It was pretty amazing experiencing what it’s like living in the Arctic Circle without leaving the state of Oklahoma…What a ride we had with our weather. And then, of course, a week later the trees are blooming and our sneezing has turned from colds to allergies. Oh well, at least Kleenex stocks are up.

How’s everyone doing with the stupid time change? I hope you are less grumpy than I am. I wonder what really happens to that lost hour? Where does it actually go? I hope they abolish this cruel practice and leave the damn clocks alone. I am fed up with changing the timers on all my lamps, and who likes messing with digital clocks on our appliances and our cars? What a hassle.

But springing forward means it’s almost Easter! The special time of year when I am guaranteed to gain weight and it’s all down to bloody Cadbury’s chocolate eggs. I can’t resist the little buggers…the creme eggs and the mini eggs. Straight out of the fridge and right into my gob. You can keep your candy canes and gobble your turkey. Give me a choccy egg any day of the week.

My idea of Heaven

Okay- so how is everyone doing? Can you believe we have passed the one year anniversary of the pandemic. Remember when that word was used in history books, or in those awful movies? Who would have ever thought it would become part of our everyday vocabulary? I hear myself saying to friends on the phone “Oh, it will be great to see you when the pandemic is over.” I feel as though I am living in London, back in the sixteen hundreds, “It will be so nice being able to go to a nice hanging, and then meet afterwards at the inn for a bit of grog once the plague’s gone.” But these are our conversations nowadays. Wow.

I’ve had one of my COVID shots. Truthfully, I’d be lying if I said I was one hundred percent on board about getting it. I even avoid the flu shot, so it was a big step for me. Kind of a choice between the proverbial rock and hard place, right? Three things helped make my decision. I do not want to see anyone else get sick. If becoming part of the herd will help arrest that, then it’s a no-brainer for me. The thought of contracting it myself, being so ill I would be hospitalized for it, was another. And then finally, the freedom to see my grandchildren and others. I know not everyone feels the same way. But after a year, losing a friend to the virus, not being able to see my bestie, 95-year-old Jonny living in assisted living, it was the right choice for me.

Scout Report…Gump’s main squeeze, Scout, the wonder dog, had her surgery and will not be expanding the puppy population in the future. She had hernia surgery too but luckily did not have to wear the dreaded cone of shame-much to our relief. We brought her home from the vet right after her op, and we put her on the ground to go and have a wee. The little sod ran into the bushes and wouldn’t come out. It was a heady cocktail of drugs and fear. Gump, who was practically in tears, had to get her out without hurting her stitches – he did a great job. Eventually, we got her in the house and all settled. But she gave me a huge guilt trip with her sorrowful looks of “what have you done to me?” She was a trouper, and with the help of medication, stayed pretty out of it for two days. It was a peaceful two days if I’m honest, and there was a part of me that was disappointed when I stopped giving her the meds. Gad, I’m evil…She came back from it all with a new lease on life and more energy than she had before-ugh. Gump has finally stopped sulking about not getting a baby Scout. He has now decided to train her to do things that could make her eligible to join the circus. Maybe they’ll both run off the next time it comes to town…one can hope…

She’s back at the dog park strutting her stuff. Scout enters the dog park with an attitude like Mae West, and a splash of Beyoncé. She snarls at other female dogs but likes to play with the boys (hussy-she gets it from my mum). As much time as I spend there, I find it interesting watching dogs at the park, or should I say studying their behaviour. They are direct and to the point. There is no pretence at liking/disliking each other. It is also fascinating watching the owners behaviour too. From the over-protective parents to those who don’t ever lift their eyes from a phone. It is truly amazing how much $$ is being spent on their puppies. Remember back in the day when you got a dog they lived in the house with you. But on nice days, you’d put them outside to run around, soak up the sun and chase squirrels? Now, the conversation is all about which vet to use, how pampered your pet is, their psychological status, and which doggie daycare is the best value. Don’t get me wrong, I love pets, and I think they should be cared for on every level. I just remember struggling to pay for my kids’ daycare, and can’t imagine paying $15 to $20 a day for a puppy to do the same…poor old Scout gets to stay home with me. Besides, if I took her to doggy daycare she’d probably do just like my kids did, and end up getting thrown out anyway.

