Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Chopping broccoli

Well, I did some major Christmas shopping today. I was reminded of when I was a kid and my mother would do "panic shopping" for one kid every year. You always wanted to be that kid because inevitably she'd gotten enough presents for you in the first place and so it was just more icing on the cake. After a few rounds of opening presents it always became pretty clear who Mom panic-shopped for each year.

This year I just couldn't decide on that perfect present for everyone which meant I just got lots of things that add up. For one set of nephews I got a collection of Disney movies (I saved the receipt in case my sister doesn't want to intro them to Bambi just yet). I just couldn't say no to any of the movies! I loved them all and could hear the songs in my head so I dropped some major cashola on that. Dude, who knew how expensive Disney movies are?!

Of course, I've yet to think of anything to get The Boy. We usually do big gifts, but with the dog this year and her surgery we're not as flush as we thought we'd be. We joke that we gave each other a bone plate. Then, today The Boy gets a holiday bonus that is 10 times what mine was (yes, he got an extra zero in his check and boy doesn't that make a massive difference?!). I mean, suddenly the dog's surgery is paid for. As is all of the accoutrements we bought when we got her (dog bed, cage, etc etc). So yeah, that was nice. What that means is that all of the sudden our excuse not to get each other something is out the window. Must start thinking gifts! Anyone with good ideas, let me know stat!

The funny thing I saw at the mall today: security on segways. Only our mall would have security on segways. The first time The Boy when to this mall after moving to town we couldn't help but laugh. It's the type of mall that is anchored by Nordstrom's and Macy's, etc. It has St. John, Tiffany, Burburry, Kate Spade, Apple, etc etc etc. It has live models for goodness sake. So the Segway just fits right in perfectly!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bah Humbug!

Ok, not really bah humbug, but perilously close. It's hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it's above 70 degrees outside (and you're used to it being closer to 30s and 40s). Not that I'm complaining at all - I got to sit outside for lunch in the sun with short sleeves on over the weekend. And I love to sit in the sun and soak it up so that was a real Holiday treat.

But at the same time it feels like Christmas has conspired against me this year. When we bought this house in July I had big big plans for Holiday decorating. Big plans. But I refuse - absolutely refuse - to decorate or think about Christmas before Thanksgiving. Which always gives me the sense of being behind after Thanksgiving comes and goes.

And on top of that, this year we got Daphne (who, by the way, is doing awesome!) and so that's a huge time suck. We have to take longer lunch breaks to come home and walk her and do PT which means working later to make up the hours which means not as much time during the week to think about the Holidays. And then, on the weekend we were going to get our tree I got sent out of town on business. So here it is, a few days before I jet to Minnesota for Christmas and we have no tree and I've barely begun my shopping. To be fair I was going to shop on Sunday but we had to cut it short to come home and let the dog out. Then I was going to go on Monday and had to work late. Ditto today.

So I've sucked it up and realized that this just won't be the year for big Holiday celebrations. I have a wreath up and some colored lights outside. I have a cinnamon candle in a pretty snowflake holder and my advent calendar up. It's sad, but at the same time we spend most of our time in the den with the dog and not much time in the living room where the tree would go.

Next year. Next year I will not put things off to the last minute. I will not let work take over the holidays. Next year I will decorate this place to the nines - maybe even real garland on the fireplaces.

Thank goodness there's always next year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That Point

Let's see here, nothing much new going on here. I haven't done much writing (ok, I haven't done any writing) since the addition of Daphne to the family. Before we got her I was pulling down a solid 2k words per night - every night no problem. Right now I'm about 20k into a new project (started during NaNo but not my NaNo project) and I've hit what I now dub "That Point."

That Point is the place where you 're chugging along, feeling your way through a new idea, testing the waters, just writing for yourself because you have no idea if it will work and then BAM! you realize "hey, I like this!" Then all of the sudden you start to worry about where things are going, are you going to be able to keep up the pace, the tone, the conflict, the voice. All of those pressures begin to push in. For me there's also this fear of choosing the wrong path - of loving where I've been but not knowing where I'm going and the fear of foreclosing ideas. What if I ruin the whole thing? What if I build the reader up only to disappoint? What if I can't follow through on the promises I've given the reader so far in the book?

