<![CDATA[Tonia Brown, Mistress of Occult Fiction - Blog]]>Fri, 15 Jan 2016 12:05:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Negging Mice 101]]>Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:26:55 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/negging-mice-101So there is this article circulating about negging women. This term means using small humiliating insults to make the girl question herself and force her into chasing the insulter for attention and, hopefully, sexy sex.
I won’t give them traffic by posting the link here.
As I read it, I was thinking about how much it sounded like an animal stalking prey. Then I had an idea. So, here is the very same article, nearly word for word. I have tweaked it a bit to read from a cat’s pov, and added some stuff in bold to help pull it together. I realize I am putting myself out there for a whole bunch of flack. I am sure I will get loads of email and comments about my weight and my looks and how I don't "understand" how negging is supposed to work.

*shrugs*

To those up for a good laugh, I give you:

Negging Mice 101

I hear it all of the time from my fellow cats.

“That mouse is a 10! I will never be able to get her!”

And I can’t blame you for thinking that. The mouse is faster than you, smarter than you, and perhaps even far better looking than you. You know, for a mouse. But don’t be silly. Of course you can get that mouse. It just takes a couple of well place techniques to make the mouse doubt herself long enough to let you pounce on her. You need to lower the mouse’s self esteem and place her on, or better still, below your level.

You can lower a rodent’s social value in relation to yours with quick lines by negging mice.

Here are some examples of negging mice:

For a mouse with balding patches: “Did your fur shrink in the rain?”

“Your skin is showing.”

“Your nose is a little red. You’re like a mole. Cool.”

“You know, you look just like the hamster up there in the cage. Weird.”

“You know, I like that color of fur you’ve got on… but I don’t know… your little
feet don’t really match. You should have gone with bigger feet…”

To the other cats stalking the mouse, “So what’s special about this one?”

If the mouse is squeaking with other mice, “So do you guys ever get a squeak in edgewise?”

“Hey… you look like that cartoon character… yeah that’s right, Jerry, remember him?”

“I like your eyes. Hey… are you wearing colored contacts??? (before it can answer) Oh my god, no way, you are… how did a mouse get colored contacts?”

“You know, your body language is all closed off. It makes you look like one of those newborns I saw on the discovery channel when they came out of the womb – all curled up and in bunches of ten to twelve and totally blind and pink and wiggly.”

“Hey, you’re a complete idiot.”

By negging a mouse, you’ve indicated to her that you’re not interested in her over any other mice in the group. This is a new thing for her. She’ll feel the bitter sting of being just like all other mice. Her quicker reflexes and superior dexterity no longer give her all the power – because you’re not responding to quicker reflexes and superior dexterity. You are making up lies about the mouse’s appearance in order to humiliate the mouse and make her sad enough to allow you to control her, rather than doing the actual work of chasing the mouse.

Because you’re also, you know, a cat, at the same time she’s wondering, “Why isn’t this cat after me? Why isn’t this cat chasing me? Who is this cat? How am I going to win this cat’s attention? Because it is my sole purpose in life to be constantly chased around by a hungry cat. I don’t just go out with my mouse friends for a quiet nibble on the town. No. I am constantly on the make for a good chase and getaway just to humiliate the cats of the world. This is the secret goal of all mice.”

Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants approval. No one wants to be ignored. The same holds true for juicy mice– even more so. Their whole reality is based on having power and having acceptance and adoration through their quick reflexes. Insult that and their whole reality crumbles and they’ll do anything to get it back.

Negging mice is ideal for really juicy mice – 8s, 9s, and 10s. For an average mouse (6s, 7s), you don’t want to use value zingers. All you need to do is demonstrate your ability to actually chase the mouse – you don’t need to lower her self esteem to stall her. Hers wasn’t that high to begin with.

Negging mice is unnecessary and inappropriate to use on mice who are already easy to catch or just plain old dead. Don’t throw one out of the blue for no reason at a mouse who is already half dead under your paw. That’s just rude.

