Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

This and That

I had a signing yesterday at Barnes and Noble in Dublin (not Dublin, Ireland, more’s the pity, but Dublin, California, which seems to exist as a place to house shopping centers) as part of a Sisters in Crime (Norcal) book fair event. We had a table at the front of the store, vouchers that, if given by shoppers to the cashiers, would give SinC a small portion of the proceeds. All of the authors participating had two hour shifts, during which their books were displayed prominently on the table, along with some very nifty advertising signage (see picture below). I shared the table with Margaret Locke and then Pat Morin (both of whom I’m going to tell you more about after I read their books!) and spent a very pleasant two hours talking to fellow authors and customers. Other authors participating were Margaret Grace, Simon Wood, Peggy Dulle and Hailey Lind. I’m going to be doing mini book reviews in later posts.

Which leads me to my new vow: a book review a week of books my my fellow SinC members. I’m going to pick a day to be book review day and stick to it. I realize my vow to keep my blogroll updated has…well…not been kept, but I’m gonna get going on that too. So there!

I’m also now a part of a new group blog called Fatal Foodies, a group of mystery writers and food lovers and will be posting there every Monday. So if you like mysteries and/or food, please stop by and subscribe! I foresee a problem being a part of this group in that every post makes me very hungry. More tae-bo and yoga!

Other news…we are ‘babysitting’ another kitten, a little black/smoky gray boy whom we call either The Goblin or Bugbear. Pictures will be forthcoming. When he gets hungry and his blood sugar drops, he turns slightly psychotic and starts biting the hand that’s supposed to be feeding him. Kind of like me except for the biting part.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


One of the more annoying things about working as an admin, even one with a title as lofty as Senior Administrative Coordinator/Office manager is having a work space in an area, say, like the lobby. The place where visitors come and go, where last minute conversations take place before the 'going' part. Something about having a desk in this area encourages behavior that people would not indulge in if they were in someone's office. Y'know...like having a cell phone conversation not just right in front of my desk, but beside, almost inside my work area. Or people leaning on the edge of my work station right in front of my computer and me, having an extended conversation as if I were just another piece of office furniture.

What is it with people's manners? Is it because I'm an admin and therefore don't really count? My work not as important as theirs? YOU try doing an expense report with two people using the edge of your desk as an elbow prop while they talk not two feet away from you. It amazes me that normally polite, even considerate people can be so clueless and...well...rude. I prefer to think they don't realize how dehumanizing and demoralizing it is to feel invisible. But I swear, there are days (like today) where a punching bag in the back of the office would come in very handy...and might someday save a few lives.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Catching Up

I am continually impressed by bloggers who post every day and always have something pithy/witty/introspective/insightful/entertaining to say. Doesn’t matter if they have anything major going on in their lives; trivial incidents or thoughts are transformed into fun-to-read vignettes, whereas I have trouble writing about major events in my life. I haven’t finished writing about Left Coast Crime, which happened back in March, and while I’ve thought about my book tour and stuff that would make good blog fodder, I just can’t get inspired enough to work on it. Now to give myself a break, I busted my ass working on a ghost writing project with Dave for a friend of ours. Major deadline, lots of work to be done. We did it and I’m still a bit burned out. Plus I will be doing a bit more of the ghost writing and have to rev back up for that. But other people seem to be veritable writing machines.

So I guess this post is more about the reasons I’m not caught up than actually catching up. I’m cranky. It shouldn’t be PMS, too soon. Can a gal have pre-PMS? PPMS? Right now I just feel like ripping someone’s head off. I think this is called a burn-out. Anyway, I’m gonna sip some wine and work on MFH: The Big Snooze for a bit. The ghost writing will wait till tomorrow night when I’m not so tired nor so grumpy.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


BoskaMore...Ready for Walkies

Boska was a very special dog. I hadn't had a dog since I was 6 or 7...I'm a cat person...and the only reason Brian and I got Boska was our house was broken into and our landlord said we could get a dog for protection.

