Your Moment of Happiness

I was sitting in bed the other afternoon reading a good book, and I looked up because a cloud moved away from the sun, and the light poured through the trees outside my window and through my window, and Veronica sighed in the warmth and snuggled into my pink-flowered quilt, and I thought, “Right now, in this moment, I am happy.” It’s a mantra for me now; the rowboat of my life is currently besieged on so many sides by so many alligators, my country is beseiged on many sides by so many alligators, it’s too easy to get caught up in feeling helpless. But my life is also made up of many small things that add up to a good existence, and as long as I take the time to notice them, consciously, I won’t forget that overall, I have a very good life, a life worth noticing in its detail, a life worth defending from alligators. It’s a little Marie Kondo, a kind of thanking that aspect of your life for its service–I’m thankful I have a bedroom with windows on treetops so it’s like sleeping in a treehouse, I’m thankful I have a great mattress and squooshy pillows and blankets and a pink flowered quilt, I’m thankful I have a good book to read, I’m thankful I have three snoozing dogs who make me laugh, I’m thankful I have a daughter who writes me e-mails about Bloom County and a Krissie who writes me e-mails about rewriting being a pain in the ass, I’m thankful that my car Agnes did not run her battery down even though I accidentally left the ceiling light on–but mostly, right now, in this moment, I am happy.

How were you happy in the moment this week?

Wolfgang Smith, A Good Dog and True: 2001-2016


Wolfie was born in a &%^$*&^ puppy mill which is why he had such extreme parrot mouth and looked like a very small, deranged wolf. He was shipped to a pet store where some idiot bought him and then returned him. Then somebody else bought him, and then they gave him to somebody else. I picked him up to take him to Dachshund Rescue as a courier and then refused to hand him over, so I was his fourth owner before he was a year old. We were together for the next fourteen years, through moves to Columbus, two moves in Cincinnati, and one move to New Jersey. He was generally an easy-going dog, aside from the occasional bouts of vamp-face snarling that tapered off as he got older. He had issues. Who doesn’t?

He was the model for Steve in Faking It, and appeared as himself with new puppy Milton in Dogs and Goddesses. I’m sure he’s now chasing squirrels in dog heaven (he always got along with cats), free of the arthritis, blindness, deafness, heart murmur, leg tumor, and other ailments that brought him down in the end.

He is survived by his foster brother, Milton, his foster sisters, Mona and Veronica, and that woman who kept feeding him.

He was a good dog and true, and he will be very much missed.

Wolfie IS Fredric March

We’re trying to get a complete first draft of Dogs and Goddesses done by Monday, and I think we’ll make it. But it means I’m going to be a lousy blogger until then. In the meantime, here are Wolfie and Veronica pictures.

I think Wolfie’s got some 40’s movie star thing going on . . .




Same nose, anyway.

Shar 6: I Don’t Know What I Think Till I See What I Wrote

This writing fiction is not for wimps.

My last two scenes in Act Two are truly lousy. Lani’s screaming about her last scene. Krissie . . . well, the farther in we go, the harder it gets. But I think this book is amazing, and if I can just figure out what I’m trying to say as I’m writing it, it’ll be even better. This is when Bob always said, “Just shoot somebody,” but it’s not that easy. We’ll get it. We’ll hash it all out tomorrow now that we have all the Act Two scenes written, even if they do have problems. And then once we put them together in a single act file, we’ll really see where we need to work.

Just in time for Act Three.

In other news, we’re writing about cookies constantly and all three of us are dying for some but none of us have time to bake. I did buy all the ingredients but so far it’s been keyboard 24/7. And I figured out that Milton’s always sitting on the keyboard because he’s trying to dominate it. Dogs climb on top of people and animals they’re trying to dominate and the keyboard is warm and I spend all my time with it, so . . . Also, tonight Milton ate a hole in the duvet. And it’s a nice duvet, too.

But by god, we got Act Two done.

Shar 5: Finding Shar and Milton

We got hit by snow and ice last night and today, but since it’ll be in the forties by Wednesday, and I’ve got plenty of food and heat, it’s not a problem. Watching Oklahoma and the other states get hit so badly puts it all into perspective. I probably can’t get out of my driveway, but I don’t need to, either. But wherever we put Clitoris, there’s going to be sun and no snow. Seasons, yes, snow and ice, no. What’s it like in North Carolina? That seems like a good compromise. We were talking about Oregon and Washington, but I need sun; these grim winter month knock me out.

On the other hand, snowed it with dogs and a SAD light makes it bearable, plus I had a lot of work to do today. Krissie was working all day since she got her computer back, and Lani took the day off since her Act 2 scenes are done and her kids were home, so there was nobody in Campfire to talk to. Very sad. So I started at the beginning of Act 1 in an effort to find Shar. I’ve been writing her off the top of my head, trying to get to know her, and I just wasn’t getting her on the page. But with all by one of my Act Two scenes done, it was time to figure her out. So I spent a lot of today just thinking about Shar, figuring out where she’s been and what she wants and how the things that are happening to her are going to change her. And then I got Act One out again and tweaked all the scenes with what I’d figured out.

Then I let the dogs out into the cold, icy night, figuring they’d be back in record time. I left the door open because it was so cold and went to check in a storeroom for something, and when I came back,there were Wolfie and Veronica at the top of the stairs, finished with the cold. No Milton. I stuck my head out the back and yelled, “Milton!” and didn’t hear anything, so I shut the door, figuring he’d gone upstairs with them. Nope. No Milton. So I put my boots on, saying bad things about a puppy, and got a flashlight and went out to find him.

He was digging a hole. To China evidently since he’d gotten pretty far on it. I picked him up and said, “Moron puppy,” and carried him. We are definitely going to work on the “come here!” command as soon as I get a break from this book.

