Finally Meme’d

It’s very warm for March, and you know what that means.

Bees.

I will be heading out to run soon, and I’m sure they’re waiting to crawl into my hair, gonna attempt to nest in my mouth, just can’t stop thinking about putting their feelers in my nose–and all while I’m trying to run.

This is entirely separate from squirrels noticing that when I take Sir Boxnoggin out for walkies or running, he’s tied to my waist and can’t do much more than lunge. Oh yeah, they’ve figured that out, the little arboreal nuisances. Just the other day we came home and a particularly sleek, rotund fellow with a bottle-brush tail zoomed across the driveway, stopping once to flick said tail in Boxnoggin’s general direction. I could swear I heard a tiny guffaw.

That was the same day the Princess informed me that the damn squirrels had been doing reconnaissance up to the front door. “They’re watching us,” she says balefully, at different points through the day. “There was one in the apple tree outside the dining room window, too.”

This does not bode well at all.

In brighter news, I took a picture of the proof copy of the Roadtrip Z omnibus yesterday.

And some fine upstanding soul popped into my feed with this work of art:

I laughed until I couldn’t breathe and the dogs were licking excitedly at my face, my phone, and whatever else they could reach, wondering what the hell.

Finally, I’ve been meme’d. What a time to be alive, my friends. I don’t even mind that today’s run will be full of bees and the dogs will probably try to drag me after a laughing squirrel.

Over and out…

Mission Creep, Squirrel Inquisition

Significant progress on a Sekrit Projekt this weekend, in between everything else–finishing up after the barrage of birthdays and houseguests, not to mention extracurricular activities, errands, and–always my favorite step–cleanup. Once again, I need a weekend to recover from my weekend, but there’s no relief in sight, just more work. It would be nice to feel like I could slow down once in a while without the risk of starving, but such is not my fate.

I love being able to work at a high, hard pace for long periods of time; I also like my infrequent fallow periods. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if, through illness or injury, I lose either.

Then I wipe away cold sweat, laugh somewhat unsteadily, and get back to work. Really, what else can one do?

At least I get to run with the dogs, and I get to sink into one project instead of spreading myself between two or three today. The Poison Prince needs more of my attention than it’s been getting, and I have a chat to accomplish between a sister and brother, both the babies of the family, marveling at how their roles have changed. Siblings are much the same the world over, but it still requires thought–and I also have a lady in waiting to get out of the palace and into trouble.

It would be nice if the world would stop burning for a little bit so I could concentrate. As it is, I have to ration my peering and peeking at certain social media. Empathy is a distinct handicap, living in these most interesting of times.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been wanting to read more romance lately. Sinking into worlds where there are happy endings, where work and virtue is rewarded and asshats punished instead of being given advantages the rest of us could only dream of…well, it’s a nice thought, and an anodyne. I have a Dostoevsky on tap, but I’m not sure I can take it without a romance or two to balance everything out. I’ve even caught myself going back to an unfinished Watcher book, wanting to tell a story I know ends relatively well instead of…well, other things.

Sure, in all my spare time, right? Maybe a slight refocusing of my work schedule is called for…

…but that’s next week’s job, when I’ve finished catching up and taking a deep breath for the rest of March. I feel like there’s been some mission creep here on the blog as well–how long since I’ve done a writing theory post, or told you another SquirrelTerror story?

Speaking of the latter, it appears the goddamn tree-rats have figured out my daughter is, well, mine, and heir to whatever invisible mark Neo and his damn crew put on me. The other day I came home from running the dogs and the Princess met me at the back door, looking somewhat puzzled.

“Uh…Mum…”

“What?” I snapped, untangling myself from leashes and pointing Miss B at the water bowls.1

“They were doing reconnaissance,” the Princess blurted. “Like, six squirrels. That I saw, at least. They were up on the porch messing with the front door, too, and a couple were on the deck at the same time.”

“You were sieged by squirrels? I mean, you are my daughter–“

“But I didn’t expect it!”

“Nobody,” I said gravely, “expects the Squirrel Inquisition.”

She gave me a look I can only classify as irritated and deployed an eye-roll that showed she is, still, much closer to her teenage years than I. “Go ahead and laugh.” She heaved a mother-worthy sigh at her gentle dam. “I sound like you.”

“A fate worse than death, I’m sure.” I grabbed my own water bottle and headed to the kitchen, expecting that to be that.

