*There’s no catchy title yet? That’s odd…*

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You arrive at the designated meeting place at the designated time, as usual. However, things are not actually “as usual”. The once familiar meeting place has changed, somehow, and you struggle to put your finger on it. You can see no tangible difference in the room. The couch looks like the designated meeting couch. The ugly striped curtains you’ve never really liked but were too polite to mention look like the same ugly striped curtains that have never been discussed. There is a very familiar cat licking the plastic covering the aged window, as it has done in the past during your previously designated meetings. It is the same scene.

And yet, it’s not.

You glance down at your watch to check the time, and notice that, too, feels wrong. The hands hover silently in the expected position. It appears you arrived two minutes early, as you do for every designated meeting. The watch confirms you are where you should be when you should be. And yet, the darkness that looms just beyond the aged barrier of the window doesn’t feel like the darkness of the morning. It doesn’t feel like it’s just about to release its grip and let the sun bathe the world in its cleansing light for another day. It feels…darker. Heavier. Older.

You tell yourself you’re being ridiculous as you take a seat on the edge of the worn sofa cushion. You feel yourself tilt slightly to the side as you perch on a thin section of padding that really should have been replaced ages ago. The cat stops licking the window long enough to shoot you a defiant look, just as she has done many mornings past. The whole scene is so very familiar that you laugh at yourself, positive that you’re in the right place at the right time.

Then, why isn’t she here yet?

Nervously, you stare at the empty seat across from you. Another quick check of your watch tells you that your designated meeting partner should be there with you by now. She should be sitting at the computer, her fingers furiously flying over the keys of her communication medium while you laugh and sigh and shake your head through your morning coffee.

Coffee.

You glance down at the small, marble topped table in front of you. There should already be coffee waiting. Every designated meeting starts with coffee, hot and fresh, if not a bit too strong for your particular liking. There should be coffee, sending its curls of aromatic ambrosia up into the air. There should be coffee, but there’s not.

You swallow, then obsessively glance at your watch again, as if yet another confirmation of the time could possibly change an increasingly worrying situation. The cat resumes her licking, and you have a brief flash of calm. Surely if there were anything truly wrong the cat couldn’t be so blase. You’re being silly. Your designated meeting partner is just a bit late and there’s nothing to worry about.

The cat meows.

You’ve been coming to these meetings for ages now, and you’ve never once heard the cat make a sound. Your heart picks up the pace as you force yourself to raise your eyes to the beast. She sits silent, stoic for a brief moment, unblinking and unflinching and unrelenting in her assessment before she meows again, a mighty roar in the silent, tense room. The sound sends an icy trickle of fear down your spine and you jump when the cat suddenly moves from her usual perch. She pauses briefly to look at you, whether in sympathy or disgust you can’t decide, before she saunters out of the open door you’ve never used.

It is not the door you enter for your designated meetings. It is a door that sits in the wall across from your usual sitting space. No one ever enters through it, no one ever leaves by way of that particular exit. It’s a door that on any other day stands slightly ajar in an inoffensive manner, a part of the fabric of the scenery and nothing more. Have you ever wondered what lay beyond that door? Has it ever occurred to you to have a look?

For some reason, the idea makes your palms start to sweat. You rub them briskly on the taught fabric over your knees and tell yourself to stop being so damn silly. Of course the house would have doors. Of course those doors would lead somewhere else. There is nothing unusual about doors, ajar or otherwise, and it really isn’t your business to worry about that one. It leads somewhere to another room that holds something, and neither detail is really any concern of yours. It’s not your house. They aren’t your things. They belong to your host.

Wherever she is.

You tap your finger on your knee, the dull thudding seeming to fill the small room. Your host should be here. It’s getting very late, and…well frankly, it’s starting to be rude. There. You said it. She’s being impolite and you’re starting to become offended. You have other places you could be. You have other times you could be in. You didn’t have to come here and waste a perfectly good morning. You chose to, and she doesn’t even have the decency to honor the designated meeting time when…

A sudden, shrill scream rips through the house. The terrifying sound calls back through time to ancient instincts of survival and you jump up and run to the door before you are even conscious of doing so. Your hand clutches the cold metal of the knob and the sensation jolts you back to your senses. Something is wrong. Something has happened. Was it her? Was it she, your friend, who screamed?

You turn around, trying to will your racing heart to quiet down, the rush of the blood in your ears too loud to let you think. You should call out. You should beckon to your friend. Perhaps she burnt her finger on the hot coffee? Yes. Yes, that is surely it, you tell yourself as your mind desperately tries to believe the placating lie. You open your mouth to call, to ask if she is all right, but fear has rendered you mute.

You’re being ridiculous! Stop this. Stop it right now. You are a full grown adult, and you’ve let yourself be swept along some childish fantasy of boogeymen and hobgoblins. This is stupid. Just open your mouth and call out to your friend.

“Hello?” you manage on a squeak. Your own voice is the only reply you get as it somehow echoes far longer than it should have. “Hello?” you say again, this time determined to gain an answer other than your own.

The cat bursts into the room, her hair on end and a look of terror on her face that you know matches your own. She darts behind you– you, who she normally ignores– and you can feel her shaking, the horror of whatever she’d been unfortunate enough to witness rippling off her in waves. Your trepidation is now a taste, a metallic presence that squeezes your throat and burns a warning through your body as you stare at the looming, semi-open door across the room.

You are torn, and you shouldn’t be. Your friend is clearly in peril, and your path should be clear. You should move your feet towards that door, away from this one. And yet, of its own accord, your hand flattens on the wood behind you and slowly inches up, groping for the knob that will grant you freedom.

The scream races through the house again, louder, clearer, closer. The cat presses herself into the backs of your legs, and all thoughts of your friend are forgotten as your fumbly fingers find the knob. You desperately grip the knob and turn.

You try to turn.

The knob will not budge. The cat hisses. She knows. Somehow, she knows what your mind will not accept. You spin around, turning your back to whatever horror lies behind the slightly ajar door as you grasp and struggle in desperation. Maybe if you squeeze it tighter. Maybe if you turn the other way. Maybe it’s one of those oddball knobs from the 70’s that need to be pushed in before…

The scream soundss again.

Louder.

Closer.

It howls with a blood-curdling determination that wrenches a sob from deep within your being. This wasn’t supposed to happen. You were supposed to sit and drink your strong coffee on the worn couch while you tried to ignore the ugly curtains in the familiar room. You were supposed to have laughs. Or, if not laughs, at least shared thoughts. You were supposed to usher in the day.

A cackle knifes through the room. Its harsh brittleness ices your veins and you try one last time to turn the unrelenting knob.

