Auld Lang Syne

As I look back on 2015, it is with a fondness for those who have left our lives but not our hearts.

Each new year is an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, assess our motives and progress, and learn from our mistakes while celebrating our achievements.

This year brought a new granddaughter for me, Audrey Anne Marie. My oldest daughter and her family set a course for South Dakota where she will spend the next two years working on her Master’s Degree. My younger grandson and his family moved to Tennessee and are now headed to Pueblo, Colorado. My son is still an aspiring photographer up north near the Canadian border. As for me, I became engaged and celebrated my first full year back in prison, where I work in payroll.

I traveled this summer to Port Townsend with my sister Erin. My mother was hospitalized for complications arising from COPD. My former mother in-law passed away in November following an infection that exacerbated her COPD. She will be sorely missed, but her legacy will live on through her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Mike, Nick and I traveled to Montana to watch the Kentucky Derby with his mother. The visit was more brief than anticipated, but we each came back with a better knowledge of off track betting.

I started this blog in 2015, and am hoping that I am motivated enough to maintain my writing. Please feel free to provide commentary, or just drop in and say hello! Let 2016 be what you make it. Don’t let someone else’s idea of “good enough” necessarily become yours!

It’s Not What It Looks Like

Early every morning I sneak quietly out of the house to watch the neighbors. First on my route is Mrs. Wainwright. She’s usually standing on her back porch in a ratty old chenille bathrobe smoking a cigarette. You’ve got to watch her, that one. She has said some very harsh words to me in the past when she’s caught me watching her. One time she threw her Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandal at me, but that was summer. In winter she wore these God awful slippers that looked like they’d been around since President Hoover. I often wondered if they smelled as bad as government cheese.

Next door to Mrs. Wainwright is the Gobel residence. Irene Gobel is the nicest lady on the whole block. Her yard is almost always kept nice, and the aroma of French toast wafts from her kitchen. French toast isn’t particularly my thing, but it smells nice nonetheless. Irene has a daughter, Cora. Now there is a looker if I ever laid eyes on one. She has hair the color of fried chicken, and I daydream sometimes about sitting in her lap while she pats my head. Mr. Gobel drives a garbage truck for a living, and I sometimes wonder if that is what the French toast smell is supposed to cover up. They have a little yappy pipsqueak of a dog I call Dennis, as in Dennis the Menace.

Crossing the street after the Gobel house, I head to the park, knowing she’ll be there. Cassiopeia. Quite a name for quite a dame. She is an exotic, with long legs and a sleek body. I lift my head to appear somewhat taller. She hasn’t spotted me yet, and I watch her sitting ever so quietly under a copper birch tree. Her legs are stretched out in front of her, and she’s examining a bird up in the tree. Her eyes are like liquid gold, so striking against her dark coloring.

Quite the ruckus had ensued from behind the jungle gym . Two fellas, one I recognize as Sneaky Pete, are grappling and wrestling around. The other guy must be new, because I’ve never seen him before. Sneaky Pete has the new guy pinned to the ground and is pummeling him with strikes. The new guy is lying there on the ground howling like a girl. They’ve now gotten Cassiopeia’s attention and she ends her study in ornithology when the bird takes flight. Hopefully she is not impressed by horseplay and roughhousing, and Sneaky Pete won’t get the time of day from her. I’d be stunned if she gave them more than a cursory glance. Instead, she looks right at me. She raises her head while lowering her eyelids at the same time in sort of a soft blink. I stand yet a little straighter. I puff out my chest like my pops used to do. “You must be that peeping tom I’ve heard about. Simon?.” I lick my paw and smooth the fur on top of my head. “My name is Simon, and I’m a people-watching tom cat, not a peeping tom.”

Self-centered Mimi

Self-centered Mimi

Has show-stopping flair

With zebra stripe leggings

And magenta hair

She’ll ask how you’re doing

And pretend to care

But feelings for others?

She has none to spare

It’s all about Mimi

Or nothing at all

Her stories are grand

But her mind is small