Category Archives: The Dog Ate My Homework

Productive work but was it the right work?

Yes and no. I prioritized work on Alien Visitors but I wound up watching more movies and doing less than writing on the book than I should have.

The week started off with Trixie deciding to get up early to spend time with me. Which got more complicated than usual as Wisp decided to come in and spend time with me. Attempting to handle both of them, keep Trixie out of Wisp’s tuna (Trixie’s stomach usually gets upset after), break up any possible fights — well, I couldn’t get my usual exercises and stretching done. So I pushed that until later in the day and watched movies or TV for the book while I did my physical stuff. That kept me working, but it did not get the writing done. I did complete a rough rewrite of the introduction but I need to do a lot more next week.

I also got my Leaf articles done and proofed Chapter Eight of Undead Sexist Cliches while I was sitting in Plushie’s cage. It’s  too awkward to bring my computer into the cage, but he needed the company.

So not quite the best use of my time, but I did put it to use. And I learned something from the movies, even the crappy ones. So it’s a win, I think. Plus I spent this morning having tea with my friend HJ Frederick, catching up and enjoying real world interactions.

For an illustration, here’s some flowers from the neighborhood.#SFWApro.

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Plushie the jailbird!

So a couple of weeks back when we laid down new rugs, we had to move a lot of furniture around. In the middle of all that, the Plush One jumped up on the back of one of the couches — we’d moved it away from the wall — and jumped to the floor. So perhaps it’s not surprising that last Saturday, his back started acting up again. As in, if we even brushed it, he flinched in pain.

We rushed him to the emergency vet (we have a couple in Durham) and got the anticipated recommendation of painkillers and cage rest.  Here you can see him resting inside the bars.That Sunday I spent a lot of time caged with him because he gets so miserable when cut off from us.Unfortunately Trixie doesn’t like that solution much. Here you can see me comforting her through the bars.Fortunately TYG, being Plushie’s adoring Mommy, opted to work downstairs, outside the cage, as much as she could. She also slept on the couch-bed all week so she’d be there if he whimpered in pain (knowing TYG, I wasn’t surprised). That freed me up from working inside the cage, which is really awkward. The downside was that with her sleeping down there, I had to rearrange my morning schedule so I didn’t wake her up by coming down to get tea. That made for another chaotic week — well, by my standards — but ultimately I was able to get my work done. Not counting blogging and email time as work helped — otherwise I might have been tempted to just give up and bat out some blog posts for a couple of hours.

Happily we took Plush in to our regular vet this morning. We still have to keep him from jumping up and down or climbing the stairs, but we can probably stop cage rest after tomorrow. He’ll be much happier if we put the cage up around the couch and let him snuggle with us

I didn’t have the focus to write much on Alien Visitors but I watched a number of movies for the book. I got my Leaf quota in, and another client finally worked out the kinks in their accounting system and paid up. I was beginning to worry they wouldn’t pay, so that was a welcome resolution to the story ($850 isn’t chicken feed to me). And I finished proofing Undead Sexist Cliches Chapter Seven, on sexual harassment.

It’s hard to believe I only have a week and a half left this month. I’d better keep making good use of my time.

#SFWApro.

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If nothing else, at least I donated some blood this week

That was this morning. I came home and collapsed much more than I think I usually do. But then it’s been a heck of a week. By the way, how do you like my blood selfie?

I’d really expected a productive week. I didn’t get one. Okay, that’s not fair: I did finish editing Chapter Six of Undead Sexist Cliches and I got nine Leaf articles done. But nothing other than a couple of movies accomplished for Alien Visitors.

The trouble started Sunday night. Wisp came in because it was unusually chilly. She wound up sleeping next to me, but positioned herself where I really couldn’t move or shift comfortably (I was afraid I’d knock her to the floor). That always ruins sleep for me (it’s happened with Plushie a couple of times too) and I’m not sure Wisp would be okay with me moving her, so I wound up not getting enough sleep.

Monday night Wisp wasn’t in. Plushie, however, decided he needed to go out around 1:30 AM, which fell to me, so that didn’t go well. Tuesday night, Plushie tried moving me over because he wanted my spot in the bed. He isn’t big enough to make that happen, but it still makes it impossible to sleep. Wednesday Wisp came in, slept in a good spot, but woke me up around 3:30 AM for attention.

So I’ve been kind of sleep deprived this week. I concentrated on Leaf articles because they don’t require much creative thinking (and yes, they pay). Thursday, though I had sleep deprivation plus taking care of the dogs the entire day, and Wisp spending a lot of time indoors (as I don’t want any fights to erupt this requires paying a lot more attention to pets). So out of a day of work, maybe three hours of writing.

