Poor Old Dog

Last night, Zorro got lost in the bathroom.

Now, my bathroom is pretty big, but he’s gone in there several times a day for water, every day for two years now, so he should know his way around.

Last night, however, something changed. He went in for water, and didn’t come out. We heard a scratching at the door, and I thought he was scratching at the bedroom door, signalling a need to visit the back yard. But Fuzzy said the sound wasn’t coming from the right place. He got out of bed, walked into the bathroom and called, “Zorro…” and waited.

My poor old Zorro dog had been scratching at the inside of the partly opened bathroom door, apparently having walked behind it, instead of through it, on his attempt to come back to bed.

We hugged him and told him we still loved him, even if he’s getting old and rangey.

He just sighed and went to sleep.

Orchids Blooming in my Mind

Rob Brezny writes:

Most flowers depend on pollinators to reproduce. Birds and insects brush up against a flower’s male parts, picking up pollen that they leave on the female parts of the next flower they visit. But nature has created an anomaly that doesn’t play by these rules. A wild orchid known as Holcoglossum amesianum fecundates itself. Its male bits actually move, carrying out a complicated maneuver to reach around and down to deposit pollen directly into its female portions. This orchid is your power symbol, Leo. I hope it encourages you to learn more about self-fertilization–to increase your mastery of the underappreciated art of inspiring and teaching and taking care of yourself. Halloween costume suggestion: a hermaphrodite carrying a wild orchid.

Somewhat appropriately, I’ve loved orchids ever since I first started reading Nero Wolfe novels when I was eight or nine. I even had a pet orchid once, but it got too cold and died. They’re surprisingly difficult to maintain in non-tropical environments.

Despite the headache, I’ve been really writey yesterday and this morning. Fanfic is posted to my writing blog – currently I’m playing with a Snape-fic and a Geordi-fic. (See Rana, not all my tastes are disturbing…Geordi’s wholesome. And, you know, not evil.) The original short stories are coming out a little slower, but they’re coming along nevertheless. I’m not worried. And NaNoWriMo begins on Weds, and I’ve got an Idea, and am not saying more.

Like the orchid, my creativity has been difficult to cultivate lately. I get discouraged, and writing is so internal, and I always think everything I write completely sucks. I’m learning, slowly, not to care if it sucks, because the suckage can be corrected. Hence the sharing of fanfic, and the short stories and…stuff.

So, yeah, I’m not terribly chatty these days, but that’s cuz there are orchids blooming in my mind.


Woke up to head hurting, pressure like my brain’s going to explode, but not sinus, and feeling queasy and horrid.
Drank water and took pain meds.
Still feel like brain is pulsing.
Napped some.
Ate something.
Napped some more.
No change.
More pain meds.
More water.
And some cranberry juice.
Emailed CSz director, and let him know could not make show tonight.
(I feel *that* bad)
Called also, but he replied as I was leaving message.
More water.
Some tea.
Then more sleep.
I wish I could make the room darker.

Thursday Thirteen – 0610.26

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss: The Joy of Dogs

  1. Tiny feet that smell like corn chips.
  2. Head-butts that invite attention.
  3. Soft fur, warm from their basking in the sun.
  4. Pressure of a gentle head against my thigh or foot.
  5. Happy tails, wagging with joy.
  6. Ears that are always alert, even in sleep.
  7. Joyous greetings, even if I’ve only been gone five minutes.
  8. Ferocious protection of the house, especially from garbage men and pool guys.
  9. Instant walking companions.
  10. So much more efficient than the garbage disposal.
  11. The way they seem boneless when you move their sleeping forms.
  12. Soft sighs when you pet them.
  13. Puppy kisses that make everything better.

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Scribbling & Stuff

– Working on the short stories in fits and snatches. Am too easily distracted. Need some kind of competition.

– Posted chapter two of Snapefic “Plans” and 2nd fanfic100 TNG fanfic to my blog at MoonChilde.com. Also posted them to fanfiction.net. Username is Ms.Snarky.

– Am re-reading Liner Notes which has inspired me to write more. (Great book, highly recommended.)

– Have urge to bake chocolate chip cookies.

– Am woefully behind in correspondence. Writing letters TODAY. Really. No, REALLY.

This Song Story’s Just Six Words Long

(Mooched from MoonChylde at LJ)

The folks at Wired write:

We’ll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves.

To read the offerings they received, go here. (Opens in new window) Then come back and get creative, if you dare, by posting your own Six Word Story in comments.

