A change in plans

Today, I was supposed to knock out a couple of my beta reports in anticipation of finishing tomorrow. We also wanted to go to town together. We had a generic list like most weekends. The other idea was to maybe have beer and pizza tonight.

That isn't what happened. Some good, some not good.

Otto woke up in the middle of the night and sat alone in the bathroom. I discovered him when I had to pee about 3:30. This isn't like him. The girls got up when I moved around, and this means everyone has to go outside.

Otto went to the bathroom too, and I thought maybe that's what he needed. At dawn, he seemed to be pretty sore and depressed. He refused to eat or drink.

My wife decided to do her grocery shopping and we could assess how he felt when she got home.

I decided to tackle my beta edits in force. I did more than I intended, because they changed my wife's shift again, and now she's off tomorrow. I only have one left to work through, and it will take a couple of hours. This is the good part.

Our veterinarian is open seven days per week. This saves us from going to one of those emergency centers. Of course we had to take the puppies too.

Turns out Otto ate more of those pecans than we thought. One X-ray, a pancreatitis test, and an office visit later, and he has an impaction. The doctor showed us the X-ray. It's all the way at the end, and she is certain it will pass. The impaction is causing pain, because he was born with two fused vertebra and another one that is half sized. This is a result of breeding for the bulldog's curly tail.

She gave us some pain killers to give him, and said after they kick in to take him for a walk. Also to try giving him water. He refused water, but went for some chicken noodle soup. He managed a mediocre poop when we walked him.

The doctor said he's going to have pain problems when he's older and to keep an eye on him. Never one to take something at face value, I did some research of my own. It says if your bulldog reaches nine months without a problem, he probably isn't going to have one. It also said the spine deformaties are more common in screw tailed breeds and aren't usually an issue.

I, on the other hand still can't keep food inside for more than an hour. I feel fine otherwise.

The puppies were pretty popular at the vets, and they got free bandanas out of the deal.

Some good stuff, my beta edits moved forward more than I thought. I may not get to the final one this weekend, and completion was the main goal. I'll take what I can get and be happy with it.

I think we're going to ban pecans from our house. All my dogs liked nuts and never had any problems before. They weren't given unsupervised access to all they could eat, including the shells.

We have tickets to Wonder Woman tomorrow, and even have someone who can watch the puppies. It may be all the date-night we can muster. Tonight, we're watching John Wick 2 on blu ray. It isn't date night, but it's the best we can manage.

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Trying to catch up

I had a doctor's appointment this morning that interfered with any idea of doing edits. I swear I'm not procrastinating, and intend to get with the program this weekend.

This led to starting my catch up work. I read the blogs I missed. Tried to work through Facebook, that sort of thing.

My appointment was to renew my blood pressure medication. They congratulated me for losing some weight, and I burst out laughing. Skipping all food for 48 hours and spending that much time in the bathroom will do that to you. My blood pressure is great, but they want me to try getting more potassium. I have no idea what that means or why. Hopefully it means eat more hotdogs or drink more beer.

I tried to hurry, I really did, because the dogs were unsupervised.

When I walked in there were pecans all chewed up on the dining room carpet. You couldn't help laughing. All three of them, Otto included, ran to meet me with a pecan in their mouths. Their little butts were just wiggling.

Many of the nuts were cracked and the nut meat was devoured. I blamed Otto, because I didn't think the girls could pull it off. When Old What's Her Face showed up she tossed them each one, and by golly the girls cracked them open like champs.

This small gunny sack of pecans has been on the floor of the pantry for about ten years. It isn't really a loss of any kind. I suspect we could have a pooping problem in our future, but after the week I already had, I guess I'm primed for it.

I started roughing out a post I'm supposed to contribute to another blog. It has bones, but needs fleshed out. I used my Apple Pencil to do some photo manipulation to accompany the post. I'll probably deliver it next week sometime. Baby steps, but they count.

Honestly, I'm in a pretty good position to get some things done. We're going to hang out together tomorrow, and I'd like to see either Pirates, Wonder Woman, or in distant third The Mummy.

I have the house to myself Sunday, and want to finish those edits. I may get a small portion of it done tomorrow to make Sunday more of a sure thing.

I'm still trying to play it safe around food, but braved a few scrambled eggs today with my fresh morels in them. Made me run for the bathroom before I could eat them all. I finished, after I finished, if you know what I mean. I think that will be all I try today.

Wouldn't it be poetic if getting more potassium means I'm supposed to eat those pecans, and the puppies knew it all along?

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Vending Machine Imodium

And now we have a song called, “Vending Machine Imodium.” Please visit Marissa and consider following this talented blogger and songstress.

Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth

Out on the road a week now
And oh, the travelers fate
To suffer consequences
Of what I might have ate

That makes my bowels a liquid
I sit here turning blue
Suspect the eggs from Denny’s
On Route 82

Can’t make it to the drug store
If you know what I mean
I’ll get that cut-rate stuff
From the vending machine

Cost me seven dollars
My stomach’s still a jerking
Why am I not surprised?
This stupid stuff ain’t working

Vending machine Imodium
Oh you’ve done me wrong
Vending machine Imodium
That’s why I sing this song

I don’t know what I done
Stole cheated and lied
It feels like Satan’s minion
Crawled in my guts and died

And though I don’t deserve it
Of that I have no doubt
I’d give anything
If he’d get the hell out

Maybe get some cyanide
To help and get me through…

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I could write a country song

I could write a country song called “Vending Machine Imodium.” The only problem is there isn't a poetic bone in my body. I may have to put the touch on Marissa Bergen to write it for me. I know she has the chops for such a song.

My paycheck job sent me to beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho yesterday. Somewhere along the way, I wound up with whatever plague Old What's Her Face had earlier this week. I've got to stop sleeping with her.

My group was booked on a tour of the lake last night, and dinner in a nice restaurant. I skipped the tour and opted to put on all my clothes, crank up the heat, and crawl in bed. They saw some bald eagles along the shore too, so I missed out. I stayed in bed until I stopped shivering.

I met them at the restaurant, and there were eagles about half a mile off-shore circling. Not much of a view, and I don't feel like they brought me much luck. If I get through this presentation without a foul of some kind, I'll change my mind.

I'm writing this in my room, before I get dressed. No sense adding a layer between me and the toilet. Since I'm bringing fellow bloggers into this one, I'll note for Victo Dolore that bad things do actually happen in hotel rooms. Wear a hazmat suit. (It wasn't me, probably the previous guest. Yeah, I'm pretty sure.)

I'm being paged, so I may have to finish this after I get home. That will give Lisa's advice column a bit more time in the spotlight.

***

It's now 8:30 PM. Our flight got delayed multiple times, and I haven't eaten in about 36 hours. Back to my country song.

There would have to be a verse about straightening your dollar bills, feeding them into the machine, and watching the spring shaped thingie spin around. Then the product drops.

Check that photo. It wants me to compare this to Imodium. They have to know that nobody will ever do this. I bought it in a hotel vending machine. If I had Imodium in my other hand, I would have bought Imodium. They get to posture as to how big a favor they're doing me, but there is zero risk that I will compare before buying their product.

The dosage says to take two at the outset of problems. Then you take one every time you:

The box only has four pills, and I took them all in about 30 minutes. The only thing that stopped the flow was running out of material. This is why I stopped eating. Maybe another verse about the expiration date. These things could have been stuck in that vending machine in the 20th century.

I braved a cup of coffee this morning, but it didn't settle well. Fortunately, I was able to score a cup of English Breakfast Tea, and that seemed to be fine.

My crowd has been trying to force food on me all day long. I've been offered a sandwich, soup, and several other things. I'm not interested, folks!

I had to ride in a twelve passenger van for over an hour. I am the driver, but had to bow out for the trip home. I wound up with double vision before we left, and while death would have been okay for me (preferable even today), I didn't want to inflict it upon my co-workers. We went into downtown Spokane for over two hours. While everyone else walked around, I protected the van. I know what the risk involves, and was unwilling to take it.

Now I have an hour at the airport, before taking a one hour flight. I swear I'll eat something when I get home, where I feel safe, and can run for the toilet if things don't work out well. Where nobody can get disgusted if things don't work out well. Except for my wife, who will take great glee in watching someone else suffer after the week she just had.

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Dear Lisa Vol. 3, on #LisaBurtonRadio

“Welcome to a special edition of Lisa Burton Radio. We run these out every once in a while, when I find myself without a guest. This time, it worked out to my advantage, but I never planned it that way.

“At the time of this broadcast, I’m working with Sean Harrington to make promotional posters for The Yak Guy Project. We already have some cool ones for The Enhanced League. I’m super excited to share these with you, but we have to wait for Craig to get some things accomplished.

“On episodes of Dear Lisa, I answer listener questions on the air, and today we have some doozies. Let’s get to the mail.”

Dear Lisa,

My dad ran over all my video games with his lawnmower! What a jerk. Just because I’m 30 years old and still live at home with no job, he thinks it’s okay to destroy my stuff. I have a good mind to– Well, anyway, I’m writing to you for advice. I plan to play video games professionally. That’s a job, right? How can make my parents understand?

