Tag Archives: Wisp

TYG no, Wisp si!

As I mentioned a week ago, TYG spent last weekend out of town. Taking care of the dogs solo went fine, though giving them individual walks in freezing weather (ever since Trixie’s leg injury, we walk them separately) was, well, freezing. Handling them and Wisp when she came in was a bit more complicated — I have to make sure they don’t steal Wisp’s food or crowd her into a corner — and sometimes we had Snowdrop as well.Still, it was a relaxed weekend overall. Lots of movie watching, some reading, and a final sourdough recipe from Bread Head. But then came Sunday night.

Normally when Wisp sleeps in the spare bedroom I join her eventually — I wake briefly (if I’m lucky) at midnight, change rooms, she gets company. When TYG is away, however, I stay in the master bedroom with the dogs. Wisp apparently sensed things would not go her way because around 9ish she began meowing plaintively outside the bedroom door. I let her in and after sniffing around, she joined me and the dogs on the bed.TYG and I have always wondered how this would work, and it turns out it works fine. Neither dog felt the need for a turf war, though when Wisp later moved to lie by one side of me, Trixie squished on the other side. I belong to her, cat better recognize the fact.

That would all have been fine except Plushie, having vomited a couple of times in the early evening, got up a couple more times to vomit on the floor (good boy! Much better than on the bed clothes). His claws on the hardwood floor woke me up both times and with a pet on either side of me I couldn’t get back to sleep. I”d hoped for a solid night of sleep to start the work week, but …

The Wisp thing was still very cool, though i don’t know if it’ll work as well when TYG’s in the bed too. Plushie stopped vomiting by early afternoon but I took him to the vet later, just in case. A day of bland food and he seems back to normal, so yay!

#SFWApro.

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Elf on the shelf? How about the cat on the shelf instead?

So last week, when the bomb cyclone plunged temperatures here into the single digits, TYG decided we needed to keep Snowdrop in, even though it freaks him out to be inside with the door closed. It wasn’t easy — he’s very wary of anyone getting near the door — but we succeeded. He was not happy.

TYG suggested I go to bed and take an Ambien rather than endure his high-pitched panic whines. I did, and so missed Snowdrop’s eventual freak-out, including pissing on one of the couches and climbing out of reach.On the plus side he let TYG brush some mats out of his fur and snuggled next to her on the couch. That made her very happy. And he’s come back inside since so we know a)he’s forgiven us and b)he can survive the cold. We still want to get him adjusted to at least short periods with the closed door — it’s a lot more practical for us not to endure the cold (or later in the year, the heat) but obviously we’re not going to turn him into an indoor cat.

Despite the freezing weather, Christmas was great. Last year, TYG had a lot of work and felt way stressed; this year, she was more relaxed, so I felt the same. I made German apple pancake (a tradition) and Dutch cheese and potato soup (not a tradition but a favorite of hers) and, of course, we exchanged gifts. Mine was much heavier on books than usual — TYG picked several items off my Amazon wish list — but that suits me fine. And she had several specific asks so I bought her more stuff than usual, which I loved doing.

And we even put a ribbon on Wisp.

A Merry Christmas, as they say, was had by all.

#SFWApro.

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Bomb cyclone-mageddon is here!

Yes, I know, the name doesn’t click like “snowpocalypse.” Maybe I’ll run it by some beta-readers.

Temperatures plummeted like a stone in late morning. Even a brief hail.Then the power went off about 2.5 hours ago. So in about 90 minutes all the food in our fridge (cheese, kefir, veggie sausage) ups and dies. Our freezer has until late morning tomorrow. Given they have yet to assign a crew, I suspect a lot of food will die. And of course we can’t cook anything. I do have some dry cereal and dried fruit but that’s not the best fare. And if the power’s not on tomorrow, no tea!

And the cats are out in the freezing cold, which worries us. They’ve survived nasty weather before but it gets down to 10-12 degrees tonight. And the power is also off to our heated shelter. At least we and the dogs are indoors and can pile on blankets. Hopefully they’ll show up before night falls, though Snowdrop may refuse to come in.

