Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Howloween y'all. Georgia is playing Florida this week end. Go dawgs!!

Only a few more days until we see if the big money machine has saturated the brains of the masses with 'promise em everything even if we can't deliver' propaganda and bought the election for smooth talkin' Barry O and Joe the doubletalker. I voted early. I can hit the mute button whenever political pablum comes on now. And I do. By the way, I voted for one Republican and the rest Democrats. But the one Republican I voted for will probably not win. Can't compete with big money and Bush fatigue in all probability. I couldn't vote for Barry, sorry. In my book he's just too unproven and all that glitz and smooth talk doesn't sit well with this gal from 'Bible and guns' land Pittsburgh, Pa.

By the way, its too bad we can't shoot or knock out with a Bible the guy or guys who had the brilliant idea of political robocalls. I've gotten to the point now where I just don't bother to answer my land line at all.

Well, anyway, Happy Great Pumpkin night to all. Hope your kids bring in a lot of chocolate to the old homestead.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Its almost Howl-o-ween. Watch out for ghost dogs.

I was a good American this afternoon. I went to my local library and took advantage of the opportunity to vote early. I only had to wait about thirty minutes, too. I feel good about my choice even if some of you might not agree with it. But, that's they way our system works. We do have a choice. God bless America.

I got word that my book proofs have been sent to the design department. So far so good.

Its a beautiful autumn day outside, sunny, breezy, and cool. The dogs are happy. They've walked, played chase in the back yard, dug holes, and rolled in the sand. I have lots of chocolate in the pantry. Life is good.

Happy hump day. Ta

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I hate book manuscript edits and Excel stinks.

I call this wonderful picture of Danny's very creative little niece "Dali baby" but I guess it could be "Picasso baby" too. I post it tonight because the skewed eyes, mouth, and expression sorta exemplifies how I was feeling since I last posted. Totally surreal and off balance. Looking at life through, well pop eyed paper eyes. By mid week end, Danny could attest to my snappy grumpy behavior too. By Monday I was overwhelmed and depressed and suffering from acid reflux. Even a day of shopping and coming home with an iPhone and a new chair that goes with my new love seat on Sunday had only temporarily lightened my mood. Why you might ask did I get so squirrely?

Well, here's what happened. I "blue lined" my poetry book manuscript and cover art pdf files in preparation for making corrections on the required Excel table forms. All last week. I combed the manuscript four times for errors. Carefully wrote them down four times. Then on Friday I tried to type the errors on the Excel forms downloaded from the publisher. That's when I went nutty. I don't know Excel. I don't use very many office type applications. Microsoft word is about it. So, I typed a bunch of stuff in, then discovered I'd made some errors and needed to delete a line, add a line and...oops...I screwed up and the tables scrambled themselves somehow, all the page numbers columns disappeared and I found myself on top of the horns of a dilemma. That's worse than riding on a rhino folks. Dilemmas are merciless. I got nuthin' done on Friday. The frelling edit job and my failure to communicate with Excel hung over my head all week end 'cause I was grumpy as heck.

I didn't even want to try to deal with the mixed up Excel thingy on Monday...which was okay since I spent most of the day trying to print a manuscript for critique at Monday evening's writers workshop. My printer kept working for a few pages then malfunctioning and stopping. Nothing and I mean nothing else went right all day either. When good days go bad they just keep at it. By six o'clock I had only bits and pieces of the manuscript thing done for a six thirty workshop. I was convinced that I was a printer imbecile as well as an Excel imbecile. Then, Super Danny came home and pronounced my printer broken. Vindication! At least on one front. I didn't get to the workshop though and by that time I was almost in tears. He decided to help me with the Excel thing since I was chanting the I can't mantra. He did help me sort it out and I finished round one on the final edits and emailed them off. Voila! The sun came out, the stickers fell from my eyes and I could smile again.

With a little luck and maybe some more help from Danny the next round won't be so bad. Book probably won't be out by Christmas as I'd hoped since the publisher is a whole lot slower getting stuff back to me than on the other two books. Que sera sera.

There's no moral to this story. The only piece of advice I can give is that M and Ms help no matter what the frustration. Pretty cool that they come in the little snack bags this close to Halloween and that the bags were two for one, too. I made good use of them during my squirrely weekend. So what if I had to buy some more for Halloween today? While I was at it I got some Reeses Peanut Butter Cups too.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holy Cow, the Great Pumpkin is coming

Its almost Halloween already. Where has October gone? I guess I've been busy with one thing or another while the month was slipping by. I don't even have my Halloween candies yet fer Chrissakes. Well, I do have the two bags of M and Ms I bought...but those are for me!