Signed,

Frustrated in Farmington

“Wow, sorry to hear about that, Frustrated. It’s tough when your stuff gets ruined. You might want to assess why your father feels so strongly about your situation. After a bit of deep thought, you should probably have an adult conversation with him about it too.

“In an attempt to be ever helpful, I Googled the information for you. You know you can do this yourself, don’t you? It appears there are professional video game players. This is a world of competitions and prize money. Many of them supplement their income by filming practice sessions and selling access to view them. So I have to admit that it’s possible.

“Oh, and you might want to read The Yak Guy Project when Craig gets around to publishing it. It’s about a guy who’s a lot like you.

“The bigger picture is a man your age living at home, and not getting on with his life. Every person out there has a dream beyond their current reality. I’d like to be a super heroine, and I have the onboard equipment to pull it off too. It doesn’t appear to pay all that well though, and robot girls need things. See, a real job pays for things.

“For every wanna be fashion model there’s a barista. For every Major League Baseball player, there’s an Uber driver. Go for your dreams, but don’t forget to live a life while you’re at it. Craig would like to write full-time, but he keeps a paycheck job to cover the house payment and keep food on the table. Go get that first job and that first apartment. Then use your spare time to work on your gaming.

Let’s look at our next letter.

Dear Lisa,

My two sons drive me insane with their constant bickering. Between you and me, my eldest, Nathan, starts it. He thinks he’s the cat’s meow, and he never misses a chance to smear his good looks in poor Robbie’s face. He’s my baby. Such a wonderful boy, too, with straight A’s and on the honor roll every year. Nathan, on the other hand, has girls in and out of his room at all hours. He doesn’t think I know, but I do. I even slip condoms into his leather jacket. Lord knows if he ever uses them. At my tender age, I can’t be a grandmother! Ahem. Excuse me. My question is, how do I stop the rivalry between them? It’s not Robbie’s fault he wasn’t born with more brains than brawn.

Signed,

Desperate in Dakota

“Gee, Desperate, you don’t sound desperate. I get some frustrations and a lot of emotions toward both of your sons, but no desperation.

“They’re different people, and have to approach life differently. Find a way to encourage their talents and protect them from life’s pitfalls. The condom idea is good, but you can’t make him use them. Do what you can. Remember, Robbie may need them too. He might just be a little more discrete about things.

“I may be able to introduce Nathan to some romance authors. They might find a job for him.

“Oh, and as far as being a grandmother goes, if you were old enough to make a baby, and that baby is now capable of having sex, then yeah, you are. Buy some grandma pants, get a short perm, and get over it.

“Finally we have a letter from someone who wants to know how to get the most out of Lisa Burton Radio when their character is on the show. Okay, I made that part up, but it’s good data.

“First, be present. You’re going to get comments, and even some reblogs. You need to respond to those comments. You should probably visit the sites of those who shared the broadcast and thank them on their own page. It could turn out to be a good contact for you, you might find an incredible new blog to follow, plus you can help raise that blogger’s stats a bit.

“Second, share the post. Reblog it on your own site. Put it out on every social media you have, and not just on the day it posts. I see some tweeting out their interview a year after it was live. Make people like your characters, and they may want to read more, but only if they know about it. Feel free to use the #LisaBurtonRadio hashtag. That benefits me, and it costs you nothing.

“Third, come back. The broadcast usually gets comments for three or four days. You don’t have to live here, but don’t make a potential fan feel like you dismissed them.

“That’s it for our mailbox, but I have a bit more. I need guest characters to keep the show running. We aren’t exclusive to any particular genre, and have covered a broad swath around here. We even branched out into kidlit in the past month.

“Send me your jilted lovers, your dark lords, your heroes and heroines. Minions, I’ve never had a minion on the show, and that would be cool. It’s easy to do, and you might reach a bunch of new readers. Simply drop an email to coldhand (dot) boyack (at) gmail (dot) com, and let me know what you have in mind.

“I’ll be back after I finish modeling, and a few vacation days. I have access to email, and will help you out even if I’m not at the writing cabin.

“Remember, not only do I need guests, I’ll need letters for the Dear Lisa episodes too. If you don’t have a character, or if you’re not quite ready to promote, you can always send me a letter to answer on the air. It’s the same email address, and I’ll save it for Dear Lisa Volume Four.

“Thanks for tuning in. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

 

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My Publishing Checklist – Guest Post by, Craig Boyack…

I’m over at Chris Graham’s place today. The topic is planning for your next book release.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Licence to use obtained – Copyright masterpics123 123RF Stock Photo

Hi all you jungle dwellers, I’m back at the Ape’s tree house today to talk about my self-publishing checklist.

I recently finished a manuscript, and am on the verge of finishing another one. (It’s March at the time of this writing) I believe in the traditional advice of putting it away for a time, before I begin the editing process. During this time, I like to read and can work on the other book.

