#JusJoJan: Write

Well, we’ve made it to the end of another Just Jot It January, the brainchild of the amazing Linda Hill, who has come up with this in addition to Stream of Consciousness Saturday and One-Liner Wednesday. Again, thank you, Linda, for giving all of us bloggers further opportunities to write…

Which is the very apropos final prompt for the month, write.

I think I was discouraged about writing in my teens and twenties, because I was made to feel as though I wasn’t much of a writer. It wasn’t until I reached my mid-30’s that I felt comfortable enough to write and I began to journal. Then with the advent of the Internet, I discovered further opportunities to write, most notably the now-defunct Ghostletters mailing list, which I ran for close to ten years and watched it peter out.

After my stroke, I thought, well, that’s that, and thought that typing with one hand would be impossible, as writing with a pen had become. I could still write code, though, and emails were fairly easy, but I hadn’t tried going back to writing stories and the like. Until one day, I decided "screw this noise!" and decided that I would suffer through typing with one hand to start writing again. The result? I now type faster with one hand than I did with two, albeit with many more typos.

I tried blogging a couple of times after that, all of which were a disaster and were deleted completely rather quickly. I had started with Blogger, which I soon realized annoyed the hell out of me (sorry, Blogger fans). Eventually, I took the plunge with WordPress in 2011, using that as a private journal before deciding that it was time I exposed the blog to the rest of the world.

And I’ve been writing here ever since, writing at least one blog post a day since July 1, 2014. Thanks to you kind folks, I also have readers, some of whom actually like reading what I write. Thank you!

So, that ends Just Jot It January for another year.

#JusJoJan: Canine

Dawn supplies today’s JusJoJan prompt, canine.

I prefer cats to dogs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like dogs (with the possible exception of Kuala, The Dog From Hell).

A few years after ditching Kuala, my folks got a dog for my brother Pat, a miniature Schnauzer named Fred. Fred was a nice dog who would go crazy when he saw squirrels in the back yard, because that’s what they do, chase after squirrels. As Fred got older, he started having issues with his eliminatory functions (both of them) and would drive Mom and Pat crazy, because within a half hour of Pat bringing Fred back from his walk, Fred would start acting like he had to go out again. I think he just forgot that he had been out and remembered that at one point he had to go, and, forgetting that he had just been out, started acting like he had to go out again. Despite Mom’s accusations that he was dragging the dog in with his leg still in the air, I knew Pat was being a dutiful (so to speak) dog owner and taking him for a walk. Eventually, they had to say goodbye to Fred, and I think Mom missed him more than Pat (who, in all honesty, was about to get married and had other things on his mind).

After Pat got married, Mom adopted this scraggly little mutt named Wizard, who she called Wiz, an appropriate name because apparently that’s what he frequently did in the corner of the family room. When it was apparent that Mom’s time on Earth was short, two of her sisters, who lived several houses from each other on the same block, said they’d take him in. He just had the best time running back and forth between the two houses.

Mary had a dog when we first met, which she named Napoleon because she won him in a French Club raffle. I think she had the idea that he was going to live with us, then we got a cat, Kittyface (real name Kismet) as a wedding gift. Mary tried to introduce Napoleon to Kittyface, and the cat was not amused. So Napoleon stayed with my in-laws (who lived downstairs) and we’d see him when we went down there.

When I first met Napoleon, I squeezed his nose and made a honking sound, as a joke. Well, I either frightened or (more likely) offended him, and whenever I’d go down to visit he’d run behind my father-in-law’s chair and give me dirty looks. We eventually made up when neither of my in-laws could take him for a walk due to various ailments and it fell to me to take him for his constitutionals. Naturally, this was during the winter, early in the morning and late at night, when it was colder than a snowman’s ass outside. He was my buddy after that.

Throw In The Towel? Me? #JusJoJan #socs

To "throw in the towel" (as Susan points out here) comes from the world of boxing, when either the boxer or his cornerman decides that he’s had enough and tosses the towel in the ring to let the referee know that’s it. It’s his way of saying "No más," as Roberto Durán said when he was fighting "Sugar Ray" Leonard in 1980. We would look at it as saying "I give up," "I quit," or "I’ve had enough."

All this talk about boxing makes me think of Howard Cosell, sports announcer for ABC from the mid-’50’s until the mid-’80’s, when he was fired after his book, I Never Played The Game, was published. Howard once said "I’ve been called arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. And, of course, I am." Yes, he was all those things, but we liked him anyway. He was one of my birthday twins…

Howard Cosell sparring with Muhammad Ali

Linda runs Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and during Jasnuary also runs Just Jot It January.

Now a word about pastries and baked goods, baked with care by County Fair.

#JusJoJan: Amenities

Kim brings us today’s JusJoJan prompt, amenities.

I stayed in a lot of Marriott hotels when I was traveling, including Courtyards and Residence Inns. All the rooms had a bed, a dresser, a loveseat, a coffee table, a bathroom, a desk and chair, a nightstand (sometimes two), a phone (sometimes two), a coffeepot with pouches of regular and decaf coffee, coffee mugs, glasses, an ice bucket (for the ice machine down the hall), an iron and ironing board, towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, an extra roll of toilet paper, tissues, bed linens, pillows, pads of paper and pens, a TV, a clock radio (screwed to one of the nightstands), phone books, copies of the Bible, the Book Of Mormon (the Marriotts are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and a biography of J. Willard Marriott tucked away in one of the drawers, and a padded folder containing stationery, a directory of Marriott Hotels worldwide, a copy of the room service menu, and a listing of all the services the hotel provides. Many of them had a "business center" (a PC with a printer), an exercise room, and a pool. Every floor had a Coke machine and an ice machine, and off the lobby there might be snack machines, or there might be a "gift shop" that sold magazines, candy, shave cream, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, pantyhose etc. They gave you a copy of USA Today every morning (supposedly, they charged you a quarter for the newspaper, and you could opt out and save the quarter, but no one ever did that). You might get a subset of the forgoing list at other hotels, but they might serve a "free" continental breakfast (donuts, coffee, cereal, sometimes even waffles), a bookcase with various books that had been left behind that you could borrow and return or leave in your room (or walk off with them), a restaurant and bar (I know all about those), a washer and dryer, and Lord knows what else.

Marriott left enough pens in your room that they almost expected you to take them. I swear, I didn’t buy a pen for fifteen years.

Everything I listed above is an amenity. Some are basics that you would expect (bed, sheets, pillows, bathroom, towels, toilet paper) but the others are either there for you to use or, in the case of pens, shampoo, soap, conditioner etc. things that you can take with you, i. e. free stuff. It’s not really free, of course; "included in the cost" probably describes it better. I’ve written two posts about free stuff here and here, if you’re interested…