Tag Archives: Pets

Glamping with bulldogs

I complained about our camping trip this week. I like to know where we’re going, and what we might be going for. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, but with no idea, it bothers me.

To make matters worse, it’s +/- the Fourth of July. My wife’s big plan was to go somewhere and camp out. Campsites are reserved months ahead of time around here, but they all offer a few that are first come first served. That was my only solace.

I asked for two weeks where we were going, and she never was able to spit out a location. She narrowed it down to about ten general areas, which is no answer at all.

On the Fourth, I said we were going somewhere around McCall. I chose this, because there is a sewer dump available in the area. (Two actually) It wasn’t a great reason, but at least it was no longer random driving.

There was a ton of traffic heading back to Boise, and most of them were towing campers. I decided we should at least look at Ponderosa State Park. Our chances were slim of getting a site, but it wasn’t far out of our way to check.

There were zero sites at Ponderosa, so I decided to head down Warren Wagon Road. There are lesser Forest Service sites all over the area, and if nothing else we could bushwhack another site.

Ultimately we wound up in a nice Forest Service campground alongside Upper Payette Lake. This was my office for two days.

When we got there it was over a hundred degrees. Bulldogs and heat do not get along. I left them in the truck with the AC running while I set up the generators and got the camper AC running.

It took hours to drop the inside from ninety degrees to eighty degrees. The pups had to wear their wet bandanas and drink lots of water.

Friday was much better. We got a head start on the heat, and it only got up to the mid eighties. The dogs got to play outside, and even took a walk. Otto loves meeting people and there were plenty to visit with around the campground.

Frankie is a bit more reserved, and even barks at people who walk by. She appreciated the cool green grass on her tummy though.

We got out of town with no movies, and there was no cellular service either. About all there was to do was read, and I did plenty of that. My wife brought her satellite radio and I listened to about half of a baseball game on Friday night. My team lost. I didn’t listen last night and they won. My curse is intact.

Some of you may not know how I was raised. We camped all the time. As teenagers, we would throw sleeping bags on the ground and sleep beside the fire with nothing but coyotes and stars to keep us company.

When we were a young couple, we had an army tent with cots for all the kids and a wood stove inside.

As one gets older, a camper has a lot more appeal. I never wanted all the flashy stuff that comes with a modern camper, but there really is no choice. As we’ve gotten used to it, I kind of look forward to movie nights out camping. I missed that this time.

Friday we took a drive to check out other camping areas. We drove all the way to Bergdorf Hot Springs, but didn’t stop to swim. It was packed and people were everywhere.

On the way home, our drive devolved into watching for a place that had a decent cell signal. This was so we could do our daily chores on some stupid video games we play.

How did it come to this? Camping has become movie time, satellite radio, and withdrawals from the internet.

Oh, and we ate well. The first night was just brats and some leftovers from home. Last night was steak and marinated shrimp on the barbie. I also downed two really nice bottles of stout.

I read about half of a great book, and will probably finish it while I’m still on vacation. I also added several thousand words to my new story. Old What’s Her Face and the bulldogs like to sleep in, and several hours each morning were dedicated to writing time. There are worse places to kick back and write.

My pirates got involved in a bit of larceny, pulled off a huge con, and had to fight their way out of port. They’re on the open seas now and headed for a neutral country. I expect with four more vacation days to make some serious progress.

Here is the obligatory scenery picture. Idaho is a beautiful state, and everywhere you turn is something worth seeing.

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Not exactly truffle dogs.

We just got back from camping. We spent two glorious days in the wilderness without wifi or cellular service. All of the campsites were full, including a couple bushwhacker style ones we enjoy. This time we wound up far back in the woods. We only saw one other vehicle pass by in two days.

The dogs actually got to play off leash. They do this every day in the back yard, but around other campers I always control them. They really enjoyed the forest, and never tried to roam out of sight.

We hoped to find morels. This is the weekend we usually go, but I told my wife we were going to be too late this year. The seasons seem like they’re three weeks ahead of other years.

We had a huge western thunderstorm friday night. I have to admit I love these. Sitting in the camper during a deluge, or under the awning just clicks with me. It knocked down the pollens too, and I appreciate that.

Storms usually bring on fungus blooms, and this one did. Just not the morels. I found this one though. It’s very picturesque, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the deadlier Amanita species.

