Tag Archives: fitness

Introducing Duke from Serendipity

Our granddaughter called. “I probably shouldn’t ask this, but I’m going to ask anyway. I’ve got friends who have to find a home for their dog. How do you feel about another dog?” “Male? Female? How big? House broken? How old?” I think she knew she had a sale because I wasn’t flat-out saying “no.” […]

via JUST CALL HIM DUKE — SERENDIPITY

Weekend Coffee Share 20th May, 2017.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, I’m going to be a better host, and offer you a choice of coffee, tea or Bonox before we get started. I know there have been some weeks where I’ve forgotten my manners. My apologies. This week I’m going to try to be a better listener, reminding myself that I have two ears and one mouth.

So, how was your week?

Perhaps, we should come up with some kind of rating system to sum up the week. You know, the sort of thing they have on those survey questionnaires where you rate your attitude between one and ten. The trouble is, that my mind goes a bit blank by the time it’s Sunday and last Monday seems a lifetime ago.

In so many ways, it was a fantastic week.

On Monday night, my adult dances classes started up again and this term, we’re doing tap. This is the first time I’ve really done tap, other than a few classes at school. I wasn’t too sure how I’d go and wondered whether I’d go for six trying to walk in my tap shoes. I was also concerned that it would be too hard on my legs and I’d need to sit down. That was quite a realistic expectation and I was getting tired. However, fortunately we ended up shifting to the corner and taking turns, giving me a chance to rest. I really loved tap and felt almost euphoric by the end of the class. I might not be Ginger Rogers, but I extended myself out of my comfort zone and all this exercise is so good for me.

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Thai-Style Chicken Burgers.

Tuesday night, I finally summoned up my courage and I cooked the Thai-Style Chicken Burgers from Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook for dinner and her Apple Crumble Slice for dessert. They were both sensational. You can read about my efforts Here

Sometime last week, my daughter also found out that she’s been accepted into the dance stream of the selective performing arts or CAPA class at our local high school. She’s thrilled about this, as she’s really got into dance this year. It’s really become her thing. Meanwhile, she’s still waiting on the results of the selective high school test. I think it will work out either way.

Friday morning, I went to My First Yoga Class  Like the tap class, this was another tentative, new experience. Given my mobility and health issues, trying something new can be more daunting and those usual fears and concerns ramp up a bit, sometimes to the point of paralyzing panic. However, my physiotherapist had recommended this particular yoga class because it’s being taken by an occupational therapist. All of us in the class, have the same physio and it’s turning into what’s known as “adaptive yoga”. They have the same thing in other sports. It just means that its designed for people with disabilities. I loved yoga, particularly the last 15 minutes where we lay on our mats under a blanket and wearing lavender scented eye-masks and falling into a deep state of relaxation. I had such a glowing sense of well-being at the end. Needless to say, I’ll be back next week.

In between all these upbeat happenings, I’ve steadily been reorganizing our home. A few months ago, I received a government assistance package for people with disabilities called the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). In addition to receiving occupational therapy and physio at home, I also get  7 hours of cleaning and a mentor for 7 hours. So far, we’ve been focusing on reorganizing and getting rid of stuff. I don’t know quite how I feel about all of this. There a lot of stuff to process and you have to decide what you’re going to do with each and every item, which becomes quite draining after awhile. The other problem is that you pull all this stuff out of nooks and crannies, but it doesn’t seem to fit back in. Inevitably, I’m left with huge mounds of stuff and need some kind of compacting system…something like the station guards on Japanese bullet trains who heave commuters into the train. Today, I just wanted to move a book shelf about 40 cm to the left, but because I needed to empty everything out of it, it became a massive and really quite overwhelming job. Both our kitchen table and another large foldout table were both piled with books. Indeed, I had enough books left over after I’d filled the bookshelves to fill another book case. Unfortunately, I’ve only found about ten I can part with.

