Monday, August 22, 2016

Dear Friend...

Uff da Lutefisk.

My favorite saying when I'm exasperated.

I've been inundated with a boat load of spam mail lately. It's like I grew a trendy white beard, decided to wear red fat pants and moved to the north pole. In December. Do I look stupid? Or fat. Don't answer that. Now, the bottom feeders are even sending me google + requests. Like this...

Google+ (Stephen James)

Aug 13 (9 days ago)
to jon.snow.conor

How did they know I'm a Game of Thrones Fan? You know nothing Jon Snow... Sigh. But for the most part, they're still following the typical scammer bank transfer handbook. This one has a lot of humorous touches. I enlarged the best parts in case you want to skim. But remember, after you read this, it will self destruct in 6 seconds...

Dear Friend

Greetings, my name is Mr. Yusuf Fatau, the account manager in charge of audit Foreign Remittance Unit, (BOA) Bank of Africa in Burkina Faso, It is true that we have not meet each other in person, but I strongly believe in trust and friendship in every business. As I am contacting you independently of my investigation and no one is informed of this communication. My reason for contacting you is to transfer an abandoned sum of $6 Million dollars immediately to your private account. The money has been here in our Bank lying dormant for years now without anybody coming for the claim of it.

The funds belong to our deceased Customer Mrs.Shannel Lake who perished along with her family since 9 years ago The Banking laws here does not allow such money to stay more than 10 years, that is the reason why I need your Cooperation in transferring the money to your bank account so that we can use it to secure the future of our both families because I don't want the money to be recalled to the bank treasury as unclaimed fund.

By indicating your interest I will send you the full details on how the business will be executed. Please keep this proposal as a top secret and delete if you are not interested.

My best regards.

Mr. Yusuf Fatau

But other spam pen pals try to pull at my heart strings. Grab your kleenex box and read this...

I need your help. 

I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears In my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, My Name is mrs catherine.thomas and I am contacting you from my country Tunisia I want to tell you this because I don't have any other option than to tell you as I was touched to open up to you, I married to Mr.ouedrago Brown who worked with Tunisia embassy in Burkina Faso for nine years before he died in the year 2009.We were married for eleven years without a child.

He died after a brief illness that lasted for only five days. Since his death I decided not to remarry, When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$ 8.5m (Eight Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars) in a bank in Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso in west Africa Presently this money is still in bank. He made this money available for exportation of Gold from Burkina Faso mining.

Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the period of seven months due to cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to hand you over this money to take care of the less-privileged people, you will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here

I want you to take 30 Percent of the total money for your personal use While 70% of the money will go to charity, people in the street and helping the orphanage. I grew up as an Orphan and I don't have any body as my family member, just to end endeavor that the house of God is maintained. Am doing this so that God will forgive my sins and accept my soul because these sicknesses have suffered me so much.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in Burkina Faso and I will also instruct the Bank Manger to issue you an authority letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of the money in the bank that is if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein.

Always reply to my alternative for security purposes ( )

Hoping to receive your reply:
From mrs catherine.thomas

And don't even get me started on all the E.D. problems striking mankind. Or do. I need something to write about. Every darn day I get Erect on Demand mail with a curious vertical cucumber shouting hello. Hmmmm. Guess what I think about that?

Uff da Lutefisk!

Monday, August 15, 2016

"The cat, you idiot!"

The Internet Cat Video Festival lived on after the Walker Art Center bundled it up in a burlap sack, weighed it down with rocks and threw it over the Stone Arch Bridge. This year it was hosted by myTalk 107.1. Thanks guys. I'm so glad the festival didn't die after four lives. I'm hoping for at least the proper nine. Besides, I told my husband that next year, we're getting VIP tickets so I don't have to eat the canned and congealed slop offered up from every vendor at CHS field. Even my cat Hana, who licks up pepper flakes like glorified fish scales, would turn up her whiskers at that crap. But that being said, the home of the St. Paul Saints is a pawsome place for the great Minnesota cat-together. This year, over 10,000 humans in cat t-shirts attended. Although, there must be a dog t-shirt in there somewhere.

