Stuffed raisins, anyone?

I used to be a cat person.  I still am, really.  I grew up with cats. We got our first cat, an applehead Seal Point siamese, just before my seventh birthday, and she lay down for her final nap, feasting on baby shrimp dipped in chablis (the only thing we could tempt her with) just four months before I got married at age twenty-four.  We had an 18 lb. Maine Coon named Munchkin who had a passion for sour cream donuts and who loved to play fetch, and a pathetic little stray we found in our yard who, once she was strong enough to wash herself properly, turned into a magnificent ginger long-hair with a tail that would have looked at home on an Edwardian hat.  

You get my drift.  I love cats.

But my husband, or at least his immnue system, doesn't.  So no cats in our household, and no dogs. I'm simply not and never will be fond of dogs.

I had more or less resigned myself to a petless existence until about seven years ago, when my son volunteered us as designated sitter for his class's pet bunny over a long holiday weekend.  I was nervous--what if my husband's allergies and my son's asthma couldn't handle a bunny, even temporarily?

But as it turned out, they were fine with our temporary boarder, a small lop-eared bun named Butterscotch.  And we were
smitten.  A furry, cute, non-canine and non-feline animal...

And that's how we became rabbit people.

Our resident bun is a beautiful, enormous (14 lb.) French Lop named Maple.  He's perfectly litter-box trained (bunnies are quite simple to box train as they instinctively choose one area to use as their restroom even in the wild) and has the run of the house--no cage or hutch.  He sleeps under our bed at night, comes into the kitchen in the morning to get his carrot (we both need our c-word in the morning--carrot for Maple, coffee for me).  He's funny and affectionate and opinionated and simply a terrific pet.  No, not pet.  Member of the family.

Okay, so now you're probably wondering what all this has to do with raisins, stuffed or otherwise.  Well, it's like this.

Sometime in the middle of last week I noticed during one of our daily heavy-petting sessions that he had a rash under his chin.  Hmm.  One trip to the vet later and we had a nice bottle of antibiotic tablets to somehow get into him, twice a day for the next ten days.  The problem?  These tablets, while perfectly safe for bunnies, were meant for dogs.

Which means they're meat flavored.

Um, no.  Maple has been known to steal Reece's peanut butter cups and Lindt dark chocolate bars from people who weren't paying attention, but he's never been tempted to snag anyone's beef jerky.  How do you convince a vegetarian creature to eat a meat-flavored pill?

My brilliant and long-suffering husband to the rescue.  Every morning and evening, he takes one of the dime-sized tablets and cuts it into eighths.  Then he takes the organic raisins we buy from a specialty gourmet shop--fat, juicy, over-sized raisins--cuts them in half, and secretes a pill fragment inside each one.  Then I feed them to Maple because I'm the Bun-Mom and he'll do anything if I'm involved.

So there you go.  Stuffed raisins a la mode.  And hey, there's only six more days of anitbiotic to get through.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Gotta do

Over on Verla Kay, idaho_laurie and I had a brief discussion about the quilting fabric that we must keep constant vigilance over lest it take over various areas of our houses and the fact that we're both deeply addicted to hand applique work.  I love to work with my hands...although quilting is currently my craft of choice, I also knit, do needlepoint, sew (clothes and larger scale items like curtains and slipcovers), upholster, do fabric decoupage, and  wood craft/painting.  And garden...that's more of the same, only on a slightly more macro level.

I have to make.  I have to create.  I hate watching TV and going to movies because they take away from time in which I could be making something.  Fortunately I'm married to a guy with the same issues (he builds furniture and additions on to our house in his spare time) so we don't drive each other too crazy.  This need to make is more than a need--it's a compulsion.  It's part of what we are.  
Facio, ergo sum.

I wonder sometimes if that need to make is part of what keeps me going as a writer...the need to create a story, a world complete in itself that will eventually be that book I can hold in my hands, turn the pages of, and say, "I made this."  Maybe it's my personal source of that persistence that everyone says writers need in order to succeed.

Is this a common phenomenon?  Do any of you who write have to make other things too?