I realized today while walking the poochies that Fall is now my favorite time of year. It used to be summer when my kids were little and we lived at the beach in SC from June to mid -August but now summer is just hot hot hot and pretty unexciting. I still love the month of Christmas but I seem to be more energized when October brings that first cool, crisp weather. While I don't follow football (sorry all you Gators, Seminoles, Golden Knights, etc.), I love the round yellow harvest moon and the falling acorns and all the funny scary Halloween decorations that spring up in the neighbors yards like mushrooms after the 'I'm glad they're over' summer monsoons. I love to play scary music on Halloween night and welcome the hordes of small Jedi Knights and Spidermen and Harry Potters and other 'trick or treaters' at the door. Heck, I enjoy any holiday that features chocolate candy. Its great having all the leftover candy to snack on until Christmas, too. Funny how I always seem to buy too much.

So, here's to October and Fall, a frightfully good time of year.

Right now I'm reading a terrific new book by one of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, called The Graveyard Book. It is sold as a YA genre book, but can be enjoyed by any one of any age with imagination. Kinda appropriate title and subject matter for October, too. Another scary, well written book is Dragonfly by Frederic Durbin.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ginny at Agility Class

These are some photos taken of Ginny and Danny at last week's Level two Agility class. They were shot in the dark which is why the colors are a little muted. Obviously, she was having fun!

I am busy 'blue lining' my book manuscript which I hope to finish by Friday. I'll blog more when I'm further along with the edits. Ta for now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

my book cover is done!

The picture above is not my book cover. You'll have to wait for that.

Ginny likes snoozing on my new loveseat in the home office/library though.The new Ikea 'Billy' shelves look good, don't they? Thanks be to Danny for assembling them. We also assembled the sofa. It took less than five minutes. Ikea makes it super easy. Clever Swedes. I'm becoming an Ikea junkie. Hooked on the meatballs, too.

Finally finally, my new book cover design is done. It has to be tweaked for a couple errors but all in all, I like it a whole lot. I'm in process of checking the manuscript for formatting and line errors and then have to determine if the mistakes are mine or the publishers. Then do corrections and send it all back for final edits and publication. It seems like forever and a half since I sent it all off in July. Two and a half months isn't so bad I guess. I just get impatient when I have to wait for anything. Anticipation is hard for me.

I'll put the cover up after I get the revised version. I bet you'll like it, too.

We had a really busy week with meetings, classes, and the like. Tonight, Friday, was the first night we've been home since last Sunday. We opted out of our usual Friday night supper out to stay home, walk dogs, do yogs, and watch SciFI shows.

Last night Chili really misbehaved in dog agility. She hadn't been to class or practiced for two weeks and she was totally distracted by...everything. Wouldn't hold a sit/stay or a down/stay and tried to ambush every single dog at the place. It was friggin embarassing. I got glares from all the owners. I don't know if it was the full moon, or the allergy shots she just started, or her eplilepsy, but she was really off her game. She did the jumps, A-frame, and table fine though, and heeled off leash as long as no other dogs were within striking distance. Ginny did better. I took Abby to watch and she was unnerved. She tucked her tail and shook most of the time. Oh, well, we knew she has her shelter post traumatic isssues to deal with in all new situations. At least she was friendly to all the other dogs!!

Sanctuary is almost on. Gotta go. Live long and prosper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Little Miss Adorable

She's adorable. She was born that way, I guess, even though I wasn't there. All cottony white and fluffy eiderdown, with round cocoa cola eyes and pearly white choppers. She, looking around at the world with the interest of a born opportunist, just waiting until her little body could catch up with her devious desires. A few moons after and she, a whirling dervish of deviltry was pulling at the slumbering Pit bully boy's eyelid and challenging Dyna, who nobody or nothing in their right senses would dare to distress, challenging Dyna to a dominance showdown. Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeane didn't daunt her. How can a hurricane dominant a dervish?

“She doesn't really sleep as far as we can tell,” Laura complained. “She just seems to micro-nap occasionally. She drives me crazy, getting into everything and nothing I do or say has any effect. She just looks at me as if to say, Well I am not sorry and eventually you'll stop yelling. Then you can throw the ball for me five hundred times.”