That doesn’t mean I’m stagnant as far as the finished MS goes. I just put in an order for cover art. My artist is fast, and usually delivers within a couple of weeks. My personal process also involves ordering a few promotional posters. These feature my spokesmodel, Lisa the robot girl. (Yes for Lisa’s legion of fans, there is new artwork on the way.)

If it…

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Camping, mushrooms, bulldogs

We just rolled in from our first 2017 camping trip. We left mid-day friday, because setting up in the dark sucks. Here’s Otto enjoying the sunset while dad enjoys a toddy.

I should probably crop this one down and save it somewhere. He almost glows in that afternoon sun. I didn’t get good pictures of the girls. They move around a lot, and brindle colors are like camouflage in the forest.

The next morning, the weather changed. It rained almost all day Saturday. Otto decided to rest his big, heavy, head on the table while I had coffee.

The plan was to hunt morels, my favorite mushroom. I really had no idea when to go after the goofy winter we had. We went a week later last year, and were almost too late.

Campgrounds have to be booked well in advance, and we reserved our site in January. I told Old What’s Her Face, we were going come Hell or high water. Turns out high water wasn’t too far off. The Payette river is always a violent white river, but the waves were as high as the pavement as we drove by this time.

My wife was cold all day, and decided to stay at camp. It turned out later that she must have gotten some kind of bug. She was thrilled to get some down time for reading though, so that’s a win for her.

I headed out on my own, and went directly to my best spot. I admit, I was starting to have some doubts about my chances about halfway there.

Landmark summit was white with snow. My spot is down the other side, so I went there anyway. I got lucky, because it was well below the snow line.

This isn’t to say the hunting was any good. I managed very few, but in true form; find one and there is always more than one. I gathered six big ones at one point.

When you hunt morels, you walk very slowly and look down. They aren’t colorful like Easter eggs, and I’ve even found them between my feet before. This method of hunting is why I nearly stepped on an elk calf hiding in the deadfall.

Let me tell you, when you’re all alone, in bear country, and something the size of a small pony jumps up under your feet, it wakes you right up.

False, or snow morels were out in abundance. These look almost brainlike, and vary from tennis ball to softball in size. You don’t eat this kind. There are at least three in this photo, and even they are hard to spot.

I’ve had times when I could fill coolers with good morels, but it’s been a few years. This year, I managed about half of one net bag. I have enough for a couple of nice steak toppings, or a couple of outstanding omelettes, but that’s it.

I heard they were finding them by the truckload out of Idaho City. That’s where the big fires were last summer. I just like the area we went. I like camping there, I like the mountains. I can always find a few this time of year, but I may have to make a day trip to Idaho City to keep my supply up.

Mushrooms are really a mycelium that lives underground. Remember these are a fungus, and not a vegetable. The mycelium looks like a giant cobweb. To keep things simple, I’m going to call them roots.

The edible part of any mushroom is it’s reproduction attempt. It’s not a lot different than an apple in that regard. Morels have one strange habit that a hunter can take advantage of. They invest a lot of time growing in a particular piece of ground. When that ground is damaged somehow, they panic and send up more mushrooms in an attempt to reproduce as their last act on earth. I think they’re drama queens, because the underground system can be huge, and there is one honey mushroom in Oregon that’s documented as covering several counties. Still, their strange habit is a bonus for a hunter.

Fire is the big one that everyone knows about. Deadfall trees do the same thing, and that’s where I look. I’ve found them down in the root balls before, but they’re usually ten plus feet from there. Remember this root system is pretty big. Someone blades a dirt road, I look there too. A woodcutter gets stuck, or leaves deep tire ruts in the woods, same thing. I spotted this little beauty at a deadfall.

This one appears to be a yellow morel. I also found black ones, and few of the little grey fire morels. They’re all good eating, and I wasn’t picky. I mentioned my stretchy net bag a few paragraphs ago. This is me attempting to be a good steward of the resource. Mushrooms don’t have seeds, they have spores, and distributing them is the goal of the fruit. I carry a net bag in hopes that if they are dropping spores, I will leave those spores on the forest floor.

Otto and I went on a couple of big walks through the campground when I got home. He did his “bulldog ambassador to the world” routine, and met quite a few people and dogs. He absolutely loves everyone. It was fun meeting another bulldog in camp. She was white, and had on a cute little raincoat. It was raining, so I didn’t get a picture of them.

I don’t want the girls to get left out, but I didn’t get a good photo. Here is some kind of bulldog version of tug-o-war using a stick. They might call it push-o-war, since they’re backwards.

I hope all of you had a great weekend.

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