Mine (as posted in my friend MoonChylde’s livejournal):
Drought expanded. Seattle survivors remembered rain.

Lamplight Day

It is a grey, damp, autumn day, of the sort which require the warm glow of lamplight to soften the edges of life.

It is the kind of day best suited for tea, soup, and grilled cheese, for lit candles and the quiet murmur of NPR, for hiding in a garrett and scribbling.

And so that is the plan.

Except, I don’t have a garrett, but a 2nd-floor bedroom-turned-officestudio.
But it’s in the treetops, so it counts, right?


Breathe. Sigh. Roll over.
Realize that the dogs are both sitting on that portion of the pillow.
Glance at clock: 6:53
Ask softly, “Do you need to go out?”
Grunt as the bed bounces beneath puppy feet, and the weight of Fuzzy leaving bed. “I’ll take them.”
Empty bed; full bladder.
Venture forth; return more relaxed.
A cold nose in the palm.
A quick swipe of wet tongue, and then a doggy sigh.
Four feet landing in the lap.
A head-butt.
A warmer nose, and some wriggling.
Three turns and back to sleep, chin propped on my knee.
Some stretching, a chaste kiss from the husband.
Full bed, full heart.
Racing mind.


We’re home. Rolled into the garage late last evening, did light grocery shopping, had dinner, went to bed. Kansas is beautiful in fall, btw, and I’d have liked to have more time to spend poking around Kansas City (both sides) and Wichita. Oklahoma is just as ugly as ever, and apparently no one ever has to pee there, because of the seven rest stops we passed only ONE had a bathroom.

We picked up the dogs about ninety minutes ago. Miss Cleo behaved well, and Zorro was in a tizzy, but the tech said, “Don’t leave, the vet needs to talk to you.” I had a moment of panic, wondering if Miss Cleo had bitten someone’s hand off (literally), and then they said, “About Zorro…” and my brain went to mush.

For those of you who aren’t well versed in MissMeliss-iana, Zorro Dog is an approximately 10-year-old chihuahua mix we adopted as a stray in 1998. He went through several years of ideopathic epilepsy, with cluster seizures (grand mal seizures that would come and go many many times over a 24-hour period) at the worst of it. Many dogs are put down for this. Others are doomed to a life of phenobarbitol dependence. We opted for a combination of Western and Eastern practices, and used pheno as well as accupuncture and a B.A.R.F (biologically appropriate raw foods) diet, and he’s been seizure-free for more than four years now.

In spite of that, he’s the most laid back dog ever – he went through everything the vet through at him, and just whined a little – but in the process we’ve bonded deeply, and he’s my special boy dog.

“He has a stage three heart murmur,” the vet said. “On a scale of six.” She went on to explain that at stage three it may be treatable with heart meds but he has to have a cardiac/senior dog workup, and that it could be serious, as a dog who develops a murmur can have actual heart disease. I’ve asked some vet-friends and trainer-friends for more info, so that I’ll be more prepared when we go to that appointment, but in the meantime, I’m pretty worried.

Still, it’s good to be home, with the dogs curled next to me, and a shower with real water pressure and water that isn’t rusty, or so hard that my hands turn white from the minerals.

And I have tons of IDEAS to write about.

Still on the Road

I’m blogging this morning from the Hilton at the Wichita, KS airport – there was a coupon for a deeply reduced rate in one of those travel guides you pick up at rest stations, and we decided (well, I declared) I couldn’t face a Super8 or it’s ilk. Besides, they’re not that much cheaper.

Yesterday, we were up at dawn, having kicked our niece E out of her room. (She was fine with it, having a slumber party in the living room with our other two nieces K and C). At eleven, E looks fifteen, and it’s only her very very protective parents who are keeping her from growing up too fast. Blushingly, she admitted yesterday that the biggest reason she’s excited about her grandparents moving to Brandon (the next town over) is that a boy she’s liked since second grade just moved there. Ah, the optimism of eleven-year-olds.

In an earlier conversation, however, she confessed that her sheltered upbringing has isolated her a bit from her peers. “They wear makeup to school (AT ELEVEN???) and know all this music and stuff that I don’t.” Between church, dance, piano, violin, and soccer, she doesn’t have TIME, but she recognizes, in some way, that her load of extra-curriculars is also protecting her from becoming jaded. Not that she expressed it that way. In any case, she’s becoming an original and unique person, and it’s interesting to see her acting with poise and presence and so “adult” in one moment, and then (after we presented her with earrings), squealing, “Oh! Dolphins! I Love Dolphins!” the next.

