Tuesday, August 24, 2021
So I know you'd think it would be the other way around, but I'm pretty sure the impetus for getting new pets in our house is 60% Mate and 40% me.
I know it was Mate's idea to get Chiquita, even if the dog came with another cat. (Ah, Emmett, I miss you too!) It was my idea to get Johnnie, but Mate was totally on board. When our friend's dog had a litter of absolute adorability, I asked Mate if he wanted a puppy, and he was SO into that.
And of course (OF COURSE!) the teenagers each needed their own cat.
So this afternoon, Mate went to a soccer board member's house to drop off some paperwork. When he came home he said, "So, she's got a rescue dog--so thin. It looks a little like a Chihuahua, but it's lets are super long, and it's really thin, but she is SO SWEET. My friend does rescue dogs all the time, but she's got Labradoodles, and this dog is so much smaller, she's afraid to let her in."
I looked at him sideways. "So, are we going to get a new dog?" You could hear the suppressed excitement in my voice.
"I told her I'd ask my wife."
When we went to fetch her, she hadn't eaten at all. She was curled up on a blanket, under a tool bench in the garage, looking sad and woebegone, but oh, she got so happy when Mate bent down to get her. Mate was her FRIEND. And then I took her (gently!) and I was her FRIEND! And then--
Well, we had a mishap on the way home--Mate hit a curb just right and we popped a tire on a busy road and as we were trying to find a place in the dark to pull off, Chicken called. "What are you doing?"
"Oh! Can I help?"
"Uhm, do you want to take the new dog to her new home?"
"Sure! I'll bring Carl the 5 lb. Chihuahua."
And she did.
Mate fixed the tire, we pulled into a gas station to air up the spare, and he said, "Can anything else go wrong tonight," and I HIT him because that is just ASKING for it, and then when he was getting back into the car he said, "Wait. Where's my phone?"
So we had to go back to where he changed the tire and it was still on the ground but UNCRUSHED, which, you know, WITCHCRAFT!
Anyway--we got home, and the kids had fed the dog some soft food, and she was ensconced on a blanket on the couch, and she looked so happy. The kids and Mate and I took turns holding her (while the other dogs jumped from empty lap to empty lap, should we forget that THEY were here first!) and generally?
She seems content.
I need to take her to the vet and get her some flea meds. Her feet were walked on until they were bloody--and she needs to eat a lot of soft food until she fills out a little.
But she didn't mind the other dogs, or the kids, or the cats. She just sat in the middle of all the noise and the hubbub and accepted love. At one point in time, Squish got up to go find her a dog sweater (because she was shaking--she's so thin) and the dog followed them into the other room. As I type, the dog is in their room, curled up on an old blanket because apparently Squish is this dog's human.
And I"m boggled--so easy--SO EASY to show this dog some love. All my fears when Chicken brought her home--will she be aggressive, will she be frightened, will she eat too much and throw up, is this a bad idea--and she was just so happy to be in the front room. She knew this place--maybe not this EXACT place, but someone's place. She knew people, she knew other dogs--the soccer board member had put up signs, posted in Next Door and the other local apps and gotten no response.
This dog's feet are bloody from wandering and she's still young.
The soccer board member said, "People abandon dogs all the time around here--we're between two schools and I think they hope somebody will take the animals."
Chicken said, "People in apartments often abandon animals because their next apartment won't take them, and it costs too much to put them in a shelter."
And I know this happens, and still. I'm heartbroken at the idea of this absolutely sweet animal sitting so happily in my living room, like she belongs there because she has BEEN in a living room and she KNOWS she belongs in one, because THIS is where she is happy.
And somebody just left her behind.
She still has some hoops to jump through. A trip to the vets, a nail trim, a flea bath, some good nutrition. She wouldn't touch dry food--sometimes that's what happens when dogs get so hungry they try to eat rocks. We may be buying a lot more wet food, and not the pricey stuff they get now.
But she looks healthy besides the emaciation. And she sure does seem to want to stay.
It would feel good to know that as imperfect as my house is, it managed to be the perfect place to take this furry little person in. I now she certainly doesn't deserve to be left behind.
Thursday, August 12, 2021
It's funny--fifteen years ago a trip to Monterey was one of the first things I'd posted. There was a picture of Squish, replete with hand knit pink baby hat, and ZoomBoy, then the Cave Troll, casting many a fit. Chicken and Big T were still in middle school, and my entire noisy, unruly brood was almost too much to blog about. Everyone was talking--everyone had a story, and I was hard pressed to keep up with it.
Things were a little quieter this time--but like all good vacations, this one did remind us why we were a family.
The kids still torment each other--but now they do it with their own row of seats separating them. When they were younger, we actually had a whole adventure when Mate pulled off the road in Lodi to buy them an entertainment unit because their bickering was so bad we weren't going to make it to San Diego (where we were going at the time.) Fun fact? Our credit card was canceled because who drives from Citrus Heights to Lodi to buy an entertainment unit for their minivan? *sigh* Fun times. But while quieter, the quality of torment has gone way, way up from those early days.
