I am, as many of you may have guessed, just a trifle grumpy on the subject of organized religion. A tad. A smidge. Try to hide your shock.

I am also not terribly fond of telemarketers, a trait I share with the vast majority of the rest of the world who have phones.

So when the phone rang, and I picked up to hear a recorded voice telling me, with sonorous excitement, to hold for information about a Great New Church in My Area, my disbelief knew no bounds. As I hung up, I thought “My god! If somebody’s not part of your religion, what in the name of bunnies do you expect to gain by pairing up with one of the great banes of our time!? People HATE telemarketing! The Do-Not-Call lists were one of the most popular bills across the board! What could you be THINKING?”


The Hard Questions…

Okay, O Readership, we gots a big question, a hard question, a question that my mother asked me, and which I was utterly unprepared to deal with–and so, I turn as always, to that font of all knowledge.

My childhood dog, Muffy, a Pomeranian mutt, is seventeen years old, mostly blind, entirely deaf, and thoroughly incontinent. She is, however, mostly cheerful, in a vauge, old dog kind of way, and so has been allowed to live out her days, wandering aimlessly in the garden, reliving her glory days as the bane of moles and other small mammals, and pretending she hasn’t been fed in the last hundred years. My mother loves her dearly–the dog has been with her longer than anybody but yours truly–and my kid brother Max loves her despite the fact that the dog mostly loathes him unless he’s dropping food.

However, now she has an ailing heart, and stomach cancer. One simply does not go to heroic lengths for a dog of Methusalah’s years, so as soon as she appears to be in any pain, my mother will have her put to sleep. (Expressions of sympathy welcome, but my grief is very much muted by the fact that the dog has lived an absurdly long and full life with people who loved her–we should all be so lucky. And more practically, not having lived with her for a dozen years, it’s not going to leave the void in the house that was so painful with Loki. Any for my mother, of course, will be passed on.)

But…six year old kid. And now my mother calls me with the hard question–she does NOT want Max present at the actual moment, but she doesn’t know whether or not he should be allowed to see the body afterwards–whether it’ll provide neccessary closure or simply be a traumatic experience. I find myself somewhat torn, although I’m leaning strongly towards not. I do think that under no circumstances should he be lied to–lying to kids about death is a Bad Thing. But…again…I feel remarkably guilt to this day about not being present for the passing of my first cat, and in a life largely unmarred by major regrets, that one stands as a monolith to Me Fucking Up. But again, I was an adult. I’ve never felt any pangs about not witnessing the corpse of my childhood guinea pig (which was wrapped up in a pillow case and buried sight unseen.) And my mother wants very much to do the right thing.

Anybody with kids, or with traumatic memories of being kids, or what, have any advice?

Bat embryo photos. Dude, how cool izzat?

Scroll down a bit for absolutely darling (and one or two mildly creepy) shots of…um…bat fetuses…


The Skinhead Birds Strike Again!

There’s a pine warbler out on the suet feeder. An ordinary sort of occurrence–except that this one has a pure white tail. Seriously. Like driven snow–bright, blazing white. Huh.

And t’other day, there was a bald cardinal. For a minute I thought it was a freaky junco, because the head was jet black and smooth, but…cardinal body. It was like he was wearing a little leather fetish hood, except no zipper on the beak.


Man, I have a great life. I mean, I have a fabulous husband who is willing to spend a fair chunk of his weekend helping me assemble something between a doll and a sculpture. I am at a point in my career where I can pick and choose assignments, and paint whatever I want, and I still make money–perhaps not fabulous money, mind you, maybe half what James makes, but not inconsequential money, either. I do a webcomic which has achieved mild acclaim and a print collection. I have a novel coming out. I am even reasonably healthy, except for some persistant bladder-related annoyances that I won’t trouble the reader with, and I have health insurance. My latest painting is for a project I am deeply excited about and it’s going well.

In short, I love my life. I don’t really feel that I deserve it, but I’ll bloody well enjoy it.

And this brings me, O readers, to the fact that very few of these things–James, and my health, pretty much–would exist without my wonderful, supportive, money-spending advice-giving pep-talk-uttering shameless-plugging obscure-fact-looking-up occasional-art-buying fanbase. Which is you guys!

So, err…THANK YOU!

I just felt like saying that.


Wormly stands, and has hands! And a tail! And he’s…well, kinda wobbly, frankly, but he doesn’t fall over if you shake the table, and will withstand moderate poking. Smack him upside the head and he goes down, mind you, but then again, so do I, so we probably can’t hold that against him. He’s 13 inches high at the top of the skull, and the ears go up a bit farther. Tomorrow, I’ll bulk him out–possibly with foam, but more likely with tinfoil–and then the vast and terrifying adventure of clothing! (Uploading “Irrational Fears” made me realize that he looks a little like a chupacabra…probably not a beret sort of guy, though.)

“You’ll get better at doing this,” said James encouragingly, as we fought to find Wormly’s balance point.

I looked at him.

“I’ll get better at doing this,” he said, resigned.

Lessons learned…
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