Archive for March, 2013

Character Development: When you love some bunny…

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I have two mini-rex rabbits: Q-Tip (black and brown and attitudinal all over) and Dingir (a Dalmatian in bunny-form and just as loyal, loving and intelligent).

They have outdoor hutches, but I pulled them inside the Summer Porch/Greenhouse from mid-December to end of February to keep them warm and safe.

Naturally, I let them out of their hutches each day. Naturally, they turned my greenhouse into a race track, obstacle course, and demolition assignment.

They would race down the hutch ramp, pop over the bottom of various and sundry shelving units, hop up into the large pots of lemon grass, drop down to the floor, then jump up onto a chair, then fly under the table, dash through a collection of watering cans, weave in and out midst the outdoor patio planters and zoom around their hutches…and on and on in endless variations.

One day, they found my stash of small seed starter pots and tossed hundreds of them around the room. Another day, they decided to hop into a plant-less outdoor patio planter and dig their way l to China. After they hit porcelain, they spread the black earth of their fruitless excavation all over the white linoleum.

They’d binky so much (prong like a gazelle) and were airborne so often, you’d have thought they could fly. Yep. These little gremlins made Godzilla-sized messes and thrilled to the chaos. But all I could feel was their joy. I let them have at it.

After I moved their hutches back outside, it took me eight hours to reclaim the room. But it was a labor of love.

I find that much of life is like that. Very messy, but so very worth it…especially when you love somebody.

Thing One and Thing Two

Thing One and Thing Two

 

Character Development: High Five!

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
High Five!

High Five!

Ming Wing (Minger) and Mei Muncher (Mr. GQ) have welcomed their fifth egg. Minger is still laying them behind the rock pile and I keep scooping them up while they’re warm and tucking them into her nest inside the poultry pen for safe-keeping. I’m hoping that she’ll get with the program sooner rather than later and lay her eggs in the poultry pen, but Ming Wing is…well, intellectually challenged. Whereas GQ is mensa, Minger is a few feathers short of a down pillow.

We had a little drama this past Friday afternoon when the neighbors’ dogs got loose and decided to go goose hunting. I watched my two great whites sail past my office door in a flutter of panicked cries and raced out to find two nasty beasts in hot pursuit.

GQ, clever boy, did a U-turn when he saw me enter the fray and raced to my side for rescue. I scooped him up and ran to the pen to lock him in safety. Just as I was shutting the door, I saw Minger go down in a tangle of feather and fur. It felt like an eternity before I got close enough for the dog to release her. Unpinned by paw and fang, she bounded up in a spurt of adrenaline. Oh, she was definitely worse for wear, but whole and unbloodied.

I scooped her up and locked her away just as the two dogs noticed my bunnies in their outdoor playpen. I stormed to their rescue screaming like a banshee. The rabbits tucked into their carry case without protest for once and I got them hutched post haste, me cursing canines in the process.

Then, I took stock. All animals were alive and well. But my voice was gone…raw and rough from screaming. I pulled every muscle in my legs and the torso to which they connect. I walked like a rubber band. But, hey, high five! The eggs are fine and mom and dad are still around to care for them. To celebrate, Jimmy Buffet and I took a stroll through Margaritaville.

Out of Sorts: Behind the Photo Shoot for the Book Cover

Friday, March 15th, 2013

 

I always look for the author’s picture on the book cover just to get a feel for them as a person. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

In my case, the pictures that didn’t make the cut as cover shot are much more telling about my life.

On the back cover of “Touching the Moon”, I look relaxed and at ease, casually leaning up against a stone wall, my head resting in my hand. What is actually happening is the following:

All my critters see me outdoors, think it is weekend, and want to play.

Gandalf the Gray, attacks my feet.

My geese honk for attention.

The animals photo-bomb every image until the final where I am leaning away from them all as far as I can (to avoid cat tails and goose necks entering the picture). My left hand (off-screen) is keeping them away. They don’t understand the distance I’ve put between us and are responding with petulance and nips…nips that are getting progressively more aggressive with frustration and confusion.

My mother, a professional photographer and author of many photography books, is doing her best in combat conditions. (I hate having my picture taken; my face freezes and I blink. The critters are wreaking havoc.) And she STILL managed to get a good shot.

But the pictures that didn’t make the cover are my faves.

photoshoot with geese 4

In and Out of Sorts

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

In and Out of Sorts:

As of the 1600s “sorts” referred to the name of metal letters used by typographers. “A” was a sort, “a” was a sort. “B” was a sort, “b” was a sort and so on. Each went into its own box or compartment and were thusly “sorted”.

Back in the day, a printed page was fashioned by sorts. The metal typeface was inked, paper was set upon it, and with pressure, the combination made a printed page.

Naturally, it was quite problematic to be “out of sorts”!

At first look, the expression is easy to explain, but Michael Quinion, who writes on international English from the British standpoint, has other ideas. (http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-out1.htm)

The expression “out of sorts” pre-dates the printing press.

As Michael explains, the word sort was derived from Latin referring to a piece of wood used for drawing lots.

“Later, still in Latin, it developed into the idea of one’s fate, fortune or condition. This was the first meaning of sort in English, in the thirteenth century. It survived until shortly after Shakespeare’s time, until about the point that out of sorts is first found. But sort soon evolved another meaning in English that related to rank, order, or class. It was used to describe people, especially their qualities or standing… It would seem ‘out of sorts’ developed from this idea of quality (lack of it in this case), perhaps influenced by the other meaning of fate or one’s lot in life, so implying that fortune wasn’t smiling on one, or that all wasn’t well.”

On Fridays I’ll blog about my writing life, in and out of “sorts”.

Character Development: Hope Floats

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Yesterday, I discovered my female goose, Ming Wing, hidden behind a rock pile. Her white neck and orange bill craned upwards like a periscope at my approach. She had laid an egg.

The egg couldn’t stay there. The geese are tucked into a poultry pen each evening for safe-keeping. (We have a fox, coyote, wolf problem around here.) If and when she opts to go “broody” (sit on her nest), she needs to do so someplace secure.

So, I watched and waited until she went for a swim then I snuck down and snatched the egg and carted it off to her poultry pen. There, in a corner, I proceeded to construct a little wooden privacy screen for her, stacked some straw against it, then gave her a thick mat of straw as bedding material. I created a hollow within the center and gently laid the egg inside of it.

Everything I read counseled against moving an egg, but it was a goner if I didn’t, so I took my chances.

This morning, I anxiously peered into the constructed privacy nook. Minger had obviously recognized her egg and cared for it. I could see that she had rearranged the straw, hiding her egg carefully beneath it as she left for the pond at the crack of dawn.

Ming Wing on her egg.

Ming Wing on her egg.

Hope floats.