Pet-pourri

One thing that’s taken some of my time lately has been our pets. Now, I love animals, especially mine, so this isn’t really a problem. I got a new tank for my goldfish a couple weeks ago, and while that took some time to set up, it’s so much easier to clean than the old one–and the goldfish loves it.

Birthday girl is worn out!

Birthday girl is worn out!

Isis had a birthday, too–she’s now officially a terrible two. Well, not really too terrible, as long as we’re throwing the ball to her. For her birthday, a trip to Pet Supplies Plus was in order, where she picked out not one, but three new toys. Now I’m waiting for her to chew the squeaker out of them. After that, we went to the ice cream shop, even though it wasn’t Dogs Nite Out, and got her a doggie cup (and treats for DH and me, too).

But what’s taken more time is one of my gerbils.

It all started back in November, when my dad stopped by after visiting a rental property that was infested with fleas. He didn’t come into the house, but Isis was in the yard, and she brought them in. A trip to Wash Your Dog took care of her, and we thought, the fleas too.

Then I saw fleas in my gerbils’ tanks. I immediately cleaned the tanks, then brought them (and the turtle) to the dining room, and bombed their room. One of the gerbils was fine. But the other one, Spaz continued to scratch like crazy, because hey, freak out and get stressed is what he does, hence his name. A few days later, he’d scratched himself bloody.

So I took him to the vet, who found Spaz had mites (carried by fleas) and mange (carried by mites). He also had an ear infection, and had chewed the toenails off of one foot. Some gerbils do that when they’re stressed, but the problem with Spaz is, even after the mites and mange were cured, he kept going.

This is one ticked-off gerbil

This is one ticked-off gerbil

Now Spaz has no toes on one foot, though a month ago, it looked like he’d finally stopped.

Until I took him to the vet for a follow-up. Right after that, he started back into chewing, and this time, the vet went to what he said was the last resort, short of amputation: an Elizabethan collar.

As pitiful as Spaz was, the vet assistants and I couldn’t help laughing at his antics trying to dislodge the thing. It did its job in that he has not chewed his foot since then, even after he finally got the collar off about ten hours later (by doing somersaults!). Now to see if he continues to leave his foot alone.

What I’ve been reading: This vet is very good–he treats my turtle, too–but the wait times are way too long. Usually it’s an hour. Yesterday was two hours. I actually didn’t mind for once, because I had nowhere else I needed to be, and it was an excuse to read the really good book I’m working on right now. I’m not going to share about it just yet because I’m not finished, but I will next week. I know I’ll finish soon, because this is one of those I can’t wait to get back to–as in, it’s done a great job getting me to the treadmill, but it’s also one I have to fight the temptation to read, rather than do my own writing.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: It took until yesterday, but I finally did get started on my revisions. Still not sure about the new scene I’m writing, but at least I’m having fun again. What I finally figured out: even though revision uses the critical part of the mind, I couldn’t get myself to focus on it at my Internet computer. Only when I went into the critter room and sat at my writing computer did the resistance fade. So I guess that computer is not just for new writing. I didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked, but I did get through one revised scene, plus part of a new one done. For this week, I’m going to shoot for finishing this new scene, and revising the next two.

What about you–what has kept you from reaching your goals lately (or what has tempted you)? Do you ever have to fight the urge to read, rather than write? Do you have pets? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

ROW80: Just Zippy!

On the gerbil front, things are just peachy! We removed the divider on Monday, and things were a little touch and go as there was a lot of chasing and confrontation to establish who was the alpha, mostly between Sandy (our older gerbil) and Finn. They were still at it when we were ready for bed, so we replaced the divider.

Later in the week, it occurred to me that a cage cleaning might help, as the bedding would have had more Sandy-scent on it than the young gerbils’ scents. It did the trick, and we now have a happily-slumbering pile of gerbils in the corner of the tank!