My son did offer to burn the extra books. I told him that burning books was a crime and you could be sent to jail. He’s 13 now and he knew better, but I almost got him.

Clothes Horse

Clothes Horse??

I also had a run in with an Obstinate Clothes Horse

By the way, last week I mentioned that I’d taken our son to Emergency with weird symptoms. Thanks for your concern and best wishes. He seems to be doing quite well and doctors are suspecting migraine aura, without the accompanying headache. Still, that generated medical appointments with more to come just to be sure. Next week I also have an appointment with my rheumatologist in Sydney. So, there’s another day gone.

I am starting to feel quite conflicted by the amount of time which is going into sorting the house versus do my writing and research. While I was happy to put them aside short term, getting the house sorted is turning into a long term, intensive project and almost a full time job. While I want the whole family to become more organised and sorted, it does come at a cost to me. I am now conjuring up ways to get the kids to do more. Kids seem to be rather pampered these days, and have taken to enslaving their parents.  I’m now needing to turn the tables a bit. Get us all working together as a team, when none of us is exactly what you’d call team players. We seem to operate better as Lone Rangers.

Kings Cross

Kings Cross’s Famous Coca Cola sign viewed from the Sydney Tower Eye.

By the way, I also wrote a flash for Friday Fictioneers. Every week, I marvel at what enters my brain for these challenges. It’s always such a long way from my everyday life in  an Australian beach town. This week’s was Missing: Kings Cross, Sydney.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. It’s now Sunday night here and I’m heading off to find something for dessert. Sweet Week on Masterchef starts in ten minutes. My laptop could well be in danger as I drool at the screen.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Ally over at Nerd In The Brain. You can click on the linky and I hope you’ll join us.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dipping My Toe in Yoga.

After all my struggles and contortions trying to put up the clothes horse yesterday, I wondered whether trying yoga was really such a good idea. Indeed, I couldn’t help wondering whether I’d end up in Emergency, tied up in myself like a knotted pretzel.

Take it from me, I’m NOT catastrophizing. I have strings of medical reports to prove it.

Yet, there’s this annoying inner voice determined to overcome all of that: “Rowena, get a grip! Disaster is NOT waiting for you around every corner. You can do it. You are capable. You have overcome numerous hurdles before with Olympic strength and endurance. You can do anything you set your mind to. This may be more than good for you. You might actually enjoy it.”

This voice and I aren’t always on the best of terms, and more than once, we’ve exchanged stern words.

A) Don’t you know I’m too stressed to relax?

B) Can’t you see I’m disabled? How can I do yoga when I can barely walk down a footpath without tripping over?

C) I’m sure there are a whole heap of reasons why I shouldn’t do yoga. I just can’t quite remember them now.

Well, the benefit of this particular yoga class, was that it’s being run by an occupational therapist. Moreover, it was recommended by my physio and a few of her other clients were going, That meant I’d be in safe hands, and I’d also be meeting people in a similar boat. That could also be really fantastic… a whole new social, exercise and potentially coffee group.

So, despite the rain, off I went.

And…I loved it…especially the last 15 minutes when we lay on our mats with a lavender eye mask on and a blanket over me, doing my deep breathing. I felt such a strong sense of well-being. It washed over me like a warm wave of kindness and I’d received a much needed inner hug.

Meanwhile, even my toes got stretched and that’s a good thing.

Have you launched out and tried something new lately? Or, is there something you’ve been putting off? Why not have a go?!!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

xx Rowena

Thou Shalt Get Walking!

After weeks of torrential flooding rain, the damn sun came out today and dried up all my excuses.

That meant, that I finally had to get outside and do “the 20 minute walk”.

Even if you barely know me at all, you’d know that I’m not the sort of person who goes timing their activities without some kind of outside intervention.

Enter the physio.

After two weeks on the “ten minute walk”, I’ve progressed to the “twenty minute walk” and while this should’ve generated that warm glow of achievement, it also pressed the panic button… just a little.

