s events and if they still don’t believe in ghosts by Halloween, she’ll stop pestering them.

Being thrown constantly into the path of the Ghost Whisperer who, for some reason, she keeps kissing, is the last thing Pari needs. No, what she needs is a man who is her type: professional, serious, and rational. A man like gorgeous Eric Lawson.

Who will win Pari’s logical heart? The perfect guy? Or the one she caught on his hands and knees peering under her office door looking for a ghost?

Wayward Reads


Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
"...Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs? Harlem Shuffle's ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It's a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. " This one sounds intense!

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
"When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?" Another tense read!

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny
"While the residents of the Québec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro and share meals together, the Chief Inspector finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request. He’s asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university. While he is perplexed as to why the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec would be assigned this task, it sounds easy enough. That is until Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture. They refuse. Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold. When a murder is committed it falls to Armand Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team to investigate the crime as well as this extraordinary popular delusion." September must be the month for tough stories. This one sounds great!

L.A. Weather by Maria Amparo Escandon
"L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way. 
With quick-wit and humor, Maria Amparo Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception, and betrayal, and their toughest decision yet: whether to stick together or burn it all down." Finally an only marginally intense read. Sounds like my kind of book.

We could all use a little fantasy right about now...

Green Rider by Kristen Britain
"Taking on the golden-winged horse brooch that is the symbol of the Green Riders, Karigan is swept into a world of deadly danger and complex magic, her life forever changed. Compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is accompanied by the silent specter of the fallen messenger and hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination." The final book in this seven-book series is now available. Time to start with book one!

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
"One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess searching for her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire." This is listed as book one in a series, but it's unclear if it is actually going to be a series. Either way, sounds like a great read. 

Nolyn (The Rise and Fall Book One) by Michael J. Sullivan
"After more than five hundred years of exile, the heir to the empyre is wary about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin War’s front lines. His assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory, and his suspicion turns to dread when he discovers the stronghold does not exist. But whoever went to the trouble of planning his death to look like a casualty of war did not know he would be assigned to the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same." This one is more obviously the start of a new series. And it sounds great!

The Empire's Ruin (Ashes of the Unhewn Throne, Book One)
 by Brian Staveley
"The Annurian Empire is disintegrating. The advantages it used for millennia have fallen to ruin. The ranks of the Kettral have been decimated from within, and the kenta gates, granting instantaneous travel across the vast lands of the empire, can no longer be used. In order to save the empire, one of the surviving Kettral must voyage beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the nesting ground of the giant war hawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con-artist may hold the secret to the kenta gates. But time is running out. Deep within the southern reaches of the empire and ancient god-like race has begun to stir. 
What they discover will change them and the Annurian Empire forever. If they can survive." Another series to get started on!

(All book descriptions are quoted from Amazon.)

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Wayward on Words

More crazy words from my page-a-day Forgotten English calendar by Jeff Kacirk.

Tetricitie: The sourness of the countenance. (Indicating that you could use a good bout of gilravaging, if you ask me.) From Henry Cockeram's Interpreter of Hard English Words, 1623.

Prigge: To filch; to steal. From John Bullokar's An English Expositor, 1616 (He actually spelled them "filche" and "steale.")

Gilravage: To commit wild and lawless depredation; noisy romping. (Sounds like my kind of thing.) From William Whitney's Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, 1889.

Swirtle: To proceed with a moving motion, like an eel. (I often swirtle as I givlravage. I mean...who doesn't?)  From John Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, 1825

Spheromachy: Playing at tennis or bowling. (Well, it looks as if I've committed spheromachy, too.) From Thomas Blount's Glossagraphia, 1656. 

For more explanations of these words with related historical info, get the calendar! It's fabulous. 

Wayward Quotes

September tries its best to have us forget summer.

― Bernard Williams

Florida Crackers

The zebra longwing was designated the State Butterfly of Florida in 1996.
--Photo taken at the entrance to Turkey Creek Sanctuary, July 2021


The Sonnets of Tommaso Campanella 

By Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

Credulo il proprio amor

Self-love fools man with false opinion
That earth, air, water, fire, the stars we see,
Though stronger and more beautiful than we,
Feel nought, love not, but move for us alone.

