Saturday, November 28, 2009

Knotty is Now Dottie

The title says it all.

Dottie just ate the box to my pickle ornament when I stepped outside to talk to the neighbor. Naughty Dottie.

I am behind on the novel and the deadline is Monday. Best get the whip cracking. After I finish this chapter in the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. Thank you Mom, and Clarie!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Knotty Is Staying

Everyone says that is the least surprising news they have ever heard but I promise you all I was trying to give her away to anyone who so much as looked at her last weekend. So you should be surprised.

Here are some recent pictures. Even though I think she is tiny, she is a bit bigger than Fancy. I hope she stays smaller than Pie.

I like to bite Pie. Pie likes to bite me. Usually, as this photo demonstrates, Pie is a good older sister and lets me win.

I am not so good at retrieving. Yet.

I am learning about picture taking. Boring!

I look pretty silly in this picture.

These are my two big sisters. Aren't they pretty?
I have a guy from 3 Day Blinds at my house. At 1000 at night. He came at seven. All the windows are different sizes even though they look exactly the same. Then he discovered the windows are different widths at the top and bottom. How is that possible? He said he could give me the quote before he left, and that is what is taking so long. I should have had him send it to me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ah, Warmth

It is hard enough trying to write a novel when you are running out of ideas and after you come up with something original and add it to your story you realize some other author has already used YOUR idea, but you are desperate to keep your word count up so you leave it in and risk being caught out. And it is hard enough when your dog is having a horrible allergy attack and WILL NOT stop scratching and licking and every two seconds you have to tell her to stop but it has become so obsessive for her she is no longer listening to your commands, and so you have to prod her with your foot, which then messes up your blanket that is on your lap, trying to keep you warm, which brings me to my point.

My house is cold. It has a heater, but since we are out in the boonies, there is no gas, and the heater runs on propane. I've always been frugal with heater usage, but I've been cold enough recently that if the heater was on a separate gas line, and not a propane tank shared with the neighbor, I'd probably turn it on. I cannot type when I am so cold.

But now I am warm. I put on a second pair of sweat pants and a second sweater for two pairs of pants and two sweaters, and my big bathrobe and I also have the afghan on my lap. I am now warm. Finally. And now that I've blogged about it I can go back to writing. But the calculator I use to calculate my projected word count is now on the ground because Fancy retreated to her kennel to lick her foot so I could no longer prod her, and I threw the calculator at her kennel to make her stop. It worked, for now, but Pie is now worried and sulking... Can I get no peace? The end of the month is approaching and I can't quit now!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Novel Update 2

The novel has a new working title: ALL the Bad Things: Betrayal, Deception, Confusion and Cows, or Living, Loving and Losing Your Mind in Montana (or There Abouts)

Becha really want to read it now, huh? As of 10:07 pm, on Friday the 20th, the official word count is 32,565 at 50 pages. I'm maybe 1000 words behind so I won't go to bed tonight until I get back on track. I would like to get ahead so I am not finishing on the 30th, but so far I haven't had any luck with that.

The dog club had our monthly meeting at my house earlier tonight. I got ready for it by buying a used couch so people would have places to sit. My friend's dad went into a nursing home, so they are having an estate sale at his house tomorrow, and I snatched up the couch. I think it might be improved with a slip cover, although the beige color matches the carpet and walls.

Back to typing! Then off to bed and an an agility trial over the weekend that is almost 2 hours away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rest In Peace, Blossom

Little Blossom passed away Saturday night in his sleep. He had not been eating and had blood in his urine, which the vet attempted to treat with antibiotics. He had just completed the course of antibiotics when he passed away, so I do not know what she would have tried next. I knew he was doing poorly, but I truly did not expect him to die.
The day I got him.

That night he had chosen to lay under the table in the kitchen where I type. There is a thin cushion under there, but since it is on hard wood, I knew it couldn't be very comfy. So I put the round dog bed on the carpet and carried him to that softer bed, where I found him the next morning. I am so glad I went out of my way to make sure he was comfortable for his last night. Usually he would find somewhere comfy himself, but I guess he was feeling poorly enough that he did not want to move when I got up. I didn't let him sleep in my room any more since he needed water in the middle of the night and if I left the door open so he could wander out and help himself the noisy drinking would wake me up.

I only had Blossom since June, but I think that almost makes his passing harder. I expected him to be around a long time. Bloom had not been himself for almost a year when he died, so even though he died suddenly also, it was almost like he had been dead a long time. Blossom was doing good, eating kibble with no wet food, then started refusing his kibble, and went downhill and then was gone.

He was such a sweet, gentle dog. I don't know if he had children in his previous life (before he came to me) but he was very tolerant of pets from Laura. He never, ever tired to bite me, even when I poked him with a horrible huge needle to give him sub Q fluids when I first got him. He sat next to me on the couch, just like I enjoy, and he learned some cute tricks. The only trouble he ever gave me was the times he ran away. I couldn't understand this since he seemed to want to be with me so much. I think maybe it was a miswiring in his brain.

