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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Remembering Oscar Meyer Wiener (my little doxie)

It's been three weeks since I lost Oscar. It was one of the most difficult times in my entire life. He had been diagnosed with Cushings Disease, and unfortunately, fairly advanced. At 13, I'd thought he was simply aging -- slowing down, some hair loss, etc -- but when he began to drink water continuously, I thought his kidneys were failing. At the vet, tests were done and the diagnosis made.

I did a lot of research, and learned extensively about the disease in dogs. It's truly a cruel disease, in that it gradually takes away their ability to walk, increases thirst and hunger and continues muscle wasting. There's treatment, but it's very expensive and does not reverse the disease. In fact, from my research, I learned the main benefit of medication alleviates the thirst and hunger -- but usually does nothing for hair loss, body changes. And after long consideration, I just decided to make his life as happy as possible for the time he had left. If he'd been younger, or not as advanced when it was discovered, I would have opted for treatment.

At any rate, he lived nearly another month and it's safe to say, he had his every heart's desire. I even took him to the park a couple times, though we had to walk very slowly since he stumbled easily. He got all his favorite treats, and I put no limit on how much he ate. I'd always watched his weight, since doxie's can have spinal issues if too heavy.

But alas, the day came when I realized his quality of life was slipping away. He was the sweetest dog I've ever known: never met a stranger, loved everyone, especially children. He was never a biter, and most of all, he loved his long walks in the park or neighborhood.  Unfortunately, I'd not been able to take him as often in the past year due to my own knee and back issues. However, for most of the years I had him (9), we went on two mile walks through the neighborhood and he looked forward to that every day. When walking on pavement became troublesome for me, I switched to a nearby wooded park and we went at least three times a week.

My other two dogs do miss him. Rambo walked through the house whining for a week, and even now, if I mention Oscar's name, the other two will start searching for him. It's been an adjustment after his loss, but things are settling down now. I don't plan on getting another dog; two seems easier for me to manage than three. The only reason I had three was that Muffin was not being taken care of by the neighbors. She was, like all my pets, a rescue.

I guess I'd always thought dachshunds were snippy and mean, but Oscar changed all that. He, without a doubt, was one-of-a-kind and I know my step-dad would be happy that I took Oscar after he died. And that Oscar had a happy, loving home with me and my other dogs.

R.I.P Oscar Meyer Wiener, February 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Reflections

This blog has been lacking in posts for some time. Is there a particular reason? Not really. I have been preoccupied/busy with the Wildscape Trilogy, which is now complete. I will release the first book in January, but I'm still trying to decide if I'll use a different pen name. So that is one excuse. However, truly there is no excuse for not writing even a few paragraphs occasionally.

Maybe I'll do better in 2015, but then again, maybe I won't. Sigh.

I do spend time on Facebook and Twitter, but don't post on either of those social media sites frequently either. What I need to do is focus more on my fiction, and start a new project soon. In fact, I'm thinking of writing another serial and/or short stories...in the range of 20,000 words. I have more difficulty with extreme lengthy work these days (60,000+ words) since it takes undivided attention and virtually no interruptions. Having three dogs, there are going to be interruptions!

Not that I'm complaining; I'd hate to live alone without at least one dog or cat. Such great companions, and always happy to see you return when away. On the other hand, over the past years I've grown accustomed to living alone and the more time passes, the more I realize I would have great difficulty living with another person.

In February it will be nine years since my late husband died. And truly, it does feel like it's been that long. For most of those years, each February seemed to bring back all the loss and heartache, but now...not so much. I think that time eventually allows one to adjust to loss; otherwise, life would indeed be impossible when loved ones die.

And I've noticed one thing those who live into their 90s share: they are survivors and do not dwell on the past and their loss. So in that regard, maybe I'm making progress.

It's been a good year overall. Kicked some bad habits to the curb, moved on and got back into positive habits: reading, writing, etc. I need more exercise, but other than an occasional long walk in a wooded park with my dogs, don't get nearly enough. Of course, the weather has been dismal lately -- lots of rain or too cold and windy.

My health seems good, at least right now. I had serious back problems back in November, but a steroid shot not only helped that, it also relieved some arthritis symptoms. I'm hoping for good health the next two years, until I'm eligible for medicare. I do have insurance, but with high deductibles now.

One of my dogs, Oscar, is really showing his age. He's about 12 or 13 now -- not sure since my step-dad had him a few years before I got him. At any rate, Oscar is showing signs of arthritis, sleeps a lot, and in general, just not his usual perky self. He had some benign tumors removed back in the Fall, as well as teeth cleaning with three extractions. However, he still eats regularly, enjoys his treats and gets to go on a dog walk to the park occasionally. My other two dogs, Rambo & Muffin, are doing well.

Goals for 2015? I hate to set goals because it only makes me feel guilty when I can't accomplish those. I do intend to try  and write more fiction, but at my age, I'm not forcing myself to unless I feel compelled by an especially great idea. We'll see. As the old saying goes: "Whatever will be, will be..."

Forgot to mention that I released a story mid-December: Don't Say Goodbye It's not too long, but concerns an abused woman.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Doldrums

Well folks, I'm still alive. You'd hardly know it by looking at this blog, but I am percolating along. October is usually one of my favorite months, and so far, this one is just...b-o-r-i-n-g. Which means usually that I need to get busy with another writing project.

