Radar Redux Friday, Aug 29 2008 

Auntie M has been in a tizzy.

These last few days, in the countdown to our vacation (supposed to be) starting Saturday, we have both been whittling down our To-Do lists.  Mine has been complicated by a computer snafu which is not liking a few scanned pages the Screw Iowa book manuscript, which should have been on its way to our agent by now.

In the midst of solving the above, and the usual leaving-the-house-for-a-week stuff, Radar took ill Monday.  This usually jolly and lively pup became lethargic in the afternoon and seemed to want to just lie around, not sleeping, but just…sulking, if a dog can sulk.  At first I thought it was due to me cleaning out his ears that morning, which he hates.  Can a dog get dizzy?

That night he wouldn’t eat his dinner.  Now we were seriously worried.  This is the dog who can snarf ANYTHING at  ANYTIME without taking a breath.  No raw meaty bones tempted him.  Veggie biscuits were turned down.  His nightly pig ear was ignored.

https://i2.wp.com/www.health-mutt.com.au/images/Product_HM%20Pig%20Ears.jpg

We racked our brains for another cause. Wait! Doc remembered he’s sprayed an herbicide that day.  Maybe he’d eaten some, although the label specifically says it is safe for humans and animals.  I called their hotline anyway: if he’d walked through it when it was wet, –and on 12 acres, who could answer this–he could be lethargic from it  soaking into his paws.  RELAX, the very nice hot line man told me.  Just wash his paws and in the morning he’ll be good as new.

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All night we took turns checking on Radar.  He slept.  Should we call Middle Son and his Wife and tell them we can’t make it up to the Catskills to visit?  No, we decide to wait it out.

The next morning he was still punky.  Wouldn’t drink water, either.  I got down on the floor next to him to see if I could get a teaspoon of Pepto down him, my panacea.  No way.  However I did pick up…a moan?  Was that a doggie MOAN??  I  stroked his poor head, and he moaned again.  I commiserated with him and he moaned again.  Either this dog was up for an acting Oscar, or something was seriously wrong.

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I attempted a few ice chips.  He greedily ate these.  And three minutes later promptly vomited them up…all over the vintage Art Deco rug in the dining room, the only carpet we own…and it smelled REALLY bad.  It smelled like what comes out his other end!!! Red Alert! A nurse and a doctor know this means he was obstructed–not a good thing.

Emergency vet visit (an hour away).  Radar softly moaning and lying his head in my lap all the way there.  I’m holding back tears.  And picturing our vacation being cancelled, I admit.  But mostly upset of Radar in pain.

We get to the vet’s office and Radar jumps out of the car; my, he seems peppier all of a sudden.

A very pricey Xray shows us the culprit.  This dog, who eats a raw food diet and chomps RAW chicken, beef and pork bones, had received a gift from the people we buy our piggy ears from: a smoked lamb bone.  I know, I know, don’t gag.  He loved it.  He’d also managed to bite off the knuckle end and swallow it WHOLE

without crunching it, so there it was, totally recognizable, https://i0.wp.com/www.animalemergencycenter.com/images/dog_stomach.jpgblocking his intestine.

The vet pointed out that the pain was from him moving it from his stomach to his intestine, the narrowest part, and it was past that.  The verdict: take him home and feed him white bread to bulk him up and push it out.  At his size (101 lbs) the vet felt he would pass it or would digest it.  But we were to be on poop patrol…and to return the next day.

A night of worry and white bread.

Second day to vet an hour away (this IS the closest vet, I hear you asking).  Dog reacting, dare I say, normal.  Vet exam: no stomach tightness, bone moving along, take him home and keep feeding him and return to poop patrol.

The next 24 hours it rained like the dickens here.  Radar is now happy and jolly and eating white bread (smeared with Cheez whiz to get it down) up the wazoo.  Every time he had to go out, so did we.  In our boots and macs, and check for poop.  Peed up a storm the that day.  Slept well again.

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Next day, more rain and more poop patrol.

Finally ten minutes after it stopped raining, success!  Resolution!  No more white bread.  Back to regular diet.  Rest of lamb bones in the garbage.  Radar happy and goofy as usual.  Manages to fall off bulk-heading into river and swims around in delight before getting out.  Having a ball as only a dog lucky enough to live on the river can be.  Back to normal.  Sheesh.https://i0.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1015/1131498707_7db28c096d.jpg

Now we are only 2 1/2 days behind in our list of things to do.  And we leave Sat at 7AM…and believe me, we’re going!

