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Archive for July, 2012

I’ve only had two hours sleep because of Lilly and I’m obviously hardcore paying for it because I’m fucking delirious. See, the hubs deals with her during the week because I have to get up at o’dark a.m., so I return the favor on the weekends. It sucks because it cuts into my writing time in an epic way. Today, I needed to do more research on how to do a synopsis, even work on book two, but that shit didn’t happen. Instead, I give you my favorite reporter – bonus points if you get the reference.

~

“Astrea, can you tell the readers of Horse and Hound why you don’t blog much about your writing, give writing advice, or even talk very much about writing in general?”

Because this isn’t a writing blog. This is me, alternately bitching about or reveling in my life while I’m writing. I’m no genius, no one needs to learn writing skills from me, and I don’t have the time, anyway. I have my way of writing, my own opinions on the matter, other people have theirs. It’s too much drama anymore to get into that shit. Plus, I have a full-time, very stressful day job, a bad-ass grown daughter in college, an awesome husband and way too fuckin many pets. I’m busy, bottom line.

This is for me to introduce myself as a human being to potential readers who happen to trip over my blog along the way. And for my friends to snicker and point at me.

Namaste, bitches. 

~

“Why don’t you promote your blog, or ask participatory questions at the end of your blogs?”

Because I’m not a blogger in the true sense of the word and I’ve never wanted to be one. I’m not that good at it if I did. I have no hook, no mad skillz, no message I need to impart. It’s just me. Being me. And I kinda’ like the idea of that because when I visit the web sites of my favorite authors, I really don’t like to see FOR THE LOVE OF THE GODS, BUY MY BOOK NOW!! plastered all over the page. It’s annoying as fuck. I’m gonna buy the damned book! I just want to see what they’re up to, rather than hearing about sales figures or the lack thereof. I’m just like that. My husband doesn’t understand it, questions it often, but that’s how I am. I wanna know the person behind the prose because I can read their books and see what they write, and draw conclusions from that, but I may never know the rest of the story unless they tell me.  That’s what I want to see on someone’s blog.

*ETA And that’s what you’ll see on mine until the day I’m lucky enough to be some big shit author with a publicist who tells me otherwise. It’s just my preference for now.

~

“Is that why you share so many pictures of your pets, etc.?”

Yep. Cute, ain’t they? Except Lilly – AKA, Gator – who is a holy terror.

~

“Is it true you write mostly gay or bi-sexual supernatural characters?”

Yep.

~

“And some of your writing is pretty damned dark.”

Yep.

~

“Like… really dark.”

Yep.

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“But you share cute puppy pictures.”

I also have an extreme fascination with insects, particularly dragonflies and luna moths. I’m a total Trekker, a huge geek besides, love hockey, and I own a t-shirt that says “Babe With The Power” (that I wear every Friday) and routinely won’t speak to anyone while I’m wearing it until they sing at me first. What’s your point?

~

“How can your writing be so dark at times and yet you seem so… not dark?”

Gods, it’s like you don’t even know me. Do you even read my blog?

Would it help if I just flat said that I have a morbid fascination with the Crescent City Connection and hurricanes?

~

Well, no, because our readers would need you to explain that a little more.

Not all of them. But what if I don’t want to explain that on my blog?

~

You’d have to explain that. 

I think you just made my point for me.

Wanna see a cute puppy?

~

Not… 

*sigh* … really, no. 

~

Too late.

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Wow… what a weekend.

But a blessing in disguise. So far. Lets start with a dose of cuteness.

But mooooooooooooooom. Pick me uuuuuuuuuuuup!

Enough of that nonsense. Here’s what we did Friday and Saturday:

Just click on it and cringe. That’s an abandoned koi/goldfish pond, and there’s supposed to be koi/goldfish in there.

There were two goldfish in here. We’re told that the rest that were in this section died.

There were at least twenty goldfish in here. We lost COUNT. It took two days to be sure, but we got them all.