You see, doubling the distance, also meant twice as much opportunity for DISASTER!!

This wasn’t just anxiety speaking either. My tripping and crash-landing abilities are  legendary! Indeed, only two weeks ago, yours truly swan-dived right outside the test centre where my daughter was sitting for the illustrious Selective Schools’ Test. Of all the times to have a fall, this came pretty close to  being the worst. That said, at least I had loads of help getting back up.

So, this is why I was a bit wary of going for a 20 minute walk all by myself, even if it was a beautiful sunny day and the beach was calling. Our local footpaths are so bumpy, cracked and overgrown that they’ve become ridiculously rustic, death traps. You don’t even need to be accident-prone to fall.

However, being accountable for my exercise and needing to tick the all-important box on my exercise plan, magically propelled me out of the couch and onto the footpath.

First, however, I recruited Mummy’s Little Helper to act as walk buddy. This was not only so she could not only call 000 in the event of emergency, but also so we could also take the dogs for a walk. Miss took Lady, while I took a much stronger Bilbo and off we went….Miss telling Lady to stop sniffing and keep walking. Their pace helped to propel Bilbo along, although Miss did observe him trying to sniff every single tree and post along the way!

That reminded me of a couple of old dog jokes:

What’s the definition of torture?

A dog in a desert with no trees.

What’s the definition of confusion?

A dog in a desert with two trees.

However, Bilbo didn’t have the luxury of any lingering sniffs. That’s because he too was under the physiotherapist’s regime. The goal, or should I say the prescription, was 20 minutes of brisk walking, which is going to boost your heart rate and build a sweat. Obviously, this is not  a leisurely stroll smelling the roses…or anything else!

Bilbo staring out to sea

Bilbo…  who is either admiring the view or contemplating why he can’t smell the roses anymore.

By the way, the idea behind the 20 minute walk is to do a 20 minute walk…no more, no less. It aims to create frequency by surreptitiously sneaking into your daily routine, so you almost don’t realise it’s there. As if!

So what’s motivating my walks:

  • Increasingly the number of steps and kilometres on the health app on my phone. I have found this very encouraging and motivating….both when the results are positive and negative. You find out what you’re capable of and when your steps are low for the day, it encourages you to get back out there. Keep moving. Worth noting, though, that you do need to walk around with your phone to get accurate results. If you feel like cheating, you could also attach the phone to the dog, but you’d only be cheating yourself.
  • Increased fitness and strength leading to greater endurance.
  • Exercise helps prevent chest infections and improves lung health, which is critical for me!
  • Exercise & sunshine boosts your endorphins boosting your mood.
  • Enjoying the beautiful outdoors and spreading my wings by getting out of the house.
  • Running into friends on my walks.
  • Possibility of losing weight.

Before I head off, I’d like to exercise my bragging rights. Although I was feeling that a 20 minute walk was going to do me in today, by the time we reached the beach, we felt like talking the dogs down to the off-leash, dog section of the beach. I lost track of how long we walked for  but it was probably more like an hour. We ended up walking for 3.5km and reached 5,600 steps. This was a vast improvement on 824 steps on Friday and 2,650 steps on Thursday.

So, I deserve a huge pat on the back and my daughter gets a huge thanks…both from me and the dogs!

I thought you might find my walking progress encouraging and that if you’re having trouble getting started or sticking with it, that you can do it. We can do it. Please keep me posted on your progress.

xx Rowena

Loving the Misunderstood: When Our Kids Hurt.

Yesterday, I had two kids home from school. Mister had a cold, sore throat and could barely keep his eyes open and Miss had been wiped out by too many late nights along with a cold.

While you’d expect sick children would by definition be too rundown to engage in mortal combat, you’d be surprised! In their weakened states, they almost killed each other, trashed the house and were absolutely obnoxious!! At my wits end, I rang my husband at work and asked him to come home. After all, I’d been up most of the night with a dreadful cough and all this coughing has left me with dreadful backache. I mean, if ever there was a case where Mary Poppins needed to fly in with magic umbrella, this was it.

