Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Nip in the Air

It's been an exciting week at Castle Ne'er-do'well. I got a Kindle. The dog had surgery. The air is full of revving-up noises from the October 1 Bangor Book Festival. It's frikkin' freezing out, although six months ago this would have felt warm. I have tomatoes, zucchini, and blackberries in the freezer.

The Kindle is a cunnin' little thing, despite my Luddite tendencies. I got it because I'll be traveling a bit and also I'd like to read my manuscripts without sitting at the computer or manhandling a largish stack of paper on the dining room table. Supposedly you can take notes on stuff you're reading. We'll see how useful that turns out to be. But my goodness, aren't they trying hard to be clever? I was impressed right off by the fact that the USB connection nestles into the power adapter.

The dog, one Calamity Jane Booraem-Shillady, is gray around the muzzle and developing noncancerous fatty tumors in various spots (one of them unmentionable in polite society and undoing a decade of "sit" training). Thursday morning, when Rob was away canoing (naturally--heaven forbid this should happen with a full staff), I discovered that dear Callie had chewed off the bottom fifth of the tumor on her front right ankle. I disinfected it and wrapped it up, but by afternoon it was still bleeding and I was on the phone to the vet. Upshot: It was infected and growing too much.Yesterday morning, the little dear had $700 worth of surgery. Now she has a classy-looking bandage, a dazed expression, and one of those Elizabethan cone things to keep her from chewing at her stitches. Also an impoverished household.

TMI ALERT (skip this if squeamish): The little dear also has a grass-eating fetish, which would be fine if she just threw it up immediately or passed it along through like a normal dog. But no. Our choices are 1) she keeps it fermenting in her gut for three or four weeks, then throws it up at 3 a.m. on the floor at the foot of our bed, where it smells like Death on Eggs, or 2) she gets a blockage and has to visit the emergency room. When I took her in for surgery yesterday, I mentioned that she hadn't pooped for 24 hours. "Hmm," said the vet. And, sure enough, when he'd finished removing her tumor he also extracted a plug of grass from the relevant oriface. Another 24 hours and she would have been writhing in pain, so that's the silver lining to this cloudy tale. END OF TMI.

The Bangor Book Festival takes place September 30 and October 1. (The Maine Edge, an alternative paper, is interviewing the authors involved. Here's my interview.)  I'll be talking about character development and doing a reading/discussion for teens with Carrie Jones. The festival will be in various venues this year, as I understand it--public library, children's museum, perhaps others. More information will be forthcoming, but definitely mark your calendar...just look at that list of authors!

I conclude with pix of my favorite season-changing event: The Blue Hill Fair, which takes place on Labor Day Weekend. I tended the county Democrats' booth in the morning and ate french fries and watched sheepdog trials and livestock shows in the afternoon. Bliss.

A couple of farm kids leave the show ring with their charges. Behind them, the judge awaits the next group.
A sheepdog drives his charges through a gate. One sheepdog (not sure it was this one) got a perfect score, which involved sending a flock of sheep through two or three gates, across a bridge, and into a pen, as well as clockwise and counter clockwise around the show ring.

What every writer (and teacher and parent and human being) loves to see.

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