Tag Archives: funny

The Saint & His Shadow…Bilbo Continued.

Writing about Bilbo yesterday has brought back so many precious memories. While it’s easy to canonize the dead and turn them into a saint, they’re still human. Or, in Bilbo’s case, canine but believing he’s human, and he was always treated as such.

Newton Feet Jan 26 20147

One for all and all for one…our feet at the beach taken January, 2014.

For much of the day, Bilbo could pass for a glorious designer floor rug sunning himself in the backyard or sleeping under my desk. However, he had his triggers like the rest of us and the posty was the most predictable one, along with anyone riding a bicycle or walking past with a dog. As a younger dog, he was also a real villain on the lead and he must’ve thought our local footpath was a racetrack to the beach. I’m most surprised we didn’t become air born. He was also particularly protective of the kids. At least, that’s what I blame for his metamorphosis into a lunging, barking, snarling menace when the school bus pulled up. Indeed, it got to the point where we couldn’t take him. He was vicious. He also wasn’t happy when my friend Clare used to pick up the kids and take them to school, while I was recovering from chemo. She did that for at least a couple of months, and yet his manner never changed. He stuck to his guns.

Bilbo feel the fear

Bilbo wasn’t overly inspired to fight his fears.

It’s hard to understand how such a placid, loving dog could change so much. However, like the rest of us he’d also been traumatised by my severe health battles, and we couldn’t explain things to him. Like us, he also knew he was fighting against an invisible force, and he rounded up his own list of suspects however misguided. He’d spent many nights comforting me, and knew something awful was out there somewhere. However,  I couldn’t tell him that with an auto-immune disease, the enemy was within.

Bilbo Lady Ro kayak

Anyway, looking at the photo of me with Bilbo and Lady in the kayak last night, reminded me of another one of Bilbo’s epic stories. A few years ago, my parents had this idyllic place on the waterfront at Palm Beach. It was on the Pittwater side where it was flat water and very tidal. The bay would fill up and empty like a bath with methodical clockwork which we couldn’t ignore. Indeed, we were very much controlled and directed by the tides, and at their mercy. That was fine because we adapted to the rhythms. At low tide, you could go for a walk and at high tide, you could head out on the kayak or the Laser, the little sailboat the previous owners had left behind.

The very first time we headed out on the kayaks was unforgettable. Not just because we were out on the water. We were some distance from home, when we spotted a Border Collie standing on the shore. At first, we were merely excited to see another Border Collie, as you are when you see another dog that looks like yours. However, as we got closer, it soon became obvious this Border Collie was also watching us. Indeed, he was following us along the bank.

Oh no! Our precious, docile floor rug had decided once again, that the sky was falling. It was the end of the world, and he had to save the day. The only trouble was that being totally averse to getting his paws wet, he couldn’t leap in to save us. He was painfully stuck and doing all he could…barking!

Amelia & Bilbo

By the way, I should also point out that Bilbo had gone to great lengths to get out. He’d shewed through the side gate and gnawed through a paling and he’d also run through quite a few backyards to reach his lookout post.

Oh dear! Geoff was off to the local hardware store to buy tools and carry out repairs. Mum and Dad had only just bought the place and we didn’t want to be known as “The Wreckers”.

Of course, this wasn’t Bilbo’s only tale of mass destruction. I might’ve mentioned this before. However, I was in hospital for about 8 weeks when I was first diagnosed with my auto-immune disease The kids were staying with my parents and Geoff kept working while I was in hospital so he could take time off when I got home. Again, not being able to explain things to the dog caused issues. Indeed, it’s hard enough to explain things to the dog at the best of times, let alone when you don’t know what’s happening yourself!!

Well, like so many of us, Bilbo took matters into his own hands. Or, in this scenario, it was more of a case of chewing and digging his way towards enlightenment. He started digging and chewing through the computer network cabling under the house, which was clearly getting in his way as he dug wombat holes perilously close to the foundations. It appeared that he only stopped when he started on a power cable and might’ve had experienced more than a slight tingle.

Geoff arrived home after work, after driving round to see me in hospital and visiting the kids at Mum and Dad’s (which had become his nightly routine) to find out he had no connectivity. Fortunately, the reason we had such an elaborate home network going back about 12 years ago, is that Geoff is a senior network engineer and back in the day when Novel mattered, he was a Certified Novel Network engineer. However, that didn’t mean he wanted or needed to rebuild our home network even though he could, and Bilbo’s timing couldn’t have been worse. Moreover, Bilbo’s complaints to management had clearly gone much further than the usual puppy antics of chewing shoes and disemboweling the stuffing out of his bed. Let’s just say Geoff wasn’t happy and while he was re-installing the network, he also blocked the said pup out from under the house.

