My grieving for Daisy has lessened enough for me to start writing again. I’ll be posting something substantial tomorrow. Thank you all, especially my wonderful Patrons, for bearing with my absence.
My grieving for Daisy has lessened enough for me to start writing again. I’ll be posting something substantial tomorrow. Thank you all, especially my wonderful Patrons, for bearing with my absence.
…our geeky girl dog
Today, at 2:53 PM, our sweet Daisy died. She had most likely been ill for 3-4 months, but went into a swift decline over the past two weeks.
Daisy came into our lives just a few days after we lost Lucy to cancer. She had been dropped off at a chihuahua rescue and was about 2 years old when that rescue took her to the county shelter, where we adopted her.
Daisy was a very sweet girl with an excellent temperament. She loved humans and would visit all of them at the dog park. Everyone liked Daisy.
Daisy was an ubergeek, loving Star Trek, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, kaiju movies, the MCU and roleplaying games. She was a dedicated con attendee (in a human looking android body) and cosplayer.
Daisy was actually preceded 10 minutes in death by her mate, Max Bunnington, as he had always sworn to do. Death in our family being a rather less final thing than most families, Daisy & Max are out there somewhere in new bodies starting new lives. However, they are gone for good from our lives.
Daisy leaves behind her parents, her sister, her brother, her sister in law, her niece & nephew, many aunties & uncles, and many more friends.
Goodbye, baby girl. We all miss you.
…and by “rocket fuel”, I mean bourbon.
After The Change Came
A Day For Hangin’ With My Homeboys
Every couple of years, the Green Ladies put on a “Females Gathering Together Day”, during which sapient females of all species gather in large numbers to…well, I’m not 100% sure, being cis male and therefore gently, but firmly, excluded. From what I have gleaned from being around a Green Lady and lots of other women (including daughters, granddaughters and sisters), it seems to be mostly discussions about things particular to females, plus examinations of world events. Whatever the case, females of all ages go, meaning that, for an entire day and part of a night, we males are left to our own devices, hopefully not going feral in the process.
So, the latest “F.G.T.D.” was a couple of days ago and I figured, why not have some of the guys over and hang out? I called up Dad, Sin, my troll buddy Jim, Roscoe, Nick, my cousin Rob, my gnome brother Hank (the others live to far away), and my elf neighbor Dendro, and invited them over. They all showed up and since the weather was great, we set up shop in the front yard (the backyard being Grace’s garden retreat) and settled in for beer, bullshittin’ and burgers.
Will loves hanging with his Grandpa and soon had Dad telling stories about me and my sibs when we were growing up and still human. This, of course, lead to stories from Dad’s youth, at least those suitable for a 7 year old to hear. From there, it was stories from everyone’s youth, most of which were hilarious, embarrassing or both. Will was particularly interested in the stories Sin and I told about our years at Hobart’s School For Young Ladies & Gentlemen, again, edited for younger listeners.
After a couple of hours of storytelling that got improved by about 4 mugs of Jim’s “Damn Fine” ale, we moved on to discussing everything from the weather to beer brewing to hog farming to good fishing spots in the foothills. Nick, sensing that some of these topics were boring Will, took him in the house for a couple of hours playing a new QuestWorld scenario from Portugal, “Pirate Heist”.
When it came time to eat, Ben, our House Elf, did not disappoint. It was a hell of a spread, with burgers of several types, all the toppings and condiments you’d want, and Ben’s delicious chili lime steak fries. I had a double cheeseburger with Brie and Gouda, topped with fire roasted chilis. Okay, I had two of those. Don’t judge me.
After lunch, and with most of us now well lubricated by beer, we got back into discussing all sorts of things for an hour or so before Ben busted out the ice cream. It was, of course, delicious. Thus fortified, we busted out the musical instruments and started playing everything from classic Pre-Change country and rock to some of the latest hits. There was also a good deal of just plain old jamming.
Around about sundown, Ben produced the taco bar and we all once again ate like starving wolverines. From there, it was another hour or so of talking before everyone headed for home. I put Will to bed and then promptly fell asleep on the sofa in the living room.
About 3 hours later, a cute little green face woke me up saying “Daddy, you need to go to bed now!”, so I did.
All told, it was a fine day of male bonding. And none of us went feral!
More blogging soon.
…from the May, 1927 issue
After The Change Came
Feeling Old In Dog Years
This Friday, my four kids graduate from college. That is on top of them all turning 9 years old a couple of weeks ago. I’m feeling a bit old here, folks. Now, at 19, I’ve still got a few decades to go, but these are our babies all grown up and graduating college here. Gigi and I have been alternately smiling and misty eyed. Now I know how mom & dad felt when Lily and I left home.