Don’t get me wrong, this is more a pain in the butt for us than a crisis. But it’s quite a large pain in the butt. Even so, it’s Christmas weekend and while I’m feeling annoyed, I’m here with TYG and the dogs and I’m definitely not feeling miserable.I’d blog about writing but I’m using my phone as a mobile hot-spot and don’t want to drain it too much. So I’ll just say it went well and leave it at that.

{UPDATE: Power came back in the nick of time to save the food! Merry Christmas to us!)

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Writing

Cats! Insomnia! The car! But the work got done

First the good news: Snowdrop is coming in early mornings and sitting on the couch. He’s come up on the couch before, when Wisp was settled on her pillow, but he’s always been wary. Not any more.

Yep, he’s now cool with me giving him belly scritches, though sometimes I have to sit on the floor to preserve his personal space. I think this is a big advance in our relationship.

The bad news? He still freaks out if we close the door on him. That’s not so good when the temperature’s in the low thirties. I tolerate it as long as I can — an hour or so this morning — but eventually no. However he’s not panicking quite as fast as he did so just possibly we’re making progress there too.

The other bad news is that dealing with cats in the morning really throws my schedule off. As I’ve mentioned before, early morning’s the best time for exercise, a little reading over a cup of tea, and some yoga or stretching. The more fussing I do over the cats, the less time I have for any of that. I’ll always let them in — they are our cats now — so I don’t know there’s any solution beyond “suck it up.”My sleep-maintenance insomnia plays a role in this too. I had a couple of nights where I woke up around midnight. Normally I’d get up for a bit and go back to sleep or failing that, write and then nap during the day. Both nights, however, Snowdrop and Wisp detected someone was up and sat on the deck waiting … so I let them in and got much less done than normal.

And then this morning the battery failed when TYG went off on an errand. We called AAA, they came out, found the battery was fine, but the dashboard computer warned us something else was off. I made an appointment to deal with it next week, but the whole experience sucked up much more time than I wanted and threw me off my game the rest of the day.

Despite which, the week was really productive. I finished another draft of Paying the Ferryman; I still don’t have the problem part nailed down but I can feel I’m getting closer. I reread Love That Moves the Sun, an older short story, and it needs much less work than I thought to fix it. I also reread Oh the Places You’ll Go! with feedback from the last editor I sent it to in mind and I don’t think I agree with their diagnosis (no disrespect intended).

I read Bleeding Blue to the writer’s group and the feedback was much more positive than I expected. They did point out several problems and I rewrote and improved the story yesterday, based on their suggestions. The big action scene at the climax still needs the most work, though — it’s better, but still doesn’t work.

I got several thousand words done on The Impossible Takes a Little Longer, much of it by refitting some of the last draft into a new position in the book. It worked there, too. It’s now up to 54,000 words though I suspect it may come in a little short compared to what novels run these days.

Oh, and my Con-Tinual panel on favorite Christmas Carol versions is now live. It’ll be up on the Con-Tinual YouTube channel in a few days.

So yeah, pleased with my week. Have a great weekend everyone.

#SFWApro. Please credit me if you use my photos.

 

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Writing

Metrics aren’t everything, but they help

So I wrapped up November with somewhere under 50 percent of my goals completed … I think.

One of the errors I keep making is that when things get hectic I stop tracking my progress. I don’t record how many hours I’ve spent on writing projects or whether I remembered to wipe the kitchen counters every day. So I don’t know if I achieved them or not. So I’m working to consistently report metrics at the end of the day, before walking the dog (afterwards I’m usually off the computer for too long). We’ll see how I do.