Then all the tribes of earth except his own
Seem to him senseless, rude--God lets them be:
To kith and kin next shrinks his sympathy,
Till in the end loves only self each one.

Learning he shuns that he may live at ease;
And since the world is little to his mind,
God and God's ruling Forethought he denies.

Craft he calls wisdom; and, perversely blind,
Seeking to reign, erects new deities:
At last 'I make the Universe!' he cries.


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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Wayward Cat Book News July 2021


It's hot! hot! hot!
Time for some summer beach reads


Wayward Reads


Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin
"Thirty years ago, Amelia Vaux Tanner and her husband built a house high on the bluffs, a cottage they named Chateau Laveau. For decades, “Ama” played host to American presidents, Wall Street titans, and cultural icons. But her favorite guests have always been her three goddaughters. Ama, now nearing seventy-one...is going to give the house to one of them. By the end of summer, old ties will fray, new bonds will be created, and these three found sisters will discover they aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Ama has a few secrets of her own."  Sounds like a great summer read!

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?" Ooh, sounds good!

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins
"In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything."  This one sounds great!

It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark
"For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run...Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine." It's a RomCom

The Siren by Katherine St. John
"In the midst of a sizzling hot summer, some of Hollywood's most notorious faces are assembled on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Genesius to film The Siren, starring dangerously handsome megastar Cole Power playing opposite his ex-wife, Stella Rivers. Three very different women arrive on set, each with her own motive. With a hurricane brewing offshore, each woman finds herself trapped on the island, united against a common enemy. But as deceptions come to light, misplaced trust may prove more perilous than the storm itself." Sounds fabulous!

Celebrate America with History!

The American War in Afghanistan by Carter Malkasian
"The first authoritative history of American's longest war by one of the world's leading scholar-practitioners." 

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth by Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford
"Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head." 

The Indispensables: The Diverse Soldier-Mariners who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware by Patrick O'Donnell
"The acclaimed combat historian and author of The Unknowns details the history of the Marbleheaders and their critical role in the Revolutionary War." 

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate: An American Tragedy
 by Michael Dobbs
"Drawing on thousands of hours of newly released taped recordings, Michael Dobbs takes us into the very heart of the conspiracy, recreating these dramatic events in unprecedentedly vivid detail."

*Book descriptions taken from Amazon.com

Okay, time for the shameless plug. Scroll on by for more on words...

Wayward's Mini Reviews

The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion
Lacking a lot of the humor of the first two books, but still a fun and satisfying read.
My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms
Too much moralizing and too much action-hampering narrative. But enjoyable enough.
My Goodreads rating: 3 stars

The New History of the World by J.M. Roberts
1184 pages of history! What's not to love?
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Wayward Recommends

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Great story, great characters. A lot of fun to read.
My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Wayward on Words

I'm still milking my Jeff Kacirk's Forgotten English page-a-day calendar for vocabulary. 

viatorian: belonging to a viator, a traveler. 
exhederate: to disinherit. (From Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850) 
nudation: the act of stripping bare or making nude. (From Latin nudas, naked.)
matriotism: love of one's mother country, or of one's alma mater
sinistrous: Absurd; perverse. (From Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language.)
upknocking: the job of waking mill workers by knocking on their doors or windows. General pay was twopence a head per week. (As opposed to knocking up which had its own rewards.)

Each page in this calendar has a paragraph or two relating to the word of the day. I highly recommend it. 



Wayward Quotes

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

                                                                         – Sam Keen

Florida Crackers

I saw this bee on a gaillardia and took a quick picture before he flew away. It's not the best picture I've ever taken, but I got the bee at least. June 2021




My Books

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Sadly as some old mediaeval knight
Gazed at the arms he could no longer wield,
The sword two-handed and the shining shield
Suspended in the hall, and full in sight,
While secret longings for the lost delight
Of tourney or adventure in the field
Came over him, and tears but half concealed
Trembled and fell upon his beard of white,
So I behold these books upon their shelf,
My ornaments and arms of other days;
Not wholly useless, though no longer used,
For they remind me of my other self,
Younger and stronger, and the pleasant ways
In which I walked, now clouded and confused.

The Surprise at the End!

If only I had opposable thumbs...
This hungry cat was photographed by admiller and made available via Flickr

Thank you for reading!