But if she’s super mousy and you’ve just met her, that’s a different story. Use a neg or two on her.

Now, it’s critical to use negs right. Remember, you’re not out to damage the mouse’s self confidence or put her down. You’re not out to mess up her self-esteem. Some guys in particular cross the line and start throwing soft insults and treating mice like second-class human beings when they don’t deserve it. Everything I just told you to do is in no way like this second thing I just told you not to do. Even if it is totally the very same thing. I know it’s confusing. Figure it out.

The point is to make yourself stand out as the superior species and a challenge, not to make the mouse just feel bad. But used correctly, negging mice is a powerful tool in your feline arsenal.

After all, we are talking about a completely different species with no relevant value to our own. Why care what the mouse thinks about herself? She’s just food for your ravenous hunger. You’re just going to play with her until you break her, devour what you want of her, and then move onto the next mouse. So don’t sweat how the mouse feels or what the mouse thinks. Those things are totally not your problem as you are a socially superior cat.

 
Good luck, you animals!

 

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<![CDATA[G is for Gods]]>Sat, 21 Mar 2015 13:25:42 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/g-is-for-gods G is for Gods

Today’s blog is a story. A sort of stream of conscious narrative about gods. Here you go!

Heiros Namos

Names can be a very powerful tool.

Sometimes they can also make you feel like just that, a tool.

Humans try their best, and they can be really creative, but sometimes, every once in a while, the name they choose for you is just garbage.  Take Hermes for instance. Now there was one angry god when he learned what the people decided to call him. I always liked the name, but he was full of fury when he found out. After all these years I can still remember word for word what he said.

“Hermes? What kind of crap is that? It sounds like a venereal disease.”

He is one funny guy.

Aphrodite on the other hand has always loved her name, no pun intended. She claims it’s exotic. I once asked her why she didn’t use her Roman name more often. 

“Venus sounds vulgar,” she answered. "I don’t understand how a goddess ends up with a name that will eventually rhyme with the male organ."

To this day she believes Athena is behind the Roman name. She is convinced there was subterfuge on the naming committee, and that the Romans were all bribed. Athena will only smile knowingly if you ask her about it.

What I never understood was why Ouranos never got mad about his Roman name.

Now there is a god with a legitimate beef.

Of course divinity had a name before humans dreamed the gods into existence. An ageless name, made from stardust and centuries, folded into a soundless portrait. A name that is unpronounceable, unimaginable and unknowable. The kind of name that would break your mind you the instant you even thought about thinking about it. But human beings require connection. You need to feel the earth under your feet even though you like to keep your heads in the clouds. From your earliest grunts to your later words you have insisted on labeling your universe. It was only natural that when you looked to the heavens for the first time you called out a million different names.

And you still do.

Zeus once told me, at a party, that he hand picked his own name. He claims he sent one of his priests a dream bearing the name on golden wing, and the rest, as they say, is history. He got angry when I pointed out to him that it was dangerous to mess around with the human mind.

“What good is being a god if I can’t have a little control?” he asked.

I could only nod my head and agree.

When it comes to most immortals, their names suit them. Hermaphrodite, Narcissus, Echo and Arachnid all stand as excellent examples of how a name fits the owner. But to be fair the words you now use to portray most of them actually originate from their own names.

Dionysus is probably the exception to the rule, but then again he was always the exception to every rule. The name Bacchus, a pseudonym for his work with the Romans, brought about the word Bacchanal, meaning one hell of a party. But the young god is more than just a drunk; he has so much depth to him, and so much fire. Let’s just say that he is a great guy to party with but he is one god you do not want to make angry. Not unless when you say “Let’s get tore up!” you really mean it.

Dionysus brings new meaning to the word ‘wasted’.