The mostly local videos were good for some furry belly laughs. But my favorite, paws down, was the prank pulled by Cabot Phillips. He convinced his sister, who was still groggy form having her wisdom teeth pulled, that the world was on the verge of a zombie apocalypse. I remember her questioning him with an almost inaudible fat tongue, as to why he was putting gardening equipment in the back of their car if they needed to defend themselves against zombies. Ha! And then he told her, gulp, that she had to choose between the life of their cat or the life of their dog. Only one could survive! 

Millicent Phillips yells, "The cat, you idiot!" 

Purrfect YouTube fodder for a cat fest.

This is the photo I sent in for the pre-kitten bowl slide show. My thirsty cat Akua aired while we were choking down a mac and cheese hot dog. AAACCCCKKK. I'd prefer a hair ball.

Oh, and after every thing was meowed and done, fireworks lit up the night. 

Not too tabby for a cat fest. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

For whom the bell tolls...

Bell Rock. A vortex site.

"The ancient Greeks believed that when you read aloud, it was actually the dead, borrowing your tongue, in order to speak again"

Ruth L. Ozeki from A Tale For The Time Being

The world is rife with the unexplained. Do you remember the T.V. show Unsolved Mysteries? I loved it. Of course, there weren't many channels back then. Ha! Now, I have countless channels to choose from. But still, curiously, there are times when I can't find a darn thing to watch. These days, when I'm surfing and fail to catch a big wave like Homeland or The Affair, I almost always drift to the ripple Ancient Aliens. My husband laughs at me. But heck, I still love a good mystery. I'd rather be a curious nerd, interested in strange things like spirits (both kinds), aliens, the Bermuda triangle, big foot, sink holes, vortexes, and of course, the weirdest of all, Donald Trump. 

The mysterious energy of Sedona:

There are several energy centers, or vortexes of subtle energy, located in the Sedona area. (In Sedona, the energy centers are referred to as vortexes rather than vortices.)  The energy from these vortexes saturates the whole area in and around Sedona, and can be noticed in a subtle but general way anywhere around town.  If you actually go to one of the vortex sites, which is where the energy is strongest, it can be a very uplifting experience.  The energy you take in at one of these energy centers can stay with you and affect you positively for days afterwards.

I didn't feel the earth moving at Bell Rock. One of the major vortex centers. I didn't really feel anything at all. But, when I sat on the smooth red stone, soaking in the sun's warmth and meditating, the tornado of energy I was conjuring seemed very real in my mind's eye. It seemed like an easy place to reflect and find peace. Upon my return home, I felt a renewed energy and an unexplained burst of creativity for my book project. Weird? Maybe. It's hard to say.

To complete the circle, just like the barbed wire that symbolizes my book, I also experienced something dark and profound in Sedona. What I'm about to tell you I experienced only in my dreams. Thank goodness. If you are easily scared, proceed with caution...

The first dream I had unsettled me. I was experiencing something so terrifying, that in my dream, I started levitating. The terror building, escalating, until my dream ended with a complete power outage. I woke up immediately. But this dream was nothing compared with what was to come...

The next night I watched this dream like a twisted horror movie. There was a whole cast of unlucky characters and thank God, I wasn't among them. I was just watching the most disturbing dream I've ever had in my life. Trapped in R.E.M. Unable to wake up. It was Armageddon. The world was crumbling before my eyes. Burning savagely. Total devastation. And the characters were slowly being consumed by a primordial ooze. The worst part of all, was that the ooze was us. It was humanity, melting into an ocean of bubbling flesh. And then the last person, trapped in their car, slipped beneath the surface and all was lost.

I woke up to the sound of a bell.

The next night I was afraid to got to sleep. 

P.S. I have a new book review over at Springtime in Magnolia You've read the humorous quotes, now read the book. A Tale For The Time Being

Monday, August 1, 2016


"Oliver, will you please come get your cat and close the door on your way out?"
"That's his superpower," Oliver said, as he scooped him up. "He knows how to be annoying."

Ruth L. Ozeki from A Tale For The Time Being

What's your superpower? According to my dream last night, it's flying. I looked like Katy Perry in a wonder woman costume, flying around like a drunk barn swallow.

If I was lucky enough to have a real life super power, it probably wouldn't be flying. Although, I wouldn't turn it down. But I'd be somewhat afraid they'd send a hawk after me like the ones trained to take down drones. 

