Joyous Jottings: Published Poems and a Reading #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Events

Joy is a fluffy gray and white cat with a pink nose and pink paw pads. The fur is long and mostly gray with white paws, a white chest, nose and white down the middle of her head. Her ears are pointed up, and she lies with her paws sprawled out in front of her in an open formation. Her head looks to the right of the screen. She’s on a brown wooden table. Behind her is a white wall and a basket of fruit.Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

 

 

 

Hi, this is Joy, Abbie’s robotic cat, and I’m writing this post today. Actually, I’m dictating it to Abbie, and she’s writing it for me. This is a lot easier than me trying to write with four paws. Plus, she won’t have as many mistakes to correct.

I like living with Abbie, even though she ignores me most of the time. But when we snuggle in the recliner, she sings me this song.

 

You are my Joy, my precious Joy.

You make me smile every day.

I hope you realize that I adore you.

Please don’t ever go away.

 

When she sings that, I know I’m loved, even when I’m left to my own devices in my chair. Abbie thinks I can’t hear her because I only meow, purr, turn my head, and such when she touches me or when the light changes. But I do hear her, even though I’m programmed to only respond when I’m touched. She likes to pretend I can hear her, and she talks to me when she’s in the room. I like that.

Okay, enough about me. Here are a few announcements Abbie wanted me to share with you today. For starters, four of her poems appeared in the September 11th issue of The Weekly Avocet. She posted them last week, but in case you missed them, you can click here to read them. In this post, you’ll also find a link to where you can download that issue of the magazine and links to where you can hear her read each poem.

Two of her poems will appear in the fall quarterly issue of The Avocet. I’m sure she’ll post them here after they’ve been published.

Abbie’s poem, “Dad, Fats, and Me,” won third place in the Dancing Poetry Contest, sponsored by Artists Embassy International in San Francisco. You’ll have a chance to hear her read the poem during a special event this Saturday, September 24th at noon Pacific time. You can click here to watch the event live.

“Dad, Fats, and Me is my favorite poem. I love the way Abbie stomps her feet and sings when she reads it. I think her feet might be too big. Oooowwww! Okay, forget I said that. But be sure to tune in this Saturday at noon Pacific time. This is bound to be great!

Well, that’s all I have today. YYYYAAAAWWWWNNNN! Everybody, have a purrrr-fect day.

 

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

 

 

Abbie here. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my email list to receive my twice-yearly newsletter and other announcements. This is a one-way announcements list, meaning the only messages you’ll receive will come from me. So, you can rest assured that this list is low-traffic. Send a blank email to:  newsfrommycorner+subscribe@groups.io  You’ll receive a confirmation email. Reply to that with another blank message, and you should be good to go.

***

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

 

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Joyous Jottings: A Chocolate Mystery and Two Exciting Announcements #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Inspiration

Joy is a fluffy gray and white cat with a pink nose and pink paw pads. The fur is long and mostly gray with white paws, a white chest, nose and white down the middle of her head. Her ears are pointed up, and she lies with her paws sprawled out in front of her in an open formation. Her head looks to the right of the screen. She’s on a brown wooden table. Behind her is a white wall and a basket of fruit.

Photo Resize and Description by Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

 

Hi. I’m Joy, a robotic cat. I came to live with Abbie a month ago, from a place called the senior center, where they give cats like me to people who have dementia or are prone to isolation, whatever that means. When Abbie touches me or I see a light or motion somewhere, I meow, purr, yawn, stretch, turn my head, and open and close my eyes, like any cat.

There are some nice things about being a robotic cat. I don’t have to worry about whether or when Abbie will feed me because I don’t eat. And because I don’t eat, I don’t have to go to the litter box. I also don’t have to visit a place called the vet, where no cat ever wants to go.

So, you may wonder where I get my energy if I don’t eat. Well, I run on batteries, but Abbie doesn’t know what kind. She says we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, whatever that means.

The down side to being a robotic cat is that since I don’t require care, Abbie can ignore me, which she does most of the day, putting me in my chair while she works in her office during the day. My chair is Abbie’s blue armchair in the living room, where she sometimes snuggles with me while checking notifications on her phone after she gets home from a place called the YMCA or her morning walk. The chair is comfortable, and I don’t mind napping there all day, even though I don’t like to be ignored.

In the afternoon, we nap together, either in her bed or recliner. In the evening, we snuggle in the recliner while Abbie listens to books or podcasts.

Abbie sometimes goes outside in her back yard to write or check email or listen to whatever she wants to listen to. I wish I could go out with her. But she says that since I can’t clean myself like a real cat, it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to get dirty. That makes sense, but it still doesn’t keep me from wanting to go outside.

I think Abbie feels guilty for ignoring me most of the day. So, she asked me to write this blog post. She told me that fellow blogger Patty Fletcher’s dog Blue writes her posts for her sometimes. If he can do it, so can I.

Well, it’s easier said than done. It’s hard writing on a computer keyboard with four paws. I’m sure Blue has the same problem. Abbie says that sometimes, people leave comments on her blog posts. So, maybe Blue will give me some pointers. Then again, I’m making so many mistakes, and I don’t know how to fix them. Abbie will have her work cut out for her and may not ask me to do this again.