What so few humans realize is that a name not only defines, it also delineates. A name can change the way you guys think about each other, and names most definitely changed the way you related to us. The names you assigned us gave us personalities, they gave us life, and importantly they humanized us. In one word divinity shattered from some unknowable cosmic power into aspects you could actually address. With that our whole relationship shifted. We became divine parents, celestial siblings and sacred lovers. You also changed somewhere along the way. You became bolder, stronger and self sufficient. Then the inevitable happened. One day you were sending your desires skyward on the smoke of a slaughtered lamb, and the next day you realized the sun would rise with or without the rituals.

You didn’t need us anymore.

Hephaestus always had my sympathy. Poor god was strapped with a bum leg and a face that would stop a sun dial. Then to top it all off you burdened him with a mouthful of a name. Where did that one come from? Even worse, ask the average human today who Hephaestus is and they will only give you a puzzled look. Being pushed into obscurity is a hard row to hoe, but Hephaestus always took these kinds of things well. Even in the height of his popularity he had a hard time with the name. I can still remember him trying to explain the proper pronunciation to Psyche when she first joined us.

“Ha-fess-tuss? Your name sounds like a donkey farting,” she said.

The laughter that followed shook Olympus to the very core of the mountain. Hephaestus just smiled and shook his head; he was used to that kind of treatment. He also knew Psyche never was very bright as a human, and things didn’t improve when she moved upstairs. Then again Eros didn’t marry her for her brain, if you get my meaning.

I hear that the folks down on the Delta have some great names. Out of the ones I am familiar with I have always been partial to the name Set. I suppose I just like names that are short and to the point. Trust me when I say Hephaestus would have traded his good leg for a name like Set.

I don’t consider myself a pantheon-ist, but I am ashamed to say I don’t know much more about the other gods of the world. We do meet occasionally on vacations and conferences, but you will find most pantheons stick together, few cross over that fine line. Again Dionysus is the exception to the rule. Search any pantheon and there he will be, the slain and risen son of a god, bringing enlightenment to the masses. In fact he has a pretty big aspect going right now. The kid has a good gig, servicing a multitude of hungry souls.

We are proud of him.

So some of our names are obviously better than others, and some we could have done without all together, but over all you did a fairly good job. The majority of us here in Greece are pleased, even with the shift to our Roman titles. We are also happy with how our names have graced everything, from geography to architecture. It seems like every day someone is naming something after a god of some sort. You might not need our divine guidance any more, but somewhere deep inside you still need to connect to us. You keep saying our names, using our names, and redefining our names in the human mind and as a result we are never truly forgotten.

My own name is not important, but I thank you for it all the same.

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<![CDATA[F is for Finster]]>Sat, 14 Mar 2015 17:50:44 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/f-is-for-finster F is for Finster

Once upon a time, my twin sister had a miniature schnauzer named Finster. He originally belonged to her ex-husband, but when they split up he left the dog. Sister always said it was to punish her, but we all knew it was because that dog doted on her. Finster worshiped Tonie like the goddess she was to him. Provider of food. Giver of belly rubs. And she loved him too
.

Picture
This is not Finster. But it is a schnauzer.
He was a super scared dog. I don’t mean scary as in frightening, I mean scared as in scared of everything else that wasn’t Finster. And sometimes even Finster too. Oh. My. God. This dog was ridiculous. I have seen some nervous dogs in my life, but this dog took the fucking cake. He peed when a newborn kitten was placed in front of him. He peed when he heard fireworks going off. He peed at the sight of his own shadow.


No.

Seriously.

This thing would lose it if he caught sight of the blob that made up his own shadow. I wished I was using hyperbole. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen him shaking at his own freaking shadow. Poor thing.


Tonie and the dog were inseparable. Finster went everywhere with her. She moved in with us after she split with her maniac ex-husband, and Finster became part of the family. She brought him to events and family get-togethers. They were never apart.

