January 28, 2016: Deadlines, Distractions, And Dogs!
Artwork by Juanita Nakamura

This latest script is slooooooow going.  Incredibly, excruciatingly slow going.  In fact, I think it’s taken me longer to write this script than any one hour script I’ve ever written.  Or, at least it feels that way.  Usually, I’ll reach a point in a script where things come together, even briefly, allowing me to tear off a nice little run of 5, 10, sometimes 15 pages in a sitting.  That has yet to happen with this one and I suspect that my conservative ETD (Estimated Time of Delivery) of “End of January” was overly optimistic.

It happens.  Never to this extent, but it does.  And in situations like these, there’s only one recourse: distraction!  Read, eat, surf the net.  The latter is a particularly fine option as it allows you to easily switch up, from script to amusing Star Wars meme, with a single keystroke.

During a recent mini writer’s block (more of an annoying impediment than a block), I happened across a short documentary called Girl’s Best Friend, about a woman and her elderly pug.  We’re introduced to Doreen and Spanky on a beautiful day in the park and we learn that Spanky is 16.  We also learn that the poor old boy suffers from a laundry list of ailments including mobility issues that restrict him to a stroller for his daily outings.  As I watched, I couldn’t help but note parallels between Doreen’s experience with Spanky and my experience with my pugs, Maximus and Jelly.   Whereas some viewers may have thought “So much trouble for a dog!”, I was thinking: “What a great dog mom!”.  At one point, we see Doreen taking the subway with Spanky, struggling to pull the stroller up, step by step, and I thought if I’d been there, I not only would’ve lent a hand but paid for a cab ride home as well.

The parallels to my experience didn’t end there and, inevitably, Doreen makes the hard decision I too had to face twice before.  It was a gut-wrenching watch but empathetically familiar and, ultimately, very touching.  If you’ve got your hankies handy, and want to take a break from YOUR scripts, you can check it out here:


On a somewhat related note, I came across an article that touched on the most common regrets people have at the end of their lives.


Among the nine in-retrospect wishes: “I wish I had not spent so much time working.”, “I wish I had taken more risks.”, and “I wish I had lived my own dream.”, I’d probably add: “I wish I’d adopted more senior pugs.”.  Which I won’t have to because I’m determined to adopt a couple on my return to Vancouver this summer.

Okay.  Going back to my script now.

January 28, 2016: Deadlines, Distractions, And Dogs!
January 28, 2016: Deadlines, Distractions, And Dogs!


21 thoughts on “January 28, 2016: Deadlines, distractions, and dogs!

  1. I always love see pictures of your babies. I know you miss them. While ours is not a pug, we are on our second rescue beagle. But I still miss my baby who left us in 2013.

  2. Oh Joe, what a heartwarming, and heartbreaking, video. As she said, they have such unconditional love for us. Even when we sometimes don’t warrant it. I miss Bart so much still and having her put to sleep was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. What I would give to hold her just one more time.


    Good luck on that script!

  3. Aww Maximus and Jelly, their cards keep selling. I never know if I should be happy or glad that one sells. So who is the artist of the drawing?

  4. I was unable to watch the video, it’s only been a short 11 months since I lost my fur-baby, Copper. So I researched the illustration instead.

    By zooming in, I saw the name was Juanita N. c.14

    That led me to: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/396387204676470926/

    Which then led me to: http://angelicalcradle.deviantart.com/

    I can’t say for sure which image is the original or if these are from the same artist, but I enjoy research so figured I’d give it a try.

    Hope this helps.

  5. I had a quivering chin with the card and the video sent me right on over the edge! Who is the artist for the card? Love it!

  6. Oh, and Joe maybe we can help with this excruciatingly slow going script. Tell us a little about it…..

  7. When a bubble surfaces the rate of expansion increases because the pressure from outside it’s universe decreases. Pressure is the Dark Matter DADAAD.

  8. Ahh, dang, could not watch the whole video, but thank you.
    ~~ Baby Max is what I love to see on the banner every day,, and baby Jelly, love all the pix you share, make them feel like I knew them well. I know you have all the love for more, so good luck to the lucky pugs. Hope you got to sail on smooth with the script.
    ~ Juanita N, on the pug pix?? looks like , that’s all I have….

