Santa and the Pandammit

Just for fun, here’s a short short story I wrote for my writing group. We each wrote a one-page, double-spaced story (making it really short) for our final meeting of the year. Merry Christmas!

They couldn’t visit Santa Claus because of the pandammit. Mommy said lots of people were getting sick and Santa had to stay well for Christmas. Keri understood. Sort of. Wasn’t Santa magic? How else did he visit everyone in one night? Couldn’t he make himself better if he got sick?

Keri helped Mommy and Daddy decorate the Christmas tree. Daddy said he had a big surprise for her. “Keri, since we can’t go to Santa, I thought we could bring Santa to you. Here’s a Santa ornament. You can tell Santa what you want for Christmas this way.”

Mommy smiled really big. “Go on, honey. Tell Santa what you want.”

Keri looked silently at the ornament. The real Santa sat at the mall. “Should I hang it up, Daddy?”

“Of course, kitten. How about there?” He pointed to one of the branches closer to the bottom. “You don’t have to talk to Santa right now. He’ll be right here when you’re ready.”

Keri nodded and picked up another ornament. Mommy sighed, but Keri couldn’t help it. She wanted the real Santa Claus.

Later that night, a long time after she fell asleep, something woke her up. She didn’t know what it could be, but she did know she felt hungry. Mommy had baked some cookies right after they decorated the tree, and Keri knew where to find them.

She tiptoed through the living room on her way to the kitchen, looking over at the tree as she passed by. Wait. Something twinkled. Like a star. Keri walked over to the tree to see what it could be. The Santa ornament! But wait again. Santa looked different. Did he just wink at her?

“You didn’t believe I could really be Santa, Keri.” The ornament talked to her! “But I am. Tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Keri smiled. Daddy had brought Santa to her.

Image credit: ©ezstudiophoto –

Oh my. It’s Snowing…

Oh my. It’s snowing, and they’re predicting a total of more than six inches. In my home state of Minnesota, this would be nothing. In my adopted state it’s a problem. Given the limited number of plows in my county (and none in the city), it makes driving dangerous. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, but I’m out of days off. So I’ll be driving slowly, like a little old lady.

It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow so the snow will melt, at least enough to make driving okay by the time I leave work. At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

It is pretty though, so I might as well enjoy the beauty today, when I don’t have to drive.

I would prefer a white Christmas. Since Christmas lands on a Friday, we’d have a weekend for the roads to clear. Maybe we’ll get that, too.

Oh my. It’s snowing.

(oh my…when I posted this, I got a notification that this is post number 500. That’s a lot of writing, most of which I did a few years ago. Thanks to all my loyal followers and those of you who drop in from time to time as well. It means a lot to me.)

Happy Creative Holidays

We’re all being forced to be a little more creative these days. As the pandemic rages on, most of us must find new ways to be close to friends and even family for the holidays. I urge you to follow the recommendations of the CDC as well as find new traditions that will remind us in years to come how we survived the frustrations of 2020.

Creative holidays in the past, for many of us at least, meant making our own Christmas decorations. Now it means finding ways to be close to each other without threatening the health and lives of those around us. For some businesses it means finding ways to stay afloat while restrictions limit the normal flow of things.

I recently wrote a short story about a family who replaces the mall Santa with a Santa ornament and urges their five-year-old daughter to whisper her Christmas wishes to the ornament. (Perhaps later I’ll share that story here; for now it’s being saved for my writing group.)

Happy Creative Holidays, everyone.

Image credit: ©Maridav –

Walking Alone

Earlier today I was driving home from a quick run to the grocery store when I spotted a neighbor of mine walking on the sidewalk, headed in the same direction. There was no place to pull over and traffic was heavy, so I didn’t have a way to ask her if she wanted a ride home.

I know she doesn’t have a car and I’ve seen her walking the other direction from our apartments from time to time, so I assumed on those occasions she likely made the mile-long trek to the store that’s located down that other road. I also know that store is much smaller and while it has all the basics, if there’s a specialty item you want, you have to go somewhere else.