We used to call him a chicken dog. A dog in a chicken suit. Chicken Finster. Chicken McChicks-a-lot.  Finster the eternal fool. He was a sweet dog, don’t get me wrong. But boy was he ever terrified of everything that moved. Or didn’t move. Or existed. Or didn’t exist. Or even thought about existing.


Picture
Not Finster, but he would've worn it.

There is a character on the kid’s show Oswald named Henry the Penguin. He always reminded me of Finster. “Nope, not gonna do it. Too scary.”

Finster died a few years ago. It was real sudden and unexpected. Sister was crushed but she moved on. We buried him in the back yard amongst the other passed on animals. (When you live in one place long enough, and have as many pets as we do, you get quite a collection of dead animals.)


The reason I mention Finster is because I recently feature the little furball in a novel. That’s right. I wrote my sister’s dead dog into Hauling Ash. The schnauzer in the story is just like Finster. Nervous and pouty. Talkative but shy. His ears aren’t docked, nor is his tail. Neither were Finster’s. And yeah, I named the dog in the story Finster.

It’s kind of weird writing a pet into a story like that. It was almost dangerous. I mean, you have to be real careful how you handle people’s fur babies. Pets are like kids, folks can be real sensitive to how you portray them in your work. I mean, they know it’s just fiction, but if I’d have done something awful to the mutt in the story, Tonie would’ve had my liver for breakfast.

I didn’t do anything bad to him, by the way. No. And I didn’t just poke him between the pages to honor his memory. Finster is, in fact, a kind of plot point. He brings the other characters together in a unique way. Later he becomes a bargaining chip. You’ll have to read it to understand why and how.

Out of all of the dogs I have ever interacted with, I have to say Finster was my favorite. I miss the little guy.

I hope you’re peeing it up in the Summerlands, little man.

Pee on someone for me!


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<![CDATA[E is for Encouragement]]>Sun, 08 Mar 2015 04:30:59 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/e-is-for-encouragement
E is for Encouragement

I am going to pause in my epic Tony story telling task to talk about something else for a moment.

I want to talk to you about encouragement. I guess this technically is still about Tony Brown, because he is my largest source of encouragement in my life.

I’ve seen a lot of things lately about bullying and body shaming and other despicable acts that we humans seem to relish in inflicting on one another. It got me to thinking about something I see a lot of in the writing world, and that is a lack of encouragement. I don’t mean editorial criticism or bad reviews, no that’s all part of the process. I mean a lack of a personal support group. I have heard other writers talk about having no one in their life that believes in their dream of becoming an author. No one to talk to when the bad days outweigh the good.


And it’s not just writers either. I know loads of folks who have dreams or aspirations or desires that will never see the light of day. Not because that person lacks the talent or drive or even finances to pursue said dream. No, they will never go after their ideas because they aren’t encouraged to do so. They don’t have any form of a support network to speak of.  In fact, many of them are actively discouraged from following their dreams, either by jealous family members or friends or enemies that would rather see them wallow in self pity than the joy of success no matter how small. Some folks have no one in their life to say you can do it.

I write. You guys have figured that out by now. Right? Yes? I had the idea a few years back that I wanted to get into writing fiction, and that I might want to pursue a career and actually seek publication. It is a long, hard road. I knew it would be. I entered the field with the full realization that I would most likely never see more than a modest readership, and possibly never see formal publication. I understood this was a tough, uncaring business. I knew what I was getting into.

But I did it anyways because I had someone behind me that said, you can do it.

From the start, Tony had my back. He was honest in his criticism and gracious in his support. He didn’t smother me with help or try to do it for me or tell me how I was going about it all wrong. He stood by me every step of the way, held my hand when I stumbled, and then gave me a lift when I began to climb up and up and up.

I’ve had some modest success. I have fans, loyal readers and many, many friends brought to me from my hard work. I also have writer friends and family now. I have support in the form of financial reward and kind words from folks all over the world. But, I also still have Tony. He rarely shares my links, nor does he overly praise my books on social networks or post reviews of my work to boost my ratings. That isn’t his style. He is casual in his encouragement. He tells me constantly how proud he is of me. How jealous he is of what I have accomplished. He assures me that the acceptances will come and coddles me when the rejections sting and burn.



