R&J, health, writing, Hobkin

Saw Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Tavern last night. They had a new Juliet this year, a perfectly respectable actress, the same one who played Alais in The Lion in Winter last month, but she didn’t pull off thirteen and flighty the same way last year’s Juliet did. I’m by no means disappointed in the play, but it wasn’t as blow-me-away as the last two year’s R&Js.

Continue to feel like crap, and I think I might be having an allergic reaction to the Diclofenac. Just lovely.

Managed 1300 words on the Paranormal Romance–which I would call novel3, except I’m not sure if there’s enough story there to call it a novel, maybe a novella? Going to try to spend today writing.

Hobkin’s been in a snit these last few days. Wonder if it’s spring fever. As I recall, skunks get a might bit tetchy come breeding season, even the ones who have been surgically incapacitated on the breeding front. He was all stompy and amok, and then he’d refuse to cuddle and a second later hop up and insist upon being petted. And he huffed at me! ‘Course he spent all last night curled up beside me . . . after pushing his ice cold paws into my side to warm them up.

I go to write. Maybe some tea would make me feel better.

Hobkin and Writing

Last night, Hobkin decided it was “pull and bite Mommy’s clothing” day. Scorecard: new holes in sweatpants, a strand of yarn pulled out of the sleeve of my brand new sweater, several pinches to my flesh that are showing blue and purple when he went deeper than cloth.

Also, he just wouldn’t settle and ran amok for most of the evening while I was trying to work on the computer. But apparently what he wanted was a couch mommy to snuggle against. A computer mommy wasn’t good enough, oh no. I tried to pick him up and settle him on my lap several times, but he would scramble away as soon as I stopped using two hands to pet and cuddle him (i.e. to type or mouse). But as soon as I left the computer and went to go sit on the couch, he hopped up beside me and flopped asleep. Silly fuzzwit was cranky because he needed a nap.

Then, when I was getting ready to sleep, he couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to be. He’d hop up (waking me up) and cuddle beside me for an hour or so, then hop down (thereby waking me up again) to roam around. This happened many times throughout the night until he finally decided he wanted to sleep under his hutch. Needless to say, I was rather sleep deprived and fuddle-headed this morning.

Writing stats:

200 words on the new fantasy piece. Sheesh. 200. That’s barely enough to count. Suckitude.

Pleased at the Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll award thingy. I don’t expect to win, but it’d be nice if I made it to the top ten in one of the categories.

{* shameless vote-whoring: Vote for Reign of the Wintergod for Horror Story and All in My Mind for SF/F Story}

Beginning to twitch for another sale. I think it’s a new year sort of thing. I seem to recall feeling similarly at the turn of last year. It doesn’t help that I’ve got several “strong maybe”s dangling:

– Got a finalist story in this year’s Phobos contest. When, oh when, will the judging be finalized?
– Still waiting to hear from On Spec. Coming up on 300 days soon. Should I query again? Eep.
– Waiting to hear the senior editor’s verdict from Scrybe Press.
– Passed the 2nd reader level at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Will it get picked up for an issue? I think they said one in three submissions who make it to this stage do.

And then, of course, there’s the slew of other submissions that aren’t in the “strong maybe” category that are out and about. *twitch* I’m just not very good at waiting.

All the writer folk I’ve talked to say the only way to combat the black-abyss-of-nothing mailbox blues is to write the next story/novel. Unfortunately, see above, re: sucking.

Only thing left to do is to attempt to beguile my absentee muse by slamming a lot of caffeine . . .

EWWW!!! Mangled lizard!

AGH! Matthew’s laughing at me, but I’m still coming down from a freaked out adrenalin high. Hobkin caught, killed, and chewed up a lizard in the house. I heard Hobkin crunching something near the front door so I came to investigate what he’d found. I shooed him away from whatever it was. At first, I thought he’d discovered a bit of string or yarn, until I picked it up and realized what I was holding was a tail with attached mangled body. I screamed. I can’t believe I screamed. I can deal with all types of traditional creepy crawlies–snakes, spiders, bats, rats–in fact I like them. But finding that ruined mass of tissue attached to a tail totally unglued me.

Couldn’t even tell it was a lizard at first. Thought it was a mouse until Matthew and I got the flashlight out to examine it closer. It was a small lizard. Quite mangled. When I thought it was a mouse, I thought Hobkin had eaten about half the body, but after we figured out it was a lizard, it looks like he just chewed it up a bit. I believe the majority of the body was still there. Readjusting my body mass expectations from “mouse” to “lizard,” I think I could identify a head and midsection. It would appear I stopped Hobkin within a couple seconds of him nabbing it or else he probably would have polished it off.

