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.
…insert spooky piano music and meow here
I did not plan for this to go up on Halloween, as it is neither spooky or funny, but this is how things work out. I’ve been meaning to write about this for years.
The Final Goodbye
Let me preface this by saying that I do not at all believe in the supernatural, from the existence of ghosts to God. I don’t believe in any of it. Dead is dead.
That being said, I do understand I could be wrong and would be interested in any concrete scientific evidence to the contrary. So far, none exists.
What I do believe in, backed up by mountains of scientific evidence and personal experience, is that the human mind deals with strong emotions in endless ways.
The emotion I’m going to talk about is grief and how my mind deals with it.
And I’m specifically talking about grief after losing a non-human companion.
In 2005, our first dog, Roscoe, died. He was old for a basset, nearly 16, and had health issues that only got worse in his last couple of years. His death was not unexpected, but still hit us very hard.
It was 18 months before we felt ready for another dog, at which point we adopted Daisy Ann (November 2006). A month later, we adopted Winker Sue (December, 2006). They filled a huge hole in our hearts.
In that 18 months before we adopted Daisy & Winker, I thought about Roscoe often, but I never had a dream about him or really felt that final moment where you really let go. I just sort of rolled along. After we got The Girls, I thought about Roscoe somewhat less often. I was dealing with two rowdy dogs and life and such.
But in February of 2007, just before I was due to go to Dundracon, I was sitting in the living room late at night when it happened. I was very tired and had just looked at The Girls sleeping in front of the TV when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
It was Roscoe. The front door was open a foot or so and he gave me a doggy smile and a little woof. Then I heard him say, “You’ll be okay now, boss. I’m outta here.”
Then he walked out the door, which shut behind him.
I jumped in my chair, no doubt coming fully awake. Everything was totally normal. The Girls were still sleeping, the tv was still on the Food Network and the house was otherwise quiet. At that point, I felt tears running down my face and said “Goodbye, Roscoe”.
From that point on I felt a weight lifted from me. I still thought of the old boy, but I wasn’t sad. Even the anniversary of his death, which is always terrible, be the deceased human or NHT, I was not as sad as I expected to be.
Fast forward a bit less than two years and we lost Daisy Ann to cancer. She was just over 6 years old and Grace, Winker and I missed her. I had been taking nightly long walks, sometimes up to 5 miles, with Daisy and I called her My Old Walking Partner. After she died on January 2nd, 2009, I stopped taking nightly walks. My heart was not in it and Winker was not inclined toward long walks.
But after about 3 months, I decided to start taking walks again. For a couple of weeks, I avoided the streets that Daisy and I walked, but one night I set off on our favorite walk, just to see how I’d handle it.
I got about 4 blocks from home, at the intersection where we usually paused to decide which route to take, when I got the very distinct feeling that a dog was beside me. I looked down and just for a fraction of a second, saw a black & white blur turn down one street. I did not hear a voice, but I got the overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to keep walking while Daisy went off on another route.
I walked for well over an hour non-stop, crying for the first few minutes. After that night, I felt okay about taking walks in that area.
Winker was born with a pretty bad heart murmur and when we adopted her at age 2+, the vets from UC Davis told us she would never live the average 10-12 years that bassets usually do. We accepted that and loved her very much. She was our little one eyed sweetie.
In 2011, she nearly died from congestive heart failure, but with medication and love, she pulled through. However, the vet told me that her time was limited, with maybe one more year. As it turned out, she died just a few days over a year later, going downhill rapidly over about 3 days.
When Winker died in February of 2012, we had had Lucy for almost 3 years and Sasha for 2 months. That and knowing that Winker was on borrowed time tended to lessen the hurt. Having been through what I now called “The Final Goodbye” twice, I waited for Winker to do hers.
And I waited. And waited some more.
It was 6 months later, in August, that it happened. It was a Saturday morning and I was sleeping in. Grace was out on some errand and Sasha & Lucy were asleep in the living room. Then I felt a dog lick my hand (which was hanging off the edge of the bed) and I heard Winker’s distinctive whine. I was waking up when I heard her happy bark. Of course, she was not there, but I still cried a bit.
Lucy was a mental mess when we got her. I have written about that before, so I won’t go into it here, but by the time she died from lymphoma, in August of 2013, she was much better. She had issues with most other dogs, but she loved Grace and I like crazy.
We had about 4 months to come to terms with her impending death, but of course, it is never easy. The fact that we adopted Daisy Mae just a few days after Lucy died did a huge amount toward healing us.
