Muse-Inks: Honouring my reality

So … this past week was a week of delivering training at work.

Day one, I felt obliged to nap after supper. And I don’t nap. Generally, I might lay down, but I don’t sleep. As a result, I don’t even bother getting prone most of the time. But I was bushed. I went to bed at 8 pm and woke up just after 10 pm.

During the day, the participants, all of whom work earlier shifts, asked for the training to shift to an earlier time, as well. Remember that meme? I’m not an night owl. I’m not an early bird. I’m some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon? Yeah.

For the rest of the week, I decided to nap when I got home so Phil could wake me up for supper. Well, Torvi had something to say about that and I didn’t end up getting any quality rest.

Needless to say, I went into maintenance mode. I dealt with my daily curation tasks for my weekly curation posts as quickly as possible, and then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

That’s right. I didn’t write a word on my novel all week.

And I probably won’t write a word this weekend, either. I have a friend coming in from out of town that I’d much rather visit with. I have a deadline for the Sudbury Writers’ Guild newsletter I have to meet. Priorities.

I’ve had to fight a certain amount of guilt over not writing. But I haven’t felt the burning desire to get back to the page, either. The last time I took a purposeful break, I was immediately thinking about what I would be writing. Even though I’d stopped writing, my creative brain was still immersed in the project and when I returned to the project, I was working at full steam.

That hasn’t happened this time.

What this means is that I’ll probably be drafting Playing with Fire into April. So be it.

This is my reality at the moment. I have to honour what’s happening in my life, make choices, and live with the results. I will be adjusting my goals accordingly.

In other news …

Things continue to improve, in small increments, for Phil at work. He’s felt motivated enough to clean up the basement so Torvi can go down there and spend time with him if she wants.

Today was the first time we coaxed Torvi down into the basement. I have a couple of old pillows I took down there for a dog bed (until Phil buys another one) and a few toys. It’s been a bit of a stressful afternoon. Torvi doesn’t like change. She’s been constantly running the stairs and whining. It was to the point that we couldn’t tell when she was asking to go out. But there were no accidents. I’m counting it a win.

She’s also making progress with controlling her excitement when meeting people. She still jumps and freaks out, but if we get visitors to ignore her, she settles quickly. We’ll see how it works with our guests tonight.

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I weighed her last week. She’s 42 pounds. Woof! Here she is, waiting for Phil to come home, and NOT destroying footwear (!) Another win.

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And she’s starting to lose her puppy teeth. I know, it’s kind of gross, but if I find them, I save them. I still have some of Nuala’s teeth.

And that’s all the news for the week.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kinds, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

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Muse-inks: Treading water

Hello again, writerly peeps.

I’ve really been too ambitious in my goals this year, in every aspect.

I forget to account for age.

Every year that passes alters my ability to be productive. Part of the problem is that I don’t pay attention to age. I’ve never felt the typical crises that some of my friends and family have experienced. 25, 30, 40, these milestones have passed me without much notice or angst.

But, as I age, my physical and mental health have changed. I feel more aches and pains, my anxiety and depression have influenced me differently, and my hormones are wreaking havoc.

I think that I take these things into account, modifying my goals to accomplish less, or take longer to meet a goal. Then I have a procedure—yes, I knew about it in advance, but not so far in advance that I was able to account for it in my annual planning—and it throws things out of whack. I’m not great at sudden course correction. It takes time for me to adjust.

I forget to account for changing circumstances.

When Phil and I adopted our first puppy, Zoe, I had just gotten my MA from the University of Windsor and had just finished a one-semester contract with the Cambrian College Library. I was newly unemployed and able to devote my complete attention to Zoe’s care and training.

We’d previously had cats, rats, budgies, and fish, all animals that don’t require as much time and attention.

Zoe was with us for five years, during which time I’d started to work for my current employer, but in a different position than I currently work, and part-time.