Perhaps my daughter was wiser, because she spent a little while watching the deck with anxious folded arms. She sensed something coming, and she was right…

…but that’s (say it with me) another blog post.

Super Chonk Squirl

Super Chonk Squirl

No, that's not a teensy-tiny bird feeder to the right. That's a bird feeder out in the middle of the yard behind the fir, and a VERY ROUND squirrel who cannot fit between the vertical supports on the deck railing.

SUPER. CHONK. SQUIRL.

Not pictured: Sir Boxnoggin, who was vibrating with the need to get through the glass French door and after said almost-spherical snack…

“Lucky” Cup

I almost, almost bought this. The only thing that stopped me was the prospect of a squirrel either deciding to pop out of the cup or that said cup would provide a beautiful home for its furry ass.

Still…it's just the right size to fit in the espresso maker.

I'm still tempted…

Boxnoggin’s Monday Morn

Lord Boxnoggin is a Very Curious Dog, in both senses of the word. He is ever ready to Do A Protec when a car door slams somewhere in the neighborhood, or when the doorbell rings, or even when it’s foggy outside and he just doesn’t like the way a certain fir tree is looking at him.

Right now he’s thrown himself dramatically to the floor in my office, since brekkie has been eaten and now he must endure Mum’s poking at a glowing box before getting to the real morning business: a run. My ankle is finally ready for light jogging, and he’s thrilled to bits. This morning has been Unsatisfactory to Boxnoggin for a variety of reasons, like:

Boxnoggin: BREAKFAST! WAIT, NO BACON GREASE?
Miss B: THERE’S PITA CHIPS! WOOHOO! *grabs one and trots away to eat it in secret*
Boxnoggin: WHAT? I DIDN’T GET ANY! MUM! NO FAIR!
Me: They’re right there, under your kibble.
Boxnoggin: HOOMINS ARE MAGIC! I CAN HAZ PITA CHIP! *trots away to eat it in secret*
Miss B: *returns, full of self-importance, and sticks her nose in Boxnoggin’s bowl* ANYTHING IN HERE FOR MEEEEE?
Boxnoggin: MUM! MUM! SHE’S IN MY BOOOOOWL!

Or, for example:

Boxnoggin: WHAT THE HELL?
Me: It’s fog, it’s fine. It’s just water vapor.
Boxnoggin: BUT NEW! DIFFERENT! CHANGE IS BAAAAD!
Miss B: GET OUT OF THE WAY, I’VE GOT TO PEE.
Boxnoggin: NOOOOO DON’T GO DOWN THERE, IT’S BAAAAD!
Miss B: WHAT THE HELL, DUDE, I’VE GOTTA PEE!
Boxnoggin: LET ME BACK INSIDE. I’LL PEE THERE.
Me: No. Go down the stairs.
Boxnoggin: BUT I CAAAAAAN’T!
Miss B: GET. OUT. OF. MY. WAY.
*fursplosion*
Me: STOP IT, BOTH OF YOU.
Both Dogs: EEEEE MUM’S BORKING, WE MUST BORK TOO! BORK BORK BORK!

But the biggest, most unsatisfactory event of the morning was the squirrel on the deck railing who laughed at Boxnoggin, while the latter damn near cleared the bloody thing and went sailing into the yard. The squirrel–I think it’s Batgirl, but it was moving too quickly to be absolutely sure–levitated aside to reach yet another fir tree, chittered a few nasty terms having to do with Boxnoggin’s mother wearing Army boots or some such, and vanished upwards, laughing all the while.

And Boxnoggin? While this was occurring he did his best to tear the railing off the deck, screaming about VENGEANCE and CHASE IT and MUUUUUM, so Miss B, not to be outdone, began to yell too.

At least it’s a Monday morning, and hence one I don’t have to worry about sleeping neighbors upon.

…The Princess just arose from her slumber, and of course both dogs have to supervise her morning routine. That’ll give me about five minutes of peace before they trot back to see if I’ve moved or taken the opportunity to tie my shoes, which means a run is coming closer.

I’d better act quickly. Over and out…

Achievement, Unfulfilled

There are now not one, not two, but three very rotund squirrels who take it as their personal mission to taunt Sir Boxnoggin whenever the opportunity arises. I’m pretty sure one is Batgirl, and though Olsen Twins is much rounder these days he’s just as nervous and his tail is a sad, sad little crooked thing. The third might be Preggers, but I’m not exactly sure.