Mornin’, all, says the familiar voice in an unfamiliar tone.

You squeeze your eyes shut.

Sorry I’m late. I was, uh, preparing. Won’t you sit down and have a chat?

No. No! your mind screams. You know. Somehow you just know. If you turn, if you look, if you sit and listen, there will be no going back. There will be no returning to normal. Something has happened to your friend. You can hear it in her voice. Something has taken over and if you don’t…

The knob suddenly releases, as if you’ve actually had the ability to escape all along. You push and feel the rush of cold, dank air pull you to freedom.

Hey. Where are you going? the voice rings out.

But you are already gone, your feet pounding down the fog-slicked road as you make your escape.

You will reach your house. You will lock your door behind you. You will sit in the room under a blanket with all the lights on, waiting for the sun to finally break through the darkness. You will tell yourself it was all a bad dream. In the light of day, you will laugh at your folly. You’ll even write your friend a quick note, some paltry excuse to cover the embarrassment of your hasty retreat. You will dress for work and go about your day ignoring the memories that still tremble in fear. And as the time lengthens, the edge of the experience will dull. The bitter taste of terror will be forgotten with a lunch of tacos. By the time you punch out for the day, you’ll make plans with some friends, promise Gena you’ll bring potato salad to the party this weekend. You will be comfortable and secure in the knowledge that whatever happened that morning, you escaped.

And as soon as you close your eyes to go to sleep, you will know that you didn’t.

Thus concludes a spoooooooky Musing for Halloween Friday, October 31, 2014. I’m going to be participating in NaNoWriMo, so I really don’t know how often I’ll be blogging in November. I’m fairly sure I’ll need a different kind of writing once in awhile, and maybe even a palate-cleansing Headline Roundup. If it doesn’t play out like that, I’ll most definitely check in for Thanksgiving. Everyone have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, and I’ll talk to you soon!

An eerie fog on an eerie morn…

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Mornin’ all.

Today feels…off.

My guy gets up for work at about 3 am. Normally I laze about in bed for another hour or so, but this morning I swear I heard him call me from downstairs about ten minutes after he headed out. It was so distinct that I got up, put my robe on, and went to see if the car wouldn’t start, or if he forgot where he put his wallet again or something. I flicked on the hall light and there was nothing. I got dressed and came downstairs, and he honestly wasn’t here. I would swear that he called up to me, as he has done several times in the past when the morning routine has not gone according to plan.

It gave me the willies, folks.

I stayed up. Who can sleep after that? He hasn’t called me on the phone, but neither has his work, and they would if he didn’t show up. Long story short, the night manager is a very close friend of ours who would definitely let me know if there was reason for concern. In fact, I do believe that night manager is my guy’s emergency contact for the sole reason of breaking bad news to me gently in a worst case scenario.

And yet, I am eagerly waiting for my regular morning phone call on my man’s first break. It’s normally before 6 am, and I just want him to laugh at me for being silly.

So, I figured I’d fire up the old distraction machine and chat at you while I wait.

The weather was wet and woolly around here this week. We got a nor’easter. Now, many people think a nor’easter is a snowstorm that hits the northeast. The name actually refers to the way the storm spins. What happens is that when conditions are right, a storm will race up the eastern coast, get north of us into Maine and Canada, then hit the jet stream in a way that makes the storm curl back to the west. The abrupt collision of fronts in just the right place starts the storm spinning, and the winds blow from the northeast back down on us, hence the name, nor’easter. Now, often these storms DO mean snow, because they tend to happen when the northern winds are very cold. But sometimes, they just mean a shit ton of rain.

Fun fact: Had this particular storm fallen as snow, we would have gotten between 40-50 INCHES of the White Nasty. Personally, I’m glad for the rain.

Bet you didn’t think you’d get a meteorological lesson this morning, did you?

Now the storm’s gone, it’s a lot cooler than it’s been, and all the pretty leaves are plastered to the muddy ground. Barren branches stick up from brown, dank earth, and it’s abundantly clear that winter is right around the corner. Yippee. Whoohoo. Can’t wait.

I put plastic up over the windows. I envy those of you who are not familiar with the joys of plasticizing windows. You stick double sided tape around a window, press on the shrinkable plastic sheets that never want to go on straight, and then use a hair dryer or space heater to make the plastic shrink until it’s taut. It keeps out cold drafts that you get from old windows that really should have been replaced years ago, and, more importantly, keeps the very expensive heat IN.

I put a bunch of it up and made a bizarre discovery. My cat likes to lick it. She was sitting on the back of the couch, just licking the plastic. She saw me looking. Instead of having the good grace to become embarrassed at the realization that she was just caught out in a very awkward situation, she quirked an eyebrow defiantly and licked it again. What an odd little creature.

Speaking of odd creatures, my 16-year-old is having his new girlfriend over today to meet us all. He’s been seeing her only a very short time, but they’ve been friends for awhile. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to bring her into the house of insanity this early in their relationship. He seems to think if I make the 8-year-old wear pants, everything will be fine.

Aw, how precious!

I promised to embarrass him. He’s incredibly hard to embarrass, and it’s kind of a “thing” around here to see if we can find something, ANYthing that makes him blush. He’s got to be one of the most unflappable kids ever. I asked him if he really thought we wouldn’t seize on this visit to make him turn red. I promised to drag out some embarrassing stories, and told him one of them to prove the caliber, the quality of embarrassment. We’re talking nukes here, people.

“Bethie, that’s awful!”

Relax. I’m not really going to do it. I just like screwing with him. I fully intend to cast him some knowing glances when his girl isn’t looking and keep him on the edge of his seat all day, though. You know, like any GOOD parent.

Besides, you only pull out the nuclear memories in dire situations. If I play that card this early in his life, I won’t have anything left to tell his future children when he pisses me off. Gotta keep something in reserve.

His future kids. His FAR in the future kids. The ones he’s going to have in his 30s. At the earliest. Right?

RIGHT!!!???

Sixteen with a girl he’s gaga over. *sigh* It had to happen to one of them eventually. We had to have a talk with him.

A “talk”.

I’ve never, ever had trouble talking to the boys about bodies and sex stuff before. They went through a phase when my guy worked nights and would leave after dinner where they’d watch and wait until his car pulled out of the drive before turning to me and asking me questions they thought would embarrass me.

(…see? Turn about is fair play.)

Anyway, I’m firmly of the mind that it’s much better just to answer the question honestly than let them get horribly wrong information from their friends.

That was before, though. That was all about “some day”. That wasn’t staring at a kid who’s suddenly as tall as us with mutton chops and a mustache and the glazed look of infatuation in his eyes. For all of you with younger kids out there…this WILL happen. Your talks about the far off “some day” facts will suddenly be about very real possibilities, and when that happens, it will hit you like a ton of bricks.