We went to my wife’s favorite spot to search for morels. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. We’ve never been skunked here before. Frankie was more interested in finding the right stick to chew up. She doesn’t like them on the ground, but if they protrude from a log or a tree it makes her day.

Otto was just happy to follow dad around and look at whatever dad found.

This was the view about a mile from camp.

It looks like there should be buffalo out there, but not in Idaho. Unless it’s the border of Yellowstone.

We grilled up three lobsters Saturday night and ate like kings. They weren’t big ones, and we split the odd one between us.

Mosquitos were out in force, and we’re going to have to replenish our Deet supply before we go out again.

I managed a little writing time. Words flew from my fingers like never before.

The crew managed to escape the giant jellyfish, which the root monsters named Big Boogah. (Yes, Boogah means just what you might think it means.) They escaped in dramatic and adventurous fashion too. There were many who played a role, including some quick and dangerous thinking, and one feat of strength that impressed a few crew mates.

My pirates managed a big party to celebrate escaping the jellyfish, and the tropical storm. They’re headed for calm seas now, but they aren’t going to find them all that calm.

They uncovered a thief aboard the ship, held a mini Courts Marshal, and dealt with the perpetrator. Chamberpots were redistributed, and I must remember to use the term thundermug. This sounds like an appropriate word for the root monsters to use.

There is something going on with this story that I can’t quite put my finger on. Some stories use world building to gain a long popularity. I’m talking Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter stuff. I feel like I’m getting close to that ground here.

My crew has many broken characters. I’m only giving glimpses into their pasts, but it feels like enough to entice readers to want more. Readers will get a peek at a vast world that can let their imaginations roam after they’ve read the story.

I’ve been accused of white room, or white page syndrome before. My personal goal behind the scenes is to flesh out more of the setting, and I think it’s working.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time finding a midpoint for this one. This is usually where the bottom falls out, the big plan is a failure, and they have to regroup somehow. Don’t get me wrong, some of this is planned out, but it won’t happen until closer to the end of the story. (I’m going with it for now.)

My next event will involve another sea battle, but some unusual evidence will turn up. I’m going to have to do a bit of research into brass cannons, and how big they got using brass. Obviously, steel is stronger, but brass was pretty popular.

Then I’m going to take them to Serang’s country to pull off a bit of a con game against their enemies. This will let me build more of her sad story into the tale, but only bits and pieces enough to carry the story. Of course a bit of color and pageantry should also be in the mix.

I’m off tomorrow. No idea whether it will be a writing day or not. I kind of hope it is.

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The heavens parted today

Some days even I get lucky. I made it a point to sleep in a bit and get a slow start. I wanted to surf through social media while having my first cup of coffee.

It actually felt good, but the dogs wanted me to get on with it. They took up their positions to remind me.

There is Frankie, who thinks she’s part monkey by climbing behind me.

Here is Otto, who has claimed one arm of my chair.

Today the words just wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop when I did. Old What’s Her Face called to say she’d gotten off work, or I’d still be at it.

At that time, I paused to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews and schedule another announcement for a friend. Lots of new books coming out right now.

As far as my story goes, I concluded the romantic interlude. It made for a fun tropical vacation. A message in a bottle got dropped into the ocean, some skinny dipping occurred. A creature similar to an anteater appeared on the beach, only he’s a snaileater. Glow in the dark tiny bats made an appearance similar to fireflies.

When the kids got back to town, the captured ship had been completely stripped, painted, renamed (Lanternfish) and is getting ready to set sail. I even amazed myself at the way I stitched some things together.

I built that bit of doubt I mentioned the other night, then quelled it with a small private action and a bit of dialog. This served to strengthen the bonds of friendship amongst the main characters.

A couple of the main characters got new outfits, and one purchased a bird called an anvil bird. He’s like a combo of parrot, toucan, and hornbill. Sean Harrington may have to paint him one day down the road.

The woman who bought the bird revealed a very personal issue, and dealt with the matter by purchasing the bird. Too spoilerish for her character arc to go into more detail.

I even introduced a new crew member. Since this is an alternate world, using words like Asian, Chinese, or even the outdated Oriental won’t quite work. I gave her Eastern features and left it at that. I’ll probably have to go back and work that out later.

Her name is Serang. She’s tall, thin, beautiful, and deadly. She carries a single bladed pole weapon. Another creation called a bay frog got speared. (Frogs don’t live in salt water in reality, plus this one is big.)

