Things That People Won’t Thank You For

I’ll admit it; I’m a rank and file grammar and spelling nazi. I was an English major in college and have been a grammar and spelling nit-picker ever since. Trust me, most people do not like to be corrected by a smarty-pants know-it-all. I wince inside when I hear the misuse of grammer and spelling and so on; but I’ve learned to keep it to myself. Which means that at any given time I will be shouting inside and dreaming of whapping the grammar/spelling offender with a wet codfish to the face.

Then there are those oh-so-helpful people who want to correct every single thing you do. The worst are the ones who, in the passenger side of your vehicle, try to tell you how to drive. The very worst is when you are going to make a turn, and you sensibly wait for other cars to go by before taking a chance of an accident if you try to go before them. That’s when your passenger decides that you need to risk life and limb by tearing through the turn, yelling “go, go GO!!” Seriously, not helpful, and certainly not appreciated, as well as being damned dangerous.

And how about those folks who think that you would be a better friend if you acted, talked, and thought the same way they act, talk and think. As a rule, most people do not enjoy being talked down to or interrupted (and don’t get me started on interrupters!) Then there are those people who always claim that they are right about everything. They will talk over you, and they insist on winning every argument. As annoying as this can be, it is easier to just nod your head and say “m-hmm.” They may eventually stop talking, but it’s rare when they do.

So, having been a know-it-all and grammer and spelling nazi for years, as of this post, I’m officially done. Let the young ones say “like” every two seconds; I don’t care anymore. Oh, trust me, I’ll be steaming inside, but I’ll just simmer and curl up with my Strunk and White.




Feeding and Sheltering Strays

The Crankee Yankee and I have been feeding and sheltering stray cats for years. We never know when a stray cat turns out to be someone’s indoor/outdoor cat. However, if they are wandering around our house, they can count on food, water and shelter. It isn’t for us to judge people who are fine with letting their cats out on a freezing cold day.

So if you find yourself worrying about a stray cat out in the cold, here are some ways to help:

  • If you own a cat carrier and can get the stray into it, take the cat to your vet or the animal shelter and ask them to check for a microchip (microchipping your pet is the best way to find them should they ever run off.) A microchip will let the vet know who the animal belongs to.
  • Buy some decent cat kibble and some bowls (personally, I use the paper bowls, the kind you may use at picnics, etc.); fill them up and leave them where the cats can get to them. We generally put out the food in the early morning, and top them off in the evening.
  • Put out water bowls as well; I recommend what is called “heated pet bowls” (check Amazon; that’s where we got ours) that have long cords that you can plug in to keep the water from freezing in the winter. Always give the cats water; cats should only drink milk when they are kittens. After that, milk really isn’t that good to give adult cats.

If you have room on your porch or garage, put up some shelters. We make our own, and they are easy-peasey to make. Get a good-sized cardboard box (we like the Chewy’s ones as they are pretty roomy) and line the bottom with a couple of blankets or towels. To keep the bed warm all night, check out the Milliard Thermal Cat Mat at Amazon.

To keep the wind out, drape the tops and sides with an blanket or towel. For a cold freezing night, pick up some “body warmers;” after taking them out of the package, remove the sticky papers from the back and put the body warmer underneath the blankets; sticky side down. The heat lasts for 10 hours.

If you can get a picture of the cat or cats you are feeding and sheltering, you can make a sign showing the cat, and posting it to see if someone owns the cat. But in the meantime, you can help a stray cat stay warm and safe with snug shelter, food and water.

The Crankee Yankee and I realize that we probably are feeding and sheltering cats who actually have homes, but our motto is this: “come one, come all—we feed then all!”

  • Farm Innovators Model R-19 Economical 1-1/2-Gallon Round Heated Pet Bowl, Blue, 60-Watt

Milliard Thermal Cat Mat

The Aftermath of KidCon

Since I’ve been talking up KidCon (held in Portland, ME) for the last couple of posts, it’s only fair to let you know how it all went yesterday.

The Crankee Yankee obligingly hauled my box of my children’s books, “Lulu’s Book of Children’s Stories” into the venue at the Doubletree in Portland, ME. As soon as we walked in, looking for our table, we noticed that the place was full of cosplayers (folks who dress up as their favorite TV and movie icons, such as Spiderman, Doctor Who, Ghost Busters, Teenage Ninja Turtles, the Penguin, and many more).

When we got to our table, we also noted that most of the venders were selling merchandise for the above cosplayers. There were maybe five folks selling books. Right away I thought, ‘well, this doesn’t look too promising, but I’ll give it a whirl.’

Well—we sat there for five hours, and the only interest for my book was the fact that all the young kids were given a scavenger hunt paper; they were to find all the vendors and get them to sign their paper. If they got to all the vendors and completed the hunt, they got a prize. I must have signed dozens of the darn things. (What I really wanted to say to the kids was this: “buy my book and I’ll sign your paper!”)

So, a few hours later, we packed it in and left KidCon to the cosplayers. No harm done, and a good lesson learned: you want to sell books, sell ’em at a book store, not a comic con! Next, I’m going to be chatting up book stores where they don’t wear costumes…

Today is Kid Con Day!

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that today is Kid Con day in South Portland, ME. This event is held at the Double Tree by Hilton at 363 Maine Mall road, and it opens at 10am. I will be promoting and selling my children’s book, “Lulu’s Book of Children’s Stories.”

It’s going to be a fun day, and if you’re in the area, do stop by and see me. But most of all, bring the kids and have a fun day!

