By special request

So I’m still in the middle of beginning of the semester madness, but a former blog reader made a special request for a re-post of a blog entry from the Vox days. I had to go scrounging for it, but here it is, on the topic of life-changing works of art.


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Peace of mind is not cheap

But hey, it’s worth the money.Everybody went to the vet this week. Dr. Tom declares that the cats are in amazing good health for being damn near 14. Biggie Bigs is also a picture of health, even if her teeth are worn down to nubbins from her strenuous chewing regimen. Even Josey is doing well. She’s back to her healthy weight after a winter of inactivity. Her limp has mostly gone away–Dr. Tom suspects she strained a muscle or just tweaked the joint. X-rays and exam show that the knee itself is stable. So a new anti-inflammatory and a round of antifungals to see if we can’t solve the paw licking. She has a yeast infection, but it probably isn’t the original source. It’s an outgrowth of the paw licking, so we’ll deal with the yeast, then see if we can figure out why the paw liking started.

All said and done, exams and shots for all four critters: $640. Youch. I may be eating “lite” next week before payday, but all the money for that was in the bank. So yay! And it’s always nice to get that “all clear” that lets you know your little corner of the animal kingdom is doing well.

How Biggie deals with stress at the vet

How Biggie deals with stress at the vet

Like a goddamn clothing optional retirement resort

Like a goddamn clothing optional retirement resort

Soon, she'll go back to the dog park

Soon, she’ll go back to the dog park



The Queen of Naps

The Queen of Naps

I think I would not get such good news from my doctor, if I went. The months of May and June totally destroyed whatever good I’d done with my diet and exercise. I’ve regained every pound I lost. Back to ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. Now I’m trying to find me … whatever, to get me back on course.

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Cue the ugly cry

Yesterday was Biggie Bigs’ 7th birthday, and so we did a little celebrating. She got an extra extra long walk, a truck ride, and a bacon cheeseburger to celebrate. And she ended her day tired but pleased.

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Then I took Josey out for her bedtime walk. Just around the block to take care of business, since she’s not a fan of death march walks like Biggie.

This morning, when we got up, Josey wouldn’t put any weight on her left rear leg. The same leg that had surgery back in October. Cue the ugly cry. She was officially cleared for regular activity on March 29. Less than 4 months ago.

Drinking on 3 legs

Drinking on 3 legs

It seemed toward the end of the morning walk that she was warming up, and was willing to walk on the leg, but at lunch, same deal. She wouldn’t put the foot down, and limped for the whole walk. No warming up.

She goes back to the vet on Wednesday, because they were already scheduled for their annual shots visit. I’m just going to rest her for the weekend and hope maybe it’s a temporary inflammation or sprain, but how did this happen over night? And why?

The saddest cutest puppy in the world

The saddest cutest puppy in the world

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So, where do I start?

It’s been a while, primarily because I’ve been so overwhelmed by a lot of shit that I just couldn’t figure out how to post about it all. But I miss you guys, so I’m crawling back here with all the news.

1. Um, my pop died. Those of you who know me on Facebook already know that. The chemo just destroyed him and he never improved after that first round of drugs. On June 9, I drove up to KC and rode back to Wichita in an ambulance with him. He just wanted to be at home, and apparently it was a huge relief, as he died on June 11. He was 65, and had just retired. I am bitter and feel ripped off. We had a military service for him, as he requested, out on my folks’ front lawn.


The color guard with their guns

None of us really made plans for this possible outcome. I know we all thought my mother would go first, including her. Now, we’re trying to figure out what to do.

2. The day I went up to KC to take my pop home, I had to take the phone call from the agent first. She loves the book. She wants to rep me. So what I did for the rest of June was work on revisions to make sure it’s ready to go out on submission to editors in September. Under normal circumstances, this would be WOOHOO! good news, but it’s been completely overshadowed by grief. I know intellectually that I should be excited at having a new agent (a big name agent!), but emotionally it doesn’t feel particularly important. And I know part of that is just the callouses of past experiences. I got an agent before and it got me exactly nothing.

3. NICKCAVENICKCAVENICKCAVE! I am informed by Cranky and Mariser that the KC show was a bit of a let down, because Mr. Cave was in a bad mood. Despite his bad mood, I enjoyed the concert a lot. Mostly, it was super cool to have Cranky come visit! (Also, Cranky groped his sweaty chest.) C, M, Lord Kalvan, and I ate at Dora’s old stomping grounds–the Free State Brewery. Beer was drunk.

4. Biggie Bigs and Josey are doing well. The usual assortment of allergic reactions for Josey and the inevitable movement of time for Bigs. She’ll be 7 here in another week, and she’s slowing down a little. Although she notoriously takes months to warm up to people after she meets them, she required approximately 5 seconds to decide that Cranky was good folks. Sometimes you just know.

5. The old naked ladies are having a decent summer, but Sippy is going through a round of sniffly nose to complement her usual cough. They were not pleased at this story about an older woman who was deemed too wrinkly. No such thing.