Our house, Debtwood, is situated on the outskirts of town, and we have a plethora of critters who come and go regularly. Squirrels, rabbits, possums, and a resident armadillo, to name a few. We’ve seen deer, coyote and even a bobcat. With Scout the wonder dog living here now, she is very curious about the animals, and always tracking their scent. Luckily, even though she is a bitch (literally and personality-wise) she is no killer (all proverbial bark and no bite…like Gump) The other day she met a new friend. Meet Earl.

Earl and his apple

It was interesting to watch a domesticated animal (Scout) interact with a wild one (Earl) – they both took the measure of one another. Staring, sniffing, and keeping a polite distance. I think once Scout knew there was no competitor for her orange ball, she was cool with Earl. Personally, I like possums. They are weird looking and strangely unafraid. I know they are good to have around, as they help control the population of insects and snakes in our yard. Gump gave this one an apple, which it started eating with us as its audience. I don’t want a possum in my house, but outside, well…he was here first.

It’s that lovely time of year when we have to do our taxes. Every year I perfect my system, every year I forget how I did it the previous time and can’t understand any of my notes. It is these times that remind me I am aging. I dodge mirrors mostly to avoid this truth, but the brain don’t lie, people. The other thing I do a lot is get genuinely surprised when I find something I forgot I bought. The upside is it’s like a gift to myself! The downside is when I accuse Gump of having a girlfriend when he comes out wearing a new shirt (he never buys clothes) or I find them in the wash and don’t recognize the item. I put him through a pretty horrifying interrogation process, and then, later on, have a mental flashback to when I gave the item to him in the past. I never tell him, though. Besides, it makes him feel attractive thinking I suspect him of even being able to get another female interested in him.

Gump never gets a hair cut. Or should I say, he waits until he can’t see anymore, or is mistaken for a muppet, before he will get one. When we first got married, Gump convinced me to cut his hair for him. I couldn’t even put a hair curler in my own hair, never mind wield a pair of scissors. But I agreed. It was obvious from the first attempt I had missed my calling. I would have been a great army barber, and Gump didn’t seem to mind looking scalped. And if I’m truthful, there was something quite gratifying about shaving off pieces of my husband onto the floor. Anyway, last week, he finally went and got a haircut. Gump is one of those people who doesn’t mind paying for something and not being happy with the end result. He NEVER complains…at least to strangers. It happens in restaurants, or when something breaks after he buys it and he won’t take it back. It’s infuriating! I used to go with him when he got his hair cut, and when they were done, he’d call me over so I could tell the stylist if it needed anything different, which it usually did. But this time he went on his own and it showed. When Gump came home and got out of his truck, I thought I was looking at a geriatric Bay City Roller. There was no tartan in sight, but it was all about the hairdo. When he came into the house, even Scout gave him the side-eye. “Wow,” I said. “That’s a different style than normal.” Gump grinned. “Yeah, the guy didn’t want to whack it all off, and I didn’t like to tell him I didn’t like it.” Gump disappeared to get changed and then headed off to run other errands. It was only after a trip to Lowe’s that he called me, his testosterone sounding threatened. “I look like a poodle, don’t I?” I told him it was more like a Bay City Roller. He immediately went to a different place and got another haircut.

Today’s holidays – Happy International Day of Happiness! I shall try to make an effort to grin today. You can all do your bit as well. Today is also National Kicks Butt Day. Tomorrow is National Crunchy Taco Day and also National Fragrance Day – probably a good thing after eating a lot of Mexican food. This blog is really informative isn’t it?

On the author front, I’m still not famous. But my book ‘The Secret of Mowbray Manor’ is selling nicely, as far away as Australia and France. Pretty cool to see that. Maybe one day I can do book signings in both countries! Once I’m all shot up (sound odd) I plan to get out into the world and peddle my book, do signings, and anything else which gets me in touch with readers. Note to self – start diet immediately.

And now, I want to say a big thank-you to everyone reading this. It’s been a tough year on so many levels. Here in my little writing world, it has been a real struggle writing a blog every month. First, there’s not much going on in my world to talk about, beyond dog park visits, and being mad with Gump. That makes it really difficult to come up with anything ‘interesting’ to share with you, and I only write about real events. Second, sometimes, it’s a stretch trying to be witty/funny (hopefully you think I am) because we are all fighting depression and getting bummed out during this seclusion. I’m pretty isolated most of the time. Thanks for sticking with me, taking the time to send messages of encouragement, or telling me I helped you grin for even just a moment. It’s the biggest motivator for a writer. Bringing something good to another person means everything.

And so I will keep this one short. My brain hurts from working on taxes which I finished yesterday. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, and Happy Easter too!