If you had any trouble with this newsletter, drop me an email at


and tell me about it.

See you next month!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Don't sleep, there are roaches

There are times when I wish I had a cat. This wasn't one of them. I've never had a cat that bothered with roaches. Either I had dumb cats, or they just considered themselves above that sort of thing.
Picture of her cat Doobie by Paula over at flickr

Don't sleep, there are roaches*

Funnily enough, I recently heard a "did you know" kind of clip on the radio and one of the things they mentioned was that in a recent survey, 69% of responders said they couldn't sleep if they knew there was an insect in their house.

Last night at about 11:30, just as I was about to turn out the light, I saw an enormous roach next to my dresser. Oh. My. God.

So, there I was, between my bed and the dresser, trying to get low enough to the floor, and yet reach around to the side of the dresser and over the corner of my night table, to smash him with my shoe. But not so low that when he rushes me I can't get away. Because that's one of the things they love to do. They play all wounded and dead like, until you make your move, and then they chase you around the room.

Well, I got a good smack, but missed the bugger--at least missed the majority of him, because he darted under the dresser. Well, I thought, that's just great. Now there's a roach, not dead, under my dresser. I can't go to sleep now! He'll crawl out and get on the bed and terrorize me. Just the thought of him doing that will terrorize me.

So, I got the Raid and a flashlight. I used the light to peer under the dresser and I found the vile creature in a front corner. I might have missed him if it weren't for his long antenna. Shudder

This was the worst part: I had to get down onto the floor to spray the Raid under the dresser. If he rushed me, I'd scream and flail around, trapped there against the bed. Hubs would wake up and shake his head sadly. "There she goes again," he'd mumble, toss a pillow over his head and go back to sleep.

The first spray came out wonky, mostly onto the carpet. So I sprayed again. Mind you, I couldn't see under the dresser without the flashlight and couldn't hold the flashlight and spray at the same time. So I was spraying into the unknown.

After a good dousing of the front corner without being accosted by said roach, I peered under it once again with the flashlight and...nothing. He was GONE! GONE, I TELL YOU! 

Now what do I do?

Obviously I couldn't go to sleep. If I got him with the spray, he'd come out to die and I might step on him when I get up in the middle of the night to pee or something. Even if I tried to sit up in bed and slip my bedroom shoes on before touching the floor...he could be IN MY SHOES! That was not going to work for me. But worse. Sometimes as they're shuffling off the mortal exoskeleton, the try to climb the wall. And he could climb the wall and end up over my head and drop down on me. 

Or I didn't get him at all and he was just waiting there for me to get into bed, at which point he would seek his revenge.

No. No way was I going to get in that bed, turn out the light, and sleep. So, I grabbed my pillow and went out into the family room to watch television. I watched the first couple of episodes of a show about soccer, I think. They called it football, but it looked like soccer. It was called "The English Game." So, cool. Found another show to watch.

Anyway, at about 1:00 a.m. I was finally sleepy enough to give it a go. I'd checked the area a few times, lighting up the room as much as I dared while hubs was sleeping, looking for the dastardly devil. Finally, I decided that if he hadn't climbed the walls yet, or come out to go belly up, he was probably going to stay where he was for the night.

After all, I reasoned, I live in Florida. There are roaches and bugs everywhere. And yes, even sometimes in the house. We usually only see them after a good de-bugging when they come out to slowly die. This one did look a bit peaked. 

So, I did it. I went to sleep with a roach in the room. And as far as I know, he didn't get on me while I slept. And that's about as much as a Floridian can hope for.

Of course, it's still there, somewhere. Probably in my bra drawer. The battle continues...

*The title is a parody of Don't Sleep, There are Snakes by Daniel L. Everett, a book on my shelf that I have yet to read. Maybe I'll read it after I finish The New History of the World by J.M. Roberts.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Wayward Cat Book News June 2021

Summer has officially arrived! Time for some summer reading.

In This Issue:

Wayward Reads (books! books! books!)
Wayward's Shameless Plug 
Wayward's Mini Reviews 
Wayward on Words
Wayward Quotes
Florida Crackers (we're all a bit nuts here)
Wayward Links
The Surprise at the End!