  9. Yeah, I can’t watch that. I LOVE dogs. Not just your run of the mill “I love dogs”. I mean I REALLY love dogs. More than I love people. I can’t watch if a dog dies on a movie or TV. I switch the channel when those “dogs are suffering, give us money” commercials are on.

    I actually shed a few tears when Max and Jelly went to the Rainbow Bridge. And I’d never met them.

    At least it’s not one way. Dogs love me back. Not just those I know. Like, all dogs. It’s kind of eerie, and kind of cool.

    Our Brandi is around 12 now. So, we’re counting on a few more years with her, but preparing ourselves as we can. But we’ve also decided that after she’s gone, we’re going to adopt senior dogs. They’re the hardest to place, and need it the most.

    Anyway…good luck with the writing!

  10. What a wonderful but wistful illustration! It’s a little reminiscent of E.H.Shepherd/Christopher Robin, isn’t it…

    Sorry to hear your writing is causing you grief…. Sometime a (brief!!) change is good. You have so much pressure it’s hardly surprising!
    Praps you could take up using a small punch bag in your work out sessions (you are still doing them, Joe, aren’t you?) and beat the ‘tom tit’ out of it!
    As for the January deadline … as another famous Canadian used to say (maybe still does?) …
    ‘There’s always time for a reshoot!’

    Hmm, maybe not that appropriate for a writer …. but you know what I’m saying.

  11. Yes, it’s very difficult to say goodbye to your furry loved ones. Sadly, I’ve had 3 cats to put to sleep over the years, Milady, Zebo and Scooter. Each had a wonderful, loving personality and I miss them all the time. They each lived quite a long time too, 16, 18 and 16 years respectively.

    But those new pups, you & Akemi will soon adopt, will have a loving home and know what it’s like to have many warm beds, great food & treats and a human Mom who will make them adorable clothing to wear. I’m sure Lulu and Bubba will welcome them too.

    Keep plugging away on that script, it’ll get done.


  12. I’m still too raw to watch the video. However, I’m glad you can look back and enjoy the memories. Each of our fur babies have such distinct personalities, don’t they? There are things I miss about all of them.

    You posted a video a few years ago I still think about and smile. Do you remember the video with Brie trying to get over the hedge? That was the best video ever!!!! Even my hubby brings that up with a smile.

    Today I spent the morning at the vet. Lucy is sick. It’s probably not serious but she’s not eating. It could be the move to another home, combined with the flea medicine she was given. Lucy’s been ignored in a cage for the last two years, so it could be a bug too. The vet gave Lucy a couple of shots, some fluids and I’m giving her appetite enhancers to get her started eating again. She’s alert and active, so wish us luck! God knows we need it….

    Ponytail: How are things?

    Maggiemayday: Eating real food yet?

    Good luck finishing the script!

  13. There is a magic to being loved, sometimes people take it for grant but pups are happy to show their joy at being loved. Especially now that there has been a global upswing in hate and fear it’s nice to remember how beloved Jelly and Max were.

  14. For Joe, Tam, Carol, Kabra, Doreen Devore and all my fellow animal lovers and angels everywhere.

    I awoke at 5 this morning and had barely allowed my faithfully cherished, nearly constant, tea kettle companion to release its first whistle of the day before I began re-writing, for the 3rd time in only 48 hours, the preface, in preparation for my all too rapidly approaching 1st meeting with the new editor. By 9 a.m I was juggling my little writing project along with a seemingly humanly impossibly to handle number of work tasks and my mind was spinning in so incredibly many directions at once, no power tool would have been needed at all, as even the smallest, weakest toddler could have easily unscrewed my precariously mounted head from its shoulders and flicked it right off into the trash. I decided it was time to just drop everything and go for a leisurely walk.