Well, actually, except for the fact that Lily and I left home years apart and I only moved like, 150 feet away when I got married and…well, we weren’t a litter of four who actually all moved out 4 years ago. June lives over in Davis and April & May are in Berkeley and Nick is still here in Sacramento, so it’s not like they are scattered to the four winds. Yet.
That “yet” is the big thing, see. April will be moving on to Oxford in the fall and May is off to an art institute in Paris and June is moving to Kaua’i to do botanical research and Nick…well, okay, Nick isn’t moving anywhere, but he recently got an apartment with his girlfriend, Vicki, so there’s that bit of adulthood to deal with. It’s just a lot to have happen to poor old Mom & Dad.
Those of you out there with empty nests and grown kids are probably chuckling knowingly. You can bet my parents are, and have been for weeks. I fully intend to do my own chuckling when Will & Gin leave home in about 11 years.
Of course, having the kids move out has freed up lots of space in the house, although two of their bedrooms are still bedrooms. Our grocery bill plummeted the day they all left home, although it spikes during holidays. All other bills went down, too. Education at all levels is free and the kids have no problem living within their yearly government allotment, so that is a good thing.
It did take us months to get used to the house being so quiet.
Anyway, this Friday will be all about their big day and parties to celebrate and family and friends congratulating them. They’ll all come home for a month, then split for their various destinations. Gigi and I could not be prouder of them. We will miss them, though.
Thanks for listening to an old hound deal with a milestone, folks. Next time, I’ll have something lighter to blog about.
…co-starring her arch-nemesis, Rather Red Rita
Sasha Explains It All
Thoughts On Motherhood
As many of you may knows, a bit over a year ago, I decided to make a baby. No, that is not a euphemism for fucking, or even getting pregnant. First off, I hate cutesy euphemisms for anything, and second of all, I’ve been spayed since I was 6 months old. The baby train will not be stopping in my abdomen. Well, not in this life. Next time, who knows?
No, I decided to go into my lab and create a baby using my DNA as well as the DNA of other species. Not wanting my child to be a canine who would be compared to an incomparable bitch like me, I opted to make her mostly a gorilla. But not all gorilla. I added my DNA to upgrade both her hearing and her sense of smell. My DNA also helped move her from herbivore to true omnivore. I added a bit of human DNA (Thank you, Steve Rogers) to give her a more upright way of walking and a larger brain. Finally, I used some homemade DNA to make her fur and eyes bright yellow.
I put the fertilized egg into the incubator and 6 months later, on June 1st, 2018, Cupcake Waterfall Cross was born. She was tiny and beautiful and I cried when I first held her. She was perfect and I was a mother at age 9 ½. My family loves her, but they also wonder if I lost my mind. To be honest, sometimes I wonder, too.
Cupcake was a very good infant. She ate well, slept a lot and was, of course, very healthy. But we non-humans mature much quicker than Homo sapiens do, so infancy lasted about 3 months. After that, I had a full on toddler. Those of you with kids know that the moment that baby starts walking, life get much busier and more exciting. Now imaging that your baby can also climb and can use her feet almost as well as she uses her hands. Being an active and curious baby, Cupcake was soon into everything. All of us were constantly on guard.
At 6 months, Cupcake started to talk and I have to admit, her vocabulary grew even faster than mine did. So did her ability to talk nonstop and to ask a zillion questions a day. It is both a wonderful and tiring thing. She also was there when her little brother was born. She found the baby fascinating and was very gentle with him. That lasted about 3 months.
By 9 months, she was ready for Mixed Pre-School with other NHT kids and human kids. She really likes school. It is a bit sad that she and the other NHT will pull way ahead of their human friends, but that’s how biology goes.
Now, at 1 year old and after a few adjustments in the Genetic Manipulation Chamber, Cupcake is about where a 6 year old would be mentally and physically. A year from now she’ll be a tween and about 6 months after that she will hit puberty, which thankfully will only take about 2-3 months to get through.
Brownie was born on January 29th, 2019. That was Dad’s 65th birthday and I figured a grandson was a hell of a gift.
Brownie is a genetic mix of raccoon, lemur, dog and human. If you think of Rocket Raccoon with a slightly longer snout, a bit larger eyes, slightly longer arms & legs and a longer, fully prehensile tail, but in light and dark blue fur, you’ve got my boy.
Brownie was a bit more active as a baby and, being a boy, able to pee in my face from a longer distance away when I was changing his diapers. It also meant he was a climber much earlier. By 6 weeks old he was climbing all over and I had several more white hairs on my head.
Brownie was talking at 2 months and was aggravating his sister soon thereafter. Hardly a day goes by without him getting chased around by Cupcake, who threatens him with all manner of mayhem. As with most brothers, he learned quickly how to push his sister’s buttons.
