Thursday, December 28, 2006

Alex the Dog

BC, or before children, my constant companions at the computer were my Great Dane crosses, Alex and Monty. Alex barks at the postman, is scared of thunderstorms, and loves chasing her Kong. She peed on my lap when we took her home from the animal shelter. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

On Christmas Day, we realised that suddenly, Alex couldn't see. My husband rushed her to the emergency vet, who was open on Christmas Day, thank goodness. After a few more visits, the specialist's opinion was that something is pressing on her optic nerve. Steroids may help but the outcome isn't certain. She might never regain her sight.

For such an active dog, we thought this might well be the end of her quality of life. But within 24 hours she was already adapting, mapping out her environment by scent and touch. There have been a couple of setbacks and we are sad to see that she is not her usual mad, ebullient self, but the silver lining seems to be that if the worst happens, she will become accustomed to the loss. Sometimes, life is heart-breaking and wonderful at the same time.

Christmas Morning, or Writers are Officially Nuts

Happy holidays everyone! Belated, I know, but a lot has been going on chez Wells. Still, on Christmas morning, amid agonising over the creme brulee while pacifying a screaming baby and a 3 year old acting like a rat on speed, I did one of my favourite things, and called Anna Campbell. Ostensibly to wish her merry Christmas.

But of course, our chat segued into writing, as it always does with two obsessed individuals like us, and after general gossip, we suddenly found ourselves discussing, of all things, passive voice. After a few minutes, I caught myself. "Do you realise we're talking about...grammar?" I said in a hushed voice. "On Christmas Day?" Anna sucked in a breath. "We are truly sick individuals! Quick, tell me what you're having for Christmas lunch!"

Whatever holiday you celebrated, I wish you the very best!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Romance Community

On Sunday, I hosted a Christmas get-together for my local romance reading group and it led me to reflect on what a wonderful community romance readers form. It may sound strange, but the fact I didn't feel obliged to go to any trouble to entertain these people is the highest compliment I can pay them. Why? Because it's all about the books.

I freely admit I'm not the most house-proud person in the world, but when I have guests I usually make a huge effort. So huge, that my husband heads for the hills so as not to fall foul of me and my spotless kitchen. Well, okay, it's not spotless, but it's the closest it's going to get. At the moment, I have a 2 month old baby who seems to want to feed every 2 hours as well as a very energetic 3 year old, and for the Sunday celebration it simply was not possible for me to do my usual cleaning and cooking blitz. I admit, I was worried. I didn't know many of these women, and what were they going to think of my less than pristine house, the wreck the dogs had made of the garden that I didn't have a chance to clear away, the mock orange that has overgrown its pot next to the front steps so you have to machete your way to our front door?

But on Sunday, no one was there to provide a critique on my housewifely skills. I had only met three of my guests in the flesh before, but I felt instant kinship with all through our mutual love of romance novels. As soon as everyone arrived, our veranda rang with chatter and laughter. The baby was passed from one enthusiastic cuddler to another and slept peacefully throughout. My 3 year old sat among us and nodded and smiled as if he totally understood the appeal of the alpha male. Kate's peach surprise had to be tasted to be believed. And a good time was had by all!