I am still climbing up and up and up, and as I do I feel that invisible tether back to him. Like a rope rig for a pair of rock climbers, should I fall, I know he is there to make sure I don’t plummet all the way back down. I am a lucky woman, and I know it.


I guess the reason I am practically gushing about how lucky I am to have someone so encouraging is because I want to remind you to encourage those around you. A few kind words go a long way when someone is trying to pursue their dreams. Sometimes all you need to hear is you can it. Sometimes all you want is someone to tell you it’s not stupid.


Encouragement costs nothing. It is a special gift that you give and give and give and even the smallest amount will multiply into something so beautiful—gratitude. Encouragement is highly contagious too. Encourage your friends and your family and they will encourage others. Those others will encourage even more folks and eventually someone will come back and encourage you when you least expect it.

I am encouraging you to encourage others.

It’s not stupid. You can do it.


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<![CDATA[D is for Daffy Duck]]>Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:48:49 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/d-is-for-daffy-duck D is for Daffy Duck

This blog isn’t about the beloved Warner Brother’s character. This blog, as you suspected, is about Tony Brown. By now I am sure you’re asking yourself what in the hell does Tony Brown and Daffy Duck have in common? Aside from obvious snide remarks, I will say this much:

Something you don’t expect, but will laugh like a loon when you find out.

Let’s begin at the beginning shall we?

My husband calls me My Love. Never my name. Always My Love. He has since we professed our love for each other on that warm autumn day at Crowder’s Mountain. I remember sitting by the side of the lake, talking about this and that, when the conversation got around to our future. Specifically, our future together. He suddenly got quiet. I asked what was wrong. He said nothing. I felt the tension in the air and had an idea that he was thinking about the same thing I was thinking about.

I took the chance and said, “I think I am falling in love with you.”

His face lit up like a neon vacant sign at a Holiday Inn. “Are you? Because I don’t think I am. I know I am in love with you.”

I relaxed at this, then confessed, “Oh good. I was worried what you would say. I’m in love with you too.”

The man scooped me into his bear hug and squeezed the life out of me and declared, “I love this woman! I love this woman! I do! I do!”

Some guy fishing across the lake shouted in return, “Then take her home and tell her there! You’re scaring the fish!”

It was a lovely scene. Since that day he has always called me “My Love.” No matter if I am being a demanding bitch, or if we are just playing a board game with friends. My Love. Always, always, always My Love.

One day, about ten years ago, I grew curious. It’s a lovely affectation, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Still, I was wondering how or why he settled on that phrase in particular. So I asked.

He pursed his lips, then gave me that shit eating grin that means he will tell me, but I probably won’t like the explanation.

“Tell me,” I said.

“Daffy Duck,” he said.

I crossed my arms and waited. There was more. I didn’t just marry him yesterday.

He grinned wider. “Okay. You know that Daffy Duck bit where he is married and his wife keeps henpecking him?”

I narrowed my eyes at this. “Yes?”

“Well, in it, every time his wife calls on him, he answers, ‘Yes, My Love.’” He grinned again.

Yes. That’s right. He has been calling me a tired and worn phrase spoken begrudgingly by an overworked, underloved, henpecked cartoon duck.

I am not angry. Not then and not now. How could I be mad at that grin?       

In case you’re wondering which Daffy Duck bit it was, here you go. Enjoy!


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<![CDATA[C is for Christmas Tree]]>Sun, 22 Feb 2015 03:46:41 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/c-is-for-christmas-treeC is for Christmas Tree
What? Did you think C would be for Cats? Of course. Tonia is going to do a blog about cats. Nah, I can always talk about cats. In fact, I do! For this blog I decided to tell another Tony Brown story. I know you guy never get tired of them, and it’s a strange kind of therapy for me to let them out.

