Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rain, rain, and more rain

Things are calming down here. The last two kittens are still doing well. In fact, they're starting to make serious attempts at getting out of their box, so we're moving to new accomodations for them tomorrow -- clothes basket, I think as long as I'm sure they can't get their little heads out through the holes and get stuck.

They are also going to come out of the bathroom and spend time doing more than eating and sleeping. My older guys are not going to be pleased. So far they've been doing very well with the 'I didn't hear that kitten screaming' act.

I spent an entire week of really horribly ill. A lot of it was stress, and I'm glad I'm coming back from that, at least. Blood pressure is settling, heart is doing odd 'flip-flops' and I can eat without getting ill. The last might not be as good a thing as the other two.

What I really need is to get back into some creative writing moods. I'm doing fine on Vita's Vengeance -- doing very well, in fact -- but I would like to get that story back that I was writing about earlier this month. I hope I can get the feel for it again.

And that's about it. I'm tired. I'm going to head for bed in a few minutes. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thanks, Everyone

I nearly fell asleep at dinner tonight. Russ sent me off to bed for a couple hours rest... and I slept through an entire feeding. The little guys don't seem to have suffered too much from it, although I didn't know anything that small could sound so annoyed....

The three are still doing pretty well. I'm worried about at least one of them in particular who seems to have an awfully bloated stomach. Nothing I've tried so far has helped.

After we fed them I remembered that I hadn't put any food out for the poor guys outside. There were still a couple around, like Pretty. So I went and got the food and reached to open the window -- and up jumped Whisper, the one we assumed was their mother.

Tomorrow we're going to try and lure her in with them. It might be that she was gone for a few days because she has kittens of her own somewhere, though, and we were mistaken about her being the mother. It would be very helpful if we could get the real mom cat in, though, to help the poor little guys out.

Did I mention that one of them climbed half out of the box tonight? He was hanging over the side of the box when I finally noticed. Doesn't even have his eyes open, and he was going for the big break. This really worries me. Right now we keep a towel over the top to help keep them warm, but I get the feeling that won't help for much longer.

I would like to think that they'll do all right. I'm worried, though, partly because Russ is going to be gone from Friday through Sunday, and that sounds like an invitation to disaster for me. He's really helped out, and worrying that the guys aren't even going to survive is making me half ill. The idea of being here alone with them dying... well, I just won't do well.

I have not done any pictures. This probably sounds odd, but if they don't survive, I don't want the reminders. I might do some tomorrow, though. I can delete them, after all. And if they do survive, it will be good to remember what tiny little things they were. Russ thinks they've grown quite a bit already. They should start opening their eyes by this weekend, no matter what. They were not newborns when I found them -- two or three days old, at least. I'm betting they were born on the 14th, so they should have their eyes open somewhere between the 21st and 24th.

I think this will be a good thing. They should be easier to handle if they can start recognizing things like the feeding bottle and not try to go rushing off over my lap, looking for it. On the other hand, they're going to want to explore, and without a mom cat to keep them in line, there is no telling what trouble they could get into. I think they'll be bathtub kittens, with blankets and stuff to keep them warm. If the temperature ever evens out around here, it will help. It's 44f out right now, and might get a bit colder tonight. It's only suppose to get up to 55f (with rain) tomorrow. So the heat stays on for a day or two more.

And I'm tired still. I have to stay up about three more hours and do another feeding before I go to bed. I need to get contracts done, anyway. I had at least gotten some of the articles set up for the copyeditor and into the Excel sheet so I have a clue. I can do the last few, I think, and then maybe get the contracts out.

Got a story rejection today, but that's pretty much par for this month, I think. Need to get one more thing into the mail/email before the month is out.

Really don't think I'll be going to ConQuesT this year, unfortunately. Finances just are not getting any better. Russ has only one teaching job this week He shouldn't have taken me off to De Soto last Monday. We really don't have the money... but it was a wonderful little trip.

Okay, go do work.... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lost One

We lost the Siamese baby this morning. Not a surprise since he was never strong, but stil.... he was Nazir's baby, and with Nazir gone as well, it was pretty tough.

The other three are pretty active, but I don't hold out much hope for them. Russ is still trying to track down their mother, but I don't think she's going to turn up.

They don't have their eyes open yet, but I'm betting in the next two days they'll start. We think they had to be born no later than Thursday or Friday of last week. Kittens open their eyes at seven to ten days. This is possibly day six, and almost 48 hours in my hands.

We'll see.

I haven't had much sleep the last two days, between worry and feedings every couple hours.

I have to do Vision stuff.

Ugh. I just hate all of this because, depsite them doing well, I don't expect the others to survive. They're too young.

