Miscellanea: the pup, the book, the con, and the weird (to me) weather

I’ve gone broody. Like a hen. I am obsessing about only two things: rearing this pup and working on this novel. Both tasks are going reasonably well, even if both are more … consuming than I imagined they would be.

Re: The Pup

She’s 14 weeks old now. A full 3 weeks younger than our Dozer was when we first got him. (That explains why I have been surprised by how much more supervision she requires — and how many more trips outside she needs — than I remembered from my last pup-raising phase.) She’s nearly house-trained, I think. She’s mastered her tinkle bells. At first she was shy about the noise, but when she figured out she could punch them with a paw instead of nosing them, she got over her hesitation. She had her spay surgery day before yesterday. Did you know that a spay is really a full hysterectomy? I did not. I guess I thought it was more like a tubal ligation. I’ve been having sympathy pains ever since I found out. She’s a good puppy, but I can’t wait until she’s a dog. (Ogre and I agree that puppies and children are way more fun once they can communicate reasonably well.) We are still taking opinions about her ancestry. (Remember, she was found alone so we have no idea who the parents were.) She’s currently 15 pounds and still slender. (Keeps growing up instead of out.) What do you think she is? I keep hoping someone will recognize those ears.

Those ears. My God, those ears.

Those ears. My God, those ears.

Re: The Writing

I can’t really share a photo of my novel progress, but I am on track. (I am nearing the place where I’ll want to print it out, just so I can see the manuscript grow.) I have to work around the pup, so my daily word counts aren’t usually high, but the daily momentum is in place.

I did have to take a few days off entirely last weekend because I was helping my daughter sell her 1″ buttons at a 3-day sci fi / fantasy convention in Raleigh. (The Classic Monster Movies set was a big seller.) It was my first con, and it was great fun. I snapped a few shots of my favorite cosplay outfits, and I can share those:

Re: The Rest

The weather here in NC is still an astonishment to me. We had a winter storm a few weeks back. I feel bad that I didn’t write about the experience at the time. To a Minnesotan’s eye, it was minor. (Some icy rain. An inch or two of snow. Temps in the low 30s.) Things are really different down here though, and we were pretty much confined to the house for four days. (I’m not making fun. The roads are treacherous with ice. They brine the main roads, but they don’t have enough equipment to even attempt the neighborhoods.) On the fifth day after the storm, the temperature reached the 60s and everything just melted away in a morning. Since then it’s been lovely. Some gray days, but mostly sunny. Temps in the 50s & 60s for the most part. I usually have the windows open at least a little during the day. Honestly, it feels and looks like late April or early May.

Today, however, it’s rainy and chilly. (For some values of chilly. Okay. I just checked. It’s 51 degrees. I’ve completely lost my cold resistance already.) The pup is asleep at my feet, I have a cup of coffee at hand, and it’s time to sink back into my other world.


Training a Writer’s Dog

Happy New Year everyone!

When I last checked in, I’m sure I talked about my preparations for getting a second dog for Christmas. We felt, after our older dog’s cancer scare, that it was time to find him a companion. (Dozer is six.) After a hitch in the plans, this happy event has come to pass. We do indeed have a pup.

the new pup's baby picture

Meet Miss Harper Lee

She’s not the dog we initially chose. Sadly that one showed an aggressive streak to her foster mom before we could bring her home. (She was nearly five months old and quite capable of inflicting real harm.) The shelter group refused to place her with a “regular family” like us, and instead sent her on to a sort of rehab program they have. Then they offered us any other dog they had.

Enter Miss Harper.

She was only 10 weeks old when we got her, three weeks ago. We didn’t expect to start with such a youngling, but the little girl captured our hearts at first sight.

Her supervision and training have been INCREDIBLY time-consuming. (Do you have any idea how tiny a ten week old puppy bladder is?) For housebreaking purposes, we are primarily using the umbilical leash method. In essence this means that she’s attached to one of us (usually me) whenever she’s having a wakeful time. We do crate her for meals and overnight. Occasionally, she naps in there too …

… but only occasionally.

Harper and Dozer

Harper and Dozer

Between Harper and a two-week Christmas visit from my son’s girlfriend, ALL of my writing time in December disappeared. (Along with my time for housekeeping, sleeping, eating while sitting down, etc.)

But it’s getting better. She’s coming along nicely. We’ve worked out a schedule, finally, that allows me a bit of time at the keyboard in exchange for long “writerly” walks that wear her out. Granted, these are short writing sessions, but I’m okay with that.

It takes time to learn how to be a writer’s dog.

Luckily, she has a good teacher. Dozer just showed her how it’s done, by laying down on one of my feet, under the desk. After studying him for a moment, she’s claimed the other one.

Time to crack open that novel project I haven’t even looked at for almost a month and get back to it.