Why, I wondered, did you bring her into your life? But, I knew. She's adorable.

That's why I brought her into my life a year later. After she'd broken her hip playing too rough with Cody. After Dyna'd finally had enough and promised to have her for supper. After Laura finally was tearfully at her wit's end and planned to honor her sales agreement and give her back to the breeder who would certainly have put the now physically defective puppy down. She's adorable. That's what. And, the little beast, bouncy busy and bad to the bone plays it to the max at warp four.

Little miss adorable ACD was a obedience school drop out after chewing one too many times on the hapless boxer puppy. I've seen her flawless technique every time we walk and at every agility class since. Here's the scenerio: Wag the plumy silver tail, mouth open in doggy smile, black ears up, eyes bright, dancing a dingo prima ballerina dance. Strange dog approaches. She sniffs. Dog turns away to sniff. her adorable ACD butt and.wham... she nails it with a quick dart and scizzor snip. Dog screams. Owners frown. I know what they're thinking. Why can't you control that nasty little dog? Little miss adorable laughs inwardly. It's Chili -- whose AKC registered name tag is Big Trouble in Little China-- it's Chili 4, world zero. Again. It works on humans running past or bicycling too near, too. Lure em in. Attack from behind. Put em in their place according to the Cattle Dog's Life's Little Instruction Book.

“Oh she's soo cute,” people gush. “I want one of these dogs.”

“No, you don't.” I say. “Not unless you have a cattle ranch. Not unless you are willing to do agility and flyball, and spend hours at dog parks and the lake and pool or take endless walks and unless you have the patience of Mother Teresa.”

People fall for Chili's adorable persona all the time. People that haven't been dived bombed by the silver streak, that is. People who haven't spent all nighters at the emergency vet clinic once or twice a quarter after one of her spontaneous adventures gone horribly wrong, or had to give up their carpets to chewing and peeing games, had to put locks on their pantry and repaint the pantry doors when she circumvents the locks and baracades in search of doggy booty that will send her back to the emergency clinic. Shes so adorable. By crikey, she is! But beware, her ancestors were scratching fleas under the dingo tree just a short time ago in eviloutionary time. She's a wild canine child in every way. No rules just right. If the opportunity is there, so is Chili. Don't sweat the small stuff mate, eighteen Combat Quick Kill Roach Baits won't kill her. Anyway, it was fun finding them and breaking into the cabinet and chewing them into black plastic pulp. The butcher knives she knocked down didn't kill her either. The pottery didn't break on her head this time. And she looked so adorable greeting me when I came in the door before I rushed off to call the vet one more time.Yes, adorable with her black ears pricked forward, doggy smile and gleaming pearly choppers shining, pink tongue lolling out above her fluffy chest. Dancing her distinctive doggy dance.

Who knew adorable would be so deadly or could be so addictive? Or so effective. Well, I suspect, Chili did. Does.

Addendum: The snake she caught this morning wasn't venomous after all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hey Bloggers,
Here are several pictures taken during cousin Margie's visit. The first is Margie and Alex, the second shows Amy, me and Alex at Disney's Dolphin Hotel, and the third, Paul, laura, and I at our family dinner at Bosphorus.

While Amy and I were out having lunch at the Dolphin with Margie, my dogs had another dog party and ate 18 new Combat Quick Kill Roach Baits I bought and never opened, raided from a kitchen cabinet. They also pulled down a set of butcher knives, plastic bags, a flashlight, and some pottery. I am hoping I still have dogs tomorrow. I try so hard to take good care of them, but they seem either to be excessively stupid or have a death wish.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BIts n Bytes

This is why so many Australian Cattle Dog puppies find homes. Unfortunately, they are a very difficult dog to own for anyone who can't give them a job to do and hours of daily exercise. That's why all too many end up in shelters and kill facilities. Sad, so sad.

Geesh, sorry its been almost a week since I wrote. I've been a bad little blogger again. Up to my ears in writing projects, so when I'm at the computer I am engrossed in creating and editing several stories at once.

