So Much Excitement!

People have a harder time scamming me than some would-be victims because I have so few of the accoutrements of modern life that most people need to live, such as a credit card, or dreams of a fabulous and free vacation. I certainly have no interest in talking to a real IRS agent let alone a fake one. And my car isn’t new enough to be caught in the “your warranty is about to expire” scam, though I must admit, such calls do amuse me. After all, my warranty expired almost fifty years ago.

Since we’re talking about my car — I got a Thanksgiving card from my insurance agency, offering a sincere thank you for my business. I must admit, I’d believe the sincerity more if the note and signature hadn’t been stamped rather than actually signed by a real person.

And, still on the topic of my vehicle — a couple of days ago, the contractor came and set the slag around the garage apron to get rid of the four-inch lip the car needed to climb to get into the garage. Looks nice!

He’d actually planned to do the work a couple of weeks ago, but the gas company kept tearing up the alley, first to put in new gas lines, and then later to connect everyone along this stretch. It’s too bad they’d also dug up the the gravel that made the alley negotiable, but perhaps someday they will replace it.

A worker is here right now putting decorative rock around the foundation of the garage. Yay! Even better, from my knees’ point of view, he helped me finish digging out all grass in my “island” and planted the tiled cinderblock I found here in the yard.

The tree is the extra greengage plum tree I ordered, and since we didn’t know where else to put it, it ended up in the island. I liked the way the rock looked around the garage, so I considered filling the island with rock, too, but on the off chance that my plum ever blossomed and then fruited, I figured it would be too messy to clean up. At least, if I plant zinnias or some such, any fruit that fell would only nourish the soil.

So much excitement!

I’m not really being as ironic as it might seem. Having any work done around here is the highlight of my day, so much more exciting than calls from scammers or cards from insincere insurance agents.


What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

So it Goes


Tomorrow the concrete truck is coming to pour my garage foundation. Yay!

It’s been rather warm lately, so I connected my hoses and watered the bushes that were transplanted. (The guys who dug my garage foundation were very kind and transplanted the lilacs and native roses they had to dig up to make room for the garage. Service above and beyond!) After all that, I certainly don’t want the poor shocked plants to die, so I watered them again today. (I watered them when they were replanted, but not since then.) Then I figured I might as well water the still inert bulbs. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do, but since they are not yet established, I figure it couldn’t hurt. Maybe they’ll think (to the extent that plant matter can think) that it rained.

I did find another blooming snowdrop, as well as two or three green tips poking out of the ground. Considering my success rate (a whopping 1% so far!), I ordered some summer bulbs, including a few for a moonlit garden. I hadn’t planned on ordering more bulbs, but the company kept offering me free shipping, and free shipping is a terrible thing to waste. I also ordered a frog to bring me — or rather the poor plants who have to depend on me — good luck. Besides, a friend said I needed to buy my house an anniversary present every year (which is what she does, and she’s my house-owning hero, so I like to follow her suggestions) and I figured the frog, being so frivolous, is the perfect celebratory gift. I suppose the garage would have been an adequate anniversary present, but okay, I admit it — I just wanted the frog.

I considered having a party to celebrate my house ownership anniversary this Saturday, but I don’t do well with groups — I tend to feel superfluous, and I certainly don’t want to feel superfluous in my own home — so I invited my neighbor for tea, then got the courage to invite another friend, and then a couple more, so now I have . . . not a party, since they will be coming one at a time, but perhaps an open house. So, if you are in the area on Saturday, stop by for tea and maybe even some cake and ice cream.

In honor of this anniversary, a friend sent me a house. Actually, a room in a house. Well, actually, a room in a virtual house. It’s Jackie Lawson’s curio collection, and oh, such fun!

There’s all sorts of puzzles and trinkets and things to click, including a mandala maker. And now I have a new obsession (as if I needed another one!). Making mandalas online is such a kick. There’s no such thing as an ugly creation.

