Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Shiloh (page 1 of 6)

Super Sekrit Project Revealed!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are my facebook friends have most likely already seen this news, but we have finally reached a watershed point, and the Super Sekrit Project can be de-sekrit-ized.


We are buying a house!


Those paying attention to the duration of the Super Sekrit Project thus far have probably noticed that this has encompassed a fair amount of time and energy in the last few months. We found quite a few homes with listings that looked promising enough for us to see them in person; we debated back and forth between several; we took a very deep breath and offered on a short sale property (this does not refer to the length of time it takes; it’s a type of pre-foreclosure, which complicates things); we waited several weeks for the seller’s bank to get some things together so they could decide whether to accept our offer or not; we looked at more houses before we decided to extend the deadline for our offer; we waited for some more wrangling between the sellers and their bank (remember how I said the short sale status complicated things?); and then we scheduled a home inspection to do everything we could to ensure that the property is in the condition we expected, that we most likely won’t run into something like a cracked foundation or leaky roof in the near future. Any one of those steps encompassed many ways the deal could break apart, so we have refrained from talking about it much in any public format.

Of course, as with anything, nothing is set in stone until after the closing–we haven’t set a date for that yet, but we’re prepared to move quickly and hoping everything will come together so that we can take possession early enough to do some cleaning and catch up on general maintenance before it comes time for us to move. The house has been vacant for almost two years, so there’s plenty to clean, lots of leaves to clear out of the yard, etc. Just to add a bit of an obstacle, we’ll be taking a road trip out east to spend Thanksgiving with our families, so we’ll be working around all of that.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten quotes for various home-owning-related things like carpet cleaning, repainting siding, and servicing the HVAC system; I’ve researched costs for home improvement projects like remodeling bathrooms and pulling out juniper bushes; and I’ve combed craigslist for moving boxes, since we’ve finally reached a stage at which packing up items we don’t need everyday actually makes sense.

It’s a crazy kind of thing, buying a house. It takes up all your mental energy, and a fair amount of the physical energy as well. I have a ridiculous number of bookmarks, and it’s hard not to tumble things over and over in my mind, trying to find the perfect solution to any number of challenges.

As a result of everything that’s going on, I have officially decided to NOT participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I will, of course, write as much as I can amid all the other activity, and I remain committed to my goal of querying actively this month. (I did finish my query letter. Huzzah!) And then there’s the packing and the cleaning and the finalizing a home purchase and the driving across the country and back. I think all that should keep me plenty busy without adding the pressure of 50k more words, and the guilt of being behind on my word count all month, as I know I would be.

Since I know everyone really reads the blog for news on Shiloh, you will be disappointed to hear that she remains completely baffled in the face of my house-related excitement. I try to tell her she’s getting a yard–with a fence!–but she just tilts her head to one side and looks at me rather blankly. No response. No enthusiasm. It’s really very disappointing, but I suspect she’ll catch on quickly after she sees the place.

So that’s the Super Sekrit Project, no longer a secret. See? I told you it wasn’t a book deal, a baby, or another dog. But it’s cool!


Oh My Goodness October Is Halfway Gone

How did that happen? This is craziness. Give me back my year!

Needless to say, life has continued on its “busy” trend. As I told a friend earlier today, I am alternately awash in activity and then entirely free, wondering what I’m behind on since surely I should be doing something. That pretty much sums up the last few months.

So, how are things going? Well, Matt has a stable job that we have every reason to believe will continue beyond his graduation from seminary, which will happen (fingers crossed) this coming May. I finished my manuscript and have made progress on writing a really lovely query letter, but it’s not quite there yet and I keep getting bowled over by things that Need Doing Now, so it’s not quite ready to send out on its own yet. My goal is to get it there by November 1.

Also, I’m pretty sure of what I’m going to be working on for NaNoWriMo this year, which I’ve signed up for despite the fact that I will be out of the state for at least half the month, given the current schedule.