6. My sister got a new kitty. Somebody was giving him away on Craigslist and he looked so pathetically small. (And he happens to look a lot like the cat she had for 16 years who died 4 years ago.) The person CL had listed him more than a week ago, and updated the post to say if no one wanted him, she was taking him to the shelter. She said that he was weened and litter box trained. After resisting for the first week, my sister broke down and went to get him. The woman passed him to her out of the door and that was that. You touched it, it’s yours. He is not weened. He’s just been taken away from his mama. He was maybe 4 weeks old, reeked of cigarette smoke, and was so skinny you know he wasn’t managing to eat anything. Now he’s slurping up kitten replacement milk and enjoying lavish attention.

Lightweight category

Lightweight category

My subboob is bigger than the kitten

My subboob is bigger than the kitten

The dogs REALLY want to meet him

The dogs REALLY want to meet him

I’m sure there are more things, but let’s start there, just to get us caught up.

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Cuz it ain’t ever just ONE thing

Despite my previous post, it’s never just the one thing. It’s always a whole raft of crazy shit.

So there I was, the week of May 5th, trying to pack and make last minute arrangements for my trip to New Orleans to attend the Romantic Times writers convention. I got a call from my mom to say that my pop’s three-year bout with polycythemia had just officially tipped over to being full-blown leukemia. This they only found out because my sister got freaked out about how sick my pop seemed and insisted that he go to the doctor. My mother was totally not concerned, and probably wouldn’t have been right up until he died in his recliner.

This exact same series of events killed my uncle last year, so I don’t know if my pop was feeling fatalistic or if he was in denial, but his doctor said, “GET IN THE CAR AND DRIVE TO THE UNIVERSITY MED CENTER, RIGHT NOW.”

So my pop checked into the med center, and they started doing the prep work to get chemotherapy going. There was a brief trouble with concerns about his kidney function, because it turns out, rather unexpectedly, that he only has one kidney. Apparently only ever had one kidney.

With that going on, during the week I was supposed to be packing, I was back and forthing to the med center, trying to help my folks settle in for what is likely to be a very long stay. On the day before my flight to NOLA, I threw clothes in my suitcase and hoped for the best. I made it there with plenty of clean underwear, so I considered it a win.

New Orleans, crazy, drinking, up late, delayed flights, writers, drinking, kvetching about publishing, more booze. Rolled home a week later with a hangover and a series of painful reminders that I am an introvert and no way can I successfully promote myself if that means having impromptu conversations with strangers.

Then my pop got worse. His entire alimentary canal seems to be sloughing off, from his lips to his asshole. Brutal. Meds. Sedation. Intubation. Today, for the first time in over a week, he was able to sit up in a chair, breathing on his own. He attempted to drink some water, but wasn’t able . The chemo is done, but what it did to him is going to have lasting effects. And we still don’t even know if it did the trick.

Plus an agent emailed me out of the blue to tell me how much she liked my last book, and do I have an agent? And can she read whatever I’m working on now? HAHAHAHA! Cuz yeah, there’s never anything like good news that doesn’t come with a heaping side dish of crappiness. So I don’t have high hopes that anything will come of this agent’s curiosity, but if it does, I won’t be surprised if something else crappy promptly happens.

Like, I dunno, my receptionist’s pregnant 18-year-old daughter getting in a car wreck and going into premature labor. So there I am, dashing back and forth from home to the hospital, while I should be wrapping up the fiscal year, even though I can barely focus long enough to type a two sentence email. Now my main receptionist is gong to be MIA for as long as she needs to be, and the receptionist who’s being let go at the end of June is the only one to pick up the slack. Right.

But hey! Cranky is coming to visit me!

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And one more thing…

After much delay, my second seasonal smut book is finally out in the wild. I’d planned to release it for Valentine’s Day, but life has a funny way of disregarding my plans. That said, it’s finally out there!

Available all fine online retailers!

Available all fine online retailers!

A Date with Cupid
by Red Hanner

All reporter Tina Day wants to do is interview C.C. Archer about his popular online dating site, but when she crashes his New Year’s Eve party, she gets more than that. He’s not just a chubby computer nerd. He’s Cupid, the God of Love. Instead of wine and roses from a greeting card cherub, Tina gets a monster in love, a strap-on, and a ballroom full of angry pro-marriage wingnuts.


If you’re so inclined to read a little smut, it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and just about any other ebook retailer.

Coming July (hopefully): patriotic seasonal smut about Uncle Sam. (not kidding)

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Sooo, I’m a little behind. Not surprising considering how crazy this time of year is. Graduation checks and honors ceremony and scheduling for next year. Just all manner of crazy shit. I’ll just try to give a quick rundown on all the things that my people need to be briefed on.

Josey: She’s back on all four legs like serious business. There is running and jumping and bumpusing, but still some donkey kicking. When she first gets up from lying down, I think that knee is a bit stiff, and so she’ll kick it out to loosen up. Invariably, she’ll kick it out directly behind her when I’m standing there. So I’ve got a pretty regular series of bruises from her donkey leg.

