Sharon E. Cathcart's Blog, page 7

November 25, 2016

226565_2020225661218_8195486_nFifteen years ago, my husband-to-be called me at work to say he’d gotten us another dog.  We had two Dalmatian show dogs (one of whom predated my relationship with him), and he’d taken one of them to the vet.  There, he saw a tech walking a little foxy-faced red puppy.  When he said that the puppy was cute, the tech asked “Do you know someone who can give her a good home?  We found her tied to the doorknob here yesterday morning.”


So it was that Katie came home to live with us.  She was unlike any dog I’d ever had.  She wouldn’t leave the cats alone … not in a vicious way, but in a constantly tailing them way.  She scent-rolled.  She was constantly making sure of where everyone was.  She didn’t bark, but occasionally emitted what we called a “barrooo,” a howl that could express either joy or upset by its mere intonation.


When I learned that I had an Australian Kelpie and not some random mixed-breed dog, a lot of things fell into place.  They’re one of the oldest herding breeds, even though they’re somewhat uncommon in the US.  The Australians developed them by outcrossing Border collies with the local dingoes (which explained a lot of her more wolf-like behaviors).  Katie wasn’t pestering the cats, she was herding them.  She wasn’t being neurotic, she was making sure she knew where her entire herd was.


I knew that herding dogs had to be kept busy, so I decided to teach her to play fetch.  I took her outside with a tennis ball and threw it … and she ran, brought it back, and dropped it at my feet.  I figured it would be a piece of cake.  I threw it again, with the same result.  The third time I threw it, Katie laid down at my feet and gave me a look that plainly said “If you don’t want that ball, I’m not going to waste any more time getting it.”


She never was keen on fetch games, although she did like a stress ball I had and would pick it up, lie down, toss it into the air herself and catch it.  Unlike the other two dogs, she also never did learn to catch popcorn if you tossed it, although she can take it so gently from your fingers that you forget her inch-amd-a-half canine teeth are even there.


Like most of her ilk, Katie is smart as a whip.  When she watched the squirrels leaping from our mulberry tree to the roof, she figured out that if she wanted to catch one she had to get up there — and was halfway up a ladder before we were able to stop her.  She could turn in mid-leap if she wanted to change direction while she was romping outside.  I often said that if we’d put her into agility competition training, nothing in our house would have been safe.


She worried about puppies, even though she never had any.  The sound of a puppy crying on TV would send her looking frantically for the little animal so she could comfort it.  She recognized dogs on television and liked to watch dog shows and agility competitions.


She loves to keep her people company.  I had severe stomach problems at one point in my life, and they often kept me home from work.  I would stay in the master bedroom on those occasions, because there was a bathroom immediately available.  I was watching a diving dog competition and eating some crackers.  Katie ran in and hopped up on the bed, looked at me and then ran out again.  When she came back, she dropped a mouthful of kibble on the bed, laid down, and watched TV while eating her snack one piece at a time.


11112968_10206010032465822_8045290339204835119_oOf course, time has taken its toll.  Katie lost her hearing a couple of years ago, and cataracts now cloud her eyes.  She has had arthritis for a couple of years now as well, but the last few days have seen a serious decline.  She can no longer make it easily up the single step from our living room to the rest of the house without assistance.  The same dog who could leap a four-foot baby gate with ease needs help to get on the couch.


Yesterday, all of the usual rules went out the window.  Katie had ham, sausage, roast beef, all of the dog cookies she wanted … and even things that are usually off limits because of her grain allergies.  Things like cinnamon rolls, crackers, and gingerbread men.


Because today, in just a couple of hours, we will be saying goodbye to her at the same veterinary clinic from which she was adopted.  I will give her Reiki as she goes, and sing her the waggy-tail dog song that I have sung to her since she was a little foxy-faced puppy.


And, for the first time in 17 years, tonight I will go to bed in a house without a dog.



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Published on November 25, 2016 06:22 • 17 views

November 24, 2016

We often view gratitude through the filter of what is pleasant, as if only comfort and ease are worth being thankful. Today, here are a few places you might look for unexpected abundance. Give thanks for grief. It is the necessary tax on loving people and being loved by them. The magnitude of our mourning is proportionate to……


via Here are Some Terrible Things to Give Thanks For — john pavlovitz


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Published on November 24, 2016 07:28 • 17 views

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Published on November 24, 2016 07:20 • 4 views

November 23, 2016

blackfriday400x300


Hi, everyone.  As you know, I have a new retail partner this year:  All Romance eBooks.  I am very excited to announce that I’m having a Black Friday sale over there.  All of six of my titles there are 25% off this Friday.


Just click here to visit All Romance eBooks on Nov. 25 to make your selections from these titles:



ITEOTB Wrap Cover frt
opera-glass-cover-2
Eye Of The Storm Cover_revised
omnibusfrontcover
Clyties_Caller
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Published on November 23, 2016 06:00 • 12 views

November 22, 2016

492px-exclusion_order_posted_at_first_and_front_streets_in_san_francisco_directing_removal_of_persons_of_japanese_ancestry-_-_nara_-_196319Instructions Based on Executive Order 9066

This is probably going to be one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written.  Not because the content is difficult to understand, mind you, but because it’s very personal.  Over the course of this post, you’ll find out why.


Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the reason that Japanese-American citizens like actor-activist George Takei and his family were taken to live in concentration camps.  Before the camps were built, many Japanese-Americans had to live in the stables at race tracks.  One of them, Tanforan (which is now a shopping center), is only 45 minutes from where I live.


