Tag Archives: Wisp

Animal tales

So late Sunday night, Plushie, for no discernible reason, jumped off the bed, whimpering in pain. We’ve no idea; could just be that one of his sore spots (he likes to chew himself) got bumped. But he decided the only security was to be found pressing up very close to his daddy. Which was sweet, but the position he picked (and wouldn’t budge from) left me in too awkward a position myself to sleep. After about fifteen minutes I gave up and went to sleep in the spare bedroom. Except I didn’t sleep: Monday was a long slog.

At lunch, I walked Plushie and Wisp started to come over and get a little petting. But then one of the children on our street came up to talk and Wisp froze. I could almost see her torn between the desire to rub up against me and the Stranger Danger posed by this seven year old. I made it up to her with some snuggling on the front steps later.

Then in the evening we had some guys show up to deliver some new bookcases. Somehow, Plushie got past the gate barring off the living room, then ran outside, triggering a very loud demand from TYG that I find him (one of the guys was unintentionally obstructing her from catching him). I rushed out and fortunately Plushie hadn’t gone further than the walkway, where he was begging for attention from one of the other dudes. I grabbed him up and carried him back inside before he could get any ideas about exploring or challenging the next bicycle rider to go by. Scary, but it turned out okay.

That’s life with pets. And it’s a good excuse to show these photos of a dead mole we found in the front yard, and what it looked like after it had decayed for a few days.

#SFWApro. Images are mine.

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I have a dream …

Quite a few of them this week, for whatever reason.

I dreamed I was making out with TYG and our downstairs alarm went off. The dream-alarm actually woke me up (I checked to confirm the house had not, in fact, been broken into).

I dreamed I was flirting with women at a con, and it was going very well. Then I became consumed by guilt at the thought of cheating and backed out of doing anything. Why does my subconscious throw attractive women at me and then tell me not to touch them?

I dreamed TYG was having to attend weekly Zoom meetings running 5-10 PM on Sunday evenings. I’m glad that one was imaginary.

I have nothing deep to say about any of these, so I’ll wrap up with a photo of me scratching Wisp.#SFWApro.

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Second month of writing while quarantined; how’d I do?

Decently. I met 58 percent of my goals which is better than the last two months (particularly March). Part of that’s because my goal list has dwindled — nothing that involves hanging out with people besides TYG, no plans to catch plays or go to museums, etc. Not even visiting the nearby coffee/tea shop, though I did order some tea from them (I’d like them to be there when this mess ends).

I do not see this changing any time soon. Durham’s stay-in-place order ends the 15th of this month, but TYG and I were social distancing before it became official and we’re still going to stick with it. This shit is scary; much as I’d like to see my friends other than on Zoom, it won’t be happening soon. When? I wish I knew.

The improvement in goal-meeting also reflects that I’m adapting. I’m getting exercise done, cooking regularly and managing to get work done despite a lot of extra dog care. And my Leaf work hasn’t started up again which meant I had a lot more time to work on my own stuff. Much as I enjoy that, I’d prefer to have steady income; next month I’ll be working on drumming up new clients, as a good freelancer should.

As I mentioned last week, I finished the latest drafts of Undead Sexist Cliches and Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I submitted four short stories, finished an untitled first draft, rewrote Laughter of the Dark and Glory That Was and finished Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates. I resumed work on proofing and correcting Questionable Minds, though I’m far from where I wanted to be (the extra work on the other two books had to come out of something).

The biggest obstacle to getting even more done is that Trixie’s injury requires a lot more time. A lot more watching to ensure she isn’t doing anything to hurt her leg. Walking her separately from Plushie — if I’m doing both morning walks or both lunch walks (or both of both) that adds up to quite a bit more time (same if TYG’s doing the work). So this month I’m assuming I’ll start work 8:30 AM, work for two hours, get four hours in the afternoon and make up the last hour of my day after dinner. Planning for that will make me less frustrated in the morning, I think, which should help me focus better.

For today’s visual entertainment here’s something Wisp (I assume) puked up on our front stoop. You can make out the eye of whatever she ate.#SFWApro.

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Cats, distractions and undead sexist cliches: My week at work

This was a somewhat frustrating week. Despite working in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and getting up early generally, I actually fell short of my desired 35 hours. Extra dog walking and multiple food and item deliveries sucked up a surprising amount of time. Worse, in the time that was left, I sometimes wound up too frazzed to focus and working in too-small bursts of time to build up any steam. Can’t be helped though: TYG’s job is less flexible than mine so I can adjust my schedule more easily (my boss is very understanding). I really must find ways to keep my focus despite distractions, though. Particularly when Leaf work gets started again — for some reason that suffers in the current environment more than anything else.

