I had just checked out at Walmart and was heading out the door when I saw a woman at a cash register, counting coins. By her clothing, she's about two steps down from me on the wealth scale. The cashier was holding a handful of $1 and $5 bills, and the lady was carefully spilling coins into her hand and counting them out on the platform, a bit flustered because she kept losing track and starting again. I just couldn't stand it. I know how that is, I've been there. So - I paid for her groceries, all $48.61 worth. I got a very nice hug out of it! And, I guess, a good feeling and no regret.
We still have a way to go with this, since she's only at 9 and 12 is normal, and we don't know what's causing the anemia. Although Randi suspects it's from all those years on the blood thinner, and I agree with her (it is a possibility, we were told), we have to be sure. So we've got at least one more doctor's visit to get through.
Nope. Randi's blood work from Wednesday showed her hemoglobin at 7 (normal is 12), which is a dangerous anemic state. So we spent all morning in the emergency room, where we went per the doctor's insistence, and tomorrow she has to get a transfusion, which takes 4 or 5 hours. We aren't alarmed, since she has no symptoms except mild shortness of breath when she does something that's at all strenuous, and gastrointestinal bleeding is ruled out. The likely villain is the doctor who kept her on blood thinner for 5 years.
(Just to whine, after a few hours of running around to the ER, etc., I then had to do the grocery shopping. Oh well.)
Yesterday I sent the signed copies that friends asked me for. My brother Bobby ordered three!
I'm re-reading the book now, to pick up things I need to add to the Vale manual. It's been so long since I read it that I can clearly see how I've changed the Vale itself, as I developed it through stories. For example, it's more traditionally male-centric than it should be. Although I do have female warriors, all but one of the lords is male. I've improved since then. But the story has captivated me again. I think Randi's right, it is my best story so far.
It's funny - my eyesight has changed so that I can hardly see to write this, even with my glasses; I'm going to need two teeth extracted, and to figure out how I'm going to afford the plates I want; I have bulging disks and a pinched nerve, and I'm going to physical therapy on Friday; and it's been raining a lot here, so we have leaks all over the house. Yet all I can think of is Dragonfly. I'm nuts.
Hurricane Michael went directly over my dad's and sister's houses. Literally, the eye went over - my dad walked outside into it. The area around them was devastated, but my dad's house only sustained minor damage, and as far as I know, my sister's house is fine. I worried most about her house, because it's a double-wide on stilts, essentially. My dad, his wife, and some neighbors sat it out, but my sister went inland. As it stands now, they have generators and are in pretty good shape, although phone service is impossible. I get my news from Bobby, who's gone down there to help.
Of course, I opened the book at random and found a place where I should have trimmed the sentence, both for length and because I used the same word twice. *headkeyboard*
Still, I'm happy, and I'll be sending the signed books out soon.
It's hard to express how excited I am about this. Dragonfly is my favorite of my books, and my beta readers agree that it's my best. I've been waiting years to get it published. In the meantime I've forced myself into social media (although only Facebook has stuck), so I have someone to tell about it and spread the word. All the work and all the waiting will be worth it.
Now I have to wait for reviews, hopefully good ones. My publisher only sells through Amazon now, and they don't allow reviews from people who are on my friends list on Facebook (gee, thanks, guys), so I'll have to return to Goodreads and announce the launch when it occurs. Maybe take out a FB ad or something. I don't know. Right now, I'm just too happy to worry.
Randi says she's trying to comfort me. If so, it's working.
I was in a swan-prowed boat, being poled through shallow sea water by a nice, if ordinary, man. I was standing in the bow with a wizard, a small guy barely taller than me, wearing a multicolored top hat and long coat, and carrying a staff. The boat came ashore on a tiny white-sand beach, and I stepped out with the wizard. Beyond the beach were a series of randomly scattered tall hills with such steep sides that they looked as if they'd been created by a child who just wanted a bunch of upside-down U's to represent hilly country. The hills were all covered with thick, lush grass. (Rose loved green grass.)
The boatman seemed to know the area, for he smiled and told us to wait a bit. Then, from around the shoulder of one of the hills to my left, The Black came trotting. He looked about 4 years old (he was 17 when he died), and he trotted with head high, very much the king of his domain. Which was typical of him. He stopped about 10 feet away and gave us a once-over, as if judging whether we were OK or should be driven back into the water.