After two years, we adopted Nuala. I was still working part-time, and I was still able to devote a lot of time to Nu. I also hadn’t yet found my way to a regular writing practice. By the time I started working full-time, and writing regularly, Nu was two years old and was able to adapt to the change with no adverse behavioural results. Both of my parents were around and took care of Nu while we worked. They could get out and do what they wanted, as well. Nuala was very good when left alone. She didn’t enjoy it, but she wasn’t destructive.

Nuala was with us for ten years, and we again waited for two years to look at adoption again.

With Torvi, while I was able to take a six week leave, I’m generally working full-time, as is Phil. My dad passed away during Nuala’s time with us and now my mom takes care of her during the day alone.

Torvi’s training and raising has had to be shared between Phil, me, and Mom, with assistance from Phil’s mom and a family friend. This generally means that we’re, all of us, tied to home. We haven’t felt that we can leave Torvi completely alone yet, and so my mom’s given up her volunteering, for the most part, we haven’t gone out together, even to dinner, and it’s made for some stir crazy among Torvi’s three primary caretakers.

The big test coming up is my impending trip to Toronto in March. I hope Phil survives.

Phil’s also been having some challenges with his employment, which I’m not at liberty to share. It’s not my story. But it’s meant that he’s had additional pressures on him and he hasn’t been as able to deal with the bitey beast.

So, our household has been in a bit of a mess.

Torvi’s been making progress, but we got her younger than any other pup, and she’s so much larger—she’s already the size of Zoe when she was full grown—that it’s been quite challenging to teach her the behaviour we want her to exhibit.

Verbal reprimands are interpreted as invitations to play. She will do what we ask for kibs or other treats, but only then. She’s still so excited when people return, or when she meets new people, we practically have to sit on her to keep her down. She’s strong. Our morning walks are decent, but the time will soon arrive when I won’t be able to use the harness anymore. She’ll be able to haul me around if something freaks her out or catches her fancy. Our training sessions with the Halti have so far not been successful.

It’s all a work in progress. Eventually, we know she will become the dog we’re training her to be, but experience tells us that time won’t arrive for a year to eighteen months.

The result of all this is that I’m not getting as much writing done as I’d hoped.

I’m dealing with it. As one of my writing mentors, Gabriela Pereira says, I have to honour my reality. Things are what they are. I have to accept that there are going to be more days than not that I can’t accomplish what I’d hoped to. Eventually, our situation will improve.

Here she is, “helping Grandma with the laundry.” The bottle was empty, headed for the recycling bin. And yes, I took it away from her before she got at its scant contents. It was just a cute moment I had to capture. Also notice the new, heavy-duty harness. The white stitching is reflective for safety.

Already, Phil’s employer is taking action to improve his circumstances, but it’s not going to be a quick fix, and, as with any complex situation, things will get worse before they get better. There is now the hope that they will get better, though.

With that pressure eased, and Torvi’s continued improvement, we plan to take back our lives to some degree. Phil’s slowly cleaning up the basement, which, because his main hobby involves computers as well as his job, was a mine field of hazardous materials. We’re going to give her more of a run of the house. We’re going to try going out to dinner and see what kind of destruction she causes.

Once Torvi has her final vaccinations, I’m going to start taking her out to places where I can give her a bit of a run, or at least a long enough walk that she’ll get her “ya-ya’s” out. I’m going to start taking her places in the car—short trips at first, then gradually longer ones—so we can overcome her motion sickness.

But each stage is going to be an adjustment. Each change will present new challenges. My goals will have to be amended accordingly. And I’m going to have to become more agile again, something that becomes more difficult with each passing year.

Winter is also a hard time for me. I want to hibernate, like a bear, and wake up when spring arrives.

These are all parts of my current reality that I have to recognize and honour.

I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’m treading water. Endurance, I have 🙂

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

The next chapter: January 2018 update

January was a good writing month. Considering my somewhat hectic schedule at the day job, my procedure, and everything else (AKA life), I did well.

I continued to draft Playing with Fire, the fourth book in my Ascension series. I didn’t quite do as much as I’d hoped, but mostly, it was due to Torvi. She still needs supervision/training/attention and Phil’s had his workload doubled at his day job, so all he wants to do when he gets home is sleep or hide.