So here we go.

Every year we put up a live Christmas tree. Sure, we are pagans, but so is the Christmas tree. (I could say Yule tree, but firstly it’s a Christmas tree, and secondly the letter Y is weeks away.) We also drag our heels taking the tree down. Usually we have it down by the end of January. Usually. Sometimes we take it down around Valentine’s day. Sometimes. On occasion, it stays up a bit longer.

This particular year, oh say about fifteen or more years ago, the tree stayed up for a bit longer. I think it was, and don’t be too judgmental when I say this, I think it was around May when we finally took the decorations off of the tree and moved it outside. Trouble was, we had long since stop watering the thing. It was brown and old and drier than a batch of week old cornbread. This resulted in a peculiar problem; we couldn’t get the lights off of it. We got all of the decorations off, but the lights stayed on the tree. So, lights and all, we chucked it into the yard and then eventually put it behind the shed out back. The idea was to take it to the dump later. Later. Later. I don’t think later ever comes with us. This is nothing new.

The next year we had a great tree. It was very full and green. The thing was about six feet tall and huge. It was a good tree for a good year. Remembering the light debacle from the year before, I managed to get all of the things off of the tree and was ready to get rid of it the first week of January. Tony decided he didn’t just want to toss it into the yard and then drag it off to the dump later. Or rather never. He decided that this would be the year he would burn the tree. After this year, he said, he would burn all of the trees. This didn’t happen, and here is why.

Tony, along with our friends Watson and Blankenship (yes, we used the guys’ last names, because they are both named Eric!) dragged the tree out to our newly dug fire pit only to learn that the tree was way too big to place inside. Instead he left it in its holder, upright, as if it were still in the house. I was of the opinion that the tree wouldn’t burn because it was still too green. Tony and the guys agreed. That’s when he made his first suicidal suggestion.

“We should soak it in gasoline.”

And he did. Against my will. I repeat, against my will. He got the lawnmower can of gas and proceeded to pour what was left of the thing all over the six foot tall, several foot around perfectly green Christmas tree. But this still wasn’t enough for Tony Brown. No. He stood back, shook his head and then made his second suicidal suggestion.

“It needs more kindling. I am going to use the other tree.”

Wait, what other tree? Remember the one from last year? The old skinny, brown, needles nearly gone but still had the lights on it tree? That’s the one. Tony fetch it from its place of honor out behind the shed, brought it to the fire pit and proceeded to thread it, crosswise, into the bulk of the first now soaked in gasoline tree. I took a step back, then a few more steps, all the way to the top of the little rise that led down to our fire pit area. I thought about protesting louder than I already was, but my voice couldn’t go any higher and my words couldn’t get any louder without a megaphone and a dose of helium. So I hemmed and hawed until I was blue in the face, but he kept on keepin’ on, lighting a match, and flinging it into the fire pit.

Two things happened at once.

My life flashed before my eyes. It was a good life so no complaints there.

The world turned red and orange and blue as the tree caught life with the fires of Hell itself. The flames exhaled an enormous gust of breath toward me, blowing my hair back in a whipping wind of heated air. (Remember, I was several yards away at the top of the hill, the guys were standing right next to the damnable thing.) My eyes watered. My body tensed. And the world burned.

The men let out a primal whoop, which I would’ve done had I not been concerned about the mushroom cloud now rising from the nuclear disaster of a tree burning in my backyard! The whooping came to a quick end when the men realized the level of danger, as fingers of fire started to creep out of the fire pit and catch patches of grass ablaze. They stomped and kicked and did their best to put out the little fires. In the end they did good, making sure the flames didn’t reach the house. Meanwhile I looked to the heavens for help. I saw something that only confirmed how idiotic the plan really was.

The few pecans left hanging on the tree above me were smoking. They had roasted in the shells right there on the branches.