Then I went back and Lani had sent a description of Daisy’s mother that was terrific, so I did one for Shar’s mother, and then I went through the scenes in Act Two, tweaking them, instead of my last scene in Act Two. Next we’re meeting in Campfire to talk about Act Two and look at each other’s revisions, but I think Act One is really close to finished, and Act Two will be a snap to revise, too. Then Act Three and Four are the short acts and I’m thinking we’ll have that first draft done by the first of the year. I know I keep saying this, but I can’t believe how fast this is going. And it’s good stuff.

So the good news for today is, I found Shar and Milton. Who could ask for anything more?


So with four dogs and one cat, you’d think the cat would be in trouble, but if you think that, you don’t know cats. Or Annie.

Annie was a rescue from the mean streets of Dayton, so even as a kitten, she had street cred. Then she lived for a good chunk of her younger years in German Village in Columbus which, while not exactly Beirut, had its share of rats and raccoons, neither of which ventured into our yard more than once. And then, of course, we moved to the country where she had nine acres of wildlife to quell. She’s a tough old broad, which is probably why we get along so well. Annie’s been in one book–she was the model for Elvis in Bet Me–but that was before I began Argh, so I’ve never really blogged about her. And now, due to popular demand, here’s Annie:


Annie and Lucy get along great. Annie and Wolfie have issues they worked out. If you read Faking It, you may remember Steve’s approach to cats. This was also Wolfie’s approach to Annie, and then she’d swat him good, and they’d curl up together and go to sleep. Now, they just exist together. Well, you know family, there are always problems but you stick anyway.


Milton is taking longer to absorb the “cat is family” idea, but they’re doing better. They can sit on the bed together now. Well, Milton sits on the laptop, but the proximity is the same.


Which is not to imply that Annie has any respect for him.


Meanwhile, Lucy and Veronica lounge:


It’s a peaceable kingdom.


As long as Milton is asleep and everybody recognizes that Annie is not to be trifled with.

Pink Goes Home

There was a post in moderation Thursday night when I checked this blog, from someone who said, “Please contact me about Pink, there’s an urgent health issue.” I freaked of course and then I googled for the e-mail and found out it was from the woman who had bought Veronica from a breeder in North Carolina. Which meant it had to be Pink’s owner, too, and I knew health issues had forced her to give up the dogs, so I e-mailed and said, “What’s wrong with Pink?” Turns out, nothing, Pink is as healthy as a horse; both Pink and Veronica had clearly been well taken care of (unlike poor Milton who had to be nursed back to health and socialized by Kathleen at Dachshund Rescue). What was wrong? Pink had been her kids’ dog, and she’d given her away with Veronica and the kids were distraught. She wanted Pink back. After that it got complicated because I didn’t like the idea of Pink being in a revolving door, and because I’d signed a paper promising not to give the dog away to anybody but Dachshund Rescue (which shows you how much Dachshund Rescue watches out for the dogs it takes into its care) and because I thought she’d been forced to give up Pink so how could she take her back?, so there were many phone calls and much discussion but in the end, for me, it was about Pink. Veronica settled in here fine, but Pink just wanted to go home. She’d curl up with me at night, but she just was not happy. And at six, she’d been with the family a lot longer than Veronica, so I had figured it would take her longer to fit in, but then the woman called and her kids wanted the dog back and . . .

I gave Pink back. I’m still not sure it was the right thing to do, but it was the best solution I could think of.

After I handed Pink over, I came home and ate an entire pint of Dove ice cream. Then I passed out from sugar shock with the four dogs draped over me. When I woke up, Milton had eaten the ice cream carton. So we’re all fine. Veronica seems more settled now; I was afraid she’d miss Pink but she wrestles with Milton and curls up with Wolfie to sleep and she’s getting gutsier every day. In fact, all the dogs seem more settled. I think maybe Pink’s tension was getting to all of them. Annie has even returned to sacking out on the bed, although Milton still has issues. So I’m sure it was the right thing to do. Kind of.

Argh. I can’t even adopt dogs without drama.

But here’s Pink, right before I took her back to her family:

Pink Profile

Really, it was the right thing to do.


Milton ate all the buttons off my duvet cover.


At least, I’m pretty sure it was Milton. It might have been Veronica who was the one I found inside the duvet cover, but it’s so much more likely that she waited until someone else did it for her that my money is still on Milton. Milton is living proof that being brainless makes you happy. I’m sure someday he’ll grow up and be very smart, but at the moment, Milton has no fear and no boundaries, which pretty much makes the world his oyster, which he would eat, along with the edge of my post-it flip chart, the pizza I had on the nightstand, my antique wicker side table, and those duvet cover buttons. Milton also chases the cat after being told many times not to, leaps from everything he stands on including the floor, and runs through leaves that are bigger than he is with wild abandon. I need to be more like Milton: the only way through it is to do it, so you might as well enjoy the ride.

On the other hand, a little self-control is a good thing. He sat on my laptop and did something that froze it. He managed to climb up on my sideboard and then tried to jump off (I caught him). And he continually gets himself lost under the duvet. One thing about having four of one breed, you really notice their quirks. I knew that Wolfie was a burrower like most dachshunds because they were bred to go down badger holes, so squirming into dark places under things is the best thing ever for them, but I didn’t realize what I’d gotten into until I had four of them crawling under the covers. Lucy the beagle mix just looks at them, rolls her eyes, and goes back to sleep.

In the afternoon, when the sun’s out, they each pursue their own interests:

Milt & Others

That’s Veronica languishing, Pink looking for somebody to beat up, Lucy pretending she doesn’t know them, and Milton making his move on my laptop in the foreground. He’s a happy dog.

Thank God I’m out of duvet buttons.