* * * * *

While I tease Fuzzy about his rural farmboy roots, the truth is that I have family in South Dakota as well. Granted, they moved there about the same time we got married, and I tend to forget they live there, as they were in California when we first met, just as I was, but they do live in the same town, and, indeed, attend the same Baptist church, as Fuzzy’s brother, so when we knew we’d be in the area, it would have been rude not to call them.

Aunt P and Aunt G are my grandfather’s surviving sisters. Aunt P turns 90 next year – she doesn’t look more than 75. Spry, funny, and a total charmer, she keeps a running tally of her great-grandchildren in her head. Aunt G is more aloof, with a mouth on her that rivals a sailors, but she has a wicked sense of humor and tells amazing stories. B is actually my mother’s cousin, and is Aunt P’s daughter. She’s warm and funny, her new husband, also B, is a doll who dotes on the old ladies, and is clearly besotted with her. (Hey, in the great plains you’re allowed to use forms of “besot.”) J, my cousin, B’s son, swooped through to kiss me on the head and shake Fuzzy’s hand, but couldn’t stay, as we all shared breakfast at Kaladi, a “coffee legend and bistro” that opened in Sioux Falls a few years back. It’s a great coffee house. We arrived there at 8:30, and chatted til 11, before we all embarked on our separate journeys – the old ladies, back home for a hen party-poker game, the B’s for Vermillion and college football, and Fuzzy and I, well, we headed South on I29 for the first half of our journey back home.

* * * * *

There are two ways of getting from SoDak to Kansas, one of which involves taking the 335 toll road (Kansas Turnpike) and then going on route 75 through Nebraska and Iowa. It shaves about 65 miles from the trip, and we did that on the way north, but we opted to take I29 all the way to it’s ending point in Kansas City, which meant we were actually in Missouri for much of our ride. We stopped in Elk Point, SD to take pictures of the ducks (the woman in the gas station said that they’ll be moved to a winter pond shortly, which is near the local high school, and where, when they’re hungry or cold, they often flock to the school steps and honk til the kids feed them. Or quack, rather.) in the city park, which is also part of the Lewis and Clark trail, one of their campsites, as well as being the site of the first election held west of the Mississippi.

From there, we drove a bit in Iowa, and Nebraska, before crossing into Missouri, and despite the weather (damp, and hovering around 39/40 with alternating snow and rain), the drive was beautiful. Rolling hills, fall colors, and at the end of the highway, plus about an hour, Fuzzy’s Aunt E, Uncle V, and cousin D (his wife is ALSO Melissa) and their two-year-old boy E., the latter three of whom live near Olathe, met us for dinner and conversation, which energized us, and made the trip seem less dull.

We surfed oldies stations, mostly out of St. Joseph and Topeka, til we got to Wichita, and then crashed here for the night.

Today, we face the barren landscape of Oklahoma, which is quite possibly the most depressing state ever. I mean, you cross the state line and you can FEEL the failing economy. It’s that thick in the air. (Cousin D said the same thing.) It’s sad, just as what’s happening in the rest of the heartland is sad. This summer was the hottest EVER for much of the country, but Nebraska and the Dakotas are in their seventh year of drought conditions, to the point where the corn and soy crops are failing, and towns like Fuzzy’s hometown are dying (they’re dying for other reasons, too, like kids who go away to school, and don’t want to return to run the family farm). We were surprised to find that Super Unleaded was cheaper than the usual “cheap stuff” in all the Ethanol states, though. (Also, average price of gas on the prairie is $2.15/gallon for the cheapest – remind me not to complain about Grand Prairie, TX being $2.01 when Cedar Hill was $1.99)

If you think the droughts not important, go grab a copy of Kathleen Norris’s Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, and read it, and then read it again. You can’t have ethanol without corn and soy, and you can’t have corn and soy without water. (Actually, you should read it anyway, just because it’s an amazing book. It’s not about farming or water rights, but it does a lot to put you into the culture of the plains.)

* * * * *

I’m about to jump in the shower, and I’m letting Fuzzy sleep late. We’re off to find breakfast in about ninety minutes, and then we’ll finish the trek home, and tomorrow, get up way early to spring the dogs from the Kennel. I miss them. A lot.

Catch you all on the flip side.