Monthly Archives: September 2009

I peeled myself from the ceiling


     So there I was working away on my book when a loud BANG shook the house.  It sounded as if a mortar had gone off in our driveway.  After I peeled myself from the ceiling, I cussed a bit because with the BANG, the power went out.  I looked at my computer monitor’s black screen, shrugged, and thought, “so much for writing.” 

     It was a few minutes before five and the dogs were hungry.  So was I.  Oh, great.  At least they could eat I don’t have to cook their food.  I fed the dogs while Dear Hubby called the power company—we were the 28th call in the few minutes after the BANG.  DH lit all the kerosene lamps.  I went out to talk to the neighbors who were gathering out on the sidewalks.  We all tried to figure out what had exploded.

     I saw G come home and went over to her house.  SHE HAD POWER.  First thing I said to her when she came to the door was “KMA, woman!  You have power.”  She laughed.  They always seem to have power when ours goes out.  They are less than a half block away from us but they are on another line.  However, I got the last laugh.  She was cooking their dinner.  Dear Hubby was ordering pizza.

Healthy dog and no oven light


     As we begin a new week, I’m happy to note that Gavin seems to be back to 100%.  There is no swelling in his face or neck and he’s been full of himself all day with this cooler weather.  He’s felt so good that he completely wound up Patty.  I’m lucky to have a stick left standing in the house.  What a pair of loons.

     The light in my oven blew tonight.  The original light that came with the oven several years back.  The oven is a wall oven and the light is in the back, I’m short I can’t reach it without a ladder.  Hell, I can’t reach it WITH a ladder.

     Dear Hubby decided to come to the rescue.  He removed the light cover and went to remove the bulb.  The bulb broke at the base.  No, the potato trick wouldn’t work.  We can’t get the base of the light out.  It is well and truly stuck, and now quite a mess, since he tried to remove it with tools.  He tried pliers, needle nosed pliers, even a friggin’ chisel for heaven’s sake.  I have no light in my oven.  I have a mangled, completely stuck, base of a light bulb, but no light.

My manuscript as a patchwork quilt


     As of right now, my manuscript reminds me of a patchwork quilt I tried to make years ago.  Some pieces aren’t quite right but others look perfectly stitched in.  I can’t say that the quilt ever looked good enough to show to anyone but it was warm and cozy.

     The manuscript will go on display one day as a completed work.  I still have several months, and many hours of work left to do.  As I’ve worked on it, I’ve mended tattered edges, cut out ragged pieces, and repaired some bad prose.  I killed off a character, changed another one, and transformed the book a bit.

     Unlike that failed quilt—I never was good at math and quilts require math to do them well—this manuscript is looking better.  Thank goodness, writing doesn’t require math skills.

     To my agent I say, don’t worry ‘tis a far, far better thing I do the book is better and when I send it to you I’m sure you will sell it.

How I critique a manuscript


     How I critique a manuscript.  Or, look out Dave, you asked for it.  If I haven’t read more than a chapter or two of a manuscript and I suddenly have several chapters in front of me to read, I will do a complete read through first.  After that, I go back to the beginning and do a line by line edit.  The third time through I make comments and suggestions.

     Now you know why it takes me a while.  Sometimes it takes longer if life interferes.  I don’t do critiques for just anyone because it does take a lot of time.  I happen to know Dave, we’ve been friends for quite a few years, and that’s why I’ll do them for him.  Not to mention the fact that he reciprocates by doing them for me.  We also have tough hides and know that a critique will only help to improve our writing.

     Why get a work in progress critiqued by someone knowledgeable?  Because fresh eyes on your subject will see things you’ve missed or taken for granted.  Those eyes will also spot continuity problems and places that may confuse a reader. 

     Dave, I’m on the third time through and although it looks as if I’ve bled all over the book, I do love your writing.  Give me another day or two and it should be on it’s way back to you.

Gnasty gnats


     The last couple of weeks we have a plague of gnats.  They swarm and bite not just the dogs but us too.  When I ran the trimmer around the pond, the gardens, and along the fence those nasty bugs were biting the heck out of my ears.  They drew blood and were worse than the mosquitoes.  It’s a darned shame the bull frogs consider them too small to be an appetizer.

     No, our frogs want to eat birds and nightcrawlers.  One of the frogs, probably Goliath, has the mourning doves on heightened patrol at the waterfall.  The birds have begun to use a lookout when they come in to drink.  I haven’t seen any starlings stop by for quite a while.  