* While driving through Salinas to drop the dogs off at a pet sitter, ZoomBoy leaned over to Squish and whispered, "Do you see the rabbits, Lenny? Do you see them?" Given that I nursed them both through Of Mice and Men, this was sadistic fuckery at its finest.
* There was much bitching and moaning about having to share the hotel bed because, oh my God, ZoomBoy COULD YOU NOT FART? Squish would not let him rest--to the point where I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and found him huddled on the bare floor in the foyer. I put a blanket on him and went back to bed. I was done at that point. He returned to bed shortly after that, thank God. I have no idea what prompted the move in the first place--if nothing else, there was a perfectly serviceable chair and ottoman next to the bed that would have been more comfortable.
Squish was unamused, unimpressed, and unapologetic.
That's okay-- in retaliation, when we took the kids out for dessert one night, ZoomBoy intentionally got ice cream, because the farting thing is real, and he knew it would make Squish's life miserable in the hotel room.
Dear Goddess. It's almost like they're, *gasp* TEENAGERS!
So there was that--both mildly irritating and mildly amusing--and there was a trip to the aquarium (which was why we took the dogs to the pet sitters). The trip to the aquarium was, as always, enchanting. There were LOTS of people--and that took some getting used to. Mask rules were enforced, so that helped. As I was wandering around, thinking, "Oh, hey, the California eel is actually sort of a handsome guy compared to his cousin the Moray," it occurred to me that one of the really great things about the aquarium is that it highlights the non-spotlight animals. I mean, you go in thinking, "Oh, otters! I love the otters! And the giant squid! He's great! I adore him!" which is great-- they're very squee-worthy. But the sorcery performed at Monterey Bay is to get you to see the magic in ALL the creatures--even the ones that look like penises like the Innkeepers Worm, or the weird corals that look completely vaginal. It's like you go in thinking, "The otters are the BEST! The giant squid is the BEST!" and you walk out thinking, "Did you see the Chill Fish? He was the BEST fish, because ALL fish should be CHILL!"
And of course we went to the beach.
I'll be honest--the beach gave me a reality check. I love it--I always love it. And I've been SO proud of my progress in terms of steps and walking and working at being a slightly more fit large woman. But there was a dune of loose sand we had to walk down to get to the beach and getting up was... embarrassing. It was a step at a time progress. I really thought I was going to have to lay down in the sand and have the kids roll me up. I was so disappointed--I really thought I'd gotten past that, but apparently, I'm still a large woman, although marginally more fit than I was last year. *sigh* Well, I'll keep working on it, but I was NOT a chill fish, I'll admit it.
But generally it was a good vacation--and one of the most fun things was unexpected. For a previous car ride, I got Mate absolutely addicted to the Jim Butcher Harry Dresden audiobooks. We'd already finished the Craig Johnson Longmire books together, and listening to him really enjoy the Dresden books has been a treat. Just see him wandering the house with his earbuds on muttering, "God, Harry, you're such an asshole!" is worth its weight in gold. Anyway, I wanted to find a good alternative for him because he's nearing the end of that series, and I found that Darynda Jones has a new series out--contemporary cozy, the first book is A Bad Day for Sunshine. I started that story and Mate and I were enthralled. It was so much fun. And I assumed that the listening was for me and him alone--the kids had their own entertainment, right?
But when we arrived home, he killed the motor with reluctance and we discussed how we'd finish the end of the book, and when I got in the house, Squish said, "Man, I hope you listen to that the next time we go somewhere. I want to find out what happens!"
I had no idea she was even listening. That was a win all around!
And so was the vacation--my family, once again, proved that we are loud, unruly, obnoxious, and my favorite place to be.
Monday, August 2, 2021
So, I forgot to Flail in July...
It's funny how something you do consistently for so long can just slip your mind, right?
But the first Monday in July came and went, and it didn't even hit me that I'd forgotten Kermit Flail until about two weeks in.
This month, Mr. Andrew Grey asked me if I was still doing Kermit Flail and I thought, "Yes! Yes I am!" because I DO love flailing my friends, but because I sort of spaced this last month, it's going to be a very short--and yet oddly exciting flail!
First, Andrew and I both have new releases--two of them, in fact--and that's always exciting, but next? Andrew Grey, Kim Fielding and I are planning a VERY exciting event. We're doing it on my FB Page, Choose Your Lane to Love, and it's a "Fabulous Follow" day, where you get a chance to follow some of your very favorite authors to get their newsletters or join their FB groups or follow them on BookBub--and get prizes for doing something we hope you wanna do anyway! Hopefully we can line up some VERY special authors for you--I mean, Andrew and Kim have a lot of friends, so we should be able to do something amazing. Now I know when you hit the link, the FB page will look very naked--but that's sort of why we chose it. IT'S NAKED. We can have an event there and that will be pretty much the only thing there--but don't forget to like the page now so you can follow what's going to happen then, right?
