Fluff ‘N Stuff

In the lobby of my building we have a small bookcase where folks leave books and magazines they no longer want and anyone can take anything they care to. I have periodically left books and on rare occasions picked up a few.

Last night, after checking my mailbox I decided to browse the latest offerings and found “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox  and The Horse” by Charlie Mackesy.  I snatched that up so quick and hustled to the elevators like a thief. I could not imagine that someone left this!

I hadn’t read it before but I have seen the movie which was the 2023 Oscar winner for Best Animated Short.

“You watched an animated movie, Grace?”  Yes, I know, I have often said I don’t care for animated movies (aside from Coraline) but on one of those sleepless, stressed out nights when my husband was in the nursing home, and I needed something to distract me. I found the movie on Apple+.  (This is the trailer for the movie).

It is only 34 minutes long but it is 34 minutes well spent that will touch your heart.

The movie is the book word-for-word and visually the movie is SO captivating. I could gush for days. But I’ll stop here. Treat yourself to the movie, especially if, perhaps, you are not having a great day and you need something beautiful to look at and need to hear something to warm your heart.

Today’s Shower Song – Billy Joel – Piano Man

As Jack Benny would say…

This morning’s newspaper was, how should I say, amusing.

You may (or may not) recall the story of the 6 year old boy in Newport News, VA who shot his teacher. There was an update in this morning’s paper with the most interesting part being the response of the various entities being sued by the teacher, and I quote “Last month, the defendants in Zwerner’s lawsuit filed a motion to have it dismissed. The Newport News School Board, the former superintendent of Newport News schools and Richneck’s former principal argued Zwerner’s claims are covered under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act and should be considered a workplace injury.” (Emphasis added.)

Oho! Getting shot is now a workplace injury in schools. For teachers? Seriously? How many people snorted derisively when they came across that sentence? Who typed the legal document, and did they type it under duress?

(An aside: When I worked as a legal proofreader, we on the night staff refused, on moral and ethical grounds, to work on a particular case the firm was defending.  And yes, we got away with it with no reprisals from management.)

Is anyone seriously wondering why there is a teacher shortage with few new victims candidates and so many leaving the profession altogether.  If people wanted to risk their lives every day at work they would join the military or become police officers or firefighters.

I’m just gobsmacked with that response. Workers Compensation Act my ass.

Today was an expanded edition of the Washington Post with several special sections that elicited a huge MEH from me and sympathy for the trees that died in service to them.

One is called The Weed Report and no, it’s not about gardening.  Should you be a devotee of cannabis in any form and are in need of such while in this area, you should check this out. It covers what to buy, where to buy and the legalities.

The other special section is A Guide to the AI Boom. Am I the only person who doesn’t care? I’m sure there is useful information in there but I have no use for it. Are Siri and Alexa considered AI? And BTW – what are they used for? Seriously, I do not know what they are used for or even how to use them. Not that I’m a luddite, just that I don’t talk to inanimate objects – my husband notwithstanding.

I think that to access Siri you have to say “Hey, Siri”. Now right there I am put off. I detest, DETEST, the use of “Hey” in conversation. It is no way to address a person. I can’t abide it. (Alright, alright, – Siri is NOT a person. I get that still – I see no use for the word Hey. Merriam-Webster does tho – “used especially to call attention or to express interrogation, surprise, or exultation“)

And what the hell is Alexa? You have to buy some sort of gadget to access it? What do you use it for? And Why?

I realize I have overused the word And. I care only a little about that. Were I writing for something other than my own mental health I would have crafted this rant/tirade more carefully.

Also too – despite getting little sleep last night and being up at o’dark thirty for a grocery delivery, I managed to make it a bit of a spa day for me – facial, hair cut, eyebrow shaping etc. I’m tired but pretty.

the obituaries become A Trip Down Memory Lane

I read the obituaries every day just to see how I’m stacking up on the ‘age at death’  statistical charts. Sometimes I read about people who led interesting lives and should have been well known, and sometimes I read about ordinary people who had led lovely lives, and I think, it would have been nice to have met them.

When it comes to famous people dying, those of my generation, or just a bit older, the memories come flooding back. I get to relive good times. I get to ‘remember when’. I get to laugh at my own antics that may have been influenced by the career of the famous person.  Sometimes those laughs may be rueful because – ‘What the hell was I thinking?’  is often my reaction in retrospect.

Mary Quant, who died this week at age 93, reminded me of the fabulous clothes we wore thanks to her.

Mini-skirts! I wore the miniest of the minis.  The trick to minis, back in those days was to have everything match – your tights, your undies, would be the same color as your skirt or bottom half of your dress. Sometimes you even matched your shoes so there was just one long block of color from your waist to your toes.

And then there were hot pants – showed a lot of leg but actually were a bit more demure than minis because they were pants and there was no danger of private bits going on show.

I wish I had more photos of me when I was young and good looking but here is one that was taken with the camera we used to  make ID badges – That’s me rockin’ my hot pants – Hot Damn!

Quick Follow-Up

The other day I mentioned that if you are a frequent Amazon shopper you can earn credits for digital items – ebooks, music, etc.  if you choose Amazon Day Delivery.

Here’s what that looks like when you are checking out –

Because I don’t need these items quickly I chose “Amazon Day Delivery” which is always Monday where I live. As you can see I will receive $1.50 in credit for digital items – which for me means an ebook.

Since I’m shopping anyway might as well get a little something extra.

Books I’m Glad I didn’t buy –

I haven’t done all that much reading so far this year because I have been to exhausted caring for my husband. The books I borrowed from the library were mostly DNF – and they were:

Steeped to Death – Gretchen Rue – I don’t really remember much about this at all. I think maybe I finished it? Pure fluff.