Backing up for a quick update in my world: Chili had a great agility class last Thursday night. Except for an annoying tendency of lunging at all the other dogs who got within leash reach, she executed the obstacles with alacrity, except for the tunnels. She still doesn't know what the heck she's supposed to do with tunnels. The jumps and table she did well. Even tackled the A-frame, although it was obvious that her comfort level wasn't entirely there. So, maybe she made a Labrador shriek when she bit its butt, the Australian Shepherd enjoyed the same nipping invitation to Cattle Dog games. When it came to the relay races, Chili was in her element. She won six times. I suffered from sore leg muscles for two days after from running with her across the field. Yes, I am that much out of shape.

Ginny, in advanced level, consistently nailed all the obstacles and jumps. Her concentration was really up and she enjoyed the relays too. Unfortunately, she was disqualified early on when paired against her pal Cody...who is half greyhound and has legs that go on for miles. This Thursday is the last class of the session.

We worked on Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival screening last Saturday during the day and partied Saturday night. Sunday, we dog parked with the Mutley Crew (Chili met another cattle dog!) and then went to the Maitland Art Festival, after that to the mall and dinner at The Elephant Bar, then finished at WallMart. Sort of an odd combination day but fun.

I cleaned house all day Monday. I'd like to say I won my unwilling battle with dust, but it's back already. How can I miss you dust, when you won't go away? Tonight, we enjoyed getting together with my cousin who's in town from NYC for a planned giving seminar and my Khoury kids and Laura and her guy Paul at a Turkish restaurant here in WP. Afterwards, we took Miss Margie to her hotel at WDW. I'll post a pix or two tomorrow.

So, that's it. My life, except for writing more of Charlotte's Dog and a story featuring vampires, fairies, witches, vampire hunters, fallen angels, Navajo gods, and a famous vampire hunter called What Happens In Vegas. Story is called that, not the vampire hunter. So, I'm tired. Its late. Give me a grammatical break.

I watched some of the 2nd Presidental Debate. Here's what I thought: both men are really good at the town hall format. Here's what I really honestly wish: that both men could actually work together. The one with most votes gets to be Pres and the other VP. Forget about 'What Do You Know Joe" and Sarah 'I'm just folks' Palin. A Republican and a Democrat on the same team working not for party glory and party power along party lines but as a team listening to and learning from each other for the good of All Americans. I really hate the Democrat and Republican party platform loyalty crap. All it does is blind people to the really important things. But, sigh, thats not how we do it in the USA. It looks like Danny and I will be voting on opposite sides, but I think either way it will be a step up from what we have now.

History will judge our current leader better than I, but it seems to me that his genius was in hiring really incompetent people in all positions. I can't imagine either candidate will do as poorly in that respect.

Ok, I'm through here. Ta.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

just checkin in

Photo one: a picture I took on a recent day at Sea World of a cute widdle baby seal and its mama napping.
Photo two: a requested shot of my recently recovered living room sofa. The sofa had needed recovering for about five years. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get around to things.

Hey Bloggers,
I've been a blogger slacker lately. Excuse please, I have been busy with this and stuff and writing stories and checking out hundreds of images for my (new) book cover. Chili took another dive in the kitchen garbage and got really sick...all over the foyer, dining room, and breakfast area. Another trip to the vet, another couple hundred bucks, an IV fluid bag, some horse pills and she's better. Until the next self generated Australian Cattle Dog disaster occurs. Ginny's becoming a very proficient agility dog and she absolutely loves going to what I call "dog class". Stephen and Casey and Baby Gavin are cozily settled into a new nest in Lakeland. Baby Alex is crawling and pulling himself up into standing position. Walking is just around the corner. Danny has been building bookcases for the home office/library for the past week and a half and is nearly done. We love our "Billy" system from Ikea. Keep finding corners and walls for "just one more". Now, if I just didn't have to dust the books before putting them away....dusting=dust mites=allergies=headaches. Generally, I try to just ignore dust and let it sit where it wants.

October is upon us. Gettin' dark a little earlier and do I detect a small chill in the air in the mornings? This week end is the WPSAF screening week end (art for March festival is juried in) with the Judges Party on Saturday evening. Next Tuesday we are looking forward to a quick visit from NYC cousin Margie and dinner with Laura and her guy Paul and Amy, Elias and Baby Alex.

I'm trying not to worry about the collapsing economy or my bank account at Wachovia and retirement accounts.Like most people I guess. Not even looking at my stocks. Or watching the shenanagins in Washington any more. I mean, what's the point? At least, as far as I know, I'm not eating any chocolate from China. Could be worse.

Live long and prosper. And if you have one, call your mother.