Apparently he accepted us, because over the very top of the nearest hill came Rose. She was only a yearling, but I knew it was her. She was as clumsy as a foal, half-falling down the steep hill, legs splayed. But she got to us and came to us, standing between me and the wizard and letting me pet her neck. So beautiful, and so very sweet, just like my Rose.
That was it. I woke up. I don't feel better about losing her, but I do feel comforted. That was her purpose, I suppose.
There's no clue as to what killed her. It's like she just lay down, stretched out, and passed away. She was old and her health was failing fast, so this was no surprise, only an enormous heartbreak for us. She's been with us since she was three years old, more than 20 years.
Magic is alone now, which isn't good for a horse. But we can't get another one. I'm at the age where, for one, it's getting hard for me to care for the horses, and two, the new horse would probably outlive me. I'll just have to give her extra love.
RIP, my beautiful, sweet, serene Rose. Feast on the green grass you loved so much, and run again as you did when you were young, with your head high and your tail flying.
First, I had to help my roomie with some heavy lifting, mostly plastic bins full of craft stuff. Except for the strain on my bad back, that wasn't a big deal, but it was an hour or so of heavy labor.
Then the dogs got out of the yard. My neighbor's son, Jamie, honked for us and let me know, and I got them back in. He thought they'd gone over the fence in the southeast corner, where they'd pulled down the PVC pipe that tops the chain link. I wasn't sure about that, but I gratefully accepted his help to secure that pipe, as I get tired of putting it back up.
Turned out I was right. They got out again, and this time they went across the street to play with the dogs that my neighbor (another one) keeps chained up under the trees there. (This is the same guy who owns the Bad Dog I mentioned in the last post.) The way he was carrying on, I thought Nikki and Taffy were killing them, but no, they were just playing. As I led my two away, two of his followed us, romping. I had a hard time getting Nikki and Taffy to come home with me. I'm stronger than I look, but in my nightgown still, and with only their collars to hold onto, it was a risky wrestling match between me and two excited dogs, one of 80 lbs and the other 100 lbs. Especially since they slipped their collars, one after the other. I did finally get them back to the house, but I didn't leave them in the yard. I locked them in the kitchen.
I was pretty sure they'd gone out by breaking my jury-rigged gate. Again. But I couldn't be positive, as Jamie said he'd seen them go over the fence. I might have heard him wrong, but we live a block from a well traveled, if minor, highway, so I didn't want to take a chance. The area of the gate that they keep pushing through can be cut off by another gate. I set it up that way so that I can let people into the house. (For some reason, people are afraid of my babies.) Unfortunately, this also cuts them off from the porch, which they use for shelter from the rain. Too bad. I have no sympathy. It's raining today - which is a good thing after all the days of terrible dry heat! - and they'll have to get wet and lay in the mud. Don't call me cruel, because they do have a dog house, they just don't like it.
After that, while eating lunch, I decided to finish the extension to the hot wiring in the yard, and keep them off the fence entirely. I was already tired and sore, and didn't want to do it, but with the rain, the ground was soft, softer than concrete, anyway. And I wanted to be sure, or I'd just have to keep the dogs in the kitchen all day, every day. So I went out with scissors and shears, and I cleared the existing wire - my lawnmowing guy was supposed to do that, but while the bottom string was clear, there were branches laying on the upper string. Then I strung wire. I thought it would kill my back, and yeah, it hurt like hell, but while my back is sore today, it's not painful. Small comfort. Darn it, I couldn't find my tester, so I don't know for sure that the wire is hot. I guess I have to wait until the dogs hit it. The shriek will make me smile. Yeah, I'm pissed.
While I was out there, I had an interesting conversation. A man named Mark, who tells me that he comes to town occasionally, especially in the summer, to visit his son, asked me about the neighbor with the dogs. His ex-girlfriend and son live in a trailer on the other side of the property the dog man is on. I won't recount the entire conversation, but the black dog that threatened me also chased his son more than once, and it recently bit him (the father, not the son) on the stomach. He showed me the marks. He believes the dog man is a squatter, living in a large work shed on the property, without running water. He says that, so far, the police have ignored him, but he intends to contact them again and see if he can get the man evicted.
