Nope, taking care of the dog did not, in fact, kill me

Or at least I assume so, as I seem to still be corporeal. (Though my body is disintegrating at an alarming rate now I’m this close to being 30. It is possible I am a zombie.)

It occurred to me today that I hadn’t posted here since December, and that I should probably remedy that, as my last post was about how taking care of Tyee was slowly murdering me and some readers might think I did actually die-by-doggy-daycare (actually, that sounds amazing). At least one might think that if one doesn’t follow my Facebook page, which I’ve been updating more frequently.

Anyway. I survived.

I’ve had some time to reflect on things the past couple of months. I’ve realized some things about myself and how I work, and how I don’t work. One thing I realized is that I do not work well with a set subject for a blog — at least, not with this blog. Every time I try to set myself to write about a certain thing here, I end up not posting for approximately forever. Obviously, this isn’t sustainable.

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting rid of this blog altogether and just posting at my LiveJournal about author-y stuff, but I don’t like that idea for one big reason: I like keeping control of my content. Yes, I write over at Medium now, and I continue to place my writing in other places on the web, but at any moment my writing can disappear from those places. This site is self-hosted, and the only way it’s disappearing is if I forget to pay my bills. (Which, ok, not without the realm of possibility, but still. My writing is safer here than it is anywhere else.)

The trouble, I think, with trying to keep to a certain subject matter here is the same trouble I have with “branding”. Being an indie author means I’m supposed to constantly be thinking about my “brand”, but truthfully I find that exhausting. As exhausting as I find most social interaction. I’m not going to cultivate a brand anymore; I’m just going to be myself, and write what I want, and say what I want on social media, and let that be my ‘brand’. I summed myself up as “author, poet, menace to society” and honestly that’s as close a label as I can come to sum me up.

So this blog will remain, and I’m going to go back to posting whatever the fuck I want to post about. I’ve been blogging for 12 years now; you would think I’d figured this stuff out, but I’m a slow learner.

On that note, some writing news!

I took a huge hiatus from writing fiction — about 6 months — but I’m back on the horse again. I had to chase down the horse first, of course, because the fucker had wandered into a nearby saloon and holy hell was he drunk, but everything’s all good now, even if I am riding a very soused horse. I haven’t yet gotten back to my big projects — been dipping my toes with little bits of short prose — but that’s on the table for April. Next month I plan on writing 30K on Anala, Book 3 in The Third Age, and hopefully getting it closer to being finished; I’m using Camp Nanowrimo to help me with this. This means March is dedicated to Camp Nano prep — there’s still a lot of world-building work I need to do for Anala, as well as sitting down and plotting out that book and the book that comes after.

I never set out to write a series with Bellica, and now that I am I’m wishing I’d planned ahead more. But then again, if I had, I wouldn’t be Starbuck in real life.

I don’t know when Anala will be done, but I am aiming for this year, and a publication date of the end of this year or the beginning of next. I’m trying not to rush things though I know people are eager to read the next installment. I’m eager to read it too, to be honest. I’ve got a bunch of scenes in my head of Anala kicking all sorts of butt and I really want to sit down and write them. But I need to respect my process, and how slow I am, which I’ve learned is about as fast as a sloth on downers. So I — and my readers — must exercise patience.

The other big project I want to get to this year is the next book in The Borderlands Saga, From the Ashes. I have a good 30K written on it already, but I need to go back and rewrite and re-plot it out, as well as doing more worldbuilding and planning for the next few books. However, Anala is my current priority, so that book comes first.

I also have a bunch of smaller projects this year — short stories, new Atherian myths, and the like — and I’ll announce them as/when it becomes appropriate. And besides the fiction, there’s my poetry and creative non-fiction as well, so this is a busy year, writing-wise, for me.

That’s the news for now. I will be writing here again, though about what I really cannot say.

Have a great Saturday night (what’s left of it), and I’ll see you soon!

-Katje

Thoughts I had while walking the dog yesterday

While driving up to the mountain: please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window GOOD BOY

While walking up the mountain: it’s DECEMBER WHY IS IT SO WARM

Where’d he go? Oh there he is.

Mountain for first dog walk since before broken leg = bad choice.

Why did I decide to veil? There are zero other humans here and it feels like I wrapped my head in a basting bag.