Wayward Reads


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
"Malibu: August 1983. Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party...anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface." From the author of Daisy Jones & the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which I gave four stars each. I'm in!

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
"For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. August’s subway crush, Jane, becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all." This one sounds magical!

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
"Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began...and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?" From the author of The Sun is Also a Star. While it sounds sweet, I'm going to pass.

An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi
"Shadi is named for joy, but she’s haunted by sorrow. Her brother is dead, her father is dying, her mother is falling apart, and her best friend has mysteriously dropped out of her life. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of her heart—It’s broken. Shadi tries to navigate her crumbling world by soldiering through, saying nothing. She devours her own pain, each day retreating farther and farther inside herself until finally, one day, everything changes. She explodes. A searing look into the world of a single Muslim family in the wake of 9/11." This sounds like my kind of book...when I'm in a certain mood. Let's see if the price comes down a bit before I take the plunge.

For the Wolf
by Hannah Whitten
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose—to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he'll return the world's captured gods. Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can't control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can't hurt those she loves. Again. But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn't learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood—and her world—whole." Ooh, this one sounds fabulous. And it's book one in a series! Plenty of great reading.

Ready for a great Memoir?

Another Kind of Madness: A Journey Through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness by Stephen Hinshaw
"Families are riddled with untold secrets. But Stephen Hinshaw never imagined that a profound secret was kept under lock and key for 18 years within his family—that his father’s mysterious absences, for months at a time, resulted from serious mental illness and involuntary hospitalizations. From the moment his father revealed the truth, during Hinshaw’s first spring break from college, he knew his life would change forever." This sounds like an important and gripping read!

Cherry Hill: A Childhood Reimagined by Jona Frank
"...a multimedia memoir of photographic artist Jona Frank's upbringing in--and flight from--a stifling suburban household. Told in words and evocative photographs, Frank's account of her childhood struggles with a repressive mother, mentally ill brother, and overwhelming expectations is leavened with episodes from her rich interior world." Veeery interesting. Photographs, poetry, and prose. Looks cool.

An Abbreviated Life: A Memoir by Ariel Leve
"Ariel Leve grew up in Manhattan with an eccentric mother she describes as 'a poet, an artist, a self-appointed troublemaker and attention seeker.' Leve learned to become her own parent, taking care of herself and her mother’s needs. There would be uncontrolled, impulsive rages followed with denial, disavowed responsibility, and then extreme outpourings of affection. How does a child learn to feel safe in this topsy-turvy world of conditional love?" Having been raised by a covert narcissist, I can answer that question. Sounds like a great read.

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
 by Elyn R. Saks
"[T]he eloquent, moving story of Elyn's life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others), as well as the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a highly respected professional. This beautifully written memoir is destined to become a classic in its genre." Wow. This sounds like a very difficult read. 

(All book descriptions are quoted from Amazon.)

For more on books and reading, check out the Wayward Cat Publishing Facebook Page.

Okay, time for the shameless plug. Scroll on by for more on words... 

Bookish Meets Boy
by Dianna Dann

For more ebook buying options, visit www.waywardcat.com 

Wayward's Mini Reviews

Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur
A missing mother, family secrets revealed, quirky characters. This was beautifully written, but on the dull side much of the time. I skimmed a lot. I got the distinct feeling at one point that the author read The Grapes of Wrath as a teen and just had to have "a scene like that" in her own story. 
My Goodreads rating: 3 stars
The Puma Years: A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle by Laura Coleman
A wildlife rescue with, among other animals, big cats in the middle of the jungle. Imagine walking a puma! I thought it was boring in certain parts, but it has stayed with me. This was quite an amazing time in the author's life and after living through it with her, I feel inadequate--I could never do what she did. I applaud her.
My Goodreads rating: 4 stars
Sand by Hugh Howey
A post apocalyptic world covered in sand. Thrilling, engaging, and not a boring moment in it. 
My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Wayward Recommends

The Tent, the Bucket and Me by Emma Kennedy
After watching the first and only season of The Kennedy's, I had to have more. This was ridiculously hilarious. and apparently all true. 
My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Wayward on Words

More crazy words from my page-a-day Forgotten English calendar by Jeff Kacirk.

Grimgribber: A lawyer, the technical jargon used by a lawyer. From James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855.

