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  • Writer's picturekiehart

I hurt my dog. It was an accident, but nevertheless, I hurt Suzy. I was clipping her onto the seatbelt, which we always do when she’s riding in the back seat. I tugged her harness, and she squealed a tiny bit. Her back leg was caught in the seatbelt. I clipped her in and patted her on the head. But after the car ride, when Eileen unhooked her to let her out, Suzy jumped out of the back seat onto the concrete and yelped. It was a terrible yelp!


She lay down for a bit, and after some encouragement, she got up and entered the house. However, she had trouble with the two steps leading into the house. Then, rather than her usual bouncy walk to the kitchen, she lay halfway there with her head down, ears down and tail between her legs…

She ignored me. OMG, I felt awful. I knelt and rubbed her legs and back, nothing seemed out of place. But what do I know? I cried.


I coaxed her into the living room on her blanket there (yes, she has a soft place to lay in almost every room in the house) and poured some love on her. I sat beside her, talking softly, and did a little brushing, but SHE WOULDN’T LOOK AT ME!


Later, she fell asleep on the blanket next to my desk, and we kept an eye on her all day and gave her a baby aspirin. By supper time, she was walking around almost normal, and then we took our evening walk, and she was almost her old self.

But I was sick to my stomach all day.


She forgave me by nightfall, and today, she came to me for her belly rub and love pats. Even though Suzy sometimes acts like a puppy, I must remember that she’s an old gal. I have to be more careful and go slower. Today is a new day.


And that’s why I don’t have a May 1st post.


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I have a long TBR (to be read) list and most years I can go through some 30 books. More recently, however, I’ve been having issues with my vision.


      Turns out the tendon in my right eye is ‘stretched’ and a recent eyelid lift and muscle tightening procedure –once all is healed –should correct it.  I hope to be back to reading at least one book per week by May.


     That said, this past winter season was spent listening to audiobooks and watching television.


     I’ve become quite fond of audiobooks. “Killers of the Flower Moon,” kept me occupied during the first day of post-surgery recovery, when keeping an ice pack on my eyes was crucial. The book was so heavily detailed with names and events that it lulled me to sleep. I am sure the book is a great read, but as far as ‘a great listen,’ it’s not. I blame it on the anesthesia.

I revisited Angela's Ashes, this time via audiobook. It was great when I read it back in 1998, and a treat to hear Frank McCourt tell his story.


     John Grisham’s audiobooks  (The Judges List, Sycamore Row, and The Guardian) kept me alert enough to follow the story arcs and were perfect for passing the hours in the day when I needed to keep my eyes closed. New to me was the series Grisham has for young readers. The protagonist is a boy version of Nancy Drew. The Scandal was an enjoyable four-hour listen with reader Richard Thomas (yes, John Boy of the Waltons).


     Years ago I discovered Ruth Ware’s books and this past winter, I checked out her audios (read by Imogene Church). I was hooked and listened to every audiobook our library contained. I like Ware’s story arcs and the ever-present twist. Church’s calm British melodic voice is second to none in my limited audiobook experience.


     I turn on the television for the sheer variety of movies and television series and I rarely doze during a show. This winter's binges include:

“Six Feet Under”—its finale is certainly the best EVER in my opinion.

“Resident Alien” (lots of fun)

Two psychological thrillers: “You” (a four-season thriller) and “What/If” (starring Renee Zellweger). 

For a time travel adventure, try “Travelers” (3 seasons) it stars Eric McCormack (Will from the “Will and Grace” sitcom)


     I binged on Wentworth, an Australian series. Could not get enough of this women’s prison series. At times, a bit cringeworthy, the characters were convincingly real.


     And then there was “Ozark” – who doesn’t enjoy watching Jason Bateman?

“The Woman King” with Viola Davis was superb!

“The Crown” found its way to my television screen; who can pass up another look at the Royals?


     If a multi-episode series isn’t your thing, try these two-hour +/- movies: “All the Light We Cannot See,” “Who is Erin Carter,” “Lou,” “Maestro,” “Emily the Criminal,” “Falling for Figaro,” “The Postcard Killings,” and “Good Grief.” I am still trying to figure out whether or not “Leave the World Behind” was worth the time. On that note, there were dozens of shows and books I started but didn’t finish.


     Now that we are into Spring, television watching (not book reading) is on hold until the rains start again in November. I’m looking forward to day trips to Westport beaches, hikes near and far, visiting local farmers markets, and outdoor events with my wife, Eileen, and our dog, Suzy. I'll be present at several book-selling events ( for a list of events, go to the Calico Lane tab ).




Did you know that only five to ten percent of readers will post a review or give a star rating for a book they’ve read?

If you read Calico Lane, please take a moment to post an honest review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. It matters not that you purchased the book. If you’ve received a free copy from a contest, or if you’ve read a library copy, or if you borrowed your friend’s copy, all reviews count!

Reviews help other readers decide which books they’ll add to their To Be Read List. Whether it’s a paragraph or a one-line comment, or by simply checking a star, every review and every rating counts! Help Calico Lane surpass 100 reviews! If you’d like to post a review, but don’t know how, click here for instructions:

Happy Spring!


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  • Writer's picturekiehart

It may have been Walt Disney who said, “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!”

I passed my 71st birthday last month and attempted to wrap my head around the aging process. As children, the ‘oldest’ people we knew were probably grandparents, and we never imagined ourselves in their 'sensible' shoes. We thought most of the teachers in elementary school were old, because we were so young. By the time we entered college, many of the professors were closer to our age, and all of a sudden, we transitioned into adulthood.

Remember when we believed we were invincible? We played sports unaware of how our knees and spine would react in the future. By the time we approached middle age, the years passed at a faster rate. Sooner than we thought, retirement was around the corner. At my 52nd High School reunion last fall, we compared replaced knees, heart valves and stints, and arthritic digits. Very few seventy-year-old classmates were unscathed.

Adulting is not for wimps. The responsibilities are endless and with age comes facing mortality and realizing how short life truly is. I’ve attended the funerals of several friends who passed at much earlier ages -- Annie, for one, died at 55 years old. That is difficult to comprehend, mostly because it seems as though it happened recently rather than in the past.

February was jam-packed with sad news: a classmate died, a relative was diagnosed with a serious health issue, and a dear friend suffered a serious stroke. Many friends and acquaintances are battling health issues. For the most part, I’ve dodged many bullets and I don't take that for granted--not for a minute. I realize that the next health issue could be the beginning of the end. With more days and years behind me than in front, I think about what it is that I can do to make 2024 -- my 71st year -- the best.

Live in love, not hate.

Live in hope, not anger.

Live in truth, not rumor.

Live in kindness, not rudeness.

Live in generosity, not selfishness.

Live in peace, not frustration.

Live in joy, not doubt.

Live in movement, not fear.

Live in love.

~ Rachel Marie Martin



A reminder: If you read Calico Lane, please take a moment to post an honest review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Reviews help other readers decide which books they’ll add to their To Be Read List. Whether it’s a paragraph or a one-line comment (don't overthink it, a review does not have to be a book report). OR simply check a star to rate the book. Every review and every rating counts! Help Calico Lane reach 100 reviews! If you’d like to post, but don’t know how, here are some instructions:

From my website, the short story, Listen the Board is Talking, which was included in the 2023 NIWA Anthology, Harbinger, is now available to read:

My 15-minute one-act play, LEON, which was staged this past Christmas by Readers Theater Unlimited is now available to watch:

To see upcoming events where I'll be found:

I'm about as ready as I can be for continuing my 71st year. I'll take the good with the bad, and wish only the good for you!



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