In this fire induced magic, my mouth became the megaphone I lacked earlier and my ranting reached full helium levels of high pitched squeals. “Why are you guys loving this so much! That fire could’ve burned our house down!”

“Don’t be silly, my love,” Tony said. He always calls me his love. In eighteen years I think I have only heard my name a few times from his mouth. “Don’t be silly, my love. There is no way that would’ve burned the house down.” He patted my hand for good measure. Then he nodded to the huge--and not to mention full of gas--tank standing in the back yard, and said his third suicidal thing.

“It wouldn’t have caught the house on fire, because by the time the flames reached that gas tank, it would’ve exploded and blown the house away instead.”

Somewhere in the background I heard the soft pop of Christmas lights succumbing to the heat.

Thus is my life with Tony Brown. It might be dangerous at times, but it is never dull.

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<![CDATA[B is for Beavers]]>Sat, 14 Feb 2015 21:24:08 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/b-is-for-beaversB is for Beavers
Picture
GIVE ME YOUR ROD!
Get your mind out of the gutter, folks. It ain’t that kind of beaver. This is a story about a man, a dog, a porch and a furry little beaver. Or groundhog we still aren’t certain exactly which it was. For the sake of this blog, and this letter, I am sticking with beaver.

I should preface this by explaining that I work night shifts. I have to sleep during the day or I can’t stay up all night. Makes sense, right? It does yet some folks don’t seem to understand this. They call you at all hours and ask you why you’re still asleep at noon and complain because you won’t … sorry. Got off track. This isn’t about working the graveyard shift. I’ll start again.

I should preface this by saying I work nights, and as a result I sleep during the day. Usually about 10am to 6pm or so. This works out well during the week while the husband is at work, but on the weekends and holidays not so much. He isn’t loud. No. After eighteen years of living with a night worker, he is used to it. Tony is very quiet when I am asleep during the day. So imagine my surprise when I woke to a dog barking wildly.


Anyone who knows us knows we keep cats, not dogs. When it comes to dogs we will rescue them and find them homes. We don’t keep them. At the time of this tale, we had taken in a Siberian Husky we called Dora. She was sweet, but she wasn’t a cat. Eventually we gave her to a nice yuppie couple who asked us where we had her groomed. After Tony and I giggled at this question, they left in a hurry, whisking Dora off to a surely better life than the non-groomer one we had supplied for her.

Picture
Not Dora, but pretty darned close.
Back to our story.

I woke to Dora barking furiously. I waited for Tony, who was home due to some banker’s holiday, to silence her. After almost a full minute or two of this constant yipping, I rolled out of bed to see what in the hell was wrong. I found her and Tony at the closed living room door, staring out the little window.

“What is the fuss?” I grumbled.

Tony turned to me with wide eyes and whispered, “Beaver.”

He always whispers when referencing wild animals in the house or yard. (Yes, in the house. That’s another story or two.

“There’s a beaver on the porch,” he whispered. “I tried to get rid of it but it growled at me. I think it’s mean.”


Picture
It looked more like this, a groundhog. Though it is often called a land-beaver.
Tony and Dora stepped away from the door and I stepped up to peer out of the window. Sure enough, sitting on the porch was a little beaver. Again, could’ve been a groundhog. I was half asleep, how could I know? The one thing I do remember clearly is that the beaver was holding a long thin wooden rod. It chewed on the rod and glared up at me with a gleam in its evil eyes. I stared at the rod for a moment, then turned to look at Tony.

“Why is it holding a curtain rod?” I said.

Serious as death, Tony furrowed his brow and said, “How do you think I tried to get rid of it?”

He explained that he grabbed the curtain rod—a leftover bit of DYI decorating—and prodded the beaver, trying to coax it off of the porch. The beaver wasn’t amused. It grabbed the curtain rod, yanked it out of Tony hands and proceeded to chew on it as if to defy him. Tony dashed back into the house and hid behind the door.