So, with the wire strung and the tools put away, sweating and tired, I stagger back into the house. There I got a half hour break before I had to feed the horses.
This is more activity than I've had in all of the last month. I'm still tired, even after a good night's sleep!
Larry the Lawnmower Guy was working, and I heard frantic/angry barking out front. But my two dogs were inside, where they always are when the grass is being cut. Curious, I went out and found Larry threatening a dog with his weedeater. Just as I got out there, he actually took out a knife and was going to kill the dog. I told him not to do that, and he said OK, but he was leaving. Which he did.
The dog then decided that I was a threat. He's a black Lab mix, I think, about 40 lbs or so, and while not vicious (no bared teeth or flattened ears or ruff standing up), he was aggressive. He kept barking and making little charges, and he wouldn't stop. He wouldn't let me move forward, sideways, or back. Everything I did just made him bark and charge, and he was stopping only inches away from me. He finally decided he had me cowed, I guess, because he left. He went across the street, where one of my neighbors has several dogs chained to trees, and this dog ran around them and then settled under one of the trees.
So, I walked outside again, this time staying behind the fence in my yard. The dog ignored me, as if he couldn't see me, although the fence is chain link. I thought I'd check the mailbox (it was Sunday, but I sometimes forget to check on Saturday), and as soon as I reached the end of my driveway, the dog jumped up and raced to me, barking like mad. I didn't have time to get back to the yard. He was way too fast. He got right in my face, figuratively speaking, barking and charging, and again, I couldn't move. I admit, I'm not normally afraid of dogs, but I was scared. I kept thinking what damage a dog bite can do, which says a lot about how serious this dog was. At one point, he actually jumped up and nipped me, but he didn't get any skin, just the waistband of my shorts, which he pulled down a couple of inches. That did it for me. I'd already tried the usual "No" and "Sit" and "Good dog it's OK I'm a nice person" stuff, but now I reverted to my horse experience. I put out both hands, spread apart, palm down, and said in a slow soothing-yet-commanding tone, "Whooaa. Whooooaaa."
Amazingly, that worked. He trotted away, satisfied. I went inside and called the police. I figured he was just defending his buddies on their chains, but I was mad that I couldn't leave my house (I kept thinking Cujo) and terrified that some innocent person might come along, as we get a lot of walkers on our street. Kids, too. Also, I was scared so badly that my hands shook for the next hour.
Our local police are reached through the City Hall, which isn't open on Sunday, so I called 911. They said they'd contact our local cops. But half an hour went by, and nothing. Randi called Betty, our next door neighbor. Betty's a volunteer fire fighter and knows a lot about the town. She suggested Facebook, and she posted a warning to Facebook as well. I messaged the cops on FB, and although it took another half hour, a cop did show up. He was a really big guy, but very nice.
The dog had disappeared by then. The policeman went to the house where the guy lives that has all the chained dogs, and it turned out, as I thought, that the dog belonged to him. He had seen the dog had slipped his chain, and he'd brought him inside already.
So the dog was confined and I was safe. The cop issued him a warning, because the dog did try to bite me.
Now I just hope that dog doesn't get loose again. One of my FB friends suggested, with some merit, that I shoot the dog if it happens again, because of what might happen if a kid came along. But I'm not sure I could do that. So I hope my neighbor takes greater care.
Even better, one of the guys has an uncle in the area who does carpentry work. We've been trying to find someone to fix our deck, our back porch steps, our horses' shed, and our porch, so that we can get the roof re-done. (Something to do with the insurance. I don't know. Randi handles this stuff.) We've spent months asking around, checking the internet, and generally trying whatever we could think of to find a person who could do the job and be trusted, but without luck. Now this guy, Dean, who is a really good guy, says his uncle can probably do it all. The uncle, Darryl, is coming by on Sunday to give us a bid. So there's my silver lining.
So I emailed her and asked about it, politely threatened to pull it, and pointed out that, at age 65, I won't be alive long enough to publish every two years. Now I'm queasy. I don't want to offend her or make her hostile - not that I'd blame her - so I'm nervous.
*sigh* This was a big step for me. But Randi pushed it. She says "Path" is the best book I've written, and that I've waited long enough. She's usually right. So I did it. eep.