Top tip: The liquor store sells buckets of margarita mix. You just dump in a fifth of tequila, give the tub a shake, then go to town. It even has a spout for pouring right from the fridge, like the classy box wines. I found it takes a good three, four glasses before you don’t care that you just begged your kid not to make you a grandmother at 36.

The more you know.

I was a young mother. I was twenty when I had the boy/*sniff*young man in question. Certainly there are many who have had babies younger than that, but I was also kind of a really sheltered person on some levels. I don’t regret it. I love having teenagers while I’m still young enough to get their interests and share many of them, instead of having to pretend to understand their generation. They crack me up every single day, and I really don’t think I’m fooling myself when I say we get along.

However, having them young wasn’t easy. Shit, it’s still not. There are *still* times when I don’t feel any more grown up and in charge of the situation than they do. A kid says, “Mum?” and there are moments where I still say, “Oh crap, that’s me, isn’t it?”

I don’t regret it. And I like where I am now, so I wouldn’t even go back and change it if I could. I don’t like to play that mental game.

I guess I just want them to have the option to be young and carefree in their early twenties, to be cocky single guys who have spare money to blow on a ridiculous car they have to limp along with blind hope and unreturned devotion, to party with their friends, to maybe move around and explore the world if they want to instead of having to budget diapers and pediatrician co-pays into the monthly bills.

Wow. The teenager in question just came out of his room, fully dressed and rarin’ to go already, asking what part of the house he should clean first. Maybe I should let him have his girlfriend over more often, eh?

Oooh thought… How far do you think I can push it? Think I can get him to wash the windows? I mean, come on. Does he want his woman’s respect or not?

Perhaps today will turn out better than I thought after all.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 25, 2014. I got a call just as I was wrapping this up, and all is well. My case of the willies hasn’t fully abated, though. I mean, what the hell was that? Hm…. 

A day that starts with a dead mouse underfoot can only get better…right?

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Mornin’ all.

Say, have you ever gotten up in the morning and shuffled your way to the life-giving elixir that awaits you in the coffee pot only to have your safe, familiar routine horrifyingly rent asunder by the feeling of placing your bare, vulnerable, unsuspecting foot directly on top of a DEAD FRICKEN MOUSE??…and then having to pretend it’s a GOOD thing and you’re SO proud when you espy your eager kitty’s wide, hopeful eyes as she desperately just wants approval for guarding the house against such a villainous beast during the night?

Yeah. It’s that kind of morning.

The body wasn’t even cold yet. *shudder*

…though…would that have been worse?

The weather turned really chilly here over the past couple days. I’m not surprised my little mouser was in her element last night. It’s an old New England house. Of course we’re going to have mice panicking in the first frost and trying to find a nice, warm place for the winter. However, little do they know the horror that awaits within. Not only do we have a superior huntress, but our new neighbor has three cats of her own. We’re now the Bates Motel for mice.

I patted kitty’s head while gagging, then tossed the flattened mouse outside as a freebie for Nature. I guess I should just be happy she didn’t play soccer in my room with this one.

“Say, Bethie. You live in NH, and I believe you mentioned the Pumpkin Fest a couple weeks back…”

Yes, I do and yes I did. I hate the Pumpkin Fest. I hate the very idea of the Pumpkin Fest. I am a lone voice of dissent in this region. Or at least I WAS. Now I bet there will be some uproar. See, for those who may not have heard, all was not sunshine and roses for the people who were watching tons of food be torched. There were riots.

Now, here’s where the news is getting it wrong. The riots were not, technically, the fault of the Pumpkin Fest. Let me explain.

There’s a college in the town, Keene State. Next to the college is a large neighborhood of off-campus housing…frats, sororities, apartments for kids who can afford not to be imprisoned in dorms. I also want to make this clear, too, because even some of the news sites that are getting it right and blaming the college kids are blaming the college itself. All of the rioting was done in the off-campus neighborhoods, NOT on the college property and NOT at the actual Pumpkin Fest.

The Pumpkin Fest is a big deal around here. I don’t even know how many thousands of people show up for it, but this was the 24th year that Keene has held the event, and it’s grown enormous. Because of this, many people in the area, not just the college students, see it as party time. They invite family up to stay, grill some hot dogs, go to the Pumpkin Fest, and have a real good weekend.

The college kids did the same thing. However, they are young, irresponsible, and incredibly stupid. Take those kids, add some booze, add it way too early in the day, and then keep it flowing all of Friday, all through Friday night, and continue to pump it into them Saturday morning and you’ve got yourself one really good recipe for disaster. Screw the hot dog grilling and strolling through the carved pumpkins. Riots sound much more fun to their underdeveloped, alcohol-addled brains.

What basically happened is that a bunch of college kids came visiting, and like any good 80’s metal band, they trashed the “hotel”. They got drunk, fights started to break out. When the cops went to calm the situation down, the kids became belligerent and started attacking the cops, throwing whatever they could grab at them.

I know we live in a “blame the police” society, but folks, you cannot throw glass bottles and rocks at the police and expect things to go well for you.

The future leaders of our nation took the fight out to the streets, screaming about police brutality and all that common Ferguson crap. Innocent people walking by started getting hit with the debris being hurled by the drunk college kids, so the cops amped up their response. There were several rounds of it through the day and well into Saturday night, the worst probably being Saturday night when the black out idiocy spread and caused the morons to light fires in the street, tip over cars and dumpsters, tear down road signs, and shoot fireworks at the cops.

By eight Sunday morning, the real student body of Keene State, the ones that were not drunken belligerent asswads, had assembled and were cleaning up the damage of their own accord. See, I also want to make this point clear. The general student body of Keene State College was NOT responsible for the destruction. I think the media is largely missing that point, too. Most of the students were horrified of the actions of a very few of their classmates and became determined to restore their school’s good name.

Living right next door, I get a look at all the local coverage of the event. It seems people around here are greatly divided in their thoughts, both of the riots themselves and the future of the Pumpkin Fest. Some businesses say this is the final nail in the Pumpkin Fest coffin. Not because of the fest itself, mind, but mostly because once there’s been a “rager” (that’s how it was tweeted by some of the people causing the riots) at an event, there will always be a couple assholes that become hellbent on making sure the rager the following year is even bigger and “better”. It’s a valid point, especially in our current society where rioting becomes a twitter and instagram event that people want to be part of for whatever sick and twisted reason.

