Tag Archives: Wisp

Housekeepers!

TYG and I aren’t spendthrifts. I love cool kitchen devices, for instances, but I can’t bring myself to buy something unless it’s actually more useful than what I already have. “It” usually isn’t.

But last year, we paid to have a thorough housecleaning. As I’ve mentioned before, it was fricking amazing to see how much better they clean than we do. And so nice to have it done without taking the time ourselves.

Then pandemic distancing began and we gave up on them for the rest of the year. Now they’re back (stay away from them, Delta variant!). It’s well worth the money. The house is cleaner, we’re happier, I spend less time cleaning — though in the time before they show up next month, I really must do better. There’s a few things that do need to be done in-between, and I didn’t.

Still cool, though.

For anyone who doesn’t think a photo of cleaning equipment is visually entertaining, here’s Wisp on the deck, somewhere between sleeping and hoping for a belly scritch.#SFWApro.

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My week, demolished by dogs (Wisp helped too)

Having Tuesday sucked up by doctor visits was only part of the distractions from writing this week.

It started Saturday night, July 3. Some clodpates decided to launch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day Eve and Plushie freaked out. He crawled across the bed and began licking at my face for comfort, which is not so comfortable for me — I kept having to shift to avoid getting my mouth or my ears licked (ick!). And he wanted to jump off the bed, which would be bad for his ongoing recovery (more on which soon).

Sunday night, July 4, there were, of course, more fireworks and more of a freakout. My writing day Monday was ultra-groggy; I’d scheduled eight Leaf articles for myself and only finished six. Catching up took more time out of the rest of my week (I try for 10 a week. It covers my share of the bills handily).

Monday night, as I mentioned in this morning’s post, Wisp kept waking me up. Tuesday and Wednesday I just didn’t sleep well. Part of that is that the endodontist gave me antibiotics (there’s a slight infection around the site of my future root canal) and my mind keeps prodding me to get up at 3 AM so I take them on a regular schedule (it’s a four times a day thing), then I can’t get back to sleep.

Then Thursday, a friend called with a problem. They’d previously asked about us dog-sitting Lily and Tito as we’d done before, but for a longer stretch, Thursday to Tuesday (the dogs have never been boarded so the owners don’t want to do that if they can avoid it). Then they’d found someone who could house-sit with the dogs, so we didn’t have to get involved. Thursday their house-sitter got slapped with an emergency and it was too late to either take the dogs or board them, so could we … And of course we said yes. Needless to say, having two more dogs slows my work down to a crawl. Plus our weekly session with our dogs at the dog rehab place took much longer than anticipated. So Thursday was a wash as far as anything involving thinking. Today was too.

At least they’re awfully cute, sweet dogs though.

I did manage to read over Chapter Nine of Undead Sexist Cliches preparatory to rewriting it. I posted on Atomic Junkshop about the obscure Superman villain Zha-Vam (“Say his name and even Superman shakes!”) I got my ten Leafs done for the week, and watched a lot of movies for Alien Visitors. Didn’t get much writing done, though and I really need to. But there’s only so much that can be done when multiple dogs clamor for attention.

#SFWApro.

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

Medical frustration was my Tuesday

I have a minor medical problem I check on every few years to make sure it’s still minor. Tuesday (I thought) was my checkup time. As I also needed to visit an endodontist to see if I needed a root canal, I scheduled that for Tuesday too. That way I blow one day but there’s no need to refocus on work afterwards.

The day was … unproductive. My morning meeting wasn’t to check but simply to discuss whether I preferred MRI to CAT scan (it’ll be MRI for various reasons). Though I did feel oddly ebullient to be out doing something and the Duke building is engagingly old —In the afternoon, endodontist time! After getting over the surprise that Dr. Mallik comes from the same part of England as me (it’s a small area) he took a CAT scan of my teeth, giving him a view my regular dentist hadn’t been able to obtain. Yep, I need a root canal. Oh, joy. Only I didn’t get it Tuesday, it’ll be next month, like the other procedure.

So I feel like I wasted the day, even though it had to be done. And I wasted money taking Lyft to the endodontist — I’d been worried I might be in no shape to drive home. Though I was somewhat sleep deprived so maybe driving wouldn’t have been the best idea. Plushie had freaked out at the firework noises on both July 3 and 4 (and why are people now letting off fireworks July 3?), which didn’t allow for enough sleep. Tuesday morning I slept in the spare bedroom with Wisp part of the night and she decided to be needy, even giving me a slight nip when she wanted attention. So I felt pretty zonked.

At least I had the sense to bring a book to both offices!

#SFWApro

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

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

Wisp, like Aslan, is not a tame lion

Sure, she looks tamed and kittenish in this photo. But as the weather has turned warm, she’s become much more interested in staying outdoors as much as possible. That’s a little disappointing. Making her an indoor cat or mostly indoor would keep her safer, and the local birds and shrews safer. This winter she stayed inside so much I hoped we were trending that way. Now I’m not so sure.

