Monday, November 20, 2006

Nettie Rolling

This is the cat that came to us from the dump a couple of months ago. Obviously, she is settling in. :) ljl

Saturday, November 18, 2006

crazy work short-fic

Wrote this for my friends. Enjoy it if you dare! ;) ljl

Betty, Terry, and Leslie sat in the darkened office. Rain came down the foggy windows in cool, gray sheets. The only good thing about this weather was the sense of isolation. Perhaps it would be a quiet day.
After a long week as an advocate at a domestic violence agency, a good day was a wonderful thing. The three colleagues sat in a large office and toyed with the idea of lunch.
“I’m so ready for Friday,” Leslie said.
Terry nodded vigorously. “I know. I didn’t even know it was Friday already. I came to work thinking we had two more days to go.”
“Don’t even say that,” Leslie replied.
Betty rocked back and forth in the office chair so that it made a grating, methodical squeak.
“This has been about three Fridays already,” she said, “and it isn’t even noon.”
Terry nodded again. “I had three clients yell at me before nine o’clock.”
“Yeah, and I got a couple of them when the called back,” Leslie agreed. “I can’t frigging wait until the end of the….”
She stopped speaking and jumped in alarm as a loud, male voice echoed down the hall.
“Choco-doodle-doo, its twelve o’clock!” it said.
“Jesus Christ,” Leslie said under her breath. “That thing is Satan’s clock.”
Betty nodded. “Big, chocolate Satan. Obviously.”
Terry giggled. Everyone in the office teased her about the M & M candy paraphernalia that she had decorated her office with when her home daycare closed.
“At least I reset it,” she said. “It used to say good morning when it came to noon because it was set to think it was midnight.”
“Yeah, it’s much better this way.”
“I know, I know,” Terry conceded – but not in a way that suggested the slightest hint of remorse.
Betty rocked her chair faster. “At least the thing is going forward. I don’t see any of these other clocks moving, at all. Either that or they are running backwards.”
Leslie scowled. “Maybe. I still want to hit it with a hammer.”
At that very moment, the doorbell rang. All three looked toward the hallway and started to move, but Leslie moved forward first.
“I’m on in fifteen minutes,” Betty said. “I can take it if….”
Leslie shrugged. “I’m still on, and I already ate. I might as well go.”
She said this as she moved down the hall. Terry and Betty relaxed back into the silence as Leslie’s footsteps faded. She clomped down the stairs to the first floor and then they could not hear her, at all.
“So, who yelled at you?” Betty asked.
“The guy,” Terry answered.
“Which guy? The fundy?”
“Oh. The crazy one?”
“Which one do you….”
“The one that smelled.”
Terry wrinkled her nose and shook her head.
Betty frowned. “Who, then? Tire iron guy?”
“Hammer guy…with the hole in his head?”
“Nope. Chainsaw guy.”
“The chainsaw guy. The one that said if he couldn’t have a twenty-four pack of beer by four o’clock, he would….”
“Oh, yeah.” Betty said. “Prick.”
Terry nodded again. They sat in silence, once more. In fact, there was absolutely no sound save the rain being blown against the modular walls.
Betty frowned again. “Hey, did you even here Leslie open the front door for anyone?”
Terry thought about it. “No, actually. She must have, though.”
“Yeah, I guess. But it makes me a little nervous.”
They looked at each other in silence for a moment before Betty sighed and got up.
“I think I’ll do a walk-through,” she said. “If I’m not back in five minutes, I’ve been killed.”
They both laughed. “Okay,” Terry said. With that, Betty was gone.
Terry looked around for something to do. She would rather gargle with broken glass than go into her office and catch up on her pile of client files. She pulled a domestic violence self-help book off Leslie’s bookshelf and flipped through it. She didn’t stop to read the pages.
As she set the book down, she noticed that the lower floor of the building was still totally silent. It was odd. Even if there was no client, Betty and Leslie should be talking or laughing. At least they should be opening and closing the kitchen cupboard doors.
An unsettling thought crept into her mind. What if the unthinkable had happened? What if an angry perpetrator had come to get revenge?
Terry sighed and slapped her knee with one hand. “Come on, now. Get your lunch. Those bitches are just hiding in a closet, hoping you’ll get worried and go looking for them.”