He would hear my voice and come looking for me if we had been separated. Fancy and Pie are great dogs, but there is just something so special to me about a sweet, gentle old dog, especially one as cute as Blossom. I really liked his poodle hair cut, especially with the little poof ball on his head.

I remember the day I got him, convinced he would be euthanized before I could get there. I remember dragging him along on the hikes in Big Bear, walking him in the hills behind my house and carrying him as I would run up the hills. Running for the exercise and carrying him since he didn't "do" hills. Trying (unsuccessfully) to teach him rear crosses in agility and then deciding to get a CD on him to help the running away problem, then down grading that goal to a rally novice title when I could tell he was older than I originally thought, then quickly giving up all goals as he lost interest in food. I think the two things I will remember most about Blossom is all the times with him laying next to me on the couch (because that is what I like best about old dogs) and how much he really, truly seemed to love me. I know Pie and Fancy also love me and seek me out, but they will also go off and do their own thing in the house. Blossom always had to have me in his sight and would make all kinds of noises if he knew I was in the house, but he was separated from me. And I will always remember his cuteness. Blossom was my special little particolored poodle.

I miss him very much. Just like the poem "The Power of the Dog, " says "Beware of giving your heart for a dog to tear." Because now he is gone and my heart is torn. His ashes come back tomorrow. All the happiness a dog brings you, all the comfort, and when they die you are left with a sad heart and a little box of ashes.

But now Blossom is free of pain, so I can't be selfish.
I found him online. This was his picture.
Hiking in Big Bear.
At the lake. Look! He got his feet wet.
Putting up with my picture taking. In the trailer behind the jeep.
He only went a head on the downhill sections.
He was more of a bed dog than a hiking dog.
He was a really cute agility dog.
An all around cute dog. I really like this picture. He was having so much fun just zooming around.
On another walk. He jumped off soon after I took this, with no ill effects, luckily.
For some reason I feel as if I ask nicely enough, he'll come back. Like maybe he's being boarded somewhere because someone thought I had too many dogs, but once they see how much I miss him they'll let him come back home. I don't know why I feel that way, but the sooner I can get rid of that feeling the easier it will be.
Goodbye, little Blossom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mojave Trip

On Saturday, Dad and I and Fancy and Pie headed out in the Jeep to the Mojave desert for off roading, walking, and shooting. You can read about Dad's version here: There are some pictures of me in that blog, since he used his camera to take them. I'm in a bit of a hurry, so for all the details, I recommend reading Dad's blog.

Pie surveys the scene.

So does Dad.

Pie on the trail.

This was our shooting spot. The pumpkin is Craig's, left over from Halloween. It was never carved, poor thing. The shooting stand was made by a friend of Dad's. It worked well.

Dad takes aim with his .22 that needed lubrication and the engine oil was helpful, but not quite good enough.

A different firearm. It was used with very satisfactory results on the pumpkin.

Ewww... pumpkin guts! We ended up finding pieces of the pumpkin I'd say over 25 feet away. Maybe more.

Fancy looking weird. Ah yes, I caught her while she was scratching. This was an abandoned mining claim that had pieces of the buildings and vehicles all over the place. I found the abandoned mine shaft that was not blocked off in any way in the middle of some bushes and had visions of Pie bounding across the landscape and right down the hole. Scary.

A nice view.

I had fun on the trip, although as soon as I pulled up to the parent's house before we left, I realized I felt strange and then I quickly realized I felt sick. But I was determined to go, so I zipped off to the store for some medication. By the end of the day I was feeling better, although it came back by the time I got home, and stayed with me through Sunday, Monday and the first half of Tuesday. At this point I am cured, so it was not the H1N1 virus like I was worried it might be!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quilt Show

A picture essay of the quilt show from last Saturday.

One of Mom's beautiful quilts. I wish the picture wasn't fuzzy. Correction- while Mom has a quilt made out of the same pattern and most of the same fabric, this is not her quilt. Her quilt is still at home, with no binding. This quilt was made by Janelle, mom's good friend and the show Chairwoman.

Mom with friend (and fellow teacher from her school) and her daughter in front of a second lovely Mom quilt.

A third Mom quilt! This one won a Chairperson's Choice Award! Look for the ribbon on the left side. I wish I hadn't chopped it out of the picture.

Here is yet another one of Mom's. It is titled, "I Quilted It Myself!" or something to the effect. Usually mom has a professional do her quilting, but after buying her own high speed machine, she has taken this next big step!

A close up of her technique.
Who is that cute girl in the top quilt?

I thought I recognized her! Here is a picture of the write up from that quilt.