She’s also really hooked on playing with the laser pointer. When she does come in, she’s likely to sit and stare around, waiting for her friend the little red dot to show up for her to chase. I think she knows it’s something we’re doing, she just doesn’t care. I’m hoping there’s a point at which enough chasing will convince her to sit quietly and chill, but if so I haven’t found it yet. I must admit, I kind of miss her sitting next to me on the couch and just snoozing, but it’s not all about me.

I’m pleased with her diet, though. I went and read up online about cat food and realized I was considerably overstuffing her. Now I’m giving multiple small meals a day, mixing tuna, kibble and cat food; she hasn’t been enthused about the cat food but the mix works for her. Good thing, as we have a lot of cat food (TYG bought it in bulk).

Who knows what’s ahead? Will summer heat encourage her to stay in the way winter cold and February’s drenching rain did? Time will tell.

#SFWApro.

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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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I slept well this week. I imagine DST this weekend will fix that

Switching back and fro from Daylight Savings Time to Standard has disrupted my sleep schedule (and millions of other people’s) for years. As I’ve aged, it gets worse. There’s a bipartisan push in Congress to end the switch; I hope it works.

But for some reason I did sleep remarkably well this week, even with Wisp occasionally in the bed with me and demanding petting. Getting a full night’s sleep sometimes works against me — being able to work uninterrupted in the early morning has some advantages — but this week it didn’t. Partly that’s because my various projects require research reading and research viewing (for Alien Visitors) which makes it easier to squeeze in a little extra work. The doggy care wasn’t particularly demanding, though I am getting quite wiped after lunch walkies. Thinking back, it’s the first time since Trixie’s injury last year that I’ve been giving her a full morning walk while it’s still cool enough for a full lunch walk. Apparently that and the heat is taking its toll. I’m going to try hydrating heavily before lunch walks next week and see if that helps. I sure hope so — there’s no way I can rejigger my schedule to avoid working in the afternoon. Though in a couple of months it’ll probably be too hot for big walks anyway.

So what did I get done while I was so wonderfully rested?

I did my Leaf articles, of course, though there were fewer to claim than I expected. I made it up by doing a couple more pieces for the Veterans Network website (my first article, on K9 Veterans Day, is already up). This looks like it will be a steady source of additional work, which is always welcome. I also spent an hour chatting with my friend Lisa Wildman, who works there, about the gig and what they’re looking for.

I did a lot of reading on golems and wrote a rough first draft of the paper. I still have more reading to do, but having it down on paper gives me a much sharper idea where I’m going, which is reassuring. I also took time out of Wednesday to go pick up some research reading from the Durham Library. Normally I’d have waited for the weekend but I had a couple of other errands that needed doing, so …

I started the final draft of Chapter Four of Undead Sexist Cliches. It needs more work than I hoped, but it will get the work until it’s good to go.

I skipped working on Questionable Minds as I mull over a couple of edits I’m not sure about. I got a little bit of work done on the Alien Abductions chapter of Alien Visitors. I’m starting to get a feel for that subgenre faster than I thought.

Oh, and I published a blog post about DC’s Kobra over at Atomic Junk Shop.

Overall a satisfactory week. Fingers crossed DST doesn’t disrupt the flow too much next week.

#SFWApro. Kobra art by Jack Kirby, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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

That is DEFINITELY more like it!

So as usual for the end of the month, Leaf articles dried up (it has something to do with their billing cycle with clients) and I had the whole week to work on my own projects. I don’t always make good use of the time, but this week? Totally.

I made final edits on Chapters One and Two of Undead Sexist Cliches. Chapter Two was slower than I thought, but I think I’ll make up the time on the two rape-cliche chapters — they’re the most tightly organized.

I wrote another chapter of Alien Visitors and watched some more films.

I did some more research reading.

I worked a little on drafting my golem article.

Despite having Wisp in most mornings, I managed to keep up my exercise schedule. And believe me it’s hard when a cat curls up next to you on the couch and wants petting.

And I submitted Southern Discomfort to a new publisher. I feel pessimistic, but it’s not doing any good just sitting here, is it? The pessimism isn’t that I think the first three chapters are poor — I reread them and other than a couple of spelling errors, they look good. But it’s kind of an odd book, with multiple POVs and I wonder if the publisher (or any publisher) will just look and say it’s not strong enough or we need more time with Maria’s POV or something. But hey, self-publishing is always an option if nothing else works. And I’m not giving up on trad publishing yet.

Huh, that’s actually a shorter summation of the week than when I’m writing about how wrong everything went. But I’m cool with that.

#SFWApro. Cover by Ernie Chan, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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