A Few Memories of Hobkin

Thank you, everyone, for the outpouring of sympathy and condolences. And a special thank you to yukinooruoni who stopped by on Monday with a care package of heat-and-eat meals, correctly surmising that neither Matthew nor I would be capable of or inclined to do much cooking at this time.

I am truly touched, knowing that so many people will also miss Hobkin’s silly antics and irrepressible personality. I’ve also taken some comfort in reading over the posts I made about Hobkin over the years and looking at our pictures and videos of him, and I wanted to share a few of the last images we took of him.

Taken on Feb. 20 when Hobkin was breathing easily and seemed almost like his old self, the weekend before he started having seizures.

And here are two videos I took on March 1 of Hobkin doing one of his favorite things: eating.

And finally, I’m reprinting on my website the first story that Hobkin inspired, “Running on Two Legs.” It remains one of my favorites, and re-reading it reminded me of Hobkin as a baby, and the memory made me smile.

Hobkin Update: DIY Home Oxygen Box

Hobkin is at the vet’s. fosteronfilm and I are home for showers and to get a couple hours of sleep.

Had a worrisome few hours this morning. At around 4AM, the lil guy started making soft whining noises although he ate a snack readily enough. At 6AM, he took his whipped cream-blended meds with only minor wheedling but then couldn’t be persuaded to eat. We’ve been feeding him small meals approximately every two hours to ensure he’s getting proper hydration. It’s also a good gauge of how he’s doing—checking his appetite and all.

It was time to take him to the vet’s anyway, so off we went. Soon as we got him into the oxygen box, he perked right up and devoured a fair-sized meal.

Hobkin in the oxygen box at the vet’s waiting for breakfast.

After consulting with the vet, we concluded that our current makeshift oxygen tent at home probably wasn’t doing the trick and got some DIY tips to make an oxygen box at home. A trip to Walmart for a clear, plastic, 64-quart tub, some drilling to accommodate the oxygen tubing, etc., and we’ve now got a home skunk oxygen box:

Heading back to the vet’s to pick him up in a couple hours. Hoping this will work a-ok over the weekend.

T-day Weekend in Review

Hope all who celebrate it had a fabu Thanksgiving!

Not much accomplished over the four-day holiday at Chez Foster. fosteronfilm had a cold/sinus malaise and Hobkin had an upset tummy, which resulted in me not doing much in general aside from comforting and playing nurse to both.

Whenever Hobkin’s sick or scared, he demands to be cuddled against my chest, with his head wedged beneath my chin, rather than just curling up at my side or in my lap. I think he finds the sound of my heartbeat soothing, and skunks in general (or perhaps it’s only Hobkin), seem to find being pressed between/against something comforting. Maybe since they live in borrows underground in the wild, pressed in hole=safe.

So I spent a good portion of the last four days propped on the couch with eight pounds of snoring fuzziness flopped on my chest, trying to balance my laptop on my stomach so I could get some work done. And those were the times when Hobkin was snoozing flat instead of lolling to one side, requiring me to use an arm to balance him in place—else he’d roll right off in his sleep and blame me for it (yes, that’s happened before)—and thereby forcing me to type one-handed. It’s hard enough typing using both hands with a skunk lying on me; I can’t see over him, so if I lose the home keys, if I can’t find them again by touch, I’m pretty much plum out of luck.

A couple of times, Hobkin flopped on Matthew instead of me, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my two ailing boys (with my grainy, less-than-one-pixel-lame cell phone camera, alas):

I feel sort of remiss that I didn’t post a “Things I am Thankful For” Thanksgiving day post, as has been my tradition, but the day itself sort of slipped by me. Like last year, health issues conspired to make the holiday low key—although this year they weren’t mine but Matthew and Hobkin’s. But I think it’s good to remind myself that I have much to be thankful for. So herein my belated “Things I am Thankful For” list; it’s essentially a reprise of my 2006 list, but I am no less thankful two years later:

1. For my husband, Matthew, my best friend, love of my life, and soul mate. He cherishes me as I am, even with all my flaws and foibles. I am stronger because of his support and better because of his example.
2. For Hobkin, for making our house a home and reminding me that dignity is overrated, especially compared to laughter.
3. For family and friends: near, far, offline, and on.
4. For my health. Even as crappy as it is, it could be and has been much worse. And despite all the rips and worn spots in my human suit, it works well enough to keep me going—which is more than many people are able to say.
5. That I have the freedom and ability to chase my bliss and tell the stories that fill my days with magic.
6. For my beautiful home—my whimsy-filled sanctuary where unseen fey folk mysteriously turn on and off the lights and occasionally swipe and hide inexplicable items.
7. That I am not hungry or cold.
8. That I believe in and love myself.
9. For my day job, because it is an incredible blessing that I love what I do and not only don’t begrudge the hours I spend at the office but am glad of them.


