On Writing ‘n Stuff

Not my desk, or my photo.

Not my desk, or my photo. (Nancy L. Stockdale, Flickr Creative Commons)

You may recall that my cat was diagnosed with gallstones. I spent a month fearing that without surgical intervention my cat would get sick again as soon as she went off her meds. I didn’t know what to do. Then, one night, as I sat on my couch editing a book for a freelance project, I came up with an idea. I needed to write a book, get an advance, and use it to pay for the cat’s surgery.

I know that sounds like a bad plan, and it would be except that I work for a publishing company with a book wing — and the publisher had been trying to get me to write a book for years. We just hadn’t been able to come up with a subject that interested us both. But I’d recently been toying with an idea that I thought would work. So I quickly shot off an email and asked if it would be of interest.

It was.  Read the rest of this entry »

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My June Garden 2014

I am waiting impatiently. I’ve gotten some strawberries, lettuce, spinach, and bok choi, but everything else is still tantalizingly small. Cucumbers are starting–and climbing like mad–while tiny squash start to make an appearance. I’ve got some small but nice green tomatoes, and the peas are starting to flower. I picked a single jalapeno, but the other peppers and eggplants are still elusive.

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This year I built a big trellis around one end of the garden to get as many of the vines up off the ground as possible. That’s what you see at the end.

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My Cat Has Gallstones. I Am at a Loss.

dsMy cat is sick. It’s a long story that starts with an emergency trip to the vet the day before I left for vacation, and ends…well…it hasn’t ended yet. As it turns out she has stones in her pancreatic and bile ducts. This is very unusual, and could be caused by a range of things from infection (not a big deal) to liver cancer (very big deal). The only way to know for sure what is causing these stones is an expensive and invasive surgery.

I am conflicted, to say the least.

There are meds that can break up the stones, but she reacted badly to them. She had gotten much better on antibiotics, and when the Ursodiol was introduced, she stopped eating again and had loose stools. We quickly discontinued the meds. She’s back to feeling good on her meds, but the stones will continue to present a problem as long as they are in there. They could move and cause other problems and pain. They could also continue to get infected, wreaking havoc every few weeks or months. And of course, we still don’t know what caused them in the first place so there may be underlying issues. Read the rest of this entry »

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My May Garden 2014

I know…I know…You’ve been sitting at you computer, relentlessly hitting the reload button in hopes that I’ll start posting pictures from my garden. Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve been on a photo-taking spree. There isn’t a whole lot happening when it comes to the vegetable garden, but the flowers are really starting to shine. In some cases, I’m even getting blooms on plants that haven’t flowered before.

The lupines are starting to bloom. There’s a yellow one behind that wall of green. I don’t remember if they bloomed last year or not, but they certainly didn’t look like this.

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What We Can Learn from Boggs Mountain

Shortly after I adopted Maybelle I saw a horrible story in the news. A woman named “Peanut Kirby” who ran an animal shelter in Georgia was accused of taking donation money for a “Lucky Dogs” program under false pretenses. She told donors that their money would save a dog and then she would send the donor pictures of the dogs being adopted. But really she was putting the dogs down and using the money to feed her gambling habit. This story would have been bad enough, but the organization — Boggs Mountain Shelter — sounded familiar. I went and looked at Maybelle’s paperwork and sure enough there it was. My dog had been sent from Boggs Mountain to the Connecticut Humane Society.

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I’ve followed the case over the past couple of years and this week Peanut was found guilty. I’m glad to see justice being served, but I also hope that this case has brought attention to the larger problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Surviving the Library Book Sale

20140512-195851.jpgFor quite some time now I’ve been trying to read Jonathan Franzen’s Freedomwithout having to actually buy it and give that condescending fancypants any money. A library would seem to be the obvious choice, but my cousin informed me that there is a  rather large late fee associated with our old address so I’ve been avoiding it. Then, this weekend, my boyfriend and I headed to the center of town to get breakfast at a coffee shop before walking over to a plant sale where a local community farm was selling heirloom tomato plants. And it just so happened that the library I can’t set foot in was also having its annual book sale that day.

I’d never actually been to one of these book sales before. I assumed it would be filled with books like the ones I donate to the library every year: old textbooks, stuff I inherited and never read, and a dictionaries no one needs anymore. There was a lot of that. I even found myself wondering if some of the books I saw on the tables were mine, but I headed straight for the fiction table and almost immediately spotted a hardcover copy of Freedom. An old man was in my way and he didn’t look like he was in a hurry to move along. He wasn’t like a frail old man or anything. He was  tall, and I’d like to think he’s a runner.  I say this because I practically had to elbow him out of the way before  the book vultures could swoop in and steal my chance to screw Jonathan Franzen out of his royalty.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Tao of Theresa

Fresh eggs make me feel very zen.