    It was blisteringly cold, windy, cloudy and other wise downright nasty here in usually sunny Kissimmee so i sprung my heaviest leather jacket, hat, gloves and scarf form their lonely prison in the farthest corner of the closet and off I went down the street. I immediately felt the relief and kinetically acknowledge as much with the exhale of a single subtle, but never the less, profoundly deep, breath. Three doors down from the house my neighbors cat Jack ran down the driveway to greet me. I stopped, crouched to say hello and give him a happy loving gentle stroke on the cheek, though the wind continued to fiercely howl and challenge surrounding property and objects not nailed down. After a moment Jack affectionately climbed into my arms and began his usually irresistibly charming, affectionate, playful, routine of acting like a small sweet helpless kitten in my arms who was desperately happy to see me. Sure enough, an immeasurably bright smile lit up my face and the world around me simply melted away. It was now just Jack & I. The only two inhabitants of this pale blue dot, enjoying this timeless, magically loving, pur-fect, embrace. When time’s perception and my nemesis sensibility’s thoughts finally managed to break the door down (the very one thing I could have sworn I’d successfully firmly bolted shut) and forced their way back into my consciousness, I released Jack from my arms, gave him a gentle sweet kiss goodbye and continued along my way.

    Now I was completely lost in daydream as I walked along and the cold blustery winter time wind no longer felt like a burden to endure, but more so like a beautifully passionate kiss to fuel some of my racier imaginings. My morning, that had begun in such a feverishly frustrated mess, now felt like but a distant memory. I was gloriously swept into a happy adventure.

    A few streets over, friend and area resident Stacy was running across her lawn in her bathrobe with one of those “I’m beyond horrifyingly freezing cold” looks on her face. She was chasing one of the large empty plastic trash bins the wind was attempting to kidnap from her property. ( It probably needed it for containing all the extra freezing rain it felt like it was on the verge of being 100% ripe to deliver). I quickly ran over with a smile and managed to steal the can back before its malicious kidnapper could make off too far with it. A hearty giggle emerged as i handed it back to her. Still with an awkward freezing cold (but now grateful) look on her face, she thanked me. You’re welcome, I replied. I then proceeded to make neighborly conversation and ask her how she was doing, when suddenly, before she could even begin to conceive the utterance of a polite neighborly reply, the big bully, would be kidnapper came charging our way at full speed and abruptly yanked the pin from her bunned hairstyle. Her long loosed hair was now flying up and outward much like what i recall once spying on some playful Einstein or Tessla poster. Presumably about static electricity or inspiration or maybe it was something about hair raising laughter? Who knows eh!? At my age I often forget such details. Albeit, no matter. It inspired quite the hearty happy laugh out loud. Thus: instead of replying with polite neighborly banter, Stacy dared ask: ” How is it?! you are always such a happy soul?!!” Caught off guard by the question I simply replied ” I guess I am just happy and grateful for all life and humanity has to offer”. She then asked “Even when life and humanity delivers a yacht sized shipment of frustration, misery and heartbreak”?

    “Quite especially when life delivers misery and heartbreak”, I replied. Because it tells me I am fortunate enough to feel so much profound love and joy -to be experiencing the incredibly deep pain of its loss.

    Upon returning from my adventure, I read Joe’s blog entry and watched Dorian’s video.. I’ve not been able to stop intermittently weeping between chores and work tasks since!

    Thank you so much for sharing that precious gem today, Joe!
    And to all my blog siblings – I love you guys more than words can say!. xo

    XO -Drea

  15. I’ve had to say good bye twice, to 19 year old cats we’d had from kittens. I can’t watch the video. I couldn’t even go with my hubby to the vet with the first one. The second we knew there was nothing we could do, so we let her pass comfortably at home. I don’t know which was worse…

  16. Awwwwww. Jelly and Max. I don’t think I’d be able to watch the video. I’m with @JimfromJersey on the issue of watching movies with sadness surrounding dogs. In the Air Bud movie, when the young boy is yelling at Buddy to leave (because he is trying to save him), I was a basket case. Still can’t watch those scenes.

    That is awesome that you’ll be pursuing adopting some seniors when you get back to Vancouver. They will be very blessed.

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