One of our Japanese Maples – copyright redbusphotos llc

How is everyone doing? Here at Debtwood, Gump, Scout the wonder dog and I are swell – Isn’t that a strange word, swell? I remember hearing it when I watched Lost in Space as a kid, and when young Will Smith said it, it sounded cool and really foreign. I might start using it regularly now – because it sounds swell😊

Apparently, summertime is still with us here in Oklahoma-the tobacco dip capital of the world- or at least, I thought it was when I first moved over to the states. I even knew a couple of young women who dipped….that was attractive…I have spent the last week flicking the thermostat from heat to air every other day. But not because of the weather – but because I am a female and 61 years old. 61 YEARS OLD! I had a birthday this month, a very quiet birthday, and one which did not include going anywhere except to bed at a time when as a younger woman, I would just be going out to celebrate…… Wow – I am soooooo boring. My conversations are all about the dog, wearing face masks, the dog, how I miss English food, the dog, and what I am writing. No wonder no one calls to chat.

On said birthday, Gump outdid himself by making me a cup of tea first thing that morning…..and he didn’t screw it up – we Brits are rather picky about our tea—there is a right way and a wrong way to make it, and the previous three times he tried in our eleven years of marriage were massive fails. So that was kind of nice. After I got up, I announced the executive birthday order that both Scout and Gump were to leave me alone. I wanted a day of looking after no one. I decided it would start with a long soak in the bath and even time to read! Great idea…..except somehow in the past two weeks (Gump cleaned the bathroom) someone (not me) did something which messed up the plug. Suddenly it doesn’t thread all the way closed, and consequently, water will no longer stay in the tub. I was busy getting all kinds of bubbles and accoutrements ready, my book/towels/glasses/hair thingy and was stark naked by the time I realised there was a problem…..Great—that should have been an indication it was going to be that kind of birthday. But I got flowers, lots of phone calls, messages, and Facebook posts, so that made up for the non-event, and I felt special.

I imagine most of you have friends and relatives who are falling ill to the dreaded virus. We have a few family members who have contracted COVID-19- and my heart goes out to them all. These are grim times indeed. Let’s all hope the vaccines can really deliver a punch and we can start living normal lives again, albeit a ‘new’ normal in 2021.

My scary short story, ‘Retribution’ was published digitally on Friday 13th – that was exciting…especially all the tricks to actually upload and launch a book on Amazon. They do try to make it idiot-proof, and the technology used is really pretty amazing – but I can always manage to find a way to get confused. I think my I.Q. is diminishing rapidly. It doesn’t matter how many puzzles I do, how many stories I write, living with someone called Gump and a dog who thinks she’s a Kardashian, are all proving too much for moi. Anyway, back to my shameless plug….if you want to learn more, check out the DJ FitzSimons tab on this website.…

In other news….oh wait, there isn’t any. I have been watching very little news and focusing on important things like The Voice, and all British shows on PBS – I don’t like competitive shows, but I do love watching The Voice because I am blown away by the amazing talent of the contestants. Most sing better than some of the judges, wear less makeup, and have better fashion sense. The British shows on Sunday nights are killer, and I am glued to them. Gump likes them sometimes (with subtitles) but gets uncomfortable if they are too character-driven, too psychological, or ‘deep’…which rules all of them out except for the British Baking Show. Therefore I mostly watch them by myself, while he sneaks away to the bedroom to watch anything featuring an alien with a shallow personality, or the Jetsons….yes….I shit you not—–and I married him anyway…..gasp.

Gump’s little slice of Heaven

Meanwhile here’s an investment tip – buy stock in Sterilite. I think we have now purchased every single 15-quart tub available in these here United States. Gump is obsessed with them, tubs and his trusty label maker. In fact, if they had used label makers back in the wild, wild west, instead of Colt Forty-Five’s and Smith and Wesson’s, Gump would have been the fastest, deadliest labeler in the west! He would have been known across the land as Wild Gump Quicktape, or the Print and Peel Kid. Honestly, it’s crazy, because if you put anything down long enough, it will immediately get tagged-which, now I’m so bloody old, might not be such a bad thing as I can’t remember sh*t.