Brian was in Norway working on a film, so I went with friends to the Santa Clarita animal shelter to find a dog. I looked at several, including a German Shepherd puppy that was just adorable. But when Boska came out into the little run in the back of the shelter...she had eyes for nothing but me. Didn't want to play with the toys out there...just saw me and wiggled her non-existent tail. Love at first sight for both of us. Half rottie/half aussie shepherd or healer, she'd had puppies already and was at least 2 or 3 years old (probably more; shelters often underquote the age to make the dogs more adoptable). Her owner was in jail and she'd been in the shelter for three months. They called her Wiggles due to her irrepressible butt movements. She was due to be put down...well, as it turned out, the day I went to pick out a dog. Needless to say she went home with me.

Boska had separation anxiety. She loved Brian, but when we went for walks and I went anywhere away from her, she'd watch anxiously until I came back. She didn't bark unless strangers tried to come into our house or yard. She was gentle with the cats. She could be let off leash because all I had to do was call her name and she'd run to my side. She was the best dog in the world.

After Brian and I separated, he kept Boska for the first few months. We negotiated a visit and I brought her up to San Francisco for a few months. She went back to Glendale again...then came up to stay with me for a long stretch of time. I was a basket case during much of the time, trying to adapt to a new life and dealing with a tremendous amount of stress. I snapped easily, yelled a lot. Tugged hard on Boska's leash when I wanted to move on during a walk. I could tell she was becoming afraid of me...I tried so hard to control my emotions, but it was hard. She bonded with Dave, who had endless patience with her as she became older and willful. I'd ping pong between extravagant affection and short-fused temper outbursts. Then Boska had a stroke. It was bad, I was sure she was dying. But she not only survived, but bounced back with a vengeance. 15 or 16 years old, she could still outrun me on the beach.

Almost losing her was the slap in the face I needed. My patience returned and I spent a lot of time hugging, petting and spoiling my girl. I took her for as many walks as I could; Dave walked her in the mornings when he was off work and we'd both walk her on weekends. She slept next to the bed; I wore ear plugs because she made some pretty loud, disgusting noises when she slept. She farted too. Bad enough to peel paint off the walls. But...she was such a sweetheart, it didn't matter. We'd light a match and live with it.

It became increasingly difficult for Boska to get up the stairs. We had to carry her up the stairs most of the time, which stressed her out too. She started having mini-seizures...something the vet said would happen. I talked to Brian and we decided the best thing for her would be to go up to Humboldt where she had no stairs to negotiate and Brian could keep an eye on her pretty much 24/7. I took her up a few weekends ago and we took her for a couple of walks and basically spent the entire weekend spoiling her rotten. I was going back up through Humboldt on my book tour the following Friday, so when I left Sunday afternoon, it was with a light heart and the certainty I'd see my girl again in a few days.

I called Brian Wednesday (the day the book tour started) and Boska was in the middle of a seizure. She'd been fine the day before, had run up the driveway. But Wednesday morning the seizures started and wouldn't stop. I could hear her making a barking/whining noise I'd never heard her make before. Brian was trying to hold onto her while we talked...we both knew it was time. I called his vet and told them he'd be in. Gave them the number of my Pet Care credit card. I choked up halfway through giving them the number; I knew I was basically giving authorization for Boska's death. When I hung up the phone, I lost it...I was at work and luckily no one but my co-worker and friend C.A. had heard my conversation. She hugged me for a moment, gave me enough comfort and strength to call Brian back and tell him the arrangements. Then I went into the bathroom and cried.

Brian called me an hour later. It was done. They'd given Boska an injection to stop the seizures, but there was nothing else they could do. She gave Brian one last lick on his face before they put our girl to sleep. I cried again...then put my work face on, finished out the day and started on my book tour.

I have just now slowed down enough to realize she's gone. I wish I could take back every harsh word, every time I wasn't patient with her. I treasure every morning the last few weeks when she'd hear the alarm go off and come to the side of the bed to stick her cold nose up next to my hand or face, then drop to the floor and roll on her back in total canine abandon. I miss her. There will never be another dog like Boska.

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