We are actually having what we call a frog strangler here. It is raining so hard it would strangle a frog that looked up... Natives slow down a little when driving but people from other parts of the country put on flashers and either slow way down or pull off the road. Windshield wipers are overwhelmed. I am not driving today, happily, but we have been in a drought for a while, so it is very welcome.
I got up at 9. I have trouble sleeping almost every night so last night I took a pill which didn't really work till about 1AM. Slept after that.
Bob is off to the dentist. Spike, our stray cat who moved in, is asleep next to me. She has tamed quite nicely and is mostly sweet with the occasional tooth on the hand, but not enough to break the skin... She purrs so loudly I can hear it without my hearing assistance device. I got a britzgo digital thing that looks and acts like a hearing aid for 75 bucks on Amazon, on sale. You can't call it a hearing aid in America unless you pay an audiologist a lot of money to fit it. It is very simple, has 4 settings. I need the higher range (I did get tested) so I set it for that, jammed it into my ear, and as Bob said, "I can tell it's working. You haven't said what once today!" I really like it. It uses one battery a month or so.
I am also walking better doing the stuff from Pete Egoscue's Pain Free and actually reading the book as well as doing the stuff. It is a slow process: lie on the floor with your knees up on a chair for up to 45 minutes is very annoying to a person who should have been named Impatience instead of Patience. It actually works, however. I was walking on the outside of my feet, which I did not know but realized as I actually read the book instead fo just looking at the pictures and doing the exercises, with my knee twisted out and my hips not even. Now I am walking on my whole foot, knee more in line, and hips more even. I can stand up straight and walk without pain till I get tired and slump. So practice, practice, practice...
I have been on binge of WWII Mass Observation diaries. I prefer memoirs and diaries to histories. Mrs. Miles. Mrs Milburne. Nella Last. Reading The Girl from the Metropol Hotel which is also pretty interesting. I have read other Soviet memoirs. This is episodic but very good.
I am also reading Mindset by Carol S. Dweck which is inspiring me and Unf*ck Your Habitat which is my kind of organizing book. Things are more organized!

My brain

I have been unable to come up with words, forgetting stuff, and wondering if I am losing my mind, so I went to Neuropsych at Shands Hospital (University of Florida) and had myself tested. The results: I am a "cognitive superstar" to quote the report. I feel a lot of relief.
I am finally reading Pain Free by Pete Egoscue, instead of just looking up the exercises I think I need, and that is working much better too. I am walking better and more consciously so that my feet are straight, my heels hit first and I am not hitting only on the outside edge of the feet. I am also consciously using my thigh muscles instead of swinging my legs forward with the outer thigh muscle and swaying back and forth. If you watch a lot of older people, you will see this. It becomes a habit, first to relieve pain, and eventually gives pain. I am quite encouraged by this.
Happy, happy, happy.


I just went on LJ for the first time in a long while and I still like it better than FB, so why do I waste hours on FB? Gotta work on that.
I was going to play with my plants outside but it is too hot (90), so I am trying to look for messes, those piles of crap which become invisible, and work on them. I have a wonderful book, Unf*ck Your Habitat, which has helped me do a bit, rest, do another bit. My tendency is to do a huge cleaning and then nothing for 6 months. She suggest putting things away rather than down and working in small spurts. Big cleanings establish no habits, but the habits you can establish by doing small bits make a big difference. I can already see it.
Hoping for a good rest of the day.

(no subject)

I finally finished my taxes, on time, and am feeling liberated. I have been having Orthobionomy treatments at the UF Ortho center and they are helping. I lie on the table and Kalpesh Patel slides his hands under me and waits. Gradually frozen muscles wake up. It is so weird. One time I felt as if my clothing were moving on its own, but it was a muscle letting go. I am also incorporating stuff from Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde-White into my exercises and reading Younger Next Year. I am planning to be younger next year!
Bob's been writing. Son Jack is staying with us again which always makes me happy. My coreopsis are blooming in the back yard, all started from a single plant I pulled up beside the road. They grow willd here in north Florida. I adore them. I also have a blooming nasturtium.
I will finally have time to plant my tomato plants and some herbs I bought, or brought home to die as Bob says...
Feeling light and happy.

Pre Thanksgiving

I just put the apple pie in the oven at 9:30 PM so I will be up for a while... Haha!
Our local store was out of eggnog yesterday so I went down to the publix by I-75, our new spiffy store with only 2 stalls in the women's bathroom. Consideration for the customer does not seem to be a design parameter, although the staff is wonderful.
I got my eggnog so I can have my bi-yearly whiskey and eggnog (tomorrow and Christmas Day) with fresh nutmeg on top.
Got the mail, took back a book, got gas and with my Winn-Dixie card paid only $1.65 a gallon, which was nice.
I am icing my knee and planning to read.
Listened to Corelli this morning. When Bob got back from Vietnam, he was an instructor pilot at Ft. Wolters, Texas, which had a library. There was a multi record set of Corelli sonatas. I had never heard of him, but I took it out every week, I loved it so much. The CD I have now is glorious. Charms my soul.