  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Reading Eva Ibbotson

I've been reading Eva Ibbotson's...well, I don't know if they're quite YAs, though they're out from Penguin's SPEAK let's just say I'm reading Eva Ibbotson.  I'd been familiar with her books for younger kids--Island of the Aunts, The Secret of Platform 13Which Witch?--but then someone (thank you, Elizabeth) recommended A Countess Below Stairs.  That led me to her three other books in a similar vein--A Song for SummerThe Morning Gift, and A Company of Swans.  I guess the best way to describe them is "romantic"--they're love stories, with soul-mates finding each other, losing each other, then finding each other again and living happily ever after.  The settings are all historical--the first forty years of the twentieth century--and all are set partly in England and partly elsewhere in Europe (usually Austria, as Ms. Ibbotson fled Austria as a child before the Nazis overran it) or, in the case of A Company of Swans, in Brazil.

I love these books.  It's not an unqualified love--they're all flawed in various ways, some of which are very annoying--but they're deeply satisfying, very funny at times and touching at others.  They're what I wish more romance fiction were--less extreme and improbable-feeling--deeper, quieter books, even if they deal with fleeing Nazi Germany or living through the Blitz or being a refugee living in poverty.

I was trying to think of whom they reminded me of, and it finally hit me last night:  Frances Hodgson Burnett.  They're A Little Princess and The Secret Garden for grown-ups, with the same lovely detail and descriptions, the same good and evil (and oh, her villains--especially the jealous female ones--will make your skin crawl), the same casts of delightful secondary characters.    The romantic conflicts often end up in the "if they'd just had a good talk all this could have been avoided" camp--that's what I found annoying--but there are so many other wonderful aspects to these books that I grit my teeth and enjoy the rest.  And enjoy it very much.
  • Current Mood
    peaceful peaceful

Angry Trees

I have a homicidal oak tree in my backyard.  I don't know why it's gotten so violent this year--we've lived in this house for over twenty years now and it's never been like this before.

It's a nice tree-- a  white oak, right off our back patio.  We have two swings in it, prune any occasional deadwood...are, you know, arborially responsible.   Every fall, this nice oak drops its acorns.  The squirrels and chipmunks have (pardon the pun) a field day as they scurry around collecting them, and we're happy because it means we don't have to rake them out of the lawn.  A win-win situation.

But this year, it isn't gently releasing its acorns as it usually does.  It's flinging them.  Really hard.  If you're out on the back patio and get hit by one of those nuts, it hurts.  When one hits the lid of the gas grill,  the metallic ping! echoes around the neighborhood.  I'm tempted to go on-line and look for doll-sized crash helmets to hand out to the squirrels, because a blow to their furry liitle heads from an acorn at this velocity would probably be fatal...which would please my husband, probably, but freak out my kids.

The whole thing is very strange.

I'm wondering what we might have done to offend it.  The husband was talking about cutting down another tree in the yard...did it overhear that conversation and is acting out in solidarity with the white pine out near the barn that's slated for demolition?  Do we have an angry dryad out there for some reason?  Maybe I shouldn't get the squirrels those helmets after all--a blood sacrifice to the tree might appease it.

I hope the leaves are less dangerous when they start to fall.
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    nervous nervous

Technically Challenged

I've spent most of the afternoon trying to feel my way through the blog customization pages on LiveJournal.  Translating T.S. Eliot into Basque with only a traveler's phrasebook might have been a less frustrating task.  Don't be surprised if this blog changes appearance over the next several weeks while I satisfy my latent layout instincts and my refusal to let a &$%@# computer keep me from making something I approve of.

I sent some textual tweaks and corrections on Bewitching Season back to my editor yesterday, which was gratifying.  The book's designer Laurent Linn, Associate Art Director at Holt, did an amazing job of making the pages feel delightfully nineteenth century without actually looking old and fusty.  I can't wait to see what he thinks up for the cover.  Truly a talented guy, and I'm dead lucky he's designing my baby debut book.

But now comes all the other pre-release fun and games--thinking about publicity (agony for a shy person), looking forward to edits on book 2 (don't yet know if it will get to keep its working title, Maiden Voyage) and working on agent-requested revisions for yet another book.  I'm looking forward to that, actually-- my YA geopolitical romantic fantasy.  Don't laugh.
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    confused confused