About two weeks after she died, I saw a dog that looked very much like Lucy at the dog park. For a variety of reasons, I had taken Sasha and Daisy there early in the morning and for even more reasons, I was about 3 days into some seriously shitty sleeping at night. I was pretty tired and a bit punchy and I still missed Lucy.
Turns out, that was the perfect formula for that dog to sort of morph into Lucy, but a happy and unafraid Lucy. She was running and barking having a great time. It lasted maybe 30 seconds and then I blinked and that dog was not Lucy, but I felt pretty happy. Sad, too, and still punchy, but happy. I took The Girls home and had a 5 hour nap.
It took just a bit less than 10 months, but early in the morning on September, 8th, 2019, Silky said her final goodbye. It was around 4:45 in the morning and, like all weekday mornings, Grace was up and tending to Sasha & Luke. As often happens, the dim sound of her talking to them in the living room woke me part way up. I was in that sort of hazy state of not quite sleep when I felt my hand on Silky’s head. Silky’s fur was longer, thicker and softer than any of our other bassets, and the fur I felt was hers. I rubbed her ear for a moment, then heard her say, “I’m sorry about Daisy, Daddy. I love you.”
Then I woke up, crying and missing my girls terribly. After a few minutes, I fell asleep again. When I woke up at 9:00 am. I felt a bit sad, but also glad to know I had dealt with Silky, at least partially. In 5 days, it will be the first anniversary of her death, and I think maybe it will go somewhat easier than previous first anniversaries.
I’m not sure I’ll get a final goodbye from her before the one year mark. Unlike any of the other dog’s, I feel a lot guilt over her death. It is almost certainly unwarranted, but it’s there. I feel pretty certain that her goodbye will help with me getting over the guilt, but it’s going to be a battle of two sides of my brain until then.
UPDATE FROM JUNE 4, 2020
This morning, right around 8:15, Daisy said her final goodbye. Unlike the other half awake/half asleep goodbyes from the others, this was a full on dream. I guess that’s what it took to deal with my much more complex feelings about her death.
In the dream, I was at the big dog park we go to. It looked a bit different, but was mostly the same. I was sitting in the shade on a bench when a young woman sat down next to me. I don’t know how I knew she was young, because I did not look at her. Throughout the dream, I was just staring straight ahead, watching dogs run and sniff.
Then she spoke to me.
Her: You seem sad.
Me: I’m missing our dog who died last year. I feel guilty that we did not have her euthanised sooner. We kept hoping she’d get better. We went days too long.
Her: I see. You must have loved her very much.
Me: Yes, we did.
Her: And she loved you?
Me: Oh yes.
Her: So you erred on the side of love?
Her: Everyone makes mistakes. Do you think if she were here she would forgive you?
Me: Yes, she would.
Her: Well then, maybe it’s time to not feel guilty any more.
Me: Yes, I think it is.
At this point in the dream, a big red sedan pulls up next to the fence on a road that isn’t there in real life.
Her: I’ve got to go now. You take care of yourself and stop feeling guilty. You are a good human.
And then, as she got up and walked away, I finally looked at her. She was a redhead and dressed very stylishly in red. I knew who she was, but couldn’t speak.
When she got to the car and was about to get in, she turned back and said, “Goodbye, Daddy. I love you.” Then the car drove off.
And then I woke up, crying. I cried for a good 10 minutes. I’m crying now.
Goodbye, Daisy. I love you.
Luke (updated 6/4/20)
Luke died about 2 weeks ago, on November 2nd, 2019. His health had declined rapidly due to Cushing’s Syndrome, and he had recently lost the use of his hind legs, so our vet did the right thing by him. Losing three dogs in just shy of a year has done a number on Grace & I, so I have no idea how long it might be before our boy says his final goodbye.
Unlike Daisy Mae, I feel we did right by Luke as soon as we could. I am thinking that now that my brain has dealt with Daisy, Luke won’t be long in saying goodbye.
…who knew he could croon?
The Scottish Pixie Event
(Note: This is not actually that strange an occurrence at our house. Additionally, for those not in the know, Daisy, Sasha, Silky, Luke & Misty are dogs. Max is a mutant rabbit and Daisy’s boyfriend.)
So I’m at the laundromat when I get this text…
Daisy: 30 Scottish pixies have infested Mom’s closet! No time for details. Please come home to help us.
Me: Your text did not go through. Please try again next week.
Daisy: Stop messing around, Daddy! Mom will be home from Winco in 20 minutes!
Me: We are sorry, but Mr. Cross cannot answer you, consumed by laughter as he is.
Daisy: THEY BITE AND THEY CRAP ON US!