It all depends on when Torvi decides to settle down. Often, I’m not free to write until after supper. Sometimes, the crazies last longer. She is getting better, but mostly, it’s a matter of patience and persistence. On both our parts.

JanuaryProgress

Reaching 73% of my drafting goal for PwF (10,992 word of 15,000) is respectable.

I blogged 87% of my 5,800-word goal (5,054), which I don’t mind.

I wrote and submitted two DIY MFA articles in January and blew away that goal, writing 3,027 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 303%.

And I’m now tracking my newsletter writing for the Sudbury Writers’ Guild. January’s newsletter came in at 4,100 words of my 4,000-word goal, or 103%.

I missed some goals and owned others. It’s always a bit of give and take.

In February, I intend to continue drafting PwF, I have another DIY MFA article due, another newsletter, more blogging, and … I’ve become aware of a couple of short story opportunities that I want to submit to.

In other news

I seem to have had my first period since the ablation. I hadn’t stopped sloughing since the procedure itself, and it just got a little worse. As far as most of my periods go, it’s been a breeze, but since it ‘s happened so soon after the procedure, I don’t anticipate that I’ll be one of the lucky ones who experience complete cessation of menses. I wasn’t counting on it, so I’m good.

As mentioned above, Torvi’s coming along. Things are about what you’d expect for a four-month-old dog, but the problems are exaggerated by her size. It’s more difficult to calm her when she gets excited. It’s more of a challenge to tire her out when she gets playful. But it is what it is.

We’re looking forward to the day she becomes the good girl we know is in there 🙂

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Are we going to Grandma’s yet?

And she’s so beautiful. Golden undercoat, burnt tips. When she cuddles, she’s awesome. You may notice that most of the pictures I take of her are when she’s lying down. That’s the only time she’s not moving (!)

That’s it for January.

I’ll see you on Tipsday.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Muse-inks: Health and wellbeing

Trigger warning: I’m going to discuss feminine health in this post. If that makes you squeamish, you may want to skip this one.

So … I’ve been mentioning for a few weeks now that I had an upcoming procedure. Well, I had the procedure on Monday (Jan 22) and all went well.

The procedure was an ablation. I’ll let those of you who don’t know what that is look it up on your own.

I’m perimenopausal, and since I turned 40, my periods have been getting worse in terms of flow and pain. For the last three years, I’ve been anemic and on iron supplements. 2016 was a very bad year with one period (onset to onset) of 15 days. Yup. I think I stopped bleeding for two or three days before I started up again. That was followed by an epic 25-day bleed (35-day cycle) replete with three two-day episodes of what I’ve lovingly come to call endometrial slugs.

A friend of mine called them blood babies but … babies are cute. These things are not. I think endometrial slugs is a far more descriptive and apt phrase for them.

Hormones don’t work for me (believe me, I’ve tried them all) and so that wasn’t a solution. Being on the pill has generally worsened my mental health and that’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice for the sake of a “happy” period.

After that hellish end to 2016, I called my doctor, got an appointment, got a referral, and was put on the list for ablation as of March last year. Yes, it takes that long for surgeries considered elective to be scheduled, particularly when surgical times for gynecological procedures are cut. I still love our health care system, but there’s room for improvement.

Last weekend, I was nervous. I also have a condition called malignant hyperthermia. I’ll let you look that one up, too.

Suffice it to say, I can’t have regular anaesthetic. If I do, it could set off a hyperthermic reaction in my muscles, including my heart and intercostals, causing them to seize. MH is a fairly new condition and is thought to explain a lot of mysterious operating table deaths due to cardiac arrest in patients who were otherwise healthy.

Don’t worry, there are special anaesthetics they can use for me, but that means I have to be the first operation of the day because there can’t be a trace of other anaesthetics in the system. Everything must be flushed in preparation. It was a very early morning for this permanently exhausted pigeon.