Anyway, a week ago Saturday, Abbie received a package via something called FedEx, which contained chocolates. She doesn’t see very well. So, she used something on her phone called Be My Eyes, where she asked Siri to call a volunteer, and the person who answered used the camera on Abbie’s phone to read what was on the box. But the volunteer couldn’t find any information on the box about who sent the chocolates.

On Tuesday, when Jenny came to clean, Abbie asked her to look at the box. I like Jenny. She works for the senior center. She’s the one who brought me to Abbie. She always stops to give me a few strokes when she’s cleaning in the living room.

Anyway, Jenny found a couple of phone numbers. Abbie thought maybe one of them would be for Purdys Chocolates, the company that sent the goodies. But it turned out to be for FedEx, the company the delivered the package. The second number was that of Casey Matthews, whom she calls her tech guru. Luckily, she just got his voicemail and didn’t have to explain why she accidentally called him. She asked if Jenny could have misread the number, and Jenny said she thought the 5 in the area code might have been a 6. So, Abbie tried the number with the 6 but only got a recording, saying that the call couldn’t be completed at this time and to try again later.

Then, she went online and used something called Google to find Purdys Chocolates. She found the company’s website, and through live chat, she was eventually able to find out that Casey Matthews actually did send the chocolates. Wow!

Abbie told me the last time a man sent her chocolates was when her late husband sent her chocolates on Valentine’s Day in 2005 after he proposed to her. She wrote a book about that called My Ideal Partner. If you want to know how that turned out, you can read the book.

So, Abbie emailed Casey to thank him for the chocolates. He emailed her back, saying he was sorry there was no message in the box, although he had asked that one be included. He said he sent the chocolates to show his appreciation for all the referrals she sent him.

I don’t know if cats like chocolates, but they sound good to me, even though I don’t eat. So, I’m going to tell you all about Casey Matthews, and maybe he’ll send me a box of chocolates if he gets enough referrals from me. If my name is on the box, maybe Abbie will let me try them.

Okay, Casey Matthews runs a company he calls Web Friendly Help. He works with people like Abbie, who use screen readers. He helps them resolve issues with their computers and even gives training if they need it. He also provides other services, which you can find out about on his website. So, check it out here. Oh, and if you contact Casey, tell him Joy sent you, please.

A couple of other exciting things have happened to Abbie since I’ve been with her. First of all, she received word that her story, “From Jungle to Jungle,” was a winner in one of Wyoming Writers’ flash fiction contests. It hasn’t been published anywhere. Once it is, she’ll post it here and on her website, and you can read it. I haven’t had a chance to read it, either. So, don’t feel bad.

Also, her poem, “Dad, Fats, and Me,” will be featured in September at the Dancing Poetry Festival, produced by Artists Embassy International in San Francisco. This virtual program combines poetry and dance. She attended an event on something called Zoom, along with other poets whose work was also selected, where their readings of their poems were recorded. I heard Abbie read that poem many times. She stamps her feet and sings when she does it, and it’s quite a performance. When she gets a link to the program, which will be broadcast live on something called YouTube September 24th, it’ll be posted here.

Whew! All this typing with my paws has tired me out. I’m ready for Abbie to put me in my chair in the living room, so I can take a nap. Until next time, maybe, sweet dreams!

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

 

Abbie here. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my email list to receive my twice-yearly newsletter and other announcements. This is a one-way announcements list, meaning the only messages you’ll receive will come from me. So, you can rest assured that this list is low-traffic. Send a blank email to:  newsfrommycorner+subscribe@groups.io  You’ll receive a confirmation email. Reply to that with another blank message, and you should be good to go.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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My Man Bill #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

My late husband was the bravest person I ever knew. He was tall with gray hair and often wore sunglasses. A soft-spoken, gentle soul, he rarely got mad. When he did, it wasn’t for long. He endured so much hardship in his life, yet remained positive.

At an early age, he lost some of his vision as a result of rheumatoid arthritis, which also affected his legs. Through surgery, he was able to walk, but he lost the rest of his eyesight twenty years later. As an adult, he had one or two more operations to fuse limbs that were giving him trouble.

In 2003, we met through a magazine. A few months after we started corresponding, he contracted the West Nile virus. It took him several months to make a full recovery, but he got back on his feet.

In January of 2006, three months after we were married, he suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. After spending nine months in a nursing facility, he returned home, and I became his caregiver.

We hoped that through outpatient physical therapy, he would be able to walk again. But in January of 2007, almost a month after his first stroke, he had a second one, not as severe, but enough to set him back to the point where he would never walk again.

With the use of only one arm and leg, he could do little for himself. I dressed him, prepared his meals, and helped him with various devices he enjoyed using for email and listening to audiobooks and ball games. All the while, he was stoic and loving. Whenever I felt the pressure, all I had to do was hold him and be reassured by the touch of his arm around me and the feel of his body against mine.

