Tag Archives: dogs

Waiting for a baby….

Long ago (well, not that long) there was just Buttercup, the grand-basset.  Buttercup likes walks, food, belly rubs, and quilts.  Okay, she likes laying on soft coverings, and my daughter and son-in-law like protecting at least one end of their sofa.  But while Buttercup thinks the burrito is fine for a visit, there’s no telling what she’ll do when a small person moves into her home 24/7.

Right now Buttercup rules that roost, be it on the couch, her parents’ bed, or anywhere else she lands.  She’s still the grandest of the grand-bassets, and always will be.

However, and don’t say this too loudly in her hearing, grandkids have usurped her place.  Oh, I still scratch her belly and croon sweet greetings when I see her, but little folks of the human nature have slid BC down several rungs.  My daughter is still waiting for her bundle of joy; I visited with them yesterday, and I have to say there are few things in this world more beautiful than a very pregnant lady.  My daughter pshawed my compliments, but one day when her little girl is due, my not-so-little girl will understand my gushing.

Not sure what Buttercup is going to make of it all though.  She’s quite a proprietary creature, her bed, her iPad, her dog door.  Once a toddler is trying to escape through that bolt-hole, what will happen?

And in the meantime, there are still projects for this abuela to complete; I’ve sewn up the pixilated heart quilt top, finished last night as the Warriors squeaked past the Rockets, while the Giants slipped by the Dodgers.  Today will be one of fashioning a binding and backing for that patchwork heart, the story behind it tumultuous but endearing.  And it’s truly up to my impending granddaughter to how much I manage to sew.  So many stories associated with various comforters; I was working on one for myself before the burrito arrived, and now he finds that quilt very intriguing.  Nothing more rewarding than seeing one’s handiwork capturing the fancy of a grandson.

Well, except for the beauty of my pregnant daughter, and of course, Buttercup.  She’s a treasure all her own….

Chapter 75 and a quilt top….

Day # four of the retreat, and I’ve finally begun the writing.  Not a lot of writing, mind you, a short-ish chapter, but when one has painted oneself into a corner concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis, well…

And when this writer hasn’t written in nearly six months, today’s foray back into the world of words wasn’t going to be some 5K extravaganza.  But I think the 2K-plus I’ve added will be enough for one day, not only in getting the story back into gear, but myself returned onto a horse that I never actually forget how to ride.  It’s just a little bumpy, these first few outings sitting in the saddle.

I will say the last few days have been full of tasks related to writing, and to sewing; I fashioned the quilt top for a toddler, and my goodness, smaller quilts are a breeze to put together.  I sewed five rows on Monday night, the other seven on Tuesday evening, then attached them all last night.  And I am very pleased with it, the whale print a leftover from my daughter’s whale quilt.  The binding needs to be sewn; I’ll get to that this afternoon, once I’ve gone to the store for some groceries and sundries.  One thing about writing is that I am strictly a morning person.  A chapter once I’m fully awake, then the rest of the day is free for whatever else comes up.  I still need to get in a walk, before it gets too warm.  Reading all day for the last three days precluded much else, other than the little bit of sewing.  Now a different schedule rules.

But I would be amiss if I didn’t share this rather telling photo of Buttercup, who has her own way of living.  My youngest was keeping an eye on her last weekend, while my eldest and her hubby were away.  Buttercup needed a bath, and afterwards, wasn’t overly pleased.  I have never seen such animosity in any animal’s face, but you know what happens when a woman is scorned.  Or a Buttercup is bathed.  I’m feeling that quilts are going to pop up in future chapters of The Hawk, but I’m not sure about a rather peeved basset.  However, if one does, you’ll know exactly the inspiration for that hound’s inclusion.

The way her paw is curled into her body accentuates her anger; don't you come near me, she seems to be saying, or perhaps silently howling.

The way her paw is curled into her body accentuates her anger; don’t you come near me, she seems to be saying, or perhaps silently howling.  Although now her fur is so white and clean…

A Quilt For Buttercup

Somehow I knew this would be the result; a quilt for my daughter and son-in-law has become a quilt for their hound.  Buttercup seems intent on keeping possession of this blanket, bless her little basset-beagle heart.

She’s a wily dawg, low to the ground, mostly unassuming, sitting so lady-like, paws crossed over each other.  However, she has the mind of a highly trained bloodhound, sniffing out the best presents upon which to lay claim.

Well, not really.  But she loves to sleep, especially on a nice, soft quilt that my daughter just happened to spread out on the fake grass outside their back door.

