Announcement

To Dream, Book Two of the Soliloquy, will not be released until October 2015. Yes, this is nearly a year after its original release date, but it is for a good reason.

Regal Crest and I want to put out the best book we can. And while To Dream is a damn good book as it is, there’s a few things in it that need some more rewriting and editing. No, I am not cat licking the novel and not letting go of it, honest. To Dream is like The Two Towers, an in-between book with lots of growth, lots of directions, but not much actually happening except growing tension. It sets up the next two books, mostly. And that is hard to do and make it worth the reader’s time. It is VERY character driven, one character with the others in very strong, supportive roles.

For me, it was a hard decision to make. But then we missed an important deadline (you would not believe the angst Real Life has thrown Heather and me!). The decision had to be made and we made it and it is done.

Fast Forward to Chapter Six!

Usually, the beginnings just explode out, all messy and nasty, like a can of Coke from my nephew. Then it settles down and I go with the rhythms of the characters and the story, sometimes the setting, too. That rhythm may usually will include some plot holes and some kicking and screaming but, gah, that screamin’ don’t usually happen so dang early!

Butch Girls 2 (aka BG2, aka Butch Girls and U-Hauls, aka Butch Girls: Intentional, aka What the Hell Am I Going to Call It?) is about Nikki Rogers and Ellen Hess. I actually started it before BGCFA but I didn’t like it and set it aside. Then I wrote BGCFA in NaNoWriMo ’04 and the rest is herstory. For one, I could never agree with myself on how the two of them were supposed to meet. And I guess I still can’t.

Option 1 was to have Ellen and her friend Samantha move down and be on Nikki’s mail route.
Option 2 was to have Nikki and Ellen meet online somehow.

I’ve written both ways several times and both has potential but I like Option 2 the best because it can be more, plot wise. Anyway, maybe because I went back and forth so many times, mostly on the dang beginning, that here I am doing it AGAIN, that my brain just says “WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME!?!?!?!”.

Anyway, I need to get to writing it and stop whining it. Right? Write? Wright?

Trying Out New Themes

So while I think about the beginning of this book I’m trying to write, I’m still working on my websites. I now have only two of them to keep track of. I dumped the contents of all the others, even got rid of the databases for them. I am such a digital hoarder. I admit that.

Anyway, the theme I have been using is one I kinda did myself based off one of the original ones from many years ago. I like my CSS stylesheet to be neat and tidy, not the mess they have it now. And it was working just fine, but more and more plugins were getting hard to get to work if I needed them to run on a page vs run in the background.

“They’re Just Words” (my official site) has had a “real” theme for a while now but it is all pages and very static. “Thought Patterns” however, has a lot going on. Or it once did. Anyway, I’ve looked at a bunch of themes, tried them out. I didn’t want one with flashing crap or rotating images or rolling news feeds. I wanted:

  • light colors
  • two columns
  • right sidebar
  • single image across entire top
  • OR right sidebar that goes all the way to the top
  • custom colors
  • custom anything else I could do

Oh what fun it has been finding any to fit all that. Then to trial them and see if I could figure them out. Some were so funkily CSS coded, I couldn’t find anything! One looked good but was very, very widget dependent. If it wasn’t a widget, I don’t think it could go into the sidebar. I tried putting a line of text inside some code to see where it would appear in the sidebar and it…well, it was a mess. Another was beautiful but you could only have 3 custom menus for the entire design. Just three??

But I think I like the one I am using now, called Catch Evolution. A little to bright white for me so I may gray it up a bit. And the upper right menu bar, the title of it is in black inside the brown and can’t be read. I need to dig through the CSS and find it.

Let me know what you think.

Oh, and the plugin found close to 1600 broken links. Not surprising for a blog that’s been around for almost 11 years. I got almost all of them on the main site and will slowly work through them on this one. So anything that is faded and has a line through it is a broken link.

It’s Alive!

I think. I hope.

They’re Just Words (main part, professional part)
Looks ‘xactly the same and should have no issues. You will notice two differences immediately. One may be annoying and please let me know. All external links will have the “external link” icon next to it. If you find that distracting, tell me! Personally, I’m not fond of it but it’s something I am trying. The other difference will be some links with lines through them. That means they are broken and I need to fix them. Of course there may be a few other things here and there that are new. Like a new “captcha” for comments I’m trying.