A person takes a selfie in a bathroom mirror. The phone occludes part of their face. Their head is wrapped in a headscarf. They are wearing a wrist brace.
Pretty, but oh so warm.

Benches. Benches would be amazing. Why don’t trails have benches? It would be a great for those of us who are disabled enough to need them but still want to go for hikes in the woods on occasion. Or who are forced into it by circumstance, such as the circumstance of dogsitting for your mom.

Holy shit this hill is steep.

Where the fuck is the dog?

I did not have enough coffee today.

Ok seriously if there are not going to be any benches WHY ARE THERE NO BIG ROCKS? Like a mile up this hill and not a single fucking rock; come on, this is BC, we’ve got rocks coming out of our ears. WHERE ARE THE ROCKS. And I don’t meant the tiny ones under my feet that pose a tripping and slipping hazard.

Upon reaching the almost-summit: I am not going up those goddamn stairs, you cannot make me, I choose life.

Hey, a rock. Finally a place to sit.

Ok this rock is not that comfortable. In fact it is super uncomfortable.

I’ll take it. It is closer to my butt than the ground.

~watching the dog wander up the stairs to the actual summit~ yeah you can go up there bud but don’t expect me to follow. I am good with this rock. This pointy rock. This pointy rock…that is also soaking wet. And I in my yoga pants.

Still better than standing. Or stairs. Anything is better than those stairs. They are made of eroded death and will surely send me plummeting to the rocky embrace of Mother Earth (FINALLY, ROCKS).

~dog stops halfway up the stairs, looks at me expectantly. I tell him nothing doing, but he can go on if he wants. he sighs, turns around and trundles back down.~

A large wolf-dog walks down some stairs that are set into the side of a wooded hill.
“Sigh. Katje is no fun.”

While walking back down: jesus this hill is steep. HOW DID I WALK UP THIS THING?

A trail through a forest leads steeply downwards.
Ok I know it doesn’t look *that steep* in the pic but trust me, it’s steep.

Hey, my ass is so numb from the cold rock that I can no longer feel the wetness from said rock. Bonus!

Where the fuck did the dog go? I hope he doesn’t get eaten by a cougar.

I hope that spider I just flicked off my arm lived.

Man, I’ve made it all the way up to the almost-summit and almost all the way to the bottom without slipping on a rock and twisting my ankle—ACK.

Spoke too soon.

Oh hey, there’s the dog. And the car. Thank gods, the car. Can I nap now?

On the drive home: you know I bet my thoughts would make a pretty funny blog post. I should write them up when I get home and post them.

please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window at those rabbits please don’t jump out the window GOOD BOY


And then it took me until tonight to finish writing them up because taking care of Tyee is a big job and I am so tired.

In other news, yes, I am currently dogsitting for Mom. This means I am up in Powell River and trying to view the seclusion as a retreat for writing and knitting. More of the latter than the former at this point, but I’ve only been here 2 days.

And I had more to say, I think, but Tyee just came up and pawed at me insistently, so I am off to take him for another walk, despite being exhausted.

ETA: I could not post this before the walk and am in fact posting it after the walk. Now it is hopefully sleep times?

~Katje

This Week at WolfHouse

I’m more a fan of “Wolf Haus” but mom likes WolfHouse, so there you go.

Overheard at WolfHouse

  • That’s a fantastic coffee! Accompanied by RAT DANCE.
  • Hey, Tyee is helping us renovate by ripping up the linoleum in the kitchen!
  • Oh, fireplace, I love you. Let’s elope.
  • Pack Leader, I’m worried about Mistress. WHY IS SHE ALWAYS GOING TO THE VET?
  • I think the oven is possessed.

Some context:

WolfHouse is having a bit of a rat problem right now. No biggie…except, well, the rats are huge. Apparently they’re Norwegian Roof Rats, and they come into houses because they don’t like the cold. My reaction to this:

Norwegian rats who don’t like the cold? What, did Norway send us their defective rats? What the hell? I DEMAND BETTER RATS.”

::shakes fist at Norway::

Yesterday morning I woke up to a loud thumping sound from the kitchen. It was a massive rat, caught in the trap under the sink. A while later another came by, and they started making more noise under the cupboard, thumping all over the place. Mom dubbed this RAT DANCE and then called the rat man to get him to come take care of the rats.