Yesterday one scuttled up the fence by the remaining cedars and Boxnoggin went up after it. It’s a considerable board fence, but he still gained enough air–multiple feet, I tell you–to make me seriously concerned. That dog would rock an agility course, once he settled down and decided to seriously work it. As it is, he’s too young.

They said “three, three and a half years old” at the shelter, but if that dog was a day over two when we brought him home, I’ll eat every hat I own, without ketchup even. He’s old enough that running on pavement won’t damage his joints, thank goodness, but he is otherwise chewy and bouncy and full of the energy of youth.

Right now he’s prancing up and down the hall, ready to get out the door and go. We have a middling run today, and no doubt he’s eager to stick his nose in everything we pass. It will take him some time to calm down and actually work on our runs, but that’s okay. Gods know it took Miss B a few years to grasp the concept.

But those goddamn squirrels. They dangle their tails over the fence, chittering with amusement, and Boxnoggin goes absolutely mad. He head-butted the fence at high speed the other day, because Olsen Twins had vibrated right through it to escape him. If he ever catches one of those fuzzy bastards, it’s not going to be like Miss B’s infrequent achievement, where she freezes with the squirrel dangling in her mouth and looks at me, clearly asking now what? No, Boxnoggin knows what to do when he grabs a tiny bundle of fur–shake it until it’s limp, then disembowel it.

I kind of hope he never gets one. As much as I despise the nasty little arboreal rats, that seems a terrible fate for even their ilk. And then there’s the cleanup. Getting Boxnoggin into the bath isn’t the all-day event it was with Odd, but it’s still an undertaking, and carrying a wriggling boxer-terrier covered in squirrel guts into the house might manage to put a dent in even my

I’m going to finish the first HOOD book for NaNo, which means I need to get Atlanta Bound revised posthaste in order to shove HOOD into that daily work slot. I’m only halfway through. Maybe tomorrow I’ll splurge and finish it in a candy-fueled haze. Thank goodness neither the squirrels nor Boxnoggin have access to sugar.

It’s the little mercies that keep me sane. Or, relatively sane.

I hope your Samhain is fun and fruitful, my friends. May the turn of the Witch’s Year usher in the fulfillment of hopes for us all.

Except Boxnoggin. I hate to break a dog’s heart, but I want the squirrel guts to stay firmly inside the damn beasts…

Peanut Wars

I thought it was the squirrels burying peanuts all over the backyard. I find them in the unlikeliest places, and often I can’t figure out how the bloody tree-rodents managed to drive them into packed earth without disturbing anything around.

This morning, however, I was trimming my hair on the back deck 1 and a plump, extremely iridescent bluejay swooped into the yard carrying a peanut from the squirrel-feeders next door.

What? Yes, some people actually feed the little arboreal assholes. Case in point: our curmudgeonly neighbor, who is bitter as gall but also takes care of all the stray cats in the neighborhood as well as keeping feeders supplied with corncobs, pressed squirrel loaf, and peanuts.

Many are the strange things in suburbia.

Anyway, the thing that caught my attention was not the bluejay’s bright plumage. It was his silence. Of course, he had a beak full of peanut2 and was casting nervous glances at every corner of the yard.

I kept going, and he obviously judged me little threat. He flew down, set the peanut carefully aside, and pecked among the violets. I thought he was probably looking for a good place to wedge the peanut so he could peck it open, but no. He pecked out a shallow hole, dropped the peanut in…and began ramming it with his beak, driving it deeper.

All in complete silence. Now, bluejays are extremely vocal, but this fine feathered fellow is excessive even among his type, and the quiet was a bit unnerving.3

I was glad the dogs weren’t out to see this. The last thing I need is Sir Boxnoggin discovering the joy of chasing yelling featherballs.

Anyway, BattleJay–so I have named him for his constant sonic assaults upon the backyard–was finally satisfied as I finished trimming my fringe.4 He flew away, and I heard him screaming something that sounded suspiciously like The British are coming, hide your fokkin pewter! in another neighbor’s yard while shaking ripe apples down from their tree.

And then, my friends, Batgirl the gymnastic pole-dancing squirrel scampered from one of the surviving cedars along the back fence. She had been watching with a great deal of beady-eyed interest, I guess, because she went straight for the buried peanut and got to work. She dug it out like a pair of rabid tweezers digging for a tick, and once she had her ill-gotten gains it was back into the cedars with her head held high–because the peanut was almost bigger than her head, too.

I almost admire the thieving little dumbass. Almost.

BattleJay has not returned. But when he does, I suspect there will be hell to pay…