Ikea

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30222364_10156251217671064_3074420184211870901_nI survived the trip to Ikea yesterday (April 7).

It was actually to accompany Tymber and Bill on Trish’s maiden voyage there (Trish took this picture from the parking lot). We met up with them in the restaurant for lunch — the Swedish meatballs are the best — before venturing forth.

If you’ve never been to an Ikea store, they are huge. Furnishings, accessories and other items for every room of your home are available. Trish went with the purpose of obtaining bookshelves. But who can resist the allure of all those consumer goods begging for placement in your cart.

Tymber and I weren’t immune either, but the monetary damage wasn’t huge. My one regret was not finding square frames for some of my cross stitch pieces. Found every size of rectangles you can imagine, but nary a square frame.

We departed after three hours, or maybe it was two, headed home, where a very pissed off Kiwi awaited us. She made her displeasure at being left all along in her crate apparent. After tending to her, the cats, birds and menagerie outside, I collapsed for the evening, and finished the Randy Wayne White book I was reading, Deep Blue.

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“Let’s be careful out there”

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I’ve watched a lot of cop/detective shows over the years, but not so much recently as none have captured my attention as much as these older shows did. AHill-Street-Blues-tv-01nd among the best, in my opinion, was Hill Street Blues.

The characters were flawed, their personal lives blended into their work lives, and all affected how each episode developed. Never before had the cop/detective genre taken such an approach and the show’s creator, Steven Bochco, was a genius in his new approach.

The drama was gritty, it portrayed life in a big, urban environment much as it really is, and that added to the realism.

Bochco passed away Easter Sunday. Eventually, another genius will arise, but he or she will have to go far to surpass Bochco. R.I.P.

Glory of Autum

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I love to cross stitch. It’s my hobby and a way to relax. My favorite pieces to stitch are usually Christmas related, since it’s my favorite time of the year. But I found this piece, and it reminded me so much of fall in my native Ohio, I just had to do it. So, after a couple of years of off and on stitching, it’s finally done.Autumn Glory

Christmas Day, 1973

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On this day, 44 years ago, my then wife and I didn’t open presents. We didn’t have the traditional Christmas dinner. Instead, we spent the day at the hospital in Lima, Ohio, and our celebration centered on the birth of our first son, Jonathan.USA-1508

For whatever reason, Jon decided he wanted to wait and be an almost Christmas baby, as he was way overdue. We decided later that my slipping and falling on the steps into our trailer was what precipitated his arrival.

The labor was long, and I kept pacing the waiting room, wondering what the delay was, but something that evening, Jon finally made his appearance much to our relief.

Forty-four years later, many of the minute details have blurred in my mind, but I’ll never forget the joy at holding him in my arms for the first time.

Remembering Scudder

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This morning, Facebook reminded me that four years ago today, we laid Scudder to rest. And given my reaction to seeing that memory, the pain of his loss remains with me.Scudder in Yard 8-18-13

Scudder was our black Lab. We raised him from puppyhood, through adulthood into old age, something like 16 years. That’s old for a Lab. And he was our faithful companion all those years, despite mishaps, antics, and whatever he did. We loved that goofy animal.

Scudder was a couch potato, he loved being indoors, and hated nature. We once got a kiddy swimming pool and filled it with water. The other dogs took right to it. Not Scudder. He was in and out.

In the mornings, I’d take him out to use the bathroom. Once he finished and he spotted the newspaper in the driveway, he’d make a beeline for it, grabbing it in his jaws. But it was with the softest touch. Never once did he tear it up, as he proudly bore it into the house, where, only reluctantly, he’d give it up.

So in 2013, as the summer passed by, we knew something was wrong. He’d started limping, favoring a rear leg. Eventually, I began carrying him outside to do his business. He didn’t seem in pain, but we hauled him off to the vet, where we discovered he had cancer. His days with us were numbered.

Of course, se did the humane thing, rather than wait and see him suffer.

Today, however, he lives on in my heart, and in my books as Wolf’s favorite companion, Patton.

RIP Scudder.

 

My first author takeover

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Last Saturday evening, Jan. 21, I participated in my first author takeover hosted by the Facebook group Romance Readers Recommend. Of course, I was there uauthor-takeover-e1420810985728nder my romance author persona, Haley Jordan, but made it known that I was actually Jon Dalton mystery writer.

My first take on the experience?

It was like running a three-ring circus for my hour time slot.

Upon a few days of reflection, there was at least one thing I could have done differently. And that was having some prepared comments ready to go that I could just cut and paste. That would have freed me up to engage more with the participants who were there. I’d already received the advice to have my bio, links to the book, some games and eye candy for the women attending, which I did have ready.

So, would I do it again?

Absolutely.

I’m firmly committed to the belief that engaging with our readers, or potential readers, will bring an author far more goodwill than constantly hammering them with constant barrages of buy my book, buy my book. In this new digital world, for indie authors, engaging with your readers so they get to know you, feel a connection with you, will provide more benefits than we might think. After all word of mouth will probably help sell more books than anything else.

Sure, I gave away, a few copies of the book as contest prizes, but hopefully that means I will get some good reviews out of it. I do know that I acquired several new friends, who will now receive my various status updates, which again lets them get to know me.

So, if you have the opportunity, do an author takeover. Meanwhile, I’m contemplating doing one of my own.

A Heart Divided

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Anyone who knows me well, knows Christmas is my favorite time of year. The holiday decorations, the music, the sense of wonderment all make this a special time of year.img_0455

But Christmas also reminds me of how divided my heart is at this point. Physically, Florida is my home but my heart is in Ohio where most of my family is. And this year, especially, it’s difficult for me as I know the prospect of losing my mother looms on the horizon. While she’s still here physically, her mind is locked away behind the horrid disease of Alzheimer’s.

And then, there are my sons and granddaughters whom I miss terribly.

Thus, a divided heart, one can go into an emotional tailspin upon hearing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” or any other nostalgic song.

And for good measure, let’s pile on the loss over the last few years of Scudder, Tessa, Holly, Bubbles, and Apache, all faithful companions over the years.

Happy, sad, happy, sad. You understand the gamut of emotions I’m feeling. Almost like Clark Griswold when he realizes his perfect Christmas has descended into chaos and he asks where the punch is.

Yes, Christmas will always remain my favorite holiday, but I celebrate with a heavy, much-divided heart.