The hubs and a friend chasing fish, because they wouldn’t let me on the rotten bridge.

There’s a special place in Hell for people that do things like this.

The guy who owned these fish simply moved and left them two weeks ago. What’s worse, is he cut all the pumps off before he did. What’s even worse is it took two years for this pond to get that way. Yeah, you heard me, two years. Even worse? Every koi he had in there – and I heard he had some big boys at one point – died from this neglect. Koi are much more sensitive than goldfish, so not a single one made it. The biggest pump was so full of muck that it had to have been burned up for quite some time. The fountain pumps still work, so that’s good. With all these fish now, I could use the aeration.

The story goes that the former owner’s husband died and that these fish belonged to him. We’ll call the former owner “John”. John was too pained by his husband’s death to do more than feed these guys – dear gods, it takes so much more than just feeding them. We were told weeks ago that we could have the goldfish/koi, but then we had our own mess on our hands, so we couldn’t do it at the time. We were told it was a huge, great pond and just come get them when we could.

 Then we found out he LEFT, so we were baffled. We showed up and both of us were gobsmacked where we stood.

Wow. No. The pond was shit and we had to get these babies OUT.

The messed up part on my end is that I’m allergic to mosquitoes. I’ll get a bite or two and flee for cover. I ended up with over forty bites over two days and got all shocky. The bites don’t stay small and itchy, they end up one and a half to two inches across and looking like ringworms.

Yes, I am a sexy spotted bitch right now, doncha’ know.

Then there was the problem of mice. They were fucking evvvvverywhere under the rocks we had to move to move the net to get to the fish. They were so cuuuuute. Then they got nasty. Then, says I, “Wait… mice = snakes = FUCK THIS!” and no more rocks were moved. Only after we left did reason kick in; lots of mice meant no snakes. We got rid of snakes someone’s yard (day job shit) and the mice moved in. I know better, but when you have clawing and hissing mice at your feet, you tend to forget things.

They’re safe, they’re fine… but wow, are there some strange looking goldfish in there. Not in a bad way, but in the way that I’ve never seen goldfish like that before. We needed this weekend because it made us remember that we do have room in our hearts for more fish, even if they’re not koi, and it made us finally want to go back outside again.

There’s one in there that looks like my Rosie that passed, so that makes us smile.

These itching fucking mosquito bites do NOT.

Good times, good times.

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See, she really does exist.

Zombie Girl.

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So. This is me trying to be all artistic and shit with the photograph, when all you really need to know is that last week was LIST TIME.

 The original ink was the phone number to takeout pizza and a note to get a UV pump for the old pond (algae bloom there, too *sigh*). The next day, cat litter and Zombie food. The last, Thomas food, but I also picked up Lilly food. No, I’m not organized. Shock, huh?

I do have a point to all this and since you’re here and all, this is how today began….

That’s Thomas, also known as my grandmother’s cat, Socks, or “fat bastard” as the occasion calls. Yes, he does love the taste of mini-blinds, thanks for asking.

That’s where Lilly is right now. Do you actually think my hands would be free to type if she was awake? And, no, I do not know what the hell the fuzzy thing is on that blanket because if I go over there to find out she will wake up.

That’s Spike. He’s eleven years old and missing most of his teeth.

2.5 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal.
He’s over on the bed, hiding from Lilly because she tries to eat his brains. His new nickname is Shark Bait. Notice, I had no note to get him food.

Speaking of brains, Zombie will come when I call her now, but still won’t let me touch her, and she thinks pictures will steal her soul, so there are none. Silly, superstitious cat.

I woke up, walked the dog, sat down here and, looking at my wrist in the dappled sunlight coming through my other set of cat-eaten mini-blinds, became inspired to blog when… I looked outside at the koi pond.

Shit.

Fuck me. Really?

Foam. Foam bad. Foam not good for fish. And there’s a leak in both boxes?

