All of her life, after she pees, Molly will sometimes do a combination scratch and dance. I've tried for years to catch it on film, but either I'd forget my phone or camera, or I'd have it and she wouldn't do it. It reached the point where I began to suspect she wouldn't do it on purpose if she saw any electronics. But finally -- just a few minutes ago -- I caught her in the act! This one is kind of restrained, and you get a better view if she's facing full on because she does a strut and twist, with her forelegs crossing over each other, but here is Molly's "I Had A Good Pee Dance." :-). -- Linda H.

Another peek at my herb garden. I have herbs in the freezer. I have herbs hanging in my dining room to dry. I’ve been having mint tea every afternoon and I throw one herb or another in pretty much everything. And I still have
This much. So, so cool. 😀 LJ

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It’s spring here. The jonquils have bloomed, the trees are budding, the pastures are greening up fast. This week we might hit 80F, which is short-sleeve weather. We’ll have more cold snaps, but this is blissful after December and January being so freaking cold. THIS is why I live in Alabama. It’s incredibly beautiful when spring explodes.

The song birds are back, too. Usually we get the Hitchcock clouds of noisy black birds first, then they go on and the song birds come in, b...ut this year the songbirds beat the Hitchcock birds. I first started seeing the bluebirds two weeks ago. This past week I saw some robins. The cardinals are here, and the mockingbirds. When I go outside they’re all singing; makes my heart smile. I’m still putting out bird seed because so far bugs haven’t made an appearance.

My spring project this year is to have either a trellis or an arbor built for scuppernong grapes. Scuppernongs are my all-time favorite grape. I won’t get any harvest this year, but maybe next. I don’t need a lot — a woman can eat only so many grapes, and I’m not much of a jelly-eater.

Flowers, birds, and grapes. There are worse things to post about. After this winter, my soul needs these things. — Linda H.

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We haven't been watching all the Olympics around here, but I do like the figure skating. Watching this week, I was reminded of my all time favorite figure skater. Philippe Candeloro. I went to YouTube to look for some of his performances, and enjoyed them all over again. Linda H and I even went to a Stars on Ice in Birmingham years ago, because he was there. I'm going to try to share one of the videos. Hope it works! Enjoy. -- LJ

Y'all want to read the first chapter of "The Woman Left Behind?"

I wish I had a link you could click on, but I don't, so I'm going to try the copy and paste method, which isn't great for format and font. While I'm wishing, I also wish I was better at this computer stuff because I'm sure there's an easy solution that hasn't occurred to me. And I wish I was interested enough to find out. Anyway, cross your fingers, and let's see how this works. Warning: the language is a tad r...

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While everyone else is watching the dog show or the Olympics, hubby and I have been bingeing on Billions, which is on Showtime. I never would've thought I'd be so engrossed with a show about hedge fund traders, but the characters on the show are fascinating.

Watching it reminded me again that it's all about the characters. Books, movies, TV shows... it's the characters. When I think about any favorite show, past or present, the first thing that comes to mind is a favorite character, or two.

Season 3 starts March 25. Hubby is already complaining that he won't be able to sit down and watch the entire season at once. LJ

I had a choice to make: I could either watch the Olympics, or I could watch the Westminster Dog Show. Guess which program won?

My big boy Tank has been under the weather with a sore throat and fever, and he's spent a lot of time in my lap. He's feeling better now, but he'd sit down in front of me and look at me with this "Mom, pet me" look in his eyes when he wanted comforting. It's a dog's eyes that get me. The show dogs would look up at their handlers with so much trust and... connection, how could I possibly turn the channel?

The golden retriever never wins in Westminster, but the crowd always goes wild when the entry is showing because they're such pretty, happy dogs. They bounce around, they prance, they seldom perform perfectly on the leash because the applause makes them dance. Happened again last night.

By chance I was watching an Animal Planet program about dogs last week, and found out they're very genetically pliable, meaning that within a couple of generations almost any desired shape and purpose can be regularly achieved. Eons ago, one of those desired traits was bonding with humans; essentially, humans created an animal that loves them.

On the program, identical tests were performed with dogs and tamed wolves (inasmuch as one can tame a wolf). They were offered food, but in such a way that they couldn't get to it. The wolf would keep trying to get the food, changing positions and strategies, though a human was standing right there. In the same circumstances, after a try or two the dog would stop and look at the human for assistance. That's the bond, the trust, the sense of connection.

I read this morning that Shaun White won the gold in snowboarding. Yay for him. But the Bichon won Best in Show. I have gone to the dogs, and I'm okay with that. -- Linda H.

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This past weekend we had both Six and Thirteen here for a couple of days, while their parents had a short but much needed getaway. I posted about Six the other day, and his comment about swords being overrated. Looking back, my laughter might've been caused by a touch of babysitting hysteria.

