Category Archives: animals

Cajun French: Chenes/Chien

Time for another lesson in Cajun French. Today’s lesson was actually inspired by a disagreement I got into with a co-worker. We were talking about fishing and where we go. After confirming we fish in the same area, Pointe-aux-Chenes, we had a discussion about the meaning of Pointe-aux-Chenes. My co-worker speaks Spanish and insisted it meant “nose of the dog”. I disagreed. I knew it meant “point of the oak”.

He wouldn’t believe me. Finally, I called one of my Cajun connections to settle the dispute. He agreed with me. I love being right. I can see why my Spanish-speaking friend would get the two confused.

Chene  pronounced “shan” (soft n) means oak. Chien pronounced “she-in” (long e, soft n) means dog. If you’re listening to someone speaking who mispronounces either one of these words, it would be easy to think they were talking about a dog instead of an oak tree. Naturally, Pointe pronounced “pon” (soft n) means point.

This is a chene:

This is a chien:

This is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog which is the state dog.


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The Cookie Monster

No, sorry, I’m not jumping on the Sesame Street bandwagon and talking about Katy Perry today. Instead, I plan to discuss my very own Cookie monster.

A little over a year ago, we rescued a little calico. She was half-starved and it wasn’t until we handled her that we realized she had a massive wound on her stomach. She was ripped open from mid-abdomen to her leg. The wound was disgusting and horribly infected. Several people told me we should have put her down, she wouldn’t make it and it would be too expensive to heal her.

I coerced my mother to help me get the kitten, who was then named Bella, fixed up as much as possible. When I realized that in spite of her grievous wound, she purred and begged to be loved, I knew she was a tough kitty. I named her Cookie after my mom and also because she was a tough cookie. It stuck.

It was a year ago that Cookie had her last stitches taken out and now she’s fat and happy. She’s also a destroyer of furniture. I’ve been looking into getting a new bed, while also thinking about a new sofa set, except I didn’t want Cookie destroying the new pieces. My mother was adamant that something had to be done with her. We either declawed her, or we put her outside.

Since I’ve babied this cat since she first walked into our lives, I couldn’t see her put outside, but neither could I have her declawed. I’ve read articles and seen news footage about declawing and I couldn’t put her through that. She’s too sweet to be put through more pain just to protect our furniture.

So last week, I looked into alternatives to declawing and stumbled across this product called Soft Claws. I spoke about it with Mom. She didn’t know what the declawing process entailed, so after I explained how the cat’s claws were cut to the first knuckle, she shook her head. There was no way she was putting her little Cookie through that! Soft Claws, for those who haven’t heard of it, are vinyl tips that are glued over the cat’s claws. It helps protect against problem scratching in all areas from furniture to people. So the Soft Claws were a viable option for us. If it worked, we were home free.

I ordered a set (pastel pink because she’s such a girl) and it came in on Friday. After some extra loving and coaxing, we managed to get Cookie’s claws clipped and the tips in place. Oh, Gawd…Cookie walked around like she was being tortured. She’d stop, shake her paws one at a time and then walk some more. Finally, after about half an hour, she was like “whatever, where’s my food?”

Yesterday, nearly my entire family showed up and I had to show off Cookie’s cute little toes to them. They adored them (well, the women did, the guys were like I can’t believe you colored your cat’s toes *eye roll* Men.). Cookie both hated and loved all the attention. Of course, she should get used to it because I’ve had my camera at the ready since Friday night to get a good picture of her. Which I finally have!

If you look closely, you can see her pink little nails. I think I have to get Christmas colors when November rolls around. Isn’t she adorable? My little Cookie monster 🙂

Have you ever heard of Soft Claws before? Have you used them? Will you think about using them now if you’ve just learned about them?

P.S. The Title that WIP poll will close at the end of day today, so get your votes in!


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An Unusual Nightmare

I know I said I was finished blogging about Nationals and I was. Until I remembered something I learned last week. It’s funny, isn’t it? The more I rest, the more I remember from the conference. I suppose my brain is finally coming back on-line.

Anyway, I took a workshop last week called Crime Scene Imagination. It was held by a DNA Lab Tech and a Body Farmer. I’m not going to go into the body farming. It creeped me out a bit although I was highly intrigued.

No, today’s post is about something the body farmer, Michelle Labbe told us. Someone asked what kind of animals were usually first on scene when a body was left in the woods. Of course she explained about flies, beetles, and the like, but what shocked me was when she said, “Oh and deer.”

Now I live in Sportsman’s Paradise. I’ve had wild game more times than I can count, but I never once thought of that wild game snacking on me. If you want to dig deeper, think of it as Bambi using you like beef jerky. I was horrified. I had to know more! So I raised my hand and asked what exactly deer would eat on the human body. I was told they’d probably eat hair, maybe the dryer parts of the skin.