I feel a special kind of satisfaction when someone blares their horn at me for no reason–usually at a stop light–and then has to follow me for a few miles. It’s even better when they blare their horn again before turning. I mean, it’s a little mean-spirited but I can’t help smiling at the knowledge that someone is fuming–however temporarily–over something so small, while I continue on my merry way. I leave feeling like I’ve just given someone a little lesson in not sweating the small stuff.

I found myself in front of an angry driver on my way home from the grocery store this evening, and I started thinking about it in a new way because, last night before bed, I started reading The Tao of Pooh. My Kindle needed charging, and so I picked up the book that was laying on my nightstand, waiting for me to finish Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which is taking me awhile because of the less than page-turning plot).

I instantly connected with the Taoist philosophy (as explained through Winnie the Pooh) in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t consider myself a religious–or even particularly spiritual–person. If I had to pick something I’d probably become a Wiccan (because I’d get to dress like Stevie Nicks and celebrate the solstice and whatnot). This sounds like a pretty good philosophy, right: “Harmony and balance encourage to neither be too good nor too bad, but to find the balance in our lives.” Sounds to me like if we could all take a lesson from the Wiccans, the world would be a much better place. But Pooh has his own wisdom to share.

“We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.”

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Happy Sunday: Crossing Tennessee

By the time you read this, I will be leaving Knoxville, TN and on my way to New Orleans — the second stop of a roadtrip to Laredo, TX. I will be tired, probably pumping myself full of caffeine and just wishing I could stretch my legs. And I will be listening to my roadtrip mix, which will involve a whole lot of Otis Redding.

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Happy Sunday: The Things I’m Living Down

The new Johnny and June? I think so.

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More cute than you can handle…

 

maybelle izzy

Pinned! Is she down for the count?

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Going Vegetarian, Getting Rid of Sugar, and Becoming Smoothie Obsessed

20130818-191659.jpgA few weeks ago I decided to tackle my sugar addiction once and for all. You can blame NPR for reporting the dangers sugar poses to the cardiovascular system, and for someone telling me that Agave nectar is as bad for you as high-fructose corn syrup. There was also the small fact that I was chowing down on donuts all winter like a bear preparing for hibernation. It was a huge problem. My pants were getting a little too tight.

My cousin started the Paleo diet a few months ago, and while the program didn’t seem right for me — that much meat is bad for you, and for the environment — there were some rules that made sense to me. I don’t believe in “diets” because they aren’t sustainable. Eventually you go off of them, and then what? I’ve always been a big proponent of adopting rules that make sense for you in the long-term. But when my cousin told me how she’d cheated on her Paleo diet during the Super Bowl, and woke up the next morning feel so hungover she almost had to call out of work, it convinced me that there were some changes I could make that would have me looking and feeling better.

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Happy Sunday: From Rust Cohle

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I’m Fully on Board with the McConaissance/Obsessed with True Detective

I am no small amount of obsessed with True Detective…specifically Matthew McConaughey, who I suspect of being a half-lunatic. Seriously, this guy pulls off crazy eyes like no other! He is also the most convincing functional drunk I’ve ever seen–like, h e even looks like actual alcoholics I know. He’s got the thousand yard stare of someone who isn’t all there down to a T!

But what I’m even more fascinated by is how the internet has completely lost its mind theorizing about the final episode. Here are a few examples:

One Last Wild True Detective Theory Before the Finale

This one about the Lawnmower Mann is soooo long

And a collection of a whole bunch of crazy theories Read the rest of this entry »

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How a Boy, His Horse and a Swamp Basically Screwed Up a Generation

TheresaMC:

Makes total sense.

Originally posted on International House of Geek:

You hear about it, every now and then.  About rising rates of depression among 18-30 year olds.  About how many people in my own generation are being medicated for depression.  And they have a lot of theories.

But those theories are wrong.  Because I know why we are so messed up.

We more than likely have a shared childhood trauma.

Because we were the first generation that would have had the opportunity to see the movie The Never Ending Story at an impressionable age.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, or for whatever reason have repressed this trauma, and don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain.  See, in the movie, the hero, Atreyu, starts off his journey to save a magical land along with his horse, Artax.

Atreyu and Artax are best friends.

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And this is awesome, right?  This kid has a horse and it is an…

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Happy Sunday: Panda Mocking

I have a long history of Panda mocking, so this cracks  me up.

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