Random Thursday: Smiles for Miz Phyllis

One of my favorite readers from my library’s short story group died this past Saturday, at the age of 87.  Today is her funeral.

I thought about cancelling Random Thursday—which was only half done, anyway—but among the reasons this lady became a favorite was her irascibility, her love of clashing colors, her diabolical sense of humor, and her absolute refusal to miss a thing.

When she became too ill to come to our group, she had Dorothy—her best friend of half a century and official Partner in Crime—bring her a copy of the next story up for discussion.  Her son read it to her and she dictated her reactions, which he gave to Dorothy, who would bring them to me before our meeting, so I could give the Monthly Phyllis Report.

If I’d told her I was skipping a blog post for her out of respect, she would have rolled her eyes at me and said, “Well, that’s dumb.  I like to see people smile.”

So this is for Miz Phyllis, who appreciated randomness in all forms, thought Hemingway was overrated, and tolerated my coffee with a grimace and liberal doses of French Vanilla creamer.

We’ll take care of Dorothy for you, ma’am.  Promise.


Painting Brazil

Soccer + Brazil = All The Colors.  Everywhere.

Brazil World Cup

Since 1986, World Cup fans in Brazilian cities and towns have painted their streets in support of their team.

This year, Google maps put the images up in an interactive gallery.

Go look.

It’s awesome.


Baby. Goats. Running.

(Thanks, Watson—I needed that)


Happy Turtle

Because anthropomorphizing animals
based on random physical attributes
that mimic human reactions
and have nothing to do with their actual emotional state
makes me feel good.


Happy Turtle(Click the image, or here, for more happy animals—and I don’t want to hear it)


Just a Norman Episode

Phyllis liked to tell stories about her cat,
usually ending with a declaration of gratitude that she owned her house and therefore didn’t have to worry about losing a security deposit.

His name was Norman—“As in Bates,” she’d say—and she spoke of him with such exasperated affection, it was three or four months before I realized he was a cat, and not her husband.

Phyllis’s son took Norman in around March, when her health worsened.

When her best friend Dorothy came to visit a week or two later, her son was there, saying that Norman had pulled an Xbox apart with his bare, declawed* paws and chewed up the insides of it.

According to Dorothy, Phyllis had smiled and said, “Oh, good. I was worried he wouldn’t feel at home.”


* Miz Phyllis told me once that she was against declawing cats, but Norman had come that way from that shelter—and she’d come to be grateful that he had.