     When I sit on the little bench by the back door, I can see a dozen or so gold finches feasting on my coneflowers’ seeds.  They arrive every afternoon around five and aren’t as skittish now as they were this summer.  The cat bird joins them.  From the far side of the cemetery I can hear the red tailed hawk yelling at the mowers.  I can’t stay outside and enjoy the birds for long because the gnats discover me again.

Return of the klutz


     I fell the other day.  Stepping off the back porch steps, I hit that uneven bit of sidewalk again, the same place where I sprained both ankles last summer.  Down I went, this time my ankles were spared, but not my right butt cheek, my hand, and shoulder.  I landed on my butt, broke a vein in the palm of my hand (it’s quite a lovely shade of purple now), and I jounced my shoulder.

     I’m certain I was quite a sight for my neighbors as I landed splat on my backside.  I was taking Gavin out at the time.  Delighted to have me on his level, he raced over, began to lick my face, and tried to crawl into my lap.  I went into a fit of the giggles.  Gavin took that as a good sign and he scoured my face with more enthusiasm.  By then I was so weak from the giggles I couldn’t push him off me so we ended up rolling around on the grass. 

     The neighbors are probably convinced that I’m certifiable.

Gavin, Lee Lofland, Castle, and more


     Gavin’s face look less swollen today and he actually stole a Nylabone from Patty to chew on it for a bit.  She was very sweet and let him take it.  I think she’s as glad as we are that he’s feeling better.

     I adore Lee Lofland’s site, The Graveyard Shift.  Heck, I adore Lee.  I met him at a Pennwriters conference.  Last TV season Lee ran a critique of Castle every week—one of my favorite new shows.  He’s started doing a critique of it again this season.  I enjoy his insights and those of the others who comment there.  Having a retired cop in the house, I see (or have them pointed out to me) most of the blips in the crime shows.

     I’ve begun the fall cleaning cycle in my house.  I tackled my desk yesterday and cleared it of an over abundance of crap paper work, magazines, and reference books that I put back in their proper places in the bookcase.  I then dusted and cleaned the entire desk.  Wow, I can see under my monitor now and the glass desk top gleams.  Tomorrow I’ll work on the rest of the living room.

Fun at the vet or Chicken Dog has a bad day


     Another sleep deprived day.  Dear Hubby woke me early to say that Gavin’s face was still swollen but not quite as much as last night.  I had him call the vet while I showered and dressed.  We had the choice of going in around 11 a.m. to see a vet who hasn’t seen our dogs nor does he know us, or wait until 2:45 to see our favorite vet.  We chose the 2:45 appointment.  Gavin doesn’t care who it is he sees he doesn’t want to be there anyway.

     Gavin loves to ride in the car, but he hates going to the vet’s office.  I thank my lucky stars that he doesn’t have to go often.  When we arrive, he’ll hop out of the car, mark the porch steps, walk inside, sit on the scale long enough to give a paw and have his weight checked, and all is hunky dory until I begin to walk him to an exam room.  He puts on the brakes and drops to the floor.  You can offer him all the cookies in the world and he won’t get to his feet and walk.

     If you’ve ever wondered why a vet’s office has slippery floors, it’s for chicken dogs.  They slide along rather nicely.  Of course, one looks like a cruel person while one drags a flattened, floor hugging, 65 pound dog across the waiting room.  The only time he’ll get to his feet is when you cross the threshold of the exam room and he decides it’s time to leave.  DH has learned to close the door fast.  (Now you know why I drag DH along.) 

     While we wait for the vet to come in, Gavin tries to hide under the chair DH is sitting on.  Heck, he even tried to crawl under my purse.  When the vet came in, I was sitting on the floor with 65 pounds of shaking, shedding, white dog on my lap.  He shed enough fur to knit another dog in the few minutes we waited.  I’ve never had a vet phobic dog before so bear with me.  Gavin won’t look our vet in the face even when bribed with the tastiest of treats. 

     The vet wanted to look in Gavin’s mouth—well, let’s say he wanted to, tried to, but then broke down into the giggles and asked if we had a jack.  I suggested a crow bar.  Gavin was NOT going to open his mouth.  The scenario is that we all hope it’s a bee sting or something to that effect.  However, in case it is an infection the vet decided he had to do something.