Ew ew ew eww ewww! I scrubbed my hands three times, feeling downright obsessive-compulsive about it, and I had the urge to make Hobkin gargle with mouthwash or something . . .

On the verge of panic, I made Matthew call his godmother to consult with her, but she wasn’t home, so then made him call the head of the ADSA (American Domestic Skunk Association). She basically said we were very silly and that we didn’t have anything to worry about. After all, skunks eat mice and lizards naturally.

So now I’m trying to get my heart rate under control. My plump fuzzbump is a hunter after all. It can’t have been a very challenging hunt. I mean its winter (and how the hell did it get in the house in the first place?). The lizard was probably very slow moving. But I guess my darling does still have hunting instincts.

But now he’s in my lap, all sweet and cuddly, and probably wondering why Mommy was screaming earlier. Sigh.

Hobkin’s very needy

Yesterday after I came home, I saw a package on the front porch as I was pulling into the garage. So after I came in through the garage, and hugged husband and skunk, I went out the front door to retrieve it. Hobkin followed me into the foyer, but he never bolts for the outside, so I didn’t worry about him there. The package was one of Matthew’s Christmas presents. Trying to furtively hide it from view, I started taking it upstairs, in the process stepping over the Rover Gate we have across the stairs to keep Hobkin off them.

I paused on the landing, startled to hear roinking noises coming from Hobkin, who was pacing very agitatedly downstairs in front of the barrier. Worried, I called Matthew over, but then realized I still had his present in my arms, which he wasn’t supposed to see. So, torn between two impulses: upstairs to hide away the package or downstairs to check on my upset skunk, I watched Hobkin pace to make sure he wasn’t limping or evidencing other physical injury, then sprinted up the stairs.

I raced back downstairs, with Hobkin still vocalizing, and picked him up. At which point, he stopped and cuddled against me.

So it seems like my silly fuzzwit was so upset that I was apparently abandoning him after just coming home, that he felt the need to complain about it. Now, unlike dogs and cats (and guinea pigs), skunks are very quiet animal. Any sound coming from them is very unusual. So I’m both touched and perplexed. Hobkin is needy.

Writing stats:
1000 words on the Urban Fantasy. Chugga-chugga-chug. I-think-I-can. I-think-I-can.

Also, a 117-day “nice writing but . . . ” from Space and Time on a story I’d queried about. Sigh. Out it goes again.

There’s an informal competition going on in the R&A topic of the Speculations Rumor Mill to see who can get the most rejections in December. Right now, the leading contestant is at fifteen, so I’m pretty much out of the running at two with this S&T one–that is unless every single one of the markets I’ve got works at decides to send me a “buzz off” notice in the next three weeks. I think I shall not hope for that particular sequence of events, thank-you-very-much. But it’s always good to put a positive spin on a negative.

9th Annual ADSA Supreme Skunk Show!

Dazed, exhausted, elated, and terribly, terribly amused. That’s me. Oh, and a little chagrined tossed in to boot. The skunk show was a blast. We saw a slew of cute and fuzzy skunk noses, and got to gab with great skunk people like puskunk and alijt.

Hobkin was, in turns, a demon pit fiend bent upon destruction, and a darling angel. AND, he’s an award winner! We didn’t expect him to come home with anything but an exciting experience and some new friendships, but he won FOUR ribbons!

He won third place in the Overall Conformation adult division, third place in the Chocolate Chip color class, Best in Show first runner up (2nd place) Chocolate Chip color class, and first place Prettiest Tail adult division!

Although he tanked in the Friendliness category. He totally loved on three of the judges, and, of course, hissed and snapped at the fourth one of them, and then growled and nipped the last one (I mentioned being chagrined, didn’t I?). Sigh. Devil and angel, all wrapped up in a fuzzy package, that’s our Hobkin. One of the judges also commented that he could stand to lose a pound or so, which we knew. Poor Hobkin’s chubby!

Now, I’m totally exhausted, Matthew’s flopped over on the couch, and Hobkin’s napping under his hutch.

So here’s a bunch of skunk show Pictures, lots of ’em (warning for slow loading connections):

(Edit: After a restful night’s sleep, I updated Hobkin’s pages at Musta-lay-day Grove, click HERE for pix and more skunk show write-up).

