State v. Claus is live!

Thrilled to announce that State v. Claus is now live! You can buy State v. Claus wherever you like: directly from Tuxedo Cat Press (paperback only), from your neighborhood bookstore (paperback or ebook), from your favorite online bookstore (in whichever formats they offer). Read State v. Claus however you like–just head over to Tuxedo Cat […]

The Joy of Deadlines

Photo by LouAnn Clark on Pixabay

The summer is slipping away. In a mere few weeks, students will return to school for the fall semester. Here in the U.S., the arrival of Labor Day (first Monday in September) signals the unofficial end of summer and the official return to the usual hectic pace of the rest of the year.

For me, this summer has felt unusually long. Beginning as it did with my father’s death on the day after Memorial Day—coincidentally, the unofficial start to the summer—June was consumed mainly with the logistics of the memorial service, estate management, and working out a new Mom-care routine. As June slipped into July, my mind turned slowly to other matters, such as my novel-in-progress and my billable workload which, as in the past, lightened in the summer. I discovered the town pools and embarked on a semi-regular routine of swimming a few times a week. I signed up on several occasions to distribute vegetables after church, a simple task that requires nothing more rinsing off what has been harvested from the church garden and spreading the harvest on a table out by Farmington Avenue so anyone who wishes can enjoy garden-fresh produce.

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Pool Life

Grange Pool by me

Last week, I went swimming for the first time in years.

In my town, there are several options for people who want to swim. There’s a small rectangular pool near my house, the Grange Pool, with a separate round wading pool for the babies. At the other end of town is Addison Pool, which is larger and much more heavily kid-populated. The pool at the high school is the only indoor one; I haven’t been there, but I’m told is regulation-size and open year-round. Eastbury Pond, which is sand-bottomed and reminds me of the town swimming hole where I grew up, is ideal for those who want to go to the beach but don’t feel like driving an hour to get there. Cotton Hollow Preserve, located next to the Grange Pool, includes trails I’ve hiked as well as a swimming hole that seems to be popular with the high school crowd.

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Making Progress

Photo credit: Burst on Unsplash

As we come to the end of a holiday weekend with undeniably spectacular weather, I sit on my porch and reflect on what I didn’t do:

  • I didn’t mow the lawn
  • I didn’t pull the weeds that are taking over the back garden
  • I didn’t put away the towels in the laundry basket
  • I didn’t go to the beach
  • I didn’t go to a cookout
  • I didn’t invite anybody to a cookout (which, admittedly, would be challenging since I don’t own a grill)
  • I didn’t organize my disorganized office
  • I didn’t empty the dehumidifier in the basement
  • I didn’t exercise (my Fitbit tells me I’ve walked 2,174 steps today)

And then there’s the list of things I need to do before the end of the day, but still haven’t done yet even though the sun is going down: empty trash, take can out to the curb, empty dishwasher, refill it, feed cats (as I am periodically reminded by those on the porch with me).

But all these nonachievements pale beside what my most remarkable achievement:

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Changing Times

Photo credit: Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Thirty-two years ago today, I came home from a temp job. Shortly after I got home, my parents pulled up, and my father put on a backpack as they walked across the yard from the parking area to my door.

Let me back up a bit.

Two days earlier, on Saturday, June 30, 1990, I moved my piano into my new apartment on in a three-family house on Main Street. The next day, my family and friends moved all my stuff from my apartment in Stamford to the new apartment. My friend, Scott, stuck around long enough to help me spread out the living room rug. Then, they all left, and it was just the cats and me.

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Keeping On

Photo credit: Fabien WI on Unsplash

Yesterday, I finished the #1000wordsofsummer 2022 challenge. Today, I was fully prepared to sit down at my desk and do billable work, just as I should.

Instead, I brought my breakfast and my Surface out to the porch, and I worked on my novel-in-progress.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Fourteen

Photo credit: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

And that’s a wrap, folks.

Somewhat unbelievably, I did it. In spite of major personal challenges that offered me every reason in the world to quit—or simply not to start in the first place—I finished this year’s #1000wordsofsummer challenge.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Thirteen

Photo credit: Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, the temperature was in the mid-eighties, and I had the air conditioner on as I wrote inside. Today, it’s 64F plus a periodic strong breeze. I’m back to writing on the porch, but this time I’m wearing a sweatshirt and my tea has long since gone cold.

Ah, well. The writing is coming, and that’s what counts.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Twelve

Photo credit: Matthew Bornhorst on Unsplash

Late posting today, because late writing.

I instituted summer hours today. My plan for the summer is to shut down the office at 2:30 on Fridays. It’s nearly impossible to find people on Friday afternoon in the summer anyway, and inevitably I end up leaving messages for clients and their staff that nobody’s going to listen to until Monday, so why not join the crowd?

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Eleven

Photo credit: Jack Hodges on Unsplash

So far today, I’ve talked with a lawyer whose opposing counsel thinks jurisdiction doesn’t matter (spoiler: it does) and learned that I might need to quarantine after the friend with whom I had dinner last night tested positive on her home test for covid this morning. On the upside, she tested negative on the rapid test at the walk-in. Since she had a false positive a few weeks ago, and false positives are extremely rare, it’s been suggested that she might have gotten a corrupted batch of tests. So she got a PCR test as a tie-breaker. We’re awaiting the results with crossed fingers.

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#1000wordsofsummer 2022, Day Ten

Photo credit: Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

If it hadn’t been for this challenge, I probably wouldn’t have written today.

I have a lot of work to do. I lost most of yesterday afternoon at the doctor’s, including going back again when the x-ray technician called to tell me she hadn’t realized she was supposed to take additional images.

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