Others are pointing out that the Pumpkin Fest was not responsible, that the fest itself went very well, that it brought a lot of business into the town and now that they know the threats, they can nip them in the bud for next year. Some are saying a way to do this is to make the county a dry county for the weekend. Yeah, that’s not happening.

And some are saying that it’s time to shut Keene State College down, to kick them out of the area. I’ll admit, the college kids are annoying. Every time I have to go into Keene during the school year, I end up slamming on my breaks near the college because it seems to be physically impossible for a college student to look up from their cellphone before randomly darting out into the street. Maybe they’re in some bizarre competition with the squirrels? Who knows. Haven’t tagged one yet, but it’s been really damn close. So I can see the locals’ point. College kids are annoying. However, if it’s a choice between the burning pumpkin sacrifices, or keeping the college, my vote is firmly for the college.

Look, no one likes having a college in their town. The students invade for 9 months out of the year, descending like partying locusts. They put a strain on the police force with their stupid antics, they take perfectly good jobs from the locals, and folks get really sick of listening to their vapid idiocy when standing behind them in line at the grocery store. But like it or not, a college is a good thing for a community. A thriving college brings in a whole lot of cash to what is honestly an otherwise stagnant region. The college libraries work with local schools, allowing younger students access to resources they otherwise wouldn’t have. There are more job opportunities, year round positions the college won’t hire a student to fill. It’s easy to blame a community’s problems on the annoying college kids. But the fact is, the benefits of having an institution of higher learning in a town far outweigh the negatives.

Now, I don’t want the Pumpkin Fest anymore. I hate the very idea of it. They take thousands of tons of vitamin packed food and set it on fire.

“Wow. Buzzkill.”

Yep, and I don’t care. It’s a pointless waste. From designating large tracts of arable land for the sole purpose of growing something that is just going to get destroyed, to the truly self-absorbed picture torching tons of food presents to a starving world, I can’t stand the impact an event like this has. I hate the Pumpkin Fest. I wish it would stop.

…but not because some college nitwits bought into the hype of rioting. That could happen anywhere, and if we just start canceling everything on the off chance that nitwits will act like nitwits, then we’re never going to have public events again.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Tuesday, October 21, 2014. I’m off to seal up the windows with plastic sheets today. I’m on the fence about foaming up the mouse hole. Kitty looked so very pleased with herself…

Sit down, America. We need to talk…

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Mornin’ all.

I know it’s been awhile. After getting the book done and up on Smashwords, I needed a writing break. I caught up on housework, did some needlepoint, and watched girlie movies while the kids were at school and couldn’t ridicule me for actually acting like a girl. I didn’t have any bonbons, but it was damn close to magazine-family living.

It’s okay. I can wear a cardigan and do needlepoint from time to time. I spent last week fixing the house and pounding a new door skin on one of the cars, so I think I earned a little pink and lace. It’s a balance, people.

I didn’t spend much time on the computer this week, so this morning I fired up all the news sites to find out what I missed. I guess I only missed one thing: Ebola is really friggin’ hard to catch.

“Bethie! How can you say that? We’re in a crisis!”

NO. West Africa is in a crisis. We are just being held hostage by the media who sees dollar signs, and by politicians who see this virus as a stepping stone to a senate seat next month.

The ebola story has usurped any other story in the news all week. There’s a whole lot of freaking out, and not much understanding of fact. The news outlets are making bank off fear, and the reasonable voices are being intentionally drowned out by bold headlines of doom. I know I already talked about ebola. I was one of those telling Obama to send people over to help with the crisis. I stand by that, even though now many people are pointing fingers and saying, “See? YOU caused this massive outbreak!!” to the people on my side of the fence. I’m not changing my stance. We should have gone over.

And I’ll be the unpopular one that says it: We should STILL send more help.

Now that the bombshell has dropped, let’s really take a look at the situation.

Outside of West African nations, guess how many cases of ebola have been diagnosed?

17.

I’ll write it out again so you know that’s not a typo. Seventeen. That’s it. That’s everyone outside the West African nations. Eight from the US, three from Spain, three from Germany, and one each from France, Britain, and Norway. Of those infected, four have died. That’s 4. Only 4. The rest have either recovered or are still in treatment.

Now, let’s look at who these people are. Fifteen of them are doctors, nurses, or clergy who were directly treating or counseling ebola patients in the isolation wards. The people getting the disease are the ones who are in direct and repeated close contact with a patient’s urine, feces, vomit, saliva, or blood. Not the people in the victims day to day lives. Not the people who casually passed the infected on the street. Not the 99.9% of people the victims saw before they became bed ridden.

No one has gotten ebola from walking past a sick person.

No one has gotten ebola from riding in the same plane as a sick person.

No one has gotten ebola from just living in the same city as a sick person.

You will NOT get ebola from going grocery shopping.

Your kids will NOT get ebola from going to school.

You will NOT get ebola from riding on a train.

You will NOT get ebola from going to work unless you happen to work in an ebola isolation ward.

Walk outside and take a deep, cleansing breath. Guess what didn’t happen? YOU DIDN’T CATCH EBOLA.

And you won’t. In spite of what the media is telling you, in spite of what the Tea Partiers want you to believe, there isn’t any way the US is dropping the ball here.

“But clearly Obama let ebola into the country.”

*sigh* Okay. We’ll go there, since that’s pretty much what every Average Joe on the comment boards of all the major news sites is saying.

First, “Obama let contaminated medical workers back into the nation.” Absolutely. They were our citizens who came home to be treated because their chances of survival in a US hospital vastly exceeded the odds of living through treatment in the average West African medical facility. If they had stayed overseas, they would have most likely died. Guess how many people became infected from those workers coming home to recover? None.

“Well he let that guy in…”

“That guy” who was asymptomatic at the time of his flight back to Dallas? Yeah. That guy was allowed in. Guess what? The rest of the plane full of people was also allowed in. Not a single one of them got sick, in spite of spending the entire cross Atlantic flight cooped up with the ebola victim.

“Fair enough, Bethie. But NOW, now we know…”

Know what? What we know is what I said earlier. Ebola is actually really fricken hard to catch.

Look, it’s not pretty, but here’s the truth: Ebola is a problem in the West African nations because they do not have the same standards of public sanitation as most of the world’s countries. They are called third world nations for a reason. I’m not saying anything at all derogatory about the people, or even the governments on the whole. They just don’t have the money needed to better their odds against nature.

Out of the seventeen non-West African people who have caught ebola, only four have died. That’s only 23%, when given care in what we would consider standard modern hospitals.

The WHO has come out and said they may have erred when they predicted that this outbreak would claim 50% of victims. Just this week they said their numbers are showing it may actually be as high as 80%…IN THE WEST AFRICAN NATIONS. NOT here. Not in Europe. Not in the countries that have the money and resources to treat the patients.