Bilbo Jonathon & Amelia Rabbit Ears

However, to be fair to the dog, he’d gone from having me and the kids at home much of the time where he was with us constantly. He was one of us more than the rest of us could ever be, and was the glue at the heart of our family. To go from that, to suddenly  being alone without rhyme or reason must’ve been a huge shock. So, I don’t blame him for staging a four-legged protest. I wasn’t too happy with the situation either.

Bilbo Rabbit Ears

The strange thing about all of Bilbo’s antics and so many of our own, is that once we’ve worked through the initial response and allowed the dust to settle, we actually find these catastrophes funny. They make us laugh. Indeed, life would be so uneventful without the things which give us nightmares. I’m not sure how he psychology or mechanics of all of this works, but perhaps someone out there can enlighten me.

Wet Bilbo

It didn’t happen overnight, but Bilbo eventually conquered a degree of his fear of the water. I look at it now and think how hard it would have been to swim weighed down by his heavy coat.

Meanwhile,  if you’d like to read about laughter’s capacity to get us through the toughest of times, I encourage you to read this very uplifting though very difficult post from Aimee Foster who lost her baby girl when she was a day old: Why It’s Essential to Find Humor At Your Darkest Hour. 

Bilbo watchin the sun set Palm Beach

Do you have any funny dog stories you would like to share? Or, perhaps you’re more of a cat person. Or, perhaps reading this has reminded you of a cherished person you have lost? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Puppies of Mass Destruction.

“Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens”

Laura Ingalls Wilder

This afternoon, I had this dreadful sense of deja vu when I woke up from a nap and the lounge room was a scene of carnage. Reminiscent of a raging toddlers dosed up on red cordial and fairy bread, the pups had ripped MORE stuffing out of their bed, torn apart a packet of picture hooks which was nowhere near the floor, and also devoured the cover of my daughter’s DVD Mean Girls. The DVD itself being all shiny, must’ve been considered booty, because I found it outside. It almost looks okay, and I could possibly pass it off without our daughter erupting. Well, that is, if you ignore the tiny little indentations left by canine teeth. Oh! That’s right. Rosie, also chewed up another pink highlighter pen, although this time it didn’t explode all over her paws and it just smeared the carpet.

“Love children especially, for they too are sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts and, as it were, to guide us.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

DSC_8401

It would be easy to say that it was all tantrum, but I bet they were just looking for something to do just like my kids when they were small and started painting the kitchen with food dye and water. I can’t remember other exploits offhand but there were many. Indeed, enough that I should’ve thought twice about having two pups, instead of one.

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

DSC_8397

However, that’s what happens when you suddenly find out you’re having twins. You can’t send one packing. Although Zac and Rosie are brother and sister and you don’t usually consider pups from the same litter “twins”, these two have bonded closely ever since they first arrived as fosters. It was never our intention to keep them both. However, we couldn’t pick between them, and then they sort of morphed into one dog with two entities if that makes any sense.

“I would recommend to those persons who are inclined to stagnate, whose blood is beginning to thicken sluggishly in their veins, to try keeping four dogs, two of which are puppies.”

– Elizabeth von Arnum

DSC_8389.JPG

Yet, as much as Zac and Rosie are twins, they also have their idiosyncrasies.  Rosie is a real chewer and is very destructive, but also incredibly curious and smart. She sees something new, and she’s instantly checking it out and trying to see how it works. Zac is very affectionate and quite a lap dog and is uber-obsessed with chasing balls and what now remains of their rope toy (which isn’t much!!)

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”

-Edward Hoagland

DSC_8404.JPG

Meanwhile, Lady thinks the pups are great, because she can do no wrong. Indeed, Lady had become “The Saint”. That’s quite a change from when she first arrived and used to get up onto the kitchen table stealing food and being a houdini escape artist. She doesn’t jump all over hapless visitors either. As I said, she can do no wrong…as long as you’re not expecting her to chase a ball or pass an IQ test. Then, she’d better start wagging her tail and giving you the look. After all, she certainly knows how to maximise her good looks.

Zac & Rosie

Rose (Left) and Zac aged 6 weeks.