So hopefully a lot of people will be sending out the link and talking the event up--and in any case... watch this space!
And now, for the flail!
Andrew has two contemporary books coming out, and heartwarming contemporary is sort of Andrew's BEST THING (well, also exciting romantic suspense, but that's under his other name!) So having a double dose of Andrew this month? WOOHOO! GO AUGUST!
And as for me? Well, we've been waiting a lONG TIME for The Muscle, and folks seem to really be enjoying Hunter and Grace, but on top of that, we have the fourth book in the Search and Rescue series, Spencer's book, Hidden Heart. I'm, uhm, sort of proud of this book. I like friends to lovers books, or longtime crush/first time kiss books, mostly because relationships do tend to evolve. But sometimes, that instant attraction book that builds into something bigger is SO much fun, and Spencer and Theo are instant antagonists who have to work together, and wow. That kind of bicker/banter can be SO hot. And Spencer is one of a select few characters who barged into someone else's book and demanded their own damned romance. I kid you not--there I was, writing Silent Heart, and suddenly here comes this asshole to help with the business while Glen is laid up, and in the meantime, he's like, "Hey! I'm an asshole! But I'm REALLY HOT so write me!" I had to do it. Turns out, Spencer's hidden heart was just waiting for a chance to show itself. I was so surprised.
So we've got some good stuff here! Even if it's a modest flail, it's hopefully an excellent way to close out your summer!
by Andrew Grey
Freelance computer genius Trent Marcus took a web development job he wishes he hadn’t, and now he’s in a world of hurt. With his safety threatened, he needs someone who can protect him from his client, who responds to “no” with threats and intimidation.
Personal trainer and silver fox Collin Fitzpatrick gave part of his leg for his country, and now his ex is selling his home, so he needs a place to live quickly. He hears from mutual friends that Trent has a room he can rent and needs Collin’s help.
Neither Trent nor Collin is looking for a relationship, but attraction ignites for Trent, and it’s returned, to Trent’s surprise.
The last thing Collin expects is for his protective instincts to blossom into something much more. Trent’s care and genuineness combine to heal the heart his ex left shattered. As the task of keeping Trent safe becomes more paramount, so does the realization that failing could cost both of them everything.
by Andrew Grey
Veterinarian Mitchell Brannigan gets off to a rocky start with his new neighbor when someone calls the town to complain about the noise. Mitchell runs a shelter for rescue dogs, and dogs bark. But when he goes to make peace, he meets Beau Pfister and his fussy baby daughter, Jessica… and starts to fall in love.
Beau moved out to the country to get away from his abusive ex-husband, but raising an infant alone, with no support network, is lonely and exhausting. The last thing he expects is a helping hand from the neighbor whose dogs he complained about.
Mitchell understands what it’s like to live in fear of your ex, and he’s determined to help Beau move on. But when an unseen menace threatens the shelter and Beau, it becomes apparent that he hasn’t dealt with his own demons.
With each other and a protective Chihuahua for support, Mitchell, Beau, and Jessica could make a perfect family. Mitchell won’t let anything happen to them.
But who’s going to rescue him?
by Amy Lane
A true protector will guard your heart before his own.
Hunter Rutledge saw one too many people die in his life as mercenary muscle to go back to the job, so he was conveniently at loose ends when Josh Salinger offered him a place in his altruistic den of thieves.
Hunter is almost content having found a home with a group of people who want justice badly enough to steal it. If only one of them didn’t keep stealing his attention from the task at hand….
Superlative dancer and transcendent thief Dylan “Grace” Li lives in the moment. But when mobsters blackmail the people who gave him dance—and the means to save his own soul—Grace turns to Josh for help.
Unfortunately, working with Josh’s crew means working with Hunter Rutledge, and for Grace, that’s more dangerous than any heist.
Grace’s childhood left him thinking he was too difficult to love—so he’s better off not risking his love on anyone else. Avoiding commitment keeps him safe. But somehow Hunter’s solid, grounding presence makes him feel safer. Can Grace trust that letting down his guard to a former mercenary doesn’t mean he’ll get shot in the heart?
Then he flings himself out of a helicopter to rescue Theo Wainscott.
Stuck on a raft in the middle of a flood with the most stubborn, argumentative man in the world, Spencer soon finds himself asking not how they’ll survive but what’ll kill them first—the water, each other… or the sexual tension.
While Theo and Spencer are trying to beat the odds, Theo is also trying to beat some sense into his rescuer. Spencer seems to have no regard for his own safety, and that’s a problem for Theo. Maybe he’s never seen another gay man in the wild, but it doesn’t take him long to recognize that he’d like to get to know this one better.
If they make it out alive, Theo will have his work cut out for him convincing Spencer to risk his heart instead of his life….