Being a smaller NHT, Brownie will mature even faster than his sister. By his second birthday, he’ll be a full on teenager. I’ll be 12 years old by then and probably a heavy drinker.
Despite my humor, my kids are pretty normal and good children. They were made to be smart, caring and unique. I love them more than anything or anyone else in the world. Given another chance, would I have jumped into motherhood sooner? Oh, hell yes. Probably around 5 or 6 years old. Would I have taken a mate so they had a father? Nope. No need to, when they have wonderful uncles and a singular grandfather.
One last thing, a question that I have been asked more than once: What about the fact that I, realistically, have probably only 4-7 years left to live?
Well, the kids will be adults and on their own in 3 years or so, so I’ll be about 14 ½ then. It won’t be like if I go tits up then, they’ll be children. They will be able to deal with it.
But, of course, when this body dies, it won’t be the last of me. Hell, right now I’m out there as a human female and another breed of dog, having put my katra into both those bodies 4 years ago. When this iteration of me dies, another iteration will wake up a few minutes later in a secure lab somewhere. The new me, who may or may not be a basset hound or even a dog, will go visit the kids/grandkids/siblings, etc. and then start a new life. Death is for people who don’t plan ahead.
Anyway, having kids is the Best Thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t change a thing that’s happened since Cupcake was born.
I could stand to hear less of the word “Poophead” though.
Until my next rant,
Dr. Sasha Jane Cross, PhD (X8)
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…not for cooking
LETTERS FROM SISTER BOMIA
Dear Sister Arilloni,
I hope all is going well at the abbey. Did Sister Grek ever get over her cold? I hope so. Colds are bad enough for we mammals, but for the reptilian folk, they are much worse.
My vacation is still going very well and I have made a few new friends. One of them is a young apprentice wizard from Wurania. Her name is Metaphita and she is just a delight to be around. By turns she is a very serious young student of magic and a young woman who has not spent a lot of time in the wider world. She can be a bit overwhelmed at times, so I try to offer her advice and information and friendship. It seems to help.
Speaking of new friends, I made the acquaintance of a Valdurian gentleman named Aksel Tronin. He’s a former member of the Silver Falcons adventuring company, where he was a swordsman. He’s quite charming and handsome and still quite the swordsman, if you get my meaning. We have spent several evenings and mornings together.
I’ve made several trips into the countryside with different groups. We have been bird watching, flower picking and generally just enjoying the natural world that the Mother Goddess has provided. With the exception of an encounter with some thorncats, all of the excursions have been peaceful and relaxing.
I must go now. Metaphita and I are signed on to a tour of some ruins that the Royal Society of Exploration recently discovered about 20 miles outside the city. It should be interesting. Give my regards to everyone.
Life On The Magic Bus
Chapter 8, Part 3: Across America At Random
The trip begins
Artwork is observed
Destination Sign: Gondor
It was 5:35 in the morning and all of the humans involved in the “Great Random Route Trip To GenCon” were standing on the beach looking out at the Pacific Ocean, the city of San Francisco behind them.
“Now remember, everyone, the exact routes we take from points whatever to whatever are purely up to you, except when there is no more than one choice or when a stopping point is off the interstate.” Phil Lacewood, kilt clad as always, paused to sip his tea. Doc picked up where Phil left off.
“Stopping time is 5:00 pm each day at whatever spot is randomly chosen. Starting times after today will always be 7:00 am, so we are doing 10 hour days. Each leg of the trip will have 3 points where you need to get a geek item. These are being set up now by our dedicated advance team, who left yesterday at 6:00 pm. Nobody knows exactly what the geeky items are, but their general locations will be well marked on your daily maps and the exact location will have a sign.”
“Everyone has a cell phone or other internet connection, so stay in touch.”, Phil said. “If you have trouble or find something cool we should know about, let everyone know. Okay, we’ve got sun up coming in about 5 minutes, so grab a couple more donuts and climb in your rigs. When the whistle blows, we’re off! Have fun and we’ll see you all at stop #1!”
There were 15 vehicles involved in the race, ranging from the Magic Bus to Phil’s heavily modified Saab wagon to a 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille to a Volkswagen bug. All of then held at least 2 people.
The drivers climbed into them and and a few minutes later, a young college student who had been paid $50 to start the race blew a very loud whistle. The race was on.
On the Magic Bus, Doc and Spike were in the cab and everyone else was either in the living room or still in bed. Both men had donuts and a hot drink. Their present route had them driving city streets until they got to the Bay Bridge. Along the way, they pointed out spots that they had visited in years gone by.
“There’s the Doggie Diner we ate at when Mary was pregnant with the twins”, Spike pointed out. “I think she ate more hot dogs on that trip than the previous year.”