But it all went well. Everyone was well-aware of my MH and every precaution was taken. They had to keep me for four hours post-operatively to be sure that my temperature wasn’t spiking. I’ve been feeling warm through the week, but not feverish. Though it’s been years since my last operation, I seem to remember that happening. Nothing unusual. But it’s good that I’ve had the week off work. Just to be sure.

The best outcome of ablation is the complete cessation of bleeding. This is what I hope for but am too realistic to expect. Any improvement will be welcome. I’m of an age where, by the time the beneficial effects of the ablation fade, I should be in full menopause.

I don’t want to be anemic, and therefore exhausted, anymore. I don’t want to take prescription medication to deal with the pain of menses. I don’t want to have to take days off work because, even with the most absorbent feminine protection, I still bleed through and ruin clothes.

I’m looking for an improvement in my quality of life.

Bonus pupdate

Torvi turned four months yesterday (Jan 26) and is now 35 pounds. She’s slowly coming around. Mornings are particularly good. She’s all cuddly and sweet when she’s sleepy 🙂

There’s still the odd accident in the house. Phil and I haven’t figured out her signals yet but, overall, Torvi’s doing as well as you’d expect a four-month-old puppy to do.

The shepherd “saddle” is becoming more pronounced, but her fur is still so soft. Some of her nails have grown in black (most are white) and her white socks are becoming speckled with brown. Her buttery puppy belly is slowly furring over.

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Last night the power went out three times. We had tuna sandwiches for our candlelit supper.

I’ve had to pause in writing this post twice to take Torvi out. The first time, thin cloud veiled the gibbous moon. The second time, the sky was clear, and I could see Orion hanging out just below the moon.

Overall, life is good.

Until my next blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Muse-inks: SAD and pupdate

AKA, Another week in the writerly life.

I seem to write about this every year: seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Winter up here is northeastern Ontario is a dark season. It’s not as dark as the communities further north, but the sun doesn’t rise until after we go to work in the mornings and it sets about the time we come home.

My new desk at work (moved in the spring of last year) had lovely, large windows, but many days are overcast. My usual level of tired, driven by anemia and hormones and neurotransmitters, is exaggerated by the low levels of light.

I’ve mentioned in a past post that the snow came early this winter. Or rather it came on time. The previous two years, we had green Christmases. When the snow arrived in early November, it was followed by bitter cold, then unseasonably warm. It’s been vacillating between the two extremes since. It’s been a brutal season for colds and flu. I’m so glad I got my flu shot early.

When I was young, I was an early bird. Up at 6 am without a complaint, but I’d fall asleep any time after 10 pm. I remember one late dinner after several hours of travel during which I could not keep my eyes open. Now … I drag myself out of bed with difficulty in the morning. Everything takes longer because I’m fighting to keep my eyes open. As a consequence, I’m usually writing later into the night.

This past week, I’ve generally gone to bed around midnight and still had to get up early, so I could walk Torvi before breakfast and heading to work.

I feel like that meme: I’m not an early bird or a night hawk; I’m some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon.

In other health-related news, I’m going to be off work this week due to a medical procedure I’ve been waiting for since last March. I’m hopeful that it will improve my quality of life, but nervous because it means anaesthetic.

Due to another condition, I can’t have regular anaesthetics. My surgery is booked first thing so that the special anaesthetic I can have can be used before the systems are contaminated with other anaesthetics. It means an even earlier day. I’ll get to catch up on my sleep later, though.

Onto the pupdate.

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Last week, Torvi had what we can only conclude was a case of the new dog flu that’s supposed to be going around. We have no idea where she picked it up, but she was splitty for three days. No parasites, no blood, no vomiting. She continued to eat and drink as normal. She wasn’t dehydrated. She hadn’t gotten into anything that could have cause her to be sick. She didn’t have anything to eat that she hadn’t had in the last couple of months.

We sorted things by restricting her food and administering a puppy-appropriate dose of Pepto-Bismol. Since then, she’s been fine and no signs of a resurgence.

That’s all for this week.