Here's my top 5 superpower list:

1) I would love to be able to telepathically communicate with my cats.  You are getting very sleepy Hana. You want to stay off the kitchen counter Hana. You never, ever want to chew on my hair again....Hana. And so on.

2) Ditto above. Except this time, insert my husband's name. You Want to give me an hour long massage every night Dean. You will always leave the remote in the middle of the sofa where we both can reach it Dean. You will actually listen and remember everything I just said Dean. And so on. 

3) Ditto above. Except this time, I'd use my telepathic power on a literary agent and publisher! 

4) I would love to be strong like the bionic woman Jamie Sommers. A.K.A. Lindsey Wagner. My hero.

5) But the bionic woman was my childhood hero. Now, it's Kalhesi, mother of dragons. Oh my God. Daenerys Targaryen is one bad ass mother, standing as still as stone, while her 8 ton adopted child lands behind her in a cloud of dust. She's a literary Goddess. And she literally flies around on dragons. She never complains like Oprah did, of her Va-j-j paining, as she bravely straddles Drogen's leathery skin, on an epic desert fly by.

But straddling dragons isn't her superpower. No. It's being fire proof. Otherwise, her dragons might accidentally incinerate her. If I was fire retardant, I would no longer need a fire extinguisher safely nestled by my bedside. Except to save my husband I suppose.

This is my promise to the world, if you crown me Kahlesi, mother of dragons. Drogen and possibly me, if I'm feeling adventurous, will only spray fire on a few terrorists. And then maybe squash them like a bug. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Travel Log

I have a magic carpet that will take me anywhere. It's a diary of my travels and all that happened there...

I remember buying my Travel Log at a cute little gift shop on Lake Street in Minneapolis. It was the 1990's, I'd just met my future husband and the world seemed like it was just beginning for me. The log diary tickled my funny bone, with it's literal reference. And I already had a love of travel, deeply ingrained (Ha!) by my parents. The empty journal seemed full of possibilities. Where in the world would I go? 

The first entry happened in 1997. A humble trip to Florida to meet my future in-laws. I recorded that our favorite restaurant was Cafe Tu Tu Tango.  It's artist theme and delicious sangria hit the spot. Two years ago, for old times sake, we ate there again. Describing the themed restaurant on Orlando's restaurant row as mediocre, would be a compliment. Times and our well traveled palettes have changed. We lugged our Rollerblades all the way from Minnesota to South Beach that year and were filmed skating by a local film crew. For what purpose, I have no idea. A few years later, we started traveling to Hawaii. Those were exciting and exotic times. Eventually, I stopped recording our Florida trips altogether. But we still go there every year and learn how to have more fun with every  tenacious grey hair. The avian skies of Central America followed the islands and our up-coming trip to Nicaragua in 2017, will mark our 10th trip South of the border. There's nothing like traveling. And as it turns out, my journal is getting quite the work out. It's stuffed thick with memories. 

We pick a flower for each leg of the trip. This particular flower exceeded the size allowance. Just a tad. It was from our trip to Hayward, WI in 2004.

This is my favorite pasted photograph. We got married in Jamaica in 2000. I recorded that there were 5 other beach weddings on our special day. On a side note, the proposal was recorded in 1999. My husband spelled out will you marry me with sea shells, along the quiet shore of Lover's Key State Park in Florida. 

I thought it would be fun to pick the top 5 funniest/most embarrassing/worst entries...

1) Tommy Bahamas changed their bread recipe. Oh my God. The horror. I recorded this first world travesty back in 2003. In Florida. The infused bread and butter is to die for.

2) Touching Monkey poop in the pool. 2008 marked the year of the close encounter with monkey do do in Costa Rica.