Let me say that again so you can absorb it. He lost a wrestling match with a beaver, and ran to hide in the house.

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This is the man I chose to spend my life with. The beaver armer.
“After all,” he said, “a beaver with a curtain rod is far more dangerous than a beaver without a curtain rod. I armed him. It’s my fault.”

I blinked a few times, spun slowly on my heel and returned to bed. I had to go to work. This was obviously a dream. Though I knew the truth was I married a crazy man, and I was very tired.

Before I went back to bed I said, “It will eventually leave on its own.”

That night when I got back up, he told me the rest of the story which included calling various not very helpful government agencies. Eventually the beaver just left on its own.

Just like I said it would.



The moral of this story is never push your rod into the hands on a strange beaver. You never know what it’s going to do.

Happy Valentine's Day.
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<![CDATA[A is for Apiary]]>Sun, 08 Feb 2015 04:08:57 GMThttp://toniabrownauthor.weebly.com/blog/a-is-for-apiaryI went and did it.
I started yet another blog challenge.
I know! I might be insane or I might just like driving people crazy with me.
In this challenge I asked folks to play for 26 weeks. Each week they are supposed to write a blog post using a different letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending on Z. That’s 26 weeks of wonderfully alphabetic based blog posts.
So, this is my A post.

A is for Apiary

I was just saying to the husband the other day that I thought it would be neat to keep honeybees. I was, of course, just flapping my gums in passing because keeping honeybees is real work. Setting up the hives. Bringing in your colony. Maintaining the hives. Feeding the honeybees. (yes, you have to feed your honeybees!) Harvesting the honey.
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Honey is just bee spit. Think about that for a moment.
Mmmmm, honey …

I admire those who keep honeybees. I have a friend that keeps them so I have seen it done first hand. Well, second hand. I mostly hear her talk about her honeybees and look at photos of her hives, and of course eat her honey.
Mmmm, honey …

 I once made some candy for her honeybees. A fondant. It should’ve been called a fundant because we had hella fun making it. Get it? Fondant. Fundant? Get it? Hello? *taps mic* Is anyone home?

Okay, bad pun. *slaps own wrist*

Back to the honeybees.
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It's me! Feeding bees the candy I made!
So when you keep honeybees you call the hive an apiary. Weird isn’t it. An apiary. Sounds like it should be full of apes. Though in truth a group of apes is called a shrewdness. A shrewdness.  Which sounds like a group of shrews. Funny enough, a group of shrews is called a colony. Which sounds like a bunch of honeybees.

Ain’t language strange?
Oh, here is something interesting about honeybees. They can recognize faces. Yup. Honeybees have the same facial recognition intelligence that humans use. They put all the little bits of faces together and stores that info for later use. Pretty cool, huh?

To make one pound of honey honeybees will have to visit two million flowers, fly over fifty five thousand miles, and will be made by about seven hundred and sixty eight honeybees. An average hive can make four hundred pounds of honey a year. That’s a lot of honey.

Mmmm, honey …
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Bees!
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A box of bees is called an apiary. Neato!
Sorry, I got distracted by honey again. Wow. Honeybees are pretty cool. They are the only insect that produces food that humans can eat. The honeybee will only travel about three miles from their hive. They are real home honeybees. Home honeybees. Like me. I have been known to travel no further than three feet from my laptop.

Honeybees. Honeybees. Honeybees.

The more I think about it, the more I wished I had the discipline to keep honeybees. But, like I said, honeybees are a lot of hard work. Like real work. I mean there is a real reward too but so much work. Work, work, work… hello girls!

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Work, work, work. Hello girls!
If you want to learn more about honeybees, here are just a few sites you can visit for just that information:

The American Beekeeping Federation http://www.abfnet.org/

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm  http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/

Beginning Beekeeping http://www.beginningbeekeeping.com/


Oh wait, did I just make my A post about Bees?
I rather think I did. HA!

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