Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Stars - an Uplifting Surprise

I'm new to the ebook selling game, but I understand that getting reviews can be tough. I've heard of many shady practices, buying reviews, sock puppet accounts, etc. that desperate authors have used to try to get around this problem. Maybe I will never be a bestseller, but my ethics are important to me, so I decided early on, that I wouldn't worry too much about chasing reviews. For my own sanity and peace of mind mainly.

Still, my one nice review on Smashwords from a stranger made me very happy. (Eye of the Beholder is no longer available there, so I won't link). And just the other day, I logged into Goodreads to mark 'Revisionary' by Jim Hines as finished. (A great series - start at the beginning though with 'Libromancer' - you won't regret it) To my happy surprise, someone had given my 'Eye of the Beholder' short story collection five stars.

I know this isn't world shaking news, but for a little insecure writer who second guesses all her stories, and all her decisions about when to send those stories out into the world, even tiny encouragements mean a lot. Someone out there, not related to me read my work, and found enjoyment in it. It's huge to me.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Equal Time for Meeko


Because he doesn't have as dramatic a backstory as Bob, (that we know of) he doesn't get mentioned as much. He is still a pretty great cat to have a round. To prove it, here he is rolling in a bag of bras like they're catnip.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

What About Bob?

photo by Kara Hartz 2016
I haven't written about Bob in awhile. He is trucking along just fine. We adopted Bob in October of 1998, and at the time his doctor thought he was about a year old, which would give him a birthday in 1997. I think it is probably more likely he was a spring kitten, and closer to only 7 or 8 month old when we adopted him since he did grow a little after we got him. Still that would make him 'only' 18 years old instead of 19 right now. He's an old dude - no getting around that.

His bathroom habits have deteriorated over the past year or so, and I am now manually helping him empty his bladder 1 to 2 times a day. I'd noticed him going from one litter box to another but not producing much, and seeming restless. At first he didn't appreciate my help, but now he will go to my bathroom (I use the toilet when I empty him instead of a cat box) and meow at me. I take that as his request to be emptied.

A couple months ago I thought we might be near the end because he was eating very poorly and getting thinner and thinner. Then suddenly, he was eating great for about a week and just as my hopes were up, he stopped eating again. Belatedly, I put it together that the week he ate well, I had run out of his regular food and was feeding Fancy Feast, or whatever was on sale at the grocery store. As an experiment, I picked up some Fancy Feast, and sure enough, he are every bite. Since this revelation, he has been slowly putting weight back on and isn't looking so frail.

There no stopping the Bob.
Not yet.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Ileostomy Life

While I've only had my ileostomy for about six weeks now, so am far from being an expert, it really hasn't been as bad as I imagined. Originally, the ostomy was presented to me as a worst-case scenario if my surgery went poorly. So when surgical complications piled up and I did need the ileostomy after all, that's how I saw it. Worst-case. Clearly, there could have been many worse surgical outcomes than this. My intestines could have been beyond saving at all and I may have needed a permanent ostomy. I could have died. That would be worse. All in all, having this bag isn't all that bad.

Admittedly, the first week home was rough. I was changing the bag just like I was taught in the hospital, but I was getting leaks in the middle of the night. So while moving around was still painful and difficult I'd be up but groggy in the middle of the night trying to put on a new bag and cleaning up all the poop that I leaked out in the bed and the floor on the way to the bathroom. I'll be honest - there were many tears.

In retrospect I should have called the ostomy nurse when I started having problems, but I had a recheck appointment scheduled later in the week, so I just suffered until then. My advice if you are a new ostomate - don't just suffer. These nurses who specialize in ostomy care are great. They have solutions. Go get their help.

After my surgical recheck I explained my leaking problems and they got me in to see an ostomy nurse right then. She didn't have enough of a schedule opening to do a lot of teaching with me, but she looked at my bag (the seal of which was just on the border of leaking right then despite it being a new bag I'd put on the night before) so she could see my problem clearly. She got me a different kind of bag the had a more rigid and curved area where it attaches. I apologize that I don't have all the terminology and lingo down yet. It might be what I've seen referred to as a convex bag? She also wiped on some sort of sticky skin protecting liquid and added an additional sort of jelly barrier ring and sent me home with supplies to do the same. I haven't had a leak since. Even though it's been more than four weeks leak-free, I still have some paranoia about it and still sleep on a towel - just in case.

A week later, I got even more refined help with my scheduled ostomy checkup - including a support belt/corset thing that holds the bag tight against me and makes longer walks much more comfortable. Walks have helped me start to regain my strength so this has been wonderful. And I wouldn't have known about any of these options without those great nurses.

While I certainly won't miss my ileostomy bag after I have my reversal surgery, after that rough first week home, it hasn't been bad. Some things have been interesting - seeing how my innards work in a new way.

Somewhat off topic - I have thought to myself, as all these crazy bathroom laws show up around the country, how happy I am to live in California. Sometimes, if a toilet isn't very big, I have difficulty emptying the bag sitting down and I have to stand up. I wonder what would happen to me if someone saw my feet under a stall pointed the wrong way as I emptied my bag (it's mainly liquid and sounds that way). There are so many reasons not to judge or make assumptions about others.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

No More Elephants at Ringling Bros. Circus

The news yesterday about Ringling Bros. phasing out the use of elephants in their shows has made me very happy. There may be animals that can enjoy the traveling show lifestyle, but I think over the years it has become clear that elephants are not one of those. I hope this is a move toward other similar shows rejecting elephant performers as well. Then maybe we can hope they will give the same respect to the big cats and other animals who are mentally and physically damaged in these shows.
A gal can hope, right?

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/03/05/390951839/ringling-bros-says-no-more-circus-elephants-by-2018

I've not yet found so far in my reading thought, what they plan to do with all the elephants they have. Elephants love a long time. If anyone knows, fill me in please!