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Buddy Blurb #1: Coconut Slut Friday, Aug 22 2008 

For those of you wishing to discover just who Auntie M is, underneath all of this fluff, I’ve decided to give you Buddy Blurbs here and there, where I will reveal formally unknown oddities and quirks of the person who is Auntie M.

Today’s first is that Auntie M is a coconut slut.  This means that whenever coconut crosses her path, Auntie M is sure to follow.  Be it coconut shrimp , coconut cake, coconut ice cream (yummo) or the real thing, raw and from the just-broken shell, Auntie M can sniff coconut out a mile away.

This means that on vacations where cute frozen drinks with paper umbrellas are on order, Auntie M has been known to imbibe far too many a few.  Thankfully this is not a daily habit.

https://i0.wp.com/www.awesomedrinks.com/images/products_fullsize/parfait_2.jpg

The one area Auntie M does not indulge in is coconut-smelling sunblock, although she has been known to sniff heartily in the direction of its wearers.  She prefers the real thing to the scent in lipglosses, too.

After all, one has to be a purist about something!

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Olympic UNsportmanship Wednesday, Aug 20 2008 

Auntie M is distressed.  She watches the Big O each night with great delight and admiration for the talent and strength of the athletes who have devoted YEARS to learning their skills.  Of course, she’s happy when the US wins big, and who couldn’t be impressed with Michael Phelps accomplishment.

But once again, it happened.  Just when she thought the judging system had been rid of imperfections and bias, along come the Gymnastics finals.  There were hints of Things Not Right all week; the tiny bodies sworn to be 16 yr olds here, the higher marks and unnoticed errors there.  But it all evened out.  Until the night before last, in the Women’s Vault finals, where the GOLD medal was awarded to a gymnast who landed on HER KNEES!  This pushed the better American vaulter into 4th place and out of medal contention.

Auntie M yelled at the judges.  She stomped around complaining of the unfairness of it all.  Doc calmed her down, saying this happens all the time.  Yeah, but it shouldn’t!!!  This is the G-Damned Olympics!!!  It’s not RIGHT!

Then last night another Maybe-16 yr old and the American Gold Medal All Around winner both scored in first place in a statistical tie on the Uneven Bars.  Down to the THOUSANDTH decimal they were deemed to be the same, EVEN THOUGH the Maybe-16er made a few errors that apparently no one but me, the commentator and everyone else watching on TV noticed.  I could handle THAT if they both got Gold medals.  But instead the American was given Silver due to a system that threw out some marks and awarded the poorer performance the Gold medal.

I’m not saying it had to be American or nothing; I’m saying these young people work far too hard to be treated unfairly.  The best should prevail, no matter the country.  Or else why should they bother in the coming years?

Auntie M shouted again, beat the comforter to a bloody pulp, and called the judges some ugly choice names usually shown in print as *&@#$.  It was enough to almost make her stop eating her low-cal rice pudding!

And that before she found out there was no method in either case to protest the marks. . .

I’m set to watch the Balance Beam medals tonight, but those judges better beware: Auntie M is watching, and the BEST gymnast better win the Gold medal or…or… or… well, I don’t know what the OR is, but trust me, it won’t be pretty~

Life Cycle of a Novel Monday, Aug 18 2008 

Arghghghg! Just saw that the photo of mom’s cake did not translate to the published blog…mea culpa.

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Today my newest novel went in the mail to The Agent Who Knows All.  I call him this because he has been in the business for a long time and knows it, has signed authors I read and admire, and can read the market enough to tell me that I had to put my English mystery series aside and write one set in NY, with a younger, upbeat tempo that would be easily marketable, and thus, get picked up by a publisher.

Said NY novel has been workshopped with my Screw Iowa Writers Group, revised, polished and scrubbed until it’s squeaky clean.  And yes, it is rather like a birth, as you’ve been incubating this nugget of a story for months, living with it growing inside of you as you develop the characters and their back story, struggling through the labor pains of plotting out a decent storyline, and finally delivering something recognizable as a book to said agent.