Be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Muse-Inks: Back to work

This is going to be a short post because I find myself running behind … already.

I returned to work on Thursday. It was a short week. But, as often happens with short weeks, it felt really long.

My mom’s taking care of Torvi while Phil and I go to work. We’re so fortunate to have her support. I think the house would be demolished if we had to leave Torvi alone. Yes, she would be restricted to the kitchen, but still. There’s a lot of stuff she could get into that we just don’t have the cabinet space to put beyond her reach.

I was worried about how Mom would fare. Torvi’s still wilful and bitey. But it worked out.

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I wish she was always this sweet 🙂

We made it through week one.

But I’m still adjusting. I’m trying to get all the work done that I used to and still give Torvi the time she needs.

It’s been a challenge.

This weekend, I sacrificed some time to go shopping and booked a socialization session with Torvi’s cousin Buster (I’ve shared pics of buster before—Phil and I have pup-sat him for Phil’s sister Steph a couple of times).

And we’ve confirmed that Torvi gets car sick. She threw up on me on the way out and on the way back. Good thing Sunday is laundry day.

It’s good to know. We have to plan for this in the future. Particularly on Christmas Day, when we’re heading back out to Steph’s for the holiday feasting. This was the point of our socialization today. We didn’t want disaster on Christmas Day.

Fortunately, Torvi and Buster get along just fine.

This week will be a three day work week. I booked a couple additional days of leave just before Christmas (you’d think I’d planned it!).

Then another three day week after Boxing Day, a four day week after New Year’s Day, and then, full five day work weeks.

It’s a good transition for me and for Torvi.

I’ll keep you informed about how things progress.

Until next I blog, be kind, be well, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Wordstock Sudbury 2017

While I was offline in November, other than pup prep and pup rearing, and NaNoWriMo, I also attended Wordstock Sudbury 2017. It was November 2-4 and I took in several events.

On Thursday, November 2nd, I went to the Femme Poetic Force reading at One Sky.

Dinah Laprairie opened the event on behalf of Wordstock, then yielded the floor to former poet laureate Tom Leduc, who introduced the femme force readers, Tanya Neumeyer, Emily Ursuliak, Kateri Lanthier, and our current poet laureate, Kim Fahner.

Later that evening, I attended a dramatic reading of Kim’s play-in-progress, Sparrows Over Slag.

DramaticReading

For those who don’t know, a dramatic reading is unstaged. The actors stand to read their parts. It’s a stripped down version of the play that acts as part of the workshopping and development process. A play is meant to have an audience and a staged reading can tell the playwright a lot about how well the piece works. Staging is intended to enhance the play, but the words, the dialogue, has to be solid on its own before the rest of the play is built around it.

On Saturday, I attended Merilyn Simonds’ master class on The First Page.

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And later on, I attended Nathan Alder’s master class on speculative fiction (sorry, forgot to take a picture).

Overall, it was another successful year for Wordstock. The festival improves each year. There are still a few rough spots, but it bodes well for the future.

Plus a week in this writer’s life

Post-NaNo, I’ve continued to work on Playing with Fire, the fourth in my epic fantasy series. I’ll be working on the draft into the New Year.

Foolishly, I thought I’d be able to continue to write around 1000 words a day while I was still on leave. That resolution lasted for exactly one day before I realised that it would be untenable. Since then, I’ve been writing about 500 words a day, around pup duties.

With regard to the Torvi-beast, Phil and I have been trying to train her to our habits rather than letting our world revolve around her, as it kind of has been for the last few weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that Torvi was six weeks old when we adopted her. We’ve never adopted a pup so young.

Two weeks makes a lot of difference. I’m seeing it. She’s learned a lot in the last weeks. And she’s really good around my mom, who will be taking care of her when I return to work.

She’s sleeping through the night (mostly). She’s pooping outside, but there are still times when she pees inside, mostly when I’m not quick enough to get her out. I’m still her favourite chew toy, but we’re making progress. I’m told that’s the shepherd in her.