It is the first time in longer than I can remember that I actually asked Geoff to come home but when he reminded me that he was two hours away and in the middle of touring a construction site hard hat and all, I took a deep breath and decided to “mum up”. Surely, I could mount an effective counter-attack and neutralise the little peoples? After all, as I am reminded, I am the adult. Surely, size and experience should be enough to combat youth, sleep-deprivation and impulsive thinking?

A little bit of green paint can go a very long way.

A little bit of green paint can go a very long way.

I don’t often write about the more negative aspects of my children on my blog because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. While I might vent with a friend, it’s quite another thing to plaster their more dubious antics on the world wide web. I might as well stick up a billboard on the main street. That sort of thing is private, not public and children actually have rights to their privacy…even if a family member is in the media in any capacity. Too many writers exploit their children.

At the same time, I also don’t want to create the wrong impression. That just because they might look cute in the numerous photographic images I’ve plastered on my blog, that they’re perfect. Indeed, like all kids, they have an instinctive eye for mischief and a young and speedy mind and body to swoop into action before I’ve even sniffed trouble on the horizon.

Moreover, I don’t want to convey the impression that our kids just coast along having a Mum with a chronic life threatening disease and that there isn’t any fall out. Because there is.

At times, they really don’t cope and nor should they be expected to be okay all the time…just like the rest of us. They get angry. They get upset and not all of this manifests itself in what I’ll term: “socially unacceptable behavior” but is really a cry for help or at lest, a bit more attention. If adults struggle to survive in a pressure cooker, how can a child? Yes, we get on with it but there are times when the pot explodes and everything goes splat on the ceiling. We are anything but superhuman.

DSC_7944

While some children compensate for a sick parent by becoming overly protective and in effect little adults, my kids seem to react by running amok and regressing, sometimes quite significantly. So, instead of being helpful, they’re quite dependent and want and demand everything done for them. When this doesn’t happen, which is inevitably the case, there’s payback…anger, tears, screams.

You get the picture.

As you can imagine, when the kids erupt like this, things can get incredibly difficult, especially as this tends to happen when my health deteriorates and I’m least able to handle the meltdowns. To be perfectly honest, at these times, I wish I could just stick them inside an envelope, whack on a few stamps and post them somewhere else. I know that sounds bad but when you’re struggling to walk, breathe and essentially stay alive and you’re kids are going feral, what can you do? We have friends and family who help out but they can’t live your life. Moreover, although these meltdowns are very intense, they’re usually short and life soon returns to some kind of equilibrium.

Over the last few months, things have been brewing with our son. He’s seen stars and vomited. Had bad headaches. A dreadful asthma cough and really not looked very well either. He’s missed quite a lot of school.One morning when he couldn’t put his finger on his nose and was seeing stars, I took him off to Emergency. Nothing showed up and the vomiting stopped but he still hasn’t been himself. Then, yesterday, I found a tin of salmon with knife marks jabbed through it and it looked like it had been mauled by a shark with metal teeth. This precipitated a huge worry. Why couldn’t he just use a can opener like anybody else? Why doesn’t he know how to open up a can after helping out with cooking? He’s also a Scout. Now, I understand that scouting can make you more resourceful and inventive but surely a Scout can open up a tin by themselves?

One mauled and mutilated tin of salmon...none other than John West: the Best!

One mauled and mutilated tin of salmon…none other than John West: the Best!

I’m sure you can understand my concern!

Not only had he opened the tin with a knife but he’d also spilled the stinky fishy oil over the kitchen table when I was still sorting through cookbooks and a cookbook my grandmother had helped put together back in the 1950s had been smeared with the stuff.

I was livid.