MIssed LJ

I have been doing mostly Facebook where I get very unsettled because of the tons of veteran friends I have who think research and independant thinking mean listening to Faux News and going to right wing websites, where they tell the TRUTH that the media keeps from us...
So maybe it would be better to come back and do my thinking here. Get back to trying to be a writer...
We'll see.


Unbelievably  someone actually plagiarized Bob's memoir, Chickenhawk! Word for word in most places except when this idiot doesn't make any of the mistakes Bob did and does all the heroic things Bob's buddies did. He also adds a lot of exploits at LZ X-Ray probably lifted from some other book. You can read an article about this guy, Dennis Surrendi here http://www.nantonnews.com/…/book-tells-story-of-reluctant-c….
A fan of Bob's in Ireland read the book and contacted Bob and sent us the book. You can't buy it anymore, perhaps because this fan also wrote Surrendi to ask why he'd plagiarized Chickenhawk.
Well he and Bob took notes together. HAHAHA. That's why it was so similar.
The only notes Bob ever had were his letters home to me all of which I still have. And I read every word Bob wrote on his typewriter through 5 drafts, the day he wrote it.
I wanna go to Canada and beat the crap out of this miserable wannabe, however since I am 5'1" and 71, I don't think that is likely to happen.
By the way, you'd think with his neurosurgery and multiple PhD's they'd have saved him for something better than helicopter pilot. And you'd think the Nanton News would have fact-checked some of his crap.

So that is our excitement for the month, I hope.
My knee is doing well, but I overdid the driving and walking so I am crutching for a few days till it feels better. It already is a lot better.


So I am getting my knee arthroscopically surgeried on January 2. It went back to hurting like a sonofawhatever. They can also inject your knee with some goop made from rhino horns or rooster combs or slime or something, but I'll try that if this doesn't give me relief.
Bob had to drive me to the doctor. We spent the day there seeing the injection guy, then the surgeon, then and Xray and offer of crutches, but I have a walker. Bob says crutches are hard.
I am looking forward to feeling like I can walk in the woods.

Long time no write

I haven't been posting but I have been reading posts kind of randomly.
I tore my meniscus, maybe doing a side-stepping physical therapy exercise with a band around my knees. It put me in a wheelchair for a week, then on a walker for 2 days and then the cortizone shot kicked in and I could walk. Then I took a step up with the bad knee and now it hurts a lot again. It has slowed me down a lot.
I'm discouraged about the ABC book. We have a link for signed books on my webapge http://www.patiencepress.com/patience_press/Critters.html#2 and had Google adwords and Facebook ads aimed at searches for alphabet, abc, picture books, kids books, etc. Quite a few clicks, but no sales. You can page through the book at that link and see how fun it is. I am pretty sure I just have to do footwork and since it is self-published (after a year of looking for an agent, many of whom liked it and said it was publishable, but ABC's were a hard sell, so they didn't want to represent it). It is on Amazon, available to bookstores through Ingram, and a Kindle and an iBook which has a read aloud featuring me and a lot of funny buttons.
I've got nice reviews, below the pictures on that link, and I am aiming for more.
I also plan to do how to make them sheets for my Etsy shop (downloads), Christmas cards with the critters (also downloads), get Kids&Nature groups interested, etc. I know I need to hit stores and schools, but with the bad knee I can't really walk far or much and I am shy... So I am putting that off.
On Etsy they have a bunch of articles on how to improve your shop and one suggested having a line, so this years line in critters will be the Acorncap family, like Andy Acorncap in the book, but none identical, and the Christmas owl or angel wreaths that sold so well last year. All I have to do is make them, hahaha. Well I have 10 made... It is hard to get upstairs to my office to make them, but soon I should be able to.
I have been taking this time to edit two books I am working on for two friends. Bill Reeder was the last Army helicopter pilot captured in Vietnam. He had to walk to Hanoi from Ben Het in S Vietnam with an infected leg and a broken back. It is a hell of a story. Bob (whose Vietnam memoir Chickenhawk is famous and has sold a million copies worldwide and is still in print after more than 25 years) and I both urged him to write a memoir after we heard his story. I have edited the first part twice, and now the new part is much better written. No more sentences starting with "it was," on every page. More showing, less telling. I feel like we taught him to write. I am also editing my friend Kaimei's story of being sent to the countryside during Mao's cultural revolution. Reading about that period and those customs and attitudes is amazing and she finds my editing helpful, which makes me happy. They pay me, too, which is really handy.
My knee has been so painful that I think I am going to ask for the laparoscopic knee surgery instead of sticking with the shots.

Getting it together

I am slow to get things done, so I am pretty happy to say I got together a selection of reviews for Woodland Litter Critters ABC and Bob is making a flyer to mail to bookstores and libraries. I also managed to put the Kirkus review and several others on Amazon.
It is like herding cats to get my mind to focus on this.
We are having a book signing at Books N Things in Norway, Maine, on Saturday the 13th from 1-3. On Monday the 15, the power company comes to see where we want to hook up the power to our cabin, instead of running a huge extension cord from the other cabin like we have for years. After that we go home to the north woods of Florida. I feel hot already.