Doc chuckled. “Yeah, pregnancy cravings will do that. When Grace was pregnant with Sam, we could not keep enough ice cream in the house for a while there. Then she switched over to thin sliced hard salami.”
They passed old game stores and restaurants and book stores, each one eliciting a memory or two. Eventually, they came to the bridge and not long after that, turned off onto city streets in the East Bay.
Somewhere about 90 minutes into the trip, as they were nearing Vallejo, Winker stepped into the cab.
“I’m taking breakfast orders. What will you two have?”
Spike went with a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and Doc opted for a steak & eggs breakfast burrito. Winker left and 15 minutes later a SmartBot arrived with their meals.
About 20 minutes later, while driving along a country road near Fairfield, they got a text from one of their fellow drivers saying there was a “field full of interesting artwork” up ahead. A few minutes later, Doc pulled up and everyone got off the Bus to have a look.
“Everything is made out of cans”, Sasha said as she went into the field for a better look.
True enough, each of the 6 statues was built entirely out of cans that had previously held food or drink. The largest was 15 feet tall and was a man in the middle of a golf swing. A 12 foot tall woman stood nearby in an ice skating pose. Three 7 foot tall kids playing baseball were about 50 feet away and the whole tableau was finished by a 6 foot long dog leaping to catch a Frisbee.
“ Very sporty”, Grace observed. “I wonder if it was done for the Sacramento Winter Olympics back in 1994?”
Doc was busy taking pictures. He was certain this was not on any Roadside attractions lists, and Roadside Attractions Monthly paid a hundred bucks for finding new stuff.
After a few more minutes, everyone got back into their vehicles and took off. Spike left the cab to go hang out in the living room and was soon replaced by Lulu. She and Doc chatted about various things until they were a few miles outside Dixon, where the first geeky items were. Doc popped open the door at the stop, which was right under a large hand painted sign about 60 feet off a short dead end side road. Lulu jumped out and grabbed one of the 6 inch plush 4 sided dice. As she got back on the Bus, everyone in the living room area cheered.
A bit later, after they had crossed into Sacramento via the I Street Bridge, Doc made a turn down an alley, leaving the 14 other cars behind. He knew that they were all planning on going out Auburn Boulevard until they got to Roseville. But Doc had been listening to the radio and knew that there was an accident on I-80, which would move traffic off to nearby surface streets. He would take a route down a slightly more distant street and avoid the slowdown.
Once the texts about slowing down started coming in, doc waited about 5 minutes, then texted everyone the route to use. He got back many texts, most of which went much like Phil’s text of “Thanks, you cunning bastard”. With a comfortable lead now his, Doc got back on Auburn Blvd and drove as fast as traffic would allow.
All things being equal, the drive from San Francisco to Reno, Nevada, usually takes about 4 hours or so. It had taken out intrepid races 6 hours, which included the stop at Donner Summit to get geeky item #2, a bottle of Jolt! Cola. All cars were now parked in the lot at the Peppermill Casino & Resort, where they would hit the buffet for the last joint lunch of the trip. After today, the rule was “grab lunch where ya can grab it!”.
An hour later, they were on the freeway heading to the next point where they could get off onto side roads. Doc chose to go north of the interstate for two reasons: a long straight stretch of gravel road and a nearly forgotten piece of roadside attraction history.
The First Cat Ranch West Of The Mississippi was, as it turned out, the only cat ranch anywhere. It seems that in the spring of 1897, a couple named Elom and Gussie Hork decided to settle down outside ?????, Nevada and “raise fancy cats to sell back East”. To feed the cats, they raised chickens. Unfortunately, the winter of 1898-1899 was pretty harsh and over the course of a month, bears and coyotes got all of the chickens. Deprived of food, the cats got…unruly. In May of 1869, the local sheriff came out to check on the ranch “cos them two wasn’t right in the head”. He found no trace of the Horks or the cats. The whole self guided tour took less than 15 minutes and cost nothing. Even Grace admitted that the little cat sized corrals and barns were kinda cute looking.
Geeky stop #3 was just west of Winnemucca and the item was an assortment of of convention t-shirts, please take only one. Doc chose an Origins 2001 shirt, mostly because that con had been in Sacramento and he and Spike had first discussed selling their company then.
At just before 5:00 PM, the last car in the race rolled into the Wendover Campground and RV Park in Wendover, Nevada. Conveniently located next to a casino, the racers all agreed that more buffet and some gambling might be in order. The day’s winner for the race were Chuck & Peter Hildreth, who had made great, if bone jarring, time across Nevada in a 1965 Ford Pickup belonging to Chuck. The Magic Bus came in third.
After a few hours of eating, drinking and general merrymaking, everyone went back to their campsites and got some sleep in preparation for Day #2.