Me: We are sorry, but Mr. Cross has just expired due to laughing so hard.
Daisy: You are such a dick!
(Note: At this point, I was laughing so hard that a lady at the laundromat asked me if I was okay.)
A somewhat later text from Sasha…
Holy crap, don’t come home, Daddy! Silky and I stepped in the front door and there was shit all over the house and Daisy & Max & the whole nerd posse were all bit up and crying and a bunch of Scottish pixies in a cage called me a fucking cunt and Mom was right in the middle of things about to hit critical mass.
Suggest you come have a cold one with Silky and I at the pool hall until this blows over.
(Note: Cue another fit of laughter. People start moving to the far end of the laundromat.)
A slightly later text from Luke…
Misty and I were about to come home for the weekend when we got a text from Silky. We will spend tonight in Denver instead. We’ll come home once Mom has cooled off.
(Note: Luke and Misty have a highly developed sense of danger.)
The final text, from Grace, my wife…
When you get home, you’ll find Daisy and her crew frozen in carbonite in the front yard. DO NOT RELEASE THEM BEFORE DINNER TONIGHT! The Bots are cleaning the house and I am going to dispose of Stupified pixies, then take a nap. I do not want to discuss this day ever!
(Note: Not discussing it lasted only until she woke up from her nap and said to me: “Do you know what your youngest dog did today?”)
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…co-starring her moderately wealthy Aunt Olivia
Trip Day Twelve (By Daisy)
Daisy here again, folks. I figured since I started the actual trip report, I’d finish it.
Our trip home up I-5 was pretty uneventful, especially since the Bus left Gorman at 5 in the morning while we were all asleep. We were passing Fresno when we finally got up.
What can I say to sum this trip up? Our traveling band was huge, the trip was unique, as most of them are, and the con itself was just as fun as ever. We saw friends old & new, ate great food and did fun stuff. I guess you can’t ask for more than that.
I need to sign off now, because I seriously need a nap before Max and I begin packing up to leave for GenCon tonight. Yes, we are crazy.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s report. Next year, Daddy will be back to doing it.
Live long and prosper,
CritterCon 11 is over
But we will all be back next year for
Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross
The Doclopedia #1,374
When Harry Met…: Daisy
As soon as the portkey brought them to the graveyard, Harry was ready with his wand and knocked the rat-faced little traitor back about 30 feet, slamming him into a statue. The helpless Dark Lord was flung a few feet away to where Daisy, who had portkeyed in with Harry was waiting.
“How’s it feel to get your ass handed to you by a kid and a dog?”
The tiny figure hissed at her and she shot him with a phaser on stun. He went out like a light.
Harry was just picking up ratface’s wand when the big snake came lunging at him. It would have gotten him, but a phaser blast on “disintegrate”, made short work of the great reptile/horcrux.
“T-Thanks”, Harry said, his eyes wide with surprise.
Ratface started to move and Harry blasted him with a paralyzing spell. Then he went and helped Daisy drag the limp Dark Lord over next to Ratface. She placed a small device on each of their foreheads, then she and Harry sat down to wait a few minutes.
“I think this has gone pretty well so far. No dead student, your headmaster has probably got the imposter taken care of, these two are no longer a threat and in a few minutes, we’ll have the rest of his followers. Yeah, our plan is going well.”
Harry looked at the dog, who had a phaser in one…err, hand…a device like a tv remote in another, a wand in her third and a piece of beef jerky in her fourth. Okay, they weren’t hands, they were octopus arms with smaller tentacle-like “fingers” on the ends of them. She was a basset hound, although much slimmer and a bit longer in the leg that the typical show basset. Her ears were very long and she had mostly red fur, with a few small blotches of white. He collar was colored with three broad black stripes separated by two very thin white stripes. She had told him that it marked her as a third level black collar practitioner of Drunken Fox Dog Fu. Harry took her word for it.
“It’s your plan, Daisy. I’m just going along with it.” He resisted the urge to pet her on the head, even though he suspected she would like it.
“True,” she said, taking a bite of the jerky, “but I could not have done it without you. I’m sorry you had to go through all that bullshit earlier in your life, but believe me, it would be a day at the fair compared to what was supposed to happen today and over the next few years.”
Harry could only nod in agreement. If what she had told him was true, and he did not doubt that it was, he would gladly take the last 14 years instead of the next 3.
“Well, it’s that time, Harry. The nanites are done getting into those guy’s brains. We can wrap this all up.”
Daisy took the remote and pointed it at ratface. He got up from the ground and then picked up the tiny Dark Lord, who was looking at the her with more hatred than she had ever seen. That sort of warmed her heart.