“No way,” she mumbled to herself. She jumped out of her seat and went downstairs.
The lower floor of the building seemed totally empty. Yet nothing was out of place. It seemed that Terry was totally alone.
She scowled and stomped over to the refrigerator. She wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of getting scared. Betty and Leslie were undoubtedly hiding in a closet. After all, the three of them had pulled the same trick on another colleague, in the past.
“They’ll be sorry when they smell my food cooking and they are stuffed into the closet in the legal room, or some shit.”
With that, she gathered her cold, fried chicken and tortillas. She was going to make a nice wrap. When they came rolling out of the closet, they would find her enjoying her meal. The laugh would be on….
Terry started to scream as strong arms wrapped around her – pinning her arms and covering her mouth. They were long and coiled about her like steel cables. They reached upward, as if her assailant was close to the ground.
She tried again to struggle and scream. It did no good. She felt dizzy with terror as she was dragged backwards across the kitchen floor. She could see her tennis shoes, but little else. The rubber soles of her shoes squeaked as she was dragged to the basement door.
There was no escape. Her unseen attacker was pulling her down the dark stairwell. The soft glow of a light could be seen looming beneath her. It was not just the safety lights that always illuminated the basement. It was flickering. It smelled. It was a fire.
As her assailant dragged her around the corner of the stairwell, Terry saw a terrible sight. There was a cauldron as big as a hot tub in the middle of the basement. There was a pile of burning logs beneath it. The cauldron with filled with…what? Tar? No. She recognized that smell. It was….
“Time for a dip,” a nasty voice said. It was cartoon-like yet very, very evil. Every syllable dripped with malevolence.
“Yes,” a munchkin-like treble replied. “She can join her friends.”
The hand finally came away from Terry’s mouth. She saw a white glove pulling away. As she screamed, she craned her neck to see. She looked behind her – then down.
A child-sized M & M was still pinning her arms and preventing escape. The red-coated agent of Hell had a mean, red glow behind the rattling plastic beads of his google-eyes.
“Put her in,” the treble-voice repeated. Terry strained her eyes into the flickering darkness. She could see another one. It was green.
“I don’t know what the fuss is about,” a blue peanut-job said. Its voice was mocking and cruel.
“That’s right,” Terry’s captor agreed. “You all said you loved chocolate, didn’t you?”
He turned Terry so that her eyes were turned toward a horrendous sight. Leslie’s yellow-coated, candy-carcass was hung from the ceiling by its feet.
Her dead face was contorted with terror. Her chocolate stained and blistered arm was reaching toward the floor. It looked as if she had been trying to escape right up until the molten confection had filled her lungs.
“Aaah, I hope you can’t see anything you’re not supposed to,” the red one said.
“Shut up,” said the peanut. “That’s your clock script. Be a free thinker, you ass.”
“Yeah,” said the green one. “This is a coup. This is revenge.”
Terry tried to control her breathing. She knew she was about to pass out. Then the sound came to her. There was a scratching…no…a pecking. It sounded like a baby bird was trying to break out of its egg. A big bird.
She looked past Leslie and screamed again. There was a giant, red cocoon of hard candy hanging from a second hook. The side was slowly cracking. As Terry watched, another chocolate-covered hand clawed forth. It had to be Betty.
“Now you see what’s on the menu,” the peanut said. “It’s you.”
The red one laughed maliciously from behind her. “Aw, don’t worry. We’re not gonna eat you.”
“No, we wouldn’t do that to you,” the green one said. “Oh, no. I hope you enjoy keeping track of the time. It’s the talking clock for you.”
Terry screamed and kicked as she was pushed…dragged toward her doom. She regretted every M & M she had ever eaten as the hot chocolate loomed into view.
The last thing Terry heard as she was consumed by the smore-stinking blackness was the rasping, relentless beat of a familiar beast. She heard the pendulum of her M & M clock.