Torvi’s a pro at the sit, now, lays down with kib incentive, shakes a paw inadvertently, and walks a block or so most mornings. We’re too indulgent with the pup love for her to get off dependably. That’s brilliant for a ten week old pup. Really.

And she hasn’t actually destroyed anything … yet.

Though I’m back to work next Thursday, I’ve done the best I can at this point. I have to have faith that the work I’ve put in will bear fruit.

I’m going to start scheduling pup play dates in the near future. She’s okay to play with dogs we know have been vaccinated. She’s just prohibited from pet stores and dog parks until she had her full set of vaccinations in March.

I’m exhausted, though. Walking zombie. Our next pup will still be a rescue, but by then, I’ll be old enough that training a pup from scratch will be impossible. She’ll have to be three to six months and house trained.

Still love Torvi insanely and the cuddles are worth the rest of it, but I’m looking forward to catching up on my sleep. Someday.

Than and now 🙂

Speaking of which, it’s time for final outings and bed.

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

 

The next chapter: October and NaNoWriMo update plus pupdate

Hello all you lovely writerly people!

Coming out of the semi-conscious haze that is NaNoWriMo and I owe you all a two-month writerly update.

So let’s get right to it.

October

I went through Reality Bomb one more time. I ended up adding three chapters over the course of my revisions this year. This last pass was to check on continuity and to see if I couldn’t smooth over some of the more jarring transitions.

It still isn’t pretty. I haven’t added in touches to bring the setting to life yet in the event that I have to cut or change things. But … I think I’m ready to expose it to the critique group next year. Yay me.

Unfortunately, because of this last pass and a very busy month at work (I had to prep and deliver training), I wasn’t able to complete my outline for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t get to review the structure of Apprentice of Wind, either.

OctoberProgress

Of my 5,000 word revision goal, I completed 4,012 words, or 80%.

I exceeded my 5,800 word writing goal for this blog with 6,771 words, or 117%.

I did draft a #5onFri column for DIY MFA.

Also, for those of you who wonder about my lovely spreadsheet (and where you can get your hands on it), Jamie Raintree has now produced the 2018 Writing and Revision Tracker (squee!). I’ve already nabbed mine 🙂

November

I entered November with some trepidation this year. Not only was I ill-prepared (see above) but Phil and I also welcomed a little furry bundle into our lives (see below). I knew it was going to be a challenge to “win” this year and I decided just to do what I could.

NovemberProgress

Having said that, I did write 41,077 words over the course of NaNoWriMo, or 82% of the goal 50k. Not a win, but pretty damn close.

I only had one post scheduled for the month and wrote 201 words of my 200 word goal, or 101%.

I also drafted my regular DIY MFA column, which I shared with you yesterday.

Bonus pupdate

In anticipation of our new puppy, I had requested a leave with income averaging, but my employer changed the rules and I had to begin my leave at the start of a new pay period. Because of the aforementioned training, I could start my leave until November 2nd.

On the 3rd, the rescue operator called to let us know that Torvi would be ready to come home on November 10th. Cue the frantic pup prep. I had to clean and pup-proof the main level of the house. The basement is unfinished, and basically Phil’s dumping ground for all manner of (potentially deadly) things. We just have to keep Torvi out of the space until Phil gets motivated enough to clean up.

I had shopping to do for food, toys, dog bed, and all the other puppy accoutrements. So I didn’t have a lot of time to write in that first week.

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Isn’t she adorbs?

We brought Torvi home, freshly vaccinated and dewormed. The first night, Phil slept on the couch to keep watch on the pup. After exactly one night of that, we brought her into the bedroom with us. I got up whenever she did to get her out.

That was my main challenge for the remainder of the month: sleep deprivation. Even now that she’s sleeping through most of the night, our sleep is disturbed. I still wake up whenever she stirs and even if she’s just changing positions, it can take me a while to relax enough to get back to sleep.

We’re in the wilful pup, chew the planet stage. Though I’ve been diligent in substituting her toys for my hands/clothes/feet and praising her when she chews on them instead of me, she’s resistant to making the connection.