3) A lot of humor happened in Belize.  We were snorkeling with our guide Patrick in 2011, when during a long lazy lunch he uttered, "I don't mind a mango falling on my head, but not a coconut" It's still a favorite travel quote. I also recorded an encounter with a few Amish gentlemen that year. They hitched a ride with us as we were leaving the Barton Creek Caves near San Ignacio. As we were driving, they pulled out their lunch pails and started eating. One Amish guy holds up his lunch and states, "Amish Pizza!" It was basically cornbread with a meat topping. We were tickled by their self awareness. Those dudes really did have a sense of humor. Because later, as we passed a friend of theirs driving a horse drawn wagon, one of them insinuated that his friend probably had a stash of pot hidden under the hay. Hmmm. Did he just clue us in to their illicit drug ring? And last but not least from that very same trip, I recorded that a woman passed out during our Iguana encounter. We toured an Iguana hatchery, and the guide attached several baby Iguanas to our t-shirts, just for fun. Dean and I loved it. But one woman was so scared she passed out cold! 

4) This one also falls in the funny first world problems category.  I recorded in our Panama 2016 entry, We also had to go for 6 out of 7 days with no pipas frias!  Coconut water is refreshing when you're at the beach. I will say that.

5) We have so many funny travel memories. And very few disasters, since all of the above could only be described as minor funny business. But since I'm only picking 5, here's the last but not least. In our 2009 Costa Rica trip I wrote, "We thought it was funny when we ordered imperials at the pizza place and the waitress just went to the store to buy them. I don't think beer was on the menu.

 She was smart too. She bought 4 bottles!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The rest of the package...

Nao says...

I found myself looking down into the moss green eyes of a tiny white -and -black cat. He gave me a quick sideways glance, then turned his back and started doing that thing that cats do, winding himself through my legs, arching his spine and sticking his tail straight up in the air while extending his front paws, not toward me but away from me, offering me his butt to scratch as well as a nice view of his puckered asshole and his giant furry white balls. Basically, when a cat offers you his butt to scratch you have to do it and not mind the rest of the package.

 A Tale for the Time being by Ruth L. Ozeki

The character Nao from Ruth's book is not the only one to observe a few ifs, ands or cat butts. I asked my Mom once, "Why do cats have tails?" She replied,"To cover their butts!" Well, I think there is more to the story than that. Hmmm. What other services do tails provide?

1) They help cats achieve balance on kitchen counters, narrow book shelves, ceiling fans, fence posts, tree branches and curtain rods. Basically, wherever they're not supposed to be. 

2) They puff up like feather dusters to show fear, anger or surprise. This is my personal favorite.

3) They swing wildly to display fits of irritation or feisty spirited moods.

4) They swing and sway into your popcorn bowl, swipe across your peanut butter toast, test the temperature of soup or drop into anything you happen to be eating while watching T.V.  Because as soon as you start eating, suddenly, cats find your lap irresistible. 

5) They might, on rare occasions, cover their butts with a meek tail display. But, if you're a cat owner, you know that cats purr-fer to proudly raise their tail, sticking it sky high towards the heavens; their full moon beaming like a bright head light in your face. It's a cat thing.

As an artist, I paint it like I see it. Anything else would be a cat-tastrophy. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Cathedral Rock

I was so energized by our recent trip to Sedona, Arizona. The land of towering red rock vistas seemingly dissolving in front of your eyes. The rugged, iron tinged landscape was breathtaking. There was one caveat though, there weren't any fireworks plugged into the sky like a classic light bright toy on July 4th. But there was dazzling color. Lots of it. The red rock is a blaze of burnt orange, gold and chalky brown. And below the rock, vortexes sizzle with mysterious energy. The desert location is other worldly. Look close and you'll discover delicate blooms, scampering lizards and tiny thorns. Everything has an edge. It could hurt you...just like the barbed wire that symbolizes my story.

One of the central characters in my novel The Chorus of the Crows is named Sedona. And the location also plays a starring role. That's what led us there. And I made so many decisions that will affect my novel based on my experiences there. 

We explored the area thoroughly. It was hard, back breaking book research. But somebody had to climb it! Bell Rock, Fay Canyon and the inspirational Chapel of the Holy Cross all played a roll. The chapel is an architectural marvel built into the red rock. It was an important stop. 

Because a prayer couldn't hurt...

I sat in three separate places, visualizing my thoughts transferred to the page like a spiraling vortex. Then I visualized the vortex spinning into the hands of eager, happy readers. Multiplying, spreading and enchanting the minds like dominoes in motion. Will it help? It can't hurt!

Visit My 3rd Eye for a quick photographic tour of the best of Sedona.