You can also imagine after working so hard on the decluttering and kitchen renovations, that I was just a little bit precious and didn’t appreciate a tornado of a kid thrashing through the place.

But what can you do? Padlock all the cupboards? Lock him in his room? Lock myself in my room? You can also take your kid to a supposed expert but I’d already tried that and it was inconclusive. He is actually having some counseling about what’s been going on. You see, it’s not just me who’s been sick but his sister’s been in hospital and his aunty has cancer and Grandma was in hospital for tests yesterday as well.

As I said before, you can’t expect kids to cope any better than an adult when they’re submerged in “shit”. It’s to be expected that when a kid is hurting, they’re not going to be smooth sailing. More than likely, they’re going to bite the hand that feeds it and that’s not easy to take.

That said, we all have to get on with it. Keep going. When you’re living with a chronic ongoing situation, you can’t keep dropping your bundle and have any hope of getting anywhere. You have to keep fighting straight through that savage head wind and keep going. Surprisingly, this resistance actually builds you up and makes you stronger and we’re meant to take it on. We’re not designed to slump in a chair and give up. Yet, that doesn’t make the process “fun”.

Anyway, after more downs than ups during the afternoon and a few stern words from Dad who wasn’t happy being called at work or finding the house in such a state, Geoff had a chat with the Mister.

Geoff had Mister on his knee and started asking him questions and talking and eventually, the story tumbled out. Mister was worried that I was going to die. That having a chronic illness means that you’re dying.

Finally, we had something concrete, which made some sense.

It also turned out that he couldn’t get the can opener to work.

Mister spontaneously made a heart with his Incredible Hulk green hands. It really touched my heart!

Mister spontaneously made a heart with his Incredible Hulk green hands. It really touched my heart!

As you could imagine, we’ve had many talks on this subject over the years with the kids. As my health is pretty precarious even though I’m currently in remission, I don’t lie to them and promise some rosy-coloured vision of the future…especially as we’re currently in Winter and a chest infection is the most likely thing to cause me grief. I had pneumonia two years ago and it almost got me so I know life is fragile but it’s like that for all of us. Anyone, could be run over by that proverbial bus and it’s all over in an instant. It’s just that we’re more conscious of the fact.

Mister’s relief was immediately evident, although he still had trouble sleeping last night. These are big concepts for anyone to process…especially a kid who really needs and is still dependent on his Mum. I’ve also heard that having a parent hanging in the balance like this can be worse than the actually loss of the parent. There’s that omnipresent shadow. The knife hanging above my head. The boogey man, in the form of my illness, is always there making faces and scaring us. Yet, as close as it’s been, I am still a few steps ahead. Indeed at the moment, aside from the cough, I’m doing very well. However, the kids aren’t always in synch with my health status and can pick up on some random thing we’d never considered and react, leaving us wondering why they’ve lost the plot.

Also, in addition to living with my health issues, they also have the normal everyday issues kids have, although these can also get magnified when they’re not handling things well.

So, when you see my children mucking up, or other kids for that matter, instead of judging them or their parents’ disciplinary enforcement, perhaps you could ask a couple of simple questions:

Are you okay?

What can I do to help?

Another good idea is to run through all the people they can turn to for support. They can draw a hand on a piece of paper and write those name on each finger. Having a list of contacts on the fridge can also be helpful. Our kids really don’t seem to know important contact numbers other than 000 (our emergency number).

I’ve jotted down a few things here which have helped us get through those really tough times. They’re not an instant fix but over time have helped them and me.

Suggestions for Helping Kids Get Through a Rough Patch

• Some kids appreciate more physical contact such as hugs, sitting on your lap, holding your hand even though they might be older. Physical contact is a powerful way to convey love.

• Go for a walk or bike ride etc (exercise).

• Get a bit of sun. Sunlight helps you cheer up.

• Find a way to have a laugh. Laughter is known as the best medicine. A

• Play with a friend and or a pet.