Good thing there are no fish in there, but where the hell are all the nutrients coming from that’re making the damned FOAM? And what the fuck is there a LEAK about all of the sudden?

*sigh*

I look at my wrist and pick up my green pen – so I can differentiate between old notes and new – and stopped. There’s fifteen tons of things I need to do – the foam is just the crowning fucking glory – and I don’t mean want to do, I mean need to do, but  if I start writing on myself, I thought, I’m going to end up with another sleeve. I threw the pen down on the desk and gave my imaginary goatee a rub, then brushed over the throb at my temple. (That’s Esteban surfacing, yo.)

  I’m acutely aware of why I’ve been so scattered lately. Many of you regular readers may think it’s obvious, but it’s more than just losing the fish babies.

It’s hurricane season, and it’s July.

 In less than ten days it’ll be the two year anniversary of the last time I did this:

That’s my last view from a balcony overlooking Frenchman Street, and the splash-banner for my blog. And the last time I did this…

Which would be watched a storm roll in over New Orleans.

That would be one mother of a storm in the very early morning of July 23rd, 2010.
The good thing about it? It wasn’t a hurricane, and everyone on the trip was asleep except me.

I watched the storm coming for miles, watched the clouds boil overhead, watched the one light spot in the center form over the Quarter, and took this picture.  The rain came down, I ran inside not because I didn’t want to get wet, but because the camera in my hand was worth a small fortune and I did not want to have my ass kicked when I got home. I went back outside and just stood there and let the rain fall.

What went through my head was the most peaceful feeling I’d had in years, and yet it took me a year to act on everything I felt that morning and start this blog.

Yesterday, as I was jumping out of my van and making a mad dash into the pet store for the Lilly food on my list, there was a storm brewing overhead. A long, dark front crawled through the sky over the building, full of gray clouds, deep blue streaks and white wisps of wind trying to escape… and I immediately thought it’s not the same.

At the check-out line, the clerk commented that the sound of rain on the roof, the fact that it could be heard inside this monstrous store, was a bad sign of a bad storm. I smirked and swiped my card, thinking, It’s not the same, chica. You have no idea what a bad storm is.

((If I said out-loud everything I thought in my head, I’d probably be arrested or in a straight jacket.))

I made it out to the curb and, yeah, everyone that was trying to leave was standing there, waiting. I looked up at the now solid mass of dark blue-gray and thought…

 It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

… and stepped off the curb.

I only had maybe fifty feet to walk, but I walked with slow, carefully measured steps. I could swear I felt every pelting drop, even the ones that hit my baseball cap.  Everyone else that went for it was running; I was smirking. I was soaking fucking wet when I got home. And I needed it.

At this point this morning, the sun has moved so there’s no more dappled light over the ink on my wrist. It doesn’t stand out as blaringly as it had a bit ago. The dogs, the cats, the koi, all of it will be fine, I just have to take it one step at a time; check off one thing on the list at a time.

It amazes me how easily I forget the storm lesson from one day to the next.

 But it’s July; it’s hurricane season; and I need a list, so I’m writing that saying at the very top.

Just… not on my arm.

 

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Let’s talk, Francis.

St Francis de Sales. Buddy, Pal O’ Fucking Mine, listen up!

I stand by my long ago prayer requests, but I have some new things to ask if you don’t mind.

Please let the new puppy start sleeping through the night. That would not only aid my self-imposed ‘six a.m. wake-up and write’ calls on the weekends- which, right now, I’m not making at all, and I can’t totally blame that on Lilly, either- but it’ll make my husband happier. See, when he’s not happy, mama’s not happy. (Oh, and please make her quit chewing on my books, my fingers, my toes, the couch, my other dog, the cat….)