The Boy said that he thinks that in That Point in the writing I start to become obsessed with the idea of selling the book rather than writing it. And to a certain degree I think he's correct. I think that this is where my writer's block often comes from - the fear of failure. It's when I stop writing the book for myself and start to write it for the hypothetical reader. It's when I start to really second guess myself and worry that I'm making the wrong decisions for my characters.

So it's not such a bad thing that I have an excuse not to write. I've sent what I have so far to a reader that I trust to see if I have a viable idea (boy was that scary to do!). I'm spending my free time working, reading, helping the dog heal, etc. And thinking. Lots and lots of time trying to figure out how to overcome That Point.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Daphne is doing great! Four legs and all!

So we dropped Daff off at the vet in South Carolina on Thursday morning. The surgeon was great - looked at her x-rays, told us what he was going to do, and did it. We couldn't pick her up until this morning so we did some shopping for charity (work-related stuff) at Wal-Mart, met The Boy's dad for lunch, and then came home and chilled. It was a very quiet night with no whining :)

When we got to the clinic to pick her up this morning she was very happy to see us! She has a massive elizabethan collar on (the plastic shield around her head) and her leg is shaved. The discharge nurse told us that the pin the last vet had put in had come back out of the hip and had been poking around. She said that before the surgery you could even feel it! Yikes! They had to plate her leg with 8 screws (oh, and there's a pin from the external fixiter that broke off in her leg that the vet removing the external fixiter never bothered to mention to us). The surgeon said the bone is together and wants desperately to heal. He's all smiles about her prognosis and it's so strange to go from expecting to have a three-legged dog to the assurances that our dog will look like any other - with four working legs - in about 6ish weeks!!

Funny thing - when we picked her up the discharge nurse kept making subtle allusions to how untrained Daphne is. About how we can use this time to train her because she can put all her energy into working for us. Of course she's untrained because she is a stray and she's had an unset broken femur the whole time we've had her which makes training difficult (though we did teach her to come and be polite). The nurse also just seemed a bit skeptical about us and our ability to follow post-op instructions. Finally I realized what was wrong: she thought we were Daff's original owners and the people responsible for her first failed surgery (that failed because of poor post-op care). So I said something like, "Poor Daphne, you've only been with your new family for a week and already we have you in an e-collar for 10 days!" The nurse snapped her head up and said, "You've only had her for a week? Then who had her with the external fixiter?" And that was that - the nurse totally trusted us again.

At the nurse's suggestion we went to Wal-Mart and got a rubber bottom bath mat to put in her crate so she wouldn't slip around during the long drive home. Then, right before we got on the interstate Daphne went berserk - she was spinning in her cage but we just thought it was because the e-collar was giving her problems. Nope. A stench filled the car. She'd pooped all over her new rug. A stop by a gas station for paper towels and air freshner and then another round at Wal-Mart for a new mat later, and we were on the road back home.

I'm not gonna say she's comfy with that collar. But she sure is funny looking. And the vet says that her bones should be healed enough in 6 weeks that he can take off her physical restrictions. Which means we'll have a dog - a normal dog!! So we're following her post-op care to the letter! Physical therapy twice a day, short walks 4 times a day - all of it.

We will heal this dog!

Of course, the cats were a little surprised when Daphne arrived back. They were quite sure she was gone for good. We have two pissed off kitties on our hands!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It's another Thursday and I've missed doing my 13! Again! And I even had a topic for this week (and last week...). I've been behind on work all week, haven't written a word, and am behind on a critique that matters a lot to me and I feel like I'm letting the author down for not being on the ball.

Tomorrow I take our new pup to get surgery. Life just keeps piling on, don't it?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Daffers update

Great news! We spoke to the vet orthopedic surgeon and he said it should be no problem to fix Daphne's leg and that her prognosis is "very good"! Of course, he hasn't seen her in person so there could still be complications. Other great news is that the surgery is at least half the cost we expected it to be which is fantastic. We still don't have a lot of information: what type of surgery it will be, how long the recovery will be (he said maybe 6 months), etc etc. But we just can't wait for her to be up and running and playing like a puppy should.

Because there's only a pin in her leg right now and no external fixiter, we decided to start keeping her kenneled most of the time. We bought her a new crate (the big cage kind) and put in an orthopedic pad and some chew toys and bones. She wants to get out and run around so badly but at least it's more space than her travel crate and she can stretch out and stand up. We're too afraid of her causing more damage to her leg before she goes into surgery on Thursday morning.