I also added to my menagerie yet again the other day. Last Christmas, I asked for a fancy, lighted 5-gallon aquarium and other stuff for a betta fish. One of my coworkers has one at the office and her fish is so fun to watch! I got a couple things, but didn’t receive the aquarium until my birthday a couple weeks ago. So Friday we made another trip to Pet Supplies Plus, where I bought food, gravel, and the tank’s occupant.

I chose the fish that got the most excited when I reached for his cup, a pretty red betta with iridescent blue highlights. Boy does he love his new home! He zips around in it all day. Thus, his name: Zippy. He sits on my desk, so hopefully he’ll bring a little “zip” to my writing process.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much of that this week, and even less in the fitness department:

  • Complete Lesson 7 of How to Think Sideways, plus Lesson 6B, which I missed last week. – Lesson 7 done, still working on 6b. It’s more time-consuming than I expected.
  • Cover design for Times Two – started, but not done.
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts. I can blame migraines and too much running around, but that’s just an excuse. Going to do better this week!
  • Track exercise and consumption – uh…. no.

I checked with my beta readers for Hangar 18, and that’s not going to be ready in time for the deadline. So my focus there has switched to Times Two. Overall goal progress:

  • Release Time’s Fugitive, in both ebook and print – Done!
  • Complete Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Series workshop – Done!
  • How to Think Sideways workshop – complete through Lesson 8 – on track!
  • Release Times Two (Time’s Enemy/Time’s Fugitive box set) as an ebook – on track!
For this week, I’m going to go a little easy again. I have a  Memorial Day party later today, and a Readers con this coming Friday and Saturday, both of which will be fun but make it hard to track food. So I’m scratching that for this week, but still going to try to get my workouts in. It does, however, mean less time to work on my writing.
  • Complete Lesson 6B of How to Think Sideways
  • Cover design for Times Two
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts

How are you doing in this round of ROW80 – or if you’re not a writer, or not doing the ROW, for this spring?

ROW80: What’s in a Name

First of all, the baby gerbils have names! It took us until Thursday to come up with the ones that both my daughter and I said, “Yes! That’s it!” We took Ginger Calem‘s  suggestion for the lilac gerbil, and named him Finn, short for “infinity,” which is how far he’d run on that wheel if he could. Thanks, Ginger, and to everyone else who offered suggestions!

Reggie and Finn (curled up sleeping) in a rare moment of stillness

The spotted Siamese boy was trickier. It turns out, he likes the wheel too – when Finn stops long enough for him to get a turn. He’s also calmer, and friendlier – when we hold him, he often purrs. (Finn has a couple of times.) My daughter thought with how pretty he is, he deserved a regal-sounding name. After several “nah, that’s not it,” I came up with Reginald – or Reggie. She liked it. So today we’ll remove the divider, and see how Finn and Reggie get along with Sandy.

And how did I do with ROW80? Not as well, I’m afraid. The various celebratory dinners and such cut into writing time. It’s also been nice out all week, so that cuts into motivation as well. However, it’s a new day, so I’m going to do better next week!

  • Complete Lesson 7 of How to Think Sideways – Got about halfway through. This was a long one.
  • Follow up with beta readers for Hangar 18 – Done! One is almost done, waiting to hear back from the other.
  • Write two guest blogs I promised – the one from last week, and a new request – Done!
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts – Nope. Got the three intervals in, which is the more important.
  • Track exercise and consumption – Not even close. This was a lost cause with it being birthday week. I’ll do better next week.

Overall goal progress:

  • Release Time’s Fugitive, in both ebook and print – Done!
  • Complete Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Series workshop – Done!
  • How to Think Sideways workshop – complete through Lesson 8 (1-4 done previously) – on track!
  • Release Hangar 18: Legacy – OR – release Times Two (Time’s Enemy/Time’s Fugitive box set) as an ebook – on track!
  • Bonus: Both of the above – on hold until other goals accomplished
For this week, I’m going to go a little easier. This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which means extra socializing, and we also have my daughter’s choir concert to attend one evening.
  • Complete Lesson 7 of How to Think Sideways, plus Lesson 6B, which I missed last week.
  • Cover design for Times Two
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts
  • Track exercise and consumption

How are you doing in this round of ROW80 – or if you’re not a writer, or not doing the ROW, for this spring? Do you have any big plans for Memorial Day weekend?