As far as things being broken still, there’s a few pages with specific purpose, such as the sitemap, that are not working since they are plugin or code dependent. Those still need to be fixed. Most of the major changes were behind the scenes. WordPress is an awesome software and luckily this site has a “real” theme with very few changes to it.

Thought Patterns (the good, the bad, the fugly)
The problem with good old Thought Patterns is it’s been around a loooong time. Which means a huge database with lots of stuff that I wasn’t sure was still needed or not so I was just leaving tables still there. So the blog was getting slower, taking up a lot of room, and just asking for trouble. Which was surprising it was not the one hacked. Or maybe the hackers just didn’t want to deal with all the clutter and went for nice and neat TJW instead. We’ll never know.

Once I figured out what I was doing and got the other half working, I got to work on this one. Which wasn’t easy. The theme I use is based off one of the original themes from way, way back and is so customized, I’m surprised it still works with each update. The CSS file, bless its heart, is what holds this site together. It’s a strong beastie.

So. Plugins. Outdated. Wow were they. Replacing some many most of them was impossible. Luckily I’d found replacements for the important ones when doing the other so all I had to do was either find something for the others or decide if I really and truly needed whatever it was that plugin did. I opted for the latter.

Which means some things no longer exist. If you were subscribed to be notified of new posts, that no longer exists. I can’t find one that does what I want without also notifying you of everything else under the sun (like if I update a page or log on). And there’s going to be some older posts with some missing stuff in it. Broken code, missing images, etcetera. Get over it.

Anyway, I could go on and on about what is working and what is not. But I’d rather go sit out in the sun with my dog and my honey. So have fun with the “new” sites and let me know what you think. And let me know if anything is not working.

Whisper Update

So an update on Whisper girl.

It’s been over two months on the two different enzymes to treat the “exocrine pancreatic inefficiency” (EPI) thing, something GSDs get. Then she got really sick and tired of the enzymes and refused to eat. She’d eat anything else but not her meals. She would either lay down or turn and leave the room.

Last Wednesday (4th), Lorna took her to the vet (I had a killer headache). Whisper had not gained any weight maybe a pound or two. So our wonderful vet started over again, looking at the entire Whisper puzzle again.

– The blood test for the EPI had come back borderline anyway but it can be. We had assumed it was the cause for the weight loss and the lack of weight gain since it is oh so typical of the breed. Dr K tossed that diagnosis out the door.
– Whisper’s urine had a ton of bacteria but she had no fever. White blood cell count was normal. (see? puzzle)
– Red blood cell count was low. She was anemic.
– We decided to do some other blood tests to see some other numbers and based on those, we may or may not do an ultrasound. One of the tests was a better red blood cell count which would tell how long she had been anemic.
– Based on those results, which were even more puzzling, we opted to do the ultrasound the next day. They were looking for several things. Whisper had gone through a heat (yay) several months ago so it could be a uterine infection, which would account for the bacteria and the anemia but not the weight loss. There could be something intestinal which would account for the weight loss and the anemia but not the bacteria. An ultrasound would see both of those things as well as other organs.

The ultrasound results were puzzling, of course.
– Liver looked good.
– The intestines were fine. If she had the EPI, they would be thickened so that dx just officially got kicked. (which is good ’cause that enzyme is expensive!)
– The uterus was fine, although slightly enlarged but not unusual. No infection there.
– But the spleen had an “undefined” area. In ultrasound speak, you want everything to be defined. You want to know this is this and that is that. You don’t want blurry and fuzzy. It seemed to be just one area of it so it could be an infection that just isn’t big enough to warrant a fever.

After discussion with Dr K, we decided Whisper would get spayed and they would do exploratory surgery to look at the spleen and a few other places. That was done today.

Whisper’s entire spleen was “thickened”. It was removed and was sent off for biopsy. Based on the results of that, we’ll know what to do next. Dogs (and humans) can live without a spleen, even though it is a blood filtering organ.

We went to see her this afternoon. She was still kinda stoned but far too happy to see us. She began bleeding from her surgical wound while we were there and they had to do patch work on her.

