Monthly Archives: December 2012

Poisoned Cats and Liquid Charcoal

Yes, it’s that time again. What time might that be? Well…it’s rerun season on television, so I decided to do a little rerunning of my own. This post was ‘originally aired’ on November 18, 2011. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! (I refuse to say I enjoyed the experience, because I did not)


With the holidays fast approaching, I’ve been lamenting the fact that I haven’t been able to have a Poinsettia plant in my house for almost a decade. With a few cats in the house, it’s just not worth the potential problems. Problems I have firsthand knowledge of. This incident just happened to occur in the spring, rather than at Christmas.

A few years ago I bought my first-and only­-Easter Lily to give to my mom when she came over for supper the next day. Around midnight my daughter came out to my office and said she caught Sophie, our diva cat, munching on the plant. Did she ruin it? Nope. She didn’t eat much. Whew!


Meet Sophie. I would not find this position comfortable, but apparently she does!

A little while later my daughter came out of her room and said she got a little worried and Googled ‘cats and Easter Lilies’…to find they were even more toxic than Poinsettias.  Great.  Just great.  No one ever told me that lilies could hurt cats.  So then we both Googled madly to see what we should do about this.

Take her to a vet right away.

Yeah, right, it’s one o’clock Easter morning.  The only option was an emergency animal clinic, located on a college campus, about thirty miles away.  So off we go.  Oh happy day.

Long story short, fifteen hundred dollars for a three day stay wasn’t in my budget, so we were sent home with a bottle of liquid charcoal and told to give it to Sophie three times a day.  Just use the syringe and shoot it down the back of her throat if she wouldn’t take it in food.

Um…okay…us and what army?  I wasn’t born yesterday.  This had catastrophe written all over it.  Probably the sort that involves a whole lot of stitches.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of shooting charcoal, just know that you’re going to have to get really skilled at it in a big hurry…because there’s no way an animal is going to eat any food with that stuff mixed in.  You’re also going to need to recruit at least two other people to help because wrapping the cat in towels and doing it yourself is pretty much impossible.  In fact, it doesn’t work all that well even with help.

So in case you ever need to know, these are the required steps…

Everyone involved  needs to put on clothes they don’t mind throwing away. Liquid charcoal stains really bad and I ruined a nice shirt learning this particular lesson.  One person quickly wraps the cat in a couple of old, thick towels, the second will, even more quickly, hold the cat’s head stationary while trying to pry its mouth open (that job really sucks…I suggest wearing glass-cutters gloves), and the third, with the syringe prepared ahead of time, shoves it in the cat’s mouth and squeezes fast.

After the cat spews half of it back out on your throw-away clothes and towels, you have to do it again because clearly she didn’t get the full dose.  You’ll try to convince yourself that the other half made all the way to her stomach, except you can’t be entirely certain.  Liquid charcoal, splattered all over three people…and the floor…looks like an awful lot of charcoal.  (should have mentioned that you might want to use some sort of drop cloth…it will come off a tiled floor eventually but if it gets on carpet, you’ll be sorry)

Now the real fun begins, because this time it takes at least two people to rewrap the cat.  She’s not stupid.  In fact, she knows exactly why you’re wrapping her up this time…and she will resist.  With unparallelled determination.


Before the second person removes their hands from the towels to grab hold of the head again, everyone will need to take a deep, relaxing breath.  It helps to picture Clark Kent or Edward Cullen moving at the speed of light as you repeat the process.  Twice as fast as you did it the first time.

Don’t worry about the charcoal shower.  Your clothes are already trashed so this deluge isn’t going to ruin them anymore than they’re already ruined.


Now that you know the proper technique for charcoal shooting, remember it.  You’ll be repeating this twice more the first day, then three times a day for the next two days.  Hopefully you were wise enough to just set your newly blackened clothes aside to slip into for each session or you may need to replace your wardrobe.  Nine outfits will empty nearly everyone’s closets and drawers.

And don’t worry about the cat.  It may take a couple of weeks, but eventually she’ll stop trying to claw you to shreds anytime you get within twenty feet of her.  Just make sure you keep all towels out of her sight for awhile.


Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter (just click on the tab above), and stop by and visit my new blog…dedicated to ‘pretty much perfect heroes.’


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Filed under Just for fun

Dear Santa…

Bad Santa

…I’m all done trying to be good. Seriously. When I was a kid, I got most everything I wanted, and we both know I didn’t have mile-long lists either. But this whole grownup Christmas list stuff sucks.

Five things, Santa. Five items on my Christmas list…and you didn’t come through on a single one of them. Getting a little old are we, big guy? Is the magic not working like it used to in the good old days? And just so you have an entire year’s notice this time…here it is…again.

