Author: Kate Lester

Life isn’t always fair

The Dog who Ate a Light Bulb

There he is: all grown up. The Dog Who Ate a Light Bulb, age 5. Digger of holes; shredder of dog toys; cuddlier in bed. Over-exuberant greeter of strangers and friends alike. Somehow, we’ve both survived the last five years.

As I write this, he is snoozing on the bed (my bed, not his personal LL Bean bed, which he does sleep in but prefers to hump it). He no longer counter surfs. Doesn’t steal a pint of cherry tomatoes off the counter and scarf them all down while I’m in bed. Still barks with authority at any squirrel, woodchuck, duck, or cat who crosses his path. Being the head of security at this house is hard work.

We spent a wonderful week in Vermont last fall, where he got to run off leash across fields and just be a dog. There may be nothing more beautiful to witness than someone – human or animal – run with abandon.


A few weeks ago, something just didn’t seem right. He was the same happy dog with the healthy appetite and love of playing tug with his toys.

I took him to the vet and she found a tumor. Advanced cancer. After long talks with her and an oncologist, I’ve elected palliative care.

As my mother always said, life isn’t always fair.

Mercury: a Novel by Margot Livesey

Image result

I don’t often plug a book, but a friend of mine has a new novel coming out on September 27th. If you haven’t discovered the novelist Margot Livesey, I recommend that you check out her work. A review of her new novel will be forthcoming in the New York Times Book Review.

In 2000, I’d picked her as my fiction writing instructor at the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference. I had to cancel at the last minute, so we didn’t work together until a few years later at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. I spent a memorable week with her and a spirited group of fellow students in a writing workshop. If your ego tells you that you are a fiction writer, tell your ego to stay quiet until you’ve undergone some training by a talented, well-schooled instructor.

No two of her novels are alike. She is truly a master writer of literary fiction and someone whose work is worth exploring. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

— Kate


When your fortune cookie creeps you out

I’m getting ready for a weekend trip and, after dropping the Dog Who Ate a Lightbulb off at his favorite kennel for some very expensive playtime, I decided to stop in at my favorite Chinese restaurant to graze through their lunch buffet.

I have warm memories of this place. I used to work near it and one of my co-workers, a Jewish man, loved to gather a group of us together once a week to go to the buffet.

“Lunch?” he’d ask. “Chinese? It’s the food of my people.” (That always makes me smile, for some reason.)

I dined solo today, but I timed my lunch so that they would just be bringing out the first round of food. Fresh at this point, not soggy from having sat out too long. (I am not a fool when it comes to Chinese food, I know when to arrive at the buffet.)

And it was good!

They brought my check on a little tray with a fortune cookie, as usual. I dropped it in my purse, as I was in a bit of a rush.

I just read the fortune and it says:

“Tomorrow Morning, Take a left turn as soon as you leave home.”

Now, what the heck does that mean? I live on a one-way street and I’m not backed into the driveway at the moment, so I have to back out and go RIGHT in order to leave the house. Unless, of course, they meant to turn left when I got to the end of my street instead of my driveway. Could that be what they meant? If it is, I’m good, because I’m going to take a left at the end of my street tomorrow morning.

But if they meant I need to immediately take a left, then do I have to back into my driveway tonight in order to execute a good-luck left turn immediately? This is really more than I want to think about. I just need to get to the airport by 7am tomorrow.

So now I’ll probably be up all night trying to decide what to do. (Or I’ll just go to sleep as I usually do and get up at 5:00 in the morning and go to the shuttle parking lot.)

However, if you’ve read this far, I would like to thank you by giving you the lucky numbers printed on my fortune. They are: 38, 44, 41, 23, 28, and 33.

Knock yourself out.

Just what, exactly, am I paying for?

I love lazy Saturdays: a cup of coffee, the morning newspaper, my loyal dog by my side.

This morning was a tad off script: a leaking toilet and, alas, a backed-up kitchen sink. Not to worry, though. I go to my paid subscription to a referral service! (I won’t mention any names, but the namesake is a woman with very bad taste in clothes.)

They have a recommended plumber with an “A” rating!

There are eight reviews and three of them are very bad: two Fs and a C rating. I remember my grade school math and do the calculation. If A=5 and F=0, it averages out to a 3.6, which is hardly an A.

I go to the Comments page to leave a question that challenges their math and discover that on that page, the plumber has a “B” rating. Apparently, they’ve rounded up!

For $140, I think I’ll pass.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

Manuscript (1)Les Boquinistes 01 (1)

Fifteenth century hand-illuminated page. I bought it from a Bouquinistes in Paris. I’ve never really translated it, but I do recognize the start of the Lord’s Prayer on the bottom two lines. The shame is that they were selling single pages from the original book.

For more interpretations of this theme, click here.