And on that note, I have finished the first part of a three-part serial. The title is Children of the Storm -- dark fantasy/dystopian. The first part is Dreamscapes; the second part is Nightscapes; and the third, final part is Lightscapes. This  year I've decided to try and write part two and three during Nanowrimo, which is for the entire month of November. For those who are not familiar with it, basically the website is a gathering place for writers attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during that time period. As a writer, you register and have access to forums and a page for your updates on word count. It gives you goals, as well as encouragement from other writers slugging it out like you are. I have part two outlined, but not three yet. It should prove interesting, and if I stick to it, possibly productive. I'd like to release that novel in separate parts, starting with Dreamscapes around early December and spacing the other parts at several week intervals. According to other indie writers, the holidays are good due to people getting new Kindles and looking for fiction.

I have a board on Pinterest with photos for my inspiration. Here's a link if anyone is interested: Children of the Storm

Finally, believe it or not, the elderly landlord next door has hired a contractor to update his house. It's been an eyesore so long I can't remember what it originally looked like. He says he is planning on moving there, so he should be a quiet neighbor. Best of all though, when the house is done, if I decide to move, I might be able to sell my house. With an eyesore next door I could never get a reasonable price. Not that I'm planning on moving, but at some point, I will probably move to a condo with less upkeep and maintenance.

Oh wait! This month hasn't been entirely boring: We had a real bad storm day before yesterday. High straight-line winds knocked down trees and we lost power -- only a short time for me. It reminded me that we have had a couple of relatively calm springs and summers since the tornado hit here.

In the national news, Ebola is creating panic. Now three people infected in Texas, two of those nurses. I know when I'm working on a writing project, I somehow incorporate events that are happening in reality. Since my story is dystopian, there can be an angle using all the info I'm learning/hearing/seeing about Ebola. In fact, in the first part, one of the aliens informs the protagonist that the "Black Plague" was a result of their arrival. Don't ask. Have no idea where that came from, seemed it was something the alien just tossed out (unknown to me, the author). Sorry this is sounding nuts for those of you who don't write fiction. :-)

My pups are all thriving. I still take them to the park on nice days. All the rain lately has kept us indoors. And tonight will be in the 40s, but tomorrow is sunny. Perhaps we can get in a good walk then.

No wonder I don't write more often....not much happening in my life at this time. But like one of my older friends said, "By our age, the only excitement is bad excitement." Ha, true! Often it's bad health or weather or any number of other "bad events." So I prefer the peace, quiet and if I get bored, there's always fiction writing, as well as reading.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hot, Steamy August

Though we've had a fairly uncommonly cool summer in Dixie, the heat finally caught up with us this month. And the humidity -- terrible. On my morning walks with the dogs, the humidity seems to be thick enough to cut. Makes my skin prickle, even with a light breeze through the wooded park.

I've finally resumed writing the serial story I'd described earlier in this blog. Still juggling possible titles, but for now the work-in-progress will just be called "Star Child." There will be three novels, each with ten chapters, word count uncertain at this time. I've been writing a chapter a day, editing in the morning, new chapter in the afternoon. Hope I can stick to that schedule. Here is a link to my Pinterest site where I've been posting pictures as inspiration for my series: Star Child

I have two promotions scheduled for my novels, Quest for Destiny and The Secret of Crybaby Hollow at the end of August. Both are via online Kindle ebook marketing sites, but cost very little. Every time I do a promotion, I usually keep sales of at least several copies each day from then on. Trying to build regular sales -- kinda like a snowball rolling downhill, gains momentum as it goes.

I also signed up for a digital marketing course in September; that should help me learn other ways to market my e-books online.

In other news, I am looking for a futon for my den/study; unfortunately, as usual, my bad timing is causing problems. Kids off to college are apparently big fans of futons, and stores here as well as online, are running out of stock. Especially for the ones I like, fake leather and maybe arms with cup holders. Nothing expensive, just something fairly comfortable to lie on at night and watch TV. The dogs are always on it as well, and the "fake leather" is easily cleaned. Maybe I'll find one soon.

I did get quite a lot of  maintenance issues taken care of -- even it if it was scorching hot when the workers did it. New planks on the back porch, painted; new full-view storm door on the back; new, larger pet door in wall; lattice section added to fencing in front; back fencing thoroughly inspected, new posts/planks where needed; mimosa limbs from neighboring yard cut off top of my garage; new door for crawl space built; and some minor work on what used to be the cat porch. I have a utility sink out there, and I now use it to give the dogs a bath. So much easier.

Here's a few recent pictures of the work:


New pet door, storm door and a loveseat from my living room; it will be replaced with a futon

 Oscar on freshly painted porch, soaking in some sunshine
                       
        Rambo on guard, as he always is!       


Muffin is camera shy, mainly because my new camera makes a sound when it comes on. Need to turn that off. 

Family are all doing well, everyone enjoying the last summer days. School starts back here next week. It just seems the summer vacation days get shorter and shorter... Way back when I was in school, we had  longer summers and didn't head back until early Fall (September).

The warm weather has really helped my arthritis, so much so I can hardly believe the difference. When we have rainy, damp days though it does act up a little. I dread winter, because last year I was miserable with aching joints!

All in all though not a lot to complain about. Life goes on...

(Edited to add that Oscar's biopsy of lumps was benign, thank goodness!)