On the plus side, it seems I can work with Wisp snuggling in my lap.

So what did I get done? Well, I finally got the abortion/birth control chapter of Undead Sexist Cliches worked out and footnoted. I had to rearrange it a lot to work logically and clear up a lot of repeated information, plus adding some scientific detail (no, abortions do not cause breast cancer or depression). I also made a rough outline of Chapter Nine, on the concept of a sexual marketplace (the assumption women are supposed to trade sex for marriage). That should make it easier when I start on it next week.

I finished a couple of chapters of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. Now I’m up to the climax, but the changes I’ve made already will mandate more changes; one character who played a major role is dead, for instance, so not so major. I want this draft done this month.

I read my revised version of The Glory That Was to the writers’ group Tuesday night and got generally favorable responses. The big change from the previous draft was shifting from third person to multiple first-persons, and it seems to have worked. However there was a general consensus the opening was too rushed for anyone to find their feet, so that’ll be my primary concern on the next draft.

Oh, and over at Atomic Junkshop we’re suffering some puzzling tech problems. One post I made this week vanished, came back and now it’s vanished again. Very annoying.

Have a great weekend. Here’s another photo of Wisp, scrunching her eyes shut in response to getting petted.#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

 

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, Personal, Short Stories, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Did I mention I sold a story this week?

I did? Well here’s another link to it anyway. And to my currently free e-book, Philosophy and Fairytales. That sales lasts through April 20. And I have an article on bystanders in Golden Age Batman stories up on Atomic Junkshop (the cover to the right is actually from the late 1950s, by Sheldon Moldoff).

Now, as to new work: this was a fairly good week. A lot of extra dog care in the mornings, but I still managed to be productive (though as usual not as productive as I think I should be). I’m doing my best to squeeze out as much of my own work as possible before my Leaf articles start up again.

I rewrote one of my older stories The Glory That Was, for reading to the writer’s group next week (one of our Zoom meetings). I’d thought I’d just touch it up to fix a few flaws, but I wound up writing it in rotating first-person POV (Elizabeth, Molly and Dianne) which took a lot more time than planned. I think it’s vastly improved, but we’ll see what the group thinks. That used up most of my short-story writing time, so a couple of other stories I’d planned to work on, I didn’t get to.

I finished another chapter of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I’m approaching the climax now, and once again it’s going to take a lot of changes; characters who were alive are now dead, KC knows much more about how things work than she did and I have no idea how to explain the rest without massive info-dumping. But my gut’s steered me well so far, so hopefully it’ll keep guiding me right.

I got a massive amount of the abortion/birth control chapter in Undead Sexist Cliches done and footnoted. There’s still quite a bit left as the forced-birth movement spews out so much bullshit. For example, Human Life International argues that having consensual sex while using birth control is rape. That’s one of many.

I also read aloud several chapters of Questionable Minds and noted down the points where it needs editing, either for typos or because my phrasing is poor.

Trixie is doing much better. She’s able to take short walks of up to five minutes at a time, which is much more fun for her. Easier for us too, as I can wait longer for her to make a poop before hauling her inside. And she’s so happy walking and enjoying the outdoors (the photo below shows her doing it a couple of years back, when she was at her shaggiest).

 

Unfortunately, she’s increasingly determined and eager to jump up and down and run wherever she wants, so it’s essential to watch her constantly. We now have a cage upstairs and one down so wherever she is, we can lock her up if we have to do something (use the restroom, cook, whatever).

We’ve decided to try bringing Wisp into the house once Trixie’s back to full health. That gives us about six weeks to work out the details. This week she came up and sat with me on the couch again a couple of times; one time was during a Zoom “Shut Up and Write” meeting and as soon as the voices came over the computer, she ran.

Have a great weekend everyone. Stay safe.

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

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, Personal, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

In spite of her rage, she is still just a chihuahua/cairn terrier mix in a cage

So Monday we took Trixie in for surgery on her bad knee. She’s improved a lot since the accident, but it doesn’t look like she’s going to heal completely, so this is the best option. But not an easy option. Because we have eight weeks of crate rest ahead, and she has to wear the cone of shame for the first two weeks to avoid licking her stitches and infecting them. A week and a half to go! But the vet says the surgery went well, so we’re not going to screw it up.

Wisp came in Tuesday, after Trixie was back from the hospital and seemed quite intrigued by the set-up. Trixie, not so much. She’s getting less petting and cuddles, can’t sleep in the bed with us — misery for my little snuggler. But I make sure to make time for opening the cage and giving her some attention.