And I'm really tired. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Still hell

I spent a few hours last night sitting by the back door to the other house with the kittens in a box a few feet away, and only a few feet from where we found them. They cried quite a bit, but the only cat to show up is one we have always thought was a male... and he wasn't much interested in them.

We took them back in, tried feeding them about 3am and went to bed. about 6 am we woke back up. I agreed with Russ that we should contact the Humane Society and see if they can find people to take them in or a nursing cat. The Humane Society doesn't open until ten, so we went in and did another feeding. Everyone seemed to be doing okay.

Russ should have gone to work today, but he stuck around until ten to call.

And was told that since we live over the river in Nebraska they couldn't help.

I don't think I've ever been so angry at two different sets of poeple in my life.

Pretty (the mom cat who I think has kittens of her own) showed up at the window this morning. I opened it up and let her hear the kittens. She showed a lot of interest -- even jumped into the open window, but wouldn't come in. So I rushed them outside and sat them by the garage where she usually stays. It was cold and windy, so we only stayed about twenty minutes. She never came out at all.

So we've had two more feedings and cleanings. Two of them are not doing as well as the other two. I'm tired and stressed, and my poor cats are all really weirded out by this.

And I'm going to try and take a nap till about three or so.

Needless to say that I'm not getting hardly anything done. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hell, hell, hell....

I shouldn't have gone out to take pictures of the flowers. What do you suppose I found?

Four abandoned kittens, about one week old. Maybe less. I think they were Whispers -- and I haven't seen her for a couple days.

They're too young to take in and raise. I did it with Pip when he was about that age -- and much smaller -- but the four of them would be too much.

Russ called Animal control and they say they haven't picked up a lactating female cat. I don't believe them, because Whisper never wandered far from the house.

The kittens are in the bathroom at the moment, but in a little while we're going to take them out to the garage where I believe Pretty (who is still around) might have some kittens. We're hoping she'll take these in. And we're keeping an eye on the spot where these were, in hopes that the mother -- if it wasn't Whisper -- turns up looking for them.

Hell. Maybe we'll get lucky and they are Pretty's kittens. Maybe, for some reason, she moved them over there.

I wish I had never gone into the yard now. Posted by Picasa

Another day

I'm doing a little better today. The anger is dulling, mostly thanks to Russ taking me out twice this week. Getting away -- getting some distance on things -- helped. I'm finally able to turn my attention back to the work I need to do, like getting Vision set up and the contracts out.

I'm having hip and foot problems now. I swear there's some kind of conspiracy against me. I didn't do much walking today at De Soto, but I did get a few nice pictures. And mostly I just got out.

I'm considering moving my office for a while. A change to one of the other rooms might be very nice right now. Without Russ at the house very often, it's possible for me to take over the dining room or part of the living room.

But that sounds like way too much work.

I think I should just sit down and get to work on Vision and then DTF and then anything I need to do for FM.

I am also planning to put three to four chapters of all of my books up on my site so that people can read enough to see if they'd be interested. I'll probably make a cd version as well for conventions.

So, lots and lots to do. But right now... I'm going to go take pictures of some tulips at the other house before it gets dark. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 14, 2006

The View from the bluffs

Russ had to go out of town this afternoon and deliver something. On the way home we swung through Ponca State Park and there found... well, lovely things. It turned out to be a lovely stop and helped. This is the view from the lookout over the Missouri River. As you can tell from the sand bars, it's a bit low this year. This area also isn't channeled, so it spreads wide and looks wonderful. We had the spot nearly entirely to ourselves. Despite the gorgeous weather, hardly anyone was out.

On the way out we found a new monument they put up that is absolutely gorgeous. The waterfall part wasn't on yet, but it didn't matter... it's incredible. I'm doing an entire page devoted to it later tonight. I'll put in a link when I get it. It was wonderful to suddenly come upon something so unexpected in a place we had been visiting for years. We saw them starting this a year or so ago, but had no idea what it would be.

It was good to get out. I'm having neighbor problems, and they've managed to have several the strays caught and killed, including Nazir. I'm just incredibly upset about this. Okay, I can't do anything about what they do at their house, and the best you can do is feed the guys and hope for the best... but they sent city people over to my house. And the problem is that Russ had already talked to the city people and said never to bother me about it, and if they needed something done to talk to him and he'd handle it. They know who Russ is -- he was on the city council, after all. There's a good reason for what he said, called an irregular heartbeat and incredibly high blood pressure that shot straight up when the city people wouldn't leave. By the time Russ got home last night it had finally dropped back down to about 160/99 -- still not good, but better. Getting out today was wise.