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good – Helene Tursten – No memory of this at all,  I didn’t finish it and it got automatically returned but somewhere in my memory is the notion that I need to take it out again and finish it.

Lucy By the Sea – Elizabeth Strout – I think I wrote about this somewhere – dreadful book. So disappointed in Strout.  So much so that I have removed all but 3 of her books from my shelves. She has been someone who I always bought – in hardcover no less. Well, no more.

The Cloisters – Katy Hayes – I took this book out based on the location. The Cloisters is one of my favorite museums. The book was tedious. I read reviews after the fact and I should have read them before. All were in agreement – tedious book.

A World of Curiosities – Louise Penny – This is an Inspector Gamache book – 18th in the series. I got tired of these books about 8 or so ago. She publishes one a year and I always pre-ordered them.  I stopped buying them 5 years ago and dumped the ones I had. I get them from the library now and this last one took 3 tries to get through and I skimmed a lot. Ho-Hum.

I just looked at the library book list and it’s too long to continue to write about. One book I took out I had already read, and forgotten I had, I skimmed that. Two books I think I got two chapters in and said “Why, God?”.  Two went on and on and while vaguely interesting I just couldn’t care enough to finish them.

One – just one – I finished and enjoyed – “The Dog of the North” by Elizabeth McKenzie. It’s a sweet book – filled with likable people, even crazy old Grandma.

Over lunch I was dragging my brain through The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Oh no, please no. I sent it back to the library, let some other poor sucker have this.

There were more books – all either from Kindle Unlimited or from one of the free book sites – how many? Don’t know, I don’t keep track. Did I finish them all? Again – don’t know. I can tell you they were of no literary value – just fluff and nonsense. Not great stories and not great writing.

BTW – My contention that no book needs to be more than 350 pages was backed up by a recent article in The Washington Post Book World – where a number of well known authors were asked what they disliked in current novels and they all agreed it was books that were overly long – the 350 page limit was mentioned by a few. Sorry – but 400+ pages of fluff and nonsense? No thanks.

Whereas one of the most brilliant books I’ve read in the past 2 years is Matrix by Lauren Groff and it is only 256 pages.


I go through intense reading periods and not so intense. My local library, from whom I borrow ebooks, spends their budget on a lot of what I consider crap. I am also cheap frugal when it comes to buying books that I know I will only read once, if that. My book choice track record lately has been mostly in the DNF category.

I have found a few sites that offer FREE ebooks – mostly in the fluff category, a few have been to my liking and for the price (free) – why not? So here’s the list of free/low cost ebook sites –

Freebooksy: You subscribe, pick your genre and get an email everyday with a selection of free books as well as a ‘deal of the day’ – a more mainstream author at a bargain price.

BookBub: This site offers ‘bargains’ in it’s daily email but on the site itself there is a ‘free’ category and you can always browse there.

BookPerk: Is operated by the publisher Harper Collins – it is also a ‘deals’ offering.

Prolific Works: Mostly fluff here but FREE. You download the books from the site in epub format and they can be saved to Nook, Kobo, Apple iBooks or Google Play books.

Books from all of these sites can be ‘purchased’ from a variety of sites and downloaded to a variety of apps. Not all books are available from all sources but Amazon, KIndle, Apple Books. Kobo, Google Play and Indiebooks are covered.

Also these sites ask you to choose a genre so if sci-fi isn’t your thing and mysteries are – you’ll be offered what you like.

For those of you who are dedicated Amazon shoppers did you know that if you choose “Amazon Delivery Day” you will receive a digital credit, which you can apply to buying books, music, etc.? My Amazon Delivery Day is Monday, so if I don’t need an item in a hurry that’s what I choose – been buying up a storm lately with those credits – books my husband likes and which he usually buys from Barnes&Noble. I’m saving a bit a money and I like that.

And those are my helpful hints for today – Enjoy!


Damn but I’m good – Sometimes

On Wednesday I spoke about my thinking in quatrains, I went searching in the archives for a previous post when I wrote on that subject and came across a post with the poem you see below, originally titled ‘WIP’ and finally ‘Angry’.

It is effin’ brilliant! I wrote that poem in one fell swoop. No hesitation, no hard thinking and no revision – it came out of my brain just as you see it. I usually handwrite poems, edit them and then type them up, but this I don’t even have in my notebook – I thought it and immediately typed it out. The post was titled “WIP” (work in progress) because I felt there was one line that needed work. When I look at it now I can’t identify that one line.


I am angry
And in my anger

A woman, grown old
but a child still,
in shadows and silent.

I want to be loud
Shout out
Hear me, See me.

But I don’t exist
as me. Just
a place for you

To lay your life.
To have me be
a sponge, a sop

For all you are
And have been.

© Grace St. Clair
June 8, 2021

Effin’ brilliant that is, if I have to say so myself.

But mostly when I write poetry I start from an instant couplet or quatrain – something that popped into my head and then I WORK for the rest. Sometimes I start with a concept or an idea – as when I write a poem for a specific reason – my humorous poems start that way.

A recent brilliant poem (in my opinion) was inspired by a song – I actually turned it into a graphic –

This one was WORKED as you can see here – a poem in the making

Poetry is not easy to write. Aside from the rare occasion when lightning strikes, it is writing, re-writing, editing. Making it make sense. Making the idea, the concept, the metaphors, the rhythm or rhyme, consistent and cohesive.  But it is the one format that my thoughts go to first, instinctively.