This week was uneven but overall productive. A large part of the unevenness is that my insomnia the past couple of months has been exceptionally consistent. Some of that may be the warm weather — even in a heated house, winter usually makes a difference — and some of it’s definitely psychological. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I psych myself out about “Well, if I try to get to sleep and don’t succeed I’ll have to take naps during the day so I should definitely get up and write because then I won’t need the time but then again I really need sleep …” That kind of chatter makes it impossible to get to sleep.So Wednesday became a waste. I was tired plus I had my second checkup of the year. Overall good, and a couple of things I was worried might be serious are just me getting older. My doctor is way more reliable than the Crime Surgeon on Bob Kane’s cover above.

Today was productive but choppy. I was sitting with the dogs most of the day and they were often barky, plus Wisp came in which meant having to keep three pets happy. I can write and pet Wisp in my lap but if Trixie gets on the couch too, she demands petting too and then I have no hands left to type. And yesterday I walked to a nearby dispensary to pick up Plushie’s meds. It’s close to a mile further away than I anticipated so that was more time lost. The exercise was good, however.

So what got done?

First, I finished a rewrite of Bleeding Blue on Monday. It’s much improved. This may be the next piece I read to my writers’ group as menstruation is important in the story and I need women’s feedback.

I reread Paying the Ferryman and I was dismayed how much the energy and tension drop once we move from New York to a fairy-tale setting. I spent most of my writing time today working to fix that but between naps and pets I didn’t get finished. It’s already improved, though, and shorter.

I wrote 4,000 words on Impossible Takes a Little Longer. The book’s definitely improving, though I still wonder about length.

And I started to think about what I want to do next year.

All totaled, I made my hours for the week.Over at Atomic Junkshop I looked at the time Iron Man deliberately killed his opponent, a drastic thing in the Silver Age. You can see in Gene Colan’s (under his Adam Austin synonym) panels above that Iron Man’s throwing the Black Knight (not the one from Eternals) off his flying horse to his death.

Over at ConTinual I participated in a panel on worldbuilding in small towns and one discussing my two new releases. They’re on FB but they’ll be on ConTinual’s YouTube channel soon.

And speaking of my new books, I sold some copies of Questionable Minds this week! That feels very cool.

And needless to say, our Christmas tree is up.#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Short Stories, Story Problems, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Two cats nuzzling

Snowdrop is still terrified of being in the house with the door closed. He’ll leave the living room to explore but if he comes back and finds we’ve closed the door on him the panicked meows begin.

He doesn’t seem keen to climb onto the furniture either unless Wisp’s there already. This time she’d settled in on the back of the couch so he came up for some mutual affection.

We’re not looking forward to leaving the door open once it starts getting really chilly, but for now, that’s the way it has to be.

In less cute cat-related news, I stepped on Wisp when I went out in the dark Monday. She screamed in utter shock and scratched my leg before she fled (no foul, I had it coming). I felt like the greatest villain unhung but in the morning she was willing to accept pets and didn’t seem harmed at all. Thank goodness. I won’t make that mistake again, I promise.

#SFWApo.

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That is a little more like it

Which is to say the week went much better than most of October did. Relatively few interruptions and most of those went well. We took the dogs for a checkup at the physical rehab place and the stiffness and pains they were experiencing a month ago (nothing horrifying, but still there) have faded. We can ease up a little on their painkillers and some of the at-home therapy. More importantly, it’s always good news to hear they’re okay. Below is Plushie with his new teddy bearish cut.I met with yet another gutter-repair professional but this one, recommended by a neighbor, was a vast improvement. No sales pitch and the price for a gutter repair plus some upgrades was only slightly higher than the straight gutter repair job we’d gotten from one of the other bidders. So yay!

As to writing, I think that well. I rewrote my short story Bleeding Blue and switched the protagonist from a rookie cop to someone drafted for temporary duty (this makes sense in the setting). This really helped the character and simplified a number of story choices. It still needs a lot of work but there is a story there now.

My work on Obalus was less satisfying, but I did make progress. I have a clearer direction for the story, which may stretch out to novella length; if not, it’s going to be a long short story (then again, I may cut much of what I’ve written in later drafts). But I still don’t know exactly what Eleanor’s going to face in the Tower Without Doors or how she’s getting a prisoner out. Hopefully by the time I resume writing, my subconscious will have dredged something up.

