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November 16, 2003: Slogging onward

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Since the last time I wrote in this journal I have somehow managed to crank out an additional 14,000 words. I'd hoped to be up to 25,000 by the end of this weekend, and even that would still have been a few thousand words shy of where I really should be right now. But at least 20,500 words is better than last weekend's total of only 6000.

There are still two weeks of November to go for me to somehow crack out another 30,000 words. Gah. Can someone remind me, please, why it is that, after doing this once before, I actually agreed to put myself through this *again*?

I baked 8 loaves of pumpkin bread which are now filling up my freezer to the point where getting things in and out of it is a lesson in careful packing, and spent a few hours one evening putting together Igor bars (chocolate chips cookies, peanuts, caramel, rice kripsy treats, melted chocolate, etc., etc.). I finished one sleeve of my nephew's sweater. I spent two days at work frantically pulling together all the text and paraphernalia needed for two coworkers to do a poster session excitement which involved me taping out a huge swath of floor and spreading sheets of paper all over that swath in attempts to figure out just how much space we had, tracking down online pictures of poster sessions in order to explain to the other people involved just what the heck a poster session *is*, tracking down pushpins and pamphlet holders, and shipping all of that off overnight so that somehow, miraculously, it all arrived the morning it was due, just in time. I have spent a few hours editing extremely long papers for friends, and reminding myself just how much fun editing can be (Yes I do actually mean fun. Yes, I know that this means there is something very wrong with me). I learned how to burn CD's on my laptop, and I also learned just how much I apparently stink at computer chess because when asked to figure out six one-move checkmate scenarios in 90 seconds I fail repeatedly. I have done a lot of singing practice and a lot of playing the oboe and not a lot of sleeping. And obviously, I have also been doing a lot of writing.

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About 12 years ago my friend D and I were passing by an adoption site and stopped to look at the kittens. Somehow one of the cage doors had been left unlatched and before we knew it, a tiny black cat scrambled out of her cage, launed herself at D, and claimed her as her very own. One creaky old lady cry later and D was doomed. It didn't take much time for that tiny little black kitten to worm herself firmly into D's heart and refuse to let go. That little black kitten and D were made for each other and they both knew it.

Just recently, the little cat that stole D's heart had to be put to sleep. She had health problems on and off over the past few years, but the latest was an inoperable lung tumor that could not be treated. I might have been worrying about the little things that have plagued my horde lately, but none of those compare to what D has had to deal with; had to face with her very best feline friend.

I know what it's like to have to make the decision to put an animal to sleep, and it's even worse when it's a cat like the one who wormed her way into D's heart. There are pets you can live with and care for, and then there are the animals who somehow fill that missing piece in your soul and who, when they go away, take that part of you with them and you will never get it back again. She was obnoxious and opinionated and a little bit of a bully but she was always and only D's. And she will be missed.

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