ROW80: New Babies – Help Us Name Them!

I got some new babies for Mothers’ Day. No, not human babies. Furbabies!

We’ve had gerbils for years, ever since my daughter wanted “a small pet” when she was seven. I had gerbils when I was a kid, so that’s what we got. We’ve gone through a couple dozen since then, and once again were down to one as of a couple weeks ago when our little Onix passed away.

His cagemate, Sandy, has definitely been mopey since then. Gerbils are social animals, and are happier in pairs or trios. So we stopped at our local Pet Supplies Plus to see if they had any potential new friends for him.

They had three darling babies there, and two were boys. Since we didn’t want two to turn into two dozen a few months down the road, that was a must. But we don’t yet have names for them.

Sandy’s name is actually Sandslash, after the Pokemon. His former cagemate was also named after a Pokemon. We’ve had gerbils named after snacks (our original two were Ho-ho and Twinkie), and drinks (like KC [Kahlua and Cream] and Bailey). But none of those are  a requirement.

The lilac one (silver-gray) is a wheel fanatic. They’ve been here about four hours, and he hasn’t stopped running on the wheel since. He’s jumpy and squirmy – not unusual for gerbils, especially young ones.

The other is called a spotted Siamese. He’s mostly uninterested in the wheel (it usually seems to work that way). But even after this short a time, he’s warming up to us. The last couple of times I’ve gone to check on them, he’s practically climbed into my hand. He’s relatively calm, and will sit still to be petted. Sandy (gold one in the background, above) is the same way – he’s the calmest, most mellow gerbil we’ve ever had. And like Sandy, this new baby purrs. Yes, gerbils purr! You can’t hear them, but you it feels like they’re shivering, yet they’re relaxed, and aren’t trying to get away.

Yet even now that we’re getting to know them, my daughter and I aren’t sure what to name them. So please comment with your ideas!

Luckily, I don’t have the same problem with characters in my books. They usually freely give me their names. (Don’t be too jealous – that’s the only thing they give up that easily!) One of my goals this week was to work through How to Think Sideways, Lesson 5. I not only did that, but whipped through Lesson Six (which was just reading, no worksheets) and started on Lesson 7, where we started defining characters. Names? No problem.

Here’s the rest of my goals results:

  • Complete Lesson 5 of How to Think Sideways – Done!
  • Develop Book Info sheet for Hangar 18: Legacy and follow up with other beta readers – Book Info done, forgot to send the emails.
  • Write guest blog I promised, and email the written one to the blogger – Emailed the one, didn’t get to the other
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts – Got three intervals and two short workouts
  • Track exercise and consumption – Did well until yesterday. Lots going on, at least that’s my story!

Overall goal progress:

  • Release Time’s Fugitive, in both ebook and print – Done!
  • Complete Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Series workshop – Done!
  • How to Think Sideways workshop – complete through Lesson 8 (1-4 done previously)
  • Release Hangar 18: Legacy – OR – release Times Two (Time’s Enemy/Time’s Fugitive box set) as an ebook – Cover design for Hangar 18 done! Also got some great feedback from first beta reader – thank you, Carey!
  • Bonus: Both of the above – on hold until other goals accomplished
For this week:
  • Complete Lesson 7 of How to Think Sideways
  • Follow up with beta readers for Hangar 18
  • Write two guest blogs I promised – the one from last week, and a new request
  • Three interval workouts and two shorter workouts
  • Track exercise and consumption

Do you have any ideas for names for our new babies? Please comment and let me know! How are you doing in this round of ROW80 – or if you’re not a writer, or not doing the ROW, for this spring? Let me know that, too, even if you have no name ideas!

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