There’s a reason for this. We got Torvi at 6 weeks. Our other pups didn’t come home with use until they were 8 weeks old. She’s smart, and promises to be a big dog (she’s already 19 pounds at 9 weeks), but right now, it’s all puppy ID. She wants what she wants and she wants it NOW.

But I head back to work of December 14th, so we’re hoping that the next week and a half will prove fruitful for puppy training and that she won’t terrorize my mom, who will be watching her for us when we go to work.

She’s already made a lot of progress for such a young pup. She’s learning how to sit (aced), lie down (ok), and shake a paw (wha?). I’m taking her on short morning walks and trying to get her to “stay with mommy” and “keep left.”

She’s mostly good about doing her toileting outside, but sometimes it’s play-play-play-pee! There’s no way to catch her in time.

This is the way of new pup parenthood. I can’t wait until we can start socializing her with other dogs. She’s super sweet with people and has only peed in excitement a couple of times.

Speaking of which, it’s about time I take her out.

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Caturday quickie: Pupdate

Crash puppydog

What Nuala spends most of her time doing these days 😦

It’s been a while since I’ve had to offer a proper pupdate of this nature.

All was going well with our Nuala until a week ago last Friday. Previous to that day, our dear little pup (DLP) was handling her medication well, without apparent incident. She would snarf down her food in thirty seconds, consume carrots, apples, and cheese with wagging abandon.

In short, she behaved like the pup that she, at ten years of age, no longer is.

Then, on Friday, she stopped eating.

It started with her carrots, her mid-day and evening snacks. As a dog with food allergies, it was the snack (outside the hypoallergenic treats) recommended by our vet. Nu left a carrot uneaten.

As the weekend progressed, she ate less and less of her food.

Come Monday, she puked and wouldn’t eat any of her food at all.

Tuesday, we took her in to the vet and he examined her, performed blood tests, urinalysis, and took x-rays.

That evening, we were given the news: the only obvious issue was a urinary tract infection. We would be getting antibiotics for that.

Her blood work was troublesome, though.

Her kidney and liver enzymes were both elevated, indicating potential failure of either or both organs in the future.

There’s nothing that can be done for kidney or liver disease in dogs.

They’re starting dialysis trials at the veterinary college at the Univerity of Guelph, but it’s an ordeal for the animal and a great expense for the owners. At this point, our vet did not recommend it.

So we’d continue with the Fortekor, get Nuala back on the kidney support diet, and see how things went.

She left most of her food Tuesday evening and didn’t eat at all Wednesday (Canada Day). This is not a good thing for a dog on insulin. She needs food to process the drug. And she continued to vomit.

On Thursday, I resorted to canned salmon and plain rice. She ate. I was relived.

On Friday, Phil picked up an appetite stimulant and another medication to prevent ulcers from the vet.

When he returned, Nuala licked at her empty food dish and Phil gave her a serving of rice and salmon. She ate. He filled her bowl a second time and she ate again. Friday evening, she ate a full can of the kidney diet without being prompted.

Better days

Better days

This morning, she picked at her food and we tried the appetite stimulant. It didn’t appear to work, but then, at noon, she ate her food. And vomited it up two hours later.

The weird thing is that the UTI shouldn’t put her off her food. No obstruction was apparent in the x-rays. Her kidney and liver situations were not far enough advanced to depress her appetite.

So we’re all at a loss (even the vet) and Phil and I have the vet emergency service number in case something dire happens over the weekend.

It’s so distressing to have a sick pet. You just wish they could talk.

So that’s the latest health crisis for our DLP.

I’ll keep you posted.

Caturday Quickie

Bits and pieces

A.K.A. catching up on a bunch of stuff.

First of all, happy Valentine’s Day, to all of you lovely people out there!

Work

They say you’re not learning unless you’re failing. I must be learning BIG TIME at work these days.

That’s all I’m going to day about that.