It bothered me that I wasn’t able to stop and offer her a ride.  She’s always been nice to me, and there was another three miles left to our respective homes, three miles with some steep hills along the way.

I should note that there’s no transit system in our area, so taking a bus was not an option for her.

I was troubled enough that I headed back out, knowing the next leg of her journey would be through a residential area and I could easily pull over onto a side street and flag her down as she walked by.

I did just that, and to my surprise she turned down my offer of a ride. Whether it was pride, a desire to get some exercise, fear of COVID or something else, I don’t know. I didn’t push it, however. She had offered me some help when I was moving in a few months ago, and when I declined her offer she smiled and said, “I know better than to ask again. If someone tells me no, I believe them.”

So why did this still bother me? I’d done what I could and it wasn’t as if it was a terribly hot or windy day. In fact, it was quite a pleasant day for a walk, and while I wouldn’t relish a six-mile (or more) round trip walk, perhaps she did.

I didn’t see her the rest of the day. I hope she got home safely.

Photo credit:  © creaturart–

A Picture to Remember You By

Today I received notification of a memorial service for a woman, Rose, who’d been an active part of our congregation. I didn’t know her well and likely won’t attend the service, but the option is open to attend via Zoom, which I may do. For those of us who do use the Zoom option, the program was provided.

I opened the file and to my surprise I recognized the picture on the front as one I’d taken when Rose completed a course sponsored by my church. She was recognized during the service for her hard work and I took the picture for our Facebook page.

I was touched to realize that the final image many will have of Rose will be that photo. Looking at it with the objectivity of time, I recognized that it was a good picture of her, natural and relaxed.

Someone once called me the “church documentarian,” a title that surprised me as I primarily took pictures for the Facebook page and no formal catalog was kept. I don’t know how my priest remembered this photo and what she had to do to dig it up. It can’t be easy going back on Facebook.

It reminded me that the simplest things we do can bring blessings to others we don’t even recognize. Perhaps there weren’t many pictures of Rose available or perhaps her family was scattered across the country and no one could provide a photo in a timely manner.  I don’t know, but now friends and family will have this picture of her to remember her by.

I haven’t taken a photo for my church Facebook page in months for obvious reasons, but now I’m eager to get back to it. If you do any sort of volunteer work, formal or informal, know that what you do is appreciated.

Rest in peace, Rose.

Why Are Cats? Sneak Peak at a new podcast with Cat Behaviorist, Mirian Hasani

Click on “View Original Post” to view the video.

Insights From The Edge

Ever wonder why cats do what they do? Every day? Yes, then you’re my people and you may enjoy this podcast with cat behaviorist and cat psychologist Mirian Hasani. Here’s a sneak peek where she tells us about Basil the blind cat who was rescued out of a very dark and dangerous shelter. Basil had been abandoned, blind, dumped on the street. The owner of a no-kill rescue took her to save her from certain euthanasia. A whole year passed and she couldn’t get near Basil for fear of being attacked. Finally, she found Mirian and reached out to her for help. What follows is the story of how this lonely little kitty finally opened up to love.

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Imagine That

When I was little, I believed in the magic of Mr. Bubble. Those of you old enough will remember the TV commercials for this kid’s bubble bath in which Mr. Bubble rose up in the tub and talked to the delighted children. I would sit in my bath until every last bubble was gone, waiting for Mr. Bubble to appear.

I don’t remember believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy (although one of my favorite books was all about the Tooth Fairy), but I believed in the magic powers of this powdered soap. You could say that one way or the other, a kid’s imagination is going to end up disappointing her.

But that’s not to say that same imagination won’t delight a child. While I never exactly had an imaginary friend, I confided all of my secrets to my rag doll, Jennifer. When she finally fell apart after years of loving, I was devastated. I don’t think I ever believed she was real in a real person sense, just in that real doll sense. I knew she could keep a secret, so she must have understood them, right?