Now, lets go back to Obama for a moment. Forget all the numbers. Forget the fact that even in West Africa, ebola is FAR from the biggest health threat. Forget all of that, and just look at it from a logical standpoint.

Unleashing a virus on his own nation would make him one of the most diabolical despots in history. But, let’s say for the purposes of this discussion, he is a diabolical despot. What would he gain? He’s not running for an office. He’s on the way out, and by all accounts happy to be so. He wouldn’t get any money, no kickbacks from the drug company since no one has been able to come up with a vaccine yet, proprietary or otherwise. The only thing that seems to really help the ones in great distress is a blood transfusion from someone who beat ebola, and a drug company can hardly patent that. People in his own party are starting to distance themselves from him to become elected, so there’s no coattail riding happening. There is no benefit to him here whatsoever.

Besides, like him or hate him, he’s smart. Even if you don’t like how he uses it, you can’t argue with his intelligence. I’d like to think he’s smart enough to do a modicum of research, at least put a little effort into a world domination plan. If he was going to unleash a virus on the US, don’t you think he’d unleash one that’s easy to catch? Eight US citizens have caught ebola. 8 out of over 315 MILLION. That would make it the least effective diabolical plot ever.

Obama does not want people dying from ebola. He doesn’t want an outbreak. That’s just asinine. Even if he was a despot, it would be a stupid, pointless plan with absolutely no reward at the end. Even despots work for a purpose, a reward, a reason. People saying ebola is his fault are either just scared and lashing out, or buying the Tea Party line without having a single moment of logical reflection on the facts. Period. I’m not an Obama fan overall, but come on, folks. When you blame the president for a virus, you’re just being an idiot.

Okay, now that we’ve discounted the idea that Obama wants the US to be infected, and put ebola into perspective in terms of the US, let’s examine it in the scope of the world.

As of the time of writing this, the WHO says that 4,493 people have died from ebola, with all but 17 of those people being residents of West African nations. That’s a pretty serious number, and my intention is not to diminish the deaths of the victims. That’s just about the entire population of my town. I’m not saying that’s not a lot of people. However, let’s look at some other disease numbers.

Malaria kills an estimated 600,000 people. Complications from the rotavirus, a common ailment in young children, kill around 440,000. Dengue fever claims 22,000. Hell, 55,000 people die from rabies still. Rabies! And all these totals are the death counts for EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Why aren’t we freaking out about those numbers?

Because they are for somewhere else, that’s why. The millions of people dying from what we consider here to be archaic diseases are dying because of poor conditions and lack of health care infrastructures in the third world nations. The few Americans who do get these illnesses are treated in our hospitals and come out of it fairly well, on the whole. We don’t worry about those diseases because in the big picture, they are not a threat here.

And neither is ebola. Not yet.

In the West African nations, that 4,493 number is just going to go up and up exponentially. The aid workers over there are understaffed, overworked, and have few supplies. The US media making a mockery of the African struggle with ebola is causing the supply lines to close out of fear. People are starting to get the hoarding mentality, keeping the medicines, workers, and supplies over here “in case”. We can’t do that. Right now, we can stop ebola from actually becoming a global threat. It’s still so easily contained as long as people understand what’s really going on.

If we keep buying into the media hype, the global pandemic they’re predicting will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Right now we can help to nip the problem in the bud. But that’s not going to happen if people keep letting the money grubbing bozos cover up the facts and scare people into not helping.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 18, 2014. There. I hope that’s settled once and for all. Next issue that’s more hyperbole than fact…gay marriage. *cracks knuckles* Listen up, America…

I’m Beth Reason and I approved the following Musing…

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Mornin’ all.

I’m training my youngest teen to make coffee since the resident baristo is getting older and won’t always be on hand. As I choke down this witch’s brew, I’m thinking I shouldn’t have been the one to train him. He makes coffee like I do now. *sigh* I hope a stomach lining isn’t strictly necessary. I mean, people can live without entire spleens, so I think I can spare just a bit of stomach. Right?

In other news, I got my cover art done.

“Finally!”

Hey, that’s not very nice.

“What? You want a medal or something?”

…well…now that you mention…

“No.”

Eh, it was worth a shot.

I’m okay with how it turned out. It wasn’t my best design, but it wasn’t my worst. And it’s done, that’s the main thing. I got the book formatted for upload, too. It turned out to be harder than I expected to decide where to put the “chapter” links in the table of contents. It was written in diary format, and often books in such a style don’t bother with chapters at all. However, it’s a digital book, and it’s a real pain in the ass to try and remember where you left off if your tablet becomes touchy and reboots itself for no apparent reason and loses your page. You can’t just pppffft your thumb on the side of the pages and turbo-scan the words that fly by for the last line you remember reading. A hyperlinked table of contents is necessary.

In a normal story, the chapter breaks kind of define themselves. A lull in action, or right after a poignant or suspenseful revelation… In diary format, eh. Not so much. Any one of the entries could be its own chapter.

I once read a book on my tablet that had 52 chapters. Now, if it’s a Tolstoy or Michener tome, then chopping the story into 52 manageable chunks is reasonable. However, the book in question was only 168 pages long, including the title page, a two-page long dedication to the two dozen people that helped write the book, a two and a half-page table of contents, AND a foreword.

…and just for the record, that book was HORRID. There was next to no editing done, the story line was a confused mash up of half-thoughts, and the main character was so insipid that I honestly rooted for the bad guy and was disappointed when he didn’t win the day.

There is rarely ever a legitimate reason to have a book broken down into 3-page chapters. Usually authors will do this to artificially increase the page count, making it a cheap way to trick the reader into thinking they’re getting a better value. Pitiful. I never, ever want to be one of those kinds of authors. If my book is going to be long, it’s going to be because I can’t stop rambling on and on, not because of some…

Polly Normalson took a failing construction business and turned it into a Fortune 500 company. It’s this type of fiscal responsibility that residents of New Hampshire need. Polly Normalson, a new hope for New Hampshire. *Paid for by the EEO PAC of New Hampshire*

O-kayyy… That was weird.

*look left* *look right*

Um…I guess we’ll just keep talking?

Anyway, like I was saying, if my books end up being bloated, it’s going to be because I couldn’t shut up, and not because I felt like I had to add some two-page BS gush-fest or fifty bazillion page breaks for chapters. I tend to operate under the notion that if it annoys me, it’ll probably annoy someone else and I shouldn’t…

Bob Everyman was a soldier who fought in the American Revolution. Now a 235-year veteran, he understands the importance of a strong military presence for a proud America and the need for solid values. Bob Everyman, a strong leader for a stronger tomorrow. *I’m Bob Everyman and I approved this message.*

…um…you guys are hearing this too, right? I mean, it’s not just the voices again. Is it?