Tillyvally: A word used formerly when anything said was rejected as impertinent. As in "Tillyvally, dude, that's nonsense." 

Clish-ma-claver: Silly talk; nonsense. From William Patterson's Glossary of the Counties of Antrim and Down, 1880.

Blutterbunged: Sharooshed, taken aback, surprised; disappointed, disgusted. From Harold Wentworth's American Dialect Dictionary, 1944

Rackapelterly: Riotous; noisy. From Edward Peacock's Glossary of Words Used in Corringham, Lincolnshire, 1877. There's a whole dictionary of words used in Corringham, Lincolnshire!

For more explanations of these words with related historical info, get the calendar! It's fabulous. 

Wayward Quotes

Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air.

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Florida Crackers

People rarely think of vultures as beautiful birds. And while I suppose I wouldn't use that word, I do find them adorable in their way. They bound around clumsily on the ground and hunch like teenagers when they sit. But look at this guy soaring, as majestic as an eagle! May 2021


A Song

By Michael Earls

(For John McCormack)

June of the trees in glory,
June of the meadows gay!
O, and it works a story
To tell an October day.
Blooms of the apple and cherry
Toil for the far-off hours;
Never is idleness merry,
In song of the garden bowers.
Brooks to the sea from mountains,
Yea, and from field and vine:
Rain and the sun are fountains
That gather for wheat and wine.
Cellar and loft shall glory,
Table and hearth shall praise,
Hearing October's story
Of June and the merry days.

Wayward Links

The Surprise at the End!

This adorable kitty was photographed by Allen Watkin 
and the picture made available via Flickr 

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

DIY home renovation: the hall bathroom

 First, the movie:

I did my best over the years to never go into the hall bathroom. I didn't even want to clean it, because it never looked clean no matter what I did. It was just gross.

Hubs and I were planning to renovate both baths, the kitchen, and the back porch, so first we got estimates from two companies who would do the work for us. The first was a decent price, but we felt a lack of communication between us and "the guy." The second was a huge company who sent over a renovation guy, a kitchen designer guy, and a plumber. We were put off right away because they wanted to know our "budget" up front. So, naturally we figured they'd push their price as close to that number as possible, if not reach a tad over it. Then they worked up a clunky, poorly working 3D demo for us where we made changes that they said would definitely lower the price. But their price was ridiculous.

So, hubs got the crazy notion that "we" could do it ourselves. I thought he was nuts. But what the hell. If nothing else, I can get a blog post out of it, right? 

And here it is.

George did most of the work. Anthony and I helped with clearing out the debris and loading it up into the Bagster bag. You pay about $30 for the bag and a bit over $100 for the haul away (which could be based on weight for all I was involved). 

We had a wood guy come in and replace some wood on the outer wall, but George did the rest. Anthony helped with the moving the old tub and toilet out. And he helped move the new ones in, which is a lot more work that it might seem. You put the tub in, make marks and measurements. You take it out. Make some temporary changes and put it back in. Then you take it out and if you're lucky and your changes worked, you can now make them permanent and put the tub in for good. If not, well, you keep going, in out in out. 

I helped with the painting. And I chose the picture for the medicine cabinet door, but Hubs had to put it on for me. What a pain in the butt. And I got to purchase all the accessories. 

While Hubs claims that the work (especially the grout which Anthony and I have agreed to take the fall for) was done by untrained chimpanzees, I think it looks fabulous! And, as Danny says, the next project will therefore look like it was done by newly trained chimpanzees.

One problem we had was that as soon as we started making a bunch of purchases at Lowe's and Home Depot, our credit card company put a hold on our card. Apparently, one of the things credit card thieves go for is home improvement products. How odd.

I suppose the fact that I didn't have to do much hard work and just got to take pictures and make a movie, it's easy for me to say it was great and bring on the next project!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Memories of 1979: The concerned racist...

Left to right: Debra Propst, Me, and Alice McManus

I was a dancerette in high school. Do they still have those? They're performers--all girls back in my day--who do routines at halftime with the marching band. I didn't know such a thing existed before the Titusville High School T-ettes came to my middle school to perform and hand out applications to try out for the group. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! This was my thing!

This was one of the two theaters in town. Two screens! 