If you are interested, you can page through Woodland Litter Critters ABC at http://www.patiencepress.com/patience_press/Critters.html.

Some good reviews:
 “A host of strange and delightful creatures made from seeds, leaves and vines populates the pages of this first children’s book by the Masons ... A book that will engage young readers with its unusual creatures and may inspire them to create their own.” Kirkus Reviews

“Woodland Litter Critters is a distinctive children's ABC picturebook. It is important to note that Woodland Litter Critters does not condone actual littering; instead, the title refers to whimsical sculptures of imaginary animals, crafted with loving care from acorns, twigs, pine cones, etc. collected from the forest floor. Each letter of the alphabet is paired with the names of some insect-like crafted creations, displayed in full-color photographs and poses. "Hieronymus and Harriet Hickorynut showed up together. The Jessamine boys [Jock Jake Jack] flew to a stump." A unique and captivating work of art in more ways than one, Woodland Litter Critters is a wonderful ABC book for parents and children to share--and perhaps inspiration to create one's own critter art projects from ordinary woodland litter!" Midwest Book Review, 09 Sep. 2014

“Woodland Litter Critters ABC, written by Patience Mason and published by her own Patience Press, only came to my attention in the last month. Oh, how I wish I would've had this when my littles were just learning their ABCs! Many ABC books are loud and chaotic. These little litter critters though have such charm and cleverness that you can't wait to turn the page to see which critter will represent the next letter!
“From Andy Acorncap and the Bird babies to Zippy the Zygodactyl, each page contains an amazing litter critter to examine and a sweet or humorous bit of text to accompany. The critters alone are stunning in their detail and ingenuity. And the text is a nice accompaniment but doesn't overshadow the little critters. My personal favorite page is probably the hooty owls of the O page...”
--Joy, The Book Children

“I found a “wonder”-full book filled with delightful text and images that spread over the page playfully ignoring margins and scale to create a sense of a maker’s kind of book. Andy Acorncap ambles into the rhyme scheme that develops between the facing pages which puts Woodland Litter Critters ABC right into that One Book Four Hands place (a place reserved for the kind of book that should be shared between an older reader and a younger reader to hit those rhymes and rhythms while pointing to the images purposefully before turning the page). Within the twenty-six explorations of the building blocks of our language are devices to share and to talk about. “Bird babies bee-bop behind,” “Elvis and Elvira Evergreen strike an elegant pose,” and we meet the “vines”: Vicky, Vinnie, and Volt.
What I share with students in Room 407 is that I often judge an ABC book by how it treats the letter X. And Patience does not disappoint from a wonder sense. On this page, we meet Xerxes the Xenos his one-eyed Xat. Later, in the end pages of the book, we learn that Xenos means “alien” in Greek. Imagine, later in a students reading, when they encounter the word, xenophobia, within a text and remember Xenos.
In the Notes section of this engaging ABC book, Patience offers ... where many of the elements of her “critters” come. That many of these items are commonly found in woodland areas and backyards is encouraging to this readers “maker” sense. It means that I can make critters too.” Paul Hankins, Wonderopolis

“As the day slowly winds down, various woodland creatures—litter critters—watch the sun set. From Andy Acorncap to Zippy the Zygodactyl, various critters from A to Z teach young children their ABC’s and a little about creativity. The author created each of these critters from various pieces of the woods that fall upon the ground, hence “litter” critters. Each is remarkably lifelike in appearance.
“These critters are cute with their twig arms and legs, acorn bodies, and various decorations. Most of us walk over these cast-off pieces, never thinking at all about the possibility these could be critters. Patience Mason doesn’t think this way. Instead of stepping on the twigs and nuts, leaves and scattered seeds, she sees hiding woodland critters waiting for her to pick them up and give them life once more. These critters look real. Patience has done a remarkable job putting each together with imagination and creativity. Any child could do the same, though not at her level of artistry. Yet, with a little help, kids could create all sorts of litter critters never before seen. There is no artificial coloring added to any critter. Critters like Mike Magnoliacone and Greta the Giant Gnat, get their color naturally—Mike from magnolia cone seeds; Greta from sparkleberry leaves.
“An unusual feature in Woodland Litter Critters ABC, aside from all the critters, is the ABC’s are not only in upper case, as in every other ABC book, but also in lower case. Children can walk into their first day of school knowing both and be ahead of the class.
“I think kids will enjoy looking at each critter, trying to find them in subsequent pages, and possibly making their own. In fact, I cannot imagine any child who reads Woodland Litter Critters ABC not wanting to make its own critters. For families that have a creative day, this is an ideal book. The possibilities are endless. While this is not a craft book, there are certainly many ideas represented for kids to follow or mix up. Woodland Litter Critters ABC is the most imaginative and creative ABC book I have ever seen. The pages are not thick as in most ABC books, but torn pages are worth the risk to introduce your child to the likes of Ulysses Unicorn and Elvis Evergreen (with wife Elvira).” Sue Morris, Kid Lit Reviews.