IS IT??

Polly Normalson has a strong record of modern thinking. She was the first in her industry to solely rely on wind energy, making her company New Hampshire’s first zero emissions manufacturing plant. Polly Normalson, for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow. *Paid for by the Citizens for Cleaner Air*

*sigh*

I get it. It’s that time of year again. Damnit. It’s not bad enough that I’ve got to listen to these political ads at every commercial break on tv…now they’re turning up on my very own…

Bob Everyman has been a strong leader for over two centuries. After saving George Washington from the Red Coats, he served his community by voting for classic American values. He’s proud of his record and his patriotism speaks for itself. *This ad sponsored by the VFW.*

Okay. Let’s forget that they’ve hijacked our chit chat for a minute. I have to say, I’ve lived here my whole life and everyone knows Bob Everyman. They make a good point when they say that he’s served the community with patriotism. Isn’t that what we need, more of those firm, classic values?

Bob Everyman wants you to believe that he can lead the nation forward. However, his record shows that he has voted against change 1,432 times in his centuries in office. New Hampshire can no longer afford to keep the status quo. A vote for Bob Everyman is a vote for more of the same. *Paid for by the Committee to Elect Polly Normalson*

Hm. You know what? They make a really good point. I’m kind of on board with that idea now. I mean, think about what the world was like 200 years ago. They didn’t even have Facebook! How can Bob Everyman possibly understand the nation when it’s kind of moved on without him?

Polly Normalson claims that she led a company from failure to success. What she forgot to mention was that in 2011, the Senate Committee for Unequal Pay unanimously agreed that Polly Normalson’s push for structured pay increases caused twelve board members to quit, putting the entire company in jeopardy. Is that really the “new hope” New Hampshire needs? We think not. *Paid for by the Old Boys Network for Bob Everyman*

Whoa, that one was a little harsh and misleading. It’s almost as if Bob Everyman has no legitimate point, so he’s desperately trying to turn a positive situation into a negative to get the votes of the people who won’t take the time to really think about what’s being said. Seems a little low. Well, at least Polly Normalson won’t ever stoop to…

Bob Everyman poops his pants. Do YOU want a leader that smells like a barnyard? *Paid for by the LMNO PAC to Elect Polly Normalson*

*blink**blink*

Well that escalated quickly.

I’m Bob Everyman’s great great great granddaughter, and I am here to tell you that Bob Everyman does not, in any way, smell like poop. Polly Normalson is using insults instead of facts because she’s afraid to face the issues head on. Bob Everyman. He doesn’t smell like poop. *Depends Undergarments is responsible for this ad*

Seriously, did any of you out there honestly believe that Bob smells like poop? Clearly it was Polly stirring the pot. However, in fairness, Bob did sling mud first.

Come on, politicians. Stop slinging mud and stop reacting to it. Do you realize the idiocy of Bob’s response there? I mean, NO ONE thought he smelled. No one. Yet waltzing his however-many great granddaughter out there to say “poop” over and over makes us all think the lady doth protest too much. Jeez. He’s been in politics long enough that he should know what’s happening here. Maybe he really does suck at his job.

Are you tired of the political mud-slinging? Do you want a leader who works hard instead of wasting his time smearing his opponents? While Polly Normalson and Bob Everyman have lost sight of the bigger picture, Jessie Commoner has been hard at work, fighting to resolve the issues New Hampshire faces. Jessie Commoner, the real voice of the state. *Paid for by the NH GPC*

Oooh, fresh meat. I’ve never heard of Jessie Commoner, but you know what? I like his style. He burned the both of them at once while making himself look really good. I don’t know who you are, Jessie, but I believe that may have been a checkmate. What can the others possibly say…

Jessie Commoner claims he’s a real voice for New Hampshire, but what kind of voice is that? Who is this guy? Have you heard of him? Because we certainly haven’t. And did you get a load of his hair? We think it’s a rug. Come on, New Hampshire. We’re already kind of a joke to the rest of the country. Do you really want some no-name with a fake hair piece proving the nation right? *This ad paid for by the Committee to Stop Jessie Commoner*

Ouch. I would not want to be Jessie Commoner today. And just between you and me, I kind of think he does wear a rug. Still, seems mean to point it out. I wonder which of the other opponents ran that ad?

Oh boy. Do you think they went in on it together? I mean, if they could team up for that, maybe there’s really a chance for bi-partisan support in the government.

And that pretty much sums up my hope for this election cycle. There’s so much mud and bitterness in the campaigns already that the very best I can hope for is that the people who get elected can stop neener-neenering each other long enough to slay the bigger threat when the chips are down.

Here in the Green Mountains we’re used to clean air, open living, and free thinking. Elect any one of the men or women running, and they’ll keep…

OH SHUT UP VERMONT.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 11, 2014. Only three and a half more weeks of these ads. I’ll say one thing: they certainly make me understand why Mickey Mouse gets so many votes…

You might want to check Mummy’s coffee level before you roll your eyes my way…

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Mornin’ all.

I forgot October was Teen Attitude Month. Time flies, and once again I find myself without any gifts or cards for the sassy little buggers I’m trying to remind myself are precious. They’re sitting under blankets on the couch randomly moaning and bitching about school and life and the fact that the other is totally taking up more than one cushion.

Hey, do you think I can call and have the bus driver pick them up early?

“Bethie, it’s not a limo service.”

I’d make the joke myself, but I’m annoyed and finding it hard to be amusing, so just pretend I made a witty reference about the amount of taxes we pay.

They will leave. They will get on the big yellow bus and be whisked to the magical land where they will be someone else’s ward for a few amazing hours. I just have to hang on until then.

I’ve got my headphones on. I put Dengue Fever playing, which usually fixes my mood…or at least drowns out the bitching. And I have you to chat with. We can forget about the wave of angst. It, too, shall pass. Let’s talk about something else to help pass the time while I wait it out.

“Good plan. What can we talk about…oh! How did the cover art go, Bethie?”

Welp, it didn’t. I went to do a bit of housework and was going to change the kitty’s litter when I noticed that the wood under an enormous window was crumbling.

We never noticed it before because it’s behind the panel of blinds. The only reason I noticed yesterday is because the aforementioned kitty had pulled away the paint, discovered that some wood came with it, and decided it was time to go balls out and try to scratch her way to freedom. It was a pile of rotted shreds that tipped me off.

