Category Archives: The Dog Ate My Homework

Slow-going work, plus cats

Cats first. Snowdrop seems to be settling in and showing up for food. Wisp seems to be tolerating him, and not trying to steal his food. It’s high protein, which is supposed to decrease the hunting urge. Wisp and I seem to have lost the rhythm we’d developed now that Snowdrop’s out there. Sometimes rather than come in, she goes off and looks for him or guards against him, I’m not sure which. Last night neither of them showed, which worried me a little. Wisp was back this morning though; hopefully Snowdrop will be here tonight.

Wisp has also started coming in at random times during the day, which she hasn’t done in months. Here she is sitting in the spare bedroom — it’s her sleepytime place — while I stepped out for a minute.As to work, let’s see. I met with  the cover designer for Undead Sexist Cliches, who came well recommended. He says he’ll try to get something done and back to me by next week. I also proofed more of it.

I got 16 Leaf articles done.

I did a lot of work on Alien Visitors, which is good, and the chapter drafts (intro, Invasions, Bodysnatchers) are good, but it’s going too damn slow. There’s only so much focus before my mind sludges unless I remember to take breaks. And taking breaks costs time. It’s doable … I think. But will it be done? I don’t know, even given how much extra time I’m putting in. It doesn’t help that TYG’s schedule hasn’t let her take the dogs quite as much as she’d hoped, but I don’t think that’s the primary problem.

Oh, and I got Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, which I sent out to another market, back with a no. I’ll be sending it out again in November, when things calm down.

#SFWApro.

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The gentleman’s name is … Snowdrop

So last weekend we set out the trap for the white cat. I put the food in, walked away and he was caught barely thirty seconds after. He was not happy about it; like Wisp the first time we trapped her, he kept ramming at the wire with his face. Didn’t go well (the photo below is from earlier).

Happily when we put him in the bathroom he quieted down. I took him to the animal rescue the next morning, picked him up in the afternoon and got confirmation the cat’s a he. Up until then we’d figured female — but we’re sticking with the name I picked, Snowdrop (one of the kitten’s in Lewis Carroll’s Alice books). It was a little unsettling because removing his balls left far more bloodstains than tying Wisp’s tubes.

Next morning we let him out and didn’t see him again for a couple of days. But he came back Wednesday night, though he’s way more wary around us. Still, if he’s returned, he’ll probably forgive us. And TYG is relieved — she was convinced he’d wound up in the belly of a coyote or on the wheels of an SUV. But no. Where we go from here … well, I’ll let you know.

After that, the week got back to normal. No Leaf articles so it was all either Undead Sexist Cliches or Alien Visitors. On the first, I’m now proofed through the end of Chapter Six and I’ve started drafting the back cover/blurbs (next week I should start studying blurbs for similar books and see how I compare). On the movie book I got a lot done: good drafts of several chapters and several films watched or rewatched.

Unfortunately I fell short of my goals for the week. Sure, they were optimistic, and yes, I have some wriggle room in my schedule but still, I’d been happier to pull it off. I’m not sleeping well, which happened when I was on tight deadline near the finish of Screen Enemies of the American Way. I’ll be zonked by the end of October.

No going back now, though, so wish me luck.

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

 

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

White dogs on dope!

So Sunday I was applying the hot water bottle to Plushie’s hips (they get very stiff otherwise) and he began wriggling out of my arms as if uncomfortable. I resisted, he tried climbing up over my arms and then he gave the pain whimper. Once we confirmed that yes, he was in pain, we took him to the emergency vet. This time he managed something new, pulling one of the long muscles in his side. So back on cage rest just a couple of months after last time. I’d be worried it would be non-stop but this is a separate problem from last time.

The painkillers and muscle relaxants he’s on make Plushie dopey, so he spends most of the day dozing in there. Still he gets miserable and demanding enough to distract me from work. And as TYG sleeps downstairs to be near him, just in case he has a pain attack or something, our schedule is a mess. Usually I start writing when I wake up, come down when TYG wakes, write some more (mixed in with dog care) and do my stretching, yoga and exercise later.

Happily, Plushie is improving fast so it couldn’t have been too bad an injury. This makes him needier and more demanding for Freedom!! but we’re happy about it just the same.

Wisp has been a surprisingly good trooper for all this. I have to sleep in the main bedroom with Trixie (Trixie would freak out if we left her alone) so Wisp spends her nights alone in the spare bedroom. Didn’t faze her as much as I thought. Last night she didn’t come in but that’s more because White Cat was hanging around. They seem to get along — no catfights so far — but last night Wisp seemed to be hissing and asserting her dominance a lot.

Despite all that, it was a productive week. I redid the introduction, which I’ll be reading to the writers’ group next week, plus the Invasion chapter and got several other chapters rough drafted. I watched some X-Files and did some research reading.

I finally read my editor’s critique of the golem article. There’s a couple of books she wants me to add to the piece, and a little more commentary in spots (how well did the different stories work?). It’ll be easier to deliver by deadline (end of next month) than I feared.