Titusville, Florida, was a tiny little city back in the late 70s, mostly known for the fabulous view of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building sitting across the Indian River Lagoon from US 1, where people gathered to watch the rockets launch. 

For the longest time Titusville High School was the only high school in town...for the white kids. And Gibson was for Black students. After THS was fully integrated in 1967, the Andrew J. Gibson High School building eventually became a community center. When I was with the marching band, the field on which the band practiced, located behind the high school--close enough to walk, but most of us drove over--was behind the old Gibson School.

One of the anchors at Miracle City Mall

I really enjoyed it being a dancerette; it was one of the few things that brought me joy at that time in my life. But by my senior year, I was tired of it and ready to quit. I went through the first half of the year, with the football games, because that was the best part of the gig; but I quit in the last semester. Throughout my time with the T-ettes, my sixth period class was devoted to the group. We met in the band room and started our daily practice before school ended. 

Apparently, at some point, we were renamed the Highsteppers. I have no recollections of it.
 I imagine it was an attempt to be inclusive.

So, when I quit, I needed a half-semester sixth period class to replace practice. I went with an easy A--Music Appreciation.

It wasn't that bad of a class. It was taught next door to the band room, in the chorus room, and by the chorus teacher. We listened to music and talked about music and learned a little bit about music. 

There were only about a dozen students and they were the typical type you'd expect in a throw-away class. You know who I mean--we hated school and were only there because we had to be, so why not take Home Ec and Music Appreciation?

We sat in padded chairs on what was something like a band stage, if I recall--raised platforms, each a few inches higher than the one in front of it. There was one guy in class, cute and funny, who used to sit beside me a lot and we'd talk and joke around whenever we could. Sometimes, he'd put his arm along the back of my chair, not on my shoulders, just the chair. 

Searstown Mall was the competing mall to Miracle City, and always the lesser of the two.

One day, we had a substitute teacher, an older woman who might remind you of Sally Field in Forrest Gump. She sat in front of us and talked with us for a while, not about music, I don't think, just chatting. At some point, she asked to talk with me privately in the chorus director's office. I was more curious than worried. I couldn't imagine I'd done anything wrong.

The director's office had a low wall and the rest was windows so that while he was in there, he could still see anyone in the main room. So the class could see me there, in the chair facing the desk behind which this substitute teacher sat. I thought it was presumptuous of her at the time. She'd closed the door behind us.

Titusville was a depressing place, probably still is.

I don't recall the exact conversation, of course; this was forty years ago. But I do remember how I felt sitting there, listening to her. 

She was "concerned" about me, she said, and I asked, why? What was wrong?

"I don't think you should let that boy put his arm around you," she said. 

I can't remember if I made it clear that his arm wasn't touching me, it was just on the chair, but if I did, it didn't matter. She was "worried" about me. Why? I kept asking. Why?

I knew exactly why, of course. And I remember feeling angry, not just at her intrusion into my business, or her racism, but especially that she wouldn't come right out and say it. I knew why she didn't think the guy should have his arm around me. And she knew why. But she wouldn't admit it.

When I left the office and sat back down beside my friend, he asked me, "What was that all about?" I said, "Nothing."

I never told him. But I think he knew.

I don't remember that guy's name. But I'm pretty sure he was the same one who saw me five years out of high school, in a convenience store, and said, first thing, "You got fat."

Thanks, dude. Thanks a whole hell of a lot. 

Marching Band 1979
I'm the first T-ette there on the right side of the group.

Anyway, that substitute teacher is just the sort of person who, today, would claim to not be racist. She wasn't racist, she was just concerned about my reputation...because of what other people would think. She wasn't racist, she just thought that a black boy shouldn't put his arm around a white girl. 

She would likely say, "Some of my friends are Black! See? I'm not racist."

What a horrid, small-minded place it was back in 1979.
And I suppose you wouldn't be surprised that I am no longer friends with most of those people I went to school with. 

And I just wish I'd have said something. I wish I'd have forced her to explain herself. Instead I just remember sitting there, playing dumb, saying, "But, why?"

I shouldn't have let her get away with it. I think I must have considered it a moral failing and that's why I've never forgotten it. 

Racism is stupid.

And so was Titusville back in the 70s.