Spirit

On February 1st, St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, I attended Wooing the Soul, a day-long workshop and storytelling session intended to help women connect with their inner goddess. I enjoyed the storytelling, which was based on The Wooing of Etain. We danced, we sang, we invoked the spirit of Brigid, saint and goddess, and we shared food and experience.

I reconnected with a few friends whose circles I’ve moved away from in the past years.

While it was a good day, I found it was a bit long. I kept finding myself thinking, I could be writing, which is, incidentally, how I connect with my inner goddess. It’s a problem I have. Instead of talking about something, or listening to others talk about it, I’d rather be doing it 😛

I won’t write more about the day because others have done a better job than I could, namely, my friend Kim Fahner on her Republic of Poetry blog, and the facilitator herself, Ann Kathleen McLaughlin, on her blog, SophiAwakens.

Training of a different sort

On February 3rd, I delivered a workshop on getting published for the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA) as part of their Arts Intensive art education week.

I haven’t delivered a creative workshop in some time and I was looking forward to it. I’d love the opportunity to do more of these in the future. *hint, hint, universe*

I was far more nervous than I usually am before a training gig, which is to say I was a bit of a wreck, but the class was an intimate group.

The workshop was only two hours, and I had trouble keeping things on track, because the training I deliver for work is rarely less than a day. It wasn’t too bad, however, as the class was largely not at the querying stage yet, so the fact that I wasn’t able to discuss that aspect of getting published at length wasn’t a huge issue.

I also shared my notes and PowerPoint after the class, so everyone received all the bits I wasn’t able to discuss at length in the class.

I’m quite happy with how things turned out.

There are always lessons learned attached to any learning event, though, and I’ve got those tucked away for next time 🙂

The writing life

In writing news, I received my second rejection of a short story this year. I try to take the view that I am one more rejection closer to ‘yes,’ but honestly, things that been going so poorly in general of late that it’s been a little difficult to maintain a positive outlook.

Still, I continue to forge ahead with writing, revising, and submitting. It’s what we writers do.

Pupdate

Nuala had another glucose curve back in January and the result is that we increased her insulin by four units a day and tried reducing her prednisone.

The former is working well (we think) but we had to resume her previous dosage of pred as her ears were beginning to close up again.

Otherwise, our pup-child is doing well and we’ll return to the vet in March for another glucose curve and general checkup.

A clarification on the dream thing

I just wanted to be clear that I have ‘normal’ dreams, too.

The other night, for example, I dreamed that my sister-in-law invited herself over to our house for a sleepover, which was to take place, at her request, in the storage area of our unfinished basement, which barely has room for us to stand or move around in, let alone three adults and camping gear—oh, didn’t I mention, the sleepover was actually a camp-out, in the middle of one of the coldest winters we’ve had recently, in an uninsulated basement with a drafty window . . .

I’ve also had work-related dreams in which the office has moved into a shopping mall and I’m there, after hours, with Phil, moving my own office furniture. I’m wearing a power suit, have short, dark hair, and I’m skinny in that way only women who spend several hours a day working out are skinny. But I’m still me. No one else is there.

Or, I’ve dreamed that my boss gets a promotion, and she invites me along for the ride, literally, as she’s boarding a Lear jet and I’ve been summoned to the runway on the assumption that, of course, I’ll want to drop everything and go.

Inside the jet, she lounges like Cleopatra, a platoon of virile, young military men seeing to her every desire. I wish her well and get the heck out of Dodge, happy to have escaped the ‘trap.’ Oh yes. Hellish trap, that would be . . .

I’ve had stress dreams, falling dreams, chase dreams, abandonment dreams, and nightmares I’m not going to repeat, because, while they are all perfectly clear in my memory, I don’t want to feed those particular beasts.

It’s just those rare few per year that are well developed stories in their own rights that have little, if anything, to do with my waking life.

Just so you know. I’m mostly normal. Mostly (she says in a voice like Newt’s in Aliens).

So that’s it for this week. My mom’s coming over for supper in a bit, and then I’m going to throw my hat in the ring of another writing contest.

Break a pencil in all of your creative endeavours this week!

Muse-inks