The end.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

settling in

Star is settling into her first house very nicely. We keep her in her crate when she is unsupervised as the adoption folks told us to do. As Louise at Maine Greyhound Placement (AKA her farm) explained to us, "Star's life until now was only as big as that crate. As eager as you may be to lavish her with the household freedoms that you want her to have, it has to go slow. Every new experience can accumulate to become overwhelming."

So Starry spends a lot of time in her box. She used her peanut-butter and cheese stuffed Kong toy to make the time pass. Oh, and there is sleeping. She does a lot of that. She enjoys her walks across our field and her time playing with chew toys, but she spends most of her time asleep - in or out of the crate.

Sammy Cat - the Dog Whisperer

My boy Sam loved our greyhound, Lucky. I always thought it was because both boys were black and Sam saw Lucky as a "supercat." He mimicked Lucky's posture and followed us when we went for walks. He looked for Lucky when Lucky died.

As soon as Stardom came into the house, Sam was trying to approach her. This made me nervous because Star had a low prey drive but had never been literally surrounded by cats, so I wanted to take things a lot slower than Sam did. Of course, Star was crated whenever I wasn't right there.

Sam started going on our walks with us right away. He was the first cat to let Star sniff him and walk up to him whenever she felt curious. By her second night in the house, she was just learning to lay down in the living room on a cushion and Sam came in. He flopped down only inches from her with his back to her. She sniffed at him, looked at me, then stretched out and went to sleep. Thanks almost entirely to Sam, Star is now getting along very well with the cats. She is a little afraid of some of them, but she is getting used to their mannerisms. By night four one of the little tabbies got spooked by another cat and dove off the couch at a run. She literally landed on Star's nose before taking off across the house. Star blinked. Then she went back to sleep. It is a good thing we have a dog whisperer in the house. :) ljl

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

good to have friends

PS: if my friends Crimsoncrow and Gwennie (obviously along with Mom) had not helped me get Stardom (and Gwen is still walking her on her lunch break), I would be in a hospital by now. LOVE YOU!


I gotta new doggie! I'm still tired and a bit nervous, but it is not because she has any behavior problems. She is a very good girl. Her name is Stardom and she is three years old. She has some scars on her back and neck from a racetrack injury, but it doesn't seem to cause her a great deal of recurrent trauma or pain. She has only been off the track for three months. She looks really thin to me, but they say she needs to lose ten pounds. She is seventy-two pounds, now, according to the PetQuarters scale.

Having a grey who just came off the track is a lot different from my Lucky Boy. When I adopted him, he was seven years old and had been living in a house for several years. He basically came home, flopped on his bed, and only got up for walks, meals, or a hug.

With Star, she had never been in a car, never been in a house, so on. It has been a lot different (hence the nervous and tired). We have to put her in her crate whenever we are not in the room (let alone away from the house). We have a muzzle, though she hasn't had to use that since the first night. We have to watch her around the cats and continue her "no chase" training, though they gave us Stardom because she had no real interest in cats (what adoption groups assess as a "low prey drive"). But living with nine cats is an adjustment for any sight hound who spent the first three years of her life chasing lures. Of course, the fact that she was injured on the track may have done something to remove her interest in coursing.

Anyhow, so far so good. She is getting used to having chill-time in the living room, though she is fine in her big crate. Racers are in a crate all the time except for four daily "turn-outs" and their racing/training. She has two rubber Kong toys that I stuff with peanut butter and alternate in the freezer. When she is in the crate for a long time, she always gets one of those. She already knows it. She came out of her crate on her second morning with us and found a potato to play ball with, so we gave her a dog toy. She carries it around and tosses it into the air once in a while, but she is mostly about the sleeping. Typical grey.