First… One alien abduction. You know who needs the lifetime vacation in outer space, so I won’t post the name publicly. Wouldn’t want to give them any advance warning spoil the surprise.

Second, and this could probably count as one…count ’em one…lumped together as one gift. I’m going to say it r.e.a.l.l.y slow so that you don’t have any trouble getting it through that thick skull of yours there’s no misunderstanding.

Jeffrey. Dean. Morgan.

Bruce. Willis.

Robert. Downey. Junior.

The. Guy. From. P.S. I. Love. You. And don’t give me any flack about this one. It’s the guy with the accent. Not Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He was using a fake accent in the movie. The one I want is the guy with the real Scottish accent who just used a fake Irish accent.

Got it now? It’s pretty simple, so don’t screw up again. You’re starting to annoy me.

***Photo Credit: Lynn Kelley (insulting graffiti…um…hmm…I couldn’t really say)

Yay! This was my 300th post!  🙂


Filed under Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap…

…ummm…. Oops.

Okay, so the tryptophan got the best of me just now. And much as I’d like to give in and see if visions of sugar plums dance in my head, I refuse to give in and be like a guy  the half of the population who settles in for a long winter’s nap after eating a turkey dinner.

For me, though, it didn’t ‘feel’ like Christmas. I’ve heard that from a lot of people this year. People who I imagine are a lot like me. We’re from Michigan, and  Christmas in Michigan means…snow.

I guess that means it’s time for a Christmas do-over. Yup. I’ve done it before, and I’m doing it again. Sometime between mid-January and the end of February…after we get a decent snowfall…Christmas is going to have an encore in my house.

More decorations, more baking, more movies, books and music. And maybe a few gifts. But that’s not the important part. It’s the feeling that seems to go hand-in-hand with…snow. And I miss that feeling, so I’m going to find it before winter is over.

If you’re from a state that’s known for white Christmases, does it affect your mood when it’s brownish green instead?





Filed under Christmas

A Little Newsletter Experiment

Okay…so I think I’ve figured the whole newsletter sign up thing out. I’m going to have to direct you to the ‘Newsletter‘ tab above. Please click on the link there, then fill in your email address (the only required information). You will receive an email asking you to confirm that you wish to receive the newsletter…and that’s all there is to that.  🙂

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Filed under Newsletter

Change of Plans

I know I said I would have the novelette series and newsletter ready to go before December 25 but… It just hit me that I’m missing Christmas with my kids. And you know what? I have been busting my butt since the first of November and I’m just not going to do anymore. Well, not for the next week.

I’m going to put up a few more decorations. I’m going to bake some cookies…even some gluten-free ones for me. I’m going to finish my shopping on Friday (God help me!!!), and wrap the gifts.

This should be a fun time, and I’m missing most of it. So I’m moving things back until after the first of the year.

I’ve also changed my mind about how the stories will come out. Newsletter subscribers will still get the story installments a week ahead of the blog readers but… I’m not going to post the final two. Nope. If people want to find out how the stories end, they’ll either have to subscribe to the newsletter, or wait until it comes out on Amazon and Smashwords, only they won’t be free.

So there you have it. And now I’m officially on vacation.  🙂

And now, please pretend that I’m standing outside your door, that I can actually carry a tune for a minute, and I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas…and singing carols. Here are my four favorite Christmas songs, in no particular order.

How cool! This was done in the city my dad lived in the last 19 years of his life.

Okay…I’m adding one more. Yes I like the song. A lot. But at this point, it’s more like a prayer. I live in Michigan for Pete’s sake!


Filed under Writing


“Did you hear about Connecticut?” was the first thing my daughter said to me today.

I had only just crawled out of bed and turned my computer on so no, I hadn’t heard anything. The first picture that came to mind was 9/11, because her tone of voice was similar to my sister’s when she finally got hold of me to tell me what had happened.

I felt fear begin to build as she stood there and opened her mouth to speak.

Is there some kind of movement going on that only people with twisted, sick minds are privy to? Are they looking for their fifteen minutes of fame? Just wanting to make national news? What is going on?

Twenty small children, and seven other people, gunned down by a freaking lunatic.

A movie theater massacre just months ago. Someone else trying to do the same at a mall not too long after that. The list of these tragedies is pretty much endless.


Some will cry out, saying it’s because people have guns, and we need to pass gun control lawsI disagree. If only law enforcement, criminals and crazies have guns, where does that leave the average citizen. Besides, the Constitution guarantees us the right to own firearms.

I saw a picture recently that I agree with. One man was holding a sign that said, “Guns kill people.” A heavyset man beside him held one that said, “Spoons made me fat.”

If I could, I’d reword the  one sign to read, “Idiots with guns kill people.”

And idiots, obviously, abound. But ban the guns and they’ll just find other ways to kill.