• Write in a journal and/or draw some pictures.

• Listen to music.

• Having a break from the situation by going to a friend’s house or doing after school activities.

• Become an active member of an out of school community such as Scouts, Church etc where the kids can feel love and support beyond the family unit.

• Having an outlet for expressing anger such as drumming, jogging, boxing. Getting those emotions out is very cathartic.

• Talking regularly with kids about what is happening and keeping them updated. This is very easy to overlook and can be seen as protecting them but kids have good ears when you don’t want them to listen and it’s better to have a more structure conversation, rather than them picking up on bits and pieces and potentially getting the wrong idea.

• I haven’t been very good at this but meditation and slowing down anxious breathing is fantastic and helps keep a level head. The best way for me to do this is to go for a walk along the beach and focus on the water or by doing my photography. Focusing on a point is a relaxation technique.

In the meantime, if you know a kid who is going through a rough time and seemingly spiraling out of control, please don’t judge or condemn them. Perhaps, all they’ll need is a hug or a compassionate ear.

All our children need love, compassion…especially when they might “deserve” it least! Indeed, that’s when we need to push through the pain barrier with that desperate determination of a professional athlete and keep striving with everything we’ve got…including our community, which is so often right under our nose when we just have a look!

Our children, and especially our youth, are too precious to ever give up!

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

This photo was taken when I was on weekend leave from hospital back in 2007, when I was first diagnosed with dermatomyositis.

This photo was taken when I was on weekend leave from hospital back in 2007, when I was first diagnosed with dermatomyositis.

Old Self…New Year: Beware of the Big Bad Wolf!

If you, like me, decided NOT to make any  resolutions at all on NYE, you could also be in for a rude shock. Just because you objected, that doesn’t mean those resolutions won’t come running after you. Now, that NYE is almost a full week behind us and we’ve almost been lulled into a dream, it’s just the right time for the Big Bad Wolf to come knocking on your door when you least expect it:

“Little pig. Little pig! Let me in”.

That’s right. The Big Bad Wolf will huff, puff and blow your house down. That is, if you refuse to respond and open the door to constructive change.

I have to admit that I’d seen the Big Bad Wolf out on the horizon but thought I’d got a step ahead by taking up the One Word Challenge: http://myoneword.org/.

Love...my word for 2015.

Love…my word for 2015.

Indeed, you might have read that I have chosen “Love” as my word for 2015https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/new-year-my-one-word-for-2015-and-why-i-cant-leave-2014-behind/

“Love” seemed the only choice for me after the week of horror which took place just before Christmas. After all that hate in one week along with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 earlier in the year, I really felt we all needed to come together in love to cleanse our world of hate.

In order to do this, we somehow needed to learn to “love our neighbour as ourselves”.

Not just our neighbour either.

We also need to treat our nearest and dearest the way we would like to be treated. Or, better still, by having the empathy to treat them the way they would like to be treated. This is so much more than a platitude. I take this word extremely seriously and see this as no warm, fuzzy, soft option. Indeed, the decision, the commitment, to love is a serious undertaking and also involves a word that I’m seriously not good at…”patience”. I failed patience a long, long time ago.

It also involves stopping, which is another concept I’m not that good at. Stop writing and being busy and spend some quality time with those I love…so easy in theory but surprisingly difficult in practice. We all lead busy lives but eventually that excuse wears thin.

With love as my over-arching word for 2015, I already knew that I had my work cut out for me. That love was a sufficient challenge, goal, personal development project for 2015.

Ha! Like so many of us who make plans and goals, these soon get dashed on the rocks. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t given up on love. It’s just that resolutions for the New Year are slowly but surely finding me and they’re being very insistent. I don’t think I have any choice about doing any of this. It’s sink or swim time and of course, I and the rest of the family are wanting to swim. We don’t want to drown.