Harry handed ratface the wand they had taken earlier.
“You know what to do.” Harry’s voice was cold and he would have been lying if he’d said that he didn’t want to kill them both right now. But he wasn’t a killer, so he just stepped back and watched as the traitor bared his forearm and sent up the signal.
“Okay, Harry,” Daisy said as she threw the invisibility cloak over herself. “You know what to do.”
Harry quickly lay face down, his right hand holding his wand beneath his apparently stunned body. He eyes were mostly shut, so he saw the followers of the Dark Lord as they appeared.
There were only seven who answered the call. They wore masks, but removed them at a wave of the Dark Lord’s hand.
“Come forward,” the cowardly rodent said. There was fear in his voice, but then, there always was. “Come look at the Fallen Boy, before we begin the ritual to restore our Lord.”
The seven came forward. Not a one had their wands drawn. Just as Daisy had told him, this was going to be a quick and one sided fight.
The moment they stopped, Harry rolled over and blasted two of them with a petrification spell. The remaining five had just enough time to look surprised before Daisy blasted them from behind with stun spells and phaser fire. The whole battle took about 4 seconds.
Daisy and Harry slapped magic draining manacles on ankles and wrists until the seven were trussed up good and proper. Then they walked over to a spot halfway between ratface and the followers and laid out all the horcruxes that were still functioning.
“Well, Harry, will you look at this. A fistful of horcruxes. Of course, we are missing a diary, a ring and that bigass snake, but we still have a cup, a diadem and a locket. Whatever shall we do with them?”
The Dark Lord was feeling enough terror that he was able to twitch a bit. Daisy adjusted the remote and he froze, although his eyes still reflected his fear.
Harry looked at Daisy and said, “I think we ought to destroy this junk.”
With that, he pulled a phaser out of his pocket, adjusted it to the “disintegrate” setting and he and Daisy destroyed the three items in one quick blast.
Daisy walked up to the small former dark wizard asked him, “How does it feel to be mortal, snakeface? I think I should tell you that there was another horcrux you did not know about.” She pointed to Harry.
She then proceeded to tell him the full story, including how a week ago she had given Harry a powerful drug that stopped his heart and, few minutes later, had revived him from death with another drug.
“I got to have a nice chat with my parents, Tom.” Harry smiled as he said it.
A few seconds later a whole group of people appeared. The headmaster was there, along with the more than a bit mad former Auror and several current Aurors. They gathered up all of the followers, including ratface, and whisked them away to the wizard prison, which Daisy had helped to seriously upgrade a few weeks ago. This left the headmaster, Harry and Daisy alone with the…thing…now known as Tom.
“Sir, what shall we do with him?” Harry doubted that the headmaster would kill it.
“Oh, I have a place for him to live out the rest of his life. Sadly, I predict that will only be a few days. Now if the two of you will excuse me, I think I’ll just take Tom and go. Don’t stay too long Harry. I suspect the celebration will be the stuff of legends.”
With that, he was gone.
“He’s right about Tom’s lifespan. Looks like it’s 82 hours, 17 minutes 22 seconds as of right now.” She put away her phaser and the several wands she had collected. She pressed s button on the remote and it dissolved into a silvery goo that then slid into her small backpach with everything else.
Harry sat on the ground and gave her a long hug.
“Thank you, Daisy”
Daisy licked his cheek as a rather garishly painted school bus materialized behind her. She held up one “hand” with her fingers in a position that Harry recognized from a television program.
“Live long and prosper, Harry.”
And then she got on the bus and was gone.
…and meets some goats
Sasha Explains It All
My Family: An Adventure In High Strangeness
I know what you’re thinking, folks. Everybody has a strange family, right? You’ve got that crazy aunt or that strange brother or the funny uncle or whomever. Every family has at least one strange member and many families have several.
Well, I’ve got you beat. Right off the bat, what you’re reading right now was written by a not quite 6 year old dog using the tentacles of the symbiotic air breathing octopus that she created in her ultra advanced genetics laboratory. You’re grandmother who drives in off road races can’t touch that.
At first, I was going to do this piece rating my family from least strange to most, but I’ll be damned if I can choose who is strangest. I do know that my human mom is the least strange, but after that, it pretty much comes down to fractions. Instead, I decided to go from youngest to oldest, so here you go.