Of course, there are those in our house who are happy that the dog is kept in her cage most of the time...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Meme

I got tagged for this Christmas Meme by Diana and boy was she right that I needed to get my mind off things and what better to think about than Christmas and tradition and so many happy memories? Thanks Diana!! I'll post more later, but the vet specialist thinks that he'll be able to save Daphne's leg and it will be great!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oooh, yummy hot chocolate! When I was an exchange student in Spain they had the best - it was so thick that you could stand a spoon in it! Almost like molten pudding.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Wrapped of course! My mother used to help Santa wrap and she would hand tie every single bow (and I mean the type you wrap the ribbon around your hand and cut it and tie it and pull it apart - very elaborate). Our tree was always beautiful. My stepmom's family never wrapped and I just don't get it; once glance and Christmas is over!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? At Mom's house big colored lights, at Dad's house small colored lights, and I think we're going to go with small colored lights :)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nah, too afraid I'll poison a cat.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Mid-December. We tend to leave them up for a while so we put them up later. We've never been a day-after-Thanksgiving decorating kind.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows! But I love all Christmas food just like I love all food generally.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: So many memories! I'm the youngest of three girls and we all used to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. Until one of us got married we still spent every Christmas Eve together, giggling, sharing stories, and wanting to hear Santa.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What do you mean, "truth?" All I know is that both my sisters saw Santa one night running across the yard.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep, only one. One of my aunts gave each of us an ornament every year. They were all similar but different and had our names on them. The tradition goes that she'll give an ornament until you get married. Since I'm the only one still not married that means I still get an ornament every year. We always opened our ornament on Christmas Eve and put it on the tree.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Um, with ornaments and lights? In addition to my aunt give each of us an ornament (usually went on my mom's tree since that's where we opened gifts) my dad gave us each an ornament every year so that we would have enough decorations to fill a tree when we went out on our own. So my tree is full of ornaments with my name on them. We call it the "Carrie Tree"! But I love it because each ornament has a memory.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I'm always up for a good snow, but living in the South means that it shuts down life for days. Which ain't a bad thing if you're prepared for it!

12. Can you ice skate? I learned to skate at birthday parties growing up. And of course one kid always ended up with a concussion (we're not known for our ice skating in South Carolina!). When I went to college in Mass. and attended my first ice hockey game I was just amazed at how they could skate just like it was walking - I got made fun of a lot for that :)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really. I know it seems corny but I think every gift is my favorite.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family, memories, tradition. I love my family and my sisters and love hanging out with everyone. That's the best part.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Rum cake. Of course, every year my mom forgets it she's added the rum. I think I've gotten drunk off of rum cake!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? After going to church on Christmas Eve we'd all come home and hang stockings that my grandmother needle-pointed for us, of course trying them on and one of us would recite Twas the Night before Christmas (we had to memorize it for school - totally worth it!) and leave cookies and milk and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer. Then on Christmas morning my sisters would sneak a peek at the tree with all the presents but I was never allowed to cause I'm the youngest. When we opened presents we all would go one at a time, my mom handing them out as we all watched to see what everyone else got. Mom always made the canned cinnamon rolls too. So many traditions that I loved so much!! One thing I'd like to carry one is the needle-point stockings. My mom's already made some for the next generation and they are just so special.

17. What tops your tree? Mom has an angel that tries to nose dive. For my dad's first Christmas after the divorce he hung a plastic star above the tree. Sometime in March one of us looked up and noticed that it was still hanging from the ceiling! So now we hang that old star above the dining room table, from the chandalier because it makes us laugh. For The Boy's and I first tree we topped it with a mess of ribbons and bows.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Both ;) I love giving a great gift - one I'm especially proud of. And I always love to receive :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I love Christmas music and I always forget to pull it out! Growing up we had this collection of songs and I love those versions of the songs so much that I've tried for years to find the same collection. I also love George Winston's Winter album - just beautiful music. I'm more of a traditional Christmas music chick - not that I don't mind jazzing them up a bit, but I don't generally listen to any new songs.

20. Candy Canes? Always tons left over after the season :) We use them to make peppermint ice cream and now I use them to make peppermint bark (white chocolate and candy canes - what could be better?)

Hmmm... this has been a popular meme and I've loved reading everyone's responses. I tag Bren and Nancy, although I don't know if either do memes.