Meanwhile, I think back to when two sleeping pups had just arrived at our place and know…

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
― Charles M. Schulz

What have you and your dog been up to this week? Does your dog have any confessions? If so, dob in your dog in the comments below.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

All for a Sozzled Christmas Cake…

Yesterday, being the second day of the school holidays, I was driven to desperate measures. Indeed, pushed straight over the brink, I was merely hanging onto my sanity by the barest of fingertips. The kids were asleep. My husband was there to mind the fort. It was almost 10.00PM and I had to get to the bottle shop. I couldn’t wait!

Of course, it wasn’t for me.

I swear it wasn’t.

It was for my Christmas Cake. I’d found an interesting recipe on the back of my Christmas cards and I had to try it out. With only a few sleeps before Christmas, there wasn’t any time to waste. Not that it would be ready in time. Like all Christmas cakes, it has to rest and this one needs more rest than most.

However, if I was a Christmas Cake and I’d drunk an entire cup of straight brandy, I’d need an extended rest too. Indeed, I’d probably need my stomach pumped. Unlike the Christmas cake, I’m not much of a drinker and a humble cup of tea usually does me.

So, there I was cruising the streets at night, desperately needing my cup of brandy. Yet, much to my horror, all the bottle shops were shut. I mean…where’s the Christmas spirit? Evidently, you needed to go to the pub for that.

Go to the pub? Was I that desperate, that unabashed, that I could front up to the bar with my pink melamine measuring cup and order a cup of brandy?

Yes! I was.

As I said, it wasn’t for me. It was for the Christmas cake. Surely, the pub would have a bit of compassion for someone making a Christmas cake a few days before Christmas?

Still, I could see all those bar flies with their huge, bug eyes are staring at me like rotting flesh.

What the?

Even I have to admit it’s weird…like a scene out of Fawlty Towers, Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em  or some more recent comedy show.

I’ve been known to cause  embarrassment before, but this would have taken the cake (forgive the pun).

We live in a beach side town and while there are plenty of people living here, it’s yet another insular peninsula. Nothing’s private. Everybody knows your business and I can tell you that some old chook turning up at the bar ordering brandy in a measuring cup, would not go unnoticed. I’d be the talk of the town and for all the wrong reasons.

dsc_5011

Yet, hasn’t anyone else ever been caught out trying to make a Christmas cake a few days before Christmas? Surely, after thousands of years of celebrating Christmas, I am not the only one…the very first?!!

By the way, if you’ve never made your own Christmas Cake, you probably don’t know about their heavy drinking habits.

Of course, they have all sorts of excuses. I mean, if I earned a dollar for every time I’ve heard a Christmas cake blame the dried fruit, I’d be a very wealthy woman. But you try giving a thirsty Christmas Cake a few glasses of water, and you’ll soon see their true colours. They’ll be throwing that slice of lemon straight back at you and demanding the hard stuff…whiskey, brandy, rum. If you’re on a budget, you might be lucky. They might settle for a sherry, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. These Christmas cakes hold nothing back and that’s why they’re always at the very top of Santa’s Naughty List.

Indeed, if you drank a cup of straight brandy, I’m sure you’d be at the top of the Naughty List too!

With the bottle shops shut and feeling too intimidated to go to the pub, I did consider Facebooking a few friends. Who could I pop in on at 10.00PM asking for a cup of brandy rather than the usual cup of sugar? I’m sure we all know a few likely characters, but by this stage, I’d finally accepted defeat. I decided to head back to the bottle shop in the morning.

Meanwhile, before I call it a night, I have some advice for Santa.

dsc_5005

Beware of eating too much Christmas Cake. I don’t know if they have random breath testing for sleighs,  but you don’t want to end up at the top of your own naughty list.

I’m not quite sure how many standard drinks are going to be in this Christmas cake by the time it’s done. Although much of the alcohol will be cooked out of the cake, you keep adding it as it ferments. It’s going to be sozzled.

So, my piece of wisdom for this Christmas…

Be careful before you eat and drive!

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Wishing you a cautious Merry Christmas and some moderated “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

xx Rowena

dsc_4994

I must admit it feel odd walking out of the bottle shop at lunch time with a bottle in a brown paper bag. It’s not mine! I swear it’s not mine!

 

Short-Sighted Time.

If you’re not short-sighted, then no doubt you’ve already worked out that my clock radio is upside down.

However, to be perfectly honest with you, it took awhile for me to work it out. That’s because I’m so short-sighted without my glasses, that I can’t even see the numbers at all. The screen is blank.

As for how my clock radio ended lying belly up like this, the answer is simple. I couldn’t sleep and found the light from the LCD screen annoying. So, I pushed the clock out of the way in the dark, and it could well have taken a swan dive off the back of the chest of drawers and that’s probably how it ended up upside down.

Why it stayed upside down and undisturbed is a bit more complicated. My only defense is that when you’re as blind as a bat without your glasses, it doesn’t really matter as long as the alarm goes off. My alarm just happens to be my husband, followed by the two dogs who he sends in to wake me up with this enthusiastic: “Where’s Mum?” Bilbo is so proud of himself for finding me too. Lady may turn up eventually in which case, she’s usually madly wagging her tail.

The other possibility is that I’m some kind of topsy turvy character out of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree who likes walking upside down on their hands.

Something tells me that short-sightedness is the better explanation.

xx Rowena

PS With my alarm clock upside down, chances are that my glasses have fallen on the floor and it can be very humbling feeling the floor with my fingertips trying to find them!

Our Disaster Recovery Expert to the Rescue

This being the day before tomorrow (i.e the last day before school goes back), something was guaranteed to go wrong.

Not to disappoint me, the kids who know drinks don’t go anywhere “within cooeee” of the computers, spilled their fruit smoothie splat right onto the keyboard. That’s right. There’s now soy milk and fruit oozing around the keys in a thick, pink, oozy sludge…not to mention honey and all that Natural Tasmanian Yogurt all the way from the Tamar River!!!

“Not Happy Jan!!” (this phrase has swept across Australia following this ad for Yellow Pages Advertising)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akt3P8ltLM

Lady says: "You Can Count On Me!" She must have taken a few lessons from Geoff in IT maintenance. Perhaps, she could get a job in tech support and Geoff could stay home and sleep all day instead!!

However, all was not lost! While the kids ran for the hills while Mum went berko, Lady came to the rescue. She was only too willing to help: “You Can Count On Me!”

I’m in two minds about having the dog lick the keyboard but I know enough about IT to know that drinks in the keyboard is pretty much a terminal event. That keyboard was looking so much like a dodo, that a bit of dog slobber wasn’t going to be fatal and there’s always disinfectant.

Besides, the keyboard is hardly a dinner plate. At least, it shouldn’t be!!

Lady must have taken a few lessons from Geoff in IT maintenance. So far so good. I haven’t tried plugging the keyboard back in yet and it’s now sitting face down on my desk until Geoff gets home.

Hmm…After Lady’s efforts, I’m thinking she could get a job in tech support and Geoff could stay home and sleep all day. Indeed, Geoff would look quite a sight lying on his back next to the couch with his arms and legs in the air looking for a tummy scratch! I don’t think he’d be complaining.

I don’t know what dog slobber is going to do to the overall damage but either way, the keyboard is going to need a good clean and my nervous system is going to need a good sedative…and we’re still not ready for school yet!!

Something tells me that it will be easier to get ready for “back to school” once the kids are already back at school!!

xx Rowena

The Bag Lady

While I was at the op shop today, I spotted a handbag. That’s hardly unusual but lately I’ve become a handbag-avoider so I was trying to stay away. Somehow, I’ve ended up collecting handbags and I don’t need any more. That is unless I can find that elusive, perfect black bag. This is a need… definitely not just a want!

As much as I’ve been out on the prowl for the perfect handbag, I’ve ended up with way too many duds. Of course, they all seemed perfect at the time and full of promise but have been plagued by subsequent performance issues. At the very least, all my bags must be able to manage a book. That shouldn’t be mission impossible and yet it is. For some reason, big bags seem to have weak handles. Some haven’t even survived one train trip to Sydney, arriving back home in pieces.

While I wasn’t looking for another bag, this bag caught my eye, probably because it was real leather. I might love leather but I’m still very fussy. No more small talk. These days, a handbag has to be “the one”!

So there I was in the Lifeline shop in Avalon making the acquaintance of yet another bag. Just like my asbergers hero from  The Rosie Project who developed a 16 page questionnaire to find a wife but usually managed to reduce it down to one question,  I cut straight to the chase. Although this bag was rather determined to make my acquaintance, I was playing hard to get.

