photo copyright redbus llc.

I’m getting grumpy. I suppose it’s a natural occurrence as I grapple with my sixties, unwanted hair in the wrong places, and much wanted hair falling out of all the important places. Toss in a measure of Covid, the political climate which somehow bleeds into everything we see/smell/watch/hear (though that’s the only mention it gets on my blog), and then on top of everything, I get to live with a Gump and a slutty dog. Yes – you heard me right. My dog is a floozy.

Scout the wonder dog, is the friend you hated in high school – sweet to your face, and hitting on your boyfriend when your back’s turned. She’s clever, I’ll give her that. She bullies all the female dogs at the park, and schmoozes and plays ‘rough’ with the boy dogs. Oh, and have I mentioned she needs a bra? I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, as we didn’t get her ‘fixed’ quick enough, she went into her first heat, and when it was all said and done, she had developed the undercarriage of Jessica Rabbit. Seriously, I kid you not. Oh well, it makes our daily excursions to the dog park interesting, and yes – I am jealous hers are perkier than mine….

She and the Gump tend to gang up on me. She’s got him wrapped around her knobbly canine leg, and it’s rather sickly watching their ‘relationship’ – Sometimes, when he’s being extra sweet to her, calling her pumpkin (gag) I tell him to “get a room”. Gump being quite a naive boy scout type almost throws up at the comment and its intimation. Consequently, I say it every chance I get.

We made it to our eleventh anniversary and celebrated it with an argument while on a long drive home from a trip to Missouri. Rather ironic don’t you think? I think we were both tired, and my mood had slowly declined with every mile Gump drove as he drives ridiculously slowly. Cars are made to get you where you are going, but Gump is that annoying driver whose foot lifts off the accelerator every time he has a thought or speaks a word. Trust me, I’m not being horrid here, it’s all true. If you ever have to follow behind him in another vehicle, you will eventually arrive at your destination late, and with whiplash.

Gump has been quite busy in his new role as a house-husband. It’s interesting observing how many things he adds daily to his to-do list to excuse himself from doing chores he wants to avoid. It’s like eating the meat and potatoes and leaving the Brussell sprouts until last. Some of his tasks have been incredibly important though. Re-painting the rusty lid of the freezer in the garage and organizing fishing lures are up there with ending world hunger. And the world stops on a dime if he needs to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot.

What has everyone been up to? I’ve been writing like a possessed woman, occasionally stopping to cook things to keep Gump happy. A crockpot of rice and beans has him eating out of my hands – well not literally- he uses a bowl and spoon. Anyway, it makes him very happy, although I can’t say the same for his digestive tract….his parts are even older than mine.

Gump walking about as fast as he drives……….

Last month I had a Barium swallow. This is not an exotic drink served at a bar, nor is it a sexual act. It’s a nasty solution served in a radiology department. It was pretty interesting really, and not nearly as awful as I thought it would be. But it’s so strange going to a hospital and seeing everyone looking like they are extras in a movie about a terrible pandemic 😊 Though it does stop one worrying about wearing lipstick. Actually, it stops one worrying about how they look-period. Right? It’s sort of mysterious, imagining what the person you’re speaking to looks like with a mouth and teeth? It’s like playing Mr. Potato Head……And it’s interesting trying to convey emotion just using only your eyes. Lots of eyebrow action there, though not me, mine are too white and skinny (I’m old, remember?)

I’m on a British binge – it’s because I need a trip home, a Brit fix, and I can’t go because of Covid. So the next best thing is spending stupid amounts of money ordering English food online. It helps my brain, not my arse or my hips. Why is food such an emotional comfort? I think it’s the association of growing up with your family around you – if you were lucky enough to have one. It’s sitting around the dining table with your mum and dad, maybe back in a time when all you had to worry about was homework or what you wanted to do at the weekend. Whatever the reason, I know when my parcel arrives, it makes my day better, and I can close my eyes and be in England. Sometimes, my brother and sisters surprise me with chocolates (Cadbury’s of course) and other treats. I’m 61, and getting a package from home still can make me cry….

The tomatoes are history (hooray!), and Gump has scratched his yard itch by sowing grass. This is good, as where we live, grass is difficult to cultivate as the soil is so dry (like my skin). Unfortunately, the fresh baby grass shoots are smothered with a foot deep layer of leaves that have fallen in the past week. I HATE leaves. We have 100+ trees in our yard, so you can imagine what that means. On top of that, most of our neighbourhood yards aren’t fenced, so we all share leaves with one another…. joy….Historically, I have drawn the short straw on this gargantuan leave mulching project almost every year. But now I have a yard-husband who is home every day…

Writing news……Come on readers, you knew I’d mention my writing! Some of you already know about this…..Friday the 13th Stories……..13 different authors have written a stand-alone, suspenseful short story in the series, to be released on Friday, November 13th. Here is the link to our Facebook page if you are interested in reading about them.

My story is entitled RETRIBUTION by DJ FitzSimons. Though I write as Jude Bayton, for genres outside of gothic/Victorian/historical/romantic fiction, I write as DJ FitzSimons. There will be a dedicated DJ FitzSimons web page on this website as soon as I get everything updated. This is my first foray into scary stuff, and I hope you like it. Available for pre-order on October 31st.

We are still watching the British Baking Show – series #6 – I think that’s why I’m eating more lately. Gump is still whining about me baking everything they feature on the show, but I have told him his next wife can take care of that. Maybe he can teach Scout the wonder dog to cook, if she’ll stop flirting with the other dogs for five minutes. Though I doubt my apron will fit across her chest (I’m evil) ☹

I hope everyone reading this is doing well during this awful bloody year. A normal lifestyle is difficult to imagine after all the months we have been somewhat locked down. Still, I think most of us have tried to make the best of it. If things ever go back to some kind of normal, we will remember this difficult year for years to come, won’t we?

And lastly. I would like to dedicate this month’s blog to a good mate. Brian Aldham. Brian, a really lovely bloke with a heart of gold, sadly, passed away a few days ago. Brian (a Brit) and his wife, Mary (from Canada) lived in Tulsa for many years, until moving to Arizona and then ultimately Northampton, UK. Brian and Mary were the epitome of a well-matched, much-in-love couple. I was privileged to stay with them on my trip home three years ago, and as always, was welcomed into their loving home. Brian was taken way too soon, and Mary’s world has been shattered. So please send her your love across the ocean as she battles through this most difficult time.

Got to go – Gump’s just pulled in the driveway with Scout riding shotgun. They actually make a really cute couple…….

Stay well, stay safe, friends.