I am a creature of habit, and recently I’ve realized that several of my habits of late are not as productive or constructive as they should be, though it’s better than it could be. Nonetheless I am endeavoring to improve, and on that note I have joined a gym and committed to a regular exercise schedule, thus far with widely varied results. Not varied results as regards working out regularly–there’s only been a chance for two workouts yet, and I’ve done both of them–but varied results in the level of extreme pain I experienced in the hours following said workouts. My hope is that more exercise will lessen the pain factor considerably, which would be good if I mean to continue with the exercising.

Shiloh is doing very well lately, especially since as a result of both Matt and I returning to more beneficial schedules, we’ve re-instituted our former habit of taking nightly walks, and Matt has returned to his habit of getting up early and taking a long walk in the morning as well. She’s loving it. We’re not displeased, either.

In other news, the library had its annual book sale, and then I found a used bookstore that was going out of business, so I bought a bunch of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have acquired because they were cheap! Yay books! Also, I’ve been really enjoying some nonfiction reading that I stacked up for myself alongside my usual fiction consumption.

Last but not least, I’ve been meaning to talk about milk, but I’m out of time for now, so that will have to wait until next time, which I full intend to be much sooner than the middle of November.

Oh yeah, I turned 28 about a week and a half ago; had a lovely quiet day and thus far my 29th year of life is treating me tolerably well. Can’t complain.


This Post is Full of Lameness

Earlier today I had a brilliant idea for something to write about here.

Naturally, I completely forget what it was.

So, no brilliant discourse for you today. Or even moderately amusing discourse.

Life seems to be rolling along at a rather high speed, so I’m trying to keep up. I’ve been reading more non-fiction than usual lately, but I’ve given up on trying to keep track of all my reading this year, so you’re out of luck if you want me to recall them all. The house has almost entirely recovered from our recent parental visits, with the notable exception (as usual) of the kitchen. It’s still a bit of a disaster.

There are also several potential Things in the hopper, which would be rather big Things if I could talk about them, but they’re in such embryonic stages that it would do all of us a disservice if I started squeeing about them here.

Having let myself revel in Being Done with revisions on my manuscript for a few days (and also visiting with my parents, who flew thousands of miles to see us), I have officially begun moving forward with the next steps, which are updating my short synopsis and writing a query letter that isn’t horrible. The former is in good shape, I think, but the latter is one of my personal weak spots, and I am dreading revisiting it. My last attempt was truly terrible. It made my book sound boring. My book is not boring! It’s exciting! Thus, inherently a bad letter.

Shiloh seems to have made a full recovery from her tummy unpleasantness, and has returned to full cuteness. Lately, she spends her afternoons out on the porch sleeping in the sun and watching the birds on the feeder, and chasing off the braver squirrels who venture near the porch railing. A few neighborhood cats have also seemed to hone in on our porch as a good bird-hunting location, so Shiloh does what she can to save her birdy friends from annihilation. The birds are completely accustomed to her presence and are unconcerned with her proximity. They know she just likes watching them. It’s quite endearing to watch.

That’s all I’ve got. Hope all you masses of people who read my blog are doing well. :)


An Update on Shiloh

Wait a minute, didn’t I just post something yesterday? Craziness!

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you, dear readers of my blog. All 20 of you. It’s just that lately, most of the things that have been going on have been either stunningly mundane (stunning in the sense of inducing unconsciousness, not dazzling) or really rather disgusting. It’s just how I roll, yo.

Granted, I don’t have kids yet, so there are folks who can out-disgusting me with one hand tied behind their backs, but we do have a dog. A dog who, we are getting more and more confirmation, has a sensitive stomach. It makes me glad that we made it a habit early on not to feed her much people-food, because I can only imagine what that might do. When she was a puppy, Shiloh balked at eating the dog food we tried to give her–she would eat it, eventually, when she got desperately hungry, but it was clearly not what she wanted to do. When we switched her to a formula without corn, wheat, or soy (the most common dog allergens in foods), things improved dramatically. Not only was she more eager to eat, but her… erm… other body functions, shall we say, became healthier and more regular. She still loves an occasional treat that contains wheat or corn (like MilkBones or a few pieces of popcorn), but having drastically reduced her intake seems to have made a big difference.