There is a brief time, maybe a week, where I will bask in the glow of a deed accomplished and off my plate.  From past experience, I know to put this novel out of my mind for at least six to eight months.  By the time the Agent reads it and sends it out, it will be at least that amount of time before the rejection letters start to trickle in.  My SI writers like to joke we could wallpaper a bathroom with our rejection letters.  BUT there is always the thought in the back of my mind that THIS is the one that will be published.  i imagine the cover, artfully done, of course, the feel of the pages, the smell of th ink, the delight in seeing my byline in print.  Ah, such stuff are dreams made of~

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By next week, when we take off to upstate NY to visit our middle son and his wife, I’ll be bringing a research book with me for the next in this series.  And a notebook to take notes.  On the long drive up I’ll start bouncing story ideas off Doc, and by the time we hit Schoharie, I’ll be fired up again with a host of new characters jumping around in my brain, scribbles everywhere, and begin to ratchet up the heat under the new one.    I will take the fall to gather and process, to outline and create character Bibles.  Maybe even start the beginning.  I take a few weeks off around Xmas and then the Full Assault begins in earnest, getting a first draft done by May to bring to be workshopped with mySI gals…and the whole business starts all over again.

Happy 75, Kathleen~ Friday, Aug 15 2008 

Auntie M and Doc had a well-deserved lie-in this morning after last night’s festivities.  I’m glad to say Mom’s 75th Birthday went off without a major hitch.

The one hitch turned out when we arrived at St. James Parish House of Mom’s church, where the party was to take place.  We unpacked our truck and neither one of us could find the coffee urn.  That’s because it was still sitting back home in our shop, where I’d left it. Ditto the coffee.  I had sugar, cream, Splenda, cups, even ice and iced tea–but not the hot beverage or the place to make it.  Tough to fudge when people expect coffee with their cake.

Thankfully we were in a church, an Episcopal one at that, which means they never throw anything out.  Sure enough, a quick rec of their kitchen turned up FOUR coffee urns of different ages.  Decaf Folgers in the fridge, too, easily replaced.  Saved by the church, literally.

The cake made it, too, with only a small dent when the easel we were bringing to display her photo collage fell on it as we turned a corner.  We repaired that.  Everyone oohed and aahed nicely over our homemade but respectable cake.  Since I’ve talked about it so much, here it is:

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Album from Adobe Thu Aug 14 15:01:10 PDT 2008 – arthur, 8/14/08

4 x 6″ – $0.15 5 x 7″ – $0.79 8 x 10″ – $2.99 16 x 20″ – $13.99 20 x 30″ – $17.99 Wallets – $1.29 Mousepad 7.75 x 9.25″ – $9.99 Mug 15 oz. – $14.99 Mug 11 oz. – $12.99 Big Picture Mug 20 oz. – $22.99 Deluxe Tote Bag 20.5 x 15.5 x 6″ – $24.99 Playing Cards 3.5 x 2.25″ – $20.99 Fleece Blanket 40 x 60″ – $44.99 Coasters set of 4 with stand – $19.99 Apron 22 x 24″ – $19.99 Stickers set of 12 stickers – $2.99

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Unfortunately, here also is all of the other stuff on the page Doc emailed me, sorry about that.  This Luddite can’t figure out how to get rid of that stuff.

The top reflects Mom as I know her:  on that bench are a pair of glasses (always on her nose), a coffee cup (always by her side) and a book, ditto.  The little book is Agatha Christie’s “Murder at the Vicarage” which gave her Fr. Jim a big smile.  The black dog is her companion, Pixie.

And it tasted good, too, thank goodness.  Alternating layers of chocolate and yellow cake with cassata filling: the creamy choc-chip filling that’s in cannoli’s.  I spent today cleaning the kitchen well and scrubbing sugary buttercream and powdered sugar most surfaces and putting away pans and tools we won’t use again for a while.

She loved her Birthday tree, filled with over fifty cards from friends and family all over, as far away as Australia, Wisconsin, New York, etc.  And the photo collage was another big hit.  The blow up of Mom as a child sitting on a ride at Coney Island was adorable.  We gave away the remaining butter mints, took home the leftover pecans and fruit salad, and are ready for a night doing nothing more strenuous than watching the Olympics.

I’m glad we made the effort.  She’s the only parent we have left between us.  So for all of us, it was a night to remember.

Fever, Olympic and others Monday, Aug 11 2008 

Things are pretty crazy at The Briary these days.  All of a sudden the summer seems to be winging away.  We made plans to see our middle son and his wife in upstate New York at the end of this month, and we’re both looking forward to that.  They are almost finished with dual Library/Information Science Masters programs and we’ve been their cheerleaders.  Right now they’re living outside Albany in the tiny town where Kim grew up and it should be a lovely trip–smack in the middle of the Catskill Mtns, where they got married.  There are antique stores, a great herbal farm nearby where I always stock up on the owner’s homegrown Herbes de Province mix, and a neat farmstand that sells the best cider doughnuts around.  Always have to have the cider doughnuts.