Could you please make it hurt a little less to look out my office window? It’s still beautiful out there, but knowing that the pond is empty now, and it won’t behave for us to put the survivors back – there’s an algae bloom, AGAIN, even though the thing is empty –  keeps me from wanting to go out there for more than five minutes. Seeing it out my window every five seconds sucks and I get distracted and can’t write. Please, if you can, give my husband a hand with that, too. I know he doesn’t write, hell, he doesn’t even read, but he could use the grace. We worked pretty hard on that thing, but now? Now it just hurts us both.

I don’t know if you have any influence on my day-job, but … wow. That would be fantastic.

Please remind me that the last year-plus hasn’t been a waste of time and all this aggravation and hurt will pass. Most of all, help me get my focus back and regain my faith in the ability to be happy. I’m tired. Really, really tired because my head won’t slow down. My nerves are jumpy to the point of twitching and, in spite of spending hours sitting here this morning, I can’t sit still. Nevermind having to chase the puppy all the time. She just got stuck in the box-spring. I mean, come ON.

Lastly, give the inventer of Xanax a pat on the back. He’s been a huge help for a few weeks now.

Also, let me send a thanks to the one person who understands and gave me a boost without even knowing she did. She’s “on my six”, and I’m more thankful for those three words than anything I’ve read in weeks.

Thanks, Francis. Tomorrow, it’s once more unto the breach….

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The Face ™ that so captivated me and made me lose all remaining trace of sanity and bring her home? Yeah, her.

This was what she did for two days:

I’d show you what she’s done for the last three, but a 100+ mph buzz saw in motion tends to stay in motion and unless she’s asleep, all I get in pictures are blurs.

We named her Lacey, but it’s not sticking. “Lil” as in – I guess – Lilly gets barked (seriously) across the house more than Lacey does. Not yelled at, barked at. It works.
The hubs has taken to growling at the back of her neck, which makes her drop and freeze in a hot second.

For about ten.

 Her former owner says her bloodlines include mama registered as “Eli Jeep Gator”. Mama is a pretty girl, not too big, not too small; muscular without being obnoxious, what one would think a nice, healthy Pit Bull would look like.

Dad, however, is an unregistered mix of “Razor’s Edge” and “Gotti” with a head like an alligator and shoulders like a linebacker. I looked up American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers and KABLAMMO. I can’t decide which one he is because he looks like both, so I’m guessing a mix of the two.

I have no idea what the bloodline names mean, but I find ‘gator’ and ‘razor’ to be apt descriptions.

 My hubs, daughter and I have taken turns sleeping on the couch with this puppy – this menace to society – in order to get her house trained. I’m tired. Edits to finish and a beta read to get to? Yeah, lemme get to that when I squeeze in some sleep.

Ten pounds of piggy-pink and white, polka-dotted menace. And she’s only six weeks old.

Lord and Lady, what have I done?

Fallen head-over-heels, but that’s beside the point.

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It’s *ridiculous*…

… how something this damned cute can still have no name.

Onward!

Things I Did While I Wasn’t Here!

Not a whole freaking lot, to be honest, other than bringing home that cute, squishy-face, waddling mess of a puppy yesterday.

(She makes me smile and that’s a damned good thing.)

I’ve done some beta reading, half-heartedly worked on getting the koi pond running again, edited a flash fiction bit that I think I really like, and made it to chapter thirty-six (of about fifty) on the final pass of the book.  Oh, and a new favorite tv show. Cajun Justice. I could not love that show any more, I swear.

So, I guess I really did do something, but the to-do list on my wall doesn’t seem to be getting any damned shorter.

Oh, wait. The book. Yeah, about that…

I was saving the file the other day and noticed the word count. 70k and some change.

WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? 

Seriously, when?

Am I just forgetting? Have I mentioned that here and it’s just slipped my crack-squirrel mind? I really don’t know because life’s been a real fucking pisser lately — and if what I think has happened has actually happened, the day job is gonna be an epic shit-storm in the morning and I should probably go ahead and take a Xanax now.

As a matter of fact…

Ok, I’m back now, but I’m also outta’ here.

She-who-has-no-name needs to pee.

~ whoops ~

Too late.

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