Rediscovering Forgotten Pleasures #SocialMediaMonday

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Patty Fletcher, fellow author and blogger, has a new guide dog named Blue. In this post, published on Ernest Dempsey’s blog, Recovering the Self, she shares a day in her life with Blue and her cat Eddy. Enjoy!

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It’s been one week since I came home from The Seeing Eye® Dog Guide school with my new dog. His name is Blue. He’s a Black Labrador Golden Retriever Cross and he is wonderful.

 

Read the full post here.

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For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

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New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Thursday Book Feature: The Cat Really Did That?

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Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? 101 Tales of Miracles, Mischief and Magical Moments

Edited by Amy Newmark

Copyright 2017

 

This book speaks for itself through the title. It’s one in a series of many anthologies of true, uplifting stories produced by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Here, cat lovers share all kinds of stories about their feline companions: rescued cats who thrive and become part of a family, cats who save people’s lives, and cats who alter negative behavior and comfort the dying. A quotation about cats precedes each story, and there are plenty of pictures.

I enjoyed reading of the antics of many cats in this book. According to the introduction, those reading it are encouraged to adopt a cat. I hope these stories inspire others to adopt cats, but I’m not one who will do so, at least not now.

Although I love cats and have many pleasant memories of the ones in our family when I was growing up, after six years of caring for my late husband, who was paralyzed by two strokes, I’m still not ready to care for another living thing. I realize a cat wouldn’t require as much maintenance and the reward would be worth it, but that doesn’t make the responsibility any less daunting. Maybe someday I’ll be ready. Meanwhile, I’ll socialize with cats when given the rare opportunity and continue to read books about them such as this one.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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I Remember

In my childhood,

I helped Mother in the house,

went to school, was praised by teachers,

threatened with an eighteen-inch ruler,

played with siblings and friends,

was harassed by schoolyard bullies.

 

As a teen-ager, I went to high school,

to the prom, graduated.

 

In my adult years, I went to college,

got a job, was married.

 

When I grow old,

can’t see, hear, or walk,

depend on others,

I’ll remember my life.

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This is the last poem in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. To hear me read it and sing a song about an old cat remembering her younger years, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/i%20remember-memory.mp3 .

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Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

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The World According to a Cat

You’re a recovering drug addict, subsisting on whatever money you can make playing your guitar and singing on the streets of London. Then one day, you meet a ginger cat who changes your life. Such is the case of James Bowen, the author of A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob. These two books tell the story of how this stray cat positively influenced the author’s life.

In A Street Cat Named Bob, Bowen discusses how he took Bob in after the cat kept hanging around his flat and how they developed a relationship. Because Bob was a stray, Bowen didn’t think he would stay with him, but it’s said that cats choose their owners, and this turned out to be the case with Bob and Bowen. The author talks about how he became estranged from his parents and moved to England from Australia to pursue a career in music. He then explains how he became addicted to drugs and shares his experiences on the streets after finding Bob, how he took the cat with him everywhere and how Bob’s presence caused more people to pay attention to him and earned him more money. Eventually, because of police harassment, he was forced to give up busking and start selling editions of a local magazine called The Big Issue.

In The World According to Bob, Bowen recounts further adventures with his cat on the streets. He also touches a little more on his life growing up in Australia, how he was hospitalized frequently as a child with a variety of psychiatric disorders. After a couple of years on the streets with Bob, he was discovered by the media, and he explains how he wrote his first book and how its publication got him off the streets, improved his relationships with his family, and changed attitudes toward the homeless.

According to Wikipedia, James Bowen was born on March 15th, 1979 in Surrey, England. After his parents were divorced, he moved to Australia with his mother and stepfather. His home life was tense, and because the family frequently moved, he was unsettled at school. Continually bullied, he began sniffing glue and was eventually diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia, and manic depression.

In 1997, he moved to London, and after living with his half-sister for a while, he spent the next ten years sleeping either on the streets or in shelters. He started using heroine to escape the reality of being homeless. In the spring of 2007, he entered a drug treatment program while busking at Covent Garden and living in sheltered accommodation in Tottenham. This was when he met Bob, and if you read his two international bestsellers, written with the help of author Garry Jenkins, you’ll know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say. To learn more about James Bowen, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James-_Bowen_(author)#Early_life . You can also read a newspaper article and view photos of the author and his cat at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2227639/James-Bowen-Best-selling-true-story-busker-got-life-track-thanks-stray-cat-film.html .

James Bowen’s style of writing drew me into his world. I laughed at Bob’s habit of hiding in unexpected places and his delight in playing with aluminum wrappers and other items. Of course these are traits any cat would have. I found myself getting angry at people who confronted Bowen because they thought he was mistreating Bob and an apartment complex manager who complained that Bowen’s guitar playing and singing at two in the afternoon was keeping her tenants awake. I agree that Bowen probably should have gotten a proper job, and of course he shouldn’t have been using drugs in the first place, but given the circumstances, he didn’t know better and didn’t have the self-esteem to consider a career other than busking and selling magazines. These books would appeal to cat lovers, but I also hope young people around the world will read them and think twice before turning to drugs.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We shall Overcome, How To Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

Order That’s Life from Amazon.  

Dad and Wanda

Dad didn’t like cats. Mother attracted them like a magnet so needless to say, we had several of them when I was growing up. The first feeline I remember was a stray we called Mother Cat, even though she didn’t have a litter. We were living in Tucson, Arizona, and I was about eight. Mother Cat was gray with tiger stripes.

Soon after Mother Cat arrived, another stray showed up at our door, very pregnant. Mother took pity on her, named her Rosemary, and the cat had three kittens in my baby brother’s closet. Mother thought two of the kittens were males and one female so she named the boys Howard and James and the girl Wanda. When we later took them to the vet for the first time, we found out that Howard and James were also females, but the names had stuck by then.

James died, and Mother Cat walked off one day and never returned. Mother took Rosemary to the local humane society. Through the years, Howard and Wanda stuck with us. Howard was gray with tiger stripes like Mother Cat, and Wanda was white with black spots.

When Wanda was old enough to understand relationships between humans and feelines, she picked up on Dad’s dislike of cats and decided she didn’t like him, either. The following poem which appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders is written from Wanda’s point of view. It illustrates how she expressed her dislike of my father. For a rare treat, click below to hear me read it. This link will be available for a limited time.

FROM YOUR FORMER FEELINE HOUSEMATE

 

I’m the one she put to sleep

when life’s pain was too great.

You told her you didn’t like me.

Maybe it was a guy thing,

but the feeling was mutual.

 

She insisted on calling me Wanda,

thought I could be a witch

so as far as you were concerned, I was.

 

I peed in your shoes at night

then stood by in the morning when you put them on.

The look on your face was priceless.

You swore and threatened to throw me twenty feet.

Believe me, if I could have,

I would have done the same to you,

right out the second story bedroom window,

then stood on the sill and watched you fall.

 

When you brought that big, red dog home,

I hated you even more.

I could no longer pee in your shoes

because the dog slept next to the bed

so I peed on your favorite love seat.

Imagine your shock

when you sat down with the latest issue of The New Yorker

to discover a wet cushion.

 

After many years,

we’re reunited in the hereafter,

you, her, me, and that big, red dog.

Oh well, I’ll have to make the best of it.

Hmmm, I need to pee.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver