March 28th, 2006

Dog problems

I got home from EFRC Sunday less tired that sometimes lately (I didn't have trouble finishing the drive home), but after I ate some dinner, checked email and LJ, and started writing my report, fatigue hit.  I decided I wanted to take a nap.  And then I realized that Meg was looking fat and seemed slightly distressed, which had me just starting to worry that she might be bloated, when I realized that Windy was also looking unnaturally fat.  I suspected they'd gotten into some illicit food.  I went out in the yard and discovered a pile of dog food in the corner that's convenient to Don and Shirley's house.  I haven't had a chance to talk to them, but I had noticed late last week that Gus' (their rottweiler) run was standing open, with no sign of Gus around.  I have a bad feeling that something bad happened to Gus, and that Don "helpfully" got rid of the excess dog food by dumping it where mine could eat it.  Unfortunately, while Gus, in a most un-dog-like fashion, would only eat as much food as he actually needed when confronted with a pile of food, my mals (like most dogs) will eat unto distress.  I didn't think their conditions were serious, but they did keep me from actually getting the nap that I was trying to take.

I finally got to sleep around 4 AM, and slept until after noon, and managed to get up but felt completely listless.  Around midafternoon, I realized that Windy was having a bloody, snotty discharge from his nose and was going to have to see the vet.  I couldn't get him there today (that is Monday), but I will have to get him to someone who can, at least, get him on a regimen of antibiotics tomorrow.  I really hope that will help him, because I really don't need a big expensive vet bill right now.

I also need to talk to my neighbors and (a) find out about Gus and probably express my condolences, and (b) explain that it is Not Cool to dump half a bag of dog food into my yard where my guys will eat themselves sick.  And I suspect that I'll have to leave my guys with Jim and Robin (the breeder) this weekend, rather than having the neighbors feed them, because (a) if they just lost their dog it would be cruel to ask them to take care of mine, and (b) if Windy's on meds I need someone who will be a little more conscientious about getting them to him.

All of this stuff, combined with what I need to admit is depression, kept me from writing my EFRC report or the book review I'm about to post until now.

Book review:  Crossroads

Today's (actually Sunday's but I'm late) book review is Crossroads And Other Tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey.

I usually skip these "stories in the world" anthologies, even when they're worlds I'm a big fan of, but I made an exception because I know so many of the authors personally.  There's a Tanya Huff story -- I didn't know she did Valdemar.  There's a story by Michael Longcor -- I didn't know he wrote fiction at all, much less that he'd been published (though the introduction claims it's not his first Valdemar story).  There's a story by "Mad Mike" Williamson -- again, didn't know he did Valdemar.

All of these stories are at least pretty good.  Some of them don't seem to have much to do with Valdemar, but oddly enough the only one that struck me as troublingly inconsistent with the canon is the one by Larry Dixon (Lackey's husband and co-author on some of the newer books).  The stuff he does with magic doesn't feel right.  The Tanya Huff story is a lighthearted breath of fresh air that nonetheless provokes a little thought about authority relationships -- and the title "All the Ages of Man" does make sense, after you finish the story.  The Longcor is an interesting study of how some of the cool magic stuff we read about Valdemar for might really mix with the mundane reality of a battle.  The Williamson story seems to have no real connection with Valdemar at all, but it does tackle an interesting problem: fantasy (and SF) stories frequently include mercenaries who are good guys -- so what are they supposed to do if they end up in the employ of the bad guys?

For some reason, even though all of the individual stories are decent and some of them are definitely good, the book as a whole didn't leave me terribly excited.  7 out of 10.

Thanks, everyone

Maybe I should be a little more personal and comment in all my friends' journals who wished me a happy birthday, but it seems like one slightly longer note is better than just "Thanks" in several places.  I'm feeling both generally down and less connected with the world than usual right now, so even though I don't make a big deal about my birthday in general, I find myself appreciating the birthday wishes.  Thanks to folkmew, birder2, singlemaltsilk, andpuff, exapno, trektone, blur01, and figmo for greetings in their journals, plus braider and khadagan for comments in my journal, and starstraf for an actual paper birthday card (handmade even).  For anyone that cares but isn't on my f-list, Sunday was my regular EFRC work day so I went and cleaned tiger cages on schedule.  Right now, it's the main thing that's giving my life meaning, and I wouldn't want to miss it.  The keepers even made me a birthday cake.  birder2 treated me to my traditional birthday dinner at the best steakhouse in C-U a day early.


I got Windy to the vet this morning, and we discovered that he's gained 10 lbs. despite the fact that his ribs and hips are very prominent.  The vet did give me a course of antibiotics for the probable infection in his nose, but we also did blood work.  It shows elevated white blood cells, reinforcing the theory that he has an infection, but he also has enlarged red blood cells and some nucleated red blood cells, which is suggestive of cancer, though it might be brought on by a serious infection.  We had The Conversation about cancer treatment.  I'm not really disposed to aggressive treatment; even if it didn't cost a fortune I don't have right now, the treatment tends to make the dog sick and miserable and then it dies anyway.  I'll be talking about it with Jim and Robin, but I expect that I'll just watch his condition.  He's still eating and in reasonably good spirits now.  He's nearly 12, and he's always been a bit sickly, so he probably won't be with me for a really long time even if he doesn't have the cancer I suspect.

I'm not attached to him the way I was to Lori.  It will hurt to lose him, but right now at least, I just want to give him a good quality of life for as long as I can.