We never had her tested for allergies, but the results seem to have been working, so I can only be glad.

As I’ve mentioned, the past six months or so have been rather hectic. During that time, I’d estimate that I’ve spent almost a month away from home–almost all of it out-of-state–and Matt has been gone for about three weeks, including youth group retreats and overnights, our vacation, and camp a few weeks ago. This week will bring him up to a month away, as well. That’s aside from our erratic schedules on a day-to-day basis. Normally, most days I’m home doing housewifey or writing things for at least 30 hours of my “work week”, and the other 10 are spent out and about. Recently, that ratio as often been reversed. But not always.

It makes for a very uncertain schedule, and the stress has, from time to time, been wearing on all three of us. Matt and I tend to show that stress in different ways than Shiloh does. We have the liberty of sleeping in from time to time, and shooting things in video games to decompress, and reading for a few hours to get away from reality a bit. Shiloh has fewer options. Yes, she sleeps. But mostly, her body chemistry gets out of whack, specifically in her sensitive GI tract. In early June, that began to manifest itself as intermittent diarrhea.

We went to the vet when it was clear that things weren’t clearing up in the normal course of “the dog ate some random plant and gave herself the runs”, and the meds they gave us seemed to help right away. For about a week, things were looking good. There were no surprises for us in the office. Shiloh was eating eagerly (we’re pretty sure her appetite was off because her tummy felt bad–I don’t like to eat when my stomach hurts, either). And then it returned, getting progressively worse.

Another trip to the vet revealed an overgrowth of a normal canine digestive bacteria–usually stress-related. We got another round of the anti-diarrheal medicine and another package of doggy probiotics, which promote healthy GI bacteria levels. We have accepted the fact that at some point it might be necessary to keep her on the probiotics (at about a quarter the dosage she’s gotten for the problem-solving) long-term. They’re little chewable tablets that she seems to enjoy, so it wouldn’t be much of a hardship.

Of course, since I’ve always been one to want more information rather than less, I have been looking at the various options, and have found the following:

  • Probiotics tend to work best when they’re species-specific, because each species has different normal intestinal bacterial growth. So adding a human or feline probiotics supplement, while it may help, will not be AS helpful as a canine formula. Good to know.
  • The probiotic our vet has recommended for Shiloh, and which does seem to have been working, is Iams Veterinary Formula Prostora Max. This is available through vets and a few online outlets, but not most pet stores–and, oddly enough, our vet’s price is $20 cheaper per package than the online price, even before shipping.
  • I had been underestimating Shiloh’s weight for quite some time, it seems. She weighed in at just under 65lbs on her first vet visit, and two pounds more for the second (at least the intestinal problems have not caused a weight loss). This puts her firmly in the “large breed” category, which means that although her current dog food isn’t BAD for her, a diet that is lower in fat and higher in protein will probably be beneficial, and maybe easier on her stomach as well. We’ll be trying her on a large breed diet as soon as we get to the end of this bag of food.

So that’s where things stand with the dog. She just took her last probiotic tablet this evening with dinner, so hopefully things will continue to improve. I’ve been working on getting my schedule back to something more normal, and I can only hope that Matt’s absence this week isn’t agitating her. She misses him, I can tell, but she hasn’t seemed stressed out.

I’m sure, if I’m wrong, that I’ll be cleaning more bits of carpet in the next few days. Fingers crossed.

