An art car at Cub. (I love my life.)


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The owner came out of Cub to find me circling her vehicle, taking snapshots.

I told her I liked her car, and that I thought it was very personal.

She told me:

“A while ago, I decided to get rid of almost all of my stuff. I wanted to have only what I really needed. I was ruthless with most things, but I kept one box full of mementos.

“For a time, I lived in this car, and I was crowed, but I kept my box of keepsakes in the trunk. One day, when I was staying at a wayside rest, I got the idea to make a peace sign on the hood with my marbles.

“Now all of the things I couldn’t get rid of are attached to the car.

“Eventually the car will die and I’ll have to junk it. That’s how I’ll let go of these final things.”

She also told me she’s spent a fortune on adhesives, and that something called ‘Marine Goop’ is the best.

I’m looking at my trusty Toyota Tacoma with speculation.


Blooming premonition & inspiration.


Ogre and I have been married for 8,632 days, as of this writing. When a pair has been together that long, strange, magical things can happen … even if one of the pair doesn’t believe in strange, magical things. (*Looking at you, Husband.*)

Things like this:

flower premonition (2)


Those flowers are called Peruvian lilies, aka Alstromeria. They are inexpensive around here, and readily available in floral shops and grocery stores. Usually, there’s nothing particularly magical about them. If you look closely at the bouquet, you’ll notice a few branches of pussy willow tucked among the blooms. It’s spring, so those aren’t difficult to come by, here in Minnesota, either.

How is this bouquet magical then?  Let me tell you its story.

When I was working at the nature center on Friday, one of the naturalists cut a posy of pussy willows branches for me. (Apparently the bush needed pruning.) When she brought them to me, a stray thought popped into my mind, “These will look pretty with the flowers Ogre is bringing home tonight.

It was an odd thought. I don’t get flowers every Friday, or every holiday weekend, or every Easter. In truth, I don’t get flowers with any sort of predictable regularity, nor do I get them particularly often. I mean, he does do it a couple time a year, I suppose, but it’s not a big thing for us.

I noted the thought, brushed it aside, then got on with my critter tending.

After finishing up at the nature center, I did some other errands and got home later than usual … late enough so that Ogre had beaten me there. He greeted me with a kiss, took some stuff out of my hands, and said,” Oh. I got you some flowers.”

I think that’s pretty cool.

I did confide what I’d thought earlier, btw, and reminded him that this kind of thing is happening between us more and more often. He thinks I’m cute. He always thinks I’m cute.

Oh! Now that I look at this snapshot, I’m realizing the flowers seem to have another magical property. The cat hasn’t chewed on them, or knocked over the vase, as we both expected him to do. (Perhaps that behavior pattern explains why I don’t get flowers more often. Ogre is certainly inclined to spoil me, but the cat has been terrorizing living with us for about thirteen years, which has made it difficult when it comes to flowers. And THAT probably explains why I do get *pharmaceutical-grade chocolate on a regular basis. The cat has no interest in that.)

*Pharmaceutical-grade is Ogre’s term for dark, intense chocolate.


If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that we’re trying very hard to put ourselves in a position where we can move permanently to North Carolina. Our daughter moved there almost six years ago ans we want to reunite our family in a sane climate. (Long-term readers also know that I despise Minnesota winters.)

Right now, I’m recovering from this last season pretty well. It was a mild winter here, and spring is springing.  All the ice is melted off the pond out back. We got our first thunderstorm of the year just last week. On the warmest days, the birds actually sing a little as they bask in the sun. A few blades of grass are turning green.

How much more spring-like could it be? I mean, here’s the forecast–with NO below-freezing temps in sight:

weather forcast


Well, on Easter Sunday, my daughter sent me some snapshots of what she was seeing a she strolled around, texting me.

Here’s how much more spring-like it could be for us:

We gotta get out of this state.

Thought I’d share a quick video from today, Thursday April 9th.