Daisy, Age 3, Basset Hound: Daisy has been my sister for just over a year and is sweet, goofy (a term that applies to all of the Cross family) and as big a nerd as you’ll ever meet. No, really. I’ve seen her argue for hours about the best Star Trek series, the best Doctor or why a certain set of roleplaying rules sucks. She is into cosplay, filksinging and pretty much anything to do with fantasy or science fiction. On top of all that, she is also a brown collar in Drunken Fox style Dog Fu. I have seen her kick the ass of a brutish 120 pound mixed breed male, folks. She’s not cocky about her martial abilities and mostly comes off as a loveable & mildly hyperactive geek.
Her best pals and gaming/geek partners include humans, cats, dogs, pigs, rabbits and a skunk. (Janet, the same skunk that Flash had a drunken interlude with) They get together to play AD&D, watch Doctor Who or Star Trek or anime and do the Mystery Science Theater thing with bad old movies.
Daisy also enjoys painting (surrealist style), helping Dad cook and chasing squirrels.
Jazz, Age 4, Dwarf Longhair Portuguese Jungle Cat: There is mounting evidence that Jazz might be either a reincarnation of Janis Joplin or quantum psi linked to an existing Janis in some other reality. We’ll know more when my friend Stephen (whom I met via my friends Tony & Bruce) examines her.
Anyway, Jazz is the wife of my brother, Flash, and she is a top notch blues/R&B singer. She can really belt ’em out, but is also great at the slower tempo songs. Jazz also writes songs and, using an Ottopus (our name for the symbiont octopi) is learning to play guitar. She also likes boardgames (she’ll kill you at Settlers of Catan) and LARPs.
Jazz has only been married to Flash about a month, but we’ve all known her most of a year and she has known Flash for two years. Her early days are almost as much a mystery as Silky’s are. We do know she was born into a small family in Texas, but spent a couple of years “on the road”. At one point, she lived on Willie Nelson’s bus, but left because she got tired of being high all the time.
Jazz is a big fan of fish, both raw and cooked. She is also pretty fond of bacon, but then, who isn’t? She does not like Mexican food much.
Jazz also enjoys reading mystery novels, trying to convince Flash to start a family and chasing squirrels.
Flash, Age 5, Dwarf Shorthair Portuguese Jungle Cat: My brother, Flash Alexander Cross, was adopted into the family at 5 months old. He was born into a very large family (litter of 10!) but left home at 10 weeks old. Mostly, he just hung around with lounge singers, comedians & showgirls in Las Vegas until joining Mom, Dad, Lucy & Winker just before the trip to DogCon 3. He and Lucy became especially close, mostly because they were both prone to violence, property damage and other bad behaviors. However, contrary to some rumors, neither Flash, nor Lulu is a psychopath. They are just rowdy amoral goofballs with a profound lack of trust or respect for authority figures. See also: Daddy.
Flash is a HUGE fan of Frank Sinatra, but really enjoys many styles of music (he’s also a big fan of Warren Zevon, Pink and Bob Marley). He’s a pretty good singer, too. He also loves action and superhero movies. Despite only weighing 8 pounds, Flash is a 100% alpha male. He is known to have fathered at least 4 litters, back in his younger days.
Flash pretends to not like geeky things, but he really does. He’s a big Star Wars fan and his Wars vs Trek arguments with Daisy are legendary. He also loves LARPing at DogCon and playing video games.
Earlier this year, Joe and I built Flash a suit of Tony Stark style power armor so that he and Lulu could go to an alternate reality and kick ass on Nazis. When he wears it, he calls himself “Iron Cat”. Mom has still not completely forgiven me for making that suit. Fortunately, Mom & Dad make us keep the armor under Level 5 security most of the time.
When Lucy died in 2013, Flash just fell apart and started using catnip pretty heavily. When we revealed Lulu to him, he cried and cried and didn’t leave her side for days. Despite the way he talks all macho, like Daddy, he is a big old marshmallow inside.
Flash enjoys record collecting, fishing, trying not to become a father (which he will ultimately fail at because he likes sex) and chasing squirrels.
Me, Age 5.75, Basset Hound: I was born into a family of 5 puppies, a mom and a dad back on Jan. 2, 2009. I was adopted by a nice older man when I was 11 weeks old, but by the time I was 1.5 years old, he could no longer care for me properly and gave me to his daughter and son in law. They mostly kept me in their back yard or garage with two bigger dogs who were, to say the least, thick headed idiots. When Mom & Dad came to adopt me after the young couple had a baby and could no longer really care for any dogs, I was nervous, but glad to be gone. Little did I know that exposure to our bus (AKA The Magic Bus), would change me forever. But that’s for another rant.