On the plus side, my decision not to count blogging and email as writing time paid off. Not that it made me more productive but the periods when I was doing nothing but reading email didn’t make me feel guilty (“This isn’t productive! I shouldn’t count this as writing time!'”).

It was a mess of a week but now it’s done. I got better sleep last night — not a huge amount but waking myself early always feels better than someone else waking me up. Fingers crossed for a better second week of June.

#SFWApro.

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I no longer feel like pulling down a temple upon some Philistines

Me a week ago, pre-haircut.And afterWe got the dogs trimmed too. Here they are post-haircut.It’s a good thing to be able to go into the world again.

#SFWApro.

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Dogpalooza!

So last weekend we hosted Lily and Tito, belonging to our friends up the street, who were going camping. It was exhausting and time-consuming dealing with four dogs instead of two, but it was a lot of fun. Here’s some photos (Tito’s the toy poodle):My pandemic hair. Sheesh.

A couple of days later we ran into Chiquita, another dog on the cul-de-sac, when she broke away from her owner. She’s at the age where every human she meets is an excuse to roll on her back so the humans can pet her belly. She’s adorable.#SFWApro

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Oh, that’s why I don’t work much in the evenings any more

I tried last night because we’re dog-sitting for Lily and Tito this afternoon so I wanted to make up for the inevitable lost time. Here’s photos of the winsome twosome, in case you were wondering (Lily’s on top)It did not go well, though I did get my next Atomic Junk Shop post up. Plushie loses it and starts barking his head off about once every five minutes. Wisp comes in, begs for food, then goes out again. I could just go isolate myself in my office, but the trouble is I like hanging out with our pets. I don’t want to isolate myself. But if I try that again, I definitely will go that route.

That aside, work went well this week. I finished our taxes, discovering we owe in a little (bad!) but at least they’re done. I’ll check them over again to make certain I figured things right, but I doubt I’ll discover a major error that gets us a refund. Oh, well.

I finished editing Chapter Six of Undead Sexist Cliches and made a final read through of Chapter Four. The latter went slower than I wanted — I had more cleaning up than I expected. I got some Veterans Network articles written (here’s one on art therapy for trauma, and one on military trivia). I did a lot of viewing for Alien Visitors but not much writing. I must compensate for that next week.

My new approach of breaking down my day and assigning a set number of units to different projects went … okay, I guess. I seem to be running out of Undead Sexist Cliches units, but we’ll see how it goes the rest of the month.

This weekend I will probably work Sunday. That’s not typical, but I have a lot to do this week once I become fully vaccinated on Tuesday. Best to make up the time in advance. I’ll be back next Friday to report how it went.

#SFWApro.

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I slept with two women last weekend. Pics so it happened!

Here’s the pic.It was nice being able to sit with both of them, as Trixie gets a little jealous when Wisp’s on the couch with  me. One of the many things we’ll have to work out if Wisp ever becomes a completely inside cat. Now that the weather’s nice, she’s much more of an outdoor cat; having her go to sleep in my lap is rare of late. However we’ve bought cat littler and a littler box for the spare bedroom where she sometimes sleeps with me. That way if she does use it we can close the door and keep the dogs from eating her poop.

For a bonus, here’s a cover illustration for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but done in the style of a hardboiled PI paperback novel (you can see an example in this cover post). I don’t know the artist.

#SFWApro.

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My battle plan did not survive first contact with the enemy

As I mentioned at the start of the month, I thought breaking down my schedule into blocks of time and assigning them to different projects (e.g., eight units for Leaf, eight for Veterans Network articles, eight for the golem article). That way, when my schedule takes some kind of unexpected detour, I can make sure I’m still putting enough time on everything.

This week that did not work, though I think it’s less a flaw in the plan than just life. But then again, if the plan can’t cope with what life throws at me, it’s not much use. But really, this situation is exceptional. I have several projects due before the end of the month and I’m getting my second vaccine shot on April 27. If it leaves me feeling like crap I need to have all my essential projects done so I can just lie in misery. TYG is getting her shot around the same time (I really should have listened to her and gotten mine further apart, but when I saw an opening, I panicked and grabbed it) so even if I’m fine, she might be sick — and I know from experience that’s going to kill my productivity too. So the golem article and all my Veteran Network stuff has to be done by April 26.

Plus next week I have an Alexander Technique appointment, our dogs’ trip to the rehab vet and allergy shots for them. That’s going to eat up quite a bit of time.