Our life is running on a low level of tedium, which is better than having drama or sickness infiltrating Debtwood. It’s hard to recall times when we were in and out every day, working, shopping, socializing, and traveling. It’s been almost a year since I have seen my grand-kids, which feels really awful and makes me very sad. But I know others have it far worse. Some are separated from an elderly loved one or someone who is in the hospital fighting illness or this disease. What a strange world we live in right now. I find my energy level has slowed down, my go-get-em is muted and my fuse quite short (ask Gump). I wonder if it is my age or the bizarre time I am living through? It amazes me that in my lifetime there have been so many changes, so many events. A hundred years from now, the year 2020 will be studied by students. Though I doubt any of them will read this blog…….

And still there is the daily issue of what to have for dinner.

Gump is obsessing about the bloody grass. We really do not live the high life, but when it comes to our water bill, you would think we had fountains and a swimming pool. It’s all because of the trees. We have about 120 of them in our yard-or at least the area we use as a yard) and consequently, there is shade. With acidic sandy soil, it is difficult to keep grass. So, in addition to constantly watering the dirt, Gump spends a small fortune on seed which he buys at our local feed store – let me tell you about the feed store. It is run by a family of two generations- Mom and Pop are probably in their seventies, with a handful of kids in their forties/fifties. They are all pretty nice, but one, in particular, stands out. Her name is Judy. Judy’s middle name is bling. She is about five feet tall, tanned, blonde, and looks like she really works behind a cosmetic counter at Macy’s. She’s a western, sassy kinda girl, who wears a belt buckle that could light a small room and jewelry which, were it real, could challenge the Crown jewels. Her earrings are the size of chandeliers, and among the setting of feed, mouse traps, cattle fodder, gadgets, and everything you need on a farm, she is a veritable star shining in a sea of hayseed. The men in the shop look as though they have ridden in after being isolated somewhere for six months without a woman in sight, rather than just popping in to buy a screwdriver after an ice-cream at Braum’s. And let me tell you, our Gump is no exception. The first time we went in there, I gave him hell once we had left, and a tissue to wipe the drool from his chin. Secretly I was more amused than anything, as our Judy is the epitome of what Gump normally finds unattractive (he’s a no make up and freckles kind of guy) – it became a joke between us, so that whenever he went back to the feed store, I made him go by himself. I didn’t want to spoil his moment of homage. Which brings me back to the grass…..It’s amazing how much seed we go through. And apparently, the ONLY seed that grows well is not available anywhere other than the local feed store…..right…..and that is where we are currently. We have mulched what seems like a ton of leaves so that gardener Gump can spread his seed- GRASS seed, of course. I doubt Gump could get too close to the feed store Goddess without the light from her jewelry burning out his retinas.

Sometimes as I sit writing these blogs, I am amazed at the topics falling out of my head into my fingertips. Usually, I have no clue what I am going to say until I start typing. That’s why I don’t publish these on specific dates, although I try to write one a month if at all possible. I am pretty chuffed at how many people take time out of their day to read them, though. It makes me feel good if any of you get a chuckle, because god knows we need to laugh more than ever, don’t we? Now, with the holidays fast approaching, most of us face the dilemma about what to do when it comes to family gatherings. It is un-American not to celebrate Thanksgiving, right? But maybe just for one year, we can wait until it is safer to get together? Everyone has their own opinion, of course. But I think here at Debtwood, we will be erring on the side of caution-and that’s okay. I would rather miss seeing my family than never see them again. And that’s pretty much how I feel about seeing all of you too-as much as I miss you. I sincerely hope you all stay well and safe. Maybe next November this will all be a nasty memory. But one thing is certain, Gump will still be buying grass seed.

Much love and Happy Turkey Day