I completed another chapter of Impossible Takes a Little Longer but I realized at the end that the shocking twist I’d developed to pull the action forward didn’t work. Now I have to think of some way to keep the tension going until the next big hook.

I also submitted three short stories — one of them came back the next day but such is life.

Wisp has started coming in at night, though not consistently. She also came in a couple of mornings and took a nap on her pillow. The cats do throw off my morning routine, but they’re worth it.#SFWApro.

 

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, Story Problems, Time management and goals, Writing

Surrounded by pets, but missing my angel

So last Sunday, TYG headed out of town for a business trip, leaving me as a single doggy parent until she returned this morning. Quite aside from missing her, it was a weird adjustment.

Our dogs aren’t the independent type: when we’re home, they expect to be with us. Snuggled in the lap is, of course, the ideal. Or being in the kitchen hoping for a delicious treat.We usually adjust to their wishes. So I’d wake up, go down and make tea, come back up and drink it in bed while I read. Then I’d do some work for a couple of hours. Then we go down and begin the morning dog routines and walkies.

At least that was the theory. The practice proved erratic. Tuesday morning Plushie wanted very badly to go downstairs. Thursday and Friday I made sure to give him extra snuggles in the bed — he doesn’t always come and ask the way Trixie does — and he liked it so much he squirmed into my lap in a position where I couldn’t write (I’d have had to rest the lap desk right on him). I did not, of course, remove him.

As we walk the dogs separately that meant twice as much time devoted to walkies. Fortunately it’s beautiful out this week, chilly-to-cold but I can live with that. And as I didn’t exercise other than walkies or do my yoga — dogs take it as body language for Snuggle With Me — I guess the time balanced out.

Things did get more complicated when Wisp or Snowdrop showed up and I had more pets to deal with. Still it’s great to see Wisp coming in more and even napping on the back of the couch again.

Snowdrop began meowing plaintively when she met up with me and the dogs in the yard. I think he missed TYG — we’ll see how he reacts now that she’s back.

As TYG went off with a lot of her ingredients unused I postponed my own cooking plans and worked on using up the leftovers: rice and veggie bowl, frittatta, apple tart, roasted grapes with rosemary. Good stuff.

Oh, work? The week started off well but bogged down. When I take care of the dogs for this long, there’s something about the constant lack of space that sands down my ability to think. Thursday I was working slow; today I got nothing but the bare minimum done, even after TYG came back.

I completed almost all my promotional work for Questionable Minds. I’ll wrap up the rest Monday.

I got another chapter done for Impossible Takes a Little Longer … and promptly decided to revise it. It’s a slow, character-centric chapter which would be fine except it’s following another one. So once again, I’m moving up catastrophes originally scheduled for later chapters. I’ll get onto that next week.

I also had an insight how several disconnected ideas might work together to create one novel. But that’s for later … well, maybe.

And I got another accounting article done. While I fell several hours short of my hourly goal for the week but under the circumstances I think that’s acceptable. Hopefully the multiple appointments we have next week won’t derail me further.

Oh, plus I got paid for the upcoming reprint of Happiest Place on Earth, plus one book sales of Undead Sexist Cliches, plus someone checked out Atlas Shagged on Hoopla (a library service that pays a little per checkout). Whoever my two readers are, I hope you liked the books and I thank you for investing the time on my work.

#SFWApro.

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Filed under Atlas Shagged, Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Nonfiction, The Dog Ate My Homework, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing

Wisp on the steps

As the weather cools, Wisp is starting to spend a little more time indoors again. But in the meantime, I’m happy to pet her outside when I have the time and opportunity.#SFWApro.

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Cat on the couch

So Wisp slept in one night last week for the first time in a while. Then she snoozed on the couch next to me. So naturally I took a photo.I’m hoping that in winter she’ll come in more often. Not too far off now. And who knows, maybe Snowdrop will too.

#SFWApro.

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