I have some cool plans for Serang.

A bigger ship requires a bigger crew, but I can’t name them all. I need enough to make it feel like a whole crew, but limit dialog and actions to those with names.

Oddly enough, I did it all without root monsters, the moving reef, or any of the other sub stories.

Tomorrow, I really want to dive into it again, but it’s also the day I call my parents. I’ll sacrifice a few hours there any time.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekends. Probably wrap up the day with Baseball, salted caramel stout, and Papa Murphy.

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An update

My regulars will probably understand that I’m involved in a blog tour right now. I’ve been sweeping through those posts like a madman and trying to keep up with the comments. I’ve also been sharing them on this site, so if you miss one, you can link to it from here.

I garnered a couple of awesome reviews, and books are selling. As a new publication, I can always use more sales and reviews. Fingers crossed that the remaining tour posts will net some more folks next week. There aren’t many left, but they are productive locations.

I got a notice from Stumbleupon that some of my posts are being shared. Both Flipboard and Stumbleupon are kind of odd ducks. Either of them can cause a post to go crazy, but they have an odd rule to keep in mind. They don’t want you only sharing your own content. If you do, they’ll filter you back.

This filter is all run by bots of some kind, so they don’t know what the content involves, just what blog I shared it from. When I checked out the notice, the Stumbleupon action was about my blog tour posts, but only because I shared the host’s post and not my own. Kind of a cool trick. I’m in the habit of sharing other posts from my friends, so I don’t get filtered now.

If you got some action from SU, that could have been because of me this week.

Yesterday, I did some minimal yard work, and still need to work on the sprinkler system. The dogs got to chase the squirrel. Well, Otto likes to chase him, Frankie likes to chase Otto.

They’ve gotten so attuned to the squirrel that we have to be careful saying the word. We moved on to rodent, and now they know that too. I’ve taken to referring to the arboreal mammal.

Yesterday, Frankie spotted him and put her feet on the sliding glass door. Then she checked for Otto. When I got up, the squirrel was perched on the fence, and looking toward her in the house. I swear the squirrel is into it too and wanted me to let them out. End result, everyone is crazy and happy.

We even managed a cheap date night last night.

Today, I dealt with three more Lisa interviews. I really want to get back to my WIP, but by putting it off, it freed me up for my release, tour, and some of my blog duties. I’m hoping to return to my story next month.

I also wrote my next post for Story Empire and got it scheduled today. I consider it a fairly productive weekend. Tomorrow will be all about calling my parents and working on that sprinkler system.

Hope all of you are having a great weekend.

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Riding the wave

Life seems to come in waves. If you’re on a roll with a project, it seems to build it’s own momentum. Projects at the office seem to go that way too. When things go wrong, they seem to keep going wrong.

I’ve completely given up on my WIP for now. This is the pirate story, and I’m desperate to get back to it. Even the determination to set it aside makes me feel better. It’s one less thing I have to worry about.

I have company this weekend, and that comes with it’s own challenges. I elected to stay home with Dad while my wife and mother went to town. I don’t need anything from town anyway.

Dad and I talked a bunch yesterday, but today he wants to stare at the Golf Channel. I took the opportunity to work on things that don’t require deep thought.

One of those things is The Yak Guy Project. I wrote two more advance blog posts. Since I know this story so well, I don’t have to work in total silence. Putting together a unique promo post isn’t that hard.

I also sent Yak Guy to my formatter. I’ve convinced myself that summer releases suck, at least in my genres. May isn’t quite summer though, is it?

The dogs woke me up early this morning. I took advantage to write up one shtick for Lisa Burton Radio and got it sent to the author. It wasn’t two or three, but even one is forward progress.

Honestly, I never expected to get this much done, so it’s kind of a bonus.

In other news, it looks like we need a new battery for my wife’s car. That’s not a huge deal, but it’s about par for the course lately.

This is a wave, and I’ll ride it out. There will be another wave, and hopefully it has a pirate ship and a few monsters on it.

I feel good about moving Yak Guy forward. This means two releases in 2018, and that isn’t bad. I don’t feel the need to complete my current project for a 2018 release. It could happen come winter, but if it happens in 2019 that’s fine too.