So -- onward with the home-adjustment period. Ready, set, go! :) ljl

the big day

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Noah's Animal House in Las Vegas: Pets and Domestic Violence

I love this. I put it on our work blog, but no one reads the frigging thing. DAMMIT! Oh, well. Enjoy. Check out for more info. :) ljl



Las Vegas, NV—In violent homes, pets are commonly abused by batterers in order to threaten and intimidate children, spouses, significant others, or elderly family members. Animal abuse can also be a predictor of a violent home.
Because domestic abuse shelters generally cannot accept pets, victims of family violence often stay in a dangerous situation out of fear for the safety of their pets. Unfortunately, this fear is well founded. All too often, batterers punish victims for leaving by abusing or killing their pets.
That’s why Shade Tree Shelter is adding a new service to the facility. Noah’s Animal House will provide temporary housing for family pets for their resident clients. What’s unique about Noah’s Animal House is that the facility will be built on the grounds of Shade Tree, a departure from most of the country’s pet safe haven programs, in which family pets must be sheltered away from their companions in veterinary clinics or animal shelters.
“We’re so excited about Noah’s Animal House,” said Brenda Dizon, Shade Tree’s Executive Director. “If a single battered family is able to leave sooner because they can now bring Fido or Fluffy with them to Shade Tree, we’ve been successful.”
Dizon also noted that the shelter is certain their clients will more easily adjust to their new environment if they’re able to keep the family together--including pets--while in the transitional programs Shade Tree provides.
“I’m convinced that Noah’s Animal House will save lives,” said Staci Columbo, a Shade Tree board member and volunteer. “It is our hope NAH will become a model for the sheltering of domestic violence victims together with their companion pets across the country.”
Shade Tree’s next step is to raise awareness—and funds—for the facility, which will be built entirely from charitable donation.
Although some businesses have stepped in with large cash donations, more is needed. Columbo said it is important to raise awareness of the project among local residents and businesses in the hope that some will wish to donate additional funds, volunteer time, or services to see the facility is built.
For information on how to help Shade Tree build Noah’s Animal House, contact either Staci Columbo at 221-6933 or Brenda Dizon at 385-0072 extension 101

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"You need to edit that, Dumb ass!"

I had a small fit of hysterics during my semi-annual, internet, market-search for places to send short stories to. Most of them are wonderful and professional and affirming. Still, I gotta tell you, some of those editors sound even more burned-out than I am at my job. I definitely get crabby at work. I do feel bad because I get edgy with people whom I have had the same conversation with a half-dozen times. I think some of these folks are way in the same boat (or possibly they already sank).

I totally get that editors get piles and piles of writing. Some of it must be really displeasing to them. Everyone has different tastes. Anyone who works for a living gets tired and cranky. But the kind of “submission guidelines” that you see from editors can get pretty hilarious.

Let’s see. Here’s sample:

“Please, no tweenie or teeny-bopper or “California Girl” type of infantile drivel. NO!”

“Most common reasons for rejection are: lack of power, lack of originality, slow pacing, poor writing, boring themes.”

I understand their frustration. I really do. BUT do they really think any writer anywhere thinks his or her writing is “boring,” “poor,” or “slow?” Does anyone brag to her or his friends about the “infantile drivel” they just put through its sixth revision? Come on.

One of these days, if it isn’t already out there, I fully expect to see a submission guideline that says:

Standard Submission Guidelines:


Fuck off. Who gives a shit? Go write a fucking blog.

Poetry and Prose:

Please refer to the non-fiction guidelines. If you are too fucking stupid to get the point, then please read the following disclaimer:

Don’t you fucking dare send me your shit-ass brain-farts you fucking organ donor jack-offs. If I get one more paragraph (by electronic or hard-copy submission) I’m going to hunt you down and carve out your fucking liver. I’ve got a grapefruit spoon with your fucking name on it. Go ahead. Try me!

Sincerely (and Fuck Off),

Blah-the-blah A. Powertripper

Oooh! Which story should I send first? I’d better watch my liver. Or maybe I’ll just keep them with me and put them through their seventh revisions. ;) ljl

Monday, November 06, 2006


I am excited and scared. I am going to the greyhound rescue kennel this Saturday. I may come home with a dog, or begin the process thereof.

Something I haven't blogged about because of grief is that my greyhound, Lucky, died last February. February 9. At 11:58AM. It was unexpected and I am still not even able to put his ashes in their urn.

I think I will do better with that process when I have another dog. If the kennel doesn't work out, it won't be a grey. But that is my next big adventure. Everybody hold your breath! :) ljl