My partner in crime, also known as my husband — Garry Armstrong — is finally thinking about writing a book. Possibly, in collaboration with one or more people with whom he worked. I’m only mentioning this on the theory that he can use all the encouragement he can get.

I think he would love to have written it … but it’s such a commitment, you know? I don’t blame him for worrying about it. Writing any book — even a very small book without references to real events which require dates and places — is a lot more work than it seems on the surface.

Still, he has stories to tell.  It seems at least a few people might want to read it and he is a very good writer. If I promise to do as much of the editing I can (I am not one of the world’s great proofreaders — anyone who has read my book already knows that), it lifts one piece of the burden. Nonetheless. it is still work.

Those of you out there who have written one or more books know. I think I have more authors in my following than any other blogger I know. Which of you hasn’t written a book? Some of you have written bunches of books and you know how hard the work is and how difficult it can be to get it done right — and how frustrating it can prove to find people to read it.

He has interesting stories to tell, so that has to count for something, right?


Line drawing, summer bouquet

July was a tough financial month, but now that we’ve rolled in August, Garry felt I needed a new summer bouquet. Or, as Gracey Burns used to say, “Summer flowers, some are not.” Just another piece for Cee’s Flower of the Day.


Time travel is the ultimate addiction. One day, I realized the large window in my bedroom had become a wormhole. I flipped out.

It had begun as a day like any other. Coffee. Making sure the dogs had biscuits. Wash those few dishes in the sink. Clean out the drying rack. Look at the sky, wonder if it’s going to rain. Wondering why it matters so much anyhow. It’s just another day, right?

Then there’s the whirling twirling thing in the blinds. A vortex! While I’m standing there trying to figure out how to get into it, wondering how come they don’t appear at a more convenient location … like at floor level, for example. Am I supposed to leap over my dresser? And I need a clue how to designate when and where I want to go and return. Because I do want to return!

It turns out (surprise!) the vortex knows. Everything.

NASA’s own time machine

Just focus your mind on when, where and how long you want to be wherever it may be and voilà! The vortex takes care of the rest, like an exceptionally good travel agent, but much cheaper. The danger is going through the vortex with your brain muddled. You can wind up some strange places … not places anyone wants to be. Don’t drink and time travel! Also, you don’t have to jump or climb into the vortex. Just stand as close as you can and reach into it mentally. Cool beans, right?

If you are one of the lucky ones who’ve had a vortex appear for you, I’d like to offer you some practical advice.

  • Don’t drink, smoke dope, or take other mind-bending substances before you travel elsewhen.
  • Avoid the 14th century. It’s too depressing.
  • You should get vaccinations for defunct diseases. Talk to your doctor.
  • If you have a really cool doctor, let him or her in on the secret. Some can be bribed with an excursion of their own. And it’s a good bet you’ll eventually need medical support, so why not start out ahead?
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Layer. Sometimes the seasons aren’t predictable. A small carry-on piece of luggage in a natural fiber such as canvas is a good investment.
  • Take your camera. Take extra memory chips and backup batteries. You aren’t going to be recharging anything.
  • Leave the cell phone home. A ringing cell at the wrong moment can produce unexpected — and unpleasant — results.
  • Tell your mate what’s going on. Nothing upsets a relationship more than your appearing out of nowhere. Why not take your other half along for a couple of rides? Maybe he or she will love it too.
  • Try to land in an open area. Arriving mid-air or inside a wall or tree produces bad trips. Sometimes death. Be clear in your mind so the vortex can read you. Wherever you are going, do a little research. Google Earth and history books can be helpful in giving you good visualization capabilities.
  • Try not to lose yourself in time. If you overdo it, you can forget who you are supposed to be, who your children are, your friends, family. Everything. Most of us want to go home eventually.
  • Don’t tell everything to everybody. You want to keep the press out of it. Far out of it.
  • The future is scarier than the past. Spend time in known history before you venture forward. You’ll be glad you did.

Vortexes don’t last forever. Make the most of your opportunity while it’s available. Enjoy your travels, my friends. Welcome to TIMING OUT of life! It’s the best ride you’ll ever take.


The balls arrived. Eighteen of them in orange and red. Low bounce tennis balls, guaranteed the best for young tennis players and ball-addicted dogs. I bought the “low bounce” balls in the hope of saving some of my “stuff” from being shattered. Now, I see that we are going to have to put in bumpers to keep the ball from rolling under the table. Garry has been spending way too much time fishing the ball out from under the furniture.

I am patting myself on the back, albeit with a good deal of shoulder discomfort. I figured that Duke would be the only one of the three dogs with any interest in tennis balls … and I was right. Bonnie and Gibbs looked at them, looked at me, looked back at the ball. Looked at each other. If dogs could shrug, they have been doing it. They like stuffies, but balls don’t squeak. No matter how hard you shake them, they don’t play dead. They think toys make better friends.

He has torn out chunks of the first ball of the two I gave him. I’ve been explaining to him he should not eat the balls, but I’m not sure he’s listening. I actually don’t know where the second ball went. I’m betting it’s outside in the big, soggy yard.

Yes, folks, it’s raining again. Thunder. Lightning. Pouring rain. Duke isn’t exactly afraid of the thunder, but he definitely doesn’t want to go hang with it in the yard. I’ve had dogs crazy enough to race into the yard to bark down the storms.

Waiting for Duke

Bonnie hates the rain, but she loves sitting at the window and watching the wind and the weather. Gibbs isn’t afraid of storms, either. He doesn’t hide from thunder. Fireworks don’t bother any of them which is good since we have a shooting club just down the road. You can hear guns often … and they hunt these woods in the fall. Personally, I wish they were further away when they shoot, but at least it doesn’t make the dogs crazy.

Duke is making us younger, or at least, making us act younger. Garry has been crawling around the floor regularly. Retrieving balls, and toys. Grabbing sticks and the pieces of rocks Duke has dragged in. I was out in the yard yesterday and wondering how he got so many twigs piled up like that. There are no trees in the yard. Where did they come from? Wind? Or has he collected them from wherever he could find them in the yard?

Wherever they came from, he has made a nice pile of them in the approximate center of the property. It’s possible the sticks are his sheep and he is keeping them corralled.

Words from a wise old Scottie?

Duke is 15-months old, at the peak of adolescent dog lunacy. Soon, he will begin to level off. Meanwhile, he is funny, sweet, and smart. Alert to every movement. He watches your hands, watches your eyes. Except, like now, when having chased his ball around the living room, he’s sacked out.

And I’m pretty sure he’s working on computer literacy. Tune in. He’s readying his Facebook page.