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• 300 on The Stupid Novel.

Skunk in the bathtub

I want to give a huge “thank you!” to everyone who answered the eleventh hour plea for volunteers and came out to help rescue fifteen pallets of Meisha Merlin books last week! Y’all rawk.

This past weekend was a three-dayer for me, since we Georgia government employees get Confederate Memorial Day off. Yep, Confederate Memorial Day. And how exactly does one celebrate Confederate Memorial Day? By bathing a skunk, of course!

It actually went better than usual. I did not get smacked in the face by a sudsy tail—the first time that hasn’t happened, I might add. And, while Hobkin was obviously displeased at being plunked into a bathtub full of lukewarm water and lathered up with baby shampoo, he put up less of a fuss about it than we know from experience he’s capable of. Also, he did not (this time) go running amok through the house afterwards, collecting dust mice and lint in his still-damp, newly washed fur.

Of course, I was compelled to snap a couple pictures to compound the indignity of his ordeal:

Doesn’t he look piteous?

“Umf. Must escape bathtub!”


Writing Stuff

New Words/Editing:
• Back to work on WiP, “Morozko.” A major editing pass to hack out around 500 superfluous words and then hammer out 600 new ones gives me a net gain of 100 words. Making progress.
• 1400 on “Cthulhu Editing.”
• 550 on a new story that I started just to get some words going. It worked, but I’m not sure if I’ve enough enthusiasm to see this one through. Had a bunch of imagery that needed an outlet, but the story’s pretty nebulous.

• “Daughter of Bòtú” in the August, 2008 issue of Realms of Fantasy. Yay! Actually, I don’t think the issue’s out yet (haven’t received my contrib. copies). But I got to see an e-ARC. Happy shiny.

Pagan Fiction Award finalist – “A Nose for Magic”

So I got a phone call a couple weeks ago from the publisher of BBI Media letting me know that my story, “A Nose for Magic,” is a finalist in the Pagan Fiction Award contest and is slated for publication in their anthology. Unfortunately, I missed the call and it went to my voice mail, but she left a return number. So the next day, I called back . . . and got her voice mail. In addition to leaving a message, I sent her an email.

Several days passed as I gnawed my fingertips (as my nails have, long, long ago, been worn to nubbins). Realizing I needed my fingertips to type with, I emailed the editor.

Crickets chirping.

Agh! Had I been smited by the gods of communication? Had it been a mistake? Did my story actually suck, and they dialed my number in error? Aghhh! *twitch*

But then last night, I got the official press release:

PanGaia Magazine and Llewellyn Publications are pleased to announce the finalists from the Pagan Fiction Award contest. These thirteen stories, listed alphabetically by title, earned the top scores:

• “The Bitter Herbs of Camelot” by A.C. Fisher Aldag
• “Black Doe” by Vylar Kaftan (Yay! Another score for fellow Launchpadee and all around rawking grrl, Vy!)
• “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” by Deborah Blake
• “Draw Down” by Alex Bledsoe
• “From Our Minds to Yours” by C.S. MacCath
• “A Nose for Magic” by Eugie Foster
• “The Rune Hag’s Daughter” by Linda Steele (endelarin)
• “Seabird” by Paula R. Stiles
• “Selk River” by Melodie Bolt
• “Silkie’s Diary” by A.C. Fisher Aldag
• “Under a Double Rainbow” by Sophie Mouette (safirasilv‘s alter ego)
• “A Valkyrie Among Jews” by April
• “We Have Come Home” by A.L. Waldron

First, second, and third prize winners chosen from this list of finalists will be announced at Pantheacon, taking place in San Jose, California February 15-18, 2008.

The stories will appear in a book titled Pagan Fiction Anthology: 13 Best New Pagan Voices to be published by Llewellyn in October 2008.

