Spending time with Peggy in Littleton, Colorado has been a joy. Except for the fact that in the evenings when cats tend to get aggressive because that’s when their prey and preditors come out.  Jones and Sophie tend to still work out who is the Alpha. Jones seems to be winning. Sophie ends up cornered under the bed. We’ve started sleeping with the door closed to avoid middle of the night meetings.  For the most part, it’s improved. There have been times when Jones has positioned himself a foot from Sophie and let me pet him (without biting me in the process) and Sophie hasn’t even hissed.

I’ve enjoyed being the one thing every working woman needs — a good wife to come home to. She works so hard — she takes her teaching job very seriously — tends to go in early, stay late, have dinner and sometimes a nap and then back to work until bedtime. Except for the evenings when she has meetings. Then, it’s worse. Her kids are so lucky to have her. And yet, if a bond issue doesn’t pass this November, she could be out of a job.

When she comes home, she’s exhausted. I like to have a hot meal ready for her with enough left over for lunch the next day. It’s the least I can do. She’s giving me access to her lovely home, and with the help of her hand-drawn map of Littleton, I’m getting around really well. Though bigger than Westwood, I’m using less than a quarter of a tank a week, and I leave the house ever day to get fresh food for dinner. And it makes me realize how much I’ve missed cooking for the last six years.

My biggest concern, of course, is that I’m going to get on her very last nerve. Our lives are so different, and though we are, too, there’s something that’s kept a bond between us for almost 25 years. But still…..I fully understand that a little bit of Ann can go a long way.

Jump shift:  Trying to decide whether to drive home (if I’m not there by then) to vote in December, send in an absentee ballot to California or register in Colorado, a swing state, that needs my vote more. Besides, if for some reason my absentee ballot doesn’t come, and I don’t register here by the 8th, I’m screwed. I’ve never missed a vote since my 21st birthday and I especially don’t want to miss this one. Back in the dark ages, we were still considered children until we turned 21. I remember the mayor at Columbus, Ohio calling us the boys and girls at Ohio State. Now, it’s the 18 – 21 year olds who are going to make the difference. This is their election — their futures depend on the outcome.

You’re going to love this, regardless of which side you’re on — There’s an issue on the California ballot this year (32) that ties the ability to vote to income level. So few people look at individual ballot issues or the records of judges who are up for re-election.

Jump Shift #2 : A friend of mine sent me a note yesterday saying he was about to get into trouble in Fisher, Indiana. Told him I was looking forward to hearing how anyone could get in trouble in Fisher, Indiana. That’s like getting in trouble in Poca, West Virginia or Corn, Oklahoma or Ripon, California or Pine, Colorado. There’s not much to do in any of those places except watch grass grow and park in front of the local motel on Fridays to see who checks in.

Now, French Lick, Indiana…..I get how someone could get in trouble there.

Jump Shift #3:  A couple of years ago, Judy Matthews (a friend from Charleston High School) laughed at me when I was going through one of my food phases. All I wanted was Butterfingers and Cokes, and that’s how I lived for about three weeks. I lost about six pounds, but like any diet, gained it back once I went back on the unhealthy food we’re expected to eat.

Now, it’s tacos. Every day. I make my grocery run just before lunch and stop by a Del Taco to get two tacos and a small Coke (the Coke is a part of all my diets). Today, I broke the mold. I only drove through Wendy’s and got a Coke. I’m going to do my best to avoid Wadsworth Blvd. because that’s where the only Del Taco in the area is, but have to go there either tomorrow or Thursday. We’ll see how my will power holds up.

But the bottom line is that I’m never hungry. Nothing tastes, sounds, smells, or crunches right. So, when tacos sound good, at least I know I’m getting veggies, protein and carbs. And, of course, a Coke.

Jump Shift #4 : There are so many writer friends in my life — authors who deserve to be read — and I’ll bet you’ve never heard of most of them. So, we’re going to fix that.

Starting tomorrow, about once a week, I’m going to introduce you to a different author. Most are award-winning, best-selling writers. But we get in a rut and read the same authors over and over again and never even look at regional or national best-sellers to see what we might be missing.  I’ve been guilty of buying so many copies of books to give to friends that I may have made some of my friends regional best sellers all by myself. Letting other people know about these talented writers is that important to me.  This is a much less expensive way of accomplishing the same task, but that won’t stop me from buying books and shipping them around the country.

My friends are varied — mystery, thriller, horror, “Cozy” writers (no overt violence, sex or language) in several genres. In my blog, I’ll tell you what I enjoy about each one of them from a personal standpoint and the things I enjoy about their writing styles. Then, you’ll find a link to their website where you can follow their lives on your own. My bet is that you’ll discover at least a few writers whose books you’ll buy and you won’t be able to put down. There are some I’ve read through in one sitting — others I ration out a chapter at a time because I don’t want them to end. And I’ve kept one in the car for a couple of years because the style is so unusual I want to read it over and over again. (Tim Maleeny’s JUMP.) I also carry a brown paper bag with handles that contains the “I ran it off on the printer so you can read it before anyone else” copy of The Innocent Boy by Cornelia Read. As we ordered drinks and appetizers at Skates in Berkeley, I held it close to me and almost cried. I carried that bag everywhere I went, pulled it out, and turned individual page after individual page until it was finished. Then, I read it again. Then I bought it. Then I bought it for others and shipped it around the country. 

I’m so lucky to have these smart, talented, fun people in my life that you just have to meet them.

Jump Shift #5: I’m expecting the first step in the negotiation process for the Worker’s Comp case to be showing up any minute — or so a gentlemen from Medicare tells me. If that happens, we’re only weeks away from this thing finally being over. Whatever God, Source, Spirit Guide you talk to, please put a good word in for me. Five years is way too long to be controlled by a force over which I have had no control.

And that’s about it for today.  A little marketing, some phone calls about interviews and book signings, a little play time with Sophie and a catnip bag Peggy made, fix dinner, watch NCIS and NCIS LA, then off to my cubby to read, study, and hopefully sleep through the night. Still having problems with that one, even with prescribed meds. Think I’m going to look for something holistic. Really want off these prescriptions.

Until tomorrow — go buy a good book, open the cover to see what other authors say about it, see if there are books in the series so you can start at the beginning to get into the head of the author and characters, and grab a glass of wine. We all need to stop and smell the cabernet from time to time.  Be safe out there.