My first love is working on machines and I am a pretty skilled mechanic, both on the ordinary and ultra tech levels. I have a pretty good knowledge of transtemporal/spatial theory and quantum foam vibration effect (the thing that keeps the realities apart). I’m also about at the PhD level for ordinary physics, chemistry and engineering. Gotta love being mentally connected to an Ottopus and a T-Control Computer.
About a year ago I undertook and passed a course on Mad Genetics from the Narbon Institute. It was loads of fun, gerbilsnake/gerbilspider/gerbilwolverine escapes notwithstanding. I later took the advanced course, which allowed me to create both my Ottopus symbiont, Otto, and my pet giant garden spider, Joyce. Genetics will always be fun, but will always take a backseat to mechanics for me. Nothing like getting grease on your tentacles.
I’m a pretty big geek, with a decided leaning towards RPGs, anything steampunk and superhero/kaiju/science fiction movies. I can play the piano well and my idols are Elton John and Fats Waller. My favorite food is an In N Out cheeseburger with bacon added. I’m also a really big fan of sex, which is why my FWB Buster and I hang out together. (Note to humans: No, ordinary spayed female dogs do not have a sex drive, but I’m not ordinary, am I?)
Although it is a subject of a future rant, I do feel obliged to say that, like Daddy, I am Mad. Not insane, really, but Mad. You might even say I’m barking Mad. Heeheehee.
Other things I enjoy include reading parts catalogs and quantum mechanical journals, rebuilding my 1959 Cadillac and chasing squirrels.
Silky, Age 8, Basset Hound: Silky has only been with us since Father’s Day of this year (2014), but she has fit into the family very well. Much like Mom, she lends an air (a thin air) of normality to things. It’s actually kind of amazing how quickly she got used to all our strangeness.
On the other paw, normal is relative and Silky has more than her share of strangeness. First off, she seems to channel the memories of somebody, canine or human, who lived through the 1960’s. Not all the time, but in flashes that last about a minute. This could explain why she is such a big fan of the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area groups. She and Jazz have some pretty interesting conversations.
Secondly, Silky does not speak about her first three years of life. If you ask, she just says “I was out and about and had some adventures.” Daisy thinks she was hanging with bikers and Flash thinks she was a spy. Whatever the case, those years might explain why she can speak fluent French, Owl, Hedgehog, German, Bear & Spanish AND how she knows so much about computers, security systems and baking.
Shortly after her third birthday, Silky was “sold into bondage” to an older Hispanic lady and her family and was used as a breeding bitch by the old ladies son & daughter in law. They bred her once a year for the next four years, then moved away. About a year later, the old lady gave her up for adoption and she came to live with us. She was VERY happy about that.
Silky likes boardgames and is getting into card games and RPGs. She really likes old school computer games and plays the hell out of Tetris. When it comes to food, she likes most types, but doesn’t eat broccoli or carrots. Her favorite television shows are CSI, Grimm and Downton Abbey. Musicwise, she likes soft rock and old country music.
Other things Silky enjoys include reading spy novels, writing her memoirs and chasing squirrels.
Lulu, Age 11.5, Robot Dog: Lulu was born Lucy and we know next to nothing about her early years except that some foul human woman kept her in a crate most of the day because the woman’s little dogs did not get along with her. That set the tone for the next 5.5 years of Lucy’s life until a couple rescued her. A few months later, Mom & Dad adopted her.
Lucy had many mental problems due to her terrible upbringing. She took years to get even partially better. Then, in early spring of 2013, she was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma. She died peacefully at the vet’s office on August 14th of that year.
Well, her body died. Her katra (a Vulcan word for intellect/life force/soul) had been transferred into a silicon brain by me a few days earlier. To make room for the best parts of her, I wiped most of her memories before she came to live here. I put in a vague memory of being a puppy, but everything after that and before Mom & Dad is a blank. We also gave her the new name of Lulu
Lulu’s original body was a cyborg deal that I kind of cobbled together quickly to get her new brain into. Later, she got a snazzy new body with an adamantium skeleton and a vibranium outer shell. She is damned near indestructible by anything here on Earth. She is powered by a mini sized Mr. Fusion, which is why she sometimes eats organic matter. She also sometimes eats inorganic matter that her nanotech innards use to repair her. If she needs to, Lulu can mount up to three weapon pods on her sides & back.
Lulu loves kaiju movies, robot movies, westerns and Marx Brothers comedies. In stark contrast to her appetite for destruction, Lulu likes to paint landscapes to relax. Her favorite food is carne asada tacos with a sprinkling of copper and titanium.