To give you a clear image, the dining room has a glass door, with a matching glass panel that’s secured to the wall right next to it, giving an open feel to the small room. The door was fine. The panel next to it was held in with luck and what I can only assume was a wee bit ‘o magic, since the support part was completely shot.

No, I am not exaggerating. The entire bottom sash of the window, 5 1/2 inches tall and 36 inches wide, had rotted. Gone. So crumbly that I literally stuck my finger right through the the outside.

“Eek,” said I.

I took a better look, and the rest of the pane was held in place by 1/2 inch thick trim on the sides that had loosened over the years somehow and pretty much did absolutely nothing.

“EEK!” said I with even more alarm.

And then I noticed that when the wind blew, which it kept doing yesterday, the pane of glass itself wobbled like a loose tooth.

“THERE’S NO HOPE LEFT!” shouted I in an all-out panic.

Clearly I could not leave the window to the Fates any longer. Like Wile E. Coyote, I noticed there was no longer a ledge below, and at any moment the window was destined to come crashing down.

As you can see, this time I had a valid reason for not working on cover art. It was a very delicate process to pin the huge window in place and work underneath it. To do the job correctly, I’d need to construct and all new window frame. I had neither the time nor the money for that type of venture. However, the window is now solid, the bottom wood has been replaced, I added some insulation, and it is vastly better than what was there before. I’ve got to trim the excess insulation and paint it today, but that shouldn’t take too long.

I like being handy. It makes me feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

Besides, if you couldn’t tell, I’m dragging my feet on the cover art. I know basically what I want, but I can’t seem to get the color right or the central image to my liking. It’s the frustrating part of the process, the wishy-washy stage of creating something that drives me nuts. It’ll happen.

I mean, it better happen. I’m planning to launch it this weekend.

…er…or next.

Speaking of writing and all the trials that come with it…

I’m weighing my options on participating in NaNoWriMo.

“…huh?”

National Novel Writing Month. It’s an annual event where people write a 50,000 word-length novel (or longer) in the month of November. The novel must be an original idea, no uploading or reworking old material because that’s cheating, that is begun on the 1st of November and done by the 30th. People have the option to upload their work daily, so others can follow along with the process. To “win”, you simply need to meet the 50,000 word goal. There are prizes offered, but the major benefit to participating is that many etailers highlight NaNoWriMo books.

I’m wordy, as you all know. I have no doubt that I could produce 50,000 mostly cohesive words in November. However, it’s the quality that I worry about. Indeed, a quick check in with my Google overlords says that many authors shun the event because of the unpolished, raw, rough nature of the end product. They say that any publishers following along with the progress will be turned off by the sheer amount of editing yet to be done.

…which, when you think about it, might speak more to the pompousness of the authors, huh? They’re so convinced that a publishing house will follow them out of the couple hundred thousand participants.

Some have said it’s “impossible” to produce a decent work in that time span. I beg to differ. It’s not possible for everyone, and truly each author works at his or her own pace. As they should! Some excellent writers take a long time to put their thoughts down. And some people like me kind of careen around the track and hope something decent manages to pop out. Everyone is different, every process is different. To say that it’s “impossible” simply because it’s not their particular style seems very narrow-minded for supposed free thinking artists.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m already dangling more towards one side of the fence. I know I can do it. I know I can produce 50,000 words in a month. I’ve even got an idea. The Mother series is great to work on. I love writing it, I truly do. But, I also miss space. I’ve got another sci-fi kicking around in my head that I think would work.

Hm. I shall give it more thought. I’ll keep you posted.

“How come when I tap my fingers to the music you call it annoying, but you get to do it?” asked the teenager in a snarky tone.

“Because I am Mom,” I pointed out, my raised eyebrow daring him to question The Man again and see how that turns out for him.

The Killers are playing through my headphones. I can’t NOT tap my fingers to the Killers. Duh. Sometimes children are just unreasonable.

While we’re on the subject of teenagers, I just read a Bullshit Study that I just have to share. I haven’t done a Bullshit Study report in a long time, so some of you may be a bit confused. See, the governments of the world hand out billions of dollars a year to “science”. I put the term in quotes because quite often these alleged studies have very little to do with actual science. Grants are handed out like candy to anyone who has the fortitude to fill out the mountain of paperwork, and ridiculous amounts of money are wasted every single year. I like to take a look at some of these and bring them to your attention.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I don’t hold any hope that highlighting the waste will make those who hold the magic “approval” stamp stop and consider what they’re doing. They do not care about saving taxpayers money and I highly doubt me calling them out will make any difference to their thinking. However, being sarcastic is fun.

Today’s Bullshit Study comes to us from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. A team of what we’ll call “researchers” just discovered that teenagers who “sext” tend to then have actual sex with the people they sexted. In a survey of less than 1,000 high school students, the research team found that the kids who admitted to sending sexual explicit pictures of themselves via cellphone text programs were “one third more likely” (or, you know, 33% if you want to actually sound educated because one third sounds like you’re saying less since it’s not…you know what? Why am I getting stuck on this one point when the entire study is an exercise in inanity?)… They’re more likely to have sex within a year.

Hold it. Hang on one second while I try and gather the shards of my blown mind. So what they’re saying, in a nutshell, is that kids who have no inhibitions about sending pics of boobs and dicks actually want to have sex? Am I reading this correctly?

Wow. It’s almost as if they’re claiming foreplay leads to sex. Talk about some out-of-the-box thinking! I’m glad these guys are training the next generation of scientists. Maybe someday the students that were involved in this study will finally be able to tell us why we get wet when it rains.

*slam*

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the door closing behind the last grouchy teen! The kids have left. The house is quiet. There is no longer the hot glare of discontent coming at us in waves from the impossible to share couch, and not a single teen is grumbling about me forgetting to wash their favorite sweatshirt. We did it! We made it! I feel like we really went through something together.

*sniff* I love you, man.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Tuesday, October 7, 2014. I know what I’m going to do today, Ferb. I’ll apply for a grant to study the effect of teen angst on a mother before the mother has had her morning coffee…

If you’re going to peep our leaves, at least pull over first…

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Mornin, all.

I should be working on cover art. Right this very minute, I should not be talking to you at all. I should be staring at incredibly enlarged pixels on my computer screen, straining my eyes in an effort to decide if that teeny tiny not-quite-black outline looks better than the teeny tiny not-quite-gray outline. I mean, the summer was jam packed and the book is being released WAY later than I initially planned. I’m so close to the finish line.

And yet, here I am, sipping my coffee and chattin’ your eyes off. What can I say? I’m a rebel. I work on my own time line and “the man” can go suck it!

“Um, Bethie? Aren’t you an indie author who works on her own time line regardless?”

Shh. Lemme enjoy the moment.