See, I’m not sure anyone really wanted to know all that. But here I am, posting about it, because it’s a big part of my time and brain space lately. Glamorous, my life is not. :)


To Quell the Clamoring

Some have noted my recent extended silences. I maintain that I have not been doing much worth talking about, and when I have been busy I haven’t had time to write about it. Crazy catch-22 there, eh?

We’ll see if I can’t balance it out a bit more in the coming months.

Shiloh’s training stuff has been in effect for about a week, and she seems to be making progress. Or maybe we are the ones making progress. Hard to tell.

I went to California for about a week to visit a very good friend–we had a lovely time, including activities like hanging out at her place in the middle of a big desert, getting evacuated because of a gas leak a half a block away, going to Disneyland, a day at the San Diego Zoo, and various and sundry other visity-ish things.

While I was gone, several rather major things happened with Matt’s job. I’m not particularly inclined to go into details, but the end result is that at least temporarily, he’s doing his job and his former supervisor’s job. The details of what will be happening long-term haven’t been finalized yet, but it’s thrown rather a large rock into our little pond. It’s a good rock–he’s excited about things that are happening, and enjoying moving forward with things–but there’s a lot to juggle and balance, especially for the next two months until this school semester ends.

Matt was sick when I got home, and then passed his dastardly head cold to me, so I was sick over last weekend. It took more time and energy to recover than I would have liked, but I think things are looking up on that front.

The past few days have been lovely outside, and I’ve been able to do some reading out on the porch. Wonderful. Too bad there’s snow in the forecast again day after tomorrow, but that’s classic spring in Colorado.

To alleviate the general boringness of this update, I’ll end with a Shiloh anecdote. A few nights ago, I was watching Dirty Jobs on Netflix when Matt got home–I paused the tv show so I could talk to him. A few seconds later, Shiloh drew our attention by sniffing cautiously at the tv cabinet. There hadn’t been anything yummy-smelling up there all day, so we couldn’t figure out what she’d be interested in. Just then, she took a step back, her hackles came up a bit, and she started a growl–and we realized that when I paused the show, it caught a frame where Mike Rowe was addressing the camera, and on the new tv his torso was almost life-sized. Shiloh was growling at the strange man (who she couldn’t smell) in her living room.

Yeah, not very momentous, really, but we found it immensely amusing. Poor dog, thinking someone got into the house without her noticing.


How My Dog Got Me A Paid Job For A Day

Once upon a time, there was a young couple who lived in Colorado. They adopted a puppy, and named her Shiloh, and the couple and their puppy often played in a big undeveloped field next to their apartment complex. There Shiloh discovered one of the Great Joys of Doggy Life: chasing geese. Actually, first she discovered the joys of eating goose poo, and her humans had to put a stop to that, but THEN Shiloh discovered the geese, and infinite satisfaction of making a whole flock of them take flight.

Alas, in time, the family moved away from the apartment and the big field full of geese to chase. Shiloh was sad about this lack in her life, but there were other good things going for the new apartment, like being able to see out the windows, so it pretty much evened out. And, on special occasions, Shiloh got to visit places where there were geese to chase. It was a good life.

(Okay, the third person narration is beginning to take its toll, so TA-DAA! We switch!)

A few weeks ago, I brought Shiloh to the seminary campus when I picked up Matt from class. With only one car, we often drop off and pick up, and sometimes it’s really easy to load Shiloh into the car and give her a bit of time to explore a less-familiar place, interact with a variety of people, go running to greet Matt when he comes out of the building, and sometimes, when there aren’t lots of people outside, I can let her off the leash to chase the geese while we wait for class to end.

I generally wait until there aren’t many people around for two reasons:

First, Shiloh can be very, very friendly and excited when she’s meeting new people–when she’s off the leash, this usually involves a very fast incoming approach. This often causes some concern because people aren’t sure whether she’ll jump on them (she won’t) and, regardless, she’s a pretty good-sized dog. People who aren’t comfortable around dogs are usually pretty freaked out by 60 pounds of canine barreling gleefully in their direction. Until we get that under a bit more control, I’m generally very aware of her exuberant tendencies.