I hope to get some of the fence moved this spring so that I can have a private back yard. Not for the cats, but for me so that I don't have to deal with these people any more. I am tired of glaring people who don't approve of the fact that our house needs painting. You want to pay for it? Fine. I'll be glad to do the work -- what I can -- but if it comes down to choosing between paying the utility bills or buying paint, guess the outside is going to have to wait a while longer. Yeah, it's ugly. But you know what? We're not drug dealers like the people two doors down from you, we don't have a race car we tune all hours during the summer like the guy two doors down from us, we don't stand out and scream and yell until the police come like a couple of the other neighbors have been. We don't have kids screaming and people playing music so loud that the house vibrates. We've been here for about twenty-five years, and except that the house looks a bit scruffy, we've never been a problem.

But they are creating one. Oddly, there have been less cats around for quite a while anyway -- that, unfortunately, happens every winter. But just because people tossed out animals and didn't take care of them is not the animal's fault -- or the following generations, and I will never purposely let an animal starve or kill it just because it has had an unfortuante life. Cat, dog, squirrel or whatever.

I also feed squirrels, birds, rabbits, and occasionally (though not intentionally) raccoons and possums. I think if I get any more crap about 'don't put out food for stray cats' then I'll start looking into the fact that the city allows squirrel, bird and even raccoon feeders.

Okay, yes. Stop working the blood pressure back up. Go take pill now.

Think about lovely trip instead. It was really very nice. I got to take 5 megapixel pictures, though we only saw a couple squirrels, two very fast turkeys, and Russ saw a deer. Usually Easter weekend is good for animals and birds. I think on Sunday we'll go out to our little pond for an hour or so and just watch the geese. I saw a couple ducks out there the last time, too.

If I am lucky I'll be able to finally finish Return tonight. I'm down to the last scene, but between being horribly ill, having the hip problem (and now an ankle one, too), and then the trouble yesterday with the neighbors I just haven't gotten much done. Time to move on. I cannot save all the cats in the world, especially when there are people working against it. But they had better hope that they never again need the kind of help that Russ has given them in the past. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Almost done!

I'm down to the last few scenes for Return. I think it's going to go about 24-25,000 is all. How odd that I thought I had a novel here. But that's still all right. I'll get it done and set it aside -- look at market possibilities and decide if I want to expand or just go with it as it is.

I have other things to do today. I've been pulling together the articles for this issue of Vision and all the contracts should go out yet tonight. I queried about a short story this afternoon -- not really a lot of hope that they'll want it, but it was worth a try.

I have that new universe still growing in my head. One set of aliens seen, but not quite developed yet. A conflict between the religious front, who see all the worlds of humans as a definite sign of God, and of a group that sees it as a definite sign of higher beings. It may all be the same thing in the end, for all they know.

I think I'm going to go with maybe eight worlds of human-like people. Earth is just one of them. And several other alien groups out there as well.

must stop thinking about it and get back to work on the story so I have something finished. And the Vision stuff.... Posted by Picasa

A little of this, a little of that....

I have a new universe springing up in my brain. I'm going to write at least one, and perhaps several, sf stories there. The problem is that this comes at an inconvenient time. I have Vision to work on right now and I shouldn't be thinking about alien races or multiple human mutations.

But I am.

I will finish Return either tomorrow or the next day. I meant to do it today, but I got too distracted -- and this without ever writing a single thing down for the new project.

I have a character, and maybe two. I have a major war that doesn't involve humans...yet. I have, I think, a gigantic city in space, abandoned by aliens and full of surprises. Some of them might even be good surprises.


I have a new type of ship engine, too, that's growing in my head. Some nasty side effects with that one when it's not working right.

There might not even be an earth in this universe, or if there is, it's just one of many worlds with humans. I have a conflict I see building there, of too many worlds claiming to be the world from which humanity arose, but in truth they were all seeded about the same time -- and so long ago, that they did evolve where they were. Something... tampered and made humans -- or humanoids -- grow in similar environments.

And why? What do they expect from the... oh, maybe eight worlds.

Yes, there are other stories I need to work on too. I have things floating around this year that need to be nailed down and written. But it's always fun to start seeing something grow, from the first sight of a lone character taking up a new post, and spreading outward from him, to view everything around him, and wonder what it does and why he and it are there.

I'm looking forward to this. Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 10, 2006

Guard at the Autumn Gate

When I finished this one this afternoon I thought I might want to write a story about him. He looks interesting. I get the feeling I might print out a picture this time and keep it on hand, ready for when I want to do the story. If one comes to me.

But tonight... I've written about 5k words. I've done a bunch of other little bits of work. Now, I'm going to go watch some third season Babylon 5/Marcus shows. Just for fun.