I went straight to the list. Not that I actually carry around a 16 page check list of all the little extras I am looking for in this ultimate handbag when I do my rounds of the op shops. It’s more imprinted at the back of my brain which explains why I’ve ended up with so many duds. The print must be fading!

Besides, I’m not actually looking to buy any more handbags.

This is where my conscience kicks in. Did you hear that Ro? No more bags! You have plenty of bags. You have bags in every conceivable size, shape and colour. Indeed, you seriously need to downsize. Return to sender. You know you need to take them back to the op shop and you definitely don’t need more!

More! Did I hear you say more?!!!

Of course, all of this advanced psychology and declutter therapy has been totally wasted on me.

Although this handbag isn’t exactly waving at me, calling out or giving me mad enthusiastic hugs, it is quietly persistent.

At this point, I need your assistance. Can you tell me whether a handbag actually meant to be male or female? While this question might seem totally weird, weird scenarios are all part of being a writer. You see, if I’m talking about a handbag flirting with me and trying to attract my attention, is it going to flash a bit of leg or is it going to strut its stuff? It makes a difference. I’ve got to get it right.

Anyway, I’ve decided that the ideal handbag for me would have to be a bloke and I mean a real bloke. We’re talking ruggedly handsome and definitely with a splash of after shave. I know I’m skating on very thin ice talking about handbags as men and I’ve knows a few friends who have borrowed “a suit” for a function but never a handbag! I certainly intend no disrespect.

Anyway, my handbag had none of these manly features. Indeed, it is a Fossil. This doesn’t mean that it’s geriatric or that it was excavated from the cretaceous period. That’s a brand name and a good brand name. That, of course, meant that my beloved handbag has a price tag of $25.00 which in op shop terms is top of the line…expensive!

At $25.00 this not so common handbag had to do the big sell if it was going to have a snowflake’s chance in hell of coming home with me…especially because I’m trying desperately hard but not very successfully to save money. Moreover, as I said before, I already have enough handbags and if you haven’t worked it out already, my real weakness right now is books…inspirational books! Handbags are rather empty relatively speaking!

I bought the bag. You know I bought the bag. Once again, I am absolutely convinced and in this case beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I have finally found that elusive and exclusive perfect handbag. Now, my ideals probably differ from yours…each to their own. That’s to be expected. However, this time I know I’ve finally found IT…the 100% perfect handbag and I didn’t pay full price for it either. Couldn’t find the same bag online but equivalents sell for $300.00! Well done!

Just let me share a few of the features with you.

The bag has a leather exterior with a strong 2cm wide leather strap which can go across my body so it’s not constantly falling off my shoulder. There is a zipper on the front with a pocket where I can stick my mobile phone. This small and seemingly insignificant detail is a must. I barely use my phone but it’s almost guaranteed to ring at the worst possible moment when it’s lost in the bottom of some bag and I’m fishing through all sorts of biodegrading junk trying to answer it in time. At this point I’m usually left “smiling” to some stranger who finds my complete and utter disorganisation highly amusing and I feel like shooting the person on the phone for disturbing my inner peace. Why they haven’t introduced legislation to make these external pockets mandatory in handbags? I’ll never know. It’s such a no-brainer although I must admit that I still buy handbags without them.

Inside the bag- fabulous organisation!

Inside the bag- fabulous organisation!

I lift up the magnetic clip to take a look inside. Amazing! I can’t believe my eyes. This bag was made for me. Moreover, it was designed by someone with a real flair for organisation who wanted to help me out of my pits of chaotic despair. Oh how I love you handbag designer extraordinaire! You are beautiful…an absolute angel who’s been heaven sent. This bag has a spot for pens and I can fit my notebook inside so like zap I am ready when inspiration hits. After all, you don’t want that pearl of wisdom to just pop out of your head as quickly as it popped in. You need to trap it…fast!!!

Wow! This bag is absolutely fantastic. There’s even room for a novel and it also has slots for my business card, other cards and a zipper pocket for my keys. It will be absolutely perfect for business networking events as well. I am about to become supremely and absolutely organised. It is unbelievable and all for just $25.00.

I also make a mental note that the notepad mini which Geoff gave me for Christmas should also fit in this bag if only I could use it. I hate to admit it but my response reminded me of when we gave my grandfather an electric typewriter for his 70th birthday. After a brief appearance, it returned permanently to its box. I have to confess that I haven’t seen my gadget since Christmas Day…

I guess there is always room for improvement!