4 May 2017

Happy Birthday, Connie. Get To Work. The Army Of Good Rolls On

The Army Of Good Rolls On

Tomorrow is Connie's 79th Birthday, and we have a fine birthday surprise for her: a new Honeywell Portable Room Air Condition, rated No. 1 by Consumer  Reports, is on the way, thanks to contributions and donations from the Army Of Good, which rolls on and on, and remains unbowed and undefeated. Here, we don't talk about what is good, we do good.

I posted a story about Connie's need for a room air conditioner because she needs more oxygen in warm weather and had to stop the knitting that had recently transformed her life. She filled a basket with caps for newborn babies, scarves and mittens for the Mansion residents and staff, and sweaters for children in hospitals.

Connie has breathing, lung and heart issues, she just doesn't have enough energy or oxygen when the weather is warm, and the Mansion rooms are not air-conditioned. The Honeywell will get her back to work. It took just a few hours to get the $400 necessary to purchase the Honeywell and the required exhaust tube for the window.

There will be an overage, and I will apply it to the purchase of window and room fans for some of the other residents. There are many big hearts and souls out there. Maria and I will present Connie with a photo of the air conditioner tomorrow, when we get back from Connecticut.

I appreciated that there were many gifts and most were quite small, and that is the great thing about this way of helping. Lots of people sending small donations can add up to enormous good. How wonderful.

I will also take a photo of the new printer we were able to purchase for the activity room.

Connie often suggests help for the other residents, but never asks anything for herself. I could see the change in the warm weather, she has little energy to do more than read and watch television. The Honeywell will give her the energy she needs to resume her work, there are baskets of wool and yarn all around her.

It was painful to think of her sitting in that chair for months, waiting for the end of summer. I told myself that could not happen, and it won't, thanks to  you.

One of the Mansion staffers was thinking of trying to buy an air conditioner out of his own pocket, but I know what he makes, and we put a stop to that.

When I mentioned this to her, she said, no, there would be no room, and then she just got flustered, as she does, and asked for a hug. She just couldn't quite handle the news.

We told  her we didn't care what she thought about space, we had measured it and it was coming.

Doing good feels good, and it is a lot of fun. I feel like I am finally finding me, I hope some of you feel the same way.

Maria and I are often reminded how important it is for the elderly to be touched, she got some hugs. I never weary of thanking you good people, and I  hope you never weary of hearing it. You have done so much good for these people, and this gift to Connie is a very powerful thing.

Thank  you.

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Lulu Healing

Lulu Healing

Lulu is healing from her front hoof abscess, she still has her green bandage on and is limping a bit, but she's walking better. And eating very well.

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“Talking To Animals” Takes Down Esther The Wonder Pig. The Battle Rages.

Book Tour

Publishing has changed since I started writing books, but change is my faith, and I'm up to my neck in it.

My new book "Talking To Animals" is locked in a fierce struggle in the the Amazon Animals book category with "Esther The Wonder Pig,"  Esther is a micro piglet who was adopted by the author, Steve Jenkins. He says Esther changed his life and he wrote a book about it.

I once might have jeered at this or made a joke about it, but Esther was an instant New York Times Bestseller, just like I used to be, and Esther has dominated the Animals and Pet Care Category on Amazon for some time like Elizabeth on the throne. This morning, I bumped her to No. 3, after the hardcover and Kindle versions of "Talking To Animals."

To some ( my publisher perhaps) this might seem like nothing to snort about, but Esther and I have been battling back and forth for the No. 1 slot for several days, and to me, this is the most heartening sign that my book has some legs and is gaining some traction.

Esther is a tough little micro piglet, and she is said to be cute.  I want to be gracious, she deserves all the success there is, but there is this competitive streak in me that wants to see her end up on a Round House Cafe breakfast brunch table.

Sorry, I take that back, it was just a momentary thing, I am all too human. I used to start my book tours flying to Washington to be interviewed by Diane Rhemn on NPR, now I get up early to shovel manure out of the barn. You have to love writing to do it sometimes, and I do.

And Esther is no pushover, she has more than a million likes on Facebook, and she is huge now, in several ways.

This week began in a humbling way for me. My first hometown reading drew a small crowd, my Uncle Harry, one student in my writing class, and the UPS driver whose route I am on. I used to go head to head with James Herriot, now I am chasing a macro wonder piglet named Esther.

So I needed this takedown of Esther this morning. No. 3! Yes!

My new book got few reviews this week (Bark Magazine in San Francisco refused to even accept a galley), no publicity, few interviews, but my publisher has generously decided to send me down the road to buy a cup of coffee and talk to the cashier at Stewart's Convenience and read from the book to the big men in trucks – that is the official book tour.

I might have been haughty about Ester a few years ago, when I published my fifth New York Times bestseller, but that was before the recession, e-books, and before NPR turned into a hip celebrity talk-a-thon. I'm proud of you, says Maria, you never quit, but when somebody says that, you know it wasn't provoked by anything good. Nobody says that to a bestselling author.

Now, it is me and Esther and I hope to chase the adorable little thing right back into  the pen she sprang from.  Bring on the bacon. I'm going to put my foot on her little neck and keep it there.

Esther isn't even a full-sized pig.

Today, my ego inflated again, my book tour resumes, Maria and I are heading with Red to the Connecticut Library Association where I will speak at 4 p.m. (this is in Mystic, Conn.). Saturday we go to the Chatham Public Library in Chatham, N.Y., I will be speaking with Red at 3:30. And thank God for Red, he has very loyal followers, and a macro piglet is no match for him. He will draw a crowd.

Every day, a new beginning.

If you want to help me keep up with Esther The Wonder Pig, you can order my new book  "Talking To Animals" and I will sign and personalize it for you and Connie Brooks will send you a tote-bag that is classy. You can also call the bookstore at 528 677 2515, they take Paypal and major credit cards.

(To be honest, that won't help with Esther, you have to buy books on Amazon to do that, but I'd rather see the business go to Connie Brooks, she runs a wonderful independent bookstore in a small upstate New York town. She needs it more than they do.)

You can order the book from Battenkill here.

Stay tuned, I will post daily updates on the struggle between me and Esther The Wonder Pig. Grace is not about living a perfect life, but how you handle a real one.

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