Tyee was very interested in the rats, and started going into Hunter Mode. He scraped and scrabbled at the floor, hoping it would help him get into the cupboard where he could hunt the rats. This prompted me to make a comment about him helping us renovate by ripping up the kitchen linoleum. Not really, though; that stuff is tough.

We would have let him hunt the rats if there were no danger of said rodents getting into some poison, but there is. Mom was at the end of her rope a while ago and put out poison for the things. She felt awful but didn’t know what else to do — she’d bought a humane trap and every time the rats took the treats out and left it still open.

The original trap didn’t work, the poison didn’t work, and now we have the Rat Man and his traps. He sets the trap up, the rats get caught, he comes and gets them.

If the rats could mind their own business and leave us alone we wouldn’t have to do this, but they get into our food and keep us up by running around in the walls and basically make life very difficult, so we are forced to deal with them even though we’d prefer not to hurt or torture them. Being human can be pretty rough on your soul sometimes.

~

The fireplace and I are in love. I stand by it and it warms my butt up. This is obviously true love. We are going to elope.

~

Tyee is worried about me, because I am always going to “the vet”. Wednesday I had surgery at the hospital, Thursday I had a doctor’s appointment, and Friday I had a follow up dentist appointment. Tyee can smell the medicine on me each time and looks at me worriedly before cocking his head in confusion, as if he’s saying “But you have no balls to cut off! What could they be doing to you?”

It’s honestly not that hard to confuse a wolf-dog.

(Also, you’ll notice Tyee uses the wrong pronouns for me. That’s okay; I don’t ask him to try and grasp the intricacies of my genderqueerness. I tried to explain to him a few times about it and he just looked very worried and confused, and then licked my face to show me he still loved me.)

~

Mom’s oven is broken. The CPU is fried. The burners work but the oven(s) (pizza and regular size one both) won’t turn on, nor will the warming centre (which mom calls “the hob”). The buttons are broken, basically.

However, this did not stop the oven from turning itself on to 350 degrees Farenheit in the middle of the night on Thursday, nor from beeping at me unprompted throughout the day Friday.

It is possessed. We are getting rid of it and perhaps performing an exorcism.

~

Never a dull moment at WolfHouse, that’s for sure.

I was supposed to be travelling today

But I slept until 3pm, so that did not happen. (Too late to catch a ferry and actually make it home today.)

I don’t have much to write about today, and I’m very tired with packing up the car. So here’s another picture of my dog, being cute. (He’s upset, because he knows I’m leaving, so he’s curling up on my bed and looking cute in an effort to make me stay.)

Big bed wolf!
Behold, the big bed wolf!

Why Wolff isn’t coming to SMF this year

You’re probably aware I’ve been doing some fundraising to help my mom and myself, or Kat & Wolff, get to Spring Mysteries Festival this year.

Well, mom can’t come anymore. It’s just going to be me. (I could still use any financial help y’all are willing to give, however. I just barely made my registration cost.)

Why?

Aside from the obvious money issues, and the issue of my car not being fixed yet (and the fact it will cost 400 or so dollars to do so, not to mention renewing insurance on it), Wolff can’t go because of this beautiful monstrosity:

Yep, we let him on the couch.
Yep, we let him on the couch.

Lord Tyee Houdini-Wolf, the Awful Pawful. Occasionally also known as Col. Ty, because mom and I are big fat Battlestar Galactica geeks. (Our last dog was known as Major Adama.)

Tyee is sweet, thoughtful, caring, careful, loving, affectionate, playful, and a complete fucking terror. He also has major abandonment issues.

He’s a wolf-shepherd and he’s a rescue. Those things don’t combine very well — neither the breeding of wolf and shepherd by macho men who want a “tough guard dog”, nor the combining of said hybrid with a past that contained neglect and, quite likely, abuse. Wolff has had to work very hard with Tyee to get him to be as well-behaved as he is now.

"Morning Mom! What's for breakfast?"
“Morning Mom! What’s for breakfast?”