So once again, I’m left quoting John Lennon:

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

So while New Year’s Eve has been and gone, we are still on school holidays in Australia and my real NYE will be the 27th January…the night before the kids go back to school. By then, I’ll have to overcome my sins of the past 12 months. I must… especially if I love my kids and I truly want them to reach their true potential. Grow up into themselves, without being stunted. I want my kids to grow up into mighty oaks or even eucalypts… not being constantly cut back and cut back into some imprisoned bonsai which never grows up to reach the sun!

Our daughter growing into a mighty eucalypt or "gum" tree.

Our daughter growing into a mighty eucalypt or “gum” tree.

Sure, I was pretty crook last year. You know my story  or can read it here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/about/.

While I can justifiably blame the chemo for screwing up my already challenged organisation, I can only blame chemo for so long before I need to act. Do something. As I said, we don’t want to sink…especially in a sea of miscellaneous paperwork and school notes. We want to swim. Be in  the race…not drown.

Improving my health is another non-negotiable this year. This really is something I can’t mess around with.

Now, I’m needing to develop the infrastructure or scaffolding to keep us on track until the chemo brain wears off. These are the sort of tedious changes that eventually get thrust upon you when there is no other choice ie when the Big Bad Wolf has all but gobbled up the sweet little pig.

So while I am also making big plans for my writing, my blog and work in 2015, I’ve also been force to accept these New Year’s nasties:

  1. Develop a detailed schedule and routine to improve organisation and arrive on time.
  2. Keep better track of upcoming events using diary, planner and wall chart.
  3. Lose 10 kilos. This will improve my breathing, reduce the worsening heartburn and improve my general health.
  4. Exercise 3 x per week. This reduces the risk of a respiratory infection…the greatest risk to my health. It will also help to keep me mobile and improve muscle strength.
  5. Declutter the house for an hour a day. I cleaned my desk up recently and I felt so much better. Need to extend those open spaces.

Despite my best intentions, this list of nasties seems to be growing too.

Of course, it goes without saying that I will still be writing, writing, writing. “Working” on my blog and even though my camera is suffering from chronic over-use, I can’t see it sitting home alone either!!

Out Taking Photos

Out Taking Photos

That said, even though I’ve taken these resolutions onboard under duress, that doesn’t mean I have to love them…even if that’s my word for 2015.

Even this ambitious little pig who is building her house out of brick, has to be prepared.

How are things looking for you in the New Year ahead? If you are struggling with it all, how about you listen to this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPtlSF4TlJE

Try

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
[1]

 

All the best with the best laid plans of mice and men and of course, it goes without saying, beware of the Big Bad Wolf!

xx Rowena

[1] Writer(s): Michael Busbee, Michael Ford Busbee, Benjamin West
Copyright: BMG Platinum Songs Us, Hello I Love You Music, Legitimate Efforts Music, Jam Writers Group

 

 

Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady!

Indigant! She was absolutely indignant. There were no smiles for the camera and certainly no smoochy kisses as we gave Lady her first bath and I started recording the moment for posterity. Just the deeply wounded downwards glare which concealed an inner growl: “That ain’t no way to treat a Lady!”

Lady had to have an instant, immediate bath. It was a definite case of do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I couldn’t risk her running into the house and sharing her joy. We’d never get rid of the stench! There was no time to take her off to the Palm Beach dog salon for the full shampoo, blowdry and pedicure! If Lady snuck into the house, my father would metamorphose into John Cleese and I could already hear him now: “Sybille!”

As my Dad looks like Basil Faulty, I’m careful not to press all his buttons at once! Dad has a very sensitive sense of smell and with the dogs not being allowed in the house, I really didn’t want to stretch the friendship. I have learned my lesson. You can’t get anything passed Dad’s very acute sense of smell.