The quilt show crowd.

I caught this guy staring at me. Probably he is a masher but I moved on before he could mash me.

A quilt made out of a husband's old ties. There were actually two quilts with this theme. The other one looked very different.

Here is a final picture of some close up of quilting on a Hawaii themed quilt that illustrates why most quilters are retired persons with plenty of time on their hands.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Novel Update 1

I am on page 21 out of 50, and at 13.500 plus words. The synopsis is "A Rancher gets struck by lighting" and the working title is the Worst Novel Ever. Lots being thought about, but not to much happening in the novel.

Here is an excerpt from page 21. This might give you an idea if you will have any interest in reading the finished product: (one of the characters is at a cow show looking for another character)

Dang! Where is that woman? Nothing exciting has happened since I arrived. Maybe I should find a cow and tag it. Not an ear tag- spray paint. I have some in my purse here. Probably I would write, “Call me for a good time.” Then I would write my number as the answer to a complicated mathematical problem using imaginary numbers (i) and geometry theorems and ugh… fractions that don’t reduce evenly. That way if someone solved the problem and called me, we could have a good time desperately searching for the crank function and maybe some simpler proofs of Ramanujan's mathematical discoveries.

This place is like hick city. They are having a raffle and just announced winning ticket number 1379403 has won the Pampered Chief basket full of cooking utensils. Either out here in Do Dah City they have high ranking Native Americans with domestic tendencies, or name brand cooking utensils are so foreign, they have never heard of the Pampered Chef. Obviously, I am a big city raised sophisticated lady: I own a Pampered Chef mixing bowl, measuring cup set and fly swatter with detachable dust pan. The fly swatter also has fly (and other smashed dead bug I suppose) tweezers in the handle like a Swiss Army Knife, but that is too down and dirty for me, so I eschew the use of the tweezers, and focus my energies on the dust (dead bug? Because I am sure not sweeping up dust with it) pan.

End of excerpt.

Some might recognize where I got one of the ideas, (Thanks, Mom, for my very own Pampered Chef items) and if you were at the band field show this weekend, you would have recognized where I got the other idea. However, Santa Clarita is more sophisticated than this hick city, and the announcer did recognize and comment that whoever wrote about the prize had spelled "chef" as "chief." Ok- have to get back to writing! I am officially behind. I believe I should be at 23 pages and 15000 words by the end of tonight.

In bonus news, I used the word "gyrate" in my novel. And not in conjunction with aircraft, either.

Sled Driver

A book about the coolest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird. I would love to read this book, but at $400 plus, the price is a bit steep. I believe this is an excerpt. All I can say is... wow.

Can some one explain to me how a jet engine works? It has moving parts, right? How can something go that fast, and not fall apart? I've read that the type of engine designed for the SR-71 had three settings. Off, idle, and acceleration, so there is no true top speed- the speed is limited to when the engines fail- explode. Before reading this I had always read the top speed was classified, but maybe that is a euphemism for, "Heck if we know."

I recommend reading the entire article. For me, it is as fist hand account of something so far outside of my existence it is extremely exotic and almost unbelievable.

"It is a race this jet will not let us lose. [they were outrunning missiles] The Mach eases to 3.5 as we crest 80,000 feet. We are a bullet now - except faster. We hit the turn, and I feel some relief as our nose swings away from a country we have seen quite enough of. Screaming past Tripoli , our phenomenal speed continues to rise, and the screaming Sled pummels the enemy one more time, laying down a parting sonic boom. In seconds, we can see nothing but the expansive blue of the Mediterranean . I realize that I still have my left hand full-forward and we're continuing to rocket along in maximum afterburner.

The TDI now shows us Mach numbers, not only new to our experience but flat out scary. Walt says the DEF panel is now quiet, and I know it is time to reduce our incredible speed."

The question is- how fast is scary to someone who has gone Mach 3.5? It truly amazes me the things humans can make. The human body is somewhat limited, especially in relation to some animals capable of extreme speed or jumping abilities. But for us to construct an airplane that can go over 3 and a half times the speed of sound? Cool. And as much as I like the space shuttle and rockets and such, it is so much more amazing when it is a (mostly) normal airplane going that crazily fast.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Also interesting, I mention Arther C. Clark in my novel, but not in the context of space elevators. And that was before I read this article.

Pie tried to make me think she was dying. She is now snuggled up in my Air Force sweat shirt, with me keeping an eye on her. Maybe more on that little episode later. Or you can ask mom because she got the whole story.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

3 Out of 4

(skip this post if you are going to be eating soon or have just consumed some food...)