Thirteen, my just turned teen granddaughter, helped me to organize my office while they were here. I'd been looking for a particular notebook a couple of days before they arrived, and i...n the process emptied totes and bookshelves and dragged stuff out of the closet -- and then found the notebook I needed on a shelf by the kitchen table.

Thirteen started gathering together notepads and notebooks, so we could store them all in the same place. Can I say, I have a LOT of notebooks? I never throw them away, not as long as they have useable paper in them. Some have notes from books I wrote 20 years ago. After a while, as I handed her yet another notebook, Thirteen would look at me and say, "Granny, you have a problem."

It was a phrase that was repeated often. Granny, you have a problem. A notebook problem. I could not deny it. I can't pass up a deal on paper, pens, and yes, notebooks. Some people like to browse at the mall. Me? Just drop me at Staples for a while. Hi, my name is Linda, and I have a problem... -- LJ

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The only thing I've been watching in the Olympics is ice-skating, but that isn't because I've been wowed. I would like to be wowed. I'm giving them a chance. In the past, ice-skating has provided some really wow moments. Torvill and Dean, I'm thinking of you. It's puzzling because the skaters now are more athletic than the ones I watched before, pulling off more complicated jumps and spins. There have been some really good performances. Still . . . where's that wow factor? of these new skaters make me sit up and take notice, though I'm still holding out hope for Nathan Chen. If he skated last night I went to bed before he performed, but I'll catch it on DVR. Another American -- I can't remember his name -- had a really good, clean performance. I still wasn't wowed.

So far, the most interesting thing is that the judges are blatantly letting politics guide their judging, which is specifically against everything the Olympics are supposed to represent. Nothing new there. It's always been that way.

But, boy, do I long for a Philippe Candeloro to hit the ice and set the arena on fire. LJ and I were lucky enough to see him perform in person. Whatever makes for a wow factor, he had it. -- Linda H.

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Hubby and I have a couple of grandkids for the weekend, including the now-six-year-old I've mentioned before. For the sake of simplicity, I'll call him Six.

After playing a couple of games and destroying a puzzle, he asked if we could play with my swords. Yes, I have swords. Four of them, two short and two long. They're the product of a long ago late night TV whim, heavy but not sharp, decorative and at the time perfect for my office. I think I was writing about pirates at t...he time.

Naturally, I said no. He persisted. Eventually he gave up with the perfectly serious comment that "swords are overrated."

I couldn't help it. I laughed. I laughed long and hard, unable to stop. Overrated? Where on earth did Six hear that word? He was unhappy that I laughed, but I couldn't help it. And yes, it was late and I was already worn out, so there was a bit of that special laughter of exhaustion.

But maybe he was right. Swords ARE overrated. Unless we're talking about the coming zombie apocalypse, or unexpected encounters with pirates. LJ

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LJ and I are doing research on the next book we’re writing together, talking plot, etc, and I keep reminding myself we need to draw out floor plans for the various buildings we’ll be using in the book. The reason? We see things in mirror images. She’ll have a character going to the right to the living room, and I’ll mentally have the living room on the left. In a bedroom, I almost always visualize the bed on the left, and she sees it on the right. Movement can get confusing .

The odd thing is, in real life, my bed is on the right and hers is on the left. It’s as if our subconscious minds try to separate the lives of our characters from our own lives, even in these small ways. I don’t know that my subconsious needs to be this careful — I’ve never thought a character was me, or vice versa — but it is what it is. When we write together, we have to have maps and floor plans, or our characters will perpetually wander around in opposite directions. — Linda H.

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Do you ever get into a loop of looking back at all the things you did wrong? Not big things, but those little embarrassing moments.

When I was very young (and yes, in my twenties I was very young) I went to a nice restaurant and ordered some kind of fish "en papillote." I chose that because I like fish, and everything else on the menu was unfamiliar to me. Or scary. I had no idea that en papillote meant the fish was wrapped in paper. I'm pretty sure I ate some of that paper....

When my sister and I went to see Mama Mia, my zipper popped and split. It might not have been so embarrassing if I hadn't worn white underwear with my black pants. Lesson learned.

I have no idea why these things are coming back to me now. There's no sense in worrying about things that happened in the past. We might lie awake at night thinking of what we should have done or should have said, but there is no going back. Maybe that's the lesson. Laugh at yourself. Learn from mistakes. But realize you can't go back. You can just laugh and move on.

And BTW, paper is delicious... but a little chewy. LJ

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My incline table arrived, has been put together, and I’m cautiously using it. Part of the caution is common sense, but another part of it is that my ankles are so small the ankle clamp/bar doesn’t hold them securely and my feet pull back far enough that I lose contact with the support bar. I’m gonna have to pad that somehow, or wear lots of socks to make my ankles thicker.