I worked with a man named Jan Kurahara who was an internee.  Jan was also one of the nisei, Japanese-Americans who joined the Army to prove their loyalty to the country.  Before he passed at age 91, Jan wrote a book about his experiences in the Tule Lake Relocation Center: Ganbatte: A Nisei’s Story.  It is sadly out of print, but books like Farewell to Manzanar are still available for those who wish to read a first-hand account of what life was like for the Japanese during this time period.


My beloved French teacher, Lois Sato, was interned at Minidoka. She would have been 100 years old this year; she passed at age 97.


Those two dear people are why this is hard for me to write about.


20-2930aJapanese Americans Arriving at Tanforan Race Track

I based Grace Sakamoto, in In The Eye of The Storm, on Mademoiselle Sato.  Mademoiselle was a teenager when she was interned, while Grace was 11.  Still, my teacher was the inspiration for that character.


This order, which I refer to as a blot on the national escutcheon, had no reason beyond fear-based racism.  People who had committed no crime were rounded up, stuck behind barbed wire, and lost everything:  their livelihoods, their homes, and often their lives.  They were marched out of their homes at gunpoint, allowed to take one suitcase each, and had their existence upended because of the color of their skin.


I let my feelings about this order come through Veronique, in the novel, who refused to shop at the Sakamoto family’s store after they were sent away to Tanforan.  She didn’t want to give money to the new owners, whom she viewed as stealing the Sakamotos’ livelihood.


I worked on the Presidio of San Francisco for a decade; I was one of the people who helped turn it over to the National Park Service.  That was part of why I chose the images that I did in this article; this is very much a local matter as well as a national one for me.


Recent news events have put Executive Order 9066 firmly in my mind.  We cannot let this happen again.


(All images in this article are in the public domain.)


 


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Published on November 22, 2016 06:31 • 18 views

Interesting thoughts on the latest Amazon policy change.


happymeerkatreviews


amazon-447033_1280



WARNING: Amazon.com have updated their review guidelines…Again!  Along with the already restrictive guidelines I have discussed previously in this article – Amazon’s New Reviewing Rules – Could it Affect Authors in the Future?  But now they’ve updated these guidelines yet again by adding additional rules near the bottom.  These rules are on amazon US, the UK and other sites may or may not adopt these rules in full but in my experience almost all rules are adopted given a bit of time.



The new rules can be read here but here are the new points and be warned if you are an amazon reviewer:




If your review is removed or rejected because it does not comply with our guidelines concerning promotional content, you may not resubmit a review on the same product, even if the resubmitted review includes different content.
Reviews may only include URLs or links to other products…

View original post 810 more words


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Published on November 22, 2016 06:08 • 4 views

November 21, 2016

me-with-doug
fiddle
fiddle-cu

I am a huge fan of Cajun music, and Doug Kershaw is one of my absolute favorite artists.  In fact, he’s the man who inspired me to play fiddle to begin with back when I was a kid.  I am fortunate enough to now own one of his fiddles.  Above, you’ll see a photo of me with Doug, as well as two photos of the 1707 Guarnerius copy fiddle that is one of my prized possessions.


Anyway, here is one of my favorite performances by Doug.  Enjoy!



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Published on November 21, 2016 06:54 • 17 views
me-with-doug
fiddle
fiddle-cu

I am a huge fan of Cajun music, and Doug Kershaw is one of my absolute favorite artists.  In fact, he’s the man who inspired me to play fiddle to begin with back when I was a kid.  I am fortunate enough to now own one of his fiddles.  Above, you’ll see a photo of me with Doug, as well as two photos of the 1707 Guarnerius copy fiddle that is one of my prized possessions.


Anyway, here is one of my favorite performances by Doug.  Enjoy!



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Published on November 21, 2016 06:54 • 1 view

November 20, 2016

front-coveryhtbtThis post originally appeared in my GoodReads blog on September 27, 2012.



Those of you who read You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene probably noticed that some of the chapter titles were also song titles. Song titles are not subject to copyright law, which is part of the reason I went that route. I also wanted to capture a little bit of both my musical taste and the period I was writing about.


Here are the song titles I used. If there’s a link, there’s a video.


Out Here on My Own, by Irene Cara

Like a Virgin, by Madonna

I Hear You Knocking, by Dave Edmunds

Tattooed Love Boys, by the Pretenders

Dizzy, by Tommy Roe

The Breakup Song, by the Greg Kihn Band

I Love Paris in the Springtime, by Ella Fitzgerald

All Tomorrow’s Parties, by the Velvet Underground. I actually prefer Bryan Ferry’s version, from 1993.

Fashion, by David Bowie. Particularly apropos, as MTV veejay Alan Hunter is one of the dancers; MTV was how we found out about most of the new music in the early ’80s. I sometimes wonder whether the station will ever play music again!

Putting Out Fire (With Gasoline), also by David Bowie. This song was also the theme to a film called “Cat People.” I chose to share this particular video because Bowie’s Serious Moonlight tour is discussed in the book.

The Kids are Alright, by the Who

Lady Stardust, also by David Bowie.

Starting Out Again,by local band A Family Restaurant, who were also mentioned in the book.

Changes, by (you guessed it), David Bowie

We Can Get Together, by Icehouse. This band was brilliant and sadly underrated.

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair). This song, by the late Scott McKenzie (who became a friend of mine) is a long-time favorite.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco. There are numerous versions out there; this is Tony Bennett and Judy Garland.

The Last Time I Saw Paris, by Ann Sothern


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Published on November 20, 2016 12:22 • 6 views

I know a guy who got straight A’s in school and flunked life. – Mike Yaconelli Congratulations. If you’re reading this you made it. You’ve received another day. But like all days it will be seductive. It will offer you more moments of decision than you can count, and within these moments you will be faced with infinite opportunities……


via 10 Ways to Blow it Today — john pavlovitz


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Published on November 20, 2016 12:12 • 18 views