Fortunately it’s okay for her to stand on the leg and walk a couple of steps, so taking her for potty breaks isn’t as frustrating as when she first injured her leg. She’s much more likely to go rather than decide it’s too uncomfortable; I hope that’s a good sign.

Plushie is baffled why he can’t play and rough-house with her, but he’s been baffled by that since she got injured. Come to think of it, he’s baffled quite a lot; he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Trixie spends most of the day upstairs with TYG, but comes down for medical care. TYG takes care of the meds, I walk Trixie and do the physical therapy her leg requires. So far everything’s going smoothly; the real challenge will probably be in a month when she feels ready to run and jump and we’ll have to discourage her. Positive thoughts and/or prayers appreciated.

And while Trixie and Plushie were both upstairs yesterday, Wisp came in. I didn’t want to stop work so I just stayed on the couch and she jumped up and went to sleep next to me. It was delightful, and if she’ll keep doing that, it’ll be easier to have her around without losing my workflow.#SFWApro. Photos are mine

 

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This week’s challenges: Sickness, snow and scheduling

The scheduling issue came up Sunday. I’ve been putting in three hours of writing on Sunday for a couple of months now as I get so wiped out at the end of the Monday-Friday work days. Three hours Sunday, I can stop earlier and give myself a little break before walking and feeding the dogs. But as my lunch breaks have been quite short this month — with Trixie’s leg, they aren’t getting long walks — so I figured I could skip Sunday, get my work done in the afternoons and still finish up before dinner walkies.

And I mostly did, but there much less of a break at the day’s end than I’d expected. Either Plush dog got a longer walk than usual or there was some other distraction I was dealing with on lunch hour. For example, Wisp demanding petting. Plus, I suspect the sickness that has me in its grip today was already dragging me down.Wisp, has by the way, been a constant companion on our short walks. I wish I could capture just snuggling with the dogs but Plushie sniffing her but is as close as I’ve managed so far.

Sickness has been a bigger problem. TYG caught a bug last week, probably by the usual transmission process of kids to parents, parents to coworkers, which means her. At first it didn’t seem like there’d be much of a problem, but the past couple of days I’ve had the inflammation and irritation in my throat I repeatedly get. I’m doing my best to stay relaxed not talk and talk all appropriate meds as I have some presentations to make at the end of next week (details will follow). I’d really, really like to be able to make them and losing my voice would make that impractical.

And of course, feeling sick does not do my writing any good. Today I just wiped out in the late morning, so I did this blog post and I’m calling it a day. Unless I revive in the afternoon; I’m not betting on it.

And then snow, of all things, descended on us (and the rest of Durham) yesterday. Given temperatures we thought it wouldn’t stick, but it has. Fortunately it looks like the roads are clear so we should be A-OK if we need to drive anywhere. And TYG picked up food Thursday morning, so that’s taken care of. As long as we take care walking the dogs, we should be fine.

Now as to work … I did my Leafs for the week, though in my depleted state they took much longer than they should have. I also drafted Impossible Takes a Little Longer up to Chapter 23, which was my goal for the month; I won’t have much time for fiction next week so that’s a win. I also worked on a first draft and got a big leap forward this morning when the bad guy finally emerged from my unconscious. I might have finished the draft today but … no. I might squeeze it in next week

I also tidied and footnoted the first section of Chapter Seven of Undead Sexist Cliches. It’s on sexual harassment so there’s no shortage of examples.

Wish me luck for a better next week. I have a lot I want to be in good health for.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

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It was just like what Goldfinger did to James Bond, sort of!

So due to Trixie’s ongoing knee injury, the vet recommended laser treatment. Not surgery, they use a laser wand and this apparently stimulates the healing some. I was initially skeptical but reading online convinced us it was legit and hey, she’s our little girl, so …

Couldn’t actually get a shot during the treatment itself — as we have to wear special glasses, I was afraid it might glitch the camera in my phone.

It does seem to perk her up a lot, although that may be just time and rest. After Monday’s laser session she actually wore herself out getting petted by a little girl who lives near us. Tuesday she was back limping, but Wednesday she was much better again. I keep hoping we can avoid surgery: better for her, at least in the short-term, and better for us (monitoring her recovery would be difficult).

So not much like Goldfinger after all.In other news, it was pouring rain Tuesday and so I set Wisp’s breakfast inside the French doors.