Second, technically speaking the campus isn’t really geared toward dogs. There’s an outdoor patio where people sometimes bring smaller dogs on sunny days, but none of the buildings allow non-service animals and none of the on-campus housing allows pets. This is entirely understandable–many people who have dogs overestimate their dog’s good behavior (and lack of mess-making), or assume others will welcome an animal simply because the owner welcomes it. (See above for my awareness that not all people like dogs or are comfortable around them.) Granted, there’s absolutely nothing that even slightly indicates that dogs aren’t allowed on campus–many people love to see Shiloh and many students come play with her for a while, mentioning that they miss their own family dogs–but I still feel just a little bit like I should be extra-well-behaved when I bring Shiloh, especially when any of the seminary higher-ups are around.

At any rate, a few weeks ago I had Shiloh on campus. It was chilly, early evening, but the sun hadn’t set yet so in the light it was warmer. I know the Seminary grounds staff has been complaining about the geese, which are a significant problem. They don’t really migrate any more around here, so these geese have been in the campus area for several years, at least. The deterrents that the seminary uses don’t really work any more, but using new ones will require quite a bit of money invested, and that’s not really an option in this economic climate. Anyway, there weren’t many people around, but there were some geese, so I let Shiloh off the leash and told her to go get them.

With great joy, she sprinted toward the geese, making sure they all took off and were going to stay airborne, and then came back to me, immensely pleased with herself. I spotted another cluster of geese around the corner of a building, so we went and chased them off, too, then returned to the main courtyard area.

Who should be coming across the quad than the Head of Building and Grounds! I waved, since we know each other from the time I was employed there, and he headed toward me.

“Is that your dog?”

“Yep, she is.” Please, don’t be mad at me for letting her run around off-leash.

“I’d like to buy her.” He laughs, so I know he’s not really serious. “What I wouldn’t give for a couple of dogs on campus, trained to run those geese off. But we can’t, because of liability, long-term.”

I volunteered that Shiloh will be glad to help whenever she’s on campus, and Tom made it clear that we’re welcome any time. Yay!

Fast forward to Tuesday. Matt and I were flying back from New York, and when I turned on my phone after our last flight I had a voicemail waiting–it was Tom, asking me to give him a call.

Turns out the school is hosting a big dinner the night before the inauguration ceremony for the new president (who started back in July), and they want the campus to be as clean as possible. Shiloh and I have been contracted to arrive on campus at 9am and stay until a little after 5pm, and keep the geese out of the main areas of campus so the sidewalks will stay clean for the fancy visitors.

I think this is hilarious, but I’m glad to be able to help. Tom asked me to set an amount I’d like to be paid and he’ll get it approved. I have no idea what to ask for. If it’s a warm day, I intend to sit and read or write outside for most of the day, with occasional circuits to be sure the geese don’t get any crazy ideas into their heads about sneaking back. If it’s cold, it’ll be quite a bit more tedious.

But, for a while at least, Shiloh will be the Official Goose Chaser of Denver Seminary.

I couldn’t make this stuff up.


The Latest Attempt

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve gotten some things done as planned, and others have fallen through the cracks. If I’m honest, that’s because I have stayed up too late and then been extremely reluctant to wake up early enough to have a truly productive morning. It’s a common trend in my life.

Matt has the car today, so I’m stuck here at the apartment. Stuck isn’t really the best word. I mean, I do have legs. I can walk somewhere–there’s a wide variety of things within a mile of here. Or I could ride my bike, which opens the circle of possibilities further. And, you know, there are city buses. But the easiest, coolest (as in, air conditioned) mode of transportation is the car, and I don’t have access to it today, which means either I will lie on the couch and waste time (tempting, but guilt-inducing) or I will get up and get to work on the variety of things just waiting for my personalized attention (delayed gratification–stinky now, feels great later).