Tomorrow I start serious work on the next issue of Vision. Yes, it's that time again! And I am, of course, a bit behind on stuff. But I'm always behind, so this isn't really a shock. I still sometimes consider going quarterly with Vision, but I doubt it would be any better. Just not as often.

Beyond that... time to go watch TV for a couple hours and get away from the computer. Yeah, doesn't sound like a big difference, right? But there's the lovely chair that I can kick back in and raise my feet, and my fingers won't be pounding away at the poor little keys.

And besides... I like the Marcus character. Time to go visit with him for a couple hours again.
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 09, 2006

And onward....

I've gotten over 40k done on Vita's Vengeance, despite the massive reworking of the material. Is it right this time? I can't say. I'll have to wait and read it again in a couple months, probably. Or maybe I'll be daring and trust myself on this round. I do that sometimes, and actually send stuff off. (grin) I can't say that it's wise, though.

Today is sort of a lazy day. I've gotten about 1k written, and I'm reading through an older novel again (Ruins), and bascially not doing much else. Russ has a friend over next door, and I'm not even certain what we'll have for dinner tonight. He has classes Monday-Thursday in Omaha this week, so he might be spending the time down there rather than make the 200 mile round trip every day. This means a bit of planning still. We got cat food. I think everything else is optional, right? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I found it!

I have spent months trying to find out what kind of bird this is. Okay, not every day for months, but every time I'd look at my zoo pictures I'd come across one of this bird.

Tonight I spent hours going over books and websites. I went through over 3000 pictures on one site alone. It was not there.

From the location in the zoo, I thought it was a somewhat Asian bird. So I began running through bird spotting lists. First I'd find the birds of about the same size and shape, copy the names over to Google, and check the images section...

And finally, there it is.

This is a Nicobar Pigeon. Lovely bird, really.

And now, at 4 am, I will finally go off to bed knowing that I have put a name to one more of the creatures. (grin) Here's the Wikipedia entry for it:

I can put the stack of books away again. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 07, 2006

Why I don't use FM

In an email today someone asked why I never post material on Forward Motion.

There's a really good, simple answer, odd though it is.

I don't post anything for critique because I don't have the time to return the favor.

I believe in the method FM has set up of helping each other. You don't have to be published to know a good (or bad) sentence when you see one. Readers, rather than writers, are just as good at spotting plot problems, too. There are many people at FM who are very good at helping others refine their work.

I believe that in order to get critiques, you need to give critiques. You can post once or twice without offering anything in return, but eventually the people figure out that you're not holding up your end.

Could I get away with 'I own the place, do this for me?'

Probably. But it wouldn't be fair.

So, at best, I'll post a question or two now and then. That doesn't mean I'm not learning a number of things from other posts, though. (grin) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Working here....

Well, kind of.

Holly looked over the first 2YN book and pronounced it good. It still has a beta-reader period, but after that... it will be gone and out of my hands. Then I have to start working on the second book so that I can have it out in less than a year (though I am not going to do it in a month like this one!).

Beyond that I'm working on Return which is turning into a very short little novella for some reason. I'll write it out as is and then consider either expanding it into novel length later or look for a romance-type novella market, if such a thing exists.

I've barely started on the zoo pictures. I'm not terribly pleased with this bunch. I'm going to have to figure out more of the tricks of this camera. I think I'm just too anxious most of the time. I need to start slowing down and take longer at various spots.

I'm sure there are other things going on in my life. I can't even begin to come up with what they are! Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm heading for the zoo!

Russ and I will be heading off for Omaha in a few hours. I'm heading to bed now. I'm turning off my computer, and unless something goes wrong (wouldn't really surprise me!), I won't be back on until we get home tomorrow night.

Russ has some work stuff to take care of, and I get to spend the day wandering around the zoo and acting goofy. I'm looking forward to it.

So, have fun. I'm going to relax for the day and when I come back, I'll find out what we need to do for FM.I'm not going to worry about it before then.

So, I'm off to try and get some sleep. It's awfully early for me, though! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rain, Lovely Rain....

Everything is turning green, and as long as I ignore that we're under a flood watch, it's all pretty nice.

FM is back up. It will be another day before I find out what I'll have to do to make things work better. Jatol announces their new plans on Monday, I guess, and I'll have to go through and see what we need and what I can afford. I do appreciate the donations to the site. Those are really going to help!

I'm still working a bit on the 2YN book after all. I forgot a couple little things and needed to add them back in.

On the good side, I finally have access to my PDF stuff and have done the #30 Vision. I will put it up tomorrow. And that, I think, pretty much covers my life since the last time I wrote. Kind of sad, isn't it? (grin)

I did get the 2YN classes up already, though. That's a good point! Posted by Picasa