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Thursday, September 20, 2018




Marvelous musings and the mind-boggling journey of marketing a book

ONE COOL CAT  

Ozzie isn't crazy about his vest. 

Maybe he's not fond of the fabric.  Maybe he's not crazy about the pattern.  Maybe he doesn't like the color red.  Wait, are cats color blind?

"Want to try on your vest, Ozzie?"
Ozzie skedaddles away.

I'm feeling a little discouraged.

My husband Jim asks, "Who takes a cat outside on a leash?"
Well, that would be me.  If dogs wear vests, why not cats?

On cold days, the lean, short-haired breeds like the Greyhound, the Chihuahua, the French Bulldog, and many terriers and pinschers have trouble staying warm outside and benefit from wearing a vest.  According to www.orvis.com, "Dogs whose bellies are close to the ground—the Dachshund and the Corgi, for example—need extra protection from frigid sidewalks and snowy paths. Toy and small breeds, light-bodied breeds, and breeds with very short or thin hair (even if it’s long by nature but you keep it clipped close) need the extra warmth of a dog jacket or sweater outside in the cold."

Though most cats don't need a vest to stay warm, a vest would keep an indoor cat safe outside. The decision is up to the owner and of course, the pet's cattitude.  Our vet said that getting Ozzie outside for some fresh air would be good for him because he is an indoor cat.  That's all I needed to hear.  And since I need to take breaks from writing and marketing Maggie, being outside would be good for me, too.

The plan:
Day 1 - 3:  Let Ozzie sniff the vest and get familiar seeing it
Day 4 - 6:  Let him wear the vest around the house
Day 7:  Let him enjoy the great outdoors

I placed the vest next to Ozzie's food bowl.  He didn't tear it to shreds.  He didn't pee on it.  I took this as a good sign.

But the first time he wore it outside, he hugged the back door, crouched, and slunk around.  This was not a good sign.

And yet, he didn't growl or cry.  So, here we had another good sign.

I wasn't going to torture him with a lengthy stay, just long enough to sniff plants and experience bugs and birds.  To feel sunshine on his back.  To feel grass beneath his paws.

Ozzie tolerated  seemed to like the grand outdoors, but being out in the backyard wasn't always the cat's meow.

On one occasion with Ozzie outside and all-vested up, Putt-Putt (our loving stray) wandered by.  I hadn't expected he'd show up.  His schedule is fairly random, unless it's breakfast or dinner time.

When Putty comes to visit, I leave the deck door open and the screen locked, so that he and Ozzie can enjoy each other's company.  Since they are buds, I allowed Putt-Putt to get close to Ozzie.  But then clear out of the blue, Putt-Putt bit Ozzie.

Ozzie screamed.  My interpretation:  get me the hell out of this vest and back inside where I belong.

I felt terrible for Ozzie and never expected Putty to bite him.  But Putty's home is outside and he felt inclined to defend it.

I gave Ozzie a break from going outside after Putty's attack.  Then after a while, I tried again.

My husband snickered.  The look on his face said are you really going to do that to him?

Yes, yes I am.  I wasn't going to give up.

It's been several months and Ozzie is still not crazy about his vest.  Though, he is a good sport.  He humors me.  We hang out on the front porch away from Putty's backyard space for a good five minutes!  We take in the sunshine and enjoy the great outdoors. Or, at least one of us does.

Trying new things takes time. Ain't that right, Ozzie?  He may not believe it now, but one of these days Ozzie will know he is one purrty cool cat.


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Thursday, September 6, 2018











Marvelous musings and the mind-boggling journey of marketing a book


I WILL NEVER BE A BALLERINA

When I was young, I loved ballet.  I couldn't get enough of the pink tights, the black leotard and the leather ballet slippers.

Children typically start ballet training between the ages of five and eight, and though I began at an early age and took for three years, I wasn't able to continue.  Students were expected to take tap before continuing to the next level of ballet.

Even at the age of eight I knew tap dancing was not for me.  I put my foot down.  I would not take tap. I would not take tap.  I WOULD NOT TAKE TAP.  And so, unwilling to take a class I had no interest in, I had to give up something that I dearly loved. 

I would never be a ballerina. 

Even if I had gone on to learn tap, ballet classes would have been too expensive.  My father worked two jobs.  He had five mouths to feed.  He only had to look at my overbite to know the future foretold the footing of orthodontic bills.  Paying for lessons would have been a huge financial strain.

I would never be a ballerina.

I would never have the opportunity to learn pointe and partnering.  That's just the way it was.  Instead, I was fortunate to do a little horseback riding and play softball and basketball.

And then much, much later in life, in my mid-twenties, I wanted to find a way to stay in shape, so I decided to try some adult ballet classes.  Once I learned the French vocabulary, I felt more confident to continue.

Over the years I tried different dance studios, trying to find the balance between a serious class and a class that would be fun.  Through persistence and luck, I found the place that I love—Dancers' Studio in Lexington, Kentucky.

We begin each class at the barre.  This is where we perform exercises to stretch the entire body.  We might do this combination:  tondue, coupe de pied, relevé.

That means begin in a ballet first position, extend a straight leg with pointed toes, return to first position, slide a curved foot to the ankle, and balance on the other leg.  The exercise is performed in first, second and fifth position.  Then the entire exercise switches sides so both the right foot and the left foot are used.  After eight different barre exercises, we're ready for center work.

Center work is composed of adagio and allegro movements.  We begin with adagio where combinations of ballet steps are pieced together and danced slowly in order to develop balance, control and extension without the use of the barre.  Then we move on to allegro—the faster, livelier steps which include jumps and turns.  Class ends with a révérence, a bow to thank the teacher.

I've been doing ballet for many years now and I still can't get enough of the pink tights, black leotard and leather slippers.  It is a good workout for the mind and the body.  Dancers must remember all of the steps of a combination and perform them correctly.

As I conclude this blog post, I am reminded about the similarities between ballet and writing.  Both require practice and discipline.  Even marketing a book is like ballet.  It takes an incredible amount of time and effort to be successful. 

However, even with practice, discipline, time, and effort chances are I will never be a best-selling author.

But, still I write.

And I will never dance a pas de deux or wear a dancer's tutu.  I don't have physical stamina and impeccable balance.  I'm not as flexible and coordinated like a professional dancer.

I will never be a ballerina.

But still I dance.

The Maggie Project is published twice a month. 

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