And just an aside — at a meeting today, we were told the guidelines for avoiding coronavirus: “wash your hands.” Um, really? Why aren’t people already washing their hands? Soap and water help prevent all sorts of diseases, including the miscellany of viruses included in “flu.” 200,000 deaths from flu doesn’t worry people, but 2,000 from this new disease does? This is at least the fifth would-be pandemic I’ve lived through. Maybe because I always wash my hands. And since I’m griping — the CDC says to wash your hands with soap and water, so why are stores running out of hand sanitizers and not soap?

But so it goes.

Maybe I’ll go make another mandela.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator


Editing the murder mystery I’ve been writing for a dinner at the local museum on February 9, seemed as involved as any other editing job. There were a few small inconsistencies to repair, but the main thing I had to do was to add lines so that the characters can introduce themselves. I didn’t want to do a program with the characters and their roles listed, because in a way, everyone who comes to the dinner will have a part — as a visitor to the speakeasy if for no other reason. Those who will be set apart as possible villains, though, will have to have a name, otherwise, how would anyone be able to vote for the dastardliest villain?

Tomorrow will be rehearsal, though mostly it will be a matter of setting up the logistics of the mystery. Although no one but the mistress of ceremonies will have many lines to say, I don’t expect anyone to memorize their parts. (They can if they want to, of course.) For the most part, they just need to know what they are supposed to be doing and how the whole thing fits together.

I’m hoping people will get into the spirit of the thing and not just sit back and watch as the story unfolds, but if people prefer to watch, that’s okay, too.

I feel as if I should be nervous about the murder mystery because after all, the story was my creation, but I’m not. Or at least, not very.

Maybe it’s because so much is going on. Not just meetings and preparing for the dinner and attending the mayor’s strategic planning sessions, but also the house. The excavator should be available for rent sometime next week, so I’ll get to watch a different sort of play unfold — digging the foundation and pouring the cement and whatever else it takes to start building a garage.

I wonder if the dig will uncover some other weird bit of mystery to go along with all the other mysterious artifacts we’ve uncovered, such as the cistern, ancient sewage pipes, water where no water should be, bloody shirts, and a few miscellaneous bones.

Whatever happens, the dig should be interesting!

And so will the murder mystery dinner. If you are in the area, please join us for an evening of food and frolic.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Putting the Pieces Together

Today is my twentieth straight day of blogging. So far, I am honoring my commitment to blog for 100 days straight, though I almost didn’t make it today. The note by my computer reminding me to blog got knocked over (during a wild game of solitaire) and without the reminder, it was too easy to let the day go by.

Not that the day was easy. It wasn’t particularly hard, either, just . . . well, let’s call it a rerun. When I first moved here, much of my stuff was stored in the enclosed porch, but when the workers came to redo the foundation of the porch (there were only two small columns of concrete on either end of the 20-foot room, and since that wasn’t enough to hold up the weight of the house, the porch was rapidly sinking), I had to move all the stuff into the garage. At the time, I thought it was the final move for the camping equipment, tools, and things I wasn’t ready to throw away — there’d been a huge crack down the center of the garage, and the patch seemed to hold. But then came a freeze/thaw cycle, and that was the end of my pretty floor. Now the crack is bigger than ever.

The workers are planning on coming later this week to redo the garage foundation as well as the concrete floor, and so all the stuff had to be moved. I’m hoping by the time I get it all back in the garage, it can stay there.

There are so many bits and pieces to putting together a home, it seems like I am forever moving the pieces around, trying to get it right — and to get my life right. I seem to manage not to do things I should, like exercise, and I seem to manage to do things I shouldn’t — like eat unhealthy things.

I’m sure there are also extraneous pieces that will need to be set aside one day, but that’s not a problem for today.

(I found this quite disturbing piece in a puzzle of featuring a cardinal in a cottonwood. It took me awhile to realize I had it upside down and that it was not part of the bird but a face. It took me even longer to discover that it is part of Chaz Palminteri’s face from a movie puzzle.)


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.