As rain doesn’t usually deter her, I was surprised that she didn’t want to leave and wound up staying for half-an-hour. If I didn’t worry she’d get up to mischief, I’d have just gotten up and left her, but I’m not sure how well that will work. I need to learn, though. As I’ve said before, she may be ready to be an indoor/outdoor cat sooner than we’re prepared for her.

#SFWApro. All rights to poster remain with current holder, photos are mine.

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Bruce Lee, Andre Norton, Agatha Heterodyne and Cats: books read

Reading Nerds of Color‘s post on how Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood disrespects Bruce Lee got me curious to read about the legendary kung fu star. Fortunately the library had BRUCE LEE: A Life by Matthew Polly, chronicling, Bruce’s story from hyperkinetic mixed-race child actor (his nickname as a kid was “Never sits still”) to teenage brawler and street punk to cha-cha fanatic to gung fu master, and all of that before he began his climb to become Hollywood’s first Chinese superstar. Martial arts movies and Asian-American actors are so much more common now (though obviously Hollywood’s still solidly white-dominated) that it was a shock to realize how out there Lee’s ambitions seemed at the time, and how much discrimination he had to deal with (one newspaper article on Lee actually worked “Rotsa Ruck” into the headline). Nor did he have it easy in Hong Kong, where initial enthusiasm for the hometown boy’s success was later shaded by concerns Lee’s biracial heritage meant he wasn’t Chinese enough. Very good.

TREY OF SWORDS by Andre Norton (striking cover by Charles Mikolaycak) is set in Escore roughly during the events of Warlock of the Witch World. The characters are a stock type in this series: Yonan and Crytha, both mixed-race, both orphans, both uncertain where they fit in and Yonan crushing on an oblivious Crytha. The first two sections of the book involve Yonan discovering the magical Sword of Ice (or vice versa — the Sword chooses it’s wielders) and alongside an ancient warrior traveling back in time to avert one of the Dark’s great triumphs in Escore’s past. The effects of this in the present aren’t really dwelt with, except Crytha, who has just enough untapped power to be vulnerable to the Dark’s control, encounters some of the leftover villains of that battle and has to choose her own destiny. I can’t say this really grabbed me but that’s partly because I read it while I was surfeited with dog care and unable to focus. It does have an unusual end for a Witch World book in that Crytha doesn’t come to return Yonan’s feelings, and chooses a life alone to study her craft.

GIRL GENIUS: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne: The Incorruptible Library by Phil and Kaja Foglio continues Agatha’s adventures as the threat of the mind-controlling Other looms over Europe and Agatha and her crew penetrate the catacombs under Paris in search of a McGuffin that … well, actually I’m not quite sure. There are so many characters, plot threads and character bits that I found it impossible to keep everything straight. It was still amusing (“I write love poetry about cheese.”) and I still look forward to the next volume, but it wasn’t very coherent.

YOUR CAT: The Owner’s Manual: Hundreds of Secrets, Surprises and Solutions for Raising a Happy, Healthy Cat by Dr. Marty Becker didn’t actually have any surprises as it covers the same material as the other cat books I’ve read recently. Which isn’t a criticism of the book — if it had been the first one I picked up, I’d have liked it fine — but I wound up skimming most of it. The chapter on cat training may come in useful though.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

 

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Wisp, the persistent

So Wisp’s thing the past week or so is that when I put down breakfast on the deck, she comes in and apparently doesn’t want to go out to eat.

She’s done that before, but not for quite such long stretches, or so consistently. I half-wonder if she’s thinking about becoming an indoor cat, but I kind of hope not, because we’re not ready for that yet (no scratching post, no litter box).

 

While it’s nice to get a little extra petting in, it’s also a problem because sooner or later I have to get up and do other stuff. I can’t just leave Wisp sitting there if the dogs are here too; they seem to get along almost okay, but almost is not good enough. I really don’t want to have to explain to TYG that Wisp took her claws and shivved Plush Dog. I do need to try getting up and leaving Wisp at times the dogs are out on walkies or in daycare and see how she does if I’m not sitting next to her. If she’s going to spend more time inside, she’s going to have to do some of it when I’m not petting her.

She also likes to follow us on walkies.

It’s a little scary when she crosses the road, but so far she’s had the good sense to retreat into her Wisp cave in the storm drains.

Over on the canine side, Trixie’s tummy continues to be a problem. We’ve switched her over to a different kind of kibble, but we need wet food to go with it and have had trouble procuring any. Still her reaction to the new kibble is good, so that’s encouraging.

Walks are getting longer in the cold, which is good for them. Good for me too, but it also cuts into my work time. Still, I won’t refuse them a long walk.

#SFWApro. Photo is mine.

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