I also got a couple of chapters final-rpoofed on Undead Sexist Cliches; happily it’s still requiring only light copy-editing. I hope that keeps up. I have an appointment for early October to talk to a cover designer a friend recommended. I’ve also begun work on the book blurb.

There were, surprisingly, no new Leafs this week. I’m guessing it’s the end of the fiscal year and things’ll be back to normal next month. While this is a hit to my bottom line, the timing is great for extra work on Alien Visitors. I’ll be putting in more of that tomorrow, while TYG’s free to sit downstairs with Plush and Trixie.

One more month and I’ll have both books and the golem story done, barring disasters. I like that thought. Oh, and one of my Philosophy and Fairytales collections sold on Smashwords. I like that too! Thanks, whoever you were!

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Trixie and the very large cone of shame

Both our dogs are prone to allergies, which leads to constant gnawing on themselves. After their last shot, Trixie kept on gnawing at her back left foot, which made it sore so she gnawed on it more.

We went to the vet who gave us a numbing skin powder and recommended we keep her in the cone of shame. It turns out she can, with a little effort, reach past the edge of the cone and keep gnawing. It’s still effective if we watch her close enough. However we did try swapping it out with Plushie’s much larger cone of shame.Ultimately it was just too awkward so we switched back. Her foot is recovered so we made the right call.

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A man, a plan, a canal — only no canal and not really a plan

(For those who don’t know, the title comes from the palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal — Panama.”).

So last month I just threw up my hands and stopped my usual efforts to make a monthly to-do list. Due to Wisp coming in every morning, the stuff I do early (meditate, voice exercises) hasn’t been getting done. And my writing to-dos are pretty basic: 1)Finish Alien Visitors by the end of October; 2)finish my article on golems by the same date; 3)finish Undead Sexist Cliches, ditto. So why worry beyond mapping out my work for the week?

Now that we’ve moved out of August and into September, I’m finding that a little uncomfortable. I like the structure my monthly to-do list gives me, even if I don’t handle more than half of the list. So I’ll probably bite the bullet and resume for October. I’m already trying to reinstitute some of my morning activities into my day somewhere. It’s just difficult, as I get caught up in writing or I suddenly have to take care of the dogs. I love them, but they are not helpful to achieving a meditative state.

This week I had no Leaf articles so it was almost all Alien Visitors, and it went well. I rewrote the introduction into a reasonably polished state, then rewrote the Invasion chapter as well. Having something finished enough I can say “Yeah, I’ll get this book done” is very satisfying. And that despite some extra dog care, including an unplanned vet trip — nothing serious, just Trixie needed a checkup for a sore foot. She’s now in the cone of shame to stop her chewing on it.

Oh, and I updated one of my old posts — about the Bronze Age Freedom Fighters series — and posted it at Atomic Junkshop.

I also made a start on adding a few final notes to Undead Sexist Cliches — items I bookmarked that were worthy of adding, some information from Jesus and John Wayne. I’d meant to start revising my golem piece as well, but the vet visit took up too much time. I’d thought I could get some research reading done but Trixie, who’s usually into wandering around sniffing everything, insisted on sitting on my lap and getting stroked. So she got her wish, of course.

Wisp has still been coming on at night on a regular basis. This morning she came in mid-morning, which hasn’t happened in a while. I suspect she’ll be spending more time indoors as the weather drops. Hopefully she’ll go back to snoozing while she’s in — it’s much easier to get work done that way. There’s a white cat that’s been sniffing around our house lately, but Wisp doesn’t seem compelled to establish her turf and drive the stranger off. If the new cat comes regularly enough, we’ll schedule a spay/neuter at the local clinic, then trap it. We don’t see it consistently enough yet.

Fall has definitely started. Temperatures were relatively mild earlier this week (I emphasize “relatively”) and this morning it was almost chilly enough to require more than shorts and a T-shirt. It’s quite welcome.

For this weekend, I anticipate cooking, reading and as usual watching Alien Visitor films. If the weather stays nice, maybe bicycling as well.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

#SFWApro. Cover art is uncredited, all rights remain with current holder.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

So as you may have gathered, this was a busy week

Hence my posting three days of images. A decade ago, I’d just have skipped most of the week, but now that I’ve been blogging daily for several years, I don’t want to break the streak.

Some of the busy was non-writing related. Monday, in addition to the dogs’ rehab appointments, TYG and I had to hit the bank to get some papers notarized; being indoors, it requires an appointment. Tuesday, I had tea with a friend of mine at nearby Bean Traders. I wrote fifteen hours worth of Leaf articles and got quite a bit of writing done on Alien Visitors. As usual, not enough. And annoyingly I discovered a couple of chapters I could have sworn I’d written exist only in my head. Oh, and I had to take Trixie in yesterday for an allergy shot — neither dog can seem to go three months without deciding to chew their itchy paws to shreds, so the shots are now standard.

I haven’t heard back from my dentist about my permanent crown so I’m still chewing everything carefully and avoiding anything too hard.