3 out of 4 dogs are now having digestive issues. Pie joined the list. Yesterday she had... water. Yup, can't even be called loose stools or diarrhea, although it was diarrhea two nights ago when it was on the carpet. Pie is like a kid who doesn't want to wake their parent up even if they are vomiting in the bathroom. Like the time I vomited in the hallway and was going to wait until the morning to tell my mother. Luckily, it wasn't as late as I thought and she was still up...

I had to get up to let Blossom out (he whines to let me know) and I noticed the door to one of the rooms that is usually closed was open. Strange, I thought. I went back to bed and the next morning found a mess in a different room. That is when it clicked. I went back to the first room and sure enough, a mess in there too.

That day, Pie had water, then blood. Nice bright red blood. Luckily for me this has happened to her before, so I did not rush off to the vets and spend hundreds of $. Last time it was because she drank lots of salt water. I do not know what caused it this time, but my answer to this problem is she doesn't eat until it stops, then she gets a bit of rice, then more rice, then rice and kibble, then back to her normal amount of kibble. No bleeding today. For the record, what ever she got into really messed her up, because there was a lot more blood than with the salt water. I just hope I am right and it is something she ate and she isn't really sick.

No blood and no stools today, so tomorrow morning she will get some rice. And good thing too, she's looking pretty skinny!

Fancy is the only good dog who is not having problems.

Sorry for the gross post, but that is what is going on in my life right now.

In better news, we have walked on the hills everyday this week and my novel is up to 10 pages. I didn't write any yesterday and I am behind, according to the graph on the website. I'm getting back to work now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Saga of the Tired Writer

I was reading the NaNoWriMo website, and apparently when you are writing a novel, you can act out in all kind of strange ways and it is ok, because that is what people do when they are stressed out by writing a novel. My novel is on track. Almost 5000 words and 8 pages on Day 3. Here is the problem. I want to go to bed, and I'm tired. But I don't have time to write too much during the day because I'm at work then I come home and walk the dogs and eat dinner and then it is dark. So I have to stay up and write it. That will make me tired which will make me want to go to bed even more the next night. And I'm not as creative when I'm tired. I decided to drink some Diet Coke and see if the caffeine helped. This is my profile on the website. You can track my words here if you wish!

Blossom hadn't eaten for a few days. Today was agility and I decided to take him to class since one of the very nice ladies asks about him. I revealed he wasn't eating and someone offered him a meat ball which he promptly ate, then the very nice lady who asks about him offered him some pre-cooked chicken strips which he also devoured. After class I went to the store and bought him chicken. He ate quite a bit and probably would have eaten more but I didn't want to over feed him.

In addition to Blossom, I'm having other dog issues. Knotty is having diarrhea. I suspect from eating too many sticks. And now Pie has come down with it so it might be something more sinister. But what?!

Going back to the walk, I managed to hack out another path through the weeds. The walk might be a full mile now! Pie has been extra excited on the walks. I think she flushed a bunny a few days ago and is now hoping to repeat the experience.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gerfy or Gurfy?

Either way, neither is listed in the dictionary, or to be found on line except as last names. So, it appears a word we have been using our entire lives is not really a word at all. What gives?

Here are the Halloween pictures I promised.

Note the Pie tongue. Pie has three antenna because she is silly.

Pretty wings. Pie sezs: "Float like butterfly. Bite like alligator!!! Bwa ha ha!"

Silly Pie.

Bzzzzz. Fancy says: "I don't sting. I'm a good dog."

Pickle the Pirate and Pumpkin Head Fancy. Pickle has only one antenna because he has only one eye.

In agility news, it was a good weekend. Fancy got two QQs and another Q for a total of 69 points. Remember how I asked "Where's the challenge?" when running Fancy? Well, I've found it. How many front crosses can I do on a course? The front crosses keep her moving and this weekend at least, even if she started off slow, I was able to speed her up with the FC. In one run I found and did 5, and I made them all! The least amount of points she got all weekend per run was 9. 9 seconds under course time on a Jumpers course isn't bad for my Fancy Girl. We got another placement this weekend, a third- must be some kind of record for us!

Pie also had a nice weekend. She had 2 QQs, and no extra Qs. Total of 66 points, but for her, it isn't as much about the points. She'll have the points before the QQs, so I'm not really concerned how many points she gets. But I do like to compare to see if we are getting tighter times or not. Front crosses also help keep Pie moving, but I chicken out with her more. Pie Dog got a first place and two fourths.

A lady I know through a mutual friend might be interested in Knotty. She took her out a lot this weekend and took some walks and is now at home thinking about it. I would really like her to take Knotty because then I could keep tabs on her and even see her every so often when we were at the same agility trials.

In honor of "National Novel Month" or something along those lines, I've started writing a novel. Its working title is the WORST NOVEL EVER. It needs to be 50,000 words (about 80 pages) and it also has to be done by the end of November. We'll see. I am up to five pages and 2,893 words. I started it last night. As most of you know, I do not have a problem with verboseness.