But before we get to do that 650+ mile road trip, we need to get through this week, with Mom’s 75th on Weds.   I spent the weekend alternating manuscript revisions during the day and making gum paste flowers as I watched the Olympics each night.  We have definitely been watching too many episodes of “Ace of Cakes.”  I don’t think Chef Duff would hire either of us anytime soon, but Mom will be surprised when she sees her FOUR tier cake complete with a small cascade of roses, forget-me-nots, and star flowers.

To illustrate how crazed we’ve become: we made a SECOND test cake Saturday, and honestly, it was a good thing.  We both hated the first one, all of it, and this time we changed all the recipes and had a much better result.  So we’re psyched.  Of course I’ve had the most taste testing to do. . .we’ve changed the base icing color from blue to pale yellow as the blue was just too hard to get right, and the yellow should show off these flowers better.  See how obsessed I’ve become?

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This is kind of what we’re hoping for. . .

The good part was an excuse to sit while the Big O’s were on in the background.  The Opening was neat but can’t compare with the actual events.  The young girl who hurt her ankle on the Gymnastics team, dashing her hopes for some medals, but went on to the uneven bars. . . such grit.  And when the US relay swim team won last night I was shouting all the way on the that last lap, urging him on.  Great stuff.

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Have to go. Doc needs help with the revolving cake stand he’s just made, to make it easier to ice and decorate, and then make it transportable without moving it off its base.   Doesn’t every household need one of those?

Seriously folks, if  after all this effort:

a) the cake falls apart on the 1/2 hr trip to town

b) no one shows up to eat it, or

c) the icing melts and the roses crumble before we cut it…

you may hear the loud “ARRRRRRRGGHHHH” across the globe~

Guilty Secret Wednesday, Aug 6 2008 

Last year my friend Mel gave Doc his own bag of the best caramels in the world.  Handmade by a family in Appleton, WI, the Vane Walle’s caramels are so buttery and so creamy and so, well, carmelly, that Rachel Ray named them a great snack and gave them out to her audience last spring.

I, of course, ran right through my own bag, one a night when reading in bed.  Each large square is soft and velvety; you can get several bites out of them to make them linger, too.

One day recently I was changing the sheets on our Monster bed (I call it the Monster because the king sized four-poster is so high up I have to climb onto it with a 2 step stool).  Imagine my surprise when I looked down into Doc’s open night table drawer and see his bag, opened but with only one or two caramels missing!

I touched them; still surprisingly soft after 12 months in a drawer.  I snuck one out and tasted it.  That same sweet, smooth taste.  You couldn’t tell they were over a year old, really.

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The next week I snuck one out again.  And a few days another. Doc wasn’t eating them, I rationalized.  He’s been watching his weight and has lost 40 lbs this spring and summer to my 16.  Go figure.  Of course, purloined caramels might just be part of the problem.  And the fact that I am a notorious cheater is definitely another.  But I digress.

The bag was getting to the halfway point, just when it would be noticeable that I had been helping myself to these treats.  What to do?  Fess up and ask for the rest of the bag?  Whilst deliberating my course of action, the caramels seemed to grow in size, calling to me from the table every time I went past.  My fingers itched to worm their way into that bag and withdraw just one more delectable candy.  But I stayed strong.

Until the other day when Doc decided his table drawers needed cleaning out and came across them himself.I held my breath: surely he would notice the bag was a mere waif of it’s former self?

“Want these, they’re a few left, but they might be stale,” he said, tossing the bag to me.

If only he knew the truth.

So now I’m legit.  Of course, there’s only one problem–there’s only ONE left~
then what will I do?

Mamma Mia!!! Friday, Aug 1 2008 

My gal pals are still under the radar with that bout of food poisoning from last week’s wedding, so Doc accompanied me, despite his misgivings, to see “Momma Mia” today.   He ended up enjoying himself enormously, said it was nice to see a movie with a happy ending.

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/images/mammamiastill2.jpg

Meryl Streep can SING!  Who knew?  And Pierce Brosnan definitely can’t, but who cares?  Colin Firth was admirable, the daughter lovely, Meryl’s two sidekicks wonderful, especially Julie Waters.

This is not the Best Movie You’ll Ever See, but it IS pretty to look at, filmed on location in Greece, has those ABBA songs you remember, plenty of unexpected dancing, a Greek chorus of its own, and is just too cute to miss.  While most would probably give it a CF rating (Chick Flick) Doc and a few other husbands I know have seen it and left humming.

What’s not to like?

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Saving the planet one day at a time.

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

Make Your House a Home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site