Despite Wisp coming in each morning, I managed to make my exercise goals for the week. Partly that’s by doing extra on the weekends, but whatever works.

So another low drama week. This is a good thing.

For visuals, here’s a photo of Plush Dog from a few months back —— and here’s how he looks after his recent grooming.Hard to believe it’s the same dog, isn’t it?

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Stressed but productive, so that’s a win

The schedule was against me this week. Not as bad as those dental appointments last week, but we had a grooming appointment for the dogs, my ophthalmologist visit and a lot of extra dog care on top of that. TYG’s schedule was crazy, so I took point on taking care of them as much as possible. After a certain point, they get distracting, particularly as Plushie’s back to his old habit of squeezing into my lap then expanding into maximum space. I usually wind up sitting in a position that’s physically uncomfortable for writing, and my brain feels it.

I did get a lot of Leafs done and I made some progress on Alien Visitors. But not enough progress to feel confident. It’s still doable but I’m really going to have to push for the remaining 2.5 months. I’d feel better if I could sit and think and map out what has to be done, but having the pups invade my personal space for so much time makes it hard to think clearly.

Ditto Wisp spending more time coming in for snuggles in the morning. I’ll never refuse to let her in — she’s my cat, after all — but the morning was the one time I could count on 90 minutes to 2.5 hours to myself without any distractions. It’s surprising to discover how much that helped my day progress. I need to find a solution, but I don’t have a clue what it is yet.

It’s been sweltering hot here, with the heat index getting up to over 100 degrees a couple of times. And Durham is once again under a mask mandate as the right-wing anti-vax crusade continues.

On the plus side, despite all my worries about my temporary crown, I haven’t done anything to dislodge it from the tooth. By the end of next week I should at least have a date for the permanent crown to go on. Looking forward to it!

And I sold another copy of Sex for Dinner, Death For Breakfast. Whoever bought it, thanks!

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Trumped by my teeth!

So along with Monday’s MRI, I also had to go to my endodontist for a root canal on Tuesday. It was quicker than I thought, but it left me feeling definitely off my game. I wound up spending Tuesday afternoon watching videos for Alien Visitors when it’s the writing I really need to be working on.

Worse, I couldn’t get my head back in the game the following day. Partly that’s because Wisp slept in and between her getting up with me and Trixie coming down early, I couldn’t really focus in the morning (I used to have a couple of hours of quiet time to get my shit together). So I spent most of that day watching videos too. Thursday I went into my regular dentist to replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling and temporary crown. That took somewhat longer than I thought. And at that point my mind decided, as it sometimes does, “You’re never going to get everything done. Give up!” and my brain’s been limping along ever since. Much extra dog care due to TYG’s hectic schedule this week didn’t help; when they’re needy it’s very difficult to focus.

So I accomplished stuff, but I really thought I’d be doing more. Oh, well …

A minor annoyance is that I’m utterly terrified of knocking out my crown. Intellectually I realize it’s not a fragile soap bubble that pops at a touch but I can’t shake the fear that if I eat something a little too chewy or hard — CRACK! Having to think about which side I chew with is Not Fun.

#SFWApro.

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Strangely enough, the guest puppies made me more productive, sort of

With Lily and Tito visiting, and TYG having her own stuff to deal with, I really couldn’t go anywhere last weekend other than the grocery store and the library. So I watched lots of movies for Alien Visitors. I did more of that the first couple of days this week, then settled in to writing on the book. The result was that I ended up with like nine hours of overtime. Which I still track even though I almost never run under-time. Still, knowing I’m not sitting on my butt gives me a certain peace of mind.

After the dogs left I set to work on writing the book. I did some great work on the introduction but as usual didn’t get as far as I liked. Dog care, lack of sleep, occasional errands, in short the usual distractions.

I squeezed in a bunch of Leafs the end of the week and I started the rewrite of Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches. This chapter deals with the concept of the sexual marketplace — specifically the idea women are selling sex (whether for cash, love, gifts or marriage), men are buying and that women “giving it away” undercuts the rightful order of things.

And that’s pretty much it. As I’m working on so few projects these days, these posts just get shorter and shorter. But that’s better than having some long catastrophe I have to explain, right?

For visuals, here’s a shot I took from inside the Plush One’s cage, up next to the built-in cupboard. We finally took the cage down today.

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Guest dogs!

So last week’s doggy guests, Tito and Lily, stuck with us until early Tuesday afternoon. Five days was definitely a little too long a visit, even though they’re adorable dogs. By the end, even Plushie and Trixie were getting a little frustrated. And our guests lunge for Wisp when they see her outside, which upsets her.

But they needed us, so that’s cool. To show how adorable they are, here’s a couple of photos of Tito. He’s a bundle of energy, even more food-obsessed than Plushie. Lily is older and quieter, which may explain why I didn’t snap more shots of her. Both like sitting on the back of the couch, which ours don’t. Ah, here’s one of Lily!And Plushie accusing me of giving them more treats#SFWApro.

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