We will speak with the Great Dr Knepshield tomorrow and know more specifics.

Gumption, Where Art Thou?

I worked hard to get line edits for To Dream out to the editor. And now…I don’t want to do anything. I do, but I don’t. I don’t even want to play ‘puter games. Maybe it’s spring. Maybe it’s the storm front about to come through. Maybe it’s Mars in retrograde with Mercury and Saturn is somethinganother.

I’ve got other things to do, too! I’m over halfway through Perchance, the third book in the Soliloquy series (To Sleep, To Dream, Perchance, To Die). I am working on the next Butch Girl book, even though the title of it eludes me. It is Nikki’s story and the working title is Butch Girls and U-Hauls. I’m also working on Harri’s story, Butch Girls and Stereotypes since the two books are either going to happen at the same time or something. They are linked together.

And I want to get Perchance done and at least one BG book done so I can FINALLY FINALLY get Simple Sarah done! Good freakin’ grief! I know you love that book, but it is time to let go, Paula.

If heavy sighing counted as working as a writer, I’d be famous.

He Was So Sassy

Sassafras came to us like so many others. He just chose us and arrived. We at first thought he belonged to someone else but then we saw his long fur was looking matted, a sign he was a stray. Great. He wouldn’t let us near him. Ran if we got too close. Spent all day hanging out at our place. He loved laying in the sun up on some wood we had but he’d take off if a human dared to get within ten feet.

When he started looking thin, we decided it was time to do something. We put some dry food in a metal bowl and took it to the end of the ramp where the cement pad is. We rattled the bowl, a universal sound for cats. He was out there and had ran to hide under one of the cars. We went to sit on the steps, partly just to get him used to us being outside, but mostly because we were talking about something another we wanted to do outside. We heard him eating so figured in a few weeks, maybe we’d catch him.

He finished eating, sauntered down the ramp toward us, and threw himself into Lorna’s lap. Just like that, he was home. This cat we could not get close to had decided we were all right after all.

That was way back in, we think, 2003. He was, we think, about 5 or so years old. So he was about 13-16yrs old. So he wasn’t a spring chicken! He was on medication for hypertension and a special diet for kidney failure. His kidney values weren’t too bad, but were on their way and the theory was the sooner we started the diet, the slower the failure would happen. Two months ago, his kidney value was still just within the realm of “iffy” but not “ohmygod” bad.

Today, April 29, 2014, we let him go. He wouldn’t eat for Lorna Friday morning but when I gave him food a few hours later, he ate a little. Some other stuff happened and we got him a “work in” appointment Friday afternoon and he stayed there Friday night.

Basically, Sass was dehydrated and constipated. His kidneys was putting out the fluid so fast, his body wasn’t able to use any of it. When I picked him up on Saturday, I was told he should have a BM sometime over the weekend, if not, to call them Monday. He didn’t. Monday we got an appt. with our usual vet, Dr. Knepshield, who gave him a thorough exam.

The plan of action for Monday night was to do fluids again and do an ultrasound in the morning. We left him there again and went out to eat before going home. When we got home, Dr. K had left a message to say that when she got him to the back where the lighting was better, they noticed that one side of his nose seemed swollen. They were going to start him on an antibiotic into his I.V. but did we still want to do the ultrasound? An infection (tooth, sinus, etc) could be causing most of the other issues. We said sure, do it.

Dr. K called me this morning and I knew from her voice that it wasn’t good. Sass had a mass on his liver (cancer), his somethinganother duct from his kidneys was something (she was using big words), and his blood work came back not good at all. In other words, Sass had a lot of problems and being constipated was just the most outward symptom and the final symptom. There was nothing we could do. We were not even talking about months, we were talking about less than a week.

We had the option to learn how to give him the fluids and bring him home for a day or two and we did seriously consider that. Lorna’s given a cat fluids before (they get it subcutaneously vs in a vein). But Sass hated, absolutely hated getting into the crate and going to the vet. Every time he had to go in for something, he had to be bathed because he would either poop or pee (or both) all over the crate and himself. It just was not worth it. We’re talking about quality of life at that point and that experience far outweighed everything else.

So we let him go.

We’ll miss you, big man. Say hi to everyone for us.