I dwelled on this information for days and it still bothers me. I tried to justify it. It has to be the salt content in the human body. I know hunters put out salt licks for deer, so for a deer to decide munching on a dead body is a good idea, has to be because of salt excreted through the pores. I should be fine with that, right?

Wrong. The writer in me had a lot to think about because I’m now wondering about the deer that used to live around the house I grew up in. Were any of them man-eaters? Has there ever been a case of a deer killing a human to eat their hair and lick their skin? What about rabbits? Should I worry about them too? Like I didn’t have enough to be scared of already. You know, black bears, cougars, coyotes, alligators and all the damn snakes in south Louisiana, now I have to worry about the bloody deer! And possibly rabbits and nutria-rats and opossums and squirrels. There’s a whole world of trouble out there ready to snack on my corpse!

Phew, glad I got that out of my system. I mean, logically (but we’re not dealing with logic, are we?) I know that the cycle of life is unending. You’re born, you die, your body becomes food for the next cycle forming. It’s natural, but damned if it still doesn’t freak me out.

How about y’all? Have you learned something recently that freaked you out? Have you ever heard of a man-eating deer and if so, where was it?


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Drawing A Blank

I’ve sat here for about an hour trying to come up with something to blog about and I’m still not sure what to talk about.

Most of the time, ideas will spark as I’m driving, or getting ready in the morning. Sometimes, I’ll have a brilliant idea while checking my e-mail or Facebook. Today though, none of that has sparked anything good to blog about. My brain is a whirlwind of things I have to do before Nationals.

The only thing I can think of that’s remotely funny, was the song I sang as I showered. For some reason, I was singing Baby Come Back with a Spanish accent like the mariachi band in the Swiffer commercial. Yes, I was. Cookie the Hut was sitting on the bathroom cabinet peeking around the shower curtain at me as I soaped up, singing as loudly as I could. She did that tilt-her-head-this-way…no, mom still looks/sounds weird…tilt-her-head-that-way…nope, still weird until I finally stopped.

Really, the only one who appreciates my singing is my dog. All I have to do is start singing her version of Super Freak and she comes running.

She’s a very fuzzy girl,
The kind you don’t take from her mama.
And she never lets your spirits down,
Once you can get her out of bed.

What? You don’t sing to your pets? Those poor things. My animals have their own songs. Ty, the cranky 12-year-old cat, has her own theme song. When I see her walking across the living room, I instantly start singing Maneater by Hall & Oats. Cookie gets her own little rap song, “She’s the C to the double O-K-I-E!”

But the cats don’t appreciate my voice. They stare at me like I’ve gone insane and walk away. Or run up to me and get in my face to make me stop. Ingrates. No, my Mia is the only one who gets all happy and excited when I sing. It doesn’t really matter what I sing either. And no, she isn’t deaf.

Huh, how do you like that? I actually found something to talk about!

So do you sing to your pets? You should if you don’t. I hear it helps them grow. Or is that plants?


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Have I Become Mommy Dearest?

Okay, so I don’t have children, I have pets. After this weekend, I’m thinking it’s better this way (for my own health).

Last week I noticed my 8-year-old miniature Schnauzer wasn’t acting like herself. She was sleeping more, not showing interest in her food, and had mucus coming out of her eyes. I was frantic after doing on-line research. Ever notice how helpful, yet paranoid inducing the internet is?

So I made my little girl an appointment with the vet on Saturday morning. We spent nearly 3 hours there because the vet feared Mia might have pancreatitis or an infected uterus. Yes, freak out was imminent. Especially since the vet wanted to get x-rays of my baby. When they took her in the back, the tears started to fall. I hate crying in public. It flat out bothers me, but there was no helping it.

As a result of my attempts to be strong and stoic, my mom decided she needed to come sit with me at the vet’s office. There were no more tears after my initial breakdown, but the news wasn’t the best. My Mia has a kidney infection, which the vet is hoping can be cleared up with antibiotics. They had to give her fluids and anti-nausea medication. And as for the mucus in her eyes, that’s from pink eye (I didn’t know dogs could get pink eye).

Now to the title of the post. Because of her weakness from not eating, the vet suggested we syringe food into her mouth if she wouldn’t eat on her own. That’s what I did this weekend: force fed my dog. She hates it, I hate it, but there’s no help for it. Not only do I have to force her to eat, but I also have to shove pills down her throat.

This makes me out to be the bad guy because every time I go near her to administer more medicine or try to tempt her to eat, she tries to wiggle away from me (very slowly). *sigh* I’m worried about her. So much so, that I was tempted to call in to work today, but if I don’t work, I won’t have money to pay for more vet bills.

So is this something all moms feel? Like even though their intentions are good, they’re the bad guy, or mommy dearest? I’m not sure I could have children if this is how I behave with my pets because knowing she’s scared and wary of me, breaks my heart.