I slept in, too. It felt wonderful. I am a creature of habit and find it incredibly hard to break those habits, even for something as blissful as an extra hour of slumber. No matter what time I go to bed, no matter how badly I could use a few more Zs, my eyes will almost always pop open and stay open like clockwork. Not today, though! Perhaps that’s what’s fueling my rebellion.

“But it’s not really a…”

LET ME BE A REBEL.

The sunrise out my window right now is fantastic. It’s this odd purply-pink sky which is making the air itself look like I’m staring through rose-colored glasses. This morning’s metaphor brought to you by Mother Nature.

I wish I was better at using my camera and could capture the essence of the air. I’m not very good at photography and the pictures would probably come out just looking like I have the gamma set incorrectly on my monitor. Taking a picture is easy. Taking a photograph that transcends the visual and somehow gives you the feeling the photographer was seeking, that’s harder. That’s an art.

My dad was good at photography, true photography with thought and feeling behind the pieces. He could make his camera see beyond the snapshot and capture the aura of the moment. I’ve taken a few lucky shots in my day, and a couple of them frustrated him to no end. He said, “How the hell did you manage to get that shot, Bean?” (er…family nickname…just forget I mentioned…) He’d obsess. “How did you do that? What settings did you use? What was your shutter speed?” on and on. He was rather an obsesser when he got his mind focused on something. A dad with a camera instead of a dog with a bone.

Thing is, I didn’t have any idea how I got those shots. It was flat out luck, not skill, and I totally own that. I’m not bragging about the one in a thousand shots I snap that actually come out looking good. I’d brag if I could do it intentionally.

I’ve got a digital camera. It’s older now, but it was a good model at the time it was purchased and has many automatic features. I fiddled with one thing, pushed the other thing, and the photography elves that live inside it worked double-time to reproduce the image. Yes. All of my knowledge of how a camera works was obtained while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child.

How do I get good shots? I point the camera and push the button and hope the elves brought their “A” game. That’s how.

You want to know how to really piss a true photographer off? Say just that.

Photography is an art form. I’m not talking about what most of us do, me included. I’m not talking about just “taking pictures.” The majority of us idiots with cameras can point and click and get one good shot if we press the button enough times. A real photographer knows how to do this intentionally, how to make you feel like you’re back there, completely in that moment in not just looks but feeling, too, when you look at the work, and that’s an art form I truly respect. My dad was a true photographer, and it’s a shame he never did it for anything more than a hobby.

I am not a photographer. I can see the picture I want and feel the mood I would like to document. I just can’t figure out how to make the camera elves archive it as a whole package. I take a lot of nice looking pictures. I have taken only a handful of photographs. I wish I could do what my dad did, but, honestly, I’m okay with just pictures for the most part. Photography is an art form I haven’t mastered, but might some day, and might is good enough for me.

Besides, what I lack in skill I make up for in abundance! I’ve got a whole lot of pictures, and the odds are ever in my favor that when I take a bunch, at least one will end up being decent.

It’s peak leaf season here at the moment. The trees have turned from greens to every other color, blanketing the hills with the patchwork of autumn. It seems like it would be the perfect weekend for Leaf Peepers.

“Bean, what is a…”

Whoa. Did you just call me Bean? You don’t know me like that.

“*achem* Sorry. Bethie…”

That’s better.

“What in the hell is a Leaf Peeper?”

A Leaf Peeper is a tourist that drives up from Connecticut in their Cadillac or Lincoln to swerve and veer all over the road at ridiculously low speeds because they are too busy looking at the damn leaves on the trees to let silly things like laws and safety govern their trip.

Okay, that’s a bit unfair. Some of them drive Tauruses.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with Leaf Peepers in theory. In fact, some of them take tours on great big buses, and those are the ones we like. They will sit in the bus and ooh and ahh out the windows safely, then get off at various gift shops and spend their out-of-state money on our commemorative baubles. Those are the good kinds of Leaf Peepers. Any of you reading this that are considering hopping on one of those leaf tour buses headed for New Hampshire, welcome! Come in! Have a look at our beautiful leaves and pick up a souvenir for your grandchild while you’re here!

But drivers who come to look at the leaves in their own vehicles with no intention of actually pulling the hell over and stopping the two ton weapon because they are too distracted by red and orange leaves to operate it safely are the bane of New England autumn roads. If you are planning on being one of those Leaf Peepers…just no. Nope. New Hampshire is closed. Stay in Connecticut and google “NH autumn.”

It’s shaping up to be a bad day for peeping leaves anyway, so you best just stay home and save some gas. A weather front is coming through and it’s supposed to rain all day. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, but the rain will strip a lot of those pretty leaves and plaster them to the ground, leaving nothing but barren branches. I have a feeling there will be several bus loads of disappointed tourists this weekend.

Not me, though. I knew the rain was coming so I decided to take advantage of the nice weather yesterday and go around town snapping some pics of the beautiful foliage.

You see, one of the reasons people come up over and over is because every year, the foliage is different. You can look out at your maple tree in the back yard, the same tree year after year, and see a different display in the leaves. Many things affect how the foliage will look, from the amount of moisture through the summer, to temperature, to ambient air quality factors… It’s never the same scene twice.

Last year, the foliage was drab. And by drab I mean it was all this yellowy brown sad color that seemed to be a warning that we were in for one sucky winter. “Resign yourselves, people. There is no hope,” the colorless note from Mother Nature read.

This year, we’ve had a few bursts of just amazing color. However, it’s odd. The trees are changing slowly, many having the super bright leaves only on one branch, while the rest of the tree is completely green. It’s bizarre and unique, and that’s what makes a native still look forward to the fall foliage no matter how many years they’ve lived here to see it.

Yesterday I just had to document this autumn, these leaves. I drove around. I pulled over *achem, CONNECTICUT* and got out. I took many pictures. I got one photograph, completely by accident. The setting was “automatic natural lighting” and the shutter speed was “dunno”. But, I like looking at it, and I plan on doing so often this winter when the snow has whitewashed the world and I have a desperate need to remember what color is.

Oh wow. I just glanced down at the time and I don’t want to be rude or anything, especially since you’re in such a chatty mood and all, but I really should be getting back to work. No offense, and I’ll be happy to listen to your story after I get this done. Deadlines and all. You understand.

“But…”

Have a good weekend. Kiss the kids. Tell the Mrs. I said hello!

“Bethie, you’re the one…”

*door shuts*

*clock ticks in the empty room*

*things get awkward*

…*maybe it’s time to leave*

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Saturday, October 4, 2014. *I’m already hard at work and can’t spare a moment to add a closing, so just use your imagination and fill in this blank with something you think I’d say*