     One antibiotic shot and a couple of prescriptions later we were out off there.  Gavin hauled ass to get out of the building, and pile into the car.  I’m to call them every day to let them know how Chicken Dog is and if the swelling doesn’t go down and Gavin isn’t back to his old self in a few days we’ll go back.  They will sedate him to take a good look in his mouth.  {Sigh}  Since the day he arrived, this dog has never been ‘easy.’

A very long and hectic day indeed


     After a mere three hours of sleep, I woke to Dear Hubby telling me we had to be at the oral surgeon’s office at 11 a.m.  So tell me, why was he waking me at 8?  It doesn’t take me three hours to get dressed and toss back a cup of coffee or two.  Ack.  I tried to go back to sleep for a bit but that didn’t work.  I dragged my butt downstairs, foraged for coffee, and told him, “Do not speak to me until I’ve had a second cup or you won’t need to go to a surgeon to have those teeth removed.”  Have I mentioned I had only three hours of  sleep and I am NOT a morning person?

     We arrived on time.  They gave him some paperwork to fill out and took him back to check the damaged teeth.  Meanwhile, I sat in the waiting room and watched salt water fish swim around in a huge tank.  They were lovely, the music was gentle old time jazz, and I almost dozed off.  That’s not easy to do in those hard plastic chairs with low backs. 

     Dear Hubby goes back October 13th.  They will knock him out—they have to or he’ll flip out.  I think this time I’ll grab a book to read and, hopefully, will have slept a few hours longer than I did last night.  No, I didn’t get a nap after we got home.

     Then tonight Gavin was acting out of sorts.  He even had trouble eating his dinner.  I went to look at his mouth to see what was wrong and he yipped when I touched his lower lip.  That’s when I noticed that the right side of his face was swollen.  That’s something not easy to spot on a BT by the way.  I’m praying it’s a bee sting and will be gone by morning.  However, Dear Hubby has instructions that if it’s still bothering Gavin in the morning he’s to call the vet and wake me.  Geez, I hope it’s just a bee sting and will be gone by morning I’m not up to another hectic day.

Off to the oral surgeon for Dear Hubby


     DH has two phobias.  His worst one is dentists and some day I might reveal his other phobia. 

     A couple of days ago he fell and in the process managed to break what few remaining teeth he has.  (I didn’t know this until he finally broke down and told me yesterday.)  Mr. Chicken didn’t want me to call a dentist at the time so he kept quiet.  He finally told me because he’s in a lot of pain.  Of course, it’s the weekend when he tells me.

     I knew the pain had to be bad when DH asked for the name of the oral surgeon who removed a couple of his teeth a few years back.  I gave him the name and phone number and he’ll call the guy tomorrow.  Oh, yeah he’s hurting if he plans to call first thing in the morning and not have me do it.

     Because of his MS, he’s already on heavy doses of pain meds.  They aren’t helping him right now.  Another problem with having the teeth broken is that he’s most likely developed an infection, which is causing him to have double vision.  That is his usual MS reaction to infections of any sort.

Weekend wrap


     I added two new pictures to the Bull Pen the other night.  They are of Madison a little Bull Terrier gal who walks her human past our house.  She’s not a mini bull she’s a very small standard, cute as a button and a real sweetie.  When she sees me out in the yard, she drags her human to the gate so she can have some water and cookies.  I always have some for her.  Today she met the little Papillion, Spot who lives next door to me.

     I ordered my Halloween costume.  It will be a change from the old one and might come in handy if they do another costume party at the writer’s conference.

     The night time temperatures have dropped from the mid sixties to the mid fifties and below.  We’ve been in the seventies during the day.  The pups do enjoy the cooler temperatures.  Both of them are becoming quite spunky.

     The rewrite on Doggoned Dead is going slow but I think the book is stronger and has a better flow.  I can’t believe how killing off a lackluster character causes so many small changes.

Scurvy dogs and bilge rats


     ARRR  it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  I hopes that ye’ve had fun today.  Swash me buckle but I sure will.  I’m out of the galley and on deck ready for some silliness. 

     “Ahoy, you scurvy dogs what say we go clear the decks of bilge rats?”  I asked when I took the dogs for their 2 a.m. last out.  The dogs had no idea what I meant they were just glad I was walking them out to the poop deck.  I can imagine what Dear Hubby will say when I greet him today with a few arrrs and shiver me timbers.

     Have fun me hearties!