One little note here: That evil woman who mistreated Lucy? I used the bus to go back to the day after Lucy left her and gave her several crippling mental disabilities, chief among them agoraphobia, to keep her a prisoner in her own house. She also has a severe phobia of dogs. She will have these for the next 20 years or so. Fuck with my sister, fuck with me, bitch!
Other things Lulu enjoys are playing computer games, having cybersex with military grade autonomous robots and chasing squirrels and/or velociraptors.
Mom, Age 56, Human: Despite being mother to all of us and having been married to Dad for almost 18 years, my mom is a beacon of sanity & reason in our family. Well, most of the time. Sometimes even Mom has her moments.
There is less to say about Mom’s strangeness than there is to say about her acceptance of strangeness in others. Which, if you think about it, is pretty strange in itself. And kind of recursive.
Mom is the eldest of 4 children born into a Catholic family. Fortunately, she got better. She is also a veteran of the United States Army.
Anyway, Mom takes most of our shit in stride, but when she slams down the law, we all are quick to step & fetch & straighten up. She has “The Mom Look” down to a fine degree. She has been known to stop Dad, Flash & Lulu dead in their tracks.
Mom very much enjoys going to school and learning things. She usually has a 4.0 average, which boggles Daddy, whose philosophy in school was “if it ain’t an F, it’s ok by me”. When she retires, Mom plans on taking classes for the rest of her life.
Activities Mom enjoys are reading, doing stuff on computers and taking naps. So far as I know, she has never chased a squirrel.
Dad, Age 60, Human: My three favorite things about Daddy are that he loves animals, is very funny and, like me, he’s mad as a March Hare. Really, if you don’t think Daddy has paid in full the toll that madness takes, go read the Doclopedia. Actually, I’ve found that a great many creative types are Mad.
My least favorite thing about Daddy is that explaining anything more technological to him than a hammer is pointless. What really makes it frustrating is that he uses ultra-tech with no problem. I’ve seen him pick up a Thovian Cellular Knitter and use it to heal a cut as though he were taught to do it from birth. But if I try to tell him how it works, his eyes glaze over and he starts thinking about beer or something. He does that when Mom tries to explain computer stuff, too. Sometimes you want to just hit him on the head.
Daddy is the eldest of three children and was raised way out in the country on a farm. Actually, Grandma used to say he and his sibs were less “raised” than they were “prevented from getting killed”. She also said that Daddy resisted becoming fully civilized until he was in his 30’s. Most of us think the jury is still out on his civilized status.
Mom says she and Daddy met on a computer BBS back around 1994. Daddy says they met when she pulled a thorn out of his paw. Whatever the case, they got married in 1996 and are coming up on 18 years of wedded bliss, even though there are days when I expect Mom to use the bus to go back and marry a nice sane guy.
Daddy is a dedicated roleplaying gamer and an avid boardgamer. He’s also a first class cook, has a good singing voice and is, so I’m told, that rare human male that will willingly clean a toilet at home.
Daddy has many hobbies and interests, including Sherlock Holmes, collecting books, writing, traveling, collecting little plastic figures of all kinds, gardening, basset hounds, wildlife, being deliberately goofy and eating insanely hot & spicy foods. Rumor has it that he has chased more than his share of squirrels.
So there is my family. Strange as all hell, but I love them.
Until my next rant,
Sasha Jane Cross
…NOT a book for kids
Dog Con 7
Day 17, Con Day 4: In which critters strut their stuff, games are purchased, games get played, seminars are attended, Daisy has a birthday, critters strut their stuff and pie gets eaten.
We are all on the bus and getting ready to leave Critter City. As usual, a quick recap of the day.
Breakfast at Pancake-A-Go-Go, a new place in town. Great food, but kind of slow service due to a big Sunday crowd.
We bought the hell out of games! Grace bought several cubic feet of boardgames, Daisy bought, well, she bought all sorts of things.
(Daisy: Phasers! Sonic screwdrivers! D&D stuff! A sword!)
I bought mostly games and t-shirts. Sasha and Silky bought dice and other stuff.
(Silky: I bought some Buffy DVDs.)
(Sasha: I bought a bunch of comics and some steampunk clothes.)
I’m not sure what Flash & Jazz bought, but I know Lulu bought a bunch of swords & knives.
(Lulu: A girl can never be too well armed!)
(Leon: But you’re indestructible, right?)
(Lulu: What’s your point?)
While our group was buying stuff and playing games,. Spike and I once again took part in the panel for “Ask A GM ANYTHING!”. As with every year, it got crazy. Spike balanced a jar of maple syrup on his head, I explained how to kill a werewolf with a butterknife and our moderator (a mother of young twins) sang an impromptu song about dancing through the dungeon. It was a fun time for all.