Biggie Bigs: She doesn’t let anything slow her down. As soon as she had her stitches out, she was ready to go back to her general bullheaded craziness. For whatever reason, she has discovered a love of mud. She never used to get muddy before, but now when we go to dog park, she loves to romp around in the mud. She comes home with mud up to her asshole, which is saying something, since she has a high asshole. Luckily, she seems to like a bath, so she doesn’t mind hopping in the tub to get demudded.

Here she is going mudding:

Cats: Flanny is being such a little bitch I just hate her right now. She nags and nags and nags and breaks shit. Basically unless I’m feeding her or petting her 24 hours a day, she is not happy. And even if I could manage that, she probably wouldn’t be happy. Sippy is making me worry, because she’s her usual sweet self, but her heart murmur related cough is getting more frequent. It’s about time for her annual vet trip, and I worry that the news will not be good. Because she’s so skinny, there’s nothing they can really do about her heart–most treatments are premised on the heart problem being caused by obesity and hers is not. Otherwise, I think they are looking forward to sunnier days, and a dog vacation in May.

Work: Still earning my raise the hard way. I’ll just offer one example to illustrate what kind of hijinx the faculty get up to. The professor who was most recently diagnosed with a brain tumor asked me to set up a meeting with all the other undergrad directors in our relevant field to discuss this new outcomes assessment reporting. She specifically asked me to do it without using DoodlePoll. (It’s an online scheduling poll that is in popular use abuse around here. When done poorly, it’s a nightmare.) So I sent out an email to these 8 people, suggesting half a dozen time frames that worked for Prof. BT. 5 of them responded with which times did/did not work. Professor Twat (aka Prince Cufflinks), however, after waiting for a week, responded with a snotty email to Prof. BT and me, saying he preferred that we do a DoodlePoll.

Naturally, the academics stick together, so Prof. BT returned to me and said, “Do a DoodlePoll.” So I did a goddamn Doodle-fucking-poll with THE EXACT SAME INFORMATION, and sent it back out to the 8 people. The same 5 people promptly responded. Can you guess who never responded? Yep, Prof. Twat. By then, it was two weeks after the initial meeting request, and I went to Prof. BT with the results, and the ONE day/time that all 5 people could meet? The time she’d originally said she was available? Oops, she went and booked it for something else. No meeting.

Blurter: Every time I think he’s done, he pops back up. Texted me yesterday all chatty about things. WTF, dude? You traded in a good dog and a good woman so you could work more? Now what do you want?

Hillbilly Holiday: I survived, of course. Now that my bio father is out of the drug business and into wild hog hunting business, that’s what it’s all about. They have a contract with a multinational bottled water company that bottles out of Texas, to keep the wild hogs out of the natural springs. So they do a lot of that. They also run a lot of hunts for middle aged suburban white dudes who want to go out and kill a wild hog with a knife. Yeah. We also did a lot of riding around in the SE Texas wilds in an Argo, shooting at shit. Also took a nice boat trip down the Neches River, and saw my first real live armadillo! (I have only ever seen them flatted by the side of the road.)

Pickle sisters on the river. I'm armed with the snake killing gun. Just in case.

Pickle sisters on the river. I’m armed with the snake killing gun. Just in case.


Elephant and a very large array of guns

In the evenings we sat around and played dominoes and drank moonshine.

Yep, that's a Coke can pipe for smoking in the rough.

Yep, that’s a Coke can pipe for smoking in the rough.

And on the way there and back, we ate fried pies. Lots of fried pies.


Of course fried pies are cheaper by the dozen! Hell, buy two dozen!

It was great to see my sisters and their kids. We also got to see lots of cute puppies, because hog hunting involves dogs. Lots of dogs.

Nacho. Or Queso. At any rate, one of the cute cute cute puppies running around under foot.

Nacho. Or Queso. At any rate, one of the cute cute cute puppies running around under foot.

In the midst of cute puppies is where this story takes a turn for the worse. Hog hunting involves a lot of dogs, but not all of them are treated as members of the family. Most of them are treated like livestock, and what we saw when we saw my father’s dog pens was nothing nice. Small pens, uncleaned, lack of access to shelter and clean water. Dogs penned in such small desperate circumstances that they fought each other. It was bad enough that we all simultaneously thought, “This is not ok.” Our granddad, who always kept dogs for hunting raccoons, he would have come down on our father like a hammer for keeping his dogs in those conditions.

We didn’t come down like a hammer, but we spoke out about our concerns, and happily it had some effect. Our father agreed that conditions were not good and that they needed to be improved. While we were there, we helped put up a couple extra pens, but we worry it’s not enough. We worry that the stoner cousins who are in charge of dog care are not dog lovers, and are spending way too much time smoking dope, and not nearly enough time caring for the dogs.

So on the whole, it was a good trip, but it ended on a bit of a downer.

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