I’m verily pleased that this story found a good home. It was inspired by and features Hobkin. So, herein, a couple pictures of my non-crack-whore, fuzzy muse:

A close-up of Hobkin’s inspirational nose.


(More) Writing Stuff

• Note from the Cricket folks letting me know that my story, “When Shakko Did Not Lie,” is slated for publication in their January 2008 issue. Woot!

New Words/Editing:
• An editing pass to get my focus back and 250 words on “White Rabbit” (4750/5500). Although the word count was pretty unimpressive, I made good headway on the story progression. I guess I should listen to my crack-whore muse when she drags her feet. I needed a scene in there to establish foreshadowing, and I didn’t realize it. Now that it’s there, I think the rest will progress at a good clip. I hope. I’d really like to get this baby to zero draft by week’s end.

Even Keel Sighted

With most of my Dragon*Con post-convention to-do items squared away, things are finally settling back into what serves as manageable routine for me. I’ve still got too many hamsters in the air, but not so many that I’m perpetually in a state of stressed out frenzy. I’d much rather be busy than bored, but another month like August would send me, twitching and whimpering, to the comforts of my very own padded cell. This year has been hella manic. And I’m still behind on a couple very outstanding projects . . .

Hobkin has started putting on his winter coat, and he’s been gaining a bit of weight. Ergo, it’s official; he’s metamorphosing from a cranky Summer Skunk into a laid back Autumn Skunk, although there’s still plenty of episodes of huffing and stomping at Chez Foster. The fuzzwit only becomes truly mellow when he’s a Winter Skunk. But his thicker, softer coat is a delight to snuggle with, and even though I get anxious about too much weight gain, the plump look suits him:

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Stuff on My Skunk, or Why I Love Optical Mouses

Busy busy busy, erg. So here’s a couple pix (taken from my new-but-crappy camera phone) of Hobkin as a mouse pad. Stuff on My Skunk! And yes, an optical mouse will work atop a skunk . . . sorta.

I’m going straight to hell, aren’t I?


Writing Stuff

– My August Writing for Young Readers column is now up: “An Interview with Tansy Rayner Roberts of Shiny.”

New Words:
– 300 words on short story WiP, “Hollow.”

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,980 / 4,000

Weekend not so productive

Slept pretty crappy last night. Don’t think I would’ve gotten to sleep at all, except fosteronfilm saw I was having a bad night and came over to cuddle me and rub my back. I lubs my hubby. Of course, then I had disturbing dreams (that I can’t remember now–which is probably just as well), and I’ve got a sinus headache. Blah. Not a good start to the week.

But, so this post isn’t just me whining, here’s a picture of Hobkin, who does not suffer from insomnia:


Writing Stuff

This weekend wasn’t as productive, writing-wise, as I thought it was going to be. fosteronfilm was planning on attending a director’s workshop, and I figured I’d spend the time he was gone writing. But his workshop was canceled at the last minute, and I spent my time catching up on Tangent and other outstanding writing-related tasks . . . but not actually writing. Sigh.

On an up note, my home office isn’t a safety hazard anymore, just an obstacle course. But at least all the books, magazines, and loose paper are now in tidy stacks rather than strewn in a perilous mess on the floor.

I need to get back on the words-on-the-page horse, or err, hamster.

– “Beauty’s Folly” in issue #5 of OSC’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. I’m sharing a ToC with Peter S. Beagle!
– “The Center of the Universe” in issue #5 of Helix
– “The Life and Times of Penguin” (reprint) in Part III, the Summer 2007 issue of Farrago’s Wainscot.

– Note from Aberrant Dreams that “Living with a Shoulder Monster” will be published in July. Yay!
– Email from mroctober with the preliminary cover art for the Magic in the Mirrorstone anthology. It’s puuuurty:

Skunk on foot

Wingstubs hurt. Much writing to do. So here’s a picture of Hobkin from last night. He climbed up and flopped his head on my foot:

He stayed like this until my foot and leg fell asleep, and I was forced to move him. I set him at his more customary position at my side, where he was more than happy to resume his nap.

I am naught but a skunk pillow.


Writing Stuff

The interview lynnejamneck did with me is now up at Strange Horizons.

– Request from Amy Boxio-Andrews to interview me for Absolute Write. Of course I said “yes.”

New Words:
– 930 on the Fox Princess novel.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
13,950 / 40,000

Club 100 for Writers: 7