In these troubling times–and I speak not only of world and national troubles, but of the day-to-day struggles so many of you are dealing with–imagination seems the best escape. As adults we temper the imaginary with the real, and that’s not so bad. But we have to be able to believe in better times and to conjure up images of what those days will look like.

Call it a coping mechanism or call it a dreamer’s dream, imagination may save you and keep you sane.

At least, it helps me. And now I’m heading in for a bubble bath…

What a Mess!

How do you get rid of clutter when in that mess are a multitude of possessions you value?

I’m faced with that right now. Moving from a townhome to an apartment and losing a considerable amount of square footage has resulted in a second bedroom chock full of stuff. So much of it is decorative items I truly love but don’t have a place for right now–and realistically, never will again.

I tell myself I need to be ruthless in cleaning out this room, but that’s easier said than done.

As it stands I don’t have a place for some things I definitely want to keep, like the broken-down boxes I used to ship my worldly goods from one home to another. Buying those boxes adds up and I want to keep them for my next move. I plan to store them under the dining room table, but I’ve got full boxes I need to sort through sitting there right now.

Your eyebrows may have raised at the mention of my dining room table and its current home in my spare bedroom. I need to sell it, but that’s impossible at this moment since it’s buried in the debris of my life. I had planned to post a for sale sign on the company bulletin board back when I was scheduled to move, but we were in the throes of uncertainty with the corona virus and that uncertainty included apprehension about job security. Nothing on the bulletin board was selling and besides, truth to tell, I love that table and was reluctant to sell it.

The cats are having a jolly good time in this spare room, with all its hiding places and jumping-off spots. That seems to be the one benefit in all of this.

I tell myself, it’s one box at a time, but that’s getting more and more difficult. Right now I have a couple of boxes of books I want to dig out and donate to the local used book store–they raise money for the library–but those boxes are buried under other boxes with a mix of materials, most of which I can’t decide what to do with.

Eventually, the local Goodwill will benefit. Until then, I sit in this room (the chair is clear) and stare.

Image credit: © Federica Fortunat–

Trouble, trouble

Anyone else having trouble with their WordPress account? I can’t “like” any posts (well, once or twice with great persistence I’ve managed to do so on the Reader).

I’m also having a great deal of trouble with this block editor!!!  

This photo is ©Jennifer – by the way. I added it when I was trying to add a feature photo. It took me forever to figure out how to do that, and I’m not sure I can do it again.


LotusLand TV: Help Vivian Find a home.

Click on “View Original Post” to see the video. I realize my followers and others who may view this blog live around the world and therefore may not be able to help Vivian, but keep in mind cat rescue facilities near your home the next time you are looking for a pet.

Insights From The Edge

Vivian is a 7-year-old, healthy, sweet Lynx Point Siamese who has so much love to give.

In September 2020 she will be surrendered, for a second time, to the Southern California Siamese Rescue. Why you ask? No fault of her own.

Cats, particularly Siamese, are very sensitive and form strong emotional attachments to their owners. They get hurt and confused when abandoned. The flip side of that is that once they’re in a forever home, they are forever grateful. Vivian will follow you from room to room, sleep with you and stay by your side. She needs a human who will be there for her as she’s been let down too many times for someone who deserves so much better.

The first time she was surrendered she was the victim of bullying. She’d been viciously attacked by the dog and the resident cat–for five years. The owners stuck her out…

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LotusLand TV: Cats Helping Cats Save Lives

Update on Ollie and Lena! Click on “View Original Post” to see the video. You’ll be glad you did!

Insights From The Edge

Lena, Ollie, Greta and Charlie, all former fosters have gotten together and created a YouTube Channel to tell their awesome stories and help other babies find their forever homes too.