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to all! Candy and scary pumpkins galore!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year, preceded in eminence only by Christmas. Although I didn’t wear anything all that costumey to work, I did, however, wear my goblin-Hamlet earrings, so I still observed the occasion. One Halloween I wore vampire fangs all day at work (taking them out only for lunch) and flashed a toothy grin to everyone I saw at meetings and in the hallways. Another Halloween I wore a pair of spider gloves–the fingers were spider legs and a fuzzy, plush spider body squatted on the backs of my wrists–which made typing a little slower than usual, although I liked mousing. Seeing the plump, happy spiders wriggling on the Logitech made me grin. So this year is on the understated side for me. And I’m rather disappointed not to see more costumes in the corporate hallways, or decorations for that matter. What has happened to the Halloween spirit, o’ Great Pumpkin?

In other news:

Hobkin’s bath. What can I say about it? Well, the bathroom is still sopping wet, and Hobkin was, in turns, miffed and traumatized. Both Matthew and I bear battle welts and claw marks from frantic skunk feet. Afterwards, Hobkin spent the whole night cuddled up with me, very clingy and in need of reassurance. Nothing like a damp skunk on the couch to make the evening complete. Hobkin’s fur is incredibly thick and takes forever to dry, even with extensive brushing and toweling. But today he is a fluffy, sweet-smelling, squeaky-clean ball of glowing white and sparkly-warm brown. Wonder how long it’ll take him to find a patch of dust to roll in . . .

Writing stats:

Matthew first-readered my SF story, and as I suspected, the ending reeks. Actually, there is much of crappitude to the tale, which I sort of knew. But he did brainstorm quite a few ideas that I liked. The rewrite is going to be quite extensive. Not even sure if what I have constitutes now as a zero draft. Maybe negative one? Have to roll up my sleeves and get to bringing it up to zero. Glargh.

Skunk grooming and Writing stats

Hobkin’s nail clipping and associated grooming went about as well as I expected last night. Managed to clip twelve nails on my own, and then had to get Matthew to help. I think he got three or four more before we had to let a much irritated Hobkin go. So I think we’ve got four or five untrimmed toes left. And they’re not all on the same foot either. And yes, there are paw-smears of lotion all over the house.

I also cleaned Hobkin’s ears and he put up with that with amazing tolerance. It’s strange; it was always really easy to trim the ferrets’ nails. I’d just dab a drop of ferretone/linatone on their tummies and they’d let me do anything with their feet while they concentrated on licking the stuff off. But the same trick with Hobkin doesn’t work. He contorts and wiggles to get at the linatone, and growls and nips if you try to mess with his paws. But the ferrets had to be scruffed to clean their ears. Hobkin just lies there and lets me swab at them without so much as a squirm. Go fig.

Going to try to get the remaining nails tonight. And tomorrow is bath night. I always get whapped in the face with a soaking wet, sudsy tail whenever we give him a bath. I’m sure Hobkin does it on purpose.

Writing stats:

Polished the fairy tale, actually it’s really a folktale, and am currently debating whether or not I should toss it up on Critters. It’s so short (1000 words), and a lot of times, Critters comments aren’t very useful with submissions intended for a younger audience. Maybe I’ll bundle it with another short fairy tale I’ve got lying around that I wasn’t satisfied with.

1200 words on the SF piece and the zero draft is done! Cheers and jumping up and down. Except I’m not happy with how the ending turned out. Going to have Matthew first reader it and see if he can help me brainstorm what went wrong, then up to Critters it goes.

That’s three completed works in less than two weeks. I do seem to write in fits and starts. I’d like it better if I could manage and maintain an even pace, but as long as I keep putting words on the page, eventually, I guess it’s all good.

Received another BFoD from RoF, although Carina took the time to write at the bottom that she thought this one was well written. I’ll take what editorial encouragement I can get. Out it goes again.

Macbeth, Dark Bunny, Hobkin thinks I’m scary

Hobkin woke me up at 6:30 this morning, rather insistent that he was starving, wasting away, a mere skeleton of himself. He needed food. So, cold and sleepy, I fixed his breakfast. Was he grateful? Content? No, of course not. He snarfed down his food and ran amok through the house, stomping at shadows, and trying his damnedest to get himself stuck in a corner behind one of the chairs in our sitting room where he’s gotten himself trapped before and had to be rescued. I’d wrapped a blanket around myself for warmth and came to warn him away from such foolhardy action, and me and the blanket must have looked like some scary, skunk-devouring apparition. His tail fluffed straight up, and he charged me, stomping with all his might. I burst into laughter, and affronted, he bounded away.

All that excitement tuckered him out. He’s now napping under the hutch, and I’m wide away. Typical.