So this week I wanted to work on veteran articles, Leaf pieces and the golem piece. I did well — the golem article is finally looking good — until yesterday. About 10:30 Wednesday night, Plushie became scared of the invisible monsters he’d spotted somewhere in the bedroom and insisted on climbing on me for safety, then licking my face for about 20 minutes. Finally he calmed down, but by that point I was completely awake. I got up, worked for a couple of hours, got ready to go back to bed … and Wisp meowed to come in and wanted attention for a little while.

I did get to sleep eventually but it didn’t help much. I finished an article on Agent Orange, and did a little work on Undead Sexist Cliches (final proof of Chapter Two. Looks good) — I’m actually quite impressed what I can do when my brain is utterly fried — but I didn’t get the golem article finished as I’d planned.

Last night I took an Ambien to ensure I’d get a decent night’s sleep. The price was waking up late, then Wisp came in, snuggled with me and fell asleep in my lap (it was cold outside).The result was that I never had the private time I need to get my head in the game. Today was not productive. If I didn’t have the deadlines and the possible sick days ahead, I’d have devoted it entirely to reading the remaining golem novels on my list.

I will try my plan again next month, but for the moment the onrushing deadlines render it moot.

Oh, I had Southern Discomfort come back from a publisher with some critical feedback. I’ll discuss what they said when I’ve had time to mull it over.

To end on an upbeat note, here’s Trixie sniffing a flower.#SFWApro.

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

My birthday was, perhaps, a little “meh”

I didn’t expect anything spectacular, seeing as we couldn’t go out, and TYG isn’t comfortable ordering takeout during a pandemic. But a little after midnight, TYG got an emergency call from work, which woke me up. When it was obvious I couldn’t get back to sleep I went downstairs with Wisp until my eyelids started to droop. At which point Trixie had an upset tummy so I let her sit downstairs with me so that TYG (who had to work — I was taking Thursday off) could sleep. Unfortunately sleeping with a restless dog plus a cat proved unworkable.

The result was that I spent most of my birthday a little bit out of it. Fortunately I feel much better today, and my birthday did have some fun moment. Watching 63 Up. Playing Jotto (a gift from my bro) with TYG. Pigging out on junk food. Using the stationary bicycle — I’ve fallen out of the habit lately (inclement weather made outside bicycling a non-starter). The only thing that really disappointed me was that I’d wanted to sit down and think through my schedule, my projects, and which ones need prioritizing (and how much). I only managed a little of that.

The rest of the week was productive without much getting finished. Well, except for a post at Atomic Junk Shop comparing DC and Marvel Silver Age storytelling (the above image from Fantastic Four is part of it) and a Veterans Network post about burn pits and their health hazards. Other than that it was stuff worked on, nothing finished: movies watched for Alien Visitors, reading about golems and almost finishing the final edits on Chapter Four of Undead Sexist Cliches.

The work was not finished, but it did progress. And hopefully it will progress further come next week. For now, writing is done.

#SFWApro. Image by Jack Kirby, all rights remain with current holder.

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Growing older can be difficult but it beats not growing any older

At least for me, celebrating my birthday today. It’s a little horrifying that it’s my second pandemic birthday; this time last year, it never occurred to me we’d be mired in the Trump Virus nightmare that long. On the other hand, six months ago I figured the pandemic timeline might leave me and TYG stuck at home until 2022. That we may be vaccinated within a month or two is astonishing.

Pandemic aside, life is good. True, there is no question age is taking a toll. My knees are stiffer, other parts of me ache in various ways they didn’t use to and obviously I’m that much closer to a fatal something than I was thirty years ago. But that said, I had a friend younger than me die last year, and a friend roughly my age die a couple of years before that. That I’m still around and in good health for my age is pretty miraculous.

I’ve been writing full-time since I moved up here. I was nervous as hell giving up my job on the Destin Log, even though I knew moving up to be with TYG was the right choice. I’ve been able to pay my bills since then, just by writing (well, some census work the first year too). That’s really remarkable. A little erratic and nerve-wracking at times, but that’s a small price to pay.

And as I wrote a couple of birthdays back, age does not keep from doing my work, nor do I feel the need to retire. Writing is fun for me; I’d be thrilled if I could concentrate on fiction some day but if I’m still writing Leaf or similar articles that’s far from a horrible fate.

And I’m with TYG, and we’re happy and that’s just awesome. There have been occasional dark times in my life when, while not suicidal, I wondered if anything would really change for me if I kept going. Turned out it could, more than I ever imagined, and better than I ever imagined. Lord knows, I couldn’t imagine making it through the pandemic year without her. Or our menagerie.I shall spend today thinking about my ongoing projects and how to organize and prioritize my time. That’s as close to work as I’m going to come. Otherwise it’s bicycling, movies, reading, pups and whatever TYG has planned (nothing involving going out, for obvious reasons).

Happy birthday to me!

#SFWApro.

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