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Fantasy Man Friday

Yes! It’s another Fantasy Man Friday and it’s also a gorgeous day. After the terrible weather we had last night, the promise of a new beginning was fulfilled. You know I’m not going to go straight to the wickedly hot man I’ve found for you today. I have to do my regular ramble 🙂

Yesterday when I got home from work, everything appeared normal (other than the whipping winds and torrential downpour). The animals were all snug inside, or so I thought. After being home for an hour, I realized I hadn’t seen one of the cats. Ty is 11 years old and crankier than that old man who yells at you for playing your music too loud. She normally comes out of her hidey hole a little while after I get home so she can go outside and stalk the evil pigeons and doves in our yard. She didn’t come out.

I tore the house apart looking for her, but didn’t find her. Then a thought occurred to me: what if she was outside and had been hit by a car, or picked up by the dog-catcher, or got her ass beat down by that mean stray in the neighborhood? Panic set in. I’ve had this grumpy, evil cat for a long time and I love her although everyone tells me that’s a distinct impossibility because of her personality. I called for her and by calling, I mean whistled. She always comes running when we whistle, but she didn’t show. I had to leave home for a meeting, but I almost didn’t go. I wanted to find my kitty!

We got home about an hour and a half later and she was sitting on the porch looking distinctly pissed because she was outside while wet stuff fell from the sky. I was never so happy to see her mean little face in my life! Regardless of her warning growls and yowls, I hugged her several times through the night. Ty is back home safe and bitchy. I couldn’t be happier!

So, on that note, let me dazzle you all with today’s offering.sexy_men_08

He’s a very dirty boy who needs to be washed. Um. Yeah. So Happy Friday, folks!

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Fantasy Man Friday

It’s Friday. My favorite day of the week. Really. I’m sure it’s such a great day for the majority of the workforce, it should be declared a holiday. Then we could all look forward to Thursday!

I’m not sure how many of you have been following this blog long enough to know about the kitten we found in August with the gaping hole in her stomach. Well, we kept her and named her Cookie. I made sure she got all sewn up and healed and she was doing perfectly fine. The stitches came out right before Labor Day and she was being just your normal, obnoxiously cute kitten. Last night I picked her up for a cuddle and noticed that part of her wound had reopened. It’s about an inch long and half an inch wide. It’s in a really awkward spot, so I’m guessing she tore it open by being fiesty. It doesn’t bother her much, but we freaked. I’ve got to bring her back to the vet today so they can take a look at it.

While I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking about how I finally got my medical bills under control (they’re almost paid off after 2 years) and I ended up with a kitten who’s going to have more medical bills than I ever did. It’s worth it though. She’s a sweetie.

So, in honor of kitties and warm and fuzzies, I found this for our Fantasy Man Friday. Now, I’m not sure I like the idea of even something as cute as a lion cub so close to such a…ahem, delicate area, but it looks good at least. lionman


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Hello again, Cookies and Query Letters

I realized that I haven’t blogged for at least 4 or 5 days. OMG. I know you’re all just dying to know what’s been going on (well, maybe not, but thinking it was a great ego boost).

Cookie is home finally. She came home complete with a cone around her head on Saturday. She hates the cone, hates having to take her medicine, and is eating like a little pig. Her stitches look good and she’s becoming more accustomed to having us around. She likes to greet us with an extended paw and a Darth Kitty purr (because of the cone, when she purrs it sounds a bit like Darth Vader…too cute). She’s gaining weight and attitude and we love it.

I sent out five or six query letters last week and got one rejection so far. In thinking that the query just wasn’t strong enough (because apparently the story was ‘intriguing’ but didn’t make the agent enthusiastic for more), I posted it in the Absolute Write forums in the hopes that some tough criticism will help me. I’ve only had a couple of reviews, but it did help a bit. I rewrote the query and reposted, so hopefully it’ll be better than the first.

I have a feeling that there are some people out there who just NAIL the query letter and pitch, while others struggle mightily. I have a feeling I’m in the latter group. I’m long-winded and grinding a 93,000 word story into 250 words or less is downright scary. I think I’m no longer afraid of the synopsis. No, it’s the query letter and pitch.

Speaking of pitches, I’ve got to get working on mine soon. Next weekend is the Writers for New Orleans Workshop and the editor appointments. Maybe working on the query letters will help me get through the pitch, or is it the other way around? Mais, this is so confusing.

That’s about it really. Life has been busy with Cookie and the family, oh and a wardrobe malfunction at work yesterday. About halfway through the morning, I realized that my jeans had ripped right next to the back pocket. A HUGE rip…straight down my butt showing off my bright colored undies. Can we say ‘OMG’? Oh yes, people. I was laughing hysterically, praying that no one at work saw it before I bustled out the door so fast that I think I kicked up dust. This is really no different than my very FIRST day at this company, when I went the entire day with my fly undone, or the day that I realized that the slacks I was wearing were not only on inside out, but also backwards. I’m a disaster when it comes to dressing myself apparently. I hope that got some laughs out of ya’ll. 🙂

So that’s all for now folks.

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