Lena here, I’m running the show!!!! Hahaha! (Mom left her computer because Greta was being bad.) Watch our new video. I helped edit and write, though I gave all the credit to Charlie. He needed to feel important. Hope you all like it! Just watching it helps, but if you want to share it, maybe more people will love cats and then more cats can be saved! Oh, mom’s back. I have to post this right now before she erases it.

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Aquarius, two

My sister and share little in common, despite being, well, sisters and growing up only a year apart in the same household. That’s almost exactly a year apart, making us both Aquarians. We share little in common but the traits of our Zodiac symbol.

Aquarians are creative, and that is incredibly true of both of us, although our creative abilities are very different. I’m the writer, she’s the artist. I can barely draw a stick figure yet Beth is very talented in that area and always has been. She has an inherent sense of proportion, for example. that I am woefully lacking. Beth is also a better writer than I am artist.

Aquarians are notoriously independent thinkers, which can make us stubborn, to say the least. You can see how this might divide my sister and me, although we rarely argued growing up. The divide came more in the form of isolation–my brother and sister were close and shut me out. That was devastating.

Yet we were also stubbornly loyal to each other. You didn’t criticize one of us to another without incurring some wrath. And if I knew Beth was in pain, I was there for her, although she oftentimes rebuffed my attempts to comfort her. Perhaps I did the same, I don’t know.

Aquarians are idealistic, something that, at least at one point in time, was vitally true of both of us. I’ve grown more cynical as I’ve gotten older, and I don’t know if the same is true of my sister. Because, you see, Beth has separated herself from the family and I haven’t heard from her in nearly twenty years.

That breaks my heart, and I know she has distanced herself because of her own pain. Which brings me to this point: Aquarians are sensitive and tend to internalize their own pain.

How can two women with so much in common have so little to share with each other? I want my sister back, although, after all this time, I don’t know what we’d say. And knowing she doesn’t want to be a part of my life hurts terribly.

Beth, you are loved.

Image Credit: ©EllerslieArt –

Hope, Contentment, Gratitude

Some days, I feel like I can see my future, and for the most part, I’m content with what I see. Other days I’m not so sure. I suppose we all have our vision of what’s ahead and I’m lucky if I believe my options are good ones.

Yet I can’t help it, I hope for something a little better. I want some things I don’t have now, not material things (although financial security is always a good thing) but some sense of satisfaction with what I’ve accomplished.

My writing, for example. I wrote a novel, but it’s so flawed that I really need to scrap much of what I’ve written and start over. The writing is good but the plot needs some help, and some of the basics such as location need to be fleshed out. There are other flaws I’m acutely aware of but don’t know how to remedy. So I’m a little stuck, and don’t know whether to keep plugging away at this novel or start a new one altogether.

It’s an election year, and I have hope for the outcome in November–and deep fear as well. Enough said.

To be perfectly honest, hope isn’t an overriding feeling in my life. In fact, I’m greatly discouraged by much of my current situation and don’t have a lot of hope for anything changing in the foreseeable future. So I’m trying to grab hold of hope and implement it into my life. Look for the ways things could change and believe in them.

I’m grateful for much of what I have, and if I have any hope at all, it’s that those things I’m grateful for will stay in my life. My job, for example. It’s not a perfect situation–what job is perfect, after all–but I’m so thankful to be working. In the current climate I’m one of the lucky ones.

My mom and dad are both living, in their 80s and healthy, and I have hope they’ll be around for awhile. My mom just lost a close friend, a woman she’d been friends with since they were three years old, who was also healthy but died suddenly of a stroke. Barb had been playing tennis almost literally until the day she died, so losing her was a shock to everyone. I hope I don’t have that kind of shock any time soon.

Hope is a funny thing. It needs to be coupled with gratitude or we’ll get lost in the mire of what we think we’re missing. Contentment is good, and contentment with hope sounds like an ideal situation. I have a little of all of this, including the mire part, and I want more hope in my life.

But if the future rolls out the way I see it now, I’ll be okay.


Image Credit:  ©krissikunterbunt –