This is not the first time I’ve lost contact with a bar that’s meant to keep me in place. Back in the S...tone Age when hubby and I still did things like riding high roller coasters, we climbed on the Scream Machine af Six Flags. Back in those days, I was only slightly heavier than Olive Oyl (for you younger people, Olive Oyl was Popeye’s girlfriend, and she was a stick). One of the truck drivers at work told me I could stand under a clothesline in a thunderstorm and not get wet. So — skinny. Very skinny. Anyway, hubby and I got on the Scream Machine and the lap bar was locked into place and off we went, slowly chugging up that first enormous incline. We peaked, and the coaster shot forward, down that almost vertical drop.

Kids ride that thing, evidently without problems. My butt, however, lost contact with the seat and I began coming out from under the restraining bar. I was holding on to the seat bar for all I was worth, screaming my head off, but so was everyone else — Scream Machine — so no one paid any attention, not even hubby who was right beside me. I came so far out from under the lap bar that to my mind I was flapping in the wind, though I know it wasn’t quite that drastic.

Y’all remember how I’ve mentioned a time or twenty that I don’t like tight clothes? That extends to bras, too. The G-force of the coaster worked on my not-tight bra, pulling it up and out the neckline of my tee shirt. It was still hooked around me, but there was enough looseness that it tried to escape. I didn’t care. The damn thing could have been twirling around my ear and I wouldn’t have let go of the seat bar. The bra could do whatever it wanted, I was focused on actually staying in the coaster and not dying.

By the time the coaster began slowing, I was laughing so hard I could barely tell hubby what had happened, and he started laughing too. I got my bra stuffed back into place. When the coaster actually stopped and the lap bar released, we were laughing so much we couldn’t stand up to exit the car, we literally crawled out onto the platform and were lying on it holding our stomachs while we laughed. On the other side of the cars were people lined up to take our places for the next run, and I heard one woman say, “See, this isn’t scary at all, look at those people laughing.”

I haven’t been on an extreme coaster since. I don’t know about that woman. — Linda H.

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There are lots of ads on TV for genetic testing kits. I admit, I'm a bit torn. I'd love to know more about where my ancestors lived, but after that... no.

I do not want relatives I didn't know I had showing up at my door. Actually, that could be kind of a nightmare. They make it look like so much fun, but I don't see it.

One ad had a man giving his girlfriend a kit for Valentines Day. She seemed pleased (It is an ad, after all) but honestly, what's up wth that? Does he want... to know if they're distant cousins, or if she has any underlying genetic issues he doesn't want to deal with down the road?

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I see more downside than benefit to these tests. No cheek swabs for me. Ignorance is bliss, after all. LJ

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There’s a disconnect between whatever entity does the “drought monitor” and reality. According to their numbers, all of Alabama is in at least an abnormally dry situation, with some areas much worse. The problem with that is, my yard is soggy and has been soggy since the first week of December. The farm ponds are overflowing. We had over sixty inches of rain last year, about ten inches over the average.

I suspect they calculate drought based solely on rainfall, and how much deviates from the norm. January was a dry month, I think about three inches down. BUT — we’ve had a cold winter. Very cold, for us. The big snow in December lowered soil temperatures. With temps running about twenty degrees below normal, the moisture in the ground isn’t evaporating at the usual rate. We’re staying wet.

Three to four inches of rain are expected this week. They say it’ll really help with “the drought.” I say we’ll be growing gills.

— Linda H.

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Last night, a Very Important Episode of This is Us aired. I recorded it. I'm not sure when I'll watch, because I know it will break my heart and make me cry. I have to be in the right frame of mind to be tortured, and have plenty of tissues nearby.

I normally avoid shows and books that make me cry. And I mean seriously avoid. I don't like to cry. It gives me a headache, and while some women might look sweetly vulnerable and feminine with tears in their eyes, I just look like a blubbery bag lady. I should have stopped watching this show last year, but I did not.

So here I am, putting off watching this recorded show that I both dread and look forward to. Call me a glutton for punishment. And for those of you who have already watched, NO SPOILERS, please. I'm sure I'm not the only one putting off the inevitable. LJ

Earlier this week, I had one busy day where I went to an eye doctor's office (cataract surgery coming up later this month), out to breakfast with my husband, to the pharmacy, and to the grocery store. After I got home, I found a sticker on my rear end. It reads, "Peel Off For Claim Code."

I have no idea when I sat on this sticker, or how long it had been there. Could've been at home, before the day got underway, or in hubby's car, or, well, anywhere. I wonder how many people, if any, saw the ORANGE sticker and wondered what they were going to claim? LJ