Not long after I put the camera away, I tried to navigate one of the hills around here and failed. I’m going to go put an ice pack on my shoulder now. Bleepin’ winter.

The Paranormal Hotel: Holidays Edition

'won't be long now' by Robert S. Donovan

The hotel is messing with my spidey-senses, I think. I had the strangest experience on Christmas Eve. I was in the laundry room and it was coming up on midnight. I was folding some towels and glancing up at the the lobby monitor every few seconds.

I caught a flash of motion, and the impression of a man, just as he strode out of the camera’s line of sight. He had disappeared from my view into the hallway that leads past the vending machines, then the laundry room, on the way to the elevator. Only two details registered. He was wearing faded jeans and work boots. (‘Not exactly an uncommon look around here.) Still, that glimpse of scuffed leather boots made my heartbeat stutter. A cold urge to slam the laundry room door shut sluiced through me. Instead of lunging for the door, though, I froze.

Of course he didn’t come in. In fact I didn’t see so much as a shadow from his passing.

Considering the fact that I hadn’t batted an eye earlier in the evening, when seven rough-looking giants (at least a couple of whom were sporting teardrop tattoos) had invaded my lobby, I find my reaction to this guy’s boots odd. (Is this a Stephen King thing? As I write it up, I am reminded of The Walking Dude.)


My men-folk and I made fudge in four different flavors so we could put together holiday prize-packages for some of the residents at the hotel. One long-timer, Willard, was too appreciative. When I gave him his box of fudge on Christmas night, he enveloped me in a breath-stealing hug, then said he hadn’t been given a Christmas gift in years.

Willard is a big guy … well over six foot, and probably 275 pounds or so. I don’t know how old he is, but I get the impression he and his wife had their son late in life. (The wife died a couple of years ago, after having a major heart attack in the hotel. Willard stayed on, but he did request to be moved to a different room.) The boy is near the age of my son. (I know this because they got their drivers licenses at about the same time.)

Willard is friendly, polite, and pleasant to be around. When I pass his room on my rounds, I often hear him singing Motown songs in a gorgeous baritone. After I gave him the fudge, while he was waiting for the elevator to arrive, he was singing Jingle Bells.

On the 27th, when I worked again, I found out Willard had been taken away by ambulance on the night of the 26th.

I was just getting the news from my manager when Willard and his son returned from the hospital. Willard  came to the desk to say he’d “just had a little heart event thing.” His son stood back from us, but volunteered that his dad’s blood sugar had been way too high as well  which wasn’t surprising, considering how much fudge he’d been eating.

Yes, I do feel like I tried to kill one of my favorites.


Last night, on New Year’s Eve, I discovered a party of folks smoking A LOT of pot in one of our non-smoking rooms. (Another guest complained about the scent in the hallway.) When I got up there, I sniffed my way to the offending room and knocked.

A well-dressed young guy with bloodshot eyes opened the door just a crack. I told him I had to come in to find out if there was smoking going on. He reluctantly allowed me to enter. The air in the room was visibly swirling in the eddies created by the breathing of the ten or twelve people in there. There wasn’t a joint or bong in sight, and everyone in the room had perfect posture and folded hands. They were the guiltiest-looking bunch of 20-somethings I’ve ever seen.

At the time, I was just stunned that they had requested a non-smoking room when they checked in. I made them pay for a-whole-nother room, on one of the smoking floors, but I didn’t kick them out. I left a note for my boss, telling him what I’d done. I was nervous he’d be mad that I hadn’t rousted them completely, but I did not want to be responsible for any of them driving around, stoned beyond reason, on New Year’s Eve.

Today I got a text from my boss, telling me he was pleased with my decision.

Such is life at:


photo credit: Robert S. Donovan Licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)
It has been cropped to square, retaining watermark.
NOTE: This post may have been re-titled and edited from its original form,
for inclusion on The Paranormal Hotel homepage.