Perhaps my offspring is the wily one; is this her way of subtly hinting that another quilt needs to find its way to their abode?  Maybe.  If nothing else, it makes a great shot to post on the blog, while other quilts simmer, books too.  I’m about to start revisions, as my husband is watching our hapless San Francisco Giants on TV.  I’m paying attention to the Costa Rica/Greece footie game, 1-0 Costa Rica who is playing with only ten men.  Five minutes remain of that game, with a little stoppage time.  Buttercup could care less who wins the World Cup.  Now that Mexico is out, I’m pulling for the US to do well, and I like Columbia, who surprised Uruguay yesterday.  And if Costa Rica can hang on…  I like underdogs, maybe why Buttercup is so beloved.  She was a rescue dog, who has turned into our grand-basset, even if she lounges on the Bonhoeffer quilt.

I don’t know what Dietrich Bonhoeffer would make of that, but hopefully he won’t mind.  Buttercup looks so peaceful, I’d hate to disturb her precious slumber. (Meanwhile, in Brazil, Greece has hit an equalizer, 1-1 going into extra time…)

Saying goodbye to 2012

From 2008; 31 December spent walking along the beach in Santa Cruz.

When we lived in Britain, we always enjoyed the year-end round-ups, usually on Sky, noting achievements from news and sport to entertainment and other issues, I’m sure.  We can’t seem to find something similar here in America, a pity.  It was a way to frame the end of the year, a marker.  It felt very comforting.

Right now I’m in a bit of discomfort; amid making a cuppa and starting my dishwasher, I put my lower back into a tizzy.  I had just finished the WIP, but had yet to correct the mistypings.  All I was doing was standing there, I promise.  Now I’m sitting, and will be doing so for a while to come.

But that doesn’t negate all that occurred in 2012; I published books, a good number of them.  I wrote some as well, started another, also completed two short stories, very exciting all-round.  When I wasn’t working (or straining my back) I was plotting, then reveling in my eldest daughter’s wedding.  Occasionally I went to the beach, although not nearly as often as I would have liked.  For three years running my husband and I went to Santa Cruz and Capitola to usher in the new year.  This year I’ll be lucky to step outside my back door to watch the hummingbirds.

It’s been a wonderful year, wordy both in novels and blogs; I switched to WordPress in July, am loving it for the smooth interface, new friends I’ve made, also reconnecting with old pals.  I’ve learned so much about indie publishing, I’ve become a better writer with every book released, an even better editor.  I’ve engaged with readers who make my heart leap, I’ve read new authors who have captured my soul (more on those in January).  I have recommitted myself to this tasking, which is not easy, but then, loading my dishwasher seems fraught with peril.  Writing is not as precarious as kitchen chores, but it’s not without some drama.  Or a lot of drama; releasing The Timeless Nature of Patience was a thrill, still makes me smile.

In the meantime, I’ve taken painkillers.  I’ve finished Where The Ball Is, and lord help me, might be considering not just a sequel for that book, but a third tale as well.  Writing and publishing are indeed sometimes thorny, but I shall prevail.  A host of manuscripts wait for revising, heh heh heh.  Not an aching back or missing year-end TV specials can dissuade me, when I can post photographs like the one above, or yet one more of darling Buttercup.  She was a treasure falling into our lives this year; what wonders might I encounter in 2013?

In her new Christmas sweater; I think she’s just adorable!

A Buttercup Christmas

So it’s starting to feel like Christmas; my husband is done with work, and while I’m not (writing and editing never really end), we did get the tree up over the weekend, decorations scattered about.  Not as many as in years past; this house is small, and I gave to my daughters the bulk of what had spruced our homes over the ages.  Time for them to start new traditions.

But a few pieces are precious; nativities (creches in the UK) and some ceramic geese from the first Christmas I was with my husband.  My brother Joe’s Christmas stocking from when he and my other brother Patrick visited our first year in Britain.  Candles from Marks & Spencer and some from Morrison’s, many pieces of Yorkshire following us all the way to California.  The M&S candles are frankincense and smell so wonderful.  I keep them in the kitchen, reminding me of mince pies, Radio 4, cold weather, and Boxing Day.

But as my girls are starting their own paths, we’ll have one here this year; Buttercup.  My eldest tried to get a shot of BC wearing a Santa hat.  This was the best she could manage.

Happy Christmas from Buttercup

Happy Christmas from Buttercup!

I suppose I can’t blame Buttercup; it is a wee bit embarrassing, or maybe she just doesn’t like hats.  Right now two small creches sit low, and my daughter has informed me they will need to be moved.  Buttercup might take a hankering for them when they arrive this weekend.

I received an early present, a lovely comment from Shelia, who has read all the Alvin’s Farm novels, and eagerly awaits the last book.  As I wrote recently, I have been getting my I am really tired of reading this manuscript feeling when picking up The Timeless Nature of Patience; not that it’s a bad book, in fact, it’s my very favourite novel write by, ahem, me.  But I’ve been so consumed by the WIP, Timeless Nature has been getting the short shrift.  But let me tell you, there is nothing like hearing how much a reader has enjoyed a book to get this writer back on the revision horse.  Over the next few days, I might not do any writing.  But the last read-through of Timeless Nature will be high on the at-home agenda, like getting the creches out of Buttercup’s reach.