From the Kids’ Calendar of events in Portland:

“New England’s largest comic con for kids comes to Maine! Join us for Kids Con Sat Nov 16, 10am-5pm at the Doubletree Portland, ME! 😀


Kids Con New England
Phone: 978-300-0646

“Family-friendly comic & children’s book creators, artists, creative workshops, tabletop and video gaming, superheroes, princesses, pirates, power rangers, robots, jedi training, superhero training, Pokemon and Minecraft tournaments, robotic demos, princess singalong and storytime, pirate camp, facepainting, costume contests, sketch-off and much more! Featuring Special Guests: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles artist Jim Lawson, Graphic Novelist Liz Prince, Syndicated Cartoonist Tim Jones, Yoshi, Pickachu, Dr Who and the TARDIS, Santa and more!”

Kids under 5yr are FREE! Kids ages 5 and up, Military & Seniors: $10, adults $12.
– Get Tickets & Info: Tickets will also be available at the door. Presented by Kids Con New England, promoting art education and literacy.

There will be lots of folks in costume (sort of like Comic Con), and there are lots of fun things for the kids.”

As Dr. Phil would say, “I hope to see you there!”

Just Ask a Cat

I wrote this years ago; our cats have proved to us over and over again that they are smarter than most humans. In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.


If while  enduring a snowstorm you should wonder where it’s at

Just stop wondering and simply ask your cat.

Pick him up and hear him purr,

He has no worries, fears, troubles—just fur.

He’ll blink at you through sleepy eyes

As if to say, ‘oh, c’mon—just lighten up, you guys!

You humans get upset at the drop of a hat,

You ought to just be mellow and happy; like a cat.

Life may be short or long

So don’t waste time worrying if you may be doing it wrong—

Chances are, you’re doing your best,

So move on, have a nap, keep your cards close to your vest.

Life’s easy if you take a lesson from we cats

Because we know what is what and where it’s at.”

Watch Your Purse and Yourself!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been shopping at the grocery store and have seen women leave their open purses sitting in their carts. Their wallet is often in full view, not to mention car keys and often an expensive cell phone. Worse of all, the women walk away from their cart to pick up an item. Anyone watching and waiting could snatch that purse or wallet in seconds and be gone before the owner came back. It’s a lot safer to just take the cart where you need to go while hanging onto your purse: put it close to the handle of the cart, so you can hang on to the purse strap. If you keep a wallet in your back pocket, be aware of anyone behind you. You may want to put that wallet in a front or side pocket where you can feel it.

These days we need to keep our eyes open. I don’t wish to be a harbinger of doom, but leaving an unattended purse in your cart is asking for trouble. True, nothing bad may happen, but it COULD happen. It’s the old “I turned away just for a second, and my purse was GONE.” These days especially we need to be aware of where we are and what we are doing.

I truly don’t wish to be an alarmist, but this is one of those common sense things; like it or not, there are people who watch for others who leave their purses and wallets unattended. It’s a very small inconvenience to hang on to the purse strap as you are pushing your cart. Or you can just put the purse over your shoulder, making sure that the zipper-side is toward you. This way you are constantly aware of where your purse is.

Then there are backpacks; generally they zip in the back, and you would never feel someone unzipping it and taking something out of it. However, there are backpacks where the zipper is facing your back; this way no one can get into it. I realize that this all sounds as if I don’t trust anyone; well—you’re right: I don’t. My motto is “be prepared, not scared.” I do my best not to give a possible thief an easy way to steal from me.

Another thing: make it a habit to lock your car doors when you go shopping. Even if you are only going in for a few minutes, that’s all it takes for someone to take your car. Also, when you stop to get gas, always lock your doors. It’s very easy for someone to open your side door and grab your purse or wallet. Again, this sounds very alarmist, but if you make it a habit to lock up, you should be in good shape.

Here’s another thing to be aware of these days as well. Sadly, there are many instances of shooters storming into stores, churches, schools, hospitals, etc., bent on killing or hurting people. Instead of being scared about things like this that might happen, we can be prepared and here’s how: whenever you go into a building of any kind, look around for a place to hide should something happen:

  • Take a good look around you and watch the people around you. You don’t have to act like a vigilante; just be aware. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and get out.
  • Keep your phone where you can easily get to it. Should trouble break out, call the police, and hide as best you can.
  • If you have children with you, keep calm and get them and yourself to safety.
  • If you can, call the police.

Ok, all of this is no fun to read at all, but by being aware, you can avoid trouble or worse. As my dad used to say, “be aware.”





No Shame in Tears

For years I was ashamed of my easy crying; anything that touched my heart always started the water works. You name it; our national anthem, commercials over the holidays where all families are together again, the service men and women being greeted at the airport, the sweet dog in the animal shelter longing for a home and people who love him gets his wish. And so on.

Us easy criers often feel that we are embarrassing, childish, too emotional, and so on. (I always keep a few handkerchiefs with me just in case something makes me cry; I have dozens of them!) As Robert Burns’ mother once said to her son, “ay, Robbie; your tearbag is too close to your eyes.”

But really, how is there shame in crying? Aren’t our tears a testimony of the kind of people we are? We easy criers can’t help it; our hearts are tender and we tend to unleash the water works often. I’ve given up being ashamed of my easy crying a long time ago. Yesterday the Crankee Yankee and I went to see the movie “Midway.” (BTW, just getting the Crankee Yankee to agree to go to any movie at any time is a big deal!)

As the movie theater began to fill with people, we noticed that most of them were older people like us. Many were veterans, and, for all I know, might have served in Pearl Harbor. It was an amazing movie; breathtaking, in fact. As we all left the theater, we talked with each other about how we felt about the movie. I told a man who was sitting near me that I had gone to Pearl Harbor earlier in the year; he said he had been there as well. We agreed that it was an experience we will never forget.

If you’re looking for a movie that really counts, do see “Midway.” It is life-changing.