On a fun note, when my daughter got a cat, I was worried about Frankie wanting to kill him. She has a different attitude about such things. There was some careful monitoring of their relationship along the way.

These days, Frankie and Jackson the cat are best buds. Good enough to eat from the same dish.

Frankie has more of an underslung jaw than Otto. She tends to flick kibble out of her bowl when she eats. Jackson likes to bat them around the floor before eating them himself.

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Mediocre Wednesday

This is my first flex day since my trip to New Orleans. I got one day off, when I returned home, then had to return to the office. This means I had high hopes for today.

There were three goals: Work on Lisa Burton interviews, add back material to a novel, work on my current novel.

I accomplished that, but it was a stretch to call it productive. I tried to do the writing in the early hours. The dogs are usually quiet, and my daughter is still in bed. I got up about 5:30 and got started.

These two usually crawl up in my oversized chair and conk out for a while. Some days they jockey for position, and today was one of those. Frankie tries to get Otto interested in anything else, so he will get down and she can steal the sweet spot.

This led to Frankie wanting outside about a hundred times, but Otto wasn’t biting. She brought toys up and stuck them in his face. Nope.

I added to the problem, because old guys have to get up and pee frequently. I still added to my WIP, but it was only around 1500 words. It feels disappointing, but my characters dealt with an attack by the assassins, a swivel gun (small cannon) blew the crap out of a bunch of people, and they left town under cover of darkness. My main character has made a sea change in how he’s going about his business.

This means, he’s decided he isn’t his father and his skills are in a different field, and that field is the sea. I’ll have to wait until next weekend to dig up some graves and launch the first ship in this tale.

My daughter got up and brought this to an end. She talked my ears off until it was time for her to go to work. I love her, but this was a loss of hours of possibility.

The next thing that happens is my wife returning from work. In the small gap in between, I tackled the other projects.

I managed one shtick for a Lisa Burton interview and sent it out.

I added a title page and copyright data to the MS of The Yak Guy Project. I also wrote some end material to the book — twice. I have no idea what happened there. I added it, and it was gone. This is a major freak out point for me, because I wonder what else happened to the MS. It’s completely edited, and ready to go. Now I’ll probably have to read it again to make sure something isn’t plunked into the center of the book that doesn’t belong there.

No rush, because I don’t have the cash for formatting right now, but it’s not what I wanted to happen.

New Orleans earned me some comp time. I may have to take a day and use it selfishly for my projects. This is a tough time to take from work, but I might wrangle a day. After May, I could probably take a week, but I want Yak Guy out before Summer.

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Home once more

I got home about 10:00 last night. My final seminar lasted until noon, and I had a tight connection in Houston. Of course Houston had traffic problems, so we got parked on the runway in NOLA.

By the time we got there, we had to run from one plane to the other, but we made it. This left me in a position of having the standard powdered egg breakfast at my hotel, and nothing else all day. I planned on a burger in Houston.

I avoided sitting by the weirdo, or the rowdy children on the planes. Everything was good until the last plane, Houston to Boise. This is when the lady who marinated in perfume sat beside me. I sneezed the whole way home.

It was a good trip. I went to some good seminars, volunteered for a few projects, and got to see some old friends from other states. Even got my one night out for a decent meal.

The dogs were happy to see me. We had to play with all their toys today. I woke up to this in my back yard.

If the weather allows it, I could have some peaches this summer. I don’t see any bees yet, so I hope a few show up.

I worked up shticks for two more Lisa Burton Radio interviews and got them out the door. I have a dozen I could work on, but don’t see the value in creating a backlog when it comes time to post them.

I also wrote and scheduled my next item on Story Empire. I tried to simplify a complex issue, so we’ll see how it comes across. I added one photo, but it doesn’t seem sexy enough for Story Empire. I may find another image and squeeze it in. It doesn’t post for another week.

Now I have to baby my sourdough starter. My wife kept it fed, but it looks like it took a hit. I’ll have it in baking shape in a week.

Many of you asked about Laurie’s trick for the Charlie horses. This was down in the comments the other day. She said to place a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near where I got all the cramps. I tried it, and did not get any more Charlie horses. I toned down the long walks, and drank more water, so I can’t say for sure if the soap made the difference, but there were no more cramps.

I googled this and it’s a real thing. I don’t care so much about the science behind it. If it lets me sleep and gets rid of the cramps, I’m all over it. Thank you, Laurie.

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