She might look very cute in that hat, but I don’t trust her as far as I could throw her with ceramic sheep, cattle, angels, Mary, and Joseph.

My life as a basset…

Actually, just the next few days will I live like Buttercup.  She belongs to my eldest and her hubby, and they visited recently.  Buttercup adores walks, belly rubs, and scrounging Kleenexes from the rubbish.  She also loves to nap.  While naps won’t quite be a part of my Thanksgiving regimen, I’ll be relaxing with family, football, and food.  If Buttercup and I traded places, I’d be in her bed and she’d be hollering at the TV while chattering with nieces and a nephew while balancing a plate full of side dishes and my mom’s sweet potato pie.

A couple of days ago, I blogged about my gratefulness as an indie author.  Having spent a couple of days with my daughter and her beloveds, I’m ready for a road trip to see the rest of the clan.  Work will resume in a few days; still a NaNo project to complete, and I might even get the whole novel written as per the outline (unless I add another chapter or three, we will see).  November focuses on my husband and daughter’s birthdays, NaNoWriMo, and this American tradition that while morphing into something of a food and football party, remains rooted in the nature of awareness of one’s blessings.  My faith, family, and health are the big three, but writing and publishing are also notable.  And of course, Buttercup.

She’s only been a member since late August, but has already made herself an integral part of our family.  And if I was a basset, the next few days would be steeped in her favourite pastimes.  The biggest of those is sleep, either on her own bed, or in someone else’s, but she’s been a huge help in research for Kelly Tremane, which I hope to complete in December, as well as preparing the last book in the Alvin’s Farm series.  For now those novels remain on hold; this weekend is about being with those I love, sharing in their lives.  Realizing all that goes into my life, which is translated in the writing, all part and parcel of the whole, including a basset hound.

I can’t wait to see Buttercup over Christmas!  But until then, I’m wishing all those celebrating Thanksgiving a safe and lovely holiday (and words if they happen to fall your way).

Cornucopia of information

I’m taking a road trip tomorrow, so a post tonight, then the usual hoo-haa on Tuesday.  It was a busy Sunday, what with breakfast’s extra guest of youngest child.  She was willing to leave at 6.30 a.m. just to have mommy-daddy-daughter time.  We talked mostly of our expected afternoon guests; eldest daughter, son-in-law, a friend of theirs, and the grand-basset.

But before we met Buttercup, I came up with another novel idea, pun intended.  Due to a sudden flash of insanity or NaNo magic, I’m going to attempt two novels this November, which I have before, with success.  But I wasn’t going to do it this year, not wanting to work so hard.  However, when the story line bludgeons, what’s a writer to do?

I spent the morning fleshing out that idea, watching a little footie, prepping for pizza.  My son makes the dough; he’s been baking pizzas since he was less than ten.  While he sorted the crusts, I chopped garlic and grated cheese (youngest daughter was napping, due to her early start).  When the gang showed up, we fell in love with Buttercup, who sniffed just about everything, ate a raw carrot and some dropped frozen peas (for the veggie pizza my husband prefers), ate things in the garden that were icky, ahem.  She’s short-legged, but was long enough to investigate pizza on the kitchen counter.  And after a too brief visit, they were gone, with the promise of a pre-Thanksgiving stopover, then a long break for Christmas!

Amid all the hound bluster, my San Francisco 49ers fell apart to the New York Giants, sigh.  (Good thing I was busy with Buttercup!)  After that debacle (We didn’t even manage a touchdown, 26-3, ugg…), my husband filled my car with petrol while I washed windows; I loathe traveling with a dirty windscreen.  His Packers play against the Houston Texans tonight, and our beloved San Francisco Giants start the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.  I’ll miss some of the games tomorrow, returning from a visit with my folks.  However I won’t have a basset in my back seat!

But I do have a meaningful promotion to plug; National Coming Out Day was last Thursday, and author Matthew Grant is featuring Smashwords’ LGBT fiction and non-fiction on his website.  All participating authors have offered discounts of 50% or are giving away their works.  My contribution, For God and Country, is free, and can be found along with others on Matthew’s website.  These discounts will be good through the 19th of October; coupon codes are available on the site.

Weekends might seem like a lull, but after all this, I’ll be glad to drive tomorrow, letting new playlists filter character insights and plot points right into my gray matter, easing bad football and what’s looking to be a dismal baseball game to the past (Giants are down 6-0, oi!).  I’ll return with a post all about hidden gardens, and probably more basset/Wrimo nonsense.  There’s always a reason for more Buttercup and NaNo!