Sunday, November 29, 2009

The end of a difficult week

It's been very strange adapting to life without Benn.  No waggy tail when we walk in the door.  No automatic mop when we drop food on the floor.  No super-soft fur pressed up against me when waiting for the kids to get out of school.  No tripping over water bowls.

No shadow.

No jingle of tags.  No sorting out pills.  No letting him out last thing at night before we go to bed.  No cuddles at the top of the stairs.  No dog breath or kid giggles when he does something crazy.  No bouncing nutcase at breakfast (after nearly 4000 days you'd think the enthusiasm would diminish, but it never did).

I cried when I was vacuuming--great big dust-devil fur balls of black hair.  Because once it is gone, he's gone forever.

We have to throw table scraps in the bin! Unheard of.

But my daughter made me see something more clearly.  She was crying 'Why now?'
And I was thinking that if he had to go soon, and I could see his tumor growing and feel the lesions beneath his fur getting more and more angry, now was about as perfect a day as he could choose.  It was sunny with just a touch of frost.  We'd had a lovely walk to school and back, a couple of miles, all told.  He'd had lots of love and lots of treats.  If I'd known that Monday was the day, I'd have lit the fire and spent the day sitting with him.  I'd have given him the big chew bone I'd bought him for Christmas.  But that's all I'd have changed.  The idea of leaving him behind with our friends when we went away was eating at me.  The thought of them having to make that final decision at a vets was excruciating.  The worry Benn might be in pain and we didn't know it...

Benn would have had a great time at our friends.  They combine love and food in the best possible way (especially if you're four-legged with fur :) and were, if possible, more eager to look after him after we found out he was ill.  It would have been great, but I'm thankful we were here with Benn at the end.  It was fitting.  It felt right.  There were no regrets other than he didn't live for another 5 years, cancer-free.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Benn 1st July 1999--23rd Nov 2009

We lost our beloved best friend last night.  Rest in Peace, Benn.  I'll miss you every day.  You were the best dog in the world. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Alicia Dean

Alicia is my editor over at The Wild Rose Press and her debut novel comes out in December.  Right now--for a short time only--it is specially priced at $3.50 if you buy direct from the Dorchester site.  I'm so excited for her.  And I can't wait to read it.

Back Cover Blurb

There is a monster on the loose, a serial killer murdering young women near Oklahoma City. On each corpse he writes his name in blood: THE TIN MAN

But while the villain claims to be heartless, he’s not beyond making a mistake. This time he left his prey alive, and ex–homicide detective Nick Lassiter plans to use her to crack the case wide open. Yet, Ravyn Skyler is nothing like he expects. She remembers little of the crime, and for a victim she has a deep reserve of quiet strength. In her eyes he sees both helpless waif and merciless vigilante, in her kiss he tastes both passion and power. With a tale of a tin man, it only seems fair that there’s a witch. And this witch guards a secret that threatens not only their lives, but their souls.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My New BFF

I got a little snapshot of my life in January through March the other day.  I sat with the contract for our French house in one hand and my little French disctionary in the other. 

I'm pretty sure we have a cooker, fridge, bathtub, shower, washing machine (lave-linge particulier), tumble dryer, TV (hah), an iron and ironing board (always useful), two different types of toilet (we will be in France after all), a small garden and terrace.  Best of all we are only 2 km from the sea. 

The kids have longer days at school, 8.45 am-4.30 pm, but an hour and a half for lunch.  Not sure if they are supposed to come home then or not.  Will be tricky juggling everything, but exciting too.  My French is terrible, I'm going to rely on the French peoples' goodwill and friendliness and my new BFF and the kids.  If that fails I'll have to start wearing makeup again and flutter my lashes in confusion.  Shouldn't be difficult. The confusion part that is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Must stop calling erasers 'rubbers'
Must stop smirking when someone introduces themselves as Randy
Must stop thinking that getting a lube job at Mr Lube is illegal.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mistletoe and Murder

 One minute, probation officer Mallory Larsen is handing out hand-knitted Christmas gifts. The next, there's a gun at her head—and a bomb exploding. Fellow probation officer Shamus Burke saves her life, and she'll be sure to thank him for it…once she gets his assistance again. A girl's life depends on Mallory, and no one but Shamus can help her do what needs to be done. As the threats against Mallory escalate, she shows Shamus she won't back down on saving anyone—including him. But now someone's dead set on stopping them both from ever celebrating Christmas together.

I just bought this as a Christmas present for my grandad.  I don't generally read inspirational novels, but Florence Case recently died and it made me feel so sad for her and her family that she didn't see this book on the shelves.   So I bought it and figured grandad would get a kick out of a little romance.  Rest in peace, Florence.  By all accounts she was a lovely lady. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day

The Armistice that ended the Great war was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.

A moving memorial service on Armistice Day marked the passing of the First World War generation at Westminster Abbey.

The final three veterans of the war living in Britain died this year. William Stone died in January at the age of 108, followed by Henry Allingham, 113, and Harry Patch, 111, in July. Heads of the armed forces were joined by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and senior politicians for the traditional two-minute silence to remember those who died for their country.

"The Great War was over. Lives, friendships, families, societies, nations had been shattered. Everything had changed," said the Very Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, in his service recalling when the guns fell silent at the end of the war.

"On this day two years later and at this hour, an unknown warrior, chosen at random to represent all those of these islands who had fought and died, accorded the highest honour of a state funeral, was buried here."

He continued: "We remember, with grief, the gas and the mud, the barbed wire, the bombardment, the terror, the telegram; and, with gratitude, the courage and sacrifice."

It is the end of an era that was both tragic and brave.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Six Weeks and Counting

Things are coming together for our trip to Brest. We have a renter for our house, which is fantastic but requires a furious house and yard cleaning spree, plus a massive sort out of all the cupboards (ARGH). We might have found somewhere to live in France. I'm not sure whether it has internet (pray for me), but it is small and sweet and made of old stone and set in rural France. I would certainly get LOTS of writing done, in between driving everyone to school and work :)

School is pretty much sorted out. Pretty much. My daughter speaks French and is smart enough to know that as my main translator she can get away with anything. :) I'm smart enough to know it'll be worth it.

We haven't really sorted out logistics--aside from flying to the UK in time for Christmas. My dad said he'd pick us up from Heathrow, which is a huge help (thanks dad :). Then from Shropshire to Scotland (train maybe) on Boxing Day and make our way south after the effects of Hogmanay have worn off (in Granny Jean's car--thanks Granny!).

Anyone know the best way to get a car to Northwest France? Is it the Channel Tunnel or one of the Ferries to Brittany?

So, only forwarding of mail, banking, utilities, packing (family of 4 for 5 months in two suitcases? Think I can do it?), dog's ongoing vet treatment and all his food, one last remaining fish to rehouse, insurance (house, medical, car), taxes, webcam, and last minute tidying up and removal of all personal items from living space to do.

Oh. And Christmas...

Oh, God. I've overwhelmed myself. That isn't even including the day job--my writing...and the problem of how I'm going to squeeze in all those paperbacks. Crikey, all my hair just fell out :)