Many, many moons ago, there had been the Schnapps Incident. As a fairly mature twenty something, I’d invited a group of single friends around for a Valentine’s Day dinner party at home while Mum and Dad were out. Two of my friends were drowning their sorrows with shots of Schnapps which all ended very badly when the bloke exceeded an elegant sufficiency and in his disoriented and inebriated state had managed to relieve his agony beside my parents’ bed, all over the fine cane lattice furniture. Although my friend, not the one who’d been sick, cleaned the muck off with an old toothbruth and we’d doused the place with industrial strength chemical cleaners, my Dad still walked in the front door and it was like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: somebody’s been sick beside my bed.

No! I couldn’t take any chances with Lady. After all, we’re lucky that Mum and Dad let us bring the dogs with us at all!

Lady having a bath. Clearly, she's far far from impressed!

Lady having a bath. Clearly, she’s far far from impressed!

This, of course, meant that Lady’s dignity was mortally wounded as we tied her to the flag pole. With the Australian flag flapping overhead, she received the hose treatment. While this might sound a bit cruel, the same dog had just been running through seawater and I doubt there much difference in temperature. Besides, it was a bright sunny day and Lady was until recently, a farm dog. Surely, she wasn’t used to the salon treatment in between rabbit hunts?!! As much as Lady was a cute little dog who would fit in very nicely with the local designer dogs the Avalon Café set, she was made of much tougher stuff! She more than knew how to look after herself!

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That said, I knew she wouldn’t like the smell of Dad’s shower gel.

Being on holidays, we didn’t have any pooch shampoo so I sent our daughter upstairs to get my Dad’s shower gel. It was a strange choice because we had our own Pantene shampoo but this was a crisis and my poor humble brain was very much in survival mode and I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I don't think washing dead fish smells out of stinky dogs was quite what the manufacturers of Dove had in mind!

I don’t think washing dead fish smells out of stinky dogs was quite what the manufacturers of Dove had in mind!

If you have already read about Lady’s handling of the dead rabbit, you won’t be surprised about the dead fish incident. In fact, you’ll probably blame me: “Really, Ro! What did you expect?” The dog is a veteran hunter. You can take the dog out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the dog. She is who she is, after all!

I guess you could just call me naïve. The last time I ventured onto a sheep property, I asked my friend if the sheep bite. That story circulated like wildfire. I was living in Geraldton in Western Australia at the time and they were in fits of hysterics about the girl from Sydney. It had been said that you could take the girl out of the North Shore but you can’t take the North Shore out of the girl. I’d actually thought I’d done a pretty thorough cleansing at the time and had well and truly moved on but apparently not.

Anyway, all this drama which resulted in Lady having a bath was all over a fish…a very simple fish.

You see, when my daughter and I were out walking the dogs today, Lady found a dead fish floating in the water. After the rabbit encounter which I mentioned in my last post, I had simply assumed Lady wanted to eat the fish. I thought it was species known as Leather Jacket which was safe to eat and so I helped her get it out of the water. I couldn’t see any harm in her eating the fish.

So I guess you could say that by providing assistance, that ipso facto makes me an accessory but I plead ignorance. I strongly deny any sinister involvement. As I said, I thought Lady was going to eat the fish. I never thought for a moment that Lady would use the dead fish as a kind of roll-on deodorant or eau de cologne.

As it turned out, that fish was also deader than I’d thought. It had already begun its deadly metamorphosis…especially as it had been drifting along baking in the hot, midday sun. So by the time Lady found it, that dead fish was so dead that it was starting to come back to life again.

You could just imagine the smell!

A very cheeky, stink dog posing as a dead fish...Lady before her bath.

A very cheeky, stinky dog posing as a dead fish…Lady before her bath.

Even after what must have been half a bottle of shower gel, Lady still reeks of dead fish. Somehow, I hope it filters out somehow before the long drive home. Two adults, two kids, two dogs in an overloaded car, there’s no room for the stench of dead fish!

Otherwise, I might just have to pinch a bit of my mother’s Chanel!

Surely, that’s how you really treat a Lady!