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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, November 7

Christmas "Stuff"

It’s that time again, time for the Christmas catalogues to start pouring into our mailbox. My wife and I are old enough that we no longer need to fill our house with “stuff.” In fact, we’re sort of in a “getting rid of” mode, either giving away or selling things we no longer have a need for or a special attachment to. I’ve gotten rid of most of my many cd’s (which was easy because I have all the tracks downloaded onto my computer) and a bunch of my books (which wasn’t so easy as I have, all through my life, bonded with books, taking them to my heart, the ugly ones as well as the beautiful). But that still leaves all the knickknacks we’ve bought over the years—the Priscilla Hillman kitty collectibles from Hallmark, the set of Wildflower Angels representing each month, the many glass paperweights, the crystal sets of assorted dishes too good to use but good enough to keep in our dining room hutch, the paintings by Rosalie’s father and my mother and the wooden carvings by Rosalie’s father. Just stuff, but stuff that enriches our lives. But we don’t need to add to that list, and that’s what such Christmas catalogues offer us, entice us into buying. The latest catalogue, and probably the classiest of the lot, is Signals, out of Ohio. Jewelry, wall hangings, music boxes, unusual clocks and watches, wind chimes, etc. All moderately priced and tasteful. For example, there’s a personalized wall hanging portraying a snowy landscape with two parallel rows of winter trees enclosing this saying, “I can’t promise that I’ll be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise that I’ll love you for the rest of mine.” A bit corny, but the price is right and the sentiment is genuine, even though borrowed. They also advertise three music boxes that are tempting: a harp playing “Music of the Night,” a violin playing “Blue Danube,” and a grand piano playing “Für Elise.” Do we need another music box? No, definitely no. There’s also a sign to hang on one’s front door that instructs visitors, “Doorbell Broken. Yell ‘Ding Dong!’ really loud.” Whimsical, but I love whimsy. And then, of course, there are all the t-shirts and sweatshirts with comic sayings. I love the sayings, but I don’t need any more t-shirts or sweatshirts. The old English teacher in me finds the following clever and cute and accurate:
1. Keep clam and proofread. Loose your cool and it’s easy to make misteaks.
2. “I” before “e” except when eight weird, feisty neighbors seize a surfeit of weighty heifers.
3. The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.
4. Seven days without a pun makes one weak.
5. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
6. A backward poet writes inverse.
7. Her bootlegging was illegal, but I loved her still.
8. A tardy cannibal gets the cold shoulder.
9. Never play cards in the Serengeti—there are too many cheetahs.
10. I regret not developing my photographic memory.
11. And my favorite of all in this age of talkers: Listen and silent have the same letters. Coincidence?

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