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Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

Sad One-Year Anniversary

One year ago today, I took my heart dog, Aliza,

Jumping II

to the vet for the very last time. Both Micah and I still miss her.

Digital Camera

Micah

Someday soon, when I can get enough of the yard cleaned up from all the weeds that grew out of last winter’s rain (some of which are nasty foxtails), I’ll start looking for another girl to join our little pack. (At almost thirteen and a half I can pretty well keep Micah out of the weeds. But a younger dog would be more of a challenge. Better to take care of that problem first.) Sometimes, I almost wish I had a smaller yard to take care of.

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A Break (Sort of)

This weekend has been more about yard work and some very overdue spring cleaning than it has about getting back up to speed with where I left off on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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Most of that has been due to the fact that two weeks ago we had to cut a very large branch off the Brazilian pepper tree (which shouldn’t even be where it is and wouldn’t be, except for some passing bird). The branch was going to break off and would have basically blocked the path from the house to the car when it did. So, a controlled removal was far preferable. Three trash days later (as of tomorrow, anyway) I will finally be able to say that all of that brush pile has been cleared.

Which will leave me, hopefully, time (and space in the trash cans) to finish clearing up the yard. With all the rain we had in Southern California last winter, it got completely out of control. Just about the time I’d decide to mow, it’d rain again. And the taller the weeds and grasses got, the longer it stayed wet. It’s going to take awhile to get it back under anything like control. As I go, I’m planting out some water wise plants, starting to transform what once was lawn (but not lately, with the drought) into something that makes better sense and will, hopefully, be easier to take care of. It’s a big yard and I hate to mow almost as much as I hate to vacuum.

Also, at some point soon, I’d like to be able to start looking for another dog. It’s been almost a year since I lost Aliza.

My first view of Aliza

The first time I saw Aliza

But I need have a yard a dog could actually run in, first. (Micah, at thirteen and change, doesn’t do all that much running any more. More like trotting.)

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There’ll be paths among the shrubs when they eventually do grow in, which should be more interesting than just running around a blank open space anyway. (Also, some of those weeds are foxtails and they have to go.)

Then, too, I really have to clear a path so that I can carry the ladder around to the side of the house and cut back the bishop’s cap vine that’s also grown out of control because of all the rain. Not only because it really shouldn’t be up against the house like it is for several reasons. I also need to get back there so I can put the screens up in place of the storm windows before it starts getting too hot. (We don’t really have storm window in Southern California. But we do have stupid louvered jalousie windows. I still have three that I haven’t yet been able to get around to replacing. It’s basically impossible to stop a draft with jalousie windows, so what I do have is some pieces of plexiglass in wooden frames that I put up in place of the screens, usually sometime in November. I need to be able to get around there to put the screens up about now.)

I confess, I also spent a fair portion of the weekend, while I was resting and cooling off, goofing off with a computer game. In between, though, I think I have finally come up with a new cover for “Wyreth’s Flame”.

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Though I haven’t done anything yet about uploading it.

But, at least one major task has been accomplished. So, yay for that. And there’ll be time to get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING during the week.

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I’m still working on that new chapter for the prequel to BECOME.

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Partly, that’s because I’m still working on overcoming those bad habits regarding my writing time I blogged about last time. And last week turned out to be a very bad time to try to work on that due to several real life show stoppers.

Partly it’s because I backed up a little bit to fix the current scene. I realized that I’d set up my protagonist to be just a little too pure of heart to be truly believable. Now, I still need him to do the thing I was setting up. I just needed to provide a better motivation.

Now, instead of being just a little too good to be true, I’ve set him up instead to internalize a lesson from an earlier episode. This works much better.

Motivation has been the bugaboo through this whole part of the story. The first version set up the brother to be too nasty–a bully. Which is not what I want. The second version set up the protagonist to be a saint. Again, not what I need, here. This version will work better. But it’s probably not the last time I’m going to need to do a little work on the motivations of these two before I get to the final version of “BECOME: Brothers” (working title).

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Distractions

I planned to get a lot more writing done on the prequel to BECOME this weekend. I also planned to get a fair amount of work done outside. The yard really needs to be mowed. And I’m trying to gradually put in some xeriscape plants to replace the large . . . well, I can’t exactly call it a lawn . . . grassy/weedy area out front.

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(This is a very old picture, probably 1930’s or early 1940’s, and the house has been added onto since then, but you can see that the front “lawn” is pretty good-sized. That photo isn’t even taken from the far end of it. No, I have no idea what that big hole was.)

Plus, of course, all of the usual things I normally have to get done on the weekends, like laundry.

Yeah, I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew sometimes. Usually, it just ends with me feeling like a should have accomplished more, somehow.

I’m not sure quite what I did while planting that one-gallon pyracantha. It shouldn’t have been anything I haven’t done a hundred times before. But I must have moved wrong or something. And I’ve been hurting ever since. It’s not nearly as bad today, but enough to kill any ambition to get the mower out. Well, the grass/weeds are still probably too wet from last weekend’s storms anyway. I didn’t even get the two smaller lavender plants out. They’ll hold in their pots for a week or so.

Also, unfortunately, not very conducive to the kind of concentration needed for writing.

 

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Teenager in the House

Not a human teenager, though.

My Cardigan Welsh corgi, Micah turned 13 today.

Micah and Aliza

Micah is the darker one, a brindle and white.

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Aliza is the lighter one (red and white). Unfortunately, we lost Aliza last May at 15 and 1/2. Micah’s been lonely without her.

Digital Camera

He’s my sweet, silly boy, velcro dog who never lets me walk into another room alone. He’s also the only dog I’ve ever seen sleep in this position. Cats, yes. Dogs, no.

Happy birthday, big guy.

 

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I was making good progress with my writing on BECOME this morning.

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And then, after I finished a scene, I paused to go do the grocery shopping–and got a flat tire.

Fortunately, I have hazard insurance (they have a different name for it) on those tires, so America’s Tire Company replaced it, rotated the tires, and checked the air in all of them. And all it cost me was $17.25 for the same insurance on the new tire.

That’s a huge relief.

Well, $17.25 and the time. Which wasn’t really very long, but . . . well, you know how a change in schedule like that can sort of cascade. And then I was tired.

I’m still going to get back into that chapter. Soon.

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Starting yesterday, I have seventeen straight days off. I hope to get a lot of writing on BECOME done in that time.

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Though, of course, there will be a few distractions along the way, too.

I don’t expect anything like a chapter a day. Which is good, because I’m not on that pace so far.

Today is also a sad anniversary. Fifteen years ago today was the day my first Cardigan Welsh corgi, Aliza (Tricreeks Simply Irresistible, NJP, CGC) arrived in my life.

My first view of Aliza

The first time I saw Aliza

She was fifteen months old when she came to me and four months shy of sixteen years old when I lost her last spring. Miss you, sweetest girl.

 

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