He likes to jump on peoples’ shoulders still, but we’ve got him to a point where he’ll do it on command instead of whenever he damn well pleases. We’ve also taught him that he’s not to howl at sirens while he’s in the apartment — trust me, that was not easy! Sirens go by here every few hours, and we’ve never had a wolf dog who wouldn’t let out a song with such invitation. But he’s very smart, and figures out what we want soon enough.

Of course he still has his bad days. That’s to be expected. And we can’t fully trust him around kids — simply because we don’t know enough about what happened in his past, and he still has some behavioral issues that may be related to the mixture of wolf and shepherd more than how he was treated. (Seriously, folks, only ever breed wolf with husky. Anything else is just a really fucking bad idea.) This is not to say that he’s dangerous — he’s not. He just seems to have issues with younger mammals: he needs to tell them off. Combine that with a kid who doesn’t know how to treat dogs with respect, and we’ve got a recipe for the city putting down our ~*~dangerous~*~ wolf-dog. [insert rant about breed-specific legislation and stupid human attitudes towards wolves here]

Sleeping on my bed. He scampers up there as soon as I vacate it.
Sleeping on my bed. He scampers up there as soon as I vacate it.

Because of Tyee’s abandonment issues, whenever mom and I need to travel somewhere we need to leave him with people he’s already accustomed to — a secondary wolf pack. It takes time and effort to build up that sort of trust and rapport, and we had a place we could leave him — a boarder who had several other dogs and a lot of room for Tyee to run and play and frolic.

The plan was, we thought, to leave Tyee with this secondary pack when mom and I went down to Spring Mysteries Fest. He loves his pack so much that he barely notices us leaving: bye, Mom! Gonna go play! He bounds off, excited to spend time with his friends again.

Except that’s not happening. Tyee’s not going to his boarder — not this time, not, apparently, ever again. He was dumped.

Reasoning? No clue. Something about Tyee “not being safe” anymore.  The boarder states we’ve been told all the details, but there’s obviously something missing — because the details don’t add up to our dog being classified as dangerous.

And here, you see, are the dangers of having a wolf-dog in your life. They are amazing and they will take up a massive portion of your heart, until your heart must grow to contain all the love you feel for such a wondrous creature who chooses to let you share your life with him. They are messengers of the Goddess Silva, lady of the True Woods, Queen of the Deep Furs, here to teach us back to our true selves. If ever you get to spend any part of your life with a wolf-dog, consider yourself extremely lucky.

But if you are to share your life with a wolf dog, you must be prepared to give up a large portion of your time. They are high-maintenance. They require the attention of a pack-mate — not an owner. You never own a wolf-dog; do not ever convince yourself otherwise. They need to have their place in the pack, and have it secure. And if you need to travel, you need to find someone to take care of them who is also like a pack-mate — abandonment issues or not (though, obviously, this is doubly important in cases like Tyee’s).

And if you lose that person right before you have to travel on a trip that was planned for months? Then you lose your ability to travel.

So, mom will not be coming along to Spring Mysteries Fest this year. She will be staying home with Tyee. And we will be spending the next months trying to find someone new to take care of him during our absences — someone who won’t dump him with no warning.

-Kat

In which I don’t complain about Powell River overmuch

Today I drove from Nanaimo to Comox, and from there I took a ferry to Powell River. This was quite a feat for me, being the longest piece of driving I’ve done since before my spinal injury. It was painful, but not too terrible, and some stretching and walking made my back feel…well, less cramped, if not awesome.

Why am I visiting the Hellmouth this small little town, you ask? To visit my mom. And the dog, who was so excited to see me I’m newly bruised in places I didn’t know I could bruise. To say Tyee is exuberant would be understating things.

Mom’s small house is a mess, being in the middle of renovations, but still a familiar and comforting place to me. Even if it is bloody cold and in a town I dislike. Once Mom arrived home (about two hours after I did) I asked her what her wireless password was, so that I could write this post and do some other things. An hour and a half and one call to Telus tech support later, and I got online. Hooray!

Of course, now I’m way too tired and I don’t even remember half of what I was going to say in the post, so I’m just going to leave you with a video from last week of Mom and Tyee howling together. (I just uploaded it to YouTube tonight, but it is from last week.)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEyiFCMo-bA&w=560&h=315]

Tomorrow I do something regarding filming some poetry, or something? I don’t remember.