The dog is extra-needy today. She wants attention and activity. Both Matt and I have been gone during the day for the last five or six days, so her life has been less than exciting, napping and waiting for us to come home. We’ll see if I can work out a trip to the dog park after Matt returns with the motorized chariot. I suspect she will curl up touching me once I settle into place at my workspace, which today is my folding table since my desk is covered in Stuff I Need To Deal With Eventually and if I have to look at all that Stuff I won’t get any revisions done. And nobody wants that.

That’s about all the news. Things here are, on the whole, quite good. Can’t complain, except that I’m not getting enough done. And that’s nobody’s fault but my own.



My brain doesn’t want to work.

I say, “Brain, how about working now so I can keep moving on this manuscript that’s been languishing in disrepair since February?”And my brain says, “:-P”. And makes a rude noise at me.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

Work has been irregular in pretty much every sense of the word, and is likely to continue that way for some time to come. It’s a little unsettling, but I’m managing. I’ve read a lot this week.

There’s a little boy banging his chair repeatedly on the patio a few feet away from me and I am so tempted to say something to his dad, who is ignoring him to talk on the phone.

In good news, Matt’s employers are upping his paid hours so that he’s eligible for medical insurance through them. So that will save us quite a bit of money on insurance and bring in more in paychecks. Good all around.

And I bought a bird feeder thingy to hang out on our porch so the birds will come. Shiloh likes watching the birds. We’ll see if it works. We’ve been neglecting her a bit. Not a lot, just a bit, but she’s playing it up like a star actress. Melodrama Dog.

That’s about all from this quarter. Maybe I’ll be witty tomorrow….


Another Excuse

I am a vain, fickle creature.

My blog stats did something funky about three weeks ago, and now even though I know people are stopping by, I don’t get any record of it with wp-stats, which is the widget I use. Which means I don’t pay as much attention, and I don’t post, and everything is really quite silly.

I think I know how to fix the stats issue (thanks Will), but unfortunately I have neither the time nor the burning inclination to do so at the moment. Still, I will try to be better about blogging. Because it’s fun, and I get to tell funny stories, and that’s good for me.

Things have been busy. I’ve been trying to catch up on getting things done that have fallen by the wayside in the last few months, and Matt is coming up toward the end of his semester at school, so we’re both a little bit brain-dead.

Also, Shiloh has turned into the neediest dog ever. If we’re sitting somewhere, she’s right beside us, looking at us mournfully, as if we don’t regularly pet her and feed her and take her for walks and, recently, at least once a week to the big dog park with WATER! To run in! I really need to remember to take the camera with us one of these times.

But still, she wants to be rightbeside us all the time, as you can see in this lovely photo, where she found Matt working on the floor and just made herself at home:

Silly puppa.



Okay, folks, it’s update time.

I’ve spent most of the day cleaning my desk, which might sound to some people like the job of an hour or so, but those people have not witnessed my desk. When I’m done entirely, I’ll take a photo and you can all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at how lovely and clean it is.

In the meanwhile, Bob2 seems to be faring well. I’d post a photo, but it would look pretty much like all the other ones you’ve seen of Bob2 thus far, so that seems silly.

Shiloh has been a bit neglected lately, in the sense that Matt and I have both been either too busy or too disinclined to brave the cold temperatures in order to take her out for a proper walk or run around the park. But she makes do with running around the house like a demon with one or the other of her toys in her mouth. She also spends a great deal of time looking out the window, now that she can both see out a window and look at something (the parking lot) which is interesting at least some of the time.

Notice that the ledge is at just the right height for her to rest her chin there while she watches. Very convenient.

I took this one this morning when she was playing with her squeaky bowling pin. The body has a nice duck-call noise when you squeeze it, and the rubber’s tough enough to take her chewing for more than five minutes without falling apart.

So that’s what’s going on in the Whitt home today.

Older posts

© 2018 Betsy Whitt

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