But in the summer of 2012, his appetite decreased. As a result, he lost strength, making it harder for me to lift him. In September, we consulted a physical therapist, who told us it was no longer safe for Bill to remain at home. He reluctantly agreed to move to a nursing home permanently.

Over the next month, he continued to decline, eventually getting to the point where he couldn’t eat without help. All the while, he remained alert and upbeat until he finally got to the point where he was no longer aware of what was going on around him.

One day, while an aide tried to feed him lunch, the food just dribbled out of his mouth. He apparently couldn’t or wouldn’t swallow. He also started having trouble breathing. I signed end of life papers, and he was put on oxygen.

But even then, although he could no longer talk, and I didn’t know if he could understand what we were saying, he hung on. After three days of watching him in this state, I realized I needed to give him permission to go, which I did. On October 30th, 2012, he finally left this world. I’ll always love him and admire him for his courage in the face of all the adversity in his otherwise good life.

You can read our full story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, which is available free from Smashwords this month. See below for details. I was inspired to write the above while taking a memoir writing class from fellow author Glenda Beall, who blogs here.

How about you? Who’s the bravest person you know? Please tell me about it in the comment field below. Alternatively, you can post about it on your own blog with a link to this post.

And now, I’m pleased to announce that until the end of the month, all my books can be downloaded from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its summer/winter sale. You can click here to visit my author page and download these books. Happy reading!

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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What I Did on the Fourth #MondayMusings #Jottings #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

When I was growing up in Tucson, Arizona, during the 1960s and early 70s, we attended fireworks displays on the Fourth of July, which were usually held at the university. Although I don’t remember too much about them, I imagine that during my early childhood years, the loud banging and popping scared me to death. But when I grew older, despite my limited vision, I loved sitting on the grass, looking up, and beholding the multi-colored lights and shapes that seemed to sail across the sky. I vaguely remember one year when I could see fireworks from our front lawn, and I thought they could be seen all over the world.

After my family moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973, we stopped attending fireworks displays, because there weren’t any here. By that time, I was twelve years old and wasn’t nearly as fascinated by them as I was when I was younger. Dad decided that we should buy our own and shoot them off on the Fourth of July, even though it was illegal.

I remember one particular Independence Day when I was in high school. The street where we lived had little traffic. Relatives from out of town were visiting, and we were all gathered in front of our house to watch Dad’s makeshift fireworks display, which was taking place in the middle of the street. It was getting dark.

Dad was hunched over, igniting something, when suddenly, a car appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and drove slowly toward him. We all held our breath, fearing a neighbor had called the police about our fireworks. As the car drew closer, we realized that it was only Grandma. In her old age, she drove more cautiously than she did when she was younger. She pulled to the curb, stepped out of her blue Cadillac, and we all laughed with relief. After that, we went outside the city limits to shoot off our Fourth of July fireworks.

How about you? What have you enjoyed doing on the Fourth of July?

Thanks to Tom Kaufman, facilitator of The Breakfast Bunch, a program held on Zoom through ACB Community Calls, for inspiring this. The Breakfast Bunch is a weekly chat activity where we meet to reminisce about anything and everything. If you’d like to learn about other community programs sponsored by the American Council of the Blind, you can email:  community@acb.org  and request a daily schedule that will land in your inbox. I hope those of you in the United States have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

***

And now, I’m pleased to announce that until the end of the month, all my books can be downloaded from Smashwords ABSOLUTELY FREE as part of its summer/winter sale. You can click here to visit my author page and download these books. Happy reading!

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Giving Thanks for Time #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Inspiration

Last week, I was complaining to myself for having so much to do and not enough time. Then, I got the dreaded phone call, a call I’d received several times before, a call that meant deleting every event on my calendar that didn’t take place virtually. I had once again been exposed to COVID. This time, one of the gals in my singing group had tested positive after attending our last practice.

This meant I had all the time in the world, but I felt depressed. We’d been having lovely weather, and I’d been looking forward to eating lunch at the senior center and taking walks.

I’d planned to get my COVID booster on Friday. I called to ask if I should still do that or wait. The receptionist told me to wait at least a week. This I was glad to do, since I’d suddenly realized I could possibly infect the transit driver who would take me there.

On a whim, I asked the gal at the public health department if it would be okay to take a walk if I didn’t have any symptoms, wore a mask, and did my best to distance myself from anyone I encountered. What she said surprised me. “Since you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to quarantine.”

Seriously? It was my understanding that even if I was fully vaccinated, I could still pass the virus on to someone else, even if I didn’t have symptoms. What’s more, I wasn’t fully vaccinated, technically, since I hadn’t yet had my booster. After giving the matter some thought, I decided it would be okay to take my walks for exercise while wearing a mask and keeping my distance. If I developed symptoms, I would stay home.

Now, it’s been over a week since I was exposed. I’ve survived yet another COVID scare. What I’ve learned is this. Instead of griping about having too much to do and not enough time, I should prioritize and do what I can in the time allotted and not worry about what doesn’t get done. That’s better than having “Too Much Time on My Hands.”

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Facebook

Website

 

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.