Madison Monday: While you were gone

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We encountered some brief technical difficulties at You Think Too Much this past week, but appear to be back up and running now. It seems like one of those things that when your blog is down, you have all these wonderful ideas for blog posts to write and you can’t. Then when your blog is back up, you have no idea what any of those posts were. But here’s a re-cap of some of thing that happened while we were gone.

One of Hemingway's cats. I want this life.

One of Hemingway’s cats. I want this life.

– A trip to Key West over our winter break. It was our first time there. Quite frankly, Key West could have been a desolate rock in the middle of the ocean as long as it was warm, and we would have been happy. Luckily, it was not a desolate rock. It was a very quirky little small town on a tiny spit of land hanging out in the middle of the ocean. It was four days of eating and drinking broken up by the occasional lounge by the pool. A great time that seemed like a vivid and extended dream when we came back to Winter Storm from Hell, the fifth installment in a franchise that has long since passed its prime. Really, I wasn’t that fond of the original, either.

– The first post in my how to submit series for the Sundog Lit blog. One of the things I think too much about is submitting my stories to literary journals and magazines. How do you pick which ones? How do you know when a piece is ready to submit? Is there some kind of long-term strategy other people have, some secret they learned in MFA programs, that I should know about? So I decided to actually ask some writers. The first interview is with my e-buddy, Matthew Kabik. I love his stories and he’s been so generous as to read a few of mine. I especially love his hydra strategy for submitting. Check out the interview, here, to find out what the hydra strategy is.

– The second edition of my textbook arrived in the mail. I love the new cover. My step-daughter and I like to identify all the different silhouettes as various people we know. Extra points for guessing which one is me.

– I had a 50-word story appear at 50-Word Stories. Let it be noted that this story does not in any way reflect on my own massage therapist, who is in fact, the world’s best massage therapist. The only possible link is that perhaps the idea occurred to me, what if this amazing power of massage was turned toward evil instead of good?

– Following the advice of a friend who knows how this winter is killing me, I planted some seeds in a box. Just a regular old cardboard box filled with some potting soil and sat in front of the window. This lasted for two days before one of the cats decided to take advantage of the new and interesting litter box. You know how that story ends. In many ways, this small incident perfectly sums up the whole of this winter for me.

My short-lived garden box

My short-lived garden box

– I read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, one of those books that you feel compelled to talk to someone about afterwards. If you haven’t read it, check it out. I will say that yesterday, I almost tripped over the rug in my office building, having tripped over it two weeks ago and busted my ass. I carefully smoothed down the corner and felt very much like Ursula, the main character in the book. In this life, that turned out better.

– I know spring is coming in my head. I can see the reddish-brownish color in the trees that signals they’re budding. I can see about an inch and a half of my daffodils pushing through the ground. On Facebook, someone reported a crocus sighting in town. I know spring is close, but my heart can’t quite believe it yet. I think spring this year will have to include a period of recovery from the cruelty of this winter.

– My friend and I went to our first Indiana Master Naturalist class at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge. The first class was on birding, and quite interesting. Here’s hoping that the long reach of winter doesn’t prevent us from going to the second class Wednesday night.

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