Went to see Macbeth at the Shakespeare Tavern last night. It wasn’t as strong a performance as we’ve come to expect from them. The actors actually flubbed their lines a couple times, and the lines themselves seemed under-presented. The people at the table beside us hadn’t ever read Macbeth or this was the first time they’d seen it done (or both). They kept reading the synopsis page and trying to figure out what was going on. In the final scene where MacDuff reveals that he was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripped,” that line which I always expect as a big moment, full of heightened fear and drama, was sort of lost. Oh well. Can’t always have transcendentally wonderful performances there.

Next month they’re doing “The First Original Miniseries” – Richard II, Henry IV pt 1, Henry IV pt 2, and Henry V. It’s quite an ambitious undertaking. Fortunately, the run goes into December, so we’ll get to see two of them with our club membership. We’re thinking of opting to see the Henry IVs.

Also went shopping yesterday. Picked up a pair of black bunny ears. In an email conversation with dude_the, he provided me the inspiration for what I’m going to dress up as for Halloween:

Me: The universe isn’t fair, and there’s no such thing as Karma, but it’s a pretty idea. I like the idea that really horrible people who do cruel, terrible things to animals might one day (hopefully soon) get their comeuppance.

dude_the: And with such words a vigilante was born. Nimbly hopping across the Atlantian rooftops in a black cat-suit and black mask, she was the last line of defense for all things fluffy, cute, or generally unable to defend themselves from the maliciousness of man. And, when that defense failed, she was cold, cruel vengeance. She was…the DARK BUNNY!

Heeheehee. I’m going to be DARK BUNNY! Got me a black cat-suit and black vinyl corset, a little black vinyl half cape, and now my coup des gras, bunny ears! Fun.

We actually swung by the Build-a-Bear workshop when we were out. And I cooed and giggled at the adorable costumes. Started thinking about getting one of them to subject Hobkin to for Halloween. Still dwelling on that. The one I was seriously conteplating is a cute pumpkin outfit. I think it might be more doable than some of the others because it’s just a puffy elastic pullover sort of get-up. Not much in the way of sleeves to contend with. I’m evil for even contemplating it, aren’t I?

Saturday AM–skunk hugs and stress

With the onset of cooler temperatures, Hobkin has gotten really mellow and, if it’s possible, even more snugglesome. He’s been cuddling up with me every night, crawling up beside me and into my arms, and wedging his little head under my jaw. His winter coat has definitely come in, and he’s all soft and fluffy. It’s like hugging a living, snuffling stuffed animal. The only downside is that he tends to wake up about half an hour before my alarm goes off, and then demand his breakfast. And last night he stuck his nose in my ear. His whiskers woke me up, but at least I woke up giggling.

I’m beginning to totally stress about my mother’s visit. As Matthew pointed out, if we don’t come up with things to do while they’re down here, we’ll end up sitting together, making chit-chat, and staring at each other. My personal definition of hell right there. But I don’t want to think about it, so I procrastinate. Argh. It’s so stupid. She’s only going to be here for two days! I ought to be able to handle two days without imploding. Dammit.

Hobkin is a Not a Hunter

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I saw movement in the corner of the kitchen. Hoping it wasn’t a cockroach, I approached. It was a cricket. Normally, when I find insects inside the house, I catch them and take them outside, as I’m fond of most insects and arachnids. So I go to catch Mr. Cricket and that’s when Hobkin wakes up.

Now Hobkin’s godmother lets her skunks hunt grasshoppers and suggested it as a “camp activity” for Hobkin. We never did get a report on how that exercise went, so I was curious to see what Hobkin would do. I point out the hopping cricket to the cunning, sly hunter, and . . . nothing happens. No, correction, Hobkin totally ignores the cricket and instead wanders over to the refrigerator and sits in front of it, waiting for me to fix his breakfast. Oh, and the cricket hops under the couch, where I can’t catch it. Sigh.

Okay, Hobkin isn’t built like a hunter. He’s sort of roly-poly and bottom-heavy, and his legs are a bit on the stumpy side. He doesn’t have the grace and fluid speed of a cat, nor the dedicated attention span of hunting dogs. But I have seen him pounce on Tupperware that I’ve dropped or sent rattling across the kitchen floor for him to chase. That should have tipped me off, actually. Hobkin knows where food comes from. Tupperware! Of course calling what he does a “pounce” is somewhat misleading. If Tupperware had legs with which to scuttle away on its own, Hobkin would never be able to catch it.

As hunters go, skunks aren’t. Or at least my skunk isn’t.

And now there’s a cricket loose in my house.