People think these kinds of atrocities are new. They’re not. In 1927, Andrew Kehoe, a school treasurer, set off several bombs in Bath Township in Michigan (known as the Bath School Disaster).

Forty-four people were killed, not including Kehoe, and fifty-eight were injured. Most of the victims were children, aged 7-11, making this “deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the third-deadliest non-military massacre in U.S. history, behind the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11.

Except to detonate his ‘fragmentation-filled vehicle’, Kehoe didn’t use a gun. He somehow managed to find the ‘ingredients’ needed to make the bombs so he could murder all of these people…except his wife, and he simply beat her to death , before setting his farm buildings on fire.

The simple fact of the matter is, people kill people. If they don’t have guns, or bombs (which I understand aren’t that difficult to construct), they’ll come up with some other method because….

Anyone who is determined to commit a horrific act of violence will find a way.

For the families of the victims. And for me. Tuesday marked the second anniversary of the death of my oldest daughter, and it’s just been a really difficult week.


Just adding an interesting statistic here…

MADD reports that twenty-seven people die every day in accidents caused by drunk drivers (in the United States). Every day. How many do you think that adds up to in a year? I’ll save you the trouble of getting your calculators out. It’s 9,855.

Yup. Almost ten thousand people are being killed by cars and trucks every single year.

Therefore, I suggest we all start lobbying our government representatives to ban every car and truck on the road today. I mean really…it makes a lot of sense. After all, automobiles kill far more people than guns do.


I should have clarified that I was being a bit sarcastic above. Cars and trucks don’t kill people anymore than guns do. But in the wrong hands, they are weapons…every bit as much as guns.

See, the thing about guns is this. Those who go through the criminal background checks in order to purchase firearms are not the people we have to worry about. It’s the criminals, and the crazies who steal them that we have to fear. Because the people who go through legal channels aren’t purchasing their guns with the intent to kill anyone. They’re purchasing them with the intent to protect themselves, and their loved ones…if the need ever arises.

So there is a lot of truth to the saying, ‘take the guns away from law-abiding citizens, and the only people possessing them will be the criminals.’ Because you just know that the criminals aren’t going to give theirs up. And there isn’t enough law enforcement in the country to find them all.


Filed under Life

Chasing Butterflies

I don’t know how many of you remember a song called Dog and Butterfly by a group called Heart, but it’s always been one of my favorites. And tonight, as I was contemplating some changes I’m going to be making in the very near future, that’s what came to mind. You know me, I love to use videos to make a point.

But what was my point? And why this song? Well, I started Googling the meaning, not sure I’d actually come up with something but, surprisingly enough, I did. While I can’t vouch for the fact that it’s true, it sounds just about right.

Apparently Ann Wilson was watching her dog chasing a butterfly, and it occurred to her that life is a lot like that. We humans are always reaching for things we can never really catch, but we try anyway.


I’m going to be making plans and setting goals for the rest of my life. Some I’ll reach,  hold in my hands…but some will never come to fruition.  And I’m okay with that. Without failures, it would be impossible to know how good success feels.

Goals will change along the way, and plans will be altered as needed to try and achieve them. And that’s where I’m at today.

I’ve been very interested in Breeana Puttroff’s newsletters. She’s been including deleted scenes from her series, the Dusk Gate Chronicles, for some time now. And I’ve been wishing that I could come up with a way to put some of my own stories on my blog. But should it be deleted scenes? Should it be sample pages or chapters?

And so I let the idea germinate, but truthfully…I’ve been so busy with the writing challenge last month, and then the editing and getting ready for Christmas this month, it slipped my mind.

Then yesterday, I read Debra Kristi’s farewell to her popular Immortal Mondays series, because she wants to make more time for her first love – writing her stories. And that will include posting things that readers will enjoy, like Friday Fictioneers.

So I guess that was the reminder I needed. No, I’m not going to post deleted scenes. Nor am I going to put up excerpts from my books, or manuscripts. I’m going to share full length novellettes and novellas in weekly installments.

But I’m going to have a little fun with them. I’m working on a newsletter, and subscribers will get each installment a full week before they’re posted here (and on my website).

Newsletter subscribers will be invited to share ideas that they’d like to see in the stories, and once in awhile, I’ll choose one and include it in a scene.

As each story is complete, I’m going to remove them from my blog, except for the first few paragraphs, and publish them. That means my blog readers and newsletter subscribers are going to be able to read them before anyone else does.

When will this change take place? Before Christmas. Just as soon as I have the first story ready, and figure out the newsletter, I’ll post a link here. Hope you’re as excited about the changes as I am.

A word of warning… This doesn’t mean I’m finished with sharing other things. Like Borax shampoo, funny stories I come across, and other weird stuff that comes to mind. 🙂


Filed under Writing