At noon, many people and critters besides our gang assembled in one of the smaller halls for a celebration of Daisy’s third birthday. There was cake and dog biscuits and ice cream for all.
(All The Other Critters: Happy Birthday, Daisy!)
Immediately following that was the big charity “Pets On Parade” event. It raises money for many rescues and shelters and costs $5.00 per critter to enter it. There were about 6,000 animals in it this year.
(Roxy: That was a whole lot of critters!)
(Jazz: I was surprised to see so many pigs.)
Finally, the big voice in the sky said the con was over, which meant that it was only 30 minutes until the Post Con Cool Down Party & Pie Fest. My goodness, they come up with more new kinds of pies each year. We all ate too much while saying goodbye to folks we won’t see until next year.
Now it’s time to fire this bus up and head to Canada, where we’ll drop off Brian, Caroline, Lauren & Sadie in the morning. More bloggage later.
Destination Sign: The Hundred Acre Wood
Music: 24th Century Classical
…Happy birthday, Grace Slick!
The Doclopedia #1,084
My Dogs: Sasha Jane Cross
Sasha is an almost 4 year old Basset Hound who lives with her human mom & dad and her Basset sister in the Sacramento, California area. She is reddish orange and white in color.
Little is known of Sasha’s first two years beyond the fact that she was born in Modesto, California. Rumors that she had to leave Modesto as part of the Witness Protection Program are unconfirmed, as is the rumor that she worked for the CIA. We do know that before she turned two, Sasha learned to speak fluent Feline, Bovine and Porcine. Currently, she has also learned to speak Caprine, Avian and is learning Cetacean.
Her personality is rather mercurial, ranging from utterly nerdy to bossy and rowdy. She is not given to violence, except where squirrels are concerned. She is highly intelligent. Her favorite roleplaying game is Dungeons & Dogs.
In early 2012, after the death of her sister, Winker, Sasha found her stash of catalogs for Alien & Future technology products. With the help of the family quantum mechanic, Sasha soon had a vast knowledge of ultra-tech. This knowledge served her well when, in late August of 2013, she built a cyborg body to hold the “katra” (Vulcan for spirit or lifeforce) of her recently deceased sister, Lucy. The project was a success.
In her spare time, Sasha enjoys eating Foooooodddd Foooooorrrr Doooooggggssss!, watching Star Trek episodes (original series and Next Generation), recalibrating Chameleon Circuits, participating in Extreme Basset Wrestling, dating hunky yellow Labradors and sliding in the Slide Room on the Magic Bus.
The Doclopedia #1,085
My Dogs: Daisy Mae Cross
Daisy is a slightly more than two year old Basset Hound who lives with her human mom & dad and her Basset sister in the Sacramento, California area. She is mostly red and white in color, with a freckled nose.
The first two years of Daisy’s life are a complete mystery and she doesn’t talk much about them. We know that she lived with a human mom and “a whole damned bunch of chihuahuas”, but beyond that, we only know that he life “didn’t suck”.
Daisy is a thin, but very athletic girl. She does not gain weight easily, despite the efforts of her mom & dad to put some meat on her bones. Daisy loves humans, dogs and many other animal species, but she hates squirrels (who are all “bushy tailed communist bastards”) and thinks both rabbits and cats are “pretty damned dodgy, if you ask me”.
Daisy is very intelligent and has a generally sweet disposition. She is a lover of all things Trek (and Who, Marvel, DC, Tolkien, etc, etc), Daisy is a big old geek girl. She particularly loves Star Trek: The Next Generation, the fourth Doctor, all things Firefly, Captain America, Batman and the RPG Dungeons & Dogs. She can hardly wait to attend her first DogCon in August of 2014
In her spare time, Daisy likes reading Star Trek novels, eating Foooooodddd Foooooorrrr Doooooggggssss!, watching monster movies with her dad, chewing on beef bones, dating nerdy Spaniels and sliding in the Slide Room on the Magic Bus.
Grace, Doc and Sasha Cross are pleased and proud to announce the newest member of the Cross family, Daisy Mae Cross.
Daisy is a Basset Hound like her sister and despite being a tad skinny, she is in good health. She is a very friendly girl and is getting along well with Sasha. She is somewhat longer and taller than Sasha and is mostly reddish brown. She is 2 years old.
We think Lucy would approve of her.
Edit From 2019: Daisy died on June 27th, 2019. She was with us just shy of 6 years. She was a wonderful and loving girl. We miss her.